Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size Divider Print This Chapter Divider

Liberation by Scar

Liberation

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or the brand. A big thank you to Wiccan for giving this the once over! I really appriacte it and a big thank you to all who have read Liberation and review. Those words mean a lot to me and even if I don't respond to all of them, trust me I read each and everyone. 

In 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower, walked in to Ohrdruf the concentration camp and said: “The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick.” He ordered reels upon reels of film, had people take countless pictures of the so called “concentration camps.” What he found was a living hell. More than 12 million people would die in camps across Europe, 6.5 million of them being Jewish.

Between Nov 20, 1945 and Oct 1, 1946, leaders of the Third Reich, except Hitler and a few others, were brought before a military tribunal and tried for their crimes against humanity.  Many were sentenced to death, some sentenced to prison and others were acquitted.  While the German nation has been accused of “allowing” such atrocities to happen, Germany’s crimes against humanity were in fact the world’s crimes. Both sides committed acts against humanity and almost a billion (every death, from battlefield to concentration camp to the bombing of Nagasaki) people paid for it with their lives.

Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, were given tattoos like other Holocaust survivors. However, their numbers were never preserved, according to the U.S. Holocaust Museum their numbers were between A-25060 and A-25271. The number mentioned is between the numeric range, in honor of the little girl that “in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

December 14th 1944

 

The stench radiated in the air, human filth. It was a thought that passed through all the minds of the yōkai soldiers.  Maybe, it was because their kind had gotten dragged into this silly war, or it was the fact that humans treated their peers with no dignity; but whatever the case was, the small band of soldiers were furious.  The 8th Platoon of the 14th Division in his Emperor’s Imperial Army had been thrown into the human's fight. It had been four years since they had actually seen Japan, four years since any of them had seen their loved ones, and four years since they got dragged into this fight.

“8th Platoon, Halt!” a sharp order cut across the cold air. The European countryside went still as all twenty-five pairs of feet stopped. Two sets of amber eyes surveyed the scene, before a soft, almost silent, whistle sounded.

“DOWN!” the sharp voice barked out. The bodies of twenty-five men hit the ground in different directions. The whistling became louder, but the object causing the noise passed over their heads.

“8th Platoon, March!” the voice barked out once more. The two sets of amber eyes met each other again, this time in a silent agreement. This war wasn’t going to end soon and it would tear the world in two. 

“Commander?” a soft voice sounded from the left.  Both sets of amber eyes gazed at the face of a fresh-faced fox yōkai.

“What?” one of the males spoke. His tone was cold and sharp, the young fox swallowed before speaking once more.

“One of the scouts found something. It’s… well, he couldn’t explain it,” the fox stated, his green eyes dropping for a split second.

“Hn, Inuyasha, change directions. We will go investigate. Shippo, go with the original scout and go back ahead,” the male said once more. The fox saluted and left; the second male looked to the first.

“Sesshomaru, the General warned us about interfering,” Inuyasha said, the small dog-like ears on his head twitching.

“Can’t you smell that Inuyasha? That is the smell of decay, blood, sex, and death,” the male named Sesshomaru replied, his eyes narrowing as he spoke. Inuyasha only licked his lips before barking out orders for the Platoon. The group of twenty-five men changed their direction and headed towards the souring smell.  The group, after miles of marching, found themselves in front of a large gate. Sesshomaru and Inuyasha shared another silent look, as Shippo came running up.

“Commander! The Germans have left,” Shippo called out between sucking in air.

“Sesshomaru, it’s… not good,” Shippo said softly. The wind kicked up in that moment and overwhelmed the area with the sour smell from behind the gate. Some of the men gagged, Inuyasha covered his nose, but it was Shippo who threw up. Sesshomaru watched as the young male threw up the contents of his stomach. In his younger days Sesshomaru had taken the fox in, like he had his runaway half-brother. The three had risen through the ranks in the Imperial Army; by the time Sesshomaru was just eighteen in human years he had full command of his own Platoon. Shippo had become a skilled scout and assassin; Inuyasha had a thing for languages and codebreaking. The threesome had become a great asset to the Imperial Army, the Yōkai General had said so himself.

However, thanks to the humans and their second world war, the three were stuck here. Sesshomaru moved past his men and studied the gate for a moment. Suddenly a green hissing whip snapped through the air and iron. The metal clanged to the ground and all that was left were the hinges, hissing from the acidic liquid glowing from Sesshomaru’s pointer and middle finger.  Sesshomaru’s eyes scanned the frozen area. It was December, but thanks to whatever Kami had decided, it was a dry winter. The air was below the freezing temperature, but at least they didn’t have to move in the wet snow.  Another gust of wind hit, causing even the usually stoic yōkai to flinch at the smell.  His men followed behind his movements, guns at the ready.

In 1938 the world had broken out into war; the Germans, Russians, and Japanese humans decided to create treaties with one another, however, that didn’t stop the tension between the three. It was the reason for the 8th Platoon’s existence in Europe. They were given the task of spying on their so-called allies; rumors had spread that Germany was weakening from within and, with Russia changing sides, it put the Empire in a delicate position.  ‘Politics,’ Sesshomaru muttered internally.  That was the reason he had opted for a military life instead of taking over his family’s own empire, at least for the time being.  Now he was stuck in Germany, cleaning up other people's politics.

A movement from the right caught the squad’s attention. They could all smell that humans were present and now they could see them. Looking back on that moment Sesshomaru could honestly say his heart broke at the sight. While his race and many humans considered him a heartless monster, he wasn’t.  His eyes took in the sight of a small boy, no older than three, stumbling after a rock, which the boy clearly considered a toy.  He was thin, too thin, Sesshomaru thought darkly as his mind began to process the scene before him. The child was bald, his skin was almost translucent in color, and Sesshomaru could make out the gray bones that lay just centimeters under the skin. He was malnourished to the point of death; the boy’s large brown eyes sank into his tiny skull. He was covered in dirt and grime, the only thing keeping him from succumbing to the frigid temperatures.

The child stopped, suddenly aware of the newcomers, his eyes froze on the guns and, as if wise beyond his years, he let out a scream. Inuyasha’s ears pressed tightly against his head, while the other Yōkai flinched at the cry. An old woman rushed over and clamped her hand over the child’s mouth, her own eyes widened in terror. The Platoon watched as other humans gathered, and suddenly it dawned on the group that they were prisoners. Each one of them was filthy; they smelled of urine and excrement. Most of their heads were shaved, save for a few women and children. Their faces were hollowed out, their eyes sunken in, and their bones stuck out under their thin gray skin. Like the boy in front of the 8th, these humans were walking corpses.

“Sess,” Inuyasha's voice trailed off. There were no words for the scene before the group of twenty-five.  One thing Sesshomaru noted was that the men vastly outnumbered the women, it was then he realized that there were only four children, and they were under the age of four. Another gust of wind and the smell of decay and death from the humans licked at the yōkai noses. These humans were the living dead.

Nails bit into Sesshomaru’s skin as a wave of anger rushed over him. Had the human counterparts to their allies done this? What exactly was this place? Why were these people here? Who were they? Question after question flooded his mind, as his nails continued to dig. Suddenly a voice called out in English.

“Are you here to kill us?” It was feminine. Sesshomaru’s amber eyes scanned the crowd to find the speaker. He had almost looked over the petite young woman, except she had stepped forward. She was dressed in what looked like make shift clothing made from a ragged and thin blanket.  Her black hair was matted and covered in Kami knows what; but her eyes commanded his attention. For a long moment amber clashed with sea as the pair stared at each other. Sesshomaru, despite her skeletal looks, could tell she was of Asian descent. The question of her heritage was answered when she spoke again, this time in Japanese.

“Are you here to kill us?” she asked again. The Platoon, as a whole, was shocked. They had yet to meet another in Europe, save for a few contacts, that spoke Japanese.

“No. What is this place?” Sesshomaru asked. The woman looked at him; a tense and uneasy silence fell over the crowding humans and small band of yōkai.

“This… This is hell,” she replied cryptically.

“Why are you here?” she asked, her eyes flashing with worry. The child waddled over to her and the young woman put herself between Sesshomaru and the child.  

“We are part of the Emperor’s Imperial Army,” Sesshomaru stated; it caused her to flinch. ‘Why?’ he thought before a male spoke in a language he did not understand. The young woman turned her head, but never taking her eyes off the group of males.

Inuyasha leaned over before translating for his commander and men.

“He asked if they were going to die, or they would be prisoners like they were for the Germans. Sess, he is saying this is a prison camp,” Inuyasha whispered lowly so only yōkai could hear.  The female eased the male who spoke, but Sesshomaru could smell her fear. It wafted through the air like a stain on the Earth.

“What is your name?” Sesshomaru asked in English, hoping to ease some fear so he may receive some information.

“Kagome,” the female replied fluently.

“You speak English very well,” Sesshomaru complimented.

“I was sent to Germany to study abroad. I was born and raised in Tokyo,” she replied fluidly, her fear dissipating a small amount. She had already internally deduced that, if these men were going to kill them, they would have already done so. He could sense their uneasiness and confusion about the place they stood within.

“Why are you in this place?” Sesshomaru asked, now curious as to why the Germans would send an ally to this so-called prison.

“The Germans…” her voice filled with emotion and trailed off. Her eyes finally broke from his form to sweep the beings behind her.

“I will show you, but you must lower your weapons. We humans have been through enough in the past years. Please. We are unarmed and pose no threat to you or your yōkai men,” she pleaded, as she tried to keep her tone even. It was then Sesshomaru noted the other humans looking at her, it had become clear either this small slip of a woman was these humans’ leader or she was someone important.

“Lower your guns,” Sesshomaru instructed.

“Be on your toes men. I am unsure what is going on,” Sesshomaru added lowly, before he slowly made his way near the woman. She let out a breath she was holding, as did many other humans.

“This way,” Kagome said, before moving away from the crowd. Sesshomaru could hear the others murmuring in languages he didn’t understand; he made a note to ask Inuyasha what exactly they were speaking.

The pair of them walked between two fences covered in barbed wire, Sesshomaru took this time to study the woman farther. She had unusual eyes for a Japanese woman, her hair had been cut unevenly and was growing out at different lengths, her skin was gray like the others, but badly bruised.  A flash of black ink caught his attention.  A-25178 stood out against her gray, lifeless skin.

“What is that?” Sesshomaru asked, before nodding to her arm. Kagome, suddenly aware of its visibility, tried to hide the tattoo as best as she could.

“It was how the Germans kept track of us.” She stated, her hand covering the mark, while her nails pierced her skin.  The metallic smell of her fresh blood soon drowned in a sea of death, Sesshomaru’s hand covered his nose at the stench of charred and rotting flesh. The heir to the Western territory of Japan was covering his nose and the woman before him was not. Other than the dripping blood, and periodically spoken word, she was a living corpse.

She halted and pointed towards a large brick building with smoke stacks rising to the sky. His mouth fell open at the sight before him, and once more his heart shattered. There, laying on the cold ground, covered in blood, grime, and a light snowfall, were mounds of bodies. Sesshomaru’s eyes widened in shock and his hand fell from his face. Kagome turned slightly towards him and watched the reaction of the male next to her. Her almost glassed over eyes scanned his face, watching as shock froze in place. The sight of his flawless face, save from a pair of magenta markings and a crescent moon upon his forehead, frozen in absolute horror gripped at her soul. Or at least what was left of it.

Sesshomaru just stood still, the landscape deadly silent and, for the first time in his life, Sesshomaru, the killing perfection, became uncomfortable with death.  His eyes flicked from body to body within the multiple piles. Some were charred as if someone tried to burn them, others had been rotting for some time and, although the cold froze them, the 8th Platoon could smell the decay. Sesshomaru swallowed thickly as he turned to look at Kagome, once his eyes connected with her impartial face, he became angry.

