Can't Stop Running
Disclaimer: Don't own Inuyasha, don't own Bleach, so I don't own anything. So I admit it's another Bleach Inuyasha crossover done beauty and the beast style, I can't help it. I love the idea, and beauty and the beast is just so much fun to write. By the way Ichigo's form is that of his hollow in his last fight with Ulquiorra.
Ichigo landed lightly, his feet touching ground. His relief was mingled with a touch of sadness, never again would he hold Tensa Zangetsu and never again would people stare at his huge Shikai. But Aizen was dead. Ichigo searched the crater for signs of Aizen's body, he knew Aizen had to be dead but he wanted to make sure, he didn't have long before he would lose all his abilities to see spirits and he wanted a chance to say good bye. He found Aizen's body but then to his horror he saw it twitch.
He stepped to a few feet away from Aizen's body, it was regenerating. Aizen moved so that he was on his hands and knees, his breathing was deep and each exhale was a growl, Aizen was furious. Ichigo struggled to think, what could he do? His sword was gone, his powers fading like a drop of water under the sun in the summer.
Aizen struggled to his feet still growling, and Ichigo still didn't know what to do, he had just thrown all his power at the man and it wasn't enough. To prove his point his waist length black hair fell away leaving him with his too long orange hair. Stumbling he fell to his knees now Aizen was the one standing. "Crap."
He'd failed, everyone was going to die.
Aizen groaned, and then spoke, "Kurosaki Ichigo, you lose."
Ichigo bit his lip and clenched his fists in the dirt, Aizen was going to taunt him again before finishing him off.
Aizen held his sword out, "Observe."
The sword was slowly crumbling, fading on the wind. Ichigo held in a growl of his own, Aizen was still reaching.
"My Zanpakuto is fading away. You should know what that means. The Hogyoku has determined that I have no need of a Zanpakuto! Like you, I have become one with the Zanpakuto and it's powers. No, in fact you longer have such powers! While I will reach far beyond that level you had obtained! It's OVER! Kurosaki Ichigo!"
A red glow came from Aizen's chest, both he and Aizen were startled by it. Aizen looked at his chest and both of them saw a red light coming from just above the swirling jewel in his chest. Then one under the jewel appeared. Aizen took a step back. Three more appear creating a cross. The jewel still in the center. "A Kido?!" Aizen staggered as two more lit up. "But when was I hit?"
A new voice, one Ichigo placed right away spoke from his left, "It seems it's finally taking effect." Urahara landed his clogs clicking lightly on the packed earth.
"Urahara!" When had he gotten here?
"Urahara Kisuke! This is your doing?!"
"Yes. Before you completely transformed, when you were most vulnerable, I planted a Kido in another Kido and shot it into your body."
Ichigo felt uneasy, maybe it was silly but Aizen was still standing and talking. Kido taking effect or not he had time to strike one last time. Aizen seemed to be thinking very fast, his face was a mix of anger and frustration. It seemed he realized Urahara had countered him.
"It's a seal. I figured once you fused with the Hogyoku you would be nearly impossible to kill."
Aizen was thinking hard, Ichigo could see Aizen was going to try to pull one last thing, one last time. He opened his mouth to warn Urahara who was still talking, blind to the danger.
"So I invented a new Kido to seal you off."
"Be that as it may I won't let this be a victory." That was all Aizen said before the Hogyoku shot from his chest escaping the Kido, Aizen seemed to shatter, he was back to a human form but for one violet eye. Ichigo barely noticed this before the Hogyoku hit him in the chest.
Surprised he barely had time to see it before it sunk into his chest, white seeped from the spot dripping on the ground. Stunned he realized it didn't hurt, looking up at Urahara he wasn't happy to see horror written across his first teacher's face. Looking down he saw the white running up across his skin, some still dripped on the ground, but it rather quickly was covering him. He reached up to touch the spot the Hogyoku vanished when he saw his hands had claws. Spreading his fingers he saw black tracing the backs of his fingers, it stopped before reaching the back of his hands. At his wrists a red ruff of fur was growing, just an inch wide but it was clearly fur. Standing he opened his mouth to speak to Urahara. Urahara stopped him by calling his name in shocked and rather horrified way. He was looking slightly to the left of where he was actually standing...
Ichigo found his heart sinking he had a clue about what had just happened. His eyes flickered to Aizen, Aizen smiled brightly, his eyes gleaming cruelly. "Suffer Ichigo, Suffer." Then he was swallowed by the seal. Aizen had wanted revenge enough to free the Hogyoku leaving himself to be sealed... What had he done to him?
