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Transgressions by wonderbug

Chapter One

DISCLAIMER: I don’t own Inuyasha. :(

Author’s Note: This is a CU/AR story originally published by me over on FF.net. FYI, the rating is VERY likely to go up. Feedback is greatly appreciated. :) …Enjoy!

EDIT 1/19/14 - Decided to go ahead and increase the rating, just in case.

Transgressions

Chapter One

"Look, Kagome-chan—a village!"

Kagome followed Sango's pointing finger, spotting thin wisps of smoke rising in the distance, just beyond the edge of the forest. As they crested the hill before them, she saw huts and even a few larger houses clustered in the valley below, flanked by a large grid of rice paddies.

She grinned, sharing in Sango's excitement. Finally, they'd be able to sleep on an actual bed for a change! For the past week or so, they'd been forced to camp out in the wilderness, and every muscle in Kagome's body was screaming bloody murder.

Of course, she couldn't blame her achiness entirely on her poor sleeping arrangements. In fact, she could hardly blame them at all.

Sleep, Kagome thought ruefully, Kami knows how little of that I've been getting recently.

As if on cue, she felt a prickle at the edges of her senses, and she paused, gripping the handlebars of her bicycle tightly. After a moment, she felt it again—stronger this time. A tendril of youki extending outward from the darkness of the forest, brushing against her, trailing like a finger down her spine.

Kagome shivered, shutting her eyes.

When a hand fell on her shoulder, she nearly screamed.

"Kagome-chan, are you all right?" Sango asked, looking at her in concern.

"Oh, I-I'm fine!" Kagome stammered, laughing nervously as she fought to regain her calm. "Perfectly fine! I was just, uh, lost in thought."

Sango studied her for a moment longer, brown eyes narrowed slightly in suspicion, before she nodded slowly and turned away. As she left, Kagome let out a breath of relief, sagging forward against the handlebars. Her heart was still pounding like crazy.

Stupid nerves, she muttered inwardly, resuming her course.

She eased her bike over a large tree root—hopefully for the last time ever—and as the trees thinned at last to grass, she gave a whoop of joy and swung herself into the seat. Kicking forward with a burst of energy she didn't know she had, Kagome quickly overtook the rest of the group, shooting past them down the hill.

"Hey—watch it, woman!" Inuyasha yelled.

She glanced back to see him jumping up and down next to Kikyou like an angry flea. Laughing, she stuck her tongue out at him and pedaled harder, sending up a cloud of dust as she merged onto a dirt road at the bottom of the hill.

The village huts grew larger and larger, but Kagome didn't slow down in the least. She sped through the village square, darting past shocked-looking farmers and causing a small flock of chickens to suddenly take wing. Their affronted clucks followed her out of town.

For miles and miles, she raced on, over hills and plains, through rice paddies and another quaint little village. She felt alive and light and free, and for the first time in what seemed like forever, she actually started to believe she was free. Free from the pressures of shard-hunting and final exams. Free from stupid hanyous and dead ex-girlfriends that insisted on hanging around. Free from—

Kagome's hands slammed down on the brakes. She pitched forward violently, the abruptness of the stop nearly sending her over the handlebars. Her head spun from left to right as she rapidly surveyed her surroundings, seeing nothing unusual.

Sweat broke out on her palms. The fine hairs on her neck stood on end. Around her, the air was quiet and still. Too quiet.

She swallowed, trying to ignore the eeriness that enveloped her. Trying to pretend that it was all in her mind, that the flash of white she'd glimpsed earlier had just been a figment of her imagination.

But this silence…there was a strange heaviness in it. It seemed to brood, weighing upon her like a loathsome burden, suffocating her with its presence.

I'm being watched, she admitted to herself in grim resignation.

She wanted to scream—in frustration, in anger. She'd been so frightened for so long that she was just plain sick of it. Of him.

She glared into the thicket of trees on her left, no longer caring whether he saw her or not. Heck, he might not even be in that direction. For all she knew, he could be watching her from a mile away.

