Disclaimer: Not mine, except for the plot and the idea of blood-bounds. But even that is something I was trying to steal (and did not do a good job of). If you don't know who Kagome and Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru and the rest of the gang belong to... then maybe you should read the manga or watch the anime first.
Summary: Sess/Kag. AU. On Kagome's 16th birthday, her cousin Kikyou gave her a slave rather unceremoniously. Actually, he's a blood-bound, which humans equate with a slave. Sesshoumaru, though, still remembers what a blood-bond entails, even if humans don't.
"Um," Kagome paused as she finally decided to break the very awkward silence. If she could claim even a smidgen of her cousin's priestess powers, she would say that she felt very feral animosity emanating from the very gorgeous man in front her.
As it was, she could only attribute the feeling to the awkward silence and the pale, stoic face with majestic markings on it.
Kagome sat on her bed, which was set at the center of the room, and he stood a mere ten steps away. Still, with the markings on his face and the combination of golden irises and silver-white hair, he seemed so... exotic. Forbidding.
Although, Kikyou had assured Kagome when she had dropped him off here that he was quite safe. "Yours now" had been Kikyou's exact words. Granted, there was a little bad history that had gone on between Kagome and Kikyou, but Kagome doubted Kikyou would lie to her about the safety of a man who was left in her room. If anything happened to Kagome because of Kikyou, father would kick Kikyou out of the house instantly.
Still, Kikyou was a priestess who fought all sorts of nasty things as part of her regular, daily work. And there was bad history between Kikyou and Kagome.
Kagome eyed the man in front of her warily. "Are you safe?" she asked, and immediately felt stupid for asking.
The man inclined his head slightly, and his silver hair seemed to float over his shoulders, the individual strands sparkling and dancing under the light of the setting sun that streamed in through the window.
Kagome looked at the man in front of her dubiously. Purples slashes marked his face in a perfectly symmetrical manner and a waning—or was it waxing?—moon mark was on his forehead. Kagome had fidgeted in uncertainty for the last two minutes since Kikyou had left, but she had yet to see him move at all. Except for those strands of silver hair that drifted and shone under the setting sun.
"Yes, mistress," he answered impassively.
"As in, really, really safe? No hurting me at all?" Kagome asked again; His answer had seemed too... direct. Too simple.
"Not unless you ask me of it, mistress."
As Kagome's confused expression on her face started to clear up, she asked, "Why would I do that?" Quickly, she thrust one hand forward and amended, "Wait. No, don't answer that. I don't want to know."
Kagome looked away from the man standing in front of her as the awkward silence took over again. Her eyes slid onto the two-inch thick carpets that covered her entire suite of rooms except for the bathroom.
A horrible thought came to her, "Are you blood-bound?"
Gods, what was she going to do with Kikyou's slave? "Why did your mistress leave you here, then?"
"I do not understand, mistress," the man in front of her answered. "You have not left me here."
Kagome's brown eyes widened. "You mean...?" Then, she sighed as she kicked her feet at the edge of the bed again before muttering to herself, "I really should have asked Kikyou what she wanted when she asked for my blood."
She pressed her lips together as she thought about her current situation. Kagome had never owned a slave before. She allowed the servants to do some work for her, but mostly, she valued her privacy and self-sufficiency. She had always harbored the image that if left to her own devices, she would be able to survive just fine.
Kikyou, on the other hand, loved to have people wait on her. Most of the servants in the family were chosen by her and she had her own veritable legion of slaves.
It was unlikely that Kikyou would have let go of such an... aesthetically perfect specimen as the one that stood in front of her now.
"Have you sworn yet?" She asked. Kikyou could have made him swear in with Kikyou as the proxy. In that case, the blood-bound would have to obey both Kikyou and Kagome.
"Not yet, mistress," the man in front her answered. "I shall do so now." Before Kagome overcome her surprise and protest, he knelt on the floor. "I shall henceforth be forever governed by the will of my mistress, the worshipful Kagome Higurashi."
Heat suffused Kagome's cheeks. "Oh, um..."
