A procession consisting of five gleaming black stretch Hummers, followed by six equally glossy black Expeditions, pulled up in front of the Kyoto palace. The show of power and wealth was dazzling to the average Japanese person, for few owned cars, much less vehicles that were so expensive and costly to maintain: from emission taxes to fuel, parts and maintenance. Footmen immediately appeared to open doors and welcome Lord Genshu, Inuyasha, his friends, and six gorgeous youkai females. Lord Genshu had dictated that the females should ride two to a vehicle and that they were to treat each other with courtesy. He was obeyed, as long as looks filled with hate, jealousy and scorn didn't count.
Jaken took in the high level of antagonism amongst the rivals for Sesshoumaru's bed and mentally shook his head. He sent prayers of praise to the kami above that they had put Kagome in his master's arms, so that he was safe from these vicious bitches. He suddenly understood what humans meant when calling another a dog. Of course, humans referred to looks, but these females were dogs in the worst sense of the word. Physically beautiful beyond all imagination, to Jaken's eyes they were the ugliest creatures he had ever seen, their spiteful, mean, vindictive feelings illuminating their features as they glared at each other.
"Jaken!" Lord Genshu approached and the majordomo bowed properly. "Have my things taken to my room and have accommodations prepared for each of my guests." He strode through the open door behind Jaken, arrogant and in control, every inch the Lord of the West. The females and Inuyasha and his two females followed in his wake. Jaken turned to also follow Lord Genshu, observing the way the six prospective mates scrutinized the entry of the palace, rating the value of the exquisite furnishings and antiques that dressed the elegant vestibule.
Genshu gestured for one of the females to join him, permitting her to walk at his elbow while he indicated certain items of interest that were on display. He led the way to the reception room, where there was a modest throne on which he could sit while he entertained those in his train. The double doors slid open to admit him and he walked through only to come to a shocked halt, his followers piling up behind him.
What had been a throne room was now a gracious sitting room, tastefully decorated, with comfortable seating arrangements that encouraged conversation and all arranged to view and appreciate the incredibly beautiful view of the gardens. And, worse, the room was not empty. Maeko stood up as he entered, followed slowly by Kosuke, her very powerful mate, and a ningen female of middle years. They had been enjoying tea and conversation when he entered.
It was at this moment that he began to regret his years of drinking and smoking, for they had obviously done much to dull his once-sharp senses to the point where he hadn't picked up Maeko's memorable and unique scent. Now, in her presence, it filled his head with the memories it engendered.
"Why Genshu, such a surprise to see you." She greeted coldly. He answered with a low growl. Another growl rumbled through the room, deeper, more dangerous. He moved his eyes to Kosuke, whose eyes were turning a very deep shade of gold, tending towards red. The bitches behind him immediately lowered their heads and gathered together in the face of this meeting of two alpha males.
"What the hell are you doing here, and with your lap dog?" Genshu snarled, turning his eyes away from Kosuke as though he considered the other male no threat. The insult was not missed, but Kosuke was not lost to his emotions and was willing to allow his mate control in this situation. If, however, Genshu dared to touch his mate...
"She is here at my invitation, Father." Sesshoumaru entered the room from the terrace beyond. Genshu looked harshly at his older son.
"She is not welcome in any of my homes." He snapped.
"I don't believe that the Kyoto house is one of your homes, Father." Sesshoumaru reminded him in an icy tone. "If I recall accurately, it was granted to me upon my reaching maturity."
"And so you deemed you had the right to change this, my reception room?" Genshu was angered by so many things that he latched onto one of the least irritating.
"As the residence is mine, I judge this too be my room to arrange however I desire. And Mother's suggestions have certainly created a better use of the space." He smiled, malicious enjoyment filling his heart. Refuting his father's claims was proving to be more entertaining than he had ever expected. He nearly tingled with the knowledge that he'd managed to defy his father in something more than the small infractions of previous times. The other male snarled in an effort to remind this impudent pup who his alpha was.
