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E Pluribus Unum

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Their deaths carried on roiling clouds of smoke and stung her nostrils.

He gave her no time. She was suddenly in strong, unforgiving arms, racing through the decaying landscape as Naraku’s swan song of miasma exploded and suffocated everything and everyone in it.

Get her to the well.

It was Inuyasha’s last request. She could see it in his eyes at that moment. He wanted her to live—needed her to live—but he would fail in making sure she did. So, he asked his brother to save her.

Kagome wished that he had not and let the tears fall.

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In the end they did not make the well.

Even with the daiyoukai’s speed, the billowing poison raged too close, gaining ground as he evaded and vaulted over flaming detritus.

Sesshoumaru tore through the burning forest, the crying miko crushed to his chest as the scorching touch of miasma bit his heel. He snarled, pushing harder as red colored his vision.

They would not make it.

Youki instinctively pulsed as the toxic cloud burned, and he lowered his lips to her ear. “Hold on.”

The miko reached up and clung to his neck.

He erupted into a sphere of light.

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It was dark when they finally stopped, the smell of water wafting on the night air luring him to a riverbank.

He touched down carefully on the ground, the emotionally drained girl clinging to crumbling armor. And for a minute he just stood there, her silent and still in his arms as they listened to the trickling of the water.

Her shuddering sigh broke the peace, and he looked down just as her hand came to rest at his cheek.

Such impudence…but one he needed. He turned his face into her hand, closing his eyes.

“I’m so sorry,” she choked.

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His voice was no more than a quiet murmur in the dark. “You do not need to apologize.”

If only…

Kagome shook her head and dared to let her thumb brush the markings on his cheek. “You lost a child.”

“And you did not?” He looked up then, challenging her with his eyes.

The truth of the statement wrenched the air from her lungs. “I did.”

“Then we are both bereft.”

She stared back, eyes holding an unfair, horrible question.

Sesshoumaru understood. “It was quick. Painless.”

An unearthly sound tore from her throat.

His eyes clenched shut. “They sleep together.”

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They stood in silence for a time still before he finally set her down, but she did not move away.

It was curious. The girl picked bits of debris from what was left of his battered armor and kimono. She would not look up at him, as if she knew her proximity already crossed the boundary that he kept. Her hesitance was appropriate, but so was her need to simply be near another living, breathing being.

He could still smell the salt of her tears and hear her sniffles.

The inclination to comfort was not as loath as he thought.

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She froze when his hands stilled hers and placed them at her sides, heat filling her cheeks. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…I just....”

His armor hit the earth, and the last vestiges of stability broke with the impact. The metal shattered.

Kagome stared, numb as another piece of her past died.

A moment later his hand was on her shoulder, and her head snapped up.

He seemed to war with himself as he met her eyes. “I am not well suited to this.”

His arm lifted ever-so-slightly.

Kagome exhaled in disbelief. “I don’t care.”

She rushed forward into his embrace.

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She was short enough that he had to bend and curve his body to hers, and it should have been awkward when she tucked her face into his neck, her breathing ragged as she fought to retain control of her emotions.

But it was not.

Her grief—her relief—bled through the remnants of his clothing and soaked his skin while fragile, bruised fingers flexed and clutched at his back, too tired and too stricken to let go.

He could hear her heart race, feel her spirit crack, and sheer exhaustion colored her scent.

“Miko—”

“Kagome. Call me Kagome.”

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“Very well. Kagome.”

She pulled back, wiping her eyes and not quite meeting his. “Thank you.”

He merely nodded.

Suddenly, she laughed nervously, shoulders shaking with something other than heartache, and finally looked back at him. “Never would have thought you gave good hugs.”

Sesshoumaru arched an eyebrow, wry amusement in his eyes. “It seems that it helps when one has two arms.”

Shocked by the subtle joke, Kagome stared. But when the sudden, unbidden memory of its loss brought back tears, she found herself again wrapped in warmth and strength. And she knew he was right.

Two were helpful.

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She was shaking as she clung to him.

Why? Why didn’t he try?”

“He could not have saved you.”

“But he was always so fast.” She pulled at his kimono again, focused on the snags and detritus marring its usual perfection. Distancing herself from her thoughts.

Sesshoumaru pulled her chin up, forcing her to meet his eyes. “He was fast. But he was not fast enough.”

“But—”

“Kagome, am I not quicker than he was?”

Her looked turned to confusion, but she nodded.

“The burn from Naraku’s miasma still lingers at my heel. We almost did not make it.”

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She seemed to mull over his words, hands stilling as something clicked in her mind.

“The well…could you have even gone through?” She felt his shoulders lift slightly in a shrug.

“I do not know.”

“But you were trying to get me there?”

He eyed her suspiciously. “Yes.”

“Even if you couldn’t have gone through?”

He sighed. “Did we not just establish this?”

She backed up from him, incredulity in her eyes. “So, you drop me in the well and then what? Die?”

“It was a possibility.”

She shook her head furiously, her voice shrill. “Why would you risk that?”

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Flicking ash from his shoulder with the tips of his claws, he sniffed. “Would you prefer that I did not?”

“I wouldn’t have preferred your death!”

He was in her face then, eyes fiercely reflecting the moonlight with a snarl on his lips, and she was briefly reminded of how dangerous he was. “And you would have done what, Miko? Wasted his sacrifice?”

“It’s Kagome!” She quieted then, stepping back to reclaim control of herself.

He glared at her, but she could hear what was not said underneath his harsh voice.

It appeared that she would not grieve Inuyasha alone.

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The night grew colder, and Kagome shivered as she looked out over the river.

“Where do we go from here?”

Something soft touched her shoulders, and she looked back to find Sesshoumaru draping his mokomoko around her.

“Thank you,” she murmured, and he nodded, motioning that she should sit. She dropped to the ground.

“The well will not be safe to venture near for a time. Until the miasma clears, you will not be able to return.”

Kagome sagged. “Oh.”

“In the meantime,” he reached out and carefully lifted the completed jewel at her throat, “this must be dealt with.”

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Her eyes were replete with exhaustion and grief at the mention of the jewel.

“We can discuss what to do tomorrow.” He let the pink sphere slip from his fingers, and she wilted under its weight. “Sleep for now.”

 “I don’t think I can sleep,” she grumbled, trying to settle the mokomoko about her.

“Did the kit sleep with you?”

At the mention of Shippou, her eyes filled with tears again. “Yes.” She looked up at him. “Rin?”

“Most nights,” he replied softly.

She nodded then, the tears slipping down her cheeks. “I think that’s going to be the hardest.”

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“Are you tired?” she asked suddenly, and he could almost see the heat rise in her cheeks. “I don’t mean…I’m not saying you would be. I just—”

He held his hand out to her.

“Come.”

Hesitantly, she slid her hand into his and allowed him to pull her up, following him to a tree set a bit back from the river.

Sesshoumaru lowered himself to the ground, his back pressed against the thick trunk, before pulling her down into his lap and tucking the mokomoko about them.

“What? Sesshoumaru, I don’t—”

“Kagome, I am exhausted. We are vulnerable.”

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She swallowed nervously. “Vulnerable?”

He hummed meaningfully, looking down at her face from where she leaned back against his chest. “Even I have my limits.” He removed Bakusaiga from his belt, laying it across her lap with his hand on the hilt.

She inhaled sharply.

“Bakusaiga will not harm you.” He nodded to the surrounding woods. “Do you feel them?”

Her fear rose, curling around them, and she shivered in his arms. “Them?”

“Youkai. The jewel still draws them. And they know we are weary.”

Kagome wanted to cry. “I just want this to be over.”

He exhaled heavily. “Yes.”

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When the first morning rays broke over the land and teased her eyelids open, she felt his fatigue before she saw it.

It was in the way his weight wrapped around her, the heavy feel of his arm across her torso.

It was in the blackish, indigo tint painted under his eyes—eyes still fiercely focused on the edge of the wood while Bakusaiga lay clenched in a white-knuckle grasp.

It was in the slow blink of impossibly brilliant eyes, shining gold faded to a burnished amber as he waited.

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His low growl warned her first that there was something she could not see.

It rumbled low and dangerous in the cavity of his chest. The vibration against her back was a paradox, comforting in its familiar sensation but terrifying coming from the one it did. Gone was his characteristic calm and composure. The sound and sensation increased as his youki began to swell.

Kagome craned her neck backward and saw him caught between forms, eyes red and seething with lips stretched back snarling over sharp teeth. And she was reminded that he was wild.

An exhausted, beautiful, wild creature.

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Her fear, perhaps stupidly, dissipated.

She was held by a terrible, unearthly being, but his grasp on her was protective rather than possessive and that was familiar. That she knew. That she trusted.

She eased back against him, feeling him clutch her just a bit more tightly while he waited for what she could not see.

And then it happened.

The shibugarasu shot from the woods, faster than it had any right to be, and hurtled straight for the jewel at her throat.

The three sinister eyes gleamed with its lust for the jewel.

And then there was only blood.

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Hot, viscous liquid sprayed, and he felt her freeze in his arms for one crowded moment as meat and entrails swung from his claws.

The girl gagged.

He arched an eyebrow. “Do refrain from vomiting on me.” He flicked the carnage from one hand, the other sensing the heave of her stomach as muscles contracted under his fingers.

“I won’t!” she gasped, and he was not convinced.

He could smell the bile rise in her throat.

“Miko…” he warned.

And then she flung Bakusaiga away from them and lost everything she did not have.

In her lap.

On his feet.

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I’m dead. I’m so very, completely deader than dead.

Wiping her mouth, Kagome observed the damage.

I threw his sword, vomited on him…is it in his hair?!

It was.

Yup. Dead.

She finally dared to look back him and was met with his utterly stunned countenance.

Just let me crawl in a hole and die.

She swallowed. “Sesshoumaru, I’m really sorry.”

For a moment he neither said nor did anything, and she held her breath. Finally, after an eternity, he nodded slowly, and she realized that he was trying to refrain from gagging himself.

He cleared his throat “River. Now.

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The water was frigid, but she was able to get clean.

He was polite and did not look, leaving his outer garment on the riverbank within her reach for when she was finished. She gratefully wrapped herself in the thick warmth of the kimono, her own clothes useless tatters and now covered in filth.

As she approached where he waited, she noticed the ends of his hair and boots were damp.

Good. Hopefully they could forget that particular incident.

Kagome approached, concern lancing through when he turned to face her.

That he needed sleep was painfully evident on his face.

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The look on her face softened cautiously as she approached him. “You need rest.”

He almost allowed his typical arrogance to rise and retort with some scathing remark. But this girl—this fearless, compassionate, unselfish girl—reached up and boldly brushed featherlight fingers over the circles under his eyes, and he felt his pride dissolve.

“Yes.”

She nodded and then, even more boldly, grasped his fingers and began leading him back to the tree. “I’ll wake you if there’s a need to.”

Sesshoumaru dropped heavily to the ground and leaned back against the tree once again to rest. “Thank you.”

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It was sundown when Sesshoumaru awoke to her cries.

“No, no, no, no, no!”

She went bent over something on the ground, a hand pressed to her mouth and the smell of salt tinging the evening air.

He was at her side instantly, and saw the tiny, dead lizard youkai she stood over.

“It crawled across my feet and startled me.” Her voice was choked, sad. “I just reacted. I didn’t mean to kill it.” She gently picked up the motionless body.

He stood silent, watching as she mourned the creature’s accidental death.

Her voice hitched. “It’s just not fair.”

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Sesshoumaru should not have been surprised when her eyes landed on Tenseiga, and he shot her a warning glare that she either did not see or ignored.

Please?” she begged.

He regarded her with narrowed eyes for a moment. The sword had weighed heavily at his side since the moment they fled, an unforgiving reminder of what could have been if Naraku’s miasma had not made remaining behind impossible. But it had been impossible, the opportunity to save them gone.

They were all gone.

Growling out of frustration and something he would not define, he ripped Tenseiga from its sheath.

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Kagome stood silently as Sesshoumaru’s eyes focused on something she could not see, waiting. Watching. Hoping.

She realized suddenly she had never seen this before and held her breath as the sword danced through the air.

Then it happened. The tiny reptile stirred in her hands. It blinked slowly, reacclimating to its life, and then leapt from her hands and skittered off into the woods.

Dead. Then alive.

She heard Tenseiga slide back into its sheath.

And that was it. That sound was her breaking point. With a cry she fell, tearing at the ground as grief swallowed her whole.

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Kagome raged.

Sobbing nonsense, she screamed into the ground until her throat tore and bled. She spit the metallic taste aside and continued screaming, her voice turning to a rasp in protest of her abuse.

Sesshoumaru stared. He had witnessed human hysteria before, but this was something entirely different. This was animalistic. This was an anguish that could not be expressed through words. This was raw.

It was what he wanted to convey but could not, so he let her do it for them both.

Kagome screamed and raged and cried their sorrow into the ground.

He could only watch.

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When she was through, her face was red and her eyes swollen. A thin stream of blood streaked from the corner of her mouth, evidence of the injury to her throat. She slowly pushed herself up and approached him.

He said nothing as she looked up at him, eyes staring determinedly into his as she sniffled.

Then her hands stubbornly grabbed his, pulling until he lowered himself to the ground. Without hesitation, she crawled into his lap, tucked under his chin, and wept.

Sesshoumaru let her, silent in his own struggle at the sudden memory of Rin doing the same.

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In the days that followed, they fell into a surreal rhythm.

He hunted; she cooked. Kagome learned to clean a kill, gagging and retching as she did. Sesshoumaru waited patiently until her delicacy passed before assigning a grislier task to chase the weakness out of her.

She only vomited on him again once.

Together, they took down wayward youkai seeking the jewel; they debated how to best be rid of the damned thing.

Everything became strangely normal. 

They avoided discussing their loss.

And when the sun went down, she curled into his side, unconcerned with the dynamics of their past.

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“You have not mentioned the well.”

Kagome lifted her eyes to his for a moment before focusing again skewering venison. “Nope.”

She remained silent, conscious of his scrutiny as she set the meat to roast over the fire. His regard, silent and assessing, drilled uncomfortably through her. Unconsciously bristling at the attention, she looked up and glared. “What?”

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. “What are you afraid of?”

A mirthless, hollow laugh was his response. “So many different things.”

“Such as?”

Frustrated, she flopped to the ground. “It not working, getting suck, the jewel wreaking havoc”—her voice caught—“losing you.”

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He had not expected that answer and could smell her tears before they fell.

She scrubbed fiercely at her eyes when they released, poking harder than necessary at the fire as she did. “No one else will understand. They can’t. It’s all too much and too terrible. They’ve never seen what we have, and I don’t think I could really explain it.”

He understood.

Her breath shuddered as she tried to reclaim control, and she shrugged. “You’re the only one who gets it.” And then quietly, “I don’t want to leave you.”

And that he understood too.

Only too well.

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He had become accustomed to her quick surges of anger as she processed her grief, so it was not a surprise when she growled and kicked a cooking pot.

“This is ridiculous!” She kicked the pot again for good measure and then whirled, pointing an angry finger at him. “You tried to kill me when I first met you.”

Perhaps not the wisest move, he smirked.

Kagome glared daggers at him and nearly tripped stomping over. “Melt me. And now?” She dropped the ground next to him, and the tears came too easily. “I would miss you so much.

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He ignored her affective declaration, pretending that it did not rouse his own grudging attachment.

“So, you are saying you do not wish to return home yet.”

Her eyes glittered, annoyed. “Yes, you jerk. I don’t want to go home.” She turned back to the cook fire, turning spits of meat while muttering under her breath about pouring her heart out and emotionless, cold, Inuyoukai.

“For what it is worth,” he spoke loud enough for her to hear, “this ‘emotionless, cold, inuyoukai’ no longer desires to melt you.”

Red tinged her cheeks, but he caught her smile before she turned away.

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He fell quiet after sundown.

Before darkness swallowed them, he risked just a bit of distance. He did not venture far because he would not dare leave her alone in the night, but Kagome recognized the need to grieve.

She watched from the warmth of the mokomoko as he stared off into the fading horizon. Around him, his youki crackled, various colors flashing sharply with the heartache she knew he wouldn’t vocalize. She wished she could ease it somehow.

The blackness grew imminent, and he made his way back to her and their fire, silent as the memories plagued him.

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The miko, he found, shared everything that came to her mind.

While washing their cooking pot: “Did you know drinking too much water can kill you?”

While fishing for their dinner: “Some fish can camouflage themselves, you know.”

While struggling to get a comb through her hair after bathing: “There is at least 300 years before shampoo is invented.”

When a cold wind blustered around them midday: “Supposedly it’s warmer if you sleep naked in a sleeping bag.”

And on and on and on.

Finally: “Did you know—”

He sighed, exasperated. “Kagome, you are a plethora of arbitrary information.”

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She was self-conscious about her need for comfort.

Walking along a shaded forest path, she followed just a bit too closely. He thought he occasionally felt her touch his sleeve, and her hesitation was almost tangible.

He stopped, turning to her. “What troubles you?”

She wouldn’t meet his eyes and blushed. “It’s stupid.”

He arched one eyebrow, waiting.

Kagome sighed. “Would saying I’m fine make you drop it?”

“No.”

She picked at her kimono before she finally spoke. “I just miss people. Sometimes I miss the little things from before.”

“Such as?”

Her eyes drifted to his hand. “Just stuff.”

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“You miss touch.”

Her blush bloomed to crimson, and he almost smiled at her modesty.

Almost.

She dug her toe into the earth. “Yeah, well, I can’t help it.”

“No,” he conceded. “You cannot.” He regarded her for a moment, noting how she refused to look him in the eye. “My brother carried you, no?”

She looked at him warily. “Sometimes.”

“Hn.”

Minutes passed where neither said anything, and Kagome squirmed under his analytical gaze as he seemed to consider her.

And then his hand was in front of her. “As I said, I am not well suited to this.”

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She took his proffered hand and was further shocked when he drew her closer, linking her arm through his.

“You…you don’t have—”

He nodded, beginning to walk. “I do not.”

Kagome fell into step with him, tucked to his side as they continued down the path. Emotion lodged in her throat. “Then why?”

“You are my companion, and it is something you need.”

“So, you’re not offended if I touch you?”

He smiled just slightly. “Within reason.”

A strangled noise burbled out of her throat. “That’s not what I meant!”

That was the first time she heard him laugh.

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He discovered she craved physical touch.

She would grab his hand to get his attention. She would bump into him while walking and then whirl away, smiling. She would clutch his arm if she stumbled and thread hers through his as they walked.

She touched whenever she could, and he could see she was happier for it.

So, when the day came that a youkai almost got the jewel and they could no longer put off figuring out what to do, he used touch.

His hands enclosed hers, feeling her tremble. She knew.

“We cannot delay this anymore.”

She cried.

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Three days later, she still didn’t know what to wish.

“The potential backlash if I get it wrong is too severe. I can’t just wish not being sure.”

He lifted her over a fallen tree in their path and nodded. “I do not disagree.”

“My grandfather might—that’s a big might—be able to find something at our shrine, or maybe Mushin would know something.” She was linking her arm through his to walk with him, pressed closer than usual.

He knew it was fear of separation.

“What if Mushin doesn’t know?” she whispered.

“Then we will find another way.”

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They passed through a busy village on the way to Mushin’s.

While Kagome haggled over a trade with a woman, a toddling babe fixed wide eyes on Sesshoumaru and wobbled toward him with arms outstretched.

Kagome and the woman watched curiously as he knelt down to steady the child, unflinching when the girl used his hair as leverage to get closer.

Fearless and innocent, she touched the markings on his face with grubby hands and squealed in delight.

Then, before Kagome or the woman could realize what was happening, she landed a messy, open-mouthed baby kiss right on his nose.

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The baby girl’s belly laughs filled the village.

Kagome and the woman both clamped hands over their mouths at his stunned face, trying desperately not to laugh as he carefully wiped evidence of the girl’s kiss from his nose…

…only to have the child do it again.

And to their shock, he smiled.

Kagome forgot to breathe as the sharp, angular features of his face softened. His eyes crinkled at the corners, pools of liquid gold as he warmed under the babe’s affection. The smile stretched wide over his face, a quiet chuckle reaching her ears.

Her heart cracked open.

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They stopped for the night.

The miko had been flustered since they left the village, cheeks flushed and heartrate slightly raised as they walked in a rare silence.

It was almost unnerving given her normal chatter.

The nights grew colder, and he was accustomed to her sleeping tucked into his side for warmth, but she seemed unusually tense and bedded down away from him.

“You will be unpleasantly cold over there.”

“I’m fine.”

Not one to play games, he simply picked her up.

Hey!”

He sat, tucking the mokomoko about them both. “Something bothers you.”

She slowly shook her head.

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Silence stretched between them as she gathered her thoughts.

He was not expecting what she said when she finally spoke.

“Rin really loved you very much.”

He tensed, loosening only slightly when she leaned against him and continued.

“When she was with us, she talked about you constantly. Always happy, always thrilled to share what you all had done or seen. What you’d done. She loved sharing everything, and we were always so confused because we had never seen the person she spoke about.”

She smiled then, chewing thoughtfully on her lip. “But I caught a glimpse of him today.”

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She said nothing more after that.

They sat in silence, huddled together for warmth. She did not sleep, but he could feel in her muscles when fatigue crept closer. It would not be long before she succumbed to slumber.

“Sesshoumaru, are we friends?”

Friends?

“You heard me,” she mumbled sleepily, reading his thoughts.

Then finally, under the cover of night, he gently squeezed her arm.

Kagome smiled. “Oh good. Friends can be honest.”

 “Honest?”

She nodded, yawning. “Honest.”

“About what, Miko?”

She reached up and brushed her fingers across his cheek. “You’re gorgeous when you smile.”

Then she was out.

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It was a testament to the monk’s sorrow that he was sober.

Kagome had been her normal, prattling self earlier in the day. But upon arriving at the temple and seeing Mushin, the grief rose again, and she crumpled into the monk’s waiting arms.

It was a small mercy that news had already reached him, sparing her from reliving the details once again.

Mushin nodded, acknowledging the only surviving youkai as he held the crying girl. “What can I help with?”

Sesshoumaru discreetly sniffed the air, noting the lack of supplies. “I will hunt. When I return, we need information.”

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Kagome retired for the night shortly after dinner, too distraught to handle any more information that evening.

Sesshoumaru could hear her quiet cries from where he and Mushin sat outside.

“I am sorry to say I don’t have more information on the jewel.” Mushin was remorseful as he poured his youkai companion sake. “And she cannot yet seek the help of her grandfather. The grounds surrounding the well are still poisoned.”

He returned the pour. “Then their bodies will still be waiting.”

“Regretfully, yes.”

Jaw set, Sesshoumaru threw back his drink, relishing the burn. “She must be spared the sight.”

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He was surprised to find her awake when he retired long after the moon began its descent. The door had barely slid closed when she flew into his arms, a death grip around his neck.

She drew her breath in ragged gasps, and her cries silently shook her body as she clung to him.

“You should be asleep.” Silently, he swept her up and walked her over to her futon, carefully setting her down and shedding his weapons and outer kimono.

“My chest hurts,” she whispered.

He lay down, drawing her to him. “That is why it is called heartache.”

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Neither of them really slept.

Kagome dozed, lulled by the warmth of the brazier and his body while his claws absently drew circles along her arm. The light from the coals reflected off his face, revealing him to be lost in thought.

Nestling closer, she followed suit, trailing her fingers over his arm. “Do you miss them?”

Her turned to face her, drowsy citrine glowing in the low light. “I miss my child.”

“Jaken?”

He nodded, contemplating his words. “Jaken was unreservedly loyal.”

Then hesitantly: “Inuyasha?”

“Hm.” His hand gently touched her cheek. “For Inuyasha I feel much regret.”

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Dawn broke through the shoji just as sleep began to claim them.

“Sesshoumaru?” she whispered, eyes already closed and protesting sun’s first rays.

He did not bother to open his own. “Hm?”

Her voice was tired, soft wisps of breath punctuating her words. “You were wrong.”

One eye cracked open then. “About?”

She burrowed into his chest, trying to ward off the morning chill. “You are well-suited to this.”

Then, before he could realize what was happening, she lifted her chin and pressed a featherlight kiss to his cheek.

“Thank you for saving me.”

She drifted off before he could respond.

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“You don’t have many options there, girl,” the monk said thoughtfully.

“No, but I’m not going without him.”

Sesshoumaru found himself caught between annoyance at her stubbornness and respect for her loyalty.

Kagome continued, “The well may not even open. If it doesn’t, I’m stranded here and have to find another way to get the information I need anyhow.”

“And your family?” Mushin prodded gently.

She shrugged, giving him a watery smile. “We always knew it was a possibility.”

“You are not necessarily forfeit your family,” Sesshoumaru interrupted.

Kagome looked at him skeptically. “Seeing humans don’t live—”

“You could.”

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He would tie her life to his.

Kagome stared, tears that were difficult to define gathering in her eyes. Confusion, gratefulness, apprehension…

She felt guilty.

“I loved your brother,” she whispered, not able to meet his eyes. “Love.”

“Yes.”

“And you still—”

“My offer stands.”

She stared for a moment and then shrugged miserably. “I’m human.

He took her hands. “You are Kagome. And it is to Kagome that I respectfully offer this.”

“I feel like I’m doing you wrong accepting,” she whispered.  Her tears fell freely.

Sesshoumaru titled her chin, wiping them away. “You do me no wrong.”

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They walked the gardens, together silently contemplating, but he could smell her barely restrained curiosity.

“You have questions,” he stated, slowing his pace.

She exhaled relieved. “So many questions.”

“Ask.”

She did. He answered. In the end she was only slightly mortified, but anxiety was another matter.

He spoke carefully. “We cannot avoid joining together nor the mark, but I have no expectations of you after that.”

She smiled faintly at his careful words. “You’re getting the raw end of this deal, Sesshoumaru.”

“Hm, I disagree.” At her questioning glance, he shrugged and said simply, “You forget that you understand.”

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“So, we do this, wait for the poison to clear, and then try the well. If you can’t get through, we continue looking for answers here?”

“If you are still going to refuse to go through the well without me, yes.”

She stood, irritation rolling off her as she moved to stand in front of him. Her stature was significantly less imposing than his, but it didn’t stop her from trying to get in his face.

“Do you really want me to risk not being able to get back to you?”

She almost laughed at his annoyance with himself. “No.”

Chapter Text

That night, red as a strawberry, Kagome crawled out of her futon and resolutely went and sat next to him where he kept vigil.

He looked down, but she would not look at him. “Yes?”

“I need to tell you something.”

His lips twitched, knowing where this was going.

“I—”

“Still have your maidenhood intact.”

Kagome’s mouth dropped open, and her head whipped up to look straight into two very amused golden eyes. She finally scowled and, acutely embarrassed, turned away. “You don’t have to put it so bluntly.”

She felt his shoulder shake before she heard his laugh.

Chapter Text

Stupid, arrogant, Inuyoukai…

She smacked his arm, albeit half-heartedly. “You’re such a jerk. I’m nervous!”

He cleared his throat, steeling his composure. “What are you nervous about?”

Kagome felt the heat rise in her face and wonder if it were possible to get any hotter. “How about pain? Embarrassment? Not knowing what I’m doing and getting it wrong?” She grumbled under her breath. “Looking like a complete idiot.”

“Ignorance of this matter is not idiocy,” he said quietly, carefully meeting her eyes. “And you need not do anything.”

She was confused. “But how—”

“I will take care of you.”

Chapter Text

They agreed to wait three days because Kagome needed it for the sake of her sanity. And in that time, she continued to have questions—mortifying questions.

So, she would “drive-by” with her queries, and he learned to quickly answer so she could keep her stride and preserve her dignity the way she needed to.

“Where will you mark me?”

“I do not yet know.”

Later that day: “Can we keep our clothes on?”

“As much as does not hinder what is required.”

The next day: “Are humans and youkai…compatible?”

He gave her a pointed look. “My brother was hanyou.”

Chapter Text

She would come up out of nowhere.

“Sesshoumaru, how old are you?”

He sighed. “Nine hundred and thirty-four.”

Toward evening: “How many…you know…females have you been with?”

“It is impolite to count.”

She paused her hasty retreat for just a moment. “You lost track after nine centuries, didn’t you?”

He raised an eyebrow, and she could see the ever-so-slight smirk quirk his lips. “After seven.”

Her face heated, and she nearly ran off.

That night as she settled down onto her futon: “How will you mark me?”

From across the room, he loudly snapped his teeth.

Kagome bolted upright. “What?”

Chapter Text

The sound of her bedding being tossed aside made him smile in the dark, and then her scent was in front of him.

He opened his eyes. “Yes?”

She glowered at him. “That’s a detail you should have mentioned sooner!”

“Would it change things?” he asked, cocking his head to the side.

She fumbled. “Well, no, but I would be better prepared at least.”

He closed his eyes again. “It is barely noticeable.”

“Your fangs are sharp.”

“Which means you are less likely to feel pain.”

“I don’t think it works like that.”

“I will not intentionally hurt you, Kagome.”

Chapter Text

Around midnight, she came back over to him.

“Can we talk?”

“You are restless.” He offered his hand for support as she lowered herself, unsurprised when she settled with her back to his chest.

She sighed. “I have a lot on my mind.”

“Such as?” He sensed her hesitancy. When she did not answer, he leaned forward, pushing his weight gently against her. “Friends can be honest.”

A grin cracked her face when he quoted her, and she relaxed. “You remember that?”

He regarded her upturned face and smiled softly. Purposefully. “I remember.”

Kagome heard what he did not say.

Chapter Text

“I don’t want things to be awkward between us after tomorrow,” she whispered, pulling his arms more tightly around her.

He allowed himself to rest his chin on top of her head. “They do not have to be.”

Kagome sighed and picked up his hand, absently studying it while she talked. “Centuries is a long time to be stuck with me.”

His fingers flexed. “I would not commit myself to a disagreeable situation.”

She traced his palm, her fingers light in their exploration. “Is that your way of saying you like having me around?”

He closed his hand around hers.

Chapter Text

“What about children?”

He turned her around to face him then. She sat comfortably across his lap so their faces were level with each other.

“I was sincere when I said there would be no expectations of you.”

“I know,” she said. “But you like children.”

So predictably like him, he arched an eyebrow. “Do I?”

“Yes.” She nodded firmly.

“Why do you say that?”

Kagome met his quiet challenge with a stubborn lift of her chin. “Because you’re intrigued by innocence that is not afraid of you.” She reached up, touching his face. “Because I have seen you mourn.”

Chapter Text

She watched his eyes narrow for a second as her observation hit home.

For a moment she thought it was too far, and she worried her lip. But then he reached up, his thumb brushing over the soft flesh to pull it from her teeth.

She might have imagined his gaze lingering on her mouth before slowly sliding up to lock onto her own.

“If you want them, we will have them.”

His eyes remained on her, intense. Considering.

Kagome swallowed. “What are you thinking?”

And then he was closer. “That it is remarkable how much I care.”

“About?”

“You.”

Chapter Text

He kissed her.

It was chaste, lingering only a moment, but Kagome’s head swam. His mouth was warm and sensual, his kiss far more intimate than should have been possible for the space of a few breaths. She leaned into him, relishing the unexpected softness of his lips.

It was over too soon.

His hands cradled her face as he pulled back to search her eyes. “Are you alright?”

Kagome swallowed, nodding. “Sesshoumaru?”

Before he could respond, she leaned up and took his mouth, infinitely tender and sweet. Overwhelmingly trusting.

He let her have control.

Somewhere, his father was laughing.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t love.

It wasn’t romance or excitement or infatuation. It wasn’t an all-consuming desperation driven by lust and hormones. There was no lightning strike moment that screamed this is the one.

It was a decision—a not-so-simple choice they made to continue protecting themselves and each other.

It wasn’t love.

But it was something real. It was born of a grief so raw and ugly it was impossible to define. It was an unfair, costly companionship that grew out of the worst soil and still bloomed into something vivid and bright.

It was unexpected, but it was uniquely theirs.

Chapter Text

The day drifted by slowly.

Kagome’s stomach was in knots. She spent the day mostly pacing the temple grounds lost in thought. A wind picked up, bringing with it the promise of colder air, and Kagome shivered—though not entirely from the temperature.

Mushin and Sesshoumaru gave her space except to make sure she ate and drank, and she appreciated their consideration.

Sesshoumaru. Kissing him the night before had been pleasant. He cared for her, and she very much cared for him. But while they had shared affection, it was still relatively innocent. Sweet.

Later that night would challenge that.

Chapter Text

She wished she could talk to her mom—or any woman for that matter.

Sango came to mind, and the tears hit suddenly and fiercely. How many nights had they spent talking about anything and everything, mulling over the small details of life they couldn’t share with the males in their group? But she was gone now.

And Kagome had spent the last three days tormenting the demon lord she was going to sleep with that night with all the questions that should have been asked of another woman.

Kagome cringed, her mortification complete.

She could almost hear Miroku laughing.

Chapter Text

Before dinner, Kagome sought Sesshoumaru out. She found him near the temple, two extra braziers in his hands to warm their room.

More than a bit embarrassed, she approached him. “I owe you an apology.”

He gave her a perplexed look, and she swallowed, refusing to look at him.

“I’ve…I’ve asked you a lot of questions.”

“There is no need for apology. You have not been a bother.”

She gave him a guilty, pleading look. “I have another one.”

He set the braziers down, taking a seat on the steps. “Ask.”

Her voice was quiet, hesitant. Shy. “Will it hurt?”

Chapter Text

His eyes softened, and the look that he gave her was so unbelievingly tender and understanding that her emotions swallowed her whole and she cried.

It seemed to be her norm these days.

He was pulling her down to sit.

“Guess that answers that,” she sniffled. She dropped next to him and gave a watery laugh, lightly smacking his chest. “If you’re any nicer, I don’t know that I’m going to be able to handle it.”

He watched as she tried to dry her eyes, the action useless as she emotionally laughed out more tears.

“What do you know, Kagome?”

Chapter Text

She used her sleeve to wipe her trailing tears. “What do you mean?”

He considered his words carefully. “Intimacy.”

“Oh.” She flushed. “Just basics. How it works.” She got defensive. “I was fifteen when I fell down the well! Haven’t had much time since then to figure out…life.”

“I am not criticizing.”

She slouched. “Sorry.”

“You are nervous. It is fine.”

They sat in silence until she calmed.

He took her hand. “Kagome, eat and bathe. Relax.”

She nodded, standing. Before she could leave, he pulled her back.

Golden eyes looked at her earnestly. “When you come back, trust me.”

Chapter Text

It was dark when Kagome made her way back to their room.

The chill of the night air began to settle in. She shivered, grateful when she noticed the warm glow of the extra braziers Sesshoumaru had thought to procure.

Their room was pleasantly warm and cozily lit, the extra braziers doing their job to ward off the chill of the cooling night. The inviting, orange glow was an unintentional benefit.

Sesshoumaru nodded silently as she padded over to a small trunk and carefully put away her kimono. She tried not to dwell on the fact that he was already dressed down to his lighter sleep clothes.

Chapter Text

He handed her sake. “Drink this.”

Kagome thanked him and gratefully took a sip. It was warm and burned pleasantly down her throat as she drank, helping her relax somewhat. When she finished, he took her hand.

“Come.”

She followed him over to their futons, noticing that they were now pushed together. If he noticed her hand shaking, he didn’t comment on it and merely motioned that she should sit.

Kagome carefully knelt in front of the bedding, sitting on her heels as he did the same in front of her.

And before she knew what was happening, he bowed.

Chapter Text

She felt tears threaten as the perfect, silver curtain of hair obscured his face.

“Please don’t,” she choked.

When he sat up, the look in his eyes was severe, his voice quiet. “Tonight, you give me something that was intended for another. The enormity of that is not lost on me.”

Her tears fell. She went to bow, and he stopped her.

“No, you do not.”

Kagome shook her head. “But you’re giving me—"

His jaw twitched. “It is not a wholly unselfish gift, Kagome.”

She smiled slightly and moved closer. “Good. It’s not a wholly unselfish acceptance either.”

Chapter Text

She inched forward until her knees touched his, nervously licking her lips. “I’m scared.”

“I know.”

Kagome wrung her hands. “Do…do you have anything on under that?”

He arched an eyebrow, slowly shaking his head while amusement glinted in his eyes.

She felt heat flood her cheeks. “Oh.” Then fidgeting more: “I guess I should go take off this koshimaki then?”

 He couldn’t hide a smile this time and nodded slowly.

“Right.” She stood and took her time crossing to the room, very carefully divesting herself of the undergarment.

When she came back, another dish of sake was waiting.

Chapter Text

He drew her to their bedding.

Kagome exhaled nervously. “We’re doing this?”

His face was sincere, and he cradled her face in his hands. “You have my protection and my friendship. My fidelity.”

She swallowed and nodded. “I know.”

He pulled back the blanket and lay her down. “I will not hurt you.”

She nodded again, desperately wanting to believe that.

Lying beside her, he pulled her close and tilted her chin. “Do I have your trust?”

“Yes.” Her voice shook as she whispered.

His eyes searched hers, a burnt copper in the brazier light, and he kissed her gently.

Chapter Text

He was gentle but not chaste.

Sesshoumaru softly, slowly parted her lips with his. Her mouth was sweet, the fruity and floral notes of the sake she had drunk mingling with her own unique taste.

It was intoxicating. He gently sucked her bottom lip into his mouth, swallowing her surprised gasp as he grazed his teeth over the pink flesh and then soothed it with his own.

He kissed her once, twice more and then felt her hands tangle in his hair as she pulled him closer, sweetly peppering his mouth with gentle, opened-mouth innocence and trust.

Perfectly innocent trust.

Chapter Text

He was warm

He always felt warm to her. But right then, as he trailed his mouth hot and open down her neck, he was warmer.

She didn’t know when he had stretched out over her, covering her as he teased and coaxed her body to respond to his, but his weight was neither unpleasant nor unwelcome.

He took care not to frighten her, to go at a pace she felt comfortable. Her eyes sank shut when he nosed aside the collar of her yukata and his teeth grazed her skin.

And for a moment, she forgot she was nervous.

Chapter Text

When he situated a knee between her legs and pushed them apart, Kagome tensed.

“Trust me,” he whispered, and he pulled her legs up around his waist and sank his weight down between them, pulling the blanket up over them.

She closed her eyes, nodding too quickly as her nerves rose again. She noted gratefully that his yukata was still between them. But when he lightly ground his hips against her, she decided maybe that wasn’t a good thing.

He smirked knowingly at her heated look and then carefully pulled her clothing away from only her shoulders.

“Keep trusting me.”

Chapter Text

He was everywhere. His hands trailed up her legs to her hips, kneading her muscles as he went. They slipped under her clothing and over her abdomen, spreading over her ribs. Her belt loosened as he did, but he carefully kept her covered. She wanted to cry at his thoughtfulness and then the sheer frustration of it.

Heat coiled low in her belly as his claws traced the tops of her thighs, and she finally couldn’t take it anymore.

She grabbed the edges of his yukata. “Friends can be honest?”

A smile. “We have established this.”

“I want this off.”

Chapter Text

He was beautiful.

Kagome watched as he pulled the yukata from his body, careful to do so as modestly as possible for her sake. He tossed it to the side and then carefully lay back down on her, resting his cheek on the arms he crossed over her abdomen. Watching her.

Sesshoumaru,” she breathed.

The thick clothing and armor he normally wore hid so much. His body was lithe and well-built, defined by lean, strong muscle. His shoulders and back were broad but not overly so, narrowing to a slender waist. And on his back…

She reached out gently. “Stripes.”

Chapter Text

He crawled up her body and kissed her.

Kagome’s head spun. She was acutely aware of the intimate way he was pressed against her but found that she didn’t care. She kissed him back, moaning softly when his tongue slipped between her teeth and briefly touched hers. Her jaw slackened, welcoming him to take more.

Sesshoumaru fought to maintain his restraint as she responded eagerly. Tension built unforgivably in his muscles under her fingertips, and he pushed against her, swallowing her gasp and grinding into her as his instincts defiantly rose.

Her hand clutched his hip, and that was it.

Chapter Text

A sound, ragged and primal, tore from his throat, and he broke their kiss.

Her eyes widened as he pulled away, watching as he fought with himself, eyes closed against his struggle and breathing heavily. The markings on his cheeks took on a ragged edge, and she lightly brushed over them.

He opened his eyes. She could see that he still had control, but their normal hue had deepened to a rose gold as he struggled.

“Friends can be honest?” he growled.

She laughed. “Of course.”

He touched her yukata. “I will shred this if you do not remove it.”

Chapter Text

Her look was hesitant. “I want to,” she admitted quietly. “But…”

Sesshoumaru exhaled slowly, controlled, and sat her up in his lap. He was secretly self-satisfied when she did not recoil from his lack of dress. “But?”

She blatantly let her eyes drift over his body then. “But I’m not quite as nice as this.” She smiled self-consciously. “And I have a very large scar.”

He blinked. “You are worried I am not attracted to you?”

Her blush was his only answer.

“Is that your only hesitation?” he hedged carefully.

She nodded.

“It is not a concern.”

He shredded it.

Chapter Text

She held her breath.

His eyes darkened, holding hers as he moved his hands up her arms and sent a shiver down her spine.

Painstakingly, he explored what she had hidden.

She shuddered under his attention, breath coming in pants and gasps. His hands gently grazed her breasts, trailed down her sides to perfectly rounded hips.

He lay her back, touched her. Tasted her.

Kagome saw stars.

But then his hand found the scar where the jewel had been torn from her, and his eyes softened.

“Kagome.” He stretched over her and kissed her mouth. “Breathe.”

He pushed inside her.

Chapter Text

She felt only pleasure.

He filled her, both relieving and fueling the agonizing ache deep inside. Above her, he waited for her to adjust to him, and she could see him struggling to breathe as he carefully watched her face for any sign of discomfort.

Kagome smiled, tentatively lifting her hips into his.

That was all he needed. With a groan, he drew her arms around his neck and thrust.

He felt her heart pounding against his as he moved in her, stoked their pleasure, and drove them into a swiftly mounting tension that coiled tight and demanded to be released…

Chapter Text

She was falling.

There was him and her and nothing and everything.

And then she was cresting, surging, screaming—an effervescent wave of sensation flooding mercilessly through her body, stealing her breath, and seizing exhausted, willing muscles.

There was the sudden cry of his voice, his strength flexing under her fingers as a delicious warmth poured into her, filled her, possessed her.

She didn’t want to move. He was warm and solid, and she relished the slick sheen of sweat blanketing them as he raised his face, his concern washing over her.

Molten amber met water blue.

She grinned, panting. “Again.”

Chapter Text

“Again.”

Still breathless, he laughed.

She grinned at him like a Cheshire cat, delight bubbling up out of her. The feminine peal of her laughter filled their room, her shaking with the sound of it underneath him.

It was contagious. He chuckled as he lowered himself to his elbows over her. Resting his chin on his hand, he watched as the last vestiges of her pent-up anxieties released as merriment.

She was unexpectedly delightful.

He smiled and kissed her laughing mouth. “I do not believe that was as frightening as you presumed.”

If possible, she laughed harder. “Not at all.

Chapter Text

She lay in his arms, fingertips lightly tracing his chest.

“Sesshoumaru?” She lifted her chin to look at him.

He silently turned drowsy, sated, citrine eyes to her, and she had to repress the desire to climb on top of him again.

A single eyebrow raised. He smirked.

She blushed then. Damn youkai senses.

“Questions again, Miko?”

She smiled. “Worse. I might have expectations.”

He yawned, closing his eyes. “What a terrible inconvenience.”

“I do have one question.”

“What is that?”

“Were you supposed to mark me?”

His eyes shot open, and he rolled her over. “We are not done.”

Chapter Text

It was incredible.

Which led to extraordinary, which led to mind-blowing, which led to marking, which led to a violently swearing miko and an inappropriately laughing youkai.

“Son of a bitch!” Kagome saw stars—and not the good kind—when his fangs sunk into the joint of her neck and shoulder.

She felt him laugh around a mouthful of her and debated biting him back just for the sheer hell of it.

“Dammit, Sesshoumaru, that is not ‘barely noticeable!’”

Seconds later, his lips replaced his fangs, soothing her tender flesh.

“Not forgiven,” she groused.

He smirked and kissed her mouth.

Chapter Text

She grew quiet, her scent fluctuating erratically with her emotions.

He waited.

Eventually, she felt brave enough to face them and looked up, eyes shining as she sought his.

“I think I’m confused.”

His eyes softened. “I think that is to be expected.”

Guilt clouded her features. “I am grateful for you.”

“You have nothing to feel guilty for. Our circumstances are not typical.”

She nodded, accepting his words, but the turmoil was still evident.

“What do we call what’s between us?”

He inhaled, breathing in her scent. “Connectedness. Affection.”

She smiled, settling against him. “I think I like that.”

Chapter Text

He lay with her when she needed comfort.

Wrapping her in his arms, he pushed into her with a slow, languorous rhythm as he silently soothed her with his body and guided her toward the release that she needed.

She panted below him, her body coiling around him as he brought her closer. “Sesshoumaru?”

He cocked his head to the side in response, and she smiled.

“Thank you.”

“For?”

Her breathing quickened. “Your affection.”

He closed his eyes and nuzzled her cheek, a small smile on his lips. “It is yours.”

Her breath came in gasps.

“Come, Kagome.”

She did.

Chapter Text

She woke in his arms and turned in them to find him staring at her.

“Good morning?” she asked uncertainly. “Did I do something weird in my sleep?”

His lips quirked slightly like he would smile, but he didn’t.

“I know you.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Are you referring to last night?”

He did smile—slightly—then. “No.”

“Then I’m not sure what you’re getting at.”

“You always have questions. Ask them now.”

She gaped. “Are you trying to keep me from bothering you later?”

A long-suffering sigh escaped him. “I am trying to keep you from driving yourself mad.”

Chapter Text

He wasn’t wrong.

“Do you regret what we did?”

“No.”

“Are you mad that you’re stuck with me?”

“No.”

“Do I need to worry about being pregnant?”

“No.”

“Did you enjoy it?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think Mushin heard us?”

“You, yes.”

“You’re proud of that, aren’t you?”

“I know when to not answer a question.”

“How many times did we have sex last night?”

“Eight.”

Seriously?”

“Yes.”

“This wasn’t a one-time thing?”

“No.”

“What did you think about it?”

He startled, not able to answer right way.

Kagome’s smile was smug. “Sucks when you need more than just one word.”

Chapter Text

Minx.

He indulged her. “You are more endeared to me now than before, and that is all I will say.”

She didn’t respond, but he could see in her eyes she was happy with his answer.

“Now, answer my questions.”

She nodded. “Fair.”

His eyes were earnest. “Are you alright?”

“I am.”

“Did you hurt?”

“Only when you marked me. You downplayed that.”

He smirked. “All males do. Does the mark hurt?”

“It’s a little sore.”

“Do you hurt anywhere else?”

“Actually, no, I feel great.”

“Good.”

“Good? That’s not a que—”

He threw the blanket over their heads.

Chapter Text

They were to return to the west until Naraku’s miasma cleared and were leaving the next day.

Kagome found herself anxious. “Will I be okay there?”

“Why would you not?”

She shrugged. “I’m human.”

“You are the Shikon Miko and my mate. No one will begrudge your presence there.”

When she still looked uncertain, he motioned for her to sit with him. “My home was also Rin’s home. Any youkai that posed a threat to humans have long been gone. Those that remain will embrace you.”

“She was happy there?” she couldn’t help but ask.

His tone was wistful. “Yes.”

Chapter Text

Leaving Mushin was more difficult than Kagome had thought it would be, but it was when they stopped for the night that the events of the last few days bore down on her.

