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Daybreak's Bell by Tsuki no Tennyo

Daybreak's Bell

Author's Note: Random line popped into my head while I was on my lunch break, so I decided to jot it down and see where it headed. Apparently this. Another canon divergence/different reunion meeting thing, because I will never not write this AU.

Title from L'Arc~en~Ciel's "Daybreak's Bell", because my brain is completely fried and I can't think of anything else other than this song, which is not really related to the story at all.

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She had seen him five times now in her era.

The first instance, she had passed it off as her mind playing cruel tricks on her again, making her hallucinate about relics from the distant past. The second time she had caught glimpses while walking through a busy crowd, quite positive this time that this was not another figment of her imagination brought on by an ache for a chapter in her life that had long ended. Then just when she had thought he was within her reach, a wave of people distanced him from her before he had disappeared altogether.

The third and fourth time, she was late as usual chasing after him, her voice calling his name until her throat was hoarse. He grew farther and farther away while she had only managed to attract strange stares from passerby instead. Her hands rested on her knees as she bent over, trying to gather fresh air into her burning lungs as she cursed his normally keen hearing for failing him this one time. She straightened, swallowing, realizing: Or maybe he had chosen not to hear. She wondered why that seemed so much more painful, even though it would only be his normal reaction and behavior.

The fifth time, she had nearly given up, rounding a corner into an empty neighborhood. She turned around, her cry coming out choked as he stood in front of her, looking at her intensely.

So it is you, he remarked casually after a moment of silence. He was about to turn away when he was stopped by her shaky voice.

W-wait!

He stared at her.

Please stay. She didn't know why she asked that of him, knowing they both had no reason for speaking to one another. Please, Sesshoumaru.

He turned away, and she felt her heart sinking by the seemingly cold rejection, but then just as quickly it swelled with joy when she heard his voice calling her:

Come.

.

What have you been doing? she asked over dinner at a quiet restaurant one night. They had begun meeting one another frequently. She still ached for the past that she was prematurely ripped from. Thrown haphazardly into a timeless tale, and just as fast and cruelly torn apart from without a proper end. She realized she was just a little sick in the head, obsessing over something that had happened ten years previously.

Existing. And you? He himself was bored, having found himself in a stagnant for centuries now masquerading as an ordinary human man. Granted, he was a rich and powerful ordinary human man, but that mattered little to him in comparison to when he was once a Great Demon, powerful and growing stronger day by day. Eventually, though, the reign of demons started to decline, and a sudden shift in human development forced him to surrender to this charade in order to survive. The peculiar priestess suddenly fluttering into his life again was a surprise, though he had always known she was a strange one, coming and going without warning.

She had now become a minor curiosity, something to fill his neverending free time. He studied the human that had managed to remember him when he had barely made a dent into her life.

Trying, she said in between nervous sips of her wine. And failing, she noted to herself, unnerved by his ordinary brown eyes boring holes into her.

.

You look good with short hair.

Do I?

I'm not used to the color though.

You are even stranger than most humans.

I'm not like most humans.

Hn, very true.

.

He had many homes, she learned. He lived in the city in a high-rise apartment penthouse for business reasons, but when he tired of the monotony of his human persona, he disappeared to the countryside where a rustic traditional Japanese manor awaited him.

I'd expect nothing less, she teased him, I live in an overpriced, cramped apartment. A shithole, really.

Is that so… he responded noncommittally.

You probably have a vacation home on some tropical island, too, right?

Yes.

She had meant the remark to be a joke, but his blunt response caught her off-guard. She furrowed her brows, searching his expression for any traces of deception.

Wait, you're joking right?

Yes.

Yes…you have one? Or yes, you're joking?

Yes, he repeated, tone unchanging, but a smirk was beginning to emerge on his face, which didn't go unnoticed by her.

Yes…you're messing with me!

Yes, he said again, dragging her over to his lap. He placed a kiss on her lips, amused when the simple act rendered her red and speechless. He decided to keep this in mind—for future reference, of course.

.

You kissed me.

Yes.

I'm human.

Yes.

It…doesn't matter?

Yes.

Why?

Nothing matters anymore.

.

He kissed her again. Does it bother you?

She squirmed in his arms, cheeks reddening even more. …No.

He smirked. I thought not.

She glared. What is that supposed to mean?

