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Arrow by Mynameishuman

Chapter 1

It started with an arrow.

The luminescent violet that accompanied the tip of the sharp point fanned out around it, traveling over the shaft, blinding those nearby. The screams behind her as she ripped the projectile from Inuyasha’s body rang loudly in her ears, but what was done was done. The arrow was removed, and history was altered.

Kagome’s life would never be the same.

Arrows became her lifeline; her bow an extension of her body. As time crept forward, her life force, her spirit, her very essence became a part of her artillery.

And then she fired the arrow that altered history once more. The desire to win could be felt in the force of her arrow when it struck Sesshomaru’s armor; when it counteracted the might of his father’s fang.

He was infuriated.

He was curious.

And when the opportunity to learn more came about, he made the executive decision to take it. Thus, he began to travel with his estranged brother’s eccentric posse. And he discovered more than he’d ever intended to.

She was as intriguing as she was confounding. The moment he believed he had her figured out, she would open her mouth and add another layer of complexity to his carefully formed image of her. Like the many different layers of Okonomiyaki, she was colorful and uncommon. Sesshomaru was unused to such spirited women, and if the priestess were nothing else, she was most certainly spirited. Bold.

“Sesshomaru, will you help me gather firewood?”

The musical lilt of her voice was muted by the thick beech trees that surrounded them and he looked at her apathetically.

Him? Go and collect firewood? Surely she was joking.

“If you must have assistance, you may take Jaken,” he told her, self-adulation evident in his voice.

“Hmm…”

Standing over him where he rested laxly against a large trunk, she tilted her head, hair falling over her shoulder in soft waves. He watched her closely as her eyes slid to look at the little imp, currently chasing his ward.

“I think Jaken might be…indisposed.”

His lips twitched when wide, crystalline eyes rested on him again.

“So he is,” Sesshomaru said, rising to his full height to tower over her imposingly. “Very well. I will assist you.”

The smile she afforded him in return for his help was resplendent and as blindingly bright as the vibrancy of her reiki.

“Thank you, Sesshomaru.”

He was powerless to help the small trip of his otherwise steady heart.

xAx

“Sesshomaru!”

Her voice rang clearly in the autumn sunset, nearly halting him in his tracks, but he continued forward.

“Hold on! Wait for me.”

He wouldn’t.

He shouldn’t.

Steps slowing, he paused and turned slightly to watch as she crested the hill, closing the distance between them swiftly. The sun was descending in the sky, reds and pinks turning the clouds to flames.

“Yes, priestess?”

“I’m going maple hunting. I thought you might like to join me?” She asked, a note of hopefulness in her voice.

“Maple hunting? What exactly does that consist of?”

“Well…it’s not actually hunting at all, really. I suppose it’d be more appropriate to call it maple watching.” She laughed. “Come on. Let’s watch the maple trees together? They’re beautiful this time of year.”

She threaded her fingers together behind her and walked steadily forward. Sesshomaru watched her as she passed him. Saw the bounce in her step. The smile on her lips.

She was always so…optimistic. Her youthful happiness made him uneasy. 

“You coming?” She asked, watching him over her shoulder, her smile still in place.

Without a word, he stepped forward, as if pulled by an unseen force.

And once more, he was powerless to stop himself. Even as he told himself not to linger, he trailed her steps.

“It’s so pretty,” she breathed contentedly, her head tipping back to look up into the trees.

The leaves had progressively changed with the turning of time, maroons and golds fluttering to the ground with the breeze. Green held desperately in some places, trying to prolong its life. But death came for all. Eventually.

Amber eyes hardened on the priestess as she turned to face him. The sun set behind her, brightening her silhouette. She lit up with the red of the forest and the yellow of the setting sun. Her dark hair bounced around her and he pressed his lips firmly together, ignoring her wide smile.

His chest clenched, like an arrow piercing his flesh.

Indeed, he thought, almost bitterly. Pretty.

xAx

“Priestess, I require your assistance with something.”

Kagome glanced up from where she colored with Rin and Shippo and allowed her crayons to fall from her fingers.

“What’s up?”

“Come with me,” Sesshomaru commanded and Kagome smirked at him.

“I’ll be back, you two,” she informed her younger friends before rising to follow behind the daiyoukai who’d already begun to walk away. “Wait for me!” She called after him. 

The words reverberated within him, striking a chord. How many times had she said that to him by then? How many times had she rushed to catch up to him? How many times had he continued to walk away from her?

He wondered these things even as other, more honest, thoughts appeared.

