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The Way I Am by Serephina of the Kamis

Lighting

Disclaimer: I don’t own InuYasha. So if you call the FBI, I will point out this very nicely marked statement, and you will get arrested for abusing the FBI’s time. So HAH!

Oh, and to all of you who have read Crime and Punishment, due to numerous requests from both the original story and this one, I have imported by favorite character from Crime and Punishment. I hope that she fits well into the story, and amazes you all with her wacky wisdom.

Last Time:

The woman in question steadied herself as Sesshoumaru released her. She looked up at him and smiled. “We seem to be making a routine of this.” Sesshoumaru was utterly confused, but didn’t show it on his face. But perhaps he had not done as well as he’d hoped, because the miko was quick to explain. “I keep falling, and you always seem to be around to catch me.”

Sesshoumaru turned his characteristic scowl on her. “The matter is entirely coincidental, and will not be repeated in the future.”

Kagome just smiled. “I’ll thank you anyway, Sesshoumaru-sama.”

CHAPTER 2: LIGHTING

It had a year since the final battle with Naraku. In that time, little had changed for the ruthless inutaiyoukai Lord of the West. The name Sesshoumaru was still the most feared in Japan, even among humans, who normally remained oblivious about such things.

He was aware, however, of the changes in his land. He heard of how the taijya and the houshi had returned to her hometown with Naraku’s former puppet and the fire cat to rebuild her village.

He heard of the kitsune, who had left to train with those of his own kind, but still kept in constant touch with the woman who’d protected him on their journey.

He’d heard of his hanyou brother, who had destroyed the Bone Eater’s Well and then disappeared. Sources said he resided somewhere in the deepest recesses of his forest.

And he had heard of the Miko of the Shikon. How she had trained for months and had finally gained a basic mastery of her powers. How she had gone for more advanced training one month ago. And most importantly, how she had been asked to deal with a mysterious shadow that was attacking a village on her way. And how, though the shadow had disappeared, the miko had not returned.

Not that he really cared. It didn’t bother him at all. Not until a certain nekoyoukai decided to make him care.

This particular nekoyoukai had known him since the day he was born. Throughout his entire life, she was the only one besides his father who could get him to behave. She’d always been supportive of him, and had known what he needed when he needed it, be it sympathy or anger. So she’d stayed on when she retired as his nursemaid, telling him he needed someone around to keep him from making a fool of himself.

Though he often forgot that he liked Kamiya when she got like this.

“Sesshoumaru! Are you even listening to me?” Kamiya shouted.

Sesshoumaru sighed and looked up at his former nursemaid and friend. “I would have to be deaf not to.”

Kamiya scowled at him. “This is serious, Sesshoumaru!”

“I fail to see why I should concern myself over a miko, no matter if she is my brother’s wench.” Sesshoumaru answered calmly, turning back to the plans on his desk. It was best to just ignore her when she got like this.

His plans were dashed when a pair of clawed hands slammed onto his desk, covering his work. “Sesshoumaru, you are going to listen to me this instant, or so help me, I’ll box your ears!”

Sesshoumaru growled and looked up at her. “You have not been able to box this Sesshoumaru’s ears since I was one hundred years old.”

Kamiya thought about that for a moment. “Darn pup. I can’t believe I forgot that.”

Sesshoumaru watched her think, and wondered if she was becoming senile. Not that he would ever tell her so.

Kamiya smirked. “You’ll listen to me, or I’ll tell every person I can find about the incident.”

Sesshoumaru’s blood ran cold. “You would not dare.” He growled.

“Why not?”

Sesshoumaru scrambled for an answer. There was a perfectly good excuse, he knew there was. . . “If you tell everyone, you will have nothing to hold over this Sesshoumaru.” He finally said, a small smirk decorating his face. She wouldn’t be able to worm out of that.

Kamiya thought about that for a moment, then shrugged. “You’re right.” Sesshoumaru relaxed. “So I’ll just tell them all about the time you got lost in your own closet.”

