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The Nature of Change by White Luna

Friday

 

The Nature of Change

by: White Luna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't know how we got here.

I remember, and admist the whys and the ways

I don't think I care anymore.

As long as I'm here with you....

That's all that matters.

 

The sea... the sea is so soothing. The sea can lull and tame, or be wild and rebellious. The sea enraptures us, it defines what makes us. How we think, how we act. The way life moves us back and forth, in ways that seem daunting or unorganized.

 

But I know... I know in my heart, there is an undercurrent that rides beneath the tides, on a path of its own and undeterred. It makes its way regardless of the obstacles in its path, continuing on regardless of outside influences. Nothing can change this. It is the way it has been for countless millenia.

 

And sometimes, it is that way with the world around us. Nature will drive us forward, regardless of what we try to change and how we try to control it.

 

Nothing can tame what is nature.

~~~*~~~

 

Kagome Higurashi stared out the window of her Thursday morning class. That day was dreary, unremarkable. Like my life... was all she could think of, dismally, as she stared out the window pane. Raindrops streaked the glass, but Kagome was focused on what was beyond that. Outside, a world that would never and could never understand her, and what she had been through.

Grey clouds loomed on the horizon like an omen, making her thoughts effectively gloomy. She was moody, there was nothing else to it. She was frankly sick of her college life, sick of her home life, and sick of all life in general. Nothing interested her anymore, she didn't have passion for anything she did anymore. It was days like this she wondered... what happened to that young fire that used to burn her alive with love of life and people, leaving her feeling warm and vibrant?

She didn't know.

But it had burned out slowly, dwindling through time and betrayal until finally it blew out, leaving nothing but ashes in its wake.

She supposed, that was just the way it was.

Especially on the onset of adulthood, when the responsibilities and realities of life came crashing down on her, how much harder she had to work through high school as a result of all the time she missed trying to complete the Shikon no Tama. The hours of tutoring, endless studying and a drive to forget pushing her to maintain a grade point average that could be considered nothing less than perfection.

Control something when everything else in her life was uncontrollable.

But now, she was downright exhausted of that draining lifestyle. The workaholic attitude that bled into everything she did in her life, her need to be constantly distracted finally breaking down her mental barriers year after year until there was nothing else left but to admit she was but a shell of what she once was. All those things that made her what one might consider a beautiful person she had taken, like fragile butterflies in her hands, and ripped off their wings.

That realization should have made her sad, should have upset her, but it just left her feeling like she had a gaping hollow within her chest. A vast chasm where nothing but wind blew from, the promise of emptiness and being pregnant with the possibility of filling it up with something new. But...

 

What?

What could fill the hole in her chest, that used to be overflowing with endless love and devotion and loyalty; honor and duty and all that crap?

Possibly more of the same? She thought that if she threw herself head first into responsibilities, to do well in school and bring honor to her family, she would be happy. But somewhere in the ten years since she fell head first into that blasted well, the naivete of being a selfless person being enough to bring her happiness began to shine through with ugly clarity.

Sure, she loved to help people, even to this day.

But what had her selflessness gotten her?

Pain, suffering, and loneliness. The metaphorical short end of the stick.

Kagome blew out a sharp breath, leaning her face into her palm as she stared further out the window. Her bangs floated away from her face at the gesture, and she stared out into space dully as she tapped her pen in her free hand on the top of her desk.

Clack, clack, clack...

"And that wraps up the discussion on the philosophy of planes. Today, you are to go home and to contemplate how the existence of other planes may or may not affect ours, how different timelines may have influence on our current one. Write a journal on an experience you may wish to change, and how if you had changed it things may be different. As this is a personal exercise, we will not be sharing it with out classmates but you will be graded on how you answer these questions: 'What has affected you to make the choices you have, how it affects our present universe and alternate universes, and what is in the nature of man for us to have come to those decisions?' That wraps up class for today, I will see you all next week."

