Marked by Sereia

Chapter 1

A/N: Posting this only because my OCD won't leave me alone about the '119' stories under my account. Needs to be a nice, round number lol. A reminder that any new works are only being posted on Ao3 (sereia1313). The only ones beings updated here are the three stories already in progress from last year (I'm currently at 222 fics on Ao3). Happy reading!


Kouga hissed as she applied a salve and likely would've pulled away if Inuyasha's hand hadn't been around his wrist, keeping it in place. "Never knew ya to be such a baby."

The wolf growled, fangs bared. "I ain't used to this modern shit. You've been usin' it for years."

Kagome smirked as she rubbed it into his fingers. "Considering how long I've been back, this is all made from local ingredients, so the title still stands." Inuyasha snickered in his mate's ear, Kagome soon joining in even as Kouga flinched again. "The numbing agent will kick in soon," she soothed.

"We wouldn't be in this mess if you'd learn to keep your mouth shut," he groused petulantly. They were all seated on the ground, Kouga unceremoniously sitting in Inuyasha's lap. They'd decided to take a shortcut through a gorge, hoping the rumours about the youkai-hating village on the other side were unsubstantiated.

They'd been wrong.

"Keh." Inuyasha shifted his position, pulling up the sleeve of his inner haori so she could treat his arm. "I gave them ample warning to keep their mouths shut. They're lucky some of their buildings are still standing."

Kagome was wearing his fire rat, which had protected her from the poison-laced explosives the village had thrown at them. She finished up with the two men then started working on her own. She'd mostly been spared, the twin heads of the dragon resting behind her reminding her why.

One of them nudged her back, and she turned around with a smile, switching to a more concentrated version of the salve for the wound on Ah-Un's shoulder. "Thanks for saving me," she murmured.

Inuyasha snorted behind her. "Shouldn't you be sayin' that to him too?" He pointed to the tree line, the crisp ivory of Sesshoumaru's kimono contrasting against the bark.

Kagome bit her lip, unconsciously wrapping the fire rat tighter around herself. "I already did."

The Western Lord has adopted Shippou at Rin's behest, begging him to teach her new friend how to hone his powers between breaks in school. Shippou had been wary, but Inuyasha didn't have time to teach him to hunt with all the lower-level youkai and mercenaries coming out of the woodwork now that Naraku was gone.

There'd been an odd exchange between the kit and the daiyoukai, but in the end, he'd offered up his shiro as Shippou's new home, and everyone was better off for it. Kagome had a feeling half the reason Inuyasha had encouraged it was in the hopes that Shippou would prank Sesshoumaru instead of him.

A slight shift of movement caught her eye, and Sesshoumaru met her gaze. Not wanting to seem ungrateful, she nodded in thanks, then went back to treating Ah-Un. Their trip was partly to snuff out a few rotten eggs that had been stirring trouble within the more peaceful villages but also to visit Shippou. The next set of exams was underway, and if things went according to plan, they'd be celebrating a second tail.

Ah-Un nuzzled her arm as she rubbed the paste into their scales, giving her an excuse to ignore the fact that Sesshoumaru was still staring at her. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate being yanked out of the air and shoved onto Ah-Un's back, but weird things had started happening since they'd agreed to travel together, and it was getting harder to hide.

Kouga and Inuyasha started discussing their next move, debating which direction would prove the fastest to their next destination, and their chatter was loud enough that she didn't hear Sesshoumaru approach until he was seated next to her. Kagome jumped in surprise as he grabbed her wrist, applying some of her concoction even though her injuries weren't nearly as bad as Kouga's.

"It would be in your best interest to look after yourself first," he reminded her, claws hovering over a pulse point. Kagome nodded silently, then pulled her hands from his grip. She turned away from him, biting the inside of her cheek as she pretended to rifle through her pack for a treat for her dragon companion.

"Shouldn't you be treatin' him too?" Inuyasha called over his shoulder. Kagome stiffened but didn't look up, pulling a few bottles of crushed herbs. She didn't want to touch him at all. It was bad enough they'd been forced into close proximity because he refused to let her out of his sight, but she'd been hoping he'd keep to himself for the most part.

