Sorry for the long delay on this one. Beta had personal issues and then accidently deleted her progress when she was halfway through. Best friend just flew in from St. Louis, so don't expect anything from me until at least Tuesday… Unless I get ambitious and edit and post the chapter of Higher Ed I wrote last night.

Chapter 81 – Ruined Sheets and Foiled Plans

Once they were a short distance away from the location of the latest Momoko incident, Sesshoumaru glanced down at the woman held against his side with his arm around her shoulders. He was conflicted and confused. Yesterday, the whore had angered his miko so much that she began to lose control, to what, however, he didn't know, which definitely bothered him. Today, though, it was clear that she was in complete control of herself, her words, and her actions, and yet she was vicious in a way she never had been before. Not even the miko that attacked Isamu and Yuudai had gotten a tongue-lashing the likes of the one Kagome just gave Momoko.

"Kagome, I have never heard you speak to someone in such a way before," he said softly as they walked together.

"I know!" she replied excitedly. "It was awesome, speaking my mind instead of holding it all in to be polite." The miko paused thoughtfully for a moment before craning her neck to see his face. "Did... Did you not like it?"

Sesshoumaru smirked. "It was different. You are usually so sweet and kind that it is easy to forget that you are also very brave and protective, that you have bite. That strength will serve you well as my mate."


"Most of my people, as well as the other cardinal Lords, will disagree with my choice of a human woman as my mate, accusing me of following in my father's footsteps."

Kagome grinned. "Who knows? By then, I might be more demon than human, considering how things have been going."

"True, but that will not stop those envious of you. A great many females have endeavored to become this Sesshoumaru's mate, coveting the wealth and power that come with the position. Quite a few Lords have compelled their daughters to offer themselves to me in the hopes that I might make them my mate unintentionally, as if this Sesshoumaru is as weak and impetuous as to mark a female unworthy of my notice."

The miko laughed softly at the arrogance in his voice, a tone she hadn't heard since she saved his pups, at least not in her direction. "So you slept with them and dumped them?"

"Dumped?" he repeated in confusion, adjusting his hold on her, clasping their hands together, so she could more easily climb the shrine staircase beside him. When they reached the top, she encouraged him to sit next to her on the highest step, which he did, ensuring that his body was touching hers as much as possible.

"You… Ugh, I don't know. You slept with them and then ignored them or insulted them or some other Ice Prince-type behavior until they got the message that you didn't really want them?"

Sesshoumaru carefully studied her expression for a long moment before attempting to answer, as her distaste for his actions was transmitted clearly through her voice and narrowed eyes, and he didn't like the idea that he upset her or that she was disappointed in his behavior, even though it happened long before he ever laid eyes on her. "It is not as if I pursued them, only to then turn them away. I cannot even begin to count how many females I have found in the nude in my bed in my private chambers when I desired to retire for the night." When Kagome giggled beside him, leaning to rest her head on his shoulder, he relaxed. "They never meant anything more than a momentary distraction and a release, and I never gave them any impression otherwise. It was their own haughtiness and wishful thinking that led to their disappointment."

"And am I going to be meeting some of these spurned females at the palace?"

"It is possible, but most left as they realized that they would not become the new Western Lady, despite their very enthusiastic attempts to convince me otherwise."

"You're such a dog," the miko replied teasingly, knowing that he wouldn't get the dual meaning and enjoying confusing the male by her side. "You're lucky your father didn't decide to pick the perfect mate for his perfect heir."

"I had no need for a mate, according to Father. I would not need to produce heirs for many years and all mates did were cause distractions, and I had no time in my training schedule for distractions. He also told me the only female that would desire to be my mate were those looking to improve their own lives, their social and economic status, and that I should be wary of any woman who showed an interest in this Sesshoumaru."

Kagome sighed softly and caught his hand in hers, turning it to study his fingertips absently as she spoke. "I really don't like your father."

The taiyoukai nodded his agreement before continuing. "He was right. Not once has a female attempted to have a real conversation with this Sesshoumaru. They have to fight down their fear of me just to be in the same room as I am. The last thing I desire is to have a mate that is frightened of me, who is uncomfortable being in my presence. I do believe that is what drew my attention to you, Kagome. You, a delicate human woman, showed not even a hint of fear while facing down this Sesshoumaru, not even when I doused you in my poison. Even then, you showed your bravery, speaking to me as you did. To think that you did not even know of the existence of demons for your entire life baffles me. How could you not be frightened while facing down an unfamiliar foe promising almost certain death?"

