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Winter Wonderland
Even Angels Fall
Week 45: A Second Frozen in Time 
29th-Mar-2008 05:29 pm
Saiun - technicolor Reishin
A Second Frozen in Time
Author: Amber Michelle
Genre: gen
Word count: 5663
Rating: K
Warnings: n/a
AU/Canon: canon.
Concrit: BRING IT.

Theme: polka
Notes: one, two, one-two-three...



.........................................................


The western estate was something like a fairy tale, Kagome had come to think over the weeks. Tranquil, overflowing with cherry blossoms, green, and gentle winds. Motionless, as if the house was holding its breath while the world outside plodded forward. She had no idea what day it was. Some time in the third week, going on the forth. Sango's leg was much better - Kagome could feel the bone had knitted, and it was only a matter of time before it would be sturdy enough that they could begin training her back into shape.

Miroku wasn't getting worse. He also wasn't getting better.

The monk's health became Kagome's motivation to act. Sango sat in the other room almost every day now that she could stay awake - Inu Yasha didn't even complain about having to carry her back and forth. The slayer would stroke Miroku's hair from his forehead when she thought nobody was looking, and insisted on helping him eat, when he was able. Kagome could do nothing but wish she could heal with the excess power everyone told her she had, but in the end it was as useless as praying or chanting sutras.

She woke up to a dull burning in her lower back on day twenty-something and stared up at the ceiling beams until the futon felt hard no matter which way she shifted.

"This sucks," she announced. Across the room she heard Sango laugh. Kagome grinned. "How're you doing? Do you need anything?"

The slayer sat up with a groan. "Some of that ty-re-nol."

"I wish..." Kagome sighed and pulled her bag over. The air was still cold, so it couldn't be late; the light had the bluish quality of morning sunshine, slanting straight through the blinds near the ceiling. It was the only time of day the chamber could be called bright. She pulled her textbooks out, her dirty clothing, and empty food boxes. She found the white bottle, but it didn't rattle when she shook it.

"Don't worry about it, Kagome. It isn't too bad."

"Still." She pawed through her papers, looking for pink and white wrappers. They were neon, impossible to miss. Her stomach sank when she didn't find what she was looking for. "I need to restock. It's almost--" Kagome blushed.

Sango had the grace not to turn red when she caught on. "You can probably ask for some linen--"

"No!"

"--or Inu Yasha can take you to the well."

That was a better idea. Kagome started re-packing her bag. "He'll take any excuse to get away from here, I bet." She chewed her bottom lip. "I'll ask. Go ahead and eat without me."

She was right about Inu Yasha; he agreed to take her home faster than she could get the words out of her mouth, and she was positive he had every intention of trying to haul Sango and Miroku along. The demon lord proved to be more of a challenge. He was writing when she found him in his chamber, a red ink stick as well as black gleaming wet like blood on its dish.

"It would be unwise," Sesshomaru said, staring past her to the garden, "to travel into Naraku's territory with only the half-breed as protection."

Kagome sighed. "It wouldn't be the first time."

The blue of the morning was brightening, and the demon lord's white silks drew the light into the shinden, a striking contrast to the dark, carved screen on the wall. His long silver hair pooled on the floor behind him when he sat at his desk, spilling over the edge of the cushion. Crimson cherry blossoms were stitched onto his sleeves, and leaves dyed a pale, minty shade of green. His eyes flicked to her, eyebrows drawing down just enough for her to notice. "He is waiting for an opportunity like this. What do you need that I cannot provide here?"

She jerked her gaze away and settled on looking at the Shuban screen that separated his office space from the area she assumed he slept in, if he even did anything that mundane. "Medical and personal... items," she said. Heat suffused her face, spreading down her neck. Sango's suggestion might work if they had no other options, but-- Kagome could only think of how unsanitary it sounded. What if it slipped, and she stained the priceless silks he was dressing her in? What if he could smell it?

Priestess, he said, and she fisted her hands in her lap, refusing to look at him. What if he could already smell it? There was a hormone change before the bleeding started, right? Or was that something else?

"Kagome."

A chill prickled the skin on her arms. She made herself face forward.

"Your needs--" his eyebrow ticked, gaze sweeping her body in a way that made her squirm, "--can be taken care of without leaving the estate."

