Blind Stitch my Heart

This is the FINAL chapter of this story.

Part 12– "Sweet, Sweet Failure"


Written by: profiler120

Rating: PG-13 (rating is probably higher than necessary)

Email: profiler120@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: I do not own Inu Yasha.

(. . .) - Denotes p.o.v. change within the same scene.


Some valuable advice for writers. It's unfortunately true.

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." -- Jack London (1876-1916)a


Kagome was back with him. At the table with him she sat, yawning quietly, staring sleepily into her morning soup.

"I wonder if Rin is okay," she mused.

Rin was fine. The Nazuna house was a perfectly safe haven, one Kagome should still have been at yet he couldn't be angry with her for coming. He hadn't wanted to send her there. Suddenly, she perked up and looked toward him.

"Oh, I forgot for a little while I but I remember now!"

He sat a bit straighter, that sounded promising.

"What do you think you're doing dismissing Sango and the others?!"

A grin perked up his lips.

She immediately set into railing at him about how wrong his actions were and how unjust he was being, her previous sleepiness apparently forgotten. Her anger was short lived as she suddenly slumped down next to him, dropping her head on his shoulder.

"Maybe I'm just bored Since I'm not your seamstress anymore I don't have anything to do, I don't know anyone here at this house either."

"You were supposed to be guarding Rin," he chastised.

"I know." She dropped her head. "I realize I should've stayed with her butI just couldn't."

"Why not?"

A rosy blush dusted her cheeks. "Because "She fumbled with her silence for a few minutes before she answered. "I don't take orders well."

"Obviously," he replied dryly. "Your efforts were wasted either way. I'm leaving in an hour."

"What?! Where are you going to now? Do you know how long it took me to track you down?"

"You should be minding your own business, woman. You do not own me."

Her recovering composure was quickly lost. "I'm aware of that."

She crossed her arms and stared straight ahead.

"Don't pout."

She scowled. How dare he order her around? Not only conventionally, but now he was telling her what expressions she could and couldn't use.

She huffed. He was doing what he always did. Going off and leaving her alone again. Asking him to stay would prove useless. She frowned.

"Is there anything I can do while you're gone?" She asked, watching as he stood, straightening his clothes.

"Don't go anywhere."

She pulled herself up, following him out of the room.

"There's nothing I can do? Something? Anything? I hate being bored."

He turned and she froze, frantically wondering if she'd done something wrong. He reached for her, trailing a hand down her cheek. The feathery touch caused her expression to soften, lightening.

She didn't resist as he reached around, sliding his hand around the back of her head and urged her forward. His golden eyes were alit with wild, untamable ferocity, a thought that made her tremble.

At times like these she wondered to herself how she'd ever come to draw the gaze of this male. How it was she'd not only received his notice, but his touch. She wasn't sure if she was lucky or amazingly lucky.

She didn't dare say a word, not want to break whatever line of thought of his that had brought him this close to her.

There was something about him today that seemed different. Perhaps it was the intensity of his eyes? Did he seem more determined than usual?

A man on a quest?

There was no way for her to know that, he wasn't going to tell her anything. Stubborn man.

She settled for a smile, becoming self-conscious under the weight of his intense scrutiny. It seemed to break him from his thoughts as his expression changed.

He leaned closer, their heads almost touching.

"Tell me you're mine."

It was spoken like a true order, but there seemed to be something else there. Maybe she was imagining it.

Did she want to tell him that? Was it true?

Was it true and she didn't want to admit it? What?

Perhaps it was just insecurity? She met his eyes uneasily, feeling vulnerable.

"I" Why couldn't she say it? "I am"

He didn't coax her, he didn't encourage her, he just waited staring at her like a predator.

She gave herself a million small pep talks, a million kicks to the shin, but it wasn't any easier. Was this some strange milestone? What was the point of this?

"I am yours." She forced it out, feeling suddenly like she'd just said something she shouldn't have. There was no explaining the feeling it gave her.

The turning up of his lips relieved the awkward feeling somewhat.

He tiled her head back. She could feel her breath against his lips.

He leaned closer, pressing his lips to hers. She sighed softly, bringing her arms up around his neck holding herself against him.

She arched, moaning against his mouth, not even aware of the floor coming to rest beneath her knees until she felt the hard wood planks against her.

Her eyes flew open, and he pulled away from her standing up straight, leaving her kneeling. He said something; she didn't hear what it was exactly. It might have been something like save that enthusiasm', but she couldn't be sure.

She sighed, watching him go.

Oh, what she wouldn't give for him to stay home for the rest of the day.


