Disclaimer: I do not own InuYasha!
It was spring time, five-hundred years in the past. The trees were vibrant shades of green with new foliage, and dark with aged bark. Wild flowers were blooming in their scattered pattern, like a light blanket strewn on the floor of the forest. Through the trees a raven haired young women with a large yellow backpack came walking slowing by, enjoying the beauty around her. Although the backpack was large, it was apparent, that it was primarily empty. After a short time of walking the girls destination came into view. A small clearing with an inconspicuous wooden structure in the center. It was the clearing with the well that allowed her to travel through time. A soft grin came to her face at the distant sight. It had been five years now since she had first fallen in and traveled to the past, and so many times that she has jumped in to travel back and forth on her own.
When she cleared the tree line the young woman stopped abruptly, and her expression quickly changed to one of curiosity. Beside the battered wooden well a figure sat leaning against the splintered wood. A man sat with one leg stretched out straight and the other bent with his elbow propped up on it. He wore a familiar white hakama, a white kimono with a signature red pattern at the edges, a long fur over his shoulder, and a blue and gold obi with two swords tucked securely into it. The long silver hair spread over his shoulders and pooled on the ground beside him. The crescent moon marking on his forehead and the strips on his face were a symbol of his royalty, and although his eyes were closed she knew the amber color of his eyes. With the sun bathed over him she was awed at his beauty; not that he wasn't anything but beautiful she thought with an inward giggle to herself.
After a short time of watching the magnificent figure before her, the young woman hesitantly took a step forward. When the grass crumpled beneath her footfalls the man opened his eyes and turned his face in her direction. This graceful movement startled the raven haired girl, and she gasped.
"Sesshoumaru-sama." She whispered and gave a bow.
He drew an eyebrow up into his bangs, then leaned forward and stood so smoothly that she almost missed the entire sequence of movements that she knew was involved. He stood looking at her for a long moment, then finally moved to stand a few feet away from the stunned girl.
"Miko." He said in a low rumbling voice.
"Kagome is fine." The girl said with a shaky voice.
"Miko," He started, clearly ignoring her request for informality. "I have a favor to ask of you."
"Yeah! What could I do for you?" She was quite curious at this point. What could the youkai lord want from her?
"Rin would like some of the color sticks like your kitsune has."
"Crayons!" Kagome was shocked at this odd request.
"If that is what they are called." His voice remained even and steady as it always did.
"Yeah, sure. I'm going home right now, so I can buy some for her. I will be back in a couple of hours if that is O'kay?" She was grinning again, and he nodded his acceptance to her proposal.
The daiyoukai moved away from the well to the tree line and sat straight against a tree. The young priestess paused at the well. With one knee bent and leaning on the lip she looked over her shoulder at him one more time before she jumped in. The blue light of the time slip glowed from the well and the girls aura was gone. The stoic male under the tree raised an eyebrow thoughtfully. He had never witnessed her time traveling before and found it indeed strange.
On the other side of the time flow Kagome landed at the bottom of the well in the shrine were she lived. Looking at the roof of the well house she sighed to herself. That was weird. She thought to herself as she pulled herself onto the ladder and began the climb out. I should get Rin a coloring book too. I bet she would love that. She was grinning to herself when she came up and over the lip of the well and touched down in her time. Kagome began to make a mental list of everything that she needed this trip. When she arrived to the house her mom was in the kitchen cooking, where she yelled her greeting to her daughter. A home cooked meal sounded so good to her.
"Hey, mom." She gave her mom a peck on the cheek. "What are you making?"
"Curry." She smiled "Are you going to stay for dinner?"
"I have to be back in a couple of hours." Kagome slumped, knowing that she couldn't. "I have to bring some crayons to InuYasha's older brother."
"Brother?" Her mom asked excitedly. "I didn't know he had a brother."
"Yeah, Sesshoumaru, is his half brother." She informed her mother. "He is very strong. When we first met he didn't like humans at all."
"Really? Why does he need crayons?" Her mother was obviously confused. Kagome laughed.
"Not to long after we met he took on a young girl as his ward. I don't know the particulars, but she is the sweetest thing mom, you would love her." The girl was grinning widely at the mention of the little one.
