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Safe Haven

Alpha

 

Chapter 1- Safe Haven

 

Prompt - Haunting

 

Inspired By - Youkai Yume's Raindrops- 08 - Page 43

 

Note:

 

- I hope y'all enjoy this! ^.^

 

Edit: I realized my mistake. New moon = no moon. I wrote it as a full moon. Problem fixed.

 

Also, I write Sesshoumaru's fur over his shoulder as a tail because I remember reading an early interview with Rumiko Takahashi- his fur was supposed to be attached to him in the form of a tail. But the American animators screwed up and made it detached from his tail bone...so it became 'a fur that is apart of him, but not'. In my stories, unless stated otherwise, Sesshoumaru's fur is his tail. That is my preference.

 

Disclaimer:

 

I don't Inuyasha or the characters.

 

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Alpha

Chapter 1 - Safe Haven

 

 

"Fuck," Inuyasha growled out as a searing pain tore into his back. He bore his fangs with a snarl and whirled around on the balls of his feet, Tessaiga slicing through the air- barely missing the sniggering feline demon. Kami he hated cats! And why today, of all days, did they have to attack like this and split the group up?! Fucking new moon! His senses were muted...and with it, his abilities to mend his wounds slowed to a crawl. It wasn't closing fast enough at all... "Get back here, ya damned monkey!" He was swinging from branch to branch with his tail...like a stupid monkey youkai would!

 

"Don't you have eyes? Can't you see what I am? Is that handy nose of yours broken, too?" The cat taunted half indignantly, obviously miffed over the "mix up".

 

"Shut the fuck up and die already!" Inuyasha snapped, letting loose a blast from the Tessaiga that missed by a mile.

 

"Watch it, Inuyasha!" Miroku called irritatedly from across the way. He'd nearly been grazed by the Wind Scar.

 

"The fucker won't stand still!" He grumped back at the monk as Miroku tended to his own pressing feline problems.

 

"You truly expect them to?" The monk's reply had him grunting back as a response. He knew damn well they wouldn't...he just wished--

 

"Hiraikotsu!" Sango's battle cry rang out along with the tell-tale whirring of her boomerang.

 

"Shit!" Inuyasha dove aside, rolling across the ground before leaping to his feet again as the weapon sliced through the area he'd stood mere seconds before. "Oi! You tryin' ta kill me?!"

 

"Sorry," Sango's strained reply came as she took on two felines at once, Kirara lashing out at them whenever the oppertunity presented itself.

 

Kagome wasn't faring any better...but she was farther away from the others, standing where the battle had actually began, with Shippou and Rin in tow. A purified arrow lodged in the ground powered her pink barrier that kept them safe while she tried to take shots at the neko farther from her friends... The only thing was...every time she found an opening that might turn the tables, some of the overgrown cats would attack her barrier and block her shots! She had to stop what she was doing and reinforce the barrier each time. Talk about frustrating! How was she supposed to help out when she couldn't even attack?!

 

"Dammit," Kagome cursed under her breath as she felt a jolt from behind. She loosed her hold on her bow to extend a hand and release some of her reiki to bolster the barrier. Kagome's azure eyes were drawn to the far right, a small group of neko youkai tag-teaming Sesshoumaru- he was closer to them than the others were. The cats kept pulling each other away in the nick of time, so none of them got killed or grievously injured. Smart, but irritating. "How's Jaken?"

 

"Still asleep!" Rin's voice rang out in reply. He'd been knocked out a while ago...and Kagome had dragged his scaly hide to safety inside the barrier. They really could have used his fire power right about now... "Take that!" Rin's cheerful little voice had lowered to a growl, Kagome turning to see what was going on. The eleven-year-old girl had chunked a rock at the offending neko battering the barrier- and she'd pegged him right between the eyes! Kagome grinned...and it only widened when his forehead began to smoke, the cat yowling and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Rin's mostly latent reiki manifested itself every once in a while, and Kagome was glad it had decided to join them now.

