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Lady of the Western Lands by Knight of Disorder

What was Lost

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.

Beta: Beta Fish

---000---

Growling to herself, she pushed the covers back and shoved herself from the bed. She let the world settle before her eyes, and didn’t bother dressing. As today would be her last day at the fortress for a while, she chose to have a bath instead; it would be nice to take one while she still had the opportunity. Sliding her door open, she raised a brow and looked down at the cat youkai kneeling before her. "You were sent to help me bathe?"

"Yes, Mi'lady. By order of your Lady Mother, I am to help you bathe and prepare for your presentation to the court this afternoon." The neko youkai didn’t flinch as a wall rattling growl split the air.

"You do not fear me?"

"I do mi'lady. I am your servant and will suffer what I must to ensure that your happiness is met," there were no undertones in the words.

"So be it. Wash me, then gather my items for travel." Brushing fine claws through her ankle length silver hair, her golden eyes flashed as she watched the cat rise and guide her towards the bath. "Have my armor and swords prepared as well. Jaken will see to the rest."

"Yes, mi'lady."

Once the cat left, Kagome let a smirk play on her lips before the icy coating of her mother's training slid over her eyes. It wouldn't do to show her temper outside of her domain. She was the lady of the house, even if her mother insisted on her finding a mate. Males were worthless. Grousing over the stupidity of men she paid little mind when the cat returned and set about washing her.

The bath, though soothing in it's own right, was not as comfortable as she would have preferred. She slipped the slit side kimono over her shoulders, tucking the edges before knotting the purple and gold sash in place. Hand smoothing over the sleeves and eyeing her own personal crest on the shoulder, another smirk played on her lips. Perhaps she would pay a visit to her little sister and her human companions. It would prove interesting and take her far from the palace.

Reaching for the plate armor, her fingers wrapped over the living material. She grinned as it pulsed angrily at her touch. Armor made from the bones of the former Inu no Taisho; armor from the bones of her great and terrible father. Snorting at the stupidity of the situation, she adjusted the plates before cinching them tight.

Next, she sought for her swords. One of them, a family heirloom. She hated her father for giving her a blade that could not cut, but was also grateful to him for enabling her to save the human child who remained in her keeping. It had proven itself a useful blade, even if it couldn't cut. Her grin fell as her eyes swept past the empty sleeve at her side. Eventually, she would have to venture back to the other world and retrieve it. It would give her something to. If she played her cards right, it may even end the parade of would-be suitors her mother brought forth.

"Lady Kagome!" Rin burst through the door, little legs carrying her across the room and sliding to a sudden halt before the woman whom she loved more then anything.

“Rin.” With Tokijin and Tenseiga secure at her hip, she rested her hand on the crown of the girls head. "Are you prepared to leave?"

"Yes, Rin is. Master Jaken told her yesterday that Rin was to be ready to travel by this morning." Shifting from one foot to the other, the small girl looked up at the impassive expression on her Lady’s face. "Lady Kagome?"

"Hn."

"May Rin have a hug?"

Kagome raised her brow at the question as the girl never asked for things. She could tell her no. The thought was brushed aside. Refusing a request was for pointless demands and  those who had done wrong.

"Very well." Mentally growling at the instinct to coddle the child, she would permit it. Opening her arm to her side, she rested it on the child's back.

Rin pressed her face into the silk of, what she considered, her mother's kimono, enjoying it for a short moment before stepping back, bowing quickly. "Thank you Lady Kagome."

Kagome said nothing and stepped past her, tipping her head to hear the light steps of the child behind her. Perhaps it would do to pay the other world a visit before going to see her little sister. The scenario played itself out in her head. Yes, she would do that. It would be far more amusing to see the look on their faces to see her at full strength again.

---000---

"Inuko!" The amber eyes of a silver haired hanyou turned. Watching, she sat on her haunches, ready to jump on the small kitsune.

"Inuko!" he repeated. She pressed herself lower, preparing for the lunge that would launch her at the cheerful kit.

"Heel!" The word was followed by a hard squeak from the female inu hanyou as her body went rigid, the beads around her neck glowing faintly. "What have I told you about bothering Shippo? Leave him alone, or no ramen."

