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If You're Not The One by Kuroisuna

If You're Not The One

I mistakenly chose the wrong rating for this story when I uploaded it. It is MA. My apologies.

This is a fairytale. Treat it as such.

All characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi

SEXUALLY EXPLICIT ADULT SITUATIONS

If You’re Not The One

If You’re Not The One

By Daniel Bedingfield

If you’re not the one then why does my soul feel glad today?

If you’re not the one then why does my hand fit yours this way?

If you are not mine then why does your heart return my call?

If you are not mine would I have the strength to stand at all?

I never know what the future brings

But I know you’re here with me now

We’ll make it through

And I hope you are the one I share my life with

I don’t want to run away but I can’t take it, I don’t understand

If I’m not made for you, then why does my heart tell me that I am?

Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

If I don’t need you then why am I crying on my bed?

If I don’t need you then why does your name resound in my head?

If you’re not for me then why does this distance maim my life?

If you’re not for me then why do I dream of you as my wife?

I don’t know why you’re so far away

But I know that this much is true

We’ll make it through

And I hope you are the one I share my life with

And I wish that you could be the one I die with

And I’m prayin’ you’re the one I build my home with

I hope I love you all my life

I don’t want to run away but I can’t take it, I don’t understand

If I’m not made for you, then why does my heart tell me that I am?

Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

Cause I miss you, body and soul

So strong that it takes my breath away

And I breathe you into my heart and pray

For the strength to stand today

Cause I love you, whether it’s wrong or right

And though I can’t be with you tonight

You know my heart is by your side

I don’t want to run away but I can’t take it, I don’t understand

If I’m not made for you, then why does my heart tell me that I am?

Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

Kagome sighed happily and gazed at the parade of stalls lining the main street of the town. The coins that she had been given that morning were practically burning a hole in her pocket. It wasn’t often that they received monetary pay for blessing homes, and when they did, it was usually used to purchase food and other supplies for their little inu tachi.

But this town was at a crossroads, and was well known for its trade, so the headman could afford to be a little more generous. And so, in an attempt to get back into Sango’s good graces, Miroku convinced the two ladies of their little group to go shopping for themselves with the extra funds.

“Come on Kagome,” said Sango with a laugh on her lips and light in her eyes. “Let’s spend this money before he changes his mind.”

Grabbing her hand, Kagome allowed Sango to pull her through the groups of shoppers. There was so much to see. Fabrics, perfumes and precious oils vied for attention along with weapons and food. It was a festival of sights, sounds and smells and she couldn’t decide what to buy first.

They traipsed between the stalls, not stopping until a flash of color caught her eye. Kagome stopped in her tracks so suddenly that Sango was almost pulled off her feet. She turned to see what had caught her friend’s attention and followed her eyes to the stall of second-hand kimonos next to them. The vendor noticed the two young women and, hoping for a quick sale, tried to show them the brightest colored kimonos she had folded on her little table.

But Kagome already knew exactly which one she wanted and with Sango’s help, they haggled the price down. They even charmed the vendor into throwing in a discounted obi and free zori sandals. Amazed at their good fortune, the girls quit while they were ahead and made their way back to the inn so that Kagome could try on her new purchases.

After sliding the screen closed, Kagome quickly shed her skirt and top, borrowed a nagajuban from Sango, and shrugged into the kimono. Sango made quick work of tying the obi and then stepped back to inspect her.

Turning to Sango, she shyly asked, “How does it look?”

“Oh Kagome-chan!” Sango exclaimed, clasping her hands together over her chest. “You look absolutely breathtaking!”

She had chosen a kimono of midnight blue that matched the blue-black tones of her hair. A pattern of fall leaves in ocher, gold, and burnt orange trailed a path from her left shoulder and sleeve to her waist before scattering around her hem. The obi was almost the same shade of gold in the leaves and complemented it perfectly. The color made her skin glow and her eyes shine with a mysterious light.

“Sango-chan, surely you’re exaggerating.”

“If you could see yourself right now, you’d know that I’m not,” was her reply.

“Well, thank you.” Kagome said with a giggle. “Let’s go before the guys come looking for us.”

Retracing their steps, they stopped at the front door of the inn so that she could slip her sandals onto her feet. When she straightened up, it was to see Miroku and Inuyasha gaping at her in astonishment. The hanyou was the first to recover and promptly closed his mouth and looked away as if he hadn’t been caught staring. The houshi was quick to compliment her but made sure to keep his hands to himself.

“Kagome-sama, I must say that you look divine in that color.”

“Umm, thank you, Miroku,” she replied, her cheeks tinting pink.

You’d think I’d never received a compliment before, she berated herself.

“Sango-chan, we haven’t bought anything for you yet,” she remarked in an attempt to turn the attention away from herself.

Quickly linking her arm through her friend’s, she started guiding them back out to the market place. A few shy glances, and some not-so-shy ones, from the men soon had Kagome wishing she had a mirror. She wasn’t quite sure how to take all the attention, so she opted to ignore it.

A few minutes later, they found themselves on the outskirts of the market examining some exotic looking fruit. She had just picked up something that looked like a green eggplant, when she heard her name being called. Putting the strange fruit down, she quickly looked up and saw Rin jogging toward them with her signature grin in place.

Bending down, she greeted the enthusiastic girl. “Rin-chan, it’s great to see you! What are you doing here?”

“Rin needs a new kimono because this one is getting too small.” Peering down, Kagome could see that the child must have grown a few inches because her current kimono was indeed just a little short.

“Sesshoumaru-sama says a vendor at this market has kimonos waiting for Rin,” she stated matter-of-factly. Glancing over her shoulder, Rin pointed to the taiyoukai walking serenely toward them, his curtain of silver hair gracefully swaying in time with his steps.

Kagome stood and took a moment to appreciate the tall, beautiful being approaching them. He may intimidate everyone who saw him, but she wasn‘t afraid of him at all. She held him in high regard, not because he was a taiyoukai, but because she had seen glimpses of the warm heart he tried to keep buried in ice. He‘s a puzzle, she mused.

“Ohayo gozaimasu Sesshoumaru-sama,” she greeted him and bowed.

“Miko.” His monotone response and a slight nod of his head were more than she was expecting from the frosty ruler of the Western Lands. Wondering if he would deign to actually converse with them, Kagome decided to press her luck.

“Rin-chan was just telling us that she’s here to get her new kimonos,” she said brightly, hoping for at least a two-word response this time.

“Hn.”

Well, that’s what happens sometimes when you gamble.

Trying not to giggle at losing her own little game, she turned her attention to a happily chattering Rin. She felt the young girl slip a tiny hand into hers and they started toward the kimono stall along with Sango.

Sesshoumaru followed behind the trio of females trying to not breathe too deeply. Truly, if he had his way he wouldn’t even be here. Places such as these overloaded his senses with their noises and smells, but Rin did need new kimonos if she were to maintain her modesty. And someone had to pay for it, namely him. So he consented to grin and bear it, without the grin.

Suddenly, the miko stopped and turned to him. Oh no, he thought, she’s going to attempt to engage this Sesshoumaru in conversation again. He could already feel a headache beginning in his temples.

Why can’t she just remain silent? Perhaps if this one threatened to remove her tongue from her head!

No, that won’t work, she doesn’t respond well to threats. This one has tried that before.

Sesshoumaru was so wrapped up in his conversation with…himself that he almost missed what Kagome said. “Sesshoumaru-sama, I’m sure you don‘t want to stand around listening to three women go on about clothes. Would you like me to take Rin-chan to the kimono shop? It wouldn’t be any trouble at all, and you could just wait for us by Ah-Un. We’ll come find you when we’re done. I promise I won’t let anything happen to her.”

She looked at him expectantly. His face was composed in the usual stoic mask, but she could just see the discomfort in his eyes. She knew the scents of the oils, perfumes and spicy foods had to be doing a number on his nose. She didn’t want to imply that he couldn’t deal with the odors, so she voiced her offer as diplomatically as possible.

He realized she was giving him a way to avoid dealing with the assault on his senses and still save face. He contemplated turning her down for all of a half a second.

Silly ningen, this Sesshoumaru can withstand any smell or noise the market has to offer.

Have you an ulterior motive? Or are you really concerned for this Sesshoumaru?

But a particularly musty odor wafting past helped changed his mind. Sensing no deceit in her, he chose to take her up on her offer.

“That is acceptable,” he answered. Handing her a bag of coins to pay for the purchases, he reminded Rin to behave herself, then promptly turned on his heel and went back the way he came.

