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Honorable by Knight of Disorder

Rage

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha

AN: Bear with me, this is going to come in three or four parts rather then chapters. It might be a little confusing but will clear up as the story progresses.

---000---

The edge of the blade tore through the air, there was no finesse, no grace. Just rage, anger, hate, and fury. That was the last thing the panther saw, pure and untainted hate as the blade ripped a jagged line through his chest. The hooked blade catching one of his ribs and ripping it with skin and muscle from its proper place. Humming as the meager aura of its target faded, the blade pulsed. Telling its master where the next one was.

Images of the beings that had died faded from the forefront, leaving only the images of the ones left. That ones that hadn’t fallen to the blade, The Jaken'na Kokoro, a blade forged from the remains of Tokijin and the last remaining fang of Naraku. There was no consciousness in the blade, just unfocused hate. So much that it would smother anyone who dared lift it, it would consume them until there was nothing left.

Faster than any demon, faster than any being the panther had seen before the beast that killed his comrades was there. Right behind him, blade poised to take his life.

Once more, like a mace the blade ripped a path through the air. Meeting the back of its prey’s thigh. Blood sloshing from the massive gash as he screamed for help. The dark growl that rumbled in the air was rough and worn, eyes threaded with red, black, and blue stared at its prey.

One look was all he needed, staring into those wild eyes, at the long battle tossed raven locks. Thin arms and slender waist, this was her. This was the woman, the one that killed without compassion. This woman was rage incarnate, when she held her blade no being was safe. She was the Shikon Priestess.

Roaring a high tumbling roar Kagome buried the blade in his chest. Twisting the thick metal sharply till she heard the tell tale snap of bone. The blade humming as it consumed what was left of the demon’s aura. Her white knuckled grip dragging the blade from the pale corpse. Not a word leaving her lips as she turned. Lifting her free hand, dragging her palm down one side of her face and pulling the back across the other side. Attempting to remove blood, only to smear more.

Like a puppet she stumbled and trudged, back towards the water, towards the small cave that was hidden in the rocks. Past the water, past the cattails. Nearly crawling as she pulled herself inside the opening. Pushing the blade which sunk easily into the stone at the entrance, it’s red aura pulsing and raging as it formed a barrier. Deeper she stumbled, eyes blurry and spotted with white and black.

Finally she stopped, settling her eyes on the other two occupants. A girl, no older than thirteen, and a boy no older than seven. Both with silver-gray hair, and sky blue eyes. Blinking, the markings that the blade forced upon her fading. Solid red stripes that cut from her forehead down over both eyelids ending just before her lips. Dropping in a pile near the two children.

“Tsubasa,” she croaked. Watching as the girl drew closer, the markings on her face becoming more clear. The marks matching her own when she carried that sword, color and placement perfect copies. Reaching out with her sword hand, pulling them across the crescent moon that marked the girls jaw. “Is Tsukimaru okay?”

Turning her head quickly, eyeing her brother up and down. The twin nearly black stripes that slashed across his cheeks and the crescent mirrored on his forehead, “he’s fine mother.” Reaching out and brushing hair from Kagome’s face. “father will come soon.”

Smiling meekly, “I know. He always does.” Humming slightly before fading into the oblivion for a short while, feeling her tired powers rise to chase away the burn of her muscles and heal the cuts and bruises which dotted her body.

---000---

Hissing when he came across easily the fourteenth or fifteenth body, his own will forcing him to stop counting. They were just supposed to look for the Lady of the West and her children, then report back. There wasn’t supposed to be a fight, and none of his men were supposed to be dead. Smashing his hand into a tree, of twenty three he wasn’t sure how many were still alive. Finally stepping into the clearing where the trail seemed to lead, his eyes tracing the rock face.

There was nothing, it had been easily a day since the last of the bodies he’d found. He was sure it was not long before, that, that one had been killed. If the trail ended here, then the one who did it was also here. Now because of this, they wouldn’t be able to take back the information they were supposed to. Hissing again, nearly turning on his heel to leave.

---000---

Jaken'na Kokoro hummed menacingly, its power lashing out and grabbing hold of its master. Dragging her from the healing sleep she needed, forcing her powers to mend over the damage it had been slowly working to heal. Kagome’s eyes snapped open instantly, forcing herself up. Pressing wight down on her damaged leg, three days. Three days of nothing but fighting, each step sent a jolt of pain up her spine. The thrumming call of her blade forcing the pain away as it called again. Warned of danger, screamed to kill.

Neither child moved even though they scented the pain and blood that their mother had spilled, her own and her enemies.

Wrapping her weak hand around the hilt of her blade, the blade that looked just as Tokijin aside from the sharp hook which graced the tip. Her blade did not cut or slice, it ripped flesh. Leaving jagged lines which didn’t heal correctly if they lived. As soon as she pulled the blade from the perch she’d given it the barrier was washed away.

There was no hesitation as she lunged forward, swinging the blade down on her target who stood just feet to the side of the opening.

Quickly pulling his own blade from the sheath on his hip, catching the pulsing blade and doing his best to hold back the corrosive aura which spilled from the jagged edge. Eyes wide as he stared at the beast carrying such a horrendous blade. A woman, a strong woman. He held the blade off for as long as he could before darting back, holding his blade before him.

“Stand down!”

Kagome paid no mind, stepping after him.

His eyes flicked towards the opening where she came from, freezing in place at what he saw. Two children, watching him, watching her, watching them. Moving back once more, he buried his blade in the earth and held his hands out.

She froze, the tip of her blade falling towards the earth. Pulsing and raging as she took deep, sharp breaths. Eyes no longer focused but instead dancing from one spot to another as he stood there unarmed.

He knew this was bad, his men had attacked her. She had retaliated. She had attacked him, but if the stories told true there was no reasoning with her. So long as she held that blade... his nose twitched. Over the scent of day old blood came another, fresh. Turning his eyes up, catching the slowly dripping line that edged from the corner of her mouth. Startling when she lifted her blade again, his mind whirling until he found out why.

Eight, that’s how many he counted. So it was fifteen that she’d already killed, “don’t attack!” His barked orders froze his soldiers in place, nodding his head towards the cave. Only the girl remained near the mouth, “she’ll kill us all and make sure no demon other than the father comes here.”

“I’ll kill her first,” one shouted but didn’t get the chance to move. In an instant her blade was buried in his gut, blood spilling like a waterfall at their feet. Forcing his sword hand high, he couldn’t react fast enough when the blade was pulled free and slicked through the air. The high arc of red ending with the jagged stump if his arm.

Kagome didn’t show the pain of landing firmly on her leg, the quickly mended break was weak. Far too weak for her to do that again, even now she could feel the weakness. Jaken'na Kokoro kept her standing for now, but it wouldn’t be long.

“Return to your children, we won’t attack you.”

The words caught her off guard, they were the ones that started it. They attacked first, why would they stop now. The sword in her hand pulsed. Screaming for blood, calling for their deaths. Her own power screaming for rest, her strength stretched thin and her mind battered from loss of sleep.

Panting like a wild dog she backed away, backed towards the cave. Her eyes darting from one to the other. Once she was in the entrance she collapsed, bracing herself as the blade sunk into the stone once more. Her arms holding close to the support.

