This was a gift for Fenikkusuken; a lady who is a treasure beyond price.
I do not have rights to Inuyasha. This story is based in the Phoenix Blade: Time Lapse universe by Fenikkusuken, which can be found on ffnet and MediaMiner. I highly encourage readers to check it out.
Kogashu ripped open the small mini-fridge stashed under his desk and grabbed a beer. Fuck not drinking on duty, today had been hell. Seeing that ponytail bobbing in the long line of shaven headed recruits; knowing that he had to take that small, fragile-boned teenage girl from raw recruit to a kickass warrior whose name still made youkai tremble in just a few short years… he snorted and ripped off the top of another beer, the first already inhaled. Gods, what he wouldn't give for a shard-enhanced run across Honshu.
"Whoa, slow down there Kogashu. What's the rush on happy hour?" a burbling Shimano quipped as he popped through the door with a stack of paperwork. "Got the new cadet dossiers for you to work over. She's so young! I can't wait to meet her…" A low, vicious snarl was the only warning he got before meeting with one of the venerable posts holding together this part of the shiro. Glad we reinforced these recently, the kitsune idly thought on the slow slide down. Shaking his head, he gave the wolf a skeptical glance. "I thought I'd only have to deal with that on Yashita's side. What gives?"
Kogashu chugged a third beer down while considering his answer. "Fuck it. Gods, she is so fucking young now. My nose is telling me she's the same girl I was in love with five hundred goddamn years ago, my eyes tell me she's nothing but a cub, and fucking both are telling me she's the daughter of a man I had nothing but utmost respect for; damn it all to the seven hells if it isn't screwing with my head!" Morosely he regarded the open fridge, before snagging two beers and tossing one to the sympathetic Shimano. Slamming the door on the fridge, he started in more slowly on his fourth. Youkai stamina or not, Ayame would not be impressed with him coming home reeking of alcohol. "How the hell did you all do it the first time?" Shimano looked at him curiously. "When she was coming through, how did you deal with the dichotomy?"
"It wasn't really a problem for us… I think she did a lot of covering and took most of the burden on herself. Of course, I was barely more than a kit. I kinda took everything for granted. It's only listening to Sessaki and Yashita talk and plan all these years that I got a bigger picture of what went on." Shimano shrugged and drained down some of the can. "Remind me to get you some better beer. This stuff tastes like shit."
Kogashu grunted, plopping down into his office chair. The two shared a quiet moment, interrupted only by the occasional slurp and slight pop of lips on can. "She looks like him, you know? Same eyes, same mulish expression when you throw an obstacle in her way."
Shimano looked at his comrade in concern. "There's no way you could have saved him. You know that, he knew that… it's the price you might pay when joining the military."
"He was her father! I was entrusted with his care and I blew it big time. We couldn't even give him the honour burial he deserved because I didn't see that son of a bitch traitor of a cabinet minister for what he was in time to call off the mission."
"Hey, we were able to award him top honors for 'rescuing' yourself and Sessaki from an 'unknown terrorist'. Doesn't matter that it was a pile of shit cooked up by the higher ups; at least it let us return his body. Diplomacy between Nippon and the rest of the Asian world couldn't have dealt with the blowout over the enormity of us losing high end secrets to Cambodia of all places. If anyone should know this, it's you. Sessaki sure reiterated it enough in your debriefing. At least the right people know what really went down… Lord Tekko would have been our greatest obstacle to letting Kagome in if he didn't know the depths you, Sessaki, and Higurashi went through to clear his name."
Kogashu grunted and ran some distinctively clawed fingers down his face. Damn if even his concealment spell wasn't shot. "Fuck Tekko. Bastard couldn't find his ass with both hands; yet he was given control of the cabinet. His younger brother was more worthy of the fucking post." The wolf shot a level glare at the kitsune. "Goddamn human laws. Why the hell did those dogs not think of changing a few outdated ideals years ago? Pack law…" He snapped his jaw shut as the old pain blossomed in his heart.
Shimano shifted. No matter how much time passed, the pain Kogashu felt over the extinction of his beloved wolves was something none of the group had been able to completely understand. It's something none of the ookami youkai ever spoke of, regarding it as their personal failure and shame.
"I called him 'Wolf' you know. He was quick, silent, deadly. I'd of had him at the head of any corps I commanded in the past… none of this 'Captain' nonsense. Sengoku Jidai, Meiji, any era I've been though he'da only reported to me; as human, wolf, or youkai."
Shimano didn't stir, not even to breathe as the wolf's feelings came to life. We never knew, even after all this time…
"Fuck, Shimano. Didn't mean to pull you down with me. I think I'm going to head home and let Ayame cheer me up." A bright blue eye peeked out from the leer that stretched across the tan face.
