A/N: My second entry for 'Kirai's Neverending Title' Challenge. Thanks to her, I have been inspired once more to write something!
I am not affiliated with the creators or producers of Inuyasha. No profit is made from writing this.
Blue eyes stared at the setting sun in silence. A pair of rosy lips were pursed into a thin line and dark hair was left to move with the gentle breeze. A few people scurried past but did not pay attention to the woman standing in silence, her hand grasped tightly onto her bow. Her eyes narrowed when a shadow appeared in the distance. The shadow became larger, eventually revealing a woman with dark hair and blue eyes. If people did not know better, they would expect the two women to be the same person.
"And, where were you?" Kagome Higurashi asked, her blue eyes narrow as the woman who approached the village as a shadow walked past her.
Kikyo Higurashi came to a halt. "Is that really any of your business, sister?"
Kagome inhaled deeply. "Were you off with that half-demon again?"
Kikyo ignored Kagome and continued moving, her head held high. Kagome watched her, annoyance obvious in her features. Kikyo might be the eldest, but she clearly did not understand where her loyalties lay. When would the woman ever learn her lesson? A sudden rustling in the bushes made Kagome alert of her surroundings. She turned around and waited. She could not sense another's presence...so what was hiding amongst the brush?
She saw something wooden poke out from a bush not too far away and immediately rushed after it. Whatever it was, it had slipped past the barrier, which meant that the barrier was weakening. Kikyo had slacked off, again. Kagome pushed the branches of the bushes aside and quickly stumbled into the unknown. She felt herself slipping through the barrier. Her eyes widened, and she quickly spun around.
The barrier's circumference had decreased in size! Anger boiled up inside of her. How dare Kikyo slack off! She was putting the entire village in grave danger! Another bush rustled, and Kagome was suddenly once again alert. She moved stealthily towards the source of the noise, raised her bow and prepared to hit the intruder over the head. She knew he had to be small...otherwise she would have seen him by now.
Kagome raised her bow and then brought it down in a swift motion. A yelp echoed through the forest and a small green imp collapsed on the ground, his small hand grasping a wooden staff with two heads. Kagome quirked an eyebrow. An imp? How on earth did a small, harmless creature like him slip past their century old barrier? Was Kikyo's resolve lacking that low?
"Who are you?" Kagome demanded. The imp panicked and quickly stood up. He pointed the staff at her, trying to appear menacing but failing miserably. Kagome blinked, then burst out laughing.
"I'm warning you!" the imp yelled, "I will burn you to pieces!"
Kagome placed her hands on her hips and smirked. "Oh, really? Well, before you do, do tell me what you were doing trespassing our village."
The imp frowned. "What nonsense are you uttering? I am nowhere near your filthy village!"
Kagome was not amused anymore. "Our village is not filthy! Our village is probably the oldest and most powerful in the history of Japan. I come from a line of powerful priests and priestesses. I could probably purify you just by looking at you the wrong way!"
The imp snorted. "No weak human could destroy me! I am the brave warrior of Lord Sesshomaru of the Western Lands! I am the great Lord Jaken!"
Kagome concluded that this imp was completely nutters. "Alright, oh so great warrior of Lord...whatever-his-name-was, I still await an explanation for your trespassing."
A vein popped on Jaken's forehead. "How dare you insult the great Lord Sesshomaru! Apologise this instant!"
Kagome seemed to be in deep thought for a while. "Hmm...what about no?"
Jaken stared at the woman before him as if she had grown an extra head. "You obviously don't value your life, human. As for why I am here, I was gathering food."
Finally, she got an answer! Kagome contemplated on this for a while, then decided that the imp was obviously harmless. Might just as well let the poor thing go. It wasn't usually in her nature to be this friendly to demons that trespassed, unlike her sister, Kagome had a heart as cold as snow, but just this once wouldn't look bad.
"Very well," Kagome stated, "I shall let you go. Just do not dare to trespass here again."
Jaken snorted. "I don't need your permission to go anywhere! And I wasn't trespassing!"
With that said, he turned around and stomped off. Kagome giggled. She looked up at the distance where the imp disappeared and froze. There, underneath a large tree stood the most beautiful creature she had ever laid her eyes on. He was tall, with hair was white as the moon, golden eyes, flawless skin and dressed in fine robes. He was watching her, his golden eyes curious. She couldn't help, but conclude that he was handsome, standing there under a tree with golden specks of sunlight creeping through the leaves and kissing his skin.
