Beauty and the Beast
Disclaimer I don't own Bleach or Inuyasha or even Beauty and the Beast, nor do I own Twilight. And I once again prove how obsessed I am with Kagome and Ichigo pairings. Okay almost canon Inuyasha, except Kikyo lived and Kohaku didn't, canon Bleach till mid episode 310. 6011.6 years is how long Kagome was in the bubble world, in case anyone wonders how long Kagome was there.
Oh and I made something of a playlist of music to go with it, so if you want, put this playlist together and then read. Starting with the song a Little Town from Beauty and the Beast, next is Reverse the Curse (guess where I got the title from) by Escape this Fate #3 Romeo and Juliet by S.O.A.P. #4 Beauty and the Beast by Celine Dion #5 Chemicals React by Ally and Aj #6 is Looking Through Your Eyes from Quest for Camelot #7 A Never Ending Dream by Cascada #8 Something There from Beauty and the Beast #9 Beauty and the Beast by Nightwish #10 Immortal by Adema #11 Kill the Beast or the Mob song from Beauty and the Beast #12 Different by Egypt Central #13 Kiss the Girl from the Little Mermaid #14 If I Never Knew You from Pocahontas #15 Beauty and the Beast off the soundtrack. Hope you listen to and like it and like the story. Stupid oneshot that it is.
"Copied from Twilight or reading aloud"
Kagome looked around at everyone's hopeful faces, Inuyasha had told her she should make the wish the night before when she had tried to hand him the jewel. Kikyo had been resting, she had said she wouldn't make Inuyasha keep his promise of going to hell with her. So Kagome was happy for the two of them, the one problem was Kikyo was dead. Kohaku had died but he had turned on Naraku saving Sango from him, so Sango was at peace, Miroku and Sango had agreed once they got back to Kaede's village they would be married and Miroku would become the new village monk. Shippo was happy, she had let him start calling her mama, and she too was thrilled, she just wished he could call Inuyasha papa. Sesshomaru had been there and after it all the fighting had stopped, told Inuyasha he no long would seek to kill him, Rin had left with him humming happily.
Kagome looked again, she knew what she wanted, she knew what she should wish, and then there was door number three, the wish she wasn't sure would work. She clasped her hands over the jewel and wished,"I wish for everyone to get their heart's desires."
Kagome looked up and could see Kohaku walking from the woods, Inuyasha was staring at Kikyo eyes wide and Kagome could see the glow of life taking hold again, Inuyasha had black hair and violet eyes, Miroku was staring at his hand shocked, the wind tunnel was back but under control. Kagome looked down at the jewel in her hands, it was clear, just a crystal, she looked up glad her friends were so happy. Then dizziness struck her, and she fell to her knees, the jewel rolling from her hands as she caught herself.
"Kagome!" she heard the others yell, Kagome tried to answer but couldn't, she tried to breathe but found she couldn't, then she heard her heart stop, she fell on her face unable to stop herself. Black swallowed her whole.
Five Hundred Years in the Future
Ichigo watched Aizen bend, bowed by the Kido, he had been ready to see him dead, but sealed away was just sad. He could feel his powers drifting away faster then he thought they would, and he almost was sad, he knew Aizen was a threat to everything he wanted to protect, but victory was hollow. He sat down while Urahara and two other Shinigami hauled Aizen away, he sat slowly on a rock, he liked the idea of being normal, but having no powers and being helpless suddenly seem to loom before him.
Urahara came back, and told him what was likely to become of Aizen, and well he wanted to be glad he only felt sad. What Aizen was, and what he had done was evil, but what was happening to him was just as sad. He was glad Urahara had let his friends remember, he didn't want to hide any more, he wanted them to know everything.
He was surprised when Ishida, Chad, Orihime, Rukia and Renji showed up. All of them hurt, all of them bandaged, he half smiled, his friends. All had fought, all had survived. He closed his eyes, feeling the sun touch his skin, he felt his power wane and knew he wouldn't be able to stay in Soul Society much longer. He opened his eyes and looked over his friends, they seemed worried for him, and they didn't even know he was going to lose his powers, he figured they were just worried he'd been hurt by Aizen. He almost smiled when Rukia showed how worried she was about him, and then he realized Orihime was almost crying with relief, he stood up, "Hey what's with that look, Inoue?"
"I admit with my hair grown out it's a mess but..." he took a step forward, and almost groaned. He was far too weak to be walking about, he fell landing hard, dirt cushioning his body. Had he been able he would have laughed, his friends were going to freak out now. Then he passed out barely hearing his friends call his name, running forward.
Ichigo woke suddenly, sitting upright, he couldn't feel his friends...
He looked around, he would have thought they would be here when he woke up, and for that matter where was he? He looked to be in a forest, and not just any forest but an untamed one at that, there weren't any forest like this near Karakura... For that matter about the only time he remembered seeing forest like this was in Soul Society, but it didn't feel like that. It felt like he was in the real world.
Ichigo looked around more slowly, while getting to his feet, he was wearing his normal Shikai clothes but his first Bankai was laying next to him, and he still had no clue where he was. He leaned down picking Zangetsu up, he frowned again he couldn't feel Zangetsu. No power seemed to come from his sword. He swung testing if he could throw any Getsuga Tenshou, the answer was even if it looked like his Bankai nothing was there, he sighed, before finding a way to tie it his waist. He looked around, he was in the middle of no where as far as he could tell, there was no trail he could see, he shrugged and started walking to his left.
An hour and a half later he found a trail, so he started to follow it, five minutes later he met a guy in jeans and a green tee. "Oh hi!" the man greeted.
Ichigo frowned, he couldn't be in Soul Society if the guy was wearing jeans, and if he was in the real world the guy shouldn't be able to see him, "Hey, where am I?"
The guy shrugged, "None of us know for sure but we're pretty sure it's some sort of limbo, you were hurt or something last thing you remember right?"
Ichigo nodded, "Something."
The man nodded, "Yeah we all live in a village-town thing half a mile this way," he said pointing back the way he had came, "I was out here doing the normal search for new people like yourself."
Ichigo nodded slowly, "How do you get out?"
The man shrugged, "You don't, people can be here any where from a year to four, then one morning no can find them, some think back in the village something that lives here brings us here and then eats the ones who disappear but I think they wake up or die."
Ichigo nodded, "Thing?"
The guy laughed, "How about I introduce myself and you head back to the village, they can tell you more back there, some have 'seen it'. I haven't and don't believe it. I'm Yoshio Yamamoto."
Ichigo nodded, "Ichigo Kurosaki."
The man snorted, looking at his hair, Ichigo sighed, "Can we skip the strawberry thing? My name is one who protects."
Yamamoto nodded, waving a hand, "sure sure. Just walk that way and you'll reach the village."
Ichigo nodded and set out, he reached it in under a half an hour, it was a curious mix of old style huts and new westernized houses. Ichigo frowned deeper, what was this place?
He was quickly greeted by two other men who were sitting on a bench, "You're new."
Ichigo nodded, "Yeah, I was told I could learn more here?"
One of the men nodded, "Yeah I'm the eldest here."
Ichigo looked the guy over he was young maybe twenty-four, "Eldest?"
The guy laughed, "As you can tell that has nothing to do with how old you are but how long you've been here, I've been here almost four years."
Ichigo nodded, "Ah hun. Right so what's the deal?"
"We're not on earth exactly, everything looks the same, but you can walk four days in every direction and end up right back where you started, you need food and can grow anything even though it never seems to rain, we have community showers, we have old style ovens, we don't have electricity, but candles never need to be made, we always have four boxes sitting in the shed. There is a castle in the center of this world, I've seen the castle, huge walls surround it and according to the eldest before me, there is a monster that lives there, some of the men here have seen it, I never have. Some think maybe it eats people because some times men go into the woods and never come out, but I don't believe it. You likely will be here about two years, that seems average, but you might be only a year or you might be the next eldest, no one knows and there seems to be no pattern to who stays longer and who doesn't. Everyone here remembers being hurt some how, so we think it's some sort of limbo."
Ichigo nodded, "Sounds reasonable."
The guy nodded, "I'm Toru Kobayashi."
Ichigo nodded, "Ichigo Kurosaki."
The other guy sitting with Toru who looked to be something like thirty, spoke up, "Akihiko Tanaka."
Ichigo nodded politely, Akihiko stood and said, "How about I get you settled in?"
"Sure." Ichigo followed him as he was lead across the trail to a street where half a dozen men were hoeing crops on one side while houses lined the other, he was taken to the eighth house. "Here you go, empty for three weeks, now, I think Dai has some clothes left if you want to change."
Ichigo nodded "Thank you."
Akihiko shrugged, "We've all been there, it's only fair we pass it along."
Over the next four months Ichigo settled in, he helped with crops, and searches for new guys, that was one other thing, no woman even showed up, the Eldest said it had been that way for all the stories he had ever heard. Toru vanished and a guy named Fumio took over being Eldest, they could hunt and catch rabbits and other small food, but nothing big ever was around. Fumio was one of the guys who believed he had seen the monster, he said it dressed in a women's kimono but had a dragon's head, and where arms should have been he said it had ten arms, five on either side, some look like insect legs, others a dragon's claws, then instead of legs he said he saw tentacles.
As Fumio feared the monster he set up night watches, Ichigo being the only one with a weapon more threatening then a poorly made knife was made head guard. Him and Yoshio had gotten to be pretty good friends, Yoshio switched to being a guard and had become second in command, so they spent a lot of the nights talking.
It was coming up on his fifth month, and it was sun rise, he was talking to the guys taking over for him and Yoshio, when he sensed it. Eyes focused on him, he spun, no one was behind him, it was just the woods... There, that was movement, he charged into the woods ignoring the others chasing and calling after him.
The shadow was fast, but not fast enough, then it disappeared. He stopped surprised, he looked around Zangetsu held ready. He spun searching the clearing once, then twice, then he noticed one shadow seemed deeper then it should be. He lunged bring Zangetsu up to the thing's throat, he froze now able to see what he had captured. It was something, a dragon's head, the scales running down the throat, the body was oddly woman like, but the hands were claws and she seemed not have legs, tentacles were the nicest thing he could call them. She was wearing a Kimono, but it had slits in a very modern way for movement, he met the thing's eyes and he saw fear. He had found what had been watching him, but now what did he do? He still hadn't decided when the others caught up Yoshio in the front.
Six Months Ago
Kagome sighed, she was so lonely, she hadn't had any visitors in more then twenty years, it hadn't been this bad since the beginning. Then everyone took one look at her and ran screaming 'Demon! Demon!' she had known from her travels before that the people of that time were closed minded but it hurt to be the one taking the abuse.
Kagome remember the first words she heard when she woke up, she was facing Midoriko, who looked disapproving, 'Miko your wish almost worked. The jewel will never be used again for harm, but you wished selfishly, you wished for everyone's heart's desires, yours included. You have a price to pay. You have five hundred and one years to find someone who loves you as unselfishly as you should have loved Inuyasha, time here will move slower, so you will have even longer, but if you find no one loves you, you will die, never returning to your time, and your family.'
Kagome sighed, she had thought it would easy till Midoriko showed her what she had become, she looked like the demon Midoriko had sealed in the jewel. She since had removed every mirror but the special mirror Midoriko gave her, she had said 'Speak a name into the mirror and you will be able to see whatever they are doing and whatever they have done.'
She since had learned many many mens lives and names, so many she couldn't remember all of them, some were very normal till the accident that brought them to her little pocket world, other weren't so normal. She herself had tested the limits of their world, she had walked everywhere and found she would always end up at the castle. She had let the early men build their village, and she made sure her servants always kept the things they couldn't make stocked, it wasn't their fault she was cursed, so if they weren't curious about her she left them alone. Except to learn their names, and life stories.
She had been nosy before but now she couldn't stop, every single time there was a new batch of men she would go out to the village and eavesdrop for a day or two till she had all the new one's names and then she would have something to do for the next six months of the bubble world's time. As Midoriko had promised time moved slowly, for every month one of the men was unconscious a year passed here, so the four year thing mean that they had only been out for four months. She was pretty sure that was why no one had found her yet, they woke and found the time they had thought had passed hadn't and dismissed her, she had to admit after so long with only months before her dead line up she found she had almost no hope. She had two months real world time left to find someone, and she hadn't talked to any of the men in years in this time. The last man to promise to free her had been thirty years before in real world time, she had others who became friends but none claimed to love her, they kept her company, talked to her, ate dinner with her, read the books in the library but nothing more.
Kagome sighed, she had long since learned she couldn't see what had happened to her friends in the feudal era nor could she look at her friends, and family in the modern era.
"Madame there are eight new men, perhaps you should look in on them."
Kagome looked up at Atsushi, she smiled at the man, thing, she still wasn't sure what he was after all this time. She knew he was a male but that was all, he looked flat, like a one dimensional man, but he was an able servant, black hair, white skin, brown eyes, brown clothes. He had proven to be her one true friend through all of this, she knew the other half a dozen servants but Atsushi was the only one who could speak Japanese and she couldn't even hear how the spoke among themselves. All matched his description, flat, with black hair, brown eyes and white skin, oh and they all wore brown, light brown, dark brown didn't matter but it was always brown. "No Atsushi, I will leave them alone last time I went, I found I almost gave myself away, as time grows short my powers have weakened. It is a risk to go, too risky."
"Very well, the library?"
Kagome nodded, "The Library."
At first she had found it hard because she now had demon powers, not to mention no legs like she was use too, but she learned with time, how to walk, how to eat without looking like she was drooling food, and how to sneak using demon speed, but with the deadline approaching the demon powers were fading, leaving her feeling weak, and tired, often too tired. She had to admit she had just about given up, surely she would have found someone who could love her by now?
A Week Ago
Madame I think you should go look at the new men, you can't give up now, you still have close to a year and a half to find someone."
Kagome glared up at Atsushi, she was reading her favorite book, and he was telling her she should go try to see if any of the new men would be willing to come and maybe, just maybe fall in love with her. "Ha." she snorted at her thoughts, not only had Inuyasha found her lacking but not one, not one, in far too many years had fallen in love with her and kept their promise to find her body and free it, waking her. "Atsushi, I don't see the point, I have accepted I will pay a price for my wish, why won't you?"
"Because Madame I think you have given up too soon, several of the young men show no fear of you, they don't believe the others and have spoke of coming to find you and prove you aren't so fearsome."
Kagome raised what would have been an eyebrow on a human, "So, men will be men, you should know this by now, they boast to their friends and for the most part don't have the balls to back it up."
