AN: Thank you all for reading to this point, you have reached the end, go you! I plan to write more sesskag in the future, of course ^^ These after stories, to reiterate, take place after our Kagome has left the timelines. They will be from those alternate universes Sesshoumaru's POV. Some of these turned out depressing, so I'm sorry XD
Warning: grief and later smut
The second he'd been unfrozen from whatever spell the little spirit brat had placed him under, Sesshoumaru was on the phone to Mrs Matsubara. Kagome had picked up, sounding very confused and much more like her usual self, claiming she couldn't remember any events from the week.
Sesshoumaru had invited her out for coffee to discuss the details the following day, about as eager for answers as she was.
"Did your husband notice anything strange?" he asked, seated beside a window within a humble cafe that they frequented often. It was small and tucked away from the bustle of the city streets.
"No, though that's unsurprising," Kagome smiled ruefully, wrapping both hands around a mug to warm her chilled palms. "Nothing was out of place in my house that I noticed, though my boss phoned to ask if I'd be well enough to return. Apparently, I've been off sick. I...saw the text I sent you. It's just so weird to think about the prospect of losing my memory."
Golden eyes narrowed. "This one does not believe it was simple memory loss."
"What do you mean?"
"Whoever was in your body at the time, they were an entirely different Kagome," he muttered.
She remained confused, so he huffed and continued. "She did not speak, stand or walk in quite the same way as you. Rather, it was as though she'd forgotten everything about your life and so struggled to put on a facade of awareness. Youth and naivety clung to her like a second skin, so it stands to reason a younger version of you stepped into your body. She had a spirit with her; a young girl."
Kagome arched a brow, blowing gently on her mug and mulling this over quietly. When he thought about the 'other' Kagome, he recalled how quickly and breezily she'd giggled. How interest and passion coloured every word.
'His' Kagome took her time to answer, having dealt with more, experienced the bitter pang of disappointment and so become resigned to bland existence. She no longer shared her thoughts freely, instead keeping complaints locked behind her teeth. That was the price of her choice of husband. A person that was never home, but who saved lives. She would silently support him, even at the cost of her own slowly degrading zest for life.
Kagome raised her head and smiled, acceptance in her features. "I see. I wonder if she felt disappointed by what she saw."
Sesshoumaru's fingers dragged back over the surface of the table, digging in slightly and peeling the wood beneath his nails. He forced himself to retain his glamour of dark hair and eyes, glancing at her wedding ring. Real. Unlike his.
"Miko," he took a breath, putting steel into his voice. "Does the idea of her leaving underwhelmed and unimpressed not prompt you to examine your situation-"
"I've told you before that I don't want to."
Bristling, the ancient's dusty temper flared, coiling like a snake within his aura. "And this one has respected your wishes. But there comes a point where a friend must put their foot down and state the obvious."
Kagome glanced away, sighing. "Taisho-"
"You are unhappy. Is this not the truth?"
"You're not respecting my wishes and you never have," she said lowly. "Ever since we-" Kagome cut herself off, stumbling, before carrying on. "You can't say you have pure motives with bringing this up again. I told you," she looked at him tiredly. "I will support Hojo for as long as he needs me."
Her stumble had caused his mind to fall into the shadows where he kept the memory of her sweet taste on his tongue and the audio of her moans pitched at a pleasant frequency. She hadn't been removed and apathetic then. Far from it.
The urge to fight reared its head again. "Why?" he bit out, feeling young and foolish. Perhaps the other Kagome had influenced him more than he'd thought.
Resting her chin on one hand, she gazed out of the window listlessly. He hated it. "Because he was there for me when I needed him."
"Once," Sesshoumaru grit out. "When you were cut off from the well, yes, but you have not needed him since. He does not even know about your past within the feudal era, why cling to such an ignorant-"
"Because he doesn't know!" Kagome burst, blue eyes flashing.
His breath caught, instincts glowing from witnessing something so rare. "It's because he doesn't know that I feel comfortable. The truth is, when I look at you, sometimes it's painful," she muttered thinly. "Is that what you wanted to hear?"
Sesshoumaru's fingers betrayed him by inching closer over the table. "You have stated you enjoy our talks of the past."
"And I do. I enjoy...you," the miko whispered, shoulders falling. "But I can't...take a chance on anything with you. If we didn't work out, I'd probably never recover from it, and there'd be no Hojo next time to take care of me," she stood and shouldered her bag. "The truth is...I'm kind of the worst. It's not him clinging onto me. I'm the parasite," Kagome chuckled wryly. "So I'm not surprised if my other self left feeling unfulfilled. Tell me, was she cute?"
Sesshoumaru's jaw clenched, and his eyes dimmed, knowing he'd caused her pain by bringing up the subject. He'd overstepped his bounds. Why could he not be satisfied with the friendship she had offered?
"Yes, she was cute."
Kagome smiled sadly and took some yen out from her purse, setting it down to pay for her coffee. "Most girls are, in comparison with women," turning on her heel, she walked away.
Sesshoumaru watched her go, frustration lashing within him. Frustration aimed at himself, more so than her. She'd never led him to believe they could be more than what they were. And yet he felt he could be satisfied if he witnessed her with another. Someone who genuinely granted her happiness.
Jolting at the sound of his phone going off, Sesshoumaru answered it and raised the device to his ear. His expression slowly grew tense with severity, skin turning pale. He stood from his seat and hurried from the cafe, neglecting to pay in his haste.
Clasping Hitoshi's gnarled hand tight, Sesshoumaru stared mournfully at his son. The rhythmic beep of the human machine resting next to him signalling his 70-year-old heartbeat irritated the demon's hearing. He hadn't told the younger Kagome, but his son had been bed-bound for a few months after suffering a stroke and subsequent paralysis down one side of his body. Now he'd suffered another, and he was fading. The doctors predicted he wouldn't survive the night. Sesshoumaru believed it, sensed it in the waning of his aura.
This was the hardest part. The easiest was happening upon them. Their eyes would be wide with innocence and loneliness and so very easily...they'd start following him.
A low, rasping breath wheezed from quivering lungs, Hitoshi shuddering on the hospital bed.
Golden eyes gentled. Yes, the meetings were beautiful in their simplicity.
Saying goodbye was wretchedly ugly in comparison. He wished he could say it had gotten easier since Rin, but they'd always left some silent wound. Sesshoumaru knew that if he wanted to spare himself the torment of watching his children die before him the solution was simple. He could've mated by now and sired pure-blooded pups; the likes of which would walk the earth for a good millennia or two, not like these human pests, who barely lasted between one breath and the next.
But he'd never found his match in a demoness, and his centuries had passed unmated. The cycle of adopting humans continued, with only a handful of them mating demons to extend their lifespans. And now...Sesshoumaru finally found a woman he desired to mate, yet she lay beyond his reach and would've likely bore him more mortal children to leave before their time.
The sound of the door swinging open caught dusty attention, scattering dismal thoughts. Sesshoumaru turned, finding Kagome's panting figure leaning against the threshold. Had she sprinted there?
Idiot, he thought, wondering what she found in his expression that caused tears to prick her eyes. Of all the people to call…he had phoned her. No argument would ever stop them from comforting each other in this type of situation.
She crossed the distance between them in an instant, sliding both arms around him and hugging tight. Sesshoumaru exhaled, leaning into the comforting warmth she offered. Kagome eventually released him to touch Hitoshi's hand, sadness curling within her scent. They'd been good friends. The old man had been witty and dry in his sarcasm, often meshing well with the miko's as they'd poked fun at the Daiyoukai, much to his chagrin.
Now there were no teases or hearty laughter, just endless silence and the cold, repetitive beep of a machine.
Sesshoumaru stepped into the hallway in a drugged state. Grief never hit him particularly straightforwardly. He did not cry when the machines were turned off and little Hitoshi who had loved fishing and shogi passed away.
He remained mute, sitting down on a cool grey seat. He couldn't tell for how long, but suddenly the miko was drawing closer and bumping something hot against his shoulder. Sesshoumaru accepted the coffee from her, blinking as she sat beside him.
"Do you want me to call everyone for you?"
Ah, everyone...how many were there again? How many had he said hello and goodbye to?
"Yes," he said in a clear voice.
Kagome nodded and squeezed his hand. "...They'll want to see you, right?"
He'd forgotten since she was dealing with this so well, but this was the first time Kagome had witnessed one of his children's passing. She didn't know of his adopted family's silent understanding.
"No, they will likely meet together without me. I do not wish to see them right now."
