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In Another Lifetime by Sage McMae

December 2020 Theme: Chill

Sharp 

In the course of his life, Sesshomaru has studied various types of combat, especially forms with weaponry. He is an accomplished swordsman, having mastered not one legendary blade, but two. 

The first lesson Sesshomaru learned was how to make an efficient kill. Effort wasted on a second strike was an opponent's advantage. Efficiency was the key to taking down one adversary while preserving energy to prepare for the next. Sesshomaru has spent centuries honing this skill. He had not earned the title "Killing Perfection" for nothing. 

Few dared to oppose him. 

Yet she was immune.

"I hate you."

Those three words— seemingly insignificant —cut deeper than any knife.

She had dealt a deadly blow and left him with a wound that would not heal. 

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

Shiver

A car went past, hitting a pothole and spraying her legs with a wave of cold water. 

Kagome yelled and jumped back. Her umbrella could shield her from the rain but it was no match for the aggressive drivers of Tokyo. She sighed, hoping she would have time to take a bath before dinner. 

The storm had been hovering over the city all day, cloaking the sky in various hues of gray. A chill had worked its way under her skin, undeniable and unavoidable no matter how many layers Kagome put on. She shivered and clutched her umbrella tighter. 

Despite the weather, she had decided to go for a walk. Being cooped up in her room would only make things worse. 

The tiny glass jar by her desk lamp served as a reminder of her quest— and the boy she had run away from. 

It wasn't the first time she had left after a heated argument with Inuyasha. Kagome doubted it would be the last. 

As she turned the corner to the shrine, Kagome thought she saw a flash of white hair. Her brow furrowed. Could it be?

Dropping her umbrella, she darted up the steps. "Inuyasha?" 

A man in a fine black suit stood under a large umbrella. At the sound of her voice, he turned. It wasn't until he spoke that Kagome realized who he was. 

"We meet again, miko." 

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

Nip

"How much time do we have?" Kagome asked, her voice muffled as she drew her blouse over her head. 

"Enough," he lied.

It was never enough. 

Each time he managed to sneak away from his traveling companions— and convince her to do the same —Sesshomaru told himself it would be the last time. What began as a simple form of release had quickly transformed into an addiction. 

He couldn't stop hearing her breathy moans or seeing her lips part as she cried out in ecstasy. When they parted, it was her scent that he found himself missing— a perfect blend of honey and camellia. No other female smelled as delicate as she did. 

But Kagome wasn't delicate. She was a warrior. 

Sesshomaru could tell her mood based on how much control she allowed him to have. On days when she needed self-assurance and comfort, Kagome was satisfied with allowing him the lead. During the occasions where she was fresh from battle, she tended to be rather aggressive. 

Today was one of those days. 

She nipped at his earlobe, knowing how aroused the sensation made him. His ears were extremely sensitive. Kagome rarely passed up an opportunity to use that knowledge to her advantage. 

"Missed you," she hissed as she sunk down onto him. 

Sesshomaru did not reply. He did not trust himself to speak around her for fear of crossing the same line as his father. 

Too bad he already had. 

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

Bitter

Kagome pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders. This year's winter season was particularly bitter, forcing the villagers to remain within their dwellings for extended periods of time.

She would have preferred to be at home seated by the fire but she had her duties to perform. 

Trudging over the embankment, Kagome climbed the hillside to the modest graveyard the villagers had helped her build. She brushed off the headstones, pausing by each to say hello. 

"I'm trying my best, Kaede. I'm not as gifted a healer as you, but I'm managing."  

"Hisui is doing great as a father, Sango. He tells stories to his children each night the same way you did." 

"The twins are faring better now, Miroku. I managed to get Yua's fever down. I'll keep a close eye on them this season."

The last one in the line-up was always the most difficult for her. "Hey, Inuyasha. I miss you." 

As her fingertips trailed over the etching of his name, Kagome noticed she wasn't the only one who had come to the graveyard to visit. 

A towering daiyoukai stood over a small headstone in the corner, his head bowed. She had seen him here before. Like her, he had outlived all those whom he loved.

It was a cold comfort to know she wasn't alone.

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

Brisk

It was always a hasty exchange— a meager nod, perhaps a grunt, and then a farewell. He kept his engagement with her short. After all, what use was there in pining over a woman who belonged to his brother?

He attempted to find refuge in the embrace of another. It was a futile attempt, as ill-advised as appointing Jaken his vassal. The demoness was painted in shades of gray while he saw the miko in full color. 

Sesshomaru dismissed her, disgusted with himself for thinking he could purge the woman from his system the way some sucked poison from a wound. She had penetrated far deeper than any weapon could reach. 

He could deny the draw toward her, force himself to keep his distance but Sesshomaru could not accept another. 

For him, there was only one. 

So he kept his conversations short to lessen the pain in his heart.

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

Calm

It's happening again. Kagome can feel her pulse quickening. Her chest tightens. She blinks but her vision remains blurry. 

Slowly, she sinks to the ground and hugs her knees to her chest. Kaede told her to inhale for four counts and then exhale for four counts, repeating a soothing mantra to herself. The problem is, Kagome doesn't have a soothing mantra. 

Her hands begin to shake. She threads her fingers together, willing herself to contain the chaos within. 

Kagome hates feeling like this. She hates not being in control. 

