Okay, well I've decided to go ahead and post it. If fanfiction . net decides to nix it then I guess you're going to have to go to one of my other sites to read it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, and please R&R!

Chapter 6 – Choice

Sesshoumaru had pushed her aside, and in so doing had lost his grip on Toukajin, leaving his torso unprotected. The moonlight reflected balefully off the razor-sharp points of the boar's tusks that protruded from her master's back. His face was distorted in a horrible grimace of pain. The boar youkai grunted in pleasure and slowly, torturously extracted his tusks from his opponent's body. Blood began to well and gush from the twin wounds and Sesshoumaru staggered backwards with a slight groan, falling to one knee.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin wailed and pushed herself to her feet, ready to rush to his side.

"STAY BACK!" he shouted, halting her in her tracks. "JAKEN!"

"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama!" the small youkai called. He grabbed hold of one of her wrists and pulled her away from the two combatants. She complied numbly, one hand clutching at her chest as if to make sure her heart was still beating.

Sesshoumaru rose laboriously to his feet, eyes blazing. The boar chuckled and smoothed the blood off of one of his tusks and proceeded to lick it off of his fingers with great relish.

"You disgust me," Sesshoumaru growled. His claws began to radiate a sickly green light. He darted forward and raked them down the other youkai's body. The boar twitched and screamed as the poison began to take effect. He fell to the ground, convulsing and clawing at the wounds, which were already beginning to fester and eat away at his flesh. Sesshoumaru's hand arced through the air a second time and his screams were silenced.

The youkai lord turned a withering gaze in her direction. She shivered and reached for Jaken's hand, but found only empty space where the toad-like creature had been standing.

"Please forgive me, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Jaken cried as he kowtowed before his master. Sesshoumaru gave him a cursory glance, then looked back at her.

"Rin." She jumped and looked up at him uncertainly. Her veins were icy with fear; he was absolutely terrifying.

"Gomen nasai, Sesshoumaru-sama, I—" she was cutoff as shouts rose among the servants.

"Kill the youkai! The lord and his daughter are in danger!" A wave of assent rose from the group along with a chorus of twangs as dozens of bows were strung. Sesshoumaru surveyed them with mild disdain. Moving with deliberate slowness, he retrieved Toukajin.

"No! Stay your hands!" Jaken leapt to his feet and waved his arms frantically in the air.

"But, my lord, aren't you both in danger?" Atsutane called, a confused look on his face.

"Hime, please come back," Moe pleaded. The same sentiment was echoed by several others in the crowd, and Rin stepped towards them hesitantly. Torn, she glanced back at Sesshoumaru. His gaze was piercing, his eyes riveted on her and again she felt that coil of fear twisting in her belly. Casting an apologetic look at her servants, she moved to his side. His eyes narrowed momentarily in careful regard and he motioned to Jaken.

"Jaken, can I trust you to take care of things here?"

"Yes, my lord. I will meet you as soon as I am done here."

Sesshoumaru nodded, sheathed Toukajin, then took her arm in a firm grip, pulling her closer to him. She jumped at the touch, but made no move to back away from him. A sphere of brilliant white light swirled up around them, carrying them up into the air towards the castle, and Rin blinked back tears as her beloved human companions disappeared from view. Wiping at her dirt-stained and tear-streaked face with the edge of one voluminous sleeve, she turned her eyes up to her master. That look was on his face again. Her heart gave a sickening lurch in her chest; had she made the right decision?

She walked into the room, her back to him, her body still shaking from the ordeal she had just gone through. Ah, but this place brought back memories. It had been quite some time since she had last stepped foot in here, yet now that she was back, her time in Usagi Manor seemed only a transient dream.

The walls gleamed in the light of the cheery fire that blazed in the center of the room. The tatami were clean and free of dust. The stool where so often he had sat and had her comb his hair hadn't been moved from it's spot near the hearth. Nor had the small table that stood next to it changed position. The black lacquered wood box sat on top of it, the lid closed.

Her eyes, quivering ever so slightly with the tears that threatened to spill over her cheeks, rested on this one thing, and she found herself wondering if the two halves of the broken comb still lay inside in their silky wrappings. She bit her lip, and tried to force back her tears, waiting apprehensively for the sharp words that she knew would come.

"You disobeyed Jaken and went out unescorted. In so doing, you paid blatant disregard to my order that you mind him."

A single tear slid down her cheek, landing with a loud plop on the floor. He continued, his voice deceptively quiet.

