It was the stupidest thing he had ever agreed to do, and that was saying quite a bit, all things considered.
At the age of six his stepmother had died and he'd been given the choice of staying with his father and new baby brother, or going to live with his dead mother's parents. He had chosen to stay. Four years later he'd been asked if attending the same primary school as his new sibling would be problematic or should the whelp attend another local school. He'd remained indifferent and had attended school with the boy up until last year.
But it hadn't even been three hours since his father was called into the city on an emergency board meeting and SesshouMaru had told him not to bother calling a sitter. He'd watch over the brat and a few of his closer friends. No problem, he thought, easy as pie.
From across the closet he heard her sigh and shift positions. "How much longer until your father gets home?"
SesshouMaru gave her a lopsided smile, though in the darkened space she wouldn't have seen. "He didn't say."
Kagome Higurashi had known his brother since their first day of school together, and granted that alone would normally make her one of the last people he'd associate with, but this whole situation was a far exception to the norm. And so was she.
InuYasha, his younger brother, was turning sixteen today, an amazing feat in and of itself in SesshouMaru's mind. How the runt had managed to survive was beyond the scope of even his vast imagination. Nonetheless, their father had granted the one thing InuYasha seemed to want more than anything; an unsupervised party with girls.
SesshouMaru doubted that the with girls' part was really InuYasha's idea - more like Miroku's, InuYasha's sometimes perverse best friend – but the end result was the same.
Well, not necessarily true, he thought. He'd never dreamed there'd be two females interested in his brother, that they'd constantly vie for favor in his eyes, or that he'd end up in the middle of the tug-o-war that had evolved. Kikyou, Kagome's older cousin and near twin, was the other girl involved, and was the one responsible for the position he currently found himself in. The older girl had apparently proposed to the group of maybe 10 teenagers that they get some flashlights and tell ghost stories.
Good idea, SesshouMaru intoned to himself, especially if you're simple-minded and boring.
So she and Kagome had gone to get flashlights while the rest of the group presumably prepared themselves. He'd found them searching the walk-in entry closet when he'd come down for to check on them all. Actually, SesshouMaru had found Kagome rooting through stuff while her cousin acted as supervisor. Kikyou had been adamant that InuYasha mentioned flashlights in the closet and asked SesshouMaru if he'd help them look.
Looking back he realized that Kikyou had probably been giggling with joy over the luck of being able to capture her competition and the only other person in the house together so they were out of the way. While he'd rummaged behind coats and in the deep corners with Kagome, grumbling about the incompetence of children, the calculating witch had been playing the with door lock. Without warning she'd shoved them both headfirst into the space, closed the door that now locked them in, flipped the outside switch to turn off the light, and calmly walked away.
He had already decided how to get Kikyou back, and he'd get InuYasha too because no doubt the pup would have a good old time making fun of SesshouMaru, and Kagome well, she was innocent like him and she'd receive her share of the humiliation from this incident too. He'd make them pay for that most.
He'd been sitting there without a word for almost two hours and Kagome couldn't help but wonder what was running through his head.
InuYasha's older brother had cursed Kikyou and everyone downstairs for about fifteen minutes while he'd fiddled with the closet door. When that had proved unproductive SesshouMaru had used his shoulder and what momentum he could swing in the small space to try to force the door open. It was solid oak with faux stressed steel hinges and handle mechanisms, she'd doubted ten full-grown men could do what SesshouMaru was hoping to accomplish.
They hadn't bothered yelling for anyone; it would be a waste. InuYasha and the rest were in a completely separate wing of the house, so no one would hear. Kagome knew they even had the mini-kitchen over there, making their only hope for freedom when Taiyouka-sama returned. Plus, Kikyou had lied there were absolutely no flashlights in the closet.
She sighed and shifted to a more comfortable position. The silence was the biggest problem. Almost no sound was making its way into the closet, and in the dark, with only their breathing to keep them company, Kagome was slowly going crazy. Maybe SesshouMaru would be more open to conversation that had nothing to do with their current situation.
