Universe: Modern Highschool AU
Pairing: Eventual SessKag, Onesided KagInu
Rating: PG-13 ( For now, susceptible to change).
Disclaimer: Inuyasha and its characters are the intellectual property of one Rumiko Takahashi. I only make bad fanfiction about it.
Author's notes: My deepest apologies! You guys have no idea how much I struggled with this chapter. I must have rewritten it at least 20 times. It just never felt right, and even now, I feel like there are so many unresolved things that our characters didn't touch upon. But I also felt its realistic, because often times we revisit scenes in our own lives and wonder, "I should have said this, should have done that", and I didn't want to muddy this turning point with needless dialogue. THAT will come shortly, rest assured.
Anyways, I'm exhausted and I hope this little thing was worth all the wait for you guys. Its a lot of exposition, but bear with me. As always, enjoy.
The car was warm - too warm actually after coming in from the freezing rain, scorching even - but Kagome didn't dare open her mouth; she feared that if she did, nothing but unseemly sobs would pour out like a torrent of liquid melancholy. So her lips remained sealed, as if sown together by an imaginary thread of poise and self-control, and she counted from ten to one in her head, would start all over again, until she began to feel herself become more composed, more human.
Beside her, Sesshoumaru drove in absolute silence, much to her relief. Usually she would find his quiet nature sepulchral, would do and say anything to inspire even the barest of responses from him, but today the muteness was an oasis of calm for her troubled mind.
She didn't want to talk to him. She didn't want to fight with the only person around her who seemed to give a damn. As if fulfilling some unwritten contract, they drove on in - if not companionable - then at least mutual silence.
Kagome couldn't believe the day she had just had. It had truly been a rollercoaster of emotions, from sadness (thanks to Inuyasha), to happiness (thanks to Sango), then confusion and excitement at eating out (thanks to Sesshoumaru), followed almost immediately at the heels by righteous anger and shame at their fight, and now...
...What did Kagome feel now?
The raven looked outside the window, as humans are ought to do when facing an existential crisis while inside a motor vehicle, her eyes glazed and unseeing; vainly, trying to untangle the complicated knots that were her emotions. But with growing irritation, she observed how each time she would loosen one of those sensitive knots, it would just end up mixing and tangling once more with the next one, until it became a hellish cycle that would never end. It left her feeling unhappy and frustrated and - God, was this that famous teenage angst people often talked about? It couldn't be something so pathetic and self-absorbed, except Kagome was pretty sure it probably was, and she felt petty for even indulging in such feelings. Frowning slightly, Kagome tried to clear her mind as much as she could, or at least distract it with something else. Her brain eagerly jumped onto her favorite topic as of late and whose subject was conveniently sitting right next to her on the driver's side of the car.
The raven wondered, for the millionth time, what her teacher was thinking.
More than likely, he was probably fed up with her by now, she mulled dolefully. Kagome hoped not, but she didn't know why it was suddenly so important that Sesshoumaru didn't see her as a burden, but…an equal, perhaps?
They're relationship was an odd one, for sure. They were inextricably bound by that faint string of familiarity from younger days, like when she was six and would hide in his bedroom whilst playing hide-and-seek with Inuyasha and Kikyo, and Sesshoumaru - eleven at the time - would pretend to ignore her all the while frowning at her over the top of his latest issue of Shounen Jump. Sesshoumaru would roll his eyes and murmur something along the lines of "brats"; but in the same breath, he would point to his closet with his eyes, where Kagome would scurry with breathless giggles, and if Inuyasha happened to pass by his doorway asking if he had seen the girl, he would shrug with a dissenting grunt, casually reminding Inuyasha against taking another step inside unless he wanted to be thoroughly kicked out like many times in the past.
(After many a game where Kagome would reign "Supreme Hiding Champion", Inuyasha would later come to ban his older brother's room as permissible hiding grounds under the Hide-and-seek Class Act of '06.)
Obviously, they were no longer children, and their relationship, tenuous as it was between strangers who just happened to have known each other their entire lives, had grown more inexplicably complex during the last few weeks. The question now lay…how much more complex was Kagome willing to make it?
The streets gradually became more familiar, and Kagome began to recognize houses in her neighborhood. All too soon, Sesshoumaru arrived to her childhood home - or at least the front entrance with the absurdly long stairs that led to her home, one of the particularities of living in a shrine - and gently parked in front of it. Even from the distance, Kagome noted that the lights in the lower levels of the house were off, and Kagome deduced that her mother probably hadn't arrived from work yet.
