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The Wandering Prince by Inuyaoi

The Arrangement

Kagome arrived in her own time with a bump.

And a thump.

It hurt, a lot. This wasn't your run of the mill smash your foot into the corner of your bedframe kind of pain, it was your fall into a well head first kind of pain. She told herself that it was a great idea to not move for a short half an hour. Confident everything was still were it's supposed to be, she shakily picked herself up.

I am such an idiot.

Climbing the ladder was an ordeal.

I just threw myself down a well. I'm not used to this crap.

Another first in nearly four years—a back breaking fall. Funny how the body can get used to not being blasted away by the special attack of some troublesome demon. Reaching the top Kagome threw her leg over and then made her way to her house.

She slid the front door open and called out.

No answer.

Thank Kami.

Walking into the kitchen, she opened the frig and twisted the cap off a bottled water. Then she sat down at the table, basking in the tranquility of her empty home. Perfect timing too. It would hard to explain to your mother why you're bruised and only bleeding a little. Eventually she allowed herself to recall what just happened.

What an arrogant bastard. 'Call me Lord Sesshomaru,' she mocked. Jerk. It was bad enough she had to call any male her Lord, but for it to be Inuyasha's brother agitated her. How was she to know he was sniffing around in Bone Eater's well? It's not like he's done that before. How long was he creeping around that day? I could have SWORN I felt something shady when I first got there. Everything about today was terrible. What a great start to her winter vacation. All she wanted to do was relax, do some shopping, spend the holidays with the folks and see her friends. That wasn't too much to ask for. It was well deserved. She got good grades, drank socially, wasn't pregnant, did her own laundry and was STD free. She was a good girl dammit.

I had no idea he was in there. I always toss my bag in first…and…I LEFT MY BAG.

It wasn't fair that she was the unfortunate fool who dropped a bookbag on a Daiyoukai but it happened. The cherry on top? Leaving her belongings unguarded in the past. Her friends understood the rules for having items from her time—burn or hide anything you don't plan on using at once. Kagome broke one of the biggest rules.

That's two major fuck ups in one day.

She groaned. What an unnecessary mess she got herself into.

A hot bath sounded great.

~~~

He stared into the darkness for hours. A rational mind does gymnastics when making sense of unexplainable occurrences. His next theory was that she may have been studying an impressive concealment spell from the time Naraku died to his present day. The spell was that good. For a human miko to be that undetectable to that Sesshomaru was no easy feat. Although, he wasn't entirely convinced she mastered any spell. He settled on the possibility of her being some sort of prodigy after combing through his mind for answers. But just in case it was a spell he knew she would have to reveal herself eventually.

So, he waited.

The night was as still as he. Glowing predatory eyes trapped the light of the full moon as he switched between gazing into the gateway of Kagome's world and the inky darkness of the forest. Sesshomaru had many years under his belt dedicated to mastering the art of patience. Canids sure did love the thrill of a hunt, especially the chase, but they also took some pointers from feline youkai. Prey items can also be had by waiting for them to come to you.

Then something dawned on him. The miko disappeared in such a hurry she didn't take her bag. Come to think of it even her belongings were strange. So distracted by trying to figure what happened earlier that day he didn't entertain the thought of searching through her things. Under normal circumstances he would have never lowered himself to creeping through a human's belongings. Good thing today was anything but normal. Standing in the same place he had been when she left for half the night was long enough. Once again, he jumped to the bottom of the well to fetch her satchel.

The only reason it wasn't a melted puddle of whatever material it was made out of was because the moment his hand went through the item he turned off the acid factory. Even though it had a gaping hole through it wasn't damaged to such an extent that he couldn't go through the contents of it. Not caring for the sensation he felt in the well he jumped out and sat on the ground at the base. Immediately he noticed the foreign smells from the bag. He smelled her scent and the smell of other humans. Not just humans nearby but from others as well. There were similarities to the scent. He concluded it may have been her family members.

The scent of various humans was the most boring thing about the bag. What captivated him was the scents of the unknown. Despite his many years on earth he couldn't identify what on earth he was detecting. Now things were really getting interesting. So much about that bag seemed other worldly. This miko was the only mortal that left him with more questions than there were answers. Dragon youkai be damned. The opportunity to learn something not documented was too good to pass up. Sesshomaru was confident by the time this got sorted out he would be able to increase his already oppressive strength.

A book caught his attention.

Thumbing through it he had no idea what the contents were—it was written in an alien language. The cover had an image of the remains of a creature he never seen before. Not knowing any better he assumed it was the artwork of the greatest painter that ever lived. Sesshomaru made a mental note to ask the miko where he could find such an artist.

Satisfied with his snooping, everything he pulled from Kagome's bag laid scattered on the ground. Sitting amongst her things he continued to wait.

