Stronger by Caedes
Ain't Nothin' Stronger
So this is my brand new chapter story! I promised myself once I finished Taking Her Destiny that I wouldn't start another until Opportunities was finished. And while I have finished writing it, it still is in final edits. But that means I can post this story now. RIGHT? I'm not breaking the rules that I set for myself.
This story deals with domestic abuse and the emotional trama of it, if this bothers you please go to another story. Though a significant part of my character, it will not be the main focus of the story in telling stories of the abuse. That is vague, but I am doing that on purpose so I am not revealing anything but giving enough warning. Clear as mud?
I hope you like the fist chapter.
Sesshomaru scowled looking at the clock. He didn’t like his people running late, it usually made him cut off heads. But this was different, his lawyer was always prompt—she was never late. He actually liked his lawyer, so he would regret losing her. The clock hit three minutes after one.
Three minutes late.
The door burst open to reveal Inuyasha, his cheeks red from running.
“Sango had an emergency.” He heaved, holding out the phone, which Sesshomaru saw was lit up with her number. For Inuyasha to be out of breath he had to have traveled a long of distance in a short time, for a hanyou. He waited until Inuyasha walked over to his desk and handed him the phone rather than reach for it.
“Sesshomaru-sama.” Sango’s voice in his ear sounded distressed, she was usually well put together for a human so that immediately alerted him to the fact that she was in danger.
“Yes.” He said when she paused and didn’t continue.
“My friend was in a—domestic abuse situation.” She said uneasily, “She called, it has gotten bad. Miroku and I are helping her now.” The human’s husband was respectful of his position, worked for him and was good for the human woman, “I would have called in earlier, but everything happened minutes ago. I will be in tomorrow morning as planned.”
He paused, “Do you need my assistance?”
He heard her sharp intake of breath—good. The human knew what it meant for someone of his status to offer help to her—“As much as I value your assistance, I think if that mutt comes to stop her, I want the pleasure of kicking his ass myself.” She growled, and he knew she could do it as well. He had seen her spar at the yokai dojo.
“You will call if you need anything.” It was a demand, he would not let her see it as anything but.
“Is it alright if she stays with us?” She asked. Sango lived with him on his property. Due to the nature of his business, it was best if his lawyer was with him at all times. There could be things that happened at all hours of the night, and his lawyer would have to be on hand.
“She is familiar with yokai laws?”
“Her husband is a yokai.” Husband gave him an important insight, not a mate. And the distinction of her and husband made him draw the conclusion that the woman in question was a human.
“I will see you tomorrow.”
“Thank you, Sesshomaru-sama.”
He hung up, handing the phone back to his younger half-brother. His brother looked distressed, more so than what he usually let slip in his presence.
“You know the female?” Sesshomaru asked.
“Yeah—you met her awhile ago. She was my best friend in high school—we dated our first year, then she started dating that lousy excuse of a yokai and married the bastard.” The last part was growled through clenched teeth, “She stopped seeing us awhile back after law school, I figured she had just moved on with other friends. But Sango saw her a week ago—said something was off about her. An hour ago Sango got the call to ask if Sango could help her leave and ten minutes ago she called to say she was on her way to wherever Sango was staying.”
“It is a husband.” Sesshomaru said, but he wanted the half-breed to confirm.
“Yes—I don’t know why he didn’t mate her—he was always fucking scent marking her.” This was intriguing to Sesshomaru, clearly the beast within the yokai was enamored with the woman, so it was indeed curious as to why the beast did not mate her.
“Hn.” He said, dismissing his brother to go about his business. Inuyasha took the cue and started to leave, “What is the female’s name?”
“Kagome.” He replied before shutting the office door.
Kagome was breathing so hard she was sure her lungs would explode as she furiously threw things in a huge suitcase. She wasn’t even exactly sure what she was throwing in there, but she was sure it was everything she needed. Into the bag went her case of make up, her fine clothes, everything that made the prop up doll that she had become.
She was sure nothing was left of her old self and the doll was the only thing she had left.
The only thing that made her stop doubting herself and zip her bag to leave was the fact that she had called Sango—and Sango would drag her out. Because Sango was brave and strong, unlike herself. Sango would force her out of here. And she couldn’t let that happen, so she would run away first. Grabbing her large tote bag and her huge suitcase, she rolled it to the stairs. When she got to the top of the stairs, she stopped to make sure that no one was there. All she could hear was her breath, so she picked up the suit case. She used to be strong, but years of not working out and fear had left her thin. The only way she managed to take it down the steps was because of adrenalin.
Every creak of the wind against the house, every car that drove around the block she paused to make sure it wasn’t her husband coming home. She wasn’t sure she could hear him over her heart beating. When there was a loud bang, she screamed.
It took her a second to realize it was a small vase that her suit case had hit in her haste to get out the door. She stood there for a moment, staring at the broken vase. She was shaking so hard she thought she might fall. Should she clean up the shards of glass? That was ridiculous, she was leaving anyway. She shook her head, putting her arm around the suit case to roll it towards the back door.
