A/N: Oneshot, awarded First Place at LJ's dokuga_contest 'Cream' prompt challenge.

The title is a nod to my favorite album by Bon Iver, 'For Emma, Forever Ago.'

As always, I own none of these characters and make no profit from this story.

* * *

For Kagome, Forever Ago


Southern breezes rippled through trees heavy with cherry blossoms, sending showers of pale cream petals drifting through the wind like a warm snow, gentle and silent and sacred.

His father stood out among the flowers, the red cloth of the fire-rat like blood amongst the pale whiteness. His eyes were fixed upon a single branch of laden with blooms, gently rolling it between his fingers. "Life and death are never ridiculous, Sesshoumaru."

"Do not compare our great power and strength with that of a mere blossom. It is an insult."

The Dog General gave a small upturned smile. "All life will end, my son. Mine, yours, your mother's...it is inevitable that we are nothing more than a single blossom to time, nameless and faceless just like so many others," he said, plucking a single cherry blossom from the branch and holding it up to his nose. "One day when you are grown, you will begin to understand...when you have lost someone close to you, someone who is another blossom just as you are."

Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. "Only those who accept weakness will die. You said this yourself."

Silence hung softly as the breeze continued to flutter between them.

"I did," he said. "Yet sometimes...that weakness may be worth the price of death," Inu No Taisho whispered, his voice heavy with contemplation and melancholy....

* * *

The dream faded into wisps of memories as sleep left and the day arose. Sesshoumaru sat up in his bed and rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

It had been centuries since he had dreamed of his father, since he had even thought on those times when the world was wild and untamed and a demon such as himself could roam and conquer and fulfill great destinies.

Sirens wailed in the distance, and he kicked off the sheets and headed out on the balcony. The air was soft and warm and the full moon hung heavy and low in the sky, casting the world silver amongst the darkness.

There was still some magic left in the moonlight, gentle enough for those fragile dreams of hope and longing and love and what-should-be...gentle enough for them to live for a moment, until the sun came to burn them away with its harsh reality.

He could see them from where he stood - trees full of perfect blooms nestled along the river. Strands of light circled their bases and illuminated the flowers against the night, cream and silver and shades of pink glowed soft and silent.

Time felt thin on nights such as these, as memories of silk and silver hair and swords ghosted along the edge of his thoughts; he thought if he closed his eyes he would open them to see vast mountains and green valleys and hear nothing but the call of singing birds instead of millions of lights and buildings and hear nothing but sirens and cars and horns.

Sesshoumaru closed his eyes...and opened them again - and nothing had changed.

* * *

The smell of brewing coffee was a welcome relief for his nose - the one scent strong enough to drown out the ever present stench of the modern world. He ordered the usual, a latte with extra milk and sugar and stood there patiently waiting, no different than any other day before.

And then he felt it.

Something he had not sensed in over a hundred years...power, untamed and unchecked and raw grating against his youki. His gaze swept across the store and saw nothing...

And then the bell above the door jingled and opened.

* * *

Priests and mikos murmured prayers as a group of humans huddled around a motionless mass and wept.

He had watched them for some time, mourning the loss of someone dear to them...and someone dear to him. Sesshoumaru had known this day would come; he had experienced it before...but it did not make it any easier to bear.

With one graceful jump he landed at her feet, sending the humans screaming and scattering into the darkness. Yet he paid them no mind; they were of no consequence. She was the only one that mattered - that had ever mattered.


She had lived a long and happy life, had many children, had never lost her smile. He reached out one clawed finger and trailed it along her cold and wrinkled skin, down through her hair now sprinkled with grey.


Beautiful in life, beautiful in death. Beautiful in her weakness.

Weakness that was worth the price of death.

Reaching back, he gathered his long, trailing hair into a bundle. With one quick slice, he cut it off at the shoulder, and carefully draped the mass across her body, falling over her like a moonlit shroud that had managed to stand up and survive against the sun.

His hair was a mark of his race, of his lineage, of the years of bloodshed and anger and pain...of who he used to be, and of his own foolish weakness.

Let his past die and burn with her. He didn't want it anymore.

The demon he used to be was dead to this world.

With one final caress, Sesshoumaru turned his back to the land of his birth and headed across the sea.

* * *

The door jingled and she stepped in, bringing the past with her.

