AN: There is a scene in here with two guys in a tub. NO. They are not gay. For those unaware, in Japan, men bathe together. They clean themselves before they go into the bath, and use the bath for soaking. This is a traditional custom. So, all you yaoi fans (myself included) don't go barking up the wrong tree.
Also…unless I get really, REALLY inspired, chapter 18 will be the last chapter. I do end it rather suddenly, but I figured at least end it, you know? I did not want to leave everyone hanging. If I ever feel like it I will write an alternate ending. This chapter is basically just tying up the loose ends, although Naraku is strangely absent…and… the romance which does happen is…well, its disappointing, that's what it is…I know, I know! I will get flamed to death! But, if I have to write any IY story, I will continue work on Shadows…but at the moment I have gravitated away from it…
Notes: mochi is like pounded rice that forms a really strange texture…you eat it around new years in Japan.
AN: okay, I was gunna double/triple check this again…but…its 12:20 on Christmas day. Sorry, but sleep is calling moi. Hope I did not over look too much. Gomen gomen!
Gingerly he passed her a piece of paper from across the table. In the eerie silence of midday, the thick texture scratched only slightly against the broad oak table. The bumps, crests and ridges of this paper were revealed now, its scent old and mysterious, full of memories from sunny days in the country, full of dark searing nights in mid summer. Sesshoumaru's golden eyes drank greedily at Kagome's small form in the chair, before swiftly walking towards the window.
Glancing up at him in apprehension, she found her voice rather soft, subdue, "What is this for?"
He had moved his head ever so slightly and was now gazing out and towards the sky. Large puffy clouds drifted lazily over the scene of shimmering white, causing illusions of shadows to every now and then cast the building into a gray chilly darkness.
His tawny eyes were misted over in mystery and apprehension; he said in a cool, reserved way, as though he had not even heard her last remark, "What time are you leaving for Kobe?"
Startled, but not showing, Kagome questioned, "How did you know?" She found her self-consciously studying his profile, which had once again turned to the snow outside the window. It was untouched by people, its beauty unmarred. It sparkled. It was created of every color that was possible, and its beauty was almost blinding. He was truly stunning. Attractive and elegant and noble in a way that was non-existent in the world; there was no longer such a beauty. He was the last of his kind.
His voice was vague, shrouded in darkness, "I heard you mention it to Ito…"
Kagome, turning her own eyes to the snow scene whispered, "I see…"
The two were quiet for a moment, a moment that felt like eternity. It was calm, strangely so, despite the forces at work. They could feel the electricity, though each would deny the storm was about to break. Each was content to look the other way. If they contemplated each other the truth would be known—and this emotion was not yet ready.
"Kagome…" Sesshomaru breathed in his distinctive way, "Don't leave until tonight at the earliest. On the paper is an address…" He paused, now facing her seated form. There was intensity in his eyes. A yearning, a demanding, an unquenchable anger and hatred, "Go there."
"What is there?" She did not need to ask; she already knew the answer.
Sun broke through, and a chessboard of light and shadows danced gaily across the floor of the empty nurses quarter. Through this hazy radiance, the two gazed at each other in mutual admiration for some time, until finally, the real world caught them and they could no longer escape from the distorted reality.
Slipping the thick piece of paper into her pocket, she said a few goodbyes's to the nurses, and headed to her apartment where she began to gather her clothes for the journey she would now take. Yet, the address was imprinted on her mind, and every time she closed her eyes, she would see his impassive face gazing at her. An expression that she would learn the meaning of…
Brewing himself a cup of tea, Sesshoumaru placed the porcelain pot onto his polished mahogany table. Against his wishes, against everything he had taught himself all his life: he was nervous. This feeling would not leave that quickly. He felt somewhat sick and pent up, as if he had never stretched a day in his life. As if he had never hunted, never lusted in battles, never enjoyed the look of agony impressed against peoples faces. The life he had known disappeared. He was innocent. He was freshly laid snow.
