Chapter 6: Misplaced Anger
“Help me disrobe him,” Kagome ordered.
“But, Isha, no, we must not-” The horrified look on the servant’s face made Kagome want to slap her. Sesshomaru had been unconscious since his collapse in his study, but his fever had grown noticeably higher in the twenty minutes or so it had taken them to carry him to his room and arrange him on the raised futon. Kagome had taken his vitals, although she still couldn’t get his mouth open, and she wasn’t encouraged. The servant might have had some sort of feminine hesitation, or perhaps she was properly aghast at the thought of a human touching her Lord, but Kagome did not have the patience to deal with either.
“Help or get out, but don’t question me again.” Her voice was cold, she knew, but it was the only way she could contain her emotions. Professional. Calm. In control. The demon girl sputtered, but she backed away, eyes wide and fearful. Kagome turned back to the task at hand when the shoji screen shut behind the servant. “Kento, I need your help.” Sesshomaru’s assistant knelt at the opposite end of the futon, carefully removing his Lord’s boots. Kagome went to work on his obi in silence, ordering her thoughts and running through the tasks ahead of her over and over.
“You shouldn’t be too harsh with her, Kagome-isha,” Kento spoke quietly as he set the boots and Chinese-style socks aside. He continued as though she had expressed interest. “It is not customary for Sesshomaru-sama to receive assistance with something so personal as disrobing. He is a very private individual. You do not know much of inuyoukai, do you? Most adults would find undressing in front of anyone outside of their close pack highly inappropriate. For a woman, a human woman, to purposefully see the Saidai Mao in such a state-”
“Help me roll him,” she interrupted. Kento kept up a droning monologue regarding the nature and composition of packs and the hierarchy of inuyoukai society. Kagome found his babble comforting, it helped ease her anxiety and clear her mind. They managed to get his haori and kosode off, one arm at a time, but Kagome turned discretely to dig through her bag while Kento removed his pants. She worried that she would be too embarrassed to care for a naked Sesshomaru, but that concern disappeared the instant she turned back to him.
Flat, dark red, almost black, lesions coated his hands and feet, growing more sparse and widely spaced as they ascended his arms and legs. Only a small patch of the rash marred the pale flesh on his chest. His markings…she of course, had known that they were not only on his face. She had caught glimpses of his wrists on more than one occasion. Completely naked, the same jagged purple-red lines undercut his collarbones and wrapped around each hip and thigh.
At any other time, she would have been torn between stark admiration and acute mortification. Looking at the hard muscle and smooth skin, the exotic coloring…she felt sick. Nauseated that something so small as a virus could bring low the Killing Perfection. Grief-stricken that such beauty could be so quickly blighted. Furious that she had not forced him to take the inoculation. Furious that he could not see any way other than his own. Furious that she had only just begun to know him and he could – she could not bring herself to think the worst. “He needs to be washed and then kept warm. Get the cloths ready.” She reached into her bag for the bifurcated needle and tiny bottle from the future. She ignored Kento’s sounds of concern, and filled the syringe with the last dose of real, modern vaccine she had. She smoothed one hand along the skin of his upper arm, holding his hand and forcing it smooth to make the muscle relax. Just as she had practiced in her nursing lab, she angled the needle and pressed down.
Kagome stared at her hand in disbelief. She still held the syringe…with about a half-inch of metal attached to the end. The rest of the needle had broken off and pinged onto the wooden floor. A few precious drops of medicine dripped out and splattered onto Sesshomaru’s skin. But it worked on Inuyasha, and Shippo… Inuyasha was only half-demon, and Shippo was just a kit, still growing into his youkai power and strength. Sesshomaru was…he was the strongest, the highest of the Demon Lords. Dumbly, she wondered why she had ever thought that a steel rod, less than four millimeters thick, would be able to pierce his skin. She heard Kento calling her name, but the only coherent thought she could manage was: Fuck.
