AN: Hooray for the last chapter and for all the wonderful feedback I received. You guys are so great and so supportive and I really love writing this story. Okay, so this chapter promises lots of action and lots of fluff. I hope you all enjoy it!
Naraku had forged his plan and now it was set. The weeks following the Princess Kagome's birthday, he had watched the young couple carefully. Their bond was growing stronger by the day. The looks they passed to one another, the secret glances when they were apart, had Naraku chuckling darkly under his breath.
"Go ahead, Inuyasha. It would be fitting for you to fall in love with the reincarnation of the woman who could not love you back. Take your time, I am in no hurry."
All Naraku had to do now was be patient and wait for the right moment to strike. Then he would set everything into motion, and before anyone would realize it, it would be too late.
Tsubaki had given him strict instructions on what she needed. And, when the two conspirators had discovered the royal family was to be going on a private picnic, one sunny, summer, afternoon, the trap had been laid. The first part of their plan would be carried out, and soon the fall of Inu no Taisho and his sons would begin.
The royal family had made their way deep into the heart of the ancient forest, towards the banks of the wide river. The water sparkled in the sunlight and welcomed the visitors to sit beneath the willow trees whose drooping branches provided a little privacy. It was there that they had decided to have their picnic, and spend the day as a family.
Kagome found it odd that no guards chose to accompany them, and when she had asked Inuyasha why he had simply answered her with his infamous 'Keh!'
"We aren't pathetic humans who need to be rescued or anything. Youkai take honor in defending themselves, wench," he had pointed out.
She sighed as she stared at her mate. Currently, he was in a heated argument with Sesshomaru over goodness knows what. Even when he was angry Kagome found him to be handsome. Her heart fluttered in her chest. In the weeks following her birthday, Kagome couldn't ignore the feelings that surfaced when she thought of her Inuyasha. True, they hadn't gotten off to a good start. They were both rude and irritable towards each other. But, now, things were different, things felt different. She longed to be near his side when she used to relish in the fact that she was away from him. Kagome found herself missing the way he had held her hand and danced with her on her birthday. But, most of all, she missed that magical moment when he had taken her away into the night, to ride on his back through the starry sky. They had not done so since, but she secretly longed to relive that precious time spent with him over and over again. It had given Kagome an insightful look as to who the hanyou prince really was. And, she had discovered, that despite his rough exterior, Inuyasha was a good person with a kind heart.
"Aunt Kagome!" squealed Rin. The young youkai child bounced towards her excitedly. She looked adorable in her bright, pink kimono covered in blue flowers. "You promised to show me some of your pretty pink arrows today. You did bring your bow didn't you?"
Kagome laughed, "Yes, Rin, it's right here," said Kagome as she produced her birthday gift from Inuyasha. "Where should we practice at?"
"There's a spot a little ways down along the river bank! There's a big tree that you can use as a target!"
"Rin, I don't want you wandering off too far," said Sara calmly.
"Oh, let them go off. It's not too far," replied Izayoi with a warm smile. "Besides Kagome will be with her, and it will give you and I the time we need to arrange the food for our picnic."
Sara nodded her head, "Alright Rin, have fun, and listen to Kagome!"
Rin shrieked with delight and pulled Kagome's hand, leading her away. At that moment, Inuyasha took the opportunity to see their departure. "Oi, wench, where do you think you're going?"
"She's going to show me how she shoots the new bow you gave her, Uncle!" Rin laughed.
Inuyasha was about to follow the pair where he felt a heavy hand placed on his shoulder. Inu no Taisho looked at his son thoughtfully. "Let your mate be, Inuyasha. Your mother and I would like to speak with you in private for a little while."
Inuyasha nodded and stared after Kagome's form as she and Rin made their way down along the riverbank. He sighed and turned on his heel walking beneath the branches of the willow tree. The prince dropped down on the blanket his mother had laid out for them, and folded his arms carefully into his haori. The others were staring at him carefully. "What?" he demanded.
