This story is a continuation of my previous fic, 'Demon Slayer Sango.' It picks up pretty much where the last one left off; if you have not read the earlier story this one might be confusing at first. I suggest you check out 'DSS' before reading this one.

This story, like Demon Slayer Sango, is high on fluff. If you enjoy 'warm and fuzzy' stories, you should find this to your liking. If you don't, well you've been warned.

Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Inuyasha. That honor belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.

The Lady Sango

Chapter 1

Sango's back ached. She felt like a listing ship, swaying and rolling with the tide, her body heavy and swollen like the sweet melons she had grown to love that grew in Sesshomaru's gardens. Now eight months pregnant with her second child, she struggled with the demands of her body and the baby growing inside it. Still feeling ill even late into her pregnancy, Sango had a difficult time eating the food put before her at mealtimes, and the quarrel she'd had to settle that morning between two of her youkai servant women hadn't made her feel any better. It had been difficult to figure out what the trouble was all about; something about seniority and rights to attend a certain function put on by the staff. 'Where is Sessh when you need him? He'd know what to say to these youkai,' she'd thought to herself.

The taijiya, for this is how she still thought of herself even after two and a half years of marriage to the Demon Lord of the West, had come to accept her position as Sesshomaru's wife, but there were times when the responsibility weighed heavily on her. Most days Sango keenly felt the uncomfortable stress of being an outsider-- someone unschooled in the ways of the group, a foreigner in a tightly-knit, elite community. Sango had not been born inuyoukai and the residents of the palace rarely let her forget it. It was never a matter of open disrespect, however. Sesshomaru would never allow his wife to be openly demeaned in any way in what was now their home-- such would risk certain physical pain, if not death on the part of the offender. Rather the subtle slights, the exclusion from court gossip, and the knowing that she was watched and whispered about constantly by the demons in her midst were what left Sango feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome. She was not used to the intrigue of palace life, and it strained her sense of simple straightforward practicality to have to constantly deal with the pressures of her station.

But to be at Sesshomaru's side, sharing his life and his presence were things that made Sango's burden lighter to bear, and in spite of the challenges she worked hard to make him proud of his decision to make her his consort.

While gamely climbing the stairs to her private chambers within the main castle building, Sango measured each step of her swollen feet so as not to trip and fall as Sesshomaru had warned in his typically overprotective fashion. Reflecting on the state of things in her life, Sango knew that her husband loved her unreservedly, and was the one thing that she could rely on to sustain her through periods of doubt and confusion in her otherwise challenging environment. In equal measure she found that her love for Sesshomaru was growing deeper and deeper with each passing day and week and month in their still young marriage. Sango felt could almost bear the hostile whispers and stares of all the conceited youkai ladies, servants and nobility that surrounded her daily as long as she had his support and strength to sustain.

And then there was Sesshiko. Sango and Sesshomaru's first child had come into the world just two years ago. The little half-demoness was the first princess born to the Inuyoukai pack in several decades, and Sesshomaru treated her with the gentleness and consideration of a father though he preferred to share moments with Sesshiko privately rather than out in public among the court. Sango had nursed and cared for the baby with great love and affection-- she'd not realized how deeply she could feel until Sesshiko arrived. It was a different from the depths of her love for Sesshomaru of course, but probably went just as far.

Just a toddler, Sesshiko was beginning to learn to speak, and her demanding gestures and words sometimes made Sango laugh at the similarities she saw in them to Sesshomaru. She often teased him, calling Sesshiko his 'little twin'. Indeed physically the child was a near copy of her father in miniature: sharing the same shade of silver white hair, the same golden amber eyes and the same pale porcelain skin, father and daughter seemed also to carry an uncanny resemblance in their bearing. Sesshiko was a serious, intelligent child for an infant of only two years, and Sango suspected she would grow up appreciating her father's outlook on the world even moreso than Sango did herself. She suspected Sesshomaru delighted in the fact that at such an early his daughter took so much after him.

On reaching the corridor leading to their private rooms Sango peeked into the library where Sesshomaru could usually be found working when he was not traveling the territory checking on the security of his lands. 'He said yesterday that he would be gone off in the North, but would be back by late tonight,' remembered Sango. She always missed him when he was away, even on relatively short trips such as this, and could not help stepping into the elegant room that held his enormous collection of scrolls, texts and documents.

It was so very Sesshomaru, this space, the library, with its spare elegance and orderly, logical arrangement. She let her eyes trail over the many wooden shelves that lined the walls that held the vast collection of documents Sesshomaru had amassed. Sango recalled the many hours they'd spent here alone together discussing household matters, or with Rin, or with Sesshiko who played with her toys on the floor while Sango sorted through petitions for her husband to read. It was the most 'homelike' room in the entire palace despite the fact that it also served as a place of work-- Sango had always loved coming here, ever since the day she approached Sesshomaru for the first time three years before.