Looking at his chest he saw striping, the center a round spot that he supposed would look like a hole from far away. Then his eyes saw a white thing from the corner of his eye. Reaching up he touched it to find he had horns, bull type horns, touching his face he felt sharp teeth. He was wearing his hollow's form. Totally horrified now he looked up to find Urahara baring down on him sword at the ready, teeth bared, his eyes wet with suppressed tears. Putting his hands up he manage to catch Urahara's hand stopping the sword from reaching him. Urahara snarled in his face, "How could you kill him!? He was a child!"
The cold spread till he felt numb with shock, Aizen's real plan sinking in, he was in a hollow's form, if normal people could see him he was a freak, no one would help him. His family, his friends, and probably all of soul society would see Aizen. The Hogyoku made Urahara see him die using Aizen's sword's powers. He was one hundred percent fucked.
Urahara lashed out sending him flying, the pain was minor, just a small gash he could see the Hogyoku healing him... that was weird. Wait... Aizen hadn't died, was he going to die again and again at the hands of his friends? He had no sword and only weak powers, he had speed, sight, and healing. How the hell was he going to get away from his friends and out of soul society? He was so distracted and frankly ruined by the scope of a five second plan that he failed to react to Urahara attacking him. He went down hard pain burning through him, blood sprayed and he had just enough time to understand he had just been cut in half and stabbed in the heart before he blacked out.
Stirring he found his body ached, his eyes drifting open he stared at the blue sky, feeling a bit of hope he lifted a hand but at the sight of the claws and the black stripes he fell back in despair. Aizen said suffer and he was suffering. Hearing Urahara saying something he lifted his head enough to see him talking to the sealed Aizen. Like it was him. He couldn't have been out for long, just enough to make Urahara think he was dead.
"...Yuzu and Karin will be safe, me and your father will make sure of it."
Grief sunk in, his family and friends would be so angry with him, they would think he was dead. His sisters. If he ever went back Karin would never forgive him. Yuzu would never stop crying. The Hogyoku decided he had enough rest, Urahara spun like he made a noise, Ichigo leaped to his feet and took off running. He didn't like dying, it hurt, a lot. Urahara was fast, his attack skimmed his back.
Grunting at the pain he tried to go faster, but his limits were clear. Frustrated by the third nick, he wished so very hard he could leave he tumbled straight through a Gargantua. Standing in the dark swirling vortex he considered for a brief second just staying, but he knew some where, some how he could get out of this. He just had to fight a little longer. Knowing Karakura was still swarming he thought of the vacation they had taken when he was seven to Saga. Then he started walking, he pictured the beach he, his sisters and their mother had spent most of the four days they were there at. Finally he stepped out. People started screaming right away. Crushed again by the thoroughness of the plan Aizen thought up on a fly he then started running, he needed clothes, something with a hood.
Nine Months Later July 16th Tokyo
Kagome was out. She and the girls had gone to a movie, something that had become normal after her quest in the Feudal era had ended a year ago. She still missed everyone, rather often actually, but there was something to be said for the innocence of this era. There was the sex factor which would have flustered Sango but thrilled Miroku, but it was more innocent, so few people had seen violent deaths, and even then if they had it probably wasn't an every day thing unless they chose so.
She was half way to the train station to go get some things for her mother when she felt it, she stopped dead in the middle of cross walk, after all she couldn't be feeling what she thought it was. But feeling it get fainter she made a snap decision, she would chase it. Taking two steps to her left she realized it was to her right, running that way as the cross walks began to clear she fought crowds, battling to get closer to what felt like a corrupted Shikon no Tama.
He held in a sigh it was his first day in Tokyo and he had absolutely no luck, some times he had been able to get odd jobs or some kind person would give him something for free, but more often then not he found he had to resort to stealing. The clothes eight, no nine, months ago had been the first thing, the next thing had been dinner because the moment people stopped running from him at first glance he realized he was starving. The third day he had wished hard enough the Hogyoku gave in and gave him Tensa Zangetsu, Zangetsu wasn't back speaking to him, but having the blade was enough, he wasn't totally alone, and when ever Soul Society found him he had something to fight back with. To his ever lasting annoyance and confusion if he stayed some where for more then a week or two depending on the number of people someone found him. He knew it wasn't his spiritual pressure that gave him away, but more like the Hogyoku drew what ever stationed Shinigami was there to him. Where they always attacked and some times called for back up.
The day Renji had shown up stuck out in his memory, Renji had fought as hard as he could holding him there long enough to get clearance to use his Bankai. He had died four times that day getting away, it was only when he gave in and tried to wound Renji he got away. All the other wounds were ones where it was the Hogyoku messing him or Renji up. The Hogyoku liked to switch things up so people were defending from the wrong direction, normally he pulled his blows enough no one but him got hurt, but fighting his friends it always tried harder. He's fought Rukia once, she hadn't done much damage, but he, to his horror could have killed her three or four times. She had been so angry but at the same time she had buried it beneath the ice of her sword, it was only when he got away and was hiding and heard her give up looking for 'Aizen' he realized how much. She had broken down crying his name and saying sorry the whole time. He had almost slipped up and stepped out. But then he remembered the Hogyoku would twist his words that stopped him. He would only drive the knife deeper.