"No." His eyes narrowed. Kagome swallowed hard and wished the clothes he gave her weren't so heavy. The cool morning air would be such a relief. "Please, Sesshomaru. There are things I can get from home that even you can't provide."

He didn't reply, and she let out a shaky sigh, looking down at her hands. Her statement would verge on insulting even in her own era, but it was the truth. He didn't seem like the type to appreciate convoluted reasoning, so what was she supposed to say? Sorry, but what you consider advanced in this era is really primitive and unsanitary? Why he should need convincing when he - or at least his mother - was eager to get rid of Inu Yasha was beyond her.

"Please." Kagome leaned forward, bending her neck. She wouldn't grovel. This was perfectly respectful in her own time, and it was more than she ever offered Sesshomaru otherwise. "Miroku isn't getting better. Whatever remedy your physician is giving him hasn't taken care of the poison. This isn't a frivolous request." The touch of a breeze, the first of the morning to sneak past the screens, prickled the back of her neck. "I'll make sure he brings me right back."

The papers he was holding rasped; she saw them deposited on the desk at the corner of her vision. Then he got up and her stomach clenched when she thought he was walking away and ignoring her. Of all the nerve, she thought, sucking in a sharp breath to say something. But his boots stopped in front of her. She lifted her head, and he sat down, his hair and silk and fur curling onto the floor in waves of white. He always looked bigger than he really was; the fur made him look massive, and his clothes added bulk, but his body had felt slender underneath the soft outside layers.

Kagome's blush returned full force, and she decided the blossom pattern on his sleeves was safer to stare at.

"The monk isn't poisoned."

What? She couldn't think of anything intelligent to say, and simply blinked rapidly. Impossible. His symptoms were right, and Inu Yasha and Sango agreed they had seen him draw some odd youkai into his wind tunnel. "But he doesn't need to be injured the normal way--"

"His body would react, regardless," Sesshomaru said. "There are no such signs about his person."

Rather than settling, her stomach twisted into a knot, and Kagome tasted a bitter tang in her throat. "Then what's wrong with him?"

He didn't say anything. How would he know, anyway? He wasn't a doctor.

"Even if you're right," she said, "I have to make the effort anyway."

Come, he said, and offered his hand, helping her to stand up when he rose. He didn't say why or where. When they rounded the corner of the shinden he spoke to a servant and sent it scurrying toward the part of the estate she usually avoided, but he didn't utter a word more until they they crossed the courtyard. "Try to control the half-breed," he said.

Kagome frowned. "Why--"

The screen to the boys' room snapped open and Inu Yasha glared at them from the shadow of the room, claws biting into the wooden frame. "What do you want?"

Sesshomaru stopped at the foot of the steps. When he simply stared at his younger brother without saying anything, Kagome rolled her eyes and stomped up the stairs. The effect was ruined by the way her hakama dragged. "Do you want to help Miroku or not?" She grabbed his ear when she reached the top and said more softly don't make me say it. Inu Yasha growled, but she couldn't tell if it was directed at her or his brother, who ascended behind her. "Come on."

He slapped her hand away and stalked inside. "Like he can do anything."

"We can try, can't we?" She followed him in and knelt at Miroku's side to wake him. His forehead was cooler than the night before, but still too warm and dry. He blinked rapidly when he opened his eyes, squinting, and Kagome maneuvered her body to block the light from the blinds. "Leave if you can't be nice - get Sango, she'll want to be in here."

"I'm not gonna--" Whatever he was going to say was choked off with a strangled growl, and she heard Tessaiga pop from its sheath, though he didn't draw. "You."

Kagome twisted around. Inu Yasha's eyes were narrowed to slits, and his fangs bared, his grip on the sword white-knuckled. She followed his gaze to the door and her heart stuttered, even though she had suspected this was what his brother had in mind.

"Half-breed." Sesshomaru's mother was framed in the doorway, her perfect pink lips twisted. She brushed past her son. Her silver hair drifted along behind her as if weightless, and her fingers stroked the fur gathered around her shoulders. Her robes shimmered, pale green with maple leaves climbing the seams, rippling as if shuffled by the wind when she walked. "Calm yourself. I wouldn't have treated your friends if I meant to see them dead." Her gaze shifted to the monk, and she walked around his feet to sit on his other side. "Well? What ails you this time?"

