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Black and White by Reira

Black and White

A/N: This is for the Fairytale Twist Challenge. I chose the fairytale 'The Small-tooth Dog' but changed it to my tastes a little bit. The title refers to Kagome's black hair and slight rebellious attitude, while the white resembles Sesshomaru's hair and his wish to be free.

I do not own Inuyasha, nor am I affiliated with any of the creators or producers. No profit is made from writing this.

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Black and White

Kagome pulled her hair into a neat bun. She picked up her kanzashi and neatly poked it through her hair, positioning it so that she looked elegant. Standing onto her feet, Kagome pulled on her kimono and then nodded in satisfaction. She looked presentable. Kagome left her chambers and moved down the hallway of her family home. When she reached the living room, she spotted her father by the table reading through a collection of scrolls. She bowed in greeting, then sat opposite him.

"Good morning, father," Kagome greeted. Her father nodded his head in acknowledgment. Kagome watched him silently, a smile on her face. It was rare for her father to be home, as a merchant he was constantly traveling and only spent a few weeks home a year. It grew lonely over time and Kagome knew she had to spend all the time she had with him - after all, she was now age and soon she will be sent off to marry.

"When are you leaving?" Kagome asked awhile of silence.

Her father looked up, "Tomorrow morning before dawn."

"Oh," Kagome's face fell. Her father smiled warmly at her. She sighed, "Where are you going this time?"

"The Continent," her father replied, "it's far away, but I will bring back some exotic and beautiful things for you and your mother."

Kagome smiled and touched her kanzashi with her fingertips. The ornament was a gift from her father, which he brought her all the way from China. It was different from the Japanese hair ornaments, but Kagome loved it. It was something fresh and exotic.

"When will you return?" Kagome asked.

"As soon as I can," her father replied, "I want to see my daughter get married."

Kagome's face fell. She sighed and stood up, causing her father to look up alarmed. Annoyed, the teenager stomped out of the room, not wanting to dive any further into the conversation of marriage. She closed the Shoji screen door behind and collapsed onto the floor in the middle of the hallway, frustration building up as she imagined her future as a wife to a man she didn't love.

------

Mr Higurashi embraced his wife tightly. He could feel her trembling, not only from the cold, but from the pain of having to separate from him for another long time. He pulled away and grasped her shoulders. They looked into each others' eyes and smiled.

"I shall write as soon as I can," Mr Higurashi whispered.

"I shall await your letters eagerly," Mrs Higurashi whispered back. Mr Higurashi gave his wife one final goodbye kiss, then he turned to leave, pulling his cart with him. His wife watched him go, a smile on her face while tears flowed down her cheeks.

It was still dark, but the morning was fresh. Mr Higurashi was once of the only ones on the road. There were a few other merchants such as himself and a few travelers, but other than that the road was peaceful. Mr Higurashi was grateful for the fine weather. He didn't want to be delayed, after all, if he missed the first boat, he would have to wait another four hours before the next one. It was time he didn't want to waste. Every minute wasted is taken away from the time he could spend with his family.

A rustle in the bushes caused Mr Higurashi to stop. He glanced to his side. Nothing. He chuckled. Probably just an animal. He continued on with his journey. Another rustle, but this time he did not stop. It was common for animals to be in this region of Edo. It was here where they were more adapt and moved closer to human activity.

It was when something cracked loudly that Mr Higurashi knew it couldn't possibly be an animal. He stopped once more, suddenly feeling a cold chill roll down his spine. Mr Higurashi gulped and slowly turned around, his heart beating erratically in his chest. His eyes came to meet the faces of three men. One bulky, covered in scars, another with burned pink flesh and a short one with almost no hair.

"Good morning," Mr Higurashi greeted calmly, trying not to alarm the three men. They were clearly fighters, they carried weapons with them.

"Move away from the cart, whelp," the bulky man ordered. Mr Higurashi frowned.

"Excuse me?" he asked.

"He said move away from the cart, or are ya deaf?" the small bald one asked.

"No, I heard you nice and clearly," Mr Higurashi stated, "but what business do men like you have with me?"

"This!" the burned flesh man yelled as he pulled out a small pocket knife and grabbed Mr Higurashi's hair. The merchant yelped as the man pressed the knife to his neck, "Now then, hand over your possessions and we'll let you go."

"Never! I need these to make a living!" Mr Higurashi argued. The man snorted and slowly moved the knife along the merchant's neck, causing blood too ooze from the wound. Mr Higurashi winced.