Seating himself beneath a tree just outside the market, he found his mind turning to the miko. Apparently his half-brother had a penchant for collecting them, but this one was unlike the other in many ways.

Kagome was outspoken, fiercely loyal, willing to put herself in mortal danger to protect her friends, thoughtful, and here was the kicker, not afraid of him. Oh, he knew she had a healthy respect for him and his abilities, but he also knew he could never bully her into doing something she didn’t want to do, and that perplexed him to no end.

He recalled the mirth in her eyes when he and Rin arrived at the market. Was she laughing at him? He didn’t recall saying or doing anything to warrant amusement, but he would bet his brand new left arm that she was laughing at him. Strangely enough, he didn’t seem to mind.

And there was something different about her. Not that he’d seen enough of her to register a difference from one day to the next, but somehow she seemed to shine and stand out today. He had definitely noticed that she wasn’t wearing that indecently short garb that exposed her mile-long legs for the entire world to see. No, instead she was dressed as a proper onna in a kimono that gently flowed over her curves, leaving her throat exposed and begging to be caressed by clawed fingers desperate to know if her skin felt as soft as it looked …. Whoa! Where did that come from?

Sesshoumaru blinked. Twice. He carefully looked around while flaring his aura in order to reassure himself that he was in fact alone in the area. He sensed no one nearby, no sorceress hidden in the vicinity casting malicious spells designed to make a proper taiyoukai fantasize about touching mikos in improper ways and kissing her till she couldn’t stand up straight and … It’s happening again!

Not appreciating where his thoughts were headed, he sought to distract himself by going over in his mind the amount of acreage and materials he would require to build new barracks and dojos to train his growing army. He had just tallied the cost of the wood and had moved on to the cotton yardage for uniforms when said cotton began to slide down slender shoulders, swirl around full hips and pool at dainty feet.

His mind’s eye traveled up smooth legs that were no longer hidden from his view, from the gentle bend behind her knee to the toned muscles of her thigh and on to the nest of curls covering her se…

“…sshoumaru-sama!”

Rin waved and ran toward him. Sango and Kagome followed the spirited child while setting a more sedate pace. He mentally scolded himself at almost being taken by surprise while wrapped up in his hentai musings. He conveniently didn’t go into why he was having such thoughts about anyone much less a human.

No, we’ll just gloss over that little fact and push it under the proverbial rug. ‘What fantasy? This Sesshoumaru knows not of which you speak.’ See? Easy.

His gaze turned to the source of his consternation as he attempted to drive the lingering images of his fantasy from his mind.

“Here you go, Sesshoumaru-sama,” Kagome said as she handed him the bag with the remaining coins. She glanced at his face and paused for a moment at the look in his eyes. She couldn’t quite decipher the emotion there, but it wasn’t his usual coldness. What was it, and why was it directed at her? Interesting.

She dropped the bag into his outstretched hand, still distracted by his eyes. She wasn’t paying attention when she pulled her arm back and managed to drag her palm across his sharp claws. Hissing in pain, she turned her right palm up to inspect the wound.

Thinking quickly, Sango grabbed Kagome’s hand and folded it into a fist.

“Keep making a fist, Kagome-chan. I’ll get your first-aid kit and be right back,” she said, already running toward the inn.

A clearly distressed Rin was trying not to cry at the sight of blood dripping from her friend’s hand.

Turning slightly to block the view of her wounded appendage, the miko quickly reassured the small girl that it would be ok.

“It’s really not so bad, sweetie,” she said, trying valiantly to keep her voice steady. “Please don’t cry. Why don‘t you take your new kimonos and put them away in Ah-Un‘s saddlebags.”

“Hai, Kagome-sama,” was the teary reply.

As Rin started toward the two-headed dragon, Sesshoumaru reached for Kagome’s hand.

The scent of her blood and tears belied the bravado she forced for the benefit of his small charge, and his instincts cried out for him to help her. He knew his saliva would numb the pain and speed the healing. He knew he would have to put his mouth on her hand and he also knew that he was ok with that. Mildly surprised that he wasn’t balking at what had to be done, he raised her palm to his lips. Oh well, time is a-wasting. We’ll analyze this later.

Kagome’s breath hitched in her chest as she fought to not cry out when Sesshoumaru grabbed her hand. She braced for the scolding she expected to receive for being a stupid ningen. Imagine her surprise when he brought her palm to his mouth and began licking the wound.

Three things happened then. First, the pain subsided from piercing agony to a bearable ache. That was good. Second, she could see the jagged edges of the gashes closing, knitting themselves together. That was even better. Third, she thought this had to be the most erotic thing she had ever experienced. That….she didn’t quite know how to take.

This was no romantic setting. There was no music, no candlelight, no dinner for two. She was standing by a tree almost in tears, blood dripping down her wrist and a taiyoukai was licking her palm. Put that way, it didn’t sound like much. But her senses must have been viewing the scene through rose-colored glasses, because all she knew was that the most wonderful sensations resulted from that slick, pink appendage dancing over her skin. The heat and moisture from his breath was fanning out and warming her hand while creating heat and moisture in another place upon her person.

The world fell away and it was just them. There was no wind, no chirping of birds, and no noise from the market. There was only their breathing, almost in sync with each other, slow and deep, kindling a low flame that was growing with each exhale. A shiver ran down her spine and goose bumps raced across her flesh. Her eyes met his and the heat between them became almost tangible.

He wasn’t prepared for the feelings awoken by the taste of her. The rich flavor of her blood and the honeyed sweetness of her skin combined into a heavenly ambrosia that tested his control. He wanted more. Kami, yes, he wanted to continue until he had his fill. Arousal crashed over him and he could feel himself beginning to harden. He was caught up in her taste, her smell, the feel of her skin beneath his tongue, the fire in her eyes threatening to burn out of control.

And then the spell was broken. Sensing Sango’s imminent return, he quickly dropped her hand and stepped back, looking for all the world as if they didn’t just have a moment.

Blushing profusely, Kagome sat down to allow Sango access to her right hand. Her friend seemed slightly confused that the former gash was now a shallow cut, but proceeded to doctor the wound anyway. She could only hope that her flushed appearance would be contributed to the pain, and that Sango didn‘t suspect anything.

As the taijiya fussed over the injury, which hardly needed a bandage by now, Sesshoumaru reflected on what just happened. His first thought was to walk away, put some distance between them so the heady fragrance of her arousal was no longer weaving its captivating enchantment around him. But that notion was immediately dismissed. He found it pleasing, and as such determined he would stay and enjoy it. What was it about her that charmed him so? He didn’t know, but made the decision to find out. It wouldn’t occur to him until it was too late that he was headed down the same path as his father.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

Over a week went by without the inu tachi crossing Sesshoumaru’s path again, which Kagome was slightly grateful for. It gave her a chance to examine these feelings running rampant through her body without being distracted by his presence, and it gave Inuyasha a chance to calm down after finding out how she had injured her hand. She had tried to tell the hanyou that it was all her fault, but he was busy ranting about killing whoever had hurt her. She had to ‘sit’ him a few times to get him to be quiet, then a few more times when he found out Sesshoumaru, who had already gone, was involved. Now he not only blamed his half-brother for her injury, but also for his being ‘sat’ so many times. Great.

The aloof taiyoukai invaded her thoughts by day and her sleep at night. In her dreams, he would kiss her palm and make his way down her wrist while looking deeply into her eyes. Then he would proceed to drag his tongue over the sensitive patch inside her elbow, tasting her as if she were some succulent fruit. Next, he would skim his lips over her shoulder causing her to shiver in delight and anticipation. Finally reaching her neck, he would nibble her sensitized skin making her moan and squirm with desire.

While his mouth did delicious things to her neck, his hands would be busy divesting her of her clothing. Untying, pulling, pushing, and sliding until she stood naked in front of him. He would then trail the backs of his hands up her stomach, barely caressing the underside of her breasts, then around to her back before slipping down to grasp her bottom.

Leaning in, he would watch as the yearning, lust and desire she felt for him was made evident upon her face. Then just as he was about to kiss her lips, she would wake. She was a frustrated mess after waking from that dream for the third time. She wanted to feel the culmination of all these sensations and emotions that he had stirred within her.

I want to know how far he would go, damn it. I want Sesshoumaru!

Sesshoumaru’s week wasn’t faring much better. Though he wasn’t beset by dreams, he found himself often trying to regain his concentration. He spent twice as much time in his study, and got half as much work done. He frequently wondered just how far she would have let things proceed if they weren’t interrupted, in the presence of Rin, or out in the open beneath a tree. When he closed his eyes, he could taste her flavor bursting on his tongue again and he knew he would never forget it or the way she smelled.

