Wonders Never Cease

Chapter One to Four

Tokyo, Japan; Present Day –

Kagome Higurashi looked around the dance club, Blue Moon; she found herself in tonight and sighed. She supposed it wasn’t such a bad place per se. It was extremely packed for it had had a very successful grand re-opening earlier this month; whatever that meant. In spite of all of the merriment around her, she was still not having fun. The dance club scene wasn’t really her thing, but she let her friends drag her with them because she knew she needed to get out more. Without their help she would have no social life at all. At least she had become comfortable going to the places her friends usually invited her to on weekends, but this club, that they were only at because one of her friends had gotten free passes, was new and out of her comfort zone. This was the main reason she was sitting by herself at the table her friends had grabbed as soon as they had gotten here earlier. She knew she was also on edge for a reason that had nothing to do with the loneliness that set in when her friends had left her to go and find their respective guys. It hardly mattered if they were their boyfriends or only recently acquired companions for the night. She was on edge because her extra sense was telling her there was a youkai in the area. She didn’t know whether to actually believe what she was sensing. This gift that had served her so well in the past was very out of practice. Since it had been years, and a completely different era, since she had actually needed to rely on it. She had been in her original time for almost six years to be exact. The sudden thought triggered a parade of memories she had kept close to her heart and vowed never to forget.

Kagome tried to stop these memories, for they were painful and reminded her, much to her chagrin that she had had absolutely no choice in the matter. After they had defeated Naraku she watched the world she had known with her friends in the Feudal Era change very quickly. Sango, having saved her brother and gotten him back in her life, and Miroku, who was still adjusting to life without the curse of the kazana, had stopped fighting their feelings for each other and gotten engaged faster than Miroku could grab a passing woman’s behind. Shippo, who had recently found a place to study his fox magic, and friends there to boot, was now making his home with Kaede in her village when his lessons didn’t call him away. Lord Sesshomaru, that had helped them so vitally in their enemy’s defeat had done the responsible thing and installed Rin at Kaede’s home since he had no permanent home to speak of. This had made Kagome and the others realize that he truly did care for the girl despite his notorious dislike of humans that were not Rin. Thinking of that particular daiyoukai was very confusing for her as she had finally gotten over her fear of him toward the end of her time in the past and there were other new and strange feelings in its' place that she hadn’t gotten to explore before being ripped away from the place she had begun to think of as more of a home than her family’s shrine in modern day. Thinking about the daiyoukai now just left her confused, conflicted, and sad that there was yet another unanswered question as far as her time in the Feudal Era was concerned.

She forced her thoughts to move on then, mentally shutting the door on thoughts of Sesshomaru. It suddenly brought her to thoughts of his brother instead. InuYasha had saved Kikyo from Naraku’s corrupting power and solved the issue of her having to die again by giving his love half of his own soul. Before both of them were even fully recovered from the battle they had mated in the youkai way and made plans for a human ceremony to be held after Sango and Miroku's wedding. Kagome had been happy for him, of course, but the dream she had held at one time of being more than his best friend had been crushed for good. It seemed that everyone had gotten hope of a happy ending except her. She had barely had time to witness this, become deeply conflicted about everything, and say goodbye to everyone before wishing upon the jewel. The Shikon had pulled her out of the past and into her own time in less than a moment; closing the portal of the well forever.

Kagome had gone to the well, hoping the remaining magic of the jewel, if there was any, would recognize her and allow her to pass through at least once more. She had even gone to the well multiple times a day in the beginning months of her return. It would only lead to her running back to the house as the sobs of sadness and denial painfully shook her body. After a year she had gotten dispirited and fed up with the looks of pity she would see on her family’s faces upon her return from her daily trips to the well. After two years she had still not given up hope and made herself keep up the sunny disposition she no longer had when it came to life in general. After three years her trips to the well had trickled down to two times a week. Even as depression closed a tight fist around her, some hope still remained deep inside of her. At four years all hope of seeing her friends that had technically been dead for almost five hundred years slowly died. She allowed herself to begin accepting this truth and grieve for the people she loved and would never see again. By the five year mark she had begun to pull herself out of the funk she had been in since returning. Kagome began to live again instead of just going through the motions of the life going on around her.

It had helped that she was finally graduating from college and leaving school for good. The monotony and routine of both high school and her university life had made it much too easy for her to become a living zombie. She had even gotten a job she didn’t have to think much to do. But now that she was trying to really live again she even preformed better at work. Over the last year she had begun to think and see less of the past and more of the life she hadn’t really been living. Kagome had even made some friends at work and it was a nice feeling. She hadn’t really had close friends for awhile since her high school friends had gotten tired of her attitude and secrets upon returning the final time. Her new friends, which worked as receptionists and personal assistants at Dragonfire Technologies Unlimited, a computer processing firm, as she did, had helped pull her out of her daze and she thanked them for that. Except now, she thought suddenly. It seemed they had all abandoned her to go bump and grind with their chosen partners. Not being able to do much about it, she chose instead to drown her bitterness and memories in a glass of Grey Goose and cranberry juice. Kagome knew she was a lightweight when it came to alcohol. She usually stuck to her self-imposed limit of one drink a night because of this. Tonight, however, her stubbornness and the tingle of youkai magic she wasn’t even sure she felt spurred her to order a second drink.

It didn’t take long for her to feel that signature warm glow spread through her body as her inhibitions lowered considerably. She gulped down her second glass more quickly than the first and thought, screw it, before heading to the dance floor. She prayed to whatever Kami was listening to help her keep her balance long enough to make it to the dance floor and enjoy her new level of comfort there. Kagome usually did dance when they went out, for she enjoyed it every time. She was very glad that the liquid courage was allowing her to finally get on the floor tonight. She lost herself in the music, intent on enjoying herself and forgetting everything, if only for a little while. What she hadn’t intended; was to trip over her own feet in the middle of a step and run straight into someone. Kagome glanced up to see who she had hit and wondered why that extra sense that had been bugging her all night was acting up again. She thought she might have found the answer as her eyes finally reached the face of the man she had hit and met a pair of bright golden amber eyes that she never thought she would ever see again. Eyes that seemed to show as much shock as she felt. Realizing that she was pressed rather closely against him in the middle of a very crowded dance floor, she looked up again to make sure her mind wasn’t playing tricks on her. The dark gold eyes and striking features were indeed hauntingly familiar and stirred up painful memories she thought the alcohol had suppressed.

“Sesshomaru is that really you?” she asked in a disbelieving whisper. She knew that if it was really him he would be able to hear her above the din of the crowded club. Before he could answer her or make any response at all, someone bumped into her, sending her even closer to his tall and leanly muscular frame. When they recovered, it wasn’t his voice that broke the silence and sudden tension that had formed as soon as their eyes had locked.

"Nakagawa-sama!” someone called as they came up beside him. It was a short and wide little man with a stern look on his face and a business suit that looked extremely out of place on this dance floor. The newcomer seemed to take in their shocked expressions and stiff body language in a glance. “Is this young woman bothering you, Nakagawa-sama?” he asked the man in front of her. Kagome, truly wondering if she was going crazy, looked at the man before her again. She realized that the familiar youkai markings she desperately searched his face for were missing, as well as he elven-like ears and claws. She was uncertain if she was really sensing youkai energy as she hadn’t in so long. But when they were both jostled by the crowd again and some of his hair, that was pulled back at his nape, flew over his shoulder she realized she must have been truly mistaken. For it wasn’t the expected silver, it was an underwhelming and average black. Now thinking that even if she wasn’t mistaken, being this close to him probably wasn’t the best idea, she decided to make an extremely hasty retreat.

“Excuse me,” she stated swiftly, her eyes filling with sadness as her mind worked overtime, “I mistook you for someone else,” So saying, she turned around and almost ran until she reached the women’s restroom. The ghosts of her past that she continued to grieve for suddenly swam before her eyes until she was blinking away tears. She was also extremely embarrassed for mistaking that guy for Sesshomaru. Though she knew it was her own fault for thinking about the past so much tonight. She also blamed her haywire extra sense. Kagome was extremely embarrassed that the moment that she had thought that gorgeous guy was Sesshomaru, she had been suddenly very happy to see him, and the fact that it wasn’t him shamed her and made the tears finally start to fall despite her best efforts. She did run when she started looking for her friend, Momo, who had driven her here. She knew she needed to get out of this place and fast. Kagome found Momo on the dance floor with her boyfriend and told her that she needed to leave now. Kagome assured her she would take a cab home since she knew it was far too early for her to think about asking her friends to leave. Momo seemed concerned, but not so much to want to see her home herself once Kagome had soothed her. She headed outside after retrieving her jacket and purse, memories of her time in the Feudal Era all she could see as she approached the road to wait for a passing taxi.

Sesshomaru was in a state of shock and confusion he hadn’t been in, in centuries. He had had to change identities over the years and at the present time he was known as Toshiro Nakagawa to his human associates. Like others that had a seemingly endless lifespan, he had had time to raise quite a fortune by modern standards by investing well over the centuries. He had changed quite a bit in five hundred years, he thought, since he had last seen the young woman that had just fled from his presence. It was only by a strange flaw in his schedule that he happened to be here in this club during their busiest time. As the businessman he had become in the human world he had started buying businesses in old Tokyo, trying to save its history. He had recently acquired this nightclub as it was housed in one of the oldest buildings in this part of the city. Instead of closing it, his advisors told him to reopen it under a different name, saying it could be a lucrative business move for Nakagawa Industries and open doors in a completely new sector. He had come here tonight to go over the numbers with the man he had put in charge, hoping his advisors were right about this risky move. He was satisfied that everything was running smoothly when a hauntingly familiar scent had assaulted him.

As he stepped out of the manager’s office where he had been going over the books, he felt his senses go into hyperawareness. That scent, he thought as the familiar smell assaulted his nose when he tried to take a relaxing breath, it’s her scent. He closed his eyes and sighed as disappointment that five hundred years hadn’t fully suppressed reared its ugly head. But our nose never lies, his beast yelled at him then, it must be her scent. Without giving any explanation to the manager that had been seeing him respectfully to the door, he started following the achingly familiar scent that was working its’ way deep into his very soul. Just like the last time he had smelled it. Surprised that the scent did have a trail and was not just the work of his overactive imagination, he followed it to where it led; the very center of the dance floor. What he saw when he reached the source of the scent made him feel and remember way too much. All he could do was stop and stare in complete shock.

The scent led to a very familiar-looking young woman dancing entirely too sexily for his peace of mind. It is her, his mind shouted. But how was this possible, he wondered, that was five hundred years ago and she was still just a fragile human; still mortal. He found himself walking closer to her as if drawn to her like a moth to a flame. She looked almost exactly the same, he noted as his eyes raked over her form like he was afraid she would disappear yet again at any moment. Not exactly though, his beast told him hungrily as he noted how her body had seemingly matured. Her curves were more womanly, and not as girlish as it had been before. His beast almost howled at the way her body was moving to the music, as well as the way it looked in her revealing blouse and skin-tight black mini-skirt.

He kept getting closer, needing to smell her scent at the source, the half-crazy beast in him shouting. The closer he got, the more her scent filled his flared nostrils and the more of her familiar features he took in. Her hair was shining in the lights of the dance floor and he got the urge to reach over and take it down from the up-do it was in, curled and falling in graceful waves down her neck and back. The way it fell so far made him believe that when it was down it would be longer that it had been the last time he had seen her. Just then she turned and tripped over her foot before she could catch herself. She landed against the closest thing within reach; which just so happened to be his chest. Feeling her pressed against him was better than the innocent hug so very long ago. He saw her eyes finally try to focus on who she had run into, before raising them very slowly inch by inch. He felt his temperature rise slightly for she was most definitely looking his body over in an assessing manner.

