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She Returned in Winter by Knight of Disorder

She Returned in Winter

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha

AN: So I felt that I just had to participate as I've not posted much of substance in recent days... months... years... yeah that's sad. Either way hope you enjoy it as it's a departure from my normal cannon work. There's some talk of Babylon and the Tower of Babel, I like the idea of both and if you don't know what they are then I suggest you look them up. On with the show.

---000---

Lifting the flute up towards the light, sighing to herself in the barely furnished apartment. The walls were bare save the occasional framed award, the shelves filled with dusty books that hadn’t been touched in over six years. “What’s a girl to do?”

Kagome had been lucky. At seventeen she’d been offered a position with a very influential historian. Partly due to the fact that her senior history class thesis had gotten published in several journals. After spending six years as an intern, receiving all the credit she needed for her work, she was offered a position at a major archaeological dig in Northern Africa.

She jumped around the world from there. Starting in Africa she’d moved on from there, Afghanistan, the catacombs of Paris, the tundra of Russia. She’d spent a great deal of time authenticating artifacts as what a little known scientist thought was the remains of the ancient city of Babylon. She had been published in journals, had her picture in papers the world over, and had spent most of her adult life wandering the world.

Now at twenty-eight, she was tired of traveling. Sipping her champagne, but she had nothing to come home to. Her brother was in his second year of college, not that he talked to her anymore. Their grandfather had died while she was working for her credits, being caught up in work and paying her own bills she’d not been able to make it home. He’d passed and she’d not known until well after. Her mother had sent her letters, called, even visited at times. Kagome had made time in the beginning, then she started to travel.

She got some of the mail, a few of the phone calls, her mother couldn’t afford to visit. They’d grown apart and when her mother stopped talking to her so did her brother. Than the letter came. It was months late, going through customs of several countries before finally reaching her in the deserts of Pakistan. The letter had almost broken her, it had come the day before Christmas. She was supposed to fly home that night. She’d even set up a light show and taken a picture with everyone from the dig site.

Even as she cried over the photo with all the Christmas lights, hating the smile she had on her face in that picture she couldn’t make herself get on the plane. She’d stayed in Pakistan another five months before moving on to the next site. She’d not gone home again.

Letting the tears come, she’d not cried a single tear since that night either. She’d been alone for so long. Now she was home and for her at least, the anniversary of her mother’s death was only five days away. She didn’t have anyone to lean on, no presents to buy, not even a card to write.

Of course she’d get the normal printed signature cards from her various colleagues and she’d have a few dozen sent in her name. She’d spent her life working on an expense account and pulling a paycheck. She didn’t have to work another day in her life, though she knew she would. She’d get bored of dressing in her little black dresses, going to the shows, and visiting exhibits she’d spent her time unearthing and authenticating. She didn’t need to go to bars, booze was boring. She’d had her fair share of cake and ice cream.

Shaking her head at the odd sensation of letting her tears flow. It was relieving as much as it seemed to put more on her. She didn’t feel bad, not at all. She felt alone.

“Maybe,” pausing as she wiped away the last remnants of her tears, “I should try and visit.” A sniffle as she set the glass down, she was privileged in her life and she’d shared it. Souta was being put through school on her money, though he didn’t know it. She’d never tell him but, she didn’t want to be alone this year.

---000---

Glancing up at his tutor, Souta couldn’t help but be slightly jealous. The man was as close to perfect as he’d ever seen. The problem was, he wasn’t sure how he was managing to afford his classes, dorm, and food on his meager scholarship. The school had told him several times that due to his grades he’d received extra money but to afford Sesshoumaru Inukami as a tutor was going a little above and beyond.

Even if he no longer wished to see his sister, let alone have anything to do with her. He couldn’t escape the fact that he was working towards the same thing she had already attained. He’d gotten a couple small works published, partly riding his elder sibling's coat tails. By this point in his life, the Higurashi name was synonymous with anything of historical relevance. His teachers held high hope for him.

“So, how am I paying for this?” He’d taken his eyes from the books spread out before him and stared at the silver haired man. “You charge enough per hour to eat through my whole scholarship in less than a week. So, who’s paying you?”

Raising an elegant brow before simply pushing another book over the one that was set down. “Does it really matter.” Turning his eyes back to the much thinner book between his fingers, “you don’t really need the help but having my name appear on your transcripts and as a tutor on any resume you submit will help you in getting a job in the field will it not?”

