Aznphoenix95 – Miroku's the captain of the Ninth Division, I went back and added that detail to the last chapter.
Reader238 – Thanks for pointing that out. I re-read the chapters so many times that I miss stuff. I went back and fixed it.
Kagehoshi Shadowstar – Thanks for picking that out. Not a lot of people offer constructive criticism; they're mainly too busy nagging for updates. I went back and tried to fix it, hopefully it sounds better.
Dark Inu Fan – I hadn't even thought about his released form, thanks for mentioning it.
Dark shadowed rose, Sugar0o, Kagome Lady of Darkness, Ichigo Mirai, jesswolf22, Lauramichca, Battosailover5, Izno, MidnightReader1, AKARY YAMI, CrimsonLuna, thanks for the reviews. ^_^
"I'm 'a tell you everything"
She never hit the floor though. A pair of strong arms had caught her around the waist just in time. Slowly he lowered themselves to the wooden floor. His arms stayed wrapped tightly around her waist and though she was half lying on his lap in an awkward potion he didn't want this moment to ever end. It had so been long since he had seen the young miko, and his last memory of her had not been one he liked to ever think about, for she was the last thing he saw before his death five hundred years ago.
There was a maturity in her face that hadn't been there the last time he had seen her. She looked older now, closer to the age that he appeared. A pair of glasses covered her closed eyes, leaving him slightly confused. Despite the few new differences, she was still the same old Kagome he met hundreds of years ago. A torrent of emotions was flowing through him, and he watched with great anticipation as her sapphire orbs slowly fluttered open.
"I…I saw you die Miroku," were the first words she uttered to him. His lips twitched into a bitter smile.
"That you did Kagome-sama."
"What about the others, do you...are they with you," she hesitantly inquired, her big blue eyes looking up at him with hope.
He hated taking that hope away from her, but he had to tell her the truth. "I'm sorry Kagome-sama but I am the only one."
"Oh," she quietly replied with such normalcy that it scared him.
"I've missed you Kagome-sama."
"I've missed you too Miroku."
"Uhh, do you mind," Kagome spoke, gesturing towards their awkward position.
Miroku smiled. "I don't know I rather like this position."
The ease of their conversation slightly unnerved the two especially since there were so many unanswered questions flowing through their minds, but there was something comforting about the words being spoken. It was a familiarity, something that he had missed.
"I hate it when you call me that."
For the first time in a long time, he laughed, really laughed. "Forgive me Kagome-sama, but old habits die hard."
"I can tell," she wryly replied when she felt one of his hands start to linger on the swell of her back, before gradually making its way lower.
Narrowing her eyes, she slapped him across the face.
Immediately tears started to leak from the corner of her eyes as everything came rushing back. She had never allowed herself to grieve properly over the death of her friends; she had to be strong for Kohaku. And it had hurt too much of the people she had let down, of the lives she had ruined with a few careless actions. She leapt out of the former monk's grip and wrapped her arm around his torso, and burrowing her face into his shirt. His presence had finally sunk in and she felt as if her world had turned upside down, again. She didn't know if she could handle this.
"Are you real? Or are you a ghost sent here to haunt me for everything I've done?"
"I assure you Kagome that I am here. I may no longer be mortal, but neither am I a ghost especially not one here to haunt you."
At his words, Kagome became confused.
"Not mortal…th-then what?"
Miroku gazed sadly at the confused young gi….no. She was a woman now. Slowly he rose to his feet and helped Kagome onto hers.
"All in due time Kagome, but first I have a few questions as well."
"O-of course," she stuttered, but before any more words could be spoken, both former shard hunters were startled by a loud crash. Their necks snapped to the source, and standing over shards of broken ceramic and scattered food stood a shell shocked Kohaku.
Miroku's jaw dropped.
"We have a lot to discuss."
After the initial shock had worn off, they settled in the dining room, sitting around the small family table. Kohaku and Souta sat opposite of Miroku and Kagome. The two younger boys were picking at the food Yuzu and Kohaku had prepared while Miroku and Kagome drank quietly from their cups of tea.
A heavy silence threatened to suffocate the four, but still no one made a move to talk. No one was brave enough. A million questions raced through each of their head's but still, no one voiced any of them.