Sesshomaru heard her gasp when she finally reached his face. And her all to beautifully familiar blue-grey eyes locked intently with his. He knew he was the only one that would have been able to hear her gasp over the music and was glad. He was surprised when he thought he saw recognition deep in her eyes even though she had a human’s memory and it had been a very long time. The inconsistency of those thoughts reminded him that there was something he was definitely missing. It just could not and should not be possible for her to be here and alive. He would have found her in his travels if she was still in the area. He definitely would have found her before now, wouldn’t he? Before he could do more than briefly ponder that she finally spoke.

“Sesshomaru is that really you?” she asked, the shock clear in her voice. She looked him over again and he saw doubt bloom in her eyes. Oh, he realized, he had the glamour up that made him look human and covered all of his youkai features. It was amazing in light of that fact that she had recognized him immediately. Filled with curiosity and questions for the miko, he was about to speak when Soong, the manager that had been seeing him out, came up beside him.

“Nakagawa-sama!” Soong-san exclaimed, “Is this young woman bothering you, Nakagawa-sama?” he asked with a stern look toward the miko. Apparently Soong was afraid of one of one of the patrons offending his boss. Afraid it would reflect badly on him. As the manager spoke to him, Sesshomaru watched as even more uncertainty entered her eyes before they were suddenly filled with sadness. Her emotions almost pouring from her in the same manor her scent did to all of his youkai senses.

“Excuse me,” she rushed out, “I mistook you for someone else,” she apologized before making a hasty retreat after bowing politely. He watched in shock as she fled from him and her scent ruffled the air as she sped away as if she had seen a ghost. Which, he realized, she must now believe she had. After accepting Soong’s speedy apology for the rough behavior of the patrons, he escaped the man as soon as he could. Instead of heading for the exit, he followed the miko’s scent. There were too many unanswered questions surrounding her presence her and the fact she was living at all to let her escape his notice that easily. His beast was sitting up at attention at the chase, even if it was a simple one such as this. He followed her scent until he saw it led him to the ladies’ room. Standing in a place she wouldn’t see him in unless she really searched he waited for her to come out. When she rushed out in a ball of confused energy he followed her inconspicuously. He couldn’t help but catch the salty scent of tears that she was trying to hide and was sorry for them. He was wondering why she looked so distraught now, but knew it was at least partly from seeing him. He stilled as she came up beside another young woman dancing with a young man.

Sesshomaru couldn’t help overhearing the conversation as the miko told her friend that she was leaving. She didn’t give an exact reason, but the sadness in her voice as well as her poorly concealed tears must have convinced the miko's friend that it was better not to ask the reason at the moment. The other girl called the miko Kagome, he noted. Memories washed over him like a wave crashing upon a sandy beach. His brother screaming out her name as he tried to protect her from their enemies, even from Sesshomaru a few times. If any doubt remained, that would have squashed them into nothing. She literally sprinted for the door then, but slowed down once she reached the sidewalk in front of the club, as if in a trance. Lost in thought she seemed to be and when she was about to step into the street as a car sped closer, he didn’t think before rushing closer and pulling her back to the safety of the sidewalk. The force of it making them bump into each other once more.

“Wha--?” she exclaimed, or started to, before she looked up and was shocked into silence.

“You should be more careful, miko,” he told her, his heart beating double time to think she almost got hit by a car minutes after realizing she was still alive. His voice barely contained all of the emotions he was feeling at the moment. She turned around in his arms then, surprising him when she didn’t move away right away.

“It is you!” she exclaimed, “I thought I was going crazy and that my extra sense-thingy wasn’t working anymore, but there was a youkai next to me,” she murmured into his neck as she was suddenly hugging him. He was close enough now to realize that the little miko was more than a little tipsy from the alcohol infused with her scent at the moment. “I never thought I would see any of you again,” she said and from the sudden salty wetness against his skin she was crying again. “I missed you so much,” she told him and he felt a weird feeling deep inside his chest. Before he could wonder what it was she moved a little away from him then, looking him in the eye once more.

Chapter Two -

Kagome hadn’t meant to get that lost in thought; in her memories, but with the alcohol dulling her faculties she couldn’t seem to help it. She had been more than surprised to hear his familiar deep voice rumbling out of the person that had suddenly saved her from being hit by that speeding car. When she realized that she was hugging him, she cursed herself mentally and moved away to put a little distance between them. She couldn't think straight with the image of the last time she had seen him and bravely hugged him plaguing her. Not to mention how surprisingly good it felt to be that close to him and confess her grief, even if it had been mostly accidental.

“I confess I am surprised to see you here, miko,” he emphasized and she knew in a heartbeat that he had never been told the truth about her appearance in Feudal times and the magic of the well when combined with the Shikon Jewel.

“Oh, yeah,” she commented, her buzz fading very slowly, but her common sense still impaired. “I’d be surprised to see me if I were you too,” she continued in the same amiable conversational tone, as she knew no other way to handle the situation at the moment. “As I am just a lowly human and don’t have the seemingly endless lifespan of a daiyoukai, like yourself,” she said at a much louder volume than was wise to do while discussing such things.

“Perhaps we should move this conversation to a more private location,” he hissed suddenly and looked around to make sure no humans had overheard her careless words.

“Umm…” was the only sound she got out before he was pulling her toward the parking lot on the side of the building that housed the club. He stopped briefly before all but throwing her into the passenger seat of a sleek, black sedan that was extremely expensive looking. “But I need to…” she began again, but was cut off when he slammed the door shut, “Get home,” she continued as she watched him walk around to the drivers’ side of the car before climbing gracefully behind the wheel. Her fear of him, that had been pretty nonexistent the last time she had seen him, snuck up on her a bit as she realized she was now completely alone with him at the moment. At least he didn’t throw me in the back seat, she thought, or worse yet, the trunk.

“Where do you live?” he asked without preamble as he started the car.

“Wait a second!” she exclaimed when the anachronism of him driving her anywhere suddenly hit her. “Since when do you drive?” she asked incredulously. He chuckled at her as he pulled smoothly out of the parking space, but stopped before pulling out of the lot to look over at her with a slight smile. To Kagome his reaction was very surprising and she had to ignore the sudden fluttering in her stomach his smile and chuckle had caused.

“Since the horseless carriage arrived in Japan,” he answered blithely, his smile growing into a grin.

“Oh,” she uttered, for lack of knowing or having anything else to say. Her brain was still apparently having trouble computing the fact he had been alive for so long, that five hundred years really had passed since they had seen each other last. “I guess that’s alright then,” she said at last, knowing it sounded ridiculous.

“I’m glad it meets with your approval,” he told her his voice full of laughter, “Now, where do you live?” he asked again. The latent authority that seemed to always reside in his deep, velvety voice had her relating her address before she really realized what she was doing. It was then she understood exactly how dulled her brain still was. She hoped it got clearer soon; she really needed it at the moment.

“Why?” she asked him warily.

“I needed to know which of our homes was closer to the club to decide which one to drive to,” he replied matter-of-factly as he finally pulled out of the parking lot and turned in the direction of her family’s home. “Your home is closer, so we will go there.” he said, answering her next question before she had to ask it.

“What exactly do you want from me?” she asked him with a nervous glance at his perfect features. She did not feel much better when he chuckled again at her question.

“Answers, miko,” he replied simply. “You’ve made me very intrigued and interested in finding them since you are somehow alive.” Kagome swallowed and nodded, understanding since she had about a million questions she wanted to ask him if she ever got the chance as well.

Sesshomaru looked at the little miko sitting next to him in the small confines of the interior of his car. He was extremely aware of the differences since the last time he had seen her suddenly. His beast made quite sure he was very aware of the changes in her body once more, and how her scent was very potent inside this small space. To distract himself, he thought back over the last five hundred years. He may have changed a great deal since he had seen the woman beside him, he had become more accustomed to and at peace with the way the world was now. But the world itself had changed so very much more during that time.

As the world he had known back then had begun to change, he realized that he would have to change as well or become obsolete. He did not consider that an option and so began to slowly adapt to the human dominated world over time. The human population seemed to explode exponentially even as his own kind became all but extinct, their numbers severely decimated. Those that weren’t destroyed by reacting violently to the ever-encroaching humanity, fled for the secret and unknown places of the world that humanity had yet to discover. Over time those places too almost disappeared and it was back to the choices of adapt or die. Living among humans in the area of Edo, which became the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, Sesshomaru became accustomed to their strange ways, and to blending in with them for his own survival. Part of him missed the days when he had roamed his lands, the lands of his father, as a way of life. Back then it had to be to keep the lower ranking youkai in line and retain his title of Lord of the Western Lands. But as he watched the number of his fellow youkai drop dramatically, the cooperation between those remaining rose as well. The need to keep from becoming completely extinct on the forefront of all of their minds. The in-fighting between youkai soon all but ceased and those that still sought power turned their sights to a different kind as capitalism and such ideals took hold of the world.

Sesshomaru was unable to keep from gasping in surprise when the familiarity of the neighborhood he was now driving through hit him. He knew all of Japan so well; especially what was now the Tokyo Metro area, so well he saw it like a living map in his mind whenever he travelled, but he must not have realized where the address she had given him was leading him as he had been distracted by the miko and his memories as well. He now realized this area was very familiar indeed, especially in regard to the woman beside him. The miko looked at him curiously at his sound of surprise before she seemed to realize why he had made it. Understanding lit her gaze as she told him to turn into the next driveway and where to park his car. He could not help looking at the Goshinboku, still growing taller than ever after all this time, as he pulled into the instructed driveway. He had known that the humans had built a shrine around it and the ancient well not very far away, but he hadn’t been here in an extremely long time. Reading the name of the shrine as they drove past the sign, he thoroughly kicked himself for not making the connection before.

“You live here?” he asked as he followed the miko as she led him to the building that now contained the Bone Eater’s Well. She smiled up at him with a strange sadness in her eyes and aura once more.

“Not here exactly,” she replied cheekily as she opened the door and walked down the stairs toward the well itself. “In the house on the property.” She looked at the well once more with could only be called longing in her eyes.

“So, this is your family’s shrine,” he confirmed his earlier mental speculation. “I don’t know how I never made the connection before,” he muttered in a way that she could tell he was mostly talking to himself.

“Yes,” she confirmed his thoughts once more. He was glad that that explained the coincidence of the shrine’s name, but not how she was still alive in this time.

“How is it you are still alive, miko?” he asked her with a crook of one brow and in a very simple and straightforward manner, seeking to get to the heart of the matter.

“I’m not surprised InuYasha never told you,” she said with a quick chuckle, but not answering his burning curiosity as yet. He couldn’t help the way he almost flinched at hearing his brother’s name spoken so casually by someone after so long. “But,” she continued, “Kaede was very adamant about none outside her and our little group knowing. And besides InuYasha and her, no one really understood what was really happening anyway.” She spoke the last part offhandedly and making him even more curious. Memories of that time were flashing through his mind at the mention of his brother and the rest of them. He closed his eyes and willed the memories away, wanting to keep to the point.

“Didn’t want them to know what?” he asked once his thoughts were under control once more.

“I came through the well, you see,” she began in explanation, “I’m from this time, was born here,” she confessed.

“How is that possible?” he queried incredulously, “Though it would explain a lot,” he muttered a moment later.