 

"Nice shot, Rin-chan!" Shippou laughed and cheered, turning a devious smile to the next nearest neko. "Fox Fire!" He sent a ball of fire hurdling at the cat's backside, catching his tail alight. Kagome had never quite heard any living being let out a squall like the cat demon did, the youkai hopping around before trying to turn and catch his tail to put the fire out. The smell of burnt hair was rank enough that it made Kagome's nose crinkle, but she was proud of her two huge helpers. They had been driving away the annoyances and buying her time to try and shoot arrows.

 

"Alright...," she breathed out softly, grabbing her bow and arrow back up with both hands. "Let's see if we can find an opening." She pulled the string back on her bow so taut it creaked, her fingertips going numb from the force. However, Kagome didn't let any of her reiki seep into it. Not yet. She didn't want to alert them and foil her precious chance at striking back. But...

 

"Dammit...they're all so close to the others...I can't--" The words died on her lips as an all-too-familiar sensation teased her senses. A Shikon shard?! "Over there..." She faced the left side of the field, squinting at the dark tree line. The Shikon was there...the brightness dulled by something...or, rather, someone. Two greenish-golden eyes glowed in the darkness, their focus on the battle. How could this person dull the shine? It wasn't fully tainted, but even then it glowed with an unnatural light that Kagome would recognize anywhere. From miles away. But it seemed like...it was being repressed... She turned the nocked bow up towards this person with the unsettling ability, aiming carefully and preparing to fill the arrow with reiki.

 

"Uhh...Kagome...," Shippou's hesitant voice reached her ears, a small hand tugging on her plain navy shirt.

 

"Hang on a minute, Shippou...I think I've got a shot," Kagome tried to placate as she aimed true, pulling back on the bow so far it creaked in protest. This one shot just might end the whole battle!

 

"I don't think we have a minute," the panic in his voice alarmed her, Kagome reluctantly abandoning her kill shot to look at him...and then in the direction he was pointing, the color drained from his face. She was sure it drained right out of hers, too. Her fingers slacked on the bow as everything seemed to play out in slow motion...like a scene from a horror movie or something.

 

"Adamant Barrage!" Inuyasha's angry roar bellowed from across the field, his Tessaiga glittering like thousands of diamonds in the sunlight. His swing was almost agonizingly slow as it came down, diamonds launching from his blade. The nimble cat had already gotten out of the line of fire...leaving Kagome, Rin, and Shippou directly in its path. She watched Inuyasha's eyes enlarge, as if realizing his mistake...a bit too late.

 

Why did it have to be one of his barrier-piercing attacks?!

 

Kagome snapped into action, adrenaline pumping so hard in her veins she could hardly hear anything over the sound of her own blood rushing in her ears. She yanked her bow up and released a quick shot that, aided by her reiki, would purify some of the first wave and buy them time. The bow dropped from her hand, Kagome whirling to the right to grab up a petrified Shippou in her left arm. He was a little bigger than he used to be, and heavier, but not terribly so. Idly, Kagome noticed she could see Sesshoumaru, his eyes widening. He knew what was transpiring, but a group of the pesky cats literally jumped on him, preventing him from acting immediately. Was this their plan all along? She didn't have time to think on it, Kagome dashing back to grab Rin up in the other arm. The terrified girl was clinging to Jaken like a lifeline, the weight of the two of them together making her tilt to the side. 'Too heavy...' But she never stopped moving. Kagome grit her teeth as she pulled them all in close, urgently scrambling towards her right, hoping upon hope that Sesshoumaru could help when given the chance.

 

But the diamond shards had already started whizzing past her attempt at a delay...not many had been purified. Time sped up, and Kagome felt far too slow. A fractured shard grazed her left ankle, drawing blood and slowing her down further. 'I'll have to...,' her frantic thought began and ended, Kagome's will resolute. She had to get the children and unaware imp out of here! "Transform!" Kagome commanded as she threw Shippou as hard as she could to the right, just out of danger. Another shard bit into her left cheek and ear. He transformed into a big pink balloon, ready to catch someone if needed.

 

"Hurry, Kagome!" Shippou urged shrilly, the girl taking Rin into her left arm to toss to safety.