He shrugged, and then kissed her again.

.

She was surprised by how much she enjoyed his kisses. She was so surprised, she felt guilty, but then he stole her lips again and she forgotten all about her shame.

.

He was bored, he told himself. Centuries of idleness have robbed him of his prejudice. She was a curious little thing, a new entertainment to pass the time, and he had so, so much time to kill.

.

They cracked open a bottle of wine one night for no reason other than to drink their idleness and loneliness away.

Do you know what I hate? she asked, sitting at a small round table on his balcony overlooking the city. She tipped her glass back, unashamed by her lack of inhibition.

He turned his eyes away from the distant neon lights, his own wineglass sitting undisturbed on the handrail.

No, he answered, humoring her, What do you hate, Kagome?

Her cheeks felt hotter, hearing her name rolled off his tongue in such a low, smooth tone. She shook the feeling aside, blaming the alcohol. None of it mattered.

What does not matter?

The past.

Why do you say that?

Everyone is gone. And I'm alone.

What am I then?

You don't count. She averted her gaze, her eyes focused on her red knit skirt. She gripped the material tightly, feeling hot tears burning in her eyes as she tried to suppress the memories of everyone and everything she had ever loved. She forced her feelings down, her voice coming out soft and hoarse in the process, Am I supposed to be okay?

No, he answered, taking a slow sip of his wine and hearing a soft, relieved sigh.

.

She was intoxicated. He was more lax than centuries ago. It only took a few clumsy touches before drunk kisses led to clothes being stripped.

.

They fell into bed together, both needing the same release. Hot and heavy, she wondered where her moans ended and his began.

Who do you see? she asked, gasping when he bit her neck roughly.

You, he replied, obviously, Who do you see?

She held back the answer, drowning it with her scream.

.

They woke up, forgetting the person next to them.

Her face was flushed, and she stumbled over apologies and poor innuendos when her mind raced back to the night before. He remained impassive, barely hearing the words that poured out of her nervous mouth. He laid back down, his hand grabbing hold of her arm as he pulled her down to his chest.

Shut up, he mumbled, closing his eyes.

Anger bubbled up inside of her, but it quickly vanished when she felt his fingers treading through her hair. She felt the soft rise and fall of his chest, his surprisingly gentle ministration easing her back into slumber.

You jerk, she yawned, letting her heavy eyelids fall.

He smirked.

.

They stumbled into a pattern of casual flings and careless companionship. He had stopped caring about many things, including appearances and differences, feeling nothing but boredom with his tired existence. She herself was tired of feeling out of place in a society that didn't seem to understand her, unable to bond with others beyond superficial topics.

He probably didn't understand either, but she could at least pretend with him.

.

How long? she asked.

Until it's over.

Will any of this matter?

Perhaps not. He paused. Is that alright?

His voice was husky, chilling her flushed skin, and she momentarily forgotten to breathe.

Yes, she answered automatically, not thinking. Then she reconsidered. No. Before finally admitting, I don't know. Is that alright?

He nodded.

.

She didn't go home much anymore. Or maybe, he considered, she thought her home was with him now.

How foolish.

.

You're warm, she murmured, caught within the realm of sleep as she snuggled closer, wanting to fall deep into his embrace.

He brushed a flyaway hair out of her face, his expression unreadable.

Should I not be?

I don't know, she yawned, I think I'd always thought you'd have ice cold skin. Like a reptile.

I am not a reptile.

No, she agreed sleepily, unable to keep her heavy eyelids open any longer, You're a dog and warm and nice…

One of those things is incorrect.

She snored softly in response and he sighed.

.

Say my name again, she pleaded.

Kagome, he said, one slender finger tipping her chin up. He bent down and whispered her name again, his warm breath ghosting over her lips, making her entire body tremble with excitement.

She closed her eyes, getting drunk on his velvety voice as he whispered her name over and over again.

.

Do you like me?

That is a strange question, he remarked over a steaming cup of coffee, pointedly avoiding an answer.

Perhaps, she said with a shrug, swirling her own mug around in her hands, feeling its warmth seeped into her skin, So do you not like me?

I did not say that.

Then you like me?

Why not ask about love instead?

She inhaled sharply, setting the mug back down onto the table. Who can afford a luxury like that?

He mulled over her response.

So do you like me? she asked again, waiting, watching as his mouth slowly parted.

