AN: For the last Sesskag week prompt it was a free day, so I chose Hurt/comfort, with a side order of angst bc that's what I'm about lol sorry for the late entry.
Warning: some grief
The sun blazed brilliant hues of orange as it ascended the horizon, slowly inching further into a tangerine sky. A figure stepped outside, feeling a slight breeze tease at the ends of her hair. Not for the first time, Kagome gave thanks to whoever had decided to build their home on a hill, blessing them with the ability to see the vast spread of Tokyo city. Flinching as she stepped out of the shade, blue eyes focused, and she blinked, adjusting to the light.
Walking further into the courtyard of the silent Higurashi shrine, she noted an abundance of leaves scattered around the place. Great piles of flame-filled colours had accumulated, spread out like her own personal confetti. Kagome smiled ruefully.
Autumn had arrived.
Having overslept, she took up a broom as an excuse to move stiff muscles. As she swept the stray leaves up, amusement touched her face. The image of a redhead fox leaping into the firey leaves played through her mind. She didn't stop to acknowledge the nostalgic thought.
As she brushed a few leaves with a little too much force into a waiting, bigger pile, Kagome noticed a tuft of something white sticking out of it. At first, she assumed it to be feathers of some sort and poked the broom over the pile slightly. Yet the more leaves she uncovered, the more white she found, until a particularly long strand of it made her pause.
Her miko powers flickered like a forgotten lightbulb that had long since fizzled out, briefly awakening. Sensing a presence under the leaves, Kagome's face became unreadable as she crouched down. Beginning to pluck them off, some of the fine silky strands clung to her hands, and her fingers twitched in response. It felt so soft. The thick volume of hair eventually gave way to pale skin. Kagome's eyes widened. A pointed ear lay under the pad of her thumb. Hastily sweeping the remaining locks aside to reveal a demon's delicate features, the priestess stilled, breath catching.
To say he was beautiful was an understatement. Ethereal perhaps. She couldn't suppress the quiver in her fingers, spying magenta markings adorning his cheeks. Her heart thundered, and she swallowed thickly.
Viciously suppressing the ache in her chest, she held out hope that he wasn't lying dead on her doorstep.
Shaking his shoulder, she noted the muscle beneath her palm that his slim figure belied. He was dressed exactly as she remembered, albeit a bit more rumpled, armour broken.
"Hey-" she cleared her throat. "Wake up sleeping beauty."
Feeling for a pulse, a steady thrum fluttered under her fingers.
Kagome gave a huge sigh of relief even as his eyes remained closed.
Reaching through the pile and awkwardly sliding her hands under his arms, Kagome was heedless of the falling leaves scattering around them as she started dragging him. Hoping the Daiyoukai wouldn't kill her for touching him without permission, she heaved, returning back inside with her unexpected guest.
Stirring a few hours later, a bright cosmos of golden fire burned alive within demonic irises as his eyes snapped open, blinking up at the ceiling.
Kagome sat in an armchair near the couch he lay upon, reading. She turned when hearing his voice, rising. "You're in my home."
The moment his gaze swung to her, Sesshoumaru jolted upright. He stared in disbelief, raking his attention down her body. "Impossible."
"I didn't die all those years ago, so I'd say it's pretty probable that I can stand here in front of you," she smiled a little, offering him a glass of water that had been waiting on the table.
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened, shifting fractured attention around the room, returning it to her and observing the contours of her face. "Why have you not aged?" he carefully inquired. "Many years have passed. 20, if memory serves."
Kagome's lips thinned and she set the glass down again. "I dunno, something happened with the jewel or the well. I couldn't figure out which, so-" she smiled wryly, spreading her arms out and turning in a circle. "I'm pretty much physically stuck at age 16. Even though I'm actually around 36. I don't know if I'm just not aging or if I'm immortal. It sucks."
He blinked, scenting the air. "...This one is not picking up the smell of death lingering around you as it does with all humans. Immortality can be assumed then."
A complicated expression crossed her face. "O-oh," she murmured, falling quiet.
Raising a brow, the demon ghosted long claws over his face, something slowly occurring to him. "How did this one come to be here?"
Kagome shook herself and scrambled to retain her bravado. "I should be asking you that. Sleeping in a pile of leaves isn't what I expected from the mighty Lord Sesshoumaru. Then again, you always were quite in touch with nature. Going on long walks and stuff," she smiled a little.
"Hn," Sesshoumaru shifted his feet over the edge of the couch, brushing long hair back and stopping to remove a few leaves. "I should be going," he said primly.
"Uh- sorry for interfering but do you even know where you are?"
"Of course I do," he tutted, before hissing and stilling. Pressing a hand to his side, he felt the rough scrape of bandages under his clothing. They were wrapped around his ribs. His face skittered with an unnamed expression, pinning her with a dark look.
