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Taking Charge

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Chapter 2 - Taking Charge

Note:

 

- I'm cutting it close again with a post, and I apologize for that. I had troubles with this chapter, marched on through writer's block, and then had to cut it short. There was, like, double the length, but it got OOC somewhere along the way and I had to cut it down... It hurts, but sometimes you've gotta know when to cut ties to make it better. ><

 

- I hope y'all enjoy!

 

- Please review! x3

 

Disclaimer:

 

Not my anime/manga, not my characters.

 

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Chapter 2 - Taking Charge

 

"How do you think Kagome fared?" Miroku asked, concern coloring his voice.

 

"She was fine the few times I checked on her...," Sango replied softly as they padded down the hall. "But after Inuyasha's wounds worsened, I didn't have time to come back to her until now." Her lips pulled into a dissatisfied frown, dark purple ringing her chestnut eyes. She was exhausted...

 

"Hm," the monk hummed softly and nodded, sparing her a gentle look. He was tired, too, but not as much as she was. "If all is well, you need to get more rest."

 

"You don't mind handling the kids..?" Sango asked in return, part of her hoping for that reprieve. "...And the impossibly childish hanyou?" At that, Miroku's lips quirked.

 

"Not at all, my dear Sango," he patted her shoulder, keeping his hands in respectable places. She wasn't in any condition for his playing, and he wasn't one to take advantage of an injured woman. "Everything will be fine. You need your rest as much as Kagome does."

 

"Thank you," She whispered in response, reaching the back of the building...where Kagome's room was. She rapped lightly on the shoji. "I'm coming in."

 

"Hn," molten golden eyes slid open as the shoji did, the daiyoukai not exactly happy to have been woken from his doze. Sango and Miroku froze at the door, eyes wide. Sesshoumaru was reclining against a wall with Kagome tenderly held in his arms. Her hands clung to the front of his disheveled kimono, part of it open.

 

"What...how...I mean....," Sango stumbled over her words, wondering if she was hallucinating from lack of sleep.

 

"Pardon the intrusion," Miroku chimed in diplomatically, feeling the displeased aura Sango was too tired or shocked to feel. He kept his voice very low, however. "We came to check on Kagome-san's injuries. She was alone last we knew, so we are simply...surprised to see you here, milord. Might I inquire as to how our dear Kagome-san wound up...where she is?" He kept his tone light and humble...Sesshoumaru was one male he did not want to anger. Even if he was...cuddling? With their dear miko. Sango kept her mouth shut and nodded- so she wasn't delirious....

 

"Your stubborn miko wandered in the night," Sesshoumaru shocked them, his voice still husky from his nap. "This one brought her in...but she would not release me."

 

"Would you care for some assistance in her removal?" Miroku asked, trying not to stare. The absurd situations their unusual little miko got herself into...

 

"Let her rest," Sesshoumaru declined the aid with a flick of his wrist.

 

"Of course, milord," Miroku bowed politely. Sango mimicking his bow, eyes still wide in disbelief. "Thank you for taking such good care of our friend." Sesshoumaru hummed his acknowledgment, and Miroku backed out of the room, taking his lovely bewildered taijiya with him. Shutting the door, they shared a look.

 

"I'm...not losing my mind, am I, monk?" Sango asked in a hushed breath. "That was real, what I just saw?"

 

"It was very much real," Miroku confirmed, wrapping an arm around her and leading her down the hallway. "I think that's enough stimulation for one morning...time to rest, my dear." She simply nodded and followed his lead in a daze.