The awkward silence returned yet again. Kagome couldn't repudiate the blood-bound without severe consequences to the blood-bound. Repudiation was meant as the harshest of all punishments.
She sighed. She supposed she would just have to deal with it. After all, most people who could, owned a blood-bound. It couldn't be that bad.
Sesshoumaru watched silently as the sun finally set behind the child-woman who was his new mistress.
Even confined to bedrooms, one learned a lot in five hundred years. And Sesshoumaru hadn't been confined to bedrooms completely.
He knew just what kind of person she was; She was the exact kind of person that he hated. Not only would she be ignorant, insensitive, and probably even cruel, she was a true hypocrite in that she would act all gentle and naive and innocent.
He could tell that she didn't care one whit about him—she hadn't even asked for his name, only whether he was safe to her or not. Nor did he care about her. And those sweet brown eyes of hers... they only masked the treacherous thoughts he knew she had.
He could already predict which bedroom games this one would want to play.
All right, so he was blood-bound, and he would do as she bid.
In fact, she would get more than what she had bargained for.
He admitted to his one mistake in life, of accepting the blood-bind. He had been fooled in his naiveté of the people's good wills. He had actually believed him when he promised freedom and safety of his parents in return for his blood-bind.
Instead, he had killed his mother and barely left a breath in his father's body. The human child, too, had died.
And the only reason that he had been able engineer such a plan at all was with the help of the traitorous Inuyasha. Sesshoumaru couldn't believe—even now, didn't want to believe—that the half-blooded whelp would have been willing to plot the death of his own parents.
Izayoi had been Inuyasha's birth-mother, after all, and not Sesshoumaru's. But in the end, when it had counted, Inuyasha had betrayed them all, and it was Sesshoumaru who had sought to save them.
And Inuyasha had went along with those humans and helped him hurt his parents, if not directly, then indirectly.
No matter, all those humans were dead. They had died paralyzed with fear, their eyes so wide that Sesshoumaru almost laughed aloud at the thought of their eyeballs popping out of their heads. They had died dishonorably, not fighting back at all, but begging and pleading for mercy instead.
They had died knowing why they had died, and even dying, they had wished that they were already dead.
Although vengeance didn't bring back the dead, Sesshoumaru had had great satisfaction in the act of vengeance. He hadn't regained family or love, but he had learned to take joy in making humans scream in fright and in laughing in the face of fear.
What would life be like if he couldn't draw blood?
He was, after all, blood-bound. And even if the ignorant humans no longer remember the origins, Sesshoumaru still remembered what being blood-bound meant. If the humans thought that it was simple slavery... Well, then, he would just have more fun.
Kagome sighed with relief when finally, an extra mattress was delivered to the sitting room of her suite.
Without settling down her new "gift", she herself had been quite unsettled, bringing many of her nervous habits to the fore. She alternated between pacing in her room and sitting listlessly, unsure of how to occupy herself. When she had finally picked a book to read, she found the words merging incoherently.
She wasn't used to any man being in her room for an extended amount of time, and especially not an attractive, dangerous youkai.
Which was why the mattress was set in the sitting room outside of her bedroom. This way, she wouldn't inadvertently offend Kikyou by "rejecting" her gift, nor would she need to give up any of her privacy.
She couldn't imagine how she would fall asleep if somebody like him were to stay in the room with her all night.
Thankfully, she wouldn't have to find out.
Quickly, she pointed his mattress out to him informed him that he would sleep out there and she would sleep in her room.
As Kagome expected, he merely nodded and said, "Yes, mistress" before he did as she told him to.
This was the other reason that Kagome never owned a blood-bound before; They were all so submissive that talking with them was about as much fun as talking to a bookshelf, and bookshelves, at least, had books that she could enjoy. Blood-bounds all seemed like automatons without wills.
Well, that wasn't necessarily true, Kagome reflected. Shippou had a will—and a strong one at that. He was the little kitsune blood-bound that she had found while she was accompanying her cousin. That was before she had had that falling out with Kikyou.
And Sango's Kirara definitely had a personality.
