InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Midnight Meets Moonlight ❯ The Lord of the West ( Chapter 2 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

(A/N: Well, I wasn't expecting such a response from my readers so soon in the story! You guys ultimately rock!!!! I decided that since I hate being stuck with only one chapter in a story, I would not make you guys wait. I really should be working on “FROP”, but I always get inspired when I start a new story, so this one comes first for now. On with the show!)
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, or else he would be in my closet right now and I would give him dog treats…
Chapter Two
The Lord of the West
Kagome never thought three days could be any longer. Sure, she liked traveling, but after days of doing nothing but walking, she began to long for the convenience of a car. Plus, it didn't help whenever Inuyasha became surlier with each mile that they covered towards Sesshoumaru's land. It was obvious the hanyou wasn't looking forward to the possibility of meeting with his elder sibling. Kagome smirked to herself at that thought. Sesshoumaru probably wouldn't be a barrel of peaches himself.
Inuyasha stopped abruptly and turned to the group. “We'll camp here for tonight.”
Kagome dropped her pack where she stood. “Good,” she exclaimed. “I was getting tired.”
“You think after traveling with us for five years you're legs would have gotten used to the work,” Inuyasha said scornfully, but his eyes held no malice.
Kagome just stuck her tongue out at him before turning to Shippo. `Let's go find a stream so I can fill up our water bottles.”
“Okay!” he said and bounded off ahead of her while the rest settled down to make camp.
Kagome gathered the water bottles and followed Shippo, hearing his laughter and squeals as he chased a butterfly. She couldn't help but smile at his antics before she turned to look at the scenery. They were currently on a mountainside that bordered the Western lands and she had to admit that the view was breathtaking. The valley below them was lush and green with meadows and lakes while in the background, more mountains stood, huge and imposing, protecting the beauty within.
Almost as if of their own accord, her thoughts turned to the youkai lord, and she couldn't help but think that his lands represented their master. Cold, hard, and unfeeling, just like the icy mountains, yet inside there must be beauty and softness. Ever since the chance sighting on the street in her time, she hadn't been able to keep her mind off the TaiYoukai for more than a few hours. What would he be like after 500 years? Would he still seem imposing and impassive, or would he show emotion? She almost wished they would come across Sesshoumaru in this little expedition so she could refresh her memory on what the demon was like. Their group hadn't really had a lot of contact with him, seeing as how he and Inuyasha weren't exactly close and tended to try and kill each other with every meeting, but she remembered things here and there that made her believe his character wasn't exactly true to rumors.
Sure, he was the killing perfection, ruthless, seemingly emotionless, and probably the most powerful demon in all of Japan…yet he traveled with a little human girl and protected her. He spared Kohaku when he realized the boy was under Naraku's spell, he hadn't tried to steal Inuyasha's sword once it was proven that it was the only barrier from Inuyasha's demon emerging. He had even saved her from being wedded and bedded to the poison-dealer, Mukotsu. And, after thinking about it, he never killed for the sake of killing. He wasn't a bloodthirsty, mindless monster. He did everything for a reason, calculated with every move. He only killed when provoked or attacked. There was good deep down, she was sure of it, and she wanted to see if it emerged into the future.
Bending down near a babbling brook, Shippo playing in the background, she shook her head at her own thoughts and gave a mental laugh. Here she was analyzing the demon lord like he was a specimen to be observed…although that wasn't such a difficult thing. Even she couldn't deny that the Lord of the Western lands was beautifully handsome.
At this, she laughed out loud. Imagine if Inuyasha were to know her thoughts right now? A mischievous smile landed on her face after her chuckles died down…oh, well, it wasn't so bad to fantasize now and again right? After all, she was a grown woman, not a child anymore, and Sesshoumaru was the epitome of a powerful male. And since she knew he would never give her even so much as a cursory glance, it was perfectly safe to dream and act silly.