Bored by the drama building between his father and brother - having been there and seen it all before - Inuyasha left the room, dragging his guests, Kikyou and Sango, behind him. "Asshole," he muttered when he was safely beyond his brother's hearing.
"Do you think they're going to fight?" Sango questioned, her eyes brightening in expectation.
"Naw, the bastard will back down. Dad's alpha and Sesshoumaru knows it. Besides, all the power is on Dad's side. He has to obey his Sire." Inuyasha snickered, thinking about the six inu youkai females that his brother would have to choose a mate from. He corrected himself, not females, but bitches. And they were bitches in every sense of the word. He couldn't think of a more deserving male than Sesshoumaru to receive one of them as his mate. He sincerely hoped that Sesshoumaru would refuse to choose; leaving the choice to their father. He knew the bitch his father favored. She had slept with his father repeatedly and understood that she would continue to do so after the mating, Genshu not being particular as to who fathered the heir he had demanded of his older son, either himself or Sesshoumaru, it didn't matter. Inuyasha wondered how Sesshoumaru would enforce dominance over her when she was also his father's lover. He couldn't possibly out-alpha his alpha and the bitch would be sure to use that against him.
"Inuyasha, where are we going?" Kikyou asked.
"To find Kagome. Like I told you before, our job is to get Kagome out of here and back to Tokyo, without the bastard interfering." He led them through the palace towards the study where Kagome and Sesshoumaru spent so much of their time; their scent thick in the air even when it was old. He opened the door on the empty room, looking about to make sure she wasn't hiding from them. Nope, she just wasn't there.
"Hmmm," Sango peered over his shoulder, "I bet she's at school." Kikyou pushed them out of her way and walked boldly into the room.
"Well, let's see just what she's been studying." She sat down at Kagome's computer and began to pull up files.
"Keh!" Inuyasha scoffed, "As if she'd be doing anything of interest or importance!"
"I don't know, Inu, this looks pretty interesting." Kikyou had pulled up a report that Kagome had put together on a number of companies she and Sesshoumaru had been considering for investment. It had all the pertinent information necessary to make the decision on which would prove the best for profit. Kikyou printed out the document. She picked the first page up from the printer. "I think that this bitch has another use for you and your father." She handed the page to Inuyasha, giving him the chance to peruse the document.
"Hey, this sounds like she knows what she's doing!" He exclaimed, surprised that there was more to her than what was between her legs. The three of them read the entire report, expressing their shock at Kagome's incisive observations. They continued to snoop through her files, looking to see what else there was of value therein. It kept them busy for quite a while and time passed without their noticing.
"Excuse me, please," the humble words came from Maeko, but her tone was haughty. She moved to stand between Sesshoumaru and Lord Genshu. She leveled a sharp glare at the father of her son, a smile of wicked enjoyment curving her lips. "Genshu, so rude of you to offer me such a welcome. Am I not the Breeder who bore your heir? Don't you think I am deserving of some respect?" She smiled at his low snarl. "Yes, well, perhaps you are remembering the agreement my clan forged with you after you raped me." Now Sesshoumaru was growling, she silenced him with a touch. "No, my darling boy, let me handle this." She turned back to the angry lord before her.
"While my son may know he's entitled to certain things I've never told him how he came about. I've never told my son how you invited me to your Tokyo residence to allow me the chance to meet with you and decide whether or not I wished to be the breeder of your heir. I've never told him how, during that visit, you raped me repeatedly until I conceived the child you wanted. Nor is he aware of the covenant my clan demanded in return for your outrageous behavior; the covenant that states that Sesshoumaru is the Heir to the West and neither he nor his offspring can be passed over in the succession. You cannot revoke his title or rank, Lord Genshu. Don't you remember that clause of the agreement? Or the clause granting him the ownership of the Kyoto palace upon attaining his maturity. You've probably also forgotten the clause that grants me a mother's rights to my son, superseding even your rights as his father." Genshu was growling very loudly now, and the bitches at his back moved fearfully away, not wanting to be caught in his attack on the tall, slender female before him. He took a threatening step closer to Maeko.
