Never Judge a Book by Its Cover by Sereia

Chapter 1

He never thought he'd be outdone by a mere trinket.

It was a simple band, nothing of consequence, but every time it caught the light, Sesshoumaru was reminded that she would never be his.


His brother had tried to explain the significance of the well to him many a time, but he'd always brushed it off. Anything seemed plausible if one was desperate enough.

Even time travel.

And yet, almost five centuries later, Sesshoumaru was forced to believe Inuyasha had been right.

She was alive. 

She had survived not only the meidou but the jewel's last attempt at poisoning her mind as well. With the help from his brother, she had wished it out of existence and been sent back to her own time.

A time where she had used her organizational skills and knowledge of the past to open a book shop. One that he'd unknowingly been supplying historical texts to for years.

The business receipts had only contained the name of the shop, but after his third donation, he had received a handwritten request specifically asking for more scrolls from the Sengoku period, her name neatly scrawled at the bottom of the page.

His heart had damn near leapt out of his chest.

He'd been on her doorstep the next day.


His human hand hesitated over the doorknob, glamour firmly in place even though he could feel the reiki protecting the shop. It wasn't a deterrent; the aura was fresh and welcoming—the same as she'd been. 

As she'd always been. 

He should've known he wasn't immune to her charms either, even back then. 

To this day, Inuyasha had never let him hear the end of it. 

His hand hesitated again, the thought sobering him. Was his brother aware of the miko's location? Had he been kept out of the loop on purpose?

Did she not wish to see him?

Sesshoumaru tried to think back to their final encounters; had he done or said something in his attempt to brush off her effect on him that would warrant a half a millennia grudge? 

All he could remember was sapphire and citrus and the way all his instincts stood on alert whenever she graced him with a smile.

Would she smile at him now?

Refusing to let his cowardice get the better of him, Sesshoumaru turned the knob and crossed the threshold. The book shop was neatly kept, separated down the middle into fiction and non-fiction. Her scent lingered more on the non-fiction side—specifically the historical section. 

Perhaps she spent as much time thinking about the past as he did.

The miko was nowhere to be seen, but he knew she was here, so he quickly located what seemed to be the only other employee.

"I wish to speak to the owner."

"She's busy."

Sesshoumaru's brow furrowed, and he released enough of his youki to catch the woman's attention. "I will not repeat myself."

The dark-haired woman gave him a startled look, and he caught a glimpse of crimson eyes. 

Trust the miko to employ youkai as well.

"You're—" Electricity crackled through the air, and she moved between him and a door leading to the back of the shop, her eyes hardening.

"I mean her no harm."

"That's what they all say."

Sesshoumaru reigned in his youki, not wanting to give the woman any reason to send him away. "I am an old friend."

"They say that too," she shot back, not giving an inch. "Leave your name, and she'll get back to you. If you're telling the truth."

He considered removing his glamour altogether—his appearance alone would silence the whelp—but the door she'd been so vehemently protecting opened, revealing the miko in all her splendour.

Sesshoumaru felt himself fall all over again.

"Souten, what have I told you about—" She trailed off as their eyes met, and he readied himself for a myriad of scathing words, all of which would end in him never seeing her again.

But it was not to be.

Instead, her employee was shoved out of the way, and he was enveloped in a tight hug, the miko burying her face in his suit jacket. 

"Kagome, he's—"

"Where have you been?" She ignored the woman's warning in favour of punching him softly in the chest. 

"Miko, I—"

"I swear to the kami, if you start in on that 'miko' stuff instead of calling me Kagome, I will zap you."

Her blue eyes were fierce, her finger poking him in the chest as she tried to keep a straight face.

Sesshoumaru's gaze softened, and he inclined his head. "As you wish."


He hadn't noticed the ring until over a month later. In the beginning, their interactions had been mainly over the phone or through text, mixed in with a few visits to her shop. But now that he was spending every day with her—labelled as her historical consultant—the wedding band was a painful reminder that he'd missed his chance.

Kagome would never be his.

And yet he continued to torture himself, spending hours on end in her presence under the guise of converting his personal scrolls into historical documents.

"I wish I could file these under non-fiction," she sighed, thumbing a sketch of his father in the heat of battle.

"They would ask for proof."

"Other than the fact that I have a living witness to the event?"

Sesshoumaru smirked. "You have mentioned more than once that we would both be locked up for such claims."

She sighed again, then reached across the table in front of him to grab more book glue, the ring clinking against the bottle.

He barely suppressed a growl.

"I'm glad you're not some hotshot business owner whose day is full of board meetings and never-ending paperwork."

A pale eyebrow raised; Kagome had made a strict rule about him not wearing his glamour when in the back of her shop. "You think I am not?"

"Well, you're a big enough hotshot that you don't have to worry about money, I suppose. But if you were a CEO or something, you wouldn't get to spend every day with me, right?"

Sesshoumaru was tempted to tell her about the extra people he'd hired on just so he could spend every day with her, but he didn't think she would appreciate being the cause of frivolous monetary loss. The butterfly youkai currently in charge of the board meetings Kagome was so concerned about had his phone number and kept him informed of any significant grievances that came up. Along with probing questions about who was keeping him out of the office every day.


"I still can't believe Souten didn't realize who you were when you first walked in. I could feel the strength of your aura from back here."

"I find it more intriguing that she attempted to protect you from someone she deemed a threat."

