InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Midnight Meets Moonlight ❯ Loss ( Chapter 10 )

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

Disclaimer: I seem to keep forgetting to put this on here. I do not own Inuyasha. At all.
Warnings: This chapter is very dark, very angsty, and very descriptive. Young eyes beware. You've had fair warning.
Chapter Ten
Kagome was surprised to see Sesshoumaru first when she exited the well instead of Inuyasha. He was leaning against a tree at the edge of the meadow, seemingly relaxed with his arm resting over his raised knee, yet she knew he was alert and tensed for anything that might happen. Such was the nature of a warrior.
She could feel his gaze rest lazily on her, even though his head was turned to the right, and she flushed as she remembered the last words she spoke to him before flying off on Kirara, trying to escape her embarrassment. That embarrassment she had tried so hard to escape came back with a vengeance and she could feel her cheeks flushing.
However, she noticed that his eyes seemed more alive to her, more expressive. It seemed that showing her the emotion beneath his icy demeanor the last time she saw him had an effect on the way she saw him now. She wondered if she would always look at him differently…but just thinking about that reminded her of the reason she was embarrassed in the first place.
Deliberately, she picked up her backpack and began walking the way to Kaede's village, not looking at him again. However, she could feel his presence follow her moments later, a silent companion on the walk back to civilization.
`Just ignore him, Kagome. Just forget that there is a big, bad demon behind you who's heard your deepest fears about being unloved, and he'll go away. He probably doesn't care anyway. The present-day Sesshoumaru, maybe, but the Feudal Era one? I don't think so. He could care less about your feelings, less about you, less about the whole damn situation! Just keep walking and he'll go away. Keep walking…keep walking…keep walking…'
“I thought I showed you my displeasure over being ignored, miko,” she heard him say behind her, and tensed at his deep voice. Maybe it was her imagination, but he sounded a bit put-out.
Gritting her teeth, she sweetly replied, “My apologies, Sesshoumaru-sama. I did not think you wanted to converse with me.”
“Hiding from your embarrassment isn't going to make it go away.” Now his voice was slightly amused, and so damn reasonable that she stopped in her tracks, counting silently to ten before she began her fast stride again.
“I'm not hiding it,” she lied. “I'm just merely putting it behind me. There is no reason to rehash it just because it amuses you.”
His voice was deadpan. “I do not feel amusement, remember?”
She stopped again and whirled to face him. She remembered the harsh words she had said to him and felt genuine regret. “I apologize for what I said to you, Sesshoumaru, about not feeling any emotion. That was unfair to you, and I was wrong.”
She could tell he was slightly taken aback by her seriousness. That lasted only a moment before his old attitude returned.
“Hn, it matters not to this Sesshoumaru.”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course it doesn't,” she said under her breath, and cursed his sharp hearing when she saw him smirk.
They didn't say another word during the remainder of the walk, but she felt oddly happy anyway.
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Inuyasha saw them coming over the hill from Kaede's hut, and scowled. Sesshoumaru and Kagome seemed pretty damn close now…well, as close as Sesshoumaru would ever get to anyone. It didn't make any sense at all.
There wasn't a physical attraction between them that he could see…
`Yet,' he amended darkly. A few weeks ago the thought of Sesshoumaru finding Kagome attractive was laughable. But there were times when Sesshoumaru would just look at Kagome, and Inuyasha would wonder what he was thinking.
And Kagome…well, was Kagome. She had never acted the way she was supposed to around Sesshoumaru.
He knew he would never have Kagome…any romantic interest they had once had had faded away to leave brotherly protection.
`But goddamnit, if she does fall for him, she won't let me try to kill him anymore!' he mourned.
“Inuyasha!” he heard his name being called by the girl in question, and saw her waving happily at him. He frowned and went out to meet her. How was she going to act around him now, since he had made the biggest error of his life?
However, when she reached him, her smile actually reached her eyes, and he felt relief. He shot an annoyed glance at Sesshoumaru who was standing a few feet away and received a smirk in return. He wanted to talk to Kagome alone, so he could apologize again, but it was already hard enough without Sesshoumaru breathing down their necks.