He snapped a flinty gaze to her. "I deal with this alone."
Though changed from the years, one fact remained; demons did not mourn together. He would bear the pain his own way.
Kagome's lips thinned, however she relented. Standing and walking away, she took out her phone, starting to make some calls. Many of his children were overseas, others on vacation due to the holiday season.
Sesshoumaru lapsed into silence, frowning at his tired reflection in the coffee cup. Sometime last century, he'd buckled under one particular death, a girl who had battled with illness long into old age. He'd resolved never to adopt again. But like a bad habit, they'd found him; more lost souls that followed, and he, hungering for a pack, accepted them with a bitter acknowledgement of how it could end.
A soft touch on his cheek had him starting. "They all understand and send their condolences. If you want to talk, they said to just call," Kagome said gently.
"I see," he stood, padding robotically down the hallway. He paused upon feeling an arm slide through his. "What are you doing?"
"I'm coming with you," her cheeks appeared shiny from the trails of old tears that hadn't yet dried. "I tried calling home but Hojo isn't picking up. He must not be back yet," she muttered, squeezing his arm. "But even if he was, I'd tell him what I'm telling you; I'm not leaving you alone tonight."
Sesshoumaru flashed a fang, wondering whether to fight her on it. Ultimately though, he wanted her close.
"Do as you please," he snorted, carrying on.
"I will," she murmured, sliding an arm around his waist as though he were some fragile old man. He supposed in some ways, he was.
Sesshoumaru lived in an apartment, not a home, since his last adopted child had moved out five years ago and a large house seemed unnecessary for a bachelor who liked to move a lot. Kagome had visited many times, so she knew the kitchen well, fixing them both some supper that he didn't eat before freshening up the place. He suspected it was to keep her mind busy, trying not to pry into his feelings.
He watched her washing a pot that had been left in the sink since breakfast, hours ago. Rising soundlessly from the sofa and crossing the distance between them, Sesshoumaru drew up close to her back. Kagome stiffened, yet slowly relaxed, reaching up over her shoulder just as he wrapped both arms around her waist, resting his forehead against the ridge of her spine. A soapy hand gingerly petted his head, disappearing to be wiped on a dishtowel, before Kagome turned in his arms and dragged him closer, cradling the Daiyoukai in a protective embrace. Sesshoumaru sank against her, breathing in her scent by the lungful.
They found their way to the sofa and slept there for the night, limbs tangled, bodies and hearts pressed flush together, though neither of their hands strayed.
Stirring when the morning sun slanted over his face through the apartment blinds, Sesshoumaru blinked upon finding himself alone.
"I know it's early," Kagome's voice came from another room, likely on the phone.
"Kagome?" came the sleepy voice on the other end of the line.
"Oh I'm sorry, did I wake you? I wasn't sure if you were home yet. I just wanted to say I'm fine."
Hojo let out a chuckle. "No, no it's fine. For a second there I was totally confused."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I thought you were here at the house. I didn't notice the bed was empty even though I slept here the whole night, funny huh?" he appeared to be shifting under the covers, judging by the rustle over the phone.
Kagome went silent for a long time.
"A-ah… yeah. That's funny," she said weakly. "I'll be home later. Bye."
Sesshoumaru didn't bother to pretend to sleep, watching as she returned. Sitting on the edge of the sofa, Kagome wrapped her arms around herself, glancing at him. "Are you alright?"
"This one should ask you that."
Kagome smiled and shook her head. "It can wait."
"As the person grieving, I demand to know."
She huffed, nudging his knee, before falling quiet. "I realised earlier that… I need to get a divorce. That conversation kind of just helped it along," she fidgeted. "I've been kidding myself. He really doesn't need me to support him. He probably hasn't for a long time, and I've been… too afraid to see that. Before you called me to the hospital, I got home and did some extra digging. I just had this feeling that I'd overlooked something. I then found this weird note at the bottom of my desk draw. It said; If you're unhappy, leave." A reluctant chuckle slipped out of her. "That girl who took my place for a week probably didn't understand my situation, but I judged her too harshly. There's truth to what she said," Kagome glanced at him, expression turning flat. "You don't have to look so happy about it."
Sesshoumaru quickly wiped his expression. "This one is merely relieved you can still pleasantly surprise me."
Kagome placed a hand over his. "I'm going to be here for you through the funeral of course, and I'm your friend. However, I think I need some time alone before jumping into another relationship. And besides that, the timing is all wrong. I wouldn't want to take advantage of your grief or something-"
Sesshoumaru brought her closer, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pressing ardent lips to the side of her head. "You never could, foolish woman. Be silent."
"Alright," she gave a muffled giggle against his chest, clutching him close.
They fell silent for some time, claws combing delicately through dark hair.
"You are also cute. This one failed to say that; though the girl was cute, I find the woman charming."
Kagome shifted, turning her face to hide red cheeks, the likes of which hadn't plumed crimson in a long time.
Keisuke wobbled a little, righting himself, before inching forward. Sesshoumaru rose a brow from where he sat cross-legged within his half-brother's dwelling. He then glanced around for help, assuming this was not normal behaviour.
The pup was walking.
Shifting uncertainly and facing the boy, a single hand rose, palm flat. "You should stop. Your mother is practising with her bow and your father is in the village," Sesshoumaru informed him gravely.
Keisuke paused as though seriously considering this- yet ultimately he grinned and made a cooing noise, padding closer over the tatami mat unsteadily with renewed vigour.
"They will not be pleased they have missed this," he uttered flatly.
Keisuke made a huff of exertion, finding walking four steps to be very strenuous indeed. Golden eyes cut to the ceiling in a regal version of an eye roll, lips quirking at the edges. Lifting up a second hand and beckoning him closer now, Sesshoumaru watched stoically as the pup inched his pudgy self forward, tiny arms raised in anticipation for his Uncle.
A strange rush bloomed within the demon's being when Keisuke touched his hands, grinning.
Sesshoumaru quickly caught him around the middle before the pup could fall headfirst onto the mat. "Hn."
Lifting him from the floor, mokomoko curled beneath wriggling legs, making happy noises ring out into the room. Leaning back against the wall, Sesshoumaru patiently indulged his nephew, only wincing a few times when eager hands grabbed fistfuls of the puffy cloud-like fur.
"Whew, sorry was I gone too long." Kagome's voice reached him from the entrance. "Ah! Naww you two are so cute," she cooed, setting her bow and arrows aside and smiling softly at them.
Sesshoumaru glanced away, "you were an adequate amount of time."
"I appreciate you babysitting," she giggled, wandering to the irori and starting to make tea. "It's funny but when I woke up holding my weapon after losing my memory, it felt like a sign! Maybe it was a warning to practice more."
Keisuke kicked and gummed at Sesshoumaru's hand, which retreated in a dignified manner, drool marring his skin.
"And what's more- I don't know how you and Inuyasha patched things up but I'm so pleased you guys did!" she continued rambling. He wondered if it made her nervous to be alone with him. "Just two weeks later and it's like you've always been part of Keisuke's life. I can tell he adores you."
Sesshoumaru was quite certain the pup 'adored' mokomoko, and that his fascination with him began and ended with the fur. The pup wriggled, demanding to be released now, so Sesshoumaru gently set him down, watching as he crawled to the Daiyoukai's discarded armour, batting at the tassels. He'd decided to take it off, due to the sharp spikes not meshing well with vulnerable babies.
"How was practice?" Sesshoumaru changed the subject. In truth, he'd felt...oddly disappointed she'd forgotten the wolf attack and their subsequent conversation. However, there was no use dwelling on it or wondering how she'd lost such memories.
Or why she'd been acting so...different during that one week she cannot recall.
"It went really well! I can't quite grasp my powers as easily as I used to but I'll get there," she raised a fist with gusto.
Inuyasha ducked into the hut then, pushing the flap aside that fell over the entrance. He grunted a 'hey' in Sesshoumaru's general direction before giving a toothy grin at Keisuke, snatching him up from the floor and blowing a raspberry on his tummy, eliciting mad giggles. "Hi there, ankle biter."
Kagome smiled and accepted her husband's kiss when he greeted her, asking about his day. Deciding it best to leave, Sesshoumaru smoothly rose and grabbed his armour, lifting it on and tying the secures.
"Ah, Sesshoumaru, are you leaving already?" Kagome paused in setting out a third cup for tea.