“Captain, she’s weak. We could easily,” he stopped when a hand was held up.

“She’ll die soon enough. Without her mate here, without his power to support her she’ll kill herself and all of us before she let us get a hand on either of those two children. If we just wait it out, she won’t have the power to move much longer.” Looking down at the blackened edge of his sword, at the small cracks which fissured across its length.

“Look,” one of the newest arrivals pointed towards the cave. A young girl standing over the the elder, her eyes flushed red and markings jagged as she stared at the panthers.

Startled he took a few steps back, leaving his blade in the earth. The girl couldn’t be to her fifteenth summer and she already had full control of her demonic traits, it was frightening. The boy that stepped up on the other side simply stared, he looked almost on the verge of tears but still stared at them with an all consuming hate. “Stay back, no one get close!”

---000---

Kagome cracked open her eyes, tightening her grip on the hilt of her blade. Doing her best to lift her cheek from the leather handle. Glancing around, staring into the tree line. “Tsubasa, take your brother deeper into the cave,” her voice barely there as she took deep heaving breaths. The blade in her hands thrumming out the call for blood, her own drained powers barely flickering.

“You can’t fight anymore mother, let me go. I can wield Jaken'na Kokoro,” knowing better than to reach for the blade without permission.

“No! Guard Tsukimaru. Your father will come soon, or humans. It doesn’t matter, no one will harm you. We are on western soil now.” Forcing herself up, edges of the world blurring and fraying as she tried to steady herself. Kagome knew well that she wouldn’t last, the sword had burned away everything she held in reserve. Her powers which were dormant since she first laid with Sesshoumaru no longer heeded her call. Just the call of healing.

Wincing as she drew herself to her full height, the weight pressing on her strained leg nearly too much. Once more the call for blood pulsed through the blade, screaming in her mind. This was what Tokijin did to Sesshoumaru, and he never bent to its will. Kagome however, couldn’t kill without this blade. Couldn’t lift a finger, because her powers wouldn’t swell without it. Crimson lines spread across her face, demonic markings for the Lady of the West.

Tipping her head back, a guttural roar scored her throat against her voice. The hooked edge of her blade carving a grove in the stone as she left the shelter of the cave once more. Tired muscles screaming, bones creaking, blood singing.

There was no pause in her attack, faster and faster. One swipe then another, leaving a weaving trail of arcing blood in the air as she moved as fast she possibly could between those left. Tearing gashes in their armor and flesh. Two down, power exploding outward she brought the blade down on the one she’d fought before. A last wave of purity eating away the strength of the demon bone blade. Leaving it to shatter so much as glass.

Black spots filled her vision, leaving her blind to the attacks which threatened her from the sides. Finally as the roar of a distant beast filled the air, the black took her vision and her mind. Legs folding under her like broken twigs, blade turning to mist as it swirled about her hand. Taking shape on her flesh as a large black spider.

---000---

She was floating, at least that’s what it felt like before the young constant growl snapped her from her the drug induced sleep. Eyes snapped open, the mobile spider which was the source of her power humming on her skin as it burned away the last of the sleeping herb she’d been given. She didn’t need to know where it came from, she knew that. An arm pulling taught around the warm body at her side that whimpered at her sudden swell of power. “Tsubasa,” the word whispered when it was meant as a call.

“SANGO! She’s awake!”

That voice, it was a voice she’d not heard in nearly fourteen years. Not since the day she came back through the well. Shifting her eyes to stare up at her daughter who she was sure was the shadow that was cast across her face. The silver hair was gone, as were the markings. Black hair, a glamor.

The reed mat near the door was tossed to the side, a much older slayer rushing in only to halt at the sharp growl that was the young girl standing guard. “Stay back woman!”

“Tsubasa,” Kagome whispered again, “it’s alright.”

Glancing back, staring at her tired mother, then shooting a glare back at the woman. “Try anything and I’ll end you before you can beg,” flexing her small fingers and tiny claws to emphasize her point.

Sango slipped past the girl, dropping down to look over her friend. “Kagome, where did you come from? You left and we never saw you again,” glancing at the girl at her back and the boy under Kagome’s arm. “They’re,” mulling over the words, “demons.”

Smiling weakly, “it’s a long story.” Wincing at the sore feeling in her throat, “some water?”

Nodding quickly before rising and vanishing through the door, Sango was back in heartbeat. A tub and ladle with her, setting it next to the futon. “Kagome, where’s... your mate?” Scooping some water and bringing it to her friend’s lips.

“Their father you mean,” chuckling slightly once she’d taken a long sip. “He’ll be here soon, he’s never very far behind us.”

“I have already called for father, it has been less than a day since you brought us here and nearly four since we went missing. It will take some time for him to receive the message,” her voice was thick with confidence. It wasn’t misplaced, she was well aware that her father would tear the land itself apart searching for them if he needed.

Nodding slightly, Sango looked back at Kagome. “I’ve sent for Inuyasha.”

Kagome was jarred from her thoughts, “why would you do that?”

“You have children with you Kagome, and you’re hurt. What else would you have me do, I’m a slayer. I don’t know the least about caring for two adolescent demons.” Setting the ladle down, “how long have you been back Kagome?”

Turning her head away, “Tsubasa is nearly fourteen summers.”

Miroku who sat quietly in the corner of the hut, his attention divided between the conversation going on inside and the three children playing game outside. Taking his attention from them for just a moment he set his eyes on the eldest child in the room. She radiated power, control and power. Shaking his head slightly, he could forgive the secrecy. What did she have to return to after all? Inuyasha had been mated to Kikyou, and Sango and himself were already parents around the time Tsubasa would have been conceived.

“Lady Kagome, might I ask a question,” his voice breaking the nearly silent words shared between the two. Moving closer while still keeping his eyes on the game going on outside the hut. “It appears to me that you have not aged, how is that possible?”

Kagome stared at him, Miroku had never been one to beat around the bush. She wouldn’t have been surprised he’d already guessed at who the father of her children was. “The possibility of eternity. The spark of absolute existence, I gave a great deal of power to swell the part of my soul held by Kikyou. She gained a body and that possibility, that spark, had to go somewhere.” Coughing roughly, a splatter of red marring the blanket which had been draped over her.

Sango nearly panicked, stopping only when Tsubasa was there before her.

“Father will be here soon, then you’ll be fine,” brushing hair from her mother’s forehead. Resting her palm there, letting her power swell. “I can’t give much but it should help,” the flow was small. A trickle compared to what she was used to, this was the power that fueled her. Much like Kikyou needed the souls of the dead, she needed the power of demons.

The boy at her side was up before she could tighten her grip, leaning over her as the mat was tossed aside once more. Standing there in the door, blocked from seeing her but more than able to smell her. “Kagome,” he nearly yelled. The red sleeve of his firerat dancing on the air before being caught, being tackled by a child that was growling in his face.

“Tsukimaru,” her voice still wavering painfully. Once more, her vision spotted black.

Growling like a wild animal Tsukimaru moved back to his spot under his mother’s arm, eyeing the half-demon that had charged into the room. His head only slightly held above her.

Sango glanced between them, rising quickly and taking Inuyasha by his sleeve. “I need to talk to you,” when he open his mouth to speak she nearly slapped him. Sure the anger on her face silenced him, “now.” Dragging him back out the door.