She grinned, and Sesshoumaru cursed the way his heart fluttered.

"That's what friends do."

"That is what your friends do."

"Are you saying that you don't have people in your life that would defend you against something dangerous?"

Sesshoumaru snorted, leaning back in his chair, the book bindings forgotten. "Most of the time, I am the dangerous thing that people feel the need to defend against."

Kagome waved a dismissing hand at him. "Maybe back then. But not now. You've changed too much."

"Are you so certain?"

She raised her chin and gave him a challenging look, her tone firm. "Absolutely."

He once again felt humbled by her view of him.

She clasped her hands together, the action pushing the ring up between her fingers, and Sesshoumaru couldn't keep the venom out of his tone. "Your spouse is fortunate to be tied to someone so honourable."

"Huh?" Genuine confusion pinched her features, and he motioned to the ring.

"I assume whomever you are married to is aware that you spend all your free time at work sequestered away with a demon and—"

"I'm not married to anyone."

His entire body froze, her words washing over him like an arctic tide. "What?"

She ran a hand through her hair, letting out an exasperated sigh. "I've had a few pushy customers who've refused to take no for an answer. Souten suggested wearing a ring to save me the trouble."

It was a lie. The ring was a lie.

The control he had on his instincts faltered, the beast within raging to be set free.

"You are not tied to anyone?" He wondered if the desperation in his voice was as apparent to her as it was to his own ears.

"Nope. People see my interest in history as a weird hobby that shouldn't be an actual career," she said with a forced chuckle. "Sorry, I thought you knew."

"Take it off."

She blinked in confusion. "Why?"

"It is an eyesore."

A single shrug. "Alright, but you get to be the one to deal with anyone who gets the wrong idea—"

His mouth was on hers before she could finish the thought, the ring falling loudly to the floor. Claws dug into the table behind her, Sesshoumaru not trusting himself to touch her. Not with how long he'd been craving her.

Delicate hands grabbed at his shirt, the fabric bunching between her fingers as she gasped, and Sesshoumaru deepened the kiss, plundering her mouth as his body shuddered at the taste of her.

Even his wildest fantasies, in the fleeting moments between sleep and consciousness, she had never been this potent—this vibrant.

And she'd just finished telling him about having to deal with unwanted advances.

Internally cursing, he pulled away from her. "I apologize, I crossed a line—"

"Would you stop thinking for once and just kiss me?"

Sesshoumaru opened his mouth to question her, but her grip on his shirt tightened, and she was pulling him down, taking the lead as her hands slid into his hair. His shock lasted a few moments before the growl he'd been holding back reverberated between them, and his hands were on her, pulling her into his lap.

She went willingly, wrapping her legs around his waist and the back of the chair, and he shuddered as her tongue dragged across his fangs. Nails digging into her hips, he pulled her closer, allowing himself the illusion that she was his.

That she'd always been his.

And yet the harsh truth of reality once again set in when the chair nearly tipped over, reminding him of where they were and who he was.

He had no claim on her.

Jaw clenching, he pulled back, instincts whimpering at the loss. "We should stop."

Her lips descended into a delicious pout before she leaned forward, attaching her mouth to the base of his ear. "Why? Now that I know you're attracted to me—"

"I am more than just attracted to you."

Kagome froze, pulling back with a startled look on her face.

Curse his loose tongue. Sesshoumaru had never seen a point in being dishonest, but there was such a thing as self-preservation.

Her gaze was searching, scorching, and Sesshoumaru braced himself for the inevitable. She did not want him this way. Not the way he wanted her.


The word had been a constant flutter in his stomach, a pang in his heart. He should've distanced himself from her as soon as he saw the ring, but apparently, he was a glutton for punishment because even now, even if she rejected him, he couldn't foresee a day without her in it.

No matter how much it destroyed him.

The soft touch of her fingers at the back of his neck brought him back to reality. Her face was free of disgust, free of judgement, and Sesshoumaru cursed the hope that bloomed in his chest. She hadn't said anything yet—had neither denied nor accepted his claim—and he held his breath, his fingers mimicking the motions of hers against her hips.

"I'm more than just attracted to you too."

Sesshoumaru stopped breathing.

"Was it only the ring that stopped you?" she asked, gazing at the discarded object on the floor.


Her smile turned sultry, and Sesshoumaru felt his mouth go dry. How he'd longed for her to look at him like that.

"Honourable to a fault."

"You had made no mention of any interest on your end, either."

This time she blushed, gnawing softly on her bottom lip. "I didn't want to chase you away. You've been so wonderful with helping out at the shop, and I thought that if I said anything, you'd stop coming around."

The hope he kept buried was written plainly on her face, and he now knew she was the superior warrior.

"Even if the ring were real, my visits would not have ceased."

Blue eyes lit up, and she was kissing him again, the scent of her happiness weaving around them. It caressed his senses as her tongue did the same, and the next time her name escaped his lips, it was a moan.

It only took him a few moments to convince her to close the shop early.

He should've realized the ring was a farce.

Kagome never paid it any mind before; it was simply an accessory she wore every day, like a belt or pair of socks.

Now that it had been replaced, he often caught her staring at it, jolted back to reality by Souten or a customer. A blush would rise to her cheeks, but her expression was soft—content—and then her gaze would meet his, and the smile would widen.

Perhaps trinkets were not so meaningless after all, as long as they were given by the right person.


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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