Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or anything associated with it. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: I recognize that this is not a popular pairing, but it was really more of a challenge for me personally. Both Sesshomaru and Kikyo are very stoic characters in the anime, and I want them to be in character in this story. If I do that well, bringing them together (romantically or otherwise, for that matter) will bring a hefty challenge, but one I really want to achieve. With that being said, enjoy!
CHAPTER ONE: HIGH STAKES
Kagome had despised Kikyo ever since their third year in elementary school, ever since the day Kikyo had been chosen over her to protect Shikon no Tama. For as many demons as there were wandering Tokyo's streets, there were extremely few priestesses left, and none so powerful as the now seventeen-year-old Kikyo was. Kagome always had a difficult time accepting this despite knowing it was the truth. She used her popularity in high school to rival Kikyo's immense spiritual power, and it proved to work quite well. Kikyo maintained more fans than she did friends, and much more preferred the company of her Shikigami, Asuka and Kochou.
Kikyo was the only person at Shizu Academy permitted to carry weapons as she was the only one wearing Shikon no Tama around her neck. Her powers of purification were second to none regardless, but her longbow was always at her side just in case. Demons were present at all times; she attended school with a few. Besides that, she couldn't trust the Demon Authority Division, commonly known as the DAD, to protect her. Fortunately, demons were much less hostile in this time.
The school bell rang, and Kikyo took her seat toward the front of the room. It was then that Kagome, who had arrived with Sango and Miroku, leaned over her shoulder to read a letter she had removed from her pocket.
"Ooh, Onigumo, huh?" Kagome teased. "You're a lucky girl!" Onigumo was by no means a catch; he had been burned in an accident and was horribly disfigured. He also had an extremely perverse interest in Kikyo, though Kikyo assumed this was because she carried the jewel. She could see the darkness in his heart.
"It's rude to mind other people's business," Kikyo replied calmly, folding the letter back up. Kagome snatched it from her hand.
"Let's see," she said, unfolding the letter. "Oh, this is good stuff! 'Just once I'd love to see true fear in your eyes, that irresistible vulnerability that occurs only in danger. That would bring me true, unrivaled pleasure.' Why don't you give it to him, Kikyo?" Kikyo maintained her calm and ignored her.
"Hand it over," Miroku told Kagome and, taking the letter from her, he began to read it himself. Miroku was a pervert of another kind, content with groping and taunting words. He was notorious for taking hold of girls' behinds, and even more notorious for the red palm prints on his face that resulted. "We shouldn't make light of this poor man's feelings. He has spent so many years watching her from afar, hoping that she would give him the pleasure he desires." He was referring to the contents of the letter.
"Onigumo is a troubled boy," Kikyo told Miroku. "You're the one making fun of his sorrow. I simply disregard it."
"That isn't very nice though," Kagome protested.
"Of course it isn't. But there is nothing I can do, not for him." The bell rang again, and the professor entered the classroom with Mr. Nishikawa, the principal of Shizu Academy. Kagome, Miroku, and Sango took their seats behind Kikyo and remained silent.
"Kikyo," Nishikawa said. Kikyo looked up at him, puzzled.
"Yes, sir?" she asked, bowing in her seat.
"Come with me," Nishikawa said, gesturing for her to stand. "There is a riot outside with your name on it." Kikyo frowned and stood, taking hold of her longbow, which had been leaning against her desk. She slung her quiver over her shoulder and followed Nishikawa outside.
"Don't think that you don't have work to do," the professor told the rest of the class. Still, he knew his students would be very distracted knowing something big was occurring on campus. At the very least, if none of the students happened to look out of the window, they wouldn't see the DAD outside surrounding the massive demon they had arrested.
There had once been a time when demons had plagued and feasted upon humans. That time had ended seven years ago. Japan had been divided into two pieces; the humans inhabited two-thirds of it now. The other third belonged to the demons and was known as Demons' Nook. An enchanted barrier had been placed around it, though demons and humans alike could come and go as they pleased. The barrier only kept the murderous demons inside, the ones that had been convicted of NIBBLING. The Inu no Taisho, a great and powerful dog-demon, lorded over Demons' Nook. The Imperial Family lorded over the rest of Japan, and Japanese Parliament governed it.
Far more often did demons leave Demons' Nook than humans entered. It certainly wasn't the safest place for a human to be. But there were times when humans dared to venture in, especially if that human dared to try a hand at Demon Cards. In fact, Demon Cards was a phenomenon amongst the humans, and many a gambler passed through the barrier to try their hand at luck. The card games weren't any different from the ones humans played. However, the stakes were much higher. Much, much higher. One could lose an arm and leg, their pets, their jewelry, their daughters, even their life. Humans always lost, but they were always dealt a fair game. Oddly enough, one rarely ever lost money; demons didn't need money in Demons' Nook. Human currency was worthless there besides, and almost everything was free. Despite knowing these many facts, Demon Cards was still an irresistible sport.
