A/N: Why, look at that! It's a brand new story! Hm, well I figure I should inform you of some things that will likely pop up at some time or another while I continue to post new chapters. Firstly: I have a wretched posting rate, if only because I review it again and again before I post it to make sure it's in tip top condition. SO, if you find any mistakes, please please PLEASE do not inform me of them. I've checked it so many times that I can't bear having to go back once again to find my error.

My beta-er, Miss Kerry, helped me come up with the name. It's rather lovely, neh? So, credit goes to her in that field.

Now, I urge you to check out my profile if you wish to learn more of what to/not to expect when it comes to my writings.

Ah, and this is likely to be a Sesskag romance story. So if you don't like anything of the sort, you may click the back button at any time.

Until then... R&R. I hate flames... blah blah blah. You all know the drill. But seriously, review if you have a heart.

One more thing! I apologize profusely in advance if Masako's species changes. He's a youkai, but I was unsure in the beginning so I tried out several different species while I was writing. Heh. So, watch out for that.

Read, enjoy, and review.


A soft green light filtered through the somewhat thick foliage Sesshoumaru was currently walking under at a steady pace, his golden eyes flicking back and forth as he examined his domain. He was surveying the Western Lands, a habit of his when things were unusually quiet. A breeze had begun to pick up, causing Sesshoumaru's long silvery hair to fan out behind him.

He had been walking for quite some time when Sesshoumaru's sharp ears picked up the sound of quiet giggling. He spun and stared behind him and then upwards at the impish looking character sitting on a thick, overhanging tree branch.

"Why hello there, Sesshoumaru!" The fellow called to him in a peculiarly high pitched voice. Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed slightly in recognition of the man before him. Masako, a particularly annoying forest youkai that had been disturbing the peace in the Western Lands recently. He was currently clad in naught but a rather sheer green veil that blended well with the forest about him.

"Masako." Sesshoumaru greeted, barely able to keep his disdain from showing. "You are trespassing."

"Gee, you're a pleasant host." Masako leaned forward and flipped his curly blond hair away from his face. He tapped his lip as he struck a thoughtful pose from his position on the bough of the tree. "Though, I suppose that is true."

"This Sesshoumaru sees no need to be a pleasant host to someone he does not wish to grace with his presence." Sesshoumaru found himself getting terribly irritated already.

Masako merely giggled and dropped to the ground, still keeping a careful distance away from the taiyoukai. He danced under the green light, stepping in and out of it as if it were some sort of child's game.

"It would be in your best interests if you were to remove yourself from this Sesshoumaru's lands immediately." Sesshoumaru took a step forward, his one hand itching to reach forward and strangle the youkai.

"Temper, temper!" Masako replied, wagging his finger back and forth as if reprimanding Sesshoumaru. "You would do well not to use that tone of voice with me again." Sesshoumaru could easily detect Masako's veiled threat. His eyes narrowed further as he carefully kept his expression calm, showing no outward expressions other than one of serenity and slight bit of disdain.

"And you would do well not to threaten this Sesshoumaru again."

"Keh." Masako stuck his pointed nose in the air and gained an air of haughty disdain. "This

Masako feels no need to take your petty threat seriously." Sesshoumaru bristled at Masako's taunt.

"You will die slowly and painfully for insulting this Sesshoumaru in such a manner." Sesshoumaru growled, claws already dripping with poison.

"Oh, do be quiet! I have better things to be doing than bickering with you." Masako's deep green eyes glinted as he smiled maliciously, revealing a pair of sharp fangs similar to that of Sesshoumaru's. "Besides, if you were to hurt me, who knows what would become of your precious little human girl, Rin was it?" His demeanor had changed completely, becoming rather demented and sickening to witness.

Sickening worry and anger clenched Sesshoumaru's heart at the mention of his ward possibly being in danger, however, he refrained from letting it show. He dismissed Masako's taunt as a bluff. "A worthless being like you would never be able to infiltrate this Sesshoumaru's castle and take the child."

"Oh really?" Masako replied. "We'll just have to change your silly little opinion of me, won't we?" He conjured up a long lock of black and waved it back and forth tauntingly. "I'm sure your sharp nose can pick up the scent of the girl." Masako wrinkled his nose in distaste. "Disgusting."

