Children of the Gods by K

Of Prophecies and Small Talk

The next morning Kagome arose early and paced anxiously until the appearance of Amaya. She endured being dressed, feeling more like a doll than a woman, the neko dressed her hair as well, pulling it back into a simple queue low on her neck and wrapping it in strips of silk.

Opening the door to her room she found the same inu guard who had taken her to see Sesshomaru when she had arrived, he seemed slightly less irritated with her existence but no less stoic. She smiled up at him brightly,

"Good morning!" she chirped, "are you going to accompany me today?" The guard was silent though his eyes opened a bit wider, this was a very different woman from the one who had been so subdued several days ago, there was a pause,

"Yes Milady, follow me please."

"Oh please just call me Kagome, all this milady business makes me feel like someone else entirely." she sounded exasperated, "What is your name?" she asked. There was no response from the inu. 'So that's how it's going to be is it?' she thought, Kagome stopped walking and waited. The guard stopped and turned to look at her curiously

"Your name please." she repeated. He just looked at her. 'I'll bet it's a inu thing, this maddening silence and refusal to talk. And here I thought dogs were social animals.'

"Fine then, I'll just have to come up with a name for you since you won't share." Tapping her chin with one finger she went over possibilities in her mind, first in japanese but quickly decided against it since he spoke japanese. She moved on to cantonese and not finding anything suitably cute she finally turned to the spanish she had learned while traveling in South America.

"I know! I'll call you Perrito, it suits you wonderfully!" she exclaimed looking up at the tall guard sweetly. The inu raised one eyebrow and shrugged, his lord had simply ordered him to accompany her, not befriend her, she was quite strange, this ningen. Smiling secretly at her joke, Kagome followed the newly dubbed Perrito to the library.

Once she arrived, she found an enormous pile of scrolls separated out presumably for her. The morning sun streamed through the high windows illuminating floating motes of dust in the air, the room was just as enchanting as it had been in the evening torchlight. Eager to begin, Kagome wasted no time sitting down at the desk and opening the first scroll, they were scripted on fine parchment and in very archaic language. Oddly the script wavered slightly as she pored over it, she entertained the idea that no matter her native language she would be able to understand the prophecies contained within.

Pushing aside that train of thought, she dove into her reading, there was everything from simple foretellings of the growing season to nebulous verses dealing with the stars and heavens, most of them were so vague she was reminded of her mythology courses from school when they had studies the quatrains of Nostradamus. Kagome chuckled to herself, grateful that the ones she was reading now were actually written by supernatural beings as opposed to one crazy Frenchman.

Kagome stopped, going back over the scroll in her hands, something had set off alarm bells and she re-read the passage.

From water to earth a warrior doth rise

Light of the holy shall be held in her eyes.

Through hardship and pain the battle shall wage,

The tears of the earth confine them for an age.

Frowning, she considered the words in front of her, this wasn't about her but it was terribly familiar just the same. A nagging thought teased her mind. Ame no me Kumari was known as the divider of heavenly waters, perhaps Midoriko was the subject of this one being her daughter. The passage fit except there was no mention of the Shikon no Tama, no wait that was wrong, she remembered in her studies seeing sapphires referred to as tears of the earth mother.

Exhilaration coursed through her, now that she had found one prophecy she could equate with actual events she felt confident she would be able to recognize others. Freshly motivated she blew through the scrolls, amazed at the organization, there were no outer markings on the documents yet from the items and concepts contain within they seemed roughly chronological.

The next scroll she opened was almost heart stopping. Clutching the parchment to her chest Kagome shut her eyes but was unable to catch the first few scalding tears that streaked down her cheeks and splashed on her hands.

This was hers.

She drew a ragged breath and smoothed the now very rumpled and damp scroll onto the desk in front of her.

The jewel returns to the place of its birth,

A child emerges from the bowels of the earth.

After long struggles and many set free,

None may make the wish but she.

Trembling, Kagome was overcome by flashes of memory, she relived the long ordeal of rejoining the shards of the jewel, the friendship, the sacrifice, the danger and the pain. As she watched these play in her mind she noticed something,


Always on the periphery of their travels, appearing at key times seeming the enemy but the end result was always that their group was strengthened. She had always assumed it was Inuyasha he was helping, in his own way making his brother better, stronger, but now thinking back, perhaps his actions were meant to ensure the prophecy. He had saved her life several times, first from Mukotsu the poison master in the band of seven, and then again when she and Rin had been abducted by Takemaru after he had stolen So'unga.