It finally dawned on him that this was perhaps what his father had experienced. As if he was possessed and driven to find that one thing that entranced him so he could have more of it, thereby strengthening the addiction. Yes, he knew he would never find a moment’s peace until he tasted her again. And again.

In the face of his obsession, the notion of being with a human no longer seemed taboo. It was being chipped away like cracked plaster by his feelings for a miko named Kagome. He wouldn’t lie to himself for there was no use in it. He wanted her, and it didn’t matter what his views were in the past. They weren’t important. What was important was what he felt now. And it was so, because he was Sesshoumaru, and he deemed it so.

He started thinking of ways to see her again without appearing too eager and obvious. After all, he did have a detached image to uphold. But every idea he came up with had him seeming suspicious, lacking in subtlety or, Kami forbid, desperate. It was his little ward who came to his rescue.

With her most pleading eyes and heartbreaking pout in place, Rin entered his study and begged him to hear her suit. She was only eleven, but she didn’t miss the connection between the taiyoukai and the miko beneath that tree. She also didn’t miss his distracted ways of late. She had a fair idea what was going on and decided she would have a hand in bringing those two together. She adored Kagome-sama and knew she deserved the happiness that her foster-father could give her.

With her goal firmly in mind, she implored that Sesshoumaru check up on Kagome to be sure she was, in fact, in good health following her accident. After all, who knows if any poison may have seeped into her wound undetected and left to fester? She could be in terrible, terrible pain right now. She could be in danger of losing her hand! Or her arm! Or worse!

The inu was not a fool. Of course he saw straight through her little act, but decided to reward her ingenuity and thoughtful heart by going along with it. Certainly he would check on the miko, if only to ease the heart and mind of his young ward. The last thing he wanted to do was cause Rin any distress or sleepless nights. Of course he would leave right away, the sooner the better in order to head off any potential disasters such as limbs falling off.

After doling out the usual admonishments and threats to Jaken regarding Rin’s safety, and abiding the inevitable prostrating and groveling of the kappa, Sesshoumaru took to the sky on his youki cloud. The smirk that had been lurking at the corners of his mouth was loosed for a few seconds before he once again reined in his control and set his mask firmly in place.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

Kagome sat beneath Goshinboku gazing up at the sky. Dusk was fast approaching and the stars seemed to be impatiently waiting for the sun to set. She knew she should head back to the village before it got dark, but the peace and quiet called to her and beseeched her to stay just a few moments more. Out here, she could think more on these feelings that a certain silver-haired, golden-eyed inu had awakened in her.

She compared them to her old feelings for Inuyasha and concluded that these were different, and her love for the hanyou was now more brotherly than anything else. Not that she was in love with Sesshoumaru, but the hanyou never evoked such passionate emotions and dreams from her. She supposed that over the time she got to know the taiyoukai, she saw his compassion beneath the carefully constructed façade that he had erected for the world.

He had to possess a heart in order to allow a little girl to follow him in his wanderings, to protect her from danger, and even go into hell to retrieve her. He protected the humans in his territory despite his self proclaimed hatred of said species. He has helped their little group countless times in the battle against Naraku and was present at the defeat of the evil spider. An open book he was not, but Kagome knew that there was so much more to him than the chilly countenance he presented to everyone. She knew there was warmth and light simmering just below the surface. And she wanted to see it in all its glory.

Her thoughts surprised her. She never thought she was the type of girl to consider sleeping with someone she didn’t love with all her heart. She was a modern girl and knew that, realistically, her virginity might not survive till her wedding night. But she had fantasized that when she took the plunge, it would be with someone that she would have known and loved for a long time, and who absolutely loved her back. And they would eventually marry and live happily ever after.

She sighed at the direction her thoughts had taken. That was a bridge to cross if it ever got to that point. For all she knew, Sesshoumaru probably didn’t even remember the interlude beneath the tree and all her dreams and fantasies would go unfulfilled.

With another sigh the miko stood and reached for her bow and quiver. Straightening her kimono, she prepared to depart her little haven of tranquility. She had just stepped from under the branches of Goshinboku when she felt a familiar aura wash over her. Stiffening slightly, her heart racing and pulse pounding, Kagome slowly turned around.

Sesshoumaru stood just on the other side of the clearing watching her intently. She was wearing that beautifully colored kimono again. Deliberately, he took a few steps toward her. The staccato rhythm of her heart increased slightly and her face took on a flushed appearance. Intriguing, he thought. He was definitely enjoying her reactions to him. He stopped a few yards from her and waited for her to open the conversation. She didn’t disappoint.

“Konbanwa, Sesshoumaru-sama,” she said in a slightly husky voice.

“Miko,” he replied in a low rumble that did sinful things to her insides. He didn’t miss that reaction either.

Kagome nervously licked her lips and swallowed while attempting to get herself under control.

“What are you doing here, if you don’t mind my asking?” she managed to say despite her stomach full of butterflies.

He paused, suddenly wondering if she would see through his supposed reason for being there, then decided to go for it anyway.

“Rin worries over your injury.”

“Oh.”

Her face fell a little. She felt like a fool for imagining that he had come all this way to see her.

“She desires reassurance that you are well.”

Turning back in the direction that would take her to the village, she sought to keep despondency from coloring her words.

“Well, if that’s all, you can tell little Rin that I’m good as new,” she retorted with false cheer.

She hadn’t taken two steps when she felt his overwhelming youki immediately behind her. Freezing in her tracks, she waited for him to make a move.

Sesshoumaru, knowing he had to take this chance while he had it, reached down and grasped her right hand in his own.

Raising it slightly he turned her palm up and glanced down at her perfectly healed hand. Oh so gently he ran his thumb across the expanse of flesh where scars would have formed had he not administered his version of first-aid.

“This Sesshoumaru requires visual confirmation.”

Her heartbeat sped up to a more hurried pace. She was speechless for once in her life. Electricity from where his hand contacted hers was racing through her body and disrupting her thought process. His aura seemed to be gently flowing over hers, caressing and warming her inside and out. Somehow, through it all, she noticed that even after seeing for himself that she was perfectly fine, he still hadn’t released her hand. She most definitely was not complaining.

Kagome desperately wanted to turn and look into Sesshoumaru’s face. She wanted to see if the feelings his touch conveyed were even minutely reflected in his eyes. But she loathed breaking the magic of the moment by pulling away from him. And so she waited for him to make the next move.

Sesshoumaru was reveling in the quickening of her pulse and the acceptance of her aura. He was just about to wreak more havoc on her senses when he felt the turbulent aura of his half-brother barreling toward them through the forest. For a brief moment he contemplated releasing her hand and stepping back to create space between them. Then he decided he might as well let the hanyou know of his intentions toward the miko. He wouldn’t dishonor her by sneaking around to see her.

The potential entertainment value of watching Inuyasha lose his head over the situation would just be icing on the cake, so to speak.

True to form, a red and white blur emerged from the trees, skidded to a halt just in front of them with transformed fang at the ready, and proceeded to berate Sesshoumaru for touching the young woman. Said young woman finally emerged from her hormone-induced haze and realized that a certain hanyou was interrupting her moment. Something would have to be done.

“Inuyasha put the sword away. We were just talking.”

“You are not just talking,” yelled the irate inu. “He doesn’t need to be holding your hand to talk to you. And you shouldn’t be talking to him any damn way.”

A nerve began to twitch at the corner of her left eye.

“Put the sword away or I will say ‘it’.”

“But Kagome…”

“Inuyashaaaaa!” she ground out angrily.

“A’right, dammit.”

With a frustrated growl he sheathed Tessaiga and stomped over, closing the distance between them. Grabbing Kagome’s left hand, he tried to drag her out of his half-brother’s grip.

“But I’m not leaving you here alone with this icy bastard. You’re coming back to the village right now.”

Quickly, Kagome dug in her heels and pulled her hand from Inuyasha’s hold. The hanyou turned to her, confused.

“I’m not ready to go back yet. Sesshoumaru and I are not done talking.”

Folding his arms in righteous indignation, he answered, “Well then he can say whatever he has to say with me here.”

Kagome had heard enough. Turning to the taiyoukai, she asked, “Would you mind taking me somewhere more private so we can finish our conversation?”

“Ohhh, hell no!” was Inuyasha’s livid reaction. “You are leaving here with him over my dead bo…”

“Osuwari.”

