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The Mating Bond

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A forest. Trees moving past in a blur. Ragged, excited breathing. Sliver of silver flying through the greenery.

The chase.

A turn at every bend. Small feet hitting the cold, damp forest floor, twigs breaking and leaves crunching.

The moon was at its fullest, shining down to illuminate the path.

A wall. It’s the end.

A low growling, an intense heat against a rigid body.

Mine.”
Kagome shot out of bed, nearly gasping for breath. Her sleep-filled eyes darted around her bedroom, surveying the area and making certain to touch over every piece of the room. When she found nothing foreign, she fell back and sighed, closing her eyes and trying to get the memory of the dream out of her head. She had been having the same dream for several nights in a row and it was beginning to trouble her. No matter how fast or how far she ran, that same creature always managed to find her.

Her gaze fell to the alarm clock on her bedside table whose green numbers glowed gently in the dim lighting of the early morning. There was still an hour before she had to get up. With a heavy sigh, she willed herself to close her eyes, finding it impossible to fall back into that comfort known as sleep. Behind her eyelids, all she could see were the wisps of silver hair, shining almost effervescently in the brightness of the moonlight. There was something about the possessive, almost obsessive manner with which the creature had chased her. Every night it seemed to get closer and closer to her, but it wasn’t until this night that the creature had actually spoken to her. She had thought it might have been a wolf or some other forest-type creature but now she wasn’t so certain.

She groaned in frustration, bringing her hands up to cover her face. There was no sense in thinking so intently about a dream—it was clear that she just needed to quit watching Teen Wolf before bed. The thought made her chuckle a little as she decided to rise out of bed. It was the first day of her senior year and she figured it was a blessing that she would be able to wake up early rather than later. At least it would give her more time to get ready for the long day ahead of her. After a few morning stretches and yawns, she rubbed the sleep from her eyes and set out to get ready for the day.

When she finished, she hopped down the stairs, a bit of a pep in her step as she entered the kitchen.  Her mother was working on cooking breakfast and turned to greet her daughter with a somewhat tired smile.

“Well someone’s up early today. Too excited for your first day of senior year?” her mother asked as she continued to fry the eggs in the pan she held. Kagome smiled, nodding her head as she sat down at the kitchen table, tracing circles into the wood with her finger.

“Yeah. I’m so excited to see Yuka, Eri, and Ayumi. They’ve been busy all summer, so we really haven’t been able to hang out,” she answered, remembering all the failed slumber party plans. Their work schedules just didn’t sync up any longer now that they were all doing their own things. Kagome figured school would help remedy that little issue.

“I’m glad that you’ll be able to see your friends again. You’ll have to invite them over for dinner sometime,” the older Higurashi woman decided, smiling as she transferred the eggs from the pan onto a plate with waffles. She sat the plate in front of her daughter and moved back to the stove to continue cooking for her son who was much more of a late bloomer in the mornings than her daughter normally was.

“What about tonight? Could we have a sleepover tonight?” Kagome asked offhandedly, most throwing the idea out in the open to mull over.

“Actually, your grandfather and I are going to be visiting your aunt in the next town over for the night, so we’ll have to have the sleepover another time. But don’t worry honey, we should be back by tomorrow. We’re just dropping off a few groceries since she’s sick,” her mother informed her. Kagome sighed and nodded, knowing that her aunt was seldom in good health.

“How’s she doing? Is she getting any better?” the younger woman inquired, poking at her eggs with almost an air of disinterest. She watched as her mother’s cheerful expression faltered for a moment, a mix of concern and sadness crossing her features.

“She’s been better. That’s why dad and I are heading over there today with some soup and medicine. Could you make sure to pick Souta up from the bus stop?” she asked, expertly turning the conversation more light-hearted. Kagome gave her mom a smile and a nod, but she was certain that they both knew the looming dread hanging over her aunt was not going to so easily be ignored.

