Summary: Once Sesshoumaru decides on a course of action he is relentless. Kagome knows that but she never expected that focus to be turned on her.
AN: Some AU-Canon. Kagome fell out of love with InuYasha and she never returns to the past after the final battle.
AN: Written in celebration of Dokuga Moderators Month 2012. Especially dedicated to Synysterstar, who asked for light and fluffy. Something after the series ended and Sesshomaru is trying to woo Kagome. Hope you enjoyed this one Synysterstar! (^_^)
Kagome winced. "Can't you ask Minako?"
The maitre d' shook his head. "I'm afraid Minako has to leave a little early today, to pick up her daughter. And Yuriko called in sick. You are the most experienced hostess working the closing shift."
The miko hung her head and sighed, but eventually nodded. No one really liked doing overtime after the closing shift but it allowed Kagome to work earlier day shifts in her other part time jobs. University was a lost cause given her sporadic high school attendance and sub-par marks, but Kagome hoped to get into a good culinary school and she needed every yen she could earn, for herself and her family.
"All right Tenzou-sempai, but you owe me!" She wrinkled her nose. "I don't like hosting for late-night parties, especially young businessmen! They get… grabby."
Tenzou sighed. "Don't I know it! I just wish Yuriko were here. She's amazing at making drunk guests behave and stay in line."
Then both laughed at the vision it conjured, of the middle-aged matronly hostess whose good-cheer masked a formidable will and skill at getting her own way.
Several hours later Kagome was gritting her teeth and chanting mentally, praying for control and serenity. She'd been pinched and propositioned and felt up way too many times and she was about ready to blow! She had told herself to think of the tips, the overtime pay, the experience. Nothing could compensate for the fright she experienced when jyaki laced fingers stroked her across the ass.
She yelped and spun around, reflexively striking out with her powers. The owner of the wandering hand yelled and jerked back. He was a young sullen looking male with gold eyes and shaggy black hair dressed in what had to be a custom-tailored suit. He flapped his smoking fingers and glared at her.
"Watch what you're doing bitch!" he snarled, loosening a bit of his aura making even the humans in the room tremble in primal fear. Several of his companions just smirked unaffected, and gave her leering looks. They were also of youkai lineage.
Kagome lost it and let loose her own powers, pink flames dancing between her clenched fingers. They jerked back with wide shocked expressions.
"Watch it yourself you punks!" she growled. "You're just small fry to others I've seen and fought. So behave. Or else!" And then she stalked off satisfied and pretty certain they wouldn't dare to ever proposition her again.
After the end of her shift she wished she hadn't been so free with her powers.
"What? You're firing me?" Tears welled in blue eyes. "I need this job Tenzou-sempai!"
The older man shook his head. "I'm sorry Kagome but one of the guests complained about your behaviour. Usually I would ignore since he was clearly drunk… but he is the third son of the owner's silent partner. Mikado-san will not want to risk losing the patronage of the Nagasawa family. Even if it is the brat's fault."
Kagome brushed away her tears. It was harsh but it was the way of the world. Rich, spoilt brats often got their own way at the expense of hard-working and less-wealthy folk. And it wasn't like she could tell the restaurant owner, or the police, that the bastard was a hanyou or youkai who tried to overwhelm her with his aura.
"Can I at least get a reference?" she asked hesitantly.
Tenzou thought for a few seconds. "Not from Mikado-san but I will be more than happy to write one for you."
At least she managed to salvage something. She bowed from the waist gratefully. "Gomen nasai Tenzou-sempai."
The miko hoped she could stretch the income from her other jobs to help with the shrine expenses. With Souta attending university, money was tight.
Nagasawa Sesshoumaru removed his stylish rimless glasses with narrow rose-tinted rectangular lens. He did not really need them but they helped to solidify the illusion that he was an older man. And the coloured glass helped hide the slit pupils when he lost control; which was a regular occurrence in recent decades.