Atsushi sighed, he knew by now when she wouldn't give in, "Very well Madame."
He bowed out leaving her alone, Kagome huffed, feeling the familiar pain of regret, she didn't regret her wish, just that she was so unloveable. Her mother loved her, her brother loved her, her grandfather loved her, and her friends cared, Miroku, Sango, Shippo and Inuyasha had loved her, Koga had loved her, but now she wondered how much of it was she was a normal girl, a pretty girl even. Because now that she didn't have her looks she barely could make friends much less find someone to fall in love with her. And then she hated herself for doubting her friends, Naraku could kidnap and try to poison her mind and she held firm but time alone without them and she went to pieces.
Kagome clenched her jaw, bitting back the tears, she closed the book, and left her desk going to her western bed, one thing that was awesome about a magic castle, never ending hot showers and furniture that she loved, not to mention all the books she could read and more. She laid face down, only then letting the bitter tears escape her slitted eyes.
The Early Hours of The Morning Before Ichigo Sees Her
Kagome slipped from her room, running through the garden, jumping the walls, she was curious about the new men, and Atsushi flaunting them in her face was getting old. So she was sneaking out, she knew Atsushi would know, he always knew, but at least she didn't have to face him and see the satisfaction on his face.
She would spend the day get their names and come back, no contact, not even a glimpse, well she would see them but they couldn't see her. Then she would come back for dinner, and watch someone's life while she ate.
She ran, from the time she had gained control of her new body, and learned how to run she loved the speed, she finally understood why Inuyasha loved to run. She reached the village very quickly, and she was surprised by the changes, there were more huts, and the fields were bigger, but the biggest one was the fact they had cut the forest back from the edge of the village by a hundred feet, and it was well lit by torches, and there were men patrolling. After she got over her surprise she noticed one man in particular, his hair glowed in the torch light as if it burned, but it wasn't red, no it was pure orange.
Then she noticed not only was he odd looking, but he was dressed in old fashioned black clothes, she frowned, everyone showed up in what they had worn when they were knocked out, jeans had become the norm, so why and how would he get knocked out wearing clothes like that? Not to mention she had never seen anyone bring anything other then their clothes with them, even she hadn't. So how did he have a sword?
She prowled around, watching him and his friend, Yoshio if she remembered right. Soon she caught his name, Ichigo. Fitting in an odd way, a funny name for a boy, but fitting if you remember the other thing it could mean, it at least explained, why he walked like a fighter. He protected someone, and he had probably had to defend himself with such a common girl's name, not to mention his hair.
Kagome found a spot and settled down to watch, it wasn't hard to guess why the change had happened, she knew some of the men still here had seen her, and it wasn't like it was the first time someone who had seen her, feared her enough to start a watch. She knew she should be prowling trying to find some place she could hide but would be able to over hear the daily conversations, and pick up some new names, but Ichigo had caught her attention, he wasn't like the rest of the men, not only did he have a sword, but she could almost touch something else. She knew her senses, well weaker then they had been a mere year ago, but they were still far shaper then she remembered from her human years, so for her to just barely be sensing something, he either was hiding it, or he was here because he was losing them or was badly weakened and had fallen into a coma.
She stared, watching and wondering about him as the sun started to rise, then something odd happened, he turned and looked right at her as if he could see her, Kagome stood, wondering whether she should leave, he was staring at her, he shouldn't be able to see her, she was in shadow...
He took a half step forward and that decided it for her, she took off, and before she had gotten far she realized he was after her, she ran faster, and to her shock he was gaining. Then the critical fact of he had a sword occurred, Kagome felt her eyes widen and she almost panicked, she didn't want him to kill her, she didn't mean any harm. She pushed herself harder and realized she was already going as fast as she could, for a moment she cursed her weakening powers before she dismissed it, at the moment there was nothing she could do about it. She threw herself behind a tree, hoping he wouldn't see her and then would leave.
It seemed to work for a minute, then in a movement she could barely follow he pinned her to the tree, sword to her throat. Kagome mind worked feverishly, what could she say to stop him from slitting her throat?
The men who had been with him joined them in the clearing, Kagome could see them but knew they likely couldn't see her, she was in shadow after all, they likely could barely see Ichigo. Yoshio stepped forward, "Ichigo?"
The man holding her to the tree looked away, a scowl still plastered to his face. The dawn light caught his face, and Kagome felt a fluttery feeling she recognized as a attraction, had she not been so scared her mouth would have fallen open in surprise. But his sword was still pressed to her throat, and she knew all too well, if she didn't do something he likely was going to kill her.
She realized she could pull a very Naraku like move, and make it out, taking him with her, he likely would hate her, but she wouldn't be alone any more. Kagome acted, half hating herself for it, she shot three tentacles into the ground no one could tell and Ichigo didn't notice she was doing something, so her tentacles reached Yoshio and shot up under him lifting him fifty feet in the air. Ichigo's head spun back to her shocked, and she noticed with the half her mind occupied with the fact she liked him that his eyes were a wonderful warm amber.
Kagome spoke, ignoring the blood trickling from the cut she got as he increased the pressure he was applying to her throat, she was holding Yoshio and if Ichigo didn't believe her and slit her throat anyway, she would do her best to keep the man safe, in other words she was going to bluff and lie. "If you kill me I'll throw him higher, and you know he couldn't survive the fall."
Ichigo scowled harder, and Kagome could see his mind judging distances, trying to guess if he could make it in time to catch him.
"You wouldn't make it in time if I threw I him."
He let out an almost inaudible growl, "What do you want then?"
Kagome wanted to close her eyes and tell him everything, but she had long since learned telling the men everything was the worst mistake she could make, "I want you to hand me your sword, and agree to come with me to my castle."
His eyes narrowed, anger written across his face, "Why would I do something so stupid as turn myself over to you?"
Kagome kept her face stony, though she knew with her face so different from a human's it was hard to read her emotions, "Because he's your friend, and if you do that I'll put him down gently."
He growled again pressing harder, Kagome lifted Yoshio a little higher, then both were surprised when the other two men spoke up, "Kurosaki don't do it!"
"Yeah we don't know what she'll do with you!"
Kagome raised her draconic eyebrow, some how she had a feeling the men each meant something a bit different then the other. "If you surrender I promise your friend will reach the ground safely and no harm will come to you at my castle."
He stiffened, something she was all too aware of, it was sickening, she's attracted to him and she has to blackmail him into even coming with her. He pulled away lowering his blade, ignoring the other men's opinions as she was, of course she was too focused on him to worry about two ordinary men. One tried to rush her with the puny knife he had, Kagome sent another tentacle at him tripping him and then basically tying him up, Ichigo scowled, he knew that she knew even if he saved one guy she now had another hostage to bargain with.
He flung his sword to her left, knowing she could reach it, she in turn lowered Yoshio but she wanted a promise first, she knew even as it hurt her, she would likely have to threaten the village so he wouldn't run away. "Your word?"
"I swear I will come quietly with you to your castle."
"And will you promise to stay for how ever long you stay in this world?"
He clenched his jaw, grinding his teeth so loudly she could even hear it. "I swear I will stay and not run away."
Kagome nodded, marginally glad she hadn't had to threaten the village. She picked his sword up and promptly stared at it, she hadn't felt a sword with such personality since Tetsusaiga. She felt the force of his glare on her, and she looked up, his body langue screamed the same invasion of privacy Inuyasha felt when someone touched his sword too, Kagome once again found herself wondering what kind of sword this was to have reached such a place. She lowered Yoshio, and lightly flung the guy who had tried to interfere away, Ichigo twitched but didn't say anything realizing the other guy hadn't been part of the deal. Besides he could see while mildly stunned, the guy wasn't hurt, Kagome tilted her head, "If I lead will you follow?"
Ha gave her one short nod, and Kagome took off, feeling him follow, resentfully, but follow none the less, Kagome felt more than attraction, she felt respect for him and once again felt self loathing for forcing this on him.
Ichigo followed the creature, anger boiling under his skin. He knew he had agreed to follow but part of him just wanted to turn away, he had been pushed into a agreeing, having seen her hold a friend over his head, just a touch literally, he knew if he went back on his word she likely find something else to hold over him. Even if he was angry he found curiosity over whelming it, what was this, this thing doing here? For that matter what was it? He wasn't sure why but at this exact moment he found he wasn't worried about her breaking her word and attacking, probably because if she was likely to do that she would have the moment he tossed Zangetsu away.
Ichigo soon found himself standing out side some huge black gates, metal of an unknown origin, and at least twenty feet high, the thing having watched him stare, seem to smile showing off her many large, sharp teeth. She proceeded to push the gates open, and did so as if she was opening a normal door, Ichigo was unable to help himself, he was impressed.
The feeling died away quickly enough, she didn't look back to check if he was following, and she didn't pause, she went straight for the front door. Irritation bubbled, but he knew if she had held one person prisoner to blackmail him here, she would and could do it again. He stepped the rest of the way through the gate, and they swung silently shut, and Ichigo felt the insane urge to gulp, he was in the spider's parlor. He was all set to yell when he saw, and really realized what was in front of him; He, just from here, could see four different gardens, a rock garden, a garden that seemed to be all about the water features, and two others both seemed to be about flowers. The place was a feudal palace, the building stretched further then he could see, rice paper walls all painted beautifully, a walk stretched around the outside of the palace as far as he could see.
He realized he'd stopped and rushed to catch up to... the thing. She didn't looked at him, and he almost huffed, if she wasn't going to hurt him and had gone through a fair amount of trouble to get him here ignoring him was annoying. He nearly jumped when she yelled, "Atsushi!"
And just like that the door in front of him open and he found himself facing a abnormally normal guy, black hair, brown eyes, five ten-ish, brown clothes, and he was smiling at... the thing. "Madame someone came back with you!"
Ichigo got the sense the thing next to him felt awkward, because her answer was, "Something like that." Then she went on, "Give him a room in the south wing, assign someone to help him with anything he needs." She looked to him for the first time since she opened the gate, "I expect to see you at dinner."
Ichigo felt his hackles rise, that was too closely worded to an order for him to like it, not to mention he had been forced here, and here she is ordering him to act as a lapdog, right then and there he knew he was going to fight this, he'd said he would stay, but that was all he agreed to. She brushed past the man, Atsushi, and then man turned waving him in after her, that was when Ichigo saw the man was flat, as in one dimensional. He stopped in shock, and the man noticed smiling, "I always am a bit of a shock to the new ones."
Ichigo wanted to question him about that, but he also wanted to get the thing's name, but she was already gone Zangetsu with her.
He turned to Atsushi, the man, flat guy smiled a smidgen wider, "Madame went to shower, if I know her."
Ichigo nodded slowly the early morning events sinking in, "She said I was to get a room right?"
The man nodded.
"Can you take me to it? I've been up all night."
The man nodded again, "Yes sir but may I have your name?"
Ichigo gave him a weird look, "Ichigo Kurosaki, don't call me sir it's weird, I'm only sixteen."
The man smiled, "Age is not in how long you've lived but what you've done and seen in that time and you Sir have seen a lot."
Ichigo's skin crawled, this guy knew something some how. "My room?"
He nodded, and turned seeming to stroll, but his speed was impressive, they took too many turns for him to remember and then they stopped outside a door, Atsushi opened the door then bowed, "Your room for the duration of your stay sir."
Ichigo half glared and then was blown away by his room, it was huge, probably the living room, kitchen, and dinning room of his home combined, and he could see two other doors leading off of it. But the weirdest part was even if the palace was feudal the furniture he could see was heavily influenced by the western style, and a lot of it looked very close to modern stuff he had at home.
Atsushi walked past him, Ichigo started, he hadn't even realized in had stepped in, "Your closet." he opened the left door, he left it open and walked over to the door closer to the right, "Your bathroom." Atsushi then opened a door he hadn't noticed before, "A balcony over the water garden."
Ichigo nodded, he mostly was interested in the bed, and then so suddenly he never noticed a second man stood next to Atsushi, who introduced him, "This is Hisoka, he doesn't speak Japanese, none of the others do, but they do understand so ask for anything and you can get it, he will serve you."
Ichigo nodded, "Thanks Hisoka, at the moment I just want to sleep, so later." Ichigo walked away and sprawled out on the bed and closed his eyes, he heard the door shut and sat up. He hadn't brought anything from the village so he had nothing but he was wearing and honestly it wasn't something to sleep in, so he got up and went to the closet, he had expected something small, some formal old style clothes and maybe some more of what he was wearing, but that wasn't what he found, what he found was another room about the size of half of the upper floor of his house, meaning there were enough clothes he could change twice a day for years and still wear nothing twice, not that he wanted to, the clothes rang from al colors and periods, there were clothes from every era of the entire world, there were beads he recognized as having seen in a picture of an African tribesmen, not to mention the buckled heels popular in England two hundred years before, Ichigo exhaled, this was over whelming.
He walked over the area that seemed to have modern clothes he grabbed a pair of sweats and then a pair of boxers, he then went to the bathroom, this time he wasn't shocked by the fact it was an indoor hot springs, and he was pretty sure in the far corner he spied a shower head in the wall. He washed up quickly and then changed and went back out to his room, he sat on the bed. This was too freaking weird, he lay down and quickly fell asleep.
Someone shook him awake, Ichigo opened his eyes, Hisoka stood over him, Ichigo blinked and sat up, it was much darker, the lamps he hadn't noticed before were lit. "Why was Hisoka waking him?... Oh dinner."
"Hisoka I'm not going to dinner. You could have let me sleep more."
The servant's eyes went wide, and Ichigo briefly realized that he was was concerned about something, probably how Miss Monster would take it, that brought a smirk to his lips. He almost wished he could be a fly on the wall and hear that bit. The servant tugged a bit more, Ichigo waved him off, "I told you I'm not going and I hope it makes her angry."
Hisoka cast him a worried look, but left, sliding the door shut. Ichigo stretched, this bed was really comfortable, maybe even more so then his one at home, not that he was sure, it had been a long time since he slept in it, he sighed his mind drifting to how worried his family and friends likely were. He'd likely been a in a coma and it was coming up on six months, he knew all to well your odds went down after a week and got lower the longer you were unconscious. He lay there thinking till someone, or maybe something slammed the door open.
Kagome climbed from her shower, she felt a touch better, like she had washed the unpleasant facts of her life away. Like the fact she had blackmailed her guest into staying, "Okay good feelings gone." she sighed feeling her shoulder slump, she jumped when Atsushi appeared behind her, "May I help you dress for dinner?"
