Scent of Tears

BY : FlameWolf
Category: InuYasha > Het - Male/Female > Sessh?maru/Kagome > Sessh?maru/Kagome
Dragon prints: 2039
Disclaimer: I don’t own anyone or anything from Inuyasha. This is just for fun and no profit will be made from this.

Author’s Note:  Sorry for the long delay with this story.  I hope you like how things go.



 

Scent of Tears

 

By: FlameWolf





 

    The first thing Kagome became aware of was a soft rumbling sound as well as something rough and wet moving against her cheek, almost like Buyo licking her to wake her for his breakfast.  “Mmmnh, not now Buyo.  Just give me five more minutes,” moaned out of her, a hand coming up to wave away the feline.  Then she was snuggling into the impossibly soft material under, a content sigh escaping her.  Whatever softener her mother was using, she would have to compliment it.  It was then a gruff chuckle came from behind her and her dark eyes opened wide as her heart stuttered in her chest.

    Memories came back to her in a rush, the licking moving to a mark on her neck while something fluffy wrapped around her waist.  “Buyo?  Is that one of the beings on the other side of that well of yours,” rumbled a voice that both made her tingle with lust as well as jolt in shock.

    “Holy shit, we’re mated,” she whispered, feeling both horrified as well as overjoyed.

    “Hnn, was I so good that you already forgot what happened?” the male behind her chuckled, amusement tinging his demonic voice.  Then he was shifting, pressing his erection into her butt and making her very aware of the fact they were both still very naked.

    Squeaking, the mortified teenager tried to escape only to find it was quite impossible with both his arms wrapped around her.  There was also his tail, its tip bushing out slightly as it tightened its hold slightly.  “Why are you so afraid?  Do you regret what happened between us?” asked the male as her eyes went to the magenta stripes on his wrists.  All at once, she was struck with the realization her memories were real.  It hadn’t been a dream.  She was now in the hold of her mate, Lord Sesshomaru.

    Still, this didn’t help her hardwired mortification at being naked in front of anyone; let alone someone as handsome as the youkai behind her.  “N-no, I would do it all again if given the chance.  I... I do love you.  Its just... I’m still not used to any of this.  Before yesterday, you were still aloof to me.  Now, our entire relationship has shifted.  I need some time to adjust,” she responded, doing her best to ignore her urge to shield her body.  After all; he had taken her virginity, had claimed her as his.  There was nothing more to hide.

    “Hnnn...  This is all too true.  I have spent far too much time fighting the fact that I wanted you by my side.  If you wish, we can still act as if we are still courting for the time being,” the dog demon offered, his voice holding a gentle edge as he rolled her to face him.  Soft, honey colored eyes locked on hers as a pair of lips covered hers in a loving kiss.

    Moaning quietly, the young priestess felt her reiki spark to life; still inseparably mixed with the taiyoukai’s youki.  “Its a little late for that but I would like the chance to get to know more about you.  I kinda fell in love with you without really knowing that much about your personality.  Though, I have come to find out that you’re a demon of honor,” she admitted after he broke the kiss to rest his chin on top of her head.  The stoic creature only huffed through his nostrils, his claws tickling over her back as he seemed to muse over her words.

    “I keep forgetting such things matter to ningen.  Inu don’t really care about such things as long as they love each other.  Still, I must admit the chance to learn about you; to show you how much I have grown to love you is a compelling enough reason to do it your way,” Sesshomaru whispered, releasing her slowly to get to his feet.

    Kagome could only sit where she was, feeling a deep sadness for the youkai in front of her.  From the way he spoke, his kind weren’t in the habit of forming extremely deep relationships.  It wasn’t that partnerships formed on emotions alone could be bad it was just that the pair was unlikely to have anything in common.  They would probably be unable to find common ground for things to talk about beyond how much they loved each other.  In the end, such a joining could grow into boredom or hatred.  If that was all he knew, all his mother had expected from Inutaishou; it was no wonder the ruler had defected into a relationship with Izayoi.

    Getting on her own, shaky legs, Kagome looked around the huge cave to see where her clothing had been flung.  To her wonder, she felt no evidence of her menstruation on her inner thighs as she move; making her feel more than a little confused as she picked up her pad lined panties.  “I lapped up the blood while you slept and made sure no more would come from you for this cycle,” answered a voice from behind her, the words making her feel an odd mixture of emotions.  Some part of her felt violated by what had happened but the other part honestly felt relieved.

    While she didn’t like he had done anything to her while she had been asleep, she couldn’t be too angry about him taking care of the rest of her period.  So, shrugging it off, the highschooler reached for her uniform and began to slide the pieces on one by one.  As she pulled up her skirt, she heard rustling behind her while her new mate put his own clothing back into place.  Just as she was sliding her shirt over her head, she jolted forward as she felt an impact on the barrier Sesshomaru had put up.  “Oh shit, Inuyasha!” she hissed, tugging on her backpack before whirling to face the Western Lord.

    The powerful being was merely staring at her with slightly glowing eyes, his upper body still exposed.  “Do not worry, this Sesshomaru did not forget his promise.  This one will not harm the hanyou but he will not simply take you from me.  If he attempts to take you against your will, I will fight,” the mighty inu gritted out, his tail wrapping around his right shoulder out of simple habit.  Kagome could only sigh, the beginnings of a headache beginning between her temples while sorrow weighed down her heart.

    “I know, I just wish it didn’t have to come to any of this.  Despite not knowing nearly enough about you, I haven’t been as happy in a long time.  The love I feel for you now is much deeper than anything I felt for your half brother.  Even my reiki approves of our union as I don’t think I can ever fully untangle it from your youki,” sighed the weary teen.  Still, she couldn’t blame the protective male out there for his confusion.

    Just hours before, the youkai pulling his haori onto his torso had been a bitter enemy.  For all Inuyasha knew, his hated half brother could be killing her.  In fact, the last time they had met in front of the hanyou, the ‘Killing Perfection’ had tried to do just that.  Despite his heart belonging mostly to Kikyo, the hanyou still saw her as his responsibility as well as a dear friend.  He had to be almost insane from the worry, despite what Sango would have told him.  With how outlandish the events were, the cautious male would want to see the truth with his own two eyes.

    “This one would not appreciate the attempt at separation and neither would his demon,” rumbled a voice that sounded beastly, strong arms wrapping around her from behind to pull her tight against an unnaturally hot body.  The dark part of him that he spoke of clung tightly to his voice as well as actions, as if it had been allowed off its tight leash.  Gentle fangs nibbled along the new marking, causing a small shudder as she found herself relaxing instinctually.

    “You belong to this Sesshomaru, you are this one’s mate.  It is only right our two energies want to merge or at least stay tied.  Now, let us go and appease the idiot before he grows any more frantic,” he continued, scooping her up into a bridal carry before she could protest.

    Then he was running out of the cave and into the surrounding forest, going at a speed so fast that it came close to making the sixteen year old feel sick.  In moments, they reached their destination; the dog-eared half-breed pacing outside the invisible wall that kept intruders out.  As soon as he saw the woman he had sworn to protect in his estranged sibling’s arms, he began banging at the barrier with Tessaiga; screaming for him to let her go.  Sango could only stand behind the panicked half inu, Shippo in her arms while Miroku stood by her side.  “I tried to tell him but...,” the slayer began, only to be cut off by a strangled shout from Inuyasha.

    “Cause what you told me don’t make any damn sense!  The bastard hates humans!  Its a mystery why he even lets that little whelp of a girl to follow him,” the crimson clad male snarled, his golden eyes fixed on the woman his half brother was setting down.  Sesshomaru let out a low growl in response to the insult toward his ward but made no move to instigate a fight, staying where he was while the miko approached the invisible wall.

    “Yasha, I’m afraid what Sango told you is true.  I am in a relationship with Sesshomaru.  I have been for a while now.  I even bear his mark to prove it,” Kagome reasoned, her heart hurting for her friend as she saw betrayal dawning in his normally friendly eyes.

    A stricken expression coming over his young face, he lowered his transformed blade while his ears flattened.  “Was... was this what you were trying to tell me earlier?  That he was your choice?” he whispered, his voice wavering between fury and devastation.  It was then something inside her broke and her reiki flared as unreasoning rage filled her young body.  Then she was moving, only stopped by the dome of youki between them.

    “Just because I look like Kikyo, it doesn’t mean you automatically have a claim on me!  Time and again, you’ve gone off when you think everyone’s asleep to be with her!  How long did you think you could keep doing that without hurting me?!  Did you ever intend on making a choice?  Did you really think Kagome Higurashi would take second place to any woman?” she spat, years of repressed hurt finally escaping her like pus from an infected wound.

