Quick Note: I began this story before anything of Zetsu, Madara, and Tobi was revealed. I always wanted an Origins for Zetsu and I love horor. Now, that I know more about Zetsu, I can't help but crave to blend his origins with the story I have created. So, I don't intend this story to be an AU off the manga, but may come off as one.
Persistence of Loss
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Naruto or Inuyasha
Kagome Higurashi floated in darkness. Her eyes were open, at least she believed them to be open. It was the strangest sensation, dying that is. The metal sliced her skin—cut opening and gushing blood. She could feel the sword piercing her gut, twisting and mixing within her. Her body had burned—it felt like thousands of weapons at once.
That was all she really remembered once her body went numb; the crimson gaze seemed to bring pain. Her attacker had been creative when he held her captive. He had happily taken on the shapes of people she had known in order to create a perfect death. Golden, purple, grey—all eye colors with faces only she knew.
Just as happily, he had taken a blade to skin and set to work with only eight words.
'I want this to be special for us.'
She had only a moment to wonder exactly what he wanted to be special. Kagome soon discovered the creativity of his torture knew no bounds. It didn't matter that she kept telling her mind that it wasn't real, because in the end, she screamed as her skin peeled.
The darkness consumed her voice and she wished it would take her sense of feeling. To no avail, she couldn't get away, she was strapped in. Despite her throat being hoarse, she still screamed and screamed, voice echoing around her. The moments she tried to breath and the screams barely dulled, he would chuckle, his voice a haunting solo in this realm.
Eternity seemed to pass and she knew it was coming to an end because he tiredly sighed as if he had been robbed of something. His hand upon her face and she meet crimson once more.
'Don't you wish you'd never reached out?'
Kagome couldn't blink, her blood crusted lids seemed to forever be open as he leaned over her body.
'Such a foolish girl…'
A touch of cold metal traced her ear. He cleaned his knife before he touched her.
'You are the reason why so many are dead…'
The metal bit into her flesh, but the words stung more as she tried to remember what he was talking about.
'You are the reason why he is a monster…'
Her pupils widened and the memories came flooding back…
The night was cool, much cooler than the blistering sunny temperatures in the Fire Country.
She was grateful night had fallen sooner than later, she didn't believe she could continue traveling if forced to wander in the sun any longer. Her eyes strayed to the night sky were the stars continued to blink innocently at her. Tilting her head to the right as she regarded the sky; it was the same sky as it were in her world.
There was nothing alien about the universe. The sky was the same sky she remembered in Sengoku Jidai and the grass still felt the same under her thin sandals. She brushed a stray lock of midnight from her face as she noticed something odd in the distance. The smoke was almost purple as it twisted in the air because of the glow of the orange fire. She found her lips turning down in a scowl. All she needed to do was reach Konoha and speak to the Third Hokage, unfortunately the Kazekage had proven himself an ass and she was left to deal with Konoha. The other countries were too unstable to seek help from because of the roughness of the ongoing Second War.
Kagome looked in the opposite direction of the fire and gripped the wood of her bow tightly. All she had to do was reach Konoha and speak to the Hokage. All she had to do was request his knowledge on summoning jutsu in exchange, she would offer loyalty.
'I want to go home,' Kagome thought with a sigh.
Her hand traveled down her chest and to her stomach where she touched the area the mark was hidden. She had finally been ready to settle in the Sengoku era when pain flashed upon her and she could only watch in horror as a strange symbol burned its way across her skin and then she was sucked into this new world. Kagome closed her eyes and held her hands over her white haori.
Aggravated, she released a growl and decided it was time to stop hesitating, she was going to do the right thing regardless. Reaching behind her, she checked her quiver and decided she was fine with the amount of arrows she had. Opening her eyes, she turned in the direction of the flames and made her way toward the area.
What was one more delay in her travel?
The scent of burning flesh irritated her nose and caused her to sneeze. The smell she had become accustomed during her new travels. There were wars going on and she had to cease being squeamish over a few massacres. Still, she paused to make sure none had heard her sneeze before she continued. She could never be sure with these ninjas, they were ever so observant. The sound of smashing glass caused her to tread carefully, the glow of the flames was spread far and wide as they illuminated her features. Kagome took in the scene with disgust
'Scum,' Kagome thought.
The body parts that littered the forest floor didn't earn a second glance. They were dead and she was too late to help them. She touched a tree as she noticed shadows against the flames. The sound of sobbing reached her ears and she made sure to stay within the shadows as she weaved through the forest and around the flames. Her eyes narrowed when she saw a few females huddled together, their eyes staring in one direction.