Kagome sighed again you would think she was used to him popping up but no. She looked out the window, the sun was shining but it might have been ten o'clock, "No I'll relax for most the day, then you can terrorize me with kimonos."
He smiled, "As you wish Madame."
Kagome sighed, "I still don't understand why you call me that after all these years."
He smiled wider, "The young sir is sleeping so I wouldn't expect to see him till dinner."
Kagome nodded, she had expected that she knew he was tired, his speed had slowed while they were heading for the castle. She walked into her closet, pulling a spring dress out, and pulled it over her trusting Atsushi to look away, or at least not care. Once she could see she turned back to him, he was looking across her room, his expression serious, "He didn't seem happy to be here, and you weren't excited at the door."
Kagome almost groaned she knew what he was asking, "It's because he's not, he had a sword and somehow sensed me, he came at me and I ran. He was faster then me, so I tried to hide, that too failed. He had me pinned to a tree, sword to my throat, and... and... he was going to kill me. So I captured a friend of his, I held him in the air and threatened to drop him, then I took Ichigo's sword and forced him to agree to stay here."
Atsushi shook his head, "You really have a gift, you know he likely will do his best to avoid you after that?"
Kagome nodded, "Yeah."
Kagome looked at herself, the kimono was beautiful, a gorgeous purple with lighter lavender flowers blooming across the hem, the purple made her scales shine a blue-green, and brought out the fact she had kept her pretty gray eyes. They were her favorite thing before all of this, her mane was pulled back with a comb covered in amethysts, her necklace matched. And she was nervous, this was unusual, she had, had more dinners with men then people in her high school, and none before this had made her so nervous. Maybe it was because she hadn't blackmailed them, but she knew that wasn't entirely true, some of the men had come because they would be able to get things here that they couldn't in the village. She exhaled, she had already eaten, a habit she had started after seeing how badly most reacted to watching her eat.
She started to pace, she already had a crush on him, the small bit of his life she had seen in the mirror proved he was a good little kid, he took care of his sisters, loved his mom and dad, and was kind. She was startled from her pacing when her door opened, Atsushi walked in follow by another one of the servants she thought, she wasn't sure but she thought it was Hisoka, both looked a little worried.
"Madame, Hisoka has brought me some news of the young Sir. He says he won't join you for dinner."
Kagome stared, she was both surprised and not, she already knew he had spirit, but to tell her no... Then she got mad, "Here he is staying here and he won't even leave his room." She stormed past Hisoka and Atsushi, she quickly reached his door and slammed it open, he was sprawled out on his bed shirtless. Kagome felt heat rise to her cheeks and was momentarily glad for her scales, but she blustered on while he sat up calmly. "All I want is for you to sit down and eat dinner with me!"
"So I'm not hungry."
Kagome snorted, "You haven't eaten all day, and you were up all night you have to be!"
"So I'm still not eating with you."
The only flush on her cheeks now was from rage, "That was the problem hun? He didn't want to eat with her?" "Very well then the only thing you are to eat till you agree to have dinner with me is white rice and thin tea, nothing else." she finished glaring at Atsushi and Hisoka. Both nodded, and Kagome stormed back out, she was furious, and maybe just a little hurt.
She went to the west wing where her rooms were, she went past her bedroom and to the first door to the left, she slammed it open not bothering hold back her strength, it shattered the door. Kagome ignored the splinters flying, she walked right past the pile of splinters and paper. Inside was a table and the well. The room was elegant and large, the table was the only thing in it, and there was only one thing on the table, a small, faintly glowing, crystal. Even though the crystal had started out a soft pink with a hint of purple over four thousand years in the bubble world had passed and the glow had faded, it now barely held any hint that there had been color in the crystal.
Kagome picked it up, and walked to the porch anger gone, sadness was the only thing left, she knew she was ugly, she knew she was pushy, she knew she had a temper, but surely she had some good in her? "Then why can't anyone see it?"
She closed her eyes, and leaned against the wall, and for a brief second wished she would allow herself to cry, but she knew better by now then to cry over the men.
Three Weeks Later
Ichigo wandered the halls of the palace, he had to admit without her Monster self he didn't really have anyone to talk to, Atsushi didn't have time for him doing whatever his duties to the palace were, Hisoka didn't exactly talk. He had to admit he understood just a little better why she had wanted to have dinner with him, it wasn't a date so much as a relief from the quiet. But he wasn't ready to say yes yet, it wasn't like he really was just being fed white rice, Hisoka hadn't followed her orders on that. He'd had American food, normal stuff like he was used to and other things he didn't know what to call, he'd had sodas from around the world, teas, and other things too.
Which is what lead him here, for the first two days he'd stayed in his room, but that got old fast, so he took to wandering, he'd found this place was a either a lot bigger then he thought or there was more then a little magic involved, he was betting the latter. He could get totally lost then turn a corner and be right at his room, it was strange. Not to mention he had found a movie theater, a water park, a theme park, disney world, all without any crowds. And too many bedrooms and bathrooms to count, oh and he had explored the water garden, that was really pretty, he hadn't ever been into nature but the garden was too pretty for even him not to take notice.
He opened the next door peaking in, he stopped and stared, then he pushed the door the rest of the way open. He was now standing in a huge library, scrolls, mixed with modern books, mingled with old leather tomes. He walked further in, as he had noted else where there seemed to be everything, old, new, really old. He sighed, he knew what he wanted to read but he also knew what he had to read. He walked around till he found the school book selection, and he grabbed his science, math, and english books, and he sat down at a table and started to read.
A long time later he looked up, someone was watching him, at his movement Miss Monster stepped out, Ichigo wondered briefly if he was in trouble but he figured if that was the case she just would have yelled.
"I apologize for yelling at you, and I would like to ask you to join me tonight."
Ichigo was startled, he had been betting he would have to be the one to say sorry but she got to it first... he was surprised how much he liked that, maybe it was because he was used to Rukia and she never said sorry even if she was wrong. "I.. Um. I accept the apology, and sure, dinner tonight sounds okay."
Her teeth showed more, so he was guessing she was smiling, she nodded once and left, saving them both from what was sure to be awkward silence. She walked away, and Ichigo thoughtfully closed his books, she had been very nice about him avoiding her, true she likely thought he had accepted because he was tired of white rice, but he was fine with her not understanding why he had said yes. He picked his books up and carried them back to his room, he found Hisoka standing anxiously, he was holding a formal Kimono, it was navy with faint white cherry blossoms, but Ichigo was already shaking his head, "No I won't wear it."
Hisoka scowled, but walked forward arm ready to grab him. Then the next ten minutes were a blur as he tried to fight Hisoka off, then some how he was left sitting on the floor dressed in the kimono and all matching attire even tabi and geta. He scowled at Hisoka, who merely smiled a smug smile, he growled, but stood up, he was dressed. He might as well stay that way, besides he had a feeling it would lead to a fight if he tried to take it off. He went to leave the room only to realize of all the rooms he had seen he hadn't found a dinning room, he turned back feeling annoyed but sheepish at the same time, "Can you lead me to where ever dinner is?"
Hisoka smiled, and bowed quickly, before hurrying ahead. Ichigo followed him and with every step he was reminded of Urahara and his geta, by the time he reached where Hisoka had stopped, he knew he wouldn't be able to mock Urahara for them any more, after all Urahara chose to wear them, he was bullied into by a paper thin person. Hisoka looked him over with a sharp glance and then smiled again opening the door and bowing him through, Ichigo scowled, he really was going to ask Miss Monster to get him to stop doing that.
Speaking of which he found her standing by the open doors, they looked out over one of the flower gardens, and he had to admit once again the gardens were a work of art. She turned and he found himself noticing her kimono; it was a pale pink very much like the the flowers on his, and hers too had cherry blossoms. He suddenly had a feeling the servants planed this, "You let Atsushi dress you didn't you?"
She snorted, "Haven't you realized we don't get a choice what we're dressed in? It took me fifty years to stop fighting, if I truly hate something I refuse to leave my room without changing my clothes."
Ichigo nodded, "I'll remember that."
Silence filled the room till Atsushi came baring large platters of food, sushi, rice, rice balls, and many many other things, Ichigo gaped, "I can't eat all of this!"
He heard rusty grating sound and realized Miss Monster was laughing, he glared, until she elaborated, "You don't have to, they don't know what you like yet so they make a lot of things."
That made sense, he sat down after she sat, they were silent while Atsushi finished laying the many platters out with the help of two women, both of whom look eerily like Atsushi only female. He waited politely for Miss Monster to take her first bit before he started, she took a sip of tea and he took that as the signal, he dug in, he was hungry, homework always made him that way.
He was half way done when he realized she hadn't eaten anything, "Hey aren't you going to eat something?"
She smiled, or at least she made a face he thought was a smile, "I already ate."
He frowned, "Why?"
She raised an eyebrow, and lifted one of her many hands to her face, touching her muzzle, "I can't exactly eat with grace, and I have found before my eating with company... lets just say I make then lose their appetite."
He nodded, "I doubt I'd mind, some of my friends back home are pigs."
She nodded but he could see she didn't believe him, he let it go, until he realized that seemed to imply she hadn't always been like this. "You mean you were human once?"
She nodded again, "I was once a long time not so far ago, human."
"That was just plain confusing," "So how did you become this way?"
She shrugged, "The normal way."
He stared waiting for her to elaborate, and she gave rather easily, "Magic."
He nodded slowly, trying absorber the idea, magic, he had seen odd powers but magic... "Why not?" "So why did someone do this to you?"
"Because I made a mistake, if I didn't do something to atone for it bad things would happen, I understand why it's this way I just don't like it."
"What did you do?"
She shrugged, "It's a long story, but I tried to help some friends using what you might call a cursed object, and as a price to stop the object gaining power from my mistake I lost my body and my connection to the real world till I met some conditions."
"What are the conditions?"
"I'd rather not say, lets just go with they are very hard to meet, and I've been here a long, long time."
Ichigo took a sip of the tea, he was a touch surprised how easy it was to talk to her, sure he had a lot of questions but he normally didn't talk so much. "Oh yeah, what's your name? I'm sure you have one."
She started, surprised by his question, then she laughed, "Sorry it's been a while since someone didn't know it, Kagome Higurashi."
He nodded, Kagome was an interesting name, especially for her in this situation.
She apparently read some of his thoughts, she smiled, "Ironic right?"
He shrugged, "It could be worse, I have a friend named Orihime."
She blinked waiting for the rest of the story, he went on editing it carefully. "It's just funny with her name meaning princess and me and some friends basically saved her from a tower."
She smiled nodding, "The stereo type princess."
He nodded, amused all over again by Orihime's luck. Silence filled the room again as he started eating again, but it was more relaxed and comfortable. He stood after finishing Kagome stood followed his example a moment later, "This was nice," he said feeling awkward again, this time the awkwardness of saying goodbye.
Kagome nodded, "Yes it was... Are you okay with doing it again tomorrow night?"
He nodded, "Yeah." he turned to go, only to realize he wasn't sure how to get back to his room, she seemed to realize as much when he paused, "Hisoka!" He nearly jumped when the door in front of him opened reveling Hisoka, Kagome went on seemingly unsurprised by the abrupt entrance, "Take Ichigo to his room."
Hisoka bowed and then lead the way back to his room, he opened the door for him bowing him in and Ichigo went in once again uncomfortable, he wasn't a superior, the bowing was unnecessary. "You really can stop with the bowing thing."
Hisoka just nodded, and then almost mischievously bowed again shutting the door. Ichigo sighed and then stripped, he took a quick shower before climbing back into his sweats that he had claimed as PJs. Tonight once again had been strange, he sighed rolling over, he was betting nothing here would ever be boring.
The next five weeks went much the same, polite conversation every night and before Ichigo knew it he started looking forward to each night, except for the dress up like a doll bit, they had been dressed up traditionally more then once, in addition to medieval England, eighteen-hundreds American Frontiers men, safari night, and chinese traders. It was annoying that he never got to pick what he was going to wear, at least he didn't have to feel to stupid, Kagome was always dressed to match. But today he once again found he was thinking of Kagome, he found he wanted to ask her to join him in the amusement park but he didn't know what she did during the day. So he was wandering aimlessly, and low and behold it worked, he found her around the corner staring intently into a mirror, and she was treating it like it was a movie screen, she was on a cushion, soda at her side.
"What are you doing?"
She turned seeming surprised by his presence, "What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Looking for you..." He looked back at the mirror, "What are you doing?"
She looked him over resflectively, "I'm watching your life."
He wasn't sure what she meant, "What do you mean?"
Kagome answered slowly, "When I was cut off from the world Midoriko gave me two things one was this mirror, it's magical, I can see the past and present in it with the mere statement of a name."
Ichigo felt like he'd been punched in the gut, "you.. You've seen my life?"
She nodded, "I have to say yours is most comparable to mine in the amount of bad luck we have."
Ichigo wanted to be mad, but he was surprised and maybe a touch flattered she had taking the time to watch his whole life, "How does it work? Do you just pick an age and start watching or does it show you it chronologically?"
She smiled, "It, the mirror that is, picks a turning point in your life and starts me from there, and I have to watch it year by year from that point on."
"When did it pick?"
"I believe you were four years old and it was your first time at the dojo where you met... Tatsuki?"
He was surprised, she had payed close attention to when he named his friends, he had only mention Tatsuki by name once, and the rest of the time as a passing person.
"I'm sorry about your mother."
He started, then he winced, "You saw that did you?"
She nodded, sympathy clear.
He was silent and then was surprised when she touched him on the shoulder, she hadn't tried to touch him and he thought maybe it was because she was uncomfortable around him but he hadn't said anything, he looked over at her. She looked at him seriously, "If I made you uncomfortable I apologize, I just have a problem controlling my curiosity. If it makes you feel better you can ask it to show you me."
He looked at her surprised by her offer, not only had she touched him but she was making an offer like that... "Why?" He still didn't know the conditions she had to meet, but he had a feeling they had to do with why the men were brought here, and there since he was closest to her, him. "Oh well he had nothing to lose." "I think I'll take you up on that."
She nodded, standing full upright, "I'll leave you here then," she started to walk away before she paused, "I don't know how the mirror will show me, but anything before I'm here I was in human form even if it shows other wise." Then she was gone, he sat down slowly, the cushion was still warm from her sitting there, he looked into the full length mirror, "Show me Kagome Higurashi." The mirror swirled before settling on a funeral, he saw the blurred shape of a little girl sitting next to a woman holding a small child, he couldn't see much just black hair and the slender build of the girl but the size seemed to say five or six years old. He realized they were at the funeral of the woman's husband which meant this was likely the funeral of Kagome's father, eyes wide he watched closer as Kagome's young life flashed before his eyes. He also realize quickly this took place about a decade ago, and he found himself confused how could so much time have passed for her if she was born about the same year he was?