Sesshoumaru noticed her upset but gave her space, knowing that she would talk when her thoughts were collected. Watching her skewer fish and set them over their campfire, he wondered at this irony in her personality. She would ramble senselessly about anything that came to her mind, but she mulled and waited to process her more complex thoughts.

He supposed there was an intrinsic wisdom in that.

Chapter Text

As they settled to sleep, she started talking.

“It’s like we’ve been living in a bubble.”

He shot her a questioning glance and waited for her to continue.

“We were there for a week, but so much has changed in that week that it seems much longer.” She looked at him meaningfully. “I was so on edge that I didn’t focus on…other things as much as I had been.”

“You feel guilty that they were not at the forefront of your mind.”

She smiled weakly. “Yeah.”

He considered his words before speaking. “The grief will always reside in you, Kagome.”

Chapter Text

Flopping back, she exhaled in frustration. “Well, there’s a happy thought.”

Turning to face her, he leaned up on his elbow. “Would you rather forget the impact they had on you?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying.”

He nodded thoughtfully. “Do you think they would desire you to feel grief unceasingly?”

She furrowed her brows. “Well, no.”

Sesshoumaru took her hand. “It is a part of you now. You learn to continue despite it, but it will always be there.”

“So, we just keep on like nothing happened?”

He shook his head. “You continue until it forces you to pause.”

Chapter Text

She grumbled, “There might be a lot of pauses.”

“Hm. There will be.”

Kagome snuggled deeper into the mokomoko as the fire died to glowing embers. “Are you going to sleep tonight?”

“I will not sleep until we reach our home.”

“Oh. How long will that be?”

“Three days.”

She grew silent then, a perturbed look on her face.

“What bothers you?”

Without a word, she got to her knees and put her arms around him, pressing her forehead to his. She did nothing else.

He closed his eyes. “What is this?”

“Connecting with you before I go to bed.”

Chapter Text

They called her a whore.

Stomach clenching, she inhaled sharply and turned disbelieving eyes to the women they passed.

They stood in a group, smug, judgmental sneers on their faces, and Kagome couldn’t remember the last time she wanted so badly to bite back and couldn’t. It was as if she had been doused in ice water.

“Do not bother yourself with the bitterness of those bedraggled by age.” He spoke loudly enough for them to hear.

Sesshoumaru stood, eyes narrowed and loftily observing the women shocked into silence.

For once, Kagome was grateful for his arrogance and spiteful tongue.

Chapter Text

Kagome was not so eloquent when it came to the judgement of others.

“Come over here and say that to my face about my mate, Asshole!”

Her arm was cocked back to lob a rock at the insulting, leering man when Sesshoumaru caught her arm and lowered it.

“Do not.”

The man made another snide remark, and she raised her arm again.

Do not.” His voice was stern, and he snatched the rock from her hand. “We are leaving.”

He walked away, ignoring the men of the village, his action a silent command to follow him.

Kagome sighed and did.

Chapter Text

As soon as they were outside of the village, Sesshoumaru hooked an arm around her waist and shot into the sky to quickly put distance between them.

He landed with more force than necessary and set her on her feet.

Kagome bit her lip. “You’re angry.”

His eyes were fixed hard on her as he lowered himself to the ground. “Do not put me in that position again.”

“You can defend me, but I can’t defend you?”

“That is not it.”

“Did I embarrass you?”

He snorted. “No.”

“Then what?”

“I do not wish to kill men in your presence.”

Chapter Text

Kagome went still. “Kill them? Why would you have to ki—”

His eyes snapped up. “He would have retaliated against you.”

“Oh.”

He stuck his arms in his sleeves and turned his face from her.

Eye downcast, she walked over and sat with him. “I’m sorry.”

He nodded briefly.

“Is this our first fight?” she asked quietly.

His lips twitched, and he looked down at her from the corner of his eye. “Our first fight was years ago, and it ended with me losing my arm.”

Kagome grinned and leaned against him.

Said arm wrapped gently around her shoulders.

Chapter Text

She was a curious creature.

“Let it go!”

Sesshoumaru watched from a short distance, highly amused as she engaged in a game of tug with a tiny mouse youkai. The small thing wanted the jewel, but it wasn’t a threat to them. So, he left the situation alone and allowed her to deal with it.

“I don’t want to purify you over this thing. Let go!” She gave it a yank, and the momentum knocked her on her backside. “Oof.”

He pressed his lips together.

When the mouse finally scurried off, she walked back to him. “Can you believe that?”

Chapter Text

She turned and began walking backwards on the trail.

He looked at her curiously as she stepped in and out of the shadows cast by the canopy of leaves, a coy smile on her face.

He narrowed his eyes. “You are up to something.”

She bit her lip, grinning as she did. “Not necessarily.”

His eyes narrowed further, and his lips twitched. “You want something.”

Her grin grew wider. “More like that.”

He sniffed the air. That’s…

His eyes widened, and he cleared his throat. “You, Miko, have lost your demureness.”

“Yeah, a ridiculously attractive youkai killed it.”

He laughed.

Chapter Text

The bubble broke when his home—their home—came into sight.

Her mouth was dry, and her stomach tensed as the elated shouts of those in his household echoed through the protective walls. A gate opened, and two female youkai came running out followed by three males, who tore out the gate on horseback to meet them. The women were snatched up by the riders to hasten their greeting.

Kagome froze, grabbing for Sesshoumaru’s hand as they approached. His hand gave hers a brief squeeze before he let go, propelling them forward again.

Her heart pounded relentlessly against her ribs.

Chapter Text

Whoa!”

Smiling broadly, a youkai with long auburn hair tied back high in a tail pulled to a halt and dismounted.

“We thought you were dead,” he laughed unapologetically, pulling one of the females off his mount before walking up to them.

“Your confidence in me is inspiring, Keiji.”

Kagome almost winced at the acerbic tone, reminiscent of their past, but when she looked up, she could see his lips twitch and relaxed.

The youkai called Keiji laughed again and clapped Sesshoumaru on the shoulder. “Where’s our girl and the imp?”

His face fell in disbelief when Sesshoumaru said nothing.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru as briefly as possible recounted what had occurred to Keiji and the other youkai who had met them while Kagome stood silent with her head lowered.

And then he understood what she had meant by bubble. As he unfolded the details of the battle, he felt his energy unexpectedly sucked dry under the weight of his words.

He commanded his men to make sure everyone understood what occurred.

“Chiyo, Fume,” he said turning to the women, “acquaint Kagome with her rooms. See that she is comfortable. I have things to attend.”

Kagome barely looked up and he was gone.

Chapter Text

Rin had been loved very much, and his household mourned.

Chiyo and Fume were kind but subdued by the news of the child they had regularly attended. They hurried Kagome into a bath while they set about gathering appropriate clothing and accessories for a woman and outfitting Sesshoumaru’s rooms with them.

It was all sudden and weighed down by a heaviness that shrouded the home in sorrow.

Kagome stepped out of her bath, tears threatening to spill over, and was met by Chiyo. The youkai smiled sympathetically and helped her into clean clothing, kindly taking notice of her emotional state.

Chapter Text

“You have had a long journey.”

Kagome laughed, the sound hollow, and followed the dark haired Inuyoukai to their rooms. “It seems so much longer than it’s actually been.”

“Ah.” Chiyo set about selecting a kimono. “Losing those dear to you followed by a mating are two significant events. To happen to close together can be overwhelming.”

Nodding, Kagome didn’t meet her eyes.

Chiyo seemed to understand what wasn’t being said. “You were not expecting to end up in this position with Sesshoumaru-sama, no?”

Another nod.

“I imagine that can be quite confusing,” she said gently.

Tears were her response.

Chapter Text

Chiyo sat next to the crying girl. “Rin used to tell us stories about those she met during their travels. You weren’t close to Sesshoumaru-sama before now, correct?”

Kagome wiped at her eyes and nodded. “Yeah. Things are different now, but everything did happen fast. That wasn’t his fault, but…it’s been fast.”

“But you trust him?”

She blushed slightly at that. “More than I ever thought possible.”

A knowing smile pulled at Chiyo’s lips. “That is more than many get when they take a mate.”

“I just…”

“Yes?” Chiyo encouraged.

Kagome sighed. “I just wish he were here right now.”

Chapter Text

“Go get him.”

Kagome snapped her head up and looked at the inuyoukai, who had a laughing smile on her mouth.

“But he said he had things to do?”

Chiyo did laugh then. “Sesshoumaru-sama is a daiyoukai. He will always have matters to attend to. You are his mate and his priority. We are not like humans. You are his equal. And he would not want you sitting here with any uncertainty or grief.”

“But—”

“But nothing. Your circumstances are unique. He’s not as emotionless as he seems, and he will understand.”

Kagome still looked uncertain.

Chiyo nudged her.

Chapter Text

Kagome hesitated, her stomach fluttering nervously, and then knocked. As soon as her hand rapped against the wood her muscles tensed. Trying to clear her uncomfortably dry throat, she all of a sudden wished she hadn’t decided to bother him.

When the shoji slid open, it was Keiji’s smiling face she saw. She smiled weakly in return. “Can I see him a moment?”

The youkai moved aside, motioning for her to enter.

If Sesshoumaru was surprised to see her, he didn’t show it. “Yes?”

Red in the face and without a word, she rushed over, pressing her forehead against his.

Chapter Text

He nearly had to cross his eyes to see hers.

“Hi,” she breathed.

He held back his smile. “Connecting?”

She almost imperceptibly nodded against him and then abruptly pulled away. “Okay, bye.”

Still red in the face, she hurried to the door, mumbling an embarrassed “Excuse me” on her way out.

Sesshoumaru watched her hasty retreat and tried to ignore the amused faces of his men.

No such luck.

“You mated a Miko,” Keiji drawled, laughter evident in his eyes.

He raised an eyebrow. “Your point?”

“She likes you.”

His eyes glittered dangerously.

Keiji grinned, unconcerned. “She’s good for you.”

Chapter Text

Kagome paced the room, unable to stay still. “It’s really warm in here, don’t you think?”

Chiyo smiled at the girl. “It is quite cool, actually.”

Stopping suddenly, she fanned herself. “Are you sure? Because I feel like I could pass out.”

The youkai had to stop her laughter. “Milord flusters you, Lady?”

“What? No, I just…I just don’t…I don’t understand…” she stopped trying to explain and growled. “I just don’t know anything anymore.” With a defeated sigh, she flopped down on a cushion.

Then, turning red for the umpteenth time that day, she asked, “Can I ask some questions?”

Chapter Text

“You mated a very sweet Miko.”

Sesshoumaru looked up from his writing at Chiyo. He took in the grim line of her mouth and the way her eyes glittered in the lantern light. There was more she wanted to say.

“Speak your mind, Chiyo.”

The dark-haired youkai sat across from him. “She feels much uncertainty.”

“The situation is new and unusual.”

Chiyo nodded her agreement. “Yes, but her confusion isn’t necessary. Talk to her.”

He narrowed his eyes and Chiyo waved it off, glaring back. “I taught you to tie your fundoshi as a pup. That doesn’t work on me.”

Chapter Text

The smell of salt rolled over him before he reached the door their room.

He found her—a sobbing mess of so many emotions he had a hard time differentiating the smells—crumpled in a heap on the bedding.

For a moment he stood there, eyes widened, nostrils flaring slightly as he tried to figure out how to approach her. In the end she approached him. Chiyo hadn’t been lying about her confusion. The scent of it overwhelmed everything else as she came to stand in front of him.

Sniffling, she leaned against him.

He put his arms around her.

Chapter Text

Leaning down, he pressed his nose into her hair and inhaled deeply. Confusion…then doubt, grief, guilt. The guilt concerned him the most.

Kagome pushed back from him slightly, wiping her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

Sesshoumaru sighed. He was tired—more tired than he cared to admit. After three days of keeping watch at night, he was ready for rest. But it was foolish to think he’d get any with the girl in this state. She had to be sorted first.

He led her over to the futon and lay them both down, turning to face her.

She reached for his hand.

Chapter Text

“I know you are confused,” he started quietly, watching as she nodded. “Do you want to know what I sense from you?”

“Please.” She focused on something over his shoulder.

“Doubt and grief. Guilt.”

She seemed to think for a moment and then nodded.

“It is easy to recognize why grief is present.” He tucked her hair behind her ear. “Why doubt?”

She worried her lip. “I’m not sure how I’m supposed to behave. And you just left.” Pausing, she unnecessarily smoothed his kimono. “Did I bother you today?”

“No. You are always allowed to make demands on my attention.”

Chapter Text

He brushed his fingers over her mark. “This means you are my priority. If you are distressed and I can resolve it, you should come to me.”

“Or if I need to connect?” Her voice was small.

He closed his eyes then, pressing his forehead to hers. “Even then.”

She scooted closer and lightly nudged her mouth against his. When he kissed her back, the taste of guilt spiked, and he felt her start to recoil. His hand pressed against her back, eyes searching hers. “Why is there guilt?”

Her eyes welled up again. “Because I like being with you.”

Chapter Text

“You tried to kill me,” she whispered. “More than once. Then you were a resistant ally. You’ve saved me a few times, but nothing ever went beyond that.” She looked up at him. “Then we lost everything, and things changed so fast.”

He nodded. She wasn’t wrong.

“You went from being someone I could barely speak with to my only source of comfort…my only friend.” She brushed her hand over his cheek. “My husband.”

His eyes softened at her use of the equivalent human term.

“It’s not love,” she continued, “but that doesn’t mean whatever this is isn’t strong. Intense.”

Chapter Text

“Intimate,” he finished softly.

She closed her eyes. “You’re so different than what I thought.” Tears fell again.

“As are you.”

Kagome grew quiet. “Honest question?”

He gave her a wry look.

She blushed and looked away. “Is it wrong to enjoy sex with a friend?”

He chuckled and rolled on top of her. “I am not just your friend. I am also your mate.” He pinned her with a look. “As you said, your husband.”

She turned redder.

Sesshoumaru dragged his nose down her cheek to her mark, breathing her in. “And we are allowed to enjoy each other.”

Chapter Text

His surrender below her was beautiful.

Long, silver hair fanned out around him, his breath coming hard and fast as the roll of her hips drove him toward release.

Kagome ran her fingers up his sweat-slick torso, lingering at the tips of the stripes coming around his ribs. She leaned forward and took his mouth, dragging his arms over his head and holding his wrists.

The sensation in her belly coiled and tightened, and she ground harder against him.

With a shout, he flung his head to the side, crying out his pleasure as it broke.

She grinned.

Absolutely beautiful.

Chapter Text

She tried not to compare them but sometimes failed.

They were so different. Inuyasha had burned like fire in the face of the world where Sesshoumaru could turn flames to ice with only a look. Inuyasha’s affection had been sweet but reserved where Sesshoumaru was passionate and uninhibited.

And while she missed Inuyasha, Kagome couldn’t fathom not having Sesshoumaru in her life as he was.

She knew he noticed her scrutiny from time to time. But he would merely cock his head to the side and consider her in return, eyes locked on hers, challenging her to only see him.

Chapter Text

It bothered him more than he cared to admit.

She tried to hide it but couldn’t. The scent of her nostalgia, like rotted wood and decaying flowers, assaulted his senses and reminded him that her grief held more layers than his. He tried to ignore it, remain committed to his promise of no expectations, but the longer she shared his bed and his life, the more difficult it was.

“You mated a very sweet miko.”

Chiyo’s words were haunting as he realized their truth along with the reality of how that truth had begun to embed itself in his heart.

Chapter Text

She found him in his study. “Any luck?”

“No.” His tone was clipped, albeit not intentionally. “Yourself?”

She sighed, dropping to sit across from him. “No. Sometimes I feel like this thing will hang around my neck forever.

“Perhaps millennia but not forever.”

“Not helpful,” she grumbled.

He refrained from smiling, and Kagome slumped.

“I know I’ve upset you.”

He didn’t look up from his papers. “Grief is unpredictable, and you were in love; I was not.”

She wouldn’t look up. “It doesn’t matter. You matter more.”

He looked up at her. “Do not force it.”

She glowered. “I’m not.”

Chapter Text

He stood abruptly. “Do not follow me.”

Kagome reeled back and her mouth dropped open. That tone she had not heard since they were trapped inside of Naraku. He blazed past her, youki crackling angrily around him.

“Sesshoumaru!”

She turned just in time to see him disappear out the door.

“Arrrgh!” Kagome half debated shouting what she thought of his behavior after him, knowing he’d hear it. But then again, so would the entire household, so she refrained.

Just like Inuyasha. Exploding over nothing and—

And as she automatically compared them again, she finally understood why he may be upset.

Chapter Text

She didn’t see him again until that night. She huddled under their blanket for warmth, trying to stave off sleep, when he finally made his way into their room. He quickly divested himself of his armor and clothing, turning his back to her as he donned his sleepwear.

Kagome peered over the blanket, taking in the markings over his back and felt lower than low as she remembered the first time she saw them and the tenderness he had shown her then.

Sesshoumaru shrugged his yukata over his shoulders, tied the sash, and then sat against the wall, eyes closed.

Chapter Text

He heard her get out of bed and rustle over to him, but he didn’t open his eyes until she carefully wedged a folded parchment into his hands.

Looking up at her with lips pursed in irritation, he held her eyes for a moment before deciding to indulge her. He unfolded the paper.

I have another question.

He didn’t say anything when she handed him another parchment and simply unfolded it.

Can you forgive me?

Something flickered in his chest, but he ignored it as he was handed yet another parchment.

I really screwed up and am truly, deeply sorry.

Chapter Text

Kagome didn’t say anything as she handed him one last parchment, hoping that she would be able to patch things up with him sooner rather than later.

She watched as he opened the last one, unnaturally quiet even for him as he did.

My affection is yours.

He didn’t say anything. Merely stared hard at her before silently standing and crossing the room, sitting at a table, and picking up a brush and ink.

Returning a minute later, he handed her the parchment.

Dejectedly, she opened it.

You never lost mine.

Kagome stifled a cry and looked up.

He smiled.

Chapter Text

He was as curious about their differences as she was.

His intense observation used to unnerve her. But now, laying almost nose to nose, she found herself returning it, indulging in the opportunity to shamelessly explore as he did the same.

Their hands traced each other’s faces, ran over ears, threaded through hair.

She watched his reptilian-like pupils flex, widening with his intrigue; he wondered at the water-like quality of hers.

Fingers delved in mouths, tracing teeth and fangs before brushing wet tips over lips.

When their foreheads touched, eyes sinking shut, neither knew who had leaned in first.

Chapter Text

He wasn’t in bed when she woke around midnight, and she groggily sat up. “Sesshoumaru?”

“Here,” his soft reply came.

She found him by the window, eerily cast in pale moonlight as he let cold air rush in and wash over him.

Kagome shivered and dragged the blanket off the futons. “Aren’t you cold?”

“No.”

For a moment she said nothing. Something clearly bothered him. He had a far away, introspective look in his eyes that said he was somewhere else.

“Hey”—she reached out and touched his face—“tell me what’s wrong?”

He exhaled tiredly. “Tell me about him.”

Chapter Text

Her eyes widened. “What?”

Sesshoumaru drew her down to his lap and tucked the blanket about her. “Tell me about Inuyasha.”

The tension she hadn’t realized was there bled out of her body. She relaxed against him. “What do you want to know?”

His eyes closed briefly. “Tell me what I should have known.”

For Inuyasha I feel much regret.

Heart shattering for him as she remembered his words from before, she took his hand, feeling it grasp hers.

He was breaking. It may be silent and invisible to the outsider, but she felt his grief like the cold air.

Chapter Text

So, she talked.

“He hated cabbage. Made an awful fuss every time Kaede added it to dinner.”

He listened.

“He took things really literally. Thought that my toothpaste was a kind of adhesive.”

Sesshoumaru looked confused. “It is not?”

She laughed. “No.”

He looked at her skeptically.

The night went on. Her tears welled.

“He was really brave.”

Closing his eyes, he pressed his lips against the crown of her head and merely nodded.

Kagome sniffled but couldn’t help grinning. “He was really proud of himself for lopping off your arm.”

He laughed then, his voice choking unexpectedly as he did.

Chapter Text

“Sesshoumaru?” She tried to turn, but he held her in place.

Twisting, she tried again, but he still held her tight. His claws lightly—unintentionally—pricked at her ribs.

She sighed and then said gently, “Do I have your trust?”

He stiffened.

Well, that got his attention. Gradually, Kagome felt his grip go slack. When she turned, she wanted to cry.

He looked down at her—chin lifted, lips pursed, and jaw tight as he internally warred with his emotions. His eyes flickered in the moonlight, stubbornly refusing to release what they held.

He spoke quietly. “Well played, Miko.”

Chapter Text

She smiled weakly. “Someone made me feel more at ease with that question once.”

His mouth lost a little bit of its tension. “Is that so?”

Nodding, she leaned up on her knees. “Yeah, turns out what I was worried about wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

He closed his eyes.

“Want to know why?”

“I am sure you will tell me.”

Kagome held his face. “I was okay because it was you.”

Something nostalgic and full of longing jolted through him. But before he could open his eyes, her arms wrapped around him. Carefully. Gently.

A very sweet Miko.

Chapter Text

Keiji’s shout echoing through the halls woke them.

“Dragon!”

Kagome barely managed to preserve her modesty when he, followed by Chiyo and Mitsukane, barged into their room. The two warriors looked green while Chiyo was unnaturally calm.

Sesshoumaru glared. He caught the hakama Keiji chucked at him and pulled it on under the blanket. “What happened?”

Chiyo spoke. “It’s A-Un.”

Sesshoumaru had barely finished tying his pants and froze. “That is impossible.”

“A-Un?” Kagome whispered, and then she was scrambling for her own clothing.

Keiji stepped forward, pinning Sesshoumaru with a meaningful look, pale. He swallowed. “There are three bodies.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru was reaching for his kimono just in time to see Kagome run through the door barefoot, only just covered in her yukata.

Abandoning any hope of getting dressed, he cursed. “Bring Tenseiga.”

He ran after her.

The putrid reek of death was overpowering before he even reached the courtyard. It stung his nostrils and nearly gagged him as he breathed it in, and he knew what she’d find if he couldn’t stop her.

“Kagome, stop.”

She slipped out the doors in front of him.

Forsaking any hope of not damaging their home, shot straight through the walls after her.

Chapter Text

He tackled her from behind and took her to the ground.

Kagome felt the air rush out of her with the impact and inhaled desperately, trying to fill her lungs. They burned, the sensation made worse by the tears trying to break free of her throat. She clawed at the cold ground, digging her fingers in and trying to pull herself out from underneath him.

“Let me see them,” she choked. He wouldn’t budge.

“No.”

Let me see them!”

Closing his eyes tightly, he shoved his hand over her eyes and pulled her up. “I will not.”

He could not.

Chapter Text

He took Tenseiga from Keiji.

“Hold her and do not let her see.”

Ignoring Kagome’s protesting, he left her to Keiji and approached the dragons.

A-Un were distraught as his men tried to rein them in. They reared and bellowed, eyes wide and wild.

Unable to hide his reaction, Sesshoumaru recoiled at the fetid smell on their backs as he came closer. Then he saw them.

Orange. Teal. Armor.

His stomach churned

Decay. Rotting liquid. Bone.

His men were silent as he reached up to the beasts. Sesshoumaru grabbed their reins, pulled their frantic faces to his, and hushed them.

Chapter Text

His voice was quiet as he murmured to them, stroking their muzzles. “You brought them home. You did well.”

Both dragons circled their heads around his shoulders, their breath huffing and scales harsh against his bare skin.

He let them.

Mitsukane came up beside him, his struggle with the smell evident. “These animals mourn.”

“They are traumatized.” Sesshoumaru fisted their manes and gently pulled them off. “Down.”

Obediently, A-Un lowered themselves.

Sesshoumaru steeled himself against the sight on their back. “Lay them on the ground.”

All of them trying not to breath in, his men did as he asked them.

Chapter Text

For as long as he lived, he knew he would never forget the sight nor the smell of the children’s rotting bodies.

Swallowing so he wouldn’t retch, he raised Tenseiga. They could not be raised, but they did not need to stay like this.

The sword glowed blue, mercifully healing the state of decay and washing away the stench. He heard his men exhale in relief.

Sesshoumaru didn’t look away from the children. They looked like they were simply sleeping. “Take A-Un to the stables. Clean them up and feed them.” His eyes set on Rin’s face.

Something inside snapped.

Chapter Text

He broke.

A raw, guttural, undefinable sound tore out of his throat as he fell to the earth beside the dead children. It doubled him over, the cool dirt against his forehead doing nothing—absolutely nothing—to alleviate the inferno of anguish swallowing him.

His claws tore at the ground, violently raking out trenches as he tried to force his mind to forget the sickening details he’d seen.

Three bodies. Three decayed and nearly unrecognizable bodies obliterated his control.

His child.

Grief unforgivingly churned in his stomach, and he turned his face away and retched.

And then she was there.

Chapter Text

Shippou. Kohaku. Rin.

Heart wrenching at the sight of the children, Kagome silently begged them for forgiveness and ran to Sesshoumaru’s side.

One look at him and she knew. He had not been met with the peacefully sleeping images of the children. And he had protected her from that.

Chest heaving as he tried to control the visceral force of his reaction, Sesshoumaru sat up. He swiped the back of his hand over his mouth, a disgusted look on his face, before slowly pushing himself to his feet.

Kagome watched as his men surrounded them, facing away, shielding their grief.

Chapter Text

She cracked and covered her face with her hands, weeping. “I’m so sorry.”

He looked over her head, jaw tight, and swallowed before meeting her eyes. “You did not realize. There is no fault.”

She angrily scrubbed her face. “I’m stupid for not realizing—”

“No, you are not.” He pulled her hands down, drew her closer. “Your reaction was natural.”

Kagome sagged against him, circling his waist and feeling the chill on his skin. “You’re cold.”

“It is fine.”

Nodding she pressed closer, trying to impart some warmth.

“Are you…”

Are you okay?

“Hn.”

No, I am not okay.

Chapter Text

They carried the children inside.

She cradled Shippou in her arms and followed Sesshoumaru, noticing with concern how tightly he held Rin to his chest. Keiji bore Kohaku for them.

Her tears wouldn’t stop as she looked down at the kit. He looked perfect—too perfect for death. He still had the preciously squishy arms and legs that had always pulled at her, his tail softly bushy. She could almost pretend he slept, sprawled out around her like the bed hog he had been.

But he wasn’t sleeping. Shippou was dead. And that realization was stifling.

Choking, paralyzing, shattering, and stifling.

Chapter Text

Numbness spread over his chest and sunk into his bones as he cradled her. Thrice she had left this world, and twice she had woken to his face. This time, she would not.

She had always had faith he would be there when she called, and he finally had failed that perfect trust.

Gone before he got to her. And that reality was enough to suffocate him.

Numbness turned to tightness. His eyes sank shut, her weight an oppressive slip of nothing threatening to force him to his knees.

He lay her down, silently begging forgiveness as he let go.

Chapter Text

They didn’t talk, both staring at the other across their bed while lost in the depths of their grief.

Hours before, they had been in each other’s arms. An hour ago, they had faced the unthinkable. And now? Mere minutes had passed since they had surrendered the children to burial preparations.

It was surreal.

“I know you’re not okay.” she finally whispered.

His eyes closed against the memory of what he had seen. “No.”

“And I can’t fix it.”

“No, you cannot.”

She bit her lip and then, silent, crawled across the futons.

“Kagome?”

She pressed her forehead to his.

Chapter Text

She woke before dawn and found him missing.

Instinct took her down to the room where the children were laid. She could see the brazier burning from behind the shoji, his silhouette sitting against a far wall. But she wasn’t prepared for what she found inside.

“Sesshoumaru?”

He didn’t answer.

Sliding back the shoji, she found him with Rin in his lap, arms around her and her head on his chest as he slept one last time with the child he had taken in.

In the brazier light, she could see the silvery evidence of dried tears on his cheeks.

Chapter Text

They stood silently together by their graves.

The sun slowly dipped below the horizon, and the evening breeze warned of the approaching winter.

“There will be frost tonight.” His voice was clipped and as cool as his prediction.

Hand shaking and lips trembling, Kagome reached out beside her and grasped his hand. “It feels wrong to leave them.” She shifted her fingers until they were palm to palm. “Everything feels so wrong now.”

“As it should.” His voice was quiet, severe.

The wind picked up, and she leaned against him.

He drew her arm through his. “Come. It grows cold.”

Chapter Text

Bonfires blazed in the courtyard when they returned, and Kagome gratefully accepted hot broth when Chiyo brought it.

“What is this?” she asked, eyes wide. The entire household seemed to have turned out and the rich scent of hearty stews and teas permeated the air as they gathered around the fires.

The female youkai’s eyes were sad, but she smiled kindly. “A time for stories and remembering.” She led them to the largest bonfire, disappearing briefly to retrieve food and tea.

Silently, Sesshoumaru sat and helped her settle back against his chest.

The sounds of children playing echoed around them.

Chapter Text

The stories brought laughter and tears and sometimes a mixture of the two.

Kagome gave up trying to keep her eyes dry as stories about Rin and her antics were shared.

Keiji took great delight in sharing her most mischievous actions and had everyone laughing uproariously. Though subdued, she even felt the vibration of a chuckle against her back from Sesshoumaru at times.

The auburn-haired youkai turned their direction and gave her a wink. “Who remembers how the little lady tricked our lord out of the bath?”

Children shrieked with laughter and begged for the tale.

Sesshoumaru arched a brow.

Chapter Text

Keiji also lightened everyone’s mood by teasing.

“So, in the end,” he finished the story, his own mirth spilling over, “Lord Yoshinaka’s daughters all got a full view of all six of the stripes on his back!”

Kagome cried out laughing with the rest of the youkai, until a sudden realization made her stop and think. “But there are eight.”

It was spoken aloud before she could realize it.

Miko,” Sesshoumaru breathed in exasperation.

Keiji’s grin was huge. “We will trust the Lady on this one since she is privier to those details.”

Somewhere, somebody whistled suggestively

Kagome flushed scarlet.

Chapter Text

Groaning, she flopped back against him. “He did that on purpose.”

Sesshoumaru, rested his arms around her. “Yes, he did.”

“And I fell straight for it.”

“More quickly than he could have hoped for.”

Chiyo laughed beside them. “No one will begrudge you attraction to your mate.” Then, with a cheeky smile, she left to get more tea.

More knowing looks were sent her way, and Kagome’s face burned. Behind her, she could feel the tightly coiled laughter in his chest. “Don’t you dare say a word, Sesshoumaru.”

He cleared his throat. “About what?”

Anything.” She looked back and glared.

Chapter Text

He leaned down and lightly nosed at her cheek, discreetly inhaling her scent. “You should not be embarrassed.”

“Try mortified.”

He laughed quietly. “There is no shame in it.”

If possible, she turned an even brighter shade of red.

Sesshoumaru twined their hands together. “Friends can be honest?”

She grumbled. “I’ve been honest enough tonight.”

“Your candor has been enjoyed by many.” His voice was quiet, and he leaned down to her ear. “However, mine is for you alone.”

“Huh?” She tilted her face up to look at him.

His eyes softened then. “You have three freckles on your back.”

Chapter Text

Things grew quieter as the fires died down.

Kagome was content, her soul at least temporarily soothed by laughter and companionship, and she sleepily curled into Sesshoumaru’s embrace.

“Milord?”

Three children held a long rope of flowers, shyly waiting to be acknowledged. When Sesshoumaru inclined his head, they smiled brightly and looped the rope around them.

Kagome giggled when they leaned in, nuzzling her cheeks before running off.

“What's this for?” She touched the delicate blooms.

Chiyo smiled from where she lounged beside them. “It is a blessing.”

“A blessing?”

Sesshoumaru tightened his arms. “That we may have children again.”

Chapter Text

Grief was a funny thing.

Neither knew who reached for the other, but bedclothes were shed and his mouth, soft but intense, claimed her lips her fully and without restraint.

“What is this?” she panted, opening her legs at the gentle nudging of his knee.

He hovered over her, silver hair obscuring his face.

“Sesshoumaru?”

“Solace,” he whispered.

Hot tears suddenly pricked her eyes. Then, he was there, and she held him as he began to move in her, feeling his corded strength tremble beneath her fingers. And then, she knew.

He was so much stronger than she had realized.

Chapter Text

Keiji entered his study and hooked his thumb over his shoulder. “Is there a reason Mitsukane won’t look me in the eye?”

Sesshoumaru smirked and poured him a drink.

The other youkai sighed, unceremoniously dropping to sit. “Mitsukane begged off of it already?”

“Beg is putting it lightly.”

Keiji grumbled, accepting the drink. “I’m taking one of the beasts and a carriage.”

“Leave A-Un. They have been through enough.”

“Of course, of course.”

Sesshoumaru leaned heavily on the desk in front of him. “You leave tonight. Send for me when you are a league out.”

Keiji nodded, his mouth grim.

Chapter Text

She enjoyed playing with the children.

They raced around her legs in the field outside of the gates, giggling and dodging to avoid her tag as she chased after them. Chiyo and Fume smiled from a short distance away helping others weave wreaths with some of the season’s last blooms.

Kagome stepped away, flushed and breathing heavily to join the two youkai. Her face was pure elation. “I never would have thought there were so many children here.”

A sneaky pup whipped by, tapping her side as he went. “You’re it!”

She laughed and then the next moment heard screams.

Chapter Text

It was a bear youkai, and it was charging straight for them.

Behind her she felt a surge of youki and then Chiyo and Fume were in front of them, transformed and dark fur bristling as they snarled at the intruding youkai.

The children scrambled past them, hiding behind Kagome.

The jewel. It wants the jewel.

The children were not safe with her.

“Go, run! Get inside!” She pushed them in the direction of the gates and took off the other direction.

Fume followed after her, Chiyo standing her ground between them.

The bear slashed at Chiyo, batting her aside.

Chapter Text

She felt the impact Fume’s body made when the bear knocked her to the ground.

Stumbling as the force of the youkai’s crash reverberated over the field, Kagome barely managed to keep running. A second later, Chiyo appeared on her heels, snapping at the back of her kimono and lifting her as she ran from the bear.

She was small but fast and headed for the gate.

Kagome looked back from where she was suspended just in time to see a massive white dog tear into the bear, jaws clamped over the thick neck.

Noxious fumes sizzled in the air.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru was furious.

He stormed through the gates, Chiyo clinging to his back, Fume in his arms. Kagome hurried closely behind.

The guards from the gate had gathered up the children when they came running and let them go now that the others were safe back inside. They swarmed Kagome.

“Take Fume and Chiyo to Sako,” he snapped at a guard, handing him the injured woman. “Ensure that Chiyo doesn’t leave the healing wing.”

He turned to Kagome. “You will be with me or Mitsukane at all times now until the jewel is gone.”

“Sesshoumaru—”

“It is not debatable.”

Chapter Text

She didn’t like being told what to do, but she didn’t argue.

It had been too close.

Needing a minute to himself, Sesshoumaru sequestered himself in his study. Kagome gave him space, dragging Mitsukane with her to the healer to check on Fume and Chiyo.

She had been lucky the two females were with her. He had heard the bear’s roar and then Chiyo and Fume’s warning growls almost a moment too late.

With a frustrated snarl he threw down his brush, ignoring the splatter of ink it caused. Keiji’s return couldn’t come soon enough.

The jewel had to go.

Chapter Text

“No.”

Grinding his teeth in frustration, Sesshoumaru squared his shoulders and lifted his chin. “You will do this.”

No.

A small crowd was gathering at the gates, curiously waiting to see what would happen.

He glared at her from across the field. “Miko…”

“I respectfully decline.” Like an insolent pup, she sat on the ground and tossed her bow aside.

She did not. Hackles rising, he removed Bakusaiga. “You have fought me before.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t like you then!” she shouted.

Enough!

Her face registered her shock at his lapse of temper just as the whip of energy lashed out at her heel, and she yelped. “You jerk! I don’t want to hurt you!”

“Do not assume that you can. Now, fight.”

Chapter Text

It was probably the stupidest thing he had ever done.

Claws out, he charged her. She refused to move no matter how many times he swiped at her and no matter how close he got.

When she said no, she meant it.

But then, he swiped too close, and it wasn’t until the long black tresses of her hair were dangling from his claws that he realized what he had done.

Stunned, he stood frozen, staring at his hand while a look of shock and horror crossed her face—one that too quickly turned to pure, unadulterated female rage.

Sesshoumaru!"

Chapter Text

Their eyes met for one crowded moment and then she dove for the discarded bow and quiver.

Not hesitating, he shot into the air just in time for a glowing pink arrow to skirt by, barely missing him.

He smirked.

“Get down here, you bastard!”

She was more than a little angry, and it amused some dark part of him.

“I respectfully decline,” he taunted, throwing her words back at her.

Screaming in outrage, she fired another arrow at him.

Uproarious laugher came from the gates.

She might try to fry him, but she was fighting.

And it was entertaining.

Chapter Text

Kagome sat with her arms crossed as Chiyo tried to sort out the mess Sesshoumaru had made of her hair.

“Foolish pup,” Chiyo mumbled, and Kagome was secretly pleased to have her on her side.

Tears burned at her eyes when she remembered the thick mass of hair suddenly in his hand.

It was so stupid. It was just hair. But as more of the already severely shorn locks fell away under the touch of Chiyo’s claws, her upset just increased.

Chiyo growled. “I’m going to skin the stripes from his back.”

Kagome laughed then, appreciative of the female solidarity.

Chapter Text

She didn’t speak to him when she entered their room.

Watching warily from his place on their bed, Sesshoumaru gave her the space she wanted and tried to ignore the glares she kept sending his direction.

He knew she was irate when she went behind the screen to change into her sleep clothes. She had stopped that shortly after their mating.

More than a bit perturbed by her anger, he pursed his lips, pretending to inspect his claws when she finally emerged.

Still glaring and without a word, she dragged her futon a good five feet from his.

Well, then.

Chapter Text

Silence weighed heavily between them as the night stretched on, and Sesshoumaru finally had enough.

“You are being childish.”

She shot up from her futon, tossing her blanket aside. “You never apologized.”

“It never would have happened if you were not being stubborn,” he snapped, sitting up.

“It wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t miss!”

He was on his feet. “I did miss, and that is why it was your hair and not your neck.”

Kagome narrowed her eyes. “Was that a threat?”

He was taken aback. “No, it was not.”

“Are you sure?”

“I would not hurt my mate.”

Chapter Text

He had walked right into it.

Exactly! And neither would I!” she shouted, jumping to her feet. She stormed over to him, poking him in his chest. “You can’t expect me to attack you!”

He leaned down, teeth bared, and got in her face. “You must learn to defend yourself.”

“Not that way,” she ground out.

They glared at each other.

In the heated silence, Sesshoumaru finally took in her hair. It was very short, curling around her cheeks and highlighting soft, feminine features.

Angry features.

“Apologize!”

He smirked. “That you are upset is regrettable.”

“That’s—”

“I like it.”

Chapter Text

She looked about ready to set him on fire. “You aren’t listening!” She stormed back to her futon, got in, and threw the blanket over herself.

He smelled salt.

Too far. He cleared his throat. “Kagome?”

She didn’t answer.

With a sigh, he crossed the room to her futon and knelt beside her. “May I?”

“Do what you want.”

Without a word, he peeled the blanket back enough to move behind her, spooning her tense body with his. He rested his chin on her shoulder. “I apologize. It was an accident.”

Exhaling heavily, she finally responded and squeezed his arm.

Chapter Text

They lay like that for a while before she finally shifted, turning in his arms.

For a moment they just stared at each other, and then she kissed him before pressing her forehead to his.

He shut his eyes, a small but real smile breaking free. “Connecting, Miko?”

“Yes.” She titled her chin, pressing her mouth briefly to his once more. “I hate fighting with you.”

“I do not enjoy it either.”

She brushed her fingers over his markings. “It’s not just the hair though.”

His expression turned questioning, and she sighed.

“You can’t ask me to risk hurting you.”

Chapter Text

“You cannot deny that you must be better prepared. The bear—”

“You took care of it.”

His eyes closed then. When they opened, the raw pain that flashed took her breath away.

He grasped her hand. “I may not always make it in time, Kagome.”

Rin.

She licked her lips and pushed back tears. “And I can’t control my power enough. So, I can’t risk more than some silly arrows on you.”

All of a sudden, she wouldn’t look him in the eye. “I’m so sorry I called you a bastard.”

He smirked then. “It is of no consequence.”

Chapter Text

For a while, they said nothing and simply lay together. But Kagome never could let silences stretch too long.

“Are we okay?”

He tucked the short strands behind her ear. “Why would we not be?”

She shrugged her shoulder. “It was a bad fight.”

His smile was soft, tired. He pulled her hair through his fingers and let it fall. “Sometimes friends fight.”

“But we’re not just friends,” she whispered, refusing to look at him.

A penetrating vulnerability spread out as she spoke, and he could almost taste the uncertainty swallowing her whole.

“No, Miko. We are not just friends.”

Chapter Text

Looking back up at him, her eyes echoed with what she couldn’t say. More timid than she had been in a long time, she reached up and began to fiddle with the hair falling over his shoulder.

“What do we call what’s between us now?”

He hummed pleasantly when her fingers brushed his jaw. “I do not know.”

“Me either,” she whispered. “But…”

He waited for her to speak. But instead, she reached up around his neck and kissed him with the same raw, gentle sweetness she did when he first laid claim to her.

Something in him cracked open.

Chapter Text

She just felt and allowed that to take control.

He relaxed below her, and she recognized the silent permission he had given that first night to openly explore—learn how she needed—while she embraced that ever-budding part of her psyche that had been locked away before knowing him.

It was exhilarating and humbling.

He lay back, allowing her to touch and taste, submitting unashamed to pleasure as she sought to discover more.

And after he let go with her name on his breath, she pushed her uncertainty aside and surrendered uninhibited to his reassurance that they were indefinably good.

Chapter Text

“You are happy here.”

A question—not a statement. Kagome looked up at Chiyo and smiled before turning her attention back to the playing children. “I am. It’s so different than I imagined it would be.”

“Ah,” Chiyo said with a knowing grin, “Lord Sesshoumaru is quite different than he was in the past.” Her smile turned wistful. “That little girl changed everything.”

“She did,” Kagome agreed, bending to lift one of the pups. She smiled when he nuzzled her cheeks. “It’s kind of ironic though.”

“What is that?”

Kagome smiled. “She was so young, but Sesshoumaru is Rin’s legacy.”

Chapter Text

He found her with A-Un and about 8 of the household’s children in the stables.

Mitsukane nodded to him as he entered, a smirk on his face as he jerked his head toward dragons’ stall. “I dare not disturb them.”

His eyes betrayed his curiosity. “Disturb?”

The soldier smiled broadly. “Go look.”

With a parting skeptical glance, Sesshoumaru peered into the pen and found a slumbering pile of pups and miko curled up with A-Un. The children were sprawled all over her where she leaned against the dragons, bellies rising softly with their breathing.

A-Un looked completely at peace.

Chapter Text

Little noses wiggled, sniffing inquisitively in their sleep as he approached.

Kagome didn’t budge.

With a sigh, Sesshoumaru picked up pups, shifting them about until he was able to cram himself in, scooping the sleeping miko into his arms as he leaned back against the dragons. Without waking, the children resituated themselves, sprawling over them both.

Grey-blue eyes blinked sleepily, widening slightly when she registered his face. “Oh, hi.”

He smiled his amusement. “Hello.”

She yawned. “Is it late?”

“Nearing dark.”

Her eyes widened. “I need to get them back.”

Sesshoumaru closed his eyes. “They are fine a bit longer.”

Chapter Text

After he had helped her return the children to their homes, he took her arm and walked her to the gardens.

For a bit, they walked in silence, simply enjoying each other’s company and the cold moonlight. But her lack of tolerance for silence eventually won out.

“When will we leave for the well?”

He shifted his arm, taking her hand and threading their fingers together. “Shortly after Keiji returns. There are some things that must be attended first once he is back.”

“Like?”

Shaking his head, eyes regretful, he turned them to go back inside. “Best discussed another time.”

Chapter Text

Her arms came around him as they readied for bed.

Sesshoumaru finished tying his sash and looked back over his shoulder at her. “Kagome?”

Her hand shifted over his abdomen, and he heard the crinkle of parchment. He looked down to see her waving a tiny scroll tightly gripped in her fingers.

Curious, he took it from her, opening it.

Are you hiding something from me?

He stiffened, pained to answer her. “You are perceptive, Miko.” He squeezed her hand, but it was a weak reassurance.

“Why?” she whispered, voice teary.

Closing his eyes, he sighed. “It is best for now.”

Chapter Text

She wasn’t mad, but she wasn’t okay. His confession bothered her more than most things, and a sadness rolled off her as she crawled under her blanket.

Sesshoumaru silently berated himself for her upset. “Kagome—”

“What can be so bad you can’t tell me?” Her voice was quiet, melancholy. “What can possibly be worse than what we have already shared?”

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he rolled to his side. “I would not leave you unnecessarily miserable, and this would.”

“So, something bad’s coming?”

He reached for her face, his eyes apologetic. “Yes.”

She laughed humorlessly. “Of course.”

Chapter Text

Keiji’s messenger came at dawn.

He quietly got dressed and was securing Tenseiga when her heard her wake.

“Where are you going?”

He turned to find her slowly sitting up in bed, rubbing bleary eyes as she focused her gaze on him.

Steeling himself against her curiosity, knowing that today he would ruin everything they worked so hard to come through, he thrust the sword into his belt as she approached him. “You will know when I return.”

Her voice broke, and she hesitantly took his hands.  “Why can’t you trust me with this?”

“I am protecting you from this.”

Chapter Text

He kissed her hard and quick, and it felt like goodbye. Then, he was gone.

Kagome stood in the dark of their room, fingers to her lips as she stared at the door, still slightly ajar from where he had departed.

She just stared, silent and unmoving, until Chiyo slid the shoji aside and entered.

The youkai gave her a comforting smile, placing a tray with food and tea on the floor. “He will be back.”

“Something’s wrong,” Kagome whispered, still not moving.

“He’s not in danger,” Chiyo said, leading her to sit.

Kagome shook her head. “It’s something else.”

Chapter Text

The smell was the same, but he was prepared for that.

“We buried all the bodies in the area,” Keiji said, a hand over his nose as he handed him the covered Tessaiga.

Sesshoumaru nodded silently, his hand closing around the cloth squelching the sword’s barrier. His eyes never left the sight of the decomposing body in red fire rat armor. “Jaken?”

Keiji shook his head, hesitating before speaking. “Recovery was not possible.”

He pulled Tenseiga. “That is regrettable.”

Approaching the body, he silently beseeched the sword to set everything right—to spare her.

But sometimes, Tenseiga did not listen.

Chapter Text

Her feet were dangling in the cold water of the koi pond when she felt him.

Eyes wide and questioning, she whirled around. “You’re back.”

With a single nod of his head, he sat beside her and drew her feet out of the pond into his lap. “You will catch cold."

She was bursting at the seams with questions but stayed silent, waiting, as he warmed and dried her feet.

Something was still wrong. Its crushing weight surrounded them, and she watched his silent struggle to voice whatever it was.

Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore. “Sesshoumaru—”

“I failed.”

Chapter Text

Before she could ask what he meant, his forehead came to rest against hers, his eyes sinking shut to hide the pain behind them.

“I cannot protect you from this,” he whispered.

She leaned into him. “From what?”              

“Grief. Heartache.” His hands came up to cradle her face. “Regret.”

Kagome closed the last bit of distance between them, kissing him softly. “We’ve survived all of those so far.”