Kagome shook herself. She had been with Inuyasha too long if she sat around cursing instead of using her head to think of a solution. “Send someone to Jun-san; get me the inoculate we made earlier today. Two doses.” Kento left her to step outside, closing the door behind him. Kagome listened to him send someone for supplies and then give orders to the other servants who had gathered outside.
She stayed busy, methodically wiping Sesshomaru’s skin with hot water and then patting him dry. She was careful not to disturb the rash. She knew that it was more likely to scar if the lesions were broken, and she couldn’t imagine Sesshomaru not being…perfect. She was covering him with a silk sheet and several layers of bedding when Kento returned.
“Burn those,” she nodded to the clothes and shoes they had removed. Carefully, she picked up his mokomoko and curled it on the floor beside her. She would have to wash it again, and hope that would be enough to kill any viruses that might be living in the fur. Sesshomaru had been outraged – as outraged as he ever was, which meant he frowned, deeply – when she suggested boiling it while Rin was ill. She was that determined if – when – he woke up she would tease him that she had gone ahead and done it. “I have to look at his throat. Help me open his mouth.”
Kento obliged, gripping Sesshomaru’s lower jaw and applying brute force. Kagome finally stopped him when she was afraid he would bruise the daiyoukai before it worked. She stroked Sesshomaru’s markings absently while she tried to think of a way to get him to relax his jaw. Kento had warned her that holding his nose would result in either bared fangs or a bite, maybe both. She ran her thumb across his lower lip, revealing the sharp canines.
“Just open a bit,” she whispered to herself. “I know it hurts, but I can make it better.” She turned back to her bag, prepared to use a straw to force crushed ibuprofen and water into his mouth, when Kento drew her attention. Sesshomaru’s eyes were open. They were more pink than red, but still glazed. He did not turn his head, but his gaze slid to hers. He considered her for a moment, then he opened his mouth – less than an inch. She smiled. “Good enough. Thank you, Sesshomaru-sama.” She grabbed her flashlight and tongue depressor, the former which shocked Kento, the latter displeased Sesshomaru. It was difficult to see past the wealth of white implements of death, but she had no trouble making out the pox coating his tongue, inner cheeks, and so thick on the walls of his throat it was a miracle he could still breath. “Thank goodness,” she whispered, “Don’t try to talk, Sesshomaru.”
He gave her a look which clearly indicated that she was an idiot. “Right, of course you won’t. I’m going to give you some medicine from my ti-” she glanced at Kento and hastily corrected, “from my home. I haven’t treated a full-demon before, so I am going to double the amount I give Inuyasha. If that sounds okay, please blink.” His eyes slowly closed and opened again, and she let out a relieved breath. “Alright. I know this is going to hurt, but you absolutely must swallow.” She waited again for his blink and then poured a cup of hot tea. She crushed six pills inside a clean cloth and dumped the dust into the tea.
“Don’t try to sit up on your own,” she moved behind his head and ignored the insulted glare he gave her. She brushed his hair to one side and pulled his head into her lap, using one hand to help him lean up and the other to hold the cup. He tried to lift his own hands to take the tea from her, but the flare of his youki and the sharp widening of his eyes revealed how painful the motion was. “Next time, follow your doctor’s orders,” she chided. He took a few shallow breaths, and then she held the cup to his mouth. His slow, exaggerated swallows caused empathetic pangs of pain in her. He finally finished the drink and his head slumped back onto her lap.
“If you have another needle, he may be able to allow you to pierce his skin while he is awake,” Kento suggested. Sesshomaru, struggling against sleep, clenched his jaw and turned his glare on his assistant.
“It doesn’t matter,” Kagome whispered. “That was my only needle. I’ll have to use the inhaled inoculate.” Sesshomaru stared at her, and she could feel a hot sting behind her eyes.
“Why must this…dead sickness…be forced into the blood?”
“The first treatments were breathed in as a powder, but they weren’t even half as effective. They were still way better than nothing, but the liquid made in labs is more powerful, with fewer side effects.”
