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Énouement by Tsuki no Tennyo

Énouement

Author's Note: [originally posted 07.19.16] This developed around a short passage I had written a couple months ago. And I kind of just wanted a scandalous affair between the two.

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énouement - n. the bittersweetness of having arrived here in the future, where you can finally get the answers to how things turn out in the real world

— The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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Inuyasha had been dead for twenty years, Kagome noted one chilly morning as she watched the leaves on trees transitioning from the once vibrant green to orange and yellow, signaling the end of summer and the birth of autumn.

She sat alone on the hill overlooking the village, watching as children ran and played while the adults worked tiredly, too consumed with the everyday trials to pay heed to memories and losses. This wasn't Kaede's village, but one far away from her previous home where no one knew of her time traveling escapades. In spite of Sango and Miroku's pleading for her to stay, the grief of losing her husband had been too much for her to remain at the spot where it all began and ended.

Her head snapped up when she sensed a familiar demonic presence nearby. Her sight instantly fell upon silvery-white hair billowing in the wind and golden eyes staring at her calmly.

"Priestess."

"Lord Sesshoumaru."

Sesshoumaru had been visiting her for twenty-five years.

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She didn't quite remember how it all began, but only that the guilt that consumed her followed until her husband's death, and then it intensified with his sudden passing. She believed she was careful with her illicit rendezvouses, but in hindsight, she suspected he knew all along, but remained quiet about his wife and brother rutting around in the forest like animals on moonless nights when he was powerless.

"I miss him," Kagome said suddenly as she stared up at the dark sky. She felt Sesshoumaru pressed up from behind her, his clawed hand was groping her soft breast. She let out a soft, sharp gasp, feeling a sudden but familiar thrust.

"Priestess," he said, almost scolding her.

"I know."

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"How are Rin and the others?" she would sometimes ask to justify his visit in her head.

"They are well," he would answer, curt as ever.

"That's good."

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When he was gone, Kagome filled her days with menial tasks, such as gathering herbs to make medicine, teaching the village children, healing the sick, and performing rituals. Occasionally a lower class demon would attack the village, but to her, it was just another task for her to deal with in her life now.

"Oh, thank you for protecting us Lady Kagome!"

"Lady Kagome, you saved us!"

"We are so blessed to have Lady Kagome here!"

Amid all of the praises she would receive, Kagome would smile politely while absently wondering when he would come see her again.

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"I am bored," she admitted one afternoon as she sat on the same hill, weaving the few remaining wildflowers into a crown. She noticed he was staring at the crown intently, but decided to not voice her observation aloud. Instead, she continued to chatter on like he was her confidant, and maybe he really was.

"Did you give Miroku the medicine I made for one of the twins? How is she anyway—"

"I am not your messenger or deliverer."

"I-I know, but it's just—"

"Why not go back there then if you miss them so much?"

Kagome bit her bottom lip, feeling a familiar uncomfortable knot forming in the pit of her stomach every time she thought back to that village where everything started. She tried to keep herself busy with the weaving, but the sudden guilt caused her to lose focus and snapped a flower stem in half. She stared at the broken flower, unaware that she was crying until she felt a clawed finger wiped away her tears.

"I still see him there," she confessed, trying to suppress the sob threatening to rise. "Don't you?"

Sesshoumaru remained quiet, watching as she dropped her crown and buried her face into her sleeves. After a moment, he pulled her closer and kissed the top of her head.

"The monk and huntress sent their regards."

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Kagome didn't know why, but she asked Sesshoumaru to stay for the night. She would sometimes ask him to stay, needing the warmth of another body next to her on lonely nights, but he would always refuse, his demon pride still coming before her.

She was never bothered by the rejection. There was no meaning in their relationship, if it was even a relationship of sorts.

She would still ask, even if she always knew what the answer would be.

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"I have such a craving for oden right now," Kagome said the next time he visited. The weather had gotten colder and all around them were dormant plants and trees waiting for the onset of spring. She cradled the round, flat basket she was carrying on her hip, careful not to spill the roots she had gathered.

He walked by her side, silent as ever, but still attentive.

"What is oden?" he asked after a pause. Throughout the years, she had revealed bits and pieces of her time-traveling to him and the life she had lived before coming to the Feudal Era. It wasn't like he was ever surprised by her reveal, since her previous choice of traveling clothes were a dead giveaway to her otherworldliness.

