Author’s Note: Welcome to Waiting for You, the companion story to Dreaming of You! Initially, this was going to be tacked on at the end of Dreaming of You, but I’ve decided to have it be its own thing instead. Where Dreaming of You focuses on young Sesshoumaru, Waiting for You focuses on older Sesshoumaru in Kagome’s time. Unfortunately, that means that updates for this will be very sporadic. You shouldn’t have to read Dreaming of You in order to understand Waiting for You, but it’s recommended. I hope everyone enjoys!
Disclaimer: Inuyasha & Final Act are all owned by Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Viz Media & Madmen Entertainment.
The soft drone of the alarm filled the room as I stood before the mirrored surface of the closet door. It was unnecessary. I had been up for hours, adrenaline humming through my body, making it impossible to sleep. The alarm was merely a reminder to leave the room instead of waking up. Not that I needed a reminder. I had been waiting for this day for this day far too long; the date and time burned into my memory.
There were so many risks to what I was about to do. I had spent the past sixteen years imagining every outcome, preparing for every challenge, determined to make things turn out right. But when it came down to it, everything was out of my hands. As much as I despised the lack of control, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. The events of today would happen regardless, and the only thing I could do was to bring some semblance of peace to those who held an unknown place in my pack. If everything went as it should, though, that place would no longer be unknown to them by the end of the day.
Fastening a set of plain silver moon cufflinks at my wrists, I watched as long silver hair shortened and grew darker; golden eyes deepened to a rich brown and markings vanished as if they had never been. The dark suit that made my original coloring pop instead blended with the new, muted tones. The overall illusion was flawless, one I took pride in watching take place every day as I prepared to leave our safe-haven for the outside saturated with humans. Shippou had spent centuries perfecting the charms, each version growing more realistic than the last.
Striding across the room, I quickly turned off the alarm, taking the time to glance around the room one last time before leaving. Everything was in its place; bed neatly made, dirty clothes in the hamper, and just like every time I looked at the room, I wanted to howel to let the deep well of loss free. Even if I wasn’t supposed to be somewhere soon, I couldn’t allow that to happen. Not with our son living here. He was having a hard enough time without his mother. Turning away sharply, I strode across the room. It wouldn’t be much longer now. We just needed to be a bit more patient.
As soon as I opened the bedroom door, I was hit with the smell of grilled fish. When I first placed the scent barrier around the bedroom, it was more out of habit than anything else. I had spent far too long with children in the house that could smell things humans couldn’t and none of them needed to know what their parents did behind closed doors. But I had soon learned that what I had once thought was unnecessary for our current situation was far from the truth. Shippou had grown quite bored waiting for time to catch up and began experimenting in the kitchen. Tyring to learn to cook all of his mother’s favorite dishes. It was not uncommon to find me hiding behind that very scent barrier for my own protection.
“You’re up rather early,” I greeted as Shippou sat at the kitchen table nibbling on his breakfast. He hadn’t dawned his own illusion just yet, his flame colored hair gathered at the nape of his neck and falling down his back nearly as long as mine was at his age. His five tails twitched around his legs, the only sign he was irritated. Having so many tails at his age was extraordinary, yet completely expected, considering who raised him. He thankfully hadn’t had the same upbringing as me, but that didn’t make him weak by any means.
“You’re not going without me.” Ah, no wonder he was so irritated. As much as I would love to leave him here, I couldn’t and, more importantly, wouldn’t do that to him. But it was understandable he would think otherwise. The last sixteen years hadn’t been easy on either of us and without his mother there as a buffer between us, our relationship had suffered.
“Of course not.” I joined him at the table, pouring myself a cup of tea. His hand paused halfway to his lips, rice and fish held precariously at the end of his chopsticks. It hurt thinking he truly believed I would keep him from coming. “You will need to be on your best behavior. Your grandmother will be distraught as it is.”
“Hn.” He smiled before shoving the nearly forgotten bite into his mouth. His forest hued eyes shone with happiness, and I hid my smirk with my teacup. I truly wasn’t as unreasonable as he believed. “When are we going to go?” He was nearly bouncing in his seat, now that he knew he wouldn’t need to fight me to come along, not that I blamed him any. I was just as eager to be on our way.