Her scent plumed with mild disappointment but she smiled and inclined her head as he stopped by the door. "Thanks again for watching Keisuke, I- ah! INUYASHA! LOOK!" Grabbing the hanyou's arm, she pointed at the floor with wide eyes, elation brimming within them. Inuyasha made a noise, gawking.
Keisuke had stood, inching over the mats towards Sesshoumaru, tiny hands raised once more.
"He's walking! Oh my gosh, he's walking!" the miko yanked on Inuyasha's robes madly.
"Ow! I can see that!"
At least they hadn't had to wait too long to witness what he already had. Observing the pup's progress with little emotion on his face, yet waiting nonetheless, Sesshoumaru wondered at the warmth sweeping into his chest again like a tide rushing in.
"Good boy, Keisuke!" Kagome was encouraging. "You can do it! Go to your Uncle, that's it!"
Not needing to be told twice, Keisuke toddled faster towards him, soon tripping. He landed face-first into pillow-like fur, mokomoko having extended to catch his fall. Sesshoumaru manipulated the fur to set him down, kneeling. He then grasped one end of mokomoko and focused, red youki fizzling over the strands. With a yank, he severed a decent chunk from the main whole, letting Keisuke hold onto it. The pup blinked owlishly.
"This fur will grow with him as his power matures. It acts as storage for excess youki that cannot be contained," Sesshoumaru informed the pup's confused parents.
Inuyasha itched his nose, "uh...thanks?"
"Yes, thank you," Kagome smiled. "Keisuke will love it, I'm sure."
Sesshoumaru straightened and turned on his heel, raising a brow upon hearing a whimper. Glancing over one shoulder revealed Keisuke crawling after him, mokomoko's twin discarded. The pup instead looked straight at...him.
Golden eyes softened just a tad, but he continued walking, letting out a slip of his youki that wrapped around the pup in a lingering brush that messed with his dark hair playfully. Keisuke let out a giggle from within the hut as Sesshoumaru left, listening as Kagome and Inuyasha started to fuss over the boy, praising him for a few simple steps.
Sesshoumaru kept moving, passing by several couples with children. It appeared to be the norm these days. Or perhaps he was just noticing it more. Stopping at the edge of the village, the Daiyoukai eyed the silent and still forest awaiting him at the top of a hill.
Shifting a boot over the earth, he suddenly pivoted on one heel and began walking back the way he'd come. He wondered what Rin or Kohaku were up to, suddenly in no hurry to return to the quiet lull of his own stronghold.
It was his child.
Sesshoumaru had known it for some time, the birth only a confirmation of some instinctive truth he'd felt deep within his bones. The hardest part about the situation was the battle within himself to claim ownership of a woman that was not his, yearning to take her and the pup away from the love hotel- and the reality of it all. But they were cared for and loved by the monk and his family. Kagome would not leave them for all the world, despite her pull towards him.
This knowledge did nothing to assuage his need to see his flesh and blood. Sesshoumaru managed one week before he found himself standing at the pup's basket, gazing down at the sleeping boy. Kagome dozed on the futon not too far away, long wild locks curling around the pillows haphazardly as though she'd tossed in her sleep.
Taking a knee, the demon leaned over the basket, silver hair spilling down like a curtain. He pressed his nose to dark, curling hair, inhaling. He then dragged his cheek against the infant's to scent mark him, wintery lashes sliding shut.
Hearing a noise, Sesshoumaru jerked upright, eyes gleaming red.
Miroku paused in the doorway, a blue blanket slung over one arm. Surprise flitted over his face, passing quickly. Sesshoumaru stood in preparation to leave.
"Wait," the monk said, gesturing back to the baby. "You can stay longer if you wish," he invited in a hushed tone. "It's perfectly fine."
Tense and confused, Sesshoumaru watched him enter and tuck the blanket around the baby, who stirred a little. Miroku then joined Kagome, stretching out beside her.
Frowning a touch, the Daiyoukai slowly took a knee again, watching as the pup opened deep blue eyes.
"You will...allow me to see him?" Sesshoumaru uttered.
"Of course, so will Kagome. If you hadn't run off when she finished giving birth, she would have told you the same thing."
He'd thought he'd left quick enough to not be detected by him. Apparently the monk was sharper than expected. Extending careful fingers to the boy's dark hair and stroking, his thumb lingered over pointed ears. "Such a calm reaction to your wife birthing another being's pup. Do you not feel jealousy, monk?"
Miroku chuckled, "not really, but that hardly means I'm free from sin. I indulge in lust far too often. That's why I can understand your relationship with Kagome."
Obviously he was not that sharp or he would know lust was not the reason Sesshoumaru returned to her like a crooning whelp seeking shelter.
"I knew he was yours since he's a full demon. I expected this type of thing would happen when we began an open relationship," Miroku lifted a shoulder. "And it might happen again, who knows."
Frustration welled within the demon's being, and he quickly retracted sharp claws from the pup when they twitched. "If you feel no sense of claim over her...perhaps you should simply sever your connection," he said lowly, mid-summer eyes gleaming in the dark.
Miroku stared back calmly. "...I couldn't do that," was his soft reply. He gave another chuckle, this one tinged with melancholy as he settled back on the futon and looked at the ceiling. "I need Kagome. I need her far more than she needs me. I'm very aware of that, and it may not seem like it to you, but I'm only able to go on because she gives me something stable to return to. It might not be the romance of the century but Kagome understands. We're bonded through our love for Sango. I know I won't find that in any other woman. I couldn't talk about my precious first wife so openly with anyone else, and it would kill me not to."
Sesshoumaru's mouth became filled with an acidic taste, withholding all the poisonous words he wanted to say. This mortal had allowed him contact with his son. He could not ask for more.
Miroku's knowing gaze returned to the demon. "Come back tomorrow," he muttered.
"You presume to order me, monk?"
"I meant no disrespect, my lord. I just think we should have a conversation. All three of us."
Raising a brow, Sesshomaru hummed, stealing another glance at his quiet, watchful pup before deciding to take his leave.
Kagome was breastfeeding her son when the Daiyoukai was accepted into their sitting room. She offered a smile, shooting a mildly confused glance at Miroku. All three of them had never sat down together before. Sesshoumaru fell into the 'pleasure' category of her life, he knew that. This situation would be like if one of Miroku's conquests joined them; it simply was not done.
"I thought we could have a nice chat over some food and drink," Miroku said amiably, sitting next to her and gesturing to the assortment of foods. "Take what you like, my lord."
"Sesshoumaru doesn't eat this stuff, Miroku," Kagome reminded him, patting the pup's back as he fed. "You might as well cut to the chase. You're not thinking of involving him in one of your schemes are you?" she smirked, arching a brow.
"My dear Kagome, perish the thought. Besides, he seems a bit too straight-laced for such things despite being a demon," Miroku hummed.
Sesshoumaru's gaze turned flat. "Speak," he commanded in a tone that brooked no argument.
"Alright, alright," the monk picked up a bowl and chopsticks. "I was told by Kagome that you're being pressured to take a mate, is that the case?"
He nodded in thought. "I see. And are polyamorous relationships still recognised as a form of mating in demon's eyes?"
Kagome jerked, lifting the pup away and burping him with wide eyes. "Miroku!" she hissed.
Sesshoumaru merely appeared contemplative rather than offended. "So long as the lord is taking steps to sire children there is generally no issue with such an arrangement."
"Well then," Miroku gestured to Kagome. "You have a solution. I won't let go of Kagome, but I have no issue with welcoming you into the family, extending it, as it were, to accommodate you."
Kagome and Sesshoumaru stared at each other, repressing their immediate answers and thinking about it. "M-miroku...that's like me having two husbands," she pointed out. "Is that...really okay with you?"
"Certainly," he started eating. "I noticed it since we first entered into an open relationship, Kagome, but you've never slept with a variety of other men. It's always just been him, hasn't it?" She nodded in a somewhat guilty fashion. "That's fine. I need to keep being in an open relationship on my end, but there's no need for you to stifle your wants, Kagome," Miroku urged her gently. "You've given me a lot. If he makes you happy, then, by all means, have him closer in our daily life. I don't think our children will mind."
Adjusting her clothes and righting her collar, Kagome handed him Sesshoumaru's son and stood. "I need to get some air," she said, walking to some double doors that led to a balcony and sliding them back. "Sesshoumaru?" she called, wanting him to follow.
Rising, Sesshoumaru padded out into the glow of the afternoon sun. He turned his attention to the woman whose body and soul had been etched into his being. The breeze lifted her hair from the back of her neck, exposing the tempting flesh there.
