Merry Christmas, Kagome! by Gesserit
The room was warm, and the windows carried the proof from the cold winter outside. Ice flowers rose alongside the glass, and gave it a fantasy like look to it. Kagome was spinning from place to place, busy with the last touches for her Christmas party. The fire was playing nicely in the fireplace; her tree was almost set, soon waiting for gifts to be placed under it.
Her cake was baking in the old fashioned oven her mother had given her, and the smell flooded the entire house. She wore an old, simple, blue dress which reached to her knees, with her red apron over it. She couldn't finish everything she had in plan, she was sure she couldn't. Everything was delayed because Sesshoumaru-sama, her boss, had asked her so nicely, as he did every time, to come in on Christmas Eve as well, because he simply couldn't manage without her help. The last deal was to be closed for a takeover, this year, and she was needed at the office.
She couldn't refuse. How was she to refuse him? He was so persuasive, and when he gave her that lingering look, she found herself saying yes to whatever he asked of her. She was secretly thankful he wasn't one of those full blooded youkai who liked to ask of mortal women more that their professional assistance. She honestly didn't know if she would have managed to decline his offer.
A branch of mistletoe here, a small decoration there, stir the fire, check on the cake... she was never to be finished at this pace, and there was flour on her apron, on her left cheek and in her hair. She pulled of some old boxes on high shelf, while standing on one toe, on a chair. She was sure she'd left the Christmas lights there, last year. She was sure.
"If only I could..." she whispered to herself, as she pulled by the edge of that obnoxious cardboard box. Her slender fingers fussed around the edge, trying to get a better grip on the damn thing, as she grimaced and laid her weight on the bottom shelf.
"A-ha!" she exclaimed, grabbing the box and pulling it to her.
As she displaced the dangerous object, the dust collected in a year's time all rushed in her eyes, and the bottom of the box collapsed under the weight of whatever she'd put in. Everything fell out, and Kagome fell herself, losing her balance on the chair, and ending up on her butt, on the floor, with everything around her, and dust on her hair and clothes.
"Aaaaww...." she squeaked helpless, pouting.
"I'm such an idiot! I'm never gonna get this done in time... Why'd he have to call me today? Why?" She covered her face with her hands, and sighed, then talked into her palms.
"Sesshoumaru-sama is a meanie." she concluded. Then she gathered some courage to look around at the mess she'd made. Some decorations were scattered, some broken on the floor, dust from place to place on her precious carpet, the box ruined, and she was sure she didn't have a replacement.
"This is not happening. How can it get any worse?" she said, discouraged and very brought down. Just as she finished the question, as if to tell her never to ask that, the doorbell rang.
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy new year!
She liked her doorbell, and she was anxious to install it every year since she'd got it. This time though, it only brought her misery. Sango couldn't have come already! Was her flight early? Her friend Sango was to arrive around nine pm, directly from the airport. She was flying in all the way from the US to see her, this Christmas, and she was to bring her little brother Kohaku as well. Kagome hadn't seen him since last year. Now he was a genuine man of thirteen.
Kagome stood up and tried – unsuccessfully - to dust herself off.
"You're early, missy! What's..." her words broke in her throat, and her eyes widened in stun. Kagome clenched her fingers on the doorknob, and tilted her head in disbelief, blinking fast as if she was sure she couldn't see right.
"Konban wa." he said, slightly nodding to her. Kagome looked at him and decided she had to say something.
"Ko-Konban wa, Sesshoumaru-sama."
"I hope I am not intruding." he said, and his voice was just like she remembered it. Only with a tint of something that made it sound less official.
"Not at all, please come in. I was just..." suddenly she realized she must have looked awful. She blushed and tried to dust herself off again.
"I did not mean to impose upon you, Higurashi-san, I only wanted to express my appreciation for your aid today. It was very selfless of you to come to work. I am in your debt."
