Chapter 1: Entering the Mind
It was the usual shtick.
A demon on the attack, the village in peril as youki and reiki clashed, Kagome's hands automatically notching and firing arrow after arrow. Unlike the usual, however, the priestess found herself fighting on her own.
"Over here!" She yelled, ducking low to avoid a blast of power, taking a knee and firing.
The oni sorceress grit splinter-thin teeth, slashing the arrow in half before it could embed itself into her ashen flesh. "For the last time, hand over the sacred jewel!"
"And for the last time: that's not been a thing for three years!" Kagome groaned with exasperation, getting to her feet and running in the opposite direction. "Get with the times, lady."
Leading the demon up the hill and away from Edo to prevent further damage to it, she headed into Inuyasha's Forest, getting a serious sense of déjà vu. With the wraith-like creature following her, it felt reminiscent of fleeing from mistress Centipede so long ago. Pity that her Hanyou friend happened to be running an errand far from the forest and Sango had left with Miroku to visit Kohaku with their three children.
Even Kaede was most likely tending to the terrified village folk that had fled shortly after the attack. She had to do this by herself.
Zig-zagging through the trees, Kagome panted, reaching behind her and brushing her fingers over the remaining fletchings in her quiver. Four left.
Skidding on her heel, she ducked behind a truck and nocked her bow. Trying to quiet her breath, Kagome stilled and listened.
Undergrowth kicked up, sending dirt scattering with a thunderous noise. The very earth seemed to shake. Kagome gasped and raised a shield of reiki to block the incoming blast that skittered in close, before she leapt out from behind the tree, firing at the sorceress.
The glowing pink arrow embedded itself in her shoulder, causing the woman to let out an ear-piercing wail that echoed throughout the forest. Kagome grit her teeth and put a hand over her ear, feeling the ground tremble under her feet. Her eyes watered and stung, forcing them shut.
"Curse you! I promise you shall pay for that, priestess!" Fell on deaf ears.
Disorientated, senses ringing, Kagome didn't notice the crackling beam of purple youki that shot through the air toward her. What she did notice- and feel, was the sensation of being bulldozed. A hard tackle knocked into her side, sending the priestess flailing away and landing like a rag doll on the ground, rolling a few times, limbs sprawled. Spitting dirt out of her mouth, Kagome coughed and raised her head, eyes widening.
Sesshoumaru of all demons stood in her place, body twitching. Aftershocks of purple static raced over pale skin. His lips were drawn back, exposing sharp fangs, a hiss escaping clenched teeth.
"Sesshoumaru?" Kagome croaked, picking herself up unsteadily and taking a step toward him. "What are you- why did you-?"
She didn't get an answer as the sorceress came sailing toward them, long fingers flexed wide as she wailed. Kagome lifted her bow, only to find it falling apart in her hands, broken.
Seeing no alternative the miko moved in front of the Daiyoukai, throwing her hands up and raising a shield, She grunted, feeling the impact of the creature hit it and subsequently burning with shrieks into nothingness, ash and flesh sizzling into the air. Kagome panted once everything became silent and the sorceress had completely disintegrated, wiping her brow.
Blue eyes then flicked to Sesshoumaru curiously. He'd saved her? She supposed it wasn't unheard of. He'd done it a few times in the past and they were technically still allies after Naraku's defeat. But 'taking the bullet' for her, so to speak? That was new and unexpected.
It was kind of...sweet? And that wasn't ever usually associated with the proud lord. Due to this, Kagome approached his oddly still figure from behind. "That got out of hand. I really should have dealt with her sooner but I guess I got all panicked and stuff so I led her in here. I'm not used to fighting on my own and it's been a little while," she babbled, laughing awkwardly. That awkward feeling doubled ten-fold when he didn't answer.
Instead of feeling insulted, Kagome blinked and noticed the tenseness of his limbs, the slight tremble. Lifting out her hand with the intent to touch, she stepped closer. "Sesshoumaru? Hey, are you alright?"
"Do not touch me!" He snarled a second too late.
Her hand rested on his arm before Kagome Higurashi disappeared.
Feeling came back into her hands, digits twitching, palms pushing against solid earth to lift herself up groggily. Her fingers noted the dust and small rocks biting into her skin as tired lashes peeled open, blinking.
"What the...what happened?" Kagome groaned, sitting back on her heels and glancing around. "Did I pass out?" She touched her head, feeling for a bump.
It looked as though she'd been moved from Inuyasha's forest, but where the heck she'd been taken remained a mystery. Light purple skies and thick puffy clouds stretched far above her head. The atmosphere felt strangely charged, like a humid summer day awaiting a distant storm despite there being no sun.
Kagome checked again, but as first thought, there wasn't a hint of it anywhere. Looking at the building before her, she tilted her head and stood.
It looked like a traditional Japanese mansion, tiled roofs a deep royal blue. One of the doors was slightly ajar- silver hair visible for a moment before the strands disappeared inside, a soft noise signalling the door sliding shut.
The path toward it that she was currently standing on stretched wide, but not infinite, stopping like it was a bridge suspended in the air. Curious, Kagome walked to the edge, eyes widening at the sheer drop awaiting her below. Clouds dipped beneath the path, which wasn't supported by any beams or structure that she could see, just solid earth. No matter how much she searched, the miko couldn't see land beneath the clouds.
"So...guessing I'm not in the feudal era," she murmured, before glancing at the mansion and walking towards it. The black pearl of Inuyasha's father's resting place briefly came to mind. "Or maybe I am but I'm in some kind of special place for demons?"
Glancing behind her confirmed nothing but an endless path stretching out into the horizon. She'd rather take her chances asking for directions at the mansion first.
I wonder where Sesshoumaru ran off to, she mused, assuming the glimpse of silver had been him. Only one demon owned hair so silky. Maybe this is his home?
Making to touch the wooden doors of the large entrance gate, Kagome started when they opened of their open accord, groaning and sliding slowly outwards. Inside the courtyard, countless little green imps hurried from the buildings in the mansion's compound, clutching bundles of scrolls towering high in their arms.
Blinking, Kagome watched them madly dash from building to building, their feet accompanied by little grunts of exertion. Was it just her, or did they all look like Jaken?
Ah, maybe that was being rude. Perhaps some of them were lady imps, but...
She squinted. They definitely looked and sounded like the grumpy retainer, dressed exactly like him. Why there were hundreds of Jakens running around remained to be seen.
Kagome hesitantly decided to make for the main building, which most of the Jakens seemed to be heading in and out of quickly. Trying to skirt out of their way, a few unlucky imps bumped into her legs.
"Ow! Watch where you're going!" Cried one in his usual grating voice.
Another looked up at her, groaning. "Oh no, not you again! Get out of here at once, you'll make him lose track!"
Kagome frowned and opened her mouth to ask what he meant, but the Jaken clones hurried on. Perplexed, she continued inching inside, hugging the walls to try and keep out of the imps way. Inside proved to be tastefully decorated, candles lighting the shadowed room the further in she crept. Swords hung on the walls, but mostly the space was taken up by countless cabinets and shelves towering high, filled to the brim with scrolls. Peering into the glass windows gave her a glimpse of what was being stored inside, and Kagome gaped at the sheer amount of scrolls stacked on top of each other, pressed close like sardines in a can. Obviously somebody hadn't organised their paperwork in a long time.
The candles eventually led her toward a large, high desk. And there the demon lord sat. He poured over scrolls, winter lashes lowered, golden eyes flicking over the words. She noted that he seemed to have changed clothes; the red and white silks having been replaced with a royal blue and white version of the same outfit, the honeycomb design appearing more regal than bloodthirsty without the red. The Jakens threw the scrolls they were holding onto the impossibly large pile towering high next to Sesshoumaru's desk, soon retreating to presumably get more.
"Um...Sesshoumaru?" Kagome tried, voice thin. "I feel like a filing system would-"
His head jerked up, surprise registering on his usually blank features, before he collected himself. He then continued reading.
Kagome bristled. "Hey, I'm talking to you. You're being kind of rude."
"Perhaps this one is ignoring you because your presence is a hindrance to my work, miko," he uttered eloquently. "Leave."
"I'd be happy to if you'd just take me back to Inuyasha's Forest," she seethed. "I don't know why you brought me here in the first place if I'm just in the way."
He tutted and discarded a scroll, flexing his fingers and leaking acid from his claws onto the paper as it fell, disintegrating into thin air. At that moment, the mansion walls seemed to shake, a bellowing roar sounding out in the distance.
The various imps squeaked and jumped, some dropping their scrolls as they scrambled over each other to bring forth yet more in a mini stampede. Kagome gaped and moved to the wall, clinging to it.
"What's going on!" She yelled.
Sesshoumaru frowned, picking up more scrolls and breaking the seals, reading quicker. "It appears the real miko has gone missing. She disappeared shortly after touching our shoulder-" he opened another. "Ideas so far; the sorceress must have put a spell on Kagome or teleported her elsewhere. The miko left no scent or clues as to where she went, therefore the best plan would be to find what spell was possibly used."
Kagome stared, mouth hanging open. "T-the real Kagome? But I'm...I'm Kagome?"
"Silence. You are but our host's fantasy who frolics from one emotion to the other," he dismissed, minding exquisite silver hair back from his shoulder.
The ground trembled again. Loud bangs sounded out, thunder and growling crashing in the sky above. "Look, what you're describing- I can remember touching your shoulder and I just defeated that sorceress you're talking about. I'm not sure what you mean by 'host,' but I'm me!"
Sesshoumaru's inhuman gaze lifted and pinned her in place. He then huffed quietly, steadying his quill and inkpot when it trembled on his desk, the snarling sounding closer. "A likely story. Make yourself useful and go calm that fool outside until repression comes. If you still have inane questions afterwards, I will be in more of a collected mind to answer."
"Uh...okay? What 'fool' are you talking about?"
He dismissed her with a wave of an elegant, deadly hand, before the scrolls tumbled onto his desk and hid him from view. "The angry one."
She didn't have much of a choice as the number of Jaken's increased, all jabbering worriedly and creating an agitated choir. Becoming claustrophobic, Kagome quickly stepped over them, squashing a few under her feet and dashing for the exit.
Making her way outside, Kagome took a few steadying breaths of fresh air, hearing another loud roar clearly above her head. Looking up, she found that the sky had dyed blood red, visible static crackling over the clouds.
A silvery-white inuyoukai leapt out from behind the powdery whisps in the sky, bellowing a crackling, enraged snarl. Its lips were peeled back, large teeth glistening with spittle. Kagome gulped, breath hitching.
I wonder if that's Sesshoumaru's cousin or something.
It proved difficult to think of a way to get the great beast's attention. He seemed happy to fly around and belt out roars of deep rage that curdled in her stomach, shaking the earth of the suspended mansion.
Kagome frowned, raising her arms and deciding the best course of action would be to seize attention boldly. Putting her palms out flat, reiki glowed upon her skin, spilling out as a large, consuming orb of pink light. The imps in the courtyard squeaked and scattered.
The inuyoukai stilled, interest zeroing in on her. It then shot down from the sky like someone had lit its fuse, paws slamming down onto the courtyard. With a short cry, Kagome lost her balance and rocked backwards on her heels, landing on her ass. Wincing, she felt her reiki die down just in time for a large wet nose to prod against her cheek. It moved to hover inches from her face, inhaling deeply.
Black hair lifted and tossed in the air from the action before Kagome pushed it aside and stood. Two red eyes stared down at her, a deep noise rumbling in the demon's chest and curling out of his teeth like a hiss of steam.
"H-hello," she cleared her throat and tried not to let herself show weakness. How the hell did she get into these situations? "It's nice to meet you, I'm-"
'You are missing,' the words hissed out, guttural and deep. 'Where is the miko? We lost her. How could we lose her!'
Kagome jolted and tried to hold still as the dog demon snarled, it's mouth unmoving despite the words she could hear.
She lifted her hands up, confused but keeping her voice gentle. "It's alright. I'm right here."
'It is her fault.'
Her brow twitched, gaze flattening. "Excuse me?"
More growls vibrated out into the air, sending her stomach into a flutter of frightened knots, but she held her ground. 'The miko touched us despite the hit of energy we endured! She is foolish!' He barked, tail swishing in agitation. 'Should have known better!'
Kagome felt her temper spike, glaring. She stepped, closer, heedless of her stomach bumping against his nose. "Well MAYBE if you'd just told me you were still struggling with the effects of the energy instead of getting quiet, I'd have backed off!" She snapped. "Instead, I wanted to see if you were okay, you know, like a friend!"
'We are not friends!'
"You took a blast of youki for me, stop being so stubborn!"
His jaws opened wide then and Kagome gasped, throwing her hands up defensively as his large teeth came within mere inches of her ear- before a whip of green light snapped out. It wrapped around his jaw several times, yanking with such a force the giant inuyoukai lost his footing, landing with a thud that shook the earth.
Kagome took a steadying breath once she'd caught her balance, eyes travelling from the whip to Sesshoumaru. This time, his honeycomb design was pale grey.
She opened her mouth to ask why he'd changed clothes, but nearly everything clicked the moment the inuyoukai on the ground snarled, fur releasing red mists that circled around him. Heat ruffled her clothes until the haze dispersed.
From within, another Sesshomaru sat with a foul expression, the whip wrapped around his midsection. His eyes remained burning red, markings jagged. His own white clothes bore the bright red honeycomb design of his clan. Only...for some reason, the crimson bloom seemed a different shade than what she was used to.
From the way he trembled with palpable rage, and from the complete and utter apathy rolling off the new Sesshoumaru, Kagome could only conclude one thing;
She was trapped somewhere with multiple versions of Sesshoumaru.
"Wrath, please calm yourself," uttered the Sesshoumaru in grey.
"Release me at once, you cannot stifle me!" The other snarled.
Kagome looked between the two, finally settling her gaze on the calm newcomer. Something the Sesshoumaru from earlier had said resounded in her mind. 'Make yourself useful and go calm that fool outside until repression comes.'
"Are you...repression?" She asked hesitantly.
"Hn," steady, lifeless eyes remained on 'Wrath.' "We must return you to your cage. Sadness has not displayed such childishness, you should know better than to act like an unruly pup."
Scratch that. She was most likely trapped in Sesshoumaru's mind and was currently conversing with his emotions.
Kagome put a hand to her head, feeling a migraine coming on. Why did these things always happen to her of all people?
Chapter 2: Intelligence
Standing before the desk once more, Kagome looked between the Sesshoumaru clones standing beside her, and the one towering above.
Tentatively, she cleared her throat. "Um…"
Three pairs of intense, inhuman eyes locked on her, making the miko struggle not to wilt. One Sesshoumaru staring at her like he'd discovered something unpleasant on the bottom of his boot was enough. Three was simply too much. "I calmed the 'angry one', just like you asked. Kinda. Can you answer some questions now?"
The Sesshoumaru at the desk frowned, glancing at Wrath, who remained bound by the glowing whip.
"What do you wish to know? Be quick, I am quite busy."
Kagome sucked in a breath to try and hold her tongue. "What's your 'host' doing right now?"
He lifted a scroll and began reading. "Flying towards Brittle Valley located in the Northern Lands. The oni sorceress carried the faint scent of it. Therefore we fly there to interrogate any of her remaining clan as to discover what spell or curse she used on the miko to make her disappear."
Kagome blinked owlishly, "wow. That's… quick work."
All three Sesshoumaru's seemed to preen a little.
"Precisely," said the one at the desk. "If that's everything, Repression, can you escort the miko fantasy back to her domain? And keep a stricter eye on her."
Kagome squeaked as her arm was seized by the apathetic demon beside her. "On top of managing the other emotions?" He asked in an even tone.
Oh God, this is going to kill me, Kagome tugged at her arm. "Wait! I'm not done! I keep telling you that I'm the real Kagome! Somehow I got stuck inside here. I need to tell Sesshoumaru where I am."
The three quietly scoffed in their own ways, but the one in blue continued being the main spokesman. "That sounds quite impossible. Besides, the only way you'd communicate directly to our host would be by getting into his consciousness where the stream of thoughts flows from. They come to me in the form of these scrolls."
Kagome had to do some mental gymnastics, but in the spirit of all things demonic, decided to just go with it.
"Okay, and the scrolls get here by those Jakens-"
"Do not infer that those imps are useful. They are only here right now because the young lord has a headache," Repression spoke up, massaging his own temples. "When they gather in clusters, it means he is stressed."
"Yes, the scrolls would find their way to me either way with or without their 'help.' I am our host's Intelligence and Organisation," said the Sesshoumaru with the royal blue crest, brushing back his hair and collecting it into a low hanging ponytail.
Kagome glanced at the scrolls haphazardly squished into the cabinets and shelves. "That so?"
He didn't seem to catch the dryness of her tone. "Indeed."
"I wouldn't have thought of that as an emotion."
He tossed his head, levelling a holier than thou look at her, "this one is not an emotion. I oversee the thoughts and assist the host with facts, intuition and forming decisions," he uttered, writing something down onto a scroll himself.
"Well…if you can do that, surely I don't need to find the stream of consciousness or whatever? You could just tell Sesshoumaru that I'm right here in his head."
Intelligence snorted, lips curving with amusement while giving her an assessing, patronising look. He then grabbed a blank scroll and wrote something down, sliding a blue ribbon around it and throwing it down to a waiting Jaken. "Very well, see what happens."
Kagome yanked her arm free from Repression and ran after the imp, wanting to see the process. The imp hurried out of the main hall and into another room, approaching a large fireplace that gave Kagome pause. It roared and crackled with the same blazing youki that she could remember feeling whenever Sesshoumaru transformed into his true form in the past. Harsh and heavy, making her almost want to hold her breath. When the Jaken clone threw the scroll into the flickering flames, Kagome frowned. Was it possible…the flames were actually his consciousness?
The Jaken clone waited, only for a scroll with the same ribbon to be spat back out- hitting him on the head. "Ack!"
Kagome wilted, guessing that meant the news had been rejected by the real Sesshoumaru. Stubborn guy. Didn't he have any imagination? Granted she'd never heard of a spell so unbelievable before either, but still.
Instead of turning to leave, Kagome hesitated and glanced at the fire. Curious, she approached the flames, reaching out and wondering if she could just kinda… get into the stream of consciousness via the fireplace. Maybe it wouldn't hurt-
Her feet lifted from the floor.
Repression gripped the back of her summer dress tightly, inspecting her with a cold, wintry gaze that could've made seasoned warriors cry. "It is time for this farce to end. I am returning you back to your domain," he spoke in a clear, clipped tone.
"Wait, no!" She yelled, kicking as best she could and struggling, but doing so mid-air was rather difficult. Her breath was knocked out of her a second later, the demon rushing through the air with the miko in tow, appearing in the courtyard. Those flames then rippled around him and Kagome cried out upon seeing them rise higher, consuming them both. Heat rippled close, and her lashes fluttered, feeling fur rush up to meet her hands and legs, cushioning them. She blinked upon realising that Repression had transformed, and she felt near engulfed by the sheer amount of back muscle and rippling fur she found herself laying on. The dog demon shifted, picking something up in his jaws and turning his great head to set it down near her. Her companion, Wrath was an unhappy passenger too, arms remaining bound as he sat not too far away with a foul expression.
Kagome cried out when the inuyoukai beneath them lunged, leaping directly into the sky and starting to soar away. Gripping the strands of fur until her knuckles bled white, Kagome ducked her face into the warmth of his back.
Huh, he smelled kind of nice. No, focus Kagome!
Lifting her head, Kagome heard a snarl- noticing Wrath struggling to keep his balance. Without the use of his arms, it was proving difficult.
He rocked onto his side and landed heavily, threatening to slide off the great beast's spine.
Red eyes cracked open when a strong grip latched onto the fine silks of his clothes. Kagome knelt over him, grunting and pulling him back to safety. Brief surprise seemed to widen those bloodthirsty eyes, stiffening when she braced herself over him, arm sliding around his shoulders to keep them steady- strong gusts of wind lashing at them. As they soared higher into the pleasant light purple skies, she glanced behind them at the shrinking mansion, watching its image become fainter.
I could have gotten more answers from there if they'd just taken me seriously, Kagome sighed. Below, more land finally came into view, trees sporting white leaves and appearing as a blanket of snow, patches of blue breaking them up. She assumed they were lakes and rivers.
"Do you intend to straddle me the whole flight, miko?" A rumble sounded out, hot breath fanning over her collarbone.
Kagome squeaked, finally noticing their position. Her knees slipped, causing their chests to meet, noses inches apart. Her cheeks turned a slight shade of red. "Ah- uh...ahaha-"
"You are a fool for assisting me," Wrath hissed, breaking whatever stupor she'd briefly fallen into. "You cannot survive such a fall, but I can. Release me at once!"
"Huh, you're prickly, aren't you?" She tried to lift herself up slightly, tucking dark hair behind her ear and noticing his jaw tick. "It's okay, buddy. I won't tell anyone your secret."
"What secret?" A snarl laced his voice, which vibrated directly into her chest.
"That you're actually somewhat thoughtful. I've dealt with Inuyasha for a long time and lemme tell ya, this gruff and snarly thing you've got going on can't hide blatant concern. You're kind of similar in some respects."
His permanently red eyes flashed with an inner light, narrowing. The heat of him seemed to increase, rising to alarming heights. "Inuyasha..."
Kagome winced. Maybe she shouldn't have said anything. "Um, yes?"
A snarl echoed in her eardrums, but not from the male beneath her. Looking up, Kagome gaped at the unfamiliar Sesshoumaru standing before them, the breeze tossing silver hair back, revealing the bold green of his crest. Unlike the other demon lord look-alikes, this one carried a sword at his hip, but it wasn't his usual Bakusaiga.
She squinted. It looked like Tokijin. And was it just her, or did this Sesshoumaru look just a hint younger?
His eyes were blazing, the gold luminous. Thin lips peeled back in disgust, flashing sharp fangs. "You dare compare us, miko? And you, Wrath, what nerve you have," he uttered softly, poison clinging to his words. "You must be punished for touching what is rightfully mine."
While soaring through the skies and noting the sun's position, dipping slowly below the horizon, Sesshoumaru inhaled sharply. Inuyasha's scent briefly flitted by his nose. The whelp was close.
He frowned, mulling over what to do.
He'd flown to the village of Edo and searched the forest but as first suspected, Kagome Higurashi was gone. Various ideas and scenarios had flashed through his mind, one dramatic, inane thought being that she'd been stolen away back into the future. He'd quickly disposed of such an idea. Ridiculous.
Now, however, he had a plan to find the sorceresses kin. If Inuyasha interfered he could potentially complicate things… or be useful, but the Daiyoukai wasn't about to ask for help.
Besides, his pride was on the line. He was perfectly capable of saving the miko on his own, if she hadn't already done the saving herself.
Sesshoumaru bit back a sigh, flying down to land on a tree branch. Inuyasha climbed down from the higher branches where he'd yelled his 'greeting', landing beside him in a crouch. The elder brother observed that casual encounters such as these had replaced their usual fights since Naraku's death, though neither acknowledged this. He still found it strange.
"Ya look like you came from the direction of the village. Was everything alright?" The Hanyou asked gruffly.
Sesshoumaru's gaze slid away. Lying was beneath him. He left that sort of thing to Jaken. "It was attacked by an oni sorceress."
Inuyasha's eyes widened, "WHAT?!" He stood, glancing at the demon's shoulder. Nostrils flared, no doubt picking up a certain scent. "Did you see Kagome?" He asked sharply.
Irritation briefly marred Sesshoumaru's brow. "Hn."
"Gah- shit, I knew I shouldn't have left her to take care of things by herself! I gotta go see if she's okay," Inuyasha grit out, leaping onto another tree and then hurrying away.
Sesshoumaru watched him go, his gut tightening, teeth aching. A sudden burst of irrational anger and other emotions possessed him. "Such disbelief in her abilities..." he uttered quietly.
Exhaling shakily, Sesshoumaru clamped down on such things, shaking himself and collecting frayed senses. He then leapt up, continuing to fly North.
"You spout nonsense!" Wrath bellowed, shifting out from under the miko and getting to his feet. He glared at Kagome, "you! Release me from these binds!" He snapped.
She opened her mouth, gaping like a fish. She felt completely out of her depth but tried to piece together something to say. "C-calm down you two, this is no time for-"
"Do not lay hands on that filth, Kagome," the newcomer hissed her name. "Come to me, this one is a superior match, better than-"
"You shall not say it!" Wrath launched forward, pushing off the balls of his feet. The back beneath them lurched, and Kagome grunted, bumping her chin on the fur and hanging on for dear life. She noticed the sky dyed with blotches of green, red soon joining it as Wrath successfully got his arms free. The two started to fight, growling and scraping with one another.
Repression snarled, tossing his head and glancing at the three figures on his back, swatting at the newcomer with his tail.
The back lurched again, and another particularly harsh gust of wind send Kagome rolling off the inuyoukai's shoulder. Gasping, she scrambled for purchase, but silky strands slid through her fingers. Kagome cried out, feeling her body plummet. Black hair tossed up into the air above, her hands frozen, fingers outstretched as the various Sesshoumaru figures got smaller the further she fell, preoccupied with each other.
The lashing breeze made tears prick her eyes, and Kagome grit her teeth, squeezing them shut.
A noise built in the back of her throat, spilling out in the form of a shout. "Sesshoumaru!"
She didn't call for any single emotion, but to the real thing, forcing strength into her voice and letting out a flash of reiki.
Almost immediately, a bright orb burst out of the forest below. It swung through the air towards her falling figure, enveloping her in its glow. Kagome landed in a pair of arms and latched on tight, exhaling shakily and resting her cheek against a broad shoulder. Somehow, he felt more stable than Repression had, solid and strong. He smelled the same. A masculine scent, but warm, if warmth had a scent. Like the type of strangely comforting heat experienced when sitting before a hearth. Kagome opened her eyes and winced, squeezing them shut again, finding the light too bright.
Something like a palm rested on the crown of her head. Kagome started upon feeling it move in a lingering stroke, fingers curling into the stands of her hair.
"Keep your eyes closed," came Sesshoumaru's familiar voice, silkier and softer than the others she'd met. From the motion of the air, she could feel them descending at a controlled pace.
"T-thanks for the s-save," she said faintly, very confused and a little shaky from the fall. "Which o-one are you?"
"It is not important."
Kagome tried to crack open her eyes, but just as she did, hands seized her waist. Suddenly she'd been pried off him and felt herself falling. Opening her mouth, probably to curse- Kagome landed a second later in water, feeling it enclose overhead.
Sinking down for a moment, she kicked her legs and quickly surfaced, coughing and spitting water. Minding her hair from her eyes, Kagome looked around, finding no trace of her rescuer.
"Jerk," she mumbled, sighing and swimming to the shore of the small lake, trees enclosing it on all sides. "But a nice jerk."
I wonder what his deal was. Maybe Sesshoumaru has an unexpected shy side?
Looking up at the three figures in the sky, Kagome noted things seemed to have calmed down, but carried on walking, dipping under the shade of the branches. Repression was planning on putting me in my 'domain' wherever that is. Either way, none of them were listening to me. Maybe I can find a nicer emotion or something to help me out.
As Kagome twisted her hair, letting droplets trail onto the ground and shivering a little, she remained unaware of the dangers around her, including a certain demon lord shadowing her steps.
Chapter 3: Lust
AN: This chapter is rated M but not for outright smut (that comes later in the fic lol). I couldn't write a certain emotion and keep this a T rated fic.
Kagome sneezed, sniffing and blinking groggily. Her clothes were damp, the sky now darker despite there being no light source to disappear under the horizon. However, the world she found herself in refused to plunge into night, teetering on the edge yet allowing everything to remain visible. It was strange but convenient.
She estimated that she'd walked for two hours at least and didn't feel particularly hungry despite not eating for a good while.
Tired and uncomfortable, she sighed, dragging her feet across the forest floor now. There was simply nothing around. Just tree after tree after hotspring-
Kagome froze, zeroing in on the heavenly looking steam rolling off rippling water.
It was the equivalent of placing a carrot out for a rabbit, she dove for it. Kagome yanked her dress over her head and unclasped her bra, kicking off her shoes and panties and dive-bombing right in.
Surfacing, she moaned with satisfaction, toes curling. The warm waters felt exquisite on her cold skin, soothing sore feet and working out the tension in her body after a strange, stressful day. It occurred to her while glancing at her sprawled clothes that being naked inside Sesshoumaru's mind probably wasn't the wisest idea. Then again… it was Sesshoumaru's mind. The icy, prideful Daiyoukai. He wouldn't care. Heck, he'd never look at her like that.
Still, I wonder what that emotion with the green crest meant by 'this one is a superior match.' It all happened so fast I wasn't really sure what to make of him.
Maybe he had a rivalry with Wrath or something. She was certain it wasn't about her. The real Sesshoumaru 'tolerated' humans and liked very few, but the idea of attraction to one was silly. She giggled a little at her own funny thoughts. She could never imagine him in the throes of passion, let alone blushing or getting aroused just by looking at a mere human woman. Nah. Never.
A sigh rolled out into the steam.
Kagome froze, stiffening and slowly turning, reluctantly glancing over her shoulder.
Silver hair trailed into the water, some strands plastered over a broad chest.
Sweat and droplets clung to his skin, sliding down over biceps and a regal chin that tilted up to meet her gaze. Clandestine promises came to mind the second she made eye contact, her stomach tightening, breath hitching. His gaze remained half-lidded, lips curving slowly, attention dragging downwards over her body.
The air suddenly felt too cold and Kagome squeaked, hugging her arms over her chest and squirming back a bit in the water, mortified.
He tilted his head slightly, damp bangs brushing over winter lashes, looking amused. "Hn? Are you attempting to say my name, Ka-go-me?" He purred each syllable as though it were a sinful phrase.
Kagome died on the spot. Henceforth, her ghost possessed her reanimated body and took over. She tried to work her mouth, which was proving difficult, as he seemed to be watching it like he was imagining using it for naughty purposes.
"I- ah- is… is this your hot spring?" She winced, stiffly inching back. He's looking at me like- like I'm- a...woman?
It sounded silly, but the eighteen-year-old honestly didn't have much experience with such adult attention. He stretched languidly, lean body arching up, taut muscles clenching and relaxing. Kagome tried not to stare.
"Indeed. Do not fret, we can share. In fact," he appeared next to her, draping an arm over the rim of the pool. "I would be glad of the company. Yours, specifically."
"Oh?" She croaked, cheeks burning. Now he was very, very close, his side almost brushing hers. "I was actually thinking of getting out. Like right now," oh his eyes. His abdomen. His smile, his- no! No! Bad Kagome!
Sesshoumaru's lips curved, attention running over her with fervour. "Right now?" He repeated softly, hand flexing and drawing out, claws skimming her bare shoulder and causing her to jolt as he twined some dark hair around lithe digits. "It is very cold though…"
Goosebumps raced over her skin. Kagome felt it at once, the temperature outside of the pool dropping several degrees, making her dip lower in the water. "That's f-fine. If you could just turn around that would be-"
"What is there to retreat from, little miko?" He uttered, dipping closer. His nose skimmed her flushed neck, something wet and soft gliding up her jaw to drag over a burning cheek. "This one knows how much you enjoy bathing."
Kagome squealed and smacked a hand over his mouth, smushing an arm against her chest to try and keep her modesty. Whatever was left of it.
"Lust?" She chanced weakly, heart thundering wildly as her head spun. Trembling thighs pressed together tightly.
Something warm and slick slid over her fingers and she whipped her hand back, gawking upon witnessing his tongue return into his mouth. Half lidded, lascivious golden eyes observed her keenly. "Yes?"
She took a breath, inching back when he prowled closer playfully. "Okay, buddy ole' pal can we just- hey! Put that down!" She snapped, her ankle currently within his grasp, lifted casually out of the water to reveal a shiny wet leg.
His eyes danced.
Her own narrowed, "down."
The Sesshoumaru clone's grip tightened, yanking Kagome closer as he leaned over her, trapping her against the rocks. His knee slid between her legs. "Such fire. You would make a more than acceptable partner for-"
"The bedroom! Yes, I get it," she pressed a hand against his chest, blinking at the solid wall against her palm. Wow. "Lust, y-you just think you want this because you're uh.. pretty much predisposed to wanting… s-sex," she said thinly, feeling his thighs shift against hers under the water.
"That may be," he bent down, lips crashing to her neck in a long, lingering kiss, inhaling sharply like she'd made him breathless. His mouth then attacked her collarbone, sucking on the skin with ravenous zeal. Kagome shuddered and gasped, squeezing her eyes shut. "But it does not change the fact that I hunger for you," his voice was like the finest velvet.
Claw tipped fingers then gently pried her arm away from her chest and brushed a hand across her breast, squeezing the generous mound and teasing until a shaky moan escaped her mouth. Long silver hair slid forward and tickled her sensitive flesh. Lust took the opportunity to strike while her lips were parted, pressing his mouth to hers and groaning lowly. He kissed her in a dizzying way, hard one moment and brushing his tongue against hers, and then coy and teasing, nipping at her lips with sharp fangs. What was troubling was that Kagome's brain had short-circuited, mouth moving for her. Because the fever inside had taken over and her hips squirmed a little. He was a dominating force and it felt strangely powerful to brush her tongue against his wicked one and angle her mouth in such a way that it made him groan. Did I...do that? She thought hazily.
Those hands slid over her body, stroking, teasing and rubbing once they found the spot between her legs, making Kagome gasp into his mouth. He shifted his sculpted hips, pressing his rigid, aching erection against the soft skin of her thigh.
Sensations crashed down to her core, and alarm bells rang the second she felt the hardness. She abruptly thrust her leg up, shoving her foot against his abdomen and pushing to create some space between them.
"No. T-this isn't fair to the real Sesshoumaru," she panted a little, reeling. "He hasn't chosen this… I wouldn't be able to look him in the eye if I uh… took advantage of your most gracious invitation. It wouldn't be right," she swallowed, trying to collect herself. "I'd never want someone to only embrace one aspect of me."
Hooded golden eyes pierced her, causing her legs to tremble. "Ah, you tease me tonight," he chuckled, the deep baritone of his voice pleasant and lulling. "You know that the one we serve is sleeping at the moment. You also know of his aches and pains, yet you cruelly deny him even in his slumber? At times such as this, he cannot call upon Repression to tear us apart. Let us take advantage of the opportunity," he said, stroking a hand down her navel. Kagome shivered and gripped his wrist.
"I-I don't know what you're talking about but I think you're mistaken. I'm not like you, I don't belong here. I'm the real Kagome. I-I got trapped in Sesshoumaru's head."
He blinked, frowning softly. "Oh?"
"It's the truth," she glanced at the sky, finding blotches of magenta leaking over it.
He seemed to think for a moment, before leaning closer. Raw, undisguised yearning stared at her. "If it is so…" he took a steadying breath. "Then there are many, many things I have wanted to do to you."
Kagome froze, clearing her throat. "D-don't you mean: say to me?" She said tentatively, hopefully.
"No, not at all. Though," pale lips curved into a devilish smirk. "I would tell the real Kagome that every time she was aroused and I was in the vicinity, I could smell it."
Kagome's face burned hotter. She thought of all the times she'd gone to the hot springs alone in the past few months. How, sometimes, she'd worked out a little frustration using her fingers under the water. A handful of times she'd returned to the village and ran into Sesshoumaru, but she'd been very chipper and polite, inquiring if he were visiting. Nothing had indicated that he'd known, he'd treated her normally before taking his leave.
"You… did?" She asked faintly, screaming internally.
"Indeed," a sinuous tongue glided up the shell of her ear, hand returning to her breast. His clawed thumb teased at a rosy nipple. "To want so very badly that you try to satisfy yourself on such small, pitiful fingers. This one wondered if you'd enjoy...maybe even prefer some claws dragging on your skin," his fingers brushed down her hip, deadly claws nicking her skin and causing her to shiver. "My fool of a brother hasn't touched you yet, has he?"
What's he...talking about? She began to feel dizzy and needy again, gasping when he sucked hard on her neck, leaving a hickey. "But...Inuyasha and I-" she groaned. "We're not together any more."
They hadn't been for several months.
Hot breath fanned over her cheek. "You almost had me convinced, little fantasy, but this one knows you lie," Lust dipped long digits to her folds, rubbing.
Kagome grit her teeth and, with a flash of inspiration, she remembered the sight of neighbourhood dogs fighting back home. Grabbing his shoulders and pushing, she leaned up, blunt teeth latching onto a pointed ear and biting down in a hard nip. "I said no!" She barked.
Sesshoumaru's clone jolted, golden eyes widening. Kagome panted, unsure if he'd explode into a rage for the bold, disrespectful move.
To her astonishment, however, Lust blinked and touched his ear dazedly, brushing a thumb over the shell, before some colour tinged his cheeks and he looked at her. Inhuman eyes shone brighter than before, lips stretching into a sultry smile. "So you wish to play rough, dear one?" He purred, melting.
Kagome gaped but was saved from responding when a small rock sailed down, bouncing off his head. It landed in the water with a quiet 'plop!'
"What are you two doing?" Came a voice.
Kagome yelped and scrambled, ducking behind Lust's back. Peering up, her eyes widened upon seeing a young boy with short pale hair. His head was tilted curiously as he looked down at them from the higher rocks. The sight of Sesshoumaru as a child didn't immediately compute. She was having trouble picturing how such a cute baby faced boy with pinchable cheeks could grow into an aloof killing machine, but the same markings adorning his face acted as proof. He even wore similar-looking pale silks, but his own clan crest was an even brighter white, pure as snow.
Lust made a dismissive noise, turning. "Nothing that concerns you."
"Are you doing that thing that parents do in order to create offspring?"
Even Lust looked mildly embarrassed, judging by the clenching on his jaw. "Leave us, whelp."
The child's bright eyes narrowed, giving a poor attempt at a withering stare. Ah, there he is, Kagome thought. She waved at him, "excuse me! Could you please help a girl out and throw some clothes to me?"
He straightened, looking a little proud that she was asking him for help. "Since you have requested aid in such a respectful way, this one will do so. In exchange, you will answer my questions."
Kagome nodded enthusiastically as he disappeared into the bushes. Lust turned to her, raising a brow. He reached out, palms brushing her elbows. "You wish to leave?"
She bit back a heavy sigh, "yes. I've...stated my reasons why. If I stay any longer you'll jump me, right?" And she couldn't exactly guarantee she'd fight him either, judging by that make-out session she'd enjoyed. What the heck had that been about?
Lust eyed her, moving closer and making Kagome take a few steps back, blushing.
"You deny yourself so often," he muttered quietly. "You are...more alike than you realise. He also rarely allows himself to let me run wild and free through his veins. Were it up to me, things would not be as they are. Repression has too much power, over both of you, it seems."
Sesshoumaru? Kagome hugged her arms over her chest. "Sometimes having that control can be a good thing."
"Not when it denies you the flavours of life," Lust mused, glancing down at the spot between her legs, hidden beneath the waters. Kagome flushed a darker red and scrambled to the side of the pool the second Sesshoumaru's child self called out to her.
White silks were thrown onto her head, and Kagome pulled them away, blinking at the magenta crest.
"Those are my clothes," Lust frowned.
"The miko's strange garments were damp, bear with it," came a childish voice. The tiny Sesshoumaru remained hidden, presumably giving Kagome her privacy. Lust was not so gracious and openly watched when she stepped out, hurriedly patting herself down with her clothes to try and dry herself before putting on her bra and the fine silks over it. She tied the yellow obi tight around her waist and graciously left him the white underlayer and pants, not entirely cruel.
"It suits you," he purred, observing her from the edge of the hot springs while lounging in the water, chin pillowed in his hand.
Kagome tossed him a look, grabbing her panties and stepping into them, sliding them up toned legs and hearing a low, pained groan behind her as she bent over, presenting her ass. Maybe she was a little cruel. "A-aren't you going to stop me?" She asked curiously.
"Do you want me to chase you?" She squeaked and shook her head, causing him to chuckle. "This one will pursue, do not worry, but in my own time. I do not 'chase' females."
"Because they usually come to you if you do decide you want them, right?" Kagome muttered flatly, stepping into her shoes.
A brief beat of silence washed over them, and she paused, glancing at the demon. "Not all of them," he said softly, slit pupils dilating as they roved over her face, lingering on her parted lips.
Swallowing, Kagome turned on her heel without a second glance, holding her damp summer dress close while she hurried in the direction of the young boy.
Chapter 4: Innocence
Sesshoumaru started awake sometime in the night.
He'd merely sat down to lean against a trunk, intent on resting his eyes a moment, having been awake for several days already with limited chances to sleep- but he hadn't been intending to slip into dreams. He had a miko to find.
Perhaps it was that principle thought which had guided his desires and caused his current...predicament. He shifted his hips, feeling the heavy press of his armour. Gritting his teeth and hissing out a breath, the Daiyoukai dropped his head back to the tree. His cock strained, erection screaming for attention. For some reason, idiotic, feverish dreams had conjured Kagome bathing in a hot spring, returning his advances and making such delicious noises and squeaks it tightened the blazing heat in his lower abdomen.
Sesshoumaru's mouth downturned. He pinched the bridge of his nose. This was exceptionally annoying. Now he'd have to deal with his 'condition' before leaving, wasting time. Wincing, he loosened his armour and slid it off, before leaving to locate a waterfall and purge himself in the cold waters. He refused to give in to his baser instincts so soon after falling prey to them two days ago. Perhaps if he started to deny himself release he'd be free of the madness that had possessed him the past few months.
After locating the child, Kagome followed him away from the hot spring, happy to leave it behind. Her hand curled in Lust's clothing, feeling the silk brush over her body and trying not to think of him.
"Repression is looking for you, by the way," the miniature Sesshoumaru said, hopping onto a rock. The land had become more uneven, hills starting to roll beneath her feet. She climbed up one, following him and musing that he looked to be around seven years old, at least from a human's perspective.
"I see, guess I'm not surprised," she murmured. "Who are you?"
"I am not certain," he glanced at her, eyeing her curiously. "Some of the others call me Pest, Little Fool, Brat or Whelp. Most of the time they are quite content to ignore me," he frowned.
Kagome's brows drew together, "really? He's usually nicer to kids," she said, before shaking herself. The others weren't totally like Sesshoumaru and were probably just reacting to whatever emotion he was. "A-anyway, those don't sound like any emotions I know," her lips quirked. "I'll help you think about it."
"That is acceptable."
Kagome bit back a grin, twigs snapping under her feet, "so what did you want to ask me? You mentioned I had to answer a question."
"... This one has many questions," he nodded, short hair bouncing with the motion. His small, cute voice talking so stiffly sounded extremely adorable to her ears. She could see him think about what he was saying, trying to curb his words into that befitting a lord.
The demon glanced at her, eyes bright, face downright cherubic. "You said in the hot spring that you are the real Kagome. That means you can provide answers to everything this one demands to know."
Kagome blushed hotly, squinting at him. "How much of that did you see?"
"Not much," he dismissed breezily.
Reaching the crest of the hill, she stopped, looking down at the incline of rocks and trees that opened up to a small lake below. In the centre of the vast waters was a small traditional house with a white roof that looked like it had maybe two rooms at best.
