Deep end of the ocean! by Moonlight Silk



The demon in front kept a steady pace as they walked for what seems like hours in the pouring rain. He continued on with grace and dignity that she lacked presently she observed with slight resentment. He was as soaked as she was, water droplets dripped from his long fair hair to the ground and his clothes stuck to him like glue. He should be uncomfortable and yet he did not show it.

She slowed her strides and took deep breaths to conserve some energy. She knew that her welfare did not concern her brother in law too much. It did not matter to him that she suffered greatly from losing her husband or that the bad weather would no doubt make her sick. Why he had agreed to let her follow him at the last minute was still a mystery to her, and as such she would try to endure as much as she could.

When she let go of the thoughts on her mind she realized that a wide gap stood between them. She sighed heavily and then increased her pace again. What a day this was turning out to be. She was cold and numb and losing Inuyasha was a burden all on its own.

Suddenly the temperature dropped even lower and a chill shook her; frantically she ran her palm along the surface of her arms to lend warmth to her body. The fine hairs on her skin were stiff like they had frozen over and goose-flesh stood at attention. Through it all she continued to walk silently behind Sesshomaru without complaint. Although she wanted so badly to tell him that they needed to find shelter because her weaker human body could not tolerate the wet and the cold for much longer.

Her hand came up in a silent gesture almost as if to call out to him but then it dropped casually back to her side when his strides increased. She shivered constantly now while her teeth chattered periodically. Sensitive ears twitched in annoyance from her discomfort, she stiffened and pressed her lips tightly together to prevent her afflictions from bothering him a second more.

What kind of a creature was he really? She wondered as she struggled to keep up with him. To be honest there wasn't much she knew about him. For a time in the past they'd shared a common goal in finding and destroying an old nemesis but beyond that she knew very little of his life and habits. The thoughts on her mind were frustratingly pervasive and yet she found that she did not mind it much. She had to occupy her head and heart with something other than Inuyasha and her life at this point. It was the only way to stay sane.

Being distracted by her thoughts she almost crashed into his back when he stopped suddenly at the base of a mountain, she was just so caught up in her musings that she had not deciphered his movements until it was almost too late. She squeaked by the near accident and bit into her lip lightly to muffle the sounds.

With her hand over her heart she took four long backwards steps putting much needed space between them. Because being this close to him unnerved the hell out of her and she didn't know him well enough to have an accurate opinion of what her near invasion of his personal space triggered. Though because he didn't seemed fazed by the incident at all, as he just stood still with eyes staring forward, she assumed that he wasn't bothered by her absentmindedness. 

She breathed a little easier with that thought while creeping conjecture filled her mind. Could it be that he was just as lonely and defeated as she was? She couldn't help but to wonder as she gazed at the spaces around him. The notion stretched with her fixation on the subject which brought to the fore of her thoughts a memory albeit a sad one. Inuyasha had recounted to her the miserable events leading up to the tragic death of his brother's vassal Jaken over thirty years ago. She sighed as she remembered Inuyasha's downhearted cadence as he'd related what he had seen.

While he'd watched from the side-lines, Sesshomaru had unsheathed Tensaiga and had tried to revive his loyal servant in a futile attempt to bring him back to life, which would never have worked after doing it once already. And the fact that he had never gone about and replaced him after his death gave her reason to feel that he must be a little lonely.

All the surmises that she'd made just now were pure speculation, the demon's feelings or lack thereof she reminded herself. Because he wasn't necessarily a creature of human habits, but she knew that he was capable of love and had displayed it in the care and affections that he'd lavished upon Rin when she was a small child. What had changed between them as the child had matured was still unknown to her? However, it was safe to assume that if he could feel love then he could experience deep hurt and loss.

She shook her head in thought, Sesshomaru was not the most social of beings and he had not gone out of his way to seek out his brother and least of all her over the years. In fact he had never visited the village once after Rin had died. Now more than ever her mind grappled for an explanation for his kindness in letting her tag along after him.

