InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Possession ❯ Thirteen ( Chapter 13 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Ten Years Earlier
The rain was pouring down over his head and he was cold. Still, the small kitsune didn't leave his post not far from a shabby little hut in the middle of a forest. Shippou felt a sneeze coming on and clapped both hands over his nose. He didn't want anyone to hear him.
He was out here by choice, his own choice. Back in the village Kaede's warm home waited for him. The elderly priestess was probably worried, knowing where he was likely to be hiding. It was the rain that drew him to her now, rain that would muffle sounds that a demon's sharp ears might hear, rain that would mask a kitsune's scent.
Shippou crept closer, helplessly drawn to the hut. He just had to know, he had to make sure that she was okay. He hated the monster that Inuyasha had become, hated and feared him. The transformed hanyou was nothing like the Inuyasha he had known. Before he had only been obnoxious, temperamental and rude. Now he was just vicious, attacking with his words as often as his claws, grinning down at Shippou with a sadistic glee that made his blood run cold and his legs tremble.
Which was why he couldn't go away, couldn't just leave her at the mercy of a monster. His Kagome deserved so much better, so much more. There was a time when Shippou had wanted the stupid hanyou to open his eyes and see how much she loved him, needed him. He'd been blind for so long that Shippou could hardly stand it.
Don't you see the way she looks at you, he'd rage silently when he'd see Kagome watching Inuyasha with a tender expression that was hard to define. Love and longing…wistfulness. Shippou had never understood how Inuyasha could pretend to be so blind, especially when the kitsune caught him giving the girl the same look or the way his eyes would linger on her legs when she walked ahead of him.
Lightning streaked the sky overhead and Shippou froze, afraid that Inuyasha might come to look outside the hut and see him as he stalked closer to forbidden territory. The youkai had told him to stay away; he was only permitted to see Kagome when she came to the village. And then he had to be careful not to let his scent show his anxiety or his hatred. Inuyasha seemed to know everything he was thinking, gone was the blunt and obtuse hanyou that wouldn't know a truth unless he was hit over the head with it.
The demon Inuyasha was pure calculation behind malice. Whatever the jewel had done to him, was still doing to him, Shippou couldn't say. Maybe it was fear; maybe it was just anger and jealousy. But Shippou would have preferred the red eyed ravaging monster to the creature his former friend and protector had become.
There was a crack in the back of the hut that Shippou knew about. This wouldn't be first time he'd come to look, make sure Kagome wasn't hurt or sick and Inuyasha not taking care of her. He'd disappear for days on end, reappearing as suddenly as a dream could turn into a nightmare. He worried about that, worried about the demon leaving her alone so much.
He worried even more about when she was alone with Inuyasha.
The rain had finally stopped a full moon was peeping between the clouds, casting an eerie glow over the small clearing. A tiny kitsune crept through the grass, quiet as a mouse, just like a frightened rabbit. A small glow was coming from within the hut, no doubt the banked remains of Kagome's cooking fire. He just wanted to see her. That was all. Then he could go back to Kaede and maybe sleep this night.
Shippou leaned against the wall, listening for any sounds. He heard Kagome's voice murmur something, then an answering low and dark chuckle that made the hair on the back of his neck rise. He peered inside the hut, his breath misting slightly as he did so and had to stifle a gasp when he saw what was going on.
He was kissing her.
Kagome lay sprawled on her back with Inuyasha looming over her, fatal as a death sentence. One hand held the back of her head, keeping her from turning from his kiss even though she made no attempt to do so. The other hand was exploring under her shirt, moving ominously under the worn white fabric, a snake rustling in the grass. Kagome's hands were slack at her sides, making no attempt to push him away as he devoured her mouth with his own.
Roughly, Inuyasha grabbed the hem of her shirt and pushed it up, exposing her breasts as he moved to nuzzle her, rubbing his mouth over her flushed skin. Kagome arched against him, reaching up to clutch his hair when his lips closed over her flesh. He was growling as he sucked hard at first one breast then the other, almost feverish in his movements.
Kagome cried out desperately and Shippou froze, thinking she was being hurt. The tips of her breasts were turning red and swollen, aching for the touch of the demon's tongue. Inuyasha didn't stop, grinding against the girl's slim form as his hands raked over her naked torso and left light welts on her pale skin. But she wasn't pushing him away; she was holding his head to her chest and twisting against him.