“Kagome…” he began, but she cut him off.
“Inuyasha, forget it, okay?” she said softly. “It's in the past.”
“Really?” he asked doubtfully.
She tugged on one of his puppy ears. “Really.”
He grimaced, but there was a smile in his eyes as he pulled away her hand. “Well, what are you waiting for, wench? We got word this morning that Shinjo is less than a day away from here. Let's go get him!”
She gave a laugh. “Lead the way, dog-boy.”
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By the time dusk came around, her good mood from that morning had vanished, demolished in the wake of destruction that Shinjo and his gang had left behind.
She was fighting tears and holding Shippo close to her, keeping his eyes away from the damage as they walked through the third village they had passed that day. Or what was left of the village…
Fires still raged here and there throughout the huts as whoever was left alive tried to contain them. The numbers were pathetically small.
A small river ran on the edge of the village, and they were bringing buckets of water to extinguish the fires. They entered the village from down river, and the first thing Kagome noticed was the rust colors in the water.
Looking upstream, she wished for the first time in her life that she was blind.
Bodies…there were bodies everywhere, they're blood giving the river it's now macabre appearance.
Men…women…children…none were spared. As horrible as the sight was, she could not look away. Her eyes took in every last detail as Shippo shook in her arms. A child, girl or boy she could not tell, was lying face down on the edge of the bank, arrows riddled in the broken body reminding her gruesomely of a pincushion. The blood only grew thicker as they reached the middle of the village.
Those who were still living and not fighting the fires were removing the dead from the walkways. She saw a farmer with a missing eye grimly stuffing the intestines of another fallen man back into his body before he moved him to the steadily growing pile to be buried. She watched in morbid fascination as the pieces of roped tissue wiggled and gleamed like sausages in the fading sunlight and fought the urge to vomit.
Whirling away, she tried to avoid the sight, only to be greeted by a dog gnawing on the finger of a fallen woman with her chest cut wide open, displaying the organs inside, and her eyes still open in death, staring at her accusingly. A crow landed a moment later, and began to feast on them…
Holding back a sob, she turned again, unable to face those haunted eyes. Warm arms wrapped around her, holding her and Shippo close as she shuddered.
`Miroku,' she thought abstractedly, seeing his purple robes. For once, he did not try to grope her, and when she risked the chance of lifting her head from his chest, she saw his jaw clenched. He had never looked angrier to her as he did that moment, and she was glad. They needed to be angry.
She had to bury her face against him again as the smell caught up with her, and she gagged. The smell of death filled her nostrils, her senses, her entire being until she knew she would never be able to escape it. The smell of bodies left out too long in the hot afternoon sun, skin slowly being boiled while starting to decompose, the smell of feces and urine all combining together to create a stench that she would remember in her dreams.
“Let's go,” Inuyasha said, his voice strangely subdued.
“Inuyasha,” Kagome protested, weakly lifting her head off of Miroku and looking at the hanyou.
“We can't help them, Kagome,” he said a bit sharply. “It's too late.”
His gaze softened slightly on her. “We need to go. Do you understand?”
She glanced down at the shivering Shippo, and then up to look at a seemingly shell-shocked Sango and Kirara. She gazed at Miroku's angry face and Inuyasha's determined one. Lastly she looked on Sesshoumaru, who gazed steadily back at her, giving her strength without even realizing it.
He wanted to take the smell of despair off of her. It was a funny feeling to his heart to find himself wanting to comfort her, and he did his bests to ignore it. But the tortured look in her eyes…it was not sitting well with him at all, and he repressed a growl.
She looked back on the village, at the faces of the survivors. There was no hope left in their eyes. All they had ever had was gone, destroyed in a few terror-filled minutes. Mothers losing children, children losing mothers, husbands and wives parted forever in a senseless, bloody massacre. Resolutely, she nodded her head. “Right. We need to go.”