Seeing that Shippo was still busy chasing the butterflies, she decided to wander a little bit before heading back to camp. Leaving the water bottles where the lay, she headed upstream along the bank, staying close enough to keep Shippo within earshot. After walking a ways, she was delighted to find a series of boulders that housed a waterfall to go to the stream. It was beautiful! The waterfall collected into a little pool, and her mouth almost started drooling as she spotted a natural hot spring adjoining it. Promptly taking off her shoes and socks, rolling up her pants to mid calf, she plopped onto the ground and placed her feet within the cool water next to the spring, and practically moaned in bliss. It was a warm day, and her feet were tired, and the cool water did much to refresh her.
If anything, Sesshoumaru had beautiful lands, and she fully planned on taking advantage of the hot spring later that night. The air suddenly got a little bit colder and Kagome looked up to see Kikyo standing a few feet away. A little bit taken aback, Kagome recovered quickly and offered a happy smile.
“It's beautiful, isn't it?”
The undead miko stared impassively at the glowing woman on the ground before offering her a stiff nod. “You've been gone a while,” she said softly.
Kagome glanced at the sky and realized how much time had passed since she left the group to gather water. “Oh,” she exclaimed, standing up and gathering her shoes. “I'm so sorry! You guys were probably starting to worry about me. I just couldn't help but look around a bit.”
“That was quite unwise,” Kikyo said in that same tone. “While these lands may be beautiful, there are things lurking in the shadows even here, and you are an unarmed woman.”
Kagome hung her head for a moment. The two women had been getting along well in her opinion, but there were still times when Kikyo made her feel like an incompetent little ninny. She mentally gave herself a shake. Don't let her get to you, Higurashi. You've grown stronger over the years, and you know it. Just let it go.
She lifted her head and gave another bright smile and a laugh which may have sounded a tad forced. “You're right, what was I thinking? I'll remember my bow next time and won't stay by myself for so long. Now, shall we get back to camp before they start worrying about you too?”
Kikyo gave her a look that faintly said everyone knew the older priestess could take care of herself, and Kagome wilted a little inside. She knew Kikyo didn't purposely mean to make her feel like nothing…at least, she didn't in the last few months. It was now just in the miko's nature to be cynical and aloof, and it wasn't Kagome's place to judge her. She just quickly walked past her and downstream to where she had left the water bottles.
“Shippo, it's time to get back now,” she called, and smiled as the fox came running to her side, bits of grass and flowers all over his clothes. “You're filthy!” she exclaimed in mock horror and began to back away, trying not to giggle as he appeared to stalk her and jumped on her. She laughed and began wiping the dirt off of his face and he began to laugh too.
Kikyo looked on, a sad sort of smile playing around the edges of her mouth.
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“Good-bye, Sesshoumaru-sama!” Rin yelled while waving enthusiastically. “Please come back in a few weeks!”
Sesshoumaru gave a little nod and continued on his trek away from the human village. Jaken, clearly before he thought about it, began waving furiously back at Rin before looking affronted at himself and ran to catch up to his Lord. Sesshoumaru looked down on the little demon, and Jaken could have sworn he saw an elegant eyebrow raise and a little quirk at the corner of his master's mouse, and he flushed.
“It's just she probably would have made a fuss if I didn't say good-bye, and I didn't want to hear her constant whining when she came back,” Jaken said, almost as if defending himself from his display of emotion, but his lord said nothing and just kept walking.
Rin had been coming to this village for a while now to practice on her miko powers. After it was established that the girl had spiritual powers to begin with, and because of the fact that she couldn't wander with a demon forever, Sesshoumaru had purposely lingered around the village, knowing one day that Rin would make connections within the village and stay with them permanently.