She walked quickly down the hall before she turned around did something even stupider then touching him, she cursed herself, she had only wanted to share her sympathy, but touching the men was a number one no no. Reaching out to them before they reached out to her was the worst mistake she could make, she knew this, she had seen this over and over again, hell that was probably the worst of this curse she was a touchy person and she couldn't touch for fear of scaring others. She had felt for Jinenji, and understood a lot better after the first time she saw a friend jump and give her a fearful look when he had been fine talking to her.
Kagome made it all the way to her room before she started to cry, she liked him so much and he wasn't going to want to see her tonight. She was heading for the bathroom her normal fix it place when she felt faint, she fell to floor, Kagome felt her heart thump oddly, and shuddered, what ever was happening hurt. She lay there for five or so minutes, before the pain left her and she could stand, she forgot about her shower and staggered to the room with the crystal. She stopped after opening the door and stared in horror, it hadn't just faded a bit more, there was a small crack starting. She stumbled over to look closer, the jewel was what had the power to hold her here safe in limbo, but if it broke... her time was up that much faster then the count down that was the fading color.
Kagome fell to her knees and stared, she was almost out of time and she had just messed things up with Ichigo, she closed her eyes and let the tears come, she was going to die and her family would never know.
Ichigo stood impatiently as Hisoka dressed him, he wanted to understand why Kagome had agreed to travel with Inuyasha, sure she could sit him, but he still had seriously tried to kill her. "Sit." That still had him laughing, he looked down at himself and sighed, Hisoka had weird tastes it seemed, he was dressed in medieval armor and even had a lame tin sort of sword, oh well even if it was lame at least it wasn't heavy. Ichigo rushed out of the door the moment Hisoka let him go, he needed to talk to Kagome, he ran the whole way to the dinning room, he opened the door and found Kagome already sitting up against the wall, he frowned "That was unusual, normally she sat the table with him."
"Kagome what were you thinking agreeing to travel with Inuyasha he tried to kill you!"
Kagome sighed sounding tired, "I know but at the same time what else could I do? I had no practical skills in the... Wait how did you know his name was Inuyasha?"
"The mirror has sound genius."
Kagome leaned forward and studied him before leaning back against the wall, "So it does... Any way how else was I going to survive? Besides you did see how he made it in time to save me from the dead bandit."
Ichigo nodded, he still didn't like the idea of any girl being forced to work with someone who tried to kill her. Kagome surprised him next, "Besides isn't that a little hypocritical? You are friends with the red hair guy, and Tatsuki, she may not have tried to kill you but she liked hurting you."
Ichigo shook his head, "She liked beating me, there is a difference."
Kagome shook her head, "No there isn't, she knew she could and she continued anyway, she liked hurting you... You know you attracted a lot of abusive girls."
Ichigo snorted, "You included."
"Hey! I am not abusive, I have never hurt you!"
"Yeah just blackmailed me."
She was silent, "Fine you have a point, but you're friends that are girls really seem to like hitting you. Aside from the princess girl."
Ichigo said "Now who's being hypocritical? You're the one wearing the big sparkling dress." And then he realized she was wearing a big skirted sparkling dress, he looked down, he was wearing armor and she was wearing... "You know I don't think I like how Hisoka and Atsushi do this to us."
She was silent and then he heard her start laughing, Ichigo relaxed a little she didn't sound as tense as she had before, he didn't know what was bothering her but she did sound tired.
For the next three weeks they switched off watching the other's life in the mirror, Ichigo was up to the final battle and so she was hanging around, she wanted to hear what happened after she passed out. She herself had seen his faint after the loss of his powers took to much energy from him, she had pointed out the night before that his friend who used her powers to heal likely could reject him losing his power saving him from being blind and useless to them later, she had laughed a lot when he had ranted about how he was an idiot he knew what Urahara had said she could do and did he think of it? no.
Kagome watched Ichigo's face as he watched the fight, he'd been upset the times Inuyasha let her get kidnapped because he ran off after Kikyo, but she had questioned his right to feel that way having seen how hurt Tatsuki and even Chad were with him trying to cut them out of his life. He had dropped the subject rather quickly, but her heart had still been warmed by the fact he seemed upset because it hurt her, not because it was a bad plan. He winced and Kagome was betting it was the time she was knocked back almost knocked out for that matter, when Naraku attacked her.
She watched till he leaned forward seeming very intent, give that it had been half an hour since she thought she had since him wince on her behalf she was betting this was the part where she looked dead, or that was her guess, it took him another twenty minutes but he sat back and looked towards her where she was leaning on the wall, "Well what happened?"
"You fainted or you said you fainted but your vitalities stopped so your friends thought you had died purifying the jewel, they made you a grand funeral and that was when Jinenji and Koga along with Inuyasha realize you didn't seem dead, it had been more then a week and they couldn't tell you were dead, no rotting smell, as Inuyasha put it. Miroku having realized the nature of your wish plus the fact the well had closed so Inuyasha couldn't even go tell your mom you were dead, he theorized you were in a deep sleep, you wouldn't age, you wouldn't die, you couldn't move, but that you were froze in time so you could wake in the future surviving to see your mother and brother again. So him and Sango got married and started building the future shrine where Inuyasha said everything was, then they built a secret room and sealed it from all demons, and you or your body still lays there even today I'd guess, so you could wake up any moment now."
Kagome shook her head, "No I still have to meet the requirements, then I could wake."
"And what are they? I think you can trust me."
Kagome stubbornly closed her mouth, "Nope it doesn't matter."
"It does, maybe I can help."
Kagome felt her temper flare, she shook her head violently, "NO! It doesn't, I won't tell you so don't bother even asking!" She stormed away, only to find the pain from before was back, she staggered to the room with the jewel, the crack had grown. She sunk to the floor as the pain faded, despair rushed in, she was going to die.
He watched Kagome run away from him, frustration bubbled, he'd seen her life and she'd seen his. "Why won't she trust me!" He got to his feet motions jerky, fury making him sloppy, he was surprised to look up and find Atsushi watching him a touch sadly, he spoke answering Ichigo's thoughts eerily. "She doesn't trust easily any more, too many times she got her hopes up and only to see them crash and burn. That is why she won't tell you, if you don't know she can't blame you for letting her down."
Ichigo stilled, he knew she had said she had been here a long time and he knew five hundred years or so had passed outside, but she had mentioned time didn't flow the same here, he hadn't asked for clarification but he knew enough for the frustration to leave him, "How long has it been Atsushi? How long has she waited?"
"Just over six thousand and eleven years."
Ichigo stopped, he had thought more time, but that was a lot more time. "So long?" he looked up guilty he hadn't meant to ask but it slipped out.
"Yes so long, but take some comfort in I'm not sure even she realizes how long it's been, I know some years she didn't even realize the village was empty or that some years all she did was watch other's lives in the mirror. If we didn't have company, she almost locked herself in her mind, trying to keep sane I guess. This many years is a strain for your kind, I hope when she gets back to her body some of it is erased, it would be just cruel for her to remember everything."
Ichigo nodded, feeling dazed, so... long... no wonder she no longer wanted to ask for help, she had and... nothing had been done for her, no one had come... He was pretty sure in her place he would be foaming at the mouth, stark raving mad. A kind of awe rose up in his chest, he had seen how kind she had been, and heck even still was. He was ninety-nine point nine percent sure she wouldn't have dropped Yoshio. She had been scared and reacted the only way she thought she could, threatening Yoshio; she didn't know him well enough to know he had been about to take Zangetsu away from her throat.
He nodded to Atsushi and walked about the palace dazed, he couldn't believe she had taken that many years so well. Resolve formed, he wouldn't let her down, it didn't matter she didn't want to tell him, he would wear her down till she told him.
If Ichigo had thought about why he felt that way he might have been surprised to learn he had formed some serious feelings for her, not love but close.
She watched Ichigo, he hadn't shown any sign of being mad at her for storming away, it may have been a week since then but she had expected some sort of resentment, she had kidnapped him, threatened his friend, yelled at him, and more then once said something very personal but then refused to let him get close.
Tonight they were dressed in greek togas, Kagome had refused to leave her room in the first outfit, it had been mist linen meaning see through, and she knew she never would have worn it with her pretty body, but now that she was monstrous it was never going to happen, so she threw a fit till Atsushi very annoyed added another layer, meaning while thin you no longer could see through it.
Ichigo looked up at her seriously, Kagome felt her stomach move, twisting, whatever he was about to say she wasn't going to like.
"Kagome, I want to help, so tell me how to help you get out of here."
Kagome scowled, some how she sensed Atsushi in this, she wasn't sure how, but he had something to do with this she was sure. She stood, glaring she growled out, " As I already told you it's none of your business."
Ichigo stood up, "Considering what ever put this spell together started bringing single men between sixteen and thirty here I'd say it is to my business!"
Kagome gaped, she hadn't realized he had noticed, not that it was hard too, but still! "Damn it!" she growled and ran from the room, running down to the kitchens where she knew she could yell at Atsushi. "Atsushi!" she threw the door open, "I forbid you from telling him any more then you already have! I don't care you're not really a servant, that it's just a role you have taken, but as you have taken that role I order you to say no more to Ichigo!"
He turned, a faint smile on his lips, "As you wish Madame."
Kagome eyed him suspiciously, he seemed almost happy she had yelled at him, she stood down feeling ridiculous with her arms flared, mane standing up. She looked him over again before turning form the kitchen and heading for her room.
Ichigo watched her storm from the room, he sighed, "That could have gone better," he walked over to the door to look out in the hall, Kagome was long gone. He sighed again and walked from the dinning room heading for his room. He took the stupid toga off, and dumped in on the floor like always, he pulled the normal sweat pants on, he relaxed laying out on the bed. He was half a sleep when it hit him, she was or her body was his age, "To break a curse on a woman or man of marriageable age what did all the stories say? You had to fall in love?" Ichigo groaned, no wonder she was freaking out, men had said they loved her before and failed to free her, she likely had seen friendships with others ruined with that hanging over her head, no wonder she wouldn't tell him.
"Besides did he really love her?"
His instincts said no, but he knew he cared for her, he knew he respected her, she was strong, he'd seen her former feelings for Inuyasha, and he'd seen her put them away for his sake. He sighed, this was complicated, he closed his eyes before he remember tonight meant he'd been here eight months, only three in the castle. He sighed, tonight really had given him a headache.
Over the next two weeks things with Kagome degenerated, she had taken to avoiding him during the day, and dinners were stiff, if he asked her to confirm his idea of what the conditions were she left the room. So in an attempt to either find her or find something to do he was back to exploring. Today he was pretty sure he was in the west side of the palace, but he wasn't positive, so he had gone through opening doors, and found more bedrooms, he'd also found something that looked like a nightclub but he hadn't gone in any further. He went down to the next door, he slid the door open, the first thing he noticed was that it was a huge empty room. Well most empty, the only thing in it was a table... "What's that?"
He walked deeper in with no conscious thought, something was glowing on the table. He slowed, but continued to walked closer, feeling the hair on his arms stand up, the thing that was glowing was letting some sort of power off, and it was... warm, but strange. He stopped less then a foot from the table, he could now see the little stone, it was a milky pink, but almost clear, the color was more like smoke in the crystal, he could even see a faint crack running down the side, almost like someone had tried to chop it in half, but just cracked it instead.
Ichigo noted his hand seemed to be reaching out to touch it, but he didn't remember deciding to touch it, but then he was knocked away, flying through the air, till he slammed into the ground. He slid another three feet, wind knock out of of him, it took him a minute before he caught a glimpse of who had knocked him away. Kagome was crouched over the small table snarling at him, "What the fuck were you thinking? You can't touch that!"
For the first time Ichigo understood just how scary she could be, teeth bared, arms flared out making her look bigger and weirder, mane on end. Not to mention he was almost up against the far wall she had thrown him fifteen feet as easily as he could swat a fly. He started scrambling to his feet, "Sorry, I didn't know..."
"But I didn't mean any..."
"GET OUT! You're not wanted here!"
Ichigo flinched, he didn't mean to do anything wrong. He slunk from the room feeling her glare on his back, he'd just shut the door when he heard a crash, it sounded like she had banged her fists on the table. He walked to his room, then he went in and sat on his bed, he knew when she said get out she meant of the room, but it had come across a lot like she meant her life. Ichigo looked at his options, "A he could mad and storm off making it worse. Or B he could... What could he do? Even if he was right and to get free someone had to love her, what did he know about falling in love? Nothing."
Ichigo groaned and rubbed his eyes, he lay back across the bed, "This really was too much," he wanted to help, "you couldn't just chose to fall in love."
Kagome watched Ichigo slip out of the room, she felt a pang of guilt for throwing him so far but it was over whelmed by the fear she had felt when she had seen him reaching for the jewel. The moment she heard the door click shut, the now familiar sensation burned in her chest. Her hands fell forward grabbing the table to stop herself from falling, before her tear clouded eyes she watched the jewel crack a little more, and she realized the pain in her chest felt a lot like the jewel was her heart. And this time the crack gotten a lot deep, even after the crack stop growing the ache remanded, Kagome slowly sunk to the floor almost totally immobilized by the pain. Kagome had no clue how long she sat on the floor by the table, but she noticed when Atsushi showed up, because he picked her up off the floor and carried her to her room where he placed her on her bed. There she quickly fell asleep to escape the pain, she didn't even hear the muttered remark Atsushi made while he pulled the blankest up, "Silly girl."
He sighed looking down at her fondly, she meant well, protecting herself and even the men by doing as she had, but she had weakened the spell. He left the room, at the rate the spell was deteriorating she had less then a year left. He went straight to the boy's room, he knocked and then opened the door, "Young Sir."
He inwardly smirked at the annoyed huff, it was so funny to wind them up, but it was also a test, if they took to the respect too easily, he knew they would never pass and break the spell, no matter how good they were to Kagome. Of course according to Hisoka the boy was a fighter in everything he did, he still fought wearing some of the odder outfits, unless he was in a hurry, and that had been happening more and more, but the mirror also reinforced that line of thought, Atsushi knew this boy was the one, if anyone was to break the spell. "Madame regrets that she won't be able to see you at dinner tonight."
The boy turned, his scowl deepening, "She's avoiding me."
