A/N: Hey guys! I know, surprising, I'm starting another story even though I was sure I wouldn't. Well, I'm going to give it a try. I don't think this will be updated as regularly as LWC, but read and review, and tell me what you think, okay?

Chapter One: In Their Eyes


"A wind in the hall

Is silent as night

Silent as death

Silent as a candle

As it dances in the dark

But a wind in the hall

Is loud as pain

Loud as fire as it feeds on its prey

In the ears of silence

For I am silence

And while the wind envelopes my soul

Silence I will always be."


The hallway was dank, dusty, the lighting scarce and moody. Her footsteps thudded heavily against the damp floor, her bare feet scraping against the pebbles and shards. She almost felt a trickle of blood on her heels, and perhaps she left footprints of burgundy red, but the guards took no notice. The guards pushed her forward, prodded her back with javelins, pushed her like she was a doll. And not a fragile doll at that; a doll made of cheap plastic, expendable and easily replaceable.

She ducked her head, wavy raven locks falling forward to hide her face.


Another girl, the warriors noted.

All day, women had been paraded down the hallway, perhaps one per hour, perhaps two. All day, the guards had pushed and prodded them into the cells, and locked them in. All day, women had emerged from the cells, tired and worn, some with bruises and some unscathed. And all day, they had been marched back to their rooms, on the other side of the building, in a part of the fortress that the warriors had never seen. But it was hardly a parade, and the women did not march. Each one entered her chamber with newly washed hair and cleansed skin; dressed in a robe which bore only some dirt and tears. But despite the nearly regal—for in the Cells, and compared to the warriors, they were regal—appearances, the women were bedraggled. Their feet dragged.

Thump, thump, went the new girl's heels. Thump, thump, went her heart.

This one was most certainly a girl—they could not call her a woman. Not this girl who could be no older than seventeen, not this girl with uncommonly illustrious, wavy, raven-colored hair, not this slender girl with big brown eyes that still possessed a tiny spark of hope, which she hid from the guards with her midnight hair. Not this girl. This girl could not be called a woman, for she managed to retain something in her essence which the women of the Cells had lost.

Life.

The warriors turned their eyes away, for they knew that soon enough, even though she would not have the fortune to die, she, too, would lose that precious thing.


A guard threw his arm out to stop her.

The girl looked up at him, meaning to acknowledge him, to wonder why they had stopped; forgetting that she was not to make eye contact. With a jump and a start, she averted her eyes, biting her lip to keep from yelping. Do not make eye contact. They had told her a thousand times, do not look, do not speak. To listen and follow, that was her job. That was what they had told her.

But perhaps she was lucky, for the guard seemed not to have the time to punish her. But then again, thinking of the task before her, she wondered whether she would have preferred his punishment.

The guard grunted, throwing open a big, metal door. And she knew that this was her stop. Considering making a plea but thinking better of it, thinking that perhaps she did not want to face punishment after all, she stepped into the dark room.

Barely a moment after her body had cleared the doorway, the vault slammed shut.

It was dark in the cell. Cold, also. And just as in the hall, the air smelt of dirt and mold, though perhaps with a slightly stronger hint of blood and sweat.

Her fist clenched, her eyes refusing to open.

She was lucky, the others had told her. The others with their deadened eyes, their faces full of pity and sympathy and sorrow. She was lucky, she was lucky to be beautiful, she was lucky to be a maiden instead of a laborer. That was what they had said. They had said she was fortunate. And perhaps she should have been grateful, but while her body trembled in fear and her short nails dug into her palms, while tears threatened to escape from her lids, she could not manage to feel relieved.

She was lucky. She was lucky.

That was what she repeated to herself, again and again, as she opened her eyes.

A torch cast the room in a dying, brownish light. It was a small space, dusty and dark, bare but for a bench which ran from one edge of the room to the other. The bench was pressed against the wall; small, probably just large enough for a thin person to sleep on if he laid on one side. But she doubted whether it could support even a child's weight; the bench was cracked and moldy, the wood rotted.

A small movement from one corner of the room drew her eyes.

She took a small, nervous intake of breath as she saw him. Instinctively she stepped back, even though she knew there was no point. He was the warrior. She was the prize. That was how it worked.

And in any case, the vault behind her was tightly sealed.