Kagome knew he was remembering her explanation of smallpox and the treatment. She couldn’t stop thinking about it. He was already sick, probably had been for several days but he hadn’t said anything, having pushed his symptoms aside with his youki to focus on Rin and all of the demons and humans in the Western Lands that depended on him. The longer a patient went from contraction to inoculation, the less effective the medicine would be. He had already waited longer than he should have, and then she couldn’t even give him the best she had. If I fail him…
Uncharacteristically – that word seemed to apply to Sesshomaru frequently since she had joined him – the corner of his mouth lifted in a tiny smile. She could feel the muscles in his neck and shoulders relaxing, and his eyes drifted half-closed. Kagome wanted to cry, but she could not. He was telling her he trusted her. He was telling her to do whatever she could, and that he knew it would be enough.
A knock brought his eyes wide open again and Hisao was at the door, summoning Kento. The inuyoukai returned with a pouch containing the inoculate Jun had sent up from the infirmary. She prepared the powder and again helped Sesshomaru to sit up. It took several tries, but he managed to breathe in the entire dose before falling back to her lap.
“How long?” Kento asked quietly. He brushed back his loose bangs, revealing the worry that wrinkled the stripes on his forehead. Sesshomaru’s eyes closed, and his breathing, although still shallow, evened out.
“I am not sure. The first medicine I gave him will ease his discomfort in a few minutes, if the dosage was right. The inoculate…we have to wait and see.” She gently set his head on the futon and eased away to wring out a fresh cloth and apply it to his forehead. “Go ahead and go. There isn’t much else to do until it is time for another dose, and I can send someone to get you if there is any trouble.” She looked up to find Kento hesitating at the door. “I am sure that there is a lot of reassuring and organizing to do right now. Go.”
“Hisao-san will post a guard outside the door, just let him know if you need anything.” Kento placed his hand on the screen and then turned around, considering her. “You have done much for the Western Lands, and you did not have to.” He raised his hand to stem her interruption. “It is more than any of us would have expected from an outsider, especially a human. You are strong, Isha. You are wise and kind, and you are more than worthy of any honor bestowed by the Saidai Mao.” He bowed deeply, then turned and left. Kagome was very aware that he had meant every word – and that he intended for all those excellent demon ears outside to hear them.
“Did you hear that, Sesshomaru,” she asked in a low voice that would not carry. “Inuyoukai can admit when they are wrong.”
She brushed his bangs off his forehead, tracing the blue crescent there and letting her fingers trail through the fine strands of white. Her eyes caught the first indications of a flat oval spot, darker than the rest of his skin, at the corner of his mouth. She bit her lip and refused to give in to the salty sting in her eyes.
Ryukostokken drummed his dark claws on the table before him and did his best to hold back his impatience. Instead of gutting the fool who struggled to pour tea for himself and his guest, he merely backhanded her. She slid several feet across the floor before crawling into a low bow of subservience. “Leave,” he growled. Ryukostokken dismissed her from his mind before the shoji screen had even closed, and turned to his guest.
The half-demon was a mercenary, a spy. Rightfully driven out of youkai villages in the North, the mixed blood had managed to survive a childhood fending for himself and had become a stealthy assassin and spy as a result. Ryukostokken appreciated how such skills could be used to further his own interests, but the whelp would have to be killed eventually. The Lord of the North could not allow such a stain on the honor of dragon youkai to continue indefinitely.
“Of course, Ryukostokken-sama,” he replied. He unrolled a scroll and reported on the movement and station of various patrols, and the casualties from disease.
“You interrupt This One, you bring your filthy blood into the castle of the North for this! This is nothing!” Ryukostokken swept the map from the table, leaving gouges in the wood and destroying most of the paper in the process. “This Ryukostokken knows all of this.” He leaned over the low table, his eyes bleeding red and his fangs bared. “If you cannot bring new information, then you serve no purpose!”