There couldn't be anything more boring than sitting around. Kagome shifted listlessly. The staff here wasn't friendly. They weren't mean, they just didn't talk, they worked. She direly missed the old place.

That had, at the very least, felt like a home to her. Here she felt like an outsider. She felt like she was Sesshoumaru's guest, especially with the way the staff was treating her. It had been hours since Sesshoumaru had gone.

She'd been moving from room to room, staring out windows, sliding her feet along the floor, doing anything and nothing.

She hung her head.

There wasn't anything she could do.

Nothing.

The staff wouldn't let her help clean around the house. They just bustled her out. She couldn't sew anything; he didn't have a sewing room here. She couldn't talk to anyone.

It was maddening!

She pushed the thought aside and stood up.

Just as she was about to take a nap she spotted one of the old maids heading for the door.

"Wait!" She called out. "Where are you going?"

"To town. I have to pick up some supplies, did you need anything, Higurashi-san?"

The woman was so polite it made Kagome uneasy.

"Can I come with you? I'm so bored!" She cried.

The maid was clearly stunned. "I don't see why not."

Kagome smiled, slipped on her shoes, and followed the lady out.

. . .

She'd had high hopes for the trip, hoping maybe she could talk to someone, but the maid was quiet. She seemed uneasy with Kagome tagging along with her, so Kagome didn't bother trying to start a conversation after the first few unsuccessful minutes.

The walk was short and the town was busy. She lost sight of the maid at her side almost immediately, but didn't worry over it. She didn't think she'd get lost in the market place, and she knew her way back, so she wasn't really worried.

She headed down a side path toward the fabric vendor. There had to be a machine somewhere in that house and she was going to find it and sew something.

Anything, it didn't matter what.

She sighed. She browsed the fabrics and frowned finding nothing suitable. Maybe she wasn't in the mood to sew after all.

She couldn't cook anything. Sesshoumaru had cooks and they weren't about to let her help. She couldn't have guests, she didn't know anyone here anyway.

She couldn't write a letter, to who and what would she say? What could she do?

Argh!

She turned heading along another path. This trip had seemed worth it last night being reunited with Sesshoumaru. She knew she'd fallen in love with her stoic employer, a fact she didn't loathe. It was the way it was.

Nor was it a fact that brought her sadness or uneasiness given Sesshoumaru's reactions to her. She could still feel the silken pressure of his lips against hers.

She trembled in remembrance, wandering along the pathway out of town.

What a beautiful memory.

What a beautiful man who'd given it to her. She was rounding a bend in the path when she saw it. Her footsteps halted.

"N-" She started, faltering.

There he stood, his hair billowing in the wind, the flaps of his haori sleeves shifting. He looked so picturesque.

So... absolutely eerie.

"Naraku..."

"I'm glad you remember me, lovely. I see you're back with that nuisance, Masaharu again."

She swallowed hard, backing up a pace.

"Um..."

"But that doesn't matter. I've come for you, we're going to skip a spring wedding. I'm such an impatient man."

She backed up another pace.

"W-wait! I don't think-"

"Good," he interrupted. "Don't think. I've done all the thinking for you."

She backed up once more, only to find herself enclosed in a pair of brawny arms and a cloth held over her face.

"Breathe deep and sleep, lovely. We're going on a little trip."

The last thing she saw was Naraku's sinister grin.


Traveling with an unconscious female was easier than expected. He'd wrapped her in a rug and tossed her in the back of the carriage with him. He'd gotten strange looks from the footmen, but what did he care what the hired help thought?

The ride was long, but peaceful. He managed to keep the girl out cold for the duration. He arrived when earlier than expected, in the afternoon rather than the late evening after.

Once nightfall had descended, his men had broken into his new temporary headquarters and they had set up shop.

He peered around his hideout, relishing the lavishness of his new quarters.

It wasn't the lushness' of his new set-up that gave him his pleasure. It was the fact that his current residence belonged to none other than that pest, Sesshoumaru.

It was vastly convenient the man had shut the house up and sent everyone away.

He grinned in the darkness, heading toward her room. He didn't expect she'd wake until the morn. He slid open the door and stepped inside.

She looked heavenly there. Tucked neatly into a futon, her hair spread around her like an inky halo of darkness, she was magnificent.

Naraku stared down at the slumbering female with a frown. Having her was perhaps the only positive thing in his life for the moment. His damn father had done something stupid, although he didn't know what.

A mark had appeared on his back, a huge burn scar in the shape of a spider that ached constantly. It was worse at night, when it neared midnight it felt as though the burn sparked back to life, he could actually hear it crackle in the darkness, as he lay on his stomach, unable to move.

