Continuing Tales

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 53 of 60

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I don't think you can keep someone you truly love at arm's length on purpose, they'll always end up in your arms. ~Holly Nichole Miller

As fate would have it, Kagome got home late from class the one day she needed to be on time. She was grumbling unintelligibly as she shut the door to her apartment and dropped her heavy book bag with an indelicate shrug. Flipping through her mail, she frowned when they were all bills, feeling incredibly depressed. "Sometimes I miss being fifteen," she grumped to herself before tossing them onto the table.

Glancing at the clock, her heart sped up. After two weeks of dodging, she had finally agreed to dinner with Sesshomaru. It wasn't necessarily that she didn't want to have dinner with him, but instead more a matter of nervousness that he had switched so quickly from not wanting to have anything to do with her that day in the courtyard, to suddenly wanting to spend an entire evening alone. Only after Hoshi had threatened to never speak to her again did she relent. Now that they were back in her life, she didn't want to lose them because of something as stupid as an evening meal. With only two hours to decompress from a long day of school and find some semblance of order before he showed up at her doorstep, she took a deep breath to gather her racing thoughts.

She was just about to head to the shower when a knock on the door stopped her cold. Squinting at the clock on the wall, she reassured herself that it was only just after five o'clock. "I swear if that's him…"

Yanking open the door, she blinked in surprise to find Hoshi with a wide smile holding a mass of large colorful bags. Another man in a suit, clearly her driver, stood with an armful of bags as well.

"What're you doing here?" Kagome asked, not quite able to mask the anxiety in her voice.

"I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd bring a few things by," she answered brightly.

Stepping to the side, Kagome watched the older woman sashay into the apartment and set the bags down. The man followed, placing the bags next to Hoshi before leaving unobtrusively. When Hoshi turned, Kagome eyed her suspiciously. "And just what are you doing in my neighborhood?"

Hoshi didn't quite meet her eyes as she shrugged an elegant wool coat from her shoulders, smile firmly in place. "Oh, just a bit of shopping."

Not buying it for one moment, "There's no shopping in my neighborhood. What are you really doing here?" Kagome asked as she crossed her arms over her chest and pinned the sorceress with a mutinous glare, "Is it because I'm finally having dinner with Sesshomaru tonight?"

"Now Kagome, what makes you think I came here for any other reason than to say hello? Really, I don't understand why everyone thinks I always have an ulterior motive," she huffed, sinking into Kagome's couch petulantly.

Kagome felt bad for jumping to conclusions and crossed the space to sit next to her. "Sorry, I'm just a little nervous," she answered contritely.

Hoshi's frustration seemed to melt away instantly and she turned another blinding smile onto the mystified woman. "No worries dear. Now, why don't you hop into the shower and we can chat more while you get ready."

Tilting her head, Kagome's brow crinkled. "You don't have to wait around. I'll call you tomorrow."

"Nonsense! I have nowhere else to be." Standing, Hoshi grabbed her hand and pulled Kagome to her feet. "Now go…go. I'll be right here." She waved her toward the small bathroom briskly.

Kagome knew that there was something up, but she didn't have time to argue so did as Hoshi wished and showered quickly. When she came out of the bathroom, she sucked in a breath at the disaster Hoshi had made in her living room. Clothes, shoes, colorful scarves and bottles covered every surface as Hoshi flitted around the room, holding things up and then shaking her head with a mumble before placing them back down.

"What is all this?" Kagome cried as she stepped further into the room that now looked more like a department store threw up on every available surface.

Hoshi turned for only a moment and then resumed her inspection of a navy blue dress that hung from the edge of her bookshelf. "What do you think of this one Kagome?"

Narrowing her eyes she stared at the dress, trying to figure out what Hoshi was up to. "It's nice, but again, what is all this stuff?"

"Oh, just some stuff I picked up while out today. None of it's really my style, but I thought maybe you'd like it. If you don't like this one, I bought a beautiful red dress in your size." She grabbed the gauzy dress from across the back of a chair and held it up.

"Okay Hoshi, cut the crap. Seriously, why are you here?"

