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Bane of Generations

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~Sesshomaru~

 

Sesshomaru firmly planted his boots on the ground as he landed, peering off into the distance where a young man attempted to gain Ameki’s attention. Ameki wore peasant clothes, no doubt protecting the delicate fabrics of the gifts Sesshomaru had given her. He had inquired her on the subject once before when she had appeared before him in mere rags. Working in the fields was tedious labor, and the clothing that was worn became rags for the hands. Ameki did not wish to tarnish the clothes she had been given, and decided that they would be worn when she wasn’t helping the people of the village with their everyday tasks.

The clothing simply didn’t suit her in Sesshomaru’s opinion, but he had learned that it was not her clothing that set her apart from a crowd. It was her scent, her smile, the way she would hum a tune to keep her mind busy while her hands ached from manual labor, but most of all it was the pure happiness she presented him with when he returned to check on her. It had only been a little over a month since he had returned from the west coast, but Sesshomaru had found that everytime he left the village, he had found himself wanting to return sooner each time. Sometimes he had returned sooner.

“Lord Sesshomaru, are we ever going to leave the region?” Jaken wailed at Sesshomaru’s feet bringing his attention from the smiling woman in the distance to Jaken, the frowning imp.

“We will leave when the staff takes us from here.” Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes. Jaken slightly backed up, and began grumbling under his breath.

“Well, can we atleast not come back here every time?” Sesshomaru heard the imp’s words and decided to surprise him with an answer.

“She’s the reason we are on this journey, if you haven’t forgotten.” Jaken slightly jumped at Sesshomaru’s reply. He knew he had been caught.

“Right my Lord!” He corrected himself immediately.

Sesshomaru had already paid the guardian of the forest, Royakan, another visit. Royakan reported that his scouts, mere phantom wolves, had not spotted hide nor hair of the infamous Yakunan. When asked how far Royakan had dispatched his scouts he had given the Lord Sesshomaru a vague answer. A few bordering regions and the mountain range that separated Musashi from Akemi’s home region, Sagami, did not suffice. Sesshomaru had ordered him to send them farther, completely sweep all surrounding regions and then expand into regions bordering well past Royakan’s reach. This meant, Royakan himself would have to get out into the field.

A few other places the staff had led them seemed to be dead ends. Sesshomaru had spoken to a few of the demon’s among his ranks, asking if anyone had been the least bit familiar with Yakunan’s abilities. Alas, he had come up empty handed. He had returned to the village this time to do something that he had tried to avoid. His pride had won over, but his anxiety of the situation was starting to catch up. Demon’s would be less likely to aid a human, he knew this now. It wasn’t easy talking to demon’s about the mark that had been placed upon Ameki, even if those demons were beneath him. He recognized the look of disdain that crossed many of their features. No, It was time to ask a human for help. Humans were more likely to help other humans, and InuYasha’s wife Kagome seemed to know a lot about this world, and it was even rumored that she knew of the future too.

Sesshomaru turned his attention once more to the woman who politely smiled at the young man that continued to show off his muscles that he had most likely earned within the last season of harvesting. The small muscles were clearly visible to Sesshomaru’s keen eyesight. This Sesshomaru was far more impressive, he thought to himself. He noticed the way the young man kept drawing attention to himself while Ameki tried to continue her work. The young man continued to grab her attention with conversation, and exaggerated movements as he thrust the harvest into the small wagon that sat mere feet from them.

Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes as the young man entered the personal space that Ameki had clearly designated. Her few steps backwards caused her foot to catch a stone that protruded from the soil, sending her backwards toward the ground. Before the stray fabric of her worn cotton kimono could even touch the dirt, Sesshomaru had appeared beside her setting her back onto her feet and steadying her balance. Ameki’s surprise mirrored the once cocky man before them. Her Surprise was transformed into pure happiness as she glanced up at the man that had diverted her clumsy accident.

“Lord Sesshomaru! You’ve returned!” Sesshomaru noticed the way her pupils dilated as she took in his features. This pleased him, though he couldn’t understand why.