"My domain. Every emotion or certain aspects of Lord Sesshoumaru's personality has a house, much like a shrine," he preened.
It looks kinda…small. Especially in comparison with Intelligence's mansion.
They started making their way down to it, Kagome holding onto the trees and bushes for balance.
Eventually, she'd been scooped up by the boy and he'd crossed the lake, flying to his humble house. They sat within the little living room, low table between them. Kagome adjusted her legs that were folded beneath her, holding a cup of tea. The sliding doors were open, letting in a gentle breeze as the sky brightened. She guessed the real Sesshoumaru had woken up by now.
"What would you like to know?"
He fidgeted, lips curving into a genuine smile. Kagome started, heart fluttering from sheer, pleased surprise.
"Tell this one everything there is to know about your Time. The Future," he demanded in his soft, boyish voice.
"Oh…" that was probably the last thing she'd expected him to say. "The real Sesshoumaru never showed interest in it before or asked about it."
"I am asking now," he huffed, blowing at silver bangs with frustration.
Kagome grinned at his adorable pout and leisurely sipped her drink, feeling the steam warm her lips. "Okay then. I guess I should start by saying that buildings are much much bigger than they are now. Taller than Sesshoumaru's True Form."
Golden eyes widened, hints of him trying to remain guarded and controlled. Kagome guessed that it was simply how Sesshoumaru had always been, and there was nothing wrong with it, but the difference lay in how he reacted as she told him more. Palpable emotions lit up his eyes, moved his shoulders, made thin lips curve. All that reaction had been ironed out later on in adulthood, especially after Inuyasha had hacked off his arm. It made her a little sad.
She detailed the boom in technology, the many wars she could remember learning about in History class, struggling to recall the economy and how daily life was in the Modern Era.
Partway through they moved outside onto his porch, sitting on his wooden steps and trailing their feet into the lake. The boy listened attentively, very quiet.
"Humans...can go to the moon?" He repeated her latest inane statement slowly.
"Yes!" Kagome clapped her hands, a little giddy to be talking about it. None of her friends had really been interested in her Time. Even Inuyasha, who had seen it, had been more invested in the food than anything else. "Gahh I wish I had my telescope, I could show you the constellations," she gushed, before pausing. "Oh but...I wonder if they would be different in the feudal era compared to my time," she pondered out-loud.
"Well, stars die."
His eyes widened as she struggled to explain, back peddling. "Thinking about it though, they probably wouldn't be any different. Only 500 years separate us after all. There are a few stars that could possibly explode in the Future, such as the red giant star Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion. It's about 650 light-years away, if it had exploded a couple of centuries ago, we still wouldn't know. Stars are so far away, even light from the closest stars take years to get to us."
"Hn," he shifted, resting small hands on his knees. "I suppose you are quite knowledgeable. This one did not know that stars could die," he uttered somberly, looking at his sharp toenails trailing slowly through the water. "I thought they would be a constant. Like demons."
Kagome's mouth clicked shut, realising that she hadn't clarified that demons weren't around in the Future. Hopefully they'd survived, living in obscurity, but she didn't want to burst that particular bubble.
"Don't sweat it, stars live for a long, long time. Red dwarf stars can last for trillions of years! You'll still have them around."
The young Sesshoumaru thought for a moment, his voice quiet. "I should like you to be a constant."
Kagome blinked and paused, tilting her head.
The child glanced at her, before smiling slightly. He then jerked his leg, splashing her.
Kagome gasped, "hey! I just dried off!" She giggled, kicking the water back.
He let out a noise, dissolving into a laugh, and Kagome was struck by the image. She'd never seen Sesshoumaru make such an unguarded expression, the sound boyish and carefree, his small fangs showing. It was a day of firsts. She found it a pleasant, happy noise. He quickly stifled it upon realising what he was doing, lips thinning as he frowned at his knees.
Kagome giggled, smiling and opening her mouth to encourage him, when he got up and padded inside. Hoping she hadn't upset him, Kagome drew one knee up to follow, soon pausing as he wandered back with two pieces of sliced fruit in his hands.
She watched as he sat primly beside her once more, collecting his airs of nobility, before offering her the watermelon slice. Kagome stared at him like he'd grown a third head. "I thought you didn't eat human food."
Some pink dusted his chubby cheeks. "This one does not," he stated firmly. "But father ate these with me when I was younger. They are mostly water, he assured me."
Giggling, Kagome accepted her slice and lifted it to her lips, digging in. As she bit into the red juicy middle, the miko noticed him shaking his head with dismay, slicing the middle into neat pieces and picking them up, eating neatly.
She swallowed, wagering his father had taught him that too, or perhaps his mother. He did everything in a kind of earnest way. "You know, I think you could be Innocence."
He frowned, swallowing. "That does not sound very impressive or Great, therefore it is not befitting for one such as me."
"Maybe you don't think so, but it's probably because of you that he could find it in himself to appreciate Rin and...come to love her. You're important."
She could tell he didn't agree and tried to change her wording a bit. "Besides, you could also be Curiosity."
"Hn?" The child Sesshoumaru brightened slightly, picking up another piece and eating it.
"Intelligence mentioned that he was also Organisation and helped Sesshoumaru with intuition. Maybe don't think of yourself as one thing, but as an aspect of his overall personality. Putting it like that, you could also be a bunch of other things," she gently tried to encourage, wiping her mouth. "And knowing Sesshoumaru, he'd decide for himself what he was...or wanted to be."
His small shoulders straightened, chin tilting up as his mouth set in a serious line. He nodded regally, glancing at her. "...That is acceptable."
Kagome softened and beamed, reaching out thoughtlessly with her free hand and resting it on his head, stroking a little, before freezing with realisation.
The little lord had stiffened as well, gaze fixed ahead of them. He didn't tell her to stop and made no move to push her away so Kagome tentatively pet the crown of his head, and was it just her or did it tilt slightly into her palm? His cheeks puffed up slightly, frowning at nothing in particular.
"I was wondering...do you have an irori here or fireplace?"
"No, why ask?"
"I was looking for the stream of consciousness. Do you know how to access it?"
Innocence shook his head, putting his finished slice aside.
"I thought maybe it would be possible to just…jump into the flames. Intelligence put his scrolls into the fire. Seems like it could be possible."
He frowned, thinking for a moment. "There should be one at another, more influential emotion's house," he said slowly. Kagome smiled and was about to voice her thanks, when something caught her attention. The sound of trees falling, crashing into the earth. Their branches and trunks snapped- but a roar had her tearing her hand away. The earth shook as something heavy thudded into it every so often, like footsteps.
Kagome quickly stood and rounded the small house via the porch, feeling Innocence brush up against her side, his head only coming up to her hip. They peered together at the forest beyond the lake, watching with astonishment while trees fell for seemingly no reason, as though pushed by an invisible force.
Between one moment and the next, a pair of large glowing crimson eyes became visible. Sesshoumaru's inuyoukai form dipped in and out of visibility, becoming see-through as he prowled, sniffing at the earth. A rumbling snarl built in the back of his throat, four more pairs of eyes opening on his forehead. The typical markings on his body glowed, joined by new, intricate ones spanning his shoulders, legs and flank. Steam hissed out parted jaws, acid occasionally leaking out to trail onto the floor and leave a black trail of scorched earth.
Kagome trembled. Thick, clogging youki rolled off the beast's form in waves, stealing her breath. She hadn't been truly afraid of Sesshoumaru in years, but the atmosphere, the blood-thirsty, searching aura clinging to the inuyoukai's fur...it was indescribable. Her legs shook, breath catching.
The beast's ears pricked, head snapping up to look at them. At her, she realised belatedly.
Kagome's bone's locked, shock and terror running through her as lips peeled back, rows upon rows of teeth revealed, saliva dripping down feral jaws. A roar thundered through the area, swallowing up all noise across the surface of the lake like a gust of wind.
Then it broke into a run, leaping into the lake. Water lashed out and sloshed around its legs from the ensuing splash which rolled waves onto the porch. The demon then frantically moved toward them.
"W-what does it want?!" Kagome yelled, taking a few steps back and holding onto the side of the house.
"I do not know, but Instinct has not bothered me before. Perhaps it is you he seeks," the boy uttered, moving to stand in front her.
Kagome quickly grabbed his hand, "what are you doing?! Let's go! You can't fight that guy!"
Golden eyes flashed, "you said that this one could be anything I wanted."
She shook her head desperately. "Right now you're being Naivety if you want to face that- ack!"
Flames rippled around the boy, a small, puppy-fied version of Sesshoumaru's true form standing before her. He gave a yip, barking at the impossibly large Daiyoukai lunging in dangerously close, open jaws coming down toward the house from above. Kagome gaped and threw herself forward, blocking his path to the pup and throwing a shield up.
Jaws collided into the reiki, sparks flying between them. A deep growl rumbled out, eyes flashing from behind the barrier and shining with an intelligence she didn't anticipate.
The miko grit her teeth, uncertain how long her barrier would hold if he kept up the pressure. His youki felt stifling as it flowed out against the reiki, seeking to consume, to dominate.
All at once- the pressure was gone.
Kagome gaped, watching the inuyoukai's side be slammed into, sending the beast toppling onto it's side. Bellowing snarls rang out, a second inuyoukai of equal size going straight for Instinct's neck, teeth latching down as the two rolled in the lake, tussling violently.
Squeaking, Kagome felt the pup yank his head up between her legs, forcing her to slide down his neck and settle for riding on his back. Innocence was about the size of a small pony as he turned and leapt into the air, sailing over the lake in the opposite direction of the snarling giants. Kagome gripped his fur, looking over her shoulder. Hard thrashes could be heard, the splashes sending waves rolling, swallowing the shoreline. The unknown inuyoukai had no distinct markings upon it, aside from Sesshoumaru's usual, so she couldn't tell what emotion had saved them. She wondered if it was Repression or the same shy one from before.
Innocence landed on the shore and took off, running as fast as his legs would carry him. Kagome buried her face into his neck while they disappeared into the shadows of the trees, dimly musing that he still carried that same warm scent, no matter the version of him.
Chapter 5: Sadness
Hopping off the miniature inuyoukai, Kagome sighed, rubbing her head. Innocence had run for what must've been miles, spooked by the continuous growls rolling out beyond the hills behind them. They'd ventured into mountain terrain, disturbing small grey stones on the ground. Mists clung around the edges of the path, getting thicker the further in they walked.
Kagome stopped and squinted further down the path, a cliff face towering high next to them. "Maybe we should head back. I don't like not knowing where I'm going when there's...ya know, sheer drops and cliffs around."
"You wish to go back toward the squabbling demons?" Her companion uttered, having transformed back. Brushing some lint off his shoulder, the boy eyed her sceptically.
"Well, you did kind of head in a straight line away from the danger…"
Innocence bristled like an angered pomeranian. "Perhaps if you had carried this one, as it should be and not the other way around, we would not be in this location you so detest."
Kagome's hackles rose in a similar fashion, brow twitching. "I was about to say that we could just go in another direction. I'm not ungrateful-"
"You sounded it," he sniffed, crossing small arms.
Taking a breath, Kagome turned on her heel. She knelt down before the little lord, looking him in the eye. "I'm very grateful you saved me. It's just...I'm a little on edge right now. I'm sorry."
Thin lips pursed as he glanced away, uncomfortable. "Apology accepted," the words came slowly. "Your worry is not unfounded. This one does not usually venture here."
The two glanced around, seeing nothing but grey cliffs and stone. Silence lingered, thick and eerie, much like the gathering mists.
Kagome straightened, hugging her arms. "And…where is 'here', exactly?"
"This is where things are put to be forgotten about. It does not usually work. It is more like…Repression's domain. Only it was not originally his, I do not think…" he struggled to explain, frowning at the ground. "It is like…this place was repression, but then he also became like myself and Lust."
"You mean he looks like Sesshoumaru, but was originally just a place in his head? I wonder what that means." Kagome pondered. "Maybe repression became a stronger emotion and that's why he gained his image. Weird- ah!" Her eyes widened, fixed on the highest point on a cliff.
She grabbed Innocence close and ducked against the stone wall, ignoring the muffled 'mnf!' as his face smooshed against her stomach.
Blue eyes remained on the figure. Another Sesshoumaru clone. She squinted. At least…she thought so? He looked very similar, but now that she was paying attention, the markings weren't quite the same. The eyebrows were bushier, hair tied back, jaw harder and chiselled than regal and stern.
The miko's attention flew down to the boy in her arms. He stared up at the Dog General with something akin to wary awe, while his sire looked out at the landscape with an inscrutable expression. Heavy armour adorned his chest and shoulders, silks as fine and beautiful as Sesshoumaru's. And yet…there were certain things about his face that reminded her of Inuyasha.
"Why is he here?" Kagome whispered.
Small shoulders rose and fell in a tiny shrug. "We have a complicated relationship with him."
"Right," she thought for a moment, watching the demon turn and pad away out of sight. "You mentioned before that this is Repression's domain. Do you think he'd have a mansion like Intelligence's?"
Kagome brushed some bangs out from his eyes and grinned when he petulantly batted her hand away. "I guess since we're already here we can head a little further in to see if we can find it. Let's uh...keep out of sight from your Dad though. I don't want this to get even more complicated than it already is."
Innocence nodded curtly, taking her hand as though he didn't trust her not to walk off the edge of a cliff without his guidance. Kagome smiled and dutifully followed him. It was a valid concern.
The downpour had come unexpectedly, dry one moment and then thundering the next. Quickly hurrying along the path, they'd ducked into a random cave, catching their breaths. Kagome felt thankful for the shelter, happy they'd avoided getting completely soaked. Seemed like Sesshoumaru's mind was conspiring against her remaining nice and dry.
Innocence shook himself, peering into the darkness of the cave and sniffing.
"What's up?" Kagome shivered, feeling Lust's silks plaster against her body. She pried it away with slight annoyance, trying not to remember his hands and how good they'd felt.
"Do you hear that?" He frowned.
"The rain? Yeah, it sucks," she giggled, quieting when he remained silent. Gingerly moving further in so that the rain became a quiet patter behind her, Kagome strained her hearing.
A far off, faint noise could just barely be made out. Like a deep inhale- pause- and long dusty exhale.
"Another Sesshoumaru?" The question came out in a hushed tone.
She could barely see a foot in front of her, so gratitude plumed in her chest when a small hand grasped hers, guiding her in. "Do not be afraid. I cannot sense who it is but I wish to go see."
A nervous noise escaped her. "See' being the operative word."
His hand squeezed her clammy fingers. Kagome returned it.
Their footsteps sounded too loud in the grim, silent space, and Kagome lifted her free-hand out, blindly groping before them. She sincerely hoped there were no pitfalls around. Only pure trust kept her hand in Innocence's and it struck Kagome that not for the first time she was leaving her safety up to Sesshoumaru. He'd saved her a few times in the feudal era.
Her fingers met the cool surface of the solid cave wall and she dragged her palm over it as they walked through the tunnel, seeing an outline of something in the distance. Light was shining behind it, perhaps another exit- and from the shape and hairs catching the gleam she could tell it was an emotion in inuyokai form. What alarmed her, however, was that the dog demon lay enclosed in a large silver cage of some sort, spanning the length of the ceiling to the floor. Kagome and Innocence walked around the outside, glimpsing the inuyoukai within. She'd first thought him asleep he lay so still, but a large eyelid slid open, red-eye tiredly fixing on her. His body sucked in a startled breath, lungs deflating in time with a faint whine, head resting on his paws.
"Who is this guy?" She frowned, sympathy clawing at her heart.
"This one is not sure, but if I had to guess it would be…"
"Sadness," she wasn't sure why but the name came to her, watching the palpable misery apparent on his worn features. Innocence quietly nodded. Straightening her spine, Kagome let go of his hand and padded forward.
He rose a brow, "what, pray tell, are you doing?"
Kagome stopped at the bars and pressed herself against one, shimmying between two to ease herself into the cage. It wasn't too difficult, considering the large size of the bars and spaces in between them.
"Miko!" Innocence hissed, striding forward as if to stop her.
"It's alright," with a wave of her hand, Kagome squeezed herself in and cautiously stepped up to the dog demon's side. "Hey there…" she said gently.
He exhaled through his nostrils, causing the large puff of warm air to rock her back on her heels. Kagome smiled and rounded his side. His head was about the size of a double-decker bus, making the miko feel tiny in comparison. Carefully, she reached out and touched his muzzle, feeling the muscle underneath her palm tense.
"It's okay," she soothed, watching his eyes carefully. His lids remained drooped, crimson gaze forlorn. Another faint noise, like that of a deep, weary pain, escaped him. Gasping, Kagome felt his muzzle suddenly bump heavily into her hand, burying itself closer to her body and nuzzling. The sheer weight dropped her back to land on her ass. "Ah- um...that's...this is fine," she laughed weakly, petting the fur and feeling the heavy warmth press against her chest and stomach. "You're a little needy, huh? I can understand that."
Sadness let out a long, dusty sigh. Tired eyes slid shut, calmed by the continuous stroke of her fingers over the plains of his face. Innocence blinked and squeezed into the cage as well, sitting nearby and pouting a little as though slightly jealous.
Kagome didn't notice, too occupied with the amount of tension she could feel beneath her palms. "Good boy," she murmured, catching herself and blushing slightly. She hadn't meant to talk to him like that. "You don't...deserve to be locked away in here," Kagome tried again. "I get where he's coming from. You're not always an easy emotion to deal with or accept, but you're natural. You're needed. Necessary, even," she murmured, reaching up and rubbing the spot between his eyes.
"I'll try to sort this out."
Kagome started when the great dog demon's head shifted and lulled, pressing into her touch with such force that it tipped her over onto her back. He remained pressed close to her, making a low, crooning noise. Seems like he's a little touch starved…
"How are you going to 'sort this out?'" Innocence asked quietly, looking down at her sprawled, awkward position on the floor.
Raising her head, dark brows drew together. It was a tricky situation. Sadness wasn't even her responsibility. Getting out should've been her main priority, but…
There was a soft noise, like boots touching down. "Yes, that's exactly what I'd like to know."
The two whipped their heads in the direction of the entrance of the cage, locked shut. Repression stood, hair soaked and plastered to his skin, the light from the mouth of the cave pouring around him. He caught her eye, and Kagome's breath caught when realizing how devastatingly pretty they were, as though blazing with an inner light. Like bright, glimmering wells of molten gold.
She shook herself, geeze girl. Get a grip. Just because he looks like an avenging angel or something there's no reason to get dumb. Oh God, I just compared Sesshoumaru to an angel, kill me.
He seemed impatient with her lack of verbal response. "You're in over your head, miko. Get out."
Kagome's eyes narrowed, and she gestured to the sleeping dog demon, heaving herself up into a sitting position. "Why is he locked up like this?"
"It has nothing to do with you," the apathy lacing his voice deepened into a velvety, cold frost. "There are some things you'd do well to leave alone."
Pale fingers curled into the silver strands. It was true, Sesshoumaru's mind wasn't any of her business. She'd already seen a bunch of private things that she had no real right to judge. Kagome's eyes strayed to the massive size of Sadness, how the bars strained out from where they struggled to contain his mass, large body cramped. No room to stand.
"I know," she admitted. "But there has to be a better way. Can't you let him out in short bursts? M-maybe he'll get smaller?"
A low noise rumbled through the cave, building into a quiet snarl. Repression didn't move, nothing in his expression twitched. But his eyes sought to devour.
Innocence stood and placed himself between them, small fists shaking at his sides. "Leave the miko be," he uttered in clear tones.
"No, this one does not see how a great and terrible warrior such as us can hide such emotions like they are a burden. Do we not like to believe ourselves free of weaknesses?"
Kagome lost track of their biting words upon feeling the weight against her shift. Red steam leaked out of Sadnesses fur, curling around his form until a regular-sized inhuman Sesshoumaru lay, head pillowed on her lap. Dark brows pulled together as she stroked silver hair back from his brow. The crest of his house was a powder blue. "Sadness?"
Golden eyes blinked open, shifting to meet her.
It was perhaps the single most unsettling thing she'd seen since arriving in the Daiyoukai's mind. She could fathom carnal attraction, instinct and other things...but a broken and tired looking Sesshoumaru was so strange, so alien. He looked haggard and worn, lines etched under his eyes, lips slightly chapped. "Does he...ever let you out?" Kagome said thinly.
"Do not be foolish, of course. He was briefly let out a few years ago," Repression's voice cut into her murky thoughts.
She swung her gaze to him, aghast. "A few years ago!"
He fiddled with the lock on the cage, "indeed, he had to be. Rin died a second time. Very briefly we allowed him free reign."
Something stung Kagome's eyes, her own sadness bubbling to mix with anger. She glanced at the demon in her arms, "that true?"
His mouth opened, moving to try and articulate words, before he winced and clicked it shut. But it was enough. A terrible, unbridled rage shot through her veins like a kick of adrenaline, pricking the hairs at the back of her neck. From the angle, she'd seen all she needed to.
Kagome gently shifted him off her lap and stood. "Repression…" her voice sounded calm and steady. She wasn't sure how.
"Hn?" He gave a courtesy glance, clicking the lock open.
Taking a breath, Kagome trembled, sparks of reiki snapping around shaking fingers that curled into her palms. "Why doesn't he have a tongue?"
Sesshoumaru had found them. The valley concealed an outcrop of rocky terrain that gave way to their domain, a lair of sharp rocks and cliff faces pressed close. His instincts had guided him well, sending him sailing straight into the den of three oni sorceresses and other low-level demons. Any that flew straight at him were sliced in two with a twist of his hand, sending a whip of green light through their chests.
He killed, both out of necessity and out of the consuming, burning irritation of being slighted. One of their own had stolen the miko, and logic did not always dictate his claws.
In between dodging a blast of youki, a familiar scent reached his nose. "Inuyasha."
The hanyou dropped down on his left, swinging Tetsusaiga at a demon. "Bastard- you could have damn SAID you were the last person to see Kagome! Where the hell is she?"
Ah, how annoying. He'd wanted to solve the issue as quietly as possible. Alone. Sesshoumaru tilted his chin up, scoffing. "How do you know this one was the last?"
Inuyasha growled, kicking away a rat youkai. "Because Kaede damn said Kagome ran off into the forest and then a few minutes later you came out, seeming like you were looking for somethin'! What happened!"
"I am attempting to find out," he uttered curtly, turning to bend low and snap his hand up. Cutting off a scream mid-cry by grabbing her throat, the oni sorceresses eyes flew wide, staring into his own cold ones. Sesshoumaru urged her back into a wall, eyes narrow. "Where is the miko?"
"You speak riddles!" She hissed, struggling and watching as her fellow sisters and pets fled.
Inuyasha joined them, growling at the woman. "One of your kind attacked my village! Now my friend is missing! So where the fuck did she go?"
Sesshoumaru's grip tightened and he jerked his wrist to slam her head back against the rock, dark satisfaction pooling in his stomach at the noise she made.
"Oi..." Inuyasha had the audacity to put a hand on his shoulder. "Quit that, we won't know if ya kill her."
"Mind your own business," he rumbled, raising his voice a touch to address the oni. "Your kin managed to hit this one with a blast of youki. After that, the miko made physical contact with me and disappeared a moment later."
The struggling demon stilled, a dawning look of awareness passing over gaunt features. She hissed out a breath, splinter thin teeth chattering, "that woman is now trapped in your mind, Western Lord."
"Hah?" Inuyasha blinked, ears twitching. After a moment, he grit his teeth, getting in her face, "what the hell? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! You can't put a person inside someone's brain!"
For once Sesshoumaru felt inclined to agree with the whelp. The idea was preposterous, ludicrous. And yet...oddly he could not smell any deceit coming from the oni sorceress. What reason would she have to lie?
No. He shook his head. The thought of the miko running around in his head did not bear thinking about.
Tightening his grip, the Daiyoukai opened his mouth to demand the truth- before Inuyasha let out a bizarre noise. It was somewhat like Jaken's squeak combined with the sound a man makes when his windpipe is crushed. Strangled and high. Golden eyes flicked in his direction before realising they were stinging.
Bringing a free hand up, Sesshoumaru touched his lashes.
Only to find them wet.
In fact, large amounts of water seemed to be leaking from his eyes, sliding down striped cheeks to fall from his chin.
Inuyasha took in a sharp breath, voice thin. "You gotta be shitting me. Are you...crying?"
A tidal wave of gruesome, raw feelings swept through his chest and Sesshoumaru viciously fought not to let it crack his calm demeanour. Hissing out a breath and hearing quiet laughter, he noticed the oni demon grinning at him.
Perhaps there was some truth to her words about the miko after all. But, if that was the case...
An entirely different emotion blazed bright and terrible within his chest, sinking low like an uncomfortably heavy stone.
How much does she know already?
Chapter 6: Fantasy
Something was definitely wrong with him. For one thing, the water leaking down his cheeks and obscuring his vision with blurry images would not stop.
Inuyasha kept shaking the oni sorceress and demanding why he was 'crying,' but Sesshoumaru assured himself he was not doing such a thing. If he were his nose would be-
He took out a cloth and discreetly wiped at it, breath shuddering. Was it hard to breathe when crying? He couldn't recall. The experience was awful, he would not recommend it to a friend.
"Tell me, dammit! What the fuck is wrong with him!"
"I have told you! Most likely your wench has opened up his emotions from the inside!"
"How-" Sesshoumaru cut himself off, swallowing to try and speak in a less shameful, wobbly tone. He cleared his throat, only mildly succeeding, "how do I r-remove her?"
If it sounded like he was referring to Kagome as some sort of infection to burn out of him, that was his intention. The proud lord despised everything about the current situation. The vulnerability, the shaky, trembling, fragile thing in his chest that inspired a lump to rise in his throat. His stomach felt like it had been turned inside out. Relying on Inuyasha of all creatures to be his eyes while his own were stinging and useless felt humiliating.
What the hell had she done to him? He wiped his nose again, blinking quickly.
"There is no way to remove the woman by yourself. She must enter your conscious thought. When you are able to hear her voice in your head, you must transform and pull her out using your youki."
"So we wait?! That's bullshit! Who knows how long that could take!"
The oni sorceress let out a garbled, choking noise, causing Sesshoumaru's ears to twitch slightly. "Inuyasha, release her."
Quick, heaving breaths sounded out, the pressure no doubt free from her throat. Inuyasha let out a 'keh!'
"There is one more thing I know of this spell, but you must promise to release me!" Their prisoner wailed.
Trying to scent if she was lying quickly proved impossible due to his clogged nose. Luckily Inuyasha grunted, signalling she was telling the truth. Sesshoumaru gave a frustrated growl but straightened, ears straining for the news.
"...If the wench isn't free within a few days she will be unable to remove herself from within the Western Lord's mind."
A flurry of chaos had broken out. It had taken just a few words, a simple admission after Kagome's heated question as Repression had levelled a dispassionate gaze upon her:
"This one removed it from him."
With the cage door slightly ajar, Kagome hadn't been able to stop herself. She'd launched at the door and slammed it open. Forcing reiki out of her fingers to plume over Repression as a shield kept him trapped against the cave wall.
She hadn't been thinking.
Therefore, it had come as a mild surprise when a flurry of silks had raced by her cheek, the wind lashing at her hair. A blur of white caught her eye, Sadness flying out of the cave at a breakneck speed and into the outside world, bellowing his freedom and anguish into the open. The howls echoed against the rocks, thundering through the tunnel of the cave and straight into Kagome's heart. It urged her to push the stifling energy of her shield even harder. Repression hissed and snapped his teeth at her, trying to force back the reiki with wisps of youki.
Strangely, however, the very walls and earth started to shake. Kagome's shield fizzled out as Innocence grabbed her wrist and tugged her into a run. Hurrying out of the cave, the two squinted against the change in light, raising their heads to the clouds.
Sadness had transformed again, hovering in the air far above and snarling into the heavens. Blue flashes struck through the sky.
"You fool," Repression muttered, appearing beside them. "Can you not see the damage you've caused?"
"No, I can't," Kagome grit out. "All I see is a guy that's been cooped up and had his tongue cut out finally getting some freedom."
Golden eyes narrowed, perhaps about to insult her- but a squawk sounded out behind them. Several Jakens were hurrying from a pathway that rounded the side of a cliff-face bordering a sheer drop. A few of them fell to their untimely deaths in their enthusiasm to talk to Repression, tripping over themselves and each other.
"Mi Lord!" One of the lucky survivors panted, scuttling up to his feet. "Intelligence sends word! A-apparently the miko wandering around freely is the real Kagome!"
A burst of noise escaped her, caught between a laugh and a happy, validated woop. "It's about TIME!" She grinned, setting proud hands on her hips. "I told you I was real. Heh, I bet you're feeling pretty du- what's with that look?"
Cold sweat broke out on the back of her neck, the telltale sign of incoming danger. A shadow had passed over Repressions face. He was no longer looking at Sadness like he was the number one priority and nuisance in his life.
"You…" the tone sounded thin and so unlike Sesshoumaru's rich, velvety voice that she had to double-check who had spoken. "You are...real," he breathed.
Innocence's hand grasped hers, tugging hard and making her stumble as he attempted to fly, hovering off the ground.
Large hands reached for her waist.
The air slammed out of her lungs with the force of the body that collided against her- and Kagome's fingers slid out from Innocence's grip. She gasped and strained for him, gripping at Repression's shoulders as he soared away, collecting white, blazing energy around them. Innocence was a shrinking figure, trying to keep up in the air but obviously failing. Kagome squeezed her eyes shut against the glare from the orb of light.
Catching her breath, she glared. "What are you doing!" She tried to yell over the roaring winds.
Whether he heard or not, Repression did not reply.
Bristling, Kagome sank blunt teeth into his shoulder, ripping a growl from his throat. His pale hand sank into her hair and yanked, forcing her mouth away. The miko gasped and struggled, reiki pluming on her palms.
"Enough," Repression bit out.
The orb around them opened up, letting in natural light that soothed Kagome's eyes behind her lids, she cracked them open.
Not much could have prepared her for the sight that awaited her.
There were many strange and wonderous things about playing superhero in the feudal era, sights she could have never conjured in her imagination. This was one of those times as she stared at the exquisite floating mansion. It sat quite primly on a chunk of earth, but the strangeness was heightened by the large birdcage that acted as the mansion's container. Silver bars obscured the sight of cherry blooms within, a moat looping around the grounds, a- was that a bathhouse?
Kagome shook her herself, kicking her legs against him. "Let me go! You're not taking me in there!"
She struggled in vain, his arms iron bands, preventing much movement and keeping her locked against him. She miserably wondered what had become of Sadness after escaping- where Innocence had gotten to and if he were alright. Perhaps those thoughts were silly. Emotions couldn't die inside a person, right? Sadness would always exist within Sesshoumaru, after all.
"Why are you doing this?" She murmured instead. "You want to lock me away, don't you? Just like Sadness."
"In your case, it is temporarily. Just until this one knows what to do with you," a flinty gaze locked on her. "You are a threat."
"I'm really not. All I've tried to do is mind my own business by escaping or help Sesshoumaru's emotions." Kagome frowned, glancing at their feet. The earth lay far below them and she didn't want to chance her dying in Sesshoumaru's mind from such a long fall. She didn't have much of a choice about getting locked away.
The clone brushed his hand down a silver bar and the door to the cage slid open a crack. Gliding inside, he approached the gardens, a breeze tugging at their hair. He set her down near a koi pond, avoiding her gaze as his hands left her waist and he stepped back, putting distance between them.
"Now then, this one should take care of that other mess," he turned stiffly, apparently wanting to leave as soon as possible.
To get away from her, she realised belatedly.
It didn't stop her from grasping Repression's shoulder and pushing up on tiptoe- growling in his pointed ear; "if you hurt him again, I'll hunt you down. Got it?"
He shifted back, knocking her hand away with a sneer marring thin lips. "You cannot do anything locked away like this. Do not presume to tell me what to do."
Temper flaring, Kagome set her shoulders, tilting her chin in such a way that mimicked Sesshoumaru's usual haughtiness. "You said a second ago that I was a threat. If I hear that you've hurt Sadness or Innocence then nothing will stop me from kicking your ass."
The Sesshoumaru look-alike considered her for a heavy moment, jaw clenching. He then pivoted on his heel and leapt into the sky without a backwards glance. Kagome watched his retreating figure approach the door to the giant birdcage, slipping out into freedom and leaving her behind.
Glancing at the picturesque view the mansion presented and exotic, sprawling gardens with babbling brooks, cute little bridges and flowerbeds, Kagome wondered which emotion she'd been forced upon. Whoever they were, they had adorable taste. It briefly soothed her troubled mind, which remained filled with images of Sadness fighting Repression.
Walking through the gardens, Kagome hesitantly approached the grandeur of the mansion, stepping up onto a wooden porch. Sliding back the door, she took off her shoes. "Pardon the intrusion," she called, stepping in.
No one came running, so the woman ventured further in, looking at the luxurious decor. Shoji screens, vases, beautiful sprawling art pieces and white furs. She even spied some beautiful looking kimonos folded up.
Maybe if her host proved to be a nice emotion she could ask them for help. Surely they'd have a fireplace or another way to get into the stream of consciousness.
Opening another door and carefully stepping out into a hallway, Kagome turned a corner and started at the sight of a person. It took her a second to realise it was her reflection. She made a nervous noise, putting a hand to her chest and seeing her mirror do likewise.
Only...the mirror was wearing different clothes.
She near jumped out of her skin when the other Kagome gaped of her own accord and stepped forward, shattering whatever illusion had existed between them for a moment and giving Kagome the sensation of being punched in the stomach.
"Oh my gosh!" The fake breathed. "There's another me! That's so weird- ah, and cool! Don't get me wrong," she giggled nervously and waved. "Nice to meet you."
The original could only stare dumbly, working her mouth like a blubbering fish. She'd like to say that she fainted and briefly escaped the madness staring at her, but Kagome remained awake and lucid.
"Y-you're the Kagome that exists in Sesshoumaru's mind, huh?" She croaked, trying to calm her racing heart. She'd known about this beforehand of course. It was just...very uncanny valley. Her face didn't look like the one Kagome saw every day in the mirror since it wasn't a reflection or even a photograph. This was supposedly more accurate.
This is what I look like...to him?
"Funny way of putting it, but yeah. Isn't that what you are?" The clone blinked.
"N-no, I'm the real Kagome Higurashi."
Frowning slightly in confusion, the other Kagome turned and motioned to follow. "Sounds heavy. I'm a little lost so why don't you explain it to me? It looks like you could use a breather. Is tea okay?"
Swallowing, the original had no choice but to trudge after her. Even the way she walked was scarily accurate to her own movements. Does he have a photographic memory of me or something? She resembles me so closely.
After sitting down on some comfy pillows and nursing a hot drink, the situation had been explained. No matter how bizarre her words sounded to her own ears, the other Kagome just nodded sympathetically or made the appropriate noises to show she was listening. Oddly it was when she got to Lust that she was interrupted.
"Oh, is that why you're wearing his clothes?"
She paused, "ah, yeah."
Wait, why was her mirror self making that face? Her lips had thinned, shoulders tensing.
"N-nothing happened," Kagome was quick to say, wondering why the hell she felt guilty. "If it helps anything, he thought I was you."
The other Kagome brightened and shifted, some colour touching her cheeks. "He calls me 'Fantasy' sometimes. You can call me that if it'll make this whole thing easier for you. I get that the emotions thing must be overwhelming."
"Totally," Kagome sighed, stilling soon after as an insidious thought wormed its way into her mind. Was it egotistical to get on so well with yourself?
Fantasy tapped her chin thoughtfully, "unfortunately, there's no special fireplace here. Just the irori you can see here that I use for cooking and stuff. Maybe it's because I'm not a proper emotion that I don't have one."
Figures. That would have been too easy.
The doors had been pushed open to let in light and the cool breeze fanning on her skin worked to soothe the miko's frazzled nerves. At least this impromptu kidnapping had given her a brief respite, and in such a calming place too.
"So, whose place is this?" She asked gently, watching stray sakura blossoms twirl on the porch, creeping into the room to play upon the tatami mats.
"Hm?" Fantasy sipped her tea, lowering it to raise a brow. "Mine."
Kagome blinked, head snapping in her direction like a wind-up doll. "H-huh?"
Those eerily familiar blue eyes twinkled with amusement, a smile curing her lips and stretching wider. "This is my mansion. Those are my gardens. Oh and that super cool bathhouse? Mine too. Being kept in a birdcage has its perks."
"B-but…" Kagome squeaked. This place is almost as big as Intelligence's mansion! Why is my space bigger than Innocences? Or even Sadness? "I don't know...how to feel. I mean, it's nice and super luxurious here but then there's the whole cage aspect. Repression said I was a threat."
Fantasy tilted her head, black hair sliding free from one shoulder to fall in slight waves. She'd been thinking it for a while, but for some reason, the fake Kagome looked very...photogenic. Like a filter had been put over her. The light constantly hit the strands in such a way that they shined blue, mixing with the black to create an exquisite fall of dark hair. It was almost as though Sesshoumaru's mind plotted to bathe her in the best light possible. She even wore a beautiful kimono, but it was light and airy, not appearing too restricting.
"Repression stays away from me. He's the one who made the big birdcage but if his plan was to keep the other emotions away from me, he's not doing the best job. They drop in all the time, slipping through the bars. I haven't met Sadness or Pride though."
Kagome stiffened, leaning over the table slightly. "Repression cut out Sadnesses tongue and locked him away inside a cave. He's bad news."
Fantasy's amiable features melted into something hard and dark. She straightened her spine, eyes narrowing. "Unforgivable," she muttered under her breath. "If I see that guy again, I'll kick his ass."
Briefly losing her voice, Kagome cleared her throat, feeling a rush of emotion prick the backs of her eyes. She quickly shook it away, curling her hand into Lust's clothing.
"I-is there something we can do? Repression went back to 'take care of him.' I'm worried he's just going to hurt him again."
Fantasy rose a brow. "Shouldn't you be more worried about getting out of here?"
Some guilt squeezed her stomach but the miko frowned, stubbornly shaking her head. "I can do that later. I can't just ignore someone hurting."
Rising from her seat, Fantasy nodded with a smile and gestured to follow. "I can send a message to a friend outside, he'll be of some help, I think."
Kagome clutched her tea like it were a helpless passenger, taking small sips as she walked. They passed by many rooms and servants, many of which had no faces. They creeped Kagome out so she quickly faced forward, not wanting to stare.
Fantasy pushed back a door and stepped onto another porch, blinking at the figure lounging upon it. "Sloth, can't you laze about someplace else? We've got things to do here."
'Sloth' as she'd called him, sprawled out decadently upon the wood, a long kiseru pipe held loosely between clawed fingers.
Kagome had never seen Sesshoumaru so...relaxed before, not counting Lust. This felt different to a watchful, hungry predator. His clothes were rumpled, obi loose around his waist, allowing the silk parting over his chest to gape open. Mokomoko curved under his ankle and over his hip, falling around him. Silver hair spread out over the wooden surface, one long leg hooked over his propped up knee. Lazy golden eyes observed them with a half-lidded stare, blinking slowly like a contented cat.
"This one is more than happy to 'laze' here, miko." He drawled, taking a drag.
Fantasy huffed and sat at the low table on the porch, preparing a scroll and inkpot. Kagome awkwardly lingered by the door, trying very hard not to look at the expanse of pale, beckoning skin.
Sloth caught her gaze and she flushed red, gritting her teeth when his eyes smiled. "Ah, you're the Kagome that's been causing all the fuss lately," he mused, smoke leaking out from his teeth, exhaling.
She wafted the curling wisps away, but the scent wasn't unpleasant. Like that of magnolia and spice. "I guess so."
"Hn," he eyed her languidly, shifting one arm behind his head.
"C-can uh...can you fix your clothes, please?" She said weakly, still trying to remain polite.
Sloth yawned, chewing at the end of his pipe half-heartedly, scraping sharp fangs over it as thin lips curved at the edges. "Make me."
Chapter 7: Sloth
Almost immediately after those words were uttered, Kagome's gaze flattened. So he wants to play it that way? Fine.
She'd dealt with smartasses before. Nothing a little tough love couldn't fix.
Walking right over, she knelt by his side, boldly grasping the white underlayer of his hanjuban cloth first, giving it a hard tug. She successfully pulled it shut over his chest, glancing at his hankimono. He bore an orange crest, the silks more threadbare than she was used to. Smoothing the collar down, Kagome started when the chest under her hands rumbled with a dusty chuckle.
Glancing at Sloth, she yelped, her body pulled atop him via some large and very pleasant feeling hands on her waist. This resulted in her straddling the demon lord's waist.
"You're actually doing it? What a dutiful mate you'll make, miko."
Kagome growled at the teasing note in his voice, noting with despair that the movement had loosened his clothes again. Her efforts would be fruitless if she didn't grab his obi and tie it right. The only problem was that it was currently riding low around his hips, the material sliding over his lap currently between her thighs.
"Hold still or I'll purify your ass," she muttered, cheeks flushing. Honestly, she didn't know why she was bothering, but the male beneath her seemed entirely too smug and comfortable. She wouldn't let him have the satisfaction of getting to her, the jerk.
Sloth let out another chuckle, taking a drag of his forgotten pipe and watching her sitting atop him languidly. "Inuyasha is quite lucky," he mused in a silky, sleep drenched voice. "Even if he is a fool. I suppose there is a thing as fool's luck."
"What are you talking about?"
"Ignore him," Fantasy called, continuing to write her letter and otherwise leaving them be. "Lazy Sesshoumaru likes to watch clouds and pretend to philosophise. He thinks he's deep but for several years his musings were all basically; why did Father give Tetsusaiga to Inuyasha and not to me? I don't want a sword that heals things, hn, hn, hn!" She grinned, winking at Sloth.
He huffed, while Kagome took advantage of his distraction and grabbed the loose ends of the obi, making him jolt when her hand cupped something. "Calm your enthusiasm, miko. This one needs that in order to produce an heir."
Kagome blinked and looked down, slowly registering what exactly she'd accidentally groped. Gritting her teeth and letting out a noise, she yanked his obi and tied it tightly around his waist, cutting off his ensuing chuckles and making him cough on his pipe. She made to move off him but a hand seized her wrist, grip not particularly strong. Sloth's eyes were dancing despite the shaky smoke leaking from his lips, hips shifting beneath her.
The inkpot clattered a little as Fantasy set it down, frowning over at him. "Hey, you're making her uncomfortable! Let her up now."
Kagome's eyes widened, more surprise filling her as the Sesshoumaru clone grumbled and released her.
Fantasy got to her feet, accepting a bow and arrow from a random servant that seemed to have materialised from out of nowhere. Attaching the scroll to the arrow via string, she walked out into the gardens. Kagome watched the clone stop and plant her feet, nocking the arrow and readying her bow. The stance was excellent, practised. Kagome looked down at her own hands, noting the small imperfections from handing a bow for so long. The slight scar on her dominant hand. The wide knuckles. She raised her head, watching as Fantasy released, shooting the arrow up. It sailed in a wide arch up, flying through the gaps in the bars of the cage, soon sailing down into the unknown beneath them.
"How does she know her 'friend' will find that arrow?" Kagome murmured, almost to herself.
