I Don't own InuYasha, or Sesshomaru. (But, DAYAAAMM I wish I did..pant pant pant!) Seriously, Rumiko Takahashi is the creator, im just jumping on her bus.
Warning: Refrences to rape
Warmth in the Palace of Ice
Sometime in the Future
They untied the ribbon holding the scroll closed. Cautiously they unrolled it, eyes scanning to the beginning. In the light of early dawn their eyes consumed the words, and once begun, they couldn't have stopped if they wanted to….
I am Sesshomaru, Lord of the western lands. For hundreds of years the mere mention of my name has stricken fear in the heart of mortal and demon alike. I demand respect, and it is given, for my power is well known. Quite simply I am THE demon among demons. I do not give these words to boast about my status. I am growing ever older. Even great demons have a time when they grow weak with age. My time grows near. As I have no proper heir I know one day soon a younger demon will challenge me for my lands. I consider it a sign of respect. Respect in that I am still deemed worthy of the challenge, yet I know I will fall. As you are reading my words, I salute you, for you are the victor. All I hold now belongs to you. Please allow this simple lessen to be a part of your spoils, for of all the riches my palace holds, this is by far the most precious.
As my end grows ever closer I feel a need to make myself completely known. Why is a mystery to me, if I knew why perhaps I could dispel the need. If I had a son, I would be gifting him with this lesson, but that was not to be. Why I do not have a wife or heir has been fodder for gossip, legend and myth throughout my lands for a long time. Now I seek to put an end to the speculation, not to increase my legacy, but because there is something to be learned.
Why I do not have an heir is simply because…. of them. Even the heart of demons can be altered by the female heart. In my case, it was two. One a child, Her name was Rin. The other, a young woman named Kagome
The demons name was Tsurara. He sheltered himself in a palace of ice hidden deep in a cave, further protected by thick layers of heavy ice. At night he left the palace to take women, calling them with a song that only they could hear. Once he had them trapped in his palace he kept them caged, using them until they eventually froze , finally becoming sculptures in his ice garden.
He took Kagome and Sango the same night he took Rin. InuYasha and Miroku followed the trail of their scents, running into Sesshomaru and Jaken somewhere deep in the cave. The brothers fought the urge to argue, and continued on trying to ignore the others presence.
Tsurara seemed to fall easily. Sesshomaru first weakened him with venom, and after being hit by InuYasha's iron rever, his figure seemed to melt away. The women were freed and separately they made their way to the opening of the cave. Thinking Tsurara had been killed neither brother was prepared for the attack. He reached into the darkness and took Kagome and Rin, using his ice vine to pull them far down inside the cave. Sesshomaru attempted to strike with Tokijin. Tsurara spit out a beam of ice, freezing the sword deep into the side of the wall. While Tsurara was distracted InuYasha was able to attack with Tetsusuiga, finishing Tsurara off with the wind scar.
The force was too much for the palace. Sesshomaru felt the ground shake under his feet and a wall of ice fell in front of him, Tokijin frozen on the other side of it along with the others.
Sesshomaru walked back down the way he had come searching for Rin. He came across Kagome, Rin was nowhere in sight. Kagome stared down into a deep crevasse.
"She's trapped, down there"
"Back off girl. This is none of your concern." Sesshomaru said in his emotionless timbre.
"You cant go down there." Kagome said "Your too heavy and it is too unstable."
Sesshomaru looked down, seeing his charge laying on the small ledge. It was clear if he tried to reach her the ledge would break and Rin would fall to certain death.
"I have a rope in my backpack" Kagome said, grateful that InuYasha had thought to bring it when he came looking for her, "If I tie it around myself, you can lower me down and I can reach her."
Sesshomaru was taken aback. He had tried to kill the girl on more than one occasion, and yet she was willing to put her trust in him?
Kagome dug in her pack for the rope. She pulled it out, tied it around her waist and held out the other end.
Sesshomaru looked at it, then back at Kagome. Below them Rin was waking up. "She's waking up" Kagome said "If she moves around too much she's going to fall. Now take the rope so I can go and get her!"
Sesshomaru's eyes widened. She was a bossy little thing! Usually mortal women feared to speak to him, much less boss him around.
Without saying another word, he grasped the rope and took in the slack. When it was at the right length Kagome stepped to the side of the crevasse and began to inch her way down. Rin was awake and scared by then.
Kagome reached her and held her arms out. Rin shrunk back,
"Where's Lord Sesshomaru?" Rin asked
"He's up there." Kagome said, pointing up
"Why didn't he come and get me?"
"He's too big to get in, so he helped me get down to get you"
"I don't think he would do that. He doesn't like you very much"
"No, he doesn't. But he likes you and he wants you to be safe."
"What if you drop me? it's a long way to the bottom!"
"I'm not going to drop you. I'm pretty strong. Besides, if I drop you Sesshomaru would be angry. I don't like how he is when he's angry"
Rin looked doubtful.
