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The Deal with the Yakuza by Chie

Chapter 1

 Chie: I wrote this for SessKag Week 2019, day 6: Edelweiss - Power, Courage + Crossover/Fusion


This is essentially a retelling of the first chapter of one of my favourite manga of all time: Tokyo Crazy Paradise.

I’ve (obviously) changed the characters to Inuyasha cast, and made some minor adjustments here and there, but the plot is all courtesy to Yoshiki Nakamura.

(In advance to those who might want to ask for more, I don’t intend to continue this fusion story any further BUT I thoroughly recommend you go and enjoy all 19 volumes of the awesomeness that is Kurepara.)

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Once upon a time, Tokyo had been hailed as the safest city in the world.

And then the 21st century happened, bringing in the worsening climate change, rising inequality, weakening democracy, the struggling economies, growing global tensions and unrest, the discord between work and technology and the ever waning natural resources. And decade after decade, things grew worse.

As a result of all this, the Tokyo of 2050s was far from the safest city in the world: it had become a pale shadow of its former self.

In certain parts of the city the streets were a lawless jungle. And if there was a crime in process in the middle of the day, the passersby would turn and look the other way, pick up their pace and hurry past.

Higurashi Kagome had been five years old when her mother and father had pulled her aside for the talk that would change her life.

Both of her parents worked as police officers and had seen first-hand how cruel the world could be, especially towards women.

So they had explained to Kagome that from then on, they would disguise her as a boy and raise her the same as her brothers.

Her mother had crouched down in front of her, clutched her small shoulders and told her that she would grow up strong.

And so Kagome had.

Although on some days, it was harder to stay strong than on others.

Never had it been as hard as on this day, when she stood on the curb with her three brothers, clutching at what meagre possessions they had left, and staring at the door their landlady had just slammed at their faces.

It had been inevitable, really, Kagome had to admit to herself. They couldn’t pay rent themselves; all four siblings were still in school.

But the sudden change in demeanour was startling.

The landlady had always been nice to them before, but now that their parents were dead, she was suddenly treating them as if they were garbage.

“What are we going to do?” Shippou grumbled, plopping down to sit on the curb. “Unless we figure something out we’ll starve to death.”

Souta sat down next to his twin. “No generous relatives to swoop in to save us either. Maybe a rich person somewhere will take us in.”

“Maybe we’ll need to join a Yakuza gang, that’d at least put food on the table,” Shippou said.

Kagome perked up, her mind spinning.

“Don’t even joke about it,” Miroku scolded Shippou. “Yakuza are the reason our parents died, we’re not going to sell our souls to our parents’ enemy –”

“I’ve decided,” Kagome cut in, standing straight, hands propped on her hips. “I’m gonna sell my soul to the yakuza.”

* * * * * 

Sesshoumaru sat at the head of the table, growing increasingly frustrated as his underlings went over the facts of the recent shoot out over again, debating which rivalling gang could have been involved in the altercation and the assassination that had cost his father’s life.

The discussion was going nowhere; gritting his teeth, he slammed his fist onto the table.

Dead silence filled the room, and the hardened criminals paled as Sesshoumaru directed his cold glare at them.

“So essentially what you’re saying is that you haven’t found anything yet,” he growled. “Quit playing around and find some answers!”

AhUn chose that moment to walk over. He bent down so he could whisper into Sesshoumaru’s ear.

“Boss, a friend of yours is waiting in the guest room.”

Sesshoumaru raised his eyebrow.

A friend?

As far as he knew, he didn’t have friends – he’d been groomed to become the successor of the largest Yakuza syndicate in Tokyo since he’d been in his diapers, that hadn’t really left him much time to make nice with people.

Still, it was clear the meeting wasn’t going anywhere and there were still no news about the incident that had led to his father’s death, so Sesshoumaru stood up, the legs of his chair screeching, and strode out of the room.

Sesshoumaru paused at the guest room door.

His ‘friend’ immediately greeted him, flashing him a smile.

Sesshoumaru swallowed a sigh. He hadn’t thought he’d ever see the day that Higurashi Kagome, the child of police officers, would willingly walk into the headquarters of the Kyuryuugumi syndicate.

And yet, he wasn’t at all surprised that this so-called friend had turned out to be Higurashi.

Sesshoumaru slanted a glance at the person on guard duty.

