InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Midnight Meets Moonlight ❯ Saying the Wrong Thing ( Chapter 9 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
(This chapter is dedicated to all of my reviewers on A Single Spark. I had not been receiving your reviews at all, and those that e-mailed me the reviews instead were sent to an old e-mail address that I hardly ever check and just checked for kicks today. I am so SORRY that I have not received any of those reviews. I thought that readers on A Single Spark didn't love me any more and I'm glad to know I was wrong. The e-mail address was changed to my current one in my profile, so feel free to e-mail me any time. All of my reviewers rock! And I mean ALL!!!!!)
Saying the Wrong Thing
The tension the group had felt sizzling between the miko and the TaiYoukai had vanished, leaving behind an odd sense of…well, no one really quite knew what it was. Relief? Wariness? Confusion?
Probably the latter…because it almost seemed as if Sesshoumaru slightly enjoyed Kagome walking beside him, refusing to leave him to walk by himself, chattering away about nonsensical things while he remained in stoic silence. However, the silence was not cold…it was just there. She would go on and on, and every once in a while he would give an uncommitted, “Hn,” or nod to show that he was listening to her. That itself was a miracle.
And, every once in a while, they would hear Kagome's mock cry of outrage as Sesshoumaru said something condescending and arrogant, most likely just to get a rise out of her, which he seemed to like. And she didn't seem to mind, even if he exasperated the hell out of her.
He, however, loved to smell the scent of her anger, if only for a moment. It was a tiny spike that was sharp, dangerous…slightly wild. He found himself antagonizing her over the slightest things, just to catch that scent. When he realized what he had been doing, he returned to his silence, but before long she always said something so incredibly naïve that he couldn't resist.
Around midday, they reached the borders of his land and took a break, knowing that Jaken would rendezvous with them soon per Sesshoumaru's orders. Sure enough, after they had eaten lunch, Inuyasha made a disgusted face as he sniffed and announced, “Jaken's almost here.”
They waited patiently, and could soon hear the sounds of gasping and puffing as the little youkai made his way into their camp.
“Sesshoumaru-sama!” Jaken said, seeing his master again. “I, your faithful servant, have done just as you have asked me to! Just like a loyal vassal should, I traveled far and wide searching for the information you-”
“Jaken,” Sesshoumaru intoned, his voice low. “Get on with it.”
Jaken paused, catching his breath, the group perking up at his next words, “There was a shard in these lands.”
“Well, what happened to it?” Inuyasha demanded. Jaken shot him a nasty look before continuing.
“It's heading in a different direction, east of Inuyasha's forest.”
“Damn it, we just came from that direction,” the hanyou growled. “I feel like we're going on a damn chase.”
“It's worth it if we can get the last shard,” Sango said.
“Sango's right,” Miroku agreed. “Even if we have to travel over all of Japan, we need to get that last shard.”
“But I wonder who has the shard?” Kagome wondered.
Jaken looked self-important again, proud to look good in front of his Sesshoumaru-sama with all of the information he had gathered. “A bandit named Shindo found it, and he is steadily gaining power and men because of it. They've been going on rampages at will, terrorizing villages and looting them. He is gaining a reputation now as one of the most powerful humans in the land because of the shard.”
Everyone sat in silence for a few moments, pondering their latest bit of information. “So our enemy is a human this time,” Miroku mused, one hand thoughtfully on his chin.
Sesshoumaru opened his mouth, but Kagome shot him a warning look and said, “Don't even start, Sesshoumaru.”
Everyone gaped at her words and her hard voice, and looked to Sesshoumaru for his reaction. Instead of being angry, he seemed almost amused by her words and her chastisement to him, which left them gaping…especially Jaken. There was a small smirk on his face as he gazed at the miko, and his eyes didn't look cold for once. They all stared at the two people in question, but Kagome seemed oblivious to their shock and confusion, and Sesshoumaru's amusement.
“So,” she said brightly. “I guess we should head back then to catch this bandit and get the shard from him, right?”
“Right,” Inuyasha said, standing up suddenly filled with purpose. “Now that we know where we're going and what we're doing, it should be simple to get that last shard.”