Sesshoumaru could indeed smell Rin's scent on the lock of hair. He clenched his teeth and raised his hackles, a deep inhuman growl resounding in his throat. His predatory instinct laid claim upon his body as fear and anger flooded his senses. He leapt forward, claws outstretched as he prepared to destroy the foolish being that dared to harm his ward.

"No!" Masako shouted angrily, stamping his bare foot down on the soft ground. Sesshoumaru barely had time to react before he was thrown backwards into a nearby tree. "I won't allow you to get near me." Masako whispered, dementia slipping into his voice. Sesshoumaru picked himself up, though he did not throw himself at Masako again. The youkai had gained an incredible amount of strength since their last encounter. "And you will not dare do such a thing to me again. I have power now, power from Naraku." He giggled and twisted the piece of hair in his hands. "He gave me power beyond your wildest dreams, and all I have to do is serve him occasionally. But this," Masako waved Rin's hair at Sesshoumaru again, "This is revenge for what you did to me." He smiled at the lock of hair and pulled it taut. "You'll never see that human girl again now, and there's nothing you can do about it."

He took a step forward, the hand holding the hair raised in front of him. "I'm going to make her bleed, Sesshoumaru. I'm going to torture her and I'm going to kill her." His wicked smiled widened. "And then she'll be gone." The lock of hair disappeared in a puff of green smoke.

Masako frowned at the hand that had been holding Rin's hair as if he had not intended for that to happen. "But not right away. I'm not completely evil, Sesshoumaru. Unlike you. In fact, I think I'll go so far as to call myself generous, even if it is for my own amusement. I'll give you a chance to save her, to get her back. One month. That's all I'm giving you. Then, the fun begins! Don't you think that's generous, Sesshoumaru?" He tilted his head to one side. "Perhaps too generous. Oh well, that's always been one of my weaknesses."

Masako smiled and turned his back on Sesshoumaru, pausing once to glance back at the taiyoukai. "Good luck!" He disappeared much like Rin's hair had, in a puff of glittering green smoke.

Sesshoumaru remained completely immobile. It was as if he were stuck in a some sort of stupor that incapacitated him of any truly coherent thoughts.

And then the despair crashed in.


Kagome was tired. Bone weary in fact. She was quite sure everyone in her little party was exhausted. After Kagome had sensed a jewel shard in the near vicinity, Inuyasha had pushed them all to their limit as they searched for it. The elusive little sliver kept slipping in and out of Kagome's senses, appearing in one place and then another. Needless to say, it was getting very tiresome for all of them now that it was nearing dusk. They had been searching for the troublesome thing for nearly ten hours, according to the position of the sun.

"Its changed places again!" Kagome cried as it shifted far in the direction opposite their own. Inuyasha skidded to a halt, causing Kagome to knock heads with him for she was riding on his back. She pushed her head into his white hair, become immersed with Inuyasha's rather calming scent.

He growled deeply and grumbled, "Where is it now?" Kagome jutted her thumb behind her in answer. "Dammit! How the hell are they doing that?"

Miroku, Sango, and Shippou had just caught up with the two. Miroku's expression turned to one of -almost- mock despair. "It moved positions again, didn't it?" Kagome nodded glumly. Miroku laid his hand across his brow in an act of over dramatized woe and despair. He peeked through his nearly closed eyelids at the rest of the party, who were all in varying stages of fatigue. "Er, Inuyasha? Perhaps we should call it a night and continue our search tomorrow?" Kirara mewed in agreement.

Inuyasha glared daggers at the monk and turned to face him fully. "You're just a bunch of weaklings! We still have plenty of time before it's dark, and I know we're wearing that... thing... out!"

"Inuyasha, we don't even know what it is! This could all just be a wild goose chase set up by Naraku to keep us busy." Kagome moaned as she tightened her grip around Inuyasha. "Please?" She pleaded, giving his neck a quick squeeze. "I swear we'll get right on it tomorrow."

Inuyasha rolled his eyes as his will broke down and he felt the tiredness flood in. "Fine. Tomorrow. Not a minute after dawn."

Everyone cheered in joy as they went in search of a clearing in which they could sleep for the night.


Kagome was the first to wake the following morning. She had sensed the jewel shard closer than it had been the entire time they had been searching. Her eyes snapped open as the "thing" in possession of the shard moved forward at a slow but steady rate toward their camp. Kagome didn't dare move for fear of it spotting her as it came closer and closer until it was practically on top of the camp site. Her heart beat thudded in her ears as the presence of the jewel shard grew. Kagome was tensing to grab her bow and attempt to purify whatever the "thing" was, when it just disappeared. Again. It reappeared several miles away in the western direction. Kagome sighed in annoyance mingled with some relief. Whatever that "thing" was, it had felt frightfully powerful.

