Continuing Tales

Tales from the House of the Moon

A InuYasha Story
by Resmiranda

Part 39 of 42

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Tales from the House of the Moon

"If a maiden sits on the ground in a clearing in a forest where a unicorn lives, they say, the unicorn will come to her and put its head in her lap. That is the best way to catch a unicorn. This procedure must have been discovered by a maiden who sat down in a clearing with no intention of catching a unicorn. The unicorn with its head in her lap must have been an embarrassment. What next?"
- Kurt Vonnegut, Fates Worse Than Death


There were issues to work out, of course.

"So let me get this straight," Kagome said slowly. "What you're saying is that you're not mad at me for dethroning you, blighting your house, and sentencing you to four-hundred years of physical stasis?"

Still sprawled across the bed, Sesshoumaru sighed with more than a little exasperation. "No I am not, and do not make me repeat myself again, lest I reverse my position on the matter," he said firmly, looking far more threatening that anyone draped with a Hello Kitty sheet had any right to be.

He's naked under that sheet, Kagome thought, trying to keep her gaze from settling on his exquisitely muscled calf dangling over the side. She wished that she were still naked, too, but upon waking the need for a shower had asserted itself and it had seemed silly to not get dressed. Now, however, she was questioning the wisdom of that decision. Slightly dazed, she shook herself. "But..." she started, then trailed off. He was pinning her with a glare.

Well! Two could play that game! Resolutely she lifted her chin and glared right back. "But I still feel responsible," she snapped at him. "The guilt is awful!"

"I fail to see how that is my concern," Sesshoumaru said blandly. "However, if it would assuage your guilt, you may take those clothes off and come to bed."

Stamping her foot, Kagome grabbed a stray stuffed animal and threw it at him. It bounced off his head. "ARGH!" she cried. "Is that all this is to you? Just... what I owe you?"

He was looking affronted and vaguely abashed. "I said that you may think of it that way, if it helps you."

"Well, it doesn't."

"Very well."

There was a silence as she glared at him, her arms crossed defensively in front of her. She watched as he appeared to choose his next words carefully. It looked like he was having a difficult time; he probably hadn't had much practice.

He gave her a sidelong glance. "So..." he finally said. "Will you divest yourself of your clothing anyway?"

Stupid men! Kagome lamented in her head. The fact that she was sorely tempted certainly did nothing to make the situation more bearable. "No, I won't! There are some things we should discuss first. Like... you know."

Frowning slightly, Sesshoumaru blinked in confusion. "I assure you I do not."

"Yes, you do. Like... what now? What are you... you know, going to do? Where are you going to go?"

"I had assumed I would stay here," he replied. "Unless you have a compelling reason for me to be elsewhere...?"

She hadn't thought of it like that. "Um... no. But... god, I don't know what I'll tell my roommate, not to mention my family! And you'll need food, and clothes, and... and... you'll need a job, or something! I'm still a student!"

Sesshoumaru shrugged elegantly, drawing her attention to his well-formed shoulders. "I have my ways of procuring what I need."

"Yes, I was afraid of that. Damn, Sesshoumaru, I don't even know what... this is."


"You know... I don't know what we're doing."

"Nothing, currently."

"...I still feel terrible."

"Then you should come to bed. It's quite comfortable and accommodating."

"Yes, I know, because it's my bed."

"Just so. Pity about the sheets, though."


The living situation had to be dealt with.

"What's with the stuff on his face?" Ayumi asked. She was standing in the entryway of their flat, her still-packed bags lying forlornly about her feet, forgotten in the excitement of coming home from vacation to find a half-naked man rummaging through her refrigerator.

Sesshoumaru quirked a brow. Next to him, Kagome wanted to sink into the floor.

"Tattoos," she blurted. "They're, uh, religious."

Her roommate tipped her head to the side in her typical ditzy fashion. "Which religion?" she wanted to know.

Augh! Kagome decided. "Um... well, it's hard to say, I'm not sure of the exact name for it. It's very, uh... esoteric."

"And he's Inuyasha's brother?"

"Half-brother," Sesshoumaru corrected. Kagome wanted to punch him. She settled for making her voice as sickly-sweet as possible, just to get on his nerves.

"That's right, half-brother," she agreed. "They, uh, were never on the best of terms."


