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Deader Than Dead by Kagome Yuki Niwa

Dead Men Tell No Tales

Deader Than Dead

Chapter One: Dead Men Tell No Tales

x . . . . x

It was always difficult looking at something that used to be so lively and was now asbolutely deader than dead.

The woman - not woman, the body - was definitely looking paler than the norm of a body that had been dead for a little more than... cerulean hues took a look at the little thermometer that was pinned into the liver to check the body temperature and she paused, brows furrowing. The body was no more than eight hours old which explained why rigor hadn't fully set in.

Muttering to herself, she ducked back to the head of the body and couldn't stop the vague questioning:

Was someone mourning this woman?

Did she have a family?

She stopped herself again and brought a glove covered hand to the base of the skull where there was definite evidence of blunt force trauma. Was this a homicide? Yep. No doubt about it.

But the paleness of the body was disconcerting.

The crack at the skull was of course accompanied by blood but not enough to warrant the paleness of the flesh indicating more blood loss than normal especially since the blood would have congealed within thirty minutes or so from the time of the trauma. Concerned, she began to go over the body with a magnifying glass that was beside the large light above the body.

After a half-hour of looking over every piece she could she stopped with an, "Ah-ha!" that caused the other person in the room to jump with a startled curse.

"What the hell, Kagome?" called the gruff voice of the male that had been silently seated against the wall. Golden hues looked at her furiously for startling him for the millionth time since he met her. "How many times do I have to tell you to stop yelling like that?" Soft, triangular ears stood attention from their position of being pressed back against his head of silvery white hair.

Kagome turned to grin at the hanyou that was beginning to stand up and make his way toward her and she offered him a grin, "I guess you'll have to tell it to me until I'm about as stiff as this lady here."

The male rolled his eyes and shook his head, "That was just lame." he informed her, rubbing a set of claws along his white button-up shirt. "What did you find?"

The set of glasses perched on Kagome's nose were pushed onto her head where her hair was in a messy obsidian bun and she immediately began to discuss her findings, a little more excited than she should have been, "Well~" she began in a singsong voice, "The body has been dead for a little more than eight hours by now. Originally the cause of the death on site was said to be blunt force trauma which isn't true. While the crack at the base of the skull did in fact cripple her and there was some hemorrhaging that would have killed her in time - the ruling for the cause of death is exsanguination. The victim was alive when drained of blood Inuyasha."

There was furrow of brows from Inuyasha and he looked up from the notebook he was writing in, "What do you mean?"

Kagome walked around the body and leaned over the thigh and brought her gloved hands to inner part and spread. Inuyasha made a face and Kagome moved the magnifier over the spot she wanted and motioned Inuyasha over, "See this?" Inuyasha leaned a little closer and then he sighed. "Yep. My thoughts exactly. Its right over the femoral artery too. There is a single microscopic circle with a ring of tiny teeth marks around it. We're looking at some type of yuki-onna or possibly a chupacabra. I don't know of any youkai that leave marks like this."

"It's not cold enough for a yuki-onna." Inuyasha muttered. "Anything else it could be?"

Kagome shrugged and smiled, "Not my division." She chuckled at Inuyasha's look on incredulity.

"Are you seriously quoting shows at me?"

"It's true! I identified the cause of death. Your turn to detectivey work!" she exclaimed taking off her gloves and turning to a small speaker. She pressed a button and static filled it for a moment and then called a quick, "I'm done! Send in the intern to pick up the mess!"

Inuyasha watched the wicked glint enter Kagome's eyes and he very carefully muttered, "You could do that yourself."

"I could..." she began mischievously, "... but have you seen the interns work around the dead females bodies. It's hilarious as they try and respectfully handle them. And Shippo and Kohaku are just so cute and easy to torment, Detective!"

Said detective crossed his arms across his chest and arched a brow, "You cannot call someone older than you cute. You're what this year?"

Turning to face the hanyou her smile dimmed slightly, "I just turned twenty-six."

Inuyasha gave a low whistle and began to gather his gray suit jacket, "That's impressive."

Taking a seat against the wall where Inuyasha sat previously Kagome shook her head, a few dark curls escaping her bun and muttered, "Tell that to the men my age."