Atsushi shrugged, and he thought he saw a flash of pain before the boy turned back to his school book, "Then don't bother making a fuss of it, send me a sandwich or something."
Atsushi stood and bowed before leaving the room, a smile broke out on his face as the door shut, "Yes this boy is the one."
A Week Later
Ichigo scowled he knew he should be in a better mood for someone on a roller coaster, but he couldn't help it, he hadn't seen Kagome in anything other then chance meetings since that day. He didn't want to admit it but he was really hurt, he didn't understand fully what that crystal did but he was guessing it was the other object Midoriko had given her, but he'd said sorry, and she still was punishing him. He started the ride again, scowling into the wind, underneath he knew he was mad because it hurt, he knew she didn't love him and he didn't love her but they weren't friends?
By chance he looked down and realized Kagome was standing at the bottom, he scrambled to stop the roller coaster, this was the first time she had come to him. He managed to stop it so he hoped out and went over to her, she looked nervous and he wonder why, that is till she spoke.
"I came to say sorry, and since this is the second time I've had to say sorry for over reacting I thought I would give you something."
Ichigo found himself curious she hadn't brought anything with her... "I accept, where is this gift?"
She smiled and turned before looking back at him, "Follow me." She started walking so he did, she lead him over to the east side of the palace, the only side he hadn't really explored yet. She lead him through five or six turns before stopping before a door, she stopped and stepped to the side, He looked at her, she smiled only more nervously this time, "Open the door."
He looked at her again, what possible could be in this room that qualified as a gift? He opened the door and stopped dead, mouth falling open, he was looking at something that was a mix of an armory and a dojo. And he could see Zangetsu hanging on the wall, he looked to Kagome unable to say anything, she smiled apparently understanding, "I figured you could have him back, it's not like I'm worried about you sneaking into my room and slitting my throat now."
He laughed, "I don't know, how mad did you think I was?"
She laughed the awkwardness fading, "Not mad enough to do that."
He laughed a little more before going all the way in the grab his sword, his partner. The moment his hand touched his sword something relaxed, maybe it was he didn't feel like there was anything she could hold over his head any more, or maybe it was the show of trust he was looking for, but he felt much better about everything. He started practicing swings, he turned when his sword unexpectedly met another sword, Kagome held a normal katana blade in her dragon claw arm, she grinned, "Up for some sparring?"
He grinned back, "Sounds good."
They sparred for half and hour before they agreed to a break, Ichigo sat panting as he sipped from the glass of water Hisoka had brought him, he looked over at Kagome she sat against the far wall, she had been given a small plate of rice balls and some where between his sips, and blinking they had disappeared. "When did you learn to use a sword?"
Kagome looked over at him from where she had been staring at some of the weapons, "Hun? Oh, the first man to agree to stay, he was a former samurai, he didn't want to get rusty."
Ichigo nodded, from what he knew of he,r she would have used his name if she remembered, it hit him, would she remember his name so many years down the road if he failed to free her? It was a chill, he didn't blame her for forgetting the others, it had been over six thousand years, it was just he didn't want to join them in the long list of forgotten names. Speaking of which, how much longer did she have? She was born about the same year as him, and she had gone about five hundred years to the past, her friends... "Kagome how long do you have left? You were born fifteen or sixteen years ago, and if Miroku was right about the spell saving you till you were back where you belonged you can't have much longer left."
She looked at him eyes wide like she was surprised... She answered him and he felt a chill, "I have nine months left."
He dropped his cup, he ignored the splash of cold water on his leg, he glared fiercely, "And you won't tell me how to help you!"
Kagome felt her mind race furiously, she couldn't tell him that the truth was she didn't even have that much judging by the way the jewel was fading. She couldn't tell him first he had to admit he loved her, and then second he had to free her body. An idea burst to the forefront of her mind, it would get him off her back and her family would know she had died, and it would work because he had seen in the mirror where the others had hidden her. "Fine! You have to free my body!"
Ichigo stared at her mouth wide open like he had been about to say something when she interrupted him. He spoke, voice a touch weak, "That's all?"
Kagome nodded, "Yep. But the problem before was none of the other men could use the mirror, I think you need to have some of your own power, but anyway I didn't know where I was and I didn't want to tell you because I don't know if you will a be a yearsie or whether you'll be here longer, because if you have two years to go I'll be dead first."
Kagome mentally cheered, he'd bought it.
Ichigo sat back against the wall, limp. "That was so easy, why... if they didn't know where she was they wouldn't have looked very hard... No wonder she was so cagey about telling him, if it was that simple no wonder it hurt that no one would do it for her." "Kagome I swear I'll be a yearsie, then I'll get you out first thing when I wake up."
Kagome raised an eye brow, "First thing? Sure you don't want to have Orihime fix you first? You'd get to the shrine faster that way than by train."
He snorted, "She was right even in Shikai he could match a train for speed." "You're totally right, that first, you second."
She smiled widely, "Thanks for it though."
Ichigo internally winced, once again she didn't seem to believe him, he felt his resolve get stronger, "Oh well he would just prove himself over and over till she believed him." "So dinner tonight?"
She looked pleased, "If your not too mad at me."
"Kagome I don't care what the stupid sparkling jewel thing does, I should have known better then to try to touch it, just like you should have known I would have stopped if you had just yelled."
She looked sheepish, "I am sorry for hitting you."
Ichigo smirked he was going to hold this over her forever, "You did say abusive girls are drawn towards me, and I stand by you being in that category."
She huffed but didn't argue, but she did stick her tongue out at him, he returned the favor.
A Month Later
Ichigo scowled harder at Hisoka, him and Kagome had been talking and realized today was the tenth month of his being in the world and his fifth here in the castle, then Hisoka and Atsushi had swept out of no where and dragged them off to their respective rooms, Atsushi saying something about making it a special occasion. Which lead him here, normally Hisoka let him shower himself, but not tonight, and he had shaved him, and trimmed his hair, and was still not letting him look closely at what he was wearing, as far as he could tell it was navy and velvet, there also seemed to be lace, and a couple diamonds, not to mention the layers and layers he felt like he was being placed in a very ornate kimono with all the layers, but the cut was very very English or French he wasn't sure. Hisoka placed what felt like a hat on his head and turned him so he could see himself in the mirror Hisoka had brought just for this apparently.
Ichigo at the first glance felt his jaw drop, he looked like a mid seventeenth century prince, the bottom layer shirt was ivory silk with lace, soft lace at his throat, the vest-thing was navy velvet and was fitted compared to the undershirt, then he had some sort of thigh length jacket also navy velvet but trimmed with more ivory lace and ribbons he even had a diamond and sapphire pin at his throat in the lace, add in breeches and heeled shoes that matched, with diamonds and sapphires to match the pin. Oh and the hat, he hated the hat, it was black but had ivory feathers flopping over the crown of his head. The only thing that didn't fit was he was clean shaven not that he had to shave much anyway, and his short hair. He closed his mouth and looked dryly at Hisoka, "I'm not leaving my room."
Hisoka huffed, and his eyes went steely, Ichigo felt his eyes widen, Hisoka had always given in and given him something a bit different when he said it before but he didn't think he was going to give this time. Sure enough it took Hisoka fifteen minutes, but he wrestled him out into the hall, Ichigo lost the hat too many times to count but Hisoka would aways pull it from nowhere and plop it back on his head. He even lost a shoe but Hisoka grabbed it and hit him it, striking the blow that knocked him from his grip on the door.
Hisoka some how had time to shut the door, put the shoe on his foot and drag him down the hall before the stars spinning around his head faded. He found himself standing outside the door, feathers only a little crumpled, and nothing else out of place. He watched Hisoka open the door, he knew he wasn't human, but some times it was embarrassing to be reminded how un-human he really was. Ichigo huffed. At least, he knew he wouldn't be the only one wearing stupid clothes.
Ichigo walked in the dinning room, and found himself stunned, Kagome was her normal scaly self, but she looked good, not human, but good, her scales glowed, her mane had been combed and curled and looked like real hair. Ichigo finally looked at her dress, it was a soft pinkish peach, and it looked amazing, with the long puffy lace sleeves she was able to hide the fact she had many arms and none of them were really human shaped, and she looked very curvy, he knew she was a girl, had since he first pinned her to the tree. With the curves and bumps it was hard to mistake her for anything else, but she always wore high necked clothes, but not tonight, tonight he could see that even if her skin was scaly, the shape was pure woman. A woman he had beens staring at... and at her chest... Ichigo blushed, but before he could say anything Kagome turned away from him, and he noticed how upset she really was.
"It's to much isn't it? I told Atsushi I looked terrible, I'll just sit in the shadows and..."
"Whoa Kagome I was just thinking you looked good."
She froze and then slowly turned back to him, tears stopping.
He nodded, he didn't want her to cry, they both looked stupid and... well she looked better then he did but she was the girl, that was how it was suppose to be. "Yeah you look good, not really human but the color looks good with your scales."
Kagome stared, he seemed sincere but she wasn't sure she could believe him, she was scaly, and had a dragon's head. When she had realized what she was wearing, she said no, Atsushi tried to argue but she had put her foot down, so she had been totally shocked when Atsushi scooped her up and carried her from the room kicking and screaming. Kagome didn't understand how her mane wasn't a mess, or how she hadn't torn her dress, she had been fighting and biting and he still got her there no problem.
Ichigo looked stunning, his orange hair a vivid contrast to somber navy blue of the velvet, but in his coats she could see just how broad his chest was, and she realized for the first time just how tall and developed for a sixteen year old he was, he didn't look like a kid, or even a teen, he looked like a man. Kagome swallowed, he was really handsome, not in a classic way, but the cut of his face was as strong as he was, and his body... that spoke for it's self.
Reality had hit like a bucket of cold water over her head, she was ugly, really really ugly and she was dressed in this dress making a mockery of a princess. Not to mention she needed him desperately, and he didn't need her at all, he had his friends in the real world waiting for him to wake. Including two different girls, who he had fought wars to rescue. Kagome walked with him over to the french dinning table, Hisoka swept in carrying the first course, for both of them...
She flinched, she was hungry, she had taken so long to get ready that Atsushi hadn't brought her dinner... Or, she shot the now closed door a suspicious look, he had done it on purpose. She looked at Ichigo, maybe if she was careful...
"Kagome if it bothers you so much I won't look."
Kagome looked down the table, peering around the candle holders to see how serious he was about his offer, he seemed sincere... she'd do it, she doubted she could do much to make him think she was any uglier after wearing this dress, never mind what he said. "You promise?"
He nodded, "Sure if it means you'll eat yeah I won't look."
Kagome started on her on her breads and cheeses, they weren't so hard but she was betting soup was next and liquids were one of the hardest things for her to eat, she peaked at Ichigo but he was staring into his plate quite hard, not looking. Kagome felt a little knot relax in her chest, he didn't mind and he wasn't going to look.
He found by the sixth course curiosity was burning him alive, he knew he had said he wouldn't look, but he had to know, how was she swallowing the steak? He peaked up from under his lashes, he saw her use her fork to toss a small piece up in the air before snapping her jaws around it silently, then he watched a small lump slide down her throat. Ichigo went back to his food, it made sense as she said before her mouth wasn't made for chewing, but he could also see how people afraid of her would be freaked out. But how had she eaten the soup... That was a question for another time, he had a feeling if he looked now and she caught him she would freak out and go back to not trusting him enough to eat around.
He smiled, at least she was willing to trust enough to try eating around him, "Kagome what school did you go too? I never seemed to see the sign."
Kagome laughed, "It's normal for the upperclass men to steal the sign, the school gets a new one every three months but it always disappears, I think the kendo club is behind it, but no one can prove anything. The one time they cemented the sign into the ground they got a note stating it was futile, the school was not to have a sign that would stay if it was always so ugly."
Ichigo looked up, "That sounds lame."
Kagome shrugged, "I don't disagree but it's funny to see the janitors taking bets on how many hours it'll take before it disappears, personally I think whoever does it bribes the janitors because they've tried to keep watches, but even the police couldn't stop it."
Ichigo nodded, impressed, lame prank it may be but they had stealth, "So what is your school's name?"
Kagome slowly closed her mouth, then her eyes went wide, "I.. I don't remember. Ichigo I don't remember!"
She stood stumbling a little, shocked by the fact she didn't remember something like that, Ichigo stood too, it wasn't that big a deal, it had been six thousand years, but she didn't... Ichigo stepped around the table concerned, she was wobbling like she was dizzy, and she was holding her head, eyes still wide with shock. "Calm down Kagome it's been a long time! It's no big deal."
She looked at him, eyes still dazed, before she closed her eyes a grimace crossing her face, Ichigo stopped just before her, "What was wrong?" She was clutching her chest, and she seemed to be crying, then she started to fall, Ichigo grabbed her. She was limp in his arms, he was momentarily surprised by how light she was, he had felt how strong she was, but with so little body weight behind it. Was it even healthy? Then he realized limp as she was, she was unconscious but she was still crying, "What was wrong with her? She had to be in pain for her to faint like that. "
The door across from him opened, Atsushi strode in worry clear on his normally bland face, "I'll take her."
Ichigo shook his head, lifting her in his arms, "What's wrong with her?"
Atsushi was watching him eyes shrewd, "I can not tell you. If she wants you to know she will tell you. Now how about I take her to her room?"
Ichigo pulled her closer to his chest subconsciously, "I upset her, causing this. I can carry her, it's not like she's all that heavy, you'll need to lead me to her room."
Atsushi looked him over before giving a faint smile "Very well young sir." He turned walking quickly down the hall, Ichigo followed him, her skirts were annoying but he quickly manage to lift the hems enough he wasn't going to trip. Atsushi lead him deep into the west wing before opening one of the rooms Ichigo had seen before, he was surprised it was her room, he some how thought it would be more eclectic, lots of colors and other things, but while the furnishings was more delicate then his but it was still was sturdy, and clean, her room was too clean. He quickly laid her out on the bed, she lay there expression pained, he turned to Atsushi who watching him, "Again what's wrong with her and what can we do?"
"Nothing, there is nothing we can do."
Ichigo growled, "Surely there is something we can do? She's in pain."
Atsushi shook his head, "Nothing."
"Then what's wrong!"
"I can't tell you."
Ichigo threw his hands up, frustrated, she was laying on the bed in front of him in pain and he couldn't do anything. Her body wasn't even human enough for him to think his limited first aid training could help, he growled before going over to the small desk and grabbing the chair before walking back over to the side of the bed and slamming the chair down, he then sat astride it backwards, watching Kagome on the bed.