It had happened slowly, but steadily. She had made friends with the village children first, and then their parents, and began staying longer and longer within the village. She still wanted to travel with the dark lord, but it seemed that she also understood the importance of having her place among the humans. So now they had an arrangement where she would only travel with him for a while, while staying at the village for the remainder of the time and training with the local miko. This village in particular had no ill means toward demons; they didn't love them and they didn't hate them. They were indifferent, which is how Sesshoumaru preferred it.
Rin could not stay with him forever, this he knew, and he didn't particularly want her to. He did not want to see her grow old and wither away, and eventually die. He was meant to be alone, and she was meant to be with her own kind. He had always allowed her to make her own choices, whether to stay with him or leave, and he was sure that she would want to stay with the humans once she grew older. She herself couldn't deny her own mortality and the fact that she couldn't always remain the cheerful little child whom he had brought back to life. She knew he cared for her, in his own way, and that was all that mattered.
Now, he was alone once more, with Jaken following faithfully behind, and they were on the outskirts of his lands. The winds suddenly shifted and Sesshoumaru caught a scent that mentally made him pause.
He gave a little frown. What was the whelp doing on his lands? He took a few more sniffs. And bringing his whole pack as well? They had no business with each other, and certainly no wish to see each other, yet his half-brother was only a few hours away. And directly in the path that Sesshoumaru was taking. He wanted to sigh, yet he kept walking steadily, drowning out Jaken's squawking. Perhaps he could just pass them without Inuyasha noticing his presence. He had no desire to converse with the idiot, and certainly didn't want to waste his time. Oh well, whatever happened would happen. He certainly wasn't going to back down or change his course because of the hanyou. If anything, it should be the other way around.
However, if they did meet, it was bound to cause a headache…
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True to her word, Kagome did enjoy the hot springs that night, along with Sango and Shippo. Kikyo had declined her invitation to join them, and Kagome didn't feel a need to push the issue.
The two women chatted amiably while Shippo splashed in the hot water, playing with a rubber ducky that Kagome had given to him years ago.
“We haven't been able to do this in a while, Kagome-chan”
Kagome sighed happily as she opened her shampoo bottle and handed it to Sango after pouring some in her hands. “I know what you mean. It seems like we haven't found a nice hot spring in ages.” She quickly lathered her hair with the unscented soap and submerged herself under the warm water. For a while now, ever since really understanding how sensitive a demon's nose was, she had been using scentless soaps and lotions. She had already offended Inuyasha by arguing with him, subduing him, and being weak…there was no need to offend him with her smell as well.
She came up frowning with that last thought, and tried to shake it off. It's not just about Inuyasha, she thought and it was true. She did it for Shippo and Kouga, and any other demon they had contact with. Not everything was about Inuyasha anymore, and she smiled.
She was moving on more and more everyday and growing up. It made her feel proud of herself in a way…this sense of really opening her eyes and seeing something else besides the surly hanyou. However much she still loved Inuyasha, non-romantically, he would never really grow up for her. And she was finding that she needed maturity more than anything…not that she had time for a relationship anyway. Still, if she did have an interest in anyone, they would at least have to be more emotionally controlled that Inuyasha.
She immediately thought of Sesshoumaru, and froze in the water. Her cheeks flushed a rosy red and she couldn't help the embarrassment that flooded her. She couldn't believe she just thought that! First her thoughts of him earlier that day, and now this…it must be because she saw him in her time. Her curiosity was causing her mind to focus on him more than it should, and with a determined mental shake, she vowed not to let him enter her thoughts again. It just wasn't right on so many levels.
“Kagome, are you okay?” Shippo asked, floating on his back a few feet away from her. “You're really red.”
She gave a nervous little laugh. “It's just really hot in here. I think maybe it's time we should get out and head back to camp. I'm going to start looking like a prune soon.”
The women quickly alighted from the spring and dried themselves off. “I guess it's just as well,” Sango said ruefully. “Now we don't have to worry about Miroku deciding that we are taking to long and that he needs to come and check on us.”
Kagome let out a giggle. “You mean check on you. I don't think it's me he's interested in.”
