By Priestess Skye
Edited by Yabou
Summary: The days of peace and prosperity come to an end the night an assassin slips into the lady's room during a failed attempt. The West is now at war and Sesshoumaru must fight for what's his: not for the west, or for himself, or even for his honour. He's fights for her, and for him.
NOTE: landofthekwt wrote a small side story to this story for my birthday so go check it out because it is flattering and fabulous! It's called an Empty Nest and can be found here : .net/s/4598347/1/Empty_Nest
The hallways were damp from the night air and barely lit as most of the torches were extinguished for the evening. A chill had set in the castle, from the cool weather and the eerie silence. Servants were scattered across the dwelling, told to remain in their rooms as the guards kept an open eye on the perimeter outside.
The silence was deafening as they waited for the unexpected.
Their lord's orders were absolute. No one walks in, nobody walks out.
For those who had been serving in the castle for centuries, they could only remember him giving this order once before, the first night he came home with their lady and the cook had poisoned her evening repast. Most of them still shuddered at the public display their lord had made of him; slowly injecting his own dokkaso, he made him writhe in pain for hours on end as the poison ate him from the inside out, leaving nothing behind but a gooey mess. All the while his mate lay in their bed recovering from her near death.
Everybody watched, and everybody learned. Another attempt had not been made on her life since.
They knew there was going to be bloodshed as soon as their lord prepared for war. Osamu had overstepped his bounds and the once easy alliance was broken the moment his assassin whispered his name, before falling to his own peril.
One did not harm Lord Sesshoumaru's mate and live to tell the tale.
While the Lord of the South had never been of the friendly sort, his mutual interests with Lord Sesshoumaru had solidified an agreement between the two, as both the lands were rich with resources. As strong as they were on their own, together, they were seen as unstoppable and prevented any and all who thought to relieve them of their power.
The introduction of a human into the foray threw a wrench in the agreement as a large part of the alliance was based on their shared disgust of the human species as a whole. The miko only weakened Lord Sesshoumaru's position in the eyes of Lord Osamu. It made him amenable to other humans who might think they could influence the young lord.
Of course, anyone who knew their lord knew this couldn't be further from the truth as Lord Sesshoumaru still had a very low tolerance for anybody who wasn't a youkai. Their lady wasn't a simple human, she was so much more, and her years at the stronghold had only solidified her position there, as many of the occupants became loyal to her, not just loyal to the Taisho's mate.
There was many a soldier who would gladly give up their lives for hers because of a kind word or a simple gesture that had endeared her to them. Not many ladies would willingly spend all night next to a deathbed with the healer helping to cleanse the wounds of soldiers injured in battle.
For most ladies, it was beneath their position.
She not only considered it her duty, she considered it her privilege.
Tonight, it was their night to show their lady how much she meant to them. Tonight, every soldier and guard, whether on duty or off, was outside patrolling, fighting to keep her safe.
Floorboards creaked quietly in the darkness, the only indication that there was someone up and moving about inside the palace. A second creak soon followed as a woman covered in a dark cloak walked closely behind the first figure.
Hard, gold eyes scanned each hallway before leading the woman through them and, finally, toward his study. The great, enchanted bamboo doors opened as it read their auras, and closed behind them with a near silent click. It wouldn't let anybody else in for the rest of their night.
Without lighting a lamp, he gestured to the old, worn yellow bag filled with items he believed necessary for her journey. He sent her an apologetic look as he set the bag near the fireplace so she could grab it on her way out. Under typical circumstances, he would never burden her with such a menial object, especially given her delicate condition. But, tonight was not typical, nor would be the coming days.
She couldn't stay here though, he mused sadly. The entire stronghold was about to become a war zone, and she was the one person he wouldn't risk in this battle. Her life, and the life of their child, meant more to him than his birthright or his heritage. They meant more to him than his own life, which he would gladly give if it meant she would never have to face the dangers she had earlier.
There was nothing more they could do now than wait.
He pulled her close as he sat against the wall under a window. The moonlight just brushed the top of her ebony hair, seemingly making it glow in the darkness.
He could smell her tears, feel her body shaking against his as she felt reality sink in. She didn't make a sound, but she didn't need to for him to know her heart was breaking.
After all, his was breaking too.
"It's only temporary," he murmured into her hair as he nuzzled the top of her head. He had to let go of her soon enough. He wasn't going to let her go for the little time he had left with her.
"What about the baby?" she sniffed as she curled into him, closer.
One of his arms wrapped around her, to rest on her stomach. 'A few more weeks,' he had mused. He wished he had a few more weeks with her to watch her finish out her term and to watch his son come into the world. Releasing her stomach for a moment, he pulled a small crescent moon pendant from his kosode. "Wear this, and I'll know. I'll be there as soon as I can get there. I promise you."
"How can you promise if you don't know what's going to happen?"
He sighed. "I don't know what will happen. I do know, though, that I would never let you go through this alone. If I'm not there during the event, I'll be there shortly after. I will see my son," he said it with so much conviction that she couldn't help but believe him.
