Kagome had not slept in days. She pretended to, though she wasn't fooling anyone. She didn't want to think, didn't want to dream and find that everything she had suspected from the start was right.
She was beginning to have flashbacks, thoughts that interrupted the sacred facade of her demon. Worse, she was starting to suspect. Sesshomaru was secretive, often going off by himself to send a message to the council. He said he was updating the parents about their students.
At times her hands itched for her phone, calling her mother was no use, he had successfully put her under his spell, but she could call someone. She sighed. She sat beneath the branches of an old tree hidden from the afternoon sun. But the air was still cold. Her eyes squinted, scanning the surrounding forest and looking for him.
"What are you doing?" he was behind her.
She had been acting funny. It was a noticeable change from what had been progressing, and Sesshomaru didn't know what happened. He suspected it had something to do with that priest they had encountered. He regretted not killing him, but the apparent disappearance of Kagome's aura had been alarming.
Watching her now decide whether to lie to him or not, he found it quite interesting that she chose to shrug nonchalantly.
"Nothing," she said evasively.
"Okay, we are going to be moving on as soon as I can get the group moving."
"Right, I'll get ah un," she said and stood.
He watched her walk away. Knowing something was wrong and doing what was needed were two different things, and Sesshomaru chose to ignore this particular act. As the day progressed, he saw more and more distrust. Starting with her sleeping habits, he noticed that she watched him when she thought he was sleeping. It was something that he found unsettling as he considered the amount of power she used to have.
She didn't turn away from him either. An instinct that the others did subconsciously, but he could sense a small amount of adrenaline whenever he moved to stand behind her. It was all so unnerving. His mate should trust him. This and many more things spelled out a cascade of issues in the short lived facade. It had been two weeks of relatively peaceful events, and now that they were only days from their goal, it was beginning to unravel.
Getting on Ah Un, Sesshomaru could tell that she didn't want to be near him, that she didn't trust that he was there. Many times during their flight, she gasped as if he was about to throw her off.
"There is no need to fear," he said, trying to say more than what was being spoken, but again, she didn't seem to hear him.
They were not far from the mountain now, Sesshomaru knew his way to the next destination even blindfolded. The mountain of the sacred sword maker Totosai. This would be more fruitful of a stop than the last one. He was sure that the old man would see him and welcome him into the workhouse with open arms.
They stopped as a group at the base of the mountain, and knowing that the sword maker was apt to keep some semblance of privacy, he told the students to wait as he took Ah Un to the top of the mountain.
Kagome went to slip from the dragon, but Sesshomaru kicked his heels into the dragon's sides, and they lifted into the air.
Higher and higher they went into the mountain until they came to an opened cliffside. Kagome could see a small hut and the ancient bones of a dragon. Sesshomaru dismounted. "Totosai. " he said, and the shutters of the house slammed shut. Sesshomaru's eyes tracked over to the newly closed windows and walked past the bone carcass. He recalled that the old man had lived inside it, as was his shop. It seemed to have moved into the small house. He rapped on the door and called him again.
"I'm not here." a small voice replied.
Kagome balked. "Why are we here?" she asked, and he gestured to the door.
"This is the home of the sword maker Totosai," he said, and her jaw dropped.
"Your kidding!" she said and seemed to have lost some of her distrust. Going to the door, Kagome rapped on the same wooden door only to hear two words 'go away.' "Please, Mr. Sword maker. I have always wanted to meet you," she said pleadingly. Sesshomaru looked at her, annoyed.
"No, mate of mine begs. We will be going now," he said, turning. He would have grumbled about the embarrassment he now felt, but Kagome was not beside him as he left.
"Please come out," she yelled, rapping on the door harder. She bawled her fist and began to beat down the door. The frame was rattling. The door flexed until, at last, the bearded youkai yanked open the door.
"What do you want!" he screamed.
Kagome looked at him. Her eyes observed every aspect of the tottering old youkai and clapped her hands together. "You are exactly how I remember you," she said, and Totosai balked as he looked closely at the modern dressed woman.
"Kagome?" he asked, and Kagome threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly "my word, you haven't aged. Hasn't it been five hundred years?" he asked, looking up at Sesshomaru. He shook his head and pointed at the daiyoukai beneath Kagome's arm. Kagome pursed her lips and went into the small house.
Sesshomaru watched the exchange and approached the house. The small demon trembled. "Don't kill me, Lord Sesshomaru." he pleaded, and Sesshomaru rolled his eyes.
"I will not kill you," he said, and Totosai did a double-take.
"You mean you forgive me?" he asked, and Sesshomaru queried one silver brow. He did not recall an instance where he should punish the old youkai.
"What have you done?" he asked, and Totosai swallowed the lump in his throat. Eyes widening, he looked between Kagome and him.
"Did you say…. You were mated. With Kagome?" he asked, and Sesshomaru began to get angry.
"What did you do?" he asked, and Totosai grabbed his head and swooned.