Unwillingly, Miroku was the one to break the silence. He hated doing this to her but he had to know. He had to know what had transpired that day, after he had died. It was a subject he himself did now wish to discuss, especially since he had been the second one to fall, and talking about it would only cause him to think about Sango, who had been the first one to fall at Naraku's hands.
"Please, Kagome-sama, tell me what happened after I, I died."
She instantly felt her body stiffen, though her hands seemed to be immune to this. The tea cup trembled in her hands, and she had to set it down to avoid spilling anything. She remained silent for a moment, and Miroku thought she wasn't going to answer him for a second.
"I'm sorry you…another time maybe?"
"Af-after you were sucked in by the void; you had taken a great deal of Naraku's underlings with you. With Sesshomaru and…Inu-InuYasha actually working together, Naraku was pushed to the brink. For one moment, for one glorious, deluded moment we actually thought we were going to win," she spoke, a bitter smile on her face, as a far-off look crept into her blue eyes. The boys at the table could tell that she was hundreds of years away, five hundred to be exact.
"And that was when it all went to hell. Magatsuhi, the demon of the Shikon no Tama appeared and possessed Naraku. Inu-InuYasha, brash as ever, charged him and he was st-stabbed through the he-heart before being absorbed." Her eyes glazed over behind the frames of her glasses. With each word she spoke images of the past replaced those with the present and she felt herself sinking.
Souta listened with rapt attention. He had never been given details about anything that had happened on the other side of the well, only bits and pieces that Kagome had let slip. Kohaku on the other hand focused his entire attention on his hands. He had been there that day with the others, but he had also been the first one injured in the fight, and it was because of him that his sister had been killed.
"Sesshomaru held his own for a while, but eventually he too was overcome. But thanks to the tensaiga, Magatsuhi was unable to absorb him also. I was alone then. Sesshomaru had told me to run for it, but I couldn't. I was determined to see the fight through."
She turned to Miroku, grabbing his hand. He gave it a squeeze in hopes of reassuring her. "I couldn't let your deaths mean nothing. He laughed at me, and I shot an arrow at him. I purified his arm off, and he stopped laughing then. He slammed me into a tree for that. I blacked out for a moment, and when I came I couldn't see."
At this point tears trailed down her cheeks, though she either didn't notice this or she chose to ignore them. None of the others commented on it.
"I finally lost all hope then. I was drowning in darkness, and I knew that at any moment would be my last. And that's when I saw it. The light of the Shikon no Tama reminded me that Magatsuhi had it now, and I fired my last arrow. The jewel, or rather what Naraku had of it was completely purified along with Magatsuhi." What she hadn't told them was that she had felt someone string that last arrow with her. It sounded crazy, but she swore that someone had been with her that day, lending her strength.
"I don't recall much about what happened afterwards. I just remember waking up in Sesshomaru's home. He had been the one to find us after the battle, and he had taken us back to his castle to recover. We were there for a year, and still I stayed blind. We could find no one to help me, and that's when I decided to go home. We all made the journey back to the well, and Kohaku carried me down since I still couldn't see. The next thing I knew we were both in the modern era; neither of us able to get back."
She paused for a moment, and took a drink from her tea before finishing. "We've been here, or rather this era since. We've been in the process of moving to this shrine for a few weeks, but this was our first night staying here. My eyesight slowly returned over the last few years, but I still need the glasses to help me see."
The outcome of the final battle between themselves and Naraku, was always been something that had plagued the back of Miroku's mind. A thousand scenarios of what might've been, all ranging from the ideal to the most horrendous had come to mind at one point or another in the last five hundred years. It felt as if a huge burden had been suddenly lifted from his shoulder.
"What about Shippo? Do you know what became of him?"
At this everyone in the room seemed to have stiffened. Miroku could even see Kohaku's fists start to clench, but otherwise that was it.
"He drops by from time to time, but otherwise he spends his time running errands for Sesshomaru," Kagome answered avoiding Miroku's gaze.
At this Miroku arched an eyebrow.
"Sesshomaru? That old dog is still alive."At that, Kagome laughed.
"Of course. Did you really expect anything less from him?"
Miroku returned the sentiment. She had a point. It was hard picturing a world without the mighty Lord Sesshomaru, but then again it was hard getting though these years without Sango.
