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The Curse

Cursed

Author: Reflection of a Broken Dream

Pairing: Kagome x Sesshoumaru

Summary:

In an attempt to regain the arm that Sesshoumaru lost, he makes a deal with the wrong dark miko and finds himself cursed. His arm is restored and he destroys the evil miko before her plans can come to fruition...but at what cost? His beast is permanantly removed from his inner cage, and he makes a crutial decision when they run into the Inu Tachi. Kagome, the beast's one true desire that Sesshoumaru had always denied him, will be HIS. What will come from this turn of events? Will Kagome and Sesshoumaru both loathe his curse and their own accursed luck...or will they come to see the unfortunate chain of events as a blessing in disguise?

Quick Note:

- This takes place three years after Kagome has turned fifteen- she's eighteen now. Still hunting shards and Naraku down. Sesshoumaru hasn't learned Tenseiga's ultimate attack and is still missing his left arm. (Controversy- in the anime his left arm is missing and his right is missing in the manga. I picked one and ran with it.)

- Hana means 'Flower' in Japanese. You need to know this for the subtle in-joke Sesshoumaru has with his beast.

- Rated MA for mature situations and language!

- Updates will be sporatic, unfortunately, I'm sorry. No internet.

- I hope ya'll enjoy this!

- Please review!

Disclaimer:

Rumiko Takahashi owns them, not me!

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Cursed

Chapter 1 - The Curse

"Can you restore this Sesshoumaru's arm or not?" the great and terrible daiyoukai asked the dark miko before him, the woman poking at his nub of an arm that remained. Her touch made him want to cringe...but he made no such movement, carefully keeping his stoic facade in place. He wouldn't normally associate with her type, but he had no others to turn to. Sesshoumaru had tried every other possible method of restoring his arm- including stealing others' arms- but nothing had worked. Even the powerful youkai sorcerers his father had once employed could nothing for him...

"I believe it is possible...," she spoke after a long moment, still eyeing his arm as she backed out of his personal space, the sleeve sliding back over his nub with a rustling of silk. Her blood crimson hakama swished as she moved, her black haori rustling as she let her arms drop to her sides, her long fingers tapping against her legs thoughtfully. "Not easy, of course, but possible." Sesshoumaru inclined his head in acknowledgement, not revealing how anxious he was to hear what she had to say. "And I would have to ask a hefty price for my services. Dabbling in the dark arts at this high a level will have dire consequences if everything isn't perfect..."

"Name your price," Sesshoumaru spoke, his voice revealing nothing as the crimson-eyed miko looked at him with surprise in her eyes. He waited for long moments as she contemplated her answer.

"Your seed," she shocked him, his widened eyes showing it. She knew she was taking a risk, but she had to try.

"What?"

"I need a strong heir," the dark miko grinned up at him as she pushed back a long strand of her jet black hair. "What better an heir than one borne of a daiyoukai?"

"I decline," Sesshoumaru bit out, his golden eyes narrowed and boring into her crimson orbs.

"Then you decline my offer of aid," the woman shrugged almost carelessly as she crossed her arms over her chest. His pupils narrowed to slits. "An heir is the only thing I want. Riches are nothing to me- I have no need of them when I gather my resources, myself. If you refuse my price, I refuse to aid you."

"There are other dark miko," Sesshoumaru growled, readying to leave posthaste.

"But very few are of my caliber and even fewer have access to copies of the scrolls I have with the precise instructions on how to restore such a powerful demon's arm without being destroyed, themselves...and no dark miko will aid a demon knowing that they will die," she answered. A snarl ripped from Sesshoumaru's throat and red bled into his eyes. "I'm just informing you of the facts, milord, nothing more." Again she shrugged, her eyes carefully trained on him. "Will you leave or will you accept my offer?"