“Oh how silly of me!” Her smile faltered as she gazed up at Sesshomaru.

“Thank you so much for helping me. I’m sorry I seem to be such a clutz. It must be these hot days and cool nights.” Ameki stepped away from Sesshomaru’s grasp, glancing back at the young man that still seemed bewildered. The young man seemed to be in shock, not understanding what had happened, or just purely from being in the presence of Sesshomaru. It didn’t matter to Sesshomaru anyways, at least the boy wasn’t trying to make unwanted advances toward Ameki any longer.

“My lord, this is Yuuto.” She gestured toward the man, that was only now regaining his senses.

“He’s been helping me with my section of the harvest. I agreed to take on his mother’s work since she’s a bit under the weather and he finished his work early.” She smiled at Sesshomaru and Yuuto.

“And Yuuto, this is…” She paused. Sesshomaru could tell by the hesitation in her voice that she wasn’t sure how to answer.

“Lord Sesshomaru.” Her breath caught as her choice of words concluded. Yuuto’s brow furrowed as he looked Sesshomaru up and down, taking in his clothes, weapons, boa, and finally resting on his hair and the face that it framed.

“He kinda looks like InuYasha...What region are you a Lord of?” Yuuto looked at Sesshomaru questioningly. A slight bit of irritation surfaced at the man’s spoken observation. Sesshomaru watched as Ameki quickly turned back around to see his reaction. A bit of panic was present in her eyes. She turned back around and sated the boys curiosity.

“He’s from a region farther West. I guess I’m going to take a small break Yuuto. I hope you don’t mind, or you can take a break too and we will pick this up again?” Yuuto was slow to answer, but finally pulled his eyes from Sesshomaru and focused on Ameki.

“Sure thing, sounds like a plan. I’ll go check on my mother and see if Lady Kagome has been by to visit her yet.” A smile presented itself on his face as he spoke to Ameki, but quickly faded as he turned his attention back to Sesshomaru and gave a tight nod.

When Yuuto was out of earshot Ameki turned her attention back to Sesshomaru. Sesshomaru could see the nervousness that seemed to radiate off of her.

“I’m so sorry my Lord. I didn’t realize he would… try to compare you to InuYasha. I thought that just hearing your title as Lord would put a little respect into his actions. Apparently I was wrong.” She blinked nervously as her words began tumbling out of her mouth as her apology came to an end.

“No need for apologies. You did nothing wrong.” Sesshomaru’s answer slightly alleviated some of the built up tension that racked Ameki’s frame. She attempted a small smile, clearly not fully accepting Sesshomaru’s words.

Maybe the time wasn’t right to tell Ameki. Sesshomaru had yet to reveal the knowledge he held concerning Yakunan’s hold on her. It wasn’t as if he could control her, so urgency for her to know the details of her situation wasn’t vital. Sesshomaru found the idea of letting Ameki in on his troubles weak. There was simply no use in confiding in her, and he didn’t wish for her to worry anymore than she already had to. He knew she was confused about what had happened to her in the forest, and he had also been informed by InuYasha that her nightmares continued. Sesshomaru had wanted her to remember things on her own, rather than telling them to her as if it were a story. It wasn’t something Sesshomaru was comfortable discussing anyways. However, he needed to give the Miko, Kagome, a full and complete explanation. It was the only way he was going to get answers, or find a path that could lead him to those answers he sought. He knew full well his pride was going to fight him every step of the way, but looking at the woman before him made him realize it was something he would have to overcome. He was Sesshomaru afterall, and obstacles were made for him to beat.

Ameki gave Sesshomaru a few details pertaining to the few days he had been absent on his most recent adventure. She had explained that she was training with Kagome to be a midwife. She had plans of assisting the Miko in delivering a baby that would be born soon. She seemed quite excited about the subject, which helped bring Sesshomaru’s brooding thoughts to a more bearable state. In the month she had resided in the village Sesshomaru had noticed an increase in her energy. She was more vibrant, constantly trying to keep herself busy, eager to help others and she even genuinely seemed happy. The death of her mother had taken a toll on her, but Sesshomaru knew that Rin would have wanted Ameki to return to happiness, and he watched as Ameki did just that.

