A Completely Innocent Addiction
Just A Starving Writer

Disclaimer: nope, not mine.

Part 4: An encounter, a consideration, and a conclusion

Kagome was mad. Or perhaps the correct word was furious. Yes, furious fit her current mood perfectly.

Every night for the last week she had been stood up. She would have expected the action from the hanyou but not his brother. Never his brother. He had not once missed one of their nightly sessions over the past two odd months. And now a week had gone by and he was nowhere to be found. It was extremely tempting to just take off for the palace and demand an explanation.

In fact, she decided to do just that. Convincing her companions to head west was the easy part. Getting the hanyou to quit his complaining the closer they got was much more difficult.

Finally, she reached the palace without difficulties and was greeted pleasantly by the front guards. They informed her that their lord was not in residence, having been called away north for a conference.

"Why wasn't I informed?" she asked unable to hide the pain in her voice.

"Perhaps there simply was no time, my lady."

She shrugged and was quiet as she decided her options. Staying and waiting was not a choice, especially not with her friends in tow. Still, something seemed not right. It occurred to her that despite their difficulties, the lord and she were close enough for her to be informed of what was going on, particularly if it affected her.

Inquiring about the lord's present location only cemented the plan that was forming in her mind. He was currently residing at the palace of one of the past conference's delegates, someone she was on good terms with...and who had personally invited her to his home several times. She smiled wryly. It was time to take up his offer.

They stayed at the palace long enough for Kagome to say hello to some of the staff she had grown close to during her previous visits, and comfort Rin, who was bored and missed her lord. After promising that she would return soon to spend quality time with the child, the shard hunters once again departed, this time headed north to the great dismay of the hanyou who simply could not understand why finding his brother was so damned important.

Kagome ignored his loud protests and continued onward. The situation was troubling her greatly. Her emotions strayed from worry to anger and back to worry. Something was not right. She could only hope that upon arrival at the northern palace, she would find all well.

She pushed herself and her traveling companions hard and they reached the northern palace in record time. Deciding that perhaps speaking alone with the palace's owner was the best idea, she did just that, requesting an audience from the front guards. Thankfully, she was greeted warmly and after a short discussion, her and her friends were allowed entrance and accommodations. However, it was made clear that due to the conference, her friends would need to use care in addressing the visitors. No misunderstandings would be allowed.

The shard hunters decided to remain in their rooms, but Kagome had other business. Donning a borrowed outfit from the lady of the palace, she was led to the main room where the conference participants were taking tea. She hesitated before the entrance, hoping and praying that her surprise visit to her lordly friend would be taken well.

Her grand entry elicited many shocked gasps but everyone seemed to be pleasantly surprised. Scanning the room, she located the demon lord of her interest and found he was looking at her with something akin to astonished and relieved joy in his indifferent face. Instantly she forgot her anger and worry and her already wide smile stretched even farther. There wasn't a soul in the room who did not notice her telling action.

After personally greeting the others in the room, she made her way toward her unlikely comrade.

"Good evening, Sesshoumaru-sama. Imagine seeing you here," she said calmly, unable and unwilling to remove the goofy grin from her face.


"Why am I here? Simple. You neglected our appointments. Really, you should not shirk your responsibilities," she admonished.

He smirked and she welcomed the amused spark in his eyes.

"Quite the interesting creature you are," he allowed.

"Well, isn't that why I became your jester to begin with?"

The look in his eyes softened into something closer to tender curiosity.

"You should know I ceased to see you as a toy long ago."

Shocked was an understatement. After her surprise had worn down, an insanely bright smile lit her face.

"That's good to know. Still, you should know I will forever see it as my duty to entertain you."

By goodness if the stoic lord didn't grin at that declaration. Even after all her time as court jester, she had never once seen the demon more than smirk. It was beautiful really and stole the breath right from her body. So amazed was she that she failed to notice the audience they had acquired. He seemed to be ignorant of their spectators as well.

"You haven't been torturing your staff too much in my absence, have you?"

