Well, lookie who finally decided to add an update! I have a pretty decent reason... that I'll post in my profile later on. I'm going to later fix up a few chapters so they flow better, so you may get updates on random chapters you already read. There will be no need to reread. If you have any objection to that, I apologize in advance.
The soft hum of the gigantic jet engines did nothing to alleviate Kagome's uneasiness as she sat trembling in her seat, occasionally looking out the window at the greens, browns, and yellows of the landscape below her. If anything, it only worsened her fear of heights. As a child, she normally enjoyed such a view when her father took her on plane rides to some of his business trips; such was not the case today. Seeing various land masses from up above now made her wonder what would happen should the plane suddenly fly into a storm, or worse, run out of fuel. Those, along with many other morbid thoughts, had been running through her mind as of late and there seemed to be no sign of them letting up anytime soon. Sesshoumaru noticed her change in behavior and tried his best to comfort her, but he, as well as everyone else, knew that because of the cards she was recently dealt, nothing would ever be the same. Her outside view, and train of thought, was suddenly blocked off as the window shade was pulled down by his large, pastel-tinted, hand.
"Calm down, we're almost there." he soothed, grasping her tiny palm in his.
"I don't care," she breathed, trying to convince herself. "I'm not going to be able to enjoy this week, anyway. We should have just cancelled it. Or at least have put Rin in my place. What were you thinking, leaving her with our parents?!"
Sesshoumaru sighed. "Kagome, you knew very well that this trip was inevitable for me to make. Even if you do not wish to enjoy yourself, I am comforted in knowing you are with me here than alone in Tokyo. As for Rin, she is safe with your mother."
"She wasn't safe a month ago…" she muttered under her breath, crossing her arms.
"I heard that." he chastised. "You forget who you are talking to."
"Yeah, yeah. Inu hearing." she grumbled.
"And you must forgive our parents for what happened that night. It was late-"
"I'm not mad about that!" she almost shouted, capturing the attention of several people before turning pink and sinking back into her seat. "Its just… I jus- I'm sick of it all. Naraku and everything. We were so close…"
He gave her a soft look and wrapped his arms around her petite frame, softly kissing her forehead. "No one could have expected what he did. But with all this new information working against him, soon even the government will be hell-bent on locking him away."
"So why do I feel like I'm the one who's running?"
"You aren't. Naraku is the one who escaped that poorly guarded prison, not you. I am doing everything in my power to see to your safety. As far as you are concerned, you are traveling with me to see the Sapporo snow festival as we've had planned since January."
"And if someone sees us?" she questioned.
"It matters not." he said, grasping her hand once more. "It has already been publicized and no threats have fallen on any of us. They have actually gone so far as to heighten security at the festival. If Naraku so much as steps into that city, he will be caught. You will be safe."
"Something bad is going to happen." she sighed, staring at the covered window.
"And I will be there to protect you." he told her, tightening his grip.
That was the only word that came to mind as Kagome marveled at the giant hotel suite before her. Sesshoumaru had commissioned one of the largest rooms in the Sapporo Grand Hotel for the two, and it seemed money was definitely no issue. The hostess called it the "Comfort Deluxe Double Room," though Kagome was sure her family would have called it "Home." The soft glow of the wall lamps danced across the cream colored walls as the bright lights of the city below illuminated the night sky a deep purple hue through the giant window across the room. She made her way into the bathroom, still transfixed with her surroundings, and marveled at all the shampoos and soaps lined along the large bathtub. Their labels indicated that they were definitely not on the cheap side. Backing out, she went in search of the beds and froze.
There was only one.
There was no mistaking it was a magnificent bed. White and black sheets, a grey comforter, and feather pillows all arranged on a king sized mattress - the thing was the epitome of comfort. But there was only one.
She debated on asking Sesshoumaru about it, but soon figured that to be a waste of breath. They had already slept together, so why would sharing a bed be a problem?
"I will take the couch."
She jumped when she heard his voice softly speak up from behind her. He already knew. She turned to face him, but quickly looked away, avoiding his gaze. "I'm sorry."
"Making this difficult,"
He held up his hand, stopping her from saying anymore. "Nonsense. I should have informed you of our sleeping arrangements before I finalized it. The fault is my own."
She gave him a soft nod before leaning up and placing a small kiss on his cheek. He kissed her back fully on the lips in return.