He leaned back against the expensive designer leather couch and tried to clear his thoughts, forget about the spoilt immature whelps that were his youngest sons. It had been a foolish mistake, to allow the courts to manoeuvre him into that fourth breeding match. His male pups from the first three breeding bitches chosen had grown up to be fine examples, Alphas in their own right, forming their own packs in Japan and other parts of the Orient. But the twins from the last unwanted match… Secretly he acknowledged he was a fool to have allowed the breeding bitch to raise them. They were spoilt, useless, disgraces upon his name and lineage. If this were the Feudal Era Sesshoumaru would have killed them himself, before they could further dishonour the pack with their misdemeanours.
He stiffened. His sharp ears and nose caught traces of Kazama and Soujiro entering the manor. They were inebriated. As usual. He stood and walked to the foyer to ensure they did not cause any damage. The last time they went out celebrating and returned drunk they had recklessly tossed jyaki attacks at each other in the living areas. Luckily none of the blasts had seriously injured any of the household staff.
He frowned, catching traces of a vaguely familiar scent, the sharp ozone tang of power, fresh rain and jasmine. Where had he smelled that before?
Soujiro was laughing wildly. "You did good Kaz! That miko bitch won't be so haughty without any money. Hey do you think she'll be taking clients to pay her bills?" He grinned lewdly.
Sesshoumaru's blood surged. "What did you do?" he asked in a low dangerous voice.
Kazama, the younger twin, shrugged. "Just got a bitch fired from Fuzami."
"Why?" Sesshoumaru asked patiently.
Kazama scowled. "She zapped me."
Soujiro chortled. "She was too haughty to accept our favours. Too proud for a ningen, acting higher than her place which is below us."
The daiyoukai's blood surged at the whelp's description, as the haunting aroma struck a chord in old memories.
An oddly dressed miko standing defiantly against him, defending his hanyou brother.
Bright blue eyes meeting his unflinchingly without hate or fear or envy.
The same miko demanding he look after his ward more carefully, because ningens were more fragile and prone to illness.
The Shikon Miko. She was his one regret. Regret because he never acted on his feelings for her, when he realized what they were. And by the time he was ready to act on them she had vanished, taken back to her own world according to her pack. Decades later the kitsune had confirmed she had travelled into the past from the future.
The daiyoukai had held onto that hope, that she had returned to her own time, that one day he would see her again, get the chance to court her as she deserved, to win her loyalty and love, because he would treasure her like the hanyou never had. Because in all the centuries past he had never met another bitch as strong, loyal, and honourable as the Shikon Miko. But when the time came the powerful, courageous, and beautiful female had been lost to him.
Sesshoumaru stalked into his private study and raised the privacy wards before calling an investigator he had used before.
"I need a thorough background and discreet watch placed on a miko, a real one. Her name is Higurashi Kagome."
He hung up and stalked towards a spell-sealed wood and glass bookcase at one end. It contained several small paintings and sketches, many created by the daiyoukai himself. They were primarily of two ningen women who had greatly influenced his past and present lives.
Four days later the daiyoukai was skimming through the in-depth reports filed by his investigator. Most of the material was known to him from past agents assigned to guard the Shikon Miko and her family. Some were recent and unknown. A few were intriguing.
She never pursued a post-secondary education due to her sporadic high school attendance and sub-par grades. She had claimed amnesia, from a fall into a dry well, in the weeks right after she had returned from the past. But his investigator had observed her sensitivity to jyaki spikes and defensive reflexes to unseen threats. The kitsune had also witnessed two separate incidents where she actively used her power to heal children, during a ritual blessing. She worked four, no three jobs: the restaurant, a tea shop, a bookstore, and the family shrine. Most of her pay went to her mother, to maintain the family home and pay for her younger brother's university education. And the selfish whelps had reduced her income for spite.
Sesshoumaru frowned as he closed the file. He had to see her. It was only honourable to try and repay her, for the debt all youkai owed her.
Kagome frowned. This was the fifth time she had sensed someone with jyaki around her in the past two days. She looked around, carefully scrutinizing the teahouse clientele, trying to determine the source of the aura. It was none of them.