When Sesshomaru would return, he tried his best to give Ameki odd details of his adventures. In honesty he wasn’t much for talking, but he attempted to hold a conversation with the bustling woman. He held back details that pertained to her for obvious reasons, but often gave names of demons he would visit. Ameki found it intriguing that demons held social structures much like humans did. Sesshomaru didn’t want to correct her on the superiority of such demon constructs compared to humans, so instead he let her paint whatever pictures of demon hierarchy she desired. It wouldn’t matter much anyways considering he wanted to distance her from such things.

Ameki had finished her visit with Sesshomaru. A brief visitation that seemed to manifest a tugging sensation within the muscles at the corner of Sesshomaru’s lips each time. Smiling was not something he was completely used to, but he found himself becoming more accustomed to the urge around Ameki. Ameki returned to the field to continue the work that she found pride in, and Sesshomaru set off to wait for the Miko at her home. He didn’t enter her home to wait for her. He knew the less time he spent away from a place that reeked of InuYasha, the better. He didn’t want the stench to settle on his clothing. Carrying the smell of a half-demon around wasn’t wise in the company that Sesshomaru had been holding as of late.

“Sesshomaru, it's a bit odd to see you here. I assume you are aware that Ameki is in the fields?” Kagome cocked a brow at him as she approached, carrying a basket with her medicinal supplies.

“We’ve already spoken.” Sesshomaru’s answer was simple, clearly not surprising Kagome.

“Ah, and I bet you already know that InuYasha is gone for the day. He’s assisting Miroku with a pest problem. They probably won’t return until tomorrow.” Kagome opened the straw curtain at the entrance of her home, and motioned Sesshomaru to step inside. At first he was hesitant. The strong stench left by InuYasha sprang from the opening making Sesshomaru momentarily compare the lethality of InuYasha’s scent to his sense of smell to that of Naraku’s miasma. His disdain became clearly noticeable as his muscles instinctively wished to flee, but he eventually stepped through.

InuYasha and Sesshomaru were not friends by long shot, but the tension between them had eased over the years. Sesshomaru had finally reigned in his pride as he watched his brother gain the strength that their father had no doubt wished for. Where Sesshomaru’s pride cut ties with the loss of the Tessagai, it gained stride in the knowledge that Sesshomaru didn’t need the Tessagia to be powerful. He knew that without the sword, his strength was all his own. This new pride took years of development, but watching from afar as InuYasha fulfilled his promise to protect Rin caused Sesshomaru to a gain respect for the half-breed. However, that did not mean Sesshomaru was inclined to like the smell. It was a rather pungent scent that solely belongs to InuYasha, and for years the scent had usually meant trouble. That wasn’t something Sesshomaru could get used to in a mere lifetime.

Kagome sat across the room, positioning herself directly across the open floor hearth from Sesshomaru. He sat down, straightening his back and steadying his posture. He gazed cooley across the flames at the aging Miko that mirrored his stare.

“I would offer you some refreshments, but I’m not sure that I would have anything you’d like. If I took InuYasha’s word for it I would need to serve you an army of men.” Sesshomaru fought the urge to physically smile at her comment. Sesshomaru actually found humor in the outlandish idea that he would devour an army of sweaty unbathed mortals. Demons on the other hand was a different story. While in his true hulking form he had devoured many over his lifetime.

“Nothing will suffice.” Sesshomaru voiced causing Kagome to cock an eyebrow.

“Very well. I take it you aren’t stopping by to check on the family. So let’s get straight to the point shall we?” Kagome rested her hands on her lap, waiting for Sesshomaru to begin explaining his reason for being there.

