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Kagome stretched her arms high up over her head, leaning first to the left, then to the right, feeling her stiff back loosen slightly. Since returning to the Sengoku Jidai nearly five months ago, she still hadn’t quite gotten used to being permanently away from her plush, modern, western bed. She smiled to herself, thinking she might be a little extra sore that morning for other reasons instead. 


“What’s got you blushing, Kagome? Surely the onsen isn’t that hot?”


Kagome jumped slightly, having momentarily forgotten that Sango was right behind her, wrapping up a sleeping baby Hisui in her discarded clothes, and settling him to nap in the shade of a small tree within grabbing distance of the hot spring. Sango’s eyes twinkled with her teasing, her confidence in discussing intimacy still sometimes caught Kagome off guard. Before, she’d been so shy. But , Kagome reasoned, that was three babies ago. She stepped quickly into the hotspring, letting the warm water soothe her aching muscles, and relaxed against a rock as she waited for Sango to join her. 


“So,” crooned Sango, taking a seat next to her, “did you have a good night Kagome?”


Kagome felt herself blush again, and it had nothing to do with the water. She spread out her senses quickly, making sure there were no hanyou husbands eavesdropping. Satisfied they were alone, Kagome found her tongue suddenly more loose than usual.


“It was magnificent!” she said with a giggle, “We tried what you suggested - with the blanket rolled up-  and I think it’s safe to say, it’s my new favorite position. I’m surprised you didn’t hear us with how loud I apparently was.” She covered her eyes, more than slightly embarrassed from the memory and Inuyasha’s relentless teasing during their second round that she was going to make him deaf. It had taken a long time for Inuyasha to open up and be so free during sex. Their first few times were awkward and nearly clinical in their lack of passion. Kagome had been mildly distraught, thinking she was doing something wrong if she wasn’t able to reach climax with her husband the way she could by herself. That had lead to the first time she and Sango had had a frank discussion about their respective sex lives and Kagome could not be more grateful for the older woman’s honesty and advice. It had still taken time to learn each other's bodies, and what they liked, and the best ways to come together, but it was safe to say Kagome was absolutely no longer worried. 


“I’m very glad to hear it-- or not hear it in this case!” said Sango, leaning over to bump their shoulders together. “But I am very happy for you both. Mating is a serious business for inu-youkai and I’m sure Inuyasha is much happier now, too.” Sango leaned in, and whispered conspiratorially, even though they were sure they were alone. “So tell me- what did it feel like? Mating, I mean.”


Kagome pulled her hands away from her face and looked at Sango with a raised eyebrow. She didn’t get the joke. “What do you mean?”


“Well I only know the theory, I was hoping you could tell me if it’s right or not though.”


Kagome wrinkled her brow in confusion. “With three kids Sango, I think you’ve gone well beyond the theory at this point.”


She snorted a laugh, “Fair, I do feel like Miroku and the children each own a part of my soul now. But, it’s not quite the same as a mate binding.”


“As a what?”


“Is that not what he calls it? The scrolls always just said mate binding or marking, but I’ve never asked anyone if those were the right terms, obviously.” She chuckled again, as if her meaning was obvious. But it wasn’t, and Kagome was becoming irritated.


“What are you talking about?” 


Sango’s face fell, her own brows coming together to mirror Kagome’s. 


“Did he not? I just assumed, since you said everything was better…”


“Assumed what!”


Hisui grunted from his sleeping place, his small outburst chastising Kagome for her volume.


“Assumed what?” Kagome hissed again. 


“I…” Sango faltered, suddenly unsure what to say. “Maybe I spoke out of turn, Kagome. It’s not my place to be in the middle of your marriage.”


Kagome felt her blood pressure rising. Sango had never held back before, especially if it was something to do with her and Inuyasha. She swallowed thickly, her throat beginning to burn with nervous bile. “Sango, what are you talking about?”


Sango let out a slow breath through her nose. “My understanding is that inu-youkai mate for life, with a bonding ceremony that marks their partner and binds their souls together, forever. When you asked me for marriage advice and went to talk to Inuyasha, I assumed he told you about it, and that you completed the ritual, and that was why things had improved between you.” She shrugged and continued on, “ I shouldn’t have assumed. If things are fine, then I wouldn’t worry about it too much, okay?” 


With another shrug Sango stood and walked to the water’s edge to get their soaps. As she started to wash out her long hair, Kagome found herself stuck in place. Yes, things had been better, but she couldn’t get her brain to stop remembering all their early hiccups. She’d thought it was just nerves and inexperience on both their ends, but what if it had been something more for Inuyasha? Not just overcoming nerves, but overcoming his youkai instincts? 