 

"Tsk," Sesshoumaru snorted, having heard every word. He would have been offended if the slayer hadn't look so haggard... His train of thought was broken by a shuddered breath against his collarbone. The daiyoukai looked down at the beauty in his hold, her angelic face drawn. Kagome's brows knit together and her pink little lips pursed into a most amusing pout. He could only guess what she might be dreaming of... In the privacy of the room, Sesshoumaru allowed himself to give an indulgent nuzzle to the side of her soft face before he gently rumbled an Inu comfort to her. Low growls, better felt than heard, emitted from his lips as he drew her in closer, mindful of her wounds. To his utter surprise, Kagome's face soon laxed and she appeared peaceful again as she gripped his kimono tighter and nestled in a little closer. Why...did she react...correctly? Was it because of the youkai influence she had already been introduced to? Or was it...something else? It was hard to tell... 

 

Sesshoumaru embraced the oppertunity, nonetheless, and held onto her a little more tightly. His tail covered her, keeping her cool flesh warm, while he buried his nose deep in her untamed raven locks and took in a nice, full breath, filling his olfactory senses with her. Pure Kagome. Fresh, clean, crisp-scented. But there was a lingering mar of blood... It wasn't much...a few drops here and there. Peeking around her back, he could see some red on her bandages...but not a lot. Not enough to matter. Good. Cradling her close, Sesshoumaru allowed his molten golden orbs to close again. He had a feeling he would need his rest while he could get it...

 

Kagome's breaths labored as she stirred, the onset of pain throbbing from her left shoulder outward. So much of her body hurt...but she was all warm and cozy... 'Why couldn't I have stayed asleep..?' She mentally groaned, missing the painless bliss that now eluded her. Unable to force unconsciousness past the irritating throb, Kagome huffed and slowly opened her hazy eyes. Fair peach and silver were the first two things she saw. After blinking rapidly, she began to realize that the fair peach was skin and the silver was hair. Hm? It wasn't Inuyasha... Curious, Kagome shifted with only a minor grimace at the pain...but it was totally worth it. She was graced with the slumbering face of one powerful daiyoukai, his usual emotionless mask replaced by the serenity of sleep. There were no drawn lines hinting at displeasure, or an irritated tick of the jaw, or even a knit brow. Sesshoumaru's facial muscles were lax for once, no signs of any sort of discontentment anywhere to be found. Silvery lashes fanned out over his cheeks, his chest rising and falling with each puff of breath. He looked...angelic.

 

Without thinking, Kagome's lithe fingers reverently traveled up towards his face, roving over his masculine chin to his cheek. Sesshoumaru's sharp features were delightfully soft to the touch... 'His skin's softer than mine...,' Kagome silently huffed, lips forming a natural pout. '...damn prettier-than-girls demon men...' Her forefinger slid over his maroon markings, and her eyes widened in wonder. They were slightly raised and felt...so smooth...almost like glass...but they were abnormally warm to the touch! It was like putting her hand next to a heater! His chest rumbled in a contained growl that made Kagome freeze and hold her breath. Was it a 'that feels good' growl...or a 'don't touch or I bite' sort of growl? She didn't know, but she didn't dare move her hand. The not knowing what his reaction meant and what to do about it sparked a mild panic in her chest...and it only escalated when silver-framed eyes lazily blinked open, the hazy pools of molten gold staring her down. Kagome felt frozen in place, blinking up at her captor with warming cheeks. Kami, he was beautiful...

 

"...Miko," Sesshoumaru spoke with a thick, sleep-addled tongue as he gazed down at the beautiful little vixen in his hold. What a sight to wake to. Her hair was still slightly mussed from sleeping, cheeks pinkened, lips slightly open in a loose pout... His eyes flickered down once, briefly focusing on her lips as he swallowed. Hard. The things this female did to him... And then her fingers twitched...and he inhaled sharply, eyes widening. She was touching his markings. Did she not realize how intimate that action was? ...But perhaps she truly didn't. She was human, after all... He moved his hand up and gently removed her hand from his face. Kagome flinched. "Do you realize...what you have just done..?"

 

"U-Umm...," Kagome stammered nervously, withering beneath his stern, prodding gaze. "I touched your face...and your marking, by accident... I'm sorry...you just...you looked so...so peaceful..."