How many times had he slowed his steps to allow her to catch him? How often had he watched her as she passed him? How many times had he watched her intently as she took the lead?

“Where are we going?” She asked as she reached his side, glancing up at him.

“Just up ahead.”

Shrugging, she walked beside him, enjoying the warmth of the sun as it filtered through the dying leaves.

Entering a small clearing, she stopped, her brows pulling together.

“What is this?” She asked, spotting her bow and arrows leaning against a tree. Several targets had been set up, each at different distances and heights.

“You need to practice,” he explained, grabbing her bow and delivering it to her. “Naraku has been quiet recently. I believe he will try something soon. We need to be prepared. You need to be prepared, as your roll in this is paramount.”

She could’ve argued. She could’ve been offended. She could’ve pouted. But she did none of those things because she knew he was right. She’d never had proper training. Never had proper guidance. Nothing to truly give her a leg up and half a chance at success aside from her own perseverance.

With a nod, she accepted her bow.

“You’re teaching me?”

“Yes.”

It was all he said, though she felt there was more he wasn’t saying.

With keen and assertive instruction, she did as she was told.

“Straighten your posture,” he said from behind her, his palm pushing gently into her lower back.

“Adjust your grip. You’re holding too tightly. Here, like this,” he showed her, brushing his fingers over hers.

“Relax your shoulders. You’re too stiff,” he’d say with a soft tap on her upper arm.

Under his tutelage, however short, she saw immediate improvement. Releasing her arrow, it met her target dead-center.

“Very good,” he praised softly, watching her smiling face in profile.

After several rounds of this, he upped the ante, walking out into the field.

“What are you doing?” She asked, lowering her bow.

“I am your target now. You’ve done well with still targets. Practice with a moving one.”

He didn’t give her a moment to consider it before he was moving toward her at a run. Not a demonic run, but certainly not slow either.

Catching on, she whipped her bow up, pulled back and released. She didn’t use her reiki for fear of causing him harm, but she wouldn’t go easy on him either.

In fact, she was sure he’d be offended if she did.

Knocking her arrow out of the air, he slammed into her, taking her to the ground.

“Do you value your life so little?” He growled, hovering over her as silver hair spilled to the forest floor. “Again!”

Pulling herself up, she huffed. She couldn’t help but leave him with a steady glare, her feelings somewhat hurt by his words.

“Glare all you like, priestess. This isn’t a game. Your life, the lives of your friends – they are all at stake. You will take this seriously. Again,” he said, running toward her, eyes bleeding red in his anger.

xAx

The moment came faster than anyone had liked.

Kagome felt ill-prepared, despite all the time training with Sesshomaru. Still, she fought hard, recalling every lesson. She protected her friends as if their lives depended on it, and they did. She had to be stronger for them. Faster. She had to protect them. 

All of them. 

Glancing around the battlefield as her friends fought deadly opponents, her eyes caught on a gray tentacle just as it swept down toward Sesshomaru.

“Watch out!” She screamed, though she hadn’t needed to worry.

He’d severed the writhing thing before it could reach him and Kagome breathed a sigh of relief. Her eyes met his before he quickly looked away and she couldn’t help the feeling of sadness that crept over her. Couldn’t help recalling the words she’d spoken as Naraku’s horse appeared on the horizon.

“This is it,” Inuyasha had said, springing to his feet quickly. “I can feel it. There’s been no shards recently. He must be here to get ours.”

The hanyou smirked then, his knuckles cracking before he pulled Tetsusaiga from its sheath. “He can try,” he scoffed.

“Prepare yourself, priestess,” Sesshomaru said from where he stood a few feet from her. “Remember your training.”

Inuyasha didn’t wait for a signal. He took to the trees, meeting Naraku head on. Rin and Shippo were instructed to wait with the two headed dragon and Jaken.

“Come along, miko,” Sesshomaru said as Sango and Miroku moved to follow behind Inuyasha, taking to the sky on Kirara.

But something inside her told her she needed to speak. She needed to tell him how she felt. She needed to tell him, in case…

“In case,” she whispered and he looked at her.

Lifting her eyes to his, the intensity of them startled him.

“I want you to know,” she said, her bow clenched tightly in her hand causing her knuckles to blanch. “Just in case.”

“What?” He asked hesitantly, an unknown feeling beginning to curl in his stomach.

Stepping forward, she grabbed his hand, her eyes softening. 

“Just in case I don’t make it out of this, I want you know,” she said softly, a grim smile hovering in the corner of her lips. “You’re loved, Sesshomaru. I love you.”

