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Demonic Christmas Trees by mythicamagic

Chapter 1

Gift for: Kaoruhana

Prompts: Tree, Green, Gold, Lights.

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Kagome felt very much like Santa that year. It probably had something to do with her appointing herself the unofficial Feudal Era delivery service. The idea had come along when Sango had wanted to give Kohaku a gift, intending it more for New Years, but her brother appeared to be too busy to visit. Since Sango had three children to care for, Kagome had set out with the gift in hand.

After travelling a fair distance, she'd arrived at the village and delivered it to the boy, who in turn passed over a gift for Sango. Borrowing Kirara for the journey back to Edo- from there Kaede had asked for herbs to be delivered the next village over. And from there, an old man with buck teeth had asked for a kimono to be given to his daughter in the Western Lands. And then-

It spiralled out of control. Kagome had put her foot down. She agreed only to deliver gifts intended for loved ones between the dates of the 25th to New Years.

So while the residents did not share her enthusiasm about the holiday overly much, Kagome branded it as 'Christmas deliveries.'

She was at that moment flying over the winter landscape of the Western Lands, having just delivered the beautiful emerald green kimono. She patted Kirara's side as they glided through the chilled air. "We'll be home soon girl, thanks for the help. You deserve a big juicy boar youkai."

The nekomata gave a pleased roar, and Kagome inwardly said her apologies to Kohaku. She'd kind of borrowed his companion for longer than expected, but it was much easier to travel on the back of a demon.

A particularly strong gust of wind sent them banking hard to the side, and Kagome gasped when the bag on her shoulder lurched. One of the parcels wrapped in brown cloth tumbled from within, spiralling down into the snow-sprinkled forest waiting below.

"Ah! Kirara, hurry!"

She tightened her legs, bracing herself as they dived down from the sky. Feeling the wind rush past her face and kick up her hair, the miko gripped tight and shifted her weight once they were level with the trees. Kirara swung around the numerous trunks, while Kagome scanned the floor and branches above for any sign of the package.

"I don't see it anywhere," she worried.

Kirara made a rumbling noise, gliding slower through the quiet forest. Kagome eased up to look over the great cat's head, squinting. A large clearing opened up to them, letting in vast sunlight.

Kagome breathed a sigh of relief. The brown present was tucked safely in the branches of a lone magnolia tree. It stood in the middle of the clearing, its trunk aged and bark faded. Snowfall sprinkled its branches. Kirara glided above the present while Kagome lowered herself down to stand on a branch. Wobbling unsteadily, she quickly sat down. Breathing out, she reached out- trying to grasp the package held in the twigs.

"It is quite rude to climb on someone without introduction, let alone without permission." Came a deep, grumbling voice.

Kagome gasped and clutched the branch tight when it moved beneath her, stretching and relaxing like muscle. Peering down at the trunk hesitantly, she noticed an aged face had appeared in the bark, looking up at her with tired eyes.

"O-oh, I'm really sorry about that. I didn't know you were a-" she cut herself off. What even was he?

The tree gave a dusty chuckle. "It is fine. I suppose unexpected company is preferable to none at all."

Kagome swung her legs over the side of the branch, tilting her head as Kirara landed beside her, transformed into her more kitten size. "I think so too. Don't you have any company expected though? It's the holidays. No one should be alone at this time."

The tree paused as though deep in thought. "I do not know what a 'holiday' is but no. I have not been visited in some time. The pup only comes to see me if he has a question."

"The pup?"

His wizened eyes danced slightly. "Mn, better known as Lord Sesshoumaru."

Her heart skipped a beat, a gentle blush touching her cheeks. "O-oh," she murmured. Him again. Her bag suddenly felt very heavy. She then slowly grinned at the tree as something dawned on her, "wait. You call the Killing Perfection 'pup?' That's amazing."

He gave another rumbling chuckle. "Yes, but I am ancient enough to get away with it. Do not attempt it yourself," he added, amused by her pout. "Are you deeply acquainted with him?" He asked, noticing her features flush.