She shook her head to clear the dark thoughts away and refocused on Sango. She was still talking, having moved their conversation away from Inuyasha and to the twin’s latest misadventure in the vegetable garden. Kagome nodded and made short replies when it was appropriate, and happily took Hisui when he woke up to give Sango five more minutes to soak. 


Once they were dried off and both Sango and baby were safely returned home, Kagome began the trek back to her own hut alone. Without Sango and Hisui to distract her, her mind once again completely focused on what Sango had said about youkai mating. Kagome let her feet run on autopilot as she thought about everything that had happened since she and Inuyasha were separated after their battle in the Jewel.


It had been a long three years. Kagome was in a constant state of limbo, checking the well house every other day with her go bag ready and waiting. Sometimes, after a hard day or a horrible vivid dream, she would take the bag back to her room and empty it on the floor, throwing the food and clothes against the wall or shoving it under the bed so she couldn’t look at it anymore. But she would calm down and repack it-- replacing the clothes with things that fit better or that she had recently purchased. She’d swap the ramen flavors and remove the dried out candies for new ones; she’d sniff the scented soaps and make sure they were still fragrant, and she’d check that the ink in their plastic jars was still wet. Her go-bag wasn’t just for her, but for everyone to prove she never stopped thinking about them. She refused to give up hope that they would all still be there when she got back. Maybe they wouldn’t all still be in the village, but she’d walk all over Japan- again- to see them. 


It had stung, knowing they would have all moved on without her. She hoped Inuyasha would wait for her, but really how could she ask him to? She meant it when she said she wanted him to be happy, even if it wasn’t with her. She didn’t want him to be lonely… but single was definitely her selfish preference. When the well finally did open, she hated herself for hesitating. What if it had been too long? But when her mother handed her the giant yellow backpack with a sad smile and a bone crushing hug, Kagome knew she had to take the risk. 


When he pulled her out of the well, when he held her, when he refused to leave her side for even a moment… she had been so confident that he wanted this, too. He never said ‘marry me’ or ‘be with me’ but she never expected him to. They kissed that first night she was back. They started living together the second night. Sex started not long after that. She didn’t think they needed to talk- it was all just so natural. But now she couldn’t remember: had it been natural, or had she started and he had just been too honorable to refuse her? Too noble to tell her she came back too late and he’d moved on?  What if he hadn’t been nervous, but ashamed? Ashamed to claim a wife in the human way, when his demon side hated him for it? He never even mentioned it, never even thought it was worth telling her that his soul wasn’t available to her. If his soul wasn’t, was his heart? Or just his stubborn sense of nobility?


She wiped angrily at her face, turning her cheeks bright red as she willed herself to stop crying before she got home. Home-- what a joke. It was Inuyasha’s newest prison. Sure, it was roomier than the Sacred Tree, but she trapped him here with her foolishness just the same. Her lip quivered and she had to stop walking as her vision blurred from a new onslaught of tears. He must hate her. Nobody knew for sure how long a hanyou would live-- was he just hoping to outlive her and be free again?  


She hadn’t stood there long before she heard him calling for her, clearly able to smell her nearby. He came bounding up the path, a blur of white and red. He skidded to a halt in front of her, immediately sniffing at her and checking her for injuries, barking at her demanding to know if she was hurt. He was so good to her-- how could she trap him in a marriage he didn’t want and rob someone else of his company? She knew how it felt to stand by and watch him do the “honorable thing” and she didn’t wish that on anyone. 


She took a deep breath to find her courage. “I’m fine, Inuyasha, I’m not hurt.” 


“If you aren’t hurt then what the fuck’s the matter?” he demanded.


“Can we go inside, please?” she said with a sniffle, “We need to talk.” 


Inuyasha felt his stomach fall to the ground. Kagome hadn’t sounded this upset since she came back, and before she always wanted to hash things out immediately. Why was she stalling? 


He followed her back to their hut where he’d already started the fire to boil water for their dinner rice. He watched as she removed the pot from the heat and his anxiety went through the roof. He decided he wasn’t going to wait. 


“Kagome, what happened today?” he placed his hand on her shoulder and she flinched. He pulled his hand back as if it burnt, his eyes going the size of sake glasses. “Kagome?”


“We need to talk,” she said, taking a step away from him to rest her hip against the kitchen work table. She crossed her arms tightly across her chest, her posture defensive and closed off from him. 


He mirrored it, shoving his hands into the sleeves of his suikan and letting his ears pin themselves down to his skull. “You keep saying that.”


“Well, we don’t talk, and maybe we should.”


“We talk all the time.”


“Not,” she paused, her voice getting stuck in her throat, “not about this.”