"What did I tell ya 'bout negotiating?" the bulky man asked the burned flesh one, "It ain't gonna work. Just kill the guy while I make a run for it."

The burned flesh man snorted, then nodded. He dropped Mr Higurashi and kicked him in the shin. Mr Higurashi groaned as he collapsed onto the ground. His neck ached and pain shot through his legs. The burned flesh and bald one started to kick mercilessly while the bulky man grabbed the cart and readied to leave.

They kicked, they slapped, they spat...they did all they could to make the merchant suffer. Eventually they stripped him of his clothes, leaving him bare and covered in bruises. The men laughed, until a growl echoed through the forest. The men froze and quickly looked around them. Mr Higurashi groaned in pain.

"What was that?" asked the bald man. They waited patiently, until the growl echoed through the forest once more. The two men looked alarmed, yet frightened at the same time. Then, from amongst the trees leaped a large, magnificent beast. He landed before the robbers, his fangs bared and his large body protecting the poor beat up merchant.

"A-a-a-a demon!" shrieked the bald man like a girl as she stumbled backwards. The other one stood his ground, but he was trembling.

The beast growled once more, and the two robbers shrieked and ran away with their tails between their legs. Mr Higurashi sat up slowly, his limbs crying in pain as he moved. He stared wide-eyed at the beast. He has heard of this beast. There was a legend in Edo, claiming that in the forest there resided a Great Dog Demon who ruled the lands.

The beast turned around and looked coldly at the human before him with his blood red eyes. Mr Higurashi couldn't believe it. Here he was, lying naked before a legend itself! He felt ashamed. He did not ever plan to meet such a beast in such a manner. Mr Higurashi opened his mouth to thank the beast for saving his life, but his energy left his body and he collapsed.

------

When Mr Higurashi awoke, he found himself lying on a futon in a large tatami mat room. He sat up and winced from the pain that shot through his body. He looked down and noticed he was covered in bandages. The Shoji screen door slid open and Mr Higurashi's eyes landed on the figure of a small green imp that watched him with great distaste.

"I do not know what possessed the great Lord Sesshomaru to save you," the imp spat, "but heed this human, I do not approve of you being here."

Mr Higurashi was thoroughly confused. He tilted his head to the side, only to receive a cold glare in return. The awkward aura in the room faded when the beast appeared in the doorway. The imp sputtered and quickly moved out of the beast's way. The beast came to a standstill before Mr Higurashi.

An awkward silence followed. Mr Higurashi fiddles with his robes. How does one speak with an animal? Perhaps the beast had a voice, just like the imp? He glanced at the imp, who was still glaring at the merchant. Mr Higurashi quickly returned his gaze back to the beast.

"I want to thank you, oh noble beast for saving my life," Mr Higurashi said, "I wish to repay you. I have several treasures. Perhaps you would an ancient scroll from the Continent?"

"Lord Sesshomaru has no interest in scrolls," the imp implied.

"Then...how about the finest robes from China?" Mr Higurashi offered.

"Lord Sesshomaru already has the finest robes made from the finest fabrics. He doesn't need another one," the imp stated.

"Then what else could you desire?" Mr Higurashi asked, "I have a goose that can lay the egg made of pure gold, what about that?"

"Lord Sesshomaru has enough gold to own the world," the imp snorted, "nor does he require a goose."

Mr Higurashi was angered by now, could the beast not talk for itself? Mr Higurashi cleared his throat, "Then what do you, oh great beast desire?"

The beast glanced at the imp. The imp frowned, but his frown soon dissipated to shock. He opened his mouth, but he quickly closed it again. Mr Higurashi frowned.

The imp cleared his throat, "Your daughter."

"My what?" Mr Higurashi coughed.

"Your daughter. Lord Sesshomaru desires your daughter," the imp stated. Mr Higurashi could not believe it...this beast wished to have his daughter? He could not allow that! But, then he realised that Kagome was already of age...and he still had to find her a suitable husband. Certainly this noble beast suited her? Why did he want a human though? It pained Mr Higurashi to offer his daughter, but he owed this beast a debt and the debt he would pay.

"Very well," Mr Higurashi agreed, "you can come fetch her in one week. Give me at least one week to say goodbye."

The imp wanted to protest, but the beast growled.

The imp sighed, "We have an agreement. One week it is. Ah-Un shall accompany you to your home."