“Good girl,” Inuyasha said, and they left the destruction behind, smoke billowing in the wind like a mournful lament to those who had lost…
They were walking along the outskirts of the village when they heard a faint moan from beneath the roof of a fallen hut. The place was deserted…but then they heard the moan again.
Unable to stop herself, she passed Shippo into the arms of Miroku before sliding down the embankment and running to the hut, Inuyasha yelling after her. Using all of her strength, she tried to lift the fallen roof. She heard the moan again. Someone was trapped underneath, and she needed to get them out.
“Stupid wench,” she heard Inuyasha's voice behind her as she strained, and she saw his tanned hand along side hers. “You'll never be able to do it yourself.”
“Thank you, Inuyasha,” was all she said gratefully, as their combined strength lifted the straw roof, revealing an aging woman underneath, trapped under a beam. Inuyasha quickly lifted the beam off of the woman as Kagome knelt next to her and lifted her against her body.
“Obaa-chan, are you okay?” she asked gently, wiping dirt off of the weathered face. Clear eyes met hers in thankfulness.
“Bless you, child. I thought I would remain under there until I died, which would have ruined the fact that I escaped from the bandits.”
Kagome smiled at her attempt at humor, and helped her to stand up.
“Do you know which way they were headed next?” Inuyasha asked gruffly. The scent of death covered everything else and it was hard to get a scent on the group.
The group sighed in relief as the woman nodded firmly. “I heard them talking as they were riding past. There is a village a little to the East from here. A powerful miko lives there and guards many holy relics and artifacts that are valuable. That's where they're going.”
Sesshoumaru felt his entire being tense at those words. All day long as they had been traveling, his mind had begun to worry. The place where he had left Rin was not directly south, but to the East. He had been hoping silently to himself that the bandits would keep their Southern course. But now…
A village to the East…a powerful Miko…his heart constricted, something it had never done before…
Kagome felt a strong wind surged with the great power of a youkai rush past her, and saw that Sesshoumaru was no longer there.
“Oi, where in the hell did he go? Sesshoumaru!” Inuyasha yelled.
Kagome felt a deep sinking in the pit of her stomach. A feeling of dread so strong it was hard to catch her breath, even though she knew she could be wrong. She was never told the exact date when Rin died, had hoped that it was further along in the girl's life…but the feeling would not go away.
Her hands began to shake. “Inuyasha, we have to go. Now.”
Inuyasha looked at her, confused. “Kagome, I don't understand…”
“Now!” she cried, tugging on his sleeve. “We have to go after Sesshoumaru! To the village!”
“Kagome-sama, calm down,” Miroku said, concern on his face. “What's happening that you're not telling us?”
“Rin,” she choked out. “Rin is in that village.”
Even Inuyasha stiffened as everyone else gasped. “Let's go,” he said grimly, catching a hold of Kagome and throwing her on his back as Sango and Miroku hopped onto Kirara and Shippo transformed into a balloon for Kikyo. They set off after the TaiYoukai, hoping they weren't too late.
Kagome knew they already were…
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Sesshoumaru tore through the trees, branches and bushes trying to claw at his skin, leaving behind scratches that soon disappeared, running faster than he could ever remember. Rin was in danger. She was his to protect.
He tried to ignore the feeling of panic that wouldn't leave him. He never panicked. He never had a reason to. He imagined the smiling face of the young woman he had left behind and ran faster.
He smelled it first. Death…
The fire came next, a blazing inferno set to destroy any evidence that a once peaceful village had resided there. He slowed to a walk as he watched the flames dance their eerie dance in the sky, crackling wood and sizzling sap reaching his sensitive ears. He clenched his hand, claws digging into his own skin, when he smelled the emotion next.
Fear was the only emotion left in the air. Nothing else. Just the stark stench of fear that made his breath shudder out of him. He reached the outskirts of the village, finally seeing first hand the destruction around him.