“Not like this.” He straightened then, his back rigid, eyes severe. “This is different.”

Heart pounding, Kagome licked her lips. “Sesshoumaru, I need you to tell me what’s going on right now.”

Chapter Text

Kagome took off running.

Something cold and heavy moored in her stomach, her head at the same time too warm. But she pushed through and ran, ignoring his warning to wait.

A black fog crowded the edges of her vision as she sprinted through their home, threatening to topple her—to keep her from him.

She kept going.

In a haze of tears, she blew past Keiji, nearly destroying the shoji as she ripped it open.

And then she saw him.

Pale skin. Red clothes.

Black hair.

Like she’d been punched, her breath left as knees buckled. “No.”

She fell.

Chapter Text

Her eyes were dead.

Concern weighing like a monolith on his chest, Sesshoumaru watched the listless blue from where she lay under her blanket. She wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t eat or drink, and wouldn’t get out of bed.

Her tears came and went. When they came, they surged like waves during a storm, violent and relentless as they tore out of her while she screamed her grief; when they left, he listened with unease as her breath and heartbeat grew weaker.

And if he touched her, she recoiled, the scent of guilt strangling him.

It was a knife in his gut.

Chapter Text

Chiyo found him with A-Un in the field outside the gates.

Sesshoumaru looked up from where he lay with the dragons when she walked out into the dark.

“How are they?” she asked, carefully approaching.

He frowned slightly. “Their trauma is far from healed, but they are doing well considering.”

“They are resilient.” The older youkai pinned him with a look. “And you?”

He closed his eyes. “Fine.”

Chiyo smiled sadly and settled next to him. “You know, we usually found you in their stall when you were upset.”

One eye opened. “Your point?”

She patted A-Un. “You are upset.”

Chapter Text

When he returned to their room, she was still staring at the wall.

He didn’t change; he didn’t dare lay next to her. Instead, he took up vigil across the room and waited for something—anything—to change.

Four hours later, well after midnight, she finally spoke.

“Three days.”

He lifted his head, watching cautiously as she moved to sit up. “I know.”

Her bedclothes gaped at the front as she moved, and her guilt immediately wafted over to him. She quickly pulled it shut.

He swallowed, averting his gaze. “I will not look, Kagome.”

The scent of guilt increased.

Chapter Text

And two hours after that, when her crying had not stopped, he scooped her up in her blanket and brought her to the room where Inuyasha’s body lay.

“No.” She kicked and clawed and tried to wriggle out of his grasp as Sesshoumaru walked her to the dais where he rested.

She nearly managed to, and he caught her, swinging her up just before her skull cracked against the ground.

Then she screamed in his ear loud enough to make his head spin, and he had enough.

Sitting them down, he lightly bit down on the bridge of her nose.

Chapter Text

His teeth on her skin snapped her out of her hysterics.

She stopped fighting, eyes going wide and voice silencing, and she let go.

Watching warily as he settled back calmly from her, she dried her face and waited for him to speak.

But he didn’t say a word. Without a sound, he lifted her again, carrying her over to Inuyasha. Then, he lay her down, tucked her into his brother’s side, and covered them with her blanket.

Sniffling, she reached for Inuyasha’s face. “Why?”

“You love him.” His eyes were solemn, resolute. “And you need this.”

He stepped out.

Chapter Text

As soon as Sesshoumaru closed the shoji, her arms went around Inuyasha’s body.

The fire rat armor was rough and familiar, and she buried her face in his neck. He was cold. So cold. But even in death he was just Inuyasha.

She missed his ears—missed him.

Pulling his arms around her as she curled about him, she rocked them both.

“I’m so sorry,” she rasped, shaking with the force of her grief. “I’m so sorry. Please, please forgive me.”

His arm slipped from around her, falling against the dais.

Harsh keening wrenched from her chest, and she wailed.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru sat leaning against the shoji, listening as she let out her grief.

Part of her pain lodged in his chest, each cry and wail piercing him to his core. He closed his eyes, letting his head fall back against the wood and paper.

Tenseiga had repaired his body, but it wouldn’t hide the evidence that he had not died when they thought.

Footsteps and the scent of tea pulled him from his thoughts.

“You are everywhere tonight,” he murmured, cracking open an eye.

Chiyo smiled gently, handing him the drink. “Tonight seems like a good night to be everywhere.”

Chapter Text

She talked to him, fiddling with his black hair and red clothing as she did.

“We still haven’t figured out what to do. No wish seems right. We’ve not been able to find a lot of information about it.”

She paused, letting ebony strands slide through her fingers. “Your brother…”

Clenching her eyes shut, she forced the words out. “I mated Sesshoumaru. He’s taken such good care of me. Protected me.” She swallowed. “He’s not like we thought.”

Tears slid down her cheeks. “He’s been my friend.” She swallowed and whispered, “But that’s changing.”

Her tears increased. “I like him.”

Chapter Text

“She is conflicted,” Chiyo said quietly, watching as Sesshoumaru carefully sipped the tea.

“She loves him, and he died protecting her.” He set the tea down. “There is no greater gift.”

Chiyo sighed. “I suppose not. But it doesn’t mean she won’t love again.”

His jaw tensed. “It is of no consequence.”

“Isn’t it?”

“No.”

They were silent, listening to her cries.

Finally, Chiyo spoke. “She will always love him, Sesshoumaru.”

“I am aware.”

“But,” she said standing, “you need to remember something.”

At his perplexed look, she smiled. “Love is a choice.”

She touched his face, and she left.

Chapter Text

Kagome rambled. “You know, it’s actually really nice here…”

She cried. “I can’t do this without you.”

She laughed. “All my hair was just right there in his hand. And his face!” Tears of grief turned to something else.

She raged. “Why? Why didn’t you come with us?”

She confessed. “I slept with Sesshoumaru. Like, a lot.” She blushed, burying her face again. “And I really liked it.”

She thanked him. “We wouldn’t be here without you…”

She said goodbye. “I’ll never stop missing you, Inuyasha.” Touching his face, she leaned up and kissed his cheek.

And finally, she slept.

Chapter Text

He woke with her hands on his face.

“You must be exhausted,” she smiled, the effort not quite reaching her eyes.

Blinking, he tried to acclimate to being awake. He had been tired. His hand came up to rest over hers as he looked up. Her face was splotchy, swollen from her grief the night before, but there was peace there he hadn’t seen since Naraku’s demise.

She sat next to him against the wall where he had kept vigil. “You were right. I needed that.”

He merely nodded, surprised and relieved when she leaned against him and didn’t recoil.

Chapter Text

Kagome leaned more fully into him, her head on his shoulder, and threaded their fingers together. “I’m sorry I was weird last night.”

“It is fine.”

She squeezed his hand. “Not really, no. Understandable? Probably. But not fine.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose, rubbing lightly to relieve the blooming pain. “We cannot predict how grief will cause us to behave.”

“No,” she agreed. “And I’ll always grieve him. But I shouldn’t be so wrapped up in grief I can’t see.”

“Cannot see what, Miko?”

Smiling, she tugged his hair. “How much life gives as much as it takes.”

Chapter Text

All of a sudden, she moved in front of him, cocking her head to the side. “Can I have a hug?”

An eyebrow slowly lifted, but he opened his arms. “You do not have to ask.”

She nearly dove into his arms, sighing contently when they folded around her. “This time I did.”

Sesshoumaru exhaled heavily. There was no smell of shame. She didn’t recoil. Pressing his face to her neck, he breathed deeply, seeking the trace of his own scent and reassuring himself that her guilt was gone.

She was soft and warm and comfortable, and she was healing.

Chapter Text

“Do me a favor?” She pulled herself up eye level with him.

“What is that, Miko?”

Her hands rested on his shoulders. “Don’t try to resolve my issues so much at the expense of yours.”

Issues?” He looked at her incredulously.

She rolled her eyes. “Come on. We both have issues after this mess.”

He scowled. “This Sesshoumaru—”

She cut him off. “Is wonderful and so selfless—more than I ever knew—but grieving as much as I am.” She pressed her forehead to his. “Don’t let me forget that. I’m too easily wrapped up in my own head.”

Chapter Text

His face displayed unadulterated irritation, and she laughed. Then there were tears, though she still smiled.

“Years ago, that expression would have made me nervous. Did make me nervous.”

“It still should,” he muttered, slanting his eyes at her.

Her grin was huge. “Impossible.”

He observed her quietly. Suddenly, there was a flare of youki, and his face erupted into the snarling, red-eyed, in-between form with too-big teeth for a split second. Startled, she screamed, reeling back, and fell onto her backside.

Sesshoumaru leaned against the shoji, eyes closed, chuckling darkly.

Kagome glared, smacking his leg. “Worst joke ever, Sesshoumaru.”

Chapter Text

He finally stopped laughing, and she stopped glaring. Then, they looked at each other, both smiling sadly.

“How peculiar,” he said, eyes blinking slowly, their gold warm and shining with the remnant of his mirth.

She crawled back over, settling into his lap. “What’s that?”

He reached up, running his fingers through her hair. His voice was quiet. “That the one I wronged more than any other would have trusted me with that which was most precious to him.”

Her tears rose and fell, but she laughed. “He was amazing like that.”

Sesshoumaru’s eyes grew melancholy, wistful.

He hadn’t known.

Chapter Text

They buried him with the children.

“What do we do now?” she asked, arms around his waist as the sun went down over the graves. Her eyes were surprisingly dry, though the atmosphere around them was subdued.

“We get rid of the jewel.”

“And what if wishing it away separates us? What if it permanently sends me back to my time?”

“I will find you.”

Throat tightening, she swallowed the suddenly suffocating emotions. “Won’t take the opportunity to be rid of me?”

He tightened his arm around her. “You and I were a choice. I would not change it.”

Chapter Text

A few days later, she found him in his study after receiving a parchment requesting her presence.

He was writing and didn’t look up when she came in, merely pointing to a bundle on the edge of the table. “For you.”

Curiously, she picked up the package and removed the outer cloth, promptly almost dropping the gift.

Her hand covered her mouth. “Are you serious?”

He didn’t smile, but his eyes were gentle. “They have been altered to fit you.”

Kagome nodded tearfully and ran her hand over the red fire rat armor. “Thank you.”

Sesshoumaru simply inclined his head.

Chapter Text

Toutousai was summoned.

Kagome bounced back and forth on her feet, wringing her hands. “I can just carry Tessaiga.”

“You cannot wield it,” Sesshoumaru snapped, sinking to his knees. That the old man would enjoy this so much put him on edge too.

“It protected me before,” she shot back. “Or do you not remember?”

“You will have an offensive weapon, and there will be no more discussion on this.” He opened his mouth at the prodding of the blacksmith.

Kagome cringed as the fang was ripped out; Sesshoumaru never flinched.

“A fine fang.” Toutousai grinned a bit too gleefully.

Chapter Text

She woke him.

“Sesshoumaru?”

Tired, golden eyes lazily opened at the sensation of her fingers on his lips. He caught one of the curious appendages in his teeth and heard her sharp intake of breath when he sucked it into his mouth, laving it with his tongue before releasing her. “Do not start what you are too tired to finish tonight, Miko.”

She blushed in the brazier light, and he smirked.

“Shy now, Kagome?”

“No,” she grumbled. “I just wanted to see.”

He slowly arched a brow. “You are intrigued by the most unusual things.”

Nevertheless, he opened his mouth.

Chapter Text

Her fingertip dipped into the space where his fang had been. Just under the gum, she could feel a sharp point protruding. “Oh, I can feel the new one.”

He yawned, stretching his arms over his head as he did. “It will be in by morning.

Before he could put his arms down, she was tucked into his side, head on his chest.

“Thank you for that,” she whispered.

Folding his arms around her, he closed his eyes. “You do not need to thank me.”

She snorted then. “Yes, I do. Toutousai enjoyed that a bit too much.”

He chuckled.

Chapter Text

They gathered persimmons with the children.

Kagome and Chiyo smiled, watching youths and toddling youkai alike swarm around his legs and chatter excitedly as they filled baskets with fruit.

“The pups like being with him,” Kagome said, eyes softening at the sight.

“Yes, and it’s important that they are.” Chiyo nodded to where Mitsukane, Keiji, and other inuyoukai stood watching. “He’s bled protecting every single one, and he will inevitably bleed for the pups too. But at their age, they are unaware of this. This helps build bonds and trust in their lord.”

“It’s a sweet way to do it.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru sank to the ground, pups immediately piling on top of him to munch their fruit. He looked up as she approached.

She was subdued, and nostalgia rolled off her in waves.

“Something troubles you.” He offered his hand to help her sit.

Kagome accepted his help and sat, smiling sadly when children climbed up on her too. “Shippou loved persimmons.” She sighed, scooping up one of the babes and tickling them. “He would have loved it here.”

“The company is mischievous enough for a kitsune,” he mused, snagging a pup by the foot before they toppled into the pond.

Chapter Text

“Are you going to tell me why you are planning to travel with fine thread and cloth?”

Sesshoumaru looked up as Chiyo handed him a soft, wrapped bundle of the precious materials. “Her mother.” He went back to his business. “She likes to weave.”

Chiyo smiled. “Are you nervous?”

“I am not.”

She leaned on the writing table, poking his shoulder. “Then why the concern with gifts?”

Sighing his exasperation, he put down the brush. “The stories they have heard of me are not the most palatable.”

Chiyo laughed. “Trying to kill their female was perhaps a mistake.”

He glowered.

Chapter Text

Kagome found him in the bathhouse.

Walking up to where he soaked, she did her best impersonation of him and lifted one eyebrow. “Do you want to tell me what’s wrong? I could feel your mood from the stables.”

He slanted his eyes at her before closing them and leaning back. “I am fine.”

Scowling, Kagome stripped and quickly washed before jumping into the wooden tub with him.

She scooted back until she leaned against his chest and pulled the heavy mass of wet hair over her shoulder, combing through knots with her fingers. “Then be fine with me here.”

Chapter Text

He never said anything, but he wasn’t fine.

When he lay down to sleep, the same intensity radiated from him, and Kagome found herself at a loss. But not one to let things sit, she didn’t let it go.

Nudging him, she ignored his questioning eyes until he turned onto his stomach. Then, she promptly sat on his backside and stripped him to the waist.

“You’re too tense,” she groused, kneading the muscles in his shoulders and back. “And stubborn.”

“Am I?” He hissed when she found a particularly firm knot. Her small hands worked deftly, deceptively strong.

So stubborn.”

Chapter Text

Eyes drifting shut, he relaxed as she worked the tension out of his muscles. Her hands were comforting and warm, and her touch helped to quiet his thoughts.

“Any chance you’ll tell me what’s going on?” she asked, smoothing her hands up his spine and around his ribs.

“Tonight, let me be stubborn, Miko,” he murmured, the sound involuntarily turning to a groan as she pressed more deeply.

Kagome frowned, leaning over and plunging her fingers into the silver hair to massage his scalp. “I’m worried about you.”

“I am fine.”

She stopped pushing, but she did not believe him.

Chapter Text

Toutousai returned with her weapon.

“I don’t have the opportunity to make many bows,” the older youkai said, handing it to her, “but this is the finest I have made.”

Kagome accepted it, slightly stunned as she did. If a weapon could be beautiful, this was. It was sleek, the upper and lower limbs a pearly white and etched with the same design scored into Bakusaiga. The bowstring itself was a dark ebony. The grip was a glossy wood.

“You’ll learn its power as you use it,” Toutousai said sagely, handing her a quiver. “The arrows will always find you.”

Chapter Text

Kagome nodded, murmuring her thanks before glancing up at Sesshoumaru. He stood, back rigid with his arms in his sleeves, but she could see the pride in his eyes as he watched her.

“Thank you,” she mouthed at him.

His head barely tilted, but his eyes shone.

“Tell me more about it?” she asked Toutousai.

Toutousai reached out gnarled fingers brushing the bow. “Your mate’s fang makes up the upper and lower limbs. Bokuseno graciously contributed the wood for the grip and your arrows.”

“And the black bowstring?” she asked, fingering it lightly.

Sesshoumaru stepped forward. “Your and Inuyasha’s hair.”

Chapter Text

She stared at Sesshoumaru, tears springing into her eyes. “It’s both of you?”

“It is all of us,” he corrected gently.

Touitsu,” Toutousai said. “The weapon unifies you all.”

She laughed, tears falling shamelessly. “You kept my hair?”

He smirked. “Only what would be needed.”

With a huge smile, she swung her arms around Toutousai. “It’s beautiful. Thank you.”

Then, not caring a lick that they had company, Kagome launched herself straight up into Sesshoumaru’s arms and kissed him soundly on the mouth. He barely had time to catch her.

Toutousai reddened. “That’s not something I thought I’d ever see.”

Chapter Text

He could smell her unease while dressing for bed.

Concern lanced through him as he turned around. “Kagome, what is wrong?”

She had been chewing her fingernails but dropped her hand when he faced her. “Is it that bad?”

“You have likely woken the pups emanating anxiety the way you are,” he said, his voice harsher than he intended from his own worry. “What plagues you?”

The scent of her disquiet spiked, and she wrung her hands. “Big feelings.”

“Big feelings?”

She was nodding too quickly. “Big, big feelings.”

He narrowed his eyes. “About what, Miko?”

“About you,” she whispered.

Chapter Text

They watched each other silently for several moments before he finally moved and knelt in front of her.

She inched forward until their knees touched, and he remembered a night not long ago when she had done the same, as scared and nervous then as she was now.

Shaking, she reached for his hands, and he felt the subtle relief that tinged her emotions when he firmly, reassuringly grasped them in his.

He tilted his head, waiting for her to speak.

“It’s not so indefinable anymore,” she finally spoke, refusing to meet his eyes. “It’s just too big to say.”

Chapter Text

And there it was. It was unspoken, untasted by the nervous, pink tongue darting out to moisten her lips. But it was so very there.

So very her.

So very returned.

His father’s laughter echoed raucously in the depths of his soul.

Sesshoumaru chose to let it go.

Pulling her close, he cradled her face and searched her eyes, clearly seeing the unbridled evidence of uncertainty and hope swirling in the blue depths.

He smiled. “We have no need for trite words.”

And when he lay her back and stripped her bare, they both experienced what had been left unsaid.

Chapter Text

Preparing to leave was hard.

“We knew this time would come,” Chiyo said, folding extra clothing. The sound of repressed tears thickened her voice, and she pretended to be focused on making everything fit in the pack.

Kagome had given up not crying earlier that morning, much to Sesshoumaru’s chagrin, and let her grief over leaving show unashamed.

Without a word, she wrapped her arms around Chiyo from behind.

Smiling through her tears, the older youkai patted the arms around her waist. “I’m choosing to believe that you’ll come back.”

“Please take care of him if I don’t,” Kagome whispered.

Chapter Text

The pups were sullen.

They brought baskets of persimmons, laying them at her feet before clambering into her lap and snuggling up against her.

“Can’t Lord Sesshoumaru go by himself?” a little girl asked, digging her toe into the soil as she looked up at her from underneath her lashes.

Kagome nearly burst out laughing at the indignant snort she heard from across the garden and knelt to be eye level with the small youkai. “If I could stay and play longer, I would. We’ll try to be back soon.”

She managed to hide her tears when they hugged her.

Chapter Text

Keiji and Mitsukane bear hugged her when she wasn’t looking.

Crushed between the two laughing youkai, she couldn’t help joining in their mirth when she was lifted off the ground and spun around between them. They finally set her down, smiling.

“You will be missed,” Mitsukane said.

“Come back to us soon.” And Keiji lightly chucked her cheek.

Kagome hugged them individually.

“Thank you for always watching over me,” she said, wrapping her arms around Mitsukane.

She glared, half-heartedly, at Keiji and then reached for him. “And for your tricks.”

He laughed again. “When you come back, I’ll have more.”

Chapter Text

It was silent by the graves.

Sesshoumaru sat, the beads of the kotodama sliding over and through his fingers as he gazed at Inuyasha’s grave.

“I would have come back,” he said quietly.

Closing his eyes, the weight of what had been reality made him suddenly weary. “I smelled your blood under the surge of miasma. I did not realize…”

 He grit his teeth. “I did not realize.”

The winds grew colder, and he smelled the coals from braziers being lit.

He stood. “I will take care of her. Be at peace.”

Briefly touching Rin’s marker, he turned and left.

Chapter Text

Kagome looked at him incredulously, clutching the kotodama beads he placed in her hands. “Is this what’s been bugging you?”

His silence answered her.

“No. I won’t.”

Irritation rolled off him as he shrugged out of his clothing. “Tell me, Miko. What are the last stories your family heard of me?”

She averted her gaze, the smell of her guilt rising.

Sesshoumaru sighed, exasperation apparent. “Do not feel guilty. We were not then as we are now.”

“I can’t!”

“Cannot or will not?” he snapped. “I do not enjoy asking this of you, nor do I wish for it myself.”

Chapter Text

“But they know about Rin,” she whispered.

It was like he prowled as he approached. He tilted her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. “You are walking in with news of death and one who threatened to kill you. It is for their comfort.”

“They’ll be fine after I talk to them.” She didn’t sound sure of her own words.

“Oh?” He circled her, and for the first time in a while, she recognized him for the predator he was. “And they will suddenly not be frightened?”

Kagome looked away. “I don’t know.”

“Look at me, Kagome,” he ordered.

Chapter Text

She did, and she knew he was right. The moonlight filtering into their room highlighted even more the differences between them, and she felt the cold reality of something she couldn’t quite define sink into her bones.

He was wholly otherworldly. Ethereally beautiful and deadly. The eerie, preternatural eyes she had come to love held hers severely, and she realized she had merely forgotten because she was so used to him. Cared about him.

“I am not Inuyasha,” he bit out. “There is no humanity for them to find under the surface and attach to for their ease.”

Chapter Text

They fought.

She yelled and cried; his voice was like ice as his old apathy slid into place.

Kagome hated every second of it. But in the end, she reluctantly respected his wishes, slid the beads over his neck, and told him to halt.

She couldn’t use the same command she had with Inuyasha. Wouldn’t.

When his body froze, she stared into his seething eyes and swore to herself she’d never use it.

Hot, angry tears spilled down her cheeks as they got into bed. “You can’t be mad at me. I was—am— against this.”

He closed his eyes. “Goodnight, Kagome.”

Chapter Text

Neither of them slept well.

Kagome opened her eyes and found herself staring into his. Still upset from the night before, she scowled. “Are we still fighting?”

He didn’t blink. “No.”

Rolling her eyes, she turned onto her back. “That’s comforting then.”

Leaning up, he braced himself on his elbow. “I was unnecessarily harsh, and I apologize.”

“Forgiven,” she said, and she tried to quash the irritation that lingered.

He leaned over her. “You are still angry.”

“I’m not angry anymore. But I’m frustrated. I slept on that frustration. I do forgive you, but I need moment to cool down.”

Chapter Text

The kotodama beads fell through the gap in his clothing at his chest, and Kagome turned her head in disgust. “I hate having those on you.”

He raised a brow. “I am sure I loathe them more. But if they can offer your family reassurance, I will bear them.”

Kagome groaned. “I have no idea how I’m going to explain this to Mama.”

He nodded, thoughtful. “She will no doubt be surprised.”

“That’s putting it lightly,” she snorted and then cringed. “Just be ready to put up with crazy, okay?”

He smirked. “I am already accustomed to dealing with you.”

Chapter Text

They set out before the household awoke.

They took A-Un as far as the border of Sesshoumaru’s territory and then sent them back. It was still too soon for them to revisit what they had seen.

Kagome smiled fondly and kissed each muzzle. “You two are wonderful. I’ll miss you.”

The dragons circled their necks about her, hugging as they could. Un lifted his nose enough to nudge at Sesshoumaru when he approached.

The daiyoukai’s eyes softened, unable to hide his affection for the dragons. “Keep them safe.”

They watched until A-Un were out of sight and then began walking.

Chapter Text

That first night was dangerously cold.

Bitter winds threatened to quench the fire mean to keep them warm, and not even the fire rat clothing was enough to keep out the penetrating chill.

Sesshoumaru noted with concern how her teeth had begun to chatter. “Come here.”

Kagome didn’t need to be told twice. She tucked herself against him and nearly moaned in relief when he began to rub some life back into her frozen skin.

“S-so cold.”

He felt her face and neck and growled. “Your skin is like ice.”

The fire flickered again.

He let her go. “Stand back.”

Chapter Text

Kagome nearly screamed as he transformed without warning.

One moment he was holding her, and the next he exploded into the form that once gave her nightmares. She reeled back, falling to her backside on the ground. As much as she cared for him now, it was still unsettling to be faced with the form that had once tried to kill her.

And he was nearly twice the size he had been then.

Eyes wide and throat dry, her tongue darted out to wet her lips to no avail. “Sesshoumaru?”

And she could’ve sworn she saw the red eyes roll.

Chapter Text

“You have to understand,” she said, cautiously approaching him. “Last time I saw you this close, you were trying to kill me.”

With an annoyed flick of his tail, Sesshoumaru lay down, blocking the fire from the wind. He turned his head and gave her a pointed look.

Kagome let out a shaky breath.

He did generate a lot of heat, but it wasn’t really surprising given his size. She carefully situated herself between his forelegs, and immediately felt her body begin to warm.

“Fine. I get it,” she mumbled, snuggling closer. Within minutes, she was asleep.

Sesshoumaru kept watch.

Chapter Text

She woke to a giant nose trying to nudge her awake.

“Five more minutes…” she mumbled, fisting her hands in the long white fur and inching away from his nose. It was warm and cozy. The initial shock she felt upon his transformation was gone, and now, she was simply content to sleep surrounded by him.

A large whuff ruined that plan and sent her rolling ungracefully across their campsite.  Bushes at the edge of their small clearing stopped her.

She leapt to her feet and glared. “Sesshoumaru, rude!”

Her response was a strange, deep, pulsing growl.

He was laughing.

Chapter Text

Kagome stormed over and stuck a finger in his face, though the effect was somewhat lost in front of the large muzzle. “Don’t wake me up like that again!”

Ears perched high on his head, he cocked his head to the side. And it was so much like the average house pet that her anger dissolved into laughter.

He seemed to understand what she was thinking and growled.

“Nope, not scary.” She wiped her mirth from her eyes.

Half-heartedly he snapped his jaws next to her, growling louder.

She eyed him warily but didn’t recoil, and he was somewhat mollified.

Chapter Text

After deciding that he really was posturing, she disappeared into the bushes to take care of her morning ablutions. When she came back, he had transformed back into his more humanlike form and was sitting in front of the remnants of their fire.

Without a word she dropped down into his lap and threw her arms around him. A little thrill crept up her spine when his came up around her and he leaned in, chastely pressing his mouth to hers.

Smiling, Kagome lightly nuzzled at his cheek. “I big feelings you.”

Her answer was, unexpectedly, a full, very real smile.

Chapter Text

They were attacked by a horde.

Sesshoumaru refused to draw Bakusaiga, insisting she use Touitsu and learn to use it. She drew back on the bow and was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of familiarity, and it nearly caused her to collapse.

She felt Inuyasha.

It was like he stood next to her, surrounded by some impenetrable force as she stared at the rift where her energy clashed with the throng of youkai.

The Wind Scar.

She grit her teeth, silently cursing Toutousai for his nostalgia as she let the arrow fly.

But the ensuing destruction was something entirely other.

Chapter Text

Toutousai. The old man had made sure Tessaiga’s powers were not lost to them. Sesshoumaru watched as the Wind Scar, tinged pink with her power, ripped into the horde with more force than it had ever had before.

The youkai were gone, but the earth was left unharmed. It healed as it cut.

His pride in her attack was cut short by the scent of her grief.

“Miko, what is wrong?”

Kagome collapsed on her hands and knees, her body heaving with silent, racking sobs.

He didn’t say anything and went to her side, sweeping her up into his arms.

Chapter Text

She didn’t feel like speaking, and he gave her the emotional space she needed.

They walked in silence, passing through a small village shortly before nightfall. Some hours before, morose and still weeping, she had taken his hand and still held it tightly.

It was instinctive anymore to reach for his touch when she had need of comfort. And, on some small level, it still amazed her that he did not begrudge her that connection in the face of the world.

But the world did not always see it her way.

A rock struck her hard in the head.

Chapter Text

She woke to the crackle of kindling, and her head was splitting. “Oh.”

“Do not rush it.”

Kagome blearily blinked up at him, noting immediately the cold, impassive look in his eyes as he helped her to sit. Wincing, she let him brace her and pressed her hand to her skull to alleviate the pain there. When her hand came away from her hair, it was sticky with blood.

Her head swam.

“Lay me back down, please,” she asked, panicking slightly as nausea began to rise. Her head swam as he positioned her to rest her head in his lap.

Chapter Text

“I might throw up,” she warned, squeezing her eyes shut as he began to run his claws through her hair. The pleasant tingling sensations somewhat helped to distract from the ache there.

“You already have.”

She groaned. “Well, I might again.”

“You do not need to fret over it.”

She patted his leg in response, too afraid of what moving her head would bring. He continued stroking through her hair, but he stared off into the dark woods. The unearthly amber reminded her of the time before Naraku’s defeat.

She shifted nervously. “Did—did I do something to upset you?”

Chapter Text

At her hesitant tone, his eyes lost their hard edge. He looked down at her with a tired look. “No, you did not.”

She didn’t even want to ask and dropped her voice to a whisper. “Is anyone dead?”

Back stiffening, his chin lifted slightly as he looked down at her. “The one who struck you. He tried to do so again.”

A part of her felt distress, but she knew he wouldn’t have acted rashly. “Why did he do this?”

His eyes hardened again. “I am mononoke, and you are a miko. Our union defies nature and is anathema.”

Chapter Text

She cried, and he held her.

Her tears were angry, burning with a sadness and fury that could not be pacified by empty words promising acceptance. So, he said nothing, and she was a ball of rage and grief in his arms, judging the unfairness of life with her lament.

He closed his eyes, rocking her, and saw his own past through the lens of her grief.

It was sobering.

Distracted by memory, he wasn’t prepared when her tears transformed into an impassioned defiance of the judgement that harmed her. She wrenched the kimono from his shoulders and bit hard.

Chapter Text

He hissed through his teeth as hers sank down on him.

It didn’t hurt, but her viciousness was unexpected. Her teeth were dull and, while not likely to draw blood, clung to him like a vise at the junction of his neck and shoulder. It was exactly where he had marked her, and he recognized the poignant action for what it was.

And it was heart-rending.

Gently, he eased her from his skin. “Kagome—"

“We matter.” Her voice was angry and choked with tears. “I’m yours, and you’re—you’re mine, and it’s good.” She cried harder. “And we’re okay.”

Chapter Text

The miko blazed with a defiance he hadn’t realized.

After her affective reasoning the night before, she became clingy—and rebelliously so in the presence of the villages they passed through. With no small amount of amusement, he watched as she glared down the condemnatory stares of the humans they encountered.

Her grip on his hand was hard, her face daring anyone to say a word about it.

When they were alone, however, he felt the exhaustion of her actions as she tiredly pressed closer, quietly seeking his reassurance.

He wouldn’t claim to understand humans, but he recognized her insecurity.

Chapter Text

They passed through a village where children were playing.

Blessedly, no one seemed to mind or care to comment on the visible affection between the daiyoukai and miko. It was a merciful reprieve to their experiences the last couple of days, and they took the opportunity to slow down, stroll leisurely, and resupply.

Kagome pulled a small parcel of persimmons from her pack. “They have sweet potatoes. I’m going to see if I can trade.”

He nodded, stepping back and lifting a foot suddenly as a group of children ran past in a game of tag.

She watched him smile.

Chapter Text

Quickly, she tied her furoshiki over her shoulders. “I have a confession to make.”

He turned his attention away from the children to focus on her, sauntering her way. “And what would that be, Miko?”

She smiled coyly, heart fluttering in her chest as he came closer. It was still fairly new—Sesshoumaru turning these feelings over in her. But his eyes, warm pools of liquid gold, made her insides bubble pleasantly with sensations she never had experienced before.

And he knew it.

He bent so close to her ear that his lips brushed her skin. “You had a confession?”

Chapter Text

Her smile turned sly and she pressed a quick, shameless kiss to his mouth. “The thought of having your babies someday makes me happy.

Then, laughing at his stunned expression, she spun on her heel and ran off to make her trade. It was a rat thing to do, and she knew it. But the look on his face had totally been worth it.

She approached the woman with sweet potatoes, trying not to laugh out loud when a not-so-subtle push of youki slapped her backside and alerted her to his thoughts.

Smiling brightly, she held out her parcel. “Trade?”

Chapter Text

He knew she felt better because she was chattering again. “Did you know that sweet potatoes may increase the chances of having twins?”

Something twitched in his chest, and—slightly horrified with himself—he realized that he may be just a bit broody.

“Really! It’s something to do with—"

“Friends can be honest?” he interjected too quickly.

Surprised at being interrupted, Kagome game him a suspicious look. “Yes...”

He walked to the opposite side of the path. “Stay there.”

“Why?”

His head fell back, eyes clenching shut. “Because I will have you on this path if you do not.”

Chapter Text

They found a cave.

He built a fire at the mouth of the small structure, watching as she carefully used a stick to bury the sweet potatoes in the coals once the flames had settled enough. He finished spitting fish and set them to roast.

Dusting her hands off, Kagome stood and set to unpacking what they’d need. She tossed him a persimmon as she dragged the thicker of the blankets they brought out.

“Are you going to sleep tonight?”

He nodded, biting into the orange flesh.

She brightened at his answer and carefully arranged the mokomoko on the blanket.

Chapter Text

She was happier than she’d been in days as they ate their dinner in companionable silence. The sweet potatoes held their heat well, and he saw her nearly cuddle the thing in her hands for extra warmth, taking small nibbles here and there.

It was chilly. He added more wood to the fire, stoking the flames back to life to generate more heat.

“Eat that. It will be plenty warm in here shortly.”

Kagome eyed him curiously bit into it. “Are you okay?”

“Why would I not be?”

Her eyes sparkled. “Because every stripe on your face has gone jagged.”

Chapter Text

She finished and dropped into his lap.

“Miko,” he warned but then stopped as her lips trailed up his neck to his jaw, warmly and earnestly peppering his skin.

“Just say something next time,” she mumbled between kisses. “Maybe I want you too.”

His eyes slid shut when she flicked her tongue at the sensitive skin behind his ear, head swimming with the sensations she elicited.

Without warning she grabbed his face and caught his bottom lip in her teeth, biting just a bit harder than normal.

He hissed and grazed his fangs over her jaw when she let go.

Chapter Text

He had never told her.

She clung to him, arms circled tightly about his shoulders as he thrust into her, flushed skin burning against his.

He unhooked her arms to lay her back, enjoying how a thin sheen of sweat made her shine in the firelight. Every inch of her was warm and soft—so much softer than he could’ve imagined. Her eyes, darkened to sapphire in the heat of their coupling, watched him from underneath thick lashes.

He leaned down, kissing her gently. “You are beautiful.”

She smiled and then cried out as the pleasure he gave overtook her.

Chapter Text

Usually, he woke before she did. But this morning, it was her hand lightly tapping his cheek that pulled him from slumber.

The wave of her anxiety hit him before he opened his eyes and saw it clearly on her face.

He pulled her to his chest to shield her, as he sat up to search the cave. “What is wrong?”

“No, it’s nothing like that. You can let go.”

He looked down at her worried, sleep-flushed face in the morning light as it slipped through the cave entrance.

“I will not until you tell me why you are worried.”

Chapter Text

“That’s not exactly a threat, you know.” She buried closer to him, throwing her leg over his hip and enjoying the feel of his skin against hers. Head tucked under his chin, she sighed happily when his arms circled around her fully.

“Why are you worried?” he murmured into her hair.

“The well isn’t far anymore. We’ll be there soon.” She lightly fingered the kotodama at his throat. “And I just don’t know how my family will react to everything—us.”

He looked down. “And if the well does not let us through?”

“That would almost be easier,” she whispered.

Chapter Text

When she did not say anything else, he rolled her to her back and stretched out over her, parting her legs with his knee.

“Sesshoumaru, what—oh.” Her breath caught as he slid inside of her and started a tantalizingly slow rhythm.

“You are far too tense, Miko.”

Kagome closed her eyes, reveling in the sensations he created in her. “And this is how we deal with tension now?”

He twisted his hips, smiling when she exhaled sharply. “Perhaps.”

Her legs locked around his waist, heels digging into his skin to pull him closer. “I think I’m okay with that.”

Chapter Text

They both lay on their backs and stared at the cave ceiling.

“Friends can be honest?” Kagome hedged carefully.

He grit his teeth. “Yes.”

“That was so—”

“Bad.” His voice was flat.

She frowned. “Yeah.” Then whispering, “I thought I saw something move.”

“It was a shadow,” he clipped.

Neither said anything for a few minutes, continuing to stare blankly at the rocks.

“Are you okay?” she finally asked, timidly breaching the silence. “Did I—did I break you?”

Sighing, he reminded himself that she was still fairly inexperienced. “I will be fine.” He shifted gingerly and grimaced. “Eventually.”

Chapter Text

They dressed, packed, and set to cleaning up their campsite in silence.

She wouldn’t look at him, and her discomfiture almost made him smile. It was like getting a glimpse of the shy miko he knew before their mating again. However, all attempts to resolve her anxiety had been undone completely.

She reeked of it.

When the scent of her nerves was so ripe it nearly stifled him, he grabbed her arm and pulled her into his lap.

Kagome hung her head, still refusing to look at his face, and he could smell the tears that suddenly welled in her eyes.

Chapter Text

“Kagome, look at me.”

After a minute, she lifted her mortified, tear-filled eyes to his.

She was positively miserable but adorable.

Losing his battle against his smile, his teeth pulled at his bottom lip as his eyes crinkled warmly.

“If you laugh,” she choked, “I will purify you.”

He did. And he laughed harder than she had ever seen him laugh before.

She growled, ki flaring. “Sesshoumaru—”

His forehead came to rest against hers, and she could still feel his shoulders shaking. “Bad sex happens, Miko.” He pressed a quick kiss to her mouth. “We are not broken.”

Chapter Text

He was still laughing, and she was still glowering as they set out again. She thought vaguely how no one who knew them both at any point would have ever believed the scene.

“Your face is going to get stuck like that, and then no one will ever be afraid of you again,” she grumbled.

“My face is able to adequately handle changes.”

Kagome rolled her eyes and whirled around. “Seriously, Sesshoumaru? This is what it takes you get you going?”

He tried to clamp his lips shut and failed.

She glared. “I hate you.”

He smirked. “You do not.”

Chapter Text

They sobered as the scenery began to change.

Signs of destruction began to creep into the landscape. While not poisoned, the life that had previously flourished on the outskirts of Edo was still dead.

Kagome looked upon it in shock, mouth agape. “How did we survive this?”

His hands settled on her shoulders. “We barely did.”

Seeing the devastation that still existed nearly four months after it occurred was disturbing, and it was abundantly clear how close they came to not making it. Everything was grey, dull, and dead.

Kagome leaned into him heavily. “I don’t want to remember this.”

Chapter Text

Kagome stared down at the well and felt like her soul was being torn two different directions.  The magic was still there. Despite the decimation in the clearing, it still churned in the dark depths.

She heard Sesshoumaru come up behind her, normally silent feet crunching quietly over the shriveled, dried grass.

“I don’t want to do this,” she whispered.

He pulled her back, wrapping his arms around her as he looked over her head at the splintered wood. It hadn’t escaped uninjured either. “We do not have a choice.”

Kagome nodded, dread rooting in the pit of her stomach.

Chapter Text

Swallowing thickly, she untangled herself from his arms.  “You first. If you don’t come back in a few minutes, I’ll follow.”

He tilted her chin. “If I cannot go through—”

“No.” Angry, resolute tears sprung in her eyes. “I will not go through without you. We’ll find another way, and don’t ask me again.”

Observing her for a moment, he simply nodded and turned to the well.

“Sesshoumaru?” Her voice was almost panicked.

He faced her, arching a brow. When she looked down, not saying anything as she struggled for words, he sighed. “We are wasting time.”

He jumped.

Chapter Text

Her heart lodged in her throat when he disappeared into the well. She waited, stomach in knots, for him to return.

Minutes ticked by, and there was nothing.

With a shaky breath, Kagome gripped the edge of the well and swallowed back tears. Be there. You have to be there.

She launched herself over.

The familiar swell of magic and blue light swallowed her, and she once again floated through time. She wanted to cry from relief and grief. So much sorrow, strife, and even joy had led up to this moment.

When she landed, it was in his arms.

Chapter Text

She could feel the tightly coiled tension coursing through his body as he held her in the bottom of the well

His head swiveled, tilting to the side as he took in the unfamiliar sounds. Delicately lifting his nose to smell the air, he recoiled in disgust. It was foul, acrid. He gripped her tighter, and his eyes were just a bit too wild.

“Hey,” she soothed, turning his face back to her, “it’s okay. It’s just different.”

The wild look didn’t disappear, and his breath came harshly.

“I do not like this,” he finally admitted.

“Neither did your brother.”

Chapter Text

He cleared the well in one leap, setting her on her feet as he took in the sunlight through the cracks in the door.

“Leave your armor here?” she asked, undoing her furoshiki.

His mouth was grim, and he nodded a bit too quickly as he divested himself of it and his pack. He wouldn’t relinquish the swords, but she could understand that. Tessaiga and Touitsu were still on her person.

She opened the door, peering out into the afternoon light. She could hear Souta’s animated chatter to her grandfather and smell her mother’s cooking.

There was no more waiting.

Chapter Text

She quickly pulled him back into the wellhouse.

“We cannot keep stalling,” he said, the stress he felt evident in his tone.

She pinned him with a look. “We aren’t. This is important.”

He schooled his features into the emotionless expression she was so accustomed to and waited for her to talk.

“Don’t let Grandpa goad you into a fight. He’s old, religious, crotchety, and it’s not worth it.” She paused and swallowed. “Souta does not need to know how Inuyasha died.”

His eyes softened just slightly, and he nodded.

Her anxiety rose. “Let me tell Mama about us.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru regarded her critically. “I will not lie to your mother.”

Kagome shook her head. “I’m not asking you too. But until there’s a good time to have that conversation with her, we need to just act like friends.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Despite what she does or does not know, you will not be sleeping without me. It is too dangerous.”

Sighing, she rubbed her temples. “Can we just face that when it comes?”

His nod was curt. “As you wish.” He went to step out and she grabbed his hand.

“Hey.” She touched his face. “We’ve been through worse.”

Chapter Text

She slid open the shoji and went first.

“Mama?”

Her mother’s head peered around the corner of the kitchen, eyes wide and filling with tears. “Kagome?”

Kagome smiled, tears coming to her own eyes as her mother rushed forward and pulled her into a tight hug. “Hi, Mama.”

“It’s been months!” her mother chided, pulling her close again. “We thought—we thought…”

She couldn’t finish.

Kagome squeezed her tighter, drinking in her mother’s presence. She really had not known if she would see her again this soon. “I’m okay.”

Her mother pulled back. “Where’s Inuyasha?”

Kagome choked. “He’s dead.”

Chapter Text

She watched the stunned look cross her mother’s face.

“What?” Tears that had previously been held in her eyes fell free. “What do you mean he’s dead?”

Kagome let out a shuddering sigh. “It’s a long story.”

Her mom noticed the fire rat robes she wore then and reached out to touch them. “He’s really gone?”

“Yeah.”

Then, having not really registered it before, Mama reached out and touched her hair. “Long story too?”

Wincing, Kagome nodded. “There’s a lot to tell.”

“How did you get back?”

“Well—”

And that’s the moment they heard Grandpa shout ‘demon’ and start yelling.

Chapter Text

Dread filled her. “Oh no.”

Mama gave her a look. “Oh no? Is there someone here, Kagome?”

“Get him, Grandpa!”

Souta.

“Oh, kami in heaven.” She ran out the door, her mother on her heels.

It should have been funny if not for the horrible timing.

The frazzled, annoyed daiyoukai had Souta tucked against his body, her brother kicking and swinging his arms while Grandpa tossed another ofuda his way—which he promptly caught and melted.

Kagome glared. “No poison!

A whip of green light split the next one.

Her mother grabbed her and pulled her back. “Is that Sesshoumaru?”

Chapter Text

Kagome sat on her bed and didn’t say anything as her mother unloaded. 

It was a miracle that Mama had calmed down enough for her to accept that her family was in no immediate danger with Sesshoumaru, but Kagome knew that tenuous belief was holding by a thread and likely only long enough to speak with her in private.

Satomi paced back and forth in front of her daughter, tears of grief and anger in her eyes. “You brought someone who tried to kill you into our home.”

Kagome felt her own tears well up. “He’s not like that anymore.”

Chapter Text

Satomi glared, and Kagome winced, never really having seen her mother this upset before.

“So Inuyasha and the others died, and you and Sesshoumaru are suddenly friends?”

“No,” she answered, swallowing back tears. “That’s not what happened. But he did save my life, and he stuck with me after that.” She paused and picked at her comforter. “I got to know him better, and we did become friends.”

Sighing, Satomi sat. “This doesn’t make sense, Kagome.”

“He’s been an ally for years.” She looked over at her mother, almost angry. “And he’s the only one I have left who understands.”

Chapter Text

“He’s the only reason I came back,” she added quietly.

Satomi’s eyes widened and then narrowed. “What does that mean?”

Kagome wouldn’t look at her. “I would have stayed over there.”

She watched her mother stand and pressed a hand to her mouth, trying to reel in the emotions that statement brought. Guilt pierced her to the core, but it was the truth. She owed her at least that.

“No one else”—Satomi paused, trying to regain control of herself—“other than Inuyasha has ever been able to come before. Why’d you think he would be able to pass through?”

Chapter Text

Kagome froze, not ready to tell her mother everything yet. Her eyes darted around her room as she thought, trying to come up with something—anything—to tell her mother.

“I wish to speak with your mother.”

Kagome froze. Turning her attention to her doorway, she watched as Sesshoumaru slowly walked into her room. His gaze was stern and fixed on her at that moment.

She knew what he would say.

Licking dry lips, she shook her head. “I don’t think—”

His lips pursed, and he arched a brow.

She choked back tears. “I can’t.”

She fled the room.

Chapter Text

Two hours later, Kagome found her mother sitting in the kitchen, her hands wrapped around a mug of tea. She was silent, starting contemplatively down into the steam.

She sat across from her, waiting.

“I like him,” Satomi finally said, her voice quiet. She didn’t look up from her cup.

Tears of relief came unbidden, and Kagome nodded. “He’s—he’s different from before.”

“So it seems.”

Kagome fidgeted nervously. “Did he tell you—”

“Yes.” Satomi finally looked up, a slight anger in her eyes. “But you should have.”

Her mother was right, and she dropped her head. “I know.”

Chapter Text

Her mother’s next question took her by surprise.

“Are you sleeping with him?”

Crimson flooded her cheeks. “He’s my husband.”

Her mother sighed. “I’m not condemning it, Kagome. And you’re an adult. It’s just all very fast.”

“We weren’t expecting it either,” she whispered. “It just happened.”

Her mother’s voice was strangled. “Why wouldn’t you tell me? This is a big, big thing, Kagome.”

She watched her tears splash on the table. “I was afraid of being judged again.”

“Judged? Again?”

Reaching up, Kagome gingerly felt the back of her head. “People don’t always accept youkai and humans being together.”

Chapter Text

Satomi’s voice was almost angry. “We loved Inuyasha.”

It was true; they had. In hindsight Kagome knew she should’ve placed more trust in her family. But in truth, she was also worried about the speed at which things happened being judged. If it had been another in her shoes, she knew deep down she would have struggled not deeming the relationship inappropriate in its timing.