She cleared her throat and quickly inventoried what she knew of the young man sitting across from her. When the answer became little, except that he was her childhood friend's older brother and that he had begun attending university this past fall, she decided to start there.
"So, how is university?"
She waited for him to continue then realized that was all the response she'd get to that question. Ok, maybe something a little more involved, she thought. "Are your classes interesting?"
Kagome wondered if she was doomed to remain in the silence when he didn't even draw breath to speak. Was it so awful to talk to her? What had she ever done to him anyway?
SesshouMaru was brought out of his musings over the wonderfully terrible things he'd do to make this up to InuYasha and Kikyou when Kagome had asked her first question. He'd heard her, understood her, but couldn't for the life of him figure out why she cared. She'd never directed attention his way before.
"Well," she asked somewhat petulantly. He smirked at her cheek and roused himself for the game.
"At times," he responded his tone of voice meant to get under the skin and ignite anger. SesshouMaru could practically hear her temper rise and imagined how it would affect her natural beauty. Had the light been on she would have easily seen the amusement that lit his eyes.
He was doing it on purpose and that made Kagome even madder. She, unlike her cousin, had always preferred the direct and open approach and now would be no different. "Are you this curt and condescending to everyone you talk to?"
He raised a brow then realized she couldn't see it in the darkness. "I speak with respect to those that warrant it."
"And that excludes me?" She waited a flustered heartbeat, giving him a chance to say something, then asked why.
With a slight sigh, SesshouMaru stood. He never showed emotion or any type of reaction normally, but there was too many of his own personal feelings invested in this, boiling under the surface for half a decade now, for him to remain passive and indifferent. It was time she knew.
"Because, my dear, you are the reason I am here."
Exasperated and struggling to put them on more even footing, Kagome also stood. She was a head shorter than him but not so petite that she couldn't get in his face if necessary. Right now it was necessary.
Kami help him she smelt good. SesshouMaru knew his limits and when she'd come to the door earlier that evening, he'd just about lost it. She'd greeted his father and himself, then after waiting for her cousin to finish hanging on InuYasha, Kagome had hugged the brat also. His Kagome in the arms of another and it wasn't the first time. Even remembering it brought on rage, and not just directed at his brother; he was also angry with her for not noticing.
"Yes, you. If you and your cousin would just get over the fact that InuYasha is not in your league, then things like this wouldn't happen."
Did he just say InuYasha was out of her league? Like it mattered, his brother was her friend and even if he weren't, she'd never go after him. Kagome was well aware of her cousin's feelings.
"Are you delusional? InuYasha and I are just friends!"
He wished there were at least a little light in the closet so he could see her face and determine if she actually believed herself. If they were only involved in a platonic relationship then why was he standing in a closet with her? Furthermore, if she wasn't interested in InuYasha romantically then why had all the hints he'd dropped in her direction over the last two years been ignored? SesshouMaru had done everything except straight out ask her on a date.
"Hardly! You and Kikyou fawn and prance around him all the time. It's disgusting and shows low class."
Where did he get off accusing her and her cousin of such a thing? Kikyou was understandable; she did seem to go to extremes, especially while in the presence of others, to make her intentions towards InuYasha known but her? Kagome could only think of one emotion that would prompt such an accusation: envy.
"How would you know? You've been at the High School for four years and now, when we're all freshmen, you're at university! Do you have psychic powers that you see this or are you just jealous and making it up?"
His whole mind went deadly calm and the rage he'd held since seeing her at the door earlier that evening multiplied tenfold. In the darkened closet he resumed an expression of cold indifference, his voice toning to matching the façade. SesshouMaru was pushed beyond contemplation and let the first defense in his mind come out of his mouth.
"Jealousy is hardly an issue here. If I wanted a slut there'd be no reason to steal my brother's."