Worse than that was that the mark had appeared on all his children as well and they all shared the same torturous evenings, quietly bearing the pain. What else could be done? There was no ointment, no soothing lotion, nothing that would help. He'd exhausted all possible solutions.

When he'd tried to seek help from the holy shrines, he'd been warded off as monks and miko's alike declared him cursed'. Perhaps if he were a man of normal standing the whole matter would have depressed him.

Rather, it was all very invigorating. It made his blood warm with anticipation. He suddenly enjoyed the terror reflected in others so much more potently and he could attribute it to nothing other than the strange marking. He'd noticed the same happening in his offspring.

Aside from his physical condition, Masaharu was attempting to officially stake claim on his property. He'd been waiting for her to appear for weeks and finally she had.

Before, however, he'd had to take care of those troubling Higurashi's, but amazingly enough that had been simple. He'd anticipated Masaharu trying to go through them to gain permission for Kagome. Ensuring they would turn him down was merely nothing more than issuing a few notes with subtly worded threats threaded through them and it was a done deal. He'd thought about sending scraps of her clothes with bloodstains but ultimately thought it too gauche. Then he'd thought about sending blood-muddied hair, but decided that wasn't good enough either.

Night was wearing on and soon midnight would approach. He quietly crept out of her room slinking down the luxurious hall. Masaharu's hall, he thought with a grin.

Would Masaharu think to look in his own house to find him? Naraku smirked in the darkness retreating to his own room. He would just love to see the man's face right now.


Sesshoumaru cursed. He still wasn't sure how this had happened. Kagome had, foolishly, gone to town with one of the old maids only for the woman to return to the house an hour later in a rush.

When this was over the woman, Kagome, was never leaving his side again. Ever.

He'd gone but there were no clues, and no witnesses. It wasn't a stretch, though, to think of who would lie in wait for her. Naraku had obviously reappeared and he cursed himself thoroughly for not guarding her more closely. He cursed her also for, again, not obeying him.

It felt like there was a rock in the pit of his belly weighing him down and causing him unforeseen amounts of dread. Who knew where Kagome was now. She could be anywhere.

Determined, however, not to lose time by contemplating, he collected Jaken and they headed off, unexpectedly picking up Kaijinbou along the way.

The annoying servant suggested they head to the mountain retreat despite its fire damage.

"I've heard things," he replied evasively.

Although what he heard was probably little more than the drunken ramblings of tavern men Sesshoumaru did credit the idea. It was a good possibility that Naraku might have turned up at the mountain.


Kagome groaned, slowly stirring awake. The room was bright with sun, but empty. She recognized it at once and sighed.

Had Sesshoumaru rescued her? She sat up, stretching. Her chest felt achy, almost congested. Was it some kind of side-effect of the Naraku drug?

She yawned lazily and stood up, pushing her blankets aside, not bothering to fold up the futon. She was too eager to see what had happened with the others.

With Naraku especially. She walked toward the door, sliding it open.

Strange though, this wasn't her room. Hadn't he abandoned this house? Was she alone with Sesshoumaru in the house?

She felt herself trembling at the thought.

Completely alone with Sesshoumaru.

She crept down the stairs, the old wood creaking beneath her feet. Into the main room, she stepped, only to find it empty.

Was anyone here? The place was silent.

She turned, about to head into the kitchen at the back. Perhaps she would find him out here?

The house was cold. Colder than it normally was. Where was he? She didn't expect she'd see the servants, especially since they'd been dismissed some time ago.

At the very least, however, Sesshoumaru didn't go anywhere without Jaken on his heels.

Round and round she looked, though, and found no one. Just as she was approaching the front door to peer outside, it slid open from the other side.

The door pulled open, a hissing sound escaping as the wood scraped along the wood track. The sunlight shone inside, highlighting the figure and darkening the face, but there was no mistaking the visitor.

She felt her heart drop. She could feel the cold slick over her skin, raising goose bumps up her arms and down her legs. A chill ran down her spine. It couldn't be...

She hadn't-

He hadn't rescued her at all!

"You look surprised to see me, lovely." He drawled, stepping inside, forcing her back as she tried to maintain the distance between them.

She just stared.

"Have you forgotten? We are marrying."

How did bad things single her out? Was she born under a bad star or something?

Whatever amusement he found in taunting her, he cut short and motioned her forward with one hand.

"No time, lovely. That damn nuisance of a father of mine has made more trouble. Even dead he troubles me..."

