A/N :This is actually an old story, written back during late 2005. I forgot my password to my old account (Emerald Dreams) so I just completely abandoned it – God only knows why I decided to repost – but here it is, at any rate. Retitled, touched up a teensy weensy bit, and with a completely different twist on events than I had ever originally planned out. I stumbled across this a couple days ago, actually . . . wow. I can't believe I wrote a SessKag. My apologies for anyone who's wondered, "WTFBBQ ever happened to that cliché SessKag fic called Already Taken? D:" I think it is pretty horrible in comparison to my more recent works, but I'm not entirely sure. Go easy on me?
& yes, I am terribly aware just how OOC Sesshoumaru is. My apologies ahead of time. xD
Disclaimer: Me no own, you no sue. K? K.
Kagome was happy.
While they'd journeyed through the woods Inuyasha had pointed out to the rest of the Inu-tachi a beautiful hot spring, knowing they had all desired to bathe. Kagome especially. Once they'd set up camp, she had taken the opportunity to pack her grooming necessities into her yellow back pack, grab a towel, and chirp happily to the others that she was going to the hot springs they'd seen earlier.
She hummed to herself cheerfully. When they hadn't been searching for more shards of the shikon jewel, Kagome had studied profusely. She was determined to get good marks and make good grades so she could get into a better school next year. Plus, her mother had given her "the talk".
"Kagome, I know it must be hard trying to keep up with your school work and travel back in forth in time to help locate these 'jewel shards'. But you have duties back home too. Please, all I ask is that you try to bring your grades up. Maybe study more while you're traveling? You have to think about your future Kagome. Don't you want to get into a good school?"
Kagome still had yet to look to the future. She honestly wasn't sure what she was going to do once they completed the jewel and defeated Naraku. What would happen from there? She loved her family, but her heart belonged in this time with Inuyasha, or at least that's what she thought. With each day her heart was filled with even more doubt and uncertainty as she gazed hopelessly at the hanyou. Kagome didn't know what was going to happen. Quite frankly, the young girl didn't even want to think about it. She didn't want to consider the fact that he may not be able to return her feelings without seeing Kikyou each time he gazed at her. She didn't want to think about anything.
'Gah! You're supposed to be relaxing Kagome. Just stop it. Stop thinking and enjoy yourself.'
Kagome took a deep breath as the breeze caressed her face and she sighed to herself. She rounded a hedge of emerald bushes, only to catch the mineral scent in the clear, night air. She was getting closer, and she felt her heart swell with joy as she forgot her worries. The sooner she could bathe the better. She felt dirty, and she was eager to rid her body of the grime it had collected when they'd trekked through the marsh lands earlier. Kagome did have to admit though that it had all been worth it. She would do it all over again as long as she got a dip in the hot spring.
That was why she inhaled sharply, her search coming to a halt as she emerged from the woods and realized she had found what she was looking for. No more than a few meters away, she spotted it, the hot spring. It was absolutely beautiful . . .
A small gentle, thundering waterfall pounded into the steaming pool there, just big enough to rinse off underneath it. Her breath caught at the beauty of it all, catching sight of the many lush plants that straddled the hot spring and rocks lining the sides of it. Steam wafted up from the surface of the clear water looking particularly inviting, swirling on the breeze, almost as if it were beckoning to her. The spring was a delightfully harmonious combination of the wonders of nature and the ingenuity of mankind.
Kagome glanced up at the heavens as well and was amazed by the clarity of the evening sky. Millions of stars sparkled above her head, winking at her with their shining blue light. Set in the center of the stars was the full moon, shedding pure, white light upon the earth. Although she had witnessed the beauty of the night sky in this era on many occasions, the miko was still awed by it; in her time, you could barely see the stars because of all the smoke and lights from the city.
The priestess was snapped out of her reverie by the sound of a cricket, pleasantly chirping into the night and breaking the silence. Coming out of her stupor, Kagome smiled as she took a couple more steps towards the steaming pool until she stood on the edge of it. For a moment, brown oculars simply gazed down at the placid waters below in wonder before she decided she would waste no more time simply standing around.
Casting glances from side to side; Kagome saw no one and decided it was safe. She began to undress, pulling her white blouse up and over her head and yanking down her green skirt almost hurriedly. The raven-haired beauty was eager to jump into the spring. Clumsily, unclasping the back of her bra she placed it on the rock with the rest of her clothes, eventually taking off her panties as well. Kagome stuffed them into her back pack and took out her grooming essentials and extra clothes she'd brought as well. Finally, when the miko was finished getting undressed, she layed them out on a moss, covered rock and began to wade into the hot spring.
