The good news! I should make my goal for this story as extra writing time has just come available. The bad news: this happened b/c I just lost my job. I'm hunting for a new one while doing small writing tasks here and there.
I have opened up commissions in fanfiction and original fiction. The details can be found on my profile or my blog ellafae at blogspot. By the time this gets posted, it will be officially opened.
And I just had my Kickstarter project approved and launched! There is a link in my profile, or you can search for it on that page: A Novel in Thirteen Short Stories.
Oh-also I'll have a sales post for manga, books, movies, and etc; it'll be up in several places, but if you don't have access to my fb or g+, you can find it on my blog (ellafae at blogspot).
Arc 4: Of Loss
Chapter 25: Acceptance
Sesshomaru was walking in his private gardens when Jaken appeared with a letter. It was sealed with Cho's insignia and wrapped further in leather. The Taiyoukai took it and walked briskly to a nearby bench. It sat under a tall pine, which allowed him some shade in the mid-afternoon day.
Jaken followed him over to the bench but remained standing. He watched as Sesshomaru's brow furrowed and his lips narrowed. His raised his head and looked out towards the perimeter wall. "Is anything wrong, Sesshomaru-dono?"
The Taiyoukai looked back at Jaken, surprised he was there. He focused his eyes. "No," he added. "Fetch Haru for me."
Jaken paused for a moment before turning and hurrying towards the main part of the palace. It wouldn't be hard to track down the inuyoukai, but it was curious what would affect the Taiyoukai to need him.
Haru found Sesshomaru once again walking-but this time to a more center location of the expansive garden. It was the most secluded simply for the fact that no walls or buildings were anywhere near it. The garden itself had been built to accommodate InuTaisho in his natural state.
"You summoned me?" Haru casually joked. "Seems counterproductive to your plans."
Sesshomaru turned to his half-brother. He didn't say anything, instead he handed the scroll over. Haru took it, slightly worried, until he read it.
As the younger inuyoukai read down the page, a smile began to split his face. To his credit, he held in his laughter until the very end. Dropping the scroll to the ground, Haru doubled over guffawing.
"This is hardly that funny."
"Oh, yes," Haru responded between chortles. "It really is."
Sesshomaru frowned at his brother; patiently waiting for the other man to calm down enough to talk.
Eventually Haru stood back up, though his laughter continued sporadically, and he had to wipe the tears from his eyes. "You-are ridiculous."
"As if you are someone to talk," Sesshomaru responded.
"No, no, really. You are ridiculous. Who the hell beds a woman just to ejaculate and go? How very...clinical of you."
"The point of our joining was to create a child-"
"Yeah, but who says you both can't enjoy the experience. I mean, for fuck's sake, sex is more than just an activity to make babies! It's something full of passion and longing and sometimes even love. Sex should be something enjoyed and savoured; not just banged out and forgotten about."
Sesshomaru took a second to just look at his brother; measuring the words carefully in his head. "I do not treat-"
"Yeah, well the spare few women you've bedded before Kagome-chan haven't exactly swooned after the experience. Your problem is the same as a lot of men-you think only of your own pleasure. The key is both participants getting off on it."
Sesshomaru turned and walked towards the back defensive wall. Haru jogged to catch up but kept stride once they were side-by-side. "Did I hit a sore spot?"
"Hardly," the Taiyoukai responded. "However, you have opened my eyes to something I am lacking knowledge in."
The younger brother smiled to himself. It was Kagome's influence that Sesshomaru was able to admit his own imperfection now.
"Lucky for you," Haru continued. "Kagome-chan isn't experienced either, so you can learn from each other."
Sesshomaru stopped. An odd look came over his face before he turned and began walking towards his quarters once again.
He shook his head. "There are many mysteries to my miko that I ponder, and there is something I am particularly curious about."
Haru's interest was peaked, and he bugged his brother for more information. Sesshomaru kept his mouth shut until they were within a few feet of his building. "I will trade information with you," the elder offered.
