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Reserve Untapped by SilverEyedHyuuga

Scent of Lightning

Waaaah, it's been so long since I've dipped a toe into the addicting world of fanfiction! My heinously busy schedule has kept me from writing, but I've decided to give it another shot, after quite a long hiatus. I'll try to keep the characters as in-character as possible, though I will....expand upon the few subtle character quirks that Takahashi-sensei has been so kind to hint at in the manga.

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any of its characters. My characters, however, are my own.

Warning: Updates may be sporadic. I'm a slave to my schedule, honestly, but do understand that I love this pairing and this story, and I do want to see it through to completion.

Chapter 1: Scent of Lightning

She moved patiently, quietly, placing one bestockinged foot in front of the other in a calculated gesture, aware of every contraction of her muscles, every working of her joints. Kaede’s hut, though a cozy and warm abode, was a minefield of creaky floorboards turned weathered and gnarled by years of rain and snow. A single misstep and Inuyasha’s needle-sharp hearing would be alerted to her movements, an event that would no doubt lead to a confrontation and questions she preferred not to answer.

Kagome padded noiselessly around her bedding, drawing energy from the reiki that slept placidly inside of her soul. She reached out and smoothed pale hands over the pillow she had tucked underneath her blanket, silently infusing her pallet with her scent, her aura. Should Inuyasha or any other curious individuals, demonic or otherwise, approach the lump of bedding in the corner, they would catch wind of her presence and be satisfied with the assumption that she was sleeping. The last tendrils of her power wound around her pillow and settled into the down, and with a satisfied glance, she silently slipped through the door of the hut and out into the yawning woods before her. Inuyasha, she knew, was well settled on his customary tree branch a few paces east of the village, and so she turned her direction westward, slipping catlike through the tall, verdant grasses towards her destination.

Years of battling whatever nasty, maladjusted lumps of demon flesh Naraku had continuously showered upon Inuyasha’s ragtag group (though to be fair, Kagome mused, some lumps of said demon flesh were actually quite beautiful….Byakuya, for example) did have its benefits. Her stamina, strength, and accuracy had unknowingly been honed to considerably decent levels. Of course it was true that Inuyasha had done most of the grunt work, but it didn’t hurt—literally and metaphorically—when she found that she was able to dodge an attack aimed her way every once in a while with little effort. It was a lifestyle she had gradually grown accustomed to, constantly flirting with bloodlust, malice, and death on a near daily basis. She had been scared of it at first, had grown to tolerate it eventually, and had almost enjoyed it at times.

Now, years later, she was addicted to it.

It was one of the reasons why she chose to come back to Sengoku Jidai, to forsake her beloved family, her life as a would-be university student, and all the conveniences of modern living for this time, this era. In the future, she was just Kagome, a high-school graduate with average grades (still a considerable feat, admittedly, given the circumstances of studying whilst dodging all manner of claws, teeth, and poison), an average family, and an uncertain course for her life. Here, she was the Shikon Miko, important to her friends and adopted family. She had done it all herself, had endured the strain and fatigue and had risen above it all to morph from a hindrance to an asset in the battle against Naraku.

What pleased her even more than finding out she had holy powers was the fact that she had a knack for using them. She had first become aware of that fact when she had unknowingly lashed out at Kikyo during their first direct encounter, her powers nearly pulling Kikyo’s soul out of her gravesoil body. She had thought it but a fluke, but after she’d nearly purified Naraku in the early stages of the game, she knew she couldn’t ignore her talent any longer, and oh, did it feel so good to finally embrace it, to actively hone and perfect her control over her reiki. This was her calling, and if there was anything that motivated her, it was her desire to mould her power, and mould her power well.

The telltale twist of the path snapped Kagome out of her thoughts and she slowed her loping stride to a trot as she entered the small clearing in the forest. It was perfect. A small pond rippled with the moon’s lazy luminescence, and tall, wizened oaks lined the perimeter, their leaves rustling with a passing spring breeze. Smiling to herself, the miko sent a perfunctory tendril of reiki around the clearing to check for intruders. Finding none, she knelt and placed a small hand on the ground, tapping once more into the reserve of power that slept within her. At once, it stirred, and seeped through her fingertips to pour into the ground. A barrier smoothly formed around the entire clearing, a shield that would conceal her movements, her scent, her presence.

Kagome slowly stood, feeling the pulsing simmer of her reiki just under her skin. She was hyperaware of her senses, her holy power allowing her to feel the resonance of everything in the clearing, living or inanimate, as they interacted with each other. In a smooth motion, she whipped her bow from her back and nocked an arrow, pausing only for a fraction of a second to aim before sending it soaring towards an oak tree at the end of the clearing. It hit a knot dead centre before another arrow cleaved it in two almost immediately. Kagome whirled and sent another arrow towards a tree in the opposite direction, feeling the heady thrum of pride and adrenaline pumping through her veins. She had long been working on her aim, and the results were finally starting to show.

