For all her exploring and sightseeing, Kagome saw nary a soul. That was an oddity in itself. How could such a huge castle stay so clean without at least a dozen servants bustling about? Still, days of searching went by and the only living things she saw were Miroku and Sesshomaru. Both were rare sights.
Sesshomaru showed himself only for breakfast and only to ask how she fared, then was off. Kagome had attempted to follow him once, curious and adventuresome thing that she was, to see where he disappeared to for hours and hours on end, but he always seemed to vanish when rounding a corner or entering a room. Kagome had gotten very creative in the curses she let out in all her frustrations.
Miroku, she only saw when he came to serve her meals and again when he returned to take the dishes away. Kagome started slightly when Miroku came in with a tray of food, as if he had been summoned by her very line of thinking. She frowned at him, contemplating on whether or not she should outright ask him about the others in the castle. Miroku turned to her, an amused smile on his face.
“Dear me, it seems you are forever frowning at me. What have I done to earn your ire this time, Lady Kagome? I’ve kept my hands to myself as of late, at least I think I have. My mind grows foggy when I’m in your presence. Perhaps I am drunk off your beauty,” he teased setting down dishes. The savory smell of veal stew reached her nose in tantalizing waves. There were rolls dotted with nuts and raisins along with a small crock of butter as well. Stomach growling in demand at the delicious sight before her, Kagome went to the table to have a seat. Used to Miroku’s teasing by now, she ignored his flattery.
“The food in this place is marvelous,” Kagome sighed, breathing in the smells contently, though she eyed Miroku sidelong through her lashes. “Is it you who cooks it?” she said, in what she hoped was an easy tone.
Miroku raised a brow, not the least bit fooled by her ‘sly’ questioning. “Not at all,” he replied, pouring her a glass of milk. “For all my talents, and mind you-there are quite a few of them; I haven’t a lick of culinary skill.”
“Oh?” Kagome asked surprised. “Then who should I thank for my meals?”
“Come now, Lady Kagome. You are in a castle full of enchantments. Surely you can use your imagination a bit?”
“You mean this is magic food?” Kagome asked wide-eyed. She’d been hoping for another companion, but this thought was something marvelous in itself.
She narrowed her gaze at the violet eyed man as he began to laugh aloud.
“Ah, my lady, forgive me,” he said, now nearly doubled over. “I did not think you’d take me so seriously! No, my pearl, there is one other in this castle.” He wiped an eye, a huge grin still adorning that smug face of his.
“I’m surprised you haven’t seen her, for all your exploring. Yes, I know about it,” he said when she gaped at him. “For all the size of this place, not much happens in its walls without us knowing it. We are charged with its care after all. What good would we be if we could not keep track of one girl parading around?”
Kagome did her best to keep from scowling at the man, but from his grin, she knew she hadn’t been very successful. Why did this man love to irk her so?
“Well, master know-it-all,” she said with a sniff. “Then you should be able to tell me who this person is.”
“What? Tired of my company already? You wound me,” he said, feigning a hurt expression.
Rather than answer out right, Kagome pointedly gave her spoon a desperate look and shoved a spoonful of stew in her mouth. The mouthful was bigger than was polite, but her little joke was not lost on him.
“So cruel,” he muttered, holding a hand over his heart as though it hurt him.
“I do very much want to speak with her. Especially now that I know she’s a woman. I won’t have to worry about wandering hands while I am having a conversation,” she said with a sharp look, putting another spoonful of stew in her mouth. It really was very good.
“They’ve a mind of their own. They roam wherever they will and it is I who has to deal with the consequences of their actions. Such is the nature of my curse.”
Kagome rolled her eyes, though a small smile escaped her. This man was just too silly to take seriously.
Miroku took her silence as a hint and began speaking once more.
“I can only imagine the reason she hasn’t met you yet is because she doesn’t want to.”
Kagome’s brows furrowed together as she picked the seeds out of her roll thoughtfully. She quietly grew upset that she might have somehow offended the other woman. Did she have her sights set on Miroku and didn’t want to speak to her because of the flirting? Was she miffed that Kagome hadn’t sought her out to thank her for her labor earlier on?
“Now now,” Miroku said patting her shoulder soothingly. He retracted the well meaning hand, when she shot him with a distrustful gaze.
“Sango is… Well she is a very reserved person. It takes her a long while to warm up to a person. Give her time. She will make herself known to you sooner or later. Once you are in her good graces, she is one of the greatest friends you can ask for. Charming creature that you are, I’m sure you will earn her friendship faster than I did,” he said with a wink.
“Now, if you are done? I must get these dishes down to the kitchen. Sango is not the most patient of women and if she believes I am shirking my work she will give me a few knocks on the head.”
“Sounds like a sensible woman,” Kagome said with a teasing smile, letting him take her now empty bowl.
“Gods all protect me,” Miroku muttered under his breath. “I’ll pray you two never meet. I have a feeling I won’t live to tell anyone of it if you two were to join forces.”
