Chapter I

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, Naruto, the song and the reference to xxxHolic. Also, I do not make any money from these writings.

Author's Note: The english is not direct translation of the song. It's the english version of it.

"Chichi wa iwareta..."

Father once said to me...

A sound.

Instinctively, his black eyes snapped open.

A bad decision, for as soon as he did that, his head throbbed. It was not painful, but it annoyed him to have his vision blurring to adjust to the surroundings. He willed his hands to move, but they would not listen. The throbbing intensified, and he closed his eyes in reflex.

"Ayakashi no te wa..."

Many moons ago...

Again there was the sound... the voice. As the throbbing started to cease, he slowly lifted his eyelids. The fog dissipated and he could see the black material that was right above him, spreading its semi-transparent black mosquito net around his bed.

"Mamori no te..."

Demon hands will defend...

The soft, gentle voice was getting louder, and his trained ears were starting to hear footsteps.

Someone was coming.

His eyes scanned his surroundings critically, searching for anything that he could use as self-defense. He found none. Lying on a futon, he was covered by a soft fluffy blanket. He could not see much beyond the black net, but he could make out the large, spacious, tatami-matted room.

"Haha wa iwareta..."

Mother said one day...

How long had he been unconscious? He could not even move an inch. He tried to recall the last thing that had happened. He had went to retrieve Kyuubi, and...

He winced as a sharp pain jolted through his head. Where was he? How long had he been unconscious?

"Hito no te aru wa..."

There is more that we must know...

The owner of the voice was coming closer.

Tensed, he fixed his ebony eyes towards the door.

"Hagukumi no tame..."

A mortal hand will sustain...

Just at that moment, the shoji door slid open.

Despite being obstructed by the mosquito net, he could still make out the silhouette of a long haired female. The smell of food drifted to his nose, and he took note of the small black table she brought with her.

"Ohayou gozaimasu Itachi-san!"

Her bright cheerful voice had him blinking in stupefaction. That was something he certainly did not expect. The woman was humming as she came closer.

He narrowed his eyes as milky white hand parted the net.

She was...

It was unexplainable.

The moment Itachi set his eyes on her, he knew that there was something different about this woman. It was not simply beauty. He had seen his fair share of beautiful women. This woman with ebony tresses and milky white skin was not anything exceptional. Granted he had never seen anyone with eyes as blue as hers. It was a deep, seemingly hollow yet bright blue, like sapphires.

As their eyes locked with each other, he could see. The eyes were old. Beautiful, hauntingly so, yet it was old. They took his breath away.

He might appear emotionless, but he knew that he was caught off guard when he did not notice the little Neko until it mewed. He broke their short connection just as the woman smiled sheepishly. She placed the table of food on his lap before picking up the Neko.

"I'm Kagome, and this is Kirara! Yoroshiku onegai shimasu Itachi-san!" she introduced herself with a bright smile. The Neko mewed along with its mistress.

A... nin Neko? Itachi's eyes narrowed at the two tailed Neko. It was cream coloured, with black stripes on its tails and cheeks. It has a black diamond shaped marking on its forehead. It looked at him curiously with its crimson eyes.

A two tailed Neko. Was it a generic disorder or...

"You know, there's food right under your nose."

His thoughts were interrupted by the woman. He stared at her critically, but before he could ask any question, he was once again interrupted by the same woman.

"Eat first, talk later." She ordered while wagging her index finger.

He raised an eyebrow at her chiding. If she saw it, she did not comment as she leaned forward to rearrange the pillows behind him. Then with gentleness and strength, she adjusted his aching and numb body to sitting position.

The Neko rubbed its body against his hand as its mistress settled the table atop his lap. On it was a big bowl of porridge and what looked like a bowl of miso soup.

He could feel the Neko's soft fur on his hand, yet it seemed that the hand still wouldn't obey his commands.

Kagome raised her eyebrows. Setting herself down beside him, she took the spoon and scooped the top part of the hot porridge. Blowing on it, she placed the spoon before the pale man's lips.

Itachi stared at the food, then at the woman. The question rang clearly in their minds.

"I won't bother taking care of you just to poison your food." The woman giggled, "After all, the price for killing someone is very heavy... enough to crush."

He did not take her second statement to heart when she spoke. Instead he continued to stare at the spoonful of porridge. It was not only poisoning that Itachi was worried about. However, he could sense no lie from the woman. And from the way his stomach was churning, it seemed that he has no other choice. Sighing inwardly, Itachi willed his mouth to part and accept the offered food.