The thought was humbling.

She tapped her mother’s cup in askance, grateful when she passed it her way. “I know it’s soon, but he’s…”

Her mother nodded. “Go on.”

Kagome smiled sheepishly. “Kind of wonderful.”

Chapter Text

She heard a faint snort from the other room and glared. “Stubborn, arrogant, nosy, and elitist”—she smiled again—"but wonderful.”

Her mother laughed when he came into the kitchen, a slightly annoyed look on his face.

Silently, he sat next to Kagome and simply stole her tea.

Feeling a bit better, Kagome winked at her mother. “See? Years ago, that would’ve gotten me killed.”

“Perhaps an attempt,” he conceded, sipping the tea. “But doubtless my brother would have interfered.”

Kagome smiled sadly at him. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly.

Satomi sighed. “We will certainly miss him.”

Chapter Text

The sacred tree was larger here.

From high in the branches, he breathed in deeply and grimaced. Trying to find peace and quiet in the unfamiliar surroundings was nigh on impossible. The city below, though muted, was noisy. Harsh, bright lights saturated the hazy atmosphere, obscuring the stars. And though chilly, there was only artificial light coming from the homes—no warmly glowing braziers to fight off the chill.

In the cold he longed for their home five hundred years in the past.

“Sesshoumaru?”

Her brother. Souta.

Silently, he drifted down from the branches, landing mere feet from the boy.

Chapter Text

Souta had his sister’s curiosity.

Underneath the salt and tang of fear, He could see it clearly in the red-rimmed eyes. It wasn’t surprising. He was, after all, different from the hanyou the boy was familiar with.

Without a word, Sesshoumaru cocked his head to the side, waiting for him to speak.

“Mama said you married Kagome?”

He inclined his head. “I did.”

The boy looked down, his toe digging into the ground. He was at that awkward stage, caught between child and man.

“And you really saved her life?”

He looked back at the tree. “Inuyasha saved us both.”

Chapter Text

Souta was nodding, his eyes turbulent as he processed the admission. He took a step closer, looking the youkai right in the eyes.

“And you don’t hate humans anymore?”

He smiled slightly. “There are some I do not care for, such as those who would harm your sister. But generally speaking, no, I do not.”

Souta smiled back. The action didn’t quite reach his eyes, but it was genuine. “Good.”

Sesshoumaru tilted his head again in question.

Souta grinned. “Fighting with family sucks—especially when one basically has superpowers.”

Unfamiliar with the word, Sesshoumaru’s brows knit together. “What are superpowers?”

Chapter Text

Satomi sighed and put the clothing she had pulled out back. “He’s a lot taller than your father was. None of this will fit him.”

Kagome groaned. “Not a big deal right now but he’ll have to go out sometime. And he’s going to be harder to fit in than Inuyasha was.”

At her mother’s questioning glance, she quickly swiped over her cheeks. “His markings.”

“Ah,” Satomi said nodding. “Makeup maybe?”

“Maybe.”

Putting away the last of the clothes, Satomi grabbed a measuring tape. “Do you think he’ll let me take measurements? We can figure out what size to get.”

Chapter Text

Grandpa sat at the table angrily, still not talking to anyone, when Souta came running into the kitchen. He was breathing heavily, cheeks flushed red from the cold and a stupidly huge smile on his face.

“Sesshoumaru can fly.”

Kagome blinked, hands submerged in sudsy dishwater. “You flew with him?”

“It was awesome! I could see the whole city.”

Not looking up from his book, Grandpa huffed.

“Oh, stop it.” Satomi swatted him with her drying towel.

Souta flopped into a chair. “Yeah, Gramps. Like it or not, he’s family now. And Kagome was right. He’s not like we thought.”

Chapter Text

It was strange being in her room.

The walls were bright, garish. Items he didn’t understand lay on her desk. What she called “pictures” were found all over, and he recognized the images of Inuyasha and their traveling companions.

His brother’s scent lingered about the room. It was familiar and something he could grasp onto—a strange comfort in a foreign place.

“It’s so weird being back.” Kagome came out of the bathroom, rubbing a cloth over her damp, short hair. She gave him a small smile.

“Are you okay?”

He turned away. “I am fine.”

She frowned.

He wasn’t.

Chapter Text

They crammed nearly nose to nose in her bed, and he had to curl his legs to avoid pushing against the footboard.

He didn’t say anything, simply staring back at her. But when she lay a hand on his cheek, conflicted amber eyes slid shut, and he turned his face into her touch.

“Being here is hard for you, isn’t it?” she whispered.

In another time and another place, he would have scoffed at her observation. But here, in the dark and quiet of everything foreign, he pulled her closer and wrapped her in his arms.

She hugged him back.

Chapter Text

He woke with the sun.

It took a moment to get oriented. The onslaught of smells and colors bounced off his senses for a few minutes as he came to, and only Kagome’s soft breathing and scent anchored him.

He looked down at his sleeping mate. She was sprawled haphazardly over his chest with her nightclothes askew and still deep in sleep. For a moment he pulled her closer.

Downstairs, someone was moving around.

Carefully, he disentangled his limbs from hers, slipped out of the tiny bed, and dressed.

After covering her with the blanket, he silently left the room.

Chapter Text

Her mother cried as she cooked and didn’t hear him enter.

Sesshoumaru paused in the entryway. He was well-accustomed to Kagome’s tears, but another human female…

Even though they had spoken at length the day before, it was only a discussion of facts to inform her of what he must and answer her questions. Assuage her fears. They were still unfamiliar to each other.

Satomi turned, eyes widening when she noticed him. “Oh, good morning.” She used her apron to dry her eyes.

He hesitated a moment and then entered the kitchen. “Good morning.”

Surprisingly, her smile held genuine warmth.

Chapter Text

She handed him some tea, and he murmured his thanks.

“Sit with me?” She motioned to the table.

For a while they sat, a strange, peaceful silence between them. They sipped their tea, glancing at each other from time to time over the rims of their cups. The looks they shared were not malicious nor challenging—merely showing their curiosity of the other.

Satomi’s curiosity was perhaps stronger.

With a sigh she set her tea down. “I’ve tried, but I can’t.” She pointed at his hand. “May I?”

Sesshoumaru smirked, amusement lurking in his eyes, but gave her his hand.

Chapter Text

Kagome’s curiosity came from her mother.

Satomi focused on his hand, tracing his fingers and feeling his claws. Her eyes narrowed and then widened as she felt the sharp tips. She pushed back the sleeve of his kimono, running her thumb over the stripes on his wrists.

“They match your face,” she murmured, turning his hand over to see where they wrapped around.

“There are more.”

At his quiet admission, Satomi gave him a questioning look.

“Ankles. My back.”

No need to admit to the rest.

She nodded and pressed her palm to his, comparing the measure of their hands.

Chapter Text

Satomi smiled sadly. “These are the hands that tried to kill my daughter.”

A statement—not a question.

Sesshoumaru closed his fingers over hers, his larger hand engulfing her smaller one. “Yes. But they are also the hands that protect her.”

She was nodding, her free hand pressed her her mouth as tears came freely.

He squeezed her hand gently. “They are hands that now protect you all.”

For a moment she looked at him, staring into otherworldly eyes that should’ve frightened her. Terrified her.

Instead, she found sincerity. Comfort.

Satomi squeezed back. “I can see why she likes you.”

Chapter Text

When Kagome woke, he sat at the edge of her bed, waiting for her.

Sesshoumaru smiled softly. “Good morning.”

With a sleepy grin, she stretched, the thin cotton of her pajama shirt riding up, exposing her belly. “You should have less clothes on.” She pulled at his kimono. “Take it off and come back to bed.”

He heaved a sigh. “Miko…”

“Good morning, Kagome,” Satomi called dryly from the door.

Kagome froze as mortification flooded her skin and pulled the covers over her head. Blindly, she groped for Sesshoumaru’s hand and stuck it over her shrouded face. “Please, melt me.”

Chapter Text

Satomi laughed and ripped the covers off of her face. “It’s not like it’s a secret, Kagome. Get up.”

Kagome looked back and forth at their amused faces and pouted, poking Sesshoumaru. “Why aren’t you more embarrassed?”

Loftily, he arched a brow. “Sex is the norm between mates. It would be atypical if we were not intimate.”

She groaned, falling back. “I’m reclaiming my virginity.”

“If you wish.” With a smirk, he left.

“Oh, Kagome.”

What?” she snapped at her mother.

Satomi clucked her tongue. “I think that was a challenge.”

“So what?”

Her mother laughed. “It’s one you’ll lose.”

Chapter Text

Grandpa warmed up a bit after being gifted the ornate inrou filled with an ancient remedy for vitality, and Satomi was deeply touched that he considered what she enjoyed as a hobby and brought the exotic threads and silks for her. But no one expected to see him down on his knees presenting Souta the Tessaiga.

Kagome hugged her mother, neither dry-eyed.

“Really?” Souta asked, lip trembling.

Sesshoumaru’s eyes softened watching the boy. “It will not transform, but it will still protect.” He carefully placed the sword in his hands. “Inuyasha’s fang reforged the Tessaiga. You are not without him.”

Chapter Text

The boy cried unashamedly and without remorse. "Thank you."

Before Sesshoumaru could acknowledge him, Souta dropped down, throwing his arms around his neck.

He froze. Human males did not touch his person. They did not hug him. But this boy—this brother—approached without fear and unleashed his grief and gratitude, washing him in honest, painful tears.

Dead, bitter, broken bits of his heart snapped, reforged, and bled anew.

His arms came up. Carefully. Firmly. "It is alright."

The boy shook.. "W-why'd he have t-to die?"

Sesshoumaru closed his eyes and wrapped him more tightly. "He should not have."

Chapter Text

First, it was Kagome.

Then, it was her mother.

Finally, still a bit begrudgingly, it was her grandfather.

But one by one, their arms came to circle him and the boy, and Sesshoumaru discovered that he really didn’t mind.

He didn’t mind the touch; he didn’t mind the tears. He didn’t, surprisingly, mind the humanity.

And, before he realized it, he was stretching out his arms to encircle all of them, bringing them closer.

Kagome grabbed his face and kissed him, tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Ew, Sis.”

They laughed, his quiet amusement joining theirs.

Strange where fate brought him.

Chapter Text

She went with her mother to find him clothes.

“What’s a youkai wedding like?” Her mother asked casually, flipping through a rack of shirts.

Kagome laughed, the sound tense and half-hearted.

Satomi gave her a look.

She swallowed. “Well, it’s private. And they don’t call it a wedding. They refer to it as a mating.”

“Okay, so what’s a mating like?”

Burying her attention in trousers, Kagome’s face burned. “It’s more permanent than a wedding. It binds you to each other. They mark you. It infuses their youki into you.”

“Mark?”

Pulling her collar aside, Kagome showed the silvery scar.

Chapter Text

Her mother’s eyes widened. “That couldn’t have felt good.”

Kagome grimaced, remembering. “It didn’t. But there’s no way around it.”

Satomi went back to the shirts, pulling out something blue. “So, small and private? Family and close friends? Banquet? What did you wear?”

Hot, embarrassed red crept up Kagome’s ears. “Not quite like that.”

“Why are you blushing?”

She glared, whispering, “Because it’s more private.”

Suspicion crowded her mother’s eyes. “How private?”

“Like, ‘eight times’ private,” she hissed.

Realization bloomed on Satomi’s face, and her hand flew to her mouth. “Eight? Eight?”

Kagome flamed. “Yeah, well, turns out it’s fun.”

Chapter Text

The cat didn’t like him and took a swipe at him every opportunity it got.

So, after a claw ripped through his hakama into his thigh, Sesshoumaru let his façade slip just enough to snap a warning at the animal.

It got the point and ran off.

Kagome, confused, came into the room.

“What’s wrong with Buyo?”

Sesshoumaru stood, a bit too dignified, and sniffed. “I do not know what you mean.”

She eyed him. “I think you do.”

He spun on his heel and, back rigid, walked out.

Kagome grew more suspicious and followed. “Did you face flash the cat!”

 

Chapter Text

Grandpa warmed up.

The youkai was living history, and his strength and agility were useful. Sorting through the storage unit to pull the material that may relate to the jewel was much quicker with the youkai, and his back suffered less for it.

Before Kagome and Satomi returned, they were sitting over an old scroll together with tea.

“They say this is a love poem,” Grandpa said, pointing to the scroll.

Sesshoumaru leaned over and read the piece, brows furrowed as he did. Then he smiled. “It is about battle.”

“Battle? You’re sure?”

His eyes gleamed. “Quite. I was there.”

 

Chapter Text

Before they were done shopping, there was a boy.

With red hair.

And green eyes.

And his smile was so impossibly brilliant and mischievous that for a moment—just a moment—she thought she was looking at Shippou.

Then, she remembered.

Their deaths swallowed her whole again.

The tears came furious and fast, and she sprinted for the exit before she could explain to her mother what was wrong.

And it was wrong. It was all so wrong. The joy, the love, the laughter—it existed and it thrived in the face of everything that was wrong.

Another bubble burst.

Chapter Text

When Satomi rushed into the kitchen, he knew without her saying what had happened.

“Where is she?” He stood, already heading for the door.

Satomi followed on his heels. “The car. I’ll show you. She won’t come out. I’ve never”—she stopped, choking on her words, her worry evident—“I’ve never heard her cry like that before.”

Nodding, he stepped out into the sunlight and followed the worried woman.

He could hear her before they reached the car. Raging, gut-wrenching grief viciously tore out of her.

When he finally leaned in and pulled her out, she was heaving and spent.

Chapter Text


It should’ve been stranger than it was having a man she barely knew help her bathe and dress her daughter. But, in the end, Satomi only felt gratitude for the help.

Kagome was listless.

After bathing her and getting her wrapped in warm pajamas, Sesshoumaru lay down on her bed, pulling her onto his chest. Kagome lay there, blinking slowly and staring blindly while he combed clawed fingers through her short hair in silence.

Her daughter and a mononoke.

Sharing grief.

Sharing life.

Sharing themselves.

Satomi leaned down and kissed them both before walking out.

Sharing love.

Breaking her heart.

Chapter Text

By night he could feel something watching. Lurking.

Kagome still hadn’t moved or spoken.

Without a word, he lifted her into his arms, and took her downstairs.

Her family sat underneath a kotatsu keeping warm. He situated her at the table with them and then turned to Souta.

“Go get Tessaiga. Keep it with you.”

Understanding dawned in the boy’s eyes, and he scrambled.

Grandpa pulled a fistful of ofuda from his pockets, warily watching the door.

Satomi’s eyes darted around the room. “What’s going on?”

Sesshoumaru unsheathed Bakusaiga, placing himself between the family and the door. “Something is outside.”

Chapter Text

It came through the window.

Sesshoumaru barely had time to catch the snake’s fangs before they came down on the family, but Bakusaiga sunk true. The youkai dissolved with a scream of agony.

It had been simple but too close for comfort.

“Was that a snake?”

Kagome.

Her voice and eyes seethed at the broken remains of the window, one hand gripped around Tessaiga with Souta.

Sesshoumaru slid his sword back into its sheath. “Yes.”

“Are there more?” Satomi asked.

“Not at the moment.”

Kagome approached him, eyes roaming lhis form. “Are you alright?”

He arched an eyebrow and huffed.

Chapter Text

After repairing the window best they could, everyone retired for the night.

Kagome locked her door and turned to him in the dark room. Without a word, she shed her pajamas, slid out of her panties, and stood bare before him.

His eyes drifted over her form as she began undressing him, and he dropped his mouth to her shoulder, sucking lightly. “Miko, I thought you reclaimed—“

She stripped off the remainder of his clothes and pushed him back on the bed. “I said virginity. Not innocence. And right now, I just need to feel your skin on mine.”

Chapter Text

Kagome decided that Sesshoumaru naked was her greatest privilege.

His skin was hot against hers, the thick, silver tresses like cool water surrounding them. She slid her hands under the heavy mass of his hair, smoothing down his ribs and over his backside, kneading as she went—swallowing each ragged breath her touch stole from him.

Every inch of him was hard muscle and sinew that flexed under her fingers as he moved down her body, trailing burning lips over sensitive flesh.

He nipped her belly.

She arched off the bed. “Don’t stop.”

His chuckle was low and dark. “Beg.”

Chapter Text

Shamelessly, she did. And when his tongue touched her, she fisted his hair, pulling him closer.

He was merciless.

She writhed under his touch, lost to sensation as he dragged her legs up over his shoulders. He delved deeper, teasing as she thrashed and yanked at his scalp.

“Please don’t stop,” she gasped, breath harsh and uneven.

He could taste it. She was just there and so ready.

“Relax, Miko.” He kissed her intimately, savoring her pleasure with a final touch of his tongue, and stopped.

Kagome cried out in frustration, clawing at him as he crawled up her body.

Chapter Text

She was swearing under her breath when his smirking face leaned down to kiss her.

“Do you still wish to reclaim your—“

No.” She wrapped her legs around him and guided him into her. “Never.” She moaned as he slid inside, took her mouth, and began to move.

He smiled as he thrust, kissing away the threats to get him back until her feminine rage abated, arms circling his neck as her pleasure rebuilt. Her threats stopped, their kiss deepened and slowed, and he made love to her.

When they found their release together, his eyes never left hers.

Chapter Text

Something had changed.

His eyes laid bare to emotion, molten amber churning. Struggling. Unable to look away from hers.

They were still joined. Kagome swept his hair to the side and touched his face. Brushed over his lips. Kissed his mouth. Held his eyes.

He was raw and beautiful.

Her fingers traced over his shoulders, his chest. He was smooth, slick with sweat, and smelled of their lovemaking and something wild. His heart pounded against hers.

And that’s when she realized it. The intimate feel of that immense strength had become her greatest comfort.

“Sesshoumaru,” she whispered, “I love you.”

Chapter Text

His eyes intensified.

No more hiding behind words.

He was nodding, refusing to look away from her open vulnerability—refusing to hide his. It was hard and uncomfortable but paradoxically so merciful and soothing.

Breathing deeply, he fought for control, struggling to swallow as he tried to regain ownership of his voice. When he couldn’t right away, he leaned down and kissed her heart-stoppingly long before gathering her in his arms and rolling her to be cradled against his chest.

He breathed in the scent of her hair and closed his eyes.

Then, he whispered his love in her ear.

Chapter Text

They made love again.

Kagome clung to him, unable to get close enough. He was achingly tender, the same hands that would have once ended her caressing her body gently, giving it pleasure, and forging new bonds.

He kissed her as she came, swallowing her cries and memorizing the taste of his name on her tongue. Moments later, he held her eyes, his own unguarded and raw. Pained.

His body trembled with need, couldn’t breathe. “Kagome—“

She smiled and touched his face. “Sesshoumaru, let go.”

He did, gasping under the intensity as he gave himself to her.

Loved her.

 

Chapter Text

She woke first.

He was well and truly asleep, breath blowing softly between slightly parted lips as the sun’s first beams filtered over his pale features.

Kagome waited.

A moment later, he stirred. Drowsy, sex-sated eyes opened, their natural gold a warm, fiery hue in the morning light. Sesshoumaru blinked languidly, the reptilian-like pupils flexing and contracting as they adjusted to the new day.

She loved watching him wake.

His gaze slid down to where she lay on his chest, and he smiled, the action small and lazy, before closing his eyes again.

“Good morning, Miko.”

He stretched.

She grinned.

Chapter Text

 

They showered. While Kagome dressed, he went downstairs.

“Good morning, Son-in-law.” Satomi grinned, handing him tea.

He arched a brow, amused. “Good morning.” He sat. “Satomi.”

She laughed. “I suppose I’m too young for ‘Mama.’”

Sesshoumaru sipped his tea, hiding a smile behind the rim. “Quite.”

“Want to know what I’m too old for?” she asked, sitting down.

“What is that?”

“Carrying Kagome’s bed downstairs. Would you do that later and replace it with a couple futons, please?”

She pinned him, half-heartedly, with a look.

Not looking away, he slowly smiled, taking a drink.

Coy, clever woman.

“As you wish.”

Chapter Text

“Morning, Mama!”

Kagome almost skipped into the kitchen, kissed her mother on the cheek, and started making tea.

Satomi gave Sesshoumaru a wry look, and he just smirked.

Moments later, Souta came in grumbling.

“What’s your problem?” Kagome asked, handing him tea.

Souta opened his mouth, but warning glares from both Satomi and Sesshoumaru shut him up. He glowered. “Absolutely nothing.”

“Kagome,” Satomi said, setting breakfast on the table, “be a dear and put your bedding in the laundry in a little bit. Sesshoumaru is going to move your bed and bring up some futons so you have more space.”

 

Chapter Text

“Oh.” Kagome looked disappointed. “It’s okay, Mama. It’s really not that bad.”

In truth, Kagome didn’t want to give up her bed now. Lost in thought about why, she missed Sesshoumaru giving her a look.

He sighed and went back to his tea. There was no helping it.

Souta, meanwhile, hit his limit. “It’s not okay! You—“

“Honey, your bed creaks,” Satomi interrupted, shooting Souta a glare.

Kagome’s jaw dropped and she flushed crimson, looking back and forth at everyone.

Satomi looked apologetic.

Souta was irritated.

The demon was smug.

Grandpa walked in, crabby. “The bed goes. That’s final.”

Chapter Text

“You could pretend to be embarrassed,” Kagome groused.

Satomi patted her back, a laugh hidden in her smile as Sesshoumaru lifted the mattress off the frame of the offending bed.

Sesshoumaru, on the other hand, gave Kagome a flat look. “I am abjectly mortified that your family is aware of our lovemaking.” He set the mattress aside.

Satomi laughed.

Kagome growled and lobbed a pillow at him—which he caught. “Be less Sesshoumaru right now!”

For a moment he looked genuinely confused. “I cannot.”

You are—“

“Not mortified, Endeared One.” He left with the frame.

Satomi watched Kagome grin.

 

Chapter Text

What they called “jeans” were awful.

He couldn’t move freely. They were tight, stiff, and made of a strange, thick material.

“You just have to break them in.” Kagome stifled laughter as the garment received a look that would send most men running.

Sesshoumaru crossed his arms over his chest. The undergarment he could handle. The shirt was comfortable enough. But the jeans were insufferable.

“No.”

Kagome circled around him and grinned. “They make your ass look good.”

“My ass,” he ground out, “is fine without them.”

She pouted. “But—“

“Absolutely not.”

She sighed. “Fine, take—don’t shred them!”

Chapter Text

He found Satomi outside, sweeping.

She smiled. “You look nice.”

He hesitated a moment. “Thank you.” He looked briefly down at the strange clothes. “And for the clothing as well.”

She smiled again. “You are welcome.”

He took the broom from her and picked up the chore. “I have a favor to ask of you.”

Glad for a break, Satomi sat. “Of course. What is it?”

Sesshoumaru paused. “It is labor intensive.”

She nodded for him to go ahead.

“Armor for Kagome. A protective hanjuban for under the fire rat clothing.”

Satomi looked confused. “How would I make it armor?”

Chapter Text

“I can’t do this.”

Sesshoumaru turned around, giving Satomi an exasperated look. “It is fine.”

Unsure, she picked up the silver strands of his hair and combed her fingers through until she gathered it into a low tail. It was truly fantastic hair.

She sighed. “Are you sure?”

“It will grow back.”

Securing the tie, Satomi picked up the scissors. “How much?”

“As much as you think you need. Other fibers can be included as well. I have them should you need them.”

“Then I’m not taking all of it.” She pulled the tail lower. “Last chance, Sesshoumaru.”

“Cut it.”

Chapter Text

Still hating that she was doing it, Satomi cut just above the tail and watched the heavy mass come free.

Sesshoumaru never flinched.

Surprised when tears came to her eyes, she silently handed him the tail over his shoulder and set to trimming the ends to be even.

It fell right at the bottom of his shoulder blades now— still long, but so different from what they were accustomed to.

Murmuring his thanks, he stood and turned to face her, smiling slightly at the sight of her distraught eyes. His softened at her genuine upset. “It is just hair, Satomi.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru tied back the loose strands in the front of his face and quickly ran his claws through the rest of the loose mass. It felt strange, but it was still long.

Satomi was a mess.

He cocked his head. “Why are you crying?”

Satomi looked up at him, tears streaking her face, and shrugged.

“Hmm.” He reached forward and gave her a quick tug.

When his arms came around her, she cried harder. “It feels like I just changed something in Kagome’s world. She’s already on edge with everything.”

“I understand”—he pulled back—“but she will be fine.”

Chapter Text

Grandpa’s scrolls were boring.

Kagome dragged her hands down her face and growled. She’d been through every single one, and there was nothing significant about the jewel. Nothing to allude to the correct wish.

Fingering the bauble at her neck, she stood and grabbed up the scrolls. Maybe a Sesshoumaru would notice something she didn’t.

She smiled to herself at the thought of him, thinking back on what they shared now and enjoying the shiver down her spine. Sullenly, she glared at the futons.

Oh well.

With an armful if history, she made her way down the stairs.

And screamed.

Chapter Text

His hair was apparently a trigger point.

Her initial shock faded into grief in a matter of seconds, and then she was sobbing into her hands.

Behind him Satomi started up again.

“I do not understand this,” Sesshoumaru said, leading both females to the couch. When he sat, they both tucked into his sides, their crying not lessening.

Souta appeared around the corner, a thoughtful look on his face. “I think it has to do with Inuyasha.”

“Explain.”

Souta shrugged. “He’s gone, and you just made a big change. Kinda challenges what they’ve come to rely on as normal now.”

Chapter Text

“We have one more change we need to make.”

Grandpa.

Sesshoumaru tilted his head in question while Satomi and Kagome sat up. His arms settled around their shoulders just as Souta, unnerved a bit by his grandfather’s interruption, went and sat at his feet.

“What’s going on?” Souta asked.

Grandpa dug in his pockets. “We‘re used to the demon. The world is not.” He hobbled over, handing Sesshoumaru a parchment. “This should keep those two from choking you with makeup.”

Kagome leaned over. “What is it?”

Sesshoumaru rolled open the ancient parchment, eyes widening. “It is a spell.”

Grandpa grinned.

Chapter Text

When Sesshoumaru murmured the incantation, the change came gradually.

Kagome and her family watched as his skin slowly darkened, the distinctive markings fading. Silver slowly bled into black as gold darkened to brown shrouded in a unique violet tint. His pupils rounded, and his claws disappeared.

Souta’s jaw dropped. “Whoa!”

Sesshoumaru stared at his hands, disturbed by the human appearance and the subtle suppression of his youki.

“Well, you’re still very handsome,” Satomi said.

Kagome stared, stunned.

For once, having all eyes on him was too much. “Excuse me.”

He retreated to the privacy of the bathroom, locking the door.

Chapter Text

When he looked in the mirror, he saw Izayoi.

He looked the same. And Satomi was right—his face was still handsome, merely darker and lacking his markings. Perhaps just slightly older. But his coloring was that of the woman he had scorned.

It was the coloring of the dead brother he had borne.

Sesshoumaru swallowed, gripping the edges of the sink. He had never seen Inuyasha’s human eyes, but he knew his mother’s when he saw them.

It was a cruel joke that he would wear their faces.

When he realized he could’ve passed for Rin’s father, he broke.

Chapter Text

Surprisingly, it was Souta who dared to knock on the bathroom door.

Sesshoumaru lifted his head from his hands, lips pursed in annoyance as the boy rapped yet again. But it wouldn’t help anything to be at odds with her family. Silently, begrudgingly, he flipped the lock and sat back on the edge of the tub.

The door cracked slowly as if Souta knew he were pushing it.

He peeked around the corner. “Sesshoumaru?”

With a too-brusque flick of his wrist, Sesshoumaru motioned him in.

Souta clicked the door shut and locked it before sitting beside him on the tub.

Chapter Text

Souta fidgeted at first, much like his sister, unsure of what to say.

He finally stilled the boy’s hands.

“Sorry.”

His jaw tightened. “You are fine.”

Souta clearly wanted to say something but was having a hard time getting it out.

Humans crave touch.

Sesshoumaru placed a hand on top of Souta’s head. “I am not angry at you.”

Souta paused, seeming to accept the information. “But you’re upset.”

He clenched his teeth. “Yes.”

“Not angry upset though.”

“No.”

“Then that‘s the worst kind of upset.”

Sesshoumaru laughed humorlessly. “And why do you say that?”

Souta shrugged. “Because it hurts.”

Chapter Text

“Inuyasha didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about you,” Souta confessed.

Sesshoumaru snorted. “He was valid in his complaints.”

“I know.”

The boy continued. “He was a lot of fun.” His voice trembled. “Was like a brother—different as he was.”

Silently, Sesshoumaru set an arm around him, and Souta leaned into his side.

“I was scared when I first saw you outside the house,” he whispered.

Swallowing thickly, Sesshoumaru nodded. “Then you were very brave to attack.”

It was Souta’s turn to snort. “Or stupid.”

Sesshoumaru smiled at him slightly. “Yes, it was foolish as well.”

Chapter Text

Souta grinned up at him. “Let’s stick with brave.”

Sesshoumaru chuckled. “We shall stick with brave.”

“I want to see the poison again.”

“If you do not tell your sister.”

They sat in companionable silence for a while, though he could tell the boy gathered his thoughts.

Finally, “Sesshoumaru?”

“Hmm?”

Souta stood. “It turns out you’re a pretty awesome brother too.” He dropped his eyes from the stunned youkai’s face. “I think Inuyasha would be proud for you to look like him.”

Without a word, Souta hastily hugged his neck, barely giving him time to respond, and fled the bathroom.

Chapter Text

Kagome was napping when he finally emerged.

He sought Satomi out. She was at the stove cooking but turned when she heard him come in.

“You can drop the glamor. You don’t have to hide yourself here.”

A moment later he was fully himself again.

Satomi turned the stove down and walked up to him. “Honest observation?”

“Yes?”

“You look like you’re having a really hard time.”

She watched his jaw tighten and lips press flat, eyes swirling with his internal battle. Centuries old and finally learning hard, uncomfortable truths.

She smiled gently. “We have this thing called ‘mom hugs.’”

Chapter Text

He looked like he might bolt.

For a moment Satomi thought she pushed him too far. He stepped back, eyes holding hers warily as he did. It was like watching and injured animal, only one with sharper teeth and strength left in him.

“They are there if you need them,” she said quietly.

He was shaking his head and began to almost prowl as he walked around her, gathering his thoughts.

“You misunderstand.”

“Then explain it to me.”

He growled to himself, his frustration evident.

She didn’t miss how his fangs glinted dangerously in the artificial light.

“Sesshoumaru, tell me.”

 

Chapter Text

Something dark and foreboding crackled around him. Satomi couldn’t see it, but she felt it. When his hair began to lift and his face change, she forced herself to stand her ground.

You all accept blindly what you do not know.”

She didn’t recognize his voice.

His eyes flashed to red as his markings lost their smoothness. Teeth sharpened and grew, and he stormed closer to her.

Still, she stood, chin lifted to his temper. “You had a human child.”

I have centuries of cruelty. Her life was but a moment of mine.”

“You protected us. Saved Kagome.”

Did I?”

Chapter Text

In a split second he had grabbed her and shot out the door into the dark in a flash of blinding energy.

Satomi found herself deposited in the most open part of the shrine and watched as that brilliant light shot into the sky and then exploded on the ground in the form of a massive white dog.

And she got angry.

“Are you done?” she screamed at him.

The imposing jaws snapped right next to her before opening and raging with a deafening roar.

Satomi raged back and then called his bluff, sticking her arm right in his mouth.

Chapter Text

“Sesshoumaru, halt!”

Satomi jerked her arm out just as the gigantic body slammed into the ground.

Kagome stood there, eyes full of angry tears and seething, pink energy erupting all around her.
Her bow was trained on Sesshoumaru.

“Transform back,” she choked. “Transform back right now, or I swear I will shoot you with your own fang.”

“Kagome, it’s alright.”

She stared at her mother, confused by her calm. “It’s not—“

There was a flash of light. When it cleared, Sesshoumaru was in front of Satomi.

On his knees.

Hands over his face.

She swooped down and grabbed him.

Chapter Text

He was an ancient, beautiful mess.

Satomi smiled and squeezed him fiercely when his arms hesitantly came up around her. “Love is a choice, Sesshoumaru. And we choose to love you.”

Love is a choice.

He hid his face in her neck.

She held him. Satomi felt her tears break free when he not only apologized but asked her forgiveness.

“There’s nothing to forgive, Sesshoumaru. You’re allowed to not be okay sometimes. Especially right now.”

She watched his eyes change as he accepted that and touched his face. “Suggestion? Go soak.” Her eyes darkened. “Tell Kagome to come find me.”

Chapter Text

“What the hell was that?” Kagome yelled when he entered her room.

Sesshoumaru whirled on her, his composure barely holding. “That was me. At my limit.”

Limit? Your limit? You threatened Mama!”

It was the wrong thing to say.

“I do not threaten.” He stormed up to her, towering over her. “When have you known me to threaten one I intended harm?”

He was right. Any words of warning were followed by explicit and appropriate action.

“I acted rashly.” He swallowed angrily. “It was admittedly not an example of self-control. But you should know that I would not harm her.”

Chapter Text

Kagome stepped right up to him. “Her arm was in your mouth!”

He stepped back, closing his eyes as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “She is the one who put it there.”

Throwing her hands up, she stepped forward again. “How am I supposed to know that?”

“You would not.”

“Of course I wouldn’t!”

“Kagome”—his eyes snapped open with a warning—“you threatened to kill me. With the weapon I had made for you.”

In that moment, she understood the hurt in his eyes. “I would never kill you!” Her eyes flashed. “But I will protect Mama.”

 

Chapter Text

She had never seen him angry like this.

“Inside Naraku,” he said quietly. “When I found you. What did I ask you?”

She paled, and he knew she understood.

“What did I ask!” he snapped.

Kagome licked her lips. “If Inuyasha had been the one to injure me.”

“And was it the first time he had?”

“No,” she whispered.

“But you still trusted him?”

She barely nodded, refusing to look at his face. He was hiding nothing, and the hurt in his eyes became too much.

He took a shuddering breath. “I make no excuses for my behavior tonight. None.

Chapter Text

His voice grew hoarse. “I am flawed. I have wronged you in the past. And by wronging you, I wronged your family.”

She closed her eyes, feeling her tears break free. When she dared to open them again, she was surprised to see the angry, silvery trails on his face.

He wasn’t done and lifted her face to look at him. “I understand your fear tonight. I do not fault you for your choice in using that word.” He angrily jerked on the kotodama. “I apologize”–his voice cracked, and he swallowed to regain control—“for the insecurities I caused.”

Chapter Text

Kagome tried to put space between them, but he reached out and held her fast.

“You have my promise that I will try to never let that happen again.” His head dropped for a moment, shielding his eyes from her. “But give me the consideration you graced my brother with when he made you bleed.”

She covered her mouth as he looked up, the naked emotion in his eyes drilling a hole in her heart.

Her threat finally sank in, and she reached for him. “Sesshoumaru—"

“No, Kagome.” He stepped back. “Make a choice.”

He slammed the bathroom door.

Chapter Text

Souta was glaring daggers at her as she made her way—blinded by tears—to her mother’s room.

“Mama—” she collapsed on the bed, nearly hysterical.

Satomi looked at her stricken daughter and felt a pang of sympathy. “I’m going to assume Sesshoumaru covered most of what I would say.”

Kagome nodded miserably.

Satomi sighed and sat next to her. “Kagome, has it ever registered with you how much he stuffs down to help you with what you’re dealing with?”

Deep, soul-piercing shame swallowed her whole because it had. She was well aware.

Her lip quivered. “I messed up.”

Chapter Text

“Oh, there’s no debate about that, Kagome.”

Kagome got angry. “Are you going to at least try to make me feel better?”

No. I’m going to tell you the truth.” Satomi glared at her.

Kagome shut her mouth.

“He told me what happened, Kagome—how you both barely escaped with your lives. I’ve seen what he’s capable of now. Felt that power.” She felt her anger rising and swallowed back tears. “It’s intimidating. What he’s capable of is nothing like any of us have seen before.”

“No, it’s not,” Kagome whispered.

Satomi’s voice broke. “All that and he’s falling apart.”

Chapter Text

Resisting the urge to shake her daughter, Satomi stood up and paced. “And you’re made of tougher stuff than you’re acting like.”

Kagome jumped to her feet. “What is that supposed to mean!”

Satomi whirled. “It means share the burden!”

“I have!”

“Have you?” She gave Kagome a hard look. “Is that why a nine-hundred-year-old demon who has lived through and seen things you and I cannot even begin to imagine collapsed on your mother tonight?”

The blood drained from Kagome’s face.

Covering her own, Satomi cried. “When did you become so selfish?”

Kagome felt as if she’d been slapped.

Chapter Text

He needed out.

Silently, he swept through the house and went for the Goshinboku in search of peace. But Grandpa was already underneath the tree.

Before he could redirect his path, the old man spotted him.

“I have Edo period braziers, kiseru, and liquor.”

Sesshoumaru arched a brow.

“The braziers still burn hot.”

He humored the old man and joined him, accepting the pipe and alcohol when it was handed to him. Admittedly, the light and warmth of the braziers were welcome. He had missed that small comfort.

“My granddaughter is young. And stubborn.”

He snorted.

Grandpa lit his pipe.

Chapter Text

Kagome’s tears finally had died to soft weeping, though Satomi wasn’t sure her own wouldn’t resurge.

“Tell me the truth, Kagome.”

“What?” Her voice was rasped, spent from her crying.

“Are you closer to Sesshoumaru than you were Inuyasha?”

Kagome’s eyes became guarded, and she shrank back.

Satomi sighed. “Let’s try this. Do you love Sesshoumaru?”

She nodded, eyes welling up more.

“And what does that look like when you compare it to how you felt for Inuyasha?”

“I—”

Satomi held up her hand. “No, really think about it for a minute.”

She did, and it was uncomfortable and overwhelming.

Chapter Text

The alcohol wasn’t strong enough to make him drunk, but it burned pleasantly as it went down, and the tobacco was high quality.

Grandpa paced himself drinking. “She and the hanyou fought like cats and dogs.” He grinned guiltily. “Forgive the comparison.”

He inhaled from the pipe. “It parallels appropriately.”

The old man nodded. “She cared about him. Loved him in a way. A young way. I think he did too.”

Sesshoumaru threw back more alcohol. “It is no secret.”

“I suppose not.” Grandpa poked at the coals in the braziers. “But no argument ever affected her like this.”

Chapter Text

The question hit her hard.

“I don’t know,” she whispered.

Satomi sat and nudged her daughter. “Yes, you do.”

“I love them differently.”

“Yes.”

Her voice shook. “I’m closer to Sesshoumaru.”

Satomi nodded encouragingly. “Yes.”

“I know Sesshoumaru better.” It was a painful admission, not because of its truth but because of the door it closed.

“Much better. Now, hard question.”

Kagome looked at her.

“Can you live without Inuyasha?”

Tears spilled as her eyes closed. “I hate it, but I am.”

Satomi took her hand. “Could you live without Sesshoumaru?”

She looked horrified. “No.”

And then she was bawling.

Chapter Text

Grandpa sighed and took another drink. “She loves hard, and it’s hard for her to let go. It’s a fearsome combination.”

That he knew only too well. “Yes.”

Anger tripped into her grandfather’s voice.

“But she was out of line.”

Sesshoumaru stayed silent, wishing to forget that particular memory itself. It stung far more than he was comfortable admitting.

“But she eventually learns.” Grandpa finished his drink. “Have faith that she will.

The old man stood, and an old, gnarled hand came to rest briefly on his shoulder.

“I drank and shared tobacco with a mononoke. Stranger things have happened.”

Chapter Text

Kagome was distraught. “I can’t make this right.”

Satomi hugged her, patting her back. “You can’t if you don’t try.”

“You didn’t see his face.” She looked away, biting down on her lip to stop the quivering.

It didn’t work.

“No, I didn’t. But I don’t doubt that he cares about you. And considering what he said about your lifespan now, you have two choices.”

“What choices?”

“Don’t fix it and be miserable for centuries”—she suddenly grinned mischievously—“or fix it and discover the joy of make-up sex.”

Kagome blushed furiously.

Satomi laughed. “Hint? There’s only one right choice.”

Chapter Text

She followed the scent of the burning coals and found him alone underneath the Goshinboku.

An indescribable pang of emotion flashed through the burning amber eyes as she approached, but he hid it quickly under the impassive mask she first knew.

“Please don’t do that,” she said, voice breaking as she sat near him.

“Do what?” He was terse.

For the millionth time that night, she cried. “Don’t hide the pain I caused.”

His eyes hardened for a moment, determined to do just that. But in the end, he was too drained to keep up the front.

The mask slipped.

Chapter Text

Kagome would have preferred he glared at her to the unmasked pain she witnessed.

She scrubbed at her face and started pacing. “I don’t know what to do or what to say. Sorry isn’t anywhere near adequate for what I said to you.” She stopped and swallowed, desperate to fix things. “I’m completely lost in this.”

He turned his face, jaw clenched and eyes closed tight.

She broke more. “I love you, and I hurt you, and I don’t think I can ever make this better.”

In her shame she could barely look at him. “Did I ruin us forever?”

Chapter Text

When he didn’t answer, her cries turned into gasping sobs.

In any other situation, it would have been melodramatic. But the force of her grief and anxieties over the tenuous status of their relationship literally brought her to her knees, and she lay her face on the ground and cried, unintelligibly gasping out apologies as she did.

And then, he was suddenly lifting her up.

“Stop it”—he situated her in his lap, frustrated and struggling himself to speak—“and give me more than a moment to respond.”

Her cries came harder. “Sesshoumaru…”

And she just kept whispering his name.

Chapter Text

This was a pain unlike anything else. It dug at parts of his soul he had thought untouchable and nearly destroyed the fragile new territory razed open in his heart.

He hated it as much as he needed it, and it killed him as much as it brought new life.

Tucking her under his chin, he circled his arms about her, closing his eyes while their hurt fused and intensified as it was shared between them.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” A pause and hesitant, “Did I break us?”

“No,” he whispered, heartache bleeding through. “But we are injured.”

Chapter Text

It wasn’t at all the answer she was looking for, and she felt her heart fall to pieces.

She took several shuddering breaths before she had the bravery to ask her next question. “Do you believe me when I say I love you?”

His eyes were troubled, but he nodded. “I believe you.”

Her look changed to sheer, fear-laced vulnerability when she asked her next question, nervous and filled with dread as she did. “Do I still have yours?”

Miko.” His voice was strangled and raw as he pressed his forehead to hers. “It is forever and always only yours.”

Chapter Text

The stories lied when they said love fixed all things. Time played a larger role than they liked to admit.

And sleep.

With nary a word between them, he carried her inside the house to their room. Once there, they both stripped and changed in silence before crawling under the futon blankets, facing each other.

Unsure. Exhausted.

His hand came up between them, brushing her cheek.

She grasped it. Clung to it.

He pulled her closer, tilted her chin, and softly kissed her, touching his tongue gently to hers at the last moment to reassure and comfort her.

They slept.

Chapter Text

He woke to insecure, uncertain blue watching him.

Blinking slowly, he stretched and noted that, for the first time in centuries, he didn’t feel refreshed after sleep.

It wasn’t pleasant. And, if the dark circles under her eyes were any indicator, she hadn’t slept well either.

She looked miserable.

A tentative hand reached out and fingered the fold of his yukata.

“May I?”

Vulnerable. Fragile.

As raw as he felt.

“Yes.”

She, almost shyly, parted the material to access his skin and kissed a trail up his sternum and neck before taking his mouth, lingering there. Gently tasting. Reacquainting.

Apologizing.

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It—she—was tantalizing.

Her lips touched his, the pressure so soft it felt like butterfly wings on his sensitive flesh. It was chaste, her mouth peppering his with tiny, sweet, pink kisses as she so often had when he first claimed the right to touch her.

He took each one, reveling in the feel of her broken and naked affection, allowing it to soothe the sting of the fresh wounds that laid him bare.

When she parted her lips, seeking to deepen their connection, he relaxed his jaw and let her in, tasting her need for the small intimacy.

Chapter Text

Underneath her need to reconnect, he could taste her reticence. The salt of her tears slipped between their lips, lacing their touches with her regrets and hesitations.

A different part of him rent. Twisted.

Kagome”—he pulled her closer, cradling her face and taking her deeper—“do not ever be afraid to touch me.”

Instead of fighting, she chose to trust, surrendering to his caresses and giving them back even as her guilt from the night before threatened to suffocate her. He was warm. Solid. Broken but strong. And she knew he loved her as he forgave through his touch.

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She was shy.

“Do you want to have sex?” she finally blurted and then cringed.

For a second Sesshoumaru’s eyes widened, the awkward outburst unexpected. Then, when she groaned, he pressed his lips flat but failed to hide his smile. “Yes, but not yet.”

Her brows knit together. “Oh.” The confusion on her face was innocent. “Why?”

He paused, his honesty raw and quiet when he finally spoke. “Let me be less bruised when I make love to you.”

We are injured.

Guilt visibly swallowed her again at the memory.

Kissing her palm, he pulled her close. “It will mend.”

Chapter Text

He wasn’t distant.

After they got up, he showered with her. It was something they hadn’t done before, and while a part of Kagome was dying for more at the sight of him bare, she understood his need to rebuild their intimacy slowly.

She respected the need, though his nose didn’t miss how her hormones tormented her.

Rinsing his hair, he smirked.

“Shut up,” she grumbled.

Turning away, she missed him flicking the spigot to cold.

She didn’t miss it when his arms suddenly held her fast and spun her into the frigid steam of water.

She screamed; he laughed.

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Breakfast was a quiet affair, the rest of the family unsure where everyone stood until Souta opened his big mouth.

“It was less awkward when the bed was creaking.”

Grandpa choked.

Satomi gasped. “Souta!”

Kagome nearly died.

Sesshoumaru arched a brow. “Futons do not creak.”

And that was enough to satisfy Souta that everything was normal again. But Satomi still booted him from the table for his rude conduct.

Kagome shot a grateful look at Sesshoumaru. Thank you, she mouthed at him, quickly squeezing his hand under the table.

He barely inclined his head, but she felt him squeeze back.

Chapter Text

She found her mother setting up her loom.

“You already finished the thread?” she asked, walking in to give her a cup of tea.

Gratefully accepting the cup, Satomi smiled. “I did! It will be interesting to see what it produces.” She sipped the tea, eyes softening. “How are you two?”

Kagome shrugged and flopped into a chair. “Better than last night. Not where we need to be.” She dropped her voice. “I still feel horrible.”

Satomi nodded. “Things rarely resolve overnight, but at least you two are talking. He still seems affectionate.”

Kagome smiled sadly. “Yeah, he is.”

Chapter Text

Satomi watched as Kagome dropped her eyes, brow furrowing while she thought something over in her head. She had something to say or ask, but it wouldn’t come out until she had turned it over in her head how she needed.

So, she waited.

Finally, blushing, Kagome talked. “There’s been no make-up sex.”

Keeping her surprise at her daughter’s openness hidden, Satomi set her tea down. “No?”

Kagome shook her head once. “He’s not ignoring me.” She flushed harder. “He’s kissed me. He says he does want to…make love. But not yet.”

“Ah,” Satomi nodded sagely. “Needs time.”

“Yeah.” Kagome frowned.

Chapter Text

Given Kagome’s sudden openness, Satomi just went with it. “I have a personal question, Kagome.”

She eyed her mother warily. “What, Mama?”

Satomi sat next to her. “The first time you slept with him you were just friends, right?”

The tears came unbidden. “Yes.”

“Were you comfortable?”