*THUD*

By the time the spell from the beads released him, Kagome and Sesshoumaru were long gone.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

After leaving Inuyasha face down under the god tree, the pair had ridden his youki cloud in relative silence for a few minutes. She had momentarily wondered where he would take her, but concluded that she could trust him to find somewhere fitting. When they finally landed on the bank of a small body of water, she was once again rendered speechless by the beauty of the spot he had chosen.

The unbroken surface of the mountaintop lake glimmered with the reflection of the sky at sunset. It mirrored the heavenly expanse above it so perfectly that one didn’t know whether to gaze up in wonder or down in delight. So Kagome opted to do both while expressing her deep appreciation to Sesshoumaru for sharing such perfection with her. Her unequivocal joy and subsequent gratitude were a major boost to his ego.

Kagome sat demurely on the lush grass that lined a small portion of the lake, placed her bow and quiver nearby and made herself comfortable. Sesshoumaru settled on the ground to her left and struck his usual pose of one leg drawn up with the corresponding arm draped over it.

She glanced at him sideways and marveled at how he could look so relaxed and perfectly regal at the same time. Taking a moment to study him, she let her gaze roam over long, lean lines slightly camouflaged by billowy silk. After being pressed close to his side while riding on his cloud, she discerned that he wasn’t heavily muscled but trim and lithe. He was built like a swimmer, broad in the shoulders and chest with a narrow waist and hips. And he was incredibly strong. He was a girl’s fantasy come true.

Sensing Kagome’s gaze traversing his form, Sesshoumaru thought he would tease her a bit.

“Are you pleased with what you see, miko?” he said with a slight smile.

Startled, Kagome realized she had been caught staring. Clearing her throat and flushing prettily, she decided not to answer that question.

“Umm, I hope I‘m not keeping you from anything important. I guess I kind of put you on the spot when Inuyasha showed up. Thanks for going along with it.”

“Thanks are unnecessary. This Sesshoumaru is exactly where he wishes to be,” was the reply as he turned to look at her.

Oh, Kami. His amber eyes seemed to peer into her very soul. She could hide nothing from him as his bright gaze lit up all the dark corners and her secrets were laid bare. She knew he could hear the rhythm of her racing heart, feel the heat radiating from her body. And if his nose was in good working order, he definitely knows how much he turned her on. She was a little mortified at that thought, but decided there was nothing to be done about it. She was never good at hiding her emotions and she just knew that it was written on her face that she was falling for him.

So how exactly did he feel about her? Sure she could tell he was attracted to her, but that didn’t necessarily mean he wanted to pursue it. He was very adept at masking his emotions, making him very hard to read. What did he want from her? She had to know.

In a breathless whisper, she asked him, “Why exactly did you come back, Sesshoumaru?”

He resolved to make his intentions known once and for all so there would be no mistake.

“For you, Kagome,” he answered, calling her by name for the first time. She would remember that moment always.

“This Sesshoumaru wished to see you, and would like to see you again. Is this acceptable to you?”

Kagome was so elated, she felt as if she would float right off the mountain top.

“Hai,“ she breathed. “I would like that very much, Sesshoumaru.”

Satisfied with her answer, he took her hand and traced his thumb over her palm again. He savored the contact with her while she shivered at his touch.

“Come,” he said, standing and smoothly pulling her to her feet. “It is time to return you to the village before the hanyou destroys the forest searching for you.”

She groaned. “Oh, Inuyasha. You know, he’s going to lose his mind when he finds out about this,” she warned.

A genuine smirk graced Sesshoumaru’s face for a moment.

“The resulting confrontations will serve as adequate light exercise for this Sesshoumaru.”

“Oh, please, no more fighting. I’ll talk to him and try to get him to understand. I can’t bear to watch you guys hurt each other.”

He could see she was genuinely distressed over the thought of them exchanging blows. Perhaps this was one thing he could give her, a gift of sorts. But there was no way he would abstain from beating Inuyasha to a hanyou-scented pulp if he outright challenged him.

“Very well. This one will show restraint. However any formal challenges must be accepted.”

“If I have my way, it won’t even come to that,” she remarked.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

Inuyasha was grumpy. Inuyasha had been grumpy for quite a while now, actually. He could pinpoint the exact moment when he achieved this level of grumpiness.

It went something like this.

“Inuyasha?”

“Oh, so you’re back.”

“Yes, and I need to talk to you about something, but you have to promise not to shout or get angry.”

Was she kidding? Saying that only confirms that whatever she was about to tell him certainly would make him shout and get angry.

“I can’t promise that.”

Sigh. He can be so difficult sometimes.

“Well, umm, I need to tell you anyway. That way you can get mad and work it out now instead of later.”

She’s twisting her fingers and biting her lip. I am definitely not going to like this.

“Well, spit it out a’ready.”

Deep breath.

“Umm, well you see, it has to do with your brother and the …”

“Half-brother.”

Eye roll.

“Whatever. It has to do with Sesshoumaru and the reason why he was here earlier.”

Suffice it to say his day had suddenly gone from bad to shit-flavored at this point. Kagome and Sesshoumaru? Together? Seeing each other? What kind of messed up world had he woken up in this morning? And why was he the only one who saw the disastrous possibilities of this arrangement?

He had tried forbidding it. No go. She had calmly responded that he was in no position to forbid her anything.

He had tried a guilt trip. This “relationship” would only keep her away from her friends who really loved her here in the village. She had flipped the script on him. Real friends would want her to be happy, she had said.

He had tried threatening to hurt Sesshoumaru next time he showed up. Bad move. She as much told him she would sit him till he was permanently dirt-colored. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t to threaten or challenge Sesshoumaru in any way, shape, or form. The consequences would be dire if he broke that rule. Something about him being human without the aid of the new moon, miko powers, et cetera.

And so, he had to abide watching his half-brother arrive at the village to take Kagome off to Kami knew where, then wait with his stomach in knots till she was safely back home. He was so sure that after a couple of weeks she would be bored with the emotionally challenged taiyoukai, but it’d been a month and she was still happy. Maybe even happier than when this all started. He just couldn’t understand it.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

Kagome was happy. Kagome had been happy for quite a while now, actually. She could hardly believe this was really happening to her.

Her dates with Sesshoumaru were fun and romantic. He brought her gifts, because it was customary. Sometimes it was fabrics, exotic flowers, jewelry, or kimonos and kanzashi or hair-ornaments, which she wore on their outings because they made her feel so feminine and pretty. Sometimes he brought sweet treats for her and her friends.

On the fourth date, he had brought her a beautifully crafted bow and quiver that fit her frame as if it were made to order. It was also the first time they shared a kiss.

They had just returned from a picnic by the sea and she was so giddy from excitement that she stumbled when his cloud dissipated. His arms quickly wrapped around her to steady her, bringing their faces in close proximity. The moment was perfect and they both knew it. He had held himself in check for weeks now, knowing that were he to taste her again, he would have to make her his. He had to be sure, and now he was. Without hesitation, he dipped his head and pressed his lips to hers.

The kiss was a slow and gentle exploration of each other. He pulled on her bottom lip and felt her arms slip around his neck. He shifted one hand to the back of her head and deepened the kiss as her lips parted. She tasted as sweetly as she had beneath that tree weeks ago.

Their tongues danced, unhurried, advancing and retreating, tasting and relishing the sensation of sharp and smooth, teeth and lips. Once again, time stopped and the world fell away leaving just the two of them lost in each other.

Kagome’s senses were attuned to every part of Sesshoumaru. The way he tasted slightly of the melon they had shared earlier, but with his own unique flavor. The way he smelled like sandalwood, earthy and spicy. The never-ending silky length of his hair sliding between her fingers like a waterfall.

Sesshoumaru marveled at how perfect she felt in his arms, even though he was so much taller than she. The way her body molded to his was as if she were made only to be held by him.

Mine.

If you’re not the one then why does my soul feel glad today?

If you’re not the one then why does my hand fit yours this way?

If you are not mine then why does your heart return my call?

If you are not mine would I have the strength to stand at all?

I never know what the future brings

But I know you’re here with me now

We’ll make it through

And I hope you are the one I share my life with

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

After two months, Sesshoumaru knew he needed to tell Kagome of his desire to make her his, to never let her go. She had to know how much he needed her in his life. He decided he would do it tonight, upon returning her home.

They landed in the forest a short distance from the village, to Kagome’s pleasure. She enjoyed their make-out sessions in the moonlight before he walked her to her hut. His kisses always stole her breath and made her knees weak with passion.