Kagome frowned a little bit on the inside at his seemingly better mood. They had just spent all of this time searching for a shard that Kikyo said had been there, only to go back and forth across Japan. Sullenly, she thought, `If I had led them on a wild-goose chase like this, Inuyasha would yell at me…is he yelling at Kikyo? Of course NOT.' Shaking her head, she dispelled those thoughts. It was no use thinking about them, and it only made her feel worse in the end. She should just be thankful that they had a lead to where the last shard was.
“Jaken,” she heard Sesshoumaru say once more, and turned to watch the exchange. “You will stay here.”
“Wh…what? Surely Sesshoumaru-sama didn't mean…I mean, of COURSE Sesshoumaru-sama meant what he said but…I mean…what will I do?”
“I care not,” Sesshoumaru said, flicking his hair as he turned around. “Just do not follow. I do not wish for your presence.”
Kagome felt slightly sorry for the small youkai as he watched his lord walk away, but turned away as well. True, she felt bad for Jaken, but she didn't need two human haters in the group, and his voice was…well, honestly annoying. Not to mention the constant groveling to Sesshoumaru…although she doubted the TaiYoukai tired of it.
`Concieted,' she thought.
As they walked away, Jaken stared after the group. What was Sesshoumaru-sama thinking, sending him away? He knew he was useless without something to do. Getting an idea, he brightened. He would go to the village Rin was staying in. Surely, Sesshoumaru-sama would be thankful to him for going to make sure Rin was being taken care of by those filthy humans. It wasn't as if he missed the growing girl, or the way she would always chatter on and on, filling the silence. It wasn't that at all.
Grumbling, Jaken began to walk, wondering what in the hell had become of his life…
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Kagome was glad their day had turned a little bit brighter. Secretly, though, she was really glad to go back to Kaede's village and maybe get the chance to go back home for a little bit. She could start on her new job and…
`Just admit it, you want to see Sesshoumaru too,' her sub-conscious whispered. Kagome fought the faint blush that came to her cheeks, and rolled her eyes at herself.
Okay, so she had admitted to herself after her last encounter with the modern Sesshoumaru that maybe, just maybe, she felt a little bit more than how `just a friend' would feel. Just a little bit.
`Yeah, right,' that little voice said again, and she sighed mentally. If only he hadn't kissed her hand the last time she had seen him…she would have been perfectly fine, thank you very much, just knowing that she found him attractive. However, that kiss changed it to something much deeper, and it was just on her HAND for crying out loud.
Immediately, she recalled the feel of his surprisingly soft lips caressing the sensitive skin, and the shocking burn of his tongue for just the barest of seconds. Her face flushed even more and she felt that fluttering again in her lower stomach. And now the knowledge that he had seen her stripped and naked… `Stupid `past' Sesshoumaru…to have the gall and arrogance to just walk up on me while I'm bathing.'
Sesshoumaru was watching the miko curiously now, not that she knew it. At first, he had just caught the slight fluctuations in her scent, and had been surprised. To confirm his suspicions, he stared at her face for several moments, unobserved by the miko, and was rewarded when he saw a slight flush cover her face. He had been right…the miko was becoming slightly aroused.
He didn't know whether to be amused that he had this first hand knowledge about the girl and Inuyasha didn't seem to notice, or concerned by the fact that he really wanted to know what she was thinking about. Or rather, who she was thinking about.
That thought slightly disturbed him, and as her face flushed just a little bit more and he smelled the slight spike again, which smelled delicious, more so than the scent of her anger although he would never admit that out loud, he gave a mental growl. Why did the thought that she was thinking about someone disturb him so much?
He finally settled on the answer being that if she was thinking about Inuyasha, he could call her on her lie that she had stopped having feelings for the hanyou. Yes, that was it. That had to be it. He ignored the slight feeling of doubt buried deep in his heart.
Before he could argue with himself anymore, another scent drifted along his subconscious.
He sniffed again. Boar youkai, if his nose served him correctly. He didn't sense any ill-will coming from them, and didn't say anything, knowing Inuyasha would be able to smell the same thing. He would know shortly if there was going to be a fight because they would be crossing paths very soon.
They reached a huge meadow filled with long grass whispering in the wind, and saw the boar youkai grazing and digging with his huge tusks in the ground, scrounging for food. When it noticed the presence of the other group, it looked at them warily before returning back to look for his meal. Inuyasha and the others continued to walk on.
However, the boar turned to look at them again sharply…more specifically, at Kagome.