The hanyou did not flinch, but bowed his head with respect. “Forgive me, I had one other report which may be of interest.”
“Get on with it!”
“The Saidai Mao has succumbed.”
Ryukostokken paused, and then a feral smile broke across his scarred face. “How sure are you?”
“An informant very close to the Western Lord saw the marks personally.”
Ryukostokken felt a burst of vindictive elation. He slammed his hand down on the table, breaking it in half. It would have crushed the spy’s legs if he had not moved quickly, but the Dragon Lord did not care. His goal had been to cripple the Western Lands, and hinder their allies. That the Killing Perfection himself would take ill…Ryukostokken laughed. The sound bounced around the stone room and sent chills down the spines of any close enough to hear it. Perfection.? Ha! The dog would be lucky to survive, and even then he would bear the same hideous scars that I do. No longer perfection. No longer first, highest, greatest.
“You will personally tell This Ryukostokken if the pup’s condition changes,” he ordered. He dismissed the mercenary with a wave of his hand and turned to the massive windows that looked out on his lands. Not Prince, but Emperor. Soon, soon. His gloating was interrupted, and he scowled, wishing the half-blood would leave so that he could relish the impending demise of the dog.
“There is one other thing, my Lord.” He paused, and Ruykostokken finally turned and snarled to let the idiot know his patience was waning. “A human woman has been brought to the Western Castle to see the sick. She tends to Sesshomaru-sama.” The Dragon Lord considered that information. The inu pup had never shown much care for humans, with the exception of the strange child he took under his wing, but he did not force them out of his lands as he should have. Ryukostokken considered that perhaps the son had taken after his father more than any suspected. “My informant was…displeased by her arrival. She does not appear to be of high birth. Her manner and dress are most…informal.”
Informal… Ryukostokken laughed, great bellowing gales of laughter. He slammed his palm against the wall to support his weight, cracking the stone, and laughed until he had no breath. “This Ryukostokken sought to bring him low – but he already shames the West with the same perversions as his sire! Go, go, you have satisfied This One.” Long minutes after the spy had departed, the Dragon Lord was still smiling, but it was a twisted, malicious smile. “Sickness presses your lands, Sesshomaru, and you inspire corruption from within,” he whispered. Ruykostokken knew that lesser youkai would overlook a lord’s relationship with a human, if the lord was feared and respected. When Sesshomaru is unable to stop the disease that ravages them, the youkai of the West will turn on him. They will cease to turn a blind eye to his shameful rutting with a human woman. The whore will seal his fate.
“I can get us in, I know it,” Shippo-kun whispered.
Rin nodded her head absently, chewing on her lip and staring around the corner at the screens that opened onto Sesshomaru’s antechamber. She knew the two guards that had been posted there. They were brothers, rock demons, and two of the best fighters under Hisao-san’s command. She had always liked them, but they did not look like they would be indulgent of two disobedient children at the moment. “Rin isn’t sure,” she said quietly. She wanted to see Sesshomaru-sama, so badly, but-
“Don’t you want to check on him? It’s not like you’re going to get sick again.”
“Rin knows.” She straightened her obi and her hair and fussed with her sleeves. Rin was so worried! Kento-san had come and told them that Sesshomaru-sama was ill, but that Kagome-san was with him. That was good. Kagome-san made Rin all better, so she would fix Sesshomaru-sama too. But it had been almost three days. Three days and Kagome-san had not come out nor had Kento-san come back to tell them anything. The servants wouldn’t answer her questions, so she and Shippo-kun snuck around and eavesdropped.
They knew that Sesshomaru-sama had lost control when he became ill. The rumors claimed that he nearly killed some weaker youkai with his will alone. Shippo-kun overheard the cook saying that Kento-san had been knocked out by his power, and Hisao-san started bleeding from his eyes and nose! But Kagome-san… The whispers about her were awed, confused, and frightened. When the miko had first come to the castle, the demons said very mean things about her. Things about her being human, which Rin had heard before, and other things, things about honor and shame and…Rin blushed in anger and embarrassment at the memory of some of the words she had heard. Since Sesshomaru-sama had gotten sick, that had changed.