When Kagome finished her breakfast, she gave her mother a kiss and waved goodbye as she headed out the door. The walk to school was like any other that she had done, as the path was well-known to her feet. In the quiet of the morning, she was left alone with her thoughts. She couldn’t shake the strange feeling still shadowing her from earlier. Something about the vividness and intensity of the dream… the frequency—it was too strange to ignore. How badly did she wish she could erase the image of dark foliage and quaking fear from her mind but… how badly she wished she could see who the long silver tresses belonged to. It was the way that singular utterance, “mine” pulled on her from her very core. It was a command, a statement, a plea… but certainly not a question. The deep, gravelly baritone voice followed her throughout her walk.  Who did this voice belong to?

 


 

 

As was typical of any school-day, Kagome met her friends in a frenzy of squealing and excitement. Fond hugs and friendly scolding were exchanged, remarks about where the summer had gone flew around the friend group.

“Kagome, your legs look so long now!” Eri chirped, pointing at the pale appendages. Yuka and Ayumi nodded in agreement, fawning over Kagome as well. The girl in question flushed and bowed somewhat graciously, used to the typical “girl talk” that always seemed to accompany the back to school air.

“Thanks, Eri. Your hair looks so soft, what have you been using?”

Once the exchanges of compliments seemed to die down, the bell rang and once again, school was in session. Kagome picked up her schedule and headed to her first class of the day. When she entered the room, her eyes landed on an empty seat towards the middle. There was no way she was going to pick a front seat, but the back seat would never allow her much ability to focus. Throughout the school day, Kagome struggled to pay attention. Her mind kept falling back on that gruff voice—the one that seemed to be soothing her, calling her to him. She thanked every god she could think of when the school bell finally rang.

“Kagome we are totally having a girl’s night this weekend, right?” Yuka asked in the middle of the group’s usual casual babble. Kagome blinked, having not been paying attention, and gave Yuka a nod.

“Of course, silly! I took off this weekend since I figured that’s exactly what we would do,” she answered, brightening up a bit at the mention of getting to hang out with her friends. Ayumi and Eri squealed a little in excitement, continuing their conversation about what to bring for the sleepover and the different cute boys that they had seen in their classes.

When they parted ways, Kagome began walking home, looking around somewhat restlessly. There was something she was supposed to do, but she couldn’t remember what it was for the life of her. After racking her brain for a few moments, she decided to head home. Once on the temple grounds, she dropped her bags off by the stairs and sat on a bench just outside. The day still had some light to it, she could go on a walk if she wanted. A strange sense of anxiety forbade her from doing so. It wasn’t the right time. She furrowed her brows.

“What in the world is going on with me?” she muttered to herself, leaning forward and looking down at her hands. That’s when it hit her. “Souta!”

She stood up and hurried down the steps, only stopping once she finally reached the bus stop just in time to greet her younger brother who descended the bus steps easily, chuckling a little at his older sister as he did so.

“Did you almost forget about me?” he asked, his grin turning upward teasingly. Kagome panted a little, catching her breath before shaking her head.

“Of course not. I could never forget about my little bother—I mean, brother,” she corrected, sticking her tongue out at him for a second before laughing.  The two began their ascent home.

“So how was school?” Kagome asked, tilting her head slightly as she glanced her brother’s way. The boy seemed to shrug, not all that interested in chit chat.

“It was alright.”

“Did you do anything interesting?” she prodded, trying to get more out of the young teen. Souta was going through a bit of a rebel phase, so it didn’t shock her that he was trying to act like he was too cool to talk about school.

“Not really.”

“Did you learn anything? Were there any teachers there at all?” she asked, getting a little annoyed. Souta snorted.

“Sure didn’t feel like it. We just introduced ourselves and went over classroom rules,” he answered, apparently deciding to give his poor sister a break.

When they reached the house, Kagome brought her bags in and noticed that her mother and grandpa must have prepared dinner for them already because there were several tin foil-covered dishes sitting on the stove in the kitchen.

“Okay Souta, it looks like Mom already made us dinner. Let’s dig in,” she called, figuring Souta was already washing up to eat. Once they finished eating, they went to bed.