“Girl,” he said, his voice deep and guttural. “You hold the Shikon no Tama.”
“What of it?” Inuyasha answered for her, and stood in front of her protectively.
“I need it,” the boar answered, turning to face them head-on. “I would gain much power from it.”
“Try telling us something we haven't heard from thousands of other demons,” the hanyou said. He pulled out Tetsusaiga. “And you wanna know what happened to all of them? They all met the end of my sword. You're welcome to try your luck.”
The boar eyed him with reproach, but looked at Kagome again. Kagome shivered as those red, blood-shot eyes met hers. “I need the Tama,” he said again. “And no lowly hanyou is going to stand in my way.”
“I've heard that before too, dumb-ass. Bring it on.”
Sesshoumaru knew that this was only a low-level youkai, one even Inuyasha should have been able to bring down within moments, which is why he watched with a bored expression as Inuyasha and the boar launched themselves towards each other at the same time.
Kagome saw the glint of Tetsusaiga in the afternoon sun, waiting to cut through any obstacle, but she also saw the dull white of the boar's tusks, waiting to gore the young hanyou. The boar swung his head around as Inuyasha swung his sword at the same time. Fortunately, they blocked each other, and hanyou and demon were left in a contest of strength.
However, Inuyasha had underestimated the boar's will to get to the Shikon no Tama, and the boar swung his head once more to catch Inuyasha with his other tusk, sending the hanyou flying, landing into the trees on the edge of the meadow with a sick thud.
Everyone seemed slightly shocked at the show of strength from the youkai, and the fact that Inuyasha was not getting up immediately.
“Inuyasha!” Kagome cried, breaking the spell. That was a bad decision on her part for the boar focused on her and began running towards her.
`Shit,' she thought, her legs freezing on her. She saw the broad back of Sesshoumaru step in front of her, his hair swaying slightly with his movement, and saw him crouch. With a slight twitch, he sent himself flying in the air, unsheathing Tokijin while he was upside down, and struck the boar from behind before he gracefully landed on the ground.
The boar screamed in agony as he exploded from the force of Sesshoumaru's sword, and the meadow was quiet once more before Kagome sprang into action, running across the expanse of land to Inuyasha's side with everyone following her, save Sesshoumaru, who calmly re-sheathed his sword and felt slightly miffed that he hadn't received a thank you from the miko for saving her life. He followed the group at a slower pace as he watched Kagome kneel down by his side and gently tap his cheeks to rouse him.
“Inuyasha? Inuyasha…wake up,” she said a bit desperately. He had landed hard in the trees, and she wanted to check and make sure he didn't have a concussion or something. Breathing a sigh of relief when his golden eyes opened slowly, and hazily focused on her.
“K…Kikyo?” he said in a low, confused voice.
Kagome froze as she heard Sango gasp quietly behind her. Cold…utter coldness settled over her heart as Inuyasha fully opened his eyes and realized his error. Panic filled him as he knew he had made possibly the biggest mistake of his life. The same coldness that was in her gathered in the pit of his stomach.
“Kagome,” he said quickly, wanting to explain that he was still woozy and he didn't mean to mistake her for Kikyo, that she was nothing like Kikyo, but she suddenly stood up, her bangs hidden by her eyes.
Sesshoumaru watched them all with curiosity, slightly angry at his baka half-brother. Now the miko was hurt and angry, and worst of all…more unpredictable than she already was. He wondered how she would react. Instead of railing at the hanyou, as he expected her to do, she lifted her head with a bright smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.
“I'm glad you're okay, Inuyasha. I thought you had really hurt yourself there for a second and it scared me. But, since you're fine now, shouldn't we get going again?” she said cheerily, and Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes at her. Her voice was too chipper, her eyes too bright for her scent to be this broken. And that's what she smelled like…sadness, anger, heartbreak all combining to create the smell of utter brokenness within her soul. He found he didn't like it.
His gaze cut away from her cheery demeanor to look at her friends. Miroku had his jaw clenched, no doubt angry at the hanyou's stupidity for hurting the girl, and Sango had a look of sadness on her face, knowing that Kagome was hurting but hiding it.
Shippo was still slightly in shock, staring from Inuyasha to Kagome, wondering if Inuyasha was really as stupid as he thought. His eyes landed on Kikyo, the third member of the strange triangle between Kagome and Inuyasha, and he saw what he had always seen. Blankness. She could've cared less that Inuyasha had called Kagome by her name.