And then she saw his claws. Her stomach dropped. He was a demon.
That night, Kagome and Kikyo's grandfather called the two to the temple. He was sitting with his legs crossed, his eyes closed, and he seemed to be in deep concentration. The two sisters sat down in front of him and awaited him to speak. They both knew to never speak first. A person, especially a woman, must never provoke the High Priest of the Higurashi family.
Finally, he spoke: "My two dear girls, bothered by something I am."
Kagome glanced at Kikyo, but her sister did not move.
"And what would that be, grandfather?" Kikyo asked, no emotion visible on her face.
Their grandfather opened his eyes and looked at both of them. "Where today were you, Kikyo? You are the older, therefore work hard you must. Not accept being tardy, I will not."
Kagome smirked silently. Her sister was in deep trouble. Good. She deserved it.
Kikyo did not even seem deterred. "I was gathering herbs."
Grandfather Higurashi quirked an eyebrow. "Oh, gathered herbs you did? Where are these herbs?"
Kikyo opened her mouth, but quickly closed it again. She didn't have an answer. A few minutes of silence passed and then Grandfather Higurashis to his feet, anger boiling inside of him. Her narrowed his eyes dangerously at his eldest granddaughter. "You dare lie? You are eldest daughter, are you not? High Priestess you shall become! How tardy you can be? You filthy witch! Where today were you?"
Kikyo remained silent and stared ahead. Grandfather Higurashi snarled and stepped closer and grabbed her by the collar. Kikyo yelped when he lifted her into the air effortlessly. Kagome watched in silence, fear coursing through her veins. It has always been a well-known fact that their paternal grandfather was violent.
"Asked a question, I did!" their grandfather roared. Kikyo still said nothing. Grandfather Higurashi bellowed, then sniffed the air, startled. "Smell of demon, you do. Tell the truth, where today were you?"
Kikyo closed her eyes. "I was with a friend. We...talked."
Their grandfather narrowed his eyes. "Talked, eh? Lies! You are no heir of mine!" And then he lifted his arm and slapped her. Kikyo yelped as he dropped her on the floor in a heap. He then turned to Kagome, who was sitting as still as a rock. She looked up into her grandfather's eyes and swallowed the lump that formed in her throat.
"Kagome, granddaughter oh sweet of mine," Grandfather Higurashi cooed, "you live up to my expectations, you will?"
"Yes, of course," Kagome whispered.
This seemed to satisfy him. "Good, leave you may."
And then he turned around and sat back down. Kagome quickly got to her feet and pulled her sister out of there.
The next morning, Kikyo was nowhere to be seen. Kagome, however, knew exactly where her sister had disappeared to. She rose from her bed, quickly dressed into her priestess garb, grabbed her bow and arrows and left the main hut. She was greeted by several villagers, most of whom needed a favour done during the day. Kagome promised to attend all of them as soon as she returns from herb gathering. The villagers thanked her warmly, but Kagome did not smile in return.
She quickly moved to the edge of the barrier. Her eyes narrowed when she realised the circumference had once more decreased. Kagome took one her arrows and stuck it into the ground, determined to measure the amount of decrease each day. If Kikyo didn't get out of the slump soon, then the village would be in grave danger. Kagome had to do something...and soon.
Kagome slipped through the barrier and moved into the dark forest. She could sense Kikyo far into the distance and the half-demon's presence was with her. Kagome scrunched her nose up in disgust. She knew that it was none of her business, but if Kikyo continued like this, she would bring shame to their family. Therefore, Kagome had to put a stop to their forbidden relationship.
When she finally found them, they were in each other’s arms, dressed in nothing but the sunlight's caress. Kagome came to a halt; her blood ran cold and her throat tightened. Her grip on her bow tightened and the anger magnified dangerously within her. She stomped forward, making a ruckus with her feet, but the two lovers did not notice her.
Once she reached them, she pulled the half-demon off, causing him to switch to defence. He snarled at her, but Kagome merely glared at him, causing a small flicker of purified energy to escape her and flick him. He yelped and collapsed on the grass. Kikyo sat up, suddenly very alert and ashamed. She pulled her robes over her bare breasts.
"Have you no shame, Kikyo?" Kagome spat.
Kikyo laughed coldly. "What does it matter, Kagome? Grandfather loves you more, anyway!"
"How dare you! Here you are, courting with a half-breed while back home you have Onigumo's love!"