---000---

It had been three days since word that his mate had not arrived at her destination with the children. Two since he himself had left the stronghold and began working his way along the path his soldiers had already trampled and beaten down. What beasts had gotten in his path were nothing more than rotting piles before his insatiable need to find her, to find them. His hair danced on the wind as he lunged once more, clearing the wide distance of the path in a single leap.

Even his soldiers could smell the blood, the blood of demons. The bodies had been either picked clean by lesser demons or torn open. All of his army knew that they were attacked by the lady, her rage and her blade left no chance of survival. The wounds left by the blade were seared with the slightest edge of purity. Growling as he came across the battleground, eight bodies and only three torn open. The rest struck far too hard and with a weapon infinitely larger than a blade.

His nose turned towards the sky, the scents that lingered in the clearing filtering into him. Each one picked apart for the smallest detail, trying to seek beneath the stench of panther blood. Beneath the lingering emotions which clung in the air, fury and fear which clung to everything. It was small but he could smell them, his mate, his pups. Turning his eyes down, narrowing them on the distant horizon.

---000---

“Don’t even think about saying what I think you’re going to say,” Sango snapped quietly enough so Kagome wouldn’t hear. “She has children with her,” shifting uncomfortably, “her children.”

Inuyasha seemed taken aback by the words, sure they smelled like Kagome but so did the runt. “They can’t be hers, they’re full demons. She probably picked them up.” Waving her off and turning to go back inside.

“Inuyasha, just because Kikyou died doesn’t mean you have even the slightest chance. She has a mate already, I saw the mark myself when I washed the blood from her body. The girl said she already sent a message to him,” her grip like a iron fist.

Inuyasha scowled, “fine, fine. Just let me go already.” Tugging his sleeve from her grasp, “I’m going to make sure this mate of hers is good enough. If he’s not, I’ll kill him and make her mine. If those brats are her’s he must not be that powerful, they don’t even have markings.”

“Stop this Inuyasha, leave her alone. I called you because even if I’m a slayer handling demons that young isn’t something we’re trained in. I just need you to get them to leave the room so I can talk to her without them over my shoulder.” Her arms crossed over her chest, rubbing high near the opposite shoulder.

“They won’t,” dragging his thumb across the tip of his nose. “That little one was dead asleep when I first got here, soon as I stepped inside he was up like one of those fireworks Kagome used to bring. The girl, I doubt she’d chance leaving Kagome alone for more than an instant.” Letting out a sigh, there just wasn’t a way to get them out of the room.

“I didn’t think you’d be able to,” seeming to think to herself. “Miroku,” leaning closer to the hut waiting for him to poke his head out, “take Inuyasha and the kids to the spring. Until we find out who Kagome is mated to I don’t want them too close.”

Pushing himself up slowly, “are you sure Inuyasha wants to. I fear that he has other things on his mind,” waggling his brow slightly.

“I’ve already set him straight,” setting a firm glare on the half-demon, “right?”

“Yeah, yeah,” holding his hands as he took a step back.

---000---

“I didn’t want to see him,” Kagome spoke softly when Sango entered the hut again. Staring at the worn wooden roof. Glancing at Tsubasa, who was resting against the wall. Her daughter was powerful but her aura was still so small. Then to the boy at her side, his aura was immense but unfocused.

“I haven’t seen you since the final battle, I don’t know who you want to see or who you don’t,” there was a touch of anger in the words that she didn’t intend to let free.

“You all just seemed so happy when I came back. You and Miroku had two children already and a third on the way, Inuyasha and Kikyou were... well they seemed to be getting along.” Pausing for a moment as she put the words together, “I had been gone three years. I didn’t have a place anymore, even when the well opened again I didn’t know what to do. In my own time, I was a ghost. There for a few days gone for a few weeks, here I’m a legend.”

“What would you have me do, just appear and upset your lives again. The jewel is gone and my powers are sealed again, without Jaken'na Kokoro I can’t even call them out. Not since,” she trailed off leaving it to be understood. The reason all priestess’ lost their powers when they took a man.

“You still had your powers when you left,” Sango said quietly.

“And I was home for three years.” Letting out a soft laugh, “I’m joking. I did still have them when I came back, but...” She was unsure whether or not she wished to share that part of her existence with anyone. Sesshoumaru knew, he had to. It was the reason they came to be together. “Sango, I can’t live without my mate. I would wither and die in a week.”

The elder woman’s brows pulled into tight concentration. The sudden words and the words from before clicking together. “Kikyou needed the the souls of the dead, and you need the power of a demon.” Her voice slightly high from the realization. Glancing at the tired girl at in the corner of the room and boy who was hugging close to her side. “They’ve been keeping you alive while you protected them?”

Nodding slightly, the last of the black spots beginning to fade. “Tsubasa can focus her powers and give me small doses but her own aura isn’t very strong. Tsukimaru is very powerful but he’s too young to focus them.” Slowly pushing herself up, smiling at the arm the wrapped under her shoulders. “The reason I haven’t come back before now... well there are quite a few.”

Looking down at the black spider mark that moved as though it was walking across her skin, taking her arm from her son and touching it gently. “You know, I missed talking to you and Miroku. Even Shippou, I tried looking for him but I couldn’t find him anywhere.”

“Shippou left with some relatives of his that came through the village after you disappeared. Inuyasha said he heard from him from time to time, but even he hasn’t heard anything in the past couple years.”

“I thought so, he said that he’d spoken with a few others but no one had seen him,” smiling sadly. Reaching out and petting her son’s hair, “I wanted him to meet his brother and sister.”

“Kagome, who is their father?”

Her free hand curled in the cotton yukata she was wearing, fingers worrying the fabric. “Is it important?”

“Are they really your children? They’re not half-demons, so it makes me wonder,” her voice remaining steady as she tried again.

Dragging her thumb across Tsukimaru’s forehead, it amazed her how quickly the boy could fall asleep. “Yes, they’re mine. I gave birth to them.” Giggling slightly when he tugged and pulled at the yukata she was wearing until his head rested against her stomach. “It was hard, the spells to to let me carry to term nearly killed me the first time. That’s partially why Tsubasa isn’t as powerful as this one here.”

“You love her all the more though, I can see it. You love them equally but when you look at her, there’s just this pride that only a parent can have.”

“Of course I am, even if she’s not as powerful as her brother. She’s very gifted with a sword, in another hundred or so years when Totosai makes her a sword there won’t be a male out there that could challenge her.” Looking across the room at her lightly napping first child.

Sango turned and looked as well, “a hundred years. I’ll never see that. At least you’ll live to see your family again.”

“I have a family here too. Though I seem to have forgotten part of it,” reaching out and taking Sango’s hand. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hide for so long.”

---000---

“What are your intentions Inuyasha?” Leaning on the staff he’d carved from the bone of an ogre. It didn’t quite have the hit of his brass rings but it was more than enough to deal with the small threats that bothered their quaint little home in the former slayer village.

“I intend to make sure whoever she’s mated to is worthy of her,” huffing slightly as he craned his neck to let his eyes follow the youngest of five children. His own dreams of children dashed when Kikyou had died in childbirth and taken the pup with her some years after Kagome had left.