The man was tall, muscular. His jaw was square, his hair long and tangled and silver, falling low on his back. His nails were sharp and long, almost like claws, and perched atop his head were two triangular dog ears.

She did not know much about other species. All her life, she had been sheltered from other species. But she knew that he was a demon.

The man stood, squaring his shoulders, stretching out his back. He opened his eyes, and they were narrow and dark and gold. And although a long time ago, in an ordinary situation, her first impression of him would have been that he was extraordinarily handsome, that his eyes were beautiful, now he only intimidated her.

She trembled. And knowing that if anything that would only make it worse made her tremble even more.

The man stared at her for a moment. She stared back at him, wincing, thinking perhaps she should not make eye contact with him, either. But she could not tear her gaze away, as much as she wanted to.

"Hey."

She did not open her mouth to speak. She did not want to speak. She did not even want him to speak to her, for it would make everything so much worse, so much more painful….

"Are you the one…?"

She could only shake.

He quirked an eyebrow at her, dog ears twitching slightly. She did not miss the way his eyes roved over her body, so quickly, so efficiently. Not with hunger. It was only an appraisal, that was all.

But it still made her step back against the wall.

When it was clear that she was not going to reply, he took a step toward her. His bare foot made only the slightest sound on the floor, but for the way she jumped, it might as well have been an explosion.

"O-oi! Wench! Are you okay?"

She took a deep breath, trying to regain her balance. But her head was spinning, her ears were ringing, her heart was pounding….

She slipped.

Almost detachedly, almost as if she were not the one falling but one watching, almost as if she were not there, but somewhere far away and safe and unconcerned, almost as if she were a stranger to herself, she felt herself descending toward the floor. She saw the stone coming closer and closer, she heard her cry echo in the damp air.

Two strong arms caught her and brought her back into the moment.

"Oi! What happened? Are you okay?"

His arms wrapped around her small body, pulling her back against his bare chest, which glistened with sweat. She trembled in his arms, almost wishing she had hit the floor, almost wishing she had hit her head and fallen unconscious. Or perhaps even better, died. On that last thought she closed her eyes, for the fear, the cowardice which spawned it, shamed her.

He felt her trembling, and gently, awkwardly, he rubbed his hand against her cold arms.

"Ssssh," he cooed. "Ssssh. It's okay. It's okay."

Tensing in his arms, she opened her mouth, opened her eyes, and sobbed.


He could feel her. He could feel her fear, feel her confusion, feel her grief. He could feel it all as she trembled against him, so close to him. And he knew these feelings, these emotions… these things which told him she feared him, these things which told him she feared everything. These things which told him that she was new to the Cells. Closing his eyes, he remembered what it had been like for him… what it had been like when they had come to his village, when they had knocked down his door… what it had been like when they had torched his houses, when they had driven their javelins through his family… what it had been like when he had been taken, and when he had been alone….

He tightened his arms around her, pulling her small body against his chest.

She was so young… she had to be at least two years younger than his nineteen….

"Ssssh," he whispered to her, rubbing his hand against her bare arm, feeling goosebumps rising against his palm. "Ssssh. It's okay. It's okay."

But reasonably, she seemed to feel that all was not okay, for her body tensed. But what came next, he did not expect.

The girl leaned against him and sobbed.

She's the one…? He thought. She's the one they called my prize…?

He wasn't sure what he had thought. Maybe he had thought he was ready. He was nineteen, after all; if he was going to get a reward, he felt that he deserved to take what he could. But this… this trembling girl, this beautiful, young woman with beautiful black hair and eyes that she refused to turn to him…? This was what they called a reward…?

Sick, he thought with contempt, looking down at her, cradling her against him, feeling her tears wet his bare chest.

His eyes softened as he held her tighter.

The tears poured and poured, showing no signs of stopping, and so he tightened his arms and whispered nonsense to her, nonsense that everything would be fine, and it would all be okay, and there was nothing to fear. He hated saying nonsense, but he could say nothing else.

An entrancing aroma assailed his senses.

His entire body stiffened, his nostrils flaring, his arms tightening on the girl. What was this? What was this scent? It was… arousing. It was like nothing he had ever smelled before, and he wanted to be submerged in it.

He could feel his claws lengthening, he could feel the girl under his hands, he could feel her shuddering. And the scent engulfed him, it swelled around him, and being in it was not enough. He wanted to be closer, he needed to be closer….