There was an awkward pause.

"Kagome, can I talk to you alone?" Ayumi asked.

Wah! Kagome thought, but outwardly she smiled and nodded. For some reason she found the request for privacy to be highly amusing. As Ayumi led the way into her own room, Kagome shot a glare over her shoulder and mouthed the words, Don't listen!

Sesshoumaru snorted as she closed the door behind her.

Once inside, Ayumi turned and placed her hands on her hips.

"What happened to your face?" she demanded.

Crap! She'd forgotten about the still-fading bruises. "I got into a fight," she said hastily.

"A fight."

"Yes! Yes, a fight. It was... a bunch of punk kids. They were trying to steal my purse," Kagome invented madly, "but that's okay because Sesshoumaru was with me, so... yeah."

"They attacked you with him there?"

"No! Of course not. He was... getting ice cream. We were in the park."

Ayumi crossed her arms, clearly dubious.

"It was hot," Kagome added as solemnly as possible.

"Uh-huh." She watched as her friend and roommate closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose for a moment. Finally Ayumi looked up at her again.

"Kagome," she intoned, "does your mother know you're sleeping with your ex-boyfriend's punk brother?"

"Half-brother," came Sesshoumaru's muffled voice from the next room.

His intrusion barely registered with Kagome; Ayumi's question was such an uncharacteristic thing to hear coming from her mouth that it took a full three seconds for Kagome's brain to process what it heard and galvanize her tongue into action.

"What?" she almost squealed. "No! I mean, we're not sleeping together!"

"Yeah, right. I believe that."

Face flaming, Kagome said nothing.

Ayumi cleared her throat. "Okay, fine. Let us pretend that you're not sleeping with this guy. Is he staying here?"

Kagome at least had the decency to look away. "Yes," she said sullenly.

"And is he paying rent?"


"Is he going to?"

"Gee, I don't know," Kagome snapped. "I'm sure you'll make him start." Not that Ayumi wouldn't be perfectly justified in asking Sesshoumaru to pay for a third of what they used, but it did mean reality was starting to intrude, and she and Sesshoumaru had only had a day together. They needed a significantly longer, more rigorous, less clothed vacation than that. And then a vacation to recover from that vacation...

"Why doesn't he have his own place?" Ayumi asked, yanking her back into the real world, which was much less interesting than the one in her head. Kagome shrugged helplessly.

"Circumstances," she said. "There have been... circumstances. Look, I know this is really sudden, but it's fine. He'll... get a job. Pay for his share. It'll be fine."

Ayumi still didn't look convinced.

"Please?" Kagome clasped her hands together, giving her friend a pleading look.

With a sigh of resignation Ayumi shut her eyes and passed a hand over her face. "Okay," she said. "Just... don't be too loud."


"And until he starts to pay his way..."


"...he's not allowed to put a shirt on."



There had been the family to deal with.

"Well. That went... interestingly," Kagome said once they were safely back inside her apartment. "Thanks for..."


"Well... for not disemboweling anyone. And sorry about my brother. I should have explained to him that you were full youkai - I swear he wouldn't have asked about your ears if he had known."

"It is of no consequence."

"And my grandfather is getting on in years..."

"That much is obvious."

"I'm sure if he hadn't been so tired he wouldn't have kept calling you Inuyasha."

"That is also of no consequence."

There was a long pause.

"Usually you do not look so dubious when I disrobe."

"What? Oh... no, I wasn't thinking about that. Hey, I didn't say you should put them back on!"

"Hn. What were you thinking of, then?"

"Just that you seem to have mellowed a bit. Back when I first met you, you wouldn't have let that sort of thing slide."

"I assure you, it is still a grievous trespass that warrants dire punishment."

"Then why didn't you do anything? You didn't seem bothered at all."

"Kagome, the price of murdering your family would have far outweighed the satisfaction."

"...Wait, what? You mean you actually thought about it? God! And what do you mean, price?"

"I mean, for instance, that you would no longer allow me to do this..."


"Or this..."

"...ah. I, uh, see. And, um... Gnng!"



There were adjustments to be made as well.

"No, see, it's easy," Kagome said. "You take this little cap, and you put it over the stopper like this - "

Sesshoumaru watched with barely concealed boredom. He had only been mildly curious about the drink contained in the bottle with no immediately discernible openings, but Kagome had taken it as an invitation for a lesson. She did that often.