“It is not in your eyes that he must be worthy,” tapping his staff against the thick pine before slowly lowering himself amongst its roots. “She does not age, and she has given her mate two children. I do not believe that she will care for your words, should you,” putting extra emphasis on the word, “find him wanting.”

Inuyasha didn’t seem startled by the words, it wasn’t strange for beings of power to be stuck in time. Many great demons, and himself to a degree, would not leave the world until they choose. His father’s blood, which ran strong in his veins, would allow him to live another nine or ten centuries. “How’d she manage that? Immortality, isn’t easy to come by.”

Miroku smiled, Inuyasha might have been rash but the last decade had not been kind. Unlike before, there was no one to shield him. He was still very wild but thinking had become a rather common thing for the half-demon. “When she gave Kikyou a body, and forged her soul. It seems that there was the possibility of eternity. Those were her words at least. It seemed that, she took on that possibility. I’m not sure if that was her intention though.”

It was confusing, but even so. Kikyou, as the undead, was absolute. As long as she had souls she could exist for as long as she wished. An eternity, perhaps longer. A body that didn’t need sustenance other than the souls of the pure girls. “What about her? Kikyou needed souls, what does she need?”

“The young girl, her daughter, seemed to pass a small portion of her aura. Perhaps, the aura of demons is what she needs to survive.”

“Papa!” Half stumbling Miroku’s youngest son charged across the clearing. Falling into a pile before his father after tripping over a stone, not complaining as he jumped up again. “Masato wanted to know if we can go play over there,” pointing towards the far side of the clearing. The trail that was there leading to the edge of Midoriko’s glade.

“No,” Miroku’s tone soft but still direct.

“But-,” he was cut off.

“Listen to your old man runt,” Inuyasha smiled as he lifted his arms up, “or the Great and Terrible Inubaka will come get you!” Taking off after the laughing child, leaving his conversation unfinished. Leaving Miroku to his thoughts.

---000---

“You brought Kikyou back before you went home, how did you survive in your time,” rocking her head to the side, “if you, you know, need a demonic aura to stay alive?”

“The well, its power isn’t all that different from one. It’s not exactly the same, but I always felt weak whenever I was too far from it. The only time in three years that I went very far from it, though it took a couple of days, I ended up almost like I am now.” Reaching up and covering her mouth at the oncoming cough, taking her hand away. Only a spot or two of blood, “it seems like Tsukimaru is getting better. When I was pregnant with him I didn’t have to worry about being close to my mate.”

“That’s why he and Tsubasa were with me, we were traveling to the eastern hold. Kouga has been good to my mate and invited us and the children to a festival,” sighing wistfully. “Kouga didn’t even know who I was, my mate hadn’t told him at least. Just that he’d taken one and had children. If I think about it, it’s just like him to be like that.” Shaking her head, turning back to the topic. “As long as these two are along with me than everything will be fine,” stopping to think, “unless I have to fight for three days.”

Sango stared at her friend, Kagome had always been rather long winded but her words never remained so focused before. She would start with a single thing and then begin to babble as things continued. “So you’ll be alright?”

Nodding with a warm smile, “once my mate arrives everything will be better. He has more than enough power,” petting her son’s head once more. Feeling the draw of her own body on his aura, even now the boy didn’t need to rest but it served its purpose. He was happy it seemed and so long as he was there, she would last until Sesshoumaru arrived.

Suddenly feeling a little out of place she did the only thing she could, “so who named your sword?”

“I did,” laughing lightly as the spider that was busy moving lazily down her arm began to fade from her skin. Black smoke coiling across the surface and gathering in her palm, the sword taking form easily. “It’s a good name, for this sword that was created from great evil.” Laughing at the strange expression on Sango’s face, “a piece of Tokijin, and one of Naraku’s fangs.”

Sango went wide eyed, slipping back a few steps. “Why would you use such a thing?”

“Because without it, I can’t use my power.” Rocking her head to the side, “actually, even with it I can’t use my power. It can though, it can even force it to heal me.” The blade began to pulse before dissolving into mist once more. “Without it, I couldn’t kill. There are some, ones that actually threaten me, my children. Then there are others, ones that don’t actually do anything bad. I’ve always wanted to try and talk things out, but you can’t always do that. Jaken'na Kokoro, the sword which darkens the heart of its wielder. The Black Heart, a sword of rage and fury.”

“I’m not going to hurt you,” laughing openly at the look on Sango’s face. “It takes the irritation, anger, or fear that I feel and turns it into an unstoppable rage. It turns everything into power, the kind of power that tears at your soul. That’s why I don’t use it unless I absolutely have to.”

Sango was once more at a loss, how Kagome had fallen into old habits with her. Smiling as though not a day had passed since they had last seen each other. That she, herself, seemed to have fallen in the same. That is what it seemed, even though she now looked a woman who seemed to be barely older than when she vanished, even though it had been seventeen years. She would be forty in a year, and Kagome would look the same for another thousand years or perhaps longer.

“They’ll be back soon Sango, and I’m strong enough to walk. I’d like to take a look around, if that’s okay,” not having to nudge the child at her side. Sitting up, his hands fisted in her yukata, “and perhaps change into something a little more comfortable. Were you able to save my kimono?”

Letting out a sigh, “you know better than that. You were covered in blood, the only part of it not stained was the stomach because you were wearing armor. Of course we still have it, but it’ll never come clean.” Pointing behind her.

Kagome turned her head to see the thin hinged plate of armor, happy that she’d decided on a design different from Sesshoumaru’s. The plates curved where needed and hinged under her chest. The pauldrons hugged the tops of her shoulders rather than cover them from a distance, the brushed metal finish and scaled bone. If she didn’t know better she would have said she looked like a dragon wearing it.

“I guess this will have to do, I’ll have to make sure the next one won’t ruin so easily,” sighing she began to rise wincing once she put weight on her leg. Her hand trembling, fearing the bones would break again.

Sango moved forward quickly, wrapping an arm under Kagome’s. “What’s wrong, I checked you for wounds and didn’t find any that would be a problem.”

Shaking her head, “I broke it the first day. Since I didn’t get a chance to rest, once it was set my powers healed it too quickly. It’s still weak, and hurts but it should be fine.” Feeling the small hands of her son wrap about her waist. “Thank you Tsukimaru, I’ll be okay. How about we go for a walk and let your sister rest?”

Nodding quickly, “can I play with the others Mama?”

“When they get back,” resting her hand on the back of his head. “Now how about we go look around?”

---000---

Sesshoumaru had kept his distance from the warded grounds of the former slayer village. He could smell Kagome clearly, she was as uninjured as one could be when fighting many demons. His pups, both scented well. Neither was injured. What bothered him was the scent of the half-breed, in their fourteen years together his little mate had not said a word about seeing them. Not after he found her in the woods alone, near death.

He came upon the woman almost by accident, he had scented her while wandering about the territory around the forest that was named after his half-brother. The scent was weak, two, perhaps three days. Though he couldn’t place the scent, he was aware of its promise. As the dog that he was, he sought it. His curiosity peaked at the strange creature that he hoped would be at its end.