Something inside him smirked. He could be closer.

The girl, slowly, stopped shuddering. Face passive, he stood up, leaving her on the ground.

Then he turned away. "Stand up."

She smelt of confusion, she smelt of fear, she smelt of tears and sorrow, and all these things assailed him, but they were not enough to overpower that amazing scent. So he turned around and watched her rise shakily to her feet, fear flickering in her brown eyes.

Her body was beautiful. She was so slender, and he could barely imagine what she would look like underneath that robe… how she would smell when her bare skin was beneath his hands….

A part of him demanded what he was doing, told him to stop. But his red eyes, his claws, his fanged mouth, did not listen.

"I guess we'd better get this over with," he muttered.

Her eyes widened with fear, pricked once again by the tears which he hated.

But the smell was too much to pass up.

"You're the one?" he asked again. She nodded silently.

His fangs lengthened as he said, "Take off the robe."

The tears fell.

For a moment she was frozen. For a moment he thought she was not going to do anything. But then, hesitantly, she opened her mouth and said her first word.

"I can't…."

His eyes darkened.

I can.

That voice, so feral and so confident, so impassive and so deadly, made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. They rose, standing straight as pins in the stills air, suspended off of his skin. Just like his body: utterly, utterly motionless.

His golden eyes widened.

"Fuck," he growled, turning suddenly away, stepping away from her, leaving her confused and surprised and afraid and speechless. "Fuck, fuck, fuck."

She leaned against the wall, all the fight going out of her, and slid down until she hit the floor.

The tears had stopped.

He clenched his fists, hoping that his nails might dig into his skin, hoping that he might bleed. Hoping that it would hurt him, but knowing it wouldn't.

His voice was thick with shame when he muttered, "I'm sorry."

She blinked. For a moment the air was heavy with silence, but then, perhaps because she just had to, perhaps because she was still shocked, she said, "What?"

He grabbed his head with his hands and shouted, "I said I'm sorry, damn it!"

He turned back to look at her, and now the fear was gone. Only the remnants of tears remained on her cheeks, only the shadows of terror and trauma… instead of anger, instead of fear, she looked at him with open surprise… and confusion, which, for some reason, hurt him to see.

The idea that his humility, his respect, would confuse her struck him deep in his heart.

"Why?" she said plainly.

His golden eyes narrowed. "Cause I'm not a rapist, wench."

The girl blinked.

"Keh," he muttered, throwing himself back against the wall. "You think we're all monsters, do you?"

"Well… I…."

"Well, fine. A lot are, I guess. Not their fault, but hard labor and fights to the death can do a lot to a guy, right? But not me. I'm no monster." He looked away, folding his arms around his knees, growling at nothing. "Not me."

And then the girl did something he hadn't expected: she smiled. "I believe you."

The man turned his head to stare at her.

"Why?" he asked, as plainly, as confusedly as she had before.

She smiled slightly; tentatively, hesitantly, but a smile nonetheless. The first one she had smiled in days. "You didn't hurt me," she said, almost still surprised. "You… you just… I…." Blushing a little, she looked away and said, "Thank you."

He stared at her, and after a moment, she looked shyly back at him.

"Keh," he said finally. "You're crazy if you're gonna thank me." His eyes narrowed, but he held her gaze as he muttered gruffly, "I almost hurt you."

The girl stiffened, looking away. He had almost hurt her… it had been close. She had seen the lust in his eyes, seen the desire. But for whatever reason, even though it had nearly overpowered him… he had overpowered it, in the end.

"But you didn't hurt me," she said. "That's what matters."

And for some reason, this time when she smiled a small smile at him, he smiled back.

His dog ears twitched. "Oi, what's your name?"

She sighed; it had been a long time since someone asked her that. The women had not been interested in names; do not form bonds, they had said. Names lead to friendships, and friendships could be deadly. That was what they had said.

But she replied anyway, "Kagome."

He smiled a half-smile at her. "Nice to meet you." They both almost laughed at that, for the words sounded odd coming out of his course mouth. "I'm Inuyasha."

She smiled, a blush once again rising to her face as she said, "Nice to meet you, too."

There was silence in the cell for a moment, but it was a brief moment, for neither occupant of the cell desired silence for any time at all. Every second engulfed by quiet seemed like a second gone, a second dead, a second closer to the time when they would part. And with every second which passed, the idea of parting became more and more incomprehensible.

