This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled. But there are moments when we can... reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that's what I mean by 'Hallelujah.'
Kagome watched through the corner of her eye as Sesshoumaru dressed for bed. It was not something she would’ve ever imagined being privy to in the past. But as her eyes drifted around the room, taking in the tasteful, functional furnishings of the space they now shared, she thought not for the first time since their arrival earlier that day that she would have expected him to be more ostentatious.
Reality, however, proved to be far more modest and unassuming than her assumption, and she quietly took in the simple but quality furnishings surrounding them, lending to a peaceful atmosphere.
It seemed there was still much for her to learn.
The whisper of silks pulled her attention from her surroundings then, and, feeling her skin start to warm, she glanced at where he stood by the screen he had neglected to slip behind to change.
His back was to her, his clothing askew. Both his kimono and hanjuban had fallen to his waist, the ties of his hakama already loosened, and she shyly took in the sight of his stripes before noting with no small amount of blushing that the room still smelled slightly of their little late afternoon rendezvous.
A little late afternoon rendezvous she was currently having trouble forgetting—a whole lot of trouble.
Swallowing thickly, Kagome looked away as he let the barely clinging clothing fall to slide the white material of his yukata up over his skin, unintentionally hiding from her view the markings she found so tempting.
Head snapping back around, she blinked owlishly up at him before panic set in. Had he caught her staring? “Y-yes?”
A single brow arched, testifying to his notice of her odd behavior, but he simply held out a smaller, clean yukata to her. “Do you require assistance?”
“Oh.” Rising from her knees, Kagome reached out and took the garment. “I think I’ll be okay.” She paused, looking up at him from under her lashes. “Thank you.”
His lips pursed, and she could tell he was trying to restrain his amusement.
She chose to ignore it. “I’ll just go change now.”
The corner of Sesshoumaru’s lips lifted, but he didn’t respond.
Kagome rushed away behind the screen before she could do anything else to embarrass herself. It had been humiliating enough earlier when she had to have Chiyo help her dress for a second time that day after…
Nope. That thought could die right there.
Feeling herself flush, Kagome yanked the pins from her hair with a harsher hand than necessary, wincing at her now tender head as she reached back to untie her obi. The sooner she could sleep, the sooner she could clear her mind.
Or so she thought. She wasn’t exactly sleeping alone anymore and while not unusual for them now, here in his home it just seemed…different.
Pushing the thought aside, her hand grasped the ornate silk and gave it a tug.
What the… She tugged again, but it refused to come free.
Panic definitely settling in now, she quickly toed off her socks, still pulling at the stubborn belt. This was not was she needed right now. All she wanted was sleep—blissful unawareness that gave her mind a break from analyzing every new direction her life had abruptly taken. But regardless of how hard she yanked, the obi didn’t budge.
Giving up, she let her head fall back. “Sesshoumaru?”
Squashing down her newest source of mortification, Kagome peeked out from behind the screen. “Can you help me please?” She swallowed around her suddenly dry throat. “My obi is stuck.”
To the demon lord’s credit, he simply rose from his futon and made his way over, slipping behind the screen with her. When he silently motioned for her to turn around, Kagome gave him her back, pulling her hair to her front as she did.
“I don’t think it even loosened,” she said, looking back over her shoulder as he began to tug.
Sesshoumaru’s brows knit, and he pulled harder.
It didn’t budge for him either, and her panic increased once again. “It’s not loosening for you either?”
He gave a few more hard yanks and growled. “It is stuck.”
No. Hands slipping once again behind her, she pushed past his and started pulling again with renewed desperation.
“This is ridiculous! It came off easily earlier!” No sooner were the words out of her mouth than her ears began to redden, but Sesshoumaru was too frustrated with the situation to notice. Without pause, she felt his hands slip between the kimono and the obi, trying to loosen it again.
When that didn’t work, Kagome delicately cleared her throat and pushed her embarrassment aside. “How did we get it earlier?”
“It was a different knot,” he said, still tugging.
Kagome’s eyes widened. “A different knot?”
Another tug. “Yes.”
Tears suddenly pricked at her eyes, but she pushed them back. “You mean Chiyo did this on purpose?”
Seeming to not notice her distress, a humorless laugh escaped him. “Undoubtedly.”
And she had liked the older youkai! Distress giving way to anger, Kagome whirled around on him, eyes flashing. She just wanted to sleep! Crawl into bed, shut off her mind, and not have to think about anything. But instead of getting rest, she was standing there for the second time that day with Sesshoumaru trying to rip her clothes off.
Only this time it wasn’t any fun.
“Why would she do this?” she nearly shouted, her temper getting the better of her. Reaching around her back yet again, she gave another unsuccessful effort in undoing the knot.
Sesshoumaru stepped back, his eyes at her waist as she failed in her struggle, and he crossed his arms over his chest. “It is her idea of a joke.”
“A joke?” Kagome stared, her anger heating more. “She only just met me! Why would she pull a joke on me?”
“It is not meant to be against you,” he said curtly, looking away.
“How is this not a joke against me?”
The ensuing silence was more than a little telling, and Kagome’s look turned flat, her eyes narrowing. “Well, what did you do then?”
His lips pursed.
“Sesshoumaru”—she leveled him with a look, fed up with the entire situation—“what did you do?”
He looked away, and she could hear the claws on his toes tap against the wooden floor. Okay, he’s irritated. Still…
“It is the same knot she used on her daughter’s obi.”
“Her daughter?” Kagome frowned, dropping her hands to her sides. “Why would she…”
Annoyed, golden eyes focused on her face, and she almost laughed at the raised-eyebrow, expectant look he threw back at her, toe claws still tapping away their agitation on the floor.
A giggle stuck in her throat, but she swallowed it back when he glared. “Are you telling me this is an anti-Sesshoumaru knot?”
Lips pursing even tighter, he looked away again. “Perhaps.”
And that was it. Kagome lost it. Unladylike, loud guffaws erupted out of her as she bent at the waist, clutching her middle. Suddenly, it didn’t matter that she was stuck in her kimono. Not one bit.
A high-pitched squeal slipped out as she tried to control her hilarity, and she just pointed a finger at him. “She cockblocked you with a knot!”
His jaw dropped, slightly scandalized by her choice of language. “Miko.”
Struggling to breath, she tapped her cheeks, trying to ease the quickly wearing muscles “Oh, my face hurts!”
Sesshoumaru was not amused. “I fail to see what is so humorous.”
Kagome gave up then, and her knees hit the ground, arms wrapping around herself once again as she continued to crack up, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Everything! Everything about this is funny.”
Sesshoumaru glared. “Need I remind you that you are still stuck in the kimono?”
Snickering, she shook her head. “Totally worth it now.” Wiping at her eyes, she accepted his hand when he reached down to pull her up. “Is Chiyo the only one who knows how to get this knot out?”
He scowled as he failed for the umpteenth time to loosen the obi. “That is correct.”
It was too much. He might be disgruntled, but it had been a long time since she had laughed this hard, and it was honestly a welcome reprieve from the grief.
Rubbing some life back into her cheeks, she let her humor fizzle out and reached out to uncross his arms.
He refused to look at her.
“Oh, stop it.” With only a little resistance, he let her pull them open, and Kagome tucked herself into him, grinning when he reached down for another tug. “I think you should give up and call Chiyo.”
Her cheek pressed to his chest, her smile softening as his arms settled around her. “Sesshoumaru?”
“What is it?”
“This is my new favorite thing about you,” she whispered, giggling once more.
And finally, he chuckled.