They'd made love that day, and Sango shivered with the memory of the passion of the encounter, the one that set everything else in her life in motion. He'd been so gentle, so tender then and it had surprised her. It was a different side of him that no one else ever saw, a milder side that she had come to cherish. And while they'd made love many nights since then, Sango would always fondly remember that first day in this library.

She trailed her fingers across the cypress wood desk he used to read and write upon, and also to deliver verbal orders to intimidated retainers and vassals. She could see tiny indentations in the grain, and smiled knowing they were marks made by his claws when he drummed on the desk in contemplation of some statement, or to punctuate a point in conversation. She'd warned him once that he'd wear a hole in his desk if he kept it up but he'd ignored her.

Sango heard a rustling behind. A squeaky voice startled her. "What do you think you are doing in here? This is Lord Sesshomaru's private study! Oh! My Lady Sango, I am sorry. I did not realize it was you. I heard someone enter. I do apologize my Lady." Sango turned to see Jaken knelt on the ground, quivering with fear. "You won't tell Lord Sesshomaru will you?"

She smiled. "Tell him you were being a good subject in watching over his private space? I might tell him that." Sango hated it when servants groveled to her. Jaken particularly got on her nerves because he was so elaborate in his obsequiousness, but she had come to accept it as simply part of being attached to Sesshomaru. "Why aren't you out with him now? You rarely ever let Sesshomaru-sama go out in the field without your trusted assistance, Jaken. And do please get up. I'd like to see your face when I'm talking to you."

"Yes, my Lady Sango." Jaken scrambled to his feet. Like many others he'd been first puzzled, then alarmed when it was revealed his master would take a human woman as his wife. Jaken had heard various rumblings, out of Sesshomaru's hearing of course, that questioned the meaning of this liaison. Was the master becoming soft? Was this a weakness, taking a human to wife? Jaken was angry with the youkai who spoke ill of their lord, but so far he'd not brought up the issue with Sesshomaru. "My Lord ordered me to remain behind-- he said his business was for him alone to deal with this time."

"Oh?" Sango had learned not to ask a lot of questions about what Sesshomaru did in his travels. While she did not believe he was ever deliberately cruel to those who got in his way, she did know he had a short fuse and would not hesitate to destroy any lesser creature who failed to bend to his will. She'd given up trying to get him to use words before actions-- Sesshomaru was a demon who knew force and how to use it; to expect him to change his ways after so long was simply out of the question. "So he went to the north alone?"

"Yes my Lady. Rin put up quite a noise when she learned she'd be left behind as well-- but my Lady is probably already aware of this."

Was she ever. Whenever Rin felt slighted, or lonely or happy or afraid she would run to Sango and describe every nuance, every detail about her state of mind. While sometimes overwhelmed by the girl's emotion, Sango was touched by her implicit trust, especially knowing how devoted she had been to Sesshomaru before she'd entered their lives.

Sango had known what a challenge it was for Rin to adjust to having new people surrounding her beloved demon lord, but for the most part the young girl had seemed to accept it well. Rin had made an elaborate flower wreath for Sango after she'd mated with Sesshomaru, and told her how happy she was that the taijiya would be living with them from then on. It had made Sango feel welcome, and she did her best to return Rin's trust by being there for the girl who now at the age of thirteen was fast approaching young womanhood.

Sango made Rin her special helper where Sesshiko was concerned. Sometimes she enlisted the younger girl to give the baby her baths, or to brush her hair or to play with her when Sango was otherwise occupied in the palace. She smiled thinking that Rin really was a sister to Sesshiko as well as a daughter to Sesshomaru now; in private the demon lord would even occasionally refer to Rin as his 'pup' the way he did with Sesshiko, which Sango found both endearing and quite fitting.

"You may go now, Jaken."

"Yes my Lady Sango." He bowed and backed out of the room, and Sango made her way to her bedroom. Her sleeping quarters were separate from his, a normal practice among youkai royalty which she had come to accept, though not easily.

She went to the elaborate teakwood chest Sesshomaru had built for her and fingered one of the lacquer boxes on top. The object inside the brightly gleaming container seemed to call out to her in some way as it usually did, to whisper a message she could not yet decipher. On opening it Sango lifted out a bracelet-- one of precious jewels and gold that Sesshomaru had given her at their wedding. He told her it had belonged to his late mother, and occasionally Sango would slip it onto her wrist to admire the way it looked. Whenever she did this, she would experience a strange sensation within that would not dissipate until she removed the object from her wrist again. Her entire body would go numb, her heart beat hard and she would have to sit down to avoid becoming dizzy or disoriented.

Sango could have explained to Sesshomaru that she declined to wear the bracelet because it was too grand for her and he would have accepted it; but for some reason she felt drawn to the mysterious jeweled band in spite of the odd physical effects it had on her. These feelings she had not related to Sesshomaru-- she didn't want to alarm him.

