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Never Let Me Down

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When one of Naraku’s tentacles finally hit Inuyasha with enough force to knock him out, Sesshoumaru remained the only one of the group still able to stand and fight. The others were under the protection of Kagome’s barrier, but the size required to envelope them all had caused it to weaken. It wouldn’t take but a few well-timed hits to break through, and were it not for Jaken and his fire staff, they would have landed.

Though none would know by watching Sesshoumaru fight, the daiyoukai was worn down. He hadn’t slept in weeks, and though they had remained hot on Naraku’s trail, the spider demon had always managed to slip just out of their grasp. Until now. He had been weakened greatly after they had caught him off guard a few days prior, and had retreated to the small village where he had holed up after taking control of its residences. He needed more time to heal, but with the jewel nearly complete, he was more than able to hold his own against the battle-weary travelers.

Were he facing off with Sesshoumaru one on one, he would have already met his end. But the dog demon had to plan his moves to keep Naraku’s focus on himself and away from the others, so he could barely seem to land a hit. This didn’t escape the evil hanyou’s notice.

“What a fool you have become, Sesshoumaru,” he taunted. “Your new-found devotion to your weak brother and his pathetic pack has made you weak as well...how the mighty have fallen.” Sesshoumaru was able to cut down the appendages as they struck at him, but had no time to blow back.

“Hold your tongue, half-breed. And know your place. This Sesshoumaru has never known weakness.” With that, Naraku had gotten a hit. The force of the blow hit the demon hard enough to knock him on his back. He rose to sit as Naraku appeared before him.

“Is that so? Because ‘my place’ appears to be poised to kill the strongest demon in Japan- not bad for a lowly half-breed.” With a graceful roll to the side, Sesshoumaru barely avoided another strike, the earth exploding where he had just been. “Perhaps you should save that insult for the unconscious brother you so dutifully protect. Though I guess it’s too late for that now. Oh, well.” In an instant, he was hovering over him, mere inches from his face.

“With the great Lord of the Western Lands dead, I suppose it will be left to me to rule in his place. What a gracious being I am, Sesshoumaru, to take you from this world before your subjects learn what a weak fool you have become.” Another strike, another roll.

“After you are dead, I will kill your half-breed and his pack, of course. And with the jewel complete, I shall reign terror and pain that the world has never known. I believe I will start with burning the Western Lands to the ground. They shall be the lucky ones, out of respect to their leader.”

He finally landed a strike, and Sesshoumaru had to fight to contain a groan as a tentacle cracked his rib. “And you are respected, aren’t you? Do you know how long I’ve waited, to wipe that haughty look right off of your pretty face?” Another appendage slithered out to hit the same rib, forcing eyelids to slam shut in pain. “Do you see now what your weakness has cost you? What the distraction of this pack has cost your people?”

“Silence!” He bit out between clenched teeth. “This One’s pack is no distraction. And This One’s brother is no half-breed.” Confusion flittered across Naraku’s features. “Inuyasha is half-DEMON, because our great and terrible father was his sire. The blood of a legend runs through his veins. The only half-breed present is yourself- a disgusting human who gave his body over to any low-level demon willing to consume him. You are no more than a filthy whore.”

The length at which he spoke was uncharacteristic, and caused Naraku pause. He eyed him suspiciously. “It is uncommon of you to speak in such a manner.” The way he was sizing up the dog demon was as if he was trying to determine if it was indeed the Lord of the West who was before him, or a doppelganger. “Such passion...such language...what are you doing, Sesshoumaru?”

A malicious smirk from The Western Lord shot a jolt of fear through Naraku's being. “Distracting you.”

By the time he sensed Inuyasha it was too late. “Windscar!!” Inuyasha threw everything he had into the attack, and collapsed before he saw it hit. Sesshoumaru managed a backflip out of harm’s way before it reached him, but Naraku wasn’t quick enough. The jewel alone kept him alive, but he was forced to transform into his human form. Sword in hand, Sesshoumaru began attacking feverishly. Desperately.

All Naraku could do was defend himself, relying on the tainted jewel to lend him strength and speed. Sesshoumaru was landing blows now, but it became clear that with the jewel as it was, he wouldn’t be able to finish him off.

Just then, in the distance behind Naraku’s head, his eyes made contact with blue irises from within her barrier. He was nearly startled at the raw hatred he saw there. He had not considered them capable of such a feat. A purity arrow was notched, and his own amber depths relayed a silent command that left no room to argue. Shoot!

She wouldn’t insult him by worrying for his safety, and he jumped away just as she let it fly.

Naraku never saw what hit him. The second it pierced his skull he was reduced to a pile of ash and dust; disintegrating to a heap at their feet.

For a beat, there was only stillness. Silence, as it sank in. As if no one wanted to get their hopes up, in case it wasn’t truly over. They waited for proof. And Miroku gave it to them.

“My wind tunnel…it’s gone!” He exclaimed for all to hear. That was enough for them.

Sango rewarded his announcement with a passionate kiss, and Kagome released an exhausted sigh as she let her barrier drop. After a quick assessment that the others were alright, she ran to Sesshoumaru’s side, reaching him just as he rose to stand. His clothing hadn’t made it out of the battle untarnished, and he was knocking the larger concentrations of blood and earth of the usually pristine garments.

She was going to ask if he was okay, but before she could, Inuyasha lifted her so that her hips pressed against his chest, and spun them around in circles. He was smiling wide, putting his joy on display for all to see. She let out a squeal, and as his twirling came to a stop, he held her still.

“You did it!” He looked up into her eyes with grateful relief.

She smiled in return as he lowered her feet back down to the earth, and planted a kiss on her lips. Nothing passionate, like the kiss Sango gave Miroku- was still giving him, actually. It was...friendly.

“We did it,” she countered, sparing a look at Sesshoumaru, who was still straightening his attire. Releasing Kagome, he advanced on his brother. Without an ounce of trepidation, he threw his arms around his middle and squeezed.

The tattered armor did little to shield his broken rib from the attack, and Sesshoumaru allowed a wince to finally grace his features. Though once the slight shock of his brother’s hug wore off, he responded by lightly wrapping one arm around the boy, and placing his other hand atop his head.

He couldn’t explain the new rush of feelings swelling inside of him. He should be affronted by the audacity of the action, and not long ago, he wouldn’t have wasted any time reminding the whelp why he should only know fear in his presence. But in this moment, he couldn’t bring himself to care.

Naraku was dead. They had killed him. And with the spider, the last true remaining threat to his lands had died as well. There was now nothing stopping him from ruling as he saw fit, nothing he had to worry anything much about at all anymore. It was liberating. So, he would allow him this. This was his moment.

“You were excellent, Inuyasha,” he deigned further.

“Not so bad yourself, brother.” He smiled up at him ironically, and Sesshoumaru didn’t miss the absence of the ‘half’ they had both before always insisted on adding. He smirked back down at him, and with that, Inuyasha ran back to the others and pulled Kikyo into a passionate kiss. This one, not at all friendly.

“You did very well, Miko,” she turned from the scene to regard Sesshoumaru behind her. It wasn’t every day the Western Lord offered up compliments, and she allowed it to briefly wash over her.

“So did you.”

“This One was simply living up to his name.” It was said so matter-of-factly, had she not known him, it wouldn’t have come as playful.

“But I’m the one who killed him!” she mocked offense. “Guess you will have to change your name to ‘The Maiming Perfection.’” When he paused, she worried her joking had gone too far. Until finally...

“Perhaps ’The Distraction Perfection?’”

She had to laugh at this, “Yeah, you’re good at that, too.” The corner of his mouth just barely ticked up. “It doesn’t really roll off the tongue, though.”

“No, This Sesshoumaru was correct the first time. The jewel is your destiny. The hanyou’s life was yours to take. For any other to kill him would have been imperfect.”

She smiled in response, then followed his gaze over to Inuyasha and Kikyo still kissing. He produced the jewel he had collected from Naraku’s ashes and handed it to her. “You know what you must do.” He assessed her solemnly, and she looked again to the celebrating couple. Turning her focus back to him, she nodded affirmative.

“Will you delay?”

She knew she had to make a selfless wish. It was the only way to get rid of the jewel. Inuyasha had conceded this, abandoning his hopes of wishing to be a full-fledged demon long ago. Kouga had agreed, and relinquished his shards to Kagome before they began their final run to seek out Naraku; and Sesshoumaru had removed the one from Kohaku’s neck. A swipe of Tenseiga had revived the boy’s life, and he was now with Kaede keeping watch of the village in their absence. None of the others knew what wish she would make, but all were in agreement that Kagome would banish the jewel from existence.

She removed her three shards from the pouch around her neck, and fused them with the rest. Sesshoumaru easily contained his awe as he watched the dark sphere turn pink in Kagome’s hands, finally complete. The jewel was such a small, unassuming home to contain such raw power. None would expect what was churning beneath its surface. ‘Much like its keeper.’

She felt a sad twinge of her heart, but forced a smile at the imposing daiyoukai.

“Not for a second,” she replied, and made her silent wish on the Shikon.

Inuyasha tensed as he felt Kikyo’s energy react wildly, seemingly out of nowhere. “What’s wrong?” he demanded of her; taking a defensive stance with his had flying to Tetsusaiga’s hilt. Kikyo relished in the warmth that spread through her being, and the old familiar feeling of her reiki sizzling through her blood alerted her as half of her soul was returned.

Kagome faltered in anguish, and Sesshoumaru steadied her so that she wouldn’t fall. It was a painful rip, as if vivisection were being performed. He allowed her to ball up the sleeve of is haori in her clenched fists as he offered his arms as stability. Opening her mouth, she let out a silent scream as her head pounded and knees weakened until it peaked; then slowly began to ebb.

The most selfless wish she could have made would be to give her soul back to Kikyo, so that the one she loved could be with another. It seemed the fates were willing to make a deal, letting Kagome keep half her soul, and have she and Kikyo split the difference. The other half would grow in each of them, making them whole, but separate.

“Is it...did you...?” Inuyasha was speechless, looking between the two women he loved more than anything. There was a time when he would have traded Kagome as she was to have his former love returned to him in one piece. Those days were long gone. In fact, he was a little upset she would attempt to wish away her soul now. It had been too risky a move. Didn’t she know how important she was to him? Kikyo affirmed his suspicions.

“Kagome. She returned my soul...” She started in grateful awe, but it soon turned to joy. She ran to Kagome and enveloped her in a hug. “You are an amazing woman, Kagome...Thank you.”

The three of them had begun their journey together ensnared in a bitter love triangle that seemed to have no amiable solution. But over these last few months, it had morphed into something sustainable; something...comfortable. Nobody had come out of it unscathed; but as roles were assumed, the players accepted their place.

The pain now gone, Kagome released Sesshoumaru’s clothing and offered him an apologetic smile. A lack of a reaction to the offense on his person was high praise as far as she was concerned, and she hugged the woman back as Inuyasha approached them. Upon his arrival, Kikyo threw herself into his arms. He could only stare dumbfounded at Kagome; gratitude plastered on his handsome features. “Thank you” he mouthed as he returned Kikyo’s hug.

Just then, Miroku and Sango approached hand in hand. “Everyone, with Naraku finally dead, there is something I cannot wait another moment to do.” Miroku got down on one knee, and ripped the ring that once helped cover his cursed hand from his robe. Grabbing her hand, he placed the ring on Sango’s finger, “Will you marry me?” he simply asked. He just wanted to get it out, not prolonging the question any more than he was already forced to.

“Yes!” she responded as she pulled him up from the ground. Their hug quickly became another kiss. They had all put their lives on hold until their shared enemy was dead. Now that he was, there was not a moment to be wasted in getting on with them.

As the others offered their congratulations, Sesshoumaru eyed an older human male who was approaching the group. From his attire, he assumed he was the lord of the village Naraku had been possessing. With the spider demon dead, those under his control where back to themselves. However, it would not surprise him if the lord harbored hostilities towards all demons- even those who saved their lives.

He soon realized his suspicions were unfounded. The lord was practically tripping over himself to thank them. “My name is Hano. I am lord of this village. I wish to offer my eternal gratitude to each of you!” He swallowed his fear as he regarded Sesshoumaru, but continued on.

“Your heroic efforts on this day has saved my people from a most terrible fate. Tonight, we shall hold a celebration in your honor. There will be a great feast of all the delicacies we have to offer. My village is home to some very talented musicians and singers for entertainment! And I will personally make available our best accommodations for you to use as long as you like, so you may bathe and rest if you wish. I very much hope you will all attend?”

The last three weeks had them on the run non-stop. There was little room for rest, let alone the luxury of extended baths or meals for any longer than was necessary. The humans’ weaker forms had been pushed to the limits of their mortality, but those with demon blood had been put through the ringer as well. Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha had to keep watch as the other’s required sleep more regularly, and it was left to them to hunt for the group as well.

This was in between constantly taking painful blows from one with a near complete Shikon, and traveling very long distances in very short amounts of time. They were some distance from their village, and the prospect of only a short walk to receive the rest and nourishment they required was an appealing one.

The group looked around to each other, and Kagome responded. “Hot springs?! We’d be honored! We could all use some R&R, right guys?” she looked hopefully to Sesshoumaru, as he was the only one she wasn’t sure would accept the offer. He inclined his head slightly, as the others verbally agreed. “Great!”

Lord Hano described the lay of the land as he escorted the group back into the village. “...the men’s hot spring is over there, and the female’s is over there. I’m sure you will want to visit them first thing!” he mused happily as he gestured to the spider guts and dirt they all sported. “I shall have rooms prepared while you bathe. How many will you require?”

Inuyasha answered first, “My mate-to-be and I will only need one room.” He put his arm around Kikyo as she smiled lovingly back at him. Then Sango surprised the group by announcing that she and her fiancé would only need one room as well. Miroku’s lecherous look in response earned a chuckle from Kagome and the other couple.

Kagome spoke next, “Shippo can bunk with me. And I’m sure Lord Sesshoumaru will want to stay with Rin.” Knowing the demon likely wouldn’t answer the man, she piped up on his behalf.

She turned to him then, “Will Ah-Un and Jaken stay with you as well?” He hadn’t really an opinion on the matter, but answered quickly to get on with it. He was more exhausted than he cared to admit.

“Jaken may stay with This One to watch over Rin. The Dragon prefers to stay outside.”

“Okay, so I guess four rooms will be enough! Thank you again!” It wouldn’t be difficult to go back to her room and sleep for a couple of days, but the idea of a hot meal that she didn’t have to cook would be worth powering through for.

“Do not thank me, priestess. It is the least I can do. Now enjoy your bath! The rooms will be ready when you are through.”

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru was the last one in the male’s hot spring. He lowered himself in, and let the hot water soothe his aching muscles. His rib was sore, but already nearly healed; it wasn’t until the fight was over that he let himself feel the extent of the abuse his form had endured. They collectively enjoyed the contented peace, letting the silence enhance their relief.

Inuyasha cracked an eyelid to appraise his brother next to him. His eyes were closed, and his head leaned back on the spring’s ledge between his outstretched arms. He’d never seen him so relaxed, and he wondered briefly if he ever had been.

“I can’t believe it’s finally over.” He felt as if the gravity of it hadn’t fully hit him.

“Hn.”

“What are you going to do now?” A shrug was his only answer.

“Keh. C’mon. We’ve all waited for this day. You tellin’ me YOU ain’t got a plan?” Sesshoumaru had joined forces with the rag-tag group to expedite Naraku’s impending death. Now that their mission was complete, he assumed the demon would return to his life- whatever that was.

He hated that his brother had to help them at the time. He had always considered that the spider hanyou was his to take down. As things grew more desperate, however, it was clear he had to swallow his pride and accept Sesshoumaru’s aid.

But he had gotten used to having him around. His presence became, if nothing else, tolerable.

“This One will see to the Western Lands, as he had before the evil hanyou interfered.”

“So the same old same, huh? You don’t seem the same.” The peaceful air around the demon just didn’t seem to fit him. It wasn’t unwelcome, just...off-putting.

“This Sesshoumaru admits, with Naraku dispatched he feels...lighter than before. I have never known what it is to feel care-free... I wonder if that is what I now feel.”

This admission caused the other men to open their eyes, somewhat shocked he would voice this to them.

“Not only is Naraku gone, but so is the jewel. And with it, any demon who would use it to cause trouble is rendered impotent. Without the jewel, there is no demon who could even hope to be a match for This One. The thought is...relaxing.”

The miko had played her part well. It had been her duty to banish the jewel, and she had succeeded. That she dealt the final blow with her pure arrow was troubling, however. He should have been able to finish him with his sword. That had been his duty, and in that respect he had failed. But he would think no more on it now. That Naraku was dead was the important thing.

They all seem to consider his words. He could let his guard down. They doubted he ever would completely, but this was now as close as he would probably get.

“And you, Inuyasha? Will you waste time in mating your miko?” The pair had been an item before Sesshoumaru had joined them months prior. And like the monk and slayer, they had seemed to be waiting for the spider’s demise to make things official.

“Keh. Wasted enough time, don’t ya think? Nah, I can’t wait another moment. If she’ll have me, I’m gonna do it tonight. Got a lot of time to make up for.” Though they had discussed mating hypothetically, they had made no solid plans. They had been chasing Naraku for so long that to them, unlike Sesshoumaru, victory had not been assured. He turned to Miroku then, “What about you, houshi? Sounds like Sango is ready to get married right now.”

Miroku smiled happily at the statement. “I would marry her this very night if I could, but I want to give her a real wedding.” They had discussed a wedding. It was the carrot, the reward, for completing their task. It was what kept them going, even in the darkest of times. And though Sango’s village had been slaughtered, she had always dreamed of a true wedding.

“I know she’ll want her brother to be there...speaking of which, I should probably ask him for her hand, with her father passed on. I am sure he will agree, but I want to do this right.” He clasped his hands behind his head, “We have waited this long, what’s a few days more?”

“Sounds like she ain’t making you wait for your wedding night, at least,” Inuyasha smirked as he recalled her insistence on the sleeping arrangements. Miroku waggled his eyebrows suggestively at this.

“Can you blame her? The poor girl has been deprived too long. She will bare my children yet!”

They fell back into a comfortable silence. This time, it was the demon lord who broke it.

“This Sesshoumaru has a challenging road ahead of him,” he began.

“I will need a couple of good men to assist in building bridges in the West, so that humans and demons may live side by side peacefully.” In traveling with the eclectic group, his world view had evolved. His path had become clear; and it would fall to him to lead his society into the future anew. He realized begrudgingly that he needed to work with humans who shared his vision, and whom he could trust. They continued to listen with interest.

“Accomplished warriors. Loyal pack mates, with capacity for charm. Would either of you happen to know of anyone suited to such a task?”

To say the offer surprised them was an understatement, but they kept their cool. Inuyasha and Miroku shared a grin, as Sesshoumaru’s eyes remained closed. He was offering them a place in the West. A home. A future. But no male worth his salt would agree to something so huge without first consulting the woman in their life.

“We’ll have to think about it.”

“See that you do.”

******************************

The ladies were enjoying their much-deserved bath as well.

“Kagome...I can never thank you enough for what you did for me. For Inuyasha.”

“Of course, Kikyo. All I want is happiness for all of you. I guess the wish wasn’t totally selfless, after all...” Kikyo considered her words, and she fixed the younger miko with a grave expression.

“I know you had strong feelings for Inuyasha. I know you loved him.” There had been no shortage of animosity between the two when Kikyo had joined the hunt. There was jealousy on both sides, and when Inuyasha made his decision clear, it had broken Kagome’s heart. She had held out hopes that the half demon would eventually come around and they would end up together. She had thought they were soul mates, but fate had other plans. Reality had dealt her a harsh blow. “Are you going to be okay with us? We will be mated soon...I really want us all to be friends.”

Kagome looked at her seriously. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard.” It had been a rocky alliance between them at first, but things seemed to change as they approached their shared goal. Time heals all wounds, and though not fully healed, great strides had been made. She would be okay.

“I will always love Inuyasha. But as a friend, now. You two were meant for each other, and I really am happy for you. Now that Naraku is dead, I can finally let him go.” Kikyo smiled sadly at her. She knew this whole thing hadn’t been easy on the girl, but in the end, she had done the right thing.

“So, will you mate him tonight?” she asked timidly, a little uncomfortable with the subject, but very curious. Kikyo blushed at the question.

“I think he has plans to. If he does...I am ready.” The smile they shared was genuine.

“How about you, Sango? Are you nervous about sharing a room with your amorous fiancé? I doubt he will keep his hands to himself, you know?” She was only half joking. Now it was Sango’s turn to blush.

“Honestly, I’m not. He’s waited long enough. We both have.” He hadn’t wanted to wait, but she had been firm. It had been hard for him to deal with, as he wasn’t normally one to abstain; but it seemed like he would be getting his reward for his patience. “We will be married soon anyway, so what’s a few days early?”

“So when’s the wedding?” asked Kikyo.

“I guess as soon as we get back to the village. I don’t have any family left, so Kohaku is the only one I need to tell. You will all be there I hope?”

“Are you kidding? We wouldn’t miss it!” It had been a long time coming.

“What about you, Kagome? Do you know what you will do?”

“You know, I don’t know. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to stay in the past after I made my wish, but here I am! I don’t know if I can go home...if I would be able to come back. I guess I thought I would go back to the future, go to college. But after being here, I’m not so sure that kind of life would suit me anymore.”

Could she really be happy with a normal life after all she had been through? “It would kill me not to see my mom again. I hope I can at least go back to visit her, even if I do decide to stay. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” If the well had closed up, and she could only choose one, either one, she would be crushed.

“Well, try not to worry too much tonight. We have had a hellish couple of months. Let’s just enjoy the moment! You deserve it.”

“We all do.”

Chapter Text

An hour after they were shown to their rooms, it was announced that the feast was ready to begin. Sesshoumaru arrived to the dining hall with Jaken and Rin in tow, and took a seat at the table of honor where Kagome and Shippo had already been seated. The others apparently were still…taking their time.

He was not normally one to eat human food, but he badly needed to replenish his spent strength, and meat was meat. He would simply choose the rarest cuts available and wash it down with whatever they gave him.

“Miko.” He acknowledged, sitting beside her, while Rin took a seat next to Shippo.

“Sesshoumaru! How do you like your room?”

“It is acceptable.” It was nowhere near the luxury he enjoyed at the Western Fortress, but it was a far cry from the forest floor, tree’s branches, and occasional caves he had endured during their long hunt.

Inuyasha and Kikyo joined them at the table. The mark peeking out on Kikyo’s shoulder from under her kimono was fresh; red and angry as it swoll painfully.

“Congratulations are in order, I see.” He failed to see the allure of the miko that had once affixed his brother to a tree with her arrow, but she seemed to make the whelp happy. He didn’t believe she meant him harm, any longer.

“That’s right, bastard. Say hello to your new sister!” He doubted she was with him for his silver tongue, anyhow.

“Inuyasha! I’m sorry, Lord Sesshoumaru. And thank you,” Kikyo smiled at him, and he inclined his head slightly. They took a seat just as Miroku and Sango entered the hall from across the room.

As they made their way over, Sesshoumaru quipped lowly, “Hn. This One was not aware humans bite one another’s shoulders during mating as well.” He was referring to the hickies they had apparently given each other back in their room.

The others tried to stifle their laughter as the pair got to the table. Sango was about to ask what was so funny, but was cut off by Miroku who offered his congratulations to the newly mated pair, and she followed.

As they took their seats, Lord Hano began his speech “...and so thanks to these brave warriors, we are now free of the evil Naraku. Raise a glass to our heroes! Tonight we eat, drink, and dance to our hearts content!” The hall erupted in cheers, and everyone clinked their mugs of sake before drinking them down. And he was right about the drinking. The sake flowed freely, and it seemed that every time a bottle was emptied, another was quick to replace it.

The joyous atmosphere was in sharp contrast to the difficult few months they had just endured. It was fun to laugh and joke again. Sesshoumaru didn’t participate, but watched on with mild comfort. The monk was a fine orator, and his stories were amusing, if not exaggerated. His brother’s optimism was infectious, and he found he much preferred it to the moody pup that had once been overcome with nothing but sorrow.

The females were unlike any he had encountered in the past. They seemed to scold the men in one breathe, and encourage their antics in another. Neither took themselves too seriously, and it made for easy company and conversation. They did not possess the grace and poise as did females he had encountered in court, but their lack of formality made it seem like they had more fun. Perhaps it was a human thing...

After the feast, the celebration moved outside, where the drinking continued. It was a warm summer evening, and by the lighting that had been set into place, it looked like it was expected to last well past dark. As the human villagers grew tipsier, more of them gathered to the large area set aside for dancing. Several bonfires roared nearby for warmth and light; and off to the side, a chorus sang accompanied by instruments so there was a constant beat to move to.

Kagome danced with her friends, and as the couples paired off, she took turns with several of the villagers-mostly eager young men, but also older ones and children. Her unconventional movements caught the attention of more than one of the humans in attendance, so Sesshoumaru figured that it was not, perhaps, a human thing. She was at the same time hard to watch, and difficult to ignore.

Upon exiting the dining hall, Sesshoumaru moved to join Jaken and Ah-Un who were sitting on their own at the far-off edge of the field. Before he got too far, however, Lord Hano accosted him. He had a full bottle in his one hand and a mug in another.

“Enjoying yourself, my lord?”

Sesshoumaru was feeling generous, “Indeed. You are a most gracious host.”

“Let it not be said otherwise,” and with that, he held the contents of his hands to the demon. When he made no move to receive them, Lord Hano added, “I’m aware that simple sake won’t do much for a great demon such as you. I’m sure this will be more to your liking.” He smiled mischievously then, waving the bottle in an attempt to entice.

“That is unnecessary,” he informed him, not one to alter his senses. He was always in top form.

But Lord Hano wouldn’t let up.

“Nonsense!” When he continued to hold the bottle out to him, Sesshoumaru relented and accepted.

“Even great demons deserve to have fun every now and then,” with that, he walked away.

Sesshoumaru watched him make his way back into the crowd, then turned to continue on his original path toward Ah-Uh. His arrival found Jaken removing the beast’s saddle, fumbling with the buckles in a long-practiced manner. Sitting unceremoniously on the grass beside his vassal, he placed the mug down in front of him. “Take the night off, Jaken,” it was an order. He opened the bottle of demon sake and filled the mug as Jaken watched. “You have earned it.”

Astounded into silence, thankfully, Jaken picked up the mug and took a seat beside his lord. Still looking up to him with even more admiration, he seemed frozen stiff until Sesshoumaru turned to make eye contact. He raised the bottle and clinked the neck against the lip of Jaken’s mug before taking a long pull from it. The toad seemed to take this as permission and took a sip, savoring the rare moment of comradery with his lord.

They sat like that a while, watching the humans dance. Rin had been dancing with a boy, which caught the attention of the two. They continued to drink, feeling more relaxed as they did; and after a time, Jaken’s gaze slid sideways to Sesshoumaru, “Will you kill the boy, milord?”

“If his hands stray any lower.” Jaken smirked at that, turning his attention back to Rin, ‘Kami help any poor boy who tries to court her.’ Sesshoumaru regarded Jaken for a moment, and looked back to his ward as he spoke.

“You fought with great bravery and skill today, Jaken. I am impressed.” The statement caused him to turn back to stare wide-eyed at his lord, whose eyes remained forward. He continued, “This Sesshoumaru is proud to be served by the likes of you.” Jaken allowed a smile to break through as he turned his gaze back to Rin, tearing slightly.

“I serve The Western Lands, and it’s lord, with everything I have.”

The toad was annoying. Obnoxious. Obsequious...and fucking ugly. But he would follow his master to the ends of the earth; walk through flames for the only reason that he was ordered.

He did what he was told, and... he could trust him. He wasn’t much of a fighter, but that was not his role. Sesshoumaru was the fighter, the protector. It fell to him to dispatch any and all threats presented to him...them.

That was why it was so irksome that he had relied so heavily on Jaken to protect the group beneath the barrier earlier that day. True, every other capable member had been incapacitated in one way or the other, leaving the fight disproportionately to him. But that was his job. He was supposed to be the best, to need no aid. If Jaken hadn’t been so deft with his fire staff while he was distracting Naraku...he didn’t even want to think about it.

The point was, he had stepped up, and they were victorious. Jaken served him; his job was to make Sesshoumaru’s life easier so he was freed up to do the hard work. He vowed then that he would never have to step outside of his role again.

“I know.”

Chapter Text

Kagome was only a little tipsy when she made her way over to Sesshoumaru. She sat beside him, hugging her knees against her chest, and followed his line of sight to Rin.

“Pretty nice vantage point. I hope someone’s dancing isn’t upsetting you too much...”

“I am afraid it has. You dance very unusually, Miko. This One has never seen anything quite like it,” he deadpanned. She didn’t miss a beat.

“And you won’t again for about 500 years. I’m way ahead of my time.”

“That is a very disturbing notion.”

“Whatever. You know I’ve got moves. Come on, I’ll show you...” She stood then, facing him expectantly. But he remained seated.

The demon lord was an imposing figure; an unavoidable force. When he had joined their group, it had made for an uncomfortable scene. At first.

He toned down his cruelty and mockery, for the most part. But it had been hard for them to toe the line between the regard and respect one such as he with all his power deserved, with the sternness needed to relay to him that they were a team. They wouldn’t be ordered around or talked down to, as they all added value to their cause.

But they couldn’t deny that he was the strongest, with the best mind for strategy and battle. He had naturally fell into the role of leader, but it wasn’t his call. It was all of theirs. There was no room for ego with the jewel at stake, and Sesshoumaru had more experience and success than the rest of them put together.

Before long, they had grown comfortable with each other enough to make living side by side tolerable. Dare she say it, maybe even preferable. She came to pick up his idiosyncrasies after a time, and was surprised to find that he was actually a pretty cool guy. He was rational and fair, and if you listened hard enough, even hilarious. The others had thought she had gone mad when she started bursting with laughter at his monotone comments, but once they caught on, had started to enjoy them as well.

He became more considerate with their feelings, and attentive to their needs. And once he started treating them like people instead of ants under his boot, the respect and regard came organically. She knew he would be leaving them soon, going back to The West where he belonged; and she couldn’t deny that she would miss him. She wondered if he would allow her to visit...

“Surely you jest.”

“Not at all.”

“Absolutely not.”

“Come on, dance with me.” Didn’t he ever have fun? He couldn’t have been born with a stuffed shirt. One day, she would wear him down.

“Miko. I am a feared and respected lord who oversees the well-being of millions. And do you know why?”

She shook her head.

“Because I am feared and respected. Attributes I cannot hope to retain once I am seen making a fool of myself alongside a... unique miko such as yourself.” There it was again. That imperceptible playfulness she had come to love. She would mock offense again.

“Is that so?”

“Indeed. Surely someone with your compassion would not want to be responsible for the harm that would come if This Sesshoumaru were unable to rule effectively. Think of the lives lost.”

She knew he was teasing her. But she couldn’t help but think of how much damage his absence could really cause this Japan. Or even hers in the future. She doubted he would lose any clout dancing, but still... “We can’t have that. What a shame.”

“Fret not, Miko. It seems you have no shortage of dance partners this night. Several young men seem eager to share company with the Shikon Miko who killed Naraku,” She supposed that was her title now. ”Or perhaps they really do appreciate your future’s take on dancing.”

“It’s both. That’s why I was kinda hoping for a deterrent.” Some of the boys, in drinking, were starting to become handsy.

He took another long swig off of his bottle. Seeing that, she reached for it, but he pulled it away from her grasp. “Let me have a sip!”

“I think not.”

“I know it must be good if you’re drinking it.”

“Hn. Quite.” He took another sip.

“I wanna try...”

“One glass of this would get most demons fairly drunk,” he informed her. “One sip would see you blacked out at best. Then, This One would have to spend the rest of the night chasing off all of your potential suitors while you are in such a state. That is not how I would like to celebrate Naraku’s death.” She pouted, but conceded. It was almost sweet of him.

She regarded him for a moment as he took another drink. “Inuyasha told me about the offer you made him and Miroku. That was very generous of you.”

He gave her the side eye. “It was not. It was entirely selfish. They are needed in The West. It is my hope that they accept.” He really had changed since he first tried to kill her. Inuyasha was finally getting the big brother he always needed. She smiled at the thought.

He wasn’t looking at her when he decided to inform her, “I should hope that it goes without saying that my offer extends to you.”

She never really considered that she would need an invitation. If she were to move to The Western Lands, she hadn’t expected him to ask her to leave. But he offered more than that- a room in his fortress. A place in his house. The others were expected to help him lead the front for the future that he now envisioned. The one that his father had inadvertently started but couldn’t see through.

With Naraku gone, he would rule as he saw fit. And he was going to use his power and influence to bring humans and demons together, kicking and screaming. It would be an arduous task, but not impossible. Nothing ever was for him.

She did wonder why he would bother taking up such a cause. Perhaps while chasing their shared nemesis, he realized it had to be that way. They had to work together to bring down the true evils of the world.

And maybe, he found he didn’t mind her race so much anymore. Still, she wasn’t sure what part she could possibly play. She got rid of the jewel. Her job was done. What else did she have to offer?

“What would I do in the Western Lands?” Was simply being there enough? Did he just need a few tolerable humans to act as figureheads? To vouch for him to the rest of humanity?

“What would you like to do? You are educated. Have battle experience. The possibilities are endless.” She was unusual. Even for a human. Her lack of prejudice was rare, and required for his success. She made friends easily with humans she had encountered, and there was something about her that seemed to attract demons as well. Whatever it was, if he could bottle it up, his job would be much easier.

What did she want? She seemed to be getting that question a lot lately. As nice as it was to be considered, now wasn’t the time to think on it. She was having fun.

“Jaken? Will you join me for a dance?” That caught him off guard.

“With the Shikon Miko? How could I resist?” Almost forgetting himself in his slightly inebriated state, he corrected, “That is, if Lord Sessh-”

“Enjoy yourself, Jaken. Just do not forget- you are representing The West out there.” Translation: Please don’t make an ass of yourself.

“Hai, My Lord.” Jaken offered his arm to Kagome, who had to lean down to accept it. And then there were two. Or three heads...whatever.

Sesshoumaru emptied some of his bottle into his cupped hand and offered it to Un, who slurped it up. He repeated the gesture with Ah who made quick work of it, before finishing the bottle himself. “It seems our Jaken is taken with her,” he mused to the dragon, who snickered.

He felt warm and loose from the drink, and for a moment he wondered if the human lord had poisoned him. ‘I suppose technically...’ as alcohol was a poison. At that moment he saw Rin’s dance partner slide his hands lower on her hips, and he immediately stood.

Sesshoumaru made a beeline for the dance floor with murder in his eyes. But before he got to her, he turned to Shippo, who was dancing with a group of boys.

“Dance with Rin.”

“Huh?” The tall demon put his hand to Shippo’s back and guided him towards where Rin was dancing.

“You will keep your hands above the shoulders.” He instructed quietly enough so only he would hear.

“Oh, uh...okay-” resistance was clearly futile.

“Rin, you remember Shippo.” That was weird.

“Of course, My Lord!” she responded, excited to have his attention. “I want you to meet-” she tried to gesture to her dance partner, but Sesshoumaru cut her off.

“Shippo wants to dance with you.” He pushed the kit towards her, and leaned down to whisper into the other boy’s ear. The boy immediately turned white, and then ran off as fast as he could.

“What-” she started to ask, but the boy was long gone. “Oh, hi Shippo! Uh, sure! Let’s dance!” Man, could that kid roll with the punches. In that moment Sesshoumaru was happy his young ward never questioned her lord. And she was fond of the kit, so no harm done.

As she turned her back on Sesshoumaru to dance, he made eye contact with Shippo. He used his two clawed fingers to point into his own eyes, and then to the fox demon. His hands were only on Rin’s shoulders, but he removed them all together just to be safe. So they danced without touching. Seeming pleased with himself, Sesshoumaru turned to the rest of the dance floor.

The chorus and instruments began a slow but lively tune. Inuyasha and Kikyo began to dance closer, and Miroku and Sango did as well. Sesshoumaru’s eyes widened noticeably when he spotted Jaken tearing it up with two human women...and they weren’t half-bad looking! He almost laughed to himself.

Kagome was alone, but facing her friends, swaying to the beat. It seemed that most of the village had gotten up to dance to the hypnotic song. The demon sake had combined with the newfound careless relief he had felt throughout the day, and it had him moving toward her.

He came up behind her, only inches away but not touching. When she realized he was there, she didn’t seem surprised. Just happy. He was bending his knees to be closer to her, his rhythm graceful but subtle. His arms bent and lifted to shoulder height, hovering over her. She swayed her hips and leaned back toward him.

The others noticed him and smiled and gestured at him, still dancing. He regarded them for a moment before looking down at Kagome. This woman had killed Naraku, and he was thankful. She turned her head to look at him and smiled. She had never seen him look so free, as he had been progressively doing throughout this day. She doubted he ever had been.

She then realized this is the first time they had all been without a care in the world. Things were good. It couldn’t always be that way, but it was tonight. They deserved to celebrate.

Inuyasha and Kikyo were facing each other, kissing and lightly grinding. They were still in a euphoric haze from the earlier mating, and it was actually surprising that they weren’t already back in their room enjoying their ‘honeymoon.’ Miroku and Sango made their way to the side to sit and watch the show.

Feeling bold, Kagome leaned back and brushed Sesshoumaru’s thigh with her hand. This caused him to put a hand around her hip, and drew her slightly closer. Her light touch on his thigh turned into a grab. When he hooked his other arm loosely around her collarbone, she turned her head and looked up at him. He took that opportunity to crane his neck and place an opened mouthed kiss on her shoulder, followed by two more kisses on his way up her neck. As he did so, she reached her hand up and grabbed the hair at the back of his head, encouraging.

He had only intended on making his gesture friendly, though it hadn’t really come off that way. They turned forward again and kept dancing, her back pressed to him now. Inuyasha and Kikyo still danced together, but faced Kagome and Sesshoumaru so that they were almost all dancing together.

Holding Sango tight in his lap on the sidelines, Miroku leaned in and said, “There’s something you don’t see every day.”

“I know. Who knew Sesshoumaru had moves off the battlefield?” They couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

“I hope he dances at our wedding.” A loving kiss preceded a longing gaze at one another, and then back to the dancers.

“Want to go back out there?” he asked her.

“No. I want to go back to our room...” Our room. He could get used to that.

“As you wish, my dear.” And with that, they left.

It wasn’t long before Inuyasha and his new mate followed suit. They bid the other two good night, and headed for their bed. Sesshoumaru and Kagome kept dancing, except when the others left, they finally turned to face each other. Kagome’s advanced dancing skills had their bodies extremely close, and his handsome features became impossible to ignore.

Of course she had always considered him attractive, in a superficial way. His cold demeanor had prevented her from ever considering him other than that. By the time she had come to realize he wasn’t entirely the ruthless jerk he appeared, he was already in the ‘ally zone.’ Even if she had considered him subconsciously, he was nothing less than untouchable.

‘Not anymore.’

He knew he’d had a lot to drink, but he wasn’t too far gone. He could resist her enticing movements; the rolling of her hips against his own. The encouraging strokes at the back of his neck. The careless freedom she flaunted and reveled in. He could resist, but what would be the point? Just to do it? Just to prove to himself that he could deny her? That’s what he would have done in the past. But when his hand at her hip pressed her somehow closer to him, and she looked into his eyes, she seemed to be daring him to proceed.

When he went in for a deep kiss, she met him halfway, but didn’t stop dancing. Tongues met and triggered a sizzling of powers. Polar opposite, and born in each of them with the purpose of subduing the other, they fought to overcome in an act that only succeeded in heightening the sensation. It was a dangerous thrill that neither had even seemed to consider, and were excited to continue.

When the kissing was becoming more heated, he decided enough was enough. It was clear to both where this was going. As he picked her up bridal style, she began kissing all over his neck and throat; trying to pull him closer to her mouth with her hands, but leaving no marks. It was then he had a moment of clarity.

“Jaken!” his commanding tone was effortless. The toad turned from his dance partners in immediate attention. If the sight of the miko all over his lord had surprised him, he didn’t show it. He knew better than to react to Sesshoumaru with anything other than obedience. His eyes were trained on his lord’s face. “When the children tire, take them both to This One’s room. Protect them until I return. I shall see the miko safely back to her quarters.”

Jaken read between the lines. ‘Don’t wait up.’ He nodded and watched his lord escort the very amorous miko off the floor, before being pulled back in the mix.

Sesshoumaru momentarily wondered if the others would hear them, but upon arriving to open the miko’s door, he realized he would be the furthest thing from their minds. His demon hearing could pick up very clearly what was currently taking place in the other rooms. Inuyasha and Kikyo’s room was next to Kagome’s on one side, and his was on the other. Any with demon blood would hear, and probably even scent them.

The monk and slayer were on the other side of Inuyasha’s room, so they probably wouldn’t, though they most likely had an idea. He wasn’t exactly subtle on the dance floor. Neither was the miko, for that matter.

As soon as her bedroom door closed behind them, he let her stand; and she pulled him right back in for a very thorough kiss. Her hands went to untie his obi, while he forced her to walk backward toward her futon.

She’d gotten his haori off and sat back on her bed, anxious that he join her. A topless demon lord provided a feast for her eyes. The lean definition of his arms and his abs had her licking her lips and aching to touch. Following her down onto his knees, he pulled her in for another kiss.

He was eager to have her, but not so much that he would rush it through. This was a first for him, and he felt a need to keep somewhat focused. She wasn’t making it easy, though. Her need for him seemed almost impatient, and he wanted to appease her.

He used his large hand to push her to lay back, just below the collarbone. Only one hand was needed to undo the top button and pull the fabric away, and he began kissing the newly exposed flesh above her cleavage. She didn’t prevent the whimper that escaped her lips at the contact, and she began throbbing in anticipation.

He reached up and pulled her sleeves down her arms, and waited until her chest was bare before touching her breasts with his hands and mouth. She moaned to show her pleasure and offer encouragement, and he rewarded her by licking and sucking on her hardened nipples. She wove her fingers through the hairs at his neck as he lavished more attention there. Kissing down her abdomen, he slid the material down past her hips before ridding her of it completely.

The scent of her arousal caused his eyes to tinge red. He was painfully hard and exerting a great deal of his self-control to keep his steady pace. The lack of pubic hair startled him briefly, until he noticed the hair had been shaven on closer inspection. He would ask her about it at another time, but for the time being, rubbed his face on her and enjoyed the smooth sensation.

One hand splayed below her navel and the other resting on her inner thigh, he gently but firmly licked her clit. Her skin was smooth as velvet and a pleasure to his taste buds. She arched her back and moaned as he drew startled gaps from her lips, and her reiki crackled against his youki in delicious sin that was nearly her undoing. He took his time to trace her entrance with his long, soft tongue, but kept seeming to find himself back up to the tender nub.

She quietly mouthed words he’d never thought he’d hear her say. And screamed words he, frankly, had never heard anyone say. She must be ahead of her time in even this activity. The thought had his blood roaring and he crawled his way back up her shapely form. He held himself up with one hand, their lips an inch apart.

Both their mouths open slightly, panting into each other, he hovered there for a moment before descending to her mouth to find her tongue with his again. He was swimming in her taste and scent as he used his free hand to remove himself from his hakama, pulling them down just enough. She used her legs and feet to pull them down the rest of the way, until he could kick them off.

He leaned forward on his knees, and stared into her eyes as he lined himself up at her welcoming heat. She looked up at him encouragingly. One hand behind his neck and the other grasping his shoulder, she lifted her legs to wrap around his hips. His cock throbbed at the contact. ‘Here goes nothing.’

She was ready. They both were. He closed his eyes with pleasure as he pushed his head in. It was that crackling energy again tenfold. She was so hot, and so tight, and squeezing around him wonderfully. He continued slowly. Relishing.

He would stop every few inches, then slightly withdraw. Getting her used to his size in increments. Finally, she was so wet, he could slide all the way in. He got a few full pumps in before ravishing her lips, and then he pushed his sculpted torso away from her to give him the leverage he needed to use his demon speed.

He grabbed her hip and her thigh, and fucked her completely; and she could do nothing but react. He felt incredible, hitting her spots with such precision that she figured a female demon’s anatomy couldn’t be very different than hers. He was way too in tuned to her body and its needs. She had intended to participate in the act they were engaging in, but there was no way to keep up with him; and she could hardly form a thought clear enough to care. All she could do was lay back and let him take care of them.

Gods she was vocal. He had no idea human women made such wanton sounds. Wondered if they all did, or just her. She was so reactive, so sensitive to his touch. He never failed to get positive feedback from females in his bed, but he had to admit that it stroked his ego to have such high praise be endlessly bestowed on him his first time out with a human.

He never thought he would be in such a position. There was a time when he would have sooner ended his own life than even entertain the thought of bedding a human. What a fool he had been. He had been so wrapped up in his pride, so comfortable on his high horse. Being knocked so brutally from it by this alluring miko was a blessing. He felt like a better demon already, and made to see to thanking her properly.

As she reached her peak, he could only recognize his name among the flurry of words he tore from her throat. But he wasn’t done with her yet. As soon as she came down, he flipped her on all fours and pounded her relentlessly from behind. That was when she really dropped her filter.

He couldn’t believe this sweet little miko had these words in her arsenal, let alone actually used them. And it only drove him on. His first moves had been for her. She was kind enough to invite him into her warm, welcoming heat. The least he could do was please her in the manner preferred by human females. Not that he knew from experience.

His father wasn’t particularly crude. ‘Perhaps he thought he was doing This One a favor by imparting how he pleased his human mate; in case I would ever need such information.’ At the time, the gesture was unappreciated. ‘I never thought that it would prove useful. However I, Sesshoumaru, am certain I would have figured it out myself. I am a very quick study.’

Her pleads for more of him drug him from his musings. ‘Speaking of which...’ She was pretty quick on the uptake herself. Before was for her, but this- this was for him. This was the manner in which a dog demon rutted his bitch. He was happy she seemed to enjoy it as well. ‘Hn. Immensely...Good.’

When she came this time, with all that beautiful filth spewing from her lips, he let himself fall with her. He thrust into her wildly until the very last second. Eyes were glowing red and youki swelled as he approached the sensation that he hadn’t let himself feel in far too long. Keeping her in place with one hand on her hip, he pulled himself out with the other. He held his member down on the small of her back until the evidence of his satisfaction became apparent.

He came harder than he expected. It would have been startling if it hadn’t felt so damn good. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the sex, or that it had been so long since he’d had it, but it was almost as if he had forgotten what carnal pleasure had felt like. He decided he probably shouldn’t deprive himself so long in the future.

He looked around for something to clean her off with, and settled for a cloth she brought from the future to wash her face. He would buy her a new one.

He would have preferred to finish inside her, but she seemed very fertile. And he was definitely very male. Inuyasha himself was proof that such a thing was certainly possible, and he was sure she would appreciate his actions, even though she didn’t mention it.

They didn’t go to sleep right after, though it had been a long fucking day. He spooned her tight to him and nestled in her hair before kissing her neck. She hummed in contentment.

“Sesshoumaru?”

“Hn.”

“I’m not very drunk. I’m a little tipsy, but I’ve been in control all night.” She didn’t know why she needed him to know that, but she did.

“This One is aware.” As if he would take her when she didn’t know herself. He was almost offended.

“...and you seem pretty in control. I mean, you always are, but...all things considered...” Ah. That was it. She was worried he would consider this a lapse in his own judgement. A mistake.

“Miko.”

“Yes?” She was insecure. Even now.

“This One’s inhibitions have lowered,” she tensed slightly until he continued, “It has been so since the battle. The demon sake may have amplified things, but as always, I have been in control every moment.” She released a breath at this.

“And if I thought you were not; I would not have brought you here.”

“Oh…Then I’m glad I was.”

**************************

Morning came late the next day for the small village. It seemed that everyone was sleeping off a hangover.

Inuyasha and Kikyo were already up for breakfast when Miroku and Sango came to join them. “Man, can this town party or what?” The monk exclaimed, obviously in a great mood. He grabbed some food and took his seat. After eating a few bites, the then asked, “Has anyone seen Lord Sesshoumaru this morning?”

“No. Not since last night,” answered Inuyasha, stuffing more food in his mouth.

“Strange, I wonder where he went to. I knocked on his door, but he didn’t respond. He surely would have heard me, and it’s not like him to dally in the mornings...Do you suppose he is alright?”

“Keh, I’m sure he’s just fine.”

“I would like to speak with him regarding his generous offer. I’ll go try again...”

“Try all you want, he ain’t in there.” He hoped they would leave it at that. No such luck.

“Do you know where he is Inuyasha?” asked Sango, “Is he coming back?”

“I know where he is, but you better not bug him.” The couple looked at him questioningly, and Inuyasha finally relented with a sigh. “He’s in Kagome’s room.”

With concern, Sango wondered “Is she okay?”

“Oh, yeah... She sounded great last night. Probably a little sore, though.”

“Inuyasha!” Kikyo tried to put an end to this, “We could hear Kagome... entertaining in her room last night,” she admitted. Then she turned to Inuyasha, “But how do you know it was Sesshoumaru? She danced with a lot of cute guys last night...”

“I dunno. Prolly by the way she was moaning ‘Oh, Sesshoumaru! Harder, Sesshoumaru! You’re so good at fucking me, Sesshoumaru!’ he tried out his Kagome impression.

Kikyo glared at her mate’s antics, “She did not.”

“Well, basically. Demon hearing, unfortunately.”

Just then, Lord Hano appeared. There was a soldier with him, donning armor of The Western Lands. “Oh, is Lord Sesshoumaru still in his room? This young man says he has a message for him that is quite urgent.”

“What do you want?” Inuyasha demanded.

“My message is for The Lord of the Western Lands, so you can tell me where he is!” Inuyasha was ready to go off on the punk, but Lord Hano interrupted.

“He must still be in his room. Come with me.”

Lord Hano led the soldier back to the sleeping quarters as the others stared at each other trying to determine what to do. “Wait!” They scrambled to catch up to them. Miroku, ever the diplomat, spoke first.

“Uh, Lord Sesshoumaru is very tired...from killing Naraku and all! He doesn’t want to be disturbed. You know how he can be, so you best not wake him!” he tried.

“Lord Sesshoumaru is the world’s strongest demon. He doesn’t need sleep like a weak mortal!” he spat. “Furthermore, there are matters in the Western Lands to which he must attend, and I don’t want him turning his fury on me if I don’t bring it to his attention. Off with you!”

They were almost hoping Sesshoumaru would unleash his rage at being disturbed on the rude soldier, but were worried about embarrassing their friend. Too late.

Lord Hano knocked on his door. “Lord Sesshoumaru? You have a visitor my lord.” Nothing. He tried again. “Lord Sesshoumaru?” The soldier grew impatient and started banging. “Lord Sesshoumaru! It is Kai, sir! I have an urgent message from The Western Lands!”

At this the door swung open to reveal a very irritated Jaken. “What temerity you have to disrupt your lord so, soldier!”

“Master Jaken, where is Lord Sesshoumaru?”

“Not here, lucky for you! If he were, he would kill you where you stand for such a disturbance to-” at that moment, the door to the next room opened to find Sesshoumaru standing at the entrance wearing only his hakama. His hair was slightly amiss, but his stoic mask remained in place; cool as you please.

“Kai. This had better be good.” Despite his calm demeanor, he was not pleased at being woken from the first night’s rest he’d had in weeks. The West had better be burning down, for Kai’s sake.

The soldier made his way to Sesshoumaru, “Hai, My Lord,” he said with a bow. “I have urgent news from the West, perhaps I could-” he tried to enter his room, but Sesshoumaru didn’t budge. Kai was confused as he looked at him, until he saw movement over his lord’s shoulder. There in the bed, he saw a human miko sitting up, covering herself in Sesshoumaru’s haori. This stopped the soldier in his tracks.

Sesshoumaru didn’t take up with females often. The fact that she was human seemed downright blasphemous. If he were to make a list of things he would never see his lord doing, this would be right at the top next to conceding defeat, and groveling at Jaken’s feet.

When he regained his senses, fear set in.

“M-m-my ap-pologies My Lord! I didn’t know you were, uh-” Sesshoumaru leveled him with a look that promised death. “I-I will wait for you outside whenever you’re ready to...I’ll just be outside. Take your time...No rush.” He barely managed to spit out. He wished he was just about anywhere else right now. His lord was going to murder him.

“Thank you, Kai. How gracious of you.” The statement dripped with sarcasm, and the soldier couldn’t leave fast enough. Sesshoumaru closed the door behind him as he stepped into the hallway.

“Jaken, see that Rin has breakfast, then prepare Ah-Un for departure. It seems we must take our leave.”

“Hai, My Lord.”

“What’s going on, Sesshoumaru?” Inuyasha asked, a little annoyed that his mate was ogling his brothers half naked form. Miroku noticed his fiancé’s eyes straying as well, and put a protective arm around her.

“This One is unsure. If he is here, however, it must be pressing.”

“Are you coming back, Lord Sesshoumaru? Sango and I plan to be wed in three days-time. We were so hoping you would be in attendance.”

“It appears I cannot. However, I wish you congratulations on the union.”

Kagome exited her room, dressed in her own clothes. She had a blush on her cheeks as she handed Sesshoumaru his haori, and the others shared a look. ‘Are you seeing this?!’ He grabbed it from her gently as he spared her a warm glance.

They all expressed their disappointment in his leaving as he put on his garment, and wished him luck in his endeavors, whatever they were. He ensured that he would return, as the circumstances allowed it. For now, he had business to attend. Finishing the ties on his clothes, he turned to Kagome. She didn’t need to ask; she would see him again.

“Miko, This One thanks you for your hospitality.” He gave her a look that caused a fire to ignite inside her, though it would appear as his usual façade to anyone else.

“My pleasure.” was her response, which caused Inuyasha to gag.

Chapter Text

Word had spread quickly of Naraku’s death. And though it was much anticipated, it was causing some tension among the other lords. It was no surprise that Sesshoumaru had a hand in his demise- he had long been considered the strongest demon in Japan. But this had squelched any lingering doubts, and his legacy was all but set in stone.

None would attempt to challenge him now, and there was a fear that he would use his elevated status to conquer any lands not currently under his rule. There was a surge in recruit enlistment for his armies; many now wanted to align themselves with the West and its powerful lord for the protection he offered, and so that they may never have to find themselves facing off against him.

Humans were also flocking to his lands in hoards. There was a rumor that the Lord of the West was tolerant of their species, and would at least let them be without causing them any unjustified harm. Even those with a hatred of demons couldn’t deny their power, and if there was a lord who didn’t necessarily want to see them dead, it was worth it to take their chances with him. The West was getting too big, and it appeared to many that Sesshoumaru would need to expand his lands to accommodate the recent influx of citizens.

As it was, Sesshoumaru had no interest in overthrowing the other lords. It made much more sense to let them keep their official duties, so long as they didn’t clash with his own. He would keep an eye on things and interfere when needed. But if they considered him an ally, he could use his influence to steer them in the right direction without having to expel his own vast resources, time and effort. Speaking of which-

He had returned to the West three days prior, and being made aware of the uneasiness of his peers, had sent summons to the other lords. In two days-time they would all be setting foot in the Western Fortress, and he would be playing host in an attempt to settle unrest and lay out his plans going forward.

The council consisted of the lord of each of the four lands, their heirs, and occasionally a general or two. When a meeting was called, they would all gather. It was customary to bring family and soldiers to socialize to show alliance, but they did not attend the council meeting.

