As the World Falls Down by Sereia

Chapter 3

The dreams had stopped.

Kagome Higurashi tapped her pencil against the edge of her mug, the steam from her tea long since dissipated. Her sleep had been restful, but her mind had been a blank canvas from the moment her head had hit the pillow until her alarm had gone off the following morning. There'd been no colours, no sounds—no cajoling voice luring her deeper into the fog of memories from her childhood.

She should be grateful, considering how often she'd complained about them, but the fact remained that those dreams had accompanied her slumber for over a decade, and she hadn't had one in a month.

Glancing down at her sketchbook, she sighed, the empty page glaring accusingly back up at her, and she shoved it away, rising to put her mug into the microwave with the same vigour.

It was fine. The dreams meant nothing anyway. Just a silly notion from an overactive teenage imagination that had somehow bloomed into a full-fledged fantasy complete with backstories and intricate details.

Details that currently hung on her wall.

She'd always been drawn towards the world of fantasy, her mother lulling her to sleep with stories of dwarves and sleeping princesses. But this—she dragged a hand through her hair, ignoring the telltale beep signalling her tea was hot again—this had been different. The dream she'd conjured as a child had been so vivid, the characters so real she'd never been able to forget them.

No matter how hard she tried.

And she had tried.

Her mother had believed her from the start, encouraging her to turn the dream into something tangible by signing her up for art classes as a gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her teachers constantly badgered her about where she came up with her ideas, offering her extra time in the studio when the drawings turned into murals littered across the walls.

But dreams were supposed to fade, not repeat themselves every time you closed your eyes, yet even now, she could smell the flora from the castle gardens, the feel of smooth silk fresh under her fingers.

"I've said it before, Kagome. You're losing it," she chastised herself, leaning against the counter. Maybe if she took on more corporate gigs or family portraits, she wouldn't be constantly reminded of a world begging for her return.

"What kind of a name is Sesshoumaru, anyway?" she wondered aloud. The castle and surrounding creatures had screamed fae—she knew that now from the hours spent in the public library devouring every word on the subject—so it couldn't be his real name anyway.

It was one of the first rules she'd come across, and likely the most important, though she hadn't known it at the time, offering her own up freely to every ally she'd come across. There had been a few others, but lying and bragging came naturally to teenagers, so how was she to know it would be considered offensive?

Especially when he'd thrown even the smallest victory in her face?

A bell chimed, and it took her a moment to realize it wasn't the microwave, a frown puckering her brow as she walked down the hall to her bedroom. After graduating high school, she'd kept the sketches from her dream to herself, superstitious enough after memorizing the rules of the fae folk to know that if they did exist, they wouldn't be too happy about finding their likeness being sold to the highest bidder.

She doubted other artists hung their own creations on their walls, but she liked having them readily available—though maybe that was why the dreams had never faded. Tracing her finger along the bottom of the nearest page, she sighed again.

"I should really put you into storage," she said.

"Don't do that."

Kagome jumped, head whipping around as the bell she'd heard before sounded again. The grass from the garden collage turned a vivid shade of green, saturating every inch of the flora in the neighbouring sketches.

"You'll forget us for real if you do that," the same voice said, bell tinkling before the floor-length mirror next to her dresser shimmered. Kagome looked between the sketches and the mirror, staring at the same emerald eyes, each set blinking at her in earnest.


The reflection pouted, a pair of fox paws stepping through the glass and onto her bedroom floor. "I'm not allowed to tell you my name. So if you can't remember from before…"

Feeling lightheaded, she grasped for the wall. "This isn't real. I must've fallen asleep at the table."

His expression was forlorn, tiny hands shoved into a pair of teal pants. "You're not making this any easier. I figured if it was me, you'd come easier." He kicked at the floor, and Kagome looked between him and the papers on her wall.

"You're taller than before," she blurted, finally catching her breath. It was a silly thing to say, considering the circumstances, and the fact that a fox demon was standing in her bedroom, but it was the first thing she noticed.

He flashed her a fanged grin, turning around. "I've got an extra tail now, too!" he boasted, sporting two sleek foxtails instead of the single bushy one she'd known from before.


There shouldn't have been a before.

"Why are you here?" Another silly question. Why was she conversing with hallucinations? Was this a typical stage every artist went through while experiencing a block?

The boy crossed his arms, for he was still a boy, looking around the age of ten even though he'd barely been half that the last time they'd met. "Name first."

"But I'm not supposed to—"

"Name. First."

Letting out an exasperated groan, she mimicked his stance. "Your bravado didn't work last time, Shippou. It's not going to—" He launched himself at her, arms wrapping around her legs as they both tumbled to the floor.

"You remember!"

"Kind of hard not to. It's not every day I come across such a helpful fox demon. You're supposed to be mischievous and pull tricks on me."

A flush tinted his cheeks, but he couldn't stop grinning at her. "The treats you gave me were really tasty!"

"Which I wasn't supposed to give you in the first place." She tried to remain passive, but his smile was contagious, and Kagome soon found herself returning the greeting.

"Do you have any more?" he asked, patting down her pockets as if they were brimming with secrets.

"There might be some in the pantry, but—" She grabbed one of his ears, tugging softly. "—that doesn't explain why you're here, Shippou. You wouldn't just show up after ten years for a snack."

The guilt on his face was evident, even if she hadn't been able to sense it in his aura, and he slowly got to his feet. "You summoned me. Well, you summoned him, but he's not—he can't hear you right now."

"Who? I didn't summon anyone," she said, following suit.

"You said his name," Shippou argued. "That's as a call as anything."

Blue eyes widened. He couldn't possibly mean—

"I managed to convince them to let me come get you," he said, rubbing the back of his head. "That you would listen to me and not put up a fight."

Kagome was instantly on alert, taking a step back as she eyed him warily. "Why would I put up a fight?"

The kit bit his lip. "You said his name," he repeated as if that explained everything.

"Shippou," she said, anxiety and warning creeping into her tone.

He refused to look at her but grabbed her hand. "Don't be mad. It's the easiest way to keep you safe." He dragged her towards the mirror before she could protest, her bedroom disappearing in a myriad of green fire and silver sparkles.


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