She had fallen totally and completely head over heels in love with her youkai, but was too afraid to tell him. Did youkai even use the term “love“? What if this wasn’t what he had intended for their relationship? What if she was a temporary diversion until he mated a female youkai of his pedigree in order to have heirs? He wanted full blooded youkai pups and she couldn’t give him that. Kami, she didn’t think she could survive being rejected by him. Couldn’t watch him bind himself to someone else. It would utterly tear her apart.

Her fears and insecurities from the times Inuyasha left her to be with Kikyo sprung up in her heart as if they had never died, although she supposed they never really had. They had just lain dormant until they had something else to feed off. Attempting to forget her “what ifs”, she turned to him and lifted her face as he bent his head and captured her lips.

He just couldn’t resist kissing her. The taste of her was like a drug that caused him to do things that he might not otherwise do, such as becoming so aroused that the thought of taking her right here on the forest floor actually crossed his mind. His hands roamed from her shoulders down to her tiny waist before cupping her bottom and pulling her closer, ensuring she would feel the evidence of how her delicious mouth and curvy body set him on fire.

He finally managed enough control to drag his lips from hers and he kissed his way to her jaw, down the column of her lovely throat and back up to her earlobe, nibbling on it sensually till she moaned with need. He had to stop now or else they really would be rutting beneath a tree in the very, very near future.

Pulling back he gazed at her flushed face. Her brown eyes were full of desire and her lips were swollen from kissing. He wanted her and she wanted him. She was a vision of unfulfilled passion and it almost made him devour her mouth again, but he knew he needed to talk to her before things went any further.

But how to give voice to his thoughts. This need for her had insinuated its way into his life, making him think of her and only her. It drove him to choose the gifts he selected for her with utmost care, to search his memory meticulously for locations he had visited that he knew she would love and appreciate, to remember every word she had spoken to him, and memorize every telling glance and touch that conveyed her growing attraction to him.

Was she ready for more? Was she ready to become his in every way? If she were to reject him, he didn’t know what he would do. Sure, he would live on, but his long life would certainly be a dull grey after the color of Kagome was gone. However, she had given no real indication that she would spurn him. There were times he was positive she was keeping something from him, as if she were holding a part of herself back or not telling him something. But she was always happy to see him and still enjoyed his company, his touches and his kisses. Didn’t she?

Doubt was not something Sesshoumaru was familiar with, but right now, a very small part of him feared that he had read the signs incorrectly and was about to make an enormous error. On the other hand, fear had never stopped him from doing what he needed to do. And this time would be no exception. He took a breath and forged ahead.

“Kagome,” he said, brushing her bangs to the side. “This Sesshoumaru … I … must discuss something with you.”

It was the first time she had heard him refer to himself in the first person. That got her attention fully, which was not an easy task after being kissed nearly senseless.

He went on. “It is in regard to the progress of our relationship.”

She smiled nervously and nodded. Inside she was beginning to get frantic. She couldn’t read him right now, so she had no idea what he was trying to say.

“Kagome, this Sess… I wish to cease visiting you on a weekly basis. I would like …”

Her world stopped turning as she stepped away from him. In that moment her nightmares became real and every scenario she had imagined of him leaving her played out in her mind.

“You don’t want to see me…?” she whispered tearfully. “But you … we were … is there someone else?”

What? He was confused. That wasn’t what he had said at all. At least it wasn’t what he meant.

Shaking his head he tried to approach her. “No, that is …”

Her mind was racing with a hundred unanswered questions. She felt betrayed, abandoned.

“I think I understand.” she cried brokenly. “I can’t give you what you need.”

Her eyes filled with tears as she stumbled backwards.

“If you would let this Sesshoumaru explain …”

The infernal female refused to let him finish his sentences and salvage the situation.

“You know what,” she interrupted, “It’s probably for the best anyway. We’re so different it never would have worked out. It’s been fun, Sesshoumaru.”

She turned and ran before the tears could flow down her cheeks. She refused to let him see her cry.

Sesshoumaru was disconsolate. How did this end up going so wrong? He sighed deeply for the third time in his life and followed the fleeing onna. He would apprehend her at her hut, kiss her speechless, and explain himself without her bothersome interruptions.

He followed her trail, easily marked by the scent of her tears, into the clearing around Goshinboku. But instead of continuing into the village, her scent veered off in the direction of the old well. Why would she …?

And then he remembered. She had explained to him where she was from and the manner in which she traversed time. She had also explained that only she and Inuyasha could use the well.

Oh, no!

This was as close to panic as Sesshoumaru had ever come. If she went back to her time, he would never be able to repair the damage of his botched confession. She would be living with the mistaken notion that he did not wish to see her anymore. Would they ever be able to rebuild their relationship after that? He did not wish to test that theory.

He dashed in the direction of the well, hoping against hope that she was still on this side. He arrived just in time to see a blue light swell above the rim before receding into its depths.

He was too late.

I don’t want to run away but I can’t take it, I don’t understand

If I’m not made for you, then why does my heart tell me that I am?

Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

Inuyasha was sitting in front of Kagome’s hut, impatiently waiting for her to return, when he felt Sesshoumaru’s overwhelming aura slam into him. Something was wrong! His aura never felt like that after one of his outings with Kagome. He jumped to his feet just as Sesshoumaru stepped out of the forest alone.

Sesshoumaru normally exhibited either of two emotions when it came to Inuyasha: couldn’t-care-less indifference, or kill-you-revive-you-with-Tenseiga-and-kill-you-again anger. Kagome somehow seemed to keep him somewhere close to the middle so he wasn’t totally unfeeling, but not prone to hanyoucidal tendencies either. And what Inuyasha was picking up from the feel of his half-brother’s aura right now was neither of those. As a matter of fact, if he didn’t know better, he would say the taiyoukai was distressed! Being careful to keep his hand away from the hilt of his sword, he walked toward Sesshoumaru.

“Where is she? What happened to Kagome?” he asked, glancing into the tree line. He could neither see nor smell her except for the lingering scent of her tears that clung to Sesshoumaru’s clothing. Brows lowering, he glanced back to his brother’s face.

“Not here. Come.” He turned and walked back into the forest, confident that the over-protective hanyou would follow. He didn’t need the village witnessing what would take place between them.

Sesshoumaru was about to do something he had never had to do in his adult life: ask someone for help. Even worse, he was asking Inuyasha for help. Because Kagome was in a place and time that he himself could not go, he had to send his brother in his stead. His pride and his heart had battled over the decision and his heart had won. His pride would survive the asking. He wasn’t sure his heart would survive the breaking if she didn’t return to him.

Under the branches of Goshinboku, Sesshoumaru told Inuyasha what happened, leaving out the more, umm … personal details. He watched as shock, anger and disbelief passed over Inuyasha’s face like shadows. He didn’t care. He needed him to understand the gravity of the situation. He couldn’t afford for the hanyou to refuse to help him.

As for Inuyasha, he could scarcely believe what he was hearing. His brother… half-brother, who never had two kind words to say to him, had just basically admitted to falling in love with his best friend, screwing up the confession, and needing his help to bring her back so he could fix it.

He considered the implications of the situation. He was in a position to royally screw Sesshoumaru as payback for all the crap he had put him through.

He could refuse to go through the well to deliver the message. If Kagome was as hurt and upset as he had said she was, she could end up staying over there for a couple of weeks. Surely, that was long enough for Sesshoumaru to give up hope, and whatever had blossomed between them would wither up and die a horrible death.

Or, he could go through the well but alter the message. He could reinforce Kagome’s newfound view of Prince Icicle-Up-His-Ass, thereby ensuring that his best friend would remain by his side forever. He almost rubbed his hands together with glee.

“Sesshoumaru is a fool to ask me for help.” he cackled in his mind. “He’s supposed to be one of the most brilliant strategists to ever walk Nippon, and he actually considered entrusting me with …” Entrust. Trust. The laughter in his head ended abruptly. He forgot about Sesshoumaru and thought of Kagome.

Kagome trusted him. She had trusted him from the beginning to save her from Mistress Centipede. Every time she had climbed on his back, she had trusted him to not let her fall. Whenever she was in danger, she trusted him to rescue her. She trusted him to keep the secret of the well and where she came from. Suddenly it didn’t matter what Sesshoumaru was asking, because Kagome trusted him. He felt ashamed that he had even entertained the idea that his best friend’s misery would bring him happiness. And he knew she would be miserable without Sesshoumaru because even a blind man could see that she had fallen in love with the taiyoukai. His heart did a strange flip in his chest.