    On the other side, anger completely drained from her long time companion, regret shining in his eyes as he raised a clawed hand to place on the gathered youki keeping them separated.  “Kagome...,” he began, his voice gruff and choked while tears rimmed amber eyes.  Despite how hard that yanked on her heartstrings, the young woman stayed firm; shaking her head to cut him off.

    “No, Yasha...  Like I said before, you had your chance to make a choice.  One it seems you made long before you met me.  It isn’t my fault I decided to move on to someone who might actually care about me, someone I don’t have to worry about sleeping around behind my back.  You may have good reason to hate him but Sesshomaru hasn’t done anything to harm me,” she continued, feeling the heat of said male as he closed the distance to stand behind her.

    His recently restored hand rested on a corresponding shoulder, his tail also wrapping around her waist for effect.  Just seeing it made the hanyou’s inner alpha bristle as he picked up his sword out of habit.  “You bastard!  If I find out you did anything to force Kagome into this, I will hang your pelt outside the village as a warning to other youkai!” Inuyasha snarled, faint purple stripes appearing on his cheeks while his sclera reddened slightly.  Sesshomaru growled loudly in response, his own beast responding in kind as the stripes on his cheek grew slightly jagged.

    “I have more honor than to trick some ningen for my pleasure.  Kagome has earned this one’s respect as well as loyalty.  None will dare to harm her,” the taiyoukai boomed, his voice holding an authority that was reminiscent of his father’s.  Yet, his hanyou sibling still looked suspicious; narrowing his eyes as he lowered his weapon only slightly.

    “Release the barrier then.  Prove she isn’t there against her will, that you haven’t threatened her in some way” he spat, Sesshomaru fairly bristling at the demand.

    Yet, instead of heatedly defending his honor, the powerful being merely allowed the barrier to drop.  In that instant, Inuyasha was taking Kagome into his arms and running off; the taiyoukai staring at the dust trail left behind with a feeling of extreme irritation.  If it hadn’t been for the fact he had successfully mated Kagome, his beast would have chased after the hanyou to slaughter him for his arrogance.  As it was, it was a very near thing.

    Already he could feel the beginnings of his transformation due to his instinct to protect his mate.  It was only staved off by the knowledge that his useless half brother had only wanted to protect the miko before now.  This instance was no different and required much more understanding as well as patience on his part.  Feeling a tug on his hakama, the inu youkai looked down to see the kit that belonged to Kagome.  Feeling his paternal instincts flare, the much taller male knelt so he could look the child in the eyes.  “D-does this mean you’re my... dad?” asked a very shy, scratchy voice.

    In an instant, he was scooping the fox into his right arm out of habit; not being used to having two arms after so long.  Ignoring the protests of the two humans that had been left behind, the youkai Lord began to sniff the young kitsune.  The scent of the miko covered him, marking him clearly as her adopted son.  Rumbling softly, he allowed some of his demon to surface to lick the kit’s left cheek.  The orange haired child giggled but made no move to get away, seeming to sense what was about to happen.

    Still making that odd purring noise, Sesshomaru began to rub his cheek as well as the bottom of his chin all over the young fox.  “Wh-what is he...?” came a question from the perverted priest.

    “Scent-marking.  He’s making sure other demons know Shippo is part of his pack, his family.  He’s adopting the little guy,” the slayer explained calmly, sounding just a tiny bit surprised.

    Shippo, being a canine himself, knew exactly what was going on without being told.  While it was odd to have a former enemy treating him almost affectionately, he was ecstatic at the thought of having a real family.  Having just Kagome had been nice but he had always been worried she would leave him one day.  With Sesshomaru claiming her and then adopting him, such a scenario was extremely unlikely now.  There was also the fact that the taiyoukai would now treat him as nothing less than a blood relative.  As such, would probably teach the young kit how to defend himself as well as his adoptive mother.  “Thank you Lord Sesshomaru,” he cried out, joy colored his voice as he threw tiny arms around his new father’s neck.

    “Just Sesshomaru or father will suffice.  Now, let us see where your idiotic uncle has taken your mother,” boomed a surprisingly gentle baritone as he felt his tiny body shift onto the tail that wrapped around Sesshomaru’s right shoulder.  Then they were off, running at speed that made his eyes water while he clung on for dear life.

    As they moved, the taiyoukai’s words rang in his head on an endless loop; making him feel warm inside.  With how cold the inu had acted before, Shippo would have never believed he could accept him so fast.  He had expected to be calling the mighty being by his title.  Calling him father hadn’t even crossed his mind until it was brought up.  Nestling into the fur of his new father’s tail, the young kit began to stretch out his senses in an effort to help locate his mother and Inubaka.

    Staring at where Sesshomaru had gone, Sango heaved a sigh as Kilala hopped off her shoulder.  Miroku, on the other hand, seemed to be in a state of shock.  He looked more like a cardboard cutout, frozen in place with wide eyes.  “Was that really Sesshomaru?” he whispered in a far away voice, the nekomata changing into her giant form beside him.

    “Yes, it was,” the Taijiya responded, sounding as if what happened had been nothing but a matter of business.  Then she was walking toward the holy man, picking up his locked form and setting him on her pet as if he weighed nothing.  Hopping up behind him, she gave Kilala’s ribs a gentle squeeze to urge the cat into the air.

    “I thought he hated humans, let alone any demon that wasn’t inu,” the broken, purple clad pervert whimpered pathetically, sounding more confused than he ever had before.

    “We all did.  Then Rin happened, not to mention Jaken and that two-headed dragon.  It seems there are many sides to the taiyoukai that we don’t know.  Still, not many demons adopt a child that isn’t theirs.  Some even kill the poor thing to obtain mating rights with their mother.  Sesshomaru is almost acting as if his seed gave spawn to Shippo and Kagome gave birth to him,” she responded, holding onto the stiff male to ensure he wouldn’t simply slide off their flying mount.

    Kagome was so taken off guard by what happened that they were nearly back to the well before she had even thought to begin fighting back.  Knowing telling him to stop would be no use, the teen chose the option left to her.  Closing her brown eyes and hoping for the best, she uttered a certain three letter word.  “Sit!”  The effect was instantaneous, all forward movement halting.  This sent her flying in the air as her body jolted out of Inuyasha’s arms and he pitched forward onto his face.

    A bit impressed with the air time she was getting, the brunette did her best to stay as limp as possible for the inevitable impact with the ground.  She had heard that doing so would mitigate or lessen the damage she took from a hard fall.  An idea that sounded great in theory, in practice hitting the ground from a few feet up and at a decent speed still hurt like a mother fucker.  Swearing colorfully as she ragdolled along the grassy ground for a few seconds, Kagome eventually came to a stop; sitting up with a pained hiss.

    Looking at herself to assess for injury, she was a bit surprised to see only a few bruises and scratches.  As for broken bones, she was feeling far too much adrenaline and rage to feel them if they were there at all.  Getting to her feet and dusting off her green skirt, the furious sixteen year old stomped over to the crimson lump she saw in the distance.  “Of all the arrogant, high handed, low down, dirty tricks you could have pulled...,” she spat, her irises turning pink as her reiki began to rage.  Just a hint of Sesshomaru’s youki was thrown in due to the energies being joined, only making her more intimidating.

    “Kagome, please.  Can’t you see he has you bewitched?  If I send you back to your time, it could break the spell he has over you,” groaned the stunned half-breed, golden eyes looking up at her forlornly as his ears flattened against his skull.

    “Sit!  I can understand why you would think that but Sesshomaru would never do such a thing.  To take control of someone’s mind would go against his moral code,” she hissed, a pink aura surrounding her, faint green showing up on the tips of the spikes.  The pelt clad body in front of her slammed into the ground, a pained cry coming from Inuyasha as a small crater was created.

    “Where was his moral code when he tried to kill you, twice?  Where was it when he took a deal from Naraku?  He’s just using you to get Tessaiga!” came the muffled protest, some of his words spearing her heart with icy fear.

    This fear was quickly replaced by a foreign feeling of comfort, of being safe.  Feeling prickles of familiar youki on her skin, Kagome closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself.  “I know you have good reason to think that but you just have to trust me.  While I don’t know exactly why I love him as much as I do, I’m happy for the first time in a very long time.  Do you really want to take that away from me?” she pleaded, her heart squeezing in her chest at just the thought of being separated from Sesshomaru.