Sesshoumaru's jaw tightened minutely. Lastly, his sharp gaze landed on his idiotic brother, and saw Inuyasha looking at Kagome apprehensively.
“Kagome, I didn't…” he started again, but Kagome broke him off again.
“Let's go, okay?” she asked, her voice filled with just the subtle hint of desperation that made Inuyasha wince and nod. Nodding back, she turned around and began walking forward, knowing everyone would follow her, but keep thier distance.
As they continued on their journey, Kagome felt strangely numb. At first, she had felt the cold embers of anger licking their way into her heart, and embarrassment that her friends had witnessed the exchange. That Sesshoumaru had heard…
But strangely, the anger and hurt melted away to be replaced by this damned numbness. It was like her heart had just shut down for the moment, not wanting to deal with what had just happened.
`He just called you Kikyo,' her mind whispered, and she waited for her heart to cry out in anguish, but it did nothing except steadily beat along.
She should be crying right now. She knew that she should have been crying…right? Why wasn't she crying? Why wasn't her heart being shattered into a million pieces with sorrow and her blood boiling with anger?
Why did she just feel empty?
Maybe Inuyasha didn't mean to call her that, maybe he was sorry, and maybe things shouldn't have felt so final to her, but they did, and a part of her was oddly relieved. As if that were possible.
She had just received the last and final sign that she was not meant to be with Inuyasha. By calling her Kikyo…no matter how beat up he was or incoherent…he called her by another's name. No matter what, Kikyo was always in the back of his mind, and Kagome had told herself that thousands upon thousands of times. Today, it just reinforced in her mind with stark clarity what she had known all along. She should have felt free. She should have been filled with a sense justification, she should have, she should have, she should have.
But she wasn't. Figuring out that the man you used to love, even though you had accepted that he would never be yours, would never have been yours anyway, was a hard blow to take to her ego as a person, and as a woman.
Why wasn't she good enough?
That was when the first sting of tears hit the back of her throat, and her lip began to tremble. Why didn't anyone love her? Wasn't she smart? Wasn't she caring? She knew she was passably attractive…so why didn't anyone desire her?
She used to spend nights, depressed and moody, on her bed crying herself to sleep wishing that she at least had someone to hold her throughout the night, to give solid comfort, to burn for her and let her know they desired her.
Inuyasha didn't want her…no one wanted her. The thought made her heart shatter more than anything Inuyasha could ever have said to her.
“Wipe your tears, miko,” Sesshoumaru's deep voice said lowly next her, and she started. She hadn't realized that he had caught up with her.
Sesshoumaru watched her eyes, shining with tears on her lashes, turn on him, so full of hurt and without hope. He didn't think he'd ever seen her looking so lost before, and it made him feel strange. He wanted that emotion out of her eyes. “Are you so weak that you would cry over that?” he asked, deliberately goading her, just to get that damn look off of her face. He felt a moment of relief as he smelled the spike in her temper, but the sadness overpowered it.
“You do not know what I cry about,” she hissed at him, knowing the rest of the group could not hear them. She dashed furiously at her eyes. “You do not know me at all, Sesshoumaru.”
“Don't I?” he tossed back. “You were mistaken for another. So what?”
She wanted to smack him for his callous tone, not realizing in her misery that he was, in his own perverse way, trying to help her. “As one who is emotionally retarded as you, I don't expect you to understand.”
She saw him tense and he took a step closer to her as they were walking, knowing that he was angry at her now and intimidating her. Not realizing what had made him so angry, she dared to glance into his eyes, and saw them burn.
“It is you who does not know me, miko,” he said in a dangerous voice that sent a shudder down her spine, and she could not take her eyes off his face for the life of her. “The problem is not with my emotions, for I assure you, I have more than you think. The problem to you is that I have the strength to control them, whereas you do not.”
She had never really looked before…she had always assumed that he just didn't feel what normal things felt, that he shut himself off to them at an early age and never opened the doors again. But now, she looked. And she saw what he hid. It felt as if a veil had been lifted over her eyes, and suddenly she could see Sesshoumaru.
`Did he always look like that?' she thought dizzyingly. In his eyes, she could see past the icy film and inside them, saw fire. Passion. Anger. Fury. Frustration.
