That's the Way Love Goes - Chapter 1

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That's the Way Love Goes

by PitaBread

Libraries: Action, Adventure, Angst, Drama, Humor, InuYasha, Romance

Published on / 19 Chapter(s) / 6 Review(s)

Updated on

[Sess/Kag] Two years after Naraku's destruction, Kagome is still fighting demons - literally and figuratively. She is seperated from her group and in big trouble when the most unlikely savior appears. On accident, she entwines their fates forever...

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Chapter 1, I

That's the Way Love Goes

A/N: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to be as funny as it is in some parts. Honest – this was supposed to be a romantic drama, but it has turned into a romantic dramedy, lol. Big thanks to luvtodraw, my friend and supporter. Without her consent, I may have trashed this idea. If you don’t know some of the Japanese terms, I’ve included a ‘what’s-what’ at the end. Thank you to all who read this, in advance.

 

 

To my deviantART, PaperDemon and FanFiction readers: This story is going to be very lemony. Because I cannot post that type of work here, I will be editing out the citrusy parts. If you are reading at one of the above sites and wish to view the chapter in its’ entirety, please look up the story at the following sites: (PaperDemon) The Red Curtain; InuYashaFanFiction; MediaMiner; A Single Spark. You can also contact me through email or private message, and I will provide a link to the story.

 

My inspiration for this fanfic. If any of you recognize the song, more power to you.

"Like a moth through a flame, burnt by the fire…

My love is blind, can’t you see my desire?

That’s the way love goes…" –Janet Jackson

 

That’s the Way Love Goes

By PitaBread

 

 

 

 

In the middle of battle, Kagome noticed something was devastatingly wrong. Miroku, in his cunning, had used ofuda to keep some of the demons at bay. Atop Kirara, Sango heaved Hiraikotsu towards many more, only striking a few. And Inuyasha had his hands full with an Oni of his own. Shippou clinging to her leg, Kagome knew she only had a few Hama no Ya left, and then she would need to seek the protection of one of her friends.

The road to the future had been difficult ever since Naraku had been destroyed. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear that she wouldn’t do the right thing; Kagome had listed many reasons for herself not to wish the Shikon no Tama out of existence. They knew the reason she didn’t want to get rid of the jewel. She was afraid that the well would close, that she would be trapped in this time – or worse, she would be transported to her own time, never to see any of them, especially Inuyasha, ever again. So she hung on to the jewel, and she and Inuyasha battled whatever demons came after her for it. Miroku and Sango, as promised, had gotten married shortly after Naraku’s defeat. They were in no rush to have children now, for there was no need for an immediate heir. They were simply enjoying life together, and helping Inuyasha and Kagome destroy the demons that still sought the jewel. Inuyasha had settled into a peaceful life, going where he was needed. With Kikyou avenged and Naraku gone, Inuyasha could be a normal – if that applied – hanyou. He hadn’t sealed his relationship with Kagome – there had never even been a kiss, only unspoken declarations of love. He spent many days high in the branches of a tree, thinking about the last three years – mostly that first year in which they spent fighting Naraku. He had promised himself that if Kagome stayed with him until she was no longer bound by the ‘school’ she was always complaining about, he would ask to marry her. Of course, she knew nothing of this. She assumed he was still mourning Kikyou, who had been finally laid to rest again by the hands of Naraku. But she had promised to stay by his side, and she kept to her word.

Now that Naraku was long gone, High School became easy for her. She entered High School shortly after the death of the evil hanyou, and was in the last year of her education. Soon, she would be finished with that as well. She went to school during the week, with Inuyasha visiting her when he could, and on the days of which there was no school she would stay with her friends in the Sengoku Jidai. She had celebrated her 18th birthday at home. In the Feudal Era, she honed her skills as a miko – her powers had returned tenfold after Magatsuhi’s death, and time with Kaede had improved her knowledge of herbs and with Sango’s help, she mastered Kyudo. She also picked up many skills, such as creating barriers and learning many other spells. Then, about a year ago, she realized she had certain abilities where youkai were concerned. It had happened innocently; Shippou had gotten badly injured by travelling bandits while he was playing with some village children. As Inuyasha sent the outlaws running, she simply cried and held Shippou tightly as he bled and willed him to heal with her soul. And amazingly, he did. She tried afterwards to recreate this, but it did not work with humans, to her dismay, and even with other youkai she had not been able to heal again. Kaede suspected that her emotional state had something to do with healing him, and unless she truly needed the person to be healed, it would not happen again. Kaede had tried to help her recreate her inspiration, but it was not to be. Kohaku lived with Sango and Miroku, and Shippou with Inuyasha and Kaede. And so the last two years had gone by quickly.

What they had not anticipated, however, was the unification of many powerful demons who had been watching her group. Keeping away from the likes of Naraku, so as not to get absorbed, they conspired, collecting information about the strengths and weaknesses of Kagome and Inuyasha’s friends. They knew that Miroku no longer could threaten them with the Kazaana, although he still had fierce holy powers. They knew that Sango was a true warrior, though Kohaku was her weak spot. Similarly, they knew that Kagome was the Achilles’ heel of Inuyasha, although he was the strongest of them all. And then there was the threat of Kagome herself. They feared her holy powers, rumored to be many times greater than the distinguished Kikyou. Her Hama no Reiryoku was rumored to be able to purify on contact and it was said that her Hama no Ya could kill a hundred demons as it sailed through the air. And like the one who held her heart, Inuyasha was her vulnerability. These were the same demons that now attacked them.

The Oni that Inuyasha was fighting was quick enough to avoid the Kaze no Kizu and Kongosouha and was slowly drawing him away from Kagome. Sango’s youkai were sacrificing themselves so that others could get their tentacles, arms, or claws on Kohaku, keeping her attention. Similarly, Miroku was being occupied so that he only sought to help his wife and brother.

In a fraction of a second, a dragonfly youkai scooped low, snatching Shippou up, but not harming him. Kagome knew she could not loose an arrow for fear of hitting Shippou. She ran after them, while the kitsune yelled for his makeshift mother. Once they were further than Kagome suspected, the demon feigned exhaustion. ‘Cornered’ by the miko, it begged for its’ life.

"Please, miko-sama, spare me," it buzzed. "I did not harm him…"

Confidant, Kagome aimed one of two arrows remaining at the dragonfly. "Release him!" she shouted angrily.

False fear upon its’ ugly face, the youkai threw Shippou at the girl, but did not move. She caught the kitsune, having to put down her arrow.

"Shippou, run back! I’ll be there in a minute," she told the fox kit.

"No way, Kagome! I’m staying to help!"

"Go! Now!" she cried.

Stubborn but yielding to her, Shippou reasoned with himself that he would simply retrieve Inuyasha. He ran with tenacious speed back to the main battle.

Raising her arrow once again, Kagome scowled at the bug. "If you go now, and don’t come back, I’ll let you live," she told it.