"Oh," she said, stopping as she tried to think of an explanation. "Well, it's like a type of stew. It's really delicious, but there's no way I could ever make it here."

"Why not?"

She laughed. "Well, I could never replicate my mother's oden, and hers is—was the best! Besides, I don't have all of the ingredients here to make it. It's fine, though. I'm just being a bit nostalgic right now."

"Do you miss your home?"

"Of course, I do," she answered, resuming the walk to her hut with Sesshoumaru in tow.

"Have you ever tried going home?"

"Once, when I got into a fight with Inuyasha about his stupid ego. It was dumb, force of habit from when we were younger, but he was always up there waiting to pull me out and—I'm sorry, I'm talking about him again, aren't I?"

"It's fine."

"No, it's really not."

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Kagome didn't see him again for over a month, but that was nothing new. His visits were always sporadic and unannounced, often spaced out with no distinguishable pattern to them. She could sometimes see him every day for two weeks, or maybe he would drop by after three months of absence.

When the first frost of winter appeared, she saw his figure from afar on the hill, watching her at their usual spot. She could never shoo him away, finding her feet were already running up the hill to see him.

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"You never talk about yourself."

"I have nothing to say."

"Really now? I find that hard to believe. Maybe you just never had anyone listening to you."

"Is that so, Priestess?"

"I'll listen. I talk too much anyway, but I'll listen to you."

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He would never smile. That was just the way he was, the way he always was, Kagome realized. Over two decades have passed since they've first met, but he was always the same, never changing, though the people and world around him did.

Still, sometimes she supposed she saw a smile on his face when he thought she wasn't looking. She would never confront him about them, choosing to keep the few smiles he gave like precious little trinkets to herself.

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"What do you do when you're not here?"

"I travel."

"I know that, silly. What do you do?"

"Nothing worth talking about."

"Alright, be that way then."

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She had memorized every single stripe, the way they would sometimes bleed when he was with her. Even though he visited her regularly over the course of nearly three decades, Kagome never once dared to believe she was anything special to him.

Sometimes she thought she knew him on a kindred spirits level, but oftentimes, she admitted to herself he was still an enigma. She had laid out different reasons in her head, but really, she knew there were no explanations for his actions or behavior.

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"How did we get to this point?"

She stared at him, waiting for a response, but when he showed no sign of answering her, she sighed and answered her own question herself, "It's been too long. Who could even be sure at this point?"

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He was gone the rest of winter, showing no sign of ever seeing her. Oftentimes, Kagome wondered when the visits would get fewer and fewer until he would no longer show up, being finally bored with her, this shameless human woman who had forsaken everything for brief moments of pleasure.

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She exited her hut one early morning, catching sight of the snowfall. The ground was covered in a light dust of snow, but she knew it would get thicker as the time passed by. The villagers were still inside their warm homes, perhaps not even leaving their shelters today if the snow got heavier. Pleased there was no one to answer to, Kagome made her trek to her hill.

As she trudged up to the tree she frequented, she could see the snow was falling faster and thicker than before. When she finally made it to the top, her heart sank a little, having hoped against hope that she might find him hiding there, waiting for her.

She closed her eyes and fell back, letting herself sink into the soft snow. Slowly, Kagome opened her eyes and let the little white snowflakes fall on her eyelashes. She blinked them away and stared up at the white sky, wondering absently if he might be up there instead.

She closed her eyes again, seeing him on top of her, spreading her legs apart, and teasing her. She felt her hands moved on their own accord, one slipping under her white robe to fondle her own breast while the other fell between her legs, already stroking herself.

She moaned softly to herself, feeling a familiar sensation forming inside as she let the memories of him rushed through her mind. She increased her speed, needing that release that he always provided her, but before she could even get close, she heard her name shouted from afar. Startled, Kagome instantly sat up, all covered in snow and shame.

"Lady Kagome!" she heard several small children calling for her again.

Instinctively, she got up and shook the snow off herself as she answered back. She quickly made her way back down to the village, letting the memory of her earlier indiscretion fade to nothing.

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She lost track of how long he had been gone, but the next time she saw him was early summer late at night when she was bathing herself in a spring. She caught him leaning by the tree, his eyes gleaming as he stared at her form.

"Lord Sesshoumaru."

"It is not safe for you to be alone at night."

"Since when did you care?" She stepped out of the water, used to him having seen every single part of her body. She reached for her clothes and proceeded to get dressed while he watched.