Kagome had the grace to seem mildly guilty before her gaze turned flat. "I put your clothes back on after binding your wounds. You're welcome."
"I did not ask for your assistance." His lip lifted, exposing a fang while pressing his palm against his side protectively. Yet he felt no serious wounds, and that the miko had assisted him while he'd been vulnerable was something he had no choice but to acknowledge.
Kagome's hand raised in a placating gesture. "You're on the defensive, I understand that. But don't get crabby," she drew closer. "We were allies in our fight against Naraku. You can still trust me, even if it has been a while."
The passionate, cold glow in his eyes lessened slightly, and Sesshoumaru exhaled. "...This one recalls fighting near the Bone Eater's Well. An enemy struck- and I…" a steel edge threaded his calm voice, obviously frustrated.
Kagome's brows drew together, "you fell down the well," she finished softly, face drawn. "I wonder why it opened to let you through. It's always been closed for me, ever since that day a long time ago."
"Perhaps it is still open?"
The miko looked sceptical and jaded, breathing out and pushing some hair behind her ear.
"I must see-" he stood, eyes widening as his knees buckled. Kagome quickly caught him about the shoulders, pressing against the hard line of his body in order to steady him. Sesshoumaru's nose briefly dipped into soft, dark hair. She smelled of warm home comforts and the stifled tease of holy power brimming under her skin.
It dazed him enough not to realise she'd gently guided him back down to sit. "Stay here, mister. I can't be lugging you about again if you collapse," blue eyes danced. "I'll go take a look. Be back in a flash," Kagome released him and walked from the room.
Sesshoumaru stared, before turning his attention to the structure he found himself in. The house lay near-silent, but he could detect the faint, gravely sound of breathing in another room. A human. Older, weak.
It smiled faintly of feline too, and his keen gaze sought out the thin, discarded hairs of a shedding house-cat littered on the arm of a chair. His nose wrinkled.
Kagome's home also held the strange, buzzing feeling of energy running through its walls like a nervous system. He followed the hum of power down the side of a wall, trailing his eyes over bizarre, thin black rope connecting to a square box in the corner of the room.
He jolted, bristling at being caught unawares. Kagome smiled gently from the threshold, a faint sheen over her eyes.
Sesshoumaru blinked, not picking up the trace of tears. She'd held them back.
"The well is closed again, so looks like you're stuck for the time being," Kagome hummed, tapping her chin. Noticing the alarm flashing in his eyes, she changed her tone to an assuring one. "If it opened once to let you through, I'm confident it'll do it again. You can take the time to heal here in the meantime, no one will harm you. I think I mentioned this to you before but there's no fighting or killing in Tokyo like in your era, so be on your best behaviour during your stay. There's a garden out back, and a small amount of trees bordering it if you want peace and quiet. I don't think it's a good idea for you to leave the shrine though."
"...Very well," he muttered quietly.
Thinking for a moment, the demon decided it bothered him enough to inquire; "who is the aged human in this house? I hear them."
Surprise skittered over her face, soon gentling. "That's my Grandpa. I live here with him alone- ah- aside from Pyon."
Sesshoumaru sneered. "The feline."
Kagome blinked and burst into a delicate laugh- and had it always been so dusty and gentle? For some reason he recalled it being more full of life and childish.
"You'll have to grin and bear it, for the time being at least," she winked. "Want something to eat?"
"I do not consume human food."
Kagome pursed her mouth, and Sesshoumaru fought the incredibly random urge to take her bottom lip between his teeth, quickly shaking himself. "I've got some fresh meats from the market. No seasoning or anything. Will those do?"
Due to his demonic blood, Sesshoumaru merely needed to lounge on the couch for a few more hours before feeling his wound tentatively heal.
He listened, hearing shuffling upstairs and Kagome's gentle voice. Sesshoumaru looked over the back of the couch to observe an incredibly aged human move stiffly into view at the top of the stairs. Kagome helped him onto a chair- which then began to slowly descend the steps via a mechanism attached to the wall.
He had never seen such an old man. Usually, mortals died before managing to reach such an age, vulnerable to disease and such. Kagome followed and helped him to the armchair in the living room beside Sesshoumaru, smiling at the demon.
"Grandpa, this is-"
"Demon," the old man rasped in an accusing voice, not looking in his direction.
Sesshoumaru arched a brow.
Kagome beamed. "Yes, Grandpa! But his name is Sesshoumaru. Mind your manners."
"Inuyasha can like it or lump it," Grandpa huffed, pressing a small device. The square box suddenly flared to life, making the demon jolt.
Loud noises assaulted his ears, tiny mortals behind the screen doing bizzare things, dressed in costume and talking very animatedly about a- Sesshoumaru squinted- energy drink?