Aah, like the Oni said, compassion will be her downfall, the demon said to itself smugly. Before it could reply, the huge Ogre that Inuyasha had been battling crashed through the trees to her right. Loosing her arrow in surprise, it flew true and the dragonfly disintegrated.

Great apprehension gripped Kagome like an enormous cold hand. Why is it still alive? Is Inuyasha hurt? What happened back there? Knowing exactly what she was thinking, the enormous Ogre made sure to approach Kagome so that it was impossible for her to run back the way she came. She attempted it anyways, and, not to be outdone, the impossibly fast Oni was opposite her before she realized it had moved. With a mighty swipe of its’ huge hand, the claws reached for her flesh. After three years of dodging demons, Kagome had learned when to tuck and roll. However, the velocity at which the arm came towards her was not to be misjudged. She saved her own life by jumping to her right, but not without consequence. The Ogre’s claws dug into her left side, leaving two large gashes in her side and ruining her blue high school uniform. Grasping for her last arrow, she stood, wobbling from the shock and pain. Determined to not give up her life or the Shikon Jewel, she vaguely wondered where Inuyasha was. Her body was working quickly to dull the pain, and she was becoming bold in her stupor.

"I’ll never let a monster like you have the Shikon no Tama!" she cried, drawing her arm back.

Unfortunately, she also noticed that the beast was drawing back his own arm to attempt to claim her life again, and she decided it best to avoid it.

~~~~~()~~@

Sesshoumaru had been travelling towards his brothers’ village in order to see to arranging for another kimono to be bought for the rapidly growing Rin. This was to be her 4th kimono in the three years since he found her. The girl had insisted on coming, and she had been especially excited to reunite with Kohaku. He had sneered at the thought of the young girl playing with the now teenager, but he would not deny her.

He heard a commotion farther in the forest, but paid it no heed, as it did not concern him. However, as his group neared the disturbance, he felt a surge of holy power. He had felt this power before – when they had fought Naraku at the end, and Kagome had purified Magatsuhi. Therefore, by his reason, the miko was engaged in battle, and by logic, his brother as well. He instructed Jaken to look after Rin, and left them with the two-headed dragon, Ah-Un. Now close to the action, two things disturbed him. First, there was the heavy scent of blood – that of a ningen. And second, the scent of his half-breed brother was no where near. Rushing towards the sounds of confrontation, Sesshoumaru drew Bakusaiga. Bursting through the trees into the clearing, Sesshoumaru flashed his eyes towards the onna that he recognized as Inuyasha’s miko. He saw the look of surprise in her eyes, and she attempted to get him to back down. This Sesshoumaru runs from no one, he told himself.

~~~~~()~~@

Kagome was going to be able to have just enough time to jump out of the way. She flipped backwards and landed on her back in time for the Ogre’s hand come crashing into the ground in front of her. Vaguely, she felt the dull throb of pain in her side. She drew the arrow. She felt it come to life, flaring with her powers. When the foul monster felt her energy, it reared back in shock. It knew its’ life was in danger, and it roared in both fear and anger. She knew that the creature would be more hesitant to attack, now that it felt her force. Kagome could feel an enormous mass of youki coming towards them. Just great, she thought. I can barely handle this one, and an even stronger one is coming. Drawing on her power again, she pulled back on the bow. Aiming, she was about to loose the arrow when suddenly the trees behind her came crashing down, and she whirled to face her new doom. Fortunately, it was not her time to die. The heavy mass of youki she had felt was none other than Sesshoumaru. Nan de? She thought she might laugh later, when she would reflect on the situation she was in, but right now, she could only think of the youkai’s safety. She knew Sesshoumaru was deathly fast, but she also knew that his ego sometimes got in the way, and he would not consider that this creature could possibly be quick.

 

"Sesshoumaru-sama! Don’t! He’s too fast! Leave this to me!" Kagome called to him anxiously.

 

She could practically feel him scowling at her insinuation, and she watched with morbid fascination as he swung his sword at the Oni. Of course, the Oni underestimated the small demon that had rudely interrupted his quest for the Shikon Jewel. It swerved towards Sesshoumaru in response, its claws soiled with Kagome’s blood. Ever the silent killer, she watched the daiyoukai bring the mighty Bakusaiga down hard, and she flinched at the sound and sight of the Ogre’s right arm being severed at the elbow. But to both miko and youkai’s surprise, the beast did not even waste a moment. With great speed, the monster swung its’ left arm and caught Sesshoumaru in its’ grasp. Unable to wield his sword or use his claws, Sesshoumaru thought to bite down if he must. But the next thing he knew, he felt tremendous, pure power flowing towards him. He watched in vague fascination as the arrow moved towards him, and wondered if he would survive the attack. The Ogre had not seen it coming until it was too late, and Kagome watched it lodge into the chest of the beast. The Oni was enveloped in a burst of pure light, and it exploded, pieces scattering and turning into ash. What caught her attention was the white blur that had flown backwards through the trees that it had originally come.

When she was sure that there was no other threat, Kagome raced across the clearing towards Sesshoumaru. He had tried to save me. Had he known it was me? Did he just want to kill the demon? Where’s Jaken and Rin? Many questions came to mind as she made her way to where she had seen the youkai thrown. When she arrived, she gasped in surprise and worry.

Arranged none too gently with his back across a fallen tree, Sesshoumaru lay limp. Kagome searched for immediate wounds, but mostly only saw parts where his skin was burnt from her powers. Quickly, she removed the small backpack and the medical kit it held. Kagome had traded her huge, yellow pack for a smaller pink one a few months after Naraku’s death since she didn’t need many supplies anymore, except for medical supplies and the occasional textbook. This one, she could do battle in. Unfortunately, it had suffered as she did; the left strap had been severed when she had been hurt by the Oni. That wasn’t the only thing damaged, she noticed. Mama’s going to kill me, she thought as she inspected her expensive school uniform. Not only was it shredded where her gashes lay, but now they were covered in her blood. Maybe I’ll just throw it away… she surmised, thinking it was best if her mother didn’t know the harm that she had been put in. She decided that later, she would change. But right now…