The liquid ran down the side of a heavily tattooed neck as a thick hand held the bottle over an open greedy mouth. As soon as the liquid was spent, the glass container was hurtled toward the frightened females. She was no longer naïve and knew the fate of these girls. Kagome ticked off the men in the group and realized there were eight and she had twenty arrows, the odds weren't horrible. Kagome held her bow in her hands with resolution as she heard the bandits loudly laugh and speak of whores Kagome pulled free an arrow and allowed a dim pink to consume the bone tip with ease. She pulled back and felt the wood give to the strength of her arm.
She inhaled once, twice, and then she released the arrow. The projectile flew true to aim and she watched as the tip buried itself through the ear of the gorging man and out the other side of his head. Kagome watched with grim satisfaction as he fell forward dead, her arrow was lost, but it was worth it. She quickly targeted more and let the arrows fly with a vengeance.
Kagome twisted moving through the forest as she tried to stay out of sight. There were still five men left for her to get rid of. She pulled another arrow, stopped, and released at the first man she saw.
Kagome had never been one for physical activities and let the pain of her air deprived muscles fuel her. She wasn't going to lose to these men. Kagome bit her lower lip and gripped an arrow tightly in her hand. Hands grabbed her shoulders from behind causing her to hiss. She jammed her elbow under the sternum and brought her fist up crushing her attacker's nose. Without hesitating, she stabbed her arrow into the attacker's heart.
Kagome didn't allow herself to feel as she pulled free another arrow and nocked it with ease. The sound of leaves crunching caught her attention and she took aim at the direction of the sound and fired.
Six was confirmed dead as she heard blood gurgle into the throat of this man.
Too many times she had been injured in the past because of her lack of action. She refused to be helpless because she hadn't been helpless for the past two years as she wandered these lands. Kagome pulled free her blade and slashed at the presence she felt behind her. Blood sprayed her as she watched the man grip his throat and fall over dead.
Thick hands wrapped around her neck as she was slammed into a tree, her head bounced with the impact. She stabbed her knife into the attacker's wrist and was slammed once more for her effort. She ignored the man's cursing as she tried desperately to breathe. Her pathetic inhalations only earned her more pain as he continued to squeeze. She clawed and kicked as he lifted her up the tree, brown eyes glaring at her and promising her a slow death. Silver flashed in the light of the flames and she felt the tip of the knife pressed at the hollow of her throat. She couldn't help the whimper that escaped her throat as the man pressed forward and dragged the knife downward, cutting into her outfit.
Kagome reacted without caring. Her hand wrapped around the blade and she tightly gripped it so as to stop its descent. Dark barking laughter taunted her and she rasped a scream as he pulled the knife out of her grip and sliced open her palm.
It was enough to make him think her weak and she reached up, pulled free an arrow, and stabbed it forward. The man roared as he lost an eye, but dropped her as he wrapped his hand around the shaft of the arrow. Kagome quickly pulled another free and lunged at him, all sense of self gone. All she knew now was that if she wished to live, she had to kill him first. The man's weapon caught her across her arm and she hissed in pain. She drove her arrow into his heart until the thin wood snapped in her palm. Kagome felt the metal slash down her chest and she jumped back to avoid more damage. She slammed her palm into his nose and heard a grunt. Her eyes were wild as she watched the man fall over, hopefully dead.
Patiently, she waited to see if he would move and when he didn't, she exhaled and fell to her knees. Her eyes caught the women fleeing and she snorted, some gratitude. Kagome wrapped herself in a hug and focused on everything within her. She wouldn't be stupid; she had been trained better than stupidity. The flow of her powers was like a warm wind dancing across the skin, the injuries she had earned stung as they knit back together. When it was finished, she promptly fell backwards and stared up at the dark sky through the canopy of the tress.
Kagome was drained and decided that since the threat was dead it would be fine to rest for a moment while her energy replenished. She exhaled and listened to the crackling flames.
Warmth traveled along her bloodied shoulder causing her eyes to flicker under the lids. She was trying to pull herself from the darkness of rest when she felt it again. Warmth pressed roughly against her bloodied shoulder, this time she could feel a sting against her flesh. Her fingers twitched and she kept her body calm.
'What is licking me?' Kagome worriedly thought.
The flames from the fire should've kept predators at bay, of course no predator truly liked dead prey. The thought of a human licking blood from her sealed wound caused her stomach to flip in disdain. She had dealt with many things and didn't wish to deal with cannibals. Tiny fingers pressed into her arm as she felt the coolness of a shadow lean over her. If the hands were this small and the weight not much, then whatever found her had to be a small. She wasn't a fool and wouldn't risk trusting something that was licking the blood from her body. Kagome felt the creature move and heard it scuffle toward her foot. She felt her sandal being pulled off and grimaced; she had splattered blood upon herself.