" - and then you just - " here she placed her hands over the green cap, "- push!"

With a loud clatter, a clear glass sphere shot into the body of the bottle, coming to a stop at the narrow neck; Kagome held her hands over it while it hissed slightly before removing them. "See?" she said. "Here, you try with this one."

Sesshoumaru gave her a dubious look before neatly slicing through the plastic wrapping and removing the green cap. He popped it out and placed it on the stopper. Then he pushed.

The bottle exploded.

Glass shards, coated with sticky, sugary soda, flew everywhere, embedding themselves in the walls, ceilings, and Sesshoumaru.

Kagome was spared, as through some sudden - and distinctly uncharacteristic - flash of clairvoyance, she had darted behind him at the very last second and used him as a shield.

There was silence for a long moment, punctuated only by the faint tinkle of glass as shards trickled into every available crack to be found months later by someone's foot.

"Well," Kagome said finally, "you sort of have the idea."

"Hn," Sesshoumaru postulated.

"Yeah. Um. Things aren't exactly made for youkai strength any more. Can you... you know, reign in your godlike power when handling modern objects? It might make things easier."

Slowly, Sesshoumaru turned and glared at her over his shoulder, letting her know that her flattery, while well deserved, was not getting her anywhere.

Kagome huffed. "Don't blame me! I didn't make any of this stuff!"

"Indeed," Sesshoumaru replied, plucking a piece of glass from his face. Kagome watched with vague fascination as the bloody wound closed over, leaving nothing behind.

"Sorry," she said, dazed. "Most things aren't like this; ramune bottles have a stupid design."

"Agreed. Shall we clean this up and try again?"

"Er... hehe. Um. Let's try again, and then clean up."

"I feel insulted."

"Did you know that you have glass up your nose?"


The question of what Sesshoumaru was going to do now also needed to be addressed.

"What about martial arts instructor?" Kagome suggested desperately. School was starting tomorrow, and she was wary of leaving a bored taiyoukai alone in her apartment. This concern was less about whatever unsupervised interactions he might choose to have with the outside world and more about worrying if he were happy or not, since, to her surprise, Sesshoumaru seemed to fit quite neatly into human society. He achieved this by being insufferably cool and arrogant to whomever was unlucky enough to deal with him and by ignoring everyone else. He'd already reduced two retail clerks to tears and left a grocery store stockboy ashen-faced, and it had only been ten days since his release.

He also made no move to cover up his markings, his claws, or even his ears, and apparently everyone was entirely too polite to say anything about them. Sesshoumaru's world view seemed to rest on the assumption that whatever he did was the correct thing to do since it was he who was doing it, and then it sort of went from there; the surprising part was that his presence was such that this attitude seemed to override everyone else's thoughts on the matter. It left Kagome somewhat awestruck.

"No teaching," he said absently. "Remember what I said about accidentally killing my pupils? And seeing as we have yet to locate Tenseiga..."

With a small grimace, Kagome looked back down at her notebook. "Oh. Yeah. Forgot."


From the corner of her eye, Kagome watched as Sesshoumaru scrutinized the algebra textbook in front of him before frowning and slowly turning it upside down. She gave a small inward sigh.

The question of the location of his weapons was... not exactly a sore spot, but an uncomfortable one. Though he certainly didn't need them they were still his, and she was certain that neither of them found it right that someone else might be in possession of such things.

"Well, at some point you're going to have to do something," she said, a little too loudly. "I have things to do during the day."

"Yes... school. You have mentioned it before," he replied, putting the algebra book down. Then, as if he had been planning to do so all along, he reached across her desk and picked up the university course catalog. "And you study archaeology, which is the study of the past."

"Er, yeah. Sort of," Kagome said, shifting where she sat on her bed. "More the study of people in the past, but yes."

Sesshoumaru did not appear to be paying attention. "Hmm," he said thoughtfully, leafing through the pages.

'Hmm'? Kagome thought. She wasn't certain she liked the sound of that hmm. Whenever Sesshoumaru got into a contemplative mood he tended to follow whatever train of thought he was riding until the bitter end, and given the subject of their conversation Kagome felt that hmm did not bode well.

