Disclaimer: Inuyasha is the creation of Rumiko Takahashi, serialized in Shogakukan's Shonen Sunday, animated by Sunrise, and distributed in America exclusively under license by Viz, LLC. I do not claim ownership to the characters contained herein. The plot only is my own creation, and I do it in homage of a series I love.
Story Summary: In a world where youkai roam freely and humans fear the night, a young hanyou finds himself trapped in the body of an Akita with a human girl his only hope of redemption.
Chapter Summary: All stories have a beginning. Some are darker than others. In which a spell is cast and a mind and soul are lost . . .
1/5/04 A.N.Many months after this chapter was revised, I discovered research which indicated that my previous source regarding color vision in dogs was incorrect. This chapter has been edited to reflect the new information. The short explanation is that dogs view the world much as a red-green colorblind person does. See www. uwsp. edu/psych/dog/LA/davis2 .htm for a doggy-vision spectrum and www. mcw. edu/cellbio/colorvision/colorvision .pdf (remove the spaces) for more in depth information that applies across several species.
Also please note that this is an alternate universe fic and at no point in Rumiko Takahashi's story is Inuyasha turned into a dog by anyone.
I am secretly afraid of animals, of all animals except dogs, and even of some dogs. I think it is because of the us-ness in their eyes, with the underlying not-us-ness which belies it, and is so tragic a reminder of the lost age when we human beings branched off and left them, left them to eternal inarticulateness and slavery. 'Why?' their eyes seem to ask us.
'So . . . Death walks openly in the forest, Death in the shadows of the trees.'
The raven banked on silent ebony wings over the treetops. Thunder rumbled in the distance where a mass of storm clouds hovered on the horizon, but the sun shone down warmly on its back as it continued its leisurely search for food. An opportunistic and generally indiscriminate eater, it and the others of its kind never felt the need to flit about frantically in search of a delectable morsel as their more selective avian relatives did. When one did not care what one ate, it was much simpler to find adequate quantities of food. However, even the most enthusiastic scavengers had their favorite delicacies.
This one, in keeping with the feared and loathed reputation of its ancestors, preferred carrion, and it had sensed a dying spirit somewhere in the trees below. Drifting in lazy, ever tightening circles, the raven drew closer and closer to the source of the energy before pinpointing the exact location. It descended among the sheltering green leaves with a rustle of black feathers and took up a watchful position on a branch overlooking a small clearing.
A crumpled figure curled tightly in a protective ball on the mossy ground, having apparently dragged itself into the relative safety of a nest of exposed tree roots protruding from a washed out bank. Dried blood glowed in dull crimson drops in the patches of sunlight that dotted the forest floor, but the raven was disappointed to note the figure's ribcage rising and falling steadily. When the form beneath the tree began stirring uneasily, the scavenger took to silent wings and fled. The dying spirit it sought had already left the clearing anyway. Only a weakened predator remained, and the dark bird had lived long enough to know that it would not be wise to be present when the predator regained consciousness.
'Death has many forms, wears many guises. Deceptive always is Death. Treacherous, treacherous Death.'
The hanyou shifted on the hard ground and tensed as awareness returned to his battered body. It hurt. His sluggish mind could hardly comprehend anything beyond the overwhelming pain, but his more primitive, animalistic senses assured him that for the moment he was safe.
Seething at this apparent weakness, the hanyou threw all the ferocity and stubborn tenacity of his youkai heritage into conquering the pain. The sharp, throbbing ache that started deep in his bones spread across every nerve ending in his body, intensifying into screaming agony with his slightest movement. He bit back a whimper and waged an internal battle within his mind and body in absolute stillness and silence. To draw attention to himself in such a helpless state would be to invite death. The pain finally subsided to a level slightly below intolerable, and he relaxed his muscles and lay panting and unmoving.