"Your brother has some good news for us, Inuyasha," said Inu no Taisho quietly.
Inuyasha looked sharply at Sesshomaru. He raised an eyebrow. "Well?"
Sesshomaru bowed his head and looked at his younger brother, "It would seem that my mate and I are soon to be expecting our second child."
Inuyasha blinked…once…twice. He looked at Sara and sniffed the air carefully, barely catching the change in her scent. His sister-in-law blushed slightly, but a smile danced across her features, and by the glow in her cheeks it was unmistakable as to what her condition entailed. The hanyou prince shrugged his shoulders then grinned slightly, "Congratulations," he said quietly.
"Your reaction pleases me, Inuyasha," Sesshomaru responded quietly.
"Keh, well it's a good thing I like your mate or I would totally object to you reproducing at all."
"Inuyasha…" his mother warned.
"I have assumed my responsibility as a mate and a prince seriously, unlike you, baka," Sesshomaru retorted.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Inuyasha declared as his hand moved to the hilt of his sword.
"Inuyasha, you will be at ease," said his father gravely.
"Listen to me," said Inu no Taisho as he watched his youngest son. "We have noticed the change in the relationship between you and your mate, Inuyasha. You and Kagome seem to be finally getting along."
Inuyasha could feel the pink tint creeping across his cheeks. He didn't meet his father's gaze.
Inu no Taisho continued, "I should not have to explain to you why it is so important for you to fulfill your duties..."
"What?!" exclaimed Inuyasha suddenly. He glanced at his brother. Sesshomaru had a smirk on his face that made Inuyasha want to strangle him. "You!" declared the hanyou as pointed an accusing finger, "You are the cause of this you bastard!"
"Inuyasha!" said Izayoi, "Such language, really!"
"Sorry," he murmured. If one person knew how to reprimand him, it was his mother. He dared not speak back. Scowling he folded his arms across his chest.
Izayoi frowned slightly, "We're not trying to force you into anything, sweetheart."
"Do you know what can happen with an unconsummated match, Inuyasha?" Sesshomaru said calmly. A death glare was shot in his direction but the older prince ignored the look. "If the princess remains unclaimed, another youkai can challenge you for your mate."
"We're already mates, what the hell do you want from me?" declared Inuyasha.
"You have not marked the girl," Sesshomaru replied coolly.
"What your brother is trying to say, Inuyasha," said Inu no Taisho, "is that in order to protect our family, and Kagome has been a part of it now for two months, the match must be consummated. We did not want to confront you about the issue this way, but we felt since things have progressed with your relationship with Kagome, now would be a suitable time."
Inuyasha was not only red with anger; he was red with sheer embarrassment. He did not need anyone to remind him of his "royal duties" to the family and to his mate. He knew another youkai could claim her as his own, but up until this moment he had never really given the issue much thought. Keh, this is all because Sara is about to bear Sesshomaru's second pup! If that bastard would quit reproducing, no one would bother me about all of this. Stupid Sesshomaru, why does Sara agree to carry his offspring anyway? If he does it again I'm personally going to cut off his…
"Inuyasha," Inu no Taisho said. The hanyou prince was ripped from his thoughts. "You carry my bloodline with you, a powerful line of youkai that must be continued. This is not only important for Kagome's protection, but for the protection, rights, and honor of the family."
"Keh, whatever," scowled Inuyasha.
Izayoi placed a gentle hand on her mate's arm, "Perhaps, my love, it is best if we end this discussion. I'm sure Inuyasha, understands completely, and does not need to be reminded of this matter anymore. Sara, why don't we get the food together? I'm sure Rin will be starved by the time she gets back."
While his mother and sister-in-law prepared the meal, Inuyasha stormed off towards the riverbank. He scowled, picking up a small rock and throwing it across the water, watching it skip across the flowing current.
"Your fowl temper will get you no where, little brother," Sesshomaru said casually as he strode up to stand beside Inuyasha.
The hanyou scowled at him, "Shut the fuck up! This is your entire fault!"