For hours she trained, alternating between archery and reiki, meticulously memorizing the limits of her power, the twists and pulls of her muscles and bones. It felt like heaven to release such bursts of unmitigated energy, knowing that the concealment barrier around the clearing would allow her to do so unnoticed. A grin spread its way across her face as her eyes sparkled with a secretive glee. Inuyasha wouldn’t be able to pick his jaw up off the ground for weeks if he knew just what she was capable of, and the fact that he was completely oblivious made it all the more fun.

xXXx-------xXXx

A faint thrum of power accosted his senses. It was not unusual, for he lived in a world with a plethora of youkai, each with their own reserve of power, but what piqued his curiosity was spicy scent of fresh lightning that accompanied it. Sesshoumaru stilled, nostrils flared, rolling the scent through his sinuses. It had come from the west, just near the border of his lands, and seeing as though his routine patrol had to take him in that direction, he decided to investigate.

Iron control clamped down upon his own youki, masking the presence of the daiyoukai. Sesshoumaru moved swiftly westward, nose working to catch the faint slivers of this foreign presence. It was erratic, pulsing in brief, infrequent bursts, but the more he traveled towards it, the clearer it became. He was close now, nearly upon it, and as he rounded a corner, its next pulsation nearly overwhelmed his nose with the crackling smell of sweet musk and electricity. There, in the middle of a clearing just beyond him, was his brother’s wench, an arrow nocked in the string of her bow.

She released it with a sharp flick of her fingers. The arrow buried itself in the centre of a makeshift target she had placed against a tree. He watched as her power burst from its tip and surged against the containment barrier she had erected around the clearing. It was, he acknowledged after a moment’s hesitation, a fairly well crafted barrier, though it was not without imperfection, for there was a small area of weakness a few paces from where he stood, and it was through this area that the scent of lightning escaped whenever her power streaked across its surface.

He leapt high into the tree he was leaning against as she slung her bow over her shoulder, watching her shoulders sag with a breath of relief. The shield around the clearing flickered once, then disappeared, leaving no trace of its earlier presence. With a sigh, the miko gathered up her belongings and turned to leave the grove. Sesshoumaru watched her plod past his perch. It seemed the girl had more mettle than he had given her credit for, although her powers and skill were still slightly rough around the edg—

An arrow bit into the tree trunk not five inches from his head and it took all of his centuries of hard-earned self-control to keep his youki from flaring in response.

“Who’s there?” She snapped, another arrow poised on the string of her bow.

Kagome was sure she had felt a presence watching as she left her training grounds. She kept her arrow trained on the area of suspicion, but when nothing attacked after a long, pregnant pause, she decided the glitch in her senses was probably due to her exhaustive training and lowered her bow, turning to make her way back towards the village. A good, long sleep was well overdue, and she didn’t want to waste more time dawdling about.

He remained in the tree long after she had gone. She had managed to surprise him. She had actually managed to surprise him. Had her arrow been properly aimed, it would have succeeded in scratching him in the very least, and judging by the last vestiges of power he felt as he dragged a claw across its smooth wooden shaft, still embedded in the tree, he suspected its purification potential would have caused him a great deal of pain. Sesshoumaru’s lip curled in the ghost of a growl. The woman was more dangerous than he had thought. He was the Lord of the West, a daiyoukai no less, and the fact that she was able to sense him when he was at his stealthiest meant that either he was growing careless (and Sesshoumaru was never careless) or she had much more potential than he had judged.

Sesshoumaru sprang from the tree, making his way towards a cave he knew was carved into a mountain not far from the village. The rest of his patrol could wait; he would seek respite for the evening in the mountain, and would pay his half-brother a visit in the morning to ascertain for himself exactly what Inuyasha’s wench was capable of.

xXXx-------xXXx

The next morning saw only a brief moment of peace before a visitor appeared in the village. Kagome was in the middle of a brewing a poultice for one of Kaede’s patients, and had just added the necessary sprig of thyme to the concoction when a signature flare of youki assailed her senses. She rose and poked her head outside the door just in time to see Inuyasha’s elder brother land meters from her hut in a swirl of silver hair and billowing silk. She slipped out the door and went to approach him, vaguely aware of the pressure of his power in the atmosphere.

“Good morning, Sesshoumaru-sama,” she greeted him cordially. “Are you looking for Rin? She went off to gather flowers a not too long ago and hasn’t returned.”

Golden eyes slanted an unreadable glance at the miko before him. She smelled nothing of the spiced lightning he had experienced the night before, though her scent was still clear and strangely sweet. Tangerines and honeysuckle, not an altogether unpleasing combination.

Before he could get a word out in response, a holler cleaved the air and Inuyasha appeared in a flash of red, a white-knuckled fist clasping the hilt of Tetsusaiga. “What in the seven hells are you doing here? If it’s a fight you’re looking for—“

“It is,” Sesshoumaru intoned, and pressed forward before Inuyasha had time to activate the Fang. “But not with you.”

He could almost feel the tang of the miko’s shock and confusion as her blue eyes met his amber ones. “You will face this Sesshoumaru, woman. Here, and now.”