Keen puppy ears twitched and amber hues darkened, "Is someone giving you trouble?"

Shaking her head, she picked at the white lab coat she wore and her cheeks blushed crimson, "It's not that. It's hard... to be my age and have a fully established career." Her cerulean orbs darted away from him and her embarrassed blush darkened further, "I mean think about it. I don't go out much because yeah, I get asked out but after that first date they are quick to run when they find out I finished school and residency in eight years. Eight Inuyasha. Some geniuses may finish in ten or eleven but eight is unheard of. College and med-school alone are eight years typically! It doesn't help that I work around dead bodies day by day so my friends? Yeah, not too many women want to talk about my job."

Inuyasha for a moment felt sorry for the woman.

She didn't say it but he knew it also didn't help that she was one of the most powerful mikos to exist in present day.

Other ningen tried very hard not to associate themselves with those of the holy persuasion.

Most weren't very well liked considering that a majority worked in law-enforcement, taking down the bad youkai of society and many thought that it was violation of rights to all magical creatures to use such brute force. Being about only 6%-7% of the population, they were definitely coveted by the law.

Kagome was still ranting when something she said caught his attention, "Wait - you still don't have a date?"

The miko frowned and her lips curled into an impressive snarl, "Did you miss the part where I chill with dead people all day? I'm not going!"

Amber hues widened considerably, "But you have to go! The old man made it mandatory!"

"Well your dad can shove it!"

A sharp voice rang out from the entrance to the autopsy room and Kagome immediately paled, "Miss Higurashi!"

With a sound more of terror then anything, Kagome turned around and met cool cinnamon colored orbs, "Yes Ms. Takeda?"

Kikyo Takeda, Chief Medical Examiner of the Matsuda Medical Office, was definitely one of the people in the field that didn't like how fast Kagome moved through school and her residency and she sure as hell made it perfectly clear. "You would do well to watch your mouth considering that Touga Matsuda owns this facility and many others internationally and that it's his son of all people you are bad mouthing him to!"

Kikyo was tall, dark, and absolutely lovely when she didn't open her mouth (in Kagome's opinion at least). Inuyasha, however... held a completely different opinion.

"K-Kikyo!" he stuttered out, his cheeks growing red as he moved to greet her, "H-how are you t-today?"

Her eyes were a little less wintery when she turned that sharp gaze on the hanyou,"I am well and you?"

Palms beginning to sweat, he cleared his throat and offered her his most charming grin, "I'm good. Uhm... did you buy a dress for the p-party?" Kagome's eyes widened as she became infinitely more interested in the conversation.

"Yes, I did. It's plum purple so you may go and purchase a matching tie if you wish."

Kagome nearly choked as Inuyasha nodded his head vigorously. Inuyasha was going to her company party with Ice Queen Kikyo?

Noooooooooo.

Kikyo soon excused herself with a dark look tossed in Kagome's direction and Kagome waited just a few seconds for the door to close so that she could start her interrogation, "When did that happen? When? When? When? Last I heard she was still giving you the cold shoulder because of your heritage."

Inuyasha's dreamy expression was wiped away with a scowl toward Kagome, hues flashing, "Nah. She's just one of those mikos raised that youkai and ningen shouldn't mix. Persistence won in the end."

Kagome snorted, "If that's what you'd call mooning after a corpse." Inuyasha's scowl deepened, "What? She looks like it with her pale, pale skin and ridiculously thin body! And her skin is always cold and she never sleeps. I swear she texts me at three in the morning! Who does that?"

"Not funny." Inuyasha grumbled as he set about gathering his coat and slipping it on. "Seriously though, you have to go. Stop sulking and go. It's a masquerade so best case scenario it'll be forgotten you didn't have a date. Plus, this ain't high school - a date's not required."

"Yeah, yeah. Get out of my graveyard and skiddadle mister. You have a chupacabra to catch!" Kagome grouched as she all but shoved the hanyou from the cold, clinical room.

With a growl more playful then serious, Inuyasha left the miko to do what she did.

After all, she was right. And the possibly - maybe, hopefully - chupacabra did need to be caught.

.

"No."

"But - "

"No."