“What the hell has happened here? What the fuck is this?!” his voice dripping with the hot poison coursing through his very veins. His hands snatched out and grasped her, his claws breaking her frail skin, yet she didn’t flinch at his reaction.

“This is what the world allowed to happen, what has been thousands of the years in the making,” Kagome replied, blandly.  His eyes drained with liquid red and he shook her.

“Explain bitch, or so help me!” he threatened, the acidic poison leaking from his claws, which were now lodged in her skin.

“This is Germany’s greatest monument to the world. They forced people, those they called abominations, from their homes. They tortured them, starved them, beat them, raped them and finally, after all of that, if they survived, they killed them. These are the bodies of those whose lives they snuffed out. Because they could. Because they thought they were better.” Something in the female he was holding snapped. A fire licked at her glassy eyes, electricity cracked in the air, and he realized she was of Holy blood.

His eyes drained and he set her back on her feet without a word. He could hear the slight hiss of his poison eating at her skin, but she paid no mind.

“We did not know,” he whispered, as if he was almost afraid to breathe. She said nothing, her eyes trained on the piles of bodies. He, momentarily, wondered if her family was among one of the piles, but quickly he changed his thoughts.

“Why are you here? You are Japanese, an ally, surely the Germans…” his voice trailed off as her eyes snapped to his face.

“I was in Nuremburg when I was arrested. Hitler had ordered books to be burned, on the first night they held a great bonfire. Burning books from old classics to new releases. I had been in classes all day, unaware of the new laws. I stumbled upon two S.S. officers, beating a girl for trying to steal a book from one of the piles. I was arrested along with the girl and sent here,” she said, her tone finally changing from lifeless to one of bitterness and hate.

He was silent again. She had been arrested for helping another human being, an act of humanity, something he had not seen since the beginning of World War I. The pair was silent until the sound of a voice stirred both of them from their musings. It was Shippo; he was calling out to Sesshomaru as he raced over to them.

“Commander!” the red-haired fox exclaimed as he reached the pair.

“What?” Sesshomaru asked, before the look of sheer horror slipped across Shippo’s face. His sea green eyes widened and his mouth slackened, Sesshomaru knew in that moment he had seen the piles of bodies.

“WHAT?!” Sesshomaru roared, breaking the horrified daze Shippo had slipped into.

“Inuyasha sent two of the boys to find food; it was locked away behind two iron doors. Do you want us to distribute it?” the young boy asked, his eyes still never leaving the piles of corpses behind his Commander.

“Yes, these people need food. Have Inuyasha set up a headquarters so we may contact the General,” Sesshomaru said before dismissing him.

“Give them very little and keep your guns lowered, but use them for show,” Kagome spoke up, Shippo’s eyes snapped to her face for a moment.

“What?” he asked, completely dumbfounded. Shippo looked at Sesshomaru, who in turn looked at the female with his own mix of curiosity and shock.

“We ate all they had left out. We are hungry. They will try to gorge themselves on food; it’s a reaction to starvation of this level. Some may choke; I would only give them broth,” she stated calmly.

“Are you a doctor?” Sesshomaru asked, slightly impressed with her knowledge.

“I was studying to become one,” she replied simply.

“Do as she says, do not hurt anyone. If they resist, remind them we are here to help them,” Sesshomaru said.

“And if they continue to resist, sir?” Shippo asked, eyeing Kagome suspiciously.

“Fire a shot in the air. Find the sick and wounded. Feed them and the children first,” Sesshomaru said with a nod. Shippo saluted and left the pair alone once more.

“We are all sick,” she said, a broken smile tugging at a corner of her mouth.

“How long have you been here?” he asked, ignoring her morbid humor.

“What year is it?” she asked, before blinking owlishly for a moment.

“1944,” Sesshomaru replied.

“Three years. There are few who have been here longer,” Kagome said, her eyes skimming over the smoke stacks.

“What is that building for?’ he questioned.

“The crematoriums. Come” she replied, before moving off towards the building just behind the bodies. He followed, trying his best not to stare at the bodies or faces of those he saw laying there. She hesitated slightly before opening the door, but stepped aside once it was done. Sesshomaru knitted his brows in confusion as he watched her rub her tattoo.

“This place is filled with much sorrow. The able-bodied men were forced to move the bodies; they would put them in those large ovens along the wall. The smoke had not stopped in all the time I have been here, but once they fled, it stopped,” she said sadly.

“Why do you not leave?” he asked, as he looked inside the building, it was clear she would not venture into that place.

“And go where? The Russians are just as cruel as the Germans, one lady fled from them, only to end up here. The Germans are still to the West.  Here… Well, we are safe for a while,” Kagome replied.

“What else is there?” he asked, his eyes locked on to her face.

“That boy, he must have gotten into the main building. That houses the barracks, hospital, as well as the communication outlets. Prisoner housing’s on the East side of the camp, but there is a large section of land in the back; it mostly has the graves of those who have been here since the start of the war. Burning people was quicker them burying them.  The smaller building directly across the gate is the mess hall; the kitchens are next to it,” Kagome said, stepping away from the crematorium.  She shivered slightly as a gust of freezing air picked up again; Sesshomaru removed his jacket and placed it on her shoulders. He turned and walked a few steps, before realizing she wasn’t following him.

Kagome was standing there staring down at the jacket. His body heat radiated off the woolen uniform, which safeguarded her from another blast of wind. Suddenly, she felt a sting at her eyes, and she realized she was going to cry. The salt water dripped over her cheeks and hit the gray jacket, darkening the wool. Her fingers clenched in the wool, feeling the rough material. His ears picked up a soft sniff and the smell of her tears hit him. He re-traced his steps and stood in front of her, still silent. She sniffed once more and looked up to the man who towered over her.  Suddenly, she found herself pressed close to his body, enveloped in the warmth of a simple hug. The smell of pine, ivory soap, and cinnamon hit her nose, giving a watery smile she took in a deep breath.

Years of pain came rushing out as did the tears. In the cold frigid air, the couple did not move, neither wanting to part from the last piece of humanity they found. After her hiccups died off, Sesshomaru pulled away and looked down at her.

“I am sorry,” he said, barely above a whisper.

“You are kind. I never even asked your name, it was rude,” Kagome said, feeling a sudden heat at her cheeks.

“Sesshomaru. Come, let’s get you fed and clothed. I will make arrangements for the survivors,” he said, as he led her away from the horror scene once more.

December 25th 1944:

“Eleven days.” Kagome mused to herself softly, her eyes trained on the needle she was working with.  True to his word, Sesshomaru made arrangements.  With so few survivors, he had been able to arrange a plane to pick up a load of people for the fifth day. Through the days, Kagome had helped the sick and tired in the hospital, she had been temporarily given command of the wing and anything she needed she either got or got suitable substitutes. She had come to know every face that belonged to the 8th Platoon, they were kind and gentle, which sometimes Kagome wondered if that had been Sesshomaru’s doing. Either way, the soldiers of the 8th Platoon had become heroes.

There had been one hundred and sixty five survivors left at the camp; from estimates that Shippo provided, the camp could hold six hundred. When he had told them that, Kagome left the room to cry. Sesshomaru had found her later sitting in one of the cattle cars that had been rolled from the tracks. He listened as she sobbed out her anger and pain once more. He had not silenced her and, when she had questioned him on it, had just replied cryptically, “You have been silenced enough.”

Now on the eleventh day, another plane was scheduled to arrive at nightfall. This time, Inuyasha would leave and help on the other end. The half Inu-yōkai and Kagome had become quick friends; their love of speaking in foreign tongues had passed the time. So here, in the main hall of the headquarters, Kagome sat, sewing a button on one of the men’s jackets.

“Hey Kagome!” a gruff voice sounded, stirring her from her musings.

“Hello Inuyasha,” she greeted in Russian, he laughed and set his hat down before shrugging his jacket off. The fire, now burning in the massive stone fireplace, warmed the air; which was exactly what Inuyasha needed.

“Are you excited to be going home?” Kagome asked softly with a smile.

“Hell, yeah! I haven’t been home in four years,” Inuyasha exclaimed, forgetting the world around them. It was one of the reasons she liked Inuyasha, with him around this horrid reality didn’t exist all the time.

“You coming this trip?” he asked, his ears twitching at the crackling fire.

“Ah, no. I am sending Anne Minsky, her cough has become wet and she has a hard time breathing,” Kagome replied, moving on to the next button.

“Kagome, can I ask you something personal?” Inuyasha asked, now fiddling with his thumbs.  Kagome studied him for a moment, he was leaned forward, his elbows resting on his thighs. His hands clasped and this thumbs moving about anxiously.

“Of course,” she replied, setting her sewing down.

“Is there anyone back in Japan you’d like me to contact? Family or boyfriend?” Inuyasha asked, with a soft blush rising on his face.  Kagome giggled softly before shaking her head.

“Well I have never had a boyfriend before, so that would be a no on that front. But there is a shrine in Tokyo. Higurashi Shrine, my grandpa, mother, and little brother live there. If you could tell them I am okay and I love them, I would appreciate that,” Kagome said with a soft smile, before grasping one of Inuyasha’s hands.

“I can do that for you. But… Can you take care of Sesshomaru? He seems like an icicle, but he isn’t really. When I was younger he hated me, most yōkai did. Still do. I ran away ‘till I was sixteen in your years. He found me and took me home, my dad passed last year… He’s all I got left,” Inuyasha said. A silence fell over them for a moment before Kagome surprised Inuyasha, she hugged him.

The eleven days at this camp had taught Inuyasha many horrors that humans were capable of, but it also taught him the value of love. Many of the prisoners were caring people, they told jokes and stories. Two of the elderly men had taught Inuyasha how to speak Hebrew, something Inuyasha cherished. He had learned that Anne Minsky had been a baker before her life at the camp; she made the best baked bread.  The boy the Platoon had first come across was just now talking, and he loved to play with Inuyasha’s ears.  But, most of all, Inuyasha learned the value of purity. Years later, as he told this story at his brother’s 65th mating anniversary, he would recall how Kagome flinched at any man who passed her. He would tell how finally, after three days, she spoke her first words to him.

It had been during a snowfall, something the 8th Platoon hated, but suddenly after that simple snowfall on December 16th 1944, they saw it through Kagome’s eyes. She had spun around, trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue, as she cried.  When Inuyasha asked why she was crying, she simply said that snow was purifying. They were no longer abominations. It was a memory Inuyasha would keep until his dying breath.  Inuyasha wrapped his arms around the female, even after eleven days her bones still stuck out against her skin. But at least she was safe now; her face held some color, as did many of the faces they saw on a day-to-day basis.  The pair embraced for a moment, before Inuyasha rested his chin on her head. Tears spilled from his eyes, something that had not happened since he was a teenager. The salt water dripped on to a sea of black, which absorbed the moisture, and pain along with it.

December 26th 1944: 3:45am

Kagome woke with a scream as her chest heaved up and down, tears streamed down her face, and her body convulsed. Her fingernails dug in to the bedding and a sob ripped from her throat.  Sweat dripped down her form, causing the female’s sleeping gown to stick to her body. Footsteps echoed through the hall before her door opened, the hall light shone on her pale and sickly looking face. 

“Kagome?” Sesshomaru’s voice sounded, before the door shut behind him. He was topless, the moonlight causing his skin to almost glow.

“I-I-I’m sorry, it was just a d-d-dream,” she stuttered, trying to force the sob down.  His eyes watched as she struggled to gasp for air, her hand around her throat.