"Stupid dog demons and their super-senses," she grumbled, wheeling her bike around.

The return trip had seemed much longer than the outgoing one. Pedaling all the way back to that first village had felt like a chore, and by the time Kagome reunited with the others, she was flat-out exhausted. Emotionally and physically.

Soon, she'd probably be able to add 'spiritually' to the list as well.

Miroku had worked his magic like always—securing them lodgings at the home of the village elder after performing a dubious double exorcism. Inuyasha and Kikyou had a room to themselves, thankfully, with Kagome and the others staying in a larger room adjacent to theirs. She prayed to Kami above that the walls would be thick enough to block out sound. If she had to listen to those two humping all night, she might literally gouge out her own eardrums with a blunt arrowhead. If that was even possible.

Probably not, Kagome thought dejectedly.

She stared morosely into the flames of the hearth, mechanically shoveling rice and fish chunks into her mouth. It was the first solid meal she'd had in days, and she couldn't even properly enjoy it. Everything tasted like sawdust in her current state of depression.

The others weren't talking much at dinner, and it took Kagome a while to realize that her black mood was the cause of their unease. Attempting to lighten the situation, she smiled winningly, a few grains of rice falling from her lips.

She had the feeling nobody was fooled, but they didn't say anything, either. Eventually, conversation resumed as normal.

They probably think I'm still sulking over Kikyou joining the group, Kagome figured, gulping down water like she'd just finished crossing a desert.

While Kikyou's irritating presence wasn't the chief source of Kagome's anxiety, it certainly didn't help matters. Ever since Kikyou had started traveling with them several weeks ago, Inuyasha had been nothing short of horrible to Kagome, seemingly going out of his way to make her miserable. He treated her with more contempt now than he ever had before, as if he needed to prove to Kikyou that he harbored no trace of warm feeling toward her shabby reincarnation.

Strangely, Kagome and Inuyasha hadn't quarreled much over the past few weeks. Instead of starting heated arguments, he had treated her mostly with harsh disdain, and Kagome found that she actually missed their dumb bickering. It had been light, petty—yet almost affectionate at times. Mostly their quarrels had stemmed from his over-protectiveness, and so Kagome supposed she shouldn't be all that surprised that their days of arguing were over. Now that he had Kikyou back, Inuyasha had made it abundantly clear that he couldn't care less whether Kagome lived or died.

She sighed, drawing her knees to her chest. The futon beneath her felt wonderfully soft, but Kagome was far too troubled to rest. She felt trapped between two worlds, between two different universes of dreams and expectations. The modern world was her home, the one place where she was beginning to believe she truly belonged. In present-day Japan lived her family who loved her, and there were no demons to fight or shards to collect. How trivial studying and homework seemed compared to life in Sengoku Jidai, where she had few friends and a legion of enemies, and where the only boy she'd ever fallen in love with had so coldly cast her aside in favor of a girl who wasn't even flesh and blood.

She had considered leaving the past altogether, and she almost certainly would have, if not for him.

Kagome stood, padding over to the small window behind her. She gazed out across the marshy fields of rice, blue eyes scanning the darkness for a glint of gold. Was he out there even now—watching, waiting?

She could leave Sengoku Jidai. She could say good riddance to Inuyasha for tearing out her heart and stomping it in the dust. She could pawn her responsibilities off on Kikyou without too much guilt. She could say goodbye to her friends forever, and although she would cry over them for a while, eventually she would be able to move on with her life.

But she couldn't allow him to make good on his dark promises. She could never live with herself if she left her friends to face his wrath. And it would be terrible indeed. Kagome was under no illusions about his strength or theirs. There was simply no comparison.

Inuyasha had gotten in a few lucky shots against him, but they were mostly like bee stings—minor annoyances which left no lasting mark. While Kagome herself had apparently damaged him to a greater extent, she could almost laugh at the idea of her facing off against him with her meager bow and arrows. He'd probably arch one silver brow and reduce her to a pile of ashes on the spot.