Sesshoumaru stood there, seething, as he glared at her for a long few minutes. He knew she was telling the truth- he had scented no lie- but that didn't mean that he liked it. He had come to her because he knew that she was one of the few that were both powerful and knowledegeable. She seemed sane, compared to many other dark mikos he'd met, but her demand was...unreasonable. If he sired a child by her- if he could even do it- that child would be a threat to not only others, but to Sesshoumaru, himself. Give it a few centuries to grow in the dark miko's care, to learn her evil ways, the child could challenge him for ownership of the Western Lands. Under normal circumstances, the child would be hanyou...but...the miko before him was no longer human. She had absorbed so many demons that she was something more than a hanyou, but less than a demon. The child would be powerful in its own ways, and with his daiyoukai blood in the mix...

'I can't touch that...thing...,' his beast shuddered within the internal cage Sesshoumaru always kept him in. 'She makes this one's flesh crawl...' Sesshoumaru couldn't help but agree. 'Our arm is not worth it. Leave her be.' That is where their agreement ended. Sesshoumaru sorely missed his left arm and the extra power that came with it...not to mention the ease of being able to do things with both hands. Tying knots to keep his clothing on and tightening or loosening the holds of his armor was exceptionally difficult with only one hand. Frustrating, even, at times. 'Don't you dare! Leave her now!' His beast snarled, the large dog pacing the length of his small cage within as he followed Sesshoumaru's train of thought.

'I could always kill our offspring,' Sesshoumaru attempted to comfort his beast as he made his decision, though the idea left them both with a bitter taste in their mouths. His beast howled his anguish at both the decision and the idea. 'Or we could kill the miko during the act, before the child is concieved. We did not promise her safety.'

'...Acceptable...but I still do not want to touch the...thing,' his beast shivered, refusing to view the miko as a female. The only reason they felt decent about betraying the dark miko was that she was a dark miko and, therefore, not an honorable being. She was likely to betray him as it was, even agreeing to her ludicrous deal...

'I will bring a light aphrodesiac so that we will rise for her...,' Sesshoumaru promised, though he inwardly shuddered at the thought. Like his beast, he was not enjoying the thought of his member being buried deep inside of...her. 'We will not need anything more. Once we have convinced her of the rut and my arm- your leg- is returned, we can spill her blood.' His beast perked at the idea, his crimson orbs positively glowing with bloodlust.

'Fine,' he agreed gruffly, the three-legged dog huffing as he eased himself into a laying position, his back to Sesshoumaru. 'I'd rather have Kagome, though...' The beast muttered the last, but Sesshoumaru heard him all the same.

'Your endearment to the human miko is beyond me,' Sesshoumaru shook his head with a sigh of his own.

'You, my counterpart...are a blind fool,' his beast retorted with a snort. Shaking the arguement off before it could start...again...Sesshoumaru returned his attention back on the dark miko before him, her fingers nervously tapping on her arms. He had kept his blank gaze up out of habit when he had spoken with his beast, the red having long seeped from his eyes.

"Fine," Sesshoumaru managed to grind out as his eyes fully focused on her again. "It is a deal. You will restore this Sesshoumaru's arm and this one will...impart his seed for your purpose."

"Wonderful," the miko responded, a wicked grin stretching across her face as she clapped her hands together. An anxious tongue slid across parted crimson lips and Sesshoumaru repressed another shudder of revulsion. "I will have the supplies ready in three days' time. Return here on the third night and I will restore your arm. Then we can...get busy." A sultry laugh escaped her throat as her eyes lidded with lust. The scent of her arousal wafted into the air and Sesshoumaru felt tempted to gag at the heady spicy scent that accompanied her natural scent of jasmine that was desecrated by the foul scents of dark magic and the pungent scent of death. He could almost taste jasmine ashes in his mouth...

'Strong aphrodesiac...,' his beast ammended as he cringed. 'What a foul scent...' Again, Sesshoumaru agreed.

"Hn," Sesshoumaru hummed outwardly with a jerky nod. She seemed not to notice, her attention on whatever fantasies she had concocted within her mind. "This Sesshoumaru will return in three days time, dark miko."

"Hana," she corrected.

'Flower my ass,' Sesshoumaru's beast murmered, bringing Sesshoumaru a bit of amusement.

