Chapter 1 – Girl of Lost Things
Kagome clutched at her falling grocery bags and cursed the organic food market for supplying customers with paper bags prone to ripping. Next time: reusable bags need to come with me.
She wouldn't have noticed him unless her bags had taken that moment to slip just enough to make her stumble in her hasty grab to save all her fresh fruit from bruising on the ground. He was a tiny thing—didn't look old enough to be out on his own.
The distress on his face was quite obvious, so he probably hadn't started out alone. Kagome remembered that when she was little, she'd been prone to getting separated from her mother and wandering off until she wound up in some random neighbourhood, crying until someone took pity on her. The little boy wasn't crying, but he looked close to it.
He was also quite obviously a hanyou. The white hair and the tiny puppy ears—just like Inuyasha's!—gave it away plainly enough. But no one was stopping to stare—in fact, no one seemed to even notice him. Probably a spell of some kind then. Kagome had noticed that, while she could see demons, everyone else around her saw average, normal people—assuming they saw anything at all. Demons had obviously found a way to blend in with society. Kagome wasn't entirely sure why she could see their true forms when others couldn't—she thought it might have had something to do with her miko powers, or possibly her exposure to the Shikon no Tama—and she didn't really care; there were stranger things after all.
She was tempted to just continue on—nothing good or uncomplicated ever came out of dealings with demons, even tiny ones with cute puppy ears—but Kagome found herself still too soft-hearted to ever leave when someone was in distress. Especially a child. He doesn't even look like Shippou…
Kagome frogmarched her groceries over to the boy and set them on the ground while she crouched in front of him. "Are you lost?"
The little hanyou sniffled and rubbed his fists against moist eyes before looking up at her with wide amber eyes and inhaling her scent.
Kogome's world fell apart for just a moment and she would have been quite happy to let it stay that way while she sat in the middle of the sidewalk except that the little boy was suddenly in her arms and crying earnestly.
A small part of Kagome wanted her to push him away and run as far and as fast as she could. Because the words 'Aunt Kikyo' held too much meaning and too many painful memories. Aunt…but that would mean he's Sesshoumaru's and Aunt Kikyo…so Inuyasha ended up with her after all.
Kagome gentry pried the boy off of her and gave him a reassuring smile. "Sorry, I'm not Kikyo," Kikyo, Kikyo…whoever she is she's not me! "but I'll help you find her…or your parents, if you'd like."
The boy wiped at his face with clawed hands. "B-but you smell…" he took a large inhale and leaned closer, eyes closing in concentration before they snapped open. "You're not her!"
Kagome almost winced; it was like being back in the past all over again. As if once wasn't enough.
"No, my name is" Kagome paused, trying to remember what date it was. Have I been sent back from the past yet? She couldn't remember. She's never been good at keeping track of dates, and if anything she was even worse now. She thought it might be close to when her travels in the past had ended, but not quite there. Or maybe that was last year…or have they even started? She couldn't remember, but on the off chance that the current Inuyasha intended to be waiting for the younger her on the day he sent her back to her own time...Kagome's head hurt. No wonder she'd always been so bad at this stuff.
"Well, I suppose it doesn't really matter who I am, does it? Let's just find your parents okay?"
The hanyou was eyeing her strangely but the reminder of being lost made him crumple again. "I was out with my nanny while father was at a meeting. I stopped to look at some boys playing soccer and when I went to keep walking she was gone…I tried to find my way home but-but…"
"But you got lost? Don't worry; I'm sure we can find your home. Do you know where you live?"
The boy looked up and glared at her. Definitely Sesshoumaru's. "Of course I do, I'm not some stupid human you know!"
He immediately clapped a hand over his mouth and glanced down at a slim bracelet he wore. That's probably what the enchantment is tied to.
Kagome smiled at him. "Don't worry; I already knew you were a hanyou."
"But…how? Uncle Shippou said—"
Kagome put up a hand to stop him before he could drag anyone else out of the past. He was like her own personal time bomb, one she wanted to diffuse as fast as possible.