Their professor bent over his papers after his dismissal, ordering them together and running a hand through his mass of light brown hair. Their was a murmuring among their students about the actual assignment, some complaining thhat they didn't understand why they had to consider it on such a personal level. One of the other students, Kagome noted it was one male she didn't know well, commented on it rather bluntly. It was one of the forgein exchange students who had had the pleasure of coming to Japan for a semester or two. His accent was thick, and his guttural voice made him hard to understand at times. Kagome wasn't sure why he was speaking Japanese when their Professor was clearly of English speaking descent anyway.

Maybe he's just one of those guys that likes to look smart even though he's an idiot. Kagome mentally rolled her eyes at the thought, and began stuffing her notebook in her bag, half-heartedly wishing she had paid more attention to the lecture instead of droning on and on about her miserable life. She snorted at the thought, knowing her pity-parties were becoming more frequent than she liked to admit.

"Uhm, Professor Stephens?" Kagome didn't bothering raising her eyes to the conversation, pushing her hair behind her ear as it came swinging over her shoulder to brush against the side of her face in an annoying manner. She merely heaved her bag up over her shoulder, emitting a small oof with the weight of it, as she began to descend the stairs from the back row of the class.

"Yes, Cobbler?" Professor Stephens pushed his glasses up to sit on the bridge of his nose, glancing up at the young man who was addressing him.

"Why is it we're writing on the nature of humanity in a philosophy class? Isn't that for, I don't know, psychology?"

She watched in mild interest, since she knew she had been wondering that herself, and looked over to the Professor for his answer as half the student body was doing at the moment. The man didn't seemed displeased by the question, but seem to mull over his answer with a patient tolerance as one might deal with an overly curious, know-it-all-child.

"Our direct involvement in this timeline, in this place is affected by our choices. When we choose to do something, we can imagine it as a ripple in space moving to affect our future, and as other planes can reflect our existence but not necessarily our actions, what would the you on another timeline do as opposed to what you have chosen to do here? So we are theorizing what you might have done if you had made another choice, and how that timeline has been affected, if indeed you had made another choice. It is our nature that affects those decisions, and now we are wondering if that nature is confined to just us or to all humans? Is there something in our nature that makes us similiar to others, or is it our own nature that marks us as an individual? Would that nature bleed into a mirrored 'you' in an alternate universe? I hope that has answered your question."

It had definitely answered Kagome's question, though sometimes she wondered why she had decided to pursue philosophy as a major. She wondered if it was the what ifs that had never left her that gave her the drive to follow through with this career path. Maybe there were answers to be found in this field that the dark corners of her own mind would not supply.

Not that this is much of a career.

She shook her head sadly, considering she had chosen a minor in liberal arts. Yet another degree that would not get her much of anywhere, actually.

And yet, I haven't changed my choice in degrees either...

More years wasted on things that would get her no where, except to circle her back to the bad choices she had made as a teenager, who was young and in love and full of hot air.

The realization made her frown, and she felt as if she were wasting her time on something she didn't want, leading herself down a path of self destruction and demoralization.

Yet again.

Then again, what did she want?

All she had done since those final moments... was try to come up with reasons why she had done what she had done. Why did she make the choice she made?

Why?

She tried to break herself down, piece by piece, reconstruct it into something that made sense...

And yet..

 

She had never succeeded.

She let her thoughts drift her from reality again as she descended the stairs once more, and out the classroom door. The halls echoed with passing students, rushing to a class or from one class to a part time job, or to lunch or to meet with friends or boyfriends or girlfriends or family or whatever it is they had in their life she did not have much of, or did not enjoy as much as she should.

Was she bitter?

Maybe a bit.

But then again, loosing the love of your life because of your own actions tended to leave someone a little jaded.

Maybe she had a right to be a bit cynical.

She already knew what her paper would be on.

The one thing that haunted her mind everyday since that final time she saw Inuyasha.

The consequence of wishes, and what might have happened if we never made them to begin with.

