InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Midnight Meets Moonlight ❯ Things Worse Than Death ( Chapter 4 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

(Added A/N:  Attention readers...there is a problem that I need to address today.  An awesome reviewer by the name of Iceland Oceania sent me this review last night:

Hello em, Mujitsu. I particularly liked the plot of the story but,
there's slightly one you said you tried your best to avoid
cliches or something alike because you consider yourself an original
writer...please, explain me. How is that, the way Rin (of your fanfiction)
died, is the same way Rin of Tales From the House of the moon by
Resmiranda died? You know, RAPED, DISMEMBERED, AND SO BRUTALY
MISTREATED...well I hope it's pure coincidence but I really admire, respect,
practically worship Resmiranda's unique work.

However, I think you should go on with your writting since many people
like it, including myself

Have a good life
First of all, I would just like to thank you so very much for bringing this to my attention.  I have never read "Tales From the House of Moon" by Resmiranda, but I have read "Fugue" and I know that she is an excellent author.  I would not like to be put on her level because she is so MUCH BETTER THAN ME.  ^.^  Honestly, and I really appreciate that you had to guts to send me this review because you thought I was stealing her work.  She is very lucky to have a reviewer as loyal as you who would defend her work...I can only hope my readers would do the same for me.  I could not sleep all night because you sent me this, however, one, because I was a little bit hurt that someone could think I was stealing, and two, because I kept thinking "what if some of my other readers think the same?"  Then I realized that you don't know me, you don't know who I am, and you were doing the right thing by sending me this.  So, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.  However, I would like to set the record straight that I did NOT take Resmiranda's ideas.  Any similarities between our stories are purely coincidence.  I actually kind of want to go and read the scene in her story where Rin dies to see how alike it is to mine.  ^.^  If anyone thinks I am making too much over this, please understand that I do not take stealing lightly.  It is a serious crime and just disrespectful, and I give you my promise now that I would never do it to another author.  I hope this set some of your fears at ease, Iceland Oceania, and thank you again.)
Midnight meets Moonlight
Chapter Four
“Things Worse Than Death”
A thousand thoughts flashed through his mind the instant he saw her, smelled her scent for the first time in hundreds of years. Her hair, her smile, her eyes…all were the same as they were back then. Absolutely breathtaking.
He leaned his head against the window of his room, letting the cool glass try to numb the thoughts in his head. So much time had passed for Sesshoumaru. Events that have happened in the past have not come into play yet, so he had to be extra cautious when he spoke to her tonight. That is, if her presence there would let him have the sense of mind to remain careful. She always seemed to cause an unexpected reaction within him, and now after a prolonged absence without her, his thoughts and feelings were more unstable than usual.
Flashbacks of every time he spoke to her, every time she looked at him, every time they were together flickered through his head like a movie until he reached the last scene. The last time he saw her.
On that day…
“Sesshoumaru-sama?” A servant called from within the door way. “Your guest has arrived.”
“Good,” he replied, and heard the footsteps recede down the hallway. He took a deep breath and walked to the door, preparing himself once again for the sight of the woman that changed his life. The ironic thing is that she didn't know it yet.
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Kagome stood uncomfortably in the elegantly decorated living room and chewed her lip nervously. Why in the hell did she agree to this whole fiasco in the first place? She felt terribly out of her league and unsure.
For one, Sesshoumaru, even though he was Inuyasha's brother, was virtually a stranger to her. She'd like to think she could say that they were allies now, especially since he hadn't tried to kill Inuyasha since after the resurrection and killing of Takemaru, but Sesshoumaru was a very unpredictable demon. For one so controlled, he could certainly take a person by surprise.
How had time changed him? He seemed more relaxed and open, yet still slightly cold and dangerous. He just exuded power that it was hard to look at him in any other light. She'd never talked to him for more than ten minutes at a time, if that, yet here she was, about to dine with him for the night. What things would he reveal to her? He'd said that they had much to talk about, and in a way, she was terribly afraid to find out what. Would he stick to the present, or reveal things that have happened in the past. For example…what became of Inuyasha and the group? Did they ever find happiness? But the one thing she was eager to know, yet wanted to run away from was…
What happened to her? Had she kept traveling between the past and present, or did the well close trapping her in one time or another. What things have not happened yet?