There was a near-audible clunk as Inuyasha’s jaw hit the ground. Kagome sputtered incoherent syllables as she reeled backwards. “M-me? You…..you want to battle….but this is….I don’t—“

“Your considerable lack of comprehension is most unbecoming.” Sesshoumaru replied, and a sizzle of irritation marred her scent. “This one shall not repeat himself again. Take up your weapon, and come.”

“What do you want with Kagome? Leave her out of this!” Inuyasha bellowed, but Sesshoumaru had already turned away and was walking towards a meadow some paces from the centre of the village.

Dazed and way-the-hell confused, Kagome numbly gathered up her quiver and bow and started walking towards the daiyoukai, a million questions racing through her mind. Does he want to kill me? He sounded like he only wants to spar with me, but I can never tell, he’s so unreadable. Why does he want to fight with me, and not Inuyasha? And why today? Surely he didn’t come all the way from the Western Lands to specifically fight me?

 

“You try my patience, miko. Approach.” The deep baritone of the demon’s voice cut through her thoughts.

Her power was a knot of hesitation and insecurity, flickering around her in erratic bursts of blue. The miko’s scent was heavily laden with doubt and confusion as she cautiously approached him, clutching her bow like a lifeline. No matter, he thought as his lips parted into a snarl that bared razor-sharp fangs. She would be forced to use her full potential soon. She did not have the speed of a demon to be sure, so he was careful to purposely slow his stride as he streaked towards her, claws outstretched. This was not a battle of agility. This was a test of her power.

For a split second, Kagome’s panicked mind rendered the rest of her body stock-still and rigid as Sesshoumaru attacked, and then her reflexes kicked in and she twisted her body to the side, barely managing to avoid the deadly path of his claws. He turned sharply on the ball of one foot and executed a swift downward blow; she was forced to counter it with the end of her bow, which sent jarring vibrations through the very marrow of her forearm. He was already behind her, the pressure of his youki nearly cutting off her air supply, and without thinking, she let loose her tenuous control over her reiki, hearing an audible crackle in the air as her power met his.

Good. She had tapped into her reserves, and was manipulating her reiki at will. He pressed more youki against her even as he ducked underneath her undulating swipe and spun quickly away. She had put her confusion behind her and was focusing solely on her enemy, on him and the promise of death that coated his claws. Still, there was not much time before her human limitations would force her to reroute her reiki to boost her stamina instead of focusing on keeping his youki at bay. If he wanted to determine her real potential, he would have to act fast. Sesshoumaru growled low in his throat and relinquished control over his youki entirely. It swelled from his being in a surge of demonic power and washed over the miko before she had time to react, enveloping her completely in an ocean of pressure.

Kagome choked as her skin sizzled with harsh, foreign energy. This was Sesshoumaru, this was the power of the Lord of the West, and it was searing, so hot. A strangled yelp burst from her lips as she sank to her knees, panic momentarily overtaking her mind. I have to stop this before it kills me, I have to make it stop, make it stop MAKE IT STOP—

 

Reiki burst from her, coiling around her body like a protective shell. The pungent smell of scorched ozone permeated the air as holy power raged against demonic energy. That her body had not been instantly consumed by the full force of his power was impressive. The miko was indeed strong, of that he was sure. Her power was raw and unrefined, but there was no denying its overwhelming abundance, and if channeled properly, it had potential to become a truly formidable force. He had seen enough; with a rumble in his throat, the daiyoukai clamped down on his youki, sensing the pulsing waves of the miko’s reiki retreat into her body as well.

Relief surged through her body as the agonizing pressure in the air suddenly dissipated. Kagome slowly looked up, not quite comprehending the unsettling serenity of her surroundings. That’s it? It’s over? I’m…..not dead? She got to her feet, wobbling a little on trembling legs, and turned bewildered blue eyes to the daiyoukai before her.

“What….I don’t understand….”

Sesshoumaru continued to grace her with a wordless stare, noting the tremors of her body, wrought with fatigue and shock. It was to be expected; she had just experienced and actually survived direct contact with the entirety of his youki, a feat that few had managed to pull off. Satisfied with the results of his assessment, the daiyoukai turned and flew into the air, heading back towards his lands. A reserve untapped was that miko. With training and focus, she would be unstoppable.

xXXx-------xXXx

Kagome collapsed against the wall of her hut, shaking with stress and strain. The unexpected battle had cost her much strength. The room slowly spun around her as she struggled to take deep, calming breaths, and she was only dimly aware of Shippo’s concerned murmurings and the coolness of Kaede’s hands upon her forehead. She was thoroughly baffled by the sudden appearance and challenge of the Western Lord, but found she was too tired to attempt any sort of logical reasoning behind his actions. Reaching for Shippo’s proffered paw, she pulled the warm kitsune to her and slipped off the edge of the world into a dreamless sleep.

xXXx-------xXXx

 Thank you for reading! *bows* Chapter two shall be up shortly.

 

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