"C'mon Rin, I kinda want to get out of this stupid crack, don't you?"
"Lord Sesshomaruuuuuu" Rin called "Is it okay if I let her help me?"
"Let her help you Rin."
Kagome reached out her arms again to the girl and Rin took a step. Kagome grabbed her and held her tight.
"Okay, I've got her. Pull us up now." Bracing the end of the rope with his feet Sesshomaru pulled the rope up. It should have been slow going with one arm,
but it was barely a tug to a demon with Sesshomaru's strngth.
"Lord Sesshomaru!" Rin squealed and ran to throw herself at him
"Are you well Rin?" He asked
"I'm fine. Kagome helped me get back up.
"You should thank her for helping you" Sesshomaru said, unwilling to look at Kagome himself. Rin let go of Sesshomaru and ran to Kagome "Thank you for helping me Kagome!"
Kagome ruffled her bangs "Your welcome Rin" Kagome said, standing to go to her backpack
"Your welcome too" Kagome said as she walked past Sesshomaru, sarcasm dripped from her voice.
Kagome reached for her pack and dropped the rope back into it. She pulled out a sweater and blanket. She put the sweater on, then walked to Rin and covered her shoulders with the blanket. She took out her first aide kit and started to clean and bandage scrapes on Rin's knee's and face.
She glanced at Sesshomaru.
"Now, what do we do about getting out of here? InuYasha is probably worried. Specially since he knows I'm ……." She let her words trail off, deciding not to make a bad situation even worse. Kagome put a band aid on the last of Rin's scrapes and stood putting her things away.
Rin rose and ran to take Sesshomaru's hand. Kagome was struck by the picture their linked hands made. Sesshomaru's hand, one that held unimaginable power, that had killed, had tried on many occasions to kill someone Kagome cared deeply for. And Rin's tiny one, sweet, innocent trusting. They fit together perfectly. How could they seem so right together, and yet be so different?
Sesshomaru walked past Kagome
"The exit was sealed when the walls collapsed. Our only option is to search for another way out." Sesshomaru stopped,
turned to face Kagome , and sneered at her.
"InuYasha is right to be worried"
Kagome stuck her chin out, determined not to let Sesshomaru see any fear.
Kagome was dead on with her assessment of InuYasha at the moment. The collapse had caused the ground to drop from under them and they fell quite a way down. It would take them hours to climb their way back up to where the path had been.
"I hope Kagome is ok" Sango said, looking at InuYasha for signs of a coming outburst.
"We have to move faster" InuYasha growled "She's with Sesshomaru …if he's hurt her…."
"As if My Lord would waste his time with her. She's probably dead anyway" Jaken sneered
InuYasha reached out and hit the ugly little green imp
"If Sesshomaru so much as touches a hair on her head I'll pay Sesshomaru back by killing you"
Jaken gulped . "InuYasha, I'm sure Kagome's ok." Miroku said, hoping to allay his friends worries "Kagome is strong, she can take care of herself." He chuckled, remembering Kagome's temper. "I'd be more worried about Sesshomaru"
"That's a good point" Sango said, smiling.
They both looked over at InuYasha and saw that he wasn't amused in the least.
"Lord Sesshomaru" Rin said "I think were are walking around in circles."
"She's right" Kagome said, dropping her pack and sitting on it. "We passed those formations three times now"
Sesshomaru sighed. The girl was right, no sense in arguing. She'd just argue back anyway. Impudent girl.
"A little farther down we passed a place where it was warmer, and there was some wood there." Kagome said "If it is dry we might be able to start a fire."
Kagome got up again and led the way. It was much warmer there, and there was a high ceiling where a breeze wafted back and forth. It would be safe to light a fire there.
Sesshomaru went to the wood, broke it down and brought it over to where the others sat. Kagome pulled a box of matches and paper from her backpack and went about starting the fire. Once it was starting to build she took out her small kettle and packages of ramen. She took her pocketknife, walked back the way they had come and broke off several large chunks of ice, put them in the kettle and set them in the fire.
"You have many strange tools" Rin said
"They come from my country" Kagome said "I come from another place a long way from here"
The water boiled and Kagome pulled the paper off the ramen, adding the boiling water. She handed one to Rin. Rin tasted it suspiciously at first, smiled and began to gulp it down happily. Kagome smiled at her and offered a cup to Sesshomaru. He ignored her.
"Lord Sesshomaru doesn't like human food" Rin said, making a face "He told me that when I brought him fish once. I didn't know him then though. He was hurt really bad so I brought him food and water."
Kagome smiled, it must have been when InuYasha learned the wind scar. It was after that Sesshomaru had started being seen with the little girl in tow.
"I was hurt by wolves, but Lord Sesshomaru helped me. Then he let me go with him and Master Jaken"
"You are talking too much Rin" Sesshomaru said
Kagome looked at him and smiled.
"That was very kind" She said, unable to look away
He looked at her.
"Did you not learn as a child that it is impolite to stare girl?" Sesshomaru said, looking away..