The silver pointed ears atop her head snapped to her scalp, growling under her breath at the threat, even though she couldn't move. She struggled against the sharp sting of the magic as it held her in place. When it faded, she whirled on her heel and settled a hard glare on the dark haired male dressed in slacks and a white button down shirt.

"What's your problem!" Her voice was rough, a problem she’d often had while staring at him.

The man, Sesshomaru, raised a brow. "Stop bothering Shippo, dog child." He smirked  at her disgruntled expression. It was just too funny, far more so then he would have ever thought. She was a beautiful girl, though she was a bit rough around the edges. Her mouth nearly got her into as much trouble as the kimono she wore over her hakuma. Then again he could say the same for himself.

Sighing, he turned his eyes away from the pouting girl as she took a spot near him. Looking around the campsite, he spied the other two members of their group. Sango was a priestess from somewhere in the north who hadn't been too forthcoming as to her origin. While the swirling void in her palm was bothersome, a charmed chain wrapped across her hand kept it sealed. The other member, Miroku, was a slayer whose family had been killed by the vile beast Naraku, and was currently scowling.

There were many things for him to think about. Their half of the Jewel of Four Souls, kept in a spelled pouch hanging from one of his belt loops, was one. Another was that they hadn't seen a certain daiyoukai around recently. After nearly four months of regularly running into her, two months ago, she had suddenly stopped appearing. While it was something to think about, it wasn’t something he wanted to. Seeing her without her arm made coils of guilt rise in him and brought back memories of a conversation he'd once had with Kaede.

The female would most likely now have to be married off, no male would consider her for anything more than an arranged marriage. For her, a missing arm was more than just a handicap, even for a demon, it marred her beauty. In time it would grow back, but it would take decades.

"Sesshoumaru," poking the boy in the shoulder. Her amber colored eyes trained on his blue as she tried to find out what he was thinking. "Sesshoumaru," Inuko spoke again. Jabbing her claw into his side when he didn't take notice of her.

"What," reaching quickly to rub the fresh cut in his skin.

"Go make lunch," Inuko said sharply.

Giving her a look, he grumbled, "fine." Pushing himself up, he made the short trip towards the fire. They'd been camped out for four days and it made no sense not to cook the last of it. He would have to go home soon enough anyway. "Shippou, could you go get some water?"

The red haired kit turned quickly, "yes," his voice short and crisp as he left behind his hunt of the butterfly to complete his chore.

---000---

"Rin, remain here with Jaken."

"Yes Lady Kagome," Rin cheered as she raised her hand in the air to wave.

"Jaken, protect Rin. Should you fail," she let the implicit threat hang in the air, eyeing the small green toad before slowly stepping away from camp. Her last glance was to the twin headed dragon that served as her steed. A short snort and nod from them was all she needed before rising into the air and gliding off in the direction of the far mountains.

This would be her third trip to the other world, the world between this one and the next, a place she dearly wished not to have a part in. She frowned as the mountains came into view as they served no purpose than to irritate her. Fighting the guardians, on the other hand, would be problematic. Perhaps this time they would leave her be. One of the blades she carried was able kill them, as she had done before. If they proved an issue, she would dispatch them.

Slowly gliding down to the ground, nose opening slightly, she took in the scents around her, making sure no one followed. She would take no chances, not with that vile spider around. She refused to let that monstrosity get a hold of her flesh. Scowling, she recalled her last encounter with the creature.

"Kukuku. What do you intend to do bitch?" His voice carried through the wide tunnel he had used Rin to lure her into; she knew he intended to absorb her body and take her power. When he finally came at her, she had simply waited.

She stood her ground as he opened his body in his attempt to consume her, felt his flesh crawling over her own; it was a sickening feeling. Then, wishing to have the beast free of her, she released her tightly reigned power to explode outward and let the full presence of her being be known. Even the oni that served the foolish creature had cringed and run away.

He had screamed and curled away from her, wrapping a white baboon pelt around his body as he nursed the burnt flesh. "You bitch!" he hissed.

"Return what is mine half-breed." Her words were dismissive as she turned to look deeper into the cave.

"Hardly." He had not a moment before the blade was upon him.