The other woman paused and met Kagome's eyes squarely. The two women engaged in a battle of wills from across the room until Hoshi finally broke out in a wide smile of repentance. Dropping all pretenses she let go of the dress and threw her arms up, "Fine. I came to help you get ready."

Kagome laughed at the absurdity of the situation. "I'm perfectly capable of getting dressed on my own."

"I know, but I wanted to make sure you had everything you need," Hoshi grumped back. When Kagome only stared at her, Hoshi muttered, "I have my reasons."

Kagome could only shake her head, her mouth open but not finding words. Hoshi went on hurriedly, "He needs to be set on his heels and you're the only one who's been able to do it in all these centuries."

Kagome sat in a nearby chair and felt her heart begin a familiar ache. She spoke hesitantly, "Hoshi, I think you're making more of this than you should. This isn't a romantic dinner. It's just two people who might've been friends at one time, but now don't really know each other. Please don't make more of this than it really is."

Hoshi smiled knowingly. "Do you really believe that? Remember, I lived with him for the past 500 years. Never have I seen a man work so hard to avoid the object of his desire, while at the same time stubbornly protect everything around her very existence."

Kagome laughed, "Desire? You're joking." Standing, she pulled the towel off her head and the long black waves fell limply to her waist. "He desires me about as much as Myoga desired battle."

Hoshi was surprised at how blind the miko could be. Was her own self esteem so low that she didn't even think it was a possibility? Grabbing a brush, Hoshi pointed to the chair in front of her next to the kitchen table. When Kagome finally settled, she began combing through the ebony locks. "Don't sell yourself short Kagome. He told me once; actually it was the only time I was able to get him to talk about you, that he thought you were a rather extraordinary human."

Kagome's heart hammered in her chest. "When was this?" she whispered.

"Shortly after Rin died. Grief let me past his prickly exterior for a rare moment," Hoshi said ruefully as she continued to brush Kagome's long locks until they shined. With expertise, she twisted the length into an intricate pile at the back of her head, securing it with a jeweled comb in the shape of a half moon. Moving around to the front, she grabbed the bottles of makeup and set to work. Before long she stepped back and grabbed a mirror.

Offering it to Kagome, Hoshi smiled at her handiwork. "Not too bad, if I say so myself."

Kagome looked into the mirror, not knowing what to expect. What she found left her dumbstruck. The face looking back was that of a polished, refined woman who knew a thing or two about the world. It was the prettiest Kagome had ever felt. She met Hoshi's expectant gaze over the rim of the mirror and smiled. "Wow," she mouthed to the older woman.

Nodding, Hoshi turned and faced the myriad of dresses strewn about the room. "Now, what do you want to wear?" With a conspiratorial smile, Kagome stood and together they browsed the designer dresses, putting together the perfect outfit for the evening. It was the most fun Kagome had in years.

Kagome sat at the kitchen table drinking a second glass of wine after Hoshi left. He was late and she was irritated. They had settled on a dark red cocktail dress that dipped low in the back where the fabric came to a knot right at her tailbone with ruching over her rear, flattering her curves in all the right places. It was far more scandalous than anything in her closet, but with the hair and makeup that Hoshi helped create; it fit and gave a sense of confidence in her appearance that she had never felt before. Regardless of how Sesshomaru reacted, she knew that she looked beautiful, and that was more empowering than she ever expected.

Now she just needed him to show up and be dazzled. Sighing heavily, she drained her glass as frustration mounted. Her stomach was warm from the wine and she felt the lingering nervousness slowly dissolve as the alcohol took effect. If he didn't show up in the next fifteen minutes, she was going out to find her own good time. She wasn't going to let all of their effort go to waste.

Standing, she went to refill her glass again when a knock sounded at the door.

"Finally!" she huffed. Crossing to the door, she yanked it open but went deathly still when the wrong pair of golden eyes stared back.

InuYasha was at the threshold, his jaw hanging open as his eyes traveled the length of her body and the dress that hugged every inch. She softly uttered his name and it snapped him out of his momentary trance to answer, slightly embarrassed, "Hey Kagome. You look…different."

