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The Wandering Prince by Inuyaoi

Chapter 1

Quite a bit of time has passed since Kagome, Inuyasha and the gang finished off Naraku for good. So much that Kagome was now a sophomore in college and nearing her 19th birthday. It turns out that the evil bastard was the reason why there was so much heck far and wide. Naraku wasn't getting any deader so Kagome went home more often. Things were peaceful and she found it easier to return home to catch up with her studies, confident in Inuyasha's strength. Of course, the reason why she could miraculously pull her grades up was because she didn't hurriedly return to the feudal era like she used to. Her disappearing act began as once a week, then once every other week and eventually once every other month.

Inuyasha was put through the motions.

At first, he didn't take her desire to excel at her studies seriously. Seeing Kagome only once a week? Like hell he would. During those first few years of adjusting to high school life again Kagome only visited the old time on the weekend—at least that was her plan. The half demon was adamant that he would not see the miko only once a week and took it upon himself to continuously stalk across time. Kagome originally pretended that it annoyed her on the outside (much to Inuyasha's amusement) but on the inside, that couldn't have been further from the truth. The fact of the matter is she loved that adorable dog-eared fool and just having him around felt good. Really good. Your crush impatiently waiting outside of your school good. Apparently if the stalked were fond of the stalker then no boundaries were crossed.

That went on seemingly forever until her senior year of high school. Inuyasha wasn't sure if he truly understood what a college was, but considering how fraught Kagome was during something called the "finals" he knew it had to be very important to her. Despite knowing that he still struggled to adapt to her shift in priorities. During that year, she was consumed by her strange writing book work. He scowled and tolerated it in the best way a brash young half breed could. The reason why he did not stay back with Sango, Shippo and the others was because he could not bear to wait a week without seeing her, but when she grew more indifferent to his presence he felt deeply disrespected. So, one day Inuyasha saw to it to give her a taste of her own medicine. During one visit, he huffed and puffed louder than usual as he sat on her bedroom floor, his hand supporting his head. His companion was doing the usual, studying and taking notes. It's not as if Kagome didn't hear Inuyasha's increasingly aggravating attempts to get her attention, she was just too determined to notice.

She was going to pass her finals with a high enough score to get accepted into her preferred university, neglected hanyou be damned.

"Kami, wench it's like all you ever do these days is read, read, read. It's fucking annoying," he said, but not before sucking his teeth.

No response.

Not so much as an attempt to acknowledge half of his humanity. Too prideful to admit that he grew tired of feeling slighted he quickly rose to his feet, crossed his arms and stood in the middle of her room. She noticed his sudden movements out of her peripheral vison, her hand writing on autopilot as she glanced at him.

"Inuyasha, please. Can you just be more patient? I'm almost done," she said with an expectant tone of irritation. He knew that tone all too well. Those days it seemed like that was the only infliction she had to spare when she spoke to him. Well, no more. He wasn't going to give her the luxury of taking his loyalty for granted. He briefly glared at the miko and then sharply focused on her bedroom window. Pouting silently, he was hesitant to abruptly leave and return home. He blinked and shook his head, keeping his nerve. With a small fang slightly bared, he exhaled in frustration and exited her window with one leap.

It took her the entire day to realize that Inuyasha was not around.