Kosuke moved with a speed that startled a cry from Mrs. Higurashi. Genshu stepped back when the stocky male appeared between Maeko and himself. "You will not even breathe upon my mate, coward!" Kosuke growled, his lips twisted in a snarl, his eyes promising death.
"Mate," Maeko laid her hand on his shoulder, calming him slightly.
"I spent decades helping her to heal from the injuries she suffered at your hands, decades teaching her she could trust. I will rip your heart out of your chest and hold it, still beating, before your dying eyes if you even think to touch the one who is mine!" Genshu looked into the shorter male's eyes and realized that this wasn't a threat, but a promise; and the other male had the power to back his up words. Maeko stepped from behind Kosuke to stand at his side, and Genshu realized that to attack one was to attack the other and they would defend each other with all of their considerable combined power.
"What is past is past, beloved Kosuke." She looked at her mate with deep, eternal love. He smiled at her gently. She then cast her eyes towards the crowd of trembling females. Arousal was thick in the air around them coating their fear like a heavy fog. 'It never fails,' she though snidely, 'throw two alphas at each other and the bitches cream themselves.'
"What are these, Genshu, your whores?" She gestured towards them contemptuously.
"These are females whom I have found to be worthy of being Sesshoumaru's mate. I have decreed that he should have one week to make his choice from among them." Genshu raised himself to his greatest height, determined to have his way.
Sesshoumaru moved forward, but paused at his mother's gesture. "Genshu, I don't believe there is a one of these whores who does not bear your scent. You have lain with all of them, haven't you? You are truly disgusting! Do you really think that Sesshoumaru would be content with your leavings? Do you honestly think that I would permit you to hang one of your sluts around my son's neck for all his life?" She stared down the now-growling bitches, allowing her magic to flare, surrounding them with her golden fires. They silenced and submitted immediately in the face of an alpha bitch. It was unsurprising to her that all of them were cowards at heart when not being vicious.
"You have forgotten one other thing, Genshu, I am the only one who has the power to approve the choice of mate for my son." She smiled at him. "And I have already chosen and approved his mate and Sesshoumaru has already agreed to my choice. Though, I admit my son's happiness comes first." She murmured with a sigh, "I doubt I would have denied anyone as long as they proved themselves worthy in my son's eyes."
Kagome and Rin sat in the student union enjoying their lunch and discussing their last class. Their professor had paired his students off and given them a difficult assignment, or, at least, difficult for the other students. "Don't worry, Rin. I have the research already done. This is exactly what I do for Sesshoumaru's investment portfolio." She took a bite of food, chewed quickly and swallowed. "I have all the information on my computer at home. Why don't you come home with me today? You can meet my mom and Sesshoumaru's mother and step father and then we can go over the stuff I have on the computer and put our project together."
"Kagome, you are incredible. We'll have the project done weeks before everyone else!" Rin giggled at the thought. "And I was hoping to meet your folks. Your mom must be incredible."
"You have no idea, Rin. No idea. And Maeko, Sesshoumaru's mom is… Kami, I don't even know how to describe her. You simply have to meet them," she said shaking her head at the thought of trying to describe the indescribable Maeko. The girls finished their lunch and went off to their cars. Thanks to their hands-free, in-car phone systems, they were able to laugh and talk all the way to the palace, where they parked their cars in the garage courtyard and entered the palace from the back, heading straight to the study where Kagome's computer was.
Rin looked at Kagome's face when they heard voices coming from the study as they approached. She didn't recognize the voices, but it was obvious that Kagome did. Kagome was red-faced and furious as she swept the door open and exclaimed, "What the hell do you think you're doing on my computer?"
The three individuals jumped, startled by her sudden appearance. The girl seated at the desk stood up to face Kagome.
"Why Kagome, how nice to see you again. We've just been going over some of the work you've been doing. Very clever."
"Get the hell out of my study!" Kagome snarled.
Inuyasha smiled unpleasantly as he moved towards her. "You don't order me around, breeder. But, you know, you can make us some good money while my Dad and I fuck you. And guess what," he chuckled darkly, "you're going to be re-marked as a clan breeder. I can't wait to sink my cock into you. Even if you are sloppy seconds from Sesshoumaru." His hand snapped out to strike her across the face as she jumped back, out of his reach, crowding Rin behind her. Sango and Kikyou moved to flank her.