 

"Hn," he hummed at her answer, nostrils flaring. Everything she spoke was truth...but... "What do you know of markings?"

 

"Hm..?" She hummed back at him and blinked, confusion evident on both her face and in her scent. "Well...they're different with every demon...if they have them...and some of them reflect status and packs and stuff." So she didn't know... He found himself simuntaneously disappointed and relieved.

 

"Only mates are given the privilege of touching one another's markings," Sesshoumaru explained, watching the miko's eyes widen, her cheeks flushing in embarrassment. "Do you know why?" She slowly shook her head. "They connect directly with our youki, and, thus, our very souls." He thought she had been wide-eyed before...now she was downright owlish, her face as red as Inuyasha's firerat robes.

 

"I-I didn't know! Kami! I'm sorry, Sesshoumaru!" Kagome immediately apologized, embarrassed as all hell. She hadn't meant to do something so...intimate! ...But something lingered in the back of her mind. The feeling of his marking against her fingers. He was warm...and the vague flickering feelings she got from him...were welcoming. Almost...tender. Was that the Sesshoumaru beneath the facade? She couldn't undo what she had done, or unfeel what she had felt from him...and now she found herself drawn to him just a little more... Kagome wanted to see a bit of that Sesshoumaru now...

 

"I did not believe so," he answered patiently, Kagome realizing he still had her hand in his when his clawed fingers wound around hers more tightly...but not enough to hurt. "That is why this one educated you." His brow rose at her, Kagome still flustered.

 

"Er...thank you...," she replied softly, meaningfully.

 

"Hn," he acknowledged her apology, gently replacing her hand between their chests, resting fully against his. A question rose in his mind...and, curious as he was, he couldn't stop himself from asking it. "...When you touched my markings...what did you feel?" Kagome blinked up at him in surprise.

 

"What I felt?" She echoed the question, recieving an incline of the head in affirmation. Wasn't this intimate stuff? Didn't he already know? "Well, um..." She decided honesty was best. Shifting slightly and wincing when she did, Kagome faced Sesshoumaru head-on with her rosy blush. "...I felt warmth." Kagome beamed up at him cheerfully, surprising him. "You're really warm...and gentle."

 

"...I see...," Sesshoumaru replied, curiosity sated. And cheeks just a little warm. Kagome stared in awe at the very faint pink that dusted his cheeks. "You will tell no one." She almost laughed. Almost.

 

"No one," she agreed with a nod. "Your secret is safe with me." He hummed, and Kagome could see a hint of insecurity in his eyes before it flickered away. Aw. She wished he were more huggable...she would have tried to console him just a little. "Thank you...for last night. And, apparently, all night..." He snorted, amusement glinting in his golden orbs.

 

"You would not release this Sesshoumaru," his response had her blushing in full again.

 

"Ahhh....sorry...," she apologized, dying of embarrassment again on the inside. He simply snorted, a hint of a smile curling the very ends of his lips. She found herself mesmerized by him once again...

 

"Heal and get strong again if you want my forgiveness, miko," he stunned her.

 

"Right...I'll do my best," Kagome spoke softly, nodding and wincing. After a moment of debate, she leaned against him fully again, head against his chest as her breathing labored.

 

"You are in pain."

 

"Yeah..."

 

"Hnnn...," Sesshoumaru listened for a moment, then nodded. Kagome tilted her head to the side curiously. He didn't answer immediately, but carefully gathered her in his arms and stood with her.

 

"Wh-what are you-?!"

 

"Be still, miko," he shushed, going to a dresser and retrieving a simple white yukata. "This will ease the pain..."

 

"What will?" She asked warily as he headed towards the door to the inside and opened it. Again he didn't answer immediately, instead strolling down the hall.

 

"Milord...where are you taking Kagome?" Miroku asked down the way, Kagome looking at him with owlish eyes.

