AN: WOO! A NarakuxKagome fanfic that's all my own *jumps for joy* So yeah, there's some blood in this, not going to lie to you. Erm, basically, it's my first go at an InuYasha fanfic so helpful comments are definitely welcome. I've just decided to back away slowly from the Naruto-verse, give my worsening writing style a break from utter madness of too many characters. No wonder Kishimoto fails, lol. Anywho, please don't shun this because of the characters or the pairing. Shun because I can't write, by all means! *grins* Oh and if you want me to write more, I'll be more than happy to have a go with a sequel.
Disclaimer: Don't own InuYasha or anything associated with the dog-eared brat. Rumiko Takahashi does. If I owned InuYasha, I would've had it as SesshoumaruxKagome or even given Naraku MORE time in the manga than he already had. But yeah... Don't own! Just borrowing.
He watched her, everyday, through the eyes of his puppet. He watched her laugh, saw her cry and listened as she complained to what she believed was an empty forest.
He could not understand this fixation he had acquired. This girl – for she was nothing more, he assured his inner demons – was barely a shadow of the woman that she resembled. There was nothing remarkable in her looks, nor in her purification powers. She was insignificant to him.
Perhaps it was her similarity to the dead priestess Kikyo. If that was the reason, then he could accept it and cease watching her. Yet, he still continued to view the girl from afar, hidden in the shadows of the forest next to that so-strange well.
Maybe it was because a part of him wanted to use her powers to find the rest of the jewel…
Again, his mind dismissed this as a weak argument. He did not desire her powers at all, for if he did, he would have taken her the moment he began this foolish obsession.
No, his reasons were still unclear even to his own mind. He could find no logical answer to the one question that had been plaguing him for months: why?
With a frustrated sigh, Naraku withdrew his connection to his puppet and prepared to leave the solitude of his castle. His only goal was to seek out an answer to that oh-so-annoying question before it drove him insane.
"Kagome," InuYasha began to beg, "you can't just leave us when there are still shards to collect! Do you want Naraku to get his evil hands on the last of 'em?!"
His pleas only fell on deaf ears. Kagome had listened to the same old words every time she wanted, no needed, to go back to her own time. A warm bath and a hot, home-cooked meal were calling to the future-girl. So too, was her homework. Lately, Kagome had been unable to complete any of her homework assignments, and the deadlines were steadily creeping up on her. This trip back to her own time was for more than just rest; she needed to get her schoolwork sorted out or she would be screwed, to put it plainly.
One final, angry snarl from her half-demon friend reached Kagome's ears and she turned in time to see a blur of red and silver streaking away into the trees beyond the village – the opposite direction of her well.
"Well if that's how he wants to behave, I'm not going to stop him." Kagome mumbled to herself as she continued on her own path back to the future. She was far too used to his immature complaints and rants to argue anymore. What would be the point?
The truth was Kagome wished that InuYasha would treat her a little more fairly. He seemed to be under the impression that her life revolved around his every whim; as though she had no thoughts or needs of her own. Somewhere deep down, inside all of that ego and stubbornness, Kagome knew that he cared about her. She just wished that he'd show it more.
"Guys are so confusing." She whispered dejectedly, slowing her pace to little more than a shuffle as she came upon the sight of her well – the doorway between two time periods, two unique worlds. She hopped over the side and disappeared in a blinding whirl of magic and otherworldly energy, never noticing the pair of cold, evil eyes that were staring through the hedges.
It had taken him only a day to reach his destination, thanks to his demonic abilities, and now he stood atop a tree branch, waiting for the girl that had been plaguing his mind for months. Naraku would never have thought to waste his precious time with such a trifle, but he was convinced that if he just saw her with his own two eyes – rather than through those of his puppets – he would stop this ridiculous obsession.
The white baboon pelt he usually wore was not part of his attire this time. It was too recognisable and noticeable where InuYasha and his group were concerned, so he had chosen to wear the simple robes of the young Lord whose life he had usurped.