"My name isn't girl. It's Kagome"
"That sounds familiar" Kagome mused to herself
After awhile Rin began to yawn. Kagome opened her pack again and got out another blanket to cover the little girl. Rin lay down and looked at Kagome questioningly. Kagome smiled and stretched out her legs. Rin smiled at her and laid her head in Kagome's lap and was asleep in seconds.
Kagome took out a book and began to read. She absently stroked Rin's head as the child slept. Sesshomaru watched this from where he sat away from the others. The fire began to wane and Sesshomaru stood, picked up a couple more logs and brought them to the fire to replenish it. He was cold and he sat close to the fire instead of returning to where he sat before. After a few minutes Kagome became aware that she was being watched. "Did you not learn as a child that it is impolite to stare ?" She said without looking away from the book Sesshomaru looked down into the fire.
"I am grateful for your help in rescuing Rin"
Kagome put her book in her lap and looked at him
"You have been very kind to her. It would be wrong to not thank you"
He said nothing more, so she returned to her book
"Why did you trust me today?"
She looked up again .
"You shouldn't have. I've tried to kill you"
"Three times" Kagome made a face "I guess I shouldn't have. InuYasha would freak if he knew. I was worried about Rin falling, sometimes you just have to not think and do the right thing"
"You are too trusting"
"You stay with InuYasha, even though you have seen him kill humans"
Kagome shook her head "He was in his full demon form, and they weren't exactly innocents. They had killed innocent villagers.
Besides, I know that isn't the real InuYasha when he is in his demon form. The real him is kind and cares about me"
"You love him"
"You love him even though he has hurt you. Why?"
Kagome only looked away
"You humans are strange creatures. You let your emotions rule you, that is what makes you so destructible."
"I would rather be sad than not feel anything at all. What is the point of being alive, if you aren't going to feel? "
"I could have killed InuYasha many times because he was distracted by his concern for you"
"You've just answered your own question."
Kagome picked up her book and began reading, cutting off anymore conversation.
By the time InuYasha and the others reached the path from the hole they had fallen into it was pitch black outside. There was no way they could continue without light, which meant waiting for morning. InuYasha was steaming and letting everyone know it. As Sesshomaru's toady Jaken took the brunt of InuYasha's outbursts, threats flowed freely. Miroku and Sango sympathized with InuYasha. They had watched how ruthlessly Sesshomaru had battled his own brother. If he could be so harsh with his own flesh and blood they feared how he would treat Kagome. They were more than a little worried about their friend.
"Dammit to hell. How am I suppose to just sit here till morning knowing she's with Sesshomaru? He would kill her just to get at me. He's already tried more times than I care to remember."
"InuYasha, getting upset isn't going to change anything. We are stuck here for tonight, there's nothing that can be done without proper light." Miroku tried to calm the hanyou.
"Maybe we should go back to where we were camped and get our things, Shippo and Kilala are probably pretty worried by now." Sango suggested.
"You go. I cant leave Kagome alone here with Sesshomaru" He sat down on a rock, making it clear he wouldn't budge until it was light enough to carry on with the search.
Miroku took the first watch, sitting high up on a ridge . Jaken snored obnoxiously, keeping both InuYasha and Sango awake. Not that they would have slept anyway. Giving up Sango sat up and moved closer to the fire to warm her hands.
"You ok?" InuYasha asked
"Yes, I'm fine" she said, blowing on her cold fingers "Who could imagine something so puny could make such a horrible racket?" She gave the imp a dirty glare.
InuYasha looked over at the annoying noise and shook his head.
"I don't need to ask why you can't sleep." She said looking at him. He hadn't slept in almost two days and it was showing in the deep lines around his eyes and mouth.
"First that damn Tsurara, then Sesshomaru. Kagome doesn't deserve to be put through all this."
"She will be fine InuYasha."
She looked at him again
"I never really got a chance to talk to Kagome before that bastard Tsurara attacked again"
"Did he, you know, did he hurt her?….Kagome? I mean, did he…?"
"Did he hurt her? In that way?"
She shook her head "He came into the cage once, but he took another girl. We saw him drag her out to his ice garden awhile later."
"Was Kagome scared? Did she think I wouldn't …….make it in time …..to save her?"
"Not for a minute. She knows your concern for her."
He sighed deeply, like it was coming from the tips of his toenails. In the dark he was able to let his defenses down, to open up. "She doesn't know the half of it. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and watch her sleep just so I know she's safe. I follow her when she bathes, not because I want to see her, ….….I follow cause I can't stand it when she's where I can't see her, even in her own time. My greatest fear is that she will need me and I will be too late. And now she needs me and I cant get to her, she's …."
"She's with the one who wants to hurt me more than anyone. More than Naraku even."
"I understand what you are going through InuYasha. Kagome and Miroku worry about us, I know, but you and I,
we share something that makes us worry differently. You and I have both had someone we love stolen from us. We worry differently because we are afraid of losing another we ….. I don't know how I would handle it if I lost Miroku, because I …." she let her voice trail off
"Me too……Not Miroku, I Mean Kagome….." he looked down and grinned, his cheeks turned bright pink.
