Story: Trapped in the Glass
Author Notes: Well, doing it again. Felt the need to do something new and as I have a great love of Kagome/Byakuya I wanted to do something new with them. This is set starting in chapter 468 of the manga. I also need to say Tsukeshima is Aizen 2.0 and he just needs to grow the butterfly wings already.
Chapter One: Fall Back
"I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating"
The rap of the light rain was stark on the metal sheeting that made up the old shacks roof. The young woman standing near the well the ramshackle structure housed spent what her family thought were too many evenings lingering within hoping her link to her friends would open for her. One year had passed, Kagome Higurashi graduated high school and would be going on to college, studying to be a reporter. It was the only thing she could think of that might give her the rare glimpse of the excitement she missed from her days in on the other side of run down well she spent so many evenings camped next to. The life she was building though seemed like a mask, she could smile and put on airs for her family and friends but she knew better. Her real self, who she wanted and what she wanted, had been postponed indefinitely.
She traced the ancient wood carefully with her fingers, she could still feel the feint tie it had to the tree outside, another of very few things that had survived the differences between the feudal era and her own time. Lately she could feel many more things out in the world around her that she could not before her training to be a priestess by Kaede. She wondered if on the other side of the well if the grandmotherly woman was still alive. None of her friends would have survived to her own time. Even demons weren't immortal. Something had happened in the five hundred year span between the modern day and the feudal times that had wiped the demons out.
Still, every once in a while she could feel something, a small flicker in the distance, hard to make out and foggy but still pushing at the edge of her awareness. As if there was more even here in this time just beyond her reach. Making her life all the more worrisome, was it just her having memories of when she ran with Inuyasha and the others, or could it be there really was something maddeningly close that she couldn't manage to pierce? It was hard to say.
This was the last night she would be able to camp out next to the well, a final fruitless grasp at finding salvation from a commonplace life. She'd walked in the fields of a fairy tale and now she could never be fulfilled by the lack of fantasy. She knew that she would need to close the door on this part of her history though, once she had left her home and the portal it possessed she likely wouldn't again find such a place.
For all her hatred of Naraku, for knowing that he had to be killed for the world to be good again, she couldn't help but want to have those days back. Many of those days had been painful, she had wished for nothing else than their journey to end. Faced with the banality of this reality she wanted them back again. Tomorrow she would leave for college, it wasn't here but in another city an hour or so north of Tokyo called Karakura town. She wasn't looking forward to moving on, it was like some part of her was turning her back on her friends, but she couldn't stay here forever. She did plan on waiting through the night – but most of that time was gone. Even with the light rain, she could see the outside starting to brighten as the sun began to peak over the horizon. She'd never hated it more than she did just then…that light only further illuminated the oppression she knew she'd feel for the rest of her days.
It was numbly that she slowly dropped her hand from the familiar wood of the well, turning her head away with tears in her eyes as she went to shower and get ready to take the train. She was already packed; most of her things had already been moved to the apartment she would be sharing with Eri. It would be her first days not visiting the well since her departure and she couldn't help but feel nervous about that as well as this new life she was preparing to move into.
Kagome managed not to cry; she'd gotten very practiced at smiling through her sorrow. Going through the motions she was ready before much time had passed and was near the door hugging and wishing her family goodbye even though she wouldn't be that far away and would probably be able to visit easily on the weekends. She told her mom she'd be fine, Souta he could not have her room, and Grandpa that she would still visit the shrines in Karakura town at least once a week.
The train ride was long, and at the off hour was empty enough that she was able to shed a few of the tears in her eyes. She would miss all of them, her family and friends from here and from the past. Even knowing she could visit often didn't make parting from home any less distressing. After a few tears though she wiped back up her face and fixed her make up, she had to meet some of her professors later and didn't want to look anything less than her best. The rest of the trip she took with a quiet despondency that was an accustomed habit.
Before long she was opening the door into the small but still two bedroom apartment, looking around at their sparse furniture and heading to put her clothes away from the suitcases she'd drug with her today. Eri had left a note that she'd already headed to the campus to start meeting people but Kagome wanted to get her things in order before following. It was a open day. It would allow her to pick up her schedule and just look around campus and meet professors. She wasn't concerned with getting there very early. A glance at the clock read her at nine thirty in the morning, she had plenty of time to accomplish putting her things away and would still get there before lunch.