Silence reigned over them once more. Kagome had just started getting some feeling back in her fingers and arms, the warmth seeping into her wet clothes. Guiltily, she thought about the mess she would leave in Sesshoumaru's expensive leather seats, but the man didn't seem concerned about it in the slightest. Actually, he seemed preoccupied with something else entirely. Kagome chanced a glance at him from the corner of her eye, and saw his hands holding on to the steering wheel, so tight his knuckles were bone-white under the gray overcast of the rain.
Kagome looked back down at her own hands, fisted over her lap, and belatedly she realized that her skirt was pooled rather suggestively around her waist, the wet fabric clinging to the top of her thighs at an alarmingly short length. She blushed, embarrassed, but was too tense to move, too shy to draw attention to it, and too aware of the situation to cover her modesty.
As they sat there in shared stillness, both warring with their thoughts, night fell around them. The car hummed continuously in tempo with the rain, and Kagome recognized how strange the situation was indeed. A teacher and his student, both wet and sitting in the dark inside of a running car, with the windows fogging up from their combined body heat. If anybody happened to walk by…
"They think you're sleeping with the bastard."
She shut her eyes tight, as if the action would also shut the words out. Kagome needed to apologize. She needed to let him know that this was not his fault, that she was thankful for his kindness. But more importantly, that they could not meet again like this.
Her breath hitched softly at the suggestion. The thought of not meeting again pained her more than she had expected. After the last couple of months of bonding, Kagome didn't know if she was okay with taking Sesshoumaru out of her life. Not seeing him again...it hurt almost just as much as not seeing Inuyasha.
But she had to be responsible. Kagome would apologize for her behavior at the restaurant, request a different teacher for the rest of her detention, and leave this man's life once and for all except as just his most doting student. Nothing else, though.
Kagome took a shuddering breath-
"I really am sorry." Sesshoumaru whispered, breaking out of whatever reverie he had been under.
The raven teen looked to him, her words dying in her throat at his unexpected apology. There was no moon tonight, and his profile was silhouetted in darkness, cloaking his face, his expression. Kagome swallowed as she become conscious of how the rain had turned the white of her teacher's button-up shirt transparent, and she could see skin and muscle showing through the fabric, luminescent under the starlight. She had never sat next to a dripping man with a see-through shirt, and the visual was oddly erotic and forever imprinted in her mind. She wondered, as he turned to look at her, if her own uniform had experienced the same effect from the rain, but she dared not look away from his eyes to confirm.
"I do not know what overcame me…" he continued, his voice deep and soft and strangely calming; like waves crashing at sea, deep and powerful and heavy with the promise of mercurial rage before a storm."…and I am not excusing my behavior at all. All I ask is that you forgive me for behaving like a brute." He seemed truly upset by it, his yellow eyes searching her face for forgiveness, and Kagome felt the tiniest tug of a smile on her lips, on her heart.
"I apologize too…" she replied shyly, her voice fading into the quietness of the car. Sesshoumaru gave her a puzzled look. "You know…for calling you a bastard. Even though you were." She chuckled lightly at his surprised expression. "And also for throwing the water glass at you. And...for everything really." Timidly, she looked up at him through a fringe of midnight lashes, and he seemed to be considering her. His eyes, electric yellow, alien and sharp, scanned her carefully and Kagome wondered what it was he saw.
"Well...I really was a bastard." he admitted deadpan. At her startled laugh he smirked, and it wasn't the pale imitation of a smile she had seen at the restaurant but a sliver of white blooming on his face, thin and bright like a crescent moon. Kagome's chest fluttered at the real smile, the one he seldom showed to others, shared only with her during those late evenings in detention and now inside his warm car. It was brilliant and genuine, softening his angular features into something angelic, and unexpectedly she had the most absurd impulse to reach out and touch him to see if he were real.
Sesshoumaru seemed to be having similar thoughts, because suddenly he was closer, and Kagome realized they had both leaned in at the same time.
Kagome's smile disappeared.
In the darkness, the sound of blood pumping through her ears drowned out the rain.
They continued staring at each other, and belatedly Kagome realized that perhaps she should look away. But like prey caught in the hypnotizing glare of it's predator, she found that she could not tear her eyes away from his. Something was happening, there was a magnetic tension, loud and humming in its intensity, and Kagome found that she needed to do something, say something, anything, lest her body decided for her.