 

"To bathe," he shocked both of them. "I have a hot spring." Kagome's shock quickly morphed into delight. "The warmth will ease her pain." He walked right on past the mystified monk. "Rin."

 

"Milord!" The child came running from an open room, Shippou hot on her heel.

 

"Momma!" The anxious kit cried as they reached the feet of the tall daiyoukai.

 

"Shippou," Kagome crooned softly, voice full of love. He had accidentally called her mom a few times...never on purpose like this before. It made her heart swell in her chest. She felt much like a mother to him...but she hadn't wanted to ask him to be. He'd had a mother...and she didn't want to be disrespectful that way. Or to seem like she was forcing herself into that role in his life. Kagome didn't want him to resent her. So that he was calling her that of his own free will...it made her heart soar. So wrapped up in her own emotions, she didn't see the minute softening of molten golden eyes.

 

"You will help the miko Kagome bathe," Sesshoumaru began his order, Shippou looking up at him with panic in his eyes.

 

"I'm coming, too!" He cried.

 

"You are a male," Sesshoumaru chided lightly with a raised brow.

 

"He always bathes with me," Kagome attempted to plead his case. But Rin was young and would notice the difference in gender... The thought struck her immediately after her plea, Sesshoumaru's lips downturning. She could already see the 'no' on his face... "What if he wears a cloth around his waist?" Molten gold met azure.

 

"Hakama," Sesshoumaru negotiated. "With his fundoshi." Kagome frowned, about to try another negotiation.

 

"Deal!" Shippou cried, two startled sets of eyes turning to the grinning fox. Sesshoumaru's silvery brow rose at the kit. "I'll do whatever you want, so long as I get to help momma. Rin'll need help, anyway." Kagome still looked unsatisfied.

 

"Very well," Sesshoumaru inclined his head. "Rin. You will bathe in a yukata."

 

"Yes, milord!" She nodded excitedly, glad to be of help.

 

"What if something happens?" Miroku asked, a worried frown etched into his face.

 

"You will sit outside the door in case there is a problem," Sesshoumaru assigned his place with an authoritive no-nonsense tone.

 

"Where will you be?" Miroku asked bravely.

 

"Hunting for your next meal," Sesshoumaru surprised them all. "While your alphas are unable to care for your pack, I will step in. Food is necessary for healing. This one will also bring fresh water."

 

"Thank you...Sesshoumaru," Kagome was the first to speak, her eyes softened and her tone full of warmth as they locked gazes again. Maybe....just maybe...this was part of Sesshoumaru's gentle side. Masked beneath a facade of coldness. Her smile warmed just a bit more. How many times had he shown them this? His true motives and intentions masked beneath a cold, unfeeling exterior? She recalled really noticing it for the first time when he gave up his quest for Tessaiga for Inuyasha's sake...

 

"Hn," came his simple reply, his gaze returned to the hall, his feet moving once more. "Come Rin, Shippou."

 

"Right!" Rin cheered.

 

"Coming!" Shippou jumped, the children following him down the corridor, Miroku lagging behind. Sesshoumaru was being awful...kind. He couldn't help but question it. The daiyoukai's excuse was valid...but he felt like...there was more to it than just that...

 

"If something happens, you will flare your reiki, monk," Sesshoumaru reclaimed Miroku's full attention.

 

"And that will signal you back?" He questioned, brow furrowing.

 

"Yes."

 

"Alright...," he answered slowly, uncertainly. "But...and I mean no disrespect, if I do signal and you make it back in time...what couldyou do? The damage would be done and-"

 

"Must you always question me?" Sesshoumaru asked after coming to a stop in the hallway. Miroku quickly stopped behind them, surprise crossing his face as the daiyoukai took a long, calming breath. He turned to face Miroku, Kagome peering between them worriedly. "Every single move I make, you question. Have I given you reason to distrust me, monk?"