Sesshomaru turned and looked at this younger brother. A smile, slight and creepy, spread over his face. "You will give me tips on how to please Kagome-chan, and I will tell you how you can get Kin-san back."
Haru's back stiffened and he looked at the other man in shock. "H-how?"
The Taiyoukai shook his head. "It is time we both spent a day hunting in our true form, on that day we will discuss these matters."
Haru nodded his head, bowing politely to his brother before turning to leave.
"Thank you," Sesshomaru called quietly as he left.
Haru answered with an equally quiet: "My pleasure."
Cho was happy to receive two different correspondences from the Western palace within a couple weeks her own letter was sent. She thanked her trusted messenger and immediately began to delve into each scroll.
As was proper, this one time, she read Sesshomaru's first. A relieved smile took her face as she read his account of the palace happenings, his response to her letter-and Haru's agreement, and finally his decision.
"You look happy," Sango commented as she exited the building.
Cho was sitting on the edge of the outer walkway; her legs swinging below her. She smiled up at the other woman-the smile of a woman hidden within a child. "I am, and luckily, my intuition was correct."
"In what way?
"We need to prepare Kagome again for conception."
Sango gave a tight-lipped smile and sat down next to Cho. "So he wants to go through with it again?"
"You had your doubts too, then?"
"Yeah," Sango confirmed. "I knew Kagome would go through with it again if asked. I just wasn't sure if he would ask."
Cho nodded. "I still have my reservations about putting Kagome through this again."
Both women sighed. Shippo ran out of one of the buildings, dragging an aloof Rin behind him. Like Kagome, she was also slow to heal. "That's another one we need to watch," Sango commented.
"She needs Sesshomaru the most, I'm afraid."
"Do you know how long he'll be?"
The inuyoukai shook her head. There was no telling how long he would need to be there; not to mention, she was fairly certain that he would have to deal with the omiai too. "I have been told to prepare Kagome as soon as possible, then send word back to him. If he returns soon, he will return only for conception and then he will surely have to return back."
"I don't think any of us thought this would be so...complicated. I mean, it's almost less trouble finding shards than trying to have a Taiyoukai's son."
"You have no idea," Cho added sadly. "Even the strongest people can be broken by the youkai court."
Sango looked down at her feet. "I can tell."
"No, not yet you haven't. Kagome bends easily; if they ever break her she will be but a shell of her former self."
The two women sat in silence with each other; aware of yet another great threat that hung over the young miko's head.
"Guess we'll just have to stop that from happening then," a male voice added.
Sango gasped and turned. Leaning against the door jam, Miroku smiled down at the two women. He looked ever the rogue as ever.
"When did you get here?"
"Today, Cho was kind enough to let me through the barriers. Afraid I missed all the drama though."
With practiced grace, Sango swung her legs back up on the walkway and then was in front of him within a few seconds. She enveloped him in a hug that lasted just as quick. "Miss me?" he asked, his voice husky and low, his hand poised ready for a good grope.
"I did," she answered. "Until now."
She swatted him away playfully and walked back towards Cho. She didn't sit down this time. "So what are the plans?"
"I'm going to read Haru's scroll, and then I'll begin the ceremony again. Hopefully we can get it underway tomorrow."
Sango nodded. "What did Haru write about, if it isn't too personal?"
Cho's gave a wide, teasing smile. "Oh, nothing too important. I may have told Haru about Sesshomaru's 'problem'."
"Problem?" Sango asked, puzzled.
Cho wagged her brows at the woman accompanied with a pumping hand motion with an o-formed fist.
"Ooh," Sango replied. She thought about it for another second then busted out laughing. "Wait, you asked Haru to give Sesshomaru sex advice?"
Miroku was looking at the two women as they broke into giggles further. He was lost. "I'm afraid I'm being left out of an joke-one that sounds like I would enjoy greatly."
Their laughter increased louder. "I'll tell you later," she managed to weeze out.
