The Winter That Brought A Stray.

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, all credit goes to Rumiko Takahashi.

Note: This story will start rather slow, and chapters will be short. However, please be patient and respect the adventure that is to come.

-Snow-

The sun in all its glory blazed out over the heaven of the morn. A soft wash of gold color filled the expanse of the sky. The tone of the painted heaven above worked against the many shades of blues, whites, and greys over the snowy landscape of The Western Lands.

In the extensive gardens of the Palace of The Tsuki no Inu, a white rabbit with long pink ears fed on the bright ruby berries of a snow-dusted Nanakamado bush. Nearby a red kitsune hunted the rabbit, creeping along the tan dormant blades of frost-coated Hakone grasses.

The winter air sang with a rich chill that strummed tree branch icicles creating a beautiful natural song. The gnarled garden sakura trees donned thick jackets of fluffy white puff. At the heart of this snowy garden laid a frozen pond.

Handsome autumn kissed koi drift beneath the entrapped flowers and leaves of the icy pod's surface. From his bedroom, the famed Lord of The West gazed absently out the window of his pavilion. Calculating golden eyes roamed over the snowy landscape below.

So extraordinary was this handsome lord that on the eve of his birth, the spirit of winter, Kuraokami, came down from the heavens and blessed him with eternal fortune. However, it was the god of war, Hachiman-shin, that gave him the name Sesshomaru.

On this morning, the lord's long snow-kissed hair laid unbridled down his broad back. Silvery strands hung down the sides of his temples, brushing his cheeks. Sesshomaru tapped his pristinely manicured claws across the dragon etched into the surface of the desk that he occupied.

Blinking his eyes, Sesshomaru could still see the remnants of his dream. Warm, melting visions of himself floating lucidly through the clouds with a nameless woman in his arms haunted him still.

Try as he might, he could not prevent it as the wintery morning sky spirited away his mind. Oh, how he longed to glide along the contours of the pillowy vapors. Sadly he could only watch them shuffle on by in the golden river of the heavenly dawn above.

Traces of slumber showed in his gilded eyes as he turned his attention to the gardens below. In his private moment, a smile graced Sesshomaru's thin conch shell-pink lips at the sheets of ice covering the weaving sakura trees in the courtyard.

His mental venture ended and his smile fell away at the arrival of a powerful aura. The aura clashed with his inner strength and provoked the beast resting under his skin. The beautiful black diamonds that made up his pupils narrowed into frightening slits.

He stood from his chair and thrust out the longer layers of his gray decorative sleeping robes to readjust them. He clasped his hands behind his back, turning on the heels of his peony-blue sleeping slippers toward the grand pair of oak doors at the causeway of his chambers.

His signature mask of indifference replaced the sleepy expression on his face, and he mentally braced himself for the woman coming down the hall with an entourage behind her.

-Lady Mother-

A lady of supreme birth entered the pavilion of the Western Castle's lord. The grinning moon on her forehead and the lone jagged stripes on each of her high cheekbones stood out against her pale skin. The burnt orange sewed floral patterns of her dark maroon regal morning wear clashed with the brighter tones of the hall.

The lady, Kimitsu was impeccably distinguished by her late husband's council as one of the wisest advisors to the West. Through the years, the lady became the backbone of the aging Tsuki no Inu Empire. All who served her both feared and loved her. Lady Mother continued some of her late husband's traditions while enforcing laws of her own that her advisors deemed beneficial to the country's growth.

The group passed by the handcrafted rainbow glass chrysanthemum lanterns strategically placed along the golden walls and oriental spiraling blue-green glass inu-demons making up the pillars of Sesshomaru's pavilion.

As Lady Kimitsu approached the doors, two Shadowcat servants dutifully bent at the waist acknowledging their lady, and their matching black ponytails fell over their shoulders in sequence. They raised after seeing the lady motion with the end of her black fan for them to stand. The guards bowed their heads respectfully and pulled open the massive oak doors for her.

From the gold painted corner of her eye, Lady Kimitsu saw movement in the distance and paused. She turned her head to the side, and the party behind her performed the same action. At the opposite end of the hall, a small kappa came bustling down the floral patterned carpet, running as fast as his short legs would carry him. The imp slid to halt in front of the lady panting with his webbed hands on his knees.

Kimitsu released a puff of hair from her nose and curled her magenta lip up in the commencement of a snarl. However, she corrected herself and merely rolled her eyes at the ugly demon's antics. Jaken glared at her before turning to let his lord know of the lady's arrival.

