This is a short three-shot (a fic with only three chapters) that I made because I felt like it. The other two chapters have already been made, depending on the reviews I shall post them probably very soon.
This is AU (alternate universe) fic so pay no attention to historical facts. The idea was to retell the story of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with Inuyasha characters. The plot has pretty much been inspired by Victor Hugo's book "Notre Dame de Paris" as well as 1939 film version and 1996 Disney version.
Warning: I try, but English is not my native language and there are probably some mistakes.
Disclaimers: I made this for my own amusement, no profit is earned. "Hunchback of Notre Dame" story belongs to Victor Hugo. "Inuyasha" characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi.
DEMON OF THE SHRINE: A FEUDAL FAIRYTALE
Once upon a time in a land far away…
…there was a shrine, that stood tall and proud in the middle of a feudal city. The shrine acted as a spiritual haven for those who looked for guidance from Gods and as a sanctuary for hunted and persecuted. Within the walls of the shrine anyone could find a safe place without a fear of being taken against their own will. So powerful was the law of sanctuary and no emperor or towns lord had the power to shame it.
The city where the shrine was located was ruled over by Chief Justice Naraku. He claimed that everything he did was for the greater good of the people, but he was a hypocrite, power-mad and prejudice towards others. Naraku misused his authority daily and grew his personal power, so that people would be too afraid to oppose him. Yet there were also those who were not afraid to defy him. Their numbers were few, but Naraku never succeeded in capturing more than few of them, for they had a secret hiding place inside the city.
On a cold winter night Naraku and his soldiers managed to capture a small group of resistance fighters. Amongst them was a woman holding a small bundle close to her heart. When Naraku and his men appeared, she started running for her dear life towards the shrine. Naraku noticed her and was fast on her trails. The woman managed to get to the steps of shrine, desperately shouting "Sanctuary!" when Naraku shot an arrow to her back. The woman fell lifelessly in front of the shrine.
Naraku came closer to the body, to investigate what the small bundle had been. He heard soft crying and realized that the woman had been holding her baby. Naraku took the bundle and then saw the baby fully. Despite of being so young, the baby had very sharp nails and teeth. His hair was silvery white and his ears were not normal. They looked more like white dog ears and were located far higher on the baby's head than normal ears. Naraku felt nothing but disgust towards this loathsome creature and raised the child up, attempting to end his life by crushing his head to the ground.
But before he could act, he heard a voice.
"Stop, Naraku! Isn't one life enough for you?"
Naraku saw priestess Kikyo coming out of the shrine. She was the spiritual leader of the shrine and generally liked and respected person. Naraku loathed the woman, for she was the only person in the town who was completely out of his power's reach. If he ever did anything to her or the shrine, he knew, it would create uproar.
Naraku showed her the baby. "Look at this infant, Kikyo. Can you truly say it would be best to leave this misshapen child alive? Surely even you must admit that it's a monster!"
"I see only one monster here, Naraku, and it is not the one in your hands" was a harsh reply from the priestess. "Moreover, are you declaring war to Gods now? You have taken a life on the steps of this shrine, the divine house of Gods!"
Naraku had always been able to justify everything he did for himself, but this time he hesitated. Never before had he committed violence or shed blood in the shrine. And all he had done had been, in his delusional mind, for greater good. But what greater purpose would deaths of a harmless woman and a baby serve?
For the first time in his life, Naraku feared the wrath of Gods.
"Then what should I do to make amends to Gods?" he hesitantly asked.
Kikyo did not look at him when she answered, while covering the dead woman's body. "You must now take care for the child and raise it as your own".
Naraku's immediate reaction was to argue back but he realized that for once he didn't have a choice. "Very well, but I can't take him to my house. I shall raise this child, but you must let him live in the shrine".
Kikyo agreed to this. "What will you name the child?"
Naraku looked at the child's dog like appearance and a cruel smile appeared to his face. "Inuyasha".
16 years later Inuyasha had grown into a young man and become the caretaker of the shrine. He knew the temple inside out and had become to call it his home. He was usually dressed in a red hakama and wore beads that were left from his dead mother around his neck. He was a great help to Kikyo, who was the only person he didn't treat with disrespect. Naraku had raised Inuyasha to be extremely suspicious towards people and when he, due to his appearance, never received anything but fear and hate for them, Inuyasha was bitter towards others. Naraku had also made it very clear that Inuyasha was never allowed to leave the shrine.