Gentle fingers smoothed over mokomoko. Golden eyes snapped to her touch, noticing the bristling fur she was trying to calm.
"It's just television. This is what people watch for entertainment or if they're bored."
Sesshoumaru made a non-committal noise. He didn't like it.
Kagome smiled at him sympathetically and offered a hand- which the Daiyoukai reluctantly took, pride stinging. He grit sharp teeth while they made their journey through the house, disliking her soothing closeness and the fact that he found her scent appealing.
Eventually, they made it outside, stepping into the lush, rich sunlight and walking through the courtyard that stretched wide. Sesshoumaru glanced around. "The smell of smoke and other fumes are distinct here."
"It's because of the city," Kagome murmured, arm around his waist to hold him steady. He suspected it was a habit she'd gained from looking after Grandpa. The demon did not need her assistance but also neglected to push her away. "That's Tokyo- see. It's what Kaede's village will become."
Golden eyes followed the point of her finger, gazing out at the large, bustling city beyond the shrine. It looked nothing like he'd ever seen before. Their buildings were tall and imposing. He knew the miko to be from the future, but Sesshoumaru hadn't taken much time to envision what it would be like.
"Why do I not sense any demons?" he muttered.
Kagome winced, avoiding his gaze. "I don't know. I haven't sensed them in the city."
"They are likely cloaking themselves from detection then," Sesshoumaru confidently assumed. Anything else was unthinkable.
The miko didn't reply, watching him glance around.
"Hn, this one was going to sleep out here. However, I do not think it would be a peaceful rest."
"If the garden isn't to your liking then I'm not sure what else to recommend. I do have several plants inside my room, they can make the air feel more clear, right? You can sleep there if you want."
"Very well," he uttered, moving to brush past her. A hiss escaped clenched teeth when his ribs blazed to life with pain and he found herself resting against her side for a moment. Kagome's warm hand felt steady on his waist. She didn't breathe a word, assisting him back inside.
It was a painstaking process to try and usher the proud demon up the stairs. Kagome had almost suggested taking Grandpa's stairlift before Sesshoumaru's narrowed gaze had swung to her, stifling the words on her tongue.
"Is this is your room?" he asked once they reached it.
"My childhood bedroom to be exact. I sleep in Mama's old room now," Kagome arched a brow, expecting his sharp tongue. "Is it to your liking, my Lord?" she teased.
"It is very… pink."
A smile quirked her lips. "Hopefully the bed is big enough for you. There's a bathroom in the hallway if you want to be experimental and take a shower. There's always a bath too. Do you need anything else?"
"Alrighty then, goodnight."
Kagome's heel drew back and she turned, moving away. She was rewarded with the soft cadence of his voice.
She blinked, wondering why those words made warmth fan into her hollow feeling chest. Glancing over her shoulder, the miko watched with fascination as he settled onto her much too small bed, silver hair tumbling down to the floor. Leaving soon after, a buzzing took flight in her ears that thrummed through her bloodstream.
Tears pricked blue eyes, and Kagome leaned heavily against a wall once she'd reached the privacy of her own bedroom, pressing a hand to her mouth. Unmitigated relief choked fire up her throat, battling with resentment.
She'd worked hard. She'd worked so damn hard to keep the memories of her friends in the feudal era hidden away in a box. To continue living every day in the cold, repetitive present time.
Cramming her feelings away into that neat and tidy box again, Kagome pushed away from the wall to go check on Grandpa for the umpteenth time.
Mama had died at the much too early age of 57.
It had been so long since the well had closed. Now at 36, Kagome supposed she should've probably shared her secret with more people, to keep her in a friendship circle of some sort. Souta had moved out, married and had kids. He still visited sometimes but it didn't feel like nearly enough. She supposed her isolation made her needy, though Kagome never voiced it.
Sesshoumaru had gotten antsy waiting around. He'd consumed almost all the reading material in her house already during his stay, soaking in information like a sponge. "I wish to see the city," he uttered, shooting the cat a glare as Pyon brushed against her leg, purring. "Despite the foul smells, if this one is to remain here for a little while longer, I should like to know my surroundings."
Kagome hadn't refused but had given a few conditions. One was that he couldn't go off on his own (lest he be angered and melt a car) and two, that he looked and dressed the part.
Dying her own hair the colour of chestnut in the bathroom, Kagome had offered a bottle of black hair dye for the demon lord. Sesshoumaru, while holding his nose, had flatly refused.
To her surprise then, he'd swept claw-tipped hands through snowy silver locks, the colour bleeding dark black.
"H-how did you do that?" she'd asked, rinsing her hair over the tub.
"It is a simple enough thing to modify one's appearance when you are a strong enough youkai," he'd sniffed.
