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“Higher!” She cried, giving out a shrill shriek as her body flew even further into the sky. Her shoes pointed into the clouds and, for a moment, she was one with the open abyss before reality pulled her back, her pigtails flipping about her face in a flurry as she rode back down. The ropes in her hands burned against her palms and her eyes closed tight as she savored the sensation, enjoying the way the swing rocked back and forth beneath her before coming to a full stop.

Turning to look behind her, she noticed that her partner in crime was not facing her but was now looking at his stepmother, who appeared to be rather upset with the both of them. Probably because they were supposed to be working on schoolwork, instead of playing, and most likely because she had some notion that she would be an even better mother than his original one. Kagome never completely understood that, but that was what he said – and everything Sesshomaru said was right. He was five whole years older than her, after all.

Their early years went by in a flash, Kagome could barely remember a time without the brothers, who were some of her best friends, and her cousin Kikyo – all playing in the sunshine every summer. It was, therefore, a great shock to the fragile young girl when she appeared one summer to find there was one less brother. Not that InuYasha was not a great friend and wonderful play mate, in fact he and she got along rather well. Kagome was somewhat of a tomboy and she and InuYasha would tease girly Kikyo to no end.

Kagome even thought she might like him as more than a friend. Until, one balmy afternoon, she found him and her cousin kissing behind the shed. She had fled the scene, tears streaming down her face as she stumbled to her bed and tried to ignore it all. The problem was, she wasn’t crying because she loved InuYasha. When she saw them kissing, the first sense she had was complete and utter loneliness. She missed Sesshomaru. She wondered if he felt the same, too. Probably not.

He had gone to live with his mother, to be “properly raised” as she put it. His father didn’t put up much of a fight after Izayoi agreed that she could never teach a full blood youkai boy how to behave himself. Kagome wondered how she would ever manage InuYasha, but had decided it was better to bite her tongue. Still, every summer she arrived and hoped he would be there.

She was fourteen now. He had been eleven when he left. That meant he would be nineteen by now and that it had been eight years since their parting. It was unlikely if he ever thought about her. With a sigh, Kagome stood and shuffled downstairs, noting how Kikyo and InuYasha had moved indoors to watch a movie. Stepping out onto the patio, Kagome took in a slow breath before skipping down the steps and into the evening, fireflies darting about as her feet naturally took her to her favorite place.

The wood was worn smooth, the ropes having been replaced four times, but the swing was always there. Something to connect them.

With a wistful smile, she sat and kicked off. A cloud of dirt rose and Kagome let out a laugh as her feet pointed towards the sky again. She could still remember the way she had childishly dreamed about being able to fly, to be able to touch the sky, to reach the clouds and be free. Like clockwork, reality came back to pull her down and she felt her heart flip in a melancholy way as her hair whirled around her face.

Magically, she did not come to a halt. Instead her body was met with resistance and was pushed… hard.

Kagome’s eyes widened and she let out a squeak as the swing threw her into the sky, her body falling end over end. Reality pulled and she responded, face flying towards the ground so intensely all she could do was close her eyes.

Again she met resistance, falling not on the ground but on something soft and firm at once. Something that laughed.

Her eyes popped open and Kagome looked up to see that she was atop Sesshomaru, who had become very tall but looked generally the same as always, and they were hovering above the ground. Her heart pounded in her ears and she responded before she could stop herself, not caring how childish it was. Grasping onto him, she pulled herself up to where she could whisper into his ear. “Higher.”

He complied with her wish.