The light knock against his door caused him to instinctively look up from the table. Something began to flow through his body, a great throbbing sensation. It was soft in itself. Gentle, like far off lights reflecting against the ocean. Setting down his teacup, he strode towards the front door. The portal in which she had entered. The portal in which she would now enter. And into this other world she would stay.
She had to stay.
Unlocking the entry, he released the door, and peered into the hallway lit with sunlight streaming in throughout skylights.
"Hello." Said the person, the voice soft, coaxing, and utterly beautiful.
"Hello." He replied, restrained, collected, calm, and cool.
"Won't you come in?" He offered kindly stepping aside and letting the slim well proportioned figure make her way in the entrance.
"Thank you. Yet, only for a moment, I must be off…" the voice paused, her lips slightly parted, as though a distressful feeling was washing over her.
"I know. I expected as much." He replied, leaning against the wall, eyeing her lazily.
"You are always aware, aren't you? That is what I first noticed all those years ago…" The breathy voice once again paused. Her deep dark eyes gazed hesitantly at Sesshoumaru's form, "But…that was years ago. I have lost you, haven't I?"
"Yes. You have." His eyes narrowed slightly and he felt a draft from the open window in the kitchen.
"It was foolish of me to try to believe." The figure now held her leather purse in her hands, "I am sorry—"
"You don't have to tell me this. You are forgiven. I knew one day you would see." Sesshoumaru lowered his gaze, his voice soft.
"Let me continue. Please. I have caused you so much pain…"
"If anything you only made these past years more exciting. Exciting in a not enjoyable way."
There was a soft, gentle laugh. A laugh of regrets.
And then, there was silence. A great thick silence in which the tears rolled down her flawless face and fell onto the worn wooden floors.
"Look at me…I have cried and cried…"
"And, you will continue to cry. But—" Sesshoumaru sighed, slightly annoyed.
"But, I have seen, like a good girl, that I do not deserve you. And, that is better anyhow, don't you agree?"
Her tears had stopped. He made no reply.
"How foolish I have been. How very foolish. It is for this reason I have decide to leave the hospital, and transfer to one in Okinawa."
"That is not necessary."
"Yes, it is. Do not lie to me Sesshoumaru. I have known you too long, too well."
Once again, he made no reply.
"I trust that things will work themselves out."
"I am finding that faith and hope is a very good thing, for the first time in my life." He smirked slightly, once again looking at her. She was truly beautiful. Women would slaughter for her looks, her grace, her charm…but he had known a darker side, a side which she had only shown to him. It was their secret.
This was a wise move indeed. In Okinawa, she could start a family with a loving man. The housewife was where she was best suited. She would run the temple, teach archery…make mochi on new years…this was truly the life that this timeless beauty desired…
"I believe I agree." She laughed.
She moved forward, her hands outstretched. She would not embrace him, but instead, like a blind person, she reached out and grasped his hand while gently placing something cold and hard into it. Moving away he studied the figurine, he had been presented with. Simple and plain there was a charm that rendered it dear to his heart.
"Give it to her. Whoever she may be."
Nodding he walked into the entry way as she stepped out into the hall. Bowing she said once again, "I'm sorry."
"I hope for your happiness."
Perhaps it was not a lie. Perhaps.
"My bother…" Inu Yasha snarled in a dangerously low voice, "Sesshoumaru…?"
Kagome made no response, and yet avoided his eyes. There was a crash as Inu Yasha hurled an object across the room. The pieces sparkled in the afternoon sun and then fell to the floor in a shattering silence.
"How could you…?"
The expression in his eyes was beyond reason, beyond logic. It was pure emotion, torment, anger, and frustration. It was jealousy.
"How could you?" he yelled angrily, once again throwing something at the wall.
There was silence and Inu Yasha breathed deeply.
Golden color that of his eyes, poured in through the open windows of his apartment. And he stood there, his body taught, vibrating with emotion, his eyes bleary and unseeingly looking at Kagome.
"Inu Yasha," she began again, "Try to understand, won't you?"