When she'd finally finished up and wandered downstairs, he flicked his attention over her appearance just as she drank him in. The magenta stripes and crescent moon were missing, claws retracted but nails still sharp. He couldn't hide the pointed ears, so had swept dark hair into a low ponytail so that the thick volume of strands covered them.
Kagome's hair had been cut shorter, now above her shoulders and appearing brunette.
"Would it not be easier for you to wear a wig?" he asked, uncertain why she needed a disguise too.
She blinked as though roused from a dream, cheeks colouring. "Maybe, but it feels easier to step into a different persona like this. Besides, it's been so long since I last wandered around outside the shrine. We tend to get all our stuff delivered here."
Sesshoumaru arched a brow. "How long has it been?"
"I think 5 months?"
He stared but didn't say another word. In accordance with her conditions, Kagome uncovered father's old clothes from the depths of the attic. Mother had kept them in mint condition for years, so she'd refrained from discarding them. Sesshoumaru dressed in the old white shirt, business shoes and suit jacket, finding the latter a little too small.
"Can't you just enlarge your body into it if 'it's simple enough to modify one's appearance?" Kagome teased.
He tossed her a dry look. "Outward appearance. Some things cannot be changed. If I could adjust myself so easily, I'd have re-grown my severed limb much quicker."
She giggled, trying not to eye him in the navy suit. Noticing his struggle with the black-tie, she sighed and drew closer, reaching up and fixing it.
Golden eyes snapped to her face, body stilling as though waiting for something. Kagome flashed a small smile, gently tapping the area beneath his eye. "You'll have to do something about these as well," she murmured.
Pale lashes lowered slightly, animalistic pupils rounding. Gold dulled into earthy brown tones. "Humans are so plain in appearance."
Kagome pinched his side. "Rude," drawing away and grabbing some contacts, she slid brown over her naturally blue eyes.
Sesshoumaru frowned, wandering outside into the stuffy, clogging city air. Perhaps to humans, it didn't smell so intense, but he was Daiyoukai. Superior senses were hard to mute.
Hearing the creak of wheels, he glanced over one shoulder, watching Kagome help Grandpa outside, pushing his wheelchair. "You are bringing him?" he uttered flatly.
Some of her old temper sparked across her face. "I can't leave him alone, and besides, Grandpa could use the fresh air."
"Are the sakura blossoms in bloom yet?" the old man asked listlessly.
She smiled, tucking the blanket over his legs a little neater. "No, Grandpa. We're in September, so it's a little late."
He grumbled in discontentment, becoming quiet as Kagome wheeled him towards the back of the shrine. Beyond the trees was a road that zig-zagged down to houses.
"What are you doing?"
Kagome glanced back at Sesshoumaru, who stood within the courtyard near the stone stairs she'd used to take for walking to school. "I can't wheel Grandpa down those steps. Well- I can, but it'll take a lot longer and I'm- AHH!" she yelped, feeling an arm wrap around her waist and yank so that both feet left the ground. Sesshoumaru then reached down and lifted Grandpa's chair above his head with one hand- the old man barely reacting to the elevation.
Sesshoumaru lept into the air, sailing over the shrine steps in a fast descent, dark hair fanning out behind him. Kagome screamed, clutching his side as the demon carried them like they were nothing more than pizza boxes he needed to deliver.
Touching down at the bottom of the stairs and releasing her, Sesshoumaru set Grandpa down, who hummed.
"Thank ye, Inuyasha."
"I am not Inuyasha."
Panting, Kagome clutched at the floor, whipping her head up to glare at him. "What the hell?! Don't do that without warning! Someone could've seen- Grandpa could've fallen!"
Sesshoumaru snorted. "You act as though this one could make such an error."
Growling, she straightened and started wheeling the old man down the street. Trying to ignore the thrilling flush of her cheeks or the memory of flying through the air on Kirara or Inuyasha's back, she shook herself. Her heart hadn't thundered so fast in years. "Behave yourself or we go home."
Cutting his eyes to the sky, Sesshoumaru followed at a languid pace.
Tokyo proved to be ridiculously large. Sesshoumaru had assumed he'd be able to traverse the city on his own if the two mortals slowed him down, but as it was, he feared getting lost within the bowels of technology, noisy arcades and large buildings.
Walking around made him more aware of the ill-fitting suit jacket, though he did not protest. Oddly enough the miko took him to a store and bought a sleek black jacket that was more his size. He'd glanced at the price tag and noticed the card she used to pay, wondering how she supported herself.
Kagome took him to more shops and bought more casual wear for the house, including a grey oversized hoodie that he resolved to burn the second they got back.