They said she had cut through their Lord’s youki like a sword through silk. They said his youki pulled her into the room, lighting her face and clothes, making her appear as a demon. They even said that Sesshomaru-sama had allowed her to touch his person. She whispered to him and his beast was calmed. She asked his youki to recede, and it did so. Some said she was a witch, come to charm the sickness from their Lord. Others said she was a princess, skilled in the arts of healing and herbs.
Rin bit her lip again. There was not a whisper of miko powers, and Shippo-kun warned her they shouldn’t say anything. Rin agreed; she knew it would be dangerous if the demons, already on edge about the disease, believed they could be purified at any moment. The servants and guards had stopped the worst talk about Kagome-san, and they usually shushed any who spoke of shame and the human woman in the same breath. Still…
Only Kento-san and Hisao-san had entered his chambers, and Kagome-san had not come out. It had only taken her a day to make Rin feel better, and she was completely fine in less than a week. Sesshomaru-sama was still sick enough that he required a guard to keep lesser youkai away, just in case his power flared again. Rin also worried that the guard might be there to protect her Lord as well. If Sesshomaru-sama needed a bodyguard, he was very, very sick. She frowned. She had to know if her Lord needed her. And Shippo-kun was ready to jump out of his skin, he was so concerned for his adopted mother. She nodded, sharply.
“Okay. Let’s do it.”
Kagome was aware that someone was speaking, but it sounded muffled. For a moment, her heart stopped – Sesshomaru! She extended her reiki and found him, as he had been when she left his side only an hour or so ago. He was resting, as comfortably as she could make him. Kagome placed a hand over her racing heart and slumped back down onto the little futon that had been pulled into a corner of his antechamber. Her body felt numb, and what wasn’t numb, ached in a pulsing, dull way that spoke to days without more than a few minutes of sleep at a time. She let her eyes fall closed and listened with one ear to the conversation in the hallway.
“No, no,” one of the guards said.
“Sesshomaru-sama must rest,” finished the other.
A soft, high voice mumbled something she couldn’t make out, and then: “Kagome-isha has been working very hard. She is tired, Rin-yojosan.” Rin? She sat up on one elbow and frowned. She had asked Kento to check on the children, to let them know she would see them as soon as she could. There was a whine, a sound most unlike Rin – although Kagome couldn’t place what it reminded her of. A commotion ensued, and several voices spoke at once. The shoji slid open silently, and then slid shut again. Kagome raised one exhausted brow.
“Hello?” she called softly.
“Kagome-san!” The response was immediate and broke whatever had concealed the intruder. Rin burst out of nothingness, dropping a magical acorn and racing across the room to throw herself on Kagome. The wind knocked out of her, Kagome fell back to the futon and patted Rin’s heaving back. What in the world would make the girl act such a way, and so sneaky? Kagome sighed. Shippo. “Rin was so worried, Kagome-san! Kento-san said Sesshomaru-sama was sick, but no one came to tell us if he was better, and we couldn’t see you and it was so awful and Shippo-kun and Rin missed you and Rin just wants to be with Lord Sesshomaru!” Kagome’s heart broke at the little girl’s sobbing exclamations. Of course she was worried, Kagome should have thought of it and summoned the children to reassure them herself. She had just been so busy, and Sesshomaru needed her.
“Isha!” One of the guards appeared, his usual stoic expression transformed by a look of horror. In his arms lay Rin, limp and covered in spots. They were black as night, and covered her from head to bare feet. That is going too far. “Rin-yojosan?” The guard stared at the girl on the futon, arms wrapped around Kagome, then down at the same figure in his arms.
“Shippo,” she ordered. There was a loud pop, and the spotty Rin transformed into a red-haired kitsune. He jumped from the guard’s arms and raced to her side.