“I’ll tell you,” she said, “But no more interruptions,” she seemingly ordered him and he smiled down at her, her fiery personality still intact. He motioned for her to continue. “It happened seven years ago,” she began with a sigh, “I came in here because my brother, Sota, thought he heard our cat, Buyo, in here somewhere. And because Sota is more of a scaredy-cat than Buyo he didn’t want to come in here alone. Anyway,” she murmured as she walked toward the well, leaning against it with a look at the lid that seemed to be covered with broken sutras of some kind. “It all happened so fast, so I don’t remember all the details,” she said as she seemed to be gathering her memories. “We heard what we thought was Buyo making noise under this lid as we got close to it. Then, suddenly something came out of the well and pulled me down with it and it most definitely was not Buyo. It was a centipede youkai,” she told him, intriguing him. She smiled a weird smile as she continued.

“Though, at the time, all I knew was there was a monster attacking me. She was raving about something, but I was just worried about surviving. I pushed her away then and for some magical reason she actually let me go and disappeared out the well. I managed to come away mostly unscathed and climbed out of the well, wondering why my brother wasn’t answering my calls for help. But when I climbed out of the well the shrine and everything else was gone. The only thing I recognized even slightly was the Goshinboku and even it was different. It also just so happened to be the tree I found InuYasha sealed to when I ran to it hoping to find anything or anyone I recognized.” She sighed again as she stared at the well’s cover while tracing the patterns in the wood with her fingers.

“Before I could do anything but wonder if he was dead and why he had dog ears on the top of his head,” she laughed and he couldn’t help but smiling down at her in return, “A group of men from Kaede’s village bound me and literally dragged me back there.” He saw her smiling at the memories, but there was a deep sadness within her as well. He could feel it and see the way it bogged down her aura. “Kaede eventually told me that I was Kikyo’s reincarnation and the Shikon no Tama had been reborn inside of me as well. That was why the youkai seemed drawn to me.” This confirmed part of what others had told him and explained things that hadn’t made sense before. He did as she asked and didn’t interrupt with more questions. She was answering them without him having to bother anyway, so he did nothing to stop her as she continued.

“Anyway, to make an incredibly long story short, I’ll cut to the parts you already know about,” she sighed, “I took the arrow out of InuYasha so he would kill the Centipede Lady that attacked me again while I was trying to make it back to the well, but instead he threatened to kill me and Kaede and a group of villagers that had come to fight the youkai, if we didn’t hand over the jewel. Kaede used her gift to put the rosary around his neck that allowed me to subdue him before he got to me,” she snorted and turned with a venomous glare in his direction suddenly.

“He wanted to use the jewel’s power to become a full youkai, you know,” she said with a furious sadness aimed at him. “He was ostracized by both halves of himself. Humans seemed to fear him no matter how much he helped them and youkai wouldn't accept him or simply wanted to kill him because of his tainted blood; because he was only a half-breed,” she said the last words in contempt before looking and walking away from him and the well. He watched as the anger faded almost instantly from her and couldn’t help scenting the salt from her fresh tears. Tears that she seemed to not want him to know she was crying.

“Anyway,” she began again, “The jewel was eventually shattered into the shards that both of us are very familiar with.” She smiled bitter sweetly at this before blinking back more tears. “The shards made the well a portal that not only I could travel through, but InuYasha as well, between this time and back then. Which is good, or else I would have flunked out of school for sure,” she commented then and he smiled at the irony of her words. “You know most of the rest,” she told him as she walked back to lean against the well. “When I made that wish on the jewel it sent me back here and closed the portal in the well for good.” She sniffed at this, hiding a sniffle and more tears. “It’s been five hundred years for you,” she said with a strange look in her eyes and the sad smile back on her face, “But it’s only been five years for me.”

“That explains a lot,” he repeated his previous sentiment, murmuring the words in a daze as he recovered from everything her story had made him think about and feel once more. He looked at her and saw she was staring at the well with a wistful look and he understood why now.

“I’m sure it does,” she commented without looking up after he spoke. She pushed away from the well then and strode up to where he had been pacing until he was standing at the bottom of the stairs. “I never expected to see anyone I knew in the Feudal Ear again. I guess I should have realized that you and the other youkai I met, that didn’t end up dead that is, could be around here somewhere. Especially given the extraordinarily long lifespan you full-blooded youkai have,” she said in a strange tone of voice that made both sides of his nature sit up and pay attention. He looked down at her and tried not to notice how beautiful she looked just now, illuminated only by the light of the full moon.

“I never expected to see you again,” she repeated her earlier words outside the club, “Especially in the guise of a human,” she added. He was so completely shocked again when she suddenly reached up to run her fingertips over his cheeks and forehead where his most prominent youkai markings were hiding under the magic he was used to wearing almost all the time. “It’s weird seeing you without them,” she whispered and made another bold move as she took a lock of his hair between her fingers. “And your hair,” she added before their eyes met heatedly. She froze immediately, as if she had just realized what she was doing. He knew that was entirely possible given the alcohol that was still slowly making its’ way out of her bloodstream. The miko stepped back a few paces very slowly and he could see fear, real fear that he hadn’t sensed in several hundred years directed toward himself that was also showing plainly in her eyes. It saddened him to see such a reaction from her especially since it was such a reversal in attitude from seconds before.

“I’m sorry,” she squeaked, her voice higher pitched with her fear and nervousness, “I must be a little tipsy still,” she commented mostly to herself. The miko looked up at him and he could see she was bracing herself for his reaction. He sensed her curiosity as she waited for it as well. He smiled slyly for the way he longed to respond to the blushing miko staring up at him would probably surprise her more than if he were to take out the sword he no longer carried and strike her down.

“I’m afraid to disappoint you, miko,” he drawled after taking some perverse pleasure in making her wait for his reaction. “But I don’t kill as easily as I used to,” he informed her, not telling her he hadn’t actually killed a human in an extremely long time. “Besides, your kind has made it entirely too complicated after the fact,” he commented dryly, the small smirk on his face familiar.

“Are there many youkai left?” she asked him curiously. She wasn’t really sure at this point if his last comment had been meant as a joke or not.

“Not many,” he answered in a subdued tone. “There are still some of us around, but I would not say many anymore.”

“I’m sorry,” she told him, surprising him once more with the sincerity in her voice.

“It’s probably just as well,” he told her blandly, “those who survived moved onto less populated areas, but that wasn’t a solution. In the end we had to change our ways or become extinct.”

“You seem to have adapted quite well,” she told him suddenly with a rather assessing look up and down his body. His beast was whispering things; ideas to him that had his blood heating at this. “You haven’t killed me yet,” she continued, “And you’re using pronouns. It’s quite shocking,” she breathed out in seemingly one breath then. She covered her mouth with her hand as blood rushed to her cheeks and she gasped. “I’m sorry,” and it seemed to be the theme of the night. “Perhaps now isn’t the best time for me to try and hold a logical conversation,” she admitted with another flush of embarrassment staining her cheeks quite becomingly. He couldn’t seem to ignore her beauty no matter how hard he tried. Though, his beast’s attitude was not helping the matter in the slightest. Yes, he thought suddenly, the miko would be quite shocked to know how much he had adapted; how intimate his interactions with humans had become over the centuries. Especially certain females like herself. Due to the dwindling number of youkai females, beautiful or friendly ones especially, he had grudgingly rutted with humans through the years, but only at times when he knew they wouldn’t or couldn’t breed. He had even followed human customs and taken them out on dates and such things.

He was very aware of his growing need for a mate and heirs over the years. Especially since most he knew had already surpassed him in this area. But he had never really felt more than an easily sated lust for the women he had been with over the years; human and youkai alike. So, he had never really contemplated mating with anyone of them; or anyone at all really. Until now, his beast’s voice spoke up suddenly, she is a beautiful and strong miko spiritually and physically, not just any human, as we have known all along, it told him. He silenced his inner voice and wondered if meeting her again had thrown him more than slightly off-balance. Well, his beast said; if you won’t listen to me and even contemplate mating with her, yet, you could at least rut with the wench. Looking at the miko in the skimpy outfit she had gone clubbing in he couldn’t help thinking the same thing. The way the slinky material of the low cut blouse she was wearing clung to her curves and the way the short skirt showed off her legs, he couldn’t help wanting to keep looking at her beautifully matured form. He didn’t know for sure if she was attracted to him in even a fraction of the same way he was to her. All those years ago there had been a spark of something during her goodbye, but many things change over time, as he was living proof. There was a way for him to find out, his beast told him, and if not we can still look. Now is not the time to think of such things, he yelled at his beast for corrupting his thoughts so much tonight. She was obviously still grieving the loss of her friends, including his brother. He knew the pain of loss all too well and knew only time would help heal her.

Kagome sighed in frustration with herself as she looked up at Sesshomaru. She couldn’t deny he was one of the most beautiful creatures she had ever seen. He had such striking features, not to mention his hair, even when it was not its’ real color it was still pretty shining in the moonlight like it was. He didn’t look right though, she told herself; he needed the slashes of color on his cheeks and eyelids, and the crescent moon on his brow. Not to mention his claws, pointed ears, and hair in its’ true glorious silver color. Realizing she was staring at him, she dropped her gaze as she began to blush and cursed herself once more. I am never drinking again, she swore. Well, she amended suddenly, perhaps just one now and then. Yeah, she thought, that should be fine. She looked at her watch as a distraction and gasped when she saw the time. It was almost four-thirty in the morning.

“Oh, Kami, I can’t believe how late it is already!” she exclaimed in a whisper, “I gotta get home or my mom will worry when she wakes up and finds out I’m not home yet.”

“Of course,” he replied smoothly and began walking up the steps. He opened the door for her and she couldn’t help smile at the absurdity of the situation.

“I still have questions for you though,” she told him sheepishly as he came up beside her as they walked the path that would take them by the Goshinboku once more.

“I expected as much,” he commented lightly with a familiar smirk on his face.

“Well, this Kagome is happy not to disappoint you then,” she told him playfully. It must be the alcohol, she realized. She gasped in shock as he bent down suddenly so that his face was right next to hers. There was a small smile on his face and a twinkling in his eyes.

“Are you teasing me, miko?” he asked in a tone more serious than his expression and smiling eyes.

“Just a bit,” she told him with a smile of her own. She swallowed a lump that had found its’ way into her throat and tried not to notice how close his mouth was to her own.

“That means I get to tease you back,” he told her quite simply, his breath so close it tickled her lips. Her mind went all sorts of places at his words. Places that she had never allowed herself to think about in association to the daiyoukai so near her now, especially since returning to her own time. She wasn’t saying that some of them hadn’t crossed her mind before; for she was a sane heterosexual female, and he was gorgeous even with the magic making him look human.

“Go for it,” she murmured as she was quite curious to see what he would tease her with or about. Her natural attraction to him, that she had always felt, but pushed very deep inside herself whenever he was near was now rearing its' head.

Sesshomaru’s senses were on high alert this close to her. The moment he had felt the answering slide of her attraction to him against his senses, he almost felt it sliding against his skin as well. It was all he could do not to lean in and kiss those full lips of hers just to get her reaction; to see how she would react to a surprise of that kind. He stopped himself for she seemed to be fighting the attraction between them, and also to be hiding it from herself as well trying to hide it from\\ him. The only outward sign was the sudden bloom of color on her cheeks. If he had been human he wouldn’t have been able to sense the sudden change in her pheromone levels that altered her scent slightly. It was only slight, but it was more than enough to tell him that she was anything except indifferent to him. Her last words teased him even more and he leaned in a half a millimeter more before he cursed his damn persuasive beast and thought better of it.

“Another time perhaps,” he told her instead, his frustrated lust and attraction to her plain in his eyes. Though he highly doubted she would be able to recognize it for what it really was. Sesshomaru realized as well that she was still fuzzy minded from having alcohol in her system and teasing her with anything of that nature would be very ungentlemanly of him at the moment. “Allow me to walk you to your door,” he said, testing the waters, so to speak.

