Notes: The first three chapters where short because they were introductory chapters. The ones from here on out should progressively be a little longer as background information and major action starts to take place and much more with the memories. Whew that sounded like legal spew. Anyway, enjoy!
Chapter the Fourth
Half a year prior…
Kagome had been struggling to keep up with the youkai and the toad for half a day and was about at the end of her tether. She was about to say so when a small hut surrounded by forest came into view a few hundred yards away. She silently prayed to whichever deity was listening that that was their destination.
When Sesshoumaru led her to the hut and inside she decided to sing praises to said deity. Dropping her book bag and weapons from her shoulder, she realized that her glee was to be short lived when Sesshoumaru turned to her, his emotionless gaze leveling with her weary one.
"Rin is in that room," he motioned to the right where a doorway stood covered by a long piece of cloth. "You will stay with her until she is healed."
Kagome almost hated to ask. "And your arm?"
The look Sesshoumaru gave her was his normal poker face but something in his eyes made her nearly coil back physically. "I do not need the help of a human to heal." With that he turned, disappearing from the hut.
Kagome sighed, muttering something that sounded a lot like 'drama queen' then headed to the room on the right where the sleeping child lay. She pushed aside the fabric covering the door and stopped in her tracks at the sight. The once vibrant little girl now lay on her side, facing the door, her breath coming out in short gasps that sounded incredibly painful to Kagome. Moving forward, Kagome noticed that the girl's skin was pale and appeared clammy, immediately Kagome relaxed, a small smile playing on her lips. Again she thanked the deity looking over her for lightening her load.
She knelt down by the bed, her hand resting gently on Rin's forehead. The girl stirred at the touch, opening her eyes to find out who was touching her. Kagome leaned down so the girl wouldn't have to move to look at her.
"Rin? I'm Kagome, I'm here to heal you." At Kagome's soft words Rin smiled weakly.
"Rin knows," she said, her voice gruff with lack of use. "Thank you Kagome-sama."
Kagome smiled softly, her hand moving to smooth Rin's hair. "Get some sleep Rin, I'll take care of you." Rin attempted to nod and instantly fell back asleep. Kagome shook her head, silently wishing she could fall asleep that quickly and stood, heading out to find Sesshoumaru.
Once outside of the hut she called out for him, her voice soft so not to wake Rin. She knew he would hear her. A noise to her left caused her to spin in that direction; there was movement on the edge of the forest. She walked toward it, moving into the brush. Another twig snapped a yard away to her right and she spun again to look and was greeted by Sesshoumaru sitting on a rock, looking for all the world that he was born on it.
"Sesshoumaru…why are you out here?"
"Because I wish to be," was his chilly response.
"Why didn't you stay in the hut?"
"My reasons are my own. Tell me of Rin."
Kagome sighed, her hands automatically going for her hips. "She has a nasty bout of the flu. If you had waited any longer she might have died."
"Heal her." Kagome rolled her eyes at his emotionless response.
"I intend to. It won't be easy. I need herbs and food and blankets. I'll need somewhere to sleep because I can't work without decent sleep."
"Fine," he responded coolly, jumping from his rock to the nearest tree branch then further off into the forest. She watched as he disappeared, a frown on her brow.
"Sesshoumaru…do you ever think about the time we spent together?" Kagome asked softly as they made their way to Kaede's village.
He had to violently quell the surprise before she could see it. Why now? "What do you mean?"
She frowned and tilted her head to the side, slightly annoyed but not really at him. "I mean, I think about the time I spent with you and…some things are clear but others…well it's like it's right there, at the tip of my memory but I can't quite remember it. Then every now and then I have these flashes in my mind about you, they feel like memories but they don't really fit. Do you know what I mean?"
Sesshoumaru gave a slight shake of his head to signify his confusion so she continued on. "It feels like pieces, memories of our time together, are missing. Like there's something I'm trying to remember but I can't quite reach it." They paused in their trek to look at one another.
"What do you see?" He asked innocently enough but when she blushed prettily his confusion deepened.
"You. And me. Um…you know, just doing stuff I don't remember doing." She waved her hand in the air as if to wave it away. "Does that happen to you?"
He frowned slightly at her, the implications of her words not really registering to him. "I have never noticed."
Kagome frowned at that, her eyes settling on a point just past Sesshoumaru's shoulder. "The time we spent together did we…talk? Like have conversations about things other than Naraku or Inuyasha?"
"I-" Sesshoumaru started to deny it but realized he couldn't. "-do not know."