“Soon.” Glancing at the clock on the wall quickly, I tried to gage how long it would take us in the morning traffic to arrive just as she was leaving for school. “We should probably head out as soon as you finish eating.” It was like a switch flipped and all the centuries of etiquette lessons I had given him were lost. Food was shoveled into his mouth faster than Inuyasha with ramen. It really was undignified, but I couldn’t bring myself to scold him.
“Done!” He announced, immediately gathering his dishes to clean them without needing to be told. Considering some of the horror stories I’ve heard from coworkers, Shippou really was a gem. Oh, he pulled pranks better than any Kitsune I had ever met. That was his nature. And any son of mine would be the best at what they wanted to do. All of our other children, out in the world, living their own lives were much the same. Shippou aged slower than his siblings because of his full youkai heritage, but that didn’t change the expectations we held him to.
Finishing my tea, I joined Shippou in the kitchen. Though I was just as anxious to get a move on, I still took my time to clean my used cup and the teapot as if there was nothing pressing waiting. Poor Shippou bounced in place, already finished with his dishes and waiting for me. “Why don’t you put your human illusion in place? By the time you do, I’ll be finished and we can leave.” He didn’t respond, but I could feel the surge in his youki as he dawned his own illusion.
Dishes cleaned, I turned off the water before facing my son. Bright red hair had darkened to black, the highlights matching my own particular shade. Where Kagome’s hair had just a hint of blue highlighting her raven strands, Shippou and I had a rich chocolate brown. His eyes though, those were all Kagome. The deep sapphire was a perfect imitation, one that made my heat twinge to see. He was marking himself for all to see who’s child he was. It was a new disguise, and one I couldn’t fault him for. No matter how hard it was to see those eyes again.
I patted his head, much as I used to do to Rin all those centuries ago, letting my pride for him shine through my eyes. “Come.” He smiled, following me without question as we left our small house on the outskirts of Tokyo.
It wasn’t technically my first visit to the Sunset Shrine, nor was it Shippou’s. We had made a trip as a family a few centuries ago when we knew it would be safe; when no one Kagome would have known was alive. And secretly, I would take Kagome to some of the festivals her Grandfather and Father orchestrated where she could wear a mask to hide who she was. It wasn’t often, mainly when she was impatient for time to catch up and she could finally reunite with her family, but each time left her more at peace than when she arrived. It was one of the greatest gifts I could have given her. Unfortunately, I doubted this visit would fill us with the same sense of peace.
We could hear the screams of a young boy before we even started our assent up the long staircase. Even with our youki suppressed, I could feel Shippou’s uneasiness. He might not have heard the stories of Kagome’s early days when she first fell down the well. But I had. I knew how distraught her family would be. It was exactly why we were here. It wasn’t something Kagome had asked of us, but she didn’t have to. Her family was my family, regardless if they knew it or not.
As we passed the torii, there was no resistance. Not that the shrine held no power. Quite the contrary, really. The Sunset Shrine was one of the most powerful shrines left in the modern world, all thanks to the Goshinboku. The ancient tree was far more sentient than most believed. Its roots spread across the whole of the shrine, preventing anyone who would dare cause harm to its charges from passing through the torii.
The scene that met us at the top of the stairs was everything I imagined it would be. Souta was arguing with his Grandfather inside the wellhouse, screaming about Kagome being kidnapped by a ghost that came through the well. Higurashi-san stood just in the wellhouse’s doorway, keeping out of the way of her son and Father-in-law as they searched the small space for Kagome. The look of terror deepening on her face as time passed and there continued to be no sign of Kagome cut me to the quick.
Feeling a slight tug on my left sleeve, I looked down at Shippou. He was nearly as distraught as his Grandmother. I knew he had likely romanticized what today’s visit was going to be like, and now, faced with the reality of it, didn’t know what to expect. He had lived his whole life knowing of youkai and most of it with knowledge of time travel. But he was seeing firsthand what those that didn’t have that opportunity reacted. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was wondering what Kagome’s first few days in Sengoku Jidai were like before she met him.