She sighed again. She couldn't tell how old this blood-bound was, since youkai generally didn't age the same way humans did, but he certainly wasn't young. Older blood-bounds were usually so used to the routine of obedience that they wouldn't know what to do if they were freed—as the saying went, "You can't an old dog new tricks."
Sango had offered to unbind Kirara, but Kirara had refused, wanting to protect Sango. Shippou was free now, and adjusting quite well to his new freedom, always bouncing around with Souta and Kohaku and asking for candy.
But her new blood-bound, he was so submissive and docile she doubted he would function well in the world if he were free. Kagome would just have to wait and see before she would bring up the subject to him at all.
And even if he were to be freed, Kagome would still have to ask Kikyou to do it, and she was very certain that Kikyou would be offended by that.
With a sigh, Kagome snuggled comfortably under the covers. She realized belatedly that she didn't even know her new blood-bound's name as she fell into the land of dreams.
Sesshoumaru sat on the mattress and leaned against the wall for quite some time. He was surprised that she gave him a mattress at all. Perhaps, though, she realized the folly of treating him too badly, but little did she know, just giving him a mattress would not appease him.
Although, the bed play might.
But even as he wondered when the human girl woman would summon him, he felt her presence behind the door dim, a sure sign of the conscious mind going elsewhere, generally to sleep.
Unbelievable, the girl just might not ask him.
But as soon as he thought that, he felt a spasm of pain rack his body through the blood-bond.
There were only three reasons that the blood-bond would cause him pain. The first would be that his mistress herself was in pain, in which case he would feel a mere reflection of her pain. Sesshoumaru dismissed this reason out of hand, since he could still feel her sleeping in the next room.
The second reason was if he disobeyed an order, but she had yet to give him an order.
He felt the skin on his back breaking under his shirt, as if he was being whipped bareback. He knew why this was—it was the third and only possible reason: because his mistress was fantasizing this.
Just as he thought, it was always the most innocent-seeming ones who were the cruelest.
He should have learned by now, after five hundred years. He should no longer be surprised by the humanity in humans. After his first mistake from when he still trusted others, he shouldn't—and wouldn't—make anymore.
Well, in a rough game like his mistress's, two can play. And Sesshoumaru had had much more practice.
Sesshoumaru rose from his mattress and walked to the door to his mistress's bedroom.
Kikyou sat unmoving on her bed as she waited.
She knew the cost of her actions. After all, she would be repeating her mother's "mistake."
Only, it wouldn't be a mistake.
Nobody could blame her for taking the only course of action allowed to her.
She smiled a bitter and mocking smile at herself when she thought about all that had happened, and the wrong choices that she had made, some of it with Inuyasha.
Most of it with Inuyasha.
And to think, at one time, she had considered giving the Shikon no Tama to him once she found it. So that he could change into a true human.
Even now, it hurt.
But just because she released him for his blood-bound didn't mean that she couldn't bind him again.
Oh, she knew that he wouldn't willingly enter a blood-bound if she asked him, but there were other ways to induce a blood-bound.
But there would be a price to pay.
There was always a price to pay.
It was worth it, Kikyou had decided long ago. Vengeance and satisfaction and leashing of a black-heart... All she'd have to pay with were her miko powers.
Not that miko powers had ever done her any good. She would just see this as the last action she did for the world. After all, what had the world done for her?
A small part of her admitted, though, that she was curious.
She was curious about just what it would have been like. What it could have been like.
So, there wouldn't be any love from him, but a small part of her still didn't want to give up the love she had held for him. And this—tonight—would be her only chance to find out what could have been.
A disturbance on the shield around her room woke Kagome up. Kikyou had set it up and linked it to Kagome under her father's orders. Despite the dangers that the rippling shiled portended, she was grateful. The dream that she had had was awful, and even now, she shivered from the bitterness and hatred.
If Kagome hadn't known that her miko powers amounted to next to nothing, she would have warned Kikyou of her repeated dreams.
But if they were true dreams, no doubt Kikyou would have dreamt them as well.
Besides, Kikyou would never listen to anything that Kagome said, especially not about Inuyasha. Kagome had no idea what had happened, but Kikyou and Inuyasha seemed to have had a falling-out. She doubted Kikyou would appreciate Kagome finding excuses for Inuyasha.