Inuyasha and the rest of their entourage awoke shortly afterwards feeling very much refreshed and ready to continue onwards with their quest for the jewel shard. They left five minutes after dawn, much to Inuyasha's vexation.

"Where is it?" Inuyasha asked as he knelt down to allow Kagome to climb onto his back. Kagome allowed her senses to reach out as she felt about for the jewel shard.

Kagome pointed west. "About three miles that way, I think. It hasn't moved for a while, I think its

resting." Inuyasha grinned and set off with Miroku, Sango, Shippou, and Kirara following close behind.

When they began nearing the spot where the Thing was, Kagome began to get nervous. Perhaps it wasn't resting, maybe it was waiting for them? She wasn't sure, but she didn't voice her fears to

the rest of the group, so as not to frighten them. They slowed to a walk and Inuyasha allowed Kagome to slide off his back.

"Its just up ahead." Kagome whispered, though she wasn't sure why. Everyone seemed to be on edge, so they were all being very cautious. They crept forward at a painfully slow rate, even Inuyasha didn't make any complaints. He merely kept his clawed hand resting on his Tessaiga as they inched forward.

Quite suddenly, they broke through the thick trees and found themselves in a wide clearing, staring at... nothing.

"Nothing." Sango whispered, confusion apparent in her expression.

"-the hell?" Inuyasha snapped around and gave Kagome a look.

Kagome shrugged, quite bewildered herself. "I sense it! Its right in front of us. At least, it should be." She turned around to face the rest of the group. "I don't get it!" She took a cautious step forward into the seemingly empty clearing. I swear, I can almost see the jewel shard right in front of me.

Shippou's eyes opened wide as he sniffed the air. "Inuyasha? Do you smell that?"

Inuyasha's nostrils flared as he picked up a scent. His brow furrowed as he glared at the clearing.

"What is it?" Shippou asked, now cowering behind Miroku's robe.

"I dunno..." Inuyasha replied, scratching his head in puzzlement as he continued to sniff the air.

"It smells of death... and something else."

Miroku, Sango, and Kagome all huddled together as they peered into the supposedly empty clearing. Kagome could feel her pulse quicken until it was nearly thundering in her ears. Miroku took this opportunity to allow both of his hands to wander in a not so innocent direction on the two women he was currently holding close to him. The three demons in the group were busy attempting to figure out what exactly it was that they were smelling.

No one was prepared for what happened next.

All at once, everyone was blown off their feet and into the trees they had been beside. A mighty roar resounded through the air, frightening birds into flight all around them. Inuyasha was the first to recover, unsheathing his Tessaiga once he regained his footing. He helped Kagome to her feet.

A single beat shook the air, causing Kagome to stagger back. Directly after the beat, a giant leopard youkai uncloaked itself and snarled at them, spittle flying off of its jaws. Its golden, black speckled fur gleamed in the sun, now high overhead. Miroku quickly helped Sango to her feet, never allowing his eyes to leave the giant youkai before them.

It blinked once, then twice, as it glared at the disturbers of its sleep. Everyone other than Inuyasha took a step back. Its brilliant jewel-like red gaze shifted from person to person until it rested on Kagome. Its massive muscles bunched up as it leaned back, ready to attack at a moment's notice.

You have jewel shards. The giant leopard youkai conveyed to everyone through thought in a distinctly masculine sounding voice. Give them to me and you shall be spared.

Inuyasha snorted in disbelief. "Keh! Like we'd ever give up jewel shards to a demon like you."

The huge leopard youkai towered over them, casting a shadow upon the group. A lowly hanyou such as yourself would do well not to stand up against me.

Inuyasha bristled at the insult. "We'll see about that!" He leapt forward, his Tessaiga raised high above his head. And promptly flew backwards, repelled by a barrier that the leopard youkai had placed around himself.

Give me the shards, or I shall take them by force. He repeated, his eyes glinting dangerously in the sun.