A slight change in the air around Naraku alerted him to another's presence. Someone, or something, was lurking around in the forest, near to the well. By his guess, they had only just arrived, but he had no idea who or what they were.
The dark half-demon moved further around the tree, trying to remain as hidden as he possibly could from any unwanted guests. If luck was on his side – which didn't happen as often as he would have liked – whomever they were would move along eventually or else reveal themselves out in the open for him to see.
The former happened and the visitor disappeared back in the direction of the village, not giving Naraku the opportunity to glimpse who they were.
It was probably one of her companions waiting for her return, he thought with a smirk. By assuming so, he could also hazard to guess that Kagome would be returning within the hour. Although, his thoughts became troubled, if that had been one of her companions, then they would have shown their face and made some noise. This person was silent and stealthy – not unlike myself.
Closing his crimson orbs, Naraku sat down on the branch upon which he had been standing, trying to sort out the new puzzle placed before him.
"InuYasha," a gentle, calm voice cautiously began, "perhaps you were being too unfair on Kagome." The dog-boy barely even acknowledged his monk friend, so the man went on, "She hasn't had a chance to relax and see her family in a long time. This time away will be good for her, and when she returns she will be more encouraged to search for the Shikon Jewel shards with a refreshed mind and body. Maybe you should take a short break too?" The doggy ears of the silver-haired half-demon twitched at this suggestion, so Miroku felt a little braver with his words, "I myself would like to visit my Master for a couple of days. And Sango tells me she wishes to find one or two small demon slaying jobs to take her mind off of…other things…"
A sigh escaped InuYasha's lips, and he resigned himself to his fate. Standing, the demon-boy nodded his assent to Miroku's idea and all three companions set off that night to get a few days of rest. Kagome would be gone for a whole week, so what harm could it possibly do?
None of them suspected that the monster lurking in the shadows had been watching and waiting for them to leave their village and their priestess unprotected.
"Shoot! I can't believe I left all my books back there!"
Making a mad-dash for her shoes, Kagome slipped them on and didn't even think about tying the laces in her haste to get back to the past and get her schoolbooks. It had come as a shock to her that night, as she was packing her things for school, that she had no clue where her books were. It took two hours of turning the house inside out to discover that she had forgotten her schoolbooks back in the feudal era. After convincing her mother to let her go back and just quickly pick them up, she had spent five minutes throwing on some suitable clothes – pyjamas weren't really what she wanted to be running around in at night in feudal Japan.
A quick leap down the short flight of stairs and a small vault over the edge of the well saw Kagome back in the bottom of the well in the past. The stars shone above and sparkled like beautiful fairies guiding the lost home. The sight amazed Kagome every time she witnessed it. Her blue eyes drank it all in with wonder and joy, before they narrowed slightly as her mind kicked back into gear.
"Right, Kagome. Time to get those books and get back home."
Talking to herself had often lessened the blow of being completely alone. After all, it was really creepy at night whatever time period you were in.
After she'd climbed up out of the deep well, she took a moment to steady her breathing before marching with purpose to Kaede's village. A twig snapped up ahead of her. Her heart seemed to stop and then start as her breath caught in her throat, anxiety and a little fear beginning to fester into her soul. It was typical that she'd get attacked when she had no weapons to protect her and no friends around.
With barely any thought into what she was doing, Kagome sped off in the direction she knew the village was in, running at her top-speed – which wasn't athletic material by any means, but it was still pretty quick, she hoped.
Nothing jumped out and attacked the young priestess, so she took that as a positive sign and slowed down when the first signs of houses came into view past the fields. A weird odour was in the air, slightly sweet and bitter at the same time, but Kagome could not recall where she had smelt it before.
"It's probably nothing, Kagome. You're just freaking out over a sound that you thought you heard…"
Then she saw it.
Nightfall had settled upon the forest, and Naraku had still seen no sign of Kagome, nor of the mysterious being that had visited the forest. He very much suspected that the girl was not going to return for a few days to come, and he was just about to leave and come back tomorrow, when something strange came over him.