"You left the barrier that was erected to protect you, and I was forced into doing battle with those lowly boars. You went against my command yet again and interfered directly with my battle!"

She cringed as his voice rose.

"Anyone who disobeys me or interferes with my business deserves no less than death! Do you understand this, Rin?!"

She nodded numbly and bowed her head in resignment. The implications of her actions had been plainly obvious to her at the time. Yet, if she hadn't interfered, hadn't forced him to stop he might have—

His breath rushed over the shell of her ear in a hot torrent and she stiffened in fear.

"What you did was incredibly foolish. To be associated with such an idiot does not do well for face." He leaned in closer, lips mere inches from her ear. It took all the resolve she had not to burst into tears right then and there.

She had deliberately disobeyed him, put him into danger, and that was unacceptable. Hopefully her death would be swift and relatively painless. One simple slash of his claws would reduce her to bloody ribbons. Or perhaps he would use the poison gas that seeped from his claws.

There was a sudden pressure in the center of her belly, near the bottom of her ribcage, as he laid his hand upon her. She closed her eyes, waiting for the sharp pain his rending claws would drive deep into her gut and the odd disembodied feeling of her soul rising from her body. After all, death was no stranger to her.

Instead of piercing the tender flesh, his hand flattened against her stomach, pulling her back against him in a fierce embrace. She stiffened, a small gasp escaping her lips at the unexpected action. He tightened his grip around her waist, pulling her even closer.

"Such a little fool," he whispered, "rushing in-between two battling youkai." His lips brushed against her ear and she jumped. "You could have been killed." He squeezed her waist gently, as if to emphasize his point.

In a state of severe shock, Rin held painfully rigid. This could not be happening. Not Sesshoumaru, not her. He nuzzled her neck, then lightly nipped at the skin, sending a warm flush of shivers down her spine. His fingers lightly cupped her chin and turned her head towards him. Her jaw trembled as he leaned in to kiss her; her legs felt numb, unable to bear her weight. His lips brushed hers, then pressed more firmly against her mouth. Heat radiated out across her face in a scorching wave and she pulled away from him with a gasp.

He cocked his head slightly to the side in mild puzzlement, golden eyes narrowing slightly. "I strike you, yell and scream at you, yet it takes a simple kiss to make you afraid of me?" he mused, words tinged with just the barest hint of bitterness. Rin flinched. She caught his hand as it dropped from her face and placed a kiss in the center of the palm.

"Sesshoumaru-sama," she whispered reverently as she traced the thin slashes of red that stretched across the back of his hand with her mouth. He caught her hand in his and pulled her close, crushing her lips against her teeth in fervent kiss. She opened her mouth and he deepened the kiss, his tongue aggressively pushing against hers. She leaned into him; her knees were so much jelly and she needed the support.

This. This was what she had dreamed of for so long. To be this close to the one she loved so dearly. Sesshoumaru. His hair was so much fine silk in her fingers as she reached up and ran her hands through its length. She then wrapped her arms tightly around him, loving the heat and strength that seemed to seep from his very pores. His lips left hers to trace along the curve of her jaw. She shuddered as they moved down the graceful arc of her throat to the shallow dip where her collarbones met. He ran his tongue along the curve of bone up to her shoulder, pushing back her robes to reveal the pale flesh

"Ses....Sesshoumaru-sama," she sighed. Instantly she felt the pressure of his index finger against her lips, silencing her.

"There's no need for such formalities now," he whispered before kissing her again.

She returned the kiss with a feverish onslaught of lips and tongue and pressed her palms against the chest plate of his armor. She explored the smooth expanse, pausing as her fingers encountered a spider's web of cracks radiating from the two large holes that lay just above his waistline. The ruined armor suddenly gave away and her fingertips punched through to warm, wet flesh. He winced and pulled away from her. Several chunks of thick metal fell to the floor, the noise resounding loudly in the small room. The flesh above his left hip lay exposed. Blood arced in tacky loops from the centers of the two wounds.

Unsure, she tentatively pressed one palm lightly against one of the gaping holes. Dried, crumbling bits of blood clung to her fingers briefly before falling silently to the floor. Tremendous heat flooded from the area, a sign that his powerful youkai body had been hard at work healing itself. There was the slightest sensation of movement against her fingertips as one jagged edge knit closer to the other. She gasped and glanced up at him as he chuckled quietly. His expression was wry, the barest suggestion of a smile teasing at his lips.