"No." she whispered.
Sesshoumaru stared, and between the slight puckering of his eyebrows Kagome could discern the slightest hint of confusion, of rejection, at her uttered monosyllabic word. Averting his eyes, Sesshoumaru began to ease back to his side of the car, already opening his mouth for some unnecessary apology, when Kagome grabbed his wrist. She hated this wretched, bewildering feeling coursing through her, this emotion that was overcoming her reason and making her act like this. But she hated Sesshoumaru pulling away from her even more.
"No you're not..." Kagome heard herself say, as if from far away, her voice barely above a whisper. Sesshoumaru did not move at all, a carved statue of marble, but for the smallest lift of his eyebrow that showed he was hanging on to her every word and urging her on.
"You're not a bastard." She clarified, and she noted the sudden sense of urgency that possessed her, to make him understand this fact. "I lied. You act like a bastard sometimes, and you may not always say the right thing, but..."
Kagome's tilted her head, examining the handsome planes of his face. The rain had mostly dried off his body, but there was still a thin sheen of damp that left his skin looking gloriously smooth and glowing. She wondered, manically, obsessively, if she were to run her tongue along the angular line of his jaw if it would taste like rain or like Sesshoumaru. And what did Sesshoumaru taste like...
Trying to follow through with her original train of thought, Kagome finished her sentence. "...you are a good man, Sesshoumaru. And...I am very lucky and blessed to have you in my life."
Silence, penetrating and loud in the small and ever-warming confines of the car, stretched on after that very embarrassing confession.
Wait, not confession. This was totally not a love confession. She was just expressing her gratitude.
But more importantly, when exactly had they leaned so close to each other?
The silence was unbearable and Kagome realized she was rambling, but could not stop, the words dropping from between her teeth on a string of unending thoughts. "These past few weeks have been the most miserable of my life." She confessed softly, remembering Inuyasha with an ache, and there would always be an ache, and she struggled past the hurt because she did not want to cry again, not in front of Sesshoumaru, not with him here, for her. "But you…and this might sound strange, but you have remained the one bright thing to look forward to, every single day. More than a dutiful teacher, to me you're a friendly ear, a supportive figure, and…a good friend. I wish…"she looked up and stopped, not knowing how to finish that sentence, not knowing is she should.
Sesshoumaru licked his lips and swallowed, the noise amplified to Kagome's suddenly hyper-sensitive ears, and she watched transfixed as his Adam's apple bobbed up and down at the action, ever so slowly. She thought it strange that she noticed something as innocuous as that, but then realized that the top two buttons of his shirt, which were normally closed, were undone. The man was usually careful about being as professionally put-together as possible, anal about it even. So the sight of even that much of skin peeking through the collar of his button-up, revealing such a small amount of naked flesh to her virtuous eyes, was enough to fascinate the girl.
But it also looked out of place, her usually impeccable teacher disheveled, and it was wrong, wrong, wrong, and Kagome ached to fix the mistake. He was the only thing perfect in her life.
Without thinking, she reached out.
Sesshoumaru heard his own sharp intake of breath as Kagome's small fingers hooked onto the front of his collar and with a forceful tug pulled him forward, closer.
The man had undone the top two buttons absent-mindedly hours ago, a stress-induced gesture provoked from the panic of searching for her through the streets when she had walked out of the restaurant - he had been so callous, so incredibly stupid and thoughtless with his words, and what if something were to happen to her - and the frenzy had been suffocating enough that he just needed to breathe. Undoing his shirt had brought some sense of relief, enough to calm him to the point where he could think coherently enough about where she might have gone.
But now, with her soft, delicate hands so innocently grazing the base of his neck, knuckles caressing the top of his collarbone, there was suddenly not enough air-
Kagome looked up at his gasp, all wide eyes and open mouth, and Sesshoumaru was torn between the dual realities that perhaps she was not trying to seduce him - not consciously at least - but she was doing one helluva good job at it.
He'd hoped she was though, secretly. Hypothetically. In a world where she wasn't his favorite student, sitting in his car all delectable and nubile, and the very unhypothetical sound of her soft panting was sending warmth from every nerve-ending in his body directly to his groin -
But alas, the surprise on her face at her own bold action, at having trespassed the invisible barrier of talking to touching, was enough to tip him to the fact that she was, not in fact, trying to entice him. Sesshoumaru sighed, and he pretended it was out of relief since he had very firmly told himself that this was exactly the kind of thing that he could not allow to happen. And so he waited for her to pull back, ramble an embarrassed apology at her boldness and head into her home never to speak on the subject ever again.
