Voluntary Obligation by Hairann
Genre: Drama, Action
Warnings: Two swear words.
Word Count: 2210
Summary: Priestess and demon face off in a clearing.
AN: Part 1 of Voluntary Obligation.
Won first place for the one-shot contest: Shield
Kagome had just returned to the Feudal era after her weekend stay back home with her family, and as Inuyasha wasn't expecting her for another hour or so, she began heading back toward the village on her own instead of meeting him by the well as she usually did. Knowing it was only a short walk from her portal into this time to the village, Kagome wasn't worried about meeting any danger along the way and, like she always did, she ignored his warning about wandering around by herself.
She began making her way away from the well, knowing the unseen path by heart well enough that she no longer had to pay attention to where she was going to know that she would end up at the edge of the village. But just as she went to turn into the trees, the village laying straight ahead passed them, she could hear a woman's voice coming from her left and turned to stare in the direction confused. Usually the only girl besides herself to come out this way was Sango, and she knew that it was not Sango's voice she heard.
Worried that the girl in question might either be in trouble or that the secret of the well was danger of becoming known, Kagome went against the small voice in the back of her mind reminding her that curiosity killed the cat and began heading in the direction the voice was coming from. Pushing through a dense thicket of underbrush, Kagome peered into a small clearing and found a sight that she knew could only end badly.
One one side of the clearing stood a woman, maybe a few years older than herself, dressed in priestess garments, bow and arrow aimed and ready. Opposite of her, she found Sesshoumaru standing there silently in all of his regal glory, a single eyebrow raised at the girl his only outward sign that he even saw her. Deciding it would be best to break them up before the poor girl lost her life, Kagome pushed herself the rest of the way into the clearing.
Stumbling slightly, she barely managed to catch herself before falling flat on her face, and turned back to glare at the branch that had caused the mishap by clinging to her clothing. Properly reprimanding said branch, she turned back to find the priestess eying her cautiously while Sesshoumaru remained unmoved. “I'd recommend you leave quickly before he decides you are worth his time to kill. I can tell you from personal experience, the only reason he didn't slaughter you the moment he saw you was because he considers you to not be a threat.”
The girl continued to eye her silently for a few tense moments before apparently deciding she herself was not a threat and turned her full attention back to the demon lord. “Leave while you can, little girl. I can not be responsible for your safety during the battle that will ensue,” she told Kagome through gritted teeth watching Sesshoumaru for any indications he was about to strike.
“My safety? My safety isn't the issue here as I am not the one pointing a loaded arrow at him. Do you have any idea who that is?” Kagome demanded only to be met with a blank stare from the girl. “Sesshoumaru? Lord of the West? Eldest son of the late Inu Taishou? The killing perfection? Doesn't any of this mean something to you?” Again she was met by a blank stare. “Have you been living under a rock somewhere?
“Let me put it this way, you are currently facing off against one of, if not the, most powerful demons alive today. If he deemed you worthy of killing, you would be squished between the pads of his fingers before you could even blink an eye. And while I can sense a good deal of strength in your aura, I can assure you, you do not have the power it would take to stop him before your life was forfeit. So far he hasn't decided to kill you, since you are very much still alive, but that won't last long. He is very easily annoyed,” she warned the priestess hoping that her survival instincts were stronger that her sense of pride.
Her words of warning went unheeded as she pulled the bow string taunt and began to aim her arrow directly at his chest, as it was, she had been pointed slightly away from any vital organ when Kagome had first arrived. “Look lady, if our entire group including his half-brother Inuyasha, a monk, a demon slayer and myself, a decently strong if not untrained priestess, could not stop him, you stand no chance of doing so. Listen to me very carefully, you do not have the slightest hope of defeating him and attacking him would only be suicide,” Kagome continued to warn her, growing even more annoyed by every passing moment that no one ever listened to what she said.
“Inuyasha?” the priestess whispered to herself as she stole a quick glance at Kagome, wondering if she had indeed hear the girl correctly. “Inuyasha the half-demon of this forest? Was he not pinned to a tree by a priestess some 50 years passed?” she inquired speaking directly to her this time.
“Yeah, I released him from the tree a few years ago. He's my best friend, why?” Kagome questioned, not liking the tone the girl had taken with her. Seeing the sneer the priestess sent her, Kagome mentally prepared herself for the onslaught of insults at befriending a demon she usually received when strangers learned a priestess traveled with demons. The priestess's next action, however, she was unprepared for.
“And you dare call yourself a priestess? Vile demon's whore!” the priestess screamed as she turned her bow and released the arrow, having aimed it directly at Kagome's heart. Unused to having priestesses attacking her, other than Kikyou of course, Kagome stood in shock at her actions, unable to respond or jump out of the way of the incoming arrow. Without realizing it, her eyes closed, her mind refusing to watch her last moments in life, as she waited for the pain to arrive.
