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Shikizaki: An Omikuji Variation by ironlotus

Act I

AN:  And we are, once again, back! Please be sure that you have read Omikuji and Han-Kichi both before you read this fic, as it covers events from both stories.

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Shikizaki: An Omikuji Variation

 Act I

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Still in this fickle world,

I find myself lingering on.

Every single morning

blossoms appear on morning glories,

day adding to day.

 

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Chiaki-san’s passing was a tragedy. But he was unfortunately human, and humans had a habit of dying. Sesshoumaru’s work necessitated interaction with them, though he did his level best to keep it to a minimum. However much he respected his former professor, the fifteen years of their acquaintance passed in the merest blink of an eye. And now he was dead. Before his time, perhaps, but not significantly more than one could expect of a typical human male.

He would have to attend the wake. And, because his social persona this lifetime owed his relative fame as an author to Chiaki-san’s early guidance and encouragement, he would have to try to present as suitably aggrieved. How laughable. That he, Sesshoumaru, son of the Great Dog General— and having centuries ago surpassed his sire in honor, skill, and strength—should require assistance from a mere human historian! And to pursue an intentionally mediocre writing career, no less. A laughable idea. But he must maintain appearances, so he must therefore go to the wake.

Myouga would not be calling him about this.

He debated, just for a moment, allowing Myouga’s call to redirect to voice-mail again. The flea, like Jaken, benefitted on occasion from being reminded of his place in the world, and what he owed to his betters. Being crushed underfoot every so often did him good. Missing this, the latest of numerous calls in immediate succession, would certainly accomplish that. But Sesshoumaru rejected the silent treatment; he preferred to castigate those who irked him directly.

So he answered the phone.

“Sesshoumaru-sama,” the voice, awash with relief, cried.

“You have called six times in the last six minutes, Myouga. Whatever your business, it must be important.”

Stuttering and apologies ensued, followed by backtracking. And finally, self-justification. “Though, to be quite honest Sesshoumaru-sama, it is a matter of historical importance. That Myouga ran a University’s history department did not excuse him for that terrible pun.

“Indeed?”

“We have a guest lecturer position available that I believe would be a benefit for your career—” Sesshoumaru’s snort made Myouga rush to add, “and more importantly, we have at long last located the archives that your eminent sire had buried before his battle with Ryuukotsusei.”

“Hmm.”

“And, a coincidence, maybe, but it seems that Naraku has resurfaced.” At the sound of the hanyou’s name, Sesshoumaru’s face twisted into a fierce frown. Every time he spared the cur a thought—which, granted, amounted to rarely, proximal to never—he regretted not killing him to completion when last they faced off. “It would be an ideal opportunity for you. You could oversee the unearthing of the scrolls, and—”

“I accept the position. Send the paperwork through. I’ll have course syllabi to you on Monday.”

He hung up and touched his phone down on his desk. A glance out his window to the tree-lined pedestrian street below, the diminutive faux-Venetian waterway with its kitschy little gondola rides, and his fingers began to drum on the desktop. He would need an apartment. The commute from here would be untenable.

He put in a few calls and by the time he squared away the logistics of his temporary move, his fax machine finished printing off his contract with the University, ready for a signature and return. As his pen hovered over the paper, a little spark of excitement rose within him.

The teaching he could take or leave. ‘Leave’ would be the desirable choice, considering how much human interaction it would require. But something about picking up and going so spontaneously, heading out without knowing what awaited him out there, reminded him of the freedom of wandering his lands before the human plague ravaged the world.

He had always been a wanderer. An explorer. His curiosity, a fearsome thing, must be satisfied.

At first, when the industrial revolution and technological enhancements came, his chosen careers tended toward those in mathematics and engineering, or sciences, macro and micro. But industry and technology, which granted humanity ever-increasing freedoms, had also taken his freedom away. He would no longer contribute to the means that drove his kind underground for fear of discovery. His pursuits now turned to those of the arts, history, and philosophy. Even in these more abstract realms, no question, if it piqued his curiosity enough, would remain unanswered before him.

He signed the contract and sent it back. Within an hour, he had his luggage packed and waiting in his car.

The four-hour drive dragged, with Tokyo traffic slowed in the snow and wearing at his patience until he reached the building that would be his new home. An adolescent youkai, appearing somewhere in his mid-thirties in human years, whose name tag read ‘Tanaka’, greeted him with the expected amount of deference in the lobby. Keys exchanged hands. Youki flared, but only in one direction. This young pup knew his place.