This startled Kagome out of her reverie to gaze up at Sesshoumaru. Did he just admit to not knowing something? Best not to call him on it.
"When did you notice this?" he asked after a moment's pause.
"Shortly after you arrived. I'd look at you and get those visions. Like seeing you triggered these reactions. I got certain feelings around you, confusing ones. Every now and then I'd get the urge to do something…odd."
"Like?" Sesshoumaru prompted. Kagome looked away, blush staining her cheeks again.
"Just-Gods! You're going to think I'm nuts or stupid or taking advantage of the situation."
"Kagome, tell me." He hooked a finger under her chin, pulling her chin up to look at him.
"When you saved me from falling into the water…I wanted to…" she paused again, her eyes wondering off to the side. "I wanted to wrap my arms around you to make sure you were real."
"Do you know why?"
Kagome cleared her throat delicately then answered in a small voice. "It felt like you…like I was afraid you'd never want to see me again. That everything we'd…shared meant nothing to you and seeing you there…it was like seeing that you thought I was worth it."
He could only stare at her as she finished her explanation, her eyes looking at everything but him. He started inwardly when she continued on.
"It's like we developed a friendship while I was with you but our memories of it had been erased. Or I just dreamt it. Either way, it's silly and I won't bring it up again." Kagome backed out of his grasp and promptly began her journey back to Kaede's village leaving Sesshoumaru to stare after her tense form before he moved to catch up. She seemed to not want to pursue the matter further so he would leave it alone…for now.
Kagome rapped lightly on the side of the hut near the door. When she heard Kaede's rough 'Enter', she hesitated, looking back at Sesshoumaru.
Sesshoumaru only offered a quiet, "Do it Kagome." Which she thought was no help at all and made a mental note to say so later.
She straightened her shoulders, took a deep breath then marched through the door, not caring if Sesshoumaru followed or not. She paused to look at everyone in the room, Miroku gave Kagome an odd look, Sango was more fixated on the youkai behind her, Shippou ducked behind the two, Kaede looked nonplussed and Inuyasha jumped up.
"What the hell?" he shouted. "What is he doing here?"
Kagome was seriously rethinking the need to have Sesshoumaru here. "Uh, Inuyasha, I told you he was coming."
"Yeah, but I didn't think he'd actually come! In fact I was hoping he wouldn't."
"Yes, well, you agreed. Besides we…uh…I have news." Kagome paused as they all turned eyes to her questioningly. It's when she decided she couldn't do it. "I lost a shard, I'm sorry!"
"What?" Inuyasha roared.
"It was an accident-"
"Kagome," Sesshoumaru warned. "Tell them or I will."
"Great! Feel free," Kagome responded, turning to run out of the door. When he grabbed her wrist she squeaked, making a mental note to remind him that she was just as fragile as other humans. Kagome turned back to the others, a deer-caught-in-headlights look on her face.
"Well, the thing is…the wedding's off!" She turned to run again but realized that Sesshoumaru still had a grip on her.
There was a pregnant pause before everyone started speaking at once. It took Kaede quite some time to get them to all settle down. Once everyone was calm Inuyasha narrowed his eyes at her.
"What do you mean the wedding's off?"
"Oh, come on Inuyasha, you don't want to be forced into a marriage anymore than I do. The decision we made was a hasty one and…well, I think it was the wrong one."
Inuyasha glared from her to Sesshoumaru then growled. "This is your doing isn't it?"
"Anyone could see that this idea is moronic at best. Kagome realized it as well I merely made her say it aloud," was Sesshoumaru's bored reply.
"So this is truly what you want?" Sango asked, ignoring the two brother's outburst. Kagome glanced at Inuyasha then nodded softly.
"I'm sorry, I know this complicates things now but…I can't, in good conscious, marry him. I'm sorry Inuyasha but I can't." She looked down, away from them all as they exchanged worried glances.
"What now Kagome-sama?" Miroku asked, trying to take the attention off of Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha.
Kagome frowned, glanced up at Sesshoumaru then back to everyone. "I don't know…we'll think of something. I promise."
She hoped anyway.
I is back! Yesterday I uploaded CAWM chapter 16 and today this story. It's about time ne? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!
A note on the title of this chapter "An Exposition", this is not me desperately grasping for ways to keep the An ...tion theme, it actually deals with the chapter. dictionary . com states that an exposition is the part ofa play that provides the background information needed to understand the characters and the action and/or and act or example of exposing. The memories and the part where Kagome tells Sesshoumaru about her 'feelings' is an act of exposing. Thank you and goodnight!
As always, disclaimer's in the first chapter.