The Assistant by Smortz
The Big Apple
This is in response to Calypso’s and Sugar0o’s ‘Around the World’ challenge. The first location is New York City. This first chapter is a bit off, because I really misunderstood the challenge, but I tweaked it… and… well… I promise Chapter 2, wherever and whenever it may be, will be better.
This story will only be updated when a new location for the challenge is released.
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters in the anime/manga InuYasha.
Location: New York City
Kagome’s finger pressed down on the button once more. The shutter clicked as it captured another memory hostage. It would now be forever in her grasp. She grinned as she looked at the digital screen, checking to make sure the picture was acceptable. It was a bit dark, but flash photography wasn’t accepted in this place.
She gasped when she entered the next corridor. This castle, mansion, was amazing. Built in the nineteen thirties by a man who started his very own, national newspaper, who had a love for both history and art, the mansion was decorated with antiques from Greek and Rome mythology all the way to Egyptian tombs. Of course, they were all protected by their individual display cases.
Someone cleared their throat, and she looked up to find the tour guide giving her an annoyed look. He had obviously been waiting for her attention before he dove into the lecture once more. “Mr. Tish has over thirty thousand different antiques from as early as New Kingdom in Egyptian history,” he explained. “However, Mr. Tish is most notably known for the use of an item that we would usually gather into one giant piece – gold. Instead of keeping gold together, he has it spread around the house. If you look in the grout between the tiles – gold – it is even at the bottom of his pool. Mr. Tish always said that ‘gold makes a home warm and inviting’, could you believe that?”
Kagome tried to disguise the sudden jealousy and hate for the man at such a notion. Warm and inviting? I’m sure your slaves and servants didn’t feel that way at all, she thought aloud as she snapped another picture. Her eyes wandered to the tiles in the wall though. Sure enough, sparkling, golden nuggets were engrained within it. He must have made his wife really happy, Kagome added to her thoughts.
“Please keep up with the group, Ms. Higurashi,” the voice pulled her out of her envious thoughts. She turned around to stare at their guide, her defenses sounding her alarm system. This man was the worse. He was too pushy, obviously he was just as envious as she was, and the way he acted showed it. He wanted the tour to be over as soon as it had begun, so that he wouldn’t have to explain how this newspaper CEO had become an overnight million and used his money to build a castle looking over the city like some egotistical jerk.
“Listen, buddy,” Kagome growled out. She knew she shouldn’t be yelling at her teacher’s aid. After all, this was a field trip she had agreed to go on with the rest of her history class. “If I want to take a picture, I’m going to take a picture! I probably won’t ever be here again.”
The man bristled. His shoulders tensed, fingers curling to make tight fists. “Ms. Higurashi, your photographic moments are stalling the rest of the tour!” He argued, pointing to the massive group of bored students. Kagome could have sworn she saw one of them drool.
She rolled her eyes, stepping forward to join the group. The man huffed, obviously pleased that he had won the battle. Not the war, creep. Kagome added in her mind as she began to follow the group into the gardens. Flowers were surrounded a large lake with lily pads decorating the surface. Large, Greek vases were on the corners of each pathways and she grinned when the delectable fragrances began to caress her nose.
“Now, this garden was made in honor of his wife after she succumbed to illness and died in nineteen thirty-four, only three years after this establishment had been built. Their children still live here and take care of the gardens in their parents’ memory...” The words slowly went fuzzy in Kagome’s mind. Her hand reached out, but she remembered the rules. She couldn’t touch anything. Wearing a pout, she brought her hand back to her side and turned to walk back along the group.
I bet Rin and Shippo would have a field day here, Kagome thought sadly as she remembered the two children from the feudal era. She sighed as she looked up at the sky. It had almost been heartbreaking when she had gone through the well two years ago. She had been so excited to return after three years of the modern era. However, she had awoken from that blissfully sweet dream in math class.
Now, she had grownup. She had realized that Inuyasha was her first love- first crush, but she had to move on. She needed to get over the fact that she had completed her duty in the feudal era, and focus her skills on completed her duties in the modern era. She needed to complete college, and find a job. She nodded her head as her motivation pumped through her.