"You would be a good spy," she suggested.

"Hm." He turned another page.

Kagome squirmed.

"Chemistry," Sesshoumaru said suddenly.


"What is chemistry?"

"Oh! Uh. Well... it's the study of... uh, the things that make up everything. The fundamental composition of the world. Elements and stuff."

"Elements? Like... water, fire, air...?"

She laughed nervously. "Not really. There are a lot more elements now than in the past."

Sesshoumaru looked up from the book in front of him and raised a dubious brow. "Do you mean to tell me that the fundamental composition of the world has changed in that time?"

"No! I mean, we've discovered more elements. And the old elements aren't really elements. It's a little complicated and I was never very good at it in the first place, so I'm not sure how to explain it."

Slowly he transferred his gaze back to the course catalog.

"Hm," he said again. Kagome was beginning to suspect that he was doing it only to get on her nerves, and wished that it wasn't working.

"What about... philosophy?"

This could not end any way but badly. Slowly Kagome lifted her fingers to her temples and began to massage them. "That's the study of... well, I'm not really sure. Thought? Meaning?"


Her head snapped up and she glared at him. "Stop that!" she exclaimed.

Over the top of the book, Sesshoumaru gave her a little smirk. "And what about... psychology?"

"Psychology? I guess you could call that the study of the mind."

"The mind?" He actually sounded interested.

Kagome shrugged. "You wouldn't like it. It's the study of the human mind."

"And of what use is that?"

She grinned at this; it was such a Sesshoumaru thing to say. "Well, usually people who study psychology go on to become therapists. I think I told you about them once, but basically they listen to people's problems and help solve them."

"How does knowing about the mind help solve problems?" he wanted to know.

Kagome shrugged. "Well, there are some problems that originate in the mind. Emotional problems. Life problems. Usually whoever is having the problem is too close to it to see what they should do or think about it."

For a long moment, Sesshoumaru simply looked at her, his gaze strangely opaque. Then, slowly, he looked back down at the page in front of him.

"Psychology..." he murmured, thoughtful.

"Uh," Kagome said. "Yeah. Psychology."



"I still don't get how you were able to get into university without a high school diploma."

"You should know that I am very persuasive when need be."

"Should I? You're good at intimidating people, but that's not the same thing."

"I am good at persuading you."

"Yes, with your tongue. And not because you use it to speak."


"...Wait, you didn't sleep with the admissions staff, did you?"

"Of course not. I merely suggested that it would be in their best interests to allow me to attend their institution."

"You threatened them?"

"...Not in so many words, no."

"I don't even see why you need a degree. You would make a fantastic crime boss."




Sesshoumaru graduated with his doctorate only one year after Kagome finished hers.

"So not fair," she complained. "Not fair at all. You don't need to actually sleep every night. And you can smell emotions."

"Which is quite handy, I assure you," he replied, a little too smugly for her taste, as he adjusted the diploma on the wall next to hers, "though, alas, it is not the be all and end all of therapy. It is merely much simpler to determine if someone is lying to himself or to me at the outset. Less time is wasted."

"God. You're not even human, how can you be so good at understanding human emotions?"

Sesshoumaru shrugged. "I do not. One need not understand emotions to assist in rectifying the problems they cause."

"You make it sound so cut and dried. Sorry, I just... can't see you as a psychologist. It's not you."

"Well, at least it is an adequately diverting activity."

"Gah!" Kagome cried. "I can't believe you just called therapy 'diverting!'"

"But it is. In fact, psychology is incredibly diverting, especially as I do not actually have to be actively engaged with a patient to use it."


"For example, I can tell that you are frustrated right now. It is a mundane problem, but the diverting part is assisting you in eliminating the stressors in your life."

"Yeah, but I can't eliminate you."

"There are other ways of eliminating stress that do not involve actually removing stressors."

"Oh, really?"

"Indeed. Certain activities, for instance, are quite useful in relieving stress."

"I think I know where this is going..."

"Oh good. Then our session should adjourn."

"...To the bedroom?"

"If you insist."


It was surprisingly easy to settle into a normal life.

"I'm home!"

"Welcome back. I trust your day was satisfactory?"

"It was! We're still in the middle of setting up the display on Mesopotamia, but it's truly wonderful to be able to handle all those artifacts. They're all so old, thousands of years... I always feel privileged that I'm able to see and touch them."

