This'll probably be pretty different from the other stuff I've written. It's a canon divergence, splitting off somewhere around the twenty-somethingth manga. Genre is Introspection/Romance. It's a bit of a weird story, but the idea wouldn't leave me alone; it will be a chaptered fic, and will have a lemon at the end, which I will likely edit for here (and despite the nature of this story, no, the lemon will not contain beastiality! You pervs.).

Please note: This is a petdog!Sesshoumaru story. Yes, I am aware there are other stories out there using the same premise. No, I am not copying them. I came up with the idea entirely on my own, quite some time ago. Any similarity between my story and others will be coincidence, because I have not been reading the others. I have, I hope, come up with an original take on the idea, and as every author handles their story differently, I hope it will be read as it's own tale and not be continuously compared to others of similar premise.

Anyway, I'm not used to handling longer stories, and the characterization is giving me a lot of trouble, so please bear with me as I learn. I really don't know if anyone will like this but me and my beta, but she was mercilessly adamant that I stop dragging my feet and post the darn thing already, so here it goes!

He barely remembered who he was when she found him, let alone who she was.

The white dog tried to block it out sometimes, but the haze was always there. The sour stink of the kennels blended in the back of its mind with the dull roar of a hundred barking dogs, until it was all one dark, dim blur of smell and sound that clouded up its head.

It was even worse when the dog was outside, in the city, pressed in by the scent of humans and the roar of machines. The sounds and smells crawled under its skin and nested inside its skull, where they coiled and curdled and grew. They didn't leave any room for thoughts.

That was okay, though. Thoughts hurt. It was nicer not to think about things anymore.

While the other dogs howled and yipped, the white dog blinked, slightly dazed by the noise, and laid its head on its forepaw in silence. Uncaring and unafraid. The kennels were moderately warm, and it was dead of winter and a string of ice storms had settled over the city. The cold could not hurt it, it knew, but spending frigid nights under a blanket of snow had grown tiresome. So it would ride out the worst of the storms with dry fur, and then it would leave before the humans got it in their heads to try and kill it.

Which would be soon.

The white dog knew that it should be ashamed at such a thing as giving in to the cold, but it couldn't quite remember why anymore.

The white dog used to know that things hadn't always been this way—it had been so certain once that there was a time when the world had been something very different, and when it had been something very different too—but it wasn't so certain anymore. When it tried to think of anything beyond the now, it found a blur of nothing. On some days, it wondered if maybe there had never been a before at all.

On most days, it didn't even wonder.

Sometimes—sometimes, the white dog had the feeling that it had been someone very different—but that was one of those things it didn't like to think about.

So it lay there, on the floor of its pen, drowning in the scent of a million unhappy humans, and thought about nothing at all.

The click of the door at the end of the hall made its ear twitch. It didn't truly register in the dog's mind at first; doors were opening and closing all the time here. Visitors came in all day long to look through the other dogs.

Voices reached it; it pressed its ears against its skull and stared at the whitewashed wall.

The voices stayed on the other end of the hall for a while, but then they began to grow louder, and it was with a detached sort of surprise that the dog realized they were coming closer.

Not too many visitors made it down to its cage. No matter how hazy its mind got, it knew it wasn't a normal dog—and the other dogs knew it too. The staff had to keep it in the pen at the far end of the row, so it wouldn't upset them. Its only neighbor was a mean-tempered Doberman.

The Doberman had been letting out a low, steady whine for three days now, and its paws were bloody from trying to dig through the concrete floor.

There had been others, but they had not fared so well.

So the kennel keepers, who were at a loss to explain the strange behavior but who seemed profoundly disturbed by it, had begun making it a point not to bring people down to the last pen.

Eventually though, on this day, the white dog became aware that there was a girl standing in front of its cage.

The girl—a young woman—stood there with a thoughtful look on her face. Sort of pretty, as humans went. Probably somewhere in her early twenties, with wavy dark hair and gray-blue eyes. Unremarkable. Indistinguishable from the other million average humans out there.

There was something familiar about the girl's smell though, something vague and unsettling. It reminded the white dog of endless sun-bleached fields and the faint tang of long-ago battles; of power and blood; of deep forests that didn't exist anymore and of little girls that didn't exist either—it was something wild and ancient and inexplicable.

The white dog hated it.

It amazed itself at how much it immediately, violently hated the scent. The smell carved out the dog's insides and made it feel hollow. Doing the only thing it could, it climbed to its feet, a strange tremor running through its muscles, then turned around in its cage and slumped to the floor again, dismissing the smell and its bearer.

