Disclaimer: I own neither the characters of Inuyasha or Yu Yu Hakusho. I just like to play with them from time to time.

AN: I'm sorry. I've fallen in love with Youko Kurama. So I've dedicated this fic to him.

Summary: IYYYH. Blood and sacrifice describes the most sacred ritual of the silver kitsune and occurs one every year. To Prince Youko Kurama, the death of a human meant nothing…until he fell in love with one that had been branded as the next sacrifice. Youko/Kagome

Ok, this is set in the Sengoku Jidai. There is no spirit realm or demon realm. I haven't decided if I'm going to incorporate that in here. I will only be using Youko and Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho, I haven't decided yet. Forgive me if I portray them a bit OOC since I've never written about them before and have only seen a couple of episodes of the show. There will not be any Shuuchi in this one.

All of the other characters from Inuyasha are here, but with a few changes. Kagome is not Kikyo's reincarnation. They aren't even remotely related and do not share any physical attributes whatsoever. Kaede is not Kikyo's younger sister. She is still the old miko that we have all come to know and love.

Kagome lives in a village on the outskirts of the Western lands. She is not from the future and doesn't have any miko powers…yet. And one more thing. Since this is obviously going to be a Youko/Kagome fic, Inu/Kagome interaction will be based on friendship.

Well, enjoy! -

Sangre y Sacrificio

Chapter 1

The moon, half shrouded in a haze of wispy clouds, hung low that night. Silhouettes of the stone hedges that encircled the sacred ritual ground cast their dark shadows over the sacrificial land. The silence of the air was suddenly broken by the monotonous chanting of black hooded figures bearing silver torches as they shuffled slowly onto the grounds and aligned themselves in a circle around the stone altar. The flames that danced hypnotically in hues of red and orange at the crown of the torch failed to expose the faces that were hidden beneath the hood.

The volume of their mantra increased a notch as a figure, clad in red robes and a hood that also hid his face from view, entered. With the grace of a feline, he silently approached the head of the altar. Stopping directly behind the stone configuration, the figure raised one slender clawed hand into the air, effectively silencing the chant.

In one fluid movement, he pulled back the hood, revealing perfectly chiseled facial features, framed by a shock of silver locks that fell to his waist. Two white elongated ears stood erect amidst the mass of hair, twitching every so often at the slightest sound. A pair of cold golden eyes, void of any emotion, observed the robed kitsune with quiet regard. Smirking in satisfaction, he reached into the sleeve of his garment and pulled out a small sword. It was time.

Tearing his gaze from the sword, he signaled one hooded figure to bring in the sacrifice with a slight incline of the head. "Brothers and sisters!" he spoke, the silky resonance of his voice reverberating over the mass. "We are gathered here on this night of the new moon to make an offering to the gods. For many centuries they have blessed the clan of the silver kitsune with unimaginable power and magic to defeat our opponents and become stronger. Although over time our numbers have dwindled, we still remain undefeated. We are an elite race whose magic knows no bounds."

Kagome struggled futilely to get loose within the tight grasp of the two kitsune that were gradually approaching the altar. With her mouth gagged and streaks of tears marring her face, she was helpless to do anything but watch as the hooded youkai bound her wrists and ankles with chains to the raised surface. Once she was securely strapped in, they glided back toward the assemblage. Her pulse sped to inconceivable speeds as her furry eared executioner hovered above her, a small, malicious smile gracing his lips. Her heart threatened to crack her ribs as it pounded furiously in her chest.

She whimpered when he placed the sword inches above the blood red brand on her stomach, which had began pulsing in anticipation of what was to come. He stared at her unflinchingly, neither remorse nor guilt apparent in his blank golden orbs. "We offer the blood and flesh of this virgin maiden whom is pure and innocent in mind, body, and soul, to the gods in return for the blessings and power that they have bestowed our lineage." He raised the blade. "To the gods."

Blue eyes widened in fear and trepidation as the kitsune drove the sword into her flesh.

Kagome awoke with a start and completely drenched in her own sweat. Her lungs burned. Her chest felt tight. 'It was another nightmare,' Kagome thought sitting up in her futon and struggled to catch her breath. As her lungs began to function normally with the steady flow of oxygen intake and her pulse returned to its normal state, Kagome buried her face in her hands. Her time was drawing near. She only had a couple more months to go before she would be summoned for the ritual.

Tears pricked the backs of her eyes as she swallowed the lump that had lodged itself in her throat. The dreams were becoming more vivid with the passing of each day. It was as if her psyche were mentally preparing her for what was to come. Lifting her face from her hands, she sighed sadly and unconsciously rubbed the brand they had imprinted on her lower torso the day they had made their decision.

"The purity and innocence of your heart and soul by far surpass those females in this village," the hooded kitsune had whispered in her ear nine months earlier. "You are perfectly suitable to become the next sacrifice." Then he had laid his hand over the lower regions of her stomach and had branded her.