“Do. Not. Ever. Do. That. Again.” Her eyes narrowed, and Shippo swallowed heavily. Kagome could see the tears welling in his eyes, but she forced herself to remain firm. “And you, Rin,” she turned to the girl. “I expect a certain amount of thoughtlessness from Shippo, but you…I am disappointed in you both. Sesshomaru is very sick, and everyone in the castle is worried. Tricking the guards to get in where you are not supposed to be? And faking an illness that has killed others? This behavior is appalling, both of you.” They hung their heads; whispered apologies fell into the silence.
She let it stretch for a few moments. “You will both apologize to Eiichi-san and Eiji-san, and then you will each write lines until your hands fall asleep. And this will never happen again, understood?” They both nodded, and stood with hands folded and heads bowed. “However,” she took a deep breath, and both children looked up with hopeful eyes, “I will allow you to see Sesshomaru for just a moment, Rin-chan. You may both return in the morning to see me, but next time ask the guards to let you in.” She waved the stunned guards outside.
Kagome stood, brushing her loose hair over her shoulder and thinking that she really needed a brush. And a bath. And about two days of sleep. She took Rin’s hand and led her to the screen that separated the antechamber from the sleeping room. “He looks very terrible,” she warned the girl quietly. “I gave him something to help him sleep, and you must be very quiet and not touch him.” Rin nodded fearfully, and Kagome slid open the door.
Sesshomaru lay on his back on the raised futon. She had been turning him to rinse off his skin, but he seemed to breathe easiest on his back with a folded blanket serving as a pillow. Rin’s hand squeezed hers painfully, but the girl did not make a sound. Kagome had become used to the sight, but she was sure that seeing the Western Lord in such a state for the first time was horrifying.
Not an inch of visible skin was left unmarked. Flat, black welts lay so thick it seemed that his skin was pebbled like a lizard, instead of the smooth perfection it was meant to be. One eyelid had swollen shut, and Kagome had been forced to ask Kento to puncture his trachea with a sharp demon claw so that she could get air past the swollen tissues of the daiyoukai’s throat. His hair was pulled to the side. Kagome had brushed it and braided it to keep it out of the way. It was one of the few places she felt she could give him a comforting touch without disturbing the pox. Not that Sesshomaru probably would have asked for it, or even considered her touch comforting, if he were awake. She waited for a few moments, then gently pulled Rin backwards, closing the screen behind them.
“He looks…” Shippo trailed off. Kagome hadn’t realized the kit would want to see as well, but she supposed morbid curiosity combined with concern for Rin would prompt him to look. Kento entered the room, no doubt summoned by the commotion Shippo’s trick had caused, and stood quietly to the side.
“It is bad. Shippo, Rin. I won’t lie to either of you, but I am doing everything I can to get Sesshomaru better.”
“Inuyasha could go through the well,” Shippo offered. “He could get more medicine.” He was obviously distressed to see such a powerful demon brought low. Kagome guessed that Rin’s suffering was a nail through his heart as well. The two children had grown close. She shook her head.
“Not for almost three more weeks, Shippo.”
The kitsune looked crestfallen, but Rin’s angry expression surprised Kagome. “Not everything,” she said.
“Rin,” Kagome began, sure the girl was hurting. Kagome had lost her own father; she knew what that felt like.
Rin cut her off. “You are not doing everything you can. You saved Rin, save Sesshomaru-sama too!”
Kagome stiffened, her heart crumbling inside. She glanced at Kento, worried that the conversation was about to reveal things she wasn’t sure the demons in the castle were ready to know. “You don’t know what you’re asking, Rin. It-”
“You don’t want to heal him!” Rin accused.
Kento sucked in a breath, Shippo’s mouth fell open in shock. Kagome was aware of the guards outside, who could probably hear everything, but Rin’s indictment cut deeply. “Sesshomaru is a youkai, Rin,” she tried to explain calmly. “What I did for you-”
“So? You fix Inuyasha-san all the time! You just like him better!”