She started, eyes opened wide, and whirled around. There he was, not standing any more than three feet in front of her, and her heart began to pound.
“Sesshoumaru-sama,” she greeted politely, and tried to calm her nerves. He had changed out of the suit he had worn that day to a more traditional black kimono, and she was reminded of the old kimono he used to wear. But then, he'd had armor and two swords to compliment the white outfit, whereas this outfit just complimented him. His hair shone stark against the black background, tied in a low ponytail still looking silky smooth and untangled. The dark color also accented his pale face, complete with the same old marks and tawny eyes that shone on in slight amusement at her.
“I'm sorry,” she offered sheepishly in reference to her staring. “This is still a little awkward for me.”
“I can tell,” he said, his deep baritone filling the small room. “Please, do not feel nervous. Consider this a meeting between old friends.”
“Friends?” she raised an eyebrow. “We are friends?”
“I would like to think so,” he said softly. “Do you not find that term acceptable for our relationship?”
She smiled brilliantly, and he took in a small breath. “No, I just never thought I'd hear the day when the Sesshoumaru-sama would refer to this lowly woman as his friend,” she said teasingly, her blue eyes sparkling.
“Please, drop the honorary titles,” he said, putting his hand on her lower back and directing her towards the dining room. He noticed that her nervous scent had fled, leaving behind her own warm one, and he glanced at her to see a slight blush on her cheeks. Not much of one, but it was there all the same. He lightly scratched his claws across her back, making it seem like he had shifted, and her scent changed minutely. He was pleased.
Once they had entered the dining room and had food, they made small talk until their soup was done and they started on the main course. She was glad she could talk to him so easily now. She was afraid that he would be stuffy and arrogant, and while he was still arrogant, he knew how to hold an interesting conversation. He was not boring, not rude, and could give his own opinion on vast topics of interest and could make her laugh at the same time. She was slightly disappointed to learn that his arm had just grown back after several decades. She guessed that she had been expecting something more…mysterious than regeneration, and she laughed to herself at her silly thoughts. Servants discreetly took their plates away and their idle chit chat dwindled until he was left staring intently at her and she was glancing around the room, beginning to feel the first twinges of discomfort again.
“Would you like to go into the sitting room?” he asked in a formal tone, standing up and offering his arm like a gentleman. “There should be a nice fire going by now and you can join me in a glass of wine.”
She took his arm, and despite feeling slightly uncomfortable with how serious the mood was now, she smiled at him warmly. “That sounds lovely. I should warn you though…I'm not much of a drinker.”
“Do you not agree with the taste?” he asked, semi-curious.
She gave a self-conscious laugh. “No…I just can't hold my liquor very well. One glass and I'm tipsy.”
“Really?” he asked, raising one perfectly shaped eyebrow, and she suddenly felt a little wary. Scratch that, she had always felt wary of him. Not…afraid, per se, just on guard. It was hard to know what Sesshoumaru was thinking, and that statement was just as true now as it was five hundred years ago.
A fire was roaring in the elaborate fireplace and she took a seat in one of the comfortable chairs in front of it as he sat across from her. Handing her a glass of dark wine that one of his servants had brought out, he made a toast.
“To new beginnings.”
She clinked glasses with him, thinking that those words were never truer. After taking a sip and relishing the flavors dancing on her tongue, he asked a question that almost made her choke.
“I suppose you would like to know what happened to Inuyasha.”
Regaining her bearings, she regarded him, finishing her wine glass in a few quick gulps to calm her racing heart and fraying nerves. After choosing her next words carefully, she spoke. “Inuyasha is…WAS my friend, Sesshoumaru. Of course I would want to know what became of him. Did he have a good life? Was he happy? What became of him and Kikyo? How did…” she took another gulp of her new wine glass. “How did he die? Was it in battle? Or did he have a long life to grow old and die peacefully? Did he ever become a full demon?” She paused for a breath, and she saw his mouth open to speak, but she beat him to it. “I WOULD like to know all of these things, as well as what happened to the rest of my friends, and ultimately to me, but I'm not going to ask you to tell me.”