"You don't - "

"I said, no father, and that is all there is to it. I have much to do considering all your time has been sent setting up your... party and you dumped all your work on me."

"But you're my heir, Sesshoumaru, what else am I to give you if not my work?"

With a sigh that clearly belied frustration, slender, pale, clawed fingers massaged them bridge of an aristocratic nose. Thin, sensual lips curled downward as the male brushed back the length of silver hair that was currently doing all it could to get in the way of his paperwork.

"Your company. You are supposed to give me your company." the younger taiyoukai grouched to his father over the phone.

He could practically hear the smile on his father's face when he responded, "Well - with my company comes work and with work comes responsibility and with responsibility comes parties. Now, my son, you will go as you are obligated to attend."

Citrine hues snapped open and Sesshoumaru's growl was more snarl than anything, "Fine, father. I will attend your little gathering but you will return to the office and complete your paperwork in turn."

"Deal - and Sesshoumaru, bring a date, yes?"

"No." And this 'no' was firmer than the others and was accompanied by the slam of the phone hitting the cradle and being hung up. Sesshoumaru sniffed in disgust, his nose wrinkling as he muttered, "Insufferable. Absolutely insufferable."

The taiyoukai looked down at the wireless keyboard and then to the dual screens that held the spread sheet of the revenue the companies under his father brought for the passed six months and attempted to pick up where he left off but his right hand was irritably drumming against the top of the desk. With inhuman growl Sesshoumaru stood, shut down the machine, and slipped on his coat.

His eyes burned with his utter exasperation toward his father and he pulled out a sleek black phone and dialed. Waiting several moments as the phone rang, a voice answered just as irritable as he currently was, "What?"

"Inuyasha." Sesshoumaru began warningly, "Are you attending father's... gathering?"

There was a sigh from the hanyou, "Yeah - it's mandatory. Why? Hurry up 'cause I'm in the middle of a case."

Curiosity piqued, the older inu curiously questioned, "Are you tracking?"

There were several deep inhales and then a sneeze, "Yeah - a woman was found earlier. No blood. According to the wench at the institute I'm looking for a chupacabra or yuki-onna - ain't cold enough for the yuki-onna but it's possible and chupacabra aren't native. I caught a whiff of something but I'm not sure it's what I'm looking for."

"And the woman that determined this - it was the newest hire, correct? The forensic pathologist?"

"Uhh - she's been there almost a year so she ain't exactly new; but yeah. Her name's Kagome and she pretty much knows what's up. Everything she discovers is for the most part accurate."

"Good."

There was a moment of silence and Inuyasha queried, "Was there something else you needed or did you call just bother me?"

Sesshoumaru scowled, remembering the reason for the call, "Is father forcing you to bring a date?"

"Nah. He isn't forcing a date but I have one; if you need one just bring along your secretary. She's cute enough and she's into you - a bit too hellcat for me."

Sesshoumaru mulled the idea over before nodding to himself, "I suppose she will do; your advice is... appreciated."

He could practically hear his brother's eye roll, "You're welcome."

Sesshoumaru was left with a dial tone to listen to and an invite to extend.

.

The dress was pretty.

The mask was prettier.

The girl wearing them? She felt silly.

The floor length gown was black, so black that the few strands curling along her neck disappeared against the fabric. The bodice was a faux leather material, that was sleeveless and ended just above her belly button, making it tight across her breasts. The material that touched the ground was clingy and darker than the leather, and was cut so the slit was down the middle to mid thigh so every time she took a step, a pale expanse of leg was revealed. The heels were tall, stiletto and added four inches to her height.

The mask was her favorite part.

It was velvet black with gold trimming and golden glitter designs along her eyes. There were black and golden feathers extending from the top of the mask and it tied very elegantly behind her head, the ribbon strands disappearing into her hair. She wandered through the ballroom, making her way to the open bar in order to grab herself some liquid courage.

Once there she immediately snagged a bartender who smiled at her and she gave her order, "Double shot, Crown and coke, please."

The smile never wavered from the bartender's face and he made her drink.

She hated big events.

She was always, always awkward.

While her drink was being made, another patron made his way to the bar, and took a seat beside her.