"I want you to feel comfortable on this trip, not a burden. Now go unpack," he told her, "We have a long week ahead of us."
Kagome's eyes brightened. "Can we go sightseeing after we eat?"
He shook his head, turning on the television to check the local news. "Not tonight. I have to prepare for tomorrow's meeting. After that is taken care of, we will go."
"Oh," she said dejectedly.
Before either of the two could say any more, there was a soft knock on the door.
"I thought I told them not to send the food up here," Sesshoumaru stated, walking towards the doorway.
Instead of a tray, they were greeted by a short and stocky boy holding out a single manila envelope to Sesshoumaru, who only stared at the boy's hand in return.
"Umm…" he started, shifting his weight from one pudgy leg to the next, "I h-have a uh-letter for umm… a Miss Kagome Hi-Higurashi, sir."
He snatched the letter from the boy's hand and slammed the door in his face, making him stumble backwards into the hallway. He turned back to Kagome and handed her the envelope, which she took apprehensively.
"Did you tell any of your friends you were staying in this hotel?"
Kagome only scoffed. "As if I have friends now."
"No. It must have been a reporter or something. After that 'Higurashi and Newest Flame Head to Sapporo' article came out, people have been saying a lot of things."
After breaking the seal and looking inside, the only thing Kagome found was a single three-by-five card that read in capital letters, "SEE YOU AT THE FESTIVAL, TASTY BIT."
Sesshoumaru watched as she read the small card and how considerably pale her face went in a manner of seconds. He immediately took the card from her hands and looked it over before rushing out of the hotel room and into the hall where the busboy who delivered it was sure to be. Sure enough, he was standing by the elevators, about to board, before Sesshoumaru grabbed him by his collar and dragged him several feet away.
"Who sent this!?" he ground out dangerously to the now scared-out-of-hit-wits boy.
"I-I don't know!" he cried, holding up his hands. "I only deliver what I'm told! Y-you'll have to ask one of the ladies at the front desk! They take care that stuff!"
"You'd better hope, for your sake, that the woman who took this message is down there." Sesshoumaru hissed, flexing his claws.
"Sesshoumaru, leave him alone."
Both men spun around to see Kagome waiting impatiently by an open elevator.
"If he was dumb enough to send that, he must be stupid enough to stick around. Are we going to find the woman or not?"
"I'm sorry, Miss," the concierge told Kagome, "but the envelope was found at the front desk with your room information attached to it. We assumed it was from another guest."
"And do you make it a habit to send off all unattended mail to your patrons, when they have, in fact, made it very clear that they were not to be disturbed by anyone in any form?" Sesshoumaru bit out, slamming the manila envelope flat on the desk. "Perhaps a lawsuit is in order."
The woman stiffened. "N-no, Mr. Taisho, sir! This whole thing must have been a misunderstanding on our part. We make sure all of our guests receive the best, safest, service possible! I will personally make sure to get to the bottom of this and straighten everything out for you and your wife."
"Wife?!" Kagome squeaked.
"Oh, I'm sorry!" she exclaimed, turning bright pink, "I-I mean… your… sister?"
Both Kagome and Sesshoumaru visibly shuddered.
The woman bit her lip. "I'll just keep my mouth shut."
"It would be wise." he muttered.
Back in Tokyo…
Souta had been awake from his coma for over a week and was living in the same room as his grandfather. The older Higurashi, deciding he was just as good a caretaker as any doctor or nurse, had decided to have the boy stay in his downstairs room where he could better reach him at any moment as well as monitor him throughout the night.
Since the crash, the family had learned the boy's head injuries were worse than originally thought. At one point, they feared they might have had to face the decision to choose between life and death. Much to everyone's relief, that was the day a teary-eyed Rin exclaimed the boy was holding her hand, and held it up for everyone to see. There was not one dry eye in the room then.
Recovery was an extremely slow process. While he could talk, half of what he said made little to no sense. Sentences were jumbled thoughts and headaches were frequent. He was able to use the bathroom on his own, but his motor skills were that of a five-year old. A personal physical therapist was appointed to the family who visited every other day to help him get back on his feet.
Inuyasha was adamant on paying for everything, whether he had the money or not. He took on two jobs and was hardly ever seen unless someone peeked into his room during the midnight hours to watch him sleep. His father felt it was a good life lesson for him, despite its severity.