Karin glared at her older brother, who was too busy eating his burger to notice. Since they hadn't been able to eat lunch at the shrine, Ichigo had acted reluctant to take them to the nearest fast food restaurant, but he had agreed much faster than it would've normally taken him to cave. Their dad had chosen to go on home.
"What," Ichigo growled out irritably. He hadn't seen the glare, but he could feel it. He had been in a good mood for once, but his sister's leering had immediately undone the effects of him scoring a date with Kagome. He may not have known her that well, but there was something about her that drew him to her. And from what he could tell by their earlier meetings, she was definitely someone worth getting to know better.
"Why, what," he snapped back. He wasn't up for her stupid mind games today.
If anything Karin's glare intensified. "Idiot. Why did you ask Kagome out? Do you know how weird it is for you to be dating my boyfriend's sister?"
Ichigo merely shrugged. He hadn't really thought about it that way, but still he didn't really care either way.
"Uhh, you don't even know her."
"So, that's why we're going out Friday. To get to know each other better, you know the whole reason why people go out in the first place," he sarcastically replied, rolling his eyes.
"Not the point." She muttered a few other choice words before stuffing a few fries into her mouth. Ignoring the look Ichigo sent her from the curse words, she turned her glare to her sister. Yuzu had been unusually quiet through the whole conversation. She didn't even notice the intense look, Karin was giving her. All the blond was doing was looking at her un-eaten tray of food and sighing.
Damn it, not Yuzu too. Karin slumped in her seat. It's not like she didn't like Kohaku and Kagome. Well she still wanted revenge against the older girl for that little stunt she pulled that morning. But otherwise, they weren't that bad. They were exactly how Souta had described them in his letters, but that was also why she wanted Yuzu and Ichigo to stay away from the rest of the Higurashi's. Souta had told her a lot in those correspondences, and those two would only lead to heartache for her siblings.
"What about you Miroku? How are you here," Kagome curiously asked.
Miroku let out a low sigh, and gave Kagome's hand, which was still in his own, a comforting squeeze. "After I died, I ended up in a place call Soul Society. It's where the souls of those who die end up. The afterlife is a lot like the feudal era actually, only no demons just hallows. Which are basically souls that lose their Chain of Fate. Basically, they feed off souls."
"That's horrible. Doesn't anybody do anything," Souta exclaimed, his eyes wide.
"That's where I come in. Shinigami or soul reapers have their own type of spiritual power, slightly different than the ones we, you have Kagome-sama. We have two main tasks, to help those who have died pass on, and cleanse hallows to allow them to move on to the afterlife. In fact, this body that you see is a creation of Soul Society. It's merely what we call a gigai, though no doubt you would still be able to see me if I chose to leave it."
It was a lot of information to take in, but since her trip to the past not much surprised Kagome anymore. "Wow, so then what are you doing here then?"
"Right now, I'm actually here to take over patrol and do something about this so called demon problem," Miroku couldn't help but to continue scoffing at the notion.
"I know it's a lot to ask, but do you think you might want to help out. It'd certainty save me a lot of time, and these attacks are sort of suspicious."
Kagome paused for a moment, dropping his hand before answering, "I'm sorry Miroku. But I won't get directly involved but if you need anything, don't hesitate."
Miroku nodded his head, he had figured as much. The old Kagome would've instantly agreed to help, risking much more than she realized. The Kagome in front of him was battle weary, and full of regrets. None of this should have ever happened to her. She was too innocent for the life she had been thrown into. Besides, she only said she would not get directly involved. Should he need her, she would be there for him.
Like Miroku, Kohaku respected Kagome's decision. Souta on the other hand gave his sister an incredulous look.
"Kagome! What do you mean you can't get involved? You have to," he yelled.
"I'm sorry, but I can't Souta. Please understand," she calmly replied.
"Can't or won't," he snarled and Kagome found herself flinching at the tone.
"Show some respect Souta," Kohaku spoke in Kagome's defense. He rarely got angry especially at Souta who had done nothing but help him since he became stuck in these times. But Kagome deserved more respect than they way Souta was treating her.
"It's not your decision to make," he reminded him.
