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In From the Cold by Aimee Blue

Thrown to the Wolves

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha and make no profit from this work of fiction.

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Kagome cracked one eye open and pushed her alarm clock off of her bedside table with one flailing arm. With a protesting grumble, she buried her head under her pillow. For a moment, she felt herself drifting back into slumber and then reality struck.

Sitting upright so fast that her head spun, Kagome rolled to the side of her bed and peered down at Sesshoumaru’s bed roll. The futon hadn’t been slept on and she pushed her sleep-mussed hair from her sleepy eyes in confusion.

A quick scan of her apartment nearly made her swallow her tongue. Sesshoumaru was already awake and indulging in a little early morning reading. Perched very peculiarly on the back of her armchair with his feet on the seat, he poured over a book her grandpa had given her.

But that wasn’t what had stunned her. Her daze was due to the way the sunlight reflected off of his silver tresses as they tumbled in a sheer cloak over his nakedness. Why was he naked? The clothes she had given him were thrown over the arm of the armchair.

Strong thighs, elegantly muscled arms and clavicles she wanted to lick. Closing her eyes and reigning in her libido, she pushed back her duvet and slipped on her slippers.

“Sesshoumaru?” she called hesitantly, averting her eyes as she wondered why she was wearing the same clothes as yesterday. She couldn’t even remember falling asleep. The last thing she’d been aware of was the silky cool feeling of Sesshoumaru’s hair.

“Good morning,” the male murmured, his astute golden gaze never leaving the pages of the book he was perusing.

“Why - why are you naked?” Kagome blurted the words out so fast they were almost unintelligible and ducked her head as he lifted his gaze.

Cataloguing the flushed cheeks, bashful fidgeting and general inability to meet his gaze, Sesshoumaru deduced that his nakedness was in some way unsettling to the little human. He frowned and closed his book, dragging his fingertips over the clothes he had discarded.

“These clothes are irksome in their restrictiveness,” he expounded, “and my clothes are in need of cleaning.”

Kagome glanced at the bag with his clothes in.  She was not too knowledgeable about cleaning traditional clothes; instead she was planning on taking the garments to a dry-cleaner’s. “Oh,” she murmured, resisting the urge to point out that most people wouldn’t use ‘restrictiveness’ as an excuse to get naked. Apparently he wasn’t very modest. “I’ll get you something better when I come home from work,” she promised.

Hnn...” Sesshoumaru nodded and returned to his book. Kagome sighed and pulled herself together. If Sesshoumaru didn’t seem to think that being naked in her home was anything to be bothered about then she could put it to the back of her mind as well. Or, at least, she could try. Probably unsuccessfully, but it was the thought that counted.

Daily routine became tedious and cumbersome. She showered, changed into work clothes and made breakfast, whilst, all the while, a naked male sat on her armchair nonchalantly reading. A tantalising distraction in her peripheral vision. He didn’t look up, grunted at her offer of food and barely even acknowledged her as she hunted high and low for her house keys.

As she pulled on her coat, she noticed that the local newspaper had been pushed through the letterbox. The headline spoke of break-ins and violent assaults in her area, she shivered. Sometimes living in a big city could be dangerous.

“I’m leaving,” she called out, not expecting a reply. So, she was obviously stunned when he was roused from his reading.

Sesshoumaru glanced up at her and then stood. Kagome quickly averted her gaze, her cheeks burning as the male prowled towards her. When he eventually reached her, she looked up to meet his smouldering gaze. With infinite care, he twined her scarf around her neck as he had done yesterday. Once again, the feeling of his claws should have encouraged some fear but she felt strangely safe and all at once flustered.

“Stay safe,” he murmured, smoothing a hand over her hair in a curiously sweet gesture.

“I will,” she promised with a tiny shy smile. She wisely waited until he’d claimed his seat on the armchair once more before opening her front door; no need to give any passersby a treat.

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The book on his lap was actually quite amusing. It seemed that humans were ridiculously ignorant of his kind. In this time, it seemed that his race was believed to be a mere myth. Sesshoumaru rankled at the dismissal. It had surely been a long time since the two species had intermingled, but not long enough to relegate them into fairytales, surely?

In a fit of pique, he threw the blasted book at the wall. In almost the same moment, the blasted bird appeared from Kagome’s time piece once more. He curled his lip at it in a half-hearted snarl and then realised that Kagome was due home soon.

So far, he’d been freeloading rather imperiously off of the little human woman. He felt a little demeaned by this. She was so delicate and yet she’d been taking care of him in every way possible. She was admirably well versed in dealing with strange situations.

Sesshoumaru sighed as realisation came to him. If their roles had been reversed, and she’d shown up outside his home half-dead, he mightn’t have been so welcoming. In fact, he’d probably have killed her to put her out of her misery. It humbled him to admit just how indebted he was to the female.