"No!" Inuyasha yelled, already back on his feet and ready to charge once again. He planted his feet firmly on the ground and held his Tessaiga in front of him, a look of concentration showing in his eyes. Kagome whipped out an arrow from her quiver and placed it in her bow, notching it against her cheek as she drew the string back. The tip of the arrow glowed with her purifying miko powers. Inuyasha raised his sword above his head and yelled, "Wind Scar!" (A/N: Japanese version of the word? I think not!) as he brought the blade crashing down to the ground, tearing the earth to pieces as the bright yellow bolt shot out of his sword. Kagome released an arrow into the middle of the blast, combining her miko powers with Inuyasha's hanyou powers. Unfortunately, both the Wind Scar and Kagome's arrow fell short of it's target as the barrier repelled the attack easily. The leopard youkai tossed its head in annoyance.

So be it. He planted a paw firmly on the ground and stared at Kagome. Quite suddenly, Kagome found herself no longer standing next to her comrades. She had been picked up telekinetically by the giant youkai. Kagome shrieked in terror and writhed in midair, not quite sure what else to do. Inuyasha jumped forward, hand outstretched to grab Kagome. Then, just as suddenly as she had been picked up, both Kagome and the leopard youkai were gone, and Inuyasha was left lying in the dust.


Sesshoumaru had eventually picked himself up from his position and flown back to the castle, only to find Rin to truly be gone. This called for a severe beating over the head of a certain toad youkai.

"But Master Sesshoumaru!" Jaken cried out as he attempted to cover his head from the beatings he was currently receiving. "I had only looked away for a brief moment! Nothing more!" He cried out again as he received a new bruise from his own staff.

"You are a foolish, wretched youkai to incur the wrath of this Sesshoumaru." Sesshoumaru hit him again with the butt of Jaken's staff. Sesshoumaru was feeling considerably better now. Beating Jaken always seemed to have a rather calming effect to it. He had also sent out youkai servants to obtain information on Masako's whereabouts. He would find Rin and save her, and kill Masako for being an insolent fool. And then perhaps he would beat Jaken a bit more. And allow Rin to beat him as well. Oh yes, that would be quite nice...

He kicked Jaken for good measure before turning his back on the cowering toad youkai. "This Sesshoumaru is going to resume his patrol of his lands. Send Ah Un if any youkai servants return with information on the whereabouts of that fool youkai." He strode away purposefully, already planning ways to prolong Masako's death so as to inflict as much pain upon him as possible. Sesshoumaru allowed the tiniest of smirks to grace his features as he glided away.


Sesshoumaru was patrolling his lands when a piercing shriek, followed by a ground shaking roar thundered through the air. He paused in midair, unsure as to whether or not to investigate. He decided against it, as he was currently on the border of his lands, thus the disturbance was not in the Lands of the West. He had just begun to continue his survey when a thunderous crack raked through the air, this time within his domain. Sesshoumaru turned around and sped towards the sound.

"Let go of me!" Sesshoumaru heard a young woman shout. The voice sounded vaguely familiar, though he could not quite place it at the time.

He reached the scene and arched a brow at what lay before him. An immense leopard youkai stood in the midst of broken trees with a young human girl suspended in the air before him. The youkai was staring at the human intently as she struggled in his telekinetic grasp. Her hair flew about in the wind, giving her a rather wild appearance.

Sesshoumaru abruptly realized who the girl was. She was his half brother's wench. He tilted his head to the side, attempting to remember her name. Kagome, was it? Sesshoumaru lifted his head to catch the scent on the wind, it informed him that his half brother was nowhere near. Interesting.

The wench screamed in frustration and began writhing in the air, a rather interesting sight to see.

Sesshoumaru hovered closer, already deciding that he should intercept whatever it was the two were fighting over. "You would do well to refrain from settling your trivial affairs in this Sesshoumaru's realm." He called out, his deep voice ringing clearly through the silent forest.


Kagome twisted around and nearly cried in frustration. Of all the people that could have come, it just had to be Sesshoumaru. All they needed was Naraku and this would just be one big feast of death, the main course being herself.

My affairs do not concern you.The leopard youkai stated imperiously, rising up to his full, rather impressive, stature. He glanced at Kagome, who had finally stopped struggling like a fish on dry land.

"They do when they are hosted upon this Sesshoumaru's lands." Sesshoumaru replied, just as authoritatively as the leopard youkai had.

The leopard youkai eyed Sesshoumaru, gauging the taiyoukai's strength to his own. He finally sat back, deciding that it was not worth the risk of losing all the human's jewel shards. Very well. I will conduct this elsewhere.