"Oh, I have to get going if I'm going to get all the shopping done and get in a shower before going back. He is waiting for the crayons." She bounded off out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
Her mother smiled at the joy in her daughter. It had been a while since she had seen it in her. Mothers always notice when their child is upset or unhappy, and Kagome's mom was no exception. What ever it was about the little girl that pleased her daughter made her happy. She heard the water running up stairs and knew that Kagome would be a little while.
Kagome settled into the warm water and stood with it flowing over her sore body. A vision of Sesshoumaru under the tree came to her minds eye and she jerked back opening her eyes. Why did I think of him at this moment? He is so stern and serious, but he would do anything for Rin. That is an endearing quality. Why would I think about endearing qualities in Sesshoumaru? He did try to kill me several times. That was a long time ago though. No. He still dislikes me. He only asked me for crayons because I am the only one he knows that can get them. Rin and Shippou sure had a great time coloring together while she was with us. I wonder if he would let us visit her? I should ask him. The water started to cool a bit and she knew she had to hurry. She scrubbed shampoo through her hair and soaped her body. Quickly and efficiently she shaved her legs and under her arms; it had been a while.
Turning the water off she exited the shower and grabbed her towel. She rubbed herself dry and began towel drying her hair. The massaging of her hands was soothing, and she closed her eyes. Then Sesshoumaru popped into her head again. She snapped up, eyes wide, and shook her head to clear the thought from her mind. I have to stop that right now. I have things to do. Wrapping her towel around her she walked into her room, and shut the door behind her. Once in her room she pulled on shorts and a tee shirt over the simple white bra and panties. Grabbing her large yellow backpack she tipped it over to empty the contents onto her bed. She rifled through it and returned the few pertinent items except her wallet that she tucked under her arm. She set off out of her room and down the stairs. Yelling a goodbye to her mom as she left the house for her shopping.
As she promised a couple of hours later the blue light glowed from the well and the girls aura was present again. Sesshoumaru stood and moved toward the well, were he heard much huffing and puffing of the girl struggling to get out from inside the well. Slowly she climbed toward the dimming light of the outside. Inwardly she hoped, as she did every time she returned, that she would remember to put a ladder in the well in this time for herself. As she was concentrating on this thought a hand wrapped around her wrist and she gasped at the unexpected contact. Looking up to see who had grabbed her, Kagome, was surprised to see Sesshoumaru leaning into the well. Without warning he lifted her out with one hand; bringing the full length of her body up and over the lip of the well. It was never a question if he was strong enough, but she a bit surprised that he was so tall. This was one of only a few times that she was able to get a close look at him. The times that they had been together he was always distant, in every respect of the word.
"Thank you." She panted. "I got the colors that you asked for."
"Very well." He held out his hand to receive the item from her. Kagome pulled off her overstuffed backpack and opened the top. After rooting around for a brief moment she found the package.
"Here you go." She placed the rather large package in his hand. "I hope you don't mind I got some coloring books that she can use with her new crayons."
Sesshoumaru tilted his head and looked curious at the package, then raised a silvery brow.
"My thanks to you, miko." He turned to leave her without another word.
"Wait." Her voice came out hoarse, but he stopped and looked over his shoulder at her. "I was wondering if Shippou and I could visit Rin some time?"
He turned his body around to face her completely; one eyebrow hidden in his bangs again. The unspoken question was in his expression.
"You see, Shippou and I really like her, and we would like to spend some time with her." Kagome was nervously twirling her fingers around themselves, while looking down. She shot her gaze back up to his "If that is O'kay with you that is. I would really like to see her again."
After looking at her for a long moment, his brow lowered back into place. "Very well. I will retrieve you and your kitsune tomorrow at midday." Promptly he turned and left before she could say anything else.
As the youkai lord walked away he thought about the girls odd request to see Rin. Although, it was a good idea. Rin needed to spend some time with humans and with children her age. Having another human around was not a very pleasant idea but the miko wasn't bad. She didn't smell like most humans did, and she wasn't a weakling either. Rin could indeed benefit from the miko's knowledge. This could be a good thing he was sure of it. He lifted the package to eye it carefully. The miko's scent was all over it. The fabric that wrapped it was very beautiful and a wide silk ribbon secured it. Sesshoumaru inhaled deeply. The crisp scent of the miko was emanating from the package; it was very distinctly her scent. From their first meeting he had noticed her scent. It was an intoxicating blend of flowers and sunshine. Although he had noticed that her scent had dwindle slightly over the last few years since the older priestess was brought back; he was fairly certain why her scent had subsided. During this encounter with her though, her scent came back very strong and even flared when she asked to see Rin and again when he had agreed. This thought pleased him.