All of which she did in short order. It didn't take her long to put things away, the campus was only a few blocks from the apartments and she'd already picked up her schedule and looked around, even met the one strict-seeming professor that was actually in her room. A middle aged woman called Professor Ringo and would be teaching her Botany course – it was the science credit she'd decided to try for given her small bit of experience with herbs. Though the lack of many plants in the actual office left her concerned as to how well that course would go.
The rest of her professors had already left for lunch so she figured she'd meet them in class, her own stomach was groaning protest by then as she'd skipped breakfast. Glancing over the cafeteria only gave her signs that marked it as opening tomorrow so she went to walk and look for any food near the campus itself.
Then a burst of energy echoed unmistakably in her mind, rocking her so much she stopped mid-step, mouth hanging slightly ajar at the flash of light she saw not all that far away in an alley. Her stomach's grumbles forgotten she tore down the road, she'd still worked out every day, ran often, worked with her archery and reflexes. She half wished she'd brought the bow she had stashed in her closet. It was only a moment before she turned the corner to see two dark haired men with swords facing each other.
They weren't all that dissimilar, they had on different clothes, one was wearing a set of suit pants, a nice white shirt, suspenders but was minus the jacket. The other was wearing what seemed to be a strange white coat over a black kimono, it's collar quite high and with small tassels on either side. The same one had odd hairpieces splitting parts of his hair. Their faces were somewhat similar, they were both handsome, sort of regal, though one had very dark eyes and the other's were a gray color. They'd been talking before she rounded the corner but she didn't hear them. Then the one in suspenders moved suddenly and cut a leaf in half.
If she couldn't sense something obviously off about them she'd of dismissed them as nerd's wanting to play ninja. Then the one that killed the leaf spoke.
"Did that seem like a meaningful action to you?" He had a light tenor voice, it would have been pleasant if she couldn't feel the hostility within it. Kagome had always been good at reading people and it was very clear this man held incredible distain for the world around him and the man standing across from him.
"I will not underestimate any action to be meaningless." The second man replied, his tone was a deeper baritone and quite serious, requiring attention without actually demanding it. Kagome had to stare a long moment at the face off, not knowing what to think, it wasn't exactly what she expected whenever she finally touched something supernatural again.
"Oh?" Suspenders replied, the light raise of his voice condescending despite the calm expression. He drew back his sword as if to attack the other man this time though they were some distance apart.
"Scatter, Senbonzakura." The deeper man intoned and Kagome could feel her mouth agape but couldn't quite manage to close it. The blade of his sword had fractured into all manner of cherry blossoms…though her body and mouth only stared dumbly at the beautiful display her mind was catching up a little more quickly.
"That doesn't seem like it'll help."
As if reading her mind, Suspenders drug his sword along the ground before leaping over the line of pink flying his way, the small struggled continued with the two stepping so quickly they seemed to flash in and out of place. She suddenly stepped forward as they got closer though, pushing the more well dressed man back. "Stop, he put something there in the ground."
She paused, feeling her cheeks start to redden as both the men stared at her with shocked expressions. The world suddenly looked different; the alley she'd been in was replaced with a strange block like world that made her frown. "What…what the hell are you two doing?"
"You…" She pointed suddenly at Tsukishima and her own eyes widened as she realized why the pull of energy was so familiar moments before when he'd drug his sword over the ground. "You augmented time!"
"Yes." Tsukishima outright grinned at the change in events, it was unexpected but he had just found another creature with the right spark to be one of the minions beneath him. "Book of the End slips my presence into my target's past. I put a trap there a long time ago, but how did you notice? Or more importantly how did you get here?"
He wasn't generally one to talk so much but his moment of surprise on his opponent was lost, and learning what he could was wise. Byakuya seemed as shocked to see the human as he did. He'd figured the world created by Yukio wouldn't allow interruptions from the outside, it seemed that his opponent had believed the same.
"I dunno…you guys are loud…" Kagome answered uncomfortably. Wishing more than ever she'd of brought her bow and arrows. She could focus her will into holy energy without them but it was always fairly unstable when she had tried it last time she'd destroyed part of the yard. She hadn't done much practice after that. "…where the heck are we?"