Kagome gasped. His words felt like a knife plunging into her chest in the general vicinity of her heart. Leaning back against the wall, she lowered her head in a dejected manner, silent tears beginning to run down her cheeks.
She'd never associated much with him, but somewhere, deep inside her, Kagome had always wondered if SesshouMaru looked at her and considered. She wasn't dumb and she wasn't blind. He looked at her sometimes as a child would one of those huge lollipops, with want. But she had apparently been wrong. Maybe it was pity she saw, pity for his brother to have to endure two silly girls hanging around him all the time.
"I didn't mean you," he said in a softer tone. Kagome remained silent and the twist in his gut made another turn. SesshouMaru pulled a shaking hand through his hair and searched for the words to diffuse the heated conversation and make repairs to the insult he'd just delivered to her.
She would have returned to her place on the floor, when he stepped closer. SesshouMaru braced one arm against the wall and leaned close. She smelt so good he wanted to gather her close, to taste her, and to tell her everything.
He inhaled deeply, his face very near hers, causing goose bumps to spring up along her arms. "What are you doing," she asked in voice made shaky from the intimate nature of their position.
"Apologizing," he whispered. She shivered slightly and he wanted to touch her, to take away the pain he'd caused. "I don't mean you, Kagome. I'd never think that of you." SesshouMaru grasped her hand gently, brushing his thumb over her knuckles and soft skin. "You're the one," he paused, unsure how she'd take his confession. He loved her but didn't want to scare her with the admission. Better to stick to safer topics.
"Kagome, you're right. I am jealous"
It was a cover-up, she thought. She was certain that there was something else he was about to tell her, but had changed his mind at the last possible second. Was she right that SesshouMaru was more interested in her than as just another annoying friend of his brother's? Perhaps it had been something she'd said that caused him to be so cruel? Maybe it was this jealousy, and the possibility that she was mocking him for it that had fueled their anger just a few moments ago.
The silence descended on SesshouMaru thick as fog and just as disorientating. He redoubled his efforts, thinking back on the questions that she had asked him earlier to see if he might derive a second chance to draw her out, to discover what she thought of him.
"My university classes are good," he said with a little too much enthusiasm added to his voice. Tone it down and be more casual, he thought. "Some of them might even be worth attending if the professors would just put more effort into their presentation."
Darkness hid her look of disbelief. Was he rambling? The circles he was massaging into her hand were getting progressively less circular and more linear. Kagome smiled at the thought that SesshouMaru, cool, collected, oh-so suave older brother to her best friend, was nervous to flirt with her.
"I don't talk to many people there, well, no, that's a half-ism" Half-ism! Kami help him he was babbling like a three-year-old, making up words and going on and on with no point at all. Shut your trap, fool, he thought to himself in a not so nice way.
Kagome felt him stiffen a little and stand up straight. He was embarrassed now; ready to pull back into himself and the less risky silence they had shared for over two hours. If she ever wanted to know what he felt towards her, Kagome knew she'd have to speak up now or lose the chance forever.
SesshouMaru began to draw his hand off of hers until she tightened her grasp slightly, not allowing his fingers to completely escape the contact. "Half-ism?" she asked in a way that let him know to continue. Maybe, just maybehe thought.
Act like he's just paused to clear his throat, Kagome told herself as their fingers laced together. She almost sighed in relief when he began speaking again. "Yea, mostly I only give answers when spoken to directly, and when turning down dates."
Why would he do that her mind asked, not realizing she'd whispered the words out loud.
Did she know he found her spoken thought incredibly endearing and sexy? The answer had to be carefully phrased though: "The professors get angry when I ignore them," SesshouMaru said with a slight bit of sarcastic humor to his voice, satisfied when she jumped slightly in amazement.
She'd made a slight fool of herself but now at least they were talking. It took a moment before his answer sunk in. Smirking slightly she raised a brow at where his face would be were the light on. "I meant the dates, silly. Why do you turn them down?"
SesshouMaru smiled at the endearment. It was the first time he'd ever been called a name and not immediately sought revenge. "Because they're not you," he replied in a much more serious manner.