Miroku's eyes, though still hazed with sleep, watched her sit, and followed the motion of her hands before they moved up to her face. Kagome scooted over and pulled his head into her lap. He winced, but relaxed against her legs. Sesshomaru's mother got the same description the rest of them had: blood on fire. Though he didn't elaborate beyond that, the Lady's eyebrows contracted immediately.

"This is the first time his fever has dropped in four days," Kagome said, reaching behind her for the bottle of water she kept at the bedside. Inu Yasha stood behind her. She could feel the tension in his frame, how still he was, and would have bet he was still clutching Tessaiga for all he was worth. "Before that..."

The Lady nodded and brushed Kagome's hands away to examine him. Eyes, mouth, ears, pulse - it reminded her of check-ups back home, without the equipment she was used to. Did a demon's enhanced abilities make stethoscopes and magnifying lenses unnecessary? Could they hear a person's pulse? They could smell illness - or maybe the effect of it, the sweating and traces of sickness on the breath?

She watched the Lady take Miroku's cursed hand and press her fingers to his pulse. Her eyes closed tightly, expression blank, and Kagome felt a tingle of power wash over her skin and raise the hairs on her arms. The muscles in Miroku's arm knotted and his fingers curled, knuckles cracking loudly.

"You do know how to find trouble," she said. His hand relaxed. The Lady folded his arm across his middle and straightened. "Kill the onmyouji," she said.

"Onmyouji?" Kagome looked down at Miroku.

"Shrine keeper," he said, moistening his lips. She helped him sip from the water bottle. "I might've... swallowed one of his servants."

"That would indeed be a problem," the Lady said. She rose to her feet and left, silk robes whispering over the floor. Kagome lifted her eyes to Sesshomaru, who turned to the door and then paused.

"I will escort the priestess to her home," he said.

"Hell no," Inu Yasha said. "I'm not letting you take Kagome. She comes with me."

Sesshomaru sighed, and Kagome had the distinct impression he meant to roll his eyes. "You cannot handle this enemy with your friends at full capacity, yet you intend to face him with only the priestess at your side?"

"What the hell does it matter to--" Inu Yasha drew back. "What?"

"Use your brain, half-breed." The sneer that curled his lips made his resemblance to his mother even more striking. "The onmyouji needs to die." He lifted a brow. "You are in no position to challenge him yourself."

"Kagome--"

"Will not be in danger," Sesshomaru said.

Inu Yasha slammed Tessaiga back into its sheath. "Fuck that! You're not in this to help my friends. You just want to get Kagome alone and..."

"And?"

Kagome heard the snap of Inu Yasha's knuckles when he clenched his fist and shook her head. She helped Miroku back onto his futon and muttered an apology that he answered with a faint smile before his eyelids drooped. "Inu Yasha," she said quietly.

He didn't answer. When she stood up, he was still glaring at his brother. "You're not taking her anywhere."

"You deny your responsibility to the others?"

Kagome grabbed her friend's arm. "Shut up, both of you." She glared at Sesshomaru and tugged Inu Yasha toward the door. "Miroku needs rest! Argue outside."

He pulled free with a curse, but did as she asked and stalked out to the railing. She was afraid to look back at his brother.

"Prepare yourself for travel, priestess," Sesshomaru said. He passed them and started down the stairs. "We leave at dusk."

Inu Yasha punched the railing. "What did I just tell you, bastard?"

Kagome sighed and said the word. The rosary pulled him face-first into the stairs.

Maybe it wasn't fair, but she knew Sesshomaru wouldn't stick around to pursue the argument if Inu Yasha stopped pressing his buttons. Really, even she could see the fastest way to gain his opposition was to contradict him, and she tried not to do it that often. Not when they were under his roof, at least. He was providing generously for everyone. He deserved some respect.

Besides, she thought, leaving Inu Yasha to fume so she could pack for her trip - there was that old saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar. TV dramas made the women of this era look petty and manipulative, and she'd always hated them. But when she looked at it from her perspective in the here and now, in her own situation, the best way to get what she wanted was to work within the system. If bowing to Sesshomaru when they met in the hallway meant they could have a civil conversation, why not just do it?

Inu Yasha would see what she just did as siding with his brother, and maybe she was, kind of. Only because what he said made sense, and she wanted to go home. If he could kill the onmyouji - if that was necessary, if it would help her atone for her mistakes by doing her part in the deed - Kagome would go. And she wouldn't complain.