Kagome giggled, watching him leave the room. Annoying as she often times found him, he really did know how to cheer her up. She was thankful she had at least one friend in this dreary place. Sesshomaru…Well, he was nice enough, but he was forever going. It was as if he thought he was doing her a favor hiding from her. Scary looking or no, she would have welcomed any sort of company at this point. She was felt that her loneliness was almost a tangible thing; pressing against her from all sides until she could scarcely breathe.
Rising from the table with a sigh, Kagome made her way to the library. Reading was one of the few things she could find to do that didn’t grow tedious. Weaving, gardening and the like busied her hands well enough, but her mind always wandered back to her own odd situation. She didn’t begrudge her promise exactly, nor did she have great love for it.
Choosing a thick tome of tales, she seated herself by a window and opened the crisp yellow pages. A flash of white startled her into looking up.
“Oh!” she breathed, when her eyes met crimson. “Sesshomaru! You aren’t- That is I thought you had left the castle for the day.”
His eyes lingered on the open book in her lap with an almost hungry look and…sadness? She couldn’t be sure.
“You will read aloud,” he said haughtily.
“Yes, master,” was her sarcastic remark. She sniffed when he gave her a look that could only be considered smug.
Still, it was nice having company for once. Quiet and strange though he was, Sesshomaru’s company was better than not at all. Making herself comfortable in her seat once more, Kagome smiled and began to read aloud. Sesshomaru followed suit, laying his great head on his front paws, watching her intently as the words poured from her lips. Not once during the reading did he interrupt with a comment or opinion. He simply watched.
After a few tales, Kagome’s voice began to crack from use. It was at this time that Sesshomaru rose gracefully to his feet and thanked her even going so far as to bow his head to her, much to Kagome’s surprise.
When he had gone, she remained in her cushioned seat by the window, gazing at the shelves and shelves of books. The sheer number told her that the owner had very much loved reading, but Sesshomaru had told her the castle had belonged to him when they’d first arrived hadn’t he?
If that was the case then perhaps he hadn’t always been a dog. Kagome tried to imagine what it was like not to be able to find comfort in the pages of a book for so simple a reason as not being able to turn a page. The thought was almost enough to bring tears to her eyes. Poor Sesshomaru…
Nestling herself deeper in her bed, Kagome let out a sleepy sigh of contentment. Stuffed with downy feathers, this bed was the softest thing Kagome had ever laid in. So cozy too...She had such a long day, that she almost drifted off to sleep immediately. A candle glowed in the corner of the room, emitting a warm and comforting glow. It’s very presence was strange though.
Usually any candles or lanterns she had vanished as soon as she laid her head on her pillow. She had it in her mind that it was the doing of her nightly guest. Maybe with the light she’d finally get to see his face…It would be nice to finally see the person she’d been sharing a bed with this whole time.
The door hinges groaned, as if her guest were summoned by her very thoughts. The breeze the door created sent the candles flames guttering, casting eerie shadows on the walls. Kagome’s stomach knotted in apprehension. She wasn’t fond of the shadows in this place. Always showing up in places they had no right to be and beckoning her in a queer fashion.
A shadow fell over her form as a figure stood in the doorway. Suddenly fearful, Kagome shut her eyes, feigning sleep. Her heart thumped wildly in her chest as she heard long steady footsteps nearing the bed. She felt the bed dip deeply as the person laid out next to her like they did every night.
Why she didn’t open her eyes, she couldn’t begin to say. The identity of her midnight guest was a mystery that plagued her night and day. Neither Sesshomaru nor Miroku would answer her questions no matter how she begged. Now that she was so close to finding out who he was for herself, she could not bring herself to pry her eyes open. A sense of foreboding so strong filled her that it almost robbed her of her breath.
You’re being stupid!, she told herself almost furiously. It’s just a man. You felt his face the first night he stole into your bed like some letch. Just a man…Just a perverted man who can’t find his own bed, that’s nothing to be scared of. Souta would call you a baby if he saw you now.
The thought annoyed her so much that she opened her eyes then and there…to be greeted by the sight of a shoulder. Kagome huffed with irritation, both with herself and the situation she was in. It was a normal enough looking shoulder, a little big mayhap, but not the shoulder of some creature. Steeling herself, Kagome craned her neck upwards slowly.
Just a man
Just a man…
Her breath caught in her throat when her eyes finally met his face.
“Oh,” Kagome breathed, bringing a trembling hand to her lips. In the place where his face should have been was a large gaping black hole.
She watched in terror as the face turned to her. His hand reached out to touch her. She screamed.
Kagome bolted up from her bed. Her breathes came in ragged and shuddering gasps, sweat rolled off her body in sheets. Her eyes shot to the candle…only to find it wasn’t there.
The room was much brighter than it had been only moments before. The light that brightened the room streamed in steadily from the windows, not from the flicker of a flame. Kagome’s face scrunched in confusion. Braving a look to her side, she was relieved to see the bed was empty save herself.
It had all been a dream