He had gone out. He hardly ever left her alone, not without someone to check in on her every once and awhile. And she always had to look good when he came back home. Always had to have food on the table. Always ahd to say the right thing.
But this day was different when he left, the vodka he drank had made him forget some of his fail-safes to keep her there. Not that she had ever tried to run away, he had made it clear what he would do if she tried. But now she feared if she would stay she would fall to the same fate.
Now was her chance.
She ran out the back door and managed to awkwardly carry her bag and her suitcase through the back yard, out the back fence, and across the back yard of the neighboring house to the back door. Knocking on the door frantically, she looked behind her to make sure her husband wasn’t coming.
“I have the car sitting for you.” Kagura said, motioning for Kagome to come into the house, grabbing Kagome’s bag. Kagome didn’t realize she was crying until she was handed a tissue.
“Thank you.” Kagome said, her voice broken in a whispered tone for fear that her husband would hear her.
“You are so brave, Kagome. Never forget that.” Kagura said, kissing her cheek. Kagome nodded, but didn’t agree with her, “Here is a burner cell. Call Sango as soon as you can.”
“Thank you so much Kagura.”
“Just do me a favor?” Kagura said, and Kagome nodded, “Live a life you deserve—a good life, Kagome—you deserve it.” Kagura wrapped her arms around Kagome tightly, handing her a manila envelope, “Open it later.”
Kagome opened the car door, looking both ways to make sure she didn’t see her husband’s car as she climbed in and shut the door. The car wasn’t the level of luxury she was used to, but it wasn’t about that. Kagome shook her head, she didn’t need nice things—she was just used to them. He had made her dependent on them, incapable of imagining a life without it so she would be too afraid to leave him.
But she lived without such luxury once, she could do it again.
Starting the car, she pulled out of the driveway. It had been a long time since she had driven, so it took her a second to adjust to the break. Driving up, she decided to take the far exit leaving the neighborhood because her husband liked to take the closer one. It may be paranoia, but she would indulge those paranoid urges for now. Breaking at the stop, she looked in the rear view mirror to see her husband’s car entering the other exit, making a turn away from her and toward her empty house.
Her heart was pounding as she made the left out of the neighborhood. Shaking hands made it difficult to turn the wheel, she could barely breathe. Easing onto the interstate, she checked the rear view mirror to make sure she didn’t see her husband’s car chasing her.
Kagome didn’t know how long she drove before she stopped incessantly checking the rear view mirror.
But eventually she stopped.
Her hands were still shaking as she reached over and grabbed the burner phone.
“Sango, it’s Kagome.”
“I tried calling your phone.”
“I got rid of it, I am driving to you.”
“How did you get a car?”
“I have one—I didn’t steal it.” Kagome was short, her voice coming out strange under the stress.
“It’s not his car” Sango said to make sure she was correct.
Sango didn’t ask but Kagome confirmed, “No, it’s not.”
“My birth certificate, my social security card—all of it is locked up. I couldn’t get it. How am I going to work?”
“I can worry about that—you are a lawyer, you know how to replace them.” Sango teased her.
“You’re right, that’s stupid. I’m stupid.”
The phone was silent for a moment, “You’re not stupid, Kagome. You beat me at every test we ever took.” Kagome’s breath was coming up short, “Kagome, pull over, you’re having a panic attack—where are you?”
“In—in—interstate.” She managed to say between pants as she pulled off.
“Give me a mile marker.”
Kagome looked around everywhere and didn’t see anything, “I—I—I can’t.”
“Stay with me, Kagome. Come on, I know you can see something.”
“One—One—One thirty five.” She managed to say before she opened the car door and threw up.
Sango kept saying things over the phone, but Kagome was hardly paying attention. It kept her from succumbing to her own thoughts, the incessant babble made her think of something else. She had no idea how long she sat with her head out of the car, focusing on her breathing. Eventually she heard a crunch of the road behind her as a car pulled up. Sango’s voice was going on, but Kagome stiffened in fright.
He had found her.
Her entire body went rigid as she braced for the inevitable, bracing herself for pain. He was going to kill her now.
Refusing to look up at him, she stared at the ground until a face came into focus in front of her.
“Sango.” She let out a strangled cry of relief.
“You’re coming with me.” Sango said with a big smile, tears rolling down her cheeks. Sango gently guided Kagome into the car, her entire body shivering so hard it was nearly convulsing. Miroku handed Kagome a blanket, which she gratefully took. Sango sat in the back seat of the truck with Kagome, rubbing her arms up and down to get them warm.
Sango was talking, but Kagome wasn’t truly listening. Sango could have been saying her grocery list for all Kagome knew. After awhile of staring ahead, Kagome lay down, putting her head in Sango’s lap. Kagome took her friends hand tightly in her own and squeezed it.
“Kagome.” Sango nudged her, she must have fallen asleep due to exhaustion, “We are here.” It was dark out, so they had been driving for some amount of time, “I live on my boss’s estate—he knows you are coming. He is yokai.” Sango said, Kagome nodded as she sat up.