He waited for her to continue. He sure as fuck didn’t think they had anything to talk about and he’d learned enough since marrying Kagome to know that rushing her was just gonna make it worse anyway. Finally, she opened her eyes and looked at him, a horribly sad expression carved into her pale face. She looked down at the floor between them as she started talking.


“I’ve told you before that I want you to be happy. It’s really all I’ve ever wanted. I know I’m not the only one with a claim to your heart.” 


He immediately started to growl, his jaw clenching in frustration. Not this again for fuck's sake.


She looked up at him, her eyes watery and rimmed in red. He stopped growling and bit back a whine. 


“When I came back… I was so happy when you pulled me out of the well. I just assumed we were picking up where we left off. But,” she wiped at her face as new tears started to fall. Inuyasha reached forward to comfort her, but thought better of it at the last second. She didn’t seem to want his touch right now.


“But I shouldn’t have assumed you would still feel the same. I never asked if you wanted any of this… if you wanted me. You were willing to go to hell because you felt you owed it to Kikyou after fifty years. Getting married against your will because I came back after only three isn’t much of a stretch. We should have talked about it and made sure this was your choice. But we didn’t, and now I’ve taken you away from someone you love and I know how that feels and I am… I am so sorry Inuyasha!” 


As Kagome broke into near hysterical sobs, sliding down to the floor and pulling her knees up to her chest. Inuyasha felt like he was back in that horrible nightmare spell. Married against his will? In love with someone else? What the actual fuck was happening in this conversation?


He knelt down, immediately wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into his chest. He felt the tiniest amount of calm as she grabbed onto his suikan, no longer forcing distance between them. He waited until she paused in her crying to wipe at her face again before he spoke, taking extra care to keep himself from just shouting at her like he wanted to.


“I checked the well every three days, Kagome. You were born for me, and I was born for you. There’s never been any doubt- you are always going to be my choice. Why--” he paused to regain control over his voice, “why would you think I didn’t want this?”


Kagome didn’t answer right away, and instead buried her nose into the folds of his robes. Her answer was muffled by the fabric and her dry throat. “Then why don’t you want me to be your mate?”


Inuyasha stopped breathing for a full minute. Kagome pushed back from him so she could look at his face, but he pinched his eyes shut to keep from looking at her. 


“This isn’t a conversation we need to have,” he replied in finality. But of course, Kagome refused to accept that. 


“I think it is. Sango told me all about it. Sango--”


“Sango doesn’t know shit!” he shouted, finally losing the last thread of his patience. “Sango can talk all she likes, but she doesn’t know me, and she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” 


“If she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, then why are you so angry?”


“I’m angry because my wife thought I was in love with someone else and lying to her!”


“You are lying to me!” Kagome’s voice had risen in pitch again, “You’re keeping things from me and I don’t like finding out that my husband doesn’t want to make our relationship permanent from someone else!” 


“This is permanent!” he shouted back. He began to regret bringing Kagome into his lap- he needed to get up and pace or punch a wall or something.


“Then why don’t you want to do the mating ceremony?”


“It’s not that simple; and it’s not happening anyway, so get over it.”


Kagome pushed his shoulders back, nearly knocking him off balance, and gracelessly clambered out of his hold to stand in front of him and glare. 


“And why not? You said we were born for each other- you registered with me with the village headman. Why can we be married but not mated?”


He stood too, hoping the several inch height difference might get his wife to back down from an argument she was not going to win.  


“It doesn’t matter-- let it go, Kagome.” 


“It matters to me!”


“Too fuckn’ bad then.” He turned and was out the door before she could say anything else. 


He leapt onto the roof and huffed, trying to calm his racing heart. They hadn’t had a fight like that since Kagome came back through the well, and he sure as fuck did not miss them. Maybe storming out wasn’t the best way to handle this, but Inuyasha was at the end of his rope. Kagome just didn’t understand and she was better off that way. 


How could she be pissed at him for not wanting to talk to her about the fact that her husband was completely out of control when he was in his full demon transformation--a transformation he would need to be able to control if wanted to mark her. Could he even do it if he wanted to? Could a hanyou complete a soul binding? How could she ask him to sit there and remind her that she was married to a mongrel? Not that she saw it that way. He knew that. But it still was not a conversation he wanted to have. But as he sat on the roof, the peaceful quiet of twilight broken by Kagome’s poorly muffled sobs, he knew he didn’t really have a choice. 


Maybe he was a coward, but he waited until the hut was quiet again before leaping down and going inside, on the off chance Kagome was actually asleep and he could avoid this for another night. But when he pushed aside the reed mat he heard her breath hitch and knew there was no more avoiding it. 