"Her scent is on it. Happiness will track it down," Sloth spoke up, leaning heavily against one of the wooden posts and pouring himself some saké.
She glanced at him, eyes widening. "Happiness..."
"Hn and he'll pass it on to Discipline. He's more likely to get results," he took a languid sip.
Fantasy rejoined them, smiling. "Sadness and Innocence will be okay now, you'll see!" She reached out and pat Kagome on the arm.
In a moment of madness, the miko grabbed her hand, scrutinising it. Her heart fluttered, giving a hard thrum.
The scar was there. She turned her palm, checking, but even the knuckles were the same as her own.
Fantasy blinked and shared a perplexed look with Sloth. "Uh…"
"Why do they look so accurate?" Kagome rasped weakly. She then clutched the hand closer, looking at Fantasy with earnest. "I need to see something! Can you show me the spot under your ribs?"
Fantasy blinked but slowly nodded, shooting Sloth a glance. "Could you maybe turn around?"
He snorted, "it's not as though I haven't seen everything you have to offer before."
Kagome's cheeks plumed rouge as Fantasy sighed, lifting a shoulder while loosening her obi, pulling the parting aside to reveal her chest and hip.
The first noticeable thing was that she wore one of Kagome's favourite bras, which was…interesting. The second quickly consumed all thought. Fantasy had a wide jagged scar from rib to hip on her left side. Kagome's breath hitched.
She'd gotten that scar during her first adventure in the past. It was where the shikon jewel had been ripped out.
Kagome pressed a hand to her side self consciously. "H-how does he know about that too?"
"I think you can probably guess," Fantasy adjusted her clothes back into position, making Sloth sigh, perhaps with disappointment.
Blushing, Kagome wrapped her arms around herself. "So Sesshoumaru… spies on me? It h-has to be when I'm in the hot springs. Is he a stalker?" Uncertainty quickly boiled into outrage. Yes, anger was far safer and affirming than whatever that flutter in her stomach was. "That…that pervert! Lust said he smelled me do 'things' but he must've seen me?! Watched while I was- oh god!"
Feeling a little tired or maybe overwhelmed, Kagome sat down on the porch. She rubbed her cheek, starting when a hand pressed to her forehead, "you're a little warm, miko. Do you desire a drink to calm your frazzled human nerves?"
Glancing at Sloth flatly, she wanted to push his hand away. He looked and sounded almost exactly like the demon that had apparently been perving on her while she'd bathed, but she didn't. Because it was more than that. You didn't create intricate mansions in your mind for someone who was just porn material. The fake Kagome looked too accurate, too carefully crafted.
"Don't be silly, Sloth. Kagome doesn't drink," Fantasy huffed.
Blinking, she tilted her head. "I do sometimes with Miroku and Sango, even though I'm not of age to in modern Japan."
Something passed over Fantasy's face, as though she'd just told her the sky bad been red the entire time. "O-oh, right. Of course!" She shook herself. "Anyway, maybe today has been a little too much. You're welcome to rest in a spare bedroom while we wait for word on Sadness and Innocence," Fantasy said gently.
Kagome nodded, smiling slightly with weary gratitude. "That would be nice, thanks."
Lying on the futon, Kagome curled up on her side, shivering a little. Fantasy had lingered, obviously a little concerned, but Kagome had assured her until she'd been left alone with her thoughts.
Just her and her emotions.
That was until something warm pressed against her back. Kagome shrieked, feeling arms wrap around her waist.
"Mn… be quiet. You are too loud," came a mumble from her hair.
She froze, inhaling the scent of magnolia and spice. "Sloth?" She hissed, blushing. "What are you doing?"
"What does it look like?" A chest pressed against her, foot sliding between her ankles. "This one demands the warmth of a woman."
Kagome blinked, noting that the plumes of heat were mainly coming from the demon, warming her. She bit her lip, quieting.
A puff of hot air danced over the back of her neck, the sensation of lashes brushing flushed skin. "Now you are too silent. What ails you?"
"I'm confused," she murmured, fingers threading in the futon. "Granted, the Killing Perfection cuddling me-"
"Stealing your warmth," he corrected.
"Right, 'stealing' my warmth, isn't a regular thing. Going inside someone's head isn't normal either. But I've seen weird and wonderful, I can deal with those. Even Sesshoumaru's perverted side, for some inane reason I'm not grossed out by. But I can't just shrug off the other things I'm noticing here, the stuff...concerning me."
At Sloth's silence, Kagome dared to shift and roll over, facing him. She hadn't shared a bed with a man before, let alone a fully grown demon. The closed doors blocked out most of the light, but no amount of shadow tempered burning midsummer gold. She could see his slit pupils observing her lazily. Wisps of silver hair curled around them in loose trails.
Even tired and lazy, the demon's presence felt like something to behold. A kind of energy radiated off him in waves, but it relaxed the stiffness in her shoulders. Kagome found herself inching closer.
"The things you are noticing," the Sesshoumaru look-alike uttered tiredly. "Can you not 'deal' with them?"
"I don't know. A part of me is embarrassed, nervous, weirdly flattered...and worst of all, maybe a little happy."
"That is worst of all?"
"Of course it is. If I get happy about everything I'm seeing I'll start to want and hope for things in the real world. And getting your hopes crushed...it hurts. A whole lot."
Sloth blinked slowly, closing his eyes to snuff out those burning embers.
Kagome watched him, a little enraptured. It wasn't easy to observe Sesshoumaru so blatantly. Her fingers twitched with want to touch, to smooth his dishevelled bangs back.
"Um…" she poked his arm.
"Are you going to give me some advice? I thought we were leading up to that."
"That was your assumption," he huffed. "This one is too tired for such things."
A small noise escaped her, unable to help but burst into quiet giggles. "You're such a jerk," she pressed her forehead against his arm, mildly alarmed by how comfortable she felt.
His hand curled in black locks, claws lightly scraping the line of her shoulder blade and eliciting a shiver. "And you overthink things," he sighed into her bangs, making the strands fan into disarray. "All you have to do is keep in mind what you've seen here. Then...use it to your advantage once you get out."
Kagome blinked, mulling this over. Confronting Sesshoumaru wouldn't be easy but she couldn't ignore what was going on inside his head even if they were private thoughts. He'd violated her privacy by spying on her enough to know her scars and favourite bra. Fair was fair.
She jolted, feeling something. "Sloth."
"Can you stop squeezing my ass, please?" She asked sweetly.
He chuckled, opening one eye just as Kagome raised her head.
Cheeks darkening, she stared at him. The ensuing silence dragged on with neither parties moving. The second she did- the larger, heavier bedmate rolled over atop the smaller and allowed his entire body weight to sink down, cutting off her muffled shrieks.
Kagome tried to kick her legs but at best could muster a few pathetic jiggles of her ankles. Sloth's head rested on her chest, eyes falling shut as he immediately dropped off into a contented, quiet sleep.
The miko had no choice but to accept defeat, sighing and dropping her head back against the pillow. This did not bode well for her nap.
Despite her initial despair, Sloth had shifted off her sometime during their sleep. Kagome roused upon realising she had fully functioning lungs again, no longer crushed under the bulk of a Daiyoukai.
Hearing quick footsteps pass by her door, Kagome paused, groggily blinking fully awake. Raising her herself up into a sitting position, she listened intently. Vague, hushed voices could be heard, growing fainter. A few giggles rang out.
Extracting herself from Sloth's clutches, Kagome crept to the door, sliding it back and feeling the outside air fan pleasantly onto her face.
Two figures could be seen racing down a pathway through the garden. Her own smiling, enraptured features grabbed at Kagome's heart, and she was following Fantasy with the unknown Sesshoumaru before even realising it.
Padding barefoot over the grass, she stepped onto the smooth stones of the path, jogging to catch up with them. It took a moment to place where exactly they were heading, but soon enough her suspicions were confirmed when the couple slipped into the bathhouse together.
She knew should probably turn around.
This situation wasn't meant for her eyes, a private affair. And yet her curiosity niggled at her, pushing her to continue. That was her face and body pasted onto a figment of Sesshoumaru's mind. Didn't she have every right to see what he did with it?
Rounding the side of the building, Kagome slid the main door open, creeping inside. Laughter reached her ears, followed by splashes. Steam obscured their figures within the larger pool. Kagome ducked behind one of the potted plants acting as decoration.
Various face mushing sounds could be heard and Kagome winced, realising the awkwardness of listening to someone kiss.
"I missed you," the Sesshoumaru was purring.
Okay, one million yen says that's Lust.
"Mhm," Fantasy sighed. "...Not that much though, right?"
"I met the real Kagome. She was wearing your clothes," some water lapped within the pool, and Kagome shifted, kneeling to peer between the leaves of the plant, looking at the two now separated figures. "Mind telling me what happened?" Fantasy had crossed her arms, ice underlying her tone.
It went without saying that they were both naked, the water ending at their waists. Kagome bit back a sigh, that's one million yen I now owe myself.
"You do realise, dear one, that you are both essentially the same perso-"
"Don't say that kind of thing to me," Fantasy's voice turned hard.
Lust waded closer, palms skimming her elbows. "Why? Because it upsets you to be compared to another like the dead priestess Kikyo?" He frowned slightly, hand sliding up to her cheek. "Our creator blessed and cursed you with such a multifaceted mind. You are aware you are not the real Kagome and yet have the same insecurities and doubts. It does not make much sense to me to torture yourself with comparisons."
Fantasy closed her eyes but inched back from his touch. "You don't get it. It's easy for you. You're Lust. Wrath is Wrath. Envy is Envy. I'm not one emotion, I have so many!" She burst, hands curling into fists. "I'm supposed to be this girl from the future but I hardly know anything about it because our creator doesn't know! I'm just a half baked version of the original!" She snarled in a wobbly voice, stilling when Lust wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back in, heedless of her struggles.
He sighed, "foolish woman. Do you think if I were pure Lust I could be having this conversation?" He sat down, pulling the miko onto his lap and kissing her neck, making rigid shoulders relax. "You worry too much."
"Of course I do," stroking her hands over him slowly, she trembled and sighed. "Once the real Kagome is outside, everything could be ruined. She's in a relationship with Inuyasha. She could tell Sesshoumaru how disgusted she is with him and he'll finally repress everything he feels for her. I'm helpless if he does that. I don't know what'll happen to me."
Kagome watched while the two kissed with such palpable feeling, running their hands over each other. Her brows pulled together. She hadn't known. Fantasy hadn't shown one flicker of sadness or worry around her, but Lust soothed those things away with his mouth and touch. Add to that, everyone in Sesshoumaru's head seemed convinced she was still dating his half brother.
"I don't want to leave you," Fantasy gasped against his mouth. Lust's arm moved slightly beneath the water, obviously rubbing her intimately.
"You won't. This one will keep you, no matter how small you shrink," a wicked tongue glided up the stripes on his cheek, causing him to groan. "Should think I'll have to fight lover boy for you though."
"Let's not talk about him," Fantasy mumbled. "He's been tailing the real Kagome and hasn't stopped by to see me once," she rubbed herself against him.
Kagome watched with a mix of horror and fascination as her double sank herself down without hesitation. Though the water hid their lower halves, it became apparent from their moaning that she'd sheathed his cock within her.
The image of her with Sesshoumaru was a strange one, simply because Kagome had never thought of it before. Well, maybe in passing she'd found him attractive. That his voice sounded like melted honey. But everyone thought that about him, she'd wager.
Lust panted and groaned, hands dragging up her back as he bent to suck on her breast. "So eager…"
Fantasy bucked her hips and groaned, starting to move. Her black hair fanned out with each buck and grind, body moving with a practised flare that Kagome could only blush at. Lust circled her nipple with his tongue, biting down into her breast. Kagome flinched, but Fantasy tossed her head back and cried out euphoric pleasure.
Not content to sit still, Lust swiftly moved- changing their positions with a turn, forcing her to lean back against the side of the pool as he rutted between her legs.
Their noises mingled, creating a sinful choir within Kagome's mind. Her thighs pressed together, something twisting within her lower stomach. She was pretty sure Fantasy's pleasured cries weren't her own. They sounded a little off, likely because Kagome had always been careful not to be too loud when pleasuring herself in the hot springs. She'd press a hand to her mouth and gasp into it but always tried not to cry out loudly for fear of discovery.
Their slick bodies moved as though possessed, unable to stop. Lust thrust harder and faster, making the woman jolt and sigh against him as he pinned her against the side.
Kagome swallowed thickly. Heat flared in her veins, mouth turning dry. She wet her lips and panted a little, feeling a flare of humiliation. Holy shit. Bad! Bad Kagome, bad!
And yet, she couldn't stop watching.
She watched in silent agony while Lust snarled pumping his hips erratically, silver hair trailing into the water.
Their bodies created wet, heinous noises, the water thrashing when their movements picked up into a frenzy of cries, growling and pleasured snarls, Lust thrusting hard and stilling with a strangled snarl. Fantasy cried out with him, clutching him close and panting as they relaxed, in complete contrast with their movements a second ago.
Kagome remembered to breathe and blamed the wet feeling between her legs on the steam in the air. Was this similar to how Sesshoumaru had felt, watching her?
If this was his fantasy, had he seen all that? Did he long for it?
She glanced up and realised that Lust had pulled out, soft cock hardening mere seconds after he rubbed it again. "A good thing about this not being the real world is that we don't have to tire, dear one," he purred, turning Fantasy to rest on her stomach.
Fantasy giggled in a breathy way, glancing at him over her shoulder as he lifted her hips. "No, I like that part."
Taking her from behind, Lust started to roll his hips again, causing the woman to mewl and writhe.
Kagome had seen enough. She shifted, carefully crawling over the wooden floors towards the exit. She chanced a glance over at the couple and froze, heart impaled with javelin of mortification. Lust had met her gaze.
Tempting lips curved, golden eyes flashing a touch brighter. He didn't pause or falter, claws scraping lush thighs while he continuously bucked striped hips and let out a sultry groan. "Gn...Kagome..."
Flushing crimson, Kagome bit back a squeak and frantically scrambled out of the hot springs on her hands and knees. She caught the fleeting sound of rich chuckles, gratefully sucking in the cool outside air the second her palms met grass.
Catching her breath, the girl sat back on her heels, touching burning cheeks.
It proved difficult to piece together a coherent thought, what with her lower stomach niggling at her that it needed something. A heady kind of sensation between her thighs kept calling to her. Shaking herself, Kagome shakily stood, holding her arms. Biting her lip, the miko decided to wander around the gardens to try and cool down.
So that's what you picture, she looked up at the sky.
Chapter 8: Discipline
Getting back to the village had been...interesting.
And by interesting Sesshoumaru meant infuriatingly stressful and inconvenient. They'd decided to go against their word and take the oni sorceress with them, keeping her bound via one of his energy whips wrapped around her torso, binding thin arms. The difficult part lay in flying back to the village to figure out other options of rescue for the miko.
Sesshoumaru had been quite determined to return on his own but without the use of his eyes or nose the typically ordinary task became incredibly difficult. He'd flown up out of the rocky terrain seeking to leave it, only to bump into half a dozen trees and cliff faces.
Inuyasha had, after loudly laughing about the whole thing, offered to carry him. Sesshoumaru responded by aiming a swipe of his claws at the whelp, who had dodged with irritating laughter. After the initial mirth had worn off though, Inuyasha seemed to register the predicament they were in.
"You could hold onto my sleeve and drag the demon behind us with your whip thingy while I lead the way."
Sesshoumaru had scoffed, holding his head up high even as tears continued to mar his cheeks. He was beginning to feel a tad dehydrated. The image of him holding onto his little brother's trailing sleeve like a pup came to mind, but he shook it away. Ridiculous. His pride wouldn't allow it.
"Well do ya have any other ideas?"
He had answered that question by summoning clouds of energy to their feet. Inuyasha had yelped, and Sesshoumaru felt it a pity that he were near blind with the tears. He was quite certain his brother had nearly fallen off. With their squirming prisoner in tow, he'd raised them into the air. Inuyasha acted as his eyes, telling him which way to 'steer' the clouds.
Sesshoumaru swiftly turned them in the desired direction. Inuyasha yelped and snarled, "what the fuck!"
"You said left."
"I meant a little bit left! Not so far left that we turn West!"
"You'll find we're heading South East, foolish whelp."
"You know what I meant, ya bastard!"
After finally reaching the human village of Edo, Sesshoumaru had lowered them onto the outskirts, turning away. "Take the Oni Sorceress with you back to the old miko's hut. This one will join you later."
"Huh? Where you goin'?" Inuyasha grumbled.
"To wash the scent of tears off this one before I vomit," Sesshoumaru growled, storming through the forest and using Bakusaiga's sheath to tap ahead of himself in order to avoid the blurry shapes of trees that seemed to be sharpening. He blinked, vision finally clearing.
Sesshoumaru wiped at his eyes, mercifully finding no more wretched tears. He sighed with relief, approaching a private looking waterfall that had overhanging trees around it. Once disrobed he waded into the bone-chillingly cold pool, plunging his head under the spray of the falls.
Miko...this one needs to save you in just a few short days.
The thought of seeing her again elicited the memory of her gentle, intoxicating scent, which he viciously squashed.
No, he wouldn't think about the miko. If he did, surely she'd know? She currently occupied his mind, quite literally. He briefly hoped her safe, not envying her position. There were many dark, complicated thoughts he'd harboured in the past, memories of demons and men committing atrocities, some of those brought about by his own hands. Such things were not meant to be seen by the kind, strong gaze of the miko.
And then there were other...more personal thoughts she would not appreciate.
The image of blue, sparking eyes sent a telltale shiver down his spine, stirring heat low in his gut.
Sesshoumaru lifted his face away from the cold, biting water, panting and glancing down. Humiliation gripped him tightly, an erection proof of the direction of his thoughts. Growling, the Daiyoukai stepped forward, attempting to purge himself anew of his desires. Yet, no amount of cold, crippling water would get rid of his affliction. The heavy water pelted his shoulders for a good few minutes.
This is the work of the miko. It was the only explanation. Was she currently occupying a part of him meant for lust and carnal pleasure?
Sesshoumaru squeezed fierce golden eyes shut, hand wrapping around his base and stroking his cock. She'd brought this upon herself.
Panting, he planted one hand on the rocks behind the falls, bowing his head and losing himself to sensations, fantasies. He could picture a hot-spring, or maybe a bath-house. Kagome, yes she was there. Wrapping her arms around him and willingly taking him inside her wet heat. Sesshoumaru's lips parted as he groaned, pumping himself harder and feeling solace in the roaring falls as it covered the sound of his movements.
He imagined the sight of his cock thrusting inside her slick folds, watching it drag and glide in a fast, hard rhythm. What noises she'd make. He swallowed and chocked on his own quiet moans at the thought, clamping his mouth onto his arm. Now he could envision taking her hard from behind, feeling her tight heat and the push of her hips while she begged and pleaded for more. He bucked into his hand, fangs sinking into his arm.
Sesshoumaru near lost himself entirely, eyes flashing red- just as his conjured fantasy shifted attention to a second Kagome, watching. This Kagome wasn't like the one he thrust into. Her eyes were wide, tempting mouth open mid-gawk. It hit him like the slam of an opponents fist deep into his stomach.
Sesshoumaru made a strangled noise in the back of his throat, cumming with a snarl. His eyes flew wide, panting wildly, only vaguely aware of his seed mingling with the water and the blazing pleasure in his abdomen.
That had been the real one. The real Kagome had witnessed the thoughts he'd tried to repress, over and over, and to no end.
Various emotions plagued him, running the Daiyoukai raw and tired. He did not like feeling so much at once. This was not like him. He needed to calm himself and focus on the dire situation of saving the miko, not pleasuring himself to her. He'd been weak lately but needed to start practising self-discipline again.
And once she obtained freedom, if she spoke of her disgust and unwillingness to see him again, that was fine. Sesshoumaru felt certain that once she denounced him, the wants and desires for her would finally be shut away for good.
Stepping back from the falls and sinking into the welcoming embrace of freezing waters, a niggling dissatisfaction echoed through his being. It went against an inuyoukai's nature to lie to one's self.
After pacing up and down the hedgerows for a while and letting the cool air work wonders on her livewire nerves, Kagome exhaled and clapped her hands to her cheeks. Get a grip, girl.
This was Inuyasha's brother she was getting flustered over. Her ex's brother. She needed to just head back to her room, get under the covers and go to sleep. No use in mulling over magenta stripes hooking low around a certain demon lord's hips, the deep guttural moans, the ripple of muscles and sweat gliding sensually down-
Kagome clapped her cheeks harder.
Storming over to the mansion and stepping up onto the porch, her hand paused a hair's breadth from the door to her room. Sloth still lay within. If she focused she could hear the faint sound of his breathing.
Pressing her thighs together, Kagome swallowed. Now wasn't a good time to sleep next to him. He'd already proven to be loose with his hands and a teasing little so and so. The sensible thing to do would be to leave and find another room. But...
Blunt teeth dragged over her plump bottom lip. Maybe the idea of his hands wandering wasn't such a bad one.
The miko wrestled with herself for a good few minutes, turning over the idea in her mind a few times. Her heel shifted, lingering, before dragging back along the surface of the floor, body turning away.
Kagome wrapped her arms around herself, sighing. It still wouldn't be fair to the real Sesshoumaru. Nothing had changed.
Her hair flew back from her face then, the shutters and doors slightly trembling from the onslaught of wind. Pushing the locks aside, Kagome blinked up at the sight of yet another inuyoukai gliding down towards the porch entrance from the higher bars of the cage. The great beast landed before her, paws touching down with a thud that shook the ground. With a ripple of heat and curling, choking energy, he transformed.
She stared, breath catching in her throat. He had visible scarring on the left side of his face and chin.
He bore a sturdy looking brown crest on white silks, some of his silver hair drawn back into a half ponytail, the rest of the strands fanning about his shoulders while he approached, wearing much grander armour than she was used to. Two mokomokos curled out from behind him, seeming to thin around his shoulder armour. Bakusaiga rested neatly at his hip. He turned and picked up a figure, which Kagome realised had been riding on his back.
"Innocence," she murmured, hurrying forward. She quickly held out her arms, accepting the boy's weight into them. He lay with his eyes closed, sleeping. Tucking his head under her chin, the mini Sesshoumaru grumbled quietly.
Kagome looked up at the Daiyoukai while the mokomokos lifted to reveal another behind them. He crouched to help Sadness get to his feet.
"Y-you're both here," she squeaked, heart pounding. "Are you alright!? I was worried sick!"
Sadness blinked at her, rubbing at his head a little awkwardly. He nodded, eyes gentling.
Exhaling in a rush, Kagome hugged Innocence tighter to her chest, blinking up at the unknown emotion with stinging eyes. "Thank you. Thank you so much for bringing them to me and helping them. I thought Repression might have locked them away."
The Sesshoumaru regarded her quietly with a blank expression. His left eye was discoloured, the iris and pupil a milky white, hinting at blindness. The scarring licking around his left side looked to have eaten slightly into the skin of his cheek. It didn't look like any burn she'd ever seen, the colouring a typical angry pink but the scarring in slight wisps around the edges. Realising her folly of staring, Kagome ducked her head with shame.
"It was not for you, nor for any one person that won my involvement. Merely, this one does not like the pup who goes by 'Repression', so I took it upon myself to act."
His voice sounded controlled, crisp and to the point. Looking up again, Kagome raised a brow. "I guess that's something we have in common then. May I know your name?"
He blinked, inclining his head slightly, and the magnitude of such a small act felt strange. Though she'd cuddled with a Sesshoumaru clone, kissed one, teased one, the air had never felt so charged and heavy. A very real, palpable aura of duty and quiet energy radiated off this emotion. He practically demanded others give him their respect and undivided attention, to yield. Her knees trembled slightly against the urge to bow, which felt ridiculous considering her history with the demon.
"This one has been known as many things throughout the years when times have changed. Skill, Training, Stability. I settled on Discipline myself."
"O-oh," a breath rushed out of her lungs. "Will you be sticking around, my Lord?"
Wait. Why had she just said that? She never called Sesshoumaru by such a formal title.
Discipline watched her intently, piercing gaze sliding over her face. "No," he finally uttered, resting a hand on the hilt of his sword seemingly out of habit. "This one has other matters to attend to. If you wish to call upon me, Happinesses land's lurk just below. He knows where to find me. Fantasy will get you out of the bird-cage, I am sure."
"Okay," Kagome stroked Innocence's short silver hair, fidgeting a little. She burned with questions, almost wanting to ask him to stay. But that would be rude. He'd already done more than enough. Sadness shifted closer to her side while Discipline turned on his heel, stalking a little distance away.
Glancing at Sadness, she opened her mouth to speak when that quiet, steel wrapped in velvet voice cut in.
Discipline glanced over his shoulder, good eye trained upon her like a hawk. "You do not need to refer to this one by title. 'Sesshoumaru' is a name you have earned the right to say."
Blue eyes warmed and Kagome gave a genuine smile. "You can say my name too, you know. You have the right to say it," she lightly teased, shifting to support Innocence with one arm while taking Sadnesses hand in her own.
"Hn," observing her with a heavy look, he soon pushed off the ground, flying upwards. The mokomokos trailed out behind him to tangle in the air, his figure shrinking into the distance and disappearing into a white, glowing orb, speeding away.
Kagome glanced at Sadness and smiled, tugging him to follow. They walked up to the porch, hand in hand. "You look half dead. I'm guessing you exhausted yourself by doing too much at once?"
He nodded a little moodily, opening the door for her and sliding it back.
"I can understand that. You were cooped up so long so it's natural you'd go a little overboard with the freedom," Kagome stepped into the room, eyeing Sloth draped over the entirety of the bed.
She prodded him with her foot. "Hey!" She whisper hissed, trying not to disturb the boy in her arm.
Sloth made a grumbling noise, ignoring her.
Frowning, Kagome set Innocence down on what little free space there was on the futon, grabbing a foot. "Sadness," she called, nodding to the other.
He caught on, grabbing Sloth's other foot. They then tugged and pulled with all their might, making the demon slide off the bed slightly. The second they started to make progress, however, red mists blazed around him, and the ankle under Kagome's palm shifted and changed, fur replacing skin.
The inuyoukai sprawled on the bed, paws in the air. He let out a quiet snore, tongue lolling out of his mouth.
Groaning, they gave up.
Kagome settled down beside Innocence, leaving a sliver of room for Sadness to inch onto the futon. She shifted more of the comforter over him to make it fair, while Innocence snuggled up into the soft fur beside him.
The miko's hand stilled upon feeling Sadnesses muscles tense in a slight flinch. "Are you alright?" She asked quietly.
He stared at her with the same doleful eyes. Nodding slowly, his wary gaze shifted around the room like a skittish animal.
"No one's going to hurt you," a firmness crept into her tone. "Not while I'm around, anyway. I promise."
With a watchfulness that could only be born out of years of distrust and isolation, the Sesshoumaru clone stiffened and relaxed as she moved up against his side, resting her head on his arm. It struck her that she was now acting much like Sloth, some colour dusting her cheeks. "Am I making you uncomfortable?" When he shook his head, butterflies danced around her stomach. "That's good," she slid a hand over his striped wrist without really thinking about it. The pallor of his skin held traces of dirt and she surmised he probably needed a bath, but there was no force on earth that would drag her to the bathhouse right then.
"You know, it's funny...that I like you and Innocence," she murmured, smiling at him. Her heart ached at the surprise and disbelief that skittered over his expression. "Hey now, what's with the face? I'm serious. You two are my favourite of the Sesshoumaru emotions," she gave a firm nod, settling closer against him. "But I mean, I think it's because I value your emotions inside my own head. I try to hold on to what it felt like when I was younger because it helps me relate more to kids. If they're upset, I just put myself in their shoes."
It was with pleasant delight that she felt her hand be encased in a much larger one, his calloused palm swallowing her fingers. Deadly claws glided over the delicate skin of her wrist, the pads of his fingers soothing in their careful glides. Kagome looked up at him, resting her head on his shoulder.
Sadness observed her quietly, chapped lips parting. He gestured between them.
Frustration marred his brow and he motioned again, briefly touching himself, then her.
"Oh! The Sadness inside me?"
Something relaxed his features and he nodded.
"I didn't like it when I was 15," she admitted. "Went through a bunch of heartache and self-image stuff. Wasn't fun," Kagome forced a quiet giggle, eyes growing dim. "Not gonna act like I always reacted in a mature way. I hadn't felt that way before and the emotions just felt so big."
He gestured to himself, before widening the distance between his hands and motioning to Innocence.
Kagome's brow crinkled, "you were bigger...when...ah!" She smiled, "when Sesshoumaru was smaller?" That didn't sound quite right and he seemed to struggle with how to clarify, but it came to her. "Do you mean you were more powerful? Like you could be felt without being repressed?"
Tired, weathered gold shone, smiling for him. He nodded, and Kagome looked up at the ceiling, sobering.
"I tried to repress things for a little while too, but I'm not wired that way. It came out. Heh, you know, it's a sad thing...to realise you love someone while crying. Loving someone should be a happy thing, but life isn't always so neat and tidy. Anyway, I'm grateful to my Sadness, because she let me slow down and sort out my feelings. While crying, I could process what was going on and finally talk about it afterwards. Like the storm clouds had to block out the sun in order to feel it's light a little brighter afterwards."
That sounded very hippy-like. Maybe she'd just spewed a bunch of nonsense. Kagome turned her head to deflect, noting that Sadnesses face had shifted closer. She wasn't sure when that had happened.
She started when he sat up slightly, limp silver hair sliding loose from behind a pointed ear. His lips were a gentle, kind pressure against her forehead, palm ghosting her cheek to stroke into black hair.
A strange burst of catharsis bloomed through the miko and she squeezed her eyes shut against the wave of emotion. It was almost as though her own Sadness rose up to mingle with Sesshoumaru's, if only for a moment.
When he settled back down again to rest his head on the pillow, Kagome slid her palm over his chest. "Thank you."
Perhaps that hand shouldn't have strayed up his neck to cup a striped cheek. And maybe she shouldn't have melted into a pile of goo when he leaned heavily against her palm just like he had before, this time turning his head to kiss her fingers. Winter lashes slid shut in an act of trust, his hand coming up to hold her's against his face, radiating pure, unabashed peace for the first time since she'd met him.
Kagome's eyes widened, heart fluttering. Something clicked inside her, and maybe it was a dim click that she didn't quite hear or understand, but it had happened nonetheless. She leaned in and pressed her lips to his, stroking her thumb over a magenta stripe and feeling him inhale her scent.
When she pulled back, her cheeks were just a little red this time, but it hadn't been a kiss like the one shared with Lust. Rather, it was an act of acknowledgement, like the forehead kiss had been for her. He'd never been someone's favourite before, she knew what that felt like.
"It's alright," she soothed. "It's okay."
Sadness stared up at her, Sesshoumaru's features dazed with a dusty kind of awe. Kagome smiled and wrapped her arms around him, stroking his soft, brittle hair as the demon quietly trembled, ducking his face against her neck.
In the silence of the room, a paper-thin, croaking voice could be heard.
Sesshoumaru stopped dead outside the old miko's hut, feeling a strange sensation. Long fingers curled into his palms, breath catching. The sensation of gentle hands smoothed over his brow, combing through his bangs.
"It's alright," a voice murmured in his mind. "It's okay."
Inuyasha's scent registered as his brother joined him outside, raising a brow. "The hell is happenin' now? Ya look strange."
Sesshoumaru had his response ready on the tip of his tongue, a stern dismissal that would assure his fool of a brother just how well he was, thank you. But instead what came out was something else entirely, a buried, forgotten memory he meant never to share.
"This one remembers you playing kemari ball."
Chapter 9: Reminiscence
After the initial shock had worn off, embers of confusion dying within Inuyasha's gaze, his jaw clenched. His features, so similar to their fathers, became wary with distrust.
"The fuck are you talking about?" He rasped.
Sesshoumaru stared, trying to will himself to stop and curb his tongue into an insult, but his mouth refused to obey.
"When you were a pup, Izayoi took you to a compound after fleeing her lands. They recognised her title and allowed her to stay even though she held you. Only her title and heritage allowed you to remain within the relative luxury of the mansion."
Inuyasha's ears twitched and flattened, folding his arms. The lantern outside the hut entrance bathed the force of his scowl in a fiery glow, the shadows harsh.
"Tch, yeah that goodwill died the second she did so I was chased out. I know. You bring that up just to shit on me some more or something?"
"This one witnessed the humans playing the kemari ball years after you were taken to the compound," Sesshoumaru carried on, undaunted. "You seemed to understand that they did not want to play with you. Touch the same ball as a filthy Hanyou. You said you were aware of your half-demon heritage now. Your mother had explained it yet you still wanted to be friends, desired the acceptance of humans. They laughed at you."
"Seriously shut up now," bristling, Inuyasha growled, hands balling into fists.
"One kicked the ball into the bushes of the garden. It rolled to this Sesshoumaru's feet as I watched," Sesshoumaru uttered, features frozen in surprise. He'd never meant to divulge any of this. What was that miko doing?!
Inuyasha's sneer dropped, blinking. He straightened, raising a bushy brow.
"You… followed it's direction. Not wanting to be discovered, this one kicked the ball out of the bushes back-"
"To me," his brother muttered, gaze sliding away. "Yeah. First time I can remember smelling a demon."
"You picked it up and scented the air, inquiring if I was your… friend."
Inuyasha fell silent, frowning at nothing while his white ears pressed flat to his skull.
The words continued on, ripping themselves out of a place Sesshoumaru had thought he'd long since buried. "This one left you alone before you could see me," Sesshoumaru rumbled, claws digging into his palm.
The empty lapse in conversation felt deafening. Sesshoumaru's heart pounded in his chest with anger and humiliation. How dare the wench force him to divulge something from his memory.
"I was a stupid kid."
Sesshoumaru blinked, looking at the hanyou. Inuyasha slid his arms inside his sleeves while giving a dusty huff. "Didn't even put together that you were the same demon when I finally saw ya. Tch, was a long time ago."
"You desired… pack… particularly after Izayoi died," sharp claws bit in, drawing blood into his palm.
Inuyasha swung his attention back to him sharply.
"This one did not-"
A fist slammed into his striped cheek causing his head to snap to the side. Sesshoumaru staggered, boots dragging over the ground- catching himself. Straightening, he blinked at Inuyasha with a mildly perplexed look.
"Keh, ya good now?"
"Hn," Sesshoumaru paused a moment. "It seems to have stopped."
"Good. You talkin' about the past doesn't suit ya. Kagome must have gotten into a weird part of your icy bastard brain and opened ya up."
The Daiyoukai unfurled bloodied fingers from stinging palms, flicking away the wetness. Inuyasha's nostrils flared yet he did not look down. Some remnants of Sesshoumaru's pride held together by a hair's breadth from such a small act. Inuyasha did not acknowledge his moment of weakness.
"Not that I care but why were ya even watchin' me when I was a kid, ya creep?" The Hanyou turned on his heel, ears flicking.
Tawny eyes slid away, jaw clenching. Without whatever influence Kagome had just had over him, Sesshoumaru remained ever silent.
Inuyasha huffed, walking to the hut's entrance. "Right. Whatever just get inside already," he yapped, pushing back the flap and waiting.
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened with just the vaguest hint of surprise. Approaching with his chin tilting up to try and save face, he followed his brother inside. A peculiar sensation radiated off broad shoulders like some unknown weight had been lifted from them.
Even though this one had been plagued with hatred and complicated feelings at the time, inuyoukai watch over those they consider their own. We may not interfere, but one...will always come back to watch.
Disbelief had rendered Kagome speechless. That was until she'd grinned, laughed and hugged Sadness close, chatting to him with alarming speed and pausing to hear small replies. It wasn't clear how his tongue had been returned to him, but Sadnesses throat remained scratchy sounding, weak with disuse. Letting her questions drop Kagome had allowed herself to fall asleep with him, not wanting to damage his vocal cords with too much too soon.
Stirring awake a few hours later, lithe fingers clenched into silky soft locks. Kagome eased closer, lulled by the warmth Sadness provided.
A velvety chuckle caressed her hearing. "You hug this one quite shamelessly, do you not, Kagome?"
Every fibre of her being froze. She cracked an eye open- finding a much more polished and decadent looking Sesshoumaru against her front, observing her with amusement. "Lust," she mumbled, trying to back up, only to find a solid wall behind her. Hands slid around her waist from behind while a leg hooked over her own.
"Gn...you smell good," lazy tones purred in her ear, nose gliding down her neck.
"Sloth- get off!" She squeaked, very awake now.
Her cheeks bloomed red as Lust picked up her hand, nuzzling against her palm and kissing the spaces between her fingers. "There is no need to struggle. From what I scented in the hot springs, you were left wanting, were you not?" He purred, honeyed gaze half-lidded. "This one does not like the thought of you aching, Kagome."
"Stop saying my name like that," she grumbled, tugging at her hand to no avail. "Where's Sadness? Is Innocence here?"
He huffed. "Fantasy took Sadness and Innocence to let them bathe. She'll likely give them new clothing too. We have plenty of time," a large hand slid down her chest.
"For what?!" She yelled, hating that she shivered and squirmed, rocking her hips back.
Sloth quietly groaned in her ear, pressing his hips forward. "Not so loud," he languidly complained, nipping the shell.
Lust smiled, leaning down and pressing cruel lips to her neck. The two males pressing and rocking against her caused Kagome's mind to spin and short circuit. This wasn't good, the pressure of their mouths and gliding tongues, strayings hands, the pressure of their hard, strong bodies against hers- it began to feel nice. It began to feel-
The sound of a door slamming back jolted her in their arms.
"Oh Luuussst~" a perfect replica of her voice cooed. "Your clothes are ready. But I guess since. You're. Busy," she gritted out. "I'll just throw them onto the fire."
The Sesshoumaru clone lifted his head from Kagome's chest, sighing. "If you would simply come over here and join us there would be no issue, dear one."
There was a pause, like the brief, heavenly calm before the storm. And then all hell broke loose.
In the ensuing 'Fantasy throwing everything she could find at Lust,' Kagome crawled out of the room on her elbows, army style. Sloth was too lazy to move so he buried his head beneath the covers like an ostrich, complaining about the noise.
Reaching the safety of the hallway Kagome breathed a sigh of relief, hurrying away.
Upon reaching the kitchen and finding breakfast already made, some guilt gnawed at her stomach. She could tell from the personal touches of flowers in the vase and the meat in what she presumed to be Innocence's bowl, arranged to look like a smiley face, that the meals had been prepared by Fantasy.
Sitting down, she waited until footsteps approached on the wooden floors. "Hello miko," Innocence greeted, golden eyes bright.
She grinned, turning to him and touching his shoulder, before tugging the boy in for a hug. "Hi again. It must have been a little confusing for you when waking up, huh? Discipline brought you here."
"Hn," the little lord nodded, awkwardly patting her back until she released him. "Sadness informed me," he gestured to his companion while smoothly taking his place at the table.
The more unassuming Sesshoumaru padded closer, having left his wet hair loose, trailing small droplets onto the floor. A towel remained around his shoulders.
Kagome giggled and stood, taking hold of it and dabbing at his face and the long silver strands. "Silly. You need to dry it or you'll catch a cold," she murmured, putting it over his head and rubbing.
"Hn," Sadness held still while quietly watching her, some colour darkening his cheeks.
After they took their seats, Lust and Fantasy joined them, neither commenting on what had just occurred. Some small talk flitted around, the group discussing Sadnesses newly acquired tongue and a few other subjects before the topic of escape inevitably cropped up.
"So, you're escaping the birdcage today, right?" Fantasy said, eating her rice. "It'll be an easy thing and I'll come with. Happiness isn't far below my home so I'll take you to him first. His mansion should have a fireplace that'll take you out of here."
Kagome felt a burst of warring emotions but grinned and nodded enthusiastically, "that sounds ideal, thank you! But...how is it 'easy' to get out of here?"
"Well we do have a bunch of flying demons to give us a ride," her clone giggled. "Even if they're not here though, there's a box in my room full of the perfect length of rope required to shimmy on down to the ground below us. It's a little daunting climbing down but that it exists in the first place should tell you something."
Kagome blinked and continued eating, wondering what that meant. Sesshoumaru repressed the idea of her inside his own head and yet lavished Fantasy with fine foods, clothing and grounds. Even essentially giving her the tools to escape. Maybe, deep down, he wanted the idea of her to slip out of the cage he'd created.
Accepting some new clothes from Fantasy once she'd finished eating, Kagome ducked back into her room after finding it empty. Stripping out of Lust's clothes, she folded the silks and dressed in the soft pink yukata, tying the obi and sliding a hair clip into her black locks. Intending on joining the others in the kitchen to finally leave, she wandered down the hallway and happened to chance a look into another bedroom where some double doors had been left open, catching sight of silver hair and hearing beautiful string music coming from outside. Curious, she stopped and padded through the room, stepping out onto the porch and peering into the gardens.
A Sesshoumaru stood near the hedgerow, long fingers curled around a stalk, delicately inspecting one of the flowers. Kagome squinted, managing to glimpse the soft pink colour of his crest. He then straightened and chanced a look in her direction, only to freeze. Bewildered, Kagome raised her hand to try and assure the panicked light in his eyes- but he tensely stepped back and disappeared with a rush of white silks.
"He's shy and wary. You will not be able to approach him through conventional means."
Turning on her heel, the continuous strums of strings lured the miko around the corner of the porch where Sloth lounged. From what she could see, he knelt before something resembling a koto. Perhaps it was the demon's version of the musical instrument. He plucked the strings without using the three-finger picks used for kotos, his claws careful. Winter lashes remained lowered on his task, creating soft, gentle notes that nonetheless rang firm and strong in Kagome's ears. It sounded peaceful and lulling. She couldn't describe the music yet it rose and fell like soft summer rains.
"How are you doing that?" She said gently.
"Is it not obvious by watching?" He drew his left hand wider over the instrument to pluck at a different area, drawing forth different notes.
"Yeah it's just...you're Sloth," Kagome pointed out, leaning against a wooden beam and watching with awe. "Laziness. Shouldn't you be incapable of doing this? I thought you'd find it a pain."
Sloth didn't take offence to this humming the affirmative. "One would think so. If you went off the traditional meaning of Sloth. But I am not culture's perception of Sloth. I am Lord Sesshoumaru's sloth."
Kagome thought about this for a moment, brow crinkling. "So he sees...such a wonderful hobby and talent as lazy?"
"Not lazy, exactly. This is something he'd only bring himself to do when he's idle and relaxed. A hobby for when he's 'wasting time,' so to speak. He does not particularly value this skill meant for such content times, therefore, it is mine."
She frowned outright at that. "He should value it, value relaxing as a whole more. You're very skilled. It sounds wonderful."
Sloth plucked a string too hard, making it vibrate and stutter. He blinked, pausing to consider her tiredly. "...Hn."
"How did he learn it?"
Long fingers curled and relaxed, plucking the strings anew. "Mother taught us," he hummed, pushing some stray hair behind his ear. It escaped again a moment later. "In those times, she ceased her teasing and picking at our imperfections. We were free to be content with one another."