Kagome tightly gripped the blade in her hand. She would open her eyes and tackle whatever this thing was. Sapphire eyes slowly cracked open and she bent her neck to see down her body. She couldn't help the widening of her eyes as she stared at the small mass in shock as tiny fingers prodded at her bloodied foot, golden eyes burned orange in the shadows of the flames as the child looked confused at her foot.
The child leaned forward and Kagome watched as a white tongue stretched out and ran along her foot, trying to clean off the blood. Blunt teeth that were abnormally rounded brushed against her skin as the child licked the blood. She heard the strange child's stomach grumble before it popped her foot into its mouth and tried to bite down with teeth that weren't fit for tearing. Kagome nervously chuckled and sat up watching as the child's golden eyes went wide till the black pupil consumed the gold.
She had seen many things in her life, but she had never imagined that she would witness a child that was evenly separated by black and white sucking on her foot. Kagome noted that the mop of wild spiked green hair seemed out of the place. She didn't want to startle the child away, because he was a bit odd and she was used to odd things. If he meant no harm then she wouldn't mind a traveling companion, if it was evil, well…she would cross that bridge when she came to it. Kagome took in the leaves that sprouted from under his ratty brown cloak that resembled something like a flytrap. She noticed the leaves twitch as his eyes wildly darted about. Kagome withdrew her foot from his mouth with a loud pop. The child's fingers tightened on her foot, a black hand and a white hand gripping her limb.
"It's not good to eat live people," Kagome calmly pointed out.
His black and white chubby cheeks were puffed up as he bit his lower lip. Kagome tugged her foot from his grip and crossed her legs as she studied him. He was a bit odd, but she had seen worse.
Her eyebrows furrowed at his stutter, but she was happy to know he could speak. It wouldn't be a positive experience to deal with a brute. Kagome peered at him and noticed how his white cheek flushed red, she didn't know why.
"Can you understand me?" Kagome calmly questioned as she watched him.
The child gave a quick nod showing her that he understood her words. His hands clasped together and tightly held the other as he kept his gaze focused on the forest floor.
"Where are you from?" Kagome questioned.
If he had parents, then she could return him. He placed her sandal back on and stared at her for a few silent moments, before he moved past her. Kagome got to her feet trying to ignore the stinging saliva that coated her foot. She followed the child past the bodies of her kills and the randomly scattered limbs before noticing a tipped cart. His golden eyes focused her before he lifted a black hand and pointed at the small crate. Her eyes widened in shock as she stared at the crate. It had to be no bigger than a dog house. There were tiny holes cut into it, but nothing more.
"You were in there?" Kagome questioned, managing to keep her voice calm.
"Y..yes," the child responded.
"Where are your parents?" Kagome quickly asked staring at him.
The child fiddled with his fingers, yes, she felt confident in referring to the child as a male despite his oddities. The child continued to squeeze his fingers as he muttered something. Kagome's eyebrows furrowed as she tried to decipher what he said, but it was spoken too low. Kagome crouched down so she was eye level with him.
"Can you repeat what you said?" Kagome asked with a bright smile.
She watched him swallow and finally he replied, "I don't know."
Kagome didn't lose her smile because she didn't want him to think she was mad at him. She honestly wasn't upset with him, but she was wondering a few things about him.
"Which village are you from?"
Once again, he shrugged and his bare foot kicked at the dirt as his eyes strayed everywhere. Kagome cupped her chin and wondered why he was so nervous. His stomach rumbled and she found herself arching a brow, which brought another question about the monochrome child.
"Can I ask why you were licking me?" Kagome calmly inquired as she stared at him dully.
His foot really dug into the ground now at his nervousness. He chewed his lower lip as he really stared at the ground.
"I thought you were dead."
Kagome blinked, it couldn't be healthy to go around licking dead bodies.
"…and I was hungry."
Kagome stopped, blinked and decided to close her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. Maybe whoever kept him in that cage really did a number on him. She didn't want to jump to conclusions and label him a monster because of this…whatever this was. Kagome wondered if Konoha would be able to help him more than her. She opened her eyes and smiled at him as she stood to her height and notice that he was already at her hips in height.
"How old are you?" Kagome questioned.
He arched the black eyebrow upon his white side with confusion. Kagome internally cooed at the action, it was cute to see such an action.
"Sev…seven," he muttered and paused. Kagome watched as he opened his mouth and then shut it with a firm clamp.
Kagome crossed her arms as she watched the child nervously fidget about before he went eerily still. She finally saw that he wasn't going to ask anything and sighed.
"Have you heard of Konoha?" Kagome asked and watched as his eyebrow furrowed. "I'm travelling there would you like to go with me?"
