Sesshoumaru and the Costume Party (Part 4)

After being shown to their respective rooms, (Kagome and her mother sharing one while Sesshoumaru, Grandpa and Souta were bunking together – much to the distress of both Grandpa and the youkai lord) the group made their way downstairs for dinner. By then, Hojo's aunt and uncle had returned and greetings were exchanged with thanks being offered and graciously accepted. The Takahashis were generous to a fault and they made sure that everyone had more than enough to eat and drink. Mrs Takahashi however, was greatly taken by Sesshoumaru and constantly tried to get his attention, much to the taiyoukai's chagrin.

Finally, it was time to retire and the tired family made their way upstairs. Hojo had tried to coax Kagome to follow him on a walk but she had politely declined the offer by claiming exhaustion after the trip. Hojo had been immediately apologetic and had instead accompanied her to her room while wishing her a good night and other pointless things. The truth was that Kagome felt that by accepting Hojo's offer of a walk, it could somehow be detrimental to the teenager's health. She could still feel the burning gaze between her shoulder blades as he had walked her up the stairs.

Closing the door to her room, Kagome took a refreshing shower before sneaking a peek outside. Her mother had already retired and was now asleep. The hallway was quiet and only the faint lights at either end threw long shadows across the floor. The thick carpeting made it easy for Kagome to slip past the other doors and she made her way down the stairs. The moonlight streamed in through the huge bay windows and Kagome sighed softly at the beautiful sight. The latch was unlocked and she opened the glass door and stepped onto the stone patio. Crossing it, she made her way down the garden path taking in the almost mystical atmosphere.

Hidden by the branches of the old maple tree, Sesshoumaru watched Kagome's journey through the garden. Her pale bathrobe caught the moonlight giving her a celestial glow that caught his breath. She reminded him of the Tennyo, a heavenly angel descended to bless the earth with her ethereal beauty. Kagome continued her walk unconscious of the watchful gaze upon her. Now and then, she would bend over to smell the sweet fragrance of the various flowers that dotted the large garden.

The surprisingly warm autumn night made it a comfortable excursion and Kagome threw back her head and arms as though allowing the moon to bathe her in its silver glow. She continued to stand there for endless moments, her eyes drinking in the light. A smile crossed her lips and she gave a low laugh. A second later she was dancing through the flowering shrubs and trees that dotted the landscape, her soft laughter carried on the warm breeze that had suddenly sprung up. All the while, glowing amber eyes watched her almost hungrily and hidden within the shadows of the maple leaves.

Kagome slowed her exhilarating dance and shook her head as if to clear it of the strange euphoria that had seemingly possessed her. Making her way to the maple tree, she leaned back against the solid trunk and closed her eyes. She allowed her other senses to spread out and soon she was able to hear the crickets chirping in the distance, the faint rustling of the leaves above her and breathe in the delightful floral orchestra that made up the garden. She slowly slid down to sit between the roots and loosely wrapped her arms about her knees.

Resting her chin on top of them, she felt her eyes grow heavy-lidded yet she still chose to remain there. The night was too wonderful and she felt that if she did not take the opportunity to enjoy it to its fullest, she never would. But as she leaned back against the maple tree, she could feel a comforting presence nearby. It seemed to be watching her from above and Kagome simply indulged in the safety it promised her. A few minutes later and she soon fell asleep. The figure seated in the tall branches above her stirred and in a graceful leap landed by her side.

Sesshoumaru took in the girl as she slept curled within the roots of the tree. The moonlight streamed in through the branches overhead, the shadows dappling her form. As he stood there, he could not help remembering all those months back when he had last watched her sleep. The first night she had spent in the fortress when he had compared her to the legendary miko of yore. And yet, here he was staring down at her petite form as she trustingly slept in the open. He knew that there was no danger of the youkai nature in the world she lived in, and yet, he knew that it still possessed its own hidden dangers.

Bending down, he gently slipped his arm about her back to pull her towards him. She sighed but made no effort to wake up. Instead, she turned into the warmth of his chest and snuggled in. His arms tightened about her as Sesshoumaru allowed himself to savour the closeness. He still had trouble trying to accept the fact that she had some effect on him with her presence but at the same time, he knew on some instinctual level that she was meant to complement him. It was a pity that she was still a human despite her phenomenal powers and Sesshoumaru was warring with his pride as a youkai and the simple longing of wanting to be with her.