“He is Inuyasha’s older brother.” Miroku told her, and Kagome nodded. She vaguely remembered meeting him many years ago. Sango helped Kagome out of the car, her feet wobbling as she stood up.
The house—estate is what Sango called it—was stunning. If she remembered correctly, she had thought that Inuyasha’s father had lived on the estate, but she figured upon his retirement he had taken up residence elsewhere. Thinking she had read an article about Touga’s retirement in a magazine, she thought she was right.
The aura that walked out of the main entrance was as oppressive as it was strong. It was incredibly powerful—she remembered that about Inuyasha’s older brother. Immediately, she bowed her neck to the side in a show of submission.
“She’s a miko.” His voice was so low she could barely hear it.
“Is that a problem, Sesshomaru-sama?” Sango asked.
“No.” His retort was short, “Unless she is untrained?”
Kagome shook her head, her voice stopping in her throat as the intimidating male stood tall over her.
“Kagome has been trained.” Sango answered for her.
They brought her to a room, though Kagome couldn’t remember how she got there. Miroku and Sesshomaru left, but Sango remained with her. Sango helped Kagome get out of her clothes and put on one of her nightgowns. Miroku came back with clothes for Sango as Sango got into bed with her.
“You can go to bed.” Kagome whispered.
“I’m not leaving you.” Sango whispered back to her.
“I am sorry.”
“Sorry for what?”
“For bringing this mess to you, for not being strong enough to deal with it on my own.”
Sango leaned forward and kissed Kagome’s forehead, “I am so glad you came to me.”
“What if he comes for me?” Kagome whispered the question so softly, she wasn’t sure Sango could hear her.
“Sesshomaru-sama has offered his protection.” Sango told her.
Kagome was shocked, she didn’t know Sesshomaru too well, but what she had heard from Inuyasha was not flattering. She didn’t expect such a huge offer.
“Why?” Kagome asked. Why would a powerful yokai like Sesshomaru want to protect her? She was tiny and insignificant.
“He will tell you in his own time.” Sango said.
Kagome was used to not getting answers, so she didn’t question it before falling asleep.
A gentle push of yokai made Kagome rouse, she blinked her eyes open as the powerful aura washed over her. It was merely inspecting, and she figured if it was his house then she should let him. Her aura rose, the first time she had felt it do that in a long time. Her husband didn’t allow such practices. She hadn’t felt her miko power within her for fear he would know—he always knew when she broke the rules. Tears came to her eyes as she rolled over, the yokai of the estate was in her room. Sesshomaru, she remembered his name.
“Sango?” She called, wanting her friend there to give her courage to talk to the male.
“She went downstairs for breakfast.” Sesshomaru answered, sitting in a chair. Kagome nodded, “I have questions that must be answered if you are to reside here.”
She nodded again, she would just have to be ready for his questions. She sat up, attempting to calm her hair.
“You come from a clan with money.”
“I was married to the head of the clan.” She replied to his next question as well as his assumption.
“Married.” He said, “Did his beast not want to mate you?”
She was quiet, looking down at the blanket, “You ask a personal question.”
“This Sesshomaru knows and takes no pleasure in prying into personal matters of people in his residence.”
“His beast wanted to mate me—but knew the actions—the actions of.” Her throat closed and she closed her eyes.
“So the rational self was the one who harmed you.” He concluded, and she nodded as tears slipped down her cheeks. When she opened her eyes to stare at him, his golden eyes were comforting— enough coldness in them to make her feel strong, enough warmth for comfort without pity.
“If he was violent enough, his beast would rouse and he would stop. The beast was mindful to keep our conversations between us private.” More tears were wiped away.
“I will give you residence here and an allowance until you are stable enough for work. If you wish to leave, you may at anytime. My offer of residence will not expire unless you are fool enough to test my patience. But you do not seem like such a fool.” His words were spoken in such a tone that was unbelievably arrogant, but it also gave her a strange sense of pride that a demon who thought he was never wrong didn’t think she was a fool.
“You are gracious for allowing me to stay here—I will never be able to repay you for your generosity.”
“Sango has been a good employee for many years, this request is not so much.” He assured her. He shifted, which Kagome knew meant he was uncomfortable asking the next question—yokai didn’t twitch as much as humans, “Who is your husband—I do not wish to protect you blind.”
Kagome was wringing her hands, pulling on her fingers so tightly it was painful. Tears erupted silently, she was too used to quieting her tears to make it loud.
“A name, miko.” He said sternly when she didn’t speak for several minutes.
“Lord Kouga, of the Northern Wolf Tribes.”
So this is chapter one! I will say this story was inspired by 'Heart of Dixie' by Danielle Bradberry. It is by no means an exact story of what happened in the song, but I was listening to it and came up with this first chapter. Thus, the first chapter is entitled Ain't Nothin' Stronger.
Kouga was a purposeful choice. I wanted a character that people generally liked because when it comes to abusive relationships, no one walks in thinking he/she is a horrible person, which is why Naraku is not the husband. It is easy to hate Naraku, but not so much for Kouga. So for all the Kouga loving people out there, this might not be the story for you!