Inuyasha ©Rumiko Takahashi
Special thanks to nightmareofcat for her help with the summary!
When the Future is Here
The Chess Board
Kagome breathed in deeply and released it without moving an inch of her body. It was like meditating back at the Shrine, like taking a math exam; it all came back to this moment. The moment when you realize the next five seconds are the most important ever, the ones that would dictate your future.
Her future depended on this shot.
The middle-school girl pulled the string of her bow some more. She wanted the shot to fly at lightning-speed. She needed it to go as straight as possible, to pierce the center of the target.
The raven-haired girl sent a silent prayer to her Family Tree, the Goshinboku, and released the arrow.
The wooden, lethal weapon pierced through the air with a whistle and, a second later, the loud hit of wood against wood made her heart jump in joy. She felt her chest relax then and her lungs started to work again. Blue eyes glanced at the target and to her utter surprise and pleasure, the arrow had hit home. She couldn't hold on the proud chuckle or the small bounce in her step as she moved out of the shooting area. She quickly scanned the area until her mentor waved from the small crowd that had gather to congratulate her. Kagome smiled wide and ran towards her teacher.
Rin waited for her student with arms crossed in barely held pride, but when the younger girl reached her, all pretenses escaped and the older woman ruffled the wavy, black hair of her student. "I am so proud of you, Kagome! Now we go to the finals," Rin declared and winked at the younger girl, "You have the advantage. Your shots are more controlled and…the girl is handicapped," at Kagome's blank expression Rin placed her fingers over her eyes dramatically, "Glasses."
Jaken wobbled through the halls of Sesshomaru's mansion. The package the Taiyoukai had been waiting for had finally arrived… a day late. The small kappa was trying to come up with believable excuses, but he knew it was futile. Sesshomaru was not one to care for such. He will have anyone's head it if pleased him… good excuse or not.
So, the tiny youkai resigned himself to his fate and knocked on the door of his Master's studio. After a moment he was allowed entrance, "Here's the folder Sesshomaru-sama was waiting for," said the kappa while bowing and extending his short arms towards his Master.
Sesshomaru didn't turn. "Why did the file arrive today? I was expecting it yesterday."
Jaken paled even more, his green-colored skin turning ashy, "Forgive this lowly one milord! There were some delays… you know human traffic and they are so unreliable…"
Sesshomaru smirked to himself, amused at Jaken's tormented aura and enjoyed it for only a few moments, fearing his servant may suffer some kind of heart failure in his old age or something. "Hn," he started and immediately Jaken's aura settled, "Leave the folder over my desk. You are dismissed."
The green kappa hurried to do as told and placed the folder over the mahogany desk. Sesshomaru could hear the clumsy hits the kappa suffered from his hurried movement and then, when he finally started out of the room, the small bounce on his step. He grinned at the expected behavior. Perhaps, with time he had grown soft…
Sesshomaru stretched, making his black shirt rise and expose a strip of pale skin that no one got the honor to see, and then moved to the desk. He sat on his black, leather chair and glanced at the harmless folder sitting on his desk. After a few moments of indecisiveness, he brought the folder closer and clawed it open.
Immediately a few pictures fell from the folder and he was met with various pictures of a young, middle-school student with wavy, raven hair. A small smile formed on his lips when he saw the radiant smile on her face and the wet bangs sticking to her forehead. Then, in one of the pictures, was the target she had shot back in her school tournament and the arrow piercing it into the center, perfectly. Another smile, this one full of pride, curled his lips upward. He took the picture and placed it under the cover of his desk, to look at it every day.
Kagome had gotten even better this last year with Rin as her tutor. He had suggested to his ward to ask for a job in Kagome's school and Rin had been happy to oblige. She was easily accepted and she then started working rigorously on Kagome's skills as an archer.
They both knew she will need those in the near future. In the very near future for Kagome was turning fifteen next week.
Sesshomaru sighed and took out the remaining papers from the folder. His golden eyes studied these ones with more caution, but after a minute his lips curled upwards again. Lately they seemed to be doing that more frequently.