"Sesshoumaru-sa—," she uttered, halting her lips from forming the honorific. His hand rose to her face, thumb brushing against the curve of her cheek before falling slowly down her neck and chest, razor-sharp fingernails slicing her obi apart effortlessly. His fingers were cool against her bare skin as he slid them beneath her now open robes, tracing the sharp flare of her hip up to her waist, pausing to caress the side-swell of one pert breast. Her moan was stifled by another kiss. His fingers moved in a tantalizing sweep over the nipple before moving to cup the soft swell of her belly. She shivered as he lazily slid his hand up her torso to caress the space between her breasts before moving to her neck again.

Tremors of pleasure moved up and down her spine, collecting in a hot throb between her legs. Moving with more certainty, long suppressed emotions taking control of her, she set to exploring the flesh that lay beneath the jagged edges of the hole in his armor. She jerked upward on the heavy piece of equipment and with his help pulled it over his head. It landed on the floor with a loud thwack, and as if it were a signal, she pressed herself against him.

His heart pounded in a rapid staccato against her splayed palms, and she wriggled her fingers beneath the folds of his kimono. It slid off of his left shoulder, exposing what remained of that arm. He made no move to stop her as she touched the stump, just watched intently as she traced over the knobby clumps of scar tissue that resulted from both that fateful encounter with his brother and later Naraku. If her touch bothered him he gave no sign, just stood as quiet and stoic as ever. She exposed his other shoulder, fingers kneading at the tautly muscled flesh appreciatively. She leaned forward and began to shower little kisses on his chest. Teeth grazed the base of his throat and moved upwards. He tipped his head back, giving her full access to his neck. Moving with confidence now, Rin savored each concavity and rounded bit of flesh with tongue, lips, and teeth. His pulse was a feverish pounding against her lips, and she traced its path with her tongue until it met with the shelf of his jaw. She nibbled it gently, then moved back to playfully tug at his earlobe. He didn't resist when she tilted his head level and began to explore his face with fingers and mouth. Desire fueled by years of carefully guarded longing, she touched each feature lovingly, lingering on the delicate curve of his cheekbones, his brow, the bridge of his nose, his lips. She covered each of his facial markings—the deep blue crescent on his forehead, the diagonal slashes of red on his cheeks, the soft red splash of color on his eyelids—with soft kisses.

With a quiet swish of heavy silk, her robes fell to a heap on the floorboards. Awareness of her nudity and the whole strangeness—gladly welcomed that it was—of the situation hit her and she hastily covered herself with her arms and averted her eyes, embarrassed. Long fingers grasped her chin, turned her flushed face back to his for another kiss and she melted into him, all shame forgotten. The heat of his bare skin against hers was near scorching.

He tottered slightly as he stepped out of his boots, leaning on her for support. His clothing soon joined hers on the floor. This time when he kissed her, there was no hiding the raw rush of desire that coursed through him. She returned the kiss with equal fervor, mimicking him when he sank to his knees. He moved forwards, closing the already scanty distance between them, and in the process, pushing her back and down to the floor. With a soft pumpf, she landed onto the soft bed of their discarded clothing. Her hair, having fallen from its fancy dressing a long time ago, fanned out across the floor in a soft, silky raven's tail.

With a grace unhampered by his missing arm, he moved so that he stood on hand and knees directly above her, shiny masses of pale silver hair sliding off of his back shoulders to pool on the soft curves of her abdomen and between her breasts. The sensation was that of being caressed by a thousand tiny feathers and was intoxicating, drawing a quiet moan from her lips. He shook his head to free his eyes from obscuring strands of hair, his expression softening as he caught the shiver of pleasure that took hold of her body at the movement. Balancing artfully on the tripod of his hand and knees, he leaned down until his lips reached her chest. His mouth closed lightly over one taut nipple, suckling slowly, reverently.

Rin gasped and arched up against his mouth, her fingers burying themselves into his hair. She was almost dizzy with pleasure. If not for the occasional sharp pinprick of a tooth grazing her flesh, she would have thought it all a dream. She trembled, teeth gnawing at her lower lip to keep from making any noise as he ran his tongue over the sensitive underside of her breast before moving to the other. Her heart was about to beat its way right out of her chest and the throbbing in her lower regions had intensified to a near maddening level.

He levered himself backwards to kneel at her side, calmly gazing down at her. She stared back, a furious blush rising to her cheeks as she stared at his nude form and the very obvious state of arousal he was in. He slipped his hand between her knees, slowly spreading them apart as he caressed her inner thigh. He moved so that he now kneeled between her spread legs. His lips trailed up her belly, tongue flicking into her belly-button, up over one of her breasts, into the hollow of her neck, up her chin, on her mouth.