For now, all he could do was wait. Those who served him had their instructions and were seeing to the preparations for the event. All in attendance would have to be fed and housed, and security was always a top priority. With all the great powers gathered in one place, it would be a prime occasion for an attack; albeit a foolhardy one. Having those duties seen to by his staff, Sesshoumaru’s only remaining task was to ensure that his proposals for the meeting were air tight, and left no room for arguments or counter offers.

His task hadn’t taken long, as he had been planning for this day for some time. He had been spending his time since his return simply going through them with a fine-toothed comb, making changes and adding measures as he saw fit. Once he was satisfied, he spent his time re-researching some histories and facts so they would be fresh in his mind when the time came to discuss them. It had become a redundant exercise at this point, and had seen him grow bored. When he started micro managing the jobs he’d handed off to others, he realized his time would be better spent on other endeavors.

Seeing no need to remain idle, he informed his General that he had a matter to tend to, and that he would return before the other lords arrived. If he left now, he would be right on time.

‘Hn. It seems I will make the wedding after all.’

***********************

“Aw shit. Can we squeeze in one more guest, houshi?”

After Sesshoumaru had left for the West, the rest of the group made to return to their own village. When learning of the upcoming wedding, Lord Hano insisted that they used his halls as their venue. It made sense; his village had more at its disposal for such an event. The marrying couple had very little family to speak of; and with some of the village in attendance, it would feel more like a true wedding. So, they left briefly to retrieve Kohaku and Kaede, and returned to hold the ceremony.

The girls were in a back room with Sango, putting on the finishing touches. While the men took their positions at the alter waiting to begin.

Miroku threw Inuyasha a confused look at his question, just as the main door to the hall opened and, in all his glory, The Lord of the Western Lands stepped through. Confusion turned to joy, “Lord Sesshoumaru! I’m pleased you could make it!”

“Long time no see. You get bored out West already?”

They had been travelling together for months, and he was loathed to admit he had become accustomed to their presence. He hadn’t any very close acquaintances in the West, outside that of a lord to his follower. And though those in this pack were by no means his equal, they were more like a pack to him than anything else. They regarded him more easily than most, and he felt no need for the usual formality that encompassed him in his other life.

“This One has never been witness to a human wedding. This appears to be a perfect opportunity. If I am still invited, of course?” To him, asking permission to do anything was a novelty.

“My Lord, it is an honor. You’re just in time, we were about to begin. Please take a seat beside Kaede up front.” Miroku gestured to the old woman, who made space for the imposing demon. She greeted him warmly as he approached.

“Lord Sesshoumaru. Ye are a sight for sore eyes. I trust your business has been settled then?” Apparently, the others had informed her of the conditions regarding his departure. Well, at least some of them.

“There is nothing that cannot wait upon my return tomorrow night. I wish to witness a human wedding.” He wasn’t sure why he suddenly felt the need to explain himself, but thought no more on it.

“Yes. Tis a most joyous occasion. Those two have waited far too long for this day. The lives they have fought for may finally begin.” A lifetime of suffering and hardship had taken a toll on her once gentle features, but her open nature made her presence comfortable.

“There appears to be no couple more deserving.”

Kaede spared him a sidelong glance as she turned to the alter, “Perhaps.”

Sesshoumaru followed her line of sight. “Tell This One,” he demanded as he got situated, “Why does Inuyasha take stance beside the monk?”

It appeared to her that she would have a role in the wedding after all: demon tour guide.

“He is the ‘best man.’ He represents support and good faith on the groom’s behalf. He is chosen by the groom to stand by his side through the ceremony.” Sesshoumaru seemed willing to receive information, so she continued, “Usually a good friend, or brother assumes the role. If he so chose, he could have additional ‘groom’s men’ as well, but the best man stands by his side.”

As music began to play, Kagome and Kikyo appeared through the door side by side, wearing matching kimonos and carrying flowers. They smiled brightly as they made their way down the aisle, before taking positions on the other side of the alter than Miroku. Once they arrived, they noticed Sesshoumaru sitting beside Kaede, and beamed at him. A slight blush and a hint of shyness adorning Kagome’s features. ‘Back so soon?’

“What role do the mikos play?” he moved closer to the old woman so he could lower his voice. He was slightly offended that she didn’t seem upset by the vicinity; quite the opposite, actually.

“Kagome is the ‘maid of honor,’ the female’s counterpart to the best man. My sister is a bridesmaid.” She would happily answer his questions, though she doubted she had much choice. He was a distracting presence, but she took his interest as a good sign of things to come. There had been a time not too long ago when his expressed disinterest toward humanity and their customs was about the best you could have hoped for. That he was taking time from his busy schedule to learn about them, it showed he was serious about his intentions to make them comfortable in his lands.

He nodded in understanding. The wedding march then began, causing all to stand. Sesshoumaru watched Kaede rise, and followed her lead. As Sango approached, he asked, “Why does her brother escort her?”

“He is giving away the bride. Usually this role is assumed by the bride’s father. However, in his absence, a next of kin or father figure is acceptable. It symbolizes a transfer of protection from the family who has cared for her, into that of her husband. She is now his responsibility.” Sesshoumaru absorbed the information.

The official then spoke his part, and the two exchanged vows. Every now and then Kagome would steal a glance at Sesshoumaru, which didn’t escape his notice.

“I, Miroku, take thee Sango to love, honor and cherish. I offer you my protection and my complete fidelity.”

“I, Sango, take Miroku to have and to hold. I offer my love, trust and kindness.”

“Do you take this woman...” “I do.”

“Do you take this man....” “I do.”

Rings were exchanged. “The kit gives the rings?”

“He is the ring bearer. He keeps them safe until they are exchanged. The rings are always worn, and shows the world that the wearer is married, and therefore, off the market.”

“Ah.” Like a mark.

“If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be wed, speak now, or forever hold your peace.” This was interesting. Sesshoumaru looked around the crowd, curious if any would speak.

“Then by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” The crowd cheers and claps. Sesshoumaru claps lightly. Hands clasped; the couple made their way back up the aisle while rice is thrown at them.

“They are now going to consummate the marriage?”

Kaede slapped his shoulder lightly, earning a raised eyebrow from the dog demon.

“Knowing him...” she joked. “Nay, they will prepare for the reception. There is to be a feast with a cake. There are typically toasts given and stories told, and also dancing. Presents may be given at this time as well. After the reception, they consummate. Poor boy must wait a few hours yet.”

Sesshoumaru frowned. “This One was unaware gifts were expected.”

“Ye gave the bride the life of her brother. I expect that is more than sufficient.”

He nodded, but still... He, of untold wealth, should not have come empty-handed. It reflected poorly on the West, and him.

At the reception, Sesshoumaru declined food, but watched in amusement as the bride shoved cake in her spouse’s face for some reason. Inuyasha impressed him with his thoughtful speech. The boy wasn’t particularly eloquent, but the humor involving the monk’s lecherous exploits was received with the warmth that was intended.

Contrastly, the emotional toast her brother had given regarding their family had caused most of the crowd to tear up. And Kagome brimmed with a combination of happiness and sorrow as she wished the two good luck.

Sesshoumaru himself had given many a speech to demons on the battlefield, but had little experience in such a casual, friendly setting. None the less he stood, and the room fell silent.

“On behalf of The Western Lands I, Sesshoumaru, hereby congratulate the monk Miroku and the slayer Sango on their holy union.” It didn’t go without notice that a holy man and a demon slayer were being praised on their marriage under god by, in fact, a demon.

“I have made their acquaintance only recently, but the road we have walked together has been forged with the blood of friends and foe. Up to and including that of our shared enemy, the evil hanyou Naraku.” There were boos for Naraku’s name, and cheers for his death. “They have shown great strength and courage on, and off, the battlefield; and have proved themselves worthy in This One’s eyes of being called great and skilled warriors both.” Leave it to him to glorify carnage in a wedding toast. It could really have gone no other way.

“As my gift to them on this day, I hereby offer them the honorary titles of Lord and Lady within The Western Lands. This ensures my protection and support, and loyal alliance with the West.” Sounds of surprise and approval swept through the room, “This courtesy also extends to, what is certain to be, their numerous offspring.” This got a laugh from the crowd, and the couple smiled at one another.

“Raise your glass, and join me in celebration and congratulations.” The crowd abided, and with that, the bride and groom were ushered to share their first dance. Before he could sit, Kagome made her way to him for the first time since he had arrived.

“Sesshoumaru,” she greeted with a smile, “that was beautiful. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to welcome you back. Maid of Honor stuff, you know.”

“Indeed. It suits you.” She did look very nice all dressed up. When she blushed, he continued, “I trust you have fared well since we last spoke?” It wasn’t the speaking she was recalling.

“Three days?” she laughed, “Yep, I’ve been fine. Still a little sore...from the battle!” She flushed. What was wrong with her?

“Ah. Of course.” Damn. He was doing it again. Only his eyes betrayed his amusement.

“H-How have you been?” She tried to save it, but he was not a gracious demon.

“Quite relaxed and content. From the battle.” She was just too easy. Why was she so fun to tease?

Was he flirting with her? She found herself hoping he was. “We didn’t think you’d make it. Will you be staying the night?” Smooth, Kagome. Real subtle.

“I must leave tomorrow night. However, they have agreed to remake the room next to yours for my use. Should I need it.”

“Should you?”

Before he could answer, the newlyweds approached. “Lord Sesshoumaru? I would consider it a great honor if The Lord of the West would dance with me at my wedding...” He got the feeling they were up to something, but regardless, “I should consider it an honor to dance with the bride. Unless her husband...” The novelty of asking for permission was kind of fun.

"Not at all. Lady Kagome, may I have the pleasure?” He offered his arm.

"As long as you keep your hands to yourself, houshi,” she threatened, for old time’s sake.

"I’m a married man now! From now on, the only groping these hands will do is on my lovely wife,” Sango rolled her eyes as she took Sesshoumaru’s arm.

"See that you do monk,” was his half-hearted warning.

Once off and dancing, Miroku waggled his eyebrows, “Looks like someone was eager to return to us. Perhaps looking to enjoy our miko’s wonderful hospitality once again?”

"Save it for your wedding night, pervert,” she tried.

"Don’t be coy with me Kagome,” he laughed. “You’re happy he’s here.” She didn’t attempt to argue. “Do you plan on seeing him tonight?”

“Well, all of my other friends will be on their honeymoons. We’re bound to run in to one another.” They shared a knowing smile, and glanced at the demon lord currently dancing with Sango.

“That was a lovely speech, Sesshoumaru. Thank you.” He really was a graceful dancer. She didn’t know why she expected any less of him.

“Hn.”

“And your gift is so generous. But that wasn’t necessary. You gave me back Kohaku. That is all I'll ever need.”

“Nonsense.” He regarded her a moment, “Has the monk informed you of the offer This One made him?”

“He has. Again, very generous.” She allowed him to spin her. She wasn’t much of a dancer, but with him taking the lead, he made it easy to follow.

“Will you accept?”

“I would love to come and help, but I think Miroku might be worried about me.” He had reserves about bringing his demon slayer wife into the lion’s den. Or dog’s, as it were. With Sesshoumaru vouching for them, the risk was small. But still, any risk to his potential family was too great for him at this time.

“You have nothing to fear. I shall see to it.” He was so confident. She could see why so many soldiers would follow him blindly into battle. “You will both be great assets to This Sesshoumaru. It is my hope that you will find your way to accept.”

“I will talk to him.”

“See that you do. It would please me to bring you in a most timely fashion.” She thought she understood. Things were starting to take shape. Ever the brilliant tactician, he wanted his pieces in place as soon as possible. He had a plan.

“Excuse me, Lord Sesshoumaru. May I cut in?” Miroku took his wife back, leaving Kagome alone with the demon.

“Can I have this dance, My Lord?” There was always a hint of sarcasm when she called him that. Her lack of formality used to irk him. But the more time he spent around her; he came to realize that she meant no disrespect. She considered them equals. While that was irksome in its own rite, he found he couldn’t care. Especially not now.

If delivering the killing blow to Naraku when he could not hadn’t put them on equal footing, their activities later that night had pushed her over the top. She was comfortable with him. And, for whatever reason, he preferred it that way.

She brought something out in him. A playfulness he never knew he had possessed. Maybe he hadn’t. But she was drawing it from him very often lately. He couldn’t seem to help himself around her. Didn’t want to.

“Are you sure, Miko? The last time we danced together, I wound up in your bed.” He loved getting a rise out of her. But it didn’t work that time.

“I know.” Well now. This was interesting.

He hadn’t come all this way just to sleep with her. Had he? Not consciously anyway. He’d wanted to see a human wedding and, in his way, support his brother’s pack. His pack now, really. He wanted to know if they had an answer for him regarding his proposition that they come to his lands, and if not, see if there was any more he could do to convince them.

He was certainly aware laying with the miko was a possibility, if not a probability. He had enjoyed himself with her that night. He knew she did as well. And though no promises had been made, they each left with the understanding that whatever this was could be picked up at a later date.

He just didn’t expect it to be so soon. She seemed a bit surprised by this as well.

‘But not unreceptive.’

She slid a hand around his waist to draw him closer as they clasped a hand.

‘Certainly not.’

“None of your ‘future dancing’ tonight?” He wondered.

“The night is young! I’ve barely had my sake.”

“I hope you have not become a lush in my absence.”

“Not at all. I need to have my wits about me. You know?” He did.

His hand on her hip moved up her back to press her slightly to him. He was careful not to cause her discomfort on account of his new armor. She looked up at him.

“So, the West must be in good hands, if you were willing to leave it unguarded,” she prodded.

“The Western Lands are never unguarded. However, things are not as bad as previously perceived.”

“You sure about that?” He raised an eyebrow. “No Western Soldier will be banging down your door in the morning?” Now she was being a flirt. He smirked down at her, causing a pleasurable jolt through her form.

“None who values his life.” Kami, she just wanted to jump him right there. She had a little too much pride to drag him off the dance floor this early. But just barely. So, she forced it down.

He tried to ease the tension, “How have you been keeping occupied in the jewel’s absence?”

“Mostly archery.” Now they were in his wheelhouse.

“Keeping proficient with weaponry in the absence of an enemy. Smart miko.”

“You doubted This Kagome?” he wasn’t the only one who liked to tease.

“I should like to see your skill level.” he wanted off the dance floor as well, so he gave her a graceful exit.

“Right now?” Yes.

“Why not?”

“Well, I promised Inuyasha a dance, but then we could go out back.” Might as well get that dance out of the way now. Like, right now.

“Miroku?” she turned to him, “Where is Inuyasha?”

He flashed an innocent grin, “He had to leave on an errand. He said he would be back later.”

Okay, she tried. She turned back to Sesshoumaru, “Well, then. I guess we can go.”

Chapter Text

She led him out back behind one of the huts. Lord Hano had been kind enough to have a target affixed to an oak tree a short distance away. She had a feeling that was in part thanks to her turning the trees that decorated the gardens into porcupines, and he didn’t appreciate the aesthetics.

She set her quiver down beside her and kicked off her fancy shoes. ‘Should have changed when I grabbed my bow,’ she thought, but it was too late now. She removed her wrap and made to toss it down, but Sesshoumaru took it from her hands and draped it over his arm.

She smiled in thanks and notched her arrow, letting it fly. Hitting the target, she played it cool; grabbed another, and repeated the process. By the time her quiver was empty, only one arrow had missed the board. But it was planted into the tree, so she decided to count it as a hit.

He was impressed. He remembered back when her aim was atrocious. She had relied on the others in her group to handle the fighting, while all she could really do to help was locate shards. In battle, at least. She had always helped in her own way; seeing to the needs and comfort of her pack. In that regard, she was quite valuable. But when it came down to actually fighting, she had lacked.

Not anymore. She proved as much with Naraku, but he had noticed her presence on the battlefield had only improved up to that point. Now she could hit a target. Maybe not yet a bullseye, but she was well on her way. Her determination pleased him.

When she moved to run down the field to retrieve her ammo, a whoosh of white streaked past her and then he was back; holding out all the arrows to her before she even took a few steps. She doubted he’d ever played fetch for anyone. The fact that he had for her caused her heart to stutter. Still, it didn’t feel right having him use his forces on something so simple. It was like a waste of talent, even if it was useful.

“Have you ever used a bow, Sesshoumaru?” she asked as she refilled her quiver.

“Never.”

“We’ll fix that. Here.” He eyed her a second, then handed her back her wrap.

He accepted the bow and arrow, and studied his target. He seemed to be considering everything, from the wind, to the distance, to the make of the bow. When he notched the arrow, and took his stance, she moved behind him. His eyes widened a fraction as she put her arms on his to adjust his elbow. He allowed it, but turned his head to her.

“I am proficient with high skill weaponry. It will not be beyond This One’s capabilities.”

“Hmm. Let’s make it interesting, then,” she smiled as he raised an eyebrow.

“If you don’t hit it dead center, you have to let me stay in your room tonight.” He almost scoffed. As if that was a punishment. He then considered that she may be trying to get him to throw the match, to prove herself superior. But his pride would not allow it, no matter how attractive the outcome.

“Quite forward, Miss Higurashi.” There was that jolt through her again. She wasn’t even sure he’d known her last name. She didn’t know why he wouldn’t though, as she was sure he’d heard it. “Perhaps you have gotten into the sake.” A grin stretched across her face as he taunted her. “Alright, it is a deal.”

She was quite happy with herself. He was sure to miss, even if he did manage to hit the board.

“But if I do hit the mark, you must allow me into your room for the evening.” That’s what you call a win-win. She had a feeling he wanted to be with her tonight, but it was nice to have it confirmed.

She was smiling smugly at him as he aimed the bow, and took his shot.

Hn.

“Bullseye. Unbelievable.”

He straightened and turned to her. She had been so certain he would fail. Did she forget with whom she was dealing? Perhaps now she will remember-

“Alright, I guess we have to stay in my room...where Shippo is sleeping...”

Wait, what?

He shot a glare down the field to his arrow protruding from the painted board. Why must he be so good at everything? Could he not even fail when it suited his purposes? His death glare at the target bared its fruit then.

“...I believe you said ‘dead center.’”

She sighed; seemingly resigned to her fate, and responded dismissively.

“Yeah, you’re in the bullseye.”

This wouldn’t do.

“But slightly left within it. It is not dead center.”

A mischievous smile crawled its way across her features.

“You’re right, I won!!” Hold on. Had she...?

“Your room it is...” Crafty miko.

Chapter Text

And so, they traveled the familiar path back to the rooms. Only this time, she walked with him. It was only just getting dark, but the rest of their group had already retired to their chambers as well.

“Good thing your aim sucks, or else we’d be trying not to wake a little boy all night,” Kagome gloated. Even though his shot was better than any she had made, he still technically lost the bet. Technically. She had to rub it in.

“This One did hit the bullseye with his first ever attempt...” he reminded.

“Yeah, yeah, story of your life. I know.” She stopped in front of her room, “Let me just check on him real quick.” She quietly opened the door to find Shippo on his back, out like a light. Her human ears could detect the sounds of the mated pair next door, and briefly she wondered what Shippo had heard.

From behind her, he asked, “Will you inform him you will be staying in This Sesshoumaru’s room?”

“Nah. A child asleep is best left that way.” They regarded him for a moment, noting his little snore. The sound would have been somewhat obnoxious if not for the small, adorable form it was coming from.

Kagome wasn’t sure if it was the sleeping boy or the loud couple next door which prompted him to ask, “Do you wish for one of your own?”

The question caught her off guard, and she remembered how he had pulled out the last time. It had been unnecessary, as she had been on birth control for a while now. But there was no way he could have known that. She supposed it was considerate of him to bother, but figured it was likely not an entirely selfless act. Did he not want to father children now, or just not with her?

“I dunno. Maybe someday. Not for a while though. Maybe in 10 years?” The answer shocked him.

“Most humans do not wait so long.”

“They do where I come from. Ahead of my time, remember?” That, she was. Even he, who had avoided the species for the bulk of his long life, could clearly see that she was not like most humans.

“You seem to have a natural gift for mothering.” The way she cared for the kit, and at times Rin, came to mind.

“Most women tend to. Maybe me more than most here, just because of what I know,” he considered this. “I’m in no rush. Besides, I will want to be selfish with my husband’s time for a while, whoever he may be, before the children come.”

“Selfish doing what?” his voice took on a husky tone.

“Come on, I’ll show you.”

Chapter Text

He closed the door to his room and turned back to her, “Would you lik-” she pulled him to her lips and kissed him hard. It was hungry and demanding, and he returned it in kind as his hands found her back.

She had been waiting for this since the moment she saw him at the wedding, and she couldn’t restrain herself any further.

She had felt guilty during the vows; picturing him as he was the last time they were together, instead of listening to her friends profess their love. How good his hands felt on her body. What he did with his tongue, and his-

The sound of his armor hitting the floor pulled her from her thoughts.

She pulled his haori loose, and he broke the kiss to shrug it off his shoulders. She admired his lean but powerful form as she let her dress slide down her body to the floor.

He took in the sight she made, wearing only a matching purple lacey bra and panty set. He’d never seen anything like it before, and was dueling with himself with whether or not to remove it. The predator inside him was on full display.

She had no such qualms, reaching out to undo his hakama, but he grabbed her hands, “Wait.”

“What’s wrong?” Was he putting a stop to it?

He tilted her chin up to him, “Nothing,” and he kissed her again. This time, slowly and sweetly. When her eyes opened again, her vision was hazy. He kept his hold on her chin to keep her focus as he spoke.

“Before the celebration, This One had not lain with a female in... some time.”

Where was he going with this?

“Could have fooled me,” she smiled, and ran her hands up and down his cut torso. She had been replaying that night in her head all evening, but only just recalled discovering the stripes he usually kept hidden under white silk; and how sensitive they had been under her touch.

“A good-looking guy like you, I figured you would have made love to many females,” it came out breathy, and she was pressing herself against him. He grabbed her wrist, drawing her attention back up from his body.

“This Sesshoumaru has fucked many, many females. He has never made love to one.” His gaze was intense then, “I should like to attempt it.”

“What? Right now?” he only nodded. She continued rubbing his chest and he put a hand on her hip, grabbing. “Before we fucked, This Kagome has made love. And fucked. She prefers fucking.”

He knew she wasn’t untouched before him. So what? Neither was he. Not by a longshot.

“When Inuyasha fucked you-”

“Inuyasha never fucked me.”

“Whomever it was then. Did you prefer it to fucking This Sesshoumaru?” He pulled her against him to emphasize his language.

She smiled and answered honestly, “No.”

“And this shall be no different. However I take you, your enjoyment is assured.” She was tempted to roll her eyes at his hubris, but considered he was likely right. If last time was any indication...

He ran both of his hands down her backside, squeezing, as she ran her hands up the back of his neck. She felt his impressive erection throbbing between them.

“I wish to take my time with you this night. To savor. Slowly.” He began kissing her neck as she bared it to him. “Have you anywhere to be?” This was an indulgence. Just to do it. Just because they could. There was nothing chasing them. Nothing to chase. It had never occurred to him to be so decadent, but once her dress hit the floor, he felt an urge.

She answered with a long, slow kiss of her own, and he lowered her on her back. He left her garments on, kissing and licking at the perimeters; he was a one-man army. Nipping, and sucking everywhere except where she desired it most. He was teasing her, but not in the way she had become accustomed to and loved. It was just as playful, however; touching only her exposed skin with his lips, and claws.

He caught the material at her hip in his teeth, testing its mettle by pulling the fabric back a few inches before letting it snap. She rewarded him by combing her fingers through his bangs to lightly tug and pull, mussing them adorably as she did so.

The proximity to her arousal was affecting him greatly, and when he could take no more, he finally removed them. He was unrushed...tortuous, but she loved it. It was almost like he was trying to memorize her body. To learn all its secrets.

He learned that it tickled her too much to linger on her abdomen, but he could devour her neck and throat to his heart’s content. He learned not to bite too hard on her rosy nipples, but that she adored when he rubbed and squeezed the fat of her breasts.

The hardest lesson was perhaps how she begged him to continue as he grazed her pulse point with his fangs. The way they elongated and throbbed each time he drew near, and he had to hold back. Having to deny himself constantly to give her what she wanted, lest he do something he couldn’t take back. Something instinct was demanding he do.

When he finally entered her, he went slow as well. Drawing out every pull, and sink back in. She could feel every inch of him, becoming very familiar with his person; with what it was doing to her. The firm, smooth head made way for his pulsating girth. The wetness it created allowed it to slide in easily despite the size. Every so often he would withdraw completely, so that he could recreate the wonderful pressure as he breached her gate. And each time he did, he earned a short but wanton moan that only served to provoke him further.

She was the first one to really know him like this, and in that moment probably knew him better than anyone had. The strength and power contained in his hard form was overwhelming. She knew what this body was capable of. The damage it could do; that he would use it as he was, focusing on her pleasure... Once again, she felt it was a waste of talent. But she wasn’t about to stop him. No, she was encouraging him...egging him on. If he was content to spend all night worshipping her like this, she was more than inclined to let him.

As his eyes were bleeding red and his youki began to swell, she could tell he was nearing his end. Slick with sweat, he moved to pull himself from her, but she stopped him. “Cum inside me,” she demanded. Uncertainty crossed his beautiful features, “But...”

“It’s okay...mmn....Future medicine...uhn...I won’t conceive.” She explained between thrusts. She wondered if he would trust her. Certainly, there were numerous demon bitches who would pull tricks to bear the heir to The Western Lands. She got her answer when he leaned forward, covering her as he thrust deeply. She felt his hot breath heavy on her neck as came, spilling his seed deep within her.

His orgasm was powerful. He had longed to release inside her, and that he was able to...combined with the long lovemaking session, it was too much. He relaxed on top of her, and she cradled his head in her hands. Fingers moistened at the touch of his silver strands; now damp in a way she hadn’t ever recalled on any battlefield. Once the aftershocks wore off, he raised his head to look at her a moment, and kissed her.

Chapter Text

They both flopped back on the bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to regain their breath.

“Sesshoumaru...That was...Fucking kami, you’re amazing...”

He gave her a sidelong glance, breath ragged. “You doubted this?”

She turned on her stomach to lay her head and arm on his chest, exhaling a sigh. “Maybe you should go by ‘The Fucking Perfection.’” He raised that eyebrow at her.

“This One thought we had made love.”

“We did.” She began drawing on his chest with her fingers. “Just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.”

“Hn.”

“And for your first try, you really hit it out of the park.” Another bullseye. He was the perpetual natural.

“What park?”

“It’s a saying from my time. It means you were perfect.” he put his arm around her.

“I could not have done it without you.” This got a laugh. ‘Happy to help.’

“You would allow This One to hit it out of the park in the future?” Now she was really laughing.

“Sure, buddy. You can ‘hit it’ any time you want!” He didn’t know what was so funny, but he let it go.

“Have you thought on coming to my lands?” She paused.

“It is a very attractive offer, Sesshoumaru. I’m just not certain yet. I always thought I would return to the future when the jewel was completed. But now...I don’t know. I need to talk to my mom first.”

“And your father?” he prodded. She never mentioned him. Though she never spoke to him at length about her family.

“Wish I could. He died when I was a kid.” A house in the neighborhood had caught fire with a small boy trapped inside. Mr. Higurashi made it out with him in time, but the smoke inhalation did him in.

“My apologies.”

“That’s okay. You didn’t know.” She hated how uncomfortable the news made most people. It was a long time ago, and didn’t really affect her anymore.

“It’s actually nice to think about him. I stopped asking Mama to tell me stories, I can tell it upsets her. I think she still really misses him.” She smiled sadly. “That is something Inuyasha and I have in common. My father was a great man, and I never got to know him.” She looked up at him, but Sesshoumaru was watching the ceiling as she spoke.

“I wish I could have known him. I at least wish I had someone who knew him well, who could tell me about him.” Her hinting was obvious.

“I have a friend, Eri. Her dad is kind of a deadbeat. He comes around every once in a while, to try to make nice, but he always ends up leaving again. We got in a fight once because she was complaining about him being a jerk. I got mad. I told her she should be happy she at least gets to see him once in a while. She told me that she would much rather have a hero for a father who was dead, then a low life who only came around to borrow money and break hearts. I guess the grass is always greener...”

He was silent a moment after she finished. Then,

“What if your father was not as great a man as everyone thought?” He sounded far away.

“Huh?”

“Have you ever considered that perhaps your mother told you that you had a hero father for your own benefit? So that you might strive to live up to him?” He took her silence as permission to continue. “You were never going to know him anyhow, so maybe she allowed him to be a hero in your eyes, while he was in reality a... jerk.” He was threading his fingers through her hair, lightly rubbing her scalp with his claws. She looked over to see him still looking upward.

She assumed they were no longer talking about her father, still she offered, “I hadn’t considered that. It would explain why Mama got so upset when I would bring him up. Maybe she didn’t like protecting him so much...still, I think I’d rather know the truth. If he really wasn’t that great a man, at least it would be easier to let him go, instead of longing for the hero I would never know.”

He looked down at her a moment, then back up, “Perhaps.”

“I at least wish Mama had remarried. Every kid needs a father figure.” She was watching him again. “You’re a pretty great guy, Sesshoumaru. Rin is lucky to have you taking care of her.”

“Hn.”

“But who takes care of you?” He scoffed.

“This Sesshoumaru has no need for such.”

“I know you don’t. But maybe you would like it anyway.” She started placing open mouth kisses on his chest, causing a pleased rumble to reverberate as he closed his eyes. She then got up on her knees to kiss her way down his tight abdomen. His hand was still in her hair as she nipped around his navel. But when her tongue sneaked out to lick the head of his engorged member, he stopped her descent by pulling her hair into his fist gently.

“Miko, what are you doing?”

“Taking care of you...Don’t you want me to?”

The red was back in his eyes. “No male with an ounce of self-preservation would allow a demon bitch to take him in her mouth. It would give her too much power. Leverage to demand anything she wants from him.”

“Well, lucky for you, I’m not a demon bitch. I’m a human bitch,” she joked.

He knew she was human. He wasn’t trying to ignore this. His reaction was more out of habit. Of years of knowing this truth and living by these rules. Still, he hesitated. Seeing his obvious discomfort, she added, “Sesshoumaru, I doubt my puny human teeth could cause you much harm. But even if they could, I would never do that. Don’t you trust me?”

He did. He had proved as much earlier when he took her at her word as he climaxed inside her. At this realization, he slowly released her hair. Besides, it wasn’t as if she couldn’t just purify him in a second if she wanted to.

As he closed his eyes and lay back down, she took him in her mouth. She wasn’t sure what shocked her more: her name slipping past his lips, or the profanity that preceded it. Both delighted her, and she began her task of bobbing up and down on his cock.

Running her tongue around the tip, she took extra time to suck on the head, before wrapping her lips around him tighter and taking him as far in as he would go. The reiki in her saliva that was coating his cock crackled gloriously as his youki rushed to his defense. She made sure to let him feel the back of her throat, and would remove him only to lave her tongue up and down to the base. She stuck it in her cheek and used her hand to rub the parts she couldn’t fit in; salivating as much as she could to give him a nice, wet sensation.

The sounds he made were sinful, right down to his breathing. He seemed to be caught somewhere between pleasure and incredulity. “Mmm,” she mumbled around him, causing his eyes to force open at the vibration.

As he watched her, he conceded that in this moment, she was the most powerful being in all Japan. But not because she threatened him. She could simply ask anything of him, and right now, he would do it. Because he would want to. He wanted to give her everything she wanted from him. She need only voice her desire, and he would make it happen.

But she wouldn’t ask for anything. She just kept sliding her tongue and lips around him until the delightful pressure threatened to end him. “Ka-gome...you...I’m going to....” he fumbled out, and lightly grabbed her hair once again to lift her off of him. But she would have none of it. Instead, she grabbed his striped wrist and pumped her head even faster. This was the Lord of the West, and he’d never had a blowjob. Damned if she wasn’t going to do this all the way.

She slowed her pace as she felt the warm liquid spurt into her mouth, and kept sucking until he was done. When his hips finished jerking upward and he groaned his completion, she withdrew from his lap and swallowed what she had taken from him. He pulled her to his chest and held her while his heartbeat evened out, panting hard.

His heart was strong and roared against her ear, and when she finally looked up at him, she was floored by the wild look in his eyes.

This demon was power. It was palpable as it boiled beneath the surface. Like the Shikon, he could be used to bring unfathomable death and destruction, or fulfill desires under the influence of her pure touch.

But unlike the Shikon, he needed no protection; no keeper. She needn’t sacrifice her happiness to defeat any who wished to control him. Quite the opposite.

He was freedom.

He took her face in his hands and kissed her, slowly and thoroughly. The taste of himself was a pleasing reminder of what she had done for him. When he released her head to reclaim its spot on his chest, he put his arm around her and confessed,

“You know, you just might be my favorite person.”

She laughed.

Chapter Text

“Did he make love to you then?”

“Are you speaking in the 3rd person?”

“No. You said that Inuyasha never fucked you. Was it then he you made love with?” His brother didn’t seem like the type, but he wouldn’t put it passed him. Despite his gruff exterior, the hanyou was a romantic at heart. Not that he wanted to think about it.

He didn’t know how far the relationship between the two of them had gone, but they had always been very close. Inuyasha’s feelings for the woman currently beside him had, at one point, been a point of contention between the boy and his now mate.

And he had not been aware of any other males getting close enough to Kagome to earn her favor. He supposed it wasn’t his business, so he wouldn’t pry. But she had offered up the previous information unprovoked...well, not much anyhow.

“No. But he kind of had a hand in it, I suppose.” It seemed like she was going to elaborate, so he remained silent, trying not to seem too eager that she continue.

“Hojo. He was kind of my boyfriend in the future. He’s been in love with me since we were 6. I used to have a crush on him too, until I met Inuyasha. I wanted Inuyasha to be mine so bad, and when it was clear he had chosen Kikyo, it broke my heart.”

That she had desired the hanyou was no secret. And the jealousy that panged him had nothing to do with the fact she’d had a lover. It was that she’d had one in the future; through the well, where he could not travel. Sometimes he forgot that she had a whole life out there that he could never know. It felt as much a handicap as missing a limb, but he couldn’t place as to what the disadvantage would mean for him.

“I used Hojo to get over him. Hojo wanted to wait until we got married, but I made it hard for him to say no. Impossible, really.”

She’d started dressing sexier to entice him, and increasing physical contact between the two. She made sure the high school student was constantly walking around with a hard on. “Our first time lasted all of 8 seconds. He spent more time picking out music and lighting candles than actually having sex with me. Poor guy, he really wanted to make it perfect.”

Sesshoumaru just listened politely; allowing her to share as much as she felt comfortable.

“After that, he would...take care of himself right before, so he could ‘make love’ to me all night. But it never did anything for me. It seemed like he read a bunch of books on how to please a woman- with all the kissing and licking of erogenous zones and such- but he couldn’t relay his passion for me in a way that brought me pleasure. He was so obsessed with making me climax, but it never happened. I started faking it just to get him to stop, and soon after that we broke up. It hurt him pretty badly.” Regret adorned her features at a memory she seemed pained to recall.

“I feel awful about it. I was not a very nice person to him.”

“You cannot force compatibility,” he appreciated being let into her confidence, and the urge to comfort her was strong.

“That’s true. I guess that’s why when the sparks do fly, it can be hard to give that up.”

He couldn’t think of a reason why he would, and stunned himself at the realization.

“Okay, your turn.” She wanted a distraction from the memories that had been conjured, so she turned the tables on him.

Previously, the demon was considered chatty when he was being reticent; but their knew ‘situation’ had opened up a rapport. She had always wondered about the more personal details of Sesshoumaru’s life, and was feeling close enough to him now that she might get lucky with a few morsels.

“Hn?”

“Tell me about your first time.”

“It has been a very long time, Miko.”

“But you remember it. C’mon, it’s only fair!” She used the flats of her hands to shake his torso lightly in an attempt to coax.

She was right, and he sighed inwardly. He very much doubted that his treatment of females in the past would paint him in the most flattering of light, particularly to the oft sympathetic human woman he now held in his bed. He was hardly offended by the tale she herself had shared, though he gathered she wasn’t proud of herself. So, he surrendered.

“I was quite young,” she snuggled closer, getting comfortable for story time as he absent-mindedly rubbed her arm with the hand that held her to his side. “Not yet a teenager by demon standards. My father held tournaments in the Western Fortress with regularity. They were mostly friendly sparring matches between the Western Soldiers for bragging rights, or lords looking to test their men or sharpen their skill. It was also a place where disputes were settled. Although I was making quite a name for myself in the more unofficial spars, my father would not allow me to participate. He thought This One not yet ready to tussle with his men.”

“Are you telling me the story of your first time having sex, or your first tournament?”

“They are one in the same. No more interruptions.” She made a zippy lip signal and he continued.

“This was long before he’d found Izayoi, but after he and This One’s mother had parted. He’d had a long string of high-status consorts ranging from princesses to geishas. However his favorite, whom he’d bedded with some regularity, was Mioko- a sister of the Lord of the Northern Lands.”

“Is this story about you, or your father?”

“Both. Now if you please...” She covered her mouth and he went on.

“While she was visiting the Fortress and waiting for my father to finish competing in a tournament, I had managed to seduce her back to my room. Once inside, I bent her over my desk and fucked her good from behind.” Kagome's eyes widened, and he dared her to speak. When she didn’t, he continued.

“She finished almost as quickly as your Hojo, but I then threw her onto my bed and repeated the act... That is how father had found us. I knew he would be able to scent what we had done once he had returned from sparring, and when he did, he came straight to my bed- mid coitus- and held his blade to my throat. For a moment, I thought he would kill me then and there.”

“Mid-coitus?”

“Yes. Be silent.” she bit her lips.

“Mioko threw herself between my father’s blade and I, begging that I not be harmed, and he became even more...displeased. When I challenged him to fight me in tournament, he could not refuse. I assume he figured if This Sesshoumaru was enough grown to fuck his bitch, then he was enough grown to compete in spars.” He added as an afterthought, “Or, perhaps, the act simply waned his concern for my well-being.”

He was relieved to find that Kagome had seemed more interested than disgusted. It certainly hadn’t been what she was expecting, but then, she didn’t know what she had been expecting. In any case, she absolutely wasn’t going to dissuade him from sharing more with her in the future. She couldn’t help from voicing one her qualms, however.

“Isn’t it kind of creepy? That a grown demon would have sex with what amounted to a 12-year-old boy?”

“This Sesshoumaru was still...This Sesshoumaru. Only smaller, and sans a stripe or two. You would not have been able to resist either, miko.” Now that was what she had been expecting. Haughty and egocentric; and, she supposed, with merit.

“...So, you slept with your dad’s girlfriend to get him pissed off enough to fight you? Did you keep seeing her?”

“That was her wish, however, I refused her. She had served her purpose and proved herself unworthy in the process.” Was he really such hot shit even then, to lure a demoness from- at the time- the Lord of the Western Lands? He was next in line, she supposed.

“Did your father dump her?”

“He really had no choice. The incident humiliated him. She was lucky to leave with her life.”

“Wow, I guess we have both been pretty shitty to people who only cared for us, huh?”

He didn’t know if she was referring to his father or Mioko. In any case...

“I had not considered it. The experience simply taught This One that rutting could be used as a vessel by which to obtain things which are desired. A strategy to benefit my purposes.”

“You know, a lot of guys use fighting to get sex. Leave it to you to use sex to get to fight,” she mused.

It was true. He had encountered numerous males who had worked their entire lives at attaining great power, to simply have an end game which involved a female. It was ridiculous.

“Wait. So, you never had sex with someone just because you wanted them?”

“Not until very recently.” She didn’t doubt that he felt lust for her, but she couldn’t be the only one.

“What about if you were attracted to someone? Surely you have had desires?”

“I have,” he admitted, “and that was why I rejected them. I had been satisfied by the mere knowledge that no female was beyond my resistance. None will hold power over This One, no matter how desirable.”

Had she really broken his perfect record? She obviously held no power over him, but had he wanted to resist her and was unable? Or was this some kind of angle? Maybe in getting her to relocate to his lands, he could more easily convince her friends. He seemed to sense her sudden suspicions.

“Miko, know that there is nothing I wish to gain by lying with you. All I have done with you, has been for its own sake.” He’d rationalized sleeping with her at the celebration, but there was nothing rational in this. In every other instance, if Sesshoumaru wanted something, he took it. Why was sex the only thing he regularly denied himself?

“...So, there is no strategy here?”

“Unless you would count bringing pleasure, then no. That is all I wished to obtain. For us both.”

Wasn’t there anything else he had wanted from her? “What about my regard?” If he was trying to get her to like him, it was working.

“This One was under the impression he already had it. You would not have lain with me otherwise.”

“That’s true,” the admission made her smile. How was he able to compliment her while squeezing one in for himself?

“And I have yours?” she asked, but she hadn’t really wondered.

“Of course. You have had it.”

He made things so easy. His confessions would seem like things that would be embarrassing to admit, until he just out and said them so matter-of-factly.

She should quit grilling him. He hadn’t busted her chops during her story.

“What were the females like?”

“Beg your pardon?”

“The ones you desired, but resisted. I am curious as to where The Lord of the Western Lands’ tastes lie?”

“Is it not obvious?”

“Well, I know none of them were human.” She smiled as he fixed her with an unamused glare. “Other than that, what flips your cookie?” She was mocking him. Insinuating that he now had a type, and it was human. Just like father...

“What you would expect; powerful. Beautiful. Strong. You could say that my tastes have not changed in that regard.” She blushed slightly at the compliment.

“They also tended to be submissive. And traditional. Perhaps entitled.” He thought on it a moment and went on, “Not very exciting. Certainly not fun. Rather boring, really. Perhaps that was why I so easily dismissed them.” He got that far-off look again, but aimed it right at her.

“Perhaps that is where the differences lie.”

The heat in his gaze made her throat very dry, and she began to regret her question. Perhaps it was time for another.

“So... who won the spar? Did you beat your father?”

“...Eventually.”

“But not that time?”

He inwardly shuddered at the memory.

“...No.”

Chapter Text

His arm was still around her; the one he had regained after Inuyasha had so deftly relieved him of it years ago. Now those very fingers were living it up, drawing ticklish patterns on the shoulder of the woman who’d given his brother the sword to do so. For all the fates had done to mock him, it couldn’t be said that Sesshoumaru hadn’t mocked back.

Though some time had passed since their intimacy, the afterglow of the lengthy session remained thick in the air. They were swimming in contentment as if high on a drug, and the ease with which they conversed perpetuated the pleasant feeling. He couldn’t recall any previous desire that would have him engage in pillow talk with any he had bedded in the past.

There must have been some instances, but sex for him had never been about the pleasure of company- well, not theirs. He’d never taken an interest in the demonesses personally, therefore would have garnered no enjoyment from speaking with them at length. It was always business. But though the miko must surely be exhausted by now, he found himself hoping she would remain lucid enough to continue. Encouraging her consciousness by opening himself up for perusal.

She was indeed spent, both mentally and physically, but she loved him like this too much to allow herself rest. This was Sesshoumaru in rare form; raw and permissive. The usually walled off demon was allowing unrestricted access to himself; she need only ask. She was in no hurry to relinquish such an occasion.

She was still on his chest, lightly running her own fingertips over his abdominals; watching them twitch under her attentions.

“How old are you?”

“Rude,” he joked. He could feel her smile against him. He’d been making her do that a lot lately.

She earned back a smirk of her own.

“More than seven centuries, I would say.” He thought this would shock her, but it didn’t.

“What of it?”

“I was just thinking. I guess everyone uses sex to get something they want. Whether its pleasure or love, or something more sinister. I used Hojo to get over heartbreak. You used Mioko to get in the tournaments...It’s just kind of sad that you are over 700 years old, and you have never been in love.”

“Have you?”

“I thought I was once, but it was just puppy love. Pardon the pun.”

“Puppy love?” He was becoming accustom to the fact that the miko had a strange manner of speaking, on account of being born and raised 500 years in the future. He never required as much clarification on anything as he did when in her presence. But it did not irk him that she knew so much of what he was apparently ignorant; rather, he relished the opportunity to add to his vast wealth of knowledge.

This time, however, he couldn’t shake the feeling that her answer might be insulting.

“It’s when you’re young, and you like each other a lot. But it’s not mature.”

“How do you know the difference?” She thought about it. She’d never been in love, so she only knew what it wasn’t. Still, she ventured.

“I think, it has to stand the test of time. It’s easy to be in love when things are simple- that's puppy love. But when real life happens to it, things that love must endure and it does, I think that makes it real.”

He couldn’t tell if the statement was born of idealism or naivety. Either way, the miko had always brimmed with both. It was times like these which displayed for him how young she really was. And how human. But when with her, he seemed more inclined to find similarities between their races, instead of boring down on the vast differences.

“I believe, what mortals call love,” he mused, “is simply familiarity over time, combined with the urge to breed. Your species’ biology is actually quite sophisticated in how it determines, through instinct, which traits are beneficial and which are to be weeded out. Most of you do not seem to even be aware that you are doing it, but it is a mechanism that both our kind shares. The difference is, humans factor in this emotional attachment when selecting a mate, and demons do not.”

“You’re so romantic,” she said sarcastically. He shrugged.

And with him, she was more willing to focus on the thinly veiled praise he offered, and not the casual slights.

“You think despite our emotional hang-ups, humans are as good at propagating the species as demons?”

“You would not be here otherwise.”

“I guess, the system works.”

“You yourself are a fine example, Miko. Despite not wishing to yet procreate, your advanced biology demands you lay with the strongest. The fastest. The most intelligent,” oh, here we go...

“Your instincts demand the best. It is why you are so attracted to This Sesshoumaru.”

His own statement caused him pause. Was that why? Of course he was the best. In every conceivable way. Demonesses recognized this on sight, and he was accustomed to them and their attempts to seduce him- regardless of whether or not they consciously desired to enhance their offspring. Their instincts called out for him. For what he could offer.

But the Miko was human, and humans weren’t so black and white. Did he have an x-factor that contributed to her desire? Or was it purely biological? He supposed it didn’t matter, but he still couldn’t help but ask, “Do you have any desire to spend more time with This Sesshoumaru? Or do you only prefer to while on your back?” He was by no means insecure. Instead, he wondered if her human nature saw fit to pin her with any ‘emotional hang-ups’ in selecting him as a worthy lover.

She couldn’t tell if his egotism was just for fun, or if it came out organically. Either way, it earned a big laugh from her.

He was right about her desire, though. There was something about him that did things to her. It was becoming harder to control. She rolled on top of him and started grinding to tease. It appeared that was the only answer he was going to get, and he grabbed her hips as she kissed him.

“You are trying to distract me.” And if the swelling of his tired manhood was any indication, she would prove successful.

“No, I’m trying to distract me. Please, Sesshoumaru? Sucking your cock made me so horny,” she hoped reminding him of what she had done for him earlier would make him more accommodating. It worked.

Plus, she could tell he loved the dirty talk. She sat up to straddle him as he ground up into her, pulling her hips against his as he did.

She shifted so he could enter her, and began riding him; his above average size becoming less an obstacle with every broadening rut. It was another power move he wouldn’t have previously allowed. Any who saw them would assume she was dominant. Actually, that thought was ridiculous.

He hadn’t considered the delicious access to her breasts with his mouth, however. And having some control allowed her to position herself exactly where she wanted, causing her to whimper and moan loudly as she hit the right spots.

Her tiny hands were grabbing his shoulders as she rode his dick with fervor, and when he sharply thrust his obliques upward as she made one of her descents, it caused her to shriek in pleasure. So he kept doing it.

The impact of his hips into hers had her tits bouncing drastically. He caught a nipple lightly in his teeth to suck on, and flicked the rosy peak with his talented tongue. And when he moved his hand to roughly rub her swollen clit, she had almost reached her limit. She was so close, already approaching her climax’s crest.

That was when his door flew open. “Mama! Are you okay?!” Shippo had burst on the scene with terror on his features. But the look soon turned to one of confusion.

“Shippo! Get out!” Kagome demanded harshly, covering herself with a pillow while Sesshoumaru scooted out from under her. He then rose and pulled his hakama on, while the fox demon seemed frozen in shock. His little gears were turning, trying to make sense of what he saw.

Inuyasha had heard the outburst, awaking with a start, and stepped through the open door to question Shippo just beyond the threshold, “What’s the matter?” The scent just barely beat his eye sight, but not in time to protect it. “Oh, jeez. C’mon runt, you shouldn’t see this.”

He started pushing the little fox into the hallway, but the kit resisted, “He was hurting Kagome! I heard her screaming!” With more force this time, Inuyasha led him out and closed the door.

Mortification gave way to regret, “Poor Shippo. I shouldn’t have yelled.” Her loins burned, aching for completion, but the mood was ruined. Sesshoumaru was raging internally at the interference, but willed his softening manhood to calm enough to walk away from the wanting miko.

“I will speak with him.” He leaned down for a reassuring kiss, parting reluctantly, and was out the door.

Sesshoumaru came into the hallway to find Kikyo standing next to Inuyasha, who had his arms crossed. Both were looking down at the small demon.

“Kid, you can’t just go barging in to people’s rooms like that!” he scolded. He really should know better, but it wasn’t like Kagome usually had much need for privacy from the boy. Even more reason Inuyasha was annoyed at the kit for ruining her fun time.

Shippo didn’t understand why he was the one being scolded, and why nobody else seemed to care about what Sesshoumaru had done to his mother, “But Kagome was in pain, I heard it!” He turned, “Were you fighting?”

Sesshoumaru ignored him in favor of issuing demands to the others, “Prepare for breakfast. I will send the miko to meet you.” He finally turned his gaze downward, masking his irritation, “Go to the edge of the clearing, and wait for This One. We shall speak there.”

“Do you promise?”

“I give you my word.” Shippo eyed him suspiciously, but did as he was told. The demon lord went back into his room to dress completely, and Kagome asked him how it went with anxiety laced in her tone. “I am going to have a word with him.” ‘Quite a few, actually.’

“Don’t be too hard on him,” she pleaded, concerned what the demon would do to the kit for interrupting them. Sesshoumaru allayed her fears, but she really did coddle the boy. If she was not so overly protective, perhaps they wouldn’t be in this situation.

“I shall simply explain things to him. I am surprised he is still ignorant at his age.” He made to leave, but stopped himself as he took in her nude form. She looked very enticing, disheveled as she was, and he pulled her to him in a lingering kiss. He was tempted to skip the talk to pick up where they left off, but he’d given his word. Damn.

Eyes and throat were thick with promise as he assured her, “We shall continue this later. Dress. I will meet you at breakfast.”

***************

Sesshoumaru took his time walking to the edge of the clearing. He wasn’t apprehensive, he simply needed the time to gather his thoughts. He had never had to explain rutting to a child, and was unsure of how to go about it.

He stretched his mind to think back to how he himself had gained the knowledge, and had come to the conclusion that he had always known. Sex wasn’t sacred among demons, and was therefore not kept from the eyes of the young. He had been in the vicinity when his father rutted his mother, and others later, while he was still considered a boy. It wasn’t the preferred method among developed demons, but no great lengths were attempted to keep him from it.

And it hadn’t bothered him. It was the natural way of things. Not that he made a point to watch when it was occurring nearby. He understood that humans considered the matter much more private; a thing he would do well to keep in mind now that he had begun laying with one.

Preforming such acts in Rin’s presence had never occurred to him, but he considered it unseemly now that he thought about it. He had no offspring, so it had not been an issue he had to contend with. Until now.

The kit was an orphan, being raised by humans. He supposed he couldn’t fault him for his ignorance on the topic. He couldn’t help but wonder what other things the young demon may not be privy to, that perhaps a full-fledged demon would be needed to impart. ‘As Inuyasha needed, but never had.’

He tucked that thought away for later, as the kit in question came into view. The boy had a troubled countenance, and since Sesshoumaru didn’t know where to begin with him, he decided to let him drive.

“You have questions, kit. Ask them.”

“Were you hurting Kagome?”

“No.”

He seemed to believe him, but that just raised more questions. “Well, what were you guys doing? It sounded like you were hurting her, but when I came in, she smelled really happy.” ‘Like, really happy.’

“We were having sex.” Direct and to the point, as he always was. “Do you know of it?”

Shippo wasn’t embarrassed of the subject, so at least his demon instincts remained intact. He seemed more insecure about what he didn’t know.

“Just what I was told,” he admitted shyly. “A male and female fall in love, then they have sex to make a baby.”

This explanation had miko scent all over it. “Is that what you were doing? Trying to make a baby?” He almost sounded hopeful.

Sesshoumaru faced him as he spoke, but remained at his height. “No,” he began. “You are correct, that a female can become with child through the act. However, it is not the only reason to engage. It can also be very pleasurable.” Shippo was all ears, so he dove in.

“Once you come of age, usually in one’s adolescence, you will find sexual gratification involving your manhood and wish to enjoy a companion for pleasure. That is what I was doing with the miko.” He decided to elaborate, “If the act is done well, great pleasure will be enjoyed by both. This, however, is not always the case. Some males are unwilling, or unable, to give their partner pleasure, and seek it only for themselves. It is dishonorable.” Shippo seemed to absorb this.

“Others will take females against their will. This is unacceptable.” His voice adopted a grave tone, “It is one thing to fail to please a willing mate. Forcing a rut against one’s will is quite another, and a death sentence on my lands. Do you understand?” Shippo gulped audibly and nodded. Even a hypothetical threat coming from Sesshoumaru was terribly unnerving.

Pleased his warning got across, he felt inclined to follow up with some advice, “Investing in your partner’s enjoyment will increase your own tenfold. Bear that in mind, kit.”

Shippo took the information pretty well. He didn’t need the mechanics laid out for him, but he was excited to have such a prominent, full-blooded demon willing to explain things to him like a grown-up. He didn’t want to waste the opportunity.

“Okay, so you weren’t making a baby.”

“Pup, kit.” He interrupted. “Any offspring This One produces would be a pup.”

“Even if it’s half human?” he would never dare taunt Sesshoumaru, but there was a sparkle in his eyes.

It was a touchy subject, considering his previous stance on the issue. His prejudices weren’t what they once were, obviously. That he was so vocal on the issue, and now a dose of ‘future medicine’ away from siring a hanyou of his own...the irony wasn’t lost on him.

But it was immaterial at the moment. Deciding not to push that any further, Shippo continued, “Are you in love at least?”

There was that word again.

“Love is not required for rutting.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“I did not.”

When it was clear he wasn’t going to, Shippo sighed. “Did you do it well?”

His infamous stoic mask was his response.

“You said ‘if done well’ both can feel pleasure. Was it done well?”

“Naturally.”

He would answer the kit’s questions, provided he required nothing too graphic.

“Good,” though he didn’t fully understand what his mother had been doing, it sounded as if she had been getting the better of it. Another realization struck him, “Hey, now that I know about sex, I don’t have to leave the room when Miroku tells his late-night stories!” This prospect excited him. He hated feeling like a little kid, especially around the men.

Sesshoumaru huffed, letting his posture relax slightly, “You are not missing much. This One suspects that the monk’s tales are greatly embellished most of the time.” ‘Which reminds me-’

“From time to time, males share with each other tales pertaining to conquests on and off the battlefield- I personally prefer on.” He wasn’t usually one to share personal matters, but he didn’t shy away from them. “It is, however, considered uncouth to discuss such things in the presence of females. Particularly if the tale involves a female who is present. It tends to embarrass or upset them, and is therefore in poor taste. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.” Sort of.

“Have you any more questions for This One?”

“How do you do sex so that your partner feels pleasure?” Was it something that required training?

“That is perhaps a subject better left for a later date.” Maybe 10 years later. “It is nothing you need concern yourself with for some time yet.”

“Aw, c’mon. Please?”