"Maybe you should fuck her now," Kikyou suggested lasciviously; eager to watch Inuyasha with the gaijin. He grinned at the thought.
"You got a little kink you never told me about, Kikyou?" He gave the girl a wink then turned back to Kagome. "I'll enjoy teaching you to be a good little whore, breeder." Eager to do as Kikyou had suggested, he pounced suddenly, grabbing Kagome and hauling her into his arms. "How about it, Kagome, ready for a little fucking while my girl watches?"
"Make it rough," Sango ordered savagely. Normally not one to advocate that kind of violence her logic was clouded by her hatred of Kagome. All she had done was protect her family and now they were scorned for what happened to a foreigner under their protection. The loss of face was too much for her pride to bear.
Inuyasha laughed and grabbed Kagome's breast, handling it brutally, his fingers digging into her soft flesh cruelly.
"Let me go, Inuyasha. Let me go or I'll purify you into a human!" Kagome promised, grasping his arms with her hands. The two girls grabbed for her arms in an effort to keep her from harming their hanyou friend.
"Oh, no! You are not going to lay a hand on my friend!" Rin roared, diving between the girls and Kagome; leaving Kagome to handle the half-demon. She felt the icy blaze of Kagome's powers rising behind her and Inuyasha's gasp at his first contact with them.
Rin had shared a number of things with her best friend, but something she had failed to mention, other than that she could take care of herself, was that her father had insisted on her training with martial arts masters from when she had barely been walking to the present. He believed it would be better for her to be able to protect herself, rather than depend on others who might forget where their loyalties lay.
The two girls jumped back at Rin's sudden appearance. Kikyou's eyes narrowed. "So the gaijin has a little friend. Let me give you a proper greeting, little friend." She swept her right arm out, intending to backhand the smaller girl. Rin grabbed the limb and, using Kikyou's momentum, flung the girl across the room to sprawl across the leather couch upside down.
Sango didn't waste time on speech; she simply waded in, using her greater height and weight to subdue her slighter opponent. Rin traded blows with her for a moment, taking her measure, before she grimaced in disgust and took her down, leaving her writhing in pain.
"I am not trained to leave my opponents living." Rin informed her. "Don't make me regret this choice," she added as Sango made to rise. Sango fell back to the floor, humiliated by her easy defeat. Kikyou slipped off the couch onto the floor, hurting as she had never done so before. She looked at the girl who had just taught her how to fly and she landed hard. How could so small and delicate a girl have taken the two of them down so quickly and easily? Rin eyed her like a snack. She dropped her head in submission, unwilling to experience more pain.
They all jumped at the chilling shriek that issued from the hanyou who had grabbed Kagome. The room was now lit by the bright purple glow of the barrier with which Kagome had surrounded herself and Inuyasha. They stared at the furious foreign girl and the hanyou she grasped tightly with her hands, hands from which her magic emanated, wrapping around the male who had dared to threaten her. Her power surrounded him, immersing him in its cold burn, destroying the demon blood that had dominated his life, consuming it like dry wood in an agony of purple fire, cold fire, icier than Sesshoumaru's coldest looks, more chilling than winter in Antarctica, more bitter than the ice of the farthest comets orbiting within the oort cloud. He tried to fight it, tried to force her throbbing, tormenting power out of him, but failed as her energies ripped his demon blood apart, leaving only the human part of his body and mind behind. With one last anguished, bloodcurdling shriek, he fell to the floor at her feet, spent, barely conscious, conquered by a human girl.
"What the hell was that?" Genshu exclaimed. Sesshoumaru smirked at him as he passed, having felt the pull on his magic, "That would be my mate greeting my brother," he informed him as he headed towards his mate's location, anticipating the feel of his brother's blood coating his claws, to then slid off them slowly and drip to the floor – the price for touching his mate.