Kagome looked up as the presence stepped through the door.
The silhouette was tall and regal, and for a moment, Kagome simply sat on her bed and admired his profile. Then, she realized that it was Sesshoumaru.
"Oh," Kagome sighed.
Then, he turned to leave, his long silver hair flowing behind him the way Inuyasha's had in her dream.
"No," she whispered in a hoarse voice as the horrors came back again.
Sesshoumaru felt the pain disappear as if it had never been as he opened the door. The wench must have realized what she was doing and stopped.
At least she had that much control.
As he had stepped through, all he had seen was the big bed fluffed with soft niceties and his petite mistress sitting up in the bed. Except for her glorious flow of black hair, she seemed to be engulfed in her bed.
Her scent of springtime innocence enticed him even from the distance, but his sweet musing turned into cold anger in the next moment; Just as he thought, absolutely nothing was wrong with her.
Disgusted, Sesshoumaru turned to leave.
"No." Shocks of pain went through his body, but because she had merely whispered the word, they hurt very little and Sesshoumaru was very used to pain.
"Stay," she said, again in that whisper that made him want to strangle her in its deceptive weakness.
Stay. Like a dog. His eyes flashed red for a mere moment. Good doggy, stay. Like his first mistress.
True, he was an inuyoukai, but the dog was only his alternate form. He had just as much humanity as any human—even more than most.
At least, he had had humanity once, but like all good traits, the world killed his humanity quickly.
But his body betrayed him even as he sought to disobey her and move away.
Fine, he would stay, but he wasn't going to comply to her orders complacently.
Obstinately, Sesshoumaru stood still at the doorway, perversely curious of how she would punish him for refusing her nonverbal command.
"Stay with me," he heard her whisper into the silence.
Kagome saw him stiffen and wished that she had not given a command, but what was done was done.
She tried to soften her command.
"Please," she whispered into the heavy silence. If Sesshoumaru's shadow was not so apparent against the light in the sitting room, she wouldn't even have known that he was there.
The silence resumed as if she had never interrupted it.
Kagome stared at her blanket. She didn't want to force him into doing anything, but she didn't want to return to her nightmares anymore either.
At the remembrance of her nightmares, Kagome instinctively curled up tighter, as if the nightmares would somehow overlook her if she hid well enough in the shadows of the subconscious realm.
Just as she thought that Sesshoumaru was so disgusted with her that he would wait out her command, she felt the edge of her bed dip.
Then, he sat on her covers beside her.
Kagome turned to look up at him, his expression inscrutable and his posture rigid.
Still, he was real, a great big mass of body next to her and he was blood-bound to protect her.
Inuyasha knocked on the door to Kikyou's chamber and entered without waiting for a reply.
She had sent for him with a missive in her own handwriting, after all.
Although, Inuyasha admitted that he was more than a little trepidatious about the reason that she would call for him.
They had had a falling out, where Kikyou had turned a cold shoulder towards him and his concerns, and the worst of it was that Inuyasha didn't even understand what had precipitated it.
Even worse, today, Kikyou had bought and used a slave in front of Inuyasha. A pleasure slave. A whore, Inuyasha thought.
But it hadn't been just any slave.
It had been Sesshoumaru.
Inuyasha could hardly fathom how much trouble and gold it would have taken Kikyou to acquire Sesshoumaru, all just because Inuyasha had told Kikyou about his jealousy of Sesshoumaru. Sesshoumaru had been the prodigy of their father—strong, clever, and full-blooded. Not only that, he had inherited everything of their father's that was worth inheriting.
Now, he had Kikyou, too.
With a mocking twist of his lips, Inuyasha thought that at least Kikyou cared enough to go through so much trouble just to spite him.
And on the missive, Kikyou had asked for Inuyasha's help.
They had had a falling out, but that didn't mean that Inuyasha would lose his honor and renege on his promise. He had promised that if Kikyou needed any help, she only needed to ask him and he would come.