There was so much blood. In puddles around his feet, in the bodies that scattered the ground in heaps, splattered on the walls of the remaining buildings. He could not remember seeing so much blood before. It joined in with the dirt, making a red glue that stuck to his shoes the further he went into the village.
He seemed to be in a daze…it was the first time he could ever remember being in one. It was like he was moving through water, unable to walk fast enough and not knowing if he wanted to.
Distantly, he heard a small child cry out for his mother.
The wailing was so forlorn…the child had lost everything it had ever known, and Sesshoumaru, for one moment, felt pity. But he would not waste his time to see to its well-being. No, he was only focused on one thing.
Walking a bit further, he noticed a woman, lying on the ground, her kimono in tatters beside her. There was blood joining together on her thighs, coagulating while more of it streamed slowly and lazily from her opening, and Sesshoumaru felt a moment of compassion. This woman had been violated…she deserved better than her shame being put on display. He stooped down slowly to pick up her kimono and draped it across her form, hiding her broken body before he walked on.
He was snapped out of his daze when he smelled it…Rin.
Moving faster than the eye could see, he was standing in front of another pile of bodies, panting slightly. He had to be wrong. His nose had to be wrong. There was nothing left alive in this pile. It could barely be discerned as a pile of bodies. He wondered if there was a complete being in it. He saw arms and legs, detached from their owners, the bones visible and grotesque. Rin could not…would not be in this pile.
Yet, her young scent reached his nose even amidst the blood and gore, and a part of him deep down knew he was not wrong. Quickly, he leaned down and pulled a torso up and away. Next came another leg, followed by a foot. He gained speed with each moment, the scent growing stronger as he got closer to the bottom of the pile. Blood began to cover his pristine white kimono, but he barely noticed it. He was so close…
…and there was a head with a ponytail on the side, like she preferred to wear it. He moved away more limbs to reveal her body. He felt a moment of nausea for the first time ever when he realized that her body was more than a foot away from her head.
As if in a trance, he leaned down and gently lifted her head into his hand. He did not notice the way her flesh dangled at her throat, torn and jagged. He didn't notice the blue tinge to her lips or the grayness of her skin. He did not notice the way her mouth was in a small “O”, screaming until her last breath.
He didn't really notice the dull sparkle of her brown eyes, still open and unblinking. That's right…she would never blink again. He blinked himself as he realized that detached thought. His eyes strayed to her messy hair, and brushed stray strands away from her forehead, not noticing that his fingers came away with blood.
What he did notice was the flower in her hair, tucked securely behind her ear, which was half missing, the bottom half cut and bleeding sluggishly still.
Rin loved to pick flowers…
He closed his eyes as the full force of what had happened hit him. He clenched his jaw against the onslaught, and never wanted to open his eyes again. He would have to face her gaze then if he did that. Would she look at him accusingly?
How many times had she cried out his name, knowing that he would come and save her? After all, her Sesshoumaru-sama always saved her…
He let out a humorless chuckle at the cruel irony he was being faced with. Her soul was gone…he could feel it. Tenseiga would not work. The one time when he would have used Tenseiga willing…
Fate must have been playing a cruel joke on him.
He slowly opened his eyes and gently laid her head back on the ground. As softly as he could, he closed her eyes and moved to her body. The small frame had been riddled with slashes and cuts, staining her kimono a dull red. Her life blood had been drained from her. He smelled the stench of semen and sweat on her, and closed his eyes again.
She had been raped. A man had touched her untried body, tearing it apart with himself, while she watched and felt in fear. Had she still thought that her Sesshoumaru-sama would save her as the bandit pumped into her?
Had she cried? Had she glared on in defiance? Had she fought back?
He aligned her body and head properly and let the smallest bit of his poison escape his claws, running it along the seam of flesh, cauterizing it. He felt another wave of nausea as he smelled the burning flesh joining together.
As carefully as he could, he leaned her head against his body and gently placed his arm under her hips, lifting her with him as he stood. Then he turned and walked away without looking back, feeling the first droplets of rain fall from the sky, washing away the stench and blood. But that didn't matter. He would always see it in his mind. He would never forget it.