Kagome's eyes fluttered close briefly, relishing the feel of the hot, bubbly water that seemed to part willingly as her body seemed to glide through it. A pleased murmur f appreciation escaped her petal-pink lips. She had forgotten how great and cleansing a hot spring could feel.
Brown orbs fluttered open as she took a deep breath, inhaling the minty air. Kagome submerged her body in water and dived in, feeling the dirt get washed away by the water as she swam to the other side. Finally, she stood up to her full height, beads of water dotting her alabaster skin, which glowed healthily and beautifully since it was free of dried mud and dirt.
Kagome rung out her hair and approached the rocks again, grabbing her strawberry scented shampoo and squeezing a large dollop of it in her hand. She began to lather her long ebony tresses. Her eyes slid shut in utter bliss as she massaged it into her wet hair, working it into a foamy lather.
After Kagome finished lathering, she ducked under the merry little waterfall, rinsing the shampoo from her hair. The waterfall was cold, and when she finished rinsing her hair thoroughly she was more than willing to get back into the hot spring.
She began to wash her body with the bar of soap she'd brought with her. As she did this Kagome decided she hadn't felt like this in a long time. For the first time in what seemed like decades she felt blissfully clean. The feeling was all too welcome.
Finally when she was done, Kagome settled for leaning against the water's edge, and allowed her mind to wander. She closed her eyes and relaxed. Surprisingly, the face of Inuyasha's elder brother, Sesshoumaru came to mind. She blushed slightly. Lately, the miko's thoughts had been revolving around the mighty taiyoukai when she wasn't thinking about Inuyasha. No matter how hard she tried to deny it Kagome knew that the demon lord was extremely good looking.
No, that was an understatement; Sesshoumaru was completely and utterly gorgeous.
Even if he was Inuyasha's supposed enemy and older brother Kagome never really considered him as much. And, Kagome was a female after all so it was only natural to notice how amazingly handsome he was.
'But, his arm; no matter how beautiful he is I still can't help but think that he doesn't look right without it . . .'
She sighed inwardly at her own foolishness. Why was she even thinking such things she wondered. Why was her mind constantly consumed by thoughts of Sesshoumaru? She knew she was wrong for always thinking about him while in Inuyasha's company, but for some reason it didn't bother her.
'I haven't seen him for a while. What with everyone trying to track down Naraku and search for the rest of the jewel shards, everyone is going their separate ways based on their own theories and the rumors they've heard about his whereabouts . . .'
Kagome remembered the last time she had encountered him almost as if it were yesterday. She had been alone that day and had just emerged from the well when she'd seen him after she'd encountered his young ward.
Kagome looked up from the bottom of the well. It was early in the morning, warm rays of sunshine beamed down on the earth as clouds rolled lazily through the sky, causing the miko to squint her eyes against the light. Still, she couldn't help but smile as she looked up, peering up at the sunny sky. It was absolutely beautiful, and Kagome found her thoughts shifting to the hanyou. She smiled, the miko knew Inuyasha would be pleased to see her back sooner than she'd announced to the gang right before she'd left.
'I wonder what Inuyasha is doing right now. It's still pretty early but I bet he's already up . . .'
She honestly wouldn't be surprised if he was the first one who came to greet her. Knowing Inuyasha he'd probably wake up the others and snap "Let's go, come on people, jewel shards don't find themselves!" She giggled at the thought, and another notion sneakily crept into the back of her mind a she laughed.
'When I leave for my own time does he miss me?'
She would definitely like to think so but was still surprised by such a bold thought and blushed hotly. Kagome's cheeks flushed before she shook her head, mentally scolding herself. There was already too much going on, what with the jewel shards and Naraku and all, and she highly doubted Inuyasha was worried about his love life.
'Yeah, that's why he always running off to Kikyou . . .'
Realizing what she was thinking, Kagome mentally sighed and immediately pushed away those thoughts. It was way too early to be getting herself worked up over such things and she immediatly decided she'd worry about that later.
Taking a deep breath, Kagome grasped the straps of her yellow back pack tightly, her long bow poking out at the top. She grabbed hold of a vine and began to climb up. Once she reached the top she positioned herself on the rim of the well. Looking up, Kagome simply sat there, enjoying nature, and breathing in the fresh morning air. She closed her eyes, enjoying the way the crisp, morning breeze caressed her face. She decided she'd enjoy the gentle wind and peaceful air the morning seemed to offer, before heading back to Kaede's village where she knew they were all waiting.