What he had found was a bleeding and weak woman, a human of all things. Though the scent of death did not cling to her as it did others. He had followed the scent for a day and suddenly what should have been a days walk for her, the scent of death seemed to overcome everything else. Now as he stared at her, as her dim blue eyes stared blankly into the sky.

“Priestess,” his tone flat as it has always been. Taking enough steps to appear beyond the edge of the trees.

“Sesshoumaru,” she smiled. Lifting her arm, clearly a feat the way it wavered and shook in the air. “How have you been?”

It had been three years, three since she had vanished from inside Naraku. He had assumed her dead, yet here she sat. At death’s door. Even though she seemed so close to death however, her power had yet to wane. No, just the opposite. It seemed to grow the closer she came to her end. A paradox. “Tell me priestess, you are unharmed yet you bleed and carry the stench of death stronger than a corpse.”

A mirthless chuckle escaped her throat before she coughed, a splash of blood joining the air and splattering on the ground. “Eternity comes at a price, that’s what my grandfather said anyway. I’m too far from the well, so I don’t know how long I’ll last.”

Eternity... “What do you speak of Priestess, stop your babbling.” Stepping closer, stretching out his aura. His senses to see beyond what his nose could tell him. His eyes growing wide when the power that drew near her seemed to be consumed by her very being. Scowling, gathering more and focusing it on the small woman.

Kagome tensed at the first touch of his power, feeling the burning power that had always meant death before but now eased the pain. “What... what did you do?”

A memory rising to the front of his mind, the revival of the undead woman. The possibility of eternity. “you, like the undead one before, require a source of power to remain alive. She, being and incomplete being, required the souls of virgin females. You, however, need a power opposite your own.” It was more than he had ever spoken to her, to anyone. That didn’t matter, she would survive so he might study her.

He had studied her, for several weeks. The woman proved to be very capable, though it had faltered when they had both made the mistake to be bedmates. At the time, he had thought of it as a one time thing. A one night stand, as Kagome had put it. Kagome, herself, had voiced the same thoughts, and though he was prepared for the loss of her power he wasn’t prepared for the pup that came after.

The spells, the enchantments, to ensure that she bore a full demon were nothing short of barbaric. Requiring blood, and bone. Kagome had nearly been killed in an attempt to ensure that the first pup he allowed to live would be a full demon. There had been no female other than Kagome that he’d let live once they’d come to him claiming to be with child. Why he’d allowed Kagome to live, even he wasn’t sure but he had. He had mated her, and marked her.

For now, his mate and his pups were safe. He would call for Tsubasa when she woke, once he learned of the situation he would make his decision. Taking another breath, sneering at the thought that the half-breed thought he had a chance with Kagome. It was almost funny, almost.

---000---

“Monk, we should head back!” Grabbing up the youngest one that he’d been chasing until he was out of energy, sitting the boy on his shoulder as the other kids gathered around quickly. Hanging on his arms doing their best to keep him from walking back.

Turning his eyes towards his companion, ignoring the twinge of power that touched at the very edge of his senses. “Of course my friend, how about we take the long way?” He wouldn’t lie if asked, but he was simply trying to avoid the demon that he was almost sure was the one Kagome and the two children with her were waiting for.

“Yeah, sure,” holding his arms out. Two children, ranging from fifteen to five, hanging on each.

“What’s the rush if you don’t mind me asking? There is still a little more than an hour before dark,” waving his staff towards the sky. Setting his eyes on the distant spot opposite the direction they were going.

“I can smell something, don’t know what it is. Smells foul though,” looking at the monk a moment longer. “What’s so amazing over there?”

Snapping his attention to Inuyasha, “nothing, just... something caught my attention.” Waving it off as though it were nothing, “shall we get going?”

---000---

Tsubasa felt the pulse of her father’s power, slight and focused. Enough to rouse her from sleep, she nearly panicked when she found that her mother and brother were no longer in the hut with her. Only to relax when she heard the chatter from outside, slowly rising she peered out the mat that had been dropped over the door. Nodding to herself. Turning quickly she jumped into the window at the back of the small building, dropping almost silently to the packed earth below.

Smoothing over the folds that had formed in her silk haori, they would never truly come out now but she needed to be presentable. Brushing off the dust from her hakama before darting into the trees. Speed was her best trait, dodging the trees by mere millimeters. Swerving between like a snake she scented the air, letting the practiced glamor fade away before skidding to a halt in a small clearing.

“Tsubasa,” his tone was even but the flare of his nose and the movement of his eyes betrayed him. He knew she was unharmed but seeing her and knowing for certain lifted weight that had been weighing him for some time.

Setting her shoulder, “father.” A dip of her head.

“Do not,” the words were sharp.

Instantly she darted across the clearing her arms wrapping around his waist, her head butted against his side. The only place his armor did not cover. “Mother is sick, Tuskimaru is taking care of her for now but it’s not enough.”

“What has happened?”

“Mama, where are we going?” Tsukimaru curled his hand tighter in his mother’s.

“The wolves have invited us to a festival,” humming slightly as she glanced behind her. Shaking her head slightly, she loved her daughter, was more than proud, but she would have liked to be done with the rebellious streak that had taken her in the past year.

“Why did they invite us? Papa said he didn’t like the o-o-oafish wolves,” stumbling over the word as he would a root, a stone, or anything that happened to be underfoot when he wasn’t paying attention.

“Well, Papa and the Wolf Prince have known each other for a long time. Since Papa and the Wolf Prince have been getting along so well, for so long, and since they have yet to meet in person,” pausing thinking about how to put the next part, “they thought it would be nice if all of the children got together while all of us adults argued.” Giggling at the look her son threw her.

“Why would you fight Mama?”

“Well, the Wolf Prince used to really like Mama. He used to chase Mama all over, and he would always call her ‘his woman,’ and than run off somewhere. But Mama was the one who ran off the last time, and she went really far away where the Wolf Prince couldn’t find her.” The way his eyes seemed to bug out in astonishment seemed to make it appear as though she now had a new bedtime story.

“Mother,” finally speaking up from her spot, “if the Wolf Prince chased you for so long, why did you not mate him? I’ve heard from father, that while your mating with him is strong and he cares for you greatly, your mating was one of convenience because of my conception.”

Sighing, “it wasn’t just because of my pregnancy that we mated. When I left,” pausing once more, “I didn’t know about my situation.” It was in that moment that Kagome realized something, her daughter had asked a question. Tsubasa was interested in something besides causing an uproar.

“You mean the curse which will let you live as long as father is alive?”

“That’s correct, but it’s not a curse. It is simply a possibility, and because I was given that possibility I have gained a family that I love. A daughter I’m so very proud of, a son that is the light of my very day, and a mate that cherishes me. Because of that possibility, I will never have to leave you like a normal human would.”

What came after those words happened so fast there wasn’t time to react, there were so many. They all circled, different distances, some one way, some the other. None held their sword in their hand, and that was their mistake. They had surprise but didn’t attack, they had numbers but were too slow in their actions.

In an instant the gleaming blade hung from her thin fingers, eyes blazing with color.

“How is your mother fairing?” His hand resting gently on the crown on her head as she pulled a little closer.