~~~

Inuyasha was not around to help this time. If Kagome wanted to retrieve her things she was going to have to do it herself.

Just not now. It was night out and she was dog tired.

The bath did help sooth her sore body (the pain killers she took helped more) but she needed at least a few days to sleep off the rest of the hurt. Carefully she climbed into bed.

No one even goes to the thing anyway. I can rest for now. I bet that prick will be gone too.

As she settled into a comfortable position she closed her eyes and saw his. With a jolt, she opened hers. That demon had some intense peepers. Eyes alone can let anyone know Inuyasha and Sesshomaru are related, but the elder brother had something wild about him. Like looking a golden retriever in the eye and then doing the same to a wolf. To be frank it startled her. The sore miko could not recall ever being that close to Sesshomaru's face before.

And yet, it excited her.

She rolled onto her stomach.

That was the feeling she refused to acknowledge all evening and now it kept her from sleeping. He was domineering. Sesshomaru had that artform perfected but there was something else.

I guess he's alright looking.

"Wow," she said with disbelief, "I did not just think that." Cringing into her pillow she eventually fell asleep.

The next few days were like that. She didn't do much. Thankfully none of her family members took notice of her tender movements. The clever girl came up with a lie when her mom asked why she returned sooner than usual. Kagome said she got her period a few days early and had PMS. Her mother believed her since she spent the last few days hiding in her room. And so she wouldn't worry, the teen told her she was going back over tonight for a festival.

She checked her phone. 7:13 p.m.

Time to go. Kagome left it to charge, no point in bringing something that wouldn't work.

A recent warm front made the late fall weather more mild than usual. Only a hoodie needed tonight.

The plan was simple. Get her crap, leave and later visit her friends during spring break. They will understand. Kaede would tell everyone she did show up but expectantly returned. No one needed to know about this…situation. She was sure Sesshomaru wouldn't say anything about it.

Probably because I smacked him with my bag, she thought while smirking.

It was sort of funny. It's a shame she was involved, otherwise Kagome would have found it a lot funnier.

Outside her house, she walked towards the shrine. Inside she prepared herself.

Be quick, be quiet. Be quick, be quiet.

