I don’t own anything Inuyasha.
Written for Kirai’s “Dog Lover’s Challenge” at Dokuga.com. Go check it out.
Kagome pushed her hands under the back of the starched collar of her white lab coat and rubbed her neck with fruitless earnest. Fridays were always her longest days. It was a small clinic, but busy, and clients typically tried to rush their pets’ care right before she closed for the weekend. Her strong, little fingers abandoned the tight muscles of her neck and she rolled her shoulders back. One more slide to go, she thought to herself, Then a bath. With bubbles. And wine. A new goal in mind, Kagome interest renewed and she pushed her glasses down the bridge of her nose, settling in to focus on the last sample to test for the day.
The night was cool as she locked up and started the short walk to her car. It had been a busy day, but a fulfilling one, and she smiled to herself. It was a life vastly different than the one she had as a teenager, but she felt content and useful all the same. Well, one thing was common between the two; her maternal and healing spirit was still in high use. Because of the Shikon no Tama quest, she became used to bandaging up wounds and caring for the sick-hearted. However, it was exactly that experience that set her on her current line of work. She had grown more accustomed to working with animals, even if they were youkai.
It seemed like a lifetime ago and not only because of the time-travel and odd circumstances. Almost fifteen years had passed since the Shikon was wished away and she had to allow Inuyasha to say her good-byes for her. There were years where she was severely depressed, but she had gotten over it. The family of the Feudal Era was well remembered, yet no longer mourned, and Kagome was happily doing what they would have wanted her to; Have a life.
It was on that thought when her mobile began to chirp at her and she groaned ironically. Okay, she had a life, but she wanted to be a hermit after a long day’s work. A quick glance at the flat screen made her groan louder and she unlocked her car before answering.
“Hey, Kimiko. How are you?”
The normally bright voice of her old college roommate was raised an octave, signaling she was calling in a favor. “Hi, Kagome. How was your week?”
She grinned as her seatbelt clicked into place. “About to be longer, I’m assuming.”
Kimiko’s nervous chuckle faded from the earpiece slightly. “You are too smart for me.”
“I just know you.” The engine turned over. “What’s up?”
“Well…” Another octave higher. Kagome’s brow rose with it. “I was scouting this property by the docks in the warehouse district. You know, where that fire was about six years back?”
“Sure,” the tired veterinarian agreed to hurry the conversation along. Her friend was pre-law when they shared an apartment before she went to the States for her degree. There was barely a free moment where the woman wasn’t researching some sort of work pursuit.
“I came across this one building, and…” There was another pause and it successfully grasped Kagome’s curiosity. “I can’t really explain it. Kagome, you have to come see this. I have never seen dogs act this way.”
Kagome blinked. And then blinked again.
“Hello?” Kimiko asked. “Are you still there?”
“You want me to drive all the way out there for dogs?”
The lawyer laughed. “It isn’t as trite as it sounds. Honestly, I didn’t know who else to call, and I know your stance on Animal Control.”
She sighed, giving in, and knew she would have once she answered the phone. “Which building is it?”
Excited, but with weariness edging her tone, Kimiko relayed the directions and clicked off her end of the line. Kagome took one more moment to rub the bridge of her nose where the glasses dug in before heading out to see what could be so interesting about a pack of dogs.
Finally, she pulled up to the address she was given and was surprised to see the rusty jeep that belonged to Kimiko’s husband, Nathan. They had met when she studied abroad, were each other’s antithesis, and made one another deliriously happy. He was a professor of metaphysics back in his home country; an area of study the lawyer always teased was a pseudo-science. Kagome would have agreed if she had not witnessed such unusual things in the past herself. Honestly, it was probably a subject that no longer held value in the present time, but the ‘hippie’, as Kimiko had explained, saw the world in a way that seemed almost magical.
She got out of the car to greet the mismatched couple. Her friend’s long hair was tamed in a high bun with escaped tendrils framing her face. Apparently, she was at the end of a demanding Friday as well. She was shorter than Kagome, but not by much, and slender in a way the ex-miko had lost once she reached college. They had always appraised the other, commenting how Kagome had wished she had Kimiko’s narrow thighs, or, in reverse, how the petite girl dreamed of having a curvier figure. Her voice was light, but her eyes were sharp, and there wasn’t a game in existence that Kimiko could not beat Kagome at. Nathan, however, was tall, past six feet high, and had the broad shoulders most Japanese girls associated with American boys. His smile was crooked, his gaze always shined, and he would lose his train of thought constantly. It was in such stark contrast from her serious, but happy, friend that Kagome could understand how they fascinated each other.
“Hi Nathan. Kimiko. What is the problem?”
The smaller woman looked to her husband, who shrugged to stare back at the building’s entrance, and she began to explain. “I am sorry to drag you out here, but I did not know who else to call.”