However, fate seemed to not be on the miko's side today, for her moment of solitude was broken by the sound of a faint, high scream of terror, followed by the squawking of birds.
Kagome's eyes shot open, and she stood up hurriedly, eyes wide. She stared at the forest, no longer hearing the merry chirp of birds or even the buzz of insects she'd grown so accustomed to as she'd sat there on the lip of the well. It remained strangely silent, except for the low moan of the wind as it rushed past her. Kagome felt her heart begin to pound. She recognized that voice;it belonged to the young human girl named Rin who traveled along side Sesshoumaru.
'Wait. If Rin's here . . . then where's Sesshoumaru?'
Kagome didn't have any more time to think about such a thought when she saw Rin emerge from the forest. Her kimono was ripped and tattered looking now, her ebony hair caked with dirt and leaves. The young child's brown eyes shined with fear but, when she spotted the teenaged girl coming towards her, something akin to relief washed over her and she scrambled towards Kagome clumsily.
"Kagome-chan!" she whimpered and sniffed softly as she threw her herself at the older girl's feet, tremors of fear going through her as she clutched her desperately. Kagome kneeled; meeting Rin's eyes, she gripped the girl's shaking shoulders.
"Rin what's going on? Where's Sesshoumaru?" Kagome whispered softly, her eyes searching the younger girl's eyes which were shining with unshed tears. Rin shook her head.
"We have to run Kagome-chan! The demon's coming!" Her voice was washed out by the sound of crashing trees filling the air and Rin gasped, eyes widening with horror. She began to shake Kagome fervently, who was reaching for her bow and arrows. She screamed.
"We have to run!"
Kagome sighed softly and her brown eyes opened, peering up at the evening sky. That had been the first time she'd ever been forced to fight a demon alone and by herself without Inuyasha and the others by her side. However, after that it had been so awkward encountering Sesshoumaru all by herself. Usually, whenever she did see him, it was when Kagome was along side Inuyasha. But, she'd remembered the way her heart had gone ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump in her chest, similarly to the way it did when she was around Inuyasha.
As he left with Rin, hair swaying in the breeze, he'd said something she'd never expected him to say.
"This Sesshoumaru thanks you . . ."
Kagome smiled softly to herself. It had been hard to believe but nonetheless had left her mystified at his soft spoken words. The arrogant, cold, and seemingly emotionless demon had thanked her. Her. Kagome Higurashi. Sesshoumaru had actually thanked her for saving Rin, even though he could've easily resurrected her with his Tensaiga. Perhaps, he wasn't all that bad as Inuyasha made him out to be . . .
'Well, I can't give him that much credit. He can be a bit overconfident sometimes. Still, I wonder what made him like that . . . Why is he so cold?'
Once again she blushed when she realized where her thoughts were going.
'Bad Kagome! Bad! This is Inuyasha's brother we're talking about! Why should it matter to you? Think about something else . . . anything else . . . OH! I wonder what Sango-chan and Miroku are up to . . .'
Kagome inwardly smiled at the thought. If she hadn't insisted that Sango stay with the others she was sure the older girl would've accompanied her to the springs. The reason she'd given the timid demon slayer to stay behind wasn't totally made up; Miroku was a pervert and someone did have to stand guard and watch him. Last time she'd bathed she was almost sure she'd spotted twinkling blue eyes in the shadows.
Kagome had also noticed the tension between them had risen as well. Sango was just so shy and Miroku was just so hopeless. She had decided she would give her friend a small push in the right direction. Even though Inuyasha and Shippo would still be there the miko was sure they'd have to talk eventually. Hopefully, Miroku would take advantage of it and actually try to talk to her without attempting to feel her up.
Kagome smiled; yes, she was sure she'd done the right thing.
'Oh, wow now I'm starting to act like Yuka . . .'
The miko nearly sweatdropped at the thought. Every time she returned home and tried to catch up with her studies Yuka always tried to play matchmaker, from setting her up on blind dates with the unsuspecting Houjo to ditching her at Wac Donalds so they were 'conveniently' left alone. She thought they would make a 'massively awesome couple' so to speak.
There wasn't necessarily anything wrong with him . . . it was just Kagome didn't like like him. Kagome had feelings for a certain silver-haired hanyou. She was pretty sure that he felt something for her as well; something beyond the feelings someone would have for a friend even if he did still love Kikyou.