Kouga flexed his hands, testing the mobility now that the burns had gone numb. "Yeah, didn't the big guy take a hit to the back or something?" She knew he had, on her account, no less, but she was dealing with enough without having to treat such a large area.

Who knew what that would do to her?

Even now, she felt his eyes on her, but he eventually got to his feet, returning to his place at the base of the tree. "I do not require human remedies." There was an odd lilt to his voice, but no one commented on it, so Kagome continued treating the rest of them, purposely ignoring the raised hairs on the back of her neck as the sun set.


The next few days were mundane, the initial excitement of their journey seeming to taper off after their first disastrous encounter, and the group enjoyed the silence and calm that came with it. A quick extermination in a town run by women proved fruitful, the village head offering up room and board, along with the use of their private hot springs as payment.

Kouga and Inuyasha were quick to accept, but Kagome muttered a soft refusal to join the other women, claiming she had an evening ritual to take care of first. The village head thought nothing of it, apologizing for getting in the way of her routine as she handed her a plate of food, assuring her it would be available all night.

Kouga and Inuyasha exchanged a look, leaning closer when they were left to eat in peace. "Are you possessed?" the hanyou asked, eyeing her warily. "Since when do you give up the chance to lounge in a spring?"

Kagome rolled her eyes, pulling on the long sleeve of her yukata. "I need to take care of a few things before we get to Shippou's school. I'll go later."

Clicking his tongue, Kouga crossed his arms. "You've been actin' weird lately, Kags. You sure the poison from the first village didn't affect ya?"

"Yeah, maybe you're sick." Inuyasha touched her forehead with the back of his hand. "Would explain why you're wearing so many layers even though it's spring."

She nudged him away. "I'm fine. I'm just trying to cycle through some clothes I haven't worn in a while." The green yukata was more suited for fall, especially since it was made with thicker fabric, but the sleeves were longer than usual, so she didn't have to worry about them rolling up.

They both gave her dubious looks, but the scent of food and warm sake was too much to ignore, their attention eventually waning, and Kagome breathed a sign of relief. She wanted nothing more than to let the warm waters rinse away the dirt and grime she'd accumulated since the last spring they'd found, but she couldn't chance doing it in public.

Not until she knew what was going on.


She gripped the side of her door, only opening it enough to slip through. The sun had long since set, the noise from the celebration having died hours ago, so there shouldn't be anyone up. Sucking in a silent breath, Kagome padded down the hall toward the springs, reaching out with her reiki to ensure she'd be alone.

Her yukata was still firmly tied around her waist, not taking any chances that one of the provided ones would slip in the wrong place, her bathing supplies held firmly against her chest. She likely needed to see a healer, but she knew a human one wouldn't know what to do, and she wasn't in contact with any youkai ones.

She'd even considered visiting Totosai, but the hermit had a big mouth, and he'd probably spout off her ailment in passing to the wrong people.

Glancing down both ends of the hallway, her shoulders slumped in relief, and she ducked into the bathhouse. There was no roof, but the surrounding trees and foliage protected anyone inside from prying eyes. The women had sheared off branches within twenty feet of the ground, making it impossible for anyone to get an unfiltered view of those bathing below, and with the blossoms in full bloom, she could spend less time worrying she'd get caught.

She tied her hair up into a loose bun, then quickly stripped down, folding her clothes and towel into a neat pile before entering the spring. She nearly groaned in relief as the warm water lapped at her skin, muscles already relaxing as she found a perch to sit on. It wasn't deep enough to submerge her shoulders, but if she leaned back far enough, the water went up to her neck.

Hands and legs barely surfaced between washing, as she was still paranoid about showing off any part of her body, and once she was done, she leaned back against the edge with a soft sigh.

How was she supposed to tell anyone about this?

She stayed like that for several minutes, breathing in the fumes of the naturally occurring spring. She knew she couldn't avoid it forever, but the fact that they matched in colour and location had heat creeping into her face.

