Misconceptions and Misunderstandings
Sesshoumaru stared out the window as he waited for his brother to join him. He had not seen him in over a year. Since before he had married… her. He let his lips curl in a self-deprecating smile. He had everything he had ever set out to acquire. Anything he wished for. He was reminded of the saying to be careful what you wish for. You may get it. Yes he now had everything he ever wished for. Except happiness.
As he looked out over his impeccably manicured lawn he thought back to that night six months ago. He had been so happy. She was his. Finally. He had loved her for so long. But as long as she belonged to his brother, he kept his feelings to himself. When his brother left her, she was heartbroken. He grabbed his chance with both hands and never looked back. He was there to pick up the pieces and make her heart whole again.
The plane tickets were for the next day. He wanted to spend his wedding night in his bed. Their bed. She had not let him touch her before the wedding. Wanting their wedding night to be special. What a joke. And it was on him. There had been no blood. No barrier. She had lied to him. He had finished with her quickly, not caring if she reached her pleasure or not. He had risen and dressed ignoring her questions. When he stopped at the door he turned a cold look on her. "I want you out of my room by morning. I will have one of the maids tell you where your new room will be. It would be advisable to remain out of my sight until I decide what to do with you." He closed the door on her tears.
The plane tickets had never been used. They resided in his desk drawer as a reminder of what a fool he was. He had not seen her in six months. They lived in the same house, but he did not see her. He knew she only left her room to walk the grounds. He didn't think she had even seen her family since the wedding. She had not asked for anything. The credit card he'd given her before the wedding had not been used for anything other than her wedding dress. He had wondered briefly if it was the money she had been after. But now he knew it was not. Why then?
Sesshoumaru turned when he heard his brother come into the room. There were no words, as they each took in the changes both had undergone in the past year. They both looked older. Stress perhaps? Sorrow? Inuyasha sat down in front of the desk, as had always been his habit. Sesshoumaru took his place behind it. They had held many discussions in this fashion over the years. As he studied his younger brother, he wondered at the reason for the visit. He could smell his nervous state. Was he in some sort of trouble?
He didn't wonder long. Inuyasha squared his shoulders and exhaled. "I need to see her." Sesshoumaru nodded. "I'll send a maid. You can wait for her in the library." Inuyasha stood and began pacing. "Not yet. I have to know how she is." He looked into his older brother's eyes. "I waited to give her time. For her to be happy again. After what I did, I couldn't ask her forgiveness until I knew she was happy. Is she? Please tell me she is." The look in his brother's eyes told him that she was not.
"I thought you could make her happy." Sesshoumaru bowed his head to hide his pain from his brother. It only served to agitate him more. "There's something you aren't telling me." Inuyasha stopped in front of the desk and placed his hands on it. They were shaking. He whispered, "Is the cancer back?" Sesshoumaru's head shot up, his eyes wide. "Cancer?" Inuyasha sat down again. "She didn't tell you?"
He shook his head. "No. She wouldn't. She would not want to worry those she loves. I wouldn't have known if we hadn't been dating when she had her surgery." It seemed that Sesshoumaru could only parrot his brother's words. "Surgery?" There was silence for a moment before Inuyasha continued. "Yeah. She was having stomach pains. And what she called 'female problems'. The doctor told her she had a growth on her uterus. She would have to have it surgically removed. I didn't figure it was a big deal. People have surgery all the time. But as the date got closer she began to tell me what the doctor had really told her."
He had begun to pace again not noticing the shock on his brother's face. "She'd waited a long time before going to the doctor. She really doesn't get sick a lot. The doctor told her the growth was large and could be malignant. If so, she could die if they couldn't get it all. Even if they did, she'd probably never be able to have kids." He hung his head. "That's when I made the biggest mistake of my life. I so desperately wanted kids. I didn't realize that my love for her was more important. I broke up with her. I told her I had to have a woman who could give me pups."