His mind made up, he swallowed thickly and looked Sesshoumaru in the eye. “I’ll go through the well and talk to her, but know this: I ain’t doing it for you. I’m doing it for her. She’s my best friend, the only person in this world who accepts me for who and what I am. I would do anything for her happiness and that includes kicking your ass across the Western Lands if you ever intentionally hurt her.”

He didn’t wait for a reply. Turning on his heel, he stomped over to the well and vaulted in. With one eyebrow disappearing under his bangs at Inuyasha‘s threat, Sesshoumaru watched as the magic pulled his brother to a time 500 years in the future. He wasn’t sure how long it would take for Inuyasha to convince Kagome that it was all a misunderstanding, but he wasn’t willing to leave the area, so he settled against the well and prepared to wait.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

Upon going through the well, Kagome had related the entire incident to her mother, then spent a good fifteen minutes crying in her arms as her mother rubbed her back and crooned words of sympathy and comfort. Her heart felt as though it had been kicked across a rocky field, stomped on with cleats, then left out in the rain all night. If love equated to this kind of ache, then she never, ever wanted to fall in love again. How did people put themselves through this pain over and over?

Her mother had made her a cup of tea and pushed it into her hands, watching as she sipped it. It didn’t taste like anything in her mouth, but she couldn’t be bothered to wonder why her taste buds were currently not working.

By the time her tears subsided and her sobs were reduced to the occasional hiccough, she felt thoroughly numb inside. Her eyes were red and her face was puffy. Her body ached like she had the flu. She wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for a week. Maybe longer. As a matter of fact, she wouldn’t mind sleeping until she forgot his name and his face. Forgot the way his eyes would crease at the corners when he was trying not to laugh. Forgot the sound of his voice when he spoke her name. The way he laced his fingers through hers when she rode on his cloud pressed against his side.

A fresh deluge of tears poured from her eyes. This wasn’t helping. She tried to find a clean, dry corner of tissue to wipe her face, but she was unsuccessful. And she certainly wasn’t going to wipe her snotty nose on the sleeve of her kimono … the green one with the pink sakura blossoms that he gave to her before their second date when he took her to the enormous field filled with wild flowers and butterflies … the dam burst and she was once again a weeping mess on her mother’s shoulder.

“Kagome,” Mrs. Higurashi said soothingly. “Listen to me, sweetheart. I want you to go upstairs and take a hot shower. It’ll make you feel a little better and help you to sleep. Things will look better in the morning. I promise. We‘ll talk then, alright?”

She desperately wanted to believe her mother’s words. Would the ache subside by morning? She didn’t think so. She was certain that her heart would never mend from this wound. She felt as she was in a dark place where no light could reach her, and she would never see or feel the sun again.

But she nodded her head anyway, stood and made her way upstairs. She undressed and carefully placed the folded kimono on the counter. She vaguely wondered why she didn’t feel the urge to shred it or burn it. With a heartrending sigh, she turned the water as hot as it would go and stood beneath the torrent for a few minutes before she summoned the energy to wash her hair and body. She got in one last cry before the water started to go cold and she turned the tap off.

After towel drying her hair, she dressed in light blue flannel pajamas, carried her kimono to her room and placed it in a drawer so she wouldn‘t have to look at it. Upon seeing her pillow, exhaustion suddenly washed over her and she practically collapsed onto her bed, pulling the blanket up to her neck before rolling onto her side and closing her eyes. She didn’t realize she cried herself to sleep.

While Kagome was upstairs, Mrs. Higurashi sat at the table and thought back on all her daughter had told her since coming through the well this evening. It just didn’t make any sense to her. She recalled Kagome’s surprise at the start of the relationship when she explained that Sesshoumaru basically wanted to date her. Mrs. Higurashi had expressed some reservation regarding the compatibility of her daughter’s boisterous personality and the taiyoukai’s indifferent attitude, but Kagome had assured her that he wasn’t like that deep down.

She had shared some details of their dates, what he brought her, where he took her, things he said that she found funny or fascinating. Little by little, she could see Kagome falling in love. And it seemed that Sesshoumaru was falling in love with her too. He just didn’t seem like the type of person to string her along and then end it so suddenly. But then again, she didn’t know him personally. And while she trusted her daughter‘s words, she also knew that love was blind.

A soft tap at the front door brought her out of her musings and she wondered who could be out there this time of night. Sota was sleeping over at a friend’s house and Grandpa had been in bed for hours. Then realization dawned. If Kagome was here, then it must be …

“Inuyasha,” she beamed at the hanyou and stepped aside to let him in. She didn’t miss the way he glanced toward the kitchen as if looking for Kagome.

“Her window was closed, and the lights were out. I didn’t know if she was ‘sleep or down here,” he started gruffly. “I guess she’s ‘sleep.”

Mrs. Higurashi nodded her head.

“Uh, I guess she told you what happened?” he asked.

Choosing her words carefully, she answered, “I know what she thinks happened. But it doesn’t add up.”

Sighing, Inuyasha rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “Yeah, that’s kinda why I’m here. It was a misunderstanding ‘cause sometimes she doesn’t know when to shut … , uhh, I mean, she jumps to conclusions.” he finished nervously.

Mrs. Higurashi bit back a smile. Inuyasha had a point, it was one of Kagome’s bad habits. Leading the puppy-eared young man to the table, she sat him down and began preparing two packets of ramen. He looked like he could use it.

Glancing at him she asked, “So your brother sent you with a message?”

“Yeah. He didn’t have much of a choice.” he groused, intentionally not correcting her omission of the ‘half’. “It was either send me, or wait for her to return. And, let’s just say he knows exactly how stubborn she can be.“ He knew he had to do this, but in a way he was stalling. He didn’t really want to see Kagome’s sadness and pain because on some level, it hurt him too. And the tears, he just knew there would be tears, would just drive him crazy. But he had meant it when he said he would do anything for her to make her happy.

He was wondering if he should wake her up now or wait till morning when a large, steaming bowl of ramen appeared in front of him. As if reading is mind, Mrs. Higurashi said, “Eat first, then I’ll go get her. I’m sure she’ll appreciate having this cleared up as soon as possible.” With that pronouncement, he ate his ramen guilt free while Mrs. Higurashi tidied up the few cups from tea.

Kagome was dreaming. It was more of a nightmare, really. She was on the bank of the mountaintop lake where Sesshoumaru had first asked to see her, but instead of sitting next to him on the grass, she was teetering on the edge, about to fall in. Sesshoumaru was reaching for her, to pull her back to safety, but at the last second he missed and she fell. She braced for the impact with the water, but it never came. Instead of falling into a reflection, she was falling from the sky. She was too shocked to scream. She just fell and fell until she realized strong arms were catching her, wrapping around her, pulling her close to a warm body. Who had caught her? Who had saved her? She opened her eyes in her dream, but woke before she could see his face. She knew who she wanted it to be …

If I don’t need you then why am I crying on my bed?

If I don’t need you then why does your name resound in my head?

Her sleep fogged mind immediately registered a familiar aura close by and it brought her even more awake. Inuyasha was here. What did he want? Does he know what happened? How? He and Sesshoumaru were barely on speaking terms. She sighed. Since she wasn’t going back to sleep after that dream, she determined she might as well go downstairs and find out what he was doing here. Glancing at her clock as she pulled on a pair of socks, she saw that it was just 1:13 a.m. She’d only been asleep for about an hour.

In the kitchen, Inuyasha’s ears were twitching back and forth. He heard when Kagome padded across her bedroom floor, opened the bedroom door and proceeded down the stairs. His trepidation grew with each step she took, and he only hoped she would give him time to explain why he was there. His eyes were glued to the stairs, watching her descent into the kitchen and what he saw made him hurt for her so badly while a small part of him wanted to kill Sesshoumaru for causing this, even if he hadn’t meant to.

Her eyes were still red from crying and lack of rest, and he had never seen them so dull and lifeless. She had her arms wrapped around her middle as if she were protecting herself, or maybe she just needed to hold onto something. Her aura was a reflection of her emotional state, pulled in close and heavy. She appeared almost broken. But he could fix that. Or rather, Sesshoumaru could fix that.

Kagome finally raised her eyes to look at his face. She didn’t know what she expected to see there, perhaps satisfaction at being proven right because he did predict that this wouldn’t last. Maybe annoyance with her because she was an emotional mess and he didn’t usually know how to handle that. What she never expected was for him to stand there with his arms open to her. It was her undoing. She launched herself at him and clung to his haori, sobbing while he held her in the protective enclosure of his sleeves.