He sighed exasperated and turned away.

"I was just coming for you," he mused. "Come along peacefully or I promise you won't like the trip."


She was too tense to sleep. Too tense to move. Too tense even to talk to the man who sat across from her in the decadent western styled carriage.

Naraku had always seemed a man of traditional values, but perhaps he was a bit extravagant. He sat quietly; one elbow propped up, a fist beneath his chin staring out the window thoughtfully.

The entire trip he was silent. Not a word, not even a glance. For all the notice he gave her, she might not have been there at all.

He seemed to stir, though, on the bumpy path as they bobbed along on the uneven journey. He lifted his head up, his eyes coming into focus, and his gaze shifting toward her.

"I hope you're rested. It's a long walk."

She swallowed hard as the carriage came to a dead stop and the man out front pulled open the door. Naraku stepped down, not assisting her, as he walked off toward a lumpy pine covered trail.

She sighed and followed, not waiting for the inevitable threat if she didn't follow.

The walk was long, she discovered, finding herself walking up a mountain. She paused when she realized they were back at Naraku's mountain retreat Or, what was left of it.

She followed him inside the rickety place, if only to stem his threats. He led her into a room at the front, passing over to one side as she stepped in.

She didn't see the arrow sticking tail end out of the wall behind her. Not until his hands pressed down on her shoulders shoving her back against it. Onto it.

Her eyes widened in unimaginable pain, mouth falling open in a scream quickly muffled as his mouth pressed over hers. She couldn't think enough to push him away, only the pulsing, heated pain burning through her abdomen.

Naraku's presence was a phantom through her agony. She barely recalled his even being there, she hardly felt him kissing her, bruising her lips with the force of his assault.

Not until she felt the dull prick of teeth clamping onto her skin and a weak chuckle in her ears.

"My precious"

Her mouth hung open, eyes watering with tears. Sesshoumaru where was he?

She swallowed hard wondering why she suddenly had a coppery taste in her mouth. Was it blood? Was it her own blood?

She was afraid to find out. She was even more afraid to move her eyes from their position locked straight ahead.

If she looked down she would see it. She would see the arrow he'd thrust her onto. She'd see the projectile protruding through her body. She'd see the blood she felt oozing out of her. She'd see herself dying and that scared her. Scared her more than the pain. More than the sickening warmth she felt sinking into her clothes. More than the insane, lustful gleam in Naraku's eyes.

"Smile, my lovely. It's going to be all right now, you're going to come with me."

She couldn't know, nor did she care what his rambling was about. She stared lifelessly ahead not seeing, not blinking until she felt the sting of metal.

She sprang back to life sharply, turning her horrified gaze to Naraku in time to catch him cutting through the fabric of her kimono on one shoulder.

What was he doing? Was he going to rape her? Like this? Surely not? Her terror hiked a notch. He wouldn't really-

Her heart thundered in her chest, pounding ever harder as he as carelessly slashed with the small blade, nicking her skin beneath the fabric.

"N-Naraku" she whimpered, but he just grinned, a slow, methodical grin.

"Just wait" he promised a deadly smirk upon his features. "Just wait."

What that meant she really didn't want to find out. Naraku and his promises were sinister, his touch was painful, and his future was dark.

Nothing stopped the horrified gasp as he suddenly cut into her shoulder. She thrashed once, before going deathly still having forgotten about the arrow embedded through her belly. She paled body tense as Naraku made three more cuts into her.

What he was doing, she didn't know. What he'd just carved on her shoulder she didn't dare look.

She slumped, shuddering at the feel of the arrow shaft. The old, ash covered arrow. Even if the half-sturdy roof didn't fall on her, she probably wouldn't make it now. If Sesshoumaru arrived and saved her from Naraku and got her a doctor, he probably couldn't save her. She'd just as likely get an infection and die.

Life had never been such a hopeless thing. She felt rather than saw her vision darken.

Her life was over. Her eyes drifted closed, but it didn't dull her misery. Rather she heard his chuckle again and then the press of his body as he pushed himself up against her crushing her impossibly closer to the wall.

Her life was over, she thought again, praying she would hurry and die.


Sesshoumaru bent slightly, slamming his shoulder against the barricaded door. It shifted, but didn't give. He pushed again.

The fire-ravaged mansion was a shadow of its former glory. Kaijinbou had split off from him and then sent word just four hours previously with the rumor he'd heard about Naraku retreating to his mountain home, reinforcing Jaken's suggestion.

Now here he was, entertaining the possibility that Naraku was holding Kagome in this ramshackle shack.

