InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Midnight Meets Moonlight ❯ War ( Chapter 17 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
This chapter is dedicated to a good friend of mine, Danell, who loves my writing even though she works beside me day after day and actually has to talk to me. Lol. Thank you for always asking whether the next chapter is done, and making me get off my lazy bum and write when I feel discouraged. I guess I should also thank you for helping me keep my sanity at work. This one is for you!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any of its affiliates, and am making no money off of this fanfiction.
Midnight Meets Moonlight
The next morning brought her a pleasant ache as she awoke, feeling sleepy and sated and in no mood to leave the warm bed she currently found herself in. Of course, her new mate had other plans as he whipped the covers off of her, causing her to curl into a little ball and a little frown to form on her face. She knew he was staring at her, and knowing she was still naked, brought a slight flush to her face but she didn't open her eyes.
"Not all of us have restorative powers and the ability to recuperate like you do," she said loftily. "Being the poor, weak human that I am, I need at least another two hours of sleep."
"Unfortunately," he said, his deep voice sounding so good to her first thing in the morning, "Our schedules will not allow you sleeping in. So get up."
She pouted as she opened one eye, and immediately forgot what she was going to say. She never thought she'd be extremely turned on by the sight of a man with no shirt on, but Sesshoumaru was no ordinary man. The sunlight from the window illuminated his pale chest, making the valleys and shadows from his muscles more apparent, and a loose pair of pants rode low on his hips, showing his stripes, and she almost licked her lips. She had to laugh at herself. One night with him and he'd turned her into a sex fiend.
Trying to focus on the subject at hand, and ignoring the way his eyes had glowed and he had smirked at her, she said, "And why won't our schedules allow it? As far as I know, we have nothing to do today."
"On the contrary. We are going to Shippo's to discuss what he and Kouga have learned of our mysterious intruder. But we're not going to get anywhere if you don't stop ogling me and get up."
She sat up, still getting used to the teasing Sesshoumaru, no matter how much time she's spent with him. She put on an indignant front. "Don't walk around half-naked and I won't have reason to stare. Besides, Shippo and Kouga can wait." She paused for a moment. "Kouga's not going to be happy," she said cautiously, referring to their mating.
She saw his eyes harden, and knew she had treaded on shaky ground. "It is not my problem if he is happy or not," he said, his tone sounding anything but friendly.
She frowned at him. "No fighting," she warned, not wanting to deal with one hot-headed male and another coldly calculating one.
He didn't answer her, just said, "Get ready."
"What if I just want to stay in bed?" she asked, lying back down and stretching lightly, enjoying the way his eyes stayed on her. She didn't realize how much power she would feel at being his mate. She had to hold back a laugh at the slight look of indecision on his face.
It was hard for Sesshoumaru not to accept her offer, not when memories of last night were so close to the surface in his mind, and that was all he really wanted to do anyway, but finding out who was threatening her was more important. His mind, wildly calculating, tried to come up with a compromise.
She saw him abruptly head for the bathroom door across the room, and frowned. It seemed like he wasn't going to take the bait. That is, until he called over his shoulder, “In the interest of time, I suppose I am willing to share the shower."
Suddenly, Kagome couldn't get out of bed fast enough, a huge grin on her face.
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Squeaky clean and considerably happier, Kagome sat in Sesshoumaru's car an hour later, driving through Tokyo to Shippo's penthouse. Her body was still tingling from their little shower session where she got to wash his back and he got to wash a lot more than hers. Not that she was complaining. He was very considerate to her, and abnormally attentive, teasing her until she was begging.
The fact that she would have him for the rest of eternity caused her to want to laugh out loud because she was so happy. She wasn't so naive as to believe that there would never be tense moments between them. Or lack of fights. He would probably delight in teasing her and getting her temper up for eternity. But right now, she couldn't say she minded.
Sesshoumaru himself was in one of the best moods he had been in since he found out someone was after Kagome. She was his now, undoubtedly and eternally, and the thought filled him with such power and satisfaction, he had a hard time keeping his mask in place. It wasn't any better when the scent of her filled the car, causing him to tighten his hands on the wheel. "If you don't stop that, I'm going to turn around and take you home," he said, his voice rougher than normal.