‘More like a nightmare,’ he thought, before he sat on the edge of her bed and watched her.

“Tell me about it,” Sesshomaru prompted her.  After a long pause, she regained control of her breathing. Her heartbeat slowed, and the rushing blood began to level out. She still did not speak, her eyes trained out the window, staring at the moon.

“You can never see the sky like this in Tokyo. Too many lights,” Kagome whispered finally. Sesshomaru traced her line of sight, she was right; the sky was breathtaking at night. There were too many lights, and too many humans for his taste, almost cynically he reminded himself the Eastern Yōkai Lord could have Tokyo for all he cared.

“Did you have friends during your stay for University?” Sesshomaru asked, her schooling was always a safe subject and she seemed to perk up when speaking about it.  After the eleven days, no it was 3:45 in the morning at the moment, the twelve days he had spent around this unusual woman had been informative. The survivors were grateful and humble about the horrors they had faced. They tried to distract themselves with stories of family and friends, all while ignoring the cold world around them. It was the girl, now sitting before him, who had captured Sesshomaru’s attention the most. Despite all of the horror that had been forced upon her young soul, she still had room to love. She cared deeply for those who had been left to their deaths; he had watched her, more than once, give part of her food to someone who needed it more.

She laughed with the children, told stories about her time in Japan as well as University. She cared for the sick and injured, with grace and as much dignity as she could give them. His men, hardened soldiers of war, had warmed up to the human woman.  She was willing to do any sort of task; she had even once stood watch, due to one of his men falling ill. The thought brought back what Inuyasha had demanded of him earlier.

“You have someone to protect.”

It had been a twist on the same words their father had sent him, just before his untimely death, which drove it all the more home. Inuyasha was right, of course, Sesshomaru had found himself someone to protect.  That was exactly what he was going to do, he moved to sit next to her and, shocking both of them, Sesshomaru placed an arm around her shoulders as he continued to look at the moon.  A comfortable silence fell over them, as they watched the dying moon fade and the rising sun crest. Oddly enough, the pair felt that, in that single moment, alone watching the changing of nature’s guards, the world didn’t seem so cruel and dark.

January 16st 1945:

“Here Kagome,” Shippo said, handing her a steaming bowl of broth. She had been sick for a couple days; the 8th Platoon was getting edgy about the situation.  Their final stealth plane pick-up was set to arrive the next day, but the smell of death swallowed Kagome’s natural scent. The 8th Platoon, its Commander, and Kagome were the last to leave. The group could only pray to whatever being that Kagome would last long enough for a real doctor to save her.

Shippo and Sesshomaru, as well as the others, had been taking turns watching the suffering girl. She slept a lot and barely ate any more, today she denied Shippo’s bowl of broth. The young fox kit willed the stinging tears away, as he set the bowl on the ground.

“My mom died when I was young, so did my dad,” Shippo began as he recalled the only memory of his parents. There was love; he knew that for a fact. He could remember giggles and robust laughter; he smiled softly as he told Kagome stories about a younger Sesshomaru and Inuyasha. He told how the most feared yōkai in the West had taken him in, and had given him a home. He told her his dreams and passions in life; he talked and talked until he was crying. A few tears fell on her hand, which twitched at the sudden coolness.

“Dear me, little fox. Why so sad?” Kagome croaked as she squeezed one of his hands.

“You’re awake!” he exclaimed wetly.

“Tell me again how Inuyasha dumped ice cream on that wolf?” Kagome asked, before coughs and hacks racked her form.  Shippo wiped her brow, before he dove into his favorite story. He watched as Kagome drifted off to a deep sleep with a small smile on her face.

February 16th 1945:

Sesshomaru and the entire 8th Platoon were being given medals today, something about heroic bravery. The thought almost made the bile rise in Sesshomaru’s throat; this was a pathetic attempt to rid the Imperial Army of guilt. Sesshomaru buttoned his jacket and pulled his long silver hair into a low ponytail, his eyes never left his reflection as he placed his uniform hat on his head. Perfect. Always perfect. In an unusual moment, he sighed, before making his way out of his office.  He met one of his men in the hall and the pair silently made their way through the tunnels of the Yōkai Imperial Headquarters. The Germans were losing the battle with Russia and, thanks to some idiotic human’s idea, the United States was now involved. Sesshomaru had met with his superiors urging them to contact their counterparts in the United States, apparently none of them had made that same mistake he had as a young pup: Never poke a sleeping dragon.

“Sir?” the other male asked, drawing Sesshomaru from his musings. He quirked a brow, silently telling the man to repeat himself.

“Some of the men are getting donations together for Miss Kagome’s shrine. Part of it was destroyed in the fire bombings. Once the war is won, we want to help rebuild it. Her grandfather passed on right after she was sent to the camp. Her mother and her little brother are the only ones left, Inuyasha forgot to ask you, which is… would you like to donate?” the male asked awkwardly.

‘Her shrine,’ Sesshomaru thought for a moment before nodding his head.

“Save the money for a gift, my company will rebuild the shrine,” Sesshomaru said shortly. The male nodded, but the smile was a clear enough message for the Commander. Twenty-five hardened yōkai soldiers gathering their funds for a woman who had changed their lives. It was quite odd how life worked, many of the men in the 8th detested humans. Sesshomaru surmised it was because the yōkai always got called to clean up their dirty work.

“Sesshomaru!” his brother’s voice bellowed from behind him. Turning, Sesshomaru was greeted by the sight of his brother running down the hall.

“She’s awake!” he shouted with a large grin plastered on his face. The news made Sesshomaru stiffen for a moment, before he let out a soft breath.

“Shippo is bringing her to the ceremony!” the younger brother stated between intakes of much needed air.

“It is far too cold for her-” a soft feminine voice cut him off.

“I am quite warm Commander Sesshomaru,” the voice stated with a soft giggle. The three males looked in the direction where the voice had sounded from. There, standing in the middle of the hall with a grinning Shippo, was Kagome Higurashi.  Her cheeks and nose were pink from the cold air, but she was dressed warmly. It seemed she had acquired a fur coat since her return to Japan.

“Kagome!” Inuyasha exclaimed before bear-hugging the girl and twirling her around. Kagome laughed as she was spun in the air.  Sesshomaru watched as she laughed and spoke with the other three males, she had her hair curled in to a stylish updo. She had a little kohl around her eyes, which caused her almost unusual eyes to pop out. Shippo helped her take her jacket off, it was then Sesshomaru could see she was getting back to a semi-normal state. She had put on a few pounds, helping her form to plump a bit, but she still looked far too skinny. Her face was a bit more filled out; Sesshomaru could finally see what some of the 8th had said about her being a “looker.”

“Commander?” she asked, quirking a brow in confusion.

“You look well,” was all he said, before leaving the three others in the hall.

Kagome was taken back by his short reply, reading the confusion on her face Inuyasha squeezed her hand.

“He’s just stressed out. We are losing ground in Manila. The United States entered in December of last year, with them in the war, it changes our war plans. Sesshomaru’s worried.” Inuyasha said lowly, as he looked around.

“Of course. So should we get you three to your ceremony?” Kagome asked with a smile. The small group of four followed Sesshomaru's footsteps. Kagome pulled her fur coat closed against the cold air, as the group walked outside the building. Kagome squinted in the sunlight, but smiled suddenly.

“Kags?” Shippo asked, he was slightly concerned about her. She had not recovered fully from her bout with Tuberculosis, she had complained that morning that standing up from sitting was hard. According to medical doctors, and Kagome herself, it was probably due to the TB, and probably incurable.  Thankfully, however, Shippo had seen the worst outcome of TB, both him and Kagome agreed joint stiffness was better than death. 

“The sun… I didn’t think I would ever see it again outside of those fences,” she responded lightly. The three males shared a look, but no one responded. Suddenly, Inuyasha and Shippo wondered if she would ever realize that she was never going back to a place like that. It was a thought that scared the males, each had their own reasons, but both had agreed they wanted to show her that good still existed in the world.

March 12th 1945:

It had been three days since the firebombs had fallen on Tokyo as well as other cities around Japan. Inuyasha was the one who had to bring her the news about her family, the rest of the 8th had been called in for police patrol as well as rubble clearing. She cried for hours, until her sobs turned into silence. Inuyasha had stayed with her the first night; during the night, he woke up to her cleaning the tile floor with a rag. He watched her for a few moments; she scrubbed with the rag until her knuckles were raw.

“Kagome?” Inuyasha asked, bending down to her level.

“It’s not clean. It will never be clean,” she muttered, still scrubbing. His heart broke in that moment; they both knew she wasn’t talking about the tile.  So there they sat in the kitchen, on the cool wet tile, until the sun rose.  It was then, right as the sun crested for the day, she confessed her supposed sins to him.

The first night at the camp had been absolute hell. She had watched as children were ripped from their mothers, families ripped apart. She watched as grown men cried for their dying wives, daughters, and sisters.  The girl who had been arrested along with her had been named Alice. She was trying to take back the textbooks the S.S. stole from her. The pair of girls were stripped naked when they arrived, they were sprayed down with disinfectant but, from what Kagome said, they had been lucky. Alice, Kagome, and three other young women would keep their hair, but it came at a price.

They had all been raped, two girls died due to injuries sustained from their attacks. One of them had been Alice; she died in Kagome’s arms during a summer rainstorm. Kagome had fought off one soldier, which earned her the attention of one of the commanding officers. Some of the other prisoners hid her away from the commander; often he would “miss” her and take it out on another prisoner. She said she would be forever grateful for those who had helped her.

“They were good people. Many who you helped were those who helped me. My entire cellblock had lied one time; I hid in the crematorium behind a pile of the others. Some of the Sonderkommando were nice. They split their rations with me. They killed them though, when they left. One of the elder men, he had been transferred from another prison, said they did it so that the Sonderkommando wouldn’t speak to anyone about what they did. We all knew though,” Kagome said before licking her lips.

“As awful as this sounds, I am glad momma and Souta are gone. I don’t think I could ever be who I was before I left Japan or if I could ever tell them,” she said, surprising Inuyasha.

“You don’t have to be who you were, you can be who you are now. If your mother was anything like you, she would be proud of the struggles you have overcome. You’ve made some of the toughest men in the 8th cry,” Inuyasha said softly, as he leaned on her shoulder.

‘Maybe he’s right,’ Kagome thought to herself for a moment.

April 5th 1945: 2:53 Am

Sesshomaru unlocked the apartment door as quietly as he could; he glanced around before entering and re-locking the door. He crept quietly through the small apartment before he came to a bedroom door, cracking the door he peered in. The thought of her screaming if she saw him flicked through his mind, but he quickly dismissed it. Inuyasha had mentioned she was taking sleeping pills to sleep through the night. Sesshomaru’s eyes narrowed in on Kagome’s slumbering face. She looked very peaceful, her face free of worry, and she wasn’t always looking over her shoulder or checking people’s faces.  She rolled over to fully face him, then murmured something in her sleep. Sesshomaru closed the door and began to leave the apartment, but before he left, he stopped at the kitchen table and placed a newspaper down as well as a chocolate bar.

As he locked up Kagome’s apartment, he sighed softly. The pair had been exchanging letters ever since he had sent Inuyasha to tell her about her family. He had just gotten off a train an hour before, finally arriving back in Kyoto.  Sesshomaru stepped out in the still cool air as he exited the building; the wind picked up a few cherry blossom petals and let them drift past his face. Later in the morning, he decided, he would ask Kagome to the Cherry Blossom Festival.