He walked to the edge of the futon and sat with his back against the wall and tessaiga gripped tightening against his chest. Kagome stayed with her back to him and he could smell the anxiety and frustration rolling off of her. Clearly, she still thought he wouldn’t mate her because of some nonsense about his heart belonging to another. He sighed, finally deciding losing her for his honestly would be better than keeping her in pain. 


“Mating isn’t just fucking for demons,” he started in a whisper. “They can do that all they want and nobody cares. Mating , soul binding, it’s a bite that shares their yōki and creates a connection that should theoretically carry on even if one of them dies. To do it, I would need to be in my full demon form, and I’m not doing that ever again. Not even for this. Assuming I could even do it since I’m not a full demon.”


“Who says hanyou can’t do it?” Kagome asked in an equally quiet whisper. 


“Well, let's go ask one of the abundant number of adult male hanyou we know. Oh, wait.


Kagome sat up and huffed at him. “You don’t have to be an ass, you know.”


“Apparently I do if it’s the only way you’re going to take this seriously,” he shot back. “My demon can’t be trusted. We can’t do it. End of story.”


Kagome crawled out from under the blanket and moved to sit across from Inuyasha, pushing her knees into his. She reached across their laps and claimed one of his clawed hands in her small ones. “I trust you. I’ve always trusted you.”


“Yeah well, it’s just you. I’m an animal when I transform. I slaughtered those men--”


“Those bandits who slaughtered a whole village and were planning on doing unspeakable things to those women, me and Sango included.”


Inuyasha’s ears pinned down to his skull. Splitting moral hairs was not making him feel any better about this situation.


“Let’s look at your transformations,” said Kagome in a tone far too bright for the topic at hand.


“Please don’t, Kagome.”


“One,” she pushed on her left index finger to indicate her counting, “Goshinki. Saved all of us, didn’t attack me when I came to subdue you. Two,” she pushed on her middle finger to continue the count, “the moth demon which we already agreed was in defense of others.”


Inuyasha snorted, “We didn’t agree on shit.”


“But we did, because you knew you needed to make the tessaiga lighter and went to fight Ryukotsusei, which brings us to three,” she pushed on her ring finger before waving them in Inuyasha’s face, “where you untransformed on your own! You choose tessaiga, you choose your hanyou self.” 


“Which didn’t stop me from attacking you when Magatsuhi took over.”


“Exactly!” Kagome screeched, “Exactly! You were possessed and even then all you did was cut my arm and push me away. You saved me and you came back on your own.”


“I made you bleed, Kagome, that’s not acceptable.”


Kagome crossed her arms and huffed again, “Yeah, well, I shot you when Tsubaki possessed me. Does that mean I can’t be trusted now?”


Inuyasha snorted at the unpleasant memory, “You missed at point blank range. If you’d wanted to hit me, you would have.”


Kagome raised one eyebrow at him and waited. 


He glared back, refusing to be swayed. “Tsubaki was one time. Look at how many times I’ve lost control!”


“None! None, Inuyasha! Each time you had the chance to kill all of us if you wanted to and you didn’t because you don’t want to .” Kagome rubbed a tired hand across her face. “You’re still you, Inuyasha, and I trust you with my life. With my soul. But I can’t force you to trust yourself.” She shrugged in defeat, finally getting up and going back to her side of the futon and laying down for sleep, her back to him just as it had been an hour before. 


Inuyasha scowled. Even though Kagome had dropped the topic for now, he knew it was far from over. First thing in the morning, he was going to need to have a lengthy conversation with a certain loudmouth slayer. 


Inuyasha stayed at his silent post all night, unwilling to sleep while things with Kagome were still so unsettled. When the sun finally rose and Kagome with it, he secretly hoped that maybe she would be over it. No such luck though, when she breezed past him to start breakfast without so much as glancing his way. Her only words to him all morning were ‘I’ll see you at dinner’ as she left to spend the day with Kaede. Of course he followed her from just inside the treeline as she made the trip from their home to the village propper, turning sharply south once Kagome was within sight of Kaede’s hut. 


The monk and slayer had built their house much closer to the village, but down by the river for some added privacy. Sango was easy to find, the noise from her gaggle of children making it obvious to even human hearing that the whole family was sitting just in front of the little home. Sango had Hisui in his basket babbling away while she sewed and Miroku had the twins working on writing practice, carving small characters into the dirt with their sticks. 


“Oi, Sango! I got a bone to pick with you!” he shouted as he approached the house. 


“Good morning to you too, Inuyasha,” she replied, putting her needle back safely in a tuft of fur in her sewing bag. “I had a feeling I would be seeing you today.”


“Fu--dang right, you would be,” he could still taste the dirt from the last time Kagome osuwari’d him for swearing in front of the twins. The munchkins were more parrot than person at this point and his mouth was constantly getting him in trouble. “How could you tell Kagome something like that? Do you have any idea what kind of a night we had because of you?” 