A strange stupor clouded his senses, preventing full awareness of his surroundings, but it faded away with a bit of concentration. He lay quietly, eyes closed, letting the knowledge filter in gradually. The familiar, comforting scent of trees and soil filled his seeking nostrils, and a steady breeze ruffled his hair gently, bringing with it the hint of approaching rain. Birds twittered cheerfully overhead, their chirps oddly reassuring. But the sharp metallic tang of his blood and the lingering reek of fear and ozone overlaid it all.
Slowly, almost reluctantly, his eyes cracked open into thin golden slits. The hanyou winced at the sudden invasion of light, and his face twisted into a pained scowl as swirls and blobs of colors danced through his limited field of vision. He blinked, trying to make sense of the abstract images his eyes were sending to his mind, and tilted his head slightly upward. Stabbing pains streaked across his body and painted jagged black lines across his sight before the world around him came slamming back into focus.
The hanyou fought back an illogical wave of alarm. He lay cloaked in the cooling shade of one among a group of tall trees with a scraggly forest clearing behind him and moss beneath him. That observation merely provided visual confirmation for what he had already deduced. The view was nothing unexpected, but there was something strangely wrong with the forest around him. The trees and the soil looked normal enough, if rather pale. However, perhaps because the light fell harshly against his pain sensitized pupils and a haze still clouded the edges of his vision, a subtle and almost sinister difference lurked just beyond his comprehension. The grass, the flowers, and the tree leaves were . . . off. If only he could put his claw on what that change was, but it was difficult to think beyond the pain lancing through his head and across his body.
What had happened to him anyway? He was unbelievably sore, and the tiniest movement sent small needles of agony stabbing into his bruised flesh. He had never hurt so badly after a fight or felt so weak and helpless!
Forcing back the pounding of his headache, the hanyou searched through the hazy cloud of his memories. Brief flashes of images and emotions slowly trickled through the shrouded fog of his mind, and bits and pieces began to painstakingly arrange themselves into a semblance of order. As the memories became clearer, he frowned.
Kikyou . . . had been angry with him for some reason . . .
The hanyou whirled in a cloud of flowing white hair at the sound of his name being roared through the forest. Birds fled from the trees in raucous, fearful flocks, and a growl rumbled low in his throat in an instinctive response to the challenge. A beautiful young woman stalked through the trees toward him with a twisted scowl marring her perfect features. The hanyou froze, growl dying before ever reaching his mouth. He could not move. The force of her hateful glare as she raised her bow to his heart turned his limbs to stone.
Why was Kikyou mad?
Inuyasha cursed the demon trolls hammering at the inside of his skull and clung desperately to the vague scraps of memory.
"You traitorous bastard!" Kikyou hissed, as her eyes narrowed and the sheen of angry tears glimmered in their corners. "I thought I could trust you!"
The hanyou's ears flattened against his skull at the accusation, but he hid his uncertainty behind a customary display of bravado. "Keh! What are you talking about, Kikyou?"
"Don't pretend innocence. Such an illusion doesn't suit you, Inuyasha. We both know you tried to steal the Shikon no Tama."
He blinked, thoroughly puzzled. "Not recently. I don't need to if you're planning to give it to me. Why would I steal it?"
Her mouth twisted into a harsh, grim smile. "For the power. Onigumo said he saw you, and everyone knows you want it."
"Onigumo? That bastard was probably trying to steal it himself!"
"Don't lie to me, Inuyasha! Onigumo is not currently capable of stealing it. A crippled thief would not survive for very long if he tried, and he knows that. Besides, your hanyou taint was all over it!"
Inuyasha flinched as Kikyou's bitter words wounded him far more than any physical injury could. His hanyou taint? What had happened to the Kikyou who had trusted him, cared for him? Why had her faith in him been broken so easily? And why would she take Onigumo's word, the word of a known thief, over his? Because Onigumo was human and not hanyou?
Her fingers tightened on the smooth wood of her bow, and she drew the arrow back, pulling the string taut. "You will never have the power of the jewel. As its guardian I will not let you."