"Please," the girl whispered and Shippou's mouth fell open at the urgent need in her voice. "Please Inuyasha, please."
He laughed harshly, releasing a swollen nipple that trembled in the hazy firelight. "Tell me what you want, Kagome," he demanded, his fingers tweaking her cruelly. Kagome gasped, shuddering and turned her face away from his.
"You...you know," she whispered, her voice so low and rough that Shippou scarcely recognized it.
"And I like to make you say it," he growled happily. Shippou tensed when the demon leaned over his Kagome, fangs gleaming menacingly. "I can make you scream it, you can't stop yourself."
Shippou winced as Inuyasha licked Kagome's breast slowly, running his tongue around the darkened tip with a smirk and letting one sharp fang graze her. Her eyes flew open and she cried out, her voice now high and shrill. He just laughed again, so dark and hard it made a kitsune's fists clench.
"I'll give you what you want," he said quietly, toying with her, hands still moving, never stopping as he claimed her by touch alone. "But first you say that you're mine."
Kagome didn't answer, but Shippou saw her fingers clench in the fabric of his red haori. Inuyasha growled again, trapping her under the weight of his body. His legs parted hers and Shippou felt his breath grow short in his chest as one of Inuyasha's hands grabbed her slim thigh and raised it over his hip. She moaned and reached for him, but he pushed her away, planting his hands on either side of her body.
"Tell me that you love me," he demanded, his eyes shining fiercely. His hair fell in wild tangles over his shoulders, hiding Kagome's face from Shippou's anxious eyes. "Say it, Kagome!"
When she still didn't answer him, only lie there with her eyes clenched shut and her lips trembling, Inuyasha leaned over her and captured her mouth in a brutal kiss. Shippou wanted to scream, he wanted to go in there and tear Inuyasha apart with his tiny claws. Fury like he'd never known engulfed him. Inuyasha didn't deserve to hear that, not at all!
He didn't deserve Kagome's love. He wasn't worthy, he was just a dirty hanyou who had tricked a girl into caring for him, tricked her and stolen a sacred jewel that made him into little more than a monster. A monster did not deserve someone as good and pure as Kagome, someone so kind and honest.
"I love you," her voice whispered into the gloom of the night.
Shippou dug his claws into the battered wood when he heard those words. They didn't sound forced or contrived, they weren't desperate or strained. Instead it was tender, gentle as Kagome herself, light as the breeze that stirred the wildflowers in summer. Her hands had risen again and this time she caressed his face, her pale fingers tracing the violet markings on his cheeks.
I love you. When had those three words ever had the power to gouge his heart, make his stomach roil in pain? Shippou shuddered, wishing he'd stayed in the village.
Inuyasha's expression changed, flickering from raw and angry lust to something more subtle and complex. He stared down at her, unmoving, until Kagome slowly dropped her hands, letting them fall limply at her sides as they looked at each other. Then he grinned at her, leaning back to untie his hakama and sliding them down his hips.
"I think you mean that," he said softly, pushing back her skirt.
Shippou couldn't take anymore; he was about to be sick. He turned away from the crack in the wall, covering his ears, as the sounds now coming from within grew loud. Tears leaked from his eyes when he heard Kagome cry out Inuyasha's name, her voice fading away to a ragged husk. Sickened, Shippou bolted away from the hut.
He was losing her. He was losing Kagome. Even if Inuyasha didn't kill her, he was destroying her just the same.
"Is this some kind of joke?" Kagome demanded angrily.
Makiko smiled but didn't meet her eyes. "I'm sure I don't know what you mean, miss."
Kagome pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed in frustration. It was a gesture that she had inherited from her mother. Although it suited her, she was fairly certain that her mother had never had anything like this to deal with. Of all the things she'd expected Sesshomaru to attack her with, clothing hadn't been high on her list.
When she'd finally gotten the strength to pick herself up off the floor, still shaking and nauseated from Miroku's enigmatic visit, she'd found the soft bundle of clothing that Makiko had left for her. Putting on the hakama was awkward; it had been years since she'd even thought about feudal garments and couldn't help but long for a pair of comfortable sweat pants to take their place. As she'd dressed herself and let the long full white sleeves slide over her wrists, something prickled at the back of her memory. She ignored it, thinking awkward, archaic clothing the least of her troubles.