"It's a crazy idea," she murmured, glancing at him. Want shone in her eyes. "But...will you consider it?"
Sesshoumaru rested a hand on the wooden railing that had been warmed by the heat of the sun. "This one is a being who covets," the words came slowly. "There is some concern that my instincts will not be satisfied with sharing in the long term. Perhaps...I will get greedy."
"I don't think so," Kagome said, stepping closer and brushing against his side. "You've proved that you can do it just by being with me at night, despite knowing I'd have to leave in the morning. Oh, Sesshoumaru," she breathed, sliding her palm over his and lacing their fingers. "You know how I feel about you. I'd...love to have you close. See you every day. That's probably asking too much though. I can't leave Miroku, and I won't, but if you agree to this...I'd be overjoyed. I think some part of you that's yearning for a pack will be happy too, even if this situation is an unconventional one. People might talk, but let them. It's our business, not theirs."
Sesshoumaru soaked up the energy emanating from her palm. What a wicked temptress she made. She was right, the idea was crazy.
And yet the prospect of never seeing her and his pup again loomed in the back of his mind. A very real threat if he mated a demoness. Besides that, it would be foolish to take a different mate when his heart already belonged to a woman.
Sesshoumaru looked at her, gliding pale knuckles over her cheek. "Hn," he nodded.
Kagome's face broke into a wide smile, and she pulled him in close, hugging tight and kissing a striped cheek. She then slammed one of the sliding doors open with her foot, causing Miroku to jump and drop his rice. "Let's do it!" she said enthusiastically.
Sesshoumaru and the monk shared a look, before sighing in unison. She was a handful for just one of them sometimes. Perhaps this union had been a wise decision after all.
He had figured they'd never have cause to cross paths again. She belonged to the wolves and they were far away, having merged with their sister tribe and found prosperity at their new home, or so he'd heard.
Sesshoumaru had been mistaken.
It happened in the dead of night while rain poured and wind lashed violently at the tiled roofs of his mansion, a storm passing overhead. Howling had caught frayed senses, rousing the Daiyoukai from a dream as he sat up from his bed. A commotion could be heard in the courtyard, lamps being lit- Jaken's high pitched voice clashing with the miko's harsh yelling.
Sesshoumaru's image blurred in the air, a white streak sailing through narrow hallways. Immediately smelling blood, he stopped in the entrance to his mansion, staring down at the pack of wolves in his domain. Kagome knelt on slippery wooden stairs, cradling a broken body close to her.
He could immediately sense the lack of heartbeat pulsing within Kouga's chest.
His attention slid back to the miko, who clutched the bloodied wolf demon tighter. Raindrops pattered upon her upturned face, the salty scent of tears betraying her despite such a grim, stern look on her face. She'd fight him for Tenseiga, he could see it. She would bite and bleed for the pathetic carcass in her arms.
When the cold lord's silence stretched on, she set Kouga down. Kagome stared at him, heartbreak and pride warring within her eyes, before she sank to her knees and bowed, touching her forehead to the muddied ground. All the wolf demons followed suit, sniffing and crying for their fallen leader.
Unable to stomach it any longer, Sesshoumaru left to retrieve his father's sword. Drawing Tenseiga from its scabbard, the blade shone a brilliant blue. Golden eyes hazed with the ability to see the pallbearer spirits of the netherworld. Slashing his sword down with a single swipe over Kouga, he tore through their imp bodies, causing them to disappear with faint cries.
Kagome raised her head, trembling. Everyone waited with bated breath, the continuous lashing of rain the only sound.
The wolf demon then stirred, groggily opening cobalt blue eyes. Making a strangled noise, Kagome threw her arms around him, openly sobbing. Kouga grunted, steading her with an arm about her waist. The wolves gasped and lifted their faces to the sky, letting out haunting, yet clearly joyful howls. Sesshoumaru watched as a neutral observer. Despite his airs and graces, they in all their dirty, poor and unwashed glory, singing in unison, possessed something he did not. Something he found himself lacking, and even more disturbing; wanted.
Kagome helped Kouga sit up, worriedly checking his wounds that had perfectly healed. The Daiyoukai couldn't help but think her loyalty was wasted but that was not for him to decide, pushing such thoughts away.
He allowed the wolves to sleep in his dwelling, offering them the Eastern sitting room and beds of furs so that they could rest together as the storm passed. From the looks of them, he surmised they must've all been attacked.
It was in the morning when walking from the gardens to the courtyard that he stopped just shy of bumping into the miko. She halted before contact could be made, expression shifting into something complicated.
"Ah...I wanted to catch you before we left," she said, adjusting her chest armour and looking a little awkward. "If I was out of line last night, I'm sorry. I was desperate. I would've done anything to save him."
"It is fine," he grunted. "That is what mates do for one another. But how did he sustain such injuries?"
Kagome sighed, looking at the wooden steps where she'd collapsed with Kouga in her arms. "We were attacked by some wraiths. Since we don't know the area of our new home properly yet, Kouga stumbled upon a mass grave and disturbed them. He...should have waited for our sister tribe to give us directions where to hunt since they know the lay of the land better than us, but he was eager. I should have insisted," she muttered, shaking herself.
Sesshoumaru felt that there was no point in him opening his mouth and critiquing the wolf, since it was not his business, though his lips did thin with disapproval.
"Anyway, what I really wanted to say was- thanks for saving him. And thank you for granting my pack passage through the Western Pass. I can't remember it, but by all accounts, you helped out a bunch. Looks like my letter reached you," she grinned toothily, replicating her mate.
Giving a noise of affirmation, he paused upon smelling a fusty scent draw closer. Kouga leapt around a corner with a cry, slinging his arm around Kagome's waist. She gasped and growled, thwacking his side. "Hey! Don't scare me! I've had enough of that lately."
He laughed, "ah c'mon, don't be like that. Everything's fine now, you're not still mad are you?"
Kagome pushed away from him, eyes narrow. "Yep, and I will be for a while. You're way too relaxed about the fact that you died!"
"I was only dead for a few hours," he said, obviously intending to cheer her up. It had the opposite effect as she ground her teeth. Turning to Sesshoumaru, Kagome bowed slightly in farewell, before storming off in a huff.
Kouga sweatdropped, brows drawing together. "Wow she's really mad," he muttered, casting distracted attention back to the frowning demon lord. "Uh...so you saved me, huh?"
"Guess you technically did it for Kagome and not for me, so I don't have to thank you," Kouga grunted, holding onto whatever pride he had left and folding his arms.
"I saved you in order to remove the crying wolves off my doorstep, no other reason," Sesshoumaru sniffed, walking around him. "The miko has a point though, you are far too casual. Tenseiga can only bring back a soul once. If you are to perish a second time, that will be the end of you."
The wolf's voice turned gruff. "I know that," Kouga frowned with a slight sneer. "Was a one-off. It'll never happen again."
"Hn," Sesshoumaru paused, lip lifting to flash sharp white teeth. "See to it that it does not. Should you be foolish enough to die, I will take the miko for myself in your absence."
The wolf demon jerked and swung in his direction with a snarl, but the Daiyoukai had already continued on, practically sashaying. He'd claim small victories where he could, and shaking the male's confidence put him in a good mood. He had absolutely no proof Kagome would ever agree to such a union, in fact, she'd likely fight against the notion. He couldn't say he seriously wanted her, either. However, the idea of trying to claim a hissing, powerful woman proved amusing.
Watching the wolves finally depart from the privacy of his balcony later on, he paused in replying to a letter sent from a demoness. Another invitation to join their clans with a mating union.
Hearing haunting sounds of howling draw further away, Sesshoumaru set his brush down. He silently decided to postpone mating for a few years. Just in case. Things could potentially become interesting if he held off. Who could say?
The mystery of both miko and Daiyoukai losing their memories at the same time had been an alarming, yet ultimately unsolvable case. According to Kagome's friends, they hadn't been acting too different from their usual selves.
"Do you think it was a spell?"
Sesshoumaru glanced up at Kagome sitting across from him, perched on a haystack. The village celebration was still going on, though they'd stepped away to try and understand the situation. Sango, Miroku and Inuyasha had assured her that she'd been perfectly normal during the week, and Rin had agreed that he'd been as quiet and lost in thought as per usual.
"I do not see what else it could have been."
Kagome sighed, adjusting her miko robes. He silently criticised her choice to attend such a lively festival in her usual garb, wondering if that would've been her decision if she'd been in her right mind. "I should really get back to Jinenji and ask if I was acting strange. Maybe Akari will have noticed something too."