She flushed, forgetting how strong his nose was, and then pouted. "I'm not the one who wanted to leave home in the first place." She huffed at his smirk and was glad when they reached Shippo's apartment complex. She had only been to his home once in the past month, but what she saw, she liked.
Shippo liked earthy colors with a modern twist, and she had been surprised at his tasteful style. Mahogany floors complimented black furniture spread strategically throughout the living room, and dark green walls aided by clever lighting gave the sense of being in a forest all over again. It suited the now classy demon. He opened the door for them with a smile, and could tell immediately what had happened between them.
"I suppose I should offer my congratulations," he said, leaning down to give Kagome a kiss on the cheek. "Kouga should be here soon."
Leading them to the couch, he watched them side by side. Kagome had the sparkle back in her eyes that had been dimmed since the well closed, something Shippo had surely missed from her. And Sesshoumaru, as much as his eyes wanted to deceive him, actually looked more relaxed than he had ever seen him. They were good for each other.
"Inuyasha said good-bye to me last night," Kagome said, startling Shippo. He looked to Sesshoumaru, seeing if something was wrong with Kagome. Possibly a head injury? "I see," he said carefully.
She shot him a look and explained the events of last night, leaving out the ending. To her surprise, he didn't seem as surprised as she expected him to be. All he told her was that he was glad she received some closure. The fact that Inuyasha's spirit came back in the form of the rosary beads didn't surprise him in the least. That was always one of the strongest connections between Kagome and Inuyasha and they held a lot of power. If Inuyasha's final wish was to say good-bye to Kagome, what better way than that?
"What have you found out?" Sesshoumaru asked, changing the subject.
"I'm afraid not much of anything," Shippo said, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "No one is recognizing a void youkai in the area, or they are unwilling to say anything, because I've reached dead ends on every lead. Either he's entirely new here, or rooted so deep that no one wants to expose him."
Sesshoumaru frowned. If that was the case, it was bad regardless. "And you've called all of your contacts?"
"Every single one," he replied. He thought for a moment. "What about you? The government keeps tabs on the demons, and you have contacts with them. Maybe they know something."
"That won't work, runt," Kouga said, swaggering into the room unannounced. Shippo frowned at him for entering without permission, annoyance clearly written on his face. Before he could say anything to the presumptuous wolf, Kagome broke in.
"Whoa, wait a minute. The GOVERNMENT knows you exist?"
The three demons paused. "Well...yeah," Shippo said. "It's not like we could really be kept a secret, especially if we were still alive. People still knew of us. We kind of made a deal with the government a long time ago that we wouldn't, you know, try to take over the world or anything like that, and they would leave us in peace. They ask the more powerful demons for help with problems from time to time, and they have an extensive database with demons that are still alive."
Kagome was aghast. She'd had no idea that a part of society still knew about demons save her and anyone who has come in contact with them. She listened as Shippo went on.
"They spread rumors about us in the beginning to allow us to live in peace. We are now what you call vampires, werewolves, fairies, all of those mystical creatures of folklore. We are legends now...nothing more."
"And you are all okay with this?" she asked, looking at Sesshoumaru intently.
Kouga answered. "We have no reason to want to be known now. Let the humans deal with their petty squabbles for power with their wars. We've already faded into the background. To come out again would cause mass hysteria."
She was silent a moment longer before asking, "So why wouldn't using contacts with the government work then?"
Kouga held back a snort. "Because Sesshoumaru and the government aren't exactly on friendly terms at the moment. They haven't been for the last fifty years. Not since he quit working for them."
Surprises were just coming in by the bundle for her today. She looked at her new mate. "You WORKED for the government? Doing what?"
At first she thought no one was going to answer her, but she narrowed her eyes at Sesshoumaru and waited. Eventually he said calmly, "I was an assassin."
"An assassin?" she repeated slowly.
He nodded shortly. "Most demons were content to stay in the background. Others were not." It was said simply. "The government called me when it was apparent that there would be a problem. I took care of the problem."