“Send them home.”

“Ah, Sesshoumaru-kun, don’t be so cold. Please listen to my story, I’m asking as your friend – we’ve been in the same class since the first grade and have sat next to each other for nine long years!”

“Friends?” Sesshoumaru scoffed. “We may have sat next to each other in class, but in all those nine years we’ve never spoken to each other.”

Kagome squirmed. “But you always kept to yourself…”

“Doesn’t matter,” Sesshoumaru said, turning away. “I don’t have any time to spare for a police brat.”

“I’m not really a police kid anymore, though,” Kagome said, half to herself. She slipped her hand into her trousers pocket, to touch the ring her parents had left her. “My parents, they were following a suspect while off duty and went to the place where your father got killed four days ago, and they…”

Sesshoumaru turned to face Kagome and walked over in quick strides.

“Did you see him?” he asked, the words coming out clipped with urgency. “The criminal? What do you know?”

Kagome wasn’t intimidated even when he was in full glower and towering over her.

“I’ll tell you all about it,” she promised, “but right now I’m hungry.”

Sesshoumaru’s hand balled into a fist.

So that’s how it was going to be, eh? Fine. If he could discover who his father’s killer was, feeding Kagome and her brothers would be a small price to pay.

“Very well. Follow me.”

 * * * * *

Kagome and her brothers had fully been intending to dine and dash, but as soon as they were finished eating, Sesshoumaru had rounded them up.

Maybe he had seen through her, or maybe there was no honour among thieves so he was suspicious by nature.

Whatever the reason didn’t change Kagome’s current predicament: She was locked in a room alone somewhere inside Tokyo’s biggest yakuza syndicate’s headquarters.

She hadn’t been exactly truthful earlier with Sesshoumaru either: her parents hadn’t told her anything about the case. Even though one day she wanted to join the police force like they’d had, didn’t mean that her parents would let her in on what they were working on; their first priority was keeping her and her brothers safe.

She wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She didn’t know where Sesshoumaru had taken her brothers.

To confess the truth or to continue the lie were equally dangerous paths to take.

For nine years, she had sat beside Sesshoumaru in class and he’d rarely shown any emotion. But when he had asked her if she’d seen the criminal, there had been something almost desperate in his eyes.

It seemed like he really wanted to catch his father’s killer.

Having all too recently lost her own parents – and most probably because of the very same culprit – Kagome could relate.

The lock clicked a moment before the door burst open.

Sesshoumaru walked into the room, all his attention focused on Kagome.

“Where are my brothers?” Kagome asked.

“They are safe – for now. But that can change very quickly, I promise you,” Sesshoumaru replied.

Kagome swallowed. Perhaps she had made a mistake coming to the yakuza after all, even to a gang led by her classmate.

“Now, if you want your brothers to remain in good health, you will tell me what you know about my father’s killer.”

Kagome bit her lip and avoided Sesshoumaru’s eyes.

“Don’t tell me you lied to me,” Sesshoumaru hissed from between gritted teeth.

Uh-oh. This was bad.

“What makes you think I lied to you?” Kagome said, nervousness bubbling up inside her.

“You glanced to the left just now. That’s always been your tell when you’re lying,” Sesshoumaru replied, each word heavy with accusation.

“Fine, okay,” Kagome babbled, close to panic now. “I don’t know anything about the case. But I saw a picture of the suspect once.”

Kagome was sure she saw murder in Sesshoumaru’s eyes.

“You saw a picture?” he repeated, his voice low and deadly.

Tears pricked Kagome’s eyes and she blinked them away.

“I will recognise him if I see him. I swear.” Voice trembling, she added: “Please.”

For a long tense moment, Sesshoumaru simply stood there, regarding her, assessing her.

“Fine. Then, starting tomorrow, you will be my bodyguard. After my father, I’m most likely to be the next target.”

Kagome stared at him, her mouth hanging open. That had not at all been what she had expected to hear.

Apparently, she wasn't the only one, because an evil-looking gang member who'd been passing by the guest room stopped in his tracks.

"An amateur kid from the streets? Recruited to be a bodyguard?" His eyes were cruel and his voice dripped with contempt. "Boss, you should take more care since your life's under threat."

"I’m a leader of a Yakuza syndicate, my life is always under threat," came Sesshoumaru's unconcerned reply. "And I know Kagome's skill. Walk on, Bankotsu."