Now she was angry, pushing away from Makiko as the woman smoothed her dark hair back over her ears and tied it with a single pale ribbon. Kagome knew damn well that she was being mocked and she didn't appreciate it.
"Is the clothing not to your liking?"
She didn't miss the hint of sarcasm in the youkai woman's tone. "You know damn well that it's not," Kagome shot back, fuming. "Why did you give me these of all things?"
Makiko smiled gently and turned away. "Sesshomaru-sama said that you were a priestess. It would be disrespectful of me to bring you anything less befitting to your station."
Station my ass, Kagome thought grimly. Crossing the room in a few angry strides, she grabbed the woman hard by the arm. "Don't patronize me," she ground out, fury coloring her tone. "I know what's going here, don't you tell me that fucking Sesshomaru..."
Makiko shrugged off her hand like she was a fly and slapped her lightly across the face. It hardly stung but Kagome got the impression that she was the unruly child being disciplined by a patient elder.
"Sesshomaru-sama, please. I beg you to remain respectful in this place. Now, will you kindly follow me? He does hate to be kept waiting."
Grumbling, Kagome felt even more the impudent child and managed to rein in her bad temper. Her sandals made a soft clatter on the smooth stone floors while Makiko's slippers were utterly soundless. Somehow, she would have expected an inuyoukai fortress to be bustling and full of noise. The passing servants and guards were quiet, nodding to Makiko and openly staring at her human companion. The walls of the place seemed smell of age and Kagome wondered how long this place had been in existence.
Her mind didn't want to focus on demons though, turning back time and again to Miroku. Obviously she was losing her grip on sanity if she was imagining the long dead monk to be visiting her. Although, she had to admit, it didn't surprise her that if Miroku was a ghost he was still lecherous enough to want to talk to her while she was naked.
And the hell she was going to tell anyone about the baby. It had been ten years and Kagome had learned how to avoid thinking of things that she'd rather not remember. Inuyasha. Her friends that had died. The miscarriage. She felt her jaw tighten at the very idea of telling him about it. Inuyasha didn't even remember her, like hell he'd give a damn that she had carried and lost his child. Like hell he'd care about the pain she had been through, what she had suffered all these years or how she'd had to pull herself out of a bottomless pit of despair and betrayal.
Bastard, she thought. He's been happy all these years, not remembering her or everything they'd been through. She resolved one thing. If she was able to get back to the real world, the one that didn't include psychotic demons, their brothers, lustful kitsune or poignant visits from perverted holy men, she was going to fill that well with concrete and never return to the country of her birth again.
"This way," Makiko said, guiding her to a small room. Kagome looked around expectantly, turning confused eyes to the woman when the room was empty.
"He's not here," she said flatly.
"You will wait," Makiko answered, sliding the door shut with a mere sketch of a bow.
Kagome's lip curled in irritation. Damn it, Sesshomaru, what are you planning? She didn't know what she was going to say to him, or what he was going to ask. Somehow, she had to find a way to make him listen. From what she could tell, Inuyasha wouldn't help her voluntarily. That left his brother to be the one to convince him. She smiled faintly, going to a wide window and staring outside.
The hell she was going to let anyone intimidate her. It had been years and the sweet girl that she had been was long since dead, betrayed to death, her soul raped away piece by piece. What was left was the only Kagome Higurashi that survived. And she meant to keep surviving, whatever the cost.
Ten Years Earlier
The rain had stopped some time ago, but still Shippou didn't know what to do. He wanted to go back to Kaede; he wanted to forget all about the little hut in the forest. Better to forget about Kagome and Inuyasha all together. What was the point, he was never going to win against Inuyasha.
"Better remember that, brat."
Shippou jumped, getting to his feet in a flash and preparing to run for his life. The demon was faster; he'd always been faster. Shippou squealed when a harsh hand clamped onto his tail and hoisted him into the air. Another hand came out of the darkness and stifled his frantic shrieks.
"Quiet," Inuyasha hissed, giving him a hard shake. Shippou went limp in his grasp; instinctively knowing that to struggle was only to invite pain. Inuyasha glared furiously at him, a dark and angry scowl on his face. Shippou swore he saw the demon's eyes glint red for a moment, then the hand was slowly removed from his mouth.
"If you scream again," Inuyasha warned, giving him a menacing shake. "I swear I'll snap your little neck. Got it?"