 

"Jaken first!" She insisted, latching onto Kagome, making her stagger forwards. The woman's lips stretched into a thin line, but she hurled the water imp at Shippou. He was caught with relative ease and promptly dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. It was that moment that a diamond caught her right upper arm, creating a shallow gash that bled and stung. Was that...were those screams she heard? Why were they calling her name? Another shard clipped her back, Kagome crying out and falling to her knees. Oh...that's why.

 

Rin wriggled out of her hold and tried to get her on her feet again...but all Kagome could think about were the three large shards coming at them. She couldn't carry Rin any farther...but she could still protect her. The elder miko grabbed the younger by the arm and yanked her down, pushing her to the ground...turning her back on the projectiles as she did. Rin was yelling at her, but she couldn't hear the words. Blinding pain seared through her left shoulder, something warm freely flowing down her front and back. 'Who...who is that screaming?' Kagome wondered, her mind somewhat detached from the goings-on. It was like she was watching everything on a big screen from somewhere else...like it wasn't her there. Rin's face morphed from frightened irritated confusion into horror. 'Oh...I was the one screaming...,' Kagome realized belatedly, throat sore, as she felt gravity pulling her down on top of Rin. 'I...I can't move anymore...I don't have the strength.' The girl was pushing at her, trying to get her off. 'But I can still...' She let out a sigh, her magenta purifying energy coming to the surface in waves, blanketing them '...protect her...' If all she could do was be a meat shield...then that's what she would do. But she would make sure no shards hit Rin. They would purify before they got all of the way through her.

 

"Lady Kagome, please!" Rin wailed in her ear, sobbing loudly. "Please!" She sounded so broken...why? Everything was alright. The pain was numbing now...they just had to wait it out.

 

"Shh....shh...," Kagome shushed softly, petting her hair. Her fingers were awful sticky... "'S okay...'s okay...." Turning her head slightly, Kagome realized her fingers were coated in blood. Was that her blood?! She took a deep breath. The less she panicked, the less she would bleed. A shard landed in the ground right by the startled miko's head with a loud 'thunk'. Rin screamed. Though unnerved, Kagome pulled her close, shielding her eyes from the sight with her body. "...won't hu...rt you...if you...stay here... Shh....shhh...."

 

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin cried, her voice a desperate plea as she continued to sob. "Please! Please! Kagome-sama is dying!" Dying...? She was...how...her wounds weren't that bad...were they? They couldn't be. I mean...she was a little warm and sleepy, but she knew better than to let herself rest. Wasn't Rin more afraid of the shards? The girl's voice broke off into broken pleas...ending in a shriek when she peeked over Kagome's right shoulder despite her efforts to keep her blind to the danger. Kagome braced herself for impact and waited as Rin recoiled. And she waited...and waited... Hm. "Milord!" Kagome let out a held breath in a whoosh of air...when did she start holding her breath? Everything felt a little fuzzy now, and Sesshoumaru's youki just made her feel more disoriented as it washed over her...prodding, seeking. She managed to greet it weakly with her reiki, the pink energy lowering back into its host soon after. There was a vicious snarl and the familiar sound of a body hitting the ground. And then...everything twisted and distorted, a severe pain unlike any other she had previously encountered shooting out from her left shoulder and searing every nerve across her body... The cries that came from her mouth didn't sound like her. They were weak, agonized noises a dying animal might make. Was she really dying..?

 

"...iko...miko...miko!" The snap of Sesshoumaru's commanding tone brought her back. Kagome blinked her eyes at him blearily...when had she squeezed her eyes shut? Why was everything tilting back and forth? He let out a breath. Was that...relief in his eyes? "This Sesshoumaru is going to close your wound so you do not bleed out. Nod if you understand." It took a lot of effort...but Kagome found enough strength to nod her head once before lolling forwards helplessly. "This will hurt."