The man bowed his head and walked away.

Kagome released the breath she'd been holding, shoulders slumping from relief.

She met Sesshoumaru's gaze. “You can count on me,” she promised.

“I know I can,” he replied coolly, “because until we have caught the killer, I’m keeping your brothers hostage.”

With that and one final glare, Sesshoumaru left the room.

* * * * *

The next day, when Kagome arrived to school together with Sesshoumaru, it sent their classmates into a confused uproar.

But Kagome barely noticed this: she had much bigger problems to worry about.

Problems that had nothing to do with her current predicament of getting entangled with the yakuza.

She had forgotten they were going to be swimming today for P.E.

Sesshoumaru picked up on her consternation, because he slanted her a glance.

“You’re looking pale, Higurashi,” he drawled. “Now that I think about it, you always seem sick when we have swimming in the curriculum. You’re always the last one to change, too.”

Kagome bit her lip but didn’t reply.

“I wonder why that is,” Sesshoumaru mused to himself, before heading towards the locker rooms.

Kagome sighed in relief that he hadn’t prodded the issue any further.

Her reasons for skipping out swimming in P.E. were valid, but not any she could confess to. She couldn’t compromise her disguise.

Besides, she couldn’t swim – she’d nearly drowned a few years back when she’d fallen into a river. Needless to say, Kagome didn’t have much fondness for water.

She waited until she was the last one around before slipping into the locker room to change into her gym clothes. She spent the lesson sitting to the side, and didn’t go back to the locker rooms and the showers until she was sure they’d been emptied out.

Only, this time she had miscalculated.

She was in the shower stall, just finished with her washing up, when she heard noise and voices.

Panicking, Kagome realised that some other class must have finished with their lesson and had come in to shower and change.

And there was no way to lock the stall door.

What should I do?! Please, please don’t let anybody try to come into my stall.

Of course, right on the heels of that desperate plea, there was shuffling noise directly outside her stall.

Kagome did all she could – she shielded her chest with one arm, while pulling the other one back, ready to punch the daylights right out of whoever had the misfortune of trying to come in.

The door opened.

She lunged into an attack like a coiled snake.

And at the very moment he casually dodged the strike, she realised she was face to face with Sesshoumaru.

He gave her naked body a dismissive once over.

“I see you haven’t thrown away your feminine side yet, trying to cover yourself up like that. Not very effective if you need to take someone down, though,” he said nonchalantly.

Then, he tossed her a towel, the protector she’d received from her parents to wear over her chest and her uniform.

He slammed the door shut and left, leaving a thoroughly flabbergasted Kagome behind.

She dressed slowly, too preoccupied by what just had happened and the implications of it.

How did Sesshoumaru know?

Moreover, had he known and actually come out of his way to deliver her things so she wouldn’t get caught?

Why would he had helped her keep her secret? If he’d known for some time, as his words seemed to suggest, why hadn’t he exposed her or tried to exploit her?

Naturally, when Kagome returned to the classroom and took her seat next to Sesshoumaru, she was feeling a little skittish.

When he turned to her, she actually flinched away from him.

The corner of his lips curled up. One haughty eyebrow rose.

“Why so cautious?”

He leaned towards her, the pose clearly meant to intimidate.

Sadly, it was working because Kagome definitely felt intimidated.

“You have no need to worry, Higurashi. Even if there was a shortage of women in this world, I wouldn’t lay a finger on someone like you.”

Kagome stared at him for a moment, dumbfounded.

Then she found her tongue.

“Oh, that’s right. You only go for the dumb, big-breasted type.”

Tempter flashed in Sesshoumaru’s eyes and the expression twisting his face could only be called a snarl.

Kagome was ready, her hand balled into a fist, but then Sesshoumaru shrugged and turned away, ignoring her for the rest of the class.

* * * * *

There was something about Higurashi Kagome, Sesshoumaru thought gloomily, as he was leaving school for the day.

Somehow, she could make him do things he wouldn’t normally do – like let her essentially blackmail him into feeding her family or go out of his way to save her sorry ass when she had got trapped in the shower stall.

It was probably those blue eyes of hers.

They were so damn expressive. Unlike him, she wore her heart on her sleeve.

But perhaps there was more to it than that, because even now, he was aware of her as she walked by his side.