She thought back to the final time he had saved her, the other times she had passed off as coincidence, he was either saving Rin or looking out for his own interests, but when he intervened and stopped Inuyasha on the battlefield, there was no way that wasn't connected to the scroll in her hands. He'd quoted the damn thing at her that day. She remembered the determination in his eyes each time, was this how youkai ensured the prophecies? The kami sent their children out and the youkai influenced events or protected the players?

This train of thought utterly floored Kagome, it turned all the presumptions and perceptions completely upside down. This changed her status here, she had been acting under the impression the aid she was receiving from Sesshomaru was perhaps gratitude for the return of his arm, or possibly some kindness inspired by memories of Rin. To be honest she had not been sure, but she had at least thought it to be centered around her in some way.

'So it's his noble duty?'

It was a sobering thought, if it's his duty then it's also a duty shared by the other youkai lords, meaning should she cause too much trouble he could conceivably pass her off to some other youkai lord. This possibility loomed over her as she read countless scrolls with growing desperation.

She researched from sunrise to dusk for six days motivated by the strong desire to find the prophecy she needed and get out of his house before he could decide she had outlasted his patience. The taiyoukai was prickly enough but the possibilities her imagination created around the other lords made her tremble with apprehension.

On the sixth afternoon, Amaya came to find her in the library. Sesshomaru had said she was to be at the evening meal and she needed to prepare appropriately. Kagome looked at the neko, blinking to adjust her vision still slightly blurry from so much close reading. She stood and followed Amaya without protest, replacing her worry and endless searching with a whole new set of anxieties. While bathing and dressing she nervously went over all the ways she could botch this meal, looking in the mirror she was startled to see a fine lady staring back at her. 'I can do this.'


Sesshomaru sat at the head of the great table, he was listening to the small talk his rangers were indulging in with Shippo. It was boring beyond belief but with the arrival of the other diners he was fairly certain it would become much more interesting. His rangers occupied the three seats to his right as was proper, Shippo filled the center seat to his left, the position directly to his left was reserved for the miko as his guest. In truth he positioned her there so he could use Shippo as a barrier of sorts since his brother would also be attending with his mate.

The doors to the dining room opened and the miko entered, immediately the conversation halted, Shippo went to greet her and the rest just waited politely, the rangers seemed unable to look at anything save for Kagome. Sesshomaru understood, they were not frequent attendees of court functions therefore had very little experience seeing female in their finery, and he had to admit the difference between the warrior in the woodlands and the creature in front of them was significant.

Kagome was draped in a Kimono of soft gray trimmed in cream that matched her under robe and obi, the edges of her sleeves and the bottom of the garment were graced with a pattern of wispy clouds. The kimono itself was simple and subdued which only served to accent her natural beauty, her ebony tresses had been swept back into a low queue allowing some of it to hang loose and frame her face.

'She looks uneasy' Sesshomaru thought to himself as she took her place at the table, 'I wonder if she found something'

His train of thought was interrupted by the appearance of Inuyasha and Kikyo, his brother frowned slightly as he entered and seemed to steel himself, he was aware before hand Kagome would be there, and had warned Kikyo about it as well. She had promised to behave herself but he knew the impetuous nature of her emotions and was still on his guard.

As he took his place at the end of the table opposite Sesshomaru, Kikyo settled at his right next to Shippo, the meal was immediately served. It seemed Kikyo had decided to speak only to her mate and kept up a constant chatter, the rest of the table tucked into the meal and the atmosphere lightened a bit. Then, rising from the end of the table like a cloud, Kikyo's voice rose in volume while talking to Inuyasha.

"I so tire of those courtesans from the south they have no shame koi, no matter the family, if they are rejected by one lord they move right on to his brother. Simply disgraceful."

These last words were said in a particularly sing-song voice with a glance up the table towards Kagome. Every male at the table froze. The only sounds were those of the two females eating. Kikyo seemed quite pleased with herself, Kagome has donned a mask to rival Sesshomaru's, only two spots of color high in her cheeks betrayed her irritation. Kikyo paused and appeared to consider something as she delicately chewed another bite.