Finally sitting down at a table outside a cafe, Sesshoumaru took a few breaths. Smells from many different types of foods flooded his nostrils, along with the deafening sounds of thousands of people moving around in huge clusters. He'd been trying to ignore it for hours. His head spun with the onslaught of new sensations and scents. Too much.
"Hey-" Kagome touched his shoulder. "Are you alright?"
Sesshoumaru eyed her, nostrils flaring. Unfortunately, her usual pleasant scent radiating from her hair had been tarnished by the dye. His attention slid to the material wrapped around her neck.
"Give me your scarf."
"Hm?" She blinked but readily relinquished it, handing it over. "Cold?"
"No," he scoffed, wrapping it around his neck and ducking his nose into the material, inhaling. The scent of gentle citrus and warm home comforts filled his senses, soothing them like a gentle caress.
Kagome's cheeks reddened and she glanced away, helping Grandpa eat his soup.
Jolting, she looked up in time with Sesshoumaru, who eyed the young male standing near their table with immediate annoyance. He looked happy and star-struck, no doubt harbouring a crush on the miko.
Kagome forced a smile and stood. "Ryota, hey. How are things?"
"They're good! I'm so happy to see you out and about," he burst. "You should've called me- you know you're welcome to come around any time. Dad wouldn't mind!"
"I'm sure he wouldn't," she smiled delicately, not protesting as Ryota took her hand and squeezed it.
Sesshoumaru bristled and busied himself with sipping his tea.
"Ah um- Ryota, this is my friend, Nao," Kagome introduced Sesshoumaru, who inclined his head. Ryota bowed slightly, eyes darting between them questioningly and finding his attention caught on the pink scarf wrapped snugly around the demon's neck. While Kagome chatted some more, Sesshoumaru dipped his head and inhaled the material again, maintaining eye contact with the male. Ryota looked mildly creeped out, which only made Sesshoumaru preen, thinking he'd successfully intimidated him.
"Kagome, did you get me some green tea?" Grandpa spoke up.
Instead of being suspicious, Ryota merely looked sympathetic as she nudged the tea into his hand and carefully helped him take a sip, arthritis having made his fingers stiff.
"I see your Grandpa hasn't improved," the young man whispered to her, before raising his voice to an obnoxiously loud, patronising level. Or at least Sesshoumaru thought of it that way. "Hello, sir! HOW… ARE… YOU… TODAY?" Ryota patted Grandpa on the shoulder.
He grumbled sourly in response, sipping his tea. It didn't detour the teen, who smiled at Kagome.
"Well, the offer is always open, Izumi. It must be so lonely up in that shrine by yourself."
"I'm really alright. I have Grandpa for company," Kagome gently dismissed.
"Give me a text any time. I gotta get back to class but I'll see you later," he said amiably, hurrying into the passing crowd while checking his watch.
Waving him away, Kagome retook her seat with a sigh, "whew. He's sweet but I feel like saying 'buddy, I'm actually old enough to be your mom'," she giggled, pausing and noticing Sesshoumaru's stare. "What?"
Feeling the need to explain, she sighed. "I was friends with his father in school. I can't hang around him too much or there's a chance Hojo might show up and likely recognise me. I faked my death years ago because I stopped ageing and have been posing as Souta's daughter ever since. We've arranged it so that I look like I'm homeschooled. This way… I can keep living at the shrine and looking after Grandpa."
"That explains why you do not leave the grounds much," he uttered, reading the menu and flicking his gaze up to her. "You are afraid."
"Wouldn't you be?" Kagome snorted. "People might perform science experiments on me if they knew I wasn't ageing!"
"I do not think that is the reason behind your fear."
She bristled and glanced away, telling him he'd hit the nail on the head. "Who knew you were the type to psychoanalyse," forcing a smile, she giggled and stood. "Drink your tea. I'll go pay for our things," she wandered off.
Sesshoumaru watched her go, halting Grandpa's chair without looking as the old man unknowingly tried to wheel backwards into traffic.
"You should take better care of her, Inuyasha," the old man huffed.
"Hn," his eyes remained on the miko.
Several hours later, after they'd seen the sights of the city some more and experienced a train ride, the small group had wandered home and immediately headed to bed. Sesshoumaru appeared within her bedroom not long after.
A dark halo of ebony hair spread out on her pillows, the locks curled in disarray. He noted that she slept very quietly, knees tucked up and hands drawn close to her chest. She looked every bit as beautiful and innocent as he'd figured a young priestess could be, but the shapely line of her legs and outline of certain curves made him certain she'd kept up her physical training long after the need for bows and arrows had died out. A pity her powers had been malnourished.
The bed dipped with his weight as he sat beside her, large claw-tipped hand reaching out- thumb ghosting over her parted lips, hovering over the pulse at her neck.