The doorbell chimed. She forced her lips to curve into a smile ready to say the routine greeting when her senses spiked. The newcomer did not look like he belonged in the tiny teahouse whose primary clientele were high school students, housewives, and new mothers.
Blue eyes narrowed as she examined his suit. His very expensive suit. There was something about his jaw line, the waist-long black hair restrained in a tail.
The miko held her tongue and watched warily, ready to act if he moved against her. He simply approached her station.
"Good afternoon sir. How can I help you?" she said politely, trying not to look at his face too closely. He looked too much like the jerk she had zapped. The one who gotten her fired.
"I wish to apologize for my son." His voice was beautiful; husky, deep, resonant, and utterly masculine. Kagome managed to keep from gawping by sheer strength of will.
"I'm sorry sir, I have no idea what you mean," she said blandly.
He growled. She started but managed to keep from backing away. Never a wise action around a predator.
"You know what I am. Miko."
Her lips turned down at the corners. "Apology accepted youkai-san. Now go away unless you intend to place an order."
His gaze was piercing, nerve-wracking. Kagome imagined it would be a hundred times worse without those lenses muting the effect. He gave the modest teashop a once-over.
"It is not right, that one of your skill and power do such menial work."
Blue eyes narrowed dangerously. "Not all of us can be near-immortal and wealthy to do as we wish youkai-san. Now please go away. Unless you want me to lose this job. Like your son."
He growled and placed an order for a medium green tea sweetened with honey. Kagome accepted the payment and prepared the hot drink as specified. She watched him accept the waxed paper cup and leave with an internal sigh of relief. Youkai had dealt too many blows on Kagome, her self-esteem, her education, her future, her finances. She did not want to have anything to do with them. Not unless she was in the position of strength.
The remainder of her shift passed quickly. The tea house was always busy in the early evening when school let out. After counting and balancing her take she hurried out to catch the bus. If she missed it the next one was always packed with full-time workers returning home.
She caught it just in time and found an empty seat near the back. She used the relative peace of the bus ride to start on a popular novel. When her stop came she stuffed the book in her tote and stepped out. It was a short walk the base of the stone steps where she came to a complete halt.
Sitting on the third step up was the jerk's dad. He was wearing a trench coat that protected the material of his expensive suit.
"What are you doing here?" she asked bluntly. She did not want to deal with any youkai. Not after what happened at Fuzami.
"To make amends for what my son has done to you," he replied just as bluntly.
The miko scowled. "You can make amends by staying away from me," she said sharply as she began climbing the steps. "I don't want to see you. Any of you!" she added firmly.
He kept pace beside her. "I cannot. We owe you too much."
"We? Who is we?" Kagome inquired sardonically.
"Everyone of youkai lineage. Your actions and alliances, to defeat Naraku, they were the precursors to the first Accords that eventually led to youkais and hanyous blending into ningen society and surviving to this time."
Kagome blinked back tears. "I don't want to hear this," she told him repressively. "Just don't! Just leave me alone!" she begged before running up the last few steps and down the path leading to home and safety.
Once inside she slammed the door shut and fell back against the door, sliding to the floor in a huddle, crying noisily as she buried her face in her knees.
Youkai were alive. They had been alive all along. They had known what and who she was but didn't do a single thing to help her or her family. This one had only approached her because he felt guilty for something his adult son had done to her. He did not really care about Higurashi Kagome. He only revered the Shikon Miko. She pressed her face against her knees and cried harder. Kagome didn't want to have anything to do with them. Not after all the years they'd spent ignoring she and hers.
He could hear her cries, smell the salt of her tears, the stifled sobs and whimpers, and he ached. His hands clenched into tight fists as he struggled with the instinct to tear the door down and haul her into his arms.
She was hurt and sad. She was hurt and sad because of him, something he'd done or said. And Sesshoumaru didn't know how to undo it. Silently he cursed wishing he had not obeyed the decision of the Youkai Council, to stay away from the Higurashi family, to avoid influencing them and her. Because she had a destiny to fulfill in the past and they could not risk damaging the timeline.