    While they had only been mated one night, her affection for the cantankerous male had grown exponentially.  Something about him made her soul feel at peace, as if they had been meant to be together from the start.  Maybe, just maybe, Sesshomaru was a reincarnation of the demon that had supposedly fought with Midoriko.  With all that had happened recently, she was beginning to think the history they had been told hadn’t been the full story.  Something told her that the two were never enemies in the first place.  Still, none of that explained the remains in the cave.  “Of course I want you to be happy but that bastard...  He doesn’t feel anything for anyone!  He didn’t even cry when our old man died,” came a heartfelt protest from below her, breaking her from her odd musings.

    Before she could reply, she felt two very familiar youki signatures heading toward them at impossible speeds.  Jumping over the hole her companion had made, Kagome ran full tilt in the direction they were coming from.  In seconds, she was swept up in strong arms; soft rumbles leaving Sesshomaru as he sniffed over her for injuries.  Needless to say, when he scented blood a threatening snarl ripped from the depths of his chest.  Then he was setting her on her feet, Shippo jumping into her arms from his shoulder as the infuriated youkai shoved her behind him.  Growling low in his throat, the Western Lord was striding toward his brother; his own aura flaring to life.

    Sighing, the teen decided to let the two boneheads sort it out for themselves.  Moving over to Goshinboku, she sat under the ancient tree and looked up at the branches.  An older version of this same tree existed in her time at the temple her family watched over.  It was more than ironic that it had started this whole mess by simply having Inuyasha pinned to its trunk.  Patted the scarred bark against her back, she looked down at the strangely silent kit in her lap.  “Why were you with Sesshomaru?” she asked, not realizing she had asked that out loud until she saw the embarrassed expression her adopted son had on his freckled face.

    “He uh... he adopted me and kinda took me along,” the fox replied, fiddling with his tail as he met her eyes nervously.

    Looking from the kit to the youkai that was currently picking his half brother up out of a crater by the collar of his haori, Kagome felt her heart overflow with affection.  Patting the child’s red hair, the reincarnated femme got to her feet once again; making a beeline for the two brothers.  Behind her, Kilala was landing; crouching to allow her mistress to slide off.  However, once Sango had done just that, Miroku simply fell off to one side; unable to stay on without her support.  “Uh, what’s with him?” Shippo asked, skittering over to Sango and climbing up onto her shoulder.

    “He’s still trying to wrap his mind around what’s happening,” the young woman responded before looking up to see her sister heading toward the two in the field near the well.

    “Oh, please tell me Inuyasha wasn’t this stupid,” sighed out of her in an exasperated tone as she moved to take the place Kagome had been sitting.

    “‘Fraid so.  Papa will probably have to straighten Inubaka out,” the kit chirped, the label he had used for Sesshomaru taking her off guard.  He had yet to allow Rin to call him father.  That he would allow a fox youkai he hadn’t known until now the honor was a bit mind boggling.

    Sesshomaru couldn’t remember a time he had been so furious and yet unable to unleash his anger.  The best he could do was yell at the half-breed while dangling him above the hole he had made.  In true Inuyasha fashion, the idiot still tried to fight but didn’t attempt to yell over his scolding.  It was as if, despite how brash he was, the hanyou felt guilt for what he had almost done.  “This one will not warn you a second time.  If you try to put Kagome into that well against her will again, this Sesshomaru will not be held accountable for his actions,” he ground out, dropping his hated sibling.

    As soon as he was loose, the stubborn bastard was on his feet with a transformed Tessaiga pointed at Sesshomaru’s chest.  “Sit!” rang out across the field, forcing the hanyou back to the ground with a hard ‘smack’.  Smirking at the spread eagle, red clothed form, the taiyoukai simply shook his head.

    “This one will not fight with you half-breed.  Not only are you not worth his time but Kagome has asked this one not to harm you.  A promise this Sesshomaru intends to honor unless the circumstances are extreme,” he announced, feeling the energy of his mate closing in rapidly.  Assuming she was trying to stop him from killing the bastard of the western house, the youkai turned to face her; his arms spread at his sides.

    When she threw herself into his arms and hugged him tightly, he was more than just a little surprised.  “Thank you Sesshomaru,” husked in his ear, Sakura overtaking his senses as he staggered in place.  Wrapping his arms gently around the human, Sesshomaru burrowed his nose in her ebony locks to breath the smell at it source.

    “For what Kagome?” he murmured, his half-brother quite forgotten for the time being.

    “For adopting Shippo just like that.  You have no idea how happy you’ve made him.  Ever since his family was killed by the Thunder Brothers, he’s missed his father terribly.  Manten had even worn his father’s pelt, only deepening his trauma.  Having another father figure means so much to him,” gushed his mate, grabbing the back of his head to pull him down so she could pepper his face with affectionate kisses.

    Lowering his sword as he took in the very real affection between the pair, Inuyasha crinkled his brow as he thought some things over.  While he wasn’t wild about the idea of Kagome being mated to the asshole, he couldn’t deny how much happier she was.  For months now, the normally vibrant girl had looked almost defeated, hollowed out; a fact he hadn’t wanted to admit to himself.  She was Kagome!  She was always supposed to be alright no matter what.  Now he was finding out that had never been the truth.

    Ever since Kikyo came back, the young woman had been hiding her pain.  Every time he had ran off to see her incarnation, Kagome had known; even when she pretended she didn’t.  It had to have been eating away at her for years, slowly undermining her good spirit as well as self esteem.  If he looked at it from her point of view, he had practically been cheating on her; choosing another woman over her.  What made it worse was the other woman was someone she used to be in a past life.  Sheathing his sword as he sighed, he made a few decisions that would affect the whole of the group.  “Oy, asshole!” he hollered, effectively getting the attention of both Kagome and Sesshomaru.

    “His name is not ‘Asshole’ Inuyasha...,” the miko growled, her reiki flaring in warning and saving his half-brother the trouble.

    “Er...  I mean, Sesshomaru.  I accept the fact that you and Kagome are mated but that doesn’t mean you’re part of our pack yet.  You have to prove to all of us you aren’t going to betray us,” Inuyasha announced, taking the pair by surprise.

    “You can follow us around as much as ya like but don’t expect to be welcome at our fireside just yet.  All you’ve done is try to kill us before now.  The way I see it, you’ll have to do a lot to get us to trust you,” he continued, before turning on his heel and stomping toward the near-by village.

    Kagome stared after her long time travelling companion, wondering if she had stepped into an alternate timeline for a brief moment.  She had never expected her stubborn friend to accept Sesshomaru so quickly, let alone agree to let him hang around on the fringes of the camp.  While she would have preferred to have him in the group with the others, what she had gotten was well beyond what she had expected.  Her new mate, on the other hand, seemed incensed at the fact the hanyou had so neatly ordered him around.  In fact, he looked about ready to go after Inuyasha to show him who the real alpha was.

    It was only his mate holding his arm that stopped him, making him focus on her instead.  “Please, I’m surprised he was willing to give us this much.  He’s only gone through his entire life hating you and seeing you as deceitful.  It doesn’t help you’ve tried to kill him and me more than once.  As much as I would like you to be in the camp with us, you do have a lot to make up for with the others,” she whispered, the slight taint of sadness clinging to the blossoms of her scent.  Sighing, the Aristocratic Assassin nodded; still not looking very happy.

    “This one will acquiesce but the runt is forgetting his place.  If he thinks he will continue to be in charge of this Sesshomaru’s actions when he joins your pack, he has another thing coming,” the taiyoukai grumbled, cupping her cheek with his right hand.  In response, the young priestess turned her head to kiss his palm; drawing a low rumble out of him.

    “Of course.  From what I learned about pack behavior with dogs and wolves, it would only be natural for the two of you to eventually have a fight over the status of alpha.  All I ask is you hold off for a while, at least until the others start to accept you a bit,” she replied quietly, turning her head to look at the people she had left behind.

    Already, Shippo was running on all fours toward them; a look of extreme happiness on his young face.  Close behind the kit was Sango, dragging a still frozen Miroku along.  Smiling at her small family, she knelt and opened her arms for her adopted son; scooping him up as soon as his tiny arms were around her neck.  “What did Inubaka say?” he whispered, a slight hint of apprehension to his naturally gruff voice.  Shaking her head and giggling at the nickname her kit refused to give up, she gently tapped the tip of his nose in warning.

    “How many times have I told you not to call him that?  He’ll never stop picking on you if you don’t respect him just a little,” Kagome chided lovingly, squeaking when the orange haired imp launched himself at Sesshomaru.

