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Outside of Time by SunsetMiko

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

The first time it happened, Kagome had been walking up the shrine stairs after a long day at school. Every day she spent at school seemed infinitely long since her quest began, because of just how far behind she was in her studies, but at that moment, she was more than a little exhausted. As she reached the top of the staircase, she saw her mother and grandfather fussing over a well-dressed executive. She could hear as they thanked him repeatedly for his generous donation, but for some reason, his eyes were on her instead.

Their gazes locked and in that instant, he began to shimmer. It started at the tip of his nose and washed back, the false image falling away like scales, revealing the truth hidden beneath. Sharp slashes of color stained his cheeks and eyelids, while a very familiar family crest graced his brow. His raven hair turned silver, starting at the roots, and moving along the long strands towards the tips, almost as if she had just watched him go gray at high speed. The tips of stripes peeked out from the carefully buttoned sleeves of his suit, each decorated with shining silver cufflinks in the shape of crescent moons.

Even the tips of his fingers changed, his short human nails replaced by long, razor sharp claws that held just a hint of green tint. She knew the cause of that slight discoloration. She could remember the scent of his poison as it dripped to the ground to hiss and pop while it ate away at anything it touched. That scent had been burned into her brain when he doused her in it, hoping to melt her into a puddle. Only his father's sword, the Tetsusaiga, had saved her from a torturous death, and the look he had given her, as if he was offended that she dared to survive his attack, was permanently etched into her mind.

As if the sight wasn't enough, Kagome suddenly sensed youki, powerful youki. It exploded out of him as if he had chosen that moment to release it, as if he wanted to ensure that there could be no question as to whom she was seeing before her. Rather than being uncomfortable or oppressive as it had always been in the past, it lapped at her like cool, gentle waves on the beach licking over hot sand. She was certain her eyes couldn't have opened any wider, and the miko could have sworn she saw amusement in that familiar golden gaze.

Seconds later, the spell was broken. He looked away, and she watched as the executive bowed to her mother and grandfather politely before heading down the stairs towards the street below. She couldn't drag her eyes off the man, no, demon; mesmerized by the way his knee length hair swayed with each step. He reached the sidewalk, and the door to a town car was opened for him. He glanced over his shoulder for a moment, just long enough to run his eyes over her appraisingly from head to toe, before disappearing into the darkness of the car, the door closing behind him.

Completely in awe of what she had just seen, Kagome turned to her family. It was obvious by their behavior that neither her mother, nor her grandfather, had witnessed the change that she had. They were oblivious as to who, and what, they had just been bowing to in thanks. She spoke quickly, excitedly, as she demanded to know who that man had been.

"Oh, that was Mr. Nishimara. He's our biggest donor. Without his generosity, I don't think we could have managed to keep the shrine open all these years."

"How... How long has he been a donor?"

Mrs. Higurashi looked thoughtful for a moment before replying. "For as long as I can remember, even back before we lost your father. He used to send a representative from his company, but these last few years, he's honored us with his presence personally."

"What does he do when he's here?"

"Why all the questions, dear?"

"I just... Please, just answer me."

"When he first arrives, he likes to wander the grounds. He spends a good deal of time beneath the Goshinboku, meditating. It always amazes me how he can sit on the ground in such an expensive suit, and then rise without a speck of dirt or the hint of a wrinkle to show for it."

Kagome mentally laughed. Wasn't that just like him: always perfectly groomed, whether fresh from the bath or after an epic, drawn out battle.

"Does he go near the well house?" the young miko asked, her tone turning urgent. What else could he be doing at her family shrine? It had to have something to do with her and her quest in the past.

"I'm sure he's walked past it but he's never shown any interest, at least not that I've witnessed. Why? Is something wrong, Kagome?"

"No," she replied, shaking her head. "He just... reminded me of someone."

"A friend?"

Kagome allowed the laugh to pass her lips this time. "No, I wouldn't call him that. More of an acquaintance, really, if that. A rather tenuous relationship, to be sure." In all honesty, he was an enemy, almost as much as Naraku was, but she couldn't explain that to the older woman. She was blissfully ignorant as to just how much danger her daughter was in on a daily basis, and the time traveling miko wanted to keep it that way.

"Perhaps he seems familiar because you have seen him here before," her mother suggested.

"Oh, I've seen him before, just never here." The miko's mind was filled with flashes of the battles he and Inuyasha had fought; of the times the tall youkai tried to kill her, and the few occasions when she had fired back. 'Never now,' she continued silently. 'Always then, but never now. What in the world are you doing here, Sesshoumaru? And how did you manage to hide your presence from me for so long?'

~--Outside of Time--~

The first time it happened, they were at his father's grave, and she dared to pull the Tetsusaiga from the stone that held it fast, even when neither he nor Inuyasha had been able to do so. Something inside him shifted in that moment, pulsing to life, something he didn't recognize, and so to put a stop to that foreign feeling, Sesshoumaru doused the troublesome human in his poison, hoping to be done with her. When she emerged unharmed, that strange sensation only grew.

When she selected Inuyasha as her champion and gave the half-breed the sword he, himself, coveted, his heart seemed to ache, almost as if he hoped she would choose him, a ridiculous notion, to be sure. She saw him as an enemy, and they were in the midst of a battle. She would never think for even a moment that he would be the better choice. When his half-brother demanded she let him protect her, the sword responded, bonding with him, sharing its power so long as he continued to guard that human woman with his very life.

Meanwhile, his beast raged inside of him, begging to be let out to get at the girl. He assumed it was to teach her a lesson about respect, because she showed him none, despite the fact that he was obviously her better. While she showed no respect, her loyalty was on display for all to see as she stuck by his half-brother. Her level of trust in the hanyou, her blind belief that he would keep her safe from such a powerful opponent, was astounding. How could such an inexperienced pup possibly keep her safe? He found out soon enough.

He wished he could blame her for what happened that day. She certainly managed to distract him from his battle with the hanyou, but that wasn't why he lost his arm. No, he underestimated his opponent, as well as his opponent's devotion to the one he protected. Some part of him realized, in that moment, as his limb was cleaved cleanly from his body, that he would never be able to match Inuyasha, despite his pure demon blood, so long as he was willing to give his life to protect someone else. That girl, in a matter of seconds, had become his well of power. She was the source of his nearly endless strength. The hanyou would fight until his dying breath to keep her from danger and for a moment, Sesshoumaru wondered what it was like, caring about someone like that. Then, he quickly flicked the errant thought aside, in much the same way as he flicked his hair back into place behind his shoulder, an effortless motion, one perfected over time through repetition.

He thought that was the end of it. Sure, he wanted the sword, and he doggedly pursued his half-brother, attacking him time after time in an effort to gain what should have been rightfully his, but every time they crossed blades, she was there. Every time, her loyalty and trust shined like beams of sunlight burning through the cloudy sky. Every time he saw her, that strange feeling inside of him grew and his beast rattled his cage to get to her, though he ignored it for as long as he could manage.

Eventually, however, it became impossible to do so. She was there in his mind every time he closed his eyes. She dominated his thoughts no matter what else he attempted to focus on. It was as if she forced her way into his brain, and he couldn't get her out. His beast whispered about her in the dead of night, making sleep nearly impossible. When he did manage to drift off, she was there in his dreams.

Finally, he allowed himself the time to think over what was happening in his heart and mind, and though he despised the very idea, he began to understand. His beast fought to get at her not because he wished to injure or kill her, but because he wished to claim her as his own, as their mate. It was completely unacceptable and again, he fought against it. He would not fall so low. He would not touch a filthy human, let alone make one his mate. He would rather die first.


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