Chapter Summary: Everyone is having a Very Bad Day. Then things get worse.
Disclaimer: Don't own Inuyasha. Don't own Rurouni Kenshin.
Warning: Rated R for language and adult situations.
Chapter One: Cul-de-Sac
Most religions boil down to one point- don't fuck with the gods.
The Hitokiri Battousai was having a very bad day. Of course, since the end of the war most of his days had been bad. However this one was shaping up to be particularly awful. It had started with the realization that his purse was completely empty. This had been followed closely by the realization that he was now miles from any major town- literally in the middle of nowhere. He'd already sold his short sword to feed himself and he had nothing left of value except his long sword. If he was lucky, he might see a farm he could ask for a meal. Unfortunately, most people in the new enlightened era only accepted cold, hard coin. Plus, he wasn't nearly far enough from Kyoto for his distinctive features to not get him in trouble.
As serious as all of these issues were though, they weren't what had most disturbed Battousai's mind. Hitokiri Battousai, who was once Himura Kenshin, who was once, in a very distant memory, Himura Shinta, was an eighteen year old has-been. At eighteen years of age the assassin was obsolete. He had given everything to bring about this glorious era of peace and now- now there was no place for him in it. A cold chuckle escaped him as he thought about the clammy-handed officials offering him a government position. "Like they would offer a rabid dog a bone."
And now he was talking to himself. He'd always assumed that he had a slightly looser grip on sanity than most people. He had also assumed that the iron-clad control required to succeed as an assassin would keep the craziness in check. Apparently years without proper sleep, weeks without proper food, and a newfound lack of purpose had driven him over the edge. Battousai decided that if he was going to be insane, then he was going to use it to his best advantage.
The Hitokiri Battousai had never been a religious man. The things that he had seen and done had convinced him that if there was a god or series of gods they were certainly not going out of their way to help people. Battousai believed very firmly in his sword and the strength of his arm. His careful assassinations of those who stood in the way of progress had had a far larger role in creating the new era than any prayers to indifferent gods,
But now he was insane. He didn't have to be logical anymore. A giddiness, not unlike the adrenaline rush before a kill, filled Battousai's mind. He executed a mock bow in the middle of the empty road. "Oh gods, hear my humble prayers. I have been a loyal servant, destroyed my soul and my body for the sake of the people of Japan. I only ask one reward of the greater powers. Grant me a new purpose. Grant me a reason to live!"
He gave a rusty laugh as he righted himself. Strangely, he felt better for having performed that little piece of idiocy. It was, he decided, a good thing that the road had been empty today. It was therefore something of a surprise when his first step carried him straight into another body. As he reflexively grabbed the person that he had knocked off balance, he began to wonder about the wisdom of mocking the gods.
Kagome had decided that canine youkai were put on this planet for the sole purpose of depleting her dwindling supply of aspirin.
"Let me see if I understand this correctly- you want me to lift the sealing spell we put on the well to protect the future from Naraku, a spell that took two weeks to perform and nearly cost Kaede her life, because we're running out of ramen?"
Inuyasha didn't even have the grace to look embarrassed. "It's not just the ramen. Weak bitch like you needs to get out of here every once in a while so I don't have to listen to you whine. You're more of a fucking interference than a help half the time- it might do some good for you to go back for a while. I know you've finished all those "test" things and got your "high school" papers, but doesn't your family want to see you? It's been nearly a year."
Kagome's eyes swam with spots as she fought the urge to vomit. In the three years that she had searched for the jewel fragments, Inuyasha had never managed, not with Kikyou, not with his own special brand of insults, to hurt her as badly as he just had. The worst part was that he wouldn't even know why he had hurt her. She was swaying on her feet, reeling forward drunkenly a few steps ahead of the group. When she walked into the unfamiliar chest, she didn't even attempt to break her fall backwards.
An arm stopped her descent and brusquely brought her to her feet. Something soft settled on her face as she rose, filtering the sunlight and blocking her view of the road. As the spots cleared from her eyes she realized that it was hair- impossibly fine, blood-red hair, It was at that moment that she lifted her head and met the eyes of her savior.
It wasn't love at first sight. It wasn't even lust at first sight. Kagome only had time to notice that he had a nasty cross-shaped scar on his cheek before she finally gave in to her urge to vomit. Somehow, the stranger managed to simultaneously lower her to the road and remove himself from the path of destruction. Whether consciously or not, he had also grabbed her hair as he had moved behind her, preventing it from dragging in her face. It would have been a sweet gesture if Kagome hadn't heard him mutter, "Ask the gods for a fucking purpose... I'll show you a fucking purpose..."
It became even less sweet when he used her hair to drag her to her feet after she finished puking. His eyes, she realized, were the same color as the midday sun and about equally friendly. He was practically growling as he pulled her head towards him.
"Where the fuck did you come from?"