Then she jumped.

~~~

Suddenly she was there.

Is this really a spell?

He knew she was there even though Kagome didn't move the first few minutes. Hooded eyes widened in realization. The miko was trying to be stealthy. That settled the debate he had with himself the last few days.

She's a stupid prodigy.

Sesshomaru could have killed her. The poor young lady would be dead before he reached the bottom. She had no idea he was there. Fear radiated from area, and if not for his breeding other youkai would have sought out the area. No wonder she attached herself to his brother's hip.

Kagome had been chanting something about being quick and quiet to herself when she noticed the bookbag wasn't on the ground. She mouthed a silent f-bomb. This was going to take a little longer than she originally thought. She froze and listened, but heard nothing over the just detectable white-noise one hears in a silent room. Certain that the coast was clear, Kagome grabbed a few vines and tugged. Satisfied with the strength she placed a foot on the wall, looked up and screamed.

A shadowy figure with a set that reflected what small light the moon gave petrified her. It didn't move, didn't make a sound. It just stared. A spontaneous shudder traveled through her body.

How disturbing.

No wonder the people of this time feared demons.

"S-Sesshomaru?"

Silence.

The youkai blinked and boy was it ever alarming.

Okay, that is the creepiest thing I ever seen, she thought, mouth unable to close. He was still there. Sesshomaru was still fucking there. Kagome staggered as she leaned against a wall, never taking her eyes off the demon. It was instinct. Prey never breaks eye contact with the predator unless they have an opening to make a break for it. There was no such opening. She was trapped and at the mercy of Inuyasha's homicidal brother. His deep voice finally broke the silence.

"Miko, why did you throw your bag into the well?"

Kagome might as well have heard a record scratch.

"Are you serious?!"

She couldn't believe it. This asshole waited by the enchanted well for days JUST to ask her why she hit him with her bag. Unbelievable. To think royalty could be so petty. Fear gave way to aggravation as she held on to his gaze steadfast.

"Like I said, it's none of your business," she hissed defiantly while crossing her arms.

"Hnn."

The swishing noise the increasingly pissed off miko heard was the sound of Sesshomaru's robes shifting as he rose to his feet. He threw his hair over his shoulder and jumped down. A clawed hand grabbed her hoodie and in one fluid motion, he dragged her out of the well. She landed on the grass with a thud. It happened so quickly, there was no time to react. A sharp bolt of pain ripped throughout her body. She had yet to fully recover from her earlier fall. Needless to say she was feeling rather abused these days.

The lord decided to not be fooled again. Getting her away from the well insured that she wouldn't be able to simply disappear again before his questions were answered. He'd pluck her from out of the air if he had to. Whatever it will take to prevent her from vanishing.

"I detest having to repeat myself," he said with a hint of irritation, "Speak to me with the respect I am entitled to."

Kagome sneered. Oh, the sensibilities of youkai.

"Fine. Lord Sesshomaru…" she started with venom in her voice, "…it is none of your— "

He abruptly snapped his head at her. There was that intense look again. He spoke slowly, fore it was a fact that humans were stupid.

"I'll ask one more time. Why did you throw," he gestured at the belongings on the ground, "that thing into the well?" She sighed. Okay, if he waited by the well for days just to get answers she figured she might as well give in. The sooner this was over with the sooner she could go back home with her things…that laid all over the place.

Did he go through my stuff?

"Can you keep a secret…Lord Sesshomaru?"

"I can."

"Okay, so this well is how I get home. I travel back and forth between my time and this time." He said nothing as gears turned in his head. "It's easier to climb down into the thing with nothing hanging from my back so I tossed my bag in first like I usually do. I had no idea you were in there. Hell, no one ever hangs around this place besides Inuyasha and a few of my friends."

"What you say makes no sense to this Sesshomaru. You travel between time?"

"Yeah, I know it doesn't make any sense but I've been doing it for years. Obviously, I'm not from this era," Kagome explained as she picked up the contents of her bag.

He didn't understand it, but what she said oddly had some logic to it. There was no hint of deceit so instinct instructed him to believe her. That would explain her other worldly clothes and unknown items at least. Still, the concept of a human being traveling from the future was difficult to wrap his mind around.

"Remember the Shikon jewel situation? That happened because of me. Back then I visited and stayed here a lot more. It was my fault the thing shattered so I had to help make things right."

How curious, he thought.

"If this is true, Miko, what is your purpose here now?"

That needed some thought. She stumbled upon the feudal era by mistake. One accident followed another and those series of events concluded with the now destroyed sacred jewel. Honestly, she didn't know what her purpose in his time was anymore. There were no fragments to collect and few demons to slay (save for the dragon her friends were making their way towards). Why did she return?