It was warm...

It was rejuvenating. The emptiness he felt previously was slowly filled as he ate. Judging by his body's reaction to the food, he guessed that he had been unconscious for quite some time.

"You are in my shop." The woman stated as she fed him. Taking the napkin, she giggled as she wiped the porridge on the sides of his lips.

"H-how long has it been?" Itachi turned his head to the opposite side as he coughed. Feeling a hand rubbing his back comfortingly, he turned back to face the strange woman.

"One year." She replied absently as she placed another spoonful of porridge under his lips. Although his facial expression did not change, his surprise was shown by how he paused and stared at her instead of taking his food.

A year.

What had happened? What of Akatsuki? The Kyuubi? What of Konoha? Madara? Questions reeled in his mind. He needed to return as soon as possible. He could not allow the Kyuubi to be captured, or was he too late?

No. Before that...

"How did you know that I will be awake now?" He questioned sharply, his eyes narrowing at the well-dressed woman.

"Normal people will think that it's coincidence." She answered with a small smile as she placed the spoon down.

"You have food ready even before I woke up, that is no coincidence." Itachi replied emotionlessly.

"Sou." She nodded as she moved the small table of food away, "There is no coincidence in this world, there's only hitsuzen."

He watched as she took the Neko and placed it on her lap. Stroking it gently, she looked at him in the eye.

"Akatsuki was destroyed by Konoha."

Itachi stiffened at the statement. Akatsuki was destroyed? Was it even possible? He nodded for the woman to continue. Who could have destroyed Akatsuki?

"Akatsuki decided to lure the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki back to Konoha by attacking the village." She stated blandly, "They lost and died."

Died... No, that man could not possibly be dead.

"Oh," she added as an afterthought, "Uchiha Madara, he died too."

The next thing she knew, Itachi had pinned her down with his hands on her wrists. Kirara mewed in protest as it was shoved aside in the process. It had taken everything in him to do that action alone, yet despite his heavy labored breathing, his crimson irises were activated.

"Who are you?" he breathed out harshly.

The woman stared at him blankly, her sapphire-like eyes fixed on his crimson ones. Her pink lips broke out into a smile just as her eyes lowered mockingly. She was daring him, testing him. And he would have killed her without a second thought, had she been anyone else. However, there was something in her eyes.

She knew something.

"I am Kagome." She broke the silence with the simple statement. There was no fear, no nervousness, and no awkwardness.

Itachi glared, that was not the answer he was looking for, and she knew it.

"Your reality is your Shinobi life." smiling, she closed her eyes, "My reality is different."

All actions ceased as Itachi's Sharingan deactivated. Eyeing the woman pinned under him, his eyes soften. Her eyes were closed, her body was relaxed and still. Her words stuck a chord within him. It was strange to hear her say that, yet it was true to him.

"Who are you?" he repeated softly before a jolt of pain shot throughout his body. His body was sent forward, falling right onto the strange woman.

"You know," she started, "had this happen in any other situation, I would've slap you senseless for molest." Huffing, she turned him around in ease so that he lied on his back.

Her scent drifted into his nose as she arranged the pillows and pulled the blanket over his body. It was a soothing smell, and he realized just how tired he was. He struggled to stay conscious in this unknown territory, but the scent was telling his body to do otherwise.

"Everything has a price Itachi-san..." he heard her whisper, and blue was the last thing he saw before he fell into the dark abyss.

Once asleep, Kagome gracefully got to her feet.

"What a stubborn male." She giggled to herself before she picked up the small table of unfinished food.

"Stay with him Kirara-chan, he'll need your guidance when he wakes up tomorrow." She leaned down to pet the little Neko affectionately before turning to leave the room.

This time, Itachi woke up much more aware and alert than he was before. Testing his limbs, he nodded to himself when he was able to move them without trouble.

"Mrrr..eeow..?" a purr had him turning to the sleepy Neko that was previously sleeping beside his head. It rubbed its crimson eyes and gave a wide yawn before blinking curiously at Itachi. Taking it as his cue to get up, Itachi pushed himself up slowly, feeling his aching joints popping in the process.

For a moment he felt dizzy as the Neko pushed the net apart and slid open the shoji door, allowing sunlight to enter. Used to his deteriorating eyesight, it shocked him when everything cleared, and he was seeing things as a whole, not just blurs.