Anger, quick and resolute, filled Kagome. "Quit it, SesshouMaru."
It was one thing for him to be nice and flirtatious, but he didn't have to throw it in her face. Besides, she was a child to him, and why would he turn down college girls for her. "If I'm not in InuYasha's league how do you expect me to believe that you want me?" she asked with a snide tint to her voice. Kagome knew she was naïve to some of life's more complicated lessons, but she certainly wasn't stupid.
Such instant anger threw him off only a little. SesshouMaru grasped her hand tightly and crowded her against the wall. "Kagome you're in your own league," he said, the magnitude of the situation deepening his voice considerably. "Not mine and definitely not InuYasha's. He doesn't deserve you or your cousin." He paused and looked down, to where he knew their hands entwined.
In a lower, softer tone he added, "I don't deserve you"
And that's when her heart broke. Kagome felt the pull of his words and was privy to a gift of insight. Their argument and heated words were the result of repressed chemistry and mutual interest. SesshouMaru wanted her, he was jealous of the way his brother effortlessly associated with her, and was angry with himself for saying and doing things that pulled them farther apart.
Kagome believed him and in an instant knew what it was inside her that tingled whenever she caught him watching it was the beginnings of love.
"Thank you," Kagome said in a way SesshouMaru instantly found soothing.
He was caught slightly off guard when her free arm came around his waist and her head rested on his chest. The woman he'd wanted for close to six years, since the time she'd come to an age when dating was permissible, was hugging him in a way SesshouMaru had never seen her do before. She was holding him as a loved one.
The closeness and comfort he felt, as SesshouMaru embraced her back, was nothing like how he'd imagined it. They were a perfect fit, her height a compliment to his, and the way his Kagome smelled was making his head spin in joy. Kami, please let this last, he prayed and felt his plea was heard as Kagome's fingers grasped the back of his shirt lightly.
In her own mind, Kagome had never dreamed that a simple hug could be so intimate and generate so much warmth. She was ready to sink into him, losing her self in the strong circle of his arms. SesshouMaru rested his cheek slightly against her hair and Kagome sighed with happiness at the mental picture she had of them together.
Surprising how caring and understanding and all around nice he turned out to be, she thought. Nuzzling in him a bit, Kagome sighed, "and thank you for thinking so highly of Kikyou. I know she's a little unbalanced and "
"You've got it backwards, my dear," he interrupted softly. "I think very little of your cousin." The words had just left his mouth and SesshouMaru knew he should not have said them so bluntly.
"What's wrong with Kikyou," she asked, though not without her own answers to that question.
He coughed and tried to be gently honest. "You mean besides the fact she locked us both in a closet? Kagome, she doesn't give a damn about anyone but herself, not even my brother. She uses people the same way most of us use a toothbrush. Even InuYasha deserves better than that."
That was a high compliment of InuYasha, especially coming from SesshouMaru. She knew that in an instant, as well she knew that Kikyou was disturbed and strange. Her older cousin had always been a tad weird and not at all easy to understand. The best anyone could hope for was that she would find someway to settle down and stop believing the rest of the world was her enemy.
She sighed softly and didn't respond. SesshouMaru wondered what she was thinking and that if a light were present, would he have been able to read her expression. Without thinking he reached up and gently brushed the fingers over her face. They came away wet, though from her previous tears or fresh ones, he couldn't tell.
"I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you, but that's the truth as I see it."
He's right, she told herself, no point in dwelling on it or trying to change it.
Instead of responding, Kagome wiped the remaining dampness from her face. They were close in the closet, still partially embraced, and all it would take was another half step, a slight lean, maybe going tiptoeand then what? She licked her lips slightly and was about to take that step when they heard a door close. Taiyouka-sama was home.
"Should we make some noise or something," Kagome said in a whisper from no more than an inch in front of him.