April 5th 1945:  6:06 Pm

 Kagome looked at her reflection once more after a knock sounded at her door. She was wearing a solid cream kimono, with gold cranes stitched flying across her body and down the hem.  Her obi was a light pink color and her obijime to hold her obi in place was gold.  Her hair was pulled away from her face and held by traditional ivory combs with light pink sakura flowers hanging off them. She was wearing very little make up, but a bit of kohl around her eyes. Another knock sounded, causing her to jump.

‘Open it, silly,’ she mentally chided herself.

She checked the peek hole to find Sesshomaru standing in the hall. He was dressed in an all-black haori and hakama set. She opened the door and smiled when she saw him, he smirked slightly as she let him in.

“You look beautiful,” Sesshomaru said, causing Kagome to blush brightly.

“Thank you, you look handsome,” she said.

“Thank you for the chocolate, I shared it with my neighbor Sango. Her husband is in China on orders,” Kagome said.

“Yes, Miroku, he is a holy person who works for the yōkai sector. Shall we?” he asked, extended his arm.

Kagome nodded before grabbing a small bag and her keys, she took his arm after locking the door. Kagome bid ‘hello’ to his driver, one of the men from the 8th, and the couple set off towards downtown. Once they were out of the military zone, Sesshomaru relaxed slightly, which caused Kagome to giggle.

“What?” he asked.

“You. You never fully relax do you?” she asked softly, watching the city whiz past.

“We are at war, I can’t,” he replied honestly.

“And after the war?” she asked, turning to look at him.

“I will be allowed to retire and take over my family's business,” he said.

“Inuyasha told me about that, what does your family do?” she asked, curious.

“Manufacture products, at the moment it is war industry,” Sesshomaru said.

“What will you do? Inuyasha said you have been helping out at the base in the hospital,” Sesshomaru asked as the car slowed to a stop. Sesshomaru opened the door and helped Kagome step out of the car.

“Yes, Dr. Fuzuki has allowed me to help, even though I was never certified or graduated.  He was even kind enough to let me borrow some of his text books,” Kagome said with a smile.

The couple walked and made small talk as they made their way through the first part of the Festival. Kagome’s arm was wrapped around Sesshomaru’s, he laid his other hand over the top of hers as the pair continued to walk down the middle of the path.

“Commander-”

“Call me Sesshomaru, please?” he insisted.

“Alright, Sesshomaru.  Why did you help us?” she asked softly. His voice caught in his throat at the question, they had danced around the subject, never fully addressing it.  He was silent for a long pause before speaking.

“When I was a young pup my mother died. It was very difficult on my father and me. Years later my father started acting strangely.  I followed him one night, his own son could track him; he had taught me well. He was seeing a human Hime, over time it became clear the Hime was pregnant with my younger brother.  In my young age, I became angry at my father. I felt abandoned, but one night I finally understood my father’s love for the Hime,” Sesshomaru said, before pausing for a moment.

“After my little brother was born, a human male slaughtered the Hime. My father was able to resurrect her, but after that he was attacked. The woman ran into the forest, away from the human males who were after her. They wanted to slaughter her and her “abomination” of a child. I flew into a rage after I saw one of the men try to rape her. After that, humans had become disgusting creatures. I hated them, still hate many of them,” he said, as the couple sat on a bench under a Cherry Blossom tree.

“The first day we met, I saw the lack of life in your eyes. And the way you spoke suggested you had already given up on life, just waiting to die.  Something snapped inside,” Sesshomaru said, as his hand squeezed her hand lightly.

“I’m glad it was you that was there. You’ve been so kind to me, even helped me with getting my own home. I could never repay you,” Kagome said, her eyes scanning the happy faces of the crowd.

“You won’t need to. I did not do it to be repaid,” Sesshomaru said, as he turned his head to look at her.

“I want to,” Kagome said, a blush rising on her skin. Sesshomaru’s hand cupped her cheek and his thumb slid along her cheekbone. A soft gust of wind picked up the loose petals off the tree and swirled them around the couple. Sesshomaru's mouth twitched into a small smile before he leaned in and closed his eyes. Kagome closed her eyes right before she felt his warm lips capture hers.

The kiss was chaste and short, but the feelings it sparked rooted deeply within their hearts. When they broke apart, Kagome blushed deeply and looked at her hands in her lap. Sesshomaru, in a rare public moment, smiled before a chuckle escaped.

“Are you laughing at me?” Kagome asked suddenly. Sesshomaru’s eyebrow raised with a chuckle, but he answered her question with another kiss.

 

 April 30th, 1945:

 

Kagome was wrapping a wound from a patient who had come in last week. Shippo poked his head through the door and whistled softly. Popping her head up, Kagome smiled as she saw Shippo waving a white envelope.  Kagome quickly finished her work and rushed over to Shippo. The pair exchanged a few words, but the fox left her alone with the letter. Kagome rushed down a corridor before finding an empty room. With her back at the door, she ripped the envelope open and suddenly grinned.

Kagome,

Through your eyes the world seems alive and thriving, yet as I write this, I find myself seeing only the worst in it all. I know this is a short letter, but you have my word, I will write a lengthier one when I get set up in Nagasaki. The General estimates we will be here for six months, when I can send for you I will. You’d love the city and the countryside. Do you remember when you asked me about the places I have seen?  I have enclosed a map with all the places I’ve traveled to, as well as cards that correlate with each location. When you are lonely or perhaps miss me, open one.  I must go, I promise to write when I can. I do miss you.

Yours,

Sesshomaru

May 4th 1945:

Sesshomaru,

I opened my first card today. We had a yōkai come into the hospital, part of his face was missing, his hair was almost the same color as yours, another nurse was stitching him up, but I had to leave the room. I do miss you, no one speaks about the world with the wisdom you do.  You have the most amazing stories about a world I have never seen, I find myself very jealous of that world. I find myself worrying at night, praying to Kami that you return soon.  Maybe tell the General I need you? I won’t mind writing him, if need be. Even his own wife finds this separation hard. She came in yesterday looking for a friend, poor thing. Her son was dressed in a uniform and playing soldier with Inuyasha.  Tonight, I sit writing to you from the bench where we kissed, I find myself feeling closer to you here, even though you’re far away.  I have enclosed a photo like you asked; one of the girls took it. I hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits.

With love,

Kagome

 

May 31st 1945:

There was no letter. Just a simple sketch, but suddenly Kagome found herself more attached to that sketch then she would be to a letter. She had saved every letter, every card she opened from his map gift, but the sketch would be framed. She cried when she first laid eyes on it, she then instantly knew why Sesshomaru had requested her picture.  She assumed he would keep it in his pocket, like most soldiers do. But no, Sesshomaru wasn’t like most males she had met. He had taken the time to sketch out her image and a simple word written on the bottom of the page: ‘Watashi no ai.’ ‘My love.’

July 5th 1945:

Sesshomaru smirked as he looked into the package Kagome had sent him. It would seem she had questioned every member of the 8th Platoon on his favorite treats.  It was also apparent she had gotten Inuyasha’s help to secure some American sweets.  The pair was taking a chance by sending him those; it was considered treason to own anything remotely similar to American culture.  That was probably what made him smirk; she had rediscovered a love for adventure since her time in the camp. The thought darkened his mood, however. He had yet to tell her that three of the 8th, including both Inuyasha and Shippo, had found five officers that had helped “run” the camp she was at.  They had to kill an entire platoon of Russian humans to obtain the men but, to Sesshomaru, it was worth the bloodshed. Inuyasha had informed him of some of her experiences there, including her repeated rape. His eyes flickered between their normal warm amber color to the cool metallic red hue.  He would take his time in torturing those men; he would also savor their blood running down his claws.

July 17th 1945:

Kagome stood as the wind blew softly, around her stood nineteen members of the 8th Platoon.  Four graves were freshly dug in front of the group, four white caskets stood out against the cool dirt. Inuyasha’s hand suddenly found hers, as tears escaped her eyes.  A surprise attack had killed four men and severely wounded a fifth.  The funeral had been purposely small, due to his new posting Sesshomaru could not be present, however, the men invited the woman that had captured his heart. As the caskets lowered, guns went off and scared Kagome. Her hand gripped Inuyasha’s as well as that of the male on the other side.  Kagome found herself floating away from the present, before being ripped roughly back by Inuyasha’s voice.

“It’s okay, we are here,” his gruff voice whispered in her ear. A sudden creature of need lurched in her chest as she thought about Sesshomaru. It had been such a short time the pair had known each other and yet she cared deeply for the yōkai that had saved her life.  One of the nurses she worked with swore up and down it was because she had been saved, but Kagome knew better. There were few men who would ever look at her the same after they were informed about her past, but he had looked past that to find the woman she was now.

“Kagome?” Inuyasha asked as the guns died.

“I love him,” she said, her eyes trained on the freshly laid caskets. Reality of Sesshomaru’s posting was setting in; she was becoming afraid that if the war didn’t end soon he would die.

August 1st 1945:

Watashi no ai,

Spend the rest of your life with me?

Allow me to love you like no other has or ever will?

Let me show you the world that is jealous of the way I look at you?

Love,

Sesshomaru

August 6th 1945:

A mushroom cloud and silence echoed throughout the country of Japan. At 8:15 am, the American plane Enola Gay dropped the world’s first ever atomic bomb. 30% of Hiroshima’s population was killed by the initial blast and firestorm afterwards.  Another 70,000 were injured, human-shaped shadows upon the ground were found, humans with no skin on their bodies were found, and children were only found based on lunch boxes or other personal items.  An entire clinic was erased from the map; homes, schools as well as local governmental buildings were gone.  While the intention was to save over one million American lives, the actual cost of human life and proceeding nuclear arms race, was never part of the plan.

August 7th 1945:

She had not slept in two days. Countless men, women, and children arrived. Skin falling from faces, charred remains crumbling under pressure. Kagome burst from the hospital and ran, tears streaming down her face. She clawed at her collar as if the world was closing in around her.  Silence. A deafening silence was heard across the city of Kyoto, even humans could smell the fear in the air. Kagome’s stomach lurched as she emptied its contents.  As she wiped her mouth with a tissue, she had a sickening realization that this wasn’t over.

August 9th 1945:

It was rumored after the war that Japan was ready to surrender. They were. However, at 11:01 in the morning of Aug 9, 1945, the American plane Bockscar dropped a second atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki. Thankfully, most of the damage done was contained due to the location of where the bomb was dropped. While initial death tolls were less then that of Hiroshima, the following weeks and months proved differently. More and more people began to die due to effects from the bomb.

“The atomic bomb was more than a weapon of terrible destruction; it was a psychological weapon.” - Henry L. Stimson, 1947

August 9th 1945:  3:45pm

Kagome’s world came crashing down.  No one had heard from the yōkai command center. Silence.  The dark-haired beauty sat on a wooden chair in the main half of the hospital clutching a letter. It was Sesshomaru’s last letter, dated two days before. Love, Sesshomaru. Love, Sesshomaru. He was gone; tears spilled over Kagome’s cheeks and dripped onto the paper. Dead. He was dead.

August 20th 1945:

Inuyasha pulled a blanket over Kagome’s sleeping form; he had to sneak a tranquilizer into her tea at dinner.  The Americans had dropped two atomic bombs but, due to Sesshomaru’s efforts, the yōkai government was now in control. The problem was, no one had heard from the Killing Perfection. Inuyasha shut the door and allowed his claws to puncture his own palm. His brother was dead, no letters, no call. Just silence. The soft sound of movement from the room behind him reminded Inuyasha that he was not alone in his grief.  Kagome had reverted to the quiet, lifeless form she had been when Inuyasha had first met her. The young female had fallen in love with the rumored unloveable yōkai. Sesshomaru had been her world and suddenly he had been ripped away. Shippo was worried that she would never recover from this, Inuyasha doubted it as well. The couple had fallen deeply in love with one another; Sesshomaru had asked Inuyasha to retrieve the former Lady of the West’s pendent.  Sesshomaru had also asked his permission to marry Kagome, which Inuyasha readily accepted. With a soft sigh, Inuyasha walked to her couch and sat down. He dropped his head into his hands as he felt tears well up in his eyes, his big brother was gone.