He was glad he had been able to avoid his family, his nakama was hard enough.
Touching his head he realized he'd need to break his horns down again soon, it was close to a week since he last did it, he grimaced. That was his least favorite part of blending in, in order to wear a hood he had to break his horns off or the hood couldn't cover his face. It hurt but at least they were slow in growing back. His hands he could hide in pockets or with gloves but his face and horns... not so much. He sighed, time to give into the fact he hadn't eaten since the night before. Taking a deep breath and blowing it out he started picking up the pace, he had found if he walked faster then most using just a touch of power he could grab a wallet from the pocket before the person had time to look up at him, seeing a rather fat looking wallet in the back pocket of a well dressed man he picked up speed and slipped past him, the man called hey behind him but didn't start shouting thief so he took the time to slip into an alley and pull the cash out, no cards, no traces.
Dumping the cards he slipped out the far side of the alley, he now had enough money for three or four days, if he got good prices for food. That was always the hard part. One time a guy he had helped fight off a gang told him about a great place for food, he ate there every day after till Shinigami showed up and he was on the run again. It was strange being on his own like this, no ties, no friends. He would say he had seen the best and the worst of people. More of the worst really, the first month was hard he forgot to keep his face hidden more then once and it never failed to panic people the moment they realized it wasn't a mask.
But the odd person kept him from despair, or at least complete despair.
Walking he kept an eye out for a place with cheap prices, then he heard a commotion behind him, turning his head back a little about two blocks back he saw a girl helping someone she had knocked down back up, he was turning back to keep going when he could swear she looked straight at him. His hair stood on end and chill ran down his spine, it was way too freaken fast for a Shinigami to have found him. But with her eyes locked on him and the fact she had started running told him whoever the heck she was, she was looking for him. He took off running.
She had been chasing the jewel or what felt like the jewel for what felt like half a city, but it had slowed now so she slowed. Didn't stop her from hitting two people, knocking them down, Americans at that. "Sorry, sorry." She finally was in a part of the city that had fewer people, it was a seeder area, but not too bad. So to her surprise she spotted the dark blue-purple glow. It was coming from two hundred yards in front of her, from a guy, a tall one, wearing a backpack and he had a very large hoody on, his head turned and she got the feeling he noticed her.
She was surprised to realize his soul was human, and felt pure, so how was this jewel so corrupt?
Standing she started to walk towards him, then to her surprise he hesitated before bolting, much faster then the normal human. She sighed and then heaved a deep breath and followed. At least she was hitting her second wind. She was glad she had continued to run after the well closed, or she would have lost him by this point. He had stopped down a very dark alley in a much worse side of town then where she had first seen him, wondering if it was a trap she slowly stepped down it, towards the deep dark glow at the end.
He stopped and stared at the forty foot wall waiting for him, no door, no ladder, he was stuck. It was a dead end. He couldn't even leap to the top, the amount of effort it would take would leave him wasted and if she could follow him he wouldn't be able to keep running. Either way she had caught him, and at least this way he still had some fight in him. Putting his back to wall he watched the girl walking down the alley towards him. Never mind he was taller then her, never mind she probably couldn't see much, he saw no fear, no hesitation.
Who the hell was she? He had been running for at least half an hour and while she was sweaty and her hair mussed, she wasn't acting like most of their age group would be, she had to be some sort of athlete.
She stopped twenty feet from him, and smiled, her body language suddenly screaming awkward. "Hi, um... Do you have any jewelry on?"
She chased him for miles to rob him?
She shook her head. "Sorry that came out wrong, I want to buy your necklace."
He wasn't wearing a necklace... "I don't have any jewelry on."
She frowned and stepped closer her gaze intense and not on his head since she couldn't see in the hood but at about chest level. What the hell was she staring at?
He didn't have any jewelry on? She stared at the darkening light, it was like it was reacting to her presence... Was this jewel awake? Or some how aware? And if it wasn't a necklace did that mean it was in his body? If that was the case he should come with her, other wise the longer the jewel stayed like that the more likely it would corrupt him. The fact he ran rather then attacking said he was a good person. He could over power her easily if he hit like he ran. "If that's the case you should come home with me."
She blinked that sounded strange and his body was turned away from her almost like he was afraid. What was he afraid of? "Sorry didn't mean that the way it sounded, I can help you."
Now he looked very startled, at the end of her sentence he jerked like he had been hit. His voice a rough hiss, almost duel toned... "What makes you think that you can help me?"