Inuyasha sat on the other side of the silk screens. He knew that Sesshomaru would kill him when he returned and noticed the hanyou's scent in a room he had no business in being in. But, Kagome was still sleeping far longer than normal, and frankly, she needed to kick her funk completely.
"Why the hell are you still in bed?" he whined. "The sun's already reached its peak."
A mumbled reply came from within the enclosed bed. Inuyasha burned to go in there and pull her out-but that was one boundary he dared not cross.
Though, he was losing his patience.
Standing up, Inuyasha walked to one of the openings between the silk. He peered in and scowled. Kagome was lying there, staring up at the carved, wooden ceiling. "I know that that is not the most interesting thing in the world," he said pointing up. "So why the hell are you wasting time staring at it."
Kagome shook her head. "I'm not looking at it."
Inuyasha scoffed: "I can tell."
"Leave me alone, Inuyasha," she whined, kicking out with her foot.
It wasn't suppose to hit him; it was a motion to dismiss. The hanyou used it to his advantage though. Leaning over slightly, but without actually going in, he grabbed her foot. Kagome immediately started to pull away but there was no escaping him now.
Pivoting around, he walked away, dragging her with him.
"Inuyasha!" she screamed in fury. "Let me go!"
He ignored her and continued, a small smile on his face as he did so. In the back of his mind, he was glad that she was wearing her world's pajamas instead of a yukata. It would be embarrassing otherwise. "I told you to get the fuck up, but do you ever listen? No, of course not. You think you're a smart bitch."
"Leave me alone, Inuyasha," Kagome continued to scream, kicking and flailing all the while.
The human and youkai servants were hurrying into the hallway; the humans were looking at each other, not sure what to do. While the youkai hid smiles and laughter behind their hands.
It was Shippo who acted when he saw what was going on. He and Rin had heard them from the garden and had run in. "Let her go," the kit screamed.
He jumped on the hanyou, who ignored the usual distraction. Turning around, Inuyasha dropped the foot for just a second before picking up the miko and slinging her over his shoulder. She let out a surprised gasp at the swift movement.
"Inuyasha, what you doing?" Miroku asked.
He and Sango had joined the onlookers.
"She wasn't getting out of bed."
"So you dragged her?" Miroku laughed. "How very...primitive of you."
The hanyou flicked him off. He swatted at Shippo who was now chewing on his right ear.
"Where are you taking her now?"
"To get a bath."
Inuyasha walked briskly out of the building. He practically jumped out of the garden, and made his way down to the river. All but the human servants followed.
Kagome, for her part, never stayed docile. She had been protesting since she was dragged and at the mention of 'a bath,' her temper rose and she began screaming obscenities at the man holding her. "I swear, Inuyasha, if you don't put me down I will sit you into next week!"
And he dumped her into the river. She splashed and screamed and tried to stand up. However, the wet, smooth stones on the river floor just made her fall over again.
Inuyasha and Miroku laughed outright. Shippo ran into to help her, though all he could do was hang on in case the current took him away. Sango asked the youkai servants to grab some towels and a robe for the girl. She would have to change in the bath house that they were, thankfully, quite near.
Surprisingly, Inuyasha's laughter came to a halt when he was kicked in the shins. He looked down to meet a pair of fierce, brown eyes. He snorted. "What, kid?" he asked Rin.
"Don't bully," she responded before kicking him again and running back towards the buildings.
The group looked at Inuyasha who was watching the little girl retreat. "Did she just scold me?"
"Yes, yes she did, my friend," Miroku replied; hitting the hanyou on his back.
"Great, now I have two rude humans to put up with."
"As if you're one to talk," Kagome pouted. "Just replace human with hanyou, and it's all you."
"Ha!" Shippo yelled with a grin.
"What are yo-" Inuyasha began asking.
"Should I even ask what is going on here?" a silky voice interjected.
Everyone turned to see Sesshomaru standing there, Jaken behind him looking horrified.
