“Good morning lady Kagome,” Miroku said with a smile as Kagome walked into the sitting room. “I trust you slept well?”
Kagome wondered suspiciously if the stranger had been Miroku after all. Taking a seat at the table, Kagome crossed her arms and observed him with a stern gaze. He raised a brow at her, but didn’t look like he was up to any mischief nor did he look guilty.
“And what have I done to deserve such a harsh look from my lady? You aren’t still sore about the bath joke are you? I was only teasing after all,” he said as he laid a basket of glazed pastries on the table. He’d hope that wasn’t it, or else he’d be in for a dull time. What was the use of having another person around if he could not even have a bit of fun.
“Were you the one that crawled into my bedroom last night?” Kagome asked bluntly. She watched carefully as his eyes widened just the tiniest bit before he schooled his features back into its usual playfulness.
“No my lady, perhaps you were dreaming of me. I do have that effect on women and if you are missing my presence so much I would be more than happy to spend my nights by your side.” His words were just a little too forced and a little too hurried for her liking.
“No, please don’t. There is a chance I imagined it, I was exhausted after all.” There was no way Kagome had imagined that man in her bed last night, but if Miroku was so determined not to talk about it then Kagome would leave it be… for now anyways.
Miroku didn’t exactly run away after their conversation, if one could call it that, but it was something similar to that. Everything about his posture screamed ‘I’m busy right now! Please don’t bother me with crazy questions that I wouldn’t possible know the answers to anyway.’
Kagome chewed on roll of bread thoughtfully as she thought over Miroku’s strange behavior. What was the big deal anyways? All he had to do was tell her that the man had gotten the wrong room. There was nothing wrong with making a simple mistake…right?
Now that she thought about it, he had looked a little frightened when she had questioned him. Why was that? Miroku had really wanted her to forget it and pretend like it hadn’t happened. Was it because he would get into horrible trouble with Sesshomaru? He couldn’t be so cruel as to punish Miroku for such a simple mistake…could he? Sesshomaru had be kind to her in making sure she was comfortable and he had made sure that her family was happy as well, but could it all be a front? Was he tricking her and for what possible reason? What could he possibly gain from having her in the first place?
She sighed in exasperation as she listlessly stirred her porridge. All of this was really starting to frustrate her. Her life had been so simple before she encountered the giant talking dog-who may or may not be cruel- with silver castles and healing magic, but for the life of her she couldn’t come to regret coming here. Her mother’s life was what mattered most here and if Sesshomaru really did turn out to be cruel then who was to say he wouldn’t take that life back? No, she would not take that chance. She would stick it out here and stick it out here and try to figure out what Sesshomaru wanted from here and if she could, she would try to figure out what was frightening Miroku so much.
Miroku breathed a little easier once he set down his empty trays in the safety of the kitchen. Kagome was proving to be a bit more cunning and stubborn than he had originally anticipated. If only for her sake, he hoped she let the manner of the stranger in her bed alone. In fact, he hoped she’d leave everything as it was and take his word when he said it would be better if she didn’t know. Alas, he knew this kind of woman.
He jerked slightly when he felt slender arms wrap around his waist. He stiffened further when he heard that all too familiar laugh.
“Kagura, remove yourself from me at once,” he said through gritted teeth. She laughed all the more but released him just the same.
“Now now, is that any way to speak to a lady? Especially one who has been so kind as to let you work for me when you have broken my heart so?” she smiled smugly as she leaned against the counter with her arms crossed over her chest. She was still as beautiful as ever but the only thing he wanted to do to her was strangle her.
“I would appreciate it if you kept your benevolence to yourself, my lady.” The smile she gave him this time was a cruel one.
“Now don’t you worry your pretty head, I only need to talk about the girl. Have a seat,” she ordered.
“No, I am quite –uff!” he said as she pointed her finger at him, her powers forcing him to the ground. He glowered fiercely as he felt his words die in his mouth as well. ‘Witch,’ he thought contemptuously as her magic continued to work through him, locking him in place and keeping him from speaking.
“I just had an enlightening visit with the girl’s family.”
“Mpff!” Miroku cried through clenched lips as his eyes widened in alarm.
“Relax, they are unharmed,” she said rolling her eyes. “They don’t even realize what I am, but I did learn a lot about our little Kagome,” her ruby eyes shining with anger and determination. He watched with wary eyes as she gracefully made her way to him.
“Mmm!” he exclaimed as she yanked his hair painfully, forcing him to look into her heated gaze.
“I warn you Miroku, you tell the little wretch anything about how this deal works and I will make sure you suffer for it. Am I clear?” Miroku glared at her but hummed in compliance. She smirked at him before throwing his head back, the force nearly knocking him over. “Remember what I have said Miroku. I won’t be as kind to you as I was in the past.” With that she melted into the shadows and was gone.
Miroku gasped as he was suddenly released from Kagura’s spell. He stood quickly and looked about for something, anything to distract himself and to still the fine tremors in his hands. Remembering the trays he’d brought with him, he set to wiping them down with a rag. He cursed under his breath at his suddenly clumsy movements. Miroku loathed the fact that Kagura had this affect on him.
“Miroku, I need you to- What happened?” Sango cut off, entering the kitchen. Miroku refused to meet her questioning gaze. She’d know immediately what had come to pass if he did.
“Miroku?” Sango called again, this time much softer. “What’s wrong?”
“Everything will be fine, my love. Why don’t you prepare for an early lunch? Our guest could use a good meal,” he said half-heartedly. He gave a start when he felt her hand on his back. He hadn’t even heard her approach.