Mr Higurashi frowned, "Who is Ah-Un?"

"None of your business, human," the imp hissed, then he left the room with the noble beast.

------

Kagome was awoken from her peaceful slumber when she heard noise come from the front door. She quickly climbed out of her bed and moved to the door. She slid the Shoji screen open and poked her head out. Down the hallway, at the entrance of the house she saw her mother in her night robes, greeting her father who was wrapped in bandages and dressed in robes she has never seen before. Kagome gasped.

'Why is father home?' Kagome asked herself. Her mother allowed her father to lean on her for support as they slowly moved to the living room. Kagome quickly grabbed a kimono from her cupboard and pulled it over her night robes. She scurried out of her room and quickly headed for the living room. What has happened to her father? Why was he home?

She heard her parents talking in hushed voiced when she reached the living room.

"I know it was foolish of me," her father whispered, "but the beast saved my life. In fact, I cannot call it a beast. Lord Sesshomaru...that was his name. He saved my life, dearest. I need to repay him. And I can only do that by giving him Kagome."

"Hush," her mother whispered, "we will discuss this in the morning."

Kagome has heard enough. She slammed the door open, causing the noise to echo through the house. She didn't care if it awoke her grandfather or brother. Her parents looked up, shocked.

"Kagome?" Mr Higurashi gasped. He prayed that she didn't hear what he just said.

"Give me away?" Kagome bellowed, "You are selling me to a beast?"

Her parents cringed at her words. Her father stood up, "No, no! We are not selling you! Lord Sesshomaru saved me! And I wish to repay him...but he wants nothing of my collection, nothing but...you. I'm not selling you Kagome. I have chosen him as your husband."

Kagome was enraged, "Husband? Husband! You want me to marry a beast?"

Her father sighed, "Truthfully, I do not know what he wants with you, but...I can't tell the neighbors you were taken by a beast. They'll hunt him down and I cannot allow that! So therefore, he will be your...'acting' husband."

Kagome was crying in frustration now, she balled her fists and gritted her teeth, "You dare do this to me father! I hate you!"

And then she stormed out of the room, past her brother who was now awake who looked dumbstruck. She slammed her bedroom door shut and collapsed on her bed in a fit of tears.

------

Kagome did not leave her room after her breakdown. She remained on her bed with a book and only moved to visit the bathroom. She didn't bother to attend dinner, she ate by herself in her room. She refused to speak to her father, she wanted to be alone.

It's already been a week. Kagome sighed as she stared at the ceiling. Today was the day. Today was the day she will lose her freedom. She will leave her family home with a demon. The whole idea was perplexing. She was scared. What if the demon wanted to eat her? She wasn't stupid. There were many tales of beasts, demons and ogres who feast on the flesh of a human. What if that was to be her fate?

"Kagome," Mrs Higurashi's voice came from the hallway. Kagome glanced at the door, then looked away. Mrs Higurashi slowly slid open the door and peered inside, "Please, don't isolate yourself in here. Lord Sesshomaru's messenger is coming today...we might never see you again!"

Kagome scoffed, "Then why give me away in the first place?"

Mrs Higurashi sighed, "He saved your father's life!"

"Oh," Kagome said sarcastically, "that makes him so much more important than me. Who cares about Kagome? She's just a teenage girl we can throw away."

"Stop right this instant, Kagome Higurashi!" Mrs Higurashi warned, her hands on her hips and her expression stern, "You are taking this too far!"

Kagome didn't respond.

"Do you know how much we love you? How much we are going to miss you?" Mrs Higurashi asked, "Do you know how this eats away at your father's heart?"

Kagome turned around so that her back faced her mother. She balled her fists and bit her bottom lip, trying to fend off the tears. Mrs Higurashi sighed when she saw her daughter tremble. She slowly approached the teenager's bed and sat down beside her, placing her hand on her daughter's back in a loving and gentle manner.

"I'm sorry, darling," Mrs Higurashi whispered, "I don't want this for you either...but your father...Lord Sesshomaru saved his life."

Kagome turned around, the tears having already escaped and was now rolling down her cheeks. Kagome forced a tiny smile, "I know, mother. I'll go...but only because I love father."

Mrs Higurashi smiled, "Who knows? Maybe Lord Sesshomaru is friendly!"

Kagome pulled an odd face, "I highly doubt it, mother. Haven't you heard any of the legends of The Great Dog General of the West?"