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Inuyasha skidded to a stop at the edge of the village, already feeling Kagome's muffled sobs on his back. This was not destruction. This was not mindless violence.
This was annihilation.
Kagome slipped off of his back as she saw a figure in white head to the woods.
“Sesshoumaru…” she whispered, seeing the small form in his arm as he walked proudly. But she saw his eyes. His haunted eyes.
He had not been there to save her. He could not save Rin. She was gone.
Kagome fell to her knees, covering her face with her hands as her heart cried out in anguish. And there was nothing she could do to help him.
The skies wept with her.
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Sesshoumaru returned to them a half an hour later. Water from the sky ran down his form, through his hair, and Kagome thought in a corner of her mind that if Sesshoumaru could not cry for Rin, the sky would do it for him.
He did not say a word, but to Kagome, he didn't have to. She already knew what he felt.
“Sesshoumaru…” Inuyasha began, awkwardly running his claws through his hair. “I…I'm sorry.”
Sesshoumaru turned to the side. “Do not be,” he said emotionlessly, and Inuyasha frowned as he began to walk away, seemingly uncaring.
“Don't pretend that she didn't mean anything to you,” Inuyasha growled. “I know she did.”
Sesshoumaru's jaw clenched but he said nothing, prompting Inuyasha's anger.
“If she meant so little to you, why did you bury her?” the hanyou snarled, noting the dirt on Sesshoumaru's claws.
“Inuyasha…” Kagome said slowly, placing her hand on his rigid shoulder.
Sesshoumaru gazed at his brother, trying not to let himself crack. His hand clenched again, and he felt the dirt as well. The dirt that was now covering Rin.
His Rin…
He knew she was going to die someday. In his mind, he knew he should have gotten rid of her before this. Maybe then she would have never had to rely on him.
And he would have never failed her.
He could smell his own blood as his claws pierced his skin. It was too much. The anger, the anguish, it was all building inside him, and he was going to break soon. But no, Sesshoumaru had control. If anything, he was known for his cool demeanor, his calmness. Rin knew him like that. That was her Sesshoumaru-sama. He would not let her image of him change…
At first Kagome thought that Sesshoumaru would not answer Inuyasha's yelled question as everyone waited in silence. Then she saw his fist unclench and the blood run down his palm, and her heart broke.
Sesshoumaru could bleed too…
“Because,” she heard him say, heard the dullness of his voice. “Even a foolish human deserves to be buried.” His words ended on a whisper that faded on the wind.
He began to walk away again when a voice stopped him.
He glanced back and saw Kagome, eyes filled with tears, glaring at him.
`No,' he thought, his voice sounding desperate in his mind. `Do not cry. You can not cry for me. You can not see me.'
She took a step forward. “Don't,” she said again forcefully. “Do not lie to yourself like that!” Her voice was charged with tears as she shook her head. “I will not forgive you if you do that.”
He glared at her, and she met his glare, seeing everything he was hiding. The feeling of failure, the loss, the rage, the fact that his heart was clenching inside his chest.
`Kagome…why do you see what others don't? What cruel God blessed you with that ability? You should be disgusted at me. Hate me. Fear me. Just do not look at me like that…like you can see inside me. If you see me…
you'll know I'm lost…'
“Sesshoumaru,” his brother's voice brought him out of his thoughts, and he glanced at the hanyou.
“The damage is still fresh…they can not be far.”
Inuyasha looked at him hard, giving him his choice. Sesshoumaru found himself looking at his brother and actually seeing him. The one who knew what it meant to want revenge. To want vengeance. To breathe it and desire it until it was all you could think of. Inuyasha was giving him the chance to escape that. He nodded briefly, and sniffed the air before disappearing once more.
Kagome meant to go after him, but Inuyasha caught her arm.
“Don't,” he said.
“But…” she started, but he cut her off.
“This is for his honor, Kagome. Let him do this alone.”