Kagome had gotten high marks in all of her classes and once again he found his chest swell in pride. Not only was she an extraordinary archer, but she was very intelligent too. Of course, he had ensured she had the means to become so, but a big part was her own morals and wishes. He was glad she had the personality to ensure she gained as much as she could from school. Besides, this way he would be able to help her with school, although as an indirect voice, when her Feudal quest began. He knew she would miss a lot of classes there. Perhaps…he could say she was being homeschooled so she could graduate.
Only time would tell.
He sighed and fished for his phone before dialing Rin's number. She quickly responded, "Rin. Is archery practice the same as usual?" he asked, wanting to confirm Kagome was going to be at school, "All right. Then I will go visit her family…if something happens, call me."
Mama Higurashi swept the fallen leaves with a calm expression. Many would dislike the task, but in her case, she found it relaxing. It was a mundane task, one which required mild patience and time, yet the scents from the fallen leaves, the scent of the small, almost imperceptible, wound in the tree and the ground surrounding the Shrine soothed her emotions and mind like not pill could ever do.
She adored nature.
Her daughter did too.
Ye, her father only adored farfetched tales of youkai, spirits and magical artifacts. He yelled at the leaves from time to time and made a prayer or two to the Kami for a year with less fallen leaves. He swore this year they had less than the prior year, but she knew better. Still, she had no heart to tell him he was wrong. It was better to let him be. Besides, his spiritual confidence drew in customers and children visited to hear the tales. It made everyone happy…so why stop it?
Higurashi finally made a small mountain of fallen leaves. She eyed the mass proudly and was about to start to collect it when a strong gust of wind came out of nowhere and splayed the leaves all around the yard again. Her rosy lips parted in surprise and she held her broom a little tighter. She frowned at the scattered leaves and turned to the Goshinboku, the place where the gust of wind came from. As expected, there was nothing out of the ordinary, but she knew better. This was not normal.
This was a bad omen.
She waited for a few moments, her brown eyes still on Goshinboku, slowly studying the old tree. The shrine surrounding it seemed intact and the beads on it. So… why?
"The demon is here!" screamed her father, finally drawing her attention from the Tree. She turned to her aged father, who was running towards her almost out of breath, "That demon is back here! Where are my sutra?"
Mama Higurashi merely blinked and turned her gaze from her father to the stranger approaching after him. She smiled when her eyes met the familiar face of the silver-haired, golden-eyed man. "Good evening, Sesshomaru-san."
The Taiyoukai gave her a nod of his head and then handed her a white envelope, "The time is drawing near," he said evenly, his golden eyes a darker color than what was usual.
Mrs. Higurashi decided to think it was because he was getting stressed, "Yes," she said softly, "Kagome turns fifteen next week."
Sesshomaru nodded and moved to the Tree of Age and bowed his head, clasped his hands together and sent a silent prayer. Higurashi merely studied him silently. "Kagome will fall down into the Bone Eater's Well at age fifteen," he reminded to the short-haired woman standing a few feet away. "How do you feel?"
Mrs. Higurashi blinked her eyes, surprised at the personal question. He was usually very business-like, "I am well," she replied quickly, "You said her journey ends victoriously and she's happy."
Sesshomaru nodded his head, confirming her words. "Yes, we marry," he told her, like he always did every time he came. "At the end… she jumps into the Well… so I have to wait for that moment to arrive in order to meet with her again."
Mama Higurashi smiled warmly, "You are a nice youkai," she said with a happy note to her voice, "I am glad my Kagome chose someone like you. Everything will work out for you."
Sesshomaru nodded, knowing she was right. "The money is for Kagome's bike. She will need one for her travels." He said and motioned to the white envelope.
Mrs. Higurashi shrugged and nodded her head, "Will do. Any color in specific?" she asked in an easy-going-manner.
Sesshomaru frowned and then his eyes softened, "Pink."
To be continued...
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