He began by explaining everything that Laquan had told him. He summed up the abilities of the horned dragon, Yakunan, and filled in the blanks where InuYasha had discussed the matters with her before. It wasn’t until Sesshomaru revealed that Ameki had been marked that he had gauged a reaction from her. The Miko’s eyes had widened well beyond possible comfort.

“Well, that definitely explains the poor girls nightmares. It only makes sense that she keeps dreaming of the man in the forest. I’m assuming the man she has described to me is Yakunan, but she isn’t aware of that. She isn’t even aware that she was killed.” Kagome’s wide eyes settled into a more solemn expression. Sesshomaru stayed quiet, waiting for any advice that she could offer.

“Sesshomaru, you aren’t thinking of killing Yakunan are you?” Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes.

“It's something that has to be done.” He answered coldly.

“I’m not arguing with that Sesshomaru. He has laid waste to many villages, taking many lives almost rivaling the numbers that Naraku claimed, but Ameki. She’s barely entered womanhood and has so much life ahead of her. I’ve never been one for the whole sacrifice one to save a thousand more.” Kagome’s irritation became present, which didn’t surprise Sesshomaru. He had witnessed irritation from the woman directed at him in the past.

“If what you said is true, then killing him will kill her. It kind of makes using Tenseiga on her obsolete. You wanted to save her correct?” Sesshomaru struggled with the many words that jousted his tongue. He wanted to make it apparent that this was the dilemma he had been struggling with, but he was Sesshomaru, and Sesshomaru did not carry his weaknesses on his sleeve.

“It’s why I’ve come here. To find another solution.” Kagome’s expression cooled from the fiery tirade of emotions that had previously been present.

“I see, I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions. It only seems right considering how fond you were of Rin.” Sesshomaru didn’t argue. It was no secret that he had cared for Rin. She, after all, had been the one mortal that was finally able to breach Sesshomaru’s defenses. The innocence that guided Sesshomaru to a path that was more honorable than just blind domination. If he hadn’t met Rin, he feared to think that he would currently be on a path similar to that of Yakunan’s.

“I realize this isn’t easy for an esteemed demon such as yourself. Asking a human for help concerning another. I want to help you, but I’m not sure there is anything I’m able to do. My spiritual powers aren’t what they used to be. I’m not the spring chicken I used to be. It seems with age comes physical pains that dull the spiritual connections when focused on. Not to mention putting up with InuYasha all of these years can have a toll all on its own.” Kagome rubbed her eyes.

“I haven’t seen battle in well over five years. InuYasha never lets anything that close to the village. I’m out of practi-” Kagome froze. Sesshomaru watched as Kagome’s features turned into that of clarity.

“I know of someone that can help you, actually, it's more like two people.” A new determination entered her demeanor.

“In the passing of time, new powers evolve in this world, and I have heard of these powers within mortal society that might be able to help you. The problem is, the woman detests demons. Can you see the obvious problem here?” Kagome asked Sesshomaru as she motioned wildly with her hands.

“I’ll figure out the details, I just need names.” Sesshomaru was straight to the point, not feeling the need to humor Kagome’s supposed paradox. Kagome sighed lowering her hands.

“Her name is Chiyoko and her twin brother’s name is Tomoko. They reside in the Northern region of Echigo, and Sesshomaru…” A serious look engulfed her features.

“They are rumored to possess great spiritual powers, the likes that this world has not seen in a long time, possibly since Midoriko. She won’t hesitate to try and kill you on sight, but her brother is said to be the reasonable one.” She paused to Gauge Sesshomaru’s reaction.

“I know you think that you can take care of yourself, and I don’t doubt that you can, but please. This could be Ameki’s only hope, so don’t lose all ability to think if worse comes to worst. You’ll need to seek out the brother first, Tomoko. It would be wise to have a human accompany you, and I’m not able to leave.” Kagome sighed closing her eyes.