Unbearable.

An hour of talking, an hour of the time closest to enjoyable which either had experienced since arriving at the Cells, saw Kagome sitting just a bit closer to Inuyasha; it saw Inuyasha sitting just a bit closer toward Kagome; it saw both sitting just a bit more relaxed against the wall, more casual, and it saw Kagome tracing her finger through the dirt and grime lying at their feet.

"They're awfully rude, aren't they?" Kagome said almost nonchalantly; it might have seemed nonchalant, too, had her eyes not given her away. "The guards, I mean."

Inuyasha's lips quirked into a half smirk. "Understatement, but I guess you could say that."

"Are they like that to everyone?" she inquired, tilting her head to the side, eyes curious. "Are they all like that? I just wanted to know; I don't understand how anybody could be so unpleasant."

At this, Inuyasha gave a loud snort. He turned his head to respond, to tease, but for a moment all words left him, for he was briefly distracted by the way her hair fell across her shoulders. And again, that scent wafted about him, wafted from her, and his other half growled in pleasure… again, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.

Inuyasha's fist clenched, and with a sharp, mental reprieve, he silenced the demon in his heart.

Then he remembered what the girl, what Kagome had said, and could not help but snort again.

"If you have to ask that," he said, rolling his eyes, "Then you've got a lot to learn about the Cells, Kagome."

Kagome reddened. "I just…."

But Inuyasha was on a roll now, and now that he had someone to talk to, now that he had her to talk to, he was unwilling to be silent. "Unpleasant, though?" He scoffed. One might have thought he was ridiculing her, but his grin eased her sensitivity. "Who says stuff like that?"

Kagome could hear him chuckling and muttering "unpleasant, keh," to himself even after he had stopped teasing her. She could not help but smile at how ridiculous he found the word; and perhaps, she reminded herself, it was ridiculous. Unpleasant, she had said. She had said the guards were unpleasant. Most people here would say things far more crude, for the guards deserved far worse. This was the Cells, she reminded herself. This was not home… this was a foreign place, and a place she had never dreamed she would ever set foot in.

That just went to show how unreliable dreams could be.

"Hey. What are you thinking about?"

Kagome started, surprised by his shrewdness. He stared at her, golden eyes unwavering, and she met his gaze, also unwavering.

"Nothing," she said.

She would have to be more careful of the way she spoke, the way she acted. Pride would not help her here… neither would courage. And that was good, for she doubted that she had any courage left.

Inuyasha's eyes narrowed, and Kagome was perfectly sure that he did not believe her. But though she trusted him not to hurt her, though she trusted him more than was wise or natural to trust a man she had met only an hour ago, she could not afford to tell him what she was thinking. What she feared.

There was no rescue coming for her. For the first time in her life, she was on her own. For the first time in her life, she was just another girl, someone to be tossed around, someone to fend for herself, someone without a whole hall of nurses to run to whenever she nicked her knee. For the first time in her life, she would have to fight her own battles.

Kagome wanted to knead her forehead, but she knew that it would be a useless gesture. This was not just a first time in her life—this was an entirely new life, and from now on she would be an entirely new Kagome.

No one was coming to save her. And because until she could devise an escape, death was the only way to save herself, she would not lose that privilege.

Discovery would mean worse than death. And so for her own sake, as well as Inuyasha's if he kept her secret, her identity would have to remain anonymous.

Just a Kagome. A slave.

Kagome's lip curled; thinking those words made her certain that she could not bear to stay so for long.

Her eyes strayed to Inuyasha's face, to the face of the man who had just an hour ago been the source of her fear, of her tears, and was now the source of her growing contentment. Not contentment—in the Cells, nothing could quite be called contentment. The very place exuded a dull, grey aura which made cobwebs in the halls and settled like dust on the prisoners' souls. It extinguished happiness, extinguished contentment, snuffed it out like a flame deprived of oxygen. There was only one thing which could live in the Cells, and that was hope, but it was a faint spark, and very easy to lose sight of.

Kagome might have said that Inuyasha, the first person to look at her and see a person, the first to look at her and say with his eyes that he was more than the slave he was diminished to, was now the fuel for her tiny spark of hope, but perhaps that was asking too much.

"Hey," he muttered. "How old are you?"

Looking down, ascertaining that she could not be endangered by relinquishing her age, Kagome said, "Sixteen. And you?"