She let out a full blown laugh as Sango blushed furiously, but soon the older woman joined in. “He did say the other day that we were going to be able to start on wedding plans soon now that Naraku is dead.”
Kagome paused. “Sango, that's wonderful. It's about time he got off his bum. You guys are going to be so happy together.”
Sango smiled gently. “I hope so, Kagome-chan.”
“Come on, let's get back…it's starting to get cold, and Shippo looks sleepy.”
“Nuh-uh,” the fox demon said, rubbing his eyes.
“Right,” she said wryly as they began walking back.
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Night had fallen, filling the cool air with the sweet scent of moonlight, and yet Sesshoumaru still showed no signs of stopping. Without Rin, he could travel as he pleased and did not have to make accommodations for her frail, human body. He was coming up to Inuyasha's camp and was sure the hanyou would be able to smell him by now. Even his half-superior nose should be able to smell his elder sibling from this distance. He gave a little smirk…yes, Inuyasha definitely knew he was around.
Inuyasha, being only half-demon, could distinguish people from there scents from far distances…but that was the extent of it. Sesshoumaru, having the blood of a full-youkai, and therefore all of the according senses, could not only smell the person and their location, but their emotions as well that came off in their scent. And Inuyasha was accordingly irritated. That made his night look up a little bit. However, his mood was thrown when the scent of more humans, other than the one's his half-brother traveled with, reached his nose. And their scent radiated malice.
Oh, well, it was no matter to him what these petty humans felt. He would not concern himself with their problems and just continue along his way. Of course, fate had other plans…
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“Inuyasha? …Inuyasha?”
Inuyasha snapped out of his thoughts at the sound of Kagome's worried voice.
“What?” he asked sharply
She glared at him. “I just wanted to know if you were alright. You seem really distracted and tense.”
He was about to just turn away and ignore her, but now the rest of the group was looking at him expectantly as well and he sighed. “Sesshoumaru is near us.”
Kagome's stomach gave that odd little jerk again while everyone else tensed up. “How far from here?” she asked.
He sniffed and cocked his head. “I don't know…about a half a mile, maybe.” He sniffed again and gave a little smirk. “And he has company.”
“Don't you think you should help him?” Kagome asked. Inuyasha looked at her as if she were stupid.
“Help him? Are you insane? That bastard never helped me out, why should I help him?”
Kagome was about to retort before Inuyasha shot to his feet. “What's wrong?”
He sneered at her. “You were worried about him, but it's the humans around him you should be worried for…I smell his poison whip. He's going to kill them!” He ran off south to where there camp was set at a dead sprint.
“Oh, no you don't,” Kagome muttered and called for Kirara. “Follow him, please!”
“Kagome!” Sango called after the girl and turned worried eyes to Miroku.
“Kagome will stop Inuyasha from doing something stupid,” Kikyo broke in, her calm voice misplaced in the situation they were in. “We must stay at the camp until they come back. Surely you don't expect to run after them at the speed they were going.”
“No, but-” she began, but Miroku broke in with an appraising look at the calm miko.
“Kikyo may be right, Sango. The altercation would be over before we got there since Kagome took Kirara. We need to stay with Shippo and just wait until they get back. Kagome will keep Inuyasha from getting killed.”
Sango looked like she wanted to argue, but ended up slumping her shoulders. “Fine…but I pray to Kami-sama that nothing will happen.”
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Sesshoumaru was beginning to get seriously annoyed. What he had thought was just a bunch of angry humans had turned out to be a mob of amateur demon hunters who wanted revenge for a low class demon destroying their village. Once they caught sight of the aloof demon slowly walking in their path, they had stopped to prepare their weapons. He sent Jaken away, expecting that there was going to be trouble of some kind, and he really didn't feel in the mood for it. Many of them were carrying pitchforks, which made him want to chuckle, but he was more focused on how well organized they seemed to be under the circumstances.
