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Gone to the Dogs by Aimee Blue

Chapter 3

Chapter three

Kagome glanced down at Rin who looked back up at her with trusting eyes and a happy smile. Sesshoumaru had requested another meeting two weeks after she had fallen asleep on him, only this time he had requested Rin’s attendance.

He had not been lenient on her whilst he had not seen her, rather he had left her posters of dogs to put up all over her house and a few more, even more grotesquely lifelike, toys. He had even stopped by in passing to give her posters of a dog that had gone missing in her neighbourhood and commanded her to put up posters. She had been miffed, but after receiving puppy dog eyes from Rin she had conceded.

He hadn’t been available to give her another session in the three weeks due to a huge influx of dogs into his centre. His rehabilitation centre was relatively small and he had been working on expanding the ground units so that he could fit them in. Though he had kept calling to check on her progress he had not met her in person for a while.

The door was pulled back and they were greeted by Sesshoumaru wearing a slightly exhausted but satisfied expression with his hair pulled back into a loose braid.

“Kagome” he nodded to her and quirked a small smile in Rin’s direction which she returned whole heartedly.

“Hi, how are the renovations going?” she asked as he led them into his home and took Rin’s coat from her.

“They are well in hand” he shrugged

“You’re building a new home for the dogs right?” Rin asked

“Correct” he nodded and led them to a different room in the house that he had never met Kagome in before.

This room was still as frigidly white as his living room had been but it was obviously meant as a place for relaxation. There was an advanced looking music system, a slim and stylish television and a neat bar in this room along with a sofa that looked impossibly soft; if you sat on it, it would eat you.

“Today I needed a more relaxed atmosphere” he said calmly motioning for them to sit on the cushy sofa. “Which is why I invited Rin”

“Okay” Kagome hedged

“You have grown accustomed to being around likenesses of dogs and still pictures of dogs” he stated “but today we will be purposely watching films with dogs in them. I will try to differentiate between films where the dog is depicted in a friendly, humorous manner—”

“Like Lassie!” Rin interjected with excitement

“Yes.” He acknowledged the child “and also more factual films about dog behaviour and some documentaries about dogs in general”

He had been watching as Kagome seized up in anticipation of what was to come, not to mention her heart rate was through the roof, she wasn’t breathing either.

“Breathe, Kagome” Sesshoumaru ordered

She snapped out of it, startled slightly by the harshness of his command and rubbed her hands together anxiously in her lap. Rin burrowed into her mother’s side in sympathy and stroked her hip gently. Almost absentmindedly Kagome began to stroke Rin’s hair in return, the action calming her down somewhat.

“Thus far you have coped exceedingly well and hopefully this will serve to desensitize you more so than you already are” he said, his voice was still emotionless but his tone was softer and less condescending.

The first movie was a sappy flick about a dog and its human family. Designed to appeal to children and provide some entertainment for adults. Kagome was incredibly tense and Sesshoumaru repeatedly had to force her to look back at the screen when she would look away. But as the film drew to a close Kagome had calmed down slightly; no her pulse wasn’t back to normal and she wasn’t exactly relaxed in posture but she no longer looked ready to bolt either.

The next film would provide slightly more trying. It was a film about a small girl adopting a stray dog that had been abused, subsequently making it angry and aggressive. It all ended happily but Sesshoumaru wanted to ease Kagome into the more savage side of dogs. He was hoping that her empathetic side would understand the hurt the dog had been through and calm down that way.

This time her reaction was more violent. She had tensed up very badly and dug her fingers into her arms hard enough to make herself bleed and bit down on her lip too. Sesshoumaru, who was sat on the other side of her on the sofa, prised her hands away from her arms and captured them within his own so she could not hurt herself.

There was a particular scene in the movie when the dog had a growling, snapping, barking fit and at this point Kagome began to cry and struggle to get free so she could leave. He responded by holding her firmly in her seat and forcing her to continue viewing whilst murmuring his support in her ear.

To most his actions would have seemed deplorable; after all forcing someone to endure something that made them that scared was not normally acceptable behaviour. But he needed her to accept it and relax, eventually she would calm down and realise that she was fine, that there was no threat and that nothing had happened. But until then he had to just grin and bear it.

Eventually, after much soothing on Sesshoumaru’s part and via Rin, Kagome calmed down enough to stop crying and shuddering. By the end of the film she was crying again, but this time because the dog had died a tragic death helping the little girl. This, Sesshoumaru felt, was a step in the right direction; after all it had to be good if she was feeling empathy for something that scared her.

The final video, he knew, would be a true test of her nerve and he knew it would probably not do for the child to see it. He sent her into his office to play on his computer and the girl had grinned and asked if maybe she could go and play in the garden instead. He had acquiesced and watched as she talked to his late mothers rose bushes.