"Understand what? The fact that your in love with my fucking brother?"
His form was utterly still now. A panther waiting to attack.
"I did not say I was in love." Kagome said angrily, her annoyance rising.
"That's bullshit, and both you and I know it. Everyone knows you two are an item. People wonder everyday when you are going to get together." He spat angrily at the floor, his eyes never leaving Kagome's figure. He studied her through those glazed eyes. Glazed with a passion she would never feel for him.
It had died.
"If everyone knew it, why didn't you just accept the fact? This supposed fact?" Kagome shouted bitterly, crossing her arms, "If people have known about it, why are you reacting like a child?"
"Why? Why? Like a child? Kagome, for years I have loved you! I have hoped that somehow you would see me. No. It was always him. It has always been him! It will forever be him! The brother who turned my life into a living hell? The brother who treated you like crap for years!"
"Inu Yasha…!" Kagome tried to interrupt.
"And you choose him? For the rest of my life I will be tortured with the fact that you chose him over me? He who has had it so easy! He, who is not half as much as an outcast from society as I am!"
"Just be quiet. It's not his fault that your father died. Its not his fault that your father didn't claim you as his own. Life does not work out that way. Bad things have happened to me too, Inu Yasha. I got over them." Kagome screamed at the top of her lungs. "And you need to get over this issue with him. One day when you really need him you will realize what an ass you were."
Inu Yasha stepped swiftly forward, pressing his mouth firmly against her own. Digging deeply, hoping, searching, probing…trying to find a love which he had thought they had possessed. This figure he had wanted to hold in his arms and kiss fervently as he was doing so now—was cold. She did not respond. Kagome did not move a muscle.
Pulling away, breathing heavily, he questioned, "Tell me, you did not feel anything."
"I am leaving now," Kagome whispered hollowly, her eyes reflecting like glass.
"Tell me!" he snarled.
She gazed at him, a look full of utter abandonment and disappointment on her features.
"Whether I love Sesshoumaru or not, I have made my decision. Excuse me."
Brushing past Inu Yasha she left him in the room, with golden sunlight streaming against his silver hair.
A few second later he stumbled against the wall, trying to hide from the light of day his tears.
A cool breeze felt rather wonderful against his hot and damp body. Sitting in a tub at 102 degrees was really quite wonderful. Sprawling in an oversized wooden Japanese bathtub in 102 degrees water while writing the final chapter to his romantic masterpiece was heavenly.
The words dripped off his fingers like water off his body, and he enjoyed every minute of it—except for the fact that Kouga was sharing the tub with him.
He hated having to share tubs. Especially with men. Women, particularly Sango, well, that was another story.
Taking a sip of Cola, he glanced at Kouga who was reading some anime magazine with a special on 70's robotic anime series. It disturbed him how much like those freaky anime otaku Kouga was. He could almost picture him at a convention. The thought of spandex disturbed him.
Snorting with laughter, he turned back to the typewriter, trying not to jostle the water.
"What ARE you laughing at?" Kouga snapped, turning the page.
"Oh, nothing, nothing," Miroku smirked, as he began to construct the next scene…
Slowly he lowered his gaze until it fell upon her bare body. A demon gleam came to his eyes, a gleam that one would expect a great samurai to have as blood dripped from his sword under the full moon. Unbuttoning his silken shirt, he smiled gently, his eyes gazing deeply into the large sapphire orbs that lay beneath him, "Do you know how long I have desired you…?"
A shuddering sigh came from Yuki, which was sprawled beneath his form, slightly shivering from the cool winds that ruffled her dark hair.
Bowing his head, he gently nibbled on her earlobe as gasps and sighs of ecstasy escaped from her swollen mouth—
"Do you mind?" Miroku glowered at Kouga who was leaning over the tub, reading the last paragraph.
"Do you know you're writing soft porn?" Kouga mumbled interestingly as he flipped through a few pages past in which the breasts of Yuki were described for about two paragraphs, the rest of her body for another five, Minoru (who played the misunderstood aloof man) had 10 paragraphs describing his body. Three were devoted to the kiss. Four were devoted to the places they explored in the mouths, and how Minoru and Yuki were stripped of each other's clothes. Now Miroku was getting to the good part.