A similar exchange occurred with the flea in the morning. Rather like looking at an ant through a magnifying glass, the human-sized Myouga made a comical sight. Sesshoumaru received the keys to his office, some further paperwork to fill in, and an ID badge that would gain him access to, among other places, the library—the destination which he anticipated the most when he’d first ventured out into the cold.

“Have you any news regarding the archives?” he asked the flea offhand, speaking through the scarf still wrapped around his neck as he tucked the ID into his coat pocket.

“Ah, well, yes, as to that—er… yes, if you will excuse me—” and Myouga dropped his human guise, shrinking to an almost imperceptible pinpoint against the ghastly speckle-patterned tile floor of the faculty building, and disappeared in a crack in the baseboards.

Sesshoumaru’s amusement at this display won over his displeasure at the obvious and poorly executed evasion. The flea would pay in due time for his deceit, should the lure of the archives turn out an untruth. It made no difference now, what with the papers already signed and submitted. But if he had lied to get him here, though, what truly fueled his urgency for Sesshoumaru to accept this position?

Surely not Naraku. Nuisance he may be, but hardly worth such preemptive panic.

A question worthy of an answer, he smiled to himself, and a slight worthy of a punishment. Myouga would know to expect retribution, but even despite that prospect, the flea perennially found a way to have some kind of fun at Sesshoumaru’s expense.

Familiar with the campus from his time here as a student fifteen years prior, and as faculty another hundred before that, he found his unerring way through an inch and a half of melting snow to the library. A few hours in here, surrounded by the knowledge of his human…—not forbearers, but contemporaries from lifetimes before, perhaps?—and he could outline the syllabi for the two courses his contract obligated him to teach. It would be quick work, with his near eidetic memory.

The blast of warm air and the smell of books as he entered the building triggered a familiar and welcome nostalgia. Stomping the slush from his shoes, he shed his scarf, draping it over his messenger bag, and tucked his gloves into his pocket. With a naturally high body temperature, he barely noticed the cold, but appearances must be maintained. Very little about the library had changed, aside from the librarian. A human this time, though judging from her current conversation with a student, adequately knowledgeable regardless.

He bypassed the front desk, flashing his ID, and headed without hesitation to the history section.

An hour passed.

He hit on a reasonably interesting topic for his first course—Propaganda and film, the repackaging of history to make it saleable for the box office and marketable for political profit. As it happened he had several articles published on the subject which he could use in supplement to the university’s resources. After ascertaining that the library stocked all the requisite films in its catalogue as well as the texts he would want the students to read, he became immersed in rereading a passage written by an acquaintance of his during the war. The library faded away from his consciousness as he pored over the text.

And then his skin began to prickle and burn the way a human’s might when too long in the sun.

His head shot up. He filtered through all the noises and smells around him before alighting on those that were relevant to this remotely familiar and unpleasant sensation: fresh, cold winter air, brought in on the warm skin of a young woman. Tears; recent ones. Her breathing would hitch intermittently, she would sniffle. Her steps were close together and light—a petite woman, and walking closer.

Sesshoumaru tensed.

A wave of pink energy rushed over him, frenetic, electric, and then passed him by, as though not registering his presence. From a few aisles down, he heard her begin plucking books from the shelves—the soft slide of dust jackets moving against each other as she drew one volume out and into her arms. Then she moved further still. A sound like a pillow deflating and he imagined her collapsing in an undoubtedly inelegant manner into the plush cushioned armchair in the far corner.

Pages began to turn. Her breathing regulated. The trace scent of tears faded. The blazing fire of reiki disappeared just the same way. It wasn’t uncommon for humans to have latent spiritual powers; he had not witnessed anything remotely this powerful, however, in years.

A Miko, then.

The prospect niggled, but Sesshoumaru relaxed. Miko nowadays were all but useless. His skin already shed its pinkened hue and returned to its normal coloring, the burn healed. He resumed his reading.

Hours passed without disturbance.

When the woman stood again, she must have recalled whatever agitated her before, because she sniffled and the wet salt of tears drifted through the air. In tandem with it, a flood of pink washed out from around her.