It was almost surreal. Sesshoumaru, Lord of the West, a daiyoukai and the brother of the love of her life, was lying unconscious in front of her. And she was the cause. Maybe she should have let him handle it. She hadn’t given him the chance. What bothered her more was the fact that when Shippou had been captured, she had been unwilling to use her powers, lest she hurt him. But when the situation was similar, with Sesshoumaru being the captive, she had not failed to do what was necessary. Did this mean that she didn’t consider Sesshoumaru a friend? She smirked at herself. Yeah, he would love to hear you call him a friend, she told herself. Then you would be decapitated, as a show of friendship. All the while, she worked, finding areas of burnt flesh and rubbing salve on them from her time. At one point, she came across an actual wound on his left side that was partially hidden by his armor. How do I get this thing off? She fumbled with the ties and obi, and finally they gave way. Attempting to remove it, she found it extremely heavy. Jeez, how does he walk around – no, strut around – with this stuff on? Oh, right. Strength of a daiyoukai. She heaved the armor to the side. Kagome gasped when she saw the extent of the wound. This must be where he was closest to my arrow, she thought grimly. It was raw, with burned edges and both bleeding and oozing. Horrified by her own power, she began to cry. This man was an ally, and she had put him in danger. Tears falling freely, the thought that it would have been much, much worse - if it had been Shippou - did not escape her. Sobbing outright, Kagome placed her hands on the smooth skin of the youkai. He was cool to the touch, and his perfect skin was only marred where her powers had singed him. She cried harder, her fingers trembling, as she attempted to swipe the blood away with a small towel she kept in her pack. She cleansed the wound, but it still bled profusely. I should have let him handle it! I should have trusted in Sesshoumaru-sama. She laid her small frame against his and cried. Of course, she knew he wasn’t dead. But she had no idea what effects of something like this created. Would it continue to consume him? Would it never heal? Would it leave a scar? The thought of such a scar on his beautiful skin made her cry harder. She knew, deep down, that this was nothing compared to cutting off his arm. She turned to the now regenerated arm, and noted that it, too, was partially burnt. Distraught, Kagome cried, her hands on the daiyoukai’s skin where she had pushed his kimono aside. As she regretted her actions, she felt her powers flare. She wished for Sesshoumaru’s wounds to heal, and she felt her skin tingle with a familiar, yet foreign power. She had only felt it once before. A red light began to glow where she was touching the youkai, and suddenly she could feel his youki, really feel it, and it swirled with her own powers. She hadn’t felt this when she had healed Shippou, and it scared her, but she remained where she was. After a few moments, Kagome began to embrace the feeling as it warmed her. She felt more powerful than ever as his youki blended with her powers. It was almost as if he was strengthening her with his youki so she could heal him. Idly, she wondered if only miko powers could heal wounds caused by miko powers. She watched in wonder as his wounds slowly stopped bleeding, then began to close, and she pushed all other thoughts from her mind. The burns were gone. There was only a small marring of the skin where the large, bleeding wound had been. When he was healed, she felt his youki pull away from her, and as it returned to its’ master, she felt her strength leave her. She wavered towards unconsciousness, and as Kagome’s world went black, she found herself wondering why he hadn’t woken up.

~~~~~()~~@

Shippou had run for his life as he escaped the dragonfly demon that had grabbed him. That seemed a little too easy, he thought with a frown as he raced back to Inuyasha.

Back at the scene of battle, he saw that almost all of the demons had been eradicated, but Inuyasha was badly hurt. Sango was attending to Miroku, who was bleeding from his leg. Kirara was helping Inuyasha, who had a large hole through his stomach and three gashes in his shoulder. Bleeding profusely, he stood his ground and attempted the Kaze no Kizu at a particularly sly tanuki. Able to dodge his blows easily and then viciously attack with claws and fangs, the badger youkai kept Inuyasha at bay.

Miroku had been the first to notice the kitsune. "Daijoubou-ka, Shippou?"

The little red head bobbed furiously. "Hai. Ano… Kagome…" he trailed off.

This set off bells of alarm for the monk and his wife. "Kagome-sama… where is she?" the taijiya asked worriedly.

"She came to rescue me. We went far, but she got me back. She told me to come back, and I didn’t wannabutsheyelledand-"

"Shippou-kun, calm down," Miroku soothed. But they could tell he was worried. "We must go after her," he said, attempting to stand.

He fell back to the ground with an ‘oomph’ and his wife hovered anxiously. "You mustn’t move, houshi-sama. I’ll go," Sango said.

When she turned, Miroku again tried to stand, and all three cringed when they heard a sickening crunch. The monk yelled in his pain. They all knew that something was broken. Now agonizing over her husband, Sango asked Shippou to let Inuyasha know what happened. He nodded and ran to the only fight that was still in action.

In his pain, Inuyasha hadn’t noticed the return of the fox kit. But now, as he ran towards him with a worried expression, Inuyasha realized. And he felt so very, very stupid. Kagome…

"Inuyasha!" the kitsune cried at the sight of his wounds.

"Where’s Kagome?" he shouted back.

As Inuyasha darted to avoid a set of gnashing teeth, Shippou recounted the tale of his escape.

Inuyasha sounded his fear as he used the last bit of strength to Kaze no Kizu it into oblivion. Amazing how he fights harder when he knows Kagome’s in danger, Shippou thought to himself, suppressing a smirk.

Unfortunately, although Inuyasha had now killed the last of the attacking demons, he now fell to the ground, sapped of whatever power he had left and slipped into unconsciousness.

Shippou, worried about all his friends, could do nothing as he fretted over Kagome’s safety, and the wounds of both Miroku and especially Inuyasha.

Sango and Miroku decided that the only thing they could do was to go back to Kaede’s village and seek medical assistance. Sango, the warrior she was, hefted Inuyasha onto Kirara’s back and helped Miroku to the nekomata as well. Walking in silence, none dared to speak of Kagome’s fate. It would be hard enough to deal with Inuyasha when he awoke and realized they had left Kagome.

~~~~~()~~@

Insolent girl, Jaken fumed as he took the flowers off his head. First, I am made to go to a ningen village because she begged to go; then, my Lord leaves me with her as he goes to battle?! Now, all she does is speak of the boy, Kohaku, and weave flower wreaths! Insufferable child! True, the daiyoukai’s loyal servant did not really mind the presence of the girl. But this past year, she had gotten flippant and more frivolous. She spoke often of Kohaku, and she was growing quickly, hence their trip. But she also stayed true to their Lord; she never disobeyed him, and kept out of his way. Perhaps this was why his Lord was inclined to allow her to travel with him to his brothers’ village. He hadn’t wanted to go, but he knew that at some point Sesshoumaru would have to leave her alone – such as this moment – and it would not do to leave her in the care of a two-headed dragon. In the back of his mind, Jaken knew that it was safe to leave Rin in the care of Ah-Un – the beast cared for her dearly. But better to be safe than sorry, for he would not live long if something happened to the girl.