She watched as his eyebrow shot up. His mouth slightly opened in shock as his eyes finally locked onto her own. It was the first time he had actually made eye contact and she couldn't help but notice his shock, it was amusing. The child's shock made her chuckle; it seemed that he hadn't had much experience outside his small cage. His fingers twitched as he watched her.
"I'll make you a deal," Kagome easily drawled. "I'll help you out until I get home and you don't try to eat me, okay?"
She leaned forward and watched him blush on the white side as his black side seemed to pale a bit. Kagome held out her hand and watched as he stared at it.
He reached out with both hands and took her hand as he stared at her flesh. His thumbs soothed over the one tone with awe before he gave a firm nod. Kagome smirked at him happy that was resolved; she hoped she could get him settled before she had to leave. Despite his oddities, she didn't just want to abandon him.
"What's your name?"
His question caught her off guard, because he hadn't really been speaking that much. She felt his grip on her hand tighten as if she would try to escape.
"My name is Higurashi Kagome."
"Kagome," he softly mumbled as if tasting it on his tongue.
"And your name?" Kagome inquired with a soft smile.
He looked away with a scowl and replied, "They called me Zetsumu."
Her eyes softened as she watched him look away. Gently she reached for his face. Her arms brushing against the soft plant like extensions she cradled the dark side of his face. His golden eyes still looked toward the ground despite her soft touch. She wondered why someone would call a child nothing, it was cruel.
"Well," Kagome teased as she let her fingers tap the side of his cheeks with a grin, "I think Zetsu would suit you just fine…not Zetsumu."
Kagome withdrew her hand and stared down at him as he contemplated his name change. She watched as he kicked the ground once more before giving her a small smile and agreeing with the name. Happy that the child was content she turned her gaze to the bodies surrounding her.
"Well Zetsu," Kagome sighed, "You stay here while I try to salvage some of my arrows and then I'll hunt for us."
He didn't reply as he watched the woman move about the area. It couldn't be explained, but as he watched her grip an arrow, place a foot on the corpse's head, and tug the arrow free, he chuckled at the action. She went around trying to gather what arrows she could before she reached a body with a dark look.
"Scum," he heard her mutter.
To his amazement, he watched as her hand glowed pink. She pressed her hand to the body and he watched as it turned to dust under her touch. She seemed satisfied with her action and turned her gaze back to him.
"So Zetsu, what's your favorite food?" Kagome asked as she moved toward him and held out a plain looking hand. He took her hand without worry; if she were going to harm him then she would've already tried.
"I…don't know," Zetsu softly admitted.
Kagome scowled as she tightened her grip on his hand. Trust it to people to act worse than some of the monsters she had seen. People always treated odd things cruelly, of course, if they were cruel to family, then why would there be compassion for those that were different. Her hand tightened on the smaller hand within her own, she would protect this child.
Giving him a bright smile so he wouldn't know the darkness of her thoughts she asked, "How do you like boar?"
Zetsu gave her a blank look.
Zetsu had not been around many humans. In fact, all he remembered were the dark walls of his cage and the slight bouncing motion of the travel. It wasn't like the people that kept him ever let him out. The only sunlight he witnessed was from when they dropped random pieces of meat into the cage. It was only because of his observational skills that he had learned any language. If he hadn't sat with his ear pressed to the wall of his cage then he would've been mute. He didn't know if he resented the humans that kept him caged, but he did resent that they called him 'nothing.'
He couldn't be 'nothing' if he existed.
His cage had been knocked over and broken open when the screams reached him. He had witnessed the humans running away from something. The sharp tang of blood told him that something was wrong and he had witnessed a woman kill a man. She had intrigued him as she dealt a blow that had the man lying dead on the ground and then she had fallen.
It was like the earth was whispering to him, telling him that this was what he smelt. He had carefully avoided the corpses as he made his way to the woman and stared down at her. Her skin was splattered with blood, but he couldn't see any wounds.
She smelt like nothing he had ever been exposed to. The food dropped into his cage was usually spoilt or rancid. He was grateful that his mouth quickly dissolved the food. He saw there was much blood on her shoulder and he tilted his head as he reached out and pushed the material away. Hesitant, he leaned down and let his tongue escape his mouth. She looked dead, so it wouldn't do any harm to taste her. Something that smelt this good couldn't taste all that bad.
He didn't know what compelled him to stick her foot in his mouth, but he knew that he wanted to be closer to her and if sticking her in his mouth did it, then he was all for it. Her flesh within him brought a comfort that he had never experienced before. He wondered if all humans were this delicious and pretty.
'Is there a way to keep her?' He wondered.