“You should seek out Kohaku, and ask him to accompany you. It was Kohaku that saved the twins. They were trapped in the womb of their deceased mother in a demon attack. Kohaku had limited time to act, and extracted them from the body at the same time, making them indistinguishable from the 99th and 100th member to enter into the duties past down through the many generations of Priesthood. Chiyoko carries a deep grudge against all demon’s, but her brother Tomoko does not carry such resentment. That doesn’t mean he won’t attack you without provocation.” Kagome scratched her head.

“I assume I’m probably boring you with my long winded speech. You wanted to know names, I gave you names and a little information that might help you avoid conflict.” She gave a small smile.

“I really believe they might be able to help. Kohaku often travels the area, and takes pride in the fact that he was able to help them become who they are. I would say you could wait here. It's usually around this time every year that he comes back to visit his sister’s family, but I know you’ll probably want to hurry the process up and rush off to find him.” Kagome gave a small smile.

She was correct. Sesshomaru did need to find him, and soon. One thing was increasingly troubling him though. The region where the siblings resided, Echigo, was too far away for Sesshomaru’s comfort. He wasn’t keen on the idea of leaving Ameki for a prolonged amount of time, and that’s what this plan required. He could always take her with him. It would probably increase his odds of gaining a civilized audience with the siblings. However, that would mean revealing everything to Ameki, and sending her backwards into an out of control spiral, erasing all progress she had made in overcoming the events she had witnessed a month prior. Sesshomaru simply didn’t want to do that, but he couldn’t leave her here with the deviant young man Yuuto. His intentions toward Ameki had been rather clear to Sesshomaru, and he simply wouldn’t leave here for the lecherous man to corrupt.

Sesshomaru paused within his own thoughts, realizing that the emotions he was feeling in that moment were possessive. He didn’t want the peasant boy anywhere near Ameki. The sight of the two together in the beginning when he had first arrived had stirred the emotion then, but now that he knew he wouldn’t be present to keep an eye on the man he felt something else. Jealousy. How Despicable.

 

~Ameki~

 

Yuuto eyed Ameki wearily as she returned to the field. It didn’t go unnoticed either. Ameki felt awkward as she tried to pick up where they had left off, only he didn’t.

“You know he’s a demon?” Ameki froze. Of course Sesshomaru was a demon. It should have been obvious to even the most skeptical mortal. Ameki swallowed thickly and quickly glanced toward Yuuto as she kept her hands busy with the harvest.

“Yes, I’m aware.” She said politely, as if his question hadn’t caught her off guard.

“How do you even know him? I’ve never seen him around.” Yuuto picked up a bundle of carrots he had previously tied together and threw them toward the wagon. Ameki didn’t take her eyes off of the ground this time. Sesshomaru had often visited her away from the village, or near Kagome’s hut on the outreaches, away from most prying eyes. So it was no wonder that Yuuto had never seen the illusive Sesshomaru.

“He cared for my mother when she was a child, and saved me from something terrible that happened back home. He brought me here, at my request.” Yuuto didn’t answer for a while. She figured that he had accepted her answer, and she hoped that he would drop the now uncomfortable subject. It wasn’t long after Ameki had relaxed that Yuuto began his interrogation again.

“You seem awfully comfortable around him. Do you know what demons do to beautiful women?” Ameki sighed and looked up. What was Yuuto trying to get at? If this was his way of flirting, it definitely needed work. Ameki made a mental note to send him Miroku’s direction later.

“I know what he hasn’t done. He hasn’t hurt me, or threatened to. He hasn’t sold me into a demon black market. He hasn’t devoured me.” Ameki paused.

“He didn’t leave me for dead when he easily could have. He could have left me in those woods with all the other demons. He didn’t.” Ameki glanced up toward Yuuto. His face was contorted into a grim expression that soon changed into a tight lipped smile.

“No, He didn’t do those things, but that isn’t what I’m getting at.” Yuuto shrugged.

“I just meant, you’ve seen the half demon InuYasha right?” Ameki nodded, wondering where this topic would lead.