"I understand" she grinned.
They both smiled down at the fire.
"I don't think Sesshomaru would hurt her InuYasha"
"How can you be so sure?"
Sango laid back down in her blankets.
"Rin is with them. No matter how he feels about you or Kagome, he does seem to genuinely care for the little girl. I don't think he could hurt Kagome in front of Rin because he would lose her respect, and somehow I think that is important to him."
InuYasha leaned back and closed his eyes, wishing the night was over.
Kagome awoke to hear teeth chattering. She opened her eyes and saw Rin cuddled next to her trying to keep warm. Sesshomaru slept several feet away. The fire had burned down to embers , Kagome went to where Sesshomaru left the wood and pulled several logs onto the embers and worked to get the fire going again. Once it was burning well the cavern was brightly lit again and she could see Sesshomaru shivering, much farther away from the fire.
He slept with no blankets and only his arm for a pillow. Kagome went back to where Rin slept, the fire had warmed her and she had begun to kick off the blankets. Kagome took the top two and tip toed to where Sesshomaru slept, covering him as quietly as possible. His eyes shot open and he grabbed her arm in reflex. Neither said a word, he understood and let go of her arm. She went to the fire and snuggled back down next to Rin. The little girl threw her arm around her neck, Kagome smiled and gently moved it to the girls side. She stared into the fire waiting for sleep to come, surprised to see that Sesshomaru hadn't thrown off the blankets.
Sesshomaru couldn't get back to sleep. Everything he had always thought about humans was being proved false. He believed that humans were selfish, greedy beings who didn't bother with anyone but themselves. They hated all demons and would kill them the first chance they had. And women were the worst humans of all.
Meeting Rin hadn't challenged his views much. She was just a child, she couldn't possibly have learned to behave like a full grown human before they met. But this girl, this Kagome, wasn't anything like humans were suppose to be. He'd had a hint of her character, in all the times he had battled InuYasha he had come to know her in a way. She was a tough fighter, deadly and accurate with her bow and arrow. She was fiercely loyal to InuYasha and the others she traveled with. How many times she put her life in jeopardy by getting between him and InuYasha, he had no idea. It was obvious that she did it in every battle, against every challenger.
What he hadn't seen before was her kindness. Her generosity. Rin was wary of strangers, yet she had taken to Kagome like she had known her all her life. Kagome treated her like she was her own child, even though Rin was on the side of InuYasha's greatest enemy. It wasn't just Rin. She had been kind to him too. He hadn't eaten the food until she went to sleep and didn't see him, it was cold by then, but he could imagine it might have been good when hot. She cared more about helping Rin than she did about her own safety. If InuYasha had been there to see, he could see himself letting her fall to her death. He knew nothing would destroy the hanyou more than seeing his companion die, he had tried just that many times. She knew this and still she put herself at risk to save Rin.
She was foolish, to attempt to approach him while he slept. She was lucky to have not been torn to shreds, it wasn't her, it was simple survival. His first instinct was to throw the blankets back at her, but he was cold, and miserable. Not even his fur could keep him warm in this icy cavern. It was warmer here than in other parts and he shuddered to think how cold those other parts must be at the moment.
Thinking of the other parts made him think about Jaken. He was on the other side when the wall of ice collapsed, likely he was with InuYasha and the others trying to reach them. He couldn't resist a little grin when he thought of how miserable his hanyou brother must be making the imp. Maybe he should offer to trade Kagome for Jaken. Jaken's whining and whimpering got old so fast, and Kagome was much nicer to look at. Sesshomaru smiled at his thoughts, he could imagine InuYasha's response if he asked for the trade. He liked to goad the hanyou into temper, he was tempted to ask just for the entertainment. He began to doze, only to be woken by a scream from Rin. He jumped to his feet to see Kagome being pulled away by a large vine of ice, her mouth covered.
"Tsurara took Kagome!" Rin screamed. "Help her Lord Sesshomaru!"
Sesshomaru didn't stop to think, he followed in the direction Kagome was being pulled. Coming face to face with Tsurara.
"Let the girl go Tsurara"
"Why would I want to do that? She's a pretty little thing, don't you think? I believe she will pleasure me quite nicely" He pulled Kagome to him and licked her face, leaving behind a trail of ice crystals "What a lovely addition to my ice garden she will be."
"You'll be dead before you take another step"
"I don't see a blade . Your sheath appears to be empty"
"Do you really think I am powerless without my sword? Incompetent imbecile."
Sesshomaru rushed Tsurara "Kagome, get down"
Kagome fell to her stomach as Tsurara braced for Sesshomaru's attack. Sesshomaru slashed Tsurara and the ice vine that held Kagome, leaving her free.