The taiyoukai watched as the little miko by his side played idly with his dangerous and deadly claws as if touching him was a perfectly natural thing and again, he thanked the gods for giving him such a gift, one he knew he truly didn't deserve. After a long moment of silence, Kagome turned to look at him.

"Because I knew Inuyasha would protect me. As much as I annoyed him in the beginning, he still would never have let anything happen to me. It was probably more his desire not to be alone again, along with him needing me to find the jewel shards for him, rather than real friendship, though. Convincing him that I truly liked him took a very long time. He was always so afraid I would turn on him." She sounded almost wistful as she recalled the early days of her time in the Feudal Era, before a small smirk spread across her lips. "So, did you not have sex until after your father died?"

Sesshoumaru hesitated for a long moment before deciding that he might as well tell her. He didn't want to hide things from the woman that would be his mate. No matter how he felt about his past, he trusted she would never judge him and that his confession would not drive her away.

"As the perfect heir, I was expected to be perfect in every way. Father said it would humiliate him if I was found to be inadequate in bed."

Kagome's eyes narrowed for a moment as she tried to understand what it was that the taiyoukai hadn't said. "You mean he… He made you train for sex, too?" she exclaimed in surprise.

"He did," Sesshoumaru agreed.

"How did he…?"

"A long string of whores, a new one every night without fail."

"Your father picked who you slept with? Even when you lost your virginity?" Kagome asked in shock.


"Your first time," she explained.

"Yes, even the first time."

"That's…" the miko hesitated for a long moment before continuing. "That's sad. It's sad and rather creepy that your father was so concerned about your sexual prowess. I bet you went a little nuts after he died, didn't you? So, what was she like, the first girl you actually got to choose yourself?"

The taiyoukai looked contemplative for a long moment. "I do not remember."

"You don't remember? The first girl you actually wanted, and you don't remember?" she asked in shock.

"She meant nothing more than any other. I told you, they were always merely a distraction and a release, an outlet for my stress at best, though it was never worth it. All it brought me was aggravation, as they suddenly believed themselves to be something more than they were, looking for meaning where there was none. That is why I rarely took women to my bed. Finding them there waiting for me," he paused, his lips twitching up in a small smirk at the memories of sending them out into the halls, too frightened to bother with their clothing. He didn't even need to raise his voice to have them scurrying for safety. Doing so was one of the very few moments in his life, pre-Kagome, when he had fun. "Most of the time I sent them away, ensuring that they understood they did not belong in my chambers and that attempts at seduction would do them no good."

"And sometimes you slept with them," Kagome added what he didn't wish to voice aloud. "Can't say I blame you."

Sesshoumaru raised a brow at the confusing miko by his side. "That does not bother you?"

"What? That you got laid long before we ever even met. No, I think it would bother me more if you were a virgin. You've been alive for a very long time. Of course, you've had sex. I'm sure you've done all kinds of things that I haven't even thought of yet. I'll never get bored with you, because you'll always have a new story to tell me."

"My stories do not typically paint this Sesshoumaru in a positive light."

"I know who you are, Sesshoumaru. I don't expect your life to be filled with cotton candy and rose petals. I told you before; I figured that even in your dreams, you'd be engaged in battle."

"Cotton candy?"

Kagome laughed. "It's a fluffy sweet food, almost like a cloud made of sugar. I'd have to get you some. It's hard to explain. You said before that the kids' moms; they were the last, the most recent."

"Yes," he replied. "Before them, I had not been with a woman for several decades at least, but time passes differently for demons. The days tend to blend into one another, making it difficult to estimate time."

"I'm curious. I've been wondering about it since I first laid eyes on the pups. Did their moms all look the same? Did they look like you and your mother?"

"No, they had different features. One had dark hair, another had dark eyes, and the third had golden hair. Typically, inu pups take after their father a great deal more than their mother. I assume it to be an evolutionary measure to ensure that the sire recognizes and accepts the pups as his own, so that they are well fed and protected, and more likely to survive into adulthood. If they did not bear a resemblance to the father, he might not acknowledge them. He might even deny them completely, which would drastically lower their chance of survival."