She lifted to the tips of her toes, ghosted her lips over his cheek and with a sharp inhalation, she was gone, running in the direction of the fighting.

Such a simple confession left him frozen. Her words turning over in his mind as his hand lifted to touch his face where her lips had touched him.

You’re loved.

I love you. 

He couldn’t.

He wouldn’t.

He wouldn’t.

Turning on his heel, he raced in the direction of the battle, ignoring everyone and everything but the puppeteer in the baboon cloak.

But it wasn’t he who would defeat the hanyou.

The brilliant flare of violet lit up the area as it flew through the sky without notice, burning the vile things it touched. It pierced Naraku’s chest violently, throwing him back with the force of it.

As the purple flames consumed him, his scream pierced the air, rising above the sounds of fighting and for a moment everything stopped.

No one noticed the second arrow that was fired. No one noticed the crimson red that flares around it maliciously. No one noticed it’s target, not even the target herself as she’d been so intent on taking Naraku down.

Her pained grunt went unheard as the arrow pierced her chest, throwing her back into a tree. The breath was knocked out of her and she felt warm liquid drip down her chin. 

Hot and cold ran over her, the feeling of power surging in her blood as the tainted arrow sealed her the tree she dangled from. A shaking hand rose to grip the shaft of the arrow, trying futilely to pull it from her chest, but she grew weaker with each beat of her heart.

She didn’t register Naraku’s dying scream.

Her hand fell limply at her side.

She didn’t hear it when Sango screamed her name.

Her eyes felt heavy, falling shut.

She felt nothing as numbness blanketed her senses and she was effectively sealed to the tree, just as Inuyasha had been before.

He reached her first, the hanyou leaping up and curling his hands around the arrow. The blast that followed threw him several feet away, where he landed with a groan.

“What…”

“She’s been sealed,” Miroku said, coming to stand next to Sesshomaru who’d reached her just after his brother. “Like you were, Inuyasha.”

“Okay, so we just need someone holy to pull the arrow out, right?” He demanded hysterically, rising to his feet.

Miroku contemplated for a moment, feeling the magic surrounding the arrow before shaking his head slowly.

“I’m afraid it won’t be quite so easy.”

“Explain, monk,” Sesshomaru said, flashing glaring red eyes at Miroku.

He didn’t need to say it for everyone present to feel his anger. Sesshomaru felt white-hot rage flow through him as soon as he noticed Kagome pinned to the tree, an arrow through her chest.

Her words came back to him.

I love you.

You’re loved, Sesshomaru.

Just in case I don’t make it. I love you.

It was like she’d known something would happen to her.

He lifted his hand again, his fingers brushing his cheek. His beast raged within him, his youki stirring the leaves on the ground in fragile irritation.

“The ki infused in the arrow of dark in nature. Dark miko tend to be more powerful than their purer counterpart,” Miroku explained, his words settling heavily around them. “It would take a priestess of greater strength than the one who fired the arrow to remove it.”

They could all feel the power sealing Kagome to the tree. It was strong.

The daiyoukai gauged the power himself, feeling it’s depth, it’s weight. Assessing its strength against his youki.

Stepping forward, he reached up and wrapped his fingers around the arrow, giving it a quick tug. But like Inuyasha, he was thrown away from her. Landing on his feet, he slid back as his hand smoked.

With a growl, he flew forward, gripping the arrow again. Once more, it proved futile. But he couldn’t seem to stop and before he knew it, his hands were red and raw, flesh burning.

“Enough,” Sango said, laying a cautious hand on his shoulder to stop him. “This isn’t helping. We should get Kaede.”

For the first time, Sesshomaru felt…helpless. He could feel his youki, stronger than the arrow, stronger than the miko who’d sent it flying.

Yet, he couldn’t pull Kagome free.

And he felt like a failure. Something else he’d never before felt.

The others left to get the elderly miko, melancholy following on their heels. But Sesshomaru glared up at the frozen priestess.

“What have you done to me?” He demanded softly, his eyes trailing the path of blood on her chin. “Why did I allow myself to know you?”

Eyeing the arrow in her chest, his eyes narrowed further. He reached out to touch it, pausing just before he did. With a sigh, his hand dropped to his side.

Who could’ve known that an arrow could hold so much power? First, the arrow that freed his brother. Then, the arrows that attracted his attention to her to begin with. The arrow that killed Naraku. And finally, the arrow that sealed Kagome.

As if the cycle had come full circle. Ending where it began.