 

"...No...," Miroku answered softly, gazing at the daiyoukai with some semblance of guilt on his face. "I don't distrust you... I worry for Kagome. She is always in the center of trouble..."

 

"That, we can agree on," Sesshoumaru inclined his head while Kagome huffed.

 

"Not always," the miko protested indignantly.

 

"Oh?" Sesshoumaru raised his thin brow dubiously. Kagome's cheeks burned hot.

 

"I didn't say 'not mostly', but 'not always'," Kagome shot back at him, earning another rare upwards tilt of his lips.

 

"So you can stay out of trouble?" He asked doubtfully. If one really listened, they could hear the teasing lilt to his tone. Miroku caught that lilt and watched them in awe. Shippou and Rin both caught it, the two grinning at one another.

 

"Yes, yes I can!" Kagome fumed. Then she paused. "You...you're teasing me, aren't you?!" Her tone had turned accusory as she blushed hard, eyes wide.

 

"Never," Sesshoumaru answered innocently, his lips cracking up just a hair more. Kagome gawked. He returned his attention to the awe-stricken monk. "To answer your other question, I would do everything in my power to keep this miko alive. This one has made a promise." He peered down at the kitsune kit, the young male beaming up at him, tail swaying to and fro happily. "This miko saved my ward." He peered over at the grinning Rin. "And this one is bound by pack rules." He returned his gaze to Miroku, his lips less upturned and more normal. "It is not just a list of rules to follow that can be broken...like the human rules and laws, or the laws of courts. These are ingrained deeply inside my very being. I am simply doing what is natural for an alpha in an alliance. No more, no less." Kagome peered up at Sesshoumaru with a small smile as she laid her head fully against his chest again. She was grateful for his help, no matter the reasons...but there was a small part of her that hoped he helped because he actually liked her...and it wasn't all honor-bound.

 

"Thank you...for explaining everything to me, milord," Miroku spoke, feeling enlightened. He still felt that Kagome was at the center of Sesshoumaru's interest for other reasons, but he let it drop. The daiyoukai had been unusually forthcoming and the information he had learned definitely helped him understand some things better. "I feel like I have a better understanding of your actions now." Sesshoumaru hummed and inclined his head- glad to have the monk off his back for now- turning down a corridor and opening a shoji screen door that lead outside to the hot spring. It was a small area just outside the shiro, and between it and the mountain. All in all, it was fairly private. Sesshoumaru stepped down the two steps to the gray rocky ground, Rin and Shippou hot on his heels again. He walked the anxious Kagome out to the edge of the spring, to a pool of very shallow water.

 

"Stay in the shallows," Sesshoumaru cautioned as he sat her down on the edge, the woman able to dip her feet in immediately with a pleased sigh. He retracted his Mokomoko-sama from her and dropped the white yukata off near the edge of the spring. "I don't want you to drown in my spring."

 

"I'll stay in the shallows," Kagome promised with a small grin playing over her lips as she looked over the hot spring excitedly. Why did everyone assume she was going to drown? It was a little amusing...especially coming from Sesshoumaru. "And I'll stay close to Rin and Shippou." She sent the two a motherly smile as they rushed to her side, Rin splashing into the spring in her checkered yukata and Shippou kneeling down beside her protectively.

 

"Hn."

 

"Thank you, Sesshoumaru," Kagome grinned up at him through the throbbing pain, the male simply inclining his head before spinning on his heel and heading back to the door. Miroku waited awkwardly in front of it as Sesshoumaru closed it.

 

"I will return soon," the daiyoukai bid.

 

"I'll keep watch," Miroku bobbed his head amicably. With an incline of Sesshoumaru's head, the daiyoukai was off in a flash. The monk sighed. "And now...the wait." He settled down in front of the door in lotus position, his back to it. No way would he chance a look with Rin in there. Sesshoumaru would have his head...

 

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"I want to hug you...but I don't want to hurt you...," Shippou despaired as he looked up at a loving Kagome with watery green orbs.