"I am quite old myself."

"Yes, and I feel quite privileged to be able to see and touch you, too."

"As well you should."

"God, shut up. Anyway, how about you? Did you fix anyone today?"

"Not today. Today was rather dull."

"You say that at least once a week. I knew you wouldn't enjoy being a therapist."

"Did I indicate that I did not enjoy it?"

"Well, 'dull' usually means 'not interesting', so I have to assume you didn't."

"Simply because my clients are dull and stupid and are incapable of climbing out of the holes they dig for themselves, that does not mean I cannot entertain myself whilst they are jabbering away."

"Good grief!"

"Well, what would you have me do? For certain clients, it would be a waste of my time to actually listen to them."

"My, that's cold."

"It is simply the truth. I have already told them what to do about their problems, but it seems that some would rather wallow in their misery. It is a quite curious phenomenon, but not one that requires a great deal of my attention."

"So... what do you do instead. Wouldn't they be insulted if you started reading a book or something?"

"It takes no effort at all to tune them out."

"You're making me paranoid."

"How so?"

"Well, how do I know that you're ever listening to me?"

"You don't."

"See? Paranoid! I shouldn't have to guess as to whether or not you're paying attention. You should just... you know... do it."

"...I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"I said you're sleeping on the couch tonight."

"No you didn't."



Though he was not a creature of the modern world, there were always ways around it.

"You seem restless."

"Do I?"

"Yes, you do. You keep clicking your claws together and it's starting to freak me out!"


"No, not hn!"

"What, then?"

"Instead of going hn, how about you tell me what's bothering you."

"Perhaps I am restless."

"Okay... so what are you going to do about it?"

"I do not know. I..."

"You need to go hunting."

There was a long pause.


"Okay. Go hunting, then."

"You were less than approving the last time I went."

"Because you tracked blood all over the carpet. Is it too much to ask that you at least rinse off after you go on a massacre?"


"What did you hunt last time anyway?"


"Oh. I know! Why don't you go kill something in the ocean?"

"What is there to kill in the ocean?"

"Um. Sharks?"

"...You wish for me to go shark hunting."

"Sure, why not? Less bloody that way."

"No, just as bloody, but with blood in the water. Which would make it a self-perpetuating hunt."

"Look, you've been demolishing your pillows again in your sleep. You need this."

"...You know about that?"

"Of course. You think I don't know that you replace them on the sly? The down gets everywhere. And I do mean everywhere."


"Look. Just get out of here. Go kill something. You'll feel better, and I won't wake up with feathers in my crotch. Everyone wins."

"...What if I want you to have feathers in your- "



The past did not often assert itself, but when it did, it was hard.


Sesshoumaru blinked, found himself standing at the window of their hotel room and looking out onto the city below. He had been... listening, but not with his ears, and not to her.

It was so odd, this tickle in his brain. He had felt this before, long ago.

"Sesshoumaru, are you all right?"

Slowly, he turned.

She looked lovely, dressed for working in the dust and the mud, her hair pulled back, her wide eyes so concerned.

"I'm fine," he assured her. "I was merely thinking."

She grinned. "A million miles away again. Anyway, are you going to be okay? I'm sorry you can't come with me, but they'd be all touchy about a non-archaeologist handling such rare artifacts."

"Of course," he said, giving her a small smile. The tickle in his brain seemed to be fading, and for some reason he felt almost frightened.

She didn't appear to notice, merely kissed him and waved goodbye, marching out and into the sunshine.

For a long time Sesshoumaru stood in the empty room, wavering. Then he, too, left.

He didn't speak the language of this place, but that was all right. He didn't need directions to follow the tiny siren call that pulled him through the streets, his feet finding the pavement, then the marbled floor, and then the plush carpet that marked his path.

The inside of the casino was like every other casino - gaudy and lush, promising things that would never be delivered. It wasn't crowded at this time of the day, but there were still enough revelers tipping back cool drinks for him to move mostly unnoticed.

He found who he was looking for at the bar.

For a full minute and a half Sesshoumaru watched as his target shuffled a pack of cards and then dealt them out in classic solitaire formation on the glossy black marble bar top. The hands that dealt were showing age, though they were not yet wrinkled. He guessed they would not wrinkle for a long time still.

