Disclaimer: Inuyasha and all of it's characters are property of the brilliant Takahashi-sama and I claim no ownership of them.
A truth serum gone awry leaves Kagome with an unexpected side effect that sets in motion events leading her to an unknown fate. A destiny that is over 3,000 years in the making, one that is not even hers. A destiny that leads her on an epic quest to reset the balance between demons and mankind.
Edit: Fixed the scene breaks, sorry about that.
"It is almost complete," the young man said out loud to himself with a wiry grin adorning his face, as he brushed his dark bangs away from his eyes. "It won't be long now and she will tell me the truth," he chuckled to himself as he began to stir the pot in front of him once again. The dark green liquid swirled around within its container as small puffs of smoke rose from it, dissipating soon after.
He ignored the young serving girl as she walked into the kitchen behind him, placed a few plates on a tray and made her way back out again. What he was doing was far too important, in his opinion anyway, to let himself be distracted by the normal going ons in the kitchen. It would not bode well to be sidetracked from his current activities simply because a young woman came to retrieve lunch for the other residents in the home.
So he merely watched as the dark liquid continued to swirl around the pot, following the same path that had been taken by his wooden spoon not a moment before. Around and around it went, mixing the ingredients of the concoction with each other. Finally it was time to add the last element to the potion, the most important one in fact. A single tear from an old and virginal woman. Not only had it been essential, but it had been the hardest one to procure. In fact, he had to visit a village a days walk away to get one from the miko and it had not been easy to get her to cry.
"Old bat was as tough as stone," he grumbled to himself as he watched the teardrop slowly slide out of the vial, dripping into the mixture. Soon as it had, blue sparks flew up out of the pot followed by a dark cloud of smoke that left the man coughing as he continued to stir. When things had finally simmered down, he grabbed the small cup that he had set aside for his potion and ladled a spoonful of the mixture in. Setting the cup back down, he stared down at the almost completely full pot wondering what to do with the remainder.
'Perhaps I should add another spoonful, best be sure that it will work.' he decided mentally as he filled the wooden spoon once again and glanced at the liquid with a smile. "Now she will tell me the truth. She will tell me the real reason she refuses to be my bride," he insisted as he chuckled once again before turning back to grab the cup. "Now where did that go?" he wondered when he realized the cup was no longer where he had left it.
A little while before
"Now will you let us stay at a village, Inuyasha?" Kagome demanded as she turned toward the half-demon she was speaking to with her hand upon her hip. Said half-demon glanced up at her in between rain soaked bangs to give her a slight nod. A collective sigh was heard from the rest of the group as they picked up the pace and began heading for the small village they could see just over the hill in front of them.
They had been traveling the last few hours, with the signs of the threatening storm not far behind them, trying to get the half-demon to let them take shelter from the incoming rain within a village without any luck. He was convinced that they would arrive at a small cave he knew to be nearby before the storm hit and opted to head for it rather than have to deal with annoying villagers. He just knew they were going to have some problem and Kagome would of course insist that they help them out.
And truthfully he was in no mood to be of service to anyone. Not they were ever grateful anyways. Well they were grateful to Kagome, Miroku and Sango at least, but never to the more demonic members of the group. Letting off his own sigh, Inuyasha trotted along behind them, in no hurry to arrive at the village. He was more than happy to remain in the rain truthfully, but he knew the humans wouldn't be able to handle it for long and would most likely end up sick.
In fact, it was the only reason why he relented to stopping in the village in the first place. That and the ever looming threat of Kagome 'sitting' him until he was more agreeable, not that he was about to admit to her or anyone else that he worried about it. As they continued along, the rain pouring so heavily now that you couldn't see a foot in front of yourself, Inuyasha wondered what trick Miroku would use this time to get them a place to stay for the night.
Perhaps it would be the 'I feel an ominous presence here', or the 'the dark clouds above your home are a bad omen'. Though he doubted that last one would work today considering there were dark cloud everywhere. Perhaps he would merely ask if the headmen would trade lodging for the night for a evil spirit cleansing. No matter which way he opted to go, Inuyasha felt it would at least provide him some entertainment.
"Let me handle this," Miroku insisted as he walked up the front steps of the largest home in the village and knocked on the door. As they waited, Kagome stepped up next to him, more than likely to receive what little protection the awning provided from the rain. It wasn't long before an elderly gentleman opened the door, quickly looking from Miroku to Kagome.
"Oh you poor dears, come in. I insist you stay in some of our spare rooms if you don't already have lodging for the night. Come in, come in, you must get out of the rain," he insisted as he ushered them inside after stepping out of the way. Shrugging, the group made their way inside and out of the cold before the old man shut the door behind them. Turning around, he seemed slightly startled. "Oh there were more of you than I thought.
"These eyes aren't what they used to be and I didn't see the rest of you. Well no matter. The rooms are plenty big for more than one person. Come, come, I shall show you to your rooms. Asa!" the old man called out as he began walking down the long hallway. With a shrug, Miroku began following after him, soon joined by the rest of the group. After a few moments a young woman arrived and bowed to the elder.
Miroku grinned and began to step toward her, his normal 'bare my child' speech on the tip of his tongue, when Sango grabbed the collar of his robes and held him back. He turned back to her with a sheepish look, to which she merely glared in response. "Asa, please see to it that food and drinks are brought to the two guest rooms immediately," the elderly man instructed, having no idea of what was going on behind him. The girl, Asa, nodded before turning and heading back the way she had come, presumably the kitchen.
"Here we are," the old man commented, though to himself or to them, the group wasn't really sure, as he stopped in front of a door and turned back to them with a smile. "This is for the ladies, and that one there," he explained, pointing across the hall to an identical door, "is for the men. Asa should have your dinners here by the time you return from a bath, which is just down the hall. I would stay to see to your getting settled in, but I'm afraid I am old and need my rest. Please ask Asa if there is anything you need."
"We thank you for your generosity. Have a good evening," Miroku bid him goodnight as he bowed with a smile. He returned it with a nod before turning and making his way back down the hallway. Once he was out of sight, Miroku turned back to the rest of the group with a smile. "Ladies first," he insisted as he gestured toward the bathing area.
"Keep an eye on him," Sango told Inuyasha as she past them by, sending a glare at Miroku as she did. Miroku wore a hurt look, but no one paid it any mind, let alone bought it. "Come on Kagome, a nice, hot bath sounds great right about now," Sango called over her shoulder and with a quick 'coming' Kagome soon caught up to her.
"This looks good," Kagome commented with a smile to Sango as they walked back into their borrowed room, sans Shippo who had decided to stay in the bath while the guys were in there, and found a tray full of hot food and a couple of drinks waiting for them. Sango simply nodded as they made their way over to the tray and each picked up a steaming cup of tea. Taking a sip, Kagome couldn't help but sigh in contentment. After a few more sips, Kagome finally set her cup down, not wanting to finish it before she had even started her meal. "That is really good tea," she insisted before picking up her chopsticks.
"It's not bad," Sango agreed, though less enthusiastically as Kagome, as she too set her cup down and started eating. Other than the occasional sounds of their chopsticks hitting the bowls, the room was rather quiet and the two sat enjoying their meals until their door was thrown open, startling them. They looked up, ready to reach for their weapons if the need arose, to find a young man with dark hair and green eyes glancing not at them, but at their dishes.
"Which one of you drank from this one?" he demanded as he pointed toward the cup in front of Kagome. Giving Sango a confused look, and getting a shrug in response, Kagome turned back to the man and told him that she had. "What color is the cup?" he inquired, now completely ignoring Sango and keeping all of his attention on Kagome.
"It's blue why?" Kagome wondered, having no idea why the color of a cup would be important even to have a strange man barging into their room to ask them about it.
"Now say it's green," he instructed, throughly convincing the two girls that he was very much insane, but none the less, and hoping it would get rid of him, Kagome told him the cup was green. "Hmm, it didn't work," he commented, obviously talking to himself now, completely ignoring both girls. "Why didn't the truth serum work?" he mumbled as he turned and headed back out of the room, closing the door behind him.
"And that was...?" Sango inquired as she turned from the door to glance at Kagome, who merely shrugged her shoulders. 'What a strange man,' Sango thought to herself before shaking her head and picking up the chopsticks she had dropped when he barged in. Deciding she was no longer hungry, she set them across the bowl in front of her.
"He was a very strange man wasn't he?" Kagome questioned rhetorically as she placed their dishes back on the tray and placed it outside their door so Asa could pick it up when she had the chance. "I think I'm going to get some sleep. Today was far too long," she commented as she unrolled her sleeping bag and quickly climbed into it.
The following morning dawned far too early for Kagome, who would much rather be still within the comfort and warmth of her sleeping bag instead of waiting for Inuyasha and Miroku. They were currently ridding the headman's home of 'evil spirits' and Kagome couldn't help but wonder why there weren't able to catch a few more extra Zs while they were doing so.
"They should have let us sleep in while they were doing this. I don't think I got more than a few hours of sleep last night," Kagome complained, voicing her inner thoughts as she turned toward Sango. Sango did little more than nod as she stifled a yawn behind her hand before going back to petting Kirara, who she was holding in her arms.
"Same. Was too worried that weird guy might decide to pop back into our room and wanted to be ready in case he decided to do more than ask a few odd questions," Sango explained to her friend as Shippo glanced back and forth between the two confused from his place in Kagome's arms. 'I wonder if we should tell Inuyasha about last night...' Sango wondered to herself.
"I don't think we really need to worry about it. I mean really all he did was ask a few odd questions and left us alone. I see no reason to worry the others, especially since we're leaving today anyways. Guy probably just had a few screws loose," Kagome joked, throughly confusing the kit in her arms.
Before Sango had the chance to respond, or Shippo ask what was going on, they spotted Inuyasha and Miroku making their way toward them. "Let's get out of here. We've got some lost time to make up for," Inuyasha insisted as he passed the others by and began heading in the direction they had been going the night before.
Rolling her chocolate eyes at him, Kagome turned and began following after him. "You know Inuyasha, us having to stop in a village so we could be out of the rain, wasn't really losing time. In fact, if you really think about it, we saved time by taking precautions to not get sick and have to hold up some where for a few days," she insisted with a smug look that was lost on her half-demon companion since his back was turned, but the other members of the group caught it and couldn't help but smile.
"No Kagome, what would really be saving some time is if you'd stop yapping and walk faster. We're already behind schedule with your insisting to stop at every village we pass and help them with problems that have nothing to do with us. And even more so now that we had to stop last night earlier than we should have," Inuyasha grumbled over his shoulder, noticing right away that Kagome had stopped walking behind him.
Slowly he turned to face her, afraid he would see anger clearly on her face, a warning sign of an incoming 'sit' command. Instead she merely stared at him, little to no visible emotion adorning her face, for a moment reminding him of his half-brother, before he shivered and turned his attention back to Kagome. "If all we seem to do is slow you down, Inuyasha, why do you stay? Why not just take off and go our own pace since that seems to be so important to you?"
'Is she saying she doesn't want me around anymore?' Inuyasha worried mentally as he glanced from her to the other members of the group to see if they were agreeing with her. Not that he thought they wouldn't, they always agreed with Kagome when she was going against him.
"Of course I don't mean to say that we don't want you with us Inuyasha, you're as much of a member of this group as any of us, but you don't seem to want to be here. I guess I just don't understand why you continue to stay with us when you obviously don't want to. I can't imagine myself staying with people I obviously can't stand for all that long," Kagome told him, the last part more to herself than to him.
"Lady Kagome makes a good point, one I have been wondering about myself for some time. I can not believe that you stay merely because Lady Kagome can detect the jewel shards. Is there perhaps another reason you stay?" Miroku question, everyone quickly figuring out what it was that he was up to the moment the words left his lips, everyone but Kagome that was. While everyone, including Inuyasha, had figured out he was trying to get him to admit he liked Kagome, she simply figured he was merely agreeing with her.
"Don't you humans know anything?" Inuyasha finally grumbled as he thrust his hands into his sleeves and stared at them annoyed. He growled softly when he was met by three confused expressions instead of answers. "Does the word pack mean anything to you?" he inquired and was met with even more confused expressions from the humans. "Family?" he tried again and finally they nodded that they understood that one.
"Packs are family for demons. I stay because you guys are my pack and as annoying as you can be at times, being apart of a pack is worth putting up with it. You maybe slow, weak, annoying and complain too much, but you're my family and I wouldn't trade you guys for anything. Now if you're done acting like stupid humans, we have lost ground to cover," he insisted before turning back around and continuing on the way he had been going.