Sesshoumaru had understood the logic and had reluctantly agreed to it. They had so little facts or knowledge of her circumstances, no one had been willing to damaging the past. So he and those who knew her, of her, had stayed away and waited for her travels to be over, for her to return to her birth time from the past, for the last time. Unfortunately the backlash of the magic sealing had caused the well-house to partially collapse, trapping Kagome under the debris. By the time she had been rescued she had lapsed into a coma for three days. When she finally awoke she had been confused and unable to explain why she had been in the well house, or remember anything else.
The youkai healer attending her had diagnosed it as traumatic amnesia that blocked off her memories and her powers. The healer had recommended leaving her alone, to not attempt to awaken or spark her memories because it could be dangerous to the miko and those around her. So the Council had deemed the Higurashi clan off limits.
The kitsune, her kit, had been furious at the edict. He had wanted to become friends with the family, to start a new relationship from scratch but the Council had been reluctant to risk the damage the healer had warned of. He chose to leave Japan a few weeks later, heart-broken. And Sesshoumaru had put away his plans to court the miko. Because this female was not the one had been tested and tried by the Kamis, the one who knew what it was like to face death and fight anyways.
He inhaled sharply as he re-read sections of the report. It seems like the miko had been faking her amnesia, to avoid being put in an asylum. Or perhaps she had begun remembering on her own months later. But whichever way she remembered and recognized the truth of the world, that youkais were real.
If that were the case the Council's edicts were no longer in force.
A predatory smirk twisted the daiyoukai's lips as he considered the possibilities.
Kagome shivered, feeling the familiar power. He is close by. She stood up from her crouch and peered over the top of the book display.
He was standing in the middle of the aisle like a stone, forcing the other customers to walk around him. And he was drawing a great deal of feminine attention too. He did not look away as he began moving towards her.
"What do you want?" she hissed angrily knowing he could hear her despite the distance.
He did not answer until he was within arms reach of her. "I want to talk to you."
"Well I don't want to talk to you," she countered smartly.
"Thirty minutes. Just thirty minutes. It will explain a lot of questions I'm certain you have."
She eyed him chewing on her lower lip. She did want to know what had happened after, if Shippo was still around.
"Okay." She glanced at her watch. "My shift ends at three. You get thirty minutes only," she added sternly.
He inclined his head and retreated.
Kagome hoped she wasn't making a big mistake.
At the end of her shift he was waiting outside the bookstore.
"Where to?" she asked. "A public place," she added hastily.
He nodded and guided her down the street. "There is a café two blocks away. It's run by a hanyou couple. The booths have privacy wards."
Kagome had wanted to run when she saw which café he was talking about. The menu did not have prices listed! But when he had said "My treat" she had no excuse to refuse.
Once they were settled in a booth a waitress arrived promptly with a pot of green tea and a plate of not too-sweet treats, mostly cakes and biscuits.
"You are a frequent customer," she noted.
"I own this building. A lot of the businesses have youkai-lineage client base or owners."
Her eyes jerked up to meet his. She had suspected he was wealthy but to casually state he owned a building, he, not his company… "You're rich," she noted carefully.
"Most youkais my age are if they have intelligence and common sense. Land leveraged into trade and businesses. Compound interest."
Kagome nodded. "I still don't understand why you care so much," she looked down at her own cup of green tea sweetened with honey. "I mean I can understand the miko thing but what does it matter so much to you?"
And she froze when his features shimmered into a haze and lightened. Black bled from his hair leaving the purest silver strands. Pupils narrowed behind the rose-tinted lenses and twin maroon strips formed high on each cheek.
"Sesshoumaru?" her voice was thin, high, and reedy with shock.
Two hours later she was glad she had agreed to his request. They had been talking for a lot longer than thirty minutes and she hadn't felt uncomfortable talking to the daiyoukai as she had expected. In fact it had been very easy to talk to him, catching up on what happened to her Feudal Era friends and family, sharing events in their own lives. She had been initially taken aback to hear he had adult children, five sons and two daughters, but adjusted quickly once she thought about it.