She gasped when that same head was thrown back into reality. A child ran in front of her, and she jumped to the side to avoid the oncoming collision. Her knee came in contact with one of those million dollar vases. “No!” She shouted as they both fell to the ground.
Her head came in contact with the ground, and she watched in slow motion as the vase shattered before her eyes. I just broke a million dollar vase! She screamed in her head. Why couldn’t it have been me that shattered?
“Higurashi!” The teacher aid screamed in horror. Kagome winced as she pushed herself off, staring at the bloody mess on her knee. She had worn a fluffy skirt that dropped down below her knees. Why couldn’t I have worn pants? She lectured herself.
“S-Sorry,” she whispered with a pout. Her heart was beating rapidly though. She realized that she really had just shattered a Greek, antique vase. She slammed a hand against her forehead, groaning at what that meant. “Oh my god, what did I do!?” She shouted.
When she opened her eyes once more, her heart died. She watched in horror as the little girl that had caused the accident walked over, but not alone. This time, she was with someone. Her small hand was tucked neatly into a rather large one. The man stood at a surprisingly tall, six-foot height. The suit he wore made Kagome fear his identity. However, those weren’t the things that bothered her the most. No, it was the long, silvery smooth hair pulled back in a low ponytail. A few long bangs framed his face and flowed down the front of his black jacket. Additionally, there were two, glowing ambers staring at her as if she had grown another head.
Kagome soon realized that her out-of-control miko powers were rising to the surface at the demon presence she hadn’t felt in so long. Then it all clicked into place. “Y-You’re the egotistical jerk that uses gold in their grout, Sesshoumaru!” She shouted angrily, pointing in accusatory finger in his direction. “You really hate us don’t you, coming into our world and… and taking it over with your-your beautiful garden and giant castle. It’s New York for god’s sake! Couldn’t you have just stayed in Japan!?” She ranted. She had no idea where the words had come from.
Maybe it was the fact that she had run into someone from the feudal era. Maybe, she was just angry that this mansion was so beautiful and to realize a demon was behind it made it that much worse. She didn’t know, but she didn’t appreciate the laughter that erupted from the man before her.
Instead of responding to her, he turned to the teacher aid. “Carry on with the tour, I will take this woman to deal with the matter at hand,” he explained. Without waiting for Kagome to reply, he reached down to grab her hand, effectively pulled her up and dragged her into the direction he’d come from. “My father is Sesshoumaru. I am his son, Masataro.”
A navy blue suburban came into her vision at the bottom of the stairs. She remembered the tour bus stopping there, but it was nowhere in sight now. “Wait, where are we going?” Kagome asked warily.
He huffed at her, reminding her once more of his father. “I am taking you to see my father, who owns this estate. If you do not want to settle this matter, I could always just charge you for the vase and we can go our separate ways. However, because of your relationship with my father, I figured you might want to… ask for some sort of substitute payment.”
Kagome gulped when she found that her curiosity was too much for her. “H-How much was it?” She found herself asking as she watched him open the door for her. The little girl climbed in and he buckled her safely into the seat before standing up and staring at her with the piercing orbs.
Kagome realized that there really was a difference. These weren’t as cold as Sesshoumaru’s. They were friendlier and light. His jaw was more feminine and he had this lazy, amused smile on his face. “I believe that it had been appraised to be worth seven million,” he paused when he saw Kagome’s mouth fall open. He then figured he would pity her. “However, seeing that my daughter was part of the cause, I will tell my father to keep it below three million, and I will pay the rest on her behalf.”
“T-Three million!? That’s how low you could go!? It was only about a foot in diameter!” Kagome shouted angrily.
He drummed his fingers on the car door as he shrugged his shoulders. “Seven, or three million,” he added, “the choice is up to you.”