.

He wasn't direct. It didn't matter, since she would leave him one day, just like all of those before her. She was just another instance, a time killer. He enjoyed her, but he would not become attached to her.

.

Then have you ever been in love?

He was noticeably quieter.

She laughed, realizing how dumb her question was. It must be nice not needing others.

Is it?

It must also be lonelier.

Is it?

You're an exception.

To…?

Everything.

Is that so?

It is.

.

I'm sad. she said, fogging up his living room window with her warm breath. Rain beat down over the roof of his apartment, the entire air chilly, but her oversized green knit sweater kept her warm. Aren't you going to ask me why?

What would be the point?

She was quiet, unsure of what she had wanted him to say. She looked at him in the misty window reflection and asked, Are you sad?

What would be the point…? His voice was a touch softer, less acidic, but still cold. His eyes widened a fraction when she got up from her seat and stepped closer, reaching up to brush his bangs aside with her hand. She lightly traced a crescent moon on his unmarred forehead, and smiled.

Foolish woman.

She smiled still, and he wondered what she was thinking.

.

You liked my half-brother, he said one day without reason.

I liked him very much, she agreed, waiting for him to elaborate about the fate of the half-demon who had stolen her heart over a decade ago, but had since been vacant from her life.

She wasn't surprised when he remained silent, but she was curious when his mood seemed to have grown sour.

.

It was nearing midnight when she voiced her sudden thought to him.

I'll die someday.

Are you just now aware of your mortality? he asked with a faint hint of sarcasm, though he was a little curious about where her macabre words would lead them both. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed her sitting up, resting against the headboard of his bed.

I could die tomorrow. An hour from now even, she continued flippantly, not the least bit annoyed by his dry response.

Are you that eager to rush to your death?

Well, no. Of course not, she said with a thoughtful frown. Would you revive me with Tenseiga?

If Tenseiga deems you worthy.

Tenseiga or you?

Do you think I believe myself to be a god?

Okay, okay, okay, she brushed off his question with a light laugh. She hesitantly reached for his hand. Will you think of me even once?

You will have plenty of people mourning for you.

Will you be one of them?

He stilled, all of his words suddenly gone as he stared into her expectant face. Once he recomposed himself, he turned away, scowling, You truly are a nuisance.

You will die someday, too, she whispered, seemingly more to herself than him. Her hand gently stroked his as she imagined magenta stripes running up his arm. Will anyone mourn for you when you're gone?

Sitting up, he pulled his hand back, placing it on top of her head. You worry too much.

She peeked up at him, smiling. If I outlive you, I'll mourn for you.

He rolled his eyes at her, scoffing. You say that as if it's even a possibility.

She pouted, shaking his hand off her head. For all we know, you could choke to death on a chicken bone a month from now!

She yelped in surprise when his arms suddenly trapped her against the headboard. She became all too aware that his face was inching closer and closer to hers.

Do you think this Sesshoumaru's demise will be a chicken bone?

Her face broke out into a small grin, never once imagining those words forming in that order would come out of his mouth. She shook her head, admitting softly, Of course not. But…it doesn't change my original sentiment.

He sighed, his warm breath tickling her lips. You worry too much.

She cupped his face in her small hands. Sorry for being a nuisance.

.

I know you don't like me, she spouted another inane comment one brisk Saturday morning over toast and coffee.

And how did you come to that conclusion? he asked, fingers drumming on the table dully, as he continued to humor her little fancy.

Well, for starters, you tried to kill me.

That is true.

Repeatedly.

An annoying pest too stubborn to die.

She glared when she noticed his lips quirking upwards. Her scowl disappeared with his follow-up thought, being replaced with astonishment.

I suppose you do have some redeemable qualities.

Like…? she prodded him with an expectant smile, feeling butterflies fluttering in her belly.

There is no need to inflate your ego, he answered curtly, instantly deflating her hope. He picked up the folded newspaper next to his plate, hiding his amusement.

H-hey! You jackass!

Too stubborn, he mumbled from behind his newspaper, his words heard loud and clear by her as she continued to yell at him again.

.

She had realized he and her made such a strange pair, seeing all the confused stares and hearing every callous whisper whenever she accompanied him to galas and other esteemed social events. She knew he was only using her as a shield from the lusty women that gathered at the events, eyes fixated hungrily on him.

