Another challenge, this time over hot chocolate after a weird midterm and back to my favorite pairing: Sesshoumaru x Kagome. It's a bit different from my normal stuff, but enjoy.

Strangers in a Teashop~+~

You would think he'd learn. After centuries of living with them, you'd think he'd learn. But he was an old dog and, as they say, you couldn't teach him new tricks. He had been an old dog back in the Feuding Age as well, but back then he didn't want to learn new tricks. He knew all the old ones and had had enough trouble with the new that his patience was thin at best.

The girl was different. Her life had been turned upside-down so many times over the years that she had learned to keep on her toes. Nothing surprised her anymore, except for math exams, but even those were long out of the way. Once, she would have ran or fought. Once, she might have reacted. Now she held a look that only the passing of ages could account for.

They both knew however that if enough time passed, things have a tendency to repeat. Centuries of living among humans had taught him that. He'd seen them fight for love or power or for love of power, he'd seen grandchildren that were the mirror image of their grandparents, he'd seen a miko die with her hanyou lover so that her future self could be safe in a world that wasn't yet there. And she had learned by living among centuries that humans never changed and she was happy with that. They'd shown her kindness in a past she didn't belong to and support in a present that kept shunning her.

They had changed. He was more human than he would ever admit it. He was too old to learn new tricks, but living among humans had rubbed off on him and there was no room for his old trick now. His striking features had faded in time; he willed them away, leaving behind a rather tall skinny man with eyes the wrong shade of brown and gray hair that didn't suit his apparent age. She was more confident. She had outgrown the innocent schoolgirl she had once been and had outlived the warrior she had had to become. Her appearance was pretty much the same, the weight of ten years hanging lightly on her shoulders as memories.

They looked quietly at each other. She was seating at a crowded table, a tea cup lost somewhere under the flood of papers she was supposed to be grading. He was standing in front of her, wondering if he should say anything.

"May I?" he ventured.

She nodded and he sat opposite her.

"It's been a while" she said.

"A little longer for me"

"I never expected to see you again"

"I used to think so too. But then the new century rolled around and thought there might be a chance. I'm still alive after all"

A waiter came by and offered him a menu. He took it and decided on coffee. The waiter left them to their silence.

For a while, they said nothing. Silence was more comfortable. After all, what could you tell a stranger? What could you say to the only person that knew you for what you were?

When the waiter came back with the coffee, he found them in the same silence he had left them in.

"How did you find me?" she asked, searching for her cup under a pile of papers.

"It was chance. I never expected you this soon" he said and thought it better to explain "I saw you here last month. I couldn't believe it was you at the time, I was still expecting the fiery young girl that stood up to monsters and wore indecently short skirts"

She blushed. Getting rid of the uniform was one of the best moments in her life.

"After that I decided to pay attention. The next time I was here I took a good look at you and knew I was right. I came here more often, but you never noticed"

"I haven't expected the past to catch up with me anymore. At first I kept waiting for someone to show up. An old friend, an enemy, they couldn't have all perished. It took me years to resign to the idea that my connection to the past was severed. Then you showed up."

"Should I go?"

"Stay" she said, grabbing his hand and giving him a soft smile.

They spent the rest of the day in silence, the comfortable kind that settles when there's nothing more to say and no need to say it. Maybe the next time they meat, they'd be ready for more. This time, it was enough to know there was somebody left.