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Encounters with Obakemono by tenchi no mai

Ko-Dama

This was written in response to MontiK's challenge.

Theme:  Ko-Dama

Due:  July 5th, 2009

Required Word Count: Minimum 700

Actual Word Count: 2517

Universe:  Canon

Rating:  T

Warnings:  None

Disclaimer: The characters of InuYasha are not mine, they are the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise, and Viz Media.   Only the plot to this story and my original character, Shun, are my intellectual property.  I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

'Italics' = thoughts

"True to the meaning of its name, a ko-dama is the spirit of a tree. Not all trees have ko-dama dwelling in them, however, and usually these entitites tend to inhabit trees of very great age or size. It is said a person who cuts down a tree with a ko-dama living in it will bring calamity upon their entire village, and often the sacred rope called shimenawa is wound around trunks thought to contain these spirits in order to protect them.  While ko-dama are generally invisible to human eyes, they are thought to mischievously play with and mimic human voices, creating echos in the forest. "Echo" has also come to be another meaning of the word kodama."  (From the Obakemono Project)

Ko-Dama

The final battle was won, Naraku was defeated and banished to the seventh level of hell.  The tachi's were taking a well deserved rest in the clearing by the bone eaters well. 

Kagome had just accepted the last two shards from Kouga to complete the Shikon no Tama.  She was anxious to wish the troublesome jewel into oblivion and get on with her new life and become Sesshoumaru's mate.   It was the perfect wish, a pure and honest wish for peace to reside in the land of Nippon for as long as possible, helping to heal the wounds caused by Naraku and his minions.

Sesshoumaru sat on the edge of the well next to Kagome, and like her was anxious to start their new life once the jewel was banished.  He reached into his haori and felt for Kagome's first courting gift from him.  It was a thick, heavy, silver bracelet, with sapphires in the shape of crescent moons set into it.  He had also embedded within it with some of his youki as a means of protection for his chosen one.  Through this bracelet he would be able to know if she was in danger, and could keep her safe.

As Kagome fused the last two pieces into the jewel, it began to glow a brighter and brighter pink until it was too intense to look at directly.  A voice floated over the clearing, "Your wish will be granted, peace shall reign until all wounds inflicted by the evil one are healed.  Know that your work here is completed."

Even with his demon speed, Sesshoumaru was only able to grasp Kagome's wrist as she was pulled back through the well to a time he knew nothing about.  His last glimpse of her was  her wide, horror filled eyes as they looked up into his face while she was being pulled from his grasp.  "I love you, Sesshoumaru!"

"And I you, Kagome."  He suddenly felt a distinct pull on his youki, and realized the bracelet must have slipped from his fingers onto Kagome's wrist when he turned to grab hold of her.

Inuyasha came tearing across the clearing, never once slowing down and made a flying leap into the well.  He landed with a loud thump at the bottom,  looking up to see Sesshoumaru peering down.  "She's gone Sesshoumaru, the well has stopped working." 

"This Sesshoumaru is aware of that half-breed,  he no longer feels its magic."  Sesshoumaru's sigh was barely audible as he turned and walked towards the village.  Thinking of his lost chance at love and the future that would now never be, he paused at the Goshinbuko.  Placing his hand on the bark of the tree he swore at the Shikon no Tama, borrowing curses he had heard Inuyasha use when he ran out of the ones he knew.  

There was a soughing sound, a rustling of the leaves, even though no breeze was present.  A voice, softly echoing, spoke to him.  "Fear not, daiyoukai, she waits for you just as you will wait for her time to arrive.  Make plans quickly, the timeline will pass more swiftly than you realize.  Gird thyself, for there are many obstacles to be surmounted and tests of willpower to survive if you truly seek to be reunited with your hearts desire."

'A ko-dama!'  Sesshoumaru was intrigued the spirit had spoken to him of such things.  Thinking over what the ko-dama said to him, the seeds of hope were planted.   Sesshoumaru called for Miroku.  "Monk, Kagome often spoke of the shrine where she lives, that this Goshinbuko still stands."

Miroku came trotting up to cautiously join Sesshoumaru beside the Goshinbuko.  "Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama.  I have also heard her tell the stories of her home." 

"The spirit of the tree has spoken to me.  It shall be protected.  You may have use of my nawashi, Shun, for the creation of the shimenawa.  He is my rope master, as well as rope maker. With his help you will craft the sacred rope for the protection of the ko-dama." 