Kagome looked up at him standing next to her. She couldn’t help feeling slightly dazed and disappointed when he pulled away from her and stood up straight again. She couldn’t deny she was attracted to him anymore, it seemed, at least to herself. Though part of her thought it wasn't bad, the other part had conflicting feelings about it. She did not know how his relationship with InuYasha had changed or if it had completely stayed the same after she left. That part of her did not want to betray her friend and the feelings she had had for him at one point, which was ridiculous. Another part of her told her that it didn’t matter anyway, for what could such a good-looking male, whatever race he was, want with her in the first place? She really didn’t know.

“Sure, whatever you want,” she responded and cursed herself again. It was a good thing he didn’t read minds, for her words would have betrayed her feelings if he did. She started walking toward her family’s home, Sesshomaru beside her, and tried not to look up at him. It didn’t take long for them to cross the patch of stone covered grass that led to her house. She couldn’t help glancing up at him, no matter how she tried, to see if this was really happening. The whole situation was very surreal. The vodka in her system didn’t help that feeling either. Kagome paused before the front door, suddenly feeling very awkward with him alone on her front porch. She looked up at him, almost shyly, one last time.

“So, this is it,” she told him lamely. “Thanks for driving me home by the way, and walking me to my door,” she added haltingly.

“You are very welcome,” he responded as she was turning to walk the few remaining steps. “When would be best for us to continue our conversation?” he asked her much to her surprise.

“Hmm…” she mumbled as she thought about it. She was off on the weekends, but she was busy tomorrow so Sunday was the first day that would work. "Well, I’m off on weekends,” she told him in echo of her thoughts, “But tomorrow I’ll be out of town for one of my old friends’ wedding.” She sighed as she remembered that she promised her mom and grandpa that she would clean up the shrine grounds on Sunday as well. “We could meet or something Sunday but it would have to be later in the day,” she continued, “Unless you want to come and help me clean up around here,” she commented sarcastically with an unladylike snort. “My next day off is…” was all she got out as she looked up at him when he interrupted her with a surprising and kind offer.

“What time would you like me to come over to help you Sunday?” he asked, ignoring her last words completely.

“I wasn’t serious,” she told him worriedly, fidgeting with the zipper of her jacket. “I wouldn’t except you to help me with such a menial chore.”

“What time?” he repeated and she was remembering how stubborn the males in his family could be. Making a sound of frustration, she decided that humoring him would be the simplest option at the moment. After all, no matter how much he had changed over the years, he was still the most powerful daiyoukai she had ever met underneath that magic. Perhaps she could change plans at the last minute or something, she wondered then.

“Fine,” she said in the same stubborn tone he had used, “At nine-thirty that morning.” He bowed slightly in acknowledgement of her words before speaking again.

"Until Sunday then, miko,” he told her before turning around to make the trip back to his car on the other side of the property.

“The name’s Kagome, you know! Ka-go-me!” she called after him with another frustrated snort. “Goodnight Sesshomaru!” she called again and wondered if he would ever use her name. Once he disappeared from sight she sighed and turned back to slip as quietly as possible into the house. She heard his car pull away and couldn’t help smiling at the absurdity of it all; the strange turn of events tonight. She hadn’t seen this coming in the slightest and knew that even if she had had a vision about it she wouldn’t have even believed it possible until it really happened. Kagome slipped through the house until she reached the sanctuary of her bedroom. Buyo rubbed against her legs and she petted and cooed at him until he sauntered away to curl up on her desk chair. In her mind’s eye she saw a flash of red and silver as InuYasha came through the window to sit on her bed as she studied in the chair Buyo was now snoring on. Shaking her head to shake her thoughts and daydream away she blinked away some sudden tears. She quickly brushed her remaining thoughts of the past away as she continued her nightly routine.

She was realizing how exhausted she was by the time she was changed and had been to and from the bathroom. So much so that she almost forgot to set her alarm. She knew that she had to though. Kagome had to catch the train to Nagano with her mom at nine to make it there in time for the start of the wedding hoopla. She didn’t know why she was bothering to go, a voice inside her questioned. She had grown apart from her school friends after the well had closed. But she had known Ayumi since primary school and kept some contact after her old friend had moved in the middle of their senior year of high school. So, she guessed it was only right she go to her wedding since she had surprisingly been invited. She didn’t want to be rude and not go. She fell asleep very quickly after she snuggled down in her bedcovers and tried to clear her mind. Try as she might though, she couldn’t help the sorrowful tears that ran down her cheeks before she fell into a deep sleep. She had been having dreams about her time in the past since she had returned to her own time, but it wasn't until she woke up that she realized it was only a dream. They just seemed that real each time. It wasn't long until she was deep in REM sleep, her subconscious mind taking over to the extent that she believed she was once more in the Feudal Era, right after saying goodbye to Sesshomaru.

Chapter Three -

Kagome ran until she was on the opposite side of InuYasha's Forest from the Goshinboku, where she had left a shocked Lord Sesshomaru. She stopped to catch her breath, leaning against one of the large trees that surrounded her. Her cheeks turned bright pink once more at the thought of the youkai lord. It had been amazing to her that her actions had surprised him so much that his mask of indifference slipped just a bit and she could see the shock clear in his eyes for a moment.

She had shocked herself as well, for she had only meant to hug him. That in itself was quite a few steps over the boundaries the daiyoukai had when it came to humans, or anyone for that matter, as it was. But when her lips had touched his cheek, being a sweet accident, not only had she been surprised, but Kagome was still arguing with herself internally. She wasn’t quite sure when she really thought about it if it had in fact been an accident, or not. Either it was or Kagome was lying to herself so deeply that even she didn’t know what the truth was.

Kagome brought her fingers up to her lips with a little half smile that turned into a quiet little feminine laugh. While she had been waiting for him to return to Ah-Un her thoughts had flown in all different directions. But she had tried very hard not to think of the daiyoukai himself. Thinking of him just made her even more confused. Especially when she realized that there was a chance that after tomorrow she might not ever see him again. When Sesshomaru had arrived next to her and Ah-Un, though, she couldn’t ignore his presence. She didn’t know anyone that could, be they human, hanyou or youkai; especially if they were female. Kagome had always known how attractive he was, she wasn’t blind after all. But at first she had only had eyes for InuYasha and seeing as how the brothers never got along she had pushed those realizations to the back of her mind. To a place so far back she never had to think of them. When the daiyoukai joined forces with them to defeat Naraku it had been at a time that InuYasha had already made it clear that he had chosen Kikyo. Then with the daiyoukai around all the time it had brought those realizations to the forefront once more. Soon she had begun to think of him as a friend and ally, a seemingly reluctant one, but still one nonetheless. His interactions with Rin had made it clear that he was now no longer as unbending in his hatred toward humans, at least where Rin was concerned anyway.

Through all those months Kagome had never been as close to the daiyoukai as she was during her sudden and awkward hug moments before. It was impossible to ignore his beauty not that she had been so very close to it. His face was just perfect. That’s all there was to it. She now knew the answer to a few questions that she had never thought to actually ask him. She knew that, yes, his hair was as smooth and silky soft as it looked; completely unfair in her opinion. Due to the ‘accidental’ peck on his cheek she now knew that his skin was almost as soft as his hair. She was so jealous of his silky hair, such a waste of a male. Even though he was known throughout Japan as the Ice Prince she now knew he was anything but. His body heat, as she hugged him, had made its’ way deep inside of her, warming her, and making her want to linger there within it. The feel of his hard muscles underneath his skin was also surprising in how it made her feel. Even now a corner of her mind was wondering just what type of body the daiyoukai had under that armor and layers of expensive silk.

Kagome sighed and looked around her, willing the blood to leave her cheeks, though it had as yet not listened to her at all. She decided not to return to the village right away since her encounter with Sesshomaru had really startled her both emotionally and physically. She didn't know if he would follow her and demand an explanation, or something more violent. So she had gone the long way around the village so if he did follow her she would have the opportunity to handle it herself. that way no one else, like a certain foul-mouthed hanyou, could get involved. Thinking of InuYasha and the rest of the group made her realize once more how uncertain her future was. She sniffed back a wave of sudden tears, for as long as it was uncertain, she would still keep her hopes alive. Knowing how finicky the jewel could be, Kagome would only give up once there was reason to. Nodding her head and squaring her shoulders in determination, she decided to head back toward the village now. She decided to hurry since the remaining light in the sky was waning faster than when she had first stopped to rest against the tree she was still pressed against.

Looking around as she started back toward Edo, Kagome realized something was not quite right. The forest seemed just a bit too quiet. The animals were silent as if hiding from a predator and in the closing darkness she was suddenly struck by the creepiness of the situation. Though try as she might she couldn’t feel any youkai nearby or anything like that, she did wish, as realization hit, that she had not left her bow and arrows in Kaede’s hut before setting off to look for Sesshomaru. It was quite dumb of her to go off without them. Even though Naraku was dead there were plenty of other youkai out there that would no doubt love to see her dead. Not to mention the evil intentioned humans that she knew were out in this world as well. When her thoughts started to get the best of her she started to hurry even more until she was almost running. Before she knew it she ran straight into something so hard she gasped in reaction as she fell toward the ground. As she landed with her butt on the ground, she wondered what in the world just happened. Before she could give it much more thought she was dragged to her feet and pushed until her back hit the tree nearest her.

“Eep!” she exclaimed as all the air was forced out of her lungs and looked up to meet the deep golden eyes of the daiyoukai she had just tried to stop thinking about.

“Miko,” his deep voice rumbled through him and into her as they were pressed close once more. She gasped again at the feeling and the fact that there was something new in his usually unemotional voice.

“Yes, Sesshomaru?” she asked curiously in return, wondering what in the world was going on. For Kagome was sure she would already be bleeding by now if hurting her was his intent. Being this close to him once more reminded her of the last time they were such and her cheeks became bright pink once more. She was very aware of how close he was to her and the way his body seemed to press even closer to hers as she spoke. She couldn’t help but gasp again as the spikes of his armor came perilously close to piercing her skin.

“This Sesshomaru has decided,” he began, “That it is his turn to say goodbye to you, Miko.” Before she could even ponder about the new emotion in his voice her thoughts were blasted away in pure surprised pleasure. He leaned down suddenly until his lips had captured hers. She opened her mouth in shock and gave him an opportunity which he used to devour her mouth as if he were desperate to learn each and every corner of her mouth, inside and out. Completely out of her element, Kagome just opened herself up and let herself feel every sensation he was eliciting from her. Losing herself in his kiss she moaned as his tongue tasted hers. Her instincts seemed to take over as sensation overwhelmed her. Her arms slid up, careful of the spikes, to sink her fingers in his hair, her arms around his neck.

Sesshomaru couldn’t believe how much the little human miko was responding, seemingly melting against him as he deepened the kiss. He realized that no matter how he tried to deny it, he could no longer push aside the arousal that poured through him, breaking through his prized self-control until his body was reacting rather strongly to the feel of her young, lithe body against his. Wanting to bring her even closer, he pushed closer, attempting to grind his lower body against hers. He stopped in surprise when he heard her quiet cry of pain and the scent of her blood, getting his attention immediately. He was worried about her wound, but at the same time her blood made his arousal stronger. His beast was almost drooling for a taste of it. He pushed away slightly, wondering about the pain and blood when he realized that he had inadvertently caused it.

Kagome gasped, in pain this time, as the spikes on his armor finally pierced the skin of both her shoulders, enough that the wound on her left shoulder was bleeding. Lost to the surprising sensations the gorgeous daiyoukai was causing her, the pain barely broke through the lust-induced fog until she realized she was bleeding. He separated them so that their eyes could meet and it was all she could do not to whimper again at the lust and passion burning in his liquid gold eyes that were boring heatedly into hers. The fact that they were already red-rimmed made her inwardly rejoice that he was obviously as affected by their contact as she was. He didn’t say anything, but the question was in his eyes.