"This one doubts that," he snorted dryly, picturing his jeering mate.
Kagome winced sympathetically and patted him on the wrist. "Did you try spending quality time with her like I suggested?"
"She found it as awkward and unnecessary as I did."
Giving a big sigh, dark brows pulled together. He wondered why Kagome seemed so upset by the idea of him and his mate being near strangers. The lack of affection and romance had been something they'd knowingly agreed upon when entering an arranged marriage. There were worse prospects for a mate, and the mink, while annoying, had the perks of her clan's alliance.
At least, that was what Sesshoumaru had told himself. These days, he began to think he'd mated too hastily.
"Do demons ever...divorce?" she asked carefully.
"It is possible to sever the binding between mates, yes."
"The way you put it sounds painful."
"It is meant to be agonising. A punishment, for breaking what should not be broken in most clan's eyes," he lifted a shoulder, watching his friend chew on her bottom lip. His tone gentled. "Have you discussed your desire for children with the hanyou yet?"
"O-oh...no, not yet," Kagome sighed. "I know he won't want to have them the uh...traditional way, so I'd like to adopt. It's just...awkward, the idea of having kids while his mom is still around- n-not that I'm complaining! But the hut would be too small and-"
Sesshoumaru flicked her forehead, "cease your rambling," he uttered, amusement colouring his voice.
She squeaked and held her forehead, giving a half-hearted glare that soon broke into a smile. "Well, you get the idea."
"In any case," she stood and dusted herself down, "seems like a shame to waste the night. Want to have a dance before we leave?"
Sesshoumaru's gaze slid away, before inevitably returning to her. He stood, holding out a clawed hand. Kagome took it and tried to tug him toward the dancing silhouettes of humans swaying and spinning around the towering bonfire.
"Not there," he grunted, not budging.
She smiled, "aww is someone too shy to dance in front of people? C'mon, you danced with me last year."
"If you recall correctly that was a private affair."
She set a hand on his shoulder and squeezed the firm muscle, "Shippo was watching," she pointed out as they began to turn, his hand finding her waist.
"Hn, just as Rin is watching now. That does not mean I wish to dance with the other mortals," he sniffed.
Kagome spied Rin peering over at them from where she was leaning beside Kohaku against a hut, grinning. Sighing, Kagome patted his shoulder. "You're a real jerk," she hummed with a knowing smile.
Their dance was not a traditional Japanese one, but rather a shoddy mix of modern styles that Kagome had introduced him to every year that Kaede's village had thrown a festival, celebrating the founding of the village. She'd taught him how to dance her way, praising him as a quick learner, which he'd preened about.
When the time came for them to part, Sesshoumaru's long fingers twitched into the material of her robes. Just a fraction of an inch. Kagome noticed and paused, before smiling softly. He then shook himself and released her, inclining his head. Kagome gave a slight bow in return, bidding him goodnight.
Sesshoumaru watched her leave for her hut, wandering into thick shadows so that only the orange glow from her torch could be seen, shrinking into the distance.
She was a good friend. A cherished one in her oddity and strangeness. He knew if he hadn't foolishly rushed into a mating the second his...feelings for the miko had spooked him, he would not be paying for the mistake now. It would be easier to ignore such unnecessary feelings if she were happier, if everything were perfect. But the miko truly loved the hanyou Jinenji. That much was indisputable.
And he knew that she wouldn't complain or speak of her desire for children. Kagome adapted herself perfectly to her partner's needs at the expense of her own. While he…
He absolutely refused to. Lord Sesshoumaru continued on as he always did, making concessions for no one. Perhaps that was how they'd ended up this way.
No more though.
He sat on the idea for a while, but ever since waking from the unknown spell, Sesshoumaru hadn't been content to continue in the same fashion they had been.
His mate fanned herself within the sun in their picturesque garden a week later, tanning herself. "Going somewhere?" she hummed with disinterest as he passed by.
"Tell the miko I say hello."
"This one is not visiting Jinenji's hut today," he muttered, sliding his gaze away. "Nor will I ever again to seek out his wife."
The mink demoness raised a brow yet refrained from commenting. Leaping into the sky, Sesshoumaru left with every intention of visiting an old source of advice.
Bokuseno gravely listened while Sesshoumaru had retold the story of waking up without any memories of the week prior. When he'd asked what the cause of it could have been, the old tree had paused, a long thin branch swooping down to tap his wooden chin contemplatively.
"Both you and the miko's memory loss...and your bodies talking and walking around...hm. It almost sounds as though you carried passengers with you for a time, but who can say."
"What being is responsible for it?" Sesshoumaru demanded.
"It is possible it could have been anything. A higher power, I'd imagine, since it caught you so unawares," he chuckled.
That didn't leave him many answers. There were countless strong spirits, guardians or Gods and Goddesses that could've been powerful enough to do it.
"Why ask such a thing, pup?"
"I seek to know the culprit, so that this Sesshoumaru may use their abilities."
"Hn, though I would prefer to reverse time."
The tree demon's bark brow rose, weathered features becoming completely stunned. Sesshoumaru found it mildly amusing.
"There will be a price for seeking to reverse time, little pup."
"This one will take it," he uttered. He'd sacrifice an arm again if need be.
"I do not understand-"
Golden eyes flashed, a warning entering his tone to not overstep his bounds. "I do not seek your counsel in this matter. My reasons are my own. This bland and flavourless existence does not suit me," he cast his gaze to the trees surrounding them. The Daiyoukai was not like Kagome. There would be no acceptance of the situation from him. He felt as though he'd been wandering through a fog for so long. Sesshoumaru now recognised the error that had been made and would fix it. "It would bring shame upon my clan to outright reject what I have chosen for myself. Therefore, I will pursue what I wish my own way. If that means utilizing a God or Goddess, I shall do so."
Bokuseno appeared uneasy. "Hm. I suggest going to the summer solstice plateau and praying to Amaterasu for a blessing."
Sesshoumaru's lips thinned. "Prayer?" he grumbled with distaste.
The tree gave him a flat look until Sesshoumaru huffed. "Very well," he lept into the air, sailing high above the branches and collecting white energy around him, the glowing orb flying away.
Bokuseno's branches expanded and relaxed in a big sigh. "Such a lot of fuss. I wonder why. Surely it is not over a single miko…"
Sesshoumaru would come to understand what his price was. It didn't happen immediately after the world had reversed as per his request (a five-day session of wishing before the Sun Goddess or whoever had heard him granted it) so he'd almost forgotten about paying it.
Kagome, bright, unmarried and unmarked Kagome had been a welcome sight. He'd immediately approached her once he'd adjusted to the timeline and proposed they 'date' as per her human custom.
'But I don't know you,' she'd puzzled.
'Then get to know me. Through dating. Is that not the point of it?' he'd sniffed.
Kagome had been at a loss for words but awkwardly agreed, deciding to give it a fair chance. During their third week together was when Sesshoumaru repaid his debt for reversing time.
"Sesshoumaru!" Kagome's cry filled his ears, frantic hands finding his shoulders as he knelt, pressing his palm to his burning left eye. Blood continued to escape, alarming her.
"Forget it," he rasped. "Where is the demon?"
A mink demon of all things had leapt out of nowhere in the clearing they'd been walking through. It's scent had been so concealed it could only have been an act of divine intervention that he hadn't picked up on it. Their claws had lashed at his face in a single swipe. A random act of savagery.
"It's dead. Don't worry, I shot it," she said, worry in her voice. "We need to stop the bleeding. Hold onto me, I'll guide you back to Kaede's hut."
Sesshoumaru wrapped an arm about her shoulders, dipping his nose into sublime black hair to silently comfort himself. As they staggered from the forest, Kagome chattering worriedly, Sesshoumaru instinctively felt that he'd lost the use of his left eye forever.
Glancing down at the miko, his remaining one softened despite the grim situation, just a touch. Enough to give him away.
So be it, he thought, returning his attention to the path ahead.
There were worse fates.
Kagome wiped her brow, lugging the last of the stag beetle demon inside the slayer village walls. She gripped thick ropes crisscrossing over the segment, panting while dragging its hide over the earth, coming to a stop near the armoury. The occupants of the village got to work on the other severed pieces of beetle, cutting shell pieces loose from its body in order to make use of the materials for armour.
Kohaku smiled and hurried over to her, talking lowly. With a grin, Kagome licked her thumb and wiped away some green beetle blood on his chin.