"I think you are confused, my dear," Mrs Higurashi chuckled, "The Great Dog General of the West was Lord Sesshomaru's father. And he was far from a hateful demon. They say he fell in love with a human...and even impregnated her. He lost his life protecting the two of them from danger."

Kagome was stunned. A demon that fell in love with a human? It was possible, but rare. Demons usually stayed away from humans and vice versa.

"So then," Kagome trailed off, "what legends refer to Sesshomaru?"

Mrs Higurashi shrugged, "None of us know. He's very secretive and moves in the shadows. Some say he's scared of humans. Others say he hates hamans. I truly do not know what to believe."

Kagome pursed her lips. What if he did hate humans? Was she going to become dinner?

------

Kagome was led outside by her mother when the announcement reached them. Lord Sesshomaru's messenger had arrived. Kagome came to a standstill before a magnificent large beast with eyes the colour of blood and a crescent moon on his brow. She looked up at him, her insides trembling. If this was the messenger, how big was the Lord?

Mr Higurashi smiled weakly at his daughter and gave her shoulders a squeeze.

"I'm surprised," Mr Higurashi said after he bowed to the demon before them, "I was expecting Ah-Un to fetch Kagome. To think that you would come all this way yourself - should I be honored, Lord Sesshomaru?"

Kagome gasped. This magnificent being before her was the Lord Sesshomaru himself? She was mesmerized. Not only by his size, but by his beauty. Sesshomaru growled softly, but he did not speak. Mr Higurashi laughed nervously and then gently pushed Kagome forward, urging her to approach the Demon Lord. She took a small step towards him, then stopped. She looked up into his crimson eyes, as if asking for permission. Sesshomaru merely watched her. She took another step closer and jumped when the demon lowered his head. He pressed himself against her, causing her to giggle. His fur was soft and long and it tickled her arms. Mr Higurashi watched the scene before him, fascinated. Kagome was laughing? Laughing! It was such a beautiful sight, he wanted to cry.

"You stinking human, get your paws of Lord Sesshomaru!" a tiny voice yelled from nowhere. Kagome furrowed her brows and looked around for the source of the voice, but saw no one. "Down here, you numbskull!"

Kagome looked down and came face-to-face with a tiny green imp. He was holding a staff with two heads at the top. Kagome blinked, Sesshomaru growled. The imp glanced nervously at the Demon Lord, then bowed down in respect. Kagome did not understand what just happened, but the imp seemed to have been put in his place.

The imp straightened again and sighed, "Get on my Lord's back, human."

Kagome complied without a word. With a nudge from Sesshomaru and a push from her father, Kagome got onto the great demon's back. Her hands clasped his fur and she sighed in delight. He was so soft. She could fall asleep right now and never wake up.

"Goodbye, my daughter," Mr Higurashi whispered, "may the Kamis be with you."

Kagome saw the glassy look her father's eyes held and quickly looked away. She didn't want to leave. She didn't want to leave her home, her safe place and go somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a large beast and a strange imp. Despite her first opinion on Sesshomaru, she still did not care for or trust him at all. A small particle of her fear might have demolished, but it was not fully gone.

Kagome did not say a word as the Demon Lord turned around and disappeared into the darkness of the forest, leaving her father behind all alone.

------

They reached Sesshomaru's fortress much earlier than Kagome expected. She thought he lived far away and it would take at least a day to arrive. Looks like her fears of sleeping in the open was in the end for nothing. She was sleeping with a roof over head tonight. A fine roof at that.

Kagome slid off Sesshomaru's back and stepped away from him, her blue eyes focused on the beautiful fortress before her. A cold breeze passed through, causing a shiver to run down her spine. Kagome wrapped her arms around herself to form some base of heat. Her kimono was not warm enough for cold wind like this.

Sesshomaru disappeared inside, followed by the green imp, who was still glaring at Kagome with his yellow eyes. Kagome laughed nervously and followed them. She had no idea what to do, or what was about to happen. She increased her speed to catch up with the large beast.

"Sesshomaru," Kagome called for his attention, "what do you plan to do with me?"

He didn't answer her. Nor did he even bother to look at her. Sesshomaru continued forward.

The imp laughed, "Foolish human!"

Kagome glared at him, causing the imp to panic and quickly scurry after Sesshomaru. Kagome stood silent, confused. Where was she supposed to go? What was she supposed to do? She glanced around her, but the fortress was so large, it would be impossible for her to find her way around all by herself.