She'd thought it had been an anomaly—some sort of weird reaction to being within his company for so long—but no one else had ever mentioned this happening before, so she'd kept it to herself, hoping they'd disappear.

Lifting one hand out of the water, she stared at her wrist, twin strips of magenta slashed across her normally unblemished skin.

She had Sesshoumaru's markings.

The first had been on her waist after he'd rescued her in the first village. Her robes had been burned away from an explosion, his hand making direct contact with her skin as he'd yanked her out of harm's way. It had barely lasted more than a moment, the force of her being shoved onto Ah-Un's back stealing more air from her lungs than when Sesshoumaru had initially grabbed her.

She'd thought it just an odd burn, but after she'd treated everyone, another set had shown up on her wrist—after he'd rubbed in the salve. The colour had been unmistakable, the deep shade of magenta standing out whenever she dared to look at her own body.

It only seemed to happen when they made direct contact, and she'd hoped it would stop there—especially since Sesshoumaru wasn't the type to touch anyone unless he was stabbing his claws through their chest—but he'd refused to leave her alone, invading her personal space when she was least expecting it.

Kouga and Inuyasha hadn't thought anything of it, but they were also wrapped up in themselves enough that it would take her blood being spilled for them to notice anything was wrong. They were protective, and she loved them dearly, but they'd fought with her enough to know how much she enjoyed her independence and didn't want to smother her.

Sinking back into the water, she blew out some frustrated bubbles. Sesshoumaru had come a long way since their initial meeting, but showing up sporting his personal markings would likely send him into a fit of rage. Kagome only hoped she could keep the stripes hidden until she figured out how to get rid of them—and that she didn't end up with something on her face.

Like a crescent moon.

"Lingering too long will not help your ailment."

The only reason her scream didn't pierce the evening air was because her mouth was still submerged. As it was, she inhaled first, choking violently on a mouthful of spring water. She quickly sat up, smacking her chest as she tried to clear her lungs. Something grabbed her arm, yanking her up further, and Kagome turned her head to find hardened amber eyes glaring at her.

Panicking, she shoved him away, but his claws bit into her skin. "I mean you no harm miko." He sounded insulted that she would think so little of him, and emotion clogged her throat as she continued to pull away.

"Please let me go." Her torso was still submerged, but he had her by the arm that didn't have marks on it, and she didn't want them appearing while he was still there to witness it. "I'm fine, I was just resting a little before going to bed."

"You should have done so while others were around," he chastised. He was kneeling on the edge of the spring, and Kagome unconsciously covered her chest, not wanting to add to her embarrassment.

"I was busy," she replied weakly. The lighting was dim, so if she could just avoid him looking directly at her, she wouldn't have to explain the reasoning behind it.

His eyes only narrowed further. "Your deceit has increased since we were attacked," he growled, the unfiltered emotion startling her enough to stop her from struggling. "Why is it you—" His gaze flickered to her shoulder, and she suddenly realized in covering her chest, she'd given him an unobstructed view of her marked wrist.

He still hadn't released her arm, but his other arm pulled her hand away. Any argument about him spying on her died in her throat as he traced the lines with his claws, his aura fixated and dangerous. His eyes flickered toward his own wrist, and she visibly flinched at the comparison.

Blood drained from her face as recognition dawned on his, and she cried out as he yanked her the rest of the way out of the water. The sudden movement had her heart beating wildly against her ribs, but she didn't have time to cover the rest of herself before he was looking her over, a low growl vibrating through him at the sight of the twin marks on her hips.

"How long?" She whimpered, attempting to pull away again, but his grip was ironclad and unyielding. The words were guttural, and tears pricked her eyes as panic elevated into hysteria.

"I didn't do it on purpose, I swear!"

"How long, miko?"

Her shoulders sagged, knowing that there was no escaping it now. "Ever since you saved me in the first village on this trip," she finally admitted.

His jaw clenched. "When I touched you for the first time."