“Well, his other half is mortal. I’m sorry but I don’t know of a human woman in her right mind that would pair with a demon. I’m only asking that you be careful.” Ameki froze feeling instantly disgusted as Yuuto attempted to twist Sesshomaru’s intentions toward her. She stood from her kneeling position on the ground and straightened her back, using the authoritative tone she had rarely used at all in her past. It was never too late though, even if she were not a princess any longer.

“Yuuto. I appreciate your concern, but I seriously doubt the probability of what I assume you are trying to imply. Lord Sesshomaru holds no such desire. If you knew him, you would understand. He doesn’t particularly like humans, and I couldn’t imagine him trying to take advantage of any mortal woman, even if she were willing.” Ameki furrowed her brow as she spoke, sending Yuuto into a retreating motion.

“I’m sorry Ameki, I didn’t mean to offend you. I just don’t wish any harm on such a lovely kind hearted woman.” Ameki slightly softened her gaze at his words.

“It’s not I that you have offended. You offended the true nature of Lord Sesshomaru. If he knew how to laugh he probably would at such silly accusations.” Ameki shrugged.

“He’s different. I’ve seen demons that have terrified me to my very core…” An image of the dark haired demon with scales along the edges of his face flashed before her eyes. The back of her neck tingled with such memories, making the hair on her arms stand at their ends. Even the ogre had scared her more than Sesshomaru. Sure he had been a sight to behold, but his eyes had never held the pure evil that those other demons had portrayed.

“Sesshomaru is to be feared. Do not misjudge that fact. However, he isn’t like those demons that pillage villages and kill without cause.” She chuckled.

“And just so you are aware, Sesshomaru is InuYasha’s older brother.” Yuuta watched her curiously as she spoke, but finally just shook his head and continued his work.

The day was nearing its end. The sun sank low in the western sky, readying its meeting with the trees, making room for the moon to appear. Ameki carried the final two pale’s that would finish filling the tub in Kagome’s home. She had filled the tub halfway, and built the fire beneath the tub stoking it as needed. She caught sight of Jaken setting under the arch leading up to the shrine. After emptying the last bucket she decided to join him as she waited for the water to heat up.

“Master Jaken.” She greeted him as she approached his slumped form. Jaken pulled his sluggish gaze from whatever he had been staring at on the step.

“Oh, Ameki. You look terrible girl!” Ameki self consciously glanced down at her dirt smudged hands and filthy clothes.

“Ah yes, Sorry master Jaken. I’m preparing my bath as we speak.” Jaken coughed, trying his best to conceal his displacement at the sight of her.

“You should consider soaking until your skin is as pruned as mine.” Jaken held his hand up as an example. Ameki giggled causing Jaken the firmly bring his hand back to his lap.

“Have you seen Lord Sesshomaru?” Ameki asked, deterring the fact that she had just laughed at Jaken’s insult to himself. Jaken straightened his back and spoke matter of factly.

“He left the Miko’s hut a few hours ago and disappeared. He didn’t even take me with him.” Jaken frowned.

“I doubt he will be gone for very long Master Jaken. He’s been taking you with him on quite a few trips since we arrived here. I don’t see why the habit would die out so suddenly.” Ameki rubbed her chin, hoping that her words would ease the worry that crept into Jaken’s features.

“Being left behind reminds me of the days I had to babysit your mother.” Jaken said with a pout as he cupped his face with his tiny hands.

“I can serve Lord Sesshomaru far greater at his side, rather than sitting around doing a woman’s work.” Ameki chuckled at Jaken. He was being petty once again, his pride wounded that Lord Sesshomaru had disappeared without him.

“You’re so dramatic Master Jaken. It's quite adorable.” Ameki beamed a huge girlish grin toward the little imp. His face gained a few quick changing shades of red as as Ameki cooed at him as if he were a small baby.

“That’s enough Ameki! Respect your elders!” Ameki brushed his sudden outburst off.