Kagome had tensed up so much when he had sent Rin away that he wondered if she was petrifying before his very eyes. He gently stroked her shoulder and got her to relax somewhat before playing this last movie. It was a documentary on the habits of dingoes and he knew that whilst it contained some moments that were endearing, such as pups playing it also contained footage of the pack hunting a calf. That, he understood, would be truly the greatest challenge.

Her reactions to the hunting scene had been as imagined, she had tensed yet again and he had restrained her hands to stop her from harming herself. As the powerful teeth of the dingo cut into the sinew of the calf Kagome wrenched herself from his group and tried to leave the room. He caught her and pulled her back into the sofa, this time sitting her on his lap and holding her tightly whilst whispering that it was okay, that she was okay, that she needed to calm down and relax. He could not hug her, much as he might want to, nor offer her more comfort than he was doing because that would create the learned response that fear was acceptable.

She calmed down throughout the documentary but didn’t relax her body. But at least she wasn’t crying anymore.

When it was finished he gently embraced her and rocked her back and forth soothingly.

“I am sorry for that Kagome” he murmured

“It’s okay” she stuttered

“It was a valid necessity though” he said rubbing soothing circles on her back “through watching dogs in such a manner you become desensitized to them enough that it becomes more bearable. I doubt you can deny that you felt slightly more comfortable as the films progressed”

“Yeah”

“That is because you are rational enough to realise, past your learned terror, that you were not experiencing pain and as such you were able to calm yourself slightly” he said

“Right”

“I needed to show you dogs being viscous like that Kagome because dogs can be vicious, but it generally for a reason, either they have been abused or are defending their pack. But what is most important is the knowledge you must hold that I will never let a dog that would harm you anywhere near you” he declared

“Thank you” she breathed leaning her head against his chest.

“It is okay, Kagome” he said

“I feel safe with you, for some reason...” she trailed of and blushed at what had come out of her mouth.

He smiled slightly, not that she could see it with the way her face was pressed into his chest “That is good, otherwise I doubt you would let me do this to you”

                                                                                ***

Kagome glanced down at the homework she had been given, a few family films revolving around dogs and one nature documentary she had been assured was less brutal than the one she had been subjected to at Sesshoumaru’s house. She couldn’t help but be cautious though, no matter what Sesshoumaru said about her progress she was still nervous.

Sango was waiting for her in her own kitchen and she rolled her eyes. Giving her the key to the house had perhaps not been the best of ideas.

“So” Sango mused twirling a carrot from the vegetable drawer at Kagome “spill all”

“On what?” Kagome asked pulling her scarf off and depositing her coat on the hook.

“It’s tall, sexy silver haired and has smouldering eyes” Sango grinned

“Sesshoumaru?” Kagome raised a brow

The grin grew wider “Actually I was talking about his half-brother Inuyasha, but if you think Sesshoumaru is sexy and has smouldering eyes, maybe we should move on to him”

Kagome smacked herself in the forehead “Nothing much to tell”

“You’ve got to be kidding me” Sango pointed the carrot at her for emphasis “he carries you home from the zoo, offers to try and cure your phobia for free and you think he’s sexy. Give me one good reason why you shouldn’t jump his bones”

“You’re a sex fiend you know that?” Kagome asked sitting down with a thump on one of the stools at the breakfast bar.

“Miroku” Sango said, as if it was an explanation “but I’m still waiting for that reason”

Kagome smiled a sad smile and rested her chin on her hands “Because I’m not even sure what I feel towards him” she sighed

“You think he’s sexy?” Sango asked nibbling on the edge of her carrot.

“Anyone with eyes knows he’s sexy” Kagome pointed out.

“So the problem is?” Sango prompted, waving her carrot in circles.

“He makes me feel safe” Kagome murmured “and that makes me feel guilty”

Sango dropped her carrot and her interrogation and frowned at her friend “It’s been five years honey”

“I know” she sighed and closed her eyes.

“Look,” Sango sighed “you think he’d want you to wallow in this grief all your life? He’d want you to find someone else who would make you feel safe. He never asked you to remain alone all your life”

Kagome shuddered.

Promise me. Promise me you’ll find someone to share your life with again. You have to promise me that, Kagome.

“It feels like, even though he told me to move on... that he only said that for me and now I’m betraying him” Kagome whispered

“He was selfless enough to mean that Kagome.” Sango sighed and gently stoked her friend’s hair “but you’re martyr enough to ignore it and live alone. But it’s not good for you, maybe now it’s time to move on somewhat, you’ll never forget him but there’s always more room in that heart of yours”

“I hope you’re right” Kagome murmured

“That’s good” Sango smiled slightly “at least you have hope”

Because sometimes, that’s all it takes.

A/N: I don’t own Inuyasha. 

 

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