Continuing Tales

Dragon's Prey

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 8 of 10

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Second Chances

Five days later Kagome was about to kill somebody.

Each day they had encountered a dragon, each time she had been the target, and each day Miroku scolded Inu Yasha for being selfish. Each time this ended in a yelled argument between Inu Yasha on one side and the rest of her friends on the other side. Of course this did nothing to improve the moods of their small company.

Besides from being constantly attacked by dragons, they hadn't found another jewel shard. Kagome hadn't been home for three weeks now and began missing her family fiercely. But still Inu Yasha refused to even consider letting her go home.

Evenings at the campfire were tense and silent. After Miroku and Sango left, they became even tenser and more silent. This tore at Kagome's nerves and made her snappish. Moreover, spending all your evenings over borings maths and physics textbooks isn't conducive to anybody's mood, and Kagome was quickly approaching the breaking point.

The sixteenth evening since the first appearance of the dragons at first seemed to be like every other evening. They were sitting around their fire, eating in silence. Miroku and Sango appeared to have retreated into their own world and were smiling goofily at each other over their bowls. Kagome was pushing some vegetable around in her bowl rather than eating it, and even Inu Yasha and Shippo weren't munching with as much pleasure as they usually did.

Suddenly Inu Yasha threw his bowl away and leapt up. Within the blink of an eye he had Tessaiga drawn and transformed. Growling, he stared into the black of the forest behind Kagome.

The others blinked at him in surprise, roused from their respective doings. Seeing him baring his fangs they all looked into the same direction, looking for what was threatening them. However, they saw nothing but dark forest.

Miroku reached out for his staff. "What is it, Inu Yasha?"

However, before the hanyou was able to answer, the tall, white form of Sesshomaru appeared between the trees. His entourage in tow, the demon lord stepped gracefully into the light of the campfire, golden eyes in his blank face scanning the members of his half-brother's gang.

Kagome grabbed Shippo and retreated. Sango grabbed her boomerang and stood protectively next to Kagome. Miroku, staff tight in his hands, took position in front of the girls. They were all watching Sesshomaru attentively, knowing they would not stand a big chance if the demon decided to attack.

"What do you want, Sesshomaru?" growled Inu Yasha.

The expressionless eyes of his elder brother turned back to the hanyou. Something like disdain flickered through their depths.

"Put your sword away, Inu Yasha. This Sesshomaru has not come for another petty fight."

The cool voice did nothing to pacify Inu Yasha. His snarl became more distinct, and he even shifted on his feet to get into the right position for an attack. "Yeah, sure."

Miroku stepped up to Inu Yasha and put a hand on his shoulder to calm him down. The monk's eyes were trained on the demon in front of him.

"If you don't want to fight then why are you here? Surely not to pay us a friendly visit?" he asked.

Sesshomaru snorted. "No, this Sesshomaru would not waste his time on such things."

"Eh? So what?" hissed Inu Yasha.

Sesshomaru regarded the hanyou icily. "A new kind of dragons has invaded Japan -"

"Keh! You noticed, figures!"

There was a flash of fury in Sesshomaru's eyes. Kagome's arms tightened around Shippo. A shiver ran down her spine. She had never before seen Sesshomaru furious. The only emotion she had observed on him thus far was contempt for Inu Yasha or annoyance.

"Inu Yasha," chided Miroku. "You could at least be so polite as to let him speak!"


The demon lord glared at Inu Yasha before he went on. "This Sesshomaru has heard a rumour about these dragons preying only on human females."

"Yeah, what about it?" Inu Yasha narrowed his eyes, eyeing his brother suspiciously.

"So this rumour is true?"

"Why so interested?" Inu Yasha sneered. "It's not like you care anyways."

Kagome's eyes widened in sudden understanding and she looked at the small, human girl that was standing at Sesshomaru's side. She was the reason he had come for. He wanted to know the truth for the girl's sake not, as Inu Yasha was insinuating, to mock them. He did care. Sesshomaru did care for the girl, and thus he had come to ask the only person of his acquaintance that would know about these rumours because this person associated with human females.

Her eyes widened further. It must have cost Sesshomaru a lot to overcome his contempt for his younger half-brother to come to him and ask about the truth behind the rumour, admitting there were things where he needed.... help?

This was too great for Kagome to understand right now. But she understood that only worry for his ward had brought him here. Of course, he was a haughty bastard, but his concern deserved better than being mocked. Which was exactly what Inu Yasha was currently doing, and Kagome could see how it affected the demon lord.