"You call it soft porn. I call it the next Pride and Prejudice, thank you very much." Miroku grumbled irritably, "I do have a deadline to make, you know."
"People actually pay you to write this?" Kouga asked, awe struck, "Wow…I guess it makes all kinds, doesn't it?"
"Oi, Miroku…" Kouga mumbled quietly after a moment.
Deciding he would be allowed no more work in the tub, Miroku questioned, "What?"
"What about her?"
"I told her. How I felt."
Miroku nodded. He knew this of course.
"Did you? What did she do?"
He would not press. After all, the boy was dying to tell someone. Anyone. Obviously, he was the last resort.
A few more moments' silence.
"She sort of…well, she ran off."
"I see. How exactly did you 'explain?'"
"I kissed her! What else is there TO do?"
"What else, indeed."
"Well…she is distant. She is always around—"
"Around who, Kouga?"
"Around this asshole."
"Oh. I see."
"I hate him."
"Because she hangs around him! She sticks up for him!"
"Well, this may be completely wrong, ludicrous, and insane… but maybe she cares for him."
"Who could care for an icicle like him?"
"Her. Just a guess here though."
"I bet he is paying her."
"Do you really think Kagome would do that?"
"Would you care for her so much if she would do something like that?"
Kouga was now going deeper into the water, his face just resting above the surface. Miroku lit his pipe, which he only smoked to give him something to do in awkward moments. Kouga would need time to adjust to the fact that Kagome was not interested in him, physically, emotionally, or sexually.
"I didn't know you smoked," noted Kouga watching his ritual.
"I picked it up in college." Miroku lied, lighting a match, and then letting it fall into the water.
"I just don't understand!"
"About smoking?" Miroku asked, feigning ignorance.
"No! About Kagome!"
"Oh. Well. Can I give you my opinion as your superior?"
Kouga glowered at him, then, heaved a great sigh, and grumbled, "Fine. Give me your opinion."
"Give her up. It's been how many years now?"
"Well…uh…" Kouga began to count on his fingers.
"Too many. That is what. If she has not made any sign that she is interested: move on. That is the best advice I can give you. Move on."
There was a long silence, and only the smell of tobacco and the murmuring of water were heard.
Right before Kouga sunk beneath the water, a look of utter loss and despair swept across his features.
And Miroku, closing his eyes, thought bitter-sweetly, It is over.
Hojo leaned casually against the brick wall that surrounded the school. The sun was golden in the Christmas Eve afternoon. From across the schoolyard, a bell rang and there was a muted cheer from the recesses of the building. The sounds of footsteps crunching across the snow, the shouts of voices, the laughs of girls, the greetings, and the farewells all blended. Walking towards the gate, Hojo grinned, glancing through the crowd of junior highschoolers. Girls in their uniforms, shivering, the boys laughing, throwing snowballs—holiday merriment, Hojo thought.
In the distance, Hojo saw a familiar figure bound out of the building, waving goodbye to someone in the halls. He saw the deep honey colored eyes turn to him. He saw the smile that lit his face. He heard the voice shout over the crowd.
Grinning he made his way forward to the figure and shouted, "Come on, Shippou, lets go back to Asakasa! I've already asked permission."
Shippou's eyes lit up, but pausing, he questioned, "Is Kagome coming?"
Hojo smiled gently, sadly, but a smile nevertheless, and replied, "Yes, but not today. She promised me after Christmas. Here is her proof."
Taking out of his pocket a large Christmas card, smelling of cinnamon sticks, he handed it to Shippou. He opened it, carefully, and reading the contents, he glanced up at Hojo, flashed a grin, then replied, "Lets go then."
Hojo returned the expression and began to chat with him about this man he had a conversation with on the subway today. Supposedly, the man is a master of karate, and offered to give him, or his family member lessons. It seems like an excellent opportunity. Shippou agreed.