That made Sesshoumaru growl. “This Sesshoumaru will not lower himself to looking for some pathetic human girl who cannot even look after herself.”

Kamiya growled right back. “Not even a human girl you owe a debt?”

That caught his attention. In a second, he ran through every encounter he’d had with the girl. He was utterly confused at Kamiya’s claim. “Explain.”

Kamiya grinned at him. “Or what?”

Sesshoumaru glared at her. He swore, she got pleasure out of frustrating him, especially since she knew he wouldn’t kill her. A sudden thought made him pause. Deliberately, he stood and walked away. He heard Kamiya talking.

“Oh, Sesshoumaru! I’m so proud of you!” He smirked as he imagined her reaction when she realized what he was really doing. “You’re making the right decision you—Sesshoumaru, where are you going?”

Sesshoumaru ignored her question and focused on his path.

“Sesshoumaru.” Kamiya’s voice was deathly calm. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Sesshoumaru let his bedroom door answer for him. It shut in Amaterasu’s face, activating the protections around his room. “SESSHOUMARU!” Kamiya screeched, and Sesshoumaru grit his teeth. He knew that she pitched her voice like that on purpose. “I AM GOING TO BREAK DOWN THIS DOOR IF YOU DON’T OPEN IT!

Kamiya smirked. Even she couldn’t break the enchantments of five generations of his family. Though that will not stop her from trying. He thought as the room shook from her assault.

Finally, the assault stopped. He waited, sensing that she was still at the door. “I should have known you had inherited your mother’s sense of honor. Or should I say lack thereof.”

Kamiya growled and ripped the door open. “You question this Sesshoumaru’s honor?”

Kamiya looked at him, and he saw a mixture of anger and disappointment. “An honorable man pays his debts. Your father taught you that, Sesshoumaru. And I certainly did not neglect that when I taught you your manners.” She shook her head. “You hate your mother, and with obvious reason. So why would you do anything to make yourself like her?”

“This Sesshoumaru has no debt to the ningen!” Sesshoumaru snapped. Kamiya knew he hated being compared to anyone, especially his parents. He didn’t care about her reasoning. There was no excuse.

“You do have a debt, Sesshoumaru.” Kamiya answered. “She brought peace to your country, in more ways than one. She collected the shards within your realm, which you would have had to do sooner or later because the demons collecting them were causing too much trouble. She has protected your ward from Naraku at the risk of her own life. And she has removed any further threat from the Shikon no Tama by destroying it.” Sesshoumaru hadn’t thought of that, and he wasn’t exactly sure he liked it. “I believe that is worth a debt, Sesshoumaru. Just think about it.”

No one will find you. . .

I know. I don’t expect anyone to.

They will not even look for you. . .

I wouldn’t want them to.

You will always be alone. . .

Yeah, and that sucks. If you’re gonna keep talking like this, could you at least get some better lines? You’ve been repeating the same ones for. . . how long have I been in here?

Time is irrelevant. . .

Finally, something new. Keep it up, and I might actually keep my sanity long enough to get rid of you.

No one will even remember you. . .

Ah, to be young and stupid. I know the future, idiot. And I am most certainly remembered.

No one will find you. . .

Oh forget it! I don’t know why I even bother responding to you sometimes.

-------------------------------------------------------Sesshoumaru-------------------------------------------------------

Sesshoumaru glared into the cave, still seething about being manipulated. That damn neko! He was going to banish her when he got home. Maybe a few years. . .no a few centuries alone would keep her from playing with him like this.

This was the cave that the villagers had sent InuYasha’s wench to when she had arrived to help them. One of the villagers had escorted her, and saw her enter it. She had never left.

He took one leap and landed outside the cave. He expanded his youkai, and felt the barrier that was in place around the entrance of the cave. It reeked of the miko’s power, putting him on the defensive. Why would the place need a barrier? Unless the miko had failed to destroy the entity.

Likely, she was dead. Which would make his life very easy. No miko meant he could simply return to his home. He was actually turning when Kamiya’s words decided to float through his mind.