He shoved against the door once more and it gave just enough for him to squeeze inside, pinching his body between the door and the frame.

The heavy scent of smoke and ash assaulted his nose. Piles of soot and debris rounded his feet. There was no sign of recent visitors. No footprints in the ash.

He glanced around, staring at the fire damaged interior before turning toward the first doorway. He stepped inside, listening to the silence surrounding the house.

Could she be here?

He peered around, searching empty room after empty room. Just as he was giving up hope he was on the wrong track, he saw her.

A little figure, almost ghost-like in her paleness. He met her wide, empty eyes. She just stared at him, without recognition, without fear or worry.

He approached the small waif.

Was this Naraku's child? Hadn't he seen this girl before?

"Where is Kagome?"

His voice sounded raw to his own ears, but she showed no expression at his tone of voice. She turned away from him, walking down the hallway soundlessly.

Perhaps she was a ghost?

It seemed far too unlikely. She looked real, solid, and weakly familiar.

She continued to walk, and instead of questioning, he followed. Where was she going?

Perhaps Naraku truly was here?

He reached for the sword at his waist, gripping the hilt of Tetsusaiga, his ancestral blade inherited from his father. He intended to use the noble blade; he was determined to cut Naraku's head from his body with this sword.

She stopped in front of a charred door. She reached up a tiny hand and slid it open slowly, the wood catching in the damaged track. She attempted to pry the door open further, but couldn't and stepped back and away from the door.

Sesshoumaru reached up, shoving the door. The sound of wood cracking broke the silence of the house and within he heard a low groan. He stepped inside, paying no mind to the broken door. He peered around, staring at the room that looked war-torn.

His head whipped to one side at another moan, a low, painful sound. To his left, near the corner almost at the far wall he spotted her. He felt his heart drop to his feet at the sight of her. She was back against the wall flatly, her eyes closed, head dipped.

Her clothes were torn on one side, revealing a bloody set of gashes on her shoulder, and set of marks that resembled claws. Most disturbing was the maroon stain in the center of her abdomen, and the shaft of an arrow protruding from her body.

"Beautiful, isn't she?"

He turned to see Naraku at the opposite end of the room, standing in another doorway, the wisp girl at his side.

"Standing there proud and resolute, bearing the pain." Naraku's grin widened as his eyes raked over Kagome's torn figure.

Sesshoumaru snarled in anger turning away from her, sliding his sword from his waist. Naraku seemed undisturbed.

"Come to slay me?" He mocked, meeting Sesshoumaru's eyes.

The girl reached to one side, pulling a sword and hauling the item over her head. Naraku took the weapon, stepping forward.

"I've been waiting for you."

. . .

Kagome groaned, pain shooting through her body. What was the noise? She lifted her head, opening her eyes, squinting against the light. Why was the room so bright?

The room was blurry, but she could see two distinct figures. Flowing masses of light and dark and the distinct clink of metal.

Was it a sword fight?

Was that Sesshoumaru and Naraku?
There was no speaking. Just sounds: rustling, scraping, clinking, and clanking.

What was going on?

Her eyes throbbed and ached. She closed them, tilting her head forward. Her whole body ached, singing with pain.

Her skin felt clammy and chilled. She felt a cool air touch against her skin. She felt her body slump and she opened her mouth to scream, but heard nothing.

The sounds in her ears dimmed and vanished.

She opened her eyes as she felt her pain disappear as abruptly as it had become overbearingly intense. The rapid fire throbbing shooting up her nerves abruptly stopped. The pounding in her head slowed and died away.

"Miko..."

She forced her eyes open and blinked, peering around. There was nothing. An endless expanse of fuschia in every direction, almost blinding in it's intensity. She closed her eyes to block out the brightness.

"Miko of the Shikon... Make a wish."

Wish?

Wish? She wondered.

"Miko of the Shikon... Make a wish."

"I wish this was a bad dream," she replied incoherently, unsure of her voice, unsure of her surroundings. Unsure of everything.

She heard her words repeated an unearthly echo that sounded in her ears repeatedly.

Her sleepy eyes flew open as her body lurched and dropped. She reached wildly, gripping for something in the formless fuschia void to grab onto to cease her fall, but found nothing and tumbled into darkness, screaming.


*THUMP* *THUMP* *THUMP*

She shifted.

*THUMP* *THUMP* *THUMP*

"KAGOME! Wake up!"

*THUMP* *THUMP* *THUMP*

"Urgh" The girl sat up groggily, rubbing her eyes. What was- she froze, doubling over in pain, a moan of pain slipping past her lips.