"Go, and take Rin somewhere safe" Kagome ran, looking back once to see Tsurara push Sesshomaru back against a wall. He began to bury him with the same ice beam he used to freeze Tokijin into the wall. Kagome ran to Rin. If only she had her bow and arrows! Sesshomaru had saved her, she couldn't just let Tsurara kill him.
"The fire." She thought. " Ice cant stand up to fire" She grabbed a blanket and started it on fire. "Rin" She yelled "Go, run as fast as you can as far as you can ok?" Rin nodded and ran off.
Kagome returned to where Tsurara still tried to freeze Sesshomaru into the wall. Sesshomaru had managed to keep an arm or leg moving so the freezing couldn't be completed. Sesshomaru saw Kagome coming with the burning blanket and attempted to distract Tsurara from her. He kicked through the ice covering his feet.
"You think you can freeze me as easily as you do weak mortal women?"
"Mortal women please so much better than demon women. Their screams as I take them quickens my blood. It's the fear ……….Terror makes a woman so much more beautiful." Kagome was only a few feet behind, she only needed a couple more feet.
"Simpleton. Not all mortal women are as weak as you think."
"Ah yes, the fighters are delightful, they are always much more fun. I occationally enjoy a challenge.. Besides, I'm not simple enough to not know the woman is behind me" He turned suddenly and turned his ice beam on Kagome. Sesshomaru ran for the burning blanket, he through it over Tsurara. He melted and was trapped as the blanket absorbed his remains.
Kagome was buried in the ice by about three inches. Sesshomaru used his foot to break through and caught an unconscious Kagome against him. He picked her up with his one arm and returned to the warm spot in the middle of the ice palace, dragging the burnt blanket behind him.
InuYasha thought he heard screaming from deep inside the cave. He rushed to the wall and pounded on it the best he could. He didn't dare try to use Tetsusiga, it could bring the whole thing down around them.
He kept kicking and clawing the wall. It was useless. The ice was too thick, he couldn't get through it alone.
Kagome's screams stopped suddenly. "No" his mind screamed. It had stopped so suddenly. Did that mean she was……no, he refused to think that way. He couldn't stop the past from flashing at him. In his fathers tomb when Sesshomaru first tried to kill Kagome. It was the first time he had been faced with losing her. When she fell under Sesshomaru's attack he felt the most horrible pain, he had never felt anything like it before. Not even when he heard Kikyo was dead.. When she rose again his heart nearly sang out in relief.
Sesshomaru attacked again with the arm of a dead human, a gift from Naraku. InuYasha was so afraid for her he had sent her home without the shards and she had been unable to return. That was when he first realized he could be falling for her. Then Kikyo returned and things got so complicated. He had hurt her so many times. Eventually he came to care for her so much that he had to let her go. He held a debt to Kikyo. It didn't matter that he no longer loved her. A debt was a debt. But Kagome had come back to him. He remembered her that day. She was so beautiful it made his hands hurt having to stop himself from reaching for her. Her hair blew in the wind, making her seem to take flight. Her face so radiant it made the sunlight dim in comparison. When she took his hand, it was like they had become one.
Then , he did lose her, at the hand of Mikotsu, the poison master of the band of seven. Kagome was dead. She wasn't breathing…if not for Myoga sucking the poison, he would have lost her. Now he was looking at losing her again, at the hands of his own brother. Tears threatened. Was he admitting how he felt about her too late? Would she die never knowing what she was to him? That he loved her? It couldn't be, it just couldn't. "Sesshomaru" he glared at the ice wall as if his brother resided inside.
"If you've hurt her…………..You wont escape this time, I swear, I'll kill you with my bare hands."
He sat listening for sounds from the other side. He listened all night, but heard nothing.
Kagome opened her eyes to see a pair of eye bending over her. She blinked, confused. Then she remembered. A wall of ice pushing her into the wall. She couldn't breathe, and she was so cold, Bitter cold. She had been so scared. She realized that someone was holding her hand. Rin sat close to her watching over her. Sesshomaru sat on the other side of the fire
"Are you well?" he looked at her with what looked almost like concern. She was nearly speechless. She had never seen Sesshomaru show any kind of emotion.
"I'm fine. Is Tsurara dead?"
"Yes. You are brave, for a human."
Kagome smiled "No offense taken"
"I hope he wont be back again." Rin said, cuddling back down by Kagome. She was asleep in minutes.
He went to Kagome and handed her a bowl of hot ramen. She was pleased when he stayed and sat with her
"It will help warm you."
"Thank you" She took a sip of the broth. "Do you think he is gone for good this time?" Kagome looked exhausted. She had been through a lot in the past twenty-four hours.
"I believe it was the cold air that kept bringing him back. His remains were absorbed into the blanket, and the blanket is nearly burnt to ashes. I think we can be reasonably certain. I will stay awake , to be safe"
"Thank you Sesshomaru." Kagome gave him her best smile. The one she usually saved for InuYasha "Thank you for coming after me."
Sesshomaru smiled at her, and her heart surprised her by thudding in her chest. She would have been more surprised had she known the effect her smile had on him.