Shippo asked another question about his contacts and he answered him, still keeping an eye on Kagome. She had become very quiet.
"Well, if they decide not to help you, you could always threaten with world domination like you used to do," Kouga joked. "That always made them agree to anything. But if you do that, they might try to kill you off again. Last time they just left you in peace when they didn't succeed, but weaponry has changed since then. Don't worry though, I would take care of Kagome."
"Kouga, so NOT the time to tease about that," Shippo warned, noting the way the TaiYoukai was looking at the wolf. Kouga backed off hastily.
"Oi, chill. I'm not as dishonorable as to try to take your mate. When she was unclaimed, it was different, but since she's yours, I won't try to take her anymore."
"Like you would succeed if you tried," Shippo broke in.
"Can we please not talk about that?" Kagome said, standing up. Sesshoumaru stood with her.
"Call if you receive any information," he told Shippo and Kouga as they took their leave. "Call anyone you can think of and get the word out." Kagome left before him and he hung back a moment to speak in private. "Every minute that he stays out there is another minute that she is in danger. I want to know who he is by tonight. No matter what."
He met Kagome by the elevator and the rode down in silence. Even when they reached his car, she still hadn't said a word to him. They were headed towards her mother's house, and when he stopped at a light, he demanded to know what was wrong.
At first she was silent, as if sorting through her thoughts before she finally answered him. "I was just thinking about how little of what you did in the past. I know you before the well closed, I know you after, but I didn't know you in between. I mean, you worked for our government, killing people for a living."
"Does that disturb you?"
She pursed her lips, deciding she could be nothing but honest. "To a certain extent it does. I never enjoy death, no matter what the reason. But then I know that's a part of who you are. You have killed before, and I know that if something happened, you would not hesitate for an instant to kill again. And a part of me is proud of you because I know that you were probably damn good at your job when you had it."
He remained silent, thinking about how true that was. His days as an assassin were not his best mentally. He had been getting impatient waiting for the day when he would be able to see Kagome, and the depression, anxiety, and restlessness created a tornado inside of him. The government knew of his existence still as the most powerful being in Japan, and when they had approached him with their offer, he took it just out of curiosity and boredom. He was able to take out his frustrations on his targets. But, decades later and still killing, he knew he could not keep it up, especially if he wanted to be with Kagome. So he told the government that he would sever ties with him and told them to never ask for his assistance again.
The situation made an unexpected turn when the government decided that a demon of his class and all of the information they had released to him over the long years made him a danger. They tried to exterminate him, sending their best killers after him.
He had annihilated them all.
The government got the message and stopped coming after them, and they lived in a quiet existence since then. They didn't bother him and he didn't kill them. Peaceful.
A thought struck him. "Do you regret it now?" He was referring to their mating.
She glared at him across the seat. "Be not a fool," she mimicked his favorite line from the past. "Of course I don't...it's just strange. But, I suppose I have all of eternity to learn about you, so it's not a big deal. I just have to tell Mom about you now."
"I wouldn't be surprised if she's already figured it out."
She turned to him, a shocked look on her face. "Do you really think so?"
"Your mother is more intuitive than you think," was all he said.
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She had learned to take Sesshoumaru at his word. He always almost ended up right anyway. Much to her annoyance.
Thinking back on it later, she shouldn't have been surprised that her mother took the news that she was mated to a demon so well. After all, she had fallen through a well and traveled through time at the age of fifteen with barely a blink from the woman who gave her birth. She had come to understand that her mother trusted her utterly and completely to make the right choices. She had received a hug and a kiss from her mother when she told the news, and Sesshoumaru received a respectful bow which he actually returned, and they were both invited to dinner. Her mother, however, had asked if they would have a traditional wedding, to which Kagome blinked at. She hadn't even thought of that. Thankfully, Sesshoumaru had put a hand on her lower back and smoothly answered yes, and Kagome smiled weakly at her mothers beaming face.
Her mother told her that she would tell Souta and her grandfather after they had left, ensuring that there would not be a commotion. Instead, Sesshoumaru for that night was just "Inuyasha's brother" a fact that Souta found cool, and her grandfather found distasteful. Kagome was glad at least that he didn't throw any sutras at Sesshoumaru. That wouldn't have ended well at all.
