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Pawn in Arms by Demonlordlover

Check Mate

Dedication: Thanks Wiccan!  I do not own Inuyasha.  Enjoy this story as I finally get it up and running again!  Updates will be minimum of twice a week.

Check Mate

“Check mate.”

Kagome chanced a glance up. Yellow, almond-shaped eyes set in austere features blazed with indignation. She sighed, parting jet-black bangs. He was such a sore loser. A well-dressed sore loser, she amended, eyeing the white suit with its dapper red vest. In the years that she’d known him he had never appeared turned out in less than the best. He even dressed his employees as if they had stepped out of a designer catalogue.

Privately, she wondered if he knew denim had been invented. And people could wear it!

“Why do you bother to play if all you do is mope each time you lose?” she asked after five minutes passed without a word from her silent partner. Her challenge was met with more of the same ‘I’ll answer in my own time’ sort of silence that she was positive he had patented long before she had been less than a twinkle in her father’s eye. She crossed her arms over her somewhat cushioned chest, her much-put-upon temper piqued by his seething silence and her utterly ridiculous thoughts. Really, why think about him at all?

She wasn’t the one that couldn’t handle losing. She wasn’t the one who kept instigating these impromptu games, either.

Sesshoumaru began to put the marble pieces away, carefully sliding the antiques into their individual pouches. Despite her indignation, Kagome watched, fascinated, as she always was by just how much grace his long, slender fingers could impart to a common task.

As if self-aware of her perusal, those flirtatious digits flipped a stray hank of his calf-length, silvery hair to the side with effeminate efficiency.

A small giggle escaped her when he stopped to polish the queen on his sleeve before sliding the black and gold piece home. A raised brow answered her merriment and she recalled the reason for his visit.

“What did he do now?”

Inuyasha. Always Inuyasha. The heavens could part, hell could freeze, and diamonds the size of grapefruit could rain upon the earth before Sesshoumaru would invite her to visit for any other reason. The real question in Kagome’s mind was how Sesshoumaru managed to summon her as few times as he had in the past thirteen years. And all without killing his brother, at that!

Who knew that asking to pull an inu-hanyou’s ears as kids in the playground would later necessitate the addition of said hanyou’s slightly homicidal brother to one’s list of associates? And all to save the lovable idiot Inuyasha from himself, because he really didn’t know when to be quiet.

The second son of a powerful Daiyoukai, Inuyasha had been an outcast of sorts since birth. The love child between the Daiyoukai and a human actress, Inuyasha’s mother had died almost 20 years ago due to cancer. The Daiyoukai, Inu No Tashio to most, had been removed from favor for the affair. It wasn’t until his jilted mate, Hisaki, had taken him back into her graces three years ago and forgiven his transgression against her that he was allowed to return to Japan. The exile had been hard on Inuyasha, who had been left at the mercy of his brother while their father was absent.

Frankly, Kagome thought Inuyasha should be grateful he survived past the third grade when he decided to put paste in Sesshoumaru’s shampoo. It had been her intervention that saved the day that time too. That and some ‘Goo Be Gone’ she always kept handy. Even at nine years old she had a handle on her friend’s penchant for getting into sticky situations.

She still didn’t comprehend why Sesshoumaru thought she held some sort of magic secret to controlling her hanyou friend. Even if she could get him to leave his elder brother alone for a while. That wasn’t magic. That was ramen.

Although, she digressed, Inuyasha might very well argue that magic and ramen were one and the same. Her mother made the very best and he couldn’t get it if he pissed her off. Nothing irked Mama Higurashi more than an upset daughter.

“Despite your sorry inclination to believe yourself an expert on this Sesshoumaru, the imbecilic Inuyasha is not the reason for this particular visit.” Finished restoring the chess pieces to their protective home within the gold and jade trimmed body, he casually set it aside. A snap of his fingers summoned a suit-wearing domestic.