No, she couldn't leave—not yet, anyway. Not until she fulfilled her end of the bargain.

Extremely weary all of a sudden, Kagome tiptoed back over to her futon, careful not to wake her sleeping companions. She lay down, curling onto her side as she drew the thin white blanket up to her chin.

Soon, she told herself, her heavy eyelids drifting closed. It'll all be over soon.

xXxXxXx

A few hours later, Kagome awoke with a start.

Youki lashed across her consciousness like a whip, sharp and fast and stinging. She scrambled out of the futon, springing to her feet in a cold sweat. Her breathing was shallow and quick, and she glanced about her in a panic, checking to see if anyone else had been alerted to the demon's caustic presence.

But her friends slept on unaware, their features peaceful and relaxed. A little of her tension bled away at the sight. As usual, this peculiar summons had been directed at her and her alone.

A moment passed before his youki struck out at her again, angry and insistent. It carried with it an air of impatience, and Kagome wondered how long he had been attempting to reach her. She was certain that the level of hostility she'd experience would be directly proportional to time.

Ugh, I'm thinking in terms of math, Kagome despaired, cradling her face in her hands. This isn't a good sign.

She tread lightly across the wooden floor, making her way toward the exit. She was almost scot-free when her foot landed on the one creaky floorboard in the whole entire room—a floorboard which just happened to be right next to the ear of the world's lightest sleeper. Kagome froze, staring down at Miroku with bated breath.

"Hmm?" the monk murmured, cracking open an eye. "Is something wrong, Kagome-sama?"

"No, I just…"

have to go meet up with a bloodthirsty, sociopathic demon lord for a few hours or he'll kill us all, her idiotic mind supplied unhelpfully. No big deal.

"…can't sleep," she finished in a lame whisper.

"Ah," he said sympathetically, propping himself up on one elbow. "It is not easy to rest when your mind is troubled." His tone dropped an octave, his hand snaking its way up the back of her thigh. "You know what helps me put my thoughts at ease, Kagome-sama…?"

Her fingers itched with the urge to slap, but she resisted the impulse, unwilling to draw more unnecessary attention than she already had. Instead, she shook off his wandering hand with quiet dignity and kicked him in the shoulder.

"Pervert!" she snapped in a hushed voice. "I'm going outside to get some air."

At the doorway, she slipped into her pair of black loafers and gently slid back the screen, walking quietly down the short hallway. She passed Inuyasha and Kikyou's room, cringing at the soft little moans escaping through the flimsy shouji screen door. Fists clenching at her sides, Kagome glared heavenward.

Okay, so I know I only asked You to make the walls soundproof, but come on, cut me some slack here!

Gritting her teeth, Kagome continued on her course, practically stomping her way down the rest of the hall. It's not like those idiots would hear her over all that sex-noise, anyway. And even if she did manage to disturb them, it'd only serve them right for ruining her life.

Once outside, blanketed by the cool darkness of night, Kagome felt the heat of her temper dissipate, leaving an ominous chill in her blood. She'd been so distracted by Inuyasha and Kikyou's antics that she'd forgotten the main reason why she'd stormed out of that house in the first place.

Shivering slightly, she crossed her arms under her chest, wincing when her fingers pressed a bit too hard on the fresh bruises hidden beneath the right sleeve of her cardigan. The pain was a vivid reminder of what had transpired the previous evening, of what had happened when she'd attempted to defy him.

She'd gotten carried away. Last night had been her first real breakthrough, and she'd been so caught up in that brief moment of victory that she'd refused his orders to stop. She'd simply shrugged off his words—surely she'd misheard him, anyway—and pursued that elusive thread of magic until his youki had slammed down before her like an iron gate, the fingers of his good hand curling vise-like around her upper arm as he'd flung her back. She'd hit the ground hard, crumpling like a rag doll, her eyes watering in pain. Yet through the sheen of her tears, she'd seen something even more alarming than his sudden act of violence. Something that had frozen the blood in her veins.