“You need to learn to live a little Jaken. To do that you need to lighten up first. Then you need to find something to do that you enjoy while not in Lord Sesshomaru’s company. It will make the time pass much more quickly, and you won’t worry nearly as much.” She waited for another outburst from the imp, but when she glanced over at Jaken she caught a pondering expression, as if he had actually considered her words. She smiled to herself and rose to her feet.

“After I’m finished with my bath, you are welcome to take one as well. I’m sure the warm water would do miracles for your ancient joints.” Jaken had looked as if he were going to agree, but the inlaiden insult at the end of Ameki’s offer registered, returning Jaken to the slumped figure she had first approached.

The bath had been delightful. It soothed pains that Ameki had not even been aware of. She only noticed the difference as her body relaxed from the last few days of labor she had volunteered for. She chose the purple Kimono with the silver trim. The Silk against her freshly bathed skin felt as if she were being embraced by the celestials. Kagome was nowhere to be found within the hut. She had vaguely remembered Kagome’s breakfast babble. Chinami, Sango’s daughter, was close to full term and would be delivering the baby within the next few weeks. Kagome had emphasized on the importance of routine checkups so late in a pregnancy. Ameki silently disciplined herself for not accompanying Kagome. She was after all given the honor of assisting in the matter. Midwives were important people in society. If a physician or Miko was not readily available, midwives were called upon. Ameki remembered the stories her mother had told her, of the bond she had formed with her own ladies in waiting. She had said that if they had not been their to coax her and help her through, then she wasn’t sure that she would have been able to continue because of the pain.

Ameki caught a glimpse of silver as the wind tousled the straw curtain. Without hesitation she made her way to the door and stepped outside. She was well aware of Sesshomaru’s dislike for InuYasha’s smell, and so she made his visit convenient by joining him outside. She smiled brightly up toward the tall Lord in all of his glory below the moonlight. He truly was a sight to behold, and she cherished it more and more each time she was presented with it.

“My Lord.” She smiled brightly at him, the wind catching her dampened hair causing a few stray strands to cling to her face. Without warning Ameki felt the slight graze of Sesshomaru’s nails as he pushed the strands back, neatly tucking them behind her ear. Ameki’s breathing hastened at the out of character action, and for only a moment Ameki caught sight of surprise enter Sesshomaru’s features. He quickly withdrew his hand, returning his gaze to his usual cool indifference.

“Jaken was waitin-” Ameki quickly tried to avert Sesshomaru’s attention from her now blushing features, but noticed Jaken’s slumbering form that was now sprawled out across the steps. Small snores could be heard. She smiled at Jaken’s sleeping form. He had finally worried himself to sleep.

“My Lord, did you wish to speak to me?” Sesshomaru didn’t answer at first, and a quizzical look momentarily reflected in his amber orbs, as if he wasn’t sure why he had come. Ameki waited for a reply, but quickly dismissed it once Sesshomaru turned away to stare in the direction of the large moon that was slowly rising into the night sky.

“Come with me.” Sesshomaru began walking and Ameki followed. They walked quietly past the snoozing imp that murmured sweet nothings in his sleep. Ameki observed the way the wind seemingly danced around the demon before her. Their steps brought them to the edge of the forest where they gazed back at the town.

“We were being watched.” Sesshomaru spoke. Ameki looked at his questioningly.

“By whom my Lord?” Sesshomaru glanced quickly toward her, and then back to the village.

“The man that accompanied you in the fields earlier this evening.” Ameki’s eyebrows raised as Sesshomaru answered. Yuuto had been spying on them? Ameki’s cheeks flushed a bright crimson as she realized why the young man may have been lingering outside near her home. She had previously bathed, and the slatted window would have been the perfect spot to peek if one desired and didn’t mind standing on the tips of their toes.

“How long had he been present?” Ameki asked. Sesshomaru looked at the moist hair that slightly dampened the Kimono that Ameki wore.