"N-not deeply. We're just friends, kind of."

"Mn."

"Anyway," Kagome drew herself up to stand after grabbing the brown package and putting it in her bag. "If you're alone, that means you're not expecting any gifts this year, and I won't stand for that." She gave a squeak as her balance became precarious, waving her arms in a windmill-like motion to stay upright.

His heavy lids slowly shut and opened in a blink. Kagome grinned down at him, taking her bag off her shoulder. "It just so happens that I have something that would be perfect for you."

---

Walking at a sedate pace through the forest, the Daiyoukai blended in with the snow-covered environment seamlessly. His boots crunched in the snow quietly. Golden eyes remained fixed ahead. Though there was a severeness about his countenance, Sesshoumaru in the privacy of his mind was...daydreaming.

In fact, he was quite uncharacteristically unaware of his surroundings, lost in thought. He stopped dead when reaching the edge of a frozen lake, blinking. He'd gone the wrong way.

Turning with a graceful pivot of his heel, he carried on around the lakeside as though he'd taken the detour on purpose.

The cause of his musings remained unspoken out-loud. He had decided to visit the tree, seeking advice for his predicament. Council would perhaps soothe this madness.

He blinked upon hearing a familiar cheery voice.

"Don't worry, you'll look great, I promise!"

Venturing closer, a clawed hand reached out to brush an ice laced branch aside. Walking out into the white clearing, it took a moment for his eyes to adjust. Bokuseno waited in his usual place, expression slightly put out. Long black rope was wrapped around his branches, but they looked thin and strange. Odd. Arching a brow, Sesshoumaru looked to the upper left, seeing yet more rope being draped onto the higher branches by the miko. She rose up on tiptoe, arched her back- and made his breath catch simultaneously.

"Do you want any further up?" She grunted, managing to loop them onto the higher bare branches.

"I don't think the Pup will be able to control himself if you do that." Bokuseno gave a chuckle.

Kagome jolted, whipping her head around. "What?"

The burst of movement sent her dipping back precariously over the edge. Her heel slipped free from the branch. Giving a yelp, she felt a strong force seize her waist, making her dip into it. Her body was then yanked up like a rag doll- face smooshing into a warm neck. She inhaled a familiar scent. Blushing wildly, her hands latched onto the chest plate pressing against her ribs.

Sesshoumaru righted her on the branch, and she breathed out with relief upon regaining her footing. Lifting her head, she swallowed. "H-hi. Thanks for the save," Kagome smiled weakly. Hooded golden eyes bore down on her, strangely intent.

"Hn. What are you doing, miko?"

"Just giving a friend a gift," her smile was genuine this time.

Glancing down at their positions, she could feel the heat radiating off him in waves, drink in his closeness. Quickly removing her hands, Kagome grit her teeth when he did not move his arm from around her. He always made everything so difficult.

"Are you certain Bokuseno consented to this...defacing?" He rose a brow. Such decoration was unlike the ancient tree. The youkai below them gave a rusty sounding snort.

"She could not be stopped, my Lord."

Her eyes widened. "H-hey! You said this was okay!" Kagome felt her cheeks burn brighter. She tapped Sesshoumaru's arm lightly. "You can let go now, by the way."

"You may fall again."

Curse him and his ability to unbalance her. She folded her arms to resist the urge to touch him, huffing. She blinked when he extended a slender hand, touching a blank light.

"That's a light," she explained. "The things around the branches are wires. They're soon going to be filled with a power source called electricity," she answered his unasked question. "I use these things called batteries to power them."

Curious gold blinked. He made a noncommittal noise, remembering her school textbooks they'd looked over at the village together. "Why...use these as a gift? And for what occasion?"

"W-well, in my day, people put lights around trees for the winter holidays. I thought it might cheer Bokuseno up, since someone hasn't been visiting him often enough, apparently."

