Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Property - Chapter Three

"You scared Sango," Kagome informed Sesshoumaru. She kept her tone neutral, since she didn't want him to take it as a criticism. Gods knew that he had intimidated her on first sight, too, with his stoic silence. Still, Kagome wished that Sesshoumaru would act... a bit friendlier, though she couldn't imagine exactly how he could do that.

Sango had left the room earlier to change for dinner. It was to be a formal event tonight, and everybody was requested to join, including Kikyou. Kagome's mother had finally returned with Souta and had said that it was alright if their personal blood-bounds wished to join, too. Kagome expected Kikyou to bring Inuyasha and thought that she might as well bring Sesshoumaru.

As usual, Kagome chose a simple and elegant kimono and completely skipped powdering her face. She really hated sneezing while eating, which always seemed to happen if there was obnoxious powder on her face. Besides, it was only family tonight. Sango was close enough to be family.

"Then I should apologize," Sesshoumaru replied evenly.

Kagome frowned a bit. Aside from Sesshoumaru's neutral tone, there was something wrong with what he just said, and Kagome was determined to figure it out.

She thought some more before narrowing her eyes at him. Should apologize, he had said. Not that he actually apologized. But she decided that she wouldn't quibble, especially since this was an encouraging sign towards him learning who he was and what he wanted.

"That's okay. You didn't know," Kagome said magnanimously, as if he had apologized. "But mother decided to have a formal dinner, and I was wondering if you wanted to join us. You'd have to change into a formal robe, though."

"I would be honored to escort you, my lady." Although Sesshoumaru spoke formally, he was speaking as an escort, not as a blood-bound. He spoke as if he were her equal.

He didn't lie, though. Kagome was kind and beautiful, even wearing everyday attire. She was brilliant in her formal outfit today, and he would be honored to be the one accompanying her.

And yes, Sesshoumaru admitted reluctantly, Kagome was kind. He had seen her act considerately towards the servants, giving them extra time off. She bantered with her friend and managed to soothe her friend's anxiety. She had never punished him, even a little. Still, that didn't mean Sesshoumaru lowered his guard against her, because everybody had faults.

"Great!" Kagome smiled happily, lighting up her chocolate eyes. "Be ready in half an hour. I'm going to check on Sango now."

Sesshoumaru frowned at the door after Kagome left. He knew that she knew that he hadn't apologized. But he wasn't sure if she understood that he had spoken the ancient words of protocol between equals before Naraku had started the Sentient War.

As Sesshoumaru stood up to change into formal robes—which he had wondered at the use of before—he told himself to stop being absurd. Kagome would only think of youkai as enemies and blood-bounds as slaves. She had no knowledge of the time before the Sentient War or of Naraku and the Shikon no Tama. Or of protocol between men and women.

There was no use anyways, Sesshoumaru accepted. The only way to win back the youkai's goodwill was to break the Shikon no Tama, and it had disappeared long ago. Sesshoumaru had felt the last tendrils of its essence disappear sixteen years ago.

It didn't matter, Sesshoumaru thought grimly. He didn't want Kagome to accept him as anything... more.

As he tied the red sash around his waist, a question niggled at the back of his mind: What... more? Sesshoumaru ignored it.

"Soy sauce," Souta demanded as he elbowed Kagome.

"Ow!" Kagome glared at Souta as she handed him the bottle of soy sauce which he poured generously into his rice. "Why'd you have to elbow me?"

Souta shrugged. "You weren't listening."

"I was listening to Mom and Grandpa. And now you made me miss what they said anyway," Kagome complained. She rubbed her side. It did hurt, but she exaggerated her motions for Souta.

"Shikon no Tama?" Shippou piped up from the other side of Souta. Although loud and mischievous like any boy—even a youkai boy—Shippou's mouth was usually too full of food during meals for him to talk.

"Shikon no Tama?" Kagome repeated stupidly. Her Mom and Grandpa were talking about the sacred jewel? She shot Souta another glare just for good measure. The Shikon no Tama was part of the Higurashi house's secret, though little enough was known about it. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Sesshoumaru's gold eyes focus on Grandpa.

Kikyou put down her bowl correctly. "Yes, cousin, the Shikon no Tama." Although the words were perfectly polite, Kikyou's superior tone made Kagome want to hiss at her despite Kagome's usually mellow constitution. Even though they were both sitting, Kikyou managed to glare down her nose at Kagome. "You know, the little jewel that started the Sentient War? Just because you have no miko powers does not excuse from basic history, cousin."

