Chapter 18: The Marks of Love

Kumiko felt a gentle touch on her face and opened her sleepy eyes to see Sesshoumaru next to her.

"Come with me." He whispered.

Kumiko got up as slowly as she could, trying not to wake Rin. She then followed Sesshoumaru in the forest, wondering what he wanted so late in the night.

After walking for a while he stopped and turned to her. Illuminated by the full moon he appeared like a statue and his expression was frozen, like she had seen it so many times before. Before being the key word...

"What's going on?" She asked looking directly into his eyes.

He approached her silently and pinned her against a tree, trapping both her feet with one of his. He didn't say a word. If he warned her about what he was about to do, he probably couldn't do it.

Her face showed she didn't understand anything as his hand grabbed both of hers in an iron grip.

Her heart was racing and her breathing was slow as her trembling voice asked:
"Sesshoumaru...what are you doing?"
"Do you trust me?" Was his reply.

She nodded her head weakly; her innocent eyes almost making him stop.

But he couldn't stop. He knew it would hurt her, but it had to be done.

His hand stroked the soft skin of her face as one of his claws sank into it, releasing some poison along a horizontal cut.

He captured her cry of pain with his mouth, kissing her firmly as his claw made another cut, above the first one.

He had released the poison at the lowest intensity he could, but it was still extremely painful for a human and the scar would mark her cheeks forever.

Her tears were flowing down her cheeks and on the cuts he had made.

He released her lips as the hand with poisoned claws inflicted the same cuts upon her left cheek.

She let out a small cry of pain, the cuts burned and she closed her eyes as the tears ran freely across her face and on his claws.

After completing the operation, he released her and she opened her teary dark eyes full of puzzlement.

He leaned over and kissed the cuts he had made, gently stroking them with his tongue, making the burning sensation fade a little.

After he applied all four of them the same treatment, he looked at the now silent girl.

"They will heal faster now."

"Why?" She asked weakly.

"These marks will be the same as mine. They represent your position as my mate and Lady of The Western Lands."

Kumiko looked at him with surprised eyes:
"You could have told me what you were doing, instead of scaring the crap out of me!" She shot, knitting her brows.

"You were frightened of me? Did I not tell you to trust me?" He asked, amber eyes piercing into her dark ones.

Damn. She couldn't argue with the facts...

She sighed and let herself fall on the ground next to the tree.

"Normally I should have given you these marks after I properly take you as my mate...But I wanted you to be sure of my intentions." He said, putting one knee on the ground in front of her.

The demon lord took her face in his hands and examined the marks carefully. They were ruby red and little drops of blood still came out of them. He whipped them carefully with his fingers and took them to his mouth.

"I must look really ugly right now..." She thought, turning her head away.

He cupped her chin and stared into her eyes:

"You're beautiful." He said, as if he could read her mind.

She smiled distrustfully and heard his low voice:

"Tomorrow we will be at my castle. And tomorrow night..." His teasing grin finished the sentence.

She blushed deeply as she looked into his amused eyes, but then a thought struck her and she said quickly:

"But the demons in the Western Lands...they won't agree to your union to a human!"

"I care not. I do as I please."

"I don't want a war to start because of me." She said firmly.

"The rumors about you being Midoriko's reincarnation have spread. They all know about your power so they will not object to our union." He said, caressing her face.

"But I have no more power since the youkai souls inside the Shikon no Tama were purified. I feel helpless..." She looked disappointed.

"Yes, but they don't know that. Moreover, you do not need power, since you have me. I will always protect you." He answered with a smile.

She seemed to relax a little but then thought aloud:

"When a human and a youkai come together...the result is a hanyou..."

He had thought about that long before she mentioned it.

"Our child will be a hanyou, but he will be a hanyou capable of slaying any youkai."

She took his clawed hand in her little ones and clutched it tightly closing her eyes. She couldn't believe how big the change inside him was. A few weeks ago, he despised humans and hated hanyous...and now...he was willing to spend his days next to a human woman and have a hanyou child...Why?

"Why?" The thought couldn't help but escape her mind.

He seemed to always understand her thoughts and he answered softly:

"I love you because you are human, because you are frail and innocent, because you need me, because you are so much more then everything I have ever seen before."

His answer had warmed her heart and had made her extremely happy all of a sudden.

"You should rest now. The worse is over; your wounds will stop hurting shortly." He said lifting her up.