An honorable man pays his debts.

She was the one who’d taught him of morals, pride, and honor. When he had become Lord of the West, she’d told him that she was proud of him. That he had become a demon she was proud to say she served. It had meant more to him than any other’s comments.

With a growl, he turned back to the cave. He’d be damned if he let some evil neko dictate his actions. But he did owe the miko a debt, so the very least he could do was ensure that she had a proper burial.

The barrier was strong, and Sesshoumaru had to admit, he was impressed that the miko had managed to gather her strength in her last moments. It resisted even his power as he grew closer. Whatever was trapped behind it was meant to be sealed for hundreds, possibly even thousands of years. He searched the edges of the barrier, and smirked as he found the weak point of the barrier: It only covered the opening. He shook his head at the girl’s stupidity. All it would take was a small fissure, and the formless mist would simply seep out of its prison. Sloppy. Sesshoumaru formed his poison whip and slashed, striking the rock at full force. A small opening appeared, and Sesshoumaru prepared for the thing inside to leak out. But nothing came. Curious, he slashed again, and the wall began to crumble away. Within moments, the hole was big enough for a child to fit through. And yet the mist the village had spoken of did not emerge. Annoyed now, he entered the cave through the opening he’d made.

It was too dark to see at first, and he waited tensely for his eyes to adjust. When they did, he quickly glanced around, but could find no source of the youkai he felt. In the back of the cave, he saw yet another barrier blocking his path. He growled in frustration as he went forward. It was going to be a long day.

Danger. . .

I’m always in danger from you. Telling me this isn’t going to change my mind.

Danger comes to us. . .

Wait, someone is here? That’s impossible! My barriers would stop even the Red Tetsusaiga!

Danger comes to kill us. . .

Comes to kill you, you mean. That’s fine with me.

I die, you die, foolish mortal girl. . .

I might as well be dead already. Trapped with you doesn’t make me alive.

Strong danger. . .

If this danger can manage to kill you, I’m all for it.

Foolish mortal. . .

--------------------------------------------------------Sesshoumaru-------------------------------------------------------

Sesshoumaru revised his level of respect for InuYasha’s former wench. She had managed to place 10 barriers in this cave, each stronger than the last. He was pretty sure that the one he’d just destroyed was the last of them, and yet he still encountered no mist. There were no reports of the mist in the area, so it had to be here.

Up ahead, the cave widened, and Sesshoumaru stalked towards it. With a soft sigh, he realized he had found what he was looking for.

The miko’s body lay against the wall of the cave, pale and motionless. Sesshoumaru found he was almost . . . disappointed to find that the girl had allowed herself to die. It was a shame that such talent had been wasted.

He came forward slowly, testing the area around him for some form of trouble. He was surprised to find yet another barrier, and he spread his youkai to find it. As soon as he did so, the girl’s body began to glow. Sesshoumaru was confused now. Why would the miko, who had proved that she thought the mist dangerous, waste power to protect her body? It did not fit with what he had learned of the miko.

Sesshoumaru brushed his youkai against the girl’s body to try and see the strength of the barrier around her. He instantly regretted it as his youkai felt another power within the woman’s body. With a growl, he tried to retrieve his power, only to find that a piece of it was stuck, caught by whatever power the miko held within her. Sesshoumaru waited for what would happen next. He could easily leave that piece of youkai behind, if it would have no adverse affect. But he was too curious now about what had taken his youkai to want to leave.

He realized his mistake when the dead miko’s eyes shot open. The girl’s eyes were completely taken over by black, leaving no trace of the iris or whites. “Danger not so smart.” A voice, not the miko’s, hissed from the woman’s throat.

Sesshoumaru tried to move, but found that something held him in place. That piece of youkai! It is using it to control my movements. Sesshoumaru growled and released his poison whip. The miko’s body didn’t move, and the whip hit on target. But as soon as it struck the miko’s barrier, it dissipated, weaving itself into the barrier as the dark eyes looked on with amusement.

