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Past Meets Present by Chie

Chapter 1

Written for a prompt by Utsukushi Tenshi. :3

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Kagome stood by the well fidgeting nervously. Beside her, Sesshoumaru towered as intimidating as ever, his sharp cold eyes surveying the well house, his nose twitching imperceptibly.

“Uhm,” Kagome said, twisting her hands into the hem of her shirt. “Once we go outside, it’ll be… different.”

“This Sesshoumaru would certainly hope so,” came his haughty reply. “You humans would surely be pitiful if nothing had changed in five centuries.”

Kagome’s temper spiked. Her cheeks flushed but she bit her lip. Infuriating as he might be, having Sesshoumaru following her was bad enough. An angry Sesshoumaru would be potentially lethal.

“Just don’t freak out. Please.”

Sesshoumaru arched one imperious eyebrow contemptuously at her.

Kagome’s shoulders slumped in defeat and she climbed up the stairs, crossed to the door of the well house and slid it open.

She blinked and brought her hand up to shadow her eyes; the cheerful sunshine of the beautiful autumn day almost harshly bright after the dimness of the well house. Kagome walked out to the courtyard, Sesshoumaru on her heels.   

Kagome slanted him a glance and gave him time to drink it all in. His gaze was flicking around, noting her house, the Goshinboku, the buildings towering in the distance. His nose was definitely twitching now.

Kagome rubbed her eyes tiredly, thinking for the umpteenth time that this was a bad, bad idea. She sighed, gripped the straps of her bulging backpack and started to trot across the yard.

Apprehension grew with each step, and by the time she stood in the entrance way, yelling “I’m home!”, her stomach was churning.

When no one replied, a wave of relief crashed over her.

“Come in,” she beckoned Sesshoumaru, as she bent to take off her shoes.

He frowned but followed her example, removing his shoes before stepping in after her.

“Have a seat,” Kagome gestured at the kitchen table. She set her backpack down and rolled her shoulders. “Can I get you anything? Tea?”

He might have imposed himself on her and she might not have liked his company, but Mama had taught her to be a good host.

He sat on the tatami, looked around the room. “Tea will do,” he replied curtly.

Kagome gritted her teeth. “I’ll be right back,” she promised, and promptly escaped into the kitchen.

She slumped against the counter. Her head fell to rest on her folded arms as she gave in to a silent fit of despair. This would be a complete disaster!

She gave herself ten lingering seconds to wallow, then she steeled herself, stood up straight and put the kettle on.

A moment later, she was sitting stiffly across from Sesshoumaru and cradling a cup of tea in her hands.

Unexpectedly, it was he who broke the silence.

“Your family?”

“Away,” Kagome replied. “I don’t know where. They didn’t leave a note, since they didn’t know I was coming.”

Sesshoumaru sipped his tea.

Kagome restlessly tapped her finger against the ceramic surface of the cup.

Sesshoumaru got up as soon as he had finished his tea.

“Show me around the house.”

His tone made it clear it wasn’t a request. Reluctantly, Kagome abandoned her half-finished tea and got to her feet.

She took him into the kitchen first. He showed some interest in the appliances – or, at least, that was what Kagome assumed. It was all really guesswork at best, since his expression didn’t even change. He did ask some questions, which Kagome did her best to answer.

They went to the living room next, where Kagome successfully managed to trap him for a good twenty minutes by handing him the remote and sitting him in front of the TV. He soon became completely engrossed with the both of them, leaving Kagome slouching on the sofa and congratulating herself for thinking of such a good distraction.

“I’ll pop to my room real quick and change,” she told him. After receiving no response in return, she shrugged and left the room.

Kagome was feeling much better after donning her favourite skirt and a warm and comfy knitted sweater. She was even humming when crossing the landing.

But the good mood evaporated quickly as she made her way down the stairs and heard a familiar voice exclaim “Wow, this is awesome!”

Kagome’s heart jumped into her throat and she ran down the rest of the stairs two at a time, bursting through into the living room, where Souta was perched on the floor next to Sesshoumaru, gaping at him.

Sesshoumaru stared back, his eyebrow arched.