Ichigo didn't know when Atsushi left the room but he knew it had been a couple of hours, and he was tired enough to start nodding off in the chair when Kagome moved, he leaped off the chair and grabbed her hand, "Kagome you okay? You fainted after you realized..." it occurred to him it might not be the best idea to remind her why she had fainted in the first place but it was a little late. "Heh, you couldn't remember your school name."
She looked up at him with cloudy gray eyes, Ichigo felt relieved she was awake even though she clearly still was hurt.
Kagome felt herself fighting the muddy waters of unconsciousness, her chest hurt and she knew the crack had grown again, she could feel her bed underneath her body and wondered who had moved her, she knew it was a false hope that Ichigo had been willing to touch her, but hey a girl could dream. Kagome moved her arms trying to get them under her, she noticed her body felt even worse then it had after the last time, proving she was running out time faster then she could handle, it had taken her two days before she'd felt well enough to leave her room she wondered how long it was would take her to get better now...
"Kagome you okay? You fainted after you realized..."
He trailed off seeming to realize if it had upset her enough to get her to faint reminding her wasn't the best idea, but he went on anyway, "Heh. You couldn't remember your school's name."
Kagome frowned, every time the crack had grown she had been very emotional, and it mostly had something to do with Ichigo...
Ichigo peered down at her and she realized for the first time he was holding her hand. For a split second she felt like something had stabbed her heart, and then she realized she was happy, the wildly scream your head off, dance around the room, cry your heart out happy. He was holding her hand, and he had chosen to. And then it hit her like a train, he was leaning over her concern clearly visible on his face, hat about to fall off, so tilted back it was, velvet wrinkled, lace crumpled, and she realized some where along the way she had fallen for him, she actually loved him.
Kagome froze the image of his face like into her mind, this was the first time she had really really loved one of the men, she had felt affection and friendship, been attracted to a few, but never had she felt all three, not since Inuyasha. She smiled up at him needing to do something with what she felt, even if she didn't dare tell him, "I'm okay," she tried to swing herself over the edge of the bed when the weakness set in, she fell off the bed, into Ichigo's arms.
He set her back on the bed and looked her over, "No your not, what's wrong? You seemed to be in pain and now your exhausted, and maybe even still in pain."
Kagome sighed laying back down, he may look like he was just eye candy but she knew he was a lot smarter then he looked, that was part of why she loved him. "It's the curse, I should still have eight months but... The crystal I freaked out about? You know?" he nodded, eyes on her. "Well it's the anchor for the spell for the bubble world, and you saw the crack, it's breaking down faster then it should, and every time it cracks, it hurt me, I was put in demon form, the whole powers and everything, and now that the spell is weakening, my connection to my body is... either my body is trying to come here or I'm trying to go to my body and it hurts."
Kagome put it that way rather then say it was killing her, she wanted her time with him to be fun not shadowed by that one nasty fact, she'd rather bask in the fact she felt love again, she had worried maybe Inuyasha was the only one for her and she couldn't love again, but apparently she was wrong.
It took Kagome nearly a week to be well enough to spend all day out bed without a nap, Ichigo didn't mind, he had spent a lot of time in her room with her, they took turns reading to the other, and he had brought her the math book she had been hauling around in the feudal era and tutored her in math and english, she was still better at speaking it, but he could read it better, she had joked between the two of them they like could manage to survive if they went to America.
Ichigo would have rather call Kagome ugly then tell her he was starting to worry even if he was just a yearsie, she might not last long enough here for him to get his powers back, and get to Tokyo. With the time difference being a year to a month even minutes were hours, and he had no clue if Orihime would be able to save his powers but even if she could he was betting it would take the bare minimum of an hour. But he kept that to himself it wasn't like she couldn't realize that herself, and if she hadn't that was one less thing for her to be worried about.
He smiled at her, she looked so happy to be out walking in the one garden he hadn't seen any of, it was the one that looked a like a forest, only too perfect, the babbling creek here, the flowers there, the perfect spacing between the trees. But it was nice and it made her happy. He'd been surprised by how she had been so careful before not to touch him, she now liked holding hands, he didn't know what brought the change but he didn't mind.
Atsushi however had been odd, popping up all over. Ichigo had to admit while once he would have be glad to see him, now it was just annoying. Hisoka had seemed a touch apologetic for forcing him from his room, and had let him wear whatever he wanted for the last week, which felt weird. He had gotten used to dress-up doll and then he was back to dressing himself for their quick dinners, it didn't bode well. "Everyone going to think me crazy, in a coma, wakes up, demands help then runs off to tokyo... then he talks to the girl about stuff that couldn't have happened and has trouble dressing himself... Yep he'd be lucky if he could get away before they decided he was crazy."
He snorted, "What were you thinking about?" He looked back to Kagome, "Just all my friends are going to think me crazy, I'll have been out a month, then I just sit up and tell them how to get me my powers back, then I run off to Tokyo, their going to think something was messed up by the coma."
Kagome snorted, "Your right. And it is pretty funny."
He nodded, "Especially since I could explain why it sounds crazy."
Kagome looked over at him, "Can't all crazy people explain why their crazy? Unless they can't talk or are drooling stupid or something..." Kagome stopped, "You're laughing at me."
Ichigo choked back another snort, "No laughing sounds escaped my mouth."
Her eyes narrowed, "Maybe not but you are most definitely laughing."
Ichigo knew it was true so he decided silence was better part of valor.
A Five Weeks Later
Ichigo was trying to keep Kagome busy, while hiding his worry, she had collapsed again a week ago and still wasn't better, he had peeked in on the jewel and saw that it was very close to being split three quarters of the way through. He was afraid that even if the next time it cracked didn't break the spell, the pain would kill her. He knew even though she hadn't said the spell breaking would kill her too, but other wise why would she need to met the conditions? Ichigo had to admit it hurt, he was sitting here, smiling at her, while she was in pain, and he couldn't do anything. He had sworn to get her out, but he wasn't sure he wasn't too late.
"Next chapter please!"
Ichigo sighed, he gave her a pained look, "Kagome why are you making me read this?"
"Because I like it and you said you'd read anything I wanted."
Ichigo groaned, he really shouldn't have made his offer so open ended, "Yeah, but you're just being cruel, you're doing this to torture me!"
Kagome grinned, "Maybe but I still want you to read more!"
He slumped in his chair, he quickly reached out and took his cup of water draining it and he started again, "Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it..."
Three Hours Later
Ichigo carefully slid the door shut, Kagome had fallen asleep finally, freeing him from the evil book, "I hate that book."
Ichigo nearly jumped, surprised by Atsushi, "Yes something I can help you with Atsushi?"
The man smiled. Ichigo felt suspicious. He had been doing that a lot, and he didn't seem inclined to share the joke, "I want to try something that may give us more time."
Ichigo raised an eye brow, "What do you mean more time?"
"More time for the spell, you've noted how it's likely it won't even last another month? It's hurting Kagome so much because it is connected to her, meaning her powers can't affect it, but yours... Yours are different, and I think maybe if you gave it some of your faint powers, it could carry through long enough for you to get out."
Ichigo nodded slowly, "Right but if it doesn't work will it hurt her?"
Atsushi shrugged, "I don't think so sir, because if it doesn't work it's because your powers have no effect on it."
Ichigo thought it over before nodding decisively, "I'll do it... If me pouring too much power in won't be a problem?"
Atsushi smiled, "I don't think it would be."
Ichigo followed him down the hall to the room with the jewel, Ichigo walked in and stood across from Atsushi, "So what do I do?"
"Pick it up and bring the power you can feel to the surface."
"You're sure it won't hurt her? The last time I tried to touch it she freaked out."
Atsushi shook his head, "She was worried for you, the last guy who touched it was knocked out, the power too strong for him, it didn't help she tried to take him to his room but he woke in her arms and was frightened. She was more traumatized then the guy at the end of it."
"She was holding him when he woke up?"
Atsushi nodded, Ichigo could see how that being the first thing you saw after being knocked out could be scary, but it also explained why Kagome had been so timid about touching, he'd seen she was fond of hugs and cuddling in the feudal era and... And it would have hurt her a lot to be cut off from others, no wonder she liked holding his hand, she could tell he wasn't afraid or even repulsed, it might have been another story if she were slimy, but her scales were warm and dry to the touch. Without another thought he picked the jewel up, it pulsed, then went still. He pushed his power out, much like he had done when they were breaking into Soul Society, the jewel started humming and his eyes fluttered shut, his whole body shutting down, except for his mind, he needed to keep pushing, Kagome needed him. Until at last he fainted, but Atsushi caught him, he'd been excepting this, the boy was after all here because he was losing his powers. It was amazing he had done as much as he had, the crack had shrunk, now only maybe only a third of the way through the jewel.
Atsushi placed the jewel back on the table, and was picking the boy up when he heard footsteps, he looked up in time to see Kagome rush in, sleeping clothes mussed, she took one look at the boy in his arms and growled even as she carefully took the boy from him, "What on earth were you thinking!"
"He had power and could give you more time."
"Damn it Atsushi! I don't care about me! That was risky! It could have hurt him, maybe even killed him as unstable as his powers are!"
Atsushi smiled just a little, he had known she loved him, and he had just proven the boy loved her even if he didn't know it yet, "I don't know, I don't think he was worried about that, he after all only asked if would hurt you."
Kagome face softened and she brushed the hair back from his forehead, "He's just like that, he gives freely. It wouldn't have mattered even if I was only sick, if he can do something he will."
Atsushi sighed, Kagome would never dare hope he had done it out of something other then kindness, it would kill her. He knew why Midoriko had decided on this path, but the girl was dangerously close to just giving up. "Let's get him to bed Madame, he's just tired." Then he added slyly, "Even if you like holding him your arms."
Her scales turned more blue, proving she was blushing, but she didn't say anything, he supposed she knew he knew her too well to hide anything from him.
Ichigo woke slowly, he felt listless, dragged out, weak. Like he had no power... That was it, he had tried to re-charged the jewel, so it would stop killing Kagome. He forced his eyes open, he turned his head a little and found Kagome sleeping in the chair next to him, his heart warmed, it was clear he'd been unconscious for several hours, after all it had been a little after midday and now it was dark, and Kagome had stayed with him. Of course he wondered when she had found out what he'd done, had he woken her up or had... Oh well, it wasn't too important, he was just glad it worked. It had to have, she was out of bed, and she looked better even if she was tired.
He struggled up into a sitting position, just as he started thinking about how to get out of bed without waking Kagome, when Atsushi walked in carrying a tray; it had a bowl of soup and some toast, along with some tea, he nodded in thanks, both of them not speaking so as to not wake Kagome. Half way through his soup her head slipped and she knocked it on the back the chair, that woke her up, Ichigo smirked at her, "Awake now?"
"Ichigo you're okay!"
"Yeah, at little drained but fine, why wouldn't I be?"
He watched a little amazed as she got angry, her mane stood up and she glared at Atsushi, "I don't know maybe because it could have gone horribly wrong? Something about you already are here because you're losing your powers, trying to use them while they're draining away might have been too much for your body and KILLED YOU!" she switched her glare to him.
He shrugged, taking another sip of his soup, "Hey you should know things work out for us even when they shouldn't."
Kagome jumped to her feet and started pacing, "Yeah but still we... YOU can't keep trusting luck; it'll get you killed!"
Ichigo spoke up here, "Hey I don't think what I did with the jewel could have killed me, things here don't seem to effect the men, or therefor me, one guy fell on a sickle, stabbed him clean through, but he was fine, we pulled it out and in less then an hour you couldn't tell he had been stabbed, except he was weak from blood might be a different story, this world being built around you but, I don't think it can hurt us."
Kagome sighed, her mane smoothing down, "Fine I just was worried okay?"
Ichigo smiled, "Hey I was worried about you, that was why I did it."
Ichigo found his gaze drifting to her eyes, she was staring at him and he got the feeling she wanted something, he just didn't know what it was. They were interrupted by the sound of Atsushi clearing his throat, "So shall I plan your normal evening affairs starting up again?"
Ichigo groaned and was amused as he realized he and Kagome had groaned at the same time, "Please spare us." Kagome said, he echoed her, "Yeah can't we just keep having normal dinners, on the porches or... in the movie theater?"
Atsushi smiled, "If that is what you wish."
He and Kagome both nodded vigorously, Atsushi smiled wider before bowing and leaving them alone. Ichigo set his empty bowl aside, Kagome sat back down in the chair, Ichigo sipped his tea, silence seemed to building but neither knew what to say. He broke it realizing what he had set them up for, "You know of all things we've talked about neither of have brought up movies, I know that you went to see one with Hojo, but you didn't pay any attention to it, so what movies do you like?"
Kagome tilted her head back, "The last movie I really remember watching and loving is Spirited Away."
Ichigo choked, "That came out nine years ago."
Kagome shrugged, "I've never have been really big on movies in the theaters, and my family is busy enough without watching a lot of movies. I'm sure I've seen others between now and then that I liked but that's the one I really remember being in love with."
Ichigo shrugged, "Fine then you call the books I call the movies."
Kagome laughed, a grimace on her face, "You're going to get back at me for Twilight aren't you?"
Ichigo didn't bother answer with anything other than a nasty smirk.
Three Weeks Later
The next three weeks were a blast, it was almost startling to know they would soon came to an end, if he was a yearsie. He hoped he was a yearsie, he felt like he should be one, being in a coma for more then a month over losing his power seemed lame, not to mention it would kill Kagome, and he hated to think like that. It was shocking to think of not seeing her every day, of not talking over a dinner about what they had done that day, and even of not holding her scaly hand.
He didn't want to tell her, but he was thinking if she was okay with it he would try to transfer to her school, he didn't know where he'd live but he knew it wouldn't be at the shrine, unless he acted as a renter... he'd need a job for that, and his dad would likely have to kick some in... He didn't know, but he didn't want to say it's been fun and so long, he wanted to still see her, talk to her, and... and he didn't know how she would feel about it. Hell for all he knew she might, just might want to forget this had ever happened he wasn't sure he could blame her if that was the case, six thousand years was a weight, but that didn't seem likely from what he had seen, she didn't leave friends behind.
But he was going to keep that at the back of his mind for now, he still had a week.
He and Kagome were reading in the pink flower garden, Hisoka and Atsushi walked up concern clearly written on their faces. Kagome closed Twilight, it had been her turn to read aloud, "What's wrong?"