“That isn’t what I asked. We both know better, yeah it’ll help me but you wouldn’t do this without a reason. You sure as hell wouldn’t do it for free.” Turning away once he’d picked up the book to start reading the new passage on Babylonian literature, scowling before wiping the look from his face.

“Who knows,” catching the look of distaste, “maybe the stars aligned in your favor. They did for your sister, why would they not for you?”

“What would you know of it,” snapping sharply at the elder male.

“I participated on a dig in Russia some years ago. I was there first, but after a few of those Babylonian relics were found she was called in. She was the one who found them first after all.” Tipping his head slightly, “you must favor your mother. She looks far more like your father.”

“Stop talking about her like she’s something special. She got the opportunity to leave and took it. She never looked back, left us all behind. She didn’t even call when mom died, didn’t even come back.” Closing the book and rising, “I think I’m done for the night. We meet again after Christmas right?”

“Hn, it would appear so. We don’t have any other time scheduled until after the new year actually.” Closing the schedule book, “I will see you on the third.”

“Sure, if you want I’m having a small party on New Year’s eve. Feel free to stop by, got a few people stopping by that you might be interested in meeting.” Watching his tutor gather up the study material he’d brought.

“I will think on it, perhaps it would be a decent way to come into the new year.” Pulling his coat over his shoulders, “I will email you a list of readings I’d like you to finish before our next session. A warning, we will focusing on the new Babylonian history and the various theories behind its rise to power and its collapse focusing strongly on the legends of the Hanging Gardens and the old texts on the tower of Babel. Your sister's works will be our primary study material.” Pulling the strap of his bag over a shoulder he simply shook his head before closing the door behind him.

Each step brought him closer to the elevator, the boy he was helping was nothing special. A little gifted but he’d never reach the ranks that others wanted him to. His skills were, limited, but he was very persistent. He didn’t want to travel so much as find his place, work, and perhaps have a family. “Souta Higurashi,” smirking at the thought. If only the boy knew. Pressing the button for the elevator.

When it dinged and the doors opened he simply stared back into the dull blue eyes of Kagome. “He’s not bad, not really happy with you but he’ll get what he wants from his career.” Stepping in next to her, “he doesn’t want to see you.”

“I know,” a sad smile on her lips. “I hoped, but at the same time I knew better. He won’t forgive me you know. He didn’t even know that I didn’t get the letter until months later, I haven’t seen him since I left Japan the first time. To him, I’m nothing more than some distant relative that never visits or writes.” Shaking her head slightly, “care to join me for some coffee. It’s a little early isn’t it.” Glancing at her watch, “only three in the morning. I remember us being up much later in Russia.”

“We had a job to do it Russia, tutoring your brother is hardly a late night job. Sure, how about the shop just down the street?” Watching her out the corner of his eye. She was an odd one, so odd in fact that he never understood her. He could read nearly anyone, their motivations, goals, and even some of their secrets. Kagome however was a puzzle.

“That’d be nice,” rolling her shoulders back and preparing for his refusal, “what are you doing on Christmas? Visiting family?”

Raising a brow at her odd tone, “father is out of town and mother is with her new mates family. I will more than likely be spending it alone.” Tipping his head, “perhaps I’ll go to one of the clubs that are staying open. They say the Christmas DJs are some of the best around,” chuckling.

“Oh, and would you drink a peppermint chocolate cocktail as well?” Laughing lightly to herself, “if you want you can come stay at my place. It’s a little lonely this time of year.”

He’d heard the dark tone before, “you never did tell me why you didn’t celebrate Christmas. You never did decorate like the other’s did.” He’d been on three separate sites with her. The first had been in Finland after her team had found not only the Babel Scrolls but what she liked to call her very own Philosopher's Stone. They’d spent nearly six months after that decoding the scrolls with the help of that stone. Than they’d gone their separate ways.

“My mother died in early spring, at least that’s what the letter said.” Kagome had never really been close with anyone, nor had she shared her greatest heartbreak. “I was in Pakistan, in Babylon when I finally got the letter. I was about to fly home, I was going to come home and share the news with mom. She would be so happy, I’d be late for Christmas morning and jet lag would have been hell but I’d have made it home in time to give her a present.” Curling her fingers as the elevator opened on the ground level.