Staring at her, he tried not to let his shock show. He watched her swallow another sip of wine nervously before she spoke again.
“If I knew how things ended, if I knew that something horrible had happened to my friends or loved ones, I would try to stop it and make things go the way I want them to go. To change destiny and change my fate and that of my friends…don't you think that would be selfish?” She finished her wine and held it out to him to be refilled as she thought over her words. “I could end up making things worse or change a part of history…change the world. I just can't do that.” She sighed dejectedly. “I thought of how this conversation would go with you ever since this afternoon. I thought of what I would ask you, and what you would tell me, but I knew it would be fruitless. One, because of the reasons I just stated, and two, you probably wouldn't tell me anything anyway, right?” She gave a little smile at his expression.
“And how did you guess that?” he asked,
“Because, Sesshoumaru, you are not stupid. Telling me things that could tamper with everyone's destiny is a stupid thing.” She let out a little giggle and a hiccup, and he realized she was intoxicated. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been speaking so loosely and casually to him, and he recognized it in the tell-tale flush on her cheeks and slightly glazed eyes. He found the sight of her adorable…and was amused at the fact that she wasn't kidding when she's said that she couldn't hold her liquor.
Setting her glass down for a final time, she leaned towards him, as if she wanted to tell him a secret. “I do confess, however, that I was wondering how you could have survived so long. I mean, I know demons live a long time and everything, but you must have lived through so many wars and famines even worse than the feudal era. But then I realize…I've seen you under incredible circumstances and in dire situations where it seemed like you couldn't possibly have survived and yet you triumphed. It must run in the family.” She let out a little laugh at her own assessment, but in the next moment, became serious once more. “Sometimes I wonder if you can even die,” she whispered, her eyes becoming lost in his.
He froze at her words. A hundred battles, a thousand deaths flashed before his eyes.
Smoke billowed out from the huts in the village, covering the tiny establishment with a veil of danger and warning of things to come
A thousand times he has drawn his sword, and a thousand times, he has put it back in his sheath, walking away victorious from his enemy.
He heard the sound of a little boy crying and considered stopping to investigate, but turned away. He only wanted to find one thing
He had lived through many generations and seen how fragile life really is. Yet, he stood, the silent witness to all the deaths and births, and bore the weight of it all. The loneliness, the silence, and the unending cycle of it all.
The dirt underneath his shoes was sticky, and the scent of blood permeated the air. He knew immediately that no one was left alive amidst the massacre, but still he searched. He would search through every pile of rubble, sift through every scent until he found it…
Friends…allies…enemies…all had come and gone, leaving him alone once more until all he had was his mind to entertain him. And that had come close to leaving him as well, until determination filled him with the resolve to live…and someday, love.
There! He had found the scent and using speed he had never accomplished before, he stood before a pile of…something unrecognizable now, but they had once been the bodies of some of the villagers. Some no longer had faces while others were missing limbs and articles of clothing. A human woman had been stripped for all the world to see, blood coagulating between her thighs and her face mutilated beyond belief, and Sesshoumaru felt one second of compassion for her and picked up her discarded kimono that lay in tatters next to her and covered her broken and violated body before resuming his task…
All he had been through, all he had seen he knew was coming to fruition in one moment. The moment when he would find what he had been searching for all of his long life and finally be content. When he would find her…
Methodical in his anger, he picked up each body from the pile, still after the scent he knew was underneath all the rest. He began to go faster however, moving bodies out of his way with more force as he realized nothing was alive in the pile. There were no heartbeats, no sound of rushing blood, no smell of emotions within, but he told himself it couldn't be. THAT scent had to be alive, had to be breathing. There was no way it wasn't…he began tearing through the pile now, almost in a frenzy as he saw a tell-tale head with a ponytail on the side…
no longer attached to the body lying next to it. He froze completely, his breath totally taken away…
It had taken him five centuries to find his treasure, and he would be damned before he would lose it after he had lost so many other things.