Her skin crawled as she imagined these women laying their filthy hands on him, caressing him and erasing her own marks on his body. She shut her eyes tightly, hearing loud cries and demands, seeing long legs wrapping around him, hands entangling into his hair.

She gasped sharply, feeling a hand on her bare shoulder. She turned around, seeing his eyes looking at her blankly.

You are anxious.

I—

Her words were caught in her throat, knowing she could not deceive him with false reassurance or a fake smile. Her heart was still racing from her wild imagination, the last image still dancing tauntingly in her mind.

Let's leave, he murmured, his hand placed on her hip, pulling her close to his side, hidden away from envious eyes.

She held onto his dark suit, his scent strangely relaxing her again as they quietly departed from the venue.

.

Does everyone follow you? she asked one night, finding in his closet a familiar, timeworn checkered kosode fabric, used to wrap up his faithful swords Bakusaiga and Tenseiga.

It would appear so, he answered absently, not lifting his gaze from the novel he was reading nor caring about her fumbling through his belongings. She had made it a habit to burrow her way into his life. He made it a habit of his to allow her.

Why's that?

You tell me.

You never object.

He paused, placing his book facedown into his lap. His lips curled into a smirk at her simple insightfulness. I suppose I didn't.

Don't.

What?

You still don't object, she said, referring to herself now.

I suppose I don't, he acknowledged her amendment, forgetting his book entirely now.

.

By all accounts, she was a beautiful woman, having blossomed prettily since her youth.

Even so, she was still quite naïve for her age, not noticing the unworthy male gazes that followed her—lusted for her.

Such a nuisance, he thought time and time again, unable to keep his eyes away from her—away from others looking at her.

.

There was a peach, perfectly round and a pretty shade of pink, held gently in her soft little hands. He watched, mesmerized, as she brought it to her lips, taking a generous bite of the fruit, its sticky nectar dripping down her chin in steady streams. Before she could even think to wipe the juice from her skin, he leaned forth, startling her as he licked her clean.

Hmm, sweet, he murmured, his tongue running over his own lips, tasting the juice and her.

You like sweets? she asked a little dumbly and a tad flustered, still not processing what had just happened.

I do not care for it, he responded, eyes gleaming impishly as he tasted her again, hearing the half-eaten fruit landing on the wooden floor with a soft thud.

.

There was something addicting about hearing his vicious name uttered breathily and helplessly from those sweet lips. She was unraveling him, remaking him into something he did not recognize, and yet strangely, he did not want to stop her, feeling only a strange impulse to continue drowning in her.

.

He became etched into her memory, carved a little space in her heart. She wondered how that came to be, realizing all of this could very well be a disaster in the end.

It all won't matter, she reminded herself, still letting the mistake dragged out even longer, wondering if she would even know the end when it happened.

.

Could we pretend? she asked, voice sad and broken, feeling his every movement inside her.

He panted close to her ear, drawing her body closer to his, her blunt nails clawing at his bare back.

What?

You and I.

Is this not it?

She buried her cries into the crook of his neck.

.

She disappeared for a week, returning to her mother's home.

He told himself he did not miss her presence.

.

When she returned, she awkwardly set some food containers on his kitchen counter.

One brow rose up in question.

My mother, she clarified. And…um, that is…

You are dawdling.

I went to a matchmaker!

Her face was bright red from embarrassment, guilt, and uneasiness. She waited for him to respond, but instead he opened one of the containers, tasting the pickled ginger her mother had made.

This is delicious, he remarked, not sparing her another glance as he closed the container again.

.

They did not speak again on the subject, both deciding silently and unanimously that the conversation had never happened. Their lives returned to idle contentment, but it was short-lived, lasting for just a little over a month until one day she came home from work, looking just as distressed as before.

What the fuck am I doing? she asked him one evening, setting her purse down on the couch, not noticing when she had missed her mark and it fell to the floor with a soft thump.

He smelled faint hints of liquor on her breath even though she was not the least bit tipsy. You've been drinking.

I met up with my friends, she explained, appearing the most lucid she had been in a long time. They're all happy. Half of them are married with kids already. The other half are in a healthy relationship. And I'm… I'm…

You're unhappy, he finished, but was surprised when she shook her head.

I'm not unhappy. I'm not happy either. I'm…I'm so confused.

What do you want?