Kinship with a human felt odd. Yet he couldn't deny the telltale flickers of relatability he'd witnessed. He too, remained the same as others around him grew old. That was the price of keeping company with mortals. She was like him, and yet not. Instead of becoming integrated with humans as he had, she'd shut herself away within the shrine; afraid of the pain of loss. Kagome wore loneliness like a cloak, draping it around her protectively. She was now more like a demon than a human in lifespan, but her heart was not befitting of one. Now she almost resembled a half-demon.
And she needed a pack.
Some sickening, cloying emotion dried up his throat, leaving it parched and scratched. It hurt to swallow. His claws quivered, merely inches from delicate skin, before his fingers clenched and drew away.
Kagome did not stir as he moved off the bed, leaving as silently as he'd appeared.
Unbeknownst to the demon, deep blue eyes slowly drew open.
"You have not asked about them," he pointed out a few days later.
Kagome paused in her cleaning, before resuming scrubbing a pot with distracted motions. "I guess not."
Memories rose to the surface like a scuffed knee threatening to bleed but Kagome shook them away. "I'm not ready to know what happened to them yet," she amended, softer. "What about you though, how's your uh… stronghold?"
Sesshoumaru blinked languidly. "What?"
"Your palace?" she tried again, seeing another equally blank look. "Estate?" Groaning when he said nothing, Kagome waved her hands in frustration. "Aren't you a Lord or something?"
"Ah," he finally responded, glancing away dismissively. "You heed Jaken too much. I have no official home."
It was Kagome's turn to stare. "H-hah?"
Sesshoumaru arched a delicate brow as though she were the foolish one for daring to assume a regal demon clad in expensive silks had a shiny castle to return to. "My father was a General, and he claimed territory over the Western Lands, but he did not rule it like a Lord. My mother is more high born than he. She dwells within a castle and has noble blood-"
Kagome's eyes lit up.
"But I have no lands to inherit."
She deflated. "So you're a vagabond."
He brushed some hair over one shoulder. "I prefer to think of it as; no one may house me. I may go where I please."
Kagome eyed him dryly. "You're single, aren't you?"
He bristled. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Figures," Kagome huffed and lifted the pot, walking to the cupboard as she dried it. "You sound like some sort of playboy bachelor with that 'no one can house me' stuff. Honestly, now that I'm paying attention, you really do sound as young as you look. Like you're 19-" she stopped herself from bumping into his chest as he suddenly stood close.
"... I do not take many lovers," he muttered. "But when I do, it is not for 'play.' I assure you I can be quite serious in a relationship." He loomed closer, breath fanning over her cheek. "Do you wish for a sample?" He asked in a silky voice.
Kagome flushed and huffed, elbowing him out of the way to put the pot within a cupboard. What a joker.
Wandering downstairs that night, Kagome stopped, noticing something and doing a double-take. Sesshoumaru lay sprawled on the couch, silver hair tumbling down onto the floor as he slept soundlessly. Pyon was curled up on his stomach-and even stranger was the fact that Sesshoumaru's arm curled beneath him, supporting the feline from falling off.
Kagome crept closer, looking at them from over the back of the couch.
She examined his face in the dim light. It was ridiculously, absurdly handsome, closed long lashes hiding golden eyes that could pierce through her shell and pry into her essence. Cheekbones you could cut diamonds with, framed by neatly parted, snowy bangs.
All the magic from Kagome's experiences in the feudal era was now contained in this one man. A demon that most feared and cowered before. She wondered if she wanted him close simply because of nostalgia, or because he brought her joy in his quiet sarcasm and stable presence.
But he'd leave her too, one day.
Kagome's smile bent into a painful curl of her lips.
Sesshoumaru's nostrils flared and he inhaled- before golden eyes slid open. She stiffened and tried to smooth her forlorn expression into something more amiable. "S-sorry, I'm not watching you sleep, I swear!" she babbled. "Was just wondering if you'd checked the Bone Eater's Well for any changes tonight."
"Ah, gotcha," Kagome floundered. "At least when it does open, your injuries have all healed so you're fine to go."
"Is that what you want?"
She stopped, feeling like she'd been denied an expected step on the stairs and felt her foot plummet through the ground. Reeling, her heart picked up speed. "Of course it is," Kagome said quickly, turning away. "The Fuedal Era is where you belong, silly. You've been a lovely guest. Really, I've enjoyed it. For a vagabond, you fold your clothes neatly and don't make a mess. You read a lot, so it's still pretty quiet, but you also..." her voice became brittle, "you also- play shoji with Grandpa and make great tea. When I do things, I know you're not too far away. It's been nice. I mean that."
Making to walk away, she was halted by a firm hand catching her wrist. Sesshoumaru had sat up now, disturbing the cat and staring at her with unblinking eyes.
"You should come with me."