The Lady Mother didn't wait for the little fiend acting as her son's advisor to announce her. She shook out her sleeves and tossed her head up as she entered the room, and she did so with her head held proudly.

Just as the imp opened his mouth to speak, the end of the lady's sleeve smacked the kappa across the face as she passed him. The demon casts a glare at the back of her head, messaging his sore beak with his hands, grumbling. He ignored the laughs and derogatory comments from all eighteen of her cohorts, and the two extras that shuffled in behind her.

"Lady Mother." The lord addressed coolly.

Lady Kimitsu was visually pleased, seeing that she'd left him no time to make himself decent. Her golden eyes smiled at him in return, and she bowed her head with respect causing some of her many dazzling jade hair ornaments to clink against each other. Her entourage performed the same action.

"Ah my Lord-son, it is a joy to see you. I do hope the morning frost has been kind to you." She responded sweetly. Sesshomaru eyed her skeptically, unsure of her intentions.

"Hn, you as well. Tell me, what brings the Lady Mother to my presence with such a large audience so early in the morn?" He addressed pointedly with a stern expression.

Kimitsu knew at that moment that she was not welcome. The faint tinge of annoyance in her son's bitter words was proof enough. She saw the little bastard, Jaken, grinning at her from the corner of her eye. She swallowed down her ire for the kappa and proceeded with her plan.

"Forgive my punctuality. I rise before the sun, so matters of the Western House can be completed dutifully in your honor. The time has come, Lord Sesshomaru. The West shan't go without a lady any longer. Come forward, Miyabi hime-sama." Kimitsu called as she held her hand out toward the crowd of her advisors. A young demoness stepped forward and took the lady's hand.

"I take pleasure in introducing your bride, Miyabi Hime, Princess of the Wetlands!" Kimi declared. She trained her eyes on her son, watching his expression change at the beautiful buxom teal haired demoness she guided next to her. Jaken's mouth dropped open at those words. The kappa couldn't believe Lady Kimi was foolish enough to try something that bold against his lord.

Sesshomaru tipped his chin up sharply as he silently scrutinized the princess. Some of the closer male advisors cast wandering glances over the princess's erotic shape.

The soft mint and teal tones of the Wetland-styled jūnihitoe Miyabi wore over her curvaceous form contrasted beautifully with her golden scales, and her dark skin. Sesshomaru found the aqua symbols of her yokai heritage and sun-golden skin ugly.

Miyabi's eyes were an enchanting green leaf color. Her soft cheeks, round chin, and puffy mint lips made her face seem childish. Miyabi's bright blue hair was tied back in tight, intricate knots, and decorated with priceless gems from the Riverlands.

While this showed Sesshomaru her martial wealth and mating allure, he didn't fancy this new bride at all. His bride to be was a fish! Displeasure blazed in his golden eyes at the Wetland princess, and he narrowed them at her. Miyabi stared back amorously at her lord-husband to be.

Even dressed how he was, in simple sleeping attire, the famed dog-lord was more handsome than her sisters rumored him to be. With hair as pure as snow, attractive features blessed truly by the moon, and penetrating eyes as yellow as gold, Sesshomaru unintentionally stole the maiden's heart. His image left her with quickening palpitations of the heart, sweaty palms, round florid cheeks.

The princess's arousal flooded the room loudly, taking the lord and Jaken by surprise. The odor of river scum, marsh mud, acrid knotweed flowers, and decaying reeds offended Sesshomaru's nose. Many of the males in the room enjoyed the refreshing aroma, except Jaken. He covered his beak with his sleeve, cringing at the stench.

"My father Youten sends his regards. It is an honor to become your mate, my lord! I shall bare you many healthy offspring!" Promised the fish-bride as she hid her blushing face shyly behind her teal sleeve.

"Why you overzealous sea cow!" Jaken began to crow at the princess, but a surprise smack from Kimi's fan stunned him into silence.

"You would do well to hold your tongue, you loathsome creature!" Lady Kimi hissed under her breath as she fanned herself. Sesshomaru's hard eyes flickered between the princess and his mother. The Lord of The West had an itch to fry some fish before his mother and her court.

Lady Kimi comically waved her violet fan faster in the air to dissipate the heat that was radiating off an infuriated Sesshomaru to keep her make up from melting off. The temperature in the room rose six degrees due to the lord's boiling rage, and everyone in the room suddenly grew uncomfortable. Miyabi and Jaken suddenly grew thirsty.