“Did something happen to Lady Kagome?” Miroku asked, sending the girls off to play in the house. Miroku was a lot of things, but Inuyasha couldn’t call him stupid, he knew the girls didn’t need to hear their fight. 


“Your wife ran her mouth about things she doesn’t know shit about, and so I had to spend the night convincing Kagome that I did, in fact, marry her because I wanted to, and not just because she came back. She’d gotten it all in her head that I musta found someone else while she was gone because I haven’t marked her.”


Miroku’s eyebrows shot into his fringe, while Sango winced. 


“I didn’t realize she thought that, Inuyasha, truely,” Sango said, “but you can’t blame her for being upset. How did you think she would feel when she found out?”


“She wasn’t spos' to find out,” he answered through gritted teeth. 


“You were never going to tell her about mate marking?” Sango shouted. “You don’t want to mark her? What are you playing at, Inuyasha!?”


“I ain’t playing at nothing damn it!” Inuyasha was exhausted and frustrated and had no patience for his character to be further assassinated. “She doesn't understand-- and neither do you for that matter,” he added with a glare. “It doesn’t matter how much I want to. To mark her, I have to share my yōki with her and I don’t even know if we can do that. Not to mention my demon is a murdering fuck-head, which was so much fun to remind her of. So thanks for that, too.”


“I didn’t do anything wrong, Inuyasha. Don’t blame me for your poor communication skills,” Sango bit back. 


“She’s right, Inuyasha,” said Miroku, “Kagome would have found out eventually either from one of us, or Shippo, or Rin. Perhaps it’s better that it happened now so early after her return than later when she would have been even more upset.” 


“Inuyasha,” said Sango, “I have a question. When you become human on the New Moon do you feel like you’re a different person?”


Inuyasha sighed, realizing this conversation was not going the way he hoped. He closed the gap between himself and the couple and plopped down to sit on the veranda. He shoved his hands into his sleeves and drew his brows together to make it clear he was not enjoying this topic. 


“Whataya mean?”


“On the New Moon, your yōki goes dormant and your human heart is more dominant,” she explained, “but you don’t become a different person- just more ornery.”


“You are not my favorite person today, ya know that?”


“So why would your yōki becoming dominant and your heart going dormant make you a different person entirely?” she asked again.


“It’s different. When I’m human everything is...gone. All my senses are less and it's cold and it sucks. When I go full demon, everything is so much more. My blood is on fire and it’s overwhelming and I can’t control it.” 


“But,” interjected Miroku, “that doesn’t mean you couldn’t control it. Kagome never feared your demon form; perhaps you shouldn’t either, my friend.”


“I can’t risk hurting her.”


“You’re already hurting her,” said Sango.


Inuyasha clenched his jaw so hard he thought his molars would shatter. He knew Sango was right, and he’d spent more than enough time hurting Kagome’s feelings during their quest. His wedding vows were simple, but he had promised he wouldn’t hurt her anymore. Only five months and he was already struggling to keep that vow. He let out a long, slow breath through his nose and relaxed his jaw enough to finally speak, his voice low and gravely.


“What do you suggest?”


It took two weeks to put Sango and Miroku’s plan into effect. 


Step one: apologize to Kagome. While during the quest that may have been the hardest part, this time Kagome forgave him more quickly than expected. Step two was Kagome’s responsibility. Every night after the kids were in bed, she and Miroku would practice meditation and sutra writing. By the time step three was ready, they had a stack of sutra for sealing and barrier making. Step three was all up to Inuyasha. He scoured the valley looking for the perfect spot. It needed to be far enough from any village to ensure there would be no accidental visitors, it needed to be clear of demons, and it needed to be big enough to fit both he and Kagome comfortably with as small an entrance as possible. Finally, he found a cave a twenty minute run from their hut that fit all their requirements. Now he just needed to gather the nerve to follow through. 


The morning of the Full Moon Kagome and Inuyasha packed her backpack with a day’s food, the sutras, a sleeping bag, and firewood. If they were going to practice intentionally drawing his yōki to the surface, they figured the Full Moon would give them the best chance for success. They made it to the cave without running into any trouble which solidified it as the best location in Inuyasha’s mind. As soon as they were inside Kagome was all business. She placed the barrier wards around the cave entrance, ensuring they wouldn’t be disturbed by any wandering animals and no demons would be able to pass in or out . She layed out the sleeping bag and made Inuyasha sit down on top of it, figuring if he was about to be intentionally osuwari’d he should, at least, have a slightly softer surface that the rocky floor to faceplant into. Even though it was only midmorning, she also set up the firewood and the firepit. If things went poorly, they would both be too tired to set it all up once the sun went down-- better to be prepared now than cold later. At Inuyasha’s insistence she also got her first-aid kit out, just in case. 


