Acclimated by SHORTFRY

Chapter 1

A/N: This is my first finished fic, meant as a short oneshot split out into 5 chapters. Written for the SessKag Valentine’s Big Bang. The lovely Elvis has created an accompanying fanart, please check it out! (  

Prompt: Sweet Nothings

Disclaimer: Credit goes to Rumiko Takahashi for our favourite characters.

Nightfall began to set in a timeless routine dance, chasing away the sun’s last glimmering rays. It wasn’t long before the chill started creeping steadily over the hills coating in phantom silence. The lone figure knew little time was left to safely wander about in the dark, but her task was not yet complete. She refused to go back empty-handed. It wasn’t pride that concerned her; this was survival.

Discreetly, the young woman waited under the covers of the overgrowth, carefully studying the oblivious beast from across a grass-covered clearing. The only discernable movement was the slight fluttering of her blue hakama in the gentle breeze before fading into the forest psithurism. She inhaled inaudibly through slightly parted lips, exhaling only after a prolonged moment of restrained caution. Holding still her steady aim, arms were rigid as her posture tensed. She was a statue of patience.

It was a quiet evening, not unusual in this part of the forest, nor was it calming. Once upon a time, the woods held a melodic rhythm of creatures and critters. It since dimmed and simmered to the imperceptible silence it was now. It seemed only bareness remained; a hallow emptiness. She knew, though, of what her reverie of this gradual change meant. A distant memory. An insurmountable loss.

Willfully ignoring the beckoning urge to reminisce, attention was refocused to the grazing creature.

Moments passed in observance before a proper opening appeared. Fingers slacked and the bowstring rung. The arrow shot towards the unsuspecting boar. Wide eyes trailed the darting path… only for it to miss. Startled, the animal escapes.

Frustration grumbled through the girl as stealth was quickly abandoned. Launching to her feet, she pursued the swine. Get back here!

Eyeing her target’s intended path, the huntress swiftly pivoted to the left in a sudden leap, small hands gripping onto a pointed tusk. She almost smirked triumphantly. Clambered onto the matted-haired back of the wild animal, victory was momentary before the boar bucked and punted, flipping the girl over in a furious show of grit.

A bruising pain erupted through her side upon the sharp landing, knocking the wind out heaving lungs. Well, this is kind of pathetic, she sarcastically mused. How many times had she hunted without so much as breaking a sweat? Begrudgingly she eased into a seated position, a scowl etched onto hampered features knowing the animal was now long gone. All that effort was for naught.

Just about to get up to make her leave, a tiny round object caught her attention, and annoyance quickly faded into blossoming angst.

No no no no!!! She panicked, dropping onto hands and knees. Frantic fingers began gathering the fallen rosary beads. Time was of the essence, as she recalled the forewarning for when and if the rosary ever breaks. This can’t be happening now! Where are all the pieces…

Too preoccupied to notice a change in surroundings, it was in this position that a mysterious visitor crossed her path.

It watched and waited, though the wait was brief. Gnarly lips lifted in a foul display. “A human! I have not had such a delicacy in years!” The new visitor rumbled in an almost sinister, gravelly tone. “I thought your kind to be extinct!”

The raven-haired girl glanced upwards in startled comprehension as the creature emerged from a shield of dark shadows. Sinking fear rankled through her body at the monstrous sight, pulling at her to run and make haste. The youkai before her stood hideously tall. Skin a sickening shade of scaly grey, ill-proportioned limbs and grotesque features maliciously eyed her stilling movements.

She caught her breath then as fight-or-flight instinct drove her scrambling to her feet, breaking into a full out sprint.

The vespertine youkai heaved a hearty laugh. “You think you can outrun me?” It then gave chase. “I do like my meals lively.”

Dark tendrils of long ebony hair whipped wildly as she bolted through unpaved paths. Long arms of ancient evergreens snapped at sleeves in her hasty dash, branches leaving haphazard welts upon reddening skin. The forest caved, growing darker as the towering trees blocked the moon’s guiding luminescence. The ogre was on her tail with heavy stomps vibrating the earth beneath. She was light on her feet, but fatigue was beginning to settle in worn calves. Pretty soon, escape would be futile without finding refuge.

Her panting ragged as blood pulsated rapidly through overworked veins. She inwardly berated herself at the lack of awareness; the lack of notice to such impending dangers. Wanting to see the distance between them, her head tilted to overlook a shoulder. Though large, the creature did not compromise on speed.

Determination spurred her movements faster, only to suddenly trip on an uprooted vine. Shoulders crashed first into a nearby oak. She hated her inopportune clumsiness.

“Finally done running, I see!” The hideous beast halted to a slowing pace in direction of the fallen girl. Each word it spoke left a lingering putridity almost enough to make her retch.

Turning to face the monstrous being, her jaws clenched in mild annoyance, vexed at her own fumbling. “I’d still be running if I hadn’t tripped!” She was not going down without a fight. The injured girl quickly nocked an arrow and took aim, disregarding the searing ache from bruising shoulders. “Take one more step and I’ll shoot you!”

The ominous youkai sneered in amusement, paying no heed to pitiful warnings from a human, no less. It continued forward.

Her arrow released without hesitation at the vile approach, wood and metal lodging straight into a scaly chest as black, viscous blood began to ooze.

A deafening yell sounded from the ogre in fury as it swung a heavy fist. Too fast for her to dodge, she was slammed against the trunk of a nearby tree. Her head dizzied in trying to find balance, a throbbing pulse stemming from where the back of head landed against solid wood. Rough bark scrapped against exposed forearms left bare by torn sleeves.

Peeved and hungry, the ogre bellowed. “No more playing with my food. Time to eat!

The echoing statement of impending death brought forth one last vestige of clarity like receding clouds. Behind a fogging state of mind, determination focused in time to see the ogre lunge.

No!” she screamed as both hands rose in a shielding form. “Go away!!!

Suddenly, a bright blinding glow radiated in an unexpected explosion. The thunderous blast rippled through the surrounding area as the forest trembled in flowing shockwaves. Anticipating a painful death, she was confounded when all that was felt was a warming glow reminiscent of bathing sunlight.

Heavy lids slowly lifted to survey nearby surroundings. Somewhat expecting a devastated scene from the mysterious blast, the only thing amiss was the smoking char of where the ogre once stood. What… What was that?

Confusion mingled with heedful curiosity as the forest stilled, moments passing as if nothing had happened. Clueless as to what transpired or what had saved her, she finally released a long-held sigh, slumping back against the tree behind. Either through luck or through fate, she counted her blessings and suddenly felt drained. Limbs felt like lead, everything weighed. Dawning weariness made it increasingly difficult to remain awake. Maybe a little rest, then she’ll be out of the woods.

However, just before giving in to a calling slumber, horripilation snaked down her spine, and drowsiness dispersed in shuddering trepidation.  

Something else was out there.


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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