She glanced into the woods once more, longing, wanting, but resigning herself to wait. “Fine,” she agreed. “Let's get out of here and make camp.”
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The rain ended but Kagome barely noticed as she burrowed into her sleeping bag. It was well into the middle of the night, everyone had retired, but she could not sleep.
Sesshoumaru had not returned.
She had lain there for hours, her eyes straining in the darkness to try to catch a glimpse of him, but she had waited in vain. She was afraid that if she went to sleep, she would have nightmares.
The fire was still fresh in her mind, the bodies, the stench. It was stealing her sleep. Sighing, she sat up and gazed into the fire.
What was Kami thinking tonight? Why should fate have been so cruel as to take Rin away? How had Sesshoumaru felt at the museum, knowing that he had one final chance to save the little girl he had considered his daughter, yet not taking it? Did he want to call after her? Did he want to say to save her, to reach that village first so this could be prevented? Did he remember the pain?
She buried her face into her knees, suppressing the tears once more. Life was so unfair…
She lifted her head and glanced moodily into the fire once more. The moon had come out, full and bright, letting her see the shadows of the trees surrounding her. Standing up, she brushed her skirt off and started walking.
If she was unable to sleep, she would go for a walk. Maybe Sesshoumaru would be back when she returned.
She walked aimlessly, not really having a destination in mind, just needing to get away for a while. Soon she came upon a clearing, the bright light of the moon seeming to make the droplets in the long grass glow like diamonds, and for a moment, she was mesmerized.
She walked across the small meadow slowly, making her way towards a huge tree on the other edge. Its roots were huge and vast, reminding her of Goshinboku, and she took comfort in its presence. She slowly sat against one of the roots, staring at the stars and thinking about nothing. If she began to think, she would weep, and she didn't think she'd be able to stop.
She had no clue how long she stayed in that meadow, listening to the night around her, the quiet rustle of the leaves and the grass, the whistle of the wind, the small sounds of the animals as they settled in for the night, before she felt him.
Waiting with a bated breath to see if he came closer to her, she squinted out into the darkness. She saw white, saw him, and held back a gasp. The moonlight illuminated his entire being, making him glow and she saw what she had already seen enough to last her a lifetime…
He was splattered in it. It was all over his kimono, in his hair, droplets on his face that looked so out of place on its perfection, over his markings. Jumping up, stumbling over her own two feet, and then bolting to him, her hands frantically tried to cover every inch of him while he stood there stoically.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” she chanted as her hands worked, trying to find the source of the blood. “Where are you hurt, Sesshoumaru? We have to stop the bleeding!”
She felt his clawed hand, covered in blood as well, grip hers, and stopped babbling, looking breathlessly into his eyes.
“I am not hurt, miko,” he said meaningfully. “This blood is not mine.”
It took a moment for her to realize the extent of his words. With a silent, “Oh,” she took a step back, even though he didn't release her hands. “I see.”
Clearing her throat, she tried to speak again. “Ah…um…is anyone left alive?”
She saw something flash in his eyes as he let go of her hands and reached into his haori, tossing something at her.
She barely caught it and was left staring at a Shikon shard. The last one…
“I see,” she said again, subdued. “I'll take that as a `no' then.”
“Disgusted, miko?” he asked, and her head snapped up. She had never heard him use that tone of voice before, so…rough. So…stripped bare. This was the real Sesshoumaru, underneath everything. His eyes bored into hers, burning her soul, and his fangs showed in a humorless smile as he took a step towards her.
“Am I a monster in your eyes now?” he asked, his voice rubbing over hers in self-mocking. “Are you truly seeing what I am capable of now? I slaughtered them. I found there camp, and most never had a chance to scream.” He paused. “Unless I wanted them too.”
“Stop,” she whispered. He continued on, relentless, wanting her to see who he really was, not wanting to see how dirty he felt, how tainted.