September 1st 1945:

Kagome sat in a wooden chair outside the hospital; she stared out onto the manmade lake without actually seeing the sight. Summer was coming to a close and the Americans had appointed a new government, signaling the start of their occupation. The yōkai governments from both countries had been secretly dealing with each other since April, Inuyasha had told her that was why Sesshomaru was in Nagasaki. He had been trying to end the war, while his human counterparts wanted to continue to fight.  Shippo sat down next to her in another chair, but remained silent. Kagome didn’t talk much since the second bomb, the young fox, as well as every other yōkai, could smell the deep depression.  She no longer smiled at his silly tricks, nor did she really acknowledge other people’s presence. Shippo was worried; she had locked herself away in her mind, no longer wanting to live.

September 10th 1945:

Inuyasha was drunk. His vision blurred as he stumbled into the barracks, it had become his norm. He stumbled around a bit more, ignoring the onlookers. His platoon peers were silent as they watched the hanyou, each one understanding that he was hurting. The door opened a second time but, instead of a male, there stood Kagome. She watched Inuyasha and some of the males later on would swear her eyes were colder than ice. They narrowed on the stumbling hanyou, as she made her way over to him.

“Inuyasha,” she said firmly, trying to get his attention.

“Leave me alone you wench,” Inuyasha said, ripping his arm away from her grasp. In his drunken stupor, Inuyasha found it impossible to place her face. Kagome tried again but was only cursed at.

“Look bitch, I said leave me alone!” he roared, as he stood up, getting dangerously close to Kagome. Some men stood, praying they would not have to hurt their comrade, but Kagome did it for them.  Her slap echoed off the concrete walls, many eyes widened at her gall of actually hitting the hanyou. Shippo just stood off to the side shaking his head, well aware that the shock of the situation was setting in.

“You son of a bitch, you dare! You dare disgrace your brother like this!” she screamed. Inuyasha stood, with his hand on his reddened face, in complete shock.  Suddenly, he sobered up to find Kagome standing in front of him, her face red and sticky from tears.

“How dare you?” she whispered, her voice breaking. Inuyasha looked at her for a moment, tears stinging his eyes.

“Kagome I-” he began, but she cut him off.

“NO! Shut up. You have no right to act this way. What are you going to do? Drink yourself into a grave? Then who will Shippo have? Who will I have? Sesshomaru wouldn’t have wanted this,” Kagome said, her voice now stronger.

Inuyasha and the other males were silent; Shippo laid a hand on her shoulder as she began to cry again. It had been a month since the bombing, she had not even uttered Sesshomaru's name until now. It hit Inuyasha in the heart, his mouth opened and closed a couple of times, never finding the words to say. Kagome just shook her head and left the barracks, leaving a stunned hanyou behind.

“She’s right Inuyasha. We all need you,” Shippo said quietly, before leaving himself.

September 30th 1945:

The temperature had dropped suddenly that day, Kagome’s nose was bright red, and the trees were just shedding the last of their leaves. Inuyasha was busy, as was Shippo, so today she was alone. Alone. The word struck a chord as Kagome watched people walk past her. She was sitting on the same bench where she had shared her first kiss with Sesshomaru; it was the one place she felt close to her dead lover. Her fingers gripped a wooden box tighter, as she pictured his face. She was holding the box where she had locked away his letters, cards, and sketches. Even now, she could not bring herself to look upon them, but she wouldn’t let the box go.

The wind picked up and carried leaves in a swirl around her.  Her hair whipped around, blurring her vision for a moment. The wind died down just as suddenly as it kicked up, she removed the hair from her face, and licked her lips.  She could almost feel his warm hand on her cheek, his thumb tracing her cheekbone. Closing her eyes, Kagome sighed deeply, her fingers relaxed around the smooth wooden box. She took another deep breath and opened her eyes, her fingers fiddled with the combination lock before it sprung open. Slowly, she removed the lock and opened the box. Faintly, she could smell pine, sandalwood, and soap; her lips twitched slightly in a ghosting smile.  Her fingers ran across one smooth paper before she picked it up. Her eyes scanned the words as she became reabsorbed in his handwriting.

Kagome,

I hope this letter finds you well. We have finally settled here in Nagasaki, the General is not particularly happy with how the war is going, the Americans are pushing back. Have you ever been to New York? Once this war business is over with, I will take you. Father took me during the First World War, we had a pleasant time, and I ate something called a pretzel. It is salted dough that people eat with a sauce called mustard; I know how much you love curry, so you may enjoy mustard. I have enclosed a container of curry the General acquired from a diplomat, maybe you can introduce Shippo too it. He isn’t a fan of spicy food; he certainly did not get that from our time together.  When we were in India, the Platoon enjoyed the food immensely. All except Shippo, of course. Speaking of India, I have also sent a roll of cloth. I hope it made it there untouched, an Indian diplomat came in last week. He knew father and had advised him during my sire’s time as Lord of the West. He gifted it to me, but I have no use for such lush fabric, maybe you could make a kimono or a western dress? You were very good at sewing if I recall correctly. I’m sending this letter back with Inuyasha due to the other items; I also had Jaken pay the apartment up through the end of the year. Hopefully you won’t need it after that, hopefully the war will end before then.  Be careful and stay safe until I come home.

Yours,

Sesshomaru

Kagome,

I was in China, which is why this letter is late. I apologize; the General needs a few men to confirm a rumor about our human counterparts. It seems the Germans are not the only guilty party, even the Japanese are guilty. In war everyone is guilty, but we have never seen carnage like this. I apologize if this hits a little close to home, I found myself sickened and missing your smile.  To be perfectly honest, I find myself missing your smile more and more with each passing day. The beginning of summer is my favorite time of year, it is perfect for the outdoors, and the countryside is lush and beautiful. Your last letter made me think about my time in London, have you opened that card yet? If not, do so, Inuyasha eating Haggis was quite amusing. As always, stay safe.

Faithfully yours,

Sesshomaru

Before she started the third letter, Kagome found herself trying to quiet a sob. Her fingers traced his words and her heart ached. A hand on her arm roused her from the letter and she found Sesshomaru’s personal assistant, Jaken.

“Miss Kagome?” the kappa yōkai asked softly, his large yellow eyes soft and sympathetic.

“Jaken, I’m sorry. You must think me silly,” Kagome said quickly, refolding the paper and wiping her face with a tissue.

“Miss Kagome, I don’t think you’re silly. It’s cold; Lord Inuyasha said you would be here,” Jaken said, his voice soft.

“I feel close to him here,” she whispered watery. 

“Lord Sesshomaru cared for you, this kappa knew that. But he would not want you to freeze,” Jaken said gently. He had not been able to spend much time with the young human female, but he knew his Master’s attachment to her. That was clear in his intention to have her family shrine rebuilt after the war; he had even paid for her apartment. It saddened the yōkai to see her in this much pain, though it was understandable.

“Come Miss Kagome, Lord Inuyasha would like to see you,” Jaken said, squeezing her hand lightly. Kagome smiled softly, nodded, and stood up to leave. The warmth she had felt fled the moment she stood up, and she was losing his feeling again.

 

October 9th 1945:

Kagome refused to move from the bed, there was no point. The sun had barely set on the day and she had not moved an inch. She didn’t care to; the overwhelming feeling of being tired was too much.  The leaves had finished their color change and, thanks to the wind, most trees were bare. Kagome’s eyes traveled to the window, watching the dying rays.  As the last of the light disappeared, she yawned and rolled over, once more the overwhelming tiredness setting in. Closing her eyes, she fell asleep for the fourth time that day.

October 25th 1945:

She hadn’t spoken to any of them that day, not that they expected her to. The official record had come through; some stupid mail carrier had given her the letter instead of any member of the 8th.  It was official record, Commanding Officer Sesshomaru Tashio, First Class, was declared dead. Kagome had silently laid the letter on Inuyasha’s office desk, then left. Currently, she was in the shower trying to cover her sobs from the same hanyou. Brokenly, he slid down and sat with his back against the door, the official letter burning a hole in his pocket. As custom demanded, they would plan a burial with an empty casket. Another funeral would be held at the House of the West as well, Inuyasha would have Kagome participate as if Sesshomaru and Kagome had gotten married. His brother would have wanted that and, selfishly, Inuyasha wasn’t sure he could do this by himself.  Another heart wrenching sob sounded from behind the door, she would need him as much as he needed her.

November 2nd 1945:

The 8th Platoon, High Command, as well as a group of civilians stood outside in the blistering chill. The temperatures dropped suddenly overnight, there was fresh snowfall on the ground, and the gray looming clouds only added to the overwhelming sadness of the entire group. Inuyasha stood, stoic, and almost detached from the group. His long hair was pulled away from his face into a low braid, his chest now bearing the same credentials his brother wore. He also bore the mark of the new Lord of the West, the purple sash and pendent felt as if they were burning into his very flesh. His eyes never left the empty marble casket, his mouth was dry, and suddenly he was feeling sick.

 On the opposite side of that same marble casket stood Kagome. Her black hair was pulled up into an elegant updo, she was wearing a thick winter mourning kimono. But your eyes would be drawn to the small of her waist; there a bright royal blue obi was tightly tied around her form. The royal seal from the House of the Moon was stitched into the fabric with silver and gold thread.  Her eyes were dead as they stared at the casket before her. No tears slipped down her face, like so many others were doing. No sobs erupted from her mouth, she was stoic. Cold and smooth, just like the white marble in front of her. Inuyasha desperately wanted to hold her hand, his throat was constricting now.

 The piano went silent as a pause came over the mourners.  Some studied both Inuyasha and Kagome, others had whispered when they both came in together.  She was wearing the royal sash, only reserved for the Lady of the West, and upon her head sat the silver diadem symbolizing the royal wife. Kagome’s fingers twitched, wanting to take the diadem off. She had argued with Inuyasha about both the crown and sash, but after he had mentioned Sesshomaru’s plans to ask for her hand, she had relented in her opposition. She had sat there on the guest bed staring at the cool silver metal.  A blue crescent moon, that matched Sesshomaru’s markings, dropped from the diadem to rest on Kagome’s forehead. Diamonds and sapphires littered the crown and the moon phases were etched out in gold.

The yōkai General in the former Imperial Army stood to say a few words. Kagome had seen him on two occasions before, he was a kind yōkai, and very wise. His teal eyes lingered upon her face for a moment, before he cleared his throat to speak.

“Lord Sesshomaru was one of the best men I had ever served with. He excelled in strategic battles; he was also the best swordsmen I had ever seen. From a young age, Lord Sesshomaru was destined for great things. He protected his brother, took in a fox kit who had lost his family. Under his command, the 8th Platoon saved almost two hundred lives from a concentration camp in Germany,” the General said as his eyes scanned the crowd.

What was left of the 8th had helped the American Occupation in exchange for the continuation of their military service. The General had been appointed as one of the Emperor’s cabinet members and it seemed that things were starting to look up for the yōkai section of Japan. They had not been party to the human cruelty and were able to prove it; their American counterparts had all the documentation, thanks to Sesshomaru.