 

"Here...come in from my right side," Kagome motioned, holding her arm out wide. He did so...but very carefully. She held him tightly, kissing the top of his head and gently rubbing his back. "I'm so proud of you, Shippou. My son." She felt great pride when she said those words, the kit snapping his head up to look at her with wide eyes.

 

"Do you really mean it?" He asked in a hushed voice.

 

"Of course I do," Kagome beamed at him. Shippou smiled so widely his cheeks hurt as he snuggled back into her with a soft 'momma'. Rin was off to the side, feeling a little awkward and left out. But she tried not to show it. After all, her mom and dad had died a long time ago...and Sesshoumaru-sama was kind of like a father...but she didn't dare ask him if she could call him such... She kicked at the water unenthusiastically. Kagome saw it, though. The lonliness on her face. "If Rin wants...I could be a stand-in momma for her while our packs are joined." Rin turned back at her wide wide eyes shining with hope.

 

"Do you mean it?!" She asked, the girl shocked and excited, her big brown eyes shimmering with happy tears.

 

"Of course," Kagome nodded, motioning her over and smiling a wide, warm, motherly smile. She was psyched to be her mom...if only for a little while. Shippou scooted over a little and opened his arm up.

 

"C'mon, there's plentya room Rin-chan!" He grinned happily at the girl. She wiped at her eyes as she ran over, then paused...and slowly joined the hug. Kagome held them both a moment, giving each a kiss on their foreheads before releasing them.

 

"My children," Kagome smiled at the two, wiping at her own eyes. They were wiping their eyes, too, the joy of it all a little much. "Alright! If you two can help me get this yukata off, and help me over to that rock over there, you guys can splash and play as much as you want to over here!"

 

"Are you sure, momma?" Shippou asked, excited at the prospect of playing, but worried about her.

 

"It won't hurt to move, Ka-momma?" Rin asked with just as much concern and excitement.

 

"A little, but it'll be worth it," Kagome smiled at the two and gently pat their heads with her right hand. "The pain will ease up after I get in the water good." Rin and Shippou nodded at one another seriously before looking back at Kagome.

 

"What can we do?" Rin asked with resolve burning in her eyes.

 

"I'll need help with my left side...," Kagome motioned with a nod, pulling the yukata loose with her right hand. Shippou helped her undo the knot on her sash, Kagome laying it behind her before starting to try and shrug out of the yukata. They both had to help, their touch extremely gentle so they didn't reopen her wounds. And it took some doing to get the yukata off...but they managed it. Kagome gulped as she looked at her aching body. Most of her top area was covered in bandages, all to cover the long wound on her back. Her bra had been removed, but, thankfully, her underwear had been left behind. She took a shuddered breath.

 

"Can you stand, momma?" Shippou asked softly with a low-positioned tail. Memories of the night before flashed in her mind, making her cringe.

 

"...I don't think so...," she answered just as softly. Rin and Shippou talked lowly to one another a moment before nodding in unison.

 

"What if Rin pulls you up with your right hand, and I transform, and we both help you get there?" Shippou asked curiously.

 

"...Transform into what?" Kagome asked with a blink.

 

"An adult," he answered simply. "Someone tall...but not too tall...more your height..."

 

"Try a replica of me," Kagome nodded, willing to try it.

 

"'Kay!" He nodded enthusiastically as he got a leaf out.

 

"Ooh!" Rin clapped, watching him work with wide eyes.

 

"Transform!" Shippou called, becoming a mirror image of Kagome in her school uniform.

 

"Wow!" Rin swooned with stars in her eyes. "I wish I could do that!" Shippou puffed his chin out proudly and Kagome couldn't help the giggle that burst from her mouth.

 

"You're getting really good, Shippou!" Kagome praised. "I see you even worked it so your tail doesn't show anymore."

 

"Yup," Shippou grinned. "It took a lot of practice..." Kagome nodded knowingly. He'd been working on that for years... "Are you ready, momma?"