Her head came up after having lowered it before as her mind had wandered; she watched curiously as his gaze swept the mountain-side quickly and as his feet lifted off the ground. She stared intently and a bit confused as he rose higher and higher and suddenly panic seized her, he was leaving her behind.

"No, this can't be," she whispered in the air still unsure of his motives, but cried out, "Sesshomaru please don't leave me," when he disappeared with the green.

Frantic steps took her around the hillside looking for a way up; it was steep and the wet would make it almost impossible to climb. Panic and anxiety overwhelmed her senses making it hard to breathe.

Tears began to flow as she looked up in the sky and saw more dark clouds rushing into the horizon. The ominous expanse above angry and dark gave way to misery letting loose its sorrow. Wind tore at her sticking the heavy fabric of her clothes more closely to her already cold and numbing body.

Realizing that if she did not make a move right now she would be caught up in what looked to be the beginnings of a terrible storm, she began to climb. Kagome closed her eyes, slowly letting drift away the intense fear and panic that had apprehended her and then pressed on.

Cautiously she selected jutting edges to hold and slight indentations in the mountain side for a foothold, but in the wet she was missing and slipping. In spite of the predicament that she faced she could not give up, because if she did not find him before the storm broke he would most definitely leave her behind.

Kagome glanced up briefly and then lowered her gaze when she noticed that the landing was about twenty meters above. In all actuality it wasn't a long climb, but in the wet and the cold the effort became more daunting.

"Please, please!" She kept on mumbling each time that she reached up and felt moss on a surface area and her fingers slipped. Her body trembled with fear and the cold, giving rise to her powers which leaked instinctively around her in her time of distress. Reiki warmed her whole body through as it spread right down to her fingertips drying every piece of earth that she touched.

In time she caught on and climbed more easily. It was almost fully dark when she pulled herself up on the landing and hastily made a dash for the bushes.

Finding him now wouldn't be easy in the rainy and windy atmosphere which had diminished his aura greatly. Truthfully, this would be her first time up these mountains, but she was certain of one thing, when he'd flown off he was just as wet as she was and there could be only one clear conclusion. He had selfishly and cruelly gone on ahead without her to find shelter.

With that in mind she drew closer to the fringes of the mountain side, searching for a shallow opening or a large cave. It was easy to infer that there wouldn't be any overly large indentations into the mountain side, because this particular peak was not immensely proportioned.

Kagome sucked in a breath, willing the tears away that had begun to well up in her eyes again. Today had been one of the worse days of her life; she had to say good bye and bury Inuyasha who had been ailing for five months as he’d grown sickly with old age.

Nothing in her long life could have prepared her for the shock, as it would appear that one day her husband was full of vigour and the next day he had started to age. It took fifty human years after the first one hundred and fifty that they'd spent together to see him die as a weak old man.

It broke her heart to see him like that. Where was the sense in all this she questioned herself? Who could have thought that she would outlast her half demon husband, surely not her? And to make matters worse she'd caught wind of her stoic brother in law at the burial, when in all actuality she had decided upon Inuyasha's death to go in search of him.

What a mess, Kagome covered her ears as tears rolled down her face in spite of her best efforts to keep them at bay. Inuyasha was dead and Sesshomaru had reluctantly agreed to let her follow him. Why he'd agreed and then abandoned her in a storm she couldn't tell?

Still, her ire rose by his callous actions even though she was aware that he had not promised her anything. That being said, whether he chose to acknowledge it or not they were family. And in any case he must have admitted that to himself for he would not have come to pay his final respects to his only sibling.

On a small score she felt that he'd agreed to let her follow him because he pitied her; that would be just like him. But him being a creature of complexity and many of his actions were left to interpretation, she felt that he had accommodated her because of Inuyasha.

They'd have their differences in the past but a common purpose had seen all of them working together to defeat a threatening foe, and she had personally seen a good change in him towards his brother.

Kagome felt her way around the hillside now as she could barely see. Next she felt air as her hand moved into space. Yes, she had finally found it. She stood at the entrance straining her eyes to see beyond four feet and saw nothing. She had to make a decision soon whether or not this was the cave sheltering him or not, because the rain had not eased and she was minutes away from catching her death.