Groaning loudly, Kagome slid into the back seat of the car, ignoring the grin on the child’s face. “You’re enjoying this aren’t you?” She growled out in annoyance. The girl only giggled with excitement, pointing at her father as she gurgled out a few words. “Shouldn’t she be talking at this age?” Kagome asked.
“Demons grow physically faster, but their mental development is still a bit slow. We expect words out of her any day now,” he added as he sank into the passenger seat and nodded for his driver to go. Kagome watched as he glimpsed at her in the rear view mirror.
“What is it?” She asked pointedly, not liking the weird glint that was in his eyes. She watched the car descend the wavy roads and arrive at the base of the mountain. The museum was packed with cars during the busy season of summer. All the while, she waited for him to respond.
“Y-You aren’t at all like he described you,” he answered. He cleared his throat at the way she raised her eyebrows in response. “He said that you were a stupid human that traveled with my uncle. He also said that you were kind and caring, not a selfish bone in your small body.”
Kagome blinked, a blush rising to her cheeks. Sesshoumaru had really said that about her to his son? She cleared her throat. “I-I didn’t expect that,” she muttered. “The first time I met your father he tried to kill me with this poison gas.”
To her surprise, he laughed. “Yes, he told us that as well,” he added before he pushed the car door open. He gathered his daughter out of the car while Kagome exited, following him into the bustling museum at the base of his home. “He also told us that you were from the future and that we might sense you in Japan…”
Kagome could only give a shocked nod as she followed them into an elevator. She watched him pick up his daughter, cradling him against her side while she nuzzled his neck. He swiped a card key against the panel and the elevator began to lower them down to a private floor.
The doors opened, exposing a silent hallway filled with offices, staff rooms, and lockers. The concrete flooring was hard against her right foot, and she realized that she might have sprained it in the fall. Her knee was still bleeding, the droplets rolling down her shins. The adrenaline had begun to fade from her blood and she was beginning to feel the stinging.
A door opened, and she paused to watch Sesshoumaru make his entry. He always knew how to make an entrance, she thought inwardly. He leaned against the doorframe. His hair had been cut into a bob with his bangs longer than the rest of his hair. He wore a black, collared shirt. The long sleeves had been rolled up to his elbows and the top button was undone. The denim jeans seemed to fit his lower half nicely, the only slightly tight, boot-cut pants exposing the socks he was wearing. His ankles were crossed.
He had an intrigued look in his eyes, guarded by frameless glasses that were low on his nose. His mouth was in a thin line and he stared at her with a series of unknown emotions in his eyes. “You’re bleeding.”
She swallowed, ignoring the sudden burst of desire and want her female hormones unleashed. She stared into his amber eyes through his glasses. Then, she stated dumbly, “I-I broke your vase.”
One of his silvery eyebrows rose in curiosity. “My vase?” he asked, folding those muscular arms over his chest. Those lips turned into a lazy smile, identical to his son’s. “Come into my office,” he called out, even as he disappeared inside.
Kagome followed the son and daughter in. She watched in fascination as the daughter jumped up into his lap, watching as a grin spread along his lips as he gave her a hug. “I have a strange idea that you are involved somehow,” he thought aloud as he stared at the girl. She only gave a toothy smile and he ruffled her hair.
He then looked up to her, gesturing with a flick of his wrist for her to sit down. “What happened?” He asked, looking to his son. Kagome was somewhat put-off, afraid his son would put the blame all on her.
Masataro cleared his throat before he spoke. “Her class is doing a field trip. They were in the gardens when… when Gin attacked,” he explained. “I think she was trying to tackle Kagome, and when Kagome stepped out of the way, she fell and knocked over one of your Greek vases.”
Kagome jumped in her seat when Sesshoumaru released a snort. This was too foreign to her. Just five years ago she had been shocked he had a human girl in his care. She had been shocked that he had even smiled one time. Now, he was laughing and grinning. “Wait a second!” She shouted, holding her hands up in the air as she stood up. “T-This is another dream, isn’t it? I fell asleep on the bus, right?”