"No, they have not unduly suffered, though your absence is questionable. You fulfill your purpose just the same away from my palace."

"They haven't unduly suffered, eh? Well, I'll let that one pass considering none seemed to have any recent bruises when I checked on them. They eagerly await your return, especially your ward."

"You were at the palace?"

"Of course. I don't take being stood up lightly."

"You were not informed of my absence?" Somewhere in the west, a forgetful servant shivered in fear.

"Nope. Not until I arrived at your palace a few days ago."

"And you sought me here?"

"Hey, I know how moody you get without your amusements, especially at these things. I figured it was in everyone's best interest if I properly fulfilled my duty and sidetracked you from killing poor hapless servants."

"Is that so?"

"That, and I am completely addicted to you."

He grinned again and the room's inhabitants took a collective breath.

"That cannot be good." The amusement in his eyes spoke against the coldness in his voice.

"At least it's not as bad as the murder mystery. I'm not attacking anyone unjustly now."


"Hey! If I recall, you COMMAND me to attack you each night. It's not like I initiate the sessions, mister, even if I do happen to enjoy them. You've really put me out this last week."

"Fine. Come." He set toward the door, her following.

"But the others..."

"You forget, Miko, they are not my guests this time."

"Oh, right."

"Where are you staying?"

"East Wing with my friends."

"Your companions are present?"

"Yup. Your brother refused to let me go alone and where we go, the others go. Sorry."

"It will be dealt with."

She showed him her room and he motioned for her to enter.

"Dress quickly. I cannot allow your rash behavior to go unpunished." The sparkle in his eye completely dismissed the threat in his voice.

"I see. As you wish, my lord," she mocked as she closed the screen.

Grinning widely, she dressed in her usual fighting attire and, barefooted, joined the lord and they proceeded to the training room, stopping once at his borrowed quarters to drop off his armor, swords, and boots before continuing on.

Upon arriving at the room, they wasted no time and immediately began stretching. Without warning, Kagome sprang to tackle her opponent. He effortlessly blocked and took her to the ground.

"That was not commanded. That was all you, my pet."

"Yes," she acknowledged as she squirmed out of his hold and gained her feet. "But it wasn't unjust."

"Was it?"

"Nope. You were definitely asking for it."

"I see." He quickly pinned her against the wall.

"What do you expect, leaving me without a word for a week? You had to be punished," she explained as she unlocked herself from his arm as he had taught. However, he quickly caught her and she found herself against the wall once again.

"You have grown weak in my absence. Had I known what the result would be, I would have insisted you accompany me."

"Is that so?" she huffed while struggling to be released. His grip only tightened.

"Indeed, it is obvious you lack the ability to train without me."

"Oh, you jerk!" With that exclamation, she stamped as hard as she could on his bare foot and when his hold loosened, successfully removed herself from the position.

"That was unexpected."

"Isn't that why you keep me alive?" she asked while putting herself into a defensive position.


"Then why?" she asked curiously while blocking a hit.

He merely smirked and snuck past her defenses, hitting her not so lightly on the shoulder.

"Argh!" she yelled while giving up the traditional pose and opting for something slightly more informal. In short, she jumped him again. They both landed on the padded ground and soon enough she found herself back to the floor with a foot planted firmly beneath her ribs.

"Ugh," she sighed. "I hate this position."

"One would think you'd have grown accustomed to it by now."

"O shush and let me up."

He smirked and his amused eyes looked positively evil.


"What? Let me up now!"

"No. I prefer you where you are."

"You jerk!"

"Insults will get you nowhere."

"What WILL get me somewhere?"

"Say it." Her face immediately froze at this command.


"Say it and you will be freed."


"You prefer your current position?"

"To that? Yes."

"Such a strange creature."

"Still, I refuse."


"You don't think I remember what happened last time?"

"Was the punishment so difficult to endure?"


"Fool, I was lenient."

"I know that, but I still don't want to do it again."

"Really?" He pressed his foot harder onto her stomach. Her unease was obvious.

"Do you submit?"

