By: The Hatter Theory

Chapter 18: The Other Shore

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Inu Yasha or to anything by Matt Lange

A Note: This one is short guys, and a bit bipolar. After discussing it with a friend, I decided to keep the mental pinballing, mostly because that was the consensus of how people might feel in that situation. As for the incredible shortness, I apologize, but I don't want to jump drastically from scenes. So please forgive me. I do have the next chapter written, and we'll be back on track after such a long delay. Thank you for all of your reviews and well wishes for my less than happy harddrive.

When Sesshoumaru came back, Souta was sitting with her in their living room. The couch had been delivered, and they both lounged on it, one at each end. She was still wrapped in a blanket and sipping from a water bottle. Wondering if he was interrupting, he paused at the door, shocked when Souta waved him in.

"You were taking care of my sister, so you can't be all bad," Souta said with a smile.

Sesshoumaru mentally scoffed.

"Look, I've got to get going soon, but I'm glad you're feeling a little better. Let me know what your schedule is and I'll come visit again. Or I can go to your school and we can grab lunch," He promised, standing and bending to hug her around her neck. As he walked to the door, he paused next to Sesshoumaru and offered a bright smile.

"Take care of her. She'll fight you on it, but she needs it."

And with that strange statement hanging in the air, he was out the door and closing it behind him.

"Twerp," Kagome muttered quietly, although the grousing did little to hide the affection in her voice. She sighed before looking over at him, face a much healthier shade than it had been when he had left her, although still too pale for his liking.

"How are you feeling?"

"Better. Still nauseous, but not as dizzy. Thanks, for giving us some time together. It was good to talk to him about this."

He said nothing as he walked over and sat across from her, mostly because he wasn't sure what to say next.

"Mom has apparently gone off the deep end. She's really angry, even forbidden Souta from seeing me. I didn't think she would get this mad," She sighed, rubbing her forehead. "Souta, he's seen more than I realized. I think he understood what was going on better than I did," She admitted quietly. "He understands why I left, but grandpa doesn't. Neither does mom."

He remained quiet, let her talk about the things her brother had told her. Despite her anger, a very justified anger at that, she seemed hurt that her mother had disowned her so completely.

"It is not the cleanest break," He finally said quietly. "But it is a complete one. There is no going back."

"I suppose not. Maybe that will make things easier," She sighed. "I wish it hadn't come to this. I feel like somehow it's all my fault."

He didn't want to tell her that it was, in part, her fault. Not only because it was the wrong thing to say, but because she still looked ill. After a quick search on the internet to check on the side effects of the pill and reading through testimonials, he had determined that she would need watching throughout the night. Not to mention his brother had outright told him to stay away, following it with threats to be as loud and insufferably annoying as he could be for however long he was there. And for once, the threat didn't feel empty, and he wasn't in the mood to try and deal with it.

"It isn't. Your mother must learn to let go, and you must learn to stand on your own feet."

"Am I though?" She asked quietly.

"You're on your own, making your own decisions," He pointed out.

"Yes, wonderful decisions," She groaned. "I get on my own, with someone paying my way for me, and the first thing I do is have unprotected sex. Obviously I have a total handle on this."

He tried not to let the comment get to him, but it did. After all, she hadn't been the only one to forget, and unlike her, he had been sexually active, knew the responsibilities that came with it. And another, more jealous part of himself was angry, because she was having her way paid. It would be nothing like what he and his half brother had experienced.

"What if I did exactly what mom was scared of?" She asked, voice trembling lightly.

He stifled an oath before it had a chance to leave his mouth. It had not occurred to him that she might perceive the mistake as proof positive that her mother had been correct. If anything, he had expected her to turn on her mother's draconian tactics.

"No one is exempt from mistakes," He told her, trying to keep his voice even. "You are bound to make them now that you have been given the freedom to choose. And it was not a mistake you made on your own," He reminded her.

Her gratitude was a palpable thing, and her sagging form moving across the couch to lean against him was, in a strange way, comforting in and of itself. That she hadn't refuted his explanation or burst into tears was enough to assure him that his words sunk in.