"I will see you in three days," Hana agreed almost sweetly, showing him to the door. Sesshoumaru inclined his head and happily left, using his speed to travel far, far away once he had stepped just outside of her abode. In his haste to get away, he didn't see the devious smirk lifting at her lips. 'Foolish young daiyoukai,' Hana thought giddily as she eagerly shut the door and went over to her shelves, picking different scrolls to look through. 'He need only wait a decade more for the full recovery of his arm...his haste will serve me well.' Smiling devilishly with pearly white teeth, she opened three of the scrolls across a desktop. 'I will restore his arm, as promised...but when I am heavy with his pup...' Her smile turned downright feral. 'An innocent provocation of my nemesis, Yuri, will send her into a fury. I can honestly claim to Lord Sesshoumaru that I am under attack by others of my kind who have learned of my pregnancy, and he will have no choice but to shelter me in his own home. He will kill Yuri, perhaps others, and I will have protection that no other dark miko has ever had. It will not take much to concoct potions or spells to endear him to me...and then he will make me his mate and we will reign terror down upon the Western Lands once I have full control of his mind and beast.' Her feral smile turned smug at her ingenious plot. 'I will begin with the beast in three days...I'll add it onto the spell. One as careful and powerful as he must lock his beast away. Permanently releasing it from its cage and allowing it more power and control in his body will be the first step. Aphrodesiacs will be added to the outer rim of the area and set to go off once his youki and my dark reiki spikes, then dies down. Instinctual beast as he is, he will have no choice but to rut with me for the remainder of the night and perhaps some of the following day... Sesshoumaru will question the strength of his beast once he comes into his mind again, but I'll tell him it was a side effect of the spell...it is a possibility, after all...I'm just turning it into reality.' With an evil chuckle, Hana started to gather the necissary ingredients to make it happen. 'Soon...the West will be mine.'

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Three Days Later....

"I leave them in your care, Jin," Sesshoumaru spoke to a demon male with gravity-defying spiked bright red hair. Jin had a thin bit in back- the only part of his hair that didn't reach for the sky- that he tied at the base of his skull, the strands dancing down nearly to his knees.

"They will be safe with me, milord," Jin promised as he nodded to Sesshoumaru with a grin on his face. Sesshoumaru inclined his head in response, his golden eyes falling to Rin and Jaken standing in front of the mischievious fire demon that had been employed at one of his and his father's many shiros since the time that Sesshoumaru's father had been the Lord of the West.

"Will you return soon, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Rin asked with hope shining in her dark chocolate eyes. Three years had passed since he had first allowed Rin to travel with him and she was no longer a child. Standing with her head a little higher than his waist, she was becoming a young woman at the tender age of eleven. Her cycle had started the year before, indicating her change from child to adult. In a few short years, after she finished maturing, he would have to choose a husband for her...

"Within the next few days," Sesshoumaru inclined his head, making her dark eyes sparkle. "Stay within the boundaries of the barrier surrounding the shiro. Do not exit for any reason, whatsoever." Rin nodding obligingly. She had no intentions of disobeying Sesshoumaru's word, knowing that she would be safe here with his guard, the servants, and with Jin. Jin was a trusted employee of Sesshoumaru's, and she had spent time with him before, so she knew that she would be perfectly fine with him. In fact, he knew many fun games to play... Serious golden orbs turned up to the temporary caretaker of his wards. "Jin. The barrier will hold against Naraku, but make sure the guard keep an eye out for the nefarious hanyou. There's no telling what tricks he might play..."

"I understand," Jin nodded. "I'll make sure they look out for him. Doubt he could out-trick me, though." A grin played on the demon's lips and Sesshoumaru was idly reminded of a kitsune.

"Don't let your guard down, Jin, I mean it," Sesshoumaru lightly chided the slightly older demon.

"I won't," he promised with a soft laugh, though his fiery red and orange eyes showed that he was serious. It was hard to tell what his true emotions were sometimes with his easy-going demeanor...and the fact that he smelled purely of cool flames. It literally burned to inhale too much of his scent at a time... "Your underestimation of my skills stings sometimes, milord." His white haori whispered against his arms as he crossed them over his chest, his midnight blue hakama tucked into black boots rustling as he moved to lean back against a nearby tree.

"Perhaps you should act as serious as you actually are," Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow at his long-time friend. "It would make things easier for me to interpret and you will not feel so stung."