Inuyasha swore. Sixteen… she was just a year younger than he had been when he was taken. Although he had been but seventeen, and already it seemed like much too early a time to give up one's life, when he thought of Kagome, losing hers even earlier… it made his fists clench.

Within him, he felt a splinter invade his heart.

"Nineteen," he said. Grimacing, he added, "Shit…."

"What?" Kagome asked in alarm, thinking that he might have been hurt.

Inuyasha gave her a sad half smile. "Nothing, wench. Don't worry about it."

Sixteen… she's so young… it's not fair….

"You don't have to pity me, you know," Kagome said almost offhandedly, leaning back against the wall.

Inuyasha stared at her in surprise. Her eyes were shrewd as they pierced him; for a moment, they were not the eyes of a girl—they were the eyes of a woman, experienced and wary. Knowing. But just as quickly they softened, and Inuyasha jumped at the change, at the mercurialness of the girl's emotions; or he would have jumped, but as a boy and a man, as a male, he would not lower himself to such an obvious reaction.

When Kagome spoke again, her voice was clear like water, soft like cotton, liquid and warm like her melted chocolate eyes.

"You're as much a prisoner as I am," she said, smiling a sad little smile. "I don't see how our age is relative to our circumstance."

Inuyasha had to wince at that, for she was utterly right.

The fragile silence didn't last long, however, for Kagome broke it—the sad smile replaced by a curious one, a friendly one, as she asked, "How did you get here, anyway? I barely know anything about you."

"You're new here," Inuyasha said, "So I guess you wouldn't know. But we have a rule—you don't talk about where you're from, how you got here. All that stuff, the past, it doesn't matter."

Kagome's eyes tightened. It doesn't matter because it's gone, her mind continued, even though Inuyasha did not say the words. It doesn't matter because it will never be seen again. And she knew it was true—that the past was in the past, the past was nothing more than a figment of her imagination. She knew it would be far more painless to simply forget, to embrace her new life, to put all notions of freedom aside. But as much as she knew it was wise, as much as she knew how to survive, it was a choice she could not make; a path she could not walk on, for she was sure that however comfortable the dirt, the air would slowly taint her.

She could not forget. She would not be like the rest, like the women she had seen in the Cells—empty shells of people.

But as she refocused her attention on Inuyasha, as he began speaking in a low murmur, she was certain that she saw a spark of something in his eyes—something which the others that she had seen did not have.

Hope. Life. The same thing which Inuyasha could see in her eyes, and the thing which, inconceivable, inexplicably, drove him to say what he said next.

"Look," he muttered. "I don't want to know where the hell you're from, and you don't want to know where the hell I'm from. It's a place, it's a background—it's not you. It's not me. You're a person, I'm a person, and our pasts won't change that. So, obviously, I'm getting to know you, as I have been for the last hour, and you're getting to know me—we don't need to know what happened to bring each other here, and it's safer not to know or to tell, anyway. But if it matters to you… if it's important to you…" Inuyasha lowered his head and his voice as he said gruffly, passionately, "Then hold onto it as hard as you fucking can. If it matters to you, don't you dare forget it."

Those words brought a smile to her lips.

She would remember. She would hold onto her memories for ever and ever and ever, and she would never let them go. She would hold them in her fists, hold them tightly like a precious thread in a whirling gale, hold them until her knuckles paled and her hand ached. But no matter the fatigue, no matter the wind, she would hold them.

It was the only way she could resist. And if she did not resist, she knew that she would lose herself.

In her mind's eye, she saw a woman of the Cells, saw her blank-eyed, plaintive stare, and shuddered.

She grasped the memories tighter as she grinned at Inuyasha, and saw that he was grinning back at her.


Another hour passed before guards came to open the vault door.

"Fuck," Inuyasha swore, bolting to his feet. He glanced wildly at Kagome, and she stared back at him.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

Staring at the door, grimacing, looking for all the world as if he had just been thrown out onto a stage without a script or lines, Inuyasha turned back to Kagome and said abruptly, "Rub my back."

Kagome stared. And then, because she was confused and because she felt that they had been through enough that she could be a bit informal, she said in a low voice, "Are you joking?"

"No! Just do it!"

She couldn't fathom what his motives were, for she could not hear the footsteps like he could. She could not hear the guards stopping right outside the cell, and so she could not know that they were about to open the vault door.