The present dropped away as their eyes met, power brushing against power, and if he blinked he was sure he would open them to see her with an irritated hanyou beside her and a battered yellow bag on her shoulders instead of alone and carrying a small black purse.

He blinked. And nothing changed.

She walked up to him, eyes wide in wonder. "Sesshoumaru?"


She paused, considering her next question but was interrupted. "Order up! One large latte, double milk double sugar!"

Sesshoumaru reached out to the counter, grabbing his coffee, and Kagome's eyes blinked rapidly, a smile growing across her face. "I never pictured you as the kind to take double milk and double sugar in your coffee," she said.

He shrugged his shoulders, and she looked over to the clerk. "I'll take a triple espresso, please."

He paused, remembering he was not the demon that she had known. "I never pictured you as the type to drink triple espresso," he said with a smirk.

Kagome laughed. "Well, I guess we're both full of surprises, aren't we?" she said and smiled - a sight that lit up her face, that lit up the entire world.

Beautiful, he thought.

* * *

Coffee led to more coffee. More coffee led to dinner. Dinner led to lunch. Lunch led to breakfast...and breakfast led into days, days into months, months into years.

It was surprisingly easy, he mused, to fall in love with her when he was not busy being the legacy of a great general, not busy being a slighted older brother, not busy trying to become the greatest of all demons.

* * *

"Why did you cut your hair?" she asked one day, her fingers twirling amongst the silver strands.

Hazy memories of Rin's silver shroud flitted through his mind.

"It became...a burden," he said.

Her fingers paused. "But it was such a beautiful burden," she said, reaching up to place a light kiss on his cheek.

* * *

They walked casually hand in hand through the park as warm breezes scattered cherry blossoms across their path and underfoot, almost as if the gods were blessing the ground they walked upon. Long strands of silver hair blew upon the breeze...long for her, and only her.

Kagome paused under one tree and looked up to admire the flowering branches, tucking a wayward lock of hair behind her ear. "They're so beautiful," she said, giving his hand a small squeeze. "I wish they would last just a little longer."

Sesshoumaru looked up to add his agreement, when his eye caught a barren tree in the distance. It stood bare and alone off to the side, dark branches gnarled deep as everything around it thrived.

He must have stood there for quite a while before he heard her. "Sesshoumaru? Are you all right?" she asked.

Finally breaking his gaze away from the barren tree, he looked down at her. "I'm fine," he said at last, and offered nothing more. She gave him a smile, knowing he would tell her in his own way.

* * *

They had a happy life in the time they were given.

Some days were easier than others, some days they couldn't keep their hands off of each other...some days they bickered incessantly, some days he hated himself for his weakness, some days he could care less...some nights were spent making love until dawn, some nights were spent in quiet sleep curled in each others arms.

But there were very few days that he did not understand his father.

Perhaps some weaknesses are worth the price...

And now...now as he stood over Kagome's lifeless body, there was no regrets on who he had become. Bending down to place one last kiss on her forehead, Sesshoumaru tucked two cream cherry blossoms in her cold fingers.

Beautiful in life. Beautiful in death.

Beautiful in her weakness.

* * *

It was still there after all of these years; the barren tree in the park that no one had thought to cut down - standing silent amongst the field of its thriving brethren. Sesshoumaru stood before it dressed in white, his long hair trailing the ground behind him in the delicate magic of the moonlight.

Father had been wrong all of those centuries ago, he thought.

Demons were not as single blossoms to time...they were the tree itself. Strong enough to withstand anything nature could give, be it rain, time, blizzard, ice, storms...but lonely and desolate without a blossom upon their branches.

He missed her so very much.

Sesshoumaru knew time was thin on a night such as this. If he blinked his eyes, she would be standing there beside him again with those blue eyes and bright smile...

She was a weakness worth the price of death...and he had chosen to wither away like the tree before him...and there were no regrets this time.

Reaching back, he gathered his hair into a bundle and sliced it off at the shoulder. Holding out his hand, he let the silver strands scatter on the wind...and closed his eyes.

Beautiful in life. Beautiful in death.

Beautiful in his weakness.

This time he knew...knew he would open his eyes and everything would be changed.

Nameless and faceless, both blossom and tree gave way to death...only to one day hope to be reunited on the other side in an unending bloom.

She would always be worth the price.