He took her limp hand in his own, feeling the calluses from so many days spent practicing beside him.

Why had he insisted on understanding her? More than that, why had he insisted on knowing her? Training her? Spending any time with her at all?

“I thought it would be enough to keep you safe,” he admitted, his head bowing to hide amber eyes behind silver bangs.

Had he not learned from his father’s mistakes? Had he not learned that the consequence of caring for a human is far too often heartache? Nothing good ever came from love. Nothing but misery.

“Why do you tell me?” He growled up at her. “Why couldn’t you just keep it to yourself?”

Sesshomaru couldn’t make sense of his own feelings, and it created chaos in his mind. Taking a deep breath, he released her hand and stepped away just as the others returned with the elder miko. 

“Oh, my,” she breathed, gazing up at Kagome with pained eyes. Reaching up, she trailed aged fingers over the arrows shaft, testing the power there.

For a moment, she was silent and everyone gathered watched her with hopeful eyes.

“Hmm. This is odd,” she mumbled, watching Kagome curiously. “This should not be strong enough to hold her. Kagome is much stronger than the owner of this arrow.”

“So…how is she sears there then?” Inuyasha asked, scratching his head.

“Perhaps she doesn’t know how to navigate around it,” Sesshomaru suggested, his eyes glued to the pinned priestess. And without his approval, hope bloomed in his chest. Huffing he gave in and explored the feeling, allowing it to spread.

You’re loved, Sesshomaru. I love you.

The words brought him…peace.

He…liked the feeling.

“Can we walk her through it? I could hear everything that went on around me when I was sealed.”

“We can most certainly try,” Kaede nodded.

“Okay, what do I say?” Inuyasha asked.

“Nothing,” Kaede said, her eyes pinned to the daiyoukai. “This one is better left to Lord Sesshomaru, I think. Everyone else should come with me. He can handle it from here.”

All eyes were on him then.

“What? You expect Sesshomaru to save her?”

“She’s right, Inuyasha,” Miroku said and Sango nodded.

“He can handle it,” the slayer agreed.

Miroku wrapped an arm around the hanyou’s neck, pulling him along as they walked back toward the village.

“You have the jewel, my friend?” Miroku asked to distract him.

“Of course I’ve got it. And when Kagome wakes up, she can purify the stupid thing.”

As the conversation moved toward the village, only Kaede remained.

“What is it, old woman?” Sesshomaru asked, eyes slanted down to her.

“You care for her. I can see it in the way your aura fluctuates when you’re near her.”

Clenching his jaw, he looked away.

“It’s okay. You don’t have to admit it aloud. But you should at least admit it to yourself. And perhaps to her.”

With those words, she hobbled away, leaving Sesshomaru to his thoughts.

She was right. He’d been denying it, even at the cost of lying to himself.

Eyes lifting to Kagome, he took her in.

You’re loved, Sesshomaru.

How could he? He couldn’t.

I love you. 

Could he?

Just in case. 

Would he?

Stepping forward, he placed his palm against her chest, staying clear of the arrow. Bending his head, he whispered instructions into her ear, his lips brushing her soft skin.

Hear me, Kagome, he silently demanded. I wish to hear your words again. 

xAx

She felt him. Felt his warmth. His youki wrapping around her. Calling to her.

She heard him. Heard his instructions. His words of longing. Heated promises. His demands.

Following along as she floated in the darkness around her, she pulled her reiki to the surface as he’d told her. Pushed against her bonds as she visualized his face. Forced those bonds to break as she felt his heat near her.

Blue eyes opened to silver silk. He still bent near her, still whispered in her ear. She felt his soft lips brush heated flesh and for a moment, she was content to remain that way.

With one last push of reiki, the arrow in her chest fell to the ground, useless. Sesshomaru caught her in his arms, pulling back to look at her. 

“You’re alive, after all,” he said as she caught her bearings.

“Did we win?”

He smirked, lifting his hand to her chin to wipe the blood away. 

“We did.”

Licking her lips, she peered up at him.

“I heard what you said,” she whispered, holding his eyes.

“I meant it.”

You’re loved, Sesshomaru.

Could he? Yes.

I love you. 

Would he?

With gentle fingers, he cupped her chin.

Full lips descended on her softly, swallowing her surprised gasp. It only took a moment before she relaxed into him, returning his chaste kiss.

He didn’t know where they might end up, but he wanted to try. He wanted to step out of his comfort zone and  into new territory.

He wanted the priestess.

And it had all started with an arrow.


 

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