He began to feel slightly light-headed, his eyes going in and out of focus at a worrying rate. He lost his balance on the tree branch and crashed to the forest floor with a heavy 'thud'. Trying to get some of his senses to work, he slowly shifted his failing eyes to the surrounding trees to find the cause, where he saw wildlife and weaker demons completely unconscious – asleep or dead he knew not.
There was a light, barely visible mist of foreign miasma floating around the forest and clearing with the well. He could feel a powerful demonic aura somewhere in the distance, nearer to the village than the well, but that was all his senses could uncover before complete blackness took over his mind and he collapsed onto the ground, asleep.
Somewhere in the distance, people were screaming and crying.
The thing that Kagome saw was neither a man nor a beast, but it's dark and powerful aura suggested to her that it was definitely a demon. Its face was the only part that resembled a man, for the body looked almost pieced together from various animals. It looked like a serpent, but it possessed six arms, each one different. She could tell that one of them was a crab's claw, but her horrified mind could not even guess at the other five. Blood was dripping from every arm and from its too human teeth. Upon its head were two horns like that of a bull's, with green hair surrounding them and covering the top of the head. They too, were stained with fresh blood.
It was the creature's eyes that disturbed her the most. The pupils were pale yellow and there were no irises at all. They seemed hollow – there was no soul in this thing. And they were both fixed intently on her quivering, unarmed form.
It barely registered in Kagome's brain that all of the villagers were dead – the remains of their bodies were everywhere. She was frozen still, not able to think or even scream. Not until it spoke that is.
"Your friends were tasty, young priestess." It bared its too-human teeth evilly, running a serpentine tongue over each one to clean them of blood. "I'm sure you will taste even better than they did though, little Ka…go…me."
It pronounced her name slowly and deliberately, causing a spasm of fear to jolt the young priestess' body back into life. The fact that it knew her name scared her, but she didn't dwell on it too long. Surviving mattered most. InuYasha, Miroku and Sango were gone – she didn't know if they were among the dead or simply not here. She had to survive.
Before the thing could continue with its gloating and taunting, Kagome spun about and sprinted back towards the forest, back to her well – she screamed the whole way there.
High-pitched, continuous screams jerked Naraku out of his slumber and he groggily tried to stand up. Confusion settled into his mind first – what was he doing asleep? – followed promptly by anger. Someone, another demon he was certain, had put everything in the forest and the village asleep. Including my own, superior self, he thought with building anger.
No toxins had ever affected his body before, being made up of so many different and poisonous demons, so whoever had done this was clearly not a mere weakling. This demon was definitely crafty and capable. And it was after a specific object, possibly even a person. Something in his mind was troubled by that possibility, but he had time to wonder at why he would be worried.
The screams he had heard before were growing with their strength, signalling that the person responsible would be upon him soon enough. Something about the screams sounded familiar. He pulled back a little into the foliage and waited for the owner of the terrified screams to appear.
Sure enough they did, and Naraku's blood-red pupils widened a fraction when he saw that it was…Kagome.
Her throat was sore from all the screaming, yet she did not want to stop until she was sure that she had made it through her well safely. Almost twice she had tripped on a protruding tree root, but she had somehow maintained her balance and her constant speed.
The monster was following her at a fast, but almost mocking pace. It never gained on her even though Kagome was positive it could have overtaken her instantly after it began the chase. This was nothing more than a game for the monster.
As the clearing to the well neared, Kagome suddenly understood that her life would end before she even reached her sanctuary. The demon knew about her, somehow, and would not let her leave to the future. It would strike her down when her safety was dangled before her, taking obvious sadistic pleasure in the act.
I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die! Her frantic thoughts cried out, please…
"…SOMEBODY HELP ME!!"
And someone did help the poor girl from the future.
The demon slithered through the trees only seconds after Kagome had burst through them. Naraku was instantly repulsed by what he saw, but he didn't move to stop the thing. He didn't reveal where he was to either party; he merely observed and watched as he had always done with Kagome. No, this was different than the other times. This time, he was physically there to see her.