    The teen had to hold back an instinctual need to shout a warning to her adopted son, biting her lips nervously as she watched the inu youkai’s reaction.  To her surprise, the arrogant, often cold Lord opened his arms to the child; allowing Shippo to scamper onto his tail to cling to his neck.  Patting the fox’s head, he shifted his amber gaze to the two humans that were just coming into hearing range.  “How’d it go sis?” the Taijiya asked, sounding genuinely curious as she cautiously approached the miko.  Her eyes were fixed on Sesshomaru as she did so, as if asking for permission.  When he gave a subtle nod, the pink clad fighter rushed to the other woman’s side just to assure herself Kagome was okay.

    A few hours and some explanations all around, the group decided to follow Inuyasha into the village; Sesshomaru being the only exception.  Not only would his presence cause an instant panic, he also still didn’t really enjoy being around humans all that much.  Asking him to put up with a whole village would be asking a bit much.  Still, neither he or Kagome were looking forward to the separation.  While they had been fine before the mating, the pair felt an intense need just to be around eachother.  A fact they were at a loss to explain.

    Well, at least on Kagome’s end.  Sesshomaru was full aware of why he didn’t want to be too far away from his new mate.  When she had disappeared into the well, he had been distraught; convinced she had died or wouldn’t come back from wherever she had gone.  Just moments before, his hated half-brother had almost forced her down the same well.  He was understandably scared it would happen again when he was on the outskirts of the village.  His only consolation was the fact he would be able to sense if something was wrong.  He also needed to go fetch the rest of his pack as he had no intentions of going very far from his mate.

    Closing his eyes and stretching out his senses, he pinpointed where Jaken was currently camping with Rin and Ah-Un.  Forming a youki cloud under his feet, the noble male rose into the sky, the cool wind blowing his silver locks behind him.  As the sun began to set, he flew towards the location; inwardly amused about how his companions would react to the news he had taken a mate.  Not just any mate either, but Kagome.  His ward would be overjoyed, having wanted a mother figure since she had begun following him.  The toad, on the other hand, would begin to bemoan the fact his Lord had fallen so far.

    The small youkai didn’t like humans anymore then he did, even going out of his way to berate and pick on his adoptive daughter.  There was no doubt he wouldn’t treat Kagome any better.  A realization that made his hackles bristle while a protective snarl ripped out of him.  He would not tolerate any disrespectful behavior toward his mate or new son.  In fact, there would be some new rules regarding his ward as well.  It was high time Jaken showed his pack the respect they deserved for him considering them worthy.  What the toad was doing was implying his retainer questioned his master’s judgement, something that couldn’t continue.

    Orange flames flickered in the advancing gloom while a small child watched the fish skewered over the fire and hummed happily to herself.  Off to one side sat a toad youkai, a sour expression on his wrinkled face while he polished the handle of his two-headed staff.  One head was of a beautiful geisha and the other was of an elderly Lord.  All in all, a rather strange looking item.  Raising his bulging eyes up to the stars, he wondered where his master had gone to; Ah-Un snoring behind him.  His Lord Sesshomaru had been gone for weeks, much longer than normal.  On top of that, he had once again been left with the brat.

    Sighing, he snuck a glance at said child out of the corner of his eye.  In all honesty, she wasn’t that bad for a ningen.  She always smiled and treated him like her friend despite him treating her like she was lower than dirt.  Feeling just the slightest bit of guilt, the aging demon huffed before getting to his feet and waddling over to the girl.  Maybe, just maybe it wouldn’t kill him to be a bit nicer.  After all, his master had practically adopted her.  So, squatting next to her, he began to doodle something in the soft dirt by the fire pit.  It didn’t take long for Rin to join in, the bright grin on her freckled face doing wonders to melt his heart.

    Just as it was beginning to enter full night, Ah-Un got to his feet and began to whine; looking upwards expectantly.  Jaken, who was now covered in flower wreaths, instantly froze; dread and humiliation bubbling up within his small body.  Just the thought of his Lord seeing him like this made him burn with mortification.  Yet, as he started to tear off the wreaths, he heard a quiet protest from the girl he had been playing with for the past half hour.  “Oh Master Jaken, you looked so pretty.  I really wanted Lord Sesshomaru to see all the hard work we did,” she protested, sounding genuinely sad and making guilt stab his heart.  Deflating instantly, he put the ruined wreaths back in place; readying himself for the ridicule that was sure to come.

    As he grew closer to landing, Sesshomaru found himself eager to see his travelling companions; even Jaken.  It had been a long time since he had seen his pack and he was surprised to find he longed to hold Rin in his arms.  While he had never been affectionate with her, he had considered her a daughter.  Yet he had never given her permission to act as if he was her father, a fact that shamed him after how he had treated a kit he had only known a few hours.  Frowning slightly as his cloud began to descend, he vowed to remedy the situation immediately.

    As he grew closer, however, he came very close to forgetting everything he had vowed when he saw what awaited him.  Rin covered in flowers was no oddity, neither were the presence of the wreaths on a very patient Ah-Un.  The wreaths covered Jaken head to foot, on the other hand, were exceedingly strange.  He was so astonished that he came very close to asking the toad if he had gone insane.  Instead, he simply acted as if he saw nothing at all; heading straight to his ward to pick her up in his arms.

    At first, the young child was understandably confused as well as concerned, searching his pale face for any signs of distress.  When she didn’t find even a sign of sadness, she cautiously wrapped her arms around his neck to give him a gentle hug.  She was even more shocked when her Lord’s arms tightened in a similar embrace.  “W-welcome home my Lord,” she stammered, her heart beating in her ears as she tried to decode just what was happening.

    “Rin, you may refer to this one as either Sesshomaru or father if you would like,” rumbled a rich baritone in her ear, the words taking her breath away as overwhelming joy began to fill her.

    “You are this Sesshomaru’s daughter, you have earned that right,” he continued, licking her cheeks when she began to cry from happiness.

    “Oh... oh...  Rin...  Rin’s wanted...,” she stammered before letting out a wail and tightening her grip.  While this would have resulted in a chokehold on any other person, Sesshomaru seemed unaffected; nuzzling his ward’s cheek before he was setting her down.

    “There is more news, for both of you.  This Sesshomaru has taken a mate, someone both of you know and this one expects you to respect her,” the taiyoukai announced, smiling on the inside when the two in front of him showed their enthusiasm for his news.

    Rin squealed and began to jump around in excitement while Jaken merely began to wail his thanks to the Gods at a deafening level.  “Is it Kagome?” the gap toothed girl asked excitedly, her expression heartbreakingly hopeful.

    “Don’t be ridiculous you silly girl.  I know you like being around the human filth for some reason but Lord Sesshomaru would never lower himself to...,” Jaken began to scream, interrupted by a familiar boot stomping his bulbous head into the dirt.

    Giving his retainer a scathing glare, Sesshomaru turned his focus to his adopted daughter.  “Who else would be worthy of this one?” he responded simply, grinding his heel into the back of the toad’s head for emphasis.  Rin only let out another cry of jubilation, clapping before she was launching herself to hug his waist.

    “No one.... Daddy.  Rin wouldn’t want anyone else as her mother.  Kagome is so kind and always gives Rin candy,” the small girl responded, the top of her head barely coming up to his stomach.

    “Does this mean Shippo is Rin’s brother?” she continued shyly, her voice muffled by the white material covering his body.  Sesshomaru only chuckled, scenting her slight disappointment as he placed a hand on the crown of her head.

    “Only if you want him to be,” he replied, finally taking his foot off his servant to walk to his two headed mount.

    The old dragon whickered excitedly, shaking its heads in unison as it trotted toward its owner.  Patting the beast’s back, the Western Lord motioned Rin to him.  Once she was close enough, he was lifting her onto its back; ignoring the sputtering sound of his servant while he pulled himself out of the soil.  “W-wait! Wait for me Lord Sesshomaru!  Don’t leave me behind,” came the grating whine that made his skin crawl and one he generally ignored.  So, acting like he heard nothing, the youkai noble formed a cloud under his feet; rising to the sky with Ah-Un’s reigns grasped tightly in his left hand.

    As they pulled away, Rin looked back with a look of faint concern.  While she didn’t like her Lord’s cruel trick on Jaken, the little toad had always been able to find them.  Besides, she was excited to be reunited with Shippo and Kagome.  Just thinking about her new mother made her feel warm inside.  Yet, she found herself unsure of how to think of the young kit.  It wasn’t that she didn’t like him, she was just unsure if she really wanted him to be her brother.  Something about it made her feel wrong somehow and she couldn’t quite put her finger on why.  She and him had always had fun so it should make her happy to have him as a sibling.