The whole family followed him as he raced off; Maeko and Kosuke taking Mrs. Higurashi gently up in between them. The six bitches following at a safe distance, avid to witness the next bit of drama.
Sesshoumaru sensed all of the demons in the palace, like himself, heading for the study. He sped through the door, his eyes blazing, his furious beast ready to defend their mate. But his foe lay at his mate's feet, helplessly human.
"He's alive?" He growled, happy to remove the burden of living from his half brother.
"He's human." Kagome told him. Trembling, she reached for him, requiring his strength, his warmth, his touch, after her encounter with his half brother.
He pulled her into his arms, needing to assure himself that she was unhurt, that the child they had conceived was well. Not that she knew yet. With the threat of his father looming, he had refrained from mentioning it, beyond the fact that there was a possibility, not wanting her to be more stressed than she already was by his sire's actions.
While he felt a desperate need to take care of her, to do what was best for her, he was a youkai, not a kami, he could not control whether or not she conceived, unless they took the precautions everyone else did. And such precautions would have prevented the physical mating bond, which required the presence of his seed within her for the bond to form. He inhaled her scent, feeling her warm body against his, calming him, bringing serenity back into his heart and mind with the certainty that both were well.
"HUMAN!" Genshu screamed in horror as he looked at his younger son. "YOU BITCH! YOU STINKING, NINGEN WHORE! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY SON?" He attempted to strike Kagome, only to have his hand caught by his older son, intent on protecting his mate. He looked at the human and noticed the change in the markings on her neck, this time displaying full mating marks. He jerked his arm from his son's grasp and stepped back.
"You mated the bitch," he scowled, trying to force calm into his tone, into his mind, though his eyes burned red. He sneered at his son, "She is nothing but a weak, ningen slut. She will never bear you a strong son. Furthermore, I have already declared the girl to be clan property - the mating is null and void."
A vicious snarl ripped thought the room, near deafening as it tore through the occupants crammed into the space. Sesshoumaru wrapped Kagome tightly in the safety of his arms as his eyes bled red and his magic lashed purple energy at his father; the chilling burn of it leaving welts along the old dog's exposed flesh. "She is my mate. She belongs to none but me. Even her powers are mine to command. That proves she is truly my mate."
Reining himself in as well as he could, Sesshoumaru pointed to Inuyasha, still lying on the floor struggling to regain consciousness. "Know this: if you ever attempt to touch my mate, I have given her permission, in fact, ordered her, to defend herself from you as she did from him. As for Inuyasha, she has purged him of his youkai blood and abilities. He'll be human for the rest of his life, Father. You would do well to remember that. Furthermore, as her true mate, I can now summon her powers to my use, as she can summon and use mine."
Sweating lightly, Genshu straightened his spine and glowered at his heir. "Do you honestly think I will allow this? I will have her punished for what she has done to my son! I will strip her skin from her, inch by tortured inch. And you can do nothing to stop me! I am your Lord, your Sire and your Alpha! You will obey me and surrender the bitch to me." Sesshoumaru's snarl was his only answer. "Then I hereby disinherit you until such a time as you give up your 'mate' to the clan as is demanded by your alpha."
"You have no such power, Genshu," Kosuke bit out. "In accordance with your breeder's agreement with Maeko's clan you cannot disinherit Sesshoumaru as your heir unless they disinherit him as well. It's part of your recompense for your crimes against Maeko."
Snarling and snapping viciously, Genshu panted in his efforts to restrain himself from attacking the other male. Kosuke may not be the most attractive of males, but his power rivaled his own and he, too, could call upon his true mate's power. It was a rare moment in his life, to have his demands refused, his desires dashed and his orders flouted. He looked down at his now-human son, who was fighting to sit up. He glared at the boy, taking in the changes in his scent that even his dulled senses could determine. Inuyasha opened muted eyes to look dimly at his father, whispering, "Daddy…" Genshu examined at the physical manifestation of his defeat in disgust, acknowledging his downfall to himself. Then he remembered…
"You may win this round, you ungrateful whelp, you may have the bitch as your mate and the title and rank of Heir to the West, but there is one place left where I still have power." He met Sesshoumaru's icy, golden eyes with his own angry red orbs. "I still own the company and you're fired! I will order that whatever trash you have in your office is sent to you." He had partially turned when his son's voice stopped him.