Foliage.

Running, chasing.

Another turn, a dead end.

Silver hair gleaming in the light of the moon.

It’s time to meet him. There’s no escape. Heartbeat racing.

Turn around.

Mine,” it growls.

She looks up.

Gold.


 

He woke with a start. Regardless of the darkness, he knew his pupils were dilated to thin slits, his breathing ragged with exhaustion and excitement. As his eyes scanned his room, he knew immediately that it was too early to be awake. He groaned in annoyance and brought his hands to his face, rubbing at his tired eyes in frustration. That dream had been haunting him for several days now and he was losing too much sleep over it. Tonight, however, the dream had been different. He had finally caught the girl he had been chasing for so long. Well, he couldn’t really tell if it was himself who had been chasing the girl, but he had always seen the dream from the chaser’s perspective. Every night she had always been just out of reach but tonight, he sighed somewhat contently, he had finally caught her.

And she had been beautiful.

At least, he assumed she was. He couldn’t quite make out her face, but her eyes… a warm chocolate color, there was no way he would be able to forget. He brought his claws up to his face, looking them over as he flexed them. She had only been an arm span’s length away. He could have reached out and finally captured her but he woke up again. When he glanced over and realized that he had woken roughly an hour before he normally did, he let out a low, frustrated groan. There was no way he was going to be able to get actual sleep now that he had woken from such an intense dream. He could still feel the sweat on the back of his neck from where he had been chasing her. Well… chasing made him sound like an animal. He hadn’t been chasing, per se, more like intensely running after her with the goal of… actually… what was his goal? When he was in that dream, all sense and logic seemed to be thrown out the door. All he knew was that he had to catch up with her. He had to get back what was his—and that happened to be her. He smirked a little, closing his eyes to try and picture her face when he had finally caught up to her. The face itself escaped him, but those eyes… filled with surprise, excitement and… his smirk widened. She had been relieved when he had finally caught her.

Of course she was. She’s mine and I finally found her. The smug thought of her finally giving in to him gave him a sense of pride. Still… he didn’t even know who she was. He wanted to place a name to those eyes. He sighed a little and pulled himself out of his bed, resigning to the fact that sleep would not return and that his dream was merely that, a dream. Guilt creeped up the back of his neck slightly, knowing that he really shouldn’t be fantasizing about capturing girls in dark forests. Especially because he… he sighed again and shook his head, throwing out that guilt and getting ready for the day. He glanced out the window before he headed downstairs, taking note that the full moon was going to be tomorrow.


“Mom, I’m leaving,” he called, slinging his backpack over his shoulder. The shorter woman gracefully approached her son, smiling softly as she held her hand out, silently asking him to wait.

“Have a good day, my son,” she bid, placing a hand on his cheek. Inuyasha flushed slightly and placed a hand over his mother’s, nodding into it.

“Thanks mom. I’ll see ya later,” and with that, he turned and began his walk to school.

It was kind of nice to not be in such a rush to get there, which was why he was walking instead of taking his car. It left him alone with his thoughts, something he tried to not do very often. His mind kept wandering back to that dream, the one where he almost caught her, the one where she was finally within reach, the one where he saw those hypnotic eyes. He couldn’t suppress the smirk even if he tried. This girl was so perfect in every way to him, and he hadn’t even really seen her yet. It didn’t matter about anything else really, just that she was his and he was going to finally capture her—no matter the cost.

 


 

 

It was the third day of school—a Friday—when Kagome’s mother received a call from the doctor’s office.

She’s in bad shape. We aren’t certain what is going on, but she is deteriorating much quicker. She’s going to need a full-time or at least part-time assistant soon,” Kagome heard the doctor advise her mother. The older Higurashi woman was clearly distraught, her normally bright smile was replaced with a thin grimace. Kagome knew how close she had been with her sister before the illness had taken over, and she could tell that it was hurting her mother more than words could describe. Her mom thanked the doctor for his advice and warning and hung up, looking down at the phone. Kagome wondered if her mother was considering throwing it across the room.