*


"Um, Sesshomaru?" Kagome stood on her tiptoes, trying not to think about what may or may not be supporting her feet this high in the air. She clung to his back, arms around his waist so she wouldn't fall, but her hands were so frozen she couldn't feel her fingers. "It's getting really-- really cold."

They had left at dusk as promised, passing through the barrier around his mother's palace after Kagome subdued Inu Yasha. Sesshomaru refused her suggestion of riding Ah-Un for reasons of speed and stealth. The dragon couldn't match him if a retreat was necessary, the demon lord assured her.

That was just great. Kagome was left to cling to a demon lord she hardly knew, thousands of feet above the ground, and after a few hours of travel she still couldn't decide if she wished he would get off his high horse and hold onto her or not. Her arms were starting to tire, and her legs were painfully stiff. Worse, the temperature at their altitude pierced the quilted kimono he'd provided for travel, chilling the silk, her skin, and her blood.

"I can't hold on much longer," she mumbled, pressing her head into his back. It would be worse in front; Kagome thought it considerate of him to shield her, although this arrangement still had her at a serious disadvantage.

A sudden, weightless sensation that pulled her stomach first to her throat, then down to her shoes, told her that Sesshomaru was descending. His hair danced around her, and his sleeves flapped in the wind behind them, blinding Kagome to their surroundings. After a long stretch she heard the rustle of grass and the creak of tree branches, and she sighed, arms and legs going limp as soon as her feet touched solid ground. She sat hard on the grass and shuddered. At least the younger brother was warm when he carried her on his back. Sesshomaru's choice of transportation was smoother, but his armor got in the way of any shared body heat.

Three hours ago she would have blushed at that thought. Now, she only wished he'd toss the leather plates and help her warm up, propriety be damned.

"Do you know how to build a fire?" he asked, kneeling beside her in the grass.

Kagome pulled her backpack off, gritting her teeth when the motion seared her muscles. Her hands shook and fumbled with the zipper. She got it open on the third try, and hoped her matches hadn't fallen out with everything else.

She heard him sigh and found herself airborne again, cradled like a child in his arms. Ever since the night in the moon-viewing pavilion he'd avoided a repeat of the incident, yet still found ways to touch her. This wasn't the first time he'd carried her somewhere, simply the only time she'd been awake to experience it. Waking in her bed and being told most mornings that she 'stank of Sesshomaru' when she knew she'd fallen asleep on the pillows by his desk, there was only one conclusion to be drawn.

It wasn't her fault he was the only person who had a lamp bright enough to study by! She was trying to be good.

He sat at the base of a tree, and Kagome felt herself shifted from his arms to the ground. The fluff cushioned her back and radiated warmth. Fur tickled her legs, twined over them, between them, supporting her. It can move? She blinked at the pelt warming her legs like an electric blanket, hotter to the touch than the demon lord she huddled against.

She curled her fingers into his fur and hid her face. Rin was such a lucky girl. Kagome wondered how often she enjoyed this privilege, if at all. The night wasn't that cold, but her cocoon of warmth loosened her muscles and eased the tightness in her lower back. She took a deep breath, wondering how much of his scent was the forest and the clouds, and what was actually him.

There were no dreams to disturb her that night. She woke hours later, she wasn't sure how many, the sky still dark and prickled with stars. Kagome counted them through the branches of their tree to wake her mind up. It was time for her to move, wasn't it? But she was comfortable; his fur cushioned the ground, and she'd turned in her sleep so her head was pillowed on his arm.

Tall, yellowing grass ruffled in a gentle breeze, the tips drooping and ripe with seeds. She used to think the stalks looked like wheat until she saw the real thing. They flicked against her bag in a broken rhythm, tap tap taptaptap taptap - and she felt herself drifting off again, clutching at the demon lord's hand laying heavy, even relaxed over her abdomen, as if he'd fallen asleep too. She forgot to turn and look. It was hard to remember anything when she was so-- what? Warm. Just warm - that was all she would let herself think about.