Kagome ground her teeth and bit her tongue but managed to refrain from insulting Kikyou back. Just because Kikyou insulted her didn't mean she had to lower herself to the conceited, arrogant, egotistical bitch's level.

"Now, Kikyou, I'm sure Kagome has a lot of things on her mind," Mom tried to arbitrate.

Kikyou harrumphed delicately, before taking another careful bite of the chicken.

Grandpa rolled his eyes. "I'm sure Kikyou just has something stuck up her—"

"Father!" Mom cut Grandpa off sharply. She glanced around the table and saw that everybody had quieted. "I'm sure that everybody here, including our Sango, Shippou and Sesshoumaru, is more interested to hear more about the Tama."

"Well..." Grandpa was always eager to tell stories. "As you all know, the Shikon no Tama was made from the essence of four pure souls in a great war long before the Sentient War. One of the four souls was Midoriko, a great priestess and the youngest daughter of the Higurashi house."

"Shippou," Mom admonished as if he were her child, too. "Make sure that the food goes in your mouth, not on the floor."

Souta sniggered. Shippou flushed as Grandpa continued, "Midoriko knew that it would be a powerful jewel. So before—"

"Souta, that goes for you, too." Souta made a face when Mom stopped looking at him.

"—Midoriko sacrificed herself, she told her sister Aiko that the most powerful priestess of the Higurashi house must guard the Tama after the war, because the negative energy absorbed during the war would cause any being who used the Tama afterwards to turn evil."

"That's my job, cousin, as the most powerful priestess in this generation. The only priestess in our generation."

Kagome declined to answer and bit down on the rice with more force than necessary.

"Unless the Tama was used with pure intent." Grandpa slurped some of his miso soup before continuing, "Midoriko said that in four times four generations—or sixteen generations—the jewel would disappear and hide itself within the most powerful priestess born. And for four times four years it would hide, taking all of the priestess's power to hide it. And there would come a war over the jewel that would last four years."

"Lots of fours," Shippou commented.

"Yeah," Souta agreed. "Can you count that high?"

Shippou sniffed a couple of times before big, round teardrops started leaking out of his eyes. "Kagome," he whined.

Kagome immediately came to the rescue, her temper already on edge from Kikyou. "How can you be so mean, Souta? You are older than him. Act it."

Souta shrugged uncaringly and went back to his chicken.

Sango spoke quietly, "I have heard this story before, though the taijiya tell it slightly differently. And we were also told that the Sentient War was the war in the legend."

"The war lasted four years," Grandpa agreed and nodded to himself. "But the Shikon no Tama didn't disappear. And we have no way to know if it has been sixteen generations."

"Kikyou," Kagome called out. Something inside her goaded her to say it even as she knew that it wouldn't end up well. "Maybe it's not your fault that the jewel is lost after all. You've always been destined to be useless."

Kagome refused to avert her eyes when Kikyou glared at her. Brown eyes met brown and Kagome almost swore she saw sparks. She had taken enough insults from her cousin.

Yes, Kagome understood that her cousin is upset and bitter. Yes, Kagome understood that if her uncle had been responsible, Kikyou would have been the heir—and the current matriarch of the Higurashi clan. Yes, the deaths of her mother and her sister were harsh blows. But Kagome had had enough of Kikyou's vindictive attitude. Especially today. Kikyou seemed especially ready to lash out today. And Kagome refused to be a sitting duck.

Suddenly, Kagome found a bolt of spirit power shooting at her. Kikyou's dark eyes glittered like a madwoman's. Just as Kagome turned to dodge the attack, the bolt of power dissipated against an invisible wall.

Both Kagome and Kikyou were startled. Nobody besides Kikyou in the Higurashi family could channel miko powers. Sango was a taijiya and incapable of channeling miko powers. Shippou was too young. Kirara not present.

That left... Sesshoumaru. Who was calmly sipping his miso soup. And a blood-bound besides. Everybody knew that vicious blood-bounds wouldn't lift a finger to help their owners unless asked to do so specifically, and being used as a pleasure slave would make any blood-bound vicious.

But he was the only who could have repelled Kikyou's attack.