~~~*~~~

"Come on Kagome, that project will be cake! It sounds so easy, I don't know why you're so bummed about it," Eri chimed at her, shaking her head at her friend. She was admonishing her, she knew. Really, come on, what was so hard about writing a journal for class? Her friend seemed so wound up over it she had hardly touched her WacDonald's burger.

"Eri is right, Kagome. I mean, it's so simple. You don't have to choose something so deep. It could be something stupid, like maybe considering robbing a bank. You didn't do it obviously, but what if you had? How would things be different?" Yuka inputted her two cents, as she tended to do without being asked, and continually munched on her fries. Kagome was drumming her fingertips along the top of their table, her eyes narrowed in annoyance as they grilled her for complaining.

Not that she had originally planned to, nope. They just realized she was more down than usual, and had pestered her for answers until she finally caved, and now she was paying the consequences of being honest. Maybe she could have said something like, 'oh that hot forgein exchange student turned me down when I asked him on a date.' Then, maybe, she'd have their sympathetic ears bending toward her, consoling her for yet another failed attempt at a love life. Not that she actually had, you know, attempted. But it got them to shut up about her finding a boyfriend for a few weeks, like it was any of their business.

"Then maybe she could live rich in Mexico for the rest of her life," Eri joked to Yuka.

"Just like Sawshank Redemption?" Yuka grinned back.

"Minus climbing through poop," Eri giggled at her friend.

Yuka snickered back.

Kagome rolled her eyes, wondering why she was stuck with two of the most idiotic friends in the world

 

Perhaps because in some twisted, masochistic way I love their immaturity, and the freedom they have to express it when I feel like I can't?

 

Kagome felt her forehead hit the table in defeat, as both her friends' laughter kept ringing in her ear.

The rest of their late lunch was uneventful, Yuka and Eri chatting about their ever so amazing majors and pretigious career choices, and she couldn't help but feel a touch envious of her friends for making such bold choices.

Eri had wanted to become a child psychologist, and Yuka was persuing a career as a DA. Admirable, hard working, intelligent. Those majors are what said those things, speaking volumes about her friends' lives and their principals.

Kagome's said she was mulling over would be's and could be's.

In her mind, that wasn't very noble, at all.

Not even notable.

She sighed deeply and dumped half her lunch into the trash, tossing a careless wave over her shoulder when they departed to her friends as they walked the opposite direction and waved back. They met up once a week like this, as they all went to different colleges, to keep up with the 'bullshit' as they so affectionately termed it. It was obvious since the end of high school she had begun to really drift from her friends, and she sometimes wondered why she kept them around.

She was sure, as everything else in her life, she used them to serve as a reminder of the life she used to live. That and they were a helpful distraction from her own mind.

Her mood effectively soured for the day, Kagome was bound and determined to make her way home to her little studio apartment, climb into the small bathtub she had and soak her worries away in a lavender scented bubble bath. The thought sounded like absolute heaven, and she felt her eyes glaze over at the thought of the tried and true R&R. A silly grin plastered itself on her face, as she imagined low playing music helping ease her troubled mind, just fade those frayed thoughts away into nothingness...

She was so distracted by her daydreaming as she was wandering somewhat aimlessly that she never saw him until it was too late.

She walked right into him in fact, who was as solid as a wall and perhaps just as tall, and she cursed as she fell uncermioniously on to her backside. Wincing at her bruised tailbone, she rubbed her back to soothe the ache that had decided to settle there and throb painfully to make itself well known.

Great, just great. Think about something absolutely wonderful, and what does it get me? A busted ass.

 

She groused to herself, hardly paying attention to the man who towered above her and was chuckling at her clumsiness. The nerve he had! Sure, she was an awkward onna... carrying a satchel of school books that weighed half as much as she did. Maybe her shirt was too baggy and her pants were held up by a belt, and maybe her shoes had seen better days, but she had dignity damnit!

At least, she liked to believe she did...

She found herself blowing aside her bangs in annoyance once more, finally deciding to grace this man with her attention as she rolled her azure orbs upward to glare at him. Unfortunately, the way he bent over her with the afternoon sun glaring behind him made that feat hard. She had to squint to see as she tried to shield her eyes from the sun with a hand.

She couldn't make out much besides the fact he had shoulder length black hair, and he was very definitely a man. He had his hands tucked casually in his pockets and he was leaning over her as if peering at her in abject curiousity now. Then again, because of the way the sun acted as a backlight, she really couldn't make out his face.

"You going to keep sitting there, Miko?" a voice of dusk and silk came rushing to her ears and poked something awake in her brain that would have rather stayed sleeping, with the viciousness of a cattle prod no less.

At those choice words, the blood in her veins ceased to move. A cold chill of deja vu ran down her spine, straight to her toes. Her eyes widened, finding a point of focus somewhere around his slack-clad knees. Her chest began to heave with great breaths of denial, wanting to make this entire situation unreal, to unravel it from the fabric of her reality... ball it up, toss it in the trash and start over.

No, no, no, no, no, no, NO!