Suddenly out of patience with this whole scenario, Sesshoumaru resorted to a trick he never before stooped to employ. Powerful enough to instill fear in even the strongest of his kind, emotional manipulation of humans was always unnecessary, and so decidedly below him. He broadcast his calm, sending a tendril of youki in her direction and projecting his imperturbable placidity, drawing a meditative breath to reinforce it. When the reiki receded readily in response, his eyes snapped open, brow furrowing. Something in the way it moved struck him as unexpected.

Oh. She moved closer to him, rather than away. Atypical, for a Miko. Curiosity piqued, he continued to soothe her from a distance, listening to the way the air displaced around her as she drifted in his direction. He got to his feet, grabbed his belongings, and crossed over to the opposite side of the bookshelf she now stood before.

A Miko with an aberrant response to calming from a youkai was, by definition, aberrant, though not sufficiently enough to keep his attention for any length of time. Regardless, he would like to file this moment in his memory; a rare occurrence in his rather dull daily life. If he could catch a glimpse of her, a face to pair with the odd events of the day in the catalogue of his memory…

So he shadowed her, still sending her his calm, stepping in parallel to her, waiting for her to draw a book that would have her looking up just enough that he might see her face. Eventually, her fingers closed around one that coincided with an empty space on his side of the shelf. From the gap that formerly housed the volume now in her hands, a pair of blue eyes, like the morning sky reflecting off the water, fixed on him.

He took in the heart-shape of her face, the sweet plumpness of her lips, the raven-black of her hair. A conventionally attractive woman. A small ‘ah’ escaped her, and he noted the pleasant quality of her voice. Her hand shot up to her neckline and clenched at the glassy pink bauble hanging there on a white gold chain.

Ah.

He averted his eyes and departed, aware that, yet again—despite having seen him and likely realizing what he was, and despite her instinct to shield what could only be the Shikon no Tama around her neck—she followed after him.

This, then, would be the reason for Myouga’s insistence that he accept the position as Guest Lecturer.

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From his seat in his academic office, he caught a whiff her faint, fresh scent, and frowned deeply.

It aggrieved him.

Introducing himself at the wake had seemed harmless enough. He could hardly avoid it, the way her eyes chased him about the room. Sesshoumaru, well aware that the females of the human species found him irresistibly attractive—indeed, as did female youkai—found himself surprised that a Miko should openly give in to such base feelings in spite of all her training. The quick introduction should have marked an end to their acquaintance. She mentioned that she had not signed up for his courses, and his relief at the thought of being rid of her remained with him for weeks.

Instead, Higurashi Kagome, upon whom he intended keeping a distant eye, had managed to wriggle her way into his routine.

The initial blame for this could be cast squarely at Myouga’s feet, as per usual. She came one morning, knocking on Sesshoumaru’s door, ever so apologetic for interrupting him, if she might just have a minute of his time? “Myouga-sensei referred me to you…” and of course he had, directing her to Sesshoumaru to procure some volume that they both kept copies of in their respective offices. He proffered the book with minimal fuss. But the loaning of a book necessitates the returning said book; not several days later she reappeared, just as he began pouring coffee. Maintaining his persona meant offering her a cup too.

He expected that she would decline, but she accepted. He expected that she would take this as an invitation for more than a coffee—that it might include conversation, or even be misinterpreted as an inappropriate advance on a student. Instead, she subverted his expectations yet again by sipping quietly as she browsed his shelves. She did ask if she might borrow another book, but then remained silent until she selected her chosen volume, set down her empty cup, thanked him, and politely excused herself.

A devious strategy, deserving of some respect.

Her visits became a part of his routine each week, now, even an anticipated part—a little, anyway. He appreciated unobtrusive company. As far as humans went, she was polite, quiet, and clean. He tolerated her.

Well. Perhaps a bit more than that.

She piqued his curiosity. Her steadfast interest in him, absent of any aggression, so blatantly contrary to Miko doctrine… perhaps she had not been formally trained? But even untrained, to be the carrier of the Shikon no Tama, she would know what he was. What then, motivated her? To try and tempt him, corner him into some attempt to try and take the stone, and then what?

Did she think that a daiyoukai such as he would lower himself so as to attempt to revive it for its power? Utterly ridiculous. He honestly could not fathom what thoughts and plans ran through her mind, where usually human motivations were transparent to him. This made her a puzzle.