 

"...M'a'ready...hurt...," Kagome managed to breathe out. How much worse could it be? All too soon...she wished she'd never thought that. The burning seared her flesh like lava, seeping beneath the skin and travelling and through her veins. The heat before was nothing compared to this! It felt like she was getting electrocuted and swallowed up by magma at the same time, everything burning unbearably while electricity jolted along her nerves. Her body was flailing, she could feel that much, despite her eyes opening and shutting of their own accord, hot tears gathering the corners and trickling down. Kagome was aware she was making sounds, but she couldn't hear them over the roar of pain that surged throughout her body...

 

"M-Mi-Milord...," a bloodied Rin sobbed from the side, clinging to a pale Shippou all the while. He had a thousand yard stare as he watched his mother figure convulse involuntarily with the most horrible sounds he'd ever heard emitting from her pink lips. Why...why did this happen..? Why did she...why did Sesshoumaru have to...she was in so muchpain...and there was nothing he could do to ease it...so much blood...

 

"Sesshoumaru!" Inuyasha snarled as he skid over, bloody and weak as hell from the fight. Fucking cats scattered once Sesshoumaru caught the upper hand and started slaughtering them... "The fuck'd you do to Kagome?!"

 

"I saved her life," Sesshoumaru growled back at the ungrateful pup. Kagome had already passed out from the pain, but her body still trembled and jolted into a convulsion every now and again. He held her from the side, the woman in a sitting position in his arms.

 

"Thefuck you did!" Inuyasha screeched, pointing his sword at the older Inu. "You used your poison, you bastard!"

 

"This Sesshoumaru used only the barest amount to seal her wound- it is a temporary solution," he explained, irritated that he had to do so to quell the insufferable hanyou's temper. "Lower your sword...unless you wish to cause even more damage to your packmate." He knew that would hit Inuyasha where it hurt- he needed to put the damned thing away before he killed the female. Inuyasha's ears flattened to his skull, the satisfyingly amaroidal scent of guilt heavy in the air as he slowly lowered the blade.

 

"Kagome!" Sango yelled, running towards them with the monk in tow, both bloody and exhausted from the battle. Kilala mewed weakly from her shoulder as she dropped down by Sesshoumaru's side, moving Kagome's shredded and burned shirt to inspect the wound on her back. He shifted the miko so that her head rested against his arm, said arm cradling her by her collarbone, his maroon striped hand gently gripping her far shoulder.

 

"Will it hold until we get somewhere safe?" Sesshoumaru asked the taijiya, his golden eyes burning into her dark orbs as she met his gaze. She swallowed hard, eyes burning to see her dear friend in such a state.

 

"I think so," Sango answered softly, her voice heavy with emotion. She had seen Kagome hurt before...and hurt badly...but this...this particular wound was the very worst physical injury Kagome had ever had to suffer... It would leave deep scars in her flesh. Scars worse than Sango's... "You sealed it shut with your poison?" She could smell the acrid burning of the poison and Kagome's burnt flesh, the skin lightly grayed around the areas where her flesh had been shorn. She was just glad there wasn't any blistering or severe burning of her skin. Sesshoumaru hummed and inclined his head.

 

"The bastard coulda killed her!" Inuyasha yelled, clearly upset.

 

"Like you almost did?" Sango's chilling tone shut him up, her eyes piercing right through him as his ears flattened again. His face was twisted in agony. She knew it was an accident, he would never harm Kagome physically. Said miko would probably even forgive him the moment she could speak again. But the fact remained that his stupidity and haste almost got her killed...again. He needed to digest that and not just spout off in anger like he usually did. Turning her attention back to her unconscious friend's wounds, her eyes roved it again carefully and she realized... "You didn't use much of your poison...and it wasn't very potent."

 

"Hn."

 

"The skin is merged...but weakly," Sango shocked Inuyasha and Miroku. "If she's jostled too much or if it stretches very much, it'll tear open again."

 

"It is as I thought, then," Sesshoumaru hummed thoughtfully. "Hold her. I will shed my armor and carry her."

 

"Now wait just a fuckin' minute!" Inuyasha began, bristling.

 

"Inuyasha," Miroku spoke warningly.