That didn't sound right, a half growing suspicion burst to the fore front of her mind, stepping forward, she noted he pressed himself against the wall subconsciously. If the jewel was corrupted, but he wasn't, if he was a good person and hadn't done it himself, what was it doing there? And what could make it alive but a evil wish? One that effected him. Stopping in front of him he was still pressed against the wall and looking up the shadow was still too deep for her to see his face. She reached up and saw his his hands twitch, wanting to help, she stopped whatever half thought action he was going to do. "shh, I want to help. I won't hurt you."
Then she pulled the hood down. The first thing she saw was the yellow eyes, but the background wasn't white but black. The next thing she noticed was the teeth, a leering mask the sharp points going all the way back to his ears, that were hidden under messy, long, and dirty orange hair, if it were clean she had a feeling it would be a beautiful color, the likes of which she had never seen before. Then she caught sight of two broken bone like stubs in his hair just above his ears almost covering them, she gasped and understood right a way why he had broken them. With them growing for more then an inch in any direction the hood wouldn't cover his face. She touched then gently, but not gently enough, he flinched and she realized they were tender. So for all she called his face a mask, it was his face, the bone white was his skin the black stripes running down his face, and the red fur she glimpsed at his neck. All of it was his body.
Whoever had done this to him, wanted him to look like a monster. Her hand drifted down over his chest and she was startled by the dark energy that bit her for lack of a better description. Yelping she shook her hand and was surprised when the boy reached out as if to help her. That jewel didn't like her purity. "No, I'm fine I should have seen that one coming."
Ichigo stared, feeling vulnerable, the girl had take his hood down and then shown no signs of fear at his face, if anything she seemed to expect it. Then something, probably the Hogyoku hurt her and she wasn't mad, never mind he could see the blood dripping from her fingers. "Why are you here? And what do you mean you should have seen it coming?"
"I sensed you. I followed you. I wasn't sure what to do but you ran, so I followed. I can see you're a good person, bad things have just happened to you. I want to help, I think I can help and I am probably the only one that can. That jewel in your body knows it and hates me for it."
"How do you know about the Hogyoku?" Her statements made sense, but didn't really answer what he meant by the questions. How did she 'see'?
The girl smiled it was both a bright expression and a grim one. "I suppose that's what it's being called?"
He nodded not really understanding.
"I beat one known as the Jewel of Four Souls. That one was neutral at best. The one in you is filled with hate. Cruelty. Anything nasty that you can think of, I see it shinning a blue-purple light almost so dark it's black. Your soul around it light, but I worry if it stays there you'll be corrupted and if that is the case the power could destroy the world."
She then blinked her eyes watering from the amount of time she had spent without blinking while staring at his chest. She smiled sheepishly. "Sounds weird right? Something out of an anime. But that's the only way I can think to describe it."
He nodded again slower this time, if she wasn't talking about him, he might have thought she was missing a few screws but since it was him... She said she wanted to help him, she thought she could help him and she could see what was wrong. That was first sign of hope in months he had.
She smiled brightly. "So will you come home with me since I assume you have no where to go?"
He nodded again, and then guilt made him speak up, "I have some money..."
She cut him off, "Don't worry about, I'm sure any expenses you create can be worked off helping my grandpa. And ignore most of what he says, he's half crazy. So what's your name?"
She grinned and he could almost see her thinking Strawberry, at the same time he couldn't help but notice her smile was beautiful. It was bright and almost seemed to invite him to smile back.
"I'm Higurashi Kagome. Call me Kagome."
She then looked up at the sky they could barely see above them, she groaned, "Crap."
"I'm late, I was suppose to pick up some things for my mom- my brother's birthday is in week.. oh well I'll do it tomorrow, she'll understand." Kagome had turned away from him and in a low enough voice he wasn't sure if she knew she said so out loud he heard, "She always does."
Staring at the back of the black haired girl he found himself wondering just what was her story, she mentioned Jewel of Four Souls. He was sure the Hogyoku had more then that in it, but since she could see it he wasn't sure he should argue with her about it. He pulled his hood up and followed her. Getting to the nearest train station she payed for both of them and they stood on the train, Ichigo found himself nervous, this was the sort of time he avoided getting on the train, too many people, the lights were too bright.. She touched him gently, and whispered, "Relax, no one's looking."
His eyes shot to her, it was a little creepy how well she seemed to be reading him. He wondered if she could see emotions or something. It took another twenty minutes before Kagome moved towards the door telling him silently this was their stop. Getting off he noted this was a rather nice side of the city, at least this part of it, he didn't know enough about Tokyo to figure out what was good, what was questionable, and what was the bad, he only knew he had seen it shift sorta of randomly today walking around.
They walked for another ten minutes and Ichigo hung back far enough people wouldn't connect him with the girl other wise they might ask questions, but he couldn't help but notice the number of people who greeted her. This was Tokyo, it had a huge number of people, so many you didn't see the same people on the street every day, but Kagome was getting smiles, nods and even greetings. Who was she to be so recognized?