Slowly Kagome raised her hand to the door, and moving it, sound was heard, and a slight ache was felt on her knuckles. Lowering her hand, and adjusting the satchel on her shoulder, she gazed down at the piece of heavy paper that Sesshoumaru had given her earlier that day. The address was printed clearly in his flowing script, and glancing at the apartment number, she found herself wondering if she was in the wrong building. Perhaps even the wrong street.
Adjusting her satchel again, she began to turn to depart, but the sound of the lock echoed through the silence of the hall, and glancing over her shoulder she found that the keeper of the apartment had opened the door.
A few scattered thoughts flashed through her head as she tried to digest the expression he wore. It was emotionless as usual, and yet, at the same time there was a depth in his eyes. The abysses were full of happiness, sorrow, and amusement.
A sculpted eyebrow rose, and he smirked, "I did not know if you would come."
Leaning against the door he watched as she turned around, enjoying the fact that he was responsible for the color that came to her pale cheeks. Sesshoumaru was a vision of darkness.
"I didn't know if I would come either." Kagome admitted, once again adjusting her leather-traveling bag.
"How much longer do you have?" Sesshoumaru inquired, not moving an inch, but instead greedily drinking her.
"Until the train?" Kagome questioned, her voice just above a whisper.
"Yes. Until the train."
He moved his hips and beckoned her into his apartment with the swift move with his hands. Moving into the darkness of the hall, he watched her enter, and slip off her shoes, while still fingering the leather strap to her bag delicately.
"One leaves on the hour, every hour." Kagome admitted, finding her becoming even more hot and flustered as she entered Sesshoumaru's apartment. She could sense his presence everywhere. The smell was that of traditional incense mixed with fragrant wood. The decorations and furniture were beautiful robust pieces. There was nothing false, or even ostentatious. Everything was as it was meant to be in nature. Everything was spectacular and subdue.
Sesshoumaru made no response.
"Sesshoumaru…is there something you wanted to talk to me about?" Kagome questioned nervously, trying to avoid his gaze by studying the artwork of the entryway halls.
"Yes, there is, Kagome. Would you like a cup of tea?"
There was something almost gentle in his voice. Yet, at the same time extremely attractive, as though he was offering himself to her. As though he was now hers.
"No thank you." Kagome retorted, "Actually," she bitterly dropped the bag on the wooden floor with a clank, "I do need to go, so whatever you summoned me here for, I would like to know…"
Chuckling, Sesshoumaru placed the teapot on the kettle without lighting the stove.
"You have not changed, have you?"
Grimacing she grumbled irritably, "No. But you have."
Sesshoumaru smirked, "Really? Have I now?"
Slowly, he walked towards her, his body smooth and sleek, highlighted by the last rays of day.
Kagome felt some of her anger evaporate and took a small step back. She was tired of hopelessness. She was tired of loss, of disappointment, of sorrow and despair. Yet, most of all, she was tired of the roller coaster which she was forever put on when Sesshoumaru was near. Kagome did not want to know the answer, for she felt as though she could not bear to hear another regret. Her happiness had passed long ago…and even today, she had lost hope. Kagome realized, she had chased a dream, tred upon a cloud, and now she was falling down to earth. Soon she would hit the bottom…
"Kagome…" Sesshoumaru breathed inaudibly, standing not a few inches away.
Meeting his features, Kagome found that his usually amber eyes were fixed to her face, as though studying every detail. She was aware of his subtle scent that had remained the same from childhood. It was intoxicatingly free. Casting her eyes downward once again, she tried not to think, tried not to anticipate, tried not to hope.
Sesshoumaru could no longer wait. It was to be now. It was foreordained…and if perhaps it was not, at the moment he did not care. He wanted what stood before him.
Sesshoumaru lowered his head slightly until their foreheads were meeting, yet only faintly. He inhaled her scent that was now surrounding him like quiet dawn. All emotions that he had felt, desires, and fears which he had locked deep inside him were slowly coming apart.