Sesshoumaru had been gone for over an hour when Jaken felt the powerful force of his Lords’ youki. He felt the power of a miko as well. He knew that his master had gone to battle, for he had sensed the Oni and a miko’s power when Sesshoumaru had left him. But after that last blast of miko power, he had not sensed anything else. Now, he felt both powers. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. A blast of miko power? And now both? And no Ogre? What… what if something has happened to my Lord? Commanding Rin to stay with the dragon – which now had flowers adorning his two bridles – Jaken scrambled in the direction he felt his Lord’s youki.

~~~~~()~~@

Nan de?

Sesshoumaru brought his hand to his throbbing head, only to smack himself on the skull with something hard. Cracking an eye open, he saw something metallic. His vision still a little blurry, after a few moments he saw that it was a glorious sword. Why do I carry a sword? Feeling a weight upon him, he chanced lifting his head, which protested at the motion with further throbbing. Forcing himself to keep it off the tree he had apparently been resting it on, the youkai focused on his chest. Shiny ebony strands greeted him, and upon some painfully accomplished squinting, he made out the form of a woman. Surprised, Sesshoumaru – to the protestation of his body – attempted to sit up. The woman did not stir, and he took the opportunity to try to make sense of the situation. One, he was aching all over. Two, he woke up with a woman on top of him. Three, said woman smelled like him, and he like her. Their blood was mingled – he noticed the gashes on her side– and he also felt part of the power he knew resided in her within himself. As well, he sensed a bit of his youki in her. Who was this onna? Were they connected? How? Why? Of course, the serious questions only plagued him afterwards. Who am I? Why do I carry swords? Why is this girl hurt, and why was she strewn across me? His mind swirling with questions, he resorted to rubbing his temples with his fingers. When he had calmed a little, he looked down at the woman on his lap. Our powers are intertwined, there is no doubt. Who is she to me? After thinking things through, Sesshoumaru came to the conclusion that the woman must be something akin to a wife to him. He reached down and ran his fingers through her hair, relishing their soft embrace. Now attempting to think more seriously, he gathered more information.

In retrospect, he remembered the wound on the woman. Obviously she had been hurt by something large. It comforted him to know it had not been himself that had hurt her. But why was he not hurt? Of course, he was achy and had the headache of two lifetimes, but he seemed otherwise intact. He inspected himself, removing the tiny hands from himself – he did not fail to notice how nice it felt to have her touch his skin – and looked for wounds. The only thing he found was a scar of newly formed skin on his side – almost in the same place her wound was. Had she shielded him? It was possible, but not likely. Although he was unsure of who he was the demon knew he had power to spare. He was unsure of how he constantly kept all that youki under control. The one thing he was sure of was that he cared for this fragile-looking, tiny woman. Underneath the smell of blood and tears – why had she been crying? – he could smell her natural, vanilla-like scent. He noticed also that there was a foul smell on several parts of his body. He found a type of lotion rubbed on many places, and smelled the source. The female had the smell was also on her hands, and in a small container to the side was the base. So, she had been taking care of me, he contemplated. And yet, she remains hurt? She cares for me before herself? He thought again of the fact that there were, in fact, no wounds on his body. Did she have some sort of healing ability? He could sense the power inside her – weak from overuse – but was unsure of what type of power it was. He was certain, though, that she had used her power to help him.

He took a moment to slide to the floor, taking the girl with him and laying her in his lap once more. He looked around and found a towel, soaked with his blood. Now he was sure that something ill-omened had happened here and she had saved him, not bothering to take care of herself. He saw the bow next and finally noticed the small quiver next to her satchel. They smelled of her, and he wondered if she was skilled in Kyudo. He smiled down at his little warrior and ran his fingers through her hair again. He rummaged through her things and found bandages. Through instinct, he managed to wrap the wound in the white cloth, after ripping away quite a bit of the cloth until only some cloth remained on her breasts. She had an odd-looking wrapping around her lower half, shielding her most intimate parts, but not leaving much to the imagination. When he satisfied that the wound would at least stop bleeding, he lay still, with her head in his lap, stroking her hair and face. She was quite beautiful, and he wondered if he loved the woman. He couldn’t remember, but who couldn’t love this brave, powerful, compassionate, selfless woman? Chancing an embrace, Sesshoumaru wrapped his arms around her, taking great care not to cause her wound more pain.

He nuzzled her, taking in her scent. He would like to be able to wash the blood from her, as well as himself, but he hadn’t the slightest idea where a body of water was, let alone where he was. But wait – he was a powerful dog demon, ne? Therefore… Sesshoumaru reached out with his senses, trying to locate a river, a stream, a lake – anything – through scent or sound. He smelled a lake, but it was quite far, and he didn’t want to move her that much, due to her injury. But… he heard something else. Something that could be threatening. A youkai, albeit a small, weak one. He placed the girl gently on the ground, hovering above her. Growling slightly, he bared his fangs and readied his claws, which to his great surprise began to glow green. He felt enormous power in them, and he clawed the tree trunk he had woken up on. To his astonishment, the bark began to melt with jyaki that had apparently come from his claws. Interesting, he thought. Turning his attention back to the sounds of the nearing youkai, he growled again.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" he heard in the direction of the approaching demon.

Killing Perfection? Who would have such a morbid name? Narrowing his eyes, he waited for the demon to come into the clearing, to assess whether it was truly a threat.

A few yards to the right, a small, green toad youkai came rushing into the field wielding a strange staff. Better not to judge by looks alone, he decided, and growled a warning to the little youkai. The smaller demon turned quickly and recognized his master immediately.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" he cried, all-to-happy to see his Lord safe. He began to run towards the crouching Sesshoumaru.

This… this demon knows me, and addresses me as Lord? Sesshoumaru stopped growling and allowed the jyaki to calm, but he did not relieve his posture.

"Sesshoumaru-sama… oh, the miko! Were you going to kill the wench?" Jaken asked innocently.

Sesshoumaru gave a mighty snarl and bared his teeth at Jaken. "Baka! Why would I kill her?" he growled. Wait… miko? He knows her as well?

"F-forgive me, my Lord! I meant no harm!" Jaken groveled, bowing low in respect. "I assumed she had harmed you with her powers. Your servant came running when he felt both your powers… Oh! Do not be angry with me for leaving Rin with Ah-Un!"

"Why would she harm me?" he snarled. Servant? This youkai serves me? Rin? Ah-Un? Sesshoumaru could feel his headache worsening.

Jaken was stunned and afraid of his Lords’ wrath, but would not dare leave a question unanswered. "She… your brother… her powers…" was all he could manage.

"Enough," Sesshoumaru ground out. Perhaps the others are servants. Maybe they can help me tend to the woman.

The toad seemed to be afraid of him, and he supposed he could get more honest answers by allowing the little youkai to believe he was intact – not this state he was in where he hadn’t even known his name until now. Besides, who gave him such a silly name? Although in retrospect, it seemed fitting, since not only did he have great power, but it seemed his servant was afraid of said power. So he made the decision to play along.

"Where are Rin and Ah-Un?" he asked, narrowing his eyes for effect. The names felt odd on his tongue, yet familiar, which gave him hope.

The little youkai squeaked in horror. "I-I’m sorry, my Lord! I left Rin with Ah-Un where you had left us. Rin will be safe with the dragon… Do not kill me! Remember, Tenseiga only works once and you have already revived me…"

Dragon? If it were big enough, it might be able to transfer the woman… "Find them, and bring them here." Tenseiga? Revive? What nonsense does he speak of? And why would I kill my own servant?

"B-but, my Lord… your brother…"

"Now."

With another squeal, Jaken ran off into the forest, calling out behind him,"Y-yes, my Lord! Right away!"

Proud of himself, he nuzzled the woman. I will get you help soon. Something annoyed him in the back of his mind, and it tugged at his memory. Yes, the imp had said something about a brother. But he assumed I wouldn’t want to see this brother. Why? Are we not on good terms? He surmised that since he was a ‘Lord’, then perhaps his brother and he were not on good terms due to Royal status. Not wanting to dwell on it, he brought his attention back to the woman. It is my turn to care for you, he told her silently. My little miko… He took the opportunity to cover the woman’s breasts with his obi, forming a makeshift tube top.

Not a scant ten minutes later, Jaken reappeared, and Sesshoumaru again was ready with claws and fangs. He had felt ambushed, not expecting the servant to return via flight. Shock had not been the proper word when he saw them landing a few feet away.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" a girl called out. She addresses me as Lord as well?

He was reservedly glad, because he knew the girl to be ningen, and for a moment he believed the girl to be the onna’s mother. But if she was his servant as well, that was unlikely. If she had been the daughter of the woman, then it would mean that the woman was not his, because this girl was certainly not hanyou. Sesshoumaru inwardly congratulated himself for his ability to reason. He stood, knowing none of them to be a threat to his person. He was thoroughly shocked once more, when the girl not only ran over and proceeded to attach herself to his waist, but cried in surprise.

"Kagome-sama!" she called out, bringing her hands to her face for emphasis. Then she scolded the imp, much to his amusement. "Jaken-sama, you did not tell Rin that Kagome-sama was here. And she’s hurt!" They bickered, and he tuned them out, lost in his thoughts.

Kagome, Sesshoumaru thought. Her name is Kagome. A strange feeling came to him, and he felt very calm. As an afterthought, he memorized the name of his servant as well. He surmised that the dragon was Ah-Un, which was fitting. He watched as the girl began to fuss over Kagome, inspecting the damage. She turned to him.

"Sesshoumaru-sama, you aren’t hurt, are you?" she asked worriedly.

Sesshoumaru gave her a gentle smile, which apparently made her day, because she beamed.

"But we need to take care of Kagome-sama," she said sternly, and he nodded.

"Rin, bring Ah-Un, and I will place Kagome on him for transport," he instructed.

He did not miss the looks of bewilderment that both of his retainers gave him, but she was obedient and did as she was told, talking to the two-headed beast as she used its’ reins to guide it to Kagome’s body. He quirked an eyebrow at Jaken, who seemed to squirm beneath his gaze.

The master, he referred to himself as ‘I’, Jaken thought, worried that his Lord would kill him for thinking such thoughts.

My Lord explained exactly what he was doing… that’s odd, Rin thought as she lined the dragon up next to the fallen miko.

Sesshoumaru knew they suspected something, but what he did not know. And he wouldn’t know unless he asked, but that would give away too much. Gently lifting Kagome, he placed her carefully into the saddle, making sure she would not harm herself further.

"Rin will ride, too, so Kagome-sama doesn’t fall," the girl said, and Sesshoumaru nodded his approval. Jaken was forgotten, and he merely climbed onto the dragon, settling on its’ rump. "Come, Ah-Un, we must get Kagome-sama to a river," she told the beast, and it grunted in reply as it took to the skies gently.

He watched them and began to walk in the direction they were flying, and wished he could fly along with them. Suddenly, he felt his youki flare. In moments, Sesshoumaru was gliding though the air behind them. It took a few seconds to learn to control it, but he found that it was easy. He left his armor behind.

Jaken looked down at his Lord, and wondered why he hesitated. But he felt his masters’ youki and pushed the thought away.