Kagome was grinning when she had returned to the village. Immediately, she sought out Shippou to tell him of their adventure tomorrow. As she figured she found him in the old priestess' hut coloring as he so frequently did. He jumped into her arms when she entered. Then promptly accosted her for his gifts. With a laugh and a grin she set him and her backpack down. Pulling him in close to her after she sat down, she pulled the large bag close and dug in it until pulling a lollipop and some new crayons out and handing them to the excited kitsune. Kagome decided to give him a minute before telling him about tomorrow. When she did finally tell him he looked shocked and she was concerned that he didn't want to go, but then he broke into the widest grin she ever saw and jumped at her again. She smiled and laughed at both of their joy.
Early the next morning Kagome woke with a feeling of excitement. It had been a few years since she had felt any excitement in her life. Even when they fought Naraku she didn't have the same enthusiasm as before. She had known that things would, and did, change since Kikyo was restored. Inuyasha spent most of his time with Kikyo and she rarely saw him alone. This trip would be thrilling though, she was sure of it. Kagome went outside and down to the river alone. She took her cleaning supplies and washed up before sitting on the bank and staring into the clear skies above. She sat for a long time with her arms propped up on her knees, alternately looking at the sky or the water. Occasionally she would play with the grass around her, but she was considerably lost in her thoughts of what the day would bring.
Without warning she heard the roar of a dragon approaching. Somewhat panicked she looked to locate the creature. When she looked to the sky it was the familiar two headed dragon of the daiyoukai flying overhead with it's master along side him. The pair descended on her quickly causing her to jump up and make room on the narrow shore line. Indeed she was shocked to see him as it was still mid morning and not noon as was agreed upon.
"Sesshoumaru-sama," She bowed to him. "You're early. This is a surprise."
"I apologize for the change in plans. Rin, you see is quite eager for you to join her." He said in a very unaffected manner. Although, Kagome knew that he would do anything for the dark haired little girl in his charge.
"I see. Then, I will go and get Shippou so that we can leave." She turned to go, but her hand was caught by his.
She gasped at the unexpected contact from the youkai lord. This was not like him at all. Slowly, she turned to look at her hand in his, then lifted her gaze to meet amber eyes. When their eyes locked with one another she was shocked to see a softness in his gaze that she had never seen before. He looked so different at this moment; like nothing she could ever imagine from the man she knew. He held her gaze for what seemed like an eternity before he spoke.
"Miko, would it be too much to ask for you to bring enough supplies to stay a few days at my home?"
Kagome was stunned. What was this all about, she wondered? Figuring that it wouldn't hurt she nodded softly to him. It took the slightest moment too long for him to release her hand and she debated all the way to the village if it had been her imagination. Finally, she decided that it was not worth worrying over and pushed the thoughts aside. Upon entering the hut of the old miko, Kaede, she saw Shippou coloring beside the fire while humming a happy tune to himself. He looked up when Kagome came in, and offered her a big grin. With a smile back she explained that they would be leaving early and would not be back for a couple of days. He seemed unaffected by this and quickly gathered his things. Once everything was in order they stepped outside together and headed for the river were Sesshoumaru was waiting for them. Once they were within earshot of the river they heard yelling and the clash of metal. Kagome and Shippou ran for the shore to find the two brothers in another skirmish. Inuyasha yelling something about stealing his woman, and Sesshoumaru saying something of she is the one that wanted to come.
"SIT" She yelled with a huff of exasperation.
"Oi, what did you do that for Kagome?" The hanyou yelled, once he recovered from his holein the ground, at the woman fuming in front of him.
"I am going with Sesshoumaru to visit Rin, and Shippou is coming with me." She was getting angrier with every passing moment.
"You didn't say anything about this to me, and who said you could go?" Was his misguided retaliation.
"If you would come into the village from time to time you would have known." She huffed again. "You are so wrapped up with Kikyo that you don't have time for anyone else."
Kagome could not believe that she had just said that to him. Sure it had been on her mind for a long time now, but she never considered actually saying it. She stood in silent shock at her own anger when Sesshoumaru spoke up.
"She does not need your permission to go anywhere or to do anything little brother." He sheathed his sword and took up the reins of the dragon again.