His prey plucked a smoldering cigar from the ashtray next to him and took a long drag.

"Well?" he finally said. "Aren't you going to sit down?"

Silently, Sesshoumaru pulled out a bar stool and sat. To the untrained eye he appeared to be perfectly at ease, lounging laconically as he signaled to the bartender to bring him a drink. The man next to him began to flip and move the cards in front of him.

There was a tense silence.

"Didn't think I'd see you ever again," the man said.

"Likewise," Sesshoumaru replied. "It was... unusual... to sense you. There aren't many of us about any more."

"Nope," the man said. "There aren't."

Sesshoumaru's drink arrived - a Long Island iced tea. Sipping thoughtfully, Sesshoumaru watched as the man next to him moved a black queen on top of a red king.

"So what brings you to Argentina, Lord of the West?" his companion asked.

"A mutual acquaintance of ours is here on business."

The fingers moving the cards faltered for the briefest of moments before regaining their swift execution of the game. "Someone else still kicking? That's surprising. I thought I knew everyone that was left."

"She is not 'left.' More... in her proper time."

Next to him, his companion grew very still.

If he listened closely, Sesshoumaru thought he could hear the din of his memories.

The man took a deep breath. "So... she's here?"

Sesshoumaru snorted softly. "If you weren't smoking that vile thing you could probably smell her on me. I'm surprised she didn't sense you."

"I keep to myself," the man said quietly. "It's easier that way."


"So what are you doing with her?"

Sesshoumaru had no idea how to answer that, so he merely said nothing.

"I see," his companion said after a moment, a small laugh caught in his chest. "That's... surprising."

"I'm sure."

The man resumed his game. Sesshoumaru sipped his drink and listened to the snap and clack of the cards.

"Aren't you going to ask me if I want to see her?"

"If you like. Do you want to see her?"


The cards clicked.

"Aren't you going to ask me why?"

Sesshoumaru shrugged. "Your reasons are your own. I do not know how long she will live, though."

"How old is she?"

"Thirty-one. If you change your mind, there is still time. That is all I will say on the matter."

"Okay. You..."


"You seem more magnanimous than I remember. It's weird. I keep expecting you to cut my head off."

Sesshoumaru did not respond. Instead he took another drink and looked around, taking in the decor.

"You like?" his companion asked. "I think the decorator went a little overboard myself, but I paid her enough so she probably felt obligated."

"You own this place?"

"Yup. Nice, eh?"

"Why are you not still in Japan?"

"Japan? Heh. I left that place a long time ago. I actually heard you were dead, and that was a couple of centuries ago. Where have you been?"


"I thought you would be ruling the world. What gives?"

"...There is time enough for that, yet."

"Heh," the man said again.

Sesshoumaru watched as he moved a few cards up to the top and replaced them with the ones he had just dealt.

"A casino?" Sesshoumaru finally said, as much to break the silence as to satisfy his curiosity.

"Yup. Something wrong with that?"

"No. It is merely unexpected."

For the first time the man looked up from his game and flashed him a toothy grin, his long red ponytail slipping over his shoulder, his green eyes luminous in the dim light of the bar.

"But my dear Lord of the West, what better job is there for a trickster to do?"

Sesshoumaru laughed.

That evening, when Kagome came back from her dig, Sesshoumaru took her out.

"I've never gambled before!" she exclaimed when he seated her at a blackjack table. "I'm going to be bad at it."

"That is not necessarily true. The house doesn't always win."

"...You're not going to cheat, are you? Because you're bad at being sneaky."

"Am I?"

"Oh, forget it. Now how does this work?"

And that night, after a few too many drinks, they went back to their hotel, and Sesshoumaru allowed her to take his hand and lead him forward again.


Still, the past could be very hard, indeed.

"Do you know what today is?"


"No. Today is the ten year anniversary of your release from the shrine!"

"It is?"

"Don't be dense. It is. And I have a present for you."

"A present?"

"Yes, a present. I'm... well, now I'm kind of nervous. Close your eyes."

"Very well."

There was a rustle as she left the room. Sesshoumaru could hear her rummaging about in the linen closet for a minute before she ran back to where he was seated in the kitchen.

"...Um, okay. You can open them again."