Totosai wanted more than anything to find "that Kikyo girl," but he couldn't get more than an, "I promised," out of Inuyasha. He really did hate the amount of honor and stubbornness inu-youkai held. He was still trying to think of ways he could trick the boy into telling him, but the dog appeared to be more smart than anyone gave him credit for.
It was after ten o'clock and both Souta and his grandfather had gone to bed over an hour ago. Rin was left in the care of Mrs. Higurashi while Sesshoumaru and Kagome were out of town, and Mr. Taisho rarely left her side that day.
"Rin-chan!" Kagome's mother called from the living room, "Its time for a bath and then off to bed."
Both Mrs. Higurashi and Mr. Taisho were sitting on the couch going through old documents that they were hoping would help in the case against Naraku. Four and a half hours of searching and the two had nothing but old bank statements and stock reports. Rin sat in front of them, facing the television, watching her favorite cartoon whilst drinking juice from her sippy cup.
"Nooooooo!" the child retorted, stomping her foot for good measure. "Anpanman!"
Frazzled, and on her very last nerve, the older woman stood before Rin, crossed her arms, and gave her a discerning glare. The look only served as fuel for the oncoming temper tantrum, which Mr. Taisho quickly intercepted after deciding he had enough fun watching the two interact for the day.
"Rin-Rin?" he called in his sing-song voice, "Can you take a bath so Grandpa can tuck you in? He is very tired." He made a fake yawn, which for some reason, delighted the girl.
"Rin wants to sleep with jii-chan!" she cried, jumping into his arms and spilling her drink on his blue button-up shirt. She held her index finger over her lips and looked up at him innocently. "Oops?"
Mrs. Higurashi let out an exasperated sigh. "You give her a bath. I'll tackle that pile of papers on the table."
Mr. Taisho took his attention from his sticky top and looked at her incredulously. "Are you sure you can even understand half of what those say??"
The woman froze where she stood, the sudden sensation of being hit with a ton of bricks racking her entire body. In all of her years of friendship with the man, not once has he ever dared insult her the way he had, consciously or not. He would pay.
"I am surprised at you, Daichi Taisho!" she cried. "Do you honestly think I married my husband with little to no experience? Who do you think graduated from Tokyo University with a Master's in MIS Business? Who do you think was the one who convinced iboth/i you and my husband to merge companies? How much more profit did that bring to the both of you?! Who was the person who saved iyour/i assets after my husband's death??"
"My apologies! But I'm just saying its been a while and the questions you've been asking tonight…"
Mrs. Higurashi was not amused. She glared at the man, making both him and Rin visibly shudder. "Are you saying that after twenty-four years, I have somehow lost it? If I remember correctly, I believe it was only last year when a certain inu-youkai came to my doorstep, begging for help on a certain economic decision regarding the fate of his entire empire. My family may have removed their name from the company, but it appears we are still active partners, Taisho-san."
Mr. Taisho sunk back, close to whimpering at the verbal beating he was receiving. "I-I'll go wash Rin and tuck her in Kagome-chan's bed?"
The woman nodded and went back to her spot on the couch. This time brushing aside the different stock papers in favor for her husband's old list of employees before and after the merger. Rin looked back at the older woman and accompanied her grandfather up the stairs, whispering, "Mama baa-chan is scary sometimes."
He could only nod in agreement.
Thirty minutes later the house was completely silent. Rin had been washed and was now sleeping in Kagome's bed upstairs, Souta and his grandfather were still asleep, and Mr. Taisho was sitting cross-legged on the living room couch watching intently as Mrs. Higurashi bit her bottom lip, deep in concentration, as she circled and highlighted certain documents and sentences.
There was something about her that challenged his beast and he was more interested than anything else to figure out how she had done so. The woman had chastised him on several occasions, mostly for preventable errors on his part, during the days when she and her husband had been happily married and not once had he felt the desire to whimper and growl at the same time. He didn't like it.
He noticed her pause and sensed her sudden confusion. He glanced over at the paper she was looking at. Naraku's name was everywhere. Apparently her husband kept a tab on the Onigumo name and recorded every little thing the man did from the time he was hired to his release.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I-I don't understand… this." she mumbled, not one bit pleased to admit weakness.