"Inuyasha!" bellowed Inu no Taisho, "You will cease your fowl temper at once!"
"He's still too naive to know better, father."
"Sesshomaru…" warned Inu no Taisho.
"I'm not a baby, baka!" Inuyasha declared.
"Quit acting like one," retorted Sesshomaru carelessly.
"This Sesshomaru would say otherwise…"
"Keh, well this Inuyasha thinks…"
"Silence!" cried Inu no Taisho. He grabbed both of his sons roughly behind their necks. Inuyasha cringed slightly in pain and looked over at Sesshomaru to see that despite his brother's usually emotionless mask, the elder son was just as uncomfortable. "I've had enough of this…" he stopped. Inu no Taisho carefully sniffed the air. He frowned in disgust.
Sesshomaru looked at him cautiously, "Father?"
The youkai king released his hold on his sons and sniffed the air again. A hand went down to the great sword that hung at his waist. All movement within the forest had seemed to stop. The air was thick with the scent of hundreds of youkai, rapidly approaching them.
Inuyasha tensed and gripped Testuiga tightly. He glanced up into the air and saw the massive cloud of demons that were beginning their descent.
"My love, what is wrong?" asked Izayoi as she and Sara approached the three youkai.
"Get back, Izayoi! Seek protection, now!" cried Inu no Taisho.
The queen nodded and grabbed Sara, running towards the small protection the willow would have to offer them.
"Ready yourselves," the king said darkly as his gripped his sword tightly.
The youkai pummeled into Inu no Taisho and his sons like a hammer. They were weak youkai, but their numbers were great, attacking, never yielding, or stopping. The king swung his great sword heavily, slicing a demon in half. He glanced over to the willow tree, watching in horror as several of the youkai made their way over towards his mate and daughter-in-law.
"Inuyasha!" he called to his youngest son, who was closest to the weeping branches, "Your mother!"
Inuyasha growled in response and dove headlong towards the demons that sought to attack his mother, his beloved mother, a simple woman and mortal who had no means of defending herself. Izayoi cried out as her son placed himself in harm's way for her sake.
"Inuyasha!" cried the queen as a youkai crept up behind him.
Sara stepped out into the fray, a youkai with power of her own right, and sent several blast of energy towards a youkai. The hanyou prince blinked and nodded towards his sister-in-law.
"Thanks," he growled slightly as he sliced through yet another attacker.
Moments later, Sesshomaru and Inu no Taisho had made their way over towards the others, having dispatched most of their assailants. The group huddled together as they one hundred youkai stream towards them from the sky. Inu no Taisho held Izayoi tightly to him and looked at Inuyasha gravely saying, "You know what to do."
Inuyasha nodded, stepped forward and placed the Tetsuiaga in front of his body. He could feel the power radiating from in his clawed hands, and watched as the wind whirled around the blade. His smirked as he glanced at the demons coming towards them. Raising the sword above his head, Inuyasha let out a mighty cry, "Kaze no Kaze!" The power of the wind sent a powerful wave of energy hurdling towards the youkai. They screamed in torment as the blast ripped their bodies apart. One hundred demons were defeated in one strike, and now the fight was over.
Inuyasha was panting heavily. He turned to look back at his family. Everyone appeared to be unharmed, however, Sara had rushed into Sesshomaru's arms and whispered to him fiercely, "Our daughter!"
Her words bit at Inuyasha and fear gripped him, "Kagome!"
"Do it again!" laughed Rin.
Kagome smiled and let loose another pink arrow. The youkai child laughed excitedly, then bounced up to the tree and attempted to pull out the arrows and return them to her aunt. Unfortunately, she struggled. Kagome laughed and walked to the tree to help the young child, pulling out the arrows easily, and then allowed Rin to place them back into the quiver.
"Well done princess, your skill with the bow is indeed unmatched."
Kagome and Rin turned towards the voice that has just been directed towards them. Kagome frowned when she saw a figure covered in the cloak of a baboon. Instinctively, she thrust the little youkai child behind her. Rin peeked out from Kagome's kimono, staring wide eyed at the stranger.