The small body had slash marks all over, made from the crude blade of a knife, staining the once colorful kimono a dull maroon. He smelled the stench of sweat and semen over the remains and knew that she had been raped. Violated. Dishonored. Tenseiga would not work…the soul had already been taken away. How many times had the voice cried out for him…to be saved? And the final horrifying moment of the realization that he was not going to come…that he didn't make it in time. Dropping to his knees beside the head so close to its host, he gently wiped the blood off the unseeing eyes and closed them with finality. Lining head and host up with each other, he allowed a small amount of poison to flow through his claws and gently ran it along the seam of torn flesh, cauterizing the skin back together. As if he were holding a precious jewel, he picked up Rin's destroyed body and walked slowly and silently into the woods…
Sometimes I wonder if you can even die…she had whispered.
Closing his eyes, he spoke. “Physically, I am the strongest being on this planet, and if I so chose, I could live for eternity. However…”
Rain began to pour from the sky in tiny droplets, soon turning into a downpour. That made the mud so much more easier to manipulate and widen into a hole…not large, but big enough to house the body of the girl he had considered his child…even though he had never admitted it. Cradling his daughter in his arm, he gently laid her to rest for the last time, and began to pour dirt over her prone form. The skies continued to weep…
“However,” he whispered again. “There are forms of death that no one is familiar with. Experiences so horrible, you would wish for the physical breakdown of your body, and it makes it so much worse knowing that you cannot rest and that you must endure what the mockery of life brings you. To die a thousand deaths without ever losing a heartbeat. Can I die?” He gave a hollow laugh. “There are things more terrible than death.”
Kagome watched him as he spoke, his eyes closed to hide his pain, she knew, but it was in his very voice. He was speaking about Rin, about five hundred years worth of pain…how long had he been alone? How close had he come to losing his mind to his isolation? He took a moment to compose his face once more and opened his eyes, staring at her once more. Slowly, he reached a clawed hand forward and touched her face. Bringing his hand back, she stared, confused at the wetness on his fingertips until she realized she was crying.
“You weep for me,” he said softly. “Why?”
“Because I don't think you've had anyone to do it for you in a long time, Sesshoumaru,” she whispered back.
“Ah,” he said with a small smile lifting the corner of his mouth, and an unnamed emotion swirling in his eyes, replacing the pain. “I suppose that is true.”
“I…” she paused, hesitant. “I read about Rin, about her death. Co-could you tell me…?”
He smiled again, this time ruefully. “I'm afraid I cannot. If I told you, like you said, you would try to change it, wouldn't you?”
She nodded.
He continued. “When I was alone, I had more time than you could contemplate to think. I thought of my brother…your whole group. Jaken, Rin…and I thought that I could just ask you to stop what happened. To stop her death for me. However, events that took place after her death wouldn't happen and things would not go the way fate had destined them to. It would be selfish, wouldn't it?”
She shook her head, displeased at how he had used his words against her. “But, she's just a little girl!”
“And her death was not in vain,” he retorted, noting how she snapped her mouth shut at his tone. “Everything that has ever happened in history happened for a reason. Believe me, Kagome, I've thought about this more than you could ever know, but I know that to change it would be disastrous.”
She took in a shuddering breath. “You're right, I'm sorry. It's just…she was such a good girl.”
“And she was avenged as well,” he said, his eyes sparkling dangerously at the memory.
“I see,” she said, not knowing whether to be amused, exasperated, or sorry for whomever Sesshomaru had gotten his claws on. “I bet you've thought a lot on that as well.”
“I've thought about a lot of things,” he said offhandedly. “You, for example.”
She froze. “Me?”
“Yes,” he said, amused once more. “You, miko.”
Something in his eyes made her slightly breathless, and she wished for another glass of wine. “Why me?”
He slowly leaned forward ever so slightly, and she drew in a surprised breath as he stopped less than a foot away. Murmuring softly, so that his breath barely passed across her face, on her lips. “That, my dear Kagome, is something else I cannot tell you.”