Try again, Danger. Give this one more power.

Sesshoumaru growled, and quickly glanced around the cave. It was certainly big enough, but should he risk it? He hadn’t changed forms since he’d seen his mother two years ago. Though he wasn’t sure he had any other options at this point.

With a long breath, Sesshoumaru allowed his baser nature to take over. He felt his eyes growing red, as well as the shifts in his body. As his body changed he roared, the sound resounding nicely in the chamber.

But then the shifting stopped. Caught halfway between his rational mind and the overtaking of his most basic desires, Sesshoumaru remained frozen, unable to shift in either direction.

Foolish danger-pup.” The voice that was not the dead miko seemed to crow. “This one take now.

The miko’s mouth opened, and black smoke poured from her mouth. In seconds, it surrounded Sesshoumaru, cutting him off from the small amount of light that managed it make it into the cave.

Mine.” The voice whispered. And this time, the words resounded not in the cave, but inside Sesshoumaru’s own mind.

--------------------------------------------------------Kagome-------------------------------------------------------

“Great.” Kagome muttered, even though she knew that talking to herself was definitely not a good way to keep sane. But it did help to relieve the boredom. “I get trapped here for. . . I don’t even know how long! But I’ve been trapped here for what feels like forever, and now some idiot’s ruined everything!”

She felt another shift within the shadow, and this time the shift seemed more physical. Kagome concentrated, and was surprised to find the source of the youkai she felt coming closer. “Wait a second. I know this youkai from somewhere.” She muttered to herself. “Where do I know it from. . . darn it, this place is messing with my memory!”

The youkai grew closer, and the space around her started to change. “That stupid shadow must have absorbed a demon. A really powerful demon.”

“Your assumption is correct.”

Kagome froze. She’d know that voice if she was smothered in oil and made into a fried Oreo. And most certainly if she was trapped inside a shadow. She turned slowly, and Sesshoumaru looked down at her, looking annoyed.

After months without any kind of sentient contact besides the shadow, who to be honest was more than a bit on the stupid side, Kagome had lost any kind of tact she had. “You’re an idiot.”

Sesshoumaru growled at her, but Kagome couldn’t bring herself to be afraid. “I put up almost ten barriers around this place, as well as a barrier around my own body so that the shadow wouldn’t be able to escape. The entire cave practically screamed ‘Danger! Stay Away!’ So what on earth possessed you to break them all?”

Sesshoumaru grit his teeth, but gave no other answer. With a frustrated growl, Kagome turned her attention back to the shadow, which she could feel moving. A thousand plans flew through her mind as she tried to find a way to stop the shadow’s movements.

“I can’t purify him from the inside out, it’ll take too long to stop him. I could place a few barriers in his path, but that’ll deplete my powers too quickly. And if I don’t use enough barriers, it’ll break them too quickly for me to purify him.” Kagome began to pace, only vaguely noticing the look Sesshoumaru gave her. She growled as she realized her only options. “Dang it, I just don’t have enough power! I have to choose between completely purifying it and getting a bunch of people killed, or trapping it and being stuck here for. . . FOREVER!”

Kagome felt a hand on her shoulder, and she whirled to see Sesshoumaru staring down at her. “Miko, you are fading.”

Kagome looked down at herself, and saw she was as solid as ever. But the hand that held her arm had acquired a ghostly tinge. It took Kagome only seconds to realize what was happening. “He’s moving, which means he’s no longer inside my body. I’m not going to be here much longer.” She groaned. “I’m going to have to trap-”

“Wench, purify it.”

Kagome gaped at him. “Did you not hear a word I said? He’ll kill hundreds of innocent people.”

“This Sesshoumaru will create the necessary barriers to insure it cannot escape.”

Kagome laughed at that. “In case you haven’t noticed, Sesshoumaru, this guy absorbs youkai.”

Sesshoumaru’s teeth clenched, and Kagome noticed the way his hands clenched. “I will not allow some pathetic demon to take this Sesshoumaru’s youkai.”