 

"I fucked up, okay?! I should be the one to carry her," Inuyasha's voice dropped from another burst of anger into a soft, responsible, guilt-ridden tone.

 

"...Although honorable, you cannot carry her without jostling her to some degree, correct?" Sesshoumaru surprised them again as he slowly and gingerly handed the woman off to the demon slayer. "If she loses much more blood, she will die." Inuyasha's face tightened and his swallow sounded strangled. "This one will carry her."

 

"But..."

 

"Just stop it, Inuyasha!" Shippou's sudden yell startled most of the adults and caused Rin to jump, her arms still around the kit. Sesshoumaru's golden orbs simply turned back to him as Shippou's chest heaved, tears glassing his emerald eyes over. "Drop your stupid-ass pride for once! Kagome...she...I won't let momma die because of your selfishness!" Salty tears dripped down his cheeks, fists clenched and shaking at his sides as the anger and sorrow ate him alive from the inside out. He wasn't about to lose another momma!

 

"He was attempting to right his wrong for once, pride aside," Sesshoumaru spoke as he let out a low whistle, Inuyasha's triangular ears hidden in his hair now as he frowned at his half-brother. Shippou turned his teary gaze on the daiyoukai. "Something that should be condoned. But this...is simply something he cannot do." Ah-Un sauntered into the clearing and Sesshoumaru began unstrapping his armor. "You mother will not die, kit. This one will see to it."

 

"T-T-Th-Thank you S-Se-Sesshou-maru-maru-sama," Shippou blubbered before losing it and busting out into an all-out sob.

 

"Shippou-chan," Rin crooned, holding onto the kit tightly as he sank to his knees, crying into her shoulder. "I-It's okay...Sesshoumaru-sama has Kagome-san now....everything's gonna be okay..." She was also attempting to reassure herself of this...

 

"Not that we aren't ungrateful, because we are very grateful, but...why are you doing so much to keep Kagome-san alive?" Miroku finally asked the question that had been burning in him since the moment Kagome went down and Sesshoumaru turned into a vicious...well...animal, in battle. Nonliterally speaking, of course.

 

"We are a joined pack, are we not?" Sesshoumaru asked in return as he finished unclasping his armor. He pulled it apart and off, moving to set it atop his nearing beast of burden. "This one could hardly allow your alpha female to perish."

 

"Alpha...," Miroku started and stopped, eyes wide.

 

"You view Kagome...as our alpha female?" Sango asked with a blink of bewilderment, herself.

 

"Hn," he hummed simply, using his foot to scoop up his faithful unconscious water imp and gracefully toss him atop Ah-Un. "And Inuyasha is your alpha male...only because your alpha female allows it. He would make for a better beta male."

 

"Fuck you," Inuyasha snipped and growled at him with his fangs bared- he wanted to argue, but decided against it for now, biting his tongue. Kagome's safety came first.

 

"With all due respect, milord...that still does not explain your vicious turn when she went down," Miroku felt brave enough to press, the man curious of Sesshoumaru's motives. Sango's brow furrowed as she looked between the two curiously as she steadily held the evenly-breathing Kagome upright.

 

"Hn...," Sesshoumaru eyed the clever monk as he turned back towards the group. He was fishing for the 'why' behind how he acted- Sesshoumaru wasn't oblivious. Nor was he brainless, like his half-brother. "She is your alpha. As a fellow alpha, it would have been dishonorable to let her die." He strode back to Sango and knelt down beside her, taking the miko into his arms with such gentle care that Sango's surprise could be seen all over her face. Carrying her with her back facing downwards would have been a grave mistake. No, he'd gathered her to him with one of her jean-clad legs on either side of his with her rear against his right arm. His left arm kept her upright, Kagome's head lying against his shoulder. The bloodflow would center towards her bottom half so even if her wound did somehow tear open, it wouldn't bleed much. He kept her face turned inward, towards his neck, so he could monitor her breathing and adjust her or hold her down as necessary. The monk was still looking at him skeptically. "She also saved the life of my ward...so I am honor-bound to ensure her life." Miroku finally seemed satisfied with that answer.