The seconds ticked by, and groaning internally, Sesshoumaru noted with sweet desperation that Kagome did not do any of the above things.
Instead, her hands remained stubbornly stuck to the front of his chest and, with growing dismay, Sesshoumaru felt the growing little trails of fire that her fingers were starting and spreading throughout his chest cavity. Perhaps that would explain the sudden raging inferno that was overtaking his heart.
Sesshoumaru stared at her intently, expectantly, waiting for her to realize the danger of the fires licking away at his self-control.
Meanwhile, Kagome was having a terrible time finding her voice.
Try as she might, lips parting and opening, moving up and down in a mimicry of speech, her voice was nowhere in sight, and Kagome seriously reconsidered printing out missing posters and hanging them up with a handsome reward attached.
"I-" she stammered, like a newborn babe using her vocal chords for the first time. "What I mean is- I- you-" What had she been saying before? That he was a good man? That he should be proud of his accomplishments, of what he inspired in students? That he was funny, and charming and cute -
No, no, no!
That wasn't it at all.
Wait, Kagome still had to properly apologize to him! And she had to tell him about the false rumors circulating about them being lovers, and about switching teachers during the remainder of her detention for the sake of his reputation. These were crucial things to discuss!
But all those matters were thrown out of the metaphorical window when Sesshoumaru was looking at her in a way that turned her brain into radioactive goo.
Kagome didn't know when this strange dance had begun, when feelings had changed from brotherly to friendship to this, but she felt disinclined to stop it. A side of her that had yet to be set loose, that had always rebelled against the innocent girl she pretended to be, the untouched virginal woman who had foolishly been keeping her purity for the sake of a boy who she hated and loved and despised and adored, savored the sweet irony that she would finally get to fulfill all of it's pleasures under the strong tutelage of the boy's brother. Her most logical side, the one currently being trampled by the primal instincts of longing, argued that perhaps these feelings were nothing more than the desperate attempt to forget the pain of a lost love; but Kagome could not muster the energy to care and shyly, coyly, she looked up at the man who looked so much like the boy she did not hate, and tried to communicate to him these feelings.
Sesshoumaru's arm extended towards her, and Kagome thought he would reach for her, cup her face, make her forget her sadness and worries and everything. She didn't know exactly what she wanted, what she expected to happen, but she wanted it to be with him and here and now.
Sessshoumaru's thoughts were in turmoil.
He could have her now. He knew it. She was vulnerable and sad and needy, her soft breath brushing his face and undoing his resolve. He could have her, and take away the sorrow that his idiotic brother had caused and she wouldn't hate him for it, would embrace it even. All he had to do was close the gap. Take that one final step towards perdition.
And he wanted her. Oh, Sesshoumaru could lie to himself no further as he drank in her wet form, how the fabric clung to her pale, glowing limbs; how her lips, pink and soft and plump, parted with each labored breath. His eyes devoured the way her hair, damp and silky black, framed the high planes of her cheeks, kissed the top of her eyes, blue and bright and impossibly big. Sesshoumaru yearned to reach forward and press his lips against hers, drink in her sighs and feel those delicate hands, the ones from the bike ride and his dreams, fumble innocently across his naked body, until he wasn't sure where her skin began and his ended.
But more than anything, Sesshoumaru wanted her. Her laughter and tears, her dreams and aspirations, failures and miseries – he wanted all of it. That which his brother had so callously taken for granted and he had watched and cherished from afar. Sesshoumaru wanted her more than anybody he had ever dared to want.
And it was so wrong. He couldn't have her, was not supposed to covet her, and worse yet he didn't even want to want her. It was Sesshoumaru's own damn fault too, seeing as he knew the desire was there all along, but rather than pruning the bud from the start he had, masochistically, tended to the flower of temptation like a dutiful gardener, and then wondered at the thorns piercing his gloved hands as he tried to embrace the forbidden rose.
And there was temptation in the desire, in the forbidden, more than he would like to admit.
Sesshoumaru teetered dangerously on the lip of a precipice and, hysterically, wondered how it was that he had come to that moment.