~~~~~()~~@

Many miles away, after they passed into the Western Lands, they found a river that his retainers obviously knew very well. The flight to the waterway had been informative, and Sesshoumaru made sure to keep close, although he knew he could hear them from quite some distance.

"Jaken-sama, we’re home," Rin exclaimed happily. "Now it is not too far before the river!"

"Yes, Rin. We are back in the Western Lands. It is good to be back," he replied, tears in his eyes.

"Jaken-sama," the girl scolded, "we only left this morning for Inuyasha-sama’s village to get my new kimono." She turned to Sesshoumaru. "Sesshoumaru-sama, will we go back for Rin’s kimono?"

Sesshoumaru considered both the information and the question. "Perhaps after Kagome is healed," he told her. Inuyasha? That was a more appropriate name, Sesshoumaru thought. How had he gotten stuck with this one?

The look was there again, in both servants’ eyes.

He speaks about her with such familiarity! Jaken exclaimed in the echoes of his mind. Then, something sparked in his tiny brain. "S-Sesshoumaru-sama… we are keeping the miko until she is healed? That could take weeks! After all, she is a filthy ningen onna-"

Jaken was cut off by lack of oxygen, as Sesshoumaru clamped a strong hand over the imp’s throat. Snarling, he picked Jaken up off the dragon’s behind. "You will not question me," he growled menacingly. "And do not speak of Kagome in that manner." Rin gave him a smile of approval and he placed a shell-shocked Jaken back onto Ah-Un’s rear. He said nothing more, but his eyes still flashed with anger.

Within minutes, they reached a river which Ah-Un promptly landed in.

Rin laughed. "Ah-Un," she chided gently, "you should have put us on the grass." The beast simply grunted.

Sesshoumaru landed on the bank, but promptly joined them, not bothering to remove his boots; where the dragon had landed, the water was not high enough to get in his boots. Rin helped him lower Kagome and he held her while Rin got down. Jaken simply watched wearily from the bank as Sesshoumaru lowered Kagome to the water.

"Ee… to…"

"Rin?" Sesshoumaru questioned.

"Well, shouldn’t I do this? I mean, she’s a girl like Rin, and Sesshoumaru-sama is…" Rin blushed, and Sesshoumaru got the hint, but did not waver.

He shook his head gently. "It’s fine, Rin. I will care for her," he told her. Rin looked between the two a few times, but gave up, not wanting to question her masters’ intentions. She nodded and guided Ah-Un to the bank, where he grazed on the luscious shoots of grass that grew there.

With his back to the others to guard her from the others’ eyes, he removed his obi and threw it to the bank, where Rin promptly folded the impossible length into some sort of semblance of order. He looked for a way to remove the cloth that covered her lower half, but could find no tucks or folds. There was a strange metal lever, but there the cloth was put together in a strong binding. Odd, this clothing she wears, he thought. He attempted to pull the skirt down, but it held tight against her shapely hips. One arm around her hip and the other supporting her back and head, he could not help but think this to be natural. He tried to think of something else. Pulling it over her head would have probably worked, except that that would graze it along her wound, but that would not do. He would not stand to cause her more damage than had already been done on his behalf. He tried to think of something else.