Glancing at him through her peripherals, she at first though it was Inuyasha by the color of his hair and she soon realized it wasn't. No puppy ears. Deciding to be not-so-discrete she turned and took in the equally golden eyes and the black suit that sinfully hugged his long, lean form. The dress shirt underneath was dark, navy, and the tie was gold with hints of that same navy. The mask was the prettiest she had seen so far. The entire thing was black finished metal and one singular design. It was gorgeous, giving way glimpses to the pale flesh underneath.

Another bartender was assisting him and when he gave his order, "Tom Collins." ...something inside her definitely turned into jelly at the smooth tones of his voice.

Abruptly, the male turned to her and fixed her with a cool golden stare.

She immediately blushed at being caught starring and turned toward the bartender who had just brought her drink. She offered him a smile and gave a tip but made no move to leave the specimen beside her.

Bringing the glass to her lips she took a sip, allowing the burn of the Crown to soothe her frazzled nerves.

And boy were they frazzzzled.

She didn't have friends amongst her co-workers so staying at the bar was the next best thing other than stuffing her face at the buffet.

"You should drink slower."

Kagome paused and turned to the owner of the jelly-inducing voice and arched a brow, "Pardon?"

Smooth-Voice gestured a clawed hand to her drink which was already mostly gone, "You are drinking much too quickly - one of your stature will be drunk in no time at the rate you are going."

Lips curling upward, the miko gave an airy chuckle, "That's the point. Maybe if I am too inebriated they'll throw me out of this joint, you know?"

Elegant brows furrowed and the man questioned, "You did not want to join? It is supposed to be the social event of the year."

Kagome snorted, "I'm not social. I didn't even want to come. I hate these types of things."

There was a moment of quiet and the youkai murmured a soft, "As do I."

Kagome perked up, turned her body towards his on her little stool, and offered a smile that brightened her eyes, "Let's bond over the reasons we hate these functions, no?"

It was with an indulgent curl of lips that the male responded with, murmuring, "They are long and drawn out."

Kagome wrinkled her nose, "Completely." Looking around discretely, she leaned a little forward and whispered, "The old men are a little... much."

Smooth-Voice arched a brow, "Much?"

Taking another gulp of her drink she nodded, "Much. You know - they have money. And if you have a bust, a booty, and breathe then be prepared for the money to be offered."

Brows furrowed, "Sexual harassment at these functions?"

A snort and a nod, "Borderline most definitely."

"I see." he responded looking down at the bright cerulean hues.

"Your turn!" she piped as she gestured for the bartender to bring her another.

Looking at his drink he responded with a point to the women hungrily prowling the floor and muttered, "Gold-hounds."

Kagome arched a sleek ebony brow and let out a feminine chuckle, "Much better then calling them gold-diggers I suppose." 

He nodded and his lips curled upward again making her belly flutter, "A bit, yes, but not by much." Leaning against the bar and looking more than scrumptious he gestured to her with a flick of his hand, "I believe it is your turn."

With a nod, the miko decided, "The schmoozing. That has to be one of the worst. All you hear all night is, 'oh you look lovely - donate to my charity' or 'My company did blah blah blah' and even worse 'It's been such a pleasure to be here' but when polite company is gone then 'I can't stand that old man because of blah'. Utterly two-faced."

"It is my experience that most creatures show what they would like others to see and hide away their true selves." At Kagome's look of disgust he queried, "Are you not the same?"

With a shake of her ebony curled head she finished off her first drink and started on the second, "No. I'm pretty much going to tell you how it is. Lying gets you nowhere, it just gives you a bad reputation if you're found out."

With a look that was more calculating than anything he continued their game with a quick, "Their is no such thing as polite company at these functions."

A laugh left her lips abruptly and with a cheeky grin, "Sure there is! I say my 'please's and 'thank you's all the time! That is definitely polite."

At the youkai's responding chuckle Kagome thought that maybe, just maybe the night wouldn't be so bad after all.

.

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'Gome Yuki:: So yeah. This is for LordMaru as an art exchange and will likely be a three or four part fic (: But I usually get carried away. Let me know what you guys think, yes? Please feel free to correct any terminology not correctly used - science? Not my forte. Again, dedicated to LordMaru who provided the summary! I'm just here to write!

 

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