Already prepared for the routine, Kagome stalled the forthcoming question before it could be uttered with a soft pat on her stomach. “No, thank you. I ate before I came here.”

Not that she didn’t appreciate the small civilities as much as any other. Having once sat through Sesshoumaru’s demented notion of a light repast with a side of twisted humor, she had no desire to repeat the experience.

While some part of her mind was perversely curious to see how he would top the last attempt, her stomach cringed with each remembrance of the peanut couscous with a side of peanut caramel flan. Give one reference to dogs and peanut butter!

A small quirk of the lips betrayed the Daiyoukai’s amusement with her churning stomach. She ignored it. Amazing, how easily a daiyoukai of indeterminate age and strength could be disregarded after being told she wasn’t to be killed. Yet.

Kagome assumed that, should she ever need the services of a good coffin maker, he would be polite enough to inform her of it beforehand.

He waved the domestic away, waiting until the man had left before allocating the miko his full attention. He almost regretted the decision immediately. How one such as herself could hold power impressive enough to be noted by his venerable father was beyond logical deduction. A less-informed youkai might make certain assumptions about the miko’s future role in the Taisho household.

Sesshoumaru only wished that were true.

Not even his sire’s licentious ways could be enough to make the miko that attractive.

Features unchanged since the human notion of puberty had settled into her small frame, she still held the trace of innocence that most females her age had long ago surrendered to adulthood.

That was a mystery to the daiyoukai as well.

Moderate in both height and figure, she was not up to par with the stick-thin models that came complete with cellulose additions a youkai female would envy, yet she was not entirely unpleasant to look upon. He blamed the human males’ inability to sense the power nestled behind the pleasant human facade she wore so casually for her unattached state. Had she been a youkai, the mating rights would have been fought over before she left infancy.

Therein lay the rub. She wasn’t youkai. She was human. With a surfeit of human notions concerning love and marriage. Notions he was going to have to somehow wrest from her stubbornly tight grip without bruising her weak human body. Not that he couldn’t break a wrist or two if she proved obstinate.

“Miko Higurashi,” he began, giving her full address out of respect for the formal announcement, “the Council has decreed that you will choose from among the Elite for your mate.”

She didn’t need to know that there were only four eligible youkai among the Elite at the moment. The Elite were First Sons of High youkai houses. The heirs of the entirety of their parents’ wealth and holdings. Not exactly the sort to be thick on the ground at any given moment.

Kagome blinked. Blue eyes glazed over slightly as she slowly turned the words over in her head, searching for the hidden message, because, clearly, what he said wasn’t what he meant. Elite? Mate? Her?

She wanted to laugh. She really, really wanted to laugh. A nervous reaction to an unfamiliar situation. Yet something told her that wasn’t the response he wanted.

“Could you repeat that?” She was proud that the words came out as more than a croak. Or that she hadn’t pulled a ‘Say whah?’ or drooled. Drool would have been very bad. Not that he could have blamed her since her brain had imploded seconds ago.

Silently ticking off the many reasons he couldn’t kill her and be done with the entire situation, Sesshoumaru swallowed the bad taste the task left to him. He slowly repeated the decision of the Youkai Council, enunciating each syllable as if talking to one of those dense foreigners that flocked about his person snapping pictures as if he were a famous personality every time he stepped outside Tokyo.

“Oh, okay,” she said, much too brightly, once he had finished biting out the last word. She counted to ten, hoping for a calm that she knew wouldn’t come. An odd twitch took up residence in her right eye. “I know they’re old, but have they lost their minds completely?!”

She winced, both mentally and physically, immediately following the rude exclamation. The former because she knew he wouldn’t take insult to the Council well - both parents and grandfather currently sat on said Council - and the latter because she figured she was about to understand how it felt to die a violent death.