Kagome nodded. “I was nervous, but I trusted him.”

“Why was that?” she asked gently.

She shrugged. “He made me comfortable. I asked him a million questions because I was nervous, and there was no one else to ask.” She bit her lip. “He said he’d take care of me. Not hurt me.”

Chapter Text

“I was really worried it would hurt,” Kagome whispered.

“Did it?”

She looked up at her mother, not able to hide the stupid grin on her face, and just shook her head.

Satomi laughed.

“We never planned to continue…it,” Kagome said, picking at some loose thread. “It was supposed to just be a means to an end so we could stay together. Have a companion that understood.”

“But?”

She shrugged. “We connected? I don’t even know. I didn’t want to stop, and neither did he. And well…eight times and ever since.”

“It sounds like you two already had a connection.”

Chapter Text

Something deep and intense twisted Kagome’s gut. “Yeah, we did.” She swallowed her tears. “I want it back.”

Her mother took her hand. “Kagome, it’s not gone. Anyone who looks at you two can see a connection there.”

She sighed, her breath shuddering. “I hope so.”

Satomi smiled. “In all your time traveling through the well, we would have never thought it would be Sesshoumaru that had you twisted up in knots like this.”

Kagome smiled back. “Me neither.” Her face grew serious. “I won’t ever be able to repay him for all he’s done.”

“Honey, he doesn’t expect that.”

Chapter Text

Kagome perked up suddenly. “Do you have any stationary?”

Giving her a strange look, Satomi spun around to her desk and pulled how a handful of cards and envelopes.

Kagome thanked her mother and gratefully took the assortment of colored paper.

Satomi eyed her critically, only guessing at her plan. “This has cheesy written all over it, Kagome.”

Totally cheesy.” She grinned. “But if it works, he’ll know he’s what matters by the end of it.”

Pretending to be put out, Satomi fished out her keys and handed Kagome her credit card. “I expect grandbabies with fluffy white ears, Kagome.”

Chapter Text

There was nothing.

Sesshoumaru growled as he rolled the last scroll back up and placed it on the table. “She was right. There is nothing of use.”

Grandpa nodded, gathering up the spare ones to repack. “The library may provide some insights.”

Standing, Sesshoumaru reached forward and took the scrolls. “Let me help.”

The old man gave up the scrolls and lead him back out to the storage unit. “What happens when you find the right wish?”

Sesshoumaru paused, slanting his eyes back at him. “I do not know. But we will face it when it comes.”

Grandpa said nothing.

Chapter Text

Kagome meant to run out right away, but she fell asleep.

Sesshoumaru found her passed out on her vanity, head down with her short hair laying in wisps on a mirror.

Carefully, so as not to startle her, he crouched down and gently nudged her shoulder. “Miko.”

She didn’t budge, and he nudged her again. “Miko.”

Still nothing.

Without a word, he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the futons. Laying her down gently, he covered her with a blanket and then stretched out next to her, watching her sleep.

Judging himself.

Reflecting on now and then.

Chapter Text

“My behavior last night is inexcusable.”

Satomi jumped in her seat at the loom, a hand to her chest. “You startled me.”

“It was not intended.” At her silent invitation, he entered and sat.

“Your behavior,” she said, turning to him, “I can understand.”

His eyes gentled. “I appreciate the understanding.” He reached out, taking her hand. “But do you understand your daughter’s?”

Satomi froze but Sesshoumaru continued.

“I mean no intrusion nor lecture. Just perspective.”

Her voice was angry. “Kagome should have never threatened to hurt you.”

Sesshoumaru’s back went rigid, the wound raw. “No, she should not have.”

Chapter Text

“But neither should I have taken my frustration out on her mother.”

Satomi was quiet. “I wasn’t afraid of you.”

He smiled then. “I know. But she was afraid for you.”

Moving her chair closer to him, Satomi sighed. “You’re right.” Her look hardened. “But it does disturb me that she threatened your life so easily.”

Pain flashed in his eyes. “That has been…hard. But I do not think it was easy for her.”

Her tears started. “I think you’re right again.”

“You are a good mother, Satomi. Forgive her as you have me.” He stood to go.

“Sesshoumaru, wait.”

Chapter Text

He stopped, cocking his head to the side and waiting for her words.

Satomi stepped forward. “Family is messy. Imperfect. Ours certainly has flaws, and none of us are perfect. We make mistakes.”

“I have not found it disagreeable,” he said, the corners of his mouth barely lifting.

She laughed. “You’re kind. Especially after the ofuda.”

He chuckled.

The woman grew quiet. “She really does love you.”

“I know.”

She smiled. “Good.”

Sesshoumaru moved toward the door but stopped just before exiting. “Satomi, thank you.”

“What for?” She was back at the loom.

He smiled then. Fully. Genuinely. “Your choice.”

Chapter Text

She was munching on an apple, her face still flushed with sleep, when he came into the kitchen.

Kagome grinned at him. “I’m still getting use to you with shorter hair. Any luck with the scrolls?”

“You were right. There was nothing. Your grandfather recommended the library.”

“That’s not a bad idea. We might be able to find a little more.” She tossed the apple core and grabbed a new fruit, offering him a bite first.

He eyed her suspiciously but leaned in and bit into the fruit. “You are hungry.”

She groaned. “So hungry. And napping makes me hungrier.”

Chapter Text

All through dinner Sesshoumaru stared at her, and it started to become unnerving. He never said a word, but his face was troubled. While no one else commented, Kagome could clearly see her family hadn’t missed the change either.

His eyes held the same hard look from when she first met him, only she couldn’t tell if he was angry or hiding something.

“Are you okay?” she asked quietly.

His look softened ever-so-slightly, but his reserve remained. “I am fine.” He gave her a small, tight smile. “Truly.”

“Okay.” She didn’t believe him.

She hoped there wasn’t something new brewing.

Chapter Text

After dinner, before she retreated to bathe, she pushed a small, red envelope into his hands. When he looked at her in askance, she pushed her forehead against his and closed her eyes.

She couldn’t remember the last time she had done this, and she missed it.

Apparently, he did too. Kagome felt him relax, the tension surrounding him throughout dinner melting away as they connected. Before she pulled away, he turned his nose to her cheek, nuzzling lightly.

She smiled as pieces of them slowly fell back into place.

“What is this?” Sesshoumaru asked.

She touched his face. “Memories.”

Chapter Text

Ten Favorite Memories From Early On

1. You not being “well suited to this” and hugging me when I needed it

2. Sleeping tucked into your side, in your lap, or in your arms for warmth while traveling

3. Permission to touch and starting our affection

4. Baby kisses on your nose in that village

5. YOUR SMILE—always that smile

6. Friends being honest…lots of times

7. That first kiss from my friend

8. When it wasn’t scary and didn’t hurt

9. You forgetting to mark me because we got caught up in new fun

10. Connecting with you

Chapter Text

She was in bed when he came up.

Her head popped up as he entered, and she gave him a sleepy grin as he locked the door. “Sorry, I’m exhausted.”

Sesshoumaru didn’t say anything and simply stripped down to what she had called “boxers” before slipping under the covers behind her.

Kagome hummed appreciatively as his warmth pressed against her back and his arms came around her, and she wiggled her body back to get closer. Absently, she reached back and freed the hair tied back from his face, running her fingers through.

He leaned into her touch. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

It was just before dawn when Souta knocked on their bedroom door.

“Who is it?” Kagome mumbled, turning into his chest.

Sesshoumaru chuckled quietly and eased her off. “Your brother.” He stood, slipping into loose pants before opening the door. “Is something wrong?”

Souta was rubbing his head, looking like he had not gotten sleep. “Tessaiga is keeping me up.”

Kagome popped up as concern came over his face and got out of bed. “What?”

Shrugging, Souta yawned. “It’s…I dunno…singing.”

“You can hear the sword? Sesshoumaru asked, stepping into the hall with him.

“Well, yeah.”

Outside, something crashed and screamed.

Chapter Text

The noise woke Satomi and suddenly the whole family, except for Grandpa, was on his heels following him into the early morning.

The cold air was brisk on his skin as he stepped outside, and he smelled blood.

He smelled something he had dealt with already centuries before this time.

His look darkened, and he moved toward the storage room. He warned the family to stay put.

There was blood seeping out from underneath the door, and he knew without seeing what—who—he would find.

Flinging the door open, he ignored Grandpa’s lifeless body, and peered through the dark.

Chapter Text

He heard Satomi scream to watch out and whirled around just in time to feel claws rip down his shoulder and chest.

Panthers.

“Lord of the West.” The youkai’s red eyes seethed perversely, licking the blood from his fingers.”you’re so young.” The panther looked back over his shoulder and smiled. “As is your mate.”

His claws ripped through the youkai’s jaws, and he watched as bone and flesh swung free, effectively silencing the cat.

He stormed forward as the panther, realizing his mistake, went to retreat too late. Sesshoumaru grabbed him by the throat.

“You will not speak of her.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. “You have lost your ability to speak at all and are useless to me. But know I will find your kin.”

Allowing his poison to rise, he ended the youkai. He didn’t smell any others nearby. 

The panther had barely fallen when Satomi and Souta descended on him.

“Are you okay?” Satomi asked. Her fingers hovered over his wound, worry in her eyes.

“What was that?” Souta kicked at the body.

“Panther,” he intoned, pulling them away from the building. “Where is your sister?”

He could smell her. She wasn’t wounded, but he recognized her grief.

Chapter Text

Satomi squeezed his uninjured shoulder. “She’s okay. She said you needed something.” She glanced behind him and looked like she might be sick. “That’s a lot of blood.”

“Satomi.” He took her hands, his look grim. “It is not all the panther’s.”

Realization and horror hit immediately and she shook her head. “I assumed he was still asleep.”

Souta was less calm. “Grandpa’s in there?”

Sesshoumaru caught him by the back of his shirt. “You will wait.”

Kagome came back, Tenseiga clutched to her chest. She had known.

She handed him the sword. “Please.”

He remembered a small lizard youkai.

Chapter Text

The sword mercifully brought Grandpa back.

When he came out of the storage building with Sesshoumaru, the family surrounded him. They had no regard for the blood, hugging and holding tight, relieved that what happened had been undone.

“I think I need a bath,” Grandpa said, pulling the stiffening red clothing away from his skin. He looked at Sesshoumaru. “That is a unique sword.”

Sheathing the Tenseiga, Sesshoumaru looked at him meaningfully. “It will only work once.”

Nodding his understanding, Grandpa clapped him on his good shoulder. “Thank you.”

Kagome approached. Her eyes were distraught, but she held it in.

Chapter Text

She followed him to the shower, not saying a word as he stripped out of what little clothes he wore and stepped into the stream of water.

The metallic scent was strong. It clung to the discarded clothing and his body. She deposited the clothes in the hamper.

“How’s your shoulder?”

“It will be fine by nightfall.”

The water swirled pink around his feet, and Kagome felt her eyes begin to burn. “Thank you.”

“Do not thank me.”

Kagome sat on the closed toilet, her head in her hands. Exasperated with him. Emotionally drained. “Why do you always say that?”

Chapter Text

The shower shut off.

Kagome watched him grab a towel and wrap around his hips. His silver hair was soaking wet and plastered flat against his skull, releasing rivulets of water over his exposed flesh. The wound on his shoulder and chest had stopped bleeding but still looked raw. Painful.

He angrily pushed his hair back when fell over the claw marks and knelt before her, eyes hard and unyielding.

“Tenseiga is not only an inheritance. It is a responsibility. And it is one I neglected for centuries. Do not thank me for embracing what I should have long ago.”

Chapter Text

Kagome watched the hardness in the gold depths melt into the increasingly familiar, pained honesty. Without a word, she stood, grabbing a fresh hand towel and bath sheet. She lay the hand towel over the angry wounds to shield them, and then lifted the sheet to dry his hair.

Even cut, it was long—still held more water than most human hair did in the thick mass.

“I know I didn’t help this,” she said softly, wrapping the strands to absorb excess liquid, “but at some point you’ll have to forgive your past and accept that you’re doing good now.”

Chapter Text

She lightly tugged his hair and allowed the towel to slide off. “And doing good now will have to be enough because you can’t change before.”

When he didn’t say anything, Kagome kissed his cheek. “Why don’t you get dressed? Food and tea might do you some good.”

She went to stand, and he stopped her. Kagome’s eyes widened when his hands tangled in her hair and pulled her forward, kissing her passionately as he held her face.

His mouth was warm and demanding, lacking the usual tenderness he touched her with as instinctive need took hold.

Intense. Fervent. Possessive.

Chapter Text

Kagome’s eyes widened as the magenta stripes on his face and body took on serrated edges and his youki shrouded them both.

This had never happened before.

He seemed to notice when it took hold because he closed his eyes and turned his face, refusing to look at her. Breathing heavily as he fought for control.

She grabbed his face. “No, don’t hide it from me.”

When he opened his eyes, they were red.

The intensity of his gaze overwhelmed her. She could see the struggle clearly, knew it intimately, and could call it by name.

Lust.

Overpowering, staggering lust.

Chapter Text

She touched his face, tracing over the moon on his forehead. “Whatever you need, it’s okay.

In the next second, her clothes were in shreds. Lifting her quickly and wrapping her legs about his waist he barged back into the shower, flicking the stream of water on as he did.

Kagome let her head fall back. The warm water sluicing down their bodies was a sensuous assault to her increasingly sensitized nerves as he nipped and licked at her skin, pressing her back to the wall and his body against her.

She gasped.

His dark laughter was almost unrecognizable. “Scream.”

Chapter Text

The sensation of him sliding into her was too much, and she nearly did.

Her scream died in her throat as his lips crashed into hers, fangs and teeth biting with a paradoxical gentleness as he did.

He set a pounding rhythm, and her breath came in gasps as she held on while he ground into her against the tile. His claws teased her sensitive flesh, and when she cried out as he twisted his hips, he thrust harder.

Fucked her.

It was dizzying. Under the haze of her fiery nerves, she took every merciless, satisfying ounce of contact.

Chapter Text

She was at the edge.

Letting go of his back, she pushed back against the wall, holding his shoulders as her eyes slid shut and she panted his name, helplessly grinding against him as he held her up.

“Open your eyes.”

When she did and locked on his, she shattered, her pleasure tearing through her ruthlessly as she screamed his name.

He dragged her arms up over her head as she finished, not stopping his movement. Watching. She began to tighten and coil around him a second time, the dark blue depths of her eyes revealing their astonished disbelief.

“Again, Kagome.”

Chapter Text

He was relentless.

She came again and again, nearly driven crazy by her overloaded nerve endings. Every inch of her body sung with sensation, surging between gratification and then a rising need for release until, finally, he brought her crashing down one last time and himself with her.

Her nails dug sharply into his back as they broke together, the unexpected cry of his voice echoing in the small bathroom as he let go until they were left with pure, exhausted silence.

Chests heaving, they stared at each other, breathless as their foreheads instinctively leaned toward one another and connected.

Chapter Text

Underneath the cooling stream of water, Kagome tried to gather her thoughts, her mind still muddled and hazy in the afterglow of…whatever that was.

Opening her eyes, she found his locked on hers, concerned.

“Are you alright?” His markings began to fade back to their normal state.

She didn’t hesitate. “Yes. That was—that was intense. But I’m okay.”

He nodded, his relief visible.

Cupping his jaw, she turned her nose to his cheek, nuzzling softly. “Are you okay?”

His eyes closed as he laughed breathlessly. “I am.”

Turning off the water, he kissed her gently and set her down.

Chapter Text

It was still early—only just time for breakfast—as they dressed.

Cold and overcast, Kagome just wanted to curl up under a blanket and sleep. She pulled on a sweater as he fought with the unfamiliar slacks, his own sweater obscuring the harsh wound from the panther’s claws.

He finally gave up with the pants, murmuring the glamor’s incantation before fastening the pants and belt.

Claws weren’t conducive to modern clothing.

When he looked up, she was looking at him curiously.

“Is something wrong, Kagome?”

With a coy smile, she shook her head, walked up, and kissed him deeply.

Chapter Text

The smile was a cheeky grin when she pulled back. “You know, I'd miss the fangs.”

He tried to give her a look, but the corners of his mouth turned upward at the last second, spoiling it.

He sighed. “You are ruining me.”

“Impossible.” Kagome wrapped her arms around him and pressed close, enjoying the peace and closeness without the strain that had been so present lately. “Sesshoumaru, friends can be honest?”

He stiffened. “Yes.”

Resting her chin on his sternum, she looked up. “I think you have a wild side you’ve been hiding.”

She grinned.

He smirked. “Lies, Miko.”

Chapter Text

Satomi left a note on the kitchen table.

K & S,

Grandpa is asleep. He’s tired. Just let him rest. There’s miso and fruit in the fridge for you both.

Took Souta to breakfast. He needed…out. Can’t imagine why, but he has questions I don’t feel like answering. Sesshoumaru, that responsibility is now yours.

Kagome, please clean your shower.

—Mama

Sesshoumaru frowned. “Questions?”

Kagome dropped into a chair and groaned, forehead on the table. “They heard us.”

Understanding lit in his eyes. “Hn.”

“Are you hungry?” she mumbled.

“No.”

“Me either. But I’d like a nap.”

“Then we will nap.”

Chapter Text

They fell asleep on the couch. When he woke, Kagome was still out cold on top of him, so he simply waited, finally letting the glamor slip and running his claws through her hair. He had a few moments of peace holding her until Satomi and Souta returned.

Satomi took one look at her sleeping daughter and the gathering wet spot on Sesshoumaru’s sweater and tried not to laugh. “She’s drooling all over you.”

He smiled, the action small but tranquil and closed his eyes. “I am aware.”

She smiled back. “How are you?”

Gold idly blinked open. “Contented.”

Chapter Text

 Satomi sat on the floor with her legs underneath of her. “I’m glad you two have been getting some peaceful moments. It sounds like the trip back to the well was difficult.”

“Journeying east from our home is rarely straightforward. It was no less so for us.”

“No, I suppose it wasn’t,” she sighed. “Though it seems to be catching up to her. She certainly has been tired lately.”

His voice was thoughtful, quiet. “She is pregnant.”

Gasping, Satomi stared at him wide-eyed. “What?”

He was pensive and composed as he spoke. “I noticed the change in her scent yesterday.”

Chapter Text

Not able to contain her grin, Satomi pressed a hand to her mouth to keep the sound of her elation in. “You’re sure?”

His smile was serene as he looked at the woman about to burst. “I am sure.”

Satomi scooted closer on her knees, anxious to touch her daughter but not wanting to wake her up. “How far along?”

His eyes were on Kagome, claws scratching lightly at her back as he spoke. “She has not bled in two moons. I did not think of it until her scent changed.”

“Does she know?” she asked.

“She does not yet.”

Chapter Text

As consciousness began to return, Kagome felt something warm and solid beneath her. Something…wet.

And sticking to her face.

Embarrassment rose hot and fast when she realized she had been drooling on him, and she rushed to get up.  His sweater pulled away from his chest, stuck to her cheek as she did.

Sesshoumaru plucked the material from her face and tightened his arms. “It is less offensive than when you vomited on me.”

Kagome groaned and, shifting the damp material aside, lay back down. “I can’t take any more embarrassing today.”

He chuckled. “It is unlikely you will not.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru tried to convince himself that if he could handle Kagome’s questions, he could handle her brother’s. But the angry, red face of the boy-almost-man in front of him gave him doubts.

Souta couldn’t get a single sentence out.

With a sigh, Sesshoumaru slipped the glamor into place and headed for the door. “Walk with me.”

They slipped out the door into the fresh, cool afternoon, Souta following on his heels, looking down with his shoulders slumped forward and hands thrust defiantly in his pockets.

Sesshoumaru frowned and turned their direction toward the woods on the shrine grounds.

Souta followed.

Chapter Text

When they crossed the tree line, Sesshoumaru stopped and turned to Souta, physically straightening his back and lifting his face. “Do not be ashamed of asking questions and what you do not know.”

Souta flushed and tried to look down again, but Sesshoumaru caught his chin.

“It will continue to be uncomfortable until you face it.”

The boy’s ears burned red, but he didn’t look away this time. “My dad’s dead.”

He was empathetic. “I know.”

“And Grandpa’s, well, old.”

Sesshoumaru smirked. “Yes.”

“I don’t want to ask my mom.”

Sesshoumaru turned and kept walking. “You can ask a brother.”

Chapter Text

The boy was honest in his questions, and Sesshoumaru likewise was honest in his answers.

“Why does it hurt girls?”

Sesshoumaru looked at him sharply. “It should not if you are considerate. And it is your responsibility to be considerate.”

“But most of the guys at school said that the girls they slept with either cried or bled.”

Resisting the urge to make a cutting remark about humans, he shook his head. “That it happens does not mean it is normal. Common does not dictate natural.”

Souta furrowed his brows. “Okay, so how do you make sure it doesn’t happen?”

Chapter Text

“Make sure she is comfortable.”

“Like, with extra pillows?”

No, with you.”

“Oh. What if she isn’t?”

“Do not have sex with her until she is.”

“How will I know when she’s ready enough for me to do that?”

“If you are not sure, ask her.”

“What if she’s not?”

“Do not have sex with her until she is.”

“What if she says yes and it hurts still?”

“Stop. She is not ready.”

“And—and go back to that other stuff?”

“Yes.”

“So, I need to just take my time?”

“She will thank you for it.”

“And go slow?”

“Yes.”

Chapter Text

They were headed back to the house when Souta suddenly flushed redder than he had all day.

“Can I ask you a personal question?”

Sesshoumaru slanted his eyes at the boy and slowly nodded, knowing the permission may be more than he was bargaining for.

Souta wouldn’t look at him. “If it’s not supposed to hurt, why did Kagome scream like that yesterday?”

He closed his eyes and sighed, knowing he had walked himself into that one. “Not all sounds are reflective of pain.”

“Even screaming?”

Sesshoumaru hesitated. “Sometimes one feels so much it simply manifests more strongly than expected.”

Chapter Text

Souta frowned. “So, they scream because it feels too good?”

“Essentially, yes.”

The boy paled a bit. “Do—do we sound like that sometimes?”

Sesshoumaru cleared his throat and looked straight ahead. “It is possible.”

Souta snickered then. “Why do you look guilty?”

His chin lifted and the looked down at the boy, trying to glare. A small smile cracked anyway. “I do not know what you mean.”

“Oh, come on. We heard you yesterday too.”

Souta dodged to the side, laughing as Sesshoumaru half-heartedly swiped at him. “It just manifested stronger than expected!”

Sesshoumaru smirked then. “You should run.”

Chapter Text

When they finally returned to the house, both of their clothes were disheveled and streaked with dirt, and Sesshoumaru had a tear in his slacks.

Kagome, shock on her face, picked a leaf out of his black hair. “You’re filthy.”

Souta doubled over, laughing as the glamor slipped. The dulled silver hair and streaks on his pale skin revealed the truth of the statement.

Satomi gave her son a mock glare. “You are too. Both of you should clean up.”

When they had left, Kagome turned to her mother. “What on earth were they doing?”

The older woman smiled. “Bonding.”

Chapter Text

There was a yellow envelope taped to the bathroom door when he finished showering for the second time that day. He pulled it off and stole outside, jumping into the branches of the Goshinboku.

Sesshoumaru,

I never said thank you for something from a long, long time ago. That time…Mukotsu. Thank you for stopping him, even if it wasn’t your intention. He would have…well, anyway. It didn’t because you took care of it.

I big feelings you,

Kagome

He remembered. He remembered the foul stench of the shichinintai and the lust rolling off the one he cut down for her.

Chapter Text

He found her sitting with Satomi while she finished weaving.

“I lied.”

Satomi was confused. “Lied?”

His eyes didn’t leave Kagome as he crossed to her. “One of the few times. But yes.” He dropped to his knees, looking at her face. “I knew what he meant to do. I chose to end it.”

He watched her eyes shine with fresh tears at the admission and grabbed her hands, kissing them. More upset than he cared to reveal. “Despite appearances, Miko, I never would have allowed such a thing to happen.”

Satomi frowned. “What happened?”

“He saved me from rape.”

Chapter Text

Rape?” Satomi shot to her feet, her eyes sternly set on Kagome. “You never told me you were almost raped.”

Kagome winced. “Seemed better at the time to leave that out.”

Sesshoumaru stood, looking thoughtfully down at her. “The desire for the jewel has repeatedly led to unfortunate events.” His eyes slid to Satomi’s. “As you all saw this morning.”

Satomi’s anger flared. “I’m sick of that thing.”

“It is cursed,” Sesshoumaru said. “It was never intended to be benevolent, despite what its appeal convinced others of.”

Strangely silent, Kagome stood. “Excuse me.”

Without another word, she left the room.

Chapter Text

He found her in the well house.

She stood, shoulders tensed as she gripped the edge of the well, staring down into the darks depths. He could feel the whorl of magic roiling around them in the tiny building, and his scalp prickled at the knowledge of what that magic could to.

He wanted her away from the well.

“I hate this thing.” She turned to him, fingers touching the jewel. “This. The well. They took so much.”

Approaching silently, he took her arm and led her away from the edge.

Kagome ground her teeth. “They’re going to take again.”

Chapter Text

She exhaled, wrapping her arms around herself. “But they gave me you. And I don’t know how to process that yet.”

“Neither do I,” he said quietly. “Nor do I wish to.”

He led her out into the fading light.

“Can I ask why?” She took his hand as they headed back, comforted by the feeling of his wrapping around hers.

He looked down at her as they walked. “I would not have them all gone, nor would I sacrifice us. But we would not exist except for loss.” He pulled her arm through his. “And that I cannot process.”

Chapter Text

“Sesshoumaru, sit with us?”

Shortly after dinner had been cleaned up, Satomi and Kagome took over the table with a box and several books they called “photo albums.”

The box contained pictures from Kagome’s travels in the past.

When he sat, she carefully slid some of the photographs over to him. “You were always so hard to catch on camera, but I got a few.” She looked at him meaningfully. “I got them.”

Not quite understanding, he accepted the pile and looked down to the pictures in his hands.

And froze.

A little, dark-haired girl was smiling back at him.

Chapter Text

There was one of her playing with the kit.

There was one where she picked flowers; Jaken followed behind her.

There was one where her fists thrust down at her sides as she leaned forward and screamed at him, doubtlessly upset that he was leaving her again.

There was one where she trailed behind him, her small hand clutching the empty sleeve of his kimono.

There was one where she was waving, obviously then knowing and understanding the device that caught images.

And there was the close up of her face, smiling brightly and happily as Kagome captured her picture.

Chapter Text

His chest tightened, the vise on his heart refusing to release as he traced the image of her yelling. He wanted to laugh. She would get so mad when he left her—whether alone or with someone—and the otherwise sweet, acquiescing child would unleash hell on him.

The first time she had done it, it was surprising. The second time, it was annoying. The third time found him in her face, lecturing her about unacceptable behavior. The fourth time, she cried. The fifth time, she understood he’d come back. She finally trusted he’d be there.

And then, he wasn’t.

Chapter Text

With a quiet thank you, he retreated to their room after seeing the photos.

Kagome followed shortly after and found him laying in the dark with an arm flung over his eyes. Wordlessly, she eased down next to him, lacing her hand through his free one.

They lay in silence for over an hour.

When Sesshoumaru finally uncovered his face and turned to her, she could see the grief reflected in his eyes, fresh and exposed as he again relived his loss.

Relived his guilt.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, touching his face.

He shook his head.

“What do you need?”

Chapter Text

What do you need?

He closed his eyes, rolling her onto her back before leaning over to press his forehead to hers. The question was impossible to answer, incapable of bestowing one longing without taking another. It was cruel, unjust, and hopelessly bitter in the wake of its poignancy.

What do you need?

He shook, waves of breathtaking heartbreak flooding out from his chest. They mercilessly crushed, pulled, and swallowed him whole. Focusing on her hands, he tried to reclaim his composure as she soothed with soft touches within her embrace.

What do you need?

He needed what he had.

Chapter Text

Breathing her in, his lips touched hers. The delicate, pink flesh was pliant, gently caressing and comforting as he kissed her. She softly sighed into his mouth, the sweet, innocent action pushing into his chest, chasing away part of the ache.

Between each taste of their intimacy and affection, he murmured his love, admitted his grief, and whispered his gratitude. And there was so much gratitude. She never should have been his, but fate wrought its havoc and somehow placed her into his arms and him into hers.

And now, where dark and unseen except to his touch, it grew.

Chapter Text

She had once said life gave as much as it took away.

Generosity was never mentioned.

With a final kiss to her mouth, he eased down her body, lifted her shirt, and lay his ear low on her abdomen, listening. Below him, she stiffened.

“Sesshoumaru, am I—“

“Yes.”

Shaking hands reached down to tangle in his hair.

He pressed closer. Underneath the sound of her surprise, there was the soft rush of blood feeding her womb and then finally what he had been looking for.

New life.

“Can you hear a heartbeat?” she whispered.

He choked. “I hear two.”

Chapter Text

And that was a new breaking point. Sesshoumaru completely cracked.

His father. He had completely, irrevocably become what he had so vehemently condemned, surpassing his father twice over.

With the first shout of laughter, he surprised himself. When it continued, he was lost to an unexplainable shock he couldn’t contemplate because he was still laughing—harder and louder.

Completely stunned, Kagome watched as he wrapped his arms around himself, leaned back against the wall, and continued to lose it, tears streaming down his face.

Two heartbeats. His half breeds. And he would lay to dust anything that came near them.

Chapter Text

It took Satomi and her both to get him up off the floor.

He was still laughing—tears still running like a faucet from his eyes—when her mother knocked on the door, wondering what the racket was.

If Kagome hadn’t still been so shocked herself, she would have laughed at her mother’s face.

In between the bouts of laughter they could make out words like “two,” “father,” “Inuyasha,” and “sweet potatoes,” but nothing much more than that.

He was a nonsensical, rambling mess.

“Milk tea,” Satomi said, grasping his arm and pulling. “Milk tea sounds like a good idea.”

Chapter Text

He was finally quiet, face hidden in his arms against the kitchen table.

Kagome reached out, freeing the portion of his hair that was tied back, and ran her fingers through the silver strands, trying to comfort and soothe whatever this was.

Clawed fingers laced through hers, but he didn’t raise his head.

“Are you unhappy?” she finally whispered.

He shook his head, mumbling something into his arms.

Kagome leaned closer, brows furrowed. “What?”

He sat up then, hastily pushing hair out of his face and wiping at his eyes. “I am a hypocrite.”

His lips quirked, and she laughed.

Chapter Text

Satomi placed tea down in front of them. “I’m going to check on Grandpa.” She kissed Kagome, touched his face, and left.

Kagome was grateful for the privacy.

She sipped at the tea before looking up at him. “When did I—when were they conceived?”

He placed his cup down, looking into the liquid thoughtfully. “Not long after arriving in the West.”

“Oh.” She wouldn’t meet his eyes as her own filled with tears. “When we were still just friends.”

He frowned. “Does that upset you?”

Smiling, Kagome shook her head, letting the tears fall free. “No, not at all.”

Chapter Text

She stood and walked over to him, dropping into his lap. His eyes were rimmed red from his hysterics, and his hair was disheveled. Never before has she seen him this much of a disaster—even in the heat of battle. But he was here and hers and so solid and more real in that moment than ever before.

She held his face, kissing his mouth, and he tasted like salt and tea and something uniquely him.  “We made babies in friendship when things were really hard. They’re a sweet reminder there was good.”

His eyes softened.

She was right.

Chapter Text

It was easy to forget what he was.

But, early the next morning, there were swords, torn clothing, and blood. He silently moved through the morning mist on the shrine grounds, and Satomi only just saw him through the window.

She rushed outside.

It was her instinct to ask if he was alright, but he moved too easily—too confidentially—to be wounded.

Instead she asked: “Did you find them?”

He dipped his head. “Some of them.”

She nodded, eyes conflicted. He was dangerous. So clearly lethal and otherworldly and she had never fully realized it—even with his warning.

Chapter Text

When he crept back into her bedroom, there was an envelope on his pillow. He snatched it up on his way to the shower.

Carefully stripping off the bloodied clothing, he flicked on the stream of water and then sliced a claw through the paper while waiting for it to warm.

Sesshoumaru,

I woke up and you weren’t here. I know you’re hunting. Please don’t try to hide it. I understand.

Love you.

Kagome

P.S. When you get back, the pups want an apple.

He jumped in the shower, jaw set.

Suddenly, there was so much that could be lost.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru was gone again.

When the transient light of the false dawn touched the sky, Kagome climbed out of bed, took Touitsu, and stepped out into the cold morning.

In the middle of the shrine, she set her target, trusting the bow’s healing power to allow for practice without damaging her family’s home.

Its aim was sure and true, and she watched the pink glow of her strength cut through the mist as it combined with that of the brothers.

One who died to save her life.

One who lived and gave her life.

She drew back and let go.

Chapter Text

Familiar youki swirled and caressed her before she saw him.

The mist had not yet cleared when his form cut through, his pale features eerily blending in with the haze.

He looked like a ghost.

The thought itself was enough to drive her forward, and, eyes determined, she drew back again and watched the arrow sink into the center of the target.

She wouldn’t lose him too.

Before she could fire another, he wrapped around her from behind.

“You are angry,” he whispered into her ear.

His presence was all-encompassing, and she closed her eyes, leaning back into him. “Yes.”

Chapter Text

Lowering himself to the ground, he drew her into his lap, her back to his chest so he could circle her with warmth. With a little wiggle, she nestled back against him and pulled his arms more tightly about her.

“Why are you angry?”

Kagome sighed and sank deeper into him. “Right now, when I remember all we’ve been given, it reminds me of what everyone else missed out on.” Her voice grew thicker. “And it’s not fair they didn’t get to experience it.”

His chin rested on her head. “No, it is not fair.”

She cried. “I hate this.”

Chapter Text

For a while they sat in silence. The mist began to burn away as true dawn awakened, and the first warm, golden beams of sunlight could be seen rising over the shrine roof.

Kagome trembled. “Touitsu. When I fire it, it feels like Inuyasha is standing right there next to me.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “And like your arms are around us both.”

He tightened his arms, pulling her closer.

She closed her eyes. “It makes me afraid.”

“Why, Miko?”

“Because he’s a memory.” Her hands clutched his. “And I don’t want to feel you like a memory.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes the memories were unkind.

Fetid, rotting decay stares back at him from hollowed eyes. Skin that once covered the bone is gone, little bits of flesh left festering and putrefying. It is suffocating, stomach-churning malodor that fills his nostrils, grasps at his throat, and forces him to his knees.

His daughter.

Her son.

The lost boy.

His brother.

All of them, dead.

With a shout, Sesshoumaru shot up in bed. Cold sweat covered him, his stomach roiling dangerously at the memory.

He could still smell them.

See them.

Her voice was sleepy. “What’s wrong?”

Bile rose in his throat.

Chapter Text

Her eyes widened when she saw him stifle a gag and cover his mouth. “Toilet!”

He ran for her bathroom.

Kagome was a second behind him, pulling back his hair as he retched. The skin on the back of his neck was clammy as his muscles tensed and he was sick. Securing his hair with a tie, she soaked a cloth in cool water and lay it over the back of his neck as he continued to purge.

“It’s okay,” she soothed, knowing it wasn’t.

There was only one thing that had elicited this reaction before. And it wasn’t okay.

Chapter Text

Pivoting, he leaned into his stance and brought the sword down.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder. It can happen when you’ve lived through something traumatizing.”

He knew it as “battle fatigue,” and it had never been an issue in all his centuries.

Sesshoumaru growled and then re-centered on the kata, losing himself to the steps. Tenseiga—why he chose it right now he still didn’t know—swung through the air in a graceful arc as he moved through the exercises, the redundancy of the steps soothing his frayed nerves.

He could smell the boy approach.

Souta held Tessaiga, grinning shyly. “Teach me?”

Chapter Text

The boy was clumsy and inexperienced but an eager learner. By the end of their session he had improved is stance and could hold the sword properly.

Souta’s smile was flushed and bright. “Thank you.”

Sesshoumaru smiled back. It was small but there, the stress from the night before still badgering him, but he’d be lying to say he didn’t enjoy spending time teaching him. “Wake early and I’ll teach you more.”

He clapped Souta’s shoulder and headed inside.

Satomi was in the kitchen.

Refusing to overanalyze, he walked up to her.

“Satomi.”

She stirred breakfast. “Hmm?”

“Mom hug, please.”

Chapter Text

Kagome walked through the grocery aisle with her mother. They had run out of apples, and the cold weather and heavy hearts in the house would do well with a comforting meal that evening.

“Last night really messed with him,” Kagome said, sighing as she filled the cart.

“I’d say.” Satomi turned them down a new aisle, looking for more rice. “He asked for a hug his morning.”

“Seriously?”

“While I was cooking.”

Kagome frowned. “I never saw what he did. He made sure I didn’t. But I know it was awful.”

“Then I’m grateful he kept you from it.”

Chapter Text

Glamor in place, he sat outside underneath the Goshinboku with one of the library books, researching while he waited for them to return. The cold air was brisk and welcome, helping to keep the nausea wanting to surge at bay.

The memory of death’s smell plagued him.

So, when the familiar scent of someone he’d known all his life pricked at his senses, it was a relief as much as a surprise.

Her hair was still dark, eyes still kind—if not a bit more lined. She smiled at him and held a bundle close to her chest.

“Hello, Pup.”

Chapter Text

His head fell back against the tree, and he chuckled.

“Chiyo.”

The older youkai grinned and accepted his hand when he offered it, sitting. “Surprised?”

“Yes and no.” Curious, he leaned over to see what was wrapped in her arms. It smelled…familiar.

Chiyo smiled warmly. “Being privy to your past has its benefits. I know what still plagues you.” She shook her head when his look darkened. “Stop it. I’m simply here to remind you that it does get better.”

Gently, she uncovered a tiny face.

With downy silver hair.

And soft, plush ears.

A hanyou.

He forgot to breathe.

Chapter Text

Cradling the pup to his chest, he wouldn’t look away from her face. The babe was sleeping, lips parted with tiny puffs of breath pushing between rosy lips. Dark lashes fanned her pale skin. He brushed a finger down a smooth cheek and watched her nose wiggle, seeking what was familiar.

When her face turned, recognizing him, he nearly broke.

His voice wouldn’t work right. “How?”

“Surely you understand reproduction.”

At his sour look, she laughed.

Sesshoumaru leaned down, breathing his child’s scent.

Chiyo smiled. “She’s only hours old. And that is what will become the smell you remember most.”

Chapter Text

A small hand grasped his finger, and his eyes softened. “How long?”

“Soon but not yet. She’s a tiny thing, and while your mate can handle it, I can’t stand your brooding.”

Shifting the pup, Sesshoumaru made himself more comfortable underneath the tree and lay her on his chest. She stayed asleep.

“When she gets hungry, I’ll need to return her.”

He nodded. It was unusual to see his hair black and spilling over the soft silver of the pup’s, but people were milling about the shrine.

Smiling, Chiyo adjusted the newborn’s blanket. “Sleep. I’ll wake you when it’s time.”

Chapter Text

He slept, and there were no nightmares nor haunting memories.

Dozing in and out, the light pressure and sweet scent of the babe on his chest soothed and lulled him. His hand nearly covered the small back that rose and fell under his touch, sleeping peacefully and unbothered by the activity surrounding them.

Soft, throaty and gurgling sounds woke him when the sun was high in the sky. She was getting fussy.

“Someone’s hungry,” Chiyo said gently.

An unfamiliar ache spreading through him, he lowered his lips to the pup’s head and breathed her in, not wanting to let go.

Chapter Text

Chiyo cried, laughing while she did. “I really don’t want to take her from you.”

He smiled, closing his eyes as his lips murmured against the pup. “Then do not.”

Handing her back was one of the hardest things he ever did.

The older youkai wrapped her carefully, and they stood.

She touched his face. “I promise you it gets better. Good.”

Nodding silently, he didn’t look away from the pup.

Chiyo grinned. “She’s the youngest. There are others.”

He gave her a look. “Should you be sharing these things?”

With a wink, she turned. “Yes. And you should listen.”

Chapter Text

He was acting weird.

After returning from the store, they went to her room and settled down in the pile of library books to search for more information on the jewel. It was frustrating, nothing of significance coming to light. And it didn’t help that he was hovering.

Kagome closed her book. “What’s going on?”

He straightened his back. “I do not know what you mean.”

“You’re smelling me.”

Lifting his chin, he looked away.

She narrowed her eyes. “Are you trying to tell me something?”

He started. “What?”

Her eyes watered. “Do I smell bad?”

No.”

Then, she cried.

Chapter Text

Satomi said they were called “hormones.”

He sat at the kitchen table with the woman. Kagome’s cries echoed in his ears from the bath, which she retreated to after their misunderstanding. At first, he had tried to follow her, but her initial cries quickly turned to anger, and he decided she needed space.

“She is…”

Satomi smiled. “Emotional?”

He glared a little. “Irrational.”

She laughed. “Pregnancy will do that. She’ll calm down.” Eying him, “Were you smelling her?”

He pursed his lips. “Perhaps.”

Laughing harder at his face, she poked him. “You two have differences. Just explain them to her.”

Chapter Text

When he entered her bathroom, she covered her face and burst into tears. “I’m so sorry! I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

He knelt by the tub where she soaked and pulled her hands from her face. “Your mother said you are hormonal.”

“Mama said what?” she snapped.

He arched a brow.

Kagome sunk down until just her nose was above the water, bubbles rising and popping as she mumbled.

Sitting with his back to the tub, he admitted it. “Your scent is…enticing.”

She blushed. “Thank you.”

He merely nodded, getting her towel when she stood to get out.

Chapter Text

Before he wrapped her in the cloth, his eyes drifted down over her.

“What?” She crossed her arms over herself self-consciously.

His smile was tender. “You’re starting to swell.”

“Oh.” She dropped her arms. “Well, there’s two. I’ll probably get bigger sooner.”

He tucked the towel around her and then scooped her up, carrying her into the room and depositing her on the futons.

She immediately snuggled down, the towel loosening. “Nap with me?”

He pulled back the covers as she slipped the towel and crawled under with her.

“Sesshoumaru?”

“What, Miko?”

“No clothes.”

“That is not a nap.”

“Pre-nap.”

Chapter Text

Life was strange and unpredictable.

While she sorted through more photos, she watched him help her mother cook. Inuyasha, Miroku, Sango, and Shippou stared back at her—smiling, squabbling, and going about life.

Her eyes lingered on Inuyasha. It still hurt to look at him. But part of that hurt had started to change.

Looking down at a picture of Sesshoumaru, she glanced back at him standing next to her mother. She never could have anticipated it would be him sharing her life.

The aloof daiyoukai in photographs was a distant, untouchable memory she couldn’t find a place for anymore.

Chapter Text

The aloof daiyoukai was back the moment Houjou knocked on the door.

Without warning, the glamor slipped into place. Despite, it they could all see him bristle as his voice dropped dangerously.

“There is a male at the door.” He never turned from the stove. “He is anticipating…female.”

Kagome paled. One way to put it. “I better answer it.”

She left, missing the way Sesshoumaru’s eyes snapped to her retreating form and narrowed.

He followed.

“This will be fun,” Satomi sighed to herself, turning down the stove. “Inuyasha was ornery, but that one is straight up territorial.”

She followed too.

Chapter Text

“Houjou, hi!” Her voice and smile were too bright.

“Higurashi, I heard you were back.” Houjou held flowers out to her, his smile warm and friendly.

Kagome hesitantly accepted the flowers, heart sinking. He was genuinely happy to see her. Behind her she heard a low growl and her brother laugh followed by her mother’s shushing sounds.

She cringed.

“Have you been back long?”

“No no, not too long. Just popped back home for a visit.” She refused to look back, but she could feel youki swirl and darken from somewhere behind her.

No big white dog. Do not transform.

Chapter Text

Houjou chatted, oblivious to her unease, while she focused on the conversation in the background.

The glamor had obviously slipped.

“Whoa, look at his teeth!”

“Sesshoumaru, calm down.”

Kagome nodded and smiled as Houjou continued, beginning to have a mild anxiety attack.

“Use the poison!”

“Souta, you’re not helping! Sesshoumaru, it’s fine. Really. He’s harmless.”

“…and I was thinking we could see a movie. Catch up.”

Her eyes widened when she heard a snarl.

“Sesshoumaru, honey, can we please see gold eyes again?”

“What was that?” Houjou peered around her shoulder.

She panicked. “The cat! It’s…constipated.”

That comment wasn’t appreciated.

Chapter Text

“So, what do you say, Higurashi? Dinner and a movie?”

“Hahahahaha!”

“Souta, go away! Sesshoumaru, glamor!”

“Um, Houjou, you see—"

Mercilessly clawless hands rested on her shoulders, and she tilted her head back and saw the impassive face from her past staring back. Just more human.

Houjou, clueless gentleman that he was, smiled and extended his hand. “Hi, I’m Houjou.”

Kagome didn’t give him a chance. “Houjou, this is my husband, Sesshoumaru. Sorry, he’s foreign and doesn’t understand our language well.”

Surprised but nodding, Houjou spoke slowly. “Nice. To. Meet. You.”

Sesshoumaru smirked…

…and began speaking in perfect Cantonese.

Chapter Text

Kagome’s jaw dropped.

Houjou smiled and struck up a conversation in the foreign language.

Of course.

She watched, dumbfounded, as Sesshoumaru conversed back and forth with Houjou, reserved but not unfriendly.

That she hadn’t been expecting.

After about ten minutes of what she assumed to be small talk, Houjou turned back to her. “I’m so sorry for the misunderstanding, Izayoi…”

Izayoi?

“…but congratulations on your marriage and the pregnancy.” He said something in Cantonese once again to Sesshoumaru, shook his hand, and left.

As soon as he was out of sight, she turned to face two very annoyed golden eyes.

Chapter Text

She followed him into the house. “Where did you learn Cantonese!”

Sesshoumaru gave her a look and dropped next to a snickering Souta on the couch. “My mother is from the mainland.”

Kagome stared. “Any other big secrets you want to share?”

“No.”

“Well, that went well.” Satomi came in, glaring.

Sesshoumaru arched a brow and touched one claw to the flowers Houjou brought, dissolving them.

It was the excitement Souta had been waiting for. “Yes!”

Sesshoumaru stood then, and Kagome growled.

“Where are you going?”

“Apparently to the bathroom.”

He walked off.

Satomi laughed. “Oh, he’s a snarky one.”

Chapter Text

He was laying on the futons when she went up to her room to find him.

Silently, she crawled down next to him, turning onto her back. For a while, neither said anything. Then, she picked up his hand, brought it to her face, and started tracing the lines on it.

“I don’t want anyone else,” she said quietly.

“I know, Miko.”

She flipped to her side to look at him. “Then why all that?”

Sesshoumaru turned as well, shrugging. “Instinct. You are pregnant, and his scent was originally…distasteful.”

“Oh.”

He laced their fingers, embracing peacefulness when she burrowed close.

Chapter Text

He kissed her, and she remembered their first.

Even after all they had physically shared, it was these brief, chaste touches of his lips to hers that made her feel like she was drowning in a vat of warm champagne. She would never understand the impossible softness of his mouth when the rest of him was solid and hard or how he knew that lingering just so would make her heart swell nearly to bursting.

She loved their intimacy—loved him. And sometimes that feeling was so big she just couldn’t handle it.

When she cried, he smiled and understood.

Chapter Text

He kissed her, and he remembered their first.

Even after love and lust and heartache and healing, it was still the sweet miko who implicitly trusted him he held in his arms—still overwhelming him as she softly and tenderly returned what he gave. He would never understand how a human dug under his skin and into his heart or how it had been only too easy to offer himself and take her as his.