Behind him the rest of the group shrugged before jogging to catch up and fall in behind him, deciding to let the conversation drop for now. There was no need to force him to continue talking about it when his actions clearly stated he didn't wish to.
Hours had passed since the group had left the village and they felt it was long past time to stop for lunch, but Inuyasha seemed inclined to continue on without pausing. Kagome could hear the grumblings of her companions behind her about being tired and hungry, but Inuyasha either hadn't heard them or was choosing to ignore them. Finally reaching the end of her patience with him, Kagome was about to threaten to 'sit' him if he didn't let them stop, when said half-demon stopped mid step and began sniffing the air around him.
"What is it, Inuyasha?" Kagome inquired knowing his actions more than likely meant that some danger lurked nearby, but unsure which of the many possibilities it was. Truthfully it all depended on his next actions to make the 'danger' clear to Kagome. "If he growls while mumbling under his breath, it's Kouga. If he growls while pulling out the fang, it's Sesshoumaru. If he continues sniffing while growling under his breath, he can't figure out what it is.
"And if he takes off while growling, it's Naraku," Kagome said, unknowingly voicing her thoughts out loud. "Wait for it...There we go. Fang's out. It's Sesshoumaru," she continued taking no notice of the way the others were staring at her in confusion. "I wonder if the others notice how just about everything he does revolves around growling, in one pitch or another," Kagome mumbled out loud to herself.
Before anyone had the chance to respond, if they could come up with a way to reply anyways, the dense foliage in front of them parted as Sesshoumaru appeared before them in all his terrifying and deathly glory. "Makes for nice eye candy though," she continued voicing her inner thoughts, still unaware of the fact she was speaking out loud, causing Miroku and Sango to drop their jaws as they stared at her in shock. Kagome having explained the concept of 'eye candy' to them before, they understood exactly what her words implied.
"What do you want you bastard?!" Inuyasha hollered at his half-brother as he raised the fang in front of his chest preparing himself for the battle he knew was to come. 'Those guys better stay back so they don't get hurt,' Inuyasha thought to himself as he sneaked a quick peak at his companions to make sure they weren't in any danger.
"I see your manners have failed to improve," Sesshoumaru replied monotonously as he stood undaunted by his half-brother's actions. Though the first went unnoticed by him, Sesshoumaru caught Inuyasha's second glance back toward his companions and raised a single, elegant eyebrow at the motion. 'The idiot should know by now that I only attack his companions when they draw weapons against me,' Sesshoumaru thought silently as he mentally rolled his golden orbs at Inuyasha.
"Why the hell should I show manners to some bastard that's always trying to kill me?" Inuyasha shot back at him with a smirk as he watched Sesshoumaru's arm for the first signs that he was reaching for his still sheathed fang. Inuyasha knew that the fact that he was currently standing perfectly still was misleading, a ploy to get his opponent to lower their guard in false security.
'The pup still has not learned that if I wished for his death, he would be dead. Though perhaps it is better that he does not understand this. He fights at full power when he believes he is in danger allowing me to gage his improvement,' Sesshoumaru thought to himself, showing no outward sign of his inner monologue.
"Since Sesshoumaru showed up, and it looks like Inuyasha is going to fight him, this gives us the chance to have lunch," Kagome decided with a nod of her head before turning toward her companions with a large grin. "They're going to be busy for a while, want to have lunch while we have the chance?" she inquired even as she began removing her over sized, yellow backpack.
"Kagome don't you think that we should be watching the fight in case Inuyasha needs our help?" Sango questioned confused by her friend's actions. Kagome glanced up at her just as, if not more, confused as to why she was acting the way she was after what was just said.
"Why? Inuyasha just said that he wanted us to stay back so we won't get hurt and Sesshoumaru pretty much just said he was training him. There's no real danger and you guys have been complaining about being hungry for hours," Kagome reminded them before shaking her head and going back to digging through her bag for something for them to eat for lunch. Unnoticed by her, the others, including Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru, stared at her in shock, though the latter kept his astonishment veiled.
Forgetting about his half-brother completely, Inuyasha marched over to her as he sheathed his fang. "What the hell has gotten into you? I never said that out loud and that bastard didn't say anything except to complain about my manners," Inuyasha insisted as he took his normal stance, feet shoulder width apart with hands stuffed into his sleeves, and stared down at her.
"Jeez if you'd clean out your ears more often you wouldn't be having this problem Inuyasha. I don't have your demonic hearing and I heard it all the way over here just fine. He just said that if he wanted you dead you would be dead and something about gaging your improvement. I stopped listening after he said he wasn't going to kill you," Kagome explained without bothering to look up from her bag as she pulled out what she needed and set it on the grass covered ground next to her.
"Did any of you hear any of that?" Inuyasha inquired as he turned toward the rest of his companions and was met by four heads shaking. "Yeah didn't think so. Alright, spill woman, how did you hear my thoughts? And the ice bastard's back there, if he did in fact think what you heard," Inuyasha demanded, adding the last part almost as an after thought.
"Inuyasha did you hit your head when I wasn't looking? You're starting to sound like you've lost your mind," Kagome told him as she glanced up at him in concern only to find her friends gazing down at her with the same expression she was wearing. "What? Why are you guys looking at me like there's something wrong with me? He's the one with issues," she insisted as she gestured toward Inuyasha.
"Kagome, I believe I can speak for everyone when I say, you are the only one who heard what you heard. And truthfully, you've been acting slightly off since last night," Sango told her before the events of the previous night resurfaced in her mind. 'It has to be connected with that weird guy. It was right after he showed up that she started acting weird,' Sango decided mentally.
"Why are you even bringing up that guy from last night? For one thing he was mumbling something about a 'truth serum', which if you remember didn't work cause I was able to tell him that the cup was green. What I don't see is what that has to do with you guys' apparent insanity, thinking I can read minds. That'll be the day," Kagome joked only to be meet with the same, unchanged expressions.
"I guess when he screwed up on the serum he made it into a 'thought reading' potion because I didn't mention him out loud. I thought about him," Sango insisted in a worried tone as she turned from Kagome to Inuyasha, to get his help.
"Okay guys this joke has gone on long enough. Mind reading is not possible, if it was it would drive the person insane with the constant flood of other voices in their head. Though I've got to give you guys props for getting Sesshoumaru to go along with it," Kagome told them as she gestured to the unmoving demon lord.
Inuyasha gave her a startled look, as though she had just told him people had walked on the moon, before shaking his head at her and turning his attention to Sango. "Alright, what weird guy are you talking about, Sango?" he demanded, deciding to give up on asking Kagome questions for the time being.
"Some guy came into our room last night and demanded to know who drank out of a certain cup. Once Kagome said that she had, he wanted her to tell him the color of the cup, which was blue, and then to say it was green. Which she did. Then he mumbled something about the truth serum not working and left. We just figured the guy was crazy and since no harm came to Kagome, we decided to not mention him," Sango explained causing Inuyasha to 'huff' in response.
Sesshoumaru, who had remained silent through the entire exchange, began to wonder if this wasn't some strange new battle tactic the group had come up with, believing Kagome had a better chance of randomly guessing what he had been thinking rather than gaining the ability to read minds from a misbegotten truth potion. Deciding to test his theory, Sesshoumaru thought the most uncharacteristic thing he could think of. 'I wonder how long it will be before she notices that her far too short of clothing is allowing for an uninhibited view of her undergarments.'
Kagome's response was instantaneous. She jumped to her feet, grabbing the hem of her skirt, pulling it down to make sure she was covered as she turned and glared at the demon lord. Though he showed no outward sign, Sesshoumaru had to fight the urge to laugh at her expense. While she stood there gaping at him with cheery red cheeks, Sesshoumaru flashed her a quick smirk before quickly returning to his normal stoic expression when the others turned in his direction to find the cause of Kagome's embarrassment.
Seeing nothing unusual about Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha turned back to Kagome, even more convinced that she was beginning to lose her mind. "Set up camp here, I'm gonna head back to the village and see if I can't find the moron that caused this. Sango you come with me so you can point him out to me," Inuyasha instructed as he knelt down and waited for the girl to climb onto his back, startling the rest of the group as he usually only carried Kagome in that manner.
"That's not a good idea, Inuyasha, there's no telling what he might do if he learns how his potion works, if it does in fact work as you guys are claiming it does. What if he starts selling it to anyone willing to buy it? Can you imagine if all of your enemies are able to read your mind? Or worse yet everyone you come in contact having taken it, and never having a single private thought again," Kagome pointed out as she turned to face him, deciding that preventing him for making, what she believe would be, a huge mistake took precedent over glaring at Sesshoumaru.
"I have no intention of telling him what it does, just figured I could probably get a list of ingredients so at the very least we will know what you've ingested. Maybe if we're lucky we might be able to get a sample of it and have a better chance of finding a way to counteract it once we find someone learned in potions."
"Alright, but what about him?" Kagome inquired as she gestured over her shoulder where Sesshoumaru was still standing silently. After Sango was situated on his back, Inuyasha turned back around to face them.
"Don't worry about him. He's like a nightmare, if you ignore it, it will go away. Besides with out me here he'll have no reason to stick around. We should be back sometime tonight, if not tomorrow morning," Inuyasha informed them before turning and heading back the way they had come. Kagome glanced over at Miroku, who was holding Kirara after being handed her by Sango, before shrugging and going back to preparing lunch.
'I may find a use for you yet, girl," Sesshoumaru thought to himself knowing full well that she would hear him, before turning and making his way back into the surrounding forest. Unnoticed by him, Kagome turned to glare at his retreating back upon hearing him. Once he was out of sight, and she no longer saw the need to try and burn holes into his back, Kagome turned back to find the others staring at her in question. She waved her hand to dismiss their unasked questions and once again turned back to preparing their meal.
Kagome stared into the flames of the near dying fire late that night. Having discovered she could in fact hear the thoughts of people while they were dreaming, she had been unable to fall asleep. Every time she had closed her eyes, her imagination had allowed her to add images to the thoughts. And considering Miroku was just a perverted asleep as he was awake, his dreams were keeping her wide awake and wanting to throw things at him.
She fought the urge to do so as she did not wish to have to explain to him just why she was throwing things and instead had opted to stare at the fire. She had found she was less likely to hear their thoughts if she concentrated on something, though it did not keep all of them out. 'Is it not past your bedtime, little girl?' Hearing someone speaking to her in the hush of night startled Kagome and she jumped up, scanning the surrounding area searching for who was speaking to her, finding no one but her still sleeping companions.
'Impressive, you can hear me from this distance. Not bad, for a human,' the voice continued and though she could not find where it was coming from, she could at least tell who. Again she surveyed her surroundings, including the dense forest nearby, this time searching for the tale tell white of Sesshoumaru's hair and clothing. Again she saw no one. Becoming aggravated, she ignored what she could see with her eyes and instead searched with her powers. Though she had not perfected the ability, she did well enough if they were close by and was a presence she recognized.
She could sense the sleeping kit cuddled up in her sleeping bag, his aura reminding her of the warm glow of firelight dancing across her skin. Next she located Kirara curled up next to Miroku since her usual sleeping partner was absent, her aura prickling across her skin, reminding her of a kitten nibbling on her fingers. Never causing harm, but the strength to draw blood just beneath the surface. Allowing her powers to fan out further, she soon found the aura that practically screamed its master's name.
It was like arctic winds blasting across a barren wasteland. His icy chill accompanying his void of emotions. Even with as desolate as his felt, she knew his was not the worst aura to feel crawling over her skin. The worst was of course Naraku's, who's aura felt like absolutely nothing. Not that it was like nothing she had ever felt before, but it in fact had no feeling. It was a deep, dark, empty hole that threatened to swallow her every time she was in its presence.
Shaking her head to clear her mind of the evil half-demon, Kagome followed the far less terrifying aura to where its master remained hidden by the trees. Though she could not see him, Kagome knew she was staring directly into his emotionless, golden eyes. The only thing that kept his aura from freezing her in terror as Naraku's did was the simple fact that while he never showed them, she knew deep down underneath his icy exterior, he at least possessed the emotions where as Naraku did not.
'Nicely done,' she could hear him thinking as he watched her spot his aura and fix her gaze on him. 'Now if you would be so kind as to join me, I have a proposition for you,' he continued mentally watching as she stood there silently staring in his direction as if he had lost his mind.
"Does he seriously think I'm crazy enough to fall for that? What would stop him from killing me if I went over there? And doesn't he mean ultimatum?" Kagome wondered out loud to herself, still unaware her thoughts were not contained in her mind.
'Using the same logic, I could just as easily kill you where you stand, had that been my desire. Luckily for you it is not. And you are incorrect, you have the option of saying no, therefore it is a request and not a demand.'