"I suppose they must act this way because they know they're not truly worthy of the lords they pursue but hope someone will give in and eventually mate them. It's sad really, watching them try to gain power in the bedchamber."

The silence grew monstrous as Kagome calmly continued to eat, a low rumble began to her right, surprised she glanced at Sesshomaru, the taiyoukai was extremely angry, no, angry was not right, he looked positively enraged and seriously contemplating separating Kikyo's head from her shoulders.

'Get in line buddy.' Kagome thought.

The rage building in her was very close to bursting forth, she had given Kikyo her life and love back and the bitch had the nerve to imply she was after Sesshomaru? Not only that, she had trivialized the love Kagome had held for Inuyasha all those years ago, it was this facet of the attack that solved the puzzle for her.

'She is threatened by me.'

The moment that piece clicked into place a stillness settled over her mind, the rage that had been burning so hotly before froze within her and was now a source of strength.

Kagome's mouth twitched and she let out a humorless chuckle, lifting her gaze, she caught the eye of the wolf general and said,

"Kenta, tell me, what sort of combat styles do you teach the general ground troops here? I must admit I have wondered about this since our first encounter." The wolf perked up, relieved to have something else to talk about,

"Standard swordsmanship as well as pike work, there are other divisions that are taught more specialized skills."

"I think I would like to observe some of this training, should Sesshomaru-sama permit it." Kagome responded, not looking at the taiyoukai but quite aware he had stopped the low growl, she could only hope the homicidal inclination he seemed to entertain moments ago had dissipated as well. She had decided to ignore Kikyo entirely and possibly divert all attention from her, take the wind out of her sails.

There was a loud bang at the other end of the table, Kagome saw tea slop from Kikyo's glass onto the table. Kikyo's face was angry and twisted, glaring at Kagome, she was clearly angry. The conversation stopped abruptly and Shippo shifted uneasily, he was suddenly quite aware he was directly between two warring females.

Kagome stiffened and turned her head, deliberately to face Kikyo whose eyes were blazing, Shippo's hackles lifted, she was terrifying, her face was so cold and her eyes shone.

"Oh do forgive my rudeness Kikyo, I assumed the bedchamber was an inappropriate topic of conversation so I wanted to help you steer it to safer territory." her tone was solicitous and even.

"I apologize if I chose a topic you are unfamiliar with, I know archery is the extent of your combat experience," Kagome's eyes flicked to Inuyasha and he recoiled slightly at the veiled insult.

"I would be happy to instruct you in combat should you wish to see the things I have learned since last we met." Kagome let the last word hang in the air for a moment

"But please, lady Kikyo we are all fascinated to hear what bedchambers you have been peering into to be such an expert."

Kagome locked eyes with the demoness ready for anything Kikyo would throw at her, she wasn't sure what the youkai rules were regarding challenges and how they were dealt with. There were so many unknowns in this situation Kagome simply readied herself for the most violent reaction, hoping she cold move well enough in the kimono and would take it from there depending on Kikyo's actions.

She was aware of Shippo doing everything in his power not to laugh, he sucked in his cheeks and looked seriously at his food. Satoshi let out a muffled cough as Kagome watched the color rise in Kikyo's face, it looked very possible that she would explode all over the table if she didn't breathe soon. Kikyo rose so swiftly she nearly upset her plate, stiff backed she swept from the room without another word. The air seemed to deflate now that it was devoid of her presence.

Sesshomaru glared at Inuyasha who dropped his eyes and shook his head.

"My apologies brother." standing, he walked to follow his mate, knowing she was very close to inviting serious repercussions from Sesshomaru, insulting his guest was a serious gaffe and one that also insulted the host. As soon as Inuyasha was out of earshot, Shippo let out his breath in a rush.

"Kagome that was fantastic!" he said "she was completely speechless." Kenta let out a small chuckle

"I must say Milady you handled that wonderfully." Kagome dipped her head,

"I did not set out to upset her, if she is threatened by my presence there is nothing I can do to change her mind."

"Well I would certainly call that doing something." said Satoshi quirking an eyebrow at her. Kagome was quiet for a moment,

"I will not endure insults from anyone, especially not her. She has no right." Kagome's tone was dark and she glanced at Shippo who held understanding in his turquoise eyes. Sesshomaru watched this exchange closely,

'Interesting.' He was aware peripherally that her relationship with his brother had been more complex than previously thought, now it seemed Inuyasha's mate was also involved.