As plans began to firm up in his mind, Sesshoumaru looked around the forest and back towards the clearing with the bone eaters well.  The rest of the saddened tachi was slowly joining them under the Goshinbuko.  "Inuyasha will help you design the shrine and its outbuildings.  He knows their placement and appearance.  This Sesshoumaru will provide for the upkeep of the shrine."

~*~

The last view Kagome had of Sesshoumaru was of his golden eyes peering down at her in fear as he gripped her wrist.  "I love you Sesshoumaru!"  were her only words as she began her descent through the well.  "And I you, Kagome." were the final words she heard from her beloved daiyoukai as the blue light engulfed her. 

Horror flowing through her, Kagome was dropped roughly to the ground at the bottom of the well as its magic abruptly dissipated.  "No! NO! NOOOO!"  she wailed when she realized she couldn't get back and the well had truly closed.

Feeling a tug on her wrist, she noticed the bracelt.  Touching her wrist and the beautiful piece of jewely, she was aware she could still feel Sesshoumaru's fingers wrapped around her.  The bracelet seemed almost sentient, with a pulse of its own.  'This must be the gift Sesshoumaru said he was bringing for me.  He called it the first courting gift.'

Wanting to stay where she was until the well opened again, Kagome finally realized the only thing she could do was check the well several times a day until that happened.  She was going to be ready to return to Sesshoumaru at the first inkling the well was reopening.  Heartbroken, she slowly climbed out of the well and walked over to the Goshinbuko.  She always felt calmer here under the old tree, where she had so often sat with her friends in the past.

To anyone watching, it appeared she was hugging the tree as she leaned against it, her tears dampening the rough bark.  The leaves rustled, then a very quiet, echoing voice spoke to her.  "Miko, protector of the Shikon no Tama.  Do not cry, he waits for you even now.  All will be well.  Believe in the love you share.  When the time is right he will come for you.  Have courage til then, the strength of that love should not be underestimated.  What has been destined by the Kamis shall come to pass."

Golden eyes watched her from a distance.  He knew she would need some time to work her way through the grief and anxiety caused by her unplanned departure.  'This Sesshoumaru is glad the ko-dama spoke with her as well."  In the end it would all be worth it.  He had plans to put in motion, and she must finish school and graduate.   'A few more months is nothing compared to the last 495 years.  Finally I can keep a closer watch over her and provide more protection.'

~*~

Kagome sat in class, anxious for the school day to be over so she could return to the shrine and check on the well.  The last few months had been unsettling as she tried to return to her daily routine and life in this era.  'Only a few more weeks to go until graduation.  I still can't believe I've managed to catch up on all the courses and will graduate with my class.  I guess Sesshoumaru was right when he made me study every night.'

Thinking of him, she instinctively touched the bracelet she always wore and felt the now familiar pulse of his youkai energy and was comforted.

~*~

The next morning found her in her usual spot beneath the Goshinboku practicing her taichi.  It helped to release tensions and brought a sense of calm to her as she went through the slow, elegant movements. 

There was a new teacher at her school and she had been allowed to take the taichi classes instead of regular phys ed classes because of her "health problems". 

Mr. Volpe was either American or English, but spoke fluent Japanese.  He had spent many years studying taichi in China and, though he seemed young, was considered a master in his own right.  With his red hair and green eyes, he looked somewhat out of place, but was kind and patient with her while she learned the art of taichi.

She had spoken to her mother about him and how much the taichi had helped her the past few months.  Kagome was told to invite him to the Tanabata Festival which was set to take place a week after graduation. 

The Tanabata, or Star Festival, had always been one of her favorite festivals that took place on the shrine grounds.  It celebrates the yearly meeting of Orihime, the weaver star, and Hikoboshi, the cowherd star.  The Milky Way, a river made of stars separates these lovers, and they are only allowed to meet each other one night a year on the seventh day of the seventh month.  'Oh, how I wish it was only a river of stars that separated Sesshoumaru and me instead of a huge gap in time.'  Kagome shook her head, trying to get rid of the melancholy thoughts.  'Remember what the ko-dama said.  He will come for me.'

~*~

Graduation was finally over.  However, the sense of accomplishment on receiving the diploma was tempered by the fact that the one she really wanted to be there was missing.  Dinners and parties were attended and gifts given to and received from friends.  While Kagome participated in the celebrations, her heart wasn't really in it.