Shippou nodded, too afraid to do anything else. Inuyasha slowly sank to the ground, his grip on the kitsune's tail never easing even as the bigger demon set him carefully on his knee. He breathed a sigh of relief, realizing that Inuyasha wasn't going to kill him outright, not this time anyway.
"I've warned you about spying on me," the youkai said softly, still staring at him like a predator. Shippou held very still, his heart pounding frantically in his chest. He had been warned; Inuyasha had flatly told him to stay away from the hut. But like a fool, he couldn't help himself. He was every bit as drawn to protect Kagome as he'd ever been. Shippou had never dreamed that he'd miss the days when the worst thing he had to be afraid of was just Naraku.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Then why do you keep pushing me, stupid?" Inuyasha snarled. The hand on Shippou's tail flexed and for a crazy moment, the kitsune wondered what would happen if it was torn out. Would a tail grow back? Would he die from loss of blood from a wound like that?
"The only reason I've been putting up with you is because of her," Inuyasha told him coldly. "If it was up to me, I'd have drowned you in the river for being such a pain in my ass all this time. No matter how many times I saved your worthless hide, Shippou, you never stopped pushing me. Now you're gonna stop, understand?"
"How did you know..." Shippou began. Inuyasha cut him off with a brusque wave of his hand.
"I could smell you outside, nothing stinks like a wet fox." Shippou suddenly found himself dropped to the ground roughly and sat up to glare at the demon. He knew he'd be stupid to argue, be stupider still not to just run away back to the village as fast as his short legs would carry him.
It didn't matter, he decided. Anytime Inuyasha wanted him dead, that would be his time.
"You should know," Shippou retorted heatedly. "I don't stink worse than a wet dog like you. Why did you come after me?"
Inuyasha surprised him with a quick grin. "Yeah, I could have let you go. Better still, I could just drag you back with me and let her know that you were watching. How do you think that would make Kagome feel, to find out that you wanted to watch while I fucked her?"
Shippou flushed, backing away. "I just came out here to make sure she was okay," he said sullenly. "You leave her alone with nobody to protect her!"
"She's mine," Inuyasha growled. He leaned close to the defiant little fox, his eyes gleaming in the near darkness. "I do what I want with what belongs to me."
"She doesn't belong to you," the kitsune answered. "She's too good for you, she always has been."
Lazily, the demon leaned back, not threatening him in the slightest. He should have seen that for a warning, he should have known better, but Shippou was far too mad to care. He'd been choking back his feelings for weeks, watching as Inuyasha set about destroying her, the last person that loved them both. And she deserved so much better than either of them.
"Did you like what you saw, brat?" the demon asked him in a softly sarcastic tone. "Did you get off on it, did you pretend it was you instead of me on top of her? Or did your imagination fail you and that's why you had to run?"
Inuyasha's clawed hand shot out, grabbing Shippou painfully by the back of his hair. He refused to struggle, to let Inuyasha know he was hurting him. Instead he glared back with all the defiance he could muster even as the demon nailed words into his heart.
"How does it feel when you hear her scream for me when she comes? How does it feel to hear her say that she loves me and not you?"
If he could take him, oh if he could just take him! If he were offered a jewel shard at this very moment, he would accept it just to have a fair chance at beating in that arrogant, cruel face. But there was no more jewel, no shards to hunt. The family that he had found had been destroyed, the person he'd come to trust the most had betrayed him and even now worked to twist and warp the only truly good soul that Shippou had ever known.
"You don't even love her!" Shippou shouted, driven to fury.
He expected a backhand across the face, maybe worse. Instead, Inuyasha only stared at him, his face gone still and strange. Shippou was panting hard, fury and fear mixing his blood into a fevered cocktail of hurt. He wished was stronger, he wished he could find a way to escape with Kagome down that well of hers. Somewhere that Inuyasha would never be able to follow them, never hurt her, and never lie to her, to either of them, again.
"What do you know about it?" Inuyasha asked bitterly. He turned away from Shippou, looking up at the sky. The clouds had finally cleared and a few stars shone dimly. The kitsune stared at him, lost and confused by his abrupt change of manner.
Inuyasha turned at him; the same bitter smile on his face. "What do you know about it, Shippou? You don't know a fucking thing about how I feel."
