A/N: Originally written for the Live Journal dokuga contest community theme: "Trap"

Centuries Like Water

"Arggg!" Kagome exclaimed under her breath as she lost the battle with the books, sketchpad and pencils she was trying to juggle and the whole mess ended up at her feet. "Dammit," she mumbled, dropping to one knee to retrieve the wayward things.

The day had started out well enough with clear skies and the scent of cherry blossoms drifting with the morning breeze. Her special admittance pass had arrived the day before and she had been at the gates to the Imperial Garden early. The Gardens were closed to the public due to structural maintenance on several of the walls, but was open to scholars and historians by special permission. Kagome wasn't really sure which category she fit into. She supposed that her study of historic gardens made her a little of both.

While the day had started well, it was becoming more frustrating by the minute. Not only had her sketchpad fallen in the dirt, but she'd spent the past two hours unsuccessfully trying to sketch the scene before her.

A grove of maples ambled up a small hill on the opposite side of the koi pond creating interesting textures. The maples, with their sharply defined leaves, contrasted with the velvety grass, the fuzzy ferns and the glass like surface of the little lake. The colors were a pleasing contrast as well; rich burgundy, deep green, frothy lime. It was a sight she wanted to capture, but unfortunately her memory kept interfering.

She had seen this garden five years ago. Or, five centuries ago, depending on how you looked at it, and her mind's eye kept supplying the old vision instead of the new one.

There, should be a ruined wall, the stones still crumbling and, there, should lay the bones of a giant demon and, over there, the scene only needed the addition of a red clad figure to complete it.

Kagome sighed. The well had closed five years ago after the defeat of Nuraku. She had thought herself over, or at least, resigned to, her grief. Sango and Miroku were long dead to her modern world. And Shippou and Inu Yasha… well, if they had lived down the long centuries, wouldn't they have come to find her?

Sighing at the pain that clutched at her heart whenever she thought of her long lost friends, Kagome admitted defeat and turned to dump her books on a bench. Should have brought my camera, she thought glumly.

Sitting down, she pulled a small package out of her bag, unwrapped the lunch she had brought and tried not to think about dog demons and a well that no longer worked. But no matter how hard she tried, she could not help wishing to see a familiar face from the past.

Sesshoumaru took a deep breath of spring air and let his shoulders relax. The Imperial Gardens at Kyoto were closed to the public today so he had taken the opportunity to visit and escape the city for awhile.

He absently watched workmen busy at one of the walls and wondered how many times he had seen this place repaired over the centuries. Battles, political struggles, time and even weather had all take their toll over the long years. Sesshoumaru himself had even taken out that east wall on one occasion a few hundred years ago.

He smirked slightly at the memory. That had been before he and the Emperor of that time had reached an agreement. Since then he had been an honored ally of the Emperor and guest of the Imperial Palace and Gardens when ever he wished it. The current Emperor was the only human in Japan who knew what Sesshoumaru really. Even the Prime Minister had no idea that youkai still walked the land he thought was his. At least the Emperor treated Seeshoumaru with the deference and respect due to a taiyoukai. The demon lord would be dining with the Imperial family next week before returning to Tokyo.

Those satisfying thoughts were interrupted when he caught a familiar scent. Though how the scent was familiar, he could not say. Lifting his head, he turned into the wind, testing the air.

The smell was that of a human, a female to be exact, and beneath the overtones of shampoo and soap, was a scent that stirred his memories and roused his youki from its forced slumber.

Winding his way between delicate maples, he stepped out into a clearing near a koi pond and stopped suddenly, staring at the young woman seated on the other side of the lake. For a moment, he could not place her, though he knew she was familiar, terribly familiar.

But suddenly the memory clicked into place and he knew why he hadn't recognized her. She looked so small and helpless without the brash figure of his brother standing nearby and a bow and arrow in her hand. He remembered too, that she was not as helpless as she looked, for she had shot those arrows at him more than once and defied him on any number of other occasions.

Involuntarily, his youki roared to life, lifting his hair slightly and causing it to swirl around him.

Kagome nearly dropped her lunch when a very familiar and very powerful youki roared over her, feeling as if it should have flattened the tree at her back.

Looking up in alarm, she beheld a breathtakingly handsome face that she had thought to never see again. She shot to her feet, a whirl of emotions rushing through her; fear, surprise, elation and most uncomfortable of all, embarrassment. She had always had a bit of a school girl crush on Sesshoumaru, and seeing him again after all her ties to the past had been painfully severed, made her feel every bit as awkward as she had in her teens. Had she not just been wishing for a face from the past? She wanted so much to reach out to him.

Instead she stood on her side of the pond; trapped by the conflicting emotions inside her while the centuries flowed between them like water.