"You've lived a long time. It would be unnatural for you to not have children. I know inu-youkai are very pack oriented."
She had commiserated with his complaints about his youngest two sons.
"Jii-san would recommend sending them to boot camp. A monastery where they don't have anything to do but contemplate their sins."
She was sad but accepting to hear most of her Feudal Era friends were dead, and very pleased to find out her adopted son was still alive.
"I'm so happy. Shippo was the only youkai other than Kilala. And he was so little! I always kept wondering, how he would have survived after Sango and Miroku died. InuYasha was never a dependable guardian."
"He lived in my household for several decades after the tajija and the houshi died. Eventually he began travelling, mostly in Europe. He's currently in North America but I only have an e-mail address. He cut off most ties after hearing the Youkai Council's edicts. He did not… appreciate my decision to support the Council."
Kagome bit her lip. "You were right. They were right," she confessed. "I didn't remember anything after the well house collapsed on me. The doctors said it was a miracle I survived. I knew my family was hiding something about my past and the well house but my mother insisted on giving me time to remember myself. One year. I began remembering after eight months. And I was terrified. I would have gone mad without my family's support, their constant reassurance that I wasn't going insane. That the dreams were real." She dashed back tears. "InuYasha had never smelled or sensed any youkai, neither had I, so I believed all of you had been wiped out over time."
"We nearly were," Sesshoumaru murmured. "Your kit was the first to advocate the Accords, to blend into ningen society. After the World Wars no one disagrees with the decision."
Kagome nibbled on a sponge cake. "I just feel like I wasted so much time!" she mourned. "If I hadn't tried to hide, if I had revealed myself, perhaps I could have met you, Shippo, and everyone else much sooner."
"Perhaps. But you didn't."
Kagome sighed. "I suppose." Then she smiled more cheerily. "But thank you, for making the effort to reach out to me. I know we weren't really close before." She reached across and patted his hand. "I really appreciate your efforts Sesshoumaru-sama. This has given me closure."
He blinked, clearly taken aback by her words. "Closure?" he asked in a confused tone.
"Well yeah. You have no idea how much guilt I've been holding since I remembered. Because I left everyone behind, because I couldn't reassure myself they led long happy lives. Now that I know I can move on." She pushed her chair back and stood up to bow shallowly. "Thank you so much Sesshoumaru-sama, for all you have done and given me." She pulled out a small pad and ripped off a piece of paper, scribbling something on it before pushing it across the table. "My e-mail and cell number. Could you please pass it to Shippo? Tell him I'll be waiting for him."
And before he could say anything else she said her goodbyes and almost danced out of the café. Her youkai friends and Feudal Era family lived long happy lives. Shippo was alive and would soon be getting in touch with her!
As far as Kagome was concerned, all was right in the world.
As far as Sesshoumaru was concerned, nothing was right in the world.
He had not expected the miko to do what she had just done. He had not expected her to smile, thank him, and move on. She had been eager to contact and renew ties with her adopted son but not with Sesshoumaru. The daiyoukai did not like that. He wanted her to see him! To show some personal interest. But she hadn't and it left his thoughts in disarray.
The original plan had been to repay his debt, to pay down on the debt all youkai owed her, to answer her questions. He had not planned on old feelings surging to life in her presence. He did not want to let go, to walk away from her with no ties.
Why am I so reluctant to let go? he wondered.
His beast answered promptly. We want her to be ours. Her power, her passion, her loyalty, her love… We want everything that she is.
Sesshoumaru had thought he had given up on the idea of courting the miko but it seemed like he hadn't.
Gold eyes smouldered as the daiyoukai began thinking of ways to change her mind, to make her see him.
Kagome jogged up the path, peeling off her scarf as she entered her home, and tossing it onto the coat rack.
"Tadaima!" she called.
"Oh Kagome, something was delivered for you."
She stuck her head into the kitchen. "What Kaa-san?"
Her mother just grinned. "Go look. It's in your room."