And see her he did.
Her fear was almost tangible and her tears were like a steadily flowing river across her cheeks. He screaming had almost subsided as she neared her well, but there was also something in her facial features that should not be there: a resigned, defeated expression. It fought for dominance on her face, but as suddenly as it had come, the expression passed and was replaced with desperation.
Her face still captivated the dark half-demon, and if anything he was more spell-bound than he had previously been. She expressed so much with her face, her eyes and her words. He wanted to watch each emotion on her face and study them. He wanted to study her. He wanted to…know her. He was so caught in his thoughts that he was not expecting what Kagome did next. She opened her mouth and cried out, "…SOMEBODY HELP ME!!"
Naraku was positive that there was no-one besides the three of them in those woods, so when the girl from the future screamed for help, he was unsure as to whom she could possibly be calling to. Maybe she had gone mad with fear?
Still, for reasons unknown to even him, Naraku's body acted according to the frightened girl's wishes and dove towards her running form, pinning her petrified body to the ground just as the beastly demon lunged at her with its horned-head. It had been an act of pure instinct to aid her, save her, from her impending doom.
Apparently the demon was just as surprised as he was, for it took a good long moment to understand what had happened, why it had missed its prey. The moment was still not long enough, in Naraku's opinion, for it swung one of its six arms at both Naraku and Kagome – probably intending to skewer them together with its scissor-like appendage.
Naraku foiled the demon's plan, barely, by bringing out the sword he carried on his person. The force of the monster's arm impacting strongly against the sword sent a painful jolt through Naraku's arm and he dropped the mortal weapon to the floor. It clattered pathetically on the grass and stones a few feet from them, too far to grab without leaving Kagome wide open for an attack.
Naraku flicked his cherry-eyed gaze down to the small woman he held protectively beneath him, noting with some amount of dismay that she appeared just as afraid of him as she was of the demon – but she could not escape Naraku's hold like she clearly wished to. He wanted to console her, but he had no idea why. Why was he even trying to protect her? They were enemies and she hated him as much as he hated her…right?
Naraku honestly didn't know the answers to those questions – he was getting good at leaving questions without answers – but the moment was not really ideal to begin thinking about such things. The two things he did know to be certain: one, there was a repulsive demon barely a foot from him, trying to kill both Kagome and himself; and two, he needed to protect Kagome.
The monster appeared to be readying a much more lethal looking attack – its head had begun to rotate in a circle on its neck and its arms were glowing strangely – so Naraku really only had that moment to do something, anything. He looked away from the frightened, shaking girl and stood up to meet the monster.
"Get as far back as you can, Kagome, and hold your breath."
Her shocked mind registered that she had been knocked to the ground just seconds before the monster had impaled her with its horns. Looking at her apparent saviour, Kagome was stunned to discover that her white knight was none other than her enemy – Naraku. His body pinned hers protectively to the ground and his dark, long tresses of hair were tickling her face. His own face was turned to one side, trying to get a look at the monster, so she had no idea what expression he wore, what was going through his mind.
Why did he save me?
The creature had lunged again, but Naraku had somehow parried the attack with a sword. It was a small victory that did nothing to dispel Kagome's fear. The dark lord's katana had flown from his grasp and dropped down onto the ground some distance away, leaving him with no weapon and Kagome with no hope left in her heart. Being saved by Naraku would have been preferable to being eaten by this evil, demonic hybrid.
Apparently Naraku had thought the same thing, for his eyes finally looked to her own blue ones and she saw that he was...afraid. Strange how she could understand the emotions – what little he had – that passed over her enemy's face; strange that she could see hurt and pain in his too red eyes. But she was afraid, too afraid, to say or do anything. This monster was terrifying with its demonic aura, and Naraku's uncharacteristic actions frightened her too.
They were enemies, after the same thing for different goals. He had ruined lives, probably enjoyed watching people suffer and had been the reason why InuYasha often acted so cold to her. Naraku's twisted mind had ruined what Kagome considered a perfect romance story, destroying Kikyo and causing InuYasha unimaginable heart-break. Kagome did not hate anybody, but her feelings for Naraku came pretty close to that of hate.