 

"We appreciate all that you've done and all that you are doing," Sango piped up respectfully as she stood with a soft groan. She was sore all over...and her wounds needed tending... Sesshoumaru inclined his head to her in acknowledgement. "Is there somewhere safe we can go, Miroku? In case those remaining neko come back..." Said monk took stock of their location.

 

"The nearest village is more than half a day's walk from here," he informed them regretfully, idly wondering on Inuyasha's strange silence. "I don't know of any other safer places to hide out around this area...and darkness will fall soon. Two or so hours." And they were all wounded...all but the children. "And this is..." He peered over at a now-bristling hanyou.

 

"Shut it, monk," Inuyasha snapped at him grouchily. He knew what night it was...and it rubbed him the wrong way that Sesshoumaru knew, too. That he'd be around for it...

 

"We will go to my shiro," Sesshoumaru spoke again, amidst the downtrodden hesitation and fear. They were afraid of being attacked again in their condition, and rightly so. However, his words caused another bout of shock in the pack. It was almost amusing.

 

"What?! No fuckin' way!" Inuyasha barked out immediately.

 

"Inuyasha!" Sango glowered at the half-breed.

 

"I'm not going to any fuckin' home of his to be treated like shit on this night!" He hissed back at her defensively.

 

"Not all of my shiros are occupied," Sesshoumaru raised a brow at his half-brother. "It is devoid of servants, so what remains of your dignity shall remain in-tact." Inuyasha still bristled and growled at him. "My shiro is also protected by a barrier...would you rather sleep in the open or in safety? Your wounds aren't closing as quickly as they usually do. It would take a few scant hours before rogue mindless demons slaughtered you."

 

"Inuyasha," Sango whispered insistently as he continued to growl at the elder Inu. "You know he's got a point..." Inuyasha knew he did...but that didn't mean he liked it! "Besides...we're pretty exhausted, too..." He took one look at his pack and knew she wasn't kidding...they'd taken a beating. But his fur was still ruffled in having to take Sesshoumaru's aid....dammit.

 

"Fine," Inuyasha replied shortly, making his pack breathe a collective sigh of relief.

 

"How far away is your shiro, might I ask, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Miroku turned back to Sesshoumaru. He was glad they could rest easy...even for a night...

 

"An hour by foot, we will reach it before night falls," he responded, trotting towards the west...the direction of his shiro. The pack was relieved, and catching on to the silent order to follow him.

 

"May Shippou-chan and I ride on Ah-Un?" Rin asked before they got very far.

 

"You may," Sesshoumaru gave his permission, listening to his little Rin help the sniffling kit onto his dragon. Some hushed conversations ensued, and some grumbling from the unsettled hanyou, but the hour that followed was mostly calm...

 

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Sesshoumaru had lead them to his shiro, as promised, in under an hour's time. There were no servants, so Inuyasha holed up in a guest room...only opening up for Miroku to tend to his wounds and vice versa. Sesshoumaru put Kagome down in a guest room beside his own, lying her carefully on her front and aiding the taijiya in changing her clothes, then cleaning and wrapping her wounds. Rin kept a worried Shippou occupied before they both fell asleep braiding numerous flowers around a fire. The monk tended to the weary slayer's wounds, and the daiyoukai retired to his room. Before long...most of the inhabitants were asleep...

 

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Her left shoulder hurt. Worse than she could remember anything else ever hurting in her whole life... Breaths puffing out as she felt something mildly warm and soft on her face, she started to move...and then stopped with a wince as white-hot pain shot down her arm, back, and across both shoulders. Kagome let out a soft whimper, opening her cloudy azure eyes as she tried to recall what woke her up... 

There!