Kikyo's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Onigumo is a conceited brat. A thief. And even if he loves me, I could never be with him. I am a priestess, Kagome. I must stay intact."
Kagome snorted, "You are no longer intact, anyway! What does it matter?"
"Love, Kagome," Kikyo whispered. Kagome's eyes widened. Kikyo smiled warmly for the first at her sister since they were little girls. "It's love. I love Inuyasha. I want to be with him. I would gladly give up my duty as priestess to be with him."
"You would give up your entire life...your entire being for something as trivial as love?" Kagome asked, astonished.
Kikyo nodded. "Go home, Kagome. Go home and tell them I will never return. I am dead, Kagome. From today I am dead to you."
Kagome stumbled backwards. She could not believe the words she was hearing! Her sister, the prideful Kikyo was giving up her entire life...throwing it all away, for the love of a half-demon! Kagome glanced at Inuyasha and couldn't help but notice the similarities he had to the beautiful demon she had seen the day before. Her heart melted. After years of having frozen her feelings, somehow the sunlight crept through and it all melted.
Kagome closed her eyes and sighed, "Fine. Go Kikyo and be happy. But remember, from today onwards you are dead to me."
And then she turned around and disappeared into the shadows.
Kagome stumbled through the trees and came to a standstill in a clearing. She collapsed onto her knees and curled up into a ball. She felt terrible. Absolutely terrible. It was like a piece of her had been ripped out and stepped on. Although her relationship with Kikyo had withered over the years, she still loved her sister deeply, still longed for her sister's acceptance. Now her sister was gone from her life, never to return. Fresh tears started to flow down her cheeks. Kagome felt so alone.
'A priestess never shows emotion,' her grandfather's voice echoed through her head, 'Yes, your younger sister has had her eyes gauged out. But heed this, Kagome. Kaede shall live. And you must not show emotion. Once you do, the demons will devour you.'
Kagome continued to sob, until she heard something crunch ahead of her. She looked up, suddenly very alert. Her eyes widened. There before her, he stood in full glory. She couldn't help but conclude that he was even more beautiful when closer. She could now see every detail. His jawline, his eyes, his beautifully shaped nose. How could someone so beautiful be a demon?
Kagome noticed a familiar imp poke his head out from behind the demon. She quickly regained her composure and stood to her feet. She dusted off her robes and then looked up with her head held high.
"Why, Lord Sesshomaru," Kagome greeted. The demon quirked an eyebrow.
"You know my name?" he asked.
Kagome smiled wickedly, "Your slave has a rather large mouth."
The imp growled, "I am a warrior, not a slave!"
"Silence, Jaken," Sesshomaru hissed. Jaken quivered. Sesshomaru returned his attention to Kagome, "You cry...why is that?"
Kagome was taken aback by his question, but answered nonetheless, "I said goodbye to someone I thought would always be by my side."
Sesshomaru's brows furrowed. "And that pains you?"
Kagome nodded slowly. She looked down at her feet. Sesshomaru watched her curiously. Her scent was rather clouded, much different from yesterday. Today she seemed almost...softer. She wasn't the same hard-headed, stubborn woman he saw yesterday and that intrigued him.
"Until next time then," Sesshomaru whispered, "Priestess."
Kagome gasped when she felt his breath tickle her ears, but when she looked up he was gone.
Grandfather Higurashi requested Kagome to visit him at the temple again. When she arrived alone, he was not impressed.
Your sister, where she be?" he asked. Kagome sat down in front of him and inhaled deeply.
"She won't be returning," Kagome finally mustered to say. Her grandfather narrowed his eyes.
"Why is that?" he demanded.
"She has left us," Kagome explained, "From today on, Kikyo is dead to us."
Grandfather Higurashi stood to his feet, "Such outrage! You allow this, you did? Never mind, her soul burn in fury, it shall. Kagome, oh sweet, what ought I do?"
Kagome did not respond. She noticed that her younger sister, Kaede was perched at the back door, curiously eavesdropping. She smiled weakly, then with a flickering motion let a small amount of spiritual energy pinch the blind little girl to encourage her to leave. Kaede pouted but did as her sister told and disappeared. Grandfather Higurashi was pacing now, his arms crossed over his chest.
"Kagome, you betray me not, will you?" he asked.
Kagome shook her head. "Never."
"Good," Grandfather Higurashi sighed in relief, "dead she shall be to us, Kikyo that is. Do not disappoint me."