She couldn't believe her eyes as she took in a much altered InuYasha. He had a bandana wrapped around his head to hide his ears, ripped and faded denim with rough looking combat boots completed the impression of careful sloppiness. He looked like he belonged in a rock band, not a half demon that used to spend his life defending humanity. She could only stand there and stare, emotions and shock choking the words from her throat.

"Are ya gonna invite me in or just stand there with googly eyes?"

His brash tone reminded her why she used to drive his face into the ground with one word. She glanced at his neck longingly, regretting her rash decision to remove the beads of subjugation. 'It would do him good to taste my floor,' she thought evilly. Stepping back, she opened the door and he walked through, surveying the space in an instant.

"So, why're you all dolled up? Goin' on a hot date or somethin?" he asked reproachfully.

She weighed his words carefully, wondering how much he knew about the past few days and her tumultuous re-entry into their lives. Finally finding her voice, she answered evasively, "Something like that."

He turned curious eyes on her and raised his brows. "And you're gonna wear that?"

Her cheeks turned pink and she glared back at him, "What does that mean?"

He circled around her and paused when he got to the back. His aura snapped in the air and his tone came out clipped. "No way are ya gonna wear that outta this room. Ever." She turned just as he pulled a blanket off the couch. He walked up to her with a determined expression and she nearly laughed out loud when he tossed it over her shoulders and pulled it around, covering her from neck to toes.

She started to shrug it off, crying out at his absurdity, "You've got to be kidding me!" but he pulled it back around and held tight, shaking his head.

"I told ya that you can't wear it. Stop Kagome, I forbid that you leave here looking like that!" He wrestled with her, pushing her hands away as she tried to twist out of his grasp. "Go and change into something decent before someone sees you."

She raised her voice as anger mounted, "Let go now or I swear to Kami that you'll regret it." She yanked again and he held firm, "Let go!" she nearly screamed, hoping that he would take the hint.

A huge torrent of youki came through the apartment a split second before Kagome's front door splintered into pieces. InuYasha and Kagome froze as Sesshomaru stepped over the broken pieces and into the room, finding them instantly. The murderous look in his eyes didn't fade as he took in the bizarre scene in front of him.

"What's going on?" his deep tone felt like it shook the entire room.

Kagome was the first to find her voice. She glanced at the door under his feet and sputtered, "My door! Why do you always have to bust up my doors?!"

He raised a brow and answered without missing a beat, "I can't help that doors are present when you find trouble."

She blinked at his dry retort and pushed InuYasha away from her, forgetting about their argument. Her stilettos clicked along the bamboo floors as she approached the now shattered door. Groaning, she pinched the bridge of her nose between two fingers, "Now what am I going to do? Who can come and fix this so late at night!?" she whined to no one in particular.

Sesshomaru ignored her and turned to his brother. "I told you to wait."

InuYasha bristled and faced his brother fearlessly. "No, you told Kikyo and she told me to come anyway. You can't keep me from her."

Sesshomaru stepped forward with malice in his eyes, "Oh yes I can."

Kagome rolled her eyes at the pair, "Both of you stop. I'm so not in the mood for any of this right now." Shrugging the blanket off, she threw it on top of her table and faced the door with her hands on her hips and a morose expression. Pushing a few pieces of the door with the toe of her stiletto she frowned.

Sesshomaru turned around and was about to tell her that InuYasha started it when his mind went completely blank. His eyes traveled every inch, from her shining hair looped and twisted in an artful display of elegance down the length of her exposed back. The small hollow at the base of her spine looked like a perfect place to pause, perhaps even spend a few hours. He stared at that spot for a moment as several scenarios played across his mind in quick succession of what he would like to do with those few inches of divine skin, all of which fired his blood powerfully. Forcing his eyes away with considerable effort, he moved lower to the perfect curve of her rear and his mind halted again. He didn't realize that he had taken an unconscious step forward until a throat cleared next to him. Dragging his eyes from Kagome to his detestable brother, he met InuYasha's stunned look of perplexed comprehension.