So why was he protecting her from a monster, when he should be watching and laughing at her misfortune?
She stomped on her wandering thoughts and tried to squirm out of Naraku's grasp, but his body had firmly pinned her to the ground. She could nothing except watch and wait for whatever he decided to do.
The sadness, she noted, was still shining faintly in his dark eyes as he moved to get up, not looking back at her when he did so. She could no longer see what his face expressed; no longer understand anything he did or said. The dark half-demon stood strong against the dreadful sight of the sadistic monster, which had begun to convulse and glow in a bizarre fashion.
Kagome hadn't moved, even though she was no longer pinned down, but she jumped up when Naraku's words registered in her mind - no emotions present in his deep, silky voice, "Get as far back as you can, Kagome, and hold your breath."
The whole fight flashed before her eyes, quite literally, as the monster tried to fire some kind of dreadful beam at Naraku, who disappeared in a flash of poisonous miasma. She watched the monster drop to ground, head-detached, and its body begin to rot away from the poison. Fearfully, the young priestess moved further away from the smog of miasma, hoping she would not melt like that as well. Luckily for her, what little purification powers she had that lay dormant began to clear the purple haze from her vision, leaving the air around her clear and breathable.
The plant life in the clearing withered away to nothing while the miasma remained in the air, but it soon began to dissipate, leaving behind dead foliage and the carcass of the twisted monster that had tried to eat her. There was no sign of Naraku and Kagome looked around fearfully, hoping that he would be alright.
The priestess' ocean-blue eyes widened and she nearly panicked at the truth behind that thought. She wanted Naraku to be alright.
While he had not been injured by the battle, Naraku felt suddenly very weary. He had once again moved to a hiding place safe amongst the trees that were in the forest, although many of the nearby trees had been destroyed by his poison.
He could not remain near to Kagome while her powers were consciously or unconsciously purifying anything demonic in the area. He should have known that this would happen when her body was engulfed in the miasma, but he had silently hoped in his mind that she would have enough sense to move far away, not just stumble a couple of steps backwards.
Until her powers receded back into her soul, he would not be able to get the answers to his questions. He would just have to watch, like he had always done.
From his vantage point he had a fairly decent view of her face, turned only slightly to the left of where he was hidden. She looked afraid. But what could she be afraid of, knowing that the monster was the dead and that he had gone? She appeared deep in thought, troubling thought that left her face pale and her eyes wide.
He was about to leave and recover back in his castle, when she softly called out to him, "…Naraku? Are you there?"
He wanted to show her that he was there, but her powers were still causing him some degree of pain. A glance at her dismayed face, and Naraku knew that he couldn't just leave her without at least saying something. After all the spontaneous and weird things he had done this night, he could at least give her an answer.
Quietly, he replied, "I'm still here, Kagome."
At once relief flooded her features and he felt a sudden wave of…something pleasant wash over him. Was he happy that he had alleviated her worries?
"I just wanted to say," she had started talking again, so Naraku intently listened to her softly spoken words, "thank you, for saving me. I don't know why you did it, but I'm glad you did." She smiled in the vague direction of where she thought he was – still to the left of his actual position – and then slumped against the well tiredly.
Before he could process what she had said – she had thanked him! – Kagome was already fast asleep, all the fatigue of the night catching up with her at last.
At once Naraku could feel the lift of any and all purification powers, so he left the darkness of the trees and approached the slumbering girl. He knelt down to her level and just watched her sleep, fascinated by the peacefulness of her countenance. In sleep, Kagome appeared to be an angelic being. At least, that was what Naraku's mind perceived.
By that point, he no longer cared whether it was madness or not that he was fixated on Kagome. If he could see many more days with her content and like this, then he would not mind.
He wanted to touch her face, or even her hair, but he did not. He simply watched her until the sun came up and her eyes started to blink open. Then he was gone, as though he had never even been there.