She would never admit it to him but she felt relieved that he took it upon himself to leave. Knowing that he knew better than to terrorize her time she figured he returned home. Years ago, she would have immediately stopped what she was doing to tend to his emotional state but not with her future on the line. If she was to become an archaeologist she would need to study hard and not allow Inuyasha's theatrics to distract her. Besides, she would visit him and her friends in his time in another few days.

~~~~

Back in his own time Inuyasha sat by the well, confident that it would only be a matter of time before his Kagome came rushing through time with an apology.

Well, that shit didn't happen.

Dusk approached and she was nowhere to be found. Seething with disbelief he sprang up into a nearby tree and sulked. He didn't see her again for a few more days. What made matters worse is that when that day arrived not only did she pretend she didn't slight him she never said she was sorry for neglecting him.

As always arranged, every week she visited for a few days with modern era supplies and goodies in her bag. Normally everyone gathered around Kaede's residence during this time. Sango and Miroku returned a day before her scheduled arrival.

Where they went during the week no one knew.

They were in that magical honeymoon phase of their relationship. In all honesty, they probably could have been tossing rocks in a lake somewhere and chances are they would have had the time of their lives doing so. The thought of their happiness irritated Inuyasha more than he liked to admit. He never thought he would feel jealous of their new-found love. Out of nowhere it appeared that Sango was okay with the monk caressing her body in once off-limits places. That really made Inuyasha see red.

Goddammit, he bitterly thought to himself as he melodramatically stuffed his clawed hands into the sleeves of his fire rat clothing. And Kagome over there is actin' like she don't give a damn about me. Goddamn this is pissing me off.

Little did he know of the thoughts and emotions Kagome would soon put him through. Coming to grips with seeing her a few times a week was one thing, adjusting to seeing her a few times a month was agony. As her senior year neared the finish line he struggled with the notion that Kagome would always put her studies before him. The days of his adorable companion rushing back to be with him were coming to an end.

The realization of such was depressing.

At first, he acted as if it didn't bother him. His indifference was obviously a lie but he dared not tell anyone of his feelings, let alone Kagome. Chances are she wouldn't have given a fuck anyway. Everyone else adjusted to her less than frequent visits. They had other things to do. Even Shippo had other activities to fill in his free time. He often disappeared for longer stretches of time than Kagome to train his demon abilities with other young foxes. One things for sure, all this peace was becoming a real drain. And like before he found himself spending more and more time alone. The sting of her visiting less and less dulled with time—until she reopened the wound of his longing for her by showing up every so often.

And that was how things were. At least until a power-hungry dragon demon shattered the peace near the Northern mountains. That demon caused such a fuss that a messenger sought out the skills of the trusty ol' gang. Suddenly there was something to do, much to the relief of Inuyasha. With Shippo and the miko busy with their own studies it was up to the half-demon, the slayer and the monk to ensure that tranquility was restored.

To say the least Inuyasha was pretty freaking excited and itching to get the show on the road. The journey was expected to be long and challenging. The destructive dragon's territory was in a region far away. Inuyasha could run for days on end and it would still take weeks to get there, let alone scale the mountainous terrain.

"Better check your shit now because once we get going I ain't turning back for nothing." Miroku nodded at the hanyou and asked Sango if she had the necessary supplies. After she assured the monk that she had everything they needed the trio made way out of Kaede's village.

~~~

"Okay, I've got Sango's tampons, Miroku's deodorant and Inuyasha's favorite snacks," she said to herself. It was time for her bi-monthly trip to the old time. Finals were brutal this year but she aced her exams and was relieved that it was now winter break. Only during these periods of extended vacation did she visit more frequently. She knew her friends would be stoked to see her more often during those few weeks. Satisfied with her haul she made her way down the stairs and told her mother she was leaving. Knowing where she was going Kagome's mom told her to be careful as she walked out the front door.

"Oh wow, it's so cold out here this morning."