Sesshoumaru was beginning to get over the shock and he didn't like the things that were running through his mind at his brother's confession. He looked up as his brother sat back down. "I didn't abandon her completely. I told her I'd stay as her friend until after the surgery. She was upbeat and positive, but then she rarely lets anything get her down. She even joked that after all her hopes and dreams a doctor's scalpel was going to get her virginity. I didn't know what to say to her"
There was a lump in Sesshoumaru's throat and a large rock had settled in his stomach. He was on the verge of being violently ill. The pain in his chest felt like a tremendous weight. And it was. The weight of his guilt. He barely heard Inuyasha tell him that the growth had not been malignant. It was benign. And as a bonus, it was on the outside of the uterus so no damage had been done. "But by the time I knew that she would still be able to have children, I had destroyed her faith in me. She told me we could still be friends but nothing more."
Sesshoumaru sat with his head in his hands long after his brother had gone. He needed time to deal with this. He needed to talk to her. He had asked his brother to give him a week. Then he could see her. He wanted to go to her. But what would he say? He had condemned her without even making an accusation for her to defend against. She had asked him why? What had she done wrong? The answer was not a damn thing. She was innocent. She had been innocent.
Six months in his own private hell. One he deserved. But the hell he had put her through was worse. And she had not deserved a damn minute of it. Oh how she must hate him now. He had to see her. He only had vague reports on her status from the servants. He had not paid much attention because he had not cared. He seemed to recall one that said she was not eating properly. He hadn't known. She never came to the dining room. She took all her meals in her room to avoid him. Another that said she only sat and stared out the window when she was not walking the grounds. She had made sure she avoided him not only in the days after the wedding, but every day since.
Should he ask one of the servants to summon her? Or go to her? No. He would not summon her as if she were a servant. She deserved so much more. So much more than him. And the treatment he had given her. He had not even respected her enough to show his anger and pain. He had shown her only indifference. And that was probably the worst of all. Before he could stand before her, he would have to decide what he was going to say to her. He would not lie to her. Would she, could she, ever forgive him? Would she understand it was not guilt that brought him before her?
Of course the guilt is there. A lot of it. But he had never stopped loving her. That was the reason he couldn't stand to see her. To know that he still loved her despite the betrayal. And now he understood that it was he who had betrayed her. In the worst possible way. He even had the reason she had refused to be intimate with him before the wedding. Inuyasha had told him he left right after her recovery from surgery. The doctors had told her she had to abstain from any sexual relations for six months. That put her release from those restrictions at right before the wedding. He had been such a fool.
He thought about what he would say as he walked out of his study. How did you make amends for such a grievous wrong? Especially to someone you claimed to love. He decided he would start just by seeing her and talking to her. He soon stood outside her door. He had purposely given her the smallest room in the house. As far away from his as possible. He had committed so many sins against her.
He knocked lightly. He heard a soft voice tell him to come in. It wasn't the strong voice he remembered. It was the voice of someone who didn't care. He slowly opened the door. He searched the small room until he found her sitting beside the only window in the room. She was staring out at who knew what. She didn't turn when he came in. So she didn't know it was him. She didn't seem to care. She had not uttered another word after she bid him enter.
He couldn't believe what he saw. She was thin. She had lost a great deal of weight. She had been slender before, but healthy, with lush curves. Sadly he could not even remember what those curves looked like. He had been so angry that night, he had noticed little. Her beautiful wavy curtain of hair was gone. It had been bobbed off just below her chin. She looked like a boy. In fact she now resembled her brother Souta a great deal. Gods forgive me Kagome. What have I done to you? You survived cancer only to be destroyed by two brothers who both claimed to love you. But when the time came to prove that love we both failed you.
The silence made Kagome curious. The maid always tried to talk to her. She turned her head to see who was there. Her gasp before quickly turning back to the window was the only indication that she knew he was there. He frowned. Her eyes, in the brief look he'd gotten, appeared dull, lifeless. Her cheeks were hollow, sunken, another testament to the amount of weight she'd lost. She looked like a wraith. Her skin was pale.
Her heart was beating like a captive bird. Why was he here? He hadn't wanted to see her at all in the six months since the wedding. She couldn't tell anything from his expression. Of course she hadn't really looked at him. Had he finally come to tell her what she had done wrong? Why he had been so angry? Did she care anymore?
He turned on the light before he walked over to her. The light from the window was not sufficient to see her reactions. She had not looked his way again after that first glance. He could hear her heart hammering in her chest. He could smell her fear. It hurt him to know he had reduced her to this. He stopped a few feet from her. "I came to ask you to come down to the dining room and have dinner with me." She looked over her shoulder at him. "Why? Have you finally decided what to do with me?" He was taken aback. "What?" She turned back to the window. "You told me to stay out of your sight until you decided what to do with me. Since you came here, I have to believe that you've made your decision."