Sesshoumaru opened his eyes.

And stared.

Kagome shifted nervously.

"Um. You can try to touch it. I think the spell has worn off by now. I'm not even sure it still works, it's been in disuse for so long."

Sesshoumaru said nothing, merely reached out, feeling strangely hollow and nostalgic. His hand closed around it. He heard Kagome sigh with relief.

"Where did you find it?" he wondered.

"Three months ago, you remember that Chinese gentleman died and left his collection to the Beijing museum, and they called me in to identify a couple of anomalous Japanese items, and... well. There it was."

"How did you get it out of there?"

"Told them it was a fake."

Sesshoumaru tried to laugh, felt it catch in his chest.

Slowly, he slid it out of its scabbard.

"It's... Hm."

"Yeah. In even worse shape. It's... I thought, you know, since we haven't found... and since you don't have anything left from your family... and..."

She took a deep breath. "I think Inuyasha would have wanted you to have it..."


His voice sounded very soft, even to his own ears. There seemed to be something lodged in his throat.

"...I'm sorry."

"No. Do not be sorry."

"...Aren't you going to try it out?"

For a long moment, Sesshoumaru just stared at it. Then, slowly, he slid Tessaiga back into its sheath. "No. Not right now."

She was biting her lip, and at the edge of his mind he could smell her nervousness and her sadness, the salty tang of tears that had yet to form, and he thought, Tessaiga was the blade to protect -

"Come here."

Startled, she looked up, but he was already pulling her to him, already tangling his fingers in her hair, already soothing her mouth with his own.

When he finally broke away, the scent of sorrow was no longer in the air.

He didn't know what to say or how to say it, so he merely looked down at her, letting his fingers stroke her cheek.

Then, in his arms, Kagome giggled.

"You're welcome," she said, and pulled his face to hers once more.


And the past may have been hard, but really, the present made up for it in so many ways.

"How did my suggestion of going to see a movie this afternoon end like this?"

"Like what?"

"With my panties on the lamp."

"That is quite a puzzle. We should attempt to recreate events."

"What, again?"

"Unless you have a better idea?"

"...I know! Why don't we go see a movie this afternoon?"



And life was not always roses.

Sometimes, late at night, Sesshoumaru would wake to find Kagome gone from their bed. The first time it happened, he followed her scent into the kitchen, only to find her alone at the table, the harsh yellow light of the kitchen showing the tracks of her tears on her cheeks. In front of her sat a half-empty sake bottle.

She sniffled.


She didn't answer, merely drained her cup.

Uncertain, Sesshoumaru took one step into the room and halted, unsure of how to proceed.

The quiet stretched out between them until Kagome sniffled again.

"You know," she said, not looking up at him, "Kazuo said we would share a bottle of sake when I got back. After I killed the sorceress. And I didn't."

Struggling to understand, feeling helpless against her tears, he took another step forward. "You... did not go back?"

"No. It wasn't... I didn't do anything. I couldn't... I didn't..."

She trailed off. Then, slowly, she tipped the bottle over and filled her cup again before bringing it to her lips, and Sesshoumaru could hear all the pathetic words in the world fall short of her regret.

He turned and went back to bed.

Sometimes, when they were out together, Kagome would turn to Sesshoumaru to remark upon this or that thing that he might find amusing only to see him staring at the little gaggles of schoolgirls bunching together in front of shop windows, giggling to each other over some new gossipy tidbit.

The first time it happened she wondered what he was thinking, felt a tiny flash of jealousy as she moved closer to him.

"Sesshoumaru?" she said.

He didn't respond, was merely still, as though he had grown into the earth where he stood. At the edge of her mind, Kagome could hear the little cluster of schoolgirls squeaking to each other in too-loud voices.

"Keiko-chan, that weird guy is staring at you!"

"Are you serious! Eek, he is!"

"Oh my god, what a pervert! Let's get out of here. He's creepy."

Without thinking, Kagome reached up, brushed her fingers against his cheek.

And when he turned to look at her, the shadows in his eyes stretched out, wound around her, and pulled her down and down again.

For a moment she was frozen, but then, almost desperately, she stood on her tiptoes, pressed her lips to his, held him close. And when she drew back the shadows had slipped away again, back into hiding. Never gone, but no longer cast over him.