Of course, she'd been frightened of him before that moment. Who wouldn't be?—it was only natural for a human such as herself to possess a healthy fear of powerful, potentially lethal demonic creatures. She doubted she'd have survived long in this era otherwise.

No, the fear she'd felt last night had been an entirely different sort. When she'd seen that look in his reddened eyes, a primal sort of terror had overtaken her unlike any she'd ever experienced before. It had welled up from the most primitive part of her brain, telling her to run, telling her to hide, telling her to fight, telling her to do anything—anything but lay there helplessly like she had been, gazing up at him with wide, terrified eyes.

It had been the fear of something far worse than death that had driven her to her feet and propelled her through the forest with more speed than she'd ever believed possible. Something that had followed her through the night and haunted her daylight hours. Something that scared her even now as she made eye contact with him across the rice fields at the edge of town.

He stood out against the darkness like a spirit from another world. A faint white glow surrounded him, illuminating his sharp, angelic features and making him seem not entirely real. His silvery-white hair waved in the gentle breeze like a sheet of silk, his swords and spiked armor gleaming in the moonlight.

He stared dispassionately at her as she approached him, but Kagome could feel the simmer of his rage.

"What kept you?"

She tensed, not expecting to hear such a strong undercurrent of anger in his tone.

He must really be furious with me, she thought in dread.

"Gomen, Sesshoumaru-sama," she answered cautiously, being extra polite by not making the use of his honorific sarcastic for a change. "I was sleeping."

Golden eyes flicked over her face briefly, lingering for a moment on the dark half-circles smudging the skin beneath her lower lashes. The sky seemed to lighten a fraction as she felt his fury subside. Perhaps his lordship had condescended to recall that sleep was, in fact, a necessary component of human survival. A component which he, in his superior youkai wisdom, had seen fit to deprive her of for almost an entire week.

"Come," he said tonelessly, turning on his heel.

Kagome fell into step behind him without a word of protest, nearly jogging to keep up with his long strides. He led her into the woods at the far edge of the rice paddies, only stopping once they were a fair distance in. Lowering himself gracefully to the grassy floor, he reclined against a tree trunk, and Kagome followed him down, kneeling at his left side.

He offered her his empty sleeve, and she accepted it mutely, rolling back the fabric with practiced ease and exposing the stump of pale, sculpted flesh underneath. As he reigned in his youki, dropping his defenses, she took what remained of his left arm gently in her hands, her eyelids sliding swiftly shut.

Reiki extended outward from her fingertips, tingeing her skin and his with a soft pink glow. Carefully, she probed his crippled appendage with spiritual energy, slipping past the latent youki that hovered like dark clouds in her mind's eye. Months ago, when she'd not been able to control her aura so well, she'd accidentally brushed those clouds with her reiki and ended up giving his stump a pretty nasty burn.

Yeah, he hadn't been too happy about that, she recalled uneasily.

The haze of dark energy grew thickest around the white-hot magic of the seal, his youkai blood still fighting to contain the threat of Kagome's enchantment. When she'd unknowingly laid this curse upon him during their very first encounter, his defenses had sprung into action even in his weakened state, preventing the seal from spreading out from the initial point of contact. Kagome's magic had remained isolated at the source of his injury, in a weird kind of quarantine.

Powerful as Sesshoumaru was, he'd been unable to reverse the spell on his own, and this was, apparently, a source of great irritation to the proud daiyoukai. The problem was…

Kagome didn't know how to undo the seal either.

Tendrils of her reiki unfurled, touching lightly against the glorious confusion before her. The magic of the seal resonated with her own, humming low in recognition. It was difficult for Kagome to describe the nature of the enchantment. The closest thing she could compare it to was a tangle of magic threads. A brilliant, burning web of chaos, born from her raw, instinctual response to Sesshoumaru's terrible power.

She still didn't know exactly how she'd managed to get one over on the Lord of the Western Lands. The only thing she could figure was that when she'd pulled Tessaiga free in the demon's graveyard, she'd somehow, in her state of sheer panic, imbued it with a flood of raw spiritual energy which had later found an outlet in the severing of Sesshoumaru's left foreleg.