SesshouMaru almost laughed but was able to tame the urge to a mild chuckle. "No, I think silence would be more prudent." He'd tasted her breath when she spoke and even now could feel the heat coming off her body, so close to his.
Curling the tips of his finger in slightly, SesshouMaru reached up and cupped her cheek. Kagome didn't move for a moment then turned her face slightly, into his grasp. No more encouragement was needed.
He nuzzled her temple softly, placing warm kisses along her hair-line to the ridge of her jaw, careful not to overstep the tentative bounds now set. SesshouMaru knew to be gentle and go slow, to give her plenty of attention and to not make a fuss if she drew back. Good things were always worth waiting for and to him, this moment alone was more than fair trade for the years he'd coveted her.
"Sesshou?" Kagome barely recognized her own voice it was so breathy and wispy.
Knowing was the only way to be prepared, she reasoned with herself, so best to ask and know then be caught by surprise. "Are you going to kiss me?"
A small smile, "yes."
"I don't know I mean this'll, you'll be my first." He felt the blush rise in her cheeks and excitement pulsed through his blood. Her first kiss. He was about to be the first man even to taste this amazing, innocent, beautiful woman. Kami help him, he might just have to thank her cousin.
He didn't answer and Kagome thought for a second that her confession had repulsed him. That second ended when he touched his lips lightly to hers. He didn't force anything, just simply and slowly used that firm, expressionless mouth to turn her knees to jelly and put the butterflies in her stomach on overdrive. She actually felt her body as it relaxed into his, and the strength of his arms when they held her to him - Kami save me, Kagome thought as she actually felt her heart skip a beat. SesshouMaru was a god of kissing.
Carefully, he deepened his hold and added a touch more to their embrace. SesshouMaru opened his own mouth a little and drew her bottom lip in to smooth over with the tip of his tongue. Her hands tightened briefly before Kagome followed his lead and tasted SesshouMaru in the same manner he'd done her, sliding her hands up to encircle his shoulders and neck. He shivered in her arms and she smiled, opening her mouth to him completely and having her first real taste of womanhood.
Behind them, SesshouMaru heard the door latch catch, as though someone on the outside was used to it opening easily. But it stuck, and so he hoped would it remain at least for a few more moments.
"What the devil," Taiyouka-sama mumbled, trying in vain to work the lock. The blasted wrought iron was only supposed to look authentic, not act it.
Checking the lock mechanism again, he noticed the area around the keyhole glistened, as though wet. Someone had obviously tampered with it, but to what end? In all his life the only reason people messed with things was when they were hiding something. So what had been stashed in his front hall closet?
More curious than angry, Taiyouka-sama grasped the handle firmly and forced the lock. It held for a moment then snapped and released the internal tumbler. The door opened silently on well-oiled hinges.
He'd expected the closet to be empty, cleaned out to make room for espionage equipment or satellite upload monitors. Maybe even a living, breathing spy manning listening and surveillance devices. 'Twas possible and not totally beyond the realm of what one of his company's competitors might do.
At first he was speechless. It was the most peculiar of feelings, a complete emptiness of mind and a numbing of fingertips, not something he had ever experienced more than a half dozen times in his life. Seducing women in a closet was something he might expect of InuYasha, but certainly not SesshouMaru. His older son always seemed more the 'wine and dine' type.
"Ah, excuse me, son," he intoned in a somewhat emotionless voice. The couple jumped, or rather the young lady jumped and moved back so he had a clearer view of her face. It took very little for him to recognize Kagome.
For the second time in as many minutes, Taiyouka-sama was at a loss for words. This time, however there was more to his feeling. It was one thing for SesshouMaru to hold intimate trysts with women in the hall closet, but something totally different for him to mess around with one of InuYasha's closest friends. A friend that Taiyouka-sama liked, and hoped his younger son would someday make a member of their family.
Leveling a look on his oldest that said more than words, he reached in and grabbed a hanger for his coat. "Care to explain this, SesshouMaru?"
