It had been two weeks. Two long, torturous weeks since Inuyasha and Miroku had arrived back at the castle. For the better part of the last fourteen days Kagome had been doing her best to avoid said prince. The castle was huge, so how could keeping out of one person's way be so hard? Well it turned out to be a lot harder than she thought.
"Kagome you can't keep running away from Inuyasha. It's obvious they're not leaving anytime soon." Sango suggested to her friend. The two girls were enjoying another break outside under the Sakura trees. Kagome always felt more relaxed around nature.
"Yeah well they can't stay here forever either." Kagome huffed. Didn't Sango realize that this game of cat and mouse and was slowly killing her. Being away from Inuyasha like this was one of the hardest things she'd ever had to force herself to do. They were just becoming close and already fate was keeping them apart. Another heavy sigh escaped the young girl.
"Why are you doing this anyway? I know you don't really want to and you're not looking too good either." Sango eyed her friend. Since Kagome and Inuyasha took off that day she had been looking more and more pale. Her hair was losing its luster and the bags under eyes screamed that she wasn't getting enough sleep.
"Thanks a lot." Kagome replied sarcastically. "I just want to keep him safe. He says he can protect me but I'm not willing to take that chance." Kagome looked into the Sakura tree her and Sango were sitting under. Things should be so much different. Naraku should have never come back into her life, he never should have taken her family away from her, and Inuyasha shouldn't be forced to marry Princess Kikyou.
Kagome couldn't help the pang of hurt and jealousy that shot through her heart.
'I like him.' Kagome admitted to herself. 'I like Inuyasha, way more than I should.'
And that's why she needed to stay away. With Naraku’s not so subtle threat looming over her head, even her small infatuation could quickly turn into a death sentence.
"Dammit Miroku I just don't understand!" Inuyasha paced back and forth in the guest room Miroku and him had been sharing the last two weeks. Inuyasha had made up some lie about some business needing to be taken care of in this part of the country. The Lord and Lady of Aomori had let them stay at the castle indefinitely or at least until their ‘work' was done.
"Okay tell me everything again, from start to finish." Miroku said calmly. Since the day Inuyasha came back from his talk with Kagome he had been an absolute mess. He couldn't concentrate and was always fidgety. He constantly tried to track Kagome down in order to talk to her, but to no avail. The girl was harder to keep track of than a wanted criminal.
"We went to the gardens and everything was fine. Then she told me that she didn't want to see me anymore." Inuyasha's head drooped low and he looked more like a dejected puppy than a powerful prince. "She said that being together was dangerous but I told her I didn't care. I started to tell her about a dream I had and then she freaked out and ran off. I haven't caught up to her since."
"What was the dream?" Miroku inquired.
"I saw Kagome as little girl in her home village, bandits had attacked and when she ran back to her hut she found her family dead. Then there was this guy with crimson eyes. I don’t know who he is, but I know he has something to do with why she doesn't want to see me." Inuyasha fell on giant bed in a disgruntled heap.
"Clearly she's trying to keep you from something, whether it's she herself or this mystery guy. Maybe they were lovers?"
"No that’s not it. You should’ve seen the look on her face Miroku, all I did was describe the guy.” Inuyasha sighed and ran a hand through his hair, “I’ve never seen anyone look so scared."
"Give me an hour." without another word Miroku left the room. Inuyasha was once again alone.
'You know I'm really getting tired of that.' Inuyasha thought.
Kagome walked down the hall swiftly towards Princess Kikyou's bedroom. After another successful morning of avoiding Inuyasha she’d been informed that the young princess had wanted to speak with her.
'I wonder what she could possibly want...' Kagome walked up the bedroom door and shyly knocked.
"Come in!" Came the muffled reply. When Kagome stepped in she immediately took the sight of the grand bedroom. The walls were a light lavender color. Princess Kikyou's giant bed was covered in silk Lilac and white sheets, a simple pattern of flowers adorning the duvet.
"Do you like my room?" Kagome brought her attention to the girl sitting at a white vanity. Kagome always thought about what life could have been like if fate were kinder. Her and the princess were about the same age, what would her life be like if she had been born in silks instead of rags.
Kagome bowed to show her respect, "yes it's beautiful Princess Kikyou."
"Well I'm sure your wondering why I summoned you here are you not?"
"Um, yes that would be nice." Kagome replied still bowing.
"I'm sure you've heard of my recent engagement to the Prince of the Takahashi Clan."
"Yes I have, congratulations." Kagome said, every syllable burning her throat.
Rising from her seat at her vanity Kikyou moved closer to where Kagome still stood hunched. Noticing the princesses’ approaching footsteps Kagome quickly dropped to her knees, as per custom. In a second Kagome went from looking at the princess’s slipper covered toes to her hateful mocha eyes, as the grip on her hair forced her head back. She yelped in pain and surprise, but quickly bit her lip to quiet herself.
"You know usually I would never stoop so low as entertain lowly servant gossip. But a little birdie told me that I had a rival for Prince Inuyasha’s affections, and I thought how could that be? What other kingdoms had the Takahashis traveled to in search for a suitable wife for their heir to the throne and that’s when it hit me…they hadn’t."
Kikyou’s impossible grip tightened and a stray tear leaked from her right eye. “Princess Kikyou, please.”