“Inuyasha is only half-youkai so-”
“Shippo-kun is a full-demon, and you used your power to heal his arm. He told me!”
“Rin, it is more complicated than-”
“You are making it that way! Fix him! Fix Sesshomaru-sama!” Rin’s face was red and tears leaked out of her eyes. Her hands fisted at her sides and she choked back a sob. “Papa,” she mouthed. Kagome moved toward her, but Rin backpedaled, nearly tripping over her kimono. She threw open the screen and raced down the hallway.
“Go with her, Shippo,” Kagome said quietly. The kit nodded. He gave her one last quick squeeze, and then darted after the human girl.
“Isha,” Kento began after the screen had closed. Kagome shut her eyes against the question in his tone, against her failure to save the creature in the next room, against the tangible pain of a little girl who knew she was going to lose the person she loved most in the world.
“She was upset,” Kagome said woodenly, trying to cover the secret that Rin had all but shouted. “She didn’t know what she was saying.”
“Your miko powers were strong enough to cure Rin’s illness?”
Kagome’s eyes popped open at Kento’s calm question. “How did you-”
“At the spring, near the human village, Sesshomaru-sama called you ‘miko’. Then I saw you in my Lord’s study. Your reiki is very strong, but you keep it under remarkable control. I very much doubt anyone else even realized you were using it to soothe his beast. His youki was lashing out at the disease and could have done a great deal of damage. I had no idea that priestess powers could mix so well with demon energy, without purification.”
“I didn’t-” Her mouth opened and closed a few times, before she could finish, “It wasn’t on purpose.”
“You intended to purify him, then?” Kento looked mildly curious, but not surprised or offended that a human miko had surreptitiously used her holy powers on his Lord.
Kagome rubbed a hand against her aching head. She didn’t think she could hide her secret from Kento any longer. Even if she weren’t nearly a zombie from lack of sleep and over-exertion, she couldn’t match his superior senses. “Of course not. Sometimes my powers just…they just are. They do things, without my thinking about it. Until you brought it up, I couldn’t have even said for certain if I had used my reiki in the study.”
“You cured Rin-yojosan with it? You have used it to heal your kit?”
“I healed Rin, but, she’s human,” Kagome was pleading, fearful of where Kento was headed and begging him to see reason. “And Shippo I had to concentrate so hard on, and, and, he’s mine! My powers know that he’s mine to save and protect. And Rin is a defenseless child, even as hard as I had to concentrate, my power knew it was the right thing.”
“Is saving Sesshomaru-sama not the right thing? Nine more have died since my Lord took ill, and the infirmary is bursting with new patients. The Western Lands are at a crux, Isha. We cannot defeat this disease. There is nothing you could do that would make this situation worse.” He waved her off before she could object again, and Kagome deflated. She had thought about using her reiki – for more than just assessing Sesshomaru’s condition. But if I make a mistake… “Come, I have ordered the bath made ready. You smell…human,” he finished delicately.
He led her outside, through a chilly, secluded garden she had not even realized was there. A small addition was tacked onto the outer wall of Sesshomaru’s sleeping quarters. Kento opened the door and steam billowed out. “Please leave your garments inside and they will be boiled and returned to you. Clean clothing is provided there.” He gestured to a shelf with towels, scrubbing cloths and a neat pile of clothes. Kagome breathed in the warm, moist air and felt some of the tension in her ease. “Rest, relax. You will know what must be done, Shikon Priestess.”
Kagome started at the use of the title, sure that Sesshomaru had not told anyone her identity, but the screen was already sliding closed. She shook herself and didn’t waste any more time contemplating Kento’s strange manner. She scrubbed her skin and hair for the first time in almost a week, and rinsed before stepping into the water. Kagome did her best to not think about Rin’s tear stained face or Shippo’s worried frown. She even managed not to dwell on the patient sleeping a few feet away. Not even the growing embers of reiki inside her kept her from leaning her head back and falling asleep.
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