Kagome blushed and ducked her head, while Taiyouka-sama noticed his son's arm tightened around her fractionally.
"We became locked in while searching for flashlights," SesshouMaru said, as though that explained it all.
Taiyouka-sama raised a brow at the young man's brave response then sighed, not at all interested in having a staring contest with his oldest. The boy had always been a bit full of himself and it was just too late at night, after too stressful a day, to go a round with SesshouMaru. Still though, he couldn't let Kagome be used if that was what SesshouMaru was up to.
Stepping back he motioned for the couple to exit the closet. Kagome, he noticed, made to move down the hall, back towards where the party was being held, but SesshouMaru stopped her, grasping her arm lightly. Maybe they had just been fooling around to waste time, though Taiyouka-sama highly doubted it.
SesshouMaru was nothing, if not a serious individual. He'd never brought home girls, or even had a girlfriend to best of his father's recollection. The young college student would probably not go to the effort of gaining Kagome's trust just to have a fling in the closet. Taiyouka-sama hoped for Kagome's sake that SesshouMaru meant business of the more long-term nature, because in his eyes the poor girl was too delicate to be let down so carelessly.
"Come, we will talk about this in the kitchen," Taiyouka-sama said, indicating the near adjoining room. Again, Kagome looked like she wanted to head back to her friends, but SesshouMaru kept hold of the young lady's arm. They all turned away from the closet and headed towards the kitchen when InuYasha came down the hall. He was followed closely by Kikyou, with Miroku and Sango trailing a bit behind.
"Hey, Dad! Did you get a chance to stop on your way back," he asked, taking little notice of his brother until he saw Kagome with them. "Oh, hey Kagome. I thought you went home with a stomach ache?"
SesshouMaru's gaze automatically went to Kikyou, but she was focused on her cousin, a less than nice look frosting her gaze.
"Well, see, I was feeling badly," Kagome lied, her eyes suddenly finding the floor intensely interesting. "And I was getting ready to leave, but"
"But you're a bad liar," Sango finished for her. Beside her Miroku also wore an expression that said he wasn't buying the 'feeling ill' bit. Everyone's eyes focused on Kikyou, who shrugged casually.
"That's what she told me," she said, still looking at her cousin.
"Really?" SesshouMaru stepped between the two cousins, forcing Kikyou to look him in the eye. He smirked to himself and continued in a condescending manner, "Was that before or after you lured us into the closet and lock us in?"
Kikyou blushed with hot anger, Sango gasped in outrage, Miroku and InuYasha shared a look that said they really didn't see what the big deal was before heading off towards the kitchen, and Taiyouka-sama laughed.
"Oh, the joys of teenagers," he mumbled, understanding now how his son had come to be in the closet but still not overly clear on how he'd convinced Kagome to, for all appearance's sake, become his girlfriend.
Still flustered and mad at being lied to, Sango glared at Kikyou. "Kami help you, Kikyou! Why on Earth would you lock them in a closet?"
Again the girl shrugged, shooting SesshouMaru a gaze that promised retribution. "Kagome knew I wanted time alone with InuYasha." Turning to her cousin, she put on her best 'I'm sorry face' and asked in the sweetest voice she knew for forgiveness.
"That's stupid," InuYasha said, returning from the kitchen with three jumbo bags of chips. "I mean, why would you want to spend time alone with me when there's like ten people here for the party?"
"Because she likes you, Baka," Sango scoffed. Again Kikyou flushed to her toes in anger, and added Sango's name to her ever-growing list of people to repay. It was turning out to not be her night.
InuYasha, shocked and silent, looked from Kikyou to Kagome. Had this happened because of him? For Kami's sake, women were strange!
Taiyouka-sama, highly entertained by the mini-drama being played out in his entrance foyer, cleared his throat and recapped briefly, hoping the younger people would realize how ridiculous the whole situation was. "So, because Kikyou likes InuYasha, she lured Kagome into the closet and managed to trap SesshouMaru there too." Sango was the only one to give an affirmative nod. "So, InuYasha. What do you have to say to the young lady that went to such lengths for 'time alone' with you?"