Then he was staring down at her, a little lost, a man shaken out of the darkness and into the morning light.

She groped for something to say, found it.

"I was thinking of buying a new set of curtains," she told him.

There was a pause. For a moment he blinked in confusion, the world still reeling a little too quickly -

- and then he caught up.

Sesshoumaru gave her the smallest smile, the one that was so real only she could see it.

"We don't need new curtains," he replied.

Kagome smiled back.


But though it was sometimes difficult, really, it wasn't so bad, after all.

Kagome stretched and yawned, looking gloriously mussed in the early morning sunshine.

"Do you want to go get the paper, or are you going to make me do it?" she asked.

"I had planned on making you do it."

"That's so mean! I always have to do it."

"That is certainly a matter up for debate."

"Oh please, just because you say it like that doesn't mean I'm going to believe you any more readily!"

"Say it like what?"

"All I-am-the-sole-arbiter-of-all-that-is-true! Tremble before me!"

"...I have never said anything of the sort."

"No, like that. Like it! That's the subtext. The hidden meaning."


"...You're not even going to deny it, are you?"

"I have difficulties denying truths."

"You have difficulties not being an ass."

"So typical. You are wrong, and immediately you resort to personal attacks."

"Oh my god, you are so impossible! Get moving right now or I'm putting clothes on!"

"Not if I do this."

"What the - hey, untie me!"

"That would not be in my best interests."

"Fine. But now that you're the only one who can actually stand up, paper-duties fall to you."




"What are you reading?"

"A book."

"Yes, I can see that. What book are you reading?"

"None of your business."

"This sounds kinky. I feel left out."

"It isn't."

"...Seriously, what are you reading?"

A sigh. "It is called The Body of the Lotus."

"That does sound kinky."

"I assure you it is not. The subtitle is 'Feminism and the Politics of Gender in Postwar Japan.'"

"...Okay. So... why are you reading that?"

"One of my clients told me that I do not understand women. I think that is an unfair accusation, but would feel remiss if I did not at the least give my conceptions a cursory check-up."


"...You do not sound convinced. What do you mean, 'oh'?"

"I mean you don't understand men, either. But you're still one of the most highly sought-after therapists in Tokyo, though I can't imagine why."

"I admit that it sometimes puzzles me as well."

"Oh, you think you're not that good?"

"No. I think my genius often goes unnoticed. I'm amazed any of the intellectual powerhouses that walk through my door recognize my prowess at all."

"God, you're full of yourself. Isn't that some kind of psychological disorder? Narcissism, or something?"

"Only if my perception of myself is vastly out of proportion to reality."

"You make my brain hurt."

"Once again I triumph in the realm of intellectual combat."

"I need a drink."


"Do you think this dress makes me look fat?"



"You sound disappointed."

"What? No! Of course not. It's just... haha, I believe you."

"And this is remarkable because...?"

"Cultural expectation. If you were human you'd say 'no' regardless of what you thought. But you... don't."


"Sorry. I'm happy with that answer, really."

"...You should ask me if you look fat without the dress."


"Take it off and you'll figure it out."


"Do you ever look back and wonder how we got here?"



"I am to believe you do this?"

"Sometimes. It's just... we started so far away. When I was fifteen, I fell down a well, and... I met your brother, and a monk and a kitsune and demon-slayer... and you. It's just funny, to remember where we started, and to know that we ended up here. If you told me back then that this was how it would end, I wouldn't have believed it. I wouldn't have wanted it. No offense."

"None taken. My reaction would have been similar."

"You probably would have killed me to make sure it wouldn't happen."


"You tried to a couple of times anyway."


"...What if you had succeeded in killing me, all the way back then?"

"There is no point in thinking on that."

"Why, because it didn't happen, or because it scares you?"

"...Because this is where we are now."

"It kind of scares me, too."

"Hn. Be quiet. There is no reason to fear."



"How did we end up here? Was it chance, or was it fate?"

"...Luck. It was luck."


And so Sesshoumaru lived with Kagome in a million little moments, and life was good, or as good as life can ever be, right up until the day Kagome turned to give him a good morning kiss and he smelled on her breath the same disease that had killed his mother.

Tales from the House of the Moon

A InuYasha Story
by Resmiranda

Part 39 of 42

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