Her stomach twisted and she shook her head, looking at him with tired eyes. "I can't."
"I have Grandpa to look after."
"Your brother could easily-"
"No, he couldn't," Kagome cut in. "Souta has a wife and a big family to support. He gives us money- weren't you wondering how we're kept afloat? I try to help by doing online work but Grandpa isn't someone you can just expect to look after so easily on top of everything else. I couldn't ask or expect Souta to take over just for me to run off and play in the Feudal Era again, abandoning a life I've known for decades now."
White teeth flashed, exposing a sneer in the dim light, his eyes narrow. "Your Grandfather will be dead soon."
Sesshoumaru never regretted anything. He was too strong, too proud, too confident to make a misstep. And yet at that moment, he regretted the words immediately after they were out.
If she were younger, still the spirited girl of 15 he'd known and the person she outwardly resembled- Sesshoumaru wagered she'd have slapped him. Instead, the miko gave him something that felt altogether much worse; a look of disappointment.
As a demon, he never felt like a young pup except within the presence of his mother and ancient elders, but he experienced it again, watching as she slowly padded to the threshold of the doorway.
"Yeah, he will be. And after Grandpa and Souta go, I'm never going to get attached to anyone again. It's too painful. But I'm making the most of the time with him I have left. Besides," Kagome glanced at him tiredly. "From where we sit, won't everyone eventually be dead soon?"
Sesshoumaru's eyes flickered as she left. The image of Rin with her husband and children, all eventually greying and leaving him alone passed through his mind.
It was true, the miko could theoretically return with him to the past. However, what awaited her would be the same. Time's cruelty working it's will on her friends and everyone she'd used to know in the village.
Drawing himself up and absentmindedly grabbing Bakusaiga, Sesshoumaru wandered to the Well House. He stood within its damp structure for a while in silence, not particularly waiting for a response any more, rather trying to gather his scattered thoughts.
The scent of nameless magic stirred in the breeze. He stiffened, lifting his head and scenting the cool air. Silver bangs lifted to sway, silks rustling. With a small hop, he stood on the mouth of the well, gazing into its dark depths.
With just one jump he'd be home.
Sesshoumaru's muscles coiled, heart thundering. Pushing off from the edge, he took the plunge.
Stifling the sound of tears in the bathroom by keeping the faucet running and muffling sobs into her hand, Kagome cried. She hadn't done so in a long time. The action felt childish, but a welcome sensation. Pent up stress, loneliness and frustration burst like a dam. She'd felt the whisper of magic. The call back to the Bone Eater's Well. It had been fleeting, gone now, along with any happy feelings that had been elicited because of Sesshoumaru's surprise presence into her life.
"Stupid," she mumbled, splashing her face with water while bending over the sink. "Stupid, stupid- he was always going to leave."
I shouldn't have gotten attached.
But Kagome was a people person at heart. She'd been afraid. So deathly afraid of getting close to someone and having them leave again. Why had she slipped? Because he would live a long time, just like her?
"That doesn't make him beholden to me- stupid, stupid-"
A jolt shuddered through her system, making Kagome whip her head up to blink at the mirror. Sesshoumaru's reflection lingered in the open doorway behind her, crossing the distance between them as she turned. Lithe fingers ceased her chin. "It is admirable, how hard you have tried to appear unruffled and happy, miko," he muttered lowly. "But you cannot fool my superior senses. I have felt you crying out for pack all this time."
Her expression shuddered, crumbling before his very eyes. "Y-you stayed?" she croaked.
"Naturally," a sharp claw brushed over her jaw gently, collecting the evidence of forgotten tears. "Something I have come to understand over the years is that; One does not abandon pack."
Kagome's breathing hitched, feeling the keen press of a great weight sinking into her chest and rendering her exhausted. Relief. Wilting like a flower, she leaned into his strong frame, burying her face in the warmth of his shoulder. The demon lowered his head slightly, both soaking in the presence and stability of the other for a moment. Her thin shoulders shook, small noises escaping her.
He growled into her hair. "Your idea of remaining unattached does not suit you. Look at yourself, miko. You grew attached to me of all beings," he smirked slightly. "I do not think you can handle remaining separate from people. You love humans too much. And… besides that… I believe it should be you telling me to make the most of the time spent with others, not the other way around. To make bonds, and keep them."
Lifting her head, Kagome brushed the hot trace of tears away and sniffed. "But it hurts," she said in a wobbling tone. "Aren't you scared of outliving Rin and everyone else in the village?"
"I am not afraid. She and her husband have shared many years together, and I will watch over their offspring for generations," he paused, considering. "Though I am...uncertain how I shall process the grief once it comes."
"You're still going back, aren't you?" Kagome murmured.
"Indeed, and you are coming with me."