Staring, Shippou sat still on the ground as Inuyasha stood; brushing wet leaves off his legs with a distracted air. He was still smiling, but it was a hurting kind of smile, one that made Shippou cringe and feel cold inside. Questions he couldn't phrase raged within Shippou's mind. He wanted to ask Inuyasha what he felt; he wanted to know the truth. Just for once, he wanted some kind of honesty
He got it.
"One more thing," Inuyasha said, giving him a dark glance over his shoulder before he disappeared into the forest. "She does belong to me. If she tries to leave me, I swear by the gods I will kill her. And if you ever try to come between us, Shippou, I swear I will kill you as well. Remember that the next time you think about crossing me."
He would remember, Shippou knew. There was no way to forget. They would never again be friends or protect each other, there was nothing left between them but hatred. From this moment on, it became clear to Shippou what he had to do. Inuyasha was his enemy, worse than Naraku. He made Hiten and Manten look like amateurs at cruelty.
He had to do whatever it took to save Kagome from this. Even if it cost him his own life.
Kagome turned at the chill voice and took a deep breath. It seemed for a moment that every challenge she'd face, every sarcastic and bitter professor, every intransigent client had prepared her for this moment. She had never admitted it to anyone, but something about Sesshomaru scared her deep down in her soul. It wasn't in her nature to trust, not anymore, but Kagome could remember a time when she'd hoped for the best.
Ironically she'd also hoped that someday Inuyasha and his estranged brother would find a way to tolerate each other. She'd just never expected to be on the other end of the fight.
"Sesshomaru," she said, deliberately leaving out any honorific. Whatever he was, she wasn't one of his people. If she deferred to him now, she'd be placing herself in a subordinate role. Kagome had dealt with powerful men before, she knew how to flatter and she knew how to seduce to get what she wanted.
One glance into those cool golden eyes and she knew that neither of those tactics would work on him. She had to meet him as an equal, demand respect like he'd never considered anything else for her.
She could do this. Being torn to shreds by poison claws wasn't such a bad fate, Sesshomaru wasn't the one who'd betrayed her heart or made her give up so much of herself that she couldn't find all the pieces. No, it was his brother that did that and she had every intention of taking back what she'd left behind.
Sesshomaru cocked his head to the side, a bare expression of amusement on his perfect face. "You have aged."
"Yeah, we humans do that," she muttered. Glancing away from him to gather her thoughts, she wondered what it would be like to be almost immortal, to never age, to never be sick. She wondered what would have happened if she'd stayed, if Inuyasha would have eventually grown bored with tormenting her and simply let her go.
Maybe once she'd grown old enough that he no longer found her sexually appealing. Yes, then he would have had no use for her. Most likely he would have simply snapped her neck one night and moved on to some fresh, virginal girl to violate.
A cool finger brushed her cheek and turned her chin back to face him. Sesshomaru was standing much closer now; she hadn't even heard him move. His eyes gazed down at her, that calculating expression that she'd always detested. Those golden eyes judged everything they saw with inhuman precision and she had to steel herself to not flinch away from his touch.
"You have aged as your lesser kind does tend to do," he commented at last. "One did not expect that you would have matured into beauty."
She stood stock still, her heart pounding. She wasn't expecting anything like a compliment to have come from Sesshomaru. Not this infernal creature that detested humanity to the point where he saw them as insects hardly worthy of being crushed beneath his feet.
Kagome twisted her chin away from him, not wanting his hand on her. This was a youkai, she reminded herself. Not some human male that she could manipulate. "Aren't you going to ask me why I'm here?" she asked waspishly.
Sesshomaru raised an elegant eyebrow. "I assumed that you've come to finish your work and destroy my brother," he said lightly.
"Destroy your brother?" she asked, caught quite off guard. "I don't know what you're talking about." How could he assume that, she wondered. It had been the other way around.
"Do not play the fool with me, priestess," Sesshomaru answered in a soft and deadly tone. "I know that you are the one who nearly killed him. He told me so himself."
"What?" Kagome backed away from him, staring at the powerful daiyoukai. "Are you insane," she demanded. "He's the one that nearly killed me. He's a lying bastard if he said anything else!"
He moved like a blur and Kagome found herself up against a wall, the cold of the ancient stone seeping through her clothing and into her skin. A sharp claw pressed lightly against her throat, right above her jugular and Kagome swallowed hard.
This wasn't going well at all.