Then she awoke.
He was expecting something bad to happen when her eyes landed on him. Her eyes were like the sky, a never ending blue with streaks of silver. She had been kind to him and not at all disgusted by his actions. And then, she had renamed him and touched him. He relished the touch, it was the first he had and he wanted to make it last. So when she agreed to take him he was more than excited despite the hunger he felt.
Her larger hand holding his own made him dizzy with some emotion he had never felt.
Kagome's flesh was exquisite. Such soft flesh that was rough with the work she had just done by killing that man. It smelt of jasmine and felt of protection. He couldn't help but walk closer to her as she spoke of food. The warmth of her being made him want to attach himself to her, he had never experienced this before. So when they were far enough from the wreck she had looked at him. He felt his eyes widen, trying to take in everything about her. Her hair was like the darkness in his cage, never letting anything escape, her flesh was fragile, not tough like his, and her eyes were so observing.
She kneeled in front of him and he realized they were eye level. Her hands helped him sit upon a fallen log and she took his white feet in her hands. They were bruised and cut from the minor journey, but he hadn't noticed. Kagome sighed and he watched as her hands began to softly glow. He tensed wondering if he'd turned to dust like that man and he began to pull his feet back in fear. Kagome softly began to hum when her glowing hand met the underside of his foot. He prepared for the worst, but when no pain came he relaxed. She was rubbing his foot and he was shocked once more as the sores, cuts, and bruises, were soothed into nothing more than his normal white flesh.
"We need to get you shoes," Kagome muttered more to herself. Her eyes stared at his bare white legs and she added, "And pants."
Kagome glanced into the distance and he followed her gaze. He wondered what she was looking at, but couldn't see anything but darkness. Her eyes shined silver in the darkness and he saw her give herself a nod as if coming to some agreement.
"Zetsu." He stared at her as her eyes seemed to track something in the darkness. "I am going to hunt so I want you to stay here and not move."
She smiled at him and then she was gone. He was surprised at the speed she moved. It was like she had blurred from existence. The darkness caused him to fidget and he wondered if this was all a dream and he was still in his cage. The lingering warmth on his hands and the taste of jasmine on his tongue told him otherwise. He heard the twang of something snapping and then a squeal. The scream echoed in the darkness and he jumped at the sound as he slid to the ground and pressed his back to the log. The sound of grass being crushed caused him to focus ahead as a gray figure came into sight.
When the gray receded, Kagome was there smiling at him. The animal she held was leaking blood onto the ground. The soft dripping of liquid caused him to look from the animal to her bloodied hand. She kneeled before him and stared at him as if contemplating something. Kagome set the pig down and produced a bloodied knife; it looked like a weapon she used to slit the animal's throat. Zetsu reached out, touched the course fur, and watched as she used her fingers to lift the fur away as she began to cut the fur away.
It took her a few moments, maybe longer, but finally she pulled free a cut of pink meat. She held it out to him with a sigh and slightly queasy look.
"I don't have the tools to make a fire, but it's safe to eat now," Kagome explained.
He reached out with his black hand without complaint and took the meat from her fingers. Kagome watched under the light of the moon as he stuck the meat within his mouth and merely swallowed. She cut free another piece and gave him it to watch the same actions. Suspicion crept up on her and she purposely cut a big chunk of meat free. Zetsu plopped the piece of meat into his mouth and held it there for a few moments before swallowing.
'He isn't chewing,' Kagome warily thought.
Kagome remembered the stinging sensation of his tongue on her skin and wondered if he had a type of acid in his mouth. She sighed, cut free a piece of meat, and tossed it into her mouth. She chewed the meat until she could swallow it. This continued for a few moments until she decided to speak.
"Zetsu." Kagome calmly began, "…how do you eat without chewing?"
His eyes seemed to spark and he was proud as he simply explained, "My mouth dissolves anything."
Kagome warily smiled at his answer and concluded it had to be some type of acid. She wouldn't doubt that it had something to do with his plant type appearance. When they were finished with the boar she let her Miko ki consume it and watched as it turned to ash. Zetsu watched as the blood upon her hand seemed to vanish as well. He happily took her hand and they continued to walk away from where they had been. Kagome stopped and picked Zetsu up and slung him over her onto her back. His arms wrapped around her neck as his legs gripped her hips. She carefully placed her hands under his bare knees and began her walk once more.
"I can walk," Zetsu softly muttered into her ear.
Kagome snorted and replied, "Yeah, but I have shoes."
Zetsu closed his eyes and concentrated. The extensions upon his shoulders slowly shrunk until he was happy to see that they had become nothing more than a single thin and large leaf that rested upon his shoulders. Kagome glanced over at him and he stared at her as she noticed the missing appendages and weight.