The grip on Kagome tightened as the leopard prepared to move again.

"No! Please!" Kagome pleaded, stretching out a hand towards Sesshoumaru. She had no idea what she was doing, but she knew that she could not allow the leopard youkai to take her away from her only chance of survival.

Sesshoumaru's golden eyes narrowed. For a moment, the wench had sounded like Rin. "Wait."

He called to the leopard youkai. The leopard paused and looked back at the hovering taiyoukai.

"What do you intend to do with the female after you remove the shards from her person." He demanded, making sure that his voice remained calm, yet demanding.

I will kill her for her insolence.

There was a heavy pause. Even Kagome dared not breath.

"This Sesshoumaru cannot allow that." Sesshoumaru stated, raising his head imperiously. The leopard froze and turned completely around to stare at Sesshoumaru.

You wish to mate with the female?

Sesshoumaru felt bile rise in his throat at the mere thought. Kagome stopped struggling in order to give the taiyoukai an incredulous stare.

"No." He grit out, one of his clawed hands clenching his palm.

No matter. She is mine.

"You would do well to give the girl to this Sesshoumaru." He allowed just a bit of poison to begin forming at the tips of his claws.


The jewel shard gave a single, heavy beat that would have knocked a less stronger man down. The leopard youkai's eyes turned black as he placed the girl against a tree. Kagome clutched to the tree as if the branch beneath her was about to break any second. She stared wide-eyed as the two prepared to kill each other. One of her hands held the bottle containing the jewel shards close to her chest in a protective manner, as if the leopard youkai might just try to snatch them from her in the midst of the battle.

Sesshoumaru prepared his Whips of Light, feeling his youki building up in the tips of his claws. He was still quite unsure as to why he was doing this, and it vexed him greatly that he was actually going out of his way to protect a human of all things. The female was just so reminiscent of Rin, the idea of leaving her to the devices of the leopard youkai made him sick to his stomach. He managed to convince himself that he was simply doing this for the joy of killing such a powerful demon, even if the youkai was, in truth, no match for himself.

The leopard youkai pressed at Sesshoumaru's mental barriers, testing him as he had just done recently. Sesshoumaru pushed the youkai out of his mind with a forceful shove. His lip curled in disgust at the youkai's attempt to control him.

"Do not attempt to toy with this Sesshoumaru."

The youkai allowed the mental pressing to ebb. He bared his teeth in manner that somewhat resembled a smile. Impressive.

Suddenly, the leopard youkai lashed out, its huge paw swiping down on the space Sesshoumaru had been occupying moments before. Sesshoumaru had moved to the side just in time to evade the attack. The taiyoukai unleashed his Whips of Light, striking the youkai on the right side of his face and part of his shoulder blades. The leopard youkai roared in pain, making the very air tremble. He staggered back, blood seeping from the wounds and dripping to the ground in huge droplets.

Sesshoumaru sped forward, wasting no time to allow the youkai to heal himself. His claws were

now oozing with poison, which he allowed to spray at his enemy in a swift downward stroke, effectively blinding the youkai. The youkai stumbled to the side, momentarily off balance. He leapt forward blindly, claws outstretched. Sesshoumaru easily evaded the attack by leaping to another tree.

"You will die now." Sesshoumaru stated with that eerie calm he possessed, as if it was simply a fact that the huge leopard youkai would die.

He unsheathed his Tokijin, holding the blade at arm's-length. He raised the blade and brought it downward, much like Inuyasha's own Wind Scar. A blue wave of energy erupted from the tip of the sword, fanning out as it gained strength and speed. The leopard youkai had no chance of escaping the assault. The attack cut through his midsection, tearing his stomach and other internal organs to pieces. The two halves fell to the ground with an earthshaking crash before they both disintegrated into dust, leaving behind a tiny sliver of the Shikon Jewel. With it, left a scent Sesshoumaru hadn't quite noticed before, but the fact that it had disappeared along with the creature made his stomach turn over for some inexplicable reason.


Kagome had watched the entire battle from her current location in the upper branches of a tree. Mixed feelings of relief, shock, and horror washed over her as she watched the battle rage for what seemed an incredibly long time, though in actuality had only lasted several minutes. Just the sheer amount of raw power Sesshoumaru had displayed was enough to send a weaker woman running for the hills, though Kagome had a feeling that she would have been doing just that if she hadn't been stuck up in an elm.