"Actually, Father, you don't have that power any longer. Kagome has seen to the purchase of a number of voting shares of stock, which, in addition to those I already hold, grants me 55% of the voting stock in the company. I have taken control of the business. Or, more aptly, Kagome has, though I will assist her in any way she asks," Sesshoumaru said his head tilted slightly with a smirk dancing around the corner of his thin lips.
"What! You can't do that, you worthless bastard!" Genshu was grinding his teeth. He had never dreamed of such a catastrophe befalling him.
"Ah, but we have. My brilliant Kagome has discovered widespread embezzlement and larceny throughout the company, some of which leads directly to you, and we have already implemented a plan to correct this." Sesshoumaru informed him proudly. "Now, I will allow you to sit on the Board of Directors, merely to allow you to save face. However, you will have neither voting nor veto powers. Nor will you be allowed to indulge in any business or political intrigues that might bring harm to the business or my family and friends, and you will be signing a covenant not to compete that states all of this. Accept all of my demands and your seat on the Board is secure; refuse and I will let it be known exactly why you are no longer in control of the company, nor allowed on the premises and, in addition, I will personally see to it that all of the evidence of your misdeeds makes its way to the proper authorities." Stiffly, Genshu nodded his agreement. His place on the Board of Directors was a source of tremendous prestige. Sesshoumaru was showing incredible generosity in allowing him these few crumbs. In the face of all of this tragedy, he would accept what he could get, secretly grateful that Sesshoumaru would not turn him in.
Sesshoumaru, having more issues to address, continued, "Now, Father, to another matter: it seems there have been many complaints regarding the treatment of the staff at the Tokyo residence. To correct this, I am putting Jaken-san in charge of the Tokyo manor. I have instructed him to remove the discontented personnel and replace them; and I have also directed him to take over the management of the household. I think you will find, as I have, that he is indispensable in such matters." Sesshoumaru's aura hummed with satisfaction at the opportunity to dictate to his sire.
"And what makes you believe I'll allow you to interfere with my staff and home?" Genshu snarled.
"Simple, you will obey me or I'll order my mate to neuter you. I find her exceedingly obedient when I order her to perform actions of which she wholeheartedly approves." His unexpected grin displayed his fangs wonderfully, causing more than one individual in the room to tremble in fear of the violence the gesture implied. "And if she finds her heart too tender for such, I will perform it myself."
"Not bloody likely," Kagome piped up, glaring at the source of many of her nightmares, from the comfort and security of her mate's strong arms.
Genshu shifted uncomfortably, abruptly aware of the female's dislike clouding the already-overcharged atmosphere of the crowded room. He looked away from her challenging eyes, remembering just why she might be happy to see him 'fixed' like a common hound. She flashed him an unpleasant grin, the equal of Sesshoumaru's, and Genshu suddenly wondered if she had developed the capacity to rip his throat out with her mating.
The sound of a throat clearing came from the rear of the throng, where Jaken stood, waiting to be acknowledged. His master called him forward and, bowing, he announced "Sesshoumaru-sama, I have completed your orders. All of Lord Genshu's belongings are repacked in his vehicles and I have contacted the staff of the Tokyo manor with their new instructions." The small green youkai bowed elegantly as he waited for further instructions.
"Good job, Jaken-san! I was just explaining to my Sire how I find you to be indispensable in such matters as domestic order. I have no fear that all staff complaints have been taken care of and that we shall have no more under your capable administration."
Snarling in rage, Genshu turned abruptly and shoved his way through to the door. The pack of females that had been cowering in the corner, along with Kikyou and Sango, darted after him. Inuyasha, finally gaining his feet, unsteadily followed shouting a hoarse "Daddy, wait!" at his father's retreating back. Jaken followed them, the footmen lining the hallway falling in line behind him like an army, ready to assure that the departing 'guests' did so without any trouble.