She just nodded and let him carry her back to Rin and Ah-Un. Speaking about Rin...

"Hey...how come Rin is with you?" She remembered that she had wanted to ask him about that ever since the little girl appeared.

"She tried to help me when I was wounded..." He said smiling. "The foolish little creature approached me even though I could have killed her on the spot."

Kumiko smiled too, remembering she had done the same thing. She reminded herself to give the little girl a big hug.

"After that I found her dead. She was killed by wolves." He continued absently.

"Dead?" Kumiko thought she must have heard wrong.

"Indeed. I resurrected her to test Tenseiga."

She looked at him with questioning eyes.

"This." He added putting a hand on one of his swords.

"Tenseiga...you can bring the dead back to life?" She asked with astonishment.

"Yes." He said simply as if someone had asked him if it was dark outside.

"Wow." Was the only thing she could think of saying.

"After she was resurrected the little creature started following me. She was kidnapped by Naraku once and that's why I have taken her to a human settlement until I defeat the half-breed."

"So that's what he meant when he said Naraku had taken something that belonged to him..." She thought, remembering his words.

They reached the campsite and Kumiko cuddled against the dragon again, taking the sleeping little girl into her arms.

Sesshoumaru watched her as she went to sleep, thinking about what he could have done to deserve her. Her question about why he loved her seemed ridiculous to him. There were so many reasons...she really didn't realize her worth. She didn't realize she was like a light shining in the darkness, shining so bright, it had taken over his dark side. The true question was why she loved him. Why would a human love a youkai? And she was so much more then a normal human. He knew he possessed great beauty, but that didn't seem to matter that much for her.

He tried to find a reason for the rest of the night and declared himself defeated at dawn. Yet he knew she loved him, he could feel it. And that was more than enough.

When Rin woke up, she got out of Kumiko's arms careful not to wake the girl. She noticed the cuts on her face and her little eyes widened.

She ran to the taiyoukai saying in a low voice:

"Sesshoumaru-sama! Kumiko-nee-chan is hurt!"

"She will be fine Rin. She has my marks now." He answered calmly.

Rin turned her head and looked at Kumiko, then looked at Sesshoumaru and smiled:

"Rin understands."
With that she ran away to wake up Jaken and make him play with her.

After a few hours, Kumiko woke up also and found Sesshoumaru next to her instead of Rin. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and yawned heavily.

"Do you always sleep until noon?" She heard his teasing voice.

"Well you woke me up last night...and it wasn't exactly pleasant." She shot back.

He took her face in his hands and inspected her marks again. They had healed pretty well thanks to his saliva, and would soon look exactly like his.

"We have to go now. There is a long way ahead of us." He said getting up.

She nodded her head in approval and got up too.

Rin was riding on Ah-Un along with Jaken, so she assumed they would be flying today. Her suspicions were confirmed as Sesshoumaru took her into his arms and raised into the air.

She cuddled into the soft fur on his shoulder, thinking she could very well sleep like this. And so she did and he made no move to wake her up, looking at the small bundle in his arms with a smile.

When she woke up, she was laying on a huge bed with silk sheets. She got up to find herself in a room with marble floors and marble columns that marked a giant fireplace. What seemed to be a white bear fur covered the floor and it was soft to the touch. On the wall in front of her stood an immense painting of what seemed to be a white demon dog. He lacked the crescent moon on his forehead.

The door opened and Sesshoumaru stepped into the room, walking towards her.

"That's your father?" She asked, pointing to the painting.

"Yes." He answered, looking at it as well.

Her bag was in the room, she noticed and she went to get a teddy bear out of it.

Sesshoumaru watched with interest as she brought it and put it on the bed.

"What's that?" He asked curiously, eyeing the weird thing.

"It's a...reminder..." She answered absently.

"What do you do with it?" He asked not being able to picture what a thing like that would be good for.

"You...sleep with it." She answered, realizing it must have sounded ridiculous to him.

He raised an elegant eyebrow and took her into his arms laying her on the huge bed.

His golden orbs shined for a slight moment and he leaned down to her, whispering in her ear:

"You won't be needing it anymore..."

A/N: That was all people! This story is officialy complete.

Happy end, everyone's happy, the bad guy turnes good...what more could you want? What is that I hear? Sex:)
Not in this one. Look forward to the next ones, who knows :)