She sighed, rubbing her forehead. "Grandpa-"
"We will stay for as long as he lives. After that, you should return home, miko."
Kagome threw him a weary smirk. "And if I refuse?"
"Then, I suppose this one is staying in the Modern Era."
Blue eyes flew wide, fingers curling in his clothes and tightening. She rested her cheek against his shoulder again, letting out a long exhale and calming when his chin rested against the crown of her head.
Sesshoumaru did not regret his decision. It was to be just three months before Grandpa passed away in the night. He imagined what would've happened to the miko if he'd left her alone; how she stood together with the other humans at the wake and yet apart. It was the most amount of human's he'd witnessed within the shrine at the same time. Detached via some thin veil, Kagome moved around them like vapour. Cordial and polite, yes, but surface level and unattached. Everyone referred to her as Izumi. No one inquired about her grief.
Souta hugged his sister after the funeral ceremony, and she clung to him. After a little while, however, she lifted her head smiled, letting him go check on his five children.
Sesshoumaru drew close to her side, sweeping his gaze down her black kimono. The colour only brought out the pallor of her skin. He did not speak, but she seemed to read his unspoken question.
"It wasn't as hard as Mama's funeral," she murmured, rubbing her eyes. "I think I'd like to get away from all this for a while though. Wanna come for a drive with me?"
He arched an elegant brow. "You know how to?"
"I got my licence when I was still Kagome Higurashi," she stuck out her tongue. "Souta will let me borrow his car. Come on."
After grabbing the keys, they walked through the graveyard where the remains of cremations had been buried. Passing by a Hinako Higurashi whom Sesshoumaru assumed to be the miko's mother, he stopped upon seeing a certain grave.
He stared, unable to identify what he felt looking at the grave.
"Are you coming?" Kagome called from ahead.
Shaking himself, the demon left it alone, but carried those feelings with him even as he walked away.
Driving through the city that night, Kagome tightened her hands on the steering wheel. Despite having lived with Grandpa longer than anyone at the funeral, she just couldn't mourn with the family. Instead of talking about it, she glanced at Sesshoumaru and smiled gently.
"I'm ready to hear about them now."
And he told her, detailing how Inuyasha had fallen in love with a woman who passed through the village one day, about four years after the well had closed. She'd been looking for someone to escort her through dangerous territory. She was not miko nor demon Slayer but a competent hunter who seemed to bear a chip on her shoulder. Inuyasha had gravitated to her like a moth to a flame. Upon their return, they'd announced themselves as a couple and married soon after, two sons following.
Kagome listened, expression wistful. The street lights played over her face as they passed by buildings, her eyes a deep blue, mournful yet pleased at the same time. Sesshoumaru went on to talk about Rin's marriage to Kohaku, Shippo's growth and proficiency in magic, Kaede's passing and Miroku and Sango's fourth child.
They sounded happy, and her heart swelled for them.
Pulling the car over to take a detour down a path on the outskirts of the city, she followed the trail up to a hill that overlooked a harbour. Sitting on the hood together and gazing at the stars, her hand found his.
Ageless attention slid to the miko, who kept her doleful gaze on the heavens. "...Life expectancy isn't very high in the feudal era," she murmured quietly.
He knew her unspoken fears. Going back only to lose her mortal friends within a few years of her return no doubt felt daunting.
Long, deadly fingers shifted to close around hers, holding firmly.
"This one will stay with you," he uttered.
Kagome looked at him, hope starting to coax itself alive in her eyes. "R-really?"
"Hn," the demon rumbled, a vow in his voice. "I will be your constant."
Quelling under the seriousness conveyed in his expression, Kagome exhaled. She touched his shoulder, curling her hand there and smiling shyly, daring to believe him. "Even you'll die one day, Killing Perfection."
A velvety, confident chuckle rumbled out of him. "Not for another 2,000 years or so. Perhaps more. Is that sufficient?"
"I guess it'll have to be," Kagome teased, curling into his side and sighing as his large hand splayed over her back. "When you get close to the end..." she said softly, words a whispered, fragile thing. A vow, just as he'd promised for her. "I'll stop there. When you go, I'll go."
Sesshoumaru glanced down at her, tightening his arm and curling a hand into dark, wild hair. The two continued to bask in one another's energies, faint youki and reiki playing across their skin and weaving in a playful, familiar skitter of auras, finally lacing together firmly like clasped fingers.
Months later, Higurashi Shrine would open to the public again, sold by Souta and allowing the structure to be placed under a new family name.
There was no Izumi Higurashi or mysterious 'Nao' walking around the grounds any more. Tree branches swayed, leaves rustling and falling loose to dance around the forgotten well house, which had been boarded up due to disrepair.
The magic within had finally run completely dry; spent on transporting an immortal miko and prideful demon back home.