After dinner, alone in the kitchen drinking tea with her mother and Sesshoumaru, Kagome was asked when she would gather her things from the apartment.
"I don't know," she said, thinking. "Maybe by the end of next week?" she asked, looking at Sesshoumaru, who nodded.
Hopefully, this new enemy of theirs would be found and taken care of, quite happily by Sesshoumaru, and then everything would be fine. With kisses and farewells, Kagome said good-bye to her family to go home with Sesshoumaru, realizing somewhat belatedly that her first full day as Sesshoumaru's mate was almost over. Whatever she had been expecting...this day hadn't been it.
A long shower when they arrived home did much to unwind her. Pulling on a robe and towel drying her hair, she decided to find her mate, who had said he had some work to finish up in his study.
And indeed, Sesshoumaru was diligently working...until his mate of one day came into his office and he promptly lost his train of thought. Still slightly damp and rosy from the shower, she caused his blood to rise as he viewed that "thing" she called a robe, which was really nothing more than a thin layer of silk, cling to her body in all the right places.
She sat down with a sigh, not really noticing that he was staring at her, and tried to start a normal conversation.
"Now that I've had the opportunity to see the whole house, I must say you have good taste. I would have expected a huge castle or something."
"Did you design the house yourself?"
She noticed the slight shortness of his answer and finally looked at him. His eyes were burning on her, stripping her where she sat, and it sent a heady rush to her head. He wasn't the least bit interested in conversation at the moment. Which was perfectly all right with her. Standing up and slowly walking towards him, she ended up standing in front of his seated form.
"I'm bored," she said, waiting for him to take the bait.
He smirked and stood up, towering over her form so that she had to lean her head back to look at him, and grabbed onto her hips, thumbs stroking slowly. "Whatever shall you do?"
"Find some suitable form of entertainment, I guess," she said with a long sigh, averting her eyes coyly. She paused a beat. "Wanna play cards?"
He nipped her nose with a laugh and then took possession of her mouth. Heat instantly flared between them, and he turned her slightly so she was leaning against the desk with him against her, trying to gain more contact between them. Apparently, he wasn't getting close enough to her for his taste and finally hitched her up to sit on the desk, her knees on either side of his narrow hips, and grabbed the back of her thighs to pull her closer to him, sealing them together.
She was about to say something, that maybe they should relocate to the bedroom or someplace more comfortable rather than on top of his desk, but then he thrust slowly and shallowly against her through his clothes, and she stopped thinking. Her robe had gathered around her hips, leaving her bare skin open to be caressed by him, a fact that he took clear advantage of.
Snaking her hands up his chest, she tangled her hands in his thick hair, his mouth hot against hers. A split second later the phone rang. At first he didn't seem to acknowledge it, but as it rang a second time, he tore his mouth away from hers viciously, some impressive words leaving his mouth at the interruption.
Sesshoumaru grabbed onto the phone, almost crushing and shattering it to pieces in his grip, but he forced his voice to sound normal as he spoke. He listened for a moment and she heard him say, "I'll be there." A moment later he hung up the phone and turned to her.
"Shippo and Kouga found someone who might know information."
She was quiet for a moment, studying his face. "And you're wondering if you can leave me alone or not." She knew she had guessed correctly. "I've said this before, and I'll say it again, I've grown up and I can certainly take care of myself for a few hours, since I know you don't want me with you when you go find this person." She paused, taking in his silence. "I also know how to erect a barrier around myself, so if someone by some slight chance managed to get close to me, they wouldn't be able to touch me...at least for a while. My powers have gotten stronger, you've seen it yourself."
She could tell he still wasn't convinced and said sincerely, "Please. Inuyasha never trusted me to take care of myself. At least give me a chance."
He wanted to retort that he didn't want to take a chance if it was her life involved, but looking at her, he sensed that giving her this trust was very important to her. He would only be gone for two hours at the most, and he had to concede that she was powerful. He wouldn't have mated her if she hadn't been of a strong will.
Finally he said, "Stay in the room until I get home."
