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Everything Has Changed by Sage McMae

Chapter 1

Naraku’s final words ring in Kagome’s ears. The wish I made on the jewel was the wish of the Shikon no Tama itself. Dread fills her stomach as she watches his remains drop into the Bone Eater’s Well. He may be dead but his malevolent energy spirals around them, a poisonous cloud that has yet to dissipate. 

She feels a pull at her core. It reminds her of a tether extending from her belly button. The invisible thread yanks her in the direction of a dark vortex. 

Kagome screams, “Inuyasha!” 

He runs toward her, his hands reaching out. She stretches her hands, grasping desperately for his clawed fingertips. Just a little further...

That’s when a body slams into hers, knocking Kagome away from Inuyasha. She watches his eyes widen in surprise then abruptly narrow in rage.

“What the hell are you doing, you crazy bastard?” Inuyasha shouts. 

“Sesshōmaru?” 

The Lord of the Western Lands blinks, appearing as confused as Kagome is. Before she can ask him why he’s helping her, they are dragged into the Meido and her friends disappear from sight. 

“Why have you brought me here, miko?”

“What? I didn’t bring you here. You tried to save me,” she objects. 

Sesshōmaru scoffs. “You are Inuyasha’s obligation, not mine. I have no need to save you.” 

Kagome glares at him but her anger is short-lived. Ahead of them, she sees a pulsating pink light. Curious, she approaches the object. Its shape becomes clearer and more defined with each step until Kagome realizes what it is. She gasps. 

The Shikon Jewel. 

It hangs suspended before her with its center pierced through with an arrow— her arrow —the one she used to kill Naraku. 

“It was you!” she cries accusingly. “This is your fault.” 

“Make your wish, miko,” the jewel demands. “Or suffer alone in darkness forever.” 

“She is not alone.” 

Kagome glances up to find Sesshōmaru at her side with Bakusaiga drawn. When her attention returns to the jewel, she spots the demons swarming beneath it. 

“Son of Tōga, your presence here is irrelevant. The miko’s heart is turning. Leave this place or die.” 

As the jewel speaks, Kagome feels a pang in her chest. Doubt clouds her judgment as toxic thoughts invade her mind.  Why isn’t Inuyasha here with me? Maybe he doesn’t actually love me, not the way he loved Kikyo. It’s just like Dad and Grandma. They should have survived that car accident but they didn’t. They left us. Why did they do that? Was it something I did? 

She collapses to her knees. The thing she fears the most isn’t battling demons— it isn’t even death. No, the thing Kagome Higurashi fears above all things is not being enough. 

When Urasue divided her soul and gave a piece to Kikyo, Kagome felt diminished. Every time she came across Kikyo during their journey, the same question surfaced in her mind. Will I ever be enough? 

Even though the priestess is dead and her soul is complete, Kagome can’t help but feel less than herself. She can’t unsee the kisses they’ve shared, can’t rewrite history, or undo the hurt it has caused. She can’t change the hands of time to bring back her family. She can’t do anything. She’s useless. 

“Miko.”

A hand is on her shoulder, shaking her. Kagome blinks as the motion jars her from the reverie. “Sesshōmaru?” 

“Fight.” 

“What?” 

“The poison the jewel feeds you is not real. You know the truth,” he says. 

Kagome can only gape at him. It may be the closest thing to a pep talk the Lord of the Western Lands has ever given. Even though his gaze is hard, Kagome senses him trying to be supportive. Slowly, her lips pull up into a smile. 

“Thank you.” 

“Hn.” He removes his hand and sets his focus to the demons circling them. 

When she rises from the ground, Kagome feels a different pressure on her. The sensation is akin to being clothed in Inuyasha’s fire-rat robe, like she has just added a second skin. Raising her blue eyes to the jewel, she draws an arrow. 

“Midoriko,” the jewel hisses.

Kagome doesn’t take the time to correct the Shikon jewel. She understands it’s tainted by Naraku, unbalanced in its battle between good and evil waged centuries before. Her grandfather’s teachings play in her head, reminding her that there is only one way out of this. If Kagome wants to get back to Inuyasha and her friends, she needs to end the vicious cycle. 

She lowers her bow. 

“Miko,” Sesshōmaru says in terse warning.

Kagome ignores him. She fixes her gaze upon the jewel and clears her mind of all doubt. Her wish needs to be pure. Beside her, Sesshōmaru readies to strike the demons. 

“Disappear,” she orders the Shikon jewel. “I wish you never existed.” 