 

"As ready as I'll ever be," Kagome shot them a nervous smile.

 

"Take my hand, momma," Rin bid, holding her hand out for Kagome to take. She did so, the girl's other hand clasping around her wrist. Shippou ducked under her arm, sitting beside her, and got a firm grip on her left hip. "One..."

 

"Two...," Shippou nodded, both of them looking back at Kagome.

 

"Three," Kagome grunted, Rin pulling her forwards while Shippou eased her up. It was awkward and rough, but they got her up. "Halfway there." Kagome smiled uneasily, the two helping her over to the rock at the other side of the spring. She slipped twice, but they caught her and helped her continue the journey to the rock. It was arduous, but they made it and turned Kagome around so that her back was to the stone. Easing her down had been just as difficult, but they managed it without major incident. She bled a little, but not terribly. "Thank you..." Kagome gave them a pained smile as she rest against the rock wearily.

 

"You're bleeding," Rin pointed out hesitantly as Shippou rang his hands nervously together in her form.

 

"Not bad, I'll be okay," Kagome reassured with a more convincing smile. "It feels a lot better here in the warm water...." It rose to her shoulders when sitting, and it had stung like hell going in...but now it felt really good.

 

"Are you sure..?" Shippou asked softly. Kagome chuckled.

 

"Go play!" She splashed the two unexpectedly, gaining cries of surprise and glee.

 

"Yes ma'am," Shippou grinned, splashing Rin and luring her back into shallower waters. "Can't catch me!" He 'poof'ed back into his fox kit self, Rin chasing after him with a giggle.

 

"I'm going to get you, Shippou!" She laughed, chasing the kit around. Kagome smiled at the two, letting a soft breath out as she relaxed back against the rock and let all of her worries ebb away...

 

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Some time later....

 

__________________

 

"You need to get out...you're bleeding too much!" Shippou pled hysterically. The water around Kagome was turning a murky red.

 

"Don't be silly," Kagome waved off, half out of it. "I'm alright." She felt so much better here in the warm water...she didn't want to move. She'd be okay.

 

"Please, momma," Rin plead, tears dripping down her face.

 

"Guys, I'm fine, really," she tried futilly to reassure.

 

"Get Miroku," Shippou nodded at Rin, the male sniffling. She nodded and headed for the door.

 

"No, don't get him..."

 

"Miroku-sama!" Rin burst through the shoji, effectively startling the monk.

 

"Rin-chan...what's wrong?" He asked, alarmed to see the tears coming down her cheeks like little rivers.

 

"She-she...she won't come out...and she's bleeding so much!" Rin wailed.

 

"No...," Miroku scrambled to his feet, grabbing his staff and focusing his energy into it. Chanting, he made his reiki spike sharply before he dropped the staff and hurried into the spring to retrieve Kagome.

 

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Sesshoumaru tackled the large deer he'd been hunting, quickly snapping its neck. That made three...would the meat be enough for the humans and his hanyou half-brother..? He was considering hunting a fourth when he felt the sudden spike of reiki. He knew that energy signature. "Kagome...," Sesshoumaru whispered. The meat would have to do. He had something more important to attend to. Scooping up the deer, he dashed back to his cache with the other two, and he grabbed them up before darting off at top speed towards his shiro. It took a few minutes to get there, regrettably, but he did make it fairly quickly considering how far he'd had to go out to hunt. He unloaded the deer unceremoniously at the door, darting off towards the hot spring from the inside. He made it in time to find a drenched monk at the shoji, Inuyasha yelping as he dove inside. A wooden bathing basket knocked him in the back of the head, causing another cry to pull from the hanyou's lips as he kissed the floor. Rin was standing inside, crying. "What is the meaning of this?"

 

"Lady Kagome refuses to come out of the spring," Miroku answered, his lips thinning into a grim line while Inuyasha groaned.