As she tied the sash around her waist, she sensed him invading her space. She looked up, surprised when his lips crashed against hers.

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"I don't understand you."

"What is it you don't understand?"

"Everything."

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The thing was she was just that desperate enough to indulge in this senseless fantasy of him and her. But as time went by, the images and names became blurred, and she would sometimes mixed them up on purpose. She only did that to try and rationalize her relationship with him.

"I'm not him."

"You're not who?" she asked, feigning confusion, perhaps even to herself.

"I'll kill you."

"You won't. You love me."

She waited for him to refute her claim, not at all surprised when he remained quiet, betraying his own feelings. He would never say those words, but his actions spoke louder than any words he could ever string together.

Her hands cupped his face, pulling him down as she stood on her toes. She kissed his lips soundly, pulling back briefly to whisper against his mouth, "I'd have been dead long ago if you truly wanted me dead."

She kissed him again, swallowing whatever response he had wanted to give.

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He made up for his long absence by visiting her daily throughout the summer. When she was busy with her daily tasks, he watched her in the distance, waiting until she was available. By midafternoon, she approached him, finding him sitting under the tree, eyes closed.

Smiling, she settled down on the ground, resting her head in his lap.

"Priestess."

She yawned. "The weather is so nice and warm. I feel like taking a nap."

"Hm."

He remained still, watching her as she dozed off.

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"How are Rin and the others?"

"They are fine."

"That's good."

"What is it you truly want to ask, Priestess?"

"N-nothing."

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She always did love the feeling of the cool summer night air brushing against her hot, sweaty skin as she pressed herself up to him. She straddled his waist as he leaned against a tree in the forest. His hands held her waist firmly. She stared into his eyes, her finger was tracing the markings on his body.

"The moon looks beautiful tonight," she whispered, letting her hand cup his cheek as she looked up at the sky. She looked back down, gasping softly when she felt him kiss the inside of her hand.

"How did we get to be like this?"

"It's been too long," he answered, echoing something she had said long ago.

"Oh, that's right," she whispered back, looking up to the sky again and offering her neck for him to kiss.

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Inuyasha had been dead for twenty-one years, Kagome realized, seeing all of the signs of autumn approaching again. She was quiet these days, feeling chained to the memories more so than usual. She wondered when his ghost would stop following her, but on a certain level, she took a twisted pleasure in having his phantom by her side, something she would never ever admit to anyone.

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"It is not your fault he died."

Kagome looked up from her brewing, hearing Sesshoumaru's smooth voice cutting the comforting silence that always followed the two of them. She could see him sitting in the corner of her hut, still and observant. She returned her attention back to her medicine.

"What makes you think I believe it's my fault?"

"Why else would you be living here alone?"

Kagome stared at the fire in the middle of the room, crackling and burning, but offering no warmth to the sudden chills she felt. She suddenly felt lost to the fire, mesmerized by the brilliant colors of red and yellow, reminiscent of her beloved.

"He was looking for me that night. I should have been home with him."

She kept her gaze averted, but Kagome knew Sesshoumaru's eyes were still locked on her. She could sense a change in his posture when she continued speaking.

"I shouldn't have been with you."

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She felt weak to the silver hair and golden eyes. If she tried hard enough, it could be just like before when they were young and in love, willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the other person.

She kept her eyes closed, kissing him hard in all of the right places, and suppressing the name that wanted to be voiced. She felt his hand grazing down her thigh, sending shivers throughout her body. She wanted to believe they were like her husband's touches, but it was never quite tender enough to masquerade as him.

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"If I had been home with him, he wouldn't have looked for me."

"Priestess."

"If he wasn't looking for me, he wouldn't have gotten attacked."

"Pries—"

"If he was still a half-demon that night, he would have been fine."

"Pri—"

"If I wasn't such a cheating whore, then he would still be here!"

"Kagome!"

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He rarely, if ever, called her by her name, but she had liked that. It made everything seem impersonal. It made her feel better about herself that she wasn't attached to him any more than he was with her.

The moment he said her name, though, she realized how far she had fallen. The moment he wiped her tears away, she realized how much she savored his touches. The moment he shushed her self-admonishments, she realized how much she needed him for him, and not as anyone else.

She wondered if she could ever be forgiven now for wanting to continue with this decades-old charade.

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"Will you stay tonight?"

"If it pleases you."

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It felt so wrong to be happy.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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