"No," she grumbled while trying to ignore the pain. He only pushed harder.

"Do you submit?"

"Fine, fine!" she gasped. "I submit!"

He lessened his hold but did not release the girl.

"Say it correctly."

"All of it?" she asked in disbelief. He pressed her stomach again.

"Okay, okay, I submit to your wishes, my lord." He released her and watched with a pleased smirk as she rested, breathing deeply in exhaustion.

"What do you want this time?" she asked as she sat up. The lord looked at her pointedly.

"Fine, what is your wish, my lord?"

"Tend the foot you so unwisely attacked." For a brief moment she was confused until she peeked at his feet and noticed her stomp had been a bit harder than she had believed. A large bruise was forming on the pale flesh of the left foot. It was such a strange sight, she couldn't help but laugh.

"You find my discomfort amusing?" he asked with reproach.

"Why not?" she responded with happy tears brightening her eyes. "You find mine the same."

He only smirked.

"Fine, now do what you were bid."

She motioned for him to take a seat in front of her and he did so, extending the harmed foot out to her waiting hands. The miko rubbed her hands together quickly, using the friction to warm them up before starting on the foot. Being that it was but a mere bruise, there was not much more she could do than massage the flesh. She could only hope that would be enough to satisfy him.

"You know, I believe this is the first time I've ever harmed you," she stated while continuing her ministrations.

"Do not delude yourself, wench. I have not been 'harmed.' Besides, the stunt was dishonorable."

"Well pardon me for not knowing the rules."


She huffed in annoyance before an evil smirk played on her countenance. Stopping the foot massage, she prodded the bruise. He stiffened.

"Stop that."

"Then don't provoke the girl holding your injured foot."

"Agreed. Now continue your punishment."

Kagome resumed the task at hand.

"Will this be the extent of my punishment?" she questioned.


"O come on!"

"Do not whine, wench."

"I'll do as I wish."

"No you will not."

She poked the bruise again. Instantly, she was pinned to the floor.

"Do not tempt me, human."

"You won't hurt me," she said without reservation. Indeed, she seemed not to be the least bit frightened.

"Are you so sure?" he asked with an amused smirk.

"Yup. You can't kill your jester now, can you?"

He released her and sat back up.

"I suppose not."

She sat up and reached for his injured foot, continuing the massage. They remained in comfortable silence, the girl tending the feet of the demon lord. When the task was completed and both feet thoroughly satisfied, they retired from the training room to clean up. It wasn't until then that a hanyou, previously hidden in the shadows, emerged with a confused look scrunching the features of his face.

"That was just weird," Inuyasha stated to the empty room. He had stumbled across the pair halfway through their fight and watched the altercation in awe. While he was pleased that neither seemed to sense him, it also served to inform him of the depth of their relationship. It appeared that while together, nothing else mattered to the unlikely duo. He shook his head in disbelief and left the room to silence.

He found the shard hunters, minus one jewel detector, in the sitting area of the monk's room discussing the latest turn of events. Taking his customary position with crossed legs on the floor, he sat in aggravated silence until the tension he created was adequate enough to shift the attention to him.

"I saw them." Simple enough but all eyes were riveted on his red clad figure.

"They were fighting in the training room."

"Fighting?" the demon slayer questioned.

"Feh, if you call that fighting. Looked more like foreplay to me." The hanyou huffed, looking more and more like a sulking child.

"Oh really," the monk began, his imagination no doubt creating countless scenes for him to enjoy.

"Not like that, lecher. He was being lenient...I dunno. But something is definitely going on between them."

"Something else happened," the monk guessed wisely. Inuyasha seemed hesitant to divulge the information but finally relented.

"She rubbed his feet."

All jaws in the room with the exception of the hanyou's collectively dropped.

"She what?" asked everyone.

"Shit, you heard me. Kagome rubbed the bastard's feet."

"Oh my," said the demon slayer quite rightly.