When Kagome woke up again her blanket was gone and the sky was lightening to the east. She levered herself up from the cradle of roots he'd left her in, which was at least blanketed with pine needles instead of rocks, and stumbled into the trees with her bag for her morning routine. She couldn't hear any water nearby, so she brushed her teeth and rinsed with the bottled stuff, and combed her hair down with her fingers. When her needs had been met she sat down under the same tree to wait, munching on a rice ball.

It was downright balmy after her trip in the sky with Sesshomaru. But eventually the chill crept along her body, starting at her toes - tabi socks and sandals weren't ideal cold-weather gear - and striking through her hakama with every gust of wind. Kagome was on her feet pacing as soon as she licked her fingers clean of rice. At least it would warm her up.

She was on her twenty-seventh rotation when he finally returned. "Priestess," he said as greeting.

Kagome turned on her heel. "Where--" His eyes narrowed slightly, and she snapped her mouth shut. "Um."

He tilted his head to the east, and his hair glinted with the first rays of sunlight with a radiance almost ghostly against the dark backdrop of the forest. You always know a youkai, she remembered Jinenji's mother telling her. There's something otherworldly about them. Sesshomaru walked away, and Kagome followed without asking any other questions. He was so graceful when he moved, like the wind and then still, when he met me in the forest, so still he could have been carved from the tree. No matter how the wind pulled at his hair or robe, he was a second frozen in time.

Kagome thought at the time her experience was nothing like that. Her puppy boy was anything but frozen, so loud and impatient in fact that she sat him just to shut him up sometimes. They never truly bothered her, those momentary annoyances; Inu Yasha had his moments too - moments when the sun would catch in his eyes and make them glow like fire and molten gold, moments when the moonlight would strike his hair and turn it into a liquid, silvery white that reminded her--

-- of his brother.

Of Sesshomaru, whose hair flowed like a river and never caught on his armor, floating on strong gusts of wind with grace that obeyed physics above and beyond what her own body was governed by.

Sesshomaru.

He paused, catching her gaze over his shoulder. Kagome gasped and bit her lip. She really couldn't keep her mouth shut, it looked like.

"The well is close," he said. "A few hours distant, if we maintain this pace."

Her eyes widened. "We traveled that far?" The demon lord shrugged, and she rubbed her hands reflexively. No wonder it was so cold. She'd lost all sense of speed and time up there, above the clouds. "Okay." She smiled and adjusted her backpack, coming up even with him. "Lead the way."

Sesshomaru snorted and offered his arm, which she took after a few seconds of hesitation. She didn't need the warmth as badly this time, but she let him trap her arm against his side and splayed her fingers over his wrist. His pulse thrummed steadily and left her tingling.

There was no mistaking he was alive. In fact, it was hard to remember why she'd ever thought him icy.

When they finally parted at the well, promising to meet in the same spot in a day or so, the prospect of jumping into the time slip was more daunting than it had been since the first time she tried to leave this era and go back. She didn't jump from the edge, so much as let her knees collapse and make the choice for her.

Kagome stood at the bottom of the well in the future, and could think of nothing more than going back.


*


By the time her mother came home, Kagome had ransacked the medicine cabinet and the kitchen cupboards and covered the table with everything she would usually take back through the well. Ramen, hard candy for Shippo, huge, vacuum-sealed bags of beef jerky imported from America, and boxes of green tea. Rice was steaming on the counter behind her, and she'd already pulled out the molds and nori for making rice balls. Sango loved her salmon furikake, and Miroku was a huge fan of sesame - those jars were out too, shoved behind the cooker.

Pack light, he'd said. Do not waste valuable space on frivolities is what actually came out of Sesshomaru's mouth when he'd gotten a look at her list. She was adding 'hot chocolate' at the bottom when he'd plucked it from her hands.

"Extravagance," he said when he scanned it.

"Well excuse me," Kagome said, snatching the list back. "But everyone needs to relax once in a while. It's not like it takes up much room." He'd lifted an eyebrow, and she knew he didn't believe her.

Well, how did people make hot chocolate in his era? Probably by boiling the cocoa beans. And all she had to do was skip home, grab a packet of hot chocolate mix, and dump it into a cup of water. If he only knew what kind of modern conveniences she had at her fingertips-- he'd still probably tell her to cut down on the crap, wouldn't he? Killjoy. If he wasn't so nice to curl up with, she'd tell him so.

What would her mother think of that? Her teenage daughter, curling up with a demon lord? Kagome didn't know what she thought of it yet.