"Really? Then no," Kagome replied softly, knowing that even at this distance he could hear her, before deciding to ignore him completely and turn her attention back to the fire. Sesshoumaru continued to watch her for a few moments in veiled amusement as she did her best to ignore his presence.
'Are you sure? What I require is only a simple matter and for it you are free to name your price,' he informed her mentally as he watched for any signs that she had heard him. Though she did not show any outwardly, he knew she had.
"Don't you know to never tell someone to name their price, because they may end up asking for more than it's worth. And what exactly do you need me to do that the great Sesshoumaru can't do for himself?" she finally inquired after remaining silent a minute longer, glancing over at her companions to make sure her voice was not waking them.
'That is to be expected when dealing with humans. And that I will only discuss with you when you come to me, I have no desire to have this conversation within my mind,' he thought silently to her.
"Fine, but in exchange just for me listening to you, you have to keep an eye out for any nearby danger. I'm not going to leave my friends unprotected just to have a chat with you," she warned him as she stood and faced the direction she knew him to be in once again.
'Deal. There is a small clearing not far from where I am now. I shall meet you there,' he informed her mentally and she could feel his aura moving further away from her. Taking one last look at the sleeping trio, Kagome wrapped a thin blanket around her shoulders, threw on her shoes and began making her way toward him.
The tree branches clawed at her hair and clothes as she pushed her way through the nearly impenetrable thicket, grumbling about it under her breath the entire way. Finally making it through the dense forestry, Kagome came upon the small clearing he had 'spoken' of and found Sesshoumaru resting against the base of a tree as he waited for her. "What is with dog demons and trees?" Kagome wondered out loud as she slowly made her way over toward him, seating down just a few feet away.
Sesshoumaru raised an elegant eyebrow at the comment, but decided to let it slide and get down to business. "There is an artifact I wish to procure. The only one I know of that retains the memory of its whereabouts is refusing to disclose them to me. All you need do would be to read his mind as I mention the item in question. That is all," he told her not bothering to turn his gaze toward her.
"What artifact?" Kagome wondered out loud before speaking to him. "Why can't you just beat it out of the demon like you normally do rather than seeking my help with it?"
"It is known as the treasure of the ancients. And the demon in question is an elder whom I respect and it would not bode well for me if I were to attack him. Let me explain it this way," Sesshoumaru continued when he glanced toward her and saw she was giving him a confused look. "The scabbards of both mine and Inuyasha's fangs are made from him. And those have the strength to keep the power of our father contained."
"Huh? But aren't those made of wood?" Kagome insisted confused. She knew that weapons could be made from the bones of demons, such as Sango's, but she was positive that the scabbards were made of wood and not bone.
"Correct, Bokusenou happens to be a tree demon. He crafted the scabbards from his own timber. While I do not fear him and would most certainly win the battle were we to fight, I have no desire to go against him in such a manner. He is the oldest living demon that I know of and was in fact considered old when my sire was born.
"But I diverge. As I have said, you need only read his thoughts and once you have given me the location, your end of the bargain will be complete. All that remains is for you to name your price and agree to the deal," Sesshoumaru informed her before falling silent once again and allowing her to think it over.
"Before anything else, gotta ask him what this artifact does, cause no way I'm even going to bother trying to help him if it's something that can be used against us," Kagome decided before turning her attention back to the demon in front of her. "What does the treasure of the ancients do anyways?" she inquired thoroughly confusing Sesshoumaru as to why she seemed to be having a conversation with herself.
"I assure you, it will not bring any harm to your friends. Recently an oracle has prophesied the end of demons," he began only to pause when she did not seem the least bit surprised by his words. "You already know of this? How is that possible? Only the highest ranking demons know of her visions, you could not have heard of them. And I do not remember you having the ability to predict the future as well."
"Not in so many words no. While I know generally what is to come, no I can not see the future," Kagome explained and was met by a raised eyebrow for a response. "You see, I'm from the future. I know what is going to happen simply because to me, it already has."
"While I realize you probably haven't paid that much attention to me, haven't you at least noticed that I am quite different from females of this era? My dress, mannerisms, speech and, especially, my independence is completely foreign to the women of this time. However, in 500 years, it's pretty much the norm."
"How have you managed to travel into the past? I have never seen anyone capable of such a feat."
"That I can not tell you. My portal to the future is the only connection I have to my family and if something were to happen to it, I would never see them again. I will not take that chance. Not to mention if its existence were to get out and someone managed to use the portal there is no telling what destruction they could cause in my time."
"Very well, I can understand the need for secrets, I will not press the issue. Can you answer one thing though, is her prediction correct?"
"While I do not know exactly what she predicted, I'm guessing you mean more generally. Such as if there are any demons in my time. The answer is no. None that I have been able to sense anyways, but demons are considered to be fiction in my time. Before coming here, I did not believe in them myself." Kagome explained and watched as he fell quiet once again. The silence dragged on for a long moment before he finally continued.
"Do you know the story of the beginning of demons and humans?" he questioned and after she shook her head, he continued, "Originally when they were created by the Kami, there was an equal number of both. One demon for every human, one human for every demon. Their populations were kept from tipping the scale to one side or the other in order to keep balance in the world.
"This continued on for many generations until one of my ancestors decided he wanted to tip the balance toward demons in order to drive the humans to extinction. But his plan backfired and instead, the balance was tipped to the side of humans and they began multiplying at an alarming rate. As it stands now, demons are quickly becoming the extinct species. The ancient clans are all but wiped out, and as the human population rises, more priests and priestesses are born and it will not be long before we are dwindled down until finally no demon remains.
"Right now, Inuyasha and I are the only remaining members of the great white dog clan. Your feline companion is the last I have seen of the two-tailed cat clan. The young kit, is one of maybe three dozen remaining from the fox fire demon clan. Even the northern wolf tribe has dwindled down to a fraction of what they once were and they have always been the most populated of the demon clans.
"This is why I seek the artifact. The treasure of the ancients is what the Kami created in order to keep that balance in check. It has been hidden, its power shielded from this realm since my ancestor stole it. If it is restored to its rightful place, demon numbers can rise once again."
"Why won't, what's his name, tell you where it is if it would benefit demons?"
"Bokusenou believes that if the artifact is found, it may be used to tip the scale into the demons' favor rather than balancing it out. He has decided that it is better for demons to be wiped out rather than taking the chance that it will be used for selfish reasons once again."
"So what happens once you find it? Cause as much as I think it's unfair that all demons die off, I'm not about to help you if it's going to cause the death of thousands of humans the moment it's brought back into this realm."
"No, it will take a few generations for it to balance itself out. It will not just randomly kill people, instead it will prevent them from reproducing as much and allow demons to reproduced more rapidly until our numbers are once again even. You must remember that this was created by the Kami for the soul purpose of keeping the balance between our two kinds, it will right things in such slow motion that humans will not even notice the change.
"And while this may seem like it goes against your humanity, remember this. Not every demon is an enemy, not every one is evil. With the eradication happening within the next five hundred years, that little kit that you protect with your life, will live a fraction of what he should. Even Inuyasha's lifespan, which is half of a full demon's, will be greatly reduced. And within that time, an entire species as old as humans and whom have a equal right to be here, will be completely wiped out."
"If I agree to this, when would we leave? Because it is going to be difficult to get Inuyasha to agree to letting me help you, even if he knows what's at stake," Kagome insisted knowing full well that Inuyasha would try to go for the artifact himself if he knew about it. "And better to let Sesshoumaru risk his life for it then Inuyasha," she decided, unknowingly speaking out loud.
"I would prefer to leave tonight before he has the chance to return. If he does find a cure for your new ability or it turns out to be temporary, this could be my only chance. I would like you to do something first though, randomly think something," Sesshoumaru instructed having noticed her strange behavior once again.
"Alright," Kagome agreed giving him a look that clearly stated she thought he was losing his mind. "I wonder if he has stripes anywhere on his body like the four on his face," Kagome thought to herself.
"Interesting side effect to the potion. Not only does no one around you have private thoughts, but neither do you," Sesshoumaru told her only to be answered with a confused look. "You voice your thoughts. And I do not have four stripes, I only have two, though they are much longer while in this form. What you see are the ends of two very long stripes," he informed her and watched with veiled amusement as her cheeks flushed, whether at his words or the fact that he knew she was wondering about aspects of his body, he was unsure.
"Wait, so you mean every time I have thought something, I've actually said it out loud and you've heard me?" Kagome demanded after remembering some of the things she had been thinking and forgetting about her embarrassment. "I guess that explains why you kept giving me strange looks," she decided after receiving a slight nod in response. "And why everyone kept answering questions I never asked. This is just perfect."
"Thankfully it will not prevent us from accomplishing our goals. You will be far enough out of Bokusenou's range that with his aged hearing, he will not be able to hear you if you speak your thoughts. I would, however, recommend thinking useless thoughts during the trip so you can retain your secrets."
"Got it," Kagome told him as she began chanting 'Buyo' in her mind, which in turn was spoken out loud and cause Sesshoumaru to giving her a questioning look. "It's my cat's name. By the way, how long do you think we are going to be gone?"
"We should return by daybreak. If we leave soon we may even beat Inuyasha back and he will not know of your absence. There are no demons for miles and as my scent will linger in the area for roughly a day, no demons will come close enough to put your friends in danger. Now you must name your price so we can be on our way."
"I want two things. You must never kill another human other than in self defense, and with you that means there was no other choice but to kill them as you can easily knock out humans with little effort. And you must tell Inuyasha the truth. And don't give me that look, you know what I am talking about. The whole not wanting him dead and training him stuff you were thinking earlier."
"That is all? Nothing for yourself?" Sesshoumaru inquired, confused by her rather selfless and entirely 'cheap' demands. It was definitely not what he was used to when he came to humans.
"That's it. I don't really need anything else. The only thing I want is not something you can give me," Kagome explained with a shrug. Sesshoumaru raised an elegant eyebrow in question causing Kagome to think, "He sure does that a lot, doesn't he?" before deciding to elaborate further. "The only thing I want in the world is to fall in love with someone who loves me, not my past incarnation. Someone who wants me for reasons other than the fact that I can sense jewel shards. So like I said, it's not something you can give me. Lead on," Kagome instructed as she gestured to the surrounding forest, having no idea which direction they would be traveling in, and apparently deciding to change topics.
Sesshoumaru stared silently at her for a few moments before rising to his feet and walking over to stand next to her. "Do not call out your powers, you will only injury yourself and I assure you, you will not be in any danger," Sesshoumaru insisted as he allowed his power to flow from his body and surround them in a bright, yellow ball of light. Once the orb had finished growing, it shot off toward the West at speeds that had Kagome vocally wondering if this is what they were referring to when they meant the speed of light, thoroughly confusing Sesshoumaru further.
Leaving Kagome at what he deemed to be a safe distance, close enough she would be able to hear the ancient demon's thoughts and yet, still far enough away that he would be unable to hear her own vocalized ones, Sesshoumaru began the well known trek through the dense thicket that would lead him to his destination. Around him, he could hear the wildlife making its usual racket, but felt no demon's presence other than his own and his target's.
Passing the threshold into the small clearing, Sesshoumaru found himself staring into the aged and weathered face of Bokusenou, who greeted him with a pleasant smile. "Greetings, young lord. It has been quite some time since you have graced me with your presence. Tell me, what is it that brings you to my neck of the woods today?"
"Where is the location of the treasure of the ancients?" Sesshoumaru questioned in his custom monotone voice. The tree demon simply eyed him in silence, letting the moments tick by unhurried before finally, after what seemed like forever, he blinked.
"Why does one ask a question to which they already know the answer?" Bokusenou inquired, countering Sesshoumaru's question with one of his own. Again silence bore down on them as they engaged in a slight staring contest, this time it was Sesshoumaru who blinked.
"Because the answer may have changed since last the question was asked," Sesshoumaru finally replied wondering whether or not he should be seated, dreading the elder demon was going to drag this out for an unreasonable amount of time.
"The answer remains unmoved. Its question, unworthy of being asked again," Bokusenou told him before closing his wooden eyes, having decided their conversation was over already. Sesshoumaru glared at him for a few moments, unperturbed by the fact that it went unnoticed, before speaking once again.
"Do you truly believe, this Sesshoumaru, intends on using it for his own selfish desires?" he demanded becoming annoyed at having been dismissed by anyone, even if it was one of the few demons he respected.
"A pup such as yourself, no. But the trees have been whispering about evils, the likes of which, this old demon has not seen in his long life. Tell me, young one, what do you believe would be the result of one such evil getting their hands on what you seek," Bokusenou wondered as he finally opened his eyes.