That awareness distracted him, because he didn’t notice the danger until Kagome suddenly spoke up.

“Did we come with two cars this morning?”

Sesshoumaru looked ahead.

Sure enough, next to their car there was another vehicle parked.

“No, we didn’t,” came AhUn’s grim reply. He stepped in front of Sesshoumaru and Kagome, reaching into his jacket for his gun. “Leave this to us and escape, boss.”

Sesshoumaru didn’t bother replying. He simply jumped to the side, not a moment too soon because in the next second, bullets were flying and spraying everywhere.

He broke his fall smoothly and was up and running, sparing a quick glance behind to see Kagome still on the ground where she had thrown herself, grimacing.

“Get up, idiot, and hurry,” he commanded her, relieved when she pushed up and caught with him.

“Why are we running? Aren’t those the guys that you’re after?”

“They can’t be,” Sesshoumaru replied. “My father was shot with a single bullet to the heart. These sloppy bastards who’re lousy shots couldn’t have been behind the assassination.”

There were more thugs ahead, at least six men, and one of them was aiming straight at Sesshoumaru.

He dodged to the side and Kagome moved in tandem with him, pulling out her weapon.

The long chain flew out in a deadly arc, taking down two of the men.

Sesshoumaru went low, punched one of the thugs right in the gut and kept on running.

“Quit playing, Higurashi and come on!”

She scrambled to follow him.

Sesshoumaru came to halt. The thugs were still coming after them, but there was a river ahead. They’d been boxed into a corner, with only one way out.

Sesshoumaru’s jaw clenched.

“Jump in,” he told Kagome.

“Eh?!”

“Jump in!”

“But I can’t swim!”

“I know that! Just go!”

He gave her a good shove, then jumped after her.

It was no easy feat, making his way in the water.

The current was carrying him away from their pursuers at a rapid pace. His clothes and shoes were weighing him down. And once again, he had to save Kagome’s ass.

What a useful bodyguard she was turning out to be.

Once they were safely enough away, Sesshoumaru made it back to the bank. It was no easy feat to struggle against the pull of the current while dragging Kagome’s limp and unconscious form along, but he managed.

He pulled Kagome and himself out of the river, took a quick second to catch his breath, then unbuttoned Kagome’s uniform shirt in a quick, no-nonsense fashion.

He found the latch for her chest protector and pulled it off as well. She’d likely swallowed water going in, she didn’t need to have anything constricting her chest right now.

Seeing her lying there, prone and lifeless, was giving him a real sense of deja vu.

But there was no time to waste on pondering or reminiscing.

Sesshoumaru pinched Kagome’s nose, sealing her nostrils, and then leaned in to blow air into her lungs.

After two more long breaths Kagome’s eyelids fluttered.

Sesshoumaru sat back as she convulsed and coughed up water.

At least this time he hadn’t needed to go for full CPR.

Still coughing, Kagome sat up, disoriented, her chest heaving for breath.

It took her a moment to put together two and two, but when she did, she blushed madly, clutched her uniform shirt closed around her naked upper body and scooted away from Sesshoumaru.

Sesshoumaru shook his head.

“Looks like you haven’t improved at all since the last time.” He picked up the chest protector and offered it to her. “Hurry and put this on. We need to get back.”

* * * * * 

Returning to the Kyuryuugumi’s headquarters, Kagome was more confused than ever.

She’d always believed that because Sesshoumaru was the heir to a yakuza clan and she’d been the kid whose both parents were in the police force, that Sesshoumaru would have hated her; seen her as his natural enemy.

But both his words and actions from earlier implied that when she’d fallen into the river a few years ago, it had been Sesshoumaru who had saved her.

That was how he knew her secret. 

It was so much at once for her to wrap her head around – and it didn’t help that a part of her was still flustered that he’d seen her (half) naked twice in one day and given her mouth to mouth.

The moment they stepped on Kyuryuugumi’s grounds, Sesshoumaru’s two attendants Jaken and AhUn rushed over.

“Were you guys hurt?” Sesshoumaru asked, accepting a towel from AhUn.

“We’re all right,” he replied.

“Did you learn anything about them?”

“We weren’t able to catch them. It seemed like they wanted to scare us.”

“Hnn. If they wish to do that, they will have to try harder,” Sesshoumaru said.