“You’re shaking,” she said frankly. She then wrapped her arms around him in a rare show of affection. Miroku idly wondered if he looked as surprised as he felt. Usually she was fending off his advances. He did a poor job indeed of hiding his fears if Sango though he needed a steadying embrace. He gave a humorless chuckle when he realized he did need it. He wanted her to erase the memory of Kagura’s touch from his mind. He needed to be close to his beloved…
Miroku gave the hands on his stomach a squeeze before removing them from his waist. He turned just in time to see the hurt in her eyes. Silly thing. Did she really think he would pass up the few times she was willing to be in his arms? Miroku smiled then pulled her into his arms wordlessly. He shut his eyes tight and buried his face in her hair, reveling in her warmth. It had been so long since they’d allowed themselves a moment.
Her long elegant fingers wound themselves into his hair and he felt his heart began to do curious things. Such simple actions on her part and yet he couldn’t help but become completely charmed by her every move. The very smitten lad was he.
Wholly overwhelmed by the abrupt wave of feelings, he began nuzzle her collar bone with the tip of his nose. Affection came easily to him, and he gave no second thought to the impulse, but Sango immediately became a statue in his arms. He frowned, knowing he erred and the moment was over.
“Miroku,” Sango began sternly, stepping out of his arms, and out of reach. “You know we can’t”
“I hadn’t really thought as far as that, my dear heart. It seems to me that you’ve spent too much time in my company if your mind takes you such ill mannered places.”
“This isn’t a joke, Miroku!” she shouted, suddenly looking furious.
“No,” he agreed easily. “But I’d rather treat it as such, than having you treat me like a villain.”
Her eyes shown over bright. He knew his words had cut her badly, but it was the truth. They couldn’t go on forever with her acting as though his every touch would burn the castle down around them.
“I have to see to our guest,” he murmured-leaving her to her own devices. He prayed to every god he could name that Kagome would truly be the one to end the curse once and for all. He wasn’t sure how much more heartache anyone in the castle could endure without shattering to pieces.
Her midnight guest long since forgotten, Kagome spent her morning exploring her new home. She was aghast with all the splendor she had seen. In addition to the many more chambers, much like her own, she had spied; a music room with instruments she could never hope to name, a sitting room- one that she supposed noble ladies spent their time embroidering in, a laundry room with a great many bronze tubs in it. There had also been a room full of weaving looms and spinning wheels for thread and yarn. She’d also seen an armory, the only interest that held for her was the long bows that were so long in length, she had no hope of ever drawing them.
And last, but Kagome thought it the most splendid of all, was the library. She’d thought there were a great number of them in her room, but that was nothing compared to the vast number of shelves filled with many leather bound books. She felt just as nervous as she was giddy, stepping into the room. The likes of her didn’t dare touch books as fine as this at home, much less read them.
It was true that Kagome had the ability to read, but that was a rarity all in its own. Her family was a hunting one before her papa had died. He had brought in enough game to feed his own family as well as sell it to neighbors to profit from. He fletched arrows, and even carved bows of his own to sell when he could spare the time. Reading wasn’t needful, nor was money plentiful enough that they could afford books-a costly thing to own in such a small village. That being what it was her family had never bothered to learn. It had been that way for ages. The only reason she even knew how to read at all was because a kindly priest had wandered into their village and taken refuge under her family’s roof. In payment for his stay, he taught Kagome her letters and the useful skill of reading.
Kagome was very grateful to that priest. It was because of him that Kagome was able to get a small job working for the village healer after her father had died. The old woman had been getting on in years and could scarce see the written words even if she held the book to her nose. For a few coins, Kagome had read to her and sought out the plants described in that book. She taught Kagome something of poultices and ointments when she wasn’t so busy with her customers and even taught her to make her own herbal soaps and charms. When she had passed on, she left the book in Kagome’s care.
That book had been one of the very few items Kagome held dear in her heart. She felt sorry for herself in not having thought of grabbing it before Sesshomaru had whisked her out the door. The book wasn’t nearly as fine as these of course, but she had loved in none the less. Kagome shook her head, a rueful smile playing at the corners of her lips. She could sit her with all her wishfulness and heartfelt sighs, but she’d be no closer to her home.
Determinedly trying to make the best of her situation, she thrust those thoughts out of her mind. She’d figure out a way home later, but for now she would try her best to enjoy her stay in an enchanted castle. Kagome returned her gaze to the leather bound novels before her and set to examining the titles on the spines.
The shelf before her seemed to be dedicated to books about music and the history of it. Kagome pulled out a book at random and quickly leafed through it. This particular one happened to be on reading the notes of sheet music. Puzzled by the complexity-at least in her mind- of the notes she soon grew enraptured by the how’s and the why’s depicted. So fascinated was she, that she started terribly when she saw the shadow of a hand reaching towards her own shadow on the shelf before her. The book slipped from her hand and clattered to the floor with a heavy thunk.
“I’m sorry!” she said hurridly as she twirled.
Kagome was startled to see that she had been talking to air. There was no one there! But she had clearly seen…
She turned back to the shelf and nearly jumped out of her skin. The strange shadow was still there, grasping furiously at her own as if trying to garner her attention. Well it had it!
‘Ghost!’ her mind cried as she turned and ran for dear life. Kagome had never really considered herself a coward-she’d marched right up to Sesshomaru after all! And him being the most frightful looking creature she’d ever encountered. Still, there was such eeriness about that shadow creature. She couldn’t help but feel there was something very very wrong about it.
Back in the safety of her chambers, she slammed the door shut and leaned against it with a heavy sigh.
So much for enjoying her stay.