She let out a shuddering breath, her intoxication seeming to stem from another reason than the alcohol. His voice, his nearness, his hypnotizing eyes on her made her realize one thing. She was attracted to him.
“I think I'm gonna be sick,” she said, and stood up quickly. His eyes widened in surprise and he stood up with her and quickly led her to a bathroom down the hall. Before he could question on her well being, she slammed the door in his face, and he could hear the sounds of retching within. He was honestly confused. He had smelled her scent and knew that she was beginning to feel aroused, but then that arousal had turned into extreme nervousness and distress before she stood up and made her announcement. What had happened in that short period to make her emotions switch so fast?
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Kagome leaned her head weakly on the cool tile of the toilet bowl, waiting for the feeling of nausea to pass. Embarrassment coursed through her knowing that Sesshoumaru could hear her…and probably smell her as well. She certainly wasn't making a great impression on the cool and calm TaiYoukai. It's just that she was taken by surprise by her realization.
How in the hell could she be attracted to Sesshoumaru?
Besides the fact that he looks like a God and you know he has a good heart underneath all of the ice, and you want to bring it out…
She moaned in frustration. He was Inuyasha's BROTHER for crying out loud! His enemy…although they weren't really enemies now. For some reason, a part of her felt like she was betraying the hanyou, but she shook it off. She didn't have a little schoolgirl crush on Inuyasha anymore, that was all in the past. And besides…she still had to think of him as the dangerous demon from the past instead of the…semi-normal demon of the present.
Just forget it, Kagome. Sesshoumaru is a more than attractive, powerful demon…millions of other girls have felt what you just felt. It was a momentary thing. It didn't really mean anything, it was just a bodily reaction to an arousing stimulant. Put it behind you and move on…
Thinking about it logically like that made her feel a little bit better, and she quickly rinsed out her mouth and washed her face before exiting the bathroom. Sesshoumaru was standing right outside, and he raised an eyebrow at her when he saw her embarrassed face.
“Are you feeling better now?” was all he asked, and when she nodded, he nodded and led her back into the living room. He gave her a glass of water that she gulped down thankfully, before looking at the clock.
“Is it really that late?” she exclaimed, horrified. “Oh, no, the buses must've stopped running by now!”
“Buses don't run around here,” Sesshoumaru said, confused.
“I took the bus to the nearest stop to here and then walked the rest of the way,” she explained, gathering up her purse and coat before a clawed hand stopped her progress.
“You mean you walked more than a mile here, by yourself? And now you're planning on walking home again?” he asked in a soft voice that dared her to say otherwise. His hand tightened on her arm.
“Yes,” she said, even more confused. “I always walk or ride the bus, Sesshoumaru.”
“At night as well?”
“Of course.” Her eyes widened. “You don't have to be worried. I'm perfectly safe. See?” she said, rummaging through her purse. In her hand, she held a mace can. “I always carry this around with me. I bought it after I got mugged last year.”
She heard his sharply indrawn breath and hurried to reassure him. “All they did was run up behind me and grab my purse. I was only a little shaken up.”
A moment passed. “You can let go of my arm now,” she said in a small voice and saw him glance down as if surprised. He let go of her and grabbed a set of keys on the small coffee table.
“I shall drive you home tonight.”
“Really, Sesshoumaru, that's not necessary,” she began, but was silenced by his look.
How does he always manage to do that? She fumed, miffed. In no time at all, she found herself strapped into his luxury car and being driven through the streets of Tokyo.
“Thank you for driving me,” she managed to say without sounding snappy. After all, he was doing her a favor by not letting her walk, but did he have to be so goddamned high and mighty about it.
“Do you not have a car of your own?” he said in reply.
A simple `you're welcome' would have sufficed, she thought, but said, “No, I don't. I don't have the funds for it right now.”
“You do not work?”
She gave a humorless laugh. “Between living here and traveling to the past to be with Inuyasha, I hardly have time for a job. He's never understood the concept of employment in this era…at least whenever I tried to get him to let me cut down on my visits so I could make some money.”
He thought carefully about what he was going to say. He didn't want to move too fast with her. “You could come and work for me at my museum.”