Kagome’s pleas were ignored as Kikyou continued her verbal assault. “And then I saw you, sneaking him into your quarters in the middle of the night. I’ve seen the way you look at him when you think no one is watching. Listen closely you are nothing more than a peasant, someone simply to keep the prince occupied until our union can be finalized. He’ll never choose you, and if continue to get in my I’ll have head on a platter.”
The princess flung Kagome away as if she was nothing more than annoying gnat. Her bottom quickly met the ground and loud slamming of the princess’s door jarred her to her senses. Tears blurred her vision as she shakily stood to her feet. Her legs moved on autopilot carrying her as fast and as far as they could. Before long she was standing in the only place in the castle that had ever brought her peace...the secret garden.
"Sango?" Miroku slowly opened the door to the room that he knew Kagome and Sango shared.
"Who is it?" Sango came to the door wearing a dark and light purple striped yukata with a dirty green apron over the top. She was certainly shocked to see Miroku standing at her door.
"Miroku what are you doing here?" she said opening her door wider to let him in.
"I have a plan to help Inuyasha and Kagome get out of their little funk." Miroku plopped down on the futon he had a feeling Sango had just been occupying.
"Oh yeah? What's your plan?" Sango took a seat on the floor next Miroku, giving him a strange look.
"The plan is to get those two in the same area, a closed space where they can't leave...then they'll have no other choice but to speak!" Miroku finished enthusiastically. He was clearly proud of his plan.
"I don't know Miroku...I talked to Kagome earlier and she was pretty adamant about her decision to not see Inuyasha anymore."
"But you and I can see the obvious feelings they hold for each other. It would be a shame to let such a love go to waste." Miroku countered.
"I understand, but Kagome has her reasons. Plus they can't be together anyway...it's not allowed. It would be foolish to disregard the rules of society like that."
"We are here together, royalty and non royalty. I don't see anyone in here trying to keep us apart." He said quietly.
"This is different!" Sango turned her head in a futile attempt to hide her blush. Miroku grabbed her hands, bringing her attention back to him.
"Are you saying you wouldn't be with me because of lineage my dear Sango?"
"I, uh, well..." Suddenly the room felt too hot and very, very small. She was dying for some fresh air. Just when she was feeling the blood rush back to her brain, allowing her finish her intelligent response she felt a slight pressure on her backside.
"Fucking Hentai!" she screamed, storming out of the room in a huff.
"Wait, you never said if you were going to help me!" Miroku chased after her but she was already gone. He gingerly touched his cheek and winced at the sting her sharp palm had left behind.
'It was worth the pain.' Miroku thought with a silly grin on his face.
After giving Miroku the hour he’d asked for Inuyasha became bored. He left the solitude of his room to wonder the hallways searching for the secret garden Kagome had shown him. If he was going to be alone he might as well something pretty to look at.
'Dammit! Where is it?' He mentally cursed, getting more and more annoyed by the second. Two weeks and he still couldn't navigate his way through this damn place.
"Damn it all to hell" he muttered under his breath.
"You should watch your mouth, what would your mother think if she heard you talking like that?" Not recognizing the voice Inuyasha whipped around caught off guard by the sudden presence of another in the once empty hallway. He froze when he saw the face belonging to the mysterious voice.
"Who are you? What do you want?" Inuyasha said courtly.
"I’d like to have a conversation with you." He said as he stepped closer, "You may call me Naraku."
"Naraku?" testing the name out on his tongue, Inuyasha's eye's widened in realization and he immediately took a defensive stance.
Naraku chuckled. "No need to be so uptight. Like I said I only want to talk." He continued coming closer.
"Feel free to stay where you are, I’ve never been much of a talker." Inuyasha spat at him.
“You see Prince Inuyasha there are some things your going to have learn about me, because right now your behavior is going to put you on your death bed." The malice in Naraku's voice stunned Inuyasha into slience, even though he continued to stand his ground.
"The first thing you should know about me is I am not a patient man, there are only so many chances I will give you to corporate before things take a turn for the worse. Secondly, I do not like to share, I am very greedy, and will not hesitate to kill anyone who stands in the way of what I want."
"Why are you telling me all this? How do you even know me?" Inuyasha finally asked.
"You are very dense aren't you?" Naraku sarcastically replied.
"So I've been told. Now answer my damn question." Inuyasha snapped not missing a beat.
"I've been watching you little prince, because you're treading on thin ice. Kagome is mine and you are to stay away from her."
"Fuck you!” Inuyasha seethed. “I know who you are and I know what you did to Kagome and her family; you're sick!" Faster than Inuyasha could see Naraku had his hands around Inuyasha's throat pinning him against the wall.
"Listen and listen well you insolent whelp, I have no qualms about killing you and sending your body parts one by one to everyone you’ve ever cared about. I gave you fair warning about my non-existent patience and my predisposition to greed. Kagome belongs to me, and I advise you not to test me little prince because I don’t play well with others."
Naraku gave the boy a swift punch to the gut. Inuyasha gasped for breath as the wind was knocked from his lungs. He felt Naraku's hand release his windpipe as he slumped down the wall and onto the floor.
"Heed my warning Inuyasha...cross me again and there won’t be another chance for you." Naraku walked away, seemingly becoming one with the shadows.
"Keh, bastard" Inuyasha barely whispered as he slipped into the enticing darkness that was unconsciousness.