From the closed door, more thumping was heard.

"I'm up!" She called back and the thumping stopped.

Kagome remained where she was, doubled over in her bed, clutching her abdomen. What was ?

She sat up as the pain shooting through her body like tiny electric jolts, subsided. She sat back with a heavy, relieved sigh, stripping away the linens that covered her and staring at the horribly mangled garment she was dressed in.

It was the same kimono as before. The shoulder was torn and there was a hole through the abdomen where the arrow had pierced her body. She traced her fingers over the material, surprised to find even the blood stains remained, now dark colored stains that marred the ugly material.

How had?

She stood up, walking to the cabinet. She was back in Sesshoumaru's home in the room where she'd been living as his seamstress. She recognized the room immediately.

She reached inside the cabinet pulling out a simple colored kimono intent upon changing out of the wrecked cloth she was wearing. She pulled the sash at her waist, letting it coil around her feet and the material slid off her shoulders with a gentle, wispy slide.

She looked down to see where the arrow had been, still haunted by the sight of the wood shaft through her. She stared, running her fingertips over uneven flesh, noting the bumpy, uneven scar tissue.

Her abdomen was covered with a spider-like web of scars from above and below the navel. She shuddered at the sight of her own body.

She'd been asked for a wish.

She'd wished it was all a dream.

Had that happened?

Was she asleep?

Did dreams leave scars like this?

Was she rescued in her unconscious stint?

She quickly pulled on her new kimono, eager to head downstairs to find out what had happened while she slept. She tied her obi as quickly as she could and headed toward the door. She slid open her door and peeked out.

The house was animated, as it had been what now seemed like so long ago. Servants were scurrying in every direction, hurrying with what looked last minute preparations. She followed the stairs down, to find Kaede and Sango in the main room discussing a trip to town to pick up some supplies for the kitchen.

Sango turned and frowned. "Kagome, what are you wearing? The master is returning, hurry and change!"

"Returning? Returning from where?" She asked, blankly.

Sango stared at her. "Kagome..." The maid approached her, laying a hand on her shoulder. "Are you feeling okay? I told you just yesterday the Master was returning to inspect the house."

Kagome blinked, puzzled.

She'd wished, she thought, staring into Sango's worried eyes.

She'd wished that the saga with Naraku was just a bad dream. What was happening? How had she gotten back here like this?

"Oh," Kagome replied as the front door swept open.

Both females stepped back as intense gold eyes were leveled upon them. Behind the newly-returned Master, a small man stepped in, waving around his walking stick.

"Kyah! What are you standing around for?! Sesshoumaru-sama doesn't pay you to gawk!"

Kagome turned her gaze toward Jaken, confused.

What?

What happened?

She felt Sango's hand tighten on her shoulder. "Kagome? Are you okay?"

She opened her mouth to speak, but paused and shook her head that she was fine.

"Then get back to work."

Both women turned startled eyes toward the man who was calmly staring at them. Kagome met his stare directly, searching, but found no distinct recognition of her and worried. He didn't remember? Sango didn't either?

Of course, that's right!

He had fired Sango and the others; this house had been packed up.

Had... Had the Shikon reset time without Naraku? Was that even possible? Was the cost of stripping Naraku and Onigumo away the memories of those involved?

"I'm expecting a guest later today. Did you finish the garment I ordered you to prepare?"

Garment? What garment?

"Um..."

His eyes narrowed sternly on her and she fidgeted.

"Possibly, what was the garment? I'll check." She found herself with the singular desire to get away from him and that cold stare. How could this be? How could he forget her like this?

Was this her punishment for allowing this to happen?

"Higurashi, I don't order you to clothe the entire village. You should remember what I sent you."

She shifted. "I'm sorry, it's been a weird morning, okay!?" She snapped.

One eyebrow rose at her rebellious tone. He stepped in and turned toward the staircase.

"Return to your work, girl. Higurashi, come with me."

She swallowed nervously following him up the stairs. "Uh, yes, Sir."

He traversed the stairs and halls with the ease of familiarity and headed along the hall down toward the sewing room where the doors were pushed closed. She frowned watching as he slid the door open and stepped inside, peering around as though searching for something.

His eyes fell on the chest where she kept her unfinished project and he stared at it as though in contemplation.

She stepped in behind him.

"Close the door."

She obeyed, turning back to slide the door closed, fearful of being in her own personal space, alone, with him. Couldn't he have this meeting somewhere else? Anywhere else?

When she turned back, she gasped at his nearness. His arms rose up on either side of her, trapping her against the body of the door.