As Kagome continued to move forward, Zetsu buried himself in her long raven hair. He was content to soak in her warmth and surround himself with her scent of jasmine. His nose pushed into her neck and he exhaled, this was so much better than his cage. He focused on her steady breathes and listened to her heart as it beat. Zetsu relaxed and soon found himself drifting into unconsciousness.
Kagome smirked at the sleeping child upon her back, he was strange, but he wasn't such a bad guy. All he need was a little love and care and she had no doubt he could be happy. She knew that Konoha was three miles away and paused in her step. It would be best to rest for the remaining hours and then approach the gates when she wasn't looking like death. Kagome kneeled and twisted so Zetsu was in her arms. She stared down at his serene child face and wondered if he rested this well in his cage.
Kagome moved over to a large tree she curled her back against the bark and cradled the child into her body.
With a soft sigh, she found rest as she kept Zetsu secured in her grip.
Kagome knew that she smelt and she could admit that Zetsu smelt off, despite the underlying hint of bamboo he seemed to carry. So, as soon as the sun rose she had searched out a lake. Zetsu clung to her back as they moved in a direction Zetsu pointed to.
"Water is there."
For a child that had been caged, she was surprised that he knew where the lake was. He had simply told her that the Earth had told him, whatever that meant. Still, she was pleased when they found the lake. Kagome pulled her white haori off and proceeded to clean it off any blood. It wouldn't do any good waltzing into a village looking like she had just happily slaughtered something. Her Miko ki gathered at her fingertips as she moved the water and them over the stains which began to fade. Kagome glanced over at Zetsu and scowled.
"Zetsu!" Kagome snapped as his eyes instantly focused on her as he began to rapidly blink. "Don't stare at the sun!"
The boy risked another glance before walking towards her. She honestly didn't know how he hadn't fried his eyes while staring at the thing. Kagome rolled her eyes and pointed to him and then the lake. He merely blinked at her in confusion. Kagome undid the knots at her hips and pulled off her hakama. It was moments like these she was thankful for the black shorts she wore and chest bindings. Zetsu watched as she got into the water and he still stared at her. Kagome held out a hand which he took without hesitation.
"We have to get you clean," Kagome murmured.
Zetsu allowed her to pull off his ratty cloak and watched as she blushed as she kept eye contact with him. She picked him up and warned him that the water was going to be cold. He flinched as the truth of her words met his skin. He shivered as she quickly worked to clean him. They didn't have any soap, but it was better to smell damp than like blood. Kagome pulled Zetsu out of water and let him dry out in the heat of Konoha's sun, which he began to stare at again.
"You're going to go blind if you keep staring at the sun," Kagome warned as she pulled knots free from her hair.
"I've…never seen the sun," Zetsu admitted as he turned his gaze toward her.
"Then close your eyes and enjoy the warmth, but don't stare at it," Kagome softly advised.
Zetsu took in her words and closed his eyes as he raised his face to the bright star. He soaked in the warmth and relished it as it heated his cold skin. The sounds of water splashing caused him to turn in the direction of the sound and open his eyes. Kagome was currently rubbing her skin down in the water and he found himself smiling as she removed herself from the liquid.
"What are you so happy about?" Kagome questioned as she kept her eyes firmly on his face.
"You're like the sun," Zetsu calmly stated as he smiled at her.
Zetsu decided he liked that that her skin wasn't like his own. It tinted pink like a flower and he liked it that way. Kagome handed him his ratty cloak and proceeded to dress without another word. When she was finally clothed she sighed and turned to stare at the still smiling child.
"Zetsu…I," Kagome paused, unsure of how to phrase this. She wanted to get home and knew that she wouldn't be able to stay with him forever. He seemed to sense the change in her mood and his small smile began to fade into something bland.
"You w…won't leave me, right?" Zetsu muttered.
Kagome felt her eyebrows furrowed and something within her chest ached at his question. She reached out and pulled him into a hug. His hands twisted in her shirt as he buried his face into her stomach. How she hated situations like these, but she wouldn't abandon him. She would make sure that he was stable before she left for good.
"I'll make sure you can be independent," Kagome assured him.
His golden eyes looked confused as he stared at her and she gently ran her fingers through his green hair with a sigh. She had to rely on herself for so long and now, she would make sure that this child could survive on his own as well.
"Unyielding independence," Kagome softly said to him as she gave him a tight hug.
When they had arrived at the gates of Konoha, she hadn't expected a nice greeting. Of course, she didn't expect this type of greeting. Zetsu had slid off her back and his plant extensions were back in full bloom. His golden eyes warily stared at the men that had surrounded them through the cracks. It figured that the moment then men had seen Zetsu that they had panicked. Shouts of monster had instantly filled the air and she had pushed Zetsu behind her protectively as she glared them down.