And his curiosity demanded satisfaction.

Further complicating matters were the various gnats buzzing around her, each to their own nefarious ends. There was the boy—Hojo, was it? He would dispose of himself, of that much Sesshoumaru felt certain. Higurashi held a passing interest in him only, one dependent entirely on the convenience of his overtures toward her.

Inconceivable that a woman could ever consider Hojo when they had Sesshoumaru to admire; but then, he was frustrating Higurashi’s tentative attempts at furthering her acquaintance, and she would need somewhere to redirect her affections.

Regardless of Sesshoumaru’s lack of reciprocation, Hojo would not do for her. Useless human trash; how Hojo had been accepted as a graduate student at this fine university was beyond him. His reading comprehension and writing style capped out at third-grade level at best. She would see him for the nothing he was without any interference on Sesshoumaru’s part.

Then there was the other pest. One Sesshoumaru knew would make a nuisance of himself, though what form this would take had been uncertain at the start. That picture was becoming progressively clearer over the course of the last few days.

In most ways, it felt a curse that his office should be so close to the spider hanyou’s—the case of divining and interceding in his interests and plans, however, happened to be the sole exception. Perhaps Naraku was forgetful of Sesshoumaru’s superior hearing, or perhaps he was merely an idiot. He said a lot, and let a lot go said in the room down the hall from Sesshoumaru’s office.

Usually, Sesshoumaru’s policy was to steadfastly ignore any words that passed that mongrel’s lips. But just a few days prior, a conversation occurred that caught his interest.

“I’m a little concerned about you, Higurashi-kun.” Naraku’s voice. “Your attendance is good, but your participation is poor. You always sit in the back of the classroom, hide behind your laptop, and you’re always the first to leave.”

This did not fit with Sesshoumaru’s perception of Higurashi at all.

“I have a study group that meets afterwards,” came Higurashi’s weak protest.

“I have my students use their ID numbers on their assignments for anonymity’s sake—so that there can be no question of favoritism or otherwise. I won’t know which is yours as I grade it. But I am invested in your success, Higurashi-kun. Chiaki-sensei was a respected colleague in the field and he spoke highly of you. Please come speak to me after the grades are returned, regardless of the result.” A pause. “Now if I’m not mistaken, Sesshoumaru-kun is expecting you.”

Oh? Sesshoumaru forced himself to focus on the unexpectedness of that conclusion, rather than the affront at the casual means by which Naraku referred to him. Higurashi did not visit him with regularity, though certainly with some frequency.

“Aotsuki-sensei is?” Higurashi sounded as surprised as Sesshoumaru felt.

“You have something of a standing appointment, from what I understand. Or am I mistaken?”

“Not a standing appointment, no. I go to him for resources sometimes.”

He scoffed and dismissed her. “I’ll see you next week, Higurashi-kun.”

Belying her assertion in Naraku’s office, she came directly to his and shut the door behind her, inhaling deeply as though taking a cleansing breath, purging her lungs of the stink of the hanyou. A blithe misdirection when he asked whether something was the matter, and then they resumed their usual routine as she moved over to what had become ‘her seat’.

Which brought him back to what had originally started this train of thought.

Sesshoumaru paused in his idle reflections, swiveling in his office chair to look at the red-upholstered seat opposite his desk, the source of the faint trace of Kagome’s fresh scent, slowly imbuing itself into the material over her repeated visits. Perhaps this was a part of her ploy. Play upon his strengths, use his senses against him, embed her scent into his office until… until she achieved whatever her mysterious ends were. He wrinkled his nose and refocused.

Naraku had his eye on the Shikon no Tama, or on Kagome. Or on both. Sesshoumaru’s would bet that the hanyou cur, in his greed, desired the woman and the jewel. Sesshoumaru would make it his business to see that the scum attained precisely neither.

If for no other reason than to see his ambitions frustrated.

That fresh scent reached him again and his nose twitched. He had to get out of his office.

The humid summer air, an oppressive force, pushed in on him from all sides, but he relished the heat. It called him back to afternoons centuries before, wandering the countryside under a high sun, accountable to nobody but himself. The walk back to his rental apartment was brief, but enough to clear his lungs and clear his mind. Just as in his youth, the walking became a practice much like meditation; he timed his breathing to each step, focusing on the rhythm and the movement, the shift of weight, the transfer of energy.