"Uh... Masaharu-sama?"

She chastised herself trying desperately to think of something to say, but found herself lacking.

"You were trouble from the moment I found you and you continue to be trouble."

She gulped, that was the beginning of something bad.

"Do you know how I handle trouble?"

"Well, as long as you don't kill it. You know, like the little mouse that haunts the kitchen. Kaede got a hold of that little thing and chopped it in half. Then she just scrapped it off in the scraps can and-"

"Higurashi..." He warned, his tone implying his annoyance at her rambling.

"Okay, no mouse stories." She replied, pulling her arms up across her chest hoping she looked miffed. "I thought it was a good story."

Anything, she thought, to distract from the looming danger in front of her. She was really beginning to think it wasn't her that was trouble, but this family.

Yes, that sounded good. The Masaharu family was to blame for all this; she was just a little innocent bystander to the madness.

"If it's not tail chopping I suppose you'll fire me again, but I'll have you know, you can't fire me. I quit. I refuse to be subject to his insanity a moment longer!" She opened her mouth to continue with her dramatic ramble into the weird and increasingly less coherent when he leaned

closer, his eyes level with hers.

"Entirely too much talking."

She drew her eyebrows down, knit in worry over the serious expression in his eyes. Was he really, really angry with her? Was she in lots of trouble? More than she anticipated?

She didn't know what even happened. She straightened. "Oh! Masaharu-sama, do you happen to know where Senaka-san is?"

She realized that was a mistake the moment his name left her lips as his lips pulled back into a snarl. She tensed as he leaned closer, closing her eyes tightly.

His voice was a whisper against her cheek. "No, and neither will you."

"Oi-" The doors flew open and Kagome fell backwards, as someone's arms came up to catch her. She blinked, staring up at Inuyasha.

"Hi," she greeted with a small smile.

It was a good thing Sesshoumaru hadn't actually been leaning against the door the same way she had, but then again, when did Sesshoumaru ever do anything that wasn't graceful?

If she could only pick up some of his manners, she thought as Inuyasha righted her on her feet once more.

"So, what did you need Inuyasha?"

He tossed her a stare, as though in disbelief of her friendly tone. Like he was expecting her to grow a dragon's head and snap at him. Really, what a nice opinion of her, she thought bitterly.

"Uh, I came to get my thing, where is it?"

She turned on him with a huff. "What 'thing'? Ugh! I am not a minder reader!"

He opened his mouth to reply, but Sesshoumaru cut him off. "Find it yourself and go."

Inuyasha scowled at him about to head into the room, when came from the bottom of the stairs another voice.

"Sesshoumaru-sama! Sesshoumaru-sama!" Jaken walked as though in a panic.

Kagome could picture the little man running in a small circle, his walking stick in his hand, looking as though the world were falling on his shoulders and he couldn't stop it.

Sesshoumaru growled and stepped past them, leaving them alone. Once he was suitably out of sight, Inuyasha turned back to her.

"So... about my stuff?"


Kagome was smiling as night fell. Sesshoumaru had been away since Jaken had called him downstairs some time before and she had gotten rid of Inuyasha for the day after handing over the requested garment.

Rin had been occupied by her instructor and the other servants had been humming along in their usual manner. She never though such doldrum could make her happy, but it was the most welcome thing on the planet.

Just as she was retiring to her room, Kaede caught her by the stairs.

"This came for you, child. Take it up with you."

Kagome reached for a rolled sheet of parchment curiously. She didn't ask anything as Kaede turned away, headed back to the kitchen. The poor old lady worked herself dry.

Kagome smiled and headed up to her room. She had a light in her room and switched it on as she entered, sitting down beside the expensive lamp.

She unrolled the paper, taking note of her name written upon the outside. She read as she unrolled it.

"Kagome,

I hope this letter reaches you well. We have received a request for your hand in marriage and have accepted. Come home tomorrow if you can, and we will talk about your suitor. We are most pleased.

- Jiya."

She stared at the paper baffled. She was engaged? To whom?

She didn't hear the slid of the door, but she noticed the movement from the corner of her eye and her head snapped up.

"Eh-" She opened her mouth to speak, but fell short seeing Sesshoumaru stepping into her room, unasked, unattended, and uninvited.

"Higurashi."

"Yeah?" She asked, suddenly feeling like a trapped mouse face to face with a garden snake.

"You've received a note from your family already?"

She blinked glancing down at the parchment in her hands. That didn't mean - .

He wasn't really - ?

She rose to her feet. "You aren't the one... I mean, when they say they want me to get married and they already consented to someone... It isn't you, is it?"

