Disclaimer: Don't own Inuyasha

Dazzling Illusions

Prologue

As a young girl, she had always hoped she would find that special guy, that one guy that could make her heart lift at a smile and her toes curl with a graze of fingertips. Just as many girls had, she kept her eyes open and her heart hopeful. But as the years wore on, her eyes began to close and her heart shrink with reality. She learned, whether she had wanted to or not, that you couldn't always rely on the man, the sparkling prince you'd been waiting for. You had to stand on your own. She had learned the hard way…

Chapter One

"Kagome! Come down here please!"

A small girl with short black hair and big innocent eyes looked up from her drawings as her eyes began to cloud with slight fear. What had she done wrong this time?

She got to her feet reluctantly and trudged down the stairs. At the bottom, her mother stood, with her hands on her hips, a frown on her pretty face, a rare sight. Kagome's head dropped in shame, even though she didn't know what she had done wrong.

"Kagome," her mother said, uttering a tired sigh. "I don't want to have to ask this of you, but your brother Souta lost his backpack in the woods. Since he's only five and you're seven, I was hoping you could go help him find it."

Kagome brightened. She wasn't in trouble. She nodded eagerly. Her mother gave her a small smile.

"Thank you sweet heart. I trust you not to get lost. But please, if you don't find it in fifteen minutes, come back so I'll know you're both safe." Kagome nodded again and grabbed her little brother's hand, who had been standing behind their mother in fear. She gave him a reassuring smile before dragging him along with her out the door.

"Where did you last see it, Souta?" she asked as they made their way into the dense forest.

"Umm. Over there I think," he said, pointing a chubby finger to the right. She nodded and kept her hand on his. After a few minutes of walking, Kagome took an uneasy look around. They had walked a long way. Maybe they should turn back…

"There it is!" Souta cried, yanking his hand from his sister's and running in the direction of a red dot in the forest.

"Souta!" Kagome raced after him. Just as they reached the backpack, Souta grinned and grabbed up the bundle. Kagome frowned as she saw the condition the backpack was in. It had long, jagged rips in the fabric. It looked like someone had gone after it with a knife.

"Souta…" Kagome said, grabbing his hand and casting a wary glanced around the forest. "We should get back to Mom…She'll get worried."

"Okay!"

Kagome started walking the direction they came in, but soon, she knew she was lost. It all looked the same. She couldn't distinguish the difference. She clutched Souta's hand tighter and continued walking.

Just as the sun began to dip, felt Souta tug on her hand and looked down at him. His face was tired.

" 'Gome, I'm tired. When are we getting home?"

She gave him a smile. "Soon, Souta. We'll be home soon." He nodded and yawned.

I hope. Mom is going to be mad if we don't get home soon, she thought. Her mother had always told her that if she were ever lost in the woods, to just keep walking in a straight line, she'd find an end to it eventually. She set her face in determination and kept walking.

Souta's yawns began to become more frequent, just as his footsteps began to slow and Kagome had to practically drag him.

"I'm sleepy, can we stop now?"

Kagome was tired herself, her feet aching slightly from all the walking. She nodded and looked around her. Her face brightened a little as she saw it. Before her stood a tall oak, its branches spreading to the sky. She could climb those branches and they could take a small break before continuing once more.

"Souta. Can you climb that tree?" she asked, pointing. Souta's eyes widened as he looked up at it, but he nodded. "Okay, I'll go up first, then I'll help you up, okay?"

" 'Kay."

Kagome let go of his hand and climbed on the lowest branch. After hauling herself up to the fifth branch, she was satisfied with the thickness of it and wouldn't have to worry about falling. She climbed back down to the lowest branch and held out her hand for her brother.

She helped him up the first and somehow managed to lift him enough to he could grasp the second and pull himself over.

"Go to the fifth one, Souta," she said, holding her hands on his back to keep him from falling. He nodded, his face scrunched in concentration. Finally, they reached the branch and Souta sat down with Kagome as she leaned against the trunk and felt her eyelids began to feel heavy. She rubbed her eyes and blinked, trying to stay awake.

A breeze stirred the branches and caused Souta to shiver and scoot closer to his sister.

"I'm cold, 'Gome."

"It's okay, Souta. Come here, I'll keep you warm."

He nodded and set between her legs and cuddled into her warmth. She herself felt goose bumps break out on her skin, but ignored it. All her focus was on her little brother and keeping him warmth. She wrapped her arms around him.

"Go to sleep, Souta. We'll need to keep going soon." Again, he nodded and did as she asked, his breathing evening out in minutes. Only when she was sure he was asleep did she let her own eyes slide closed.