The following day was spent comfortably in the palace. After meeting with the northern lord, the shard hunters were given limited freedom in the residence. In the evening, they were welcomed to join the conference delegates during their nightly tea social. The hunters were slightly tense in the presence of so many powerful youkai but soon lightened when they saw the ease in which Kagome melted into the room. They were whisked through so many introductions by the miko that they rarely had time to take in the names of whom they had just met. At last, they were left to their own devices as she once again took her position beside their leader's brother.

The monk and demon slayer soon became a popular form of entertainment as the conference attendees watched gleefully the male's attempts at fondling the female, and the female's violent responses. So caught up were they in the spectacle that no one was aware when Kagome left the room to seek a moment of silence.

"Tired?" the northern lord asked, surprising the miko out of her reverie.

"Yes, my lord."

"Come, I wish to speak with you." He walked toward the conference room and she dutifully fell into step behind him. Upon reaching their location, he took a seat at the head of the large table and she situated herself on one of the many pillows near him.

"You and the Western Lord have grown close." Obviously, the palace's leader was not one to waste time with tact.

"I suppose."

"You are fond of him, are you not?"

"I am merely his jester."

"Answer me."

"I guess." She paused. "Pardon me, my lord, but what business is it of yours?"

He smiled wryly. There was a reason the girl was a guest of his, as she so astutely displayed.

"True, miko, but the matter interests me and all the ruling class. Since you took your position, much has changed in the Western lands."

"Is there something wrong?" Her worry was evident.

"The opposite, my dear. The Western Lands are prospering like never before. No one can deny the connection."

"What do you mean?"

"You, miko, are exactly what that cold bastard has needed all this time. We appreciate whatever services you have provided for him and wish for you to continue. You have our approval to do whatever necessary to keep him pleased."

Kagome was unsure if she needed to feel complimented, shocked, or appalled. She settled on a combination.

"It's nice to know my work is valued, but I do not need your approval. I'm not sure what relationship you assume I have with Sesshoumaru-sama, but I must ensure you I am merely his jester."

"It was not my intention to offend, but surely you must admit how unlikely it seems that your relationship is so simple after all this time and considering how much he has changed."

"What exactly are you saying?!"

"Miko, we had assumed you were entertaining the lord in other more worldly ways."

"Why, I...! NO!" she sputtered, clearly shocked and appalled at this open revelation into her supposed relationship with her employer.

"Please pardon our conclusions. Still, you must be informed that we would not interfere with such a union. Though you are human, you have gained the favor of all. Indeed, you are the most highly praised person of your species. It would be an honor for you to join the court and be our equal."

She merely rubbed her head in frustration. It was entirely too late to be having such an odd and impure discussion. Sighing, she said the only thing she could think of.

"May I please be excused for the night, my lord?"

"Certainly." She rose to leave but paused when he continued in a strange tone that made her doubt his motives.

"I hear you enjoy reading. If such is the case, the library is in the Northern wing."

She supposed he was planning something but decided the matter did not need further thought. Nodding, she left and returned to her own room. Changing into something slightly more comfortable, she laid on the futon, willing sleep to come to her but clearly unable to achieve that goal. Finally, huffing in annoyance, she silently padded barefoot to the suggested library only to find that she was not the only inhabitant of the room.

"You left the gathering." His cold tone belied no emotion but his eyes seemed to show disappointment.

"Our generous host wished to speak to me," she explained as she took a seat on a cushion slightly removed from his relaxed form.


"Believe me, you don't want to know." Of course, that only made him more interested.

"Tell me or I shall extend your previous punishment."

"You wouldn't." An eyebrow was raised defiantly. Oh yes he would.

"Fine!" she said in exasperation. Truly, she was getting the raw end of the deal tonight. "He wanted to thank me for 'servicing you.'"

"You jest." If anything, his tone had grown colder and his countenance was entirely serious.

"I wish," she stated, avoiding his penetrating stare. "He enquired as to our relationship."

"How did you respond?" he interrogated.

"That I was your jester. No more." He nodded in assent.

"What are you so worried about? It's not like you had to sit through that embarrassing conversation," Kagome continued.