“I cannot tell all of my secrets. At least not until I am mated. Otherwise, we may someday be vying for the same female. I will need an edge in my old age when competing with charming, young fox demons.” Not a chance, but the boy had a rough morning, so he threw him a bone.

“Ah, man! How long until you get mated?” The demon council of the four houses was quite curious of this as well. Naturally, they expected him to choose a demon with whom to sire strong heirs for their society. If it was to come to pass, he was certainly in no rush now. He had only just discovered the joy of bedding a miko; it would have to wait until he’d had his fill of her. At least.

“It may be some time yet. I haven’t any plans.” It wasn’t the answer he wanted, but it would have to do. Sesshoumaru could see their chat getting off track, and figured he accomplished what he had come to do. The scent that greeted him told him their time had expired anyhow.

“Breakfast is ready. Shall we return? Or do you suppose that my brother will save you a plate?”

Shippo made for a quick exit, but stopped short. Memories of a young boy being chased off flooded in.

“That’s why you wanted me to dance with Rin, wasn’t it? You thought that boy wanted to have sex with her, and you knew I didn’t.”

Shrug. Maybe not sex, but...

He was playing nonchalant, but even the mention of a male pursuing Rin in such a way had him bristling on the inside.

“I guess lots of stuff is all about sex, huh?” He was wondering how much he hadn’t been able to comprehend about life due to this blind spot.

“Some believe that everything in life is about sex. Except sex, which is about power.”

Shippo was curious, “What do you believe?”

“This One used to believe that everything in life was about power, especially power.”

That was all it had ever been. Supreme conquest, and the road to it, got his dick hard far beyond a simple lay with a female. In fact, Kagome had mused not an hour ago that he had valued a fight above having sex when he was younger, and she wasn’t wrong. He had always assumed that most powerful males had felt the same as he, but even his father- the most powerful demon he had ever known- hadn't valued power over his female. Though his power had no doubt attributed to obtaining her.

“And now?” What did he think now? Had his values changed?

Shrug.

“Lord Sesshoumaru? If I think of any more questions about sex stuff, can I ask you?”

“Very well.” And he likely would soon. He himself had not been much older when-

“What about not sex stuff?” So he had been correct. There were doubtless many things the kit would do well to learn from a fellow full-blood. Even a well-intentioned hanyou was a poor substitute, and Sesshoumaru was a goldmine as far as knowledge and experience. Would he be willing to give Shippo such access to himself?

The inclining of his head provided an answer for them both.

And with that, they walked back in silence. Both pondering what had been discussed.

Everyone was already eating breakfast when the pair had returned from their talk.

“Y’alright kid?” Inuyasha asked pouring himself a cup of water as Shippo took a seat by his side; and Sesshoumaru beside the kit, across from Kagome.

He was greeted with a shy smile, and images of the morning came crashing right back. She was obviously uncomfortable about how things had ended up, but it didn’t stop her from inconspicuously lifting her socked foot to rub against his ankle. His only response was a heated gaze in her direction.

“Yep! We got it all cleared up!” Whatever Sesshoumaru had said to him had seemed to do the trick, and his cheer was a welcome improvement over his earlier fret.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you, Shippo. Are you sure you’re okay?” Kagome timidly asked. She was still embarrassed that the young boy had seen her in such a state, and that the others had known about it. It was taking all she had to look him in the face.

Sango hadn’t been there for the debacle this morning, and voiced her confusion, “Why? What happened to Shippo?” He began filling his plate as he responded.

“Nothing. I thought Lord Sesshoumaru was hurting Kagome, but he said they were just having sex.” Sesshoumaru popped the little fox so quickly that it looked like a knot just appeared on his head out of nowhere. Apparently, he’d already forgotten what he had been told about blabbing. He frowned his displeasure at the kit to accent the strike. Kagome was sputtering, and he didn’t have to look over to know she resembled a tomato.

“Whoops! Sorry Kagome!” the regret at his misstep had little to do with the hit he took, not that it wasn’t painful.

The drink Inuyasha was sipping got sprayed toward the married couple, who were failing to contain their laughter. When they broke, Kagome tried her best to be upset with them, but gradually found her way to laughing along. She supposed if everyone else found mirth in her mortification, she could get over it. And if she could find the humor in it...

The side of Sesshoumaru’s mouth lifted ever so slightly.

****************

The rest of breakfast passed with no further mention of the incident, but in the hot spring Shippo felt he had some explaining to do.

“I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to...It slipped.” He felt awful. He was finally being treated like one of the grown-ups, and he blew it. He was worried they wouldn’t see him as someone who could be trusted with such information.

“You shall remember next time, will you not?” He’d let Sesshoumaru down, just as it seemed the demon might take him into his confidence. There might not even be a next time.

“Yes, sir.” he was sulking as Miroku made his way into the springs, grinning ear to ear.

“Keh, I’m surprised to see you here. Figured I wouldn’t see you outside of meals for a few days.”

“I’ve been working up quite a sweat lately, so the Mrs. demanded I bathe.” The brothers made room so he could sit between them in the water, and Sesshoumaru tried to create even more distance from himself.

“Enjoying the married life?” Inuyasha asked him once he was situated.

“It was made just for me, my friend.”

“I’ll say. Look at you all sexed up and not a bump or bruise for your troubles.” Until now, any attempted feeling up of the girls had earned the monk at least a slap. It was going to be weird to see him getting away with it now...as long as he only touched his wife.

Looking to Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha wondered what would become of him if his hand ‘accidentally’ strayed now.

“Perhaps you are doing it incorrectly,” the dog demon ventured, causing his brother to smirk.

For once, the monk was the one to try and temper the lewd conversation, “Please. Not in front of Shippo.” With all that had occurred earlier, he thought the boy could use a break, but the statement only served to sour him. Until Sesshoumaru spoke up.

“The kit is old enough. You will not harm him. However, you will spare the graphic details for my own benefit.”

“Feh. Like you’re one to talk. You guys were worse than last time.” Giving the demon a once over he added, “I don’t know how you can look so well rested when I heard you working through the night being Kagome’s fuck toy.” He had to give his brother some shit, especially now that it was common knowledge that he had fucked- was fucking? - his best friend.

Though he didn’t want to picture his brother and Kagome doing what they were doing- a task made harder since he had seen them this morning-, it hadn’t bothered him as much as it would have even a few months ago. Whatever had happened to the once insufferable ice prick had been a welcomed change. He could definitely be trusted with his friends' lives now. Could he be trusted with their hearts as well?

“You have been mated not a week and you already consider it work?”

“Not at all. I’ve never been so happy in my whole life,” and he meant it. His whole life had been one struggle after another. When Kikyo had been taken from him, he never thought he’d find happiness again. And now that he had it, he wouldn’t take a second for granted. He was a new man.

“Have you thought on my offer?” It had only been a few days, but surely he must have consulted his mate on it by now.

“Yeah, and I’m in. I’ll do whatever you need me to do.” He wanted to give his mate everything she deserved. The Western Lands would provide that. He would finally take his place, do his part. He wanted to make his father proud, and now, his brother too.

“Very well. We must leave tonight to prepare for the summit. It is there where This Sesshoumaru will introduce you to the four houses as Heir to the West.”

“There is one thing,” he seemed nervous, but determined, “Kikyo is mine in the eyes of demon society, but seeing those two get married...I want to do that for her. I want to claim her as humans do. She would never ask for it, but I want to give her a wedding. I want to give each other rings so that every human knows we belong to each other. Last night, I went to Totosai to collect the rings I had commissioned he make from my own fang. I want to have a small ceremony here, after your honeymoon.” He gestured to Miroku. “After that, we will move.”

“Nonsense.” He was worried his brother might ridicule him for wanting to get married. A mating was much more serious, and demons viewed the human ceremonies as arbitrary and pointless. “You are heir to The Western Lands. Until I produce an offspring fit to rule, you will inherit my title in the highly unlikely event of my death. You shall have a wedding fit to one of your station. Know your place.” Inuyasha smirked at the familiar command, but resisted.

“Are you crazy? Kagome must have knocked something loose in your brain. You really think the best way to kick off your new world order to all those old school demons is to name a hanyou heir, then force them to celebrate a human wedding in their sacred Western Fortress? Coming on kinda strong, doncha think?” His tone went from mocking to concerned.

“I know you’re the man with the battle plan, but I don’t want to put Kikyo through all that. It’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of her life...It’s gonna be hard enough to get them to accept me as my father’s son.”

“You must, Inuyasha.” His face took on a serious countenance. “It will be your cause, after all. If you are to succeed in instating cohabitation between youkai and ningen, then I can think of no better way than having the product of such a union- the son of the greatest demon to ever rule- to make an act of good faith for all to bear witness. You must lead them in this.”

Sesshoumaru was right. It appeared he was going to have to hit the ground running. They would all have to make sacrifices for the greater good. If having a lavish wedding was the worst he would endure, he could consider himself lucky. Still, “I haven’t even asked Kikyo yet. If I can get her to agree to it, I’ll go along. But we can’t leave tonight. You gotta give us at least a day to get ready.”

“One day then. The summit is in two, and you must be present. Since anyone who matters will already be there, you will have your wedding the next day.”

“You gonna have everything ready on such short notice?”

“If This One commands it, it will be done.” That’s two down. He turned to Miroku then, “Your answer, Houshi?”

“It is a tempting prospect, My Lord,” he began cautiously, “but my wife is a demon slayer. Though you know she holds no prejudice, I’m not sure it is wise.”

“You doubt This One’s ability to protect?” He knew his rejection would offend him.

“That’s not it. We both trust you. I fear that others may not trust her. Her village has dedicated their lives to killing your kind. She herself has probably killed the family of many of your residences.”

“Some will not. At first. But they trust This Sesshoumaru, as you claim to. You have already had my word that I shall personally see to your full protection within my lands.” He could see that the monk was still apprehensive. It was time to bring out the big guns.

“The West is home to the most incredible sights in all of Japan. Allow This One to provide you with the best accommodations you will ever know, so that you may enjoy a most luxurious honeymoon. You needn’t leave your suite, yet should you choose, I will show you what the west can offer; what you may offer it. Then you may decide, once you give it an honest chance so that you may choose without bias. Does your wife not deserve this?”

Miroku knew the demon was right. Though Sango was his to protect, he couldn’t shield her from the world. If they succeeded in their mission, it would at least make the world a safer place for them in the end. If he agreed, he would have the strongest being perhaps that ever was watching over them. It was nothing to scoff at.

“You drive a hard bargain, My Lord. I do not see how I could refuse. But only if Sango is alright with the idea.” There seemed to be no dissuading the demon lord.

“The slayer seemed more than willing when I spoke with her last night. Inform your women, and I shall send you an escort so that you may arrive tomorrow. All of you.”

All of them. That included Kagome. Miroku wondered if his insistence had anything to do with ensuring she would agree as well. How bad did he want her there? What were his plans once she arrived?

“Man, a full demon, a half demon, and a human, and not a drop of youkai blood between our women. Dad would be proud.”

“I am certain he is amused.”

“Hey, you find out what human women can do with their mouths yet?” It was one of the great perks to having a human partner, and if his brother played his cards right...

“I can finally understand why father took a human as a mate.” Perhaps if other demons were made aware of this little tidbit, the bridge between the species might not be as difficult to construct.

Miroku had been around the block, but never with a youkai. “Are demon women not so accommodating?”

“Keh, we’d never let them try. If a demon got her mouth around a male, she would have complete control over him. It puts us in a very dangerous situation.” The monk shuddered at the prospect.

“Tell This One,” he demanded, “is it a common trait among ningen women to use...colorful language in the throes of passion?” He wondered if he had been missing out on human women all this time, or if the little miko was an outlier. More so.

“What do you mean, Lord Sesshoumaru?” the lecher hoped he would elaborate, but he didn’t bite.

“Hn. It must be specific to women of the future,” he mused. Then informed, “The way they talk...The things they do...” His incredulous exhale was so out of character it caused the others to hang their jaw.

“Perhaps one will be so kind as to share her methods with your own females.”

“Lord Sesshoumaru?” Shippo finally spoke up, and the lord turned his attention on the kit, indicating he proceed.

“Since sex isn’t just about making babies, do two boys ever do it for pleasure?”

The question hung in the air for a long moment, and Sesshoumaru cut a glance sideways to Inuyasha in silent communication before responding. “It is done, though it is not as common. However, there are many who disapprove of the act. Therefor those who engage must become very strong, as to survive. They often face great adversity.”

“Why?”

Miroku took the reins, “Some believe it is an unholy act, as the gods intend that men only lay with women for the purpose of children. It’s called homosexuality.”

“Then do you have a problem with ‘homosexuality’?” Miroku was a man of god, though he seemed to follow the rules of the cloth arbitrarily.

“Nah. I always figured it meant more girls for me.” Man of god indeed.

“What about you Inuyasha?” Being a constant victim of bigotry, his views regarding others tended to remain pretty liberal.

“Keh, honestly, the whole idea grosses me out. But so long as no one tries anything with me, people can do what they want.”

“Agreed. What is done in the privacy of one’s own bedroom is not this one’s concern. So long as it is consensual.” Sesshoumaru’s physical appeal transcended gender lines. It was more than obvious to him when a male desired him so, though they seemed to know better than to approach him about it.

“So how do two boys have sex then?” it was an issue he had been pondering ever since ‘the talk,’ and he couldn’t get it out of his head.

“Tell us, Inuyasha.”

“Oi, fuck you bastard!”

*******************

“I can’t believe Shippo caught you in the act! Are you okay, Kagome?” They had let the subject drop at breakfast to save the poor girl some embarrassment, but in the hot spring with the girls the topic could no longer be avoided.

“It was the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to me, thanks!”

“What exactly did he see?” Inuyasha hadn’t entered the room until just after the fact, and he wasn’t willing to divulge any details to his mate. He would rather not think about his naked brother any more than never.

“It’s not polite to kiss and tell.” Not to mention riding dick.

“Sounded like a lot more than kissing...” And Kikyo was dying to know. She’d had the displeasure of meeting the regal demon a number of times before she died the first time. He was cruel to Inuyasha, and regarded her as no better than an insect. But even then, she couldn’t deny his physical appeal. No female could.

And though his demeanor had been quite unpleasant, he had still been the topic of many conversations she had been privy to among other females. Ones that involved fantasizing what the demon lord looked like under all that silk, and what might be done to him if given the opportunity.

“Come off it, Kagome. You better believe the guys are sharing every gory detail right this moment. Especially with that lecher monk in the mix.” Sango envied her husband. He had practiced methods of extracting such information, and she would give anything to know what Shippo walked in on. What position were they in? What did Sesshoumaru look like when he was laying his pipe? What, exactly, did his pipe look like? She had wondered more than once.

“Not with Shippo there,” at least she hoped not.

“Shippo’s one of the men now! I wonder what Sesshoumaru told him in the clearing.” He had a way with words, and it wasn’t like him to be crude. But how could he possibly explain away being balls deep inside his makeshift mother? The look on her face must have been priceless. Shippo was lucky. So was Kagome, for that matter.

“So, what’s it like to have Sesshoumaru eating out of the palm of your hand?”

“I bet that’s not the only place he’s ‘eating out.’”

“Sango!”

“Tell us, does the Lord of the West ever go ‘down south?’”

“Jeez. You’ve only been married a day, and you’re already talking just like your husband.”

“With that icy glare you’re giving her, I’d say Sesshoumaru is rubbing off on you as well.”

“I bet he rubs off on her.”

“Speaking of perverts, shouldn’t you be on your honeymoon?”

“Just taking a break to wash up, then we’re back to it.”

“At this rate, it looks like you will be baring his children soon.”

“If I’m not already.” The odds were increasing by the minute, so she had already decided to give up alcohol just in case. “What about you, Kikyo? Are you guys planning on conceiving?”

“We aren’t necessarily trying. But we are doing nothing to prevent it. Miko and demon pairs are unheard of. I’m not even sure we could conceive...Are you worried about that with Sesshoumaru?”

It wasn’t clear if she meant ‘worried they would’ or ‘worried they couldn’t.’ Regardless...

“I get a shot every year in the future. The risk is very small.”

“What a shame. You two would have attractive children. That is one fine looking demon. Last time he was here, and he came out in his hakama...Mmmm.” Yes, Sango was definitely resembling her husband.

“You missed it this morning, Sango! He came out after Shippo barged in on him, and he was shirtless!” If this was going to happen every time he visited, Kikyo decided she would need to spend more time lingering in the hallway.

“Dang!” she would have liked to see that, and more. “So, how is the rest of him, Kagome?”

She couldn’t help the dreamy sigh, “Exceptional. He’s got these stripes on his hips leading down to his...Lets just call them his demon happy trail. And he loves it when I lick them.” As long as everyone was channeling Miroku today, she might as well do as the Romans...

“Has he let you go down on him yet?” Kikyo remembered how freaked out Inuyasha got the first time she tried. He’d practically thrown her off of him.

“He did,” she admitted. “It took some convincing. I’ve never seen him look uncertain before. I didn’t even know he could.” She never thought a guy would try to talk her out of giving head.

“What are you guys talking about?” It appeared that Sango was now the only demon virgin.

“Demons don’t let their women’s mouth on their manhood. I guess there is a high rate of castration, intentional or not. And since demons and humans don’t usually mix, very few are privy to the pleasures of the act,” Kikyo explained.

“And they are very grateful for the opportunity.” Having Sesshoumaru so ingratiated to her was addictive. His control was a thing of legend, and so easy for her to break. Luckily, he didn’t seem to mind much.

“Haha, tell me about it! All you have to do is NOT hold their member hostage, and they’re ready to worship you as a goddess.” It was fun to finally have someone to talk with, who shared in dog demon experience. And their effects on mikos in kind.

“Besides, it’s not like I couldn’t purify him in a second if I wanted to.” Though small displays of her reiki against him were nothing short of glorious.

“I bet he was feeling generous after that.” After kicking off her honeymoon Sango had sex on the mind, and talk of the dog demon geared her thoughts so easily to the possibilities. She had to take advantage of the resource she had in the miko, to answer the question she’d thought on more than once,

“So, what’s he like in bed?”

“Same as he is at everything. Fucking perfect. Last time was great, but this time...he kinda rocked my world.” Last time was more a display of his proficiency and skill. Last night exuded application of passion, and was like nothing she had even thought possible.

“I’m worried he’s ruined other men for me.”

“Then why see other men?” She didn’t want to go there. Not yet. It would be so easy to just lose herself in the fever dream that was Sesshoumaru, but she wanted to enjoy things as they were before she got too caught up in it all. She decided to change the subject.

“So, have you guys decided if you are moving to the Western Lands?”

“We’re going to do it. Inuyasha’s place is there, and I can tell he is eager to start taking on his responsibilities.” The West was his birthright. One he was finally ready to accept.

“I promised Sesshoumaru I would convince Miroku. I know he wants to, but he’s worried I might not be safe there. But it will be the best thing for our family. Our children will want for nothing.”

“What about you? What are you going to do, Kagome?”

“I’m still thinking it over.”

“What's to think over? Don’t you want to be with Sesshoumaru?” More than she was comfortable with.

“I do. But we only just started fooling around. Now, he wants me to uproot my whole life and, what? Move in with him? It’s just moving really fast.” True, he had made the offer before they ever had sex; but now that they had, it added a weight to the proposal that wasn’t there previously. She wished he could just find her in the future, maybe take her to the movies. The past made her feel like it had to be all or nothing.

“What about us? We need you, Kagome.”

“So does my family! Before I decide, I need to speak with them.” She didn’t want to leave her friends. They were more like family than her family lately. Her kin was paying a dear price for her time jumping, and she felt like she owed them more of herself. The more she stayed back, the more they were losing her to the past.

“We understand. But I hope you come with us. It just won’t be the same without you.”

“Plus, just compare Sesshoumaru to the guys you know in the future. If you go, you may never cum again!” She knew she was joking, but the threat felt very real.

******************************

The girls where surprised when Inuyasha dropped to one knee and proposed, but nobody was surprised when Kikyo accepted. It was agreed that they would arrive in the west the following day, and have their wedding on the next. Sango was relieved that Miroku wanted to have an experimental stay there as well, in the form of a honeymoon. It saved her the work of having to convince him.

Of course Kagome and Shippo would join them, but it would just be for the wedding. She still had to pay her family a visit in the future, and she didn’t have enough time before they would be departing. Kaede and Kohaku would make the trip as well, as the event was not to be missed.

Sesshoumaru would still be heading back that night alone, but informed them that he would send dragons for them to ensure safe and swift passage, and so that Kirara wouldn’t have to bear too much load.

The other couples were going back to their privacy to celebrate, but it was a beautiful day out, and Kagome wanted to enjoy the sunshine. She invited Sesshoumaru to walk with her to one of her favorite spots. Their time together had ended so abruptly this morning, and she was hoping to continue talking with him, if nothing else. He had one thing to do before they went off, however.

“Kit, an aside for a moment.”

Shippo had been down about the trouble he caused this morning. And with all of the excitement, he was feeling left out. This didn’t escape the demon’s notice. They didn’t have to go far to get out of human earshot, and he made yet another offer. The miko was waiting on him, so he cut to the chase.

“This Sesshoumaru has need of a good demon on the inside. Someone with your propensity for cunning and trickery to gather information on both friends and enemy. Should you accept, you would be trained in combat as a soldier of the western army, but you will focus on specialized training pertaining to your skillset. What say you?”

Shippo had promise, but needed proper guidance and instruction. He was a member of this elite pack who had taken Naraku down, and not to mention basically the son of the woman who shared his bed with progressive regularity. He could invest some time in properly showing the young fox the ways of a true demon, but he had many duties as lord, and couldn’t take him on full time.

He would put him in the capable hands of his high-ranking soldiers. With recruit enlistment at a high, there were training options to be made available. He was rather young to be out on the fields yet, but Sesshoumaru saw in him the talents of a valuable spy. If he honed his skills early, the boy could be an asset. Remaining among humans would see him grow soft, so it would be best to intervene as soon as possible. There was a place for him if he wished it.

He knew he was being offered a golden opportunity. This was the chance of a lifetime for one such as he. All of his friends were making the move West. All but one; the most important. “I won't leave Kagome. What about her?”

The demon lord took a knee then, placing a hand on the boy’s shoulder to relay the importance. He was almost conspiratorial.

“It is my hope that she will stay as well. I am doing all I can to persuade her to join your friends, and any help you could give This One in my efforts would be beneficial. Understood?”

Shippo nodded with determination. He already had his first mission.

“Tomorrow, I shall send Ah-Un to take your pack west. See that the miko gets on the dragon.”

Chapter Text

It was late in the day when Kagome awoke in one of her favorite spots. She had happened upon it while wandering the lands alone near Lord Hano’s village, and would often find herself there when she wanted to get away from the crowd and think.

With the others now officially paired up, she was finding she had a lot more time to kill on her own. That is, when Sesshoumaru wasn’t around. Spending the night with him was more than fun, but it was nice to have some company during the daylight hours as well. She had enjoyed having him around even before they...became closer. His presence, to her, remained a soothing one; and one she missed when he was away.

The clearing near the cliff’s edge gave way to a breathtaking view of the mountains in the distance, and the greenery of the forest that led the way there offered some solitude when it was desired. Flowers made for a cozy feeling as well as a pleasant aroma, which she considered Rin would appreciate. ‘I should bring her here the next time she comes to visit,’ was her first thought, but she reconsidered.

The steep drop-off might make the area dangerous for a child, not that Sesshoumaru would let her fall. ‘He shouldn’t have to always be on guard, though.’ It didn’t seem fair to always assume he could be the one to protect them all, even though he would.

He seemed to be more ease these days, and she wondered if that was a reason he was so inclined to visit their little village. She wanted to relieve him of some of the burden of his duties, at least while he was with her.

He was seated not far from her; taking in the view while she had slept. He may not need sleep, but their activities had kept them busy through the night and she needed to play catch up. She dozed once she made herself comfortable in the grass, and though he didn’t think she’d planned on it, he didn’t mind keeping watch while she got her rest. It was his fault she was so tired, anyhow.

His aloof visage was deceptive as she made her way over to him. He was aware she had roused, but made no sign of it as she took a seat by his side. Together, they gazed out to the distance beyond the cliff’s edge for a long moment before he broke the silence.

“This One suspects your kit may harbor homosexual affinities,” he decided to inform her. He wasn’t sure if it would break the boy’s confidence to mention this to her, but knew that Kagome only wanted the best for him. The statements he made earlier in the springs had concerned him, and he had given the possibility some thought.

“You think Shippo is gay? Why?” Sure, he’d always had a kind of effeminate air about him, but most little boys tended to. She assumed he would grow out of it.

“He asked This One how males would go about having sex with one another.”

She hadn’t expected that ‘the talk’ he had with Shippo would take that turn. She was curious about what they had discussed, but figured it would remain between them. It warmed her heart that Sesshoumaru had taken an interest in the boy. She was certain Shippo was grateful to him as well.

“What did you tell him?” How graphic was he willing to be with her honorary son?

“To ask Inuyasha.” He said it with such a straight face that she busted up laughing despite herself.

“That’s fine if he’s gay. I won’t love him any less.” Would he?

“There are those who would see him harmed. He will need training to become strong enough to fend them off.” Relief washed over her as she realized he wouldn’t hold it against him. Apparently, she wasn’t the only one ahead of her time here. She realized something else just then too.

“Like from the Western Army?”

“Precisely.” He wanted Shippo in his lands. This was just another reason.

“Another selfish act?”

“Entirely”

The pieces were starting to fall into place, and she wondered how much of his recent kindness had to do with her.

“And all my friends have shiny new positions in fancy new digs waiting for them in the West as well.”

“As do you, if you wish it,” he reminded. “Will you join them?” She had agreed to come for the wedding, but not to stay. Not yet. He would have the others convinced after a stay in his fortress, but what about her? He had been racking his brain as to what could be done to convince her that her place was with him. Not necessarily with him, though the prospect was not all together unpleasant. Getting all of her friends to make the move was a good start, but it didn’t seem to be enough.

“Like I said, I need to go home to talk to my family,” she felt like she was rejecting him. That’s not what she was doing. She didn’t even know exactly where she stood with him, but she didn’t want to rush it along. Neither did she want to dissuade him.

“You would, of course, be able to come and go as you please.” If she couldn’t decide, couldn’t she stay at the fortress until she did?

“I don’t know if I want any duties that come with a title.” Like Lady of the West? She didn’t want to be tied down, as he seemed to be. It was selfish not to give the aid he seemed to think she could offer. To help Inuyasha in his cause. But she had given so much of herself already. ‘Like, half my soul...’ Didn’t she deserve to be selfish now? Her quest was finally done, and she had her freedom. She found that she liked it.

“And you could live however you choose. There will always be a room in the fortress for you, if you do not wish to share mine...” So apparently that was an option. “Or if you prefer another location within my lands, accommodations will be made there. You can perform your miko duties among the villagers if you wish. Or a million other things. Your destiny will be yours to dictate. This Sesshoumaru will see to it.”

And there it was. They hadn’t discussed a future together. He was leaving it all up to her. She had her freedom, but now it came with the burden of choice. It was easier to make a selection between a number of options, but he had given her every option. She could do anything at all. What would she choose for herself now? Part of her wished he had given her an ultimatum.

“You are a very persuasive demon.” But was it enough? Would she require more?

“This has been established. And I shall continue to be, until you have made your decision.” If she refused, he would respect her wishes. But until that time came, he would do all he could to make her refusal impossible.

She had a wicked look in her eye then, and he regarded her curiously as she licked her palm, before asking, “Even now?”

She couldn’t give him an answer yet. That’s not to say she wasn’t impressed with the offer. He barely had time to react as realization dawned on him, and she reached inside his clothes. He allowed her to commence stroking his length until it became hard.

“Who is persuading whom?” he wondered aloud, but didn’t resist. He instead leaned back on his hands to support his weight as she continued her ministrations on his stiff member. Their last session had been cut short by the kit’s interruption, and he was more than happy to pick up where they left off.

Once at full attention, she pulled his cock from his hakama and took him into her eager mouth. The action caused him to push himself back up with a start. “Miko, not here,” he plead more than commanded. “If a demon were to come by and see us-”

“You would be mortified about being caught cavorting with a human?” she finished for him. It came off as more of a taunt than an accusation, and he held her cheek lightly in his hand.

“They could take advantage of This One’s distracted state and attack,” he corrected gently. He wasn’t ashamed of her. Not by a longshot.

She picked up on this, and smiled at him as she resumed stroking. The wetness left on him from her mouth allowed her to pull on him harder than before, causing him to close his eyes in pleasure.

“But what a way to go,” she quipped, and lowered her head back down.

Damn. She had him there.

‘Hey, did you hear about Sesshoumaru? He got maimed by a lesser demon while the Shikon Miko was sucking his cock!’ He could live with that.

‘How did the Lord of the West die? Getting his dick sucked.’ Acceptable. They could just put that on his tombstone.

He relented, leaning back on his elbows and just watched her. The last time, the new sensation had him so lost in pleasure that he could barely keep himself in check. Now, he could fully enjoy the sight the miko made while she lavished her attentions on him.

He didn’t bother to hide his fascination as she shamelessly whored herself out on his cock. His mouth opened slightly to reveal deadly fangs, and he would inhale sharply during an especially exquisite pull of her soft lips. It looked like she was doing a job that she loved, and the sounds of pleasure she herself made relayed the same. A ‘thank you’ seemed to always be threatening to tumble from his tongue.

He dug his claws into the grass and found his vocabulary suddenly lacking, “...Kagome, ah...fucking kami, miko...” Oh, the indignity. She had him whimpering like a pup. Effectively turning into a puddle of goo at her feet. Her mouth tried to crack a smile around his girth, and she realized her life’s goal was now to make Sesshoumaru curse as often as she was able.

No female had ever seen him this way, had such command over him. But none had pleased him so well, or so regularly. And she had his respect as well, which made her...worthy. He liked her; liked being with her. That she had him in her mouth was immaterial, however...

“Co-me to the We-West…Please,” there was another word she wasn’t certain he’d ever used before now; at least not in the context of begging. In the blink of an eye, she was on him. The school girl garb she had always worn made her panties easy to discard on their own, and they had now truly picked up where they had left off this morning as she impaled herself on his large cock and rode his lap.

Slightly more in control of his faculties, he splayed his hands on her back, but let her continue to set the pace. She grabbed his shoulders for leverage as she moved, and put her face within an inch of his own to look into his reddened eyes.

“Do you like it when I suck your cock, Sesshoumaru?” It was asked quietly, but not a whisper. She was basking in the power he’d given her over him, and the thrill it gave her.

“Yes,” he replied raggedly. No one demanded answers from him, and her boldness was intoxicating. The otherwise sweet and innocent little miko only let the profanity fly when he was inside her, and that knowledge turned him on immensely. He didn’t care for it in most any other setting, but this...it was as if it was only for him.

“Mmn, I love sucking your big dick,” she went on as she fucked him. She knew he liked this.

“You get rock hard, and I just want to choke on it,” an amused huff was all he could manage at that. He really didn’t know what to say, so she helped him.

“Does it feel good inside me?” her pace was maddening. It wasn’t slow, but she couldn’t hope to achieve his own demon speed. He started jerking his hips up to meet her.

“Kami, yes.”

“Tell me how my pussy feels, Sesshoumaru,” oh, he loved how his name sounded coming from her filthy mouth, and he could deny her nothing.

“It is hot,” he began, and she moved her hand behind his neck,

“and tight,” she pressed her forehead to his, and moaned silently as he spoke,

“and so. fucking. wet.” The feel of him sliding up and down inside of her was building the pressure to its peak. She wouldn’t last long. She’d been on fire ever since she got cockblocked that morning.

“It’s your fault, Sesshoumaru,” she was almost there.

“You make my pussy so fucking wet. Kami, I’m going to cum all over your hot...demon...cock...ahhh!” She didn’t restrain her scream as she came hard, and he finally let himself go as she found her pleasure. Moving his hands to squeeze her tits, he mouthed a silent moan that seemed to just keep coming as she collapsed against his neck.

His hips kept moving as he rode it out; and as he got his breathing back to manageable, he kissed her hard and forcefully. His hands moved to hold her face to keep the kiss deep, and the urge to tell her he loved her came on strong. He immediately pushed the thought back, not certain if his timing would be considered appropriate, or even if the feeling was real.

‘Puppy love, perhaps.’

They panted as they came down, and Kagome had a thought. “Wow.”

“Indeed.”

“No, I mean...Almost 800, and the Lord of The West only just got his first blowjob this morning.” he raised his eyebrow at her apparent mockery,

“We’ve got some time to make up.”

Hn. Agreed.

Chapter Text

She pulled herself off of him and tugged her skirt back in place as he rearranged his clothing. He then quickly spun her around and placed her between his thighs, pulling her back flush against his torso so that they may both enjoy the view once again.

Running his hands down the length of her arms, he entwined his fingers with hers before closing them. And with a gentle tug he crossed their arms, squeezing her tighter to him, and rested his chin at the top of her head.

She turned her head up to look back at him to find him once again looking off into the distance, a far-off look in his eye. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately.

Smiling wide and regarding him dazedly she confessed, “I like you,” before placing a lazy kiss under his jaw.

“Why?” he finally asked after a moment, still staring off to the horizon as the sun began its descent.

“Your cock,” she answered matter-of-factly and with a smirk.

His eyes cut down to her then, “Really?”

“Yes,” she was still looking at him, but he returned his gaze forward as the corner of his lips shifted downward.

“What?”

Nothing.

“C’mon, out with it,” she demanded, tugging on their hands against her flat belly for emphasis.

Something was troubling him, and she was afraid he wouldn’t let her in. Why does he hesitate?

“Today, in the springs...Inuyasha called me your ‘fuck toy.’”

Now it was her turn to frown, but before she could speak, “It was said in jest. However, it made This One think to this morning. The way you laughed when asked if the only way This Sesshoumaru would ever get to see you is when you are on your back.”

She remembered. She was sure he had only been teasing her, but maybe she didn’t want to accept that he was becoming attached to her. And she, him.

“If that were the case, would that upset you?” It was new territory for him. He was unaccustomed to females attempting to distance themselves from him- when he wasn’t trying to kill them of course. Neither was he accustomed to desiring the company of one for any longer than necessary.

“It would be acceptable. And disappointing,” he admitted.

“Well, we’ve spent the whole day together, and I was never on my back,” she tried to assuage.

“It does not count.”

“Why not?”

“Because you were in my lap.”

“Are you complaining?”

“No.” He definitely wasn’t. “Do you truly only view This Sesshoumaru as valuable to you with his hakama removed?” The notion was off putting. Did she really not see all that he could offer? How could he possibly be lacking in anything? What was it about her?

Letting out an exasperated sigh, she returned her gaze forward and hugged herself tighter with his arms. He seemed to need some reassurance.

“Sesshoumaru is the strongest, most powerful demon I have ever met. He’s got a gorgeous face, a killer body, and a huge cock,” this wasn’t news to him, so he didn’t react to the compliments.

“But those are just superficial things. And, while enjoyable, they are not what is important to me. He’s also very generous. He’s incredibly brilliant, and fiercely loyal. He has this twisted sense of humor that I love. And, would you believe he is actually fun?” He hunched himself lower so he could rest his cheek beside hers.

“But best of all, and don’t tell him I told you this- he's kind. I continue to be astounded at every turn by his compassion. I mean, you think you know a guy!” She could go on and on, but decided to get to her point.

“Yes, Sesshoumaru has a remarkable body. And I can honestly say, my favorite part of it...is his heart.” He continued to listen to her in silence, but was hugging her tighter as she spoke. So, there was more here than just sex. He had assumed as much. Then why was she holding back?

“It’s ironic, you know? The first thing Inuyasha ever told me about you was that you didn’t have one. Now, I don’t think even he could say that honestly. I wonder if you changed, or if he did...”

He wasn’t the cold, cruel demon he had once been, that much had been made painfully clear. Neither was she the wide-eyed school girl tripping across feudal japan- despite her outfit. But she never was as much a fool as he’d perceived, even back then. It could stand to reason that he had never really been as heartless as she’d thought.

It was an idea worth pondering, but she didn’t want to get sidetracked. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with you and me, but I’m excited to find out. I love spending time with you- hakama or no. But can we just have fun for now? These past few years have been so heart-wrenching...so tragic. I finally feel happy, maybe for the first time. I just want to keep it light...for now. Do you think we can keep enjoying each other, and see how it goes?”

It was the best answer she could give at the moment. Never had she considered that Sesshoumaru would end up catching feelings, let alone for her. She meant what she had said, though the risk of his feelings being fleeting and leaving as soon as they came was a real one, and a distressing thought. But she wouldn’t be rushed. Not now. If this was worth doing, it would have to be worth waiting for.

He detected no lie, and appreciated her candor. After regarding her only a moment, she was rewarded with a kiss; slow and sweet.

He was immortal, and had all the time in the world. In a sense, that made her time more valuable than his. Humans had a short life, and only moments to spare. If she was content spending her best years simply frolicking with him, he would allow her that. He would take what he could get without animosity.

“Acceptable.”

Chapter Text

The sun had set, illuminating the fluffy clouds from below with a mesmerizing pinkish orange hue. It was another point for the past, in Kagome’s pro/con list as to whether or not to remain. The smog and construction would be rendering such a sight impossible in 500 years.

Darkness soon gave way, and she was no longer able to make out the handsome features of the demon behind her. Another sight she would be denied if she left. Or would she? Was he there too? Would he be? If she stayed, would she be born again, and see him?

Not long ago, being in the dark woods far from the village would have scared her. She didn’t know if it was how strong she had become since then, or the powerful demon that was still holding her so tenderly to himself, but at that moment she knew no fear.

“You might as well stay one more night,” she tried. She knew that others needed him, but she wasn’t ready for him to go.

“I must return. I have some very important guests arriving soon. This One must prepare.”

She got the feeling he wasn’t referring to the lords that would be arriving for the summit.

“A few hours won’t make a difference. Watch the sunrise with me. Rin will still be asleep when you get there.” He could see just as well in the dark as the light, but she felt he should wait until morning to travel.

He seemed to hesitate, and something struck her.

“We don’t have to fuck. We can just hang out. Please?” She didn’t want him to think that she was just trying to get laid. She had gotten the feeling from their previous conversation that he was beginning to feel like a piece of meat.

“May we speak?”

“Sure! What do you want to talk about?” He laid on his back then, pulling her with him to hold her against his chest. She happily obliged, and he waited until she had gotten comfortable before making his request.

“Tell This One about your home.”

“My home?”

“Yes. Tell me about the future as you know it.”

“Let’s see, where to start? I guess a lot of things in my future are influenced by the west.”

This got his attention, and she realize how it sounded, “Not your west. In the future, even further west of Japan is Europe. And even further west, over the ocean, America is being discovered...right about now, actually. Well, the Vikings have been going there for a few hundred years already, and there are those who have always been there...anyway. Much influence on my generation comes from these countries. Western culture, they call it.” She was kind of all over the place, but he seemed to understand. She stopped herself there.

“I don’t know how much of this I should tell you. The paradox of time travel is that by visiting the past...simply by existing here, I may alter the future. If you learn too much from me, there is a chance I may never be born.”

“But you were.”

“That is the paradox.” This was something he hadn’t considered. What had she changed already by coming here? Surely, she has had an effect on many she has encountered. What if, in the past, Naraku had been successful in completing the jewel without her there to kill him, and the future she knew was somehow a result of that? Or what if she had always come to the past, on every timeline, and she was meant to alter the future? Still...

“This Sesshoumaru would rather not risk it,” he gave her a squeeze and demanded, “Instead, tell me of your family.”

He was being so sweet, and it was by no means shocking to her. Most who encountered him only ever saw the terrifying, ruthless killer; only ever knew death and destruction at his hands. What a shame that few were privy to this side of him.

She was being selfish again, and felt special at the expense of others. She smiled at him.

“Well, I live with my mother, grandfather, and little brother...”

Chapter Text

It was dark this time when Kagome woke up, but the light tinge to the forest outside betrayed the sun’s pending arrival. She was in Sesshoumaru’s room, but the daiyoukai was nowhere to be found. She deduced that he had carried her back and tucked her in, not wanting to wake the slumbering kit next door. ‘A child asleep...’ she recalled her advice to him the night before. Not that it had done them much good. Perhaps if Shippo had been warned, they would not have been discovered by him.

He hadn’t promised to stay and watch the sunrise with her, but her heart seemed to mourn his early departure regardless. She must have still been tired from the all-nighter they had pulled. If only she hadn’t dozed off...

There she was, being selfish again. He had things to do, and she wasn’t his girlfriend. It wasn’t fair to monopolize his time. He was being pretty generous with it as it was.

She rose with a stretch, and made her way outside to find some privacy from the village. Nobody else was up yet, but she had a bit of a shy bladder. Once she was a safe distance away, she looked for a spot to relieve herself. Her progress was halted by the involuntary tensing of the senses.

When a shard of the Shikon had been near, it was more of a pulling; not unlike a magnetic force alerting and beckoning her closer. When alerting the oncoming presence of youki, even from a distance, her being naturally reacted in the opposite manner. It was like a forcefield was pushing, demanding she flee. It was her reiki warning her of the oncoming threat, and demanding she protect herself. Only by conscious effort and will could she force herself to remain, until she eventually grew accustomed to its presence.

Once comfortable with a particular mass of youki, the threat’s scream would wane, until it slivered down to nothing. But her natural instincts would still rush to her aid, when her guard was down and she wasn’t welcoming, or anticipating its approach.

So when a demon began moving in on her at an alarming speed, she tensed. Fear flashed through her, as she hadn’t any means to protect herself – at least none that didn’t require a closer proximity than she was comfortable with -but disappeared as she finally recognized the familiar aura.

“Hey there! How’s my woman been?”

“Kouga! What are you doing here?” It was a valid question. Why was he skulking in the woods at this hour?

“Headed to that summit at Lord Dog Breath’s fortress, and I sensed you in the village when I passed. Lucky break, huh?” Lucky for who?

“At this hour? Kinda early for you isn’t it?” He rubbed the back of his head in a way he always did when he was guilty of something.

“It was a good time to leave. Ayame kicked me out. Says its over for good this time.” Uh oh. She knew where this was going.

They had a thing going briefly before Kouga mated the young wolfette. He was always doing something or another to piss her off. When they would be ‘on a break’ Kouga came to her to play around a bit, but always ended up going back. That was fine for Kagome. She was never seriously interested in the wolf demon.

She didn’t know if Kouga told Ayame where he was going every time he took off, but she was pretty sure the girl had an idea. Ayame knew Kouga had once had strong feelings for the miko, and she liked Kagome as well. Maybe a little too much; at least enough to approach her about a three way with the wolf couple. But Kagome was a good girl; so, it only ended up happening once.

The pair had already mated, leaving Kagome with few options for partners at the time. And she was curious. It ended up being a pretty good time, but Kagome was worried someone might eventually end up getting jealous. She decided to keep things civil; it would not be repeated.

From what she heard, Ayame took up with another wolf when Kouga would leave to play with her, so she harbored no resentments toward Kagome. Once Kouga was banished from his den, his mate considered him fair game.

Kagome scoffed, “Three days and she’ll be begging you to come back. Four tops.” This wasn’t her first rodeo. That was how it went with them. It seemed too chaotic for the miko, but it appeared to work for the couple, on some level.

“Shouldn’t waste any time then,” he grabbed her in his arms and pulled her in for a kiss, but she resisted. The confusion on his features then was so absolutely apparent, she felt as if she were reading his thoughts. She never got laid, and she was usually receptive of him when he came to show her a good time.

“Sorry, Kouga. I can’t this time. I’ve been...seeing someone.” He wasn’t expecting that. It wasn’t the first time she needed convincing, however. And persistence was one of his strong points.

“Forget about that for now. I’m the best you’ve ever had!” She used to be charmed by this guy? It seemed silly to her now.

“You were...” she informed him. That had recently changed.

“I’ve been dethroned?” The news didn’t thrill him, but wasn’t enough to deter. He crossed his arms; slightly defensive, but not at all insecure. “Well, word is mutt-face is mated now, so who’s the stud?” Wrong mutt-face.

“I’d rather not say. He might not appreciate it.” Sesshoumaru was a private guy, and though he was basically peerless, Kouga technically ran in his circle.

“And he’s ashamed of you too? I don’t trust this guy.” He put his face closer to inspect her shoulder. “No mark.” Lifting her hand to search her finger, “No ring. He hasn’t claimed you. How serious is it?”

“We’re...keeping it casual...for now.” Wrong answer. That was all he needed to hear.

Kouga got behind her. Putting his hands on her hips, he began kissing her neck in the way he knew always drove her crazy. He whispered in her ear, letting his lips brush against the shell- another move that always had her ready for him, “Then what’s the harm? You’re a free woman, as far as I’m concerned.”

He held her to him and rocked them slightly. When she didn’t immediately move to shove him away, he placed his fingers under her skirt to massage her tender lips; over her panties. She might need a little coaxing; but Kouga was quite confident that once he got her warmed up, she would eventually give in as she so often had. The familiar action caused her to grab his biceps, helping her stand.

He had a point. She was the one who was making a big deal about being a free woman, so why couldn’t she? She hadn’t been planning on messing around with anyone else, but that went along with being casual, didn’t it? Sesshoumaru would probably be fucking other females every now and then, and he was free to do so. The thought, however, made her heart ache.

She relaxed a bit, and let him continue his ministrations, “Remember how I used to steal you away from your friends and just take you on the forest floor?” She remembered. After Hojo, she wanted to be with someone who had a little more experience. Kouga was an attractive demon, and she started allowing him to take her when he came to visit. He’d been able to make her cum, unlike Hojo, and they dated for a couple of months. It was all physical, though, and she had practically shoved him at Ayame once things had run their course. He was a bit too brutish for her tastes. It reminded her of the jocks at her school.

“Or how I would take you back to my den, and burn your knees against the furs?” Kouga was an aggressive lover, and Kagome seemed to respond to that much more than Hojo’s respectful attempts. Every girl had a type; it just looked like hers happened to be demons of the canine variety.

“You miss that, don’t you? Let’s do it again, Kagome. Let's fuck like we used to.” He wasn’t exactly a smooth talker, but he got results. His was more of a ‘wear them down’ approach. Sesshoumaru had no need for convincing. He was definitely a less talk, more action kinda guy.

Visions of a sexy demon lord overcame her mind. Kouga was miles beyond Hojo, but Sesshoumaru had no comparison. She recalled his lithe form, his impressive cock. His forceful and assured motions in everything he had done. The wild red eyes and the soft measured caresses. He was perfect. She’d been moaning his name a lot recently, and when she came this time from the pressure against her clit, that habit forced itself back out.

“Sesshoumaru...” It slipped out in a whisper, as if only to herself, but Kouga heard it loud and clear. He stiffened immediately before distancing himself. Her first impulse was to assume he would be angry. But the only emotion she could register from the demon in front of her was terror.

“Sesshoumaru? That’s the guy? No, no...” He seemed to be trying to talk himself out of something. Trying to justify why in god’s name she would mention him. “Tell me it’s just a fantasy- I know how you girls are about him,” he seemed to be in a panic, and now Kagome was confused.

Kouga was a Prince of the East, and was no stranger to the command the demon lord seemed to have over the female’s attention. He had more than one woman in the past who voiced their desire of him, and even tried to get and introduction. It was annoying. Was his Kagome just like all the others?

Apparently not, as it seemed she’d actually been able to wrangle him. Shit.

“Shit, Kagome! You’re going to get me killed!”

“I tried to stop you,” she inserted weakly, shame filling her as she was brought back to reality.

“You should have tried harder!” He was right. She should have stopped it. This was all wrong. And the tone Kouga took with her had her rattled. He never spoke to her like that. She became defensive.

“What’s the big deal? You said there was no harm.” Wasn’t she free? Couldn’t she do what she wanted? Why didn’t she want this?

“As far as I was concerned!” he shrieked, “Sesshoumaru might be another story. You’ve seen how possessive he is over a damn sword! I’ve seen him gut a guy for sitting in his spot at a summit!” Surely, he had to be exaggerating. Then again...

“If he views you as his, he will kill me for touching you, whether you are marked or not.” Oh, fuck! What was he gonna do? Maybe he should skip the summit. Sesshoumaru had a way of looking through your soul with that stoic mask of his. He tried to compose himself.

“Look, I’ll back off. I promise,” he felt guilty for exploding at her, and was being gentler now, “Just please, don’t tell him,” he begged. “And if he does find out, tell him not to kill me, okay?”

She probably should be annoyed, but found that she was actually relieved. Kouga wasn’t a bad guy, but his advances did get tiresome. With a smile, she pulled him into a hug. As they released, he looked into her face. This was the end of an era, and it saddened him. He should have let her go when he got mated, but she was a hard one to forget.

“Wow. I guess it’s really over, huh? I mean, I know I’m mated now, but you’ve always had a special place in my heart,” he still held her arms as he spoke. “You’re one in a million, kid. I’m gonna miss you.”

She smirked back at him for a moment; and when she opted for a chaste kiss, he didn’t pull away. They had some history, but it was time to say goodbye. This was a long time coming anyway.

“Go back to your mate, Kouga. And be nice to her. She deserves it.” Nothing else was said. He took in her face one last time, as if resigning himself, and was off. He wasn’t as fast now that he didn’t have the shards in his legs, but he was still a demon.

She only watched him go, until a voice startled her from her musings.

“What the hell are you doing?” She almost had a heart attack.

“Inuyasha! You scared me!”

“Sesshoumaru is gone like six hours and you’re fucking that wolf? Are you out of your mind?!” She could feel the rage bubbling beneath the half-demon's surface.

Sure, he didn’t exactly catch them in the act; but the scent of Kagome’s arousal was still present in the air around them. The kiss goodbye was the cherry on top, and he put two and two together.

Who did he think he was? She was getting sick of having to justify herself to everyone. She didn’t have sex with Kouga, but even if she had, “Sesshoumaru and I are not a couple, okay! We’re just having fun!” Then why did she feel like she’d been caught?

This response only further enraged him, “Oh, yeah, Sesshoumaru’s real fun! He’s the most serious guy I know, Kagome! Why would this be any different?”

Why was he yelling at her? This had nothing to do with him.

“Whatever goes on between me and Sesshoumaru is none of your business.”

“The hell it isn’t! He’s my brother!” The statement seemed to shock him as much as her. She knew things had evolved between the brothers, but to hear him defend him so vehemently, and against her... “And he’s been good to us, Kagome. He helped us defeat Naraku! He’s giving us great new lives in the West!” He ticked off the dog demon’s recent strain of good deeds, including, “He fucks your brains out, and mentors your kit! And this is how you repay him? By fucking that wolf behind his back?!”

“Oh, jeez! The poor guy,” she said with sarcasm, “He gets no strings sex whenever he blows into town, and just gets to take off when he’s done! Yeah, I’m a monster-”

“You’re lucky he even screwed you in the first place. You don’t think in the Western Lands that there aren’t thousands of demon bitches just waiting there for him? Beautiful, powerful, high-born females; ready and willing to do anything he wants...but all he seems to want is to be with you. Kami knows why.”

He was furious. Things were finally going right. They could all finally have a good life after all this time, and she was screwing it up for everybody. Why was she being like this? What more could she want?

What would happen if Sesshoumaru found out? Would he take it all back? Would he go back to being half-breed?

What if he didn’t find out? Could he live with himself? With her? He could kill that fucking wolf!

She knew she should be angry at him, but he really struck a nerve. “How could you be so cold? When did you turn into such a slut?”

The second it left his mouth; he knew he’d fucked up. He braced for the face plant, but was greeted with a resounding ‘slap’ instead. Then came the command. “Sit.”

It was said so quietly, but brought him down with as much force as it ever did. It had been months since she used it, he’d almost forgot that she could.

He’d gone too far. He knew this. But when he pulled himself out of his crater, he was glad she wasn’t there. He didn’t even want to look at her.

Chapter Text

The Fortress never really slept, especially because the demons within in it had little need for such. Usually during the night, however, things quieted down and took on a more leisurely tone. Unless there was business, most retired to their quarters to relax; and that was how Sesshoumaru found his home upon his return.

He acknowledged the guards at the front gate, and swiftly made his way to his study within his rooms to make some last-minute preparations. His massive youki wore like a flag; alerting anyone present that he was indeed in the vicinity. He did his best to temper it down so as not to be bombarded upon his return.

He had some maps rolled out, and was making notes to himself as he combed over them, intermittently referencing other scrolls as he did so. There would be many questions for him over the next couple of days, and he had to be prepared for several possibilities.

He would ask the other lords of their concerns, and his growing population problem would no doubt be brought up. Not only would he have to find space for his newest citizens, but he would have to rethink the towns and villages as a whole.

Demons and humans had very different needs. If he was going to see them cohabitate, he would need to find efficient ways to see to them, never mind the precarious peace on which they would have to teeter. He would need solutions that wouldn’t make it seem to the lords that he would encroach upon their lands, or outright usurp them.

He would seek Inuyasha’s council on many of these matters, but the boy was very green. He would have to lay out a templet that Inuyasha could understand and follow, and allow him to fill in the blanks.

Then there was the matter of the hanyou altogether.

He had only spoken of him recently to the other lords, and though they were aware of his existence, none had met him. Inuyasha could be brash and uncouth. He had come a long way, but there were things about him which would never change. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would take some time to adjust. The old days of his father’s council were long gone. And while a new generation was moving in, with him at the forefront, old habits die hard.

His word was not to be questioned. It would be easier if they were to simply go along with him, but if needed, he was still not above putting any rouge troublemaker in their place. Examples were sure to be made, and he had no problem making them. But he had spent the last few months painstakingly chasing that vile spider across the country, and he would prefer to handle this task with civility.

He rolled up one of the maps to put aside for later, and found himself staring at the desk at which he sat. It wasn’t the desk he’d had as a boy- the one he’d bent Mioko over to force his father’s hand.

He hadn’t thought about that in centuries. Not until the miko had asked about his first sexual experience. But he’d obliged her. He simply told her because she wanted to know. What was it about her that broke down his walls so, to pluck such information from him?

He found himself wishing that she was there. That he could place her upon this desk, and just-

Then again, maybe it was better that she wasn’t. She was not a weakness, but she was a distraction. Of the most dangerous variety; his father had paid the ultimate price for such a distraction. One of which he was aware, but cared not to break himself from.

He was not his father, but he couldn’t deny that given the choice, he would welcome such a distraction. The difference was, it wouldn’t kill him. If he truly could lead better than his great father, it wouldn’t even be an issue. And so, he worked.

A knock at the door announced Jaken’s arrival, and he summoned the toad to enter. With a bow he asked, “What is it you require of me, milord?”

Jaken was his servant, whether in the fortress or on the road. Though he had to get his webbed hands a little dirtier outside the fortress walls, inside he held more of a clerical roll. He saw to the mundane; mostly amounting to organizing the servants’ duties. He was their master, so the lord would not be bothered.

“The council will be arriving soon for the summit. Are the preparations in order?”

“Hai, My Lord. The hunters have returned and the feast is being prepared. The staff has made the rooms available as well.”

“My brother and his pack have agreed to travel to the fortress today. Prepare Ah-Uh and one other dragon to retrieve them and bring them straight here.”

“Would you like me to go to fetch them as well?”

“No, you are needed here. Have the servants prepare a room in the family wing for Inuyasha and his mate. They will be moving in permanently. Have one of the luxury suites made up for the monk and the slayer as well. Be sure it is equipped with a spring inside.”

“Hai, My Lord-”

“Have a guest room prepared for the old woman and the slayer boy each, and set up the kit in Rin’s room for the time being. He shall be staying permanently as well.”