“Her leg is weak, it was healed too quickly and will take time. For now, Tsukimaru is enough to sustain her. There was,” trailing off. She hadn’t been fully awake when it happened but she was sure. She smelled it on her brother. “There is a half-demon, that smells like you, like family.”

“He is my half-brother, and an old ally of your mother. How did she react?”

Those were words she’d heard, “Mother said she didn’t want to see him when the woman said she’d contacted him. Tsukimaru attacked him but mother called him back. She wants to see you but she hasn’t told them who you are.”

“It is fine, return now. It will be dark soon and they will ask questions if you are not there when they return,” he was no fool. He knew she had snuck away, otherwise Kagome would have been dogging her heels. Hurt or not.

“But-,” she was silenced by a pat on her head.

“I will come in the morning, hopefully the half-breed will not cause a scene. Mask your scent when you return,” brushing the tips of his fingers across the crescent that adorned her jaw near her ear. “Return to your mother, don’t make her worry.”

“Yes father,” one last squeeze and she was gone.

Turning his eyes away, his nose flaring once more. There was something foul in the air, the stench of cat.

---000---

The Lady of the West, the heir to the west, and his older sibling were there. Right there, not more than two hours at a run. Under the protection of nothing more than two humans who had children of their own to care for and from the newest information, a half-demon. The younger half-brother of the Lady’s mate. Truly, the only threats were the Lady herself and the half-demon’s sword. For that matter, neither of them were much of an issue without their weapons.

It was taking these weapons from them that was hard, the half-breed was no true feat. It was simply a matter of striking when his attentions were elsewhere. The woman was another story, taking her blade was no small endeavor. Even if one managed to remove it from her hand it would return, and no one could wield the blade without her permission.

Staring down at the broken shard of his own sword, it had been less than a day. She would still be weak, even waiting another day would be no problem. He’d led a little over twenty before, and they’d done something stupid. This time, there were easily fifty, possibly sixty that stood ready to attack. This wasn’t as simple as that, there was the matter of the children. The eldest, the girl could control her demon. She was young but if she had the power to change than even their numbers wouldn’t be enough.

The two humans were slayers, one with a small degree of holy power. Their children seemed a mixed bunch, the older ones capable of wielding weapons and well practiced in the art as well. Thumbing through the hastily scribbled report, having spies of all breeds was truly useful.

---000---

“Kagome,” Inuyasha was calmer this time. Having the hour after his arrival to come to terms with the fact that she had been back for so long yet hadn’t said anything.

“Inuyasha,” sitting with her weak leg pulled up. Knee to her chest and she massaged the muscle, “how have you been?”

Chasing off the last of the kids hanging around his shadow, shoving his hands into his sleeves. “I’ve been good, I see you’ve been doing well yourself. That armor and kimono you were wearing weren’t cheap.”

“Their father is good to me,” she said softly. Pinching her youngest’s nose to get his attention, “don’t scowl to much. Your sister reminds me enough of her father,” laughing as he batted at her hand trying to get her to let go.

“Mama,” he cried out wriggling at her side. Now ignoring the slightly irritated half-demon.

“Oh hush,” ruffling his hair as she hugged him closer to her side. “How about Kikyou? I thought she’d be with you.”

He froze, turning his eyes away. It was something he didn’t want to talk about, this whole conversation was something he didn’t want to have. But, and it was a very big but, he had to talk to her. “She died, about five years after you left.”

Kagome didn’t look up at, knowing the hurt expression on his face. Knowing the look in his eyes better than anyone. She knew that look because she’d seen it so many times. Every time that Naraku had tricked them into believing that he’d killed her previous incarnation. Though she imagined that it was far worse this time, because he’d been mated to her. “If you don’t mind, how did she...?”

“Childbirth, our first pup. He was premature, and left with his mother.” The somber tone to his voice was something not even he was used to. Shaking himself from the memories, “it was a long time ago.”

“I saw you with her, you looked... well, you looked like you were happy.” Her hand slowed its petting of her son’s head. “I almost lost both of them, it was by grace that they lived. If they’d died...,” she didn’t need to finish it. Inuyasha knew her too well.

“It was hard, but,” taking a breath and letting his arms fall to his sides, “life goes on. I’ve, its enough. I’ve grieved and moved on.”

“That’s good, there was a time... when you would have just bottled it all up.” It was true, and she was guilty of it too. She was guilty of it now, because unlike him she didn’t bottle up the sadness. She’d cried and wept, it was the anger that she didn’t let free. She had to control it, just like Sesshoumaru taught her.

He saw it, when he looked at her. The wistful look, “yeah, it’s been a long time. You look good.” Looking at the boy at her side and the glare that he was getting, “look here little man. I know she’s your Mama but I won’t hurt her. I used to look out for way back when.”

Tsukimaru didn’t let up on the glare, “I don’t care. Mama has Papa, she doesn’t need you.” Huffing at his mother’s chiding look.

“Don’t be like that,” smiling even though she was scolding him. “He’s a handful, they both are,” glancing back towards the door. She was sure Tsubasa was just getting back, feeling the touch of her power. “They just don’t know when to stop. Actually, that one,” tipping her head back motioning towards the hut, “has been acting a lot like you did way back when. Ignoring me, wanting to go faster than I can manage, causing a panic every other day.”

“Sounds like a kid after my own heart,” shaking his head. “It’s too bad I’m not like that anymore, I bet we’d have a great time terrorizing the whole lot of you.” Laughing at the sudden change in the conversation. “You haven’t really changed, you still know how to make anyone talk to you.”

“Hardly,” she said simply.

There it was, the distance he’d been waiting for. He was sure, she didn’t know what to say anymore. It was something that he’d seen, so many times. It even happened to himself and Miroku for a time, after the defeat of Naraku things settled and there was nothing. The idle chatter of a normal life, or as normal as life can get for one that helped end the greatest evil of all time. If he told the truth he didn’t like the idle life, it didn’t suit him. “So, when did you come back?”

Looking up at him, “three years. At the end of summer. It opened at the beginning but I didn’t know what to do.”

“Hmm,” tipping his head back as he moved around to sit on the edge of the elevated platform. Making sure to sit on the same side as the boy, it seemed it was the closest he was going to get as it seemed the boy was all but bound to her side. “Did you not like it at home?”

Shaking her head, “not at all. It just didn’t feel right anymore, I was quite literally a ghost to them. They’d all moved on with their lives, my friends in school, the few I had, were all studying hard to make sure they’d be ready for college entrance exams or busy dating. My little brother seemed to grow up right under my nose. One day he was the little guy, the next he was as tall as I was and bringing his girlfriend over for dinner.”

“Grandpa died the year before the well reopened, mom remarried, and the shrine was thriving. The summer that I graduated, Eri got married. You remember her, like a ball of energy. The others, they just seemed to fade into the background. Then there was here, there was all of you, Kaede...,” she hated herself a little at not being there in the end for the elderly woman who was like her grandmother. “I’m a legend here, almost every village near Edo knows who I am. Even more there are villages as far north as Ezo that know.”

“I really didn’t know what I was going to do, but,” swallowing hard, “I was attacked, when I was coming home from work. A man attacked me, he tried to rape me.” Her hand flailing, “he didn’t god no. That was the last thing I could take, I couldn’t do it anymore. Coming home in shambles and no one even seemed to notice I was there. It was like they’d grown so used to me being gone that unless I announced my arrival it didn’t matter anymore.” Taking a deep breath, “I know it wasn’t their fault, but it just hurt so much.”