“Your armor’s spikes,” she said without further explanation. But she knew with his senses that he didn’t need any explanation, as his eyes flicked from hers to the blood stain growing on her shoulder. Curious about how bad the wound was herself, she reached up to stretch the collar of her shirt until the small, bleeding puncture in her skin was visible.

“Well, it doesn’t look very…” was all she got out before she quickly inhaled as he had sliced part of her shirt away, leaving her looking like an extra in Flashdance, so he could more clearly examine the wound. Her inhalation became a moan suddenly as no sooner had she felt his claws slice through her shirt than he had leaned down, his mouth covering her small wound. Had someone asked her before if a male sucking on her bleeding wound would be arousing to her, she would have been grossed out. Now, though, in the current context she couldn’t seem to ever want him to move his mouth from that spot. His tongue started tracing against her skin then and she moaned lightly in pleasure once more. At the same time she was touched, for she knew he had just cleaned and closed the little puncture for her as well. His eyes caught hers then, more red than gold now, and she still thought he was the most gorgeous thing she had ever seen. She heard a metallic clunk then milliseconds before his mouth was once again devouring hers. Knowing only then as his silk-clad chest was pressed against hers that he had taken his armor off without her even seeing or realizing it. Now, though, her arms were around his neck, his body pressing even closer to hers and in such a pleasurable way without his armor hindering such movements. Her fingers in his hair tightened when his mouth branded a trail to her neck. His lips, teeth, and tongue causing her body temperature to rise even higher as she couldn’t help but gasp out his name in pure pleasure.

“Miko,” he whispered hotly, his breath against her ear as his fangs scraped against her earlobe, nibbling there lightly as he spoke, “This Sesshomaru feels the strong need to mate with you ,” he continued in the same tone, “You must tell this Sesshomaru now if you are not willing.” She knew he was making a concession for her being human and was quite sure, although it was completely insane, that if he didn’t take her right now she would die of disappointment and sexual frustration.

“I am more than willing,” she whispered back quickly before she all but whimpered as his mouth, that had never stopped moving, reached an especially sweet spot on her neck. She couldn’t believe what she was saying and doing, but neither could she bring herself to care at the moment.

He growled feelingly when he heard her words and moved to attack her mouth passionately with his once more. The next thing Kagome knew he was laying her back against the sweet-smelling grass and flowers of a field she knew was at least a day’s walk away from their previous location for a human. He brought his body down to press against hers in all the right places; closer now than before. She could feel the hard outline of his arousal against her thigh now, and her virginal fear raised its’ head for the first time. It was quickly silenced however as she felt his hands moving up to caress her breasts. She moaned into their kiss then as her fingers tightened in his hair in response. She felt more than heard his growl of response, the rumble of which seemed to only arouse her further. Before she realized what he was doing next he had torn her already ruined shirt from her body to toss it behind him nonchalantly. He broke the kiss momentarily then to just stare at her nearly naked top half. Kagome almost giggled at the curiosity plainly seen in his eyes as he studied her bra.

“It’s called a bra,” she whispered weakly before reaching up hurriedly to unhook it and take it off before he had a chance to destroy it too. For it was not a cheap one, not to mention that it was the only bra she had with her in the Feudal Era at the moment. Once she had taken it off she tossed it in the direction he had thrown her shirt. When Kagome realized what she had just done she wondered where the confidence to do such a thing had come from. Her cheeks turned bright red as she was now half naked under the daiyoukai’s heated gaze.

She moved to cover herself up in embarrassment until a throaty growl made her pause before one of his clawed hand took both of hers in his grasp and pinned them above her head. She gasped when he used the claws of his free hand, running them lightly over the sensitive skin of her breasts, causing goosebumps to breakout all over her body. He continued his actions until she was squirming and whimpering in pleasure.

“Sesshomaru!” she cried out into the darkened night, the full moon their only light, but he didn’t notice the difference and she was too wrapped up in sensations to care. He bent down to run his tongue around the tips of her breasts before taking one into his beautiful mouth. Kagome writhed in pleasure when he started to suckle it, careful of his fangs. Her fingers tightened in his hair once more and the vibration of his growl this time had her crying out his name even louder in response. He switched to her other breast then, nibbling on it lightly before sucking it into his mouth as well. She was so distracted by this that she didn’t notice his hands moving lower until his touch on her thighs seared through her jeans and between before going to try and take them off of her. His mouth moved back up to hers as she yanked determinedly until he was kissing her once more. She could tell he was about to shred her jeans off so she quickly brought her hands down to unbutton and unzip them before pushing them down as far as they could go given her current position. Realizing they would get in the way, she kicked her shoes off as well.

Sesshomaru just stared for a moment at the Miko’s nearly naked body only clothed in a small, strange undergarment made of lace and some unknown soft material. He couldn’t pull his eyes away as they seemed to reveal more than they covered up. When the Miko noticed where his eyes were, her cheeks blossomed with deeper color, turning from pink to dark red. He could not deny that she looked quite becoming in this moment, his beast prodding him to do more than just look his fill. The smell of her arousal mixed with the smell and taste of her flesh and blood was making it ever more difficult for him to control his bestial nature, and his beast was having a field day goading him about his lapse of control.

Kagome gasped when she felt his fingers at the waistband of her panties, after he had been still for so long. The look in his eyes almost seemed curious as he slowly lowered them inside the stretched waistband. But then her thoughts scattered as his fingers brushed against the intimate flesh that no one had ever touched before. She moaned his name when his fingers delved into the moistened flesh beneath her lower lips without preamble. As well as the fact that she could actually see emotions in his eyes and even expressions flicker across his face without his usual indifferent mask hiding them from her. He looked even more gorgeous with the mask gone, his eyes completely red and purple and the stripes on his cheeks jagged from the flow of power. She was speechless for a moment just looking at him. Just too inhumanly beautiful to be real, but he amazingly was.

His fingers found the little bundle of nerves above her lower passage and her eyes slammed shut as sensation overwhelmed her and a whimper resembling his name burst from her lips. As he slipped her panties off, leaving her completely naked beneath him, she realized that besides his armor he was still completely dressed. And that wasn’t fair, she thought, a need to see what his armor and clothes had been hiding, the muscular body she felt pressed against her, but had never seen. She brought her hands down to the front of his kimono, trying to pull it apart and off as he was momentarily distracted by looking over her naked form. When he didn’t move to help her yet, she moved down to try and untie his obi.

When his finger suddenly sunk into her virgin passage, the movement surprising both of them, but in completely different ways; it surprised her with the suddenness and pleasure. But it surprised him at how tight she was even with her level or arousal, arousing him even more as his beast kept yelling at him to rut with the willing bitch already. He calmed it somewhat by agreeing with it, but told his beast they couldn’t rush this since she was not only human, but a virgin.

Feeling embarrassed with all the staring, Kagome suddenly pulled his head down to hers, initiating a kiss for the first time. His pleasured growl sent shivers down her spine and to the place him fingers were still caressing her most intimate skin, moaning into his mouth. Suddenly desperate for something she couldn’t name, she began pulling his kimono apart once more. She was almost tearing at it until she reached the porcelain colored skin of his chest. His skin so soft and yet covering the hard, firm muscles beneath it. Feeling him shiver in his own pleasure, the fact that she could cause this gorgeous daiyoukai to react at all made her feel amazingly powerful in that moment. She ran her nails over the ridges of muscle beneath them and inwardly smiled when he not only shivered, but growled before passionately devouring her mouth once more.

The next time Kagome opened her eyes she was shocked to find that the daiyoukai above her was now only clad in his hakama, hanging low on his hips. He looked even better that she imagined and reached out to caress the red stripes on his hips that she hadn’t known were there. This caused him to growl once more and Kagome couldn’t help but smile against his mouth then. A yelp of a mix of pleasure and pain left her suddenly when before she knew what had happened he had sunk his finger inside of her, reaching up to cut away her maidenhead with his claw. He continued to pleasure her with his finger as if trying to make up for the pain and to get her to relax once more. She tightened her grip on him as the pleasure returned just as suddenly as the quick slice of pain had left.

Almost to his breaking point, Sesshomaru knew that he needed to take her now before his beast completely overtook him. He knew if that happened all gentleness and patience would be completely gone from his movements and he thought, surprisingly enough, that the miko deserved better than that from him. He spread her legs wider then, moving his hands back up to caress any flesh it could reach. He nibbled on her lips then, distracting her before he smoothly thrust into her with one slick stroke. When she cried out at the intrusion he was happy to notice that it was almost completely from pleasure, only the pain of her body trying to adjust to the sudden and surprising intrusion remained. He managed to pause then, trying to give her time for her body to adjust, but he was gouging holes in the earth on either side her head to keep his body still. When he felt her hips move slightly he didn’t waste any time before starting a rhythm that was easy enough for her, but enough to sate his needs as well. He was amazed at how fast her body responded and in time her cries of pleasure could be heard as she moved to match his rhythm stroke for stroke...

Kagome woke up, a mass of sweaty and aroused skin, as her alarm clock blared loudly from her dresser, wondering at the dream that she had just awoke from. It had been so real that when she opened her eyes she was almost surprised to find that she wasn’t lying in a field with Sesshomaru above her. It had been exactly like what had actually happened up to a point that she would doubt her memory if the dream had stopped before going into such intimate territory. For it wasn’t like she would have forgotten participating in such acts with Sesshomaru, she wasn’t that stupid. Groaning at the frustration at such a real and potent dream about the daiyoukai that had so suddenly been brought back into her life, she made herself get up and out of bed. She knew that she needed to shower and get dressed quickly if she and her mom were going to make it to the train station in time for their train to Nagano for Ayume’s wedding today. Needing to scrub any reminder of her dream away as soon as possible, she tried and failed not to blush as her thoughts turned to that direction again. She would see him tomorrow and she didn’t need any dreams to remember the past or how it felt to be so close to him. It was hard enough as it was to calm her nerves around him. She didn’t need dreams like this getting in the way as well. As she jumped in the shower she prayed that that would be the last dream of that nature she would have before seeing Sesshomaru again. For the real thing was hard enough to cope with by itself.

Meanwhile; Sesshomaru shot awake as the surprisingly detailed dream took longer than he would have liked to fade from his consciousness. He swore under his breath at his and his beasts thoughts on the matter. It wasn’t like he needed a dream to remind himself of the past or how attractive he thought the Miko was. It made him mad as well to be teased in such a way with something that he doubted he would ever experience in reality. Getting up to take a cold shower he made mental plans to go for a run on his extensive property to let off some steam; perhaps even in his true form. Perhaps he would even call up one of his youkai acquaintances to come over and go for a spin in the practice gym. He hadn’t had a good fight in ages, even if it was just pretend. As he listed potential sparring partners in his head he willed himself to relax. He would see the Miko tomorrow, and he couldn’t wait, but counting the hours until then would drive him crazy. Activity he decided was what he needed to occupy both his mind and body. For reliving the past with her again tomorrow would be hard enough with his control at its usual level. And dreams showing him glimpses of what he couldn’t have were not helping in the slightest. He could look to the past no longer, it was gone and the future was his to do with it what he willed, if only he could make up his mind about exactly what it was he wanted.