The miko's thoughts came to a shuddering halt the moment her ears were assaulted by the sound of shuddering and rustling bushes. She froze like a deer caught in headlights and felt her hair stand on end. Her miko senses practically screamed at her to run but the young girl felt as if she were rooted to the spot and unable to move. Slowly and almost hesitantly, Kagome glanced over her shoulder. Her chocolate brown eyes widened, and she bit back the urge to scream. Red demonic eyes stared back at her, boring unspeakable acts deep into her psyche as she gazed in singular horror.
Kagome was scared -- no terrified. More frightened than she had ever been in her entire life.
For a moment she just sat there, peering back in a stunned sort of way into crimson eyes which looked ready to devour her whole. Her heart pounded furiously in her chest and Kagome slowly moved to stand up. But it was already too late. Before Kagome could even begin to comprehend the danger she was in she was being pinned to the ground from behind. She squeaked as she was handled roughly, a hand coming to rest on the back of her neck, preventing her from turning her head and seeing her attacker. His claws dug sharply into her neck, causing blood to run freely. She knew if she turned, the claws would sever her fatally.
Her bow and arrows were only a few feet away, and Kagome kicked back with her right leg, trying to free herself. By some stroke of luck, her foot connected with his groin, and the shock of the impact caused him to lose his grip on her neck. Kagome scampered forward, momentarily forgetting her nakedness, and grabbed her bow, intent on turning it on the demon that had pinned her just a second before. Kagome aimed it at him, about to let the arrow fly as she allowed the miko energy around it to manifest itself, but she was just a second too slow.
Her bow and arrow was knocked from her grip by a powerful blow. Kagome screamed shrilly as she met the horrible and repulsive face of a lizard demon, its long fangs and red eyes frightening her more in that instant than she thought possible. She kicked and screamed futilely as he pinned her to the ground again, this time on her back.
Kagome body shook and she sobbed, whimpering as it flicked its tongue out, dragging it along her neck. Tasting her and her fear. Kagome shook even more with disgust. As it began to nuzzle her neck, she whimpered again. Attempting to free herself she rubbed up against the demon who growled low in his throat, and brushed his fangs against the delicate flesh of her neck.
"You are encouraging me." Kagome stopped struggling and went perfectly still, freezing up, not sure if she liked the sound of that, knowing she didn't want to anger the lizard demon even more. She clenched her eyes shut tightly.
'Inuyasha . . . someone ! Please, help me . . .'
But despite her desperate internal pleading, no matter how hard she struggled or how loud she screamed, Kagome knew no one would come. She knew what would happen. She wasn't any where near strong enough to fend the demon off, and his intent was clear. Tears glimmered in her eyes and streamed down her cheeks as she admitted defeat. She could feel him, his knees planted in such a way she was parted wide for him. This demon was going to rape her and she was powerless to stop it.
'Please. Someone, anyone . . . help me!'
She trembled. And somehow, the miko's prayers were answered.
Out of the corner of her eye Kagome spotted a faint glimmer of silver.
It had to be him. Who else could it be? The priestess's heart swelled with relief despite the position she was in when she realized the hanyou had come for her. Tears of joy pricked the corner of her brown eyes. He had come after all. Inuyasha had come for her. He was going to save her! Kagome was so thankful that she began to pray to kami himself.
'Oh God, thank you, thank you, thank you, than --'
"Despicable. Forcing yourself on a human girl just for your own pleasures. This Sesshoumaru cannot tolerate such an action."
Kagome's face fell.
Slowly, the color began to drain from her face when she realized her mistake and heard the familiar yet deep, baritone voice pierce the night with such a deadly calm Kagome could feel the lizard demon above her pause and begin to tremble. He had a right to be scared Kagome thought. But still, why was he here?
Why was Sesshoumaru, Sesshoumaru of all people here?
There, not twenty feet from her, stood the mighty taiyoukai. He looked almost angelic except for the dangerous expression that she could see in his eyes. Momentarily stunned, the raven haired girl simply stared at him in wonder.
The inu's silver tresses shimmered beautifully from the moon's pale light as it swayed in the evening breeze, his amber eyes glowing in the darkness, cool and calculating as he regarded the inferior lower-class demon before him. He looked as if he were considering something. The darkness that surrounded them seemed to illuminate his body, and Sesshoumaru's silence was thunderous. When he finally spoke again the lizard demon began to shake even more.