"You are incorrect." She paled.

"You're joking."

"I, Sesshoumaru do not joke." Ah, the high and mighty tone had at last returned. So much had she appreciated its absence! The lack had made her feel almost respected.

"The conference's latest topic has been you, wench. You have made quite a name for yourself."

"Eh..." the comment sounded suspiciously like praise, even if it was only being relayed by an uninterested third party.

"What other matters did he discuss with you?" his interrogation continued.

"I'm not telling."

The eyebrow rose again.

"I suspected as much," he said, sidestepping her resistance and going straight to the matter. "Does it not please you that you have been approved to join the court in such a manner?" he questioned.

"I can't say I don't like being thought of so highly. It's really something, except I guess I never fully realized how low they thought of me to begin with. Kind of an insult and compliment in one. As for the manner..." she shot him a glance. "That is entirely different."

"How so? Am I not suitable for one such as you?" His eyes were sparkling mischievously in his smirking face. She shifted uncomfortably on her pillow, completely aware of his amusement at her expense. Truly, nothing had changed.

She decided once again that it was entirely too late to be having such a conversation. Standing, she glared at him angrily. The look only seemed to further entertain the lord.

"I am too tired to discuss this further. Goodnight. I will resume my duty in the morning."

Seeing her move to leave, his hand shot up and grabbed her wrist, pulling her to the floor. She struggled fruitlessly against him and he only pulled her into his arm, effectively pinning her against his body.

"Are you quite done?"

"Not quite." She fought with increased vigor before practically collapsing in his grasp.

"Shall we continue our conversation?" he asked solemnly.


'Really, what an arrogant ass,' she thought in aggravation even as she arranged herself more comfortably on the demon's legs.

"I have considered the matter." She knew he was joking, despite his serious tone and earlier declaration against such actions.


"Such an odd creature you are."

"I am but a lowly human."


Her temper flared. "Then, pray tell, why would you ever consider this lowly human?"

It wasn't until that instant that she realized he had released her for quite some time. His hand directed her face to look at him and she allowed it, if only to see his expression.

"Because this Sesshoumaru is addicted to this lowly human."

He carefully ran the pad of one finger down her cheek and she tried to forget how nice it felt and focus on the current discussion.

"That can't be good," she said, borrowing his phrase from the night before.

"That I know." He cupped her cheek and proceeded to kiss her softly. She couldn't say it was unexpected or anything but thoroughly satisfying.

Releasing the cheek, he allowed her to adjust herself, curled in his lap, head resting lightly on his clavicle. Her slowing heartbeat and shallow breath signaled her approach to sleep.

"I am entirely too comfortable in your presence," she mumbled thoughtfully, attempting to fight her descent into unconsciousness.

"Yes, you are, Kagome."

"You know, that is the first time you've used my name since we met."

"It will not be the last."

Kissing his exposed neck, she allowed sleep to overtake her. The demon lord merely sat as he had to begin with, completely unperturbed by the recent events.

Truly, she was an interesting creature and he could not delude himself into believing he could live without her. It was such a completely natural thing to need that it brooked no further thought of consequence. He would allow this grand exception to his dislike for humans just this once, just for her.

They remained in the library until dawn when the lord saw it necessary to return the woman to her room. Since shouldering her was no longer an option, he settled for lifting her into his only arm. It would have been quite the impossible position if one did not consider his inhuman strength or the fact that the miko, despite her recent acquisition of muscle, was near weightless.

He strode back to her room, and was not the least bit surprised to find her companions lying in wait. Of course, he was well aware that the hanyou kept one eye on her as often as possible and would have detected her absence. Still, he was not expecting the shocked awe on the waking faces of the shard hunters. Choosing to ignore them, he deposited his burden onto her futon beside the still slumbering fox child, and went to leave the still gaping crew. He was stopped at the door by his half-brother's hand.

"You hurt her, you die," the hanyou promised quietly.

"She will not be harmed," he responded staring coldly into his offender's eyes.

