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I Fell for Myself by Stella Mira

His Pledge to You

Sesshōmaru returned to their promised place after a moon cycle – and she was there. He did not ask questions that needn't be uttered, did not offer words she wouldn't accept, only waited and watched – her eyes, her lips, her skin. Color had leeched away, palliated with the touch of death – silver-blue, pale-crimson, ashen-white. Only her voice held warmth, filaments of life, yet that, too, was not what it used to be.

"I'm ready to leave."

There was no umbra of doubt in her words, nothing but huskiness. He saw no warrior but merely woman. It moved his body, made him seek that sound, that drum in her pulse, heat concealed beneath leather and tiers of distance. Physical contact was not enough, never enough, when it came to them – but he knew of no other way, no other means to give her what she needed. Sesshōmaru wrapped her in his pelt, in sinewy muscles, closeness and hot skin – then he took her away.

Kagome didn't perceive many things during their journey in the skies, but those she did feel were the only ones that mattered. His scent, how tight his clutch was, lean thews coiled around her ribcage, the way his Adam's apple fell and rose each time her lips glided there. She never raised her chin, never met his eyes – she knew what she would see. Gold made emotions lucent, glaring, more real than they should be. It was a dangerous hue – and Kagome relished the dark, the illusion of safety in it, would rather take the swelter of his body than the deepness of his eyes. Only when he landed in a place familiar, unmistakable, allowed her to slip from his hold, did she lift her gaze to stare at him.

"I should have known you'd bring me here." Her voice brimmed with laughter even if she did not laugh. Kagome was amused, if a bit resigned.

"Do you dislike it?"

It was pointless to deny it, not that she had any urge to do so. Sesshōmaru knew she didn't, could see pleasure snaking around her in tangible shades. It made her eyes bluer, her lips redder, her skin glossier.

"No. I like your mother's home, but she's a…strange woman."

A chuckle vibrated in her throat, split her lips, white teeth gleaming. It was mellow, full of mirth and slight vexation. Sesshōmaru closed his eyes, felt the sound sliding against his neck, titillating, urging him to merge it with one of his own. Strange women indeed – both his mother and she, the sole beings to elicit such reactions in him.

"You will not be seeing her often. Mother likes to keep to herself."

Her chuckle morphed into laughter then, sumptuous, lavished with feminine hues, and his lids rose. Sesshōmaru was drawn to that glint in her eyes, that curve of her lips, visceral attraction. No woman laughed as she did – or made him want to laugh with her. She settled for a smile at last, matted with youth, with traces of the woman he met a year ago, almost playful.

"Don't we all?"

A slant of his neck, the most he could give her, for if he were to laugh with her, it would be madness.

"I shall visit," was all he said instead.

Something flashed in her eyes, a mixture of surprise and hope and reservation. Lips thinned, her smile melted away, exchanged for straightness.

"You don't have to."

He gave no verbal response this time, but his body spoke for itself. More of a purr, less than a rumble, it roused tingles in her spine.

I will.

~~~~~

Days came and passed in one flutter of lashes, one lick of lips. Kagome remembered being here once before, yet she could appreciate neither its beauty nor its structures at the time. Her sight perceived things differently now, her mind was calm, could revel in its otherworldly luminescence. A sky fortress of white stone and moonbeam towers, layers upon layers of wind and smooth bone columns, contoured around luxury too lush, desires and wiles of old. Twisting halls, arched chambers, floors of marble, cool and pure as snow. The atmosphere was light, swelled with femininity, yet adorned masculine elements as well – mainly in his quarters, now hers as well.

Kagome slept in his bed, in his furs, in his scent. Perhaps it was wrong of her, but she was well past the point of caring for wrong and right, of scorning his memories, his touch, his lust. They awakened once more, consonant with images of warm, writhing bodies, lips and tongues tracing private curves of hip and thigh. Maybe the furs were to blame, so alike the pelt he kept on himself at all times, or maybe everything inside this chamber was so cognizant of the will and character of its master, that his presence was stitched into every seam of every object. Kagome realized but, still, cared nothing of it. Her nights were full of him, of what was, of what could never be again – and she was fine with it.

The garden came to be her favored area, bathed in alabastrine light, abounding with sakura and birches and maple trees. Willowy and gracile and polychromous – bark, leaves, blossoms. The wind deluged the lucent space, all gilded structures of this plane, rippled and circulated, skin-felt and ever present. A ceaseless stream, a flux of sensation, to float but never sink within it, and more than that. It fluctuated, bespoke of incohesive things, mirrored a mosaic visage on its wafts, much like the voices in Bokusenō's forest. Kagome loved this garden, visited it often, if only to take in the air, let it inundate her lungs. It misted and curled around her, leeching all shadow and light from her, making her forget she was living on borrowed time. Sometimes, Madoka would join her, and they would sip tea and talk of inconsequential things – and, sometimes, the canny yōkai would stir the conversation to less inconsequential things. Like now.

"My son gave you a name to remember."

It was so sudden that Kagome didn't think before that name spilled from her lips, softened the rouge flesh with its honeyed consonants and airy vowels.

"Kazusane."

Madoka hummed, as if pleased by the sound of Kagome's voice when she uttered it. "Yes, I know. It is a fitting name – and his pledge to you."

That word, pledge, was heavier, accented, gave Kagome pause. She had learned by now that if she veiled her curiosity, pretended Madoka's hints went unheard, that the elder woman would simply play with her wording more. Hence, Kagome no longer bothered with feigns or dismissals.

"What do you mean?"

A half-smirk tilted Inukimi's lips, a peek of canines, coquettish. The woman might not have catered to guests before Kagome arrived, yet she seemed to have found means of entertainment with these games – more and more lately.

"Sesshōmaru is proud, too proud in some things. What he cannot speak with words, he shall do with actions. You are aware of this, no?"

"Yes, but I still don't understand." It was blunt, much too blunt, even for Kagome's tastes, but she felt rather weary today. If Madoka wished to reach a conclusion, she would have to do it without the fanfare she favored this time – and she did.

"He will neither mate another female nor sire another pup."

A chuckle resounded, slightly cynic. If that was all Madoka wished to say then it was redundant. Brow arched, Kagome stared at her with a glint of wryness. "I didn't think he would. His choices are not very appealing to him."

There was only the rustling of feathers as Madoka hid her smirk behind her fan, but slyness still dwelt in the gold of her eyes, laid bare for Kagome to witness, uninhibited.

"If that is what you wish to believe."

Eyes half-lidded, streaked with black, Kagome regarded her with sharpness, implied she had gone too far. "I will not play this game, Madoka-san."

A hum slipped through the gold-feathered fan, haughty, almost a huff. "You are too stubborn – like my son. Will it kill you to enjoy life before it is gone?"

Laughter welled in Kagome's lungs, tethered when it reached her throat, dallied with her tongue – she only allowed a dry chuckle.

"That was not a very tasteful jest."

Another hum, closer to a huff – but Kagome could tell Madoka was more amused than slighted.

"I suppose it wasn't."

It was Kagome's turn to smirk, to tease and issue a game. "You should take your own advice, Madoka-san."

 

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