"Release her, or I will deliver a death unto you so slow and painful you'll wish you'd never crossed paths with me." To emphasize that he meant it the inu reached for his Tokijin, resting his clawed hand on its hilt. Slowly, he withdrew it from its sheath, the blade itself shining, glowing with a ghostly inner light. The sharp edge glittered, as he pointed it at the lizard demon.
Kagome squeaked as the demon let go of her and she fell back into the hot spring. She thrashed as she fell in, swallowing some of the spring water. Moments later she reemerged in a small tidal wave, her body shaking as she coughed. Once she composed herself the miko stared at the lizard youkai anxiously as she sat up. Regaining her wits Kagome fearfully scooted away from it, only stopping once her back was pressed against the ledge of the spring.
The scaly demon snarled at her, eyeing her possessively before turning his gleaming red gaze back on Sesshoumaru. The demon lord stood silently, staring him down in his way of studying the opponent, awaiting the demon's first move. His face remained cold and condescending as he gazed at the other demon. The over sized lizard grinned as he met the dog demon's molten gold gaze head on, flexing his claws. His lop sided grin caused Kagome to shiver as she stood back, watching them.
"You really wish to challenge this Sesshoumaru?" the taiyoukai asked almost disbelievingly. He narrowed his eyes at the lesser demon and watched him smirk smugly to himself. "Then you are a fool."
Knowing the insult would send the youkai over the edge Sesshoumaru watched as he snarled angrily and charged at him with seemingly all his strength. The demon resisted the urge to snort and caught him effortlessly by his beefy shoulder. The lizard youkai snarled in a feral matter as he attempted to break out of the demon lord's hold, and Kagome watched as Sesshoumaru tossed him into the copse of trees he'd emerged from.
"Your blood would simply contaminate the waters of this spring, and that cannot be allowed." The hand on his sword tightened.
A glimmer of silver.
Slight movement quicker than the eye could comprehend.
Then, from where she was sitting Kagome couldn't see them anymore. But she didn't need to, for when she heard the sickening gushing sound she knew it was over.
Sesshoumaru reemerged a moment later, face as blank as ever. Blood dripped off of the edge of his Tokijin which he regarded with disgust. Wiping the blade clean, but still not satisfied, he placed it back in its sheath.
They stared at each other for a moment. Sesshoumaru stood still as a statue, long, perfect hair falling gently over his shoulder as he regarded her impassively. He studied her for a moment, thinly veiled curiosity in his molten gold eyes.
Kagome felt awkward. For some reason she always felt very exposed in the youkai lord's presence and didn't quite know what to do with her feet or her hands. She told herself to calm down, no sense in jumping to nasty conclusions.
After all, if Sesshoumaru had desired to kill her . . . wouldn't he of done so already?
Kagome slowly lowered her eyes, blushing beneath his penetrating gaze. Realizing her state of undress, she silently cursed herself as she sunk even lower in the bubbling water of the hot spring. She was careful to avoid his gaze all the while.
Noticing her embarrassment, the taiyoukai looked away before catching sight of her yellow book bag. He lifted it up, staring at it curiously before beginning to rummage through its content. Sensing his movement, the miko slowly raised her eyes to see what he was doing. Kagome gasped and began to rise, before sitting back down when she remembered her nakedness.
"What are you doing?! Stop it! You have no right to go through my things!" she said furiously. Kagome may have been grateful for him rescuing her but he had absolutely no right to go through her book bag without her permission. Not that she'd give it to him anyway she thought dryly.
Sesshoumaru growled low in his throat and Kagome shivered. "Do not attribute such a dishonorable trait to me. You forget your place, human." as the taiyoukai said this he finished rummaging through her pack, lifting up one of her strange kimonos. Sesshoumaru recognized the green material of one of her skirts and the white fuku blouse and stared at it, a seemingly unreadable expression marring his unearthly handsome face. He brought the soft material up to his nose and sniffed it. It was clean.
"If your state of undress bothers you so much priestess, then put this on," the demon lord stated apathetically. He threw it at Kagome seemingly carelessly who caught it just in time.
Confused, Kagome simply stared at her green sailor's uniform as if it were some foreign and strange object. She blinked. Then, Kagome felt her cheeks start to burn when she realized her mistake as realization slowly dawned on her. She had just accused Sesshoumaru of basically being a pervert.
'Kami, I'm such an idiot.'
She glanced up just to see him turn his back to her. She blinked, once, twice, three times.