~*~

Coming back from the store with some last minute supplies for the Tanabata Festival, Kagome hurried to catch up to the young man who had stopped to rest halfway up the steps.  He had a long black braid hanging down from his cap, and was wearing the summer uniform of one of the local courier services.  'Obviously he is not used to walking up this many steps to make a delivery.'

When she reached him, she signed his electronic device Higarashi Kagome, and watched the confused look flicker across his face.   When he looked up at her, she could see the edge of a tattoo on his forehead.  "Mrs. Haruko Higarashi is my mother, don't worry I will give her the package the minute I see her, unless you would like to walk the rest of the way up to the shrine."   Shaking his head no, he handed her a thick envelope from his messenger bag.

Running the rest of the way up the stairs, Kagome found her mother in the kitchen.  "Mama, I signed for an envelope for you." 

"Oh, I had almost forgotten, what with the preparations for the festival.  It must be from the shrines benefactor."  Haruko took the envelope from Kagome and explained that there was an unnamed benefactor who provided funds for the shrine on a yearly basis.

"I never knew that."  Kagome was intrigued.

"Yes, for as long as I can remember, this unknown person has sent a package every year with wishes for blessings on the shrine and its family.  No matter how hard I have tried, I have never been able to find out anything about the benefactor.  A package was delivered earlier for you also, it is on the table by the stairs."

Kagome retrieved the box, noticing there was no return address.  Opening it she was shocked to find the most beautiful kimono and obi she had ever seen.  It was a dark blue silk that matched the sapphires in her bracelet and her eyes.  The embroidery was multicolored with silver accents and there was a silver obi to match.  She had been going to wear a kimono from one of the previous years, she had not had any desire to make a new one for this years festival.  After searching the box for a card Kagome exclaimed "I can't wear this, I don't know who it's from!" 

Haruko came over to admire the kimono.  "It certainly is beautiful.  It would be a shame not to wear it tonight for the festival."  Hoping to reassure her daughter, she smiled at her, giving her a hug.  "It is probably from a secret admirer.  Now go get washed up and dressed, I'll help you with the obi when you are ready."

~*~

Several hours later Kagome was taking Mr. Volpe, her taichi instructor, on a tour of the shrine and explaining the origins of the Tanabata Festival. 

When she had extended the invitation, he had told her that he wouldn't miss it for the world.  Walking around the grounds now, with her arm through his to keep from getting separated in the crowds of people, he seemed interested in learning as much as he could about the shrine and the festival.

They stopped at the table with the tansuku, the small pieces of paper that people write their wishes on then tie them to the branches of bamboo.  The bamboo had been placed in a number of large urns behind the table.  Around midnight, after the fireworks, the bamboo and papers would be burned, and the traditional Tanabata song would be sung.

Kagome wrote her wish on a tansuku and then took hers and Mr. Volpe's to tie them to the branches. 

"What did you wish for?" Mr. Volpe asked as he watched her tie the papers to the branches. 

Kagome smiled at him, and while turning the bracelet on her wrist, replied wistfully "What does any young woman wish for?  Her one and only true love."

Taking his arm again Kagome was going to guide him towards the tables with the food and games, then go check on her grandfather. 

"It looks like someone is waiting for you." Mr. Volpe said, turning Kagome towards the Goshinbuko and pointing to direct her attention towards the figure standing under the tree.

"Sesshoumaru." Kagome whispered as her eyes went wide and the world seemed to fade away.  He looked just like he did the last time she saw him.  A breeze suddenly ruffled his hair and white silk clothing, and she realized the only thing missing was the armor and swords. 

Picking up the length of her kimono and hiking it up to her knees, she kicked off her geta, and ran to him, jumping into his arms. 

Sesshoumaru held her tightly to himself, not caring who may see them.  He kissed her senseless, then buried his face in her neck, inhaling her exquisite scent which he had missed for so long. 

Kagome held him securely around his neck, tears of joy streaming down her face.  "Are you really here?"

"Yes, Kagome.  After tonight we shall never be apart again.  We will be mated tonight, then you may plan whatever ceremony you desire for later.  This Sesshoumaru has waited too long to make you his for all of eternity."

The ko-dama of the Goshinbuko sighed as he watched the two lovers be reunited and the sound echoed through the shrine grounds like the tinkling of little silver bells.

~*~

 

Fin

Authors Note:  In case you couldn't guess from the description,  here is a hint; "volpe" in Italian means fox. 

 

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