She caressed his chest, hands smoothing over the hard plains of muscle. The wounds the boar had inflicted were now almost completely gone, and she brushed away the dried blood that still marred his skin. He moved closer, shifting more of his weight onto her. Something jabbed at the sensitive flesh at the junction of her thigh and she flinched, startled. She unconsciously angled her hips so that the sensation—odd and delicious all at once—was centered directly over that warm ache. He moved his hips more firmly against her, the pressure and heat between her legs increasing.

She gasped, held her breath as he entered her. The pressure was melding into pain as her flesh stretched to receive him. Her eyes were shut tight, fingernails digging into his sides as he pushed even deeper inside of her. A sharp pain, followed by a fierce burning sensation flooded her body, making her flinch away.

"Rin?" He paused and stared at her, golden eyes filled with concern. She slowly opened her watering eyes and stared back at him.

"Ses...Seshoumaru," she whispered. He pursed his lips and moved to pull out of her. "No," she implored quietly, one hand going to his face to brush his bangs from his eyes. "Don't...stop." She drove her hips against him in emphasis, wincing slightly as he slid in a little deeper. He nodded, closed his eyes briefly, then placed a lingering kiss on her mouth.

Their rhythm was at first slow, then picked up to a slightly faster pace as she grew accustomed to the feeling. That burning pain was still there, but it had faded somewhat, replaced by a growing tingle that spread down her legs and up into her belly. She smoothed away a few wet locks of hair that clung to his face and he turned his head into her hand, mouth brushing against her palm. Half-lidded golden eyes stared unfocused into hers, lips parted slightly. She lifted her feet and let the inside of her legs caress the sides of his body, then locked her ankles around the small of his back. His skin was burning and slick with sweat. He shuddered at her touch, a low moan issuing from his mouth.

He began to move faster and harder and she arched up against him, the wet friction of their joined bodies driving both into a heightened frenzy. Rin wriggled beneath him, moaning as the pleasure coursing through her escalated with each thrust. She screamed suddenly as an explosion of pure bliss racked her body, pulling herself up against him and clinging on for dear life as wave after wave of ecstasy washed over her.

His thrusts became even more intense, driving the breath from her lungs. His breaths rushed in ragged gasps over her ears, a low growl starting in his throat and slowly increasing in volume as he bared his teeth and cried out as his own orgasm hit him. He shuddered, stiffened, then collapsed against her, the two falling back to the floor in a wet, tangled bundle of limbs and flushed skin.

Rin slowly released her grip and brushed her fingers lightly over his back, smiling as he purred into her ear. One last ragged breath shook his body and he rolled them over onto his side, pulling her close to him and burying his face in her hair. Rin snuggled beneath the crook of his neck, inhaling the sweet scent of his sweat rising in hot waves from his chest. She heaved a contented sigh and stretched her legs idly before entwining them with his. The throb between her legs was subsiding, melting away into a languorous wash of pleasure that soaked into the very marrow of her bones.

Sesshoumaru pressed his forehead against hers. "Do you wish to stay here?" he asked quietly, his eyes searching hers. Rin blinked and smiled.

"I want nothing more than to stay by your side forever, Sesshoumaru," she whispered back before placing a light kiss on the corner of his mouth. He sighed, the corners of his mouth turning up into the barest hint of a smile. He brushed her hair from her face and pulled her close for another kiss. The smile didn't fade from his face and she stared at it with mild wonder, eyelids falling slowly shut as she fell into a blissful sleep in the embrace of the one she loved most.

Sesshoumaru ran his hand lightly over the curves of her body, enjoying the way she smiled and mumbled in her sleep at the touch. He settled into a more comfortable position on the floor, wincing slightly at the twinge of the pain that shot up his side at the movement. All external evidence of the injuries he had sustained had long since disappeared, but his body was still recovering from the damage. To feel her warm and solid against him was soothing; he didn't want to dwell on how easily he could have lost her tonight.

When she had first taken up residence in the manor that he had procured for her he had tirelessly patrolled the boundaries of the barrier throughout both night and day. At the time he had told himself it was just to make sure that she was obeying his orders. Over the following months he had slowly relinquished his guard, finding it difficult to stay near when she seemed to be so happy in her new home with human companions to look after her and entertain her. He couldn't stay away though, and opted instead to visit Jaken during the nighttime hours for updates on her condition and to consult about her vast array of suitors.