Byakuya had recovered from his own momentary shock, the young woman had a strange reiastu but she'd been trying to help him so for the moment he returned to his own agenda. Pointing the bladeless hilt at the other man the petals flew up into the air again speeding toward him. Though the man vanished and appeared behind them but she could feel him, she turned even as Tsukishima caught Byakuya's hand.
"I've cut even your sword. I'll never be stuck once more by your blade. Your sword and your techniques, I've seen them so much it's downright boring." The quietly spiteful man went to draw his blade across Byakuya's chest but a light shot from Kagome's palm, it slammed him harshly in the chest knocking him backwards with such force he was rolling across the ground.
"Stop it!" Kagome grit her teeth, the feeling of his corrosive blade using it's malignant ability to erode pieces of history was darkly familiar. It was like the shadowed cousin of the magic that used to take her to the past; the son of the pink crystal that had stolen her from her true home. It drew up her own hackles and made her feel her own venom toward the man that would use such a needlessly destructive thing. "Stop augmenting reality to fit what you want! I won't allow it!"
Her hand was burning from calling on her ability for the first time in such a long while, but she pushed the ache out of her mind, doing her best to focus on the fight that unfolded in front of her. Byakuya had not missed the opportunity and the two were flashing here and there making it impossible to follow with any accuracy and she wasn't willing to draw on her powers without having a clearer shot.
Eventually they both paused some distance away from each other, but the man she'd pushed away from the trap was in front of her. Putting himself between her and the other one she wanted a clear shot on.
"Men." She thought in annoyance. "They choose the worse times to be protective."
"Large words for someone that walked in on something they don't understand. Do you think a untrained human would be able to interfere with me?" Tsukishima commented with a sharp laugh. "Is this your honor Byakuya, fighting with others? Here I thought you'd decided to take me on alone."
Byakuya glanced shortly at Kagome and back at Tsukishima. "You, a con artist that only masquerades having any real skill; who cheats without a shred of dignity, changing the rules of the game when he doesn't like the field he's presented with, who are you to speak of something like honor?"
Tsukishima just laughed again drawing his blade closer. "Just like a soul reaper, all pride and no thought process. What happens when I cut your new friend? There aren't many rules when it comes to doing what it takes to win. I imagine you'll like being on the end of that ability of hers."
He was blasted back again a moment later, the strength of the new shot better and more accurate than the last. Though this time he was more ready for the impact and flickered out of sight shortly after being hit, an explosive impact where he would have likely taken a lot of damage if he hadn't. Then he was there again, appearing behind Kagome and slashing a narrow wound across her back – he didn't want to damage a new friend after all.
Though what happened wasn't at all what he was expecting, a backlash of images drowned his vision, his ability to augment time suddenly looping when it touched someone that was already out of the normal line the flow of the clocks hands followed. The hesitation was enough for Senbonzakura to surround him, and even though he knew what was about to happen, even though he'd seen it so many times he'd called it dull moments before he couldn't move fast enough to get out of the way of the agony he was about to endure. It suddenly seemed less boring as the waves of salmon blades surrounded him.
Kagome was relocated, though she'd already gotten a couple small scrapes from the floating blades, realizing herself for the first time what they were and wincing as they collapsed in on the man she too had been fighting against if only for a few moments before her own eyes slid shut and she went limp against Byakuya, whose name she still didn't even know.
Byakuya stared silently at the woman, allowing his irritated blade to continue to dismantle the enemy on the ground. The now unconscious young girl was smaller than him, shorter, easy enough to hold up with one hand, and yet she had somehow gotten involved and crossed the barrier's that had been placed. He could still feel flashes of reiatsu from the other battles happening around him, sense the cut off of his own opponents pressure before Senbonzakura finished with him. Though he could see and feel no way out of this little world, so it seemed he was left to wait and contemplate the strange energy of the woman in his arms.
I feel better now. Killing that prick (even if it's only in fan fiction) makes me all warm and fuzzy. I can come up with other things to do if enough folks want me to continue; otherwise I'll probably leave it as a one shot.
P.S. Reviews also make me feel warm and fuzzy