The scent of her tears reminded him that he needed to do this fast. “Kagome, listen to me.” he spoke into her hair. “You need to go back and talk to Sesshoumaru.”

She pulled away slightly and raised her head. “Why? Has he changed his mind?” Was that hope in her voice?

Inuyasha shook his head. “No, but he never …”

“Then why should I …?” She was confused.

“Woman?” he growled, grabbing her by her arms. He wanted to shake some sense into her. “Would you just listen? That’s what got you into this mess in the first place. You need to go back and talk to Sesshoumaru, and this time let him finish before you interrupt!”

She stared at Inuyasha, unsure of what to do. She couldn’t bear the humiliation of seemingly crawling back to the one who had so recently rejected her, but he was so insistent. Why? After all, wasn’t this what he wanted, her and his brother apart?

He saw her indecision, and softened his tone. “Please, trust me.”

And she did. If Inuyasha was here asking her to go back and talk to his brother, either the devil had just purchased a brand new pair of ice skates, or he knew something she didn’t. “Okay, Inuyasha.” She dried her tears on her sleeve and turned to go back upstairs. “Let me change and I’ll be right down.”

Ten minutes later, she came back downstairs dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, her hair brushed, and her eyes not so red. She almost looked normal. Almost. She turned to her mother to tell her that she would be back soon, and gave her a hug.

Mrs. Higurashi held her little girl, who wasn’t so little anymore, and told her, “Love listens. Remember that.”

She wasn’t sure why her mother said that, but she would take it with her. “Okay, mama.”

Mrs. Higurashi watched as Kagome and Inuyasha walked toward the well house, hoping in her heart that things would work out between her and Sesshoumaru, the man … youkai who had stolen her daughter’s heart.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

Sesshoumaru hadn’t stopped thinking of Kagome since he sat down by the well. He thought back to the day he first noticed her in that blue kimono, the way she looked, smelled, … tasted. He thought of how she had unknowingly changed his mind and heart about mating a human with her kindness, her loyalty, her open-mindedness. She was beautiful, intelligent and ambitious. She was also passionate and vibrant. She has a positive effect on almost everyone she meets. She loves Rin. And she must love me. She was made for me.

If you’re not for me then why does this distance maim my life?

If you’re not for me then why do I dream of you as my wife?

I don’t know why you’re so far away

But I know that this much is true

We’ll make it through

And I hope you are the one I share my life with

And I wish that you could be the one I die with

And I’m prayin’ you’re the one I build my home with

I hope I love you all my life

Cause I miss you, body and soul

So strong that it takes my breath away

And I breathe you into my heart and pray

For the strength to stand today

Cause I love you, whether it’s wrong or right

And though I can’t be with you tonight

You know my heart is by your side

A tingle at the back of his neck alerted him that the magic of the well was being activated. He sprang to his feet in anticipation and watched as the blue light surged before disappearing again. Seconds later, Inuyasha bounded out of the well with Kagome in his arms. Mine. He held back a growl at the sight, but his eyes had a slight pink tinge to them. The hanyou wasn’t a rival anymore, but his instincts were difficult to ignore.

Inuyasha set Kagome on her feet and steadied her. He had sensed his brother’s (when had he dropped the ‘half‘?) agitation when he saw him holding Kagome. Good, he thought. You deserve that and more for making her cry. Ignoring Sesshoumaru, he tilted Kagome’s face up so she could look at him. The moon provided enough light for her to see him. “I won’t be far,” he said to her. She nodded. He sent one last angry glance at his brother, his warning clear, before he set off in the direction of Goshinboku to give them some privacy.

Kagome steeled herself before turning to face Sesshoumaru. She knew she couldn’t fool him, but she wanted to appear strong, not as if she spent the entire night crying. Even without his armor, he was an impressive sight. Tall and confident, not a hair out of place. He looked perfect, as always. Except there was a slight tension in his face. She was learning to decipher his emotions during their time together and the muscle in his jaw gave away his agitation. Her mother’s words came back to her and she decided for once to let him open the conversation.

Sesshoumaru yearned to gather her up in his arms and kiss her till they both forgot that she ever left. She was wearing those ‘jeans’ that hugged her curves, accentuated the soft roundness of her hips and bottom, and left her navel exposed. Her shirt was clingy and stretched across her breasts, making the twin mounds call to him with every breath she took. He dragged his attention back to her face. This was not the time for those thoughts, there would be plenty of opportunity later. He would make sure of that.

He closed the distance between them, but didn’t touch her. He just had to be close to her. “I am sorry for causing you distress, Kagome. It was not my intention.” he began. She looked like she wanted to say something, but she kept her mouth firmly shut.

“It was all a misunderstanding. What I wanted to tell you, koi, was that I wished to cease the visits because I want you to stay with me at the shiro.”

Her shocked gasp and wide eyes encouraged him. He stepped even closer and held her hands in his. “I love you, Kagome. I want to make you mine forever. You have become such a large part of my life, I can not imagine it without you.” Bringing her hands to his lips, he kissed both her palms before continuing. “Will you be my mate?”

She was crying again, but these were tears of joy and relief. She couldn’t believe she had almost ruined things between them. Thanking the Kami that he had been so patient with her, she cried “Yes,” as she threw her arms around him and buried her face in his chest. “I’m sorry,” she sobbed into white silk. “I’m so sorry. I should never have doubted you. Please forgive me.”

His finger under her chin forced her to look into his eyes. “It is I who must ask your forgiveness, for not being clear regarding my intentions.”

“I love you so much. Can we just forget this evening ever happened?” she asked.

“Hn, perhaps not the entire evening,” he answered, before swooping in to claim the lips he had been longing to kiss since she returned.

He plundered her mouth and crushed her body so tightly to his that it almost hurt, but she didn’t care. She never wanted him to let her go. She wanted to remain wrapped in his arms forever, loved and safe. He was the one she wanted. No one else could make her feel this way, she was sure of it. And he wanted her too, forever. Her heart soared again as she recalled his words. Forever … She didn’t have as long a forever as he did, but she would give him every bit of herself for the rest of her life.

They kissed and touched, gave and took pleasure, stoked the fire that had once again begun to burn within them. Their breathing turned heavy, fast, and their kisses grew desperate. Sesshoumaru growled low as her scent spiked again. He needed her. Now. Why did the well have to be so damned far from the shiro and the room he had prepared for her? He forced himself to think. If they flew on his cloud, it would take a couple of hours to get there. Too long. If he transformed into his orb with her, it would take a few minutes. Still too long, but by far the fastest route. He really didn’t want to take her on the cold, hard ground within smelling distance of his brother.

He almost whined in frustration. Forcefully dragging his lips from her delectable neck, he managed to rumble, “Kagome, we must go.” She did whine as his kisses paused, and the sound was almost his undoing. Did she know what that did to him? Holding on to his control by threads, he explained to her that he would need to transport them via his orb. She was okay with that.

“But wait, I need to … my mother. She thought I was coming back tonight.” A furrow appeared between her brows as she wavered between leaving with Sesshoumaru now, or taking ten minutes to tell her mother not to worry.

“Have Inuyasha do it,” he suggested, eyeing her heaving chest. He wasn’t willing to let her down that blasted well again anytime soon. Lifting her in his arms, he quickly formed his cloud beneath his feet and soared toward Goshinboku, where they found the hanyou reclining on his favorite branch.

“Inuyasha,” Kagome called when he was in sight. “I need to ask you a huge favor. Could you tell mama …”

“Yeah, yeah,” he cut her off abruptly. “I’m just everybody’s messenger boy tonight.” His tone screamed annoyance, but the smirk on his face gave him away. “I’ll take care of it,” he finished softly.

“You’re the best, Inuyasha.”

“Keh.”

It dawned on Sesshoumaru that without Inuyasha’s help, he wouldn’t be where he was right now - preparing to take his mate-to-be home with him. He shocked his brother for the second time tonight when he met his gaze and said, “Inuyasha. Thank you.”

Words failed him and all he could do was watch as they turned into a ball of light and set off toward the Western Lands. “Be happy, Kagome,” he whispered into the darkness.

*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*.-.*

They arrived in the Western Lands in minutes, as promised, and after an abbreviated report from the Captain of the Guard, he whisked them away up to his quarters with orders not to be disturbed. He slid the shoji open for her, revealing a large room, simply furnished but all the more beautiful for it. Thick tatami covered the floor and felt luxurious under her bare feet. The rich, dark wood of the furniture contrasted sharply with the white of the screens and the coverings on his raised futon. Hanging scrolls and small flower arrangements could be seen here and there, complementing the overall simplicity of the space.