But… the refrain kept playing in her head. Have they lost their minds? Unless this was Oz, she went to bed a human last night and woke up as one too! The Elite? For the love of kami! Youkai females would give their left breast for a shot at claiming an Elite for a mate! How could the Council possibly reason that handing one over to her, assuming she even wanted a mate, would be a good idea?

And if the image of hordes of youkai females chasing her down to do her in wasn’t enough to make a person nauseous, she was still a kid! Technically. Eighteen was still young enough to put her in the ‘legally questionable’ age, wasn’t it? When she’d even thought about marriage, it had been in the foggy future of late 20-something. To a human who would love and adore both her and the pedestal she expected to be firmly planted upon!

Sure, it was a bit prejudiced to disregard youkai entirely, but she’d known too many youkai males to believe she’d ever be happy with one. Stubborn as goats, sexist, and as flexible as stone, they set the standard for macho high into the nosebleed section of manliness.

The worst part of the whole situation was that her choice was only a formality. Thanks to her venerable if slightly eccentric grandpa she knew more than the average person about youkai and their ways. An Elite son submit on something so pivotal to their lifestyle?

Psshaw!

The esteemed Sons put in a bid for eligible females that the council pre-approved. Only a female that had been previously bid upon by the male could choose him. Two males could bid upon the same female, which is why she even received that small formality.

Just thinking about the unfairness of it all began to work on her last nerve. And they expected her to partake of such an archaic ceremony? Who would even put in a bid on her, a girl as human as human coul-

Oh, no. No, no no! Kagome began to hyperventilate. There was that idiot ookami, Kouga! She wouldn’t make it to her majority if he found out she was to be the newest addition to the debutante list!

He had been a terrible bully in high school. The ookami had especially enjoyed tormenting Inuyasha. Even after deciding for unknown reasons that Kagome was destined to be his princess! If her stomach rumbled the littlest bit he sent one lackey or another after a snack. Stub her toe on the table? It was rendered into nothing more than a pile of toothpicks.

He had driven her batty! Only the necessary continued education that all Elite sons are forced to endure for the sake of their Families had saved her from post-graduation insanity. He had left for England the day after the commencement ceremonies, promises to return for her echoing in her ears.

Promises that she had dismissed. Clearly he had suffered like most young males, human and youkai alike, from a sort of puberty-induced retardation. She’d hoped he would outgrow it with the years. Many, many years.

That didn’t even cover how aggravating it had been to hold him at bay while also dealing with an over-protective Inuyasha who had taken instant dislike to Kouga. Not that she could blame him with all the name-calling Kouga participated in.

Was it getting dark? she wondered vaguely as her heart pounded an impressive staccato behind her ears.

The Council was going to have to forgive him. He was going to kill her. “Mik-”

Before he could get to the beheading, the vexing female turned an impressive shade of grey. The first human, male or female, to be awarded the honor of a Council-approved Elite for a mate fainted, hitting the table on the way down as she slid from the seat into an ignoble heap. He grabbed the chess set before it could add a knot to her thick skull.

This was the great miko his father demanded he somehow stomach as a mate? He could understand the need to keep her abilities out of hands that would abuse them. To tie him with familial responsibility, render his objections useless through logical arguments that Plato - one human who knew how to use the little bit of grey matter that nature had gifted him with - couldn’t have refuted… All to present himself on a platter to the most singularly dense human to ever walk on the cursed earth? One who wouldn’t appreciate just how lucky she was for him to even look at her?

She had been handy in dealings with the hanyou, he begrudgingly granted. His shoe-horn was a particularly useful tool as well, but he wouldn’t mate the damn thing!

He defined elegance, possessed blood that was bluer than blue, and was imbued with the killer instinct of a war god.

He casually leaned over the edge of the metal wrought-iron morning table to peruse the awkward way her arm bent over her head. Sesshoumaru’s favored beheading finger twitched. Her plain, beige skirt had ridden up. The ridiculous girl had kittens on her underwear.

Perchance she hadn’t been in the wrong in asking if the Council’s sanity had gone begging.

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