As he raised his hand and put it on Toukijin's hilt she stepped forwards. "Inu Yasha! Sit!"

Miroku turned to look at her in surprise, and she was able to feel Sango's eyes boring holes into her back. Shippo gazed up at her, his eyes huge and uncomprehending. Kagome stood next to the monk and, after gathering all her courage, she smiled at the infuriated demon lord in front of her.

Sesshomaru had been looking at Inu Yasha and her in turns but when she smiled at him he narrowed his eyes at her.

Kagome gulped, the coldness in his golden eyes sending tremors of fear through her body. But she refused to be intimidated. So she smiled her brightest smile and said,

"You don't have to worry for Rin-chan, Sesshomaru. She's not in danger."

As a reaction to her words his eyes widened minutely and part of the ice vanished, though his gaze was still piercing. She heard her friends gasp as they, too, understood what had brought the demon lord to them.

"Are you sure, miko?" Sesshomaru's voice was hard as if he felt offended by her assumption he was worried at all.

Which might be true.

Kagome nodded vigorously. "Yes! She is too young to become dragon's prey. They are only interested in girls who are far more mature than Rin-chan."

She stopped and blushed slightly. He raised an eyebrow, wordlessly demanding further explanation.

"Um...." Kagome squirmed a bit and berated herself inwardly for speaking at all. Now she had to explain the matter of a human girl's first menses.

"It's... um... it has something to do with... um... ah, well, the dragons are only interested in girls who are mature enough to have children on their own," she finished in a rush, looking hopefully at Sesshomaru to see whether he understood what she was talking of.

He eyed her coolly. "Is that so."

Kagome flushed a deeper shade of red and averted her eyes, deciding she would not say anything more on that matter. They fell onto the girl that was watching her with interest. She gave the child a reassuring smile and the girl smiled back.

"Eh? So that's what you came for?" The spell had worn off and Inu Yasha was staring incredulously at his brother. "You're worried they'd eat the girl? You??"

Sesshomaru cast him an icy glance before he turned and walked away, ignoring Inu Yasha's yelled "Hey!" Jaken stepped aside to let his master pass, and then hurried after him. Rin waved a goodbye, yet as she turned to follow the two demons, her stomach gave a loud rumble.

She looked down, somewhat surprised, then back up at the demon lord who was watching her over his shoulder. "Sesshomaru-sama, Rin's hungry."

Jaken scowled at her. "Annoying brat! Do you think Sesshomaru-sama will go and get you something to eat, stupid human?"

Kagome frowned at the tiny demon, even though Rin did not appear to be affected by his harsh words, and her kind heart took possession of her tongue. "I'll cook something for you if you like, Rin-chan."

"Wha-!" exclaimed Inu Yasha before Miroku covered the hanyou's mouth with his hand and skilfully stopped further unwise words.

Grinning, the monk exchanged a look with Sango. This was their Kagome-sama, always kind to everybody!

Rin nodded enthusiastically, then cast the silent demon lord a questioning glance. He gave one sharp nod and the girl squealed a "thank you, Sesshomaru-sama!" before she skipped over to Kagome and looked at her expectantly.

Kagome smiled and led her to the fire. Soon she and Shippo were busy preparing dinner for their small guest who was watching them with large, curious eyes.

After the first surprise had worn off, Miroku and Sango joined them, resuming their own interrupted meal. Inu Yasha took a bit longer to recover, and when he did the first thing was to turn to his brother with a scathing remark. Only to find that Sesshomaru had gone.

"Hey! Where's he?" he cried out, looking around as if expecting Sesshomaru to be hidden behind a tree.

"Where is who?" Miroku looked up.

"Sesshomaru, of course!"

"Oh, is he gone?" asked Sango vaguely.

Inu Yasha fumed. He got the very distinct feeling that his friends weren't at all worried about Sesshomaru. Had they gone mad?

"Inu Yasha, stop making such a fuss," said Kagome, stirring the ramen she was preparing for Rin. "As long as Rin-chan is here I don't think he'll attack."

Inu Yasha gaped at her. How could anybody be so trusting? This was Sesshomaru!

"I'm a bit surprised, though," Kagome continued and handed Rin the bowl, "that he has gone and left Rin-chan here with us."

"Sesshomaru-sama always leaves when Rin eats," piped the girl.

"Does he?"

"Yes, and then after some time he comes back and picks Rin and Jaken-sama up." The girl began chewing on her noodles. "Hm, that tastes good!"

"Rin-chan, when do you think will Sesshomaru come to pick you up again?" asked Sango.