Inuyasha reached over patting her back, “but it’s better now right? You’re mated, and got two great kids. From what I heard from Sango, it sounds like you’re pretty strong yourself. There ain’t no one who could ever do anything like that again. Then again, your mate would tear whoever tried limb from limb.”

Kagome could do nothing but smile, feeling the untamed aura that was her first love, consuming it like it were the air she needed to breath. “You shouldn’t touch me.”

He was startled by her words before the dizziness made him lean, taking his hand away from her slowly. Pressing it to his forehead, “what was that?”

“I keep forgetting that it’s best to wait until everyone is together to say these things.” Biting her bottom lip, “Kikyou, needed the souls of virgin women. I need demonic auras.” That was the simplest way to put it, the only way to put it that made sense really. “I guess I’m a vampire,” a soft smile pushing up the corners of her lips.

“That’s enough of that,” his voice was rough and direct. “There ain’t nothing wrong with you, it’s better this way. Those two brats there won’t have to worry about you dying from old age or getting sick like my mom.”

“Don’t call my pups brats,” Kagome snapped softly.

“Pups?”

“That’s what he calls them, I guess I just picked it up.”

“So, who is he?”

“He’ll be here soon, so don’t worry about it?” Glancing up at the dimming sky, “I’m going to bed, see you in the morning.” Not waiting for him to answer, or even make a sound she rose quickly and vanished back inside the hut with Tsukimaru on her heels.

Watching after her, scenting the air. She had been apart from him for three days, covered in blood and then bathed. It wasn’t a surprise that the only scent she carried on her was Sango’s and those two brats. Why didn’t she want to tell him though?

“What’s wrong Inuyasha,” stopping at the edge of the platform. Fresh clothes held in her arms.

“Did she tell you who her mate is?”

Sango set her face in firm lines, “no, but I’ll ask you the same question she did me. Does it matter?” Shifting her weight, because it did. Even if she herself wouldn’t interfere, it didn’t mean she wasn’t concerned.

“Yeah, for your information, it does. There are a lot of demons out there, some nice, others... not so nice. Even ones that can make people do things they never wanted to do. So yes, to me and to you, it should matter.”

“I’m worried the same as you are, but it won’t change anything. Kagome seems happy, and if anything we should be meeting him soon. I saw Tsubasa coming back into the village a little while ago. She went over the wall, so I think she thought no one saw her.” Setting the clothes down on the element worn wood. “Kagome would die, if it weren’t for him. You know that by now right?”

“I could do that for her, no problem,” his voice lacked confidence. He had barely touched her for a minute before he could feel the difference. The amount of power she pulled out of him, it was enough to dull his senses.

“You know she can probably hear everything we’re saying right now,” smiling ever so lightly.

“So, if she hears she hears. It doesn’t change anything,” a childish stubbornness was starting to take root. It was only around Kagome that it ever did, because she was the only person who accepted him without pretense.

“Be careful Inuyasha, she might have forgiven you for stupid things you did in the past but if you start a fight this time... she’ll take his side.” Shaking her head at his silent return, stepping up onto the wood. Gathering the clothes, “she has someone now. She has children with him, if Kagome has ever been anything it was loyal. She won’t turn him away because of a love she gave up years ago.”

---000---

Kagome woke to the same feeling that kept her awake in the cave, the roaring aura of the black spider which was marching a slow path towards her hand. The thing never kept still, though only sought her hand when bloodshed was forthcoming. The images, the slight aura, of those she’d killed in recent days and one she hadn’t. The sharp tingle of her own anger filling out her face, turning her eyes first on Tsukimaru.

He was sleeping peacefully at her side as he had all day, his fingers curled tight in her yukata. His aura strong and shining in her eyes, she’d controlled herself. Only taking just what she needed to heal. No more, even though she could have taken so much more.

Tsubasa was sitting much like her father, a single knee drawn up. Draping an arm across it, her eyes closed and her breathing steady. It was a perfect picture, the only difference was that she was actually asleep.

“Tsubasa,” touching the girls ankle to stir her to waking.

Mumbling slightly before cracking her eyes open, “hmm?” Her voice still full of sleep but her eyes firmly awake.

“Take Tsukimaru and hide,” her tone brooked no argument. The red streaks that were the symbol of her power cutting paths down her face.

Even as she moved to do as she was told, “you’re not strong enough. Father is at the edge of the village, he will protect us.” Hugging her sleeping brother close to her chest when their mother just shook her head.

“Go now, hide.” Shooing them towards the back of the hut. She’d not reached the door when a red sleeved arm appeared before her.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Stretching his mouth in a wide yawn, staring at her with sleep stained eyes. “I heard you talking, what’s up?”

Fighting the urge to bite her lip, shaking her head. “It’s nothing,” she couldn’t get them involved, “I’m just going for a walk. It’ll be good for my leg.” It wasn’t their fight, she’d rested. She could do it, another day or two.

“I’ll go with you,” wobbling slightly as he stretched his arms back. “There’s some pretty nasty things in these woods at night. You don’t need to be fightin’ so just let me look after you for a bit. Old times sake and all,” yawning once more. Not used to be woken so easily since the numbers of wild demons had begun to falter.

There was a screaming in her mind, he was coming. That one, the one that got away, the one that gave the orders. He was coming, slowly she reached out. Taking a hold of Inuyasha’s wrist, “I’m really sorry, you believe me don’t you?”

“Wha-,” his words faltered. The world seemed to grow dull, dark and quiet, where it had been vibrant before. His voice didn’t want to come out, and he realized. It wasn’t for not telling them, for living here so close to them but never saying a word. It was for this, because she didn’t want to hurt him.

“Everything will be fine, he’s here. Even if I don’t come back he’ll come get them.”

Watching from the edge of the trees, watching silver hair turn dark and eyes dim in the night. That was how she’d done it, he was sure there was some secret. Consuming the power of a demon to heal herself, to fuel herself. What a glorious ability, this is what his lord wanted. Letting out a loud call, signaling the attack.

Kagome heard the call and knew, there were so many. She could feel them as the black mist gathered in her hand once more. The blade’s red aura exploding out, it would wake Miroku. He’d be able to save his family. “I’m sorry, just hide. Stay hidden.” Then she was gone.

“Kagome,” Inuyasha rasped. His whole body felt weak, like she’d used the beads again.

---000---

The smirk left his face as he watched from his perch, even if the half-demon lost his strength he fought. He was losing but he kept the few that had managed to sneak in from entering the hut those pups were in. His head snapping to stare towards one of the other huts, as sharp wave of purity washing from it. “The slayer’s husband,” he sneered.

It seemed that had misjudged the numbers again, this time wouldn’t be the same though. He might lose many of his warriors but so long as they drained the woman and took her there would be nothing to worry over. Settling his eyes on the swaying body of the Lady of the West. Her torn cotton clothing, and her scarred armor. The air thick with the scent of her blood already.

Like a zombie she walked, the bite of a blade on her hip sent her eyes wide. Her body twisting like a whirlwind, blade snapping out and catching in the panther that thought he could get close enough to lay her at his feet. Snarling as her eyes stretched wide, empty hand taking the demon’s throat in her hand. “Give it to me!”