“We all decorated our tents, made a sign. The lights were beautiful. Red and gold gleaming in the night, we shaped the sand up into a cake of sorts and scribbled her name on it. I wanted her to feel like she was there with me.” She held back the tears, “I couldn’t bring myself to drink, let alone get on the plane. I decided that there wasn’t a point in coming back home.” Shaking the melancholy feeling away. “I was supposed to fly out on Christmas eve. So even though she died in the spring, I can’t really bring myself to celebrate anymore.”

Nodding his understanding, he’d lost his younger sister. Rin had gotten sick while he was busy in the Himalayas. “You do not wish to be alone on Christmas.”

“I always had a project, some dig or artifact. I made sure that I was busy.” Reaching her hand out slowly, he was the closest thing she had to a friend, “I don’t want to be alone on Christmas.”

---000---

The driver paid little attention to the dark haired woman that had decided to call him last minute. She had offered a decent amount of money for the last minute ride, “why isn’t a beautiful woman like you at home with her family?” Brushing his grey hair with his hand, “it’s rare to see someone out on Christmas eve.”

Smiling slightly, “I’ll be visiting family on New Years. Tonight though, an old friend and I have plans.” He’d not wanted to be at her house, or his own. It was decided that they would spend their evening at the museum. The Feudal Exhibit that happened to have been organized by her employers.

“Those clothes aren’t very romantic,” chuckling at her sour expression. “Now, now. I didn’t mean anything by it. This friend of yours must be really special for you to be out on the road like this. Where would you like me to pull up?”

“The side door for employees will be fine.” Plucking the key chain from her waistband, “I think I still have the key from my last show.” Chuckling at his stiff posture as the car came to a slow stop at the side of the building. Quickly digging out her promised payment along with a sizeable tip, “I’m sorry to have taken you from your family.”

“Now, now. I knew you looked familiar. You’re that genius Higurashi girl,” smiling at her once more sour expression. “Go on and meet up with your friend. My family will understand.” Taking the money from her.

Kagome got the distinct feeling that her driver was able to read her far better than anyone had before. “Thanks for the ride.” Tugging the edge of her blouse down over the tops of her jeans, he told her not to dress up. Pulling her chapstick from her pocket and spreading it quickly over her lips. Flipping through her keys as she stood at the side door, finally finding the one she was looking for.

The lights weren’t on but she’d spent a good deal of time in this very museum back before she started traveling. It brought back happy memories, from the times before her travels and before she lost them. Trailing her fingers along the walls as she made her way towards the second floor's main hall. There had been a little remodeling done in the entrance hall, smiling wistfully as she thought back to her first showing. She’d not made a personal appearance, though she had been on camera from her hotel room in Moscow.

When she found the entrance to the hall she was looking for she quickly pulled her phone from her pocket intent on capturing a candid photo of her only to halt suddenly in her steps. “Sessh...,” her voice faded at the tall boy next to him.

Both turned to look at her. Sesshomaru's hair was pulled into a tight tail at the base of his skull while Souta just stared as her eyes watered. “Kagome,” his voice was slightly distant.

“Souta, I-” She didn’t feel she had the right to say anything.

“Is it true? That you didn’t get the letter.” It was his only reason for hating her, the fact that she didn’t show up or even call for their mother’s funeral. He already knew the truth of it from the look in her eyes.

“I-I know I should have come back sooner. I wanted to but, I was scared.” She was wrinkling the hem of her blouse in her white knuckled grip. “I didn’t think you wanted to see me, you were already so mad because I wasn’t able to come back for Grandpa.”

“Kagome,” Souta spoke quickly stepping away from his tutor. “All you had to do was call, it doesn’t matter how I feel.” Even if he hated her, he couldn’t be angry with her anymore. Sesshoumaru had explained everything, “come on Kagome. Sesshoumaru was telling me about these three swords he found. I can’t say that I’m not still a little frustrated, but you don’t deserve to be alone on Christmas.”

The smile that crept across her face was so bright that it shined through the tears that were slowly curling down her cheeks. “Mmh,” nodding her head as she moved quickly towards them. Finding a spot between them she slipped her hand into Sesshomaru's, starting when she felt Souta slide his hand into her free one. She felt almost like she was in highschool again, when she’d spend hours on end teaching Souta about all the different places in the world she wanted to go.

Thank you Sesshomaru.

---000---

AN: So what did you think? I actally like this for an off the top of my head. Sorry for any grammer mistakes, I intend to have the grammer nazi (my wife) look it over for me when she gets back from work later today. That or see if I actually get any beta offers... I tend to go through them fairly quickly as I often slack off in updating. Please R&R, Thank You.

 

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