Guilty as Sin by Sereia


Friend? Was he a friend of the miko?

The old woman's words stuck with him even as he travelled away from the village. With Rin absent, there had been no reason to linger, though his feet had taken him down the path towards the monk's hut before he'd taken to the sky.

He hadn't understood the hesitation—perhaps he had wished to prove the old priestess wrong. To question the miko herself if she longed for more.

How could she not?

Rin's village was too small for one such as her. Why hadn't the rest of her pack—her friends—convinced of this?

He paused at that. If he fell into the same category as the rest of them, and was considered a friend, would she listen to him and seek to better herself? He hated to see such wasted potential.

A week passed before the thought crossed his mind, this time in a village heavily populated by youkai. Superstitious youkai. Rin had requested a hairclip with butterflies to match the kimono he'd given her, and he preferred youkai-made items, as they lasted longer.

He was in the middle of negotiating a price when the monk's overzealous voice sounded from the centre of the village. "Alas, my dear sir, your village is possessed. You require an immediate exorcism if you wish to keep your village safe."

Hearing the miko's resulting snort, Sesshoumaru turned towards the village head, the bear youkai hunched over a large piece of parchment as the monk continued his tale of woe and concern.

He flared his youki in greeting, the miko immediately turning, her face lighting up in its usual smile as she waved. By the time he'd finished his purchase, she'd sidled up next to him, thumbing a few of the merchant's items. Her fingers lingered over a kanzashi, teasing the tips of blue petals attached to a crescent moon before giving him her full attention.

"I didn't expect to see you here."

"In a youkai village?"

She chuckled softly. "In any village. Besides the one by the well, I mean. I think this is the first time I've seen you anywhere else."

Golden eyes slid to the monk. "Do you believe his lies?"

A resigned sigh escaped her lips. "There's a worm youkai poisoning the soil down by the river," she whispered. "As soon as he negotiates a price, I'll take care of it."

"You are adding extortionist to your list of abilities?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. Perhaps she was spending too much time with her more scrupulous packmates.

She flushed, then shrugged. "Miroku needs to earn a living and asked me to help." She fiddled with the end of her bow, then gave him a cheeky smile. "You think I have a list of abilities?"

"I only deal in truths, miko. You have proven yourself capable in multiple areas." Her smile widened, and Sesshoumaru found himself entranced. He'd thought it just a passing fancy, a sense of intrigue when they passed each other in the village, the brightening of her expression catching his eye as it did others, but perhaps not.

Did she smile at everyone like that?

The monk soon gave her the go-ahead, and she bid him goodbye, telling him to be safe in his travels, to which he simply snorted.

"There is no creature who would pose a threat to This One," he said. The miko shook her head, then patted his arm, and he was left wondering if there had been an ulterior meaning to her message.

"Lord Sesshoumaru, it is good to see you," the monk said, violet robes swaying as he drew nearer.

He raised an eyebrow. "Is it?"

The monk chuckled. "Do you frequent this village? They seem very peaceful."

"Yet you seek to separate them from their currency."

"They seek to be helped by the powerful Shikon Miko," he said, raising his hands with a flourish.

Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed. "You use her name to bolster the price of your dishonesty?" Was there no limit to how low this man would stoop to take advantage of her? His hubris was insufferable.

He felt a flare of the miko's power, the cheers from the villagers following close behind. Many of them bowed in reverence, their children chattering excitedly, talking over each other as they asked her questions.

"You misunderstand, my lord." His expression was warm as they watched the miko, leaning on his staff. "Lady Kagome is not one to brag about her accomplishments. Someone must spread knowledge about the magnitude of her power."

Sesshoumaru scoffed. "The miko exudes power. She does not require your rumours. And the children do not care, they enjoy her compassion." Even as the words crossed his lips, the children around her started mimicking her movements with a bow.

"Does her name run through the youkai court?"

"Hnn." His eyes never wavered, adjusting his pelt on his shoulder. "The knowledge of her power has even reached the mainland."

"Lady Kagome will be very proud," the monk said, smiling softly, "to know that you hold her in such high regard."


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