A pale white dog demon observed this, lingering close to the high defensive wall, unseen and unnoticed. He shifted and passed through a house in a single glide, nose twitching.
He shouldn't have lingered on in this world. In truth, he'd merely wanted to observe everyone to assure himself of their wellbeing after his death. Rin had mourned but seemed to be taking comfort in the hanyou Jinenji. His mother appeared fine watching over their lands in his place.
And yet, years later, he continued to watch these two mortals in particular from afar. A single month passed in the blink of an eye to the inuyoukai spirit, and he'd soon lost track despite his earlier resolve to leave.
Sesshoumaru could recall the moment of his death. How he'd finally escaped from battle with Naraku in his portal of miasma, consuming the bastard's head. The purple haze had cleared, a golden gaze flitting from the Bone Eater's Well beneath him to that of the old miko's...only to find Kagome standing with her.
She would lie later, and say she hadn't been there. That she hadn't burst into a relieved smile, hope returning to tearful eyes. They'd stolen so many secret moments together in the dead of night before the battle. Yes...they'd steal so many more…
At least, he'd desired to.
The flesh from his bone's had begun to peel. The sensation of turning to dust proved a painless and confusing one, terrifying in its apathetic rot and disintegration of his body.
Yet Sesshoumaru hadn't cried out. Kagome had looked horrified enough. Some sanity seemed to slip away as an animalistic noise of grief had ripped itself from her throat in a garbled cry.
Sesshoumaru had arranged his features to be calm, not wanting to distress her further, and accepting his fate with dignity.
Inside he'd been screaming.
The ghoulish hound now looped around the area, obsessively watching for danger. He had avoided Kagome's detection but if it were needed he'd alert them. Surely then, the demon was still useful. He still had a purpose. They were puny humans. Weak, feeble. He would need to keep guard and stand as their silent sentinel.
Fluffy ears perked and his tail twitched, picking up a change in the air. Sesshoumaru then bristled, whirling in the direction of new energy and snapping his jaws with a low snarl that vibrated from his chest.
A little girl stood nearby, raising a brow at his attitude.
Red eyes blinked, his muzzle smoothing out, growling sputtering to a stop. What business have you with me, spirit?
"No business," she said in a soothing tone, offering her hand. "It's just that I sensed you here when my friend and I stepped into this world. If you've lost your way, you can come with me."
Sesshoumaru bristled, looking back at the demon slayers. This one is still needed.
"Are you sure?" she asked bluntly. "I don't see how you do much good. They can't even hear you."
He snarled, hackles rising as pale fur bled into a murky dark grey. Leave me be!
The little girl with short dark hair and sorrowful, large eyes, tilted her head. She wore a beautiful multicoloured kimono, causing him to wonder if she were the spirit of a Hime.
"Your spirit is becoming corrupted the longer you linger here. If you remain, it is possible you will lose all sense of self, Lord Sesshoumaru," she said gently. "Your former lover...would certainly notice you then. She'd...have to hunt and exercise you."
The Daiyoukai's fur shivered, before lying flat, returning to its usual luminous, silky shine. He conceded her point. She was not wrong. Glancing at Kagome's relaxed, happy face as she chatted with her fellow slayers, Sesshoumaru felt a bubble of emotion well within his chest.
Small, delicate fingers petted soft fur. The child hovered in mid-air to stroke the crescent moon on his forehead, patting his side. "It will be alright," she petted again.
Your comfort feels patronising, he snorted. Turning tired attention back to the miko, he heaved a long sigh. They will be...fine. I know this.
She nodded in agreement. "Higurashi Kagome is strong."
He hadn't realised it, but Sesshoumaru stood as his inhuman self once more, dressed in pure unblemished robes instead of the usual red and white. He directed a honeyed gaze down to the girl. "And what is your name?"
"I am Yua," she said simply.
He sniffed, "not much of a guide. This one anticipated pallbearers and a grand procession with music to welcome me into the underworld."
"From what I know of you, my lord, I would not expect much of a welcome, since you sent a lot of its occupants to the afterlife."
Sesshoumaru hummed, accepting the little girl's hand when she offered it. "Perhaps you have a point."
A small, tiny gasp caught his keen hearing. Turning- golden eyes clashed with blue. Kagome had looked up, and was now staring at him with locked limbs and tears threatening to fall. Kohaku seemed to pause in his dismantling of the beetle, muttering something. The miko didn't move an inch.
Slowly, the surprise leaked from Sesshoumaru's countenance to be replaced with something quiet and heavy. In another life, perhaps.
He inclined his head, eyes warming. He then followed the tug of his hand, following Yua as she led him away.
"Is my sire there? I have words for him."
She giggled, fading with him. "Oh yes, and he is expecting that."
Their figures were lost to sight, leaving Kagome to stare after them at nothing. Kohaku took to shaking her shoulder, breaking the miko out of her stupor and causing her to quickly giggle and wave it off. She continued on with her work, heart quivering, lips bending into a pained, accepting smile.
"I'm glad you found peace," she murmured to herself.
Standing bare and waist-deep in ice-cold, freezing water, Kagome stared listlessly ahead of her. She'd been doing so for a few minutes now, goosebumps rising on pale skin. Sesshoumaru knew this because he'd been watching her from the lake's shore the entire time, laying in his true form.
Ever since the 'other' Kagome had left- and he sensed she must have been someone different, for the two women couldn't be more different- she'd reverted back to how he'd known her in Naraku's mansion.
During his imprisonment, Sesshoumaru vaguely recalled seeing her beyond the bars a few times, following Naraku like a shadow. She'd go through bouts of showing no emotion towards his skinny, beaten form. Deep blue would stare at him without a flicker of awareness brightening the dark void of her eyes, but then...
"Where are you?" her thin, wobbly voice reached his ears, making them perk, attention returning to her.
Kagome was glancing around the lake searchingly. "Come out. Why don't you just show yourself?"
Sesshoumaru rose and transformed with a grunt of effort, quickly wading through the water.
"No!" she whirled to face him, trembling violently. "I-is it you, Naraku? Stop pretending to be Sesshoumaru now, I don't like it anymore! Take me out of this dream so I can wake up!" Kagome yelled.
Long fingers snapped out, wrapping around her elbows and pulling her closer. "I am not the spider," a low hiss slipped into the space between them. "We escaped together. This one has already told you. Believe in my words. He cannot harm you agai-"
"LET GO!" she jerked in his hold and screamed, yanking an arm free and instinctively slamming her hand out to his chest, letting out a pulse of her powers.
Sesshoumaru reared back, lips peeling away from gritted teeth as he panted. Dark energy crackled around his own, dominating in its sheer size. It took his breath away. She could kill him easily, considering the sorry state he remained in.
Steam hissed up from his chest where she'd touched him, leaving burn marks. A thin noise reached his hearing, Kagome shuddering, salty tears pricking her eyes.
Sesshoumaru caught his breath and straightened weakly, padding through the water again.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm-" thin arms wrapped around the miko, holding her gently. Bringing her in close, Sesshoumaru leaned his head down, licking at her cheek and crooning softly. Sheer exhaustion weighed him down, but he remained standing despite the shaking in his legs. Deep lines cut beneath his eyes, and he licked and kissed at her own dark circles. Kagome sobbed and clutched him close abruptly, holding the demon tight.
"I don't understand w-what's happened to me," came out as a muffled noise against his chest.
Clawed fingers with broken, jagged edges combed through her hair.
"We are both changed," he rasped.
Crying into his shoulder, the miko took his weight as he leaned against her slightly. Their fingers remained tight in one another's tresses, bones protesting against the tight moulding of their bodies, as though they desired to become one.
They'd had to leave the glade eventually, following the water from a brook and hoping to find new game to hunt. After catching a few rabbits his fur didn't cling to his ribs quite so tightly, yet Sesshoumaru still felt dissatisfied. He needed deer, a cow. Hell, he'd eat another demon right then he hungered enough.
Kagome either wandered silently at his side or rode atop his back depending on her mood. Sometimes mid-walk she'd just stop and no amount of gentle prodding would call her back from wherever her mind had withdrawn to.
Sesshoumaru feared those times the most. Because the idea of her wandering off somewhere he couldn't follow, never to return- it made his entire being cry out in pain.
After happening upon the tracks of a sika deer, Sesshoumaru had taken off, following the trail and trying not to jostle her too much upon his back.
Finding and killing the deer proved easy enough, bringing it down with a lunge of sharp, starving teeth and claws within a clearing. Kagome resurfaced from wherever she'd been, looking around at the high walls of rocks and forest greenery surrounding the clearing.