"Okay," she murmured as she wrapped both her arms around him. If he wasn't going to let her go before he had to, she was going to do the same, and she would relish the peace she felt in his arms at this moment. It would be a long time before she would feel this way again, she knew. "Will I know where you are?" she asked.
"No. The only way to do that would be to send a message. I don't want the message intercepted or the messenger to prove untrustworthy. I will not risk either of you."
The tears in her eyes started to spill over in earnest. One hundred years with him and she had not left his side for more than three days. Now they were to be separated for what could be years. She knew the strength of Osamu's army, just as she knew the strength of her own.
This would not be an easy battle.
"I'll see you again," he kept whispering to her. "Believe we will win, and the moment we do I'll have you back here and I'll never separate from you again."
He needed to be strong for her, though it was tearing him apart.
"When will he be here?" she asked.
"Just before first light. I want to get you out of here under the cover of darkness. I don't want any of Osamu's spies to know you have left here until you are long gone and undetectable. You have the ring I gave you?"
She lifted her hand to show him the simple silver band. There was something about him and enchanted jewelry, she mused. She had always thought it was something out of a book, a fantasy, until she had met him.
"Keep that on, and they shouldn't detect my scent on you. They don't know you well enough to know what you'd naturally smell like."
"I'll keep it on because it's from you," she told him, as she smiled. "Same with the pendant. Even after our daughter is born," she teased, debating the sex of their unborn child as they usually did.
"If you weren't pregnant with our son, I'd consider keeping you here with me. I'd be able to protect you."
She smiled lightly. "I know you could, but this started because of the baby and I couldn't bear it if something happened to you because you were too busy looking after the two of us and not yourself."
They sat huddled together in the darkness, enjoying the silence, even though it was with some trepidation. The silence was not the natural silence they shared together each night, but if it were a choice between sharing it now, or not at all, they were going to take what they could.
She would be leaving soon, she thought sadly. If she weren't human, if she weren't miko, maybe this could have been avoided, but she couldn't deny her heritage, and truth was, she wouldn't even if she could. She knew that her mate felt the same way.
Her humanity was one of the things he loved most about it, as he told her time and time again.
"It's time," she felt Sesshoumaru nudge her before standing the two of them up. His arms remained tight around her stomach because he wanted to maintain contact with her until the very last minute.
"Where am I going?" she finally asked him after hours of speculation.
"To safety," he nodded as someone stepped into the room near the fireplace.
If the familiar red cloth of the fire rat wasn't familiar enough, the silver hair that accompanied it was a dead give away. "Inuyasha." She wanted to run to him, wrap her arms around him in greeting as she hadn't spoken with him since before the mating.
But she stood next to Sesshoumaru, knowing there would time to catch up with his brother later.
She turned inquiring eyes to her mate, knowing the relationship between the two was still incredibly strained after all these years, a large part of it due to her.
"He's the only one I trust to protect you with his life," her mate explained to her, pain evident in his eyes. It was killing him to send her off with his brother.
She nodded in understanding before turning to face him. "I'll miss you."
He didn't reply to this as she knew he would miss her as well. Terribly.
But it was for the best. Or so he kept telling himself. "I'll be there when our son is born," he reiterated.
"I'm holding you to that."
He released her after a moment, knowing they had to leave now if they wanted to be well away before dawn broke. Turning to his brother, he handed him the yellow backpack. "I will find you, don't send any messages to me," he said, although the look he sent him said much more.
'Unless it's a matter of life or death.'
Inuyasha nodded, having heard the unspoken message. "Come on Kagome," he held out his hand for her.
Turning back to her mate, she jumped into his arms one last time, tears pouring down her face despite trying to prove to herself that she could be strong about this. "Don't take too long to kick his ass, okay?"
He chuckled, a rare sound she relished and loved. "I'll do my best."
And for the last time in the foreseeable future, he pressed his lips to hers in desperation, taking both their breaths away until Inuyasha interrupted them.
"Yo, asshole, if you want her out of here safely, we need to leave now."
He looked down into his mate's eyes, one final time. "Go," he whispered, his mouth hovering just over hers. "Go, and live for me."
"You live for me too," she replied before running to Inuyasha and not looking back, knowing that once she did she would crumble and break.
AN New story, yay! Will be filled with lots of angst, just a warning. I have ten chapters written already, so there are plenty in the bank and this will be updated once a week.
A big thanks to a few people. First to shon7 who gave me the premise for the idea. It sort of evolved from the original idea, but I fell in love with it the moment I heard it, and it just took right off. And to Yabou for being a wonderful cheerleader. She was wonderful to bounce ideas off "would it be mean and evil if I…"
So I hope you enjoy the story, it has been a hoot to write so far, and please drop me a line to let me know what you think or if you think I'm just off my rocker :)
Disclaimer: Inuyasha and company do not belong to me, they belong to Rumiko Takahashi. However the characters of Satoru, Cho and Osamu are mine.