"This is your sanctuary, boy. Out there is a cruel and evil world where I cannot protect you from suffering" he had said.
Inuyasha had no problems to obey this rule. Whenever he did venture outside of shrine, usually to help Kikyo at the markets, he would be called "monster" and "demon".
However, there was one day of the year when Inuyasha felt tempted to break this rule and go amongst the people. It was one day in the year when a huge festival was arranged and everyone wore a costume and masks. During that one day Inuyasha could walk amongst other citizens without receiving their glares and stares and just be himself.
This year also, Inuyasha pulled a long cape around himself, to hide his trademark red robes, and wore a small mask to cover his face, which made it look like the ears were part of the costume. In this disguise he could also hide from Naraku's watchful eye, for he would certainly be present during the festival, as a public official.
Chief Justice did indeed arrive to the festival and with him came the new captain of his guards; a handsome soldier named Kouga.
"Keep your men in line, Captain. I wouldn't be surprised if many of those resistance fighters would be amongst this crowd" Naraku informed. "Though their leader would never be stupid enough to come out in broad daylight".
"Their leader?" Kouga asked.
"A former noble man named Sesshoumaru has been leading these rebels for the past decade already. And although I have taken care of the rebels one after another, new one seems to come up. They have a hideout in this city. Your job, captain, is to find it".
"I shall do my best, your honor".
"Good. Isn't your fiancée joining the feast?"
"Ayame hasn't arrived to town yet. She will come tomorrow".
On that moment two soldiers arrived, dragging with them a young man.
"Your honor, we caught this man sharing revolutionary ideals with people" one of the soldiers said.
Naraku looked down at the young man, who was dressed in purple monk's robes.
"What is your name?" Naraku asked.
"Miroku, sir. I am just a humble scholar trying to share my ideals with others…"
"Trying to raise people to rebel is what you were trying to do. I should have you beheaded for this. But since it is a feast day and you're new in the town, I shall be merciful. Take this man and brand him. Let that be a lesson for you".
Miroku tried to plead but soldiers dragged him away. Kouga was beginning to understand what kind of a man Naraku was.
Meanwhile Inuyasha had come to the conclusion that this year's festival was no different than the previous one and was already heading back to shrine, when he happened to notice a small group of people performing for the money. This wasn't unusual, there were other performers present also, but Inuyasha's whole attention was suddenly captivated by this particular show. There was a young woman with brown hair and a younger boy with identical hair – relatives? – standing by the wall, both of them playing two different instruments that together made music. A small yellow cat jumped happily on the ground. There were also two children, one boy with reddish brown hair and one girl in yellow-orange kimono, and one young woman dancing in the beat of the music.
It was the dancing woman that caught Inuyasha's interest. She was young, probably no older than he was, and she did look a bit like Kikyo. They had same black hair and same eyes. But this girl was smiling a big sunny smile. For the life of his Inuyasha could not recall Kikyo ever smiling. The way the girl danced, smiled and moved…it all expressed such a huge joy of life that he was captivated by it.
Naraku had noticed the dancer too and he was also captivated by her free spirit. Naraku didn't often find himself interested in women in general, but something about this girl woke feelings in him. Feelings, he had long ago then thought to have buried.
Inuyasha was so mesmerized by the girl that he didn't notice in time that people around him had gone quiet and moved back. Too late did he notice Naraku riding on his black horse to this direction, with Captain Kouga close to him. Inuyasha tried at once to disappear, but so great was his panicked that he stumbled on his cape and revealed his red robes. Naraku took one look at those robes and recognized them immediately.
"Inuyasha! Why are you here and not in the shrine?! I have told over and over and over again that you must never leave the shrine!"
Before Inuyasha could defend himself, Naraku had snatched the mask from his face. Gasps were heard as the people around him realized the ears had not been part of the costume.
"Get back to the shrine. I shall speak to you later" Naraku commanded.
From the corner of his eye Inuyasha saw the stunned expression of the dancing girl. He felt suddenly very hurt by that and it angered him. He quickly turned his face away, so he wouldn't see the look of disgust he was certain would appear on her face. If Inuyasha had looked a little while longer, he would have seen that the girl's face only showed pity, not repulsion.