She thought once Naraku was dead and the Jewel was gone that she'd be free to move on. Kagome planned on embracing her life here. She wanted to learn from Kaede, harvest the fields with Jinenji, and play games with Shippo. She wanted to enjoy her life. 

Instead, she feels trapped by it.

Her throat constricts. She ducks her head as she struggles to breathe. 

The pain in her chest intensifies. This is a bad one. She might blackout. 

Kagome prepares herself to lose consciousness. 

And then he is there. 

His hands are on her shoulders and his deep voice is drawing her out of the darkness. 

"You're safe. I'm here." 

She focuses on those memorizing magenta stripes until she can no longer hear the hammering of her heart. 

When the tears come, he's already waiting for her with open arms. 

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

Smooth

There is an intoxicating satisfaction in the forbidden, about ignoring the rules around why you can't and simply doing it anyway. Sesshomaru is convinced that is the sole reason why he continues to seek out his brother's miko. 

Human, mortal, priestess— she is all these things. Each is a reason why he should not pursue her. And at the top of the list is his brother. 

Inuyasha may be blind to the woman's value but he is half Taisho. Like any dog with a bone, he will not give up his prize easily. 

Sesshomaru has never backed down from a challenge before. He has battled far worse foes than the half-breed. It would be a nuisance more than anything else. He's deciding whether or not the inconvenience is worth his efforts when the object of his desire enters the hot springs.

All thoughts of his brother vanish. Sesshomaru watches her sink beneath the steamy surface, disappearing for a moment before reappearing a few meters further down. 

She situated herself against a collection of rocks, leaning her head back so she can gaze up at the stars. In the moonlight, her smooth skin glistens. She no longer looks like the frail mortal woman he met in his father's tomb. 

Tonight, she is a goddess. 

And he intends to worship her.

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

Tender (follow-up to Smooth)

Kagome is studying the sky, completely unaware of the voyeur behind the tree line. She takes comfort in the surrounding heat, allowing the natural warmth of the hot springs to soothe her tired soul. 

How many times have they had this fight? How many chances has she given Inuyasha to come to his senses? She's starting to think her friends back home were right. He really is just a two-timing jerk.

She sighs. Closing her eyes, Kagome drops a bit deeper into the water until all that remains above the surface is the top portion of her face. Droplets of water cling to her forehead as the steam rises around her. 

Had she been paying attention, she might have noticed his approach. In hindsight, it was foolish of her not to be more aware of her surroundings. 

"Good evening." 

Kagome jolts at the sound of his silken tone. Her arms cover her chest reflexively as she staggers backward. Water sloshes with each jerky movement. 

"S-Sesshomaru?" 

"May I join you?" 

"What? N-no, of course, you can't. This is— no, just no, okay?" Kagome sputters, trying to maneuver around him to fetch her clothes. 

Why did she think it was a good idea to come here alone? 

He allows her to pass, making no move to stop her but when she trips, he is there, a gentle hand on her elbow keeping her from face planting in the dirt. 

His eyes are full of reverence. It is unlike any expression he has worn before. It appears almost…

…tender. 

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

Relax (follow-up to Smooth & Tender)

The priestess is skittish. She wobbles uneasily toward her clothes like a newborn deer. Sesshomaru keeps his distance but does not leave. In her current state, he does not trust the miko to make it back to camp. 

Once she has dressed, she faces him. "I'm, thanks, I guess." 

With that, she ducks her head down and proceeds to exit the clearing.

"Miko."

"Hmm?"

"I meant no harm."

"Okay," she drawls warily. 

"You are displeased," he observes. 

"You were peeping on me! You're no better than Miroku!" 

His nostrils flare. "Do not compare me to that lecherous monk." 

She crosses her arms over her chest. "Then explain how what you did was any different." 

"I was merely suggesting we take advantage of the hot springs together. The risk of attack increases when you are alone. I thought it would calm you to have company," Sesshomaru informs her. 

She need not know of his true intentions. At least not yet. 

Her arms fall to her sides and her face relaxes.  "You were just looking out for me?"

"Indeed." 

"Oh." She chews on her lower lip. "Well, in that case, sorry I yelled at you." 

"May I escort you back?" 

She glances over her shoulder. "I'm not in a hurry." 

"Another dip then?" he prompts.

Her cheeks color but she gives him a nearly imperceptible nod in agreement. 

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

Wintry

Snowflakes twirl and glide with the breeze. At times they hover, suspended for an instant before finding their final resting place on the earth. Kagome watches them from her spot in the clearing, mesmerized by their hypnotic descent. Their dance is an echo of the leaves in the fall, though somewhat softer and less vibrant. 

It's how she feels. Without the thrill of adventure, her life is dull. The few hostile demons that remain are easily dealt with. They offer no real challenge and that's only if she manages to get to them first. Usually, Sesshomaru beats her there. 

Kagome is beginning to think he does it on purpose, just to get a rise out of her. He's transferred all his efforts at annoying Inuyasha to her. The big, stupid jerk!

As if her thoughts have summoned him, he appears. Sesshomaru flies overhead toward the village. It's the third of the month, his scheduled day to visit Rin. 

Kagome clenches her jaw. If he finds the winter cold, well, it's nothing compared to the ice she's about to throw his way. 




 

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