"So, when we have…. They'll look like you and the boys?"

"In most circumstances, I would answer affirmatively, but you are a different creature entirely, Kagome. Being a miko, as well as the changes you are going through, might very well affect how our pups will look. Perhaps you can give me a daughter of my own blood. A large percentage of inu pups are male. Females are rare, a blessing given only to those deemed worthy by the gods. If anyone would be worthy, it would be you, my little mate. I would like her to resemble her mother, though.

"I never knew why I saved her, why I revived Rin and allowed her to follow me. I didn't know how she managed to find her way into my heart, a heart that I had believed dead for centuries. At least, I thought I did not know. It is so obvious to me now, why I did what I did, and if only I had been honest with myself, I would have understood it then, as well. She resembles you so very much, Kagome, that you could easily be mistaken for her blood mother. That is why I did not send her away when she tried to help me. That is why I revived her, why I protect her. I looked into those deep, soulful eyes set in a beautiful face that had been so expressive, so similar to yours, and I could not bear to allow her to remain dead. I could not bear to leave her behind or to drop her at another human village to be neglected and abused again. Accepting her was my first step towards accepting my attraction to you, my desire for you, to make you my own."

Kagome smiled, snuggling closer, pleased when he wrapped his arm around her shoulders once more. She felt so safe there, tucked against his strong body, so much so that she sometimes wished they could stay like that forever. "About the kids," she started as she watched people pass by the staircase down at street level. Her friends would be showing up soon. She was actually surprised they hadn't already. "I miss them."

"And I am certain they miss you, as well."

"I don't know why we're doing it like this. We left Friday morning. I haven't seen them for almost five full days, and there's really no reason for it. It's not like they're hours away and visiting would take a lot of time."

"Are you saying you wish to visit the children?"

"Yeah," she replied with a soft sigh. "There's no point in everyone suffering when it isn't necessary. There's no reason we can't go and visit every day. We could even spend the night there, so long as I remember my watch so I don't sleep in."

Sesshoumaru frowned. "I see no issue with visiting, but I would prefer for us to sleep here." When she gave him a slightly confused look, he pressed a soft kiss to her temple. "Finding privacy while traveling is going to be challenging. I merely think we should take advantage of the time we have. I will mourn it as a great loss when you can no longer sleep nude in my arms because the rest of the pack desires to lay with us."

Kagome laughed. "Of course. I should have expected that considering just how much you've been enjoying our nights together."

"You say that as if you have not," he replied, a hint of concern in his tone.

"I have. Of course, I have. I just wasn't thinking about that. I was only thinking about how exhausted and miserable the boys looked when we spent the night at the spring under your barrier. I feel guilty, hanging out with my friends, shopping, sleeping in my nice, comfortable bed while my kids are suffering."

"They will be fine. My sons are strong. You deserve time at home. You deserve to have fun. If you desire to visit, however, I am certain they would be thrilled to see you. Your friends will be here soon, though."

"I was thinking we could go right after the girls leave, around dinnertime."

Sesshoumaru nodded. "There is only one issue that will have to be dealt with." Kagome waited for him to continue, her eyes once again running over the pedestrians passing beneath them. "Not long after we left, the foolish ookami returned, this time with several companions and a small pack of wolves. He has apparently decided that he needs to travel with you, to protect you, as he believes that Inuyasha is not an appropriate protector since he did not know where you were while you were at the palace. He refused to leave and set up camp a short distance from our own. I assume you do not want his presence to interrupt your time with the children."

Kagome rolled her eyes and sighed heavily. "I don't know why he can't get it through his thick skull that I have no interest in him like that," she exclaimed in annoyance. "I don't want to be his mate, and I'm not going to be!"

The taiyoukai smirked. "Of course not. You belong to this Sesshoumaru."

The miko slowly shook her head, ignoring his arrogance. "Gods, if he shows up, I'm going to waste a ton of time trying to get rid of him. All I want to do is hug my kids and hang out with them for a while."

"If you were to shield your aura and scent, it is possible that he might not notice your presence."

"But wouldn't that defeat the purpose? I mean, don't the boys need to be able to feel me? And I know they'll be upset if they can't smell me, too."