"You are very brave, but do not follow orders very well."
She grinned "InuYasha would say the same thing. He's always yelling at me." She looked at him, had he been looking at her? He looked away "May I ask……..why you came after me?"
"A young woman once told me that sometimes you have to not think and just do the right thing."
She smiled that smile again. Sesshomaru reached out his hand and took hers. He kissed it and then let it go. He reached out and touched her cheek, then leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead. Neither moved, it was as if they were both under a spell. He started to lower his head to hers. Rin coughed and the spell was broken. Sesshomaru stood then, he smiled down at her. The smile transformed him, and she could see a little of InuYasha in his features.
"You should get some rest. Your color is still off." He walked around to where Rin slept and tucked the blanket up to her chin. He sat next to the fire and didn't go back to sleep. Rin shivered in her sleep and he unwrapped his fluff and wrapped it around her. He looked at Kagome sleeping peacefully next to her and extended it to cover Kagome as well.
Miroku woke to the sound of a small kitsune having a nasty temper tantrum. "What are you doing here? Where's Kagome and InuYasha? Why is Jaken here"
"Slow down" he said. The sun was still a pink ball on the horizon, he couldn't have dozed off for more than thirty minutes or so.
"Kilala" Sango smiled while the two-tail nuzzled her with her cold nose "How did you find us"
"We looked all day yesterday, we ran into a girl who told us a hanyou rescued her. She showed us how to get here." Shippo started jumping up and down " Now will someone tell me what's going on here!" Shippo yelled, jumping up and down in impatience.
"Calm down" Miroku said, he continued to fill the fox child in on the happenings of the previous day "You mean Kagome is stuck somewhere with Sesshomaru? I don't believe this! Where is InuYasha"
"Over there" Sango pointed to a very agitated InuYasha trying to claw his way through a wall of ice.
"Perhaps we should go and help him" Miroku said with a chuckle "If we don't find Kagome soon he's going to lose it"
"Can you blame him?" Shippo whined "She's stuck on the other side with Sesshomaru" the kitsune ran to where InuYasha stood and began clawing at the wall himself.
"Come on Kilala, I think you can do more than all of us" Sango said, leading her to the wall of ice.
"I'm sorry I don't have anything else to give you " Kagome said handing Rin a cup of hot ramen. In the hazy first minutes after waking up, she remembered nothing of the night before, barely remembering where she was. She was shocked when she saw Sesshomaru's tail covering her and Rin. Then she remembered. He had almost kissed her. And she had almost let him. He was a lot more like InuYasha then he realized. She smiled and blushed a little, offering one to Sesshomaru "Its warm, much better that way than cold" She grinned a little, enjoying the look on Sesshomaru's face as he realized his secret meal had been found out.
Kagome smiled. They ate in silence after that. He was uneasy in the light of day, trying to sort out his feelings. He couldn't deny it. He had feelings for the girl. But what was he suppose to do with them? He had never felt this way before, least of all for a human. She was brave and kind. Loyal to a fault and completely self-less. Not to mention she was beautiful, more beautiful than any demoness he had ever laid eyes on.
InuYasha didn't deserve her. His love for her was obvious, yet he refused to admit it and claim her. Instead he chased after a dead woman with a cold, false body who reeked of death and grave dirt. Kagome faithfully waited for him to proclaim his love, in the meantime, he hurt her time and time again over his obsession with a woman who wanted them both dead. She deserved so much more. If he told her how he felt, would she leave InuYasha? Rin was getting older and needed a woman in her life. She and Kagome had bonded so easily. Could he tell her? He, Sesshomaru, who fought the most dangerous demons without so much as a tinge of fear, was now feeling nerves over telling a human woman that he cared. That he maybe even……..could
His thoughts were interrupted by a sound from the other side, nearly ready to break through the ice wall. "They are nearly through the wall of ice." He sounded calm, but he feared his chance was gone. He would have to act fast if he were to act at all.
"Where? Where?" Rin was excited and ran to the trail leading back to the ice wall.
Kagome started packing her things. Sesshomaru rose as if to follow Rin, but stopped instead and looked at Kagome.
He spoke so softly she was almost unsure if he spoke at all. "For the first time, I envy InuYasha."
She dropped the book she had been trying to cram back in to her over packed backpack and bent to pick it up. When she straightened he was next to her. He reached out and touched her face. He was so gentle. She knew that instinctively that she and Rin were the only ones who had ever seen this side of Sesshomaru. He caressed her cheek softly.
"Kagome,……….." What he meant to say was lost as InuYasha and the others broke through the ice wall.
He looked deeply into her eyes, hoping they would say what he could not.
"Kagome!" InuYasha yelled "Kagome!"
"InuYasha! I'm here" she didn't look away, for another moment Sesshomaru looked in her eyes, he sighed with regret,
then he turned and walked away. Kagome took a last look around and followed. InuYasha ran down the path to her, passing Sesshomaru.