The seconds ticked by, each feeling like an eternity had passed, before she realized the pain she had been waiting for never came and slowly she opened her eyes. Seeing Sesshoumaru slumped over onto on knee, hand reaching toward himself, just shy of grasping the arrow that had pierced through his chest. “You shielded me,” she whispered in awe. She continued to stare at him in shock, waiting for him to remove the arrow, but he never moved. Confused, Kagome glanced up at the priestess for an explanation but found her notching another arrow.
Dread coursed through her veins as Kagome's feet began to move of the own accord. She threw herself onto Sesshoumaru's stiffened shoulders, her fear causing her powers to flow from her without her knowledge, surrounding the two of them in a pink shield. Not a moment after the circle had been complete around them, another arrow bounced harmlessly off of its exterior. Unable to think of anything else to do, Kagome screamed at the top of her lungs, “Inuyasha!”
She was certain the half-demon would be heading to the well by now to retrieve her, and she was confident that he would be able to hear her. Sure enough, just as the next arrow 'pinged' off of her shield, the half-demon broke through the tree line, glancing between the priestess and Kagome in confusion. “Take away her bow, Inuyasha!” she instructed as she pinned him with her terror filled eyes.
Hearing the desperation in Kagome's voice, Inuyasha didn't stop to wonder why a priestess was attacking Kagome, why she was huddled together with his hated half-brother or how she had managed to put up a barrier when all of her attempts had failed before, but jumped into action the moment the words had left her mouth. A bit off balance at the new arrival, the priestess was unable to prevent him from taking her bow, its arrow falling harmlessly to the ground at her feet.
Pinning the priestess with a glare, knowing even if he didn't understand what was going on, he did know that she had attacked his friend, Inuyasha snapped the bow over his knee like a twig and threw the useless weapon at her feet. Crossing his arms in front of his chest, Inuyasha stood imposingly next to her, almost daring her to try something foolish. Her power almost completely drained from holding such a large shield around them, Kagome clasped weakly onto Sesshoumaru's unmoving back, causing the barrier to dissipate around them.
“Leave, you pathetic excuse for a priestess. Leave before he recovers and decides to kill you as I will not intervene this time. I know Sesshoumaru did not do anything to you, as you would have been dead already if he had, which means you attacked him unprovoked. And if that wasn't bad enough, you dare turn your arrows on another priestess? An unarmed one at that.
“You think that I am the vile one? I would never attempt to take another human's life no matter whom they kept as company. Understand this, just as not all humans are good, not all demons are evil and taking their life for no other reason than the fact that they are a demon, makes you evil. A murderer. I would much rather keep the company of demons any day over people like you. You make me sick. Now get out of this forest.
“Your penitence for your abominable actions is being left unarmed. Taste what it is like to be on the other side of that bow and maybe, if you live long enough, you will understand that it is people like you that are the evil in this world,” Kagome spat at her as she stood shakily, partly from weakness and partly from anger, pinning her with the most disgusted glare she could imagine. She watched as the priestess stole glances at each of them around the clearing, seemingly trying to figure her chances if she chose to fight them.
Apparently deciding against it, she sent Kagome one last sneer before she turned and began walking away from them. Her sense of honor rising to the surface, unable to allow herself to let the girl go uninhibited without any aid whatsoever, Kagome called after her, “Stick to the water as much as you can. It will help hide your presence and make it harder for him to track your scent if he decides to hunt you.” The priestess glanced over her shoulder at her with a confused expression, pausing for a moment.
“What? He is a dog demon,” Kagome explained with a shrug, watching as the priestess turned back around and continued on. Soon enough she had disappeared into the forest and Kagome breathed a sigh of relief as she dropped to her knees next to Sesshoumaru. The adrenaline that had been coursing through her now waning, Kagome found that she no longer had the strength to stand on her own two feet. Hearing Inuyasha begin making his way over to her, she glanced up tiredly and inquired, “Why isn't he moving? I know he's still alive, but he's frozen.”
“It's a binding arrow, like the one you pulled from me. Come on, we need to get you back to the village,” Inuyasha told her as he reached down to pick her up.
“What about him?” she questioned as she raised her hands to him, looking forward to the comfort his arms would provide her, just as they always had.
“Leave him, serves the bastard right and we're better off this way,” he told her only to pause in his actions when Kagome gave him a horrified look.
“Inuyasha he took that arrow for me. I'm only alive right now because of him, we can't just leave him like this. I owe him that much at least,” she insisted as she crossed her arms in front of her chest in protest.
“You don't owe him anything Kagome, consider this payback for all the times he tried to kill you. If anything, he still owes you, just don't hold your breath. Now let's go, the others are waiting for you back at the village,” Inuyasha said as he once again began reaching for her, only to have his hands brushed away.
“I'm not leaving him here like this, Inuyasha. You can go back to the village by yourself if you want, but I'm not leaving this clearing until I release him from the binding arrow. It's the least I can do after he took an arrow for me, having attempted to kill me before or not.”
“Find stay here, see if I care. Just don't expect me to come running to your rescue when he decides to kill you when he wakes up in a grumpy mood,” Inuyasha warned her with a huff as he turned his back and took off running toward the village, leaving Kagome to sit there alone in the clearing save for the immobile demon lord.