In the near darkness his eyes glowed faintly as he arched a delicate eyebrow.
"Are you going to dress or simply stand there?" Coming out of her stupor the young girl shook her head and waded out of the spring, careful not to get her uniform wet. Once she reached the bank Kagome began to pull on her clothing with a hurried disdain, looking anywhere but at the youkai lord standing a couple of feet away from her. Occasionally, she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye.
'Why do I even bother to check if he's peeking?' Kagome thought half heartedly. 'He's probably already seen everything. Besides Sesshoumaru isn't like that. He's nowhere near to being the peeping tom Miroku is.'
Kagome blushed again and made a mental note to herself to stop. Once she was done, the inu turned to face her and she shifted uncomfortably beneath his gaze. Her cheeks flushed a light pink. The silence was awkward and she decided she would have to be the one to break it. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you, Sesshomaru-sama." His face relaxed a tiny bit at her polite use of honorifics. She continued to look down at the ground. "I don't understand why you've done this, but I am very grateful just the same."
Sesshomaru shook his head, his stare still unreadable in the darkness. "Your gratitude is unnecessary."
Kagome remained silent at this as she continued to gaze at him. She was perturbed that he refused to accept her thanks but decided not to push it any further. There was no use angering him. After all he had just saved her. The taiyoukai was just too arrogant to accept her appreciation.
Brown orbs met amber oculars, shining with something akin to gratefulness yet slight confusion. "Well even if you don't want to accept my thanks I'll say it again. Thank you. But I have to ask, why? You hate Inuyasha and you know we're friends. Heck, I even helped him to claim the Tetsaiga when we first met, preventing you from taking it. Still . . . you saved me. I just want to know why." She crossed her arms over her chest, anxiously awaiting his answer.
"When you rescued Rin you had placed me in your debt," the demon lord said, "Now we are even. However, I have a proposition to make, priestess."
"Prop-proposition . . .?" Well, that had certainly caught her off-guard. Whatever confidence she had managed to attain seemed to evaporate almost intsantly.
"Hai," he replied stoically, "You and that half breed and the rest of your group are determined to defeat Naraku are you not? You wish for him to pay for all of the chaos and pain he's caused for countless humans and youkai alike. Your allies have their own reasons for desiring the hanyou's demise I'm sure. And I have assumed you want him to pay for the pain he has caused Inuyasha." He paused for a moment to allow her to digest the information he'd just given her, allowing a cold smile to grace his lips. "This Sesshoumaru also wants revenge against him."
"Then why don't you just go and kill him yourself?" she suddenly blurted out. Ooops. Well, there wasn't really any turning back, now was there? "Shouldn't it be easy for you since you've obtained Tokijin?"
"It would, indeed. But those shikon shards he has managed to acquire have made him strong. Much stronger than I originally thought. Therefore, this Sesshoumaru will be in need of assistance. I will require your help priestess and perhaps the aid of the rest of your group as well."
'What? Did I hear him right or am I imagining things?'
Kagome went blank. Her brown orbs regarded the taiyoukai seriously, clouded and hazed with mixed feelings. Had he really just asked for her help? Sesshoumaru, as in Inuyasha's half brother, who hated humans with a passion? Had the stoic demon lord really just said he needed their help? Kagome could hardly believe it.
"What do you need our help for?"
'Oh. My. God. Did . . . did I really just say that?'
"I understand from what I've gathered that the shikon no tama's real power can only be harnessed if the jewel is corrupted by evil. Despite your unusual choice of garments and your tendency to babble incessantly, you are a priestess nonetheless and possess purifying powers. The other members of the group could hold off Naraku's minions."
"So let me get this straight. You want me to purify the jewel shards so that you can defeat Naraku? And then you want the others to fight Naraku's incarnations?"
"So that I can defeat him in a fair fight." Sesshoumaru said, emphasizing the last two words. He took her words as a personal insult, for they sounded like he wasn't strong enough to kill another youkai.
Kagome remained silent for a moment. His unusual offer had caught her off guard and she was still not sure that she could fully trust him. "Well, I can't give you an answer now, this is a group decision and I can't decide for Inuyasha and the others. WE have to talk about this and --"
"This Sesshoumaru understands."
Kagome trailed off as she watched the youkai lord tilt his head as a scent, caught in the wind, drifted to him. He narrowed his golden eyes at it.
"What is it? What do you smell?" Kagome asked quietly. She walked over to him silently, her small feet padding across the semi-dry earth as she approached him. She stopped when she reached his side.