It wouldn't be the first time she had used her miko powers unexpectedly in a pinch. Even during her first trip down the well, it had been a burst of reiki from her palms which had saved her from becoming Mistress Centipede's newest tasty snack.

Of course, Sesshoumaru hadn't believed her claims of ignorance...at first. However, after several sessions of near total failure—where only his stark intimidation of her had been able to prompt even a fizzle of reiki—to sessions in which she'd nearly amputated the rest of his arm, she could tell that he was starting to see the light.

Yes, his narrowed eyes had seemed to say, she truly is incompetent enough to curse this Sesshoumaru unintentionally.

But then, gradually, Kagome's control over her spiritual powers had begun to improve. She'd been able to touch the seal for the first time without scorching Sesshoumaru in the process and had at last been able to get a decent idea of what she was up against—the knowledge of which had nearly sent her running for the hills.

Dispelling this enchantment would be no easy matter, especially for a woefully inexperienced miko such as herself. When Kagome had timidly suggested he might be better off going to Kikyou for aid, the glare he'd given her had told her precisely where she could shove that little piece of advice.

"This seal is your doing, miko," he'd said in a voice that could freeze over all seven hells and then some. "You will see it undone."

So here they were, weeks later, with only a small amount of progress to show for it. And last night, after days without sleep, when she'd finally succeeded in unraveling a small part of that god-awfully convoluted seal, he'd snarled at her, roughed her up, and scared the living daylights out of her with his creepy red-eyed look. Even when she'd singed his hair during one of their previous encounters he hadn't lost it quite like that.

She just hadn't understood his reaction at all—didn't he want his arm to grow back?

His temperamental behavior was enough to bring any miko to her wit's end—and Kagome was already halfway there on a good day. She just hoped he would permit her to do her job from now on so that they could both be done with this business and go their separate ways.

Kagome frowned in concentration, testing for a weakness in the messy, intricate fabric of her spell. Fingers of reiki pulled and prodded at the dormant magic, and soon she could feel the seal bending under her will like never before. Last night, she realized, had been a turning point for her as a priestess. Last night she had discovered something fundamental about her spiritual power, something she couldn't believe she hadn't picked up on before.

Her reiki was not a weapon. It was not a tool. It was her—her essence, her very soul.

"Become the arrow," Kaede had always barked at her during archery practice, and it had been all Kagome could do not to roll her eyes at the old lady's annoying, zen-like nonsense. "Ye must become the arrow, child."

But Granny Kaede hadn't been trying to imitate the Buddha. She'd only been telling Kagome to change her perspective. Such a little thing, yet it had made all the difference in the world.

This raw, wild magic before her, strong enough to turn even the limb of a great daiyoukai into a useless stump, was just as much a part of her as the reiki emanating from her fingertips. That didn't necessarily mean she could control it, per se; there were a lot of things about herself which weren't always within her control. Like her pesky emotions. Or the state of her hair on a bad day.

But she could at least try to work through the kinks and make some sense of it all.

Become the arrow.

She searched deeper, losing herself within the magic of the seal. And that's when she saw it at last—another loose thread in the fabric. Wisps of reiki seized upon this imperfection, twisting it, stretching it, pulling part of the seal away with a brilliant crack

"That's enough."

Kagome's eyes flew open, his words dousing her like a pitcher of ice-water. She sucked in a breath of air, her right hand still clutching the remnant of his upper arm. As she struggled to regain her bearings, strong fingers seized her wrist, lifting her hand from the stump.

He didn't fling her away from him like last time, but he didn't release her either. She blinked, looking up at him in mild confusion, wondering vaguely at how soft the ground was when suddenly all the color drained from her face.

That was the moment Kagome realized she was sitting in Sesshoumaru's lap.

What?—how?—ohmygodi'mgonnadie!