Curious, the miko went upstairs to her room. And she was blown away by the gorgeous bouquet of red, yellow and white camellias arranged in a hand-blown vase on her desk. Boys had given her flowers before. They were usually roses because to guys roses were romantic. Camellias were different. Absently she dredged through her memory, ancient after-school lessons on hanakotoba. Camellias had something to do with love, like roses.
Firmly she put that thought away. Sesshoumaru did not love her. He was only at most fond of her, an old friend. She removed the card tied around the vase neck with green silk cord and read the elegant calligraphy script: Till next time, N.S.
Kagome blinked very surprised by the message. Next time? Why would there be a next time? Sesshoumaru wasn't a good friend, more of a distance acquaintance. He had already discharged his debt, whatever obligation he felt towards her.
She put the card down and dismissed the message. The flowers were lovely though.
She was not so amused when an even more gorgeous arrangement was delivered to the tea house when she was working. Angrily she signed the pad and handed it to the delivery boy who scampered off.
"Who is your suitor dear?"
Kagome blinked. "Suitor?" She laughed lightly and dismissed the idea. "Oh no! It's just from an old friend who's feeling guilty for not staying in touch."
The long-time patron shook her head. "I don't think so dear. The bouquet is a message of love, of eternal devotion."
"What do you mean?"
"White chrysanthemums indicate he is being truthful, violets that he is honest, zinna that he is loyal. Lavender says he will always be faithful, and he feels true love, forget-me-nots. Your suitor is sending a very clear message in this arrangement."
Kagome shook her head. "No he isn't."
"A young man who isn't serious tends send roses, red roses, or some very expensive exotic bouquet. To send an arrangement like this shows he has given thought, asked questions, and made deliberate choices. He wants you Kagome-chan."
Kagome was silent for a while. "Obaa-san, what do camellias signify?"
"Which colour dear?"
"Any of them."
"Red camellias are for love, yellow for longing, white for waiting."
Kagome was slightly shaken as she prepared the customers order and distracted for the rest of her shift. But she still refused to believe that Sesshoumaru was really interested in her.
Kagome did end up taking the arrangement home. It was too pretty to toss out.
"Tadaima!" she called out as she entered the house, toeing off her shoes with a small wince. She'd been on her feet all day and all she wanted was to put her feet up.
Her mother poked her head out of the kitchen door with a broad grin. "Come on Kagome! Dinner is waiting."
She hurried upstairs to wash and change into comfortable flannel pants and a tank top. When she entered the kitchen she blinked and goggled at the display on the table.
It was a catered meal from a five-star restaurant. And Souta was half-way through sampling each of the dishes! The miko leapt forward and wrestled for her favourite, the seafood tempura. With her prize in hand, she approached her mother.
"Kaa-san?" she inquired. "Where did this come from?"
"It was delivered and paid for. There is a card for you." The older woman picked up a wax-and-signet sealed envelope and handed it to her daughter. Then she watched her child break the seal and remove the folded paper with trembling hands.
And was bemused when Kagome scowled ferociously and balled the letter up to toss it into the garbage can.
"Ohhhh! That bastard! Who does he think he is?"
"A very generous gentleman," Kun Loon corrected mildly. "You should call him."
Kagome's expression brightened. "I will!" She looked at the food. "After eating 'cause Souta won't leave anything for me." And she ignored her brother's cries that he was "still a growing boy."
By the time they had all eaten, put away the leftovers and cleaned up, Kagome was much calmer. But she was still not happy with Sesshoumaru.
In the privacy of her room she called him.
"Stop it; the flowers, the food, everything!"
"You don't owe me anything. You've already repaid whatever debt you feel you owe."
"This is not about a debt."
"If not a debt then what?"
"I want you."
There was silence. Silence that was broken by the miko.
"No you don't. You just feel guilty."
And then she hung up on him and powered down her phone. She did not want to talk to him.