With the same splintering crack Kagome heard over a year ago, it breaks into hundreds of shards. Her arrow glows a brilliant white and the light dissolves all the fragments. The blinding flash washes over them, burning through the demons. Hastily, she wraps her arms around Sesshōmaru and prays her embrace will spare him. 

For a moment, all Kagome can do is keep her eyes squeezed shut as she clings to the Lord of the Western Lands. Adrenaline courses through her veins, blocking out details such as his scent and unexpected warmth. Kagome only comprehends her need to keep them both safe so they can return to those they love. 

“Remove yourself.” 

“Huh?” Kagome opens her eyes to see a very displeased demon glaring down at her. “Oops, sorry, Sesshōmaru. I didn’t want you to get purified with the rest of them.” 

“Hn.” 

“Is that it?” she asks more to herself than him. “Is it finally over?” 

The inner walls of the well greet her, conforming her assumption. Smiling, Kagome cups her mouth and calls up, “Inuyasha! Inuyasha, we are down here!”

“Come.” An arm snakes around her waist and suddenly she is soaring through the air. Her shock at having him willingly touch her is second only to her own impatience. 

Sesshōmaru’s boots make contact with wood, not grass. His brow furrows as he drops Kagome to the floor. She glances around, familiar with the structure they are inside. 

Whipping around, Kagome dives back into the well. Her knees hit the dirt at the same time her heart plummets into her stomach. With a shaky hand, she presses her fingertips to the cold earth. “Inuyasha?” 

There is no response. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It could be hours or it could be days before he speaks. Kagome can barely hear him over the sound of her sobs. Her ribs hurt, her nose is running, and her eyes are flooded with an endless stream of tears. 

“Miko.” 

If Kagome had known this was what awaited her, she would have never made that stupid wish. She would have fired her arrows and fought every single demon within the Shikon Jewel until it was purified. Then she could have returned to Inuyasha. They could finally be together— no threat of Naraku, no looming presence of Kikyo— just them. 

“Miko.” 

What about Sango and Miroku? She was going to miss them and Shippo and Kirara. Her friends were unreachable. She would miss their weddings, their children— everything. Kagome couldn’t hold Sango’s hand while she reforged her relationship with Kohaku. She wouldn’t be able to help Shippo practice his illusions. Kagome never got to thank Kaede for all she’d shared with her. 

“That is enough.” Sesshōmaru abruptly pulls her to her feet. Kagome sags against him. Her legs are too weak to support her. He steps back and lets her fall to the dirt. She doesn’t move to stand. He growls. “Tears will not change our situation. Do not be foolish.” 

Kagome feels a surge of anger burst forth from her chest. “Everyone is always telling me what I have to do. Aim better, Kagome. Shoot faster, Kagome. Find those jewel shards, Kagome. All I ever wanted to do was set things right. I broke the sacred jewel so it had to be me who fixed it. But then I did the right thing and look at what happened!” She gestures to the ground. “We’re stuck here!”

“Where?”

“In the future!” Kagome cries incredulously. 

The towering demon lord stares at her. Maybe Sesshōmaru thinks she’s too emotional to behave soundly or perhaps he is just annoyed with her crying. Either way, the Lord of the Western Lands doesn’t appear to believe her. 

“I must check on Rin,” Sesshōmaru says. Grabbing her by the arm, he hoists her out of the well and proceeds to pull her up the steps. The instant Sesshōmaru moves to open the well house doors, he freezes. “What is that stench?” 

“I told you,” Kagome snaps, yanking her arm free. 

He gazes at her, a mixture of irritation and shock in his golden orbs. “Where have you taken us, miko?”

“I didn’t take us anywhere. It was the jewel!” 

“The jewel is gone,” Sesshōmaru reminds her. 

“I know!” Kagome stomps her foot, clenching her fists at her side. How dare he blame her? It is his stupid fault for being in the way. If he hadn’t knocked into her, Inuyasha could have pulled her out of the Meido’s grasp. “This is as much your fault as it is mine.” 

Sesshōmaru glowers.

Stubborn inuyōkai. Kagome shakes her head with a resigned sigh. They aren’t going to get anywhere fighting each other. She started the same way with Inuyasha. Arguing with him hadn’t done much good. 

If Kagome wants to find a way back through the well, she is going to have to be the bigger person. That means extending an olive branch to her ally, even if he is being a jerk. Besides, they can’t stay inside this hut forever. Eventually, she’s going to have to show him what lies beyond the well house. 

She winces at the thought of Sesshōmaru freely roaming around Tokyo. How does she explain the advances in their technology? Why their buildings touch the sky? How can she make him understand that the formal dress he is clothed in won’t be appropriate? And his hair! Kagome expels a heavy sigh. The more she thinks about it, the more she considers keeping him locked up in the well house until they can sort things out. It may be safer that way. 