"Then die." Tokijin swirled with a pulsing red aura. Responding to its master’s malicious intentions, the air screamed over the blade as it barely kissed the tainted flesh of her opponent. "This one will kill you and retrieve what belongs to her."

It had taken barely four swings of the deadly blade before she heard the scream of her ward. Leaving the half-breed behind, she found the child in the hands of a human man. Dark hair and blue eyes revealed him to be the boy who traveled with her little sister.

"Rin," she spoke with hardened eyes and words, "we leave."

Eyes darkening when the man failed to release the girl, she snarled at him. "Human, release this one's ward or she will kill you." Watching as the girl wiggled her way free of the boy's grasp, she turned and left.

It would not be till later that she would discover it to be only the first of many encounters the man would have with her ward. Occasionally, he would find Rin in a clearing with Ah-Un and would watch over her until she herself had come to gather the child. The boy had earned her respect for it as he stood in defense of a child without the expectation of receiving something in return. No, reminded herself, she couldn't be sure of that. Though the male had never asked, it didn’t mean that he didn’t wish something of her.

Stepping before the gate to the underworld, her eyes moved from one stone guardian to the other, but they remained motionless as if she mattered little to them. "So be it." Walking past them, the large stone gate opened to the pulse of Tenseiga. Looking into the passage beyond the gateway, she could see nothing more then a torrent of mist and energy.

---000---

Sighing as he slipped into the spring, he stretched his arms over his head and asked, "So what do you think?"

Miroku dropped the heavy armor he wore across his chest. "About what?"

He shifted a little in the water. "We haven't seen her in almost two months. Even Inuko has been wandering about it. We know Naraku has been after her, what he’s capable of, and we haven't seen him for almost seven." Hissing, he stretched his arm back over his head.

"Lady Kagome is fine; I’m sure she has just taken different paths then us," he said, finally sliding into the water himself. "Does it really bother you that much? Someone might think you had a crush on her," a lewd grin crossed his face, "she is beautiful."

"Keep talking like that and Sango will break her bow over your head," Sesshomaru massaged his shoulder to ease the stiffness from his sword practice earlier. "Besides, she's the closest thing we have to an ally against Naraku, and you know it would be a lot easier if she was on our side."

"Yeah, yeah," nodding as he leaned back against the side of the spring, he closed his eyes. "But knowing where she was, what would you do, sleep with her?"

Laughing to himself more then anything else, he answered, "Who knows. Like you said, she is beautiful."

Miroku sputtered and laughed hard enough to slip into deeper water, shooting back up to keep himself from downing. Coughing, he choked on the water as he made his way  back to the edge. "I wish you luck with that. Just don't get yourself killed. She's not one to like humans."

---000---

This was new. The harsh winds of the nether-world lashed out as her as eyes traced up the bleached ribs of a massive beast. There were a great deal of ancient youkai that resided in this world after their deaths, but this one was different. While it looked dragon-like, it could just as well have been a snake. Perhaps it was some old lizard? She would not have bothered with the creature if it had not been for the vines wrapping and spiraling up its spine leading up to a piece of pale flesh marked with twin magenta stripes that was held under its head.

Jumping high into the air, she took action just as a spiked tail tore across the bone littered ground. Fine dust from centuries of degraded bones rose into the air and filled her nose. Growling in hopes of chasing the dank dust from her sensitive nostrils, she pulled Tokijin from its place and brought the blade down in a sharp arch, splitting the tail from the creature as it rose higher to escape the demonic blade.

From rib to rib, booted feet scaled the side of the beast as it twisted and thrashed through the air in its’ attempts to throw her, each step bringing her higher up the beasts body while barely avoiding snapping jaws as fangs arched low and raked through its own skeleton. Although the behemoth wasn't smart, it didn't suffer from the pain. One final leap brought her to the top and the beast shifted away.

Roaring, coiling, and twisting, the ribs shifted themselves into a staggered ladder and jaws came close once more. The open mouth was hardly a threat, but being devoured by a beast of bone was still a strike to her pride, and not one she would allow. Slipping her blade back into place, her fingers snapped out and thin threads of light wound about the large fangs. Such a waste.