Kagome thought quickly, needing to find a way to make this work. Inspiration struck her as she remembered something from a book she'd read a long time ago. “Sesshoumaru, listen! Take as much youkai as you can and create as many barriers as you can form here to the entrance.”

“Human, you have just pointed out that my youkai has no effect.” Sesshoumaru’s voice was tight, and Kagome knew he hated to admit she was right.

“It doesn’t have to hold him long.” Kagome shouted, her words rushing out as Sesshoumaru grew more and more transparent. “Just long enough for me to purify him.” Sesshoumaru was barely visible, now and Kagome could only pray that he was hearing her. “It’s the only way! Please, Sesshoumaru!”

Kagome couldn’t tell if he answered her or not as he faded completely away from her sight.

--------------------------------------------------------Sesshoumaru-------------------------------------------------------

Sesshoumaru was not a demon to be trifled with. Anyone, or anything, with a brain knew better than to deal with the Lord of the West without due cause. And the fools who tried soon learned their stupidity when they met death at Sesshoumaru’s claws.

Sesshoumaru refused to allow some nameless phenomena ruin his reputation. Especially a brainless one like this. He was not the most powerful demon in Japan for nothing.

Sesshoumaru forced himself through the blackness, searching for the youkai the shadow had stolen from him. It was a part of him, and easily found. The problem was actually getting to it. Each movement felt as though it was draining him, but he continued on. He refused to give up. If some human miko, barely older than a child, managed to stay a month, than he could do better than this!

It took him what felt like eons, but he finally managed to reach his youkai. It clung to him, wanting to join with him once more. Sesshoumaru closed his eyes for a brief moment, loving the feeling of his own power.

Then he released it, pushing it forward. In his mind’s eye, he could see the contours of the cave, the path he had taken, every rock and pebble he had passed. In his mind, he envisioned his youkai coating the cave, impeding the shadow’s advancement. He imagined walls of youkai blocking its path, forcing it to pause, if only for a moment.

And then he felt the change in the shadow’s movements. At first he felt it slow, almost so little that he couldn’t tell the difference. Then he felt it moving violently, and felt the pain inflicted upon it. It was a familiar pain, one he’d experienced a thousand times. The shadow had not, and couldn’t respond.

Sesshoumaru felt the shadow begin to crumble.

--------------------------------------------------------Kagome-------------------------------------------------------

Kagome groaned as she opened her eyes. Her muscles ached as she moved, screaming in protest from disuse. “Not this time.” She winced as her throat protested and her voice cracked. “I’m not going to fail this time.” She forced herself up, ignoring the pain moving caused.

Kagome found her bow still beside her and shook her head at the shadows stupidity. It wasn’t even smart enough to think to destroy anything dangerous to it. With a grunt, she used her bow to stand and start after the shadow, all the while gathering the power that lay about the cave from when Sesshoumaru burst through her barriers.

She only went a few feet before she caught up to the shadow. Kagome smiled as she felt the youkai that coated the walls, hung in the air, and set up literal walls between the shadow and the exit. “Good job, Sesshoumaru.” She whispered.

Kagome pulled an arrow from the quiver that still lay on her back and placed it into the bow, her muscles still remembering the movements. She focused on the arrowhead, and in seconds it glowed a bright pink. She pointed her arrow towards the center of the swirling black mass in front of her. “Go to hell.” She bit out.

The bow twanged as she released her grip on the arrow, watching with a smile as it pierced the very heart of the shadow. Though it made no sound, Kagome could feel the scream it let out. Without even a shred of sympathy, Kagome strung another arrow. In seconds, the thing screamed again as once again as Kagome’s arrow flew through it. It was starting dissipate, and it beat frantically against the barriers Sesshoumaru’s youkai had created. It had no thoughts or wishes any longer, just the need to survive.

Kagome knew she couldn’t allow it to escape, and she didn’t even want to. She strung the last arrow in her quiver, and focused on the pathetic creature in front of her. “Good-bye.”