The gentle music took on a nostalgic note, or perhaps it tricked her ears, influenced by his words. He stopped, golden gaze flicking to her. "The other Kagome is calling for you."
Kagome smiled gently, "yeah I should be going, leaving soon. I guess this is goodbye unless you're coming with us?"
He snorted and raised his brows, "carry me."
"No thanks~" she said brightly.
"Thought as much, cruel woman."
Bursting into laughter, blue eyes danced as they took him in. A Sesshoumaru with rumpled clothes, dishevelled bed hair and relaxed demeanour. Kagome knelt beside the emotion, taking out her hair clip and fixing silver locks behind his ear, securing it. The daisy-shaped clip looked pretty in the silver strands and she bit the inside of her cheek at the thought, embracing him. "I hope I get to see you again in the outside world," she mumbled.
He leaned into her, nose burying in her hair as he hummed in a dusty, dazed fashion. "Mn...it is possible."
A frightened, fluttering beat of wings had stirred in her chest ever since she'd heard about leaving the cage. Of course it'd been anticipated, she couldn't wait to get out, but her time within Fantasy's home had been luxurious in its reprieve. So leaving it, even though it was a necessity, had lit up her nerves, body ready for action.
But Sloth's calming scent of magnolia and faint spice had her drinking deep. Kagome relaxed in his arms, breathing in and out with treacle immediacy. Drawing back, she smiled at him, before frowning.
"Sloth, your hand is on my ass again."
"Indeed it is," he crooned lazily, giving her a relaxed, devilish smirk.
Wrestling herself free and pushing the lazy Daiyoukai over, Kagome huffed, cheeks blazing red as she stalked away, biting back a smile. It was only when she joined Fantasy and climbed onto Sadnesses back that she realised she'd forgotten to ask about that unknown Sesshoumaru in the garden.
The wind lashed at Kagome's hair as it flew back, a happy noise escaping as she gripped the fur beneath her. Sadness soared through the gaps in the bars, Innocence flying on their left. Fantasy rode on Lust, also in inuyoukai form. As the group flew down from the birdcage leaving it and the large mansion behind, they began the long descent down to the realm below.
Passing through clouds, Kagome's eyes took in the wash of greenery. Her breath hitched when the green sharpened into focus, in awe of the multicoloured specs below. They stretched out over the lands, only broken up by some trees and bodies of water. Drawing closer, she realised the colourful spots were wildflowers.
Shivering a little, she felt mildly grateful when they finally touched down onto solid earth again. Sliding off the inuyoukai's back, Kagome tucked her frazzled hair behind her ear while the demons changed into their inhuman forms. Fantasy stepped up to her side, squinting. "Happiness shouldn't be far."
"This is...his realm, right?" Kagome asked weakly.
Fantasy nodded the affirmative, making the miko bite the inside of her cheek. There would definitely be some teasing going on once she escaped. The fact that Sesshoumaru's happiness revelled in flowers and nature was simply adorable.
A long, drawn-out snarl bellowed through the skies. It roared and echoed, spreading out from behind them like a thunder clap. The skies flashed purple.
"Repression," Innocence said quietly, taking Kagome's hand. "He must have already noticed that you've left the cage."
She frowned slightly. Usually when an emotion influenced the sky, it would flash with their crests colour. Repression's colour had been a worn-out grey. So why is it flashing purple?
Fantasy jogged a few paces back, "we should go. If it comes down to it I'll act as a decoy-"
A silky chuckle reached Kagome's ears, Lust casually walking away, heading in the direction of the snarls as he started to strip out of the clothes that Kagome had returned to him.
"What are you doing?" She asked thinly.
"There is no need for Fantasy to act as decoy when your scent remains on these clothes. This one will lead him in a different direction."
Some sort of relief and pride glowed in Fantasy's features but Sadness remained solemn.
"What… is to stop him from scenting… Kagome here, with us? Her scent… it is stronger from her, than… on some clothing," he rasped.
Innocence nodded in agreement.
The group fell into tense silence. Kagome bit her lip, glancing up at the skies and feeling her hands curl into fists. She'd fight if she had to.
Hands clapping twice caught their attention, the sound quick and sharp. They glanced around, turning to look at the pale figure sitting on some smooth rocks.
"Are you all fools that have lost your senses around a pretty miko?" The Sesshoumaru clone huffed. A beam of light shone down from the sky, despite there being no sun, shining directly onto the crown of his head and making it shine like a halo. From the regal, arrogant tilt of his chin however, one could tell he was no angel. "Obviously you can mask her scent by releasing acid from your claws into this land. The potent smell will fool his nose."
"Uh- thanks?" Kagome blinked, "who are you?"
The Daiyoukai inspected perfect nails, tilting his head back to bathe his face in the sunlight, long lashes falling shut. He brushed some long, exquisite locks over one shoulder, hair flowing in a breeze that did not disturb the rest of the group as he crossed one long leg over the other.
Kagome stared. Is he...posing? She turned to her companions instead, "seriously, who is this guy?"
"Vanity," Fantasy sighed, rubbing her forehead as though experiencing the prelude to a headache.
Chapter 10: Vanity
After being freed from any heavy influences of emotion for several hours, long enough for the night to pass and morning light to break over the horizon, Sesshoumaru began to get suspicious. Perhaps the miko slumbered.
He, Inuyasha and old priestess Kaede had spoken at length with the captured oni sorceress. She did not give any new information, snipping at them in her own language. By morning Inuyasha gripped Tetsusaiga tight, clearly agitated. As Kaede rested, the two brothers dragged their prisoner to another location; The Monk and Slayer's hut.
"Hm, the sorceress seems convinced there's no way to actively reach in and free Kagome." Miroku mused, nursing tea in his hand while Sango kept trying to dissuade their twins from approaching Sesshoumaru's seated position on the tatami mat.
"Pretty," whispered their boy, Daichi, making grabbing hands at the red and white silks.
"Sooo pretty!" Daitan, the girl, cooed in agreement, eyeing the demon's hair. The baby seemed to be the only sensible one, gurgling within Sango's arms but Sesshoumaru still inwardly preened a little at the attention. Outwardly he levelled Miroku with an unblinking stare.
"You look as though you want to say something."
Miroku chuckled and nodded, "I was just trying to figure out how to word it, Lord Sesshoumaru. Have you seen Kagome inside your mind recently?"
Sesshoumaru remembered the incident at the falls. "Briefly."
"What?!" The Hanyou growled beside him. "You didn't tell me that!"
"It barely lasted a moment, this Sesshoumaru did not think it significant. We are already aware she is trapped in there."
Sango spoke up then, bouncing the babe slightly. "What makes you so sure it was our Kagome? I know that if I had someone running around in my head I'd think about them a lot and have to stop myself from imagining what they were doing."
"That's a good point," Miroku hummed, grabbing their son before he could touch Sesshoumaru's trailing sleeve.
A thin brow twitched, Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowing a fraction. He couldn't afford to keep picturing that heated moment in the falls or he'd likely slip and say something revealing. No one else could know. "Because while thinking about the miko, another made herself known out of nowhere. She did not have the same presence as the imagined one. This one need not explain himself more. I am certain."
Miroku tapped his chin, nodding and setting Daichi down. "Come with me, my Lord. I think it's time we give meditation a try."
"Meditation will not work," the bound oni sorceress hissed from the corner.
"Shaddap you," Inuyasha growled. He then frowned at his brother, "I'll keep an eye on the hag."
Nodding, the demon lord stood, glancing behind him when feeling an additional weight in his hair. The others in the room let out small noises of alarm. Daitan clung to his silky locks, having been in the middle of messily braiding them. Sesshoumaru quietly observed the girl, her feet having left the ground. Reaching down, he gently grasped the scruff of her clothes and plucked the daring child off, setting her down. He then smoothly turned and walked out of the hut, uncaring of the braid swaying behind him, filled with mismatched, trailing ribbons.
They'd begrudgingly decided that Vanity's plan held the most water. Unfortunately for Kagome this meant sitting with him while Lust, Sadness and Innocence fanned out and released acid throughout the area, making it near impossible to tell in which direction she'd headed. The acid from their claws or inuyoukai drool masked her miko scent, proving incredibly effective.
She knew this because Vanity had not stopped patting himself on the back for such an ingenious plan. He didn't brag per se, instead choosing to insult the intelligence of the other emotions by not having the same thought.
"This one is going to have to point out the obvious again, am I not?" He was saying.
Kagome looked up from where she and Fantasy perched on a lower, smoother rock from where he practically sunbathed. "And what's that?"
"Please don't engage him in conversation," Fantasy groaned.
"That you are simply too 'clean' of other scents. You should embrace an emotion and bask in their superior smell."
Fantasy leaned over, whispering; "I wonder who he's referring to."
Hiding grinning lips behind her hand, Kagome giggled into her palm. Having obviously heard them with his 'superior' hearing, Vanity produced a beautifully patterned fan out of nowhere. Snapping it open, he fanned himself in a cooly agitated manner. Kagome tried and failed not to stare because honestly, despite his attitude, he did look angelically stunning and regal. The patterned clan mark spreading from collar to shoulder plumed a deep violet. She briefly compared it to the flashes of purple she'd witnessed through the sky, but that purple had been much lighter, like lilac.
"The host Sesshoumaru thinks of him as Confidence, you know."
"No kidding?" She turned her attention to the clone beside her.
"Mhm, I'm the one who called him Vanity. All the other emotions started doing it after that," Fantasy smiled to herself as though remembering. "Rumour has it that as a youngster, Vanity looked exactly like his mother. Overtime Sesshoumaru developed his own sense of style and individuality."
Interesting, though now that she thought about it, the emotion looked a little different to regular Sesshoumaru. Kagome couldn't tell how but it was more a feeling he gave off. If Discipline represented the most masculine side of Sesshoumaru, she'd say that Vanity appeared on the more androgynous beauty side, one that surpassed gender. Just as she mulled this over, Vanity glanced down, light catching on pale lashes, and levelled an entirely male look at her; One of complete self-assured arrogance.
"Miko, come here-"
Kagome yelped, feeling herself be manhandled for the umpteenth time when long-fingered hands grasped her hips from behind and lifted. Landing on some outstretched legs, her hands clamped on the Daiyoukai's shin's for balance, snarling.
"I've had it with all of you tossing me around like a rag doll! What's so important that you had to lift me up he- here..." she trailed off, having whipped her head to glare at him over her shoulder.
Vanity glided a wide-toothed ivory comb through dark locks, a detached yet enamoured look upon his features that only Sesshoumaru could pull off. The rage simmering on her tongue died. Kagome glanced at Fantasy for help but she merely watched with mild amusement.
Facing forward, the miko fought not to squirm. "You're combing my hair," she pointed out intelligently. The heat of him at her back felt maddeningly distracting.
"Hn." She waited for an explanation and was left wanting. "The wind must have tangled it. Unforgivable," claws slid through her hair, curling. "This one always has found the quality acceptable, due to how regularly you bathe and maintain it. Upon finally touching it, the softness is not as glorious as a demon's but for a human, this is of a high standard."
Kagome had to do some mental gymnastics to choose whether to accept that as a compliment or insult. "Um, thanks?"
Her attention briefly slid to Fantasy who had now slid her own locks over one shoulder, brushing her fingers through the ends contemplatively. Kagome couldn't see her expression, yet she bit her lip. Tapping Vanity's leg, she spoke up; "I should maybe switch places with Fantasy now-"
"I've no need of her when the real miko sits here," he purred, lifting dark locks to his nose and inhaling slightly. Fantasy slightly winced.
Kagome bristled, temper boiling and overspilling- a sharp sound ringing out.
Sadness, Lust and Innocence returned while the three figures on the rocks remained frozen. Kagome's hand remained forgotten mid-air, Vanity's cheek slightly red, golden eyes wide with disbelief. From where she sat, Fantasy stared, mouth slightly agape.
"Don't be so quick to overlook her," Kagome growled. "She's here every day and takes on whatever daydream or sexual fantasy Sesshoumaru has! You'll treat her with respect whether I'm here or not. Got that, buddy?"
Lust's slit gaze dilated, fangs scraping over his bottom lip. Vanity blinked, touching his striped cheek in a dazed fashion and watching her with complete shock. Innocence tugged on Sadnesses sleeve.
"Why is he not doing anything? Kagome striking us is not acceptable."
"He must have...said something he...recognises as wrong and," he cleared his throat, massaging it. "Does not know how...to react."
Innocence's mouth made an 'o' shape, nodding with understanding.
Getting up, Kagome hopped off the rock to the ground. Exhaling, she started walking in a random direction. "Which way is Happiness again?"
Shaking herself, Fantasy followed, jogging to her side. Her features had melted into something soft and she took Kagome's arm, tugging her to the left. "This way, silly."
From where he meditated in the clearing, legs folded, back straight and magenta lids shut, Sesshoumaru flinched.
Frustratingly perceptive as ever, Miroku opened one eye. The monk's form mirrored his own, radiating calm. "Anything happen, Lord Sesshoumaru?"
Raising a hand to his stinging cheek, the Daiyoukai frowned softly. "The miko just struck me."
Thinning his lips, Miroku's brow twitched as he fought the urge to laugh, mastering it and keeping his life for another day. "I see. Were you able to speak to her?"
"No. Contact was brief and...confusing."
"Ah well, let us try again," he suggested breezily.
Sesshoumaru opened irritated golden eyes, before sliding them shut. Flipping some hair over his shoulder, the Daiyoukai basked in the sunlight. A pity the miko could not witness his form on such a beauteous day. Hn, what a random thought.
"You are not even walking correctly," Vanity chastised from beside the group. For some reason, he'd decided to tag along despite Kagome's last words to him. Her anger by now had completely vanished, replaced with mild guilt towards the slap. They'd kept to what little trees they could find, trying not to call attention to themselves since Repression no doubt monitored the lands from the sky in search of her. This meant walking on foot, the demons unable to transform or speed away via clouds or orbs.
The end of a closed fan prodded against Sadnesses side. "Do you remember none of Mother's teachings on posture and how to hold yourself?"
Sadness just took the pokes, looking vaguely glum as usual. Kagome pushed in between them, locking arms with Sadness and frowning. Some of her guilt lessened. "He's been locked up for years. Try having some empathy."
"Wrong emotion, miko, and I was not privy to this information. That explains the poor quality of his hair and skin," Vanity sneered. He then skimmed his critical attention over her, capturing the miko's chin in hand and turning her face as he pleased. "Your skin, however is acceptable. I should like to sample it."
"Sample?!" She gawked, fearing he'd take a bite out her. However, the long wet brush of a tongue over her cheek shut down that fear.
"Hn, tempting," he mused quietly, sobering slightly. "...Are you still angry with this one?"
Kagome let out a sigh, freeing her chin and scrubbing at her cheek. "No. Just stop insulting my friends."*
"Vexing, but very well," Vanity straightened with a sigh and peered at Sadness by her side. "You, Misery."
"It's Sadness," he croaked.
The immaculate Daiyoukai brushed this off smoothly. "You seem close with her. Why not start displaying to show your intrigue?"
"Displaying?" He and Kagome echoed, glancing at one another.
Vanity gave them a haughty look, scoffing quietly while tilting his chin up with the classic 'holier than thou' look. "You do not know how to display?" Teetering on the edge of insults again, he held his tongue upon catching sight of Kagome's disapproving frown. Fanning himself, Vanity cut tawny eyes to the sky and snapped it shut, passing the ornate fan to Innocence and strutting a small distance away. "Observe."
The group didn't linger to watch, but Vanity kept up with them by making backflips in the air. Kagome gawked while walking, observing how he twisted his body flawlessly in the air, moving into somersaults, vaults and other, more impressive and unfeasible acrobatics. And was it her or did the light shining off him trail off into slight specs? Almost like...sparkles.
Long trails of silver hair never once obscured his sight or got in the way, flowing out or around him gracefully. She eyed him with mild envy, squeezing Sadnesses arm. "You know you don't have to do that for me, right?"
"Hn. Though...the true Sesshoumaru performs these feats."
Kagome nodded, "yeah while he's fighting. He doesn't do it to show off."
Lust, Sadness and Innocence lightly fanning himself sent her flat looks. "One does not exclude the other."
With a flourish, Vanity backflipped in front of her path, straightening. He fixed some hair behind a pointed ear, sniffing. "Miko, you may praise me now."
Kagome awkwardly clapped, "it um...looked very impressive. You could try displaying for someone else now instead of me."
Vanity slow blinked, following while she walked around him, trying not to step on the wildflowers. "But I do not regard them the way I regard you. The miko Kagome holds my interest, as that display just illustrated. In human terms, one might say this one likes you."
That threw her for a loop. Sesshoumaru never stated his feelings out loud. "You...like me?"
"Did you not read the signs from our host? He is in l-"
All emotions within hearing range zeroed in on their conversation, suddenly appearing around Vanity and grabbing him. Lust clamped a hand over his mouth. "Must we send for Repression?" He hissed in his pointed ear. "Kagome is with our half-brother."
Vanity shook him free a moment, trying to shove away Innocence and Sadness. "Why should this Great demon care about the claim of a half breed whelp with appalling dress sense? They are not mated. Her looks are enamouring and would likely bare us beautiful pups-"
Kagome stared. She stared so long her eyes watered and stung. Then she remembered that, hey, blinking was a thing. A scuffle broke out between the emotions, wrestling and snarling. She jolted upon feeling a hand on her shoulder.
It hurt a little to look at Fantasy. She seemed so perfect, so intricately detailed. When she smiled, Kagome wondered if it was vain of her to feel a warmth in her chest, an assurance. That smile reminded her a little of Mom and she wondered if it were possible she made people feel so warm too.
"Are you alright?" Fantasy asked carefully.
"...It might be unrelated but it's been bothering me for a little while now." Kagome said instead. "When I first got here, one Sesshoumaru walked into Intelligence's mansion, like letting me know to go in. When I fell of Repression's back, one saved me from falling. Another protected me and Innocence from Instinct. All those times, I never saw his crest colour, like he was trying to hide it from me so that I wouldn't know what emotion he was."
Glancing up at the sky, Kagome let out a rush of air from her lungs. "Was that...Love?" She asked thinly, voice barely above a whisper.
Fantasy caught it, reaching out and squeezing her hand. She slowly nodded, "yeah. Sounds like him. His crest is a light pink colour," her tone sounded gentle and soothing, trying not to frighten her with the unexpected. "Lust has told me that youkai don't really see love the same way as humans might. They see theirs as more enduring but nonetheless, it's a strong, devoted, passionate feeling which is usually a prelude to the pair mating."
It'd been that simple to find out.
Every emotion had frozen, watching her.
The more she thought about it though, the less sense it made. "A-are you guys seriously saying Sesshoumaru has feelings for me? H-he barely talks to me!" She burst, starting to pace. Pale cheeks flushed red, heart pulsing achingly fast. "When he does we're usually sharing tea but- it's not like we're friends! Just allies! We fought bad guys together that's all! A-and yet he's made big mansions in his mind for a fantasy version of me, his emotions seem to like who I am and...accept me. What's that about?" She let out a thin, uncertain giggle, putting a hand to her head. Her expression crumpled and doubts, worries began to plague her.
She'd known, ever since seeing Fantasy and the blue tint to her hair, the way light caught her face. A part of her had known. It had just seemed too unbelievable to be true. "I never should have found out this way," Kagome murmured, hugging her arms. "I've invaded his privacy so much. He should've...been the one to tell me. This isn't right."
Fear blazed bright and powerful in her chest, mingling with the happy, hopeful burning in her chest that had snuck up on her without warning.
Snapping her head up, the familiar voice registered first. Afterwards, a sloppy side pony-tail, gap-toothed grin and yellow and orange patchwork yukata filled Kagome's gaze. Behind Rin's form that hurried towards them with arms spread out, another Sesshoumaru straightened. His crest shone a bright, buttery yellow, the fall of silver hair twisted into a heavy braid that fell over one shoulder, strands filled with countless colourful flowers that had been woven in.
Kagome's breath hitched. Warmth bloomed within her chest, spreading right down to her toes. His eyes were disarmingly soft when they fell upon her, lips curving into a fond, gentle smile that she seared into the depths of her memory.
Yes, the concept of Sesshoumaru feeling anything like what Fantasy suggested was ridiculous. And yet Kagome began to let the doors inside the chambers of her heart crack open. Just a smidge.
She dared to hope. To let herself want again.
Chapter 11: Happiness
"...How long has he been like this?"
"Oh a little while now."
"And ya didn't think to come and get me?"
"I find watching him far more entertaining than I should."
Inuyasha and Miroku stood in the clearing, watching Sesshoumaru perform various feats, somersaulting and twisting his body mid-air. Miroku had never seen such an extreme reaction to meditation before. Sesshoumaru seemed completely lucid, a frown marring his features.
"Lord Sesshoumaru?" Miroku called as the Daiyoukai backflipped and landed perfectly. "Have you been able to make contact with Kagome again?"
"No. I cannot see nor hear her, just various muddled chatterings that oddly sound like Jaken," he muttered, calm voice wrapped in steel. He loathed his body betraying him and moving of its own accord. Crying had been one thing but this felt like a new low.
"Ohh so amazing, Lord Sesshoumaru!" A familiar voice called with awe.
Mercifully he landed from another twist in the air, relief filling his lungs in the form of Rin's gentle scent. The inclination to jump in the air left him at once, and the Daiyoukai instead found himself blurring through the clearing to scoop Rin up in one arm.
He blinked, wondering at the burst of fondness in his chest. "Rin," he greeted. This was quite unorthodox, he did not usually allow himself to pick her up like a pup, letting her sit in the crook of his elbow.
Rin however, burst into a wide, if confused grin. "H-hello! You seem to be in a good mood today, my Lord! Would you like tea? I could make you some."
More words escaped his lips that Sesshoumaru would never say, on account of them being shamefully indulgent. "Yes, but first you may make a flower crown."
It felt a little surreal when Rin's weight knocked into her legs. Kagome automatically smiled and leaned to steady her, slightly perplexed. In the real world, Rin had shot up in height and now wore finer yukatas or kimonos if the occasion called for it. But this Rin seemed smaller, cheeks rounder with youth and dirt caked onto her bare feet.
"Good to see you, sweetie," Fantasy reached down, ruffling Rin's hair.
"Now there's TWO Kagomes," Rin gaped, looking between them. "Lord Sesshoumaru will be so happy!"
Kagome smiled a little awkwardly, fixing Rin's sloppy side ponytail out of habit. The other emotions were already greeting Happiness and explaining the situation. "We need…to go to your mansion," Sadness rasped. "It's urgent."
"The real miko has need to leave," Vanity hummed, loosely folding his arms and observing him with narrow eyes. "So go carry her off now. We will wait here."
Happiness tilted his head slightly, "Rin and I are in the middle of a picnic," he stated bluntly. "Besides that, I do not feel very charitable toward you. Was it not your group that destroyed a good portion of Rin's flower fields?" He smiled serenely. "If you wish for my help, you will wait."
"Yes and sit with us!" With a tug, Kagome stumbled after Rin towards a blanket that had been spread out over the flowers. The second they passed Sesshoumaru's double however- an arm snaked around Kagome's slim waist, tugging her back.
Blue eyes widened as that arm was joined by another, enclosing the miko in warmth. Various noises ranging from scoffs, snorts or sharp, annoyed tuts rang out around them while Happiness held her close. Kagome tilted her chin up slightly from where her cheek smooshed against a built chest, bewildered. The Daiyoukai tilted his head down, resting a striped cheek against the crown of her head and dragging it back and forth.
Kagome inwardly screamed. The Killing Perfection chose that moment to inhale her hair and nuzzle into her dark locks, exhaling in a long, contented sigh. Sloth must have followed them and taken up drumming instead of the koto, because she could certainly hear it. Or that was likely just her traitorous heart. He really wasn't doing a good job of disproving Fantasy's words.
Patting a warm, sturdy back, Kagome attempted to pry herself out of the hug- only to feel herself be plastered against him anew.
"This one missed you," light, easy words crooned into her ear.
It elicited a shiver and she tried not to sink into his oddly comforting presence. "I-I'm the real Kagome, you might have me mixed up with-"
"There is no mix up," he hummed, gathering her closer so that her feet practically slid onto his boots.
Ah, maybe a happy Sesshoumaru is the clingy type?
Vanity huffed somewhere beside them, "selfish as always, Happiness," he snipped.
Happiness let out a sharp noise, body jolting. He then snarled with a grin playing about his lips, releasing Kagome so that she dropped onto the blanket and whirling on Vanity, who had obviously jabbed him under the ribs with his fan. They transformed and started to scuffle, Happiness biting at his ears and letting out yips. The other inuyoukai seemed less enthused, trying to knock the other to the ground.
Kagome and the emotions exchanged pensive looks, hesitating.
Rin knelt on the blanket, opening the picnic basket in an unruffled, calm manner and taking a bite out of a riceball. Apparently she was used to this. "Would you like anything to eat?"
"No, thank you," Kagome said awkwardly, fixing her hair. If they all kept holding her like that she'd start expecting the real Sesshoumaru to hug her. From their seated positions she finally got a good look at the area, noting with a pleasantly surprised smile that Ah-Un and Jaken appeared to be dozing a little ways away under the shade of a tree. Even more perplexing, Kohaku appeared to be making a rabbit trap of some kind, sitting beside the dragon. He looked younger too, from what she could tell.
I guess Sesshoumaru bonded with him more than I thought. Though, Rin did tell me Sesshoumaru got his arm impaled while trying to save Kohaku. He must care about him. It's nice he's here, she mused.
Soon enough the two 'mature' inuyoukai's transformed back, Vanity very put out, hair a little puffed up like an angry cat until he smoothed the frazzled locks.
The more chipper of the two sat next to Kagome, eyes bright.
"I just want to remind you that we do need to leave as soon as possible since Repression is searching for me, but…" she eyed Happiness. He was still a part of Sesshoumaru and therefore held firm onto the things he valued. "We can spare a few minutes, to be respectful to you both as our hosts," she forced a smile, trying to be diplomatic. Miroku usually took care of negotiations. Impossibly warm eyes found hers and Happiness reached out, closing a hand over her own.
"You may stay as long as you wish, Kagome," he said in a quiet, reverent tone. Glancing away, her cheeks heated for the thousandth time. She kind of disliked that he could affect her so easily but the flutter in her stomach was undeniable.
Rin hurried over to Innocence, grabbed his arm while the other emotions sat down gracefully. The children chatted and Rin almost bossily insisted he play, dashing through the flowers. With a smirk, Innocence transformed into a smaller version of his usual true form, running after her.
Happiness chuckled, eyes dancing.
"I don't tend to visit your domain much," Lust hummed, lazing with Fantasy against his side. "It is nice, but a little sparse."
"Far preferable to mine," Sadness muttered while Vanity helped himself to opening up the picnic basket at the centre of the blanket.
Kagome turned to Sadness, "Ah, I remember you were in Repression's realm when we met. What's your place like?"
"It is a grey, ashen land…filled with marshes and blackened, fallen houses and armies."
Happiness poured Kagome a cup of tea. "How sullen. You should just stay with Rin and this one."
Kagome's eyes widened, a hand curling in his trailing sleeve. "Could he really stay? Innocence too?" She watched the little Sesshoumaru chase and play with Rin, giving small, excited yips. "I feel like I could breathe a little easier if I were leaving them somewhere like this."
Knuckles brushed against her cheek and Happiness hummed, lips curving. "Would that please you?"
"Then it is done."
Kagome couldn't seem to stop blushing, wondering if someone had powdered rouge to her cheeks. This Sesshoumaru appeared so gentle and warm, practically the total opposite to Vanity, who loudly cleared his throat. "The contents of this basket are unacceptable. We do not eat human food."
Happiness rose a brow, tilting his head slightly. "That is true. We were not expecting guests. This one will go catch something. Kagome, it would please me to have you observe."
Kagome blinked owlishly. "Yeah? Okay, I'll watch."
Standing, Happiness lifted Kagome to her feet and turned, transforming into a bear-sized version of his true form and lowering himself, gesturing with his muzzle to climb on.
"Guess that means I'm coming with," she giggled nervously, glancing at the other emotions before lifting herself onto his silky back.
"Do not tarry too long," Sadness murmured, glancing at the skies with worry.
Kagome didn't exactly have much of a say- Happiness bounding into the air and clearing a good chunk of the fields with a single leap. Landing, he kicked up flowers behind them, running with short jumps that felt like playful bursts of energy. Kagome rocked back, grasping his fur quickly and finding her balance, hair whipping behind her. Despite Repression lingering in the back of her mind and the dizzying revelation of Sesshoumaru's feelings, she found herself giggling. When he leapt again, ears flying in the breeze, Kagome outright laughed. Happiness soon skidded to a stop, scenting the air. He then looked sharply in the direction of a grazing deer. Kagome noted a few rabbits in the glade but he didn't seem to notice them.
Sliding off his back, she patted his side. "Uh…do your thing."
With a soft noise, he sprang into action, racing over the fields and sending prey scattering. Kagome's eyes widened slightly. It looked chaotic. A flurry of action, violence and predatory instincts. Sesshoumaru's replica chased the terrified deer, muscles coiling and springing free. He sank glistening teeth into the deers hide with a vicious smile painting his face, claws scraping and body tossing the carcass beneath it. Kagome hugged her arms, swallowing. He enjoyed killing. That much appeared evident. Happinesses tail wagged as his jaws clamped around the deer's neck and twisted harshly, creating a sickening snap.
For her, killing remained unpleasant. A necessity considering the feudal era times. Feeling a little sick, she nonetheless forced herself to keep watching. Because this was just another part of Sesshoumaru. And if he felt that way, she wouldn't begrudge him for it even if she didn't understand. When everything finally lay still, Happiness lifted his head, maw bloodied from the hunt. Red eyes shone bright, ears perked and tail wagging.
'It would please me to have you observe.' Kagome clicked then.
Maybe, he didn't enjoy killing per se but hunting. Ethier way, Happiness wanted her to see and know he could do this. Wanted the acknowledgement.
Kagome raised her arm and waved. "That was really great!" She yelled, at a loss of what else to say but putting her heart into it. If it was important to him, it was important to her.
The inuyoukai tossed his head, proudly trotting around his prey and ignoring her now, but she could tell he'd liked the response. She shook her head, smiling slightly. "Murderous dork," she mumbled.
After he'd dragged the kill back, the Sesshoumaru's had briefly argued about the best way to eat it. Some had suggested that cutting the venison free into strips and eating from a bowl would be more civilized, others had wanted to eat it raw. Sadness expressed a desire to consume it away from Kagome's slightly horrified eyes. Finally, she'd waved her hands. "You just do your demon thing and I'll...go see what Rin is up to before we leave," she said, trying to hint again at their departure. Fantasy stood and joined her in their getaway.
Hurriedly walking through the fields of wildflowers, they noticed the children had stopped near Kohaku, all three children squatting to look at something in the grass.
"Wonder what they're up to," Fantasy hummed.
"No idea. Hey guys, what's going on?" Kagome peered over them, squinting.
"Ah, I was just showing Innocence another emotion. I'm in charge of keeping him out of trouble, so I put him in a box for safekeeping," Rin said proudly, picking the thing up and presenting it on her open palm.
Kagome gaped, letting out a long, gooey coo and clasping her hands close to her melting heart. A Sesshoumaru clone stood on her palm, glaring between the two of them and standing at about 10 inches tall. He's so cute and small and precious!
He then opened his mouth. "I hate you," the tiny Daiyoukai hissed in a small, angry voice. "This one hates all humans. You are vile, weak creatures and I would not hold back my sword for the sake of you if such vile worms were in my way."
Blinking, Kagome's eyes narrowed and she dropped her hands. "Is this hatred?" She asked flatly.
"Mmn...he's more like a different part of hatred. After Sesshoumaru started looking after me, this little one's been getting smaller and smaller!" Rin chirped. "I think Happiness called him Bigotry, whatever that means. He's cute though, is he not?" The child prodded him in the head with her finger, trying to pet him. She succeeded in knocking him a few times, making small growling noises ring out. Kagome noted his crest appeared to be a sickly, almost baby vomit inspired colour. Fitting.
"He is quite obsolete now." Kohaku observed, straightening.
"Totally. I like to think that Sesshoumaru subconsciously puts Bigotry under Rin's control because, well..." Fantasy grinned, watching while the small replica attempted to fly away, only for Rin to hug him tight. "Who can entirely hate humans when one of them is an adorable human girl?" She mused softly.
Wrinkling his nose, Innocence looked down at the ground. "It is true that we grew up hearing tell of human's powerlessness and greed. We were led to believe that Father and Mother felt the same, so we did not like humans. More often than not they were pests getting in the way. Only, Father then took a human woman as his..." he trailed off. "Well, as his. Things were thrown out of order. Father even perished for a human woman and Inuyasha."
"Yes, and so this one grew!" Bigotry snarled, red eyes glowing and trying to push against Rin's chubby cheek. She only snuggled him, harder. "This one stood as tall as the other emotions! Maybe taller. Now Lord Sesshoumaru has disgraced our kind by fraternising with, protecting and...caring for you humans," he sneered.
Kagome frowned and held out a hand toward Rin, who smiled and placed the prejudiced little demon onto her open palm. The miko then held him up to eye-level, "but now you're this small. Did you shrink because he stopped feeding you?" She smiled slightly. "I bet that's what it is. Like Rin said, you're this size because he started caring for her and other humans. He saved me, Kohaku, Miroku and Sango, even Inuyasha. He's not the same guy anymore."
He tossed his head, expression dark. If he were his usual size Kagome knew she'd wilt under such a withering gaze, but as it was, he looked too comical. "And yet I exist within him. So long as I do, this one hopes to dissuade him from any fanciful idea's or inclinations he may harbour against your kind. My presence should also deter any mortal women from wanting him as a mate." Bigoty sent her a pointed look.
Kagome gave a hum, thinking to herself. She then leaned down and kissed his cheek with an over-exaggerated 'mwah' noise. Letting out a hateful hiss, the demon shrank just a little more, vague panic flashing over his pale features.
"I don't like you," she stated flatly. "But, I'm going to talk to Sesshoumaru about all this, and...if...if something comes of it, I'd never be dissuaded from him just for his past beliefs. Maybe you'll always exist in him because you're such a part of his teachings and past, but so long as you don't control his thoughts or actions, I'm pretty much over acknowledging you when there's other, far more relevant and wonderful emotions going on inside him."
Bigotry opened and closed his mouth, lurching when Kagome passed him back to Rin and took Innocence's hand. "Come on, let's go bully those guys into taking us to Happinesses mansion."
Giggling, Rin turned and placed Bigotry back in his sleek wooden box despite his protests. Kohaku bid them goodbye while scratching Ah-Un behind the ears.
It was while they were walking back across the fields however, that Fantasy paused.
Blinking, Kagome glanced back to her. "Hey, are you al- Oh my God!"
Fantasy held a very, very pregnant stomach, looking down at it with barely any surprise. If anything she only looked awkward because of Kagome's horror. "Yeah- this happens sometimes when I'm inside Happinesses realm," she winced. "It's no big deal."
"No big deal?!"
"Ohh are they kicking?" Rin asked, also serenely unbothered by this magic two-second pregnancy.
"Not at the moment," Kagome's clone gave a little laugh, sobering. "Listen, Kagome...he just...daydreams about you like this sometimes. Haven't you imagined kids with Inuyasha or marrying him? It's kind of like that. Demons are just pretty enthusiastic about that stuff."
Kagome rubbed her forehead. "Maybe once I imagined it but not since we broke up obviously. And it's one thing to have random thoughts and another to see them so vividly like this."
It was kind of sweet if she held onto the fact that the bizarre situation had been caused by Sesshoumaru's impromptu daydream but nonetheless the imagery felt jarring. On top of the love reveal this felt like too much. Another thought occurred to her then and Kagome dropped her hand. "Wait, does he ever imagine what our kids could possibly look like?" She asked thinly.
Fantasy waved it off, "never mind that. Did you just say that you and Inuyasha broke up?"
Kagome messily tried to scramble together her muddled thoughts. "Of course we did. I told Lust that but he didn't believe me. I don't exactly know why Sesshoumaru thinks I'm still with him. Guess he didn't get the memo," she joked weakly.
Something squeezed her hand and Kagome jumped, looking down at Innocence. She'd forgotten he were even with them.
His brows were drawn together slightly, face otherwise a calm mask. Kagome squeezed back.
"This is big news," Fantasy was muttering. "Y-you need to tell Sesshoumaru right away!" She burst, eyes wide.
Before Kagome could answer, a violent gust of wind collapsed into her back, knocking the air from her lungs. She stumbled with Innocence, the boy grabbing her around her waist to try and steady them. The small group turned, looking up at the sky, Kagome's stomach dropped.
A huge inuyoukai plunged down from the clouds, bellowing out a deep, guttural roar from the depths of his chest. Immediately those searching eyes strayed over the emotions in the fields and locked on the two mikos.
Repression sneered, youki coiling around him as large jaws opened wide, soaring down towards them with single-minded intent.
Distractions could cause irreparable damage. Sesshoumaru knew this. Izayoi had been Father's distraction when facing Ryūkotsusei. This was why, when he found himself reclined against a tree and watching Rin dutifully make him a flower crown, ignoring Inuyasha's complaints, he'd allowed himself a brief flight of fancy; Kagome, a hand on her stomach, expecting their child. He could not say why. They were random imaginings, he told himself. The same as thinking about what house he'd build for her, what her body would feel like under his. It was becoming difficult and tiring trying to manage his thoughts and emotions in order to keep from exposing himself to her. Every fibre of Sesshoumaru's being wanted to tune into her.
But as stated, distractions could be fatal. Which was why the sting of complacency hurt him more than anything else when a swam of incensed sprites and demons clamoured over the hill to the East, heading straight for the village.
"What the hell?!" Inuyasha barked, eyes widening. "What are they- Shippo?"
Sure enough, what the swarm actually seemed to be doing was snarling and swiping for the little fox kit, who ran as fast as his legs would carry him. Sesshoumaru smoothly stood and turned to Miroku, "protect Rin," he said sternly, flying into the air without another word.
"Hey!" Inuyasha leapt up beside him, gliding in a graceful fall. "You're in no shape to fight! What if you start acting weird again because of Kagome messing around inside your head?"
Sesshoumaru sneered but the whelp had a point.
If the miko only served to be a distraction, he would simply have to block her out completely. Closing his eyes briefly, Sesshoumaru fed the desire to shut her away until this business was settled. Repression reigned supreme within his being, acting as a fine suppressant. The Daiyoukai barely paid it any mind, nor thought of the consequences of his actions while he drew his sword. Yes, he hated having no control. This way restored order.
Despite the familiar peace and quiet now softening his hearing however, Sesshoumaru couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of something unnamed within his chest.
Chapter 12: Fantasy pt. II
Kagome's automatic response when faced with a giant, snarling dog demon heading straight for her was a built-in instinct to throw up both hands. Reiki sputtered, before shining bright- spilling forth as a strong, glowing shield.
"Get back!" She yelled, hoping Innocence, Rin and Fantasy would find cover.
Repression did not respond as Instinct had done, however. Instead of crashing spittle coated teeth against the barrier to force his way through, the inuyoukai landed on all fours and sharply swiped his paw at her left side. With the shield above- he easily knocked Kagome off her feet, causing the miko to gasp, landing hard on her back. The glinting shield broke.
Rolling to one side, Kagome's eyes widened as large jaws chose that moment to close in on her. Scrambling back, Kagome grit her teeth, summoning more power to her hands just as a whip of green light shot out- wrapping around Repression's muzzle. With a yank, his jaws were snapped shut.
Gaping, Kagome swung her attention to the Sesshoumaru standing a little ways away, keeping a firm grip on the other end of the poison whip. The soft pink crest on one shoulder caught her eye.
Despite knowing it, she couldn't speak his name out loud.
"Sesshoumaru," she said instead, voice thin.
Love glanced at her. "Go. You are in the way," he uttered.
He sounds exactly like regular Sesshoumaru, she mused, picking herself up shakily. Repression made a noise of outrage, yanking his head left and right, wrestling on the ground and tossing his body sharply to the side to try and throw Love off or break free.
More whips of green light swung out, wrapping around the inuyoukai's four legs. Vanity, Lust, Sadness and Happiness held their respective whips, expressions slightly varied but all firm and grim.
"He is right, Kagome. You need to leave," Lust nodded, glancing at Fantasy. "Both of you."
Biting her lip, Fantasy grasped Kagome's hand.
With wide eyes, Kagome allowed herself to be tugged a few steps away until she dug her heel in. "Why are you trying to capture me?!" She burst, yelling at the large, struggling dog demon. "I'm just trying to leave! You should be happy!"
Repression snarled, thick fumes of purple gas leaking out from the corners of his mouth, hissing like steam. He continued to fight against his binds, legs straining and muscles trembling with exertion. With a yank from the emotions, he fell with a heavy thud that shook the earth, snarling and scrambling to try and get up, kicking up dirt.
Innocence transformed, standing much smaller than his elders forms but large enough to carry two mikos nonetheless. Fantasy tugged Kagome back again and climbed on, no longer looking heavily pregnant.
"It's useless Kagome, I don't think he operates on logic," she muttered darkly. "Let's hurry to Happiness's mansion. Though...I haven't actually visited it before so I'm not sure on its exact whereabouts."
Hands trembling with frustration, Kagome glared at nothing in particular. If she stayed, the emotions were at risk of being locked up just like Sadness. Turning, she climbed up onto Innocence's back, holding on around her double's waist. Glancing back at the others, something squeezed her heart.
Sadness met her gaze, warmth softening his cold, apathetic expression. He inclined his head slightly, eyes tired but reverent.
"Head South West and you will find my mansion," Happiness called. "Rin, you should guide them."
Blinking, Kagome noticed Rin hadn't run away and reached down to help her up. "You don't mind us taking her?"
"She cannot leave my domain so do not try taking her past the border," he said, smiling amiably. "Go now."
Nodding, Innocence launched into a run, bounding away quickly. Kagome steadied Rin before her, looking at the shrinking figures of the emotions she'd come to know.
I'll see you again if I can help it. In the real world.
Lust sent her a fleeting smirk but her attention strayed to Love's determined expression, focused on the task at hand. Repression started outright thrashing, causing the emotions to jolt and try to hold him down.
'This one cannot fly for too long with so many of you,' Innocence rumbled, hurrying towards some far off trees.
"It's alright, just keep heading South West," Kagome patted his flank. "We shouldn't risk air travel in case Repression breaks free. Rin, we're heading the right way, aren't we?"
"Mhm! We might be able to make it there in a few hours."
"A few hours?" Fantasy's voice strained.
Lips thinning, Kagome hugged Rin a little. If only to try and make herself feel better. They'd likely shared the same thought; Repression would likely catch up by then.
"I don't understand why he'd rather lock me away than let me go," Kagome murmured.
"Because you're a threat to order even from the outside, far as he's concerned."
Glancing at the back of Fantasy's head, dark brows pulled together. "He said something similar to me before but also mentioned detaining me would be temporary- which is starting to sound like a big fat lie."
