Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha and/or its characters - and if I did, I would've ended that story long ago. They belong to Rumiko Takahashi,the crazy cuckoo lady who apparently isn't planning to finish her manga anytime soon... Ah crap.

Whispers of the Winter

By Sweet Ruby Moon

Cold. He hated the cold.

What a strange feeling, that was. It had no reason for being, yet it lingered nonetheless. It chased him, haunted him in daylight and in dreams. It almost made him feel vulnerable. Almost.

It had not always been this way. Much like to anything else, he used to be indifferent towards the cold. It was merely an annoyance he had to face, but it affected him in no way - after all, he was not one of those silly, feeble humans to fear and flee at the slightest sign of colder winds. This time, however, the wintry season had negative effects on him.

Many moons of pondering had been spent and wasted. Such hatred towards this powerful force of nature seemed irrational. As a taiyoukai of the purest blood, he was hardly susceptible to the trivialities of bad weather. He would barely feel any change in temperature, even when under the harshest of blizzards or the most scorching of sunrays.

Then why?

Why was it that he would mentally shiver at the mere prospect of witnessing another chilly night, just as he had done countless times before? It had never bothered him on previous occasion, not even when his never-ending journeys took him to far-off lands seemingly built on ice, with enemies and acquaintances alike nowhere to be seen, should he ever need the heat of a battle, or just a hint of the warmth of another.

Slightly feminine eyelashes batted closed, and realization hit its intended target. He did not hate the cold itself, but what it left implied in such obscure ways that even his keen eyes had had trouble in seeing for so long - whether on purpose or merely due to a lack of focus, he did not know. So his hatred for the cold did have a reason, after all…

The cold reminded Sesshoumaru of her.

That miko. That dreaded woman whose name he dared not to pronounce. She who had once been dead and cold, so much one could think she was Lady Death herself. She who had once been engulfed by darkness and had claimed to hate all that is living… The same woman who now irradiated nothing but warm light, so strong it could nearly render careless eyes blind. Ah, fate had played a sweet game of irony, and what used to be an empty shell nearly devoid of emotion was now a beautiful woman, livelier than any other. It was a matter far deeper than just blood running among flesh and bones; it was life coursing through the soul she had thought lost.

He hated her.

It was far too much for him to bear; her flowery fragrance flowing through his nostrils whenever she moved closer, her petal-like skin brushing softly against his in a gentle caress, her ever-so-sweet smile, casting light upon his own path of darkness… No other creature in those lands had ever exerted such power over him, yet she had seemingly mastered that art with ease. She had earned his respect, trust and love, even if his ego constantly denied admittance of the latter. Oh, how he hated her…

Sometimes, at least.

Truth be told, he didn't hate her per se; it was the controversial feelings she brought about in him that filled his heart with boiling anger. Sesshoumaru was fully aware of how much he cared for the miko, but his pride had long forged an allegiance with a formidable ally so to ward her off - his revulsion toward mankind. Together, they would form an almost undefeatable force, had it not been for her incessant shower of kind ministrations and everlasting patience with the arrogant demon lord.

He would often strive to soften his own repelling mechanisms, but success was only occasional. He found it frustrating how he, the great prince of the Western lands, could not find the power to fight old and distorted concepts created by his intolerant mind, not even for the sake of his miko - his bellflower. Regardless of his best efforts, the cold and stoic monster would rule over the loving man she made him want to become.

Like flowers in a blizzard, she could not bloom in the presence of the cold.

They carried themselves in similar ways, and this one was no exception. Although her motives were different, the once misfortunate miko hated the cold just as much as her youkai companion. Among other things she wished she had no remembrance of, the cold reminded her of death. In life, she had never been too fond of that time of the year, for it would gradually kill weaker beings that could not endure the hardships of the icy weather; in death, she could not escape her own, constant winter. Ah yes, she hated the cold.

Would she hate him as well?

