Disclaimer: Inuyasha belongs to Takahashi
Rumiko et al., not me. I just borrow them to have some fun.
A/N: This is the first fic I've decided to publish. It's been long finished, but since has decided to ditch review responses, I decided to re-vamp the story a bit, spelling and grammar-wise. Enjoy!
Chapter I - Moonlight
This was the time of day I liked best. The wind whispering to me, softly caressing my face. The sun had gone to sleep some time ago, everything around me devoid of colour, but still visible to my eyes. The young night never failed to soften my mood. Indeed, this was the time of day I liked best - and still do.
The little girl, my charge, and my servant Jaken back at the castle, I was sitting quietly in the crown of the Goshinboku tree. The same tree my half brother had been pinned to for fifty years, hibernating and waiting in his sleep for... her. Again, I took the beautiful thing I held in my hand - a necklace of white gold, so fine it was almost invisible - and admired its gleam in the pale moonlight. My fingers held it firm and pulled apart, but the necklace would not give. It was made so the most powerful beings could not undo it.
A small noise coming closer was the only warning I had of her coming. Soon she was there, directly under the tree, panting somewhat under the weight of her huge yellow backpack. The gods only knew what she carried inside that made it so heavy. She looked back the way she came, listened for a while, then took up the yellow monstrosity and proceeded to the well, her gaze on the wooden frame with a look of longing. When she was almost on the well, I decided it was time to make my presence known.
When I appeared in front of her, faster than her human eyes could follow, she gasped with surprise, but then quickly settled, and bowed to me. Since the day she got to know Rin, my charge, somehow she appeared to have decided I was not a danger to human girls. About this, we will see. From that moment on, she also gave me the proper respect that was owed to the Lord of Western Lands.
"Good evening, Lord Sesshoumaru", she said quietly. Her eyes darted to the well and back again; as if she did not want me to know of the interest she had in that dried-up hole in the ground. She dropped her bag to the ground where it landed with a soft thud.
"Good evening, Kagome", I said. I had stopped calling her 'wench' or 'miko' a long time ago.
Silence followed. She did not look up to look me in the eyes; rather she looked everywhere else, her senses still directed to the village she came from. I guess she was trying to hear if Inuyasha was coming after her.
"I have not seen you for quite a while, Kagome", I said. She nodded. "I had to learn for exams, Lord Sesshoumaru."
I did not know what these 'exams' were, and did not wish to pursue this topic further, but she went on.
"I am thinking of attending college - but it will be very hard with the shard hunting. College is quite expensive where I come from. At least I have graduated from high school with somewhat acceptable results." she continued, as if talking to herself.
"Where were you heading to, at this time of night? Does not my half brother need you to find the shards for him?"
She sighed. "Well, since Naraku is dead, and with only a couple of shards left to collect, I thought I might as well… go home for a while" She turned her head now to cast a look behind her. "Your brother has another shard detector on his hands now, you see."
She must have seen my raised eyebrows, because she continued: "I was thinking about it. In the last time I have found my feelings for Inuyasha somewhat… lacking in passion." She brought her fingers to her lips and suddenly said: "I must be boring you, Lord Sesshoumaru, please forgive me. I must be on my way, anyway. If you will excuse me?" She bowed again and made an attempt to pick up her heavy bag again. I brought my clawed hand to her arm to stop her from leaving.
"I wish to hear of it", I said. She gave me a look of disbelief, but followed as I gestured for her to sit on the wooden well frame. She obeyed and crossed her arms before her chest, as in defence.
"Kikyo joined us after Naraku was dead. She also softened somewhat." Kagome looked at the stars above and seemed to concentrate on a single one. "I agreed to give her a larger part of my soul. She knows her body won't hold much longer anyway."
"You gave her another part of your soul after she tried to harm you so many times?" My voice must have sounded harsh, because she looked at me with large eyes, biting her lips.
"It is only temporarily," she said, as if in defence of her selfless deed. "Kikyo knows her time on earth is coming to an end. She will be dead by the end of this year." Her look wandered to the village path again. "Can you hear something coming this way, Lord Sesshoumaru?" she inquired.
"He is sleeping in his tree", I said. Nothing was to be heard of my overly loud half brother.
She sighed. "So, well, she stayed with us. I thought it would be hard, but I agreed to it, knowing it would make her happy to meet her end close to her loved ones - her sister lives in that village also, you know"
"I know the old miko, Kaede", I said.
"But I don't feel anything" Kagome was whispering now so even I had to listen hard to hear her. "I even caught myself being happy for the two of them." Now she was fidgeting with the small jar of jewel shards she had hanging from her neck by a leather band. "I think I miss loving Inuyasha more than I actually miss him when he is not by my side." She smiled softly. "He is very disturbed by this, I guess, but my feelings have dried up. Why am I telling you this?" she sniffed. At once her eyes were wet, gleaming in the moonlight, not unlike the necklace I still held in my sleeve.
"Because I was curious", I said.
"You always watch and want to know about anything and everything, Lord Sesshoumaru. I guess it is one of the sources of your power"
"One of them, yes"
"Some people would accuse you of being plain nosy" Kagome raised her brows, delicately painted on her pale skin. I held up the necklace to her, and she looked at it, curiously, but without longing other people would show for such a beautiful piece.
"What of it?" she said, mildly interested.
"I want you to put it on", I said with as much indifference in my voice as I could muster.
I stayed quiet for a moment. Then I said, looking into her eyes:
"Because I wish it so." I could see fear in her eyes, and curiosity, and a small hint of tears from before. My will beckoned her closer to me, to my hand, holding out the necklace. Dreamlike, she stood on her feet before me and lifted her hair for me to put the necklace around her pale neck. I could see her jugular vein beating under her pale moonlit skin, and a small hint of red tinting her cheeks, before I fastened the chain and let it rest on her skin. The seal was in place, the unbreakable chain just there where I wanted it to be.
Kagome's eyes, black in the dark of night, cleared abruptly. She fingered the necklace with uncertain fingers, and then looked at me.
"It is very beautiful, Lord Sesshoumaru", she said. "But what do I do with it?"
My head went down until my lips were the same height as the fragile shell of her ear, the claw of my forefinger stoking the stubborn chin to lift her head and make her pay attention - and pay attention well.
"Now that you carry my necklace, you will do as I wish." I paused; to make sure she had heard me and understood what I was saying. Then I continued: "Pet"
Her eyes widened, eyebrows almost touched her hair, her jaw almost fell to the ground. "What did you just say?"
She could not read anything in my face but uttermost seriousness - she knew I was serious. I did not say anything else.
"But - why?"
"Because this Sesshoumaru wishes it so", I said. "Come, let us go before my brother decides that he has let you stroll around on your own long enough."
She took up her yellow backpack in a gesture of obedience, but then cast me a look of malice I had not expected to see on her face, rather on that of the other girl, the one my half brother had fallen for long time ago. Still leaning on the well frame, she let her weight pull her backwards, into the dried-up well, and before I could grab her and hold her, Kagome was falling, deep into the darkness.