It had been the first time in decades that the clan of silver kitsune had chosen to their village to select their next offering. At first, she had been eager to see what they looked like, for she, like everyone else in the land, had never seen their faces or true forms. But the enthusiasm she had treated the situation initially faded to apprehension when she, out of all the thirty something young women living in their community, had been chosen. The odds had been in her favor yet she was picked nonetheless.

The tears she had been fruitlessly trying to suppress spilled forth. Fat droplets of the salty liquid trailed down her porcelain cheeks and trickled onto her partially untied yukata. With a heavy heart, Kagome laid back down on the futon. Her fate was preordained. There was nothing she could do about it. In three months time, she was going to be sacrificed to the gods of the silver kitsune for the sole purpose of them being granted more power. And she had accepted that fact.

Her mother with her endless supply of understanding and compassion acknowledged the actuality of their situation and in turn began spending more and more time with her daughter during her final year. Her brother Souta, who used to be an adorable, yet annoying hindrance to her very existence, now dejectedly followed her everywhere as if he were afraid she would disappear. Sango and Miroku frequently supported her and they spent all of their free time hanging out, making the best of the poignant circumstances.

It was only her best friend Inuyasha failed to come to terms with the situation.

"Bitch, you're just going to stand by and let them kill you for some nonexistent figments of their twisted imagination!" he had barked angrily after the three clan members had retreated.

"There's nothing I can do Inuyasha," she had replied despondently. "Their decision is final, just accept it."

"I'm not accepting anything!" The hanyou pulled her into a tight embrace then buried his face in her raven tresses and took in her enticing scent of wildflowers and sakura blossoms. "You can't leave me Kagome," he had said in a softer tone, his strained voice bordering desperation as he clutched her tighter. "You are my best friend. My first friend. You were the first person that accepted me for who I am and looked past me being a hanyou."

When he had pulled away from her, his amber orbs had been swimming in water and had shone with pain, anger, and deep bitterness. "I'll kill those fucking bastards before I let them harm you."

"Inuyasha, you know there's no way you can beat them. Their magic is too powerful," Kagome had choked out, her own voice beginning to waver.

"Then we'll run away, far from here, where they'd never be able to find you," he had suggested, a hint of hope in his tone.

"They'll be able to find me wherever I go," she had whispered, automatically placing a hand on her stomach. "This brand will lead them to me anywhere we go. There's nowhere I can hide. Besides, even if I do try to run, after they catch me they will come back and destroy our village. And I cannot allow that to happen, even at the cost of my own life."

Kagome curled into a fetal position on her futon. She couldn't run. She couldn't hide. There was no miko, youkai, or human strong or clever enough to defeat the clan of silver kitsune, partly because their whereabouts were unknown. Months ago she had decided that she wouldn't live in a constant state of worry and anxiety and be stressed out about the future, but instead enjoy life and live it to the fullest…or something like it.

Golden eyes drank in the sight of the Wakizashi encased in the wooden box, silently marveling in its beauty. It was perfect. Forged in the fiery pits of Mount Fushi, the double edge blade had a blood groove and a hilt fashioned out of black wood and adorned with a beautiful brass Menuki of a fox, serving only to enhance its aesthetic appearance.

He ran his fingers along the blade hungrily. Its edges were devoid of corrosion even though it had been driven into the flesh of many over the centuries. It was beautiful. And it would be his in three months time with the conclusion of the ritual. A smile curved on his lips as he pulled his hand away. This would be the first time he would be conducting the sacrifice instead of just standing on the sidelines. And once he killed Nago, then he would formally become leader.

His silver ears swiveled in the direction of approaching footsteps. He knew by the scent of blood and death who it was before they spoke. "Father, so nice of you to join me," he said, his bored tone effectively hiding the hatred he felt toward the older kitsune.

"Youko, my son." The silver haired youkai came up beside his son, a smirk plastered on his weathered face. "I see that you are preparing yourself in becoming the master of ceremonies. Do you think that you will be able to conduct the ritual without my assistance, or do you want to wait another year until you are ready?"

Youko ignored the condescending timbre in his father's words and turned to face him. "What's the matter Nago? Are not yet ready to hand down me your position as clan leader after almost a century of reigning over our kind?"

Contempt flashed within his dull amber eyes before disappearing completely. "On the 75th summer of the birth of the first born son of the clan leader, it is customary for him to perform the sacred ritual, in which a pure virgin is sacrificed to the gods in order to preserve our traditions and increase our magical capabilities."

Youko resisted the urge to yawn. He'd heard this speech one too many times already and didn't want to waste his entire day listening to the ranting of a senile youkai that happened to his father. But although he hated the old kitsune and everything he stood for and believed in, he remained rooted to his spot, partly out of respect for the old fool, and partly because the old fool could still easily kick his ass any day. But that wouldn't be the case for long.