"I am here to see the Hokage!" Kagome firmly stated as she felt Zetsu's fingers dig into her hip.
"Not with that thing!"
The man that had spoken had earned her full attention and she smirked when she watched his face pale of color at her look. She saw the kunai he palmed as he watched her and she scowled. If he so much as moved to hurt Zetsu she would seriously hurt him.
"What is going on here?"
Kagome didn't like the feel of this approaching man. He was dressed in a standard uniform, but there was something about him she didn't like. His beady brown eyes took in her appearance and she noted the scar like 'x' upon his chin as he stared down at her from his safe distance. His brown hair stuck up from his forehead protector and she saw the leaf symbol upon it. The black body suit he wore was covered by a gray vest and silver thigh and shin protectors.
"I am here to speak to the Hokage," Kagome repeated.
He regarded her coldly and she wondered who this man was. There didn't appear to be anything special about him, but she knew not to underestimate these ninjas.
"What business do you have with Konoha?" The man demanded.
"I have heard that your Hokage is the most intelligent man and I need that intelligence," Kagome stated.
She watched as his lip twitched and wondered if he didn't like his village leader. His eyes swept over her form, trying to find weapons, but she had ditched her knife long ago and still carried her bow. It wasn't until his gaze focused upon Zetsu that she felt worried. His eyebrows lifted as he regarded the child with growing disdain.
"I have no qualms about allowing you into the village," the man stated, "but that thing will not be allowed in."
Zetsu tensed and she saw his leaves cover his upper body. She felt him shake and she scowled. He was probably afraid of being abandoned. Kagome watched as the ninja eyed the boy and his actions with disgust.
"I find it rude that you speak so cruelly of my son," Kagome coldly stated. She let her hand slip down and over Zetsu's hand. She was pleased that he took her hand in both of his hands tightly. Kagome glanced at him and saw the leaves spread so he could peek out.
"You look nothing alike," the man pointed out.
Kagome raised her chin as she replied, "I'm sure your mother had a personality better than your own…but I am not here to discuss parent and child traits."
He tensed as she heard whispers of the name Danzo and figured this man had to be him. His eyes narrowed at her and she watched his fingers twitch. Kagome felt Zetsu become more tense.
"What's with the hold up?"
The ninja surrounding them jumped at the voice and she switched her gaze behind her. Zetsu pressed tightly into her side as stared at the newcomers. They wore the symbol of the leaf village, but they appeared like they hadn't come to deal with her. From what she had seen of other villages, she
could only assume that they had come from a mission. Their eyes went from Danzo and then to Kagome and then to the child that was trying to fuse with her leg and remain still. She saw all three of them openly gawk at Zetsu before settling their gaze back on her.
"Danzo, you harassing the ladies again because they kept turning you down?"
The male that spoke had spunk. Kagome didn't know if it was because of his white spiked hair or the red lines that ran down his face, but there was something in his eyes that she had seen before. Miroku had the same look in his eyes and Kagome smirked at the tanned man as he taunted Danzo with a smirk. He was dressed like a ninja, but had a black cloak wrapped around his shoulders. She could easily see the gray armor against the forest green outfit he wore, but decided not to comment on his choice of shoes.
'Is it even possible to fight in Geta?'
"I merely wish to speak to the Hokage and have come unarmed," Kagome repeated.
The white haired ninja seemed to look her over before he turned a bored stare to Danzo. She swore he winked at her too,
"What business do you have in Konoha?" The female questioned.
The woman was dressed in a short teal kimono with black leggings that reached her knees. The wrist guards on her magenta in color matching the lining of her kimono. Kagome could make out the traditional fishnet under her shirt, but her eyes focused upon a gem on her chest that appeared to be a necklace. The woman cocked a hip and placed a hand on it as her tiger brown eyes narrowed in question. This blonde wasn't one that she was going to annoy any time soon.
"I would prefer not to spout my reasons off in public," Kagome calmly reasoned. "I have come to seek help and it would not do to lie, but I wish things to be kept from the public.
"Understandable," the white haired one agreed.
"Regardless," the other male spoke. "These are times of war and we can't allow." Golden eyes shifted to the child at her side, "Suspicious beings entry."
Kagome scowled at this one, she didn't like the vibes from him. Of course, he could be like Sesshoumaru, takes more than one meeting to like, but she doubted it. His golden eyes remained fixed on Zetsu, his too pale skin almost translucent.
"I assure you that we mean no harm," Kagome sighed. "I don't know what else to do to prove this to you."