They merely blinked at her, staring at her as if she’d said something stupid. Sesshoumaru cleared his throat. “You’re still as childish as you were back then,” he mumbled as he began to look through a drawer.
Kagome narrowed her eyes at her. “Back then to me was five years ago,” she returned, almost angry to be called a child. Her fingers tightened as memories came back to haunt her. She had been sent back to cram school, being accused of skipping out on high school for being childish. She hated the rumors, wanting to tell them that she may have saved humanity, but knowing she couldn’t.
“It was seven million eight hundred and thirty-three thousand dollars,” Sesshoumaru words broke through her memories, and she looked up at him in shock. He then cleared his throat, “However, because Gin was involved, we’re willing to drop it down to three million.”
His son entered the conversation. “I told her that because of your relationship you might be able to work something out,” Masataro broke in. Kagome saw the worried look in his eyes, and realized that he may have lied to her.
She winced. Three million dollars, she had to do the math in her head. Three million dollars… that’s like… eighty million yen! “I-I don’t have that money,” she whispered out in defeat, leaning over the desk. “I’m really sorry I broke your vase, I-I could advertise for you. You could paint my car or… or whatever.”
Sesshoumaru blinked at her, and she saw his nose twitch as he brought up whatever he had been digging into his drawer for. A first-aid box was now in his hands and he walked around the desk, dropping to his knees in front of her and popping the box open. “I am not interested in your car, but I do need a new assistant. On my pay, a decade as my assistant should pay it off.”
He knew he was being mean to her. In fact, his son had been right; because of the situation, he would have just let her off the hook. After all, she had defeated the great hanyou Naraku and cleansed the world of the Shikon Jewel. However, she was just too amusing, in his chair with the worried expression and watery eyes.
Sesshoumaru tried to contain himself. To be honest, ever since she left, his life had been boring. There were no more fights with his half-brother, or jewel shards to find. Rin had been his new source of amusement but then it had grown to grief when she had passed away like all humans do. Then, he had forced himself to mate with a demoness. Masataro being born from the bond as well as another son named Genjiro. After that, he had lived for his boys.
When his mate had died after he had built this fortress in the ‘free’ country, he had almost been relieved. They had never loved each other. They had agreed that they would live for their children and if they found a different partner to sleep with, they would deal with it when the time came. Fortunately, she had been the first one to give in.
Sesshoumaru had almost been relieved when she left his bed for another. He no longer had to put up a fake façade when he was in his private bedroom. He was now alone once more at night. When she had died, his next mission would be to countdown the days until he could see the miko. Without knowing, she had snuck into his life, giving him the only source of amusement and entertainment that he thrived on.
The sudden softness of her skin brought him out of his memories. He bit his tongue when his fingers wrapped around her calf. Her legs were long and enchanting, but the trait he really enjoyed was their muscular aspect. She had definitely gotten muscular from her adventures in his time, and her legs had been proof of that. Remembering what he was supposed to be doing, he grabbed some antiseptic wipe and began to clean the wound.
“A decade?” She asked quietly under her breath. She then groaned in frustration. “First, I go back in time to shatter a jewel, and then I go back into my time to shatter your vase!” She exclaimed, stomping her other foot against the ground. Sesshoumaru couldn’t hold back the chuckle at seeing her perspective.
“I was always fond of that trait of yours,” he mused. He looked up to see her staring at him. A flush was on her cheeks and she pressed her legs tighter against each other because of her skirt. A questioning gaze was upon her eyes and he elaborated. “You were always clumsy.”
Kagome’s flush turned into a magnificent cherry color. Sesshoumaru gave her a small smile before he reached into the box to search for a band-aid. “What about a year?” He asked as he tore through the band-aid wrapped and began to stretch it over her lower knee.
“A year?” She repeated. Kagome blinked at him as he stood up and wandered back to his seat. “A year and then I’m free of the debt?” She asked in awe. There was no way that a year’s salary could makeup for damages. Even the decade of work wouldn’t be enough. She wouldn’t overlook the gift though, “I would only be your assistant? I was a secretary for a while at a magazine office.”