"Who are you?" asked Kagome. Her voice was a little shakier than she had intended, but she did not like the aura that was coming from the man.
"Why princess, what do you need such useless information for?"
Kagome carefully drew out an arrow and took aim at the cloaked man, "I am Prince Inuyasha's mate. Do not dishonor me."
She could have sworn she saw him smirk under the ridiculous mask. "You know what I want Princess. Surrender the Shikon Jewel."
"The Shikon Jewel?" asked Kagome. "I don't know what you're talking about."
The cloaked man took several steps towards Kagome and Rin. Rin squirmed behind Kagome in fear, and without thinking, Kagome fired her arrow at the man. The pink light glowed brightly as it soared through the air towards her target but, instead of hitting the cloaked man head on, the man put caught the arrow in between two fingers. The light of her arrow ebbed from the brilliant pink to a dark purple. Kagome stared in disbelief.
"Foolish, princess; your weak miko powers are underdeveloped and are no match for me," he said as he crushed the arrow in his hand.
"Kagome…" said Rin fearfully.
Determination spread across Kagome's face. She drew out another arrow and fired at the man then turned the youkai child, "Rin, run!"
Rin took off towards the direction of their picnic area going as fast as her little legs would carry her.
"Foolish girl," said the cloaked man. His demonic aura strengthened and his body suddenly lurched. Kagome stared in disbelief as tentacles burst forth from underneath the baboon cloak. Rin's screams filled her ears when one of the appendages grabbed her around the waist, hoisting her up into the air.
"No!" screamed Kagome. She unleashed an arrow. It struck the tentacle, and Rin cried out as she fell to the earth. She struck the ground roughly, but was other wise unharmed.
"Stupid little fool," smirked their enemy. He lashed the tentacles towards Kagome. They latched onto her, winding their way around her waist, and arms, forcing her to drop her bow. She struggled as she was lifted into the air causing her assailant to tighten his grip on her, squeezing the very breath out of Kagome's small body.
"Kagome!" cried Rin. "Let her go!" she screamed at the demon. With a look of determination on her face, the young youkai child ran forward. Rin held up hand and a small, green energy ball exploded from her palm and hit one a tentacle that was holding one of Kagome's arms. The captured princess watched with fascination at the poor youkai child's efforts. She was young, her powers were not fully developed, but she was fighting bravely. The tentacle released its grip and dropped to the ground, but Kagome was still held firm.
The older princess stared at her niece in fear. A tentacle was launched towards the young girl. "Look out!" cried Kagome.
Rin tried to jump out of the way, but the tentacle still managed to knock the young girl back, sending her soaring through the air. Rin screamed. She could hear Kagome's frightened voice calling her name. She made ready to brace herself for the impact she knew was going to come. However, instead of landing roughly on the ground, she collided into a pair of strong arms that gripped her small body protectively. Rin opened her eyes to see her father's stern face, glaring at her attacker.
"Papa…" she said softly.
"Go to your mother, Rin…now," Sesshomaru said in his usual quiet manner, but Rin could tell he was anything but calm. She nodded as he set her down, his eyes never leaving the stranger. Taking a final glance back before running towards safety, Rin saw Kagome, still trapped in the tentacles of the youkai. Her uncle, Inuyasha, was gripping the hilt of his sword tightly, screaming the name of his mate, "Kagome!"
"Rin!" cried a female voice. The youkai child turned to see her mother, grandmother, and grandfather running towards her. Sara grabbed her daughter fiercely, cradling the girl to her chest.
"Thank goodness," breathed Izayoi in relief.
"Stay back, all of you!" ordered Inu no Taisho as he drew his sword and walked towards his sons.
"Kagome!" shouted Inuyasha as he slashed through yet another tentacle.
"Inuyasha!" she cried back. She struggled once more to free herself of the fierce grip that was being held on her waist. However, the tentacle only tightened around her body and she felt the very breath being sucked out of her. She screamed in pain. Kagome felt like she was being crushed to death.