To her credit, she didn't gloat. She nodded calmly and said she'd wait for him.
Watching her walk out of the study, he could only hope he made the right choice.
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The address where Shippo had said to meet them at looked like something out of a shady horror movie. He parked in a dimly lit area by a seedy hotel that looked like it was falling apart and stepped out of his car. Immediately he wanted to wrinkle his nose at the stench of stale urine and sex that invaded his senses from the accompanying alleyways in the area. He spotted his fellow demons standing by the light of one of the few streetlamps, both looking in disgust at the dilapidated building.
He joined them just as Kouga asked, "And WHY are we here again? If I was a human, I know I would get jumped in an instant here."
Shippo didn't look away from the building as he answered. "A contact of a contact called me and said that he had an informant here might have some information. I'm not about to pass up any opportunity to get this guy, so I called you. I guess this is a popular hangout for the lower class demons. Can you feel their auras?"
Sesshoumaru nodded and without a word, began walking towards the door. The door entered into the lobby, where there were tables spread out sporadically. Like some old western movie, all motion from the inhabitants of the room stopped as they stared at the newcomers. Most were weak demons who could feel that they were now in the midst of the higher class. They met the glares of Shippo and Kouga, but they knew the third one, the leader, was different. None could forget the legends of the demon with the moon on his forehead and golden eyes. They were not to be trifled with.
Shippo asked loudly, "Goro?"
It seemed like no one in that room wanted to be cooperative, if the dead silence that hung in the air was any indication. Without changing his facial expression, Sesshoumaru let a small amount of his youki escape, filling the room with a sense of sudden, deadly power, and cracked the claws of one hand.
"Room 382," an anonymous voice called out from the back of the room.
They all watched as the demons left, uncertain now as to what would be the fate of Goro, but uncaring all the same. At least the demons weren't interested in them. That was all that mattered.
The hallways weren't much better than the outside, the stench becoming worse as Sesshoumaru and the others traveled further and further into its bowels. Shadows appeared around corners here and there, but once seeing the imposing TaiYoukai and his companions, they disappeared.
Sesshoumaru paid them no heed. His destination was one place, and he only needed to speak to one person.
Goro better be prepared to talk.
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Waiting was extremely boring, Kagome decided, as she read the same sentence for the third time. The house was quiet, all of Sesshoumaru's servants having gone to bed long before, and Kagome had been trying to pass the time while reading a book, but she couldn't seem to keep her eyes open. It probably didn't help that the book was about some historian that had died long before, but she had found it in Sesshoumaru's library and was curious.
Now her curiosity was putting her to sleep better than any drug and she was fighting a losing battle. Setting her book aside on the bed, wishing that Sesshoumaru was back, she watched the shadows of the trees play through the moonlight on her wall.
The next thing she knew, she was jerking awake and realized she must have fallen asleep. Cursing, she glanced at the clock and realized only a half an hour had passed. Sesshoumaru apparently hadn't returned, and she relaxed.
Then she stiffened in apprehension. That same feeling she had before had returned, tugging on her soul, pulling her to go downstairs, and her breath whooshed out of her.
He was here.
Somehow, he knew Sesshoumaru was gone and she was alone, and now he was here for her.
Heart pounding, she thought about what she would do, trying to think analytically. Stay and protect herself with her barrier, or run and risk the chance of confronting him?
Before she could make a decision, her door flew open, and she stared in horror at the sight before her.
A servant, a little maid girl slumped against the doorway, blood dripping down her arms…or at least what was left of her arms. Her left arm looked like an attempt had been made to cut it off, and had not succeeded, hanging limply by a strip of flesh and rotating slowly in the air as blood ran down. Kagome didn't think there was a single spot on her that wasn't covered in blood from cuts and gashes, and she could only sit frozen as the girl tried to walk into her room.
She stumbled and Kagome looked down to see that the girl's ankle was broken, folded off to one side as weight was applied. “Please,” she whispered, her other arm held out pleadingly. “Help me.”
Kagome bolted up just as the girl fell, blood beginning to gather in a pool beneath her, filling the room with a bitter, metallic stench. Kagome could not move, her breath beginning to come faster, almost to the point of hyperventilating as the screams reached her.