Kikyou came to this conclusion at the same time as Kagome, but just as Kikyou prepared to strike again, Kagome felt something odd through the blood-bond and turned to see specks of red showing through Sesshoumaru's normally gold eyes as he set down the bowl of miso soup carefully. Otherwise, his face remained completely impassive.

Just as Kagome was trying to figure out how to stop the two of them from fighting, her mother slammed both hands on the table and stood up.

"I can't believe you! Acting like little children at the age of seventeen. Souta and Shippou act much more mature than you. Kikyou, I had enough with you trying attack Kagome verbally, but abusing your miko powers... At the dinner table. In front of guests. That is going beyond too far.

"And you," Mom turned to Kagome. "There is no excuse to insult anyone back. Ever. And to have your blood-bound use his powers against her, a priestess. Completely unacceptable. I can't believe I raised you."


"And if you hadn't asked him to attack her," she cut Kagome off as Kagome was about to protest. "Then you should seriously castigate him. Sometimes independence is good. Sometimes it's not."

Finally, she turned to Sango stiffly. "I must apologize for the behavior of these girls in the family. But it appears that they are not yet ready to sit and eat politely with the adults. I am no longer in the mood to enjoy dinner anymore. Everybody is excused if they wish to retire to their rooms."

Kagome tried to see how Sesshoumaru was taking all this, but his gold eyes were averted.

Kikyou returned to her rooms, very much shaken. She sat woodenly on her bed and replayed the events during dinner.

It wasn't like her to attack needlessly. Sure, Kagome's jibe had pushed the wrong buttons. Sure, there was animosity between the cousins. But it had never been this bad. Never escalated to physical violence.

But Kikyou had not expected to have any miko powers left. Priestesses were told to remain maidens so that their power stayed pure. Did this mean that Kikyou had impure power? Dirty power? And she had flung it around the Higurashi house, the house she was to protect.

But that must be it, Kikyou reasoned. Normally, priestess powers are valued because their power differed from priestly power and youkai power. Their power was something so pure that youkai had difficulty fighting against with their own selfish power.

That Sesshoumaru had repelled her power so easily could only mean that her power was tainted. And even then, Kikyou had felt the strength of that bolt. Sesshoumaru should not have been able to repel her attack that easily, not even if it had been tainted. But he had acted as if it was as simple as breathing.

Kikyou felt herself shaking. Cold, she thought desperately. She was cold. And she pulled her blanket over her knees, but her trembling didn't stop.

Just then, Inuyasha came into her room. "Kikyou, is there something wrong?"

Kikyou looked up with wide eyes. "Out!" She shouted at him. "Get out! I don't want to see you here."

Kikyou felt him resisting her command, but ended up obeying. He walked out of her room with rigid movements.

Suddenly, everything was calm around Kikyou again. She felt herself go numb. And even Inuyasha wouldn't be able to disturb her peace.

She let her head fall down to her knees and felt tears falling. She was crying. But what did it matter? She was a fallen priestess. Kagome was right: Kikyou had no purpose to begin with. No Shikon no Tama to protect. No family to love or cherish. She had slept with a monster whom she had thought she loved to control him. And now that she controlled him, she didn't feel any better.

She couldn't even do her duty to protect the Higurashi house because she had just attacked the heir.

"I'm sorry," Kagome apologized quietly to Sango without looking at her friend as Sango entered her room.

"It's okay," Sango accepted easily as she sat down on the bed next to Kagome. "We all have our moody moments."

Kagome smiled weakly. She had felt agitated the whole day, and now she just felt tired. Maybe it was being holed up inside in winter. Maybe it was the snow. Maybe it was because her father was away and possibly in danger.

Still, it was no excuse.

"I... don't know what came over me."

Kagome had wanted to ask Sesshoumaru if it had been him. But he had not been in her suite after dinner, and Kagome was too tired to search out the entire wing for him. Besides, she didn't know what she would say when she saw him. Ask him if he was to blame—as ridiculous as that sounded? Should she thank him? Reprimand him? Pretend none of it had happened? Kagome didn't want a confrontation.

"You were edgy," Sango explained easily for Kagome. "It's okay. I would be worried too if my father were dealing with a disagreeable youkai."

Kagome felt herself smile at that comment despite her worries. "Your father's a taijiya. Disagreeable youkai are the only ones he deals with."

"And he deals with them efficiently, too," Sango added, pride clear in her voice. "Did you ask him to defend you?"