A small, petite woman came scurrying down the hallway. She had a green kimono and long chestnut hair that was tied up in a neat bun. She had on a white apron, dirtied with food and paint stains. She whirled past Kagome, only to freeze and quickly turn around. Her dark eyes stared at Kagome, fascinated.

"A human?" the woman asked, shocked. Kagome swallowed slowly. This woman before her was not human. Her dark eyes were small, like beads and her ears were shaped like prunes. She was a demon.

Kagome smiled weakly, her bravery failing her, "Good day."

The woman seemed surprised by her greeting. She looked taken aback, but her face soon livened up and she smiled. Kagome cringed. The woman had no teeth!

"You must be Lord Sesshomaru's guest!" the woman exclaimed, "How exciting! Are you lost, child?"

Kagome nodded. The woman laughed and motioned for Kagome to follow her. Kagome happily complied.

-------

Kagome was led to the room that would be hers. It was large, laid with fine tatami mats. She had an entire porch to herself and her futon was the size of her room back home. She felt like a queen. The woman introduced herself as the housekeeper. Her name was Saya and she has been serving Sesshomaru for over two-hundred years. That startled Kagome - they were that old?

"Make yourself at home, dear," Saya smiled, "I'll go make some tea."

"Thank you," Kagome whispered, "why are you being so friendly to me? A human?"

Saya smiled, "Lord Sesshomaru isn't very fond of humans."

Kagome furrowed her brows, "He's not?"

"No," Saya shook her head, "After his father's death, that dislike increased even further. We were worried he would never open up to your kind. You see, demons and humans cannot exist if they don't support each other."

This was news to Kagome. She never knew that demons and humans were dependent on each other. In fact, she always thought that demons hid themselves simply because they did not feel the need to depend on humans. Looks like she had been wrong all along.

"I see," Kagome mumbled, "I don't think he likes me, though. He didn't even respond to my question."

Saya's smile faded and she looked away, "Kagome, my dear, he wanted to reply, but he can't."

"Can't?" Kagome asked.

"He's mute."

------

Kagome lay on her futon, her mind reeling from all that it had processed through the day. First, she discovered the noble beast she was promised to was the son of The Great Dog General from the West. Then she met this fine noble son. She was taken away from her home to a fortress, where she discovered that Sesshomaru was mute.

Mute.

It was almost unimaginable. A noble demon who could not speak. It was unheard of. Somehow, it made her feel sorry for him.

But, only for a little while.

Soon, the longing for home returned. The sun was setting and the moon was taking over the night sky. Kagome lay in a ball, her blankets draped over her. She didn't even bother to remove her kanzashi or kimono. She collapsed onto the bed and stayed there. She closed her eyes and sighed. She missed her mother, her grandfather, her brother. She missed her cat, Buyo. And most of all, she missed her father. She felt guilty for yelling at him the week before. How could she say those things to him?

Kagome sniffled. She tried to tell herself that crying won't solve anything, but it didn't work. Her heart was yearning for her home. She wanted to go home. It had been less than a day and already she was regretting allowing her father to control her life. Why couldn't a woman choose her own husband?

Sesshomaru was doing his usual patrol of the fortress. It was a habit he picked up after he discovered some spies amongst his workers who relayed messages to several natural enemies - the Panthers for one. His crimson eyes scanned every nook and cranny, his nose detected any strange movement. Nothing was out of place. The way it should be.

Until the scent of fresh human tears filled his nostrils. He stopped, his eyes quickly landing on the door that led to the human woman's room. She was crying. Not sure of what to do, he approached the room and pushed the door open with his snout. The human was curled up into a ball on her futon and sobs erupted from her. He wanted to call out her name, but his position did not allow it. He didn't like seeing her like this. She was supposed to be happy here. Happy with him.

Not sure of what to do, Sesshomaru approached the human and lay down behind her. Her curled his large body around her, his head nuzzling hers. Kagome gasped, but a low growl from Sesshomaru silenced her. Kagome did not move. She lay still, her heart beating in her chest. Yet, at the same time she felt calm and warm.

Slowly, she drifted off to sleep.

------

The same events repeated every night. Sesshomaru would patrol the fortress, then retreat to the human's room to comfort her as she cried. He enjoyed curling around her, offering his body as a pillow. She enjoyed his warmth and the sense of protection his presence brought. It was almost like when she was a little girl and her father would lie down with her and tell her stories about the Great Dog Demons from the West.

Ironic that now she lay with one of those demons.