"Lemme see." he said, reaching for the paper and accidentally brushing against her fingers in the process. Neither admitted the odd sensation the close contact caused.
Mr. Taisho cleared his throat. "Um… wh-what is it you do not understand?"
Mrs. Higurashi wiped the blush from her face before he saw it. "Two weeks after my husbands death, it says he sold all of our stock shares to Naraku. Apparently there was a signed agreement, but I can't find that anywhere." she said, shuffling a pile of papers around. "But here," she said, pulling out her husband's will. "it says that his brother will receive all our stocks. I don't remember ever discussing that with him when we did our life insurance the year before his death. I don't even remember going through this paper, but its signed."
Mr. Taisho studied each paper carefully. "Do you have any other papers related to the will?" he asked carefully.
She nodded, going back to her pile. He took the paper from her outstretched hand and studied it.
"That was the one I know the two of us worked on together. He originally wanted half to go to his father and me, and half to go to the children… but back then, it was close to a million each."
"Do you have any back statements from the month he died?" he asked, looking closely at each paper.
She handed him another paper. "The month before he died was when the stocks started going bad and we decided to move in here."
"I thought it was just to take care of his father?" he questioned.
"That was part of it. Tetsuya didn't want to risk anything. We were both very careful with our money, yet it still somehow managed to blow up in our faces… Money just started dissipating and no matter what we did, we couldn't get the numbers back up. We thought about moving into an apartment, but his death kind of put a halt to that."
"Asuka," he whispered, "if I had only known…"
"Don't be sorry, Daichi." she smiled. "We have managed fine."
For some reason he felt like he had failed the woman and her children. He and Tetsuya had been extremely close, and after his death, the only thing he did for the family was give them their half of the money earned and wished them off. It was almost disgraceful what he did. He should have taken the woman and her family in and cared for them as a brother-in-law would, even if he wasn't one by blood.
He made his way closer to her spot on the couch and wrapped her in his arms begging for forgiveness. "I am so sorry." he whispered.
Mrs. Higurashi had tears in her eyes. She nodded and wrapped her small arms around his torso. Not once had she been able to publicly shed tears for her husband. She always had to be the strong one for her children's sake. Even when she thought she could cry at night, when everyone was supposed to be asleep, she feared her sobs would be too loud.
How the next events happened the way they did, neither could tell. What started out as a simple inu-nuzzle to the cheek, turned into a caress, which escalated into a heated kiss. Hands explored while tongues and lips battled for some kind of dominance.
Mrs. Higurashi was the first to pull away.
"F-forgive me!" Mr. Taisho stuttered. "I-I don't know what came over me."
She nodded apprehensively. "We can't let that happen again."
He agreed, albeit reluctantly. "Sesshoumaru and Kagome would kill us if they found out they were close to being brother and sister after only a week of absence." he snickered.
She smiled. "I could never do that to them."
The two sat in silence, imagining their two very pissed off children. It was a wise idea to remain "just friends."
"Anyway," Mrs. Higurashi said, breaking the silence. "did you find something I might have overlooked?"
Mr. Taisho went back to look over the papers, forcing himself to ignore her smooth calves. "The numbers don't add up."
"But we always double checked our expenses before recording them." she defended.
"Its not just that." he told her, "its everything during that last month. There are transactions and agreements that you may have never been notified of. Someone else has your money."
She gave him a questioning gaze. "I… don't understand."
He sighed. "Asuka, look." He held up a cream colored paper. It was the will that was presented immediately following her husband's death. "This is a false document. Tetsuya never had any brothers -that were alive, anyway. This is the exact thing I was trying to prove, but had no positive evidence. Now we do!"
"Someone made up a false will and posed as your husband's deceased younger brother. The only legal documents are the original will and your bank statements. The official who presided over this probably had some kind of cut into the deal, which is why you thought all the money you had was lost. It was actually stolen."
Her face paled. "Then who has all our money??"
"And why are you showing this to me?"
"Because I, unlike my older brother, value my life and do not wish to be mangled by a pack of filthy dogs and their human bitches."
She was a petite woman with delicate, if not sinister, facial features. Her eyes were as red as the lipstick she wore and, by tying her hair back in a small ponytail, she proudly displayed her jade earrings, signifying her wealth for all to see. She obviously had nothing to gain, but everything to lose, by stepping into the station that night.