"She isn't a toy," the half-breed continued. The lord turned his gaze onto the slumbering miko.

"That I know, brother." He brushed the hand aside, departing the room and returning to his own. As he prepared for the day ahead, he was strangely distressed by the lack of warmth his body was assaulted by once the girl was removed from his presence. Surely it was only a side affect of having been her pillow through the night. Though he could not lie to himself and say the feeling did not exist, he could choose to ignore it and did thus.

Truly, sometimes the girl was more than troublesome. He smirked in amusement. That, of course, was how he had gotten himself into this situation to begin with.

Upon waking, Kagome was shocked to find two humans, a hanyou, and a young demon staring intently at her. Bolting into a seated position, she questioned them with her eyes.

"Good morning, Kagome." The monk was always so dutifully polite but this morning his tone was suspicious.

"Good morning, Miroku."

"I trust you enjoyed your evening."

'Ah, so that's what he's getting at.'

"Yes, thank you." She smiled thoughtfully. It was not a lie.

"Does he make you happy?" the demon slayer asked hesitantly.

It was entirely too early to be having this discussion, but much like the previous night, she knew the excuse would not be allowed.

"Yes, I believe he does."

Their expressions instantly softened.

"The arrogant bastard actually makes me happy. How odd is that?" There was neither argument nor answer, not like she expected one.

The day progressed without incident. The training session was slightly less vigorous and more distracted. It couldn't be helped. Being repeatedly pinned down by a handsome lord whom she had recently pledged her heart to was doing nothing for her libido or his, for that matter.

In the evening, the group once again found themselves persuaded to join the socializing delegates. Once again, Kagome greeted the attendees, this time with her lord at her side. All the court present smiled graciously at the pair and she was hard pressed not to blush at their knowing stares.

As time progressed, the miko grew weary and retired to her room, followed closely by her partner. Immediately upon entry, the exhausted woman threw herself onto the bedding and motioned for the lord to keep her company. He sat with his back against the wall at the edge of the futon while she curled herself into a ball at the other end.

"What happens now?" she questioned sleepily. Both knew of what she spoke.

"The conference concludes tomorrow and we must take our leave. Return with me to my residence." She nodded against a pillow. "There is much I wish to discuss with you in private." She nodded again, stifling a yawn half way through. Her eyes drifted shut.

He assumed she had fallen asleep when her breathing slowed significantly and was considering leaving for his own bed.

"Stay with me?" she pleaded softly, tiredly reaching out for him without opening her eyes. Unable to resist, he stretched himself onto the bed and pulled her beside him.

"Forever," he stated solemnly as she drifted back asleep. Lying with the girl securely in his arm, he could not stop the grin that found its way to his face before he too fell into blissful unconsciousness.

The next morning dawned bright and early and after a quick meeting of the delegates, plus Kagome, to conclude business, they set out for their homes. The shard hunters joined the western demon lord on his journey, seeing as how the miko would have it no other way. She led the group beside the lord and they arrived at the western palace soon thereafter, having resorted to enchanted means halfway through their journey. Seeing as how dusk was falling and the miko was particularly fond of them, the shard hunters were given accommodations for the night. They settled in for the night once agreement had been reached concerning their quest continuing in the morning.

Business had just begun for the lord and miko however. After the few belongings she always left in her allotted room were brought to the lord's expansive suite, they retired to the library and began a strange discussion.

"To begin with, I guess it's time to spill about my origins," the woman began. During the extensive time they had become familiar with each other, not once had she elected to give an even partially detailed account of her home.

She regaled him with the tale of the well, the jewel, the struggle with Naraku, and her fears concerning her fate once the Shikon was completed. He took it all unflinching...until he realized their already short time together due to her extreme mortality might be made shorter by a failure of the enchanted well. She seemed to sense his distress.

"Don't think about it now. That's how I deal with it. We'll get to it when the time comes, okay?" she reassured, readjusting herself behind him so she could run her fingers through his hair, something she had been longing to do for damn near forever.