"Kagome!" cried Inuyasha. "You bastard!" he cried as he lunged for the cloaked youkai. He raised his sword and prepared to strike.
"Foolish hanyou," smirked his opponent. The baboon cloaked man sent a blast of energy towards Inuyasha taking the hanyou off-guard. Inuyasha's face fell as he took the assault head on and was forced backwards. He landed roughly on the hard ground. Grunting in pain, the prince thrust his sword into the ground and slowly made his way to his feet.
"Inuyasha, are you alright?" asked his mother.
"Keh, it's going to take more than that stupid blast of energy to kill me! Fucking bastard!" cried Inuyasha as he raised Testuiaga in the air.
"Stop you fool," said Sesshomaru. "If you send your wind blast towards him you will kill your mate."
"Damn it!" screamed Inuyasha in frustration.
The cloaked youkai laughed sinisterly. "Inuyasha, it appears that you are in quite the predicament."
"Who are you? And what grudge do you hold against the Princess Kagome?" demanded Inu no Taisho as he stepped forward, sword in hand.
"My business with the princess is my own."
"Let her go this instant! I assure you that by even threatening a member of the royal family you have achieved certain death. I am not to be taken lightly!"
Kagome felt the tentacles tighten their hold on her possessively. She gasped. Inuyasha flinched at her visible pain and started forward when their enemy smirked, "What is wrong Inuyasha? Does it bother you to see your mate in so much pain?" Kagome screamed in agony as the tentacle tightened again and threatened to tear her apart. "I don't know why you care for this weak human so much. It is obvious that you aren't too concerned with her being your mate. After all," he chuckled, "you have not even claimed your bride yet. Of course," he added, "I could take her off your hands for you and do the job myself," he said suggestively as he let another one of his tentacles dance seductively across her pale cheek.
Kagome tried to turn her head away in disgust. She couldn't believe the indecency of this youkai's words.
Inuyasha growled, "Don't you lay on fucking hand on her!" His grip on his sword tightened as he felt his entire body pulse with rage.
Sesshomaru noticed, "Father…"
"Inuyasha, at ease," Inu no Taisho said quietly.
Inuyasha tried to control the rush of the blood through his body. He gripped the hilt of Tessuiaga fiercely to stave back the youkai blood that was threatening to boil over.
"Inuyasha," Izayoi whispered fearfully. She started to reach out for her son, but Sara stopped her.
Inuyasha took a deep breath, "I'm fine."
Their enemy laughed at the display, "Oh, Inuyasha, it delights me to see that you cannot even control your own emotions."
"What the hell do you want with, Kagome, you bastard?" Inuyasha retorted angrily.
"As I have stated before, my business with the girl is my own. She knows what I desire," he said darkly as his tentacles squeezed Kagome's waist once more. She gasped in pain and looked at her assailant.
"I don't have the Shikon Jewel!" she cried. "I don't even know what you're talking about! Now let me go!"
His mate's words confused Inuyasha even more. The Shikon Jewel was rumored to be nothing more than a myth, a fairy tale as far as he was concerned. Why would Kagome, an ordinary human girl, be in possession of it? It didn't make any sense.
"As you have heard," Inu no Taisho jumped in, "the princess does not have that of which you speak. You will release her at once."
"Fine," the cloaked youkai smirked. He stretched out the tentacle that held the princess' body over the rushing waters of the river. "As you wish."
Kagome, realizing his plans, struggled in vain to free herself. "Inuyasha!" she screamed. But it was too late. She felt the tentacle release its grip on her waist. Kagome felt the water wrap around her skin as it pulled her under with greedy hands. She opened her mouth to scream, but found that no words would come. She had never learned how to swim when she was younger, and fear clutched at her heart. Vainly, she tried to kick her legs and arms, but it was to no avail. Panic filled her thoughts. She couldn't move, she couldn't feel, she couldn't even think. Kagome didn't even know how to react when she felt something sharp nip at her right leg. It hurt, as if something had bit her. The princess opened her mouth again, but was only greeted by the cold water pushing itself into her lungs. Pain filled her from the inside.