"Kagome dear, I feel sick. Help this old man to the couch." he groaned, and Sesshomaru grabbed him by the collar and followed him into the house. Kagome was looking around, the place may have changed, but the owner had not. Things piled up, medicines potions items all spilled off of the surfaces capable of holding them. The furniture was traditional, the pillows and eating area were the same as his old home, but the living space now possessed a comfortable looking couch and a television.
"Do you get the cable out here?" Kagome asked him. Totosai groaned, and Kagome watched as Sesshomaru threw him down onto the couch.
"He's done something to me." Sesshomaru said, and Kagome turned severe.
"What is going on, Totosai. Why do I remember you and nothing else from my past?" Kagome went to the elderly youkai and pleaded with him once more. Sessahomru put his hand in front of her face and turned Totosai's head to face him.
"Tell me now, or I will kill you," he growled. Kagome wondered at the transformation, but part of her had expected this. Eyeing him carefully, she felt that knot of distrust and annoyance growing with her.
"Alright, but it wasn't my idea. A beautiful youkai approached me. The youkai had an amazing, wonderful voice, and her face and body were out of this world, let me tell you."
"Totosai-" Sesshomaru growled.
"Alright- well, she asked for this item. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. Who doesn't like to make a friend of an enemy? But I never knew it was for you." he cried, and Sesshomaru dropped him.
Kagome was silent.
Sesshomaru didn't even breathe.
"Tell me what you're talking about," Kagome said. There was a bit of anger that lit up in her as Totosai spoke. Remembering him, she started thinking about other things that had felt familiar, and even the word of Tenjin supported what Totosai had said.
"The test, your final test. I don't know anything else, but I know who does. That fox, demon, she had a name…. I can't remember."
"Totosai-" Sesshomaru started again.
"I only need a bath. I was quite scared when you arrived. I'm glad you're still under the spell. That or I would be in for it. Ah, Kagome, would you mind drawing the water for this old man." he said, and Kagome took a frustrated breath before going to the washroom and starting a bath. She gaged when she realized it had been a while since he cleared out the tub and looked around for the cleaning supplies. She grumbled as she worked, but at least it gave her an excuse to get away from that awkward situation.
Sesshomaru did not take his eyes off of Totosai. He was growing impatient, and the old man knew it. "You cannot fool me. You are not asleep. Now speak." he commanded, and Totosais' eyes flew open, and he bowed.
"It was only a job. I didn't know anything about it. Haven't you thought it was strange that you no train or fight with the other rising demons? Your following is so small you are not even relevant. There has been a ceiling placed over you, one where you cannot ascend as you should. Don't tell me you haven't seen younger demons evolving ahead of you, powerful youkai."Totosai took on a slightly mocking tone towards the end and regretted it as Sesshomaru stood, fist clenched.
"Who has done this?" he asked, and Totosai withdrew a small parchment. The sign on the paper caught Sesshomaru's eyes, and he knew it was true. "I have wasted so much time," he said, and he started walking towards the door. Though, things that had only blurred past in the years, since he had begun his search, became resounding echoes in his head. She is my enemy. Why would I need the help of a priestess? One that's not even trained. I have wasted so much time." he repeated the last phrase feeling manic, knowing that he was not himself, that he hadn't been for a very long time. He needed to break free of this curse. Now
"Wait now, lord Sesshomaru," Totosai started. He ventured to the demon only to feel the intense malice that engulfed him. Sesshomaru turned to Totosai and grabbed his collar. The cotton clothes ripped in his hands, but the youkai was still firmly held above the ground.
"Undo the curse," he said. Sesshomaru didn't know what was happening. Everything in his life felt foreign. So much so, it was funny. He could not face himself, could not face Kagome after going after her and forcing her into this. "Now"
Totosai gripped Sesshomaru's hands, trying to raise himself enough to breathe. "I have an item, just in case." he rasped. Sesshomaru dropped him.
Totosai went to his drawer. Yanking it open, he brought out what looked like a tuning fork and went to him. Glowering, Sesshomaru started to say that he wasn't in the mood for games when Totosai struck the fork and started a resonant tune that shocked him to the core. Freezing, Sesshomaru felt the breaking of power, an unsealing of his life and emotions as he had never experienced. Taking his first breath, he was bombarded with a sensory overload, hearing further, louder. He clasped his hands over his ears and bent forward as Kagome entered the room Totosai went to her and struck the fork.
Power, pure spiritual power, and visions of memories and years she had never experienced came to her at once. Totosai and Sesshomaru felt the immediate burst of energy followed by absolute control. When she was able to breathe, bent forward, and trying to let the years roll into her one at a time, Kagome looked up.
The response was immediate. Seeing the silver youkai, Kagome felt every defense break free. He was vulnerable, bent over, and overwhelmed by the things that were happening. When they locked eyes, they remembered everything: every battle, every injury, all of the things they had done through their fight to ascension.
"You." he seethed. Kagome could feel the malice rolling off him and finding the response mutual. She raised a barrier around herself.
"Youkai. You are dead," she said and began to summon enough energy to fight him. Sesshomaru knew the signs. She was going to call her spiritual arrows to penetrate his heart, and in that closed space, there was only one option. He gathered his poison and, drawing his claws, beckoned.