She was beginning to wonder if she plugged her ears, closed her eyes, and hummed as loud as she could while singing 'LALALALAICAN'THEARYOU!' perhaps he would go away. Knowing this man... -erm, youkai- ...the way she did, he would just wait it out boredly until she was finished. Then he would say in a near-taunt like voice 'are you done yet?' and Kagome would find some rock to crawl under and cry for the next decade.

Oh wait... that was already her life.

Damn.

Instead her eyes slowly decided to inch up his body, past the thighs she was sure were rock hard to the touch, up the stomach that was covered in a crisp and white button down shirt, past the arms that had the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, up the chest that peaked out of the top beneath the two buttons he had left undone purposefully, past the broad shoulders that were a taunt line of strength, and finally coming to lie directly on his face. Two eyes that shined inhumanly like burnished brass in the afternoon light pierced her sight and time stopped as she fell through her memories.

...She was 15 again, watching him fight off his bloodthirsty half-brother, saying nothing as a tiny human girl laughed and trailed behind him, as he grew impossibly large to become a great giant dog of legend ready for battle, as he demanded she hand the Tetsusaiga over to him lest he kill her, as a green whip came from those innocently human looking fingertips that were now extended toward her in an offer of support and she blinked back to reality as the present came crashing down on her with razor-sharp clarity.

She stared at those fingers that seemed to hover there for an eternity, as if they might change their mind at any second and concede they would rather choke her instead. Though, in the fuedal era he hadn't struck her as one that killed needlessly.

...Toward the end of her journey, anyway.

Still, one did not underestimate the power of a Daiyoukai, especially one such as Sesshomaru.

A loud exhale of breath sounding suspiciously close to an impatient sigh brought her eyes back up to his full lips, and she watched as they moved to produce sound that sent shivers trembling underneath her flesh in ways she didn't quite understand. At each syllable those lips pronounced, they moved to accentuate the word with perfection, despite it might be only to degrade her.

"I see time has tempered your mind Miko... you don't seem quite as sharp as you once were," he commented dryly, grabbing her arm without her permission and pulling her to stand. She was stuttering, somewhere between demanding him to explain his presence there and an outraged defense of her own intellect. He held fast to her bicep, and as her mind had ceased function, she decided to turn a death glare to those fingertips that dared touch her person to begin with.

Really, those fingers were what started the entire mess afterall.

Yet his grip on her was firm though not uncomfortable, if you discredited emotional discomfort, for which she figured he had no care for.

...She didn't quite remember him being so loose with his definition of personal space before. In fact, he used to have an air around him that implicitly dictated he expected such as those around him seemed beneath his being.

Heaven forbid someone come close enough to actually- gasp- touch him!

Yet there he was, over a head taller than her and standing with no less than a foot apart between them as she continually glared at the appendenge that was attatched to her being.

And oh, how the mighty fall.

It was the only coherent thought that crossed her mind as she allowed her eyes to somewhat reluctantly travel up that well sculpted forearm back to his face. He had a pensive look on his demeanor, as if waiting for her to say something. Anything she was sure. She hadn't said one thing in the five minutes they had seen each other for the first time in 500 years.

...Well, for her it had only been ten. For him, five hundred.

She absently wondered what the passing of five hundred years must feel like.

...She imagined incredibly dull.

Her eyes refocused on those orbs boring into her, expectantly, waiting for her to come out and speak already. Maybe defute his attack on her smarts, or perhaps scream like a little girl, or maybe come out with some witty joke that might make her look like the well adjusted person she completely wasn't. Really, she wasn't sure what reaction was appropriate given the sitatuion.

She resisted the urge to scratch her head.

The image of her eyeballing him for five minutes flat then screaming in his face was amusing, to say the least, though she doubted he'd appreciate it much.

After a few moments, she found her eyes felt peculiarly dry from having gawked at him so long.

So, she blinked.

He blinked back.

"Your tattoos are gone," she remarked absently. It was really the only thing she could think of to say.

"And that is the first thing you notice about my changed appearance?" she could have sworn he was smirking.

She blinked again, to clear the unusual sight away.

It didn't work.

He was smirking.

"Among other things, yes."

His grip on her arm loosened extensively and eventually he slipped his hand away.

Her arm tingled where he touched her.

"Dinner," he stated, really more of an observation that it was going to happen rather than a request for it to take place, as he gracefully twisted his upper body around to reach for his wallet that was in his back pocket. Kagome watched as his white shirt followed his movements, giving away how lean his torso was.