Standing over the shattered skull, only a single fang remained intact. It would never make a useful blade, but bones from a beast able to piece itself together could make armor that was more effective then the healing plates crafted from her father's bones. Stalking slowly between what was left of the beast, she followed the vines as they trailed through the remains, their flowers filling the whipping air with the scent of death. Spying her goal, she wasted no time in ripping the vines from their holdings and gathered the icy limb from where it lay.

It was strange to hold her own arm. Turning to look down at her sleeve, she shrugged the shoulder of her kimono several times until the fabric slid down enough to reveal dark red scars that traced along the nub of her arm. Not one for emotional displays, only the dead were witness to her huff in the large expanse of bones. Setting the cold arm over her shoulder, she traced a sharp claw along the healed edge, slicing away the angry red scar and ripping the flesh open. Quickly jamming the bones together, she suppressed the pain as nerves met and cells came back to life. Her fingers twitched as blood flooded the formerly severed limb. Muscles and skin stretched out to meet their other half, knitting it's missing flesh whole once more.

---000---

"Come on, we're going!"

All eyes turned toward the agitated hanyou, watching her for a moment before slowly rising to gather their things. They had kept to the area because Sesshomaru had sensed a jewel shard. It seemed to have stayed in the area up until last night when it had suddenly vanished.

"Why the sudden urge to leave?" He didn't ask her questions often, she just expected him to do what she said. It was strange, a pack animal and a woman ordering him to do something. He knew why, she'd always been alone. She was an outcast, she lived in the woods for all of her life. Simply because she feared for herself.

"I can smell that bitch. She's not nearby but she passed through here," scowling at the thought of her half-sister even being close to them. Deep down there was a slight spark of hope in the girl. She would never admit to it, but while they didn’t like each other and even after she had taken everything from her, she looked up to the bitch: that damned female was her only family.

No one said anything, just looked at the girl for a moment before they returned to gathering their things. Packing away supplies, someone checked the dried meat, making sure the thicker pieces were completely done before wrapping them in leather pouches and storing them away.

They were off with the sun already high in the sky. Traveling along the road, their short conversation died off when Inuko came to a stop. Everyone watched as she crouched down, sniffing hard at the earth, then rising up to lean her head back and take in a deep breath. Red hakamas turned off the path and the group slowly made their way through the thick brush, trying to keep up with her and never thinking to question their new direction.

Inuko was a wild thing, but if she was walking instead of lunging through the trees, then there was a reason for it. Before long, they stopped as they came into a clearing. A green blur flew through the air and Sesshomaru felt himself be kicked hard. They knew who it was immediately: the toad youkai that followed Kagome.

"Mr. Sesshomaru!" Rin cheered as she quickly rose and ran over to the group, plowing into his legs with more force then one would think a young girl her size to be capable of.

Wincing slightly at the sharp impact, he reached down to rest a hand on the child's back. "Hello Rin, how have you been?"

"Rin has been fine. Rin is waiting for Lady Kagome to return." Turning, she looked at the others that were with him. While she had seen them all before, she didn’t think they would remember who she was or how she knew the man that her arms were currently holding onto.

"What do you mean? Why are you waiting for Lady Kagome?" Sango kneeled down, waving for the child to come closer to her. "You are aware that she is a great youkai, well known for killing humans."

"Lady Kagome cares for Rin. Lady Kagome brought Rin back to life and Rin will always be with Lady Kagome," her hands anchored to her hips as she spoke, staring down at the priestess who thought to tell her anything bad about her Lady Kagome.

"Sango, it's fine." Sesshomaru eased.

Standing back up, she eyed the boy from the future, "How do you know her?"

"I ran into her some time ago. She was wandering in a field with the two headed dragon. Kagome came along later to gather her." Smiling a little, he turned to look back at Rin. "Where has Kagome gone?"

"Rin doesn‘t know. Lady Kagome said she was going to get back something that was hers." Shrugging off the question, she turned and started running back towards the fire. "Do you want some fish? Rin caught them herself!"

Inuko grumbled and was about to open her mouth before she froze, feeling eyes boring into her back. Turning quickly, she found herself looking into the blue eyes of Sesshomaru. She cringed and with a "tsk!" she sank away, trudging across the clearing to jump into a tree.