It could almost feel the girls smile on its back.

"I'll take him."

"Miss," the keeper said, "ah—are you sure you want this dog?"

"Absolutely," she said. "I've got a good vibe from this one." The dog felt her smile grow wider. "I've got a knack for sensing vibes."

The keepers voice grew hesitant. "This dog is handicapped, though, Miss. He's missing a leg."

"I can see that."

"And you still haven't seen the puppies," she continued quickly. "It'd be much easier to start with a puppy than—"

"Everybody wants puppies," the girl interrupted, in a firm voice. "But I'm not everybody. I want this one."

The smoke inside the dog's skull started to burn. The last thing it wanted was to leave with the girl with the unbearable smell. How did someone so young have such an old smell? She smelt like memories it couldn't remember. She smelt like things that it hurt to think about.

"Look, ma'am," the keeper said, her voice dropping, "this is just my personal advice, but I really don't think you should take this one. This dog—it's not a good dog. Doesn't like people, this one."

Hairs rose along the dog's spine.

Maybe leaving now wouldn't be a terrible idea. It had been here for too long, and the next time they culled the dogs it had the feeling they would try to take it too. They wouldn't succeed, of course, but it would be complicated, and the dog knew in a distant, instinctive sort of way that this would be very bad.

"I've been here a long time, ma'am," the woman continued in a low voice, "and I know one of the wild ones when I see them. You can tell it in their eyes. Hasn't done anything, yet, or it wouldn't be up for adoption, but I can tell. You can't make a pet out of this kind. This isn't a tame dog."

"Maybe not," the girl with the achingly, wretchedly beautiful smell said, her voice certain, "but he's my dog now."

The white dog climbed to its feet again as the two humans went to fill out paperwork, and waited, trying to clear her scent out of its head. Yes, it was definitely time to leave. It would let the girl take it, and walk right out of the building with her. Then it would leave before it ever reached her house.

When they returned the white dog allowed itself to be led from its pen. The girl held out her hand for it to sniff, which it did without thinking and immediately regretted.

"C'mon," the girl said with a huge grin, taking its leash in her hand, "time to go home."

The thin skim of snow over the parking lot helped to dampen the smell of civilization, but the smoke in its head still turned thick and black and twisted in its skull. For a moment it stopped walking, feeling its thoughts recede again. It was so much worse than it remembered. How long had it been in the kennels?

Unsettled, it followed the tug on its leash right across the parking lot to the car.

"Hang on, just let me get my keys," the girl said, fumbling in her pockets. Finding them, the girl added brightly, while opening the door, "You're gonna love it at my place. Well, its not all that great, actually, but I bet it's a whole lot better than that shelter."

The dog allowed itself to be ushered into the passenger seat. It remembered, as the door shut, that it had meant to run before it got in the car.

The girl slid into the drivers seat, still holding her one-sided conversation with it. "It'll be nice to have some company again. I hate a quiet house."

She put the key in the ignition, but instead of turning it, she rested both hands on the steering wheel and went silent. She stayed that way for almost a minute, apparently lost in thought. Then she chuckled quietly and shook her head, shooting the dog a sidelong glance.

"A three-legged white dog," the girl said with a funny half-smile. Turning to look at it fully, the smile turned into an all-out grin. "Your name must be Sesshoumaru."

And the world turned over.

The white dog's head snapped up to look at her, his dark eyes glowing with sudden wonder, and everything rushed back to him. It scoured the haze away, leaving his thoughts crisp and clear as fresh snow and as sharp as cold knives. And beneath the fog he found himself.

Yes—yes, his name was Sesshoumaru. He was Sesshoumaru. Demon. Lord of the West. Taiyoukai. Prince of dogs.

"Yes. Yes, you definitely look like a Sesshoumaru," the girl continued, starting the car and pulling out of the lot. "Inuyasha would be rolling in his grave if he knew I was naming a dog after his brother." She laughed and gave him a conspiratorial wink. "Don't worry, it's a good name. A strong, powerful name. Noble. An honorable name."

And Sesshoumaru realized that she didn't know it was him after all, she thought he was only a dog. A strange pang of disappointment hit him.

But, it didn't matter if she didn't recognize him, because now he knew who he was. And he knew who she was too—he remembered a girl—a miko—standing beside his brother, so many centuries ago—

"Oh!" she said as they came to a stop light, "How stupid of me; here I am taking you home, and I almost forgot to introduce myself!"

—And he knew her name, too, he remembered it, it was—

"I'm Kagome."

Yes. Kagome.