She had almost caught them once, and for a moment he had considered revealing himself to her. Uncertainty of her response to his presence had finally driven him to depart. He stopped coming to the manor after that, and only rarely did he patrol its boundaries. He sighed as he thought what might have happened had he not decided, in the utter boredom loneliness that had befallen his life since her departure, to venture down the mountain to the barrier.

Her desperate screams had invoked an emotion that he never knew he possessed: fear. His hand had actually shook on Toukajin's hilt as he ripped the sword from its scabbard and barreled through the forest to her defense. Never had he felt such an all-encompassing rage as he cut through the filthy bodies of the lowly youkai that had dared to even lay eyes on her, much less touch her. His heart had nearly stopped its frenetic beating as he saw the largest of the youkai rise up to gore her from behind as she defended her precious human comrades from him. She had stared at him in fear as he rose from the carnage, and his heart had nearly broken to see her shy away from him for the very first time.

The words of his father had echoed in his mind then as he stared at her fear-stricken face as it looked from him to the servants of the manor: What do you have to protect? Murky motives that he had not understood now came strikingly clear to him. He had sent her away to protect her. To protect her happiness and freedom, to protect her from himself and the confusing emotions that he struggled with every time he saw her beautiful face and heard her voice singing that silly song she had created years ago. It had all come painfully clear then as he looked at her looking at him with fear in her eyes. Even if she hated him, he would conceal himself and protect her wherever she went. When she married and had children, he would protect her and her family. He would protect her grave after her frail human body finally relinquished its hold on life.

When she had turned her back on her human friends and joined him at his side he had nearly lost all of his rigorous self-imposed control. When he had touched her and she responded with such ardor, he found himself near the breaking point to keep himself from shaking. He wanted nothing more than to stay by her side for the rest of her life, to make love to her every single day, to listen to her sing that song to their children. He now understood what his father had meant by those words, and how he had felt about the human woman who had borne his annoying hanyou brother. He could only hope that the time he and Rin would last much longer than what his father and his human mate had had.

"Sesshoumaru-sama?" Jaken called tentatively from the hall.

"What is it, Jaken?" he replied, throwing a protective arm over the woman dozing beside him while looking back over his shoulder at the closed doors. The fire in the brazier had fallen to glowing embers casting the room in darkness. The hallway was still lit though, throwing the shadow of his small servant into sharp relief on the doors.

"I've completed what you have asked, my lord." The shadow looked down and shuffled uncomfortably. "And I...I was...."

"Yes?" Sesshoumaru called.

"Is Rin okay?" the youkai finally spit out.

"She is," came the curt reply.

"May I speak to her, Sesshoumaru-sama?"

"We are not to be bothered. Not now, nor in the morning."

"Understood, my lord." Jaken hesitated as if he wanted to say something else. "Sesshoumaru-sama, if I may say something..."

"Oh?" Sesshoumaru replied, one pale eyebrow rising in question.

"Well...that is...I would just like to say that I...I wish you both the greatest happiness."

Eyes narrowing slightly, Sesshoumaru grabbed a small chunk of his broken armor and chucked at the small shadow. It tore cleanly through the thin paper of the door to hit its mark. With a small cry, Jaken fell over to the floor.


"Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama?" the other youkai whimpered as he struggled back to his feet.

"Go to sleep."

"Hai, my lord," he replied and walked off, one hand rubbing at the large bump on his head.

Sesshoumaru cast one last look at the receding shadow before turning back to gaze at Rin's sleeping form. Grabbing up one of the discarded robes, he pulled it over them.

"Sesshoumaru..." she whispered in her sleep, snuggling her head against his chest. He grinned and pulled his mate close, falling quickly asleep in the warm circle of her arms.

THE END...for now anyway

Wow! It's finally done! I have to say, this one of the few fanfictions that I've ever completed. It's also undeniably my best. I'm really happy with the end product, and I know that I tend to word vomit a lot, so I would appreciate if people would point out any spelling or grammatical errors that I've made, along with any sentences or phrases that are unclear.

I hope that you've enjoyed the fic; I am toying with the idea of adding short little stories to this fic, but nothing of this size. Please R&R, because I'd like to know what people thought for bad or good. I tried to limit the use of "smut words" as I like to call them (mound, peak, manhood, nether lips, etc.), because personally, they crack me up. They only work in a certain lemons, and I with these characters and this situation, I didn't think they would be appropriate to use. I was going for something more tender here, and hopefully I've achieved that.

And I better not here any griping about the length of the lemon! If over 9 pages of sexiness isn't enough for you horny peoples, then I don't know what to do for you!