Demon Cards was the story of Kikyo's life. Her father, Bakuto was absolutely addicted to the game despite never having won a hand. And he plundered his family, consisting of himself, Kikyo, and his youngest daughter, Kaede, into debt. Kikyo despised him for it. She was also rather sure that it was Bakuto who had caused the chaos outside. Once she stepped through Shizu's main doors she was proven correct. She quickly withdrew her Shikigami from her blouse and enchanted them. Asuka and Kochou bowed loyally and followed their mistress toward the great crowd of officials. Nishikawa eyes widened at the sudden arrival of the Shikigami, and he was drawn in by the beauty of them. Together the trio of girls was absolutely stunning.
There was a massive Demon Transportation Vehicle, more commonly known as a DTV, parked out front. It was made of bulletproof, demon-proof, spellbound, impenetrable glass, and was designed with withhold any sort of demon. Inside of it was the greatest demon of them all, the Inu no Taisho. He was staring directly at Kikyo and seemed to be evaluating her. He wasn't in his true form and maintained a relatively human appearance. His long, silver hair was pulled back into a ponytail, his haori and hakamas were elegantly crafted and finely fitted, symbolic of his high standing amongst the demons. He had a thick pelt draped over his shoulders, another symbol of nobility. It was called a mokomoko-sama, Kikyo remembered. She couldn't contain her fascination. She had seen many demons as they wandered through Tokyo, but she had never seen a demon such as this. The aura she detected from him was almost overwhelming. The Inu no Taisho was the only demon innocent of NIBBLING that was still not allowed to leave Demons' Nook. He had now proved that the barrier had little or no effect on him, and that he was as strong as they claimed he was.
Bakuto approached his daughter and Nishikawa cautiously. Kikyo glared at him angrily, disinterested in his latest excuse. She refused to believe him. Before Bakuto had a chance to explain anything to Kikyo, the chief of the DAD, Shuseki Gouman, approached the father and daughter.
"Do you know this demon?" Shuseki asked. Kikyo shook her head.
"I only know of him," she replied. "We have never met."
"He claims that you belong to him," Shuseki said. Kikyo immediately turned to her father, irate.
"What did you do?" she demanded. Bakuto swallowed hard, melting under his daughter's fiery glare. He attempted to wipe the sweat from his wrinkled brows and smoothed out his peppered hair. The gambling had caused him to age horribly. His nervousness only validated Kikyo's suspicions. "Answer me!"
"Kikyo, please don't be angry with this poor man..." Bakuto mumbled pitifully. Kikyo wasn't bought.
"Kaede would have stayed up all night waiting for you had I not held her!" she snapped. "You make us worry about you every time you enter that horrendous place. You owe me an explanation. You owe Kaede an explanation."
"I know I do, Kikyo!" Bakuto said. "But he can explain it better than I can." He was pointing to the demon within the DTV.
"You're my father," Kikyo protested. "Why can't you tell me?"
"Because I'm guilty!" Bakuto said, tears streaming down his face. "And I'm a fool. I can't bring myself to tell you." Kikyo felt like crying, but she was stronger than that. She turned back to Shuseki.
"Release the Inu no Taisho," she ordered. Shuseki drew back at her audacity.
"Absolutely not!" he said adamantly. "You may be a priestess, but you're still a girl, and I will not accept orders from you!"
"If you don't release him, I will release him myself," Kikyo said firmly. Shuseki crossed his arms over his chest.
"That will not happen. You aren't strong enough nor do you have the means to break through that glass. The Inu no Taisho himself can't get out."
"What is it that makes it impenetrable?" Asuka asked.
"That is none of your business." Asuka and Kochou approached the DTV and placed their hands upon the glass. They closed their eyes and concentrated as the Inu no Taisho glanced down at them, both puzzled and intrigued by them.
"It is enchanted," they told Kikyo in unison. Kikyo withdrew an arrow from her quiver.
"This is my final offer," Kikyo told Shuseki. "Release him, and you won't have to repair your DTV." Shuseki rolled his eyes.
"Do whatever you want, you won't-" Shuseki was cut short as he watched Kikyo place the arrow in her longbow. He had never seen a female handle such a tremendous bow, one that required a great deal of strength to use, with such grace and accuracy.
Kikyo aimed her sacred arrow carefully at the DTV and launched it. It rushed past astonished DAD members, purifying every droplet of air in its path until it lodged itself in the glass of the DTV with a thwok. An ethereal, pink light was emitted from it as it began to purify the spells sealing the vehicle. Even the Inu no Taisho himself was surprised by the power Kikyo possessed. His eyes stretched wide as the glass stained pink with purifying power. Soon there was an explosion, and a blinding light erupted from the arrow as the glass shattered. Shards flew everywhere, and many were knocked down from the virulent force. Once the light dissipated and everyone dared to peel open their eyes, the Inu no Taisho stepped down from what was left of the DTV and approached Kikyo.
Kikyo looked up at the impressive demon and was shocked when he took hold of her chin and tilted it up higher. He turned her face left and then right, examining her further. He stared deep into her deep brown eyes.
"Blue would have been better," he muttered, continuing his examination. Many of the DAD had their weapons aimed at him, though they doubted they would need them after watching Kikyo's impressive performance.