Kimi's lips pulled down at the sight of her son's narrowing eyes and his top lip curling back in the commencement of a snarl. Not giving him the chance to reject the young princess, Kimi quickly interrupted him.

"My Lord-Son, please keep in mind the Court of Lords' demands. You are to introduce a mate to them at the ball of The Four Kingdoms. I beg you, you must accept Miyabi for the future of our lands, for your future." His mother warned, but he didn't care.

"Leave us! Jaken! Send that fish-wench right back to the pond she crawled out of!" Lord Sesshomaru dismissed. He turned his back to them and folded his arms over his chest. His angry golden eyes stared out of the window in deep thought at the precarious situation his mother placed him in. Kimi's nervous fanning ceased instantly, and the simple flick of her wrist snapped it shut.

"Yes, milord!" The imp yipped.

He had to hold back a cackle as he watched The Lady Mother's plan fall to pieces before her very eyes. Princess Miyabi's expression fell at her betrothed's words, as did her handmaiden's. Lady Kimi's beautiful face marred with dark lines at Jaken as he signaled for the guards to remove the sobbing fish-bride and her handmaiden.

Kimi's eyes burned with betrayal at the backs of her advisors. The party shuffled out until Sesshomaru and herself were the only ones left in his room. She released a loud nasally sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose with her long bejeweled opal nails. She knew her weighted words wouldn't pass through the thickness of her son's pride, but she didn't expect him to insult the princess too.

"Much time has passed since your father's death, son. The rules royals abide by are different now. Being an honorable ruler nowadays means next to nothing. It takes money to buy other lord's advisors, their generals, and their armies.

As your mother, I have to ensure a proper lady reprises my role. You must offer Miyabi an apology. She is a beautiful demoness that possesses a hefty dowery," Kimi explained as she rested her hand on his shoulder.

"I'm trying to help you Sesshomaru-sama! A match between us and the Wetlands will give us a monetary advantage over those that seek to destroy us. Should you fail to present a mate to the Court of Lords, you will forfeit your claim to the Western throne, and your cousin, Ryusaki, will replace you!" Sesshomaru turned to her with a look of disgust.

"I've excused your blatant disregard of my position many times, but now, mother. Now, you've overstepped your place! This one will choose a mate of his liking! Should you interfere in my personal affairs ever again, you will suffer!" He snarled in her face and slapped her hand away from his person. Kimi instantly bristled from the action.

"Such a disrespectful pup! I am the very wind beneath your wings, child! Do not forget how much of this empire I have built! I have exhausted much of my resources to keep you on the throne! I will not allow all that I have worked so tirelessly for to fall into my sister's clutches because of your incompetence, Sesshomaru!" She snapped at him, and her delicate fan nearly broke in two under the pressure of her clenched fist.

"You have wronged me first by attempting to marry me to a fish, and have me play pawn to that obese fish-lord, Youten! Well, mother, where you have your resources, I have mine! I do not fear the Court of Lords nor Setsuko or her son. I'll kill those who oppose me, lords, aunts, cousins and all!" He swore.

Kimi blinked her now teary eyes, and she shook her head with a small smirk.

"That is where you will fail my son, just as your father did."

"Get out," he snarled at her.

Kimi turned her back to her son, desiring not to show him how much he hurt her. She hurried toward the door so he wouldn't see her cry, but he had already smelled the salt. Upon reaching the door, his mother paused choking back a sob. She breathed softly and turned her head to the side swiftly causing some of the ornaments and jewels in her hair to sway.

"The future of the Tsuki no Inu Dynasty is in your hands. You must make a choice soon, my son." His mother warned gravely with a silvery tear trickling down her pale cheek. Then as quickly as Kimi had come, she left, and Sesshomaru was alone again.

The great Inu sunk down into his chair with a sigh. He knew his mother's heart was in the right place, but her underhanded methods and lack of faith in his father's values were off-putting. The young lord lived by his late father's examples and would not buy the loyalty of others. Even so, he knew the future of his father's legacy rested upon him to make a choice.

If only there were a way to make his fated woman appear out of thin air. Sesshomaru smirked hopelessly to himself. Was it too much to ask the kami for a pure maiden to fall from the sky and steal his icy heart?

Little did he know, such a thing was entirely possible.

Quite possible indeed.

End.

Feel free to drop a review and let me know what you think! Constructive criticisms are very much appreciated.

Until next time, GR.