“In Rin’s room? Are you not concerned with the vicinity-”

“Not in the least. Do not question This One’s will again.”

“Of course not! My apologies, Lord Sesshoumaru.” He groveled as he bowed low. Now he was almost afraid to ask.

“And the miko? Will she require her own room as well?” He was on thin ice with that one, but if he wanted a room for her and didn’t have it... On the other hand, he may not want to make any other options available...

“That is all, Jaken. Send Jiro to me on your way out.” He would give the woman her own room. When she asked for it. Though he hoped she would prefer to stay with him. Just the thought of having constant access to Kagome had his beast in an uproar, but he kept it at bay.

Jaken bowed again as he left, and mere moments later the Western General came through the door. He stood at attention and pounded his left peck with his right fist, their sign of solidarity.

“Are you prepared, Jiro?”

While the servants answered to Jaken, the soldiers answered to General Jiro. Sesshoumaru was, of course, the authority on everything. But the chain of command was to report to Jiro, and Jiro would report to him as he saw fit.

“The men have their marks, and will be in place soon. Guard will be doubled on the perimeter and at your ward’s room.”

“She is to have her guard with her at all times, as well as a backup.”

“Yes sir.”

“I have humans coming to stay as my guests. I ensured them full protection while in my lands. Do not make me a liar, Jiro.”

“No sir.” The general knew he had been keeping company with humans during his run to kill Naraku. Since joining forces with his brother’s pack, his tolerance threshold had raised exponentially; which is to say he simply wouldn’t kill them indiscriminately. Having them welcomed as guests in his lord’s home, however...it would take some getting used to.

“What is the status of the council? I trust they are on their way.” He was busying himself with deskwork while his general reported.

“All have accepted and are expected.”

“Have your men any news of which This One need be made aware?”

“I believe you are aware, but keep your eyes on the dragons. The Lord of the South knows better than to cross you, but his nephew Tanaka is well known to despise you for the West’s role in the death of his father and brother. He is young and arrogant. I doubt he will act, but that his resentment is widely known, I suggest you consider it.”

Sesshoumaru was aware of Tanaka’s hostilities. He was only Heir to the Southern Lands, but the heirs joined their lords at summits so that they may be prepared to fill their position when the time came.

The South’s lands stretched further than the West’s, but were a baron and desolate place to behold. Their population was scarce because few could survive the climate comfortably. It was suitable to dragons, however. It also tended to be the place fugitives went to escape justice. Sesshoumaru rarely followed any criminals to the lands, as exile there seemed punishment enough in many cases.

His father died shortly after his battle with the previous Lord of the South, but not before sealing him dormant with his fang. Inuyasha had eventually been the one to finish the dragon off. Sesshoumaru was not without his own retribution, however.

Though the dragon didn’t technically kill his father, he was blamed for attributing to his death. Sesshoumaru would have his vengeance when he challenged his son and heir in battle, and served him his fatal punishment.

Inu no Taisho’s life had been for Sesshoumaru to take. It would have been his milestone victory, proving once and for all that he had surpassed his father in power. Though it was now widely assumed that he had, it wasn’t the unquestionable fact he had longed to prove true. It had been yet another thing that had been taken from him that night, and his revenge in kind had proved most unsatisfying.

Tanaka was the second son, but his uncle proved more powerful for the time being. He was getting older though, and it wouldn’t be long before Tanaka challenged him for the title.

“Inuyasha and his mate have elected to move to the Western Lands. I shall announce him as my heir at the summit.” This caught Jiro off guard. He knew Sesshoumaru had planned to name his brother heir, but not so soon. He doubted the other lords knew of this yet either.

“You are prepared, My Lord?” He knew what it meant too. To introduce Inuyasha meant that he would implement his new world order immediately. Demons and humans were by no means friendly. Most were appalled at the thought of their once great leader fathering a son with a human woman, and naming Inuyasha as heir would be rubbing it in their face. Apparently, the time had come.

Sesshoumaru just stared blankly at his general, letting his stoic mask answer for him. He was always prepared. For anything. But he had one more thing of which to inform him.

“They shall be wed here tomorrow as well. Prepare the guards, as I expect all to attend.” Jiro’s discomfort at the news was palpable.

“Are you sure that is wise, My Lord? There has never been a human ceremony at the Western Fortress.”

“This One is aware, Jiro. Is it not an opportunity to instate our plans of peaceful coexistence, to have the hanyou Heir to the West wed a human to a demon audience?”

“It’s just...no one is expecting that. They may feel ambushed.”

“It is to be the new way of things, General. You would do well to get used to it.”

“Many had assumed that the next ceremony at the Fortress would be after you yourself take a mate, My Lord.” Sesshoumaru only shrugged in response. He didn’t care what others expected. Jiro remembered something then.

“Didn’t you say your brother had mated a miko?” No response from the demon lord meant he could continue...carefully.

“You seem quite eager to normalize a union between a miko and a dog demon. Why is that I wonder?”

Only two beings at the fortress had witnessed his indiscretion at the celebration. Jaken knew better than to discuss his lord’s personal business with anyone, even his lord himself. That left...

“Do not be too upset with Kai, my lord. It is imperative I get all information from my soldiers. I basically had to beat it out of him.” So, it was the whelp. He would be having a talk with him about discretion and loyalty.

“This Sesshoumaru has no such designs on the miko.” It wasn’t a lie. They had agreed to keep it casual.

“If that is so, why not set your sights on a demoness and take a mate?” A question he long ago tired of hearing. He wouldn’t dignify it with an answer, and opted to instead focus on the scrolls in front of him.

“Look. Despite your father’s proclivities, I can’t say I’m not shocked. You were one of the most outspoken in your distain for the human race- particularly the human women who ensnared the hearts of demons. That you have lain with one concerns me greatly. I know you have changed your tune but...you were just having fun, right? A bit curious, perhaps?” Jiro and Sesshoumaru had battled in the armies together since they were pups. They weren’t exactly chummy, but the demon lord allowed him to speak a little more freely than most. ‘Maybe too much,’ he was now thinking.

“I know you don’t feel that you are in need of a political union, but it need not be a chore. There are several beautiful, powerful demonesses just waiting to get their paws on you. Hey, maybe you’ll find one at the summit! I know that Touran-” his scoff at that shut him right up.

“Whom This Sesshoumaru allows to share his bed is none of your, or anyone’s concern. Shall we consider the matter dropped?”

“Just...think about what you’re doing. Your father was the greatest demon to ever rule the Western Lands. That honor now belongs to you. Do not forget, that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” That was enough. As if it were something he hadn’t considered a thousand times.

“That is all, Jiro. Prepare yourself for the summit. Re-familiarize yourself with the proposed maps and guard stations, and double check This Sesshoumaru’s proposal for possible blind spots. I do not want any surprises on my end this evening.” The General was making to leave when Sesshoumaru added, “And inform Kai he has been demoted to a level 1. Effective immediately.”

Jiro cringed at outing his informant, but nodded once, and left.

Chapter Text

Relief couldn’t even begin to describe what Kagome had felt when the well allowed her to pass through. Immediately, and worried she would never be able to return, she made one more trip to the past and back to be sure she could still go both ways. No sense fretting over whether or not to return unless she knew she had the option, right?

After their tearful reunion, her mother put some tea on as Kagome briefly caught her up on her adventures by giving her the bullet points; and notably omitting a certain dog demon and his role in them. It was so good to see her again, that she almost forgot about her fight with Inuyasha... almost.

“I am so relieved that vile man is finally gone. I do worry about your wish though, sweetie. Are you sure you feel alright?” Whether she meant in losing half her soul or Inuyasha, it didn’t matter.

“Never better, mom. Really. It’s the way it had to be.”

“Does that mean you are home for good? I saved some college brochures for you just in case. Maybe we could scout out schools together? It would be nice if I didn’t have to worry about your safety around those demons in the past anymore...” Her mother did always worry when she was away. But considering that she let her daughter travel to the past to traipse around with demons, she’d say she was pretty permissive.

“That's what I wanted to talk to you about. There's kind of lot of pressure on me to stay in the past. Inuyasha needs help in his new cause: helping demons and humans live in perfect harmony,” she said in a sing songy way. “I guess they think I would make a good diplomat or something.”

“That always has been your strong suit. Maybe you could pop over there for spring break, or a mini vacation? I don’t really see the need to stay there full time, right?” She was hopeful. She wanted her daughter back, but she was aware how close she had become with her friends there. Her classmates that were once a common presence in her home seemed to barely register on her daughter’s radar anymore. Even though Kagome had known them most of her life, she supposed at some point she had outgrown them.

Seeing her reluctance, she ventured, “Is there another reason?”

“Not really. Well, sort of,” she chose her words carefully. “I’ve been seeing someone, kind of.”

“You’ve been having sex.” She knew her daughter was no virgin. She took her in to get the shot after she discovered that she was having sex with Hojo. It still didn’t make it any easier to accept.

“Yes...” she admitted, “And at first, that was all I thought I wanted from the relationship. Now, I don’t know. I’m not trying to get married or anything, but I think he wants me to move in with him.” It felt weird to be so candid with her mother, but it was the original reason she needed to come back. She needed the woman’s advice, and figured her friends from school might lack the maturity the situation required. Also, she wouldn’t have to omit the time traveling details.

Her mom just sipped her tea a moment, doing her best to remain supportive.

“What is his name?” Who was the guy who was fucking her teenage daughter? And how old was he?

“Sesshoumaru.”

“Oh, lovely.” Kagome winced. Probably not a mother’s dream. She suddenly wished she could bring him home to meet her. Then she might understand. And he spoke very well, at least...

“A demon, then?”

“Yeah. Inuyasha’s half-brother, actually.” That news seemed to soften her mother up a bit. She adored Inuyasha, so this Sesshoumaru couldn’t be all bad. She had kind of hoped the dear boy she knew would end up with her daughter...when she was older. But from the sound of things, that appeared to no longer be an option.

“Is he a younger brother?” she hoped.

“He’s older.” Waayyyy older.

“Oh? How old?”

“Umm, not exactly sure. He doesn’t look a day over 20..” Technically true. Maybe Sesshoumaru was rubbing off on her, with his misleading truths.

“Is he true to his name? Has he killed many people?” More than you’d believe. Many more.

“Yes,” she answered honestly, and her mother bristled at that. Kagome grew very serious, “So have I, mom.” The concern was clear on her soft features. “But only to save countless more, I promise.”

She felt a need to defend her lover, “And he would never hurt me.” Mrs. Higurashi had to scoff at that. Those tended to be famous last words, far too often. Even with humans. She knew that a demon would be more than capable of hurting her. “No, it’s true. If you are worried about my safety around demons, he’s the one you would want by my side. Trust me.”

“Does he have a job that requires murder, or does he do it for fun?” Both.

She was trying to push down her annoyance at her mother’s flip attitude.

“He’s a very important lord. Lots of people depend on him, actually.” Her mother sighed, and sat back in her chair.

“Well, you seem pretty set on him. Is he worth giving up on your future...in the future? Not to mention hot showers and Wi-Fi?” Kagome finally smiled.

 

“Things are moving kind of fast. I don’t know if I’m ready to live with the guy, but I don’t want to lose him either. I’m afraid that if I move back home, it would be sinking the relationship before I knew if it could float. He’s a pretty big deal back there, and I can’t be sure he will wait for me to figure things out.”

Mrs. Higurashi sighed again. She wanted more than anything to keep her daughter home. But it was clear that she was an adult now. She had big girl problems, and all she could do was give her the benefit of her experience and wisdom.

“Did I ever tell you about the boy I was in love with before your father?” Kagome shook her head as she continued.

“Minn. We were high school sweethearts. I was madly in love, and he was the first boy I ever...anyway,” it appeared the raised eyebrow had rubbed off on her as well.

“I was a year ahead of him in school, but I had worked hard to go to college. It was my dream, and I wasn’t going to let a boyfriend stand in the way of my future. He begged me to stay, to go to community college for one year until he graduated, then we could go off to school together. But I got excepted to University, and I left. We swore we would make it work. You know, do the long-distance thing. But he was a very handsome boy, and had lots of girls after him. With me away at school, it made it easy to gain his favor. When I came home for winter break, he broke it off. He had started seeing someone else.”

Kagome offered her mother a sympathetic smile, but remained silent so that she could continue.

“I was heartbroken. I was so sure he would wait for me. But that’s the thing about desirable men- they don’t stay on the market for very long. Especially if he is good looking-”

“He is. Incredibly.”

“Well, then. Do not expect him to be around forever. I learned that the hard way.” With the point of her story finished, she was quick to tack on some additional advice.

“On the other hand, you shouldn’t throw your future to the wind for the sake of some man -or demon. Don’t put all your eggs in his basket at the expense of yourself. You will end up resenting him for it if things don’t end up working out.”

She thought back to her conversation with Sesshoumaru. “Mom? Do you ever regret marrying dad?”

She forced a smile, “I will never regret that he gave me you and Souta.” Hm. Maybe Sesshoumaru had been on to something.

“Just promise me, if you do decide to go be with your young man-” Kagome snorted. ‘Young man.’

“Promise me, you will return very, very often to visit.”

“I promise. I would never cut you out of my life, mom.” Her biggest worry was that she wouldn’t be able to come home from the past, or that she would have to choose one or the other. Now that she knew she could return; it would be easy to divide herself. The only question was what the proportions would be. She was fate’s plaything; and if the well would let her go back, it stood to reason that her work there wasn’t done. Options paralysis strikes again.

“So, what happened with Inuyasha? You said something about a fight?” Kagome cringed. She didn’t really want to get into it with her mom about the details.

“Yeah. We both said some things...We will be okay, I hope. I think he needs some time to cool down.”

At this point, she had abandoned her duties to him as far as attending his induction ceremony; and likely his wedding. She was sure she would end up regretting her absence, but she really didn’t want to see him right now. She had an inkling that the feeling was mutual. Though she was still cross with him for his harsh words and accusations, she knew she would end up forgiving him as she always did. For now, she would allow him his space.

Suddenly, she wondered if Inuyasha would tell Sesshoumaru about Kouga. The thought made her sick. How would he react? He might never want to see her again. Maybe she was a slut. The fear of losing his respect was a devastating blow, and her mom could sense her discomfort.

“Well, no rush to be back then! Let's spend the day together...How does a spa day sound?” Mrs. H knew her daughter well.

Chapter Text

When Sesshoumaru sensed his dragons return, he could finally release some tension. The other lords had all arrived, and now with Inuyasha present, they could finally begin the council meeting. He wanted this over with and behind him. The sooner they got through this, the sooner he could focus on showing the miko the benefits of being on his team.

When he got out to the landing fields to receive him however, he was struck by the absence of a member of their party. The dragons made their landing alongside Kirara, and as Sesshoumaru approached, Inuyasha leapt off to meet him; he was fairly certain of what he would be asked.

“Where is the miko?” The others gave no sign that any harm had befallen her, and that could only mean one thing.

“She ain’t coming.” Kagome traveled back to their village and jumped down the well following their little ‘encounter.’ When she hadn’t returned after a few hours, Inuyasha took that as a sign that she would be skipping the ceremony, and the wedding.

He wouldn’t go back to fetch her this time. His language had left something to be desired, but this was a rare instance where he was in the right. He would let her come to him.

It killed him that she wouldn’t be there when he got married, but at this rate, he wasn’t sure if she would be coming around at all anymore. It was a painful notion, but he had bigger fish to fry at the moment.

Sesshoumaru felt the tension flooding back, as worry washed over him. She must have made her decision, and it was not what he had hoped. How could she possibly not wish to be with her friends; with him?

He had failed. There must have been something more he could have done to persuade her. Perhaps he was losing his touch.

“Is she alright?” Poor guy. Kagome didn’t deserve his concern. But he wouldn’t burden him with it now.

“We had a fight. She went back through the well to cool off, but I doubt she’ll make the ceremony.” He would let Sesshoumaru blame him for it for now. He had enough to worry about, and they needed his head in the game. The demon frowned at him.

“What have you done to upset her this time?” Why did he have to piss her off right before they were supposed to depart. Could he not have waited until she was here? Then the demon lord could have taken on the task of consoling her...

He was looking forward to showing her his home, and the life he could give her. This put a wrench in his plans.

“Keh. She should probably tell you herself. It ain’t my business.” Uh oh. He didn’t like the sound of that one bit. But it would have to wait. He had to get the hanyou prepared for the summit. Inuyasha had never been, so he had almost no time to fill him in on what was expected of him; as well as get him informed on the plans he was about to present.

Before he did that though, he had to quickly issue some orders. Once everyone was off of his beasts, he made his way to Ah-Un and gave his instructions. They were to go to the well and bring the miko when she returned. That was the best he could do for the time being.

He was wishing now more than ever that he was able to pass through the portal himself. It was unfortunate that his brother was the only other who could make the journey, and that he was often the one she was hiding from.

“The guards will take you all to your rooms. Inuyasha, change into the kimono laid out in your chambers, and This One will be there to collect you shortly.” A small group of soldiers began to lead them towards the fortress, but Sesshoumaru grabbed Shippo by his collar to stay back with him.

He was worried about what the dog demon had planned for him. He knew he fucked up. Once the others were out of earshot, he began his lament.

“I failed. You give me one job, and I didn’t get her on the dragon. Guess I’m a pretty shitty soldier.” Sesshoumaru had no time for a pity party.

“Do you know what Inuyasha said to cause her to flee?” Unbeknownst to the boy, his original plans for the kit was to be his eyes and ears regarding Rin and the...complications that may arise as she reaches her courting years. As it stood, however, it seemed he would be of use keeping an eye on the miko. Until she moved west, that is.

Shippo cast his gaze downwards. He wanted to impress Sesshoumaru more than anything. But this was an awkward topic for his first mission, and one that might implicate his mother. How could he betray her? It’s not like he could lie to Sesshoumaru.

“I don’t know if I should tell you,” The Western Lord narrowed his eyes dangerously at the kit.

“I want to! But I’m afraid you will hate Kagome.”

“Impossible. Tell me, kit.” There was no room for disobedience.

“He called her a slut.” Anger swelled in the youkai at this news, but Shippo continued. “He saw her kiss Kouga. He thinks they had sex.” He thinks?

“And you?” He wanted to know what he thought? Why?

“I don’t know! I know they have before, but why would she do that now? I thought she liked you.” Shippo really hoped Inuyasha was wrong. If he wasn’t...he could never hate her, but he couldn’t forgive her. Why did she have to ruin things?

“It is possible to harbor feelings for multiple partners. Do you not remember Inuyasha doing the same?” This was a distressing realization. One he hoped was not true. She had made it clear to him that she didn’t want to get too serious, but he hadn’t considered there might be someone else. The prospect of sharing her was unpalatable.

“Yeah, look how that turned out,” Shippo scoffed sarcastically.

“I believe it turned out with Inuyasha mating the love of his life.” He guessed he had a point. “And do you forget whose selfless wish made it so? Your mother has given so much of herself to ensure the happiness of her pack. Does she not deserve to be selfish this once?”

Despite everything else, Shippo hadn’t expected the demon to be so...understanding. So forgiving for such a perceived slight. His ego and pride were things of legend, and he could just ‘let it go?’

“Aren’t you mad?”

“The miko and I have an understanding. She has broken no vow to This One. Perhaps someday our circumstances may change. Until then, I shall be content with the favor she grants me. Allow your mother some grace. She has earned it.”

Shippo was still confused, “But aren’t couples supposed to be loyal? Didn’t she break the rules?”

“The rules, kit, are decided upon by the players. Both must be on the same page, however.” He released the young fox so that they could make their way to the fortress.

“I thank you for your information, but the rest is really between she and This Sesshoumaru.”

Chapter Text

The rest of the council was seated in the war room, awaiting the dog demons to arrive. After the meeting, where he would introduce them to his heir and discuss any concerns, the lords would join their families and soldiers in the banquet hall for the feast, and a small introduction ceremony would take place. The gathering would then become one of a social nature. There was a good chance the meeting would be contentious, but hopefully not overly bloody and drawn out. He hadn’t the patience at the moment.

Sesshoumaru arrived at Inuyasha’s room to find him fiddling with his formal kimono, trying to make sense of the ties. He had sent his mate off with the others to give them time to prepare, but he could have used her to help him get dressed.

He had never learned to do any of the fancy stuff his brother had to take part in; kimonos, and meetings, ceremonies...there was a huge learning curve for him. All he knew was how to fight, and that seemed to be enough for Sesshoumaru. He would show him the rest.

Was this going to be his life now? He hoped not too much of it.

He was standing in front of the mirror as his brother approached him. “Too bad the old man ain’t here to see this,” he mused, still struggling with his ties. “Bet he never would have thought in a million years he’d see his half-demon son getting named to inherit the title from you.”

It was true. His father’s indiscretion had cost him his life. But if he would have survived, Inuyasha and his mother would have been in great danger to remain in The Western Fortress, where Sesshoumaru had grown up. He had to hide their existence to protect them while Izayoi was pregnant, and would have either had to keep them a secret, or start a war.

Sesshoumaru wouldn’t run or hide. If he wanted a half-demon as an heir, everyone must bend at the knee and accept his will. Or face his wrath.

He scoffed, “It is merely a formality. I am not going anywhere, little brother.” The statement was oddly comforting.

“Father was too much a coward to claim your mother openly in demon society, therefore resigning you to a life of misery and hardship. If he’d had the courage you presently display, the task of creating peace between the species would not lie so heavily on your shoulders.”

It was still so weird to receive praise from his brother that wasn’t sarcastic. It was even stranger to hear him speak ill of their father. He had never spoken of him with anything less than reverence before. It was almost as if he feared he would pop up from hell and thrash him one for insulting him out loud.

He wondered if that was how he behaved when Sesshoumaru was a boy. Just the thought of Sesshoumaru as anything less than a full-grown prick seemed wrong. But he had more than proven him wrong in that as well...the jerk.

“Yeah, well, I still wish he was here.” He hoped he was proud of him, wherever he was.

“I thought for sure Kagome would at least make it. She should be here.”

“Agreed.” How he wished she was.

Finally fed up with Inuyasha’s fumbling, and pressed for time, Sesshoumaru stepped in to help him get his kimono tied up right, tucking and folding around his waist and shoulders. Inuyasha allowed it, turning his focus on his brother.

“You know, no matter what, she has always been a really sweet kid.” He still cared for her. Whatever indiscretions she would be guilty of, she had more than earned some loyalty on his end.

“Hn.” Inuyasha watched as his brother fixed his clothes, trying to commit it to memory for next time.

“She’s not the kind of girl you wanna play ‘love her and leave her’ with,” he seemed to warn. He knew about his brother’s reputation. He hadn’t been interested in any female for longer than a night or two, and had left more than one heart broken in his wake.

Sesshoumaru stopped his fussing to regard Inuyasha seriously in the mirror, “Who says I am going to leave her?”

The admission shocked the hanyou into silence, and Sesshoumaru went back to work on the garment. He guessed he shouldn’t be that surprised. Kagome wasn’t like other girls. She had a way of making you love her, especially when you didn’t want to. Speaking of which...

“So, I guess you heard about that mangy wolf sniffing around her, huh?”

“I have my sources.” He figured that’s why he had detained Shippo earlier. He couldn’t blame the fox demon; his brother was nothing if not intimidating.

“He’s a real piece of work. I don’t know what she ever saw in that guy, but I was sure it was over.” Sesshoumaru absorbed the information silently as he kept with his task. “I was pissed when I saw them saying ‘good night’ this morning, and I told her about it. I know I should stay out of your guys’ personal business, but what she did was rotten, and she shouldn’t have done it. You deserve better.”

Now it was Sesshoumaru’s turn to be shocked. Kagome was, at one point, the boy’s only companion. They had been to hell and back together, literally, and he knew he cherished her beyond even perhaps his mate in some ways. That he would side against her with him, his once much loathed half-brother, was a feat in itself.

It also stood to mean that the miko had truly done something unforgivable. Had she?

“Thank you, Inuyasha. But perhaps you judge the miko too harshly. She is not one to go around being careless with the hearts of others. Whatever she has done, I am sure she had a good reason. And I eagerly await to hear it. There.” He withdrew himself so that Inuyasha could admire his handy work in the reflection.

“Hey, nice! Where’d you learn to do this stuff?” He turned to appraise from every angle.

“Father taught me.” He should have known. “Now I have taught you. And because that is all he could have helped you with today, you no longer need him.”

He’d spent his whole life idolizing his father. He was the greatest demon to ever rule The Western Lands, and he’d never even got to meet him. It was so unfair.

The thought of all he could have learned from him, all he could have had, being taken away and left with nothing...it was why he walked around with a chip on his shoulder.

But looking in that mirror, seeing the full demon that looked so like his father, he realized he’d never had ‘nothing’. Sesshoumaru’s methods were harsh, but the lessons got through. Be strong. Work hard. Don’t worry about what others think. Don’t rely on anyone else to help you. These were things he had taught him from afar. Things he’d learned through suffering, about the world and its fairness.

He’d wished he got to follow his father’s lessons like Sesshoumaru had, but then he didn’t really know how Sesshoumaru had learned those lessons. Maybe his father was harsh as well. Maybe his brother really did take his father’s training- unforgiving and spiteful, and relayed it just so. It seemed to work, for them both.

He thought his brother had been handed everything, but Sesshoumaru had also learned a thing or two about fairness. His sword. His arm. The burden of duty. Growing up in the shadow of greatness. And Inuyasha now considered, for the first time, that Sesshoumaru had lost his father as well. It should have brought them closer, but it only drove them further apart.

He had spent so long hating his brother, worshipping his father as a god. But one of them was here with him now, and the other was not.

He’d spent his whole life longing to meet his idol – the greatest demon to ever rule The Western Lands. He didn’t realize until now, that he already had.

‘I don’t need him anymore. Because I’ve got you.’

“Thank you, Sesshoumaru.”

Chapter Text

The lord’s council had come to the summit with plans to temper Sesshoumaru as much as possible. They knew there was little they could do to prevent him from imposing his will, and went in thinking they might have to fight to the death just to leave with their shirts.

None were expecting this, however, and the element of surprise gave him yet another advantage to go along with home field. The brothers were a force, and the command with which they swept the room was deeply off putting, and a bit upsetting to their peers.

Sesshoumaru had resembled his father almost identically, and to see this other son of his- this ‘new’ blood of the great dog general and somehow a human woman...it was remarkable. Inuyasha didn’t resemble his father outwardly as Sesshoumaru did. But the way he spoke, his mannerisms, even the way he made a fist- were all clearly traits he had inherited. It was stunning to see how someone who had never even met his father and yet had been so like him... It was nature vs. nurture on full display.

Those who served Inu no Taisho were helplessly pulled back in time themselves, and could not deny the resemblance. It was terrifying.

Lucky for them, Sesshoumaru had no designs on their lands. He had briefed Inuyasha on his plans, most of which went a bit over the boy’s head. That was okay. It was not why he was there. Once they got through the business of trade and development, and everyone seemed satisfied with the imposed infrastructure, Sesshoumaru proceeded with the action they were all now anticipating.

“If there is nothing further on the matter, This Sesshoumaru would like to take the floor and formally introduce Lord Inuyasha to council. You are now all aware he is the second son of Inu no Taisho, and therefore a true heir to The Western Lands. Should any ill fate befall This One, I name Inuyasha to rule in my place as Lord. I move that following council, a ceremony be held in the halls of The Western Fortress, so that he may take his oath to the guards. I trust there are none who take issue.”

It was a question in the form of a statement. Now was when any present could voice their concerns over his choice, and would be the next roadblock to prevent the evening from running as smoothly as he might hope.

The wolf demon tribe ruled over The Eastern Lands, and a member was notably absent from the council.

“Haki, I trust your son’s absence has nothing to do with his disapproval of This One’s choice of heir?”

“Not at all, Lord Sesshoumaru. My son is simply attending to a personal matter, and will be arriving late. I expect him to be here by the night’s end.”

“All were given instruction to arrive at council on this day, and all had agreed. Pray tell, what personal matter is he attending that takes precedence over This Sesshoumaru’s summons?” He wondered if his absence had anything to do with the little visit he had apparently paid his miko last night after he had left. He couldn’t say he wasn’t pleased at the whelp’s well-placed fear of him; but was quite hoping he would have shown up to take his punishment like a male. His cowardice was revolting.

“Simply put, there is trouble in paradise, My Lord. He has had a spat with his mate, and working to see it resolved. Perhaps you shall understand when you, one day, take a mate of your own.” He figured that would see the matter dropped. Lord Sesshoumaru did not appreciate discussions that led to the topic of him choosing a mate. Particularly with the panther demons present.

The Northern Lord was still Mioko’s brother, of the panther demon pride. His son and heir had been killed in battle decades ago, and he had named Touran as heir. She was poised to be the first female lady of land to rule in council, if it came to fruition. Many did not believe a female was fit to rule, and she would have challengers upon her father’s death. So far, however, she had proven herself worthy and defeated every rival in seek of her spot.

Sesshoumaru’s view on the issue was black and white; the strongest demon would rule. If none could best her, he saw no reason why a female could not rule The Northern Lands, or any lands for that matter.

She also had yet to mate, and made no secret of her desire to form a personal alliance with the demon lord. He had lain with her in the past, for political reasons, but had no intention of extending himself beyond that. It had always been a possibility, however not at all a certainty. She vowed to wear him down.

“Doubtful. When This One does take a mate, there shall be no issue great enough to interfere with my duties to my lands. He would do well to hear me, Haki.”

“Whatever you say, My Lord,” Haki mocked. The pup would learn of it someday.

“Regardless, as he is absent, he forfeits his say on the matter.”

That left the dragons. The Lord of the Southern Lands would usually go along with Sesshoumaru on most things, but participated little in the discussions. They tended to keep to themselves, and had little interest helping or receiving help.

His nephew, Tanaka, however, seemed bound and determined to break the mood. He had been seething quietly since the moment Inuyasha set foot through the door, glaring at the half demon, and then back to the table. He repeated this action until this moment; he could take no more, and bashed his fist against the table, drawing the attention his way. Sesshoumaru had expected something from him, though not such a childish display.

Lord Haki confronted the younger dragon, “Tanaka, what is the meaning of this? This is time for celebration!”

“And what exactly are we celebrating? The perversion of our illustrious council?”

His uncle jumped in next, “Tanaka, have you gone mad? I will not tolerate this!”

Touran defended Inuyasha, “You are disrespecting Lord Sesshoumaru’s brother. Apologize.”

“Tanaka,” Sesshoumaru intervened calmly and coolly, “Of what perversion do you speak?”

As much as he wished it weren’t so, this was the forum for such a discussion. He would let the dragon say his piece.

“My father, along with yours,” he started at Sesshoumaru, and looked around the table, “and all of

yours, started this council. And all of you laugh like stupid donkeys while they weep in the afterlife...”

“Tanaka,” his uncle warned, “Shut up!”

“...over the perversion committed today!”

“Outrageous!” Haki yelled at him, “Tanaka, it is you who insults this council! Bastard!”

“Fuckface!” he yelled back at him.

“Please.” The table became silent as Sesshoumaru spoke, still calm and unaffected as ever.

“Tanaka obviously has something on his mind. By all means, allow him to express it.”

Tanaka was fidgeting now, becoming antsy as he spoke, “I speak, of the perversion done to this council...which I love...more than my own children, by making a dead dog’s half-human bastard an heir!” He shouted the last part at Sesshoumaru, and at the top of his lungs.

In one swift movement, Sesshoumaru leaped atop the table and with a swing of his blade, cut Tanaka’s head clean off his body. It rolled around the table, causing the others to recoil as it made the rounds in front of them. His neck was spraying his blood all over the room like a guizer, and Sesshoumaru remained standing up there for all to watch.

Aside from the sounds of blood rushing to vacate the corpse, the room remained silent for a long moment. He watched as all of the blood drained out of his body, and Inuyasha gave a satisfied smirk at the action. None were spared from the backsplash, due to their vicinity, yet not one made to back away.

“So that you understand how serious I am, I am going to say this slowly.” He informed them, sheathing his blade in measured movements, while taking time to make eye contact with each at the table.

“As your leader, I encourage you from time to time- and always in a respectful manner- to question my logic. If you are unconvinced a particular plan of action I have decided is the wisest, tell me so. But allow me to convince you, and I promise you right here and now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion.

“The price you pay, for bringing up Inuyasha’s half-human heritage as a negative is...Inuyasha?”

“We collect your fucking head. Just like this fucker here,” he picked up the head by the hair and held it out for them to see. Eyes bulged and mouth open; it was the last face he would ever make.

“Now if any of you sons of bitches, have got anything else to say, now’s the fucking time!” The other lords had frozen stiff, none daring to make a peep. Sessshourmaru’s viciousness was widely known. However, he had not seen fit to display it- in the council’s presence at least- in some time. This was a hell of an entrance for the half-demon.

“I didn’t think so.” He then dropped the head on the table.

“Everyone, this meeting is adjourned.”

Chapter Text

Even though the meeting had been more violent than anticipated, Inuyasha’s induction ceremony went off without a hitch. Few were aware that Sesshoumaru had a half-demon brother, and even those that knew had not been expecting him to be named as successor to The West on this night. If any had a problem with it, they kept it to themselves.

With the support of the- remaining- members of the council, none would dare go against Sesshoumaru’s wishes. At least for the time being. There were many who would not approve of any human blood in a leadership position, but as far as Sesshoumaru was concerned, they could take that up with him personally. In the meantime, the guards had orders to keep an ear out for any decenters in their midst.

The shock of Inu no Taisho’s youngest son being presented to the guards of the West, and the other lords’ own soldiers and family who were at the fortress, hadn’t time to set in before Sesshoumaru informed all present that there was to be a human wedding held the very next day; and, all were expected to be in attendance. Any who were not would be assumed to be withholding support of the union and would be, effectively, on The Western Lord’s shit list.

He had to move fast. It was his strategy to hit them with his new world order with such speed and force that they wouldn’t have time to react or rebel. It would be normalized before they knew it. Having been introduced and taken his oath, Inuyasha was now doing his best to look comfortable mingling with his new peers. He was the star of the show tonight, and many were eager to meet the mysterious young half demon who was the brother of their lord.

He was listening to yet another demon regale a war story from the time of his father when a familiar aura grazed his senses. He tensed as he felt it, and made eye contact with his brother, who was already making his way to the hanyou.

“The miko has arrived. Send her to the gardens when you are through,” was his simple command.

“But don’t you want to-”

“She will no doubt want words with you. I shall give you a moment to yourselves,” Inuyasha winced internally as his brother made to leave the hall. He was probably right, and he didn’t look forward to what those words might be. Sesshoumaru’s exit was interrupted by Touran, however, who apparently wanted a word of her own with the dog demon.

**********

Kagome shook with fear and anticipation as she was flown over The Western Gates. She returned from the future to find Ah-Un waiting for her, and felt some relief that Sesshoumaru wanted to see her. Whether he knew about Kouga or not, he wasn’t shutting her out. She hadn’t expected the dragon to be there, and so had no hopes of getting to The West before Inuyasha’s ceremony. But now with the demon escort, there was a chance she could make it.

The guards were expecting her, and were instructed to bring her to the main hall once she had arrived. Though she and Inuyasha hadn’t left on the best of terms, she still loved him, and was eager to make up.

She longed to see Sesshoumaru as well. Her talk with her mother had given her some insight as to what she wanted to do, and she was hoping that he would still be receptive to having some sort of relationship with her.

As she entered the hall, however, her heart sank to the floor. Sesshoumaru’s imposing form was unmistakable near the far exit door, and a beautiful panther demon was speaking with him and standing close. Too close. Her mother’s words rang in her ear, and she worried that she had strung her ‘desirable male’ along for too long. Was her time up? Had he moved on? The thought made her chest tighten painfully.

That was when he seemed to sense her and made eye contact, before speaking lowly to the panther demon and going through the exit alone. Was that it? Why would he send for her only to ice her out once she arrived? She hadn’t time to think any more on it as Inuyasha appeared beside her.

“You made it,” he sounded relieved but uncertain.

“Inuyasha,” she couldn’t help but smile at him. He was all dressed up in a formal kimono, wearing Tetsusaiga at his side. She’d never seen him look so professional before. It looked good on him.

“I didn’t think you would come.”

“Inuyasha, I'm sorry-” she started, but he cut her off.

“No, Kagome. I’m sorry.” The sincerity in his tone was in stark contrast to his normally gruff cadence. It wasn’t the first time he’d displayed it; none the less, it never failed to captivate her attention. “I shouldn’t have said what I did. You were right. Whatever goes on between you two is your business. I was upset, but I shouldn’t talk to you that way.”

That was what she was hoping to hear; what she felt she was owed. Still, she felt compelled to defend herself.

“Would it help if I told you it wasn’t what it looked like?”

“A little,” he confessed with a sniff as he briefly looked away. “You should probably tell him that. He’s waiting for you in the gardens.”

“Is he mad?”

“You know him; it’s impossible to tell. I usually go by the body count, so I’d say you’re looking okay so far.” If he was able to joke around, he couldn’t be too upset with her. She relaxed slightly at the thought.

“He did decapitate a guy right before the ceremony, though; so, he might be a little pent up.”

“I missed the ceremony?” She was crestfallen. She was the worst best friend ever.

“It’s not a big deal,” he told her, slightly amused that she seemed more shaken by that part of his statement.

“Yes. It is,” she raised her hand to rest on his arm. “I should have been there. I wanted to be there. I’m sorry I missed it.”

He pulled her into a bear hug. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was that she was here now.

She felt a slight relief with the knowledge that at least one of the brother’s seemed to forgive her so far. But figured it couldn’t hurt to pander anyway...

“You look very handsome in your new outfit.”

“Keh, whatever,” he pushed her away, but couldn’t hide his smile. “I can’t wait to get out of this thing...but thanks.”

“Congratulations, Inuyasha. I’m very proud of you,” she said as she smiled back at him.

He looked into her eyes a moment more, then told her, “You better get going. He ain’t gonna wait forever.”

“I know,” she responded, and left for the gardens.

Chapter Text

She decided that calling them gardens was a bit misleading. This was an arboretum, as far as she was concerned. Perhaps in the daylight, she could be a better judge. Her human eyes couldn’t make out much more than shadows in the dark. She had no idea which way she was to go, or how deep in he was. But she was fairly confident that he wanted to be found, so she simply ventured forward.

She continued her journey in silence, anticipating the moment when he would make himself known. The fortress was now out of sight as well, and still, not a trace of life.

A cluster of trees guided her off to the side; leading her down a narrow pathway, before opening again to a small clearing. The sound of water gliding across rocks and earth told her of a river nearby, but the way it echoed off the mountains made it impossible to determine where.

She focused her senses, calling out for his youki. Searching, and stretching, and coming up empty. Until finally, and all at once, it hit her like a ton of bricks.

As she turned a corner, she finally located her daiyoukai standing near a bench of stone affixed to the ground, and looking right at her. She sped her approach until she reached him.

“Miko.” She stopped herself from hugging him right away. She wasn’t sure if she was in the dog house or not. Despite being in the dog’s house.

“Sesshoumaru-”

“You are late.” His face betrayed nothing; his eyes boring into her soul.

“I know. I’m sorry… I guess you know why...”

“I would like to hear it from you.”

She sighed, and sat on the bench. He followed suit. Might as well get right to it. She had practiced the lines in her head during the flight to his fortress, and tried not to stumble over her nerves in his presence.

“You remember how I told you that Hojo was the one I made love with?” It was rhetorical. Of course he remembered. “Well, Kouga is the guy I fucked... before you.”

“The Wolf Prince.” Though he didn’t really need the clarification.

“Yeah,” she confirmed, “It was just a fling. He’s mated now, but things had remained open between us. It’s a long story, it involves a three way,” his eyebrow lifted at that, but he said nothing.

“Anyway, they have a tumultuous relationship. Very on again, off again. I guess it’s off again, so after you left, he came to me. I told him I was involved with someone, but he was persistent. He said I wasn’t claimed and he...touched me. Over the clothes.” She searched his face for a reaction, but found none, so she continued her explanation.

“I didn’t want him to,” his anger flared dangerously at this, “but I didn’t exactly stop him either.” She didn’t want to give the impression he had forced her, but needed him to know she hadn’t encouraged him.

“When I came, I... moaned your name. That’s kinda been my habit lately.” She smiled weakly at him, hoping he would take it as a compliment. It fell, however, when it garnered no reaction. She pressed on. “That iced him down real quick. He was terrified you would kill him for touching what you might perceive to be yours. He promised he would stay away after that.”

“This disappoints you.”

“No!” Her response was immediate, and she slumped in mild exasperation; almost seeming put out as she continued her confession. “That’s the thing. I keep trying to tell myself that this is casual. I think I was trying to prove that we were able to have fun without being too serious.” She touched his arm hesitantly, as if afraid he would recoil. He didn’t.

“But I don’t want anyone but you to touch me like that. And the thought of you touching anyone else- it hurts me.” He wasn’t prepared for the relief that washed over him at the admission.

“It doesn’t' matter what we call it, but the feelings I have for you are NOT casual. I was so scared that you wouldn’t want to see me again...that you don’t want to. I’m...so sorry...”

Honesty was always the best policy with him, but for once his attractive features didn’t make looking him in the face any easier. She couldn’t take it anymore. She herself wasn’t one to keep her emotions reigned in. But that didn’t stop her from hating the fact that her tears were in a jail break; escaping past puffy eyelids, and falling freely down wind burnt cheeks.

She interpreted his displeased expression as confirmation; her weakness must sicken him.

He couldn’t stand to see her destressed. Her tears were an unwelcome sight in his presence, and unnecessary on his behalf. He found himself quite inclined to put an end to them, and pulled her to him quickly. Placing a clawed hand on her cheek, he tried to soothe her, “Miko... Miko, it is fine.” She turned her eyes to his face in near disbelief.

“The wolf was correct. We are not mated. I hold no claim over you. You made it clear to This One back at the village that you were not ready for anything serious. Has that changed?” His tone was so gentle; almost as if placating a child. Though she wondered if even Rin had ever heard him be so tender.

Relief and gratitude swelled inside her and were too much to bear. She kissed him hard, licking his lips with the tip of her tongue until he allowed her the access she craved.

What had this demon done to her? It had not even been a day, but the pain of his absence had weighed on her heavily. Combined with the guilt and fear of losing him over the whole Kouga incident had made for a rough few hours.

She could finally relax. He didn’t hate her, and seemed more than willing to accept her attentions. She would give him everything she had.

A weight was off his shoulders now as well. When she hadn’t arrived with the others, he had feared she had decided not to move to The West with them. Instead, from the sound of things, she was ready to accept her place by his side. He didn’t care about what had happened with the wolf. It was he whom she desired, as she was currently making more than clear to him. The scent of her arousal was hitting him strong as she continued to kiss him and pull him nearer.

Gods, he had missed her. He had been anxiously waiting all day for her arrival with her friends, only to be disappointed. Now she was here, and he couldn’t be more pleased. A rustle of silks was all she could feel before the sensation of being lifted as they jumped over the backrest to stand behind the bench.

He put one hand on her shoulder, and the other went up her schoolgirl uniform to rest lightly over the lips concealed beneath her panties. He began a slow descent to kiss her. She made to hood her eyes and part her lips in anticipation, but he halted his progress mere centimeters from her face. “Was this how he touched you?” he asked, looking into her eyes.

He was a dog demon after all. He would be the last one to touch her, in every way. He would erase all trace of another with his own touch, and scent. None but him would ever touch her again.

She shook her head and bit her lip, turning herself around so that her back was facing him. The tantalizing look she threw him over her shoulder drew his gaze from her backside by force. If he really wanted to know, she would show him. For how cool he was being about everything, she would be willing to do just about anything he wanted. She had a feeling this was not lost on him, filling her with an excited yearning.

She grabbed his hand and placed it back over her mound, and he used the motion to force her back against him. She took his other hand in hers, and moved it to grab her breast. “Like this,” she whispered, and he used two fingers to massage her swollen nub. She gasped at the sensation, and he rubbed the side of his face against hers, giving her tit a rough squeeze.

“And what were you picturing when he did this?” She could feel his lips moving on her cheek as he spoke in husky tones. She closed her eyes as he rubbed her, before reaching between them and grabbing his cock, also stroking him over his clothes.

“This.”

“And what was it doing?” he asked her, and began kissing her neck. She moaned at the contact, and raised her free hand to press the back of his head closer to her. He then released her, stopping his attentions, and she whimpered at the loss. It suddenly felt cold without him, but he grabbed her hip again. Now free, he took his member in his hand and rubbed the head along her still clothed slit, earning another moan from the woman.

“Whom do you desire, Miko?” he demanded, teasing her with his stiff manhood.

“You,” she whispered in a shudder, as he licked the shell of her ear.

“Who?” he tried again, more forcefully, accenting his question by stabbing himself against her. The word blew from his lips and into her ear in a way which had her tingling all over.

“Sesshoumaru,” was the answer he was looking for, and he continued his questioning.

“You have been naughty, Miko. You think you deserve my cock?” She turned to face him then, causing him to release her from his hold.

“I don’t,” she looked up into his striking face, “I’ve been so bad. And you’ve been so good,” reaching between them, she took his member from his own hand and began stroking him. “I owe you a huge apology...” He found he liked her being in his debt, as she lowered to her knees to start sucking him off.

He tilted his head back and closed his eyes, grabbing her hair as she moved back and forth on him. His youki swelled as she fisted her hands in his silks, working her neck and trying to take all of him in. He hit the back of her throat before she reached the base, however, and the sensation ripped a growl from his own. His breathing had become ragged, and drowned out the sounds that her mouth was making around him.

“My Lord-” glowing red eyes cracked open to see that his general had just entered the gardens, and was stopped in his tracks at the sight they had made. He must have felt his youki, or perhaps heard a snarl, and came to aid his lord with whatever issue was befalling him.

But when he discovered his lord, and the human miko on her knees before him, with her lips wrapped around and working his cock, it appeared he didn’t need any help. He was unable to move, trying to digest what he saw...was seeing. She made no indication she planned on stopping, even with the appearance of a strange demon on the scene.

He continued to watch the miko blow the demon lord, almost morbidly- like one might slow down to take in a carriage accident- until his vision finally made contact with his glowing red eyes.

“Leave.” He commanded. What was the General waiting for? An invitation? This startled Jiro out of his stupor. He seemed to gather himself then, and made a hasty exit, no other words uttered.

Sesshoumaru was pleased the interruption hadn’t stopped his miko in her actions. If it had, he would have had to take his frustrations out on his general. Once Jiro was out of sight, the dog demon pulled Kagome up to rise, and bent her over the bench. He had accepted her apology, and could now go about rewarding her submission. And they said he had no mercy.

He pulled her panties over to the side in lieu of removing them completely, and pounded into her waiting and ready heat. She cried out as he buried himself to the hilt over and over; slapping his hips against her backside, and bottoming out as he did so. The invasion was almost unbearable, but she could more than endure it. She used her hands to hold herself up on the backrest, and he grabbed her hips to continually pull her to him as he thrust. He took her fast and hard; at the same time showing acceptance and relieving stress. And as she came, he followed; snarls ripping from his throat as he does.

When he was finished, he only lingered a moment before pulling himself out of her and straightening himself up. She tried to catch her breath as she adjusted her panties and pressed the wrinkles from her skirt. Once he was satisfied with his own attire, he informed her, “I have a meeting with my general that I must attend. You will find your friends inside. Go enjoy yourself,” he brushed his knuckles against the side of her face then. “Later, come find me in my chambers.” He was almost feeling guilty for the hit and run, but he was apparently already running late. He would make it up to her later.

She didn’t want him to leave, but didn’t protest. He had responsibilities here. He had things in the works, not to mention playing host. She had to let him go...for now. Grabbing his hand to hold against her cheek she informed him, “This place is huge. I’ll never find it on my own, and I don’t want your guards to know-”

“I have been very careless,” his statement confused her as he removed his hand from her. He then pulled the ring off his finger. She had thought it was weird, he had never worn it before. It must have been part of his formal attire.

“I seem to have misplaced my house ring. It belonged to my sire’s sire, and is very valuable to me.” He grabbed her hand back, and placed it in her palm, closing it for her. She looked up from her hand to find him staring right into her eyes as he spoke.

“Should anyone find it, I will be most grateful. I will inform the guards that they will receive a reward if they bring whoever finds it straight to my chambers so that I may... thank them personally,” she caught on, and blushed at the insinuation. “I do hope it turns up.”

She smiled mischievously at him, “I will keep my eyes open.”

Chapter Text

Not every demon at the party let their distaste for her species show, but their discomfort at her miko status was hard to ignore. She was doing her best to mask it, but there wasn’t any in attendance who didn’t seem to be aware what she was capable of; what most in her position would do to their kind. Her reputation as the one who purified Naraku to dust had apparently preceded her, and she found herself wishing that Sesshoumaru was there to help her break the ice with the wary demons.

Inuyasha was in high demand- the celebration was for him after all, and she didn’t want to cramp his style at what was essentially his coming out party. She longed to be by his side, but figured he would have a hard enough time gaining their acceptance without her clinging to him.

The others had long since retired to their rooms, likely as worn out by the heavy scrutiny as she was. She would probably have done the same, but Sesshoumaru hadn’t set her up with a room of her own yet. She supposed it was her fault- if she had come with her friends as planned, she wouldn’t be in this mess. So for now, it appeared her penance was to be somewhat of a sideshow in this circus.

It had been hours since the gardens, and she had seen no sign of the demon lord. She had hoped he would return from his meeting to play host, but it seemed that he and the General had a lot to discuss. ‘It’s been long enough,’ she finally decided, and began scanning for a guard that appeared to be on duty.

She didn’t have to search long; the vicinity was crawling with them, and made her way quickly to a muscular bear demon with dark features. He stood comfortably as she approached, keeping his lazy gaze on the socializers.

“Um, excuse me. Can you take me to Lord Sesshoumaru please?” His pupils slid towards the miko, but his frame remained still.

“I shall not disturb my lord, human.” No spite was present in his tone.

“Oh, uh, it’s just, I’ve found this ring- I think it belongs to him.” She pulled it out of her pocket to show him, and finally gained his interest.

“Give it to me. I will take it to him,” he demanded as he held out his hand expectantly. She knew those weren’t the orders he was given, and she figured he would tell Sesshoumaru he had found the ring himself.

“I need to make sure that he gets it. Maybe another guard will-” That appeared to do the trick. If he wanted his reward, he would have to bring her personally.

“I will take you, follow me,” he relented, and led her from the hall. It was a winding maze of hallways and corridors. She was right, she never would have found him on her own. She tried to memorize the way, but it was a long journey of seemingly endless paths, side doors, and one or two hidden entrances. They finally reached a subtle door at the end of a hallway when the guard stopped her to knock.

When the door opened, it wasn’t Sesshoumaru who opened it, and Kagome blushed as the demon regarded her passively. She assumed it was the General, but couldn’t be sure. She wasn’t facing him when he discovered them in the gardens. “The miko has found My Lord’s family ring.”

“His ring?” Jiro asked, unaware it was missing.

“Ah, yes. I had misplaced it. Enter.” As he moved aside to allow them passage, Sesshoumaru became visible at his desk; standing over the scrolls and maps that were laid out upon it. They appeared to the pouring over the details, hopefully having come to some agreement on whatever had been discussed with the council. His handsome face was a welcome sight, and she tried not to beam too hard when he looked at her coolly.

The guard lead her passed the General, who eyed her with suspicion, and stopped when Sesshoumaru straightened and began to make his way over to meet them. “Where did you find it, Miko?”

“Uh, it was in the garden.” Jiro recalled catching them there, but betrayed nothing in front of his lord. The sight had concerned him, fearing that the female might mean him harm; but after, when Sesshoumaru remained in one piece, he had been able to breathe easy.

It appeared he had not heeded his earlier warning regarding the past repeating itself. It didn’t really surprise him; Sesshoumaru often followed no counsel but his own. Jiro sighed internally.

“Well done in bringing her, soldier. You shall receive your reward in the morning,” Sesshoumaru praised, causing excitement to radiate from the guard. “Until then, shall a promotion suffice?”

“A promotion, My Lord?” Sesshoumaru stood before him now.

“You are a level 2, correct?” A nod was his only answer.

“You are hereby a level 3. Jiro will have your assignment tomorrow.”

“Thank you, My Lord!”

“That is all.” With a pleased smile at Kagome, the guard made his exit. Hn. Perhaps a ‘positive reinforcement’ approach would prove useful when instructing his soldiers to accommodate the humans.

“You misplaced your ring?” Jiro prodded. Something was amiss. Sesshoumaru was not the forgetful type.

Sesshoumaru’s face was trained on Kagome as he responded, “You are aware of how careless This One can be at times.” Her lips ticked upward at the inside joke.

“...Indeed,” as in, not at all careless. The demon lord finally regarded his general then.

“It is late. We shall continue tomorrow, Jiro.”

“Yes, My Lord,” he gathered some scrolls and made to leave, but eyed Kagome as he made his way out, “Not too late, I hope.”

Once the door was closed, Sesshoumaru slid his arms around her hips, and she rested her wrists upon his broad shoulders.

“And what shall be my reward, My Lord?” There was that sarcastic hint to her language again. Why did it affect him so?

He drew his face nearer to hers, and ground himself into her, “Hmmm. This One will think of something...” She was finally in his home! There was so much he wanted to do with her, he could barely remember where he had meant to begin.

“Until then, a promotion will suffice,” she informed him with a grin. He smirked.

“How about, we upgrade you from ‘casual rutting partner of the Lord of the West’ to ‘Exclusive Rutting Partner?” She had all but told him in the gardens that she wished to be his only female. It occurred to him then that she already had been. He guessed it really didn’t matter what he called her; it would change nothing between them.

“Hm. Does this position come with any perks?”

“I am so glad you have asked,” he began playfully. “Free room and board,” he quickly pressed his lips against hers, “Your own personal guard dog,” another kiss, “and best of all: unlimited, unrestricted access to The Lord of the Western Lands.” She was giggling at his antics. When did he get so charming? She could get used to this side of him.

“Wow! Those are some attractive perks. The title doesn’t really roll off the tongue, though.” A rare smile from him was distracting, especially only an inch from her face.

“Where I come from, I would be called your girlfriend.”

“As you wish. Unfortunately, that will not register in demon society. They will simply see you as my mate to be,” he informed her. He had no intention of rushing her along, it was simply fact. Demons just weren’t monogamous creatures, unless their beast had chosen a mate. When it had, the mating was usually not long in coming. Being that it seemed to have selected a human, he would have to take a non-traditional route.

“Acceptable.” Her answer earned her a long, deep kiss; and her palms seemed to find it impossible to leave the hard plains of his upper chest unexplored. It was so exciting to be with him in his domain; but she felt kind of like she was in her boyfriend’s room under the guise of studying, with his parents right downstairs.

“Oh! I almost forgot to give you back your ring,” she pulled it from her pocket to hand to him.

His face took on a serious countenance, and he voiced his desire to her, “It would please me if you kept it.”

“Really?”

“Would you wear it? As a token of your loyalty to This Sesshoumaru?” She hesitated.

“I am not proposing marriage... not at this time. It will, however, serve as a warning to human males that you are ‘off the market.’ The symbol of my house alone will deter any demon who wish to advance upon you for pleasure, or otherwise.” This would save her a lot of trouble, and probably some lives.

“But you aren’t proposing marriage? Is it because you’re a demon?” She wanted to play with him a little more. And if her tone didn’t give away her intentions, the grin she wore would more than make up for it.

“Not at all. The woman I am seeing is simply insisting we take things excruciatingly slow.”