Inuyasha heard her icy words clearly, but he could neither believe nor accept them. He took a hesitant step forward, stretching out a clawed hand in a nervous, appeasing gesture and shaking his head slowly. "I'm not going to take the Shikon no Tama, Kikyou."
"Liar!" she screamed and let the arrow fly.
The force and hatred in her voice startled him and slowed his reaction, and he could not quite dodge her arrow. Inuyasha pulled the feathered shaft from his side and stared uncomprehendingly at the dark stain spreading across his suikan. There was a growing tightness in his chest, and his breath hitched in his throat. A strangled snarl burst from his lips, but even in self-defense he could not attack her. Shaking his head rapidly, his huge, unbelieving eyes hidden beneath his bangs, he took a half step backward.
Kikyou's eyes narrowed at the movement, and she discarded her bow almost carelessly as she approached him. She reached forward, clutching the red cloth of his suikan and pulling his unresisting body forward.
"You will not escape," she whispered softly, leaning her head against his chest.
Inuyasha's eyes widened in panic, and he lunged away, noticing the charge gathering in the air around her too late. The cold finality of her statement alarmed him more than the power that swirled around their bodies and ruffled their hair and clothes, power that slammed into his chest with ruthless force. The hanyou staggered backwards and whirled in a desperate attempt to escape the miko's wrath, yet even as he bounded forward mindlessly on all fours, he knew he would never make it to safety.
Kikyou's holy power washed over his body in a massive cascade of light. The brilliance blinded him, and he fell to writhe sightlessly at her feet. Inuyasha could feel the slick warmth of his blood coating his skin and forming a puddle around his thrashing form. As his pores bled and the burst of power swirled relentlessly around him, wave after wave of fiery agony crashed over him. He was trying to find the words to speak her name when every bone in his body shattered, and his voice ripped from his throat in a long, primal scream of agony.
Kikyou opened her eyes when the screaming finally ceased, and the clearing fell into an unnatural silence. She stared impassively at his bloody, crumpled form before turning to walk away.
A man with long hair and cruel eyes appeared silently at her side from the shadows. "I did not realize you possessed such power," he said calmly, though a hint of alarm lurked beneath his quiet words.
"I did not know I had such power," the miko responded quietly, glancing in the direction of her home where the Shikon no Tama rested. She turned to him, and a small frown wrinkled her forehead. "Your injuries . . ."
"You purified them just now. I am indebted to you for that. You need not fear me." He offered her forgotten bow to her. After a brief hesitation she accepted and walked at his side as they left the clearing.
"I do not fear you."
He chuckled softly and glanced at her from the corner of his eyes. "Then perhaps you will call me by my true name. I am Naraku." He turned his head back to the clearing. "You did not kill him."
The miko stared straight ahead as she walked steadily through the thickening gloom, but a single shining tear raced down her pale cheek. "No, I did not kill him, Naraku," she agreed flatly. "I left him with a fate far worse to him than death."
Inuyasha snarled and tried to struggle to his feet, ignoring the pain that seared along his nerves, but his limbs refused to move correctly and his balance felt strangely off. He turned his efforts to rolling from his side to his stomach and glanced down at his hands where they were digging deep furrows in the ground.
The denial screamed in his mind emerged from his mouth as a startled yelp. Where there should have been clawed fingers he saw white-furred paws. Cold, horrified realization washed over him, bringing with it a strange sense of clarity. Inuyasha shuddered in alarm and whimpered as he forced himself to his feet.
The scent trail, although several hours old, was quite clear. Kikyou had left with Onigumo after turning him into a dog.
Confused sorrow gave way to bitter, ruthless anger. Kikyou had betrayed him.
He had been right to never trust anyone. Kikyou was the closest he had ever come to trusting, and it had led to this. Scarlet swirled slowly in the depths of his gold eyes. Both of them would pay. He would see to that.
A bloodcurdling snarl rose in his throat as the first flash of lightning streaked across the sky.