"I recognize that scent, it belongs to the hanyou," he began, wrinkling his nose slightly, "apparently he has decided to finally come to your rescue."
Without another word the demon turned on his heel and began to stalk away, silver-white hair blowing on the breeze. "Hey," Kagome said, hurrying after him. "Where are you going?"
Kagome received no answer; he just kept walking slowly away from her. "Wait! Sesshoumaru, where are you going?"
"If I remain here any longer than there will be an unnecessary confrontation, and I do not wish to waste my time on such petty things, priestess."
Kagome frowned slightly. "But you still haven't answered my question!"
Sesshoumaru paused. "This Sesshoumaru answers to no one, least of all you. I tire of this. Right now I have more important matters to attend to."
"How did you know I was even here?"
Sesshoumaru's amber eyes pierced hers almost instantly. "The western lands are my domain," he replied in a low, masculine tone, his voice seeming to echo all around her. "It is my right to go wherever I please, and my business to know who is roaming about my lands and bathing in my hot springs without my consent."
'Oh. That, that makes sense . . .'
Snapped out of her daze, Kagome caught up to him and reached out for him, her fingers grabbing at his fur pelt, eyes flickering up to his in a daring clash. Sesshoumaru paused once again to regard her coolly, the barest hint of irritation lighting up in his eyes.
"What do you think you are doing?"
He was right. What DID she think she was doing? Kagome gulped but met his challenge head on.
"I . . . Sesshoumaru, to be honest I think -- I think there's more to your story. I mean, why were you out HERE? So far out in the middle of nowhere? I made sure to check the surrounding area for demons and – and I just KNOW I would have been able to sense you. So why? Why were you here to save me?"
In the next instant Kagome found herself flat on her back, raven hair askew and mixed with twigs and dirt as she stared up into the burning eyes of an enraged taiyoukai. No – enraged didn't quite fit . . . mad. Almost raving mad. He was holding onto his icy facade now, but just barely. Molten gold bore into her, flecks of crimson rising up like lava as he held her gaze unflinchingly. She trembled, but refused to back down. She wouldn't be made to look like a coward twice.
"Are you trying to imply something?" Sesshoumaru snarled, one clawed hand tracing her porcelain cheek. His touch felt like razor blades, and when pressed down with even the lightest of increased pressure Kagome knew that they were capable of rendering her to bloody ribbons. "Well? Priestess?"
She sucked in a deep breath, willing herself to calm down and think this out logically. What could she say back? What could she do? Where was Inuyasha when she needed him?
"I -- uhm . . ." Great. Now she was babbling. She licked her rose-bud lips nervously, and what happened next was all too fast and incomprehensive for her mind to focus on with the headiness of the situation weighing down on her chest, and her heart going ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump behind the pearl-white of her ribcage. His gaze flickered to her lips, clouding over in the dim light of the star-soaked sky, and her thoughts scattered like rays of sunlight striking a glass prism; she saw the flash of something, something terribly new and completely foreign darken his beautiful gaze, and she parted her lips in question. But her reaction was a moment too slow.
When Kagome felt the barest brush of lips against or own, the movement both terrifying and tantalizingly slow . . . her mind went on a total mental lock down.
Inuyasha growled, frustration glittering in his large, golden orbs as he began to walk away from the camp sight. He mumbled angrily under his breath. Why was he always sent to retrieve Kagome? They treated him as if he were some goddamn lap dog! Apparently, all he was good for was using his nose to track down their enemies and the wayward priestess. The hanyou snorted at the thought.
"And don't come back until you find Kagome!" Shippo yelled after him.
"Keh, whatever you say you damn fur ball."
Inuyasha grunted before giving chase, moving with that inhuman youkai swiftness. He did not jump; he did not spring like a wild beast. Instead his feet barely brushed the ground; gravity itself meant nothing to him as he began to bound around the ancient trees. Inuyasha pursued, interested only in the scent of the priestess which was steadily getting stronger as he got closer.
Unconsciously, Inuyasha inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell of jasmine and lavender which seemed to permeate the air, teasing his senses. It was always like this after Kagome took a bath. For some reason that was when her alluring scent was strongest . . .
'Damn it! Now I'm starting to think like the hentai monk,' Inuyasha thought angrily as he began to slow down, the minty smell of the hot spring overwhelming his senses. Looking around, the hanyou finally spotted the young girl he'd come for.