But he cherished their affection and loved her. And he could understand why, in these small moments of big feelings, she cried and clung closer.

Chapter Text

Two days later, Kagome looked at him suspiciously.

“Do you want to tell me why you keep hiding that shirt you wore the other day when I do laundry?”

Sesshoumaru looked at her, his face the perfect picture of indifference. But inside he panicked—just a bit.

It really wasn’t something he could answer. Chiyo had come to him. She didn’t say not to mention anything to Kagome, but she had chosen to come when the miko wasn’t around. And he’d be damned before he gave up that shirt and the scent of the babe on it.

“It is fine.”

Chapter Text

Kagome wouldn’t let it go.

“It’s dirty.”

“No, it is not.”

“You wore it.”

“Yes.”

“So, let me wash it.”

“No.”

“Sesshoumaru, that’s gross.”

“Then let it be gross.”

“It’s right by the bed—where your face is.”

“It is fine.”

“I’ll have to wash it eventually.”

“That shirt is not to be washed.”

“Why are you being weird about this?”

“Am I?”

“Um, yeah.”

“Fine. This Sesshoumaru is weird. Do not wash the shirt.”

This Sesshoumaru…what the hell? Why are you acting like this? You’re more stubborn than your brother!”

“That should be expected.”

“Oh, for the love of…”

Chapter Text

Souta woke early and joined him as the sun rose.

He went through the previously taught kata, adjusting the boy’s stance and grip as they went, pleased that he had remembered most of it and had been practicing.

“It’s been singing again.”

Stopping his swing mid-arc, Sesshoumaru knitted his brows, concerned. “How often?”

Souta shrugged. “Most nights. But it’s been different from the last time.”

Sheathing Tenseiga, he approached Tessaiga, looking curiously.

The sword was silent.

“How is it different?” He felt the protective barrier resonating.

“It sounds happier? I don’t know if that makes sense.”

Sesshoumaru frowned. It didn’t.

Chapter Text

Tessaiga’s song changed again.

Souta, putting down his book, eyed it curiously. The tone reverberating from the sword was darker, more ominous than it had been early that morning.

Without a word, he grabbed the weapon and went to find Sesshoumaru. He had said to get him if it happened again.

Halfway through the house, he heard something crash. There was the sound of a scream being muffled, and then silence.

He looked out the window just in time to see something bound toward the woods with Kagome struggling in its arms.

Without a second thought, he ran after them.

Chapter Text

She wanted to fry them. Anger and energy bubbled under the surface of her skin, but the claws poised over her belly stopped her from doing anything. So, she settled for glaring.

They wanted the jewel, but not before getting to him first.

“He’ll cause problems for years to come,” one of the panthers drawled. “Better to take care of him now.”

Kagome snorted. “Good luck with that. He survived Naraku. You’re nothing compared to that.”

The panther was in her face, seething. “Naraku never had his mate and pups.”

“Yeah? Well, you don’t get them either!”

Souta. Holding Tessaiga.

Chapter Text

The panthers laughed.

“What’s this? A human with a stick?”

Souta shook but held Tessaiga up and refused to back down. “Yeah, I’m a human with a stick. Now, get away from her.”

Kagome’s eyes widened as she looked at her brother. He wasn’t shaking—the sword was. And it was loud.

What on earth?

Tightening his grip, Souta lifted the sword higher. “I mean it! Let them go, or I’ll—”

The panther holding Kagome drew a claw quickly over her stomach—just enough to scratch and make her bleed. “Or you’ll do what?”

She gasped, and Souta shouted.

Chapter Text

Tessaiga transformed.

Both siblings stared wide-eyed as the massive fang once again lived, erupting in a bright flash of light that made the panthers step back.

Then it toppled, sticking point first into the ground and nearly taking Souta with it.

“Whoa!”

To his credit, he never let his grip go, following the sword down until it planted. But he couldn’t lift it back up.

“Don’t let go of it, Souta!” Kagome shouted, pressing her hand to her stomach. The wound was shallow enough, but it stung.

“I’m not!”

A moment later, a sphere of light shot through the woods.

Chapter Text

Describing the inside that sphere of light was difficult.

She had only been in it once before, but she had been too distraught at the time to really notice the display of color and light surrounding her.

It was brilliant, and he was at the center of it, holding her tightly as the burning iridescence crackled and snapped around them with a fluidity that would challenge water.

And then it was gone, she was behind her brother, and Sesshoumaru was standing between them both and the other youkai.

Something darker—violent—radiated from him as he faced the panthers.

Chapter Text

A flash of light burst from his claws, and he watched the stream of energy take the head of the one who had cut Kagome.

The head rolled, and Sesshoumaru rushed the remaining youkai as they stood in shock, tearing through bodies with his claws and plunging poison into those who ran. Blood sprayed his face and stained his hair, but he didn’t stop, flicking the lingering carnage from his hands without a second thought.

It was nothing other than a massacre, and he didn’t leave one standing.

When a hoard of panthers emerged from the trees, his grin was feral.

Chapter Text

The Tessaiga sang.

Fully transformed it was loud and echoed through the trees, bouncing off the youkai creeping out of the wood and shaking the sword as it came back.

Kagome stared. “It’s never done that.”

Souta could barely hold onto it. “Um, Sesshoumaru? I think it wants something!”

Not taking his eyes off the wood, Sesshoumaru backed up until he stood with them. “What do you see?”

“See?” Souta panicked. “I see pissed off cats!”

The whip shot out and snapped a panther who got too close in two. “Do you see the winds?”

“No, but I hear them.”

Chapter Text

Souta shouted in surprise as the Tessaiga nearly loosed itself from the earth, and Kagome jumped forward, adding her hands and trying to keep it from shaking free.

“Hold on!” she shouted.

Sesshoumaru ripped through part of the hoard and shouted at Souta over his shoulder. “Cut where you hear the winds concentrate!”

You get out of there then!” Kagome shot back.

Souta pulled. “I can’t lift it!”

And then a moment later, Sesshoumaru was behind them, his hands closing over both siblings’ wrists and lifting the blade. “Cut!”

With Sesshoumaru’s strength behind them, Souta directed the blade and cut.

Chapter Text

It was brilliant.

A rose gold burst of energy shot forth from the blade and tore through the hoard that had emerged, obliterating every youkai with that single swing.

And the trees still stood.

Souta and Kagome gawked.

“The land is fine,” she said, stunned.

Sesshoumaru released their wrists, and the sword transformed back into the old, beat up blade. “You were touching it. It acted as Touitsu would.”

“Did you see that!” Souta whirled around. “Did we get all—dang, Sesshoumaru. You need a shower.”

He gathered both siblings into his arms and held them tightly. “We all do.”

Chapter Text

Convincing Satomi no one had more than a scratch was difficult.

When they finally did and she realized the one with the scratch was Kagome and where it was, she hit her breaking point.

Assurances that she and the babies were fine fell on deaf ears, and Satomi sat at the kitchen table, crying while Grandpa stood over the stove making tea to calm her.

“What if Sesshoumaru didn’t get there in time?” she asked, her distress growing.

“Mama, he did. We’re fine.”

Satomi slammed her hands down on the table. “It would be better if the jewel didn’t exist!”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru and Kagome stared at each other.

Blood began to boil in his veins, and he growled. “We have been foolish.”

Kagome paled and licked her lips. “Is it really that simple?”

When he nodded, she almost cried.

Satomi glared, wiping tears from her eyes. “Do you two care to share?”

Grandpa walked over then, setting a cup of tea before her. “The right wish. You have figured it out, Satomi.”

When what he said registered, she cried again. “So, this”—she motioned them all—“is over soon?”

Sesshoumaru crouched beside her, taking her hands. “It is a new beginning.”

Chapter Text

Once in the shower with her, his composure gave way.

He sank to his knees, cleaning the blood from her scratch before wrapping his arms around her and burying his face against her stomach.

His shoulders shook.

Her gut wrenched. He didn’t make a sound, but she could feel his uneven breaths and the extra, unexpected liquid warmth against her skin.

Blinking back her own tears, she swallowed and combed her fingers through his hair, trying to comfort and reassure him.

He had been afraid—for her and their babies—and in the privacy of the shower, it came out.

Chapter Text

When he wouldn’t lift his face, she poured shampoo into her hand and began working it through his hair, washing away the blood that still stained it. She watched the red fade to pink and continue to lighten.

The last dregs of blood and gore swirled down the drain as she rinsed the suds away, slowly revealing clean, shining silver.

He still didn’t move, so she soaped up a loofah and began scrubbing the blood from his skin, silently grateful to find that none of it was his.

And when she finished, she wrapped him in her arms and waited.

Chapter Text

He finally stood and leaned down to touch his forehead to hers.

She watched as his lips pressed together, brows knitted as he warred with everything trapped inside of him. There was a quick, soft sniffle that she almost didn’t believe had existed. But she raised her hand anyway to catch the snatches of emotion trickling down from behind his closed eyes.

He caught her hand. “Let them fall.”

She frowned, and his sudden watery laugh surprised her.

“It is needed,” he whispered.

So, they fell, washing her with his release under the warm water as he steadied his breath.

Chapter Text

After, when he was spent and clean, he lay down to nap.

That shirt was still by his pillow.

She watched curiously as his nose turned to it and he sighed in his sleep, his face relaxing. But he was relaxed, and that was what mattered.

Silently, she dressed in the hanjuban her mother had made from his hair, putting on the fire rat robes over it. Then, grabbing Touitsu, she slipped out the door, leaving him to rest.

She left the house, went to the center of the shrine, and sat.

It was not over yet, and she waited.

Chapter Text

“You are either in love or very foolish.”

Kagome smiled at the sound of his voice and watched as he slowly emerged from the shadows. “Can I be both?”

He smirked, the brazier he carried in his hand illuminating his features. “You often are.”

She grinned, and he sat the burning coals beside her.

“Thank you.”

He simply nodded.

Twisting her body, she stretched out the kinks from sitting. “I thought you were napping?”

“Am I?” One brow slowly arched as his eyes glittered with amusement.

“I just left you—”

She stopped then, dumbstruck.

His hair came past his waist.

Chapter Text

Her ears rang as her head swam and she slowly reached for his face, stopping just before touching him.

Unsure.

He smiled and leaned into her hand. “I told you to never be afraid to touch me.”

Kagome exhaled and held his cheek. “How is this possible?” She searched his eyes. “You…you’re so…I—”

“Time is strange,” he said, turning his nose to her palm. “And our lives are long.”

“But why tonight?”

His look became serious. “Tonight is a defining moment. And it is hard.”

Cold ran down her spine. “How hard?”

“That I cannot tell you.”

Chapter Text

Her hand came to her neck, and she held the jewel. “We didn’t get all of them earlier, did we?”

“No, but I think you knew that. Or else you would not be out here.”

Her voice shook. “So, you came to support? Help? Pick up the pieces?”

“No, Miko,” he said tucking her hair. “I came to fight.” He turned an irritated look to the shadows. “And I apparently brought reinforcements.”

Her eyes widened. “What?”

With a sigh, he tapped her stomach. “These two have never listened well.”

Two more figures emerged from the dark, guilty smiles on their faces.

Chapter Text

“Maya. Miyu.” He was terse.

Two identical women with long, sleek, black hair tied back high in tails stepped out of the shadows. Soft, plush ears lay on top of their heads.

Kagome gaped, hands pressing to her stomach. “They’re girls?”

“Hi, Papa,” Maya said. She grinned and waved at Kagome.

Miyu glared. “You can’t be mad since you technically already knew we’d do this. Hi, Mama.”

“Speaking of which,” Maya said, heading toward the shrine. “I got dibs on waking you up.”

With a leap she was gone.

Kagome stared at him. “This makes my head hurt.”

He smirked.

Chapter Text

Miyu stepped in front of them, drawing a blade from her side. “They’re here.”

Sesshoumaru pulled their daughter behind them, and Kagome almost laughed at her indignant snort, a soft pang sticking in her gut at the same time. “She reminds me of—”

“Inuyasha.” He gave the grumbling Miyu a look over his shoulder. “I know.”

Kagome watched Miyu make a face at his back.

“Keep your mother with you,” he said, drawing Bakusaiga as his eyes focused ahead. “Protect the well.”

He looked back at Kagome, his smile almost sad. “When the time comes, do not fight me.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru woke to the sound of the window sliding open.

In less than a second, he had the intruder by the throat, sharp talons pricking the soft skin as he squeezed. He let his youki rise, feeling the fangs lengthen in his mouth as it took over. “Where is the miko?”

The woman tried to gasp for air, clawing at her throat when she couldn’t. “Use…nose!” she croaked.

He growled, clenching tighter.

“Pa—Papa.”

Taken aback, his youki pulled back in and he dropped her.

She crumpled in a heap on the floor, hand to her throat, gasping. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru stared at the woman on the ground, stunned, his nose confirming her claim in addressing him so.

She grinned at him, pushing to her feet. “You know, it becomes a family game to see who can put that look on your face the most. I think I just got the first authentic point.”

His eyes narrowed to slits, and she swallowed.

“That one we try to avoid…”

“Explain, right now, why you are here.”

She paled. “Panthers—lots. Protect family. Get Mama through well.”

He nodded, grabbing his swords.

She stopped him, looking at him meaningfully. “Wear the kimono.”

Chapter Text

When he was dressed, she approached him cautiously.

Eying her curiously, his previous ire melted away. “What is your name?”

She seemed happy he asked. “Maya.” She leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, “I’m your favorite.” At the skeptical arch of his brow, she pouted. “Was worth a shot.”

“Do all of my children scheme for attention?” He motioned for her to follow him down the hall.

“Pretty much. There’s a lot of us.” She jogged after him. “You’re taking all this well.”

He opened the door to Souta’s room and motioned her in. “Stranger things have happened. Get the Tessaiga.”

Chapter Text

Kagome drew back on Touitsu and watched with satisfaction as the arrow plowed through the throng of panthers coming up the shrine steps, returning to her quiver moments later. Behind her Miyu slashed at those that came too close to them and the well.

She seemed to thrive on battle, her face flushed as her fangs flashed with delight.

“You’re a lot like your uncle,” Kagome said, firing once again at the shrine steps. If she could just hold them off…

Miyu laughed. “So I’ve been—shit!”

Kagome turned just in time to see Miyu catch claws coming for her.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru caught Miyu in his arms as she was shoved back, slashing through a panther with Bakusaiga. The youkai dissolved.

“You know, Papa, it really sucks that you can’t just blast them right now.”

He set her on her feet in front of Kagome. “The shrine would be destroyed,” he clipped, cutting through more of the youkai.

Kagome let another arrow fly and then turned to him. “I can buy more time if I can cut them off at the base of the steps.”

He knelt, sweeping his hair aside. “Get on.”

When she did, he launched into the air.

Chapter Text

Satomi shook, her eyes filling angrily, and he pressed his forehead to hers. When they touched, she broke.

“It has always been coming to this, Satomi.”

“No.” Satomi’s eyes shut tightly against her tears, and she hugged him. “Not like this. No.

Maya stood off to the side, her face apologetic. “I’m so sorry. But there’s no choice. They will try to destroy the well to keep the jewel here.”

She pulled away from Sesshoumaru and glared at the woman who was supposedly her granddaughter. “And how do they even know about that?”

Maya shrugged. “Legends are hard to hide.”

Chapter Text

“It’ll be fine, Mama.”

Satomi looked at her son.

Souta walked away from the window and took Tessaiga from Maya. “They’re still here.” He looked at Sesshoumaru. “I can see you out there.”

Sesshoumaru looked at the boy, not missing how he tried to suppress his own grief over what was happening. For a moment Souta looked back, not dropping his eyes.

Then the kid smiled and looked past his shoulder. “You’re my niece?”

Maya grinned back. “I am.”

“And there’s more of you?”

She laughed. “Lots.”

Grinning broadly, Souta poked Sesshoumaru. “Sounds like—”

“Do not say it, Souta.”

Chapter Text

Kagome cut off the next group of panthers, but there were too many. The shrine was surrounded.

Sesshoumaru swore. “Do not let go.”

He plunged straight down into a tight mass of the invading youkai and spun, slicing through bodies to widen the space around them.

Miyu landed in the cleared area. “There’s too many of these bastards!”

At that moment, a young panther wearing the plum blossom crest—barely a teen—dropped into their circle. He drew a blade that leaked poison into those he cut. “Hey, we’re not all bastards!”

He grinned at Kagome. “Hi, M—"

Jiro.”

Chapter Text

Apparently, none of their children listened.

Sesshoumaru was angry; Jiro was only mildly contrite. He pointed at new faces popping out of the shadows that joined the fight against the panthers as he argued nose to nose with Sesshoumaru.

Kagome would have gawked if not for the need to fight. They had more than she could have predicted. And more species.

The daiyoukai growled. “You are in more danger here than the others. If you are mistaken as—"

“I won’t be!”

Kagome stepped in. “I’ll take him to the house.”

Sesshoumaru stopped mid-lecture and then nodded. “Miyu, follow them.”

Chapter Text

In his past, if he had been told that he would one day be conflicted in leaving a human family, he would have scoffed. But it was hard, and centuries suddenly seemed much longer than they had before.

They hugged him and cried, and when Satomi refused to let go, he indulged her pain and squeezed her tighter.

“Take care of them,” she whispered.

He whispered back his gratitude.

With a clever grin, Maya came up and connected. “See you soon.”

When he stood in the doorway, his eyes hardened. “Maya,” he said, crouching low, “keep them safe.”

He leapt.

Chapter Text

Kagome watched her Sesshoumaru fly overhead and into the fray.

“Go, find him!” Miyu shouted, dragging her brother. “I’ll make sure he’s safe!”

With that, Miyu and Jiro were gone.

Kagome ran in the direction she saw Sesshoumaru go. She didn’t dare pull Touitsu again, not able to discern who was her child or not anymore. But as she tore through the fracas, her children did see her, and they cleared a path for her to get through.

“Mama, left!”

Duck!”

“He’s by the well house!”

Wrong dad! He’s by the gate!”

“Aaaaah, this is so confusing!”

It was chaos.

Chapter Text

She ran until she was caught.

The arm of a panther slammed into her, hooking her around her middle and knocking her breathless. Sharp claws pressed into the flesh at the back of her neck.

“Goodbye, Miko.”

And then, unhurt, she was falling.

Before she crashed into the ground, she felt a spray of blood as someone grabbed her, covered her eyes, and leapt into the sky.

It was dizzying, nauseating, and…familiar.

Something clenched in her gut. She reached up, feeling along the hand covering her eyes to clawed fingertips.

The arm around her briefly squeezed.

Then, she was falling.

Chapter Text

“Gotcha!”

She was caught, mid-air, by a handsome hanyou with short, silver hair and the moon crest on his forehead. And when he gave her a small smile, he looked so much like his father that she could only laugh while crying.

That smile bloomed full, and he pressed his forehead to hers. “I’m Naoki.”

Kagome just held his face in her hands, nodding against him.

He landed in front of the well house. Setting her on her feet, he clawed through the panthers blocking the door and then pulled her to his side, rushing her indoors.

“Stay with me.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru learned quickly that his children had shown up wearing his crest.

And they were all over the place.

Hanyou, youkai, and even a few humans—which were sending him into no small amount of carefully concealed panic—fought like hell, pushing the panthers back and taking them out.

It was amusing when they noticed him, smiles bursting onto faces as their laughter sounded over the fighting.

All that changed when panther struck at a human daughter.

He heard their gasps and smelled their fear.

Hanako!”

“Watch out!”

He wouldn’t make it.

Not hesitating, Sesshoumaru flung Tenseiga through her chest.

Chapter Text

If the one they called Hanako was shocked by the sword suddenly embedded in her body, she didn’t show it. She took the panther’s blow and set up to defend against another, unharmed, when he appeared beside her and ripped the youkai to shreds.

Then her shock set in, and she started shaking.

“Do not move,” he said, bracing her back as he pulled Tenseiga out of her.

Hanako’s hand came up, gripping his arm as she tried to stay on her feet. “So, this is where you picked up that habit.” She smiled weakly, touching Tenseiga’s hilt. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

“I’ve got her.”

A kitsune female stepped forward and took Hanako’s arm. “Go find Mama. Naoki took her to the well house.”

He snorted, sheathing Tenseiga.

Quickly, picking up her sister, she suddenly pushed her forehead to his, going cross-eyed looking at him. “Remember that I’m your favorite,” she whispered. Then, she left.

Their hearing being what it was, several siblings roared in outrage as she bounded off with Hanako, laughing.

Liar!”

That’s cheating!”

“Fuck that, fox! I’m the favorite!”

“Don’t listen to her, Papa!”

Favorites don’t set heirlooms on fire!”

Idiots, Mama’s the favorite!”

Life would undoubtedly be interesting.

Chapter Text

Kagome could feel the magic swirling in the depths of the well and stepped away from it.

“You shouldn’t be afraid.”

Looking at her son, she shook her head and took his hand. “I’m not ready to say goodbye yet.”

He squeezed gently and smiled. “It’s not goodbye when you’re about to say hello.”

The doors suddenly splintered, weapons ripping through the wood.

Naoki pushed her back. In the next second, deep violet energy burst forth from him, shielding them.

Spiritual energy blended with youki.

Kagome stared, and he grinned.

“I may look like him, but I’m more like you.”

Chapter Text

He saw himself.

Outside the well house, tearing through panthers who tried to break in, an older version of him fought.

For the space of a few seconds he watched, witnessing how those he would call his surged around him, defending him as he defended them, fighting together to protect the woman they all loved. And something clenched in his chest.

Life did give despite everything it stole.

He drew Bakusaiga and took out the youkai approaching his family.

When his older self turned around, he arched a brow…

…and had it arched right back at him.

Their kids laughed.

Chapter Text

“Greatest thing EVER!”

“Hahahahahaha!”

“They both look pissed.”

“Younger one looks more pissed.”

“Are we allowed to hug him?”

“I dunno. I never knew him young.”

“Think they’ll fight?”

“Oooooh, I kinda hope so. That would be epic!”

“Satoshi, you dumb snake, did you just snort?”

“…maybe.”

“I think you should wait until he sheaths Bakusaiga before trying to hug him.”

“Papa, the shorter hair is a good look on you…”

“Oh, I don’t like it when there’s two of him glaring at us.”

“Shit, seriously?”

“Hey, you, younger Papa—I’m your favorite.”

“Okay, they are both definitely pissed now.”

Chapter Text

“All of you, silence.”

They had both said it.

“Mind fuck.”

He glared at his older self. “Do they all use such foul language?”

Sesshoumaru—the older one—pinched the bridge of his nose. “Mainly the females.”

Damn straight!”

They both cringed.

“Whatever, Papa. We’ve all heard you say ‘fuck.’”

His older self sighed and pushed him toward the doors. “There is much to look forward to.” He rapped on the wood. “Naoki, lower your shield.”

Sesshoumaru went to enter, but his own hand held him still. “Take her back. Make her wish. Forgive her.”

Eyes narrowed, he went in.

Chapter Text

Kagome launched herself into his arms when he entered the well house. “Mama, Souta, Grandpa…are they okay?”

He tightened his arms for a moment, looking at a grinning hanyou over her head, and set her down. “They are safe.”

“Hello, Father.” He hooked a thumb back at himself. “Naoki”

He nodded to the hanyou and looked back at Kagome. “We must go back. Now.”

Her look went from happy-to-see-him to stubborn in a split second. “What? No. I need to see Mama and the others first.”

It pained him to say it, but he kept his face neutral. “You cannot.”

Chapter Text

“No.” She moved for the door. “You can’t tell me no on this.”

The roof above them began to splinter, and he grabbed her arm. “I do not wish to, but we must go. Now.

Naoki threw a shield up above them as wood began to fall free and looked at Kagome. His eyes were kind but serious. “This is always where you returned. Everything—even tonight—was leading you back here.”

“Listen to our son.” Sesshoumaru stepped closer.

“Favorite son.” He shot Sesshoumaru a grin. “I’m your favorite.” Then the roof cracked, and Naoki’s eyes widened. “Take her! Now!”

Chapter Text

Before she could protest again, he swept her up into his arms and leapt over the side of the well, plunging them through the dark.

Above them, before the magic took hold, they heard the sound of the well splintering. Wood fell through time after them.

She screamed their son’s name.

A cold chill ran down Sesshoumaru’s spine when he realized the whole house had been destroyed. “He will be fine.”

He chose to trust that.

When her scream turned into the same raging grief from their earliest time together, he closed his eyes.

One step forward, two steps back.

Chapter Text

MODERN DAY

 

Sesshoumaru watched the well house collapse with only Naoki and his shield left standing as the panther youkai swarmed.

And then he smelled her.

With a feral grin, he felt the change start to come over him.

Akari, the kitsune, noticed first. “Papa’s going dog!”

Something pink glowed from the shrine steps.

“Get on him, now!”

Sesshoumaru stood, biting at panthers as his family began climbing through fur.

Thirteen bodies scrambled over him.

Naoki had only a moment to drop his shield before being snapped up into his jaws.

Sesshoumaru took to the sky, and pink energy flooded the shrine.

Chapter Text

There was snow when they landed outside of the well.

When he set her down, she looked like she wanted to collapse. Her eyes ran like fresh, mountain falls, her sobs silent as she looked for someplace—anyplace—to sit. But there was only snow.

He could feel her distress. It triggered his own, but he remained impassive, stepping toward her. “Make the wish.”

She shook her head. “I can’t.”

“You can.”

“Sesshoumaru, I can’t—”

He felt his anger rise and grabbed her arms. “You do not get to be selfish yet. Finish your responsibility and end it!”

Chapter Text

She was angry.

Her tears burned like fire as she shook out of his grasp, glaring into his face.

He didn’t drop her eyes. “You may be angry with me after you make the wish.”

“You didn’t let me say goodbye! We don’t know if Naoki is okay—”

Sesshoumaru got in her face. “It is neither here nor there. You must make the wish.”

Kagome growled. She growled and cursed and swung her arms at nothing, venting her rage at the situation.

He realized where their daughters learned to swear.

She made the wish.

And the jewel simply disappeared.

Chapter Text

Kagome cried silently. She didn’t have to be near the well to know it. Already the magic was gone.

If she hadn’t been overcome with anger and grief, she’d have noticed the sudden lightness on her shoulders. The burden—one she had become so accustomed to that she forgot it physically affected her—was gone.

His hand was on her shoulder. “They are not without us.”

It was too much. They were gone, she didn’t say goodbye, and she worried about a son she just met.

She turned to him, seething. “Halt.”

If looks could kill, she would be dead.

Chapter Text

MODERN DAY

 

Sesshoumaru walked through the door, and Maya immediately jumped at him, arms around his neck. He could smell her tears.

“That was harder than I thought,” she whispered, pulling back.

He winced, reaching up to feel the tender marks around her neck, and looked her in the eyes.

She laughed at the remorseful sight of his. “I know you’re sorry, Papa.”

He wrapped her in a hug again. “I am truly sorry.”

Sniffling, she pulled his forehead down to hers and nodded. “Your face was priceless.”

He smirked. “You have the unique ability of being able to challenge my sense.”

Chapter Text

Satomi sat at the kitchen table with her face hidden in her hands.

So, when he sat across from her, she didn’t notice it until Souta started laughing and she looked up to see what the commotion was about.

Sesshoumaru reached a hand across the table. “None of us escape the jewel without some sacrifice. Yours was the cost of certain years.”

She nodded, eyes closed as she cried, and missed another person quietly entering the room.

He smiled. “But you do not miss everything.”

“Hi, Mama.”

When Satomi opened her eyes, Kagome placed a weeks-old infant in her arms.

Chapter Text

MODERN DAY

 

They kept filtering in after that, and there were few who were inuyoukai.

With shy smiles, youkai, hanyou, and humans alike of all ages crammed into the small kitchen. Satomi’s eyes widened. There had to be at least fifteen people in there.

She stared back and forth between Sesshoumaru and Kagome. “All of them?”

Someone in the crowd snorted. “Not quite.”

Kagome sat and took Sesshoumaru’s hand, smiling. “Love is a choice.”

Someone in the back feigned a gag. “Ew, so are showers.”

“It is not my fault. Father chose to nearly swallow me.”

“Yeah, well choose a bath, Naoki.”

Chapter Text

Forgive her.

Nearly every muscle froze as the incantation took effect. For the space of a second, she held his eyes, defiant and challenging as his own raged back at her.

Then, she spun on her heel and took off in the direction the village had been.

“Where do you think you are going?” The spell slowly loosened its hold, but he couldn’t quite move yet.

Kagome whirled back around angrily. “We have nothing! No food, no supplies. Just our weapons and clothes! I’m going to see if there’s anything left we can use.”

She stomped off through the snow.

Chapter Text

He followed her at a distance.

Seething inside at her abuse of the kotodama, he followed long enough to assure that she was met with no unwelcome surprises in what remained of the village. Then, he took off to hunt.

As he raced through the forest, he could smell the threat of a storm in the air along with the rapidly dropping temperature. The cold that night would be bitter.

Something rustled in the bushes, and he slowed.

A boar.

His grin was feral as his youki rose. He had no need of weapons.

A hunt would do him good.

Chapter Text

Kagome stiffened upon entering the village.

Kaede’s hut still stood.

Gripping Touitsu in white knuckles, she cautiously approached the home she had spent so much time in. It hadn’t gone untouched by Naraku’s miasma, but it showed no signs of collapsing. Only the door seemed in poor shape, swinging on its hinges as she pushed it open.

It was too dark to see.

Remembering the layout, she groped along in the dark until she found the basket with candles and flint. It took several tries, but she managed to light one.

When it flickered to life, so did her grief.

Chapter Text

She remembered as she set up the home.

The futons she dragged out of the corner were hers and Sango’s, so many nights spent whispering as they lay on them as Shippou and Kirara slept between them.

Dry wood for the fire was stacked mercifully near the door where Inuyasha sat guarding everyone at night.

The cooking pot that she took outside and scrubbed and filled with snow had fed them all so many meals after hard days—Kaede and her efforts always a source of comfort.

As she built the fire, she could almost hear Miroku’s animated stories retold.

Chapter Text

When he came in, dropping a cleaned, fresh kill to the side of the door, she felt…

She just felt.

He was still angry. She could see it in the tight line of his jaw and rigid back, and his shoulders were so stiff she was convinced even he’d end up with the muscles kinked before the end of the night. But she crossed the room anyway and raised her hands to his neck.

Understanding lit in his eyes, the hurt he hid flashing behind the ice. He lowered his head.

Kagome slid the kotodama off his neck. “I’m sorry.”

Chapter Text

He barely dipped his head and then returned to the carcass, sat down, and began to skin and separate the meat.

She sat beside him in silence, separating bits he handed her to smoke for their travels from what they would need for that night and the next morning. The hut was warm at least, and they would be comfortable enough against the coming storm.

They didn’t speak, but the tension from before began to slowly melt away.

When he finished, she added some bones to the cooking pot as he stepped out to wash the blood from his hands.

Chapter Text

The winds picked up outside as she set the cooking pot over the coals.

Sesshoumaru wrestled with the loose door until he had it secured so it wouldn’t blow open with the increasing storm. When he had finished, she had set the lid on the pot, and all that was left to do was wait, he settled near the hearth and held his hand out to her.

Kagome, her internal struggle clear on her face, hesitantly took his hand. “Why?”

He pulled her down into his lap, securing his arms around her. “I wish to talk to you.”

“About?”

“Us.”

Chapter Text

When she wouldn’t look him in the eye, he tilted her chin up. “Miko, do not look away.”

Slowly, blue slid up to look at gold. Her eyes were in turmoil. She knew what she had done; he could see her hating herself for it. But he could also see her grief and sadness, her fatigue. And love. It hid in the stormy depths as if afraid to show itself, watching cautiously.

So, he waited, holding her eyes and not letting her drop her own, sitting with her in silence until the fear gave way and she let it shine.

Chapter Text

It was intense looking at him like this, but he wouldn’t waver or let her, so she bore it. Uncomfortably and ashamedly, she bore it.

And she hated herself as she did.

Kagome wondered at his patience as she stared up into the burning amber, guilt stabbing her to her core. It was more than she deserved, and there was still a part of her that wondered at why he chose to impart the consideration to her.

She screwed up all the time. The truth of that struck her as if she’d been bludgeoned, and she reached for his face.

Chapter Text

“I’m a horrible person,” she choked, touching his cheek.

He closed his eyes and turning his lips to her palm. “You are young, and sometimes that shows.”

Kagome blushed. “Why aren’t you angry?”

“I am.” He almost laughed at her crestfallen face. “But I also remember being young and repeated mistakes. Some of those you have witnessed.”

“This is different,” she whispered.

He tilted his head. “Is it?”

“It feels like it. Especially here.”

“What do you mean?”

She shrugged, eyes watering. “I have everything I’ve both lost and gained here. And I still struggle with focusing on the loss.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru sighed, shifting her in his lap. “You are allowed to focus on your losses.” When she looked at him curiously, he shrugged. “I do as well.”

“How often?”

“Multiple times each day.”

Her eyes widened. “I didn’t realize.”

His smile was small as he tucked her hair behind her ear. “Then perhaps I need to communicate better with my mate.”

“Maybe I need to ask after mine better.”

He shook his head. “No, Kagome. I know I have much to learn in this matter.” His hands touched her abdomen. “And maybe I should understand your reactions better also.”

Chapter Text

She placed her hands over his. “We’re a mess.”

“We are. And we are still learning one another.” Wrapping her in his arms, he lay back against the floor with her on his chest. 

“Think it’ll change?”

He chuckled quietly. “No. We will always be learning.”

Kagome propped her chin on his sternum and grinned. “I can stick it out with you if you can stick it out with me.”

Closing his eyes, he smiled. “This Sesshoumaru can ‘stick it out.’”

She tapped him three times, and he understood the silent message.

His arms tightened around her. “You are loved, Miko.”

Chapter Text

They ate and rebuilt the fire before settling under the futons to keep warm.

His eyes were closed with one arm braced behind his head when she spoke.

“Want to play a game?”

An eye cracked open. “Are you bored?”

“Yes. We’re stuck here right now, and I’m not tired.”

Turning on his side, he reached out and traced the front of the fire rat robe. His eyes slid up to hers. “Would you rather have sex?”

She grinned cheekily. “If you win.”

He smirked and settled back, closing his eyes again. “Your challenge is accepted. What is your game?”

Chapter Text

She chose two truths and one lie.

“You share three things. Two are true and one is a lie. The other person has to figure out the lie. If you get it right, you get a point. Whoever has the most wins.”

“This could be quite revealing.”

“That’s the point,” she said, scooting closer. “We get to learn more about each other.”

He turned to her once again. “And your stakes?”

“I’m also going to choose sex, but if I win, I get to keep my clothes on.”

He frowned. “Why?”

She laughed. “Because it’s cold.”

“Hn. You will lose.”

Chapter Text

She started.

“I’m afraid of spiders. When I was four, I almost drowned. You were my first kiss.”

His eyes narrowed, and she laughed.

“You are not afraid of spiders.”

She smiled. “Point. Wipe the smug look off your face.”

He didn’t.

“Your turn.”

Sesshoumaru tapped a claw on the floor. “I detest mushrooms. When I was a child, I posed as a servant’s daughter to sneak sweets from the kitchen.” He looked at her slyly. “I can smell lies.”

She was laughing at his second statement when she registered the third and glared. “That better be the lie, Sesshoumaru.”

Chapter Text

Kagome grumbled as he laughed. “You could have won that one so easily.”

“It would have been dishonorable to cheat.”

She smiled. Maintaining his honor was something she could always rely on. “New game. But first I want to know what the lie was.”

His eyes sparkled. “I do not hate mushrooms.”

If it hadn’t been so cold, she would have rolled across the floor as hard as she laughed.

“You did not!”

“I did. My father was furious.”

She poked him in the side. “Isn’t that like cheating?”

He sniffed. “I was young and foolish.”

“Okay, truth or dare…”

Chapter Text

He chose truth.

“What’s your favorite color?”

“I do not have one.”

She chose dare, and he smirked.

“Take off the fire rat robes.”

“It’s freezing!”

“You still have your hanjuban and undergarments.”

She stripped the robe, mumbling under her breath about sneaky mates. “Truth or dare.”

He chose dare.

Kagome grinned then. “I dare you to run to the Goshinboku and back.”

He rolled his eyes and walked to the doorway.

“Naked.”

Eyes widening, he froze. “Pardon?”

“You heard me. Take it off.”

“Miko, it is snowing.”

“Will it hurt you?”

“No.”

“Actual running, Sesshoumaru. No ball of light.”

Chapter Text

As payback, he dove under the covers of her futon when he returned.

She screamed, laughing, when he wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. “You’re an icicle!”

“And you are warm.” He reached over and dragged his blanket on top of them as well. “Pick your poison.”

“Truth.”

“Do you speak any other languages?”

“A little English.”

“Speak something.”

She recited a poem.

He smiled when she translated. “It is interesting.”

She traced his cheekbones. “Pick?”

“Truth.”

“Why do you love me when I mess up so much?”

His eyes softened. “Miko, why do you think it earned?”

Chapter Text

He held her, explaining centuries of mistakes and lessons learned where various relationships were concerned, the greatest of which he had only recently come to grasp. And all of them came down to choices he made.

She tilted her face up to see his eyes. “So, you choose to love me?”

“I want to love you,” he said quietly. “And it is my choice to do so.”

“And forgiveness?” Her voice was small, soft.

He pressed his nose into her hair, inhaling. “It is also a choice. I have lived in bitterness before and will not cultivate that between us.”

Chapter Text

“What can I possibly offer you?” Kagome whispered. “I have two decades to my life. You have nine centuries.”

He pulled the tie from his hair, raking the loosed strands out of his face. “And in those two decades, you nurtured an ability to love and trust that I am still learning.”

Tears shimmered in her eyes. “You’ve seen that trust waver.”

“I’ve seen it flourish more.” His hair, shorter as it may be, still formed a curtain around them as he leaned over her. “And if I cannot forgive your failures, then I should not be forgiven for mine.”

Chapter Text

The wind outside rattled the door, tendrils of cold snaking their way through the cracks of the battered wood. Despite the chill, their combined body heat and the hearth kept them warm under the futon blankets, and Kagome felt her eyelids grow heavy.

Hers weren’t the only ones.

“I think we’re both tired,” she murmured, turning into him. He had never dressed after his sprint through the cold, and she absently traced a finger along the hard planes of his chest and abdomen.

He yawned. “I will not be if you continue that.”

Chapter Text

She remembered when they buried the children and how he sought solace in their union after laying them to rest.

Her fingers trailed up his sternum and then over his collarbone. When she let her touch slip back over the muscles there, she could feel the tension coiled tightly underneath, and she mentally berated herself.

On the outside he was the picture of calm, but it was a façade. It had been mere hours since he had broken down in the privacy of the shower, only to wake to a fight and sudden return to the past.

He wasn’t okay. He just wasn’t saying anything about it.

Chapter Text

Easing him onto his stomach, she sat on his backside, and pulled the blanket up around them as best as she could. “Are you too cold if I do this?”

His head rested on crossed arms, and he closed his eyes. “No.”

Gently, she pulled his arms back to lessen the tension in his shoulders, placing them at his sides. “Let me know if you want me to stop.” She watched him smile.

“That will not happen, Miko.”

She began lightly running her fingertips up and down the length of his back to relax him.

He whispered a thank you.

Chapter Text

Kagome contemplated him as she touched him.

His back was one of her favorite things about him. She smiled, knowing she’d never forget that first night when he carefully stripped off his yukata, revealing the markings. They crept up his spine and arched over his ribs and hips, the tips barely touching his front.

She traced each one, following the colored lines and smoothing the muscles there, feeling him sink deeper into his quiescence as she did. If she hadn’t known better, she would have thought him asleep. But he wasn’t.

Her fingers increased their pressure, and he nearly moaned.

Chapter Text

Kagome smiled when he stopped the sound in his throat. “I like it when your vocal.”

Slanting his eyes back at her, his face was hidden except for the dark amber glancing over his shoulder. “You elicit the response quite easily.”

She blushed, threading her fingers through his hair to scrape her nails over his scalp. “Does it bother you?”

“No, Miko.”

Biting her lip, she turned her attention back to his body, kneading down his arms. They were silent then, listening to the crackling fire and storm outside as she continued to work out and slowly release his tension.

Chapter Text

Pressing her palms into his sacrum, she smoothed up his back to his shoulders one more time. “Turn over.”

He rolled under her so that she was straddling his hips. She started at his abdomen with deep, long strokes to avoid tickling, continuing the pressure over his ribs and up his chest.

His pale skin glowed in the firelight, and it and her hands all over him were almost too much. Kagome exhaled heavily. “Why are you just beautiful?”

Below her, Sesshoumaru pressed his lips together, eyes crinkling at the corners as he tried—and failed—to suppress a smile.

Chapter Text

Kagome gave him a look as his eyes watched hers, barely concealed mirth shining through despite his effort to hold it back.

Gaping, she poked his chest. “And you know it!”

He stopped trying to stifle his reaction and slowly grinned like the cat who got the canary—completely guilty and totally self-satisfied.

She had never seen such a cheeky look on his face before and laughed. “You have absolutely no shame.”

Trying to hold back his laughter, his teeth and fangs bit down on his bottom lip.

Kagome threw her hands up. “I’m done.”

No wonder she was pregnant.

Chapter Text

He sat up and wrapped his arms around her before she could escape.

She crossed her own over her chest, losing in her effort to glare. He was laughing then, a real, full smile on his face as he did. And it was as gorgeous as the first time she saw it—maybe more so given he was nude.

Kagome sighed dramatically and then reached up, thrust her hands into his stupidly pretty hair, and tried to mess it up.

Nope. Untamed, messy hair was pretty damn hot too.

She kept trying, failed, and pouted. “This is just unfair, Sesshoumaru.”

Chapter Text

The teasing stopped when his lips dropped to her neck, and she tilted her head to grant him easier access.

It was nice to finally be alone.

His mouth was incredible—warm and open as he kissed, sucked, and bit along the column of her throat. The strands of his hair, disheveled from her mischief, were like silk against her skin as his head bent over her body in his sensual raid on her senses. His voice murmured low in her ear.

When he went to lay her down, she shook her head shyly. “Let me make love to you?”

Chapter Text

His look was tender when she shed her clothes. He lay back, pulling the blanket around her shoulders to keep her warm as he let her have control.

She was unusually timid, taking a moment to kiss him chastely. Her lips pressed lightly against his, and he leaned up, remembering her first sweet, hesitant touches. He held her face and kissed her back, not taking more than she gave though craving it all the same.

She moved from his lips to his jaw and down his neck, and he reveled in the soft pressure of her mouth on his skin.

Chapter Text

She grew bolder.

He submitted to delightful, maddening torture as she drifted delicately over every plane of his body, pressing and teasing while he burned like fire. His jaw went slack, breath coming short as she explored.

Her small hands found his hips, and an insatiable heat scored through him. She traced over and under the bones of his pelvis, drawing out his pleasure with each light touch as he watched from under heavy lids, chest heaving with restraint.

Shallow, light touches deepened, and clever fingertips pressed into the sensitive vales underneath his markings, driving him nearly to the edge.

Chapter Text

She sucked his hipbone into her mouth, and Sesshoumaru nearly ripped their bed. He breathed her name, the sound choking short when she bit down.

Every nerve ending was alive.

The deep pressure kneading his abdomen pressed firmly under his navel, spreading over the muscle and making his already ragged breathing catch. Every slow, teasing stroke of her hands stole his sense and brought him closer to his release. He panted her name, hips lifting desperately in search of her touch.

Warm, wet heat closed over him.

His jaw slackened. Her tongue.

She hummed her enjoyment, and his eyes fluttered shut.

Chapter Text

He lost track of everything but her mouth on him.

"Kagome—"

Pulling away with a pop, she repositioned herself her take him inside of her, tipped her hips forward, and then rolled back over him. "Shh."

His vision blacked.

Higher reasoning disappeared under frantic need. She slowly, tortuously edged his release. Desperate for relief, he thrashed under her, driven almost mad by the sight of her as she coaxed out his pleasure.

It was too much. "Miko—"

He couldn't finish. Waves of sheer sensation suddenly seized him, and he cried out, catching her soft smile as he came.

Chapter Text

Kagome leaned forward and kissed him as his breathing slowed, and he tiredly kissed her back.

Their touch was gentle, no more than subtle caresses. Sweet affection swept over his mouth, not rushing him as he recovered. He returned the tenderness, pulling her against him as he did.

She was warm and soft where she lay, and he pressed his nose to her hair when she buried her face in his neck, nuzzling.

After a few minutes, he moved to roll her to her back, but she shook her head.

"I'm okay." She snuggled closer. "Just let me stay here."

Chapter Text

They slept, and in the morning when they woke, there were several inches of snow on the ground.

He was the first to blearily blink back to life. The cold scent of fresh ice taunted his nose, brisk and invigorating to his stirring senses.

Slipping out of bed, Sesshoumaru tucked the blankets more closely around her and then stretched, noting with no small amount of amusement how the tension seizing his muscles had dissipated.

He allowed himself a smile. There were some things about him she understood too well.

Dressing, he stoked the fire back to life as she slept.

Chapter Text

When she woke, the smell of stewed meat and broth flooded her nostrils, and she gagged.

Concern crossed his face from his place by the fire. “Miko?”

Kagome shook her head, pressing a hand to her mouth. “Oh no.” Throwing back the covers, she ran for the door as naked as a jaybird but uncaring of the cold.

She retched, her stomach roiling even though there was nothing to bring back up.

Every second was miserable.

“Not now. Not now,” she whispered. Body shaking, she swiped a hand over her mouth and gagged again as bile burned in her throat.

Chapter Text

A moment later, Sesshoumaru’s hand was on her back, smoothing soft circles over her skin as she finished.

“The babe affliction?” His voice was quiet as he pulled her back in from where she leaned out the door, and he led her back to the futons.

Shivering, she pulled the covers around her, accepting the water he held to her lips with gratitude. “I think so. I was hoping I would get to avoid it.” She sipped the water again at his insistence.

“Hn. That does not appear to be the case.”

Her hands rested over her small bump. “No.”

Chapter Text

They didn’t have much.

Gathering what supplies could be salvaged from the small hut, they scoured others for any valuable items. Unless they came across villagers or other travelers willing to trade, they were at the mercy of him hunting for food.

Kagome managed to find a small amount of coin between the homes in the empty village, but it wasn’t much. She collected them in a small purse and handed them to him to tie to his sash.

“How long before we get home?” she asked.

Home. The word felt strange on her tongue.

It meant something different now.

Chapter Text

He wasn’t sure how long it would take to get back.

Between how her pregnancy left her day by day and the snow, they were going to be greatly slowed in their ability to make any significant progress quickly. Flying with her was out as it would be too cold at higher altitudes.

Kagome frowned but nodded her understanding. It made sense.

Sesshoumaru tied his hair back from his face, still not used to the shorter length against his back. “We will have to travel carefully.”

“Dangerous conditions?” she asked.

His mouth was grim. “No, Miko. Those who are desperate.”

Chapter Text

He carried her on his back.

The snow was too deep for her to walk through, so, with Sango’s old furoshiki tied around her shoulders, she climbed up.

It was second time for her, but it was the first time for him. And it was hard not to compare the differences in being carried by the two brothers.

She almost cried thinking about Inuyasha. He had carried her so many times, and she’d always miss that part of their friendship. But Sesshoumaru...

Sesshoumaru felt like home.

She hugged him around his neck, burrowing closer. “Love you.”

He squeezed her leg.