Sango was aware her mate was under increasing pressure from the court to prove his strength. She had not yet given him a son, something that had become imperative to settle the worries of the vassal lords who valued stability in the territory above all else, and all already knew her current pregnancy would yield yet another female child. She was aware also, though she did not say anything aloud, that it was widely considered a sign of weakness on Sesshomaru's part to have taken her to wife in the first place. She was human, and while she would live out her life alongside Sesshomaru for the duration of his own, her blood was tainted-- this was a serious defect in the eyes of many who looked to Sesshomaru as the paragon of strength and rectitude among the youkai nobility. Sango could feel troubles brewing, and wondered if his sudden departure for the north had anything to do with these concerns.

She replaced the bracelet in its box and put it back on the chest, and almost immediately felt an incredible wave of pain rip through her body. It was so bad that she felt her breath leave her, and she was unable to scream. Grasping at the thing nearest to her, Sango heard the tearing of paper as the screen she'd latched onto crashed to the ground. She tumbled to the ground unconscious.

The bandits were hungry. They'd been traveling all night across the wide valley leading to the west and had found no plunder in days. Their horses were becoming worn out, and the two of them realized they'd need to find food and money soon or face desperate circumstances.

"Sen, lets camp here for the night. I think there's a village just beyond those mountains that we can get stuff from in the morning."

"Hmmm. You're right Raidon. Alright, lets camp here then." Sen, a scrawny but mean looking man in his mid thirties looked around curiously. He sensed something-- it was the same feeling he got whenever prey was close by. Perhaps they wouldn't have to wait until tomorrow after all. "Raidon, look there...what is that? Is it a demon? Or a man?"

The younger but taller bandit looked off in the distance to see a figure-- tall, well dressed, definitely male. "I think its a man. A prince by the looks of him."

"And he's alone! The fool. This is our chance, Raidon. We'll strip him and take his weapons. The dumb rich bastard won't know what hit him!" Sen rubbed his hands together with glee and his mouth watered. It had been some time since he'd slit a throat, and his stomach was rumbling from hunger. No doubt the riches in the pockets of this wealthy traveller would help fill his belly nicely for weeks to come.

Sesshomaru sensed humans nearby but thought nothing of it. He was on his way back to the Inuyoukai fortress, and much weighed on his mind. The leader of the northern youkai whom he'd gone to meet with at his castle had come close to challenging him for dominion over the West on the charge that his leadership of the territory was becoming weak. The northern lord, the great panther demon Juro, had not said so in so many words, but Sesshomaru was very good at reading gestures and implied meanings. Coming away from the conference it had been clear to him that he faced a distinct military threat from the North. 'I have done the right thing in marrying Sango, I know I have. I won't let these northern dogs try to convince me otherwise,' he thought. Juro had asked respectfully after Sesshomaru's family but also made several comments in his presence that alluded to the weakness of the bloodline that was sure to develop as a result of his mating a human female. Sesshomaru had wanted to rip Juro's throat out for implying anything untoward about Sango but the situation called for restraint, and so he'd said nothing.

Now traveling west again, Sesshomaru realized that he missed his mate more than ever, and longed to see her gentle smile again, and to feel her sweet touch. The daughter she had given him had been one of the great pleasures of his life, as he was certain the child would she was soon due to give birth to; Sesshomaru indeed loved his family a great deal though his natural reserve and stoic nature forbid any outward demonstration of his feelings. He had even tried to call a truce with Inuyasha for Sango's sake, with varying amounts of success.

He would never burden Sango with his problems, and whenever she asked him about pressures at court he had managed to find a way to divert her attention. She could not, would not know the extent of the seriousness of his situation if Sesshomaru had any say in the matter. 'I am paying a high a price for domestic contentment, am I not father?' He asked in his mind.

Just then Sesshomaru's sharp hearing picked up the sound of dry leaves crunching a few feet away. 'Stupid fools.' He turned in the direction of the sound, and saw two scruffy, scrawny looking humans coming toward him, swords raised.

"Give us your money and your weapons," demanded Raidon.

"Get out of the way," commanded Sesshomaru forcefully. He was in no mood to deal with cretins. To punctuate his order, the demon lord raised two elegantly deadly claws that already began to shimmer with an eerie green mist.

Sen looked at his companion. Raidon seemed not to notice the fact that their prey was in fact a demon. He took a step forward. "Don't fuck with us. Give us your money or you die."

"I said MOVE." Sesshomaru flicked his wrist, and a bright whip of green energy promptly slashed the two hapless bandits to pieces. Their anguished cries crackled in the dry air, and soon Sesshomaru stood alone once again. At times like this he did not like to think of his family. Sango would not approve.

He sighed, turned and continued his journey homeward.

A/N: I know this is a pretty dark start to things. It will get better. You will get lemons, you will get fluff. And you will get SanSess babies!

Please review! It helps more than you think!