As she secretly expected, it didn't end with the flowers and the catered meal. There were several other deliveries including a large selection of sweets from the café where they had first sat down and talked, and tickets to a music concert that she had casually mentioned during that conversation. Kagome adored the band but she could never afford the tickets. There were gift certificates for an all-expenses-paid mother-daughter day at an exclusive spa. When a courier delivered a pair of earrings, real sapphire-and-diamante studs, Kagome finally had to face reality. It took a heart-to-heart with her mother to unravel her feelings.
"Kagome, do you like him?"
"I don't know him."
"That was not my question. Do you like him?"
Very reluctantly, "Yes."
"Then I don't understand Kagome. Why are you fighting this courtship? I know he is wealthy, older, a youkai, more experienced… But Kagome, from my perspective it looks like he's really sincere about you."
"Oh Kaa-san! You don't understand! He doesn't really want me. He's just feeling guilty. About all that happened. Not staying in touch. His son getting me fired."
"Just give him a chance dear. It won't kill you. Besides, you will always regret and wonder what-if, if you don't."
Maybe. But it will hurt when I'm proven right.
But in the end she broke down and called Sesshoumaru. Even if she did get hurt Kaa-san was right. Kagome did not want to have regrets. She already had too many of them.
The phone rang three times before he picked up. "Nagasawa."
"Sesshoumaru? It's me, Kagome."
"Kagome," the way he said her name made shivers run up her spine.
"Yes, well… are you serious? About this? Us?"
His tone shifted. "Very," he told her.
"Okay. One date."
"Unacceptable. I want the opportunity to court you properly. Two weeks."
"I work for a living. One Saturday."
"Insufficient. A whole weekend. My choice."
"Provided you give me three days notice, done."
"Very well," And then he named his weekend of choice. It was a long holiday weekend of three days coming up in two weeks.
Kagome scowled but was forced to concede.
"All right, do I need to make any preparations?"
"I'll get back to you on it but be prepared to be out all-day, perhaps even overnight." Kagome inhaled sharply. "And I promise I will be a complete gentleman," he added.
Kagome's fingers clenched around the phone as she struggled for control. "All right. I'll see you then."
"Not if I see you before then," he shot back.
Kagome was not surprised when gifts kept showing up at her home and workplaces. Thoughtful small gifts and flowers, nothing like the spa certificates and jewellery. Sometimes he even caught her after her shift ended and escorted her home. One of those nights he asked her if she wanted her old job back.
"We have a relationship, even if it never becomes intimate… I don't want others to say I used your influence in anyway."
His eyes flashed. "When you agree to mate me my influence will be yours."
Blue eyes flashed. "We are not mates Sesshoumaru. I'm not going to take what is yours when I have no right to it."
He growled. "You of any other living being has right to my protection little miko."
She sighed. "I understand your view but please try to understand mine. My co-workers almost certainly know your son got me fired. If you use your influence to get me re-hired, what would they think? And say? Especially when we have no known past relationship?"
"I… understand," he conceded grudgingly.
When the long weekend finally arrived she packed an overnight bag and dressed casually in faded blue jeans and a green sweat shirt as Sesshoumaru had instructed. After he picked her up she was surprised when he drove them to a condo in a comfortable but not horribly expensive area. She left her bag in the smaller room of the two-bedroom apartment and followed the daiyoukai out.
To her shock he guided her to a bus stop. After switching buses twice they reached an unfamiliar region of Tokyo packed with flea markets and a bustling community rich with jyaki. If Kagome had ever passed this way before she would have known immediately that youkai were well and alive in this time.
"How?" she asked baffled. "I could not sense this two blocks away!"
"Shielding and Barrier Wards," Sesshoumaru explained smugly. "This is one of nine major youkai communities in Tokyo. Most of the bigger cities have at least one."
And the day that followed was an adventure, exploring how modern youkai and hanyou lived and blended in, meeting the more open ones, Sesshoumaru's vassals, descendants of old friends. She met youkai and hanyous who were alive because of what she'd done in the past, because she'd saved an ancestor, defeated Naraku. Complete strangers gave her little gifts and fed her, much like many of the villagers had in the Feudal Era. Because she was a miko and it was their way of honouring her. Kagome had been shy at first – she had forgotten how revered mikos were – but she quickly got over it and found herself chatting, reminiscing without restraint about events that occurred more than five centuries ago. If she were around regular humans they would have thought she was insane. These people simply smiled and nodded, because they knew the truth.