Kagome stood up and bowed. "I shall not, grandfather."
And then Kagome left the temple, feeling a part of her die in the process. She just promised to never betray her duties, to never all out of line. To never do what Kikyo had done. Jealousy erupted deep within her. Kikyo possessed something Kagome would never have.
Several weeks passed and Kagome was one again checking the barrier. Ever since Kikyo left, Kagome had been put in charge of maintaining the barrier, which took a lot of her energy. It was taking a serious toll on her health, for unlike Kikyo, Kagome did not have very high spiritual powers. Kikyo had always been the more skilled of the two. Kagome nodded in satisfaction when she decked the borders. The barrier was once again at its normal size. So far so good.
Kagome looked up into the distance. How she wished she could see Sesshomaru again. He plagued her dreams every night. Sometimes he comforted her, other times he would undress her and make love to her under the moonlight. Of course, they were all just foolish desires of hers. She had to supress them. She was a priestess. She was not ever going to follow her older sister's footsteps, no matter how much she dreamed of doing so.
After doing her barrier routine, Kagome slipped outside to gather herbs. Usually they grew all the herbs they needed within the barrier, but some only grew naturally in the depths of the jungle. Only a qualified and trained priest or priestess could gather those. After all, they had to be able to ward off demons.
Kagome moved through the forest smoothly but stopped when she spotted someone sitting under a tree. She recognised him instantly.
"Onigumo?" Kagome called out. His eyes snapped open and he glared at her but calmed down when he saw her.
"Oh, Lady Kagome...you scared me."
"What are you doing out here?" Kagome asked, "Do you have permission to leave the barrier?"
"No, I don't," Onigumo breathed, "but I had to leave. My heart aches every day to see her once more, but I could not find her."
Kagome smiled apologetically at him, "I am sorry that my sister trampled on your heart."
Onigumo closed his eyes and sighed, "This burned and withered body of mine wants it all to end. I can't carry on like this much longer. Maybe it is best that I die...or I should give myself to the demons."
"Never say such things," Kagome snapped, "My sister is not the sun. You can live without her...find another. Someone better!"
Onigumo smiled. "You are such a brave woman, Lady Kagome. I pray you don't make the same foolish mistakes I did."
"And what are those?" Kagome asked.
"Fall in love with someone foolish enough to love half-breeds."
Kagome bit her lip. Onigumo laughed. "I'm sorry, I am just rambling. Carry on with what you were doing. I shall return to the village soon."
Kagome nodded and left the man to brood by himself. She continued to move through the forest, her basket tucked under his arm. Finally, she spotted some herbs sprouting from a tree root. She quickly knelt and pulled them out from the soft earth. She continued like this for the rest of the day, until she felt something grab her.
Kagome screamed as two arms wrapped around her and pulled her. One arm snaked around her waist and the other buried itself in her hair, lifting her head violently to look into two golden orbs. Her screaming stopped when she recognised the person before her. Her heart started to beat erratically in her chest, her arms and legs were on fire. She stared up at him, hungry for his taste.
"Lord Sesshomaru," she whispered.
"Why do you do this to me?" he demanded, his golden eyes narrow.
"Do what?" Kagome asked.
"Your scent drives me to the edge," he whispered huskily, causing her to get goose bumps, "your voice makes me shiver and your touch...your skin makes me burn."
"I do wonder why I do this to you," Kagome smirked, "Perhaps you are ill?"
Sesshomaru snorted. "Demons are never ill, human."
Kagome chuckled and lifted one of her arms. She trailed her fingers across his chest, up to his chin. Sesshomaru froze and watched her mesmerized. Then she stopped and let her arm fall to her side. "Go home, Lord Sesshomaru. Go home...and never come back. I am not something you can obtain."
Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed. "And why is that?"
Kagome sighed, and suppressed the urge to kiss him, to give her all to him. "I am not my sister, that is why. Go home, Lord Sesshomaru."
Sesshomaru watched her, waiting for any hesitation, but the priestess was determined. With a defeated sigh he dropped her. Kagome collapsed on the ground. Sesshomaru disappeared in a whirlwind and then Kagome burst into tears.
The ice queen's heart has finally melted.
Several years passed. Onigumo was never seen again, all that was found was his sword, burned to a crisp in a cave. People believed he committed suicide. Kikyo, much to her words, was dead to the village. Kagome never mentioned her again. Life continued as normal, Kagome carried on her duties. She kept the barrier alive, her health declining every day. Her grandfather praised her for her hard work.