For Japan. 

Of course, caging a daiyōkai, such as Sesshōmaru runs its own risks. She shivers, imagining the shrine in shambles. A collection of charred wood and smoking rubble comes to mind. Maybe she can teach Sesshōmaru how to act in the modern age. 

Mind made up, Kagome strolls past him and shoves the doors open. Sunlight blinds them momentarily. She holds up her hand and gives herself a minute to adjust. 

The sounds of street traffic, chattering pedestrians, and the train fill the air. Kagome waits, studying Sesshōmaru for a change in his expression. He remains indifferent to his surroundings. There is no doubt that he hears the difference in their times. Whether he wants to acknowledge it or not, they aren’t in the Feudal Era anymore. 

“Kagome?”

She stares across the yard to find her mother standing on the porch. 

“Mama!” Kagome races over, throwing herself into her mother’s arms. She’s acting childish but she doesn’t care. She feels like a child, raw and vulnerable. 

“Kagome, what is it?” 

“I’m back,” she tells her, voice cracking. Kagome knows her mother worries when she’s gone. Supporting her daughter’s quest can’t be easy. Between the stories Kagome tells and the wounds she gets patched up for, it’s a wonder her mother doesn’t board up the well. Anyone else would. 

It’s not the same, but Kagome understands. When she’s in modern times, her mind is preoccupied with worrying about Inuyasha and the others. Even though it’s only for a few days, Kagome is always thinking about going back. 

That’s no longer an option. 

A fresh stream of tears rolls down her cheeks. “I’m here to stay,” she manages to croak as her mother pats her back soothingly. 

“Stay? So it’s over then?”

“Yes, it’s finished.” 

“Kagome, I’m so proud of you. I know— oh! Who is this?” 

Inwardly, she groans. The only thing worse than knowing she can’t go back is being stuck in the future with Sesshōmaru. 

Hesitantly, Kagome releases her mother and straightens up. “Mama, this is Sesshōmaru, Inuyasha’s brother.” 

“How nice,” her mother remarks politely as she extends her hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” 

He inclines his head toward her, respectfully. “Mother of the miko.” 

“Oh,” Kagome’s mother gasps. Unlike her daughter, she seems pleased with the demon lord’s manners. 

Kagome clears her throat. “Sesshōmaru, this is my mother, Mayumi Higurashi.”

He closes his eyes and bows his head again, this time a bit deeper than before. Kagome is surprised he cares enough to offer the courtesy to her mother, considering she is human. Maybe traveling with Rin has changed Sesshōmaru more than she realized. 

“I will require the use of your guesthouse,” he announces. Any goodwill he earned dissipates with his haughty tone. 

“Guesthouse?” her mother repeats, confused. 

Kagome feels a headache coming on. Rubbing her temples, she informs him that the shrine doesn’t have a guest house. When he asks where to retire, her mother offers up Sōta’s room. 

“Mama,” she protests.

Her mother waves her off. “It’s fine. He’s been playing his games well into the night anyway. I usually find him sprawled out on the floor instead of in his bed.”

Kagome glares at Sesshōmaru. He doesn’t react. Sometimes, Kagome thinks he acts aloof merely to avoid having to respond. She sighs and leads him toward the house. Hopefully, Sōta is still at school. Kagome can only handle so many questions and the impending introduction to Gramps is bound to test her patience. 

“Demon! It’s a demon! Kagome, Mayumi, get behind me. I will protect you.” 

Speaking of...

“Gramps, it’s alright. This is—.”

“Begone!” Her grandfather commands, waving an ofuda in the air. 

“No, Gramps, you don’t understand,” Kagome cries, rushing to stop him from slapping the piece of paper across Sesshōmaru’s face. He may be eccentric but she loves her grandfather. She doesn’t want to see him torn apart by poisonous claws. 

Sesshōmaru watches the situation unfold and remains unmoving. 

The big, smug jerk. 

“This is Inuyasha’s older brother,” Kagome explains. “He’s going to be staying with us for a while.” 

“Eh?” 

“I’ll get Sōta’s room ready,” her mother says. She gives Kagome’s shoulder a squeeze before entering the house. 

Grandpa eyes Sesshōmaru warily. The Lord of the Western Lands doesn’t offer any greetings to her grandfather. He appears to understand whatever relationship they have will be strained, even if this is only temporary. 

I hope, Kagome thinks ruefully. 

“How are your bonsai trees coming along?” she asks, taking Gramps by the hand and leading him away from the complacent demon. 