She put it on her finger, and the sight swelled him with pride. He had marked her as his, and though not completely, it should serve to placate his beast until she would allow him to do so with his fangs. They pulsed at the prospect.

“Slow, huh?” She regarded her new jewelry a moment, before gifting him with her attention once more.

“I heard she is already screwing your brains out at every opportunity. You call that taking it slow?”

“Where ever did you hear that?”

“I have my sources.”

The hunger in his gaze betrayed the predator in his soul, and the threat in his tone caused a shiver through her being.

“Hn. As far as This One is concerned, that is taking it slow.”

Her throat dried at the insinuation.

“Well, if I recall, it can be enjoyable to take things excruciatingly slow...”

“Remember priestess, however I take you, your enjoyment is assured.” He began kissing her throat in the way that she loved, and she had to exert some control to simply respond.

“In that case, maybe we can speed things up a bit. When can I move in?”

Her simple question was music to his elfin ears.

“I shall have a room made up for you tomorrow.” The room for the Lady of the West was adjoined with his own, for easy access. None had stayed there since his mother had moved out when he was a boy. He would allow the miko to decorate as she saw fit. Perhaps she would like to bring some items from her time- he would welcome anything that would make her more comfortable. This was to be her home, now.

She no longer wore a grin, and she was no longer playing around.

“...But I want this room.”

He gave her a long, heated stare. Pulling her in for a kiss, he used his other hand to undo the binds of his armor. She helped to pull it over his head when the straps were loosened, and he hoisted her by her thighs, causing her to wrap them around his thin waist. She savored the familiar taste of him as he led them through another door. Once in his sleeping quarters, he threw her unceremoniously on her back, and she landed with an ‘eep;’ the softness of his bed broke her fall.

She stretched herself onto it, luxuriating in the comfort and size. There was more than enough room for two, and she realized it was larger than a king mattress in her era. ‘Lord sized,’ she mused. He moved to sit beside her, leaning in as he took her lips again. She rose to her knees in response, placing her palms on his chest to peruse that which was covered moments before.

Her tongue in his mouth felt a foreign movement then, causing her to start. It was a pulsing of his fangs, following by elongation, and the razor-sharp tip sliced a small gash on her lip. He froze in realization, and looked at her apologetically. He had to exert more caution with her! She was so fragile...

“I am sorry,” he began, and she could tell he was warring with himself. He had a wild, repressed look in his red tinged eyes, and his breathing seemed to be coming more labored. The taste of her blood that was so thick in reiki forced him to swallow down his urge to take her roughly, and make her his forever.

She seemed to understand his dilemma. She didn’t want to be branded. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be his, she just wanted to take the scenic route with him. Like that night they had made love slowly.

She decided to try and meet him halfway; to give him something for his troubles. She pushed her mouth to his, and used her wet appendage to stroke his canines. She slowly and sinfully pressed the tip to one of the bones, dragging it up to his gum line, and trying to massage the tooth that lie beneath.

It seemed to work for him, and he visibly shuddered at the contact. She tested the tip- carefully!- , and moved to touch every centimeter with her mouth. She moved to the second deadly fang, applying soft pressure up and down the length of it, before moving her chin lower so that she could try and suck on the throbbing weapons.

He felt as if he were trespassing; for no demon belonged in heaven. He simply sat back with his jaw open, letting her have her way with his mouth. The bones had so longed to sink themselves into his female, and though growing hard to restrain himself further, it offered a balm to them to receive such attentions. He would have to put a stop to things soon however, for it wouldn’t be long before-

His eyes had no amber remaining in them, glowing hot even in the lit room. He pulled her from himself, and forced her neck to bear. He placed his nose at the crook, inhaling deeply before brandishing his miko-slobbered fangs. When he drug them lightly across the skin there, careful as not to pierce through, she had worried that perhaps she had made a misstep.

“Sesshoumaru-” she warned, hoping she could get through to him in his weakened state.

“Just the tip,” he pleaded, the rasp in his voice causing her to stiffen. “Just for a second. Just to see how it feels...” he was begging to proceed, and she couldn’t help but be amused by the request.

‘Yeah right. I’ve heard that before...’ She knew he would bring her no harm. If he broke skin, would he be able to control himself? Be able to stop there, without forcing his youki down into her bloodstream?

She had to trust him. Had to give him this. Worst case scenario, it would only speed things up to where she assumed they were headed anyhow. She grabbed his hair to pull him away from her, and looked into his eyes. For a second, he thought she would refuse.

“Just the tips. You will control yourself after that.” He nodded in understanding, and had to contain his elation as he did his best to approach the juncture of her neck slowly. He placed himself right over her pulse, and felt her rapid heartbeat under his aching fangs. With measured caution, he allowed enough pressure to pierce the ends through her soft, temping skin. He was playing with fire. She must be quite confident in his control to allow this. He would not see her trust in him misplaced.

His groin tightened painfully and he became light headed. The yelp she offered was tantalizing to his ears, but barely broke through his haze. Her blood sizzled on his teeth and caused pleasure to surge through his being. He was allowed to marinate in it only a moment before a familiar rush to his loins caused him to shudder and stiffen.

He closed his eyes tightly, and made no attempt to stifle the orgasm that forced itself through his body. He put his hands on her thighs to brace himself as he let it run its course, and when he was finished, he reluctantly withdrew himself from her flesh.

After licking her blood from his receding fangs, he ran his tongue over her damaged skin as a salve. He knew he could never do such a thing while he was inside her. Not until she was ready. His practiced control could handle one invasion or the other, but not both. When he finally was let to mate her, he would have to remember to bring her to her peak first. If this was any indication, he would not be able to last long when fully sinking to her flesh from both ends.

She was not unaffected by the act either. Though not brought to orgasm, the small amount of his youki at war in her bloodstream caused a current to rip through her, and pool low in her belly. She reached down to alleviate some of the wonderful pressure, but he would have none of it. Words could not express his thanks adequately, but his mouth was not without resources.

He persuaded her to lay back on his bed- their bed- and pulled down her bottoms with a gentle care reserved only for her. When his velvety tongue made contact with her clit, she moaned in satisfaction meant to encourage and praise. He brought her to completion, lazily and unrushed. After, she snuggled to his side as he held her to him.

The wisps of her hair were scattered, and clinging to her damp shoulders; and she pushed her exhaustion aside in favor of speaking with the one she had been aching for all day.

“I can’t believe I missed Inuyasha’s big day.”

“You will be there for his wedding. I suspect it is more important to him that you are there for that. He will require your support.” After a beat, he added.

“I am not pleased with how he spoke to you regarding the wolf incident.”

They say that opposites attract; and in that moment, the adage proved glaring. How was his own hair still so perfect, and skin so deceptively unaffected?

“He was just worried about you. You should have heard him defending you. It would have been cute if it wasn’t so hurtful.” He frowned at her statement.

“I just wish I could have seen him up there, taking his oath. How did he do?”

“His recitation was sufficient.”

“Jeez, spare me the details.”

“It is a standard oath. Nothing exciting, simply obligatory. It was committed to his memory, and pledged after This Sesshoumaru formally introduced him to the soldiers.”

“I wish I could have heard you present him to the demon world.”

He longed to grant her every wish. So far, she was making his task an easy one.

“I can repeat it, if you wish.”

“Really?” When it looked like he would begin, she cuddled closer to him in the way she preferred for story time. He made to sit slightly to accommodate her, wrapping her in one arm.

“I, Sesshoumaru, Lord of the Western Lands, hereby present my heir, Lord Inuyasha: Son of Inu no Taisho, and brother to This Sesshoumaru. Do you swear to uphold these lands, protect its inhabitants, and defend its principles; to offer swift and brutal justice to those who would see it harmed, and rule with honor and integrity until your dying breath?

“And then, he gave his oath, which is along those same lines. At this point, I borrowed a custom from your human wedding: If any know of a reason why Inuyasha should not be named heir then speak now, or forever hold your peace.

“Of course, none dared challenge this Sesshoumaru’s claim.” She rolled her eyes, but couldn’t deny she loved his confidence.

“In that case, may I formally introduce: Lord Inuyasha, Heir to the Western Lands.

“At this point, the Western Soldiers pounded their right fist over their breast to signify solidarity, and he returned in kind. There was then a grand feast in his honor, followed by the celebration. It was at that point which you had arrived.”

She remembered arriving as the party had commenced, the conditions of her lateness still causing her grief. She also remembered how she had found him, on the receiving end of attentions from an attractive panther demon. She pushed the memory away for now.

“How was the meeting with your council? I heard you took some guys head.”

“His disrespect could not be forgiven. Had I allowed him to live, it would have only invited dissent from others who disapprove of Inuyasha’s place in the council,” he rationalized. She didn’t blame him. He knew the politics of the lands far better than she. Hopefully his death would not be in vain.

“Was it okay other than that? Did you find a solution for your population problem?”

He allowed a sigh passed his lips. “Not entirely. There is still not enough space in The West to accommodate its new followers adequately. I will need significantly more land than has been agreed upon by the other lords. I wish to avoid taking it from them by force, but if there is no agreement soon, I fear that I must.” He went on.

“Lives will be lost if I am to go to war. It can be avoided, but I must have cooperation. The South is desolate, and not suitable for my needs, and The East is too far to be practical. The bulk of what I require must be taken from The Northern Lands disproportionately, and the lord is being...difficult.” He chose his words carefully, unsure if he should continue.

“He is getting on in years, and allowing his daughter and heir, Touran, to take up the negotiations. But what she wants, I cannot give.”

“What does she want?” He regarded her cautiously.

“This Sesshoumaru.”

“You?”

“She has desired to ally her lands with mine by way of a mating. She has been playing a long game, and will accept no less in forms of trade. I have offered her wealth in amounts that are more than fair, but to no avail.”

“She’s the panther demon I saw you with.”

“The same. If we can find no solution soon, our lands will be at war.”

She cuddled to him then, and he kissed her forehead. She wasn’t jealous of the demon. She had no question where Sesshoumaru’s loyalties lie. She just couldn’t help but feel kind of bad that she may be standing in the way of world peace. If he wasn’t with her, would he have made the deal? It seemed kind of hard to believe that Sesshoumaru would agree to anything that he wasn’t on board with, but he had said that he used sex in his business dealings in the past.

Kagome latched on to her beloved demon, where she stayed until a long-deserved sleep overcame her. He remained awake for some time after that, watching his girlfriend, and pleased with the evening’s events. It had been a trying day, but things had ended up better than he could have hoped. Tomorrow would be his brother’s wedding, and it had to go well. With the miko at his side, he had no doubt he would succeed.

Chapter Text

Dawn had not yet broke when Sesshoumaru rose to start his day. He hadn’t slept that night; simply lay beside his miko, lending her warmth and comfort as she got her rest. Humans needed so much of it; they seemed to sleep away a good third of their lives. Their weaker frames required constant recharging, which seemed ironic as they didn’t expel even a fraction of the power and energy of that of a demon.

If you would have told him even weeks ago that he would be sharing his bed, his home, with the tiny miko currently at his side, he would have called you a fool; after severing your head for even the suggestion. But not only had he allowed the intrusion; he’d damn near begged for it.

She had been somewhat resistant at first, but just like any other female, had in the end been susceptible to his charms. He wondered if it had not been for the wolf’s unfortunate actions the previous night, if she would have been so quick to realize her true desire to be his alone. Perhaps he should thank the whelp... Well, he had decided not to gut the audacious prince, so he had been more than generous already.

He slid from the covers, removing himself from her hold cautiously as to not to wake the girl, and dressed. He would like nothing more than to remain with her a while longer, but he had a long day ahead of him, and the sooner it commenced, the sooner he could return to her side. It seemed time was not a thing they would be allotted for now, and that was a shame. Things were so new, and he was eager to keep her to himself. He had so much to show her, but he had important matters to take care of.

Inuyasha’s wedding would be in a matter of hours, and none of the demons in his employ had any experience with the matter. He himself had only been witness to one, and that made him the authority on the issue. He would need the humans to take charge of the details; he would simply provide them with the resources to see it through. His demon guests needed only to attend; and none had better cause a disturbance at the event, or they would pay dearly for the offense.

He also had another meeting with the council this morning. The last had ended prematurely due to Tanaka’s unfortunate comments, and there will still negotiations to iron out with the Northern Lord. He hoped to convince him to take more charge of the dealings on his own, since Touran’s requests were unreasonable. He would never take the panther demon as his now, and he would be making that very clear to them today.

Before the meeting, however, he had one more matter to deal with. Giving Kagome one last lingering glance to tide him over through his morning without her, he gently leaned down and gave her a soft kiss on her cheek. She smiled in her sleep, and sighed pleasantly at the contact. He couldn’t help but wonder what she was dreaming of, and couldn’t resist hoping it had something to do with him, as he made his exit.

****************

Kai had not slept either that night. He was furious at his general for throwing him under the ox cart, so he decided to take out his pent-up rage on invisible opponents in the warrior’s dojo. He figured if he could do nothing about his current situation, it would be best to put his anger to use and train.

Sword in hand, he was picturing Jiro in front of him, and playing out fantasies of what he would do to him if only he were stronger. But the General was the General for a reason. Only Sesshoumaru could best him in spars, and until Inuyasha had been named heir, the black-haired dog demon would have likely been his successor.

So caught up in his swordplay, he hadn’t noticed the demon lord standing at the entrance watching him move. Sesshoumaru had demoted the demon to a level 1 for his insolence, which amounted to him being little more than a servant with a license to kill. Instead of taking orders from the General, he now had to report to Jaken, and the toad demon had no sympathy for those who displeased his lord.

But Sesshoumaru knew the value of having those who have wronged him in his debt. The boy would be eager to please, and unlikely to be inclined to enrage him further. Watching the measured, if not somewhat clumsy moves of his soldier, Sesshoumaru noted the black eye and slightly fattened lip on his face. Jiro had said he basically had to beat the information out of him, and with the rapid healing abilities of his kind, he must have thrashed him pretty good.

The flaring of his youki got the attention of the soldier, and fear flittered across his tattered features before dropping to a knee and lowering his head respectfully. Sesshoumaru had been displeased with him enough to demote him several ranks, he assumed he was more than displeased enough to want to take him to task now physically. That must be what he is doing in the dojo.

“My Lord, I cannot apologize enough for-”

“That will do, soldier. Rise.” He was relieved he didn’t sound too upset, but he was still wary. His lord’s calm demeanor could often prove deceptive.

“How are you taking to your new duties?”

“I am honored to serve The Western Lands in whatever manner My Lord sees fit.”

“Then you do not wish to return to your post?”

“I am most eager to return to my position, as soon as you deem me worthy of it.”

“Consider it done. One with your swordsmanship abilities is a waste to This One in the role of a servant. I have other tasks suited to your skills.”

He was beside himself with gratitude for the demon’s forgiveness, but unsettled by the ease with which it was granted.

“My Lord is too generous-”

“I am not finished yet...” The sudden hard edge in his tone and his eyes promised trouble for the young guard.

He knew it was too good to be true. Whatever Sesshoumaru had planned for him, it wouldn’t be pleasant. He swallowed the lump in his throat, and awaited his orders.

***********

After his talk with Kai, Sesshoumaru made his way back to the war room, where the rest of the council waited patiently for him to begin part two of their discussions. Inuyasha was there waiting as well, but hoped it wouldn’t take too long. He had a wedding to star in soon, and his mind wasn’t fully on the meeting of which he was required to now be present.

They rose as Sesshoumaru made his entrance, and waited to sit until he had. The council was now short one dragon, but up the wolf that had been missing the night before. Kouga was doing his best to temper his discomfort at being in the dog demon’s presence. He wasn’t sure what the demon knew about his tryst with Kagome, but that he was still breathing was as good a sign as he could have hoped that he wasn’t inconsolable.

He hadn’t been present to argue Inuyasha’s induction into their circle, but considering what Sesshoumaru had done to the younger dragon, he figured it was for the best. The mutt-face's presence was actually a comforting one. Though they’d had their tiff’s in the past, it was more akin to a sibling rivalry at this point. Kagome was now off the market, and neither had ended up with her heart. It took a lot of the edge off of their relationship.

“Kouga,” the mention of his name from the one who had ended up snagging Kagome tore him from his musings. “I see you have seen fit to grace us with your presence. Am I to assume you have reconciled with your mate?” It would be better if he had, if nothing else to distract the whelp from his feelings for the miko. Kouga thought it in his best interests to keep the mood light.

“Yeah, you know females; they act like they can’t stand you, but as soon as you’re gone, they beg you to come back.”

“Indeed...” the wolf prince wasn’t sure what Sesshoumaru meant by that, but wasn’t about to inquire.

“You missed quite a show,” Haki informed his son, “Sesshoumaru introduced Inuyasha to the council, and Tanaka made a scene in rejecting him. You heard how that turned out.”

“Yeah, so if you got any problem with me bein’ here, I encourage you to speak up, fleabag,” Inuyasha smirked at his old rival, daring him to fight his brother.

“What’s done is done, mutt-face. Guess that’s what I get for being late to the party,” though if he had been there, he wouldn’t have argued it. He wouldn’t admit it, but the half-breed was starting to grow on him.

“I hope there will be no hard feelings from The Southern Lands, will there Kashi?”

“No, My Lord. Tanaka was impudent, and paid the ultimate price for his mistake. I hope you will not hold his unfortunate tongue against his uncle.”

“His actions were his own. Though do exercise more caution when naming your next heir. There seems to have been a lot of trouble from your kin as of late.”

“Yes, My Lord. As further penance, I would like to offer you a larger lot of land in The South. I know your lands are experiencing some growing pains, and I wish to alleviate some of the stress for you.”

“Your offer is appreciated, yet unnecessary. Your lands are insufficient to This One’s needs. However, it would please me if you were to justly deal with those on your territory who have exiled themselves from The West on account of the atrocities they have committed. I haven’t the time to seek them out myself, yet if you were to take on the task of handing them their punishments, I would consider your debt paid.”

“You have my word. Any on my lands who have wronged The West will be seen to by my hand.”

“Excellent. Though now on the topic, I would like to reopen negotiations with The North regarding land usage.” Touran’s ears picked up hopefully at this, but it was not she whom Sesshoumaru was speaking to.

“Yoshi, I know you have handed off talks into your daughter’s discretion, but I highly suggest you reconsider. You are still Lord of the North, and you would do well to act like it. What your heir requires is something I cannot give. And if we do not find common ground soon, you will leave me no choice but to go to war.”

Yoshi knew his daughter was being difficult with The Western Lord, but he had given his word not to stand in her way. Furthermore, he had been more than eager himself to see the prominent demon mated to his daughter. It had the makings for the most powerful alliance the houses have ever seen, and he had hoped that with time, the dog demon would see this himself.

“I have faith in Touran’s abilities My Lord, perhaps if you gave the matter some thought-”

“I have, Yoshi, and that is a fine segue way to my next announcement. I, Sesshoumaru, have recently acquired a female.” Touran’s heart sank at the news.

“You are taking a mate?” she asked, irritation and jealousy present in her tone.

“Yes, but not for some time yet. She calls herself my girlfriend.”

“That is a term I have heard used by humans,” Yoshi weighed in.

“Well as she is human, I suppose that makes perfect sense.”

You could hear a pin drop at the news. Questions were roiling in the heads of the demons present, though they were very apprehensive about voicing them. If he were to take the head of an heir for merely insulting his brother, they did not want to find out what he had in store for one who spoke ill of his future mate.

“A human? But My Lord, you yourself have-”

“I know what I have said, Yoshi. And I admit, I was quite narrow on the issue. I was blinded by the contempt I felt of my father for taking a human and skirting his responsibilities. In the time in her presence, however, I have seen the folly of my discrimination. Things are changing, as you are aware, with The West at the forefront. No longer shall human and demon relations be considered unseemly. Were it the case, my brother would not be before you.”

“Sesshoumaru,” Touran began, trying not to sputter in rage, “You cannot deny the importance of adding powerful demons to our great society. If you simply must consort with this human of yours, I would allow you to take her as a mistress. Mate with me and produce full blooded heirs. You would then hold The North and The West under your rule, as well as have the strongest demon blood in the lands. It is the smartest political move you can make.”

She was right. It would be the best tactical move for him to take her up on her offer. But he had no desire to do so. Kagome would not be on board with such an arrangement, and he realized, he would not be pleased with it either.

When did he begin making decisions based on his feelings, and not on prudency? He guessed, when he started feeling at all- when he realized the miko was his.

“It shall never be, Touran. You would do well to accept that. Now, may we continue negotiations rationally, so that we may finally strike a deal?”

She rose to stand, then. “I have made my desires clear. If you will not mate with me, then there are no deals to be had.” Her father fixed her with a concerned glance as she left the table.

“I haven’t time for this today. Inuyasha has a wedding to prepare for. Speak with your kin, Yoshi. I should hate to see what will come if she does not come to her senses. This meeting is over.”

Everyone rose to leave, but Sesshoumaru had one more demand.

“Kouga, a word.” Fuck. He was almost in the clear. What would Sesshoumaru do to him?

Once they were alone, Sesshoumaru began.

“How are things with your mate, wolf?” He started off cordial enough, but Kouga’s fear made him cagey. He tried to play it cool. “Ayame, was it?”

“Yeah. Uh, never better. I think she just fights with me for the make-up sex.” He always joked when he was nervous. Sesshoumaru thought back to his tryst in the gardens, and considered the statement might have some merit. Perhaps he should push his miko’s buttons more often...

“I am curious on your opinion. What do you think of my desire to take a human mate? You have some experience with humans, do you not?” He didn’t know why he was beating around the bush, but Kouga wouldn’t rush the demon into any realizations.

“Uh, only one... And that was ages ago, like a lifetime even!” Except for the other night...

“How did your human end things with you?” There was no use lying to the demon. But he would edge around the details, so long as he wasn’t asked outright.

“We had left things open. She didn’t want to be with me full time, and I had another girl who was interested. We would see each other every now and then. But that’s over now, I swear!” When Sesshoumaru bore into him with his deadly eyes, Kouga decided it was time to grovel.

“Look, Sesshoumaru, I swear, I didn’t know-”

“Humans are fickle things,” he cut him off. “Demons are much more black and white; you are either theirs, or your aren’t. Humans, however, have several stages of a relationship.” He went on as he inspected his claws.

“I told her so, yet she insists on being my girlfriend for the time being. We decided as much last night. Now, if any other male touches her, I am within my rights to gut him where he stands.” The hair on Kouga’s neck stood on end, and his instincts demanded he run. It took all he had to remain somewhat passive in appearance.

“Before last night, however, any indiscretions she may have had are none of This One’s concern.”

Kouga’s eyes went wide with understanding. He was giving him a pass.

“Unfortunately, she would be none too pleased if I were to settle every score from before we had made things official. It is important to have allies in times such as these. Are we allies, wolf?”

He jumped at the opportunity to remain on his good side... Well, at least not on his bad side.

“Yes! I would never dream of going against you. Please know that.”

Sesshoumaru held out his hand in a rare display. Kouga looked up at him incredulously, a huge wave of relief washing over him, and eagerly shook it.

“Good. Return to your mate. I hope to see you at the wedding.”

With that, Sesshoumaru left Kouga standing alone in the war room. He could only watch him leave, mouth agape.

Whatever Kagome was doing to the demon lord, it was good for him. It was good for all of them.

Chapter Text

Kagome awoke to find herself alone, and made use of the large bed by giving herself a much-needed stretch. Sesshoumaru must have had duties, as he so often did, and she realized that was probably something she would have to get used to. You’d think that being lord, he would get to dictate his schedule, but he took his job very seriously, and she found she loved him all the more for it.

Wait- did she just think that? She knew she had strong feelings for the demon, but was she in love with him? She remembered his ideas on ‘what mortals call love,’ and wondered what, exactly, he thought he felt for her. She would have to save that thought for another time, as she heard a light knocking at his-their- bedroom door.

“Lady Kagome?” She heard a male’s voice shyly ask, and tried to place where she had heard it before.

“Are you decent? It is Kai, My Lady.” Kai, that was it. The Western Soldier who had so rudely woken up Sesshoumaru from his much-needed sleep back in Lord Hano’s village. That was the first time they had hooked up, and she thought back to the incident wistfully. She pulled the blankets up over her chest, and looked around for her discarded school girl outfit.

“Come on in. It’s not like you haven’t seen it before,” she called out, but he remained where he was.

He held out a robe from between the crack in the door as he spoke, “I would rather not, My Lady. Lord Sesshoumaru has been most gracious about cutting my punishment short, and I should not like to give him another reason to be cross with me.”

She rolled her eyes and got out of bed, grabbing the rob and putting it on.

“Okay, you can enter now.”

He cautiously came through the doorway, and seeing that she was indeed covered, relaxed his posture. Sesshoumaru had given him the new duty of seeing to the miko in his absence. He had thought his lord would have preferred a female to see to her needs, but was informed that the woman was quite independent, and wouldn’t need to be waited on hand and foot. He was simply to answer her questions and help her retrieve anything she might require.

Apparently, the miko was uncomfortable with broadcasting their relationship, especially on Inuyasha’s big day. Kai was one of the few already privy to the information, so he was given an opportunity to earn back his lord’s trust by seeing to the miko’s comfort. He had been instructed to wait in Sesshoumaru’s study until he had heard her awake on her own time.

“Are you hungry, My Lady? I will have the servants prepare anything you desire and have it brought to you.”

“I’d kill for a funo-yaki! Can your chef’s make them?” He was confused at her words. He had been warned that this miko had a strange take on language.

“That will be unnecessary, I am sure they have heard of them.”

“Have them throw some blueberries in! Oooh, and anything with caffeine would be great!” She figured she would take advantage of the luxury that had been so hard to come by previously.

“As you wish. Is there anything else you require?”

“I’d love a bath. Are there any springs nearby?” There were springs deeper in his lord’s rooms, but he had been instructed to show her to the room of The Lady of the West anyhow. The room was there for her use, regardless of whether or not she would stay with the dog demon.

“Follow me, if you please.” He showed her to the door that opened to the adjoining rooms, and pointed her in the way of the spring inside. Before she took off, though, he led her to the closet. It was filled with clothing that had once belonged to his mother. Much of it would be to long for her, but alterations could be made. In the meantime, he was sure she would find something.

“When you are through, pick out anything you wish to wear. My Lord suggested you find something formal for Lord Inuyasha’s wedding.”

“Thank you, Kai.”

“I will put in your order, and return to wait for you until you are finished.”

“You don’t have to wait for me, I’ll be fine.”

“Those are my orders,” he informed her. “I will wait in the study until you have dressed. You may take your time.”

*****************

A swipe of his sword was followed by a graceful landing. Seconds later, the heads of three boar demons slid from their bodies, and Sesshoumaru returned to collect them. He threw them on Ah-Un's back, joining the others that lay dead in a heap on top of the dragon.

The feast from the previous night had depleted the reserves, as the hunters had not anticipated having to supply a second feast for the wedding that was about to occur. Instead of sending them back out for more, Sesshoumaru volunteered his brother and himself to take on the task.

They hadn’t much time, and the dog demons would make quicker work of the game that resided in the forest just beyond The Western Gates. Also, he could tell that Inuyasha had needed a distraction. His wedding was hours away, and with nothing to keep him occupied, the boy had started to become irritable. Sesshoumaru thought he could put him to use, and help to blow off some steam.

Sesshoumaru was not capable of feeling guilt. Or regret. But when he looked upon his brother lately, he couldn’t deny the pangs in his chest. Though his intentions were far from altruistic, he had always looked after the boy in his own way. He had never shown him kindness, but he had ensured Inuyasha would grow strong enough to survive. His was more of a tough love approach; emphasis on the tough.

And his harsh treatment of the boy had worked. It was clear that the half demon appeared to be flourishing. Now that the jealousy and rivalry between the two was all but nonexistent, he was eager to find small, subtle ways of making things up to him. Not that he would admit it to him outright.

The wedding, and the new title were just the start.

“Watch this,” Inuyasha demanded, throwing his sword into a boar that stood a few feet away, and impaling it to the tree behind it. It brought up some very old memories that he would rather forget.

Sesshoumaru could sense the boy’s discomfort, and made to distract him further, throwing his own sword high into the air, and softly stating, “Heart.” Inuyasha fixed him with a confused look, until the sword made its descent back down to the earth, and impaled the boar through the back. When the tip came out his chest, his heart was hanging off the end.

“Woah.” His brother was a master with a sword, this he knew. It was still amazing to see him in action, particularly when he was not on the receiving end of his rage. Maybe he would be willing to show him some of his moves in the dojo sometime...

“Next time, I will bring two swords. I could really show you something if I had my other blade.” He had only brought Bakusaiga, as he hadn’t considered needing the others for this excursion. He didn’t really need them, but they had progressed past hunting, and were just showing off at this point.

Inuyasha still held Tetsusaiga, and outstretched the hilt for his brother to hold, “Just use this.” Sesshoumaru’s eyes widened a fraction. He hadn’t thought about the sword in what seemed like ages. It was odd, as for a time, it was the only thing he’d thought about. He had stopped his pursuit of the blade once made clear that Inuyasha needed it to keep his demon blood in check.

He had never really needed the sword himself. It was the principle of the thing. He believed he had deserved the sword; that, as the oldest son, it was his birthright. At one time, he would have done anything to possess the weapon. Those days were over. That his brother saw fit to trust him with his prized possession, it spoke volumes about how their relationship had changed drastically since then.

“You know I cannot,” he reminded. He was a demon. That was another reason. The sword had rejected his youkai blood. Only one with human blood could wield the sword.

“I dunno. I think it rejected you because you meant to harm me with it. Now that you don’t have the hate in your heart, it may be permissive.” It was his sword. Did it speak its owner, as Tenseiga did to him?

Also, ‘hate in your heart?’ Was his brother admitting that he had indeed had a heart, even if it had been consumed by hatred?

He paused for a moment, then reached out hesitantly. Would it scorch his skin, as it had done in the past? Only one way to find out.

He braced himself as he grabbed the blade, and waited...

Nothing. His youki soared, doing a victory dance while his face remained cool and passive, and he gripped the hilt more firmly. It remained transformed as it was when handed to him, and he gave it a few test swings.

“Okay, okay. So, what were you gonna show me?”

With a sword in each hand, he made his way over to five boars, all gathered together in a defensive position.

“You have mastered the ‘windscar,’ which makes striking your opponent simple. You still need training in precision. Should your demonic attacks fail you, you must still be able to use your weapon effectively.” He regarded the boar demons a moment, and turned back to the hanyou.

“Heart, liver, kidney, lung, brain.” He stated simply, and made two cuts, one with each blade. It was done in an instant, too fast to see. He had used the first blade to cut each demon in two, each in a different place on its body. He then used the second to pierce through, respectively, each organ he had named. By the end, Bakusaiga looked like a shishkabob.

“Damn. You gotta show me that one!”

“As you wish,” he responded, relinquishing the blade back in his brother’s hands. “We can go over some basic moves in the dojo, after your honeymoon perhaps.”

The topic reminded him of something he had wanted to ask, but had been a little nervous. “Hey Sesshoumaru, I want to ask you something.” The boy sounded serious, and he turned to give him his full attention.

“Well, Miroku is going to perform the ceremony, since he’s the only one who can do it and all. But even if he didn’t, I still wanted you to be my best man.” Afraid of rejection, he couldn’t look him in the face.

“I know weddings are stupid, and you probably don’t want to, but-”

“I would be honored.”

“Really? You will?”

Not one to repeat himself, he simply inclined his head. Inuyasha was grinning ear to ear.

It never occurred to him how much he had longed for his brother’s approval. Perhaps a good deal of the hate that he had harbored for the demon had actually stemmed from the hurt he felt at having his only living relative reject him so openly. And despise him so vocally.

The pain Sesshoumaru had caused him in his dismissal had gone a long way in constructing the foundation of the barriers around his heart that prevented others from getting close to him. Kagome and Kikyo had been responsible for chipping away at his walls. And now that his brother seemed to finally be accepting him, they had been reduced to nearly nothing. The two of them had a lot of lost time to make up for, and he could hardly wait to begin.

“I believe we have enough meat to suffice. Shall we return?”

They both sheathed their swords, and headed back to the fortress.

*****************

When Kai returned from placing Kagome’s food order, he was annoyed to find that she hadn’t entered the spring yet.

“Kai?” she called out, having heard him enter the study outside the bedroom.

“Is something the matter?” If anything happened to her while in his care...

“I was wondering, could you go fetch my friends for me? Sango and Kikyo?” He didn’t appreciate being asked to ‘fetch’ something, but that appeared to be his job for the time being. Her wish was his command.

“In my ti- my village, the night before the wedding is supposed to be a bachelorette party. We couldn’t do it last night, and since we have some time, and a hot spring, I thought maybe I could give her a spa day before she gets hitched.” As the maid of honor- again- it was kind of her duty to the bride. She figured Kikyo might appreciate a little girl time before the ceremony.

Kai didn’t really need the details. He could barely understand the weird female half of the time. He wondered what her appeal was to his great lord. But it was his job to make her comfortable. If she wanted him to ‘fetch’ her friends, he would do it without argument.

“Hai, My Lady,” he bowed to leave.

“Kagome is fine. I’m no lady, trust me.” No argument there. Regardless,

“I would really be more comfortable-”

“Well, I would be more comfortable if you called me Kagome. You’re supposed to do what I tell you, right?” Damn. Was she already getting drunk with power? She could tell he was warring with himself, so she added, “If he gets upset, just tell him I made you, okay?”

“You will back that up?”

“You doubt This One?” She was mocking his lord, and he couldn’t help the snarl that escaped involuntarily at the disrespect. Should he tell him?

“Now, now. None of that. Just go get them please. Oh! And make that food order for three. Thanks!”

Gods, he was paying dearly for his crimes. Hopefully soon, if he did a satisfactory job, he could get put back at his old post. Until then, he was to play lap dog to Lord Sesshoumaru’s pet human.

“As you wish,” he grit out, and made to do her bidding.

Breakfast had arrived shortly before the women did, so when they entered The Western Lady’s chambers, they found Kagome had already started digging in. She swallowed her bite before welcoming them.

“Hey guys! There are pancakes if you want them!”

“Ladi Da! Look at you. Not wasting any time moving in I see.” Sango remarked, looking around the lavish room.

“I don’t know why I was so apprehensive; this is going to be great!”

“He certainly has set you up, hasn’t he? You gotta tell me what you do to deserve such fancy treatment.”

“I think we’ve been over that, haven’t we? Come on, dig in! After we eat, there is a private spring. I thought we could relax a bit before the ceremony.”

“Thanks, Kagome. You’re the best. You need to hold on to this one. I think he likes you.”

“I intend to. And yeah, I think you’re right.”

As they sat to join her for breakfast, Kikyo asked,

“What’s with the man servant?”

“That’s Kai. Sesshoumaru sent him to look after me while he’s out. And he’s a Western Soldier, not a servant.”

“Kai? Was he the one-”

“From the village, yeah, that’s him. We’re cool now. I think he has to guard me for punishment or something. You know how Sesshoumaru can be.”

“Cruel and unusual?”

“Exactly. Now come on, let’s eat! I’m dying to try out my new springs!”

Chapter Text

And so, they had another wedding under their belts. This one was much more extravagant than the last. Western guards lined the perimeter, and there must have been a hundred demons in attendance. None of them seemed thrilled to be there, but they watched the ceremony with great interest, taking notes on the strange human custom which they had never before been privy to.

They weren’t supposed to stand until the bride began her march with Kaede being the only family she had to give her away. But the moment Sesshoumaru and Kagome walked arm in arm ahead of them, the room stood out of respect to their lord. He looked so good dressed up in his formal kimono, and she couldn’t wait to get him out of it later.

Watching Miroku officiate to her two friends, she couldn’t help but look to Sesshoumaru as he spoke. His eyes never left hers as the monk said his piece, and she wondered if he was like her; imagining the two of them taking the vows instead of his brother.

He had deigned to give another toast, standing as an example to the others of his approval of the union. The feast was grand, and despite many having prejudices that they were forced to swallow down, everyone seemed to be having a pretty good time. Well, almost everyone.

Kagome noticed the somber face of the panther demon she recognized to be Touran, and she recalled the conversation she had with Sesshoumaru the night before. This female wanted her demon, and was holding peace hostage to try to obtain him.

Kagome was not without diplomacy, so she thought that maybe she could find a way to help. She looked to see Sesshoumaru busy entertaining a few of the older demons in attendance, and took advantage of his distraction to make her way over to the panther.

“Hi. I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Kagome.” She held out her hand to shake, but Touran simply looked at it, then away.

Kagome put her hand on the female’s cheek, turning attention back to herself.

“May I have a word with you? Outside?” She wanted to refuse. Who was this woman to demand anything of her? She was the Heir to the North! But curiosity won out in the end, and she stood.

“Fine.” They made their way out of the great hall.

Touran stood, doing her best impression of Sesshoumaru; aloof and uninterested. Kagome just stared at her, trying to think of how to break the ice. She eventually settled on,

“Sesshoumaru told me that you want to mate him. I just want to tell you, that’s never going to happen.” Touran’s eyes turned to fire, and she finally spoke.

“What do you know, human? You really think he’s going to end up with you? He’s been with countless females, me included, and has never stayed with them long. You are a fling. A morbid curiosity. That is all.”

She hadn’t known that he had slept with Touran, but it wasn’t a shock. He said he had used his body to settle business in the past. And she apparently used that to her advantage. But it wouldn’t work this time.

“You see this?” She held up her hand, and the panther’s eyes widened in shock at the house ring on her finger. “I have already moved in. He is mine now, and nothing will change that. He may have been receptive to physical blackmail in the past, but those days are over. So, you might as well think of something else you want, because he will get his land, one way or another. Trust me, you do not want a war with him.” Touran looked defeated, sinking a bit as Kagome spoke. Suddenly, the miko felt bad.

“I have wanted him ever since we were children. I thought, if I waited long enough, that he would come around to me,” she admitted, looking to the ground as she spoke. “I have turned down several desirable demons, in the hopes that Sesshoumaru would finally take me as his mate. It was never about politics. I think... I think I love him.”

Kagome softened at this. She understood what it was like to care for someone who didn’t want you back. She put a reassuring hand on Touran’s shoulder.

“But I have to remain strong in this. I can’t break now. I don’t want to go to war with Sesshoumaru, but I will do anything I can to be with him again. If there is even a chance that he doesn’t end up mating you, I have to take it.”

Kagome removed her hand with a frown. It seemed that the panther demon wouldn’t let up.

Then, she had a crazy thought. Could she go through with it?

“You will never be his mate, Touran. But, what would you do to have one more night with him?”

She thought back to the night she and Sesshoumaru had sex. He was, by far, the best she’d ever had. He wasn’t affectionate with her, but his skill in the bedroom was like nothing she had ever experienced. She had hoped that it would quench her thirst to simply have him, but she left only wanting more.

“If Sesshoumaru were to agree to a repeat performance, I suppose I could see my way to handing over some land. You would be okay with that?”

“No,” she answered, and the panther grew angry. “Then why even bring it up?”

“He would do anything I asked him to do. That means that there is only one way to Sesshoumaru, and it’s through me. The name of the game is called make Kagome happy.”

Touran was suspicious, but extremely intrigued.

“What do you want?”

Kagome steeled her nerves, refusing to let any trepidation seep through.

“I would never allow you to sleep with Sesshoumaru like you had before. I could, however, agree to a threesome, in which I was present.”

“A threesome?”

“Yes. Have you had one?”

“I have... but why would you do that?”

“Land,” she said simply. “Sesshoumaru gets what he wants from you; land, guard posts, whatever. You agree to his demands, and I will tell him to let you join us in a three way.”

Touran seemed to think this over a moment. “It’s not enough. I would need more than that for what he is asking.”

“He’s going to get it anyways, Touran. This way will just save a few lives. Agree, and you get a night with the sexy demon lord.” She put her face close to her ear, “And it will be good...” she promised in a whisper.

Touran was stuck. It wasn’t what she wanted, but it seemed like the best she was going to do. She was in love with Sesshoumaru. Apparently, she would be willing to give anything to experience his amazing body once more.

“Decide quickly. This offer won’t be on the table much longer.”

“Okay,” she conceded quietly. “You have a deal. What do I do?”

“You know where Sesshoumaru’s room is?” she nodded.

“Come there an hour after sundown, and be ready. We will be waiting.” She nodded in agreement, and left the party. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and she had to prepare.

Kagome was left standing outside alone. ‘What did I just do?’

******************

Inside, Sesshoumaru was talking with some soldiers that had once served his father, totally unaware of the deal being struck outside by his little miko. Kaede, who had apparently gotten into the sake, made her way over to him.

“Lord Sesshoumaru! How are ye, handsome boy?” He raised an eyebrow at the drunk old woman, and turned to face her.

“Woman-”

“That Kagome is one lucky girl. What I wouldn’t give to take ye upstairs-”

“Woman, perhaps you should lie down.”

“Will ye come with me?” She waggled her eyebrows in a very Miroku-like manner.

“I cannot-” he started, but she cut him off.

“Oh, I know ye are spoken for, darn the luck. Have ye any kin who might be willing to show an old woman a good time? I can’t get pregnant, ye knows!”

He shuddered at the thought.

“Unfortunately-”

“Oh, well how about one of yer demon friends? Mikos seem to be taking up with them lately, I’d like to see what all the fuss is about.”

He wondered if perhaps she had been given demon sake by some horrible mistake.

“I shall keep my eyes open for a willing demon, but on the condition that you take a nap first.”

“Deal!” She slapped him on the ass before taking off, and he was so stunned, he had no time to take her head for the offense.

Seeing the exchange, Jiro came to Sesshoumaru’s side.

“That is your future, my friend. Are you sure you are up for it?”

“Jiro-”

“I just don’t see what the fuss is about with these mikos you dogs are so obsessed with.”

Sesshoumaru thought a moment, and regarded his general.

“You have seen what they can do with their mouths…”

This stunned Jiro into silence as his lord walked off. He thought about it a moment, and looked to where the elderly miko had stumbled off to.

“Hmm.”

***********

It was already passed sundown when Sesshoumaru had Kagome back up in their room, and she was nervous about the topic she knew she had to breach. They were making out on their bed, and she figured now was the time, as it wouldn’t be long before he had her too distracted to think. She put her hands up to his chest and pushed him away gently.

“Sesshoumaru, wait.” He was still kissing her neck as she was trying to talk.

“I need to talk to you about something.”

“Hn.” He wasn’t interested in stopping his progress.

“I spoke to Touran today.” This had his attention. He stopped his kissing to look her in the eye; his hand still grasping the side of her face.

“What did she say to you?” If she threatened his miko...

“Nothing. We just had a chat about your negotiations, and we may have found a solution.”

Why was she talking to Kagome? And what was the miko doing brokering deals on his behalf. It was not for her to worry on. But he was curious.

“And?”

“She agreed to give you what you want. Land, trade...whatever you want. It’s yours.”

He was suddenly very suspicious. “What does she want in return?”

“Well, I kind of told her...we could have a threesome.” She waited for his reaction, but his stoic mask was all she got.

“Miko-”

“I’m okay with it, really. I’ve had one before-”

“And how did that work out?” She winced. She knew having a three way was effectively throwing a live grenade into your relationship.

“Look. You said you used to use sex as a means of ‘obtaining things which are desired-’”

“That was different.”

“Why?”

“Because they had never involved a woman who I had cared for. There was nothing to lose if the females became jealous.”

“I won’t be,” she assured him. But he was skeptical.

“So you say. You mean to tell This One that watching me penetrate another female will not cause any hurt feelings?”

“I can’t say that I will love it-”

“Absolutely not.”

“BUT, if I participate, I won’t hold it against you. You need the land. I don’t want a war. I’d say, this is a pretty easy way to get everything we want. Just an hour of work tonight, and you get your way.”

“Sharing you with anyone else is hardly ‘getting my way.’ We shall think of something else.”

“You know I am right. That demon is in love with you. She told me so. We can use this to our advantage. You are the master strategizer. Let’s just get this over with now.”

“I will not endanger our relationship. I have only just acquired you. I will not lose you over this.”

“You will never lose me. I give you my word,” she assured him. He was still unconvinced. “You think I would do anything that would hurt our relationship? You doubt This Kagome?”

He now understood how annoying that manner of speech could be when you were in no mood to hear it.

He huffed and looked away, and she turned his face back to her.

“Listen to me. Nothing will change between us. This is the best way. Come on, let’s give the poor girl a thrill.”

Were he with any other woman, the act would already taking place. She was right; the rewards he would reap would heavily outweigh any effort or pain on his end... But in this one case, the risk was too great.

Why was she willing to do this? Why was she so eager to test the bounds of this incredibly new and- he thought- promising relationship by so easily welcoming another female into their bed.

It had only been her bed for one day, and she was already handing out invitations. Did it not bother her to see him with another? Would that not cause her anguish? It would for him.

Then he thought to his past. It was true, that he had often used the leverage he had in his appeal to the opposite sex when it suited him. Could he do it just one last time? It made political sense, tactical sense... Would he let his new feelings weaken him in this regard?

The miko says she is fine with it. Hell, it had been her idea. Surely, many males would relish the opportunity. He was the master strategist, as she said. It was a numbers game. A game of risk. What were his odds that his relationship was strong enough to handle this mess? What would his losses be from war? He resigned himself with an audible sigh.

“Very well,” he agreed quietly. He was not at all happy with the situation. He should kill the panther for going behind his back.

She rewarded him with a loving kiss. “It won’t be so bad. Just try to have a good time.”

He had one stipulation. He would make only one demand of her.

“You must promise me, if at any time you become uncomfortable with what is occurring, you will tell me. I shall put a stop to it. I do not want you harboring any resentments later.”

“I promise,” she told him, and pulled him in for another kiss. He pulled her hips to grind her against him, but she pushed him back.

“You better save that energy. She will be here soon.” He sighed again and hung his head. This was awful. He finally had some time alone with her, and he had to relinquish it again to entertain another. He had been looking forward to spending the evening showing his mate to be how much she meant to him. These circumstances were very unfortunate.

This was all happening so fast, and he couldn’t remember the last time he was actually nervous like this.

“When she arrives, we shall first discuss the details of the land use before we begin. She may try to pull a fast one.”

“No. No talk of land until we are through.” At his confused look, she went on.

“She is giving up a lot just to be with you tonight. Let’s make it worth her while. We don’t want to make her feel like a whore.”

“She is behaving like a whore.”

“Actually, we are being the whores.” She had to snap him out of this. He looked like a beaten man.

“And try to act like you like it. I know demons don’t take emotions into account, but every girl wants to feel desired.”

He didn’t care what Touran wanted, but he would cater to Kagome’s every whim to make her as comfortable as possible.

“How should I behave?”

“Well, you could kiss her. Be affectionate. Make her feel pretty. Just don’t act like you want to be somewhere else. Make it seem like you like it. I mean, really sell it. As long as we’re here, right?”

Kagome figured that if they were actually going to go through with this, it was in their best interests to make the panther as happy as possible. The more satisfied she was with their performance, the more inclined she would be to indulge Sesshoumaru’s demands later.

“Hn.” He was stretching his mind for a way out of this, but coming up empty.

“We’re gonna blow her socks off! She will be eating out of the palm of your hand after this.”

A thought occurred to him then.

“I hope you do not plan to take the same tactics with your wolf. I will not share you with a male, no matter how much land is offered.”

“Relax. Kouga is already eating out of my hand. Plus, he is way too scared of you to even ask such a thing.”

A knock at the door caused them to share a look. He rose to answer.

“Wait. Take your shirt off. Let’s show her what she’s getting.” He fixed her with a glare, but removed his haori at her request.

“I feel like a piece of meat.”

Another knock. “Just a sec!” Kagome called out, and looked back to her lover. Sesshoumaru was looking straight into her eyes.

“Kagome,” the rare use of her name got her full attention. “I know what I had said before, about love being a trait constructed by humanity. But it does not matter what we call it. What I feel for you, it feels like love to me.” She began to tear at the admission, and he held her cheek in his hand.

“It is not simply familiarity over time. It is more than the urge to breed. I know it is real, because... I love you.” He was ashamed that it had to take something like this to draw such a confession from him. But he wasn’t telling her this to simply soften the blow of what was about to occur. He meant what he said, and he needed her to know it right now.

She kissed him then, and rested her forehead against his.

“I love you, Sesshoumaru. I always have.” He had a pained, longing look in his eye. Because he knew what he had to do next.

“You better get that.” She sat on the bed as Sesshoumaru answered the door.

Touran stood on the other side, made up as pretty as she had ever been. With a topless Sesshoumaru opening the door, she blushed shyly, and he beckoned she enter.

She had some scrolls in her hand, and thought he would want to get down to business before they...got down to business.

“I guess you want to go over the details before we begin.” He looked to Kagome for permission, and she nodded encouragingly. Sesshoumaru grabbed the scrolls out of her hand and set them down on the table, though his gaze never left hers. He stood close to her then, and grazed his knuckles against her cheek.

She was not prepared for the softness in his eyes. She knew this was a transaction, and she didn’t expect the cold demeanor he usually donned to change simply because he was inside her. She assumed he would just bend her over, as he had before. And she wouldn’t complain. If she couldn’t see his beautiful face, she could at least pretend he felt something for her, if only for one night.

“You look...very beautiful,” he told her. She seemed shocked at the compliment. The last time they were together, he had offered her no kind words. No gentle caresses. He relied on his skills to play her body like an instrument, and she had no complaints at the time. Demons were not usually affectionate beings, and it wasn’t required. Sex was only about pleasure, and he had more than come through in that regard. She couldn’t deny, however, that the attention he was now gifting her with was causing her heart to soar in a way she had never known. But she had little time to register it. He slowly moved his lips over hers, and gave her a long, soft kiss.

She lifted her hand to the back of his head, and returned it with all that she had. He moved to kiss down her neck, and began to remove her dress with practiced ease. They were motions he'd made so many times, on so many females, that he had to make an effort not to simply slip into autopilot. He would need to show affection this time, despite his desire to numb himself again. Kagome stood then, and made her way over to the pair.

As Sesshoumaru removed her clothes, Kagome turned the female’s face to her and gave her a kiss of her own. She had no interest in the human’s attentions, but she knew this was a package deal. Once Touran was completely undressed, Sesshoumaru moved behind her to kiss her neck from behind, and wrap his hands around her hips.

Kagome broke the kiss to undress herself, and when Sesshoumaru moved his hands up to the demon’s breasts, she turned her head to kiss him once more. Once devoid of her clothing, Kagome placed her mouth on the panther’s nipples, testing them with her tongue. She flicked the peaks until hard, before rising back to full height and leading her to the bed by the hand.

As Sesshoumaru watched the two females become familiar with each other on his bed, he was torn in two with his warring instincts. On the one hand, his body was reacting as any male’s would in this situation; excited, and eager. On the other, watching the woman he loved be pleasured by another, even a female, had his beast raging to claim. To possess. It felt like a threat, and prevented him from experiencing full enjoyment.

He simply stood there a moment, watching them gently lick and caress one another. He wasn’t sure if he was intentionally delaying his own involvement, but had little time to think on it.

“Sesshoumaru, come and sit,” his girlfriend demanded, and he obliged. He was the reason the panther was here, and he couldn’t ignore her forever. He sat on the bed’s edge, and the girls each approached him from either side. Kagome commanded Touran’s attention.

“Isn’t he the sexiest thing you have ever seen?” He bore the weight of each of their scrutiny, waiting to follow their lead.

“Touran, tell Sesshoumaru he is the sexiest demon you have ever seen,” she demanded. The miko seemed to be taking control of the situation, and oddly, looked comfortable in her role. She would lead them in this.

“You are the sexiest demon,” she admitted softly. The demons held eye contact for a brief moment. He almost felt guilty. He knew how the panther felt about him. And he was fairly certain she was aware that he didn’t feel the same. That he was taking advantage of her like this weighed on him heavier in this moment, and for the first time he considered that his girlfriend might not be the only one hurt by what was about to go down.

Before he could wonder if he should end this now, Kagome pulled him into a heated kiss. When she broke it to kiss and lick the side of his face and neck, Touran used her hand to turn his head her way, and gave him a deep kiss of her own. He wasn’t the only one taking advantage in this situation. He hadn’t been willing to kiss her before. Now that he was, she was going to get her fill. She had often fantasized about getting to put her lips on his, and she was loving every second of it.

Kagome moved her attentions downward, removing his hakama for him, and reclaimed her spot at his side to begin pleasing him orally. The action caused him to gasp into the panther’s mouth as she continued her attentions, fighting to control himself against the double assault.

When Kagome beckoned Touran to join her in his lap, however, it was like a bucket of ice water.

“No, Kagome,” he said firmly. She knew his position on demon bitches. That was an act reserved specifically for her.

“Relax, Sesshoumaru,” she demanded, grabbing Touran tightly at the throat. “She won’t hurt you. She knows if she does, if you show discomfort for even a second, that I will purify her where she sits, don’t you Touran?

“Yes...” The panther was frightened by the threat, but titillated by the prospect of preforming such an act. This was something he would have never allowed in the past.

“Now put him in your mouth, and you be very, very careful. That thing is incredibly valuable to me.”

He was reeling inside. He hated this, and every part of him was screaming at him to run. But Sesshouamru never ran. It would have to be in the hands of the kami now.

Touran started slowly, and carefully as she was instructed. Using only her tongue, she joined the miko in licking him until he regained the hardness that had been lost; occasionally making contact with the other tongue in his lap. When she moved to put her mouth around him, she made sure to cover her fangs with her lips, and moved at an incredibly slow and delicate pace.

The pleasure of the contact began to seep through, but his claws clenching the sheets beside him was mostly due to his unease with the situation. Satisfied that she was a close enough proximity to kill the panther if she tried anything, Kagome released her to focus on Sesshoumaru herself; making out with him hard and raising his tense hands from the sheets to grab her breasts instead.

Touran wasn’t as good as pleasuring him as Kagome. She couldn’t be as reckless, having to use measured movements to ensure his safety. But it still felt good, and having his love to kiss and squeeze during the attentions was a very nice perk of the position.

Touran was bent over his lap, and after a moment of her attentions, he grew bold enough to use his fingers to stimulate her in return. He intended to prepare her for what was to come, but the slickness he found there told him that she was way ahead of him.

When the panther moved her mouth’s focus onto the human woman, he moved behind her to offer the pleasure he could give. He was making eye contact with Kagome throughout the act- when her eyes were open- and mouthing his love for her when he had her attention, hoping she understood. His eyes were trained on her face, ready to halt his actions the second she seemed displeased.

Touran was an adapter. An extension on his dick through which he was trying to force a current to eventually make it through to the miko. He tried to move in a way that would cause the panther to touch his miko in just the way he had wanted to. The ways he knew would bring her the most pleasure. He was ever the strategist, even now.

When the females’ roles had reversed, he finally got to be inside the one he longed to touch, but now was forced to look into the face of the demon who claimed to love him. He mouthed no words of affection to her, but their eyes seemed to relay to each other in silent communication.

‘This woman tho!’

The hardest part for him was taking the panther face to face. He could have easily worn his stoic façade to mask the pain he felt at laying with a woman who was not his intended, but it would have been inappropriate. It was what he had done the last time they were together, but she was unable to see it. He hadn’t been inclined to fuck her in any manner other than that of a demon bitch. And she certainly hadn’t seemed to mind it. Not that he would have cared if she did.

The best he could do was force himself to believe that it was Kagome writhing beneath him, so that the passion in his features appeared genuine. But the demon had known him since he was a pup, and he had the feeling that she was aware of what- or who- was on his mind as he pleased her. It was clear to her that this was all for the priestess beside them, who he was stimulating with his fingers as he fucked her.