Fantasy didn't look at her, fingers curling in silver fur. "...I need to tell you about my birth," she murmured. "About everything. I...wasn't going to say. But if this is my last chance to, I feel like there's some stuff you should know."
Kagome fell silent and thoughtful, straining her hearing while Fantasy exhaled.
"It kind of started in the tomb," she mumbled. "Though I wasn't fully realised until later."
Between one moment and the next, brown shoes, white socks and bare legs with creamy pale skin appeared, a scrap of blue material covering the thighs. Following that, a dark long-sleeved… thing materialised, clinging to the torso of a young human woman. Dark hair spilled down shoulders to mid-back in a maddening tumble. Fly away bangs settled around her kind face, ears rounded. Lashes fluttered, ensnaring blue eyes blinking open. Fantasy had no idea where or who she was. She'd been born as a stand in, necessary to examine Kagome's form and not much else.
Intelligence looked up sharply from where he'd been consulting scrolls, bent over his desk as per usual. "What- how are you here?" He demanded sharply.
"I...I don't know," Fantasy looked around what she assumed to be a study, the walls were packed high with shelves of scrolls, cabinets crammed full.
A little green imp hurried over to the handsome looking demon's desk, handing him a scroll. Breaking the seal, Intelligence speed read, golden eyes flying over the contents. "Ah, I see. We're looking at Inuyasha's wench right now while in the tomb."
"How dare she pull Tetsusaiga free!" Wrath appeared behind him from the shadows of the room, snarling and baring sharp teeth. Fantasy shrunk back slightly, bumping into a sturdy chest.
"She has the scent of a miko but carries no weapons," stated Discipline. Molten gold seemed to give off their own light in the darkness of the room, the flicker of nearby candles playing wisps of warm orange over his regal jawline. "She is untrained and therefore no threat."
"No, while you are correct about the training, she has an air about her. An aura of energy that hints at power," Intelligence hummed, gliding down from the desk and walking to Fantasy. Seizing her chin, the various identical demons inspected her. Instinct roared somewhere nearby, the sound echoing into Fantasy's bones, her breath hitching.
"What are you?" He said quietly, the others keenly observing.
Fantasy had no answer. She only knew as much as Sesshoumaru did about the woman whose skin she wore.
"Whatever she is, this is an interesting turn of events."
Intelligence turned, surprise flashing over his face, "you. You should not be here. There is no cause for your presence right now," he stated firmly.
Lust pushed off from a shelf, circling around the group in an almost predatory manner. He barely paid them any heed, watching the young woman with half-lidded eyes. "Indeed," he hummed. "And yet here I am. Do not fuss, she is most definitely not our type and this is likely a passing fancy," he chuckled in deep, rich tones, stopping beside Fantasy and causing her to turn slightly in his direction. Hot breath danced over her ear.
"Hn. I suppose," Intelligence uttered, returning to his scrolls by retaking his seat at the desk.
Lust stared down at Kagome's double, tipping his head slightly to the side. Thin lips parted, eyes searching. "I do not think we have ever seen a human with blue eyes before. Usually when looking into the eyes of men we kill, they are brown. Why then, do you possess them…" he quietly trailed off.
"It does not matter," Wrath snarled. "She must die! We have been slighted by a mere mortal."
The other emotions gave 'hn's' of agreement. Lust sighed and stepping back.
Before Fantasy could reply, she, as a fanciful thought, was let go as Sesshoumaru within the real world let acid rain down upon Kagome. He then focused entirely on fighting Inuyasha. Fading out of sight, Fantasy lost all sense of self- before popping back into existence a moment later, standing in Intelligence's study once more.
The Sesshoumaru behind the desk started and narrowed golden eyes, quickly accepting the scroll from a flustered Jaken and reading it. "Inuyasha's wench survived our attack. How?"
He thought for a moment, looking her over. Fantasy frowned, hands curling into fists. "Why are you just staring at me?" She snapped, eyes widening slightly a moment later. Where had that attitude come from?
Intelligence frowned, writing something down on a scroll and handing it back to Jaken. "This one understands now. Father's fang protected you. How sweet," he sneered.
From the sidelines, Wrath snarled, heat rippling around him. The very walls trembled and shook- Fantasy fading out of notice once more as Instinct roared louder- the fight accelerating into something new that would shake the foundations of Sesshoumaru's world and pride forever.
The next time Fantasy had life breathed into her, she stumbled onto a tatami mat, glancing around. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she'd materialised in Discipline's domain out of thin air.
Facing her across the mat stood Discipline, scars marring the left side of his face. He stood one-armed after their last encounter. With the use of a fake human arm, he held Tetsusaiga as though he had every right to.
"You again," he frowned. Neither of them noted Lust leaning against one of the training posts. His attraction lay at a simmer, something never to be acknowledged and a side effect of seeing a passionate woman protect her own. That was how Sesshoumaru would justify it, at least.
Fantasy looked down at the bow and arrow in her hands, blinking in confusion. Somehow, she knew to notch her bow and aim the arrow straight at him.
"You're defending Inuyasha right now," he mused, swinging the hilt of Tetsusaiga around in his hand. "This one underestimated you once, it will not happen again."
Acting as Sesshoumaru's fantasy, she was helpless to resist when he appeared before her and struck deadly claws through her chest. His grim imaginings of Kagome's death were abruptly cut off however as the real Kagome shot at him.
Forced to jump aside, Fantasy felt herself be let go into nothingness, choking from the fatal wound.
It wasn't until the real Kagome fired another arrow- shattering his shoulder armour to pieces, that Fantasy reappeared. Coming face to face with Instinct this time, Fantasy's breath caught, looking up at the feral inuyoukai that seemed to blend into the shadows. Even as crimson eyes glowed fiercely, his lips peeling back to deliver an answering attack, a skitter of interest gleamed within his inhuman gaze.
From the sidelines, Vanity smirked. "Nicely done, miko."
Encounters came and went, a little more of Kagome built into Fantasy's character the more Sesshoumaru saw the fierce little miko. She'd certainly gained his attention by breaking his armour and nearly piercing him in the face with an arrow that he'd caught between sharp claws. A hellcat, he thought her. Anger and passion lighting up deep blue eyes, protective instincts strong as she flung herself in front of Inuyasha's unconscious body.
"Stay away, stupid!" Kagome had snarled.
He'd killed people for less. And yet he'd felt no such inclination anymore, instead explaining that his fool of a brother would need the sword if he lost control of his demon blood again. Sesshoumaru's only explanation for not being insulted by Kagome's tongue was the addition to Rin in his pack. Some part of him now understood Kagome's protectiveness over the Hanyou. The need to shield those considered important with your own life. Such loyalty unconsciously worked its way into the pattern that made up the skin quilt of Fantasy.
After saving a paralysed Kagome from Mukotsu however, it happened.
Rin had been tucked away in her bed at the demon inn, Jaken guarding her. In his own room situated on the second floor, Sesshoumaru nursed a cup of saké. They'd been on the road, searching for Naraku as per the norm in those days.
Unlike the norm, he'd seen fit to stop at a demon village to sleep for the night. He did not know why, but the comfort was available so he'd taken the opportunity. Lounging in a reclined position, he listened while the celebrations of a mating pair took place outside below his balcony. A sort of ceremony to mark the momentous occasion. The alcohol rendered the proud lord more relaxed than usual, allowing his thoughts to stray.
Soon enough Kagome's eyes came to mind.
Just like that, Fantasy materialised, standing before Lust.
His environment changed, realm bleeding away so that it reflected Sesshoumaru's current quarters. Fantasy quietly realised that the real Sesshoumaru was imagining Kagome Higurashi standing before him, lights outside bathing the shoji screens red or blue and catching in her dark hair, the silence deafening.
Lust stared at her with half-lidded eyes, offering his hand palm up. Fantasy understood what he wanted.
Sesshoumaru did not desire sweetness and kisses that night. He'd witnessed Kagome's bizarre undergarments via a rouge breeze once or twice and slid them down Fantasy's thighs. He unwrapped her bindings within his imagination- Sesshoumaru's hand wrapping around his cock and beginning to stroke the second Lust sank inside Fantasy's slick folds. The motion was what he wanted. The bounce of Kagome's body, her wanton expression, the mewling cries, scrape of blunt nails.
The two within his mind finished mere seconds before him, Sesshoumaru giving a short, harsh groan, panting wildly.
Lust's breath mingled with her own, the Kagome clone catching her breath and curling into his heat. "This one does not believe we have been formally acquainted," Lust purred in her ear. "I am Lust."
She caught her breath, lips thinning. "I'm…" she trailed off. Kagome? No, that didn't sound quite right.
He seemed to catch on to her reluctance, chuckling quietly and smoothing a hand through her hair. "Hn, I see. In that case, I name you Fantasy," he said quietly.
"Fantasy?" She'd repeated softly, holding onto him tight and fearing she'd fade away again. "I'd have rather named myself but I guess that suits me."
Lust hummed, inhaling her scent while the real Sesshoumaru cleaned himself up and retired to sleep. He sought to dismiss her from his mind via platitudes and excuses. It was the mating ceremony, the atmosphere, the alcohol's fault. He was not attracted to or interested in Kagom-... Inuyasha's miko.
Yet the proof lay in the morning when Fantasy awoke within her own, albeit small house. She never faded from notice again after that night.
Time matched on, with the final battle arriving not long after Sesshoumaru had gained his arm back, Bakusaiga resting proudly at his hip.
Fantasy flickered and grunted, finding herself laying on the ground a moment later. Sesshoumaru had lain eyes on the fallen miko in the real world, laying within the depths of Naraku's hellish death trap. For a moment, Sesshoumaru's heart had clenched. He did not care. No. He did not care if the miko died. Nonetheless, he knelt beside Kagome, noting the wound on her arm caused by a slash of claws. The scent of his brother.
Fantasy started upon feeling a palm rest on her cheek.
Sesshoumaru imagined touching the woman, flirting with the idea. Lithe fingers moved to curl within soft dark hair- before hearing a noise and turning to defend the real Kagome from demons.
Fantasy cracked her eyes open, glimpsing the pale pink crest of the emotion that was leaning over her before he retreated.
Or at least, attempted to. Fantasy grasped his trailing sleeve, "who are you? I don't think I've seen you around before."
"No one of consequence as far as our host is concerned," Love uttered.
The silks were tugged free- and she was left on her stomach. With the addition of Love, it struck her as interesting when she spied another emotion lingering on the outskirts. His expression was blank, crest lilac. Having been spotted, his eyes widened slightly and the Sesshoumaru clone retreated from sight. Fantasy was left baffled but soon joined by Happiness when the real Kagome stirred awake.
The years in between Kagome's unexpected disappearance back into her 'own time,' were relatively dull for Fantasy.
It was during that time, when Love kept skittering around the edges of her peripheral vision, that another emotion rose to new heights in terms of power. An upstart little punk by the name of Repression. Before him, Sesshoumaru had tempered himself with Discipline. Repression felt different.
Her house, which had been doing its own thing on a little plot of land- was soon unearthed by the rude, unfeeling demon, suspending it far above Happinesses realm within the clouds.
When Kagome finally returned to the village though, arguably that was when the real problems started.
Fantasy had gotten used to being utilised mainly for Sesshoumaru's downtime, during his daydreams or raunchy sexual fantasies. She got to be good friends with Sloth, lover to Lust. Things changed. Sesshoumaru started paying more attention to the real miko, giving Fantasy more knowledge, talent and adaptability. Kagome was a miko of the future. Powerful, knowledgable according to the textbooks he'd glimpsed. She seemed to grow, training her miko powers and helping the village. Fantasy knew all this because Sesshoumaru knew and watched and learned.
"Stupid. Stupid Inuyasha!"
Sesshoumaru had stopped walking through the forest, on route to one of his habitual visits to Rin. Ear's pricking, he moved aside some bushes, peering into a clearing. Salt wafted through the air.
Kagome stood, fists pummeling a random tree as she sobbed, shoulders shaking. The couple had likely had another argument. About what, he did not know. Sesshoumaru saw fit to repress his interest in the couple's life. If he had his way, the useless desire for the miko would be snuffed out entirely.
Thick, ceaseless tears ran down Kagome's cheeks, causing them to plume with red blotches. Her sniffles sounded pathetic to his pointed ears yet tugged on the undernourished heart in his chest. And, despite wanting to cease feeling- Fantasy found herself the subject of another daydream. One where Sesshoumaru walked over to the miko, took her in his arms, and then flew away with her despite any protests.
The stand in for Sesshoumaru within his mind took the form of Love.
Fantasy's eyes widened, holding onto him while she was carried away. He smelled wonderful. Felt soft and inviting, secure and reliable. She near melted in his arms- until Inuyasha burst her bubble.
"Look I said I was sorry!" The real Inuyasha was yapping, having caught up to Kagome.
Sesshoumaru stared from his position in the bushes. Shifting, he slid his heel back. He'd unconsciously taken a step forward.
"You're such a jerk," Kagome was mumbling, scrubbing at her eyes. "'Sorry' isn't going to make this better. Never compare me to Kikyo again. Got it? Not ever," she grit out, voice wobbling. "I get that she was important to you and you can't forget her but don't bring her up like that."
From where he stood, Sesshoumaru's eyes widened a touch. And just like that, Fantasy was blessed and cursed with insecurities.
"It's like I can't bring her up at all without you getting weird about it!" Inuyasha snapped.
"Gee I wonder why!" Kagome growled, expression falling when Inuyasha flinched, ears pressing down against his skull.
Exhaling, the miko stepped closer, pressing herself against his front and wrapping her arms around him. "Just forget it. Let's go back home," her quiet mumble reached Sesshoumaru's ears.
Inuyasha held Kagome close, drinking in her fragrance. "...Yeah."
A sharp, stabbing pain shot through Sesshoumaru's chest. Golden eyes narrowed. Turning on his heel, silver hair fanned out as he strode away.
Abruptly, with the recesses of his mind, Fantasy felt herself be ripped away from Love's embrace. Crying out, she gasped- Envy grasping her body and tugging hard. Fantasy's form split in two, a second Kagome looking around, disorientated and frightened. Fantasy looked at her double with horrified eyes- reaching out to her just as Envy spirited her away.
Repression held Fantasy back, and soon a silver cage locked tight and her splendid mansion. Fantasy learned from Vanity that her twin had been given to Sesshoumaru's mental fabrication of Inuyasha. They lived together within Envy's land, who would look upon them daily.
"So, do you get it now?" Fantasy murmured.
"I think so. It's...like he's never believed we'd be anything. Somethings always got in the way," Kagome watched the scenery change to their left, the lush greenery giving way to a bizarre land of what appeared to be outside flooring. The surface seemed to be slightly raised, mats indicating an outside dojo or training facility of some sort. Inwardly, she silently reeled from the information overload. All those times they'd seen each other and the Daiyoukai had been feeling so much. She'd never suspected a thing.
Fantasy patted Innocence's side, asking him to skid to a stop. Hooking her leg over, she hopped off, searching around a certain maple tree. Moving aside some bushes, Fantasy smiled. "Thought so," she muttered, lifting out a large bow and quiver of arrows.
"How did you know they'd be there?" Kagome blinked.
"I visit Discipline sometimes. Occasionally he hunts for us in Happinesses realm and leaves his arrows here around the border."
Sliding off Innocence's back, Kagome rested her hand on his head, petting and scratching behind his fluffy ears. Innocence made a huffing, crooning noise, leaning into her touch. "Cool, so we're fighting Repression now instead of running away? Because honestly, I'm all about that plan."
Fantasy notched the bow, heel-dragging back over the earth and back arching as she fired into the air. A faint pink aura glowed around the arrow while sailed far into Discipline's domain. "Not so much," Fantasy glanced at her. "We're splitting up."
Chapter 13: Repression
"Fantasy," Kagome said thinly, warily approaching. "What are you doing?"
Her double had taken hold of Rin, shoving gently so that the little girl stumbled over the border between Happiness's realm and Discipline's. Rin squeaked, disappearing into thin air.
Kagome gasped and uselessly grabbed at the space where she'd been, panic erupting within her chest.
"Relax. She'll just pop back to Happiness's side like nothing happened."
Sharing a pensive look, Kagome and Innocence watched as Fantasy walked by. She handed her bow and quiver of arrows over to Kagome, swinging herself up onto the inuyoukai's back. "Discipline will be here any second, you can feel his energy, right? I'll take Innocence and we'll run further into Happiness's realm as a decoy to make it look like I'm you when Repression inevitably comes after us. Get that stuffy dork to take you to his mansion instead."
Kagome frowned, setting the weapons down and sliding her arms around Innocence's neck, feeling his head rest against her chest. "But…" she trailed off. "What makes you so sure this is a good idea? Repression might not come after us. The other emotions had him pinned down."
Fantasy's eyes appeared almost like Sesshoumaru's for a second, wintery and serious. "Repression is stronger than them. The most important thing right now is getting you out of here. What's more...he and I both know you don't want to leave Innocence. That's why me being the one to take him is the best option. He's more likely to think that I'm you," she murmured, glancing away. "I didn't tell you this, but I got a scroll from Intelligence this morning while at my mansion. He said that Sesshoumaru has found out something from an oni sorceress. That...if you stay for a day longer you'll get trapped here, permanently. It's important you go."
Blue eyes widened. "Why didn't you tell me this earlier?"
"I didn't want to freak you out!" She groaned. "I thought it would be an easy thing, going to Happinesses mansion. Didn't realise Repression was this...intense about you."
Glancing away, Kagome stroked the soft fur of Innocence's hackles, mulling everything over. It was true. She didn't want to leave the pup. Protective instincts surged beneath her skin, feeling the hot puffs of air from his nose fan onto her stomach. The idea of him being caught and punished for helping her clouded Kagome's thoughts. But the plan had merit and she needed to leave or risk getting more emotions in trouble.
Kagome patted the inuyoukai, causing his head to lift up, ears perking. She kissed his wet nose and smiled gently, "I need you to look after Fantasy for me, okay?"
He huffed, 'naturally.'
Smiling, she stroked a magenta marking with her thumb and straightened, rounding his side. She picked up an arrow, exhaling. Summoning her courage, Kagome dragged the sharp point over her palm to make a cut. Innocence's nose twitched at the smell of blood.
'What are you doing?'
Kagome pressed her palm to Fantasy's outer layer of clothing, patting down her arm and leaving flecks of blood. "He'll follow this- but once he has your scent, I want you to take this off." Kagome lifted her gaze to her double and frowned. "I mean it. Throw it down a gorge or something and run away for real, hide. Don't let yourself be caught under any circumstances or I'll march right back in here."
Fantasy stared down at her, soon nodding and smiling. "I promise," she murmured, further surprised by Kagome shoving the bow and quiver of arrows into her hands. "You should have these instead of me. Value yourself more," she said firmly. Fantasy shouldered them, warmth pooling in her chest.
With a smile, Kagome stepped back, feeling the rustle of wind behind her and sensing cool energy at her back. Turning on her heel, she noticed Discipline heading towards them.
"I'm going to give you a bit of a cheat code that Love taught me," Fantasy reached out and cupped Kagome's cheek, making the woman look at her. "When you hold an inuyoukai like this or vice versa, it means that they're safe with you. If they tip their head into your palm, it's an act of deep trust and affection."
Kagome blinked, mind racing back to when she'd first met Sadness. She swallowed and nodded soberly, gratitude filling her up.
"I guess this is goodbye," Fantasy said gently. Grasping Innocence's fur, she held on as he started to pad away.
Kagome bit her lip, rocking forward on her heels as though wanting to follow but holding herself back. "Yeah," she murmured. "Goodbye, Kagome."
Her double jolted a touch, wide blue eyes finding hers. The smoke of a smile came to her lips just as the inuyoukai took off running, bounding through the trees and disappearing into the thick foliage of the surrounding trees and bushes.
After being picked up by Discipline and briefly explaining the situation, she'd slid her arms around broad shoulders, inwardly blushing at his half-naked appearance. But she squashed that feeling down, now wasn't exactly the time. His right arm had fresh claw marks, trickles of blood running down pale skin. "You're injured," Kagome quietly noted with concern, hair teased by the breeze.
"Hn. The host has fought a horde of demons outside without the use of Bakusaiga," Discipline muttered, flying through the air over his domain. "This one was just in the middle of changing and tending to the wound when I received Fantasy's arrow."
She automatically frowned, gripping the sleeve of her yukata and tugging to tear a chunk of the soft material free. "that's strange. I wonder why he didn't use his sword."
"To my knowledge, your kit was in the way."
Kagome swallowed, stomach twisting into knots as she shifted in his arms and tied the material around his arm to try and stop the bleeding. The worry for Innocence and Fantasy was further added to with the addition of Shippo. Her head remained in such shambles that she quite forgot how to even make a proper tourniquet. Kaede would have chided her.
"Your concern is irritating my senses," he grumbled.
"I'm not sorry," Kagome mumbled, resting a hand on his bloodied arm, watching the trees shrink into the distance. "I know I need to leave here but it...feels wrong like this. Will everyone really be okay if I just leave them with Repression? What's to stop him from locking Sadness and the others away again?"
Discipline slid his stern, unrelenting gaze down to her, claws twitching where they supported Kagome under her thighs and back. "Nothing. But this is how we have come to live. The host's state of mind is none of your business, even if you do care for him."
"It's because I care for him that his state of mind is my business!" Kagome burst, white-hot frustration racing through her bloodstream. She quickly curled her fingers into her palms to try and stifle the answering reiki that longed to spark out.
Discipline did not answer, looking ahead of them.
Exhaling in a rush, blue eyes slid over the scarred left side of his cheek, wondering at his milky white pupil. Unable to help herself, she softly inquired: "are you blind in one eye?"
"Can I ask what happened? Sesshoumaru isn't usually blind."
They sailed over the flat lands that occasionally held what looked to be training grounds or long, thin demons stalking the wooden floors, looking for prey. Discipline stared down at them as though the sharp-toothed, frightening creatures were something to hunt, rather than the other way around.
"No, but he has experienced these wounds. His body remembers every injury. I, therefore, bare each one as a reminder. They were branded into my being because of the shame he felt from each experience. My face is one of the most egregious examples." Silver hair tickled Kagome's nose while she rested her cheek on his shoulder. "When he was a pup, Sesshoumaru was taken on a hunt with his Father. A rare honour. They were to pass through a section of the forest belonging to overgrown demonic plants and flowers, some of which gave off gases which could ignite."
Kagome's stomach dropped.
"He had been warned explicitly about the use of his Dokkasō. The pup did not listen, eager to demonstrate his power and technique to his sire. He released the acid from his claws in order to strike a low-level demon, but the gases ignited due to the humidity of the fumes and resulted in what you see now. He lost his sight for two months in one eye. It rivals the shame of losing his left arm. Innocence was shoved to the outskirts of Repression after the experience."
"That's awful," she murmured, glancing at the arms that held her. He must have gained back the left one just like regular Sesshoumaru but a scar circled around his bicep. The image of Innocence, no...actual child Sesshoumaru, so small and prideful, laying in a bed with bandages over the left side of his face struck her. If he'd been so eager to prove himself to his father, she could only imagine the humiliation he'd felt. "Wait...the outskirts of Repression," Kagome repeated. "You mean the realm? Where was Repression the emotion? The Sesshoumaru clone like you and Lust. Fantasy called him an upstart but is he really that new?"
"Indeed. Before him, the lands of Repression existed," mismatched eyes narrowed. "This made sense to me. Repression is not an emotion, a feeling, but the action of suppression. He should not be able to walk among the rest of the emotions in my opinion. It is...strange. Before, if Happiness was squashed, he would materialise inside the lands of Repression rather than be hounded by that pup who locks everything away."
Kagome's lips thinned with thought, holding on tight as he started to descend from the air towards a large, weathered mansion with sturdy brown roof tiles. It had a courtyard much like Intelligence's place, but with an emphasis on training. Many different weaponry stations littered the grounds. "Is that an archery range?"
"Hn. Did you not know the host is proficient in many weapons?"
"Well no...he tends to only use swords," Kagome thought for a moment. "I guess there's still a lot I don't know about him, despite running around in his head." The thought was oddly comforting. She didn't want to cheat and know all his secrets.
She wanted...Sesshoumaru to tell her. To talk to him, see him relax and smile for real. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach, which Kagome inwardly batted away. From behind them, a deafening roar echoed through the lands. Demons prowling along Discipline's flat wooden grounds shrieked and took flight, curling in the air like distressed party streamers. Kagome steadied herself when Discipline set her down within his courtyard.
"...Can you go and protect Fantasy and Innocence for me?" Kagome murmured. "I'm worried about what Repression might to do if he catches them this time."
Discipline inclined his head, turning. "This one will. But after you have left and I've dressed accordingly."
Kagome's gaze raked down the length of his back, catching the scarring in various places. Her brows drew together and she followed him up the sleek wooden stairs and into his traditional mansion. Her ears pricked, hearing another distant, bellowing cry. She shivered and hurried after Discipline's retreating form.
Grabbing a plain hanjuban underlayer and putting it on while in his shadowed, spacious bedroom, he stilled when Kagome took out a patterned hankimono and approached, smiling slightly. "Let me help, as a thank you."
"This one is more than capable of doing it alone," Discipline quietly rumbled.
She giggled, struggling a little with the sheer volume of silks but managing to slide his arm through a sleeve, smoothing the material over strong shoulders. Fixing any blemishes, she adjusted his collar once he'd slid his other arm into a heavy sleeve.
Discipline had gone quiet, his good eye pinned on her movements. "...What ails you?"
Kagome swallowed, resting her palms briefly on his collarbone. "Guess it's just hitting home that I'm leaving now." I might not...be able to touch him like this in the real world.
Calloused hands came up, becoming a pressure upon her hips. Slowly, haltingly, the miko's fingers unfurled as her palm lifted to his scarred cheek. Her digits twitched and shook slightly, the meaning of the act racing through her mind. Discipline observed her with half-lidded eyes, remaining still. He then tipped his head fractionally, scarred flesh meeting her open hand. Kagome exhaled in a rush. Carefully, her thumb dragged over the various bumps, dips and ridges of his burned cheek, the damaged flesh rough.
Slit pupils gazed at her with fervour until pale lashes slid shut. "...You should go now," his deep voice broke the quiet of the room. "The host has need of you."
Kagome nodded, stroking her fingers up his damaged, half-melted ear, leaning up to kiss his cheek just once. "Thank you for protecting him," she muttered, before withdrawing her touch.
The spell of calm broke and Discipline's aura of tight control returned to him. He ushered Kagome to a room where a large fireplace took up the far wall.
Kagome hesitantly stepped up to it, glancing at him over her shoulder. "This'll...take me back, right?"
"I do not know."
"Encouraging," she snorted, turning back to the flames. Taking a breath, she decided to treat it as just another free fall into the Bone Eater's Well. Where she didn't know if the caprice of time travel would accept her body or break her ankle from the drop. "Here goes-"
And then she jumped.
He stared unseeingly at the youkai corpses littered around the landscape. He'd reacted in a way he'd previously belittled Inuyasha for- racing out recklessly and relying on instinct and fighting skill alone to rip the demons to pieces. Even after grabbing Shippo, he'd felt no inclination to use Bakusaiga. It would've been over too quickly.
However, since surfacing from the bloodlust induced haze of battle, he'd been out of sorts. Squashing any thought or emotion for the miko had not been the wisest decision.
Miroku and Inuyasha had lent their assistance but they'd barely been within his notice. At least he'd had the sense to move the kit out of harm's way, who currently wailed to Miroku about trying to find Kagome but accidentally awakening a horde of slumbering demons within an eastern cavern of Inuyasha's forest.
His brother had been wary and watchful of him ever since the short battle. Sesshoumaru understood his reaction, but ignored it, glancing at the bleeding arm at his side. He must have been out of sorts to let himself get injured.
Between one breath and the next, it happened.
"Let me out!"
Golden eyes flew wide.
"Sesshoumaru, let me out!"
The oni sorceress' advice came to mind and Sesshoumaru immediately reacted. Heat spiked within the air around him, a phantom wind lifting silver hair.
"Oi, the hell?"
Sesshoumaru paid the whelp little attention, flames bursting forth and growing to accommodate his larger true form, fur rippling over skin. He snarled, pushing forth something from with the agitated, flickering energy.
A figure stumbled out of the roaring flames at his feet, naked and trembling. A summer dress and the other clothing she'd entered with flew out separately, landing around her.
"Kagome!" Inuyasha burst, hurrying over and dropping to his knees to pull her into his arms.
Sesshoumaru panted quietly, muscles shifting as he returned to his inhuman form, staring at the groaning woman while the fire's died. She groggily opened tired blue eyes and looked up at Inuyasha, blinking. "Inu...yasha?"
"You alright ya damn idiot?" He grumbled, voice tight with worry.
"I'm…" Kagome croaked, glancing down at herself. "Ah! I'm naked!" She hissed, grabbing her dress and holding it over herself. "You could've covered me up, jerk!"
His cheeks coloured red. "We thought you were stuck inside that bastards MIND and you wanna quibble about being naked! You hit your damn head or somethin?!"
Kagome was already looking around, "that's right where is he? Where's-" she cut herself off, gaze meeting his own.
Sesshoumaru did not move. He stood stiff and watchful, glancing at the Monk and kit who hurriedly approached while the miko tugged her dress on. Shippo jumped into her arms and cried, hugging her close.
Drowning out the noise of their conversation, the Daiyoukai quietly searched within himself. He thought all would be well once Kagome was free. So what was missing?
The sound of grass cushioning bare feet caught his attention.
"Oi, Kagome! Where are you going?"
Ignoring his half brother, Kagome halted before him and took a breath, as though nervous. "...Hi," she said softly.
He did not reply.
"Looks like I escaped. Luckily I had a lot of help," her tone faltered. "This is a little awkward but, I...I need to talk to you," Kagome murmured, fiddling with her hands, before they curled into fists and she forced them to her sides. She tilted her chin up. "I want to talk to you. About what I saw while I was in there, about-"
"Miko," his steel laced voice cut into her ramblings. "What did you do?"
Blue eyes widened, searching his face. "I- what do you mean?"
Sesshoumaru's claws twitched and he swallowed, searching inside himself. But he was certain. He knew his own responses and this was not acceptable.
"This one should be experiencing...something right now. Relief, at the very least. And yet I feel nothing of the sort," he stated woodenly.
Sesshoumaru watched as the colour drained from Kagome's face, his skin pricking. Distant panic fluttered within his stomach, a mild comfort that he could at least experience some sensation. Yet the absence of warmth that the miko usually elicited made his chest feel heavy and tight.
"So I ask again: What did you do?"
Chapter 14: Pride
AN: Big thanks to Revang for giving this chapter a look over! Please check out their stories on Ao3
Kagome could barely articulate words. She kept trying and failing to say something of value, but the murky waters of fear and worry clogged the sentences. Her mind raced with images of his emotions locked away behind silver bars, trapped in cages.
Repression. That was the only explanation.
"I-I didn't do anything," she managed to grit out. "I was just trying to leave the entire time! Repression must have locked the others away."
Her hands waved in the air, trying to communicate what her stumbling mouth couldn't. "There are loads of different Sesshoumaru's inside your head that represent your emotions. They helped me escape, but some of them are real jerks. Repression was one of the jerks!"
Golden eyes narrowed a touch. "What nonsense you speak, miko."
"It's the truth!" Kagome burst. "Check your nose to see if I'm lying if you don't believe me!"
Sesshoumaru's acerbic tongue did not curb, "this one was perfectly fine before you went inside my head. Because of your meddling; water stung my eyes shut, memories I did not wish to divulge were running out of my mouth, I performed somersaults without my consent, and my desires were-"
Tears were stinging her own eyes by now yet she managed to catch his words before the rest were stifled.
"Your desires were what?" Kagome's voice wobbled.
His lips drew back in a cold sneer, revealing sharp fangs. However, the disgust that usually accompanied such an action was absent. She could see it in his dulled eyes.
A hand met Kagome's shoulder, causing her to jump and come back to the world. The breeze felt keen and cool on her frazzled skin, smoothing through dark locks as their small group stood on the grassy path overlooking the village. Sunlight bore down on them, proof that she was in the real world. Miroku's calm gaze shifted between the two.
"I think we should all sit down with some tea and talk this out," he smiled amiably. "Inuyasha, can you go and fetch the oni sorceress? I feel she may be useful."
Inuyasha bristled and stuffed his hands within his sleeves. "Why do I gotta do it? Kagome just got back. I wanna talk to her!"
Miroku's breezy smile remained in place even as a dark look crossed the monk's usually charming features.
With a huff, Inuyasha grumbled to himself, storming off in the direction of the village. Shippo's tail puffed up, affected by the static energies colliding in the air.
"A-ah, I think I'll go with him!" He chirped, hurrying after him. "Good to have you back, Kagome!"
Sesshoumaru and Kagome remained locked in a stare, lips thin and atmosphere heavy. The suggestion of reiki and youki rolled over their skin.
A few sharp claps broke them out of the charged reverie, Miroku sitting himself down on a flat grassy area. "I can see that this situation is complicated without understanding what's going on. So! Let's talk this out before leaping to conclusions. Kagome, why don't you divulge everything that happened while inside Lord Sesshoumaru's head?"
Her stomach twisted into knots at certain memories, glancing at the demon lord. "Um...are you alright with that? They're kind of your emotions. This is pretty personal to you."
Golden eyes flicked away, mulling it over. He let out a sharp exhale, attention settling on her once more. "Hn. Only speak of the necessary details, and monk-" Miroku looked at him. "If I hear tell of you gossiping about the intricacies of this one's mind, I shall skin you alive."
Nervous laughter rang out, Miroku wincing. "Of course, my Lord."
The miko lowered herself to sit cross-legged, sighing and absentmindedly putting on her discarded socks and shoes. Sesshoumaru sat in a much more dignified rustle of silks, both men watching her in pensive silence.
Kagome took a breath and started from the beginning. She recounted waking up outside Intelligence's mansion, meeting him, Wrath and Repression. How Lo- another emotion had saved her from falling.
She'd snuck a glance in Sesshoumaru's direction at that part but he merely stared with an unreadable look. After that, Kagome mentioned very briefly meeting Lust, swiftly moving on to Innocence and fleeing from the monstrous Instinct, freeing Sadness from the cage. Then came Fantasy, which again Kagome wobbled on.
If she detailed too much about her, Miroku would no doubt catch on to Sesshoumaru's feelings. She seriously doubted the proud lord would want that particular info disclosed.
Therefore it became necessary to downplay Fantasy's part, describing Sloth, Vanity, the time spent with Happiness, running from Repression and finally escaping with Discipline's help.
Kagome exhaled in a rush, glancing between the two when she was finally done.
Miroku appeared dazed and confused. Their demon companion merely observed her without a flicker of emotion.
"So if I have this right...Lord Sesshoumaru's emotions walked and talked like normal sentient beings?" Miroku double-checked.
Wincing, Kagome nodded. If he were that skeptical then it didn't bode well for Sesshoumaru believing her-
"The miko's scent is not disturbed by confusion or lies. She is speaking the truth," he uttered in a smooth baritone. Some warmth pooled in her chest at his words, but he continued in clipped tones. "However, what you've said does not explain my current predicament of feeling….nothing."
Miroku thought for a moment, "let's see. The only thing Kagome has really changed inside your mind is the action of letting out Sadness."
"Surely that wouldn't make him have trouble feeling emotions," Kagome reasoned. "It's Repression. He's done something."
The monk straightened and drew himself up when Inuyasha approached, holding onto the scruff of the oni sorceress' haori. "I think we should test if Lord Sesshoumaru truly doesn't feel anything. Maybe there are some emotions remaining. Inuyasha, would you now go and fetch Rin for us?"
His mouth fell open. "Hah?! But I just- you cant-" receiving several dark looks now, he sighed. "Keh!" Turning on his heel, the disgruntled hanyou leapt back in the direction he'd come from.
While Miroku talked to the sorceress, Kagome felt a shiver run down her spine.
Tawny eyes were fixed on her. She could feel the weight of silent judgement load heavier onto her shoulders with every passing second.
Returning that heavy stare, Kagome straightened her back. She knew that having someone rifle through your head must've been a violating feeling. After all, she'd had Hakudoshi pry inside her heart for a speck of darkness. The experience had been unpleasant, to say the least. So Kagome could understand his tight-lipped response. She'd seen so many secrets, of course he'd get defensive.
Her thoughts drifted to Lust and Fantasy.
Colour reddened her cheeks and Kagome quickly looked away. No, no, no- do not think about that. Okay, yes they were his dirty thoughts but I can't bring that up now. Timing, timing!
And yet, no matter how much she tried to shove the image of their writhing bodies away, they kept flooding in like a burst dam. Exhaling shakily, Kagome felt sweat prick the back of her neck. She reached up, gathering dark hair in her hands, lifting it away from her shoulders and-
A snarl bellowed through her eardrums, blasting through her body it thundered so loud. Kagome barely had time to register what was happening before she found herself shoved onto her stomach, a clawed hand sliding beneath her navel and pushing to arch her spine.
Kagome blushed violently, feeling a heavy warmth press against her back.
"Kagome!" Miroku shouted with alarm.
Heavy, laboured breathing sounded out behind her ears, and Kagome quickly lifted a hand towards the monk. "Stay back. It's alright," she called.
He seemed confused, but Kagome remained still, feeling the hot plumes of breath dance onto the nape of her neck. Sesshoumaru's scent filled her nose. Just like Sloth's, but stronger, masculine. The arm beside her that braced his weight trembled slightly.
"Sesshoumaru," she murmured in a hushed tone.
Guttural noises rumbled forth, his chest vibrating against her back with the force of his growls. It was then she felt the fangs at her throat, pressing down without breathing the skin.
She didn't dare move, taking the time to think. Fear didn't cloud her senses, leaving her free to notice his weight at her ass.
If he were aroused, if Lust were free, then surely he'd be turned on?
But he definitely wasn't. So this isn't about Lust. And he doesn't...seem Wrathful or he'd be biting me.
The image of steam leaking out of open jaws came to mind as heat continued to fan against her skin. Instinct. So, he must be okay.
Kagome bit her lip and decided not to push it this time, instead tilting her head to expose more of her neck, blushing wildly. Hearing the growls sputter into silence, she grew bolder. Hesitantly, she touched a striped wrist, dragging her thumb to try and assure him.
The weight pressing against her back disappeared.
Shifting to sit up, Kagome glanced behind her. Sesshoumaru stood a little ways away, back turned.
Miroku glanced between them awkwardly.
"I-I think he's still got his instincts anyway," Kagome weakly laughed it off. Her fingers traced the flesh of her neck, still feeling the suggestion of fangs.
"Ah- Lord Sesshoumaru," Miroku called. "We can assist you, please do not leave."
Jolting, Kagome noticed the demon lord's retreating figure heading towards the trees of Inuyasha's forest. She quickly stumbled to her feet and gave chase.
Ignoring her friend, the miko hurried after Sesshoumaru, running in his general direction even when he disappeared from sight. Her stubbornness was rewarded when she rounded a trunk and nearly bumped into his still figure.
Sesshoumaru shifted to look at her with wary eyes, lips pressed into a thin, grim line.
"Do you want to talk about what just happened?" She asked quietly.
Sesshoumaru gave a slight shake of his head.
Kagome nodded with acceptance, lapsing into silence and deciding to wait for him to speak.
"You had no right, releasing my Sadness," was the first thing he said.
Blue eyes widened. Swallowing thickly, Kagome glanced away. "...I'm sorry for how it's affected you," the words came, quiet but honest. "But if I had the choice of doing it again, I would. He wasn't some abstract thought or concept of emotion. He was...alive. He looked lost and scared and alone, left in the dark. The cage was too small. Repression...had cut out his tongue. It's not in me to ignore that kind of suffering. I wouldn't be me if I didn't set him free. Do something."
They were skirting around the real subjects Kagome wanted to talk about. His feelings, what she'd seen of Fantasy and Love within his mind.
"Look, I don't have solid proof for why you're having trouble feeling things, but…" she rubbed her arm. "We could talk. Maybe that would help?"
Unfortunately, talking wasn't the taciturn demon's strong suit. Within his head, the emotions had been so forthcoming. However, this was the real Sesshoumaru she was dealing with.
Kagome mulled over how to best bridge the distance between them. "How are you feeling? Putting emotions aside."
Golden eyes slid up to the branches of the trees, his body tense. The words escaped him stiffly, "as though I am detached from my body. Yet for some inane reason, I am not distressed."
Dark brows pulled together and Kagome stepped up to him until they were near touching. "That sounds like a thing some humans go through. Do you feel like you're in a dream?"
Biting her lip, slim fingers drew up of their own accord. She lifted her arm and cupped his warm cheek, feeling his jaw clench. "It could be a weird sensation leftover from the spell we were under. Or...something else," she said gently. "Your mind might have freaked out from being violated like that and now it's trying to piece itself back together. I don't really know. We should go talk to that oni sorceress Miroku had hanging around for some odd reason."
He nodded, "Inuyasha and I kidnapped her."
Kagome sighed with dismay, lips tugging up at the corners. "Why am I not surprised, you big bullies. I killed the one who put a spell on us, you know. That lady is innocent."
"Others do not matter," he said softly.
She swallowed, glancing at her hand cradling his cheek. Sesshoumaru did not tip his head into her palm, remaining stiff, confusion rolling off him in waves.
"...Inuyasha and I broke up," she finally blurted. "Many months ago, actually. Just...putting that out there."
Golden eyes did not flicker or change in the least, his expression a blank slate.
Kagome's shoulders fell, a dusty sigh escaping her as she removed her palm. "No good, huh?"
"Hn, it seems this one cannot feel surprise," came his quiet voice. When she remained downtrodden he added; "nor relief."
A wave of feeling rolled fierce and strong through her chest. It was about as close to an admission that she'd get right now. "I thought by telling you I'd maybe be able to shake Repression's control over the other emotions," she mumbled.
Creamy white lashes lowered. Claws unfurled and raised to her cheek instead, looking mildly interested in her reaction, perhaps gauging if what she'd just done was a fluke on her end. An act of ignorance.
The second his calloused palm touched her skin, Kagome leaned heavily into the Daiyoukai's open hand.
Sesshoumaru stared. He then swallowed and frowned a touch. "Unacceptable," he uttered lowly.
She stilled. "Huh?"
"This one was not anticipating a positive response from you. However, I know I would be feeling immense satisfaction right now," he said bluntly. "Being robbed of that is unacceptable. I do not wish to discuss what took place in my head nor our…interest in each other further. Not until my emotions are restored to their former glory."
Kagome bit the inside of her cheek, fighting a smile but unable to keep up a losing battle. "Okay," she breathed, feeling the touch of his palm linger on her cheek.
Turning, they slowly started walking back towards the monk's location. Though Sesshoumaru felt very little, Kagome could sense a different presence about him. One that was more assured than before.
"While we're here though, I'd like to say that you're kind of a pervert," she said offhandedly, grinning to herself.
His steps didn't falter. "Hn."
Just before reaching Miroku, a red and white blur leapt out in front of them. Inuyasha placed Rin down with a huff. "There! Here's your damn brat. So, Lord Bastard, do ya feel happy right now when you look at Rin?"
Sesshoumaru blinked and answered honestly without tact. "No."