Zipping up her jacket she walked towards the magical shrine, slid the door open and climbed into the well.

~~~

Inuyasha wasn't the only one who felt restless these days. Sesshomaru found himself wandering across Japan more frequently. With the western lands secure he often roamed outside of his royal territory, slaying the odd unruly demon when he felt like it. But that opportunity didn't come around too often and quite frankly he was bored. He didn't intend to make his way towards Inuyasha's forest it just so happened to be in the way. Rumor has it a young dragon came of age and was itching to expand his territory.

Unfortunately for that young upstart, the demon lord intended to investigate (and by investigate that meant destroy).

Gracefully he traveled through the still forest. A cool breeze stirred his waist length hair as he approached the boarder.

Then he registered a familiar scent.

It has been nearly four years since he last smelled her but he knew who it was.

Inuyasha's miko.

It's not that her scent surprised him or anything. No, not at all. What intrigued him was how her scent seemingly appeared out of thin air. He should have detected her before he entered the wooded area. Sure, she was miko but she was still ill-trained. Her aura insured of him that very fact but how did she gain the ability to completely hide her scent and energy despite that? Silently he walked in the direction of her smell, suppressing his overwhelming youki as he went.

Before he happened upon Kagome in one swift motion he leapt into a tree and concealed himself from her view. Hiding his youkai would suffice. It's not like she would be able to detect him by scent.

Hn…

Kagome was pulling herself out of a weathered looking well. Sesshomaru could smell that his half-brother traveled to this area regularly but the scent was stale. It has been some time since he last been there but why did he hang around this area anyway? And why was the miko pulling herself from this well? Surely, she couldn't have been doing it for her own amusement.

Humans were strange indeed.

With mild interest, his hair spilled over his shoulder as he tilted his head and took note of her appearance. She appeared to be more mature. She didn't look to be much older but she did age rapidly compared to him due to her own morality. It would take the lord another several hundred years to match her progression.

Her hair was slightly longer; figure ever so womanlier. Although she didn't have on that indecent and flowy outfit her clothes were still rather revealing, albeit in a different way. Sesshomaru had never seen such form fitting…whatever she was wearing. It looked as if the material was painted on the lower half of her body. Sesshomaru briefly exhaled through his nose and looked off towards the nearby village.

It's not like he was checking her out or anything.

He pushed her figure out of his mind remained puzzled as to why it seemed like she appeared out of thin air. Something wasn't right here and he was fascinated enough to stick around and try to find out what was going on. He continued to watch Kagome as she looked around in confusion. She expected her friends to be there waiting for her. She assumed they were most likely occupied with something else in the village so she made her way down the worn path to Kaede's hut. Unable to shake a faint feeling that perhaps she wasn't alone on the outskirts of the forest…

~~~

She didn't see her comrades as she walked through the village. That was unusual. If they weren't by the well they were normally some place nearby. When she got to Kaede's home she walked in and greeted her. Despite her disappointment she was always happy to see that the old priestess was still in good health for her age. Always generous the old woman offered Kagome some of her delicious stew.

"Thanks, but I'm not hungry right now. I'll probably eat when everyone else gets back."

"My child you'll wither away to nothing by the time the others return," Kaede replied as she took a large spoon to her simmering meal.

"Wait, what? Where did they go?"

Kaede covered the pot and slowly lowered her aged body on a lovely pillow the thoughtful miko gifted her earlier in the year. Kagome plopped down next to her, testament of her youth and gave the old woman her full attention.