Sesshoumaru looked contemplative for a long moment, running various options through his mind. "I will think of some way to keep him away so that you can visit with the children in peace. I will go now and assess the situation while you study."

Kagome grinned. "Thanks. If you can, though, don't tell them I'm coming. I think it'll make a nice surprise." As if they had been waiting for the right moment to show themselves, the miko's school friends appeared at the bottom of the shrine steps, waving as they began the climb. "I'll tell Mama we won't be here for dinner. I'll see you in a bit, okay? And Sesshoumaru," she started, squeezing his hand gently. "Don't kill him. I know you want to, and I know he's an idiot and he probably deserves it, but I still consider him a friend. God only knows why."

"I will not kill him," he replied softly to ensure that her friends wouldn't overhear as they approached. Sesshoumaru rose to his feet, Kagome following along, and he brought her hand to his lips, pressing a kiss to her wrist before they released each other. "I will return."

"Make sure they don't see you," she murmured and he nodded. He would wait until she and her friends were inside before making his way to the well house. "Hi, guys!" the miko exclaimed happily, leading the way towards the house, ignoring the little sounds of disappointment the girls made as they noticed Sesshoumaru heading in the opposite direction. They were really hoping he would join them again. Studying was much more fun with him around to look at.

~ SWtPF~

Sesshoumaru walked slowly across the shrine grounds, making his way to the well house while giving Kagome and her friends time to get inside. He paused for a long moment under the God Tree, studying the scar on the bark caused by fifty years of Inuyasha hanging against it, held fast by Kikyo's arrow. It was intriguing how the mark remained, even after five hundred years. Time could fly by so quickly, but no matter what some things remained constant. Some things could never be forgotten, because they left a mark so deep that it would never fade away. This tree was definitive proof of that.

When he was certain enough time had passed, the taiyoukai continued on to his destination. He extended his senses, ensuring that no one was around to see, before slipping through the sliding door, closing it behind him. Sesshoumaru looked down the short flight of stairs at the well, the portal through time that allowed Kagome to come into his life. Without her, he would still be alone, his sons motherless. He allowed a small smile to show as something dawned on him. Without Kagome, it was likely that he wouldn't even have sons. He hadn't decided to obtain heirs until after the battle with Inuyasha, when he attempted to melt the miko and lost his arm to his own brother. If that hadn't happened, he likely would not be a father at all. Not even Rin would have found her way into his life. He would have been fully and completely alone.

For so long his heart had been cold and empty, ever since the death of his mother, and though he behaved as if it meant nothing to him, just as he had been taught, it hurt. Being so completely alone, separated from everyone by one thing or another was torture, a long, slow kind of torture, and he couldn't even show the pain. Things would have gone on in that fashion until the end of time if fate hadn't chosen to drag her into his world, and though he knew just how hard it was on her, he would never wish it any other way. Without her and the influence she had on his life… He didn't even want to think about it.

Sesshoumaru made his way down the steps and ran one claw along the old, weathered wood. The magic of the well seemed to rise up to welcome him, and the taiyoukai said a silent thank you for carrying Kagome to him and for allowing them both continued passage. He thanked the Bone Eater's Well for letting Rin through when she needed them. He thanked it for the lives of his sons, for the return of his brother, and for all the hope he now held for the future. Wondering why he was feeling quite so overly sentimental, the taiyoukai tossed thoughts of what might have been away for something more pressing. How could he keep Kouga from ruining Kagome's visit with the children?

With that question in mind, Sesshoumaru leapt into the well, blue light carrying him to his era. Looking up, he saw the brightness of a sky untouched by pollution, contrasting with the sharp, healthy green of the leaves visible at the top of the long shaft. He took a moment to study his modern clothing, wondering if he should have changed into his usual wardrobe. He wouldn't have been able to do so without raising questions from her friends, however, so it simply couldn't be helped. He felt somewhat exposed without his usual armor and swords, but he didn't really need any of it. He could defend himself just fine with his bare hands when necessary.

The taiyoukai jumped out of the well and began the walk towards their camp, his steps unhurried. More likely than not, he would be met by his sons long before he might have reached them, and he readied himself for their disappointment when they realized that he had come alone. Their reaction to his current appearance, though, promised to be entertaining and would serve to soften the blow that his own sons preferred Kagome to him.