The girl, her mouth full of ramen, shrugged. "I don't know," she answered when she was once more able to speak. "Later. Maybe tomorrow. Do you mind?" The girl gazed anxiously at the people around her.

Kagome smiled at her. "Not at all, Rin-chan."

Reassured, Rin returned to munching her ramen and Kagome ignored Inu Yasha's annoyed grumblings.

The evening passed pleasantly. Rin told them some things she had experienced while with Sesshomaru and Jaken. She also mentioned Kohaku and was pleased when she learned that Sango was his sister. The small girl solemnly told the huntress that Kohaku had been very nice to her and that she liked him a lot. Sango was touched by Rin's words about her brother; he seemed to be not quite as much under Naraku's control as he appeared to be.

When it became late and the children yawned more often, Kagome put them to bed in her sleeping bag. This meant that she had to content herself with a blanket that night, but she did not mind.

Miroku and Sango ‘went for a walk' again, and she was left alone with Inu Yasha and the sleeping children. But just as every other night nothing happened. They sat in silence at the campfire, Inu Yasha staring into the flames and Kagome watching him through her lashes.

Every now and again she tried to begin a conversation, but he only answered in monosyllables if he answered at all. Slowly she inched closer to him, watching his reaction. He didn't seem to mind, so she felt bold enough to lay her head against his shoulder.

With a startled yelp he leapt away from her, staring at her with wide eyes, hands clenched around Tessaiga.

"W-what are you doing?"

Kagome felt hurt and slightly peeved at his violent reaction. "Really, Inu Yasha! I only laid my head on your shoulder! There's no need to act like something bit you."

"You surprised me," Inu Yasha grumbled and sat down opposite her.

Kagome regarded him over the flames. "It's not just this time," she said after a while. "Ever since we figured out how to... end the threat of an attack by a dragon, you've been evading me. You don't talk to me, and when I talk to you, you get snappish. I thought we're friends, Inu Yasha. You don't treat a friend like this."

Inu Yasha huffed. "Yeah, but a friend wouldn't expect me to do... stuff."

Kagome flinched slightly and averted her eyes. "Is the thought of touching me so repulsive to you?"

"Eh? What're you talking of?"

At the sight of Inu Yasha's confused face Kagome's hurt feelings rapidly changed into irritation. "What I'm talking about? I'm talking about the fact that you don't talk to me anymore, that you don't look at me anymore and that every time I come near you, you act like something attacked you! And I want to know why!"

The pent up anger, hurt and fear from the last weeks broke free. Kagome got up and, with arms akimbo, glared at Inu Yasha. "Why are you treating me like this, Inu Yasha? Why do you act like I'm a threat to you? What have I done?"

He didn't answer, only stared at her. The flames of her fury grew higher.

"You know what? I'm tired of it! Tired of you avoiding me. Why, from the way you're treating me you could think I'm a shrivelled old hag! I know I'm not as beautiful as Kikyo, and if you don't... don't want to help me, fine! But don't treat me like I'd rip your head off if you stay close to me for more than one second!"

Inu Yasha gaped at her. "But... but, Kagome it's not.... I mean I'm not...."

"Oh, shut up!" Kagome interrupted his stammering. Turning sharp on her heel she stalked away from the fire. "I'm going for a walk!"

"Eh? Kagome?" Inu Yasha sounded confused. "What's up? What're you doing? You're not walking around alone! There might be dragons!"

"Sit!" She did not even turn to deliver this command but increased her steps after hearing the tell-tale thud behind her.

Blindly, Kagome marched through the forest, inwardly cursing Inu Yasha. Soon walking seemed unfit for her fiery emotions and she broke into a run, tearing through the brush until she reached a brook. She followed its winding way until it toppled over some mossy stones into a small lake.

Kagome skidded down the slope to the shore of the lake. The trees stopped some way back and a meadow surrounded the water, but further to her right stood a gnarled tree, hanging at a precarious angle over the surface. She stomped into the direction of the tree and, not watching where she went, she stumbled over a stone which was half-hidden under the grass.

When Kagome had regained her balance she glared down at the offender. With a swift movement she bent down and picked it up. "Stupid stone," she declared, and threw it into the lake.

Throwing things around felt good, and Kagome picked up another stone and flung it into the water. "Bloody!"

Another pebble followed. "Stupid!"

"Idiot!" A splash indicated the fall of the fourth stone.

"What has he done?"

Kagome jumped at these coolly spoken words and whirled around, heartbeat quickening. He was leaning with his back against the gnarled tree trunk; the white pelt he usually wore on his shoulder pooled around his waist and feet. He wasn't looking at her, but staring straight ahead into the forest.