The arrow looked like a comet as it shot towards the deteriorating darkness. It flew through the shadow easily and struck the ground. But even there, it did not stop. The power in the arrow flared, surrounding the shadow in a deadly embrace. The shadows silent scream shook the cave, but Kagome didn’t relent. Using the arrow as a focus, she poured her power into the air, offering the shadow no escape or respite.

The cave shook violently one last as the darkness struggled against Kagome’s purifying light as well as the confining power of Sesshoumaru’s youkai. It faltered, falling to the ground soundlessly. It swirled, and if it were given shape it would have been writhing. Kagome waited, anticipating the end.

With one last shudder, the shadow dissipated, leaving behind a battered and paled taiyoukai lord.

On unsteady feet, Kagome hobbled forward to Sesshoumaru. “Sesshoumaru?”

He didn’t answer.

Kagome checked his pulse, and found that it was weak. She ran her power through him, but found no physical ailments. “If there’s nothing wrong with his body, then there must be something wrong with his spirit.” She muttered to herself. She was nervous now. She’d never had to heal someone’s soul. . .

She shook her head. Now was definitely not the time to doubt herself. Carefully, she placed a hand over Sesshoumaru’s heart. Please, come back. . .

--------------------------------------------------------Sesshoumaru-------------------------------------------------------

It was dark.

It was cold.

It was silent.

Sesshoumaru shivered, unsure of how he felt. He was floating, and yet motionless. Endangered, and yet safe. He supposed he should be worried that he couldn’t feel his legs anymore. But somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to care.

. . . Sesshoumaru. . .

Sesshoumaru frowned. Who was calling him? Whoever they were, they should be showing him proper respect.

. . . Sesshoumaru. . . back. . .

Sesshoumaru couldn’t hear. What were they saying? He struggled to hear what they said.

. . . Sesshoumaru. . . come back. . . dangerous. . .

Sesshoumaru almost snorted. As if anything could be dangerous to him. Obviously, the owner of this voice was a fool. He focused on the voice, determined to figure out who in the world dared to think he was weak enough to fall to some ridiculous shadow.

. . . Sesshoumaru. . .don’t. . . need to come back. . .InuYasha is more dangerous. . . you. . .

So whoever this was knew the half breed. Interesting. . . did they just insinuate that InuYasha was more dangerous than he was! How dare they!

Please, Sesshoumaru. . . don’t give up. . . you need to come back. . . InuYasha is more dangerous than the shadow. . . you. . defeated. . .

He was close to hearing all of it, he knew. He concentrated on the voice, not realizing that he could now feel his body again. He wasn’t paying attention to the fact that he no longer felt like he was floating or in danger. He was no longer cold, and it was getting brighter as he listened to this voice.

Please, Sesshoumaru! Please don’t give up. You need to come back now. InuYasha was more dangerous than the shadow, and you were able to defeat him. Please, come back!

Sesshoumaru really wanted to shut this person up. It was really insulting that they thought he would die from a mere possession. He was sure that they were really just mocking him.

That’s it, Sesshoumaru! Fight just like I know you can.

A light appeared at the edge of his vision, and Sesshoumaru headed for it. It was a struggle, and several times, he half-considered just resting for a moment. But that annoying voice always nudged him forward.

I know you can do it, Sesshoumaru. Please, just keep going.

The insinuation that he could possibly fail kept him going. His pride wouldn’t allow him to prove this voice right. His instincts told him that whoever it was wasn’t being insulting on purpose, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to throttle them.

Sesshoumaru burst through the light, and froze. It was suddenly very dark, and he frowned. It was almost like his eyes. . .

With an almost inaudible growl, Sesshoumaru opened his eyes. He blinked and looked around him, recognizing the cave where he had found InuYasha’s wench. His eyes shot from place to place as he searched for the source of the voice. It only took him a few moments to see the miko sitting beside him, a smile on her face.

“Thank goodness.” She whispered. “You’re alright.”