"As I will be guarding it, what you speak of is not a possible future," Sesshoumaru assured him, deciding to go ahead and seat himself gracefully on the grassy ground. Bokusenou watched him, waiting until he seemed as though he was comfortable before replying.
"You can not protect it all of the time if it is ever brought into the light of day. It is a far wiser decision to allow things to end as they are already on the path to rather than to risk more harm due to another demon's selfish desires. We demons have already failed in our destiny, why prolong the inevitable, the deserved any longer?"
"What is it you speak of, Bokusenou? What demon destiny?" Sesshoumaru inquired thoroughly confused by the older demon's words. Bokusenou remained silent from a long moment as he eyed Sesshoumaru before finally closing his eyes with the tiniest of sighs. Minutes passed without a sound from either of them and Sesshoumaru began to wonder if the ancient demon had fallen asleep.
More time passed, unnoticed by the tree demon, before he finally opened his eyes once again and found Sesshoumaru waiting silently, an single, elegant eyebrow raised the only deviation from how he had been minutes before. "Humans are the true children of the Kami, we were simply created in order to be their guardians. But demons have long since forgotten their destiny and instead seek to destroy the precious lives.
"Discard your fool's errand, pup, for it will never come to bear fruit. You have but one last goal to achieve in this life and that is to face the end as your sire did, with his head held high and honor in his blood," Bokusenou informed him before falling quiet once last time and letting his eyes fall closed. This time, however, Sesshoumaru was able to sense his slumber and, rising gracefully from the ground, he turned and began heading back to where he had left Kagome.
"Where is it hidden?" Sesshoumaru inquired when he stepped into the tiny clearing and found Kagome sitting down on a fallen log, twirling a strain of her long, dark hair around one of her slender fingers. Startled, Kagome was jolted from her preoccupation with her hair and barely caught herself from falling backwards off of the log.
"Bad news Sesshoumaru," she began after allowing herself a moment to right herself and turned to face him fully. "Apparently, Bokusenou knew that I could read his thoughts. He spent the entire time you were talking with him, just chatting with me. Though he did ask me to give you a message," she informed him before pausing when Sesshoumaru turned back the way he had come to growl at the ancient demon, paying little mind to the fact that he could not hear him.
"He said and I quote' you are 1,000 years to early to try and pull the leaves over my eyes, pup'. Kinda reminds me of the saying about pulling wool over ones eyes," Kagome commented, the last part more to herself than to him. "Though depending on when that saying was first coined, who knows, maybe his was the ancestor of that one," Kagome mumbled out loud to herself.
"Guess this means I won't be getting my payment either," Kagome thought out loud to herself, completely forgetting that her thoughts were heard by anyone around her.
"You need not worry yourself, you upheld your end of the bargain. Though I had asked for the location he revealed, I will not split the hairs simply because he did not think it. I will do as you have requested for if what he said is correct, it will be to my benefit as well," Sesshoumaru told her causing Kagome to tilt her head to the side slightly in confusion and curiosity.
"What did he tell you?" she inquired only to be met with silence. She stared at him for a few moments wondering if he hadn't heard her and was about to ask again when he finally answered her.
"Do not worry about it. Come, it is time I return you to your friends before your absence is noticed," he told her and waited until she was in close proximity to allow his orb to form around them once again and began traveling back to the clearing where they had left her sleeping companions.
The days stretched into months, each moment seemingly taking forever to pass, as even the seasons rotated in their annual dance. And then, on one dark and frozen night in mid winter, the battle they had been waiting for, and dreading, finally came to pass. With Kagome's newest, and mostly kept secret, ability, they had been able to read his movements and with the combined efforts of everyone the half-demon had assaulted, whom had lived to see that night, he was destroyed after an epic battle. Leaving them to feel the first shred of true peace they had known since it had all began.
Though they had tried everything they could imagine to reverse the effects of the potion, fortunately, for them, they had been unable to as it had become the upper hand they had needed in order to defeat him. Once all of the shards of the jewel had been reunited, Kagome had bid her farewells to her friends and returned to the future with it, having decided to wish it away on the other side, least she become trapped in the past. It would be two weeks before she would be ready to make the wish, giving Inuyasha time to say his own goodbyes to her family and return through the well.
However, she soon learned that the constant drone of thoughts were far worse in the future than they had ever been in the past. With such a large number of people on such a small stretch of land, the constant barrage of voices was quickly pressing her toward insanity and she was left with no other option but to return to the past. But with the ever looming threat of evil seeking the jewel, she was forced to wish it away, stranding her in the past.
Though she soon realized she would no doubt be able to use the well one last time to return to the future, it was something she could only do once she had gotten rid of her thought reading ability. And so for a year, the group scoured the land in search of anyone who could reverse the effects only to come away with nothing more than having learned the man responsible for making the potion had eventually taken it himself. While he managed to use its effects to his benefit for a while, he had been unable to prevent the constant stream of voices from driving him insane.
A few short months after he had taken it, he had ended his own life in order to shut out the noise. Deciding it was time to allow her friends to move on with their lives, Kagome had called an end to the search. Sango and Miroku, whom had been married a few days after the death of Naraku, headed back to her village in hopes of rebuilding it to its former glory. Shippo had opted to go with them to help out and prevent his thoughts from adding to Kagome's burden.
Inuyasha set up roots in the village where he could tend to the, once again, dead priestess's grave and watch over her aging sister as he had promised to do when she chose to finally move on once her enemy was gone. Leaving Kagome alone for the first time since she had been pulled through the well on that fateful day. She had decided to stay away from populated areas in order to have peace and quiet. With the help of Inuyasha, she had built herself a tiny hut a few miles outside of town, unafraid of being attacked by demons as she could hear their thoughts whenever they approached.
Another year past her by with her visitors being few and far between until once again autumn had bled into winter and the repeated storms covered the land in a thick blanket of frozen white. Inuyasha had already paid his monthly visit and Kagome was expecting to enjoy a peacefully silent winter when an unforeseen visitor arrived upon her doorstep, setting in motion events that caused the rest of her destiny to unfold before her eyes.
Unaccustomed to not hearing their thoughts before their arrival, Kagome was startled when a knock came at her door with no forewarning of a visitor. Searching out an aura with her powers, she soon knew who was standing on the other side of her door. Giving the empty room around her a confused look, she rose from her place next to the hearth and made her way over to the threshold. Pulling open the door, she was met with a blast of bitingly cold wind. Not bothering to ask why he was there, for the moment at least, she stepped out of his way so he could enter the tiny dwelling and quickly shut the door behind him.
"What brings you out to my humble abode?" she inquired as she turned and moved back over to her vacated seat, placing a teapot full of water on the spit within the hearth. As she waited for the water to heat, she stared into the dancing flames of the fire, almost completely forgetting about her guest until he had taken a seat next to her, reminding her of his presence. "I see you've gotten good at not thinking," she mentioned as she turned to face him.
"I stopped by to make sure Inuyasha was not slacking in his training and he told me you were out here alone. I was not in any hurry and decided to pay you a visit," he explained in an uninterested tone as he covertly glanced around the small room, taking in what little it had to offer. A low table to the right of the hearth, a small, rolled up futon off in one corner of the room, a short bureau, in another, who's contents were hidden behind a single closed door and a tiny bookcase full of scrolls were the only 'large' pieces of furniture in the room.
"You just happened to decide to pay me a visit? You may be able to prevent yourself from thinking, but you can not fool me. If you are here, there is a motive for your actions. You never do anything without a reason. So why don't you just tell me what it is," she told him, all the while, giving him a 'I'm not buying it' look. He eyed her silently for a few moments before giving her a ghost of a smile.
"Interesting how even when you can not read my thoughts, you can still read me. I am searching for the treasure of the ancients," Sesshoumaru informed her, startling her with the admission. She stared at him in bemusement as the seconds passed in silence before finally rolling her chocolate eyes at him with a shake of her head.
"I thought you gave that up when you couldn't get old what's his face to give you its location," Kagome said, gazing at him in confusion and curiosity. He gave her a whisper of a shrug before turning his gaze to the fire as the teapot began to whistle. Removing it from the heat, Kagome rose and made her way over to the bureau, unlatching and opening the door, the hinges squeaking as she did. His view no longer obstructed by the door, Sesshoumaru could now see its contents which consisted of a shelf of dishes and two of clothing.
Grabbing a deep, tea bowl from the top shelf and a small, wooden box, Kagome held them in one hand, while she closed and latched the door before making her way back over to the hearth. After placing them on its surface, she lifted the light table and placed in between where she had been sitting and where Sesshoumaru currently was. Then removing the kettle from the hearth, she place it on the table next to the rest.
Retaking her seat, she began the Way of Tea as her grandfather had taught her. Having little else to do in the last year, she had been practicing until her form was nearly perfect. Bowing before Sesshoumaru, she lifted the lid off of the wooden box and removed the first items, two small pieces of linen, placing one before Sesshoumaru and keeping the other. Removing her utensils, she wiped the each down with the cloth before placing them on the table in the traditional order.
Picking up the tea bowl, she wiped in down as well before placing it in front of herself and reaching for the tea scoop and repeating her previous actions. Taking hold of the tea urn, she scooped out a ample amount of the powder, adding it to the bowl before placing both items back on the table and reaching for the kettle. Filling the bowl with a generous amount of hot, steaming water, the kettle followed the path of its predecessors. Collecting the tea whisk, she gently kneaded the water, blending it together with the tea, causing the aroma to waft into the air around them.
Setting the whisk back in its place, Kagome cupped the bowl with in her hands and bowed deeply to Sesshoumaru, who in turned bowed before her. Handing him the bowl, she placed her hands in her lap and watched as he rotated it slightly before bringing his lips to the rim, taking a small, noiseless sip of the bitter liquid. "You honor me," he told her, his way of showing his appreciation for her performance and tea, before taking another couple of sips, drinking about half of the tea that was offered.
Reaching for the linen cloth he had been given earlier, Sesshoumaru wiped the rim of the bowl before raising it as a gesture of respect for her and after taking a few moments to admire the bowl, he finally passed it back to her. After repeating the bows to each other, Kagome rotated the bowl in her hands, as he had done, making sure not to drink from the front, and slowly sipped the warm, bitter liquid. Once she was finished, Kagome repeated his previous actions by wiping the rim before setting the empty bowl onto the table.
After one last round of bows were exchanged, Kagome began cleaning up her equipment and packing it back within the wooden box. Once she had returned everything to its rightful place, she retook her seat across from him. "Something that Bokusenou had said continues to weight on my mind," he told her, finally answering her earlier question. Instead of replying, Kagome continued to watch him in silence, figuring he would continue. Seeing as how she did not know what the ancient tree demon had said, there was little more she could do then ask the obvious question, which she had no desire to do.
"He mentioned the phrase 'brought into the light of day' and nothing he says is without meaning. I know there must be some hint to the artifact's whereabouts within that phrase, but I can not discover it. I thought perhaps there may have been something in your conversation with him, that while it seems unimportant, may in fact be connected with his words to me," Sesshoumaru explained, his words followed by silence settling over them.
Kagome stared at him for a long while as she tried to find whatever hint it was he was trying to find in the phrase, but much like him, was unable to come up with any idea. "Well I can tell you what he said to me, but I can tell you now, there's nothing in it," she warned him with a slight shrug before beginning to recount their conversation...
Sesshoumaru had just left her alone in the clearing and already Kagome was bored. She didn't dare wander around in fear she would either get lost or get to far out of range to hear the tree demon's thoughts and instead walked over to sit down on an old, fallen tree. The forest around her was silent save for the wildlife she could hear chatting away in their own tiny voices. Though she could hear their thoughts, they thought in the same 'languages' that they spoke in and while it made no sense to her, their voices were at least soft.
She could easily pretend she was actually hearing them out loud rather than in their minds and it made it that much more bearable for her. Nothing better to do, Kagome had reached for a strain of her hair, beginning to twirl it around one of her slender fingers, when a voice called out to her, startling her. 'Greetings little one, I do not believe I have never seen you in my forest before. Tell me, child, what brings you all the way out here?' the voice inquired as Kagome jumped up and glanced around in search for him.
Seeing no one, and unable to find any nearby auras when she searched for them, Kagome soon realized the voice had been a thought and not spoken. "Where are you?" she wondered as she continued to look around, as though she thought whoever it was would jump from the trees any moment.
'Speak within your mind, child, I can not hear your words from this distance,' the voice informed her, thoroughly confusing Kagome. Never having met someone else who could hear another's thoughts, she was used to having to speak out loud in order to have a conversation, but none the less, decided to give it a try.