"I…" he began. It was a sentence he would never finish.
Leaning ever closer, aware of every detail of her being, he kissed Kagome, letting his eyes descend as their lips met; and suddenly the swirling darkness felt like velvet perfection, and clear blackness of his heart became the color of completion. His fingers released his grip around Kagome wrist, and moved to hold her dainty hand, their fingers entwining; everything else fell away like a crumbling nightmare, and all that mattered was what he had now. What he held in his hand and what he tasted on the tip of his tongue.
Sesshoumaru's hands moved up to hold Kagome's slim, elegant shoulders; he prodded her up against the nearby wall, firmly yet not forcefully. Grasping Kagome, he kissed her hard, almost desperately, yet not painfully. He would never want to hurt her. The taste and flavor was beautiful, and addictive; it repulsed him how much his self control was withering.
A few more minutes and he would be completely at her mercy.
Kagome did not move at all for a moment. It was as though she was not alive, as though she was nonexistent. And the force of his kiss, which he continued to deliver, stunned even Sesshoumaru. Yet, Kagome's lips slowly parted, and franticly she deepened the kiss. Kagome had never really kissed before. It has always been someone kissing her, emotions being forced upon her. Yet, in a moment she realized the emotion that she was returning was the same as every embrace before. The emotion she felt was like the first day of spring, hesitant, yet as the day continued it grew and blossomed. However, her emotions towards Sesshoumaru were not innocent like that of blossoming spring. They were far from it. She desired him as oxygen, and surprising even herself, she pressed her body deeply against his own. There was nothing left between them except the rapid beating of their hearts, and the feverish kiss they shared as if it was their last, or first... It was as though all his emotions he had kept behind bars all his life had fell away. He could no longer control his actions.
And the world was theirs. A swirl of passion, flowing faster and faster and faster. Soon…it would break…
Kagome let out a sound like a muffled sob and gasp against Sesshoumaru's lips. Pressing down against her body, his silver strands of hair fell across her clothes, and he was aware of the arousing nature of her scent. Sesshoumaru's arms slid down to encircle Kagome's thin waist; he dimly noticed her hands slide up his chest, moving to encircle around his neck, her trembling, anxious fingers tangling in his hair. His skin burned with her fingers pressed against it.
A deep terrible fire was beginning.
And through it all Kagome heard his voice, within her, as he would soon be, quietly calling out her name. His soft, comforting voice. How strange it was, she noted, that she had come to know his voice so well, his strange intonations and the way he accentuated some words. And in that moment of time, a few seconds at least, the world had stopped for them. Nothing mattered, only the darkness which would surround them, the heat that was engulfing them and keeping them close. In an extraordinary way—she felt content, as if this was what she had always desired. To be loved, and cared for, with no regard for anyone but him …perhaps this was her destiny…Yet at the time she could care less about destiny. She wanted him, as he was now, without regrets, but only desires which were being fulfilled.
Pulling slightly away, she silently studied him. His eyes aflame with passion, their depths
crashing and burning against emotions which were at constant battle within his
heart, his lips now parted from the kiss, his hair like pure moonlight falling
against his light skin. His
expression was a concoction of passion and untapped desire. His lips moved,
silently, and she followed them as they moved nearer and nearer to her
Only the breathing could be heard, their quiet, rhythmic breathing mingling together, grasps and moans, exploring the world of shadows.
Once upon a time, there was a girl and a boy who promised to marry when they grew older. Yet, life was not kind to them…and soon they separated…
Years passed and all except the keepers of the promise forgot the story. There was no such hope, for promises were overrated.
And the years passed…
Yet one day a wind blew from the east, a direction where things begin, and the girl set off in search of a new life, without restrictions, with out promises and without regret.
The boy turned towards the west, the direction where things end, and he was content among the dying soldiers of the past.
Yet, he was whisked away.
And the two discovered that promises are not easily fulfilled and not easily forgotten…and that love could happen many times.
Yet, love is a matter of choice, not of chance.