Eyes wide in disbelief, he lifted his fingers to his eyes. His eyesight was back? How was it possible? Focusing his chakra to his eyes, he felt his Sharingan activating. Gently, he picked the Neko up and gaze into its eyes for his reflection.

It was not Mangekyou.

How? Was it that woman? How did she remove his Mangekyou Sharingan? Was it even possible?

Who was that woman?

Kirara mewed, and he was brought back to reality. The Neko hopped onto his shoulder and pointed out of the room. Nodding, Itachi neatly folded the thick blanket, placing it at the base of the futon. Balancing himself as he stood up, he stretched himself before he followed the Neko's directions.

Spacious, elegant and beautiful, it was even lovelier than the Uchiha manor. He recalled the place he used to call home. It was beautiful, yet cold and empty. This place however held life. The air was fresh and clean, without a hint of blood or death.

Where was he exactly?

Kirara had led him to the end of the hall, where the bathhouse was. It was located next to the river. Understanding what was required of him, Itachi entered the large bathhouse. He took note of the towels and the yukata in the changing room. Undressing himself, he covered his lower part with a towel before walking into the bathing room.

It was massive. Itachi concluded as he stared at the huge hot spring before him. Shaking his head, he went to the shower stall. The Neko followed him in and wet itself on the sprinkles of warm water as Itachi showered.

Ignoring the little Neko, he lathered his body in soap. It was odorless, just how he preferred it to be. Once done, he was about to dry himself and dress when the Neko dashed out and leapt into the hot spring with an excited mew.

Wasn't Neko supposed to hate water? Apparently this one was an exception, Itachi thought as it swam around, purring in delight. Seeing that the Neko would not be done anytime soon, Itachi stepped into the hot spring.

He wondered. Akatsuki was gone, Konoha was probably back to the peaceful village it once was. There was no more purpose for his existence, nothing left in this world for him. He had served his purpose

That woman however, had treated him. What was her purpose? They were strangers, yet she had saved him. The him who was about to die and had wanted to die.

"People live their lives bound by what they accept as correct and true." his very own words echoed in his mind just as the woman's words came right after,

"My reality is different."

Thinking no more, he got out of the hot spring and dried himself. He dressed himself in the black silk yukata before squatting down to dry the mewing Neko. Once done, Itachi gestured to the Neko to lead the way.

Taking the routes to mind as they walked, Kirara took Itachi to the kitchen, where he made a simple sandwich for himself and the Neko. After the quick lunch, Kirara walked him around the compound.

He was walking around absent mindedly when he heard a horrified scream,

"Please! Make the blood go away! I'll do anything!"

Curious, Itachi made his way to where the voice came from. Turning the corner, he arrived at the entrance of the manor.

There was a middle aged civilian woman standing at the door. An ugly sight, for her hands were covered with blood that seemed to drip from every pocket on her outfit.

In between himself and the bloody lady was Kagome. She was dressed in a blue kimono which has white butterfly embroideries.

Despite only seeing her back, Itachi noticed her stiff posture.

"You should not promise 'anything' so lightly." Her voice, although calm and smooth, held a steel-like quality that was not unfamiliar to Itachi's ears.

She was angry.

"Please! There's nothing worst than that thing!" the blood soaked woman screamed as she grabbed her head in terror and fear.

It was then Itachi noticed the 'thing' in Kagome's hand. It was a haori, stained with blood. Turning to it, Kagome held it up higher.

And it burst into flames.

Alarmed, Itachi activated his Sharingan immediately. Yet nothing was out of place. There was no jutsu casted, nor was there any chakra involved. How could the haori combust? What did she do?

"Ah..." the woman sighed in bliss as her knees weakened, causing her to fell on her knees. She looked up gratefully at Kagome, whose emotionless eyes were still staring at the now empty hand.

"Your price will be..." she spoke in calm monotone, "You cannot be seen by the opposite sex. If you do, the blood will appear again."

At her words, the other woman's eyes widened in horror.

"How could you!?" she yelled accusingly as Kagome's statement sank into her mind. When her eyes landed on Itachi, who was standing behind Kagome, she immediately turned to the side and vomited blood on the ground. Tears were pouring out of her eyes in humiliation and fury as she glared at Kagome.

"You promised 'anything'." Kagome stated before the woman spat and left the house.

"The closer you are, the more pain it will cause." Turning, she sent Itachi a small smile, "Ne, Itachi-san?"

He did not answer as Uchiha Shisui's face appeared in his mind.