"I guess I miss my friends…"

The thought was uncomfortable. Kagome was sure her destiny had been to see to it that the jewel was removed from the world of the living.

"So, you don't know," he said, now turning to watch her stuff the remains of the items into her bag.

"Why do you care anyway? Isn't there some noble demon business you have to get back to? I mean really, searching through my things? Snatching girls in the middle of the night?"

Sesshomaru continued to stare at her. She was right, you know. This entire encounter had been uncharacteristic of him. The matters of humans were seldom his concern. But it was just something about this human that aroused his interest. Alright, so it was because she was a time traveling miko that resembled another human his brother sniffed around years ago.

"I'm bored."

Kagome stopped.

Slowly she turned to look at him with disbelief.

"So…you're telling me…you scared me half to death because you're bored?"

He shrugged. It was the truth. Slaying a demon or troubling weird humans, both were great ways to kill time.

"I don't think I appreciate that."

"It is done," he said in a nonchalant tone.

"You're such a jerk!"

He scowled. He had enough emotional intelligence to know she was insulting him, however, the youkai didn't know what a "jerk" was.

"What is a 'jerk?'"

"You," she quickly replied. With everything gathered, a very annoyed Kagome made her way towards the well, at least until she walked into something that felt like a brick wall. "Move," she hissed through her teeth.

Yeah, like that happened.

"You should do something about your hearing problem."

"I don't have a freaking hearing problem so get out of my way!"

"Oh? Because I believe that you do."

He pushed her and she fell flat on her ass.

"I grow tired of repeating myself to you," he said, looking down at her.

"You know, that's why I called you a jerk," the sore girl started, "It's no wonder you don't have any friends!" Sesshomaru figured out what jerk meant. He agreed with her assessment, he was a jerk. But the demon didn't like her last statement. The miko did say she returned to this place because of her friends…

Is having friends so compelling it makes one want to stay long after their intended purpose?

When Kagome started to get off the ground he pushed her down once more. Dramatically she thrashed about before sitting up. This was outrageous.

"Can you please just let me go home? I got what I came for and I even told you one of my deepest secrets!"

"No."

"And why not?"

"I've decided to give you a new purpose."

She practically swallowed her laughter.

"Oh, yeah, and what purpose would that be, Lord Sesshomaru?"

"You will remain here and be my friend."

If she weren't in the feudal era she would have vowed she heard a referee blowing a whistle, enforcing a brain wide time out. Kagome cracked her head harder than she realized. Inuyasha's brother did not just tell her she could not go home because he needed a companion.

"No way," Kagome said with mistrust, "I don't need friends like you."

Friends like me?

"Are you suggesting I am not worthy of your friendship, human?"

"Not even. What's funny is it's the other way around. You're obviously too good for my type. What's the point of being friends with someone who can't see you as their equal?"

"I have no equal, Miko," he said offhandedly.

"I wonder why," she quipped.

Kagome watched his mouth open momentarily before he quickly shut his trap. She got him. She got him damn good because he looked through her rather than at her. Then she realized he was not used to mockery.

"Look, Lord Sessho—and that's another thing. Friends don't go around calling each other lords and crap. That's weird. I'll tell you what, I'll try to be your friend if I can just call you Sesshomaru."

"That is all that is required to be friends?"

"Yes—no, no. Trust me, there's other things too. Like, um, you, y-you stand really close to people. Maybe work on not doing that?

"Anything else?"

Oh, wow. He's socially inept too.

"Let's just say that's a good start, okay, Sesshomaru?"

She held out her hand to him but he didn't move.

"O-kay. That went over well. And speaking of wells, I need to go back to my own time now so if you'll excus— "

"I said no," he snapped, "I have little faith that you will return to me."

"Eh, hello? We are friends now. You have to trust me."

Sesshomaru gave her his full attention again. 'You have to trust me.' Golden eyes took in every inch of the young woman standing before him. No treachery detected in her large brown eyes. They were fairly pleasant eyes now that he took time to notice. So were her legs. As far humans went he could tolerate looking at her. That's about as far as he allowed himself to dwell on the subject. He had a nagging feeling she snubbed him a moment ago.

"I promise. I'll come back. Just...give me a chance to make sense of this."

"Very well, Miko. I trust that you will honor your word."

A smile lit up Kagome's face.

"Thank you, Sess— "

"—When you return we shall resume the arrangement, "he cut in, erasing the smile from her face. Without another word, he turned and walked away.

Like it or not Kagome kept it in the family.

 

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