“Do you believe he wished to evade your privacy?” Ameki glanced up to Sesshomaru, who now held her gaze instead of looking away. She thought back to her and Yuuto’s earlier conversation. He had complimented her, calling her beautiful, but the main target of his conversation had been Sesshomaru. If he hadn’t been there for very long, she surmised that he must have been watching for Sesshomaru.

“No my Lord, nothing of the sort. He’s simply…” Ameki trailed off, looking for words that wouldn’t offend or cause Sesshomaru suspicion of the man.

“Curious about you is all.” Sesshomaru cocked a brow, waiting for Ameki to continue. However, Ameki concluded that it would be wise to end her statement there. Sesshomaru however did not.

“Does he wish to court you?” Ameki didn’t even attempt to hide her surprise at Sesshomaru’s question. His gaze was curious, as if he was genuinely trying to understand.

“He hasn’t stated such intentions to me, so I’m not sure.” Sesshomaru blinked and continued, surprising Ameki once again.

“Would you find an interest in courting him?” Ameki’s slack jaw gaze noticeably caused the demon before her some minor discomfort. He shifted his weight, and quickly turned his attention back to the village. Ameki combed her mind, looking for any possible answer that she could give the curious Sesshomaru. His sudden interest in her personal life was definitely a change from the routine checkups he made an effort to continue.

“My Lord, I don’t really see him in that way. I’ve only known him for a couple of days. Our whole relationship…” She paused wondering if relationship was the right word.

“Is centered around small talk, things to pass time in the fields. I’ve given him a few details of my past, but I still don’t know much about him at all.” Ameki slightly frowned. Realizing that Yuuto had earlier overstepped boundaries in making assumptions toward Sesshomaru. Yuuto hadn’t known her well enough to dissect her personal life, or the people in it. A slight irritation stirred within Ameki. Now he was stalking Lord Sesshomaru?

“So, my answer is no. I don’t find interest in a courtship with him. I barely know him.” Sesshomaru slowly nodded.

“Why the sudden interest my Lord?” Sesshomaru turned his gaze back toward her. If he were capable of sighing, his eyes showed signs that he would have in that moment.

“I merely wished to know if I would be intruding on your life.” Ameki’s brows creased.

“My lord, you couldn’t possibly intrude. I owe my life to you.” She gave a small smile. Ameki saw the slight tension enter Sesshomaru’s frame.

“My intentions were to ask you if you would accompany me on a journey. I simply didn’t want to disrupt your life in the village.” Ameki’s curiosity peaked at his proposition.

“Oh..” She mouthed barely audible. Sesshomaru had most likely questioned her about Yuuto, because he hadn’t wanted to take her away from something that could have potentially been in the first stages of forming. She quickly tried to hide the bit of embarrassment she felt surfacing. Sesshomaru had thought that she was interested in forming a relationship with Yuuto. The thought made her feel a bit uneasy. She wasn’t sure a relationship was something she would have been comfortable with back home, much less here, in a new place surrounded by people she was only starting to get to know. The timing wasn’t right for such bonds to be formed, or maybe at all. She definitely didn’t find herself attracted to Yuuto. Sure he was kind to the eyes, but Ameki needed more than just appearances.

“My Lord, I’m sure the village won’t miss me for a few days. Where would we be going?” Sesshomaru turned his full attention to her.

“It will take more than a few days.” Ameki began fidgeting with the fabric of her Kimono.

“I see… I understand. I had prior arrangements for work, but I’m sure I can find someone to take my share in my absence.” She smiled up at him, watching closely to the fine detail as Sesshomaru’s shoulders relaxed. She assumed the question must have worried him. This trip must have been important.

“I will return you to the village when we are through.” Sesshomaru stated, seeming to hopefully alleviate any worries that Ameki had.

“Thank you my Lord. I’ll pack a few of my things.” She turned as if to walk away but Sesshomaru grabbed the the loose fabric of her sleeve, stopping her.

“I will need to discuss with you the nature of our journey.” His words were followed by a look that did not fit the features of the great dog demon. This was the first time Ameki had glimpsed panic in his usually determined eyes.