"Huh?" Kagome was surprised by the sudden change in subject. "Of course not. You were there."

"Well, sometimes telepathy can develop from blood-bonds."

"What?" Kagome wasn't quite sure she had heard correctly. There were rumors of dark priests and priestesses developing telepathy through blood magic... She supposed that it made sense that blood-bonds might develop into telepathy as well.

Kagome felt a sudden wave of panic; She didn't want Sesshoumaru to know what she thought about certain things. Especially when they pertained to him.

"Never mind," Sango waved the thought away. "It's unusual that he would defend you, you know."

Kagome sighed. "I still have a hard time believing that it was actually him. Out of all of us, he was the most nonchalant."

"Oh, it's him," Sango reaffirmed darkly. "The wall was definitely made of youki, and not Shippou's or Kirara's. That he could manipulate his youki that quickly, that precisely, and that easily... Kagome you have to be careful of him."

Kagome nodded. "But he did protect me. Maybe I should trust him instead."

Sango turned to look out the window. "Youkai can't be trusted. Except Kirara and Shippou, but they were raised in human civilization."

Kagome remained silent for a while. Then, "Sango?"

Sango shook her head, as if ridding herself of old memories. "I deal with youkai everyday, Kagome. And they all love carnage. They don't care about others, only about how others can benefit them. They don't love their mates—they mate with a bond. They... are not raised to be gentle or loving or considerate."

Kagome flashed Sango a smile. "Then all the more reason to show them love, right?"

"No," Sango disagreed grimly. "You can't teach old dogs new tricks. They'll just turn vicious."

Kagome was just about to blow out the light when she found Sesshoumaru standing in the doorway to her bedroom, a silent mirage.

"Sesshoumaru," she greeted, but then realized that she had no idea what to say. She felt uncomfortable with him just watching from the door, though, even if he probably stayed awake the entire nights that he spent beside her. That was under cover of darkness. And she was asleep, so she couldn't worry.

"My lady," Sesshoumaru replied. "Kagome."

Then, he fell silent, too. After a slight pause, he asked evenly, "Are you going to punish me?"

"No," Kagome answered immediately. That was one issue she had settled after Sango had left. "You were defending me. I'm not going to punish you for defending me."

He wished that she would punish him, keep him in his place. Without that, he found it hard to hold onto his anger and hate. And he needed his anger and hate, because otherwise, he would truly be nothing but a slave, groveling to keep his mistress happy.

Yet Sesshoumaru felt a part of him relax. A part of him that he didn't even know had worried. After all, he had been punished often enough by his previous owners. Kagome, though, had been different since the beginning. Special. And Sesshoumaru realized that if she too decided to punish him... he would lose something.

Lose what, exactly, he had yet to figure out.

"I—" They both started speaking at the same time.

Kagome continued when Sesshoumaru stopped. "I wanted to thank you. For protecting me."

Sesshoumaru nodded once. "I was only doing my duty."

Kagome didn't know how she felt about that. On the one hand, that Sesshoumaru gave duty any worth at all signified that on some level he still maintained his honor. On the other hand, duty was cold and hard, and Kagome had almost hoped that Sesshoumaru had a more personal reason for protecting her.

She was being silly, Kagome told herself. She should be glad that Sesshoumaru had no feelings for her. He was her blood-bound, and she would be taking advantage of him if she asked him for anything more than his duty. Even if some owners considered pleasuring in bed part of the duty.

Even if he weren't a blood-bound, he was still a youkai. Her mother had warned her against youkai. Sango, too. Even Kikyou distrusted youkai after her friendship with Inuyasha.

Kagome nodded.

"I..." Sesshoumaru started, but found that he was afraid of Kagome's reaction. Not that she would punish him, which he had handled enough times already, but that she would be angry at him. Or disappointed.

But Kagome was already disappointed, Sesshoumaru knew, though he didn't know why. She had tried to hide it after his last comment, but he could see it in her face as she looked away from him. Even if he hadn't seen her, he would have known from the blood-bond.

Being a human—even from a family of priestesses—Kagome would not know about blood-bonds. Sesshoumaru, though, had had five centuries to accustom himself to the bond. He knew everything that could be done through the blood-bond, by his owners and by him. Feeling his owner's feelings was one, and he was used to constant vigilance against his owners' moods, as well as holding in his anger at his owners' glee when he was punished.

