Chapter Twelve

Kagome awoke slowly, feeling well rested. She felt warm, safe, and comfortable as she sat up, rubbing her eyes. She was in Sesshoumaru's room, but he was nowhere to be seen. The side of the bed he had slept on was empty and cold, and she felt a little forlorn for a moment.

'He's probably working on something,' she thought, suddenly feeling relieved. She was glad that he hadn't been there when she had woken up. She would have been far too embarrassed, and the situation would have been incredibly awkward. 'At least he let me sleep in. It's probably well past breakfast, but he didn't make me get up on time. That was really thoughtful of him.'

Easing herself out of his bed, she went back to her room, walking quietly as possible. She had no desire for Samantha to catch her leaving Sesshoumaru's room. Sam would likely take it the wrong way and the teasing that would ensue would be humiliating. Kagome certainly didn't want to know what would happen if Sam teased Sesshoumaru about sharing a bed.

Still, Kagome felt better for having slept the night in the inuyoukai's arms. It had been comforting beyond belief, especially when she factored in the fact that Sesshoumaru was Inuyasha's brother and he had tried to kill her in the past. Of course, if she considered the last part, almost all her friends from the Sengoku Jidai had tried to kill her before; but they had still become good friends despite their previous problems. Something about that comforted her.

Slipping silently into her room, she dressed and brushed her hair, putting it into some semblance of order. If she ignored the hints of black smudges under her eyes, she looked almost older. Her eyes gave her away though. She had lost her innocent sparkle, the childlike faith she'd once possessed for Inuyasha. Her eyes said she had seen more than she wanted, and that she had been through rough times. Looking at herself in the mirror, she had to think that her eyes looked old and pained.

Kagome made her way to the kitchen, figuring that she would grab a late breakfast. She was certainly hungry, and her stomach would start growling if she didn't eat something soon. It felt good to be more like her old self, and Sesshoumaru would undoubtedly be pleased about it as well.

"Good morning, Kagome!" Sam called out as the black-haired girl walked into the kitchen. She had flour in her hair, sugar all over the counter, and multiple stains on her clothing. If Kagome had to guess, she would say that the girl had been making a pie or something of that sort. "You slept in."

As Sam tsked at her, Kagome smiled. "Yes, and I feel much better," she replied, looking at the mess of the kitchen. "And I don't suppose you have anything ready to eat?"

The other girl laughed. "Of course. I always have food that's ready to eat." She whirled around the kitchen, moving bags and bowls and grabbing items Kagome didn't even know how to describe. Soon, Sam had a quick meal all ready for Kagome to devour, and the black-haired girl wasted no time in eating it.

As Kagome was putting her dishes in the sink, Sesshoumaru poked his head in, golden eyes dark with disapproval. "Samantha, must I re-educate you on what condition the kitchen should be kept in?" His tone of voice held a hint of annoyance, but he didn't sound angry or even violent.

Kagome waited for the embarrassment to overwhelm her and for her cheeks to flush, but nothing happened. She felt nothing but peaceful when she looked at the inu youkai. He looked perfect as always, with his silver hair tied back at the nape of his neck and his gray business suit had obviously been made just for him.

Sam stuck her tongue out at the youkai who had raised her. "Nope. I got a handle on this," she shot back, tone bordering on the insubordinate.

"See that you do." Sesshoumaru glanced over at Kagome. "Make sure she does not become disobedient. If she does, I will be displeased." Then, he was gone as quickly as he had appeared.

For some reason, Kagome found that rather funny, and she began to giggle and then finally to laugh. Sam joined in on the laughter, her face lighting up with pure joy.

When they had finally stopped laughing, Kagome felt immensely better. She was going to be okay; Sesshoumaru wouldn't allow anything else. "Alright. Let's get this place cleaned up."

After a while, Kagome's days fell into a routine. She would wake up, eat breakfast with Sam (and sometimes Sesshoumaru as well), and then spend her day doing various activities with the girl while Sesshoumaru went to work. In the evenings they would have dinner together, and if she had a nightmare, she crawled into the inu taiyoukai's bed. He never did seem to mind when she slept with him. If anything, he seemed to enjoy it, although it would be like pulling teeth to get him to admit it. Whenever he woke up in the morning to find her in bed with him, he had a slight smug smile on his face, although Kagome doubted that he knew that.

Still, she grew to depend on him and his strength. He let nothing overly bother him, and he stood up to any and all challenges. Even better was that he was gentle with her in a way that no one had been before. He would sometimes take her places, and he always kept a close eye on her, completely tuned into her emotions. The inu youkai never let on what he was thinking, but he didn't seem to have a problem knowing what was on her mind.

Kagome had to admit that it was infinitely nice to have someone who always knew just what to say or do to make her feel better He could be aggravating at times in his arrogance, but she was used to that and prepared for it, and his arrogance was so familiar that it filled her with warmth. Sesshoumaru would never admit it, but he was like his half brother in more ways than he wanted to know.

Of course, there were times when she found him particularly annoying.

"Pack a bag, Kagome. We are leaving tonight," Sesshoumaru stated as she walked in the front door from her walk through the garden. He looked almost painfully perfect in his navy blue suit that was cut to emphasize his broad shoulders and set off his pale hair.

He was most definitely annoying when he issued orders with little to no explanation.

"Where are we going?" she asked, curious and a little annoyed. What right did he have to demand she do anything?

"On a trip." His golden eyes stared into hers, daring her to argue.

Kagome took him up on that dare. "That doesn't tell me anything. Can't you be more specific?" she asked, scowling. What was it with inu youkais and being so autocratic?

Sesshoumaru paused for a moment, thinking it over. "It is a business trip," he amended. "Now pack a bag."

He left Kagome muttering in annoyance and debating if she really wanted to listen to him or not.

COTA: Yes, I know I should have updated this ages ago, but I'm doing it now. Hopefully I'll get one more chapter out before I get married and go on my honeymoon, but I'm not promising anything. Thank you everyone for being patient with me.