She hadn't thought of it like that, but thinking back on it, every other time they'd encountered each other, there had been something between them. The closest she'd come was holding onto his pelt after he'd rescued her inside Naraku, but they'd never had skin-on-skin contact before.

Did that matter?

"Do you know what it means?" she asked, still avoiding his gaze.

"You do not?" His grip relaxed when she shook her head, and she looked up just in time to see a flicker of surprise swirl within his eyes before he unclipped his armour. She didn't have time to process the sight before his outer layer was wrapped around her body, shielding her from the cool night air.

"Is there a cure for it?"

His hand stilled. "It is nothing you require a cure for."

Kagome's mouth dropped open. "But…aren't you angry that a human has the same markings as you?"

"No." The word was curt, but she wasn't given the chance to question it before she was swept up into his arms, armour and bathing supplies left uncollected as quick strides took them out of the springs and down the hall. "And I will forgive you asking for one on the grounds that you do not understand their significance."

"They have significance?" She wasn't sure which surprised her more, the fact that she was still in one piece or that he was carrying her, but the sound of the door to his chambers closing behind her made her jump, and she looked around warily. "Couldn't we have talked about it back there?"


If not for the discovery of his markings on her body, Kagome would've torn him a new one for his cryptic one-word answers. As it was, he was being considerably gentle, given the circumstances. "Why?" she asked, finally looking up at him.

"Those markings are only meant to be seen by me." It was the last thing she expected him to say, and her mind went blank at the seriousness of his expression.

"What?" she breathed. He finally put her down, inspecting the marked wrist before raising the other. A twin set of stripes was already forming, and he traced each line with his claws.

"Youkai only engage in promiscuous behaviour until their mates are found," he said, voice low. "Father was chosen for mother as a means to give her line an heir. He was the strongest of his clan, and she had nearly perished in childbirth as a pup, along with her mother, due to a strain in their bloodline. She refused to go through that with her own child."

Kagome was grateful for the distraction, her free hand gripping the collar of her—his—kimono. "So he didn't cheat—"

In an uncharacteristic show of emotion, Sesshoumaru snorted. "Not in the slightest. When he found the princess and the marks began to appear on her skin, Mother was happy for him. He'd held up his end of the bargain by giving her a son."

He painted a different view of Inuyasha's birth than everyone else had, including Inuyasha himself. "I didn't know."

"It is not in our nature to reveal such emotional turmoil, miko." The pad of his thumb stroked her pulse point. "Mother used it as a means of furthering her political career. The court gave her a wide berth while she recovered from the death of her consort, and by the time they had tried to regain power, their allies had switched sides."

She nodded numbly, watching as the marks continued to darken. She knew which question she wanted to ask, but the words struggled to form, and she swallowed thickly. He was still too close, invading her space like he always did, and she whimpered helplessly.

"Ask, miko," he said, still stroking her skin.

"What do they mean?"

He released her wrist only to tilt her chin up. "That you are mine."

Kagome shook her head in disbelief. That couldn't be true. They had nothing in common. He'd tried to kill her when they'd first met. He hated her.

She must've said the last one out loud, as there was a slight incline to his head. "I have never hated you. You were merely in the way in the beginning."

She wanted to be mad, she really did, but another question formed instead of her usual brush-off. "And now?"

A soft chuckle warmed her blood, the chill from being wrenched from the spring finally dissipating as he tucked a wayward lock of hair behind her ear. "A frustrating creature, but one I am enjoying the company of." He met her gaze. "I do not offer to escort those who pose no significance."

"You asked me to come with you!" she sputtered. "I wouldn't have even known when Shippou's exams were if you hadn't said anything!" Students weren't allowed to send letters to anyone but direct family, and since Sesshoumaru had labelled himself as benefactor and adoptive father, Shippou's only correspondence had been with him.

"Because I knew if you were given the information, you would make the trek alone."

She flushed at the insinuation because that's precisely what she would've done. "I figured you were busy."