She yelped, toppling over to the side, her hip smacking the hard ground. She pushed herself up with her left hand, her right arm still held firmly in his grip. A tiny gasp escaped her lips when he pressed his clawed thumb against the center of her palm, her fingers uncurling reflexively at the slight prick of pain. Reiki crackled briefly in the air around her fingertips.

"Your skills have improved," he remarked lowly, studying her open hand with interest.

Kagome watched him in growing discomfort, fighting the urge to squirm under the intensity of his regard.

"Why did you stop me?" she asked in a soft, wary voice, warmth rising faintly in her cheeks.

It was a bold move to interrogate the Lord of the Western Lands, but the question had been burning on the tip of Kagome's tongue for almost twenty-four hours straight—since the first time he'd forcibly halted her progress last night.

Sesshoumaru was a logical creature. He was the poster-boy for stoic rationalists everywhere. Yet it made absolutely no sense why he would deliberately interrupt her when she'd finally started to make some headway toward lifting the curse. Not only that, he'd done it twice.

All his behavior up until now had been perfectly reasonable. He'd sought out Kagome in order to break the seal because it was preventing the regeneration of his own arm and killing any other youkai arms he affixed to the stump. A logical, practical course of action. As time had passed, he'd started coming to her with increasing regularity, their nighttime meetings slowly becoming nightly meetings. Kagome could understand that, too. Her miko abilities had sharpened, and he was probably impatient to have his arm back once and for all. Maybe he was starting to fall behind on his to-do list of killing and maiming.

Whatever the reason, Kagome could understand his urgency. She was fairly eager to have this whole ordeal behind her as well. So, why? Why all this 'hurry up and wait'?

Deep yellow eyes slid from her hand to her face. For a heartbeat he held her gaze, and Kagome could see that his was shadowed, dark with something that had nothing to do with the lateness of the hour. Gooseflesh rose on her skin. Absurdly, she found herself wishing for a pair of jeans instead of her short green skirt.

She felt vulnerable, exposed. Her blood stirred once again with that strange, primal fear. Something had changed between them. Something had taken place last night which had altered the dynamic of their weird relationship.

Or maybe this is how it's been all along, a voice of doubt whispered in her mind, only you've been too dumb to see it.

An eternity seemed to pass as he stared at her in that darkly contemplative way. No one had ever looked at her like that before. It was similar to anger, but deeper somehow…brooding—like the silence that had descended on her earlier that day during her bike ride.

Was it…hatred?

"You should rest, miko."

Unceremoniously, he dropped her wrist, and Kagome fell backward with an "oomph!" He rose to his feet in one fluid motion, not a single blade of grass marring the pearly white silk of his hakama. Kagome, on the other hand, could see little twigs and leaf bits stuck to the sleeves of her cardigan, and there might very well be a spider web caught in her hair. She scowled, still sitting there with her bare legs askew in the underbrush.

The universe is just so unfair, she grumbled inwardly. How could it bestow such spotless perfection on a crazy, violent jerk like him?

"I will return for you in three days' time," he announced as he began to walk away. At the edge of the small clearing he paused, casting a sharp glance at her over his shoulder, the ghost of a smirk on his lips. "Don't keep me waiting when I do."

Kagome's jaw clenched as she watched him disappear into the depths of the woods. What a prick!

It was a while before she picked herself up off the ground and trudged back to the village. Nestled beneath the covers of her futon once again, Kagome inspected her palm in a shaft of moonlight from the window. In the center was a tiny red dot where the tip of his claw had pierced her skin.

At this rate, I'll never be able to get rid of that stupid seal, she thought bitterly. Why can't he see that?

The idea that the daiyoukai might be trying to prolong their time together didn't occur to Kagome. The Sesshoumaru, stalling on her account? Such a notion was too ridiculous—too dangerous—to contemplate. If she started thinking along those lines, she'd have to revisit that look of his again, and Kami knows what kind of havoc that might wreak on her neatly-ordered worldview.

So she lay her hand down against the futon and let out a tired sigh.

She'd save those thoughts for another day.

 

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