Jaken watched impassively as the Lord and his entourage scrambled into the waiting vehicles, quietly amused by the thought that this had actually been his lordship's most pleasant visit - especially when compared to his last. The vehicle doors all slammed, the engines revved and the line of Hummers and Expeditions moved around and down the drive, leaving relief in their wake. Jaken pulled a handy from his pocket and dialed his master. "They are gone, my lord." He informed him and smiled at the affirmation and praise he received. "Thank you, my lord. I will do so. As you wish, my lord, I will see to it." He glanced at the smiling footmen surrounding him and smiled back, grateful to know that their precious lady would now be safe. She had brought about many changes in their lives for which they were thankful, and they were pleased to have had the opportunity to demonstrate their allegiance to her.
"Thank you, Jaken-san, your assistance in this matter has been invaluable, to both your lady and me. Please pass my gratitude on to the staff. And I think we should plan a celebration for the entire household." He paused, then said, "Indeed," and closed his cell phone, replacing it in his pocket. He led Kagome to her desk chair and helped her to sit. "They are gone." He stated, relaxing for the first time since his father had marched into his domicile.
"We still have to get his signature on all of the papers," Kagome reminded him.
"That will be the easy part; he has yet to discover that his attorneys are now our attorneys and will wish to remain so." Sesshoumaru chuckled.
Sighing in relief, the remaining occupants breathed more easily now that Genshu had left without forgetting any stragglers or further fussing. The group, moving as one, seemed to have the same idea and headed to the sitting room. Kagome and Sesshoumaru watched them for a moment and then Sesshoumaru bent down to take her lips in a sweet kiss.
"My brave, strong, precious mate," he whispered. She blushed. He always laid it on a bit thick since their make up but she secretly enjoyed it.
"Not so brave. I was pissed as hell. I don't know what I would have done without Rin. She took care of Sango and Kikyou."
"They wouldn't have been able to harm you, beloved; the combination of our powers would have driven them back." He smiled at her. "I need to tell you something, Kagome. I should have told you before, but there was already so much on our plate, I held my silence so you wouldn't worry."
"Sesshoumaru! You promised me – No More Secrets!" She was angry, he had promised! He knelt on one knee before her, his head bowed.
"I know, I did. And the first big thing that comes along and I hold my tongue. I apologize, Kagome, beloved. I am very sorry for trying to protect you from further worry." He looked into her eyes, allowing her to see that he truly was sorry.
"Oh, that's right, try to make me feel guilty," she snorted, smirking. "It's not going to work. You will make your apologies properly when we go to bed tonight!" She demanded, a wicked twinkle in her eyes. "Now tell me this worrisome secret that you've been keeping." He smiled and kissed her smirking lips.
"You. My. Beloved." He spoke, punctuating each word with a kiss, "Are. Pregnant!"
She froze for a second, staring at him open-mouthed, then, "What!"
"You are carrying our son. Our first son, beloved." Kagome threw herself out of her chair and into his arms.
"I'm going to have our baby? I'm really pregnant?" She paused, "How can you know?"
"Your scent, darling, I can smell the change in your scent, your hormones have altered and I can smell that it's male." Giggling, she bounced on his knee.
"I'm going to have a baby! Oh!" She stopped to look at him, "Do your parents know too?"
"They don't get as close to you as I do. The change is very subtle right now. It will become stronger as the babe grows." He was pleased at her eagerness.
"Then, don't you think we should go tell them? After all, our mothers have his future planned. I believe they've chosen his university by now, and probably are considering females worthy of mating him." Sesshoumaru shuddered, the memory of what his father thought as appropriate for mating still too close.
"Let's not allow them to mate him off too soon, Kagome."
"We'd better go tell them. At the very least, it will be entertaining to watch them go crazy." She laughed, as she stood up, pulling him with her. Together, they followed the others to the sitting room.
"There you are!" Mrs. Higurashi exclaimed as they entered the room.
"What kept you?" Rin questioned, with wicked innocence twinkling in her eyes.