As he neared the convenience store, the doors parted. For a moment he thought it was a trick of the senses; the distraction from the meditation bringing previous thoughts of a certain Miko to the fore, summoning her smell to mind. Instead, his gaze followed the scent trail to see the very woman, crouched low, tip-toeing out the doors as though they had not just announced her exit, a ridiculous yellow umbrella with a duck-head handle and a shopping bag clutched firmly in her hand.

The humidity concentrated the scent rolling off her skin. It clung to her the way the tendrils of her dark hair curled and clung to her neck where they had escaped from that haphazard up-do. Socks and shoes sodden, drips of gritty water splattered against the pallor of her legs. She was utterly ridiculous, but he could admit to himself that the lone curl caressing the turn of her neck, at least, suited his aesthetics. The reflective quality of her blue eyes in the fluorescent light illuminating her from above did too.

As though possessed, his lips parted and spoke her name. “Higurashi-kun,” he greeted her, zeroing in on the rising goosebumps over her arms and clavicles at the sound of his voice. Her startled eyes fixed on him, a fawn in the headlights, or one perceiving that it had been sighted by a beast of prey. Having spoken, he committed to the interaction and moved to stand before her. She wavered, rocking slightly back then forward on her feet. “Are you lost?” he asked.

A wry twist to her lips then, and a self-deprecating laugh. “In a way.” She touched her cheek, skimmed the finger along to her neck. A self-conscious gesture, or a flirtatious one?

“Skipping through puddles?”

She laughed outright at this.

If he hadn’t seen Naraku’s face appear at the glass, he would not have invited her to follow him. But the command spoken, he had no choice but to lead her someplace, and there could be no place to take her but his own apartment. He did this, fully aware that this would mean that her scent would infiltrate his living quarters as well—but at least there, it would not linger.

A small sacrifice to make, in the service of his greater plans.

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Unfortunately, three things occurred in rapid succession to make a mockery of his intentions for a well-preserved distance. Any one of them on its own would have been easily ignored, but in combination, the three became quite unsurmountable.

The first, no more than an email sent to his grossly under-utilized fan-mail account.

 Aotsuki-sensei,

I have not been a long-time reader of your works. In fact, I only picked them up recently after meeting you in person. You write very well and I appreciate the insights in your books and whatnot but let’s get to the real issue here. I have a question or two about some of the sources you cited in The Thirteen-Day Emperor. I wasn’t able to find copies of at least two of them in our departmental library, and even Matsuda-san with all of her librarian powers couldn’t clue me in any better. What are the chances you still have some of those reference materials? I always appreciate when you make recommendations to me regarding my research, but somehow I feel that there has been a glaring omission in your recommendations (see above)! Thank you for stepping in the other day. Next time, we can dry off at my place. It’s only a few blocks further down the road.

- An anonymous fan. Of sorts.

Higurashi wrote this while inebriated, so much was obvious. And judging by the time stamp of the email, she had likely been drinking for quite a while. He found the missive humorous enough, and easily forgotten. ‘A fan’, she called herself. When it was obvious that her interests in him were far from academic.

What they were, though… romantic, certainly, up to a point. This must be in addition to something more, though what that could be remained beyond his imagination.

The second event occurred about a week later.

Arriving on his floor of the faculty building, he heard Naraku’s voice; he smelled Higurashi’s humid skin. He slowed his pace.

“Indeed. You saw Myouga-sensei yesterday, I am aware. He spoke to me about your meeting this morning. I would prefer you to come to me with any questions you may have. My own meeting with him was uncomfortable and I would much rather that not color our interactions.”

Sesshoumaru paused unconsciously in time with the pause in that little speech—an old habit of stalking prey.

“It did little more than confirm my suspicions about your penchant for that kind of misbehavior, Kagome-kun. Not the impression you were intending to leave, I’m sure.”

A chair scraped back. Heavy footprints; not the soft, delicate tread of the young Miko. Her breathing hitched. By the time Sesshoumaru reached the doorway, Naraku stood poised over Higurashi like a vulture circling carrion, extending a hand as though reaching to touch her, to wrap his fingers around the flesh of her upper arm.

Sesshoumaru’s lips firmed in displeasure. This stopped now. “Higurashi.”