They seemed to rotate positions naturally, exploring nearly every combination possible. This was a first for none of them, save for each one harboring an ‘emotional hang-up' for another member of the party. As the night went on, the stress and discomfort seemed to lessen. They were able to find more ease with the situation as they became able to compartmentalize their emotions and simply focus on the pleasure to be had.

Sesshoumaru began the night already equipped with the knowledge of how to please both females, and they, him. They learned to please each other as well, and each was brought to peak more than once.

When he had managed to coordinate his moves to cause both females a simultaneous orgasm, he was nearing his own end. He would only climax in the miko, as her likelihood of conceiving was much less. And not at all a distressing prospect.

It was an incredibly long night; more than the hour he was estimated. And though pleasurable at times, he was more than glad when it was over. Hopefully, there would be no consequences for what they had done.

When Touran grabbed her clothing and made to redress, Kagome elbowed Sesshoumaru and nodded in the panther’s direction.

“You may stay the night, if you wish,” was his final act of kindness for the evening. Stunned at the offer, but not enough not to accept, she returned her clothes to the floor, and joined the couple in sleep.

Chapter Text

Jiro wasn’t necessarily shocked at the scene before him. If anything, it was more troubling that he stood mere feet away and his lord was none the wiser. Though, he supposed he shouldn’t be too surprised. It appeared as if the young demon had been quite busy last night.

He dozed in his bed, in a sleep so deep he would not detect a threat that were right in his face. He hadn’t seen him in such a state since they were pups. And back then, he certainly didn’t have a nude female on either side, clinging to him in their own unconscious bliss.

Such a situation was not uncommon for a demon of his stature. It was simply uncommon for this particular demon of stature. This was the second time in as many nights having caught Sesshoumaru engaging in wanton acts of carnality; before that, he couldn’t even remember the last time he’d seen any evidence of a female in his lord’s vicinity. He would learn of them, later, when deals had been struck or certain moves had been made with no other explanations apparent.

He had wondered if he would alter his methods now that he no longer retained the status of eligible bachelor, but it appeared he now had his answer. He had assumed that the miko would demand he put a stop to it, but he was also aware that this woman was not your average female. Perhaps she wouldn’t be as much a hindrance as he’d thought.

A forceful clearing of his throat was meant to inform the lord of his presence, but it was only the miko who stirred at the noise. He had expected her to flush with embarrassment once made aware of him, but when she cracked her sleepy eyes, she only fixed him with a look which betrayed annoyance.

She regarded him coolly for a long moment, no words exchanged between them. Finally, as if resigned to the intrusion, she gently placed her palm on the side of Sesshoumaru’s face to wake him.

His senses seemed to regain slowly, culminating in the opening of his amber depths to finally recognize the woman staring back into them, mere inches from his face. Seeing a genuine smile plastered across her features, he returned it with one of his own, causing Jiro to flinch at the unfamiliar sight.

The miko’s eyes cut to him then, causing Sesshoumaru to follow her line of sight. And once his attendance in the room became known, the demon’s eyes narrowed dangerously; a far cry from the warmth they had just held.

“I do not recall giving you permission to enter, Jiro.”

His tone was deadly, and promised ill fate to the one at which it was directed. The General was unfazed, however, for once not intimidated by his lord’s idol threat.

“That is likely why I do not recall asking.”

The tense exchange alongside the flaring of youki from the conversing demons caused the fourth party to stir from her sleep as well. Her brief elation at waking beside The Western Lord was short-lived, as she quickly became aware of the extra presence in the room. This female did flash signs of embarrassment, likely at being caught in her ill-gotten dealings, before masking the signs with her own façade.

“Now that everyone is up, perhaps we can begin.”

“I should go,” Touran began to sit up, but Jiro halted her ascent.

“No. I am glad you’re here, Touran. This concerns you as well. May I assume then, that an agreement has been reached concerning our land deal?”

His audacity was astounding, and Sesshoumaru was currently running the risk/reward in his head from killing his general on the spot. If he felt so comfortable barging into his room and disrespecting his females in his presence, perhaps he could afford the time it would take to train a replacement. Touran’s calm insertion at least delayed his punishment.

“You are correct, Jiro. I trust Sesshoumaru will take only what he believes to be fair.” She had been true to her word, and therefore earned his respect. He was sure to relay that in the brief gaze he allowed her.

“Excellent. My Lord, I have been critical of your methods in the past, but it appears you have-”

“Jiro,” he had really pushed his luck, and was sure he was to pay dearly for it later.

“Leave.” He had worn out his welcome, not that he’d ever had it, and didn’t attempt to test the last thread on which his life appeared to be dangling. With a nervous smile and a bow, he made his exit with no further comment.

Touran stood and dressed, while Sesshoumaru remained in bed with his girlfriend. He had an unreadable countenance, gazing at Kagome in what seemed to be a sort of appraisal. Was she okay with what happened? Had they made a mistake?

But the warm smile she gave him offered nothing but admiration, and she pressed it to his face to steal a good morning kiss. ‘So far so good,’ he thought with only slight relief. He would have to let it marinate a bit before he could determine the true effects. But in the meantime, he kissed her back, trying to relay his love for her so that she need not question.

As Touran made to leave, Kagome stopped her progress, “Wait!” The panther turned, curious as to what the miko wanted. Kagome got up and put on a robe.

“I need to talk to you real quick. Just let me go get dressed.” At Sesshoumaru’s worried glance, she offered, “It’s all good, I promise. Why don’t you say goodbye, and I’ll be waiting outside.”

Touran approached him, still in bed after Kagome left for her adjoining chambers.

“Thank you, Sesshoumaru. For everything.”

“Thank Kagome. This was her doing, as you know.”

“She really is something, isn’t she?”

He only huffed informally, somewhere between amused and incredulous.

“I see what you see in her. I know no one else here does, but she has a light...” she was having a hard time putting it into words.

“I know I have been difficult, and for that I am sorry. I just wanted you so badly... but I hadn’t taken your wants into consideration.” She was speaking softly, and her words were genuine.

“I never suspected you had any real emotions. You hide them so well. But seeing you with her... I was wrong. I love you, Sesshoumaru. So much so, that I truly wish for your happiness. That is why I will leave you be. The path to your happiness seems to be in the form of that human girl. I will not stand in your way any longer. You have my word.”

She leaned down to him then, and placed a hand behind his neck. When she pulled him into a kiss, he did not resist. He knew it would be their last, and he would allow her this. When they broke, she gave him a sad smile, and went to speak with the woman he loved.

He just sat and watched her go, but his mind was on the miko outside. Until mere hours ago, he was so certain that love didn’t even truly exist. And even on the off chance that it had, it was nothing he had any use of or interest in. In nearly eight centuries, none had ever expressed harboring such emotions for the daiyoukai; at least not to him. Now suddenly, he had heard the confession twice in a twelve hour period. And it was all because of Kagome.

She stirred the emotions within him to cause him to make such a confession himself, and she had returned in kind. And though true that he didn’t love Touran, it was Kagome’s insistence that he display some affection to her that likely gave her the courage to admit such a thing to him.

He couldn’t help but wonder if that was the key to gaining such regard from others. He didn’t seek a romantic love from anyone else but his miko, but perhaps opening himself up a bit deeper would inspire a new depth of trust from his followers, and from pack mates. Sure, he had their respect; their loyalty. But he was now seeing the value in tapping deeper to gain something stronger, and more powerful from them. Perhaps Kagome knew this as well...

On the other side of the door, Kagome had been waiting. Touran initially felt panic when the miko threw up a barrier around them, but relaxed once she realized that it was most likely for some privacy from the sharp hearing of the demon lord who held both of their hearts in his palm.

“Thank you, Kagome, for-”

“Okay listen.” She cut her off, somewhat surprising the panther.

“You got what you wanted. This was a one-time deal, understand?” She nodded.

“You did what you said what you were going to do, and I respect that. But you are never to approach him sexually for anything in the future. If you ever get it in your head that you want to be with him again, you come to me. But never him, got it?” The panther was shocked by her curtness, but nodded in understanding.

‘Would she allow such a thing to happen again? Perhaps if the circumstances were right...’

But she’d given her word to Sesshoumaru. Still, she would file the information away for later.

When Kagome was satisfied the panther understood, she pulled her in for a quick, seemingly obligatory kiss, and vanished back into the dog demon’s room. Despite the night they had just shared, the kiss, for some reason, felt awkward.

****************

It had been hours since Sesshoumaru had taken to his desk. Now with a deal finally in place, he could draw out the plans for his expansion. He would remain true to his word, and not be excessive in his eminent domain. He would take enough to make himself comfortable, and no more. He hadn’t really had to give up much for it, provided his relationship didn’t suffer as a result.

It appeared that Kagome had been right. In offering his body, and extending his affection in the process, Touran had been more than fair in what she had offered in return. He hadn’t even needed to draw out the details before they began, and was not taken for a fool. Not only that; she seemed to now understand that their mating could never be, and even freely gave his relationship her blessing. Not that he needed it; it just made his life easier. Kagome seemed to have a knack for leadership and negotiations, despite only being in The Western Lands a day. He wondered where she had acquired such fortitude.

His musings were interrupted when the miko in question let herself into his study, and made her way to his side. Since last night, she had been walking around with an air of confidence that seemed new on her, which was the exact opposite of what he was expecting. She had also remained true to her word, displaying no jealousy or regret of their actions, and his part in them. Regardless, he was being extra attentive toward her; wanted to be sure to leave no question in her mind where his loyalties lie.

She had his full attention as she rounded his desk. He waited to hear whatever she had wanted to tell him, but she said nothing. She made her way behind him and stopped, placing her hands on his shoulders to begin working the tension out of his neck.

She knew he was uncomfortable with the previous arrangement, but he had made the smart move. They now had everything they needed, and there remained peace between the lands. She wanted to make sure he knew she wasn’t harmed by the experience, and appreciated his involvement.

Another strange feeling had been flowing through her as well. Something foreign, and sinister. It was like a sense of accomplishment, at getting him to do her bidding. She had the dog on a leash, and now knew without question that she could have him do anything on a whim, she need only request it. She should be appalled at the cruelness of the thought, but was consumed by the power of it.

He closed his eyes and relaxed his neck, letting her work the knots from his shoulders. As she rubbed him, she leaned over his shoulder to see what had him occupied at his desk so long. She recognized Tanaka’s name on areas in the scroll, with a fresh line drawn through them.

“Who will be Tanaka’s replacement?” she asked him, and he seemed startled at the question. Why was she reading his scrolls? And why such a sudden interest in his politics? She needn't worry herself.

“No heir has yet been named. Kashi has no other family of which This One is aware, so it is likely he will choose among his generals,” he decided to inform her anyway, not seeing any harm in it.

“Why don’t you pick someone for him?” He turned to look at her, and for some reason became slightly suspicious of her intentions.

“They are his lands. It is his decision. It is not my place to interfere.”

“But the dragons have been nothing but trouble, right? You are stronger than him, why not just force him to pick someone you approve of?” The ethics of it was terrible, and he couldn’t form an answer.

“Think about it. You have Touran eating out of the palm of your hand now. Kouga is eating out of mine. If we had an ally as Heir to the South, we would basically run the entire country.”

‘We?’ Why was she talking like she was a lady of land? Sure, she was to be his mate, eventually. And he appreciated her input and judgement to a degree, but mates of lords had no say in the goings on of the lands.

He supposed, it did work to his advantage that Kouga had been in love with her. If the fear he harbored for the demon lord wasn’t enough to ensure his cooperation in most things, his regard for her would likely take care of the rest.

And Touran was in love with him. Now that she agreed to put the mate business to rest, he assumed he could still use her feelings to his advantage. But he needn’t rely on all that. He would succeed because had the best ideas. The best armies. He could stand on his own. She was becoming somewhat opportunistic, and it was beginning to concern him. Still, she continued.

“Do you know of any dragons who will bend to your will, if named as heir?”

“I know of none.”

“What about Ah-Un?” He snorted.

“The dragon is a beast of burden. It is in no way fit to rule.”

“Well, where did you get it? Does it have any family we can pursue?”

“The dragon was bred and sold. It has no family.”

She rounded on him then, forcing him to move back as she took a seat on the edge of his desk and crossed her legs.

“How about some reconnaissance work? Basically, only dragons can survive in The South, right? Well, send Ah-Un there. Have it live in the South, make some friends, gain some trust. When a suitable dragon takes it into its confidence, we convince Kashi to name it as heir. Then we will be unstoppable.”

There was that ‘we’ again. He was already unstoppable. He had no interest in continuing with her strange line of questioning.

Rising to stand, he forced her legs apart so that he may stand between him. His kiss was commanding as he ran his clawed hands up her skirt, bunching it in the process. She threw her head back to moan, and he took the opportunity to devour her throat, while at the same time hooking his fingers around her panties and dragging them down her legs.

Once removed from his hakama, she smiled wickedly at him and wrapped her legs around his waist. He took her fast and hard, while keeping his face very close to hers throughout. He much preferred this to sharing her, and simply wanted to drown himself in her scent. He needed her to know that she was the only one he would ever want, and the way she clung to him for dear life soothed the ache in his being ever since last night.

The desk was thumping against the floor at his movements, and the claws at the wooden edge dug grooves in the top. When she came, she bit down on his earlobe, drawing blood. And when she began using her mouth to clean up the wound, it pushed him over the edge as well.

He picked her up off the desk, legs still wrapped around him, and sat them back down in his chair. He just wanted to hold her near; to wash away the memory of inviting another to disturb their intimacy. He couldn’t fathom how much it had affected him.

He had used sex to settle business a thousand times, but this last time was hard to get over. It felt like it had cheapened what they had shared with one another, and he was afraid it would change things between them physically, and otherwise.

If this was any indication, it appeared that everything still seemed to work right. His insecurity, however, was a new and very unwelcome emotion.

Chapter Text

He supposed he should be happy. He had been worried that their night of intimacy with the panther demon would cause some jealousy on Kagome’s end. But for her part, she had been cool and collected about the whole thing. She wasn’t punishing him, and had even encouraged his attentions later that morning on the edge of his desk. It seemed his worries had been unfounded.

Still, something was amiss. He couldn’t place as to what, but the miko seemed...off. The usually soft and caring woman had been speaking strangely. Even for her. It just, was unlike her. She now deemed fit to offer advice on his political dealings, though he hadn’t asked for it. And was suddenly very free with her opinions on matters that, frankly, were none of her concern.

And the opinions she seemed to adopt as of late had been shocking ones. Her ideas were underhanded, and thoughts lacked the moral compass which she had previously displayed. Perhaps she was simply in a mood... He knew there would be some repercussions for the previous night. Hopefully they would soon run their course, and he would have his sweet little miko back.

Until then, he had business to attend.

When Sesshoumaru opened the door to his war room to commence his third council meeting in as many days, he wasn’t greeted with the respectful standing at his presence which he normally was afforded.

Aside from Touran and her father, all the other demons present wore huge grins, and began a round of applause at the dog demon’s entrance. Suggestive whistling and hooting accompanied the clapping, and he approached the table with a deadly unamused countenance.

“There he is! My I present: The Western Gigolo! How ya feelin’, lover boy?” Apparently, the others had been made aware of his goings on the previous evening, and even saw fit to mock him. Haki at times felt immune to his wrath because of the place he once held with his father. It seemed he had yet another demon to remind of their place in his presence.

He didn’t respond as he took his seat, and Kouga felt empowered enough to join his father’s taunting.

“Man, Touran. You gotta tell me what this guy does in bed that would warrant surrendering all that land. Does he hold the cure for pox in his dick or something?” After he was kind enough to not kill him for touching his miko, this is how he is repaid? Perhaps he made a mistake.

“I see discretion is not your strong suit, Touran?” he accused, fixing her with a most displeased expression.

“It wasn’t me. You can thank your general for that one,” she informed. Jiro was already on thin ice. They would definitely be hashing this out in the dojo later on.

“If you are all quite finished, perhaps we can finally go over the expansion plan regarding the lands? Some of us are interested in getting some work done, after all.”

“Sure! We all know how hard you have been working, Sesshoumaru! Such sacrifices you make for The West. I am surprised you have the energy to attend council this morning.” Even Kashi was joining in on the fun. Their comfort in teasing him was most disconcerting.

“Enough!” it didn’t have the effect he was going for- pant pissing fear, but the command at least silenced the group enough so that they could continue. He couldn’t remember the last time he had a headache, but his temple was beginning to throb.

As they pulled out the maps and went over the guard lists, all turned at the sound of the door opening to watch the miko walk through. Sesshoumaru was miffed that she would just let herself into his meeting, and found himself grow quite annoyed at her gall. ‘We will have to have a discussion regarding etiquette within the fortress.’

They took turns looking to Sesshoumaru with uncertainty, and back to the miko who invaded their private meeting. What was she doing here?

She made her way to the table, looking to the scrolls as she sauntered to Sesshoumaru.

“Is everything alright?” he asked her, trying to contain his upset.

“I’m fine,” she responded without looking at him, “How’s it going?”

“We are in council, miko. If there is something you require-”

“Are those the proposed guard posts? I was thinking you should-”

“Miko,” his tone took on a harsh edge. “This meeting is for council members only. If you would kindly leave This One until he is finished, we could-”

“I just think you should move this station here to the water’s edge. That way, you could access the lands from the sea as well.”

That she had barged into their meeting was outrageous enough. Cutting off their lord in the middle of his sentence was unfathomably disrespectful, and caused the rest of the council to eye him warily. If it had been any of them, they would be lucky to still be breathing. What would he do to her?

He furrowed his brow as he prepared to respond, but was interrupted again by yet another intruder. Kai came running in out of breath, and excited with fear.

“I am sorry, My Lord. I told her-”

“I told you it's alright, Kai. Sesshoumaru wants me here, don’t you?” He really didn’t. What was she thinking? He needed to be harsh with her, but after the threesome last night, was warring with himself on how delicate he should be with her feelings. He was trying to form a response, but Kouga jumped to the rescue.

“Hey, it's no problem. We all love Kagome, don’t we guys?”

“Kagome can be trusted. I see no harm in allowing her to remain,” Touran interjected. The three elder demons in the room pinned Sesshoumaru with a worried glance, but said nothing.

“We have no seat for you,” Sesshoumaru tried to justify, but she was undeterred.

“That’s okay. I’ll just sit here,” she moved to her dog demon and sat on his lap. He couldn’t explain the rage he felt at her right now, and for once was at a loss of words.

She busied herself with the scrolls in front of him, and became very open with her opinions on their official matters. She had remained for the meeting, and he was so beside himself with anger that he could hardly focus on the matters at hand. He didn’t know what bothered him more; her audacity, or that the others in council seemed to consider and agree with many of her proposals.

When it was over, he was quite eager to take her off to express his displeasure, but she was too quick for him. “Man, I’m starved. I’m gonna go get some lunch. Meet you later?” she asked, but awaited no response. She would receive none anyhow, but still leaned forward to plant a quick kiss on his lips, and was out the door.

He remained seated in his chair, and soon only he and Kouga remained.

“What the hell was that?”

He wasn’t sure how much he should say to the wolf, but he needed an outlet.

“Can you believe that? What was she thinking?”

“Well, you can’t be too mad.” He couldn’t? At his look, Kouga elaborated with a shrug.

“She had some good points. I never knew she had such a mind for politics.”

Neither did he. “Regardless, it is not her place. She is not even Lady of the West yet, but if she were, mates of lords have no say in these meetings. This shall not be repeated.”

“Not so fast, Sesshoumaru. She is an asset. You need to let her come to the next meeting.”

“Are you a fool? That was completely-”

“I know, I know. But think about it. It would be crazy not to hear her out.”

He was implying it was he who was crazy? “Why?”

“Because. She can tell the future. She knows what's going to happen. We can’t ignore her rare insight into these matters.”

Sesshoumaru huffed and looked away.

“I know this is probably uncomfortable for you, but don’t let your pride cloud your judgement. If you had, you wouldn’t be with her in the first place.” The wolf had a point. He hated when that happened.

He had to think about this. He would still be having words with her about her position in his house.

Chapter Text

The dojo was silent, eerily so; aside from the blood curdling sound of hard meat and bone coming into contact with badly bruised flesh. Every so often, an involuntary moan or gurgle could be heard slipping past the lips of the unconscious Western General.

Despite the stands being packed with friendly spectators, none would come to his aid. None would dare. For the one dishing him out his punishment was the only one who would outrank him, aside from the newly appointed heir. And even those who had wanted to step in and put an end to this gratuitous display valued their own life too much to approach The Western Lord in his current state.

The match started out commonly enough. Each opponent had his sword in hand, and blows were exchanged. The crowd cheered and roared with excitement, as it had been some time since their leader had seen fit to step onto the platform to show off for them; and as Jiro was the only one who could give him even a slight run for his money, it was going to be a good fight.

It wasn’t long before Sesshoumaru had disarmed him, and the fight should have stopped there. Instead, he tossed his own sword aside and began pummeling his general within an inch of his life. It had only taken a few forceful blows to the head to see him knocked down, but instead of halting his actions to claim his victory, he straddled the bloody and swollen demon to continue raining punches across his previously unmarked features.

These were supposed to be friendly spars. Even those who were hashing out disputes only remained in the fight until there was a clear winner, and then called a truce. Sesshoumaru, despite his vicious nature, was a demon of ethics. And though Jiro had not technically tapped out of the fight, it was clear that he would have, had he been able.

That was when cheers of encouragement from the crowd became muted, as all watched in morbid horror at the unbridled assault still taking place in front of their eyes. By the glowing red in his eyes, and the painful, dominating youki emanating from his being, any who knew Sesshoumaru could see that the powerful demon was no longer himself. His beast, usually kept reasonably at bay, had full control of his faculties, and was a lethal threat to any who would stand in his way. So they could only watch.

It was clear that this was personal. Whatever the Western General had done to deserve such a beat down, it had to have been quite an injury to their lord. Several in the audience had already seen fit to exit, whether in fear of their own safety, or simply unable to continue bearing witness to the gross overuse of force from the normally stoic and unaffected demon. At this point, it looked likely that he was going to kill him.

Inuyasha came onto the scene then. He was irritated that now this time he had been interrupted by a Western Soldier, as he had been enjoying his honeymoon with his new wife, and had not left his chambers since his wedding night. The guard’s panic unsettled him enough to deign to leave his room, and at his request, come down to the dojo to try his hand at talking some mercy into his enraged half-brother.

His eyes grew wide as he saw what was taking place, and he didn’t hesitate a moment before rushing to the daiyoukai’s side. Even at his worst, he had never seen Sesshoumaru so beside himself with rage. So apparently inconsolable. He had borne the brunt of his displeasure on several occasions, though not in some time. And if he had thought that perhaps those days were behind the older dog demon, he was seeing that he still absolutely had it in him. It seemed he had just not seen fit to showcase it until this moment.

He was lucky to avoid getting battered himself, as he grabbed his brother by the arm and made to yank him off of Jiro. He didn’t budge at first, but putting his whole body between them and pushing, had at least managed to get the dog demon to back off- whether it was by force or mercy, he couldn’t be sure.

“Alright. Easy, psycho,” he instructed lowly. His proximity to his brother’s face made it easy to hear the growling tone to his breath, slipping past dripping fangs poking out over frothing lips.

Sesshoumaru regarded him a long moment as he breathed heavily, then took a step back to address the crowd. Voice ragged, he demanded, “Who’s next?” Silence, of course, followed.

“Kouga?” He turned to the wolf, who was visibly shaken, but at least trying to hide it.

“Hey, no thanks. I’m good.” He was sure he had wanted to thrash him by now, and wasn’t about to volunteer for the opportunity.

“Too tired from molesting other demon’s women to fight, cuss?” He wouldn’t dare to respond.

“How about you, Haki? Have you anything amusing to say to me now?” Perhaps he had gone too far in ribbing him at the meeting. He in no way had mistaken Sesshoumaru’s recent acts of kindness towards others as weakness, but perhaps his lord’s fury had not been on the forefront of his mind as of late. Maybe it should have been. He simply looked down and shook his head.

“Yoshi? You refuse to negotiate with This One? We may settle our differences then right here!” He held out his arms in invitation, and the panther could only stare back wide-eyed, instincts preparing for a possible fight of which he wanted no part.

He turned to the bulk of the crowd. “You think to challenge This Sesshoumaru? Challenge him now, if you dare!” It was an uncomfortable silence. They were too afraid to even move a muscle to leave, for fear of bringing attention to themselves; bringing attention to his beast.

Inuyasha put a brave, yet uncertain hand on his shoulder and pleaded, “Hey, man. Calm down.” Sesshoumaru dramatically shrugged him away.

“You think that you are now heir, you are a match for This One? Are you so eager for my title? It is yours; you need only take it from me,” he threatened. Daring his brother to fight. Begging him to. Inuyasha only regarded him sadly.

He thought he had changed. It was upsetting to see him still capable of such visceral, but he felt confident that though it was indeed still there, under normal circumstances it could be controlled. This must have been building up for some time. Perhaps this pressure cooker needed to release steam a little more often than as of late.

Kagome had been watching. She had come to the spars to watch Sesshoumaru in action, and had gotten quite a show for her first match. Normally, such a sight would have sickened her. She would have been appalled at his actions, and consumed by fear in his presence.

But seeing her incredibly strong, and devastatingly powerful demon lover impose his great force over the one who had wronged him brought out an entirely different emotion. She watched him render the demon useless, and taunt and challenge a room full of youkai to dare to cross him, and became overcome with a lust so strong she could no longer contain it.

She ran full speed to jump into his arms, and wrapped her legs around his waist as she kissed him with uncontained passion. This seemed to distract him from his previous bloodlust. Not controlling or tempering him, simply redirecting his dominance towards more pleasurable endeavors.

He grabbed her high on her thighs, pulling her against him forcefully as his claws broke her skin. The pain barely registered, as she was more focused on the unavoidable arousal only made stronger as she ground it into the throbbing erection pressing against her core.

He was kissing her roughly, inclined to display his dominance in one way or another. He held no shred of the tender care he had been showing her as of late, and when he shred her skirt and panties with a tear of his deadly claws, she only moaned in excitement to encourage him further.

If there were any in the fortress who were unaware that their leader had taken to fucking the human miko, they were certainly aware now. None would dare voice disgust, if that was what they indeed felt, as they watched the demon lord enter his priestess, and take her roughly in front of them.

The flaring of her reiki was terrifying to the defenseless demons in the crowd. Any previously in her presence could feel the power she harbored, and likely knew what she had done to Naraku. Seeing it displayed so outright, and warring with the unmatched youki of Sesshoumaru’s display, was a very unwelcomed and uncomfortable threat, causing a mass exodus from the dojo from those not rendered motionless in fear.

Inuyasha didn’t know what had come over Kagome, but he figured when she came to, she would likely be mortified at the way she was behaving. It wasn’t entirely uncommon for demons to take their females in the presence of others, but the sensibilities of humans tended to be much more tender...usually.

“Everybody out!” he demanded to the crowd. That was all most had needed to hear. There were a few that opted to remain to watch the show, but Inuyasha ordered them again, “Out!” Though the couple didn’t seem to mind at all now, he thought they might appreciate his actions once they came to their senses. He was a leader to these soldiers now, and it looked like this would be his first demand of them as heir.

He was snarling and thrashing as he took her while he stood. Whatever had been pent up in him these past few days was coming out in the form of this outlet. Taking his pound of flesh from Jiro was only the start. He needed a pound from his miko as well. Her recent behavior had pushed him to his limits. But if he had intended to put her in her place, she didn’t seem to mind it.

He flipped her over the edge of the platform, bending her over like a demon bitch to assert his dominance. To show her why his word would be heeded. She was moaning loudly at the intrusion, the sounds echoing off of the dojo walls. He took the skin above her pulse point in his mouth and bit down, though not enough to draw blood. Her reaction brought him down slightly from his demonic high.

“Do it! Make me yours, Sesshoumaru!” That was all he had been wanting to hear, but he was unable to fulfill her request. Though he longed to sink his teeth in her supple flesh, his instincts were strong, and currently at the forefront of his being. And, for a reason unknown to him, were screaming at him to desist.

This was wrong. All wrong. Sure, he could take her. Make her his mate here and now, as he desired to do. But he had once told her that he would not take her while she was not herself. And as much as it pleased him to have her in such a state; as a demon bitch would be if she were, she was clearly not herself. Something had been off with her lately. And until he could be certain of what it was, he could not proceed.

That wasn’t to say he couldn’t still take her this time, in this manner. Make her bend to his will, and shout her pleasure so that it reverberated off the dojo walls. And so he did, tearing his name from her throat as she came hard; and with a deafening growl of his own, he followed.

Chapter Text

His romp with the miko seemed to do the trick. The gold in his eyes would alert any that his beast was back at bay, and the blood covering the floor beside him alerted Sesshoumaru that his general had likely been relocated to the infirmary. If he was still alive, that is.

It wasn’t regret he felt at his actions. Jiro had it coming. He no doubt would be thinking twice before disrespecting his lord with such confidence again.

Still, it is possible that he had overreacted.

The miko didn’t seem beside herself with upset at her punishment, however. Despite not having any bottoms remaining that were suitable for cover, she wore a satisfied grin as he righted his own clothing; wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him into a kiss.

What was going on with her lately?

He attributed her odd behavior to the unfortunate, yet profitable, threesome they had shared with Touran. He had been walking on eggshells around her since that point, and that was likely why he had not been as harsh with her as perhaps was warranted. He had hoped whatever had gotten into his miko would run its course. But if it did not soon, he would have to take action. What that would be, he was not certain.

“You were wonderful, My Lord,” she informed him after breaking their kiss.

“You as well,” he deigned back, wrapping his hands around her slim waist.

“No... I mean yeah,” she answered his brief confusion by continuing her thought.

“I was talking about your spar. You really gave it to him,” he was miffed at her acceptance.

Kagome wasn’t one to condone violence unless absolutely necessary. In fact, the threesome they’d had was to prevent a war. She had once accused him of using sex as a means to get into a fight. It appeared he now had used sex to avoid one.

And though he himself had very much deemed Jiro’s punishment necessary, he had not expected her to agree.

“You were so sexy out there,” she pressed herself closer to him as she rocked her hips tantalizingly into his.

“So big, and strong...” she stretched her neck to be closer to his face, and he found himself leaning into her silent request.

“My big, powerful male,” she kissed him hungerly, but his response was on autopilot.

Was she mocking him? She doesn’t usually talk like that. So, she must be mocking him, right? Playing with him, by adopting the speech of his kind...

But there was no playfulness in it. The sarcasm usually present when she addressed him so was absent. He couldn’t put his finger on it...

The biting of his lip drew him from his musings, and caused him to slightly recoil. Not in pain, just...shock.

“Why did you not mate me, My Lord?” Why was she so eager all of a sudden? She had been the one who wanted to wait.

“I hope you have not reconsidered.”

“Of course not...” he assured her. She was still smiling up at him sexily.

“Miko...are you well?”

“Better than well. And you, My Lord?”

“Why address me as such?”

“Because you are. Are you not?”

“I am. But...” She lifted her face to meet his again, and licked the blood she had drawn from her bite.

The action had his cock twitching, instinct clamoring to regain its spot at the forefront of his being, but he kept it in check.

It was almost like...she was behaving as if she were a demon bitch. That was it. This was the way in which a proper bitch would act in his presence. Though one would not be so bold as to clash with him on his politics, or in front of his peers.

But the bloodlust, and resulting sexual lust...her desire to be taken as a bitch and subsequently mated...her reaction to the violence, and his ability to serve it so. This is what one such as he should want in a mate. What he once did.

She had said that she admired his strength and power, but that it was not what was important to her. She enjoyed his physical form and all it could accomplish, but she had preferred his kindness...his heart. Lately, it had seemed that she preferred he forgo his compassion in lieu of world domination, as a demon would.

Was it because of the threesome? Was she trying to appease his demon side, to keep him? Fit herself into a demon mold so that he would not take one in her place? It was unnecessary.

“Miko. You are aware that it is you whom This One desires?” She took that as an invitation to repeat their earlier actions, but that was not his intention. He was happy to proceed, but needed to be sure she understood.

“If This Sesshoumaru had desired a demon bitch for a mate, he would have taken one.” His words halted her attentions, as she seemed confused by his statement that had appeared to come out of nowhere.

“Then why do you hesitate?” It was a good question. One he could not answer. And until he could, he could not take her. He needed answers first.

“It has been rumored that a mating could see to extending one’s lifespan. Seeing as you are mortal, and I do not wish to lose you prematurely,” she allowed him to pull her close as he pandered, “I should like to wait until I have the information I require.” Not a lie, but perhaps not the entire truth.

“Well, where do we get that information?” She was impatient, but seemed to understand.

“I must visit an old friend. If anyone were to have such information, it would be he.”

“Let’s go then. Right now.”

“I cannot. I have a meeting with the council-” he could kick himself. For now she-

“Oh, good! I have some proposals to run by them. Remember the ones I had mentioned?”

He winced internally. He had remembered. She had wanted to segregate many of the humans in his lands in encampments. She claimed to protect demon kind from possible uprising. It was the wrong direction, however, for his carefully constructed plans of cohabitation.

“I have told you. It will not come to pass.”

“Sesshoumaru-”

“Miko!” He didn’t want to be harsh with her, but she was forcing his hand. He would not allow this to continue. A task made harder seeing as the council agreed with much of what she had proposed. She was making him appear as if he valued human comfort over demon well-being. And with the freedom he had allowed her as of late, perhaps they were correct. In any case...

“You call me your lord, yet you do not heed my word. It is my council, not yours. It is my word they hear.”

 

“You told me I could dictate my own destiny. I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want. Are you a liar then?”

“I had not anticipated this. You can do anything you wish. Except rule in my stead.”

“Don’t be a fool, Sesshoumaru.” Anger flared at the suggestion.

“You have no idea what is coming. I have lived among these humans. I know what they are capable of. I know you’re trying to be a nice guy, but these humans will only see it as weakness. Don’t make them right, Sesshoumaru. You must protect your people first. You must do right by The Western Lands.”

“You know nothing of what you speak!” he shouted back.

“You think to come in, and after a matter of days, to tell me my business? I live, eat and breathe The Western Lands. You are a tourist! Apparently on vacation from sanity as of late. You are not a welcome presence in my meeting. Know your place!”

Now he did flinch. He knew how that sounded. How she would take it.

For her part, she remained cool and collected. Her rage was palpable, though she saw fit not to express it outwardly. He was certain to pay for this, however.

“I guess I was wrong. You are not as strong as I thought.” He knew she was upset. He would wait until his visit with Bokusenou before he dug himself in deeper with her.

“As you wish, My Lord. I believe I will stay in The Western Lady’s room tonight. See that I am not disturbed.”

He knew she would make him pay, as only females can. Perhaps it was for the best. He needed time to think.

Chapter Text

Not usually one to lose focus, Sesshoumaru’s mental absence from the council meeting was hard to ignore. Though none were willing to address it, for fear of enraging the daiyoukai further. His display in the dojo had the entire fortress on edge, and everyone was in agreement to simply leave him be.

With his land deal in place, and plans already drawn up, there was little to discuss anyhow, so none took any issue with cutting the meeting short. He remained seated as the others took their leave, and his brother opted to stay back to check up on the dog demon.

“Sesshoumaru?” His mind was clearly elsewhere. Inuyasha snapped his fingers in the demon’s face.

“Hello? Hey man, you okay?” he finally regarded him then.

“What’s up?”

“Inuyasha. Are you not supposed to be enjoying your honeymoon? This One informed you that your presence in council may be suspended until your celebration has concluded.”

“Keh. I already told you, I needed a break. Kikyo’s being a real pill lately, and I had to get out of there.” Sesshoumaru snapped his head to his brother then.

“We’ve already been over this. Are you feeling okay bro?”

“What has your mate upset with you?”

“I dunno. One minute she was fine, and the next she was biting my head off. I thought it was the stress of the wedding and all, but I don’t know.”

“What has she said? Give This One specifics.”

“She’s just been...cold? It's like, she is frustrated with me. I thought maybe I was fucking her too much, but then she started getting more aggressive when I tried to cool things down.” Sesshoumaru absorbed the information. His gears were turning, but coming up empty.

“Oh, and get this. She called me half-breed. She never said that before. Maybe this wife stuff has gone to her head. I don’t know.”

“Do you suppose she is with child? It has been known to make women less pleasant at times.”

“I thought that too, but then she had her cycle. Feh, maybe the women are syncing up. I notice Kagome has been acting weird too.”

He couldn’t wait any longer for his answers. He needed to see Bokusenou now.

“I must go. I shall consult my advisor.”

****************

The trek to meet Bokusenou was a long one, and required him to venture deep within the dense forest. He wished he could say that was why he rarely made the journey, but he had never been one to lie to himself.

There were few in existence who could claim to be wiser and more knowledgeable than he; and to be in his presence meant that he would be made to endure the lack of fearful respect he preferred and was accustomed to receiving.

The tree often demanded that he humble himself. And since he usually only sought him out when he needed something from him, he had to lower his bar for deference and raise his level of tolerance for the subtle taunting the old demon was known for.

A moment after he reached the tree, the face of his advisor became present. He was incredibly ancient, so the dog demon waited patiently as he regained his sentience and garnered the strength to address him.

“Sesshoumaru. It has been some time since your last visit. How are you faring?”

“If I were well, I would not be here. This is not a social call.”

“It never is with you.” His lids at half mast could be construed as accusatory, but Sesshoumaru was willing to consider that his age simply made them too heavy to completely lift.

“I require information.”

The tree demon blinked his eyes slowly, apparently in no rush himself.

“You know my problem with you, Sesshoumaru? You never ask what I have been up to.”

“You are a stationary tree demon. I can suppose on an exciting day you may be allowed to witness a pair of squirrels fornicating; it is of no interest to This One. You will answer my questions.”

“Will I, insolent pup? True, I was a trusted advisor to your father. However, you do lack his charm, and apparently the respect of your elders...Things I am afraid I require to be forthcoming with any information.”

Sesshoumaru grit his teeth and pushed his rage way, way down.

“Bokusenou...what has you occupied as of late?”

“Nothing.” He was ready to saw off his branches.

“If you require excitement, perhaps This One will carve his name into your back.”

“I think not. It is a rather long name. Come on, Sesshoumaru. You would do well to adopt a sense of humor. Times like these are trying enough without one.”

Not one to usually show emotion, the pain and exhaustion in his features seemed to be enough to temper the tree demon’s taunting.

“Very well. What is it you need?”

“Have you any knowledge of matings between demon and miko?”

“I have heard rumor of a miko recently mating a dog half-demon. Though I am certain you are aware of that.”

He clenched his jaw tightly and responded through his teeth.

“I require information pertaining to a full demon, not half.”

“Well, seeing as you share blood, I am certain parallels could be drawn.”

He didn’t know how an old tree which never moved was able to obtain such intimate details about him so quickly. It was unnerving, but would hopefully prove useful.

“This One has heard tale of a rumor as well. One that involves expanding one’s lifespan by way of mating. Is this accurate?”

“Oh, I am afraid that rumor is just that,” he closed his eyes as he informed him. “But seeing as demons typically only mate other demons, their lifespans tend not to vary much.”

The previous throbbing in his temple had escalated to a full-on pounding.

“I am inquiring in regards to a human.”

If Sesshoumaru was going to refuse to be specific with him, he would purposely keep his answers vague as well.

“There is no instance in a mating itself expanding one’s lifespan. However, it is known that demonic youki forced into the human body can aid longevity. The lifespan of the partner is unrelated.”

“So, mating can expand the life of a human?” Is that not what he had just asked?

“The lifespan can be affected when youki is forced in by a bite, or...other appendages. The more the exposure, the longer the lifespan. The strength of the youki can also attribute to length.”

He had hoped that he would be able to link Kagome’s lifespan to his own, but being able to lend her his youki to at least increase it staved off his disappointment.

“Know you of any other effects? Anything specific to mikos?”

“I know of no other instance of a demon mating a miko. However, as you are aware, youki and reiki are born enemies. You may have experienced the effects of small amounts of the powers colliding.”

He thought to their intimacy, when their forces would war, to a most pleasant outcome.

“I assume you have not experienced the effects of larger quantities of reiki, however, as you are still before me now. Though, one could stand to reason, that if a large amount of youki were released into one with strong reiki, there could be some troubling effects. A war could be fought within, as both battled for dominance. If controlled properly, the powers could prove formidable. I cannot be certain; I am only hypothesizing.”

This would explain her unpleasant behavior. What would it mean for Kagome?

“Is it permanent?”

“I would assume so. However, as the one housing the powers gains more control and experience over them, I could see the effects evening out. If it was a woman, I could assume having a child might ease some of the tension once the child is born with some of the power.”

Sesshoumaru tried to digest what the tree demon was telling him. Was that what it was? Was her constant exposure to his powerful youki causing her some undesirable effects? If so, how could he help her gain control of them?

“I heard you are making strides in involving humanity in your society.” The demon lord heard his old advisor, but was no longer listening fully.

“I remember when you were a child. You housed all of the power you now employ, even then. You seem to be handling it much more gracefully now than you once did. Bear that in mind, pup.”

He heard that last part loud and clear, however.

He had always been a being of immense power. It simply took time to fully gain mastery of it, instead of letting it rule over him. If he understood Bokusenou correctly, he seemed to believe that whatever was going on inside the miko, would be for her alone to tame.

Chapter Text

Upon his return from his chat with his advisor, Sesshoumaru holed himself up in his study to take on his new task. Bokusenou had said that there had never been an instance of a demon mating a miko. And though he believed the tree demon, Sesshoumaru was nothing if not thorough. He had been pouring through his scrolls for hours, for hope of finding something on the topic; but to no avail.

It appeared that his brother’s case would have to remain the authority on the issue. And though helpful that they did indeed share blood, it was only by half. And a strong demon such as he could surely see different results when pairing with a miko. That his particular miko happened to be much stronger than his brother’s mate, it would no doubt alter the results. He supposed it helped that they now shared a soul... There were simply too many factors at play for him to be certain. He hated being uncertain.

Bokusenou had theorized that his incredibly powerful youki, when forced in with her reiki, could create a war inside the miko, to troublesome results. And if that were the case, they were indeed proving troublesome. She seemed to be getting worse instead of better, and he considered that perhaps taking her every time she was in his presence was only adding to his problem.

He had said that the youki could be passed through a bite, as well as more pleasurable activities. They were certainly guilty of engaging in the latter, but he supposed penetrating her with the tips of his fangs that night hadn’t helped matters. It hadn’t been a full bite, that was true. And though he exerted his last bit of restraint in preventing himself from forcing his demonic power into her bloodstream, it was likely that a bit of pre-youki was able to slip past his control.

He himself had only recently reigned in his instincts enough to allow himself capable of a more evolved manner of thinking- regarding his views on humanity, and his species treatment of them. And he had housed the power his entire life. He could understand that the feelings and thoughts she now harbored were a result of the youki blindsiding her. He could also understand, that he couldn’t understand what it must feel like to have it mixing with reiki within her being.

She simply needed time to become accustomed to it; to get it under control, as he had done. He would do all he could to find a way to speed the process along; but for now, it appeared he would simply have to remain patient. A task she was not making easy on him.

A knock at his door alerted him that his next appointment had arrived.

“You may enter, Kai.”

The demon did as he was bid; and let himself in to stand at attention before his lord’s desk, pounding his left breast in solidarity.

“Relax. It is my desire for you to speak freely.”

“In that case, allow me to congratulate you on your victory in tournament, My Lord. It was a most impressive display. The fortress would do well to be reminded of your might at more regular intervals, in my humble opinion.”

Though his opinion was by no means unbiased. He had been furious with Jiro for beating the information out of him that had implicated Sesshoumaru, and alerting Sesshoumaru to that fact. The merciless assault he endured at the hands of the dog demon made huge strides in mending his upset.

“Noted. How are you taking to your new duties?”

“Very well, My Lord. Lady Kagome is a most charming young lady, despite being human. You are a lucky demon.”

He fixed him with a glare that showed doubt in his statement.

“I believe This One asked you to speak freely.”

Kai looked back at him with a nervous uncertainty, but decided to obey.

“I am growing concerned with her intentions toward you. At first, she seemed quite harmless, if not slightly insufferable...” he waited to be sure he would not be punished by his statement before he continued.

“But the statements I have heard her make as of late have me worried. I was privy to a conversation between her and Lord Inuyasha’s mate. I am aware when together females may often speak ill of their partner, but...she sounded quite cross with you. And Inuyasha’s mate with him as well. They disagree with your tactics on the human issue, and believe you may cause injury to our species as a result. They view it as a weakness. I must say, it is quite troubling to see them so distrustful of their own kind. And express such little faith in you, My Lord.”

“Have they any plans to interfere with This Sesshoumaru’s dealings? In council, or otherwise. Of which you are aware.”

“Not that I am aware. Though the topic of possibilities of a new Southern Heir has come up quite a bit, I know of no plans in which they mean to take part.”

That was a relief. The miko’s recent statements regarding his politics hinted at possible ambitions she had desired to see through; pertaining to strengthening the divide between the species. It pleased him to know that Kai hadn’t heard anything from her in that regard.

“Is there anything else?”

“I know you did not ask; but the way I see it, she is not worth the trouble. You are the strategist. The trouble she may bring- to you, or to The West- appears to outweigh any benefit you may receive from taking her. I can think of a thousand better prospects for you than she, particularly in regards to her behavior as of late.”

He hated to admit that the thought had crossed his own mind more than once. He had put a lot on the line in choosing her as his, and she didn’t seem to be at all grateful to him. Not that she necessarily needed to be. But the very things about her that had endeared her to him seemed to be slipping away to nothing. Without constant reminder of why he even fell for her in the first place, it made it easy to sow doubt in his own judgement. But he pushed those concerns aside.

He was confident he would have her back eventually. He saw this as a test of his loyalty. She had once told him that the difference between true love and puppy love was that true love must endure hardships. He was bent on proving that they would make it through this test, and would reap the spoils later.

“You are correct, Kai.” He regarded him a long moment before he continued.

“I did not ask.”

Chapter Text

Jiro could barely open his eyes enough to see. The swelling was too great. It was enough to make out the sterile environment he recognized as the infirmary, however. The pain was incredible, and when he coughed a bit of blood, the action hurt his body.

The forceful clearing of a throat alerted him to the presence of another, and he turned his head to notice Kagome sitting in a chair beside his bed. His instincts screamed at him to know fear in the presence of the powerful miko, but his rational mind supplied that in his condition, if she wanted him dead, he simply would have to accept it.

“Now that everyone is up, perhaps we can begin.”

He didn’t know what to make of the familiar line, but as it hurt to breathe, opted to wait for her to elaborate. When she didn’t, he couldn’t help but ask.

“What do you want, miko?”

“Can’t I simply come down to see how my general is faring?”

The brief laugh he made gave way to a coughing fit that was painful to endure.

“I am not your general. I am general to The Western Lands, and by extension, Lord Sesshoumaru. My loyalties end there.”

“If they ever began.” She uncrossed her legs to lean forward. “You know why you are here. Why do you push his buttons so?”

It hurt too much to turn towards her, so he only slid his pupils her way. “Why do you? I heard how you had behaved in council.”

She fixed him with a long look before responding. “I asked you first.”

When he didn’t answer, she pressed on.

“You will answer me. I am to be Sesshoumaru’s mate. All he has belongs to me, including you.”

He was in no mood to withhold. Being so vulnerable actually served to strengthen his nerves.

“For such a pretty little girl, you sure have a big set of balls on you. You seem to be testing the bounds of My Lord’s kindness.”

“You mean weakness. You asked why I am pushing against Sesshoumaru. His ideas are dangerous. If he doesn’t protect The West more efficiently, those vile humans are going to take over.”

“Hey! Crazy bitch! You gotta nice big mirror in The Western Lady’s suite. I suggest you have a look in it. You are human.”

“And also from the future. Did he tell you that?” His silence answered for him.

“I came here from 500 years in the future. I have seen what will come. If we don’t handle this threat now, you can kiss your kind extinct. I may be human, but I am on your team.”

“I am allied with Lord Sesshoumaru. As you claim to be. Speaking of loyalties, where are yours regarding him?”

“Sesshoumaru is the strongest demon alive, you know this. And I could purify him in a second if I so wished.” At his alarmed glance, she placated.

“Relax. I have no intention of doing so. He is way too much fun in bed. My point is, I am not afraid of him, or any of you. It is your good fortune that I happen to be on your side. I am looking out for your best interests, which is more than I can say for my boyfriend. You see how he caters to humans. His brother, his ward, me. What about all of you?”

He was suspicious of her intentions, but his curiosity got the better of him.

“What are you getting at?”

“I’m gonna cut to the chase. I see you. You and I are not so different. You would have never tested your lord in the past. But something has changed in him; you see it too. You think he is weakening. You learned the hard way that his physical form has in no way weakened. And likely never will. But if he follows his heart’s call as he has been, I fear he will lead you all down a path from which you will never return.”

She was correct in her assessment of him. He had indeed grown concerned over Sesshoumaru’s recent softening when it came to human kind. He had been willing to look the other way when he allowed the human child to take up residence in the fortress. Planning to allow humans into their society worried him further. And when he was made aware of his desire to actually take a human as a mate, he feared he might ignore the threat they could present.

He just hadn’t expected the miko herself to share his concern.

“What do you suggest I do?”

Just then, Kai entered the room. “Dinner is prepared. Are you ready, Kagome?”

She rose to leave, pressing the wrinkles from her skirt as she did so.

“Get some rest, Jiro. It looks like you’re gonna be here for a while. In the meantime, think on what I have said.”

Kai threw his general a smirk. “Hey General. Tough match.” Jiro scowled at the soldier’s mockery.

“You’ll get him next time, Champ,” he said with a wink, and turned to join Kagome to leave.

As they stepped out into the hallway, he closed the door behind them; and turned to find Kagome looking straight at him. The sternness in her gaze caused him to start.

“Lady Kagome,” she told Kai as he approached her, catching him off guard.

“Pardon?”

“You will address me as Lady Kagome, soldier.”

\

Chapter Text

He stood outside the door which connected Kagome’s room to his, and after a moment of resignation, rapped lightly on the wood with his knuckles. She had asked that she not be disturbed, but he came baring gifts. After a stroll in his gardens, and picking some of the more impressive offerings, he stood now with a small bouquet as an olive branch.

He wasn’t admitting he was wrong. He wasn’t. But he knew she was likely having a rough time adjusting to the new power swelling within her. And perhaps, he hadn’t been as attentive to her needs as he could have been. Sure, he was taking her every time he had a free moment. But most of his time since her arrival had been dedicated to work, as it so often was. And though the tasks before him were important ones, he had a girlfriend now. If he learned anything from watching others, it was that it was well worth the time it took away from duties to see to the contentment of one’s female.

When she did not open the door, he had assumed she was still angry from before. Instead of trying again, he simply let himself into the room. It was his fortress after all. He would do as he pleased. Any privacy he allowed others within his walls was merely a courtesy.

After a quick scanning of the room, it was apparent that she wasn’t there. But the sense of her powers, accompanied by the sounds of scribbling alerted him to her presence in the adjoining study. He approached to find the door open, and once inside, saw his miko hunched over her desk, attending to some scrolls of her own. He was curious as to what she was doing, but thought it best to leave it be. ‘For now.’

The press of his youki against her senses alerted her to his presence, and she turned to face him. He was pleased to see no upset in her features. But concerned at her lack of joy to see him. Her face was unreadable.

“These are for you,” he held the flowers out to her, and made sure his own features would show patience and warmth as she regarded him. She looked from them, and back up to his face, before finally offering a smile and accepting.

“They’re beautiful. Thank you.”

“Are you still upset with This One for his unfortunate comments in the dojo?”

“A little,” she admitted, but stood to wrap her arms around his middle and press herself to him.

Smiling up to him she asked, “Are you here to make it up to me?”

He gave her a drawn-out kiss, before parting to respond.

“Yes. But perhaps not in the manner you are inferring.”

She waited quietly for him to continue.

“Come. I have something I wish to show you.”

“What is it? I’m kind of working on something.”

His pushed aside his interest in what could possibly be occupying her time.

“Work, work, work. Is that all you care for?” he asked with a smirk.

He encased her in his sphere of light, and was off. In a matter of moments, they were far across his lands. Still in The West, she assumed, but far from the fortress. Far from anywhere.

They were high on a mountain side. A cliff, not so different than the one she had taken him to near Lord Hano’s village, only much higher. And it was much darker. So dark, that she could not even see the dog demon who held her tightly against himself.

He pressed her back against him as he sat them down, and she had to ask, “Where are we? What are we doing here?”

He only answered by reclining them back, and she lost her breathe at what she saw.

Above them, as she looked to the sky, she saw it littered with billions of stars. More than she had ever seen, even in the past where light pollution did not obstruct the view. They stretched as far low as the horizon in every direction, and were clustered so tightly that she could see the milky way clearly.

“Kami. Sesshoumaru...” she gasped, and he squeezed her firmly against him, so that he could rest his cheek beside hers as she took in the view. His sights, however, were trained on her. The look on her face pleased him. He made that happen. And this was only the beginning. He had much more to show her. He would remind her of the awe only he could inspire.

“There’s so many... And they are all so bright. I can’t even make out the constellations!”

“You know them?” He knew she was educated far beyond any human in this era. That she could read and write was impressive enough; but he would never get used to discovering how far the bounds of her knowledge actually stretched. She was amazing. Not only was she a match for him intellectually, but she could take him to school on many subjects. It intrigued and excited him, and made him love her all the more.

“Some. And you? What am I thinking? You probably know them all, don’t you?”

“Indeed. When you live as long as I, you must fill your time somehow. Once I finished my task of setting foot on every blade of grass within The Western Lands, This One turned his sights upward, and began counting the stars.” She wouldn’t have pegged him as one to have his head in the clouds.

“And when you were finished?”

“I began visiting them.” His sphere of light could traverse great distances in mere moments; and he took the time he had spent travelling to clear his head, and ponder many a topic in peaceful solitude.

“The stars? You visited them all?” He scoffed.

“Hardly. I became distracted from my progress with more pressing things. But I wish to continue someday. It is my hope that you might join me. Would that please you?”

Though she couldn’t see his face, his lips called to her. She heeded that call, and touched them with her own; exploring his mouth with her tongue in a way that was both familiar, and brand new.

When the kiss broke, she leaned back into him. Simply taking in the sight he had offered her; a relaxed contentment washing over her that she hadn’t known in what felt like days.

“You will never visit them all, you know.”

“You doubt This One?”

“I don’t doubt that your intentions are good. It’s just impossible.” Nothing was impossible for him, but he would allow her to finish her thought.

“Some of those stars, are no longer stars. They are just light,” she informed him.

“They used to be stars. But they are so far away, that by the time the light was able to make its journey to us, the star was already gone.

“When you look at those stars, it is like looking into the past. You are seeing something that existed many, many, many years ago, and died before you even knew they were there.”

She became somber then, and it didn’t slip past his notice. He remained silent, but held her tighter still.

“Just think. Right now, there are millions of stars out there that you can’t see. And by the time they shine for us, we will all be dead. Even you.”

“Will that prevent you from enjoying them now?” When she didn’t answer, he continued.

“Regardless of whether they still exist or not, the light is there for you to enjoy right now. You would forsake their gift?”

“I just wish there was something I could do...” she whispered, more to herself.

“It would appear that what you see now, is all they have to offer you. I suggest you enjoy it.”

When her melancholy expression remained, he tried to assure her further.