"How close are you to finishing the jewel?"

"Just waiting on Naraku to show his ugly face."

"When you find him, alert me immediately. I too have business with the hanyou."

"Can do."

They sat in thoughtful silence as she continued her ministrations to his hair. He leaned into her, bringing her hand to his chest and proceeding to study it intensely. It was all too fragile.

"I am entirely too comfortable in your presence," he stated blandly, borrowing her words.

"Yes, you are, Sesshoumaru," she said similarly. Kissing her palm, he released her hand and rose. She followed him to the master suite and they slept peacefully for the remainder of the night. The morning would only prove difficult, both were well aware of this. They enjoyed each other's calming company for as long as they could, deciding that dawn would come all too soon.

'The years have been kind to me,' Kagome thought with a pleased sigh. Glancing up from her novel to the demon lord seated in front of his customary table, she grinned. 'Very kind indeed.'

Recalling all that had happened, she was amazed at how well everything had worked out in the end.

Of course, the final battle with Naraku had been difficult, but with the arrival of her lord, Kagome found the culmination of several years of shard hunting came down to a battle of the brothers against one power obsessed hanyou, who didn't even possess his prized jewel shards thanks to herself and his own incarnations.

With the enemy dead and other pressing business taken care of, attention turned to the matter at hand: the completed Shikon jewel. Trusting the hanyou to do what was best, she was pleasantly surprised when he unselfishly wished the jewel out of existence.

"Give my brother and Kagome a long and happy life together," were his words. To say she was shocked would be an understatement. Still, one did not look a gift horse in the mouth. She gleefully kissed the hanyou full on the lips before jumping into the arm of her new husband, smothering him with affection he seemed quite unable to cope with...in front of an audience at least. The wish bound her life to his and her greatest worry was killed swiftly. As long as he lived, so would she, and thus it was possible to eternally be happy.

Truly, it was an amazing jewel.

The only side effect of wishing, something that was bound to happen with whatever wish was ultimately made, was the closing of the well. She was effectively trapped in the past, but she had learned to live without her family. She did not spend much time worrying about how they were doing. After all, they were only 500 years away and it was entirely possible that she would live long enough to be reunited with them.

Actually, it was only 450 years now...at least, she thought so. The years had run together into an odd tapestry of bold color, one hue melting seamlessly into the next. She didn't expect she would ever grow accustomed to the new flow of time that her seeming immortality had given her.

Maturing into 25, her body had ceased its progress, and she watched forever young as her friends grew older and wiser and started families. A few years back, Sango had passed into the nether world, followed shortly by Miroku who had seemed unwilling to continue his old age without his wife by his side. She couldn't blame him. Of course, it had been difficult, but she knew it was something she would have to get used to or go insane. The wish had its price and she would willingly pay it to stay with her lord. She could only accept that and watch as the pair's child matured as an adult.

In the meantime, she had her own family to tend. The two hanyou children she had thus far were simply amazing. Due to their odd parentage, they were capable of being as excitable as their mother one moment and as stern and unrelenting as their father the next. Keeping up with them was difficult but all the more enjoyed.

Her daughter quietly entered the library, still dressed in her night clothes, and slowly crawled into her mother's lap. Putting her book down in favor of her daughters black tresses and tiny fur covered ears, so much like her uncle's, she patiently waited for her to state her reasons for being awake.

"Uncle Inuyasha told me a scary story and I couldn't sleep," she said quietly, her expressive face displaying her fear. Apparently there had been another nightmare. Kagome couldn't wait until this stage of childhood came to an end for the girl. It would help if the hanyou quit regaling her with battle tales.

"Want me to tell you a story?" the miko asked while calmly stroking her delightful daughter's hair.

"Yes, please, momma."

"What do you want to hear tonight?"

The girl hesitated in thought.

"Tell me again about you and father."

The lord looked up from his paperwork. The miko met his eyes and smiled warmly before directing her gaze to a tortured paperback that had a special place on the wall.

"Well honey, it all started with a completely innocent addiction."