"I'm sure your charm still works perfectly; just not on me. But none of the demon charms work on me."
"Oh." He frowned in consternation and Kagome got up and dusted away at some invisible dirt before he could ask any more questions.
"Well then, where do you live?"
He deflated again. "I know the address I just…don't know how to get there from wherever we are."
He really does look like a whipped puppy with those ears… "Don't worry, I know the city really well, I'm sure between the two of us we can get you home."
It wasn't hard—he and the nanny hadn't gotten far before he'd gotten lost, and as far as Kagome could tell, he'd only wandered a few blocks. But, no matter what he claimed, he was still just a little boy, and a few blocks probably seemed like worlds away. But ten blocks was more than Kagome had ever wanted to travel with her cumbersome groceries. The little hanyou offered to help but Kagome had visions of Inuyasha's brand of help and politely declined.
"We'll need your hands free in case something comes out and attacks us."
The boy snorted. "No one would dare attack me—father would kill them."
Kagome had no doubt and just smiled at the obvious pride the boy had for his father. She'd been like that when she was little, although Kagome had no doubt that Sesshoumaru deserved every bit of hero-worshiping his son had for him.
She was surprised that the great and almightily cold Lord Sesshoumaru had unbent enough to have sex with a human but she knew from experience that people could change. Time changes us in all kinds of ways.
Kagome had been expecting some kind of a mansion or some hidden forest that she'd never noticed before. Instead it turned out that Sesshoumaru and his son lived in an apartment building. A very nice, very expensive looking one, but still. Communal living seemed so…beneath Sesshoumaru.
"Well, I'm glad we found it. Can you get in from here?"
The boy nodded and then took to looking at her with a frown. "Don't you want to come in…father will reward you for helping me you know."
The pain in the boy's eyes told Kagome that he'd been used to get at his father's generosity before. She smiled and crouched awkwardly with her groceries.
"Nah, not everyone needs a reward for helping out a cutie like you."
He seemed torn between puffing his chest up and taking offence to the 'cutie'. Kagome had to smile.
"Well, it was nice to meet you. Next time, don't lose track of your nanny—and get your dad to teach you about tracking people by scents. I'm sure you'd be good at it."
The boy nodded and then grabbed her sleeve when she went to pull away. "Wait! My name is Kohaku."
Kagome just stared at him, trying very hard not to get lost in memories.
He fidgeted under her gaze. "I am…indebted to you. Should you have any need of assistance…come to me or find any demon in this city and give them the name Lord Kohaku of the West. They will find me so that I can help you."
Kagome smiled down at him. It was obvious that he was very proud of himself—he was probably following some ancient tradition of some kind that his father had told him about.
"And how will you know that it is from me Little Lord—you should be wary of a trap."
He looked startled for a minute before his face scrunched in thought. "You won't give me your name."
It wasn't a question but Kagome shook her head anyway. She didn't want to risk her name getting back to Inuyasha and having the timeline changed or altered somehow…especially since she couldn't for the life of her remember what the date was in relation to her younger self's travels in the past. Stupid time…always the bane of my existence.
"Then you will be known to me as the Girl of Lost Things."
Kagome looked down at herself. It was a fitting title, even if he didn't know it, but she took some exception to the 'girl' part. Her body might have been exactly as it was when she was a teenager, but Kagome liked to think that her severe, chin-length hair cut, the business clothes, makeup, and her old looking eyes combined to make her look at least like a young woman.
But arguing with a child about her age—especially a half-demon child—seemed pointless, so Kagome just gave him a small smile and slipped into the throng of people walking past his building. She wouldn't actually call in her favour, but, surprisingly, it was rather nice to have some kind of nebulous connection to her old life again.
Her bags finally gave out on her halfway back to her own home and her fruit tumbled out. Kagome signed and tried to pick-up as much of it as she could. Then again, some things are better left in the past.