He stepped closer. "Do you suddenly find the idea so adverse?"

Her eyes widened. "No, I just... The last time and... With Naraku and..."

"How is that? How I ended up here again?" He asked, suddenly looking seriously ticked.

Oh, what a man with mood swings!

"Um... Yeah, it was an accident though. Naraku took me to ..." she hesitated in her reply.

"Took you where?" He prompted.

"He took me back to that mountain place. I thought I was dead, but it was really hard to tell. I was in and out of consciousness when I wished it were all a bad dream. When I woke up, this happened. I think it was the Shikon, I can't think of any other explanation."

He stared at her in silence, not saying or reproofing her theory.

"Where is Naraku?"

"Gone. He has vanished; no one has seen him or his father for months. There was a fire at the Senaka estate and several bodies found inside. Naraku was believed to be one of them."

Her mouth gaped open.

"Good riddance," he murmured, leaning close pressing his mouth urgently against hers.

She sighed against him, looping her arms around his neck. Sesshoumaru remembered! Naraku was gone! This was too good to be true!

Her bubbly thoughts faded as she felt herself being lowered to the floor, the futon mat coming to rest beneath her knees.

She peered up at Sesshoumaru, staring into fiery eyes.

"Eh... Sess-"

"No more waiting," he whispered, voice raw, hands pressing her back and she collapsed onto the mat only to erupt in giggles as his lips swept across a ticklish spot across her shoulder.


"Relegate me to a dream, will you?"

Her eyes shot open in the dark.

The voice was crisp and familiar, sending chills down her spine.

Naraku?

What was wrong with her voice? She opened her mouth, but heard nothing come out.

She could feel his grin in the dark even though she couldn't see him. His cackling laughter echoed through the inky darkness.

She gasped as she felt a breeze rushing across her skin. Bare skin.

Where was she?

Where were her clothes?

"Thought you could get rid of my using that damnable jewel?"

His grin materialized on a very real face, right in front of her, as he seemed to appear out of nothing. His form backlight by an invisible light.

His hand rose to cup her cheek. "I was very angry with you lovely..." He leaned close, sliding his tongue down her earlobe. "Very angry..." He whispered.

"L-Let go!" She glared, her form trembling.

Laughter followed the proclamation.

"Don't understand it yet, lovely? You made me a dream, a bad dream. That means while you're here, in my dream world... I own you. There is no escape. We... my lovely... will never be apart again."

Her eyes widened in impossible horror. It couldn't be.

Naraku leaned close, cutting off her protest with his lips.

[The End.]


Authors Notes: I was going to revise this; I've changed my mind. I'm sorry it took so long to finish. Thank you for reading; I hope it was worth the time.

It didn't end the way it began, a disappointment to me, but it's really rather too late to change it without revising it from like chapter 6 and that's a lot of words to go through.


Reviewers:

Hekiru Kamanachi: Lemon, no.

Cassidy Jewell: My least favorite story too, there's no Aoshi in it. :( You're right of course, the Naraku thing got way out of hand and I wish I'd never done that. I ruined the story for myself.

akuma_river : No, nothing like that, I do not like stories where the ending chapter is a few years ahead with children, reflecting backwards. That always ruins a good story for me, I can't explain why.

SuzumiTenshi: Originally, I was going to kill Naraku via Sesshoumaru, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Then I got the whole wish idea and this happened. *sigh*

Kaora: I didn't really hold myself back from writing hugging scenes; I just don't like them that much. They're hard for me, but I've been practicing a lot with my A/M stories with the more affectionate scenes. I think all your other questions were answered in the chapter.

crazyoldwoman : Kagome isn't very passionate about him, is she? That's another unfortunate error I made. I didn't really feel any attraction between these characters either, thus my reluctance to finish this.

Calypso Diangelos: Slipping - the plot line vanished a long time ago and I have no idea where I lost it. ^_^

Infinite Silence: Thank you, for pointing out the missing words. That and mistaking words for one another seem to be a big problem for me lately. ^_^

StoicStella: Maybe his short temper was due to frustration? I'm so out of touch with what's happened in this story it's pathetic.

cappie: Tea, yes. Mad obsession for me.

Tulise: Yeah, just popped into her head. I do that sometimes, and then I worry some people think it's out of place. I try to write like people think and sometimes it comes out... badly.


Thanks to everyone who reviewed and attempted to explain why you liked it. Unfortunately, it didn't improve my feeling about the story, as it just feels like one giant mistake in need of a serious, serious revamping. Maybe someday I'll get around to it.