It was all there, swirling about in his golden depths, and she found her mouth had gone dry. She swallowed. `Definitely NOT emotionally retarded,' she thought.
“Now,” she heard him say. “Are you going to reinforce my opinion that humans are pathetic and weak by feeling sorry for yourself, or are you going to get over it?”
“Get…get over it?” she repeated, snapping out of the haze she had settled herself in and getting angry again. “You listen to me. You think that I am sad over the fact that Inuyasha called me Kikyo. While I am not jumping for joy over that little fact, that is not what is making me feel sad.”
“Then what is?” He said, his chin rising slightly “The fact that you finally realize he does not love you?”
“I have known that for a long time,” she said, glaring at him with eyes snapping. “The fact is not that HE does not love me, it is the fact that NO ONE ELSE DOES!”
She clapped her hands over her mouth, seeing his eyes go wide in surprise. She hadn't really meant to tell him that, oh god, did she just tell Sesshoumaru that?
Sesshoumaru himself didn't really know what to do with that statement. `At least she is not sad anymore,' he thought to himself stupidly, smelling her acute embarrassment instead.
“Inuyasha?” she called back, not looking at him anymore with burning cheeks. “I'm going to do what I did last time and go ahead of you guys so I can catch some time at home!”
“What?” Inuyasha yelled back. “Listen, if this is about-”
“It's not about that, baka!” she yelled back, almost making Sesshoumaru smile at the dumbfounded look on the hanyou's face. But first, he needed to get past the shock of her last statement. Why in the hell was she always able to shock him? It didn't seem quite fair. “I just need to go home! I'll see you in a few days at the well! Kirara, if you could…?”
The fire cat transformed, and quickly leaving without turning to look at Sesshoumaru again, she took to the air with Kirara, and when she knew they were out of sight, she buried her face in the soft fur of the cat's neck.
She couldn't believe that she had just gone off like that in front of Sesshoumaru. He probably thought she was a desperate fool now, only wanting love. Well, she would show him! Slowly, she straightened and her back went rigid. She was not a desperate ninny, and he would see that. Granted, he would only see it in her time, she knew, but he would see it nonetheless.
Filled with resolve, she urged Kirara to go faster.
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“I see,” the voice said quietly over the phone.
“I thought you'd be more enthusiastic,” Sesshoumaru said, his voice slightly condescending.
“Don't get me wrong, I'm happy,” the male voice on the other line said quickly. “It's just…it's been so long since I've seen her last. How did you find her?”
“She found me first. She is, in fact, working for me now when she is not in the Feudal Era. She called me last night to tell me that she would be coming in today.”
“How come you didn't tell us sooner?”
“I thought it would be best to wait, but I felt I was being a little too mean. Now that you know, you just can't see her.” He paused. “But at least you know.”
“You're a sadistic bastard aren't you?” The voice was half-amused, half-exasperated. “Why can't we see her?”
Sesshoumaru paused. “I…I think it's best you wait until after…”
The line was quiet for a moment. “Right,” the voice said quietly. “After…But, he's not going to like it, you know.”
Sesshoumaru felt a moment of anger and possessiveness well up. “He doesn't have to like it. That is the way it will be, and he can deal with it.”
“Going to use that good ol' TaiYoukai power over him, are you?” The voice laughed, and slowly quieted when he realized Sesshoumaru was not amused. “I'll try to keep him away for now, but you'll owe me for it.”
“Hm,” Sesshoumaru said, non-committed, and sniffed the air, closing his eyes a moment. “She's here. I will get in touch with you.”
“Fine, fine,” the voice sighed, and Sesshoumaru heard the dial tone. He hung up just as Tomo knocked on the door.
“Enter,” he said, and sat back in his seat.
Tomo popped her head in and gave him a smile. “Kagome-san is here, Sesshoumaru-sama. Would you like me to send her in?”
“Yes,” he replied. “Then I will trust her to you, Tomo. Show her what she needs to do.”
“Right!” she said cheerily, and ducked out of the office, closing the door behind her.
Sesshoumaru rummaged around in his desk to find the contracts and paperwork that Kagome would have to sign, when he heard her knock on the door.
“Come in,” he replied, hearing the door open and straightening with the paper in his claws. And promptly had to tell his brain to produce more saliva for his mouth.