“He saved our lives. Sesshomaru had been working day and night trying to save the yōkai sector from unjustly being accused of the crimes in which our human counterparts are being tried for. When I asked him why it mattered so much to distinguish between our sectors, he told me something I will never forget.  On December 14, 1944, Sesshomaru and the 8th found a concentration camp in Germany.  He said that,what he saw, he would never forget or forgive himself. He had admitted that he hated being dragged into the war that our human counterparts had created. But he suddenly found himself feeling guilty for not realizing the cruelty that many humans were suffering at the hands of their peers. He said that a blue-eyed woman had stirred something in him he had not felt since his mother died. Compassion and love,” the General said, his eyes locking with Kagome’s.

Her mouth dropped slightly, the blood rushing to her head, causing her to suddenly feel very dizzy and lightheaded. She gripped onto Shippo's hand as she steadied herself. Love, the word once more echoed in her head, the blood now drowned out the rest of the General’s speech. Shippo glanced down at Kagome, now worried about the female. Inuyasha had already moved from his designated position to stand next to her. The three stood there holding each other’s hand, lost in their own thoughts. They had each lost a part of their heart once more as the casket was slowly lowered into the cold, hard ground.

November 12th 1945:

Sesshomaru,

I find myself hearing your laughter in a crowd, or seeing a flash of silver hair. It causes my heart to flutter wildly, until the devastation comes. The realization of your death hits me once more and I find myself missing the very air I need to breathe. At night, I wake up in the early morning right before the sun crests the Earth and it’s almost like you’re there listening to me talk. Shippo has taken over your position in the 8th, you would be proud. Inuyasha has taken over his role as Lord of the West, he has asked me to help him as the Americans begin to bring charges against those in the Japanese Military. The trials at Nuremburg have become a media sensation; we tune in to find out the latest about those charged in Germany. One of those men had helped run the camp I was imprisoned in. He was sentenced to death; some of the others celebrated his death.

Each day it grows harder to function. Some days I do not want to get out of bed, others I do not leave the tiled floor of my bathroom. I miss you my love. My heart aches the worst when I fall asleep, because there you wait for me. On our bench, at the camp, in the apartment. You had integrated yourself in my life so much, that a hole now follows me everywhere. I will always love you.

Kagome

December 12th 1945:

His eyes widened at the medical magazine, there in brilliant color stood the female who haunted his dreams. Her smile, her laughter, and those eyes. Everything about her was just like he had dreamed, even the small scar above her left eye.

“Kuzki?” the female nurse asked, now confused at his sudden mood change.

“Who is this?” he asked, pointing to the female in the picture.

“That’s Kagome Higurashi, she will be honored this weekend in Kyoto. She has such a sad story,” the nurse said she sat next to the male.

“Tell me her story?” he asked softly, still studying the printed face.

“She had been arrested in Germany; apparently she had tried to stop the beating of a young woman she knew. The Germans had forced her into a cattle car and sent her and the other girl off to one of those concentration camps. She spent three years in the camp. They raped, beat, and tortured her along with other prisoners. The late Commander of the 8th Platoon, Lord Sesshomaru Taisho, helped liberate the camp,” the nurse said.

The name ‘Sesshomaru’ struck a chord somewhere in the recesses of his mind. Blood rushed to his head, a sharp pain clawed across his brain, the nurse had started to speak again but he could barely hear her. Closing his eyes in pain, he grasped at his bandaged head.

“Are you okay Kuzki?” the nurse exclaimed, as she stood up in surprise.

Reels of memories played in his mind’s eye, suddenly the dreams came back in vivid color. The smells, the feelings, and the overwhelming anger he felt towards his allies.

“Kuzki?” the female asked.

“My name is not Kuzki,” he replied, his eyes opened revealing the amber hue of his bloodline.

December 14th 1945:

A large crowd gathered in the ballroom on the base in Kyoto. The room was decorated beautifully, there were flowers everywhere and, if it had not been an honor ceremony, Kagome would have thought it was a wedding reception.  Those in attendance were dressed to the nines, all coming from different walks of life. She smiled and nodded at some of those who had been at the camp with her; others had died due to illness, or had moved to the United States. Some faces were those of the 8th Platoon and High Command, Inuyasha had just handed her a drink before the General walked over.

“Miss Higurashi,” the General said with a soft smile.

“General, I am so glad you’re here, I hardly know any of the people here,” Kagome said with a soft laugh.

“Yes, I was quite shocked at how many people were in attendance. It seems your story has reached across the oceans even,” the General said, nodding his head towards some English reporters.

“My story is no different than the others,” Kagome said softly, Inuyasha nodded as he took a long drag from a cigarette.

 “I suppose it’s the love story that is attached,” the General mused, before being pulled away to speak with the new Prime Minister. Inuyasha excused himself to the restroom, leaving Kagome alone in the middle of the ballroom floor. She was dressed in a navy blue western-style ball gown, her fingers smoothed out the bodice, as a small smile ghosted across her face. The fabric she used to have the dress made was a gift from Sesshomaru; it had been one of his last gifts to her. She took a sip from her wine glass as she scanned the crowd around her. There were many faces she didn’t recognize, but they seem to be having a good time. 

Some people came up and introduced themselves, she met loved ones of those who had been imprisoned with her; yet she knew all about these people. Talking about their loved ones had kept insanity away, as well as much of the lingering hatred for the Germans. She had been shocked to meet one of the guard’s sons; he was a blonde lad, tall and very well built. He spoke to her in broken English before she spoke in German, which he was grateful for. He had explained he was in Switzerland for schooling before the war broke out; when he had returned home, people told him of what his father had done.  As he spoke, she saw the absolute disgust for the boy’s father as well as the pain the father had caused him.

“You are not your father. The sins of your father are not your own, it is up to you and the generations after us to make sure this never happens again. I do not hate you Edward, I cannot speak for the others. But know that you do not inherit the blood on your father’s hands,” Kagome said softly as she gripped the boy’s hand. Edward Von Kaputz cried as Kagome hugged him, he had heard of her kindness, but never once did he think it would be extended to him. Edward left with his bride and bid Kagome a goodbye before others came up to speak to her.

“That was very nice of you. Most would not forgive the boy,” a male voice said behind her.

“Not many were raped at his father’s hands, when he spoke about his father he was disgusted by his actions. I do not hold any resentment towards the German people, just their government. The German people were held hostage as well, just like we were,” Kagome said before turning to face the newcomer.

Her glass shattered on the ground. The music stopped at the commotion and suddenly the room of people went deadly silent. Kagome’s hands trembled as she processed the person before her, his eyes were a familiar warm amber hue.  His long silver hair had been cut, but was long enough to pull back from his face. His markings stood out against the cool alabaster skin, but it was the smile on his face that seemed odd. He was missing a fang, a single tooth threw off the entire picture, and yet she neither cared nor commented. Kagome’s hand reached out and touched his warm face; she almost wanted to retract her hand at the heat he was putting off, as if she was burned.

“You’re real,” she whispered softly, her eyes never leaving his face.

“I’ve always been real,” he replied, his thumb rubbing her cheekbone.

“B-But you died. They said…” a sob escaped just before he pulled her into an almost crushing hug. His fingers tangled themselves in her long hair, his nose pressed against her neck, taking in the scent he had sorely missed for months.

The crowd watched as Shippo and Inuyasha just grinned at the sight, Shippo had been the first to be contacted, then Inuyasha, but the pair was more than willing to help.  The doctors had explained that Sesshomaru, thanks to his yōkai blood, had survived the blast, however debris had knocked him out cold and he had lost his memory. In the months following the bomb drop he had been having dreams, which had turned out to be memories. They had no records of blood samples since the entire base was leveled by the Americans.  Inuyasha laughed so hard he cried, when he picked his brother up from the train, the once-rivals embraced and Inuyasha continued to cry.  Years later, Inuyasha would swear Sesshomaru cried, but the eldest always denied it.  Shippo had been the one who had made the plans for Inuyasha and Sesshomaru; he had debriefed High Command which reinstated Inuyasha the Commander of the 8th.  Sesshomaru’s death certificates were burned and removed from official records, his grave markers were removed and he was reinstated as Lord of the West. Something Inuyasha had been very grateful to give up, too many stiff shirts he said.

The pair shared a knowing smile before walking over to the couple. Sesshomaru got to one knee and pulled out a black box, which caused Kagome to become breathless.

“I lost you that day; you had become a locked memory in my dreams. Marry me, so that I never lose you again?” Sesshomaru said calmly. He made a mental note to give Shippo another title with in his court, to pull this off in two days was impossible; but the fox pulled it off, he had even gotten everything straightened out so they had nothing to worry about. His brother had kept Kagome occupied until this moment, giving Sesshomaru time to reestablish his household and find the ring his father had made for his mother.

Kagome nodded, unable to speak, the silver ring with a large centered diamond was slipped on her finger.

“My love, are you alright?” Sesshomaru asked, noting her pale face.

“I melted down your favorite cuff links,” she said, a blush crawling onto her chest and face, his eyes locked on to the simple crescent moon pendent that hung at her throat. Their initials had been engraved on the face, which caused Sesshomaru to smile.

“They look better on you,” he said, causing Kagome to give a watery giggle.

“Ladies and Gentleman, it is my pleasure to introduce the newly engaged couple. Lord Sesshomaru of the West and Miss Kagome Higurashi of Tokyo!” a voice boomed over a sound system. Kagome made a face at the speaker, who just laughed.

“Congratulations, you two!” Inuyasha and Shippo exclaimed together. Kagome hugged the pair before she began to question them both.

The night had gone on with a few speeches, including one from the newly engaged couple. However, throughout the night neither Kagome nor Sesshomaru let go of each other. Months apart had felt like a lifetime, both were not in any hurry to let the other go just yet. Sesshomaru had explained what the doctors had told him, he told her of how he finally remembered them, and how he got to Kyoto. As he spoke, Kagome found what exactly she had been missing all these months. Her heart constricted as she teared up again.

“Darling?” he asked, as the couple swayed on the dance floor.

“You’re alive. I just… I lost you,” she whispered, placing her head on his chest so she could hear his heart beat.

“Never again,” he whispered in her ear as they continued to sway to the music.

“You promise?” she asked, lifting her head to look at him.

“Always,” he said before capturing her lips again.

May 5th 1946: 

The pair shut the door as they waved at their guests; the day had been long and very tiring. Sesshomaru turned to look at the woman he was to spend the rest of his long life with. Her long hair was piled on the top of her head; some loose curls framed her face. In true Kagome fashion, she wore little make up, just kohl around her blue eyes.  Shippo had joked she didn’t need something blue on her wedding day, but Kagome had already taken the measure to ensure all of her ducks were in a row. The date December 14, 1944 had been sewn into her wedding dress with blue thread. He would find it later, after he helped her removed her dress. She had borrowed the Lady of the West’s diadem to hold her veil, the earrings she had been wearing that day were a gift from her now brother-in-law, oddly enough they matched the sapphire necklace her mother had stored in a lock box. 

A soft thud caught his attention; there on the floor was an American penny. The sight of the coin made him laugh, which caused Kagome to become confused.

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, and a penny in your shoe. You thought of all of it didn’t you?” Sesshomaru asked, picking up the copper coin. Kagome giggled and took the penny from him.

“I also have something blue, but you’ll see that later,” Kagome said blushing. Sesshomaru’s eyebrow rose elegantly, Kagome just shook her head, trying to hide her blush.

“You looked beautiful today,” Sesshomaru murmured before placing a kiss on her temple. It was true, her wedding dress had taken months to complete. It was a sweetheart neckline with a lace overlay, a cinched waist, but the skirt spread out like a ball gown fit for a fairy tale princess.

“We are already married Commander,” Kagome giggled into her hand.

“I thought I asked you to call me Sesshomaru, Mrs. Tashio,” Sesshomaru said, pulling her into his lap.

“Say it again,” Kagome said, with her hands splayed on his tux-clad chest.