Chapter Text

Trading was hard in the face of prejudice.

Kagome had almost successfully negotiated a trade for a small basket of winter vegetables when a man approached her and the woman she haggled with.

He crossed his arms, jerking his head toward Sesshoumaru where he waited at the edge of the village. “You with that demon?”

Eying him, her distrust apparent, she nodded.

“You his slave?” he asked, eyes narrowing.

Not ashamed, Kagome shook her head and met his eyes. “He’s my husband.”

It shouldn’t have, but it surprised her when he spat in disgust.

“We don’t trade with demon whores.”

Chapter Text

He could smell her angry tears as he once again carried her on his back.

Every few minutes, a hand would leave his shoulders as she wiped moisture from her eyes, teeth gritting while her heart pounded against his back.

“Kagome.”

Her response was a loud sniffle.

Carefully shifting her around his body opposite his armor, he took her in his arms. “Look at me.”

She didn’t want to but finally turned her hurt face to his.

He connected gently. “You are not a whore.”

Nodding, she lay her head against his chest, listening as snow crunched under his feet.

Chapter Text

She was sick in the mornings and evenings, and meat didn’t settle well on her stomach.

Sesshoumaru grew concerned. After three days of being unable to barter for food and her only being able to keep down a meager amount of the broth from their cooking pot, she began to tire too easily.

So, when another village turned down her coin for the exchange of vegetables because she was his mate, he snapped.

Letting everything formidable about him rise, he took what she was denied in the face of their fear, flinging the money at their trembling feet in disgust.

Chapter Text

He set out to hunt shortly after they found a cave.

Kagome, exhausted, boiled snow to drink and cook with before preparing some of the vegetables. Sesshoumaru had been tense since the incident, not uttering more than a handful of words, and she missed their companionable silence and quiet conversations.

She knew he was worried. After spending every day with him for the last season, she could tell when the blank look on his face was hiding something. In truth, she was worried too and prayed that the lighter fare would settle better on her queasy stomach.

Pregnancy was hard.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru, shrouded in his glamor, returned with a brace of cleaned rabbits, herbs, and vegetables. There was also a small kettle with two cups.

Kagome’s jaw dropped. “How did you—“

“I traded game,” he said tersely, setting down the goods. Without a word, he set about skinning the rabbits—with a knife.

She knit her brows, wondering what had him so out of sorts. If anything, his mood from earlier was worse, and he wasn’t dropping the glamor…

Her eyes widened.

The glamor.

For the first time since they’d been together, he had trouble providing for her as himself.

Chapter Text

As the simple stew cooked over the fire, Kagome felt her stomach rumble hungrily for the first time in days.

Sesshoumaru sat against the cave wall, eyes closed as his ire simmered.

She could understand his anger. This had never been an issue for him before. At any other time of year, when foraging allowed for more ease in providing sustenance, they probably wouldn’t have noticed it like they did now. But unprepared to travel in the thick of winter, discrimination reared its head in uglier, more poignant ways.

And the Lord of the West was not accustomed to this.

Chapter Text

She crossed the cave and stood in front of him, silently waiting until he opened his eyes and looked up at her.

It was longer than she had expected before he did, but his pride was wounded. Part of her knew he didn’t really want to look at her right then.

When he opened the all-too-human eyes, his face was carefully blank, the stubborn set of his jaw the only evidence of what was simmering under the surface.

Wordlessly, she dropped cross-legged into his lap, facing him, and tapped him three times on his shoulder.

He returned her three taps.

Chapter Text

The food settled better. Rabbit, being a leaner meat, didn’t turn her stomach as harshly, and the vegetables were good. For the first time in days, she had a full belly.

When they had finished, she watched him slice some ginger root and set it to simmer in the kettle with fresh snow. She asked what it was for.

“Your nausea.” And that was all he said. Still in the glamor, he returned to sitting with his eyes closed against the cave wall.

Kagome sighed and curled up in the mokomoko. Sometimes it was wiser to just give him time.

Chapter Text

The night’s chill began to set into their bones.

He rebuilt the fire and then joined her on their pallet. When he curled up behind her, wrapping her in warmth, it was black hair that spilled over her shoulder.

Kagome reached up, pulling the strands through her fingers. “Let me see you, please.”

His arms stiffened around her, but the black hair in her hands slowly faded to silver. Without hesitating, she turned in his embrace to face him. “For what it’s worth, thank you.”

He didn’t say anything at first, but his arms gradually tightened. “You are worth it.”

Chapter Text

To anyone who saw them, they were simply a man and his wife.

And while him appearing human made their travels easier in many respects, it didn’t come without its downsides also.

Kagome was tired of women flirting with him.

Young, available women clamored for his attention whenever they passed through villages, and it irritated her to no end. It didn’t help that she hadn’t had a proper bath since getting back or that she looked as tired as she felt.

So, when another woman approached, sashaying her hips a little too much with her eyes on him, she snapped.

Chapter Text

Angry was an understatement.

Sesshoumaru was mid-discussion with a man over more herbs for her nausea when she started yelling.

“Do you have holes for eyes, or can you not see he’s my husband!”

Well, this was new territory.

He and the man both looked at each other for a moment, surprise on both of their faces as Kagome kept going.

“No, he doesn’t want to know what your name is. Go back to whatever hole you crawled out of.”

The man with the herbs coughed to hide a laugh, and Sesshoumaru shook his head handing him his trade.

Hey!”

Chapter Text

Something—or rather someone—pinched his backside.

His eyes widened, eyebrows shooting up as he froze mid-transaction. The herbalist’s jaw dropped. Never, literally never, in all of his centuries had anyone been so bold with his person.

The shock quickly faded, and his eyes narrowed. But before he could do anything, he heard Kagome’s scream of rage.

Sesshoumaru whirled around just in time to see her tackling a woman to the ground.

She was furious.

Before she could get hurt, he reached down and plucked her out of the brawl, barely keeping hold as she tried knock the offender again.

Chapter Text

Angry tears burned in her eyes as he moved her behind him. Deep down, she knew she was irrational. But enough was enough. Even after getting knocked to the ground, the woman still turned coquettish eyes on him.

Before Kagome could launch another tirade, Sesshoumaru was in the woman’s face

“Do not ever take such a liberty again.” His voice was quiet, eyes narrowed at the unrepentant face.

“She’s just a girl.” The woman laughed and reached for his arm. "Surely you—"  

He slapped her hand way. “Do not touch me.” He leaned closer, baring his all-too-human teeth. “Or her.”

Chapter Text

Red with embarrassment, the woman huffed and stormed off.

Kagome blushed when Sesshoumaru turned to look back at her, relieved when a small smile tweaked the corner of his mouth. He held out his hand, and she took it, taking comfort in his warm, secure grasp as they left the village.

“You are a mess,” he said once they were back on the road. After combing his fingers through her disheveled hair, he knelt so she could once again get on his back.

She carefully climbed up, clinging to his shoulders. “As long as I get to be your mess.”

Chapter Text

She fell asleep on his back, and when she woke, he stood with her near a riverbank. It was dark, and he simply waited with her on his back, listening to the trickle of water as the river ran its course.

Her breath caught in her throat. “Put me down please.”

He did, slipping the mokomoko around her to keep her warm, and déjà vu crept down her spine.

“Is this—”

“Yes.”

She nodded, and it was suddenly hard to swallow. Turning her head to look behind them, she saw the tree.

Saw where he first kept her safe.

Chapter Text

“When your armor broke,” she started quietly, “it felt like something else had died.”

He nodded, saying nothing.

“I was surprised when you let me hug you.”

Sesshoumaru slanted his eyes at her. “I almost did not.”

Kagome laughed, the sound watery. “I know. I could see it on your face.” She paused and took a shuddering breath. “But it helped to be held.”

“It helped to hold,” he admitted.

They stood silent then, lost to their memories.

“Who would have thought?” she finally whispered, placing a hand over her belly.

In the dark, he watched her. “Neither of us.”

Chapter Text

It was new again. In that place with him in the dark, the grief came back along with the same suffocating realizations they had struggled through that first night.

She let her tears fall, leaning into him as they did. “This is hard.”

“Yes, Miko.” He placed an arm around her shoulders. “It is hard.”

The warm sensation of magic seeped over her skin. When she looked up, it was him as he always had been.

It was reassuring. But then he closed his eyes, brows knit as he wrestled with something internal.

“Sesshoumaru?”

“I cannot remember Rin’s scent anymore.”

Chapter Text

He struggled to speak around a memory. “But I remember the stench of her decay.”

Kagome took his hands in hers and held them gently. “You can tell me.”

Her voice was quiet and earnest, and in the dark Sesshoumaru almost caved—almost spilled the dark details of that night he closed off in his heart.

But then he remembered the nightmares. He remembered the torment that came with the memory of their bodies. And he remembered what he had done to keep her from that.

Lifting her hands to his face, he kissed them. “No, Kagome. But thank you.”

Chapter Text

They talked about their children.

“How many did you see?” she asked, sliding from his back to floor of the abandoned hut. Another winter storm threatened, and the shelter was a pleasant surprise.

Sesshoumaru shook his head. “There were many. I did not count.”

“There were a lot.” She looked down at her stomach and smiled. “The girls were beautiful.”

He looked at her, a puzzled look on his face, and she realized they had never discussed it.

“I saw them,” she said, her voice soft as she covered her belly. “Miyu. Maya.”

Emotion lodged in his throat without warning.

Chapter Text

There was once a little girl who cracked him open and crawled into his heart to pave the way for others—and he would never hold her again.

But she had left her footprints on him, as grimy and dirty as the hands that first grabbed his sleeve when he gave her life. And they were there to lead those that came after her into his soul.

It still hurt.

But it was bittersweet, and he could at times smile though he grieved. He had been as much hers as she his, and now others would take up her torch.

Chapter Text

Maya.

He had seen her. She had called him hers. She had teased. She had followed—connected. And all that time, she had been here, wrapped in secret and waiting.

His hand, hesitant and uncertain, pressed against her belly. Unseen, the exquisite, veiled tendril of a bond began to wisp and coil like vine around him, and his head bowed under the weight of it.

“Are you alright?”

“My name,” he said, swallowing around a knot as he knelt, “does not speak to giving life.” With shaking hands, he began to part her clothes. “But I am grateful I have.”

Chapter Text

The past died.

She didn’t know how, why, or what had happened, but in that moment, she saw him clearly. He was bred a warrior. It was written into his blood, muscle, sinew, and bone like commandments in stone. There was no denying his power or nature there.

But it wasn’t all of him, and at some point, another part had been hidden away—subjugated—to let the weapon rise.

Her heart raged as it broke while he contemplated his place in this miracle. And she understood.

Rin hadn’t just changed him—she had brought him back out of himself.

Chapter Text

His lips pressed against her bared, swollen bump.

Kagome almost burst as she watched him, the strong, lethal hands cradling their babies with a touch that belied their strength.

When he pressed his ear to her abdomen, she panicked for a moment.

“They’re okay, right?”

The sound of his chuckle was muffled against her. “Relax, Miko. There are still two. They are f—”

He tensed.

The change was so quick it startled her. Quickly, he straightened her clothing and stood, keeping her behind him.

Cold dread settled in her stomach. “Sesshoumaru—”

He placed a finger against her mouth.

Chapter Text

The glow of torchlight shone through the cracks in the hut as men shouted outside.

“They’re gonna be in there.”

“Kill him. Use her for whatcha want. Goods go back to the chief, so keep yer hands off!”

Bandits.

Kagome didn’t look away from his eyes. He had once told her he didn’t want to kill men in front of her, and she could see that memory echoing in the gold irises.

“Should we bring ‘er back too?”

“Nah, let her join her husband.”

His look darkened. “Gather what you can.”

Youki began to rise, and she hurried.

“What’s that?”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru drew Bakusaiga and raced out the door.

“What the—”

“Demon!”

Ignoring the sickening sounds of ripping flesh and dying men, Kagome rushed to tie the perishable goods they did have back into the furoshiki.

One of the bandits entered the hut.

She froze, eyes fixed on the man and his lewd grin.

“What do we have here?” he said, loosening his hakama as he stepped closer. “A demon’s whore, eh?”

Kagome glared. She was so sick of being called that. “Demon’s wife.”

The man laughed. “I don’t care what you—"

A clawed hand plunged through his chest.

Chapter Text

It was the second time he’d killed someone who would have raped her.

He met her eyes, his own grim as he took a moment to look at her with the raw intensity that hid nothing from her.

Kagome nodded, something she couldn’t quite define stinging her eyes. “We’re okay.”

“Miko—“

She forced a smile and swallowed. “I promise.”

Another thief entered the hut, and he plunged Bakusaiga backward into him without dropping his gaze. “We are leaving. You will get on my back. If it is too cold or you feel you will fall asleep, tell me immediately.”

Chapter Text

He disappeared through the door in a surge of youki, and she rushed after him just in time to see him transform.

The giant, red eyes slid back to her and then looked pointedly at his back.

Oh.

Shaking off her surprise, Kagome rushed forward as he crouched low. Gripping the fur on his side, she hauled herself up the massive body just as more bandits and their chief arrived.

“Shoot the bitch!” someone shouted.

Her grip slipped as arrows were notched, and she began to slip down his body.

She gasped. “Sesshoumaru!”

His tail swished out, breaking her fall.

Chapter Text

He curled around her.

Nestled between his forelegs and under his head, she hugged his neck as the shower of arrows bounced off his body, nothing more than annoyance.

She was shaking.

Their position was weak. He couldn’t do much to get her out like this at the moment without exposing her to their volleys. He lowered his head more, lips peeling back as he bared his teeth and growled.

The chief laughed and began to approach. “There’s not much he can do protecting a mate like that.”

Men cheered and jeered.

Sesshoumaru waited.

Their chief came closer.

He struck.

Chapter Text

He snapped the man up in his jaws before he had a moment to even look surprised.

Inside his mouth, the human struggled, stabbing at the softer parts of his body. With a growl, Sesshoumaru pushed him up to his palate with his tongue to stop the assault on his flesh.

He heard the man rage but tasted his panic.

Good.

Slowly, his jaws filled with bitter poison, and he felt the flesh and soft tissue start to dissolve.

“The chief!” someone cried.

Your chief is dead.

He was satisfied with their horror when he spit out bone and armor.

Chapter Text

They ran. When they saw the remains of their chief splinter against the earth as his poison continued breaking down what was left of the body, they ran.

Unwinding around Kagome, he nosed at her, encouraging her to climb onto him. She still shook as she crept out from underneath him, but she pulled herself up and settled between his shoulder blades, holding tightly to his fur. When she was secure on his back, he gave chase.

None would be left.

He took off toward the woods, knowing he would lay waste to those who threatened his in her presence.

Chapter Text

Kagome clung to him as he followed the sounds of men escaping.

He was terrifying.

She’d seen him fight—kill. But she’d never seen him hunt. And there was no other word that fit what he did now. There was not a shred of humanity in him. He was a spirit of the earth protecting what was his, and that was never more apparent than now.

Sesshoumaru prowled, his massive form crouching low to the ground, creeping impossibly fast on the giant paws as he stalked them. He snarled as he crushed, bit, tore, and threw men.

None were left alive.

Chapter Text

He kept going.

When the bandits were dead, he didn’t stop. Kagome settled deep into the warm fur as his speed picked up, and he traveled with her through the night and the cold.

It was more difficult in the woods. He was so large that he had to creep and crawl to avoid obstacles, and more often than not, he towered over the trees.

She noted how careful he was not to destroy the landscape.

When they broke through the tree line into open space, he took off running, loping over the ground without restraint as he headed west.

Chapter Text

It was exhilarating.

She wasn’t sure how long he ran before she began to grow tired, but it was nothing less than amazing to experience what she was with him.

“Sesshoumaru?” She reached forward, scratching the back of his neck. “I’m getting tired.”

The long, galloping stride began to slow, and she bounced on his back as he slowed to a trot. He found an outcrop and headed that direction, slowing further to a walk as he did.

He ripped a tree out of the ground on his way over, splintering the wood with his claws once under the rock.

Chapter Text

She didn’t know if he just needed to stretch his legs or if it was because he’d be reverting right back to this form to keep her warm, but he didn’t change back.

Kagome untied her pack and retrieved the flint she had thought to grab before they left, using it to light the campfire she made from the wood he gathered. The heat grew gradually, casting shadows on the outcrop, and it was nice to have a little warmth and light.

He came up behind her and lay down.

Tucking against him, her eyelids grew heavy.

They fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Kagome woke with the first rays of light. She stretched, basking in the soft warmth of his fur, and opened her eyes to find the deep red looking back at her.

She smiled, her eyes still bleary. “Good morning.”

He stretched too, rolling to his back as he did.

Mischief lit her face, and she jumped up onto his belly. “Okay, you like massages too much to not have a scratch spot. Where is it?”

She found it—right under his chin—and he froze.

“Gotcha!”

With a flash of light, she was back in his arms.

He was laughing.

Chapter Text

She munched on dried persimmons for her breakfast, sitting with her back to his chest in front of the fire.

“Supplies are meager,” he said, dropping his chin to the top of her head. “We must travel more quickly.”

Nodding her understanding, she offered him the fruit, which he declined.

She craned her neck back to look at him. “Are you sure?”

His lips pursed, trying to hide his amusement. “I am not hungry and will not be for a few days.”

“Why?”

He smiled into her hair.

“Sesshoumaru, why won’t you be—oh.”

He chuckled.

She grumbled. “I forgot.”

Chapter Text

She sat in his lap facing him as they talked it out.

“You don’t eat humans, do you?”

“No, but like last night, it may happen in the course of battle. I get no pleasure from it.”

She nodded, processing what he said.

“Are you alright?” he asked

Her smile was weak but real. “Yes. It was just different seeing you like that.”

He almost didn’t want to ask. “Does it bother you?”

“No, I love all of you.” Simple. Matter of fact. Honest. “Besides…”

“Besides what, Miko?”

She grinned, eyes sparkling. “It’s fun to ride you different ways.”

Chapter Text

They packed quickly.

Sesshoumaru wanted to get moving. With so few supplies, particularly the loss of the herbs for her nausea, he wanted to cover as much ground as possible and get them home quickly.

If they stopped for the night, traveling in his true form would put them on the border of his lands the next day.

“You are sure you are warm enough?” he asked preparing to transform.

She nodded.

“Good. Climb on—”

His eyebrow twitched.

Oh, she didn’t.

He fixed her with a pointed look.

Kagome was confused. “What?”

Ride me, Miko?”

“You’re just now getting that?”

Chapter Text

They bickered…kind of.

“You have become salacious.”

“Whose fault is that, Sesshoumaru?”

“You are blaming this one?”

Yes. Everything I know I learned from you.”

“You say that like it is disagreeable.”

“What? Seriously? How can you think that?”

“You said—”

“Right here, right now. I’ll prove you wrong.”

“We do not have time…why are you crying?”

“Am I too fat now?”

“This madness had better be hormones, Miko.”

“You’re avoiding the question.”

“Your weight is fine. You are pregnant.”

“With twins. Because if you so much as smile, I take my clothes off!”

“That is not my fault.”

Chapter Text

He ran until he smelled the mineral-rich waters of a spring.

Kagome nearly bounced on her feet when he set her down and transformed back.

Shaking his head, he untied the pack from her shoulders, allowing his hands to linger and knead once it was removed. “You seem happy.”

She leaned into his hands. “So happy. I feel gross.”

When they had set up camp, the water called to their tired, cold bodies. Quickly, they stripped and sank into the warmth to clean themselves and relax.

“I’m never getting out,” she said, scrubbing her hair.

At the moment, he agreed.

Chapter Text

Neither was in a rush to get out of the spring and face the cold air. It was nice to simply sit in each other’s presence and enjoy the quiet.

At some point, Kagome sank down onto the ledge to soak next to him. He opened his arm, and she leaned into his side, content and warm.

They both dozed a little.

When she startled awake, she drifted over onto his lap, straddling his hips and laying her head against his chest before closing her eyes again.

He chuckled and held her. “To think you were once painfully shy, Miko.”

Chapter Text

Kagome was content.

She was warm and clean, intimately skin-to-skin against him. His steady breath as his own tension melted away lulled her to a place of peace.

So careful not to catch her with their claws, his fingertips brushed a lazy path up and down her back as he held her. Not for the first time, she wondered at this tenderness that was a part of him.

It was a privilege to witness it and a gift to experience it.

She pressed drowsy lips against his chest. Every molecule of her being felt safe and secure wrapped in him.

Chapter Text

She shifted her hips and took him inside of her before laying against him again.

Sesshoumaru’s eyes opened, every nerve snapping to life as her warmth slid around him. But when he looked down, she was dozing against his chest, face flushed and lips parted as she unconsciously soaked in their closeness.

He chuckled, enfolding her closer as her soft breaths huffed over his skin. It was a sweet kind of torture but one he could bear—for a bit at least. Settling back against the rock, he slept with her in the comfort of the waters and each other.

Chapter Text

Kagome’s consciousness ebbed and flowed like a dark tide, swirls of color penetrating the blackness. She vaguely recognized warmth and a contrasting chill, but the twisting, spiraling sensation of something aching deep inside distracted her.

Warm, drowsy bliss trickled over her mind, and she instinctively moved, sighing softly as that ache bloomed into the delicious sensation of desire being slaked.

Firm pressure guiding the rise and fall of her hips brought her back, and she opened her eyes to a clouded, sleep-addled gold.

“Hi,” she breathed, taking him deeper.

Eyes darkened to amber, his fangs flashed as he woke. “Hi.”

Chapter Text

When his lips closed over her breast, she moaned his name. They were sore, but the heat of his mouth felt so good that she didn’t care in that moment. He was gentle, smoothing over her flesh with a soft tongue as he teased.

She was going to finish embarrassingly fast.

“Sesshoumaru, I—"

The soft, hushing sounds he made as slipped a hand between them to stroke her most sensitive flesh stunned her silent and escalated her pleasure, and she surrendered to the fire he fueled in her.

She panted. “I can’t…Sesshoumaru…I’m going to—"

He flicked his thumb.

Chapter Text

Her eyes blew wide, and she gasped his name as excruciating relief tore through her.

His head fell to her shoulder, voice harsh and ragged as he found his own release, and she felt his arms circle her tightly, holding her safe and secure, as her body calmed around him.

Kagome blinked, inhaling through her nose too fast and too hard as she came down from the high of their lovemaking. And before she knew or understood what was happening, a torrent of tears flooded out of her eyes.

Stunned, she wiped at them, panicking slightly when they kept coming.

Chapter Text

She looked at his face and almost lost her remaining composure at his gentle expression. “I’m going to break if you look at me like that right now.”

His hand came up to brush her tears away, and he pulled her to him. “That is okay.”

Kagome reeled, pushing the heels of her palms into her eyes. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” She pulled back to look at him. “I enjoyed that. There was nothing wrong.”

Sesshoumaru chuckled at her confusion, cradling her close. “It is not unheard of.”

She sniffled. “Really?”

“Perhaps you need it,” he murmured.

Chapter Text

He wasn’t wrong. She did need to cry. She couldn’t explain it—didn’t understand why—but she curled up on him and let it out.

It was exhausting, but she felt better after. When her tears were spent, he carried her out of the spring, wrapping her quickly so she wouldn’t suffer the cold too long and sat her near the fire.

Once they were both dressed and huddled together in the mokomoko, she turned to him, thoughtful. “Maybe it’s another bubble.”

Sesshoumaru stretched out, leaning on his elbow. “This will be a significant change, so perhaps you are right.”

Chapter Text

Kagome pressed closer to his side, pulling his other arm around her while looking up at his face. “Can we talk?”

His lips quirked, remembering back to their time at the temple before their mating. “About?”

“Home.” Her eyes darted away from his, and she chewed her bottom lip. “I know it’s different going back this time. It’s…permanent. We’re not just waiting to leave again.”

He nodded, lacing their fingers together. “This is true.”

“But I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing there.”

With a sigh, he took her fully in his arms. “Then we will talk.”

Chapter Text

Chiyo’s words about being equals rang true in his explanation of things. And while she would oversee household functions, she was expected by his side for any and all decisions that impacted those under their protection.

“So, you won’t keep political matters from me?”

“I would not make political decisions without your input.” He grew quiet. “Many alliances have collapsed when there was unrest between mates.”

Her eyes met his. “I don’t want that.”

“Nor do I.” He rolled her onto his chest. “And it would be foolish not to listen to your council.”

“Why?”

“You know what is to come.”

Chapter Text

“I didn’t think about that.” She traced his lips with her fingers, a smile lighting her features when he kissed them.

“You will learn to place a greater emphasis on strategy.” His look was disquieted. “It seems that my kind must become creative as time passes, and it will be necessary.”

He let the glamor wash over him, and she was suddenly staring into dark eyes.

She touched his face over the hidden markings. “You’re worried?”

His eyes held hers severely. “I have many it is my responsibility to worry for.”

“Yeah.” She kissed him softly. “I guess you do.”

Chapter Text

They talked for far longer than intended.

When she yawned twice in a row, he untangled their limbs and stood. “You need to sleep.”

Kagome stretched on the mokomoko, shaking her head. “I like talking to you.”

“I enjoy talking to you as well,” he said quietly.

She reached forward, and he took her back into his arms. She squeezed him, not letting go.

“You will be asleep on me in moments,” he said, smiling gently.

“Yeah.” She looked at him, hesitant. “Friends can be honest?”

“Yes.”

She looked like she might cry. “I have trouble understanding what you are.”

Chapter Text

They weren’t going to bed yet, and in hindsight, he should’ve seen it coming.

“Try to explain,” he said, sitting them down again.

She crawled into his lap, trying not to cry. “I’m going to butcher this.”

“Then butcher it. But it is bothering you, and I will try to understand what you are saying.”

Taking a deep breath, she pointed at him. “There’s you.”

He nodded.

“And I can experience you like other people. Talk to you, touch you, understand you. I have a relationship with you that looks fairly human even though you’re not.”

“This is all true.”

Chapter Text

She held her arms out wide. “And then there’s you.”

He smirked.

It got harder for her to speak. “And I know it’s you, and I still love you. But it just feels different being with you when you’re like that.”

He frowned, thinking.

“It’s not bad!” she interjected. “I didn’t mean it as a negative.”

“I am not offended. I am considering your perspective. Continue.”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Here, like this”—she touched his arms—“this is all very humanlike. Our relationship is clear to me.” Her voice got quiet. “I feel you as my mate. Husband.”

Chapter Text

“But it is hard for you to feel that connection when I am in my other form,” he finished for her.

“Yes. Our differences are so clear then. And it makes me feel far apart when I remember this you.” She looked at him miserably. “I don’t know that any of that made sense.”

To her surprise, he laughed.

She blinked. “You’re really not offended?”

He leaned down and kissed her. “No, but it is obvious that we need to work on our communication.”

“What do you mean?”

“Kagome…”

Her eyes widened as his youki flared.

“…continue talking to me.”

Chapter Text

Carefully, if not a bit awkwardly, his massive form lowered to the ground and waited, his head resting flat on his front paws.

She cried, but she reached up to scratch him under his chin as she did.

“I don’t know where to start.”

Trying not to overthink, she climbed up on his snout and sat cross legged. “Does this bother you?”

He made a contented rumbling sound.

She smiled. Without a word, she got up on her knees and crawled forward until she was close enough to push her forehead against his, connecting.

And, ever-so-slightly, he leaned in also.

Chapter Text

He let his youki begin to rise, but instead of the wild, whipping winds that accompanied his transformations or his anger, this was something different. Gentle. It effervesced around them, reminding her of sea foam melting away as she treaded through the water.

It was warm and comforting, and it wasn’t something she’d ever experienced with him like this.

Her breath shuddered. “Okay, I wasn’t expecting that.”                               

The deep, pulsing growl that was his laugh echoed around her.

She climbed up his head, slid down the back of his neck, and shimmied her way down to his side.

“Join me?”

Chapter Text

He curled around her while she lounged on his side, and she talked.

“I’ve never asked you what those meant,” she said pointing at his markings. “The moon—is it a family thing?”

A soft whuff of air was her answer.

“Did your father have it?”

He snorted.

“Guess not. Mother?”

The whuff pushed out of him again, and she grinned.

“What about the stripes?”

He very slightly opened his mouth, allowing it to glow green.

Her eyes widened. “They mean you’re poisonous?”

Whuff.

“So they aren’t just there to attract women?” She shot him a cheeky grin.

He snorted.

Chapter Text

She was sleepy and sank down deeper into his pelt, smiling when his tail settled carefully over her. “Thank you.”

The pleasant, rumbling sound vibrated under her.

Stroking the thick fur, she turned her head to look at him. “And thank you for talking. It helped.”

When she held out her hand for his face, he surprised her. Letting the warmth of his youki rise up again, he tapped her hand with his nose—three times.

She choked on her laugh as tears pushed forward. “I love you too.”

Then, with his head a breath away from hers, they slept.

Chapter Text

They reached the western border when the sun was high in the sky, and something came over him.

He howled.

She had never heard him do it before, and it was a far cry different from the snarling, growling sounds she had heard in battle. A clear, pure voice rang out, and then he ran.

Kagome held on for dear life, shifting and adjusting until she found her seat—trusting he wouldn’t lose her

It was thrilling.

They tore across open terrain faster than she thought possible, and she laughed, crouching low against him.

The spirit of the west was home.

Chapter Text

Her understanding grew as he ran with her.

She knew the warrior, and she knew the man; she learned the spirit.

He raced like lightning, anxious to be home again. They passed through villages and saw travelers—human and youkai alike—and their responses told her more than anything else could.

They knew him. In this massive, deadly, imposing form, they knew the protector of the lands they lived in. Where others cowered before him, he was theirs and had their trust.

Women smiled while men waved, and children ran after him full of giggles.

Kagome loved him more.

Chapter Text

Midafternoon, there was a dark speck on the horizon line.

Sesshoumaru howled again, speeding up.

“What is that?” she shouted.

As they drew closer and the speck grew, she could see it was something in the air.

He howled one more time, and a loud bellow echoed back at him.

Without warning, he slid to a stop and dropped to the ground. When she jumped off, he disappeared in a flash of light, appearing next to her as the man.

Kagome stared. His cheeks flushed with the cold, and a brilliant, uninhibited smile stretched over his face.

She fell harder.

Chapter Text

He took her hand. “Look.”

A flash of lightning burst from the approaching speck, and she almost cried through her laughter.

“It’s A-Un!”

He threw another grin over his shoulder at her, kneeling so she could get on, and they ran to meet the dragons.

To say A-Un were happy was an understatement. They slid to a stop, just missing knocking Sesshoumaru over, stamping their feet and bellowing as both heads tried to wrap around them at once.

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. “No bridle. They have run off.”

Kagome laughed, stroking each muzzle. “I think they knew you were coming.”

Chapter Text

He settled her in front of him on the dragons.

“Home,” he commanded quietly, and A-Un took to the sky.

Kagome settled back against him, enjoying the feeling of his arms around her once again. He held her closer, wrapping the mokomoko around them for warmth, and placed a hand over her belly.

“Will there be a lot you need to see to tonight?” she asked, covering his hand with hers.

“It is likely.”

Her shoulders slumped.

He chuckled and leaned down to her ear. “I could wake you.”

She shivered, smiling. “Or I can stay awake and help you.”

Chapter Text

Home came into view, and Keiji’s angry voice and the thunder of horses’ hooves were the first things they heard.

The auburn-haired youkai tore out the gate with Mitsukane and several men on horseback.

“A-Un, you bastard dragons! Get your ass down here!” He held a bridle in his hand, waving it angrily.

Kagome covered her mouth, trying not to laugh. “They do this often?”

Sesshoumaru smirked. “Quite.”

“Well, look at that!” Mitsukane called up. “We should’ve known!”

She smiled and waved.

A-Un landed, let them off, and spit a bolt at Keiji’s feet before trotting off to the stable.

Chapter Text

Nearly everyone turned out to welcome them, and none were happier than Chiyo when she found out about the babies.

While the older youkai, much to his barely concealed horror, hugged and fussed over Sesshoumaru upon the news, the household’s children came scurrying out with whoops and shouts of joy when they saw Kagome.

“Is it true?” a little girl asked.

Kagome nodded with a smile, and then several pairs of little hands were on her belly, eyes wide as huge grins split their faces.

“It worked,” one of them said, awed.

The blessing.

She held back tears. “It did.”

Chapter Text

Before doing anything else, they returned to the graves.

It was cold and dark, but they could see the flower chains placed there by the pups in their absence. Blooms were strewn over each of the graves, and they appreciated the consideration.

Kagome crouched next to Inuyasha. “It’s gone.” She swallowed, touching the stone marker as bittersweet emotion rose. “The jewel is gone for good.”

Sesshoumaru stood from his place by Rin’s grave and held out his hand. He was stoic.

She took the proffered hand and let him pull her up.

“I missed them,” she said quietly.

“Yes, Miko.”

Chapter Text

There was nothing that couldn’t wait until morning, so they retired to their room.

The nostalgic, orange glow of the braziers welcomed them, and they stood awkwardly after closing the door.

Kagome grasped his hand. “Does it feel strange to you?”

He wrapped his fingers around hers but hesitated speaking. “It feels far away.”

“Five hundred years is,” she whispered.

“Do you regret it?” His voice was clipped, tense.

“Never.”

He nodded then, a fang catching his bottom lip as he did, and moved to undress.

Like she had so many times before, she watched.

This time it felt different.

Chapter Text

He raised an eyebrow at her over his shoulder as he shrugged into his yukata. “Are you planning to sleep in your armor?”

Kagome blushed. “No.”

“Then what is bothering you?”

“I don’t know.” She shrugged, not looking at him. “All of a sudden everything seems so different.”

Frowning, he folded his kimono and walked to the futons. “There is some truth to that.”

“Do you regret things?” Her voice was small, uncertain.

“No, Miko.” He sighed. “But I do want to sleep.”

She began to undress. “Tired?”

“No,” he said quietly. “A need for renewal.”

That she understood well.

 

Chapter Text

When she crawled under the blanket next to him, he kissed her. It was deep and slow, and she remembered in the haze of his touch that they hadn’t since the night before.

She held him closer, wrapping her legs around him.

Suddenly, he pulled back. She saw the conflict staring back at her, the tense clench of his jaw.

“Sesshoumaru?”

He traced over her face, hesitant. “This is sometimes strange.”

“What do you mean?”

His voice was quiet. “You are Inuyasha’s miko.”

A part of her heart broke. “I mated Sesshoumaru.” She looked him in the eyes. “I’m his.”

Chapter Text

He breathes her fear, tastes her tears, and suffers the drag of gravity against his body as he tries—fails to reach her.

Her scream rings in his ears.

When the decaying, sightless corpse follows him asking “why,” he falls at her feet and gags on her reek, begging forgiveness.

“Sesshoumaru, wake up!”

Chest heaving, he shot up, groping in the dark for something—anything—to remind him of where he was.

He found her.

Kagome’s arms circled him, pressing his head to her chest and not letting go.

“Rin,” he rasped.

She held him tighter. “It was a dream.”

Chapter Text

His comment the a few nights back bothered her, and it didn’t help that he stopped sleeping.

She sat with Chiyo, learning how to weave. It was a way for her to stay connected to her mother while she waited five hundred years to see her again, and she wanted to be able to make the babies something herself as well.

“I don’t know how to reach him.” Kagome pulled vibrant reds and golds through her fingers and began to set them carefully on the loom. “I haven’t seen him this exhausted since Naraku. He’s barely slept in a week.”

Chapter Text

Chiyo sat the threads in her hands down with a frown. “Has he not come to bed once during that time?”

“No,” she answered quietly. In truth, she was a bit embarrassed to admit it, but Chiyo was safe to confide in. Kagome dropped her eyes. “I miss him.”

The older youkai closed the thread basket. “Sesshoumaru has always pulled back when bothered.” She smirked. “So, not sleeping and not sharing a bed with his mate. Is he sniping at others yet?”

A small grin cracked Kagome’s face. “Sesshoumaru? Sniping? Never.”

Laughing, Chiyo swatted at her. “Go find Lord Pleasant.”

Chapter Text

When she knocked on his study, she was met with an emotionless, flat baritone.

“Come in, Miko.”

He looked worse than she had expected. The dark purple under his eyes made the gold stand out too much, intensifying his already stark otherworldliness. His pale skin was ashen, and the markings on his face showed like bold, garish tattoos. The hair he had kept neatly tied back from his face since cutting it hung loosely.

And the gaze he fixed on her was severe.

“Yes?”

Without a word, she walked over to him and handed him a small piece of parchment.

Chapter Text

I miss you.

His eyes softened slightly when he looked up at her, and she smiled back before handing him another paper.

There’s a bath waiting for you.

He arched a brow, and she handed him another note.

Chiyo is bringing tea to our quarters when you’re done.

Lips pursed, he considered her. She was doing a good job of enticing him to leave his study.

Kagome handed him another note.

It’s the blend from the mainland you like, and the pups collected persimmons.

This time he suppressed a smile.

She had one more.

Let me take care of you.

Chapter Text

The shoji slid open, and he walked in. The heat from the bath brought a little color back to his skin, and he looked better.

Kagome met him with a small smile. Tea steamed on the table, and he was silently grateful for the fragrant vapors. The scent of death still plagued him.

He sat, and she curled into his lap, her arms around his neck.

“Hi,” she whispered.

He lightly nosed at her cheek, discreetly inhaling her scent. She was warm—alive.

With a deep breath, he abandoned discretion, buried his face in her hair, and tried to forget.

Chapter Text

Kagome finally pulled back, studying his face. The dark circles were still there, the normally vibrant gold of his irises dull in the wake of his grief. Her hands fell to his shoulders, and she felt the tightly coiled tension there.

“I wish I could make the dreams stop.” She watched his eyes sink shut and felt the weight of his burden in the action.

“I do not know that they ever will.”

Her voice was quiet. “We’ll find a way.”

His smile was wan, but he sipped the tea. It was good, and the fragrance and company were soothing.

Chapter Text

He told her why he wouldn’t let her wash the shirt.

They lay together on the futons, Sesshoumaru still fighting sleep, and the confession came out.

Jaw dropped, Kagome stared at him. “You held one of our babies?” She couldn’t be mad at him for not telling her. She wouldn’t have known what to do in that situation either.

“I did.”

“The nightmares stopped?”

He lifted his eyes to hers. “Yes.”

Kagome nodded thinking. Then, she lay on her back and tugged his arm. “Come here.”

When he finally fell asleep, it was with his ear pressed to her belly.

Chapter Text

One day, when the weather showed signed of finally warming, she found a note and wrapped package waiting for her in their room. Curious, she unrolled the parchment.

For you.

Sesshoumaru’s neat scrawl looked back at her, and she curiously untied the bundle. When she saw what was in it, she laughed.

Apples.

She hadn’t had any since getting back and had missed them—craved them—like crazy. With a smile, she snatched one up and bit into it, savoring the sweet, juicy flesh.

So good. She placed a hand on her belly. “Alright girls, let’s go find your papa.”

Chapter Text

When she walked into his study glowing and smelling like apples, he tried to hold his smile back.

When she fixed him with a look that said she knew he was trying not to, he sniffed and looked down at his writing.

But when her arms came around his neck and her face pressed to his skin, he cracked and took her in his own, smiling against her thanks when she pressed it to his mouth.

“You are happy,” he murmured as she pulled back.

“That’s because I have a wonderful and thoughtful mate.” She kissed him again. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

She wished she could hug Rin again.

The children in the household were fascinated by her growing stomach. It wasn’t that they weren’t used to pregnancies, but twins—and hanyou twins—were new to them.

They didn’t judge or view them as lesser and were instead excited for their arrival.

“They’ll be here soon?”

Kagome laughed and ruffled the boy’s hair. “We still have a couple more months.”

“We’ll be able play with them then?” another asked.

Kagome grinned. “When they’re bigger, I’m sure they’d love that.”

One brave girl’s love had assured her own would be met with it.

Chapter Text

Pregnancy could be inconvenient.

With a red face and eyes downcast, Kagome walked into the dojo. She knew enough about inuyoukai at this point to know it was worthless trying to hide certain things, so she faced it, mortifying as it could be.

Without a word, she walked past a smirking Keiji and Mitsukane up to Sesshoumaru.

His state of dress wasn’t helping things—nor was his lack of embarrassment.

“Issues, Miko?” His eyes were laughing as he shrugged back into the hanjuban.

Face flaming, she grabbed his hand and silently dragged him from the room, cursing her ill-timed hormones.

Chapter Text

Kagome consistently interrupted him at least three times every day,

Each day, she’d show up to connect, deliver a parchment, and then drop some sort of affection on him. It became a game among the servants and men to try and figure out what she would do next.

Most the time she was shy and sweet, dropping by, quickly doing whatever, and moving on. But occasionally, with a devious look on her face, she would lay a heated kiss on his mouth before running out, blushing as she smiled.

After one such interruption, he realized how fortunate he really was.

Chapter Text

He interrupted her.

She was with the pups when he approached, silent and stoic with his hands in his sleeves.

Kagome dusted off her hands. “What’s wrong?”

Arching a brow, he handed her a small parchment from his sleeve.

She unrolled it.

I just do not think that you adequately know.

Brows furrowed, she looked up at him as he handed her another.

How much I love you.

She smiled and bit her fingernail, blushing. When she met his eyes, his were warm, and the corners of his mouth were just upturned.

Then with slight nod, he left.

She laughed.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru sat at his desk, his head in his hands, and privately bemoaned the fact that he’d become just a bit more bathetic than he thought possible. And he was honest enough with himself to know it would get worse when the twins arrived.

He once again heard his father laughing.

But because he wasn’t in the habit of lying to himself, he acknowledged it. Despite their hardships, the imperfectness of their relationship, and the unusual way it came about, it was still theirs. Still unique. And she was his to love.

He smirked.

Besides, her blush was quite becoming.

Chapter Text

It was finally warm, and Kagome and Chiyo sat weaving flower chains in the garden with some of the girls to adorn the graves with.

“Does Lord Sesshoumaru love you?” one of the pups asked.

Both women smiled at the innocent question.

“He says he does,” Kagome whispered, placing a finger to her lips. “But that can be our secret.”

The girls giggled.

“Is that why he put babies in your tummy?”

Kagome choked, and Chiyo laughed.

“Y-yes.”

Their curiosity, unfortunately, didn’t die there.

“How’d they get there?”

She panicked. Chiyo was no help.

“He gave me a special kiss.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru couldn’t think. Outside of his study, youkai laughed raucously, and he had read the same sentence on the treaty he was reviewing at least twenty-two times. He stood to go find out what the issue was, but before he could step out, Kagome barged in.

She was bright as a tomato, wouldn’t look him in the eye, thrust a parchment in his hand, and left without a word.

Curious at the strange behavior, he unrolled the paper.

I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what to say.

Eyes narrowed, he stepped out.

Keiji  howled with laughter when he saw him.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru was not amused.

Word about his “special kiss” made it around the entire household, and he couldn’t walk anywhere without snickers from those who knew him well enough to get away with it, giggling pups, amused parents, or irritated parents.

And Kagome was avoiding him.

He finally settled in the garden beneath a tree to enjoy the warm weather and escape the insanity that had erupted. But, little by little, pups congregated around him.

“Lord Sesshoumaru?”

He should’ve expected it.

“Yes?”

“I know she’s pretty, but you can’t kiss her.”

His jaw clenched.

“She can’t fit anymore in there!”

Chapter Text

After trying all day to catch her, he waited until she retreated to the bath before cornering her.

She turned red when he walked in.

He schooled his features, knowing it would unnerve her. “Hello, Mate.”

Her voice was small. “Hi.”

Giving her a look, he removed his clothes. “Make room.”

Kagome scooted forward, and he slid in behind her. She almost didn’t want to ask. “How bad is it?”

“Kissing you has been prohibited lest you carry more.”

She tried not to laugh. “Are you going to listen?”

His hands circled her belly, and he kissed her head. “No.”

 

Chapter Text

Pregnancy could be sweet.

He lay with her. At his prodding, Kagome rolled onto her back, curious as he began to uncover her. He gently felt around the growing mound, finding the babies.

Then, a quiet growl vibrated against her skin.

She propped herself up. “What’s this?”

His eyes softened, but he didn’t lift his face. “Watch.”

When he leaned close and made the sound again, her belly jumped.

“Oh!”

A bittersweet smile pulled at his mouth. “I can hear them, Miko.”

Her eyes widened. “They’re growling?”

“Yes.” Kissing the babies, he lay his cheek against her and closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

She woke past midnight and found him by the window again.

“Sesshoumaru?” Kagome groggily padded over to him. “You look like something’s on your mind.”

“Do I?” But he opened his arms, content when she readily tucked into them.

She sat back against his chest and pulled his hands to her belly, tilting her head back to kiss his jaw. “I think they know when you’re near.”

He smiled softly, feeling the babies roll.

“Are you nervous?” she whispered.

“Quite.”

“Oh good. Me too.”

Leaning forward, he buried his nose in her hair, breathing her in. “We will figure it out.”

Chapter Text

“Can I bug you?”

He looked up to find her with a large parchment rolled up in her hands. Motioning her in, he eyed the paper. “That does not look like a note.”

“It’s not.” She fished a smaller parchment out of her sleeve. “Here—but read it later. I need to ask you something first.”

Sesshoumaru tucked her note into his own sleeve and watched as she rolled out the parchment.

“Look at how much rice we had left after the winter.”

His eyes grew wide. “That is double what we expected.”

“Yup. So, I have an idea.”

Chapter Text

He drew her to his side and wrapped an arm around her. “What do you propose?”

She pointed at a map and explained a plan that would cover the village hurting for food while increasing trade for them and a few others when helping to resolve that issue.

Sesshoumaru listened. Her suggestions were solid. But more importantly, he was satisfied to see her taking ownership of their home.

“Very good.”

She seemed surprised. “Really?”

He chuckled, leaning forward to connect. “Yes, Miko.”

His praise was quiet and reserved, but it meant the world. With a smile, she leaned into him.

Chapter Text

Politics could be tricky.

That Keiji and Mitsukane used hushed voices when speaking to him was her first clue that something was wrong.

She glared at the three youkai—including Sesshoumaru. “What are you three trying to hide?”

Mitsukane and Keiji had the decency to look a bit guilty. Sesshoumaru pursed his lips, annoyance clear on his features, but he handed her the missive they discussed.

Kagome read it and her look darkened. “Is this what I think it is?

Mitsukane nodded. “It is.”

Blood boiling, she held her hand out for a brush.

Sesshoumaru smirked, handing one to her.

Chapter Text

He found her with A-Un.

She was asleep against the dragons, hands wrapped over her belly, snoring softly.

Sesshoumaru smiled. Even with his sensitive hearing, he didn’t have the heart to tell her that she had begun to do so. Laying down next to her, he opened his arms when she wakened, turning into him.

“Sesshoumaru?” she murmured sleepily.

“What is it?”

She buried into him more, snaking a hand up his sleeve to touch his skin. “Why would they send a mating proposal?”

He could smell her upset. “You are human. Others still may disrespect our union.”

Kagome frowned.

Chapter Text

Without a word, she slid further up his sleeve to his shoulder, wrapping her hand over the muscle there and laying her head over his heart.

“Miko?”

She shook her head, listening to his heart beat as she worked on calming herself.

When she finally spoke, she was confused. “I don’t understand. I thought matings were permanent?”

Sesshoumaru stiffened. “They are. But there are still some who would violate them.”

“You value your honor too much for that,” she said angrily.

He sighed, tucking her hair behind her ear. “Yes, Miko. But my father did not.”

She understood more then.

Chapter Text

It was an old, bitter wound, and she seemed to understand without further explanation. She squeezed him tighter. “I’m sorry.”

