Ano. . . A few notes before we begin, if you please. The first is that I humbly apologize for any discrepancies or OOC-ness in this story. I am not as well acquainted with Inu Yasha as I would like. Feel free to correct me if something is glaringly wrong. The second: I am not at all sure about writing this story to begin with. I will continue it only if the number of (good) reviews convinces me to do so. I'm writing this because I'm tired of reading fics that snap their fingers and suddenly Sesshoumaru's in love. I want to develop him a bit more, maybe play with his head a little? ^_^ So, if you readers want, I'll continue. If not, I'll let it slip quietly into oblivion. It's up to you. Finally(!), I'll point out mandatory disclaimers: Inu Yasha and all recognizable characters belong to Takahashi Rumiko and her corporate court. I own the plot and original characters, including Tsukiyo.

Enjoy.

Ladymage Samiko ; )

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Of Moonlight and Honor

Part 1

Sesshoumaru gazed at the peaceful scene around him and sighed in sheer boredom. It had been many years since he had a focus in his life; Inu Yasha and his woman had managed to collect the Shikon Jewel and reassemble it, disappearing shortly afterwards. The Jewel had more or less disappeared along with them, but for some reason, the odd shard could still be found here and there. He ignored them; his sole interest had been the Tetsusaiga and that definitely had vanished along with his thrice-bedamned half-brother. And, once that had happened, it left him, Sesshoumaru, without anything he needed to do. The land had returned to relative peace and only the occasional youkai needed to be reminded who was lord here.

Rin, too, was gone. She had kept him somewhat occupied for several years afterwards, but--as humans are wont to do--she had grown up and chosen a mate for herself in a distant human castle. She visited him once a year and he went to see her whenever he pleased, which was not often since the only human he was ever able to tolerate was her. Having to deal with her in-laws and their ghastly stench was more than any sane being could ask of a youkai. And so he was left with an empty castle and not much more than routine duties.

The castle gardens were beautiful in the moonlight, their austere perfection the product of generations of youkai care. And yet. . . Sesshoumaru's nostrils flared as an alien scent was carried by the light breeze. The hair on the back of his neck rose and a instinctive growl emerged from his throat. A youkai--a lesser youkai-- dared trespass on his lands without permission. His hand on his sword, he turned abruptly and stalked out of the gardens. Ordinarily, he would have a lackey take care of the matter, but he was just bored enough to take the matter into his own hands. Perhaps the youkai would scream something amusing before it died.

He found her sitting quietly next to a pond near the southern borders of his realm. "You do not belong here," he informed her coldly. "Leave or be destroyed. I do not tolerate trespassers here."

She turned to face him. He noted her beauty in the distant, disinterested way one admires a perfect calligraphy scroll. A dog-demon like himself, she possessed ground-length coal black hair with perfectly cut sidelocks, a finely featured face with indigo stripes, and a trim body that seemed barely adequate to support her. "I must beg your pardon, my lord," she murmured. "My sole purpose in coming here was to make your acquaintance. I apologize."

Sesshoumaru blinked. "What do you, a lesser youkai, want of me, that you would invade my domain?" Apparently, this was going to be more amusing than usual.

The barest flicker of uncertainty crossed her features and her scent. Sesshoumaru raised a eyebrow. "I-- have heard much of you, my lord," she replied. "I found myself intrigued. And I thought that, perhaps-- you would not be adverse to a woman's company."

The bitch spoke well; he granted her that much. Humans and the majority of youkai neglected to speak with such delicacy, which bespoke excellent breeding. Her offer was worth considering. After all, he had no one to answer to but himself now and it was one way to alleviate the monotony. The youkai lord stepped closer to the unknown woman and heard her breathing speed up. "Perhaps I am," he growled softly, "and perhaps I am not."

She stood with willow-wand grace, the skirts of her kimonos trailing behind her. "Then perhaps Sesshoumaru-sama would not find Tsukiyo's company displeasing?" Her eyes were large in the darkness, the pupils expanding to almost drown the dark rose of the iris.

"Perhaps not," he answered back in a low rumble.

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Morning dawned early and Sesshoumaru rose from his futon with what would best be described as a smirk. The night had been long and the two youkai had made the most of it. Afterwards, he had seen to it that Tsukiyo was quartered in another wing of the palace. Among youkai, mating did not necessarily mean that a fist through the stomach was not immediately to follow. Not that it mattered to him if she tried; it was only that he disliked being rushed when killing someone. Dressing quickly and securing his sword (he may still have to kill the bitch) he paced the corridors to her room.

He found it empty.

A small scroll had been left on the lacquered pillow. He cut the string with a delicate claw and began to read the odd, sprawled women's script.

"Sesshoumaru-sama--

"I find myself almost without words to leave you, for I do not wish to bother you with explanations you will disdain and disbelieve. But I also wish to impart to you the truth of our meeting.

"You have never seen me before, but I have seen you. When I was a child, you were a part of a battle near my father's lands. To me, you seemed the epitome of the warrior and I determined to find you when I came of age and, in the manner of young girls, I wished desperately to marry you.

"But I find that I digress into one of the explanations I wish to avoid. To return to my sadly long-winded tale, I spoke of this to my father, who explained to me that such a thing would be impossible, for you were Sesshoumaru-sama, Taiyoukai of the Western Lands, and my fate would then be a bloody death.

"But, as you know, I did not set my dream aside and, if I may confess, I was not displeased with the outcome.

"However, I must confess to you my secret, my lord, for I would end this dalliance with honesty, insofar as I may.

"I had managed to acquire a Shikon shard, and with it I created the illusion that I myself was a youkai. The reason I did this. . . I am, in reality, a human, my lord. A mere human. If it were possible to be otherwise, I would do so for you, my lord, but as it lies, I must sincerely apologize for my deception. I must beg your pardon for inflicting the embrace of a human upon you.

"I find that I must give my reason for doing so, though I am aware of your response to it. I did this because I love you, my lord. I hope that, in time, you will forgive me. You will remain in my heart as long as I live, but I shall not trouble you again. This message is the last time you need think of me at all.

"--Tsukiyo."

A growl of sheer rage radiated out from Sesshoumaru to fill the castle. The delicate scroll disappeared into shreds as the claws of his clenched fist closed around it. He stalked out of the room and towards the baths. All of a sudden, he felt despicably filthy.

--to be continued?

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Cultural Notes (skip 'em if you like)

Tsukiyo means 'moonlit night.'

Lacquered pillow -- These folks didn't use pillows like we have. Theirs were basically hard, rectangular blocks. You've probably noticed them whenever one of the characters is recuperating.

Women's script -- The Japanese adopted Chinese characters for writing, then attempted to tailor them to their own language. Women of the courts tended to learn the simplified form that later became hiragana and used them to write poetry, stories like The Tale of Genji, and diaries called "pillow books." Men used kanji and later developed katakana to take notes with.

Learn something new every day, ne?