Kagome enjoyed herself so much she was unwilling to leave the marketplace and eventually Sesshoumaru had to drag her away, citing the late hour.
"Do you want to go home?" he asked her.
Kagome shook her head wildly. "No!" she told him emphatically. "I want to get an early start tomorrow."
The next two days were similar yet different. Sesshoumaru took her to the other youkai communities in Tokyo and word had gotten out. There were many waiting, to meet her, to tell their story, to ask for blessings. The last had been a surprise but Kagome had not hesitated. She had much better control over her powers, and enough training and experience in determining true threats.
At the end of the third evening she was feeling pensive. Sesshoumaru would be driving her to the shrine tonight. She had work tomorrow. She finished packing her bag and giving the room a quick once-over, incase she had forgotten something. Then she carried the bag out into the living room and set it by the door.
Sesshoumaru was sitting at the dining table, reviewing something on his laptop. She sat down in a chair diagonally across from him and waited until he stopped and looked up.
"I had a wonderful time," she told him, "But I still don't understand why."
He gave her a stern look. "Which why?" he asked.
"Why you're doing all this," she said. "Did all this," she corrected herself.
He raised an eyebrow. "Don't you?"
Her temper flared. "If I did I wouldn't be asking."
He shifted his chair, so he was closer, before reaching out to grab her wrist, tugging her towards him. She fought for an instant before being overpowered by his greater strength and drawn off her chair and towards him. She was forced to place a hand on his shoulder, to keep from falling on him. Her face was above his with the barest of distance separating them.
"I want you," he told her before tugging down.
Shock slowed down her reflexes. The only thing she was aware of was his lips against hers, his tongue running over the seam of hers pressed together, slipping in when she gasped.
When he finally lifted his head she was flushed, breathing hard, and very aroused.
"I want you to be mine," he repeated.
She hesitated. "You are a daiyoukai and Cardinal Lord," she protested.
"I fulfilled my obligations to my bloodline. I have several pure-blooded offspring, even if some are not up to my personal standards."
"There are going to be lots of unhappy people," she warned.
Sesshoumaru snorted. "That would happen no matter who I chose, especially the females and kin of those who wish to be in your place." He touched her cheek. "I've waited centuries and I am certain of what I want: You. If you need reassurance of my sincerity, tell me."
She bit her lip. "I don't understand," she whispered. "I'm nothing special. If it wasn't for my powers you wouldn't give me a second look."
"I reluctantly must agree with that; because without your powers you would not have grown into the strong capable woman who stands before me." Kagome could not argue with that. If she hadn't fallen into the past she would have graduated and had an ordinary life, like her high school friends. "I want you in my life, in my world, for always." He gave her a penetrating look. "Are you going to fight me on this?"
As much as she wished to say yes the truthful answer was 'no'. She didn't want to fight something she was growing to want. So she shook her head and responded, "No."
"Good," he said firmly before kissing her again.
Through the corner of her eye Kagome caught glimpses of pink and white, flowers in a lead crystal vase, flowers he had bought for her that very afternoon. White anemones indicating sincerity nestled between the taller stems of carnations signifying fascination, distinction and love.
She had the feeling they would be settling a lot of disagreements in this manner in the future but she didn't mind. It will be a lot of fun! she thought as she wrapping her arms around the daiyoukai, responding more strongly to the kiss.
Sesshoumaru sees Kagome and he cares. It was what she had always prayed for, yearned for… To be recognized and desired in her own right, not for the soul she possessed.
And she was not disappointed. The daiyoukai made her very happy for the rest of their entwined lifetime. Kagome never forgot to regularly thank the Kamis for the hardships she had experienced, because they had led her mate to her, the one who saw and loved her and only her.