"Rin," he called.

"Hai," she replied, splashing into the shallow water.

"Do you know how to remove this… cloth?" he asked, touching the navy blue skirt.

"Nani? Ee to… iie. Gomen nasai," she said, her eyes downcast.

He nodded to her, and she returned to the dragon.

He tried to think of something else.

But he had run out of options.

He would not ask the toad.

He tried to think of something else, but there was nothing else. So he neatly ripped the band of the skirt, making it loose enough to slip over her thighs and off of her. "Aisumimasen," he said softly, allowing only her subconscious to hear him.

When Rin saw him flippantly toss the ruined clothing to the bank, she cringed. Uh-oh. Kagome-sama is not gonna be happy… As if he could sense her thought, Sesshoumaru looked over his shoulder at her and gave her a pleading look. Rin was surprised, yet delighted at this rare show of emotion, and shrugged, trying to convey that there was nothing else he could do. He seemed to be at ease, and he turned back to the miko.

It was only now that he noticed the small triangle of cloth that covered her most intimate of body parts. His eyes drawn to it, he noted how it hugged her curves, the violet color striking against her light skin. The strings that held the front and back pieces together draped sexily across her curvy hips, and he could not help but trace the strong muscles of her thigh. Tearing his eyes away, Sesshoumaru tried to force himself to continue his task.

Lowering her gently into the water, he knelt, paying no heed to how wet he was becoming in doing so. He removed the bandage that he had wrapped around her torso and tossed it aside. His hand brushed against her breast in the process, and he felt the heat of arousal flare up within him. His youki howled, begging to claim the miko, and he wondered if it had always been as so. Of course, he scoffed at himself. Once he had placed her so that he could use his hands freely, her body in the water and her upper body laying in his lap, he began to gently cup his hands in the cool water and let it run onto her wounds. He did this several times, allowing her skin to wet thoroughly. With one last scoop, he wet her wounds once more, this time rubbing at her skin, washing the blood from it. He stayed away from the raw openings, though, only allowing the water itself to enter.

Jaken watched intently, noting the care Sesshoumaru took with the wench. He also noticed that Rin was watching their Lord with joy in her eyes. He scowled, but said nothing.

Rin, now bored, decided that she needed to do something. Glancing around, she noticed that Kagome’s things were not among the things that were strewn about the bank. Knowing full well the miko did not go anywhere without those things, she decided to take action.

"Sesshoumaru-sama," she chirped. Not allowing him to answer, but noticing the brief tilt of his head, she continued. "Kagome-sama’s pack – it was left behind. I will take Ah-Un to get it." She saw him nod approvingly. "Jaken-sama, will you help?" she asked.

The imp looked at her contemptuously. What is that girl up to? He frowned, but he would not allow Rin to travel that far away without protection, despite the fact he knew she would take Ah-Un.

Sesshoumaru heard the small youkai make a displeased noise, but nevertheless climbed behind Rin onto the dragon’s back. He watched as they took off.

He looked down at the miko, admiring her fine bone structure and silky hair. He caressed her face with a long finger, and bent to capture her lips in a kiss. He became concerned, however, since she did not even stir. He hadn’t known how long he had been unconscious, but it had been a few hours that he had been awake, and yet, there had not been a single movement from the woman. Frowning, he returned to the task of cleansing her. He realized, offhand, that the sun was getting low in the sky. It concerned him that he knew not if he had a home. Did any of them have a home?

He was still kneeling in the river, soaking wet, when his entourage returned. Ah-Un landed in the water once again, this time drinking from it. Rin happily splashed into the water, but Jaken remained. One of the dragon’s two heads turned a weary eye to him, and it unnerved him, for he knew how powerful the dragon’s breath was. But it went to join its’ brother in drinking, and Jaken let out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding.

Sesshoumaru watched Rin bring the box with the bandages, and sounded his appreciation, for he hadn’t thought that he would need to bandage it again. "Arigatou," she heard him say.

Grinning again at the change in her master, Rin handed him the bandages, and she watched him begin to wrap Kagome’s wounds again. Remembering something, Rin removed the blood-stained towel from the pink satchel she had placed it in. Also kneeling in the water, Rin washed it as best she could, scrubbing it between rocks.

As he tucked an end of the white cloth into itself, Sesshoumaru was about to stand when he realized something. The woman was almost naked. How would they travel like this? Everyone would see… His eyes flashing red, a shielding growl escaped him.

Jaken was thinking when he heard his master’s threatening growl, and it made him shiver. He wondered what it was that had made his Lord react in such a way, and he hated to think that anything would be the recipient of his Lords’ anger. Although now that he thought about it, the master had made the same noise not too long ago when he had been scolded…

"Sesshoumaru-sama?" Rin ventured, knowing that her Lord was displeased.

"How will she travel…"

Rin heard the tightness in his voice, and understood. She thought carefully. "Well, your obi…"

"It is not enough to cover all of her."

They sat in silence for a few minutes before Sesshoumaru stood, a resolute expression on his face. Rin watched with interest, and then turned, blushing when she saw that he was taking his kimono off.

He removed the clothing quickly and lifted it, so the ends would not get any wetter. He lifted Kagome and tried desperately to pull her arms through and allow it to fall over her body, while attempting to keep it from dipping into the water. He asked for his obi, and he heard Rin splash through the water to reach it, and noticed she did not look at him as she passed it to him. Scrunching the fabric to keep it out of the water, and tying the obi around her hips to avoid her wound, the end result was something that looked like a toga-dress cross. Rin giggled a little and nodded her approval, still avoiding to look at Sesshoumaru himself.

"Shall we go home?" he voiced, and his retainers heard the question in his voice.

He could tell that Rin was visibly confused, and this alarmed him. Jaken was the one who spoke.

"Aisumimasen, Sesshoumaru-sama… ano…" the imp stammered. A quirked eyebrow from his Lord made him continue. "We are home. We are in the Western Lands, are we not? Have Rin and I been mistaken?"

Sesshoumaru tried to process the information quickly. "Hai. Gomen, Jaken." So, there was no particular home? Did they just roam around the countryside? Apparently so…

Nervous, the toad fidgeted. "Iie, Sesshoumaru-sama! It is I that am sorry!"

Sesshoumaru ignored the groveling of the imp on the dragon’s back as he pondered their predicament. So… he would have to procure a shelter, or at least somewhere safe for them to bed down for the night? Agreeing with his inner self, Sesshoumaru began to rise out of the water. Without a word, he took to the skies, attempting to find somewhere safe to make camp for the night. He felt the pangs of hunger and wondered if his miko would need food as well. He wasn’t sure what the needs of his body were telling him to procure for nutrition, and he was equally unsure of what the woman would eat. Luckily, he had the ningen girl. She would undoubtedly find something, as he was sure she would be hungry as well.