It was how Sesshoumaru had sensed Kagome's shock and fear during the dinner, and before Sesshoumaru had had time to think about his actions, he had already made a wall of his youki and absorbed Kikyou's attack. He still didn't know why it had felt so natural or so necessary to protect her.

The blood-bond was how Sesshoumaru could sense Kagome's disappointment so acutely now. But not the anger that usually accompanied his former owners' disappointments in him. Instead, he felt a bit of regret.

And Sesshoumaru couldn't figure out what he had done to cause her disappointment and regret. He felt as if he had done something wrong for the first time since he became a blood-bound, and he didn't even know what it was.

He hated this guilt and doubted that anything he said could make it worse. "I caused the agitation at dinner today."

Sesshoumaru braced for pain—he would endure that stoically—or at least a torrent of angry words. Instead, when Kagome looked up, there was only confusion in her eyes. "You couldn't have."

Sesshoumaru held in a sigh. His mistress didn't know the first thing about youkai or blood-bonds, apparently. He hated this waiting for her anger, but he explained anyway. "Youkai are powerful... more so than ordinary humans and sometimes even more than priestesses and priests. So, when they are agitated, some youkai broadcast their agitation. This way, the humans can go to safety and save the youkai a fight.

"Priests and priestesses, though, are especially sensitive to these broadcasts and since they are supposed to protect humans, they become very edgy if a youkai broadcasts agitation. Since both you and Kikyou are priestesses, you both responded to that. I would say that the little kitsune was more easily upset today, too, since he can sense it too."

Kagome blinked twice before she started speaking slowly. "So... you were agitated. Kikyou and I felt it—never mind that I am not a priestess... and we became snappy..."

Sesshoumaru nodded jerkily.

"Why were you agitated? Is something wrong?"

A moment passed before Sesshoumaru processed what Kagome had asked. Her tone wasn't angry. Or accusative. It sounded... concerned. But that couldn't be. He had just caused a scene at a formal dinner. With a guest. And she wondered what was wrong with him? He thought she needed to get her head re-examined.

Kagome pushed. "Do you need something?"

She knew that he was passive and used to being a blood-bound. So, she had tried to think of all the things he would need. He had a bed and food. He was allowed to roam the house. He could read the books or play any of the instruments if he needed a way to pass time...

"I would like to go outside," Sesshoumaru answered quietly.

Kagome felt her cheeks heat up. Of course. How could she be so stupid? She took a walk in the garden everyday. Kikyou practiced her archery in the morning. How could she not remember that she hadn't given him permission to go outside? Part of it, Kagome admitted, was that she thought of the gardens as part of the house. Strictly speaking, though, the gardens were part of the estate, separate from the house, and the blood-bond would make that distinction.

"Of course you are allowed to go outside," Kagome tried to rectify the situation. She had basically put him under house arrest for a week and a half. "Here, I'll show you the gardens."

"It's okay. It's not that important," Sesshoumaru said even as he followed Kagome meekly down the hall. He added quietly, "Thank you."

Sesshoumaru stepped into the chill winter night. The smell of fresh snow was still in the air. Kagome followed just a step behind him and he could feel her shivering in the cold. The stupid girl had been in such a hurry to let him go outside that she hadn't even put on a coat over her thin kimono. Sesshoumaru was about to remove his own boa so he wouldn't have to notice her shivering when he suddenly felt a sharp surge of wanting.

Violent wanting.

Sesshoumaru gritted his teeth against the need. It was not yet spring. He shouldn't be feeling this. Not now. Not here. And not around Kagome, who had brought him outside so his agitation would stop, not so that he could kill anybody who provoked him right now.

And right now, he would, because he was in heat. Like an animal. And his youki was augmented.

Sesshoumaru refused to let anybody see the animal side of him taking control.

At least, he refused anybody to see and live to tell it.

Another surge of heat rushed up from the base of his spine, momentarily overwhelming his mind, but he fought for control and won.

Damn, he had stayed inside for too long. Remained calm and fucking gentle for too long. Every five years or so, he would come in heat in spring. The last several times this had happened, he had deflected lust with bloodlust.

Hot, red, mindless slaughter.

Even the stones of the castles had turned to dust by the time he was done.

But his current mistress hadn't done him any wrong yet. Despite her ignorance of the ways of the world, she hadn't actually intentionally caused him pain.