    Nibbling her lower lip as she tried to puzzle out the solution to this conundrum, Sesshomaru looked back at her with a small pang of sorrow.  She was growing up so quickly and her interest in the fox kit hadn’t gone unnoticed by him.  Whenever the two were together, it felt like they were in the early stages of a juvenile romance.  A fact that rankled him as much as it charmed him.  Still, if anyone were to court his daughter; he would hope it would be Shippo and not the undead puppet called Kohaku.

    Just thinking about the unnatural boy made his hackles bristle.  He could act lucid, he could act like a normal human but he was still under the control of Naraku.  The boy had even come close to killing Rin, something he found impossible to forgive.  There was also the fact that once the spider hanyou had been destroyed, the undead kid would expire and he didn’t want his precious ward to suffer anymore trauma.  She had already been through so much, her parents dying, her village rejecting her and being killed by a pack of wolves.  An event he was certain the girl remembered from her reaction to the animals alone.  To lose another person she had grown to love would more than likely shatter her.

    Kagome felt restless, her senses telling her that her mate had left.  Even knowing he was likely getting his pack, the priestess felt anxious about his absence and couldn’t put her finger on why.  Sighing into the bowl of stew Kaede had made, the teenage priestess tried to relax.  She had been fine without his presence long before the mating had taken place.  She should be able to withstand the lack of it for a few minutes.  “Keh, you’ve really got it bad dontcha,” grumbled an irritable midtone to her right, startling her out of her musings.  Jumping guiltily, she turned her head to see Inuyasha giving her a strangely sympathetic glare.

    “Did ya used to wait for me like this?” he continued, his expression softening slightly.  The sixteen year old only grinned, just a slight hint of bittersweetness to the expression.

    “Every time.  Even when I knew you had gone off to... to sleep with Kikyo,” she whispered, stray tears trailing down her cheeks as her heart gave a painful squeeze.

    Flattening his ears against his skull, the hanyou fidgeted a bit in discomfort.  He didn’t even try to deny her allegations or defend himself.  As much as he wanted to say he and her former incarnation hadn’t gone that far, he knew otherwise.  He hadn’t been able to help himself, remembering far too much of the past and how he had felt about her.  He had never stopped to consider how what he had been doing had hurt the woman he had promised to protect.  “Can we go outside for a few minutes?  There are a few things I’d like to say to you.  Things that have been long overdue,” his slightly gruff voice murmured, staring down at the floor of the hut.

    Kagome could only stare at her friend, stunned at what he had said.  “Uh, o-okay,” she squeaked, watching as he got to his feet and swung the bamboo door to one side so he could exit.  Giving a shrug to her other companions, the baffled highschooler brushed off her uniform skirt before following; promising herself that she would change into the jeans she had brought when they got back inside.  As soon as she was clear of the door Inuyasha was leading her toward the well and Goshinboku.  “What I have ta say is kinda embarrassing.  Its easier to say while we’re walking,” he explained softly, stopping a couple steps ahead of her to wait for her to decide if she was coming or not.

    “Okay but can we stay away from the well for now?” she replied, the fact she didn’t trust him stinging slightly.

    “We can wander the outskirts of the village.  This won’t take long anyway.  Just don’t want to give runt something else to hold over my head,” Inuyasha conceded, feeling a weight lift off him when the teen came to his side.

    Soon the pair was walking, the cool night air wrapping around their bodies.  “We don’t have much time before Bonehea.... I mean, Sesshomaru comes back.  So, I guess I’ll just start with what’s important.  I’m sorry Kagome,” the obviously nervous male began, avoiding her gaze as he uttered his apology.  Said young woman had stopped in her tracks, staring at him as if he had grown two heads.  It was only when she realized that she was falling behind that she snapped out of it, running up to the hanyou to stop him with a tug on the back of his short furred haori.

    “Wh-what did you say ‘Yasha?” whispered her unsteady voice, her heart skipping beats when he turned his head to look at her.

    Shoulders sagging as he heaved a sigh, the taller half-breed turned to face her; placing a hand on either shoulder.  Golden eyes soon melted into a deeper, honey color, his triangular ears twitching nervously as he took in a deep breath.  “I... I said I’m sorry.  For... for everything really.  I haven’t always treated you that great, taking it for granted that you would just shake off whatever I did.  I... I never took into account how any of it would make you feel a-and I really should have,” he confessed, looking more and more guilty the longer he spoke.  Still, all Kagome could do was stare up at him; wondering vaguely if she should look around for the ‘Candid Camera’ crew.

    “Yes, you really should have.  But, it wasn’t as if you knew what to do or even how to socialize.  You never had much interaction as you were growing up so you never formed certain behaviors,” came out of her before she had ever realized she had spoken, making her clap both hands over her mouth as the color drained from her features.

    Inuyasha flinched as if physically hit, whimpering slightly as he removed his hands and lowered his head.  “You’re right.  I never learned ta consider anyone’s feelings but my own and I didn’t even know how to handle those.  Still, its no excuse and... I’m just afraid I might have lost you because of how long it took me to realize what was going on,” the normally reticent male confessed, his hands curling into tight fists as he began to shake.

    “You... you still mean a lot to me Kags.  I know it isn’t fair to say now but you deserve to know this.  I always did... love you, even when I was with Kikyo.  I don’t think I can ever stop but I want to see you happy,” he continued, getting steadily quieter as his discomfort grew.

    Sighing as her confusion ebbed, the modern miko reached for his hands; giving them a tug so he would look up at her.  As soon as his eyes met hers, she was giving him an understanding but very sad smile.  “I know you do Inuyasha but I think that love comes from me being Kikyo’s reincarnation.  If, for some reason, she had been around when I came here; would you still have attached as strongly to me as you had?  No, you wouldn’t even have noticed me romantically.  Every time so see me, you see the version of her before Naraku happened.  Only more innocent, less burdened by her own life.  I think, you were using me as a way to relive your mistakes.  To make up for not being there for her earlier, let alone what happened,” she pointed out, watching as he sagged further and further in dejection.

    “I have no doubt you do love me in your own way but I think you can only really see me as a shadow of her.  But I will always be your friend.  I’m not about to leave the pack, for any reason,” Kagome finished, placing a gentle kiss on his chin.  Inuyasha made a strange noise, pulling her into a tight hug, thanking her over and over.  Then they were turning and heading back to Kaede’s hut.  They were unaware of the fact they were being watched from the edges of the woods.

    Seeing his mate so close to his former rival made his fur stand on end, his beast dangerously close to charging forward and establishing his claim.  The only thing that kept his much darker instincts from prevailing was the fact they both knew it would only upset Kagome.  Besides, it wasn’t as if it was an amorous embrace.  From what he could hear, the pair were having a long overdue conversation.  A talk that would honestly help his miko in the long run.  So he decided just to observe, placing a hand on the top of Rin’s head as she came to stand by his side.  “Can Rin go see Kagome okaasan?” asked her innocent voice, making him want to smile despite himself.

    “You may go when they are finished speaking.  This Sesshomaru will find a place to set up camp,” he responded, watching the pair as they wrapped things up.  As soon as they were turning to head back into the hut, the small girl was running after them; calling his mate’s name while he walked a little ways into the forest with Ah-Un.

    The first few days of travel with the mighty Lord had been tense, to say the least.  Inuyasha had been on edge, ready to attack the taiyoukai at the slightest wrong move.  Miroku and Sango had been slightly better, acting skeptical of him but not unfriendly.  They at least seemed willing to see why Kagome had chosen to mate with him.  As for Sesshomaru himself, he kept his distance from the group; staying on the fringes even when they were travelling.  If it weren’t for the presence of his youki, the ones that didn’t bear his mark would have no idea he was following.

    As for poor Kagome, the days away from the inu youkai were beginning to wear on her.  For reasons she couldn’t put her finger on, the sixteen year old had been feeling more and more depressed.  Not even all the exercise looking for the shards had been helping much and she was beginning to find it hard just to get out of bed.  On top of that, her melancholy was having a direct effect on just how much energy she had.  Just recently she had been calling for a stop at around noon just so she could take a nap, greatly concerning the small group she travelled with.

