The others were very far ahead, though not completely out of earshot. Kagome was in no rush; issuing her silent protest as she lollygagged behind. Even though it was only midday, they had been traveling for hours. And despite her constant pleas for rest, her annoyingly determined group remained undeterred.
Stopping to admire the grandness of yet another tree that had surely been around for centuries, a cool brush of breeze at her back caused her to still even further.
The sudden silence of the forest lent the trail an eerie ambiance, and she briefly considered screaming ahead for help.
Though she was irritated with her friends for ignoring her need for rest, she wasn’t so proud that she’d remain in danger simply because she didn’t want to ask for help.
Inhaling deep to alert them to the threat, her protest was halted when a clawed hand covered her mouth and rendered her silent.
The muffling action was paired with a forceful pressing that had her back squished against the tree; and the offending torso trapping her body earned her attention briefly, before her gaze traveled upward to finally recognize her accoster. Her startled yelp morphed into a relieved sigh.
He felt her smile grow beneath his fingers, and the shining eyes that matched it caused a twinkling in his own. Confident that his eardrums would not be assaulted, he slowly removed his hand to mimic the other which splayed flat against the bark beside her head.
His youki was masked for stealth, but she threw a barrier around them for an extra measure of privacy.
“You’re back!” Her joy was positively palpable as she lifted her hands to lightly grab either side of his unarmored hips.
Not responding verbally, he opted instead to crane his neck and nuzzle hers.
She closed her eyes as she bared him her throat; and he took the opportunity to drag his lips unhurriedly across its expanse.
He was pleased to find that she seemed to garner as much relief as he from the proximity, though he wasn’t sure if it was possible.
The three days they had been apart had been excruciating to endure. And the demons who had caused enough trouble to see him removed from her presence knew no mercy at his hands for the inconvenience. He would have loved to draw out their punishments, but he was eager to return.
“Let’s go!” he whined into her shoulder, and she wrapped her arms around his middle to hug him closer. She laughed at his urgency, and was flattered at his desire to be in her presence alone.
And though it was a desire she shared, it was one they would have to resist... for now.
“I can’t,” she regrettably reminded him, earning a huff at the denial.
“They’ll be waiting for me. There’s no reason I could give them for just taking off.”
He lined his eyes up with hers and made a hopeful request.
“Then simply tell them the truth.”
She looked away guiltily, and he moved his fingertips to lightly stroke her cheek. He removed unruly strands from her face as a form of nervous distraction.
“I want to, but...” she couldn’t find a suitable way to end that sentence, so he did it for her.
“You are ashamed of me.”
“No!” Her eyes grew wide at the accusation. She grabbed his hand in reassurance, but this time he would avert his gaze downward.
“Not even a little bit. But you know how sensitive Inuyasha can be. When he finds out about us, it is going to hurt him.”
He was aware of that fact. And he couldn’t honestly say that he would find no enjoyment in digging this new development into his brother’s side. But as distasteful as it was, Kagome had a soft spot for the hanyou. And it was the lone reason why he was currently only allowed to be in her presence while her friends were distracted.
She had demanded his discretion, and he would have to oblige.
“When the time is right, I will tell them. Until then, we need to keep this between us.”
When he sighed in resignation, she smiled in thanks.
She leaned into him gratefully, captivating him with a saucy grin.
“Besides... doesn’t keeping it secret make it even more exciting?”
The rumble in his chest told her that he agreed, though his lips accusatorily inferred.
“You do not find This Sesshoumaru sufficiently exciting on his own?”
When he rubbed his cheek against hers, they both closed their eyes at the sensation.
“I wouldn’t go that far... Though, you are pretty predictable,” she teased, and he intensified his stare as he responded.
“Is that so? Then you must know what I am going to do next.”
She closed her eyes.
She waited hopefully for a kiss, but it never came. When she opened her eyes again, she was irritated by the playful smirk only an inch from her face.
“Hn,” he leaned forward, placing his forehead against hers, but his progress was halted by an all too familiar interruption.
“Move it, Kagome! We ain’t got all day to wait around for your lazy ass!”
She scrunched her nose at the demand issued from the distance ahead, and Sesshoumaru suppressed a growl.
“Say the word, and I shall kill him.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve got a three-letter word for him later.”
He allowed her to push him away, and he straightened back to full height. She brushed the stray bark from her back, and didn’t stop him from aiding in her efforts.
“We’ll be back before nightfall at this rate. I’m guessing you want to meet up at the spot?”
“Depart the moment your friends are asleep.”
“It shouldn’t be too late. With the speed they are moving, they are going to be tired.”
“My life has spanned centuries; however, it shall pale in comparison as I count the hours until then.”
He hated how she purified his scent from herself.