"I think miko tomorrow you will join in the daily training with my generals. You have healed and perhaps can show my rangers your odd techniques." Sesshomaru's voice rolled over the chatter at the table, surprised, Kagome looked up at him,

"Arigatou Sesshomaru-sama, I look forward to it." He nodded to her and she was quickly caught up in conversation with Kenta, Shippo and Satoshi, even coaxing a reply out of Takeshi from time to time. The taiyoukai went over the exchange he had just witnessed, the miko had handled herself surprisingly well during that. Sesshomaru had to admit she had acted with dignity and grace under the onslaught of degrading insults from his brother's mate. He had been prepared to step in to remind the bitch of her place as his brother seemed unable to do so when the miko had deftly changed the course of the conversation to lighter things.

In spite of his anger he had been impressed, he could smell the agitation coming off her in waves, however when he looked at her face it held nothing but a smile and interest in what Kenta was saying. He decided at that moment to see what she had in mind, reigning in his rage he did not have long to wait, nor was he disappointed.

'I just witnessed something I never thought could happen,' he mused 'a ningen just intimidated a demoness, and at my own table no less.'

Ruefully he gave himself a mental shake, he found himself continuing to be surprised by this woman. She displayed little or no fear when she was the only human in the manor, she snapped at him like he was her equal, Sesshomaru couldn't remember anyone besides his parents who had ever spoken to him in that way. On top of these things she was educated and exuded a confidence rarely seen in ningen, especially females.

Sesshomaru was amazed how she was able to naturally put those around her at ease, even Takeshi was engaged in the lively discussion she was orchestrating. The demon lord studied Shippo as he sat at her side, the kit was oddly attached to this ningen, true, he had spent much of his life in the company of humans, even going so far as to live with the slayers.

The kitsune would protect her with his life if the need arose, Sesshomaru was curious how this bond had formed, it was more than just a kit choosing a mother figure, he was definitely there as a protector for the miko. His motives needed to be discovered, not that Sesshomaru suspected treachery from Shippo, it was simply a matter of good course to fully know what motivated those around you. He let the easy conversation around the table ebb and flow for the remainder of the meal noting the relaxed lines of his general's body language

'Useful skill that.'

Observing the miko as she ate he could see she was still uneasy, the tension in the line of her shoulders and a slight tightness around her eyes the only things betraying she was anything but completely at ease. Sesshomaru was somewhat baffled by her sudden disquiet, she had been battling with it since entering the room and it seemed unaffected by the small row she had with Kikyo indicating it was about something else.

'Perhaps she's frustrated with her research.' he speculated.

"Miko," he spoke at a lull in the conversation, "training begins at dawn." his amber gaze locked with her dark green one. Taking his hint gracefully, she rose and bowed,

"Then I will retire to ensure I am properly prepared."

The youkai at the table rose and she sensed Shippo at her side, she allowed him to lead her through the corridors to her room. The kitsune could smell agitation from Kagome as they walked in companionable silence, he wondered if it was about Kikyo or Inuyasha. His brows drew together at the thought, 'Baka was supposed to protect her' He was there now and she could be sure he would never betray her that way, he wanted so very much to make up for his inability to protect her the first time around.

"Shippo," she said softly as they arrived at her chamber, he stopped and faced her, concern writ on his features, "tell me honestly, am I irritating Sesshomaru?" she looked at him chewing on her bottom lip in anxiety.

"What? He's always irritated, why are you worried about it?"

"The only reason he's helping us that it's his duty as a youkai lord, he could easily pass us off to another lord, they all have the scrolls." She seemed to almost tremble at the prospect.

Shippo frowned, he hadn't considered it, going over the evening's events he highly doubted the taiyoukai would send them away. During the meal Sesshomaru had seemed observant and almost mildly amused, he knew the demon lord was a very honor driven creature. It was much more likely that he would fulfill the duty set forth for him and anything less, such as pawning them off on another youkai would be seen as failure on his part.

"But Kagome, he just invited you to train with his generals. That doesn't sound like the action of someone who's going to send you away." he said reassuringly, "Just go get some sleep." He gave her a small push toward the doors, "and make sure you're not late, I know how much you love mornings."

With a grin, Shippo disappeared into the labyrinth of corridors, leaving Kagome with slightly fewer fears to battle in the night.


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