~ SWtPF~

Hiromi raised a brow in confusion, which quickly mutated into amusement. She just pulled Kagome's fitted sheet from the dryer, intending to fold it, and her fingers slipped unexpectedly through the fabric. She held it up, finding several tears on one side and a matching set on the other, with just enough space in between for a human body. Well, a humanoid body. The older woman laughed as she pictured Sesshoumaru fighting so hard to restrain himself that his claws tore right through the bedding, and likely the mattress beneath. He didn't come off as someone who held back from doing something if they desired to, which made her wonder just what her daughter had been doing to the taiyoukai to instill such a battle for self-control.

She shook her head, reminding herself that she needed to have a talk with Kagome about physical intimacy sometime soon, before her daughter returned to the past once more. She needed to know that no one would be disappointed in her if she chose to have sex. Things for Kagome were different than they were for typical girls her age, and she could not be held to the usual societal standards. She had no need to hide things, or to feel guilty. Then there was also the issue of birth control. Now was not the time for babies, no matter how adorable they would be. Life would be hard enough already, and so her daughter needed to be prepared to prevent an accidental pregnancy.

The sound of Kagome calling out to her snapped Hiromi from her thoughts, and her eyes widened before she stuffed the sheet back into the dryer and quickly turned it on. Now was not the time for such a conversation, not when her daughter needed to be able to focus on her studies.

"In here, dear," she replied, busying herself with the items she already folded, shifting them around as her daughter entered the room.

"Hey, Mama," the miko started with a small smile as she thought of the children she would soon be seeing again. "Sesshoumaru and I won't be home for dinner tonight. We're gonna go visit the kids for a while once I'm done studying."

"Are you? I'm sure they will be thrilled to see you."

"Yeah, I had no idea I'd miss them so much," Kagome confessed.

"I'm not surprised. They're your children. It doesn't take long for children to find their way into your heart and once there, it's as if they've always been yours. Will you be home for the night?" she asked, trying to keep her voice as innocent as possible. Of course, they would be home for the night, because the few nights they had remaining of their stay was all they would have. Privacy in the Feudal Era with nine children clinging to their mother would be nearly impossible, and they wouldn't want to give that time together up.

Kagome fought not to blush as she recalled Sesshoumaru's reasoning for why they should stay the night in her era before nodding. "Yeah, that way there's no problem with me making it to school on time." Sure, it wasn't the real reason, but it was a reason nonetheless, so she wasn't really lying to her mother, was she?

"All right, dear. Now, you shouldn't keep your friends waiting again. They were already very patient with you yesterday."

Kagome grinned as she remembered just why her friends had been forced to wait for her the day before as she nodded at her mother and turned to head upstairs. Both history and geography awaited her. Though the subjects were taught together, the exam was broken into two, both so that all the essential information could be covered and to allow the students a break for lunch. The next few hours were going to be boring, but she needed to cram as many facts into her head as possible if she wanted to earn a passing grade.

~ SWtPF~

Naraku was sure he had never been as angry as he was at that moment. He hadn't known such a level was even possible, but he had so much to be angry about, so many things that enraged him, and new ones were popping into his head all the time. It wasn't even the fact that Kagura had damn near severed his favorite appendage. No, he was almost proud of her for thinking of something so vicious, let alone following through with it. Apparently, she had been paying more attention than he thought. He typically enjoyed pain anyway, though she managed to find the line, his personal threshold where it was no longer pleasurable, and then cross it. That wasn't the focus of his fuming temper at all.

She was gone! His only remaining incarnation, the only one truly capable of doing his bidding was gone, and he didn't have a chance in hell of hunting her down. That feather of hers, which had served his will for so long, guaranteed that she was gone. He wouldn't be surprised if she flew straight up when she first escaped. It's what he would have done if he were in her place, knowing that following would eventually become impossible.

It hadn't dawned on him right away. No, the first thing he did after her daring escape, after ensuring that his dick healed properly, was find the humans that had been responsible for chaining Kagura's hands behind her back. He didn't think they were in on it with her, but it still wouldn't have happened if only they did their jobs properly. They cost him his best, his only real servant, and replacing her was not going to be easy. He drew out their deaths for quite a while, torturing them both until he lost interest and allowed them to expire.