"Kagome..." She looked up to see her mother standing in the doorway, staring at the quilted robe. "Is that silk?" she asked, fingering the sleeve. "Hand embroidered? Where did you get this? Why are you wearing it?"

"Nice to see you too, Mama." She smiled to take the sting out of the words and hugged her mother. "I can't stay long this time, but I needed more stuff." Kagome looked down at her hands, twisting her fingers together. "There was an accident-- not too bad, but..."

A tiny frown line furrowed her mother's forehead. "An accident?" She glanced at the table, and her eyes rested on the bottles of pain killers and their back-up first aid kit, packed full of gauze, disinfectant, and anti-venom. "Your first aid kit--?"

Kagome felt her face warm a little. "It kind of fell out when we were on the run... from something..."

Ms. Higurashi looked between her daughter and the mess on the table, and then sighed. They'd been at this too long; Kagome had been traveling with Inu Yasha a few years now, and come back with torn and bloodstained clothes and books too often for her mother to really be fooled. Kagome knew what that sigh meant.

But instead of lecturing, her mother cupped her face, stroking the scar above her eyebrow, and said, "Why don't you go upstairs and clean up? I'll finish here, and then we can make dinner together. How does that sound?"

A bitter lump grew in Kagome's throat. Three weeks - she hadn't even thought of home, except to make a list of supplies to pick up. She'd been here at least an hour and hadn't even taken a shower. What must she look like? She knew what she felt like, and it was dirty and slimy and needed to be scrubbed clean.

"Sure, Mama." She squeezed her mother's hand and headed for the stairs. "I won't be long."


*


Kagome felt naked in her skirt and sweater, and ungraceful because there was nothing to hide her clumsy missteps, or the cuts on her leg because she'd shaved too fast. She spent half an hour in the shower, and stayed upstairs to sort her laundry and fold what she would take back through the well. Mostly underwear and a new pair of pajamas, and some jeans and long-sleeved shirts for when they started traveling again. She would only take a few of each. And, of course, her English textbook, Literature, and an encyclopedia.

Her finals were only a week or two away, and then she'd be free - maybe forever. Kagome was long past the compulsory education period; if she wanted to wait on college, if she wanted to just drop out of high school, nothing was stopping her except her own ambitions. Women hardly ever got real jobs anyway. People probably expected her to get good grades, earn her honors, maybe even get a job - and then to quit, as soon as someone showed an interest in marrying her.

Sometimes the future didn't feel as modern as she made it out to be.

"I'm sorry I've been gone so long," she told her mother downstairs, cutting carrots into half-moon chunks. "I wish I could just call you, but... anyway, we ended up getting stranded really far away."

Her mother cleaved chicken thighs into tiny pieces. "Are your friends alright? You seem to be fine."

"They're fine." She outlined Sango's injury and Miroku's illness, avoiding mention of what caused them and why. "Inu Yasha's brother is taking care of us, but he lives way out near Kyoto, I think. Maybe even farther west."

"And he wants you to pack lightly?" Ms. Higurashi sprinkled the chicken with flour and moved it into the pan, sparing a smile for her daughter. "He isn't a ramen-lover like Inu Yasha?"

Kagome laughed. "Probably not. And he has to carry me back. I'm lucky he's willing to bring the pack at all."

"Be sure to thank him, Kagome."

She sobered, sweeping her carrots into their pot, and nodded. "Don't worry."

"Souta should be home soon," her mother said, looking at the clock. It was almost five - they'd have an early dinner. "Will you make a snack for him, while I finish the curry?"

"Sure." Kagome dried her hands. "What about Grandpa? Where is he, anyway? I didn't see him around when I came home."

Ms. Higurashi waved her hand at the window. "Down in Okinawa with his friends for some kind of convention. Polka, I think."

Kagome stared. "Polka." She pantomimed an accordion with her hands. "Like...?"

Her mom laughed. Kagome shook her head, and searched the fridge for something Souta would like. Her grandfather had the weirdest taste.


*


When it was time to go back, Kagome was packing as light as she could manage, with only the bare necessities for food and a little bit of candy for the kids because she didn't want to disappoint them. Her clothes were rolled up at the very bottom, and she went downstairs the same way she came in - her hair in a high ponytail, white kosode and dark green hakama, and the quilted robe. It was plain, sky blue, and still nicer than anything she'd ever owned. She found her hiking boots at the door with her bag, and put them on over her tabi. There was no way she'd walk around in sandals if they were going to search for the onmyouji.