"Naah...no fun in acting all uptight like you and your guards," Jin gave a cheeky grin. Jaken, who had been steadily stammering about different things being said- and who was completely ignored by all- was finally about to blow a fuse.

"You wretch! How dare you say such things to milord?!" Jaken shouted angrily, his green face turning red. Sesshoumaru put an end to his rant with a black-booted foot to his face. Rin held a hand to her lips to keep from giggling out loud.

"Just kick him if he gets insufferable," Sesshoumaru shrugged as Jin laughed outright. "Be careful not to kick him beyond the barrier."

"Got it," Jin grinned as Jaken grovelled on the ground, asking why his lord was being so cruel to him.

"You really should keep your beak shut, Jaken-san," Rin chided, though not unkindly, as she knelt down beside the fallen water imp. "Sesshoumaru-sama wouldn't have to kick you so much if you held your tongue a bit more."

"Wreched girl," Jaken ground out, making the slightly amused Rin sigh when Jin stepped on him.

"That's exactly what I meant...," she murmered, shaking her head as she gazed up at the two amused males standing about them. She stood up with a shrug. There wasn't anything she could do but warn him.

"That was fun...," Jin's grin turned a bit more malicious towards the water imp, making Jaken sweat and swallow hard at the glint in Jin's eyes. His beak firmly clamped shut.

"G'bye Sesshoumaru-sama," Rin spoke as she stepped up to her lord and recieved a loving pat on the head from him.

"I will see you soon, Rin, Jaken," Sesshoumaru nodded at Rin, removing his hand from the girl he thought of as his daughter as he sent a warning glance at Jaken. The imp seemed to sweat even more.

"Goodbye, milord," Jaken bid, firmly clamping his mouth shut again right after as he warily looked up at Jin. The fire demon went back to leaning against his tree, his burning eyes gleaming with amusement.

"Later, Sesshoumaru-sama," Jin nodded, recieving a nod back before the daiyoukai turned and removed himself from the barrier, said barrier rippling around him as he left. With a bright flash of blue light, Sesshoumaru was enveloped in a blue ball of youki and he sped across the land at dizzying speeds. He made sure to leave Jaken and Rin at a shiro a long ways away from the dark miko, Hana's, hut. He didn't want to her go after them- he didn't trust her at all.

'Today we kill the decaying flower,' his beast grinned maliciously within, and Sesshoumaru couldn't help but share in his morbid delight. However, he had to act first, to make her believe in his end of the bargain. Betraying her in such a way did leave a bitterness in his mouth- he wasn't one for deception- but he swallowed it down this one time. She couldn't be allowed to have his seed, his child. Only bad things would come of it. Sesshoumaru could kill her outright, but she was one of the only few who could restore his arm, something he desperately wanted back. So...he had to wait and kill her at the right time. 'Remember the aphrodesiac...' His beast's voice was almost reluctant as they neared their destination, the sun beginning to set behind nearby mountains.

"Hn," Sesshoumaru hummed, pulling a small vial from his haori. It was filled with a pinkish-purplish colored liquid. He popped the cork top off and downed the drink in one swift swig. It tasted like an odd mix of flowers and flames, the concoction burning all the way down. He threw the vial away carelessly so he was not caught with it- she would recognize what it was at once and he didn't need her thinking that he had that sort of problem. He could get it up...just not while he was scenting or thinking of her. And while Sesshoumaru hadn't been with another of his kind in many years, he knew that everything worked as it should. His beast often proved this with fantasies of a certain Shikon Miko while he attempted to sleep...

'I want her,' his beast sniffed stubbornly. 'You won't talk to her. Even in our true form- which you shouldn't have reign over, but you do- you deny me simple pleasures. If she could only run her fingers through our mane, I would be happy. To sit next to her and breathe in her delicious scent, to have her rest in our fur or mokomoko-sama at night...I would be content. All I asked was cooperation with our half-silbling in order to get close to her. I may never have her...but being close to her is good enough.'

'For now,' Sesshoumaru sniffed right back at him. 'Admit it. If I did as you asked, you would want her more, demand more that I cannot give. She belongs to Inuyasha. Furthermore, she is a human. She could never be ours, and that is why I do not think on it and why I won't allow your 'simple pleasures', as you put it.'