But he knew.

Kagome placed her hands on his bare back, massaging it awkwardly. "Um… sorry… is this right? I still don't—"

"Sssh," he interrupted her. "Don't talk. Just keep rubbing and look miserable."

When the door creaked open, Kagome realized why she had to rub his back, why she had to stay silent, and why she had to look absolutely miserable.

He's smart, she thought approvingly.

"So, you guys have fun?" a guard asked carelessly. Not waiting for a reply, the big man grabbed Kagome by the folds of her robe and hauled her away from Inuyasha. "Animals," he spat. "C'mon, woman."

His grip was so tight, so rough that it hurt as he dragged her toward the door. Knowing she had little time, knowing she could do nothing but wait, Kagome took one last look at Inuyasha, to find him sitting against the wall, eyes cold.

When their eyes met, the coldness dissipated, and he smiled briefly at her before glaring at the guard and spitting very deliberately on the ground.

The guard glared. "You'll pay for that, Inuyasha."

Then something happened which Kagome had not expected. In the next moment, when the guard saw Kagome's eyes on Inuyasha's face, he did something which in her old life, he could have been flogged for doing.

The guard slapped her across the face, and Kagome could have spat fire.

Her eyes stung, her cheeks reddened, whether from the force of his hand or from her absolute fury. She wanted to bite, she wanted to shout. Kagome closed her eyes and imagined herself standing up, like she would have done. She imagined herself straightening her shoulders and gritting her jaw, and she imagined herself slapping the guard right back across the face. Like she would have done. Once.

She could not do that now, and she knew it. She was proud, certainly; her upbringing had raised her to be proud, trained her to be proud. But she had also been trained to be smart, to survive. And Kagome knew that humbled was better than dead.

She would only have to be humble until the war was over, or until she managed to escape. Until then, she would behave. But it was only temporary.

That was what she told herself as she bit her lip to stop from crying out in pain when the guard slapped her a second time.

"I didn't tell you to look at him," he snarled. "What, you like him or something? Well, maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe if you both learn to behave, you might get thrown together sometime again. You'd like that, wouldn't you? Fucking animals."

Despite her grim situation, Kagome's lip quirked at that.

The guard leered at her. "What're you smilin' at, missy?"

"N-no—"

The next slap echoed in the room, and sent Kagome's head reeling.

"Speak when you're told to," the guard snarled. "We don't need to hear your filthy voice."

Kagome's fists tightened. And maybe it was the smell of the barely suppressed tears which did it for Inuyasha; maybe it was the way she tensed her shoulders and began to incline her head, as if to glare at the guard, which would have merited a punishment far worse than a slap. But for whatever reason, Inuyasha couldn't take it any longer.

"Oi," he growled. "Stop picking on her. She didn't do anything wrong."

In the cell, one might have heard a pin drop.

Kagome stiffened, sensing the tension tangible in the air. The guard, keeping one hand on Kagome's shoulder, slowly turned to raise an eyebrow at Inuyasha.

"What did you say?"

"You heard me." He stood up, leaning back against the wall, arms folded. "Leave her alone, fucker."

The guard's eyes bulged, and even Kagome, even Kagome the new girl, even Kagome the one who had never experienced a slap before in her life until just a minute ago, knew that Inuyasha had crossed the line.

Suddenly she feared for his life.

"So, the infamous Inuyasha rises again, huh?" The guard's voice was mocking, jeering, but laced with that unforgettable steel which promised pain. "And to think, just when you start on good behavior, just when you get your first reward in two years… what, she wasn't good enough for you? Is that why you're causing trouble again, half breed?"

Inuyasha's eyes glowed like coals. "Fuck you!"

The guard's eyes narrowed, turned to little icy, beady stones in a pale, pasty face. "You'll pay for that. Never forget your place."

Kagome felt herself being pushed roughly out of the vault. She felt the guard's dirty hands on her skin, she felt him pushing her down the hallway, she felt him grumbling swear words. She could feel the need for pain, the sadistic anticipation of torture and punishment, in the sweat on his skin. But what stuck in her mind most, as he led her through that dank and dusty hallway… what weaved its way into her, grabbed hold, and stayed there… was the pure fury radiating from Inuyasha as he spat his last words to the guard.

"Sorry. I got a short term memory."

The vault door slammed shut.


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