“Uhm. Souta, please don’t bother Sesshoumaru. Sesshoumaru, please excuse my little brother.”

“Hnn,” Sesshoumaru said, and turned back to the TV.

Souta bounded over to Kagome.

“Who is he? What is he doing here? Can I hold his sword?”

“He’s Inuyasha’s older half-brother, and he wanted to see where I came from. And no, you can’t.”

Souta frowned.

“He came here to see the future?”

Kagome nodded.

“Why are you sitting here then? Why aren’t you showing him around the city?”

“Yes, miko,” Sesshoumaru’s silky voice cut in. “Why are you not showing me around the city?”

Kagome stiffened and glared at Souta. This was exactly what she had wanted to avoid; she had been trying so hard to keep the deadly youkai away from the humans.

“I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to take you out. You, um, attract attention with the hair and the armour and the –”

“And the über cool markings!” Souta enthused.

“Surely all of those things can be remedied,” Sesshoumaru countered with a deadpan voice.

“Some of dad’s clothes might fit you,” Souta suggested helpfully. “I’ll go and look!”

Souta scurried away and Kagome fiddled with the hem of her skirt.

“Changing clothes will only solve half the problem,” she said, pleading him to see the folly in going out into the city, to change his mind.

Ah, if only.

Sesshoumaru changed before her eyes, his silver-white hair darkening to black, his golden eyes dulling to brown, his pointed ears rounding, his claws retreating, his vivid markings disappearing.

“H-how…?”

“A simple matter of manipulating my youki,” he replied with a little shrug, sounding bored.

“I found some!” Souta announced and rushed back into the room, a pile of clothes in his arms.

“I will require some help changing,” Sesshoumaru said.

“Souta will give you a hand,” Kagome said as she dodged out of the room.

She caught Sesshoumaru’s quick glare out of the corner of her eye and immediately realised what she had just said, that the irate youkai had thought she had been making fun of his lack of an arm.

Stupid, Kagome told herself, sitting down on the tatami. She planted her elbows on the kitchen table and rested her forehead on them. There was no way this could go well. If they survived through the day without any fatalities, she’d call it a success.

“We’re ready,” Souta called from the doorway.

Kagome looked up, then did a double take.

Sesshoumaru looked like a different person, disguised as a human and dressed in old faded jeans and a thick sweater.

“Let us go,” he commanded.

Kagome nodded feebly and got up.

“Will you be okay without a coat?” she asked him as she and Souta were putting on their shoes.

“Cold air is of no consequence to me,” Sesshoumaru huffed.

“Okay then.” Kagome turned to Souta. “You sure you don’t want to stay home? What about homework?”

“I’ll do it later, this is much more exciting,” Souta replied.

Kagome sighed. She hadn’t thought she’d manage to persuade Souta to stay home but she’d had to at least try. She steeled herself and got out the door.

“So is there anything in particular you want to see?” she asked as they crossed the yard. “Anything you want to know?”

He mulled that for a moment, staring up at the cloudy sky.

“Everything,” he replied at last. “I want to know everything.”

Kagome and Souta shared a look.

“The library?” Souta suggested.

“Yes, good idea. Library it is. Let’s go.”

Cars spooked Sesshoumaru at first. He made no comments or observations, but his head was swivelling fast, as if to drink it all in which was a sure sign of his interest.

“Whose library are we going to visit?” he asked at last.

“Uhh… the city’s?”

Sesshoumaru’s eyebrow quirked. “You have a library containing a wealth of knowledge that is free for everyone to use?”

“Of course,” Souta said. “You’ll see.”

The train was a bit of a challenge. Sesshoumaru didn’t appear to be nervous about boarding it, which was surprising enough – Kagome was positive that Inuyasha would never get on a train.

What he didn’t appreciate, however, was having so many people crammed in such a small space.  

By some miracle, however, Sesshoumaru didn’t slaughter a single human. He didn’t even as much as growl, though the corner of his lip did curl up in a snarl.

They made it to the library, safe and sound – and without causing any casualties on the way.

That cheered Kagome up considerably.