'Where are you?' Kagome inquired again, this time mentally as she finally allowed herself to calm down a bit and retook her seat on the fallen log.
'Where I have always been. Do not fear me, child, I mean you no harm. I am simply trying to appease my curiosity. May I ask, what brings you out to my long forgotten forest? I rarely have any visitors this far out,' the voice told her and although Kagome could tell that he was in fact a he and a demon, she was unable to tell anything else about him by his voice alone.
'A...a companion of mine came out here to visit a friend, least I guess you can call them friends, he never really said what they were to each other, and I'm just here waiting for him to return,' Kagome explained, making sure not to tell anything important to her 'guest'.
'Ah I see. When I first sensed you in my forest, I began to think I was dreaming of a time long passed. Your aura reminds me of a priestess I once met a long time ago, too long in fact to remember how many years it has been. Her aura was as beautiful as yours, child, only hers was filled with far more sadness. She was far too young to have an aura that forlorn,' he insisted, the last part seemingly to himself rather than to her.
'Please tell me you're not going to compare me to Kikyou, I'm so sick and tired of everyone comparing me to her,' Kagome grumbled causing the voice to chuckle deeply.
'No child, her name was not Kikyou, though I have heard whispers of that child. Some 50 years passed was it not? Very few should be alive that still remember her, how is it they compare you to her child?' the voice wondered, his confusion evident in his voice.
'She was resurrected some time ago and walks the land in the body made of clay and graveyard soil, I'm supposed to be her reincarnation and everyone always confuses us at least once and I hate it. I guess the biggest reason being that the guy I was in love with, is still in love with her,' Kagome thought to him softly.
'Was, child? You are no longer in love with him?' the voice inquired curiosity. There was a long pause as Kagome realized she had in deed used the past tense, before she breathed a long sigh and answered him.
'Yeah, it's been making its way to past tense for a long time now. He only sees her when he looks at me. Everything I thought he held felt for me, truthfully it was for her. I still love him, and probably always will, I'm just not in love with him anymore,' Kagome explained before shrugging and resting her hands behind her on the log, allowing her to lean back and stare up at the sky, without the fear of falling backwards.
'She was a 'green child' as I once was,' his voice continued, thoroughly confusing Kagome as to what he was talking about, unable to figure out why he thought Kikyou was a 'green child' or what that even meant. 'Not your past incarnation, I am referring to the other priestess. Her name meant 'green child',' he explained only to pause for a moment, silence settling over them once again. 'Midoriko, that was it. You must forgive me, my old memory is not what it used to be.'
'Midoriko? You met her?' Kagome wondered in shock and delight having been curious about the priestess ever since she had first heard of her but unable to learn anything more about her then her death.
'Aye, though it was only once when she was passing through my forest. Long before she became the legendary priestess, you would know her as. We had a short conversation as well, though she was polite enough to come sit in front of me so I could at least see whom I was speaking to,' he told her with a chuckle, letting her know he wasn't really upset with her.
'Sorry but I've learned it is better for me to stay put when told to. Whenever I don't, trouble always manages to find me somehow,' Kagome explained with a laugh, easily imagining all of the times Inuyasha had told her to not move and the times he had to get her out of trouble when she hadn't listen to him.
'Perhaps if you ever visit me again, we can have our conversation out loud, but I believe our time is ending now. Your companion is on his way back,' he informed her and Kagome searched around both with her eyes and senses, but still could not feel him incoming yet. 'Would you be so kind as to pass a message along to him? Tell him I said, 'you are 1,000 years to early to try and pull the leaves over my eyes, pup',' he requested before going silent, leaving Kagome to sit in shock.
"That was Bokusenou," she realized out loud as she shook her head with a laugh. "Sesshoumaru is not going to be happy," she decided as she began twirling her hair around her finger once again while waiting for the dog demon to return for her.
"As I said, there is nothing there. Perhaps you are only seeing a hint in what he said to you, simply because you wish for there to be one. Many times, if we search deep enough we can see what we wish to," Kagome warned him before falling silent and watching him as he thought over everything she had just recounted to him. After a few minutes of silence, he finally sighed, leading Kagome to believe he had given up on searching for something that wasn't there. "What do you plan to do now? Will you continue your search?"
"Yes, though I have no idea where to go from here. I was counting on there being some clue in what he said to you, instead, I have learned nothing more than what I already knew before I came here," Sesshoumaru replied with a growl echoing the small room around them. Knowing it wasn't directed at her, Kagome paid the noise little attention.
"If you wish for the company, I would not be against joining you on your journey. I have grown restless here and would not mind the opportunity to stretch my legs. I may not be of much help, but as they say, 'two heads are better than one' and if nothing else, I am a great conversationalist," Kagome told him with a smile. Sesshoumaru stared at her in silence for a long moment before finally giving her a whisper of a shrug. Taking that as a yes, Kagome stood and made her way to her small bureau and pulled out a bundle of clothes.
"Would you mind turning around? This place offers very little for privacy and I do not wish to be rude and ask you to wait out in the storm, but I need to change," she explained as she held up the clothing in her hand and a raised eyebrow later, Sesshoumaru had turned to face the other side of the room. She quickly redressed in pants and a warm shirt, fitting of the time period she was in rather than the one she was from. Throwing on a dark, knitted cap, Kagome grabbed her satchel, that was hanging on the side of the bureau, added one change of clothing to it, a thin blanket and filled the rest of the small space with what ever food stores she could fit, and threw the strap over her head.
Walking over to her door, she pulled her winter hooded cape down from its peg, throwing it over her shoulders and raising the hood to cover her 'strange' head wear before turning back to Sesshoumaru. "I am ready," she told him, seeing his back was still turned to her. As he turned around, he gave her a quick once over before making his way to the door. "I just need to make a stop in the village to let Inuyasha know I won't be here. Don't want him to worry if he comes to visit before I return," she explained as she made sure the fire had gone out completely and made her way out of the small hut behind Sesshoumaru.
As Sesshoumaru stepped toward her, seemingly planning on making the trip to the village shorter, Kagome stopped him with her words, "Don't touch me." It only took her an instant to realize how harsh it had sounded and elaborated, "He'll smell you on me and we will never get out of here. If I take the time to walk to the village from here, the cold wind will have a chance to remove your scent from me and will cause far fewer problems.
"If you don't mind, make sure you wait just out of his range so he can't see or sense you. It should not take me long," she assured him before turning and beginning the long, slow trek to the village. The mounds of snow came up to just below her knees, making walking nearly impossible, but she some how managed to keep herself from falling more than once and eventually made her way to the front door of Kaede's hut.
After she knocked softly upon the door, it was opened to reveal an aged woman who's face lit up when she saw who was there. "Kagome, child it has been far too long since ye have visited," Kaede told her as she stepped back and allowed her to enter her home.
"Aye, sorry Kaede, too much noise here, but I plan on visiting more often once spring comes. I am finding myself incredibly bored out there all lone," Kagome replied with a smile as she followed the older woman over to her hearth and helped her to take her seat beside it. Kaede began pouring cups of tea for both of them, not bothering to ask if it was wanted as she already knew it would be welcomed, and handed Kagome one once she was finished.
"Is Inuyasha out?" Kagome inquired after taking a long sip of the warm liquid that helped to warm her body.
"He has gone to gather some firewood from the village stock," Kaede explained as she gestured to the pile of wood nearby that was almost completely empty. "He should return at any moment," she informed her just as the door was opened again, letting in another blast of frozen wind, and the women watched in amusement as Inuyasha came in with an armful of logs, shaking himself to be rid of the snow that collected on his head and shoulders, grumbling about the snow under his breath as he did.
"Kagome?" he questioned when he glanced up to find her sitting in the hut sipping tea with Kaede. "What'cha doing here?" he continued as he made his way into the room and drop his burden in the pile before walking over to sit down with them, taking the offered tea from Kaede with a slight nod.
"I have grown restless in my hut and have decided to go visit the others. I figure getting out of my hut for a while will do me some good," she explained as she finished off her tea and handed the cup back to Kaede with a smile.
"You sure it's a good idea to go now? It's frigging cold out there now and the worst isn't even over yet. Why not just wait and go in the spring?" he questioned confused.
"It's better now since everyone will be inside and off of the roads due to the cold. I won't have to deal with too much noise this way," she explained to him.
"Do you want me to go with you?"
"No, Inuyasha, you are needed here. I just wanted to let you know in case you came looking for me earlier than planned and I hadn't returned yet. I did not want you to worry. I should be heading out, want to get some distance before I lose the light today," she told them as she stood, and giving them a smile, made her way to the door. Pausing before she opened it, Kagome turned back to Inuyasha. "Oh and I promised Kaede I will visit you guys in the spring," she told him before giving them both a slight bow and opening the door, heading back out into the freezing wind.
"Alright, I am ready to go," Kagome informed Sesshoumaru after she had found him just within the tree line, awaiting her return. Instead of answering her, Sesshoumaru to stare off into the surrounding forest, either unaware of her presence or, more likely, ignoring her entirely. Confused, Kagome closed the distance between them to stand directly in front of him. "What is it?" she inquired as she placed her hand on his arm, forcing him to either acknowledge her or allow her to keep touching him.
"What I am allowed to touch you now?" Sesshoumaru spat at her in a cold voice, still refusing to look in her direction. Kagome eyed him silently for a few moments before her earlier words came to mind and she laughed.
"Playing the part of an injured ego? That's a new one. But you can drop the act now Sesshoumaru, I sense neither malice nor pain in your aura and I am not falling for it," she informed him giving him a smug look as she crossed her arms in front of her and waited for him to end his charade.
"I see you have not lost your knack for reading me," Sesshoumaru said with a ghost of a smirk as he finally turned and gave her his full attention. "And I thought my act was perfect."
"Perhaps it would have been if you were not in fact you. But I can not imagine the great emotionless, 'killing perfection' having hurt feelings because a human told him not to touch her. Now if you are done having fun, shall we go?" she inquired as she gestured in a random direction. "No orb though, that thing makes me queasy."
"Very well, we shall walk then," he told her before he slipped passed her and began heading deeper into the dense forest around them. Shrugging, Kagome jogged, as best she could in the deep snow, and fell in step behind him. Hours passed them by in silence, the only sounds coming from the crunching of snow beneath their boots and Kagome's panting as she forced herself to walk at a pace she had not been subjected to since the group had ended their travels.
The long night was soon upon them and Kagome had little more than the light of the moon to guide her steps, though she was glad she had his larger frame in front of her as his body shielded her from a good deal of the freezing wind, even if it was unintentional. The snow, that continuing to fall down heavily around them, had long since soaked through her clothes, numbing her.
Though she was cold and tired, she dare not ask to stop seeing as it was she that requested they not use his orb in the first place. And even with as cold as it was, she was happy being able to walk around for more than a few minutes outside. Almost as if he could sense her fatigue, as she had been careful not to think about it knowing she would voice her thoughts, he soon turned off the unseen path he had been following and began leading them up to what, she soon discovered, turned out to be a small cave.
He passed its threshold without a word and began making his way toward the back, following the twisting and turning tunnel that helped to block off some of the chilling wind. Wordlessly, he entered a small room and began gathering scattered branches off of the ground and soon had a roaring fire going. Able to see now, as it had been pitch black to her eyes when they had first entered the room, Kagome sat down next to the fire quickly warming her frozen hands.
Once she had regained feeling in them, she removed her cape and satchel, digging through it until she had found her blanket. Taking it out, she turned on a tiny switch at the base of it before setting it off to the side to not become damp from the melting snow on her clothes. Hearing a soft humming coming from the blanket, Sesshoumaru turned to Kagome for an explanation for the noise. "Don't mind that, it's just the motor from the heater," she explained only to confuse him further.
"See this," Kagome began as she gestured to a small, white box on the underside of the blanket. "It's a small motor which stores the power of the sun as energy in order to heat the blanket," Kagome explained as she pulled off her thoroughly soaked boats and laid them next to the fire to dry.
"I take it, it is from the future," he commented as he turned his attention away from the strange blanket and back to her.
"Yeah, it's not as good as a normal electric blanket you can plug in, but since there are no places to plug it in here and is much more lightweight and takes up less space than a normal blanket, it makes it easier to carry around," she told him, most of what she said making little to no sense to him, but he brushed it off as her usual oddness. Forgetting about her earlier bashfulness, as she was too cold and tired to care, Kagome began pealing off her soaked clothes and quickly changed into the dry set she had brought with her.
Sesshoumaru watched her as she undressed in curiosity, though he made sure not to lower his gaze from her face in order to give her a small shred of privacy. Laying them out to dry with her cape and boots, Kagome wrapped the now heated blanket around her shoulders and began searching through her bag for something to eat. "Don't suppose he would accept 'human' food," Kagome mumbled herself as she pulled some dry meat out and began munching on it.