“They’re fine,” her grandfather replied with a final pointed look at Sesshōmaru. “You don’t need to water them every day,” he informs her as they follow her mother inside. 

Gramps goes on, giving her details about caring for his latest side project. Kagome nods when appropriate but she’s not listening. Her mind is five hundred years in the past. 

I wonder what happened to everyone. I hope Inuyasha is okay. She grins, despite everything. Knowing him, he’s probably trying to use Tetsusaiga on the well. Kagome shakes her head, her smile growing. 

She’s too lost in thought to catch Sesshōmaru staring. 

“When will you be going back?” her grandfather inquires. “I need to come up with some new ailments.” 

Her face falls. “Um, actually, Gramps, I’m not going back, at least not any time soon.” 

He stalls. “What?” 

“You see, the thing is,” Kagome begins sheepishly, digging her heel in the dirt. “I kinda wished the jewel out of existence and without it, the well doesn’t work.” 

“Kagome!” Gramps grabs her in a tight hug. “Oh! I knew you listened to my teachings. You did exactly as the legend said. I’m so proud of you.” 

As he steps back, she sees the tears in his eyes. His genuine joy over her accomplishment dulls the pain in her chest, if only for a moment. “Thanks, Gramps.” 

“We should organize a celebration at the shrine to commemorate your victory!” 

Kagome holds up her hands. Her cheeks turn red as she tells him,” No, that’s okay. Besides, it wasn’t only me who did it. My friends all helped, including Sesshōmaru.” 

At this, her grandfather and the demon lord exchange a tense glance. 

“A demon came to your aid?” he questions skeptically. 

Sesshōmaru’s gold eyes stare at the old man, unblinking as if daring him to speak further. 

“Gramps, we’ve talked about this. Not all demons are bad,” Kagome says, taking him by the arm. 

“Hmph, well, I don’t believe that,” he grumbles petulantly. 

Kagome shakes her head, thinking the two are more alike than they are willing to admit— stubborn to a fault and full of pride. 

“Let’s go inside. I’m exhausted,” she says, guiding her grandfather inside. Sesshōmaru follows. 

The house hasn’t changed much. Her mother keeps it tidy, regardless of how busy Sōta is with school or how many cheap knock-offs her grandfather buys for the shrine’s gift shop. 

“I think I’ll go and help Mom,” she decides. “Gramps, could you make some tea, please?” 

“Alright,” he agrees, shuffling off to the kitchen. 

“You can take a seat in here,” Kagome tells Sesshōmaru. 

She doesn’t trust the two alone together. If Kagome knows her grandfather, he has more talismans hidden in his robes. They won’t be effective against Sesshōmaru. Still, she doesn’t want to give the demon a reason to become any more agitated than he already is. 

Wordlessly, he sits down, leaning against the sidewall. Kagome pauses for a moment, feeling like she should say something. Sesshōmaru only mentioned Rin though she suspects he is also concerned about Jaken, A-Un, and Kohaku. Kagome opens her mouth to reassure him that they are fine. The words never come out. She is reminded of his comment in the well house and turns away. Sesshōmaru doesn’t want her foolish human pity. She leaves him and heads down the hall to assist her mother. 

“Hey, Mama.”

“I’m almost done in here,” her mother says with a smile as she pulls the fitted sheet right around the corner of the bed. “Why don’t you grab a couple of spare towels?” 

“Sure, okay.” 

Kagome retrieves a large towel and washcloth from the linen closet. At least being back in the present has one silver lining: taking a bath without having to worry about perverts. 

She makes a mental note to explain how indoor plumbing works to Sesshōmaru. The last thing she needs is a misunderstanding that results in unexplainable damage to the house. The Lord of the Western Lands may not be as rash as his brother but Kagome knows when confronted with a roadblock, Sesshōmaru’s first impulse will be to remove it. Forcibly. 

Hadn’t he done that to Mukotsu?

He could not answer my question so I got rid of him. Simple as that. 

Kagome closes the linen closet with a frown. He’s so cold. How can Rin and Kohaku bear it? 

There has to be more to him than his brooding stare and harsh words, she thinks. There’s just gotta be.

Footsteps on the outside porch signal that her brother is home. Kagome glances up just in time to see him enter the house. 

“Hey, sis, you’re back!” Sōta greets her with a cheerful smile and a warm hug. 

Each time she returns, Kagome is reminded how much he’s grown. Another couple of years and he will be taller than she is. 

“Where’s Inuyasha?” Sōta asks, looking around. 

“Uh, he’s not with me this time.”

Her brother’s brow furrows. “What’s mom doing in my room?” 

“Miko.” 