"I am always busy," he agreed, and she finally glared at him, reiki flaring in ire, but it only sparked his interest, his hand making its way to the small of her back.

She could feel the heat through the silk, another shiver wracking her body. "So—" She bit her lip, knowing there was no way to beat around the bush. "—you're okay with me having these marks?"

His eyes flickered lower. "Do you have any others?" Another shiver, and she shook her head, the heat from her face pooling in her stomach as the side of his lips curved up into a smirk. "You will." He lowered his head, pressing his lips to her sternum, just above the collar of her kimono.

She gasped at the sensation, the image of pointed ears and silver hair forever burned into her brain. Everything was new and unexpected, and she'd probably spent too much time in the spring because her knees started to shake, and she had to grab onto his arms.

Fangs skimmed her clavicle, but he kept enough space between them to calm her fears. "You are safe with me, Kagome." She nodded numbly, allowing him to pull her into his lap, content to wrap his arms and fur around her and nothing else.

It was odd to think she was anything more to him than an annoyance, but as the steady beat of his heart lulled her into a dreamless sleep, her thoughts for the future were hopeful.


He knew the moment the miko fell asleep, her breath evening out as she relaxed against him, and Sesshoumaru breathed a sigh of relief.

He'd had an inkling as to why she'd suddenly pulled away from him but had initially thought it was because her feelings were too overwhelming. Anytime he'd touched her, she spent the rest of the day rubbing the same spots.

He thought it was her human way of keeping her emotions hidden as she decided when the best time would be to confess, but then she'd started avoiding him altogether, and he'd been worried he'd read her wrong.

Humans were still elusive, especially when it came to their behaviours surrounding mating, and though he was loathed to admit it, this was the first time anyone had spurned his interest to the point of spending time to figure them out.

And then he'd seen the marks.

Youkai were born with markings of some sort in order to find their soulmate. It didn't always happen, as the world was large, and there was no guarantee that a pair would even cross paths within their lifetimes. There wasn't even a guarantee they would be the same species, the gods taking a lark in pairing up those they thought would be incompatible.

He'd found it quite amusing after his brother's first physical encounter with the wolf. He'd seemed quite agitated the next time Kouga had shown his face, though Sesshoumaru was sure he hadn't known why. A wolf's markings were more subtle than a dog's, usually hidden by purposely placed pelts, and though he'd always been willing to share his fire rat with the miko, he'd never shorn his inner layers after that.

Kouga had likely noticed as well, having the knowledge instilled in him from the previous alpha, and had antagonized Inuyasha into admitting his feelings first by constantly hitting on the miko. A chuckle threatened to escape. Admitting he'd had the information prior to their encounter had been the wolf's downfall, as his brother had yet to fully forgive him for not being upfront about it from the beginning.

Sesshoumaru's interest in the miko had also been there since the beginning—she'd survived the full brunt of his acid, after all—but the shattering of the jewel had been a thorough distraction, and the interest had been suppressed in favour of defeating a common threat.

He gazed down at her as she shifted, his pelt falling from her shoulder. He'd paid her no mind when she'd disappeared; she wasn't part of his pack and hadn't been something he'd been pursuing up until that point. He'd rescued her from the poison maker, along with those who sought to harvest her power for their own inside Naraku, but she'd been a means to an end, noting more.

It wasn't until several years after she'd returned, curves and confidence filling out as she'd aged, that his initial curiosity was brought to the forefront.

He'd thought it nothing more than a passing fancy, but she'd all but ignored him from the start, which somehow made her that much more attractive. She played off other courting offers with her usual defiant air, so he'd kept his own to himself, using Shippou's advice of creating a bond of friendship before attempting anything else.

She shifted again, the collar of his kimono dropping to reveal a crescent mark where he'd kissed her.

He'd likely have to convince her his interest had started before the marks appeared, but it gave him more reason to touch her now that they had. He tucked her head under his chin, inhaling deeply before leaning back against the nearest wall.

Having the miko as his soulmate would make his life nothing less than vexing.

Sesshoumaru smirked. He was looking forward to it.


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