And another part, a part of himself that he had tried to give up on, flared with the hope that maybe—just maybe—Kikyou had overcome whatever had been bothering her.
Thought flew out of his head as he beheld Kikyou sitting on her bed, her bare skin glittering under the soft candlelight.
Kikyou made her smile knowing and coy, one designed to tempt any man.
Not that she needed it. Inuyasha was entranced anyway. Kikyou could see his demon savagery rising up within him, just because she was acting like a slut around him.
No wonder she had never seen him act as if he wanted her before.
Of course, before his entrance into her room, Kikyou had been a little bit worried. She had worried if she was attractive enough for Inuyasha. After all, if Inuyasha's tastes ran to little girls... Still, at least he wouldn't kill Kikyou the way he killed Kaede after he was done with her.
No, by then, he would be blood-bound.
The moon wasn't full tonight, and the cloud obstructed part of what little moon could be seen. Still, the milieu was very romantic as Sango sat with Miroku under the cloud-covered night sky and the winter night air played with her hair.
Sango made sure that there was at least a foot between herself and Miroku so that Miroku's hand wouldn't wander where it shouldn't go. Yet.
In a fortnight, they would be married.
But there weren't married yet.
"Sango, you know I would love you for all eternity until the stars stop shining," Miroku was trying in vain to convince her to capitulate before the wedding night.
"The stars aren't shining now," Sango replied dryly.
Miroku sighed. "And when earth turns into dust."
"Earth is dirt, which is just wet dust."
"You are my only rose, Sango, my beautiful rare rose..."
"I'd better be your only rose." As Miroku was thinking about how to respond to that, Sango added, "And tell me honestly that you weren't eyeing the maid today."
"You know I only speak the truth to you, my love," Miroku said earnestly. "So I have to confess... I was."
Miroku felt a bump form on the top of his head where Sango's boomerang had hit him. Miroku tried to stand up as Sango turned to leave, but the boomerang had hit him hard enough that he felt dizzy. "Sango," he pleaded instead.
"I love you, too, honey," she turned around to say as she blew him a raspberry. "But not tonight. They say that good things come to those who wait."
He only hoped that the wedding wouldn't be pushed any later.
As it was, Miroku was cutting it close; He had a mere year left. His father had died at age thirty, and his grandfather, too, and for as many generations as Miroku could remember.
Miroku hated the thought of passing his curse down to his son—and gods, please let their first child be a son—but the alternative, the destruction of the world, was even worse.
And no matter what people assumed about him, he truly only wanted a life with Sango. The maid had been comely today, but she hadn't had the fire that Sango had.
Miroku sighed again. He just hoped that Sango can forgive him for what he hadn't told her.
"So..." Kagome's started quietly to ask a question even as she slowly drifted toward dream land again.
Kagome hadn't accepted the blood-bond yet, but that was a puzzle to be solved another day. Sesshoumaru, though, had accepted the bond since his oath, and he could feel what she was feeling through the bond.
She was dead tired.
Sesshoumaru didn't know what the girl was trying to accomplish by remaining awake, but as her protector, Sesshoumaru held the authority to decide whether his mistress should rest or not.
He had never used his sedative vapor to cause his owners to sleep—they had been so much fun to hurt, but he couldn't bring himself to hurt such a young girl who was so exhausted already. He could deal with what she would dish out to him when she did.
Besides, she hadn't hurt him. Not really. The pain that she had induced had been nothing compared to his previous owners, and he had strange suspicion that even those pains weren't inflicted on him on purpose.
As his mistress inhaled the sweet vapor, her body finally relaxed and her spine slumped. Sesshoumaru forced himself not to flinch as her head hit his shoulder.
He took a quick look at her, assessing her... but he couldn't come up with any logical conclusions. Asleep, she looked so innocent and peaceful that it made Sesshoumaru ache in a way that he couldn't quite explain even to himself.
And in that moment, Sesshoumaru didn't quite chafe at the blood-bond that restrained him from hurting her.
It was okay, though, Sesshoumaru reminded himself, because awake, she would still be his mistress, and she would still cause him pain, hurt him, and remind him exactly who she was to him.