The piercing cry of her alarm woke her Sunday morning from more of those confusing and undeniably arousing dreams. She cried out in surprise as she woke before she realized what the sudden noise was. Kagome jumped in the shower almost immediately as she felt the need to scrub the sweat she had broken out in while sleeping off of her completely. She washed and conditioned her long black tresses and shaved all the usual places. She stayed in the shower as long as possible for the hot and steaming water felt good against her tender and sore muscles, and extremely relaxing. Drying off quickly as not to get a chill, she picked out a nice soft shirt made of t-shirt-like material in a shade that reminded her of autumn leaves that brought out her eyes as a bonus. She paired it with one of her favorite pairs of jeans that were worn in enough that they were one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing she owned. And yet they still hugged her curves in just the right ways. She did not think about why she cared about what she wore today when she would just be cleaning most of it. Kagome knew the answer wouldn’t be one she liked or completely understood at the moment. She left her hair down today so it fell in a straight wave down to her butt.

“Well,” her mom called out as she came downstairs and into the kitchen, “Don’t you look pretty today.” Kagome blushed and murmured a quiet,

“Thanks, Mom,” before rummaging up a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

“You’re not planning on skipping out on cleaning up today, are you? You promised Grandpa,” her mom spoke up questioningly all of a sudden.

“No, Mom, I didn’t forget. That’s all I have planned today,” she replied, “As it usually takes me all day to clean up the mess out unexpected guests make around the shrine,” she muttered in a frustrated tome under her breath.

“Oh,” her mom said and Kagome could have sworn she sounded disappointed. “You look so pretty today I just wanted to make sure,” she explained making Kagome even more confused.

“I’m not dressed up or anything,” she protested in a defensive tone she hadn’t meant to use. She hoped desperately that it didn’t look like she had dressed nicer than usual. Dreading that if she did that both her family and Sesshomaru would think he was the reason. “I just have on some old jeans and a comfy top,” she protested again; perhaps a bit too much.

“I’m sorry dear,” her mom murmured as if confused by her daughter’s funny behavior. “You just looked more cheerful about cleaning that I couldn’t help but asking," her mom said. Deciding to give her mom a break she smiled numbly and ate a bit more of her breakfast.

“Sorry, Mom,” she told her, her guilt for trying to pretend to herself that everything was normal today eating at her very thin layer of calm that topped her several layers of nervousness beneath. “I’m just a bit nervous because Sesshomaru is coming over this morning,” she reminded her mom softly.

“Oh, yes,” her mom commented and Kagome could tell that she was just remembering. “InuYasha’s brother that you knew on the other side of the well,” her mom continued as if reminding herself of the particulars once more. Kagome had told her mom, who had in turn told Sota and Grandpa, about bumping into Sesshomaru on Friday. She had become closer to her mom over the years, as she had understood her mom so much more as she had become an adult herself. She found it unbelievable that her mom had taken the fact that another youkai would be coming to their home after the more than five years since the well had closed. Kagome could tell her mom was curious to see what Sesshomaru looked like for Kagome had blushingly admitted when she asked that he was the most gorgeous male she had ever seen.

“Yes,” Kagome responded finally, a little breathless just thinking about him being here in so short a time. “I’m also nervous to ask him the questions I feel I need the answers too, for I know I won’t like the answers no matter what they are.”

“The truth hurts sometimes,” her mom patted her hand that was resting on the table comfortingly, “But any answer is better than not knowing; of never knowing what happened,” she told Kagome as she knew what questions Kagome was thinking of. They had discussed that as well after she had related the miraculous meeting with the daiyoukai Friday night.

“That’s very true,” Kagome said and smiled over at her mom. She wondered how such a tiny woman could hold so much wisdom and advice. But whenever she asked her mom something like that, she told her it was just the wisdom that came from being a mother. Kagome had just gotten her coat and bag of cleaning supplies and garbage bags she used when doing this particular chore when the doorbell rang. She ran to open it before anyone else could, butterflies fluttering away in her stomach.

“Good morning, miko,” Sesshomaru said when she opened the door. Kagome was speechless at the sight of him. It had been strange enough to see him in a business type suit Friday night, but his clothes today inspired a very different reaction at first sight. He was wearing jeans of his own and a black t-shirt. Both fit him very nicely, snug in all the right places, and made her realized now exactly what kind of body he had had under that armor all along.

“Good morning,” she replied and tried very hard not to ogle the way the denim and cotton clung to his slender, yet muscular frame. He looks really good in modern clothes, she thought errantly, too good for my peace of mind. Before she could do more than look him over quickly and she hoped surreptitiously, her family came into the living room behind her calling out to ask who was at the door. Her cheeks felt hot as her face flushed when Sesshomaru’s eyes met hers briefly. As she realized that he had noticed her all but staring at him then. Mentally rolling her eyes at her family’s behavior she sighed. “You might as well come in, they’re going to see you eventually,” she sounded resigned and he couldn’t help smiling at the whole situation.

Sesshomaru tried not to notice how fresh the little miko looked and smelled this morning. Or how beautiful she looked, and so very different from her club look on Friday night. Her hair was down today and looked much the way he remembered, except for being longer. He had had to quiet his beast already and he had just gotten through the door. But his beast had perked up when he had seen the attraction he had been hoping he hadn’t imagined sparkling in her eyes almost as soon as she had opened the door for him. Seeing her look him over in that way had also made him feel like growling in response to her poorly concealed glances, as well as how beautiful she looked today.

As he entered the living room of the Higurashi home he wondered if she had told her family about him and also wondered how she was going to introduce him to them. There were three more humans in the room and from their scents he could tell they were her mother, brother, and grandfather. What he hadn’t expected was their collective gasp when he entered the room. He could see the slight recognitions and knew that she must have told them who he was. It was strange to think that these humans had gotten to know his brother so many centuries after his death. Through the paradox that was the time traveling his brother and the miko did. Sesshomaru also realized that they had probably known InuYasha better than he had at the time, since he had not done more than try to kill him back then. But that was extremely strange to think about in that way so he stopped before he gave himself a headache.

“Mom,” the miko said to the woman staring at him from across the room, and he could see a definite resemblance between the two females. He was also surprised that her mother seemed to have some latent miko power as well, but she had obviously never been told about it or trained it seems. “Grandpa, Sota,” she went on to include both males, “This is Sesshomaru-sama.” She looked at him before turning back toward him to finish the introductions. “This is my mother, grandpa, and brother,” she told him.

“Pleasure to meet you all,” he said with sincere politeness and smiled as he bowed in acknowledgement. He was trying to silence the voice that was telling him that he really liked the sound of his name form the miko’s lips.

“Nice to meet you as well, Sesshomaru-sama,” her mother said in a cheerful voice he could predict was the tone she usually used. Her sentiment was repeated in different forms by the two males of the family as well.

“Hey, Sis,” her brother called out to her as he continued staring at Sesshomaru. “He really does look like InuYasha, but I thought you said he had silver hair too.”

“Sota!” their mother admonished as Sesshomaru tried not to laugh. He looked at the miko and noted the familiar sadness had come to the forefront of her aura again.

“He does,” the miko told her brother, the change in her cheery attitude very apparent to him. “It’s just covered up by magic,” she explained before sighing gustily.

“Oh,” Sota uttered, his curiosity piqued. He actually turned toward Sesshomaru and addressed his sister again. “So, what does he look like without the magic?” he asked. He seemed un-phased when their mother admonished him again for being so rude, like most teenage boys. Sota was told to address Sesshomaru himself as it was rude to talk about him like he wasn’t standing right in from of him.

“There,” Sesshomaru murmured as he dropped the magic suddenly, “See for yourself,” he told the cheeky youngster. He wasn’t surprised when everyone except the miko gasped again at his true humanoid form. What did surprise him, however, was the sudden wave of happiness he sensed from the miko as well as the smile that broke out on her face. Both made him want to go over and embrace her tightly to his own body. The attraction he was sensing mixed in there told him that she might not even object if he did so. The only thing holding him back was the fact that her family was in the room.

“Cool!” Sota exclaimed when his glamour magic was down completely. The boy seemed to study his appearance then before curiosity lit his eyes again. “But where are your dog ears, like InuYasha?” the boy asked, directed at him this time. The miko’s voice cut in before he could answer the boy’s question himself.

“He’s full-blooded youkai," she explained, “This is one of his forms. Only Inu hanyou like InuYasha have features like his dog ears, as they only have one form.” He thought she explained that quite well, and when he looked at her and smiled she blushed before looking away shyly. He beast was growling in appreciation for getting a reaction from her and it was all he could do to keep the sound internal.

“Well, welcome to our home, Sesshomaru-sama,” he mother went on cheerfully. He had a feeling her sudden words had a little something to do with stemming the questions all of them could tell Sota wanted to ask now. “Any brother of InuYasha, and friend of Kagome, will always be welcome here,” she said and he smiled at her choice of words, for it made him happy to hear himself called the miko’s friend. Though if he was completely honest with himself he knew he wanted to be closer to her than just a friend. He looked at the miko curiously as a sudden shot of nervousness bordering on fear infused her aura.

“Uh, Mom,” she whispered to her mother at a volume that he could very easily hear. “They didn’t really get along very well.” Realizing where her sudden nervous energy had come from. He was sad that she obviously didn’t know what to expect of him, and he frowned slightly. But he realized he couldn’t expect her to get used to how different he was when the last time she had seen him before Friday that statement about he and InuYasha would have been the understatement of the millennia.

“On the contrary,” Sesshomaru said shocking both women, “My brother and I made peace after you left and were on friendly terms before we parted company,” he told the miko and saw she was suddenly holding back tears as her fear was replaced by a stunningly bright burst of cheer. She was smiling brightly at him upon hearing this, but lowered her eyes as her cheeks turned pink. See, she is already submissive to us, his beast told him, unlike most of these modern women she knows our power and knows her place. Sesshomaru mentally snorted at that and shushed his beast. The miko’s gesture was most likely from the same anxiety he had sensed earlier. And even though her accidental submissiveness in that pleased him, no matter the reason, her continued anxiety and nervous fear toward him raised his hackles. He did not want her to fear him like that. Perhaps he should reassure her again, for after five hundred additional years he had gotten used to humans and their unpredictability. Except for her, came the thought suddenly, she always surprised him and kept him guessing.

“We should probably get moving,” the miko said suddenly as she braved another look up at him. “The grounds won’t clean themselves.” She walked out the door quickly and he thought it was probably so her family couldn’t have the chance to say anything else. But as he paused to put his magical guise back in glace and bow politely to her family, he did hear her grandfather telling him to be careful with his granddaughter or he might have to use his salts and sutras on him. He chuckled at that as he walked outside and quickly caught up to walk side by side with the miko. Once they were headed past the Goshinboku she looked up at him once more.

“Sorry about that,” she told him in a sheepish tone. Meaning the meeting of her family, he supposed.

“You are lucky to have such a family," he told her, “They love you a great deal." He noticed she was blushing again, though at the moment he couldn’t exactly tell why.

“Yes, thank you,” she murmured quietly, “And I love them as well.” She seemed to study him from the corner of her eyes in what he knew she thought was an inconspicuous manner. The miko stopped walking suddenly and looked fully up at him until their eyes met. He felt a strange jolt as her stormy sky colored eyes met his deep gold ones and the sizzle of attraction as well. “I’m sorry,” she blurted out, “But this is just extremely weird still,” she made a bland gesture toward him as she spoke. “You’ve had five hundred years to get used to interacting with humans, but the last time I saw you five years ago you were just able to tolerate my presence. Now you’re being all nice and polite to my family and me, and to be honest it’s going to take some time to get used to. For right now, to be completely truthful, it’s kinda freaking me out.” Surprised she could get so many words out in one breath, he chuckled lightly. He understood her feelings completely and would be lying if he wasn’t honest about feeling some perverse pleasure in her awkwardness around him.

“Would you prefer if I had arrived this morning in my old armor and came after you with Bakuseiga?” he asked her playfully. He laughed outright when she seemed to actually be thinking about her answer.