It was the sound of a wind instrument being played softly...it wasn't quite a flute... Kagome just rested and listened for a long moment, the melody soft...but beautiful. Mournful...lonely...haunting, even, but beautiful. Turning her head, she found a cracked shoji screen door...the place where the music was coming from. A hint of light filtered in from outside. 'I want...I want to hear more...and breathe some fresh air...' Determined, Kagome held her breath and slowly- achingly slowly- leaned up, supporting herself on her arms above her futon. The pain was enough to make her bite both of her lips, tears gathering in the corners of her eyes. With shaky breaths, she managed to turn and sit on her rear. 'Got this far...' She congratulated herself mentally. But there was no way she would be able to get to her feet...it was almost too much just to get herself into a sitting position...and, besides that, she was dizzy and light-headed. 'I'd just fall...' She frowned at herself, still adamant about getting to the shoji, at least. Worrying her bottom lip beneath her teeth, Kagome made up her mind. Slowly, carefully, leaning more heavily on her right side, she slid across the sleek, polished bamboo floor. The coolness felt good against her flesh, goosebumps raising as she made her way to the shoji screen. She was panting and exhausted by the time she made it, but she did make it! Every heave of her chest only fueled the searing pain in her shoulder, but she was getting used to it now...it was...sort of liveable. With trembling fingers, Kagome slid the shoji open centimeter by centimeter, breathing deep when a cool breeze caressed her face. 'So nice...' She released a tense breath, just soaking in the cool night air and the beautiful lilting music drifting through the air. There was a certain...sorrow...to it that she could relate to. The feeling hit her somewhere deep inside, nestling into the part of her heart Inuyasha once occupied. Opening azure eyes, she observed a lightly lit courtyard bathed in starlight while the new moon hid away. She could make out lush greenery in the soft light, as well as a covered walkway just outside of her room. Kagome scooted outside, observing things more closely with a smile ghosting her lips.

 

"Beautiful...," she breathed out, the combination of music and scenery soothing. But then...the music stopped... "Mmhhh?" She looked around slowly as not to jar herself and start the dizziness up anew. "Where did it..?" White suddenly fluttered into sight, and Kagome turned a little to fast, wobbling and leaning on her- now tired- right side for support. Sesshoumaru was before her, his countenance glowing with an ethereal light in the darkness, his vibrant golden eyes seeming to emit a warm light all their own.

 

"You should be resting, miko," he spoke, chiding her lightly. She looked as though she might keel over any moment...

 

"I don't think I can get back to sleep...," Kagome answered softly, chest heaving lightly and eyes clouded with pain. "There...there was music, though. Didn't you hear it..?"

 

"Yes...but it's stopped now," Sesshoumaru tried to appease the stubborn miko. "Go back to your futon."

 

"Must not've been a threat, then," Kagome laughed softly, amused by his nonchalance and attempt to get her back to bed. His rare mother-hen side had never been aimed at her before...only Rin. It warmed her on the inside.

 

"Hnn...did you believe it was a threat?" He asked with a furrowed brow.

 

"No," her immediate answer surprised him. "It didn't feel threatening..." Kagome tried to think of a good way to describe it. "It felt...sad. The melody was beautiful...haunting...but...sad."

 

"Hn...are you going back to your futon now?" Sesshoumaru asked, feeling somewhat perturbed.

 

"No," Kagome laughed that soft, almost unheard laugh again. He frowned. "It feels nicer out here...cool...I was too hot..." Her arm buckled and wavered, Kagome wincing and panting as she put more weight on her left hand. She was covered in a light sheen of sweat...it burned her back and left shoulder...a place on her right arm, and her left ankle.

 

"Stubborn female," Sesshoumaru spoke, his tone chiding again as he moved to her right side and sat, pulling her against him so that she could sit...almost upright. He pooled his tail around them so that he could scoop her up if anything happened, or catch her if she decided to try and move without warning.

 

"Thank you," Kagome smiled warmly up at him, a light rosy hue to her cheeks as she gratefully leaned into him. Sesshoumaru. The aristocratic assassin, slaughterer of men, Lord of the West. His skin was as soft and warm as anyone else's...but his silky hair, falling all around him and now Kagome too, was waaay prettier and softer than any other hair she'd ever felt. And it was nice and cool, counterbalancing his body heat surrounding her. "...And not just for this..." She leaned her head against his chest fully, trusting him. "You saved my life earlier, too, didn't you? It hurt like hell...but I realize it was necessary."