Eventually, the longing became too much for Kagome to bear. Not even Sesshomaru's presence could heal the ache in her chest. The regret that ate away at her soul. She had to see her father. She had to apologise and say goodbye properly. Then she would give herself to Sesshomaru.

It was a night like every other night. Kagome lay on her futon, her heart burdened. Sesshomaru lay curled around her, his eyes closed but his senses alert. He could sense Jaken and Saya right outside the door, peeping, but he did not react. Leave those two fools be. When Kagome catches them, they would be as good as dead anyways.

"Sesshomaru?" Kagome whispered.

Sesshomaru growled softly in response.

Kagome inhaled deeply, "Please...I want to see my father!"

If Sesshomaru were human, he could hear himself sigh. Humans were always so predictable. He knew that she would ask eventually.

Jaken burst into the room, his laughter echoed through the fortress, "Lord Sesshomaru will never take you back there!"

Kagome sat up, glared at the imp and then turned a hopeful gaze towards Sesshomaru. He watched her pleading eyes closely, his heart wrenched. He wanted her to be happy, but he didn't want to lose her. He shook his head. Kagome's face paled. She quickly moved away from Sesshomaru, anger not only evident on her face, but in her scent as well.

"I told you so," Jaken pointed out, only resulting in Saya hitting him with a shoe.

------

Sesshomaru did not return to Kagome's room after that. She had to admit, she missed him. Kagome missed having him curled around her. She bit her lip as tears rolled down her cheeks. The moonlight cascaded against her skin. She missed home. She missed her friends. She missed Sesshomaru. She couldn't believe it, but she did.

"Human," Jaken hissed. Kagome sat up her, surprise evident on her face, "Lord Sesshomaru will take you home...on one condition - you must answer one question. Get it right, and you will see your father again. Get it wrong, and you will not see him."

"What is the question?" Kagome asked.

Jaken did not seem impressed at all, "What do you think of Lord Sesshomaru?"

Kagome didn't even have to think, "He's a sick, cold-hearted beast!"

Jaken snickered, "Incorrect. You will stay here."

Then the imp left without another word. Kagome punched the floor in anger. Why did she that? How could she allow those words to escape her lips? Tears started to flow down her cheeks all over again. What a fool she was.

Jaken returned two days later, he asked the question again. Kagome did not make the same mistake twice.

"He's as sweet as honeycomb," Kagome answered.

Jaken looked annoyed, "Correct."

Jaken led Kagome outside, where she climbed onto Sesshomaru's back and they sped off into the forest. About an hour into the journey they stopped, allowing for Kagome to tend to her human needs. She quickly replenished herself by the stream and sat back and sighed.

Soon...soon she will see her father again!

"Human," Jaken called, "What do you think of Lord Sesshomaru?"

"He's a sick, cold-hearted beast!" Kagome replied. She froze when she realised what she said. She glanced at Sesshomaru, who seemed unaffected by her words.

Jaken laughed, "Incorrect. We go back to the fortress now."

Kagome wanted to scream.

------

The same events followed two days later. Jaken asked her the question, which Kagome replied "He's as sweet as honeycomb". Jaken would then lead her outside where Sesshomaru awaited. They traveled for an hour and she was asked the question again. She once again replied, "He's as sweet as honeycomb". They continued their journey ahead.

They were seven hours away from the fortress when Jaken challenged Kagome again. She blindly replied, "He's a sick, cold-hearted beast."

They turned around and returned to the fortress. Kagome at this point was broken. It was like she had lost complete control of her senses. She could not control what she said. The words escaped her lips before she even knew what she was saying. It must be the work of magic! It was the only explanation she could think of.

That night she cried herself to sleep, but she could have sworn she felt the presence of Sesshomaru as he curled around her. When she woke up, he was gone, no trace of him left.

------

Kagome was prepared two days later when Jaken returned.

"What do you think of Lord Sesshomaru?" Jaken asked.

"He's as sweet as honeycomb," Kagome answered. Jaken sighed and led her to the entrance of the fortress where Sesshomaru was waiting. Kagome climbed onto his back, her hands brushed over his fur. She was accustomed to his body by now. She loved the soft feeling, the warmth that radiated from him.

They traveled for an hour and stopped by the stream. Kagome drank water, ate some fruit given to her by Saya and washed her face. She sat back and stared at the clouds above her in wonder.

"What do you think of Lord Sesshomaru?" Jaken asked.