The little girl's big brown eyes promptly filled with tears.
Kagome groaned and put a hand to her forehead. "Inuyasha SIT!"
After settling down with Miroku again, the group sharing tea to organise their thoughts, Kagome had approached the oni sorceress and learned her name. Tagako remained justly peeved at the kidnapping. With a bit of negotiating, Kagome managed to ensure Tagako's release from her binds.
"Your sister is giving birth to a hanyou?" Kagome blinked, grinning. "That's great! To make up for this whole kidnapping business and as a thank you for any information you can give us, I'll totally help out with the birth or any supplies you might need!" She bowed her head.
Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha watched the exchange with flat expressions. "It's like she ain't even grateful we tracked down the oni group and got information outta them."
Tagako seemed a little bewildered though oddly charmed by the girl's earnest nature. "S-so, girl. You were asking me why Lord Sesshoumaru is having trouble feeling emotions now?"
Kagome nodded eagerly.
"It is because the spell has not been broken."
The oni sorceress tutted, holding her teacup with gnarled, aged hands and taking a sip.
"Hold on!" Inuyasha snarled, standing up. "Ya told us that to get Kagome out she just had to go into his conscious thought and-"
"That is precisely it," she grumbled. "You asked how to free the miko. Not how to break the spell."
Inuyasha was practically ripping his hair from his scalp. Sesshoumaru looked on placidly, much to his brother's chagrin. "Aren't you pissed?"
"Livid, I'd imagine. If I could feel it."
Kagome spoke up, frowning. "What exactly IS the spell, if trapping me isn't the objective?"
"Oh, that is one. But the other is to drive the host mad with strong emotions." Tagako levelled a cool stare at Sesshoumaru. "Did you not think it strange, that you should be effected so strongly that it began to control your body? Somersaults and the like."
Golden eyes narrowed and flicked away. "...It is because of that reason that this one chose to squash all emotion."
Kagome gaped, incredulous. "Wait a minute- you willingly used repression while I was in there?"
"Well it's no wonder he suddenly got a power boost!"
Miroku gave a cough to try and get the discussion back on track. "And since then, Lord Sesshoumaru hasn't felt anything. It's because of that spell?"
"Mn, it is feeding the emotions with the most power. Perhaps it is a good thing it is feeding the one that is likely keeping us all safe from his wrath."
Frowning, Kagome leaned forward, hands gripping her cup hard. "How do we break the spell and help him get back to normal?"
Tagako hummed. "Someone goes back into his mind and dethrones whatever emotion or memory is that is blocking his feelings. That will bring about harmony between the emotions. When this happens, the spell will break."
Sharing a look, Kagome and Sesshoumaru shifted.
The blunt statement came from none other than Inuyasha, who stuffed his hands inside his sleeves and sneered. "I saw that. You ain't dragging her inside there again. It's too dangerous."
Kagome stood, toe to toe with him. Her hackles rose, mouth opening to verbally combat him every way she knew how, before he added. "Not without me, anyway."
A large smile burst onto her face, warmth filling her up.
From his seated position, Sesshoumaru's lips thinned. He did not want the whelp running around inside his head. And yet, the reasoning was sound. Kagome's safety felt more important.
He did not say a word of protest.
They'd decided to enter the following day after getting a good night's rest and some food. Tagako stood outside with them, conjuring purple youki to her hands.
Kagome kept her hand in Inuyasha's and her attention on Sesshoumaru. He stood across from them, silent and still as a sentinel.
Just as before, the blast of energy was shot into the Daiyoukai, causing him to hiss and sneer. Raising her hand, Kagome's brows drew together. I'll help you, she thought. I'll make this right, I promise.
With a touch, Kagome Higurashi disappeared from sight.
Leaving Inuyasha behind.
Winds raced by, tugging dark hair to and fro and causing gusts of snow to wail past her ear. Kagome raised her head, shaking off the snow and feeling her teeth chatter. The world around her was nothing but a blur of grey and thick snowfall. She could barely see a foot in front of her, shuffling through the snow and hugging her arms.
Kagome hadn't awoken outside Intelligence's mansion as she'd thought would happen. Instead, the miko stumbled around in a snowstorm, lost and confused. She had no clue where she was within Sesshoumaru's mind.
I screwed up, she thought. I really...thought I could do this. Why? This isn't my head. Why did I think I could help?
Her breath fanned out in visible puffs, nose and cheeks feeling frozen. White flakes kept sealing her lashes shut. Kagome stumbled and fell to one knee, shuddering.
I didn't want Repression to find me without a plan to fight him, and I'm vulnerable, but…
She trembled, managing to stand. If I don't do anything, I'll fail. Gotta get out of this weather-
Kagome raised her shaking hand, opening her palm and calling holy powers up. Reiki sparked to life, glowing forth from her hand and spilling out in a large pink orb. She fed as much energy into it as possible, the winds feeling like sheets of ice slamming into her body.
The orb grew, burning like a beacon within the raging snowstorm. Kagome struggled to keep her hand raised, panting.
Within a few minutes, the light died and Kagome stumbled, exhausted. She could barely move. Cold had numbed her feet, legs, arms and hands. She sank to both knees now, bowing her head.
I have to...keep going...
A shuffling noise through the snow caught her dazed attention. Hair lashed at her face but Kagome pushed it back, dimly noticing a dark shape approaching out of the swirling winds and fall of snowflakes. The crunching of snow under boots drew closer, and Kagome looked up into golden eyes, breath hitching.
Inu no Taisho bore down on her, furs dancing in the howling winds. Bushy brows drew down into a slight frown, his imposing, still figure remaining a pillar of strength despite the storm raging around them. He shifted, turning on his heel.
"Come," he said in a gruff, clear voice.
Without waiting for her, the Dog General began walking away. Kagome stumbled to her feet, hurrying after him. She stumbled, finding it difficult to see and reaching out blindly when more icy flakes sailed into her eyes. Despair plumed in her stomach- until soft furs met her outstretched fingers. Kagome latched on tight, holding onto one of his trailing mokomoko's with both arms as he continued walking.
She couldn't say how long they walked, going off adrenaline alone to continue moving her stiff, frozen legs, but the shadows of a building caught her frayed attention.
The winds soon fell away, replaced with the warmth of an actual, heavenly, wonderful room with lamps already burning for them. Kagome collapsed onto some furs, uncaring of her undignified sprawl of limbs as the door shut behind them.
Trembling, the miko clutched at the warmth around her, blinking tired eyes open when the large demon padded across the room to kneel beside the irori, putting it to use.
Kagome watched him, eyes falling shut and peeling open every so often. "...T-thank y-you for saving me," she mumbled, lips blue.
The Great Dog Demon removed his armour and shifted his twin mokomoko's off, shaking the white specs from his silver hair, which was drawn back into a high pony-tail.
He then levelled her with a serious look. "Strip," he said, voice a deep baritone.
Kagome blinked, gaze becoming flat. "E-excuse me?"
He chuckled quietly, a dusty, rich noise, lips curving and flashing a fang. "Fear not. This one is not interested in taking advantage of you, girl. But you will freeze if you keep those clothes on. Cover yourself with the furs while they dry by the fire."
It made sense and she felt a little bad for thinking him perverse, picking up the furs lying on the floor to drape around her shoulders and stripping under the layers. Pushing out the wet clothes, she fixed the furs into a loose covering over her chest and thighs in a sort of make-shift dress.
Kagome shuffled over and groggily set her wet clothes out to dry around the irori. Inu no Taisho didn't comment on her strange garments, instead sitting beside the wall and propping Tetsusaiga against his shoulder.
Kagome glanced at his shoulder, noting the golden crest on his white silken clothing. "...Are you an emotion?" She chanced a guess.
Ancient, golden eyes weathered by experience slid to her, resting upon her features in a weighty stare. A kind of pressure radiated off the demon in waves, which swallowed the entire room. Kagome could feel it pressing down, shoving at her to lower her eyes in respect. Kagome held his gaze, weakly pushing back against the energy with a ripple of reiki over her skin.
Inu no Tasiho's lip tugged up into a slight smile. "Indeed," he rumbled.
"Could you tell me what's been going on?" Her hands curled into fists in the fur covering her knees. "Repression...what's he done to the others? The real Sesshoumaru is having trouble feeling things. I came here to try and help."
Heavy brows lifted, "they have been locked away within the lands to be suppressed. To my knowledge, myself and Instinct remain free."
"And who are you?"
"Take a guess, little one."
Kagome bristled, cheeks heating. Looking him over and noticing the way he held himself, she thought back on how Vanity had once taken on Sesshoumaru's Mother's appearance. "Pride?"
"Hm, many think of me as such. However, to the pup, I am the feeling of Dignity. The reflection of duty to our clan that this one once shared with Discipline."
Kagome shifted, wrapping her arms around herself and glancing at the decor. There were many weapons hugging the walls, but also scrolls stored in shelves, vases, and various items that looked old and possibly fashioned out of demon bones and scales. A large painting took up one wall, that of three inuyoukai. One was a large, more worn battle one. The other looked sleek, giving off a feminine air of danger, while the last was a duplicate of Innocence, the young pup seeming to chase his parents in the painting. Their heels practically melted into the clouds. Kagome's lips thinned, eyes lowering.
"You seem troubled."
"I-it's nothing...I just feel responsible for all this mess." She sighed. "I don't regret setting Sadness free, it's not in me to ignore a suffering person like that. I just regret the impact it might've had on Sesshoumaru."
He hummed. "There are some natures you cannot suppress, despite how much it would 'benefit' those around you if you kept quiet and did nothing."
Startled blue eyes slid up to him, warming slightly. She smiled a little. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm kind of surprised you're not in Sesshoumaru's image. Surely he thinks he has Dignity on his own?"
He lifted a shoulder, lighting some incense. "He is a complicated pup. Discipline and I used to be one being but my actions concerning Izayoi split us into two separate entities inside his mind. The pride he feels for our clan is tied up with the respect he felt towards his sire. But that is marred by my actions towards the end of my life and my death."
Kagome watched him, noticing his straight back and powerful, duty filled posture. He didn't seem to relax even though they were supposedly inside his home. She wondered if that were indicative of how Sesshoumaru had never seen him at ease.
"I see," she mumbled. "Well, if it's not too much trouble, would you help me break the emotions free and defeat Repression?"
"Keh," he grunted, causing her heart to clench with nostalgia. "What do you intend to do with Repression once you defeat him? Seal him away?"
Kagome shook her head, "he's still a part of Sesshoumaru. I just hope that by defeating him, he'll shrink a little like Bigotry did. It's not much of a plan, okay? I admit it. But I had to do something."
"You care for my pup." It was a statement, not a question.
"Of course I do," she nodded.
Sesshoumaru's father regarded her with weighty consideration. Kagome wasn't sure she liked that look. "As an ally?" His lips curved, face transforming into something like a boyish smile, despite the masculine features. "Or a lover?"
A groan was muffled into her arms. Discussing her potential love life with Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru's papa did not sound like a great idea. "Why does it matter?"
"Tch, you asked for my assistance and this one giving it," he rumbled, face smoothing into something displeased. "If you are interested in him as a potential mate, just as he regards you, then it is possible you could sway Instinct to your side. This one cannot fight Repression alone and neither can you."
Heat lit up Kagome's cheeks and she swallowed. It sounded too fast, jumping into talking about mating. "What...exactly would I have to do to sway Instinct into helping?"
Smoke curled around his figure, making inhuman eyes stand out in the grey haze. "Fight him for your place in Sesshoumaru's mind as his potential mate. If he finds you worthy, Instinct will bleed for you."
She shivered. "I thought you said Sesshoumaru already regards me as-"
"That does not matter," he rumbled. "That is host Sesshoumaru, capable of complex thought, planning and intricate emotions. Instinct is my pup's true form boiled down to its baser impulses and old, ancient inuyoukai blood that dwells in all of my clan. He must have final say before you can be accepted as a viable option to mate."
"And if I fail, I'm guessing he won't help."
"Hm. That whelp Repression has quickly lost his head from the amount of power Sesshoumaru keeps giving him. I'd wager only Instinct can defeat him, as the desire to protect a possible mate is one of the strongest sensations written into the very fabric of inuyoukai's beings. Heh, I died trying to protect mine."
"But you were trying to protect Izayoi, right? I thought...Sesshoumaru's mother was your-?"
He barked a laugh that made her jolt, his exposed fangs glinting in the light of the lamps. "We cannot know, but Sesshoumaru certainly seems to think the human princess was mine. His mother was an arranged marriage, you see."
He'd given her a lot to think about. But time wasn't on her side, and no matter how bizarre the situation or quickly the talk of mating had cropped up, Kagome decided to utilise it. It wasn't like they'd actually be mating. She'd just be taken into consideration as a hefty candidate. That was fine with her, and hopefully, Sesshoumaru wouldn't mind. All that matters is helping Sesshoumaru get back to normal.
Raising her head, she squared her shoulders. "Alright, I'll do it. Take me to Instinct."
Chapter 15: Instinct
Sorry for the late update but I'm very sick right now XD I'm also moving at the end of March so please be patient with future updates ^^
Burrowing deeper into thick silver fur, Kagome clung to the cloud-like, rippling strands arching over Inu no Taisho’s shoulder. The snowstorm had given way to clear skies, yet the bitter cold remained.
Raising herself slightly on trembling knees, blue eyes squinted against the lashing breeze. Up ahead, thick dark clouds loomed in the distance.
“Don’t tell me Instinct is in there?” She called to her ride.
A rumbling chuckle shook his shoulders slightly. “Surely it is a preferable alternative to staying within the lands of Fear since you did not care for the snow, little one.”
“W-wait are you saying we just left Fear?” Kagome looked over her shoulder, seeing the cloudy grey plume of snowfall behind them. “What were you doing there?”
“Looking for Fear himself. I do not know if he has been captured by Repression, but I have not seen him in many months.”
Shivering, Kagome ducked down again, curling her fingers through the luxuriously soft fur. Remembering the final battle with Naraku and what Fantasy had described of it from Sesshoumaru’s end, she frowned. “...What does Fear look like? What colour crest does he have, I mean?”
“Mn, it is a light purple.”
Kagome nodded thoughtfully. So he was there when Sesshoumaru found me unconscious within Naraku. “Like a lilac, right?”
“This one does not care to know the particulars of colour, that sounds like a tailor's job.”
Huffing, she held on tight while the inuyoukai soared onwards. Soon enough, black specs began to float down from the heavens as his form became swallowed by the black plume of smokey clouds. Kagome raised a hand and watched a spec settle into her palm, feeling the texture. Ash.
Countless spots of ash wafted towards her face and Kagome flattened against Pride’s back, expecting it to be difficult to breathe. However, her lungs remained blissfully unaffected by the gushes of smoke they raced through.
Leaping down through the thick cover of dark clouds, the grey whisps cleared enough for Kagome to see the land down below. Decimated houses lay in broken ruins. Banners of armies swayed, tattered and forgotten. Fire’s licked at the remaining debris. Ash peppered the black, scorched earth and covered the countless corpses of humans, their helmets layered with blood.
Raising a shaking hand to her mouth, Kagome’s breath hitched.
“My son had to live up to his name.”
She shivered and forced herself not to look away. It was no secret Sesshoumaru had a talent for killing. “He’s been involved in a lot of wars and battles, hasn’t he?” She murmured.
“Hm, it is what he was bred for. Pay it no mind, this is just one section of Instinct’s land.”
“Why...is this horrible place here and not in Discipline’s lands? I’d have thought war would be part of weapon techniques and fighting strategy.”
“Not for demons, little one,” he rumbled. “When we fight, instinct often guides our claws and teeth far more than any weapon or pre-plan of attack. A well of bloodlust dwells deep within Sesshoumaru’s heart.”
Kagome frowned and faced forward, curling her hands a little tighter in his fur. “It’s not the only thing in his heart though. Fighting and killing...that’s not all that he is.”
He chuckled, shoulders shaking as the inuyoukai turned his head to glance at her, crimson eyes gleaming. “Spoken like a true mate,” he teased.
She pinched his side. “Stop that,” Kagome huffed.
While continuing to chuckle, Pride glided over the war-torn lands and burst out of the ash clouds, flying into a dusty looking area with white, dead trees and clear air. He flew down, landing on the grey earth and leaning down to allow her off, before violently shaking himself. Kagome made a noise and shielded herself while soot flew out of his fur.
Once it stopped, she glanced at her dirtied arms, glancing up at him flatly. “Thanks.”
Walking around his great form and shaking her limbs, Kagome fluffed at her hair, noticing a large dark pit in the ground. “What’s that?”
“That is where Instinct awaits you.”
Walking up to it, she felt her skin prick with unease. The drop looked pitch black. No bottom could be seen. Kagome glanced over her shoulder while Inu no Taisho’s form rippled and shifted within red youki. “Aren’t you coming with me?”
He straightened into his inhuman form, brushing some ash off his shoulder. “You must face him alone. This one will wait here.”
Swallowing, the miko nodded timidly. She turned slightly but his voice halted her: “Wait.”
Pausing, she blinked as he drew Tetsusaiga from his side, two other familiar swords remaining at his hip. He placed it into her frozen hands. “Take this with you.”
Kagome gripped the scabbard, giving a smile and brief thanks. Turning to face the hole in the ground, she steeled her quivering nerves. Taking a deep breath, as though planning to plummet into water, Kagome leapt from the earth and dropped down into the seemingly bottomless pit.
The gloom eagerly swallowed her whole. Dark hair kicked up to lash above her head, summer dress fluttering in the fall. The breeze rushed by her body, stinging at wide, blue eyes.
Staring down at the depths, a glint of light catching on poised teeth caught her attention. Two rows of red eyes flashed, an inuyoukai awaiting her at the bottom, spreading his jaws wide. Yelping, Kagome’s nerves exploded into action. Drawing the sword while falling, she let go of the scabbard and thrust the rusted blade into the earth to the side her. The scabbard plummeted and bounced off a sharp tooth somewhere below.
Tetsusaiga made a screeching noise as the blade dragged down black rocks until it snagged on harder stone. Kagome yelped as she abruptly stopped, body jostling while she hung onto the sword for dear life. Her arms mercifully remained in their sockets, muscles straining. She’d stopped just shy of the demon's waiting jaws, legs swinging above his muzzle.
The inuyoukai huffed, it’s tongue curling within its mouth. Steam hissed out of glistening teeth.
“A-are you Instinct?” Kagome yelled down at him, closing her eyes as steam ruffled her dress. “Close your mouth, you big jerk! I’m not here to let you eat me!”
His jaws clicked shut, head tilting slightly. A deep, reverberating chuckle rang out. His four eyes smiled, making a shiver run down her spine.
Kagome’s arms trembled, fingers slipping slightly around the hilt. “I want to talk to you about...a-about becoming Sesshoumaru's potential mate!”
Instinct’s ears perked, interest flitting over his canine appearance. He huffed, “drop then, human.”
“You promise you won’t eat me?”
Another chuckle caressed her hearing. When he spoke, it were as though many voices whispered and hissed alongside his words. “That depends if you try my patience.”
Kagome felt her arms crying out in agony. She didn't have much choice but to let go. Planting her feet on the rock, she tugged the sword with all her might, pushing off with her legs. Breaking free with Tetsusaiga, she let out a squeal from the short fall, landing on Instinct's muzzle.
He turned, lowering his head to the ground where she gratefully hopped down, clutching at the grey, sandy floor of the cave. Never have I been more thankful to be on the ground again!
Quickly snatching up the fallen scabbard, she slid Tetsusaiga back into it, glancing around. The cave spread wide, like an incredibly large hall. Instinct, as towering and great in size though he was, looked more like a pup within the vast space. Obsidian rock gave off a slight shine within the walls. Though they had no light source, Kagome could see everything clearly.
Kagome got to her feet, watching as Instinct’s tail flicked out. His many eyes remained locked on her.
“Speak," he rumbled in a hiss, tongue sliding out to lick around his maw.
Her throat closed in fear, so Kagome cleared it and clutched Tetsusaiga close. No, I have to be confident here.
Lowering it to her side, Kagome raised her chin. “I’d like for you to accept me as a possible candidate to be Sesshoumaru’s mate, please. After that, if you’d be so kind, you could join me in defeating Repression who has seized control of Sesshoumaru's other emotions.”
A growl thundered through the cave, bouncing off the walls. “You come here and start listing off demands?”
Kagome frowned, “isn’t that what a mate of Sesshoumaru would do?” She challenged, hoping he wouldn’t call her out on her bravado. Her limbs were slightly shaking from the fall and Instinct was still eyeing her like she were some sort of snack.
His many unique markings glowed, size more towering and giant than the other inuyoukai. He tilted his head slightly, mouth curled up in a perpetual grin despite his annoyance. It terrified her.
“State your name and blood.”
Kagome briefly thought he was asking her blood type, before shaking herself and trying to adjust her headspace into his. This wasn’t the eloquent, aristocratic demon lord she was speaking with.
“Kagome Higurashi. Daughter of Miyoko Akiyama and Kadri Higurashi. Sister to Souta Higurashi, granddaughter of-”
He huffed, “do not list your entire family tree, female. Now tell me what you can offer this one as a mate.”
“What I can...offer?” She tested the last word on her tongue. “I can provide knowledge about the future?”
Instinct tossed his head, prowling around the large space. “Something easily known within a few centuries.”
Kagome’s blood boiled. “I’d use my powers and skills to protect and defend him!”
“We do not need such things. We are strong enough on our own.”
“I’d care about him!” She burst. “I care now. I’d make sure he felt loved.”
Instincts tail swished and he hummed. Kagome’s hands curled into fists, “if you doubt my resolve- I was told we were supposed to fight today. So let’s settle things that way.”
Thin lips lifted into an elongated smirk, “now those are some pleasing words.”
Swallowing, Kagome nodded. Setting her shoulders, the miko padded forward until she stood opposite the inuyoukai. She noted that the grey sand cushioned her feet fairly well, her weight feeling supported rather than sinking ankle-deep.
“Since you are such a tiny female and you do not have your funny little arrows, this one will make things slightly fairer.”
Kagome frowned just as Instinct shrank from his monstrous size. The dog demon shifted down into the size of a bear if it stood on its hind legs, or perhaps a shire horse. Making a low rumbling noise in the back of his throat, Instinct’s hackles raised.
Kagome steeled herself, inwardly shaking. A lot rode on this fight. She needed to win. She’d just have to rely on her reiki and the sword. Her grip tightened around it. Lend me your strength, Inuyasha. “S-so is it the first one who yields loses?”
Giving a short bark of a chuckle, his smile widened. “Very well,” he purred, before rearing back on his hind legs slightly to spring himself forwards- clearing the distance between them in a single bound.
Gasping, Kagome stumbled out of the way of an incoming paw.
Deciding to try something, the miko summoned blazing reiki to her hands, swinging Tetsusaiga against his leg. Pink light coiled out along the sword’s sheath, making a hissing noise when it connected. Instinct snarled, jolting and glancing at his leg. Steam coiled off the silver fur, which appeared slightly singed.
Kagome gaped, “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t think it would do so much damage-”
Red eyes narrowed, lips curling wider as he lunged for her. Kagome yelped and dove away- but wasn't quick enough.
His muzzle slammed into her, knocking her back and causing her to gracelessly land on her ass. His paw snapped out to press down on her leg, keeping her pinned in place. Now above her, Instinct let his jaws snap open, letting familiar-looking purple acid leak forth like deadly drool.
Blue eyes widened and the miko tightened her grip on Tetsusaiga’s sheath, feeling the hot substance coat her head and shoulders. She wagered that if she let go of the sword for an instant- her flesh would be melted off her bones. Holding her breath, Kagome coiled reiki out onto the sword again, this time stabbing it down into his paw.
Instinct snarled and the pressure on her leg loosened. Sliding it free, Kagome dove out of the sludge-like acid, shaking it from herself and hurrying away to try and get some distance between them. Her heart hammered wildly. I could’ve died, she panted. He’s serious about this.
Glancing at the sword in her hand, Kagome’s eyes become thoughtful. But he knew the sword would protect me. This has happened before, so...I guess he trusted I’d defend myself.
A bark sounded out behind her, just as the ground started to shake.
Looking over her shoulder, Kagome shrieked as the Lovecraftian nightmare dog bounded after her like an enthusiastic puppy. He seemed oddly pleased, tongue lolling out, feral smile stretching impossibly higher.
Kagome raised a pink shield, quivering behind it as he struck his head down to shatter it. As sharp teeth made impact and broke the energy to pieces, the miko ducked underneath him and planted her hand on his neck- letting out a short burst of reiki and moving to quickly escape again.
Instinct was faster, howling in pain and swinging his tail out to wrap around Kagome’s waist. She yelped as her feet left the ground, weight supported by his tail. He held her close to his canine face, eyes laughing.
“Let go!” She thumped her fists against the offending fur around her waist. Garbled laughter rang out of the inuyoukai, tail moving to jostle and bounce her mid-air mockingly.
Glaring, Kagome reached forward and grabbed one of his floppy ears, raising it to her mouth and biting down as hard as she could.
Yelping like a pup, Instinct dropped her and swiped the miko away with his paw. Grunting, Kagome rolled across the grey sands and landed in a heap beside the wall, head hitting it slightly.
Panting, she weakly rose on trembling limbs, wincing and touching her skull. That was going to leave a bump.
This wasn’t good. She could feel herself getting tired already. She’d been so stressed, worried and hyped on adrenaline for days, it was no doubt taking a toll.
Those four eyes of his blazed like fire, markings glowing bright magenta. Snarling, the inuyoukai leapt through the air, sailing towards her.
Kagome faced him head on, raising her hands to summon a shield- only to feel her reiki sputter and fail.
No! Blue eyes widened, trying desperately to grasp the energy inside her.
Kagome looked up just as Instinct was about to crash into her- only for the demon’s body to become see-through and lighter than air to the touch. The markings remained visible as he flowed through her like heavy water.
Kagome gasped, vision swimming and becoming clouded over.
Weary feet touched down on wet earth, rain pelting her shoulders. Somehow Kagome inexplicably found herself outside on a soggy night. Where’s Instinct?
She stood behind some low bushes, overlooking a steep incline down to a traditional-looking compound. Lamps burned behind sliding doors, bathing them orange.
Hearing a twig snap, Kagome glanced to her side, seeing Sesshoumaru, younger, perhaps a teenager, shifting in place. He wore red and white silks, the flower pattern a little different on his fine clothes. W-what? What the hell is going on?
His expression looked tense, eyes brimming with anger and perhaps latent hate.
"Sesshoumaru," she whispered. He gave no indication that he heard her. The orange glows of the lamps were soon extinguished. Sesshoumaru waited a decent amount of time, frozen tensely in place.
The demon eventually leapt from his hiding spot, soaring down through the air. Kagome squeaked, feeling herself be tugged by an invisible string to follow. She staggered, automatically squeezing her eyes shut. Instead of plummeting off the ledge, however, Kagome stumbled onto cool flooring. Prying her lashes open, she looked down at the tatami mats. Glancing around, she assumed she was standing inside the building they'd been spying on. Sesshoumaru brushed by her. Following quietly, Kagome felt swallowed up by the deathly silent room. Thunder clapped above, the place bathed in shadows. She dared not step too heavy.
Sesshoumaru moved like oil through water, near soundless despite the wet footprints he left behind.
A few soft noises grabbed Kagome’s attention before she noticed the crib. A baby stirred within it, making a few quiet grunts, fussing in their sleep. She could see their tiny legs kick at the blanket covering their body.
Sesshoumaru stilled, gaze fixed on the baby. Kagome tilted her head and squinted, breath catching upon catching sight of small triangular ears atop a head of white hair. She approached and knelt beside him, heart-melting.
Sesshoumaru seemed less enthused. He scented the air, boots moving forward haltingly. Golden hues burned, lips drawing back in a cold sneer as he leaned over the crib like a spectre. Silver hair slid free from behind pointed ears.
Inuyasha stirred awake, yawning and smacking his lips softly. He blinked up at his brother curiously while Sesshoumaru drew closer with treacle immediacy.
A large hand slowly rose from his side, claws flexing wide. The sneer melted away from his features to be replaced with something unreadable, watchful. Those deadly nails slid ever closer, hovering over the child- only for his pinky to be snagged mid-air.
Sesshoumaru visibly stiffened, expression flickering. His eyes widened, Inuyasha grabbing at his hand without fear and cooing. Golden eyes, so like his own, blinked with interest, before his half brother smiled and gummed at Sesshoumaru’s hand.
The Daiyoukai stared, tilting his head slightly. Kagome released a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. It felt a little surreal, watching Sesshoumaru be rendered helpless. The baby held his fingers captive, getting drool on them.
With treacle immediacy, Sesshoumaru’s frozen face shifted. His shoulders fell slightly, eyes softening just a touch, a crack in the facade that only Kagome was privy to. He curled his nails away when Inuyasha attempted to nibble at them, instead briefly touching his hair. It could’ve been a trick of the light, but Kagome could’ve sworn the pads of those murderous fingers dragged in a slight, gentle stroke.
“Toga?” A sleep drenched voice inquired.
Sesshoumaru and Kagome jolted, looking up at the forgotten futon lying not too far away. Izayoi had rolled over and was now staring at Sesshoumaru, horror and awareness slowly registering on her face.
Blurring through the air, the demon was upon her while she fiddled with a knife- knocking it clean from her hand. The blade skittered over the tatami mats out of reach.
Inuyasha started wailing from the sudden movement, filling the room with cries. Sesshoumaru bore down on Izayoi from behind, hand wrapped around her wrist- the other shoving her head into the bedding. She whimpered.
“You are weak,” he uttered lowly. “Father died for nothing.”
Izayoi’s lips thinned and she squeezed her eyes shut. Sesshoumaru watched her dispassionately. Kagome had never seen him so cold and hateful, not in all the times he'd fought Inuyasha and Naraku. This was a personal grudge.
He gave a quiet noise of derision, releasing the woman and straightening into a stand. He then turned and made to walk away.
Sesshoumaru stilled, narrowed gaze swinging back to her as Izayoi crawled over to Inuyasha and held him to her chest, trying to soothe him. Her brown eyes were soft and filled with tears. “Not nothing. He loved us.”
Despite the cool, ageless beauty he possessed, Kagome noticed Sesshoumaru looked incredibly young for a moment. The flash of confusion, envy and too many emotions to count flitted over his features before he tilted his chin up haughtily. “If he loved you so much, why keep you a secret?”
Izayoi brushed her hand through Inuyasha’s white hair, looking away. “Because very few would understand,” she said softly.
Sneering, Sesshoumaru moved to take his leave, crossing the large expanse of the room in quick strides but halting at the door and holding still in pensive silence for a moment. “Did you know of us? Mother and I. Did he tell you of our existence?” He uttered in a quiet hiss of sound.
“...Yes,” Izayoi admitted gently. “He loved you, very much. Even if he couldn’t show you.”
Kagome was unable to see his expression, but a low chuckle caressed her hearing.
Glancing over his shoulder, Sesshoumaru glanced at Izayoi with a sardonic smile. "Do not presume to tell me what my Father felt for me," he uttered. Sliding the door open, the demon disappeared out into the night.
Kagome's brows pulled together just as she was harshly tugged again by an invisible thread.
Landing on her hands and knees, this time she came to within the cave. Instinct stood a little ways away, eyes narrowed. “ You were not supposed to see that.”
“What was it?” She choked, holding her arms. “A-a memory?”
“It was not for you to know,” he tossed his head. "For a moment you connected with a memory that is tied to me. Enough of that though, human. Get up,” he barked. “Fight.”
Kagome shakily picked herself up, touching the space above her heart. It had been a supremely odd sensation, having a being flow through her. And that memory...I don’t even think Sesshoumaru knew what to feel about his little brother.
Another bark sounded out.
“Okay, okay!” Kagome frowned, picking up Tetsusaiga.
Shifting on the sand, she glanced down at her shoes. Lips thinning, Kagome decided to reach down and take them off, setting them aside. She felt a little wilder without them, able to focus on what Instinct needed from her.
Bouncing in place and rolling her shoulder, the miko suddenly rushed forward. Instinct snarled and spat out another round of acid from his jaws.
Dropping to her side and feeling the momentum send her skidding between his legs before he could make contact, Kagome struck the sword up into his stomach. It bounced off but he let out a noise of outrage, striking his leg beneath him and hitting her chest.
Winded, Kagome gasped and felt herself be flung out from beneath him- but when the inuyoukai lunged salivating jaws down at her form, she acted on impulse. Grabbing a handful of sand, she fought dirty and threw it straight into his four, gleaming eyes.
A deafening roar sounded out that shook the walls of the cave. He squeezed them shut, rubbing at his irritated eyes with his paw.
Making use of his distraction, she wasted no time. Grabbing at his hide, Kagome scrambled up his leg, keeping Tetsusaiga tucked under her arm. Instinct bellowed out a roar, thrashing onto one side and attempting to throw her blindly. Yelping, Kagome grit her teeth and locked her ankles around his throat as best she could while sitting at the base of his neck. Holding Tetsusaiga’s sheath in her left hand, she swung it under his jaw, latching onto the other end with her right on the other side.
Acting on blind instinct herself, Kagome yanked the sheath towards herself in order to strangle the beast. He made a thin noise, snarling and kicking out with outrage. His head rocked back and nearly smacked her chin. Kagome desperately held on, keeping the pressure pulling on his neck.
“Yield!” She barked.
The inuyoukai bellowed and whined, kicking and rolling. Kagome squeezed her eyes shut and held on, blood thundering in her ears. Adrenaline pumped, drowning out all else- until a whimper reached her hearing.
Kagome’s heart shuddered and she immediately let go. Instinct snarled and bucked to knock her off, sending her sailing to the ground. His shadow soon loomed over the fallen girl.
“You are too soft, human,” he leered.
Panting, Kagome stared up at him dazedly, her limbs sprawled. “I was...hurting you,” she said quietly.
Lips peeled back to expose spittle coated teeth, steam hissing out between the sharp canines. “ Foolishness. That was the aim of the fight. You were proving if you could defend our young or not. Stand beside me. Be an equal.”
Kagome’s eyes slid tiredly shut, trying to catch her breath. I guess I failed then.
A heady breeze fanned over her face, ruffling dark bangs. “ Get up. This one finds you worthy.”
Jolting a little, the miko’s lashes snapped open. Instinct slid a long, wet tongue along her cheek. Kagome shivered a little at the sticky saliva, but remained still, reeling.
“ Bare your neck, foolish girl.”
Tilting her head and brushing her hair aside, Kagome cried out. The tips of his fangs clamped down over her skin just a little, yet heat licked over her flesh, youki coiling within the teeth marks.
When he pulled away, the faint outline of a semicircle of teeth remained branded on her skin, looking like a toothy crescent moon.
“What’s that for?”
Instinct straightened, "you are first choice in my pick of females for a mate. Should you become one with the host and bind each other in mating, that will fill out into a solid marking. If you do not mate, the marks will fade in a few months.”
Gingerly picking herself up and getting to her feet, Kagome touched the mark. A slight smile came to her lips before she touched the soft fur of his leg.
“Thank you, Instinct.”
His ears perked, the eldritch monstrosity rumbling something incoherent, perhaps in another language.
Setting her shoulders, Kagome grasped his fur and climbed up onto his back, gripping the longer strands of his hackles. “A deal’s a deal though. Let’s go and put a stop to Repression before I discuss any mating stuff with Sesshoumaru.”
“ Humph, bossy little female, are you not?”
She smiled slightly just as Instinct leapt up, causing her to squeak and rock back. Quickly gripping silver fur, Kagome squeezed her thighs around him while the beast flew into the tunnel. He sailed further through the opening in the rocks- soon bursting forth into the very clearing where she’d left Pride behind.
Inu no Taisho’s clone straightened, expression morphing into something quietly approving as Instinct shed his smaller form, exploding with red, bursting youki into his monstrous size. Despite the display of strength and his deafening, blood-curdling war cry drowning out most of the noise, another sound could be heard; that of a miko letting out relieved, hopeful giggles.
Chapter 16: Repression pt II
AN: Due to the coronavirus quarantine in the UK, I wasn't able to move house. Hope you're all holding up okay, sending good health to you all! I apologise for how this one is written. I might rewrite it. I just wanted to post it bc I wanted to get something out there to you all during the days we're locked inside. The next chapter after this will be the last.
"What if she's trapped forever? What then huh?!"
"Inuyasha, please try to calm down. I'm sure Lady Kagome is alright-"
"She better be!"
The voices droned on and on in the background while Sesshoumaru barely paid them any mind. Physically the lord sat with the group while they fretted and fussed over the miko, sometimes arguing inside the cramped hut. Mentally, however, Sesshoumaru felt quite far away. He constantly tried to focus inwards and sense a flicker of Kagome's presence to ascertain her wellbeing. But there was nothing within. Just a constant haze.
Inuyasha grabbed a fistful of Tagako's clothes, yanking her close and growling; "I swear if you planned for us to get separated, I'll kill ya!"
The oni sorceress attempted to squirm free, pushing at his wrists. "I told you before, hanyou," she hissed. "It was Lord Sesshoumaru's mind that rejected your entry. My youki is strong but not to the point that I could push past his great power and allow you within his thoughts."
Golden eyes narrowed, dark bushy brows pulling down. "And like I said then; that's gotta be bullshit! Why would Sesshoumaru's head let Kagome in but not me? He hates her about as much as he hates me."
Miroku, Rin, Shippo and Sango sent Sesshoumaru knowing looks. Pointedly ignoring them, he silently pondered how transparent his interest in the miko was if even they'd noticed it.
The monk stood and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Inuyasha, let her go. Kagome wasn't afraid to go back in there. That means it's not a hostile environment for her, even if there is some Repressive force running around. I have faith in her."
"Faith isn't going to save her!" The hanyou barked, giving an agitated glance at Sesshoumaru. Miroku noticed and tightened his grip on his friend's shoulder.
"Now isn't the time to panic," his voice turned firm. "I think Lord Sesshoumaru is trying to do what he can to save her. I know you're worried, but if Tagako can't send you inside, the best thing we can do is try to support your brother, not break his concentration."
White triangular ears flicked, flattening against his skull. Inuyasha released Tagako with a huff, storming outside. He felt unused to being powerless in a situation. Three years ago, he always used to sweep in and save Kagome. Be the hero. She'd made him into that person, and he liked the feeling of being the centre of her awe and faith. That she placed her trust in him meant quite a lot. Now...Sesshoumaru was doing his job.
The Daiyoukai rose from his seated position a few moments later.
"Ah, Lord Sesshoumaru," Rin called worriedly as he started towards the exit.
He glanced over his shoulder, "remain here, Rin."
Walking outside into the overcast afternoon, Sesshoumaru closed tired golden eyes, exhaling. Something was happening. He could feel it, even if there were no words he could put to the sensation. Distancing himself from the cluster of humans felt like the best course of action in order to concentrate.
Sesshoumaru wasted no time in climbing to the crest of a hill on the outskirts of the village, turning back to look at the tiny houses. They lived such short lives, humans. Frail little things too. No wonder they clawed at riches in order to elevate their short-lived existences. What they wouldn't give for a thousand-year extension to their life span.
Kagome is not like that, the thought distantly came to him. No, the miko was different. He wagered, that if she wanted...if Kagome desired it, he'd be weak to resist the expanse of her neck. He'd grace her with the mark that would bind their lives and bless her with many centuries of life. Sesshoumaru could picture it oddly clearly. Her wide blue eyes. The acceptance flitting over her expression. Parted lips and flushed cheeks. He imagined leaning down and tasting one of those rosy cheeks, before closing his mouth over the flesh she offered so willingly.
Youki flared to life on Sesshoumaru's skin. Vaguely started, he realised that red, static energy blazed along his hand.
Glancing up, Sesshoumaru quelled the energy, suppressing it.
Inuyasha stood at the treeline, sliding his arms within the sleeves of the fire-rat robe and approaching with narrow eyes. Stopping a respectable distance away, he huffed. "I get that we ain't as uh...at each other's throats as before. But you better return Kagome or-"
"This one is interested in the miko," Sesshoumaru stated bluntly.
Inuyasha's eyes widened, the colour draining from his face, before returning all at once with a vengeance. "HAH?"
"You were about to launch into a tired spiel about the miko's wellbeing. This one is saying that I agree. Because I am interested in her."
His brother's voice turned thin and squeaky. "A-as a...friend or?"
"As a woman," Sesshoumaru stated flatly.
"FUCK, are you TRYING to pick a fight with me?!"
"No," his dulled gaze slid over the humble lands of Inuyasha's 'home.' Letting out a dusty sigh, sharp claws twitched and curled into his palms. "In the absence of feeling, I am surprisingly unalarmed about self-sabotage. Or perhaps...I am afraid yet I seek to ruin things. It is odd."
Inuyasha currently reeled, severely thrown, yet he somehow managed to grasp onto those fleeting words. "The fuck are you talking about? It's like ya got no damn filter."
"Don't 'hn!' me after that! Explain!"
"This one knows that admitting my interest in Kagome will destroy any goodwill formed between us, brother," thin lips curved into an enigmatic smirk. "And a part of me did not mind being your ally."
The hanyou didn't know what to make of the bizarre things coming out of his mouth, but something stayed his hand. He wanted to punch him. Swing Tetsusaiga at the bastard. Fight him for daring to try and encroach on a human that was clearly his, even if Kagome wasn't with him romantically.
Kagome was his human.
And yet he didn't, feeling oddly lost. Sesshoumaru didn't give off the same snippy, cold warlord aura he usually did. He looked crippled from the inside, a shadow of his former self. The spell appeared to be taking its toll. Sesshoumaru was talking about shit in the open again.
"Keh," Inuyasha tossed his head and shifted uncomfortably. "...Yeah well, I guess I didn't mind it either. Even if you are a bastard."
White ears flattened once more and Inuyasha glared hard at the ground, scuffing his heel slightly. "And when Kagome comes back, it's her decision. Just don't hold your breath."
Sesshoumaru blinked, hazy attention sliding to him. He nodded slightly, deciding to recline against a nearby tree in order to try and focus. It felt easier without the humans crowding around him. Expecting Inuyasha to leave, he felt vague surprise when his brother lept up into the branches of the same tree and stayed put as a silent sentinel.
Feeling the wind whipping her dark locks back into the breeze, Kagome decided not to huddle down into the warmth the furs provided this time. Instead, she remained sitting upright upon Instinct's back, expression hard. The image of Sesshoumaru's father sailed next to them within the clouds. They'd made progress towards the lands of Repression, though it was difficult to tell if they'd entered the desolate plains for real or not. The earth beneath them looked drained. Once green and lush with life- Happiness's realm now appeared to have been sucked dry.
"This is awful," she mumbled. It dimly reminded her of Naraku's miasma.
Instinct made a noise, "agreed. No prey will live upon dead earth. What will I sink my teeth into?"
Kagome cut her eyes to the sky and patted his side. "Not really what I was concerned about but you do you, buddy."
They flew over the once vibrant, flowery lands and passed by Fantasy's cage. No one seemed to be inside.