Kagome, however, was growing tired of her life. Ever since she let go of Sesshomaru, Kagome was never the same. She was like an empty shell, a porcelain doll. And although she promised herself never to think of Sesshomaru again, she dreamed of him every night. Every dream was the same. Sesshomaru would touch her, kiss her skin and undress her slowly. He would then kiss her cheeks, her eyes, her nose, her neck and trail all the way down to her breasts. He would treat her like a queen, like she was the most beautiful thing in the world. And they always made love under the watchful eye of the moon.
How Kagome wished she could suppress her inner desires.
Kagome neared the border of the barrier once more that day to check its strength. The arrow that she used to measure the circumference was further away than the barrier's edge. Kagome froze. Her powers were weakening. Panic overwhelmed her. Was she truly now following her sister's footsteps? Were her desires, her selfish needs getting in the way of her duty? She had worked so hard to ignore them...to be the perfect priestess, but she was failing! She was failing, exactly like her sister!
Kagome screamed in anger and agony and collapsed on the ground. She was a failure. In fact, she was even worse than Kikyo. At least her sister fell in love with someone who was half-human. She, however, fell for a demon. A fully-fledged, powerful, monstrous demon. All this time she thought Kikyo was the disgrace, but in fact, she was. She was the disgrace to the family.
Tears started to flow down her cheeks. Kagome felt broken. She wasn't the perfect priestess she always aimed to be. She was a failure.
"Are you sure you want me to go home?" a voice suddenly asked. Kagome jumped up, her blue eyes scanning her surroundings and then saw him. He was standing right in front of her in all his glory, just like many times before. He was still finely dressed, he still had hair as white as the moon, he still had those beautiful golden orbs that made her heart melt.
"Sesshomaru..." Kagome trailed off. Silence enveloped them as a gentle breeze whipped through the forest.
Sesshomaru smiled, something that made Kagome's heart flutter. "How foolish you are. I've been watching you every day, waiting for you to notice me. Did you really think I would just leave without you being mine?"
Kagome as astonished. She hadn't sensed him all this time? Was she truly that weak? No matter, he was here now, and that was all that mattered. She collapsed into his arms and grasped tightly onto him. "My Lord...please...take me away. Take me home with you!"
Sesshomaru's eyes darkened, "Do you want to follow your sister's footsteps? Do you want to betray all that you are?"
Kagome looked up into his eyes and nodded. Sesshomaru smirked, cupped her chin and then leaned down and kissed her. In that single moment, the world suddenly became whole again. Kagome finally understood her sister. She finally knew what it felt like to love, and why Kikyo had given up her life to be with Inuyasha.
Kagome now had exactly what her sister had. Freedom. Freedom to live, freedom to enjoy. And above all, freedom to love. Kagome smiled into the kiss and allowed Sesshomaru to pull her into the forest, where they discarded their clothes and made love on the grass throughout the whole day, until the moonlight kissed them.
Kagome exited the small shop where she brought herself new robes and looked up into the clear blue sky. She felt like a different person. She was no longer Kagome Higurashi, the next High Priestess. She was Kagome, Lady of the Western Lands. And she was expecting her first child, or 'pup' as Sesshomaru liked to call it.
Kagome smiled and quickly moved through the village to return to the carriage that would take her home. Jaken walked hurriedly by her side, having been assigned her escort for the day. He wasn't very fond of her but was thoroughly reminded on where his loyalties lay.
A sudden impact with another person's shoulder made Kagome yelp and stumble backwards. She collapsed on the ground and groaned in pain. She panicked. What if the pup was harmed? Jaken was in full panic attack mode, running around in circles and praying that Sesshomaru would spare him.
"I am so sorry!" a female voice gushed, "I wasn't looking where I was...Kagome?"
Kagome's head snapped up. She recognised that voice. After all these years she still remembered it, despite her hard work not to. Blue met blue and the world suddenly froze.
Kagome was first to break the silence. "Kikyo? Is that...is that really you?"
The older sister was standing before her, dressed in a floral kimono, her hair hanging loose. She looked as regal and elegant as always. Beside her stood a young boy, with hair as white as the moon and wide golden eyes. His small hand buried within Kikyo's much larger, yet gentler one. Kagome's eyes widened.
Kikyo smiled warmly. "Hello, sister."