“It would have been something familiar at least,” she responded after another moment of silence. He smiled at her and raised an eyebrow at her words. Perhaps later he could show her some other familiar things, he pondered.

“You always were a stubborn one, miko,” he told her softly and with surprising genuine affection as well. He watched her cheeks pinken and his mind wandered, his beast murmuring plans involving both of them alone in very different circumstances. He tamped down those urges though and focused on a purer cause. He wanted suddenly to very much remove the deep sadness from her aura. Though he knew he couldn’t remove it all, he knew what he could do would put a smile on her lovely face. He couldn’t say why this urge had made itself known right now, but he just couldn’t stand to see her so upset by their talk of the past. For even when she tried to mask it, he could still sense her emotions in her aura and smell the changes in her moods as well. Sesshomaru had already started making plans to reunite her with more familiar things, if she would agree to them, for it hinged on her agreeing to see him again before he would have a time to put his plans in action by. Before any of that happened though and he helped her in any way, and his beast had several more colorful ideas, he had to help her with her current task. He wondered how and why such a place of holiness would need such cleaning, but as they rounded the corner he suddenly got his answers.

Kagome tried not to keep looking up at him, but she just couldn’t help herself. She didn’t know why she was having a hard time with this; it wasn’t like she hadn’t known already how gorgeous he was. She didn’t know why she was now so much more aware of him as a man. But, she thought, as she watched the graceful way he walked beside her, that part of it must be the clothes. She had been too out of it to really notice how completely different he looked in modern clothes Friday night. She couldn’t help but notice it today though, as he was right next her in broad daylight. The armor she was used to seeing him in hadn’t really shown her what kind of shape his body was in overall. In the jeans and t-shirt he was wearing now, that wasn’t an issue. Kagome knew that she was staring at him, but she couldn’t seem to help herself, or take her eyes off the way his muscles worked beneath the thin material of his clothing. Thankfully, he seemed distracted as they rounded the corner and walked further behind the well house. This was, sadly, the area that was usually the dirtiest. The local kids would bet each other to see who could hop over the fence and spray paint the dirtiest graffiti on either the fence itself or the back wall. The older kids, on the other hand, usually hung around in the middle of the night while she and her family were asleep. They used it as a place to drink and smoke and mess around with each other; all the things they didn’t want their parents to know about.

“Stupid kids,” she muttered before pulling out a trash bag. She turned toward the tall daiyoukai to tell him that he really didn’t have to help her pick up trash and stuff. That she could do it while he just answered her questions and felt a shiver of fear sneak down her spine when she saw the look in his eyes. She had a feeling that if his youkai traits weren’t covered up, his eyes would have red bleeding into the whites about now. “Sesshomaru?” she whispered, “Are you feeling okay?” she asked. He looked down at her and she was amazed to see the hard edge in his gaze soften the moment their eyes met.

“I am shocked at the sights and smells here, miko,” he said in his velvety smooth voice. “It angers me that these humans have no respect for such a sacred place.” It looked to Kagome that he was trying to calm himself down a bit. She reached out and patted his forearm in what began as a comforting gesture. She tried really hard not to notice how his warm skin felt and the hard muscle strained underneath, but failed miserably.

“It makes me angry as well,” she told him as she tried to calm her suddenly erratic heart rate. “But no matter what we try the teenagers of the neighborhood still sneak in here and trash the place. This area especially,” she went on, “With the building, trees, and fence it’s the most secluded spot on the grounds and blocks whoever is back here from being seen by any passersby below the shrine steps.” Her cheeks got hot when she realized her words were very true and she was alone with him in this secluded space. For once, fear was not the reaction that she first had upon realizing this. Kagome looked up at him shyly and noticed him looking at her with a strange look in his eyes. Oh well, she thought, he must think I’m just a crazy human. He snorted then before speaking.

“Well, at least let me help you clean up,” he told her. Without further ado, he took the trash bag she was holding and started picking up the bottles, cans, and various other trash throughout the area.

“Thank you very much,” she said sincerely as her shock at his actions slowly wore off. She started to pick up trash herself, for she felt bad that he was as yet doing all the work while she just stayed there and stared after him, dumbfounded.

“You are most welcome, miko,” he told her as he bent over to pick up an empty beer case. Kagome tried not to notice how nicely the denim hugged his very well-formed behind as he did so, but couldn’t help it. She cleared her throat to distract herself and her color heightened when he looked at her with one black eyebrow raised. She smiled awkwardly and turned around to continue her task. Little did she know that he couldn’t seem to help looking at her denim-clad behind as she bent over then as well.

“You know,” she said, still smiling up at him, “Talking to my mom earlier, or today period, I think that’s the most I’ve ever heard you say at one time,” she told him. She tilted her head as if looking at him for the first time. Sesshomaru felt very strange as the miko looked up at him like that. She had never really smiled so genuinely at him before and both parts of him had to agree she had a beautiful smile. It made him her even more attractive to him and he could feel the sizzle along his skin that told him she was feeling it too. Perhaps there was more to this than a simple coincidental second meeting, he wondered. He felt his blood heat just looking at her standing there. She looked so fresh and pretty in the sunlight; he had to stop himself from stepping closer to her.

“You should do that more often,” she told him after she had continued to stare at him, their eyes meeting briefly before she broke the intense gaze.

“What?”He asked her perplexed, lost in his own thoughts.

“Just talk,” she replied simply. “Your voice sounds nice when you aren't yelling, insulting, or talking down to someone,” she finished, boldly teasing him. Her cheeks turned bright red and she looked at the ground as if it were interesting suddenly. She didn't see him smiling as he watched her start to pick up trash again.

“I'll keep that in mind,” he murmured when he ended up right next to her as they had bent over to pick up a stack of more bottles. It was his turn to distract himself by clearing his throat. “About those questions...” He prompted and tried to get back on track. The sooner he answered her questions, the sooner he could implement his plans and surprise her with something on a happier note.

Chapter Four –

“Oh, yeah,” she began distractedly, “Well,” she was suddenly sniffing back tears before she could get the words out. Kagome hated crying in front of people and he had already had to deal with that Friday night. She really didn't want to start bawling right now. “I take it from the way you talked about him,” she began on a new tack, “That InuYasha is….Umm... That he isn't alive anymore,” she got out finally with another sniff and wiped her eyes before any traitorous tears could sneak out. Kagome was more than shocked when Sesshomaru was close beside her again and he reached out to lay his much bigger hands on her shoulders. The gesture and look on his face seemed to be comforting.

“I'm sorry to inform you that that is correct,” he said quietly with another comforting squeeze of her shoulders.

“I guess I should have known that there was no chance he was still alive,” she said quietly. “He didn't have as long of a lifetime as a full blooded youkai to begin with, and he knew that when he gave Kikyo half his soul that his own lifetime would be cut considerably shorter still,” she went on with another sniff. She was utterly speechless when he was suddenly gathering her close to him for a hug. She let it happen for she had secretly wanted him to do just that. She was happy to find she did feel better within the circle of his strong embrace.

“Did they have a happy life?” She asked sighing into his strong shoulder before he moved away and the hug ended as strangely as it had begun. She knew it must be a weird question for him to answer and hoped he moved away because of that and not anything she had done.

“I believe so,” he replied quietly, “After you were sent back here they were mated officially. They lived half the time in the village with Kaede, and half the time visiting the monk and the Hunter in her families’ village. “

“Miroku and Sango?” She questioned, and was happy to know of her friends, and sad that she would never see them again at the same time.

Yes,” he answered, “Those two had four children. Three sons and a daughter.” She gasped and smiled at what he said and the fact he was giving out more details without her having to ask. “My brother and his mate had two pups: a girl and a boy. They named my niece after you.” With this statement the tears that had been coming slowly down her cheeks began to pour out.

“Oh, InuYasha,” she sighed, “I'm glad you remembered me, you stupid mutt.” She muttered aloud. Her friends hadn't forgotten her she had feared. She felt a weight lift off her with this knowledge. She looked up at him and smiled tearfully. “Thank you for telling me this. I was so afraid it all of them would eventually forget me when I was brought back home.” She sighed gustily then. “So they are really gone,” she murmured with a faraway look in her eyes. “I'm glad they lived happy lives.” She told him, “That's what I wished on the jewel for, after all,” she admitted, “For all of you to have happy and peaceful lives.” She hadn't told anyone else what she had wished and it felt right somehow to tell him now.

“Really? “ He asked sounding somewhat surprised. She nodded in response with a small smile. “Perhaps that's why the fight between my brother and I seemed to resolve itself after you disappeared,” he told her.

“Did you truly make peace then?” She asked in her own surprise.

“Yes,” he replied simply. “After defeating Naraku the need for vengeance seemed to slowly drain from me,” he confessed, “And once I gained Bakuseiga, the Tessiaga lost its appeal completely. It was my interactions with humans like Rin and your little band that help me realize that there was strength left in some humans,”

“That makes me very happy, Sesshomaru,” she said smilingly. “I know that all InuYasha wanted underneath all of his anger was to be accepted by you. I'm so glad that everything worked itself out in this happy and peaceful way.” She was practically beaming now and wiped her tears away as they began to dry up as well. She was so happy, that words could not express how much so, that her friends all got the happy endings she had envisioned for them.

“Well,” she said after looking around, “I think that's all the garbage for now.” Kagome took the bag and tied it off before setting it beside the wall facing them. “Thanks for helping me really,” she told him, “I just have to wash this new graffiti off, so...” She was about to give him a way to leave now if he wanted to, but he interrupted her before she could finish. She was happy about that really, since at the moment she really didn't want him to leave.

“Yes, “ he said interrupting her, “This is really too vulgar a message to be written on any wall, let alone on the wall of a shrine. Let me help you with this,” he muttered then.

“Okay,” she told him, relenting as she couldn't think of a way to stop him and it would seem ridiculous to even try. She reached into the bag for the cleaning supplies she had brought before starting to speak again. “Just... “ She began to explain which cleaner did what before gasping in shock as his all too familiar Whip of Light extended from his hand. He used it in a way that she could only watch in amazement as he seemed to be cutting the thin layer of paint off of the wall without harming the stone beneath. All Kagome could do was watch as the paint seemed to disappear with a sizzle each time the whip touched it. He was getting to wall cleaner and getting it done faster than she ever could get it down the old-fashioned way. She looked up at him noting that not even one of his long hairs was out of place when he was done.

“Thank you very much,” she told him sincerely, “you saved me almost a full afternoon of work.” She smiled at him, very surprised at how it was getting easier to be around him, and even smile occasionally when he was.

“You are quite welcome,” he said silkily in that dreamy voice of his. "I'm glad I could help you, Miko,” he seemed to really mean what he said as well. Kagome realized that she would have to get used to the differences in him now and part of her knew that it was going to be easier than it should be. She realized amazedly that she already considered him a friend. She found herself at a loss for words when her face flushed as she got caught in his Amber gaze. She looked away suddenly and she realized she was being ridiculous. Even though he had changed, he was still the Lord of the Western Lands. Even then his human identity was a powerful businessman. All of this begged the question of why someone like him would bother being friends with her. Any answers she came up with did not sound good.

Pushing all that aside for now, she smiled up at him and told him that him helping her was most kind of him. She also asked him, invited him really, to come inside the house for some refreshments. After all of his help, she told him, her mom would most likely want to thank him for his help as well. As she watched him, he seemed to be going through some kind of internal battle before answering. That made it clear to her that he seemed to not want to be around her now that some of their mutual curiosity had been satisfied.

“You don't have to come in if you don't want to, Sesshomaru,” she told him with a sigh. “It was very kind of you to help me and answer my questions, but you must be a very busy man and I don't want to monopolize your time,” she told him, looking down shyly once more.