Struggling she tried to make one last effort to learn to swim to the surface. Her entire body felt heavy. Her right leg ached fiercely, and her lungs were screaming at her in protest. Gasping she reached her hand upwards, in one last desperate attempt. She could feel her body begin to shut down as her eyelids grew heavier and heavier. The pain was overpowering and slowly, she began to fade into darkness. Kagome's last conscious thoughts were that someone was calling her name.
"Kagome!" screamed Inuyasha. He had tried to jump in after his mate, but the tentacles of the cloaked youkai had thrust him backwards viciously. He saw her disappear under the rushing waters of the blue river.
Sesshomaru, in the meantime, had made his move. He unsheathed his sword of battle, Tokijin, and sent a crippling energy blast towards their enemy. The powerful green light enveloped their enemy. His tentacles began to rip apart from one another, and disintegrate before their very eyes.
"Inuyasha," cried Inu no Taisho, "your mate!"
Inuyasha nodded and dove into the water. He swam downward, his sharp eyes searching desperately for any sign of Kagome. The contrast of her pale creamy skin, against the dark blue hue of the waters, indicated her location. Lurching forward he reached and grabbed her outstretched hand. Inuyasha grabbed her limp body in his arms and, as quickly as he could, made his way to the surface.
When he broke through, his only thoughts were to reach the shore. He heard his mother's voice calling his name. He turned to see his family leaning over the edge of the river bank. Inuyasha swam over as quickly as he could. He reached up and grabbed his father's outstretched hand. Inu no Taisho pulled his son up out of the water, Kagome with him.
Izayoi and Sara wasted no time. They grabbed Kagome and examined her quickly. Her skin was deathly pale, her usually pink lips were blue, and she was cold as ice.
"She's not breathing!" said Sara.
"Rin, grab the picnic cloth, we must get her warm!" ordered Izayoi.
The little girl nodded and scurried off.
Izayoi laid her head against, Kagome's chest and listened carefully. "I can't hear her heart…"
"No!" cried Inuyasha. He dove forward and knelt beside his mate. Grabbing her chin, he tipped her head up and forcefully pressed his lips against her slightly parted mouth blowing his own breath into her cold body. He tried vainly to ignore the feel of her soft lips against his own. Now was not the time to feel such a way about Kagome. He had to save her.
Reluctantly he broke free. She did not stir. Inhaling deeply, Inuyasha once again placed his lips onto his mates, exhaling forcefully into her mouth.
"Here, Inuyasha," said his mother gently as she draped the picnic blanket that Rin had brought back over Kagome's body. "We need to get her warm."
Rin watched as her uncle kept pressing his lips against Kagome's. "What is he doing mama?" she asked.
"Hush, Rin," said Sara with a serious look.
Rin watched again as Inuyasha desperately tried again. Tears began to fill her eyes. Why wasn't Kagome waking up?
"Kagome please," Inuyasha begged. "Please," he said as he placed his lips against her once more. He blew into her mouth as hard as he could and finally, he got the reaction he had been hoping for. The next thing he knew, Kagome was coughing and sputtering. Izayoi rolled the younger woman onto her side as she expelled the water from her lungs. Inuyasha sat back with a sigh of relief. Kagome was alive.
Gasping slightly, Kagome rolled back onto her back. She was breathing heavily, her skin was still pale, but that didn't change the fact that her eyes were open and her heart was beating strongly. Overcome with emotion, Inuyasha grabbed her body and cradled her against his chest.
"Inuyasha…" she said weakly. Kagome could feel her head spinning. Her entire body ached, and her right leg was throbbing in pain. But the only thing that truly mattered to her, at that moment, was the fact that she was wrapped in Inuyasha's arms. No longer sensing the presence of the evil youkai who had taken her hostage, she relaxed. Inuyasha had saved her.