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The Search by Discord

Grief

A/N:  Here's my first attempt at a Sesshoumaru/Kagome pairing.  I've got nothing epic or grandiose planned, just a simple tale while I try my hand at writing for them.   I'd originally intended this to be only five chapters, but these two are pokey!  They demanded more time and would not take no for an answer =P

 Any suggestions are welcome – specifically around Sesshoumaru. My experience working with his character is non-existent. 

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Chapter One – Grief

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            After four years, Kagome had decided (unremarkably) that grief was a terrible thing; a slow, insidious specter far deadlier than any Naraku incarnation.  The Bone Eater's Well had returned her to her own time, falling silent and inert with a finality that quickly robbed her of hope.  It had been inactive since she'd wished the shikon-no-tama from existence and now stood as a steadfast sentry, barring the way back to a life that seemed more and more like a dream.  Kagome could see Sengoku Jidai every time she closed her eyes, flashes of ramen dinners, forest flights, and otherworldly demons filling the darkness of her lids.  They called to her, pulling at her to return.

            All-consuming, Kagome's grief stained the edges of her world, dimming the joy of triumphing over the malignant jewel, saving the past, and reuniting with her family again.  The girl who had once smiled with such brilliance, offering friendship and cheer to any who happened upon her, was full of a listless sorrow that ensconced every conscious moment.  Waking brought pain, ever as fresh, and the months bled to years.  The girl grew pale and thin, shuffling around the Sunset Shrine like the reanimated miko she had vowed to never resemble again.  All she lacked were soul-catchers.

            The first year, Kagome tried to finish school.  Tutors and former classmates were no match for the constant gnaw of her grief, eating away information she could barely muster the effort to retain

            The second year, Kagome tried to find a profession that would fill the expanding void inside her.  She volunteered at her local library, but soon became obsessed with finding any trace of her presence in history – proof she had made a difference.  Pouring over texts late into the night instead of re-shelving books or helping students find research materials, she hunted for mentions of her friends.  What had become of them?  Had they been happy?  Had they missed her? 

            The third year, Kagome tried to keep hold of her sanity, feeling all the tenuous threads binding her together threaten to snap.  Her miko powers – once so hard to call forth – raged almost out of control, filling the air with tingling purity heated by bitter fury.  No youkai or peril was needed to bring them to bear now – her powers sparked and simmered at the surface, barely restrained in the cage of her weakening frame.  She had scorched walls of the shrine, set trees on fire, and burned through several sets of clothing.

            The fourth year, Kagome decided she had to get away.  She was a danger to her family, and felt like a stranger around them.  Hugging her mother, grandfather, and brother briefly goodbye – for prolonged physical contact now resulted in flares of pink that cared little for an actual demon's presence – she drove away from the city with no destination in mind.  Ignoring the chirping GPS, she meandered aimlessly into the west.

            It was on this journey that Kagome felt a strange twinge pierce the black veil choking around her.  It was only a flicker, a momentary sear of something she had felt five hundred years ago, and she pulled over to the side of the road, hands white and trembling at the steering wheel as her racing heart roared in her ears.

            Youki.

            It had been the barest whisper, an echo of a past she had thought long dead, but it banished her grief in a blaze of blinding hope.  Strangely, her roiling powers calmed, almost soothed.  Kagome closed her eyes, focusing her miko senses with more control than she'd been able to exert in months, searching for another hint of the demonic aura.

            Nothing answered, but the hope remained.  Kagome had once scoured the countryside for tainted shards with only enough spiritual energy to light a few arrows – surely she could find the owner now.  They would have another lapse, and this time, she would be prepared to seek them out. 

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            After five centuries, Sesshoumaru had decided humanity had utterly ruined him, subverting his perfected control and filling him with their wretched emotions and angst-ridden musings.  This second half of his first millennia had seen so much flux that every decade confounded more than the last.  Time seemed to speed up, and he watched the world grow small, full of symmetry, invention, and an ever-pervasive and encroaching influence that grew harder and harder to avoid.

            Sesshoumaru had tried not to change with his surroundings, to remain the immutable daiyoukai, Lord of the Western Lands, but he had grown weary with this final, oppressive opponent.  Progress proved more indomitable than any physical foe.  Wistful thoughts of the past crowded in with increasing regularity, dogging him with uncharacteristic regrets, leaving him quietly alternating between rage and gloom, holed up in the mountains which had once been the seat of his home. 

            Now, his only human contact was his latest retainer – a final descendant from a line that had endured for hundreds of years.  The elderly man had dedicated his life to serving the demon lord, honoring his family's heritage more devotedly than some of his ancestors.  He had never sired children, and it appeared his line would end with him, thus severing Sesshoumaru's last ties to the present and the past.

            It was in this grief – an allowance of weakness that seemed to spring upon him with alarming frequency and fervor – that Sesshoumaru let slip the tight control he had maintained with such vigilance.  It was only a sigh of his power, a wisp of frustration, and he pulled his youki back instantly, immediately alert.  How many demons had he known who no longer breathed from such carelessness?  Who lay below the earth, forgotten and unsung?

            The daiyoukai tensed at the base of the tree he sat against, reaching out with his senses for signs he might have been discovered.  To hide was beneath him – even now – but to evade notice was tactical.  It had been over fifty years since he'd felt the last glimmers of a priestess or slayer, and he was fairly certain they were becoming relics of another era, just as he had long been.

            Still, Sesshoumaru stood, turning his head and narrowing his eyes at the line of trees surrounding him.  It had been awhile since he'd patrolled the boundaries of his shrinking sanctum; perhaps it was a good day to investigate.

 

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