    Her friends and children were not the only ones concerned.  Sesshomaru had scented the growing sourness of sadness tainting and even seeming to kill off some of her sweet, floral aroma.  Narrowing his eyes, the taiyoukai knew instinctually just what was wrong.  With their mating so new, his female would need a lot of closeness.  In normal circumstances, an inu youkai would hole up in a cave with his mate for the first few month just to establish emotional as well as pack ties.  Time he couldn’t afford with his own mate given their circumstances.  Because of this, his female’s emotional state was beginning to deteriorate.  Tonight, he was determined to do something about it.

    As soon as Kagome left for her nightly bath, he was following; setting up a barrier behind them to ensure there would be no interruption.  While he normally wouldn’t mind the pups joining his mate in the hot spring, tonight was different.  Tonight, the miko need just him.  So, once they were far enough away from the camp, he send a pulse through the youki joined with her reiki to alert her of his presence.  A friendly pulse soon returned, curling around his youki like a lonely cat.  Rumbling softly as his beast came to the surface, the taiyoukai closed the distance at an inhuman speed; wrapping his arms around her to pull her into his larger frame.

    The reaction was immediate, her body relaxing into him while her reiki wrapped him in a warm cocoon.  “This Sesshomaru has missed your presence these past few days,” rasped his baritone, the taint of depression slowly bleeding out of her normal scent.  Pressing a kiss to her mark, the taiyoukai let out a low purr as his hands moved up and down along her stomach.

    “I’ve missed you too, almost too much.  I’ve been so depressed simply because of the lack of your presence and I can’t even explain why.  Its not as if we haven’t gotten along without eachother fine before now.  You probably already know that though...,” Kagome rambled, sounding nervous.  An amused chuckle vibrating her back did wonders to help her relax just slightly and she gave his right shoulder a playful smack as she turned in his arms to face him.  What she saw took her breath away.

    Gone was any hint of the cold, distant mask she was used to.  What she saw before her was the real Sesshomaru.  A side of him she doubted even his own mother had seen.  His honey colored eyes shined with affection while a smile smirk curled his lips, soft rumbles leaving him as he reached up to cup a cheek.  “My mate, I was well aware of how you were feeling.  There is no shame in it and I can tell you just why you are feeling like that.  We are in the beginnings of our mating.  Normally, we would be spending this time bonding.  Mostly to show you that I truly meant to mate you,” he explained, rubbing her cheek with a clawed thumb.

    Kagome could only look up at him in shock.  After how awful she had felt, she found it hard to believe the answer had been so simple.  Then again, how could she have known about any of this.  She was just a human, not raised with any knowledge of youkai behavior.  At least she had an answer about what her problem was.  Still, there wasn’t a real solution.  With Sesshomaru still being on probation, there were still several things not allowed.  There was also the fact the male seemed uncomfortable around her pack even now.  “Well, at least we can spend some time together now.  Let’s go to the hot spring,” she sighed, feeling more than a little defeated.

    Sesshomaru nodded, loosening his hold so she could lead the way.  Turning to lead the way, the young teen began to ponder a way to solve the problem.  Just getting up to tend the fire often made the three older people in the group react rather oddly.  They seemed on edge; ready to follow her to Sesshomaru, should she choose to go, and protect her if they needed to.  With how the taiyoukai had acted in the past; Miroku, Sango and Inuyasha found it hard to believe the arrogant Lord didn’t have a devious plan up his decorated sleeve.  There was also the fact her mate still wasn’t allowed past the outer circle of the camp.  It seemed they were a bit stuck for the moment, the only other idea she had being utterly impossible.

    While it would do a lot to help both build trust as well as aiding her pack in seeing that he respected them, it would also mean the mighty inu behind her would have to lower himself in front of those he saw as inferior.  After all, Lord Sesshomaru asked permission from no one.  Looking behind her, she saw said male giving her a look full of concern as well as hunger.  “What you’re thinking about is troubling you.  This one can only assume you are thinking about our situation,” he pointed out, closing the distance so he could press a hand into her lower back while they walked.

    “Yes...  I can only think of one solution but...,” she whispered, her voice small and meek as the hot spring finally came into view.

    “You are afraid to ask it of this Sesshomaru,” he finished for her, sounding just the tiniest bit hurt.

    “Yeah.  Its... not exactly something I can ask of a nobleman like you,” she admitted, feeling just a bit of apprehension as she realized she would be getting undressed in front of the taiyoukai.

    “Kagome, you may ask anything of me without fear.  You may not always get a positive answer but I will not harm you,” Sesshomaru murmured, his voice holding a gentle edge as the hand on her back moved to her waist.

    Jumping slightly at the touch, the sixteen year old placed a shy hand over his before smiling back at him over her right shoulder.  “I-I know Sessho...  Oh, er, I mean!” she squeaked, her cheeks reddening as the endearment slipped out of her without thought.

    “In private, Sessho will do fine Kagome.  Now, what is this idea you had?” came a shocking response, making her stare at him in wonder for a few seconds.

    Shaking herself, the young priestess turned toward the hot spring; pulling the red t-shirt she wore over her head.  Thankful for the fact her long, ebony hair hid her lacy bra from sight, Kagome used their conversation to distract herself from her innate sense of shame.  “W-well, maybe it would help things if you... asked their permission to... uh, t-talk to me?” she whispered, her shaking hands unbuttoning her jeans.

    “You want this Sesshomaru to beg your pack’s permission to spend alone time with you,” came his terse response, his claws twitching ever so slightly as he stiffened.

    “If you want to put it that way...  I mean, it could help.  The others will see it as a sign of respect and it might help build their trust in you,” she tried to explain, her voice wavering ever so slightly while she pulled the denim as well as her panties down her shapely, milky white legs.

    “Hnn.”  A reply he had given many and could mean just as many things.  Right now, the schoolgirl found herself at a loss.  So, deciding to just drop the matter, she reached up to unhook her bra.

    A pleasant breeze blew through the small clearing, bringing her sensitive nipples to painful attention.  Gasping and shuddering slightly, Kagome walked the rest of the way to the rim of the hot spring; looking into the murky depths with longing.  Dipping a toe in, she was pleased to find it the perfect temperature.  Without a further thought to her mate, the time travelling miko waded into the decently hot water; letting out a moan of pleasure when it came up to lap at her developing breasts.

    As he watched his little minx, the Lord found himself actually considering what the miko had suggested.  While he didn’t like the idea of lowering himself to his half-brother or the ningen around him, he liked the idea of this separation going on any longer even less.  Despite his presence, he could still smell a bit of her soul sickening; giving a rather unpleasant undertone to the cherry blossoms.  If this continued, the woman he had fallen in love with would also begin to grow sick.  It was as if her very essence was beginning to die, a fact he found distressing as well as mystifying.

    The depression was normal for new mates forced to be apart, this was not.  It was as if she needed his presence on a more vital level, a level he had yet to understand.  The strangest thing was, he could sense the effect beginning on his own youki.  Frowning slightly, he clenched both fists as he made a decision.  If lowering himself would give him more time around Kagome to halt the process of whatever was happening, then he would do so.  For now, his mate was naked and waiting.  The Lord of the West so hated to disappoint.

    Dunking herself underwater briefly to get the rest of her wet, Kagome sighed contently as she allowed herself to stay submerged up to her chin.  She was so ecstatic with the opportunity to bathe that she didn’t even notice the ripples in the water signaling someone had entered.  So, when she felt a sudden presence behind her, she had completely frozen; her soul threatening to claw its way out of her throat to escape.  Turning, her fear turned to mortification tinged lust as her eyes landed on her very naked, very aroused mate.  “Sesshomaru, you scared the life out of me!” she gasped out, fighting against her extreme urge to back away.

    The small smile barely twitching the corners of the powerful demon’s lips told her the male was anything but sorry.  Keeping his eyes locked on her, the taller male sat beside her; the water coming somewhere in the middle of his ribcage.  Then he was motioning to her with an elegant hand, obviously wanting her to sit on his lap.  Swallowing thickly, she forced herself to look at the platinum strands of his hair floating on the surface of the water as she moved toward him.  Night air chilled her naked body as she closed the small distance, lowering herself onto his lap with her back facing him.

    His erection pressed hotly into her back but he made no move to arouse her, instead he reached for the cleansing supplies she had brought with her.  Picking up a bottle of three in one body wash, Sesshomaru looked over the odd container with a baffled expression.  “Does this have anything to do with that well of yours?” he asked, sniffing it lightly as if to find out what it was.

    “Y-yes.  It’s... a bit hard to explain.  The best way would be to show you but I don’t think you can go through.  If you could, you would have dragged me back that one time,” the teenage priestess stammered, silently hoping he wouldn’t slice open the plastic bottle with his claws.