"I believe that the miko is quite capable of making her own decisions. You have the other miko now, let the young one go." He moved close to Kagome and with a regal grace hoisted her and the kitsune onto the dragons back.
Without any further words they took to the skies and left Inuyasha at a lose for words. Kagome felt mildly upset at the state of things and was slumped a bit at the thoughts. With his keen eyes Sesshoumaru took note of this and moved up next to her as they flew.
"Do not let my brothers carelessness upset you. He is a selfish being and always will be." His eyes took on that softness again, and it made the young woman feel better about what had happened.
She knew what he said was true and nothing would change that about the hanyou. In all the time they had known each other he was selfish. That's why he was always after her to return from trips home and coming to get her if she was even a minute late. At first she had thought it was endearing, but after a while it wore thin and was an aggravation. Without a doubt the youkai lord was correct, and she nodded in agreement along with the young boy she held.
After a few hours of flying they started to descend. Kagome looked below her to see where they were landing. Directly beneath her was a large garden with a large building to her right. The whole complex was surrounded by a tall fence with a heavy looking gate behind her. The garden had many trees, shrubs and flowers of differing varieties. Farther to the back near the house was a large pond with fish and a bridge that crossed from the porch to the garden.
As they came to rest in the grass of the garden a high squeal came from near the house. Kagome slid off of the dragon and onto the ground with Shippou safely in her arms. Turning to the loud noise she saw Rin running across the bridge of the pond and barreling toward her. Setting the young kitsune on his feet she knelt down and threw open her arms to receive the girl. The impact of the small girl nearly sent her backwards, and the two embraced and giggled together in happiness. Shippou received his hug next with great joy. Kagome stood and smiled at the two children that were now babbling on to one another. She turned to look for her host. The two headed dragon was being led away by a lesser youkai that Kagome assumed was a servant of the house, and Sesshoumaru stood stalwart as ever looking at the group laughing and talking. Kagome cracked a slight smile at him and turned back to the girl.
"Rin, did you like your crayons?" She asked the girl with a smile.
"OH, yes I did Kagome-sama. The coloring books too. That was so wonderful for you to send them for me." The girl chattered back at her as she took the kitsunes hand and started to lead him toward the house.
Kagome smiled and watched as Rin led the young boy away. Suddenly, a tall white figure stood at her side, and she almost leapt in fear. The daiyouki was so fast, and she was not use to anyone moving so quickly. She placed her hand on her chest and let out a hard breath of air, but sucked it back in just as fast when he offered her his arm. She stared back and forth from his arm to his face several times before hesitantly taking it around the elbow. He walked her into the house after the two children.
The odd group sat together at a large round table in a room that was clearly a moderate sized dining hall. The cushions they sat on were soft and covered in elaborate fabrics. Everything about this seemingly simple room was not simple at all. A lunch had been brought in for everyone to enjoy; which everyone did to the hosts satisfaction, and the children continued their coloring party. After the table was cleared tea was brought in for the two adults, and once the party was alone again Sesshoumaru moved next to the young woman of the group. Kagome fidgeted slightly with some discomfort at his proximity. After all he was a very imposing figure, and she had never been this close to him before.
"Miko, would you walk with me in the gardens?" He finally asked.
"Oh, sure." She answered nervously.
The two exited the room together and walked into the gardens a short distance from the room they were in. Rin looked up as they left and smiled softly to herself. She looked again at her playmate who was looking at her with the same smile on his face, and they laughed together before continuing with their coloring.
In the garden the two adults walked silently together for quite a long time. Kagome was thinking of something good to say, and Sesshoumaru was thinking of anything to say. The two felt so awkward around the other, but refused to let it show. Finally Kagome thought of something none committal to say to her host.
"Sesshoumaru-sama," She started softly. "Thank you for allowing us to come and stay with you."
"Anything for Rin." He glanced his eyes sideways at her, appearing not to look at her.
"It really means a lot to me to be here with Shippou. What I mean is, to be here to see Rin." Her thoughts stumbled and tripped as she tried to correct herself; when she was calmer she finished. "I mean. I know how much you dislike humans, and to invite me into your home is a big deal. Thank you."
"This is true." One eyebrow raised "The smell of most humans in this time is rather bad."
"However, I have found the smell of some humans is more pleasing." He looked directly at Kagome when he said this.
She stared back at him. She could see that softness in his eyes again, the one that she had come to enjoy.