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Now or Never by Kanna37

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Inuyasha.

-sSs-

“Kagome.”

Without turning around, she said, “Sesshoumaru.”

The demon Lord looked around the clearing, then back at the woman before him. “What is it that you do here?” He'd come to her so many times when she would need time away to think over the hanyou's and dead miko's trysts. Tonight, however, was different – even if she didn't know it yet.

She turned, then, finally, and looked at him, her expression remote, sad. “I'm searching my heart.”

He just looked at her, and she sighed, her shoulders slumping slightly. “Same old, same old – he snuck off to see her again.”

“Does it matter? Have you not said to me before that it no longer does?”

She nodded slowly, but didn't say anything.

“You followed him, did you not? Listened to their conversation?”

With a guilty flush, she looked away. “Yes.”

Sesshoumaru turned his face to the sky, looking at the stars peeking here and there through the canopy above. “He wants you to follow him when he goes to her. He wishes you to see him with her – to keep you hanging on to him by making you feel jealous – threatened.”

She gasped, surprised that he would say that... it wasn't true – was it? “Why would you say that?”

“Because it is the truth.” He turned back to look down at her, the moonlight caressing her face; he reached out and traced a finger down her cheek. Her eyes closed at his touch. “He does not understand that it is too late.”

“Too late?” she whispered, eyes still closed and face tilted up to him.

“Yes... did he not promise to always protect you? In a way, he promised you forever – but forever has not ended, and he is not here, is he? Instead, it is I who am here with you. This proves that I will love you more than he ever could.”

Eyes snapping open, Kagome stared at the daiyoukai standing before her in shocked disbelief. “W-what?”

“You heard my words. I will not repeat them unnecessarily.” His hand finally left her cheek, his fingers instead twining a lock of midnight around them for a moment as the breeze swept her tresses towards him.

Bewildered, she stepped back a pace, unsure whether she should believe him or not. “Love? You've never spoken of that before – why now?”

Knowing that now was the perfect time, he stepped forward, tugging her into him as his arm came around her to hold her to him. “Because there is no better time to say it than now, Kagome.” And he bent his head and kissed her, knowing the ethereal picture the two of them would make to the one hiding behind a tree at the edge of the glade. Satisfaction surged through him at what he knew the hanyou was feeling – he'd heard every word, and would hear the rest of them, as well.

Pulling back a little to let the woman breathe, he waited for her to gather herself.

“How can I believe you? How long will it be before you decide that you made a mistake, since I'm only a disgusting human?” she choked out.

“I never say anything I do not mean – I will never take back the words I have said to you this night. It is up to you to accept or deny them.” He didn't release her, keeping her in his embrace, enjoying every drop of angst and pain that he could feel from the fool still hiding and listening. It was karma, as far as the daiyoukai was concerned – he was finally feeling what he had made Kagome feel for so long.

“I never expected-” her voice shook, “-anything from you, Sesshoumaru, except your company when you decided to give it. And I certainly never thought that you'd return my feelings,” she finished softly, too embarrassed to actually look at him.

“I am aware of this. But now there is a choice to be made on your part. Mine has already been made. Will you accept me as I have accepted you?”

Tears burst then, and she nodded, her throat too tight to actually say the words.

Voice softening, he said, “I will not come to you again in secret in the dark – if you accept me, then it will be before everyone - before Inuyasha - in the full light of day.”

She stopped for a moment, blinking at him. “What's he going to say about all this?” she whispered, almost to herself.

“He would say whatever it takes to keep you blinded to the truth between the lies that he has fed you for so long. Do you intend to listen to them anymore? It is now or never, Kagome – you must break the chains he has placed you in this night. I will no longer remain hidden.”

With a frantic nod, she tightened her arms around him, terrified he would disappear before she could speak. “Please, don't go!” she finally got out. “I'll do whatever it takes, whatever you say, just don't leave me.”

“Then I will not,” he said, triumph roaring through him as she succumbed to him. It had taken a great deal of time to seduce her affections away from his half-brother, but he had managed, and he was not such a fool as to lose her as Inuyasha had. No, now that he had her, he would not ever let go. And his sense of satisfaction only heightened at the pained gasp he heard from the edge of the clearing as the fool finally realized what he'd done in playing her against the dead miko as he had.

He lowered his head to kiss her once more even as his brother walked away dejectedly, unknowingly following in the phantom steps she herself had taken on so many instances when the situation was reversed.

Hai, Inuyasha, it is time for you to suffer what you made her suffer so many times. Truly, you are a blind fool, and I feel no pity for you.

 

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