Finally, there was no more preparing to do. They sat in a tense silence for several minutes, each waiting for the other to start. Inuyasha broke first, as he usually did.


“You realize you’ve locked yourself in here with an animal, right?”


“No, I locked myself in here with my husband and I am going to help him through this whether he likes it or not.” 


He rolled his eyes, but nonetheless he moved himself so he was facing Kagome, his hands in hers, and let her begin the chant Miroku had taught her to bring his yōki forward. 


In all honesty, Inuyasha had his doubt that Miroku’s plan would work at all. But as Kagome continued, he could feel a strange tingling in his fingers and his face. By the time he realized what it meant, it was too late. He could feel his heart rate skyrocket and he pinched his eyes shut. He didn’t need the added sensory input. His nose was twitching to the point of already becoming sore. He could smell every animal that had ever been in the cave, and he could smell Kagome’s era all over the sleeping bag as clearly as if it was up and inside his nose. His ears twitched at the snap of a twig outside the cave. They twitched again at Kagome’s gasp. Finally he opened his eyes, trying to focus on Kagome like they discussed, to use her as his focal point.


That was a terrible mistake. Once his attention was on her, he couldn’t see anything else. The whole cave was filled with her neon pink aura, the sound of her heartbeat flooded his ears, and her overpowering scent of jasmine was, to his horror, tinged with blood. He found it immediately, zeroing in on her left thumb where his overlong claw had pierced into her just below the knuckle. He felt himself begin to growl, needing to rip something apart, needing to rage against the universe that had dared allow his Kagome, his mate, to bleed. 




Everything went white for a moment as the spell took effect. There was a sudden pain in his forehead as he collided with the floor, but when he lifted himself up again all his senses had returned to their usual level. No more spinning auras, no more hyper sensitive sounds, and the smells in the cave were duller and easy to ignore. 


“Are you alright Inuyasha? You were fine but then you were freaking out a little bit…”


He waved off her concern with a 'keh' and sat himself up again, leaning to grab the first aid kit. She blinked at him as he thrust the white box into her lap. He rolled his eyes and pulled her hand up to his mouth so he could lick the droplet away. It was barely more than a pinprick-- she’d hurt herself much worse cooking -- but it broke his heart to know it was his fault. Kagome made a show of taking her hand back and putting the first aid kit back against the wall.


“I’m not wasting any supplies, this is nothing and you know it. Ready to go again?” she asked.


He let out a long, slow breath through his nose. “Yeah, whatever.”


It took a week of training before he was able to bring the transformation forward on his own. 


It was almost a month before he could reverse the transformation without having to have his face smashed into the floor.


But by the second month, the hardest part about their training was not humping her like a damned dog everytime he transformed. 


Each session brought a better grip on his senses. It could still be overwhelming, but it wasn’t panic inducing like it had been at the beginning. He was able to focus, and work through the adrenaline rush and manic energy that always threatened to bowl him over--which was really saying something since introspection wasn’t his favorite activity. 


Once he was calmed, all he could see and smell and taste was Kagome. He wanted so badly to mark her, to coat her in his scent. He wanted to make sweet love to her but he also wanted to fuck her until she couldn’t walk anymore...but he was terrified of actually hurting her with his overlong claws and fangs, or bruising her with his barely contained strength. It didn’t help his control when Kagome was constantly touching him, beating him over the head with the fact she trusted him, and he wasn’t going to hurt her just by existing in his demon form.


By their first session of the third month, now that he had full control over raising and reigning in his yōki, Kagome had a treat for him. She dug around her giant yellow backpack, pulling out a small rectangle. She handed it to him, letting her hand rest on his thigh as she sat down next to him. It was her compact mirror. He’d never seen his transformed face before. He traced his finger along the stripe on his cheekbone, and blinked heavily, focusing on his intense aqua iris. 


“This doesn’t freak you out?” he asked, turning away from the mirror to face her fully. 


She leaned forward and tweaked his ear, then slowly carded her hand through his silver hair. “I’ve always loved your demon features. They’re… ethereal and striking.” She brought her hands up to cup his face, running her thumbs across his stripes. “I love you, all of you.” Slowly, almost like she was worried she’d spook him, she pulled him in for a kiss. It was gentle at first, but it wasn’t long before she became more insistent, her tongue sliding past his lips and his fangs to dance with his own. 