She also enjoyed seeing Sesshoumaru pause in the library’s lobby, looking around to see tall shelves spanning around them.

“You wanted knowledge,” Kagome offered, barely holding back her amusement, “here you have it.” She gestured at the shelves.

“Here, too,” Souta added, walking over to one of the computers set up for the patrons to use.

Sesshoumaru gave the computer one intrigued look before wandering towards the bookshelves, Kagome on his heels.

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Kagome wasn’t sure how long they sat in the library. She had a novel propped open on the desk in front of her, but between sneaking concerned glances at Sesshoumaru she didn’t really get much reading done. Meanwhile Souta was poring over at least a fourth volume of a manga series.  Sesshoumaru had a whole pile of books in front of him, scattered and open as he perused them. His expression was as unchanged as ever, but he appeared to be engrossed, he hadn’t spoken a word in several hours.

“Kagome?”

“Hmm?” Kagome leaned towards Souta.

“I’m hungry.”

“Yeah, me too.”

She cast a dubious glance at Sesshoumaru. She was loathe to disturb him, and was sure he would prefer to stay and study his books. But any moment now, her stomach would start growling and the library would be closing in another half an hour anyway.

Gathering her nerve, Kagome cleared her throat.

That got no reaction, Sesshoumaru didn’t even look up from his books.

“Sesshoumaru?”

There we go. An annoyed glance – not optimal, but a clear indication that she had his attention.

“We should leave. Souta and I need to eat and the library will close soon.”

Sesshoumaru didn’t reply immediately.   

“We can come back tomorrow,” Souta suggested.

Kagome’s smile grew fixed. Faint as the hope had been, she’d wished she could shove Sesshoumaru down the well tonight and be done with him.

“I can help you look up things on the computer,” Souta promised.

Sesshoumaru inclined his head. “Very well.”

He got up and Kagome and Souta followed up in suit.

She should focus on the silver lining, Kagome supposed. They had managed to get through one day without any incident. Perhaps they’d survive tomorrow too with minimal manslaughter.

Kagome turned to Souta when they got back out to the street.

“What would you like to eat?”

“I want a hot dog,” Souta replied quickly, pointing at a cart further down the street.

“Okay then.”

They made their way to the cart, and Kagome did the ordering.

“Would you like one?” she asked, turning to Sesshoumaru.

“I do not require sustenance at this time.”

“Okay.”

They found a spot nearby to sit and eat. Sesshoumaru stayed standing, and surreptitiously sniffed at Kagome’s hot dog.

“I do not smell dog,” he informed her, studying the hot dog critically.

“What?” Kagome blinked.

“This meat of yours, it does not appear to be dog.”

Kagome set down her hot dog and shot Sesshoumaru a scandalised look. “Of course not! Why would we eat dog?”

Sesshoumaru’s eyebrow arched. “Did you not say this food of yours was called a hot dog?”

“Yes, but that’s just a name!”

“A very inaccurate one, it would seem.”

“Well I didn’t come up with it,” Kagome snapped, her temper fraying.

Souta was wisely ignoring the both of them and concentrating on his own hot dog.

“You appear upset,” Sesshoumaru remarked after a moment of terse silence.

“Because you thought I would eat a dog!”

“Why would you not? It is meat like any other.”

Kagome deposited the hot dog into her lap and counted to ten. “It’s a human thing,” she said at last. “We don’t eat our pets.”

Sesshoumaru stared at her blankly for a moment but mercifully didn’t offer any further comments. He just shrugged and focused his attention back to the street and observing the people and cars passing them by.

Kagome and Souta finished their hot dogs in silence, and then all three of them headed for the train to get back home.

Climbing back the stone stairs to the Higurashi shrine, Kagome let out a sigh of a relief. She and her little brother had survived going out in public in modern day Tokyo with Sesshoumaru of all people and nothing bad had happened; no one had died! Perhaps having Sesshoumaru this side of the well wasn’t a complete disaster after all.

And then she realised in the next five minutes she’d have to explain her “guest” to her family and groaned in despair all over again.

It was going to be one long evening.

 

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