"Oh, don't worry, Sesshoumaru-sama, it was my pleasure. Everyone was waiting for that takeover to finalize, and it was good that we managed to do it before the year ended." Noticing that he was still not moving, she insisted.
"Won't you come in for a minute? I would be... happy to have you as a guest, on a nice evening like this. Or... are you busy?" she realized she was being the intrusive one now, but he didn't seem to mind.
"No. It is just..." he took a fleeting look over his shoulder, at the car parked in front of the house.
"... Rin is waiting for me. I had promised her I was going to take her downtown to see the lights, and we are just coming back now."
"Well, bring her in too. I've got cookies..." she said, joyfully. His expression shifted a bit.
"I will ask her." he turned and walked to the car. As he opened the back door, a small dark haired head popped out, and a pair of brown eyes looked up at him with curiosity. Sesshoumaru bent and flexed his knees to level with the little girl, seemingly explaining something to her. Rin was very attentive, and threw brief looks towards Kagome from time to time.
Finally, as Sesshoumaru himself turned to look at the woman standing in the doorframe, Rin leaned out of the car, her small hand on Sesshoumaru's shoulder, and her head bent almost horizontally. After eying Kagome for a few seconds, she frowned and said something to Sesshoumaru. The taiyoukai bent his head a little, and smiled, then said no.
Kagome smiled herself, and waved at the little girl. Rin seemed very surprised, and her eyes widened at the friendly gesture. She waved back and nodded towards her adoptive father. Sesshoumaru helped her out of the car, and locked the door, after pulling out a small case from the front seat, and a tiny backpack, which he handed to his daughter. Her small hand searched for his as they walked on the paved alley towards Kagome's house.
The young woman was a little nervous, because she'd only seen Rin once, two years ago, and even then fleetingly, for a minute or two, while Sesshoumaru asked her to look over his daughter until he signed some paperwork. But from that time, Kagome was left with the impression that Rin was an obedient child, very well behaved, which was unusual for a child her age, but nor entirely so for Sesshoumaru-sama's child.
The strange couple stopped in front of Kagome and she smiled down at the little girl, who shied away, behind Sesshoumaru's long coat.
"Rin. Say hello." he said, in a soft, persuasive tone, proper for a small child, making Kagome wonder how many surprises laid undiscovered inside this man. It was a side of her boss she'd never had the chance to see, and it was nice witnessing Sesshoumaru show affection. Nice and strange. Yes.
"Konban wa." a small, shy voice sounded from behind his coat. Kagome smiled and bent to look Rin in the face.
"Hello Rin. Will you come inside?" the little girl nodded, looking at Kagome with wide eyes. Her cheeks were flushed because of the cold air outside, and Kagome began feeling chilly herself. She stepped out of the way, and invited them in.
The door fell closed behind Sesshoumaru and his small daughter, and Kagome felt like suddenly there wasn't enough room in the hallway. She tried to gather her focus, and went around them, to take Sesshoumaru's coat and hang it in the closet. Rin wasn't wearing a coat; she had hers in the car. She only carried a small violet backpack which she refused to hand over to Kagome.
"It is her treasure." Sesshoumaru mentioned as he followed Kagome into the living room.
"Oh." the woman said, throwing a rogue look at Rin, and winking at the girl as if she understood her secret. Rin widened her eyes and smiled in content.
"You smell like cookies." the little girl said, as Kagome passed by her to turn on the light in the room. She pressed on the switch, and smiled down at Rin.
"That's because I was just making some. Anybody up for cookies?" she said, very cheerful, totally forgetting about the awful way she looked. Although she'd managed to get the dust off, the flour was very much still present on her face and apron. But Sesshoumaru didn't seem to be bothered by her appearance. Nevertheless, she was wondering why he was so quiet. Mind you, he wasn't much of a talker in private, only at business meetings, but even so...
Rin looked up at her dad, not wording out her question, but very expressive about it.