Her head shot up as she saw a form fly past her open door, followed by two more, and Kagome realized it was the other members of the household. They were running for their lives, their pleadings and cries filling the air around her, and in a sudden moment of clarity, a voice called to her.
“Come outside and play, Kagome…” it was said softly. Gently. Mockingly.
“Why are you doing this?” Kagome choked out, eyes going back to the pool of blood surrounding the young girl lying on her floor. “Why?!”
He didn't answer that question. His whisper reached her ears. “I can make all of this happen...” He paused, and she was confused. “Wake up.”
She jerked again for a second time, and Kagome found herself lying on the bed, the forgotten book at her side, and a quiet house. Her eyes flew to the floor, half expecting to see a broken girl lying there, but there was only the carpet. No girl, no blood…nothing.
Shaken, she put a trembling hand to her mouth. It had all been a dream. It hadn't happened.
Then she felt the tug on her soul.
“No,” she whispered, looking at the closed door. “No, no, no.”
He had put those images in her mind, telling her what it would be like if she didn't come and meet him. He would kill everyone in the household until he reached her, and she didn't hesitate to get out of bed and follow the call, knowing she was playing into his trap, but the images of the young girl's eyes were still fresh in her mind.
She walked quietly downstairs, passing the servants' quarters and hearing laughter inside. They would be safe.
She quickly slipped out the backdoor and into the night, wondering if she could be declared mentally insane now. She was going to meet the man who wanted to kill her. `Sesshoumaru is going to have KITTENS when he finds out.'
Not surprisingly, the thought didn't comfort her. She followed the pull on her soul through the night, walking for several minutes in the darkness until she reached a small park. Swings from the playground swayed ominously in the breeze, and she shivered. `I'm next to sandboxes and monkey bars…this guy has a twisted sense of humor.'
She followed the tug through a grouping of trees into a small meadow, usually used for college kids to play Frisbee. It now hosted the form of a man that was pure evil. In her first real look at him, she realized that beauty is often in the form of evil as well. For he was truly beautiful. Pale skin that glowed in the meager light, a lean form, and inky hair that fell down his back, but all were dimmed by the emptiness of his eyes. Immediately, she allowed her barrier to cover her, not wanting to be caught in his spell again. Power filled her as the light pink wall materialized in front of her, and she knew she was safe. That barrier would protect her.
He didn't seem inclined to speak at the moment, just staring at her with those eerily empty eyes, so she spoke first, proud of how strong her voice sounded. “You want my soul. Why?”
He smiled, a flash of white in the darkness, and the voice that had only spoken to her in her dream reached her clearly across the distance, smooth and deep and faintly mocking. “Who wouldn't want the soul of the legendary miko? The amount of power that you hold doesn't even compare to the pureness I can sense radiating from your being. I could become infinitely more powerful than I am now by taking yours…but that's not really what I want. That would just be a nice bonus.”
“Bonus?” she asked, confused. He wasn't after her soul?
He didn't seem to react to her confusion, he just calmly reached behind him and pulled a thin sword from a sheath on his back. Kagome took a step back, and squinted at the sword. It reminded her of the swords that fencers used, coming to a thin point at the tip, but thinner than the swords fencers used. The tip was so small, it was barely visible. He held out the sword in front of him, casually informing her, “Did you know that even the strongest barrier can be broken with no magic? Every barrier, no matter how strong, has miniscule cracks in it, sometimes microscopic, so breaking through it is actually ridiculously simple. All one needs is something small and sharp enough to find the cracks, and the rest is up to pure force.” He leveled the sword at her, and she knew what he was going to do. “Would you care to see an example?”
Without even stopping to think, knowing that if he got close enough to her he would cut through her barrier, she fired a blast of power at him, attacking first. But she hadn't anticipated his speed, and before she could fire another shot at him, he stopped right in front of her, dark hair barely swaying. He thrust the sword directly into her barrier, a move that, without it, would pierce her heart instead. She focused all of her attention on that point, willing her barrier not to break, to become stronger, to protect her.