"Hisoka has just come back from delivering candles as usual, but this time he heard and saw something worrying; He had noticed before the village felt different, more alert, and he had noticed more guards, armed guards, but this time he over heard something about an attack. He didn't hear when it is, but it's target is unmistakeable, this Castle. They had maps of the gardens and such, proving at the very least they've been watching if not hopping the walls. They didn't seem to have anything on the inside, but it's worrying, not to mention the new leadership is... Erratic. He has a prison set up, there were at least ten men in it."
Ichigo frowned, that didn't sound like Fumio at all, he was very deliberate, "Was Fumio leading this?"
Hisoka shook his head, and then Atsushi spoke, "No but he was there, he seemed like second in command, there was a new man, we didn't get his name, but he was being called the Captain."
Ichigo groaned, he remembered that guy, he had showed up a week after him, the man, a twenty-six year old had claimed there was no way he could handle a sword being a 'kid' he had refused to give it up and none of the others had been inclined to make him give it up, so the man had tried to take Zangetsu, Ichigo had kicked his ass. He was also the guy who Kagome had thrown, stunning after he charged her.
"I take this is not good?" Kagome asked.
Ichigo shook his head, "This is bad, very bad, he... Me and him had something of a rivalry because he thought he should be captain of the guard, not just some kid with a sword, his words not mine. I thought he was an ass and when he tried to push me I beat the crap out of him, sure he healed but everyone got to see the results first, I broke his hand, his nose, and dislocated his shoulder, and I probably cracked some of his ribs."
"Why'd you keep hitting him?"
Ichigo laughed, "You would think he would have given up or stayed down, but he kept getting up, I hit him till he couldn't attack me any more."
Kagome nodded apparently okay with that.
He went on, "On top of that, he was the guy who came at you with the knife that you threw, gently, but threw.
Kagome winced, realizing the man, who apparently was unstable had something to hold against her.
"I can't say I'm surprised that he's behind this, but I bet I can stop him or at least everyone else if I go and talk to them."
They argued about it the next hour, but Kagome gave, he would go to the village and explain everything tomorrow.
Ichigo set off, Kagome was worrying needlessly, Yoshio and the others were reasonable, they would be glad everything was going to work out. Three hours later he was cursing his weakening powers, what had taken an hour and a half before was going to take four, he supposed he should be glad he still had that much, other wise it would have been two days or so. It took him another half an hour but he was quickly approaching the village, he then noticed two guys he half remembered from his time in the village, "Hey Goru, Isamu."
Both had spears and they were both pointed at him, Ichigo felt his hackles rise, he remembered both had been pretty easy going, but they looked tense and even a touch fearful.
"Guys, it's just me, Ichigo Kurosaki."
Watching them pale more at him stating his name, made Ichigo glad Kagome had forced him to bring Zangetsu, somethings had changed drastically while he was gone. Ichigo sensed someone coming at him from the side, he drew Zangetsu and sliced up wards, but a bit too late. The spear pierced his chest just under his collar bone, he felt it slide deep even as he cut the head from the rest of the spear.
Ichigo did his best to step back ignoring the searing pain rolling in his chest, he could taste blood, he tried to inhale but felt the wound bubble, and more blood rushed up his throat. He spat meeting the harsh brown eyes glaring at him over the wide grin on the man's face, "Captain Iwao, still a coward who attacks when his opponent is off guard."
The smile faded a touch before returning in full force, "It is not cowardice to take an advantage and use it."
Ichigo shrugged hiding the pain it caused, "If you say so, I've always found it doesn't serve me well."
Ichigo inhaled again before coughing up blood, he spat the mouth full and caught the look on Iwao's face, "Don't go thinking you've won yet dumbass, I am still standing after all."
"I don't know I think you've forgotten something."
Ichigo sighed, and sidestepped the two who had been sneaking up behind him ready to grab him, he knocked Guro out and broke Isuma's leg with a swift kick. But he couldn't hide what it took out of him, he was forced to lean on Zangetsu, panting trying to ignore the blood spreading down his front and bubbling at his lips.
"It's looks like I hit the artery."
Ichigo scowled, once not to long ago this would have barely slowed him down, this was just proof of his fading power. He had to two choices, try to kick the bastard's ass and risk being captured or make a run for it. If he was captured he likely would end up in the prison, or worse Iwao would want to gloat and quite possible torture him, and possible use him against Kagome, in the end it wasn't a hard choice to make, he would run for it. "Doesn't mean shit here Iwao, you can't die so it's pointless to gloat, painful yes, but it's nothing."
The man scowled, Ichigo gave him a smirk and then started forcing himself to flash-step, he got maybe half a mile before he had to stop and walk normally. The draw of power had been pushing him towards unconsciousness, Ichigo sighed walking forward, he glanced down at the bit of the pole visible from where he cut it from the spear, Kagome was going to laugh at him, after she got over being mad at him for getting hurt.
Kagome paced faster, Ichigo should have been back hours ago, it was midnight and despite Atsushi's pleading she had refused to go to bed, she knew as upset as she was she was risking cracking the jewel, but she couldn't calm herself, as hostile as Atsushi had made the village sound Ichigo had been so sure he could just stroll in and fix it all. "Ugh! That idiot!"
"You know you could just tell him you love him."
Kagome jumped, Atsushi was standing behind her a cup of hot tea held on a tray, she took the tea and sipped not wanting to admit it was cold outside. "Atsushi you know why I won't tell him."
She heard his almost inaudible sigh, "I heard that, Atsushi look at me, think of him, I know you know everything the mirror shows, so you know who's waiting for him to get back. There is no way he'd chose my scaly self over that busty princess, even at my best I'm not that pretty."
Kagome heard something hit the ground, she spun and opened the gates, Ichigo lay face down in the dirt, Kagome dropped her cup and ran out to him, she rolled him over and winced, a spear head was embedded in his chest, it looked like it had been worked deeper, and he was absolutely covered in blood. She picked him up as best as she could, Zangetsu fell to the ground chain broken clinking, "Atsushi grab Zangetsu," Kagome ran for Ichigo's room, she set him on the bed, Hisoka materialized with bandages and hot water along with some metal tools Kagome knew she was going to have to use to get the spear head out. She took a deep breath looking at his pale face, she had some work to do.
Twelve hours later Kagome looked up from Twilight to see Ichigo was blinking, "Ichigo," Kagome put a bookmark in and stood leaning over him, "Are you okay? Any pain?"
He blinked up at her slowly, "No, no pain. I'm good." He started struggling to sit up, she had to help him, and moved the pillows to prop him up, "Just really weak." he scowled.
That got her started, "Well if you hadn't been stabbed you wouldn't have lost so much blood! And if you had let me come you wouldn't have gotten stabbed at all! You idiot! Don't know how worried I was when you weren't back in time for dinner!"
He huffed at her, "Hey don't yell at me! You know perfectly well why I had to go alone! If you had gone they might have thought you were there as threat!"
Kagome scowled back, "So! You still should have let me come! I could have just hid and watched until you were attacked!"
He sighed, "Let me tell you what happened..."
Four Days Later
Ichigo told Kagome what had happened, and how he suspected Iwao had forced everyone to go along with him. So they came up with a plan, said plan was to make a bunch of non-lethal traps and capture everyone, that way no one would be too hurt, and they wouldn't have to fight the spears, even if they had better weapons the village had numbers, even if the servants helped.
The general plan was lead the group on a marry chase till all of them were caught and then explain everything letting them go, except for maybe Iwao, they were thinking they would keep him locked up, he was dangerous. If the traps failed they were just going to keep running away till he woke up and then freed Kagome. Ichigo had to admit it was a sound plan but he had to wonder where was Yoshio in this surely he didn't think this was a good idea, sure Yoshio might have thought he needed rescuing but attacking like this was stupid. And very Iwao.
That night while they ate dinner they started hearing sounds from outside the walls, and even if they couldn't see they could guess it was the village getting ready to attack in the morning.
Ichigo woke early, and joined Kagome outside despite the early morning mist, they climbed up on the roof so they could see what they were facing, Ichigo had to admit he was impressed Iwao had managed to get them in sloppy military type formations, totally pointless when they were going to have to batter the gate down first. But they did seem to be ready for that, Ichigo could see it half hidden behind some trees.
"Surrender or we will take this castle by force!"
Ichigo nearly jumped, "Where the hell did Iwao get a bull horn!" He then finally picked him out, he was standing on a low cart that had a carved wooden horn, he laughed and pointed him out to Kagome, she nodded more seriously, Ichigo felt his temporary amusement fade, she was right, this wasn't good, they had been counting on the men running about rather randomly not in structured groups. "We'll need to break them up."
Kagome nodded, "I can do that."
He frowned back knew he had been too slow before, and he still wasn't one hundred percent after getting stabbed, Kagome had told him if he had been in his body or even just the real world he would have bled to death before getting back.
They sat on the roof for the next five hours, Ichigo was impressed the gate was holding so well, but he had to admit this waiting was killing him, Kagome and him had barely said five words in the last hour and less than fifteen in the last three. The gate really was giving way now, the top corner of the right gate was flopping forward, Ichigo was surprised when Kagome stood and hopped off the roof, he followed quickly, he landed and she glanced over her shoulder at the slowly falling gate, "Ichigo you and me will have to lead them into the traps if our plan is going to be effective, I'll go first drawing them to the castle, Atsushi," Atsushi appeared behind her. "Will be helping the castle break them up into smaller groups the other servants doing the same, you and me will have to be the ones doing all the running."
Ichigo nodded, he knew she knew he was still weak, and so he was just glad she wasn't trying to make him hide or something girly like that.
"I'll be in the north wing," Kagome went on unaware of his thought, Ichigo nodded, "I'll be in the south."
She nodded, "Lets get going."
He nodded and they both went inside as the right side of the gate gave away completely, falling as flat as the now twisted metal could.
Kagome watched Ichigo turn, heading for the farthest wing from the fighting, sure people were likely to get there but first they would have to wander around quite a bit, not to mention watch the others get picked off, lowering their moral. She just hoped he never found out what she was going to do, he might if she didn't scare enough of the men but... the risk was worth it.
She just hoped what she was doing would buy Ichigo enough time to wake up before he ended up facing anyone, she didn't know if he had realized but today was his last day, and he said he had shown up late afternoon, three or four hours from now.
She stood in a small room just off the main entry way, she hadn't even known the room was here till Atsushi started showing her and Ichigo every nock and and cranny in the castle, she had pulled up the floor last night while Ichigo slept allowing her tentacles to go under the floor and grab the first bunch of men to enter, she then could drag them to her where she had lots and lots of rope, she was hoping to grab five to ten men, she didn't know how well they could fight, but honestly she would just be as happy with one, it would scary as hell to watch the men in front of you go through the floor screaming.
She waited and could hear the men cautious creeping up the front steps, they slowly opened the door, she felt five or six men cross over her tentacles that were holding on to the weaken supports for the floor she waited and within thirty seconds felt a larger number she wasn't sure but more cross over the weakened floor, that was her signal, she pulled and started grabbing at the screaming bodies, she wound her tentacles tightly over the bodies she could feel, covering the screaming mouths, she ignored the few brave enough to bite down, she had been ready for that, she then dragged them back ignoring the screams from the others watching. Once she had all her limbs back in the same room did she take count, eight was the number of men she grabbed. She tied them up ignoring the wide eye stares and the fearfully struggles, she then opened the secret door and carried her prisoners with her, the place they had deemed the prisoner holding, the maze room. Ichigo and her had done run throughs so they had five different places in the maze to hold people they had just figured who would look for them there, and with them spread out your odds of finding everyone were very poor.
Kagome grinned a little relieved, that had gone very well.
Two Hours Later
Kagome wasn't feeling so cheerful, some had gotten lucky and stabbed her tentacle to the floor trapping her with them for a time, true she had gotten five more guys then had she gotten away clear with the other four at first, but well she had lost three tentacles plus the one that was hurt and bleeding, she had left something of a trail before she had stopped in the kitchen and gotten a napkin tying the wound off.
Forty three guys down, four tentacles, and Atsushi said someone else of the servants had been hurt, attacked from behind when she was rounding up some others that had been caught in traps. Not to mention she hadn't seen the commander of this whole fiasco. She was the tiniest bit afraid he was hunting down Ichigo, but there was a possibility he was still out side, three sides of the castle had some of the villagers watching the doors not very many but enough to raise a stink if they tried to make a break for it.
Oh and the whole north wing was searched, no more traps and no longer a place she could get to without fighting a whole lot of the men.
Kagome sighed, peering around the corner, these three were way too jumpy, no good what so ever, she raised the mirror that had been waiting for this, she didn't even flinch at her ugliness, she spoke suddenly seem to appear in front of the men, "Throw down your spears and no one will get hurt."
All three jumped and one dropped his spear before she had even finished speaking. The other two look at one another and dropped their spears too, Kagome shrugged, that was easy.
An Hour After That
Kagome chugged the lemonade Atsushi had brought her, "A whole 'nother hour and only five more guys, the rest seemed to be the smart ones. And in the castle she was pretty sure there were only twenty or so, the rest were outside, though it was worrying to not have seen Iwao when she peaked outside." Kagome paced, while swallowing the rice balls, she looked over at Atsushi, he was watching her a smile on his face, "Go to him, he is fine but you risk yourself with such a distraction."
Kagome frowned but knew he was right, she swallowed the last one, "Thanks Atsushi, you get going yourself."
He nodded and slipped off through a crack, Kagome went to the more obvious door and slipped out heading for the south wing, she slipped quietly from one shadow to another. Ichigo should, if he was a yearsie be close to waking up, she breathed a sigh of relief at the thought, she noted two seemed to be caught in a trap and immediately frowned, Ichigo should have cleared them out and maybe even reset the trap, her bad feeling growing she started searching rooms faster.
She found him he was fighting Iwao, Iwao had clearly found where they had moved the weapons to, because he had a proper sword and was dueling Ichigo, Ichigo was holding up well at first glance but then she could see the sweat and knew they had been dueling for a long time. Kagome took a note from Inuyasha's book and charged from the side, her short sword ready, she grinned fiercely at the surprised look she got as she slammed the man away from Ichigo.
Ichigo lowered his sword a bit, "Got to butt in have you?" Ichigo drawled wiping the sweat from his eyes, Iwao stood straight and glared at her, "Unholy thing!" he hissed.
Kagome blinked and then looked to Ichigo unsure she had just heard what she thought she had, Ichigo was staring at Iwao just as surprised, then Ichigo started laughing, "Wow. And with your past that so isn't true." He grinned at her, then he looked to Iwao. "It's almost funny how pathetic you are."
Ichigo readied his sword, "Think maybe we could get everyone else to surrender if we showed them we have their leader?"