Sesshoumaru only nodded, and raised his eyebrows as if to remind the little girl of something. Rin jumped all of a sudden, grabbing something from his hand, and turning red again.
"This is for you, Kagome-chan!" she extended both her small hands, holding a small blue box, beautifully tied with a white ribbon.
Kagome widened her eyes, looking from father to daughter.
"It is nothing much, merely a symbol of my... of our gratitude. Please accept it." Kagome looked into his eyes and couldn't say no. Again.
"Thank you very much, Rin, Sesshoumaru-sama." she smiled and opened the small case. Inside laid a crystal angel, with perfect wings covering his small body. He was asleep, his tiny hands brought together as if he was praying. Kagome was truly impressed by the expression on the small angel's face.
"It's so beautiful... Thank you. I'm... thank you." she said, looking at both of them. Rin smiled in content.
"Now can I have a cookie?" Rin blurted out, but immediately looked up at Sesshoumaru, amused.
"Sorry." she mumbled into her palm.
"It's fine, Rin. Sure you can. Please take a seat and I'll bring you Santa's cookies. He's too chubby to eat them anyway." Kagome puffed her face, and Rin giggled. As the woman excused herself and headed for the kitchen, she remembered what a mess she'd made in her bedroom, with that damn box. Who cared now? She had a little girl to entertain, and a strange man to discover. She smiled.
"Kagome-chan's funny, daddy." Rin giggled, and Sesshoumaru placed a hand on the top of her head.
"Do you like her?" his voice was soft and very smooth. Rin loved it when he told her stories, because even though he wasn't making funny voices, his own voice was a little changed for every character, and she especially liked when he would impersonate a powerful character, a dragon or some sort of mythological creature. His voice became so strong, so determined, nothing like her daddy's usual, soft voice. Rin couldn't remember a time when Sesshoumaru had raised his voice at her, nor did she ever witness him lose his temper, or even get upset about anything. He was always like that, calm and gentle... He was her daddy.
"Uh-huh." she nodded vigorously and Sesshoumaru smiled in the corner of his mouth.
"Good." he said, and kissed her hair.
"Do you like her too, daddy?" Rin asked, her childish face turned up to him again. She looked so small on that large sofa, with her red dress spread like that, and her tiny feet constantly moving back and forth.
"Yes, I do." he said, after a moment of thought.
"Santa's cookies have arrived! Come and claim them, little one!" Kagome shouted as she came into the room with a tray of various types of cookies, and three glasses of milk. Sesshoumaru gave her a quirked eyebrow as he eyed the glasses. Kagome shrugged.
"I didn't know what you drank on Christmas Eve, so..." she shrugged again, and he smiled faintly.
In the next half an hour, Rin had discovered that Kagome didn't finish decorating her tree, so she decided to give the woman a hand. She asked for decorations and was very happy to hear that her new friend had plenty more, spread on the bedroom floor. Until Kagome could get them for her, Rin decided to torture Kagome's old cat, pulling its tail and fluffy ears, and laughing at the sounds of distress the poor creature was making.
"Are you expecting guests?" Sesshoumaru suddenly asked, as Kagome took a sip out of the milk glass. He appeared to see her action very curious, for which reason his eyes were fixed on her lips as she answered, making Kagome very nervous.
"Yes, my friend Sango is coming to spend the holidays with me this year, since we're both workaholics and we have no boyfriends or anything..." Kagome smiled, and suddenly felt very misplaced in her own house. It was odd talking to Sesshoumaru about something other than business. And she didn't wanna start a conversation about work, either. How lame could she get?
"We should go then." Sesshoumaru said, but Kagome didn't want them to leave.
"Oh, please don't. Stay, there's enough food for an army in that kitchen, and I'm sure Rin would get along just fine with Kohaku, Sango's little brother. He's thirteen, going on forty, as Sango tells me."
She thought she saw a smile on his lips.
"If you have no other plans, that is." He shook his head.