It took a few seconds for Rin and Jaken to process what happened, but they understood that they were moving deeper into the lands, and Rin hopped onto Ah-Un’s back, joining Jaken. The dragon, who had seen their master’s departure and was awaiting instructions, took off the moment Rin grabbed its’ reins.

Soon enough, a familiar feeling washed over Sesshoumaru as he spotted a small clearing, with trees surrounding it. He noticed that there were ashes of wood, and the area smelled slightly like him. So, I have used this area recently? He floated down to it, landing gracefully. He heard the excited chatter of Rin as they, too, landed.

"But Jaken, I like this place! There’s a strawberry field nearby…"

So, she already plans to gather food… "Rin."

"Yes, my Lord," Rin said expectantly. It was a statement rather than a question.

"Will you gather food for Kagome as well?"

Rin was pleased that he had asked and not ordered. "Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama!" she chirped. "Ano…"

He quirked an eyebrow at her.

"Rin can’t get meat. Unless Rin goes back to the river for fish…"

So, they ate foods from the ground and animals? His own stomach turned, making it known that such foods would not be acceptable for himself. But it would be easy for him to obtain some type of flesh for the females.

He nodded at Rin. "Do what you can, and I shall find something for the two of you," he told her. Rin immediately ran off to find food. The dragon ambled after her.

He placed Kagome on a patch of particularly soft patch of grass and admired the way his clothes fit her and how her midnight strands flowed around her face.

Jaken was shocked. There had been an extreme change in his master’s character. He was kind, considerate, and talked more than he had. Unacceptable for a daiyoukai! Scowling, Jaken settled against the log he had used the last time they had been here. So excited to be here, Jaken thought, yet the foolish girl has no idea of the creatures that hunt her at night as she sleeps! Unaware of how our Lord tirelessly protects her all night, so that she may sleep peacefully! Now that he thought about it, Sesshoumaru hadn’t changed that much. He had always protected Rin and made sure she had naught for want. But, he was still different. Also, there was the problem of Inuyasha’s wench. The master had never taken a liking to her before, so what was different? The filthy hanyou was sure to come looking for her, and if his master was serious, then that would ultimately mean death for the half-breed. Drifting off to sleep, Jaken prattled on in his thoughts. He was rudely awakened when the boot of his Lord was prodded into his side. Well, perhaps he has not changed that much…

"You have need of my service?" Jaken asked, trying to keep the annoyance from his voice, lest he have a death wish.

Sesshoumaru nodded. "Guard the miko with your life, unless you wish for me to take it now," he growled.

He had come to a difficult decision. He either had to take the woman with him, or leave her with Jaken. He wasn’t sure if he could secure a meal if he was busy worrying whether she was uncomfortable or he was going to drop her.

Jaken gulped, visibly shaken with the implication. "Hai, my Lord," Jaken said. He scooted closer to the human, using his staff to give the impression of a guard.

Satisfied, Sesshoumaru stalked into the forest. Now, with a task at hand, he shook with anticipation, seeking a kill. Of course, he did not need much, but his youki wailed again, begging for a kill. Mentally shaking himself, Sesshoumaru felt the urge to run deeper into the forest. When he gave in to the compulsion, he marveled at the speed he took. He realized that there were probably few that could match it, and wondered for the umpteenth time what sort of Lord he had been.

Further into the forest, a bare-chested Sesshoumaru caught the scent of prey, and although it was not what he intended for the humans, his youki again clawed and shrieked, begging to go after what it was. At the same time, he felt the strong desire to feed. Understanding, he allowed the wants of his inner-demon to take over, and he went about the task of hunting whatever it was he smelled. Soon, he could hear it as well as he drew silently closer. His instinct supplied him with the answer to what his intelligence could not disclose. Deer youkai, instinct told him. His eyes flashed red, and he could feel his claws and fangs lengthening. The irrepressible urge to feed teared at his insides, and he could barely think comprehensively. Silently, deadly, stealthily, the daiyoukai crept downwind of his prey. The deer was feeding on the acorns that had fallen from its’ tree, popping them into his mouth. Sesshoumaru had taken to the trees, quietly bounding closer. When he was finally in the tree behind the deer, he listened to it munch on its’ food as he waited for his opportunity. The deer youkai bent, attempting to pick another morsel from the ground. Instinct told Sesshoumaru to pounce, and pounce he did. The bucks’ heart was in Sesshoumaru’s hand before it had known it was being stalked, and it died quickly and quietly. Sesshoumaru placed the muscle aside, opting to drink greedily from the still flowing wound. His fangs sunk deep and sure, and when the blood flowed no more, due to the missing heart, he learned a lesson. Turning his attention to the heart, he devoured it, the crimson liquid trailing down the sides of his mouth and dripping to his chest, sliding down the smooth, pale skin.

Satiated, Sesshoumaru felt the need to clean. Searching for a stream, he found a small brook nearby. Cleansing his hands and mouth first, he turned his attention to his chest. He frowned displeasingly at the sight of the smallest tinge of brown on the uppermost part of his hakama. Growling at himself, he learned another lesson. Clean and satisfied, he went about the simple task of attaining a rabbit for the ningen females. Now that he had hunted, he easily caught it and scoffed at himself for doubting that he could have handled both his prey and Kagome. Unfortunately, he was reminded that had she woken up, he would not have liked the first thing she saw to be him eating the heart of another youkai. He had made the right choice. With that, he ran through the forest, back to their camp.

There were some very wrong sounds coming from the clearing that he had left his party in. He was about to growl when he thought better of it, not wanting to jump to conclusion. Or alert an enemy to his presence. He heard Jaken’s whiny voice yelling, and ducked to the side as a powerful beam of light crashed through the woods towards him. When he was able to refocus, he noticed that it had come from one of Ah-Un’s heads. But the focus of the beast was not on him as its’ tail lashed violently. Sesshoumaru stalked to camp, listening. Obviously, a youkai had caught the scent of the inhabitants of the clearing, and wanted the woman. His woman. But Jaken had remained true, and Ah-Un had returned, also defending its’ mistress. He smiled at the loyalty of his subjects. He watched as Jaken cursed the offending youkai and a stream of fire came from the staff he carried. Impressed, Sesshoumaru was content to watch as his retainers fought for him, although he knew that he would finish this. He listened to Rin insult the bear youkai and tell it to leave, else there would be dire consequences if their master returned. Beaming internally, he wondered what he had done to earn such respect from his subjects. He heard Rin scream as the bear swiped a mighty paw at her, only to be knocked down as Ah-Un slammed its’ tail against him in retaliation. Roaring angrily, he jumped to his feet, and changing tactics, leapt for the sleeping woman. Jaken, eyes wide with horror, realized he would not have enough time to react, and Rin screamed again when she realized what was going to happen. Sesshoumaru had had enough.