'Insolent pup!' his beast snarled, up on his feet in an instant. 'I will always want her, regardless! Yes, the feeling will grow while near to her, but maybe then you will see what I see. The hanyou treats her so poorly, unbefitting of any mate! He disgraces not only youkai, but humans, as well! Race does not matter to me, pup, even though you seem to be bound by youkai courts and etiquette. I am not. Besides...if you were to remove the stick from your ass, you'd see that she's not a normal human. The power that hides within her small frame rivals ours... It is very possible that she could return our mating mark and bind herself to us.'

'Enough!' Sesshoumaru growled back as he neared Hana's hut. 'I need to concentrate for this. Do not spout any more of your nonsense at me or I may prematurely end her life.' Sesshoumaru tightened his hold on his beast as he howled mournfully and angrily inside of them. Landing in the cleared space just beyond the hut, he was immediately met by Hana.

"Are you ready, milord?" she asked dutifully as she approached him, a jug of foul-smelling liquid in hand. The combined scent of Hana and the liquid was too much for his nose to take. He cringed. "I apologize for the scent...I know it isn't pleasant and that your sense of smell is on a much higher level than my own." Hana sent him an apologetic smile. "...But I will need this to restore your arm."

"Proceed," Sesshoumaru inclined his head as he fought an oncoming headache from those and different scents about the clearing. On a more positive note, the aphrodesiac was working...though the effect of it was muffled by the horrendous smells around him. It was hard to stay aroused with so much stink about...

"This way, milord," Hana bowed slightly before leading him into the center of a circle she'd drawn in blood in the clearing. There were several symbols about the circle that Sesshoumaru didn't recognize, nor did he care to. The sooner they got this over with, the better.

'Something isn't right,' his beast warned softly, his hackles raised. Sesshoumaru felt inclined to agree, but put the warning aside for now. Once he had his arm, he could kill her. She wouldn't have a chance to strike or do...whatever she had planned.

"Sit here, please, and be still," Hana instructed, having him sit on a tree stump in the middle of the clearing. Sesshoumaru did as he was asked, feeling an odd vibration from the stump. He shot a sharp glance at Hana and she put her free hand up as if to still him. "It's the remnants of a god tree that was cut down by foolish humans. It will aid my power in this endeavor." Scenting no lie, Sesshoumaru slowly nodded, allowing himself to sit rigidly atop the remains of the god tree. Nodding back, Hana got to work around him, chanting in a foreign language, drawing symbols mid-air with her dark power, and sprinkling the foul-smelling liquid in a circle around Sesshoumaru. He was starting to get uncomfortable with the dark power rising and crackling the air, his youki attempting to join in. He reigned it in with effort. Hana then knelt down before him and lifted the sleeve of his haori, folding it over top of his shoulder. Dousing her hands in the liquid, she raised them to his nub and began to chant again. Sesshoumaru fought the violent urge to vomit at both the scents and the feeling of her repulsive power crackling against his body. Again, his youki rose to the surface and he was hard-pressed to keep it from surfacing. A numbness was spreading over his body and his head spun and fogged at his efforts to keep still, keep his youki repressed, and keep his stomach from spewing its contents. A sudden sharp pain drew his attention to his left stub of an arm, the daiyoukai idly noticing that the rest of his body was numb and tingly. Unfocused golden eyes watched the dark miko before him slowly work and pull down as she chanted, his arm returning in small, extremely painful, spurts. Sharp teeth gnashed together to keep undignified sounds from exiting his throat.

'Something is wrong,' his beast spoke up again, his voice hesitant and panicked.

'Shut it,' Sesshoumaru growled back in warning, trying to keep everything under control.

'I mean it, pup, I feel something in here with me...,' his beast yipped, trotting cautiously from side to side like a spooked steed.