Only then did he realize what Kagura's escape truly meant to him. There was no one left to follow his orders. Yes, Kohaku remained, but he was only useful when she had been there to transport him where he was needed. On his own, the boy was little more than a way to cause Sango emotional pain. Sure, it was fun, but it wasn't very helpful. The few hanyou servants he had were weak and stupid. They were useless creatures; good for little more than preparing food, and even in that they had no skill.

Yes, the panthers had agreed to help him, at least with his planned attack on Inuyasha on the coming night of the new moon, but he hadn't the faintest idea where to find them. He hadn't cared to find out where they lived, because he never had any intention of locating them himself. There had been no need. Now, he was going to have to search all over the kami's creation, which he considered a massive waste of time. He didn't even know where to start.

He was the villain. He was the master. He didn't do grunt work! At least, he hadn't done grunt work up until that point. Once he gathered enough power to create Kanna, and then Kagura soon afterward, he hadn't lifted a finger. He came up with the genius plans and other people carried them out. That was how he liked things, but now the status quo was ruined. How would things get done? How would his perfect plans come to fruition without followers to do his bidding? He refused, absolutely refused to do menial tasks!

What was an evil spider hanyou to do? Naraku knew he had very few options. When he reabsorbed Kanna, after breaking her mirror in his anger, he considered replacing her by creating another incarnation. He quickly decided against it, as the quality of his children varied wildly from one to the next. Some were everything he ever desired. Kanna had been his best work, and he blamed her demise on Inuyasha and his merry band of fools. If they hadn't succeeded in locating Kagome before he could, he would never have broken her mirror.

Some of his incarnations were indifferent to their creator and father, which was still something he could work with. He was very capable of manipulating others into doing his will, and he simply made them believe that his carefully worded orders were their ideas. It was the others, the ones born with such a burning hatred of him that they had to be disposed of, that made him wary of another attempt.

It took such a great deal of energy, and he wasn't sure he wanted to roll the dice again and risk losing. When he made that decision, he still had Kagura and, along with her, any foolish youkai she could find that he could bend to his will. With her gone, he had to do something. He had absolutely no intention of doing the things he always forced her to do instead. Not a chance in hell.

He needed someone else, someone new, and so Naraku resigned himself to creating a follower once more from his own life force. Hopefully, it would go well. He possessed a bigger chunk of the jewel than he had the last time he had gone through this process, so maybe he would have more control. There was also a chance that it would take less energy, which could only be positive. He didn't like the idea of being weakened in his current situation, but he had little choice in the matter.

As he readied himself for the coming endeavor, the spider hanyou allowed his mind to wander to how he would punish Kagura once he caught her, because he was definitely going to catch her. On the scale of importance, hearing her scream in agony was third in line, outshined only by completing the jewel and slaughtering all those fools that had stood in the way of his plans in one way or another.

He would hear a great many other screams first. He would hear Sango scream as he plucked the jewel shard from Kohaku's back and she watched her only living family member die right before her eyes with no way to help him. He would hear the monk scream as he slit the slayer's throat, the girl having lost the will to fight along with her brother. He would hear Inuyasha scream as he attempted to save his remaining friends from being sucked into Miroku's wind tunnel, as the monk himself was lost to his curse. Kagome would scream as the foolish half-breed bled out at his feet. She would scream as he caught her little kit and snapped his neck.

Oh, he would hear Kagome scream in so many ways and those screams would continue long past her capture. He would make her scream all day every day and every night, every moment possible, until her frail human body gave out on her, unable to stand it anymore. She would scream in agony and beg for him to stop. She would plead for him to just kill her, but he intended to be careful with the little miko.

He wanted the time with her that he was denied with Kikyo, and he had twice as much fun planned for Kagome because of that loss. She was close enough. Two people couldn't get any more similar than sharing the same soul. He wanted her to last as long as possible, for years even if he could drag it out so long. He would have the full power of the jewel at his disposal, after all, so if he desired to keep her alive until the end of time; he might just be able to.

That sounded like such a lovely future that Naraku forgot all about Kagura. He even forgot his demoness doll, Shinya, as he wrapped his hand around his cock and squeezed hard. He might as well take a moment to relax before beginning the task of creating a new incarnation. Besides, he needed to make sure the thing still worked after such a devastating injury. It had to, because if it didn't, it would be a very awkward hunt as he searched for the perfect dick to replace it.