"Wench." Kagome twitched when she heard Sesshoumaru calling to her. "Remove yourself from that elm and collect your jewel shard." He was now hovering several feet in front of her, sliding his Tokijin back into its sheath.

Kagome's eyes widened as she looked downwards at the treacherous climb she would have to embark on if she were to get down. She glanced back at Sesshoumaru, who was still hovering in front of her on that little dust cloud of his.

"I can't climb all the way down there." Kagome cried, already feeling rather sick from merely looking down the tree.

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes, a sure sign that he was getting annoyed. An annoyed Sesshoumaru was never a safe Sesshoumaru to be around. Actually, Sesshoumaru just wasn't safe to be around at all. Kagome recalled experiences in which he had frightened the living daylights out of her just by killing things with such skill and ease, sure that she or Inuyasha would be next.

"Moving!" Kagome announced as she carefully placed one of her feet on the branch below her own. She pushed down, testing its strength before deeming it capable of holding her weight.

"Today, wench." Sesshoumaru growled, feeling his impatience spike at her incredibly slow descent.

Kagome glanced back to glare at Sesshoumaru before slowly working her way down the tree. Sesshoumaru simply stood there, watching her intently as she began her tediously slow descent.

"You know, this would take so much less time if you just let me hop onto that little dust cloud thing!" Kagome complained, her fatigue from climbing clouding her judgment.

"This Sesshoumaru sees no need to increase the speed at which you descend." Kagome rolled her eyes, though she had made sure to be facing the tree as she did so. She did not wish to test the limits of the Western Lord's kindness.

She was nearly half way down when her foot slipped on the branch she had been attempting to climb down to. Her arms wind milled back as she felt herself fall into the open air, her mind wiped blank as she gazed at the blinding blue sky. Kagome opened her mouth to scream yet no sound escaped. And then she was falling...

For a very brief period of time. Sesshoumaru grasped one of Kagome's flailing arms, jerking her from her would-be fatal fall. Her arm popped in protest, but she had been saved by him... again. Kagome sighed in relief and began twisting in an attempt to board Sesshoumaru's cloud.

Sesshoumaru sighed and pulled her upright and set her next to him on the cloud. Kagome turned to the taiyoukai to thank him when the taiyoukai stated while staring straight ahead, "Refrain from being so clumsy in this Sesshoumaru's presence in the future, wench." Kagome glowered at the man furiously and turned away, her arms crossed under her chest. She kept as far from Sesshoumaru as possible while still remaining on the cloud. However, the giant fluff he had placed upon his shoulder was tickling her as they rushed through the air, making her want to giggle.

They traveled quickly and silently to the remains of the giant leopard youkai. The moment Kagome set foot on the ground she dashed to the scene and picked up the tiny jewel shard, instantly purifying it with her miko powers. As she slipped it into the little bottle around her neck, she turned to find Sesshoumaru walking towards her at a much calmer rate, keeping that imperious look of his glued upon his face.

Kagome decided that she would thank Sesshoumaru, even after his exceptionally rude behavior. He had saved her life twice. But then again, she couldn't count how many times he had attempted to bring her life to an end. Oh well, it was the polite thing to do, and Kagome was always one for being polite, even to people like Sesshoumaru.

"Sesshoumaru-" the taiyoukai stared at her, eyes hardening, "er... sir." The glare faded.

"Thank you for saving my life." She grinned brightly, not quite sure of what else she should say.

"Your gratitude is noted." Sesshoumaru replied, turning away to look intently at the forest as if it would share the answer to all his problems if he stared at the trees hard enough.

They stood there in silence, neither of them looking at each other. Kagome fiddled with the hem of her skirt while Sesshoumaru stared into nothingness. Kagome found herself feeling quite uncomfortable with the silence, though she wasn't quite sure what exactly she could do about it. It wasn't as if there were that many things they could talk about. So, is your arm growing back nicely? Kagome nearly giggled at the thought of asking him that, though she doubted Sesshoumaru would appreciate it. She didn't find the fact that he had lost his arm partially due to her doing particularly funny, it was simply the fact that that was the best topic of conversation she could come up with to talk to him about. Though she had to admit, it didn't look as if the Western Lord wanted to talk at the moment, or at any moment for that matter.