The younger boy glared at the former demon slayer. They were supposed to be heroes. Yes, they had been through a lot, but wasn't that supposed to make them stronger. He was tired of their moping. Kagome and Kohaku needed to snap out of it. He could understand that they had been through something no one alive today could comprehend. But it had been five years now since they had been back.
"How could you just stand there also? You were trained for this sort of thing. If you weren't such a coward…"
"That's enough you two," Miroku barked out, interrupting Souta and taking over the situation. He was after all partly responsible for it.
"There are enough problems in this town and you two are going to need one another." Souta sneered at the idea, and Miroku could see Kohaku's eyes start to narrow.
"Souta, you didn't finish your chores, go. Kohaku, go practice outside," Kagome coolly commanded the two boys. She didn't bother looking at either of them, but both did as she said. The frigid tone of her voice left no room for protests and arguments.
Miroku waited until they were both gone before he spoke again, "It is good seeing you again Kagome-sama, and I do understand and respect your decision to not get involved."
"Thank you," she quietly replied before adding in a voice choked full of emotion. "And I meant it Miroku. If things get too out of hand for you, come to me. I can't lose you again."
Miroku gave her a small smile, and nodded his head in understanding. He wrapped his arms around her again, soothing her as she cried into his chest again.
Shippo waited impatiently for Sesshomaru to look up from his pile of reports and acknowledge the five hundred year old fox demon. Though so much time had passed, not much had changed for the dog demon, but since they were among humans, he had taken to masking his birth marks that symbolized his impressive status in the dwindling demon community. Sesshomaru had left his hair the startling white that it had always been though, and his sharp gaze stayed its familiar amber hue. Sesshomaru detested this era, had every single one of them since the time of the feudal era. But he had always been one to stay on top of things, and Sesshomaru had made quite the name for himself in this age.
He on the other hand had shot up over his first century of living with the demon lord. He was barely a head shorter than Sesshomaru's impressive stature. He had left his hair long through most of the last few centuries, but since this era of technology had arisen he had boldly cut his long tresses despite Sesshomaru's disapproval. The reddish brown hair now barely fell past his ears that he had taken to spiking up. His ears, feet and six tails remained hidden now, and to all humans he merely looked like some punk high schooler. He liked it that way.
"Go home, go see you family kit," Sesshomaru ordered, his gaze still remaining on the papers in front of him.
Shippo lost the fanged smirk on his face. He scowled before snidely replying, "They aren't my family."
This time Sesshomaru did look up and pinned the younger demon with his gaze. His lips had snarled into a grimace. "It wasn't a suggestion Shippo. I don't care what petty quarrel you have with Kohaku, but the priestess deserves more respect than you give."
At that Shippo had to look away, unable to take the disgust and disappointment he saw in Sesshomaru's eyes, and felt in his gut.
"Whatever," he mumbled, hoping to drop the subject.
Sesshomaru didn't let up though. He was tired of the fox demon's bratty attitude, and it was time he be put back in his place. "Did she not defend you in after you stole from her?"
"Yea but," He wouldn't let him interrupt.
"Didn't she take you in after you almost got her killed? Since your father was killed, did she or did she not put food in your stomach, a place to sleep, protection? Or what about all those treats she spoiled you with," he icily spoke, before pausing to see if Shippo would foolishly try to refute his claims.
"Kagome has done much for you kit. Much more than you deserve, or otherwise would've gotten from anyone else."
Shippo still had no reply for him.
Slowly, Sesshomaru rose from his spot behind his desk, and walked closer to the kit. He folded his arms over his chest, and looked down at the younger demon, "Your behavior has been disgraceful. It seems that, that perverted monk was not the only one you took after when it comes in regards on how to treat women."
That was a low blow and Shippo felt those words stings more than if Sesshomaru had suddenly struck him with one of his poisonous whips. He could clearly remember how much he loathed InuYasha after his harsh treatment of Kagome, and here he was doing the same thing. She had nothing to do with his anger, but still he took it out on her.
"I'll see you next week Sesshomaru-sama," Shippo said, before making a quick retreat out of his office. He wasn't going to head straight to Kagome's, the guilt he had been ignoring left him too ashamed. But he was going to make arrangements to head to Karakura, and he'd probably be there by Friday. One thing was for certain, he had a lot of groveling to do.