Inutaisho then gently stroked Kikyo's cheek. Soft, like silk. That is good. he thought to himself. He then ran his clawed fingers through her hair a few times. No, her hair is like silk. Her skin is like...warm cream. Kikyo could hardly protest what Inutaisho was doing. She was angered by his boldness, but also curious to understand why he was here. She couldn't bring herself to disrespect him. Inutaisho then spun her around a few times. She also has large breasts. Highly acceptable. At last Inutaisho stepped back.
"I accept her," he told Bakuto. Bakuto bowed and smiled. Kikyo then found her courage.
"What did you do?" she demanded. Bakuto pointed toward the great dog-demon. Kikyo turned to him.
"I offered him an elixir of longevity. For something this valuable, it is only fair that the counteroffer was something of equal or greater value."
"You bet me in a game of poker?" Kikyo shouted, astonished.
"I imagined I might win," Bakuto mumbled.
"What the hell would you do with an elixir of longevity?" Kikyo snapped. "Why would you bother to prolong your meaningless life?"
"My life has meaning: you and your sister," Bakuto argued.
"How do you explain what you've done then? You've gambled me away!" Kikyo had managed to control her voice, but she had never been so angry before. Asuka and Kochou placed reassuring hands on her shoulders.
"Yes, how could you?" Kochou asked. Bakuto saw the sorrow in Kikyo's eyes and was unable to respond. He had no valid excuse for his actions.
"Kikyo, your father has signed a contract," Inutaisho informed her.
"I imagined that was the case," Kikyo said somberly. "What are the terms?"
"If you refuse, which you have every right to do, I spill his blood," the Inu no Taisho explained. "However, if you accept, then his life is spared, and my council will be sure that he never sets foot in Demons' Nook again. With this in mind, I am certain you will make the best decision for your sister. You are worried about her, if I recall correctly?"
"Yes," Kikyo replied. "Father will be banned from Demons' Nook if I leave with you?"
"That is the agreement." Kikyo thought hard about her decision. Bakuto would have no choice but to give up his addiction to gambling and take better care of Kaede this way. Depending upon the dog-lord's intentions, Kikyo might be able to see her sister still.
"What do you intend to do with me?" she asked the Inu no Taisho.
"I plan to marry you to my oldest son...despite the difficulty of the task," Inutaisho replied. "He needs to be humbled, and I imagine he will be if you manage to move his heart. In turn, with this elixir sustaining your life, you will be able to rule as his queen once I am dead." He withdrew a vial containing an mysterious orange liquid. It sparkled in the sunlight.
"You want me to marry a demon?" Kikyo asked.
"Of course. It is evident to me that no ordinary mortal will be worthy of you." Inutaisho took Kikyo's hand and placed the vial in it. Kikyo looked at the vial, then back at her father.
"I will see Kaede again?"
"As you please. You'll simply live at the castle. Where you spend your free time is of no concern to me." Kikyo again turned to her father.
"I hate you," she whispered softly, trembling. The Shikigami both gripped Kikyo's shoulders tightly to steady her. Kikyo uncorked the vial. "For Kaede." And she pressed the vial to her lips.
Kikyo wandered back to her classroom with Asuka and Kochou assisting her. Every student in the room looked at her strangely. They had seen the exchange outside; they hadn't done any work. They had only watched Kikyo shatter the DTV and the powerful demon emerge from within. Still, from their classroom on the third floor, they understood nothing. Kikyo, feeling very lightheaded from the elixir she had drank, stumbled over to her desk to collect her things.
"Kikyo, are you okay?" Sango asked.
"I'm just...sleepy," Kikyo mumbled, zipping up her backpack. Kochou took it from her so she wouldn't have to carry it.
"What happened?" Kagome pressed.
"I'm going to...Demons' Nook..." Kikyo answered. Everyone was shocked.
"Why?" Miroku demanded.
"My father gambled me away. I belong to Inutaisho." With that, Kikyo fainted and was luckily caught by Koga, a wolf demon, as she fell to the ground. Koga received a look of approval from the professor and followed Asuka and Kochou back outside, carrying Kikyo, to meet the Inu no Taisho. She's cuter than I remember her. Koga thought, admiring her pale face and soft, pink lips. Perhaps it was because he had never seen her so vulnerable. He looked at the jewel dangling from her neck and remembered the day she stopped playing outside with the other children. I have to protect the jewel. she had said. Ever since their third year of elementary school she had become a solitary figure for the sake of Shikon no Tama. Koga thought about how jealous Kagome had been when Kikyo was chosen over her. Did you really want this life?
Inutaisho took Kikyo and her things and rose off into the sky towards the barrier between Demons' Nook and the rest of the Japan. Bakuto thought long and hard about how he would tell Kaede what had happened. More importantly, he wondered if Kikyo would ever love him again. Her final three words to him had pierced his heart and were as sharp as ice. I wanted a better future for you. You'll see that you deserve this, and you'll always be safe.
A/N: Bakuto means "gambler", shuseki means "chief", and gouman means "proud, arrogant"
I hope you enjoyed this first chapter :)