Kagome nodded, "Worth a try."
Ichigo straighten and took a step forward before he vanished not a foot print or even a puff of smoke he was gone. Kagome gaped with shock, before she closed her eyes telling herself that was what she had wanted, he gone and safely back with his friends. She opened her eyes to find Iwao staring at her in shock, "I thought he was your toy why did you kill him?"
Kagome shrugged she wasn't going to tell the man Ichigo was now back in the real world, she was going to kick his ass and then round up the rest of the intruders.
Ichigo felt like he'd blinked, one moment he was in front of Iwao with Kagome ready to fight him next he was in blackness and then he realized his eyes were shut, he opened them and found himself on a bed in Urahara's shop. He sat up, his limbs felt heavy, something to expected after being out for a month though, he shook his head, back on task, need to get to Tokyo. He stood up and staggering to the door, he opened it, he found Urahara eating, well he had been; The egg Urahara had been about to bite into slipped from between his chop sticks, then he was all good will and cheer, "Your awake Kurosaki, good... we didn't think you'd wake for another day or two but no matter."
Ichigo spoke not wanted to listen to him chatter while Kagome was fighting, "Urahara you need to get Orihime, she can reject me losing my powers."
The man looked like he had been hit by lighting, mouth hanging open, eyes wide for the second time that... morning? Evening? Ichigo looked to the clock, it read ten o'clock and judging by what Urahara was eating that meant morning, good he didn't have to wait a night. "Hurry, I need Orihime."
"But their in school..."
Ichigo waved his hand feeling adrenaline rush through his veins, "It's not like she can't say it's some sort of an emergency."
Urahara stood and walked to his phone he dialed, silence filled the room and Ichigo resisted the urge to pace, any minute he told himself, "You have time, Kagome won't let Iwao get the better of her."
Orihime's phone rang, Ms. Ochi broke off from her lecture to glare at the girl. Orihime payed no mind the moment she saw the number, she just picked up, "He's awake?"
The response was not heard around the room but clearly it was good news, her smile lit up the room, she snapped her phone closed, and looked around the classroom meeting a number of eyes, She stood and in synic so did four others, "I apologize Ms. Ochi but an emergency has come up please excuse us."
And without waiting for an answer she lead the charge from the room.
Ms. Ochi sighed as the door shut again, "Why do I bother wondering?" she asked herself rhetorically, before continuing the class.
Ichigo was glad to know his body and Kon were here at the shop, that meant one less stop to grab his body, he ignored Urahara suggesting he climb in his body, his fingers tapping he waited. The door opened and in strode Chad, Orihime, Ishida and Rukia. Ichigo jumped to his feet, "Good you're here, Orihime reject me losing my power!"
Everyone stared at him, all blinking in shock, Ichigo rolled his eyes, "Come on, I only have so much time."
Orihime snapped from her shock and hurried over, "Lay down Kurosaki-kun."
Ichigo did so, and she promptly said "I reject."
Ichigo felt the sensation of sand slipping past him stop, and he almost sighed in relief, Kagome was right, thank god.
"Now what's this about Ichigo?" Urahara asked.
Ichigo sighed, how much could he tell them? Now they would get to hear the rest, just later, like after he proved he wasn't crazy. "I need speed, and the best way to get that is to still have my powers."
"Why do you need speed?" Ishida asked shoving his glasses up his nose, making them glint hiding his eyes.
"So I can get to Tokyo faster then a train."
"Why do you need to get to Tokyo?" Rukia demanded.
This time he did sigh, "So I can save someone's life, and no I won't say more then that, not till after I've done so, but if you want, you can come, you'll just need to bring your body."
Rukia eyed him, face angry, Ichigo smirked, she hated being thwarted, and he could tell she would have tried to beat it out of him if not for the fact he had Orihime's barrier between him and her. He stuck his tongue out, and she got even angrier, he laughed, "I missed you Rukia."
Then he realized everyone was staring at him funny, and he had to admit from their point of view he had been unconscious and therefore had no reason to have missed her or any of them. "I have gotten far to used to sharing my thoughts out loud with Kagome." "I'll explain that later."
Everyone nodded, and the next half an hour was very quiet, then he could tell his powers were back even if he wasn't at full strength, "Thanks Orihime, but I'm not going to be fighting so I don't need full power."
She nodded and let her barrier dissipate, Ichigo stood glad to see Zangetsu again, "Good to feel you partner."
"You too Ichigo, and I have to say I am with always even if you can't feel me."
"My body?" Urahara opened the closet door and it toppled out, Ichigo sighed, somehow he thought he was going to need a shower before his skin would stop crawling, it always left a bad taste in his mouth to leave his body in Urahara's hands. He grabbed it, "Thanks Orihime, Chad, Ishida I'll tell you everything later." Chad nodded, and Ichigo left out the window and started flash stepping leaving Rukia and Urahara to follow him if they cared too. He felt Rukia catch up to him and Urahara following him further behind. Ichigo smiled and set his sights on Tokyo and took off silently.
At Noon Or An Hour Later
Ichigo felt his heart start pounding, he was getting close he could see the very tippy top of the god tree. He put on some speed, and landed in the courtyard, he held his body up and stepped in. Shocked when it hurt, his body growing to match the changes from the Dangai Precipice World. It stopped and he straighten to meet Urahara's gaze, he grinned, "That was a surprise," he shook his hair noticing it was back to the way it had been before Hisoka cut it, "Kagome's going to be happy," she had told him she liked it a touch longer. He ignored Kisuke's questioning look he walked away till he saw Kagome's mom sweeping, he walked down the stairs feeling unaccountably nervous, "Saya Higurashi?"
She sighed, it had been a month since Kagome had gone through the well, and she was starting to wonder wether she would ever come home, Kagome had missed two important tests and that was very unlike her, Saya was proud Kagome tried so hard to juggle her responsibilities. She looked up when someone called her name, she saw a high school boy, and his hair was most startling. Orange, bright orange at that, and it looked natural, that or he dyed his eyebrows too. She frowned that school uniform wasn't one she recognized, "Yes that's me."
"Kagome's not home is she?"
Saya felt something was wrong with the way he asked, not was she available? but she wasn't there. "No she's staying with a cousin till she's better." That had been the best excuse they could come up with for her not being around this long, and for not giving out a hospital room number to her friends. She was surprised when the boy grinned, it almost as startling as his hair, his scowl had been so dark when he asked after Kagome to see him grin was.. odd.
"Yeah I bet she is, this is going to sound very strange but I need you to go get Souta, he should be on lunch break by now i'd guess, tell the school it has to do with Kagome, and get Jii-chan."
Saya blinked, he spoke very familiarly of their family, and he knew they were lying about where Kagome was... "Who are you?"
The boy looked surprised and then sheepish, "Sorry name's Ichigo Kurosaki and I know where Kagome is," he trailed off but she caught, "..now I know what Kagome... it's strange when people don't know your name."
No matter how odd this boy was she sensed no malicious intent, he meant everything he said. She nodded, "Follow me into the house while I call for Souta."
She called the school and told them to tell Souta to hurry, after that was done she found Ichigo slouched against the wall staring at Buyo, Buyo was staring back. Saya frowned Buyo normally was so lazy he never did that not even with Inuyasha. "He's on his way."
Ichigo nodded and stood with one last look at Buyo, "Lets go to the second main shrine."
She nodded, and followed him out they were half way to the Shrine when her father jumped out of no where and stuck a sutra to the boy's forehead yelling,"Demon begone!" The boy took it rather well he just pealed it off, but then she caught another odd statement, "...forgot he does that..."
She grabbed her father's arm to stop him from doing it again, she looked back up to see the boy was once again leading the way, then he paused and looked up, "Yo! You guys want to know what's going on get down here!"
Two people appeared from no where, an odd man with a green striped hat and a cane, then a young girl with short black hair and violet eyes. They started following the boy in to the shrine, she sighed, "Jii-chan go in after them I must wait for Souta."
He nodded face serious, "That boy is important."
She nodded, she too got that sense. Then she saw Souta come running up to her panting too hard to talk, he leaned on her while he caught his breath, then came the babble of questions she didn't know how to answer. "Is Kagome back? School said it was really important, what's going on?"
She shook her head, "I don't know yet Souta there is a boy here who says he knows where she is."
Then she lead him to the shrine, inside she found that he was tapping on the walls oblivious to the confused stares of his friends. Her father's eyes were watching him narrowly, like he was expecting the boy to damage some relic. But the wall the boy was preoccupied with was blank, Saya frowned, why was that wall blank, sure there wasn't good light on it but surely they could have put something on it... Then the boy touched the next section and jumped back as a blue lighting-bolt zapped his hand, he shook it muttering, "I didn't except that. Miroku was one damn good monk."
Saya stepped forward a half formed suspicion begging to be spoke, "Inuyasha?"
He turned apparently know who she was talking about, "No ma'am he married Kikyo."
She nodded, now back to being totally lost.
Ichigo wanted to curse, the damn sutras sensed his hollow and thought him a demon. Oh well, he faced the wall and with great care pressed his hands to the wall looking for the trigger, after one painful, searing minute he found it and the door swung open, he yanked his hands away and began shaking them, they burned. He looked at them, they were pink, on had the beginnings of blister, "Definitely abusive."
He looked back but they were all staring at him, "What did you do?" Souta asked.
Ichigo looked around at them, they all looked confused, "What? Can none of you see the door?"
Every shook their heads or stared at him some more, Rukia seemed to be glaring at him the hardest, like she was mad at him or something... Oh well. He shrugged and rushed the barrier, he broke through and found himself in the dark cob-webbed room where Kagome's body was laid out in her school uniform, mended from the finally battle, blood washed from it. He scooped her up and brought her out, the barrier was happy to let him out, Saya and Souta gasped. Saya's hand went over her mouth, Ichigo knelt down sitting her down, but keeping her body leaning on him. He frowned, she wasn't breathing, for a moment he felt a fizzle of panic, but his mind started racing, he couldn't be too late, unless Iwao had killed her, but he skilled wasn't enough to have beaten her...
Okay what did she say? She said she need to be brought out... His first thought of what she needed came to mind, he thought she needed someone to love her, she denied it but... Ichigo frowned, if she had lied about that... Did he love her?
He wanted her to live, he want to talk to her some more, hell he even wanted to finish Twilight with her, if she didn't come back how would he feel? Broken, crushed, were the words that came to mind, his heart hurt right now holding her and seeing her not breathing, if she stayed this way... He let a snort out, fighting back panic, he loved her and that was all she needed.
He leaned down and whispered in her ear, "You little liar!" he whispered the last bit even quieter, "Good thing I love you anyway." he pulled back ignoring Saya's tugs trying to pull Kagome to her, she took a deep breath, color flooding her face.
Ichigo let himself look her over, the black hair was the only thing he had ever seen clearly, and this was it, it curled over her shoulders fetchingly, still wild just like her. Her body was slim and he had noticed she was as light as the time he took her to her room, so she still need to eat more. Her cheeks were now flushed with color, her lips were a pretty pink. His conclusion, she was perfect. The best part, she was alive, he hugged her before letting Saya do the same.
Saya looked to him with tears in her eyes, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
He waved it off, he had something to gain after all, keeping his promise being the least of it. Kagome's eyes started fluttering. He leaned back over her, smirk on his face, he was so relieved. Her gray eyes opened, and his heart warmed, her eyes didn't change. She frowned up at him, "Ichigo? I thought you... woke up? Wait..." she looked around the shrine, she saw her mother and Rukia and Urahara, her grandfather and her brother.
Her eyes went wide and she sat up touching her arms, and her face, she stared at her scale free hands, he let her have her moment, she'd start asking questions soon.
"You..." she looked to him eyes wide with something like awe, "I'm really here? You broke the spell? That means..." her eyes got even bigger, her mouth opened but it took her a second to get anything out, "But that means... How could you? I was so ugly!"
He snickered, "Kagome you should know by now looks have nothing to do with anything."
She scowled, "Still I hit you that time and.. and... and Orihime has that thing for you!"
Ichigo sighed, "Kagome you're human again and you continue to deny what that means? I'm soo hurt."
She huffed, "Well it is true you should have handled Orihime first."
Ichigo sighed, "Come on you saw how careful I was not to encourage her, she just can't take a hint. At least I didn't lead her on you like you did Hojo."
Kagome's mouth fell open, "HEY! That is not fair either, at least I didn't go fight an army for him!"
"Hey, I would do that for any of my friends you and you know it!"
"As cute as this is, I only have so long to explain a few things to you two."
Both him and Kagome turned, Atsushi stood before them, along with Midoriko, Everyone else seemed to able to see them but seemed horrible confused, their arguments probably not having help that in the least. Midoriko spoke first, "Kagome your wish was selfish but for a good reason, then being willing to take the consequences of your actions was very brave. But you were wrong about your wish, you didn't wish Inuyasha could be yours, you wished for someone to love you like Inuyasha loved Kikyo."
Ichigo glanced at Kagome didn't that mean...
"You mean this was all some sort of crazy wish fulfillment thing!"
Yep he had heard that right, but Midoriko was ready for that apparently, "Kagome would you truly be okay with anything less after that? Besides you know even if there are girls prettier then you he won't chase them, you can trust him with everything."
Midoriko turned her gaze to him, Ichigo was strongly reminded of Unohana, "And you, you Shinigami, you need someone as strong if not more so then you. This was an answer, do you understand?"
Ichigo nodded hard, she smiled softening, "I wish you both long and happy lives." And she vanished in a flash of light, they looked to Atsushi, he smiled, "It was a pleasure to meet and serve both of you, Madame." He bowed to Kagome then he bowed to him, "And you Young Sir."
Then he was gone, no flash, no smoke, just gone, Ichigo looked to Kagome, "I think he annoys me on purpose."
She giggled, "Of course he does you look so cute, your scowl all deep, eyes all hard."
"Is that why you made me read that god awful book?"
Her giggle said it all, but he had a trump card, "Just remember movies are mine!"
She groaned and he smirked back, a throat clearing brought them back to their audience, Kagome groaned, "We're going to have to explain this aren't we?" The five nodded.
Kagome stood and then pulled Ichigo to his feet, she paused and then frowned at him, "Have you eaten yet?"
She laughed, "Then we both have to be pretty hungry."
He grinned, "You have to be hungrier, after all five hundred years verses a month."
She laughed, Ichigo grinned linking his hand with hers, he didn't know what was going to happen next, but he did know what ever came he could handle it with her at his side.
No there will not be a sequel!