“Yes, you will accompany me on trips, answer my calls, organize my files, send out my messages, all that jazz,” he explained. Kagome watched as he entwined his fingers and set his elbows on the top of the desk, leaning over them to look at her over his glasses. “I would speak to your history teacher about it being an internship. He can transfer you into an online class,” he added.
Kagome gulped. It sounded too easy. “I-I don’t want to miss out on the trips and lectures. History is my major, Lord Sesshoumaru.”
“Tish,” Sesshoumaru corrected, not missing the amusement in his son’s eyes. “You can call me, Mr. Tish.” He stood up and began to tuck his folders into a messenger bag, setting his laptop in the front pocket as he added. “I am the most important being in the world of History, isn’t that why you’re here? To look upon my historically-based foundation is a great history lesson, is it not?” He added. “You won’t miss any lectures, I will make sure that wherever we go I explain the history in detail to you,” he teased.
Kagome flushed once more, giving a nod and standing up. His eyes widened when she offered her hand and gave him a warm smile. “I will be your business assistant for one year, Mr. Tish,” she agreed. Sesshoumaru inwardly groaned. Even his fake last name sounded so good off her lips. “When do we start?” She asked.
He looked to his son, saw the discreet nod Masataro sent back. Grinning, he stated. “Now. I am on my way into the city, you will accompany me there. Masataro will explain your absence to your guide and get in contact with your professor.”
He saw the blank expression that came over her face. Inwardly, he let the evil devil inside him do a victory dance. Smiling, he handed her his messenger bag. “Side pocket is the planner. Next to it, the cell phone,” he explained. Not giving her a chance to back down, him and his son left the room.
Kagome was instantly right behind them, running into the elevator as the doors began to close. To his surprise, she remained quiet, but he could tell by the way her mouth twitched from side to side that she was deep in thought. She remained like that even as they parted from Masataro and his daughter. They began to leave the backdoors of the museum where a large hangar entered their site. That’s when she spoke. “Is that seriously a helicopter?”
Sesshoumaru couldn’t help the smile that surfaced on his face. He watched as two employers pushed open the door and the black helicopter come into sight. “You don’t like it? It cost me a fortune,” he let out.
Kagome snorted, “You spent almost eight million on a vase, I doubt you’d hold back on a helicopter. I figured you’d be more of a private jet type of man, with the flight assistants and all.”
Sesshoumaru tried to picture such a thing, but shook his mind free of the thoughts as he boarded the back of the chopper and waited for the pilot to start the motor. Kagome buckled herself in, and he didn’t miss the scent of fear in the air. “Have you ever been in one?” He asked. All he got was a shake of her head before she reached into his messenger bag and opened his planner up.
They remained silent for the ride. Sesshoumaru was satisfied with watching her delve into his schedule. Part of him felt guilty for forcing her into it, but another part loved it, secretly enjoying the sudden change in his usually boring life. Of course he had his children and grand children, but it just wasn’t the same as having this miko causing trouble.
He thought back to her words. It had only been five years ago to her. He sighed and shook his head. To him, it had been centuries of waiting, and he hated himself for being so lonely because of it. His golden eyes gazed upon her form once more. His eyes starting at the black flip-flips she wore, to the cute and fluffy brown skirt that fell over her knees. The white blouse upped her torso and the sleeves were saggy against her shoulders, almost falling off of them. She looked beautiful in an adorable way.
She looked up when the chopper began to lower itself, swaying as it tried to pinpoint its landing spot. “Where are we?” She asked even as she stared out the window and looked over all the large skyscrapers and complexes. She had just come from his old home, now his son’s, which was in the rural hills above this large city. Now, she was overwhelmed with the smells and sights. She covered her eyes as the sun blinded her from its reflection in one of the adjacent building’s windows.
“Your job will start here, Kagome,” Sesshoumaru stated over the sound of the dying helicopter engine. “In the Big Apple,” he added, holding her hand as he pulled her into his building headquarters, located in the dead center of the bustling New York City.