Kagome stood silently, her chocolate brown orbs unfocused as she gazed quietly into the darkness of the woods. In the moonlight the girl's skin gave off a radiant, ivory glow, her black inky tresses contrasting greatly against the milky whiteness of her skin. After a moment of simply staring at Kagome Inuyasha blinked, and was immediately snapped out of the trance the priestess had seemingly cast upon him. His cheeks flushed a light pink. A bit irked by his actions and by the fact Kagome still had yet to acknowledge his presence the half demon went about breaking the silence as he usually did, his loud booming voice filling the clearing.
"What the heck are you doing?! We've been waiting for you to come back for at least an hour! What's taking you so long?" Inuyasha lamented angrily as he approached her. "Sango and that damn kit have been chewing my ass out for not coming to get you sooner, so grab your stuff and let's go!" Inuyasha irritably motioned for Kagome to follow him as he began to walk into the woods in the general direction he'd come from. But before the hanyou could get far he stopped in his tracks. Inuyasha's nostrils flared as he caught the most familiar scent. A scent he could never bring himself to mistake.
"Sesshoumaru," he growled. He spun around to face her, clenching and unclenching his clawed hands. "His stench is everywhere, all over the goddamn place!" How could he have not noticed sooner? The hanyou grabbed Kagome by the shoulders, his grip firm yet gentle as he stared into her eyes. Blinking, Kagome finally met his gaze.
"Did he hurt you Kagome?" Inuyasha asked, his voice gruff yet genuine concern glittering in his eyes as he regarded her seriously. He sniffed her and was relieved to find that she wasn't bleeding.
"S-Sesshoumaru? No, he didn't hurt me . . ." Kagome whispered softly, her voice trailing off as she gazed off into the sky, an awe-struck expression on her features. The stars glittered beautifully and her smile widened. "In fact, he saved me."
Inuyasha's ears flattened against his head as he stared at her confusedly. Why was the time traveling priestess acting so, so weird? The hanyou was pissed off that his bastard brother had been the one to save Kagome but was nonetheless relieved she was safe. Still, why had he saved her? What was he hoping to gain? It made no sense to him whatsoever and left him thoroughly confused.
He stepped away from the girl to take a closer examination of the blood his nose had detected. Inuyasha grunted and covered his fragile nose with the sleeve of his haori as he got closer to the source; the half inu spotted the slain body of an unfortunate lizard youkai that had crossed paths with Sesshoumaru and his Tokijin.
Kagome came up behind him and spoke in a soft, hushed tone. "He -- Sesshoumaru saved me from that thing." Inuyasha's eyes widened. He stared at Kagome who seemed to be staring off into space, her expression contemplative once more.
Miffed by her strange behavior, Inuyasha snorted and crossed his arms over his chest. His brows snapped together in a frown. What was with her? He sighed and shook his head as he spun on his heels, beginning to walk in the direction he had come.
"Let's go Kagome, before Sango and the others start to worry even more and come looking for us." He tossed a glance over his shoulder at the young girl who had retrieved her belongings and had begun to trail behind him quietly.
'Women; keh. Dead or alive . . . I don't think I'll ever understand them.'
His hauntingly, beautiful voice echoed, reverberating deep within her psyche.
"This Sesshoumaru will return to hear your final decision on the night of the quarter moon . . ."
Her lips curled into a small, secretive smile of inner bliss as she kept her gaze trained on the night sky, her brown eyes fluttering closed for a moment as she inhaled deeply. Complete and utter serenity seemed to settle over her features as she felt something tug at her heartstrings.
'My unexpected savior . . .'
"Quit standing around already, woman! We need to get a move on!" a voice hollered with mixed traces of amusement and aggravation in his tone, breaking her train of thought instantly. When she opened her eyes, Kagome instantly realized that she had stopped walking completely and had been standing in the middle of the woodland path; in other words, looking like a complete and total idiot. Inuyasha stared at her pointedly, one eyebrow cocked at her in blatant irritation as the smallest of amused smiles tugged at his lips.
The ebony haired girl found herself smiling so cheerfully that she could barely stand it as she came to, and eventually passed the disgruntled half-demon's side; Kagome maintained a pearly white grin on her youthful face as she began to skip ahead of him, eyes shining with faint happiness.
"Okay, Inuyasha!" she chirped happily, still smiling all the while. She giggled when she heard him snort and resume his quick, shuffling pace behind her.
Oh boy would Inuyasha be angry when she finally delivered the news.