Ripping her blade from the pale form, watching it turn to so much dust. They were all weak, but she’d consume their power. She’d not done it before, thinking to allow their comrades to bury them. This time she wouldn’t falter, the murderous rage that filled her mind swelling and rushing with the passing seconds.

Staring at the blade that had found its way into the large black panther, barely touching him before ripping the blade from his side. Organs and bone disintegrating with so much as a touch. Screaming in rage at the blade which slid under the scaled armor on her back, feeling the bite of the blade. Reeling away from one target and onto the next, the short sword left hanging. Rolling her shoulders, feeling the slowly warming steel work its way out of her body.

They were running, wild eyes searched them. Feeling for that one, the one she knew escaped. Heaving air into her lungs she started her walk again, the few who attacked her barely reaching within range to touch her before a pulse of purity was ripped from her soul to destroy them. Even as she stepped, the flow of blood from her wounds slowed but not stopped as they struggled to heal.

Everything burned, bones as though liquid fire was pouring through them. Muscles themselves that felt like that fire, skin being seared by the horrid aura that her blade gave. Her whole body wrapped in the swirling red and black, hair twisting in the air as the power grew in strength. As she gave over the last of her conscious mind to the bottomless fury, for just an instant her soul darkened before glowing with pure light.

Tipping her head back, arms and limbs filled with tremors she gave out a call, a roar that filled the world around with fear. All things stopped, eyes locked on her. The weight of her fury, and the echoing sorrow in her eyes as the power grew.

Human eyes widened at the blood, the sharp waves of power that edged through the air. Demon eyes ran white as the blood drained away. Limbs gone from their places, burning all consuming fire in the place of the confidence they once had.

All that were left were those that knelt and bowed before her, their weapons cast aside. Unseeing eyes glanced over them, blinking blearily.

“That is enough,” the firm command came with smooth efficiency. Sesshoumaru watched the power fade from his mates eyes, from the blade. The wild markings that would have been a demon taking their true form smoothing before fading. “They are dead.”

The weight of her blade to much, it vanished. Returning to her, the mark now still on her pale arm. She didn’t have the chance to look up at him, the world once more turning black at the edges. Flushing and exploding white before everything darkened.

Sesshoumaru caught her, feeling the sharp pull. Her body drawing away his power to keep her alive, his own giving faster than she could take. Hooking his arm under her knees, lifting her. He didn’t have to look to see the group drawing closer, the humans that she used to travel with and a drained Inuyasha. A pulse of power had his pups at attention quickly, their speed allowing them to easily pass the humans and the currently human half-breed.

“Enough of your tricks,” both pups startled by the command lost focus on the glamor needed to keep their hair dark and hide their marks.

“What is this Sesshoumaru?”

“I have come to retrieve what is mine, my pups, my bitch.” His eyes never landing on them.

The words, simple ease of the worn woman as she curled closer into the cream colored boa. All things, and the children and their colors. When they turned to peer at the humans all saw the markings. The girl matching Kagome’s, her jaw marked her as his daughter. The son, matching father in all but the inverse crescent on his brow.

This demon, Inuyasha’s half-brother, Sesshoumaru was the mate of their wayward friend. She hadn’t told them because of the feelings that welled in them now, some fear, others distrust. No, the demon lord never gave them reason to not trust his word, but his actions were contrary. He detested humans, yet was mated to one.

“Stay,” all eyes turned towards Kagome. Her mumbled words and barely open eyes enough to drive all of them to see her to good health. “Just...f-for a while.”

---000---

He checked, again and again. Their pups curled against her side, them to his back so he could protect them from the easily agitated half-breed, should he have to protect them. Watching the humans, the monk, slayer, half-breed, and two eldest children, gather around the fire pit before him.

“So,” Sango started. Her fear of the demon damped greatly by the fact that as far as tradition was considered, she was as close to a living family that Kagome had. Even among demons it was not common to take a female without informing her family, regardless of how unorthodox it was.

His face set in a stone, his eyes swiveled to her. “She is mine, it is none of your concern.”

Inuyasha was about to rise up before the staff of the form monk rested across the half-demon’s lap. Holding him down, “you must excuse us. We are her family and have not been informed of her mating, or even her presence.”

That’s what this was about, “it was her wish to not impose upon you.” That was what she had told him, and it was true. Why she hadn’t contacted them since, he hadn’t cared to ask and she didn’t bring it up. So, therefore, it was none of his concern.

“It has been some time, since her mating she would not have imposed upon us as she had a home to return to.” Miroku stopped and rubbed his chin slowly, letting his hand fall into the other. His thumb trailing across his palm as it had for years, and unconscious action. “As to the circumstances, it seems your oldest was born just shortly after her return. I was not aware you shared feelings for one another.”

“We did not,” he spoke flatly. Lifting the cooling cup of tea which has been set before him by the slayers eldest daughter, “our mating was to ensure my pup would be born a pure blood.” The hut was deathly silent, “a moment of weakness,” how he hated that word, “led to unplanned circumstances.”

Using Kagome’s words, “you knocked her up,” Inuyasha was laughing so hard his hands gripped tightly to his sides. “Lord Perfection fucked up and knocked up a human,” his laughter degrading into nearly rolling on the floor.

“She is no longer human,” the words took a moment but the laughter died. “She has not been human since the day she brought the undead back to life. Surely you know of her condition,” at the nod of both the slayer and monk he settled back.

“She told us, but how does that make her something other than human?”

“Her life, is no longer her own. Without one such as myself, or our youngest at her side at all times, it would take no more than five days for death to take her. She can no longer live without the power gained from myself. Much as the undead one would have faded and returned to dust without the souls of pure women. If not for this, than she would not be in the condition she currently is.”

Sango had heard Kagome explain it but the words didn’t make sense until that moment. Yes, the fighting had an effect, but it was the fact that even with two demons at her side in the form of her children their power wasn’t enough. “She won’t die...,” the words hopeful.

“No, my power is far more than she will ever need. She has also consumed the power of every demon that attacked her.” Setting his eyes on her, watching them glance towards his pups. Pleased he didn’t have to explain, “she has not slept for five nights. There is very little chance she will wake any time soon.”

“What do you mean? She was sleeping just before the demons attacked,” Miroku spoke out curiously.

Glancing back once more to the still mark on his mates arm, “so long as that spider walks she is doing naught but resting. She does not truly sleep when danger is close, while that blade is awake so is she,” it wasn’t nearly as bad as he’d suspected. With his half-brother human he didn’t have to worry about him being subdued. The others seemed to take his words in stride.

“What about the demons?”

The slayer seemed to have many questions, “panthers.”

“One got away when we found Kagome.”

“As did he this time, they will return in time. It was not the first attempt and will not be the last.”

“Sesshoumaru,” Sango set her eyes on him, “we can see her from time to time, right?”

“If it is her wish,” his tone dismissive.

---000---

AN: This actually started out as a oneshot that I didn't have a set up for. However, the picture gave me one. So you get to read this thanks to that. I haven't written the next part yet, and it will be a while but I think this is good for what it is. Please R&R, thank you.

 

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