Just a few minutes…

Inuyasha shoved the boy beside him and laughed as he stumbled, then turned and growled at him. Kouga curled his fists.

"What do you want, dog breath?" he asked in a low, threatening voice. Well, as threatening as a ten year old can be. His handsome face was twisted in hate as he looked at his enemy.

"You have to come with me," Inuyasha said, looking the smirk and scowling.

"Why, in the fiery pits of hell, would I do something like that?"

"Because, flea bag, our fathers want to go hunting together and we have to come!"

Kouga loosened his fists and turned his back on Inuyasha, crossing his arms over his chest and sniffing.

"Fine, but don't come crying to me if you get left behind," Kouga said, a gleam to his remarkable eyes.

Inuyasha snorted. "Like you're that fast."

Kouga whirled back to him. "Hey, you—"

"Boys, boys," a deep, booming voice came. "I won't have to take you back home will I, Kouga?" Kouga looked over his shoulder at his father and hung his head, shaking it slightly.

"No, sir. I'll be good." Inuyasha began to laugh at Kouga before he felt a strong hand fall onto his shoulder. He froze, slight fear crossing his features.

"I won't have to worry about you either, Inuyasha?" Inuyasha swallowed dryly but shook his head.

"No, sir. I won't do anything wrong."

"Good," both men said together, then looked at each other and smiled.

"Well, come on, boys. We're wasting sunlight!" Kouga's father boomed, a grin breaking out on his handsome face. He slapped Kouga on his back and headed in the direction of the forest that surrounded their land. Inuyasha's father followed, a small smile on his face. He shook his head at his friend's attitude and looked back at Inuyasha.

"Come on, son. We better get started, or else they'll get started without us."

Inuyasha nodded eagerly and ran after his father. Kouga followed suite.

By the time they reach the middle of the forest, the boys were already back at bickering and tossing insults. Their fathers only shook their heads and continued to ignore them. That is until Kouga lunged at Inuyasha, one insult hitting too close.

"Take that back, you filthy excuse for a demon!" Kouga yelled, his voice echoing through the forest.

"Never," Inuyasha spat. Kouga began to throw bunches, most of which Inuyasha avoided until one lucky shot got him on his chin, sending stars behind his eyes. He stumbled back and leaned back against a tree. He breathing was labored, as was Kouga's.

As Kouga opened his mouth, a sharp voice stopped him.

"Kouga, Inuyasha! Stop that at once!" They scowled but walked back to their father's and continuing on. Just as Kouga crouched behind a bush, a bird in his line of sight, he watched as it flew up into the air and Kouga uttered a sigh, standing. But something caught his eye. He turned his head to look at it and gasped at what he saw.

"Dad! Dad come quick!" he said in a panicked tone. The men, with Inuyasha on their heels, entered the clearing Kouga had been in and looked around for danger.

"Kouga, what is it?" his father asked, grasping his shoulders and looking him over for injuries.

Kouga lifted a shaky finger and pointed up into the tree he'd been looking.

"Look," he breathed. His father raised his head and looked up at what his son was pointing at. His mouth fell open on a gasp.

"Oh, God. Inutaisho! Look at that!"

Inuyasha's father looked up. "We have to get them down immediately," he said calmly.

"Inuyasha, can you get the little boy?" Inuyasha nodded, swallowing. "Then get to it," his father almost snapped, causing Inuyasha to jump.

Inuyasha jumped nimbly onto the branch the two children were on and wrapped his arms around the small boy. But the girl's hold on him only tightened as she shivered. "Souta," she murmured weakly. Inuyasha's ears pointed towards her and he cocked his head.

"Hey, dog meat, what's takin' you so long?" Kouga shouted up.

Inuyasha frowned before prying the girl's arms away from the boy and lifting him into his arms. He leapt swiftly down. Kouga's father strode over as Inuyasha's father leapt up into the tree to get the girl.

"We need to get them somewhere warm," Kouga's father said, looking up at the other man, who nodded, the small girl still clutched in his arms. Her unbound black hair swayed in the breeze as her pretty face screwed up.

"Sou…ta," she moaned, shivering as she felt the warmth of the man holding her, but instinctively burrowing deeper. Inuyasha's father smirked softly down at the young girl before looking at Kouga's father, who had the boy in his arms. He gave him a slight nod and they were off, their boys hot on their heels.

(AN: I'm not sure if this is going to be a inu/kag or an kou/kag. You could take a vote or something...but how was it? I hope you enjoyed it! Also, I'm kind of lost on what kind of names for Kouga's father I should do, so any ideas would be helpful. Thanks!)

Jane