"You cannot lie to me," Sesshomaru said, and this time she could hear the disgust in his voice. "You seduced my brother, played to be his friend. I care not for his foolishness, but I will not tolerate your lies to me. It was you that used the jewel to transform him, was it not?"
Kagome stared right into those implacable eyes. "No. He's the one who lied to me. He was after the jewel for himself the entire time. Everything he ever said or did was a lie, just a means to his goal. I'm not lying to you."
He moved away, dropping his claws. Then he turned and slapped her lightly across the face. "Pathetic," he whispered. "Woman, you cannot deceive me. Nothing less than a curse from a priestess could have reduced him to madness, your poison jewel. You created a demon and you could not control it. Isn't that why you condemned him?"
Her cheek stung but Kagome was too angry to care. Damn him, Sesshomaru was still every bit the bastard that she remembered. Arrogant and lofty, full of youkai superiority. She could tell him the truth until her face turned blue but he wouldn't believe her. She was human and therefore worthless in his eyes.
"Your damn brother almost killed me," she ground out, facing him with all the fury of a betrayed and degraded soul. "He used the jewel himself, damn right he went insane from it. But it was still Inuyasha, he knew exactly what he was doing and he didn't give a damn how much he hurt me."
"He forced you then?" Sesshomaru asked, curiosity light in his eyes.
She clenched her teeth and refused to answer. Angrily, she twisted away from him, wrapping her arms around herself to hide the tremors that were beginning deep inside. "Did he tell you that?" she asked when she finally found her voice.
"Not in so many words." Kagome stared as Sesshomaru went to the window, looking out over his lands with disinterest.
"I found him wandering, fevered and insane," he said at last, his voice sounding like it was recalled out of some depths of memory. "He knew not who I was, nor anything else that had transpired since you freed him from the seal. I wished to know how this came to pass, so I spared his life. He was dying."
"Dying?" she asked, forgetting her fury. "Dying from what?"
Sesshomaru shrugged elegantly, a smooth, effortless gesture. "I know not. I care not either. Tenseiga was able to heal him somewhat, no doubt due to his now pure demon blood. I doubt if a hanyou would have survived in spite of the blade's power. Nor am I certain it could have restored him had he died. In any case it took him years to recover, but his memories have not yet returned."
"I figured that out on my own," she said harshly. "Better that he doesn't remember, I don't want him to remember. I don't even want to be here."
"You do not seek his life? A demon skilled in understanding such things was able to see into his mind. Did he not attack you, defile you? Are you not here for your revenge?"
Kagome considered his statement and almost smiled. It was so far beyond revenge that she couldn't even express it. Of course a vengeful youkai like Sesshomaru would have thought so, it would have been a primary motivation in his eyes. How could she ever explain that vengeance couldn't have driven her back here, that mere hatred wasn't strong enough to bring her to Inuyasha. It wasn't about getting even; there was no way for her to ever inflict the kind of damage he had done to her.
"I don't want revenge," she said quietly, calmly. Kagome raised her eyes to Sesshomaru's giving him a direct, but unchallenging stare. "I am only here by accident. My...country is very far away, I can't return without Inuyasha's assistance."
It was impossible to explain, Kagome thought wryly. "There is a well, not far from the tree where Inuyasha was sealed," she told him. "It is a portal of sorts, allowing me to pass from my land to this one." It didn't seem prudent to explain that it also allowed her to cross time, she didn't want to think of what a demon like Sesshomaru might use such knowledge for and she didn't want to find out.
"And now this way is closed to you," he stated, looking away from her like she had suddenly become less interesting. "How very tragic for you, human."
She stiffened at the light condescension in his tone. "It is tragic," she snapped. "Tragic that I have to be stuck here, where I don't want to be. Believe me, I never wanted to lay eyes on him again. How would you, great youkai lord, feel if the only one that could help you return to your homeland was also the one you hated the most?"
"I would be displeased," he answered her, expressionless as ever. "Are you trying to tell me that only Inuyasha can assist you?"
Kagome nodded, fixing him with her eyes even though he seemed to be more interested in a minute piece of dust on his windowsill. "He's the only one that could ever pass through the well. I am asking you to convince him to help me."