With the speed of a god, Sesshoumaru stopped in front of the bear, holding its’ wrist in his hand. Crushing the bones, he winced as the bear howled in pain; his youki rejoiced. With a quick movement, he hurled the youkai through the trees and followed, sparing the girl the sight of what he had to do. Once out of sight, he approached the crazed bear who, in his pain, went mad with rage. The creature rushed him, teeth gnashing, wanting blood. With a swift movement of his arm, Sesshoumaru neatly sliced through the thick hide of the bear youkai’s neck and it fell to the ground, blood spurting as it drowned in its’ own blood.

Flicking his claws to remove the small amount of blood they acquired, he walked back into the clearing.

"Daijoubou-ka?" he asked.

Rin grinned. "Hai," she told him cheerily. Jaken simply nodded.

Sesshoumaru walked over to Ah-Un. "Jaken," he said in a low voice that made the little youkai fear for his life.

The toad made an ‘eep’ sound, but found his voice. "H-hai, my Lord?" he managed. Surely his master will be angry that he had allowed such scum into his camp.

"Good work. You kept Kagome safe," he told the imp.

Jaken fainted, and Rin giggled.

"You too, Rin. And you, Ah-Un," he said, patting one of the dragons’ heads. The other head vied for attention, grunting, and he patted that one as well.

"Domo arigatou," Rin offered, slipping from the beasts’ back.

Sesshoumaru noticed that the girl carried many fruits, as well as some mushrooms, in an alcove she had made with the bottom of her kimono. Remembering the rabbit, he briefly walked through the trees to retrieve the animal he had dropped when he rushed forward to protect Kagome. He looked to her now, realizing she hadn’t moved the entire time, and again he was plagued by worry. He dropped the rabbit and stooped to touch Kagome. Her skin was a little too cool to the touch, and he needed to build a fire – now. As if sensing his fear, Rin pulled up next to him.

"Jaken is already asleep, so Ah-Un will make a fire," she told him.

He nodded, considering that Jaken was probably the one who started the fire with the staff. He watched, interested, as Rin hummed to herself as she picked up dried pieces of wood on the outskirts of the clearing. She also brought a pile of dried leaves and sprinkled them atop the wooden pile. Picking up a piece of cloth from within Kagome’s satchel, she wrapped it around a large branch and brought it to the dragon. The left head snuffed as the right one stretched towards the wood and blew a small flame, igniting the cloth. Sesshoumaru smiled as he watched the girl place the now-burning wood on the firewood pile and sat next to it to enjoy the warmth. Picking up the rabbit, he sat next to the girl, but she took it from him. Procuring a small knife with a golden hilt from inside her kimono, she began to shear the hide from the animal. When she was finished, she fetched a metal rod from Ah-Un’s saddle and pierced the rabbit with it, centering it. There were a few more metal pieces, and then she was assembling them over the fire. She finished by spearing the mushrooms on either side of the meat, and rubbing it all with an herb that was in the pile of items she had returned with. She placed the item-clad rod between two erect rods that she had placed on either side of the fire, and Sesshoumaru wondered at the girl as he realized she was cooking everything. He scrunched his nose at the smell, but if it was nutritious to them, he would endure it.

Turning his attention to Kagome, he stood and picked her up, sitting again by the fire and placing her in his lap. He stroked the silky strands from her face, lingering to keep contact with her skin. The two sat in companionable silence as Rin waited for the food to cook, and Sesshoumaru waited for Kagome to awaken.

After approximately half an hour, Rin stood and went once again to the dragons’ saddle, where she fished out a heavy cloth and a small piece of wood. The cloth she used, he would see, to remove the rod and its’ contents from above the fire, and then used the wood to keep the food off the ground. She allowed it to cool for several minutes, and then used the cloth and her knife to push everything off the rod and onto the block. To his surprise, she looked up at him. She was waiting for something. She glanced at Kagome, and he realized. She was unsure if she was allowed to eat, since Kagome had not awakened.

"Eat, Rin," he told her, and she smiled happily as she began to cut off pieces of meat and popped mushrooms into her mouth.

After an hour, after Rin had finished and settled next to the log to sleep, and after Jaken had woken up and settled back down to real sleep against a tree, Sesshoumaru allowed himself the luxury of allowing himself to be tired. He sensed no danger, and was very groggy. He allowed himself to ponder the miko once more. Knowing nothing about the inner workings of a human, he guessed that it was probably the loss of blood that made her sleep for so long. Perhaps she was healing herself, being a priestess. Attempting to resist sleep, Sesshoumaru decided to lay down, since it would be easier to hold her. He dropped to his side, Kagome in front of him and facing the fire. He placed an arm around her, clutching her to his chest. Breathing deeply, he ingrained the sweet, vanilla smell of the woman into his memory as he felt himself drift off to sleep.

End Chapter

 ==================================

E/N:

A little glossary for those that don't know. I put them in order that they appear (because I'm OCD like that). Please, if I get something wrong, let me know. Kthnxbai.

Ofuda - spell scrolls embedded with spiritual energy.

Oni - Ogre.

Hama no Ya - Kagome's Sacred Arrows.

Shikon no Tama - Jewel of Four Souls.

Sengoku Jidai - Feudal Era.

Miko - Priestess.

Kyudo - The Way of the Bow.

Youkai - demon.

Kazaana - Miroku's Wind Tunnel. (Well, ex-wind tunnel, lol)

Hama no Reiryoku - Kagome's Purification powers.

Kitsune - Fox Demon

Ningen - human.

Bakusaiga - for those not current, Sesshoumaru has his old arm back and a new, extremely powerful sword, Bakusaiga. They were both created from his own youki when he no longer cared to posses Tessaiga. More on Bakusaiga when it calls for it...

Onna - woman.

Youki - demon's aura that can be detected by other demons or those with spiritual powers.

"Nan de" - similar to "what the...".

Daiyoukai - a great, god-like demon.

Obi - an intricate, huge cloth that when folded properly, serves as a "belt" for those who wear kimono.

Kaze no Kizu - Wound of the Wind, or Wind Scar.

Tanuki - badger demon, often referred to as 'raccoon dogs'.

"Daijoubou-ka" - "Are you ok?"

"Hai" - "yes".

"Ano" - "but".

Taijiya - Demon Exterminator.

Houshi - Monk.

Nekomata – a two-tailed cat. (it is implied that it is of demon origin)

Jyaki - Miasma, poisonous fumes.

"Ee to" - similar to "Umm..."

"Nani" - similar to "huh" or "what"

"Iie" - "No"

"Gomen/ Gomen Nasai" - using 'gomen' by itself is like saying 'sorry', whereas 'gomen nasai' is like saying 'I'm really sorry'.

"Aisumimasen" - similar to Gomen Nasai, but more proper and personal. "Forgive me".

"Arigatou/ Domo Arigatou" - Whereas 'arigatou' itself is 'thank you', 'domo arigatou' is like 'thank you very much'.

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