I don't know, she said automatically, and he detected deception in her words. What is this?

I don't know, he echoed her words back to her.

.

One sunny weekend, she begged him for a road trip to the countryside. Bored, he agreed to her silly little whim.

They walked through a hilltop, feeling a gentle breeze brushed against their skin, stirring up the sweet scent of grass and flowers. She walked further away from him, her yellow straw sunhat standing out against the idyllic scenery.

I received a marriage proposal, her voice flowed through the air.

And?

I might say yes, she told him, stopping long enough for him to approach her. Her face remained hidden underneath the wide rim of her hat.

He reached out, fingers grazing over the straw rim, but he paused, hearing the sound of her heart beating loudly. He pulled back, whispering softly, Is that so…

For a moment, he heard her heart slowing before it resumed a steady rhythm.

Yes, she said, a slight hitch heard in her soft tone.

He continued to look down at her, unsure of how to respond. We'll be late for dinner, he said instead, grabbing her wrist and dragging her with him back to their inn.

.

Is this the end? she asked, tugging on the back of his suit as he was about to unlock his apartment door. He didn't need to look at her to know what kind of expression she was wearing.

Do you think it is?

I don't know, she admitted, and he smelled faint hints of salty tears, though she managed to hold them back. I don't know anything.

.

She left home four days later.

(His home.)

And she didn't come back.

.

His bed felt colder without her next to him.

How odd, he thought, shifting position for the seventh time that night.

.

She left him. She left him. She left him.

The thought repeated in her mind like a broken record, feeling somehow both surreal and clear.

He didn't care. He didn't care. He didn't care.

She repeated, wishing with a gram of hope that she was wrong.

.

Her stomach lurched at the thought of entering into a loveless marriage, which she found highly amusing when she had no idea what the fuck she even had with him. She had little opinions, if any, about the impending wedding, leaving her mother and her future in-laws to dress her up like a doll. Just as well, she decided, feeling just as empty inside as even the most exquisite of porcelain dolls.

.

He was annoyed one day.

No, that was incorrect. He was mystified when it seemed Fate insisted that she needed to have some mark on his life still. He did not see her—not since the day before she left—but a friend of hers seemed to now be a new employee of his.

Normally, he did not care much about the humans that worked for him, but he was stunned when he walked down the hallways, hearing her name leaving a woman's lips. After some easy persuasion, he gleaned a date and address from her.

He tucked the new information away, unsure of his foolish behavior.

.

She counted down the days, feeling shackled as the dreaded date drew closer. She didn't allow herself to think his name, feeling a strange ache when his image appeared in her mind.

They were nothing, she reminded herself sternly, He was nothing. Is nothing.

.

He awoke with a start one dark night, dreaming of hands that were not his touching what was his. He didn't even realize he was growling in anger, not until her image entered his mind again, and he froze momentarily in surprise at his own unusual behavior. He shook her bright smile away, irritated that she continued to plague his life like this even when she was gone.

He settled back down, feeling the soft pillow cradled his head. He closed his eyes after deciding he didn't care very much for others touching his possession.

Including her.

Especially her.

.

She inhaled, exhaled, and slowly stepped into the courtyard, hearing only soft click-clacks of her white heels hitting the stone pathway.

And then she froze, feeling both anger and joy colliding within her.

.

She stood in the church courtyard, dressed from head to toes in white lace. She was the perfect picture of purity, but little did anyone know, he had ruined her for others. Through her veil, she saw him standing alone. He titled his head to the side, a smirk emerging on his normally stoic face at her shocked expression.

Why are you here? she demanded evenly.

In the near distance, a church hymn was playing, awaiting the bride's arrival, but they both ignored the irritating noise.

She gripped tightly her bouquet of peach-colored roses and baby's breaths, waiting for his response. It frustrated her to no end how many words he had withheld from her, and today she had no patience for him. She breathed in sharply, repeating, Why are you here?

He closed their distance with long, slow strides. He peered down, making out her defiant face through the veil. Her anger was more than evident, and he found himself resisting smirking in amusement at her. He lifted her veil, his slender finger tracing over her trembling lips, painted in the same shade as the rosy blush rising on her cheeks.

.

Do you like me? he asked, smiling.

Her lips curled up and she dropped her bouquet, arms encircled around his neck as his wrapped around her waist.

 

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