To her horror though, she saw a crack form. The cracks spread throughout her barrier as he pushed harder, taking a step towards her. Like flying glass, her barrier shattered around her, and he was invading her personal space. She could feel his breath against her ear as she could only stare wide-eyed over his shoulder, not believing what was happening.
“The problem with you,” he said softly, “is that you think everything is about you. You are merely a pawn.” He drew back his sword and his voice grew caressing. “Tell your mate that this is just a warning.”
She felt the sting of the sword and her world went black.
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It was just the same as every other room around them, but to Sesshoumaru, it was different. As he looked at the black numbers on the brown door, he knew that he would acquire information tonight.
“Look, let me handle this tonight,” Shippo said. “He's my informant, and to be quite honest, you'd probably terrorize him so much he won't be able to speak.”
“I don't care how we do this,” Kouga broke in. “Just do it.”
Sesshoumaru nodded in agreement, just wanting to get this over with. Shippo knocked briskly on the door. “Goro?”
They all heard shuffling coming from the inside, and felt a small amount youki, and knew they were dealing with a weaker demon. Locks clicked in quick succession and there was silent for a long moment before the door opened a crack.
“Three of you?” the youkai said nervously. “I thought there would only be one.”
“You were misinformed,” Shippo said coolly. “I was told you have information for me.”
The smaller man looked at the other three demons, the slight stench of his fear reaching their noses, and Sesshoumaru was immediately suspicious. Apparently the fact that three had come to meet him disturbed Goro.
Goro seemed to make up his mind then, all of sudden turning from frightened to cunning. “I might have some information for you. Come inside, boys, and lets see if we can reach a deal.”
He stepped back, and Shippo led the others into the small, dark space, smelling of stale cigarettes, and the ever present stench of urine.
“So, what are you willing to give me for this information?” Goro looked at them, his eyes to one side, and Sesshoumaru watched as Shippo worked, so different from the young youkai he had been years ago. Now he was dangerous.
“Your life,” Shippo said, taking measured steps towards the man. “What is that worth to you?”
Goro began sweating. “Hey, hey, now, no need to get violent. I sometimes did odd jobs for the demon that you're looking for and knew you might pay me something if I told you about him.”
“You thought wrong. Who is he?”
“H-his name is Kano. He is one of the Ancients, like you, I'm assuming.” He was referring to the ages of the demons. Powerful demons were known to live forever, while the weaker demons had a tendency to die more easily. If a demon lived past 400 years, they were considered an Ancient.
“What does he want with Kagome?”
“Kagome?” Goro seemed confused, and let out a little laugh. “Who is Kagome?”
Goro shook his head. “He's not after no miko, boys.”
Shippo took a step forward. “Who is he after then?”
Goro's eyes shifted to Sesshoumaru. “Well, the moon on the forward is a dead giveaway, so I'm gonna say your white-haired friend over there.”
Shippo turned to Sesshoumaru. “Is his name familiar to you?”
“No,” Sesshoumaru said. “I do not recall anyone by that name.”
“Why is he after Sesshoumaru?” Shippo said, rounding on Goro again, causing the demon to step back.
“H-he never really spoke about it. I think Sesshoumaru killed someone close to him, and he wants revenge. Some one dear to him.”
“So why is he not targeting Sesshoumaru? Why is he going after his mate?”
“An eye for an eye,” Goro said simply, wishing this meeting was over with already. Kano had not told him he would be meeting with three men. He said only one, and not anyone even remotely close to the power these three were emitting. He forgot the original plan and just wanted to get away from them.
“When does he plan to make his move?” Kouga asked suddenly.
“I don't know,” Goro said, but the red-haired one narrowed his eyes on him.
“You lie,” he said quietly.
“No I don't,” Goro said, taking a step back, and felt very real fear when the fox stepped forward.
“You lie,” Shippo said again.
Goro was beginning to panic now. “Look, all he said was to come here and tell you about him. Said to keep you busy for a while.”
Keep them busy…the words echoed in Sesshoumaru's head, making his blood pound. Kano knew he would never be able to get to Kagome with him there, and what better way to separate them than with information about the enemy?
“Great Kami,” Kouga breathed.