They had quickly surrounded him while he stood impassively, just observing them with his cold eyes. He could smell flickers of fear within them and smiled on the inside. They should fear him. Yet their need for revenge warred over their common sense and they had quickly thrown ropes at him in hopes of trapping him where he stood.
This faintly insulted him, and just to be done quickly, he flicked his claws once and the ropes were cut into pieces before they touched him. With a flick of his silver hair, he began to walk again, ignoring them. They were not worth his time to kill. However, one of them had holy powers and began throwing ofudas at him. Again, for the sake of speed, he brought his whip out and with a twitch of his wrist, it was cut in half.
“Don't give up, men!” one of their leaders shouted and began picking up rocks to throw at him, as did the other men.
Sesshoumaru felt his eyes widen a fraction. Did they actually believe that was going to work? On him? A few pitiful rocks on the great TaiYoukai? They were beginning to insult his pride. All at once the rocks began flying towards him, and he raised his arm once more, his face expression never altering. Any rock was obliterated before it reached within five feet of him, and they kept on coming.
He didn't really want to waste the time and kill them all, but it seemed as if that's what he was going to have to do…or at least injure them a little bit. He raised his whip once more, this time with intent but was stopped by the sound of a most atrocious yelling and groaned mentally.
“Sesshoumaru, leave the humans alone!” Inuyasha cried and drew his sword, which transformed immediately. Almost immediately, another scent hit Sesshoumaru's nose, and he actually looked away for a moment to witness the arrival of the visitor. Inuyasha's wench.
“Inuyasha, you baka!” she cried, leaping off of Kirara as the fire cat landed. “Osuwari!”
Sesshoumaru looked on in slight interest as his brother face-planted on the ground with a loud thud. This girl has the power to subdue him? He really is pathetic if he's under her control…she's a fragile human.
But, as he cut one more rock heading for his head, he noticed the fire in her eyes as she turned to the hanyou on the ground.
“Bitch, what was that for?” Inuyasha mumbled, trying to get the dirt out of his mouth.
“Maybe if you took the time to look at your surroundings instead of charging in recklessly like a moron, you'd be able to see what was going on,” she said, her voice tight with anger, and Sesshoumaru wanted to smirk at the mouthing off Inuyasha was taking.
“What are you talking about?” Inuyasha said, brushing off his clothes as he stood up. “He was going to kill them.”
“Stupid, he's the one under attack! Do you not see the rocks being hurled at him. Oh, for the love of Kami,” she said, turning towards the villagers and notching an arrow in the bow she had brought. “Knock it off already!”
She sent her arrow flying in the space between the villagers and Sesshoumaru, a blast of energy flying in between them before the arrow landed in a tree a few hundred yards away. The humans froze at the awesome display of power, and Sesshoumaru's gaze stayed on the small miko, his gaze unreadable.
Her power has grown since the last time we met. Her name…Kagome, I believe…the miko who pines after my brother and is the reincarnation of another miko who loved him before her…
He withdrew his whip and stood there, a statue in the moonlight, waiting to see what the human would do next. If she dared tried to speak to him like she did his brother for defending himself, he would have to take care of her. To his slight amazement, she rounded on her own kind first.
“I can't believe you!” she yelled at the men, and they flinched at the anger in her voice. Sesshoumaru could smell it rolling off of her, and was intrigued further. “What were you thinking?”
“Miko-sama,” one of them said. “He is a demon…the demons are evil and must be exterminated. We were just doing our duty.”
“He's not just any demon, morons,” she fired back, and noticed that some of the men's faces had tightened at her words. They were not used to being spoken to this way from a woman, miko or not. “He's not just any demon,” she continued. “He is the TaiYoukai of these lands and could have obliterated you within moments, had he wished it. He's left you alive to see another day…I suggest you leave before you push your luck.”
At least she's semi-intelligent, he thought, but she is making them angry…this night might actually be interesting after all.