They were climbing a hill and then she stopped and turned, facing a shrine's steps, she started climbing. It made sense, her family owned the local shrine. Of course everyone would know her. She turned a soft smile on her face, "Come on Ichigo no one's going to bite."
He realized he hadn't moved to follow her yet, feeling a mixture of trapped and curious he started climbing. When he reached the top he found himself fighting with the urge to pant, no wonder she had managed to keep up, all those stairs would keep anyone fit. Catching his breath he looked around the shrine, he saw several out buildings, the main shrine and the roof of a modern house behind all of that.
She gave him a minute before leading him back to the house, looking about in the dimming light he noticed the bike, the laundry lines, he was struck by how lived in it looked. He would have thought they tried to hide their lives from the shrine, keep it separate from the public. But given how friendly everyone was towards her and probably her family maybe that was why they were so popular.
Kagome walked to the door, he could tell it was a back door but he wouldn't protest it was her home after all. Her hand opened the door swiftly, the warm light spilled out and he was surprised by how welcoming it felt. Maybe it was because he hadn't been under a home's roof in months, odd buildings, porches, playgrounds, but not a proper home. She stepped in and he noted four pairs of feet, several pairs of shoes, but only four sizes. He didn't see five he expected five, her father, mother, brother and grandfather plus her, but there were only four pairs of feet. Did she not have a father? Ironic how alike their home lives seemed. Stepping into the house he saw Kagome step up to the linoleum floored kitchen and start talking to her mother. Closing the door softly he waited, he couldn't believe her mother would just let him stay, not after seeing his face. He was a monster, what mother would let her daughter bring one home?
Kagome stepped up on the linoleum floor of the kitchen her mom was working on dinner, she had been thinking about how to say this but all she could come up with was to lay it all out. "Mom I'm sorry I failed to get what you asked me to, but I can explain."
Her mother turned, her expression was a mix of mildly annoyed and quizzical. "Something happen?"
Kagome shifted her feet it was easy to drag Ichigo home and she dearly wanted to help him, that jewel was evil and needed to be destroyed, but telling her mother she was involving herself in another adventure... "Mama I felt a feeling I haven't felt in a year. It felt like a jewel shard. So I chased it. When I finally reached it I found a boy... There is a jewel in him, and it's evil, but he's not. I want to help purify it, or remove it. It could taint him the longer it stays. So I brought him home."
Her mother nodded slowly. "Where is he?"
Kagome looked around and realized Ichigo was hiding by the door, he had suffered lot of fearful reactions that were negative she was guessing, he reminded her of Inuyasha in the beginning. Only he didn't hate her on sight. Which was good. Taking a few steps back towards the door she grabbed his shirt and dragged him in the kitchen, his hood was up and her mom was just staring so she knocked his hood down. Her mom twitched but other wise she didn't react. "So mom clearly he needs help because the wish that made the jewel evil is ruining his life."
Her mom slowly nodded before a crease appeared between her brows, "Well your grandfather did want some help before the summer festival. So if he's willing to work I see no problem."
Kagome heaved a sigh of relief, her mom didn't mind she had just brought home trouble. Then she saw Ichigo still had his shoes on, "Ichigo relax we won't throw you out the door, take your shoes off. Oh right, mom this is Kurosaki Ichigo."
Her mother nodded, "Pleased to meet you Kurosaki-kun."
Ichigo slowly took his shoes off, he looked like he couldn't believe what was happing.
Taking his shoes off he wasn't sure he wasn't dreaming, the woman hadn't screamed, sighed or thrown anything at him. She had jumped surprised but then relaxed, all she cared was that he knew staying here wasn't completely free. Kagome came by her oddness naturally. But as it was to his befit he couldn't complain.
Kagome started to lead him from the kitchen, "I assume you would like to shower?"
He nodded his head, he hadn't a shower, a proper one in two weeks, a few spit baths, he'd been rained on, but a hot shower... Kagome was smiling at him, "Any clothes that need to be washed?"
He nodded again, he may hate stealing but one set of clothes wasn't good enough, he had a two pairs of pants, two more shirts, five more sets of underwear and eight or nine pairs of socks. Not much, but enough he could wash stuff and not be naked. Dropping his pack he grabbed the bag of dirty stuff, he still had a clean shirt and two pairs of underwear and more socks, but his pants, and the last shirt were filthy. She took the bag and heading into the living room, he was startled to see a teenage boy still in front of the TV. The boy hadn't noticed him, the boy looked up and caught sight of his sister. "Have fun at the movie? I thought you would be home sooner."
Then the boy saw him and after a startled look the boy grinned, and then turning to his sister he asked a bit of a non sequencer, "Another adventure?"