Beside him, Kagome's hands on his neck twitched and then, very tremulously, spread outwards, releasing the worried buttons and laying claim upon the vast expanse on his chest. Sesshoumaru felt himself shudder, the terrible ache in his skin echoing loudly along the incarcerated bones of his body and tumbling down his spine; and he itched to grab her hands, her delicate fire-starters, and guide them across his flesh to the places that had frozen over time with sorrow and loneliness and the weight of the world on shoulders much too young.
Sesshoumaru swallowed, hard, and closed his eyes.
How he could even entertain such fantasies showed that he truly was insane, because even the mere notion of strengthening whatever strange feelings were flowing between them was out of the question.
She was a student.
He was a teacher.
Teachers could not want students.
Well...his mind supplied slyly as his mind's eye devoured the sight of the raven before him, her pink lips pushed upwards in a pout, ...she won't be your student forever.
That was true, he agreed to himself, opening his eyes once more to the sight of Kagome, leaning closer, biting the tender mound of flesh between her perfectly straight teeth, invitingly.
His wish was a double-edged sword though...
True, Kagome was nearly out of her girlish youth but her passage to womanhood also meant something else - she would be leaving soon. In a few months' time, Kagome would be graduating and either go to college here in Tokyo or perhaps out of the city, but Sesshoumaru was certain of one thing; she would most likely never return to him afterwards. Sure, perhaps he would get the occasional social media message from her sending a thoughtful Kagome-esque greeting; he would most likely see her on holiday gatherings when she would come home from university, since Mrs. Higurashi would always make a note to invite him and his brother to any festivities, and they would exchange pleasantries and humorous anecdotes along the lines of "Do you remember when", and so on and so forth. Yes, maybe someday far off in the unpredictable future they may or may not meet again. But here, in the present, their time was running out, and Sesshoumaru could feel the desperation pressing against his heart, filling his lungs with the poisonous smoke of withheld wishes, restricting his airway and very slowly choking him to death with regret.
Was he truly so cowardly as to hide behind the excuse of his role to let the one creature he cared for leave?
Was he truly so villainous as to corrupt a child with his own desires?
Sesshoumaru looked into her eyes, into the widened, velvety darkness of her dilated pupils, and saw his own struggling reflection.
He wanted her, yes. Wanted her enough to bleed.
Sesshoumaru grit his teeth.
But wanting was not, could not, be the same as having.
Cursing under his breath, he leaned across the girl and grabbed the handle of her door, pushing it outward. Upon opening it, the sound of rain amplified, a cool wind drafting inside and clearing his mind as effectively as a cold shower; the spell broke as reality reasserted itself around them and into their confined world.
Kagome deflated, the tension in her nerves buzzing like she had run a marathon, and Kagome was left with the most peculiar sensation that she had been cheated.
"Goodnight, Higurashi." Sesshoumaru said tersely as he leaned back into his own space. Had Kagome imagined the strange pressure that had been bearing down on them? Had she somehow blacked out for a second and dreamed up the intensity of his gaze, the desire in her own body? Still reeling from the strange experience, Kagome nodded and mumbled her own farewell. Clumsily, she got out of the vehicle.
As she was ready to close the door, Sesshoumaru suddenly reached out and caught her smaller hand in his larger one. Kagome's eyes widened. Looking back into the car, she saw that Sesshoumaru seemed just as surprised of his actions as she did. He recovered quicker than she did though, and Kagome strained to hear him over the rain.
"You are nobody's substitute, Kagome. Never forget that." He reminded her, and Kagome remembered the previous conversation when he had found her walking aimlessly in the rain. It seemed like forever ago now. "Not to me, at least." His hand squeezed her own gently, as if trying to convey something of importance to the girl.
And just as suddenly, he let go, and Kagome's hand felt small and cold and empty-
Sesshoumaru closed the door, and drove off into the night. Kagome stood there in the rain, on her front porch, and watched him go until his car disappeared.
She raised a hand, the one he had held, the one that had touched his chest and felt his heart beating wildly beneath her fingers, and brought it to her face for inspection. It was shaking and for the life of her Kagome could not decipher why.
AN: Ahhh, sweet agony. Was it good? Are you guys enjoying the pace? I've got a couple more chapters to go before we finally reach fruition for this story! Hang in there!
Also, some R&R would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I have lost my way with this fic, and while I do have some more chapters written out, the continuity feels feeble at best. It'd be nice to have a beta or editor, now I understand the struggles of real writers jaja.