Wandering through into her kitchen, he opened and closed the cupboards on the unfamiliar implements she had until he unearthed something he did recognise. A tea set. With an approving nod, he decided that, if nothing else, he could at least prepare tea for her arrival home.

The tea ceremony was one he had performed numerous times, but this was the first time he was performing it for a human. In fact, he’d never made tea for a woman either, unless his mother could be counted. It was also the first time he’d ever attempted the ceremony naked, but he disregarded that; the clothes Kagome had given him were uncomfortable.

He would admit, even if it was only to himself, that, whilst he hadn’t removed his clothes with any objective in mind, he hadn’t covered up in order to gauge her response. More daring females would have pounced; more bashful females would have demanded that he dress. Kagome seemed pleased by his physique, but would only take quick approving peeks rather than drinking in his beauty.

It amused him. Intrigued him. Enticed him.

Long ago he had shrugged off the shackles of perception. He did not care what others thought of him any longer, so whilst this strange attraction to the human female was unanticipated, he was willing to explore it. Unlike most of the beings he knew, Kagome’s company was actually pleasant.

Golden eyes flicked towards the door as he heard Kagome’s voice. She was talking to the male who lived opposite her again. Sesshoumaru’s youki stood on end in annoyance; if the man insisted on sniffing around the miko, Sesshoumaru would be only too happy to demonstrate his superiority. For the time being, however, he would have to save the damsel in distress.

Donning the bottom half of the ensemble Kagome had given him, Sesshoumaru prowled to the door and opened it slowly.

Meeting the bright blue gaze of the neighbour, Sesshoumaru buried his nose in Kagome’s hair, hiding his facial stripes, and shackled a muscled arm around her waist. Pulling her back to his torso, he made sure that the nuisance understood that Kagome was no longer his business before dragging her back into the apartment and closing the door.

“Hey! What are you doing?” Kagome demanded, spinning in his grasp and stabbing a finger into his bare chest in her annoyance.

“Saving you,” he answered shortly, looking away as though bored.

“Saving me? From Kouga-san? He’s just a little overprotective and likes to check that I’m okay,” she informed him wanly as she unwound her scarf from her neck.

“You were distressed,” Sesshoumaru pointed out coolly. “Your scent indicated that you felt cornered.”

Kagome rubbed the back of her head sheepishly. “That’s because he wants to meet you – considering you’re not human, I’d say that’s a bad idea.”

“He is pushy,” Sesshoumaru decided uncharitably.

“He’s just being neighbourly,” Kagome protested airily, though she sounded like she didn’t believe her own words.

“There is neighbourly and then there is nosey, this male is crossing the line,” Sesshoumaru deduced, lip curling as he glared out of the window at Kouga’s apartment.

Kagome ignored him, glancing around to the tea he’d set out on the chabudai. “Wow,” she whispered, awed at the sight, “You can do tea ceremonies?”

“It is in my repertoire,” Sesshoumaru boasted quietly.

Kagome’s eyes crinkled at the edges as she smiled appreciatively. “That’s a lovely gesture, thanks, Sesshoumaru.”

“It is the least I could do,” he demurred. Kagome smiled and handed him a shopping bag. He pulled the plastic bag open and peered inside.

“I got your clothes washed and borrowed some more traditional clothes for you to wear,” she explained with a shrug.

Sesshoumaru nodded with approval at the new loose training hakama and kosode that Kagome had acquired for him. Gesturing for her to help herself to the tea he had poured; he quickly changed into the clothes.

Kagome watched Sesshoumaru over the rim of her tea cup as he reclaimed the zabuton opposite her. The new clothes she’d pilfered from Miroku fit him rather well, the loose tie on his kosode leaving the sculpted planes of his chest to play peek-a-boo. But his expression was rather haggard and lethargic.

“Sesshoumaru, are you okay?”

The male met her concerned gaze with his bleary golden eyes and rubbed his neck wearily. Perhaps the brand on his neck was bothering him?

“I am fine,” he murmured, looking down at his hand as it shook. He seemed as confused as she was as to his sudden decline.

“Are you?” she asked, reaching over the chabudai, she pressed a hand to his forehead, determined to check and see if he had a fever.

Soft fingertips met the crescent moon on his forehead; gentle miko ki met wounded youki. There was a jolt, Kagome’s eyes widened as she snatched her hand back, and Sesshoumaru swayed where he sat.

A pulse of youki thrummed through the apartment.

“Wha—”

Kagome didn’t even get to finish her bewildered question as her front door was knocked clear off its hinges, into the apartment and two snarling, snapping wolves sprang over the wreckage and prowled into her apartment.

Kagome pressed a hand to her mouth.“Oh, my!”

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A/N: Thanks for reading! I hope you guys enjoyed the latest chapter.

 

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