Disclaimer: Inuyasha and it's characters are the intellectual property of Rumiko Takahashi. I only write fanfic about it.
Author's Notes: This particular drabble, originally titled "Winter & Summer Solstice" got a lot of attention in my drabble collection of "When Universes Collide" (which is a compilation of short SessKag one-shots, and can be found in my home page). It's been years since I updated there, but I have never stopped writing about these two. I hope that, with enough traction, I can publish it as an original story in the future. For now, it remains in the comforting confines of Inuyasha Fanfiction.
These two characters seemed a perfect fit to that fae lore, although now with Yashahime this couple is far from ever being potentially canon. If you are a nutter like me who doesn't care about tiny details like that, then read on!
Midwinter's Day Dream
He was the Fae to walk the dawn,
His eyes bled sharp like scarlet moons.
She faced the day and shrunk the night,
She ruled the sky, she kissed the noon.
They fought the world with spirits high,
For peace, for life, with all their might.
To spread their wings across the moors,
and find true love as lovers do.
- Author Unknown
"Are you here to kill me?"
Kagome, Princess of the Summer Court, Mistress of Tree and Flame, and ruler of Fär Elphame, asked the darkness quietly as she leaned against the wooden balcony overlooking the nighttime Summerlands.
By habit, Kagome trailed her index finger on the rustic surface of the palisade rail, burning delicate little circles that criss-crossed over each other in an endless, scorched pattern. Almost instantaneously, wire-thin vines bloomed over the dark lines her finger had burned, an intricate and beautiful weaving of natural flora urged gently into growth by the maiden's magic, and blending harmoniously with the rest of the natural fencing. It was with this mindless task that Kagome masked the sheer, metallic fear of having the Winter King of Tôr Hivern inside her private bed chambers. How he had managed to infiltrate the castle and get past her royal guards was beyond her; but there he was now, a veritable statue of ice in the shadows of her room.
The Winter King, Sesshoumaru, scoffed at her question, icy yellow eyes never moving away from her slim figure. The night had cast the maiden's dark hair in a lovely blue hue, the tan skin exposed by the sheer nightgown drinking in the moonlight, practically glowing. Sesshoumaru had often heard, be it from travelers or even members of his own court of faeries, that the Summer Princess was an exquisitely lovely creature.
Of course, Sesshoumaru already knew that from the multiple times he had spied on her in secret.
"Kill you?" Sesshoumaru rebutted Kagome's question with one of his own, cautiously stepping out of the shadows and into the moonlit balcony. Humor colored his tone darkly. "How droll. Is that what you truly believe, Princess?"
"Well, why else would the great Lord Sesshoumaru sneak into my balcony in the middle of the night if not to assassinate me, his most prominent political adversary?" Kagome responded, strangely calm despite the gravity of the situation. "I highly doubt it was only to see me in my nightdress."
Sesshoumaru openly laughed, causing the maiden to flinch at the sound; but Kagome noticed that this time, his amusement was less malicious, more light. "I will admit that seeing you in this fashion is certainly a bonus..." he confessed shamelessly, approaching her slowly from behind. Kagome turned to him with a raised brow. The Winter King lifted his shoulder, shrugging elegantly at her astonished stare. "Why should I deny myself the sight of a lovely maiden? I am only flesh and blood, my lady, despite what the rumours say about me."
"And what they say about you violently killing my betrothed… is that also just a rumour?" Kagome whispered, and Sesshoumaru froze in his tracks. For the first time that evening, the Summer Princess held heat in her voice.
There was tension enough to be felt through the muggy humidity of the night. "No. It is not." Sesshoumaru answered at last; there was neither pleasure nor regret in his tone.
Kagome's fist clenched and she shut her eyes, willing the growing wave of anger away.
"Thank you for your honesty, Lord Sesshoumaru." she grit out.
"I see no reason to lie to you, Kagome." he replied softly.
Kagome's eyes snapped open again and Sesshoumaru could see literal flames burning behind those sky-blue eyes of hers.
Ah. There she is, he thought with something akin to admiration.
"That is Princess Kagome to you, ice demon."
With a smile, she could ripen a crop, and with a frown, summon wildfires. Once she became Queen and had untapped access to all of her mystic powers, the Lady of the East would become an unstoppable force.
That is, if she lived long enough.
For now, Kagome was all bark and no bite, her powers shackled under the inferior and burdensome title of Princess. She was now, currently, at the mercy of this cruel man with the alien yellow eyes.