His gaze flattened, and curving his arm tighter- brought her in closer. Her startled squeak turned into a yelp when he jumped from the branch, and satisfaction curled within him. She grabbed him tight in the fall, arms wrapped around his neck. Drawing herself away once they landed with barely a sound, Kagome gaped at his proximity.

A deep cough resounded in the clearing- and she quickly let go.

Bokuseno rose a brow at them, gaze shifting to Sesshoumaru, who only relinquished his hold when the miko stepped forward. She pressed a black switch hanging down from one of the branches with a 'click.'

His branches became bathed in warm glows of red, white and green. The lights changed colours within their limited spectrum every few moments, as though playfully winking at them. They each gave off a pretty glow, brightening up the dulled bark.

Sesshoumaru's eyes widened slightly. A clawed hand rose- long sharp nails curving around a hanging light and bathing his skin green- then red. It felt a little warm.

"Here Bokuseno, have a look," she pulled out a mirror, tilting it to show the tree his higher branches.

Humming, the crows feet around his eyes deepened as he smiled. "I thank you, girl."

Sesshoumaru got the distinct impression the demon was just humouring her, but said nothing.

"Come on, Kirara. We should get going," Kagome murmured and turned, waving at the tree. "Happy Holidays! Now that I know where to find you, I'll come visit, okay?"

As the tree youkai hummed, she glanced at Sesshoumaru and felt the weight of her pack double. I really am a coward.

Why wasn't she giving it to him?

Shifting her pack on her shoulder, the small neko jumped from the tree branch and exploded into flames, flying down. Kagome's raised fingers soon met buttercup coloured fur, grasping it as she made to climb on.

"Miko."

She paused and looked at him. The Daiyoukai gave the nekomata a once over, before averting his gaze. "This one can take you back, if you wish."

Her heart jumped. Sharing a look with Kirara, her fingers tightened in the fur slightly. "O-oh. Yeah, alright. I guess I have been working you pretty hard, girl." She smiled and petted the cat demon, "you deserve a rest. Do you want to fly back to Kohaku?"

Kirara gave a loud roar, nudging against her hand as Kagome laughed. "Okay, okay I get the picture. Get going then. Thanks for all your help," she ruffled the top of the great cat's head, stepping back when she leapt into the air. The twin tails picked up behind her, form sailing higher and higher above the clouds in leaps and bounds.

Once she was gone, Kagome looked back at Sesshoumaru awkwardly. "So, uh…" her grip tightened around the strap of her bag. Give it to him!

Sesshoumaru turned on his heel and began walking away. Sweat dropping, Kagome waved quickly at Bokuseno and followed. Her boots crunched noisily in the snow.

Trudging for a short while with silence between them, Kagome rubbed her arms. His voice came softly, like a flurry of gentle snowflakes. "Why do humans give gifts on these 'winter holidays?"

She hadn't expected his question, and quickly raced a few steps to catch up with him, walking by his side. "It's a tradition, but one still very new to Japan. We don't celebrate it like they do overseas, but it's become quite popular lately. I like it."

He supposed she would. Giving gifts matched her character.

She waved her hand. "Besides, Christmas Eve is especially popular for-" she quickly cut herself off, cheeks warming. No way she could specify that.

The forest lay still, almost like they were in a forgotten snow globe, awaiting a mischievous child to shake it up. He stopped with her by the frozen lake he'd passed earlier. "How sentimental," he uttered.

Kagome smoothed her hands over her ruffled skirt, thankful she'd worn thick tights. "I'm guessing you don't approve?"

"Hn, it runs the risk of being frivolous. Gifts should only be given as a reflection of intent."

Kagome gripped her bag tighter, looking up at him. Within the winter landscape, he looked like he belonged to the ice and snow. Like he were some otherworldly thing that she'd probably never fully understand. She came from a warm home, where the smell of baking filled the air and hugs were given thoughtlessly. He looked removed and untouchable.