Kagome flushed, "Yes Souta, he has a Shikon no Tama in his chest, it's corrupt."
That meant something to the boy, his smile dropped. "You're going to help him?"
"Yeah, if I can. Ichigo this is my little brother Souta, Souta, Kurosaki Ichigo."
"Pleased to meet you. Do you like video games? Kagome won't play with me and it's boring by myself."
Ichigo marveled at the way this family reacted, Kagome like she knew what was wrong with him before she saw him, her mother not more then a jump, the boy a long look and then he was asking him to play with him. Did any of then note the long teeth on his face? The black and yellow eyes? Souta stood and grabbed his arm and started hauling him towards the staircase he hadn't noticed. The boy chattered like his sister Yuzu.
"So I have lots of games, wrestling, fighting, adventures, a zombie game, lots. What's your favorite type?"
"I'm not much for video games."
Souta nodded, "It's cool I don't mind beating you for a while."
"Souta show him the shower first!" Kagome called from behind them.
Souta made a face but answered readily enough, "Sure Kagome! So Ichigo what happened to you?"
"Souta leave him alone! He'll tell us when he's ready!"
Souta made a face again, but seemed mildly amused. Ichigo was just amazed she heard him, they were in the upstairs hall already. Souta opened the second door in the hall, "This is our humble bathroom, towels are in there, soap and such as well. We probably have a tooth brush for you if you don't have one. My room is over here, Kagome's is at the end of the hall, mom's around the corner."
Ichigo noted one door hadn't been mentioned, "And that one?"
Souta frowned, "My dad's old office, he died a long time ago so it's just storage at the moment... Though if you stay a while Mom might have you clear it out and we'll put you in there. Grandpa's on the ground floor. And ignore him when he slaps a sutra on you. He's useless. No powers."
Souta cleared his throat, "So help yourself to a shower, If you need some clean clothes I might be able to find something of Dad's that'll fit, he was tall like you according to photos. For tonight we'll probably have you sleep in the living room on a futon, after that it's up to mom. After you're clean if you want to play a game with me, I'll be in my room."
Ichigo blinked, this family sure threw a lot of information at you at once. "I need some pants, and a different shirt would be nice, I have underwear."
Souta nodded, "They'll be waiting outside the door for you."
Ichigo watched the boy probably not much older then the twins disappear into the office that might become his bedroom. This was such a change of pace he found himself wondering for a brief moment if he had lost it, snapped, gone totally insane. But when he turned around to go into the bathroom he managed to hit his elbow on the wall. The sharp throbbing pain, minor as it was, convinced him this was reality, strange as it seemed.
His shower was heavenly, it was only his own desire to be polite that made him leave before the hot water ran out. Opening the door he managed to surprise Kagome, the clothes were on the floor like Souta promised, but his hot sister standing there was a bonus. It had only been while she was talking about cleaning his clothes for him, he really realized she was a looker, plain brown eyes, ordinary black hair, average height bringing her to just mid chest. But she had a glow, rosy cheeks, a gleam in her eye, something made her scream beauty, but only on second look, other wise she seemed merely pretty.
Flushing furiously he realized he was standing in nothing but a towel, and she was staring. But not with horror like he had become accustomed to but with fascination. Looking at his chest he realized that stripes made no sense to her and the black circle on his chest was over the heart so it probably marked where the damn jewel was.
"Why did your enemy wish for you to look like this?" Kagome asked curiously.
He was about to snap it was none of her business when he half remembered she was doing him a favor but before he could open his mouth she scolded herself. "Sorry I don't actually need to know that."
Her take back was very different from the girls he knew most (his sisters being the exception) never took it back or said sorry. It was... rather attractive. "It was a sick joke on his part." He debated saying more but decided to only add, "Before I beat him I had an ability that if I lost control of I would look like this."
That was a little too much, more then he meant to say but considering how light headed he was feeling he had almost no control about what came out of his mouth. Besides, she hadn't made him answer and she said sorry. She nodded and then she seemed to realize he was just in a towel, she flushed and ran down the hall, "I'll let you get dressed now!"
Amused and still a little embarrassed he grabbed the clothes Souta had pulled and got dressed. The pants were about a size too big in the waist but the right length, the shirt was tight. Most guys had to work a lot to get a chest and arms like his, so the shirts he had grabbed fit like this or were two sizes too big. He walked down the stairs thinking about offering to help his hostess with dinner, but was surprised to almost walk into her. She looked at his clothes and he wondered if Souta had told her, her eyes seemed sad. "Those pants are a bit big and the shirt..."
The woman stared at his chest for a moment before a faint smile came to her lips, "My husband would have laughed and then been embarrassed- he always thought he was all that."
Glad the awkward moment had turned into a positive thing he found himself curious about the dead man of the house. "Not to be rude but when did he die?"