"You do that. Just don't forget to get those dossiers updated and handed into Sessaki tomorrow or he'll rip you a new one. I hear not even Rin's been able to get him to relax since we first started moving on this for real. Thanks for the beer, even if it did taste like shit." Shimano ducked out the door with a snicker as a beer can bounced off the lintel.
Koga slinked through the darkness, camouflage and face paint making him invisible against the lush foliage. The sweltering Cambodian night had him drenched with a coating of sweat; attracting innumerable bloodsucking insects. Still, he made no move to swat at them. He couldn't risk being seen at this point. Dammit Wolf, where the hell are you? It wasn't like the man to be late by a few minutes and it had already been hours since he should have reported. Fuck, what's this?
A tight cordon of men moved through the compound, intent on a far outlying building that looked as if it were in danger of the jungle consuming it at any moment. Kogashu listened, bits and pieces of their conversation falling on his sharp ears. His command of Khmer was relatively new, but the word for intruder immediately caught his attention. Goddamn fucking son of a bitch! They had Wolf and he knew from experience they had no compunction when it came to torture. How the fuck did they catch him?
Careful not to make any untoward noise, he started making his way back to the building the men had disappeared into. Made of nothing but rotting board, Koga knew that he could smash his way through it easily if it was Wolf in there. He heard a few words of a harsh interrogation right before the scent of blood saturated his senses. By all the levels of hell! Without a second thought he crashed through the building, smashing the boards towards the mass of men he had sensed. A quick glimpse of Wolf's bloody visage was all it took to rip a snarl out of him and bring up the demon. His claws flashed, taking out the nearest guards in a spray of blood and flesh. He ripped his way through the humanity in the room; all teeth and claw and fury, but was unable to get to the farthest guard before the alarm was raised. Throwing what caution and reason was left to the wind, he grabbed the battered and bleeding man and heaved him over his shoulder; taking off in a whirlwind. Damn keeping a low profile, he had to get his man to the medics if he stood any chance of surviving.
Oblivious to the sirens wailing and the stomp of feet, Koga sped through the compound. Unfortunately, machine guns proved to be as fast as a youkai and he felt the burn of bullets ripping through his back and thighs. Damn, this isn't going to end good. The next set of bullets that hit ripped through his buttocks and he felt the bones in his heel shatter with an ill-placed step. With a last rush of energy he leapt over the wall and sprinted into the jungle, leaving the compound behind him in a turmoil of anger and fear.
Once far enough under cover, he fell to the leaf littered jungle floor. He could feel the burning pain of each bullet lodged within him; he'd have hell later when his body healed over them. But all his attention was on the human he'd hauled out of that hell.
"Goddamn you Higurashi, you better not be dead." he muttered as he checked over the man's injuries. "Aw, fuck."
He could hardly recognize the man lying there. Higurashi had been beaten by an artist at the trade. His face was broken in multiple places and his chest had been stove in on both sides; his breathing and the blood bubbling at his mouth indicating punctured lungs. Pieces of his hands were completely missing. What condemned him though was the numerous bullet wounds shattering his pelvis and nicking that vital vein running through them.
Gods no! Koga almost keened over the wreck of a man he had respected more than any other in two and a half centuries. "Hold on man, you can't die yet. You've got a wife and two kids waiting for you at home. They aren't going to like you dying out here like this. Hold on, damn you!"
"Fuck, shut up man. Don't use up your strength talking."
"Must… tell. Tekko innoc…ent. Got the evidence"
Koga growled, "Fuck that bastard. Gods man, we can't lose you! Stay with me!" He shook with fury and grief as Higurashi's heart stuttered and slowed.
"Hid... mic…rofi..lm. Sorry… dirty job… in me. Tell… Kioko… love… her."
With that, the overworked heart stopped and the labored breathing ceased. Koga bowed his head over the warrior and scalding drops streaked down his nose. I failed…
Kogashu sat straight up; breath heaving and eyes stinging. Ayame stirred beside him, waking once she felt his distress. "Koga. What is it?"
"Bad dream. Nothing more. Sorry I woke you." He nuzzled his mate's soft neck and tenderly kissed her. "Go back to sleep Ayame, love. I'm just going to go get some water."
"Ok, if you are sure…" she worriedly watched as he left the room. My poor love…
Koga leaned out the kitchen window, letting fresh air chase away bad memories. I promise you Wolf. I won't let her down.
Lord Tekko is the courtier who came in and commented on Kagome during her first meeting as a cadet with Lord Sessaki. Surely you didn't think that Sessaki would have had just any old courtier in that meeting, did you?