He wanted nothing more than to gather her into his arms and tell her how sorry he was and that he would spend the rest of his life making it up to her if she would only forgive him. And he would, if she only gave a small indication that she would accept it. But there was nothing there but her indifference. He'd endured hers for less than ten minutes, with full knowledge of the reasons, and it was killing him. She'd endured his for six months with no explanation.
He hadn't known what to expect but it hadn't been this. As much as he wanted to beg her forgiveness, the most important thing right now was to restore her health. She had been the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Human or demon. It was clear that she no longer cared about anything. He had no idea how to proceed, but he knew the first thing he had to do was get her out of this room. "Yes. I have made a decision. We will discuss it over dinner." He held out a hand to her. She looked at it and then into his eyes. She stood up and made sure to pass him without touching him. He dropped the hand to his side.
He had told the servants to set two places before he went upstairs. They had looked at him strangely but said nothing. He opened the door to the dining room for her. She walked past him without acknowledging him. He frowned at the arrangement. He had neglected to tell the servants what he wanted. Kagome had never eaten in the dining room and the servants didn't know if they should set the places as they should have been if the master and mistress were a normal loving couple, or in a formal setting. They had opted for formal, so they were set at opposite ends of the long table.
Kagome took her seat at her end of the table. She reached for the water glass that had been filled for her. She almost choked when Sesshoumaru picked up his place setting and came down to seat himself at her end of the table. She calmed down when she realized that their conversation was probably not something he wanted the servants to overhear. The servants were beyond curious. There had been much speculation as to what had driven the master and the mistress apart. They had seemed so happy before the wedding.
Once they were served, Sesshoumaru dismissed the servants. He watched as she picked at her food, eating little. No wonder she was so thin. He would have to do something about that. "Is the food not to your liking? I can have something else brought to you." "It's fine. I'm not hungry." She hadn't been hungry in a very long time. What eating she did now was habit. She pushed her food around on her plate until she had to ask. "So what are you going to do? I'll go live somewhere else if you want, but I won't agree to a divorce. There has never been a divorce in my family and I will not be the first to disgrace my family."
He inwardly cringed at the thought of her leaving. And he hadn't considered divorce even when he still believed she had betrayed him. "Do you want to live somewhere else?" She looked up at him. "It doesn't matter to me where I live. Besides I didn't think I had a say in it anyway." She didn't care if she lived with him or not. He couldn't blame her. It's not like she had really lived with him this last six months anyway.
He reached out to touch her hand. He couldn't help himself. He had denied himself for six long months. And now he knew there had been no reason other than his own foolishness. "I don't want you to live somewhere else. I want you to stay here." She couldn't control her look of shock. The last time he had spoken to her, he had been so cold. Now he was almost like the man she had married. Except there seemed to be something else there. Something she couldn't quite put her finger on. She noticed he had covered her hand with his own. She pulled it away.
She pushed away from the table. "Then I guess I'll go back to my room." "Wait. That isn't your room." She looked at him curiously. He knew there was no way she would agree to come back to the room she belonged in. The room he had thrown her out of six months ago. It was too soon. "You need a bigger room. One with more windows. You look pale. I want you to start eating down here with me. I don't think you eat enough when you are alone." "Whatever. Just tell me where to put my things."
She walked to the door. He got up and went out after her. She lifted a curious brow in his direction. "I thought I'd walk you back to your room." "As you wish." His behavior had her confused. It was almost as if he'd had some grand epiphany concerning her today. She'd given up trying to make sense of his behavior since crying for a month after her wedding night. She was no closer to understanding what had happened than she was that night. And even if his behavior today had been different, he still wasn't talking about it. And she refused to ask him again.
They reached her door and he put a hand out to stop her from entering just yet. "I want you to do some shopping. Get some new clothes." He noted that what she wore hung on her like a sack. "Take the credit card I gave you. Don't worry about how much you spend. Get whatever you want." She shook her head as she reached for the door. "Can't." He stared at her. "Can't?" She opened the door and ducked under his arm. "Can't. I cut it up months ago." She closed the door leaving him standing there with his head bowed.
To be continued….