"You do realize I have a warrant to arrest anyone suspicious of offering aid to Onigumo's escape."
She scoffed. "As if I would provide aid. Arrest me if you must, but I only came here to drop off something you might have found useful. Do with it what you want. My work here is done."
With that being said, she turned on her heel and walked out of the office, her maroon dress swishing with each step she took.
Totosai removed his gaze from the woman's small backside and focused on the package she threw on his desk. Carefully opening it, he peeked inside and found several papers, post-its, and loose leaf notes, some almost intelligible. What caught his attention the most, however, was the videotape at the very bottom of the box. There were a series of different dates written on the front, otherwise nothing else indicating where it came from.
Inserting the tape into the VCR of the small television that sat on his desk, he sat back, only to nearly fall out of his chair at the horrors he saw produced on the screen. The first few scenes were candid shots of Kagome working around the restaurant. Suddenly, the scene cut and the camera was filming an empty dressing room. Kagome walking in, tired and huffing, wearing her black work uniform. Her hair and makeup was disheveled. She closed the door, locked it, and sunk down in front of the door, burying her face in her knees. Though it was faint, he could make out her small sobs. Someone started pounding on the door and she jumped, quickly wiping her eyes.
"Kagome! Are you in there? The doors locked!"
"Yeah." she said in her normal tone. "I'm just changing. Gimme a minute!"
"Alright. No rush."
The camera continued to roll as she removed her shirt and skirt. Several bruises marred her otherwise flawless looking skin. She stood and looked at herself in the mirror.
"You really are a fucking worthless piece of shit." she muttered.
The next scene played. This time it wasn't of Kagome, though. It was of someone else. Another girl. She was tied to a small, wooden, chair that sat in front of the camera.
iKikyo, Kikyo, Kikyo…" It was a masculine voice. "You really do enjoy this, don't you? Tying yourself up like the good little bitch you are."
The girl didn't answer.
"But I've found someone else. Someone more worthy of my attention. Someone whose family wouldn't dare make my name look like dirt."
She still didn't answer.
"What am I going to do with you? My delicate little flower… What was it your father did for a living? Oh! That's right! He's the editor of that newspaper that printed that NASTY article! Isn't he?!"
A small dagger flew from the side of the camera and struck the wall a few inches from her face. The girl let out a loud whimper.
"Do you really think I'm a corrupt old man, babe? I bought you everything your heart desired and you took it without question." A dark body walked from behind the camera and pulled the dagger from the wall. He turned around and kneeled to the girl's side, keeping the blade pointed at her. "Tell me," he whispered, "have you ever wondered what it was like to grow up without a father? Mother? Family?" The dagger swayed back and forth in his hand.
She squealed, wide-eyed. Her lips remained pressed shut.
"Ah, ah!" he chastised, "We don't speak when we're in the 'naughty chair,' remember?"
"So tell me," he began again, stroking the blade along her cheeks, "is Daddy going to print a new article by tomorrow?"
She nodded vigorously.
"And is it going to rebuke that old article about poor old Mister Onigumo? Someone just interpreted the information wrong?"
Again she nodded.
He smirked before making a small slit along her left cheek with the blade. She gasped. "Good. That was because you were a bad little girl." He poked the cut with the tip. "Now untie yourself and get undressed."
The camera continued to film as she removed all of her clothing, begged for forgiveness and began to kiss the man.
Totosai had seen enough. He stopped the tape just as she was removing the buckle from Naraku's pants and put it back in the box. He pulled out a few papers and looked them over. Some of the dates were the same as the ones he saw on the bottom corner of the tape. The most recent spoke of his plan to get the Higurashi girl to "finally submit to him." If the Taisho men had all their paperwork together, then he had all the evidence he would need.
"I'm sorry, sir." It was the soft voice of the little lynx youkai, Bunza.
He looked up. "Bunza, what-"
He was greeted with the barrel of a handgun.
Umm... Don't kill me!! This story is going to have a happy ending, DAMNIT! After reading over the interaction between the two parents, my face kind of dropped and I went, "EWWW!!" And yes, the woman in the maroon dress was Kagura. Read, rate, review. Just no flames please.
Have a wonderful weekend!
After reading over the interaction between the two parents, my face kind of dropped and I went, "EWWW!!"
And yes, the woman in the maroon dress was Kagura.
Read, rate, review. Just no flames please.