Sesshoumaru tried to sit up, but found that his muscles wouldn’t respond. The woman noticed this immediately, and rushed to help him up. Sesshoumaru growled at her, furious at both the girl and himself, but she ignored him. “You only have a little bit of youkai left from what you used against the shadow and what the shadow took.” The miko continued. Sesshoumaru noted that her voice seemed strained. “It’ll take you some time to build it back up.”

“This Sesshoumaru did not give you leave to speak, miko.” Sesshoumaru growled.

The miko looked like she was about to say something, then closed her mouth. “I am not going to dignify that with a response.” She muttered, probably forgetting that Sesshoumaru could hear her.

--------------------------------------------------------Kagome-------------------------------------------------------

Kagome was half tempted to rant at Sesshoumaru when she returned from her bath. She was dead tired, and no surprise seeing as how she had been using her holy powers non-stop for nearly a month. But she still not only purified that stupid shadow, but brought Sesshoumaru back from being lost forever within his own mind. But did he even bother to thank her? NO!

Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Sesshoumaru’s arm tremor. Curious, she pretended not to notice, until he did it again. For a moment, she wondered if there was something wrong. Then the breeze blew by her, making her shiver. Then she got it: Sesshoumaru was cold! She wanted to smack herself. Of course he wouldn’t say anything, not to a human! Heck, he probably wouldn’t tell his own mother if there was something bothering him.

“Boy, is it cold!” Kagome announced, pretending not to notice the suspicious look Sesshoumaru was giving her. “I think I’ll light the fire now.”

She crept over to the pile she’d built before heading for a bath and reached into her pocket. She smiled as her hand found one of the few things she still had in abundance from her last trip to the future: matches. Using a nearby rock, she lit the match and placed it on the tinder. Her smile grew larger a few minutes later when a roaring fire happily cracked away.

“Miko.” Kagome was tempted to ignore the pompous jerk, but she was too tired to bother holding a grudge.

“Yes, Taiyoukai.” Kagome mocked.

Kagome noted that Sesshoumaru’s eyebrows drew closer together, and she logged it as a sign of agitation. “How did you light the fire without proper equipment?”

Kagome reached into her pocket with another smile and pulled out a match. She walked over to him and placed it in his hand. “You need a light, I’ll light a match.” She said, giggling for absolutely no reason. Wow, she needed to sleep!

Sesshoumaru glared at her, and her giggle died. She took the match back with a small yawn. “It’s called a match.” She leaned against the cave wall beside Sesshoumaru, ignoring the look of contempt he gave her. “It’s something. . . from. . . my . . . time. . .”

Sesshoumaru’s eyes widened at that. From her time? The miko was a time traveler? Things clicked into place as he thought over the things he knew of the miko of the Shikon no Tama. It definitely made sense.

He sighed. He’d saved the miko from her failure, so his debt was paid. . . except she’d saved his life too. Which meant now he owed her a life debt. Sesshoumaru growled as he contemplated that. He had to be the only person he knew who could start out meaning to settle a debt, and end up even more in debt than before. And his honor and pride refused to leave the debt unsettled.

Sesshoumaru sighed again as he glared down at the miko who’d fallen asleep beside him. He had no choice. He’d have to bring her to his castle.

---------------------------------------------------Author’s Rant---------------------------------------------------

Obsessive_Goddess: I think things are progressing nicely.

Horse Wolves: Yes, you two make a very nice team. . . Hey OG! They’re not here!

Obsessive_Goddess: Of course not! I exiled them to the land of minor characters a long time ago.

Horse Wolves: But they’re the main characters!

Obsessive_Goddess: But last time they buried me and I missed the epilogue! I can’t let them do that this time!

Horse Wolves: But you’re nowhere close to the epilogue! So why exile them now?

Obsessive_Goddess: Precautionary measures. [turns to laptop] On to chapter 3!

Horse Wolves: I hope she knows what she’s doing. . .

---------------------------------------------------End of Author’s Rant---------------------------------------------------

 

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