"Wait…you?!" InuYasha cried.

Kagome whirled around at InuYasha's enraged shout, her eyes traveling between the silent brothers. After neither moved, she lost her patience. "Okay, I've had enough. Both of you get out, now. I have to deal with this door so that I can go to sleep tonight without fear of some weirdo robbing me."

She grabbed her cell phone and began searching for her landlord's number when Sesshomaru's deep tones stopped her.

"Good evening Rei. I'm in need of a maintenance crew to come to west Tokyo and repair a door. Have Hiraiku join them so that he can lock up when the repair is complete." She heard a voice come through on the other end in muffled reply. "Yes, I'll send the address in a moment. Thank you."

He punched a few buttons on his phone before tucking it into an inside pocket and returned her stare. "It's all set. Hiraiku will be here within the hour and stay to watch over your apartment until a new door is installed."

"Just like that?"

He shrugged. "We have reservations at eight." Turning back to InuYasha, he fixed him with a loathsome glare. "You and I will finish this later."

InuYasha only growled back as Sesshomaru grabbed a coat from the back of Kagome's chair and held it out to her. She stared at it like it was a disease. "Put it on," he commanded and she stepped away from him.

"No. I can't leave my apartment like this. Surely you get that," she sniffed as she tossed her cell phone on top of the blanket on the table.

He stepped around her and started putting the coat on, one arm at a time. His hands brushed her bare skin intentionally, lingering as he pulled the coat across her shoulders to the other arm. Goose bumps spread along her body and she swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. His touch effectively stunted all rational thought long enough for him to get the coat firmly in place.

Before she knew what was happening, he grabbed her hand and began towing her to the door, calling over his shoulder to InuYasha, "Wait here until Hiraiku comes. It's the least you can do since you're the reason I smashed through it in the first place.

They didn't wait around to hear InuYasha's litany of curse words, most of which were unflattering names directed against his older brother.

Kagome sat stiffly in the restaurant, her mind torn between how surreal it was to be sitting in one of the most opulent restaurants in Japan, and worrying about her worldly belongings sitting open to the world in a less than safe part of a Tokyo neighborhood.

She had drained her first glass of wine without realizing and was almost done with a second when Sesshomaru caught her gaze. He let his eyes travel to the glass poised at her lips and raised a brow. Blushing, she set it down with a thump and felt her anxiety skyrocket. She couldn't stop the ceaseless anxiety as everything beyond her control swirled in her mind violently, reminding her of the helpless feelings from five years ago when she was powerless to stand against the whim of others. It was the one thing that could send her into a frantic tailspin as her fretfulness clutched at her lungs, squeezing and yanking her until she was sure to pass out from it. She had gotten adept at avoiding situations that caused this reaction out of self-preservation. Tonight, after being dragged from her apartment and asked to trust that everything was being taken care of while she was expected to smile and make small talk across the table was more than she could ask of her recently healed mind. The walls seemed to close in and she felt the self-control she valued above all else slip. It was as though her lungs were being crushed and she clenched her hands together in her lap as if trying to take some of that control back. Eyes wild, she glanced around the room frantically. 'I can't breathe!' The feeling of suffocation was growing with every wildly thumping heartbeat. Sesshomaru stilled across the table, his eyes narrowed on her intently just as she felt herself finally snap under the pressure.

Without a word, they stood quickly, Kagome to escape and Sesshomaru in reaction to her obvious panic. The select few that could see auras would be hard pressed not to notice the bright shade of violet as her energy swirled violently in the small space of the restaurant. Ignoring how her aura scalded him, he ground his teeth as he grabbed one of her hands and put the other at the small of her back, steering her deftly through the crowded room and out onto a deserted patio reserved for special patrons.