“You may take solace in the fact that; though you were not aware of it, the star had indeed been there. And though the light arrived later than you might have hoped; it shall remain with you until your final breath.”

She wanted to respond, but the words escaped her. Many stars above had taken to shooting; but when a particularly bright once danced past them, she allowed it to serve as a distraction.

“Make a wish.”

He would have thought she’d had her fill of those by now. Regardless, he closed his eyes and did as she said. He didn’t even have to think about it.

“What wish did you choose this time?” He really wanted to know. Not long ago, he could have probably guessed along which lines she would have ventured. Now... he had no idea, but the prospects worried him.

“I can’t tell you. It won’t come true.”

He longed for some insight to her current desires, and hated that he considered perhaps it would be best if she shared.

Chapter Text

Time of day meant little to demon kind. Not only could they see just as well in the dark, but their superior forms required very little rest; so they were not beholden to the whims of the moon cycle.

Sesshoumaru was, however, currently somewhat beholden to the whims of the humans who had recently taken up residence in his fortress. He had promised the couples solitude to enjoy their post marital celebrations, as a part of their agreement to give living in his lands a go, and subsequent help in his plans for cohabitation should they agree to remain. So when they had found time in their schedule to meet him for preliminary talks regarding his plans, he cared not for the late hour.

It was a good start, but they would have much more to discuss in the weeks, and most likely months to come. Inuyasha, Miroku, and Sango had left the meeting with at least some idea of what their new duties would entail; and in turn, Sesshoumaru had gained some knowledge of what he may require, and might expect going forward. He had been made aware of what humans would need, as well as desire for success in their day to day lives.

Their concerns regarding demons were also addressed, and he could fathom what each side would be willing to forgo, in return for assurances and comforts on his end. He had been planning this for some time, but he learned he was correct in requesting human aid in this endeavor. Matters were brought to his attention that had never crossed his mind, and being closely allied with humans gave him a rare insight into their expectations.

It wasn’t only the humans who would have issues with his new world order, demons would be uncomfortable with things as well. But due to their strength and intimidating nature, the concessions would appear to be somewhat lopsided.

He could have really used Kagome at his side, but she was currently in no position to lend him aid. Her sympathies towards her race seemed to be dwindling by the day, and until she gained some mastery over the powerful youki that seemed to be absorbing her once kind nature, Sesshoumaru was aware that she would only stifle his progress.

The others at the meeting were aware of her notable absence, and Sesshoumaru was not entirely comfortable addressing it with them. He was never one to over share information, and though it did indeed affect them, he had hoped to be further along in a solution before bringing her predicament to the attention of anyone. Even the miko herself.

It would probably be wise to clue her in on the information he had gathered from his visit with Bokusenou, and he intended to... It was just a difficult subject to breach. He hated to admit that he was likely prolonging the inevitable.

There was another issue plaguing the demon, which he was very loathe to address. Bokusenou had eluded to the fact that she seemed to be absorbing his youki through their intimate encounters. He decided that the wise decision would be to hold off on such acts until she could find a way to get her powers regulated. It didn’t help that the very youki she had absorbed seemed to me making her even more insatiable than before. He would have to find a way to deny her needs without harming her... or the relationship.

These were the thoughts consuming him as he leisurely walked from the meeting he had just attended back to his rooms, where the miko would likely be waiting for him. It was this preoccupation that caused him the rare lack in awareness of his surroundings, and why he was able to be taken by surprise.

As he turned yet another corner down yet another hallway on his way to his destination, he was attacked. None alive could overpower the great daiyoukai, save for the young time traveler who had him pressed against the wall, and stretched herself up on tippy toes to ravish his mouth with her own.

She used his armor to pull herself up to him, and his hands automatically tangled themselves in her thick, obsidian locks. He completely forgot about the vow he had made to himself only moments ago that he would fall back on his famous control to resist her for as long as necessary, when she grabbed his cock outside of his clothing and roughly stroked him until hard.

He bent down only enough to grab her by her thighs and hoist her up to him, and quickly spun them around so that she was now pinned to the wall. He dominated her mouth with his tongue as he ground himself harshly into her, eliciting groans from her as he did so.

He realized she wasn’t wearing any panties as he felt his hakama become soaked by the wetness she produced, and all he could think of was freeing himself from them as she slid her fingers up into his hair and scratched his scalp with her blunt nails.

His youki had been making her more aggressive with him lately. And though he enjoyed it, he couldn’t help but miss her gentle touch at times. She encouraged him as he reached down to loosen his own clothes, until a familiar aura barely grazed his senses causing him to hesitate.

“Hey Sesshoumaru, I almost forgot-” Inuyasha could sense them there before he turned the corner, but apparently hadn’t expected the scene he was about to intrude upon. Sure, he had scented Kagome’s arousal. But it seemed to be a common occurrence lately when in the presence of her dog demon lover. Just because she was excited, didn’t necessarily mean they were engaging in sexual acts. This time however, it appeared that they were.

“Oh, shit. Sorry-” he began, but Kagome cut him off with anger and frustration in her tone.

“Damn it, Inuyasha! Shouldn’t you be on your honeymoon?” Sesshoumaru for some reason had not been as receptive to her advances lately. Now that she had him where she wanted him, she was furious that her progress had been interrupted. He looked like he would respond, but she wouldn’t give him the opportunity.

“Get lost, half-breed!” Hurt graced his features initially at the old familiar slight, but his reaction quickly turned into one of concern. He had been called that name more times than he could count, most of all by the demon who just witnessed the jab. But not in a very long time. And certainly, never by Kagome.

His gaze turned to Sesshoumaru, who shared a sympathetic glance as his brother made eye contact with him for a long moment.

“I’m sorry,” he sadly offered, and left the way he came. Once gone, Sesshoumaru turned his attention back to the miko he held pressed up against the wall. She smiled again back at him, prepared to continue where they had left off, but was irritated when she was lowered to the floor to stand once again.

“You needn’t be so harsh with him,” he scolded, and wondered if he should finally fill her in on her current predicament.

“I just want a little time with you,” she reasoned, grabbing for him again. But the incident seemed to cool him off, and reminded him of why they should probably abstain. When he gently shrugged her off, she grew upset again.

“It’s not like you’re one to talk. You have been meaner to him that anyone!”

He frowned at the accusation; mostly because it was true. He was making great strides in mending the once tattered relationship between he and his younger brother, and he didn’t appreciate being reminded of the regretful manner in which he had behaved toward him until extremely recently. He considered his previous treatment of the half demon among his least redeeming qualities. But those actions no longer represented him accurately.

“Things have changed. Obviously.” He hoped she would internalize his statement, but it only seemed to sour her further.

When she turned to leave him, he should have let her go. But he couldn’t leave things between them like this. He would have to start denying her. But not now. He couldn’t endanger their relationship further. And he had to admit, he was still very affected by her desire for him.

“Miko.” When he would use her first name, he never failed to gain her full attention. But when he commanded her by her title, she could not deny the need it caused inside her to submit to him. To obey.

She stopped in her tracks, but didn’t turn to face him. She would hear him out, but he wouldn't speak.

A sharp gasp left her lips as she felt his fingertips graze the back of her thigh. And as he leaned forward further to run his palm slowly up her leg into her skirt, she closed her eyes and shuddered at the contact. It was still so amazing to her that such a soft, simple touch from him could nearly cause her to become undone in his presence.

When she forced herself to look over her shoulder to take him in, her arousal somehow progressed even more. His mouth was slightly opened, revealing those fangs that she lusted for as he breathed heavily past his lips. He wanted her desperately, and the need in his beautiful eyes that were slightly obstructed by his mussed bangs showed no signs of holding back.

His hand continued his journey up into her skirt, and rediscovered the wetness he had caused as it coated and dripped from her core.

“Kami...” she whispered, as he lightly tickled her sensitive lips. He turned her in his grasp and used his free hand to pull the back of her head into a demanding kiss.

He used one arm to lift her to press against the wall once more, and the other to finally free himself to enter her. He took her harshly in the hallway, causing her to wail and moan in pleasure and relief. It was a great relief to him to have her as well, but there was also a hint of punishment in it. For how she had acted. For what she had said.

The smoothness of his long, hard shaft filled her completely, and repetitively; and every so often he would yelp at the sensation as he hit the back of her cervix. He pressed her tightly against the wall as he craned his neck to ravish her throat, and continued his path down to her cleavage; before using his teeth to pull the fabric aside to free her breasts from the material so that he could access them directly as they bounced from his actions.

He was briefly distracted as he mentally tallied the rooms in his fortress. He wondered how long it would take them to christen each one, as they were doing to his hallway.

She wrapped her legs around him anticipating her climax, but she would be interrupted yet again. He stiffened and stopped his assault. For a moment, she thought he might have cum faster than she hoped. But as he turned his head and withdrew from her, she knew something was wrong.

“Sesshoumaru?”

“It’s Rin,” he informed her.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” she exclaimed, as he set her gently to her feet. Her hair was tussled wildly, and she moved it from her face with her hand. “Sesshoumaru!” she pleaded, but he was off.

He righted his clothing as he made the journey to his ward’s room, and found her in a way he was accustomed to by now. She was writhing in her sleep, shrieking and flopping about. He was by her side in an instant, gathering her into his arms in an attempt to soothe. He held her to his chest gently, petting her hair and softly cooing for her to awake.

It was far too common for the girl to have nightmares. Usually involving being torn apart by wolves, or watching her family meet a similar fate. She would be inconsolable until she awoke with him by her side, and it would seem to calm her.

She cried as she came to, pressing her tear stained face into him as he assured her things were okay.

“Lord Sesshoumaru!” she cried in relief as well as upset.

“Rin. You needn’t cry. You have me.” The news seemed to placate her a bit, and she began to calm down.

Kagome appeared in the doorway to watch, and the frustration in her aura caused Sesshoumaru to draw his gaze from his young charge to regard the female watching them through the open door. The look in her eye caused him to start.

There was no concern. Or sympathy. No sadness, or understanding. All he saw was irritation. And disgust. It was a look he knew all too well. A look he once donned with regularity, and he couldn’t help but be disgusted with it. With the miko for having it now, and with himself for ever having it. It was a look he would give when he realized how weak another creature actually was. And when he was annoyed at the inconvenience of it all.

He feared in that moment that he had lost her, but he pushed it aside. She couldn’t be gone. She wasn’t. He could still get her back. He would find a way. He found it very hard in that moment however to be inclined to endure her for the time being.

“Lady Kagome!” the child pleaded. In the past, Kagome would have been the first to the child’s side. Perhaps even before himself. She would have offered comfort to the distressed girl. Not anymore.

It was something he had grown to love in the woman. Perhaps, even a great reason he had realized he ever loved her in the first place. He was heartbroken to find that the woman in his presence no longer seemed to harbor such traits. And didn’t want the distressed child to be aware of this fact.

Rin’s cries for Kagome would go without response, and he intervened.

“The miko is very tired, Rin. As are you. Can you return to sleep?” She forced herself to be strong, and nodded up at her lord. He gently laid her back down and graced her forehead with a kiss. Before he could retreat, she quickly turned her head and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek in return. The action caused him to falter.

She had never been so bold as to do such a thing in the past. He was aware that she had probably wanted to, but he wouldn’t have allowed it. Would he have? It seemed now that he would, and he found he couldn’t leave the needy girl’s side.

“Sesshoumaru...” Kagome insisted at his hesitation, likely anxious that he return to her to continue gifting her with his less that gentle attentions. But the mood had passed him. He found it much easier to deny her now.

“Go to bed, miko. This One shall stay with Rin a while.”

“You will?!” Rin exclaimed. Her earlier fret seemed to melt away. All she wanted was her lord’s attention for as long as he was willing to give it.

He inclined his head with a small upturn of his lips in her direction, and the girl threw her arms around him in thanks.

Kagome was beyond pissed. He could feel it. But he couldn’t care at the moment. He wouldn’t even turn his attention back to her as she fixed him with a glare, and left.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru reclined back in his private hot spring, and relished in the rare moment of solitude he was not so often afforded. He was doing his best to meditate, but things as they were, was not proving successful. ‘Perhaps an ice bath would have been more appropriate.’

He had thought that when Kagome had finally moved into his fortress, he might be unable to keep up with her demands on his body. In a sense, it was true. She had desired him constantly, and let it be known to him; however, he had never anticipated that he would have to deny her.

Once made aware that laying with her was adding to her power, and contributing to her strange behavior, he had decided that it would be best to refrain from the activities they had both enjoyed. At least until she proved to be handling them in a more appropriate fashion.

He would still please her, in a way which required no penetration- or subsequent releasing of his youki within her. And though it did please him to bring her to such a state, the act left him feeling... unsated.

She thought it odd that whenever she approached him for sex, he now only seemed interested in doing so with his mouth. But she wasn’t complaining. Far from it. Sesshoumaru was quite adept at bringing her to peak in such a way, and lately only seemed to be honing that skill.

But though it was not ideal, Sesshoumaru was a master of control. Before Kagome, he had gone very long stretches of time without engaging in such acts. And though it proved more difficult with the woman he loved pleading for his attention at every turn, he could keep himself at bay.

That’s not to say his mind didn’t wander...

He had become accustomed to getting laid much more often lately, and now his body was entitled. It wouldn’t take long to conjure up images of good times had not so long ago; images that he would have to repress in the company of others.

But now that he was alone, and in the warm, wet spring, he allowed those images to play through his mind. He wouldn’t shame himself, or his famous restraint by touching himself in such a manner. But he would allow the feelings to pass through him, almost in nostalgia.

When the door to his springs opened, however, and his miko came into view, he worried that he might finally break.

She wore only a silk robe, apparently expecting him to be in there, and wasted no time in shedding it as she regarded him with hooded eyes and pouting lips. The dryness of his throat had nothing to do with the heat of the spring.

She approached him like prey, never taking her eyes from his as she lowered herself into the pool to join him. The protest on his tongue failed to make its journey outward, and before he could act, her mouth was on his as she straddled his lap.

His arms naturally went to support her, and even pull her near as they took each other’s mouths in an almost desperate plea. His cock pulsed at the proximity as she pressed forcefully on it with her heated core. And when she shifted so that he might finally enter her, he could not hold back the few forceful pumps that solicitously followed.

He gasped into her mouth as she continued to kiss him, and closed his eyes to revel in the feeling as his dick traveled from one hot wet location, to quite another. He hadn’t enjoyed the tightness that now grasped him for days, and wished for nothing more than to see it through to its end, before begrudgingly realizing his slip. It took all that he had to remove her from his person, and place her down to sit at his side.

He couldn’t look at her, for fear of giving in to the needs that pained him to withhold.

She was not too pleased either, and fixed him with an irritated glare at his response.

“Alright, what’s with you lately?” She demanded, obviously as frustrated as he with the situation. When he didn’t reply, she ventured a guess.

“Are you not attracted to me anymore?” He was worried she might jump to such conclusions, and he forced himself to take in her stunning features, so that he could allay her fears.

He put his palm on her cheek, and let his mask drop so that she could know what she meant to him.

“Quite the contrary,” he admitted, almost shakily. “This One desires you more now than ever, miko.” It was said with such passion that it caused her to falter. Her upset quickly turning to confusion.

“Then why won’t you fuck me? It something wrong?”

Yes. Something was definitely wrong. He didn’t know how to approach her lately. Not long ago, he felt as if he could tell her anything, and often did. But he hadn’t told her what he had learned from his talk with the tree demon, and he wasn’t sure why. It was becoming painfully clear that the topic could no longer be avoided, so he decided to finally burden her with the knowledge.

“You are aware of the changes within you?” He took her silence as a yes.

“They are my doing. Not intentionally. However, it would appear that some of my youki has transferred to you, and is warring with your own essence. It has come to my attention that laying together is contributing to this, and This One believes that you may not yet be equipped to handle such an invasion. That is why, and only why, I have withheld my attentions. I simply wish for you to gain more control of your power, before contributing to it further.”

She had been aware of the changes. But had not been bothered enough to question them. She had been enjoying the sharpness of her mind; it was like she had attained a level of clarity, and she simply had relished it. With this new information, however, something else had been made clear.

“So, that’s why all the oral lately?”

She scooted back over to him and made to sit on his lap, facing forward this time.

“You have had to deny yourself so you wouldn’t release youki in me,” she realized aloud.

She rolled her hips against his throbbing cock in a tantalizing manner, and leaned back into him to nuzzle his neck with her nose. His hair tickled her skin, and she enjoyed the silky sensation.

“You poor baby. Why didn’t you tell me?”

She moved so that his cock pressed up against his belly, and trapped it behind her backside. Sliding herself up and down against it, she turned her head to the side to place open mouthed kisses on his jaw as the tension visibly released from his gratefully relieved l features. She spoke lowly, in almost hushed whispers.

“We can find ways to take care of you too, you know?”

His hands grasped her hips as she ground her ass into him. As she moved, he slid them up to squeeze her breasts, and anxiously kissed and licked the side of her neck.

It could be considered dry humping, were they not submerged in the water. But having been denied multiple times during the last few days; and with the softness and willingness of the woman rubbing against him, it was not ineffective.

He was thrusting his hips against her, and she wiggled and squirmed on him in a most tempting manner. He thanked her by lowering a hand down to her puffy neatherlips, and massaged her expertly in return. Withholding so long had him reaching his peak too soon, and he worked her clit pointedly and dexterously to ensure she found her release just moments before he found his own.

When they were finished, he did not relinquish his hold. He wanted her near. Wanted to bask in her accommodating glow for as long as she was able to display it, before his youki inevitably reverted her back to a less pleasant version of herself.

When she got out of the spring to allow him his time to himself, she informed him of her quandary.

“I can’t wait forever, Sesshoumaru.” The statement seemed to cause him anguish, so she clarified.

“I better go work on getting my power controlled.”

He was pleased at her determination, and mentally berated himself for not telling her sooner. He could only hope that her efforts would prove successful.

Chapter Text

She sat alone on the floor of her new chambers, cross-legged in a meditative pose. She had been trying for hours to hone in on the power she was now aware was swirling within her, but whatever progress she seemed to make would leave her as soon as it came.

It all made sense now. The heightened senses, the clarity of thought... She wasn’t becoming a demon, but it appeared she was feeling the effects of the youki she now seemed to possess. It wasn’t always at the forefront, however.

Her reiki was still strong, and seemed to take the reins of her emotions when he was near, drawing it from her to war with his own forces. But when left to her own devices, Sesshoumaru’s powerful essence wanted control over her still, and made her painfully aware of what the demon had endured until extremely recently.

The thoughts and feelings she was having mirrored the ones he himself had held before joining with her group to defeat Naraku. She had played no small part in bringing him into the light, and now it had seemed that the tables had turned. She could feel his influence to overpower the emotions whenever he was near, but it wouldn’t be as simple as all that.

It was a catch-22. She needed him close to keep the youki in check, but the closeness she preferred was only adding fuel to the fire inside her. She supposed, in theory, she could be in his company enough to control it without succumbing to her feminine whiles in his presence, but the temptation was far too great; so for now, it would remain a theory. She was trying her best to handle this on her own.

Each time she could find herself drawing on her own powers of purity to win the battle in her soul, his youki would be there, to remind her of its might and dominance over her. It was made all the more difficult by the fact that she didn’t really want to keep it at bay.

She could now understand Sesshoumaru’s annoyance at, well, everything in the past. Not only was her sense of hearing much sharper as far as decibels, but she could hear the underlying messages from others clearer as well. Hidden meanings, veiled thoughts... it was all so obvious to her now. She would be frustrated when one would see fit to waste her time by trying to mislead her, or at least not be fully forthcoming with information.

Her vision had improved, but she could also see the true nature of those around her. Auras glowed in colors, alerting her to intentions, as well as emotions unspoken. There was no use lying to her now, for she could see it. Hear it. Even scent it.

She could see now his impatience with those around him, human or otherwise. With the fog of her once mortal mind now lifted, her brain power had increased. Things were easy to comprehend, and she found she had little time to squander on waiting for others to reach the same conclusions that were now so easy for her to come by; and no interest in explaining it to them. She didn’t expect anyone else to be able to conceive what her enhanced mind now could, and didn’t need them to.

Even before accumulating his youki, none were a match for her. Her reiki alone could exterminate any threat. Now, she simply had the tools necessary to put those powers to more effective use, and the strong will to do so.

It's not that she didn’t still love him. She did. But her priorities were shifting. Love was nice, but power was great. The only reason she was even attempting to gain mastery over herself was so she could be with him again physically, as she longed to do. His body was addictive, and going cold turkey was a most unappealing option.

But she was frustrated with this as well. After once again failing to bring her priestess powers to the front of her consciousness, she pounded the floor beside her with huff; rose to stand, and made to leave. She had more important things to do.

*****************

Kai had led Kashi to Sesshoumaru’s war room, and the dragon was surprised to find it empty. He wondered if the soldier had been mistaken of the time, as it was news to him that they were having an additional impromptu council meeting.

It was also strange that Kai refused to enter the room to wait with him. Sure, he wasn’t allowed to be present in the meeting, unless Sesshoumaru had wished it for some reason. But he seemed uncomfortable during their walk as he escorted him from his room, and nervous as they approached the threshold. He refused to linger, and seemed like he couldn’t leave fast enough once they had arrived.

‘What’s taking so long? Where are they?’ He wondered. What was all of this about? Sesshoumaru was always true to his word, but maybe he did intend on punishing him for Tanaka’s comments regarding Inuyasha. ‘I have never seen the pup so touchy...’

He was relieved when the door finally opened, but it gave way to confusion when it was not a member of the council who had let themselves in.

“What is this?” He demanded, annoyed by her presence, and unsure of her intentions. Sesshoumaru allowed this human far too much freedom. If that was how he wanted to run his fortress, that was his business. But the council was sacred, and he did not appreciate her recent attendance. Or her smugness.

“Kashi, I do not believe we have been formally introduced. I’m Kagome.” She held out her hand in attempt to shake, but he only fixed her with an expression that left no doubt he considered her a fool.

“I know who you are.” She withdrew her hand, but took no offense as she sat beside him.

“What is the meaning of this? Where is Lord Sesshoumaru?”

“Don’t worry about him. He is off on an errand; he won’t be back until we are through.”

He stood then, with the intention of leaving.

“I don’t have time for this. Whatever games you are playing, I have no interest-”

The flaring of her reiki halted his protest, and he widened his eyes at the threat she presented.

“Sit. Down.” He seemed to consider it, but ended up doing as he was told.

“I don’t play games, Kashi. Do you wish to see how serious I can be?”

He tried to project irritation, but it came off much more trepidatious. “What do you want?”

“I just want to talk. Like I said, we have not been formally introduced. I am making an effort to get to know those who hold a position in Sesshoumaru’s life, and I thought we could use his absence as an opportunity to learn some things about each other. What do you want to know about me?”

He didn’t really care to learn anything about the miko. Not that he didn’t have questions. The display of her purity was in the front of his mind, however. As it didn’t seem that she was going to let up, he decided to move whatever this was along.

“They say you purified Naraku with your arrow? Is that so?”

She was pleased with the question. He was uneasy with her abilities, as most demons tended to be. She relished the opportunity to remind him of what she was capable.

“That is so,” she bragged. “Just about every demon of power had attempted to end his wretched life. They gave it all they had, but even Sesshoumaru couldn’t finish him off. One simple arrow from me and poof! He was dust in an instant. You would do well to remember that.”

He bristled at the threat. He was The Lord of the Southern Lands. He was not accustomed to any outside the council trying to prove their dominance over him. Especially not a human girl. But he couldn’t deny her power. If she had done as she said- and he definitely believed that she had- he was going to have to push down his rage of it and simply allow her to finish.

When it didn’t appear that she would say anymore, he ventured another question in an attempt to keep things cordial.

“How is it that you came in the company of Lord Sesshoumaru?”

"Inuyasha, his brother. I used to have a little crush on him. You could say that I have traded up, ne?”

“I’ll say,” he agreed; and she finally got to the reason she had summoned the dragon.

“We all know what happened to your nephew. Do you plan to seek vengeance?” So, that was what this was about. But why send her?

“I have told Sesshoumaru that I hold no ill will. His actions were justified.”

“I’m happy to hear that. Who will replace your heir?”

He didn’t see how it was any of her business, and fought down the urge to tell her so.

“I have a general in mind who I am considering. I will decide after I have returned to The South.”

“This general of yours... you think he is a match for me?” He was getting sick of her threats, but managed to contain his upset. He was not looking for a reason to go to war with Sesshoumaru.

“I suppose no demon would be, given your abilities,” he admitted to them both.

“Exactly. I can defeat any who would try to challenge me. That is why I suggest you consider me for the position.” He could only regard her with a dumbfounded expression for a moment.

“You?”

“The strongest being wins with you guys, right? Well, let's just save us the trouble of the fight. I don’t need to purify anyone, just accept that I would beat any who would think to go against me, and name me as your heir.”

His incredulity threatened to keep him rendered silent.

“You are to be The Lady of the Western Lands! You have no business in The South!”

“I can spread myself over a 500 year period, I think I can handle a short flight to your lands,” she announced as she leaned back into her chair. He had no idea what she was talking about.

“Look. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Sesshoumaru has barred me from attending any future council meetings. If I am a member of the council, however, his hands will be tied. You need my input. I’m the only one who can talk any sense into him regarding the human issue. If you want to protect your race, you are going to want me in your corner. You despise his cohabitation plans, do you not”

He did, of course. He had no interest in involving humans in their great society. He was not planning on following the dog demon’s lead within his own lands; but if that was what Sesshoumaru had wanted in The West, he would not stand in his way. Sesshoumaru was not to be trifled with. Why did it seem like that is what she was doing?

He wanted no part in whatever it was she was up to. Did he really have a choice?

“Why do you not simply persuade him in private? The power a mate wields within the council tends to be most effective in the bedroom.”

“Sesshoumaru is strong willed. I believe I have done all I can in that regard. I need a position in the council to gain any footing in this.” Seeing his hesitance, she decided to clue him in further.

“I meant what I said, you know. I come from 500 years in the future. Not only do I have knowledge of what will come to pass, but I have valuable knowledge regarding many things. Your lands are desolate, I hear. I can fix that. I have technology. I know of ways to help you get The South up to code. I believe you will find that in a short time under my rule, you will see The Southern Lands flourish.” This seemed to get his attention.

“If Sesshoumaru isn’t interested in utilizing me to strengthen him in this regard, then use that to your advantage. I am an asset. Your lands stretch farther than his. Once I make it into a place fit to live, your population will grow. So will your armies. You will have the best of everything, and you won’t have to bend to his every whim, as you do now.”

He couldn’t deny that the prospect was appealing. But her defiance was niggling at him.

“Will he not be cross with you? I cannot see Sesshoumaru being on board with such an arrangement.”

“You leave that to me. As you said, there are things only a mate can do to persuade their lord. I am not completely without resources in that regard. What do you say?”

“You’re crazy.” She only smiled at that. She knew she had him.

“But I don’t see that I have a choice,” he admitted with a sigh. After a lengthy silence, he proceeded. “I will announce you as heir at the next meeting.”

“Let’s just keep this between us for now. I need some time to work on him. When I think he will be more receptive to the idea, I will let you know. Until then, just keep your mouth shut.”

He only inclined his head in response. He remained seated as she rose to leave.

Her intimidating demeanor turned deceptively sweet on the drop of a dime.

“It was so nice to finally meet you, Kashi.” She held out her hand in offering.

This time, he shook it.

Chapter Text

Touran entered the gardens to find Sesshoumaru sitting alone on the bench made of stone. He almost seemed as if he were affixed to it, motionless and expressionless; as he so often was. Having grown up alongside him, with their fathers’ both ruling their respective lands, she could probably claim to know him much better than most. Not that it was saying much.

He had always been a master of disguise; keeping his thoughts and feelings concealed beneath his mask of indifference, or if he was feeling generous, he could muster an annoyed glare. But she could tell that something was bothering him.

The night they had shared with the miko displayed more passion and emotion than she had ever thought him capable. But it wasn’t directed at her, as she had so often wished for. It was all for the priestess who seemed to be turning his life upside down more and more by the day. After that night, she had vowed to them both that she would not interfere in their relationship. The one he had become so invested in, despite his partner’s increasing indifference.

She hadn’t spent much time in Kagome’s presence since then, but she was perceptive enough to pick up on some glaring changes in the girl over last few days. She had been in the dojo for Sesshoumaru’s gruesome match with Jiro, as well as the events that followed. She left before Inuyasha had ordered the crowd to leave, but it had nothing to do with any disgust or embarrassment at witnessing such an act take place.

She was still in love with him. She had made peace with the fact that she probably always would be. And though she would remain true to her word to them, it still caused her great pain. It was bad enough that he was in love with someone else, but the hurt was still so raw that bearing witness to any affection between them seemed like cruelty.

She wouldn’t interfere, but she still hoped to prove her loyalty to him as a friend; even though to him, she was most likely only considered a member of his council. Nothing more.

She had something to tell him, and she only hoped he wouldn’t incorrectly suspect any ulterior motives.

“We need to talk. May I sit down?” He betrayed nothing, barely offering acknowledgement.

“Do as you please.” And she did, taking a seat beside him.

“It’s about Kagome.” The mention of his girlfriend didn’t garner the reaction she had been expecting from him, but silence meant she could proceed.

“She requested an audience with Kouga and I. Apparently, she has convinced Kashi to name her as Heir to The South. She is demanding our support.”

She doubted he was aware. Kagome had asked that they keep their meeting a secret, and she knew there was no way he would be on board with her new found aspirations. She was supposed to represent The West now; supposed to be his largest supporter. But from the meeting she had just had with the girl, it was clear that her ambitions had little to do with the demon lord.

She expected him to be angry. Surprised. Confused. Anything other than this. He had allowed an anguished look across his beautiful features that just seemed so wrong on him. It was almost like he had been expecting something like this from her, and the conformation was a terrible blow.

“Does she have your support?” he asked quietly, unsuccessfully trying to keep his pain in check in the presence of another.

“Is that what you want?”

“Of course not.”

“Then why is she doing this?”

He had been keeping his predicament on a very need to know basis. But it had been a strain on him. Without Kagome available to help ease his burden, he was eager for a sympathetic ear; so he decided to let her in.

“My youki now runs through her veins. It appears to be influencing her to show dominance. To rule. It is all she cares for now.”

Understanding dawned on her as she registered his confession. She had heard rumors of youki being able to take over the senses of the humans that were hosting it. But she had never actually seen the effects in action until this point.

Sesshoumaru was the most powerful being she had ever known. It would be difficult for any other demon to withstand his power. She couldn’t imagine what it must be like for a human.

“If any of us were to challenge her, we would lose. She seems to know this,” she informed him. His helpless expression hit its zenith in his eyes.

“But I will withhold my support, if that is what you wish.”

“You would do such a thing?” He finally looked at her then. He had expected that Touran would be more than eager to see Kagome leave his lands. His surprise at her concession was mildly irritating; but the relief it seemed to bring him softened her slightly.

“My loyalties are to you, Sesshoumaru. How long have we known each other?” Her question would go unanswered, but compelled her to lay herself bare. His apparent need for comfort gave her courage.

“Do you remember the day we first met? You probably don’t. Why would you? It was probably just another day to you, but not me.” A wistful smile graced her lips at the memory of so long ago.

“I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on you. It was love at first sight; even though at the time, I was unaware of the strange emotion,” she admitted. “Ever since that day, I was yours. And even though I know we will never be, I still care for you. I trust you. If you do not want her in council, I will voice my rejection. Though I don’t know how much good it will do. I cannot speak for the others.”

He grabbed her hand with demon speed and urgent haste, causing her to gasp with a start. She felt fear when he clutched it tighter, but hadn’t a moment to process or register when his mouth descended on hers in a kiss that expressed gratitude and something else. It wasn’t exactly affection. More like desperation. He kissed her as if he needed to. Needed to forget. Needed comfort. It wasn’t clear, but she allowed it to deepen as he raised a gentle palm to the side of her face.

This was all she had ever wanted. All she had dreamed for. It took everything she had to pull away. To reject the demon she loved. Made even harder by that rejection registering in his features and alerting him to his slip, bringing him even more pain.

“Sesshoumaru...” she was almost in tears. “I’m sorry. I want to. Kami, you know I do. But I gave you both my word that I would not stand in your way.” The weight of his head became too much for his shoulders to bear; so he allowed it to hang as closed his eyes tight.

His moment of weakness had shamed him, and he found himself at a loss as of what to do.

The panther demon was startled at his actions, but pressed forward.

“She must be going through a lot right now. It can’t be easy having such powerful youki as yours suddenly overcoming her senses. That she also houses such reiki... I can’t imagine what she is feeling.”

She took his cheek in her hand this time, persuading him to look at her again.

“You love her. I know you do. Just give her some time,” she forced a smile as she pleaded with him, on Kagome’s behalf. “She is strong. She will get it under control, I am sure of it.” She had never seen the demon lord in such a helpless state, and was compelled to do her best to reassure him.

“The Western Lands are having some growing pains right now. So is she. And I am very confident that both will endure. She will come around.” She stood to leave him then, while she still could. But she had an afterthought that she could not prevent herself from voicing.

“But if she doesn’t... Come find me. I fear that I will not have the strength to deny you a second time.”

She turned to make her exit; but as she did, his voice stopped her progress.

“Your hair was up.” He was looking at the ground in front of him, but was likely aware of the confusion plastered on her features.

“What?”

“Mioko came to watch father compete in tournament, here at the fortress. She brought you along.” Eyebrows lifted as realization dawned on her, and she could only listen as he continued.

“Father defeated a tiger demon named Hao in six moves.” He spoke softly as he recalled.

“You sat three seats to my left. You were wearing a yellow kimono, with a purple sash, and a white pattern on your shoulders.” He finally turned to look at her, and she was floored by the sincerity shining in his eyes.

“And your hair was up.”

He remembered.

Tears were threatening to fall, and she found she couldn’t speak; for she knew her voice would crack. She only placed her palm above her breast; to calm her heart, and as a sign of her thanks. She offered him a smile, and left him alone in the gardens.

Chapter Text

Kagome often forgot that Sesshoumaru was a fierce predator. Sure, she saw glimpses of it when they were alone. When she was bare before him, the look in his eyes would alert her to this glaring fact. But it had been a long time since he had set his sights on her with any malicious intent. Every other being who crossed his path seemed very aware of his terrifying nature. It was impossible to ignore.

But even though he very well could cause her great harm, and she should indeed fear for her safety in his presence, she seemed to believe that he never would. And she was right.

He was aware of this fact as well. Even if he had wanted to cause her any injury, he knew that he would never be able. This made her a true weakness. No matter what she would do, what horrible feats she may now be capable of, he would never lay a hand on her. He couldn’t even bring himself to stop loving her.

She was a threat to him now. A threat to his lands. A constant threat to his authority. She had a hold of his heart, and she was taking advantage of that. And worst of all, he knew it. He was just like his father. Even worse.

His father knew that the human woman he had loved would bring him down in the end. But it wasn’t because she had been railing against him, as Kagome seemed to be doing. It was because his father had to sacrifice himself to protect her, and the child that she carried.

Kagome openly defied him. And even though he knew he would be better off to simply let her go, or dispatch her from this world, he found that he would rather meet his own end than bring upon hers.

He was still duty bound. He was responsible for too many and too much to ever discard his honor and integrity. But even if he had to let her go, he would let her go with her life. It would be the greatest pain he would ever endure, but Sesshoumaru never shied away from pain. He would still do anything in his power to prevent this however. He too would go down fighting.

He was masking his aura, and lying in wait. Even with her superior power, he took her by surprise when she entered her personal chambers. Though her senses had been heightened, her human eyes remained weak in the darkness. She illuminated a lantern to aid her vision, and gasped as his form finally became visible as he sat on her bed, watching her every move.

“Jesus, Sesshoumaru!” She placed her hand over her heart to soothe the start he had caused her.

“You have been busy,” he accused, and she knew the jig was up.

“So you have spoken with Kashi...” she wrongly assumed. But he wouldn’t correct her.

“Did you plan on informing me?”

There was no use lying to him. And she had no desire to do so.

“Eventually. Look, you wouldn’t allow me in council-”

“You have elected to abandon me to ally yourself with The South.”

“I’m not abandoning you. I simply needed-”

“But you are!” His accusation was warranted, but he reined in his upset so that he could speak calmly once more. “Your place is here. With me.” The hurt in his tone overrode his anger. Though he was brimming with that as well.

“And I will be! I want to be with you. But I am needed there too. I am the only one who can help demon kind survive at this point.” Her explanation hadn’t succeeded in placating him, so she continued. “I don’t need your permission. It would be easier if I had it, but even if I don’t, I will do everything I can to prevent the humans from extinguishing you out.”

She was consumed with the thought. How could he not see what was coming? Why would he forsake his own kind on account of the humans who loathed him so? Didn’t he see that she was doing this for him?

“You needn’t do this. We must work together. You can help me here-”

“But you won’t listen to reason. I need the freedom to act as I see fit.”

He narrowed his eyes dangerously at her.

“Do you intend on starting a war with me?”

“No! I don’t want to fight you, Sesshoumaru. I love you-”

He scoffed.

“You certainly have an odd way of displaying it. Do you not trust me? Do you not trust that I may know what I am doing? I have been planning for peaceful coexistence between our species. I have agonized over every detail, and you hope to undo everything I have worked for. What I thought we had worked for.”

“We were wrong.” She deflated a bit, and resigned herself to a confession.

“Look, Sesshoumaru. I owe you an apology. You were right before. Before we defeated Naraku. I didn’t know how you saw things. I couldn’t understand how you felt. About humanity. About the world. I was so blind. But I see it all so clearly now.”

She kept her tone even, hoping to relay the importance of the message she needed to get across to him.

“I have seen what the future holds. In the future, where I lived, there are no demons. Not a one. I have seen with my own eyes how they view you here. They see you as the threat. Their numbers grow. I don’t know how they do it, but they will end up overthrowing you. All of you.”

He allowed her to put her hand on his arm. “I do love you, Sesshoumaru. Very much. And I don’t want to lose you to them. If I take action now, I know I can prevent my future from coming to pass.”

She wasn’t lying to him, that he could tell. But her ambitions were misguided. Just because she believed it to be true, did not mean that it was. He tried to show her reason.

“What of your paradox? It was you who informed me that you must not interfere, lest you yourself never be born.”

“But I was,” she rationalized. “I am afraid I am already past the point of no return in that regard.” He couldn’t deny that he had considered it very possible. “And even if I wasn’t, I have no desire to preserve the future I know. If it is a future without demons, I will not mourn its demise.”

“And what of your race? True, there are humans who must be taken down. The same is true of youkai. Not all are perfect. But you are human. As well as your friends. Do you not feel anything for them any longer?”

He hoped she did. She was once over capacity with compassion. It was impossible that it had all been snuffed out.

“Of course I do. But I am afraid that we are the exception. I’m not saying that all humans need to die. But they must be kept at bay. I will not waver in that.” He shook his head.

“You are wrong. There is a better way than what you are planning.” He took her face in his hand, demanding her full attention. “We may come together, and live peacefully. It will take some time, but it is time that we have to spare.” He was no longer above pleading. He would resort to any measure to sway her back to him. “Please, do not do this. Stay with me. Become The Lady of the West by my side. Together, we will overcome every obstacle,” he assured her. As always, his confidence was alluring.

She leaned into his touch for a moment, before withdrawing slightly.

“I cannot agree. It is you who must realize what the future holds. You would do well to see things my way.”

He sighed and turned into the bed behind him, and her eyes followed his movements. He placed his two index fingers on the sheets, inches apart.

“We each had once lived parallel lives,” he began.

“At some point, to my great surprise, our paths began to cross, like an X,” he moved his fingers to illustrate his point.

“Where we met in the middle, I believe was that night after the monk’s wedding. We were on the same page. Perfectly sympatico.” His expression lightened at the not so distant memory, but it faded as he continued his movements. “I fear, ever since that night, we have continued our progression, and are traveling further apart. You once held so much compassion. Now, the way you speak-”

“And you used to be ruthless and unforgiving. When did you start to become soft?” He growled at the insinuation.

“Watch your tone, woman! Who are you to speak to me with such disrespect?” His pent up rage was seeping through, but he was doing well in keeping it contained... all things considered. “I have ruled these lands for centuries, as my father had before me. You arrogantly waltz in here and after a matter of days think to know what is best for my lands? My subjects? After everything, have I not bought some loyalty? Do you not believe This One worthy of your trust?”

“Sesshoumaru, you are the strongest demon in existence. There is no denying that. But I now hold some of your youki inside me. You forget that I can purify you, your kind with but a simple touch?”

He could never forget that fact. No demon could ignore her power. But he never thought she would consider using it maliciously. “Your superior youki combined with my power makes me a force in my own rite. I can take The Southern Lands by force. And I will.”

It took all he had to remain firm in his convictions, and he knew he had to speak before he lost the power to do so.

“I am The Lord of the West. I cannot rule alongside a woman who will undermine me at every turn.” He steeled himself then, and strengthened his reserve. “And I will not share a bed with one.”

His threat to withhold irritated her. Two could play at that game...

“Well then, your room is next door. I suggest you go there-”

“No.” The harsh edge to his voice caused her to start. “This room is for The Lady of the West. If you intend on becoming an heir to the South, I will graciously put you up in a guest room for the night. After that, I must insist that you follow your heart’s call and leave these lands.”

He was not one for praying. But he prayed with every fiber in his being that she would consider his ultimatum, and make the right choice. But his confidence was wavering.

How could he bring a whole country together, if he couldn’t even accomplish interspecies peace within his own walls?

She was stunned at the demand, and it took a moment to register.

“Are you breaking up with me?”

The reality of the statement startled him more than anything. He paused, yet continued.

“Do you insist on claiming the title as Heir to The South?”

She almost conceded. But in the end, her determination won out. She believed in her soul that what she was doing was right, and it had to be done. She would be the savior to demon kind, even if it meant losing him. A single tear ran down her cheek.

“...Yes.”

He had to be firm in this. But that didn’t stop his mind from processing at lightning speed for any possible solution. Could they make this work? Could he find it in him to let her try her hand at ruling? If he was patient a bit longer, would she finally be able to control her power enough to come to her senses, and abandon her ridiculous ideas?

He couldn’t. In her present state, she could not be contained. For the first time in his life, it appeared there was nothing he could do.

He didn’t need to answer her. The look on his face told her all she needed to know.

She regarded him sadly for what felt like forever, before finally resigning herself. She took off her ring and held it out to him. It would take a long moment before he would reach out to receive it, but he did. Eyes welled with tears, she took her gaze from his before brushing past him and making her exit.

Chapter Text

He had been at it for hours. He was on a rampage. Tearing through his lands in a chaotic and mindless state, and striking down any unfortunate soul who had the misfortune of being caught in his path. He needed to kill. Needed to destroy. He at least had his mind about him enough not to go to any villages to seek out human victims. But any lowly demon who was unlucky enough to be in the vicinity was traced, tracked, and extinguished.

That didn’t stop those in the nearby villages from cowering in fear. They knew whose powerful aura was out loose and wreaking havoc. And from the terrifying unleashed youki that permeated, it was clear that he was in no mood to be trifled with. Even though he was quite a distance away, it was a shelter in place. Lights were out and not a sound would be made, and they huddled in their huts; trembling with fear as they rode out this storm.

Youkai were on the run as well. But these were his lands. And he was an accomplished predator. Until he had his fill, he would rip down the forests, rattle the mountains, and dig up the earth until every mindless beast was dead.

He was continuously transforming; as if he couldn’t make up his mind. A large white dog could be seen soaring overhead; tongue hanging out and fangs bared as he looked for his next meal. Moments later, he was back to striped cheeks and poison claws; brandishing his demon whip like a marksman, cutting down all forms of life in a stunning display of light and skill.

The sounds of trees crashing and dirt exploding were the only ones left in the dark night to be made. Aside from the disruption he himself was causing, all was deathly silent. It appeared that any creature who had once been capable of making noise had been dispatched, if it hadn’t been deft enough to escape him in time.

But it wasn’t enough. His pain was still raw. And because it hurt far too much to keep it to himself, he decided that the world would need to know his pain as well.

It was really over. He couldn’t accept it. Not yet. Nothing was impossible for him. He never failed. How could it be that he finally, after all this time, got to feel the true power and pleasure of finding love and reveling in it, only to have it taken from him almost as soon as it had appeared?

His whirlwind romance had blindsided him. It was nothing he had searched for, sought out, or longed for. It was nothing he ever knew he even wanted. But now that he’d had it, he decided he didn’t want to live without it. The thought of taking his own life had crossed his mind several times in the last few hours, but there was only one way he would be willing to accomplish it.

He was a born and bred warrior. He knew his whole life that there would only be one way in which he would meet his end. He would go down in battle, with honor. Though the circumstances of his father’s death were less than admirable, he went down fighting. Sesshoumaru had long sought out the most powerful beings in existence to challenge, to prove his power and dominance. Now, he was still seeking such beings out, but desired a far different outcome.

His pride would allow for no less than to be taken down by the most powerful creature he would come across. They would indeed need to be powerful to let him meet such a fate. But it seemed he had been successful in his path to supreme conquest. There were none who could even hope to defeat him. And he currently was loathing that fact. He just wanted it to be over. How could he go on? Now that he knew the pleasure of her touch; the warmth of her light, only to have it removed in a most devastating fashion? It was cruelty.

But still he was searching desperately for a fight that could free him from this terrible pain. It became clear that all he would accomplish out here was blowing off steam, and it was hardly putting a dent in his anguish. He would have to resort to other means.

When he made his way to one of the demon villages he saw over, it appeared to be a ghost town. Auras were masked, and the roads were bare, as its inhabitants hid in their homes. They would make no attempts to escape as they felt him draw near, as it would only incite the chase his beast would surely induce once witnessing them flee. So they could only remain perfectly still, and hope that he would pass them over in favor of more satisfying prey.

When he blew out the door of the lord of the village’s home, his mate shrieked in terror and his children cried and wailed as they dove under their furniture in a vain attempt to elude him. The lord trembled as Sesshoumaru approached, but at least managed to hold his ground, and simply awaited his inevitable fate.

“M-My Lord! W-What can I-?”

“Demon sake,” he demanded in a growl.

It took the lord a moment to register his request. He made sure not to insist he clarify, lest he become frustrated with him. He quickly made his way to the cabinet where he held his best liquor, and shakily held out his finest bottle to the demon lord.

Sesshoumaru grabbed it from him harshly, and downed the full bottle in one long pull. He had been able to manage himself fairly well the last time he had taken to drinking the stuff. But then, he had conservatively taken his time, drinking the bottle over a matter of hours and sharing it with others. Downing a bottle in one gulp would hit him much harder, and his unstable state would add fuel to the fire of its effectiveness.

But that’s what he was going for. He needed to numb the pain. To feel anything other than the weight of this loss. The loss of the love of his life.

The lord looked on him with uncertain fear. Sesshoumaru was always the picture of perfectness. Unavoidably unaffected. To see him in such a state was akin to a young boy witnessing his father delve into the depths of madness. It was terrifyingly nerve wracking. And though Sesshoumaru appeared to be looking back at him, his gaze was actually going right through him. When he felt the desired affects from the demon strength alcohol, he was satisfied that he had completed his mission. To the great relief of the family, and the village they resided in, he left.

The travel back to his fortress was less than graceful. Impaired by the drink and wrought with despair, he zigzagged through the air in the night, nearly missing his turns and having to constantly right his course.

But he knew these lands well. He likely could have sleep walked back home, and it wasn’t far from what was occurring. He knew himself enough in that moment. Enough to get by. But he was pleased that the sake had made strides in tempering his pain, if only briefly.

When he finally made it back, however, he found himself not at the door to his chambers. The one he knew would no longer lead him to the miko who had stolen, and abused his tender heart. The sake had started him on the path to forgetting his pain, but there was more to be done if he would be able to forget it tonight.

He knocked forcefully at the door to the guest room, but not as loud as he had wanted. It didn’t matter. The demon inside could most likely sense his approach well before his knuckles made contact with the wood.

When Touran opened the door, she couldn’t prevent the gasp that escaped her at the sight she was greeted with. He looked awful. He was spattered with blood and dirt, and had an unsteady gait. And there was something about the redness in his eyes that told her they were not tinged on account of his beast’s desire to break free. Though it appeared that it might.

She hadn’t enough time to think on it any further, as he crossed the threshold into the room, and pulled her forcefully to his lips as he took them roughly and desperately. She was neither prepared for the action, nor able to resist. She closed her eyes and pulled him closer to her as he let himself into her room, and closed the door behind them.

Chapter Text

To say that the council meeting the next morning was tense would be an understatement. Sesshoumaru, for his part, did a phenomenal job of disguising the hangover he was no doubt experiencing. It had been a rough night, but it seemed he had gotten his lapse in control out of his system for the time being. He was back to himself; appearing calm and unaffected, and his outward appearance was flawless- from pristine clothing to his measured movements and countenance.

Kagome was there too, sitting beside Kashi, and glaring daggers at Sesshoumaru who refused to acknowledge it. She knew what he had done last night, and with who. The whole fortress was aware, as he had made no attempts to temper the flaring of his youki as he blew off steam with the panther demon who was also present. He had no regrets. He was single again, and could do as he pleased. If she had desired to be his, she could have stopped this heir business and simply remained by his side. How he wished she had.

But alas, here they were. This was the meeting in which Kashi would announce her as Heir to the South, but Sesshoumaru would make one last attempt to prevent it.

“Kashi, This One highly suggests that you reconsider. Kagome is not demon, nor has she ever even stepped foot within your lands. She has no experience as a lady of land, and it would be foolhardy to place her in such a prominent position.”

Under normal circumstances, Kashi would be much too fearful to go against the demon lord. But with the powerful miko now at his side, he could draw strength from her protection. Additionally, her presence would redirect Sesshoumaru’s attention. And his ire.

“That may be so, but as she knows what the future will hold, she has convinced me that she will make great strides in improving The Southern Lands. You know more than anyone what an asset she may be, My Lord. I’m afraid your loss will be my gain.”

He had to repress the growl that threatened to escape. He would not show weakness, and let her affect his demeanor.

“Furthermore, her powers are formidable. And if I do not name her as heir, it is possible that she will simply kill me,” he informed him honestly. Sesshoumaru was intimidating as he fixed his deadly eyes on the dragon.

“And what do you think I will do?”

Kashi swallowed thickly at the threat, but he had already thrown down the gauntlet. There was no turning back now.

“I’m sorry, Sesshoumaru. But it really isn’t your call. It is my decision. And might I remind you that we wouldn’t even be in this position had you not killed my last heir in this very council.”

It was the first time he actually regretted killing the arrogant dragon.

“Kagome,” Inuyasha pleaded, “don’t do this. You belong here with us. With me. After all we’ve been through together... can you just wait? I bet after some time, your power-”

“Silence, half-breed.”

He couldn’t believe this. It wasn’t her anymore. He had really lost her.

“Kashi, I have to agree with Lord Sesshoumaru-” Touran started, but was interrupted by a snort from the miko.

“Figures. No surprise that Sesshoumaru would have the support of his sloppy rebound.”

The panther was about to retort, but Kashi cut her off.

“Simply disagreeing with my choice is not grounds for rejection. Tanaka learned that the hard way. I shall not be so callous as to attack any member of council for their opposition, however,” he spat at Sesshoumaru accusatorily. “We shall depart for The Southern Lands immediately, where a ceremony will be held to introduce Kagome to the guards. You are all welcomed to join us for the celebration, of course.”

Now it was Sesshoumaru’s turn to snort. “You may go play your little games, but This One has important work to be done here. You shall learn soon enough, miko, that ruling land is not as simple as you may perceive.”

“That’s fine. I have work to do as well. Let it be known that any demon who wishes to survive the upcoming human uprising may find a safe haven in The South. YOU will learn soon enough what your cohabitation will bring about for The West, Sesshoumaru.”

“I suppose there is no more to be said,” Sesshoumaru informed them as he turned his hard eyes on Kagome. “Travel safely. This summit has concluded.”

***********

Neither Sesshoumaru nor Inuyasha had been there to see Kagome off, but Kouga decided to pay her one last visit before he left for The East.

“Heya kid. How you holding up?”

She was packing her things as he stepped into her guest room, but she stopped to make her way over to him and threw her arms around him.

Though she was upset at his actions, the loss of Sesshoumaru was almost too much to bear. She badly needed a distraction, as he had.

Her hands roamed over Kouga as she tried to kiss him, but the wolf grabbed them to stop her and turned his head away in resistance.

“Woah, what are you doing?”

“C’mon Kouga. You know you want to. How about one more time for old time’s sake?”

He was uncomfortable with her actions, and not interested in indulging her.

“Kagome, we said it was over. I’m trying to be a better mate to Ayame.” His refusal was insulting, and frustrating.

“Besides, I couldn’t do that to Sesshoumaru.”

“We aren't together anymore, Kouga. He has no claim over me any longer.”

There was a time when he would have done anything to appease the miko in his grasp. But those days were long over. He would always love Kagome, but she was no longer his woman.

“That may be. But I’m not an idiot. Neither are you. It is clear that he still loves you... You know, it’s not too late to change your mind. You guys were good together. I bet if you just apologize-”

“No, Kouga. It's over.” She looked down sadly at the admission.

She was making a huge mistake. And it pained him to realize that she would discover this soon enough.

“Give the wolves my best, okay?”

He regarded her somberly as she returned to her packing.

“I will. Good luck, Kagome.”

Chapter Text

One year had passed since Kagome moved to The Southern Lands, and Sesshoumaru hadn’t seen her since. Council meetings were not normally a regular occurrence, and as there had not been need of one since the summit at his fortress, he had not had to endure running into her. He was grateful for that fact.

Not long after Kagome was named heir, to the great shock of her new followers, she purified Kashi and took her spot as Lady of the South. When news of this made it back to Sesshoumaru, he couldn’t help but feel that the dragon had got what he deserved. That would be the last of the dragons, and it appeared that it was now the year of the miko.

True to her word, Kagome had indeed made great strides in The South. He hated to admit it, but she truly was a natural born leader. The information she brought back from her time had turned the once desolate Southern Lands into a place fit for anyone to live and thrive, not just dragons. Her gardening and farming knowledge saw profitable and beautiful new growth, and books on plumbing and construction made living there much more luxurious than even certain parts of The West.

Humans had flocked to her lands at first; eager to follow the powerful human miko who took down the last dragon demon- as well as Naraku. But once they became aware of her desire to wall them off from the better parts of her lands in favor of demon advancement, they made their way back to The West quickly.

He had lost a number of his demon subjects to Kagome, however. Those who did not agree with his desire to see them live peacefully among humans left his lands; ironically, to go serve under a human woman. It seemed with time, however, that her plans to segregate the species petered out. Sesshoumaru wasn’t sure if she simply was not able to make it come to pass, or if perhaps her will to do so had dwindled.

Though he had not seen fit to have contact with the miko, Inuyasha now visited her with some regularity. They had made amends, and he had assured him that she now had control of her powers and was back to her old self in many ways. The experience had changed her some, however.

Inuyasha tried vehemently to convince Sesshoumaru to pay the miko a visit, but he had so far been unsuccessful. Her betrayal was still too fresh, and though he liked to project that he simply loathed her for her behavior, the truth was that it would still be too painful for him to see her.

He had continued seeing Touran since the day Kagome left the fortress. She still went back to do her duties in The North, but as she was only heir, she was able to take long trips to The West to spend time with her beloved dog demon. Yoshi was pleased at the new development between the two, and had encouraged Sesshoumaru to take command of much of the dealings in The North. If things went as he hoped, the demon would soon be mated to his daughter and would likely be running both lands with her.