By now, he was used to the cave being filled with Kagome’s natural scent of jasmine, but suddenly there was something different in her scent. It was still jasmine, but with a line of yuzu twirled in it. He may have a thick skull, but even he could work out what the yuzu meant. He pulled out of the kiss, and moved to her neck, lathing his tongue from her collarbone to her earlobe to see if he could taste a difference on her skin. She shuddered and the scent spiked again, a small breathy moan escaping her lips. He followed his nose down to the valley between her breasts, the scent getting stronger as he went. 


“You want me,” he stated with a purr. 


“Y-yes,” Kagome breathed back, her pulse quickening as his hands began to play with the tie holding her top closed. 


“If we do this, I won’t be able to hold back,” he said, his voice muffled as he pushed his face deeper into her cleavage, “My instincts are screaming at me, Kagome. I want to be able to smell me on every inch of you. I want to breed you. I want to mark you.” He heard her heart skip a beat, but there was no fear in her scene or her voice as she replied.


“We should listen to your instincts then.”


He didn’t need telling twice. He quickly pulled apart her kosode and slid his claw up to slice open the linen strips binding her breasts. He couldn’t even hear her indignant huff at his destruction of her clothing as he began to lick and nip at her chest, leaving her peppered with little red marks. In an attempt to save her only pair of hakama, Kagome quickly untied them, letting the loose fabric pool around her hips. She slid her arms out of the destroyed kosode and set to work untieying Inuyasha’s suikan. As she worked, Inuyasha returned to her neck, sucking and kissing everything he could reach. Once his top was open, she tapped his shoulder and he gingerly grasped her elbows and helped them both to stand. When her open hakama fell to the floor, Kagome’s unhidden scent hit him again making him growl in appreciation. He kissed her soundly, needing her taste as well as her scent. Kagome broke from the kiss, still needed to see Inuyasha’s hakama ties to be able to untie them. As they fell to the floor with the rest of their clothes, he was mildly confused to hear her breath hitch. 


“Well, this is new,” she crooned and he shivered as she dragged her nail in a line curving from the top of his hip bone down to his inner thigh. He looked down and saw that he now had matching stripes on his hips and his ankles to match the ones on his face. 


She dropped to her knees and gave each one an affectionate kiss before beginning to unwind his fundoshi. Once he was naked she wasted no time on teasing or toying. His demon blood had already flooded south, his erection proud and taunt before she even touched him. As soon as her mouth surrounded him, Inuyasha dug his claws into the cave wall to steady himself. It was like he was back to that first transformation. Everything was so much more . He could hear her tiny moans so much louder, he could smell his precum mixing with her saliva as he slid out of her mouth with each pass. The texture of her tongue was even more noticeable than ever before. Kami, he needed to touch her, needed to feel more of her. 


“Bed, now,” he growled. 


Kagome pulled away slowly, keeping the suction tight until she released him with an audible pop. She scrambled back onto the sleeping bag and sat with her back against the wall, her knees up and spread, giving him a full view of her glistening sex. In less than a blink he was on his knees in front of her. He nestled himself between her legs before grabbing her face and kissing her. He could taste himself on her tongue, his possessive nature soaring to the surface. She was his and no one else's, she would never taste of anyone else but him. 


“Are you ready for me,” he asked between sloppy kisses. 


“I am,” she said.


“Show me, show me you’re ready for me, koi.”


Kagome drug her blunt nails of her right hand down his chest, across his clenched abdominals, and finally along the length of his cock to where it rested in her patch of ebony curls. She slipped her hand in between her folds and he could hear the squelch of fluid as she pumped her middle and ring fingers into herself. When she removed her hand and slid her wet fingers along the underside of his dick, he thought he was going to finish right there. He grabbed her hips, and in one smooth motion switched their positions; laying himself down on the sleeping bag with Kagome straddling him, his erection pinned between them.


Kagome quickly got herself into position, planting her feet flat on the ground, and leaning back slightly to brace herself with her left hand on Inuyasha’s raised knee. Her right hand grabbed at his erection and guided him slowly into her warm and inviting core. Inuyasha couldn’t blink as he watched himself disappear inside her, nearly shaking with the effort of keeping still as she swiveled her hips slowly, letting her muscles adjust to his girth. When she was ready, Kagome set a quick pace, her breath coming out in small grunts as her hips smacked down into his. He reached up and claimed a breast in each hand, kneading the flesh and keeping the weight of them from crashing against her ribs. 


It wasn’t long before Kagome’s rhythm was faltering, her nails digging harder into his knee. Her right hand was moving frantically over the little nub at the apex of her sex, her fingers sliding quikly across it in small circles. He slid his hands down her form to her hips, the pads of his fingers pressing into the flesh with bruising force, but he managed to keep his extended claws away from her perfect skin. Inuyasha took control of the interaction and began to thrust up faster, more confident in his strength to help her, but not hurt her. 