Her mother escorted her to the front door and told her to be careful. Kagome didn't look back until she was all the way to the well house.

She tried to wear her jeans and sweatshirt at first. They were more practical. Kagome didn't know how to shoot an arrow with huge kimono sleeves in the way, and she still wasn't completely used to shuffling around in huge pants. Sango had shown her how to tie the ends of the nagabakama around her ankles so they wouldn't get in the way, but they were still big, and sometimes caught on tree branches or bushes, and they were silk. How could he fight in silk? Didn't it ever get ruined? Or was he just that fast?

Stupid question, she told herself. Of course Sesshomaru was that fast. Fast enough her eyes couldn't even register a blur when he moved at top speed.

She would fit right into the other era like this. It hadn't occurred to Kagome before their stay at his estate just how out of place she was in her short skirts and uniforms. Even Sango wore the clothing expected of a woman on the surface. The situation was so unreal at first, like Kagome was acting in some kind of historical play, that she'd seen no need to conform to anybody's ideals. She'd seen youkai wearing much less, in any case.

Sesshomaru had never said a word about her clothing, or given any hint he noticed a difference. He hardly seemed to notice her existence at all unless she was shooting arrows at him. Their alliance hadn't led them to talk to each other - it was the choice that came with trapping them in his home, and maybe he was obligated to let her wander, since he was offering his hospitality.

But he didn't have to seek her out every night, or carry her to her bed, or leave her a new set of robes every day. He didn't have to let her sleep on his pelt.

None of it made any sense, and she was hoping the walk to wherever they'd fought last would give her time to figure it out.


...................................................

Well, since everyone else is posting... (yes, I would jump off a cliff if everyone else did, why do you ask?)
Comments 
30th-Mar-2008 01:07 am (UTC)
beautiful. I'm loving this story line.

31st-Mar-2008 06:58 am (UTC)
I'm glad you like it! (Especially with all the angsting I do in general view. XD) Thank you.
30th-Mar-2008 10:21 am (UTC)
This story is becoming more and more captivating. You write it so beautifully too - I read it all in a few minutes and always end up wanting more. xD

Can't wait for the next one shot from you!
31st-Mar-2008 06:59 am (UTC)
Thank you! I hope I can deliver in the future. This time I was smart enough to set myself up for it.
30th-Mar-2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
This is shaping up to be like Priestess_Skye's Candidacy, in my book! I LOVE the imagery, as well as the way you manage to tie each installment in with the one-shot themes! I second Royalbk... can't wait for the next one!!
:D
~~Wiccan~~
31st-Mar-2008 07:00 am (UTC)
Glad you like it! - though I don't think I have the stamina for something like Candidacy. That was impressive. XD
30th-Mar-2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Is this a continuation piece? As beautiful as it is, I can't help feeling just a little lost in some places. I really enjoyed what I read. Your writing is wonderful. :)
31st-Mar-2008 06:57 am (UTC)
I think you already found my fic journal - the first installment is Optique and the one right before this entry is The Moon-Viewing Room.

I'm glad you brought this up! It's probably a good idea to start linking to previous installments, just in case. Thank you.
31st-Mar-2008 06:13 am (UTC)
Your imagery is so beautiful, and your portrayal of the characters. I love this series, you've got me totally hooked.
31st-Mar-2008 07:00 am (UTC)
Awesome! I'll try not to take too much joy in stretching out the wait. :P

But seriously, thank you.
6th-Apr-2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
Great story line. My only problem is that the theme was only mentioned. Haha, but that's alright. The story itself makes up for that. It's a great story! Makes me all giggly inside, especially whens he slept next to Sesshomaru! :3 Great job!
7th-Apr-2008 12:37 am (UTC)
Ahh, I did try to integrate it another way, but I'm not sure it came off well. I listened to some polka by Johann Strauss I and tried to structure my fic after that. Long, long, short-short-short -- which is still probably not what people expected, but.

Glad you liked it though! Thank you.
6th-Apr-2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
This continuance just gets better and better. You always have me asking for more.
7th-Apr-2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad it has that effect! I can't seem to let this story go like I thought I would.
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