“And I enjoyed it,” he said, feeling scarred because he knew it was true. He loved finding the leader of the group and slowly putting his poison claws through his throat, loving how the blood gurgled and gushed. He found great pleasure in sniffing out the man whose semen had been on Rin and cutting off his member, enjoying the high pitched screams. He had left him there, writhing in agony to bleed to death as he handled the rest. When he left, the encampment looked much like the villages the bandits had plundered. It left him with a sick satisfaction. “They were like sheep to the slaughter in my claws, and their blood rained from the sky.”
“Stop it,” she whimpered again. He grabbed her arm, shaking her.
“Why?” he demanded, his eyes slightly wild now. “This is me, Kagome. I am a heartless demon, unable to feel emotion. You said so yourself.” He found his voice harder and harder to control to keep from breaking. His soul was already in tatters. “Isn't this what you wanted?” he said, shaking her again before letting her go.
She stumbled back and looked at him through wide eyes. “Sesshoumaru…”
He gestured. “Don't you think you should be running? I am dangerous. Ruthless. Merciless. You should never want to be near me. My very presence should send disgust rolling through you. Isn't that what you are feeling?” He stopped speaking, breathing heavily as she cried softly.
`Get away from me, Kagome. Do not see what is inside of me…'
He wasn't expecting her to throw herself at him. He wasn't expecting her to grab onto him like he was the only thing left in her life. He expected her to run from him in revulsion. Not do the complete opposite. His breath left him in a shuddering gasp.
And in that split moment of perfect clarity, when she wrapped herself around him as if to shelter him from the darkness in his own heart, he realized something.
He needed her.
The thought was so alien to him, so-almost-completely unacceptable that he wanted to take a step away from it, away from her. Yet he stayed.
Slowly, his arm crept around her to hold her close to him, wanting to fold into her, to go away from all of the emotion that was choking his throat and be healed. She could heal him. And as he felt the stiffness of her surprise lessen and she practically seemed to melt into him, her heart beating an unsteady tattoo against his own chest, he realized one more thing.
He wanted her.
Wanted her with an intensity it almost scared him, wanted her more than anything he had ever wanted in his life, more than Tetsusaiga, more than the respect of his father and his peers, and it filled him with power instead of the weakness he had expected. It seemed as if he had been living in an emotional dam, hiding away all that he thought was pathetic, but now that his heart was stripped bare in front of her, he felt more than he ever had. The warmth of her breath against his neck as he gripped her tighter, in desperation as if she would leave him alone with the thoughts that were threatening to consume him. He could hear the pulse in her neck as his cheek rested against it, fast and uneven, and her chest push against his as she seemed to fight for her next breath. And he ached for her…
Kagome couldn't believe what was happening to her. She was comforting the most powerful being on the planet, and he was letting her, seeming to want, no need what she was offering. He was holding her so tightly to him that she could feel every line in his body, and tried not to think about how nice he felt against her, but instead focused on his breathing, in the fact that he was just there, his presence a very imposing thing.
But that turned out to be a very bad idea. His breath was hot against the junction where her neck met her shoulder, and she was finding it hard to catch a breath herself.
`Stop thinking about it,' she told herself. He needs a friend, not someone to have ecchi thoughts about how chiseled his chest seemed to be under his kimono, or how nice he smelled…like ice frozen on a lake in the middle of a beautiful valley surrounded by trees. Strange, yes, but that was his scent, strong and clean, and she inhaled it in.
Realizing where her mind was going again, she made to pull away, to give her room so she could just breathe without pulling in his overwhelming presence, but he grabbed her before she could retreat. If anything, he gripped her tighter to him, as if he thought that he let go of her, he would disappear. She relaxed into him once more and soothingly ran her hands up and down his back, starting with the base of his spine and ending at the nape of his neck, before going down again. For a moment, she thought she felt him tremble, but passed it off as a moment of insanity. The great and mighty Sesshoumaru did NOT tremble in the arms of a human woman.
It was so nice just to hold him…she hadn't realized before how much her heart had ached to do this for him, to be a tangible object of comfort in his turmoil. Maybe a part of her realized that she might never be able to do this again to him, and her hands stopped their comforting stroking to grip his haori in clenched fists. His hand tightened around her waist in response, bringing her closer to his body, if that was possible, and she felt the heat of him.