"He's as sweet as honeycomb," Kagome replied without even thinking. Jaken nodded and Sesshomaru growled softly at the back of this throat. They continued their journey.

Seven hours away from the fortress, they stopped once more. Kagome did not move from Sesshomaru's back. She was too comfortable and tired to move. She felt content. She closed her eyes and ran her fingers through his fur.

"What do you think of Lord Sesshomaru?" Jaken asked.

"He's as sweet as honeycomb," Kagome whispered. She felt Sesshomaru shiver beneath her. She wondered why. It was far from cold. The sun shone brightly and the temperature was lovely. Jaken nodded and once again they set off to continue on their journey. Kagome slowly drifted off into the world of dreams.

------

"Wake up, human!" Jaken yelled as he nudged Kagome with his staff. Her blue eyes fluttered open and she slowly sat up. She looked around her and her eyes widened. Before her, stood her home. The old building looked exactly like she remembered it. It felt like it had been centuries since she set foot here. She slid off Sesshomaru's back and sighed in delight when her feet met the ground of her house.

She was home.

She immediately ran for the door, ready to burst inside and call out to her parents. She was ready to collapse into their arms and cry her heart out. Her heart beat fast in her chest, her breathing was erratic. To say she was excited was an understatement. Kagome reached for the door, her fingers twitching in anticipation.

"Stop, human!" Jaken ordered. Kagome froze. What did the imp want now? Jaken moved closer to Kagome and looked up at her, his eyes skeptical.

"Answer this question," Jaken ordered, "what do you think of Lord Sesshomaru?"

"He's a sick-" Kagome trailed off, her mind suddenly catching what she was about to say. So close! She was so close to almost giving up her chance to meet her family again! If she did say it, she would have traveled all this way for nothing! Kagome glanced at Jaken and Sesshomaru, they both awaiting her answer patiently.

All the events of her time at Sesshomaru's fortress came back to her. The times when he curled around her. When he comforted her, when he warmed her then cold heart. He was like her guardian angel, looking out for her whenever she needed him. He has been nothing but kind to her...and how did she treat him? Like he was some kind of monster.

Kagome smiled warmly, "He is sweeter than any other honeycomb."

Jaken's eyes widened. He couldn't believe what he was hearing! He was expecting her to answer like all the other previous times. This human woman was unlike any other before her...all the other human women Sesshomaru tested all failed in the end. They all despised him and called him a 'sick, cold-hearted beast'. Not once did a woman succeed. And now here a woman stood with a smile on her lips saying 'that he was sweeter than any other honeycomb'.

Kagome awaited Jaken's nod of approval that would allow her to go inside, but it never came. Jaken merely stared at her, shocked. She frowned and glanced at Sesshomaru, only to realise he was no longer there. She panicked. Where had he gone? She glanced around her. There was no sign of him. He has disappeared right in front of her very eyes. She didn't even see him leave.

"Looking for this Sesshomaru, are you?" a male voice asked. Kagome jumped and spun around, coming face-to-face with a pair of golden eyes. She gasped and stumbled backwards. Before her stood a very handsome man, dressed in the finest robes and armour she has ever seen. He had long silver hair that would make any girl jealous and a large piece of...fur on his shoulder. At least it looked like fur.

"Who are you?" Kagome asked.

Jaken was astonished, "L-l-lord Sesshomaru! Is that really you?"

Kagome glanced at the imp, confusion apparent on her face.

Jaken was met by nothing, but a rock hitting him on the head.

Jaken cried tears of joy as a lump formed on his head, "Oh yes, it is Lord Sesshomaru, alright."

Kagome looked up at the man again, her blue eyes wide. Now that she looked at him, she actually did see the similarities between the two. He still had the markings on his cheekbones and the crescent moon on his forehead.

"Sesshomaru?" Kagome asked.

"Kagome," Sesshomaru whispered. Kagome's heart did a leap in her chest. It was him! This man was Sesshomaru! He could speak! She couldn't believe it. He looked so...human. It was hard to believe that he was the same beast from before. Kagome didn't know whether she had to smile or cry, so she did both.

Sesshomaru was confused by the woman's tears. Why was she crying? He was still the same person. The only difference was that the spell had been lifted...and he was allowed to access his human form again, as well as his voice.