Now safely tucked against his chest, he slowly made his way to the house carrying the warm bundle that was the woman-child. She barely taxed his strength and the way she was pressed against him brought back the memory of that day within the Cavern of Shattered Dreams. Recalling the way she had lain draped over him sent a hot shiver down his spine. Suddenly, Sesshoumaru did not trust himself to be alone with her. After the earlier display in the garden, he had felt a stirring that he had almost forgotten. She tempted him in ways he was no ready to deal with and even less willing to accept.

Reaching the room she shared with her mother, Sesshoumaru opened the door and slipped in silently. Mrs Higurashi remained locked in slumber and he was grateful for the dulled senses that humans possessed. He had no desire to be caught and to have to explain why he was carrying the sleeping girl back to her room in the middle of the night. As much as he knew Mrs Higurashi to be tolerant, there were certain things that even the most understanding of mothers would frown at. And Sesshoumaru pegged this to be one of 'those' things.

As he placed Kagome in her bed, she tightened her hand in the folds of his shirt. Gently pulling at her hand only served to tighten the hold she had on it. Frowning, he wondered if he should shred at the material but quickly discarded the idea. He had no wish to explain the Mrs Higurashi the reason for the missing piece of cloth. But just as suddenly as she had gripped his shirt, Kagome released it and turned away from him. Instead, she clutched at the pillow and sighed softly.

For a moment, Sesshoumaru had to restrain the low rumble in his chest as a sharp prickle of jealousy coursed through him. Shaking his head in disgust, he pulled up the blankets and quickly left the room to spend the night in the tree as he had planned to.

Kagome awoke the next morning with a smile on her face. She was lying tucked in bed and oddly enough, still wearing her robe. Wrinkling her nose as she thought back, she realised that she had gone to the garden to enjoy the moonlight. She recalled sitting under a large tree then everything faded from her memory. But there lingered a feeling of comfort and she wondered at it. But before she could ponder it further, she heard a knocking on the room door. Souta peeped in a moment later and grinned at her.

"Mama says to 'rise and shine'," he said. "Everybody's about to have breakfast so you got five minutes to get ready."

Kagome's eyes grew into saucers as she quickly tossed back the covers and scrambled to the bathroom. "Why didn't you call me earlier, Souta?" she shouted from the bathroom.

"Because I got lost three times before finding the way here," came the petulant reply. "But Sesshoumaru-niisan was nice enough to bring me here."

"Sesshoumaru did?" came the surprised voice as it moved about the bathroom. A moment later, Kagome dashed out to take in a grinning Souta and a taiyoukai casually leaning against the doorframe.

"Indeed he did," came the smooth reply causing a faint blush to creep across her cheeks. "And he will escort you down so that you will not arrive in time for lunch."

Kagome opened her mouth to protest when she heard a strange chiming sound. Cocking her head to the side, she looked at the two as if asking them what it was. Sesshoumaru arched an eyebrow and guessed it was the call for breakfast. Kagome eeped and scuttled about the room desperately attempting to brush her hair, pull on her socks and tie the bow at the back of her dress at the same time. Souta laughed at his sister's antics while Sesshoumaru tried his best to hold his laughter in. After a minute, he decided to step in before she tripped or tangled herself in the sash she was attempting to wind about her.

Grabbing the brush, he then pushed it into her hand just before spinning about her to present her back to him. In a swift move born of experience with his own, the sash was neatly tied. Before Kagome could thank him, he had pushed her back onto the bed and told her to put on her socks. Plucking the brush from her limp hand, he quickly but gently ran the bristles through the ebony strands secretly enjoying their texture. Kagome was a little unnerved by his sudden attention but Souta's presence kept her mouth closed. She tugged on her socks and shoved her feet into the house slippers that her brother had kicked in her direction.