“What about Hizakigumi? Aren’t they your rivals?” Kagome asked. “I remember my dad saying they were a big syndicate. What are the possibilities they were the one to kill your father?”

Sesshoumaru clenched his jaw, but didn’t reply.

“That’s not possible,” AhUn said. “Bankotsu and his men say it wasn’t Hizakigumi.”

Bankotsu? Kagome knew she’d heard the name before, but it took her a moment to connect it with the right memory. That guy passing by the guest room last night, with the mean eyes and the haughty sneer had been Bankotsu.

“I’m not sure I follow,” she said slowly. “If there are people who saw the perpetrators, couldn’t they describe what the killers looked like?”

“It was dark and they don’t remember the shooters’ faces,” AhUn explained patiently.

“Then how can they be sure it’s not Hizakigumi?” Kagome asked, genuinely baffled.

Sesshoumaru looked grim and shared a glance with AhUn, but before either of them had a chance to respond to Kagome, they were interrupted.

“Boss!” the guy from yesterday, Bankotsu walked over to them. “I’m so glad to see you’re all right; I heard you were attacked.”

“I’m fine, it was nothing,” Sesshoumaru said dismissively.

“If I may, I have a request to make.”

“Go on then, Bankotsu.”

A moment later, Kagome entered the Kyuryuugumi headquarters after Sesshoumaru, scowling at his back.

“I don’t like him,” she blurted out.

“Who, Bankotsu?”

“Yeah. His eyes are cruel.”

Sesshoumaru huffed. “We’re gangsters, we all have eyes like that.”

“I don’t like how he’s trying to look like a good person in front of you.” Kagome caught up with Sesshoumaru, stopped to stand in front of him so she could look him in the eye. “He’s the one who was there when your father was shot and he’s the one saying Hizakigumi isn’t responsible. Don’t you think it’s all a little suspicious?”

She was pleading with him, hoping he’d see reason. Kagome trusted her instincts, and now she needed Sesshoumaru to trust her.

“In the underworld, the punishment for betrayal is death,” Sesshoumaru said, his voice cold. “Therefore, I do not doubt my men when there is no evidence of wrongdoing.”

“Fine,” Kagome spat, angry at his stubborn reaction. “Then I’m going to find you proof.”

With that, she stomped away without a backward glance, feeling the weight of Sesshoumaru’s gaze prickling between her shoulder blades.

* * * * *

After his argument with Kagome, Sesshoumaru returned to his room, unsettled.

As a member of the underworld, confrontation wasn’t something that normally bothered him. But those damn blue pleading eyes of Kagome’s – there had been a look in them just then, imploring and so vulnerable that it had got under his skin.

Even though he’d just told Kagome that he would not doubt his own men, there was a nagging voice at the back of his mind that kept repeating Kagome’s arguments and saying there was definite logic to the questions she’d been asking.

There was a knock on the door and then AhUn stepped in.

“Boss, I just got a call from Bankotsu, he’s ready and coming to pick you up.”

“Very well,” Sesshoumaru replied. “Where’s Kagome?”

“Kagome left. He seemed to have some business to attend to.”

“What?” Sesshoumaru hissed. “What kind of business?”

“I have no clue,” Ah Un replied. “He requested an odd assortment of things and then just took off.”

Sesshoumaru pinched the bridge of his nose.

Kagome had left in a huff, telling him she’d go find proof. It couldn’t be that she…?

What was the idiot planning? Couldn’t she see what danger she was putting herself in?

The vehemence of that thought gave Sesshoumaru a pause. His hand balled into a fist.

If he was worried for her safety, didn’t that actually mean that he was starting to be persuaded by Kagome’s words and giving into doubt?

AhUn cleared his throat. “Boss, I’m sorry. I didn’t think to tell him you’d be leaving with Bankotsu. Should I have?”

Sesshoumaru shook his head and walked out.

He barely acknowledged the men he passed out in the hallway, who stopped to bow their heads to him in a sign of respect. His thoughts and feelings were all muddled right now, which wasn’t something he was used to.

And when he stepped into Bankotsu’s car, alone, he couldn’t help but wonder if he’d just made a huge mistake.

* * * * *

Kagome had thought that getting involved with the underworld and the yakuza would be something way out of her comfort zone but that had been nothing compared to this.

Heading to the Kyuryuugumi’s subclan headed by Bankotsu to prove her hunch she actually felt uncomfortable in her own skin.