She found herself ogling him again.

Perhaps it was the shock of the entire thing, but she somehow found it within her rights to watch him to her heart's content.

If only to assure his actual existence, of course.

I need to switch majors. Like yesterday. This is too Twilight Zone for me.

Then, those human looking hands were reaching for something in the pocket of his shirt. A pen, she determined quickly with a slight tilt of the head to get a better look at what he was doing. There was a soft click of the pen as he pulled out a small card from the inside of his wallet.

...She felt ignorantly calm just then, as if she had just caught up with a school buddy who was inviting her out after not seeing each other since their childhood to catch up; not an old ally that had helped her fall the greatest threat to feudal Japan, who had fought along side her and helped her conquer Nar...aku.

She was taking this too well, though she shivered at the thought of the dark hanyou.

She was sure it was all a sign that when she got back into the confines of her sanctuary, she would have a monumental melt-down.

He had what seemed to be a business card pressed against the back of his wallet that served as a make-shift table, as he jotted down what she was sure was his personal information, oblivious to her inner turmoil. Or choosing not to comment on it, even. Not that either circumstance was surprising, her emotional torment was her own to bear.

Once he had finished he held it out to her, a promise of coming into her life and staying, she was sure. This little slip of paper said that all.

His personal cellphone number.

She had no excuse not to contact him, not to involve him, not to run from him once she took this.

Trembling fingers reached out and took it softly from his awaiting grasp.

Somewhere deep in her bones, Kagome felt her universe shift.

The tips of their fingers brushed ever so slightly as she retracted her hand, flipping the card to the front so she could see what information laid there.

"...Yamamoto Daichi. University of Tokyo," she mumbled reading the card, simple and clean letters stating a name she was both familiar and unfamiliar with. The letters were in a soft italics, a subdued shade of maroon that suited Sesshomaru all too well. She let her eyes drift to him in question, her lips puckered in restrained curiousity.

"You know him?"

Sesshomaru allowed one eyebrow to lift, as he leered at her, "I am him."

She found herself blinking at him again, tilting her head at the card. Yamamoto Daichi. She rolled the name around in her head, deciding perhaps in a way that was solely Sesshomaru, it suited him. She rubbed one of her eyes, shoving the thing in her pocket.

"History professor, huh...?" she supposed it made sense. Hell, most the student body knew of him, even if it they had not personally met the man. He was known for his strict adherence to what was expected of those who took his class. Not many passed with much more than a 'B'. In fact, to her memory, she couldn't recall if anyone had actually gotten an 'A'.

"Yes. Surprised?" he seemed amused with her ponderings.

"...Not really. You lived through it, so I suppose you would know it all," she grinned nogalistically.

"Indeed," was his simple reply.

"Freelance author though? Really?" she let her grin turn into a full-on smile, as she looked at him incredulously.

He never struck her as the creative type.

Then again, how much did she really know him?

"Everyone needs a hobby," he replied dryly, rubbing a hand across his mouth as if surprised she knew that bit of information about him. She wondered if he was saying it was a hobby as an excuse. His writings seemed more intimate than just a hobby.

"Why, Sesshomaru, you never struck me as a romanticist," she teased, and something in the back of her head was blaring that she must have a death wish, that she was travelling dangerous waters, perhaps she should mind her own business. But no... no this was just too funny. Once feared daiyoukai turned novelist? What were the odds?

His eyes narrowed coldly at her, the brass color of his irises cooling into a hard amber, and he didn't grace her with a reply beyond a, "Hardly."

She held both her hands up in mock defeat, the universal sign for peace, and that placated him enough that his threatening posture dropped to simple irritation.

"Then what may I ask are these stories I've heard so much about?" she asked now, simply inquisitive. She actually wanted to know.

He gave her a measured glance, as if sensing her words and the weight underneath them, before the brain behind those calculating eyes finally decided to grace her with nothing more than the truth.

"Memories."

She felt her mouth form a small 'o'. She found she had not much to reply to him, as he watched her. No remark could express her reaction to the revelation he imparted upon her, so all she did was look at him as he seemed to peer into the depths of her soul to find what she was thinking.

And whatever he found, he was satisfied.

He smirked at her and nodded cordially, turning to face away from her, "Come. I'll walk with you to your home."

And she found she had nothing more to say. She could only comply as she sped up to match his long stride, following him in a comfortable silence.

 

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