"We needed a moment together," Kagome replied archly, trying not to smile.
"Taking a moment to celebrate your father's defeat?" Kosuke joked.
"I believe they have something to tell us." Maeko informed the others, studying her son and new daughter with searching, suspicious eyes.
"Hush, Mother, this is our news." Sesshoumaru looked at their parents and friend's expectant faces, cleared his throat and…
"I'm pregnant!" Kagome squealed, hopping up and down. Rin dashed to her, wrapping her arms around her friend, joining in her squeals, followed by Mrs. Higurashi and the others. Both girls quieted when they saw the looks of pain on the faces of the inu youkai, but their smiles were wide, bright and joyous.
"We're grandmas!" Maeko and Mrs. Higurashi celebrated. Kosuke laughed and shook his head.
"The child is doomed. It will be spoiled so rotten that no one will be able to stand it!" He mourned, laughing at the faces the grandmas made at him.
"He will be spoil as is his right." Sesshoumaru asserted, "I just pray he will be as strong and beautiful as his mother."
"And do we get to live happily ever after now?" Kagome asked him.
"We will give it our best shot, my love." He answered.
Lord Genshu stormed through the Tokyo mansion, hollering for the maids, but not one appeared.
Finally, a footman appeared. "My lord, you require something?"
"Where are the damned maids?" He snarled, frustrated and angry.
"Lord Genshu," a tall strong male entered the room wearing a butler's attire. He had a purple star on his forehead and wore his lengthy hair in a neat braid down his back. He bowed. "I am Bankotsu, Jaken-san has awarded me the position of majordomo in your household. How may I serve you?"
Genshu gave him a sour look, not caring for the new regime in his domestic staff. "I require the services of one of the maids." He growled, furious that he would even have to ask.
"I am sorry, my lord, but there are no maids in your household. Jaken-san has re-assigned them to other manors. He has decided that you are best served by an all-male staff." Genshu stared at his new butler in horror. 'No females? Who the hell was he supposed to screw?' He wondered silently. He turned and left the room, going straight to his bedroom, cursing both his son and his mate, and Maeko and Kosuke and anyone else he could think of.
An all-male household. What the hell was he going to do in an all-male household? Somehow, he knew that Maeko was behind all of this. She had never really forgiven him for taking her. And now all of his delicious little whores were gone. Who would he take into his little playroom? Who would he have to teach obedience to? Everything was gone… He heard a noise in the hallway behind him. He turned to see Sango leaving Inuyasha's room. The two girls had helped him get to his bed because he was too weak to make it on his own as he was still trying to adjust to his transformation. Now Sango was leaving. He looked her over, for a human, she wasn't bad.
"Girl, come here." She approached curiously at his command. No, she wasn't bad at all.
Jaken was busy setting up a lovely suite of rooms as a permanent residence for Kagome's parents. With her baby due any day now, her parents had decided to move back to Japan to be near their daughter and grandson. Kagome and Sesshoumaru had invited them to move into the palace and they had accepted. It was large and there was more than enough room for them, even thought Maeko and Kosuke had also taken up residence there.
Sesshoumaru granted his mother the spacious suite his father had always used to be their residence as long as they should wish. It was the best in the palace, but Sesshoumaru had no desire to have any room his father had used. Kagome was delighted to have them there, having become good friends with both Maeko and Kosuke.
She was tickled to have her parents moving into the palace. She knew how hard they had worked in the restaurant in Germany, doing all they could to support her, provide for her, giving her the best they could afford. Now, it was her turn to give to them, starting with a grandchild.
Kagome had gotten in touch with Kohaku, Sango's younger brother, and offered him an apprenticeship at the company, remembering with gratitude his kindness when she lived with his family. He was very young, but it would give him a chance to learn what he wanted to do and it would open doors for him. She couldn't think of a better way to demonstrate how thankful she was for his kindness.
And she and Sesshoumaru would end each day together, in their bedroom, in their bed, discussing the events of the day and dreaming of what they hoped would come. But no matter what the future held for them, they had determined that they would meet it together, having found strength in their differences and accord in overcoming them.