 

"She-She...she's bleeding too much...," Rin sobbed, wiping continuously at her eyes.

 

"Damn, she's got an arm...," Inuyasha groaned, flopping over on the floor and holding his middle. He was bleeding again, himself. Sesshoumaru's lips etched into a deep frown. He could smell her blood from there...as well as hearing  the kit's pleas for her to come out. And her firm denial.

 

"This Sesshoumaru will handle the miko," he decided, storming through the shoji and slamming it shut behind him.

 

"Please, momma," Shippou wept as Sesshoumaru approached. He was shocked by how red the waters were around the female... "I don't want you to die..."

 

"I'm not going to die," Kagome frowned deeply. "I feel fine."

 

"Get out of the spring, miko," Sesshoumaru commanded as he stopped near to her on the edge of the spring. She blinked up at him blearily, hands moving to cover her chest. His eyes glowered at her face, not dipping any lower than that.

 

"I don't know why you're all uptight! I'm fine!" Kagome groused.

 

"You are bleeding far too much," Sesshoumaru bit out, his words clipped. "Didn't I say you couldn't die in my spring?"

 

"You said not to drown," Kagome shot back at him cheekily. "Besides that, I'm not going to die!"

 

"I will give you to the count of three," he snarled, Kagome glaring defiantly back at him. "One..."

 

"No," Kagome tilted her chin up at him, Shippou backing away slowly as he watched with wide eyes. Sesshoumaru pulled some of his ties loose, Kagome starting as she watched them flutter to the ground.

 

"Two...," Sesshoumaru growled, eyes flashing as he shoved his kimono and juban open and off of his shoulders. Kagome gulped, eyes wandering down to his muscular torso. Maroon markings danced over his flesh, the ends angled down seductively towards his groin beneath his hakama. Her cheeks adapted a pale hue of pink. Sesshoumaru issued a rumbling growl in warning. If he wasn't so  pissed off, he would have felt pride in her interest. "Are you coming out?"

 

"I'm not in pain anymore," Kagome plead with him, tears welling in her eyes. "Please...don't make me come out..."

 

"I'm not going to let you die," he snapped back. "Three."

 

___________________

 

Miroku and Inuyasha had moved to sit at either side of the shoji. They heard a splash...and then a squeal. They shared a wide-eyed look, Inuyasha bristling.

 

"Kagome!" He stood and yanked open the shoji...just in time for a wet Sesshoumaru to come through with a squirming Kagome wrapped up in his kimono and juban. The fabrics were thick enough that nothing important of Kagome's showed through. Miroku and Inuyasha were thankful for Sesshoumaru's colored sashes, however...they hid his important parts from view, his practically invisible white hakama drenched and clinging to his legs.

 

"Nnnggghh! Lemme...go...," Kagome grimaced and kicked.

 

"It is not hard to corral a fiesty miko if you know how," Sesshoumaru snipped at the bewildered two. "The deer I caught are at the entrance. Clean them and prepare them for supper. The taijiya?"

 

"S-Still dead out," Miroku stammered hesitantly. Kagome tired herself out, panting and sobbing quietly at the pain.

 

"This one will change her bandages, then," Sesshoumaru growled softly.

 

"Now wait a minute!" Inuyasha bristled, moving to block him from going forwards.

 

"Do you want her to live?" Sesshoumaru snarled, eyes momentarily flashing red. Inuyasha's ears flattened. "Move!" He stepped to the side reluctantly, Sesshoumaru storming down the hall and back towards Kagome's given room. She started to struggle again. "Cease your incessant squirming, woman. Your wounds are getting worse." Kagome grimanced. She could feel them now...

 

"...I'm still mad at you...," she huffed into his shoulder as she finally gave in, her little adrenaline spurt gone now. A pained lethargy set in...

 

"So be it," he replied shortly, opening the shoji to her room and firmly snapping it shut behind them.

 

- End -

 

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