"No, I prefer my meat cooked much less," he informed her, not caring that she hadn't really been talking to him, but rather thinking her vocalized thoughts. Kagome gave him a soft chuckle, too busy enjoying her meal to bother with responding to him. "You should sleep once you are finished, it will only be a few hours before we leave."
"Right. Oh that reminds me," she began as she finished the last bite and sucked on her fingers to remove any remaining saltiness from them. "If you have no objections, I want to make a stop by Sango's. I told Inuyasha I would be going to visit them and this way I won't be lying. Plus Sango usually knows a lot about demon legends, she may have heard something about the treasure," Kagome told him as she laid down, using her arm as a pillow and covering herself completely with the blanket.
Sesshoumaru watched her in soft glow of the firelight for a few long moments, more thinking about what she had said rather than really seeing her, until he was brought back to the present when he heard the softest of snores coming from her. Paying the noise little mind, Sesshoumaru closed his eyes and allowed himself to rest, even if he did not sleep.
Having left Sesshoumaru on the outskirts of the village, in order to not scare the villagers, Kagome made her way up to the large wooden gate and glanced up at the guard with a smile. "I am here to see, Sango. Please inform her that Kagome is here to see her," she instructed him before taking a look around to see what had changed since the last time she had been here. Though she couldn't see much of the inside of the village, considering the large wall that surrounded it, she did noticed that they had rebuilt said wall and look out towers were now erected just on the other side of it.
Hearing the gate behind her begin to creak open, Kagome turned back to find Sango standing there with a large smile. Returning it, she barely managed to keep her footing when Sango rushed forward to embrace her. "It's been too long, Kagome. Come inside and warm up. No Inuyasha?" she inquired as she glanced around but was unable to find the half-demon.
"No, he's still back at the village with Kaede. I needed some fresh air so I decided to go on a trip and visit you," Kagome explained as she followed her over the threshold, hearing the gate being closed behind them. "This place looks amazing," she told her as she glanced around at the village, spotting the new huts that had gone up and the old ones that had been repaired. Though it was still not as populated as she heard it had been before the attack many years ago, there were still many more people other than just her friends.
"It's really bloomed hasn't it? First few weeks we were here we were doing all of the work ourselves, but soon people started coming from all over after hearing the slayer's village was being rebuilt. We're expecting another large crowd to arrive when spring comes. Though, truthfully, we spend more of our time making farming tools and helping surrounding villages out with their harvests than we do fighting demons, I sort of prefer it this way," Sango told her with a smile as she lead them to one of the larger huts and slid open the front door before making her way inside.
"Miroku and Shippo aren't here at the moment, they were called away to help evacuate a small village up in the mountains after an small avalanche, but they should return in a few days time if you can stay that long," she continued as she slid open another door leading to her living room and, gesturing for Kagome to take a seat, she took one as well next to the hearth.
"Actually I am only here tonight to let you know I will be stopping by later. I want to travel around bit more first, but did not want Inuyasha to worry when he did not hear from me. I was hoping you might be able to send word to him that I am fine," Kagome admitted as she watched Sango pour them each a cup of tea before handing her one.
"That won't be a problem. There's a merchant heading his way that leaves in the morning. I can send word with him," Sango assured her with a smile as she took a sip of the hot, steaming tea before placing her cup down next to her.
"Thanks, also I wanted to ask you if you had heard of an artifact. I heard of it some time ago, but no one seems to know much about it and figured if anyone had knowledge of it, it would be you. Have you ever heard of something called the treasure of the ancients?" Kagome inquired after placing her half empty tea cup down as well.
"Wow, that's a name I haven't heard in years. How much do you know about it?" Sango questioned and Kagome made a gesture for 'a little bit' in response. "Well I assume you know that the artifact itself was created by the Kami in order to keep a population balance between humans and demons, correct?" Receiving a nod from Kagome, she continued, "So I take it what you want to know about is the story of the demon who stole it?" Again she received a nod in response.
"Alright, roughly 3,000 years ago there was a demon from the white dog clan, who one day while walking about his land, came upon the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and fell madly in love with her at first sight. So much so, that right then and there he asked her to become his mate, and the woman, apparently having fallen in love with him as well, agreed. Their mating ceremony followed shortly after and that night, as they were about to begin consummating their bond, a man snuck into the room and gravely wounded the demon.
"Realizing the woman recognized the man, the demon questioned her and soon learned that the man was in fact her husband. That they had been plotting against him from the beginning in order to get his land and wealth in the event of his untimely death. Enraged he slayed them both where they stood only to find he still loved her deeply and was heartbroken by her betrayal. Refusing to allow another demon to ever suffer at the hands of a mortal as he had, he snuck into the Temple of the Ancients where the treasure was kept and stole it under the cover of night.
"Slightly tipping the scale in favor of demons, believing that the greater numbers they would gain from it would deter any future human from betraying them due to their fear, he hid the treasure where he was sure no one would ever find it, before falling to the ground and dying. A few decades later, a large earth shaking rocked the land and caused the scale to tip heavily onto the side of humans."
"Wait, I thought he was trying to kill off humans by tipping it in favor of demons," Kagome insisted confused by the new information she had learned.
"That was a story created because with the way demons feel about humans now, and for many years past, it is far more believable than the truth," Sango explained as she refilled both of their cups, them having been emptied during the story.
"I can understand that, but how do you know that this version is the correct one?" Kagome wondered after smiling her thanks and taking a long sip of her tea.
"Because it is a story that was told from the mouth of the woman herself," Sango explained as she mimicked Kagome's movements before glancing back up at her.
"Wait, you said the woman died. How can she tell people what happened if she was already dead?"
"Simple, she did not die as the demon thought she did. She had been able to tend to her own wounds and left not long after he had. She couldn't stand to face him when he returned, believing that he would, after everything that had happened. She truly had fallen in love with the demon when she first saw him, and only went along with the plan because her husband bid her to and she did not dare go against him.
"She began traveling the country side in search of people in need of her help to try and atone for her mistakes. Years later, the Kami took pity on the woman and gave her the powers of a priestess so she may be better able to help others, hoping she would be able to 'pay' her self-appointed penitence that much faster. Eventually she arrived at this village and told my ancestors her story, asking that they pass it down through the generations in hope no other would make the same mistake that she did.
"Not long after, she died during an epic battle, that lasted for seven days, with a horde of demons, trapping their souls and their fight together and creating the Shikon no Tama," Sango told her before falling silent and watching as Kagome's eyes grew large at her words.
"Midoriko," was all Kagome could managed to get out in a whispered tone.
"I was wrong," Kagome told him the moment she spotted Sesshoumaru where he had left him and began heading toward him. She had left Sango's only a few minutes before, telling her she wished to sleep away from the village as it would be too noisy, and that while she would leave too early the next morning to stop by, that she would be returning in a few weeks at most. Sesshoumaru eyed her in curiosity from his placed at the base of a tree, waiting for her to continue.
Before she did, Kagome sat down next to the nice fire he had going to warm up her hands. "There was a hidden message in what Bokusenou had said to me. I simply could not see it until I learned the truth of Midoriko," she said as she glanced over the fire at him, finding him staring at her with an eyebrow raised in question. "The demon you told me about that stole the treasure, he did not do it in order to kill off humans completely.
"In fact, it seems that he had only meant to tip the balance slightly into the favor of demons, hoping that their greater numbers would deter humans from betraying them. This all stemmed from being betrayed by the human woman he took as a mate. Who, as it turns out, was Midoriko before she became a priestess. Bokusenou mentioned that my aura reminded him of her, only hers was sadder. He had to have met her before she arrived at Sango's village, as she died there, and even though he called her a priestess, he said it was before she ' became the legendary priestess, you would know her as'.
"I think he met her before she became a priestess all together and while I can not prove it, I am certain he knew exactly who she was. He referred to her as being forlorn, rather than depressed, and while I realize that could simply just be because of his formal speech, I do not believe it is so. He used a word that would describe her as being desolate and lonely rather than sad and downcast. Perhaps I am just simply doing what I accused you of, seeing a message because I want there to be one, but every fiber of my being screams that it is not so."
"Say you are correct, how does this help us? She is long dead and can tell us no more," he pointed out after a long silence had settled around them as he thought over her words.
"I think by knowing the real story that started all of this, he maybe more incline to disclose the location and if not, maybe he could give us another clue to go by. I realize I do not know him well, most certainly not as well as you do, but if it was me? I would be more willing to help, if I was in his place, and those seeking the information knew the truth of where it all began rather than just going by a false legend surrounding it. If nothing else, I think it is worth a shot."
"Greetings little one, you have returned to my forest," Bokusenou greeted as Kagome arrived at the clearing he was in and met him with a smile. He really wasn't what she was expecting, even though he should be considering Sesshoumaru had told her was a tree demon, but it never crossed her mind that the demon in question was quite literally a huge tree rooted to the forest floor. Letting none of her surprise show on her face, Kagome bowed deeply and made her way over to where he stood.
A peaceful smile adorned his aged face as his branches shook in the wind, causing the snow that had piled upon them to fall to the ground below. "I am sorry it has been so long since I came last time. It would seem I have been like that with everyone I know," she told him with a sad smile as she stopped just in front of him.
"Do not worry yourself, child, the time has been but a blink in my eye compared to my life. I see you brought the pup with you," he commented as Sesshoumaru appeared at the edge of the clearing. Glancing over her shoulder, Kagome eyed him for a moment, wondering why he was staying far away, before shrugging and turning back to Bokusenou.
"You know why I am here already, do you not?" Kagome wondered as he turned his eyes back to her and smile softly as his answer. "I know the truth, Bokusenou, I know what he was trying to do. Though it was wrong of him to do what he did, and it seriously backfired, he did not do it selfishly. It is wrong to punish the others for his mistakes, especially when he was simply trying to save them from the heartache he suffer at the hands of Midoriko. Who in turn was given the chance to make up for her mistakes, why not allow him to make up for his?"
"Child the time for his mistake to have been corrected is long since past. It is already too late to put things as they once were, as they were meant to be. Demons have already forgotten their destiny and without it, there is no need for us to be here," he told her in a soft and almost sad voice.
"What destiny are you referring to?"
"We demons were placed on this land in order to be the guardians of humans, the children of the Kami. But we have forgotten and forsaken our fate, destroying them without regret, without cause. Humans no longer look to us for protection, but run from us in fear."
"There has to be something, Bokusenou, that you would be willing to trade the location of the treasure of the ancients for. What do you seek, what do you deem worthy in order for you to disclose what we seek?" Kagome inquired after a few moments of silence had passed between them.
"What I seek? Only the smallest glimmer of hope for demons to achieve their destiny. What I want is for the proudest demon in all of the land to kneel before a mortal, swearing his loyalty and life into their hands. Swearing to give his life in order to protect them, if the need arise, as we were always meant to do. That is my price."
"And let me guess, he's the 'proudest demon in all of the land'?" she inquired as she gestured over her shoulder to where she knew Sesshoumaru was standing.
"Aye as was his father before him. Tell me child, do you know why his father married a human?"
"I just figured he fell in love with her," Kagome replied with a shrug, never really having thought about the reasons behind his actions.
"No, he too was seeking the treasure of the ancients and believed my words to mean that he was supposed to take a human as his wife. He did not truly understand what it meant to fulfill his destiny until it was far too late for the information to do him any good."
"There has to have been some demon, somewhere, in the last 3,000 years that met all of your expectations. Why must it be this family in particular?" she demanded, almost in exasperation.
"It must be a white dog simply because it was their clan that started this whole mess all those years ago."
"Well why not count Inuyasha, I'm sure with everything he sacrificed for Kikyou, he should have fulfilled your wish."
"Young Inuyasha, is not a true demon, he was not given the same destiny as we were. Him fulfilling it is meaningless. As I told the pup, child, you should give up on this quest, it will never bear fruit. Unless he is willing to lay down his life and love a human unconditionally, though it need not be romantically, I will never reveal the treasure's location," he vowed as he glanced over to where Sesshoumaru was for a moment before turning his attention back to Kagome once again.
"Well then, what about Rin?" Kagome questioned, beginning to feel as though she was grasping at straws in order to not give up. "I have seen him risk his life for her with my own eyes."
"Aye the pup has, but he has never sworn his life to her. And while he cares for her a good deal, he has yet to learn how to love her. He still believe demons are incapable of such a 'weak' emotion, as he likes to call it. He does not understand that, that which can hate, can also love," Bokusenou explained to her before closing his wooden eyes and falling into silence. As the moments ticked by without him speaking again, Kagome decided that it was his way of ending their conversation and began making her way back to Sesshoumaru.