"Yeah, the little bitch wouldn't get out of bed. So I made her."
The Taiyoukai rose an elegant brow.
"You should be thanking me," Inuyasha joked. "I made her take a bath."
Sesshomaru shook his head and walked towards the water. He whispered to his brother on the way. "While I thank you for trying to restore her mood, I noticed your scent where it does not belong. Remember, she is my bitch, not yours."
He continued to the water and helped the miko out. "Has Cho told you about the ceremony?"
She shook her head.
"Let us get you changed and we will discuss it privately."
An inuyoukai woman brought up a towel and yukata and draped it over the girl. They bypassed the bath house to go directly back to her room to change. Sesshomaru escorting her.
"I'll be damned," Inuyasha whistled as they were out of Kagome's earshot.
"What?" Miroku asked.
"He's letting his base instincts go."
The monk looked at his friend puzzled. "I don't have a clue what that means."
"It means," Sango replied. "That his youkai has become...attached to her."
"It was a reaction to my being in her room."
"Is that a good or bad thing?"
"It could be bad for me later," Inuyasha joked. "But, it means mister stick-up-his-ass is letting down some of his walls for her. That's pretty big."
Sango and Miroku watched Inuyasha for several moments more. He was looking worried and fidgeting. "Dammit, I hope this doesn't mean he's going to marry her, then I'd never get rid of her nagging."
Aiko helped Kagome changed behind a wooden screen in the corner of her room. She was shivering now, the room being significantly cooler inside than out. Sesshomaru was sitting in the room, sipping on tea a servant had brought in as they arrived.
"How long do we have you for this time?" she tried to sound casual.
There was a shuffling of paper before he spoke. "Not nearly as long as I would like."
A gasp came from Kagome, mostly because of the tightening of the informal obi.
"You're finished," Aiko commented. She reached down and grabbed a woven basket now full with wet pajamas.
Kagome waited until Aiko walked out of the room before coming out from the screen herself. Her wet hair was bound up in a high ponytail in attempts to not get the kimono's neckline soaked.
Sesshomaru watched her intently as she came towards him. He allowed his face to relax around her and she smiled as she saw it. Taking the teapot, she refilled his cup before filling her own.
"Cho should have received a letter today informing her to prepare for the ceremony as soon as possible. I suspect tomorrow."
"Is this alright with you?"
Kagome looked up at him, half hidden by the bangs of her hair, and chewed on her lip.
"I will not consider it dishonorable if you feel the need to back out; I am informed that this type of loss is quite hard on a woman."
Again she nodded, mid-sip, she could hardly talk yet.
"Though, I must admit, I would be disappointed."
A shadow briefly passed over her eyes as she broke their contact. Instead, she looked down at her lap, putting her cup down on the table.
Sesshomaru chuckled to himself.
"I don't see what's so funny," she said softly.
"I do. I am proud of myself. I can judge that you are upset, and figure out what I have done to do that. Not a talent I would be able to claim before recent"
"What?" she again looked up at him.
"I would not be disappointed in you, Kagome-chan. Simply, with the fact that it would not be you. While my anger at your display is abated by the fact that you were doing what comes natural to you, I also acknowledge that this nurturing trait is one thing that will make you a suitable mother."
"So you're not mad at me for all this?"
"No, I am mad at the people who thought they could manipulate two innocent people in such a way, but not in you."
Kagome shrunk into herself as she relaxed, finally. If she had a tear left in her body, she would have shed it.
"And," he added as he picked up his scroll. "Quite frankly, I have missed you."
"Is that why you sent a letter you knew would be received the same day you arrived?"
Her answer was the shuffling of paper effectively hiding his face.
end note: It didn't really fit into this chapter as I wanted, so there will be a 25/a chapter coming up soon too. It will be the actual lemon. FFN, sorry guys, it will be shaved down a bit for y'all, but it will be up on AFF and I'll make sure to post it specifically for y'all on my blog. :D
Thanks again, guys.