"Why are you crying, Kagome?" Sesshomaru asked. Kagome did not reply, instead she flung herself in his arms. He stumbled backwards, shocked. Kagome wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly. Sesshomaru stood frozen and confused. What was he supposed to do? After awhile of no moving, Sesshomaru slowly moved to wrap his arms around Kagome. The two stood together like that, embracing and enjoying each others' warmth.

"Kagome?" another voice asked, shocked. Kagome and Sesshomaru pulled away from each other and turned to the door. Mr Higurashi stood in the doorway, his eyes wide, "Kagome!"

Kagome smiled, "Father!"

She embraced her father tightly, then pulled away, "Sesshomaru allowed me to come visit."

Kagome decided to leave out the part about being tested. Mr Higurashi glanced at Sesshomaru, then at Jaken. He frowned.

"Lord Sesshomaru did?" Mr Higurashi asked, "Where is he? Did he not escort you?"

Kagome laughed, "Silly, he's right here!" Kagome pointed at Sesshomaru, causing Mr Higurashi's jaw to drop.

"A pleasure, Mr Higurashi," Sesshomaru greeted.

Kagome smiled warmly, "Father, I would like to stay with Sesshomaru. I merely came to apologise."

Sesshomaru was surprised by her words. He did not expect her to want to go back with him. He thought this would be the last time he would have her to himself.

Mr Higurashi smiled, "You don't have to, daughter. I know you didn't mean to hurt me. I'm surprised you want to stay with him though - I thought you would beg me to allow you to come back...and take back my promise I made to Lord Sesshomaru."

Kagome chuckled, "It's amazing what silence can do. It got us farther than words would have."

Sesshomaru could not agree more.

------

"Rin, pick that sword up one more time and I will twist your fingers into knots!" Jaken warned. The little girl blinked, then innocently dropped the sword and smiled a goofy smile. Jaken sighed, "Good heavens, human children frustrate me."

Jaken sat down on the porch, while the children played in the garden. His staff was by his side, but he knew that if he even dared to use it in the presence of the children then he would be fried alive...or attacked by stones that came out of nowhere. It was amazing how fast Sesshomaru could summon rocks. It was like a magic.

A dark aura suddenly appeared behind Jaken, causing him to turn around cautiously. The Lady of the Castle stood behind him, her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes dacing like wildfire. Jaken laughed nervously.

"Jaken," Kagome hissed, "what did I tell you about using violence as a threat?"

"To not do it around the children?" Jaken half-asked, half-stated.

Kagome smiled, "I'm so happy you listen!"

Jaken knew that smile, it was the 'I'm-watching-you' smile she always carried when angry. It was even more frightening than Sesshomaru's glare - now that's saying something. Jaken sighed when Kagome left him in peace and joined the children. For a human, she was extremely scary.

"Lady Kagome!" Rin exclaimed excitedly, "Rin found a toad!"

Kagome smiled, "That's nice. Just make sure that Aki doesn't eat it - I don't want to call for the doctor again!"

"Rin will make sure that Aki will not eat the toad!" Rin chirped.

Aki, who was only about three years old, grumbled in the background. Even though he was merely a half-demon, he had his father's intelligence and gifts and was a very fast-learner. Of course, he was also very curious which led him to eating things he wasn't supposed to - like fungus and toads. It drove Kagome nuts just to make sure he stayed away from poisonous items.

The bell ringing from the kitchen signified the return of Sesshomaru and his daughter, Seira from a hunting trip. Seira was the eldest in the family. She was already thirteen- the age a demon is considered an adult. As an adult, Seira had many responsibilities, including learning to care for her pack and serving her father, the alpha until she was to mate.

"Lord Sesshomaru is back!" Rin exclaimed excitedly as she skipped towards the porch where Jaken sat.

Aki gurgled, "Sei!"

As if on cue, Sesshomaru and Seira appeared in the doorway of the living area which looked out into the garden. Seira smiled when Rin flew into her arms.

"Hello, Rin," Seira greeted, "did you miss me?"

"Rin did miss you!" Rin replied. Sesshomaru left his daughter's side and approached his human mate. Kagome smiled when he pulled her against him and kissed her forehead.

"How did it go?" Kagome asked.

"Crashed into a familiar half-demon on the way," Sesshomaru stated, "but other than that, a success."

"Inuyasha?" Kagome asked, surprised, "what is he doing here?"

"Do you think this Sesshomaru cares?"

Kagome laughed, "Guess not."

Sesshomaru smirked and leaned in to kiss his wife, his mate and the woman who released him from the curse he had to live with for so many years.

 

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