"No, we haven't."
"Good then. It's settled!" she clapped her hands together once, and smiled widely. One would say she'd just got her Christmas wish. Looking at the tall man sitting in her living room, drinking milk (!!), one wouldn't be entirely wrong.
"May I help with the decorations?" he suddenly asked.
"Sure!" Kagome blurted out, without thought. Then she remembered that she was still to collect the poor thing from her bedroom floor.
"It's just... It's kinda complicated."
"How complicated can decorations be?" he asked in an even tone, making her smile. His inflexibility had its perks. Sometimes, it could prove a genuine laughing matter.
"Well..." she started, but decided to show him instead.
"Oh." Sesshoumaru observed, as he eyed the different objects on the carpet, a few moments later. As he stepped in and bent on one knee to collect a sparkling, plastic snowflake, Kagome got a tiny tingly feeling in her stomach. Sesshoumaru-sama in her bedroom.
Suddenly, the room was too personal, everything was too small, too feminine, she was too exposed, and... oh dear God, was that her negligee on the bed? When had she put it there? Oh, wait, she'd always put it there. Why was she so nervous? It wasn't like she wasn't supposed to have one, she was a woman! Women wore night gowns. It was normal, and she was positive that this particular man had had the opportunity to see many others, more sophisticated gowns than hers.
'Where did that thought come from?'
But even so, she could barely resist shoving the delicate piece of clothing into the first drawer she could see.
Sesshoumaru felt her unease, and could easily tell what had caused it, so he only let his eyes linger on the object of her distress for a moment, before turning completely away from it, and focusing on the decorations on the floor.
"Do you have a box?" Kagome forced her eyes off the negligee, and onto his face.
"Uh-huh." she said, and hoped she did. Fortunately, she'd just transported some books the other week, from the bookshop she spent all her free time in, and she still had some boxes left.
"Here we go." she said to herself, kneeling next to him and gathering the still intact decorations into the box.
Sesshoumaru had his sleeves pulled up right below his elbows. He wore a black shirt and pants, and she was somewhat surprised he could look so casual wearing them. His very long hair was pulled back in a tail, which he almost never did at the office. It gave him a completely different look. He seemed... relaxed.
Kagome noticed she was being looked at from time to time. So she couldn't help stare at the man.
"What?" she said, completely forgetting her manners.
"You have some... I thought you would notice it by now." he smiled a little, and Kagome began to feel agitated.
As he reached for her cheek, she swallowed and stood still. Sesshoumaru wiped the flour from her skin, and she could feel his claws lightly scraping her. His touch was cold, compared to her skin. Or maybe she was just very nervous, and flushed... for God knows what reason!
'Higurashi, you're behaving like an idiot!' she said to herself.
'And do you think that remark is supposed to make me behave otherwise?' she answered.
'Say something, you baka!'
'You're a complete idiot!'
'That you are.'
'Oh shut up!'
"You're welcome." he turned away from her and finished gathering the objects, then handed her the box.
"I'll just... go give these to Rin." Kagome said.
"I can clean this for you, if you go see to that cake in the oven." Sesshoumaru said, and Kagome frowned a little.
"THE CAKE!" She stormed out of the bedroom, handing Rin her box, and rushing to take her cake out.
"Oh, my God, I hope I haven't ruined this one too!" She could distinctively remember how her last year's cake had gone down the drain because Buyo, her cat had decided to sleep on it while it was cooling. All she'd been left with was the filling, which she ate with some other cookies, and the topping, which she couldn't eat with anything because it was too sweet.
As Kagome pulled the tray out, she was thankful for the taiyoukai sense of smell. It was close, but her cake was not ruined. It was actually edible. And hopefully yummy.
"Oh, thank you God!" she breathed out.
"Thank you, daddy." Rin corrected with a convinced look on her face, holding a piece of sparkly something in her small hand.