"Your Honor, who is that…that man?" Kouga asked.
"Inuyasha. He's my ward. I took him under my wings out of the goodness of my heart when his mother abounded him. And he repays it with disobedience".
Naraku looked once more at the girl and then turned his attention elsewhere.
The festival continued long to the night and sky was already black when the people started to return to their homes. Naraku had ordered his spy Kanna, a girl whose mind Naraku had broken, to spy on the dancer girl and inform him when she would start to leave. The dancer was one of the last ones to leave and hour was late, but when Kanna came to Naraku he wasted no time. For reasons beyond him Naraku was convinced he had to get this girl.
He went to shrine and ordered Inuyasha to come with him. He didn't want to take any of his soldiers for he could not trust them to keep their mouth shuts. He and Inuyasha walked through the silent streets until Naraku saw the dancing girl.
"I am ready to forgive you, Inuyasha, for your disobedience earlier today, but first you must do something for me. You must go and get that woman for me".
Inuyasha didn't understand at all what the idea was, but if it would spare him of his guardian's anger he would do it. Having reflexes and movements unlike other humans, Inuyasha silently approached the woman. When he was close enough he took one huge leap and landed right behind her. Before the girl realized what was happening, he put his other hand to her mouth and with his other hand he captured both of her hands.
However, neither Inuyasha nor Naraku had noticed that the girl hadn't been walking alone. The little boy that had danced with her was walking little ahead of her, and turned around to see Inuyasha trying to steal her. For such a little boy he certainly made a big noise, as he started to scream and shout for help.
Captain Kouga had been patrolling nearby with two of his most trusted soldiers, Hakkaku and Ginta. The three of them quickly made their way to the scene.
When Inuyasha saw the soldiers he tried to get away and in panic let go of the girl. When doing so the girl turned around and Inuyasha saw her face and recognized her as the dancer. He was so shocked by this that soldiers caught and chained him.
"Take this animal to the Palace of Justice" Kouga commanded. "Chief Justice will decide his punishment".
From the shadows Naraku had seen everything and he was hissing with fury. He knew he couldn't change the situation anymore and therefore quietly disappeared.
Kouga turned to the girl. "You are the dancer from earlier today".
The girl nodded. "Yes, sir. My name is Kagome and this is my friend Shippo" she said, pointing to the boy.
"Pretty name you have. Matching for you. You are not hurt, I hope?"
"Oh no, sir. Thank you for your concern" Kagome said and blushed little.
"Well, I wish you safe night for now" Kouga said and left.
"Kagome? Are you alright?" Shippo asked, watching his friend looking after the captain.
"I'm fine, Shippo. He was just so handsome" she said dreamily.
"Forget it, Kagome. He is captain of Naraku's guards. If he'd known the truth of us we'd be arrested also".
Not far away from them, a young monk Miroku was walking without an actual knowledge where to go. He didn't have a place to stay in, he was hungry, tired and in pain. He tried to take his thoughts away from his hand that was hurting so much. Naraku's men had actually branded him. He had ripped a piece of his robe to use as a bandage and hide the ugly mark on the palm of his hand.
"This is the reward that I get for trying to share wisdom…"
Miroku wondered more and more to the darker streets, thinking he would walk until fall asleep to some gutter for being too tired. Suddenly something flew towards him from the shadows, something that to his amazement looked like a giant boomerang. Before he had time to react, the object hit him to the head. Very hard.
Shouting with pain – "Gods don't like me today" – he fell to the ground when a chain appeared and he found himself tied tightly to it. He was a prisoner.
Two figures emerged from the darkness. A young woman with brown hair and a younger boy with same hair. They were the same people who had been playing music to Kagome's dancing.
"Who are you? What is your business here? Are you a spy?" the woman asked.
Miroku tried to explain himself. "Please, listen! Why are you doing this? I have no money!"
"Are you a spy?" the woman repeated.
"Come one, sis" the boy said. "Let's take him to Sesshoumaru".
The woman nodded and raised her hand. Miroku thought she was going to slap him, when the giant boomerang came back and she caught it. The boy held the chains and pulled them, forcing Miroku to come with them.