Kagome stumbled through the door and Sesshomaru steadied her with ease. The cool, open air helped the cacophony of her vibrating nerves. He steered her to the railing that looked out on the city as far as the eye could see. When she reached it, she wrapped her small hands around the cold metal like it was a lifeline, blind to the magnificent sight. He stood to her side as she sucked in deep breaths, rubbing slow, soothing circles over her back until her gasping turned into shuttering gulps. When she was finally able to look up from the railing, the concern in his eyes sent the breath from her lungs again. She felt his hand slow to a stop just above the knot at the back of her dress and his thumb traced a slow, almost reverent circle on her bare flesh just above her tailbone. She shivered as the cold and Sesshomaru's wicked caress combined to send her senses into overdrive.

"Better?" the rumbling of his deep voice sent another shiver along her spine. She nodded and he guided her back to the dining room.

Over the course of the evening, he figured out that occasional progress updates calmed her and allowed her to focus on him and their conversation, which was what he wanted. She was luminous as she shed the worry and anxiety to finally begin smiling. If he was lucky, he could coax an occasional laugh that would float across the room like music. He couldn't help but notice that every man in the room was sliding covetous glances their way. It took all of his considerable control not to gut the man two tables over when she left to visit the ladies room half way through the evening. His obvious ogling was disrespectful to the woman he was with, not to mention the feeling of deep possessiveness that it inspired, which Sesshomaru was sure came hand in hand with an impending psychotic break. Of course, it didn't stop him from meeting her half way across the room to lead her back, staring down every man that dared look their way with a clear promise of death.

The hardest, but most refreshing part of the whole evening was Kagome's lack of awareness that she was causing such a stir within the restaurant. She remained oblivious to all the lust filled stares, never realizing that the more she relaxed and enjoyed herself, the stronger the effect she had on every male present. Her intoxicating laughter was almost constant when they began to reminisce, talking about how annoying Jaken was and the tedium of being a noble. They were careful not to say anything specifically about Youkai or feudal era Japan, but it was unnecessary since one knew what the other was referring.

Another text message beeped and Kagome looked down at the lit screen between them expectantly. Sesshomaru picked up the phone and read the message, his brow drawing down into a frown. He almost smiled when he heard one of the waiters lament to another from across the room about how some bastards had all the luck but would rather play on their phone than tear off their smoking hot date's dress. His youkai hearing could sometimes bring amusement. Sometimes…

Kagome studied him, and thought not for the first time that he might have actually changed. Not completely perhaps, but time had altered him in all the right places. No longer was he stiff and haughtily silent with those around him. He could converse with humans effortlessly, draping himself in a cloak of easy manners that made people feel comfortable. The obvious refinement was still there, letting you know that he was a man of importance, but it was softened, more approachable than it had been before. It was equally disconcerting and fascinating to watch him interact with the various wait staff, the chef who personally came out to check on their enjoyment of the food, and seemingly endless stream of business acquaintances that stopped to pay their respects.

He didn't seem to notice her fascinated stare. When he looked up from the phone, his voice was low, "It appears that your door frame isn't a standard size and the only shop with a door that'll fit doesn't open 'til morning."

Her nerves started to rise again as did her voice, "Well, aren't you some sort of billionaire. Can't you wake someone up to open the store?"

Sesshomaru almost grinned at her. Of course he could do that, but it didn't mean that he should or would. He learned long ago to rein in the impulse to throw his considerable wealth and influence around, unless in the boardroom. Humans tended to frown on selfish behavior, especially by the rich and powerful. Instead, he just shook his head and tried to look apologetic at Kagome's expectant expression. "Would you really have me wake up a poor shop owner to drive all the way into the city for one door?" He waited, counting on Kagome's thoughtful nature to play into his advantage.

Her face fell tragically as she groaned, "What am I going to do? I can't sleep in an apartment with no door!"

Sesshomaru did smile at that. "Hiraiku's already made himself comfortable on your couch."

"Oh…okay," she said lamely. She looked down at the table and chewed on her bottom lip. His eyes locked onto her mouth intently and his hand tightened unconsciously on his glass.

They finished their meal and left the restaurant, Kagome fluctuating between moments of talkative happiness and thoughtful silence. Sesshomaru guided the car along the road smoothly until they pulled up to a white marble building a few blocks from her campus. He helped her out of the car and she pulled up short.