Oblivious to his son's waning interest in his sermon, Nago continued. "Upon carrying out your first sacrificial ritual, you will have to challenge me to a duel to the death in order claim the rights as clan leader. If you forfeit your entitlement as sovereign over our people by refusing to duel and if you fail to execute the sacrifice out of sentimental emotions, you will be banished from our homelands forever or even executed. Is this understood kit? Are you even listening to me?" he growled at Youko, who looked as though he had half fallen asleep.

The young kitsune stretched and was glad that the old fool had finally stepped off his pedestal. He hated standing still in one space for a long period of time. "I was listening, but if you're done, I need to be going. I have urgent business to attend to in the eastern lands." His right hand man Yomi had heard of a considerable amount of gold that was being transported through the terrain and he wanted to get his hands it before others started sniffing around. He frowned at the thought of some low level youkai stealing what was his…or was about to be his anyway.

"This is serious-"

"I know father," Youko cut him off, his patience wearing thin. "I will conduct the ceremony and challenge you for the position as clan leader." He stared undauntedly at his predecessor, a sly smile curving on his mouth. "And be prepared father, for when the time comes, I will be the one to bring you to your knees and take your life."

Nago smirked and folded his arms. "Always the confident one, that you are. But your cockiness will do nothing for you in a battle to the death. As you can plainly see, I am far more powerful than you will ever be. You are the one with only five tails. I possess eight."

Youko's hackles rose, his tails bristling at the blatant insult. "I will become stronger than you and you will die by my hands." He flashed an ivory pair of pointed teeth. "Or maybe by my fangs."

The older kitsune snorted in disdain, completely discounting his son's empty threat. "There is no way that you will be able to defeat me kit. Remember that. It took me fifty summers obtain two tails. What makes you think that you'll be able to acquire three before the end of mid-summer's eve?"

Youko glared at Nago coldly, his calculating orbs peering intently at his father, who remained unperturbed by his son's exhibition of intimidation. "I will gain my addition appendages in the set time, for I am smarter and by far stronger than you were at my age. You remember that. Good-bye, father." The young silver kitsune bypassed the old youkai.

A low growl rumbled in his chest once he was out of earshot of his father as he made his way down the path that led back to the his village. How dare that fool assume that he would be easy to take down in a duel? He was Kurama Youko, head of the notorious bandits that were renown for being the most evasive and formidable group of thieves ever to walk the lands of Japan. His skills surpassed most of the silver kitsune in his clan and with a few more months of additional training, he would become faster and stronger.

There wasn't a shadow of a doubt in his mind that he wouldn't be able to defeat his father in a match, for that bloodthirsty bastard of a father didn't deserve to be in charge of an elite race of youkai. His thirst for blood and greed was taking its toll on the clan. Nago was the reason why their numbers were so few. He was reason why his best friend, Kuronue, lay six feet under. Youko gritted his teeth at the next thought. And that bastard was the reason why his mother had died.

He suddenly stopped in his tracks, his ears rotating upward at the sound of rustling leaves above. "Hiei, were you planning to announce your presence any time soon?" Youko inquired without taking his eyes off of the small village that lay in the distance.

"Hn." The fire apparition leapt out of the great oak and landed gracefully beside his comrade. Being born to an ice maiden that had had an affair fire youkai, he had been abandoned by his mother's people at an early age. After being trained by ninjas and discarded as soon as they realized his disconcerting power, Hiei had met Youko and joined his brigade of bandits.

Arrogance exuded from the aura of the short youkai, his crimson irises fixated intently on the silver kitsune, his arms crossed in a bored manner. "The kit is gone."

A silver brow arched in response. He had barely been here a week. "Shippou has run away?" He had found the kit coming back from one of his robberies lying half dead beside his mother and father, who had been killed and skinned for their pelts. In an uncharacteristic display of pity, he had taken the orange-haired kit back to his clan. Kitsune had to look out for each other, silver or otherwise.

"Hai. Yomi threatened to kill him and he took off," he replied in the same even tone.

Youko scowled at this. He would have to have a talk with Yomi. Obviously he had forgotten his place. Although the kit wasn't of silver lineage, he should be treated as such since he had been informally inducted into their clan, a rarity in itself. "Which way did he go?" He had to bring Shippou back. The kit had a tendency to run his mouth and didn't yet know not to divulge in the whereabouts of their abode.

"Toward the Western lands. He left about two hours ago."

"I will retrieve him. Tell Yomi to take charge of the band and commence with the raid. I will join them shortly."

With final "hn", the fire youkai disappeared as silently as he had come.

Youko glanced at the sun that had yet to reach its pinnacle unhurriedly. It wouldn't take long to find the kit. He was undoubtedly faster than the child and knew his way around the land. Shippou, on the other hand, was running blindly with no idea where he was going. Perhaps this distraction would beneficial. Who knew what treasures he would come across by venturing out into the Western lands. With this in mind, a ghost of a smile uplifted the corners of the silver kitsune's mouth before he sprinted in the direction that the kit had scampered off to, unaware of how the effects of this excursion would change life as he knew it forever.

AN: So, tell me what you think. - Need I continue?