'Hold in your incessant fears, it is the dark magic at work,' Sesshoumaru brushed off without further thought. 'I cannot keep on as it is with your prattling added onto my burdon...' His beast growled furiously at him, but didn't dare say more. Sesshoumaru focused on everything else, leaving his beast alone again. He was about to settle back down. Uncomfortable as he was, he was used to such treatment... A sudden popping sound caught the large demon dog mid-kneel, his ears perking at the strange sound. Then the bending and twisting sound of metal caught his attention. Standing alert, he growled softly in warning. A foreign voice in a tongue he did not recognize floated to his ears and he poised to pounce, even locked as he was in his small metal cage.

'And allow the beast free reign and power over the controlling host until the end of their days,' the voice spoke in plain Japanese, startling the beast. 'Let the cage crumble with the resolve of the host, and be erected again nevermore.' Tilting his head to the side, the beast watched the bars of his cage bend and twist until they fell away, leaving him in the open for the first time since Sesshoumaru was a babe. A feral smile crossed the dog's face as power flooded back to him in droves, power that was returned to him from his host, Sesshoumaru.

'Maybe this isn't so bad after all,' he chuckled to himself as he rose to the forefront of their mind. On the outside, Sesshoumaru's eyes had turned crimson and his hair was rising in a wind of his youki. Magenta streaks elongated and merged about his long elfin ears. His beast was slowly coming into full control in the midst of the spell. Turquoise slitted pupils turned down to the dark miko knelt before his left arm, his hand finishing its return. He had never been in control of their human form before... He waited for his hand to finish forming and for the miko to stop chanting before he pulled it up before his crimson eyes to examine. It was a perfect replica of the arm- front leg- he'd lost to Inuyasha those few years ago. Wiggling his fingers experimentally, he found that he had control of each one like his counterpart did. A dull pain resonated with his arm and hand, but he paid it little mind.

"Is it to your liking, milord?" Hana asked eagerly, her red eyes gazing up at him from her kneeling position before him.

"...Indeed," the beast managed to rumble to Hana, the dog unaccustomed to speaking in plain Japanese. He spoke, normally, in Inu yips and barks. He had no need to learn Japanese within their mind, as Sesshoumaru could understand him. But...he seemed to know how to speak it because Sesshoumaru did. It was just rather odd and awkward to speak the words with his newfound tongue...

"I am so glad," Hana clapped her hands together again as she stood in front of him before sliding into his lap unabashedly, her legs parted and wound around his lean waist. "Now it is time for your side of the bargain..." The repulsed beast idly took a whiff of the suddenly sweet-smelling air.

'Aphrodesiac,' he noted silently, a devious grin spreading across his lips. 'Clever...but not clever enough.'

"Stop," he halted her in a gravelly voice- talking was getting easier!- as she attempted to press her lips against his, her core grinding down on his rising member as much as she could with his armor in the way.

"Oh...do you not kiss any but your mate?" she asked, idly wondering if she'd over-stepped her bounds on that one. It was hard to know what rituals went with which youkai...

"That is correct," the beast inclined his head. He spoke slowly, but every word was enunciated very clearly. "That is an honor reserved for this one's mate, which you are not." A deft hand moved to the back of her head and gripped a handful of her inky black hair. She moaned as he yanked it back with a gentle enough force that he didn't rip any of it out of her skull. "Why did you release me from my cage and allow me reign over this form?"

"It was part of the spell," she answered softly, her neck fully bared to him. "Something of the one being healed had to be sacrificed. I didn't know until I began the spell..." She squirmed restlessly atop him, wanting pleasure. He didn't give it to her even as his body rose in response to the potent aphrodesiac. Her putrid scent was enough to keep him grounded from the mind-numbing fog of arousal, even with his sense of smell heightened. His senses were more powerful than Sesshoumaru's, after all, though the pup often borrowed from him. And it was because of those very senses...that he caught her slight lie.

"Oh...my little flower...," he crooned, his smile widening and filled with the pearly white sharp teeth of a predator. She shivered in his grasp, continuing to try and seek pleasure from him. "What are you lying about?" His voice took a deadly tone to it as he tightened his grip on her hair, causing her some pain. Her crimson eyes blinked open as she whimpered.

"W-What?" she asked softly, stunned.

"I know that you are lying...my senses are stronger than before," he 'tsk'ed. "Did you know that this would happen? Make it so?" She hesitated, feeling truth was necissary in order to keep herself alive.