As though his voice broke the thrall Naraku had cast, Kagome startled away from the danger in front of her almost reflexively before turning toward Sesshoumaru, shooting him a look of unrestrained appreciation and delight.

Naraku’s eyes, however, burned; his lips curled in disdain.

While returning Naraku’s glare with unaffected blandness, Sesshoumaru found he needed to instruct the human once more; she seemed entirely lost without his guidance. “Go home, Higurashi.”

She ducked her head and made her way past him through the door.

“It’s past time to be having student meetings, Naraku-sensei,” he admonished, as cold and imperious as ever he acted around the mongrel. “You wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression.”

Once the echo of the human’s little footprints had disappeared down the hall, Naraku’s posture relaxed. He leaned composedly against the desk. “Whatever impression might that be? That I invite my students over for coffee dates behind closed doors, perhaps…? Or to my apartment for clandestine dinners?”

There was no need to remind Naraku that Higurashi was not his student—the hanyou merely attempted to bait him, to make him defensive. His comment merited no answer, so he offered none. Instead he took a leisurely look around the office. The barren shelves, the basic office furniture, the lack of pride. He breathed in—oddly, a trace of… was that wolf? Did a wolf youkai number amongst the students in their department?—and then returned his gaze to Naraku, who appeared quite tickled by Sesshoumaru’s blatant appraisal, not caring in the least that he’d been found lacking.

Sesshoumaru turned on his heel, leaving the smirking spider behind him. He found he had no taste for occupying the same building as his co-worker, and so, though he had just arrived, started down the stairs on his way out. As he passed through the foyer, he saw a yellow duck umbrella. Had Higurashi run home in the rain? She had a penchant for such odd behaviours. Which made it then, quite honestly, a surprise that he found Higurashi still there on the side-walk. Even more surprising: how incredibly shaken she appeared, her face pale, her breathing tremulous.

Feeling responsible for her current state, he bid her come, and she followed like a lost puppy.

The smell of wolf seemed stuck in his nose.

She remained unnaturally quiet, though well-mannered as always, throughout their walk and as he let them into the apartment. A bottle of wine was in order. Considering her still ashen face, he thought it prudent to ask “Are you alright?”, the way a concerned human party might.

She sighed, setting her glass down. “I still don’t believe it happened. I mean, what even happened? It’s so surreal.”

There must be context here that he had missed. What he witnessed did not justify this level of shock. Something must have happened—something that he did not know about.

The very idea irked him.

“That cur needs to be taught his place,” he ground out, wishing said cur’s bones between his teeth just then. He’d snap them in half and suck out the marrow.

“How much did you hear?” she probed.

“Enough,” was his terse reply. He scrunched his nose. Something niggled at him.

She seemed unable to sit still, first standing, then sitting, then standing again. Glass of wine in hand, she headed into the living area to settle on one of the couches.

When she drifted away from him, the something that niggled finally clicked into place. He stood, following her footsteps, noting her scent trail. When he sat beside her, he leaned just the slightest bit forward to better decode the information his nose was sending him.

The smell of wolf.

It hadn’t originated in Naraku’s office, and thence gotten stuck in his olfactory system.

It was stuck to her skin.

This was the third thing. The thing that, combined with the other two, made a mockery of his intentions for a well-preserved distance.

“Thank you for stepping in,” she said, blissfully unaware of the sirens clamoring in the cavern of his skull.

He said nothing, but stared.

Maybe it was a blow to his pride. Hojo he could forget; a human outlet when she could not hope to attain her true desire. Someone not worthwhile of Sesshoumaru’s attention or hers—and actually, he was fairly certain that Hojo had already disappeared from Higurashi’s radar. But a wolf youkai? And worse, one with whom she was intimately familiar.

An odor this strong couldn’t transfer from merely brushing against some stranger in passing.

This amounted to a scent marking. A demonstration.

And it filled him with something like anger, like wounded pride, or a sense of rejection, or—or, he wasn’t sure what—but his animal hind-brain wanted her to prove to him that given the choice, she would demonstrate her intelligence and make the correct choice.

She stared back at him now, perhaps unused to being the subject of such focused regard, cheeks coloring faintly, heartbeat quickening, skin becoming dewy once more, concentrating the scents on her skin.

Including the wolf’s.

And this, somehow, led to impulse overriding reason.

“I don’t receive a lot of fan-mail, Higurashi,” he said, voice pitched low.