“Look, woman,” the priest in the mob spoke up, any respect that she had had a moment ago gone. “He is a demon, and must therefore die. Next time, know your place and stay at home instead of putting yourself in danger.” More men began to advance on Sesshoumaru, and Kagome could have sworn she had seen a flicker of amusement on his countenance. He made no move as the humans grew closer, and she sighed in exasperation. Inuyasha wouldn't do anything so it was up to her…
She stepped in front of the man that was the closest and didn't budge. “Move yourself, woman, or I will do it for you.”
He wasn't expecting another arrow pointed directly in his eye and it began to glow. Kagome wasn't planning on hurting anyone…just scaring them a bit. She jerked her head behind her to indicate Sesshoumaru. “You know, he could melt you with his poison in less time than it would take for you to scream…trust me, I know. This is your last warning.”
The man stared at her, some of his bravado disappearing in the face of her words and her weapon. “Leave, now,” she said quietly. “Or I swear it will mean your death.”
Slowly, the man backed away and his comrades followed, whispering amongst themselves, no doubt slandering her character for standing up for a demon. She couldn't hear all of the whispers, and didn't much care to. Once the last one was out of sight, she lowered her bow and turned to Inuyasha. “Can we leave now?”
But he wasn't looking at her. He was staring at Sesshoumaru as Sesshoumaru stared back. Kagome rolled her eyes. She snuck a glance at the killing perfection before her and suppressed the urge to stare. She was finally seeing him again, although this wasn't quite under the circumstances she expected. Now she needed to get Inuyasha out of there before he did something stupid like piss Sesshoumaru off.
“Inuyasha,” she said louder, and finally got his attention. “What?” he asked irritably.
“Can we go now? The others are probably worried sick.”
He took his eyes off Sesshoumaru to turn to her. “Then you shouldn't have followed,” he snapped at her, and she felt herself grow angry again. She took a deep breath, but Inuyasha interrupted her.
“Where in the hell do you think you're going?” he yelled to Sesshoumaru's retreating back. The older demon turned slightly to face his younger brother and looked at him.
“It's good to see you too, hanyou,” his deep voice filling the air for the first time, and it made a little chill crawl up Kagome's body. What the hell was that for? She wondered.
“Shut up, bastard,” Inuyasha retorted. “We didn't come here to visit.”
“Oh?” an elegant eyebrow lifted upwards to a silver hairline. “And, pray tell, why are you trespassing on my lands?”
Inuyasha put his sword back in his sheath as he answered. “There are rumors of a Shikon shard around here. What do you know about it?”
“I know nothing of your silly jewel, half-breed,” he said. “Just find it and be off of my lands quickly. You are polluting the air with your stench.” He turned to walk away as Inuyasha was left seething, but he was feeling in a slightly feisty mood and turned with a smirk. Kagome gulped as his intense gaze landed on her.
“And control your woman better or she'll wind up getting killed.”
Kagome stiffened as he turned his back once more. Of all the nerve…
“Jerk,” she muttered under her breath, and froze as Sesshoumaru seemed to pause a moment. However, he did nothing, just continued his trek, and soon disappeared within the trees.
“Well,” she breathed, her heartbeat returning to her normal rhythm. “That was interesting.”
Inuyasha just snorted in response.
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Okay, everyone, that's it for tonight. I swear to god I meant to get this chapter out sooner, but college had to kill me. However, I only have two more weeks left of school before finals…two more weeks. Two. More. Weeks. (Falls over and dies) (Picks herself back up)
Anyway, I just really wanted to thank everyone who reviewed…I honestly wasn't expecting such an awesome response, and I appreciate all of you from the bottom of my heart. I really want to make this story my best one, so it might take me a little longer to update because I want to succeed at this. I hope I am living up to everyone's expectations.
As always, reviews remain near and dear to my heart and I love to hear feedback. Until next time, everyone!