“So… what did he say?” Kagome asked, having already heard the situation but wanting to hear it from her mom.

“Tsukimi isn’t doing well. The doctor said she is going to need an assistant to help her,” her mother sighed heavily, sitting on the couch with a slump. “But… she can’t afford it and I certainly can’t,” she frowned, tears seeming to well up in her eyes.

Kagome frowned as well, moving to sit beside her mother to comfort her. She snaked her arm around her mother’s shoulder and pulled her close, letting the woman cry a little in her embrace.

“I can’t just let her wither away. She’s my sister, I have to do something,” her mother continued, her voice breaking slightly as she spoke.

“Maybe she can move in with us?” Kagome suggested, her tone light and gentle for her mother’s sake.

“I’ve thought about that too, but I would be worried that she would wander off the property and get lost,” she answered, shaking her head slightly. “We have woods around our house and the stairs would be a horrible fall.”

“We could put up some fences, maybe try to safety-proof the place?”

“That might take months. We would have to build a ramp, put up fences, I’m not sure…” her mother thought aloud, but Kagome could tell that she was starting to think that the plan was a lot more possible than before.

“How about this? I can go stay with Aunt Tsukimi for a while—at least until we get the house fixed up for her—and I’ll be her assistant,” Kagome offered gently. Her mother looked up at her with surprised eyes.

“Kagome, are you sure about that? You just started your senior year at school—you might have to transfer to another school if we did this,” her mother warned, looking at her daughter a little skeptically. Kagome gave her a warm smile and nodded.

“It’s worth it. I can just transfer back when we’re done—no big deal. It’ll be like I never left,” she replied with a chirp. Her mother threw her arms around her daughter.

“I would never ask this of you, but if it’s really what you want to do, I’m so grateful,” she thanked between quiet sobs.

“Of course I want to do this mom. We both love her.”


Arrangements had to be made of course, but Kagome had resigned to tell her friends that she was going to be transferring to another school for a few months while they were getting their house ready for her aunt to live in.

Are you serious?! You literally just started senior year!” Eri exclaimed over the group skype call.

Don’t be insensitive, Eri! It’s not like Kagome wants to leave school. Her mother is obviously forcing her to do this,” Yuka scolded. Kagome rolled her eyes.

“I’m not being ‘forced’ to do anything. My aunt is having a really hard time and needs someone to watch over her. I volunteered,” she corrected the both of them, shaking her head. “It’s the right thing to do and besides, I love my aunt. Wouldn’t you guys do the same if it were someone from your family?”

The other three girls seemed to accept this and nodded, shrugging a little. “You’re super selfless, Kagome. I think you care a lot more about people than most do,” Ayumi answered after a moment.

Kagome shrugged a little at that and smiled. “I’m really sorry again guys that we had to cancel girl’s night. I just know that mom needs me here and having company over just wouldn’t be a great idea,” she apologized again. Her friends seemed to wave her off.

There will be other chances. It’s fine,” Yuka assured her, shaking her head.

“Okay guys, I’ll talk to you later,” and with that, Kagome said her goodbyes and shut down the chatroom. She glanced at the clock on her nightstand, the glowing lights revealing it was about 9:30. She sighed a little, deciding it was best to just head to bed early.

As she laid down for the night, she wondered if everything was going to be okay with her aunt. She wondered if she was really going to be able to take care of her properly. She wasn’t exactly medically-certified, so the only thing she would really be able to do would be to make sure that her aunt took her medicine, fed her, and helped her get dressed and ready day and night. The whole task seemed a lot more daunting now than it had before, but she remembered her mother’s face at receiving the news. That kind of pain wasn’t something that she ever wanted to see again. Besides, she reassured herself, it shouldn’t be too hard, and it would only be for a few months until they moved her in with them. Plus, she could just do some online research about what caretakers need to do. She smiled softly as she drifted to sleep—it should be a breeze.