Kagome could only hold on for the ride as the sounds of her orgasm echoed off the cave walls. As his own climax rushed forwards, Inuyasha held her still, his hips grinding into hers, the tip of his diamond strength erection brushing perfectly against the nerves inside to keep Kagome’s orgasm going as long as possible. Finally, she went limp, flopping forward with a slap of sweaty flesh on flesh. 


But Inuyasha wasn’t done. 


He brought Kagome’s right hand to his mouth, licking each finger clean of her release, nipping at it with his elongated fangs. He could smell Kagome’s body responding to him, but knew she would need more time before she was ready to go again. 


All the better. 


“Roll over,” he said, his voice thick with lust. She nodded quickly, her mussed hair falling around her shoulders. She swung her leg off of him and quickly dropped into her back, biting her lip as she awaited his next instruction.


“Not like that-- you said to listen to my instincts, didn’t you?”


She flushed but quickly rolled onto her stomach before pushing herself up onto her hands and knees. As Inuyasha moved onto his knees behind her, he couldn’t help himself from laughing as she shook her hips at him and barked. Her bark quickly shifted to an eep as he leaned forward and nipped her rump, slowly moving his face towards her dripping core. She smelled incredible. Her natural scent was almost entirely overtaken by the smells of their joining. It was intoxicating. He could already feel his excitement growing and he hadn’t even started. He swiped his tongue along her slit and his erection was instantly back to fighting strength -- she tasted even better than she smelled. But at the second swipe something changed. He didn’t just feel aroused, his yōki was humming under his skin in a way it hadn’t in any of their other sessions. His fangs ached to bite her, his eyes darted to her right thigh without him meaning to. 


He rose himself up and layed across Kagome’s back, his erection pressed between his stomach and her back,  so he could whisper in her ear.


“I want to mark you, Kagome,” he buried his nose in her hair, letting her offer him strength and support. She trusted him, so he could trust himself. 


“Please,” she pressed her backside against him and moved her right hand to rest on top of his on the sleeping bag, “make me yours.” There was no hesitation in her voice, no fear in her scent, no hitch in her breath. She wanted this- to be his forever- with every fiber of her being and he knew it. He knew he loved her, but in that moment, surrounded by the warmth of her trust, he loved her more than ever before.


He moved back to kneel behind her, slowly kissing his way down her spine and across the swell of her ass. When he reached the meaty back of her thigh he only hesitated a moment before he bit down, sinking his teeth into the firm flesh. 


He came so hard it felt like his soul left through his dick. 


He couldn’t open his eyes, but behind his lids there was a swirl of color and light. He bit down harder, and only let go when he heard Kagome’s cries echo off the cave wall and her elbows hit the floor as she dropped down to try and balance herself as she climaxed as hard as he had. He dropped back onto his haunches and felt his yōki ebb away, satisfied and content. Finally opening his eyes, they went first to Kagome’s face -- flushed and sweaty, but her expression one of happy exhaustion -- then to her leg. Instead of a gory bite mark he saw a long, jagged, purple stripe; identical to the ones that adorned his hips, ankles, and cheekbones. He reached out and ran his thumb along it. The mark was healed: no discoloration, swelling, or bruising. It was perfect, and clean, and touching it sent shivers down his spine. She was bound to him, and he to her, forever. 


“Are you alright?”


He looked up and saw Kagome had twisted so she could look at him over her shoulder. Her lips were swollen from kissing, her hair tousled and falling loosely in ebony waves, but her eyes were still bright and focused. She was so beautiful, and she was happy to wear his mark for the rest of her life. 

"We match," he finally said, running his thumb against the stripe again. He felt a prideful grin split across his face as Kagome shuddered at the contact. 


"How does it feel?" he asked her. 


"It feels...warm,” she smiled dreamily, almost drunk in her expression, “I like it.”


He crawled forward and layed down next to her, wrapping her up in his arms as she nuzzled into his chest. He pulled the top layer of the sleeping bag up and over them to stave off the early evening chill. The fire could wait until after he got to fully enjoy their post-coital bonding. Kagome, unfortunately, disagreed. She wiggled out of the bag and quickly set up the firepit with their small pot of water on to boil. Not wanting to leave the soft sleeping bag, Inuyasha spread his senses to check their surroundings and was pleasantly surprised to find that instead of just smelling Kagome, or seeing her, he could feel her in his mind. Her presence was a soft, warm, something in the back of his mind. As he prodded at it, he could feel Kagome poke back. He looked up at her and saw her smiling at him, a dazzling grin that warmed him more than any fire. He reached out and pulled the pot off the flame, deciding dinner could wait -- they had a different hunger to sate first.