Kagome stretched for a moment before picking up her staff. It felt good to be back in practice and it felt better to have found quite a few jewel shards the day before.
After she had sent the letter to Sesshomaru something had changed, as if the world's whole axis was altered to set her into a better mood again. They had found shard after shard, a total of eight in one day. That was a record for them.
While she was in her exercise the others had woke to find her in the routine. It was nice to have some semblance of regular for them. And then, something occurred that had happened just a few short weeks ago to throw their world into a spiral.
The sky cracked and rain poured upon them.
InuYasha sighed. "Not again. Kagome! It has to be you; you were with us last time this happened, too!" She giggled at him and continued her exercise, unphased by the weather.
"Maybe it's your bad disposition, InuYasha!" She called to him and he scowled only causing her to laugh more.
If he had thought it was bad enough.. suddenly the bushes began to tremble and out burst Jaken, again. The hanyou couldn't help but roll his eyes. What the hell was going on here?
The toad entered the clearing, holding out a letter addressed for Kagome. However, she surprised everyone by turning away from it. "I don't want it." Jaken gaped, unsure how to respond. Then he threw himself on the ground, begging her to take it. "No. I don't want it. Tell your lord that if he has anything to say to me he can come and say it himself. And I might talk to him if I feel like it." As an afterthought she lifted Jaken and brushed him off. "And tell Rin I said hi."
Jaken was sure he was going to die now.
Sesshomaru paced back and forth in his study, glaring at his retainer. He couldn't believe her! Storming past the quaking toad he rushed down the hall and banged his fist against the door to Rin's room.
"Rin. Get dressed. We're going to get your mother." He said as he continued to march down the hall. To anybody he might appear to be merely brooding but to those who lived there it was obvious that he was not pleased. Lord Sesshomaru had been denied.
The little girl came running out of the room, tying her hair back as she ran to him. "Really! Are we really going to get her now?" He nodded and set the girl onto Ah-Un. They took off to find her, wherever she might be.
He wasn't really sure what he was going to do when he found her. Strangle her, perhaps? Maybe. But then Rin would really hate him and he couldn't have that. So.. what else? Scream at her? Oh that sounded lovely. Really he could use a good verbal lashing. Who better to provide than an angry Kagome?
Sighing in defeat he wondered how he had come to get here to begin with. Why had she done that? He had hoped that, with her letter, she would at least allow correspondence between them. Hoping that, with each letter, they could keep this going. But she had refused. Why?
He couldn't understand her. She had faced down so much and now was cowering from a letter? Was she cowering? He thought hard. No. She was evening the playing field. Bringing him to her. Clever girl.
Stupid, but clever.
They touched down just outside the camping grounds that Kagome now stood in. He watched her from the forest shrubbery and was shocked to find that she was not laughing with her friends. She was sitting, to the side, waiting.
Waiting for him. Was he that obvious? Damn her!
He growled low and she jumped, turning to look in his direction. Yes. You know I'm here now. Her friends looked at her oddly before going back to their conversation.
But their conversation would have to wait. He grew tired of watching her sit there, licking her lips in anticipation. He stormed out to her and marched right up to stand where he could look down on her. "Why did you send my letter back, Kagome?"
Her eyes turned up to him, twinkling in amusement. "Whatever it was that you had to say you can say it to my face. I'm tired of these games."
He frowned and reached out a hand in the direction Rin was in. The girl ran up to him, handing him the letter he had told her to hold. He then placed it in Kagome's hand and wrapped her fingers around it. "Read it." A command. He expected her to listen.
"No, Sesshomaru. I won't."
"Why not!" He practically yelled at her, feeling his anger rise. Why did she have to be so damn stubborn?
"I already told you why not!" She yelled back, glaring at him. A familiar feeling crept upon him and he smirked.
"Did you? Are you sure?" She sighed and rolled her eyes.
"Are you deaf now, too?" She asked in irritation.
"That is quite possible from all your yelling. Your voice is quite painful to my ears, you know."
Her body went rigid and she threw the letter at his chest, causing it to bounce off and fly away towards the bushes. He looked at it worried, but turned back to her, not able to back down. "Oh really? Is that why you were constantly listening in on my conversations?"
"Why no, Kagome, I listened to assure that you weren't teaching Rin anything she shouldn't be learning. Humans have a way of spreading stupidity."
She screamed in rage and flew at him, ready to strangle him with both hands if she could ever hope to reach his throat. "You jerk!"
He laughed and grabbed her wrists, holding her to him. "So you've told me, my dear. Many times."
She blushed and sighed, struggling against his hold on her. "Please. Let me go."
He shook his head. "I can't do that, Kagome."
A frown marred her face. "Why not? It's hurting."
"I know. Me too." And he leaned down and kissed her, releasing her wrists and wrapping his arms around her. It had been so long since he had last done this. He had almost forgotten how wonderful she felt.
She was pushing against him. This was familiar. "Sesshomaru! Stop! You can't keep doing this!" He looked down at her with a curious gaze and she only grew more angry. "What makes you think th.."
Again. And again if he must, he would silence her this way until the end of time if only to hear her voice and then feel her lips. It was quite amusing. He pulled away and looked down at her. "Kagome, do you mind if I kiss you?"
He laughed as her shocked gaze fell on him. Angry and flustered. She looked so alive and lovely. It was amazing but strange. Then she sighed and pushed him away.
"I have a letter to read first."
He watched as she went into the bushes and found the paper, snapping open the seal. She looked at the contents, unsure what to do or say.
"Is this some kind of joke?" She asked nobody in particular but was looking at Sesshomaru with a serious expression. "What's the meaning of this?"
He laughed and reached out, grabbing the letter and throwing it into the fire. She looked startled but he didn't care and took her hand in his. Pulling her body towards him he smiled down at her.
He told her friends and his brother that they were always welcome to visit her but that she could never leave him again.
And then… he led her away, back to her home, back to her child, back to him.
Only Miroku had seen the true contents of that letter. He was a little surprised.
It was blank.