"If you are here to kill me, then be done with it. But I warn you, devil, that you will not get the satisfaction of hearing me beg. I will throw myself off this balcony before I cry at your feet."
Sesshoumaru tilted his head to the side thoughtfully, seeming to consider the furious woman through half-lidded white lashes. "My dear Princess, if I truly had any intention of ending your life, I could have done it ages ago." Sesshoumaru resumed his steps, one cautious foot over the other, gauging the tension. "But you already knew that."
Kagome watched him like a hawk as he very slowly, but deliberately, walked the periphery around her, until he was only a handful of feet away from her, standing opposite on the small balcony. He rested both hands on the railing; a move that could have been interpreted as casual had it not been so clearly broadcasting something else:
'I am not armed.'
Still, a demon needed no traditional weapons at his disposal to hurt someone. Kagome had heard plenty of tales about the Winter King's demonic powers, and she noted the sharp talon-like nails at the end of his large hands. If he truly wished it, Sesshoumaru could end it all now.
"What do you want?" It took all of Kagome's civility not to spit the words at him.
"Hopefully the same thing as you, Princess."
Leaning against the balcony, Sesshoumaru let out a sigh, and he sounded so ancient and tired that Kagome feared he would crumble, like melting ice caps, right before her eyes.
"I am weary of war." he muttered into the night.
Kagome barely dared to breathe at the mere thought of what the man could be suggesting. Alas, she would be foolish to blindly trust a winter nymph; there had to be a catch.
"Are you implying I should meekly surrender, let you claim my kingdom and ravage my people while you mount my head on pike?"
The princess winced as Sesshoumaru lifted his hands from the railing, expecting a physical rebuff; but he merely dropped his face into his palms, cradling his head in them, leaning on his elbows heavily.
"No." he said, the slightest edge of a groan bowing his shoulders into himself, and Kagome really didn't know what to make of this strange display of vulnerability. Was he trying to deceive her, like black ice on the ground that you could not see until it was too late?
"We can end it, you and I, everything. No more suffering, no more death-"
"How dare you speak so lightly of death when it was you who murdered my future husband?" she accused with a hiss, the memory of Duke Koga's death and that of others in her court still fresh in her mind.
"I have lost loved ones too." he murmured grimly, and Kagome sucked in a breath. Quickly she looked away, ashamed as she realized her mistake.
Kagome had heard about the little human child that the Winter King had taken under his care; a mortal girl made up of daisies and sunlight. She had heard about how, while Lord Sesshoumaru was away on business, Duke Koga had stormed the halls of Tôr Hivern with his rabid pack of wolves and done unspeakable things to anybody unlucky enough to cross their path. Nobody was spared, not even civilians.
And the little girl's entrails had been used to paint the entrance of the gates, to greet Sesshoumaru when he returned.
Kagome shut her eyes tight. Truth be told, she had harbored no real love for her betrothed from the start of their union; and upon hearing of the attack on Tôr Hivern, held even less. Duke Koga was a valuable ally to Fär Elphame and a fearless leader; but he was also a chauvinistic brute, and their marriage had been one of duty and convenience only, not romance. He was young and loyal to her, and she was in need of a husband to ascend the throne, as her 21st birthday was still a full spring away.
That changeling child, Rin...she hadn't deserved that. Nobody did. It came as no surprise, or sorrow, when news reached her that Duke Koga had been killed by the Winter King not a day later after the massacre at the Winterlands. When the messenger had come to the throne room with the report of her betrothed's passing, Kagome had already been arranging his funeral rights.
Taking a deep, calming breath, Kagome willed the anger cursing through her body down from a raging inferno to a gentle flame. A wildfire will blind you, but a candle will light the way, her father would say. With as much gentility as she could muster, telling herself that complying to him was a compromise and not a final forfeit, she uttered:
"What do you propose I do, my Lord?"
And then Sesshoumaru turned fully towards her, and his eyes looked so lost and broken and sad that she staggered on the spot, her heart tightening painfully. Sesshoumaru did want peace. This war was destroying him, just as much as it was destroying her, and if they could come up with a way to end it-
"Marry me, Princess Kagome."
It was like a bucket of ice water had been thrown over her head and doused her fire.
"What?" Kagome whispered weakly.
Sesshoumaru smiled softly, an almost sardonic look on his face at her bewildered reaction.