"Inuyasha and the others were summoned to kill a demon far away from here. Not just any demon but a dragon demon. I'm afraid you won't get to see them for at least another new moon."

~~~

It was just an ordinary well.

Sesshomaru entertained the idea that maybe there was a secret passage inside but after looking down he only saw vines that spread across the walls and a branch that didn't quite reach the bottom. The miko's scent was utterly saturated here. For whatever reason she had been crawling out of that well for years and that didn't make any goddamn sense. Neither did the faint surge of power it also emitted. He recognized that energy too. He recalled when she fired a sacred arrow in his direction during the period when he was after his brother's blade. It gave him the same hair-raising sensation then too.

There weren't too many things left in his time that left him wondering. Curiosity was novel. So, he permitted it to take ahold and jumped into the well.

Things were getting weird for the Lord of the West down there.

He noticed that his greatest sense was significantly hindered while standing at the bottom. A nagging discomfort spread across his body, akin to walking through a weakened barrier. Jaw rigid with annoyance he took in every inch of the enclosed space. Sesshomaru didn't come any closer to figuring out the mystery. If anything all he did was change his point of view.

At least until an object fell from the sky and struck him on the head.

An involuntary growl erupted from his throat and ricocheted around him. In an instant, he engaged his poison claws and impaled the object that accosted his perfect head of silk.

A satchel?

Disregarding the tiny voice in his head that suggested that he overreacted, Sesshomaru glanced up and saw her. With no effort, he sprang out of well and balanced himself on the rim. The red that seeped into his pools slowly dissipated when their eyes met. Kagome was given the fright of her life, and when that mother fucker popped out of the ground like deranged daisy she nearly purified him.

"What the—Sesshomaru?!," she screamed, "w-why are you here?" As his features calmed he stepped off the lip of the enchanted well and gave her the pleasure of staring at his back. The demon lord was peering into the well again. There was a pregnant pause before he responded.

"Miko, why did you throw your carrier into this well?"

Kagome said nothing.

Sesshomaru had no reason to ever come near Inuyasha's forest. He was the last person on earth she ever expected to come bursting out of the portal to her time.

"Uh, no reason," she blurted out. Why the hell is he here?

It was so quiet, the only thing she could hear over her own heartbeat was the gentle rustling of his hair sliding over the silk of his clothing as he looked over his shoulder. The demon before her could detect her anxiety.

"Do you take me for a fool?"

"I-what I do with my things is none of your business! You nearly gave me a heart attack!'

Dead silence.

"Your property struck me. My request to know why is valid," he said flatly.

Something fell to bottom of her skull. She suspected it was her brain falling out her mouth. Sesshomaru was still staring at her out of the corner of his eye. She caught his gaze and shifted her attention to his feet. It was wise not to cross this demon, however, that didn't mean should would let him to bully her into revealing her most precious secret. She had to be clever. The problem was how does one pull the wool over the eyes of the ultimate canine?

"You had no reason to be in there. It's your own fault you were in the way of my bag," she said with an air of faux self-righteousness.

Sesshomaru all but scoffed.

She really intended to try him. Not to say he was the least bit surprised. Humans were incapable of genuine respect unless their lives were in danger. Her tone irked him. She spoke to his half-brother in such a way but to speak to the Lord of the West as if his presence was nothing more than an inconvenience was unacceptable.

"Human. When I question you I expect answers," he began, "Are you aware of who you— "

"—Demon…I know who I'm speaking to. You have no right appear out of thin air and question my motives."

He snarled internally. The corner of his mouth twitched as he calmed himself. The gall of this woman. Youkai had various ranks. She not only cut him off but she had the audacity to just refer to him as a demon. Through the grace of Kami was the only reason he didn't strike her down where she stood. Her tone. That tone of hers proved she wasn't accustomed to acknowledging superiors regularly. He decided it was up to him to educate her. Sesshomaru was a lord who was fond of higher education and it would be a shame if she suddenly turned up missing. He turned towards her and slowly approached, invading her personal space by stopping just shy of a hand's length from her face.

Okay, so she fucked up.

One the most powerful beings in this time was glaring down at her. Stealing a glace she caught his gaze and felt a shiver travel up her spine. Eyes like Inuyasha's yet so different. Behind that collected demeaner was a feral force that came standard with pristine linage. For the first time in years she truly felt intimidated. But there was something else she was feeling. Too aware of her morality at that very moment she involuntary pushed that other unknown sensation elsewhere.

Why?

Because her senses were short circuiting.

She was positive smoke was coming from her ears. The Inuyoukai was unmoved. He dared her to break eye contact and give her insecurity away.

"Lord Sesshomaru," he said coolly.

Kagome didn't exhale.

"That is what you will refer to me as, do you understand, Miko?"

When she nodded vigorously his amber eyes narrowed.

"I cannot hear you."

"Yes, Lord Sesshomaru," she squeaked as she inched away from him. He didn't move. His eyes followed her and she crept ever so closer to the well. When she felt the rim touch her leg she sat down on the ledge.

"I will not address you again. Why did you throw your— "

Kagome tilted her body and fell backwards into the well. Sesshomaru thought the girl had gone mad until it hit him—an intense wave of energy raised every hair on his body. It felt like the power he sensed at the bottom of the well. Only this time it was a lot stronger than he ever imagined. In an instant her scent, her energy—her everything was gone. It was if she was never there to begin with. The wandering Prince looked in the well, curious to see the spell she somehow managed to master without decades of training.

How interesting. She vanished.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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