“It was a long time ago,” he clipped.

She hesitated asking. “Is that why you hated Inuyasha?”

He was quiet at first. “My father’s actions against my mother were egregious.” Looking away, he shifted his back on the dragons. “I did not handle them with any appreciable grace. This includes Inuyasha, though that matter was not so simplistic.”

Not knowing what to say, she kissed his cheek.

Sesshoumaru closed his eyes. “You are forgiving for one who loved the hanyou.”

Chapter Text

For a minute she didn’t say anything. “I think it’s fair to say matters were complicated.”

“Perhaps.”

She sighed. “I love you. And you’re the one who said love and forgiveness were both a choice.”

He didn’t say anything, but he laced their fingers together.

They lay in silence, A-Un’s gentle breathing pushing against them. The dragons were as curious as the pups about her belly and curled around until their noses were close.

“Can we sleep here tonight?” Kagome mumbled. “It’s comfortable.”

Sesshoumaru chuckled at her exhausted face, draping the mokomoko over them. “Goodnight, Miko.”

She was already out.

Chapter Text

Angry tears stung her eyes.

With an iron grip, Kagome lifted Touitsu from its place next to Bakusaiga and slid then quiver of arrows onto her back. The weight of the weapon was comfortable in her hands, and if she closed her eyes, she could feel both Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha’s power resonating below the surface.

It was reassuring.

A bridal envoy’s messenger had arrived that morning. While upsetting and disconcerting, it was dealt with easily enough. However, treating their babies as an obstacle that could be removed was another story.

She had been escorted out just as Sesshoumaru’s youki erupted.

Chapter Text

The dark-haired inuyoukai messenger cowered but held his ground. “You insult our clan!”

Something visceral and dark twisted in him. Sesshoumaru seethed at the male, snatching him up by the throat. “Your clan insults and dishonors itself through their attempt to tear apart a mated pair.”

The youkai clawed at his throat, but Sesshoumaru didn’t loosen his grip.

“Sh—s—is—human!”

“She is the Shikon Miko and my mate. Your clan will not interfere.” He dropped him.

The youkai gasped, massaging his neck. “We have a right—“

“You do not.”

Look darkening, the messenger grinned. “—to defend.”

Chapter Text

Keiji grimaced at the bloody spine in his lord’s claws and then frowned at the pool of blood soaking the floor.

Mitsukane gagged in the corner of the room.

Sesshoumaru arched a brow.

“You know,” Keiji said, stepping around the carnage, “we had started to think taking a mate had tamed you. But you still live up to your name.”

Mitsukane wiped his hand over the back of his mouth and glared in the daiyoukai’s direction. “A bit unnecessary. Bakusaiga would’ve turn him to dust and left nothing.”

Sesshoumaru, still between forms, shrugged and shouldered the messenger. “The body is necessary.”

Chapter Text

Kagome sat atop A-Un, arrow drawn and pointed at the approaching envoy. She had already fired a brilliant warning shot, displaying the extent of Touitsu’s abilities.

Still, they continued forward.

Notching another bow, Kagome raged at the caravan. “You are unneeded!”

They stopped and shouted up at her. “Will you fire on us?”

Her bowstring pulled tighter. “If you are trying to separate me from my mate, then yes!”

One of them laughed. “You’re nothing more than his whor—“

Touitsu fired, landing close enough to singe and warn but not kill, and the youkai jumped back, taken by surprise.

Chapter Text

They fired back.

She was prepared for it, and Touitsu’s counter cut off their arrows before they could reach her. The force of her own sent a pulse out, pushing them back, but she didn’t know that she would be able to continue for long without hurting anyone.

As much as she was furious about a bride being sent, she knew it was possible the female had never had a choice. And she wouldn’t harm an unwilling participant.

Another volley of arrows launched, and she cursed.

Then, there was a flash of light, and a mangled body hit the ground.

Chapter Text

He was in front of her and angrier than she had ever seen him.

Youki crackled around in in a violent display of color and energy as he positioned himself between her and the envoy. She felt the restrained rage he kept just under the surface and remembered why they had wanted to avoid confrontations with him at the beginning.

Stay here, Miko.”

Flicking away arrows like they were twigs, Sesshoumaru swung Bakusaiga, bringing the destructive force down onto the body he had flung to the ground.

Archers notched arrows to loose at them again.

He turned them to dust.

Chapter Text

Sometimes differences could be difficult to understand.

They lay in bed—he on his back and she on her side—neither thrilled with the other over how things had happened earlier.

“They have to clean your study.” She glared at him, Irritated with the closed eyes and impassive face.

His arm came behind his head and he turned his face away slightly. “Do they?”

She sighed, exasperated. He could be beyond infuriating.

“Sesshoumaru—“

“Miko, I will not apologize for my actions today.” He finally turned over and pinned her with a look. “Perhaps you should have been less hesitant.”

Chapter Text

They argued and in the end agreed to disagree. And that was a hard place for Kagome.

He could see she was upset and gently brushed her cheek. “We will not agree on everything, Miko.”

She sniffled, grabbing his hand and kissing it. “I know. This is just a first. We’ve always managed to at least come to an understanding before.”

“And you do not understand?”

“I do and I don’t.”

He nodded slowly, considering her words. “Do you still trust me?”

She startled. “Yes.”

His smile was small but reassuring. “Then nothing is broken.”

Kagome’s shoulders relaxed. “You’re right.”

Chapter Text

Kagome reached what she assumed would be her last month of pregnancy, and something inside changed.

She got antsy.

She became more playful.

She got tired easily.

But overall, her mood was good, and most noticed it. 

Chiyo smiled at the miko, and nudged Sesshoumaru where he stood watching next to her. “It won’t be long now.”

“No, it will not.”

She saw how his eyes gentled at the realization but said nothing of it. But on another matter…

“You need to write you mother.”

Sesshoumaru bristled. “I am aware.”.

With a laugh, Chiyo walked away. “Before the pups come!”

Chapter Text

She had promised to play with the pups after finishing her work that morning and was on her way to the gardens when she took a quick detour.

She was happy to realize no one was in his study with him.

He gave her a genuine smile when she peeked around the doorway. “It is a miracle you can still fit, Kagome.”

Giving him a mock glare, she slipped into the room. “That is partially your fault.” She kissed him quickly and stuffed a parchment into his hand.

He caught her as she turned to go, placing one in hers.

Chapter Text

Pregnancy could be hard.

Deep, stabbing, sharp pains stretched over the right side of her belly and down to her groin, and Kagome almost cried with frustration. It hurt, and moving made it worse. She trudged through the garden, holding her belly, trying to make it back to their room so she could lay down.

“There she is!”

Looking up, she found three children dragging Sesshoumaru over to her, concern etched into his face at her obvious discomfort.

The pups were worried. “She’s really hurting.”

Without hesitating, he lifted her, and she nearly cried with relief when he carried her.

Chapter Text

He lay her on their futons and then stretch out next to her, frowning.

Kagome almost smiled but the pain won out in the end. “Not labor.” She clenched her teeth. “Just really sore.” She moved his hand to the right underside of her belly. “Here.”

Not able to do anything else, he simply rubbed.

Relief swam through her nerves, and she allowed her body to relax. “That actually feels great.”

“Then I will continue,” he said quietly.

When she was drowsy and ready to sleep, she peeked back at him. “Sesshoumaru?”

“Hmm?”

“I’m so done being pregnant.”

He chuckled.

Chapter Text

She met his mother.

Kagome found herself suddenly shy, but she dressed in her finest and went to meet the daiyoukai when she arrived. Sesshoumaru has said they were not close, but she still hoped for a decent relationship with his mother.

“Oh, her eyes are blue!”

Before she knew what was happening Lady Yuuko had taken her arm, leading her to the gardens.

“Tell me about my son since he has been mated, and I will tell you of his youth.”

Kagome flashed a mischievous grin at him and followed his mother.

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. Inside, he cringed.

 

***

 

Chapter Text

She was perturbed.

They were in the middle of dressing for bed when she let her yukata fall to her waist and stood in front of him.

Sesshoumaru arched a brow, the smallest amusement quirking his lips. “Is this seduction now?”

Kagome suppressed her own smile and poked him. “No. I’m not in the mood. But do you see this?”

She pointed at her chest, and he was confused.

“Their size has increased. Is that what you are referring to?”

“Sesshoumaru, no!” She mumbled something about males and then pointed to a particular spot along the side of her breast.

Chapter Text

She pointed at a pink line. “I have a stretch mark. And there’s one here too.” She pointed alongside her belly and pouted. “I thought I had avoided them.”

“Why are you worried?“

She was somewhat shy, concerned. “They’re likely permanent.”

“It is fine.”

“The skin is all…stretchy.” As she poked at the lines on her skin, her insecurities came out. “Does this make me unattractive now?”

He laughed. “No, it does not.”

“Really?” she asked, cheeks pinking.

His eyes softened, and he dropped his lips to her shoulder, murmuring against her skin. “They are just stripes, Miko. Like mine.”

Chapter Text

Pregnancy could…get in the way.

Kagome growled in frustration and threw a blanket across the room. “I’m so big I can’t even have sex anymore!“

Sesshoumaru fell back on the futon with an arm flung over his eyes. Frustrated didn’t even begin to cover what they were feeling. “We will figure it out.”

Something needs to work.”

She straddled his hips, and he moved his arm to look at her. “This is not comfortable for you, Kagome.”

“Just let me try again.” She eased herself maybe halfway down him before she was violently shaking her head, clenching her teeth. “Nope.”

Chapter Text

He grabbed her hips to stabilize her as she shifted off him. “You said they are too low.”

“Yeah, they still are,” she said, gritting her teeth. Tired from even minimal effort, she lay on her side and dragged the remaining blanket over her, looking over her shoulder at him. “We just won’t get to be alone the same way after they’re born.”

Before he could reassure her, tears sprung in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.

“This is stupid,” she mumbled, wiping at her face. “Hormones and sexual frustration are the worst combination.”

“Kagome, it will be fine.”

 

Chapter Text

Before she could dissolve further into her upset, he had her spooned from behind, his teeth grazing her ear.

“Relax,” he whispered.

Kagome tried to release the strain in her muscles as his arms came around her, pulling her against him. But she was too wound up. 

Sesshoumaru blew on her ear, the sensation taking her by surprise. For just a moment, the tension eased, and he slid inside her.

She closed her eyes, breathing his name as he filled her.

He chuckled quietly. “Better?”

Grinding against him, she grinned when his breath caught. “We should’ve thought of this sooner.”

Chapter Text

Kagome turned her neck and caught his lips, her breath shuddering into his mouth as he once again brought her to the crest of pleasure before pulling it away.

With a small whine of frustration, she pulled his head down. It was a bruising kiss, her teeth grazing over his bottom lip as he thrust hard once, twice and then slowed his rhythm.

She gasped. “Harder.”

His own breath starting to come short, Sesshoumaru pressed his forehead to hers. Pulling her leg over his hip, he began to thrust deeper as he slipped a hand below her waist. “With me.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The muscles in his abdomen tensed, pushing against her with each fought for breath as he drew closer.

Kagome clung to him, lifting her hips to his touch. She watched the hooded amber eyes, clouded with pleasure, focus on hers as he smiled.

Heat swirled in her belly, spreading over her back and chest like fire as he once again brought her to the edge. Just as that heat inside erupted into sensation, she heard his sharp intake of breath.

Catching his mouth, she swallowed his cry of pleasure, feeling the defined, sweat-slick muscles flex and tremor under her fingertips.

 

 

Chapter Text

He woke with the sun, and she was already staring at him, hands up by her face and and teeth pressed into her bottom lip.

She nudged her mouth against his. “I love you.”

He took her kiss and sleepily mouthed back the affection.

Then, Kagome winced.

“What is wrong?” He reached out and touched her cheek, voice gravelly from lack of use overnight.

“Eight minutes,” she whispered, taking his hand.

“Eight minutes, Miko?”

She placed his hand on her stomach, and the muscles turned to rock underneath his fingers. His eyes widened.

Her smile was soft. “Eight minutes apart.”

Chapter Text

Yuuko found him lounging under a tree in the garden, trying to rest. As she approached, one golden eye cracked open and looked at her.

“Mother.”

His eye closed again, and Yuuko smiled. He was difficult and apathetic toward most, but he was her son. And even if he would let two centuries go by before a visit, she—like many mothers—enjoyed being near her child.

Well, most of the time.

“Your Miko’s pains have started.”

“They started at dawn,” he murmured, intent on enjoying the sun.

“Hmm.” She made herself comfortable under the tree. “Could be hours yet.”

Chapter Text

Early labor was boring.

Kagome sat with the pups by the graves.They quietly strung more flower chains, and the children helped her keep time on her contractions, which had stayed about the same. And they were amazed by the hardening of her stomach with each one.

The girls were brave and sage, many having witnessed births before—even at young ages—and the boys’ curiosity eventually won out. Little hands gently pressed when she contracted, whispering encouragement as they lasted even though they were not yet painful.

“Do you think they’ll look like you or Lord Sesshoumaru?”

Kagome grinned. “Both.”

Chapter Text

He walked with his mother and didn’t shy away when she took his arm.

“I wish you had told me sooner,” Yuuko said quietly.

Sesshoumaru nodded his head to acknowledge her words.

Yuuko sighed and squeezed his arm. “I like her. And I can see she has been good for you.”

“The union was not typical,” he said, lifting her onto a low wall to sit.

Straightening her silks, Yuuko, laughed and touched the moon on his forehead. “There has never been anything typical about you.”

“The same is true of my mother.” Sesshoumaru sniffed and looked away.

Yuuko laughed.

Chapter Text

Around noon, she sought him out and found him in the gardens with his mother. Her contractions had increased and were slightly more uncomfortable and closer together. But it wasn’t enough to keep her from moving about yet, so she walked as much as possible.

Both youkai stood when she approached, but she waved her hand. “I’m okay right now.”

Yuuko looked at her, brows furrowed. “Are they getting stronger?”

She nodded. “They aren’t stopping me from anything yet, but yes.”

His mother smiled. “Suggestion? Eat. Lay down and rest. You’ll need your energy.”

Kagome grinned. “Food sounds good, actually.”

Chapter Text

Kagome ate a little rice and some fruit and then lay down on the futons.

“Stay with me?” She blinked sleepily and caught the edge of his sleeve, smiling as he nodded and lay down. “Thank you.”

He said nothing, instead kissing her hands.

“I wish Mama were here,” she whispered.

“I know.”

Suddenly nervous, she looked down.

“Miko?”

When she lifted her eyes, they glistened. “It’s going to hurt.”

The day of their mating popped in his head, and he couldn’t stop his smile. “I cannot prevent it this time, Kagome.”

She laughed as she cried; Sesshoumaru held her.

Chapter Text

A contraction woke her up.

She gasped, her hand flying to her stomach as she clenched her eyes shut and started counting. It lasted about 30 seconds and it was only about 4 minutes before the next one hit—just as hard as the last.

“Sesshoumaru?” She shook his shoulder to wake him.

When he opened his eyes, he immediately noted the pain in hers and sat up. “What do you need?”

“I want to walk. It hurts, but it’s not unmanageable yet.”

He helped her stand and braced her as another contraction hit and left her leaning on him.

 

Chapter Text

Some of the older female pups followed them to the garden.

Kagome smiled through her pain and nodded, encouraging them to stay. They followed behind her and Sesshoumaru at a close distance, whispering encouragement when her pains hit or singing softly as she walked, leaning more and more on him as time went by.

When a particularly hard contraction hit sooner than expected, Kagome braced against a tree, groaning deep from her throat as she swung her hips.

Emiko, the oldest of the pups, approached them.

“Lord Sesshoumaru, may I?” she asked.

Unsure of what could help, he granted permission.

Chapter Text

He was surprised when Emiko took his hands and splayed them across Kagome’s lower back.

“Push, Lord Sesshoumaru. Just a little.”

When he applied a small amount of pressure to her back, Kagome’s groan turned into one of appreciation.

Emiko grinned up at him.

He arched a brow but gave a her a small smile. “Smart girl.”

Emiko glowed under his praise while Kagome mumbled her agreement.

So, they continued on like that. Kagome walked until she had to stop and Sesshoumaru provided counter pressure against her back while the pups sang and encouraged her to breathe through the pain.

Chapter Text

The pain changed.

The contractions took her breath away, and it was a concerted effort to continue breathing through them. She gripped Sesshoumaru around his biceps, bent slightly and leaning her head against his chest as she waited for the pain to pass.

When it finally did, she looked up into his concerned face and smiled weakly. “I think I’m done walking now.”

His eyes softened as she tried to brave the pain. “Okay, Miko.”

Kagome grit through another before he scooped her up and made his way to their quarters, instructing the pups to send Chiyo and his mother.

Chapter Text

He had never seen her in so much pain.

She tried to bear it quietly, but low moans and groans escaped her at the most intense points, Chiyo and his mother encouraging her to let the sounds out. Kagome had her eyes mostly closed, focusing intently on what was happening within her body.

She went back and forth between them. Chiyo rubbed her back as she waited for the pain to end, and his mother would carefully drag claws through her hair and over her scalp.

But she would cling to him. When it was too much, she wanted him.

Chapter Text

It was dark when Chiyo had a tub of warm water filled in their room.

While the older youkai helped Kagome into the water, Yuuko tossed a light, white yukata at him.

“You will want to change into that.”

Sesshoumaru didn’t argue and slipped behind the screen to put it on. When he came back out, Yuuko had her own silver hair tied up high in a bun and motioned for him to come closer.

Instructing him to turn around, Yuuko seized the heavy mass of his hair and quickly plaited it.

She smiled wistfully. “It has almost grown back.”

Chapter Text

The water was wonderful.

Kagome closed her eyes, focusing on keeping her breath as she continued contracting. But something about the water eased things a bit, and it helped.

As one particularly nasty pain began to release, she felt his hand cover her own, and she grasped it, squeezing with her eyes clenched shut until it passed.

Breathing heavily, Kagome cracked her eyes open, smiling tiredly when she saw him. “That’s a good look for you.”

Chin on the edge of the tub, he smiled with his eyes, and brushed sweaty bangs from her eyes. “You are doing well, Miko.”

Chapter Text

Kagome got out of the tub, and her water broke right on Sesshoumaru’s feet.

Her jaw dropped as she braced against his arms so as not to slip, and she slowly lifted her eyes to his face.

Stunned gold stared back at her, wide with their shock.

Still naked and absolutely mortified, Kagome—already aware that her mystery would disappear that night—needed something to be abundantly clear. “For the record, I did not pee on you.”

Sesshoumaru swallowed, nodding. “I am aware.”

“Is this worse than vomiting on you?” she whispered.

He held in a gag. “It is fine.”

Chapter Text

He didn’t have time to be distracted by the unexpected foot bath.

Kagome gasped, her knees buckling as another pain hit, and she nearly pierced his skin with her nails.

Chiyo draped a dry yukata over her when it was over. “They’ll be stronger now that you’ve released the waters.”

Clinging to Sesshoumaru as another one hit, she closed her eyes and breathed out a moan, swinging her hips. “Tell me it’s worth it.” She almost screamed as another hit. “It better be!”

Yuuko smiled behind her, massaging her scalp again. She looked up at Sesshoumaru. “It is worth it.”

Chapter Text

The small breaks between contractions stopped, and Kagome almost lost her mind.

She breathed trying not to cringe through the pain so her body could relax into what it needed to do. But it it hurt. And it hurt so bad she could barely stand it.

Standing with her chest to his front as she clung to his neck, Kagome used his strength to support her squat. Not really meaning to, she started to cry. “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”

Sesshoumaru closed his eyes and leaned down, pressing his forehead to hers. “You can.”

Then, something changed.

Chapter Text

An intense pressure filled her pelvis, and Kagome bore down, suppressing a scream as she did.

Chiyo said something about a head, and she felt Sesshoumaru hold her tighter, and she just acted. Everything going on around her ceased to matter. Something desperately wanted out of her body, and she wanted it out just as desperately.

It hurt, was all-consuming, and she couldn’t think about anything other than getting that pressure to stop.

Then, she felt fire.

With a deep breath, she bore down again, and something popped out of her.

“A little more, Kagome,” Chiyo encouraged.

The pressure increased.

Chapter Text

She was shaking her head again, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.”

His voice rumbled in her ear. “You can. One more, Miko.”

There was one clear moment when she opened her eyes and looked into his, and everything that was hit her in that moment. And she reveled for a split second in the unexpectedness of it all.

It was an impossible moment that she could have never predicted, and she saw it reflected in his eyes.

He smiled. “I know, Miko.”

Weakly giving him one of her own, she bore down and pushed.

Chapter Text

Kagome collapsed against Sesshoumaru as the pressure released and relief finally flooded her body.

“Female!” Chiyo called out, laughing.

Sesshoumaru turned her around, leaning her back against him, just in time for a slippery, messy, squalling baby to be put on her chest.

Kagome’s arms came up, wrapping over her screaming daughter, and she looked in shock back and forth between Chiyo, Yuuko, and Sesshoumaru.

Then, she cried.

Cradling the babe close with her head pressed against the wet, tiny one, Kagome cried.

Sesshoumaru’s voice choked behind her as he circled them both in his arms. “It is Maya.”

Chapter Text

The moment was short-lived.

Yuuko swooped down, scooping up Maya just as Kagome tensed and started groaning again.

“This one is coming fast,” Chiyo mumbled, positioning her hands under Kagome. She suddenly sat up, eyes widening. “I see a backside.”

Kagome moaned. “No no no.”

Sesshoumaru looked at his mother and Chiyo sharply.

“Kagome turn on your hands and knees,” Yuuko said gently. “It will be fine. You can do this.”

She was in tears again as Sesshoumaru helped her turn. “How do you know?”

Yuuko smirked and gave her son a bit of a glare. “Because I’ve done it.”

Chapter Text

The second baby was difficult to birth.

Sesshoumaru felt Kagome tense in his grasp in ways she hadn’t while birthing Maya. And more often than not, her moans were outright screams.

When she started to panic and breathe too fast, he hit past his point of concern. “Mother.”

Hearing his tone, Yuuko quickly crossed the room. “Take Maya.”

Allowing her to tuck the fussy baby against his skin inside his yukata, he watched as she got down in front of Kagome.

Maya, for the moment, calmed. A dainty, little nose turned in, seeking his scent.

Something clenched in his chest.

Chapter Text

Kagome pushed, panted, yelled, and cried. And somewhere in between, she mumbled nonsense that he couldn’t hear, but he could hear his mother’s responses and the laughter in her voice.

“It’s okay, Kagome. You’re doing great.”

Yes, Miko. You are.

“No, darling girl. You don’t have to have sex with him again.”

What is this nonsense?

“Well, Sesshoumaru has always been good at everything, so I suppose…”

The miko is oversharing again.

“Why, thank you! He did turn out quite nice to look at, didn’t he?”

This has been established.

“Of course I know he knows it.”

Also established.

“Push!”

Chapter Text

Pushing as Yuuko encouraged her, Kagome felt the second baby finally start to make her way out. She exhaled heavily, nearly yelping as she did. There was so much more pressure this time, and the fire she felt before intensified.

“Please please please,” she chanted, taking Yuuko’s offered hand as she bore down again.

Her mother-in-law smiled kindly. “I know this is hard, but you are almost there.”

“Yes,” Chiyo agreed behind her. “Just her head is left. One more good push, Kagome, and she’ll slide right out.”

“Where’s Sesshoumaru?” she panted.

He appeared next to his mother. “Here, Miko.”

Chapter Text

Kagome reached forward, brushing the soft, downy hair on Maya’s head.

Sesshoumaru lay down, his face underneath hers as he cradled their oldest babe against him. “I know why we were given two,” he whispered.

Kagome felt her body tensing, and took a deep breath. “Why?”

“Because I do not want to share.” His smile flashed his fangs.

Kagome half laughed, tears springing to her eyes as the need to push took over. And she pushed. She pushed as hard as she could, and finally, Miyu slid out.

Seconds later, she was in Sesshoumaru’s arms, both babies on her chest.

Chapter Text

They were precious.

Sesshoumaru supported Kagome as she leaned back against his chest, watching the babies nurse. Little black ears swiveled around on the tops of their heads while they listened to the sounds around them. Both seemed content, their eyes closed as little hands flexed against Kagome’s breasts, kneading sleepily as they nursed.

They were nothing short of amazing.

“I can’t believe we did this,” Kagome murmured, stroking both girls’ ears.

“No.” His voice was choked. He kissed the side of her head, closing his eyes. “You did well, Miko.”

Kagome laughed and teared up. “That was so hard.”

Chapter Text

Chiyo and Yuuko were helping Kagome get clean and comfortable, so both girls were tucked inside his yukata against his skin to keep warm.

Sesshoumaru closed his eyes, contented to have the babies against his chest as the day caught up with him as well. Head tilted back against the wall, he dozed with his daughters.

Yuuko’s hand on his forehead woke him.

She smiled down at him. “You’ve changed.”

Eyes bleary, the corner of his mouth lifted.

Yuuko laughed at his fatigue, and though it’d been centuries, she kissed the stripes on his cheek. “You make your mother proud.”

Chapter Text

Before they fell asleep, he took her questioning, smiling face in his hands and bent to kiss her. His lips were warm and soft, gently caressing her mouth as she returned their pressure. He carefully pulled her flush against his chest, holding her close and tilting her head back to take her mouth once more.

One of the babies made a soft whining sound, and the both looked over smiling.

“I think they’re getting hungry again.” Kagome made to move, but he stopped her.

“Thank you,” he murmured, meeting her curious eyes.

“For what?”

“For going through that for us.”

Chapter Text

Life with babies was new and sweet, but it was tiring.

At the end of their first week, when noon rolled around and no one had yet seen or heard from their lord or lady, Chiyo and Yuuko snuck quietly up to their room to check on them.

No one answered when they knocked, so they carefully slid back the door and peeked in.

“Oh for the love of the kami,” Chiyo muttered.

Yuuko, a hand over her mouth to smother her laughter, snorted her amusement and then cleared her throat. “That’s more of Sesshoumaru than I’ve seen in centuries.”

Chapter Text

Neither kept from laughing.

Kagome was fast asleep against a wall, head flung back and mouth open with her yukata askew from nursing Miyu. Miyu, still latched, suckled for a second here and there between snatches of naps.

And Sesshoumaru…

The daiyoukai, in nothing but his fundoshi, lay flat on his stomach out cold on the wood floor. There was spit up in his hair and a puddle of what could only reasonably be drool by his face. Maya was propped upright in his hands—obviously the spitter—sleeping peacefully.

Chiyo shook her head. “Should we wake them?”

“Oh yes.”

Chapter Text

Chiyo quietly walked up to Kagome, gently shaking her shoulder to rouse her from sleep; Yuuko marched up to Sesshoumaru and swatted him right over a stripe on the left side of his rump.

While Kagome slowly blinked to life, Sesshoumaru’s head snapped up, the long, silver hair falling in his face.

“Bath, food, nap,” Chiyo said.

“In that order,” Yuuko added, shaking her hand and wincing.

Kagome yawned. “It’s no use. I tried to pinch him once and got nothing. His ass is all muscle.”

Sesshoumaru smirked while his mother glared at him.

She tossed him his yukata. “Dress.”

Chapter Text

He stole out to the graves in the early morning hours.

Even in the face of new life, one was still missing. In the darkness, Sesshoumaru sat with his knees drawn to his chest and his head bowed in front of his first child’s marker.

He didn’t know what to say.

“They have dark hair like you.”

It felt stupid and awkward to be speaking in the night like this, but he wanted her near, and it was all he had left.

Being at the mercy of memories was tiresome, and it was useless to apologize again.

She couldn’t hear.

Chapter Text

Where Maya was calm and sweet in her temperament, Miyu was a spitfire who faced the world with a brazen vigor—despite her size or lack of abilities.

At two months old, she lay on Sesshoumaru’s chest, looking up at his face and trying to growl back as he playfully growled at her through his teeth.

“Sesshoumaru, trade me. Maya’s finished.”

“One second, Miko.” He growled at Miyu again.

“Miyu’s hungry.”

“One minute.”

“Sesshoumaru, she will bite you.”

“You can have her in—“

A second later he was prying tiny fangs from his pectoral muscle and trading Kagome twins.

Chapter Text

Kagome missed the convenience of cameras to capture memories—baby kisses in particular.

Both Kagome and Sesshoumaru found themselves regularly covered in slobber once the girls figured it out, and it was so adorable they didn’t care.

The day Kagome walked into the garden to find both girls in Sesshoumaru’s arms, mouths wide open and going for his face at the same time as he bent to kiss them, she about died.

“I miss cameras,” she groused.

Sesshoumaru straightened, baby spit on his nose and cheek, and flashed her a real smile. “I do not need one to remember this.”

Chapter Text

The pups loved the twins.

Yuuko was visiting, and they lounged under a tree in the courtyard, watching as the children sat and played with the girls on a blanket. They were able to lift up and look around now, and they smiled broad, milk teeth smiles whenever one of the children shared a toy or made funny faces at them.

The women watched as Maya tried to scoot to where Sesshoumaru sat.

Kagome sighed. “That one is all about her Papa.”

Yuuko’s smile was mischievous. “I believe she gets it from her mother.”

“I think that’s fair,” Kagome laughed.

Chapter Text

A year since Naraku passed, and then a year since they had committed to each other came.

Sesshoumaru stood with Kagome, watching the sunset over the graves, a twin on each hip. Behind him, their home began to light with the warm glow of coal braziers, and he let his mind drift back in time to a small temple room and nervous miko.

He smiled.

“So much has happened in a year,” she breathed beside him, taking Miyu.

“Yes.” His arm came around her.

Kagome looked up at him. “I love you.”

“Miko”—leaning down, he connected—“you are loved.”

Chapter Text

Kagome tilted her chin to kiss him. Love was woefully inadequate to describe what she felt for him. And, even now, a small part of her marveled that it was Sesshoumaru who held her heart. But she would gladly give it to him again.

“Your mother and Chiyo said they would keep the girls tonight.”

Sesshoumaru arched a brow, a small smile on his lips. “Did they?”

“Yup.”

“What did you have in mind?”

Kagome grinned. “Friends can be honest?”

He smirked.

She turned to head back, tugging the collar of his kimono as she did. “Still want this off.”

Chapter Text

They hadn’t been alone since the twins were born.

Kagome stood near the doorway in their room, waiting for him to get back from saying goodnight to the girls. And she just stared, letting the memories from a year before wash over her.

It had been so different then.

She had been so nervous, unsure of herself and not knowing what to expect. And he had been so…so patient. Attentive. Understanding.

He entered their room without her hearing. Strong arms slid around her from behind, his face pressing into her neck as he inhaled.

She smiled.

“Nostalgia, Miko?” he murmured.

Chapter Text

Kagome wrapped her arms over his. “What do you remember most from that night?”

His voice was quiet, lips on her shoulder as he spoke. “That you were lovely.”

Cheeks going pink with her pleasure, she turned in his arms. “Really?”

“Mmm.” His head rested against hers. “It is the truth.”

Tangling her fingers in his hair, she leaned into him, scratching lightly over the nape of his neck.

Sesshoumaru pressed his lips to hers, smiling against her mouth. “When you said ‘again.’”

Pink turned to red, and she felt the heat in her ears. “You didn’t complain.”

He laughed.

 

Chapter Text

He asked what she remembered.

Kagome shrugged and then laughed when he swept her up and carried her over to the futons, asking if she needed a reminder.

Still laughing, she shrieked when he flopped her down, himself on top of her, and buried his face in her neck. “Sesshoumaru, you’re heavy!”

She heard that dark chuckle, his weight suddenly settling against her more, and she poked his ribs. “I can tell you what I’ve learned being with you.”

Grinning, he pulled back. “What is that, Miko?”

“You’re fun.” She glared playfully. “And you have a demented sense of humor.”

 

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru rolled to his back and pulled her on top of him, laughing as he did.

His laugh and smile were wonderful, and she would never grow tired of them. Leaning down, she kissed the mirth from his mouth, and nuzzled his cheek. “I remember how gentle you were.”

He reached up, nosing at her neck and softly kissing her pulse point. The gentleness was always there where she and the girls were concerned. It had been an unexpected but constant presence in their relationship, and she cherished it.

And, if honest, part of her wished she knew it sooner.

Chapter Text

They made love. Slowly. Reverently.

The weight of the past year rested heavily on them both as they lay together again as one. She felt his remembrance in how he touched her, holding her close as he did that night, caressing with cautious but skilled hands.

But now there was also love.

She whispered hers for him and took the kiss he gave, clinging to him while relishing the warm, slick slide of his skin against hers as he loved her.

When their breath began to come short, she pushed back, holding his eyes until they found their pleasure together.

Chapter Text

The girls grew.

There were first laughs and first steps. There were mama kisses and dad saves. There were first words, and sometime those landed people in trouble.

Kagome walked into his study, arms crossed over her chest with her lips pursed tightly.

He looked up from his desk, and furrowed his brows. “Yes?”

“Maya said her first word.”

He perked up at the news. “What was it?”

Holding up her finger, Kagome cleared her throat. Then, she narrowed her eyes and, in a perfect imitation of him, seethed humans.

He pressed his lips together.

“Say something, Sesshoumaru.”

“My apologies.”

Chapter Text

They were walking in the garden before bed when she asked him. “Do you think it’s strange we haven’t gotten pregnant again?”

Sesshoumaru looked at her curiously, head slightly cocked. “I had not thought about it. But we have not tried.”

“We haven’t exactly tried to avoid it either. And the girls happened so quickly.”

Nodding thoughtfully, he sat down under a tree with her while the twins played. “Are you worried?”

“A little,” she admitted fidgeting.

He nodded again, teeth pressed to his bottom lip as he considered things. “Do you want to try?”

Kagome nodded fervently. “Yes.”

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

After two years of trying and no success, Kagome was heartbroken.

Maya And Miyu didn’t understand what made her sad, but they would pat her cheeks and say, “It’s okay, Mama.” And Kagome would cling to them, grateful that she had them.

Sesshoumaru tried to hide his concern, clinging to the knowledge he had seen more.

But Maya still crept into his study, her little face troubled. She climbed into his lap and held his face. “Are you sad too, Papa?”

He smiled at her sweet, innocent question. “A little.”

Maya lay her head on his shoulder. “It’s okay, Papa.”

Chapter Text

Miyu was stubborn, and for the life of him, he couldn’t believe that he was having this conversation.

“Miyu, relieve yourself. Now.”

“No.”

He let his head fall back in exasperation. They had taken them to see the ocean, and Miyu was not a fan of utilizing nature’s facilities.

“You have not gone in days. Remedy that, Miyu.”

“I don’t want to.”

Lips pursed in annoyance, he picked up his pup and returned to their camp. He sat Miyu next to Maya and dropped down next to Kagome.

“And?” she prompted.

He snorted. “This Sesshoumaru gives up.”

“No, Sesshoumaru doesn’t.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes life threw curves.

They were still arguing over Miyu’s nonexistent bathroom habit when he smelled blood.

He told Kagome to draw Touitsu and stay with the girls.

When he came back, there was a tear-stricken kitsune toddler balanced on his hip.

“Sesshoumaru, what...”— she put Touitsu down and reached for the small youkai—“...her parents?”

He handed the crying kit to her and shook his head.

Maya and Miyu were curious and approached cautiously, patting the child and trying to soothe.

“I’m so sorry.” Kagome held her tighter.

“Kagome.”

She turned and looked at him.

“I know her scent.”

Chapter Text

They called her Akari. She was a puckish, temperamental kit, but she loved hard and was protective of her family.

She was a huge helper to Kagome, but she clashed with Sesshoumaru nearly everyday. Still, she loved them both, and anyone who would do something to hurt them found themselves on the receiving end of Akari’s tricks.

“That kimono was new, Akari,” Kagome scolded. “You can’t do that to visiting clan leaders.”

“I can if they smell like that around Papa.”

“Like what?”

Akari glared, turning red.

Kagome straightened. “Oh.”

“See? And I’d do it again.”

“Akari—“

“I would.”

Chapter Text

Two human children and a moth youkai joined their family.

Sesshoumaru stood before his two human children, Akio and Nozomi, and contemplated how to approach things. This was the first time he was teaching them how to defend themselves.

He crouched down, eye level with them. “You both are at a disadvantage being human.” It was not said unkindly, but little heads drooped. Sesshoumaru lifted their chins. “But this does not mean you are not strong and cannot protect others and yourselves.”

Smiles lit their faces.

“I can still be strong like you?” Akio asked.

Sesshoumaru grinned then and stood, handing them both bokkens. “You are already strong.”

 

Chapter Text

Watching their six children try to take their father down was always amusing. But in the middle of their typical wrestling match in the garden, Akari changed the rules.

“Nope, game isn’t over until Papa goes in the pond.”

Eveyone—except for Sesshoumaru—loved the idea.

Kagome watched with amusement as the typical rambunctious efforts transformed into something else. Every child was focused on their father with a pregnant silence.

Sesshoumaru noticed it too and let his youki rise.

She glared. “Sesshoumaru, don’t escalate this!”

She heard everyone one of her children—blood or adopted—echo their father’s dark laughter.

Chapter Text

If not for the lack of blood, Kagome would have called it a bloodbath. The children tore after Sesshoumaru, not one frightened by the storm of youki and red eyes.

Miyu, hellion that she was, was the first to tackle him. The rest quickly followed, and Sesshoumaru was covered.

Watch his teeth!

Nozomi, quit pulling his hair!

I’m human! It’s what I’ve got right now!

Get him!”

Somehow, they got him to the edge of the pond.

When they pushed, his energy whip shot out, looped around every single child, and dragged them in with him.

“Ugh, Papa wins again!”

Chapter Text

It came out one day in a moment of pure frustration before he even realized what he was saying, but the kids had been squabbling for hours. And Sesshoumaru was done. He was so done.

Enough.” He barged into the dojo, plucked the bokken made from Bokuseno’s wood out of their hands, and silently apologized to his father for ever fighting with his brother over a sword.

“No more. If you must fight, fight about something else.”

“Like what?”

“I do not care,” he ground out. “Sit here and argue about who my favorite child is. Just do it quietly.”

Chapter Text

There was a brief pause where he stood wide eyed as he realized what he said, and then all hell broke loose.

“What are you talking about? I’m your favorite.”

“Nuh-uh! I am!”

Someone tugged his sleeve, and he looked down to see little Nozomi looking up at him with shiny, dark eyes.

“Papa, please tell them I’m your favorite.”

Oh hell.

“I thought I was your favorite?”

“If you’re his favorite, I am too. We’re identical!”

“I’m the prettiest, so I’m the favorite.”

“Enmei, stop calling yourself ‘pretty.’ You’re male”

“So is Papa!”

Pretty?

Then, there were tears.

Shit.

Chapter Text

Kagome wasn’t expecting to find all their children sound asleep and piled on top of Sesshoumaru when she opened the door to their room, yet here they were. Her first reaction was to smile, but then she saw the look on his face.

“What happened?” She curled up on the floor behind his head and dropped a quick kiss on his mouth.

“A mistake that will span centuries. And that is all I will say.”

She was confused but let it go. “Okay.” Then, grinning: “Guess what?”

“Hmm?”

“I didn’t bleed last month.”

A slow smile spread over his face.

Chapter Text

They would lose that pregnancy and the next six after it. And as the markers next to Shippou, Rin, Kohaku, and Inuyasha’s graves grew, so did Kagome’s grief. So, when she became pregnant again, they were cautious.

As the halfway point hit, they relaxed. Kagome began to enjoy the pregnancy.

She walked through the gardens collecting blooms with Maya, Miyu, and Akari. All of them had gotten older, their oldest three now in teen years. And all were looking forward to a little one.

Her first, sudden pains took them by surprise.

When the second came, Maya ran for help.

Chapter Text

In the end they had about twenty minutes with their daughter before her tiny, underdeveloped lungs couldn’t take anymore and she passed.

Chiyo washed her hands, trying to hold back tears as she watched the devastated pair. “I’ll inform the children and see to it that they give you time.”

Sesshoumaru just nodded, silent and not looking away from the infant still cradled to Kagome’s chest. His knuckle brushed the delicate cheek and downy hair.

She would have had his.

Kagome’s breath shuddered as she cried. “I don’t understand this.”

“There is no understanding this.” His voice was choked, bitter.

Chapter Text

They named her Sumire, and when Kagome fell asleep, he brought her out for her siblings to say goodbye.

They took turns holding the bundled, tiny infant while Sesshoumaru sat with them, soothing sniffles and trying to comfort in the wake of this new kind of grief that had hit their family.

A tearful Maya appeared in front of him, looking at him with severe eyes.

“What is it, Maya?”

“I can see,” she choked out, not dropping his eyes.

“See what?”

She swiped her nose. “That you want to cry but won’t.” Her voice dropped. “And I hate that.”

Chapter Text

Once the children were settled, and Sumire’s small body was set to rest until they could bury her the next day, Sesshoumaru needed to escape.

Without a word to anyone, he transformed and went to lay by the graves. At least like this they wouldn’t be able to read him.

Or so he thought. One by one, his children appeared. They carried blankets and lanterns; Miyu carried Kagome. Without a word, Kagome was settled between his forelegs while the rest climbed up through his fur or leaned against him, curling up to sleep.

Their hands scratched and soothed all night.

Chapter Text

A week after burying Sumire, Akari barged into his study.

Face set with determination, she marched straight past Keiji and Mitsukaneand went right up to Sesshoumaru. Then, without a word, she pushed her forehead against his, hands gripping at the silver strands of his hair.

He could smell the salt trapped behind her clenched eyelids. “Akari—“

The first sob took him by surprise, and he waved Mitsukane and Keiji out while she curled up in his lap as if still a child.

He rubbed circles over her back. “What is wrong, Akari?”

“Nothing. Just…thank you for being my Papa.”

 

Chapter Text

Everyone was together in the garden, but while the others wove wreaths with the pups or listening to Sesshoumaru explain seasons to the younger ones, Miyu sat talking with Kagome.

“I don’t know why you can’t have more than us,” she frowned.

Kagome sighed. “Neither do I.”

Desperate to cheer her mother up, she goaded Sesshoumaru. “Papa, are you really over nine hundred years older than Mama?”

He arched a brow from across the garden. “Yes, Miyu.”

The hanyou snickered. “Isn’t that a bit like robbing the cradle?”

Kagome quickly slapped a hand over her mouth to stop a laugh.

 

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru and Kagome were snuggled together under a kotatsu in their room to keep warm when he noticed one of the kids approaching.

“I smell a guilty fox,” he mused, moving a white Go piece.

Kagome frowned at the board, not quite sure why she even tried to beat him still. “We’ll see what they’ve done now.”

Akari knocked hesitantly.

Sesshoumaru lifted his eyes from the board to Kagome and winked. She laughed when he ordered Akari to enter in his sternest voice.

She crept in slowly, a sheepish smile on her face. “So, just remember I’m your favorite, alright?”

Chapter Text

Life was never boring. And though touched by heavy griefs, they were happy.

Kagome reached out and tugged his sleeve as they gathered persimmons with their kids and the household pups. “When did we really last spend time together?”

Sesshoumaru thought for a moment, lifting a small child to reach the branches. “I am not sure.”

She grinned. “How about tonight?”

Gold eyes sparkled a bit and he mouthed “okay.”

Enmei, the moth, feigned a gag.

“Enmei, you jerk, it’s cute they still flirt!” Maya yelled.

“Yeah, especially since Papa’s geriatric,” Miyu added, dodging the persimmon Sesshoumaru pinged at her.

Chapter Text

Maya and Miyu were twenty-four when Kagome became pregnant again.

Realizing she had skipped a cycle, she went to him in tears and nearly hysterical. When she finally got out that she thought she was pregnant, he simply held her and told her it would be alright.

And he wanted to believe that.

The months went by, and Kagome grew. And she tried desperately not to hold her breath that it would last.

But it did. Late one night, she pushed a son into the world. And there was a crescent moon on the babe’s forehead.

Sesshoumaru smiled. “Hello, Naoki.”

Chapter Text

Miyu’s favorite story about her parents was the one where they found out that they were having her and Maya. She loved hearing how Sesshoumaru cracked into hysterics at the house in the future.

While her father was more lenient with his reticence around his family, the news of their impending birth seemed to have done him in best over the years.

So, a few years after Naoki was born, she walked into his study on her and Maya’s birthday and slapped a sweet potato down on his desk.

Sesshoumaru pressed his lips together, and Miyu laughed.

“Love you, Papa.”

Chapter Text

It made his day when she came bearing notes.

Around noon, Kagome entered into his study and slipped around his desk to sit in his lap and connect. These brief moments of peace between the two of them were as precious to her now as they had been in the beginning—perhaps more so now.

“Nobody better come in here right now.”

Sesshoumaru chuckled, and she kissed him softly before laying her head against his once again.

“Make love tonight?”

He nuzzled her cheek. “Yes.”

With a smile she left, and he unfolded her note.

I’m your favorite.

Sesshoumaru laughed.

Chapter Text

Kagome would always find it a little ironic that the place she felt safest now was in Sesshoumaru’s embrace. And as she peeled the yukata from his shoulders and down his body, she said so.

She should’ve known what was coming when he grinned at her like he did.

He face flashed her, and she fell off his lap with a scream…

…and another sound that unintentionally popped out of her.

And she was mortified.

The Lord of the West, on the other hand, was apparently twelve and laying on his side laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe.

Kagome glared.

Chapter Text

“Seriously Sesshoumaru?”

He curled into the fetal position on their futons and laughed hard enough that there was no sound.

“Nine years old or nine hundred years old—males are all the same,” she muttered.

He just nodded as he lost it.

“You’re inuyoukai. I hope you suffer.”

His laughter broke loose then, and he was howling.

Kagome rolled her eyes then and made her way back to the futons. “Make space, Demon Lord.”

She flopped on her back and blew her hair of of her face. “I’ve never—did you just giggle?”

The laughter stopped, teeth snapping shut. “No.”

Chapter Text

Despite the face flash, Kagome’s personal horror, and what turned out to be an embarrassing giggle, they still made love to each other, curling sleepily together afterward.

Kagome smiled as he pulled her back against his chest, still warm and damp with sweat from what they shared, wrapping her in his arms.
She snuggled closer. “I meant what I said earlier.”

He squeezed her gently. “I know.”

Lifting his hand, she kissed his palm and each of his fingers. “Enmei is interested in a human.”

“Must we talk about the pups right now?” he mumbled, kissing her shoulder.

She laughed. “No.”

Chapter Text

He found Maya laying an elaborate chain of flowers on Rin’s grave.

Something caught in his throat. He didn’t realize any of his children came to visit her like this.

Maya spoke without turning, sensing his presence. “I’ve been talking to Mama a lot.” She turned to look at him, tears in her eyes. “You were really different before, weren’t you?”

He didn’t deny it. “Yes.”

“Bad different,” she whispered.

He could almost taste her struggle. “Yes.”

She nodded then, contemplating the admission, and Sesshoumaru waited. But she never said anything.

“Why this?” he finally asked, motioning to the flowers.

Chapter Text

Maya smiled, and it was sad but understanding. “She was your first. And she’s important.” Then quietly: “I wouldn’t exist if you hadn’t had her.”

Her tears fell, and he pulled her to him. She laughed as she sniffled and wiped her nose against his kimono.

“Sorry.”

His smile was wry. “It is not the first time. It is fine.”

Sesshoumaru sat with her, and she leaned into his shoulder, blowing air through her lips as she released the emotion pent up inside.

“Papa?”

“What is it, Maya?”

She snuggled closer. “You’re my favorite.”

He chuckled and kissed her head.