“It’s alright.” Patting his head, I hoped to reassure him. He nodded, but he wasn’t the only one to acknowledge the calming voice I was projecting. Not a heartbeat after the words passed my lips, Higurashi-san was facing me, doing everything in her power to hide the fear coursing through her.
“I’m sorry, but we’re experiencing a bit of an emergency and need to close the shrine for a bit.” Moving closer, I did everything to look as unassuming as possible. Kagome would never forgive me if I frightened her mother any more than she already was.
“I am aware. It is the reason I’ve come.” The shouting inside the well house ceased and not long after, Souta stuck his head outside the door, curious about what had captured his mother’s attention.
“Principal Taishou?” His confused question grabbed his mother’s attention. “What are you doing here?” I had spent the past year envisioning how this conversation would flow. How I would broach the subject of where Kagome had gone and why. How I would set their minds at ease for her relative safety. How she would return a hero when it was all done. But now that the moment was here, everything I had planned on saying went out the window. What could I, a relative stranger, tell this family that would help them and they would believe?
Turning my attention to Higurashi-san, I looked her right in the eyes and knew nothing but the brutal truth would suffice. Higurashi-san was a formidable woman, the suspicion shining deep within her brown eyes said as much. Without another thought, I reached for the cuff links that anchored my human illusion. I couldn’t feel the change as the illusion melted away, but I knew it was complete once all three of the human’s eyes widened in surprise. “My name is Sesshoumaru, and I come baring news of Kagome.” The wind blew across the shrine, and I watched as Higurashi-san’s eyes narrowed as they took in all of my youkai features.
“It’s you, Kagome’s friend she meets in her dreams. Aren’t you a little old to be spending time with her?” I nearly winced, not at all surprised at the near contempt coating her words. I had spent most of my youth assuming I would be too old for her as well. Today was Kagome’s fifteenth birthday, and I clearly looked well into my thirties in human years.
“Yes, and no. Is there a place we can talk?” Though she hesitated and clearly wanted to send me away, she took the risk and lead me inside. It wasn’t surprising that she was just as courageous as her daughter. Turning for a moment, I looked at Shippou. “Can you stay here for a moment?” It was clear to anyone who looked at my son that staying here was the last thing he wanted to do. But he also saw the precarious position we were in with his Grandmother. Instead of arguing, he just nodded, looking as forlorn as he did sixteen years ago when we last saw Kagome. Patting his head one last time, I followed Higurashi-san into the family home.
Automatically slipping off my shoes, I nearly buckled as Kagome’s fresh scent assaulted me. Outside, it was a lot easier to ignore, even near the wellhouse where she was last standing. The pollution of Tokyo a soothing balm to the raw wound left flayed without Kagome by my side. But here, inside her home, blocked from the vile stench of the toxic fumes, there was no saving me from the yearning ache of her loss.
Soon… She would return to us soon… And until that time, I needed to be there for her family. Locking down my emotions nearly as strongly as I had in my youth, I ignored the pain and loss clawing inside me and instead calmly following the Higurashi matriarch deeper into the home. By the time I joined her in the dining room, she had already set out some tea. After taking a seat across from the woman, I carefully lifted the teacup in my clawed hand. The delicate aroma of jasmine played with my senses, helping to clear out the initial whiff of Kagome. The light and floral flavor washed over my tongue as I took a polite sip of the relaxing respite.
“So…” Higurashi-san began, and not in a place I had expected her to. “You said you came with news of Kagome?” She was the picture of calm; hands, resting gently in her lap, but her scent give her away. She was anxious, worried over Kagome and what danger she was in, and concerned over the perceived threat to her virtue an old man such as I presented.
“The most important thing to remember is that Kagome is safe, and that she will return.” The relief on her face was nearly palpable. “Kagome and I do meet in our dreams; however, it is my younger self she meets.” Brows furrowed, Higurashi-san brought her hands up from her lap to soak up the warmth of the teacup.