And yet…

Kagome breathed out, and his gaze shifted to watch it become visible in the air. She lowered her bag from her shoulder and reached in- pulling out the brown package that had given her so much trouble.

Pressing it into his hand, Kagome smiled. "Happy Holidays, Sesshoumaru."

Curious gold blinked and widened marginally. "…Is this frivolity?"

"No," she glanced away, cheeks warming.

"Then what is your intent?"

"Would you please stop analysing me and just open it?"

He gave a quiet huff that she found strangely endearing. He held the package in one hand and went to slice open the string holding the cloth, before pausing to inspect it. The string was white and crisp, tied into a bow. Glancing up, the demon decided to humour her. He pulled the string until it came loose, and carefully pulled the cloth aside.

Kagome fussed with her hair, looking at the frozen lake as her heart did summersaults. He was going to laugh at her or kill her. Why had she done this, again?

Sesshoumaru pulled out a white scarf, noting it's soft quality. A splash of colour caught his eye, and he lifted the material higher. The end of the scarf was coloured red and had a honeycomb design patterned onto it.

"I got it made for you, I mean I tried- tried to knit it. But then I figured you might not like wool and I suck at knitting." She babbled, waving her hands animatedly in the air. Dipping her head, her face flushed. She chanced a glance at him from under her lashes.

The Daiyoukai stood lost in thought, thumb grazing the crest of his house. His eyes narrowed slightly, before falling shut.

Oh no, she knew it- he hated it.

Turning away, Kagome jumped when something soft wrapped around her waist- dragging her back toward him. Her hands grasped mokomoko as she quickly looked up. Sesshoumaru shifted closer, leaning down until they were eye level.

"How do I express my thanks in your way?"

A nervous laugh escaped her. "A simple thank you is enough!"

"No, it is not," his claws grazed her hair, fixing a stray lock back into place behind her ear. But his traitorous fingers flexed wider before he could stop them, tangling themselves in lush black stands.

Blushing brighter, Kagome grasped the scarf and reached up. "H-here, you put it on like this!" She squeaked. Of course he knew how to put a scarf on. But her hands wouldn't stop as she lifted the heavy fall of his hair up to slide the scarf around his neck. The hair fell soft and fine in her gloved hands, brushing the exposed skin of her wrist. Tying the scarf loosely, she swallowed at his proximity.

"You mentioned Christmas Eve earlier but stopped, what is it?" He asked in soft, dulcet tones.

Her hands rested on the spot just above his chest-plate, basking in the warmth of him. "It's basically recognised as a...date for couples," she murmured.

"Hn, I see." Slit pupils roved over her face, settling on her lips. "Is it customary that this one give you a gift in return?"

Kagome smiled, blue eyes glittering. Her heart thundered in her chest. "No, but I'll be upset if you don't."

Silver hair slid over his shoulder, tickling her cheek as he leaned closer. "We can't have that…"

Firm lips pressed against hers suddenly, guided by impulse and her rapid heartbeat in his ears. Kagome inhaled sharply, eyes widening. She slowly forced herself to relax and close them, reeling from pleased shock. Realising she'd frozen, she parted her mouth slightly, kissing back. She shivered when his hand settled on her hip, claws catching the material as he pulled her closer. His other curled tighter into her black locks, twining them around his fingers.

After a moment, Sesshoumaru pulled away to look at her. Gold eyes burned bright, lips slightly red. "Does my gift suffice?"

Shaking her head, she smiled mischievously. "Definitely not."

"I see. So your intention with giving the gift was to ensnare me."

"Oh absolutely. It's working, isn't it?" Kagome grinned.

"Hn."

She didn't talk about how long she'd had a crush on him for, nor did he share his regard for her. In fact, they didn't talk about anything for a while. She pulled her gloves off- burying them in his hair and cupping a striped magenta cheek.

He felt warm and wonderful- and as his lips moved over hers, nipping her bottom lip like the cold bite of winter- Kagome's heart sang with gladness for the yuletide.

End

 

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