Obligatory Disclaimer: I clearly do not own any of the characters within (even those who may or may not be originals), any of the settings, concepts, or other potentially copy-written works within this piece. I am merely a vessel; A messenger who conveys a story, nothing more, nothing less.

Originally posted 06/29/2011

Prompt: Hay Fever

A thick, heady smoke filled the room, swirling around the tiny space, floating above the heads seated around the tables that cluttered the area. Dim, yellow light filtered down through the low-hanging lamps that sat above the booths. To the left was a long bar, shining bottles and glasses twinkling in the dim lighting. All eyes were on the stage towards the end of the narrow building.

The stage was small, rounded, and filled with various instrumentalists. A pianist was casually playing a sweet tinkling tune; the bassist to his left was heavily thumping out a swift beat, a guitarist to the bassist's left was thrumming on the guitar, playing out a fast beat accompaniment; behind them sat a drummer, lighting tapping a shuffling rhythm. They played beautifully, but they were not the center of attention.

Standing at the edge of the stage, before the other performers, doused in a beam of hazy white light, stood a woman. She was not exceptionally tall, average, and not rather endowed, but had lovely curves that were hugged in her smooth red velvet dress. It flowed over her in luscious motions, like living Cabernet Sauvignon. You could almost taste her as her deep, red lips opened, her deep and lusty voice coming out to gracefully embrace the patrons of the underground club.

Her dark hair was a stunning contrast to her pale and smooth flesh, the ebony locks swept up into a tight chignon, tendrils hanging down to frame her face and grace her bare neck in curly waves. Her hands were covered in deep black silk gloves that ran up her arms, almost every inch of her was covered save for her exposed shoulders and neck.

Some regular patrons would note, however, that this particular artist frequently allowed a little peek at her often bare feet from beneath the lengths of her flowing gowns. Many began to come just to try to catch a glimpse of the supple and bare flesh, teasing them with a hint at something more as she playfully fiddled with her skirt along with the song.

She was a favorite, albeit young, among the jazz crowd in this locally known secret hideout for those who enjoyed a little trip back in time to days gone by. Bringing her hands up, she trailed her fingertips along the smooth silver of the microphone that stood before her as her lips came close, her tongue darting out as she gazed over the crowd of silent watchers, a sultry look on her face.

"Like some other men do." Her voice trailed as she held the final note, eyes fixating in on a particular patron, sitting in the middle of the club at a single table, alone, holding his scotch in one hand and the other resting in his lap.

The crowd perked up, light clapping and some cat calls came out and the woman immediately smiled, breaking her gaze from the single patron only to freeze when she heard a sneeze. Everyone inhaled sharply and the room immediately went silent, a glass broke in the distance as she turned, an oddly scary smile coming to her face.

"It would seem that one of our guests is ill." She spoke gently, some people calmed but those who were regulars just swallowed down their drinks and said silent prayers. "I suppose that it is allergy season. Isn't it? A touch of hay fever, perhaps? What do you all think?" She asked teasingly and some people responded positively, a few people let out coughs of discomfort.

She smirked and turned to look at the musicians behind her, who were grinning. They were in on the inside joke between her and her regulars. "You boys ready?" The bassist and drummer nodded. She turned back to the crowd, slowly inhaling some of the heavy tobacco filled smoke in the room as she gazed over the crowd like a predator, waiting for her prey to make itself known.

Sure enough, as soon as the bassist began to play the heavy tones, another sneeze came from somewhere in the back. Her eyes darted over to hone down on the man, staring at him from her distance. She couldn't make out who it was, clearly not a regular patron. The smoke was too thick, and the lights were too low for her to see who it was, so she did what she always did in these kinds of scenarios and pretended.

Her voice came out smooth as she sang another tribute to the lovely Peggy Lee, a song she rarely performed. Fever was the kind of song that brought out the worst in her, her mind always racing onto things that she couldn't explain.

It had been years since she had her adventures in the past, in the Sengoku period of Japan. After her graduation and return to InuYasha, she had found herself longing for something that she had been unable to express. Their relationship was too rough, too raw, too needing of the near-constant conflict that the jewel shard hunt and the pursuit of Naraku had brought them. Without their usual discord they found themselves being friendly enough but finding little to talk about. The usual conversation died on 'hey remember when…' and never seemed to go much further than that.

So, she returned home, thinking that it was just how things were meant to be. InuYasha came to visit every once in a while, and they shared stories of their respective lives on the opposite ends of time, but more or less it seemed like a news report than actual conversation. Her eyes closed as she continued to belt out the tune, trying to will her mind not to return to the place she knew it would. It always did.