A part of Sesshoumaru wanted to let lose the killing rage anyway; After all, she had been the one that repressed his being in heat by not letting him outside earlier, and causing it to be all the more explosive. But another part of him recognized that she hadn't known what it would do to him.

Sesshoumaru remembered Kagome's face as he asked to be let outside. Guilt for her ignorance and negligence had spilled over her warm brown eyes. He had felt so much guilt through the bond so that he had even tried to soothe her. Tell her that it wasn't serious.

Right now, he was concentrating very hard to keep up that fa├žade.

Besides, even slaughter could not completely satiate the lust. The need to take someone, make her his, mark her as his—the need to drive himself deep into a woman and know that she surrendered herself to him drove him.

"Are you ok?" She asked him from behind him, her tentative touch on his arm jarring him out of his thoughts, even if there was a layer of silk between them.

Without turning around, he growled low, "Go away."

He wouldn't level her castle, but he could always go elsewhere. Or he could...

"What's wrong?" He felt her approaching him. He caught her tantalizing scent and knew: He couldn't find another woman to relieve himself.

Because at that moment, it didn't matter that she was his mistress or that she could punish him; the only one he wanted was her.

He would have her or he would slaughter her, her family, and her friends.

He hadn't damned her. She had damned herself.

In one swift movement, he turned around and faced her. By her gasp and quick step back, he knew that his eyes were red, that he was more beast than man.

Before she back up any further, his hands clamped down hard on her arms, holding her in place.

He answered her, "I'm in heat."

"As in, you need to..." Kagome trailed off, not knowing quite how to finish the sentence.

Right then, she saw his blood-red eyes that she had only heard of in Grandpa's stories where youkai lost control of their mind and let their demon side take over. It almost never happened to full youkai—but Grandpa had never mentioned youkai being in heat either.

All of Sango's warnings came to mind in a rush. Kikyou's distrust. Mother's quiet efforts to guide her away from him. No, she hadn't forgotten about their warnings. She had merely thought differently. In the past weeks, he had been gentle and caring, if a bit taciturn. He had been considerate and sensitive. Kagome had thought she knew him better than them. That she would need to bring out a more defiant side of him. Let him gain a temper.

But now, he was in heat. And he certainly had a temper.

Kagome had heard about youkai being in heat. Sango had given her an implied warning. Kikyou had mentioned something in passing, once, after she had argued with Inuyasha. Only male youkai went in heat. And when they were in heat, they were mindless savages, brutal, cruel, unrelentingly ruthless and completely unaware of what they were doing. They didn't even remember their brutality afterwards.

But the only way for Sesshoumaru release his lust without bed play would be through bloodlust. And Kagome had no doubt that with his power—Sango said he had lots and Kagome felt more inclined to trust Sango now—he could destroy much of the castle.

Kagome stepped closer to him, intending to ask him... something, though she wasn't quite sure what.

Sesshoumaru covered her mouth with his own before she could utter another sound. She expected it to be messy and painful, but instead, his lips were warm and gentle and intoxicating.

When he lifted his head a moment later, Kagome was breathless and dazed.

Sesshoumaru's hand tightened around Kagome's arms again, his nails almost breaking skin. "Leave," he told her again. "Now."

For a moment, Kagome couldn't understand what he had said to her. She was focusing on staying standing. When she finally understood, she looked down at his hand around her arm.

Sesshoumaru saw her look down. He was holding onto her and his body did not want to let go. A voice told him that he would never want to let go, but he was quickly losing the clarity of mind he had gained from kissing her. With great effort, Sesshoumaru forced himself to release her, when he wanted nothing more than to have her to himself.

Concerned, Kagome asked, "Wh—"

"Don't." Sesshoumaru said through clenched teeth. The stupid girl didn't seem to get the message. He was in heat—for her, would act no better than an animal in a couple more minutes, and all she could do was prattle.

Kagome looked Sesshoumaru. He was beautiful, his silver hair fanning out behind him in stark contrast with the night and his body hard from his restraint. The silver moon on his forehead glowed.

Since the very first night, Kagome had wondered what it would be like...

But he didn't seem to welcome that kind of attention and she didn't want him to feel obligated if she asked.

Now, though, Kagome could rationalize it and say it was for his own good. Besides, he probably wouldn't even remember it.

Kagome made her decision.