"Not last time, not this time." he scoffed and saw the rage on her face. Yes, this was the face he remembered. It was all coming back to him now.
Totosai stepped between them and realized what he had done. Trembling, he lost some of his wind and tried to speak meekly not to anger them. "Ah-hem, I believe you just said you were mated. I think there could be some compromise, at least in regards to where it is you have your marital spat. Like outside perhaps."
"Kagome looked at the elderly youkai. He was older than she remembered, though he seemed to look the same. It was what he said that had caught her attention. "I mated to a demon. You are joking."
"No, I heard that. You have some people with you who also believe that." Totosai said, and Sesshomaru turned on him threateningly.
"Do not lie at this moment. There is no way," he said, and Totosai brought out another item he showed Sesshomaru the group below that wanted and watched as the color drained from his face.
"Now, I don't mean to pry, but you came here for a reason," he said, and Sesshomaru grabbed him by the collar.
"Now, I don't remember what I was doing here. You have humiliated me for the last time." Sesshomaru started to draw poison to his hands, and Kagome grabbed Totosai and pulled back against the demon's hold.
"Leave him alone," she yelled, and Sesshomaru yanked back, splitting the youkai's shirt and making him tumble to the ground. "I don't remember why I'm here either. I'm sure I was here at first, though," she said, yanking him by the arm. Now Sesshomaru grabbed on to the wooden cane strapped over his chest by a cable he choked, but the two never stopped.
"I am a higher being than you." he hissed and yanked the youkai to the side. Kagome let go sending Totosai flying to the wall. He slipped down and sat on the floor, watching the two storm from the house and into the front. He groaned
"This happened last time, too," he said and passed out.
Kagome brought out the power she needed to fight him. Though it seemed he had gotten somewhat more powerful, she believed that she had also grown from her previous self. This body was limber, ready to use the stored power on the surface, but she knew it was not hers. This one had never broken her hip or arm, and she could feel the freedom of movement that had eluded her for so long. She recalled the demon's tremendous power and cursed him. "This time, I am not inhibited. You cannot beat me now," she said, narrowing her eyes at his ready fighting stance. She brought the pink light to her hands and forced it into a ball. She was going to lob it at his chest.
"You have no chance!" he said, but Kagome was still gaining power. She was glowing, and with both hands brought out in attack, he began to feel that familiar thrill of fear when they fought. This time she was genuinely aiming to kill him. He smirked.
In a moment, Kagome released the purifying light that should have been his destruction. A five-hundred-year-old problem finally solved when she saw the flash of white in front of her and readied for the next blow. Instead, Kagome saw herself falling backward, prepared to hit the ground but instead felt the full force of his lips on hers. Screaming internally, Kagome reached out to slap him when he disappeared. Spitting into the dirt, Kagome rubbed the warmth from her mouth and seethed inside. "Jackass!" she screamed. Panting, she felt her heart slow. She had made it. Sighing, Kagome rubbed her temples and tried to clear her head.
There was no sign of him. After two hours, Kagome had done what she could, making sure that Totosai was alive and then looking through his orders to see what he's been doing.
"I need to get back to the temple. Everyone must be worried." This was the thought that carried Kagome from the mountain top. She knew where she was, could not forget it ever, and it was a half-day journey to her home by foot.
She sensed youkai in the forest. Many more than typically gathered, but she kept her distance from them. A single sprite found her. Her presence amused her. Kagome allowed it to accompany her through the forest to the temple grounds. She could smell the pure air. Feel the practicing monks and priestesses as they worked. It was home, and smiling Kagome couldn't imagine what she had been doing all of that time. Laughing, she tried to put the things of the past aside and focus on her first and only task.
"I need to get to the citadel at all costs."
At the base of the mountain, the group wanted. It was dark before Genku finally had enough.
"We have been waiting for them for hours. What do you think they're doing up there?" Genki asked his brother, Gorro. Who was on the verge of climbing the rock wall. He stopped.
"Gee, I don't know. Research stuff. Or maybe they forgot about us."
"Gorro, don't be a dunce." bunko crossed her arms, but she could see the rest of them beginning to question it.
Himari came to sit next to her. "Don't tell me you haven't noticed. He's gone." the raccoon tried to spare her friend's feelings, but the Neko was already bawling.
"He's gone. The trip is over!" Himari wailed.
Akihiro shrank. His green face turned purple as he blushed with shame. The kappa looked around and began to think. "We never got that item. At the tree of the man faced fruit. We should keep going. Let's find the citadel." he said, and the others looked at him. Bunko grinned
"That's the first time I've heard you say something like that." she laughed and looked between the sad faces of the youkai group. "We normally wouldn't do this, but I still have a wish I need granting. besides, when the professor does come back, we will have something to show him."
"Let's do it!" it was unanimous.
AN: thank you for reading so far. I love this story, it's got so much potential, and the map I have laid out is a lot of fun. I promise that this is indeed a romance, so just hold tight and trust me, this will be good. Also, sorry about the wait. I've been working on a novel I'm hoping to get published. I'm in revision now. If you are interested in reading my creative work or perhaps writing a review, I would love to connect. Sent me a DM.