"Tsunade," the white haired one spoke, "go alert the Hiruzen while Orochimaru and I question her."
The young woman scowled at being told what to do, but gave a nod. Kagome watched as she vanished over the gates. Danzo verbally growled as he glared at the male.
"This is my territory Jiraiya and you have no right to interfere!" Danzo snapped at the male who simply smirked.
Jiraiya went to speak again but Orochimaru placed a hand upon his shoulder and shook his head. He turned his golden gaze to Danzo when he smirked.
"As Hiruzen's students I believe we would know his wishes best," Orochimaru pointed out. He waved a hand to Kagome and stated, "I believe we will reach better agreements speaking to her ourselves."
Danzo's left hand twitched as the ninja vanished. Kagome felt Zetsu relax against her and she placed a comforting hand upon his mop of green hair. Danzo turned a glare to her and the child and she glared back at him as she stood her ground.
"If she and that monster cause trouble then don't expect my faction's help."
With those words, the man vanished and Kagome relaxed. She softly massaged Zetsu's scalp, her nails gently scrapping against his skin causing him to relax.
"It didn't go that bad, did it?" Kagome questioned the child.
She watched as he shrugged and she couldn't help but chuckle. Her eyes found Jiraiya and Orochimaru staring at her in confusion. She felt Zetsu reach up and take her hand into both of his with ease. Kagome tightly gripped Zetsu's hand, feeling as if she was the one being comforted.
"I am not from this world," Kagome simply stated.
Honesty was the best policy, or so she hoped. Her voice drifted upon the air and silence consumed them. It was the warmth of the sun that assured her that the time had not frozen. They both looked at her with gazes that spoke volumes about what they thought of her already.
"That explains the weird child," Orochimaru muttered.
"Do not speak ill of my son," Kagome hissed as her free hand fisted.
'Son?' Zetsu thought.
It was the second time she had referred to him as such. He didn't know what the word meant, but he could only assume that it was something very personal because of the way people responded to Kagome. Surely, a son had to be something important.
"I can tell he's not your child," Jiraiya calmly stated with a growing smirk. "Your hips do not have the swell that most women have after birthing a child."
Kagome's cheeks went red as his eyes focused upon her hips. She missed the glare Zetsu sent Jiraiya, but the man didn't. Zetsu wrapped his arms around Kagome as if trying to hide her body from Jiraiya's sight.
"We are not here to discuss paternity matters," Orochimaru coldly reminded as he glared at his friend.
"Like I said, I am not from this world. I come from a place where ninja and things such as tailed beasts don't exist at this level," Kagome calmly explained.
"No ninja," Jiraiya mumbled.
"What does exist in your world?" Orochimaru decided to ask and indulge her.
She explained that she came from a place where youkai roamed free, things like the tailed beast but not made of chakra, but an actual species. Jiraiya took an interest in the mating habits of youkai, but seemed truly intrigued about Miko and Houshi.
"Humans don't have the abilities we have?" Orochimaru surmised, a bit disgusted at this fact.
"There are those with spiritual powers that can heal and purify darkness," Kagome corrected. "We can also see and imbue items with powers if need be."
"So these tailed…youkai don't destroy the humans of your world?" Jiraiya skeptically asked.
"Correct, the Taiyoukai and humans with spiritual gifts keep them subdued," Kagome answered.
This explained why she was at ease with the strange child. Most would've already tried to escape the strange child's grasp. Kagome had left out the details of the Shikon no Tama, the object had long since been destroyed and she saw no need to bring it up.
"I was violently pulled from my world and had a strange marking appear on my stomach," Kagome stated. "I want to get home and if your Hokage can help me I will swear loyalty to this village."
Kagome removed her bow from her shoulder and dropped it to the ground along with her arrows. She held up her hands and both men watched in shock as her hands were engulfed in a faint pink glow.
"This is my proof."
Zetsu calmly took her glowing hand and wasn't harmed or disturbed by it. He had somehow worked out that she wouldn't harm him in the slightest. He turned his golden gaze to the men and calmly watched them as they looked at each other in tense shock.
"We will take you to the Hokage, but if you try anything you will be killed," Jiraiya warned as they moved forward.
Kagome let her energy fade and watched as they took her weapons. The gates of Konoha were opened and she was shocked to see such a built village. She had expected shacks, nothing like what she was seeing. Kagome made sure she had a tight grip on Zetsu's hand.
"Will Zetsu be safe here?" Kagome softly asked as she met the gaze of Orochimaru.
"As long as he doesn't cause trouble," Jiraiya assured her.
Kagome happily smiled at them as she squeezed Zetsu's hand, "I'm sure this little guy won't be a troublemaker at all."
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