He wondered what was taking him so long to claim her. Sure, they were demons, and had all the time in the world. But he wanted a new generation of heirs soon, and was becoming impatient for Sesshoumaru to make her an honest woman and begin siring their offspring.

He had assured Touran that he would mate her in time. There was simply too much work to be done at the moment to focus on raising children.

Getting his plans of cohabitation going began at a rocky start, but many were warming to the idea. Now that his new world order was in full swing, and with Inuyasha and his human pack gaining more experience in the matter, they were finally beginning to bear fruit. Villages were being built where both species could thrive, and human/demon couples were becoming more commonplace. He figured that it would take no more than one generation to see the prejudices of his day wiped out. At least for the most part.

“Hey! I’m back!” Inuyasha let himself into Sesshoumaru’s study, as he was known to do, for his brother to debrief him on his diplomatic endeavors.

Sesshoumaru had amerced himself in scrolls, as he was known to do, and didn’t bother looking up to bid his brother welcome.

“This One is aware, Inuyasha. I scented your arrival 10 minutes ago.”

“Yeah, yeah. All hail the superior senses of Lord Sesshoumaru.”

He closed the door behind him and made his way to the desk as his brother continued to work.

“And they should. Though I am certain even a human could have scented you. Have you bathed recently?”

The two still enjoys trading barbs, but they had taken on a decidedly more lighthearted nature these days.

“Ha Ha. I really miss the days where you weren’t so fucking funny.”

Still involved in his tasks, which seemed to take extra precedence when Inuyasha returned from his trips, Sesshoumaru did his best to appear busy as he demanded his obligatory report.

“How was your visit to The Southern Lands?”

“Great! Kagome has really worked wonders over there,” he eyed his brother carefully, though Sesshoumaru purposely wasn’t making eye contact.

“She asked about you.”

“Is that so?” He disinterest couldn’t be more clear.

“Yeah. She’s doing really good. Looking really good, too.”

His statement garnered no reaction from the demon, and he cautiously proceeded.

“You really need to pay her a visit. It has been too long.”

“I haven’t the time. Nor do you, really. I cannot handle all the matters on my own here,” he stilled a moment. “Correction. I certainly can, though I should not have to. You have duties here as well, Inuyasha.”

It was clear he was trying to change the subject, but Inuyasha was undeterred. He grabbed his brother’s arm, gaining his attention by force.

“No. Sesshoumaru. You REALLY need to visit her. It is really important.”

Inuyasha’s constant insistence that he visit Kagome was almost unbearable, and had become increasingly progressive in the recent months.

“Why?” He finally deigned to regard him visually, not bothering to contain his annoyance.

“Just. Look, you trust me, right?”

He didn’t answer him, and Inuyasha chose to interpret his silence as an affirmative.

“She’s having a celebration next week. The finest village in The South has just finished being built, and they are making a huge deal about it. She invited all of us. I told her you would come.”

He turned his attention from him with a dismissive shrug.

“I suppose that makes you a liar.”

“It’s been long enough.”

Inuyasha had been furious with Kagome for how she had treated his brother. The few slights she had made at the half demon were easy enough to forgive. But Sesshoumaru had paid a dear price for lending her his dominating youki, and it took time for Inuyasha to forgive her for that. But eventually, he had.

Sesshoumaru’s youki had even been difficult for the demon lord to handle himself at one point, and Kagome openly expressed her regret of the affect it’d had on her. He was now more than eager to see the two beings who meant so much to him make amends with each other as well.

“I know she hurt you. I don’t love her for it, and she’s not proud of herself either. It’s time to bury the hatchet. I know you ain’t scared...”

He tried, but Sesshoumaru wouldn’t take the bait; and the half-demon huffed.

“Look, you can’t avoid the South forever. Or her. Let's just get this first visit out of the way. It’s only going to get more awkward the longer you wait.”

If his brother couldn’t be goaded into it, perhaps he could appeal to his rational side.

“Please, just go with me. Show up. Make nice. Say hi. Then we can leave. Don’t you want to be the bigger man in this?”

Sesshoumaru wouldn’t respond, or even acknowledge the request. Inuyasha sighed, and resulted to his last remaining tactic...pleading desperately.

“Please, Sesshoumaru. I’m begging here. Do this for me, and I swear I’ll never ask you for anything again. Honest.”

He was getting far too good at the puppy dog eyes. It must be where Rin was picking it up.

He knew he would have to see the miko eventually. He wouldn’t deny to himself how much pain she had caused him. Even if he wouldn’t voice it to another soul. Those who knew him best had been aware, however. He supposed it was as good a time now as any. He was not a coward, after all. He relented.

“Very well. Since it seems to mean so much to you.” His brother released a very audible breath as he smiled wide with relief. “I shall go for one day, but then I must return here.”

“Great! Perfect! That’s all I ask. Thanks, Sesshoumaru.”

***********

He had heard she had done well by the South, but Sesshoumaru hadn’t expected this. It had been ages since he set foot in these lands, but this couldn’t be a farther cry from the hellhole he remembered visiting years ago.

What was once baron dirt was now lush with gardens and crops. Where there once was no population to speak of, now held bustling communities of progress. The homes built for the villagers were some of the finest he had ever seen, and the demons- and humans- looked happy. They seemed to be living together peacefully, as he had hoped they would. He was pleased that her intentions to separate the species seemed to fall by the wayside.

As he approached the Southern Fortress, he found he was impressed with it as well. It had always been large, as it was where the dragons themselves had resided during their lengthy rule. But though it was still heavily guarded with an impressive army presence, it felt more like a home.

He could clearly see her influence here. From the postmodern designs, to the well-kept gardens, to the contented looks on the faces of both the staff and the residences. She had done well. He had to stop himself from dwelling on what his home might have looked like, if only she had remained.

Since the moment he had arrived, he was preoccupied with an unavoidable pull on his youki. At first, he had considered it was instinct overreacting to the nervous anticipation he felt at seeing her again, but the closer they got, he ruled out the unpleasant thought.

He had never experienced such a sensation, but it only grew stronger as they drew nearer. Now that they were here, the weight of it was becoming distracting. None of the others seemed to be aware of it, but the curious sensation was enough to distract him from the approach of a familiar demon.

“Lord Sesshoumaru.” Jiro bowed to accept his former lord into his new home. He hit his breast in solidarity for old times' sake.

“Jiro. You look well.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

Shortly after Kagome took her oath as Lady of the South, she succeeded in poaching Jiro to become her new General. He had assumed she had done it out of spite, but supposed it was possible that she simply needed an experienced general to get her army up to code.

Following his famous beat down in the dojo, and his disagreement with Sesshoumaru over the human issue, it was easy for her to sway him. But they went way back, and there were no hard feelings. It was simply business.

“Welcome back, Lord Inuyasha. Long time no see.”

“Keh. Whatever.”

“Lady Touran, it is a pleasure.”

“Hello Jiro.” She answered his bow with a polite inclining of her head.

“Lady Kagome is busy with her preparations, but I will show you to your rooms. I assume the two of you will be...”

“One room will suit us, Jiro. And one for Inuyasha.”

“Very well, My Lord. This way.”

***************

By the evening time, there was still no sign of Kagome. Sesshoumaru understood. He had hosted a plethora of these events, and was aware of the strain on the host’s schedule. They would be traveling to the new village for a tour tomorrow, but the celebration was beginning tonight in the fortress. Music was playing and couples were dancing. Inuyasha came stag to this event, but Touran had persuaded Sesshoumaru to join her in a dance.

She was startled when she felt him tense, and looked to see what was wrong. She followed his gaze to find that Kagome had entered the hall, servants and guards bowing to her as she made her way over.

He wasn’t prepared. He thought he was, but the second he saw her, long repressed feelings had made their way back to the surface, and it took everything he had to push them down. Touran did well at hiding her upset at his longing reaction to the miko. She knew this would be awkward for him, and tried to remain a calming presence to support him.

She would be there for him now, as she had been ever since Kagome left. He was terribly hurt by the experience, despite his ability to hide it from most everyone else. But she knew him too well to not see how badly he was affected. He would not express it to her outwardly, but he didn’t need to. Aside from Inuyasha, she was the only one who could really tell.

And she had been there to pick up the pieces. He held her tightly at night, trying to forget the woman who had left him to go live in The South. And she tried not to let it bother her that when they laid together, his gaze still seemed to go right through her. Just like that night they had that threesome, she wasn’t the one on his mind.

She decided that it would just take time. He had some mending to do. And when he was healed, she would be there. She had waited her whole life for him. She could wait a little longer.

They stopped dancing to face Kagome as she approached. She did well at hiding her regret, but openly displayed her excitement at finally laying eyes on the dog demon who had once been her intended.

Never one for gaudy finery, she wore a simple kimono, though it was no doubt expensive. The material was fine and very flattering. And her makeup was only a light touch to accent her natural beauty.

“Sesshoumaru. I’m so glad you came.” He only inclined his head in response. Though he didn’t speak, they held eye contact for a long moment; appraising one another, and trying not to let their history overpower them.

“Touran. It’s good to see you,” she offered politely. And the panther demon responded in kind.

“You as well. Congratulations.”

“Thank you... Would you mind terribly if I cut in?” She wouldn’t refuse. But she was far from thrilled at having the miko so close to the demon she now considered to be hers.

“Of course.” Touran leaned in to kiss Sesshoumaru as she made to leave. He wasn’t normally one for PDA, but it was more to prove a claim than anything.

He allowed her to pull him close as they danced to the slow music, and she noticed how he stiffened slightly in her hold. Their proximity brought back more pleasant memories from a year ago.

“It’s been a while since we danced together like this.”

“Hn.” He supposed there was more to be said, but this was hardly the venue. Even if it were, he didn’t know where to begin. She seemed more willing to take the reins.

“It is really is great to see you. It’s’ been far too long.” He wouldn’t look her way as he replied.

“If you say so.”

She had expected him to be upset. He was actually behaving more cordial than she’d anticipated, or that was warranted.

“I deserve that. I can’t begin to apologize-”

“Unnecessary.” His dismissive curtness cut her to the bone. She slowed their movements to command his attention.

“But it is though. I was a total cunt. The way I behaved was unforgivable. I don’t know how I can make it up to you-”

“You cannot.” Her face fell slightly, but she was determined to press on.

“Don’t say that. I’ve got some making up to do. But I swear, I will find a way to make things right.”

She actually took his silence as progress.

“Look. Let's not do this here. Come back to my room with me, and we can talk.”

He fixed her with a suspicious look.

“If you presume to seduce This One, know that it is futile. Our time has passed.”

He was inclined to make it clear how over her he was. “I am quite happy with Touran. We shall be mated soon,” he forced out, almost too quickly.

“I’m very happy for you,” she lied, and he scented it. “But you can’t deny that we need to talk. Just a nice friendly chat in private. Please?”

He supposed it could not be avoided. They had prolonged this confrontation long enough as it was. He might as well get this out of the way now, lest he need to endure another visit.

“Very well.”

He made eye contact with the panther demon, trying to relay that there was no funny business, and followed Kagome’s lead back to her room.

Chapter Text

The pull Sesshoumaru had been feeling on his youki since he arrived was only growing stronger as they approached her rooms. It was very distracting. And he still couldn’t place what it was.

The journey she had made a thousand times by now had never felt so long; made all the more painful by the forced small talk they endured at they made their way to their destination.

Finally, they arrived, and she could sense his unease as he glanced around the room, seeming to be searching for something.

“Can I get you a drink?”

“No.”

“Do you mind if I do?”

“Do as you please.”

She filled her glass with expensive liquor and quickly took a sip. As much as she was trying to portray herself as calm, her nerves were frazzled.

Shortly after arriving in The South, she had finally begun to gain mastery over his youki. Perhaps it had helped that he was no longer contributing it, or perhaps it was that time was all she needed. As her reiki gained control, and kept the demon nature at bay, her senses seemed to return, to her terrible dismay.

She fucked up. She knew she did. This demon had been nothing short of wonderful to her, and she treated him like dirt. And for what? To become Lady of the South? For power? To attempt the despicable deed of segregating humans from demons for their protection? What a fool she had been.

She was so certain at the time that she was doing what was best. She arrogantly presumed to know what would be best for them all, but she had been mistaken.

It was Sesshoumaru’s youki. It had once caused him to hold the same beliefs. But he had seen the err of his ways, and corrected course. That was now the boat she was in, but she feared it might be too late.

She put a stop to her terrible ambitions, and pushed along the peaceful coexistence he had longed for. And successfully, she might add. She would make right with the world, and do what she could with the leverage she now had to make her lands as good as they could be. For everyone.

But she wasn’t so confident she could make things right with him. He must hate her now, and he had every right to. She wouldn’t place the blame on him for being the one responsible for the change. She should have dealt with it better. Should have been stronger. In the end, she was responsible for her own actions; and he had been forced to live with the consequences. And he had moved on...

But the way he looked at her when she entered the hall just now told her that there might still be a chance for them.

“I am mortified at the way I treated you,” she admitted, and she tried to justify.

“Your youki is very powerful, and I admit I couldn’t handle it.” She had to explain herself quickly, while he was still there. She knew if she didn’t get this right, it could be years before she would see him again. Maybe never.

“I have been working hard every day on my power, and am now able to control it. You had your whole life to master it, and I did the best I could. I’m not as strong as you.” She would try to appeal to his ego. It was often a successful route in the past. But she couldn’t appear to be pandering. He was very perceptive, and likely wouldn’t appreciate it. But her words were not lies. He was the strongest demon she had ever known. He was the best.

She felt that nothing she could say could ever make things right, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t try. She had never stopped loving him, and would perform any feat for his undeserved forgiveness. Looking at him now, and knowing what she did... it was heartbreaking.

She moved closer to him then, and looked into his eyes. “I swear, if you give me another chance, such a thing will never happen again.”

“So, it was your intention to seduce me. Foolish.”

“Is it? You never lie, Sesshoumaru. So don’t stand there and tell me that you don’t still have feelings for me. We were in love.”

“Yes. We were.”

Her expression left no room to argue as she set her drink down to regard him firmly.

“I want you to tell me that you don’t love me.”

He couldn’t. Not honestly. But it was immaterial now.

“Whether I do or not, it no longer matters. Even if you have mastered your power, and are as you were when I fell in love with you, how could I ever trust you? How can I be certain that you would not betray me as soon as I let my guard down again?”

She had caused him more pain than any foe he had ever battled. And as much as he wanted to, he could never forgive her for that. He would not be taken for a fool again.

“You are correct. You are not as strong as I am. No being is. Yet what you have done to me nearly brought me down. It took all I had to come back from that. I am not confident that I could do it again.”

He hated how much of an affect she’d had on him... still had. But he would not ignore the truth. Though it was difficult, he was Sesshoumaru. He could endure. He would persevere.

“I love you.” Even if he wouldn’t say it, she still needed him to know. And despite everything, those words from her lips still caused his heart race. “I will never hurt you again. You have my word.”

“You broke my heart, Kagome,” the admission caused the tears she was fighting to keep at bay to finally fall. She knew that she had, but hearing him actually say it was a hard pill to swallow. He was not one to repeat himself, regardless, it bared repeating. The pained sincerity in his eyes was heart wrenching.

“You broke my heart.” There was no point in lying, and it wasn’t among his capabilities. But he was not ashamed to relay to her what her behavior had wrought... how badly she had affected him. Actions had consequences, and now it was time to pay the piper; no matter how much each of them wished it could be different. He did his best to put his stoic façade back to work, and he succeeded... for the most part.

“At any rate, you are Lady of the South now. Your duties are to these lands. You cannot be with me in The West and serve your people here.”

“I will leave the South in a heartbeat, if I can be with you.” It was said with such conviction that it nearly made him falter. She had gone to great lengths to assume the powerful role she had successfully obtained. She would discard it now so easily? At his behest?

“I have no desire to stay here. My misguided ambitions were a result of your youki trying to conquer the world. Those feelings are gone. All I want is to be by your side.” She clutched his haori, and startled him with the thrill he felt at knowing her touch once more. She felt it too, and pleaded with him desperately.

“I will name you as my heir. Take the Southern Lands, and do whatever you think is best. I trust you more than anyone.” He shrugged her off of him.

“I have no interest in the Southern Lands.”

“Then give them to whoever you want. I haven't picked successor; I will name anyone you chose. How about Inuyasha? He is ready-”

“Inuyasha’s loyalties are to the Western Lands. Something you do not understand.” He fixed her with a solemn, harsh look. But she also saw glimpses of a plea.

Part of him wanted to let her sway him. Wanted to make it work. But he had his pride. He was not some robe she could wear around when she was so inclined, and hang up when she was through. He was not there for her to use. Not anymore. And until she could give him a reason to lower himself to accept her offer, the powerful youkai would have to decline.

That didn’t stop the sliver of a voice in the back of his mind from hoping that she would.

He gathered all of his determination, and fixed her with a grim expression.

“Inuyasha belongs in the West. He is my only heir.”

“Not anymore.”

She steeled herself at his confused look, and released a shaky breath.

“It’s time for you to meet someone.”

She led him through the door to her sleeping quarters, and he found that she had a barrier up. When she let it drop, the demon lord fell to his knees.

Beside her bed was a crib, and small half demon no more than 6 months lay inside. The feel of the child’s powers was unmistakable, but he walked on his knees slowly in a mesmerized trance to get closer to the crib to give himself the confirmation that he really didn’t need.

The child slept peacefully, deceptively harmless. There was a crescent on his forehead, and one stripe across each cheekbone. He had short silver hair, and two black puppy ears on the top of his head.

The reason for constant pull on his youki had been made painfully clear. Despite her barrier, the strong will of the child to call out to his father was able to seep through. He had his strong youki, but her reiki as well, and that made no barrier able to fully contain him.

Sesshoumaru was furious. And elated. He couldn’t settle on an emotion to lend him words, so he simply stared at his son in shock, and admiration.

She couldn’t help but smile through her drying tears at his reaction, and relaxed slightly. He loved him already.

His awestruck gaze never left his child as he questioned her in a gentle tone not much louder than a whisper.

“How? You said you took medicine...”

“I did. But it’s only 99% effective. You always had a way of beating the odds, didn’t you?” She tentatively moved closer to him, and bravely put a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Or maybe our powers were too strong to be affected by the medicine. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.”

The weight of it all was crashing down on him in slow motion; and his head swam as it tried to right itself in his mind. There were so many thoughts to organize, and he had to be very careful of how he would prioritize them. One thought fought its way to the top.

“You kept my son from me.”

That had been another reason. When she discovered she was pregnant, his youki was still ruling over her. It dwindled as the child grew inside her, and by the time she was herself again, she was too far along. Having her son completed her transformation back to herself, and she didn’t know how to tell him. By then, the damage had already been done. She had tried to arrange a meeting with him, but he had been extremely elusive.

She had longed to tell him, but she had been afraid. She knew he was still angry with her, and rightfully so. But if he didn’t attend this celebration, she would have finally made the journey West to inform him.

“I know,” her voice cracked shakily, and she tightened her grasp at his shoulder. “I’m so sorry. I am not proud of myself-”

“I had the right to know.”

He was up in an instant, and grabbed her face tightly with one hand. The pain caused her knees to buckle, and he was all that was keeping her from falling to the floor. Tears were pouring from her eyes as she saw the anger in his own.

The crying of their child broke him from his trance. He looked down apologetically to the young half demon, before looking back to Kagome. Resigning himself, he released her to fall to a heap on the ground, and then he was gone.

She simply lay there crying; mother and son joining together in a chorus of pitiful tears. He hated her. And he was right to. She held a small shred of hope that she would be able to redeem herself, but it was too late. She had lost him. She didn’t know if she could live with herself.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru needed to take his anger out on someone, so he fell back on his old familiar standby. Inuyasha certainly wasn’t expecting to be barged in on. That was obvious by the way he held his dick in his hand as a means to take care of himself while away from his mate. Sesshoumaru startled him into anger himself at the intrusion, but it soon turned to fear and he immediately went limp as his brother grabbed him by the throat and held him high in the air. He really should have been expecting this, actually.

He was surprised to see no red in the demon’s eyes, but the hurt and anger he found there would more than make up for it.

“You knew. How could you not tell me?”

“I’m sorry,” he choked out, kicking his legs and trying unsuccessfully to wriggle from Sesshoumaru’s iron grip.

“I thought I could trust you.”

It killed him to keep this from his brother all this time. He was shocked when he visited Kagome for the first time to find her heavily pupped. She had balled in his arms as she apologized for how she had treated him. Treated both of them. And when she begged him not to tell Sesshoumaru, he had refused at first.

He was furious that she would even ask such a thing of him. But she had wanted to do it herself, and he agreed to give her some time. They had both tried to persuade Sesshoumaru to finally pay her a visit, but to no avail. He was sure if he knew that he would have come. And he told Kagome on his last visit that if he refused to come see her this time, he would tell him himself.

He hoped that this wouldn’t cause his brother to lose his trust in him. He had only recently earned it, it seemed. But with how things have been for him, it was a wonder he could trust anyone.

“I wanted to! But I promised I wouldn’t,” he all but gargled. As his face began to turn blue, the demon relinquished his hold and let Inuyasha drop.

He gasped for air on the floor before quickly tucking his cock back into his pants, rubbing his throat after he did so.

“She wanted to be the one tell you. I swear, if she didn’t, I was going to.”

“How long did you plan to wait? His coming of age ceremony perhaps?” Sesshoumaru all but growled.

“Soon. That is why I was so eager for you to come here. If you would have just come sooner...” he began, but at the murderous look in his brother’s eyes, he decided not to finish that sentence.

Inuyasha regarded Sesshomaru pensively as he stood.

“So, what are you going to do?”

“He is my son. I shall bring him up.” He replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“What about Kagome?” he asked timidly; Sesshoumaru shook his head in resignation.

“This changes nothing. We are through. We shall find a way to divide our time with him.”

Inuyasha treaded carefully, and spoke softly.

“If you could find it in your heart to forgive her, it would really be best for the pup if-”

“Do not,” he demanded harshly as he set his cold eyes on him. “If I thought I may not be able to trust her before, I am certain I cannot now.”

“But you still love her.” That much was obvious. He may have been hurt by her, but he had never stopped loving her. It was why he couldn’t be with her. She was a danger to his heart.

“I know it’s hard for you to do. But my advice: swallow your pride. Let the past go, and be with your family. Go be with the love of your life. Trust me, you don’t want to spend your life thinking about what might have been. There is still time for you.”

“No,” he countered firmly. “Touran has been loyal to This One. She has earned her place by my side. I shall not abandon her.”

“So that’s what this is about? Duty? Look, she’s a nice girl and all. And yes, she’s been good to you. But you don’t love her. Your heart still belongs to Kagome. She is your heir’s mother. Don’t you think Touran deserves to be with someone who feels the same way about her?”

He didn’t love the panther. He tried to, but it was not something that could be forced. It mattered not. Love was not required, certainly not among demons. That she wanted him was enough. She would have him, and he would be loyal. There were still some in this world who valued integrity. He just hoped that this new development would not cause her much anguish.

*************

Sesshoumaru returned to his guest room to find Touran sitting alone, deep in thought. He was trying to decide how to break the news to her that he had fathered a child with Kagome, and decided to put it off a bit longer. He crossed to her quickly and put her cheek in his palm, giving her a soft kiss.

“How was your talk with Kagome?” she asked him. He didn’t want to get into it yet, so he opted for his usual distraction. He loosened her clothes as he kissed her more forcefully, and followed her down onto the bed in a long-practiced means of escape. But she was taken aback by his actions, and too distracted to continue; and he was unprepared as she grabbed his wrists to halt his actions.

“Don’t,” she demanded.

At his confused look, she sat back up on the bed and he followed to sit beside her. Since he left her to talk with the miko, she had been deeply pondering their current situation. She had a moment to think on things, and couldn’t ignore the worried anguish she felt as he was having his long-overdue talk with Kagome. She thought she had been doing right by him, but coming to The South brought some new things to light for her.

“Let’s cut the shit, Sesshoumaru. You come straight here after talking to your ex, and suddenly you are very interested in being physical with me? Please.”

She had never been so firm with him. Had never forced him to explain or defend himself. Perhaps that was how things between them had so easily progressed. Her permissive nature when it came to him allowed him to go on without facing his feelings outwardly and honestly. She made things easy on him. And he needed things to be easy after what he had endured at the hands of the Shikon Miko.

“You have been loyal to me, technically. You don’t fuck other females, not physically. But don’t think that I don’t know that every time you sleep with me, you are actually sleeping with her.”

His eyes widened at the accusation. He was a master of disguise. Had she known all this time? He thought he hid his feelings so well... even from himself.

“I see it in your eyes. That same look as the night we had the threesome. You get this glazed over expression, and you look right through me. You may be with my body, but in your head, you are always fucking her.”

She had been willing to ignore it. But when she once again laid eyes upon the priestess, and watched him do the same, it was impossible to deny. Her initial anger turned to sorrow, and she removed her gaze from him to regard the floor at her feet.

“That is why you have not mated me yet. Because deep down, you know you don’t want to. Your beast still wants her.”

He wanted to argue. To tell her she was wrong. But he wouldn’t insult her. She knew him better than most, and as hard as he tried to suppress his feelings for the human miko, he had been unsuccessful. Even though she had moved far from his lands, she still had a hold on him. He could avoid her, and deny her, but he could never be happy again. Not without her. Inuyasha had been right. It wasn’t fair to the female beside him, and the guilt of it was shaming.

“There was a time when all I wanted was to be yours. I didn’t care if you wanted me back, or if you even had feelings for me at all. I would have taken whatever I could get when It came to you. But I can’t do this anymore.” She returned her gaze to him then, intent on relaying the importance of it all, and wanting to see him react to her... for once.

“I can never be satisfied, now that I saw how much you loved someone else, and knowing you will never feel that way for me. I gave you my word long ago that I would not stand in the way of you two. When I saw the way you looked at her, when you danced with her just now, and the way she looked back at you, I realized that was what I was doing. You deserve to be happy. And so do I. And I can’t be happy with you when you are obviously in love with someone else.”

“Touran-” he began, but stopped. The distressed flaring of what he now knew to be his son’s aura captured his attention, and panic naturally filled him as he sharply turned his head toward its call.

Touran felt fear at his actions. Nothing caused Sesshoumaru to openly display distress, and she was about to ask him what was wrong; but in a flurry of white silk, he was out the door to their room in an instant.

********

In the bathroom attached to her rooms, Kagome washed the tears from her face and patted herself dry. She hadn’t really expected his forgiveness. She knew she didn’t deserve it. But that didn’t stop it from hurting.

If only she had tried harder to control her powers. If only she had mastered them a bit sooner, she could be with the demon she loved, raising the family that she had single handedly torn apart.

She hoped he would at least want to be a part of their son’s life. She couldn’t imagine that he wouldn’t. He was too honorable to deny his pup, even though it would probably be unappealing to him to be tied to her in any way. And the way he looked at him when he first laid eyes on him was breathtaking. He was going to be a good father, regardless of their relationship.

The crying of the pup caused Kagome to return to her sleeping quarters to check on him, but she started when she became aware of a figure looming over his crib. Panic set in as she made her way over the unfamiliar presence. How did she not sense it? It must have been masking its aura.

It appeared to be a dragon. But how could that be? She thought Kashi was the last of his kind, but she took in the resemblance of the ominous being standing over the child. He lifted a dagger to her son’s throat, and her reiki flared in response.

“Ah ah, none of that,” he warned as he put a hand on the child’s head, and pressed the tip of the blade to his skin.

She was grabbed from behind by a second dragon, a blade now at her throat as well. She opened her mouth to scream, but his hand covered her mouth, and he put his lips by her ear.

“If you scream, or stir your powers, we will kill him. Understand?”

Her eyes were wide with fear, and she nodded to appease the intruders.

He released his hand, but the blade was still at her neck as he put an arm around her middle to contain her.

She was only feet away from the crib, but she would never make it to him in time. She could purify the one who held her, but wasn’t fast enough to make it to the other before her son would be killed.

“What do you want?”

“Vengeance.” The word hissed from his scaly mouth, and she was disgusted at the feel of his breath on her cheek.

“Great Uncle Kashi was a fool for naming a human miko as heir, but we will avenge him regardless. We had only come with the intention of killing the girl who brought about his dishonorable end. But imagine our surprise just now when we discovered this little bundle.”

“Hey brother, does he not resemble someone?”

“Indeed. He looks just like the very wretch who took father’s head.” The malicious smirk of the dragon caused Kagome’s stomach to turn.

“We aren’t so deluded that we believe we could ever slay the great Lord Sesshoumaru. But I would say taking his first born from him would be the next best thing. It appears we shall be able to avenge father as well.”

The rough manner in which he was handling her was uncomfortable to endure, but her only focus was on her son, and the tip of the blade pressed firmly against him.

“The South has always rightfully belonged to the dragons. I believe I shall be taking it back from you now. I will take the very title that was mine, before you threatened Kashi to hand it to you.”

“It was never going to be yours,” she spat out; forgetting herself as an antagonistic look came over her features. “Kashi planned to name his general heir. He had never even mentioned you. He must have thought you were too weak-”

The child cried as he pushed the dagger closer to him still, and she stopped her ill-timed taunting.

“Please! He has nothing to do with this. I’m the one you want. Let my son go. There is no honor in killing a defenseless infant.”

“You are one to speak of honor?” he accused angrily. “You are the treasonous wench who killed your lord.”

She could find no response to that, but she was saved by the bell.

The dragons tensed as Sesshoumaru arrived through the door with flourish, and he had to contain his panic at the scene he had walked in on. The dragons were distressed at his presence, and turned themselves sharply to face the new threat while still holding their hostages even closer.

Sesshoumaru quickly assessed the situation. He could tell by their scents that they were kin of Tanaka and Kashi. He now recalled the dragon mentioning his children shortly before he killed him. How could he have forgotten? And where have they been all this time?

He considered his position, and the proximity to the attackers. He could make it to one of them in time, but likely not both. If he was too rash, someone would die, so he remained still and did his best to be calm.

How did this happen? He briefly wondered why she hadn’t simply purified the demon holding her. But regarding his son more closely, he realized the folly in that logic.

Dragons were not particularly stealthy. They should have been detected. He cursed himself for being distracted enough during his visit to let this threat elude him. And he cursed the guards as well. Jiro was better than that. This fortress was under their protection; and when hosting visitors, security should be extra attentive to outside threats. If they were his soldiers, he would see every one of them exiled for their lack of awareness... at the very least.

He conceded that this fortress had, at one point, belonged to the dragon clan. They likely knew the layout inside and out, and perhaps knew better than most how to sneak by undetected. But still...

Inuyasha and Touran finally made their way to the room, but Sesshoumaru halted their progress before they reached the doorway.

“Stay back!” he commanded harshly, as Jiro and a group of soldiers also made their way to the threshold, swords in hand. Seeing the dangerous scene before them, they obeyed.

The situation was proving dire for the dragon brothers, and Kagome tried to use reason to prevent them from acting rashly out of panic.

“If you kill his son, he will kill you,” she informed them.

“I will kill them regardless. If you spare the boy, however, you shall be rewarded with a quick death.”

She was briefly saddened by the fact that he hadn’t seemed concerned for her, but immediately pushed it aside. As long as her son would be saved, that was all that mattered.

“He possesses the blade of the heavens,” she reminded them. “If you kill my son, he will revive him anyway. And kill you both slowly.” They took a moment to process this. They had forgotten about that damned sword.

“You want revenge? Then kill me. He hates me. He won’t bring me back.”

Sesshoumaru was stunned at her assessment, but kept his reaction hidden.

“How can we be certain that he won’t?” The dragon asked her, and she turned to the dog demon to plead with him.

“Sesshoumaru. Promise them. Give them your word. I deserve to die... but not our pup. Agree to let them have their vengeance if they spare him. Please.”

His face was deceptively passive as he regarded her a moment, before turning to the dragons and inclining his head slightly.

“I want to hear you say it.” The demon holding Kagome demanded.

“You have my word. I shall not revive the miko.”

“And our deaths will be swift?” The assailant at the crib wanted confirmation.

“Yes.”

The dragons regarded one another, resigning themselves to their fates. They knew the risk of death was high with following through with their foolhardy plan of attacking the Shikon Miko in her own domain. But revenge was all they sought. If they were able to take her down, in their minds they could die with honor, and avenge their kin.

The second the dragon at the crib withdrew his weapon, Sesshoumaru dispatched him in an instant with his poison whip. He quickly flipped his wrist to take down the second offender, and did. But not before he had succeeded in driving his own weapon deep into her chest.

He caught her before she fell to the floor, and did his best to temper the pain he felt as he watched her begin to slip away. Fear and regret were present in her eyes; but they also held gratitude... and something else.

He lowered them both to the floor, and she watched him as he still held her close to his chest. She just wanted to take in as much of him as she could before she left him forever. She was devastated that she wouldn't get to see her son grow into a great half demon, as she knew he would. But she took comfort in the fact that he would have Sesshoumaru watching over him, and protecting him.

“Thank you for saving him,” she offered weakly, reaching up her hand to gently touch his face with her last remaining strength.

“I’m so sorry... “ she whispered. “I love you.”

He grabbed her hand at his cheek, and pulled it to his mouth to kiss, never taking his eyes from her as he did so. Despite the blood quickly draining from her fragile body, his actions filled her with warmth, and she was pleased to know his gentle touch once again as she slipped into unconsciousness. But before she did, she heard his anguished and honest confession; barely perceptible to her human ears.

“I love you, Kagome.” Her eyes remained closed, but a genuine smile graced her paling features as she took her last breath and went limp in his arms.

He knew she was gone, but he remained with her a moment longer. Finally releasing her hand to run his bloodied fingers through her hair. He brushed stray strands from her face, and let himself enjoy the touch of her skin, trying to ignore the inanimate feel to her once lively body.

A tear slid down Inuyasha’s cheek, and he fought the urge to race to her side... it would do no good now. Regardless of their situation, Touran felt sorrow for the miko. She didn’t deserve to die like this. But despite the dramatic events unfolding, her focus was on the crib by the bed, and the tiny half demon crying inside it.

The soldiers hung their heads in mourning, waiting to move until Sesshoumaru permitted it.

He placed her down with care as he removed himself from her person, and stood to regard her attackers who lay dead but steps from them. The creatures of the netherworld were advancing, and Tenseiga pulsed at his side. He drew his sword to cut them down, and waited for the dragons to come to.

They were confused as they awoke, and slowly regained their faculties. Relief washed over them as they realized they were no longer being pulled down into hell. But once made aware that the dog demon who murdered them was still in the room, panic and fear overcame them.

His deadly eyes were bone chilling, and before they could muster any words, Sesshoumaru had a few of his own. He turned his focus to Jiro, who was still distraught over the death of his Lady. Not to mention shocked at the presence of the child in the room.

Kagome had gone to great lengths to keep her pregnancy from any of them. He recalled now that for a time, she had been quite reclusive. There must have been some who were aware, as she had been sending trusted servants and soldiers to relay messages and issue orders on her behalf. She must have been using her miko magic and barriers to keep his presence concealed all this time.

He wondered briefly if he had known, if he would have broken her confidence and told Sesshoumaru.

“Take them to the dungeons. I want them alive when I get there.”

The rage on Jiro’s features as he regarded the dragons was powerful, and caused Sesshoumaru to capture his attention once more.

“Jiro,” he demanded harshly, ensuring the general would heed him again as he reiterated. “I want them alive.”

He was sure they would be beaten and tortured once locked in their chains. And he only hoped that their just punishments that were coming to them at the hands of the Southern Soldiers would be somewhat restrained. He would deal with them himself. They would live long enough to know the pain they deserved from daring to threaten what was his. He considered that their miserable lives may continue for some time yet.

As the dragons were hauled up roughly by the soldiers, they turned to Sesshoumaru.

“You assured us our deaths would be swift!”

He looked back at him coolly. “They were.”

The dragon’s eyes widened in fear, quickly becoming aware of his fate as they both were escorted from the room.

Inuyasha followed the soldiers, not wanting to miss his own opportunity for revenge on them, but Touran remained quietly in the doorway. She stared at the crib another long moment, before Sesshoumaru’s movements drew her attention his way. Tenseiga still in hand, he turned back to the lifeless miko on the floor, and made one last cut with his sword.

He knelt down to return to her side, scooping her back up against his chest as life returned to her. He pulled the knife from her chest. Relief washed over him as the color returned to her cheeks, and as she opened her eyes, he placed his hand to her cheek to stroke it gently; blood caking her face as he did so.

His son was wailing in his crib as her wound closed up and she took her first gasps of new breath. He wanted to be angry at her for what she had done. For this, and for last year. But when she opened her eyes and looked at him with the love he had yearned for and missed, all he could feel was relief. She was okay.

He was still mad at her. He wanted to hate her. The fates had just given him an out, but he could never have taken it. He already knew he could never kill her, but he couldn’t even let her die. It was unacceptable. And in that moment, he realized he couldn’t even leave her. No matter what she would do, he would never stop loving her. Even if she didn’t deserve his loyalty, she would have it forever. He only hoped that this time, she wouldn’t be reckless with it. He had to trust her. He didn’t have a choice at this point.

He didn’t want to live without her. He didn’t even know if he could.

She had done some terrible things. But, he conceded, so had he. Before her, he had done despicable, horrible things. And without a second thought. She had helped him see the err of his ways. And now, he pledged, he would do the same for her. He saved her once already. He could do it again. It wasn’t impossible. Nothing was for him.

She stared back at him in shock as she regained her senses, and moved her hand to cover his on her cheek.

“You lied to them. You broke your word...”

“I know.”

He lowered his head down further to take her lips in a soft kiss. Her death was still too fresh, and her body was so weak that he feared he might break her. But when she reached to pull him closer, and deepen their kiss with her tongue, he grabbed her tighter, showing without words all he had been longing to say. He finally had her back; and he would never let her go.

Touran watched the two only a moment, before turning and leaving the doorway without a word. Her departure, much like her presence, remained unnoticed.

Chapter Text

After they both lightly washed up and dabbed the bulk of the blood off of their clothes, she picked up their son and handed him to his father to hold for the first time. It was like all of the pain and suffering he had endured in the last year had melted away as he held him. He saw the life he could now have, and refused to let dwelling on the past rob him of his future. He had brought Inuyasha to his lands to gain his advice on how to succeed in improving relations between demons and humans, and so he would do as Inuyasha said; swallow his pride, and be with his new family.

His son could only look up at his father in awe, just as Sesshoumaru was doing down to him. He couldn’t believe that he had ever had such hatred for a creature as perfect as this. He loved that he was a half breed. He clearly got the best of both worlds. It would make him stronger.

“He’s perfect,” he informed her.

“He is,” she fawned. “He is also very strong. Try to push your youki on him.”

“He is only an infant!”

“Do you trust me?” History would tell him that perhaps he shouldn’t, but his heart refused to listen. It would take some time before she would earn back his trust in full; but time, they had. In the meantime, he could at least be certain that she would allow no harm to come to their son.

He started by releasing a small amount of his youki across his son’s senses, only to have it rebuffed with the reiki he harbored. He tested this out by pressing even more of his youki towards the hanyou, only to have a stronger wave of reiki flare up at him to sizzle his skin lightly. It wasn’t enough to burn him, but was perhaps more than he was used to from Kagome when they were intimate.

“Don’t go too crazy, I don’t want him to hurt you.” His son was strong. It filled him with pride.

“Watch this,” she demanded, as she now pushed a moderate amount of her reiki toward the infant. This time, he used the strong youki he harbored to repel it, causing a startling jolt through his mother.

“This may prove dangerous. We must begin his training soon.”

“I know. I don’t know how you can discipline a kid like that one.”

“We mustn't make him angry,” he suggested with a smirk. Just the thought of having a son who could intimidate him with his power filled him with a pride he had never known.

Kagome watched Sesshoumaru react to his son with a smile. ‘He will change his tune when the pup starts rebelling with that.’

“What is his name?” he asked when he suddenly realized she had never told him.

“He hasn’t got one. I wanted to leave the honor to his father.” When he remained silent for a moment, she offered a suggestion.

“I was thinking about Touga-”

“No.” His response was immediate, and perplexing. He revered his great father. She thought it would be complimentary. At her confused look, he elaborated.

“That is a lot for a young demon to live up to. I do not want that for my son.” She immediately understood.

“Well, I’m afraid he is going to have a lot to live up to regardless. His own father’s boots are pretty large ones to fill. Besides, every demon who has had to live up to Touga has turned out pretty damned impressive, if you ask me.”

She leaned down to place a kiss on his cheek, before planting one on her son’s head.

“How about Sesshoumaru junior?” she offered with a grin. He scoffed.

“It is not an appropriate name for a child. We will be sealing his fate with that one.”

“Don’t you want him to grow up to become a great warrior? Shouldn’t he have a fitting name?”

“Given his lineage, it is hard to imagine that he will not. However, I would like to leave the choice to him. If he wishes to rule over The Western Lands, or The Southern Lands, or both, or neither, I want it to be his decision. Perhaps he will wish for something entirely different; or even simple. His destiny will be his to decide.” She smiled lovingly at the admission.

He didn’t want to burden him with the towering expectations he himself had been forced to live up to. Sesshoumaru had always envied the freedom of those without duties. No matter what, his son would be happy.

“I do not wish him to have a name that will frighten humans off before he has the pleasure of meeting them. Perhaps a human girl will steal his heart. We cannot have her frightened off right away.”

She stroked her son’s hair and ears, grazing against Sesshoumaru’s cheek with her arm purposely as he sat in his seat.

“Oh, I don’t think he will have any trouble in that regard. Look at him. The girls won't be able to keep away.”

They admired their creation silently; just soaking him in together.

“What have you been calling him all this time, then?”

“Hansamu.”

He had to smile at that. “It suits him. I am certain he had earned that name the second you laid eyes on him.”

“Actually, it was way before that. I thought it was a pretty safe bet, considering his father.”

She leaned down to take his lips this time, and warmed him further with her kiss.

“Are you certain you wish to leave your lands? You have done well here. Your subjects adore you, and I know what it is to have duties to them.”

He by no means wanted her to remain, but truly wanted the choice to be hers. She smiled down at him, and the sight they made.

“I’m sure. My place is in The Western Lands. With you. I got them off to a pretty good start here, but my heart just isn’t in it anymore. Besides. I died. That means that my heir can have my title. Since he is quite young,” she pinched his toe, “I will leave them to you.”

“I shall speak to Inuyasha regarding the position. He has come a long way this past year, and if he wishes it, I feel he is more than ready.”

“Just make sure nothing happens to you. Your new heir won’t be ready to take over for some time yet.”

“I do not plan on going anywhere. However if I do, I believe The West would be quite safe in your most capable hands until he is ready.”

It was a flattering concession. He had not appreciated her willingness to rule. That he now would, it gave her hope that he had faith she would not be reckless with the responsibility.

“Thank you. But Lady of the West will be good enough for me. I finally know what I want to do. I want to be your loving, loyal partner, and a doting mother. That is the future I want.”

He couldn’t help but think to the night they had wished on the star. It took some time, but it appeared that the silly superstition may have finally come through for him.

“I thought you had told This One that you wanted to wait for motherhood,” he all but asked, twisting his neck to take in her hovering profile. “You have roughly 9 years remaining, if I am not mistaken. Did you not wish to be selfish with your husband’s time?”

“I think I’ve been selfish enough for one lifetime. I am ready to be selfless again.”

“I am pleased to hear it.” He continued to admire his now sleeping son, and couldn’t help the regret that washed over him.

“I wish I could have been there for you both.” She knew what he was referring to.

Through the pregnancy, and the birth, and everything after...

The guilt at his admission was almost too much for her to bear.

“I am sorry that I robbed you of that. But I promise, you won’t miss a second of the next one.”

He turned to her hopefully at the suggestion.

“When can start the next one?”

“Whenever you’re ready”

*****************

Things hadn’t gone exactly as he had planned. But they ended up far better than he could have hoped.

With the love of his life back with him in The West, one would think he would have wanted to enjoy having Kagome to himself in the fortress. Make no mistake. He would be having her all over that fortress. But there was plenty of time for that later.

All he had ever wanted to do was show her what The West- what he- had to offer her. But duty bound, as he so often was, he had been forced to put those urges on hold. Not anymore. Not for now, at least.

True, they weren’t mated or even married yet. But that wasn’t going to stop him from taking her on their own honeymoon of sorts.

They had relinquished Hansamu into Inuyasha and Kikyo’s trustworthy and capable hands so that they might enjoy a much-needed vacation. They had spent the past few weeks traveling to all of his favorite spots. He had taken her to the most impressive villages he saw over. But she, like him, seemed to prefer the natural beauty of his lands.

They slept under star-covered skies. They flew to the highest peaks to enjoy views as far and vast as they had ever known. He took her everywhere. Showed her everything. Made everything available to her. He wanted her painfully aware of what she could have, should she simply desire it.

He encouraged her to ask questions. For he had every answer. What is this? Why is that? Who are they? He wanted her to know everything. To see everything. So that she could make the choices for herself that would fulfill her the most.

Her duties to the Shikon and to The South were done. And though he had an empire to re-forge, along with Inuyasha and his pack, to see the peaceful coexistence he envisioned come to fruition; they appeared to already be entering a peaceful time between lands. Between species.

She had suggested that they travel to the new territories of The West. The lands he had acquired from the other lords to accommodate his ever-growing population. But that would be for another time. It felt too akin to work. And this was a time for play.

They had spent the night on the coast, because she had wanted to visit a beach. The modest hut he’d had made near the water’s edge offered cover, but the whole point of the location was to enjoy the scenery. They swam in the ocean, made love in the grass, and had fallen asleep in the sand. When the sun’s rays reached striped cheekbones, he left her to get her rest as he found purchase on a high, nearby tree branch.

His original motive was to watch the sun rise into his lands, to see the beginning of a new day with the woman he loved. But once it made its ascent, his gaze quickly drew to the very woman in question. He watched her stir, and rise, and search for him. But he remained silent, and still. She ventured below, just behind the hut. Very unaware of the predator clocking her every move, and waiting for his moment to pounce.

As she scanned the horizon, and strained her eyes for hopes of a glimpse, she turned her back on him. And he moved.

Before the yelp left her throat, she was in his arms; back pressed against the rear wall of the hut. He was kissing her passionately, as he grabbed a thigh in each hand. She made to wrap them around his waist for support, but he held them apart. He would support her. She needn’t worry on it.

His lips never left hers as he took her against the wall as he stood. Hands gripped his shoulders and roamed up into his hair, and he held her to him effortlessly with his devastating strength. She would break the kiss to press her forehead against his; to look into red tinged eyes that allowed things to now be known. She arched into him as he filled her completely; pressing her breasts against his chest as he penetrated her perfectly with his thick, heavy cock.

He lightly dragged his fangs over her throat as she curled her toes, and the sweat he produced from his pleasurable work coated her palms as she allowed them to roam over his taut, muscled shoulders.

As they both reached their peak, he decided it wouldn’t be enough. And without a break in pace, saw to starting over again to the same wonderful result.

They now sat against the hut’s side, staring off into the distance as they had together so many times. Touching each other’s arms, and hands, and whatever struck them to touch.

“We should probably get back one of these days,” she suggested with a smile as he played with her hands. Their legs weaved together as they sat in a tangled heap against the wall.

“Mmmmm,” was his protest, nuzzling his head into her.

“There is still work to do. You didn’t think when I moved in it was going to be all blowjobs and dancing, did you?”

“I had kind of hoped,” he confessed with a mischievous smirk.

She ran blunt nails down his arms in reprimand, causing him to pin her own arms to her sides.

“I suppose we can do without the dancing,” he informed her, before trying to kiss her. She turned her head in a playful means of escape, but to no avail.

“I guess you probably want to get mated soon, huh?” she asked him. He looked at her lovingly, but surprised her with his answer.

“Actually, I do not.” She thought he was playing with her, so she mocked offense.

“Oh, no?” He shook his head in lieu of repeating himself. But he wasn’t kidding.

“But don’t you want to link my lifespan to yours?”

“You think that would be accomplished with a mating?”

“That’s what I heard.”

“This One is afraid that is simply a rumor.” At her downcast expression, he continued.

“I have already made strides in increasing your longevity. Releasing my youki into you accomplishes this, not simply a mating. There are more pleasurable means than fangs to achieve this, miko.”

“Oh, yeah?” She smiled saucily as she leaned nearer to bump him with her shoulder. He took the opportunity to encase her in his powerful arms, and squeeze her tighter to him.

“Indeed. In fact, the more I attempt it, the longer your life shall be...”

“In that case, I guess I’m gonna be a very old woman, ne?” He answered by grabbing her hips and kissing her yet again. When they broke, she asked,

“So then you really aren’t interested in mating me?”

When they had made amends, she had worried that he might be apprehensive about sleeping with her; afraid that giving her more youki would once again stir malicious behavior from her. She really wouldn’t have blamed him... She had been somewhat worried herself. But she quickly found that he would not be deterred. She didn’t think it would be possible to be even more physical with him then they had been at the start, but they had found a way.

She could handle his youki now. She had learned to use her powers to keep the effects at bay. But he had not even mentioned becoming mates since she had returned to him. And she wondered if it was because he was worried about what the effects of his youki would be... Or if he didn’t want to any longer, after the way she had acted. Perhaps he didn’t want to be tied to her in such a way.

“A mating would bind you to me, and vice versa. Seeing as we already consider one another as ours, it is unnecessary.” She was still uncertain of his motives, but he quickly allayed her fears.

“This Sesshoumaru does not want you bound to him by force. Or out of duty. I would prefer if you awoke every single day, to simply choose me again. Your destiny will be yours alone to dictate, miko. I shall see to it.”

She leaned forward for a kiss this time, and he would make no move to resist.

“You must be pretty confident that I will.”

A serious expression replaced his playful one.

“You have my word; I shall spend every day ensuring that you do.”

She looked into his eyes shyly as she voiced her concern.

“Well, how do I know you will wake up every day and choose me?”

There was no need to drop his mask. He hadn’t worn it in weeks.

He simply took her cheek in his palm gently, and looked back into her eyes as he answered;

“How do you not?”

Chapter Text

It would be another year before they would once again conceive. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Though they had both been eager for another pup, she hadn’t let the delay get her down. She learned long ago to stop questioning what the fates had in store for her.

Inuyasha was a fair and respected ruler in The Southern Lands. He took some pride in the fact that he now ran the lands that had once been controlled by the demon who fatally injured his father all those years ago. He became a hero to half demons, which were becoming more common place by the day. He would show them all that someone like him could lead effectively. And his people in The South were grateful to the hanyou that had once finished off their terrible tyrant of a dragon leader after his father had sealed him with his fang.

He still had no children of his own, so Hansamu remained the true heir to The South, as well as The West. He was growing stronger by the day, and could very well rule both lands when he was grown, if he wished it.

Shippo was still young, as far as demons went. But he was becoming a strong soldier and a successful spy. If he continued going as he was, Sesshoumaru could easily see him on the fast track to becoming a general in his army someday. For now, however, he was doing quite well in keeping the demon lord appraised of Rin’s whereabouts, and the young males who were beginning to take notice of her as she reached her adolescence. The slayer boy seemed to be visiting her very often as of late, and he was keeping a trained eye on the teenager.

Miroku and Sango remained in the fortress. They had been a great help in the success of the cohabitation that they had helped Sesshoumaru implement. They were thriving in their new lives in The West, and were expecting already their third child as a result.

Ayame finally left Kouga for good not long after Kagome returned to The West. Soon after that, he began seeing Touran, and they were now mated and had a young child of their own. The experience Kouga had gained in his previous failed relationships had helped him grow, and he had finally learned the joys that came with true loyalty.

They raised their baby girl equally between the Northern and Eastern lands. They were expected to rule them both together when they officially inherited the titles from their fathers. But as the older demons were still faring quite well, it seemed they would not be burdened with the duty for some time.

Kagome was thrilled that her son now had a little friend to play date with, and she watched them interact with great amusement. The baby girl was very fond of Hansamu, and trying to crawl all over him, to his great dismay. He was easily annoyed at her antics, and had to keep shoving her off of him to get his peace. But she took after her father, and was damn persistent.

When he pushed her off of him yet again, she finally got frustrated and began crying pitifully, causing Kagome to giggle.

“Would you look at that? It looks like our son is already breaking hearts.”

“Hn. It is only the beginning. You had best get used to that.”

She set her dog demon with a mischievous smirk, and looked around conspiratorially.

“You know... If we set up an arranged marriage for those two, our grandpups would rule the entire country...”

“Do not tell me that those aspirations of yours are rearing their ugly heads once again?” he accused with a raised eyebrow. Kagome only smiled in return.

“No. I was just kidding. We can leave their futures up to them.”

Kagome was grinning wide as she looked at Sesshoumaru, and he grew self-conscious under her scrutiny.

“Stop looking at it,” he demanded, referring to the gap in his teeth where his fang had been yesterday. He plucked it himself to give to Totosai to forge two new swords as inheritance to his pups.

“It will be grown in by tomorrow. I want to enjoy it while I can!” He closed his lips over his teeth, but couldn’t help but eventually crack a smile at her antics, showing off his rare imperfection.

“You are certain it will not be a girl?” She rubbed her belly at his question, though no signs of the future half demon could be seen in her form at all yet.

“It's a boy. I can feel it. I don’t know how, but I could tell with Hansamu too. Disappointed?”

“Perhaps. I would like to have seen how our daughter might take after you.” She rolled her eyes at the statement.

“Whatever. You just don’t want the petty brothers to be constantly at each other’s throats. Karma’s a bitch.” He shrugged an elegant shoulder, and replied dismissively.

“I shall be present for their upbringing. I will ensure that there is no competitive behavior.”

“So that’s why you needed replicas of both of your swords made,” she observed.

“Indeed. Each will inherit both, so there shall be no jealousy.”

“You think you’re so smart. I’m sure they will find something to fight over.”

“Nonsense. They shall both be full brothers. They shall each own both swords. They will want for nothing. What could they possibly fight over?”

“I’m sure they will think of something, don’t you worry.”

She tried to resist as he pulled her into a kiss, but it was a futile effort. And though she resisted at first, she pouted when he finally pulled away.

“Shall we depart?” She leaned into him, keeping her face very close to his own.

“Yes. I haven't seen my mom in forever. She’s going to kill me when I get there.”

She rescued Hansamu from his playdate, and Sesshoumaru collected them both. Once encased in his sphere of light, it only took mere moments for them to arrive at the well’s edge.

She wanted to try and bring her son home to meet her mother, but she wasn’t sure if he would be able to make the journey. Sesshoumaru suggested that he jump in the well with her, as they both held Hansamu, so that if he was unable to pass through, Sesshoumaru would be there to catch him while she made the trip alone.

“I wish I could meet your mother as well.” Something occurred to her then, and she couldn’t believe she had never thought to ask.

“Hey, why haven't I met your mother? You said she is still alive.”

“Indeed. All in due time, miko. But not today. Are you ready?”

She leaned back into him as she secured her precious cargo.

“Yeah. I will try to remember to bring a camera when I return. That way, mom can understand why I just had to stay back here with you.”

He pulled Kagome’s back flush against his front, and they both had their arms wrapped tenderly around their young son. Sesshoumaru hovered above the well with them, and slowly descended down; gently, so as not to frighten the boy. But as he reached what should have been the bottom, he found no ground beneath his feet.

His eyes widened in shock as they made contact with Kagome’s. And after a short trip through the portal, all three found themselves looking up to the roof of the wellhouse outside the Higurashi Shrine.