Although he could smell the nervousness on her, she stood confidently and with her chin held high. Nice white blouse with a modest neckline, a skirt with a moderate hemline, heels that emphasized her long legs, her make-up done slightly more dramatically, he tried to figure out what was so different. She just looked so…so…woman.
A complete and utter woman. His woman.
He swallowed, trying to slow down his heart and his blood from rushing to places they shouldn't have been rushing and met her eyes.
Kagome looked back at him. She knew she looked good. Her hair was swept up, leaving her neck bare, and her outfit fit her perfectly. She wanted to show him that she was not some stupid little girl anymore, and when she felt an almost physical jolt from seeing his eyes glued to her form, she thought she had succeeded.
“Is this appropriate to wear for work?” she asked, hoping her voice was clear and strong. His eyes snapped up to meet hers once again, and her heartbeat accelerated when he slowly and deliberately stood up and walked towards her in measured steps. She stood stock still when he circled her form, making a circuit around her as if he were sizing her up, like a lion would a deer. She also could have sworn she heard him take a deep inhalation when he passed around the nape of her neck, but forgot about it when he stopped in front of her once more.
“It will do,” he said in a controlled voice.
Somehow, she knew she had done well and gave him a bright smile. “Good. Let's get onto the paperwork, then, shall we?”
He blinked, and she saw a flash of confusion in his eyes for a moment before he remembered the forgotten paperwork.
“Right,” he said, turning around and motioning for her to sit down. “You just have to sign some things. This contract here,” he said, moving the paper towards her, “just states that you are an employee of mine, working on a part-time basis as per a prior arrangement and will be paid as such.”
Her eyes rapidly skimmed the paper, confirming the words, before she signed on the bottom line. Handing the paper back to him, he handed her another.
“This one just states that if you do anything out of conduct, inappropriately, forbidden, illegal, etcetera, I will have the grounds to terminate you immediately, although I don't think we'll have a problem with that.”
She smiled as she signed that one. Storing the papers away, he held out a clawed hand and said, “Welcome to your new job.”
Grinning at him, she grasped his hand and shook it, her heartbeat accelerating all over again when he didn't let go immediately.
Giving her hand a gentle squeeze, Sesshoumaru let go. “Tomo will be your guide today and tell you your duties. If you have any questions, ask her.”
“Okay,” Kagome agreed, and stood up, walking to the door. Before she left, she turned around and gave him a soft smile. “Sesshoumaru…thank you.”
He nodded at her and she left the room. When the door closed again, he promptly dropped his head onto his desk with a dull thud, her scent still swirling in his nostrils filling him with fire, and the vision of her tearing at his mind.
What in the hell had he gotten himself into?
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Kagome found that she learned very fast. Tomo instructed her on how to be a guide, showing her around the museum and giving her a packet of paper with descriptions and histories of each artifact. She spent the rest of the day memorizing the words and watching Tomo give tours. She popped in from time to time into Sesshoumaru's office, seeing if he needed another cup of tea or anything done for him, but he always waved her off. He understood that she would only be able to work on that day, and had to go back to the Feudal Era tomorrow, knowing that Inuyasha would probably want to travel a lot faster to get back to Kaede's village.
She ate lunch with Tomo, and listened to praise on being a quick student.
“You're doing a lot better than others, that's for sure. You're part tour-guide and part assistant to Sesshoumaru. The last girl lasted half of a day before she burst into tears because of him and quit.”
Kagome gave a giggle. “He can be pretty intimidating at times. You seem to handle it well.”
“I've been working for him since he opened the museum. You can handle him because you've been such good friends with him for so long.”
Kagome resisted the urge to sweat-drop when she refrained from telling Tomo he had tried to kill her the first time he saw her.
“The only thing I don't like about him,” Tomo said in a conspiratal whisper, “is that he never cuts his fingernails. They're so long!”
This time, Kagome sweat-dropped. “Ah-hah,” she laughed nervously. The rest of lunch was finished and they went back to work.
Only one other awkward moment happened that day. Towards late afternoon, the doors to the museum opened and Eri walked in. She caught sight of Kagome, and beamed.
“Kagome-chan! I didn't know you worked here!”
“Today is my first day,” she said lamely. “What brings you here?”
“Oh, a project for my history class. I'm supposed to write a paper on some ancient artifact, and I came here to look around. Do you have time to give me a tour?” Eri made a face at her statement, telling Kagome her opinion on the whole assignment.