She was certain she looked like a weirdo.

The irony of it all was that, in her current disguise, she felt like a crossdresser.

She had requested a bunch of items from AhUn and the attendant had got them for her, even if he had been very confused as to why she would need such things.

Kagome felt oddly exposed without her chest protector. The dress was weirdly clingy and alarmingly short. The long hair of the wig was annoying and the bangs were very distracting. The make-up felt strange on her skin, the jewellery was big and clunky.

It was just all too much, and very inconvenient, but if Sesshoumaru wanted proof, she could get it for him.

Although she wasn't sure why it was so important to her to prove that he should trust her.

Approaching Bankotsu’s subclan, she was met by two men standing guard near the entrance.

Kagome pulled her shoulders back and straightened. It was show time.

“Who are you?” one of the guards asked. “What are you doing here?”

“What do you mean by that?” Kagome snapped back, acting as if she owned the world. “When are you going to finish the job?”

“What?” the other guard exploded. “Who the hell are you?”

He grabbed Kagome’s arm.

Kagome yanked herself free and immediately retaliated with a powerful kick right into the guard’s stomach, making him double over.

She pulled out the gun replica AhUn had got her and pointed it at the gangsters. “It’ll be a problem for us if you take too long to do your part,” she said, hoping her hunch was correct and she’d get the answer she needed. “You know we’re looking to make an alliance with a large foreign syndicate.”

The first guard was looking her over, putting the clues together. “You’re Hizaki’s woman? Seems like you’re having some problems with communication, I just contacted Hizakigumi to tell them we’ll be finishing the boss off at the Red Cross building.”

“Hmph,” Kagome huffed, trying to stay in character even though inside she was panicking. “Never hurts to make sure, I’ll be passing the info along.”

Kagome sauntered away, her stomach heavy, her heart plummeting in her chest.

She’d been right, but at the same time it was even worse than she’d imagined. Bankotsu wasn’t the only traitor; his entire subclan was turning their coats.

Whatever vindication she might have felt about her instincts proving to be correct were now overshadowed with sheer dread.

Sesshoumaru would be so angry when he’d learn he had so many traitors in his clan – assuming that she wasn’t already too late to save him.

* * * * *

“I’m sorry, boss, that I sprang this meeting on you like this. It’s just that the client really wants to meet you,” Bankotsu said, offering him a smile.

Sesshoumaru did not respond.

The longer he’d sat in that car, the more resolved he’d grown.

When they pulled up was the moment he finally chose to speak.

“Say, Bankotsu… Don’t you think even my father could have been gunned down with a single bullet through the heart if the one to pull the trigger had been someone he’d up until then had believed to be his ally?”

“Please,” Bankotsu smiled, “the client is waiting.”

Sesshoumaru got out of the car and then stood there, stuffing his hands into his pockets.

He wasn’t very surprised to see the leader of Hizakigumi waiting for him with his men.

“Standing there as if you weren’t at all affected,” Hizaki said, “especially when you’re so young, it’s pretty impressive.”

Sesshoumaru stood still, while one of the thugs came over to strip him of his gun.

If he tried to reach for the weapon himself he’d be gunned down in a blink of an eye; there wasn’t much he could do against all these men alone.

“It’s nothing personal,” Hizaki grinned. “It’s Hizakigumi’s destiny to become the top syndicate in Tokyo.”

Sesshoumaru slanted a glance at Bankotsu, who stood next to him, holding a gun.

“Are you prepared to face the consequences of betraying your gang?” he asked him.

In response, Bankotsu pressed the muzzle of the gun against the back of Sesshoumaru’s head.

“No need to worry about me when you’re about to be killed,” he replied.

Hizaki’s smile was wide and smug. “Say hello to your father for me.”

“Goodbye, boss,” Bankotsu sneered. “That Higurashi Kagome will join you in no time.”

Up until then, Sesshoumaru had remained cool and collected.

But upon hearing those words, he simply reacted.

His elbow smashed into Bankotsu’s nose. It broke with a crunch and spray of blood, throwing the traitor off him.

Hizaki was much less sure about himself now, yelling orders at his men. “Fire! Surround him! Kill him!”

* * * * * 

“Come on,” Kagome muttered under her breath, sitting on the front seat of the car next to AhUn.