`Funny how I didn't feel it until now,' she thought hazily.
Sesshoumaru detected the sharp spike in her scent, and it nearly made him dizzy with want. There was a fire burning within him now, the almost overwhelming urge to taste her, to bring the skin that was so close to his mouth in his teeth and bite down gently, to feel her shiver in his arms…to lower her to the ground and…
…his body gave another curious tremble as his mind ran rampant.
Kagome realized she was getting herself into a sticky situation when his heat began to set her on fire. She knew that she should probably distance herself from his person, before it became too much and she did something stupid, like hope for the impossible. Of course, she didn't really have time to ponder on that before she felt him shift slightly and his nose nuzzle into the side of her neck, making her freeze, and her mind just shut down with the feeling of him Just Sesshoumaru.
Her brain snapped back to life when she felt his hot breath get closer to her neck and she thought, `he…he wouldn't…not that…you can't…you hate me, remember?' but she stopped thinking when she felt a tentative lick from a rough tongue completely shatter her defenses and she held back a whimper of longing for him. It was his teeth gently digging into the sensitive skin on her neck that shook her out of her daze because it felt so good…too good.
Snapping back, breathing heavily, she stared at him with a look of shock and arousal on her face. Her shock became more when she saw an identical look on his face, desire darkening his eyes and face making him look almost…primal.
Her scent was filling his mind, filling him with only her, and he couldn't concentrate. He gazed into her wide eyes, and saw what he felt mirrored back at him. It was a heady thought.
“I…I should probably get back….back to camp,” she said haltingly, as if it was difficult to speak. She turned to leave, wanting to escape the situation, the lure of him, and the pull of her own body. This was not supposed to happen!
Sesshoumaru saw her leaving him, and instinctually reached for her, not thinking about his actions until his clawed hand gripped her wrist, a little rough in his desperation to keep her near to him…if just for a little while. He stared at where their hands met, and then back up into her eyes.
He tried to convey to her without words what he was thinking, praying to every god and goddess he could think of to let her understand what he didn't want to say vocally.
Please…please don't leave me. Don't leave me alone again…
She glanced at him, weighing the dangers to her heart if she stayed with him. Apparently she must have decided that she had fallen too deep already to turn back now, and gave him a gentle smile.
He had to control his breath to come out normally instead of the whoosh it wanted to, and nodded slightly.
She turned and walked to the tree behind him, settling herself at the base of its trunk and leaning against it, closing her eyes to signal that she wanted rest and he should get some too. Slowly, she felt him come to stand at her feet, before gracefully lowering himself to the ground next to her.
Staring up at the bright, starry sky, he wondered what his life had become. Rin was dead…her light was gone and it would never be back to warm him. The thought choked him, and he was ashamed at all of the things left unsaid. Too many things he had never taken the time to say because it would make him weak.
But the woman lying peacefully beside him healed that sharp ache, turning it into a dull pain. She healed him…from his own darkness and inadequacies. As he felt her lean over slightly to put her head hesitantly on his shoulder, as if afraid of his reaction, he felt her relax after a few moments and her contentment spread through him. He was glad she was on the opposite shoulder his armor was on…
As he sat there, having no intention of sleeping, but on thinking and pondering his life and the woman beside her, he realized one more thing that night.
He was in love with her.
The thought was only slightly as scary as it should have been.
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(Okay kiddies. I hope I delivered in my promise. This chapter wasn't as sad as I was going for, and I don't think I quite captured the emotion right, but now was the only time I was able to write it, and I think it turned out well, regardless.
I freakin' hate writing angst. That's the one thing I can't do. I hope at least most of you can understand what I was trying to do…hell, I don't think I understood what I was trying to do. This chapter kinda wrote itself.
A good bit of news though! I reached more than 20,000 hits on this story on, so thank you everyone so much! You rock so much! Remember to review!
Love you darlings,