It all started when she had actually been running a fever. She had gone for a visit to the past, one of her last, and had come down with a sudden case of flu. She was shivering, sweating, cold and hot all at the same time. Eventually, she gained enough strength to struggle her way out of Kaede's home and stumble down the path to the well, knowing that she needed the care of her mother to overcome her ailment.

Just as she reached the well, however, she swooned, stumbling forward hitting her head on the side of the well. It hurt horribly, and she could almost feel the sting of her broken flesh to this day, smell the copper tang of her blood as it seeped out of her forehead. Her body hadn't hit the ground, though. Instead, she had been caught and lifted carefully.

She had expected to see InuYasha and almost had a moment of hope for their dying relationship as her heart did a leap of excitement from the chivalrous act of catching her like that. She was lifted to her feet and raised her head, what she saw would make her shudder and faint again, this time passing out completely.

When she came to, she was lying in the well in her own time. Achingly, she sat up and groaned as she reached up to touch at her throbbing forehead only to cringe and let out a groan at what felt oddly like spit on her cut. Or, where the cut would have been had it still been there.

She had sat there for a while, her befuddled mind trying to make sense of what had happened. Had he? She frowned and shook it off at the time only to be reminded of him again when she decided to take on the challenge of jazz singing as a regular hobby and eventually as a paid job in this club.

Since that moment, she found herself thinking of him regularly. Particularly when she sang this song, reminding herself not only of her feverish state of mind at their last meeting, but how oddly she felt after that event. Ever since that day when she came to the realization that he had caught her, despite having no reason to do so, and how he had licked her forehead, effectively removing the blood, sanitizing it, and healing it at once, despite having no motivation towards her care.

Ever since that time when it clicked that he had sent her through the well, as if knowing where she came from. She wondered if he was there, at every corner, and over the months excitement had built in her. It was odd and strange. She tried to fight it but found herself unable. She craved the mystery.

So here she was, singing that song once more, dragging her hands up and down her body as her chest heaved with her breaths, feeling sweat drizzle along her skin and run down her neck, plummeting down her chest. Her fingers dug into her skirt and lifted it ever so slightly, just enough to where she could sway back and forth with the music sensuously.

She knew she was an idiot for expecting anything from him. He had no reason to come to her. They barely had said two words to each other before. So why did her body scream out for some sort of reaction, some sort of sign that he was there, just beyond the next corner, waiting for her to take that fateful turn?

"What a lovely way to burn." She hummed out the final notes, her chest heaving.

For a moment, the entire club went silent before a round of applause and whistling could be heard. She blushed profusely and promptly ran from the stage, down a hall and into a waiting room in the back, slamming the door and leaning against it. Her eyes closed tightly as she swallowed hard, trying to calm herself and slow her heaving chest and racing pulse.

As she heard one of the other girls start singing she let out a slow breath, leaning forward for a few moments, before standing and going over to her vanity, staring at her reflection in the mirror. There was no point in getting herself so worked up. It wasn't like he was coming. Nobody would come for her. She was just some plain girl among a sea of other girls in Japan.

She slipped the gloves off, tossing them onto the vanity before her and reaching up she let loose her hair, pulling out the pins that held the locks up and allowing them to freely tumble down her back. Since she wore it braided or up these days they curled nicely just above the curve of her spine.

A knock at the door caused her to jump slightly and she turned to stare at the offending barrier as if it had somehow knocked itself. She stood and went to the door, reaching out to take the handle and slowly opening it, her eyes widening as she saw him standing on the other side, a small smirk on his face.

"You like jazz, I see."

She nodded, unsure what to say.

"Me too."

Her mouth fell open and she had to forcefully pull it up before finally speaking. "What are you doing here?"

He stared down on her, an amused expression on his face. "Funny, I had the strangest notion that you'd be waiting for me."

She turned away from him, motioning to close the door beside her in her frustration at his assumption. It didn't help that he had guessed correctly. The door stopped and she looked up to see his hand holding it open as he leaned in towards her. "I don't believe you want to do that, Kagome."

Her eyes closed and she let out a stiff breath from her nostrils as she shivered when he said her name. She didn't know what she wanted to do, honestly. For months her whole world was some fantasy of him coming back into her life and now that he was finally here she had no clue as to what to do about it!

She turned to look up at him, a small smile on her face. There wasn't much else she could do at this point, other than just go with it and see where things led. "Would you like to come in, Sesshomaru?"