At his silence, Kagome giggled and approached him. Looking back, she waved her hand dismissively, and the bloody mess was gone.

Before Itachi could even ask, she had leaned forward to him and asked,

"How was your rest Itachi-san? Feeling better?"

Itachi recalled the events that he had seen and tried to put the pieces together. She had said that this was a shop, so if he assumed that the woman was a customer...

What shop was this?

There were so many questions in Itachi's mind as he tried to understand the enigma that he was presented with. However, Kagome took the matter to her own hands when she answered one of the questions in his mind.

"This is a shop that sells wishes."

Sell wishes? It made sense when he connected it to the incident, yet it did not make sense as a whole. How could she 'grant' wishes? What jutsu was that?

"Your head will explode if you think too much Itachi-san." Her sing-song voice entered his ears as she giggled and started walking down the hallway.

Reluctantly, he followed. If this woman could grant wishes, it would only make sense for it to be a risk, a 'price' to pay. For Shinobi, chakra was the price to activate Jutsu. It seemed that for her, an equal price for the deed done was required to fulfill the wish.

If so...

"What was the price?" he asked without a hint of hesitation or fear.

Kagome did not answer as she led him to what seemed to be a storage house at the corner of the backyard. She slid the door open and entered.

The first thing that entered his line of vision was his Akatsuki cloak, spread and displayed as thought it was an expensive kimono. Strangely enough, Kagome had managed to clean the blood out of it. There was not even a faint scent of blood.

As his gaze shifted, he noticed many other 'things' that emitted or have lingering traces of strange chakra. Artifacts? All of these? As his eyes swept through all the artifacts in the room, they landed on his weapon holster and all his assorted weapons.

"I found all your stuff and kept them." Kagome smiled warmly towards him, "There is a Dojo in this premises."

"What do I need to pay for them?" Itachi cut through her chatter with a pointed tone.

She raised a hand to hide her giggles behind her kimono sleeve.

"Work here," She finally stated with a grin, "as my housekeeper."

"Until?" Itachi raised an eyebrow at her cheerfulness.

"Until the time arrives..." again it was that hollow, emotionless tone. Itachi knew how risky and dangerous this contract was. She could keep him here forever for all he knew. He did not even want to think of what her 'power' could do to him in this situation.

However, what was there to lose? He who no longer had any purpose in existence did not need to care about anything. Investigating and learning about this woman could be more fruitful than whatever he could find out there.

All in all, he had nothing to lose... right?

"Very well." He nodded his head in agreement before he moved forward to take his equipments and weapons. He did not bother with the cloak, he had no need for it anymore.

"Yatta!" Kagome clapped her hands in excitement. Turning around, she started to skip away almost childishly.

"I want Oden for dinner!" her laughter echoed through the gardens as she left him, once again, with Kirara.

Said Neko tapped a paw to his foot and gave him a sympathetic mew. And Itachi wondered what had he really agreed on.

"Ryou no te awase~ tobira wo hiraki..."

Two hands together, incomplete alone...

Kagome sand softly as she leaned on the bridge atop the koi pond.

"Guren no naka ni nare wo kaesu..."

Balance in union... and the gate will open...

Looking down, she watched the koi swimming freely in the water. Free... what did it mean to be free? Were they truly free?

"Na ga kora o hikari to narite..."

Go my children go, go to crimson flames...

No, they were never free, for they were caged within this tiny little spot when they could be swimming in the huge river, without boundaries or limitations.

"Mamori tamae..."

To save our children...

Then again, they did not know that. They did not know of what lie beyond. They lived in a small space that was the world to them. To them, they were free. They cannot see or understand that they were encaged in such a manner, they have no idea of the truth.

There were some who had jumped out to see the truth. However, most did not make it out alive. The few who did found that they were in the unknown, and when the truth was finally revealed to them...

They could no longer return.

"Mamori... tamae..."

The lights memory... remains...

She ended her song just as the scent of freshly brewed soup drifted into her nose.

"What was the price?" Itachi's voice repeated in her mind as she made her way to the pavilion for her dinner.

"You have paid your price Itachi." She muttered as she seated herself comfortably, "What was most precious to you."

She waved at the approaching Itachi with a bright smile. It was quite a sight, the Uchiha Itachi with a pot of Oden.

"The memories of your brother."

Authors Note: I will gladly accept any reviews or criticism in regards to the format, plot or any errors. And of course, suggestions to improve the fic.