The woman smiled and he could see it was a sad one, "No problem Kurosaki-kun he died... ten almost eleven years ago. Souta was just a few days older then two."
"So soon it'll be the anniversary."
She nodded, "We have a festival, he loved the shrine, so I tried to make it a happy thing, all the neighbors come and at eight, the hour he died we have a moment of silence."
That was a strange way to mark the day, but he supposed having a picnic in the graveyard wasn't all that normal either. "My family marks the day my mother died by going to her grave for a picnic, so they sound similar enough." Crap where was his head? He hadn't meant to say that out loud.
The woman looked at him and seemed to realize he didn't want to say more. Smiling she spoke, "Dinner will be done in a few minutes I am going to get Father."
He nodded and turned to continue into the Kitchen when a gray, white and blue blur attacked him.
Kagome sat on her bed flustered, she would have felt better if her blush had started to fade. But after having talked to the new house guest, in a towel, and having caught herself comparing all the bare chests she had seen and finding aside from the cursed outside he had the best chest she had ever seen.
She supposed it only made sense if she didn't mind dog ears, a wolf tail, and crushed briefly on Sesshomaru despite what looked like tattoos, and pointy elf ears. Why would something she knew to be fake, like his stripes, the red fur at his neck, wrists and ankles, the yellow on black eyes, bother her? She wondered what his normal eye color was, his hair was probably natural if this a was a form he had assumed when he lost control.
She sighed and touched her cheeks that were just starting to cool. "You couldn't just help him and not get attached. No you had to realized he probably is about the only person with in a few years of your age that would understand what death and violence really meant."
She heaved a sigh, it made sense so often she felt so far away from her age group, the movie this afternoon brought the point home. An action anime, it made sense there would be at least one big fight scene where blood spewed. But when her friends argued if blood could fly like that, she had to stop herself from answering. Bullets could send blood flying like that and she knew because things slower had sent it flying like that around her before. The only difference that might happen would be the size of the droplets.
Shaking her head she put past battles behind her; where they belonged and she went back to looking for the sutra's she had that had been Miroku's. He had been teaching her how use them and at the final battle her barriers had been unreliable at best without a sutra base. But considering she had just invited trouble home again she thought she should brush up, if using a banishing one didn't remove the jewel from Ichigo... He hadn't run from her, he had run from who he thought she might be connected to. Not that she knew who that was, but if someone had made the jewel and he had wild form like his current look, powers and the supernatural had to be involved.
Going through the stack of sutra's she placed the protective ones on her bed, she'd need a lot more if she had to protect the shrine, and probably edit them, keep all powers out? She's think on that later, grabbing the one she'd seen Miroku use to great effect she jumped up and hurried down the stairs just in time to see Grandpa hit Ichigo with a sutra of his own. His loud shout of 'Demon' echoed in the house.
Groaning she took a few steps deeper in the room, taking the strip of paper off Ichigo's forehead; he looked totally stunned, and confused. Ignoring her urge to flush at her new awareness of his body she focused on her Grandfather. She waved the paper at him and started scolding him, ignoring Souta's snickers. "Grandpa Ichigo's not a demon, he's a guest. Besides he's not even a demon, he's cursed by a Shikon no Tama."
Her grandfather looked at her, a gleam in his eyes, "So you plan to do your duty and free him of then?"
Rolling her eyes, she answered, "Of course, it's ruining his life."
She jumped at her grandfather's crow, "We'll make a proper shrine maiden out of you yet!"
Annoyed now, she huffed, "I might be a priestess but calling me a shrine maiden is rude."
"No it's not! A shrine maiden serves a shrine and this is yours! A priestess can be called to travel, or serve else where!"
"And what would you call my fifteenth year?"
"You were still serving this shrine! The Shikon no Tama could not be allowed to travel or continue to reck havoc!"
Kagome sighed, "Duh. That's why Ichigo's here, so leave him alone."
Her grandfather looked at the man she was protecting, and then sighed back, "If you insist Kagome."
Kagome turned around at her mother's voice, she found herself only a few inches from Ichigo's chest, outlined very clearly by what she was guessing was a stolen shirt. It clearly didn't fit him well enough to be his, nor the pants. She was a little disconcerted to find for all Ichigo had shied away from her up till now he actually was eight or more inches taller then her. Again the conclusion he could have just kicked her ass and then ran came to mind, as well as her conclusion that he hadn't meant he was a good person. Looking up she found him frowning at her grandfather, he shook his head and walked away. Fighting a flush she sat at the dinner table, Ichigo sat next to her, Souta had his side of his table, Grandpa and Mom each had an end of the table. Blessing the table they dug in, Kagome was on her third bite when Ichigo complemented her mother, "You are the best cook I have tasted ever." He took another two bites and swallowed quickly, "My sister is a good cook, but yours is amazing."