Kagome agreed, and together they walked through the museum, Kagome explaining the history behind each piece and their significance. Eri was particularly interested in an Egyptian urn and decided to make that the source of her project. Kagome gave her all the information they had on that specific piece and then started to walk her out to the main lobby.
She saw Sesshoumaru standing with a few other men in suits around an ancient scroll, and knew he was probably making deals to sell it to the men. She watched as smooth words rolled off of his tongue through his lips and imagined his deep voice as he persuaded them to buy. She didn't realize she had been staring until Eri nudged her.
“Hey,” she hissed. “Isn't that the man we saw on the street when we went shopping? Kagome, you work with him?”
“He's my boss, and an old friend,” Kagome explained.
“Why didn't you tell us that day you were friends with him? You could have introduced us!”
Kagome frowned at that. She didn't want her boy-crazy friends anywhere near Sesshoumaru if she could help it. She realized her thoughts and shook her head.
“Uh, we kind of lost touch over the years, and just recently started talking again,” she said, telling the half-lie through her teeth. “Well…you'd better get started on that paper, huh?”
Ushering Eri out to the lobby and out the doors, she breathed a sigh of relief and put it out of her mind. The rest of the day seemed to pass by in a blur, and soon she found herself waving good-by to Tomo as the older woman went home. Kagome turned off all of the lights in the main sections of the museum, and started to walk back so she could bid farewell to Sesshoumaru.
She turned off the main lights in the lobby and began to walk to his office when a feeling of foreboding assailed her. Frowning slightly, she looked around, wondering why something felt so wrong. Little warning bells were going off in her head and she swung her head around, trying to see anything out of the ordinary. She could see nothing around her, but when she looked out the windows of the museum, she sucked in a breath.
A man was standing on the opposite street of the museum, staring at her with piercing dark eyes. He never seemed to blink, and Kagome found herself unable to look away. She felt herself shivering, unable to understand why she felt this enormous amount of fear looking at him. She could not take her eyes off of his…
A hand landed on her shoulder, and she almost screamed as she whirled around to face Sesshoumaru. She put a hand over her racing heart and looked back from his face to the window again.
The man had disappeared. She frowned. She wasn't imagining things now, was she?
“Kagome?” Sesshoumaru's voice sounded slightly concerned. He could smell her fear and wanted to pull her to him protectively to make it go away. Her fear was always the one scent he could never, ever stand. Slowly it receded, and he wanted to breathe a sigh of relief.
“Sesshoumaru, I was just about to find you to say good-bye,” she said, smiling at him.
He looked impassively back at her and asked, “Why are you scared?”
Her eyes glanced back out the window before she could help it. “No reason,” she murmured. “It was nothing.”
“Are you sure?” he demanded softly.
She nodded and turned to gather her purse and sweater. “I'm fine, Sesshoumaru. I will call you before the next time I can work, okay? Bye!”
Before he could say anything else to her, she was out the door and on her way. He debated going after her, but stopped himself. He didn't have the right to go after her yet.
Turning, he walked back to his office and slowly walked to his desk, putting his head in the cradle of his hands. Seeing her walk away was one of the hardest things he had ever done, and this time it was worse.
He brooded for a few moments before taking his set of keys and opening the locked drawer in his desk, pulling out a black box. He opened the box and pulled out a string of beads and teeth.
He fingered each and every bead, even though he knew the touch by memory, and just sat there, thinking. Remembering. Wanting…
Wanting to call her back. Wanting things to have gone differently. His fist clenched around the beads, the sharp points digging into his hand although he did not feel the pain. However, certain things had to have happened to get to where he was today. He would not mess up his opportunity.
He put the beads back in the box, and locked the drawer once more. Locking away the memories…
…and the vision of a bright-eyed young girl with a ponytail on the side of her head, who worshiped him…
Forgive me, Rin…
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(I think this chapter is slightly longer than the others. I find now that because I have an outline, I can write faster, so that's good for you, ne? Yes, as sad as it is to say, the next chapter will be really dark and full of angst. However, our two heroes will also draw closer to each other, so it's not completely sad. I will not lie, though. My goal the next chapter is to make you cry. Who knows if I will succeed, but we'll see, won't we? Until then, all of you make my heart happy, and you will make it happier if you review! Much love to you all!