Shifting slightly in his seat so to get a better glimpse of the object of his affections, Sesshoumaru leaned against the snow-topped tree and sighed. Vigilant golden eyes kept focused on the raven-haired woman, watching intently as she fixed his furry pelt around Rin's petit body with motherly zeal; beside them rested the sleeping forms of the two-headed dragon Ah-Un and Jaken, who would let out a loud snore every now and then. It didn't look as though there was going to be any snow that night, so the mokomoko-sama should be enough to keep the young girl and her guardians warm.

The taiyoukai could see a smile on his beloved's face as she kissed the child goodnight and strode over, but he knew it was nothing more than a means to conceal her sadness, as it was made clear to him when she took a place under the tree, her joyful façade slowly giving way to distress. It pained him to no end to see her in such state, yet he did nothing to help. A great part of him wanted to put an end to her sorrow, but he was currently unable to; his love and conceit had plunged into battle once again, and the latter had the upper-hand as of then.

Ridiculous, he thought. Pride and prejudice could not overpower the great lord of the Western lands, especially when his bellflower's happiness was at stake. Yes, he might have once been the mirror image of ice itself, but for her sake, he would employ higher efforts and finally succeed in his inner war. She had fought her battle against her own obstacles and came out victorious, after all; should there be anyone worthy of this change of his, it was the miko. He would muster the best of his strength and spirit as to thaw out the solid walls keeping them apart, he would gradually learn to warm up to her and become closer to the man she expected him to be…

For her, he would defeat the winter in his heart.

"Looks like it's going to be another one of those cold nights…" Kikyou shivered at his side, pale hands rubbing her arms in an attempt to gain some warmth. The silver-haired youkai merely turned to her and nodded in acknowledgment to her statement. Heaving a sigh and closing her eyes, she added a last thought, more to herself than anyone else. "I wonder if they will last much longer…"

Much to her - as well as his own - surprise, Sesshoumaru's deep voice was heard next, filled with newly found determination. "Perhaps they will. However," His tone grew warmer with unknown softness as he went on, his deep spheres of amber following suit. "I'm sure spring will be worth the wait."

Mahogany oculars widened slightly at his reply, only to flutter closed once more as blissful realization of those words' hidden implications reached them. Patience was a virtue, as she had so well learned from experience throughout her days with the demon prince, so what harm could a few more months of waiting cause?

With a true smile emerging on her delicate features, the former shrine maiden pulled herself closer to her beloved demon and rested her head upon his shoulder, allowing the warm feeling of his presence to course through her being, filling her with an incomparable sensation of comfort. He responded in kind by snaking his arm around her slender form, keeping a possessive hold on his most precious bellflower as his own head leaned on hers, a clawed hand stroking her silken midnight tresses.

Although his face would only show ghostly hints of it, Sesshoumaru smiled inwardly at the sight of Kikyou snuggling up to his strong body like a small child would, trying her best to keep the source of such cozy heat as close as possible. So there could be a little warmth even in the harshest of winters, after all. Interesting, he thought as lazy fingers massaged her back. So perhaps the cold was not such a bad thing like the couple had thought… Perhaps there was something enjoyable about the icy whispers of the winter…

Sometimes, at least.

-- Owari --

Author's Notes: Wow. It's been quite a while since I last posted something, huh? Well, my academic life has been taking up all of my spare time, so blame it on college!

Anyway, I first had the idea for this drabble-wannabe in a cold night - hence the many, many icy references in this fic, teehee! xD It was originally very generic, so it could fit pretty much any couple... Then I accidentally stumbled upon my old website to one of my Sessh/Kiky fanfics (anyone remembers Unraveling Melody? xD) and... well, you get the drift. Good news is, after that sudden burst of nostalgia, I -might- update that fanfic sometime... Anyway, I guess you can't technically call this a 'drabble', so... here's a short SesshxKiky one-shot for you. x3

Read this far? This Ruby is very grateful! Now, why don't you hit that button over there and drop a nice little review, okies? x3 Ja ne:D

-- Ruby