“I don’t think I understand.” I didn’t blame her. It was hard to understand; the magic that connected Kagome and I. We never understood it in the past, but over the centuries we had our theories. Now, it was my duty to explain as best as I could to Higurashi-san.
“Kagome is very special. The destiny the Kami have laid out for her is beyond anything any human could expect. It’s my belief that the Kami themselves created the ability for her and my younger self to meet in the Dream Realm to help prepare and guide her to fulfilling that destiny.” In my youth, I had only thought our connection to be magical, and never really thought much beyond that. But after everything that happened with Naraku, there was no doubt in my mind the Kami were involved. How else could she have traveled through time to the exact place she needed to be in order to save us all?
Higurashi-san frowned, digesting the information, and seeming not to like what she heard. What parent would?
“The well is another of the Kami’s machinations.”
“I don’t understand. Where is Kagome?” I stared deeply into her eyes, trying to convey all the comfort I could through my blocked emotions. It had been a long time since I needed to do so, but as her shoulders relaxed slightly, I knew I had succeeded.
“Sengoku Jidai.” She blinked, shoulders tensing once more, only this time in anger. Did she think I was trying to fool her? Clearly she could see I wasn’t human, what more proof did she need?
“Sir,” Her eyes, once full of worry and concern for her eldest child, narrowed at me in irritation. “I think you should leave.”
“Higurashi-san, I understand it’s hard to believe —”
“And I believe I asked you to leave, Taishou-san.” She interrupted me, much as Kagome had a tendency to do. Clearly we’ve gone as far as we could today. Time travel was a hard pill to swallow, but I knew it would only be a matter of time before she came around to the idea. Kagome would return and when she did, there would be no way for her to continue to turn a blind eye to the truth spread before her. Though, one would think she would be a little more understanding, what with her reaction to my youkai features.
Not wanting to antagonize Higurashi-san any further, I stood. Fastening my illusion charms back on, I reached into my pocket for my business card holder. “I understand.” Quickly taking out and passing her a card handed out to very few people, I bowed, showing her respect, and that I had meant no harm. “Should you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call; regardless of the time.” Whether from having it ingrained in her or out of actual want, she took the business card presented to her; my neat scroll listing my home and cell numbers below the printed number for my office.
Without another word from the Higurashi matriarch, I left the home, slipping my shoes back on as I passed the threshold. Shippou was standing outside the wellhouse, speaking to his Uncle and Great Grandfather; his voice was quiet enough it was hard to make out the words over the traffic. It didn’t matter; he deserved privacy with his family and he was old enough to know better regarding what to reveal at this point in time.
“Shippou,” I called out, passing the small group and heading towards the stairs. Within a moment, he had said his goodbyes and was by my side, the petulant look that had been nearly permanent over the last sixteen years back on his face.
“I wanted to talk to Grandma Higurashi.”
“Do not pout.” I growled. He was old enough not to need such tactics to get his way. “You knew this trip wouldn’t be for fun.”
“I know.” The dejection in his voice was nearly heartbreaking. I knew how much he had been looking forward to today. Neither of us could have predicted how Kagome’s mother would have taken the news. She had always sounded so supportive when Kagome spoke of her. Hopefully, she only needed time. It would be a few days before Kagome returned. She could easily call before then once she had time to get used to the idea.
Placing a hand on Shippou’s head, I ruffled his hair, much to his displeasure. “Fret not, this is only the beginning. Just want until Kagome returns with tales of the young kit she’s rescued. I’m sure your Grandmother will demand to meet you.”
The sun had set long ago, yet I was still sitting in my office at the Elementary School. Shippou was spending the night with one of his siblings, not wanting to wait around for another night to pass without his Grandmother’s call. He was taking the whole situation harder than I had expected. He was acting as though his Grandmother had rejected him and not the idea of her daughter traveling though time. No matter what I told him. I was praying his siblings could ease him in a way I clearly could not.