She’d hurried back to Kyuryuugumi, just to hear that Sesshoumaru had already left with Bankotsu.

Before that she’d wasted many precious long minutes finding AhUn, which hadn’t been easy when she had also been forced to dodge Kyuryuugumi’s guards. They hadn’t recognised her in her disguise and had tried to bar her entrance.

It had taken even longer to persuade AhUn and the rest of the clan that Sesshoumaru was in danger. After all, what proof did she have about Bankotsu’s betrayal, save for her word – the word of an outsider and the child of police officers – against that of the leader of a subclan.

Or so at least she had thought, until in frustration she had slammed her fist against the wall, accidentally activating the ring she’d been wearing; the ring she’d received from her parents and which had apparently contained a recording device.

They’d all heard, caught on the tape, a part of conversation sketching out the plan to take down Kyuruugumi.

She could only hope they still had time to thwart it.

* * * * *

When the bullets actually started to fly, they didn’t come out from the direction Sesshoumaru would have thought. All of a sudden, everything went into chaos.

Somehow, Kyuryuugumi was there, and the tables had been turned on Bankotsu and the Hizakigumi.

A black car pulled up, tires screeching, and even before the vehicle had fully stopped, a figure shot out from the front seat door, yelling fiercely.

It lunged straight past Sesshoumaru to plant a wicked high-kick on Bankotsu’s jaw, clocking him out and sending him flying.

Following the kick’s momentum, she gracefully pivoted on the spot, coming to a stop in a protective stance before Sesshoumaru.

For a few moments, the fight faded into the background. Sesshoumaru could only stare at the long dark hair flowing down her back, the red lipstick she’d put on and the long legs exposed by the dress she was wearing.

Dimly, he was aware that his men had subdued the people from Hizakigumi and taken Hizaki himself captive, and were now shouting questions at him, expecting further instructions on how to deal with their adversary.

But when his eyes were locked with Kagome’s it was all too easy to tune it all out.

She looked nothing like the Higurashi Kagome he’d known most of his life, yet at the same time she looked very much like a woman he’d like to get to know.

Later, when they’d wrapped up the mess at the Red Cross building and returned to Kyuryuugumi, it had been both a relief and a disappointment to see Kagome return to her typical choice of clothing: the boy’s school uniform.

She’d also removed the wig and her make up and put the chest protector back on.

Even so Sesshoumaru was now more aware than ever of just what she was hiding under that pretence of being a boy.

“Did you really show no expression on your face even when they were aiming guns at you?” Kagome wondered aloud. “I mean I know you’re not supposed to. AhUn told me on the drive over about how you were raised to be the next leader and gain the respect of the gang so it makes sense… But still!”

“Hnn,” Sesshoumaru replied. Then, he looked at her. “Your expression would change all the time. It was kind of fascinating. You were always making friends wherever you went, and even my eyes were drawn towards you in the classroom.”

“That’s funny,” Kagome said after a while. “I kept an eye out on you too, you know. You were always poking at your lunch by yourself. You had this dark look in your eyes, as if you’d never had any fun in your life. Often I wanted to just come over and talk to you, but my parents… Well.” Kagome shrugged. “I’m glad I finally did.”

She turned to him and smiled – and though it was very, very slight, he smiled back.

“Well, I shall keep my word,” Sesshoumaru said at last. “You helped me find my father’s killer, so your brothers can now go free. There’s only one thing.”

Kagome crossed her arms. “And what is that?”

“This,” Sesshoumaru said, pulling out a cheque and handing it over to Kagome.

Her eyes bugged out when she saw the number scribbled on it.

“W-what’s this?”

“That’s the amount for which your brothers ate and drank on my expense while they were in our custody. And I’m having you pay back every yen.”

“You’re a heartless monster!” Kagome accused, gnashing her teeth. “Where do you think I am going to get this kind of money? I came to you in the first place because I was broke!”

Sesshoumaru arched his eyebrow and gave her a long look.

“Well, if you don’t have the money, you could always pay with your body.”

Kagome stared at him, stunned.

Then she straightened and proffered her hand to him.

“All right! Until the debt is paid, I’ll be your bodyguard.”

So that’s how she took it, Sesshoumaru mused. If nothing else, it would be very entertaining having Kagome around.

He took her hand in his and gave it a firm shake.

“Deal.”

 

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