Sesshoumaru had found them an old, deserted and mostly broken down village to stay in for the night a short while before and after getting a nice fire going in one of the more preserved huts, the two sat in silence as it chased the chill away from their bodies. "See, I knew there would be a way to get the information from him," Kagome joked dryly breaking the silence. Seeing Sesshoumaru wasn't going to respond, she continued, "Why is it you believe demons are unable to love anyways?"
"Especially now if our destiny is true, demons must remain strong at all times. If we allow ourselves to be weakened by emotions, we will lose."
"Love does not weaken you, Sesshoumaru, love makes one stronger," she insisted only to be met with a blank stare. "Haven't you ever found yourself winning against impossible odds in order to protect Rin?"
"I have always defeated my enemies due to my better training and power, not by relying on emotions."
"Alright, then what about your parents? You loved your mother and father, right?" she continued, positive there had to have been someone he loved in one way or another.
"I respected them," he countered as he turned his gaze to the fire and watched as the flames danced around in the slight breeze that made its way into the hut through the cracks in the walls.
"Fine, wasn't there ever a demoness you fancied?" she inquired, but instead of answering, Sesshoumaru seemed to ignore her and kept his attention on the fire. "Okay, a demon then?" she questioned causing him to finally turn toward her while glaring. "What? It could happen," she insisted with a shrug, watching as he turned back away from her.
"Sesshoumaru, there are an endless number of forms of love, you had to have experienced at least one of them. In all of your, well however many years old you are, it is not possible that you have not felt love, even if only in its tiniest form. The love for a parent or family member, for a companion or friend, for a member of the opposite or same sex, for a child or pet. Hell even for a toy you had when you were a child, of course that's assuming you were at some point a child.
"It has to be there somewhere, whatever form it was in, you just have to find it. Embrace it, not as a weakness, but as the missing link to accomplish your goals. Without accepting the fact that you can love and finding a human you are willing to love and vow your life to, you will never be able to get the treasure. And you do not seem like the type to accept defeat to me," Kagome admitted before sighing and turning her own attention to the fire.
Silence settled over them once again as they both became lost within their own thoughts, staring unseeing into the flames. After what seemed like an eternity had passed, Sesshoumaru's almost whispered words startled her out of her reverie. "I have never experienced love, in any form," he admitted softly. "I do not even know where to begin."
"I would think Rin would be your safest bet as your feelings for her are probably your closest to love. And loving a child, is one of the easiest things to accomplish in the world," she told him, taking her gaze off of the fire and turning it to him.
"How? How does one go about learning to love?" he questioned softly, a hint desperation in his voice.
"By opening oneself up to the possibility of loving, by believing you can love. By not thinking about who and what she is, but rather, who and what she is to you. By not fighting or denying the feelings and emotions she makes you feel. By allowing her to love you," Kagome explained, giving him a slight smile.
"And if I can not learn to love her?" he wondered after thinking over her words for a few moments in silence.
"Than you find another."
"Why not you?" he inquired raising an elegant eyebrow in question.
"I am far too difficult a person to love and I do not wish for your first experience in love to end in pain," she admitted causing the eyebrow to be raised higher. "When I find a way to get rid of my ability to hear the thoughts of others, I will be returning home. My time in this era is coming to an end and your first taste of love, should not end with the person walking away from you. Though not all love is forever, most experience many forms of love before meeting their first heartbreak.
"And a platonic love is far easier to deal with, especially as your first taste of love, and I fear it would not remain platonic with me. You are someone I find myself able to fall in love with, if I would allow it. But I have had enough heartbreak due to the white dogs to take that leap. Trust me, you are better off seeking love elsewhere."
A week was spent in a small clearing, housing only one small, aged hut, as Kagome watched the interactions between Sesshoumaru and his ward. She had spent every waking moment engaging the two in any activity she could think of, watching as Rin's face would light up while Sesshoumaru remained impassive. The nights were spent next to the warm fire discussing what she had seen during the day, her giving him pointers on how to improve his relationship with Rin.
During the nights, she would tell him how Rin would dream of him saving her after being chased by wolves and while Sesshoumaru believed he had not saved her, as she had in fact died and needed to be resurrected with his father's fang, Kagome had assured him that he had saved the young child. And that she worshiped and loved him as her hero, that she had known he would come to save even as the wolves came upon her.
All too soon the week was over and it was time for her to return to Sango's village as she had promised. And though she had intended on staying longer, the constant flood of inner voices had driven her back home after only a week. After a round of goodbyes, Kagome had set off back toward her home, this time making the trip by herself, as Sesshoumaru had returned to the West once he had dropped her off.
The days passed her by, weeks turning into months, winter giving way for spring and as the villagers began to move around, working their fields again, she found herself becoming able to hear their thoughts from further away. Making it so, that even in her secluded hut, she never had a moment of silence and began to suffer headaches from the noise.
It was not long after, that Sesshoumaru paid her another visit, staying only long enough to discover her new predicament, before he left once again. And as the days dragged on, Kagome began to fear the voices would soon drive her insane, as she always believed the ability to read minds would do. But her salvation came in an unlikely form. Nearly a month since his previous visit, Sesshoumaru had returned, only this time bearing a gift.
As he explained to her, he had left to seek Bokusenou's help, believing if anyone knew how to stop the voices, it would be him. And while he was unable to suggest a way to remove the ability entirely, Sesshoumaru had not walked away empty handed. He had in fact left with one of Bokusenou's branches, having been told that the power within it could shield her from the thoughts of others, much like their scabbards could shield the power of their father's fangs.
He had spent the majority of the time he had been gone, waiting for Totosai to fashion the branch into a necklace so she could easily put it on or take it off as the need arose. He had been graced with a bright smile and a quick hug in appreciation before she had slipped the beaded necklace over her head and her smile only grew larger as she could finally experience silence once again.
"No," Kagome whispered shattering the hush that had consumed her hut as she slept fitfully upon her futon. Sesshoumaru glanced over from his spot next to the hearth, about to inquire as to why she was saying no to him, only to realize she was in fact talking in her sleep. Deciding to pay her no more attention, he turned his gaze back toward the roaring fire, watching as the flames licked at each others' heels. "I am not her."
Confused, Sesshoumaru eyed the woman once again, wondering not only who she was talking about, but also who she was talking to. Whomever it was, was causing her to thrash about, throwing her heating blanket to the floor in the process. "Why can't you see me?" Kagome demanded and Sesshoumaru realized that even though wearing the necklace blocked out the thoughts of others, it apparently did not prevent her from voicing her own.
"Why can't you see that I am not Kikyou?!" Kagome screamed in a hoarse whisper and Sesshoumaru could soon smell the salty, bitterness of her tears and wondered if he should wake her only to decide against it as she would be embarrassed to learn that he had seen her crying. "All you care about is those damn shards," she accused and he figured she was seeing his half-brother within her dream. No doubt a dream of their past as the jewel had already been collected a long time before.
Finally what ever had gripped her within her dream seemed to disappear as she once again fell into a deep, peaceful sleep and soon he could hear her soft snores once again. As he watched her sleeping face, Sesshoumaru thought over what she had whispered, being reminded of her words from the day this had all began. "The only thing I want in the world is to fall in love with someone who loves me, not my past incarnation. Someone who wants me for reasons other than the fact that I can sense jewel shards. So like I said, it's not something you can give me," Sesshoumaru repeated the words out loud to himself, remembering each one as if she had spoken them but a moment before.
'Perhaps, after all she has done for me, I can give her what she wants most. If Rin is possible, I do not see why she would not be as well,' Sesshoumaru thought to himself, unworried that she could hear his thoughts as he knew she was wearing the necklace.
"I must apologize, Kagome," Sesshoumaru informed her as she finished putting away her tea supplies, having served them both not long after waking up and dressing for the day. Confused, Kagome turned toward him, expecting to find him where she had left him, sitting next to the hearth, instead finding him just a few feet from where she was standing.
"Apologizing? That does not sound like you, Sesshoumaru. Tell me, what do you have to apologize to me for?" she inquired as she moved passed him, making her way over to the hearth to add a few more logs to the dying fire. But just as she passed him, he grabbed onto her arm and stopped her in her tracks.
"I am unable to follow your advice," he told her as he turned her around to face him and leaned down, capturing her lips with his own, startling both of them in the process. Her by his actions and himself by the way her lips felt against his own. Pushing against his chest, Kagome backed up and stared at him in shock.
"What are you doing Sesshoumaru?"
"Attraction to a member of the opposite sex can lead to love, as you have told me before," he explained, as if it would clarify things for her, instead only furthered to confuse her more than she already was.
"I told you it was not a good idea to love me," she reminded him as she once again moved toward the hearth, only to be halted once again, this time when his arms wrapped around her.
"Which is why I apologized," he whispered near the shell of her ear, causing her to shiver as the moist heat ghosted over her skin. She stared into the fire, not daring to look at him, watching as the flames grew even smaller.
"Sesshoumaru, you should not do this," she warned him as she tried to break his hold on her, only to have his arms tighten around her in protest.
"Do not think of who or what I am, embrace the sensations I awake in you. Open yourself up, Kagome, to the possibly of loving me," he whispered, throwing her earlier words back at her, as he released his hold only to turn her back to him and capture her lips in another kiss.
"Stop this now, Sesshoumaru, I do not know how much longer I can fight this and you will regret it eventually," she warned him, breaking the kiss, as her legs fought to keep her standing under the pressure of his touch. "You should just stick to platonic love for now until you become more accustomed to it."
"The love that started all of this was not platonic and there is nothing that says ours must be. It is my choice, even if I will one day regret it. Do not deny your emotions or mine, allow me to learn to love you. Fall in love, with me, Kagome," he continued to whisper to her even as he began backing them up to where her futon still lay.
As the cool morning dawned outside of the small hut, Kagome yawned and began to stretch as she awoke, only to find herself unable to move. Confused, Kagome cracked her chocolate eyes open to find a long, pale arm thrown over her stomach, pulling her tightly against a warm body. Turning toward the warmth, she found herself gazing into golden eyes as they stared back in silence. "Good morning," she greeted, not sure of how else she should respond as memories of the night before surfaced in her mind.
"I apologize, I was not aware that you were untouched," Sesshoumaru told her instead of returning the greeting. Confused once again, Kagome simply stared at him in silence as she tried to determine what he was referring to. Finally it dawned on her what he meant and she laughed out loud.
"Of course I was untouched, Sesshoumaru, but would it had made a difference had you known?" she inquired as she released his hold on her and rose from the futon unabashed of her nudity, figuring there was no point in being embarrassed after what had happened last night.
"I would have been more gentle," Sesshoumaru explained as he sat up, letting the blanket fall to pool around his waist, watching as she moved over to her bureau and began pulling out a clean set of clothing. Kagome flashed him a quick smile in response as she began dressing. "How will I know?" he questioned after a moment, causing her to look at him confused for the third time that morning. "When I have fallen in love."
"Don't worry, Sesshoumaru, when it happens, if it happens, you will know," she explained only to be met with a blank stare as she began moving back toward the futon to gather her clothes from the night before. "You will know because you will be unable to stand a single moment apart from me. Seeing me will brighten your day. I will be all that you think about when we were are apart and you will not wish to leave me once we are together.
"I will be the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last before you go to sleep. Everything you see or do will remind you of me. You will crave my touch almost to the point of pain. You will find my flaws to be perfections, my worst habits to be endearing. And you will know because when you are in love, you would be willing to give up your life in order to protect the one you love without a second thought.
"And don't give me that look, Sesshoumaru, when I fall in love with you, I will experience the same. Only difference is I have been in love before and can tell when I am there again. Though I still think you are making a mistake, I highly doubt that I am the kind of person you could ever learn to love. You're better off forgetting last night ever happened and going back to trying to love Rin. With me, you will only be wasting your time," she insisted as she finished picking up her clothing and moved over to the hearth to get the fire going.
"Why do you speak so badly of yourself? I do not remember you ever seeming so pathetic before," he insulted as he stood and began dressing as well, completely ignoring the woman behind him.
"Don't get me wrong, Sesshoumaru," Kagome began with a laugh, her voice causing him to turn back toward her, his bare chest catching her attention for a moment before she shook her head and glanced back up into his eyes. "I am not belittling myself, I am loud, out spoken, opinionated, and independent. I am far from the ideal feudal wife. And while I see all of those as good qualities, I kind of doubt that you do as well.