Kagome laughed and sat on the bare floor of the kitchen.
"Where did you come from, missy?" she asked the little girl, smiling. Rin smiled back and shrugged her shoulders. Kagome put the cake down and pulled Rin by her arm, giving her a hug. The little girl giggled and hugged Kagome back, resting her head on the woman's shoulder.
"Thank you daddy, indeed." Kagome concluded. Rin pulled away a bit and looked Kagome in the eye determinedly.
"My daddy is the best daddy any Rin can have. Know that. And he can smell when I almost cry, too. And he comes home every evening when he says so, and I wait for him to tuck me in, because he's never ever late, and he always keeps his promises. You'll see. He'll make Santa come here for me, too, because this Christmas we're not home, and Santa couldn't find me, but daddy's gone talk to Santa and he'll come. You'll see." Rin stopped her fast talk, and looked at Kagome very determined.
"Of course he will, honey." Rin nodded in content.
"What'd this for?" the little girl extended her arm, and Kagome noticed she was holding the star for the top of her tree.
"That goes on the top."
"Oh. Daddy should put it there, then." Kagome frowned a little.
Rin giggles, covering her mouth with one hand.
"Kagome-chan is silly. Kagome-chan couldn't reach that far up! And Rin can't either! But daddy's tall, he can."
"Oh." Kagome said, as if it made perfect sense that he was the one destined to put the top on the tree. Her tree.
"Let's go ask him then." But there was no need. Sesshoumaru was in the doorframe, leaning against it, with a bag of something in his hand.
"I think these are useless." he said, looking at the bag.
"Oh, you shouldn't have cleaned... " Kagome broke her sentence and sighed.
"Just leave them there. Thank you, you shouldn't have gone through the trouble, I'm always so messy..." she swallowed her words yet again, noticing his amused look.
"Let's put the top on the tree!" Rin almost shouted, cheerfully. Sesshoumaru looked at her small extended arm, holding the sparkly star, then gave Kagome an inquisitive look from under his eyebrows that made the poor woman melt.
'He's so handsome...' Kagome blushed immediately, and hoped it was because of the heat from the opened oven which she hadn't had the chance to turn off yet. Sure that was it.
"May I?" Sesshoumaru asked, in that nice tone she couldn't say no to.
"Sure." she heard herself say. Obviously, she couldn't say otherwise. Sesshoumaru smiled at her, and she smiled back, more out of instinct, because she couldn't think straight.
'What's wrong with me?'
As Sesshoumaru placed the star on top of her Christmas tree, and Rin jumped happily all over the place, Kagome couldn't help feeling at peace. Maybe it was the holidays. Maybe it was the general mood they put her in, every year, but something about that picture felt right, it fell into place with her. She watched as Rin hung some more decorations in the tree, and the thought crossed her mind that those branched could only hold so much weight. But it didn't matter, the little girl was happy, and that was the main thing. Kagome felt her motherly instincts rise inside her, and for a moment, she felt sad. She should get to work on having that child she wanted so much.
"Do you need help with that cake?" Sesshoumaru said. Kagome looked at him in surprise.
"Can you cook?" she asked, instead of an answer.
Sesshoumaru only tilted his head.
"I am an unmarried man with a small child. Of course I can cook."
"Oh, please! As if you couldn't afford a maid, or a cook. Or both!" she said cheerfully, as they entered the kitchen. The smell was absolutely delicious, and Sesshoumaru couldn't help noticing it out loud. Kagome blushed.
"I enjoy spending time with Rin. As she is a little girl, I must comply with her wishes and play with whatever she likes. Sometimes, that involves cooking pans and various ingredients. I am thankful that she does not play house much. I absolutely dread those dolls."
Kagome looked at him and didn't know if she should laugh or not. It was funny. His faint smile encouraged her though, and she burst into laughter.
"I can imagine." she said, after a short time.