"Where are we?"

He slipped his large hand around hers and gently tugged her toward the door. "Since I'm the reason you've been deprived of a place to stay tonight, I thought the least I could do was offer you a comfortable substitution."

They entered the large foyer and were immediately met by a middle-aged man in a crisp suit. Sesshomaru handed over his car keys as the man welcomed him home. The man bowed and cast a surprised look at Kagome before hurrying away.

They entered the elevator and Kagome turned on Sesshomaru with a concerned expression. "You live here?"

"Most of the time, yes."

"And you expect me to stay here with you? Alone?" she fairly squeaked.

He smiled wolfishly, "Yes."

She looked down at their still joined hands and tried to pull her fingers free. When he wouldn't let go she huffed, "Come on Sesshomaru. I can go and stay at home if Hiraiku's there to keep the weirdos out."

Taking great pleasure in her mounting embarrassment, he added in an innocent tone, "Oh don't be a prude. My place is big enough that we could spend a week there and never even see each other."

Even though he meant to push her buttons, the comment seemed to calm her somewhat. It had the opposite effect on him unfortunately as the thought of spending a week with her sent a buzz of pleasure through his senses. Lost in that agreeable thought, he pulled a card out of his coat and waved it in front of a screen a moment before punching in a code on the keypad. The elevator rose smoothly.

When the doors opened, Kagome nearly fell over. The view that stretched out in front of her along the far wall took her breath away. She reminded herself that he had a fondness for grand vistas. It was something they had in common.

She stopped just outside of the elevator door and held onto his upper arm as she kicked off her high heels. Shrugging out of her coat, she handed it to an amused Sesshomaru without removing her eyes from the skyline just beyond the windows. Padding over to the floor to ceiling glass, she let her eyes slowly travel from one end to the other in appreciation.

Shrugging out of his own coat he watched her at the window, enjoying the view she presented against the backdrop of the city lights. He crossed the length of the large space, rolling the sleeves of his dress shirt up his arm as he went. He could see that she was engrossed in the scene before her so took the opportunity to just watch, realizing that deep down he had always wanted to share this view with her. He bought this penthouse with it in mind, he realized sardonically.

Coming to stand next to her, he heard her whisper, "It's beautiful." She cleared her throat and added louder, "I should have known you'd live in a place like this."

He chuckled. "Come on, I'll show you the guest room."

She followed shyly, not quite comprehending how she ended up eighty stories above the city in Sesshomaru's penthouse. When he opened the door, she wanted to throw up. The room was larger than her entire house at the shrine. Decorated in white and ivory, it was the epitome of elegance beyond words. He murmured something about getting her something to sleep in and left for a few minutes, returning with an armful of mismatched clothes that he dropped on the bed.

"Hoshi must have taken everything she kept here so I only have things in my size and some of Shippo's old stuff. Something's bound to fit, though." He looked at her and then back at the pile on the bed. He seemed almost awkward as he added, "I'll be in the kitchen."

He closed the door and leaned against it heavily. It had been a bigger challenge than he anticipated seeing her standing two feet from a bed wearing that damn red dress that would haunt his dreams for the rest of his long life. He forced himself away to the small bar along the wall and pulled out a bottle of century old scotch. Pouring a glass, he downed it without hesitation, relishing the burn as it sent a path of fire to his stomach. Refilling, he turned when the door reopened and Kagome's hesitant steps padded along the marble floor.

She stopped just as she came into view and met his golden gaze. Red faced, she tugged at the oversized shirt, "None of the pants would stay on so I had to go with the biggest shirt I could find."

The sight of her stopped his heart. The shirt fell just above her knees, covering far more than the red dress had, but was somehow one of the sexiest things he had ever seen. 'So much for wearing that shirt to the gym again,' he realized as his hands burned to explore what was underneath the boring grey material. 'What have I done to myself?' he thought wryly, not able to feel very mad about his present situation.

"Hoshi's right, I am a gigantic idiot," he said gravelly before tossing back the second glass of scotch with a grunt.

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 53 of 60

<< Previous     Home     Next >>