"I...I knew it would happen...," she admitted slowly, her body completely rigid atop his. "I thought...I thought it would be easier to rut with his beast than with Sesshoumaru..." It was the truth. Not everything, but it was the truth. He could sense she was holding back something, but was pleased with what truth she did tell. The scent of her fear was pleasing, as well...

"Ahh, the truth," he purred, allowing his fangs to lightly graze her exposed neck. Hana shuddered in his grasp. "For that, you will be rewarded." A breath of relief exited her lips and excitement permiated her scent once more. A pleased malicious smile tugged at his lips, unseen by Hana.

'A quick death,' he promised silently as he raked his fangs across her fragile neck. 'For releasing me and sending the poor pup into a peaceful slumber from the pain...' Drawing back once more, Sesshoumaru's beast bit deeply into her neck, severing the corotid artery. His sharp teeth clamped down on the muscles within and he yanked as he pulled away, ripping flesh and muscle from her throat. Her crimson-painted lips opened and closed several times like a fish gaping in air, shock openly displayed in her eyes. Her life-blood spilled and squirted all down his front, filling him with morbid satisfaction.

"I am more vicious than Sesshoumaru ever was...but I thank you for freeing me," he spoke in her ear as her spasming continued. She let out a couple of shaky breaths, blood spurting from her lips before she was finally no more. Her body continued to spasm, and he dropped it unceremoniously to the ground to allow her death twitches to continue on as they surely would for a while. The beast slid to his newfound feet and stumbled a bit as he struggled to stay upright, like a human. After a few unsucessful tries, he crouched to the ground and moved on all fours, more comfortable with the movement even in a humanoid form. "I have time." He grinned to himself as he felt excitement rising from his first taste of freedom. Yipping, he ran about the clearing like a pup allowed out to play. He came to a stop only when he saw the large full moon hanging high in the sky. He couldn't deny his animalistic urges- he tilted his head back and let out a long, powerful, howl before running off into the surrounding woods.

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Some distance away from the site, the Inu Tachi lay asleep for the night. A certain unnerved miko shot up from her sleeping bag at the sound of a somewhat near howl.

"What was that?" Kagome whispered, knowing that Inuyasha would hear her, as her azure eyes fruitlessly searched the darkness for answers.

"A big dog," Inuyasha grumbled, his ears twitching as he tried to rest his amber eyes. "He's way away from us- he won't catch our scent. Go back to sleep, Kagome."

'Easier said than done,' she frowned up at her hanyou friend. Kagome had been having a hard time sleeping as it was... That dark miko power crackling in the distance had unnerved her to start with, making it hard to sleep. Miroku had assured her that they weren't close enough for the dark magic to reach or for the miko to find them...and yet he slept sitting up, his senses on high alert. Not reassuring. Sango wasn't much better off, the woman twitching at every errant sound. She slept with her Hiraikotsu in hand. Kilala nestled up to her, but she opened her ruby eyes every now and again in the direction of the power. And now Kagome realized that the power had fizzled out...right about the time the 'large dog' had howled. If that wasn't an indication that something was wrong, she didn't know what was. 'Was it summoned by the dark miko?' Kagome sighed as her eyes upturned to the moon. It was passing its zenith in the sky. There would be no more sleep for her tonight, and very little for her friends, if any. Shippou was the only one really asleep, the kit curled up beside her.

"Inuyasha...," Miroku spoke up suddenly, his voice very calm as his violet eyes blinked open. "I think the demon hound has found us."

"You feel it, too, monk?" Sango asked as she rose from her bedroll, her boomerang in hand. Kilala popped up with her. Kagome gasped as she felt a massive wave of youki incoming.

"Shit!" Inuyasha hissed as he jumped down from his tree, Kagome scrambling to her feet as Shippou shot up.

"Whaz goin' on?" Shippou asked as Kagome got her hands on her bow and arrows leaning against a tree nearby. "That power..." He shivered, leaping to his feet and hiding inside of a nearby log.

"It feels familiar...," Miroku agreed as he got to his feet, sutras in one hand and his staff in the other.