Kagome was surprised by the smug pride she felt on behalf of her mother, her friends and admires said she cooked like her mother. Inuyasha had only ever wanted Ramen... There she was doing it again, comparing them. She didn't want to do that, she hated to be compared to Kikyo why on earth was she doing it to Ichigo? She supposed at least she wasn't doing it out loud.
She shouldn't have thought that, only eight bites later Souta made her almost choke.
"So which do you think is cooler, dog ears or black and yellow eyes?"
Ichigo stopped eating and looked up confused again.
To her horror her mother seemed to be considering the question seriously. "The eyes are shocking, and very nice but ears win, you could pet them."
Her grandfather piped up now, "I like this boy better, Inuyasha always over reacted when I attacked."
Kagome gave up, dropping her chop sticks she groaned and hid her face in her hands.
Souta snicked, and her older family went on eating, Souta followed suit when she made it clear she wasn't going to say anything. Ichigo had to ask, "Why are dog ears in the equation?"
Kagome looked up, her family was staring at her and after a moment Ichigo joined in. "Because..." She hesitated, "I have a habit of bring home strays."
At that moment Kurohime walked in, with a loud meow she announced herself.
Souta groaned, "You brought the evil one down on me."
Kagome scowled, Souta mocked Kurohime but after Buyo died she had been walking home and noticed a box on a street corner looking inside she found a black kitten with a black and white kitten, missing the warm weight of her dead cat she brought them home. The black one turned out to be a girl and she named her Kurohime, or black princess, and the princess' brother had been named Roukou or trouble prince. They had lived up to their names. Or rather proved why she had named them such. Roukou followed his sister in, but unlike her he didn't ignore the stranger, walking right up to Ichigo he sniffed him curiously.
Ichigo looked down at him and Roukou considered him before deciding he wasn't a threat. Sitting down right beside him, he started grooming himself. The cat's judgement oddly confirmed what Kagome had been thinking, Ichigo had to be a good guy. Buyo ignored but never liked Inuyasha but that might have the dog demon thing.
Dinner finished rather quietly, helping her mother with the dishes, her grandfather and Souta helped Ichigo make his bed for the night in the living room. Everything set for the night Kagome went out to the living room and was disappointed to find out her male family members were still up, both of them talking to Ichigo. "Hey Ichigo I could try my first idea tonight."
He frowned up at her and then realized she meant attacking jewel, he nodded, "What do I need to do?"
"Sit up, and sit still I'm not sure this will work. I haven't used them like this before." Ichigo merely nodded, not seeming afraid at all. Kneeling next to him, she closed her eyes to focus on powering the sutra ignoring the curious eyes of her family. They had pretty much never seen her use her power before after all. Feeling sutra burn with power in her hands she opened her eyes and touched the pink glowing strip of paper to his chest. Right away it was fight, the black purple light blazed, sharp, angry, and fighting her. The sutra started to smoke unable to hold up to the opposing forces, feeling her hands start to burn she grimaced, but pushed more power out, Ichigo shouldn't have to live with that in his soul.
Finally the sutra turned to ash and the evil power lashed out at her again, slicing the outsides of her hands, the inside of her hands had first and second degree burns and the outside looked like they had been sliced with razors. The pain had her shaking her hands before she realized this jewel conscious as it was, didn't want to go back to sleep. Or be removed from Ichigo. Shaking her hands trying to fight the sting, she belated realized she was just splattering blood about the room. Stopping she ignored everyone making a fuss, at least everyone but Ichigo, he was just looking at her.
If she had describe the look in his eyes, it was mingled despair, hope and admiration.
But that last part might be in her head.
Letting her mother bandage her hands in the kitchen Ichigo watched from his place where he was leaning against the wall. Her mother finished and left the room a sly glance making it clear to Kagome her mother had noticed she liked him. Holding back a groan she looked back to Ichigo, he was frowning but not in a way that made her think he was unhappy, just a thinking sort of frown. He spoke abruptly, "You know the more you try to rid me of it the more it'll fight right?"
"Duh, I didn't think it would back down after last time I touched you."
He scowled at the mention of her bleeding in the alley. "Why are you doing this? I don't see what you get out of it."
"A friend hopefully, some less slave labor I have to do... Someone else to listen to Grandpa's stories. And because it's the right thing to do."
He heaved a sigh, "It's gonna hurt."
"No I mean more then the jewel could hurt you."
Kagome looked at him carefully, "I know, you're on the run right?"
He nodded shortly, pain in his body language.
She nodded again, "I figured you weren't running from just me earlier, I'm not much of threat by myself, but if you thought... Well I was connected to someone else it made more sense to run."
He nodded again and there was a brief moment of silence, Kagome stood and hid the grimace when she bumped her hands, "Good Night Ichigo. See you in the morning."