"What does she like?" Kagome was cutting the cake in horizontal slices, so that it could cool off more rapidly. Sesshoumaru took a seat, after she assured him there was nothing much he could do to help. Rin decorating the tree was helpful enough. And that really was the truth.
"Flowers." Sesshoumaru replied a little too flatly. Kagome got the idea.
"Drives you crazy, huh?" He raised his eyebrows and bent on his forearms on the opposite side of the table.
"She is a child. I knew what to expect when I adopted her."
After a moment, he smiled and passed a hand through his hair, a gesture Kagome found very seductive. She gave herself a mental slap, and resumed searching for the ingredients for her filling.
"... I mostly knew what to expect." he corrected himself, and she smiled.
"Kids are like that, I guess. I look at my brother's little girl, Hanna, and wonder how she can keep up with her own ideas. She's five years old, and can't sit still. This year, Souta, my brother took her and her mom to France for the holidays. If there's any French person left unscarred by the time that little girl steps over the border, I swear my name is Dalai Lama!"
Sesshoumaru smiled widely, and his fangs shone in the light. Kagome felt her breath catch in her chest, but she rapidly moved her eyes away from him, and into the bowl where she was mixing the ingredients.
Talking to him like this was unexpected, but very pleasant. More pleasant than she would have thought. The business man was almost entirely gone; all that stood proof of his existence was that sometimes controlled tone of voice and some restricted movements. Sesshoumaru could be relaxed; he just lacked the proper environment. Kagome was happy that her kitchen presented him with some of that environment.
"May I ask you a personal question?" he said, as he looked at her back. Kagome was now stirring into a recipient, in which a thick chocolaty mass was boiling with bubbles.
"Fire away." she replied. Sesshoumaru mentally noticed that she was very well fit in that kitchen. She could be the perfect assistant, or the perfect mother, or the perfect cook. He began wondering what else she was perfect at. But that was another issue yet to be cleared, and clear it he will, soon enough. Once that decision made, Sesshoumaru had no problem with relaxing I her presence, with showing he had another side of him than that cold impersonal suit he wore all the time.
"Is your job interfering with your personal life? Is it that demanding?" Kagome turned to look at him for a second. She seemed surprised.
"You said earlier that both you and your friend Sango are workaholics, and you have no boyfriends because of that. Is it really true?"
Kagome took a second before opening her big mouth.
"Sometimes, yes. It's true. But that's not my main problem."
"Then what is?" She stopped her stirring and pulled the recipient from the fire, turning to look at her boss. She couldn't see him as her boss here, though. Not now.
"You're asking why I'm not married? Why don't I have any children? I'm not that old, Sesshoumaru-sama. And besides, maybe I'm waiting for Mr. Right. Ever thought of that?" she raised her eyebrows, smiling.
"Point taken." he replied, narrowing his gold eyes.
"Anyway..." Kagome resumed her idea "... men usually flee when they realize they're entering a competition when it comes to me." Sesshoumaru tilted his head.
"They think I'm never gonna be able to commit to anything other than my work. But it's not true, they just don't stick around for long enough to find out." Kagome shrugged her shoulders as if saying "C'est la vie!" and smiled at him. Sesshoumaru got a weird feeling, like he could relate to that.
"Their loss." he said slowly. Kagome thanked God she wasn't facing him anymore, because all the blood she had filled her cheeks.
She felt him move from his seat, more than hearing him, and his hand turned her face to him. Those eyes looked inside hers and time stopped. A touch that could barely be described as a kiss made her forget who she was, for a split second.
"Merry Christmas, Kagome." Sesshoumaru whispered, over her face. Then he let go of her chin, and she felt sorry he did. Her heart wouldn't beat normally, as much as she tried to settle the sucker down.
"Merry Christmas, Sesshoumaru."
AN: Please don't tell me I've left it hanging, or that it was too shallow! It'll pick up where it left off in the next chapter, promise!
'Til then, review if you want, or if you feel like it.