"Sesshoumaru," she said in a hushed tone. "I don't...I don't think we should be here."
Gorging himself on the carcass in a feral state, he did not pay heed to her gentle patting upon his shoulder blade.
Hearing the tell-tale sound of an arrow being loosened, the demon jerked himself away from his kill in time to avoid it. Raising a bloodied maw and snarling at the men who revealed themselves among the high wall of rocks, the two silently realised that they were surrounded.
"We've been hunting that Sika for three days," one of them sneered. "What a waste for it to have been eaten by a demon of all things."
"We'll gladly take the woman as compensation though!" another shouted, the others laughing and pointing their weapons at the two.
A low growl building in volume and ferocity rumbled from Sesshoumaru's chest, hackles rising. Kagome surprised him by placing a hand on his neck, her touch a soothing drag.
"Please don't harm my friend," she said in a clear voice, a bit of her old self returning. "I'm a priestess. If you have any sick or wounded among your group, I'd be happy to treat them in exchange for no violence. Let us leave in peace."
The men looked at each other in surprise, gaining conflicted expressions. One of them murmured to a more bulky looking man. "Jintaro is looking bad, we could really use a healer."
"I know, damn it," he grunted.
"Guess she's more likely to help if she's willing, too, instead of kidnapping her," said another.
A tense silence hung over the group, Sesshoumaru and Kagome staring up at them with coiled, tense muscles, legs ready to spring at the slightest hint of malice.
"Alright, miko," the leader straightened, lowering his bow. The rest of the men followed suit. "You've got a deal. We'll bring our injured down to you-"
"No. We come up there to level ground," she cut in, fingers curling within matted white fur. Sesshoumaru picked up the tremble in her hand. "It doesn't make sense to force your injured people down rocky terrain," Kagome added with a gentle smile.
And it meant putting them out of a dangerous position where arrows could easily reach them, Sesshoumaru realised. She was sharp, when pushed to it.
The men chatted amongst themselves. "How's about you climb up and leave your...friend behind down there? Only, we don't trust demons."
"He comes with me," her voice betrayed her, turning a little thin. Sesshoumaru shifted against her side, bumping his neck more into her palm to assure her. "You've got nothing to fear from him. He's...he's my pet."
Red eyes turned flat and unimpressed, slanting back to her. Kagome seemed to struggle to keep her expression level and not buckle under the pressure, patting his fur as though to apologise.
This seemed to convince the men though, perhaps thinking too highly of man's ability to bring anything to heel. Sesshoumaru, carrying Kagome, leapt up the rocks and approached the group, who warily took them further into the forest.
Their camp was small and pitiful, implying their rushed departure. A man with a splinted leg lay on a bed of furs next to an extinguished fire. Kagome immediately knelt next to him, noticing the fever and asking for fresh water to be sent for.
A few of the men departed while she took a look at the broken leg, noticing the discolouration of his flesh from a cut. Wincing with sympathy, she peeled his shoe off to inspect how far the clearly infected flesh spread. Noticing the man's panting and shivering, Kagome took a breath and rocked back on her heels.
"I think...this man has septicemia."
"Dunno what that is, but you'll cure him, won't ya wench?"
She bit her lip, glancing around the camp. 15 men remained. Sesshoumaru lingered off to the side, pacing on the outskirts of the woods and eyeing her, inhaling the worried plume lacing her scent. It was bad news.
"I don't think I can. This is above my level of knowledge but-"
"You're a priestess, ain't you? Just use your holy powers on him and get it over with!" the leader snapped.
The other men grunted in discontentment.
"It doesn't work like that!" Kagome burst. "This man needs medical treatment far beyond what I can offer!" she gasped as her hair was grabbed, making a fist of it atop her head. The man standing over her lowered a knife to her neck. Sesshoumaru barked and snarled, leaping closer- only for arrows to be trained upon him.
"Heal him!" snarled the man. Kagome trembled, before going quiet and unresponsive, retreating at his shouting. "Are ya deaf or something?" yanking his palm from side to side caused her head to jerk like a ragdoll.
Sesshoumaru let out a bellowing roar, transforming within curling red mists and straightening in his muddied red and white clothes. "Release her!"
A few men shot their arrows, which he slashed through with jagged claws. The man holding Kagome dragged the blade lightly over the delicate skin of her neck. "Oi, stay back, beast! I'm losing my damn patience, wake her up!"
Golden eyes flashed red, narrowing as he vibrated with fury, static youki crackling in the air around them. It was not him who shed blood first though.
The blade at her neck was suddenly grabbed, Kagome's gaze a dark void as she looked up at the man. A sliver of energy raced up his blade, slipping out from her fingertips to skitter up his arm- abruptly causing it to twist and contort.
"AH!" He yelped, jolting back and clutching at his shoulder as it dislocated with a sickening snap without warning, as though fighting an invisible enemy. He cried out in agony, the other men staring dumbfounded until understanding dawned on the leader's features.
"Shit- she's a dark priestess! Men, get your-"
Blood-curdling screams rang out as Sesshoumaru turned his fury on them, lashing claws through jugulars and transforming to save energy, snapping his jaws. An arrow was levelled in Kagome's direction until Sesshoumaru leapt upon the archer, staining his teeth red and losing himself in the kill. He snapped hungry jaws and dug into flesh and sinew, feeling bloodied meat slip down his throat.
He snapped his head up, dimly noting the coppery taste of human blood in his mouth.
Kagome remained dazed and motionless, her pupils slowly refocusing on the carnage around them. Her eyes became somewhat horrified, and his tail drooped.
Glancing at the man with the broken and dislocated arm, she blinked when he cowered away from her.
"Did I… do that?" she breathed. The sight of the managed flesh and muscle burned itself into her retinas.
Noticing reinforcements returning, Kagome grit her teeth and hurried to Sesshoumaru's side, clutching at his fur and scrambling up his back. "Sesshoumaru! We have to go! Fly!"
He shook himself and panting hard, sense returned to the inuyoukai enough to burst into flight. He hit a few trees before righting himself, climbing above the branches. Arrows chased them out, two burying themselves in his legs. Kagome cried out in terror, but he didn't seem phased. Flying above the trees, he didn't stop, heart thundering in his chest.
He no longer possessed Tenseiga. If she had died, he'd have lost her forever.
It was several hours later that they rested within the shelter of a cave, the curl of steam in the air behind them hinting at underground hot springs. Despite this promise of luxury, they remained near the entrance, skittish and wary. After removing the arrows and cleaning Sesshoumaru's wounds, the miko swallowed and blinked rapidly.
"I'm...I'm so ugly inside now," Kagome murmured, looking at trembling hands. Shuddering, she leaned heavily against the cave wall. "Why isn't he waking me up from this dream? I don't understand."
Sesshoumaru in humanoid form glanced at her, giving a soft exhale.
"You did what was necessary to survive, " he uttered, moving to sit beside her and lingering close. "We both have. You are not alone in your...inability to recognise yourself," Sesshoumaru watched her quietly, holding himself still when she turned to him sadly and touched his cheek. Smoothing a hand down to some mortal blood still clinging to his chin, she rubbed it away with her thumb.
"You're still Sesshoumaru to me," she said in a barely there whisper.
Dusty, exhausted amusement crept into his ashen face, softening it. Papery lids slid shut and he leaned into her touch as she cradled his face.
"Only the foolish miko Kagome would say such things."
Blue eyes widened, before slipping shut. Leaning forward, he felt their foreheads touch.
"Will you stay with me? Even though I'm like this?" she asked.
"Hn," sliding an arm around her shoulders, Sesshoumaru sighed and turned their bodies so that he shielded her from the cave entrance. A storm was brewing, and the rain would chill her.
"If this is a dream, let us continue to sleep, miko," he rumbled into dark, frayed hair.
"Alright," Kagome nodded, tears falling free to roll down her cheeks, though she wasn't sure why. Because she was happy right then. So very happy to hold him dear. "Together."
His mate returned to him mere moments after she'd fallen unconscious on the porch. The instant she smiled, he knew it to be his wife, not her younger self. There was just something hypnotic and infectious about her smiles. Sesshoumaru hummed, feature's softening.
"You are back."
His mate nodded. "I'm back."
Sitting together on the porch as he had done earlier with the other Kagome, she asked him questions about the time spent with her double. He explained while skimming over some details. Kagome caught this and smiled.
"I encouraged her to sleep with you. It's alright. You don't have to pretend it didn't happen. In fact, I'm pretty sure the aching in my body was caused by you, right?"