 

"Hn...," that caught Sesshoumaru's attention, the male carefully watching the female in his hold. "I couldn't let you die." His voice was soft.

 

"Well, I'm grateful you saved me, whatever your reason for doing so might've been," Kagome smiled as she listened to his heart beat. Just like hers, if not a little faster. Demon's heartbeats seemed to be faster than human's for whatever reason...maybe it was because their bodies worked differently than humans?

 

"Hmm....," Sesshoumaru replied, earnestly surprised the curious girl wasn't digging for the 'why' behind it like her friends did...but he was glad for it. He was content just holding her like this...listening to her talk and breathe beside him...him, the proud daiyoukai of the west. His people would accuse him of following in his father's footsteps...and so would his mother. But not all humans were the same. Rin taught him that...along with Kagome. But...as much as he desired to be with her...he knew he could not. She was Inuyasha's female. Beyond that, his people might riot and try to kill her. He was the heir...he had to produce a pure-blooded heir of his own. She could not give him that. And, as much as he was loathe to admit it, he couldn't always protect her. This must have been how his father felt. Why he'd hidden his human hime lover away in a protected shiro until he could no more. He couldn't birth a child...and she couldn't do it alone. It was why he returned her to her people...but they ultimately plotted to kill her and the child... He couldn't fully protect her in the end, and died trying to. Sesshoumaru couldn't do that... Not to her.

 

"I wish I could hear that music again," Kagome mused aloud, blinking blearily out at the serene scenery around them.

 

"Why?" Sesshoumaru asked before he could think to stop himself.

 

"Because...because it was beautiful, and relaxing, and...I can...empathize with the player," Kagome replied softly, meaning every word. He was looking down at her curiously now. "That sort of sadness...I've felt it before. I understand it...and I feel a kinship to the player, in that way."

 

"Hm...," Sesshoumaru hummed softly, eyes softening at her minutely. Truly, she was a wonder... He bent down, carefully shifting her a little.

 

"Hey! What are you...," Kagome started and stopped, watching Sesshoumaru as he sat up again, a blade of grass in his free hand. She blinked at him, bewildered, as he put it up to his lips. Was he gonna eat it?! To her utter shock, he blew across it and the tune she heard earlier drifted into the air. "You! That tune--!" The corners of his lips lifted as his amused molten golden orbs met azure. She burst into a soft laughter, holding the left side of her chest as she did. It hurt to laugh...but she couldn't help it. "You're full of all kinds of surprises." Kagome grinned as she wiped her eyes, settling back into him fully again.

 

He held her against him, enjoying every second as Sesshoumaru played his sorrowful tune for her. Ironically, he'd created the song while thinking about her and their inability to be together. But she enjoyed it...much to his pleasure. So he played it for her, Kagome getting heavier as she gradually gave in to her exhaustion.

 

"Y...you....play beau..tifully...Sessho....," she murmered as sleep gripped her again, pulling her into the painless abyss.

 

Sesshoumaru's chest puffed proudly, the male continuing his tune until she was good and well asleep. He brought it to a slow, natural close as not to wake her, before dropping the slip of grass off the side of the walkway. Carefully gathering the female in his arms like before, Sesshoumaru brought her back inside the shiro. He left the shoji open, sitting with her and attempting to put her back to bed...but she wouldn't release his neck. He sighed softly, sitting with his little female. What would it hurt..? He could be with her a little longer... After making sure she was mildly comfortable, he pulled the sheet up to cover her, his tail in wait around them just in case. Encircling his arms around Kagome, Sesshoumaru took a deep breath of her refreshing scent. A combination of her scent, comforting weight, and body heat relaxed him enough to slip into a light sleep, himself. If her pack found them like this later...he would simply tell them that she wandered off, then fell asleep on him. It was mostly true. They didn't need to know the unsaid things in-between. And Sesshoumaru...found himself finally at peace on the inside, able to rest with the same tranquility of a contented male mate with his cherished female mate. And that was enough...if only for a night.

 

- End -

 

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- There will be more.

 

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