Kagome waved her hand dismissively. “It is not trouble. I am happy to help in any way I can.”
“That is the thing, now I don’t know if you can.”
She was taken aback. “What do you mean?”
“I just,” Kimiko began to fiddle with the hem of her jacket and Nathan instinctually rested his hand on hers to settle the nervous motion. “I don’t think it’s safe.”
All three now looked to the door. “What happened?”
“Another dog showed up,” Nathan explained, though it did not answer her question. He smiled with a private joke he had with himself as he elaborated. “A big one.”
Dejected, Kimiko sighed. “We might have to call Animal Control after all.”
Kagome’s hackles rose. “No, let me check it out first. I don’t want any animal in crowded cages with no hope of finding a good home if I can help it.”
“Do you really think this dog is that dangerous?” she interrupted, zipping her jacket completely.
Nathan chuckled. “The dog is interesting, for sure,” he said cryptically.
Kimiko elbowed him lightly in the ribs. “It’s not funny.”
“I never said it was.”
She frowned back at him and the third wheel huffed. “Kagome,” her friend tried to explain, “he looks rather mean and, for lack of a better word, commanding.”
Her brow furrowed in response. “So, he is like an alpha?”
“Do domesticated dogs even have alphas?” she questioned back unsurely.
“Sure,” Kagome reasoned, but bit her lip in an unconfident gesture. “Although, usually not in the wild like this.” She took one more deep breath to steel her nerves and began to walk towards the door. “Just stay behind me, okay?”
Kimiko wanted to argue, but Nathan placed his large hand on the small of her back and started to guide her, smiling warmly to give his normally steadfast wife assurance.
It was dark inside the large warehouse, but that was to be expected. In a very stereotypical fashion, puddles littered the smooth concrete floors and moonlight filtered through the incomplete roof where the fires had ravaged years ago. It was amazing to Kagome that she could still smell the soot and ash, like this whole area would forever be imprinted with it. There was shuffling ahead of her and she tried to blink to adjust to the small light. She only jumped slightly when there was a small tap on her shoulder. Turning, she saw Nathan and, thankfully, a large flashlight held out to her. She nodded in thanks, turned back towards the small noises, and flipped the switch.
Dogs. Everywhere, there were dogs. It was probably not as bad as first sight had made it seem, only fifteen or twenty maybe, but never had Kagome heard or come across so many, of so many different breeds, that acted together in a pack. Some were big, most small, and they all yipped and barked in her direction.
“What the hell?” she voiced.
“See what I mean?” Kimiko countered, but her voice was small. Glancing back, she could see the other woman staring hard into the corners of the room, desperately searching for something.
“What is it?” she asked, and had to raise her voice to be heard over the cacophony.
“I don’t see the big one.”
Kagome’s attention went back to the group of gangly mutts. “What does he look like?”
The humans felt their bodies shake before they could hear the deep rumble that silenced the agitated canine mob. Out from the middle rose a massive, white, majestic dog with his teeth bared and growl mounting. The onlookers stilled and Kagome gasped. When the alpha began to stalk in their direction, Kimiko turned to move, but Nathan held tight to her shoulders.
“Don’t run,” Kagome instructed with shaky resolution. That was exactly what she had wanted to do.
The inu slowly approached them. The hair on his back stood on edge and, even under the great quantities of his snowy fur, she could tell the muscles that coiled and stretched were enough to do the damage his warning bark promised. He was only a few feet from them when Kagome caught the dangerous glint in his eyes and, instinctually, her spiritual powers instantly peaked.
They were gold. The dog’s eyes were a shade of amber that had not been seen for centuries. Even though she had never forgotten them, the intensity of his stare was lost in the time that separated the two until now.
She felt her body warm with the coating of the pure reiki she had not accessed in years, knowing her friends could not see it anyways, and could not stop herself from staring into the beast’s golden glower. Rule number one when confronting a vicious dog was to avoid looking him in the eyes, but Kagome could not break away as memories of his prowess assaulted her.
She had not even realized the dog had stopped growling to sit in front of them calmly before Nathan spoke with a jumpy laugh in his tone. “Wow, Kagome, I think he likes you.”
“No, I don’t think he likes me…” It was her turn to be enigmatic. He never did really like me. She set aside the flashlight and knelt down to the white alpha, keeping his eyes locked with hers the entire time. As she reached out her hand and he sniffed it cautiously, Kagome saw intelligence and pride, but not much else. He was a smart, imposing dog, but still just a dog. Any sense of his once powerful youki was gone. There was no seal and no barrier, just the absence of the demonic aura he once controlled.
Still, he reacted to her with familiarity and licked her reiki-encased fingers.
Kagome sighed, saddened, and finished her thought. “I think he knows me.”
A/N: Thanks for reading/reviewing. :]