"Thanks for dealing with this," She finally sighed.

And because she had no one else, because she was his, in a way, he knew that he would not turn her away, not now. But admitting it to himself was a far cry from speaking the words aloud, and he knew that whatever had happened the night before had changed something, but it was not enough.

"You're welcome," He said instead, allowing her to snuggle into his side. When she began to doze, he finally chanced a look down at her.

It occurred to him that even if she would forgive his deception, she would never fit in his world. Once his time was up, he would go back, and she would still work with her fans, still be interested in chemistry. Even if they could continue their relationship, and he refused to admit that the idea appealed, she would always be an outsider, would, in the viciously delicate terms of the business aristocracy, never be quite up to the mark. You could dress a chicken in peacock feathers, but it's nature remained the same.

Maybe when it was over, he could burn the bridge efficiently, effectively. Not as messily as her mother had, but thoroughly and completely. It would help her move into her own future, and he could pursue his own.

She groaned in her sleep, shivering violently. He shifted until he was laying alongside her on the couch, his feet dangling over the arm, and wrapped his arm around her. Her trembling stopped and within seconds her breathing had evened back out, her face relaxed.

Whatever would happen would happen, he told himself. But for now...

A confusing, contrary voice in his head whispered to him, tempted him. If just for now, he wanted to savor what time he did have with her.

She took the second pill, grimacing and waiting for the side effects, some of which lingered stubbornly, to come back and worsen. Keeping food down had been difficult knowing she was going to be facing it again, But Sesshoumaru had been adamant that she eat something.

"I hate this," She sighed again. She felt whiny and childish, but couldn't stop herself from feeling miserable. Even though he'd said the right things, the things that made her feel marginally better, she couldn't help but feel as if he'd retreated, perhaps rightfully so. Maybe they had gotten too close to fast, maybe she was clinging to hard. But she didn't want him to retreat, not now. Once her brother had left, silence had descended and Sesshoumaru's habitual silence gave her too much time to think about the night before and what it could possibly mean.

"If it were easy everyone would chose it over other means," He commented quietly.

She made a note that, should they have sex again, she was going to make sure he was wearing a condom if she had to put it on him herself. Which was mortifying in and of itself.

"I smell awful," She announced, changing the subject. And really, they both did. An hour snuggled into his armpit had only driven home that they both still smelled of fuel and sex and stale sweat. It wasn't entirely unpleasant, but it wasn't something she wanted to linger in.

"Come on," He instructed, standing. Cautiously she stood, ignored the wave of vertigo that threatened, and followed him down the short hallway and to the bathroom. He pointed to the toilet and she sat quietly, watching as he plug the bath and began running water. He said nothing, but when he finally turned the knobs to shut off the flow, he stood again and turned to her. It really was a small bathroom.


It wasn't said in a cool tone of voice, but it wasn't warm either. Standing, she helped him remove the shirt and pants, saying nothing when he kicked them out of the way. He did help her get into the bath, and she gratefully sat in the warm water.

"Are things different now?" She quietly asked as he pulled a bottle of soap from the corner. Sesshoumaru stopped, brows knitting together before leaning back and bracing his forearm on the rim of the tub.

"I don't think so."

It was only mildly comforting that he seemed as uncertain as she felt.

"I don't want it to. I don't want us to stop being friends first."

"We won't," He answered quietly.

And because she trusted him, she let him help her bath, and when the dizziness returned full force, she let him help her out of the tub feeling like a half drowned kitten, too weak to move on her own. Ignoring the water dripping to the floor, he helped her to her room and quickly dried her body. Her hair was still damp when he wrapped her in her blanket.

"Please don't go yet," She whimpered, shaking as another tremor ran through her.

"I haven't bathed."

"I don't care."

She didn't want to seem clingy or insipid, but she also didn't want to be alone.

When he laid down next to her, she breathed a sigh of relief and closed her eyes, riding out the tumult of physical sensations telling herself that she was paying for a mistake, and that it was one she wouldn't be making again.