Wood creaked as Kagome settled on the engawa of her home, exhausted in all the ways that counted. She felt trapped between shock and acceptance, a resigned kind of expectation clouding her thoughts. She'd known, theoretically, that the Shrine had Patrons. But they had always been distant; rich benefactors that donated to a Conservational Fund specifically geared to preserve the historical site that was her childhood home. It had been enough to keep the place running and clean, if a bit run down. That it shouldn't have ever gotten to the state that it was currently in hadn't even occurred to her, but if Sesshomaru's subtle exasperation was anything to go by, her mother was as stubborn as a mule and very much opposed to accepting charity, even while in the midst of providing for her errant time-traveling daughter. That Sesshomaru, Lord of the West, was said rich benefactor, and had been for generations; well… it just goes to show how long they had been planning for this; for her.
But to find out that Sango was her many times removed great grandmother-
That she, along with Miroku, had founded the Shrine-
That they had taken on her name, founding the Higurashi Family Line as she knows it and caring for the Sacred Tree and it's adjoining Well for near five hundred years, an obligation and privilege that was a point of pride for all their descendants'-
That they had waited for her to be born-
-it frightened her. And then to learn that it was her influence -her off handed comments about the future, her textbooks on science- which had convinced Sesshomaru to gather the Four Lords together to create a portal to a sub-dimension known as the Demon World, resulting in a mass exodus some two hundred years ago as the Human World slowly drained of magic with the rise of technology... So much had been at stake.
It bothered her that such expectation had been placed on her unknowing shoulders, but then, it had always been meant to be, hadn't it? Time was funny like that.
Kagome exhaled slowly, leaning back on the palm of her hands with her head thrown back, fingers curling over the worn wooden edge of the porch. The midmorning sun fell on her closed eyelids, a faint burst of air sending the loose wisps of her frizzy, unkempt hair onto her tired face. Then with a sigh, she spoke.
"You knew. You always knew."
The figure standing beside her replied just as softly. "Yes."
Half-lidded eyes opened to stare at the Daiyokai has he leaned against a wooden beam, suit jacket discarded, long sleeves of his dress shirt folded up to expose the firm, pale lines of his forearms. Her gaze lingered on the curved purple markings found there, silent, contemplative.
Why me? Why all this? Why couldn't I go back? Why didn't you tell me? Why did you leave me alone?
A sigh, quiet though it was. "You needed to find yourself."
Kagome sits up, angling her body and tilting her head just as she had in their training sessions.
Unsurprisingly, the silver-haired man picks up on the cue, smooth tenor humming softly. "Had I helped you immediately after your… return, you would have attached yourself. It would not have been healthy."
She swallows, locking her eyes with his. "So you let me suffer?"
Sesshomaru meets her gaze. "Yes."
Kagome is the first to look away, hands limp in her lap, legs lifeless as they hang over the edge of the wooden deck. She bites her lip, eyes glistening.
Her head snaps up at the sharpness of his tone, a trained reaction. Her attention, tensed body and all, is completely for him.
The gold of his eyes is vibrant, the intensity of his gaze, heavy.
"You are Pack."
Kagome closes her eyes, sagging. And if a tear stains her cheek? Her relieved bow hides it.
A hand ruffles her hair, the affection startling; different. But, she supposed, it had been five hundred years. Her throat feels suspiciously tight, her tone cautiously hopeful.
"And Shippō?" Her question is breathless.
Was that a smile in his voice?
"Alive and well. Now Rest. Tomorrow is a new day."
One day later, Kagome gets a phone call.
"The school is…come again?"
"It blew up."
"What kind of idiot- no, I don't care. Where are they sending us? They are they sending us somewhere, right?"
"The Academy? Really? Fine. What about the baby? How's his fever?"
"He's better now. His dad came and got him."
"And you just gave him back?!"
"Tōjō! You found him on the streets! How do you know he wasn't put there?!"
"NO, its not! What if-?"
"...you're sure, though?"
"So… we still gonna meet up? We're going to have to get off at a different bus stop now, and I don't think it'll be as deserted as the last one."
"The one by our Ishiyama? I don't know. I'm looking at the bus routes right now and it looks like it'll a bit out of the way. Maybe a park? It's pretty hot out though."
"We'll figure it out. You work the next few days, right?"
"That gives us some time to- Oh. NO! Grandpa! What are you doing?!"
"Sorry, Tōjō, I've got to go. Grandpa got into the wasabi again and- GRANDPA! Stop putting Ofuda's onto people's eyes! They're guests to the Shrine and they are in NO WAY possessed! -Tōjō, I-"
"Ok! Sorry! STOP THA-"