"I will not do as you command, I will not agree with everything you say, to me your word will not be law simply because you said it. I am not some delicate, soft spoken damsel that sits back waiting for the big, strong man to come to my rescue. If attacked, I fight back. If yelled at, I yell back. If you want to fall in love with someone romantically, I'd recommend you finding someone who won't go against everything you say that she doesn't agree with. I am sure there a plenty of women, demon or human, that would better suit your always in charge, dominating personality."
"If I were seeking a damsel that always needs my protection, only speaks when spoken to and will follow my ever word without question, I would have never suggested you. You are not that mysterious to me, Kagome, I am well aware of your independent personality. It is in fact, the reason it must be you. My subjects, those under my command, those I rule over, must always follow me without question, my wife, as you called it, however is not someone I intend to rule over, but beside. I would only be wasting my time, had I been trying to fall romantically in love with another woman."
Feeling the warmth of his body no longer beside her, Kagome began to awake, wondering where Sesshoumaru had disappeared to hours before dawn. Opening her eyes, she found him sitting in front of the hearth, staring into the dancing flames, his expression one of deep thought. Reaching for the necklace around her neck, Kagome was about to remove it when she decided against it, feeling it was an invasion to listen to his inner thoughts.
Instead, she rose from the futon and softly walked over to where he was sitting, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. "Do you want to talk about what's on your mind?" she questioned as he reached his hand up to gently squeeze one of hers.
"I am running out of time. If I do not learn to love soon, there will no longer be any demons left to save," he told her in a soft voice, never taking his eyes off of the flames.
"Sesshoumaru, you need to stop thinking that you will learn to love because you have to. It does not work that way. You will learn to love only if you want to. You put far too much pressure on yourself to correct a mistake that wasn't even yours. I understand the desire to set this right, but what was meant to be will be. If demons are meant to be saved, as I believe they are, then you will save them, but if you keep believing you are going to fail, you will only make things harder on yourself.
"You will learn to love in time, Sesshoumaru, but for now, come back to bed it is cold without," she whispered into his elven ear before rising and, taking hold of his hand, began guiding him back to the futon.
Time passed unnoticed by them, too wrapped up in each other to notice the day to Inuyasha to visit had come, leaving them unprepared for his arrival. "Hey, Kagome, Kaede sent over some..." Inuyasha began as he opened the door to her small hut, finding her sleeping next to Sesshoumaru, who was currently eying him silently. "stew." Glancing from Kagome and back to his half-brother, Inuyasha glared at him as he spit out, "Outside now."
Setting the stew down, Inuyasha turned and walked back out of the hut without another word. Sesshoumaru watched him for a moment before softly untangling Kagome's body from his own, careful not to wake her, and rose from the futon. Not bothering to put on his shirt, or grab his sword, Sesshoumaru walked out into the cool morning air to find Inuyasha standing a few yards from the hut, fang transformed and raised. A moment passed and Inuyasha was rushing toward him, undisturbed by the fact that he did not have his own fang with him.
"I will kill you for what you've done!" Inuyasha cried out as he swung the sword at Sesshoumaru, who merely side stepped it gracefully.
"And what have I done?" Sesshoumaru inquired causing him to pause mid way through his next swing.
"Using Kagome for your own perverted urges! She is too good to become a demon's whore!" he shouted as he moved to try to attack his half-brother once again.
"She is not my whore, as you seem to think."
"Really? Cause rutting an unmated female sure sounds like mating her your whore!"
"We are in a," Sesshoumaru paused for a moment as he tried to come up with the right word, "relationship."
"Yeah well you can just consider your relationship to be over cause I ain't about to let you have the chance to hurt her. Stay the hell away for Kagome, she's too good for you," Inuyasha shot at him, finally deciding there was no point in trying to fight him as he wasn't bothering to fight back.
"You will not take her from me!" Sesshoumaru growled as he began to rush toward his brother, claws bared, only to skid to a stop, barely preventing himself from barreling into Kagome when she appeared between them.
"Calm down, Sesshoumaru," she instructed with a soft smile as she placed her hand on his bare chest, making sure his attention would be drawn completely to her and away from Inuyasha. "Inuyasha, you need not worry about me. I am fine and this is something I want to do. I'll be okay," she promised as she glanced over her shoulder at where he stood staring at her in shock. When she had heard them fighting, she had only put on Sesshoumaru's missing shirt before going outside.
After Inuyasha had headed back toward the village, Kagome and Sesshoumaru reentered the small hut. The moment they passed the threshold, Sesshoumaru grabbed a hold of her and pulled her flush against his chest. "I will not allow him or anyone else to take you away from me. You are mine as I am yours and I will never let you go," he growled huskily into her ear before whipping her around to face him, and giving her a clear view of his red-tinted eyes.
Giving her no chance to respond, he crashed his lips against her own, bruising them both in the process, as he kissed her feverishly even as he began to push her back toward the futon. His shirt fell from her shoulders as he finally released her lips and began trailing burning kisses across ever inch of her he could reach as he pushed her onto the futon, climbing on top of her a moment after. "Do not worry Sesshoumaru," Kagome whispered as she grabbed a hold of his face and forced him to look her directly in the eyes. "I am not going anywhere," she promised.
As Kagome's words of how he would know, floated into his mind, Sesshoumaru made a decision before completely losing himself in her touches as she too began to tear at his remaining clothing, her blunt nails scratching at his hips and thighs as she went.
"Kagome, it is time to awake," Sesshoumaru whispered to the woman as he held her in his arms, gently stirring her from her slumber. Kagome yawned, stretching herself out only to find his arms preventing her from much movement. Confused and slightly annoyed, Kagome opened her chocolate eyes to glare at him only to realize they were no longer in her hut.
"Where are we?" she questioned as she glanced around the best she could from her position, which she realized was in his arms as he stood unmoving in a small clearing.
"Welcome back to my forest," a gentle voice called from behind her and as Sesshoumaru placed her on her feet, she was able to turn around to find herself face to face with Bokusenou. Kagome stared at him in shock for a few silent moments, perhaps believing the answer would be found without asking the question, before finally shaking her head.
"What are we doing here?" she inquired as she turned back to Sesshoumaru, only to gasp in surprise. Sesshoumaru, in all of his deathly glory, knelt upon one knee behind her, his head slightly bowed. "What the hell are you doing?!" she demanded as she moved to help him to rise, completely forgetting about Bokusenou's request, believing a demon lord of his stature should never bow before anyone, let alone her.
But before she was able to reach him, his words stopped her cold in her tracks. "I, Sesshoumaru, lord of the Western lands lay my life into your hands. It is yours to do with as you wish, Kagome," he told her as he kept his head bowed, unable to see her tears, but still able to smell them as the coursed burning trails down her cheeks.
Behind her, Kagome could hear the roaring laughter of the ancient demon and turned to stare at him in shock, finding his eyes to be trained on the still kneeling demon. "So the pup has finally grown into a man. Well done, my lord," Bokusenou complemented as he shook his branches, his form of a bow, before turning his eyes to Kagome. "You have to accept him child, or he will simply remain like that."
"Oh," Kagome mumbled, shaking herself from her daze, as she closed the distance between them and not knowing what else to do, she placed her hand on his cheek. "My life is yours as well," she whispered through her tears as she fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around him.
"Very well child of the Kami and her guardian, what you seek I shall reveal," Bokusenou began drawing their attention back to himself. "To find where the treasure of the ancients was hidden, simply walk West from here until a mountain blocks your path. It will pulse as you get close to it."
"Thank you, Bokusenou," Kagome said with a tearful smile as she glanced over at him, but before he was able to reply, she had been pulled into Sesshoumaru's arms once again as he took off running toward the West.
"Would it kill him to say 'thank you'?" Bokusenou wondered out loud to himself before chuckling and closing his eyes to fall back into the slumber their arrival had interrupted.
Finding the treasure easily enough, now that they knew its location, the two had begun heading toward where the Temple of the Ancients was believed to be, deciding it was the only safe place to house the treasure. As they stood outside the small, worn down temple, Kagome couldn't help but wonder if they were at the wrong place. There was just no way that this ruin down building was really the Kami's temple, but as they crossed the threshold, what they were seeing faded away revealing the true beauty of the temple.
The walls were no longer made of worn and rotting wood, but of stone that shown with a golden hue, lights illuminated from the walls casting the room in a warm glow and the floors turned from dirt to marble. "Wow," Kagome whispered in amazement as she glanced around their new surroundings. Before he had the chance to respond, a voice rose up from no where, its words echoing around the pair.
"Brave and true guardians for the children of Kami,
Forsaken and forgotten their destiny.
Beautiful children of our womb,
Stray from them to meet their doom.
What once was in perfect balance,
Now look upon the other in hate and malice.
When there is one so shall the other be,
Interwoven within their own destiny.
A life to give, a love to claim,
Each generation fated the same.
For longer than time was in measure,
We blessed them an eternity of pleasure.
As we wished so it was law,
Until the balance was in yaw."
Before them an alter was illuminated as a light appeared above it and as they began to move toward it, deciding it was where the treasure was supposed to be place, the voice continued...
"A love long forgotten by time and space,
A treasure in ruins of a long forgotten place.
That which was done, never shall alter,
Even when their resolve does falter.
The betrayal of one,
Unravels their fate undone.
The death of the other,
Allows for neither to recover.
Just as his path ends,
Now hers begins.
What was never meant to be,
Throws the world into calamity.
Until the chosen can be found,
To this fate, we shall be bound."
Placing the treasure of the ancients onto the alter, they watched as it tipped every so slightly toward the side of demons, already beginning to rebalance itself. Stepping back to Kagome's side, the two of them remained silent as the voice once again continued...
"Now the balance we seek is upon us once again,
Restored by a human and her guardian.
A love that knows no bounds,
Is heralded as the trumpet of victory sounds.
Returned to how it was meant to be,
Our progeny fulfill their destiny.
A child of the future yet unseen,
Brought through time as we intervene.
And a child unaware of his fate,
Unable to love, only to hate.
Thrown together as was our plan,
To be the saviors of this land.
Duty done you are now set free,
To enjoy your shared destiny."
Hearing the voice fade away as the temple once again returned to its run down and ruined form, Sesshoumaru and Kagome turned and began making their way back outside. "Now what?" Kagome wondered as she shielded her eyes from the bright sunlight, allowing them to adjust.
"Now we live. The balance will restore itself saving demons, the mistake has been corrected. We are free to do as we wish," Sesshoumaru told her as he held his hand out for hers and began heading back in the direction he knew her hut to be. Smiling, Kagome walked beside him, wondering where their life and the restored balance in the world, would lead them.
Seasons changed and years flew by, their story becoming a legend in its own time, many versions told each changed slightly from the truth. Each generation bore less humans and more demons until they were once again equal as they were always meant to be. And the punishment for having the scale tipped to their side, their lives being shortened, was lifted allowing humans to age at the same rate as their counterparts.
By the time the 500 years had passed, only Sesshoumaru and Kagome remembered how the balance had once been in disorder, only they knew how close demons had come to being extinct. And that their love had been the only thing that prevented the ancient and majestic race from being destroyed. But as they grew older and more in love, it almost seemed as if their journey had been nothing but a dream, though it did not matter to them.
Whether it had been an endless dream or an epic adventure that they experienced together, they had found each other and together, they learned to love. And while there are many versions to this story, this one is the truth, what really happened. Just as my mother told us every night as we lay down to sleep. A story of honor and love, of betrayal and forgiveness. A story of how our parents fell in love and saved the world.
AN: Decided to put this at the end so I didn't give anything away before y'all had the chance to read the story hehe. When I first started writing this, it was supposed to be a short, funny story, as you can see by the first few scenes, but it ended up morphing into an epic adventure as you can see. This all happened because I was trying to come up with a way to get the two of them together that wasn't so bland. See originally Kagome had heard his thoughts about being attracted to her, but I decided that was too predicable.
Then she was supposed to go to the West with him in order to hear the thoughts of his subordinates, acting as a kind of oracle for him, and I had even came up with the idea that demons rely so much on their sense of smell and sound, rather than sight, that as long as she didn't make a sound and Sesshoumaru covered her in his own scent, that other demons wouldn't even 'see' her there. This too was thrown out as it was too corny.
Eventually I came up with the idea to have him ask her to read someone's mind, deciding Bokusenou would be the only option as he's the only demon I can think of that Sesshoumaru wouldn't just kill, and the story kinda exploded from there lol. As far as the story with Midoriko goes, don't ask how I ever came up with that, cause I'm still not sure. Basically I was laying down one night to go to sleep, came up with her learning the story of what really happened from Sango and randomly thought it would be a great twist to have the woman be Midoriko. Anyways, hope you enjoyed the story, insane as it is. :)