InuYasha actually blushed and looked t Kikyou, stuttering slightly. "Well, umm, you see, Kikyou. I like you and all, you're really cool to hang out with and those cookies you make me are awesome, but I, umm, kind of don't really like you that way."
"Is that because of Kagome," Taiyouka-sama asked, catching the way SesshouMaru stiffened at the question.
"Kagome?" He looked over to her, still not noticing how his older brother stood near her in a protective manner. "Well, no, why would it be because of Kagome? I mean, she's cool too, but as a friend. Same a Kikyou."
Sango was shaking her head. "Why did you invite us to spend the night then," she asked, incredulous to his oblivion to the situation his party had caused.
"Oh, that! It was more Miroku's idea than mine." InuYasha said. Upon hearing his name, said person returned to the room and conversation.
"What? What?" He bounded back to the group, a bowl of guacamole in one hand, a bowl of ranch-onion dip in the other. "Did I hear my name?"
"You lech," Sango said and took one of the bowls from him so he had a free hand rub the bump she next delivered to the back of his head. "Your bright idea caused Kagome to spend most of the evening in a closet."
"Well, at least she had SesshouMaru to keep her company," he replied, smoothing down his hair in back where she'd smacked him. "How do you know they didn't hit it off, I mean he's been holding her hand this whole time."
Briefly, the closet couple was the center of attention before Sango sighed and turned to head back to the party. Kikyou's only reaction was to glare at InuYasha, he had made her look the fool after all and for quite some time what with all the hanging-on she did, then turned with a non-committal 'whatever' and follow the other two back towards the party.
Taiyouka-sama regarded his children, so different and yet similar too. He noticed InuYasha shrug, say a quick 'thanks' for the food, and turn to follow his friends. "Hey, InuYasha." The boy turned and Taiyouka-sama continued. "Does it bother you that your brother wants to date Kagome?"
His gaze shifted to the two, to their joined hands, then back to his father. "Nope. Actually I think it's about time. I mean, he's been screwing up his courage to ask her out long enough; just lucky some one else didn't take her first." And with that, he left.
It was the smartest thing he'd ever done.
After spending a few more minutes talking to his father, Kagome had come up to the second story TV room and together they'd selected and watched a movie. Well, watched most of a movie, he corrected himself. The rest of the time was spent getting to know one another better, in several different ways.
Now curled comfortably with her on the oversized couch, SesshouMaru reflected on the evening. Such a strange and ironic series of events, none of which he ever would have believed could lead to his current situation, but who was he to criticize Kami's ways.
Kagome yawned wide and looked up at him. She smiled in a way he could only call seductive and propped herself up above him. Dark hair cascaded around them creating a curtain, their own private world. Looking up into her eyes, into the feeling he'd always dreamed of seeing there, SesshouMaru forgot his earlier decision to keep it light.
"I love you," he said, expecting her in the next instant to call him a liar and leave.
Her smile faded a little, but what it lost in intensity her expression gained. "I love you too, SesshouMaru," she said at last, then leaned down and kissed him.
Pure euphoria was the only way to describe how he felt. SesshouMaru wrapped his arms tight around her, promising himself over and over he'd treat her right, keep her safe, and adore her always. Outside the skies were beginning to lighten when they finished appreciating one another and the confessions they'd just made.
Kagome snuggled next to him, her hand tracing intricate patterns along his thigh. "So," she said, turning to look at him. "When did you decide to tell me?"
Morning light kissed the side of her face and SesshouMaru reached up, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "Tell you what?"
"How you feel." She paused and bit her bottom lip slightly. "Last night it seemed you might have been about to but didn't. I was wondering when you changed your mind."
He smiled at her, kissed her suddenly and deeply, then settled farther into the couch. "Let just say, while you were sleeping."
Kagome laughed and hugged him. They'd had very little sleep, were the truth to be known