“Shippo,” Sesshoumaru said, beginning to walk out of the room. “Take care of him.”
“With pleasure,” came the reply.
The occupants downstairs heard one short scream before silence. They all paused as they saw the three powerful demons leave and knew the fate of Goro.
Such was life.
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“The son of a bitch tricked us,” Kouga said, running alongside Sesshoumaru and Shippo. The demons had opted to run, knowing they would be able to reach the house faster than any car.
Sesshoumaru leaped on a rooftop, but made no comment. A sick feeling was gathering in his gut, and he found himself hoping that this Kano was not powerful enough to break Kagome's barrier.
They made it to his house in under three minutes, but when he tore open the door, he knew immediately that she was not in the residence. Cursing, he sniffed, trying to capture her scent, ignoring the sharp stab of panic filling him, something he had never liked.
Following the trail out the back and into the yard, he wondered how stupid his new mate must be to VOLUNTARILY leave the house. He would speak with her about it when he found her. He just needed to find her first. Alive and unharmed.
He stops and closes his eyes as the new scent hit him, the scent he wanted to never smell again in this type of situation. Her blood.
He was a blur as he ran towards the source, barely disturbing the leaves in his haste to get to her. She was alone, he could tell, Kano long gone. But right now, he didn't care about Kano.
When he saw her lying on the ground, his heart almost stopped. Flashbacks of Rin in the village, and Kagome with Kikyo filled his head, and he knew he would go insane this time if he was too late to save her.
Flying to her, his hands immediately began touching her all over, trying to find out where she was hurt. He saw a small puncture in her side, already healing due to the influences his mating had on her, and his heard slowed. She was alive. She was breathing softly, almost as if she were asleep, and the wound was small.
She was safe.
Uncaring that Shippo and Kouga were standing in the background, he gently gathered her to him and buried his face in her hair, breathing her in and trying to calm down. He was not surprised to find his hands shaking.
Slowly, she opened her eyes and he heard her softly ask, “Sesshoumaru?”
“Yes?” It was all he could say at the moment.
“I think we underestimated who we're dealing with,” she said unnecessarily. “He's not after me. He wants to hurt you.”
“I know,” he said, his lips brushing over her forehead as he spoke. Standing, he lifted her into his arms. “We'll worry about that later.”
She sighed, leaning her head against his shoulder, glad that he was there. “I hope this doesn't make you think I can't take care of myself,” she said suddenly. “He found a way to break through my barrier.”
“We'll discuss that later as well. Go to sleep.”
“Fine,” she said, too tired to care. “Just don't think I'm weak. I even managed to draw some blood off of him.”
Sesshoumaru sniffed and found that she was right. Another scent tainted the air, the metallic scent of blood barely reaching his nose. “And how did you do that?” he said, beginning to walk, ignoring the forms of Shippo and Kouga following him.
“I scratched him,” Kagome said, lulled by the moving form of Sesshoumaru. “After he stabbed me, it was the only think I could think of to do. I think I got his cheek or something. He's probably healed by now, but I just wanted you to know.”
“Sleep now, Kagome,” he said, feeling a small amount of pleasure that she at least managed to hurt the bastard. Not much, but just a little. And now they had a stronger scent to go on.
Fifteen minutes later, Kagome was bandaged and lying in bed while Sesshoumaru stormed downstairs, meeting Shippo and Kouga.
“I will stay with her,” he said. “You are going to go after his scent and find the bastard. When you do, come back here.”
“Will she be all right?” Kouga asked.
“He will not touch her again,” Sesshoumaru vowed. “Now go.”
Watching them leave, Sesshoumaru began to plan. It didn't matter about anything that had happened before…Kano had touched Kagome.
Now it was war.
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(Whew, Sesshoumaru is pissed now, ne? I hope you enjoyed. Sorry for the long wait. After writing the lemon, I had the biggest case of writers block ever. So, to get over that, guess what I did? Started a “Bleach” fanfic. I really didn't mean to, but I had an idea and I went with it. If any of you are “Bleach” fans, go read it. I hope you like it. It's called, “The Limits of Power.”
Until next time,