She lingered at the entrance wishing that she did not feel so helpless and then let out a breath that she had not known she was holding in and took the first steps, listening carefully for any signs of danger just in case she was wrong.

Step by step the darkness swallowed her up. She heard dripping in the corner and closed her eyes against the fear brimming inside her heart; then she opened them a short time later and pressed on.

The cave felt colder and vacant the deeper she traversed its depths, although she could see better now that her eyes had grown accustomed to the dark. As she trudged farther inside she realized that her earlier assessments of caverns in this mountain had been wrong.

She was confused and scared but also determined to keep going. The moderate entrance opened up into a wider path with four cloisters leading deeper into the back of the mountain. She stood still trying to guess which pathway she should take.

Sighing almost in despair she commanded herself. "Choose the right one Kagome," but before she could take a step his aura wafted timely to her. She smiled strangely as the doubts slowly left her, because at this point she was sure that he had deliberately made his presence known to her.

Obediently she answered the call, her steps never faltered as she entered through a passageway, the one to the extreme left of the cave. Thirty strides later she crossed the threshold into a wide area with two adjoining openings to the left and right of a cavernous room.

However, her heart stilled momentarily when she came face to face with the one that she'd been chasing. He was dry and sat upon a stack of futons gazing at her with an expression that looked close to self-importance.

Somewhere in the back of her head she knew that she had no right to be angry at him, but none of that mattered now as the smug look on his face ripped into her soul. And the fact that she had just buried her husband and had subjected herself to the indignity of begging her brother in law to let her accompany him. Which he had agreed to and then had left her to the mercy of the elements and her own devices washed away the good sense in her head.

She wanted to cry out in misery from losing her husband, but Sesshomaru had somehow diverted that course and had directed her anger onto himself. Her hands trembled as she stared at him and him at her.

He'd watched the priestess with interest from the first moment that she had arrived and had seen the bulging gaze of her emotions, but now all he could see was the frown on her face, the quivering of her lips and anger that seeped from her every pore into the room.

She was furious...

It was only a matter of time before she snapped. She hadn't meant for it to occur, but somehow it just did.

"You insufferable dog," she yelled, "why the fuck did you leave me behind; if I am so much of a bother to you then you should not have agreed and then abandon me?" 

Sesshomaru stared at her for one startling moment before lunging forward in a savage temper; he grasped her by the front of her wet kimono, glared in her face and spat out out his annoyance. 

"You should be", he said cuttingly, "grateful that you are still alive, I will let the disrespect pass because you mourn the half breed."

Kagome winced as if she'd been struck hard across the face; the colour drained from it as he held her roughly. Her eyes watered from his impatience and the pain of loss combined together.

Seeing her pitiful state he finally let go.

Her tears she could not hold back any longer, the tracks streamed down her cheeks from the ache in her heart and finally she sobbed, crying out and shaking from the immense ache in her soul. She threw herself onto the pile of futons to bury the sounds of the sobs that racked her body and to evade hard uncaring eyes.

The Daiyoukai looked on silently and was hard-pressed to offer her some comfort but refrained from doing so. He did not want to take onto himself his brother's burden although he knew it would be the honourable thing to do. But before he could contemplate his actions any further he heard her muttering something to him through her tears.

"Why," she cried, "why did you leave me at the foot of the hill in the rain?"

He noted that her face was covered with tears and snot, her eyes red and puffy as she got up and stared directly at him. Something stirred into his heart as he gazed upon the disgusting image of his dead brother's wife. Maybe it was his conscience but he would not allow her to think that he was going to be her saviour and as such he informed her coldly.

"I had conceded in letting you follow me out of duty for my dead brother, however, I will not be your keeper, if you wish to continue then you will have to learn to fend for yourself, or you may leave right now," he said it tonelessly but she did not miss the threat lacing it.

He saw the fear and apprehension on her face and it pleased him somewhat. It meant that his position was fully understood by her.

Her heart beat quickened by the unkind response and her head swum dizzily. She felt faint. The bedding dipped as she fell back into it with one lasting image of pity shining in the demon's eyes.


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