Sesshomaru turned back to her, the ghost of a sneer crossing his face. "You are nothing to me," he said coolly. "I only wished an answer for my mystery. Now that you have provided some enlightenment on the subject, I feel that you should leave this fortress. Leave youkai to their own affairs, my brother is no longer part of your world. I see no reason for him to do anything to aid a human."
Her breath hissed between her teeth. "I should have expected you to say that," she muttered. "You're still every bit the selfish bastard. You never gave a damn about Inuyasha, not for his entire life. You make me sick, Sesshomaru. Not because you won't help me, but because you're a hypocritical, condescending son of a bitch!"
"If you wish to die now," he said, his voice going still and deadly as greenish energy flowed from his fingertips. "You need only ask."
"I'm asking you to for once show some kind of honor!" she shouted, driven to supreme irritation by his intransigence. She was going to die anyway, Kagome decided that she would rather die shouting, not meekly cowering and pleading for her life.
To her surprise, his expression flickered and he lowered his hand. "Honor? Humans know nothing of honor. You slaughter each other pointlessly, live like squalid beasts. What do you care for honor, woman?"
"I don't," she said sharply. Kagome stepped forward, meeting Sesshomaru head on. "I care about getting home, I care about getting back to where I belong. I curse the day I ever met your brother. But he owes me, damn it, for what I've been through."
His lip twisted in contempt. "Why should I help you?" he asked derisively.
Kagome met his gaze, unwaveringly resolute. "You know what he did to me. He was a beast, not a youkai or a hanyou, but a beast. And considering that beast is your own brother, I'd say you have a rather large obligation."
Something in his expression shifted and he turned away from her, heading for the door. Kagome held her breath when Sesshomaru stopped suddenly and flung a hateful look back at her.
"I will consider it."
As soon as he'd left, Kagome had to lean against the wall because her legs were no longer able to support her. It wasn't a victory, but it wasn't outright defeat. She guessed that it was the best she could have hoped for. After all, she was still alive.
Breathing deeply against the panic that wanted to burst from her chest, Kagome decided that she really needed to lie down. She had tried to pay attention when Makiko had led her here and thought there was a good chance that she could get back to her room on her own. She didn't want to see any more demons; even the sight of Shippou's face would have sent her into hysterics. Exhaustion or the crash of adrenaline was making her dizzy and she could just imagine Sesshomaru's cold amusement if she passed out in one of his elegant hallways.
Kagome left the room, turning right and heading down the passage. Her mind was still buzzing, her nerves frayed to breaking. She had done it, she knew it. She had too much experience in the courtroom to not know when she'd made her case. A thousand stony faced judges couldn't have prepared her for this, all of her determination seemed to have been used up in trying to survive Sesshomaru's strange interview.
For strange it had been, he'd been fishing for answers and she'd dangled the bait. And somehow, at the end, she'd managed to find a crack in that impassive armor. Honor. She smiled to herself, amused at his vanity. Demons did have their pride.
She thought it was the second passage, no maybe the third. Her mind was still a bit befuddled and Kagome thought for a moment that she might have indeed played herself as a fool. Wouldn't it be amusing to get lost in a fortress full of demons? She didn't think so.
Turning the corner, she nearly ran into him. Kagome stopped suddenly and rocked back on her heels, backing away as she did so. It was instinct and her instincts didn't lead her wrong. When she'd abandoned everything else, Kagome had learned to trust in those instincts, trust that inner strength that she'd attained by being every bit as ruthless and single minded as a demon herself.
But that strength quailed when she looked at Inuyasha. His long sweep of white hair fell over his shoulder, his chin lifted in a jerk when he saw her. And once again, time stopped and Kagome found herself frozen in his eyes like a frightened rabbit before the hound.
Sudden recognition flooded those golden eyes and she recollected that he probably hadn't a good look at her before. She'd been filthy, covered in blood and dirt and reeking of a demon's death. She had just been an anonymous human to him, a bitch with a nasty temper and a vicious kick, but now she saw his eyes picking over her. His gaze clung hotly to her face, over her breasts that were clad in white, down her legs clad in crimson.
His nostrils dilated as he took in her scent and his eyes widened in sudden, hateful recognition.
Kagome found herself suddenly flung hard against the wall, cracking the back of her skull sharply against the stone. Inuyasha's face was a mask of pure fury, unforgiving hate and his hand clenched around her throat as he pinned her until she couldn't draw a breath.
"You," he hissed. "It's you. I'll kill you, bitch!"