They led Miroku deeper to the darkness until he realized they had moved to huge underground caves. Several torches lit the place and revealed it to be a lair of dozens of people. A small man with a staff came to meet them.
"Sango! Kohaku! Who is this stranger you have brought here?" he asked.
"We found him snooping at the entrance, Jaken. We came to ask Sesshoumaru what we should do with him" the woman Sango explained.
Jaken nodded and brought them to the center of the cave. There, by the huge fire, sat a man on a chair. He had noble features and long almost silvery hair. His eyes were cold and it seemed he didn't smile often. Next to him was a woman leaning to the chair. She was beautiful but was also lacking the natural smile and had her black hair pulled up to her head. At the man's feet there was a little girl in yellow-orange kimono sitting. Unlike the two grownups, she had bright eyes and a smiling face.
Jaken approached the sitting man. "My lord Sesshoumaru, Sango and Kohaku found this man near the entrance to our hideout".
Sesshoumaru turned to look at Miroku, and young monk felt like the gaze sliced through him. "What is your business here?" Sesshoumaru asked.
Miroku realized that was his chance to explain. "Sir, I am new to this town and I lack a place to sleep. I did not know I wasn't supposed to come here".
"Are you a spy of Naraku's?"
"What? Chief Justice Naraku? Certainly not. I would not side myself with such a man. Look what he did to me just today!" Miroku said and showed the burned brand mark on his palm.
"Kazaana- mark" Sesshoumaru acknowledged. "But how do we know he didn't force you to become a spy by branding you?"
"You…you have to trust me?" Miroku pleaded.
"Not good enough. Hang him".
The young monk fell to his knees. "Please! What do I have to do to live?"
"You have already seen our entrance and therefore cannot leave. You must die" Sesshoumaru explained. His voice was neither pitiful nor cruel. It sounded indifferent.
"Wait" the girl at his feet said. "Why can't he join us? Then he wouldn't be a threat".
"Rin, we don't know if he is spy pretending to be an innocent fool. Letting him stay would be too much of a risk".
The girl pouted. "It is cruel to just hang a man. That's what Naraku would do".
Little girl's words seemed to affect Sesshoumaru. "Well, does anyone have other ideas?" he asked.
"How about we put him on probation" the woman leaning to his chair said.
"What do you mean, Kagura?"
"Well, if one of us would take this man on their responsibility for a certain amount of time and judge if he can be trusted or not. Isn't that what you did to me when I first came here?" Kagura said.
"Who would take him?" Sesshoumaru asked.
There was a moment of hushed noises coming everywhere and Miroku tried to see if anyone would spare pity for him.
Finally he heard a sigh coming next to him. "I will take him".
Miroku turned to see that it was the woman Sango who had spoken.
"Why you?" Sesshoumaru asked.
"I was the one who caught him. Don't I have certain rights then?"
Sesshoumaru thought this for a moment. "Very well. Monk, you owe your life for this woman. Give her reason to doubt your honesty and you shall loose the life you won for now".
The boy let Miroku out of chains while speaking to his sister. "Why did you want to do this, sis?"
"Because Rin is right, Kohaku. If we don't believe in second chances we are no better than Naraku".
"Hey, what is going on here?"
All three of them turned around to see Kagome and Shippo.
"Nothing much. This monk stumbled here and is pretty much in my care now" Sango explained.
"My name is Miroku, nice to meet you" monk explained, hoping to gain more friends than enemies here.
"You took him in your care, Sango? Are you in love also?" Shippo asked.
Sango seemed like she couldn't breathe. "Of course not, Shippo! What a foolish thing to say!" she yelled in a moment of embarrassment. Then she recovered. "What do you mean also?"
"Well Kagome here laid her eyes on a handsome Captain of the guards…" Shippo smirked and Kagome blushed furiously.
"What? Really? Why did you meet guard's captain?"
"It's a long story, Sango. I'll explain it to you later" Kagome said.
"Alright, let's see if there's anything left to eat. And…Miroku was it?" Sango asked.
"Come on, I'll give you some ointment for that hand and show you where to sleep. It's close to my bed, but no funny business then. I'm not afraid to use force on men".
"Hint taken" Miroku smiled.
End of Part One
As I said before, two other chapters have already been made. Tell me what you think and I'll update soon again!