    Whatever he was holding was unlike anything he had ever seen and that was saying a lot, considering how long he had been alive.  It appeared to be a container of sorts but made of a material that felt and smelled unnatural.  Just smelling the substance itself told him it was toxic and he couldn’t figure out just why his mate would have it with her for bathing.  Looking down at her, he saw her holding out a hand for the thing.  “Does the well lead to a strange land?” he asked, giving her the odd vessel.

    “Well, I guess it would be like that to you but no.  It... it leads to the future,” came an explanation that made him give her a rather incredulous glance.  Then she was popping open a strange spout on the cork of the thing he had handed her, flooding his senses with the smell of something pleasant as well as fruity.

    “I know how it sounds but its the truth.  I could barely believe it myself when Mistress Centipede dragged me through,”  she sighed, squeezing a dollop of white goo into her hand.  If it weren’t for the scent coming off it, he would have though she had just poured another male’s semen into her hand.  Then she was rubbing it onto her fair skin, causing a thick foam to cover her right arm.

    Realizing the substance worked much like cleansing sands, Sesshomaru snatched the squishy vessel and squirted some into the palm of his hand.  Copying her earlier motions, he began to wash her other arm as well as back.  “S-sessh?” came her sweet, unsure voice, doing more to heat his blood than the scent of her spicy arousal.

    “Sssshhh.  Let this one groom his mate,” he demanded, the softness in his voice a clear contradiction.

    Kagome took in many deep breaths, her pulse rushing in her ears as she felt gentle but deadly hands cleaning her skin.  Slowly, ever so slowly, she leaned back into him; her eyes closing as his hand moved over her.  Briefly, he cupped her breasts before moving down to her womanhood.  While his touch was platonic, she steadily found herself growing more and more aroused.  Soft moan left her against her will, getting quiet rumbles in response as his fingers linger on her sensitive slit.  Then he’s moving them, placing an open mouthed kiss on the side of her neck that held his mark.  This made her back bow as a jolt of electricity shot through her, her nipples hard and throbbing as lust rushed through her like a tidal wave.

    Her pulse was hot and pounded on his tongue, practically begging him to make love to her.  As much as he wanted to, he would make no further move unless she told him to.  He wanted this night to be about her pleasure, not his own.  If she was content with a bath, he would escort her back to her camp before going back to his own; ignoring his throbbing erection for the night.  Even before he had a mate he rarely lowered himself to masturbation and now that he did the act was out of the question.  He would never insult his miko by finding his pleasures with anyone but her.  Even if it pained him mightily, he would only spend himself inside his mate.

    So, when she caught his wrist and looked back at him with wild eyes, he sucked in a shocked breath.  Then her mouth was crashing into his, the small girl pushing him down into the hot spring as if it took no effort.  Placing his clawed hands on the swell of her hips, he responded to the kiss as he let her take the lead.  Though, when she reached between them to stroke his erection, he came dangerously close to losing his control and just flipping her over to take her.  Letting out a growl, he thrust into her hand once before forcing himself to stay still.

    What came next took them both by surprise.  Without any warning or sign, Kagome was lifting herself to straddle him; placing his slitted tip at her quivering entrance.  Then she was lowering herself onto him and his vision was going a deep red as a loud snarl tore out of him, his back bowing upward violently.  She was so tight!  Moist, fluttering walls gripping him like a chinese finger trap.  Taking in large lungfuls of air, he fought against millions of years of instinct.  Thankfully his beast seemed willing to go along and not come to the surface to take over what was going on.  It seemed his more feral half wanted to see what she would do as well.

    As she started to move up and down on his manhood he had to bite his lower lip to stay grounded, gruff growls leaving him as his beast surfaced more and more.  Despite them being mostly the same entity now, Sesshomaru still found it hard to trust his more wild nature.  His only solace was the fact he could stay mostly in charge of what was happening.  If he did something to scare or hurt Kagome, he could stop.  Still, it was hard to continue to let his mate be in charge when she kept the pace agonizingly slow and squeezed him in the most maddening manner.  He wanted to rut her, to hear her screams of pained pleasure echoing out into the night, to bite her and taste her sweet blood roll over his tastebuds like mana.

    Growling low in his throat, he twitched his claws on her hips as she slowly lifted herself off his shaft until his tip was resting at her entrance.  Hissing as he felt his fangs growing large in his mouth, Sesshomaru let out a ragged howl when she hilted on him in a swift motion.  Whimpering low in his chest, he felt his hips give a few shallow thrusts against his will before he could stop them.  If she kept this up she would soon be unable to lift off him at all due to his knot.  As it was, he could already feel the small bump forming at the base of his otherwise human-like penis.  Thankfully she seemed to read what was going on and began to ride him, her hips moving up and down in a torturous fashion.

    Soon they were moving as one being, moans and snarls filtering into the steamy air as the pair worked toward a mutual goal.  Then the female was bowing back her mouth open in a silent ‘o’ as the male under her sat up to take her in his strong arms.  As she shuddered, he burrowed his face into her neck and grunted; his hips shuddering as the pair orgasmed.  Gently, the youkai lays them both backward; rubbing her back as the teen falls into a deep but peaceful sleep.  Looking around the clearing, the painfully handsome male nuzzled his beloved as soon as he had assessed it was safe.

    A half hour later and Sesshomaru had finally been able to free himself from Kagome’s sweet passage.  Getting out of the spring, he had dressed them both before carrying her back to her camp; lowering his barrier as he went.  However, as soon as he got close, Inuyasha was landing in front of him; giving him a death glare to end all death glares.  Without a word, the hanyou took his mate from his arms to carry her the rest of the way; leaving the taiyoukai to walk back to his camp by himself.  Biting back a growl, the Lord settled for glaring at his brother’s vermillion clad back.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Week Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    Vomiting as quietly as she could manage, Kagome kept an ear out for her friends.  This was the second time she had made an excuse to run to the bushes and her small group would no doubt be suspicious.  The horrible thing was, she had a sneaking suspicion of what was happening.  As much as she loathed to do it, she would have to have Inuyasha turn the group around.  If he refused, she could always ask Sesshomaru but that presented all new problems.  The inu noble would be even less likely to allow her to go through the well than Inuyasha.  Especially if what he had told her about what happened the last time she left had been true.

    There was also the small fact she didn’t exactly want to tell him about what she suspected was going on.  While it baffled her it had happened so soon after her period, she was showing the signs of early pregnancy.  If that was the case, she would have to go back to her time to get some tests.  She also needed to decide if she was going to keep it.  It wasn’t that she didn’t want children someday but that was just the thing.  She had thought her first child would be when she was in her twenties, not sixteen.  There was also the fact that this wasn’t a human pregnancy and she would have no worldly clue if normal prenatal drugs would help or hurt its development.  On top of that was the certainty she would have to give birth in this time, a hospital or modern midwife out of the question and Sesshomaru more than likely wanting to be with her.

    Sighing as she wiped her mouth, she pulled herself up to stand on unsteady legs.  Either way, she needed to move as quickly as possible.  So, steeling herself for a fight with Inuyasha, Kagome headed back to the footpath she had left her group on.  As soon as she came into view, Rin and Shippo had run to hug her waist, Jaken puffing behind the children as he struggled to keep up.  It had only been a few days ago that the toad had been allowed to travel with them and Kagome couldn’t really say she had enjoyed the experience.  While he didn’t insult her like he used to, the elderly retainer still gave her the stink eye; now being no exception as he walked up to stand by his master’s foundling.

    Patting the pair’s heads, she walked toward Inuyasha; not liking the stubborn set to his mouth as she got closer.  It was as if he could sense what she was about to ask and was ready to say no, an answer she couldn’t accept.  Either solution still needed her to go back to her time, if only briefly.  But how briefly would ultimately depend on her answer.  Sighing, she silently prayed to the kami above as she stopped a few feet from the group’s very stubborn leader.  “‘Yasha... I need to go home for a bit,” she uttered, bracing for a storm.

    She wasn’t disappointed, the half demon giving her a resounding no before listing off all the reasons why.  Each one that passed his lips made her feel more guilty but this trip couldn’t be avoided, an actuality she tried desperately to explain to him.  She was only met with more yelling and posturing from Inuyasha, finally making her resort to a certain three letter word.  Looking down at the dog-eared boy as he ‘ate dirt’, Kagome let out a long suffering sigh before shifting her gaze to Sango.  “Can I borrow Kilala?” she sighed, making a mental note to hunt down Sesshomaru and talk to him before she left.  If she went without telling him, she highly doubted it would end well.