The sight of the futon stirred a swarm of butterflies in her stomach, rooting her to the floor just inside the shoji. She was about to become Sesshoumaru’s mate! She would be bound to him for the rest of her days after this. Of course, she didn’t have a problem with that, it was the act itself that caused her nerves. All the books she had read may have given her the basics of sex, but apparently they didn’t cover how to get rid of jitters.

Sensing her tension, Sesshoumaru realized he would have to go slowly, rebuild the passion that had nearly taken them over at the well. Anything for her. He wanted to bring her so much pleasure, pleasure that would overshadow all the hurt and uncertainty that had sent her through the well. Taking her by the hand, he led her to a wall of screens on the side of the room opposite his futon. Sliding them back, he showed her the room he had prepared for her. It was as large as his room but with more feminine details, intended to be a place for her to dress, perhaps read or relax. She would not be sleeping there.

“Would you like something more comfortable to wear?” he asked, walking over to a wardrobe. As much as he loved the fit of her current clothing, he wanted to see her in a kimono. A display of silk in a rainbow of colors greeted her sight, and she hesitantly nodded her head.

“Do you require assistance?” he inquired.

“No,” she finally spoke up. “I’ll be fine. I’ll be out in moment.”

She watched as he left and closed the screen, giving her privacy to undress. Delicately running a hand over the multicolored folds, she finally decided on one and proceeded to shed her clothing.

He had opened another shoji and was looking at the gardens in the waning moonlight when she emerged. She had chosen a kimono of red, dotted with white cranes and her raven hair flowed down her back unencumbered. She was wearing nothing underneath.

He had also changed his clothing, and the sight that greeted her when he turned caused her mouth to go dry. Charcoal silk hakama, riding dangerously low on his hips, hinted at his semi-aroused state and gave her glimpses of a snowy patch of hair as well as the magenta crests that adorned his hips. She wondered just how far they reached. His haori was opened, leaving her free to visually explore his muscled chest and rippling abdominals, pale and beautiful in the low light of the lanterns. He was a present waiting to be unwrapped and it was her birthday and Christmas rolled into one.

Kagome felt like she was being stalked by a predator when he glided toward her. His eyes devoured her form, mentally stripping her. Her body temperature rose a few degrees. Sesshoumaru’s hands settled on her waist and he traced small circles on her stomach with his thumbs. She couldn’t resist running her hands over his chiseled form. She found his skin smooth and warm, almost hot to the touch really. And there was no mistaking the strength in the muscles just below the surface. Experimentally, she brushed a thumb over his nipple as he had done to her earlier, and was rewarded with a low growl as he closed his eyes. What else would elicit such a reaction, she wondered.

Stroking with feather-light touches, she made her way from his shoulders to his rock hard abs and boldly to the openings at the sides of his hakama. She noticed that the stripes on his hips were slightly textured like the ones on his face and wrists. She traced them backward then forward as far as she dared and he growled again, pulling her into contact with his body. There was no doubt how much he wanted her right now. That knowledge combined with the sensation of him subtly thrusting against her womanhood started a fire in her core. She couldn’t hold back the gasp of pleasure that left her lips.

His mouth found hers and their tongues entwined. Her arms wove around his neck while he grasped her bottom with one hand, holding her firmly against his body. His other hand tangled in her hair, angling her head just right to receive his molten kisses. He licked, nipped and sucked a path of flames from her lips to her neck as she pushed his haori from his shoulders, desperate to feel more of him. He shrugged out of the dark silk garment, never ceasing in his attentions to her neck. The fire inside her roared into leaping flames that threatened to incinerate her and she could only hold onto him as electric sensations spread through her body.

She was heaven in his arms, he thought. Needing to touch and see more of her, he made quick work of her obi and kimono until she stood naked before him. He took his time drinking in the sight of her body. Slender shoulders, high, firm breasts topped with dusky nipples, a narrow waist that flared to nicely rounded hips, toned muscles from walking and fighting, and legs for days. He stroked the mark where the Shikon no Tama had been ripped from her body years ago. Battle scars from a time when she should have been enjoying her teenage years instead of endangering her life to correct a mistake. This strong, brave, devoted onna would soon be his in every way. Silently he thanked the Kami.

“You are beautiful,” he rumbled. “And you are mine.” He picked her in his arms and strode toward the futon, gently depositing her in the center. He quickly shed the last of his clothing and couldn’t help the surge of masculine pride at her expression when she spied him fully nude for the first time.

He laid down next to her and together they discovered the many ways to bring each other pleasure. Sighs, gasps, growls and cries filled the night as they rode the waves of passion until the dawn, her reiki and his youki cocooning them in a soft white light.

They remained wrapped in each other’s arms as they floated gently back to earth and their breathing eventually slowed. He rolled to his side thoroughly spent, and tucked her close along his body. He never wanted to let her go. She belonged with him, by his side, and that is where she would remain. Kami help anyone who would attempt to separate them.

As he drew the sheets over their cooling bodies, she drowsily peered up at him and smiled. “I love you, Sesshoumaru.”

He kissed her forehead, her nose and her lips before replying, “As I love you, my Kagome.”

Contented, she closed her eyes and slept. As was his routine, he checked his surroundings using his senses. Finding no threat to him and his beloved, he closed his eyes, buried his face in her hair, and joined her in sleep.

A few hours after sunrise, Kagome awoke sore, but warm and happy in Sesshoumaru’s arms. The feel of his naked body pressed to hers was one she would never tire of. “Ohayo,” he spoke into her hair as his thumb traced the curve of her hip.

“Mmmm,” she purred, snuggling further into his chest before replying. “Ohayo.”

Memories of last night came flooding back and her cheeks pinked as her body remembered the heights to which they had soared and the sounds of pleasure that he had wrung from her with his hands, mouth and manhood. He growled low, shifted slightly, and she could feel him pressing against her belly. Together they fanned the flames into an inferno, kissing and caressing until they were consumed by their passion. They drifted back to reality replete and content in each others arms.

After a trip to his private bath, which resulted in another bout of lovemaking, he called for a servant to help her dress in a many-layered kimono. She was formally presented to the household as Higurashi Kagome, Shikon Miko and Lady of the Western Lands, mate of Sesshoumaru, Lord of the Western Lands. They bowed and welcomed her, some lingering to say a few words to her. Rin could hardly contain her excitement at the thought of having Kagome as her mother. With Sesshoumaru’s permission, she embraced the new Lady with a tearful hug.

Kagome couldn’t wait to share the news with Sango, Miroku and Shippo, but first, she wanted to tell her mother. However, it was difficult to leave Sesshoumaru and her newfound happiness even for a few minutes. Then she remembered the phenomenon that had surprised her this morning. His youki had threads of pink running through it while her reiki was delicately streaked with blue. When she pointed it out to Sesshoumaru, he explained that since they were mated and bonded, they shared different aspects of each other. He carried traces of her reiki while she carried some of his youkai traits such as improved healing and increased lifespan.

She was overjoyed that she wouldn’t pass from this world in a few decades, leaving him lonely. They were bonded on a level that went beyond the physical and it occurred to her that the well might recognize the traces of her reiki in him, thereby allowing him to pass through. It was worth a try. She proposed the idea to him, and after thinking it over, he agreed. The thought of her going through the well without him didn’t set well, and he silently prayed to the Kami that her idea would work.

The trip back to the well was a nervous one for both of them, though he would never admit it. Although she had already told him some things about her world, she prepared him as best she could for the new sights, sounds and smells that would greet him, should the well grant him passage. Soon, their destination came into view and he set them down gently in the clearing.

“Please, let this work,” she quietly chanted like a mantra as they walked to the wooden structure. She paused with her hands on the lip of the well, peering apprehensively into its depths. However, her mate was not content to wait while she only grew more hesitant with each breath. So, swooping her up into his arms like a bride, he launched them both into the darkness, her squeak of surprise echoing off the walls. She felt the magic rise and pull at her as she twined her arms tightly around his neck and squeezed her eyes closed. When she opened them moments later, it was to find herself in the well house with Sesshoumaru’s arms still wrapped around her, and his lips smirking at her. She whispered a quick prayer of gratitude as she nuzzled his neck and grinned back at him. It was time to introduce him to the other half of his new family.

FIN

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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