“Mrs. Kagome Tashio,” Sesshomaru said, earning himself a smile and a kiss.

The driver turned the corner as the pair chatted about the night; they had over five hundred guests, which of course didn’t include the military personnel that had attended.  That pushed the number into the six hundred range. Many of the camp survivors had come, which added to the number. Sesshomaru had actually been quite shocked she had kept in touch with many of the survivors.  They had given wonderful gifts, but the most meaningful one had been a photograph in a shadow box. Each survivor had signed the cardboard around the picture, but they had also put in a small pebble. Each pebble had an address, an address where the survivors were living. Many of the addresses were scattered around the world; she had cried when it was presented.  Sesshomaru had been emotionally moved when he realized it was a picture of the entire 8th Platoon and every survivor that had been in the camp. He had come to the full understanding how much the 8th Platoon meant to those people, years later he would have the pebbles framed, so that the handwriting would not fade. He would re-tell their stories to his children and their children, always stressing that every life was important.

“Sesshomaru, where are we going?” Kagome asked suddenly as they pulled back onto the base. He smiled as he passed along his credentials. They were congratulated again, before being waved through the checkpoint.

“The General has graciously allowed us to use a plane to get to our honeymoon, my dear,” Sesshomaru said, with a smile.

“And where exactly is our honeymoon, none of your maids would allow me to pack,” Kagome exclaimed, as the driver slowed in front of a large military cargo plane.

“Our maids, dear, you just became my wife and soon my mate. And it’s a surprise,” Sesshomaru said, opening the door and helping her out of the car.

“How about a hint?” Kagome said, as she watched two officers come and help with their bags, something she was going to have to get used to.

“No, Mrs. Tashio. No hint,” Sesshomaru said, extending his hand to her. She took it and the pair boarded the plane, while the outside of the cargo plane screamed military, the inside was fully furnished.

“We used this to help out diplomats,” Sesshomaru said, reading the questions on her mind.

“So this is where my tax money goes to?” she asked, amusement lacing her tone.

“Yes, that and the champagne we have,” Sesshomaru said, before directing the other two officers.

Kagome sat in an oversized seat and looked around the main cabin of the plane. She was pretty impressed by the decorations as well as the amenities. Sesshomaru explained, as he poured champagne, there were bedrooms in the tail end of the plane. He chatted more about the plane before Kagome took his hand.  He stopped and looked at her.

“I’ve only been on a plane once and I was unconscious,” she murmured.

“I promise everything will be okay,” Sesshomaru said, slightly easing her fears. The engines started and he helped her with her seat belt. He chuckled as she clenched his hand; he leaned over and kissed her temple before whispering something in her ear. She giggled as the plane began to take off from the base. He opened a window for her so she could watch the takeoff. Hours later, he would unbuckle her seat belt and scoop her up in his arms. He removed her dress and buttoned up a sleeping shirt and matching pants. As he was laying her dress in the dress bag, he caught the sight of something blue; he stared at the date for a long while.  Kagome murmured in her sleep, drawing his attention.  He smirked as he changed and slipped into the bed next to her, as their fingers curled around each other, he realized that his life had become the small woman next to him. He wrapped his arm around her and drew her closer to his body; she turned over and laid her head on his chest, something she liked to do when they were alone. She said it was his heartbeat, it always soothed away her nervous emotions.  He glanced at the clock before burying his face into her hair; they only had a few hours before entering the US for their second flight.

May 7th 1946:

Kagome stood in New York’s airport, completely in awe. She looked at Sesshomaru, then at the crowd of people at the airport.

“New York,” she said with a smile.

“You said you wanted to go to see New York,” Sesshomaru said, now amused with the look on her face.

She just smiled and picked up one of the bags and waited for him to direct her. While she spoke English, it was still overwhelming to be in a new country.  He took her hand and the pair navigated their way out of the crowded airport. A car, Sesshomaru called it a limo, was waiting outside for them. A driver helped them with their bags and off they sped. Unlike the military cars, the driver was separated by a glass window. Kagome thought that was odd, but she ignored it as she listened to Sesshomaru, who was pointing out sights and told stories about his other trips here.

“Here we are Mr. and Mrs. Tashio,” the driver said pulling under a hotel greeting spot. Kagome was struck by the lavish style of the hotel. Sesshomaru coughed to hide his chuckle, but Kagome caught it.

“I didn't grow up with money,” she muttered, tossing him a glare. Sesshomaru laughed at her, before taking her hand.

“You’ll love this hotel, many higher military personnel stay here and some of the diplomats,” Sesshomaru explained as a bellhop gathered their bags. The couple walked into the marble lobby, Sesshomaru asked her to check in as he made a phone call to his brother.  She smiled to the young male behind the counter before he greeted her.

“How can I help you?” he asked, his tone lightly edged.

“My husband and I have a reservation under Tashio,” she said with a smile, the boy just looked at her before looking through the books.

“Kagome?” a voice called out, catching Kagome’s attention. There in a bellhop’s uniform was a young boy from her camp; she broke out in a smile before nodding at him.

“Marcus!” she exclaimed, before the pair embraced.

“How have you been?” he asked, looking her over.

“Well, Commander Sesshomaru and I are on our honeymoon. Do you work here?” she asked, causing the boy to blush.

“Not really the rich lifestyle, but yes” he said, earning a glare from the male at the front desk.

“Don't you be embarrassed, you survived Marcus. No one can ever take that from you. Here, this is my husband’s card, take this and if you need anything, write him, he will pass it on to me.” Kagome said, folding the card into his hand.

Sesshomaru came over, confused at who Kagome was speaking to. She waved him over and turned the male around. Sesshomaru shook the lad’s hand and chatted for a couple of moments with him. He had been one of the boys at the camp who had helped the 8th with the others. He helped translate, guard against intruders, and pulled twice his weight. Marcus had wanted to stay in Japan to learn about their technology, but was unable to. He was going to night school, hoping to get a college degree; Sesshomaru wished him luck before bidding the boy goodbye. Kagome set a date for them to meet, so she may see Marcus’s mother as well.

“He is intelligent,” Sesshomaru said, as the couple entered the elevator.

“He is very good with math; he helped some of the elders to space out food. I think he wants to be an accountant," Kagome said, as she watched the dial climb as the floors did. Sesshomaru made a mental note to contact the boy; a branch office of his father’s company was opening in New York. They would need an accountant and he had seen firsthand the boy’s will to work.

“You’re thinking about giving him a job aren’t you?” Kagome asked, slightly catching Sesshomaru off guard.

“How did you know?” he asked, as the doors opened to the honeymoon suite level.

“Because, you get a wrinkle right here,” she said as her fingertip touched his crescent moon. He snorted before she kissed his jaw with a giggle.

May 10th 1946:

Kagome rolled over and watched a naked Sesshomaru walk to the bathroom. She laughed outright, causing him to poke his head out of the bathroom.

“Something amusing, Mrs. Tashio?” he asked, eyeing the woman, who was only dressed in a bed sheet.

“You, Mr. Tashio,” she said with another laugh. He ‘hn’ed her and retreated back into the bathroom, Kagome slipped out of the bed and pulled one of his button-up shirts on. She sat at the vanity and began to brush out her tangled hair; a smile graced her face as she mused around in her own thoughts.

Sesshomaru cut the water off and wrapped his waist in a towel before exiting the bathroom. He stood in the doorway watching her; she hummed softly as she brushed through her locks. They were going to meet his brother, Shippo, and a few others for dinner; the New York office opening went well from what he was told. They had spent the last few days in the hotel room, ordering in and not really going places. Kagome had suffered from jetlag and a stomach bug the first few nights. Now that she was better, he could take her around the city. She had been reading up on New York and its history, she had showed him a list of places she wanted to see, which had made him smile. He had dated other women, none seemed impressed with a boat ride, but Kagome wanted to go on a ferry ride. She even wanted to eat a hotdog and a pretzel, the last one was something he had mentioned to her in a letter. She had even brought her letter box to show him when he had written it.

He had thought she would have gotten rid of the letters when he had been declared dead, Inuyasha hadn’t been sure if she kept them. His retainer Jaken had only seen them once, but never again after that day. He had asked about them last night, she had showed him the ones she had written when he was “dead.” It broke his heart to know the pain she was going through, while he was in limbo without his memory. It had been frustrating for him not knowing who he was, but he could never imagine thinking she was dead. She had become his world, like he had to her; they had made love for hours that night, trying to make up for lost time.

She pinned her hair up, then caught his eye in the reflection. She cocked her head to the side and knitted her eyebrows. Confusion, he always confused her, but never in a bad way. But, she often wondered what was going through that mind of his. He shook his head, then went back to dressing; she shrugged to herself and took his place in the bathroom. Sesshomaru checked the door to make sure it was closed before he pulled out a jewelry box, it was his last wedding gift, well, at least the last one besides the trip to New York. Opening it, his eyes gazed upon the lilac pendent on a silver chain. His men had found it in the rubble of her family’s home. He laughed when the men presented it to him. It had been a couple hundred years since he had seen the famed Shikon no Tama. The miko who was instructed to guard it had died by a horrific fire that burned half of her village down. It hadn’t been seen since, yet here it was, in front of his face.

It had been the only thing on his person when the bomb dropped. The nurses had all cooed over the jewel, some had even offered to buy it.  But it called to him, telling him to wait, that fate was working in his favor. The voice had been so familiar at the time, he had grown frustrated trying to place it, but once he had seen Kagome’s face he knew it was her. Or, at least, her soul calling to him.  As a pup, his sire had told him stories about those tied together with the red string of fate. He had never put any thought to it, at least until he saw her for the first time. He could still remember the tug on his heart as she spoke about the camp, the overwhelming anger, and the need for his claws to drip with German blood. He closed it and tucked it into his jacket pocket as the water cut off. He would give it to her tonight, he decided with a smirk.

April 3rd 1950:

He wanted to break something or someone. Maybe anything, yes, anything would do. Another scream of pain sounded behind the large wooden doors, his claws dug into the chair arms.  A nurse bustled in, then out, of the room, causing the screams to be louder. Inuyasha’s ears pinned to his head and he even covered them with his hands.

“Jesus,” he muttered in pain. Sesshomaru snapped his jaw in warning, causing Inuyasha to cringe at him. The Lord of the West had been on edge for the last two months, not that really anyone could blame him. His heavily pregnant little wife had been rushed to the hospital on Valentine’s Day; they had thought she was losing the baby.  No child from miko and yōkai blood had been born before; the pair had difficultly conceiving as it was. That day, Sesshomaru swore to the Kamis he would kill every last one if either his son or wife died.

Suddenly the screaming stopped. Sesshomaru jumped to his feet, his eyes trained on the door, ears straining to hear anything. The other males stood, all waiting on something, anything. A small growl, then a cry was sounded. Sesshomaru’s heart stilled. His son, his first son, was alive. A nurse came out, holding a little bundle wrapped in a blue blanket.

“He is healthy, my Lord” she said, handing him the small bundle. Sesshomaru’s eyes trained on the small form in his arms.

“My mate?” he asked suddenly, reality crashing into him as his son cried.

“Uh… tired. My Lady has instructed me to tell you that he is the only child you are giving her,” the nurse said with a blush. Inuyasha let out a sharp laugh as did some of the other males in the room.

“YOU CAN’T HOG HIM!” Kagome cried out from the other room, nurses could be heard trying to convince her to stay in bed.

Shakily, she held on to the doorframe, watching Sesshomaru and their son. A smile spread across her sweaty and flushed face. The nurses had already changed her robes and cleaned her from birthing their little prince.  She wobbled over to Sesshomaru, who met her halfway, he handed her their son. He smiled, as her face lit up once their son’s eyes opened.  He picked her up and walked back into the bedroom, intent on setting her on the bed.