"Inuyasha will arrive soon." Sesshoumaru announced, his head tilted upwards as he stared intently into the wooded area. He showed no intention of leaving.

"Great!" Kagome exclaimed, eager to finally say something. She looked back at Sesshoumaru, who simply stared right back at her. Kagome asked hesitantly, "Er... should I go wait for him?"

Sesshoumaru arched a brow and replied, "You already are."

"Oh... er... yeah..." Kagome replied, fumbling for a proper response.

"Unless you feel your safety is compromised in this Sesshoumaru's presence...?" His brow arched higher, though his expression of boredom remained the same.

"What! Of course not. I mean... yes! Should I? Wait, was that a trick question?"

Inuyasha chose this moment to burst through the woods into the clearing, Tessaiga in hand. And lo and behold, Kagome and Sesshoumaru were standing within five feet of each other and not going for each other's throats, something of a felony in Inuyasha's mind. Kagome inched away from Sesshoumaru as if she was somehow subconsciously aware of said felony.

"You." He growled, giving his half brother a pointed glare.

"Indeed." Sesshoumaru replied, a look of utter boredom painted upon his face.

Kagome looked back and forth frantically between the two, not wanting this encounter to blow up into a full scale battle before she had a chance to explain what had just happened. "Inuyasha! It's al-"

Kagome was cut off as Inuyasha took a step forward and shouted, "What did you do to her?"

Sesshoumaru merely arched a brow and replied, "This Sesshoumaru would do nothing to dishonor your wench in that manner."

Kagome rushed to Inuyasha's side before he decided to do something stupid, a common tendency of his when his half brother was in the area.

"Inuyasha, it's alright! Sesshoumaru saved me from that leopard youkai." Kagome said, hoping to ease Inuyasha's frayed nerves. It seemed to do just the opposite as Inuyasha's face contorted in fury.

"Why?" He gritted out, giving Sesshoumaru the scowl he saved specifically for use on his half brother.

"Your inability to destroy the weak youkai yourself caused it to enter this Sesshoumaru's domain. Allowing a youkai to destroy half of one's territory is the sign of a weak ruler, something that this Sesshoumaru is not. Of course, you would not understand such a simple concept, would you? Common sense would be required for such reasoning." Sesshoumaru paused, to allow for the insult to sink in, permitting just a twinkle of malicious amusement to enter his eyes. Kagome turned to stare at him. The youkai had been leaving, supposedly to do his business on a different territory entirely. What was he talking about it?

"Shut up!" Inuyasha shouted angrily, taking a step forward.

"Inuyasha, let's leave before your brother loses his er... good mood." Kagome pleaded, tugging on Inuyasha's sleeve.

"Half brother." Sesshoumaru reminded her from a distance.

"Right. Half brother."

"But..." Kagome could tell he was eager for a fight. "He touched you." Inuyasha had a look of absolute disgust written upon his face. Kagome heard Sesshoumaru scoff, but she ignored it. "I can smell him all over you."

Kagome fought the urge to roll her eyes. "Jeez, he saved my life! The least he could do is leave him be for one day."

"Listen to your wench, hanyou." Sesshoumaru urged, now examining his nails with an air of disinterest. "Save yourself the pain of losing to this Sesshoumaru once again."

"Not helping." Kagome grumbled under her breath.

"Why you!" Inuyasha growled, allowing his Tessaiga to flare to life once again.

"Please." Kagome beseeched, pulling on Inuyasha's sleeve again.

Inuyasha paused and looked back at Kagome, his expression softening. He turned back to his half brother. "Fine. I'll leave this time, but don't expect me to be so forgiving the next time!" He pulled Kagome onto his back and leapt off into the woods without another word.

"Pathetic." Sesshoumaru stated to the open air. He turned around and strode back across the clearing towards his home.


A/N: Well, how did you like the first chapter? I do hope you did! I know that you readers have probably already detected about forty cliches since you've begun, but as you should well know, there isn't a single original story out there today. Heh.

And please do review! I, like so many other authors out there, feed off of them. They revive and inspire our writing spirits, so review if you wish for me to continue! And criticize me! Tell me if I characterized Sesshoumaru and Kagome and everyone else properly. I'd really like to know. Improving is something that I'd like to think I do quite well. SO! Tell me! Please!

In the future, my author notes won't be nearly as long as they are right now. It's just my first chapter in a new fandom, so I need to get everything out ahead of time!

Until next time.