Continuing on, Kagome's mind began to wander. She knew herself quite well. There was no stopping until she'd helped Sesshoumaru. The danger of being trapped in his mind flew out the window. The goal was what came first.
"So...Instinct. What was that memory back there? Why did I see it?"
"Humph, we connected. I do not know why. Perhaps sub...suber..."
"Subconsciously," Pride provided helpfully.
Instinct sneered, "that. On some level, the host might wish to connect, making you privy to his secret memories."
Some colour heated her cheeks and Kagome tried not to be too stupidly happy that Sesshoumaru wanted to share things with her. She'd have to tell him a lot of her memories too.
Pride let out a short rumbling bark, causing her to look at him and follow his line of sight to the lands in the distance.
Her breathing hitched.
Misty, grey cliff faces loomed high, the realm of Repression now protected by an impossibly large cage that spread up and over it like a large dome. Silver bars looked as though they'd been embedded deep within the earth.
Instinct snorted and with a burst of sizzling youki that licked at Kagome's hands, transformed into a smaller version of his inu form. He made to fly through the gaps in the bars- only to cry out. Kagome gasped and held onto the silver fur tight as static raced over it like a bolt of lightning. Unaffected for some reason, Kagome made a fist within the fur of the whimpering inuyoukai and harshly tugged him back, leaning her weight to one side.
Instinct followed the tug and managed to pull away from the bars, panting as the static disappeared. Letting out a hoarse snarl, his hackles rose while they hovered mid-air.
"Coward! Hiding behind some flimsy bars."
Pride floated up to their side, ears perking as he sniffed at the metal. "Seems as though he's managed to create a powerful barrier. Little one, you were unaffected?"
Kagome nodded and smoothed gentle hands over the singed areas of Instinct's bristling hide. "I don't know why. Maybe it's because Repression doesn't know I'm here yet?"
"Then let it remain that way for now," he nodded. "You should head in without us. We will create a distraction in order to keep Repression's attention out here while you free the emotions undetected."
"Wouldn't it be easier to just defeat Repression first and that'll free the emotions?" She asked, feeling Instinct rumble beneath her.
"A distraction is not fighting. I was promised blood."
Inu no Taisho's eyes flashed, making a chill run down Kagome's spine. Right. Dog General. Sometimes she forgot who he was perfectly emulating.
"Repression is not likely to fight us head-on. We were left alone for a reason, and it is because we hold significant sway over Sesshoumaru's mind. It is with the combined power of our brethren that we will surprise and overwhelm Repression. Unless of course, you have a better idea," he sneered with a dark look, snaggle-tooth hooking over his lip. "I'm not imbued with war strategies or anything."
Kagome and Instinct shook their heads slightly. "Ahaha, no you're right. I'll uh...head in right now, sir!"
Hopping off her ride, Kagome wandered through the gaps in the bars as easily as sliding through water. Giving the two inuyoukai's a wave, she headed further in without them.
They started howling and bashing against the bars, making a nuisance of themselves. Kagome winced as they gave loud, wailing roars that made her ears ring.
Sensing something, she stiffened. Quickly plastering herself against the side of a rocky cliff face, she peered around its side.
Repression floated by her hiding spot from above, flying in inhuman form. Sesshoumaru's regal features made him appear as devastatingly beautiful as the others, but Kagome remained stiff and tense. Is it me, or is he...bigger? Taller?
He held an oddly stressed air about him, for one so concerned with locking all emotion away. Frowning, Kagome studied his grey crest and mulled something over.
Once he'd floated out of sight and low mutterings of conversion could be heard between him and the two outside, Kagome hurried further in.
Gaining her bearings, she made her way towards the exit of Sadness's cave. Sprinting to it, Kagome let out a huff of dismay, finding a boulder blocking the entrance.
Feeling around it, she frowned and rocked back on her heels. No way would she be able to budge something like that. She decided to look elsewhere.
She searched around the cliffs for a good while without discovering any visible entrances. The place where she and Innocence had originally entered the cave to find Sadness had also been blocked. Sighing and folding her arms, Kagome thought for a moment.
Sesshoumaru's youki always responded to her reiki, she could find the emotions if she just used it. Unfortunately, that risked Repression discovering her. But if it's the only way, I don't have much of a choice. I'm sorry I can't follow your plan, Dignity. Instead...I think I have another idea.
Maybe getting deliberately caught by Repression had merit. Raising both hands out, blue eyes slid shut as she reached inward and pulled forth pink, glowing energy. It cloaked around her, contorting in the air to pry around the cliffs.
A flicker of youki caught her attention, grasping it firmly with her own aura. Kagome raised her head.
Following the thread of energy up, a large stone fortress with grey walls flickered into existence. It floated in the sky on its own personal island, much like Fantasy's mansion. Kagome's stomach dropped. Sesshoumaru's emotions are in there. I can feel them.
"Crap…" she mumbled, tensing as a thrill of cold air wafted over the nape of her neck. Kagome yanked herself to the side mere seconds before a clawed hand snapped out, nails grazing her cheek.
Kagome squeaked and backed off, holding the stinging flesh.
Repression towered over her. Where before he resembled Sesshoumaru's height of 5'9, he now appeared to be 8'0 at least.
"Guess you've gotten a lot stronger since we last saw each other," Kagome muttered, limbs trembling a little with adrenaline. Sesshoumaru was intimidating by his own merit. With the added height, Repression appeared downright terrifying.
Tilting his head slightly, he observed her in a detached manner, lips pressing into a thin, grim line. "You should not have returned here."
The distant boom of roars and snarls reached her hearing, but Kagome ignored the two inuyoukai at the bars. "Let the other emotions go," she said. "I'll co-operate if you want to lock me up. Just free them. Sesshoumaru deserves to feel everything he wants to."
Reaching down- Repression casually plucked her off the ground like she weighed a pillow and levelled the miko with a cold look. "No," he said simply. "Emotions and the miko Kagome are equally as dangerous to the host."
Feeling her heart leap into her throat, Kagome let out a shriek as her body was hauled through the air. Repression lifted the flailing woman into his arms, gliding up towards the imposing fortress in the sky.
Holding onto his shoulders for balance and pushing dark hair aside, she noticed his nostrils flare. A dark look coloured his expression soon after.
"It is nothing," he grumbled, refusing to look at her. "You are accepting this capture much easier than before."
Kagome glanced down at Pride and Instinct barking furiously at her through at the bars of the cage. She winced and returned her attention to the Diayoukai holding her. "I've accepted it. I really do cause Sesshoumaru a lot of problems," she sighed dramatically. "It would totally be better for him if I were locked away. You're definitely not going overboard."
"I can smell that you are being disingenuous, miko."
She huffed, "you expect me to agree with what you're doing? Putting everything else aside, I think of myself as Sesshoumaru's friend. And friends don't encourage each other to lock away their feelings. Maybe it's a short term coping mechanism, but it's not healthy in the long run."
"What is healthy is protecting him from harm."
"From...harm?" Kagome stilled, searching his dispassionate features. The breeze fanned through his bangs, sliding silky strands back into the air. He looked tired and worn. Now that she thought about, really thought about it and not just dismissed him because he'd hurt Sadness, every time they'd interacted Repression had mentioned her or another emotion being a threat. "Repression, I'm not going to hurt Sesshoumaru," the words came softly. "That's why you've done all this, isn't it? Some misguided way of protecting him?"
His regal jaw clenched as they glided up onto the fortress, the demon flying inside the open doors of the stone prison. Kagome reached out to touch his cheek, feeling him flinch. Her heart twisted. Maybe he has been influenced by the spell, but there's something real here. I was going to zap him the first chance I got with my powers, only now I...
Kagome swallowed and dropped her hand. I'll focus on freeing the other emotions first.
"Regardless, Sesshoumaru is still under the oni sorceresses spell. We could work together to save him from it."
"I have no desire to accept your help."
Kagome sighed, tensing when Repression glided down a stairwell that hugged the walls, allowing him to glide straight down the middle. They descended for some time, causing Kagome to realise that the emotions were imprisoned quite deep underground. Her heart thundered wildly as he reached the bottom, coating them in shadow. At the base, the floor stretched out beyond the stairs in the centre, a large circle of cells awaiting Kagome. Torches lined the walls. Within each cell was a separate emotion, some of them looking up at her through the bars with wide eyes.
"Kagome, what are you doing here?"
"Miko, you should leave!"
"Foolishness. The idiot came here to save us."
Giving a little grin and an awkward wave, Kagome didn't protest as Repression carried her to an empty cell and yanked it open. He leaned down from his great height and set her down gently. Kagome stepped back from the doors as he slid them shut, locking her in. She remained even-tempered and placid, causing the emotions to grumble inside their respective cells.
Repression eyed her through the gaps in the bars, gaze half-lidded. "You are certainly the most dangerous threat to this Sesshoumaru."
Kagome stared back, lips thinning. His heavy attention shifted to the side, ears twitching. "Hn, seems those two outside are making a nuisance of themselves. I will return shortly and place you in another cell, miko. One away from everything. I do not trust you not to influence the weaker emotions here. Perhaps I will move the Fantasy Kagome as well."
Raising a brow, she watched as he took to the air again, flying up the centre of the spiralling stairs and out of sight.
All eyes turned to Kagome, who immediately got to work.
She moved up to the wall on her left dividing her cell from the next, "hello? Who's there?"
"It's me," came a young voice.
"Innocence!" Kagome's brows drew together. "Are you alright?"
"Mn, I am fine."
Shifting, Kagome reached her arm out through the bars closest to the wall, straining her fingers wide. "Okay, I've got a plan. All you have to do is touch my hand. Something happened with Instinct earlier and I think it'll help us connect so that we can all get outta here together."
Hearing nothing but silence from the next cell, Kagome quieted. "...Is everything okay?"
"Do not patronise me," he uttered in a moody voice. "It is merely that...after you left, Fantasy and I were captured with ease," his childish voice dipped into a saddened tone. "This one did not sufficiently protect her. You should ask the emotion on your right side for aid. This one...is not favoured by the host in any capacity and shall not be in the future. I will not be of use in this matter."
Kagome glanced at the other emotions. They watched the exchange with mixed expressions, some lacking in conviction. It was a frightening thing to see in Sesshoumaru. Fantasy caught her eye despite the wide space between them, looking mildly ashamed.
Kagome turned back to the cell next to hers. "Innocence, it's alright to feel a little discouraged. I'm not trying to patronise you," she listened but did not hear a reply. Taking a breath, the truth leaked into her words. "Thing is, I'm afraid right now," she confessed. "The oni sorceress that helped me get back inside here told me that the longer Sesshoumaru is under this spell, the more likely it is that he'll be irreversibly damaged. The goal of the spell is to turn him mad. I need to save him quickly but my plans are always so harebrained. Super wishing Miroku, Inuyasha or Sango were here right now," a wry chuckle escaped her. "I know I'm probably the worst person for the job."
Some shuffling could be heard, the child's voice sounding closer. "You are not the worst. The worst candidate would be Jaken."
Kagome burst into giggles, smiling to herself. She reached out again. "I could really use your help, Bravery. It has to be you. You've been in this with me since pretty much the beginning. I feel safe with you."
"You heard me."
"Hn," a smile could be heard in his tone.
Slowly, gently, small fingers made contact with her own.
Concentrating, Kagome closed her eyes and tried to remember the sensation of Instinct flowing through her. She'd been fighting for her life, just as panicked, feral and excited as him. This time, she tried remembering what it was like to be a child. Shifting her weight back, the miko suddenly threw herself headfirst into the feeling.
Kagome gasped and stumbled, catching herself before she could trip over. Glancing around, it seemed she'd arrived somewhere outside a prestigious looking traditional mansion. The garden lay lush and carefully tended, with exotic flowers hugging the walls surrounding it.
Hearing a noise, Kagome glanced to her left at the perfect replica of Innocence.
Little Sesshoumaru kicked a kemari ball, catching it on his ankle and then pushing it up to spin into the air and land on his knee. Kagome smiled and made to reach for him, only to realise her hand was tiny! Gasping, she patted her chubby cheeks and realised she was the same height as tiny Sesshoumaru. Touching her hair, she felt a big bow nestled in her dark locks. She'd used to wear it all the time. She was even dressed in a pink, frilly dress. I must be around seven years old!
Looking at the boy, she reached out again, fingers passing through short silver strands. He did not acknowledge her, leading the miko to the assumption that this was another memory.
Kagome and the boy glanced over their shoulders, the miko's breath hitching. Wow, she's like a female version of Sesshoumaru.
A truly gorgeous woman sat under the shade of the porch, fanning herself. Silver hair cascaded down her shoulders to pool on the polished wood like exquisite ribbons. She held the air of a regal, calculating diva. Kagome instantly saw a slight resemblance to Vanity, understanding the inspiration now.
"Your Father has returned. I sense him in the courtyard. Won't you go greet your sire?" The woman purred in silken tones, painted lips curved in perpetual amusement.
Sesshoumaru's striped cheeks puffed up slightly, colour touching them. "He will be busy."
"You do not know that for certain."
"Returning from a month-long battle in the South will be taxing enough without a child around," he mumbled, kicking the ball away. The demoness let out a giggle, hiding her grinning mouth behind a sleeve even as her eyes glittered.
"So grown up," she teased.
"Do not patronise me, Mother."
"Hm," she brushed some silver hair aside. "Perhaps do not be so eager to join us adults, little war chief. We may have bred you for battle, but in peaceful times it is good to indulge oneself. If you resist your desires they might manifest in other, mnn...less healthy ways."
Sesshoumaru paused and thought for a moment, rounded cheeks puffing up in another pout. Kagome cooed to herself. The boy turned on his heel and strode out of the garden, seeming to bristle when his mother's giggles rang out. Kagome followed, trailing along behind as he rounded the mansion and entered through another door. They made their way through a maze of rooms, some servants stopping to bow at him. Sesshoumaru ignored them.
Kagome followed him out of what appeared to be the main entrance. Many servants waited to receive Inu no Taisho, who could not seem to make it to the front door. Many demons, both soldiers and civilians, blocked his way, celebrating his return.
Instead of watching the spectacle in the courtyard, Kagome looked to her side at the pup.
Golden eyes shone with awe. His plain expression cracked open for a moment into palpable longing. His feet shifted forward slightly.
"Inu no Taisho, Inu no Taisho!" Some children cried, running up to the imposing Daiyoukai. He smiled and leaned down, resting a heavy palm on one of their heads.
"Hello, little ones. Might you let me pass?"
"No, no!" They laughed, hugging onto his strong arms.
Sesshoumaru's lips thinned, eyes narrowing slightly. Kagome gazed at his Father, noticing the weathered armour, the dried blood that had seeped into his clothes. Even a few broken arrows lodged into the mokomoko's trailing behind him.
Sesshoumaru was moving before she properly registered it, and Kagome hurried to catch up.
"Move," he said in clear tones once he reached them.
The children paused and frowned at him, some distaste or fear marring their expressions. Inu no Taisho raised a bushy brow.
"My Father has better things to do than entertain you," Sesshoumaru continued, mustering a glare. "Step aside and let him pass."
Within the awkward, tense silence that ensued between the little group, which the adults didn't seem to notice, the children parted to let Inu no Taisho through. The Dog General stepped forward and continued walking, pausing to peer down at Sesshoumaru. Kagome felt incredibly small, gazing up at such a picture of strength.
A clawed hand twitched and reached out slightly, as though to pet his son's head. Sesshoumaru stared at him unflinchingly, standing almost like a solider. Inu no Taisho's hand dropped back to his side, giving a slight smile and nod of acknowledgement instead. A heavy pressure that seemed to exude from his sire drew away along with his presence, leaving them to pad inside their traditional mansion.
Kagome let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding, peering at the boy and figuring he'd be pleased. The expression on his youthful face, however, looked conflicted. Golden eyes fixed on the ground. It was almost as though he'd received the respect he'd sought, but at the price of affection.
Gasping and falling forwards, Kagome felt herself pass through Innocence, landing on her knees within his cell.
The boy shook himself with wide eyes, "what was that?"
Kagome grinned, instantly pulling him into a hug, "something that happened with Instinct. You let me see your memories."
Innocence squirmed slightly, "how is that useful in our escape?"
"We're in the same cell now, aren't we?" She giggled, pulling back to beam at him. "Imagine if we keep going from cell to cell. Eventually, with enough of us, there's no way could any cell door keep us in!"
He blinked, "you are fairly intelligent, Kagome."
She preened a little, "don't sound so surprised~"
"However, if Repression had locked you away from all of us, without contact from anyone, your plan would have surely failed."
Kagome pretended not to hear him for the sake of her ego, standing. "Okay! On to the next cell," she jogged over to the wall. "Hello?"
"Greetings, miko Kagome."
From the light tone, an automatic smile touched her lips. "Hi, Happiness. Did you hear my conversation earlier with Innocence?"
"Indeed," rustling could be heard. "My hand awaits yours, as it has done for months."
Heat bloomed in Kagome's cheeks before she took Innocence's hand first and then accepted Happiness's.
It continued on in that way, Kagome managing to collect the various emotions into a small group. Seeing Sesshoumaru's memories was an unavoidable consequence, though initially she'd wanted to give him his privacy. Happiness showed the memory of Sesshoumaru randomly flying somewhere, enjoyment radiating off him in a moment of complete unguarded peace. Kagome had happily held onto him, watching the oranges of the sunset cast his face in a warm glow.
Her heart had done a dangerous thing in her chest, stomach fluttering.
The next had been Vanity, which revealed Sesshoumaru's penchant for selecting extremely fine wears for both himself and Rin as a gift. Only the best for the lord and his charge. Innocence and Happiness had formed a chain, managing to follow Kagome with every flash through each emotion, resulting in a small group being formed by the time she'd gained Lust and Envy. They were two memories she would definitely be revisiting again in her own thoughts when she had more time.
"This is taking too long," Discipline uttered once she'd caught herself in his cell, the others appearing with her. "Repression will likely return before you can reach every emotion."
"You're right," she admitted. "Just one more though...I need to check on someone."
Golden eyes warmed a touch. "...He is in the next cell."
"Can he still talk?" Kagome murmured.
Relief swamped through her, and walking over to the wall that separated them, she softly inquired; "Sadness?"
"I am here."
Kagome reached through the bars, feeling Discipline rest his hand on her shoulder, the others following suit, Envy putting his hand on Discipline's shoulder and so forth. "Let me take you out of this place."
A thin hand reached through his own bars. "There is something this one needs to tell you, Kagome."
"I'll be with you in a sec," she smiled, grasping his hand and linking their fingers.
Kagome opened her eyes, inhaling the smell of ash. She jolted upon realising their position, stood somewhere dark with writhing, faceless demons crawling along the floor. They moaned and cried. Glancing at Sesshoumaru, she noted his appearance looked in line with how she knew him; a proud lord in red and white silks and armour, mokomoko thrown over one shoulder.
Except something felt wrong. Bakusaiga was missing. He only had one arm.
And he was currently using it to cradle Rin's small, lifeless body.
Sesshoumaru's expression remained frozen in shock.
Horror thrummed through Kagome's stomach and she moved closer, tears stinging her eyes. "Oh no..."
His head dipped down, lips drawing back to reveal gritted teeth. He physically trembled. Kagome wanted so badly to hold them both, her heart clenching with pain and empathy.
By the time she touched down in his cell, tears were leaking from Kagome's eyes. She made a noise and moved into Sadness's waiting arms, wrapping her own around his much too thin waist.
"There is no need for tears. Rin was revived, you know she is fine," he gently chastised.
"It was still awful," Kagome mumbled, hiding her face in his chest. She never wanted to see such a sight again. A clawed hand rested on her head, gliding down to tangle in her hair. Pulling away a touch, Kagome rubbed at her cheeks. "Sorry, what..." she croaked, clearing her throat. "What was it you needed to tell me?"
Sadness's eyes became serious. "It is Repression."
"What about him?"
Lithe fingers curled tighter in her wild locks. "He is not what he seems."
She was about to prompt him to continue- when the very walls of the cell began to shake. Kagome's eyes widened, looking at the stairwell in the centre of the prison. A familiar aura caught her attention, coming from above.
Discipline turned to her, "we must leave!"
"Y-yeah, okay," Kagome straightened, about to help when Sadness tugged her back. Moving chapped lips to her ear, the emotion murmured something that swung her full attention to him.
"Kagome!" Lust barked, the emotions lining up to start attacking the bars.
Gazing at Sadness for a moment, she nodded and gave him a quick peck on the cheek before joining the others. Raising both hands, Kagome summoned the static warmth of her reiki, building it up into a large ball of holy power. The other emotions started launching their energy whips at the silver bars or letting out hissing acid from their claws. The whole group concentrated on a single spot.
A bellowing snarl practically ruptured Kagome's eardrums, but she didn't stop, forcing her powers to ignite their youki. It resulted in a blast that had her gasping and falling back, Lust and Happiness shielding the miko from the explosion of power.
When the ensuing smoke cleared enough to reveal a sizable gap in the silver bars, Kagome hollered: "everyone out!"
White streaks blurred out of the cell, Sadness grabbing and lifting her into his arms.
Repression came sailing down the stairwell a moment later, shaking eyes ablaze with cold fury.
It happened like clockwork. Kagome had stressed the importance of grabbing the key off Repression that would unlock the main door to allow Pride and Instinct inside.
The freed emotions immediately leapt on him. A struggle broke out, Discipline pinning Repression down along with Envy long enough for Innocence to grab a set of keys from his person. The jangling keys were thrown to Happiness, who quickly blurred around the prison, setting free the remaining emotions from their cells before handing them to Kagome.
Sadness then passed her over to a different emotion. "He will fly quicker than I," he uttered.
Kagome squeaked, eyes widening as Love flew up into the air, enclosing a ball of white energy around them.
"You fools!" Repression barked from below, youki rolling out of his clothes and hair like steam.
Kagome gripped the silken threads of Love's clothes tighter. "Hurry-" her plea was near lost within the orb he wrapped them in. It ascended the stairwell, flying up and out of the floating prison and speeding towards the gate of the giant cage that remained over the dusty lands of Repression.
A giant, snarling inuyoukai exploded out of the prison behind them, breaking the structure into pieces. Debris rained down as Repression gave chase, legs pumping rapidly through the air. He raced through the clouds with single-minded intent, the other emotions mere fleas in comparison.
Squeezing her eyes shut, Kagome gripped the key tight, not sparing a moment once they arrived at the main door.
Pride and Instinct awaited them on the other side, the latter's eyes and smile wide.
"DO IT!" He snarled.
Kagome pushed the key into the lock and snapped it to the side. The gigantic door immediately flew back, knocking Love and Kagome to the ground. Grunting, Kagome caught her breath, feeling severely winded. Lifting her head, Kagome stilled and gaped.
Every emotion was sailing straight into Instinct's body, even Pride and Love being absorbed.
When every emotion seemed to have combined within Instinct, causing him to double in size, Kagome stood well away as he began running. Repression's eyes were full of fear and confusion but the inuyoukai's didn't stop. Crashing into one another, they rolled and sank their teeth into one another. Whimpers and cries of pain briefly echoed off the cliffs, before a scuffle broke out. They kicked the large cliff-faces surrounding them hard enough to demolish their sides.
Kagome tried to take shelter, pressing both hands over her hears because of the loud barks and growls sounding out.
The two giants tussled and snarled, claws and teeth sinking in and shedding small rivers of blood. Kagome tried not to cower, a little in awe. It wasn't every day she saw massive beasts make steep cliff-faces look like lego blocks.
Repression let out a thunderous growl, red eyes blazing. Kagome watched as coiling, cold energy rippled around him. It clashed with Sesshoumaru's natural summer breeze youki, and she finally put her thumb on what it was.
The spell. Tagako said it's feeding the emotions with the most power. That oni sorceress's spell must be locked inside Repression.
Repression struggled beneath Instinct, grabbing his throat in his jaws and snapping his head to the side, tossing the more feral emotion off him. Instinct went sailing into the air, hitting a cliff and causing the various absorbed emotions to burst loose. The Sesshoumaru clones hit the ground in inhuman form, scattered and panting. Some gripped their swords, refusing to give up.
Kagome's attention slid back to Repression, swallowing. Burning crimson eyes locked on her.
Outside, reclined against his tree, Sesshoumaru stiffened. Magenta lids slid shut, youkai coiling around his form. Inuyasha sniffed, sitting up from his spot in the branches.
"Oi, you good?"
There was no reply.
The inuyoukai tossed his head up and snarled, barreling towards her at a breakneck speed. Kagome stood her ground, raising her hands and exhaling.
"I-I know what you are!" She called. "I know your true name. It's why you locked away Sadness. He told me...you're just like him. I bet Sesshoumaru used to ignore you before you changed your name, didn't he?"
Repression's large, gaping maw salivated, bounding towards her with glistening teeth as he roared with outrage.
Collecting each fragment and sliver of reiki throughout her nervous system, she began concentrating it to her fingertips. Alarm skittered through her at the realisation that he'd be upon her before she could release the pent up attack.
He leapt up into the air and came sailing towards her, bellowing out a terrible sound- teeth ready and glistening. He struck them down viciously- only for pale arms to reach up from behind her and catch both his top and bottom jaws in a death grip, halting his attack.
Warm silks pressed like a solid wall against her back. "What do you require?" A voice uttered beside her ear.
"Open his jaws," Kagome breathed, feeling Sesshoumaru's breath fan over her cheek.
With a simple motion that seemed as natural as breathing, deadly hands yanked Repression's mouth wider, much to the emotion's chagrin. He began to struggle and squirm- but Kagome thrust a hand up into his mouth, tongue cushioning her arm.
"I name you, Fear!" She yelled, letting the reiki loose. It burst forth like a geyser, holy powers shooting straight through his throat and innards.
His eyes widened- purple youki exploded forth from his body.
Kagome panted, feeling an arm yank her around the waist to tear her arm free from Fear's mouth just as it snapped shut. Sesshoumaru within Instinct's body tugged her securely against his side, frowning at the wailing youkai. Catching her breath, Kagome's attention remained on the youki that didn't match with Sesshoumaru's as it floated in the air.
From what she could sense, it felt like the oni sorceress's power.
Slowly, the spell disintegrated into the breeze, swallowed up by reiki. A faint noise of success barely managed to escape her before trembling limbs weakened.
Firm hands grasped her waist, steadying her against his frame. "You used too much reiki."
She gave a weak giggle, "I've got plenty stored. I'm still just a little clumsy with tempering it. Besides, the spell is broken...it doesn't really matter if I'm tired."
Sesshoumaru gave a quiet grunt, Instinct's crest a black honeycomb design on his shoulder. Kagome's lashes lowered upon feeling his lips press against the side of her head, giving an extinguished sigh of relief. "...Foolish."
Before them, Fear sank to his knees, stony expression barely managing to hold itself together. Golden eyes were blown wide and wary, appearance haggard. Kagome pulled away from the Daiyoukai, quietly approaching.
The other emotions were talking amongst themselves, most with varying smiles. A hush fell over them as their attention became ensnared, watching the miko kneel in front of Fear.
His mouth pressed into a hard line, silver hair in disarray and spilling before pointed ears. Covered in various wounds, the former splendour of Sesshoumaru's image looked tarnished and worn. Kagome observed him, raising a hand with treacle immediacy.
Fear slightly flinched away from her touch, glaring.
"You're afraid I'll hurt him, huh?" She murmured, dropping it. "That's why you locked Sadness away too. Fantasy. Everyone. You were trying to protect Sesshoumaru, in your own way."
Harrowed golden eyes flicked behind her to Instinct, before sliding away.
"Only, he wouldn't accept Fear's help. He likely thinks of you as a weakness like how he views Sadness, which is why Sesshoumaru let you repress him. But just like Sadness, you're necessary."
"This one became Repression in order to carry out my duties more effectively," he admitted in a hollow voice, expression shuttered. "Others have had their names changed to make them more appealing emotions. My case is no different," he looked at her tiredly. "You were getting in the way of daily activity. For months he has struggled and you will not accept his feelings. It is a doomed attachment-"
Kagome gently took hold of his face in both hands and pressed a kiss to his lips. The former 'Repression' stiffened and froze, claws flexing wide and freezing.
The other emotions grumbled to themselves, folding their arms.
"He locks us up and is rewarded for it? This does not please me," Envy hissed.
A chorus of 'hn's' sounded out in agreement.
Kagome released Fear from their impromptu lip-lock and smiled, sliding her arms around his shoulders and resting her cheek on his broad shoulder. "It's okay. I'm not going to reject him. I want to try and see if a relationship can work between us. Don't push me away before we even start."
Fear's golden eyes remained wide. His body relaxed of its own accord, sinking against hers heavily. The emotion bowed his weary head.
Kagome felt the body within her arms shrink slightly, tightening her grip to make up for it. "Don't you think I'm scared too?" She murmured softly for only him to hear, combing gentle fingers through his hair. "I'm terrified he'll change his mind once I get out of here. I mean this isn't a normal situation. Maybe he'll reject me because I've seen so many of his private thoughts and feelings. I wouldn't blame him."
"He won't," Fear uttered, glancing up to stare at the host within Instinct's body. "If you want him...he won't."
"I do want him," she said firmly.
Feeling him become a little smaller, her heart went out to him despite all the damage he'd caused. At the end of the day, he was still a part of Sesshoumaru. Undernourished and forgotten, she wagered the power he'd gained for becoming Repression all those months ago had overwhelmed him. Add to that the recent spell, and she supposed his actions were understandable, even if she couldn't forgive some of the violence he'd caused.
Nonetheless, she hugged him closer and kissed the tip of his pointed ear, causing a few of the emotions to make various noises.
Vanity gasped, "scandalous miko."
Chuckling loudly in a honeyed baritone and covering his grinning mouth with one hand, Lust's eyes danced merrily.
"S-she does not know what that action means," Sadness mumbled, scratching his burning cheek.
"That does not change the fact that she did it," Lust continued to chuckle.
Since she wasn't hard of hearing, Kagome's face soon burned crimson. "W-what?! I just kissed his ear-" more noises rang out into the clearing, Lust outright laughing now in Sesshoumaru's deep velvety tone. "I- you-" Kagome inwardly screamed. "There's nothing erotic about pecking an ear! You're a bunch of perverts!"
Happiness's laughter joined the fray, sounding strong and clear. Despite the burning sensation in her cheeks, when the miko turned to glance at Love and found his eyes disarmingly soft upon her face, Kagome found that she couldn't feel more relieved.
Shifting against the tree, Sesshoumaru's head titled up slightly, lifting winter lashes. Liquid gold eyes brightened from their dulled brass colour, lips tugging up at the corners. A quiet chuckle slipped past his reserved facade.
"What's so funny?" Inuyasha grunted.
"It is a private matter, half breed."
His brother straightened, eyes widening upon hearing the frosty, prideful note in his voice. "You're... back to normal," Inuyasha breathed, looking up at the sky. "Fuck, she actually did it."
Sesshoumaru, with no eyes upon him, allowed a hand to glide to the surface of his chest. His heart beat hard and fast, excitement, anticipation and other feelings tangled up within.
"Indeed. She did," he uttered, awaiting her return with all the foolishness of an eager pup. A part of him hated the reaction but another, larger part felt too full of gladness to care.
Her words rang through his thoughts anew; "I do want him."
Chapter 17: Love
AN: Thank you so much for all the comments and for just reading this story. In particular, big thanks to everyone on the sesskag discord. You've all been so supportive and wonderful. I'm sorry this last chapter took a while, I was finally able to move house but had no wifi for a few weeks x
Warning: Smut ahoy!
Standing before the main building of Happiness's mansion, Kagome took a moment to look out at the green, lush fields surrounding the courtyard. Flowers swayed, in bloom once more. Rin chattered happily with Innocence while Bigotry was returned to his little wooden box.
Fear had shrunk to around her height, sitting on the porch beside Discipline and Sloth, who offered him a pipe.
Kagome smiled fondly.
"Are you leaving now?"
Glancing to the side, her smile dipped a touch. "I have to."
Sadness inclined his head, doleful eyes dimming. "It is unlikely we will see each other in the foreseeable future."
Kagome grasped his hand and stepped in close, giving a tight hug. It was funny, but embracing the replicas of the Killing Perfection felt as natural as breathing now. "I'll try to tell him to embrace feeling you if something happens."
Sadness dipped down, brushing his nose over her neck and pressing chapped lips to her jaw.
Smiling, Kagome nestled into his warmth and breathed in the petrichor of his scent for a moment, leaning back to cup his cheek. Sadness offered a small smile in response, radiating peace and leaning into her palm.
"Do we all get to say goodbye the same way? This one finds that perfectly acceptable."
Kagome's gaze flattened, frowning at Lust over her shoulder. "We were having a moment."
"A sad moment, which this should not be," he hummed, stepping up behind her and effectively plastering her against them both.
"Not again- get off, pervert!" She growled, unable to stop laughing as he plucked lithe fingers under her ribs in a slight tickle. Sadness huffed and stepped back, while Lust wrapped his arms around her waist and scraped sharp fangs over the mark on her neck.
"Perhaps this one will see you in a few days," he whispered directly into her ear.
Kagome shivered and rested both hands over his, body sighing. Something hooked low in her stomach. "Or a few hours," she said quietly.
Lust's eyes danced with mirth, dragging a saliva-coated tongue up her cheek.
"Hey, leave her alone-" Fantasy lightly thwacked his shoulder.
Lust grumbled as Kagome weaselled her way out of his grip and hugged her clone instead. Giggling, Fantasy returned it.
"Someone else wants to talk to you before you leave," she said in a hushed tone.
Kagome pulled back to raise a brow, following her line of sight.
Blushing slightly at the emotion currently staring at them, Kagome mumbled her thanks to Fantasy and crossed the fair distance of the courtyard over to him.
Love's eyes remained a touch guarded. Kagome supposed that was entirely natural. They hadn't much had the chance to talk, so she struggled with something to say.
Luckily he stepped closer and spoke first. "You did not pass through me in the prison."
She blinked, thrown. "Yeah, guess not. It was sort of crazy in there."
"Hn," gazing at her intently, the Daiyoukai tipped his head to the side, thoughtful. "I should like you to see a memory of mine."
Red cheeks burned into a darker rouge. "I…I'd like to. Really I would, but I shouldn't. I've already seen so much, it wouldn't be fair to Sesshoumaru and-"
Love grabbed her wrist and tugged her towards him, causing Kagome to squeak and squeeze wide eyes shut.
When her lashes next fluttered open, an achingly familiar sight greeted the miko. She stood within Kaede's village, the humble houses bathed in the soft light of the moon. Kagome instantly felt a little more relaxed, seeing the stars so clearly in the sky above- the glow of the lamps inside the huts.
Out of her peripheral vision, movement shifted. Kagome glanced at Sesshoumaru, who looked the splitting image of the Killing Perfection waiting for her on the outside. His features were slightly marred by an imperceptible sneer, barely-there but hanging on his lips. A symptom of his discomfort. The village always made him uncomfortable.
"What are you waiting around for if you don't like being here?" Kagome voiced aloud.
He couldn't hear her, of course, and yet his head tilted up slightly.
The cover over a hut door slid back, her double stepping out. Kagome blinked.
She carried a small bundle, face flushed and sleeves tied back. She looked rattled and tired and ever so immensely happy.
Kagome brightened. "I recognise that wriggling blanket," she muttered to herself. "This is the day Rikyu was born."
Her memory self cooed at the baby, supporting him with one arm in order to gently stroke some thin dark hair aside on his forehead.
Sesshoumaru stared at her from across one of the makeshift streets, golden eyes steady and not a blemish of emotion touching his features.
Kagome's other self seemed to notice him, smiling slightly. She approached without fear, bouncing the newborn slightly.
"I've never helped deliver a baby before," was the first thing she said.
His attention tore itself away from her briefly to slide down to the slumbering babe. "Hn."
"He's Erika's," Kagome continued, as though Sesshoumaru would know perfectly well who that was. "Five hours labour. Not as bad as some births, but whew- Kaede was amazing in there," she breathed, practically glowing. "So calm. I was kind of inwardly screaming. He just started fussing so I'm getting some air with him while his Mom has a well-earned nap."
Sesshoumaru remained silent throughout her lively gushing. He did not seem particularly bored however, merely watchful. Some softness touched his gaze. Sharp claws twitched at his sides.
She noticed this and mistook the gesture, turning to him and lifting the baby up. "Do you want to hold him?"
Visible surprise cracked open his expression. "You would hand him over to this one?"
Kagome cocked her head, "an interesting way to put it," she giggled. "Come on, babies don't bite. I can't promise he won't try to gum you to death though."
"I am not afraid," he sniffed, hand lifting slightly, before pausing mid-air and slowly drawing back to his side. "However, you fail to take into account the horror the mother would likely feel if she happened to see this one in possession of her son. Not all humans are as...at ease as you around my kind, miko."
Blue eyes remained puzzled for a moment, understanding seeming to dawn on her. "Ah... that's just silly," she huffed. "Everyone in the village knows about your attachment to Rin. Kids are totally your weakness."
"This one has no weaknesses."
"Mhm," she smiled. Giving a sigh, Kagome rocked the bundle in her arms gently. "I guess you're right though."
"But...for what it's worth, I'd let you hold my baby."
Golden eyes flew wide, shoulders stiffening.
From where she stood now, Kagome caught that palpable shock and the way his attention sharpened intently onto her face. The Daiyoukai stared mutely, on the verge of something- however, she was already rambling on, not yet comfortable with silences around the cold lord. "I mean it's a long ways off yet, I hope. I might be considered a spinster here for not marrying at 18 but I'm not gonna rush into things. Still, when I do have kids, I'd trust you with them."
Sesshoumaru's jaw ticked, gaze brightening. He took a step forward, but she'd turned away. "I should probably return this lil ray of adorable sunshine back to his mom."
Long fingers flexed, reaching- curling into the tail ends of dishevelled dark hair just as Kagome stepped away, the ebony strands sliding free from sharp nails. Sesshoumaru's hand remained frozen. He glared at his traitorous fingers with a measure of contempt.
Kagome glanced back and smiled, "see you later, Sesshoumaru. Oh and uh...if you were waiting for Rin, I think she's asleep at this hour?" She said with vague puzzlement, as though only just wondering why he'd be standing there in the dead of night.
Giving a stiff nod in response, he watched her leave. When she was out of sight, back in the hut from whence she came, he lifted frozen fingers, ghosting them over burning lips. Inhaling slightly, Sesshoumaru let out a long, heavy exhale. Pale lashes drifted shut.
The real Kagome felt her cheeks blaze.
He'd been waiting for her.
Catching herself before she could trip and fall on her face, Kagome stumbled back into Happiness's courtyard. Taking a breath, she glanced over her shoulder at Love, who smiled with his eyes.
"He knew...he had feelings for you. Admitted it to himself because of that memory this one shared. The raw desire to have children with you was a powerful one. He liked the simple image of you handing over your child...to their father."
Kagome put a hand to her head and glared half-heartedly, trying to fight off the permanent blush that painted her face. "I told you I didn't want to see any more of his memories," she grumbled. However, the cosy, fluttering feeling in her heart and stomach could not go unnoticed. "But thank you..."
"Tch, if I am right in guessing which memory you just witnessed, it was not entirely flowers and rainbows." Envy spoke up, leaning against a post not too far away. "The disgusting thought of them being Inuyasha's child would not leave either. It was a greatly displeasing time."
Sighing, Kagome pat Love on the shoulder. Making her way over to the green crested emotion, she rose a brow. "You must've experienced a lot of displeasing moments, hm?"
"Indeed," he muttered frostily, overseeing the various emotions in the courtyard with a sneer. "This one is seen as an ugly emotion for wishing to possess you for himself, but if the host had merely listened to me he'd have avoided months of torment."
Kagome stepped closer, sliding a hand up onto his chest and resting it there. "What did you want him to do?"
"Kidnap you," Discipline called wearily from the sidelines somewhere. Sloth chuckled with amusement while Envy glared.
"Ah, and...if he'd done that I wouldn't have fallen in love with him, so it's kind of a good thing he didn't listen to you," Kagome teased. When Envy made a face and grabbed her waist, pulling her closer until their bodies aligned- she inwardly purred despite herself.
Hot breath fanned over her lips, a regal nose brushing hers. "If you become the host's...he will not let you go. Not even if you beg to be released. I will not allow anyone else to take you."
Kagome couldn't reply, because a tongue shoved itself inside her mouth. She made a noise, hearing the shouts and growls from the other emotions as he cupped her ass possessively, free hand burying itself in her hair.
Shivering, she floundered for a moment. Kagome then decided to give in to temptation a little, sliding her tongue against his. Pushing back against the solid wall of his chest and closing blunt teeth over his bottom lip in a hard nip- she felt Envy tremble before he was ripped away.
Kagome panted, blushing as he was held back by Discipline, who snarled at him for his insolence. Love moved up to her side. "He is a fool, ignore him."
"Y- yeah," she mumbled, absentmindedly touching her mouth. Not a bad kisser though.
Saying goodbye to the other emotions took a little while. After some time passed and lingering stares were exchanged, she followed Love down Happiness's passageway within his mansion.
Turning back once more to glance at the courtyard, she waved at the emotions. A few nodded, some merely watching with that heavy look in their eyes that hinted at deeper feelings. Fantasy and Innocence waved back, while Sadness stared after her with a softness in his expression. Lust merely smirked, as though intending to make good on the promise to see each other soon.
Kagome stopped upon seeing Fear's defeated expression. He'd declined to say goodbye to her, lingering away from the others. With a smile, the miko burst into a run, racing back the way she'd come. Love voiced some confusion behind her but she'd grabbed Fear before anyone could protest and squeezed him tight. It was funny having a Sesshoumaru clone be the same height as her.
It made kissing him that much easier. He sputtered slightly like a teenager and growled against her mouth, hands finding her waist. "Leave, foolish miko, or you will likely be trapped here if you linger. I am fine."
Kagome smiled, "just don't forget what I said," she murmured. "And...if he needs to talk to me about his worries- if you need to talk, then I'm open to listening. Any time."
Yearning, confused eyes never left hers as she turned and hurried back to Love's side, saying her final goodbyes and walking out of sight.
Reaching the fireplace, Kagome raised her gaze to Love. For some reason, it seemed as though he were an inch or so taller.
Maybe it's just my imagination.
Love quietly observed her, curling a long-fingered hand around her own and nodding to the flames. "Fear is correct. Do not tarry for our sakes. He awaits you."
"I guess I'm a little nervous," she confessed.
"Despite all the evidence of his affections?"
"Humans are kinda dumb like that," a weak laugh escaped her. Taking a step, she squeezed his hand. "I hope everything works out, but it's in our nature to worry."
Relaxing her grip and shifting a foot forward, Kagome squealed when her hand was suddenly yanked back. Her body lulled towards Love, his arms enclosing her in warmth as mokomoko slid around her slim waist and ankle. His lips were a firm, dizzying pressure against her own. Pure feeling was poured into that kiss, Love swallowing her gasp and cupping her cheek ardently.
Kagome could barely keep up but tilted her head slightly into his palm. She parted her lips and felt his tongue brush along hers- before he withdrew and uttered; "for luck."