"Sesshomaru, if you've hurt her I'll……" InuYasha quieted as Sesshomaru simply took Rin's hand and walked away.
"Lord Sesshomaru! I'm so glad to see you survived I….." Jaken's voice faded as they walked further away.
Kagome saw InuYasha at the same moment he saw her. He went to her and without saying a word he pulled her into his arms.
"Did he hurt you? If he so much as touched you I'll.."
"I'm okay." She would tell him of Tsurara's attack later. For now she just wanted to be in his arms.
He pulled back and held her face in his hands. "Are you sure your okay Kagome?"
"I'm okay. Promise. "
He smiled at her, then held her again. He was through pretending she wasn't everything to him. He would tell her how he felt, and he would do it now.
"I love you Kagome" He whispered against her hair
Kagome smiled against his shoulder, tears coming to her eyes.
"Kagome?" he had hoped for an answer "Kagome?" He pulled away from her
She was crying
"Well, do you?"
She nodded, then fell back into his arms. Her hands reached up into his hair, one rested on his neck while the other played with a long lock of silver white hair.
He bent down so he could whisper in her ear
"Do you love me?"
"You know I do."
She pulled his head down and whispered in his ear
"I love you InuYasha"
Late that night InuYasha waited for the others to fall asleep before jumping from the tree. He hoped that she had caught his hints to stay awake so they could have some time alone together.. She had. It was the night of the full moon. They walked quietly hand in hand until they reached a small stream. Kagome sat in front of InuYasha and he wrapped his arms around her as they watched the moon reflect off the water.
He removed an arm from her and reached inside his kimono, pulling out a handkerchief wrapped around a box shape. He untied the handkerchief and lifted out a tiny silver box.
"This belonged to my Mother." He put it in her hand, and she opened it. It contained a small silver ring, engraved on the side. "My father gave it to her when she became his mate." He took it out of the box to show her the words "To Love, To Protect"
"I wasn't there to protect you last night, from now on I want to always be there."
"Mother never took it off, until just before she died. She gave it to Myoga, with the instructions to give it to me when I found the one I wished to be my mate. I've found her"
He took her hand and slipped it on her finger, it fit perfectly.
Kagome smiled and watched the ring glow in the moonlight.
Three months had passed since the night in the ice palace. Rin had been sad that she forgot to say goodbye to Kagome, but the groups finally crossed paths as InuYasha, Kagome and the others searched for the final jewel shard. Sesshomaru had no interest in fighting with InuYasha, he hung back, listening to Jaken whine, while Rin and Kagome talked. For a moment their eyes caught as she spied him in the brush near the clearing, she blinked and he was gone.
Later that afternoon Shippo and Kilala played happily with Sango and Miroku. Kagome had read to InuYasha until he had dozed off. She went to the stream to get water and was startled. Sesshomaru had come to her on silent feet.
"I never thanked you" Sesshomaru said
"For what?" Kagome questioned, trying to read the look in his eyes
"For coming back for me when Tsurara attacked"
Kagome looked at him and smiled
"You saved me. I couldn't let you die. Besides, Rin needs you. Your all she has"
"She talks about you often."
"She is a very sweet girl."
He walked to where she stood, he reached out his hand and cupped her cheek in his hand.
He touched her gently, tenderly. It reminded her of his hand holding Rin's the day the ice palace collapsed.
"Would you leave them, to travel with us?" he caressed her cheek, with the back of his fingers.
She understood his meaning, even if he couldn't say it.
"Something happened to me that night. I've never felt anything like this. I thought the feeling would go away when you were gone, but, I only started to miss you. I….care about you Kagome" he looked down at her hands, spying her ring.
"Father gave this to InuYasha's mother. He pounded the silver himself. Right before……."
"We need only one more shard. When it is found InuYasha and I will confront Naraku, once he falls, we will be married."
"I see." He said, He let go of her and turned to walk away
"Sesshomaru." He stopped and turned back around. She put her hand on his chest and he covered it with his own.
"I want you to know, I cherish the memory of that night in my heart a great deal. I feel honored that you care for me. If I hadn't already been in love with InuYasha………" He silenced her with a finger on her lips.
He lowered his head and kissed her lips, then whispered "You will never leave my heart Kagome."
He turned and started to walk away, then he stopped and spoke again without turning "Tell InuYasha, if he doesn't make you happy, I will kill him."
Kagome watched him walk away, a smile on her face, a tear in her eye. If she hadn't already loved InuYasha………she knew.
she might ………she would have loved him.
I was never able to lift my sword against InuYasha again after that day. To hurt him, would mean hurting her.
I traveled for awhile. After Jaken was lost in the battle that destroyed Naraku, Rin and I returned to my lands and I concerned myself with the day to day efforts of living.
I eventually heard that the jewel had been completed. I wasn't surprised to learn that instead of using the jewel to become a full demon, InuYasha and Kagome used it so she could become a hanyou like him. He could never live in her world, but she fit so perfectly into his. It was only natural. It was the way she lived, giving, sacrificing part s of herself for another's happiness.