 


 


The chase.

It was always like this. So fast, so exciting.

Quick breaths, hurried panting, feet hitting the soft, damp earth.

It was coming for her again, she could tell.

It wanted her to keep running, but it also wanted to capture her.

Another turn.

Through the leaves.

Silver strands glistening in the moonlight.

A hedge.

Dead end.

Mine, it growled with pleasure, stalking her.

Turn.

Gold eyes.

Silver hair.

A boyish face.

He reaches, ready for the capture.

Mate.”

She shot up, coughing and panting and nearly falling off the bed with the force of her frenzy. Sweat rolled down her neck, evidence of the strenuous activity that obviously took place in her dream. Shoving the blankets off of her feverish body, she glared at the clock which showed the time was 11:50. She had only slept for two hours? She groaned, shoving the pillow to her face and yelling in it. It was really starting to get on her nerves that this stupid dream kept waking her up. Well…

It’s mostly that I can’t ever get to the good part of the dream that frustrates me, she admitted to herself, glancing at her cat which lazed in its bed across the room, giving her a few slow blinks. Who is that boy? Why does he keep chasing me every night? She asked her cat silently. Buyo seemed uninterested, laying his head down as if to say: Who cares? Go back to bed.

Kagome sighed and looked out her window into the night. The moon was at its fullest, shining brightly and illuminating the land below. She felt a pull towards it.

“I’m going on a walk, Buyo. I’ll be back soon,” she announced in a whisper to her cat who only flicked his tail in response.

She rose up from her bed, putting some running clothes on and sneaking out of her house carefully. Her mom wouldn’t really have cared to much if she were going on a little walk around the property, but she still wanted to be quiet so as to not wake her family up. When she got outside, she took a moment to look around and take a deep breath. Night air was so much cooler and nicer. She held her jacket closer to her body, protecting herself from the night-time chill as she began to wander the property. The woods were always a pleasant place to take a walk and she knew them like the back of her hand.

She didn’t feel like she was really going in any particular direction, just wherever she decided to walk. She was about halfway through the walk when she heard a few twigs snapping.

She whipped her head around at the sound, worried that it might be some kind of vicious animal but sighing when she found that it was merely a frog. She laughed a little.

Always getting spooked over nothing.

She shook a finger at the frog, silently scolding the amphibian before shaking her head and looking up at the moon. Why was she even out here at this time of the night? She turned to go back home when she saw a pair of golden eyes stalking her from behind a tree not to far from where she was. She froze in place, eyes blown wide as she struggled not to scream. She watched as the eyes narrowed and seemed to come closer.

She bolted.

She ran as quickly as she could in the direction away from the creature, but also, she thought with worry, away from her house. She could hear the creature running after her, climbing through the trees and slashing through foliage. It was just like her dream, except this felt like more of a nightmare. Running as quickly as she could, she made ever twist and turn she could think of, trying to shake the creature off of her trail. It steadfastly followed, focused solely on capturing her.

Another turn.

Through the leaves.

Silver strands glistening in the moonlight.

A hedge.

Dead end.

“Mine,” it growled with pleasure, stalking her.

Turn.

Gold eyes.

Silver hair.

A boyish face.

He reaches, ready for the capture.

Mate.”

She blinked, her breath caught in her throat as she took in the sight.

It was a man, a young man, with long, silver hair. His golden eyes surrounded by a tinge of red. He was so beautiful in the moonlight. Everything about him called to her. His presence loomed over her, his body much larger than hers. His clawed hands raised, placing them on her shoulders before pulling her body to his. She remained stiff for only a moment before she sunk into him, wrapping her arms around him. It just felt so right. She could feel him sniffing her, heard him growl and groan for a moment before licking at the spot where her neck and shoulder met. She gasped as she felt his hot tongue rake over her skin and wanted to pull away but wanted to stay as well. He pulled back from her suddenly, his eyes blown out with some sort of emotion she couldn’t understand before she saw fear in his eyes. And just like that, he was gone in the night.