"It's...," Inuyasha started and stopped, his eyes wide and his transformed Tetsuiga in hand. He didn't have time to say more; a very beastly Sesshoumaru crashed into the clearing on all fours. Everyone held their breath as he growled and crouched low, his glowing crimson eyes taking stock of all of them. Shock washed over the group as they took in his dishevelled appearance. Blood dripped down from his face, his pristine white attire stained crimson, and twigs and leaves were tangled in his moonspun hair. Dirt spatters littered his body as well, and his lips were turned back in a feral snarl.

"Sesshoumaru?" Kagome asked softly, cautiously, as his glowing orbs found hers. She was instantly caught in his gaze, like a mouse gazing up at a snake. Kagome couldn't look away...

'Mate...,' the beast purred inside. His crimson eyes lidded as he took in her own sleep-dishevelled form. She had on some sort of thin white shirt with no sleeves and a short pair of odd blue hakama that didn't even reach the knee. Her flesh was bared to him and he could feel the effects of the aphrodesiacs stirring again, heating his skin and making a certain part rise at the sight of her. His counterpart's armor hid his arousal well enough, thank kami. He didn't want to scare the poor pure virgin off, after all...

"Kagome...," he purred aloud in a rough voice that startled them. Kagome shivered at the use of her name- which had never been spoken by the daiyoukai before- and the tone he'd used, an odd warmth pooling in her belly. He let out a pleased low growl at the scent of her arousal and began to trot towards her on all fours like it was the most natural thing in the world.

"I don't think so!" Inuyasha jumped in front of him, blocking his view of Kagome. The beast let out a fearsome snarl at the interferance. "No fuckin' way am I letting you get near Kagome with your beast out!"

"Beast?" Miroku questioned softly.

"Step aside hanyou," Sesshoumaru's beast growled out, his crimson eyes narrowing in anger.

"NO!" Inuyasha yelled, raising his Tetsuiga. The beast snarled, leaping away as Inuyasha struck at him with the wind scar. The attack caught the upper left portion of Sesshoumaru's armor, shattering the entire top of it. What was left was a small portion- the lower half- held to his agile form by his yellow and blue sash. "Get Kagome out of here! He's dangerous with his beast loose!" He grunted as he swung again at the pissed-off beast. "He might hurt her...or worse..." Kagome felt a knot forming in her throat. She wanted to help Sesshoumaru with whatever had made him this way...but she also didn't want to lose her life in the process. The beast snarled again at Kagome's scent of fear as he clashed his claws against Inuyasha's blade. "GO!"

"Come on, Kagome," Sango gently urged as Kilala transformed into her larger feline form. "He's obviously after you, so let's get you out of here..."

'NO!' Sesshoumaru's beast inwardly roared as he watched the slayer help Kagome board the firecat. 'You will not take my mate from me!' Thrusting his hand to the side, Inuyasha went sailing through a few trees. The beast dodged all of the monk's sutras and his staff as he neared the firecat. The slayer had boarded and Kilala's feet had just left the ground when he struck, snatching Kagome off of the back end of the cat with ease, her bow and arrows falling uselessly to the ground. Said miko let out a cry of surprise as he stood on two legs and pulled her close, his arms wound around her middle.

"Kagome!" Sango and Miroku cried at the same time.

"Sesshoumaru!" Inuyasha bellowed, back in the clearing with his sword raised high.

"MINE!" Sesshoumaru's beast's possesive claim shocked all of them as he managed to figure out how to use Sesshoumaru's ability for quick transport over long distances. A blue orb surrounded him and Kagome, said miko panicking in his grip. He was glad, for the second time, that Sesshoumaru had taken such drastic measures to get their arm back- it made it easier for him to keep hold of Kagome. She tried to twist and pull away, but a feral snarl stopped her mid-movement. Then, before she could do more than send a helpless and terrified glance in Inuyasha's direction, they were airborne.

The hanyou's outraged cry could be heard for miles as the beast sped away with Kagome tight in his arms.

- End of Chapter 1 -

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- Uh-oh...beauty has been captured by the beast. What will he do with her now that he has her in his clawed clutches, I wonder? XP

- MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

- I hope ya'll enjoyed this!

- Please review!

 

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