She repeated his words weakly before realization brightened her eyes.

“And certainly not of that type.”

Even now, he could pull back. Leave it at light teasing.

But she hid her face in a throw-pillow and groaned, such a sexually charged sound that whatever remained of his reason fled him entirely. Given the choice, she was intelligent enough to choose correctly. He moved closer to her side; her luminescent blue eyes sparkled up at him. A light touch to tip up her chin, and his lips fell on hers.

She seemed to fall too, into a trance, returning his kiss. When he pulled away to admire the effect he’d had on her, her eyes fluttered open, expression incredulous.

He could not supress his satisfied chuckle before he kissed her again. Her lips were warm and tasted a little of cherry-flavored lip balm, last reapplied hours ago. Her tongue hot and tentative, and sweet, so shy in its return of his explorations.

When her dainty little hand slid up to his chest, he lost any remaining hope. A groan, and his hands moved automatically to her hips to slide her into his lap. She shifted immediately to accommodate him between the warm press of her thighs, and their spreading released a burst of the sweet scent of her center, sending his spiraling rationality into the depths of oblivion.

He needed more of her scent. Needed it. Her hands were still on him, and her body pliant in his hold, openly enjoying the attentions of his hand on the small of her back and the kisses he peppered along her jaw, but otherwise quite still in his hold. When his nose and lips touched to her neck, nipping and kissing against the sensitive flesh there, her head lolled to the side, opening herself to him, and her hips jerked once, hard, before beginning a light grinding against him.

This sign of submission was so artlessly done that he lost his breath.

But his hands knew no such pause, one winding tighter around her torso, the other daring lower, kneading over her shorts to caress the nearest fleshy mound of her buttocks, encouraging the slight back-and-forth shifting, the downward press against his growing excitement.

And then her phone rang, vibrating in her pocket.

She practically bolted from his embrace, someone’s name on her lips, and then with a speed he had not seen except perhaps in Olympic athletes, made for the door.

When it slammed behind her, he resumed breathing.

Taking in his state of disarray, the increasing tightness in his groin, his elevated heart rate and the rapidity of his breath, he reflected.

The phone call had been fortunate.

This had been a colossal mistake.

A colossal mistake.

He could only regret that this ‘Sango’ person had not decided to call about five minutes earlier, to spare him the rising sense of his own humiliation, his weakness, his complete and utter lack of control. But though this ship had somehow ended up in troubled waters, he could still correct the course. He would make it perfectly clear to Higurashi that this had been an error on both their parts; a nightmare never to be repeated.

The decision gave him a renewed confidence in his own rectitude, in his superiority over his baser instincts.

It did not take away the unpleasant sting at seeing Higurashi in the company the wolf, not so many nights later. Especially when it became clear to him with which wolf in particular she had been consorting.

The very same riffraff that once kept company with his sire’s hanyou son, Inuyasha.

Fate had a way of playing these kinds of tricks, after all. It liked symmetry.

He would have to warn her about Prince Kouga. Wolves… wolves were beneath her.

And perhaps he might spare the time to have a word with that feral runt as well, to keep him away, just to make sure that the poor girl could recover from her inevitable heartbreak at Sesshoumaru’s rejection in peace.

It was the least he could do.

-+-

 

AN: How are we doing? Not too shabby? A little interesting? Stay with me—this young man has a lot of emotional growth to undergo yet!

-Regarding the title: 四季咲き (しきざき) (Shikizaki) Means blooming in each season

-The waka at the beginning of each chapter are English translations of 5-7-5-7-7 syllable poems by Tonna, which I am excerpting from the book Just Living: Poems and Prose by the Japanese Monk Tonna, by Steven D. Carter.

This one is about age; morning glories are symbols of ephemerality. Anyone want to take a stab at how it relates to the chapter?

-This story is already complete, so expect the next chapter on Sunday, September 8th!

-Also, if I may be so bold… I’ve been working on an original novel for a while, and have recently started an author page/insta/tumblr/twitter. The tumblr is a wreck—I’m still trying to figure that one out. Feel free to check them out and interact with me! Please don’t mention the smut writing, lol, I’m trying to be legit :X It can be our little secret. 

www.spwritely.com  Twitter: @writespwritely  Insta: @spwritely  Tumblr: @spwritely

 

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