She snorted and laughed at how ridiculous they all were, kissing her like eager teenagers. How silly she was for kissing them back, for adoring Sesshoumaru's emotions perhaps to a naive degree. Squeezing his hand, Kagome untangled herself and watched him all the while, stepping back into the flames and disappearing with a lighter, less troubled heart.
Inuyasha darted to his feet, leaping from the branches of the tree. "What is it? She there?"
Sesshoumaru had stood. His expression cracked into something alert- before speeding a fair distance away to begin transforming into his inuyoukai form. As per the norm; curling, writhing flames flared to life around him. A bellowing snarl echoed throughout the lands, making Inuyasha's ears ring and press flat against his head.
Falling out of the flickering heat of youki that rose high around the Daiyoukai, Kagome stumbled to her knees. Thankfully this time she wasn't naked.
A red blur crossed the space between them in seconds, Inuyasha's hands clamping on her arms as he looked her over seriously.
"You alright?" He muttered, ears flicking as he sniffed around her.
She laughed, pulling her friend into a hug. "I'm fine, silly. Ah!" She pulled back, looking at the towering flames as they began to die down. "Sesshoumaru. Is he okay now?"
"Keh, if by okay you mean he's returned to being his usual bastard self, then yep."
Relief set in like a fine tonic, enough to make her legs a little wobbly to stand on as she straightened. Blue eyes met the pale lord's just as he transformed back into his inhuman self.
Silence settled over the group- both parties watching each other with a heavy kind of weight. Expectation, desires. The spell was abruptly broken by Inuyasha grabbing her wrist.
"Oi, everyone's worried. Let's go. He's fine now, ya got no more business with him."
Kagome's lips thinned. Shaking her head, she tugged her wrist free. "Inuyasha...I'd appreciate it if you'd tell them I'm fine. I'd...really like to talk to Sesshoumaru most of all right now."
Heavy brows pulled down, gaze shifting between them. Tsking, the Hanyou pivoted on his heel. "You're too damn nice. If he does anything- just yell. I'll kick his ass."
Smiling fondly, Kagome decided not to tell him just yet about the burgeoning feelings between herself and the lord. It wouldn't be right to assume anything anyway. So she just nodded and waved good-naturedly as he lept away in the direction of the village, throwing a warning look over his shoulder at Sesshoumaru that went ignored.
Left alone, her mouth suddenly became dry. Kagome had no idea where to start. In his head, she'd felt at ease with showing affection to his emotions. Most of them had readily accepted it, soaking up her touches like a sponge. But the real Sesshoumaru held an air of gravity about him, demanding respect and distance at all times.
He'd returned to his old self, no longer emotionally vulnerable. The barriers were firmly in place while he held himself rigidly still, waiting.
"I'm glad everything worked out fine," she opened with, giggling nervously. "I don't know how much of that last fight you saw, but it was pretty cool. Two of your emotions were fighting like big Godzillas- ah you wouldn't know what that is- it's this big monster that attacks Japan. Though it's also like a metaphor for nuclear war-"
Sesshoumaru stared as she let her mouth get away from her. He then turned gracefully on his heel. "Come," he uttered, walking away into Inuyasha's forest. "Monsters are not the topic this one wished to discuss, miko."
"Right, of course," she squeaked, hurrying after him. This is so awkward and not at all how I pictured it. Why can't I just say how I feel?
Sesshoumaru walked with near-silent footsteps through the forest, the shade from the trees passing overhead, letting in little gaps of sunlight that bathed silver hair in radiant patches. Kagome knew Vanity would preen if she voiced that thought allowed.
He stopped beside a lulling, quiet river, folding his legs beneath him and sitting, back straight and posture perfect. Kagome sat beside him, inwardly burning with longing and questions. Her skin blazed with want to touch- to feel him.
"Your hair. Move it aside."
Glancing at him, she immediately understood. Kagome collected the dark strands into her hands and lifted them to bare the mark Instinct had practically branded onto her skin.
Sesshoumaru leaned closer to inspect it- no doubt hearing her rabbit heart slamming against her ribcage. "It was not a dream..." he muttered absentmindedly, brushing pale knuckles over the flesh. "You accepted my mark."
"Yes," she said in a hushed tone.
Tawny eyes lifted to rove over her face. "As a means to an end?"
"It helped to save you, so I guess it was necessary for the objective," Kagome admitted. Summoning her courage, she touched his fingers. "But it's not like I objected to it either. I didn't mind the idea of um...becoming a pre-emptive mate. An option."
Slit pupils dilated. "An option," he let out a dusty chuckle, as though his throat were unused to making such a sound. "That makes it sound as though there are other candidates I'd peruse at my leisure. No, foolish miko. You are a constant. A singular want. There is no other option."
Kagome couldn't help but grin like a fool, those words soothing something inside her. However, she soon frowned worriedly at the water. "Doesn't it anger you? That your instinct acted without your permission? Your consent?"
"Such an impulse has been with this one for some months. The only thing I wanted was permission," a light note lifted his deep baritone. "Your consent."
Warmth flooded right down to her toes. Giving a little laugh, she shook her head at his questioning look. "Strange. I thought this would be a lot harder to do."
Sesshoumaru rose a brow, but she waved it off. Discussing a relationship with Inuyasha had been like pulling teeth. She didn't know why that experience had her thinking it would be the norm.
"Before anything else, you will tell this one everything you witnessed."
She bit her lip to keep from grinning again. "That could take a while."
"Hn, do you have other plans?" He asked dryly.
"I did, but I suppose I can cancel them for you," Kagome hummed, feeling hot breath rush over the crown of her head in a quiet hum of amusement. She leaned slightly against his side. "Alright, I guess I'll start with the first memory I saw."
Talking had made things easier. It eased the tension of expectation until none of their previous awkwardness remained. Sesshoumaru had drawn a knee up to drape one arm over it, Kagome's back against his arm as she tilted her head back to rest it against his shoulder, feeling comfortable with his body again.
She did kind of miss the hugs with a visceral ache though. "Oh, and I did see someone else."
Kagome cleared her throat and deepened her voice; "Keh."
Sesshoumaru sighed, rubbing his temples. "Hn, I take it you are not referring to my half brother. My Father is not a memory I wished to share with anyone."
"I'm glad I saw him...and you, together," she murmured, linking slim fingers and resting them on drawn up, bruised knees. "It's funny how alike he and Inuyasha are despite never meeting, isn't it?"
Sesshoumaru was silent for a moment. "It has caused me frustration in the past, but yes. I see him sometimes in Inuyasha."
"There were a few memories about him," flexing her toes, Kagome tried her best to keep her tone level and casual. "One of them was shown to me by Envy."
At his still, tense silence, she hesitantly continued. "You were in your teenage years. I was there with you, watching Inu no Taisho embrace Inuyasha's mother."
Frostbitten words rumbled out from his chest; "I have no desire to speak of such a memory."
Dark brows drew together, but she nodded with acceptance. The pure feeling radiating off his younger self had been stifling as he'd watched his father hold the human woman. Kagome had wagered it was the first time he'd seen his father's mistress. What hurt the most, in that quiet, painful memory, was witnessing the utter love and softness within Inu no Taisho's weathered eyes. Sesshoumaru's claws had bitten into the bark of a tree, causing splinters to bite into his flesh.
In some complicated way, she felt he had silently compared himself and his mother against Izayoi and wondered how his family had come out lacking. Why hadn't they been enough for him? Why was Father only soft and open for a human woman? These were things Sesshoumaru would never ask and never know the answer to.
Or maybe she was projecting her own ideas onto him. There were some aspects of Sesshoumaru she'd likely never know about, and that was alright.
Kagome turned to face him, raising a hand to touch a striped cheek. "I'm sorry I saw so much private stuff. You know I'll never tell anyone."
"Hn, see to it that you don't."
Pure relief and bliss melted into her veins like chocolate the moment Sesshoumaru rewarded her with the dip of his head- leaning into her palm. Magenta lids slid shut, causing her breath to halt. Tears stung her lashes.
It felt easy to replicate the action when he lifted a hand to touch her rosy cheek- and she happily did the same, kissing his wrist for good measure.
"Something tells this one that you are not sharing everything you saw," he uttered in a velvety rumble. Kagome blushed and glanced away.
"Maybe I'll spill. But only if you tell me what a kiss on the ear means in youkai language."
His eyes snapped open, markings emboldening slightly. Kagome smiled coyly, flirting with danger contentedly.
The rich cadence of his voice moved to her ear, lips pressing against the shell and teasing it with a fang. "It is difficult to find the words for it," Sesshoumaru hummed, the sound vibrating into her being. "But as this one recalls, you had a funny saying about shoe size as a metaphor, did you not, miko?"
Kagome gaped. "I've mentioned that? Y-yeah, it's like a joke thing...saying shoe size correlates to..." she swallowed, feeling his smiling mouth press to one of her burning cheeks. "Dick size."
"Hn, a kiss on the ear is like a metaphor for how the giver would treat the...tip of a manhood, or the opening of a woman."
Pulling away, Kagome gasped and thwacked his shoulder. "Why are youkai such perverts! That's- I can't even-!" She groaned, burying her face in his arm and lifting a trailing red and white sleeve to hide her embarrassment. "And I kissed Fear there. Oh God."
Sesshoumaru chuckled deeply, prying the sleeve away and tilting her chin up with a finger hooked under her chin. "Perhaps you should show me again, Kagome."
Swallowing thickly, she seized confidence by the horns and pushed up on her knees to press her lips to his elfin ear. This time parting her lips slightly, she allowed her tongue to graze the shell, closing her mouth over the pointed tip and sucking.
That did the trick.
A low growl was Kagome's only warning- the breath knocked from her lungs when her back hit the earth. Sesshoumaru knelt over her, panting.
It didn't take her by surprise when his cruel mouth finally slanted over hers, but what did was the rush. The intoxicating buzz of fire that coursed through her body, filling her lungs and heart up. She felt elated and enamoured with the eager press of his lips- the clumsy knocks of teeth and brush of hands over one another bodies. Yes, he felt familiar all over again, but at the same time brand new.
She'd felt many different things with his emotions, but despite her affections for them, there was only one Sesshoumaru. He held her now, hands sliding beneath her back to arch it into him, lips finding the pulse at her neck and sucking.
Kagome gasped and bucked her hips against him, curling shaking hands within fine silver hair. It slipped like silk through her fingers. Her arm bumped against the spiked shoulder armour, and she began to shift uncomfortably against the barrier preventing their chests from meeting.
Sesshoumaru reached for the secures of his armour- but she stopped his hands. "No, let me."
Satisfaction warmed his expression. "You do not know how," he uttered with amusement.
Kagome gave an impish smile. "Show me. I get the feeling I'll be doing it more in the future," she gave a shy laugh, not entirely believing this was real.
With a noncommittal noise, he leaned back and brought her hand to a clasp. Lithe fingers pushed and curled, showing the miko how to remove it. Kagome marvelled at the different secures, fiddling with a few. Her tongue poked out at the corner of her mouth in concentration- and she squeaked when he licked it.
Huffing, she managed to undo the last- squeaking when his armour gaped open and near-threatened to crush her before he lifted it aside, pushing mokomoko off one shoulder as well.
Their chests met, her leg hitching up to drape over his hip while the demon bowed over her. They kissed and caressed, nails dragging and various sighs slipping out.
"You are neglecting to tell this one what other memory you witnessed."
"I-it's about Lust."
His kisses made her feel emboldened and prized, his hands exciting. The hardness pressing between her legs may have been mildly alarming but she was too caught up in the rush to care.
Kagome blushed and squeezed her eyes shut. "You watched me strip while at the hot springs. Even perved on me while I bathed myself and- and you know..."
Glistening teeth scraped over the underside of her jaw. "I do not."
"Liar. I started- gah this is embarrassing. I started pleasuring myself and you didn't watch for some reason." Hazy blue eyes cracked open. "But you stayed to listen while I tried to muffle my noises into my hand. You were..."
It was strangely the most erotic thing she'd ever seen. Clandestine eyes had burned, giving off their own light in the dark. His handsome face had twisted into something so full of longing and dark want, head tilted back against the rocks he hid behind, adam's apple bobbing as he'd swallowed and wrestled with his desire. He'd stroked himself, releasing around the same time she had.
Rubbing herself deliberately against him, Kagome tilted her head to bare her throat and sighed when a wet tongue glided over feverish skin. Sesshoumaru shuddered and panted, grinding against her in turn.
"This one should have just claimed you. Given in. I always wondered if you'd have opened like a flower for me in such a needy state."
Lust had been instrumental in opening up a part of herself she hadn't really thought about too much before. Kagome pleasured herself alone, sure, but deep, dark longing for something to fill her...
Sesshoumaru's Lust had been the one to elicit it.
"You've got some voyeuristic tendencies ya know," she gave a breathy giggle, curling both hands tighter in his hair. "I don't know if I'd have said 'yes' but I'm saying it now."
He stilled and blinked when Kagome shifted to place a simple, gentle kiss against his lips.
"Please," she mumbled.
Kagome's simple summer dress that had been through the wars those past few hours was shoved up over her head. Wriggling out of it- she gasped when his head bent to suck at the sensitive skin below her navel. Left in a mismatched bra and panties, she flushed.
I wish I'd prepared for this ahead of time. What am I doing? I'm covered in scrapes and bruises, my underwear sucks and-
Kagome cried out and arched her back- straightening like a livewire as his mouth clamped over the space between her legs. Eager teeth scraped at the material, sucking at the slightly wet patch on her panties.
"Y-you could've given some warning- ah! O-or worked up to that," she panted. Not that she minded. Perhaps they were going too fast but Kagome wasn't about to stop him.
Sesshoumaru's hands slid up and dragged over her chest, picking at the lace of her bra. "Hn, my apologies. You wish for my mouth up here instead?"
"That wasn't what I- ah!"
Firm claws had hooked over the edges of her bra, tugging down to expose hardening nipples to a hungry mouth. Writhing and bucking her hips uselessly, Kagome panted and gripped his shoulders. Trying to give some payback, she pushed her knee up- gliding it over the hard outline of his cock showing through his pants.
Sesshoumaru gasped against her flesh and let out a dark growl, biting down over her breast. Mewling, Kagome flushed red and clamped a hand over her mouth. How embarrassing.
A wicked tongue swirled over the bite marks, collecting the coppery taste of blood onto it and then shoving his mouth against hers. Kagome shocked herself again with how eagerly she responded. Biting down on his bottom lip caused another growl to sound out, vibrating against her lips.
"This one has imagined taking you so many times-" Sesshoumaru grunted, allowing her to tug open the silk parting of his hankimono and white underlayer, pushing them off broad shoulders. Her lips pressed to his exposed chest, peppering it with kisses and hard nips that had his eyes rolling back with pleasure. "Gn...I did not want our first time to be rutting in the woods, yet I cannot control the urge to take you much longer."
Kagome lifted her head, kissing his neck. "It's okay. I want this. We can do the traditional 'having sex in an actual house' later," she giggled in a hushed tone. "I just don't want anyone seeing is the problem."
"Hn, witnessing you so exposed would be unforgivable."
"...No," she cupped a striped cheek, rubbing her thumb over the magenta marking. "I don't want anyone else to see your expressions when we're like this. Just me."
His mouth turned dry at her possessiveness- hand snapping down to shove his hakama pants down his hips. Freeing his twitching cock, Sesshoumaru lifted her with one arm and rutted forward, their hips dragging exquisitely against each other.
Their open mouths allowed them to drink in one another's moans. Youki rushed out from his body- hurrying to swamp the air. It filled the area, enclosing it behind a thick barrier that would obliterate weaker youkai with a mere touch. Their privacy was all but guaranteed.
Worn ragged by his instincts now- Sesshoumaru's claws ripped the thin lace of her panties apart, causing the miko to squeak. Like a rag doll, Kagome found herself spun around- back meeting his chest as a hard cock nestled between her legs. She was still held securely on his lap. A steel band of an arm held tight around her waist.
Her heart gave a nervous thud- and she swallowed.
The realness of the situation dawned on her, and she glanced over one shoulder. Sesshoumaru remained poised behind her. His usual golden hues burned a deep red. Kagome took a breath and reached her arm back to touch a striped cheek- a starving mouth meeting hers.
Sesshoumaru shifted his hips- and she reached a freehand down to help nestle the head inside. With a hard buck, he pushed in further, locking them together.
Kagome cried out against his mouth, feeling a shudder run through his body. Panting, she kissed him once more, before nodding slightly.
The discomfort lasted only a few moments after he started moving. Soon enough her slick folds seemed to tighten further, urging him deeper. Firm fingers wrapped around her arms, Sesshoumaru grunting as he bucked. Guttural noises, the likes she'd never admit to- rang out into the forest. A vulgar orchestra of sloppy, wet noises from their combined juices and hard breathing made her ears ring.
Absolutely aching from the fire red arousal that flooded her veins- she mindlessly rutted her hips back against his. Sesshoumaru let out a rumbling snarl. In a flash, he'd wrapped an arm around her waist and shoved striped hips harder.
Falling forwards, Kagome's palms landed on the grass. Her knees thudded onto earth soon after, and she cracked hazy blue eyes open. A distorted expression stared back in the river's flowing water.
She didn't know her face could look that way.
The demon plastered against her back groaned lowly, rolling into her. A hand snaked down to play with her clit, which had her seeing stars. Kagome felt her climax coming, felt herself reach that blinding edge far too quickly, careening towards it at a breakneck speed. Her core tightened, waves of wonderous, addicting heat, bright and soft like music singing through her veins.
She felt him pant harshly into her neck, thrusts more chaotic and wild, bouncing her body almost painfully.
Sesshoumaru picked up his pace, bucking and pumping into her with abandon, spilling her name from his lips like a mantra as his hand and his cock pushed her over the edge. Everything within her tightened. Coiled and strung tight like an elastic band before it snapped- crying out as she did, more a sob than anything. Slick, hot fluid filled her in time with teeth sinking into her shoulder. Youki flowed into her bloodstream, working its will to bind their souls. A few weak, shuddering thrusts pushed them both through their release.
Kagome's fingers loosened from their death grip in the grass, catching her breath. Tightening the arm around her waist, Sesshoumaru lifted his hips back to pull out of her, simultaneously lifting the exhausted miko into his arms. It had been over far too quickly but months of longing didn't allow for much build up and control. He'd merely make it up to her with an encore. Sesshoumaru pressed a kiss to her brow.
It didn't feel real. Holding her, knowing, instinctively that they were bound. And yet the aching of his limbs and fire flooding his veins, igniting heat into his throat and burning the backs of his red eyes assured Sesshoumaru that this was reality. He'd done the unthinkable and mated the miko Kagome.
Satisfaction and deep, resounding happiness echoed through his being. Every emotion that had been holding their breaths gave small smiles within him.
A chill on her bare shoulders roused Kagome from exhausted slumber. Shifting under a divine throw of furs, she shivered and hitched them higher, sitting up slowly. Blinking a few times made her groggily notice that they'd moved location. Instead of the forest, Kagome now lay within a room. The decor hinted at wealth without being too extravagant. Tatami mats were bathed in the fiery glow of sunset, able to soak in its full radiance due to the doors having been slid open.
And there on the porch, shoulder supported by a pillar, sat Sesshoumaru. Warm light caught cascading silver strands. A plume of smoke curled in the air from his general vicinity. He wore a loose yukata, attention on the distant trees beyond the garden. At the rustle of furs, pointed ears twitched slightly, before he turned his head to glance at her. His bangs were fluffy and dishevelled, gaze half-lidded.
Kagome bit the inside of her cheek. It seemed Sloth had surfaced.
Feeling a sticky residue, she blushed slightly. Rubbing her thighs together did nothing to rid her of the evidence of their lovemaking. Hugging the furs to her chest, she crawled out of the bed.
Coming up to his side, she felt the breeze more keenly on her nude form.
"Where are we?" She asked, inwardly melting when he lifted his arm, letting her nestle against his side.
"I own this mansion, but it is not my official Stronghold," Sesshoumaru exhaled a grey cloud.
Kagome smoothed a hand over the pricking sensation on her flesh. Teeth marks throbbed, stinging from the fresh air. "Ah, wanting to keep me a secret?" She teased, an underlayer of unease flickering. Truthfully, she wasn't sure how he intended to introduce her to his fellow demons. If at all.
Before she could start questioning and worrying, firm fingers snagged her chin, tilting it up. Thin lips pressed to hers. He tasted like the rich smoke, spicy but pleasant.
He pulled away slightly to nip her ear. "We may depart for my Stronghold whenever you wish, foolish miko. This one merely decided that introducing you as my Lady may be too strenuous in your current condition."
She smiled and slid her hands up, feeling the muscles of his chest. "And whose fault is that?"
Kissing his throat and feeling a pulse flutter against her lips, Kagome basked like a sunbathing cat in his presence, pressing against the solid warmth he provided. Deadly claws brushed through dark, rumpled locks. They exchanged lazy kisses and absentminded caresses, both enamoured with the simple affections.
"Sesshoumaru," she pulled away before things could escalate further again. "There is something I wanted to talk about. It's...it's about your Sadness and Fear."
Automatically he appeared slightly more guarded, golden eyes sharpening and losing their lazy softness.
Kagome huffed, "it's nothing bad. Smoke your pipe, you can relax," she murmured, gazing at the strangely familiar-looking garden. "It's only me. But you don't have to talk if you don't want to, kay?"
Humming, he took a long drag of his pipe and let the smoke leak forth from parted lips. "What do you wish to discuss in particular?"
"Just the obvious. Don't you think it's a little alarming that your Sadness was locked in a cage and mistreated? Your Fear...he redesigned himself as Repression so that you'd more readily accept him. You probably shoved him away just as much as Sadness."
Sesshoumaru's fingers flexed wide over her ribs. "I do not personally see anything wrong with how they were treated. You have now seen them as creatures with life instead of my emotions. They've made you worry over their wellbeing, but they are not real demons so you do not need to-"
"It's not about that," she cut in, delicately stroking a thumb over his jaw. "It ultimately doesn't matter if I saw them as people or not. They're you. And I don't...like to see any part of you hurting."
At his pensive, slightly confused silence, the miko gave a heavy sigh. "Let me put it this way; I think the emotions that I've had a bad relationship with are probably Vanity and Wrath. I'd call them my Self Esteem and Temper. I let my self-esteem suffer because I compared myself with Kikyo so often. To cover that up, I let Temper have too much free reign but then hated how I'd explode with anger at Inuyasha. How would you feel if you saw versions of me...chained up and malnourished? Suffering."
Sesshoumaru's lips thinned, arm tightening around her as he thought for a moment. "I understand your point now."
Smiling, she kissed his chin. "Just think about it. If you're ever faced with something that makes you sad or fearful- don't automatically write them off. I get that it's probably a survival technique or a way to stop you getting hurt emotionally, but if you're not in mortal danger...just take a minute afterwards. Maybe reflect on how something made you feel instead of shutting it out?"
"This one does not see the point."
"It might make you feel better in the long run. I've been working on my self-esteem and anger. It's not always easy." She thought to herself. "Do you have any friends you can talk to about that stuff?"
Sesshoumaru gave her a flat, prideful look as though too good for 'friends.'
That answers that question. She sighed, "thought so. You can talk to me then if you want to. Or I'd recommend Miroku, he's surprisingly astute. And I'm not trying to push you into reacting to things a certain way, you don't have to listen to me-" she waved her hands. "It's just that I love you. So I don't want to think of you suffering in silence, even if it's the 'done thing' for guys in this era."
He stared, unblinking. Eventually, she frowned. "What?"
"You just professed your love for this one," he stated intelligently.
"Oh," blue eyes danced. "Guess I did. Whoops."
Sesshoumaru scooped her up, lifting to allow the miko straddle his lap, gliding his nose up her throat to bury in her hair and inhale deeply, the pipe forgotten in favour of her sweet aroma. "Hn. This one will take your words into consideration, Mate. Feel honoured. If another tried to advise this one as you just did, they'd be picking their severed tongue up off the ground."
Kagome shivered from the feel of sublime lips moving to the underside of her jaw. "Remind me not to suggest visiting a therapist."
His deep, rumbling chuckle that made her feel special wrapped around her like rich silks. She sighed in his hands, feeling heavy palms slide over the curve of her ass and squeeze. Heat hooked low in her stomach. Sesshoumaru began dragging her hips against his in a rocking motion- lips curving into the shape of a smile against her flushed skin.
The moment he ripped the fur aside that that been covering her chest however- Kagome grabbed his shoulders and pushed.
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened- back meeting the floor. Wide blue eyes stared down at him, her breath hitching.
"U-uh..." she scrambled to pick up the shattered remains of her burst of confidence. "Y-you know...I liked it...when we had sex."
He rose a brow, gazing up at the naked miko atop him. "if your noises were anything to go by, this one could tell."
Kagome swallowed thickly, adjusting her hands so that they slid over his biceps, before pushing the material of his yukata back. "It's just that we did it twice in a row and from what I saw of Fantasy and Lust- you were always um...doing most of the work. Let me give this a try."
Golden eyes cracked wider, lips parting to expose the suggestion of fangs. Summoning her courage, Kagome pushed and tugged at his clothes until the Daiyoukai lay bare between her thighs. Straddling him in such a way was both an intimidating, yet immensely powerful feeling.
Sesshoumaru watched her curiously, the novelty of her actions no doubt making him lie still instead of protesting. Ducking her head, Kagome began kissing down his chest, breath shuddering at the sensation of claws skimming bare hips.
Sliding nervous hands down his abdomen, she grinded slowly against his thigh. When her hand slid down further- fingers wrapping around his hardening cock- Sesshoumaru grunted and attempted to sit up.
"Miko-" he growled, lips peeling back to show sharp fangs.
Kagome pressed firmly against his chest, pushing and leaning up to assert her control. "No. Let me try," she said. Stroking the underside of his cock and rubbing, she slid a thumb over the head and felt him stiffen and shudder. Low noises ripped itself out from between his teeth, hissing in a sharp breath.
Smiling, she kissed his chest in reward.
With treacle immediacy, Sesshoumaru leaned back once more, hands remaining locked on her waist. Kagome kissed her way down- starting to rub him more consistently. Something sticky coated her finger, and she swirled her thumb over the precum, twitching when he groaned lowly.
Closing her mouth over the head and sucking, Kagome braced her hands on his thighs and dragged her nails when he jolted and grabbed her hair. Squeaking, she glared and sucked harder, bobbing her head.
It was kind of surreal, watching a slightly red hue creep into Sesshoumaru's striped cheeks. His markings emboldened, fangs lengthening. Hot air continually puffed out of his lips, low noises rumbling from the depths of his chest. Kagome pressed her thighs together. She let his cock drag along her tongue, grunting when his grip tightened in her hair, tugging at her scalp. Reiki coated her fingers as she ran her palms up his abdomen, a reminder.
His grip loosened slightly with an answering growl.
Continuing, Kagome began pumping him at his base with her hand, continuing to suck and lavish attention on the head. She scraped blunt teeth over his shaft, which surely pushed her luck because the demon snarled and bucked his hips. She chocked when his length slid in alarmingly deep and pulled her head back, a thread of saliva connecting them.
Trying to regain control again and guessing he was at his limit, she shakily climbed atop him once more and positioned his cock with her sex.
She trembled a little, with both excitement and nerves. She didn't want to mess this up. It wasn't like she'd done this before.
Calloused palms, weathered slightly from years of swordplay, slid up her waist. Kagome blinked and looked down at the panting Daiyoukai, his golden eyes burning fiercer than the setting sun. He gave a slid nod of encouragement, causing her to smile.
Rocking her hips down, Kagome gasped and groaned when he entered her, pushing in deep and ripping a startled moan from his lips.
Sesshoumaru gripped her waist tight, his appearance dishevelled. Silver hair spilled around his head on the floor, expression splintering into open want and barely restrained need to shove her down and take her roughly.
Kagome's body blazed with heat, placing a hand on his chest and feeling his heart thunder strongly against her palm. She began moving.
"Gn, hah- you must be eager for it," Sesshoumaru purred, watching her greedy sex try to lure him deeper with each rock of her hips. "To take such initiative. Funny, I did not imagine you this way."
"I'm not Fantasy," she muttered, probably not making much sense to him. Nonetheless, his hand loosely curled around her chin, thumb smoothing over her bottom lip.
"No, you are very real," a hitch in his voice followed by a breathy sigh almost undid her. She squeezed him tighter in response, moaning and continuing to move her hips. Full breasts bounced with each thrust- and she gasped when strong hands came up to squeeze and toy with them. They sat snugly in his palms as he kneaded and scrapped at her nipples with sharp nailed thumbs. The sensation only soaked her anew.
When he leaned up to lick and tease rosy buds with his fangs, Kagome sank herself down a little too far on his twitching cock- crying out. She came first, surprising them both with her greed. Sesshoumaru only smirked, grabbing her hips and seizing control back while she was vulnerable enough not to fight him.
Kagome gasped and glared as he started rutting her harder against him, rolling his own hips up to create a decadent, sinful choir of noises on the porch as he thrust into her over and over. Helpless to do much else except hold onto his shoulders, Kagome growled.
In a matter of moments, he rammed striped hips up anew and buried himself inside her to the hilt, spilling his release within.
"I-hah...wanted..." she panted, trying to catch her breath. "To be in control this time."
"To remain in control you must-" his ragged breaths intermingled with hers. "Earn it, and not fall prey to greed next time you wish to cum first," he chuckled, kissing the corner of her pouting mouth. "We may practice again later."
"Good," she grumbled, smiling soon after. Kagome leaned down to rest atop him, their chests meeting as she felt his arms curl possessively around her waist. Contentment shined in her scent, brightening when deadly nails combed gently through dark locks.
It was an hour or so later that the miko shakily made her way into the garden, wrapped in his red and white silks this time. The breeze was a merciful thing on her aching, buzzing limbs. Her stomach grumbled, and she inwardly scolded herself for letting her newfound appetite for the Daiyoukai overpower her actual, well...appetite.
Stopping to smell a flower, Kagome looked at the scenery and sighed. It really was a beautiful garden.
A very...familiar garden.
Frowning, she looked back at the porch where they'd made love not too long ago. She then double-checked the outside decor, the layout of the room she'd slept in.
Her breath hitched, limbs freezing in place.
"What is it?"
Kagome slid wide blue eyes to his golden ones as he approached, honeyed warmth curling right down to her toes. "This place...we're in Fantasy's mansion."
Sesshoumaru blinked and glanced at the gardens. "I do not know of what you speak, but it is customary for an inuyoukai to have a dwelling built for their prospective mate as a gift. My Mother resides in hers to this day."
Her eyes became larger still. "When did you have this place built?"
"A few months ago."
She lifted a hand to her mouth absentmindedly, feeling a little weak in the knees. He built this place for me? Even though at the time...he thought I'd be with Inuyasha for the rest of my days. In his head, he filled this place with me. With Fantasy.
No wonder he'd allowed Repression to stomp down his emotions, they were obviously strong.
Kagome bridged the distance between them, pressing a kiss to his carefully apathetic facade. Wrapping her arms around broad shoulders and tugging, she tried to give as much affection to the touch starved demon as possible.
It took a few months to settle into a routine. Kagome flitted between the village, modern times, the mansion and Sesshoumaru's stronghold. Strangely her friends hadn't been too surprised about her involvement with the demon lord. Even Inuyasha, though against it, hadn't been entirely flabbergast.
'If he hurts you, tell me and I'll kill him.'
Kagome had patted his shoulder and dryly thanked him. From what she could see a kind of peace had settled over the brothers. She wondered what had caused it.
Her mother had been pleased, ever accepting when she'd heard the news. Souta had raised his brows when she'd awkwardly admitted that yes this was the same Sesshoumaru that had tried to kill her a few times in the past.
'Whatever floats your boat, sis.' Had been his only comment. Grandpa threatened to hit the demon with a face full of warding salts.
The mansion became a private getaway. An oasis during their schedules. Sesshoumaru had introduced her without much fanfare as his Lady to the demons at his Stronghold. They'd perhaps had the most negative reactions, rivalled only by Jaken's shrieks.
Instead of squawking or yelling though, the youkai court muttered. And somehow Kagome could always pick up the whispers.
Little niggles of doubt began to creep into her heart. Their words were like prin pricks of needles jabbing at raw skin over and over. How unsuitable she was, how she'd tarnish his pristine lineage. It didn't matter how hard she tried to fit in with their customs or help the children at the local orphanage within a demon village read and write, hanyou and pureblood alike abandoned- the mutters followed her.
Sesshoumaru had noticed.
For some reason, however, Kagome would not permit him to kill or maim the demons for their disrespect towards his Lady. Even when he suggested intimida- ahem, talking to them for her, she'd refused. He could tell she wanted to prove herself, not be wrapped in cotton wool. Rather than using nepotism, she desired genuine respect through hard work alone.
Still, the barbs were beginning to take their toll. Outwardly she projected a convincing bravado, but as her mate, Sesshoumaru could sense her dwindling confidence within his Stronghold each passing day.
That would not do.
Since she'd forbidden him from getting involved with the situation, he decided a new tactic was in order. Kagome couldn't flourish if she began to question her worth, so he'd merely give her a helping hand in facing the mutterings in the form of an ego boost.
He spoke to Tagako the following day. The oni sorceress had looked at him like he were crazy and protested at first, listing the very real dangers that his mate had faced.
Sesshoumaru brushed these concerns aside. He could not be deterred.
And so one ordinary night, when he'd stolen his mate away into their private mansion, Sesshoumaru allowed Tagako to transport him into Kagome's slumbering mind. She shifted in her sleep but did not stir awake.
"What are you doing in here?"
Sesshoumaru turned his attention to the side, where a grumpy looking Kagome stood, arms folded. Despite telling Tagako that he merely needed a few hours inside his mate's mind, the Daiyoukai had gotten quite turned around. Skyscrapers rose high above him, sprouting out of thick grass. He'd seen her advanced future in textbooks many times. However, nothing had resembled this odd landscape. It were as though the past and future mingled.
Greenery hung over the tall buildings and lamposts, vines entwining around traffic lights. He'd also passed at least 10 hot springs so far.
"This one is searching for Self Confidence, or whatever name she may go by here. Where is she located?" He uttered, raising a brow.
The Kagome look-alike wore a bright red version of her miko attire. She frowned and tossed her head, gripping a self-help book for anger management. "You shouldn't be wandering around, idiot! You used that spell to get in, didn't you? That's dangerous!"
"Your concern is noted," Sesshoumaru smirked, lips curving at the incensed red creeping into her cheeks. My, how he'd like to pin her down and have an angered Kagome scrapping and hissing at him. He'd reprimand her so deliciously sweetly, with teeth and tongue...
No, he shook his head. He had to resist and find the one he sought.
Since no answers were forthcoming, he moved on into one of the skyscrapers, marvelling at the advanced building.
In a room further up, he passed by an open doorway.
"Sesshoumaru~" a voice thrilled.
Such a tone had him pausing mid-step, sending a spark down his spine. Golden hues shifted to consider the plush bed within the room, some male instinct freezing him in place.
A very naked Kagome spread out atop the covers on her stomach. Kicking her legs up behind her to hook one ankle over the other, Lust smiled at him with knowing eyes.
His pants were suddenly feeling a little too restricting.
"Won't you join me, my love?" She hummed, hips rutting into the covers languidly. Arousal soaked the air. "I want you...all the time," Lust sighed, rolling onto her back to slide a hand down her chest, heading further south as she tilted her head back to look at him. Dark strands spilt around her like a sinful halo. "It's so frustrating. I can't stand it any longer. Help me work out some frustration, please?" She purred. "It'll feel so good. We always feel good when we're together. Don't make me wait."
Sesshoumaru ran his eyes over the hardened peaks of rosy nipples, the way she shifted to give him a clear view of exactly what she was offering, the folds of her sex glistening. Lust whined and keened to be pleasured. A fang pierced his bottom lip, and Sesshoumaru licked the iron, sobering taste of blood away.
"You will have to wait a little longer, dear one," he said in a thin, wooden voice. At any other time, he surely would've indulged, but he had a greater purpose for being there.
With shaky self-restraint, he robotically forced himself to keep walking, hearing a whine ring out from the room. It tore at him to leave her so needy, but his Kagome wasn't exactly left wanting in the real world, they'd made love just that night.
Her Lust was merely very greedy.
Sesshoumaru found that tidbit of information extremely amusing.
He discovered her kneeling before a koi fish pond. She held a white theatre mask over her face, the expression perpetually happy, lips spread high and wide, exuding confidence.
Taking a knee next to the woman's side, the demon quietly observed her. "I have been seeking you."
She looked at him through the mask, holding it in place. Her voice was deceptively chipper. "I heard you were in here. Why were you wasting time looking for me, silly?"
Lithe fingers reached out, wrapping around the edge and pulling it gently free from her own. Lowering the mask revealed tired blue eyes. Her ego looked exhausted and strained, watching him with mild unease. She raised both hands as though to cover her face- but he snatched them at once.
"Don't look. I'm fine, please don't worry. You...you've helped her a lot. She feels so loved with you. This isn't your fault."
"Whoever is to blame should be flayed. Preferably by my claws."
Self Esteem's lips bent up at the sides in a painful imitation of a smile. She gave a sigh, scent improving once he started to stroke the delicate skin of her wrists with soothing thumbs. "She just...has to keep fixing me, and that's tiring sometimes. Trying to be the best version of herself for everyone, to be confident all the time. To feel worthy."
"Hn," Sesshoumaru regarded her. Confidence had never been an issue for him. The only thing he'd ever been uncertain about was the miko and his early feelings regarding her, his struggle before their relationship. In contrast, Kagome felt confident with him, loved and secure in where she stood in their union but rendered fearful and questioning because of others.
Interesting, he released her. "This one suspected as much. There is little time to waste, so I shall cut to the chase."
Self Esteem blinked and tilted her head, only to blanch when he reached for his armour, clicking and snapping the secures open.
"Waaaait, wait wait wait- wait-" both hands flew up as she scrambled back, red-faced. "What are you doing?!"
"I believe there is a human saying..."
"...something along the lines of; stroking your ego."
Liquid gold eyes glimmered wickedly as he pulled the loose armour away and set it down. He then tugged the obi around his waist loose. "Only 'stroking' does not seem enough. Petting your ego, kissing it, pleasuring it, loving it..." the silks covering his chest were parted and stripped back off broad shoulders. "Fucking it. This one believes those words better apply to the situation at hand."
The Kagome clone stared at him with wide eyes, speechless. She swallowed and continued to scramble back slightly. "B-b-but! I'm not your ego! I'm Kagome's!"
"Indeed," Sesshoumaru casually bent down and took off his boots, before straightening and sliding his hakamaka pants off and running a hand through silver locks, flicking some up into the air. "And since she is doing such a poor job of tending to you, this one will have to do so in her place."
His cruel lips curved, approaching with slow steps. "Shall we begin, dear one?"
Self Esteem inwardly screamed as she fell prey to the naked, laughing demon.
Kagome bolted up in bed, red-faced and sweating. Putting a hand to her head, she stared unseeingly ahead with wide eyes, trying to catch her breath. The afterimage of what she'd just witnessed rattled around in her mind. It felt too real to be a dream.
Sensing an aura within the mansion, she sprang to her feet and hurried to the source.
Tagako looked up from her cup of tea in the living room, giving an awkward wave. "You are looking well, miko Kagome."
"What did he do?" She demanded in a dark voice. When no answers were forthcoming, she grit her teeth and snarled; "Sesshoumaru! WHAT. DID. YOU. DO?!"
Needless to say, they did not try the spell again for many years. Still, despite Kagome's rants about the danger once he'd returned to her, Sesshoumaru could not help but notice the renewed pep in her step, or the way those mutterings from the demons slid off her shoulders like unheeded water. Eventually, those mutterings became near silent.
He privately smirked to himself when he was sure no one was watching.
"Stop smirking to yourself, pervert," Kagome said absentmindedly as she walked by.
Life within Sesshoumaru's psyche shifted. Every cage within his mind was removed, and even Fantasy's mansion soon lowered from its high prison within the sky. Her home soon melded within Happiness's realm on solid earth- allowing her access to all of his emotions.
However, due to certain possessive ones, such as Envy, Lust and others, a deal was made. The realms were soon changed so that each land spread out and touched Fantasy's mansion, allowing them to visit more easily. Love, Lust, Happiness and Sloth practically became permanent residents. Imperceptively, Dignity changed. His features lost their gruff, striking resemblance to Inu no Taisho and slowly became more regal. He began to resemble Sesshoumaru more and more. Innocence continued to play with Rin until she began to grow up in the real world. Though she remained in Happiness's realm, she started to mellow and change from the little girl Sesshoumaru had semi raised.
As for Fear and Sadness, they were still not permitted to roam freely. Instead of being completely confined however, they were under Discipline's strict watch, living under his roof and supervision night and day. It was better than the alternative, and as Sesshoumaru's relationship with Kagome deepened, they found themselves visiting Fantasy a little more often.
The Daiyoukai's bliss came hand in hand with various worries that began to plague him. They started small. Little things like Kagome getting injured from her clumsiness- to outright stress a few years later.
Sesshoumaru's expression remained ever placid. Inside, however, he burned with feeling. As he'd predicted, the miko certainly knew how to rattle his emotions. Her effect on him gave birth to new flavours of emotion, ones he didn't think himself capable of.
A kind of peace enveloped him when they were pressed close at night. It was a sensation that was neither Happiness nor Sloth, but both.
He watched Kagome's sleeping face with an unblinking stare that she'd no doubt call creepy, combing his fingers through dark locks. His touch then slid to her stomach, following the large curve of a baby bump.
A flutter caught his senses before he felt a kick at his palm. Sesshoumaru hummed, brushing his lips along Kagome's collarbone and smiling at her sleepy exhale.
Within his mind, Fantasy sat in Happiness's field, watching a little boy and girl with silver hair and blue eyes run and chase each other. Every so often their hair would change and morph into black, flowing locks. Little triangular ears would replace pointed or curved ones.
Their laughter filled Fantasy's heart up, and she grinned- opening her arms and catching the children when they attempted to dart by. They shrieked and squirmed- falling together into the grass with her.
Giggles soon melted away into silence, however. Giving a long sigh and sitting up, Fantasy hugged empty arms to her chest, left alone.
"They will be solid and constant soon enough," Love uttered behind her.
"I know," she sighed, standing and rubbing her arms. "I wish he'd at least pick a consistent appearance for them. I don't know whether to expect hanyou, human or pure blood."
"Hn," he joined the Kagome look alike's side, sliding an arm around her waist and pressing a hand to her rounded stomach. "No one knows. We sense their strong aura, that is all. Now all the host can do is wait."
Fantasy smiled and leaned into his steady, soothing presence. "He should be pretty good at that by now."
His mouth curved into a smirk, "his impatience is almost endearing, is it not?"
Giving a quiet giggle, she ran a gentle hand over her stomach. "I get it though. I can't wait to meet them. Twins are going to be a big challenge. But hey, as well as meeting them soon, we'll definitely get to see a new Sesshoumaru here too."
Love rose a brow. "Who will that be?"
Blue eyes glittered, gazing up at the endless sea of constant stars within the pink skies above. "Sleep-deprived Sesshoumaru."