She gave him a hard look. “No offense, Sesshoumaru, but I do not need any handouts from you.”
“It is not a handout,” he said firmly and returned her hard stare. “I've been meaning to find a new tour guide so Tomo could have some downtime, and I believe that you would be perfect for the job. You know more about history than most, and you have a good personality.”
She gave a bark of laughter. “I don't know whether to record that last statement or not. Sesshoumaru, were you just complimenting me?”
He straightened and gave a frown. “No…I was merely stating the truth.”
“Even now you can't say what you truly mean, can you?” she asked with a smirk.
“Are you implying that I wasn't honest in the past?”
“Please,” she snorted. “You were so emotionally detached from everything that when you did manage to speak, it was an insult…even if you meant to say something nice.”
He mentally balked at the thought of him being thought of as nice. “I believe we got off our original subject.”
She rolled her eyes. “Thank you for the job offer, Sesshoumaru, but no thanks. I still don't have time with your brother hounding me to come back every spare moment I have.”
“You would only work when you were in this time. At least you would have an employer who understands your…situation. And you would get a fair salary.”
She hesitated, and he grinned mentally. He had gotten his way after all.
“And you are not doing this because you feel sorry for me?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
“Of course not.”
“I suppose that would be acceptable then,” she said. “When can we work out the details?”
“When does Inuyasha want you back this time?”
“My brother's birthday is in a few days, and I told him I would be home after that.”
“I am going to be out of town on a meeting after tomorrow and it will last several days. Have dinner with me next week and we'll discuss the details then.”
“Is this going to be like a weekly thing now?” she demanded.
“If you wish it to be,” he said in a smooth voice, and she gave him a penetrating look.
However, before she could say anything he pulled into her driveway and she had to direct him to her space in the back.
Before she could leave the car, he placed a hand on her arm and looked at her. She gave an indrawn breath at the contact and mentally berated herself once more.
“You say you are going back in around three days, correct?” he asked, and she nodded. Doing some math and dates mentally in his head he spoke once more. “Kagome, do you know how long it takes for the scent of another to fade off of you?”
Confused, she shook her head. “It takes around four days,” he answered. “When was the last time you saw me in the past?”
“About a week ago,” she replied.
“I don't think it will alter anything if I tell you that I will be meeting up with you and your group soon after you get back. I'm also going to tell you that my scent from now will not have faded off of you by then.”
“So, you're going to smell you on me in the past,” she said, reaching the conclusion. “Boy, I bet you're going to be confused.”
He nodded. “Things are going to get a little ugly.”
She looked at him steadily. “What should I do?”
“Tell me the truth,” he said simply. “That's all I can tell you. Tell me that you've met the present me in this time.”
She nodded. “Okay, I can handle that. Is that all?”
He nodded and she began to open the door. She had one foot out before his warm hand caught her arm again, turning her towards him. Surprised, she met his serious face once more.
Cursing himself inside for what he was about to say, he also knew that he couldn't have her going through what was going to happen in a few days without some reassurance. “Kagome…”
“Yes, Sesshoumaru?”
He gave a little sigh. “Just remember that I wouldn't hurt you physically, not in that point and time, and not now. It's important that you remember that, no matter what happens.”
She let his words sink in and put her hand over the one on her arm. She gave him a soft smile that made his blood run faster. “Thank you, Sesshoumaru,” she whispered, and finally alighted from his car.
She gave one final, shy wave before she let herself into her living space, leaving him to stare after her.
As he drove back to his home, alone once more, he went over his words. He wouldn't hurt her physically, yes…but emotionally…
“I'm sorry, Kagome,” he whispered. The silence did not answer.
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Okay, so, how about it? I thank everyone for the reviews I have received so far. I know that you probably do not want to hear any excuses from me right now, but I have to say something anyway. I was NOT kidding when I said that I wanted this to be my best fanfiction ever. So, that means I am taking more time on it that I have with my other fics. I know that you hate waiting, and I hate making you wait, but I just want to do a good job. Surely you can respect that? That is the reason why this chapter is so late. I had to get it perfect, and while it is still far off of the mark, I had to try. I hope you enjoyed it.