"Umm, thank you, Sesshoumaru," Kagome began but was pulled to her feet and pushed out the door. Souta followed behind panting lightly as he jogged to keep up with the swiftly moving couple. He noticed that Sesshoumaru continued to hold his sister's hand and made a note to tell his mother about it. They finally made it just as their hosts arrived and morning pleasantries were exchanged. Mrs Takahashi tried to engage him in conversation but Sesshoumaru only gave her short, if at times, curt answers. Grandpa watched the exchange with a little worry but other than that, the meal progressed.

Hojo's exuberant chatting was the real strain for Sesshoumaru. The other irritation was the attentiveness the teenager paid Kagome. He constantly passed her the various dishes and at one point even offered her to taste from his fork. On her part, Kagome was patient and answered his various inane remarks and questions. Sesshoumaru's attention kept drifting to the two and he could feel his aggravation increasing with each passing minute.

Kagome looked up at that moment and nearly had a heart attack when she saw the normally cool amber of the taiyoukai's eyes flashing a molten gold. Faint flecks of red were there and she frantically wondered what to do to calm him down. The last thing she needed was for the youkai lord to go on a rampage and kill every human in the house. Or worse, he would transform into his true form before going on a city-wide rampage. Breakfast needed to end now for the sake of everyone at the table and in Kyoto.

"I would like to thank you all for the lovely invitation," Kagome said as she jumped to her feet and caught their attention. "I hope you will all excuse Sesshoumaru and myself as we have to take care of a couple of things on my mother's behalf."

Although a little surprised at her daughter's words, Mrs Higurashi was quick on the uptake and she smiled apologetically at their hosts. "I'm very sorry to have to rush them in this matter, Takahashi-san. But seeing as how we are here for a very brief visit, I had to take any opportunity that presented itself."

"Higurashi-san, you don't have to rush home on our behalf. We're more than happy to have you extend your visit with us," Mr Takahashi replied congenially.

Bowing politely, Mrs Higurashi smiled. "I'm afraid Sesshoumaru-san has a very tight schedule regarding his training. As it is, his coach was not keen on having him attend the party."

"Oh, the poor dear," Mrs Takahashi said as she looked over to the now calm inu youkai. "I hope that all your hard work will pay off. You seem to be shaping up very well."

Sesshoumaru stifled the urge to break the woman's neck as he felt her hot, clammy hand reach over to pat his. He could smell her scent spiking at the touch and quickly got to his feet. The woman was not a very honourable mate and he had no intention of being in her company any more than he had too. Nodding a solemn 'thank you' to the hosts, he moved to the door to wait for Kagome to catch up. Upon leaving the dining room, he felt Kagome's gentle pressure on his arm. He slowed down but did not stop. He headed straight for the garden and only when he reached the ancient maple tree that he stopped and let his breath out in a soft rush.

Kagome stood near him but she remained quiet, her eyes reflecting her concern. She watched him look upwards into the branches before turning to glance at her. Reading the look in his eyes, she moved up to him. His arm pulled her close and a moment later, Kagome was tightly holding onto him as he leapt up into the boughs of the tree. He found his favourite perch and reached to remove the leaf that hid his youkai traits. His tail curved about him to cushion him from the rough bark as he settled Kagome within his lap. Kagome remained silent throughout the entire thing, her mind trying desperately to process Sesshoumaru's sudden behaviour.

Kagome was not complaining about being cuddled by the youkai lord, but she was unsure about it. Sesshoumaru held her against him and seemed to take his peace from her. He did not say anything when she shifted to make herself more comfortable, only tightening his hold slightly. She could hear his heartbeat and luxuriated in the feeling of being held. She had never wanted to admit it but she had often dreamed of a moment like this. Now, here she was high in a tree being cradled in the arms of an exceptionally handsome youkai lord. What more could a girl ask for?

Author's Notes:

More waffy weirdness in this chapter. Sess is blowing hot and cold towards poor Kag; no wonder she's getting confused. But then again, it would be rather predictable and boring if our dear taiyoukai were to just admit to it and insert lovey-dovey, XXX prose of choice here .

Well, wasted more space on a server with this chapter. Apparently, the party has not yet started but hey, it's only late morning now. There's still a lot of time till the ball starts. Besides, I think our two lovebirds would like to have a little time out cuddling in the tree.

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