"Hn," white feathery bangs brushed her neck, lips pressing against her collarbone. "Why did you give permission?"
Kagome lifted a shoulder, gliding soothing fingers over his scalp and eliciting a rumbling purr. "I wanted her to choose you in her world. No point in missing out on the best choice over a little possessiveness. And besides..."
Her smile morphed that of a vixen's, mischief lurking in her exquisite, spicy scent. "Letting her handle your insatiable appetite felt like a few nights off for me. I got to have a break," she teased. Sesshoumaru blinked and smirked, trying to come up with something witty to answer with. Instead, Kagome shifted on her knees beside him, leaning up, and he- perhaps with the same set of instincts that led small animals to be caught by swooping hawks- failed to dodge in time. Or move in any meaningful way. Instead, he found herself being kissed, a faint brush of lips on lips that caused his stomach to flip. Sesshoumaru immediately responded by descending hard and ravenous on her mouth, burying a hand within her hair.
She knew just how to tease. How to stroke his fire and coax it higher before acting innocent of all blame. Feminine arousal caught his attention, and he inhaled.
"You want more already?" the miko was sighing, peppering kisses over his jaw. "Even though you had me earlier?" blunt teeth scraped the demon's throat, and he swallowed against her mouth.
"Indeed," Sesshoumaru grunted stiffly.
"More than once?" she probed, gliding knowing hands down his chest.
The answer lay in his unapologetic look, and she huffed. Shifting, Kagome pushed him to lean back against one of the wooden pillars. "In truth, this one is somewhat tired," he continued innocently. "Perhaps we should merely retire to bed."
"Oh no you don't," tugging his obi loose with a few impatient yanks, she grinned. "If you had energy to spare for her, you can muster enough for one round with me. Unless...maybe I should do all the work, hm?" Kagome grinded slowly against his thigh.
She was fucking delicious. He knew it from the scent alone which emanated off her, so tantalising and unsavoury. Sesshoumaru allowed her to clamber onto his lap and lift his wrists, pinning them above the Daiyoukai's head and tying them there against the post with his silk sash.
Some time into their mating he'd allowed her to have this fun, on occasion. It usually ended with him losing control and destroying the restraints but he endeavoured not to spoil it. As Kagome parted his white and red hankimono, pushing further to peel back the hanjuban underlayer to expose the pale flesh of his chest, her became mouth a gentle pressure that turned sublime as she began to suck, lick and bite, Sesshoumaru tilted his head back and groaned openly.
That tiny green skirt that she'd gallivanted around in had been the first thing to catch his attention if he recalled right, all those years ago. His interest only grew from there. Kagome had been so virginal back then. He'd found it revoltingly beautiful, and that interest had turned into something stronger when she'd returned after three years, curves more filled out and a real thirst and curiosity to explore herself brimming within blue eyes.
He had waited and wondered and done the dance of denial. In that wasted time, he could've lost her to any suitor. Thankfully, she'd waited.
He'd never had a personal dirty secret before. Of course, he'd had a few professional ones, benefiting him and his demonic identity but not one of putrid self-indulgence like lusting after a pure and pretty miko. And the day had come where she'd stood up to him, talked back to him with her charming face scrunched up and angry. He'd damn near lost control and grabbed her right then. To bite? To lick that slightly muscled abdomen she'd been showing off in that ridiculous two-piece 'swimwear?' To kiss? He didn't know and he'd scared himself at how badly he'd wanted to do any and all of those things.
But they'd come together as naturally as breathing, much like now, with his mate lowering herself on his cock. Kagome moaned, sliding her arms around his neck, while Sesshoumaru hissed, hips jolting as his wrists ached, pulling the silken restraints taut.
"I bet you didn't tell her about this side of you," she said quietly. "About your ability to be a switch. You were just a big bad dominating demon to her, weren't you?"
His cock, big, long and thick, locked inside her like it belonged there. The veins along his shaft rubbed deliciously at her twitching walls, and she squeezed him like a vice.
He grunted. "I would not want her to get the wrong idea. This is the result of years of trust and build up. My younger self would never have allowed this, nor admitted to the pleasure of it," Sesshoumaru uttered, sharing a reverent kiss with her, before ramming striped hips up.
She didn't bother hiding her moans against his shoulder, instead tearing into his skin with blunt nails and tilting her head back to cry her rapture. Red scratches were left on his flesh as Sesshoumaru fucked her, but he barely noticed it. Kagome groaned and started forcing her own hips down, biting his neck in reprimand.
"Too fast," his mate panted. "Slow down," she glided a hand down and began fondling him. "I want to make this last, don't be in such a hurry," she giggled, nipping his ear with a wicked smile. "We have all night."
Pure and pretty miko indeed, he chocked on a hiss that blurred into a groan. She was as insatiable as he. And he recognised the truth behind it. She wanted to feel like he was hers again. Sesshoumaru could do that, and then some, moaning her name and holding himself back as she bounced on his lap.
But there came a time when even the teasing miko tired and she desired his rough thrusts to push her over the edge to completion.
She didn't even have to ask, because he snapped his wrists through the silk, tearing his obi apart to grip curvy hips, sharp claws dragging over sensitive skin, and then he was surging into her. He pounded against her and let instincts bleed out, youki and reiki lacing their fingers as Kagome screamed her release as he snarled his own.
In the twitching aftermath, with their slick bodies pressed close and foreheads touching, breaths mingling, Kagome rubbed her cheek against his, smiling. "You're mine."
"Yes," golden eyes crinkled at the edges. "You are amusing when you become possessive."
"Well it's not like we have an open relationship, and I haven't had to deal with any competition in a while. Let me have my fun."
"Hn," a wet tongue dragged over her cheek. "By the way, this one neglected to have your younger self drink contraceptive tea. It unfortunately slipped my mind."
Kagome blinked and groaned, dropping her forehead to his collarbone. "Sesshoumaruuu," she sighed. "We agreed to wait a little while before our third kid. And I know your swimmers, they're eager little gremlins. I'm definitely knocked up! Gah!"
Sesshoumaru was not sure how to take hearing his sperm be referred to as 'gremlins' but refrained from commenting. "Oops," he said instead.
"Yeah, oops. Big oops," Kagome grumbled, before smirking. "Just means you'll have to deal with my bizarre cravings allll over again. Can you get ostrich meat tomorrow?"
"The cravings do not start that early," Sesshoumaru deadpanned, but nonetheless brought her closer, breathing in that delectable spicy scent. As she giggled and continued being a welcome pest, he closed his eyes and basked in her presence.
A foolish, bossy and passionate miko turned out to be exactly what he'd wanted, and he felt certain her younger self had pursued a lofty, arrogant, prideful Daiyoukai too.
Overlooking a koi pond with glittering waters and warm sandy coloured stones patterning the sides, a woman stood, looking down at the beautiful fish gliding beneath the surface. Her rich, silky hair that shone a platinum blonde floated up towards the curtains and subsequent bedchambers behind her, teased by the breeze.
Amber eyes slid to the side upon sensing movement.
"Mn, how are they getting along? Has my foolish son chosen a mate yet?" Inukimi stifled a yawn behind her sleeve, stopping at the threshold with tousled clothing, raising a brow at the woman.
The woman flashed an impish smile her way. "It appears I won the bet."
The demoness huffed, pouting slightly. "You used the gift of foresight, did you not? Cheater."
"I did not cheat," delicate laughter slid into the air, merry and bell-like. "Merely, the second you suggested including your son in this little game with Kagome and Yua, I had a feeling this might happen."
Grumbling, Inukimi drew up to her side and took the woman's arm, staring down at the water. "Oh please, my son is so stubborn. There was no way of predicting he'd fall for the miko."
"That is because you have not seen the other timelines, my golden one," amber eyes smiled.
The demoness gaped and swatted her shoulder good-naturedly. "Fiend! So you were cheating!"
Laughing outright, the goddess stroked silvery hair back from a pointed ear, watching as a vision of the miko and demon played out over the koi pond, Inuyasha going berserk at the reveal of their relationship.
"Do you suppose the little whelps will be alright?" Inukimi hummed, purring at the attention and watching the scene play out. "They cannot exactly tell everyone they went timeline hopping and that is how they know they want each other."
"Oh they will be fine," Amaterasu gazed with a knowing grin. "Once they become an item, there's no separating such stubborn souls," her smile turned a little more gentle, watching the two playfully engage in banter.
"I look forward to watching them for many years to come."