Miroku watched all of this and quickly walked over to the girl. "We would love some. Thank you for your hospitality. Kagome must be teaching you well."

"Lady Kagome doesn't like formal things, but she says that manners are always first in greeting guests, even when those guests are enemies parading as allies." The words reminded them all too well of just who was looking after the child.

"Thank you very much but we are not enemies, are we?" Sesshomaru spoke softly, watching the girl as she seemed to think about his question.

"Rin does not know but Rin thinks that Mr. Sesshomaru is her friend," smiling a wide gap toothed smile.

---000---

She flexed her hand. It felt strange to have it back. After going so long without, the sensation of having her arm restored, knowing she could use it again, being whole again, was slightly odd. Accustomed to only one arm, it would take some time before she became used to her suddenly returned limb. Flexing her claws once more, she watched as she let her poison drip from her fingertips to eat away at the earth before she slowly walked through the trees.

A thought forming in the back of her mind made her stop: perhaps her mother would now leave her be. With two arms, she would be sought after again. Her mother would not have to proposition males while it grew back on its own. She scowled at the thought of a male touching her, she needed no mate. As the ruler of the western lands, males sought after her to become the new lord and take control from her.

The wind twisted through the trees for the first time since she'd entered the forest and her eyes narrowed as she glared in the direction she had left Rin. Calming herself, she slipped the impassive mask of her station into place. No humans needed to be near Rin, she alone was enough. Save for heat, Rin would go through the same things she had. There was nothing of worth left for humans to teach her, and so, had no reason being in her camp.

Scenting the air again, it seemed Jaken was as useless as she had thought. Gathering information was the one thing the toad was good for and perhaps the only reason she kept him around. The slits of her kimono barely spread as each measured stride brought her closer towards her destination.

---000---

Inuko tensed and dropped from her tree, quickly reaching down and wrapping her hand around the hilt of her sword. Her ears twisted one way to the next. She couldn't smell it, but her instincts were going wild. Something was coming closer, and it was dangerous.

"Heel." Sesshomaru spoke smoothly. "It's Kagome," his words catching everyone's attention. "Can't you sense her Sango?"

The priestess closed her eyes and stretched out her senses, feeling for anything. In the far reaches she could feel the presence of weaker youkai but she couldn't sense the daiyoukai in the least.

"No," she paused as she looked away. "Perhaps because you are the one who looks after the jewel, you are more sensitive to her presence?"

"This one thinks not." Amber eyes moved from one being to the next before resting on the boy who was sitting closest to Rin.

"Lady Kagome!" Rin quickly rose and ran around the fire. "Rin has been waiting!" The young girl came to a halt a single pace in front of her.

"Where is Jaken?"

"Here Mi'lady!" He squawked, throwing himself at her feet. "Forgive this lowly one, he was incapable of keeping you half-breed sister and her filthy human companions from intruding upon your chosen place of rest."

Shifting slightly, her booted foot connected with the prostrate green toad. "Remove yourself from this Kagome's presence. Return to the western palace and inform her mother that she no longer needs a male to rule the lands: that she has obtained what was lost."

"Of course! I shall do as you say Mi'lady!" Quickly rising and running off into the trees.

Reaching out and resting a hand on Rin's head, she nearly smirked as a gasp came from the priestess and slayer that traveled with her little sister. Ah, that was right, Inuko was here. Turning to look at the wild haired child, she could barely keep a frown from her face. The girl reeked of dirt and semen. Perhaps the whelp was more foolish than she thought. "What is your purpose here?"

"Shut it cunt! What the hell was that about getting back what you lost?" She growled in the back of her throat. For some reason, every time she saw her half-sister she wanted to rip her throat out, and not knowing what was going on didn’t make it any easier.

Pausing to lift the formerly empty sleeve, "As I said, this one," she said smugly, "has retrieved what was lost."

---000---

AN: WooH! It's been beta'd. I think it works much better now. There were some places I wasn't sure of but I'm glad I got one. It makes things a littler easier on me. I still do it myself to begin with but it is very nice to get back a fully edited work even if I have to read it over to satisfy myself.

 

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