“He’s beautiful,” she whispered, as Sesshomaru laid her on the freshly changed bedding. The boy wrapped his tiny hands around her finger, causing tears to slip down her face.

“Kagome?” Sesshomaru asked as he sniffed the air, checking her scent, still worried for her safety.

“He’s so tiny. So tiny,” Kagome muttered over and over again, amazed at the little being they created. Sesshomaru laid next to her, one arm around her and the other stroking their son’s head.

“Thank you,” she said, looking up at Sesshomaru from their son.

“For what?” he asked, confused. She had a role in the child’s being, as much as he did.

“Saving me,” Kagome whispered, softly before pressing a kiss on his lips.

“Always,” he replied, before their son cried out.

“Well, that didn’t last long,” he muttered, causing her to laugh.

“Shoo,” she said waving her hand at him, dismissing him from the room. As he went to close the door, he took a moment to watch his wife feeding their son, a wave of warmth spreading over him.

 

December 14th 2015:

Checking her appearance once more in the hall mirror, she clicked her tongue. ‘Seventy-one years,’ she thought, as she grabbed her purse. The driver bowed and helped her into the car. While the time flew past as the couple created their own life, the pain lingered.

The countryside and city whizzed past the car, as the driver sped to make their deadline. Sesshomaru had planned the entire event, something she was very grateful for. It would be the first time she had spoken publicly about her ordeal at length. Normally it was: ‘this is what happened, here is how I was saved,’ but with the political temperature what it was between humans and yōkai, Kagome decided it was time to show the world that both races could live in peace.  After fourteen beautiful children and eight grandchildren, the Tashio’s were blessed. Sesshomaru and Inuyasha’s companies did very well in the change from war industry to electronics, eventually the entire 8th Platoon worked under their previous commanders. Even a few of her fellow survivors were working in branch companies. Her eyes glazed over as she thought about the years that had passed, many of the survivors were no longer in this world. She had traveled to every funeral, told a story to the families, and always donated to charities in their names.

Once her youngest child was in school, Kagome went back herself. Chiyo, her youngest, always insisted on doing their homework together. Touga, her eldest, had pushed her to go into humanitarian work. Each child had always sat around in awe of the stories their father told, and of course the few their mother told. Tonight, however, would be the first night they heard the details.  Touga, now sixty-five, had been the only one to know some specific details of his mother’s past. She sighed as she tried to calm her nerves. She had always kept things from her children, not because she didn’t love them, but because it was too hard on her. It was probably selfish, but Kagome had thought if she told them, that it would harm them. Sesshomaru never pushed her to speak to them and he always supported her decisions.

The car stopped, the driver got out and helped her from the car. She waved and smiled at some of the press before entering the building. The main hall was entirely made of marble, much like the hotel the Tashios had honeymooned at. She had been in awe the first time she saw the Tashio building, the craftsmanship was exquisite. She was greeted by her eldest son and brother-in-law, before the rest of her family gathered around. She picked up her youngest grandchild, the only one she could pick up, and kissed her cheek. Kagome smiled as she giggled at the sensation.

“Koi,” a velvety voice sounded. Kagome turned to find her mate dressed in a tux with a red tie.

“You look handsome Mr. Tashio,” she said, before kissing him.

“And you, Mrs. Tashio, look breath taking,” he said, before kissing her again. The couple matched in black, however, at Kagome’s throat was the necklace he had made with the Shikon no Tama. Despite all the jewels the Western royal family had, that was her favorite piece. She would wear it often and with just about anything.

“It’s time, Mrs. Tashio,” a young woman said. Her family wished her luck and filed into the main gala room. She took a deep breath and exhaled, her nerves spiking.

“Kagome?” Sesshomaru called out to her from the entranceway.

“Yes?” she asked as she turned to him.

“You survived the Holocaust, you can do this,” he said, his tone very soft. She smiled and nodded, before he disappeared. He was right, she had survived the Holocaust, and she had even built a political career on speaking about human rights around the world. She entered from the left side of the stage; the lights blinded her momentarily, the applause died down before she licked her lips.

“My eldest child, Touga, was born on April 3, 1950. On his fourteenth birthday, three weeks after my twins were born, he found a picture, a picture I had kept hidden until today. Behind me is the picture Touga found in my desk drawer. There, standing next to Commander Sesshomaru Tashio, is a young woman with an unusual story. She was arrested for crimes against the German state in 1941, at least that is what official documents said, she was actually arrested because she tried to stop two SS officers from beating a woman to death. That same woman may seem eerily familiar.”

“That’s because a version of the young woman stands before you today. At seventeen, I wanted to be a doctor, but being arrested changed my fate. For three years I was held captive in a concentration camp along with millions of others across Europe. Many of the faces you see in this picture are no longer in this world, but I can tell you their names and their stories. The women you see were used for sex, we were beaten, and our lives were threatened daily. Some of the men were forced to dig graves for their own family members; others were forced to handle their family member’s bodies. We were starved to the point where we had one foot in this world and one in the next.”

“I endured three years of this treatment; some of those faces had endured more. One man had been there since the camp had been built, others died from disease, gunshots, or starvation. Some killed themselves and others refused to give the Germans that satisfaction.  Some of those faces you saw were devout Jews, now they doubt the existence of God. Some of those faces could speak German, Hebrew, or even Russian. The faces you see, and the faces you will never see, were kind, they were loving, they were intelligent, but above all of that they were human.”

“These are the faces of people who have seen what hell looks like. It’s not a fiery pit, or a darkened cavern in the depths of the Earth. Hell is what happens when we forget that we are all equal, no matter our differences. We bleed the same, we hurt the same, and we all die. On December 14, 1944, the 8th Platoon walked in to our camp, and the first thing I asked them was if they were going to kill us. Our guards had locked the food away and abandoned us. We had no place to go or run, the Russians would have killed us and the Allies were too far for us to contact. Many of us, myself included, had accepted that we were going to die there. But, the 8th Platoon saved our lives. They fed us, clothed us, and transported us to Japan. We were the lucky ones. We heard after the war that many prisoners were shot, some starved, and others froze to death.”

“We also heard that some people, just like us, survived. We became the group that bore witness to the fall of humanity as well as its reconstruction. I can tell you firsthand what the fall of humankind is like. It looks like children ripped from their mother’s arms, before they are shot to death. It is grown men crying for the loss of their wives, mothers, and sisters. It is young men finding themselves suddenly alone in a cold and cruel world. It is being raped repeatedly over a three-year period. It is the systematic killing of one race over the other. ”

“The resurrection of humanity is in my children and grandchildren. Each time I look into their faces, I see the wisdom I passed on from that place. Every time one of my grandchildren tells me what they learn in school, I see the freedom I was granted December 14, 1944. Every time I see a former member of the 8th, I see the answering of prayers these faces whispered late at night. Every time I see my husband, I see my second chance at life. It’s been seventy-one years since I have seen that camp. But not a day goes by that I don’t think about it, for you see I have the tattoo and scars to remind me. But I also have the invisible reminders. A smell that triggers a memory, a laugh in the crowd I swear belongs to one of these faces, a story they told about their grandmother and a cow, the sounds of gunshots ringing, the cries of mothers, the sobs of fathers and brothers. These stay with you, they do not touch your skin, but they touch your very soul.”

“You do not forget those easily, if ever. You never forget the faces. The faces of people who helped you survive, the ones who took a knife from you before you slit your throat. The ones who held you screaming at night, the ones who lied to keep you safe from an officer, the ones you had to console after their loved one was shot. You never forget and you want to make sure the world never forgets. So in memory of these faces, these stories, I have finally finished a collection of stories that will be released next week. Half of the proceeds will be donated to the Holocaust Survivor Fund, which helps educate the world on why the Holocaust happened and how we can prevent another one. The other half will be going to U.N. camps, who house those affected by genocides that happen every day.”

The room erupted in applause; Kagome stepped away from the podium trying to regain her composure. A little hand grasped at her skirt, causing Kagome to look down. Through watery eyes, Kagome saw the chubby little face of her only granddaughter.

“Yes, Alice?” Kagome asked, as she picked the five-year-old up.

“Grandma, I’m proud of you,” Alice said with a smile. The floodgates opened before Kagome hugged the little girl close to her.

“Did you know you were named after Grandma’s friend?” Kagome asked, before sniffing. The little girl’s blonde curls bounced as she shook her head no.

“Alice Kurtz was someone Grandma met at camp.” Kagome whispered into the little girl’s ear. Pulling back to look at her granddaughter's face, Kagome suddenly had a realization. Seventy-one years ago, in a May summer thunderstorm, Alice Kurtz lay dying in Kagome's arms. She had been beaten and raped that night… that was the night the Nazis finally took Alice's life. As Kagome held her sobbing, Alice Kurtz spoke with her dying breath, “We will live through the eyes of children.”

Now, as Kagome looked into her granddaughter’s face, she knew what the original Alice had meant. Their stories would live on forever, not only by the ones who bore witness, but by those they gave birth to. The children would make them immortal, something no being, neither yōkai nor human, could achieve. Alice, Kagome's granddaughter, grinned and her blue eyes sparkled with life.

"Well, I shall tell you the story, my little fox," Kagome said, with a watery laugh. As Kagome walked off stage with her granddaughter, she began telling a story seventy-one years in the making.

Present Day: 2016

Sesshomaru watched as Kagome played in their pool with their grandchildren. She didn’t look a day over twenty-four and yet the wisdom that surrounded her spoke of the life she had lived. Her collection of stories had been a huge success; they were read in schools across the globe. Even her grandchildren read it in their classrooms in Japan. As he set his newspaper down, he chuckled at his mate. She threw her eldest grandson in the pool, then was pushed in by his twin. This year would mark seventy-two years since their fateful meeting in a camp in Germany, he thanked the Kamis every day for it. She had taught him and many of his peers many things about what it meant to be alive.  Suddenly he was splashed by his only granddaughter, who giggled madly before running away from him. Kagome laughed in the pool, as she caught the sight of a soaking wet Sesshomaru.

His eyes narrowed in on his wife, who let out a squeak. She tried to move through the water as fast as she could, but was still caught by her mate. He lifted her up from the water into the air, causing her to scream in surprise.

“Got you,” he said, before pulling her to his chest. She glared at him, causing him to smirk down at her.

“Not fair, you’re a yōkai!” she exclaimed, with a pout.

“Your yōkai, my dear,” he muttered before kissing her, much to the disgust of their grandchildren. ‘Yes, seventy-two years did wonders for them,’ he thought as his mate kissed him back. She pulled back from him and smiled.

“Seventy-two years in a few months,” she said dreamily.

“Seventy-two years indeed, what do you think we should do this year?” he asked as the pair climbed out of the pool.

“Let’s go back,” she said drying her hair with a towel. Her request stunned him; she had never had any intention of going back to that place before. He just stared at her for a moment, before she spoke.

“Our little fox wants to meet the original Alice, and it is time for me to visit. Others did so before their passing. I’m one of seven left, but the only who never went back. I also want to see Europe, without war. Shippo and Chiyo say its lovely, and I never did get to see the world that made me so jealous all those years ago,” Kagome said with a soft smile.

Sesshomaru was quiet, now aware for billionth time his mate had shocked him. He nodded then, after the pause. After kissing his marking on her forehead, he whispered something to her.

“How is it you’re so amazing?” he asked.

“Because you saved me,” she replied, with a soft smile.

“Always,” he whispered, before kissing her nose.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
No money is being made from the creation or viewing of content on this site, which is strictly for personal, non-commercial use, in accordance with the copyright.