Sesshomaru realized that she was giving him a way out and spending any more time with her. Out of her life completely it seemed. He was surprised that both sides of him seemed to be in agreement about that not happening so soon after finding her alive again. If ever. The way she seemed reluctant to offer this out to him intrigued him as well. Apparently, his hesitation in answering her invitation for refreshment made her doubt his wanting to be here. It was funny since he couldn't think of anywhere else he would rather be at the moment. The way her cheeks reddened so much while she talked to him also made him curious about what exactly she felt toward him besides the attraction that still sizzled against his aura whenever they looked at each other.

"Not at all," he said finally, knowing that he needed to respond before the silence was taken as a confirmation of her words. "My schedule is clear today," he assured her with a chuckle. He had completely cleared his schedule for today as he had not known how long he was going to be able to spend with her. "I would be glad for some refreshment from her mother," he continued, "though she should feel no obligation of thanks toward me. I am here because I wanted to help you and answer your questions," she looked up at him in what had to be shock, so he decided to take the initiative. He picked up the bag of garbage and motioned toward the house. "After you," he said.

Kagome snapped out of it with another blush and awkward smile. She led them back the house in a daze, barely remembering to drop off the garbage bag at their weekly pick-up garbage bin outside. For she was still trying to figure him out. As she had assumed, her mom had made some refreshments up for her and her 'friend.' Her mom had told her when they reached the dining room and was about to take it out to them. Her mom was shocked to find that they were done already.

"I can't thank you enough for helping Kagome, Sesshomaru-sama,” her mom told them when they were all seated around her dining room table, "it usually takes her all afternoon to clean that mess up, and that's after I send Sota out to help her," she almost exclaimed. Kagome was finding it very hard to process the fact that Sesshomaru was sitting on the floor pillow beside her drinking lemonade and eating Pocky. Her mind was telling her that this was not computing and she fully agreed. The strangest circumstances of all, was that she was really enjoying his company. She was sad that he would most likely leave soon and she didn't know when she would ever see him again.

"It was my pleasure, Mrs. Higurashi," Sesshomaru told her mom, interrupting Kagome's gloomy thoughts. "And thank you for the refreshments," he continued, indicating the glass of lemonade that was now half empty and the chocolate covered snack in his other hand. He finished that stick of Pocky before taking another drink of lemonade.

"It was the least I can offer you for your help today," her mom responded cheerfully. Realizing that he would have to leave soon to put his plans into motion if it was to be ready by tonight, he regrettably took his leave of the Miko's mother. He asked the Miko herself to walk to his car with him. She was obviously surprised by this request and he couldn't help smiling down at her familiar features as they left the house. He looked at her curiously as they walked down the driveway. She seemed to be mixed up emotionally if her aura was any indication, and it always was. There was something that had entered her aura near the tail end of their short respite in the house. He could swear it was a bit of longing, and if it was he was very hopeful when it came to her reaction to him.

"Your mother is very kind," he told her quietly as they continued the short walk to where his car was parked.

"Thank you," she said with a chuckle, "I think so too. Though I didn't realize at the time." She went on, sharing part of her life with him that she didn't have to, and of her own free will. It surprised him and made him smile. Perhaps something will come of this after all, he thought. "She has to be one of the most understanding mothers in the world. To let her daughter her travel back and forth through time, to accept that, and the presence of youkai in her house so nonchalantly," she sighed. "I hadn't realized until after the well close how worried she must have been every day I was in feudal times." She smiled up at him and his chest felt funny just looking at her. It seemed she was rather accepting herself to have considered his brother and Shippo friends before, and perhaps himself now as well.

"Truly a remarkable mother and woman," Sesshomaru agreed with her, smirking. "To have given you such freedoms at such a young age," he chuckled remembering how stubborn the Miko before him could be. "Though I doubt you gave her much choice in the matter," he finished teasingly with a small smile that revealed more about his feelings towards her than he realized. He was lucky that she was oblivious about picking up things like that. But his smile did affect her in different ways.

"Sure," she agreed good-humoredly. She laughed then, and from the faraway look in her eyes she was lost momentarily in her memories. "Though, InuYasha showing up the first time while we were eating dinner kind of made all of us realize that I hadn't gone crazy, or just had a really elaborate dream." She smiled wistfully at that and for the first time in five hundred years he felt jealous of his brother. She must have really loved him, he realized, perhaps still did. He had never understood why his brother had chosen Kikyo and not the Miko beside him. But he knew that his brother had loved this Miko as well, but only as a sister, for he had told Sesshomaru that himself. He had also told his daughter that she was named after an aunt that she would sadly never know. That her aunt Kagome had been very his best friend. Sesshomaru felt jealous so suddenly that he had to find out if it had been the same for her or if the miko had felt more. He felt the need to know if she was in love with his brother so desperately that it almost bordered on pain. He knew he was lying to himself if he refused to acknowledge the attraction she held for him. She's a beautiful woman that knows our secrets, both our forms, and our true power, his beast told him, so don't lie and say it's a simple attraction she holds for us. Sesshomaru chuckled, getting back to what they were talking about. He could picture his brother showing up suddenly, surprising the family of unsuspecting modern humans. Talk about your rude awakenings, he thought.

"I was wondering," he began as they had reached his car and he still hadn't gotten the ball rolling on his plans, "If you would be interested in seeing some more familiar things from back then," he asked realizing he sounded slightly cryptic, but intent on keeping his plan a surprise.

"Sure," Kagome said before thinking, but she was getting some done right now. "But what did you have in mind?" She asked in a somewhat wary tone.

"Well?" He began with a smirk, "I was wondering if you would come to dinner at my house tonight and I could show you what I'm talking about." She cast him a wary glance and he chuckled again. Had he really just asked her to dinner, she wondered. Kagome had never expected those words to come out of his mouth.

"Are you asking me out?" She asked, shocked that she had actually voiced that question, her cheeks turning red as a tomato.

"We can just call it a dinner between friends, if you prefer," he replied smoothly. He couldn't help the teasing note in his voice. Her question had taken him aback. He could feel the attraction between them sizzle even more as he looked into her eyes, trying to gauge her reaction. That fact that her awkwardness pleased him more than he could say told him about his own reaction to her as well. He watched her inner struggle with great interest and tried not to show it. He could soothe her nerves for telling her that they wouldn't be alone, but he did not want to ruin the surprise. He also wanted desperately to know her reaction while thinking they would be alone tonight. His beast had come to attention at the thought of being alone with the Miko tonight, but he shushed it once more. He wouldn't have it start growling and scare her.

“Umm…” she began and he raised his eyebrow curiously while waiting for her to continue. Her skin was bright red all the way to her hairline as she prepared to speak. Isn't that interesting, he thought as his beast growled in approval. "Sure, I guess," she whispered finally as she braved a glance up at him when she was done speaking.

"Great," he told her with a small, but genuine smile. "I'll send a car for you at six, if that's all right."

"That's fine," she said and he could tell she was still dazed by the whole situation. He was as well, but he had had a long time to learn to school his features when situations confused him like this.

"I'll see you when you arrive tonight then," he told her and stepped closer and so he could feel her body against his, surprised when she didn't back away. "And Miko," he continued, "it's my turn to tease you," he whispered as he leaned down, his breath making her hair dance as he spoke into her ear.

"WHA--?" She got out before he cut her off. He planted a very quick kiss on her lips, surprising both of them. Before he let himself realize what he had just done he whispered,

"Until tonight." He turned around then and got into his car, trying not to rush. As he drove away he was already dialing the numbers he needed to call for the surprises he hoped to have waiting for her when she arrived at his house.

All Kagome could do was stand there and stare after him in shock, her hand rising to her lips in reaction, her mouth hanging open with her surprise. She had to close it when his car pulled away as not to get dust in her mouth. But other than that she found she couldn't move for quite some time. When she could finally, she felt her forehead, suddenly afraid that she had a fever or was really sick and imagined everything that had happened so far today. She wondered if she had hallucinated that quick, but wonderful kiss and everything else, but couldn't help smiling at the ridiculousness of it all. She realized suddenly that part of her wanted him to kiss her, been waiting for it, since she had run into him the other night. Not only that, but that part of her was now much bigger and hoping he kissed her again.

And had he really asked her out? She was completely stupefied. A dinner between friends, hmm? Yeah right, she thought, not after that kiss. At least we are going to see him again, part of her almost squealed in delight. She really didn't understand any of it or how any of this had happened. She wondered if she had really stepped into an alternate universe Friday night. Before Friday night Sesshomaru had only been InuYasha’s arrogant older brother, antagonistic and at rare times helpful. He was gorgeous, of course, but always dangerous and violent toward most everyone. And now, he was living among humans, pretending to be one most the time. Though it wasn't like he had much of a choice, she realized. She had had all that time to get used to him and how he acted in the past, but she had had only about forty-eight hours to try and get used to the new changes in him.

It's going to take some time, she knew. She couldn't deny he was still completely gorgeous though, even with his magic hiding his real hair color and youkai markings. It must be a quirk in her DNA that made her think he looked better with those markings then without. But she wasn't the average twenty-three year old, for she had been in the feudal era and seen him in all his power. He had to be the most powerful daiyoukai she had ever met. Without his help they would have never defeated that bastard Naraku. It was at that point she had become mixed up about her feelings towards him back then. And had attempted to gauge his response to her, and hers to him while saying goodbye to him. She had been taken back home before she had much time to analyze that very strange and somehow wonderful meeting. Kagome, suddenly realizing that she had to finish up her indoor chores as well if she was going to go to dinner at Sesshomaru’s house tonight. Rushing back inside she couldn’t help stopping to talk to her mom to make sure she hadn’t hallucinated the whole thing.

“I didn’t imagine that, did I Mom?” she asked, “I mean, Sesshomaru was really sitting here earlier, drinking lemonade and eating Pocky of all things?” Her mom shook her head at her and smiled indulgently.

“Of course he was, honey,” her mom said, “Are you feeling alright?” She did the mom thing then and felt Kagome’s forehead and cheeks for a fever with the back of her hand.

“Yes, actually,” Kagome said with a small smile, “It’s just surreal to have him here. To think it’s only been five years since I said goodbye to everyone through the well, but it’s really been five hundred since I’ve seen them, and him. It makes my head spin just trying to think about it.”

“I guess that mean I should stop thinking of him as a young man then,” her mom said with a chuckle, “though he looks to be around your age. Amazing,” she commented in awe then as she seemed to be thinking about it like that for the first time.

“Yes, that’s a good word for it,” Kagome smiled at her.

“So, are you going to see him again?” her mom asked suddenly with a different kind of smile on her face now.

“Umm… yeah,” Kagome admitted, her cheeks bright pink once more. “He kinda asked me to dinner tonight,” she continued in an embarrassed rush. “He said we could call it a ‘dinner between friends’ if I preferred to call it that when I asked him if it was a date. Either one is just almost too unreal for me to handle." she murmured quietly realizing she had shared much more than she had intended.

“So, that’s why you were so dazed when you came back into the house just now,” her mom said conspiratorially, much to Kagome’s horror. “Well, he is an extremely attractive man,” her mom said next, mortifying Kagome even more.

“Yeah,” Kagome said hurriedly before moving on, “Well, he said he’s send a car for me at six, so I have around four hours to finish chores and relax, and then get ready, so I’m heading up to my room, okay Mom? See you later,” Kagome rushed out all in one breath as she walked to the stairs.

“Okay, hun,” her mom called, “Have fun.” Kagome heard her mom start singing along to the radio then as she went back to doing the ironing she had been doing before Kagome had come back into the house. Trying to keep her mind off of the hours ahead she poured herself into cleaning her room and made her goal to get it as spotless as possible before she would need to take another shower after four.


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