Kagome bit her lip and felt the cold of fear creeping up her spine. This was as bad as any dragon could be! Damn, where had he come from?

When she didn't answer he asked again. "You were cursing Inu Yasha. What has he done?"

Kagome snorted. "It's not was he has done, but what he hasn't done!"

Fury burned all fear away, and she picked up another pebble, hurling it out with all her strength. It hit the opposite shore and Kagome cursed. Damn! Not even those bloody stones did what she wanted them to do!

"So, what has he not done?"

Kagome looked back at Sesshomaru. He was watching her now out of the corner of his eyes, still leaning relaxed against the tree. He did not appear to be hostile, but she knew how quick he could be and was wary of his presence. However, curiosity raised its head and nudged her. Why was he here, talking to her?

Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow and Kagome noticed she had been staring at him. Blushing, she looked away, trying to remember what he had asked her.

"Oh," she breathed when she recalled his words. "Um... he... he refused to help me with some... problems."

"Is that so. And which problem might that be?"

Kagome's head snapped up and, forgetting who he was, she glared at him. "Have a guess, Mr Curiosity! What do you think is the most prominent problem for a human female at the moment?"

She picked up and tossed another stone into the lake, creating heavy ripples on the calm surface.

"Of course these damned dragons!" she went on. "You see, there is a way out of it, because these damned dragons only eat virgins! What do you think is the best way for a virgin to make sure she won't be eaten? Right-ie-ho, get rid of her virginity!! And since a girl on her own can't do anything about it she needs a guy to help her."

Breathing heavily she turned back to face Sesshomaru, hands clenching into tight fists. "But Inu Yasha refuses to... We've been attacked every single day for almost a week now! We can't go anywhere without being on guard for another attack! It's nerve-racking to be constantly alerted! Plus, he can't fight these dragons properly with Tessaiga! It's always up to Miroku or Sango to kill them! You'd think he'd be happy to get rid of the constant threat, but no!"

She huffed furiously. "Whenever I do so much as even look at him he snaps at me! He acts like I'm something dangerous that would eat him if he doesn't stay away!!"

Kagome started pacing at the shore. "What is more, finding jewel shards is quite difficult with these dragons around. But do you think he'd allow me to go home? No! Of course not! He says I have to stay until I found another shard! Ha, and when Sango-chan suggested that Koga-kun may take care of my ‘problem' he went mad! This bloody idiot!"

She kicked some pebbles into the water, her fury seeming to evaporate. She sighed.

"It's not that I don't understand him," Kagome went on more quietly after a while. "At least I think I know what his problem is. You see, he chose Kikyo. He promised her to... and of course he wants to keep that promise. And I would never force him to break it! Only... this is about my life !"

She turned to look at her silent listener. He was still watching her out of the corner of his eyes, his face still blank.

"He once promised to protect me! I suppose you heard that, too. After all, that was the reason he was able to transform Tessaiga! But now that I need him he refuses to do anything because of his promise to Kikyo!"

Her fury returned and her eyes flashed. "This idiot! I don't demand anything more from him! And I don't think Kikyo would mind at all! The only thing she's interested in is to drag him to hell with her, and as long as he doesn't decide he doesn't want to go with her I'm sure he can do whatever he wants to do!"

She resumed her pacing. "I know I'm not as beautiful as Kikyo is! But I'm not bad-looking, either. Koga-kun even said I was very pretty... Besides, it won't be a love affair or anything like it! It would just be some kind of help between friends! And I thought as a friend he'd help me. But no!"

Kagome stopped and exhaled a shaking breath. "It's not the way I would have wished it, anyway," she whispered, tears prickling behind her eyes. "I wanted... this to be part of a relationship with someone I love. Not some kind of... of treaty, or damage control. But it's my life at stake! And my nerves, too. I'm so fed up with being afraid of another dragon attack! I'm so fed up with cowering on the ground while Sango-chan and Miroku-sama take care of it. I want it to end!"

There was silence for a while. Kagome tried to reign in her violent emotions. When she heard a rustle of clothes she raised her head again, tearstained eyes widening as she realised that she had just spilled her guts to Sesshomaru.

He had stepped away from the tree and was facing her now. His impassive eyes watched the quickly changing expressions on her face. Very slowly he bowed his head, keeping eye-contact with her.

"May this Sesshomaru offer his help to you?"

Dragon's Prey

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 8 of 10

<< Previous     Home     Next >>