    At least her pack was beginning to form a begrudging trust for him, the most stubborn being Inuyasha.  It seemed him asking them if he could spend time with her was really doing the trick.  With any luck it wouldn’t be much longer until they accepted him.  Sango was already beginning to talk about him during their bath nights, often pointing out just how gentle he seemed to be with her.  Miroku was also warming to him rather quickly, often giving her teasing smirks he used to give her when she came in late with Inuyasha in the past.  As always, the sticking point was the brash hanyou but even he seemed to be accepting his half-brother in his own way.

    “Sure, just make sure to tell your mate what’s happening.  He won’t like it if you try to sneak away on your own,” the slayer advised, her eyes looking at something over her ‘sister’s’ shoulder.  Turning her head, she saw the male they were talking about striding toward the group from a fair distance.

    Knowing he had sensed her intentions and was likely very unhappy, the young miko heaved a sigh before heading toward him in the hopes of being able to mitigate his anger; if only slightly.  As she got closer, however, the youki not tied to her reiki stung her skin; telling her this anger wouldn’t be soothed as easily.  Pinching the bridge of her nose as she continued forward, she prayed to the Gods above for strength to just get through this.  “Sesshomaru... it’ll only be for a little while,” she began, cut off by a low growl as he closed the distance in a blink of an eye.

    Just as suddenly, she found herself enveloped in his arms, her heart stuttering in her chest as he took deep breaths of her scent.  It was then she noticed he was shaking ever so slightly, as if afraid.  “Do you promise us?” rasped a deep, inhuman voice that threatened to make her blood freeze in her veins.  It was the voice of the the deepest part of Sesshomaru.  Right now, she was speaking to his demon and she found herself feeling more than a little instinctual fear.  This dark, ancient being likely held no love for mikos or ningen; having seen many of its own die by their hands.  Still, it didn’t seem to want to harm her any more than its lucid counterpart.  In fact, it was nuzzling her, as if in an effort to erase the scent of fear from her.

    “I promise,” she murmured, standing on tiptoe to kiss his cheek.  Before she could blink, they were in the air; Inuyasha screaming at them as he painfully got to his feet.

    It only took a few seconds to reach her well, Sesshomaru reluctantly landing and even more reluctantly setting her on her feet.  “Remember your promise.  Do not linger longer than you must.  Just a few days could harm you,” came out of the taller demon, some of his more civilized side slipping back into his speech as he looked down at her.  Then he was bending to give her a kiss, his clawed hand coming up to cup the back of her head.  Gently, lovingly, he mapped out her mouth with his tongue; as if afraid she would disappear and he would never see her again.

    “It shouldn’t be more than a day or two at the absolute most.  If I’m not back by then, feel free to send through your half-brother.  I’m sure he’d leap at the chance to drag me back,” she joked, snickering slightly when dark clouds began to gather on Sesshomaru’s brow.  Then she was hopping onto the splintered, wooden lip of the well, giving him a wave before she hopped down; followed by a purple flash.

    Staring at where his human had vanished, Sesshomaru let out a low snarl as he began to pace.  He had scented her condition days ago and had been waiting for her to tell him.  Now she had gone off to her strange ‘future’, something he still found a bit hard to believe.  It was only the fact that she had such strange items with her that had given her words some credence.  Still, none of this helped the fact that she was hiding the fact she was carrying his pups from him.  What if she didn’t want to give birth to his children?  What if she was running from him?  All manner of questions whirled through his once peaceful mind, making him want to grit his fangs.  The only thing he could do was wait and trust her.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Five Minutes Later in the Future~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    To say her conversation with her mother earlier had been awkward would have been an understatement.  Not only did she have to tell the woman she had gotten mated to someone she barely knew on the spur of the moment but that she had somehow gotten pregnant only a few days after her period.  That one she was still trying to figure out.  In a logical world, it should have been impossible and yet here she was; waiting for a pregnancy test to finish.  Getting her mom to go out to get the device had been mortifying and she was silently praying for a negative.  If it was positive, she had no idea what she would do.

    Biting her lower lip as she stared at the small oval that held the answer to her fate, Kagome held her breath.  Slowly, ever so slowly, another pink line began to fade into view; making her heart drop instantly into the pit of her stomach.  She was going to be a teen mother, something she had promised herself would never happen when she had met Inuyasha.  Feeling something inside her break, the young curl crumpled onto the toilet and began to sob; not stopping when her mom came in to pull her into a hug.  “Oh honey...  Shhh, everything will be okay,” came sweet words that only made her cry harder.

    After an endless amount of time, the hysterics finally tapered off and she simply stared at the traitorous stick with a numb feeling in the center of her chest.  “What do I do mama?  I love children and always wanted one of my own but...,” she started, placing her hands on her flat stomach as she closed her eyes in misery.  Immediately, images flooded her mind.  Images of her belly growing as Sesshomaru seemed to become more attentive.  Images of her little pup with his small dog ears and curious, amber eyes.

    “I think you already know the answer honey.  I will support you no matter what sweetie.  While I don’t approve of any of this, I will be here for my daughter,” hummed a reassurance in her ears, bringing on a fresh wave of tears as she turned to wrap her arms around the older woman.

    Meanwhile, in the past, Sesshomaru was having a stand off of his own with the hanyou.  The two siblings glared at eachother with swords drawn while Miroku, Sango and the children tried to calm things down.  Jaken merely sat by a tree to watch, figuring it was best to keep his mouth shut after having to spend days just trying to find his master as well as Rin.  “Th’Hell I’m lettin’ him into the pack just because he knocked up Kagome!  I say he still needs to prove himself!” snarled the ever cantankerous half-breed, amber eyes shooting fire.  Miroku opened his mouth in another attempt at peacekeeping but was stopped by a hand on his shoulder and a shake of the head from Sango.

    “This battle has to happen.  We’re seeing two alphas jockeying for position.  All we can hope for is it doesn’t turn into a fight to the death,” the brunette sighed as Sesshomaru charged forward to lock swords with his hated sibling.

    The pair glared at eachother over their blades as sparks flew, their fangs bared at one another.  Letting loose a snarl, Sesshomaru pushed the bastard of his house backwards.  Inuyasha could only grunt, his feet digging into the loose soil as he slid; his upper arms shaking with effort.  “Yield mutt!  This Sesshomaru has no wish to kill you,” he growled, not surprised when the stubborn half inu began to push back.

    “Never you asshole!  You ain’t gonna get the position of alpha without a fight!  Iron Reaver Soul Stealer!” Inuyasha screamed out, swiping out with his free hand.

    Dodging the attack easily, not even flinching when it tore four large furrows into the ground behind him, Sesshomaru let loose an absolutely feral sound.  “Poison Claws,” he spat, flinging poison from his claws toward the hanyou.  Two of the four strands hit home on his hakama, burning away the resilient material with a deadly hiss.

    “Shit!” Inuyasha cried out, hoping away out of instinct.

    Using this to his advantage, Sesshomaru used his inhuman speed to close the distance and push his half-brother to the ground.  Pointing the tip of Tōkijin at the mutt’s throat, the mighty Lord narrowed his reddened eyes as power and anger poured off him in waves.  “Yield now or you will die,” he spat, watching the downed male for his response.  Amber eyes still glimmering with defiance, Inuyasha turned his head to one side with a dismissive noise; inadvertently scratching himself on the sharp blade.

    “Fine but don’t expect me to bow t’ya or nothin’,” the hanyou grumbled, ears twitching from irritation.

    Sango and Miroku could only watch, a bit stunned neither had used their sword’s true power.  If they had, both of them would be battered and bleeding.  This seemed to be more about physical strength.  A sudden flash of purple drew everyone’s attention to the well, a very confused Kagome sitting on the lip of the well with her backpack over her shoulder.  “Uh, did I miss something?” she asked, hopping down onto the grass.  Sesshomaru was there before anyone could move, gathering her into his arms as he nuzzled her.  Blinking and deciding to ask questions later.  She simply hugged her mate’s neck and kissed his cheek.

    “I’m pregnant,” she whispered into his ear, her heart racing slightly.  As she had decided to keep it; the teen figured the sooner he knew, the better.

    “I know Kagome,” came a response that filled her with mortification as well as a feeling of idiocy.  She had completely forgotten about that sense of smell of his.  Then she was being set on her feet for the children to plow over, the pair asking for sweets while Sesshomaru watched with honey colored eyes; the smallest of smiles on his pale face.



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