They married soon after. She sent word, asking us to attend. Rin begged to go, she sat with the brother of the demon slayer while I stood hidden at the edge of the forest. They stood among the roots of the ancient tree surrounded by their friends and became one. She was beautiful, and sweet and her eyes were so full of love and happiness that I couldn't feel bitter that it wasn't me standing with her. I have no great love for InuYasha to this day, but I wish only happiness for her, and if that made my brother happy as well, so be it.
Rin married and lived on my lands until she was taken from us in child birth. She was only seventeen, Her husband and I mourned her profoundly. I honored her as I would have my own daughter, in my heart she was my daughter. Her son would have been my heir had he lived. Her husband never got past the loss of Rin and their son. He took his own life soon after. And I? Once again, I found myself alone.
Kagome gave InuYasha six sons and three daughters. His boys, Shori, Youshosha, Tsuyosa, Kokoro, Rattai, and Imi, are his mirror image. Her daughters Kiyorakasa, Koi and Kawaii, are much like their mother, brave and beautiful, hearts as pure as their souls. I am proud to have them as nephews and nieces, though they have never known me. Shori will one day weld Tetsusaiga, Youshosha will receive Tensiaga after my death. They are the eldest in the next generation of fathers blood line, it is their right by birth. I will not stand in the way of what I know Father would have wanted.
I never found another who could come close to what I feel for them ,still to this day, many seasons later. I would rather live alone and keep my memories of them close to me, than to have two dozen children with a woman who can't begin to compare to the one's I cherish in my heart. My cherished child, and the woman who might have been my wife, had I only the good fortune to meet her before my brother.
They looked up from the scroll, grinning at the tears in each others eyes.
"Father!" They called out in unison
He came into the room and looked at his sons, so much like him, yet so much like their mother too. Her sensitivity was showing in them. He grinned as they wiped embarrassed tears from their eyes.
"What is it?"
He sat, took the scroll and read. When he finished he retied the ribbon and sat looking at his sons.
"I've asked your mother many times what happened that night, but she only says that they chatted. Of course, I knew that your uncle rescued her from Tsurara. That is why I refused to fight against him after that"
InuYasha thought on Sesshomaru, he had thought the reason he never took a mate or had children was because he thought women were so far below him he couldn't bring himself to lay with one. If it had been anyone else he would not have been a bit surprised to know that he loved her. To anyone who knew Kagome the issue wasn't how to love her, but how NOT to love her. He fell in love with her the first time he saw her cry for him. But Sesshomaru? The demon who hated humans, falling in love with a human.
"I almost feel sorry for him, to die alone at his own hand. He might have had a family to remember him, had he shown that he was capable of love." Youshosha sadly shook his head
"Will you show this to mother?" Shori asked
"I think she will enjoy knowing that fathers isn't the only heart she stole." Youshosha grinned
"I would say she knows already thanks to a pesky wolf who after all these years still sniffs around occasionally, despite constant slaps from his wife" InuYasha said, a grin on his face
"Oh father, don't be so hard on Lord Koga, after all, soon he will be family"
InuYasha made a face "As if Kawaii would let me forget."
"What about Mother? Will you give the scroll to her?" Shori chimed in
" I believe I will. She's been sad since Sesshomaru poisoned himself. She will appreciate knowing how her kindness touched him " he put it into the old worn backpack that had seen so many travels.
"I believe this belongs to you Youshosha"
Youshosha took the blade in his hand and whispered softly
"Tensaiga. Thank you uncle"
InuYasha put his hand on his sons shoulders
"Lets go home."
Kagome sat on her front stoop watching the late summer rain fall. It was unnaturally quiet, the children had gone off with InuYasha see to the disposal of Sesshomaru's belongings. It would be too sad for her. She preferred to remember Sesshomaru the way he had been that night in the ice palace, not the broken demon he became after Rin's death over a hundred years before. He never stopped mourning her loss and the loss of her son. She looked down at the scroll tied with green ribbon that rested in her hands. She'd had it for two days, but as yet hadn't opened it to read it. It wasn't something she could do with InuYasha and the children about.
Sesshomaru. Her husbands brother, the demon who despised humans, yet gave her the gift of his heart. She could easily have fallen in love with him had she not already been in love with InuYasha. They had no idea how much they were alike in matters of the heart. She never spoke with him again after the day when he asked her to leave InuYasha and be with him. She saw him from time to time. At their wedding, around the village. Sometimes she sensed him near, and her heart gave a little thump. InuYasha was well aware that Sesshomaru had fallen in love with her. She kept no secrets from him. He understood. That was why he brought her the scroll. So that she might know that Some of Sesshomaru's last thoughts were of her, because of one night a hundred and twenty three years ago. She untied the ribbon and opened the scroll to see Sesshomaru's large flowing script, the sign of his aristocracy. She unrolled it and began to read….
" I am Sesshomaru, Lord of the western lands………………."