Life as an Elementary School Principal was not as easy or laid back as I had originally imagined. Not that it was difficult for me. But I knew the next few years were going to be distracting as best, so I wanted something I could do with only half a mind on the task. At least it gave me the ability to keep an eye on the Higurashi family, as Souta was a student here. It was completely unintentional, but a gift I wouldn’t squander.
I was reviewing the current school curriculum when a buzz filled the silence of my office. Glancing around, it wasn’t until I noticed my cell phone vibrating on the table that I realized what was creating the irritating buzz. It wasn’t often I got a call on my cell. The children typically called the office or the land line at home. My heart sped up, realizing the only person this could be. Snatching the phone from the desk, I answered it as quickly as possible, not wanting the long-awaited call to go to voicemail.
“Taishou.” There was silence for a moment, as if the person on the other line was questioning if this really was the right thing to do.
“This is Higurashi Shinobu, I think… I think you need to come back and answer some questions for us.” Ah, so Kagome had finally returned and they met Inuyasha. I can imagine how their world was collapsing around them in their eyes. It was one thing to face a full youkai like myself and ignore what you didn’t want to see, but Inuyasha was another story. There was no ignoring those ears of his, much to his chagrin.
“Of course, I will be right over.” If memory served me correctly, Kagome had returned to the past as soon as Inuyasha appeared to defeat Yura of the Hair. There was a small window where I could be there before she returned after her victory for the night; but I would need to go now.
Not bothering to put away the documents I was working on, I grabbed my belongings and left the office; locking the door on the way out. The work would be there in the morning, but I needed every moment available to avoid Kagome’s younger self. I didn’t even bother with my vehicle. I would come back for it before the night’s end. Instead, I focused my masked youki and forced myself inside my light orb, traveling faster than any could see to the Sunset Shrine.
I could feel the well pulsing as I arrived, signaling the departure of the time traveling Miko and my younger brother. Landing in the center of the shine grounds, Kagome’s family stopped banging on the wellhouse door and turned to face me. For the first time since I appeared to them, Higurashi-san looked relieved to see me.
“Taishou-san,” she bowed, her body nearly shaking with worry for her daughter. “Forgive my previous rudeness.” Walking up to the small family, I smiled, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder.
“There is nothing to forgive Higurashi-san. I understand how difficult all this must be to believe.”
“Please,” she looked up, tears in her deep brown eyes. “You said it was your younger self that would meet with her in dreams.” I nodded, though it wasn’t really a question. “Will she be okay?”
“She will be safe and will succeed in what the Kami have planned for her.” It wasn’t the response she wanted to hear, but it was the best I could give her. At least at this moment in time. I looked up at the elder Higurashi, knowing he would understand what I was about to say more than anyone else. “Kagome is the Shikon Miko.” His eyes widened as he gasped in surprise. Looking back to Higurashi-san, I tried to quell any fears she may have. “She will face many obstacles, but she will not be alone.”
“You’ll be by her side, won’t you?” Souta’s quiet, hopeful voice was like a knife to the heart.
“Not as often as I wished.” I would not lie to them. “Inuyasha, the hanyou that was just here is my half-brother and one of the companions she will journey with. He will keep her safe, no matter what it might seem at the moment.”
“She will return, won’t she?” Finally, a response I could give her that would set her mind at ease.
“Yes, and often. Her schooling will suffer a bit, but I will speak with her principal and ensure they will not expel her. You will just need to find excuses to explain her absences, perhaps a recurring or prolonged illness?” I could just imagine the irritation on Kagome’s face should she realize I was the spark of inspiration for her Grandfather and all his wild excuses.
“Thank you, Taishou-san, for coming so quickly.” I nodded, clearly hearing the dismissal in her tone. It wasn’t too surprising that she didn’t have more questions at the moment; a lot had happened in such a short amount of time. I was fully expecting to get a call in the morning once the shock of the night had settled.
“Of course. Please call me if you have further questions or any concerns.” With only a quick glance at the wellhouse, I turned away from the small, distraught family, wishing I could do more. And one day I would, but today was not that day. Walking down the stairs, I placed a hand over my chest, feeling the back pearl pulse under my palm. It wouldn’t be too much longer.