Sōta jumps backward. “Ah! Who are you?” 

Sesshōmaru stares over her brother’s head, his attention focused on her. “Your elder attempted to purify me.” 

“Gramps,” Kagome mutters under her breath. “Here, Sōta. Take these to your room. Mom’s making it up for Sesshōmaru.”

“Sesshō who?” 

“Sesshōmaru,” she corrects. “He’s Inuyasha’s older brother.” 

“What’s he doing here? Where’s Inuyasha?” Sōta repeats.

“He’s not here. Inuyasha is in his own time and I’m—.” Not, her mind provides. It isn’t the first time she’s thought that. 

After spending countless days in the Feudal Era, Kagome has begun to think of it as home. Modern-day Tokyo, with all its flashing lights, pollution, and massive population, makes her feel claustrophobic. She finds herself missing the sweeping countryside and the crisp air of the mountains. 

“What about your quest?” Sōta inquires, staring at her expectantly. 

“It’s over,” Kagome confirms. 

“Then are you staying here?”

Her throat tightens and she fights to swallow. “Yeah,” Kagome answers with a nod. “Yeah, I am.”

“So what’s he doing with you? I thought you and Inuyasha—.”

“Okay, that’s enough,” Kagome cuts him off, laughing nervously as she slaps a hand over his mouth. He stares at her, confused but she holds on. Kagome guides him to the staircase and tugs him up to her room. “Don’t say stuff like that in front of him,” she admonishes her brother, shutting the bedroom door. 

“Who? That Sesshōmaru guy?” 

“Yes,” Kagome cries exasperatedly.

Sōta crosses his arms over his chest. “Why?” 

“Because he and Inuyasha don’t get along.” Well, it’s not a lie. 

“If they don’t get along, why did you bring him here?” 

“I didn’t,” she insists, rapidly growing frustrated by her predicament. 

Kagome feels as though she’s traded babysitting the Jewel of Four Souls for a temperamental daiyōkai. She groans. At this rate, she’ll never graduate high school. 

“I don’t know what to do,” she admits. “When I broke the jewel, I knew it was my responsibility to find the pieces and make it whole again. I had a plan but now...,” Kagome trails off. 

Who am I without Inuyasha? 

“You’ll figure it out,” Sōta assures her. “You always do.” 

She musters up a smile. Ruffling his hair, Kagome thanks her brother.

“I think I’ll see if I can stay at Satoru’s tonight,” he announces. 

“Okay.” Kagome watches him leave, presumably to pack an overnight bag. 

She sighs, sinking onto the edge of her mattress. It had never occurred to her how Sesshōmaru’s presence would affect those around her, not that she had a choice. Or time to consider it. The jewel had dumped them both here. Kagome finds the decision rather spiteful. Reflecting on the jewel, she imagines it chuckling in Naraku’s maniacal tone. 

Kagome shakes her head, pushing the eerie thought from her mind. 

Maybe if she gets some sleep and clears her head, she can figure out a way to reactivate the well. There has to be a way. Her spiritual powers are stronger than Kilyo’s were and that has to mean something, right? She won’t give up. She’ll find a way to go back. 

Her grandfather probably has texts on ancient shrine practices. Kagome can read through them to see if they hold any ideas. All she needs to do is come up with a new plan, a new purpose. 

Yeah, she thinks, smiling. That’s just what I need. I already feel better. 

“Miko.” 

“Don’t you knock?” she snaps at Sesshōmaru, who is standing there, taking up the entire door frame. 

He makes a noncommittal sound. “We need to discuss our course.” 

“Our course?” she asks, brows pinching together. 

“For travel. I must check on my charge.” 

“I’ll see what I can find in Gramp’s library tomorrow,” Kagome tells him. 

“No. Tonight.” 

She jumps to her feet. “Excuse me?” 

“I do not wish to linger here.” 

Kagome’s blue eyes narrow until their color is imperceptible. “Well, I have news for you, buddy. I’m not exactly happy about this either but you know what? I’m tired. I just fought off an all-power demon and removed an unholy jewel from existence. So you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take a bath and then go to bed.” 

“Unacceptable.”

“Ugh, you’re just as bad as Inuyasha,” she mutters, shoving past him. 

He growls. 

Kagome ignores him, stomping down the steps to the bathroom. She doesn’t want to be anywhere near him. Just looking at his stoic face makes her angry. 

“Miko.” 

“Stop calling me that!” she shrieks, whirling around to jab a finger into his solid chest. “My name is Kagome. Ka-go-me. Got it?” 

She doesn’t wait for a reply. She slams the door in his face and erects a reiki barrier for good measure.

 

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