Sesshomaru blew his bangs out of his eyes. He hated to sweat. Usually, the young demon wore his straight silver hair in a long braid down his back and dressed in worn, faded jeans and a thin, white tee-shirt. Today he had sacrificed what was basically his uniform, along with his comfort, in honor of his father, and was wearing a dark suit and tie. His hair brushed out straight, hanging down his back, in spite of the heat of the day. Unlike his half-brother, Sesshomaru did not have free run of the main house. He stopped at the imposing front door, and banged on the brass doorknocker.
Inu Taisho's ranch encompassed hundreds of acres of rolling hillsides. Orange and lemon groves, hives of bees for pollination, herds of horses and cattle, and fields of crops were all overseen by his responsible elder son, Sesshomaru. Sesshomaru was in charge of the clan's finances, as well as the operation of the ranch.
On this day, Sesshomaru was scheduled to meet with his father to discuss the family's spending, which was becoming, from his point of view, way out of line. In addition to paying the wages of a large staff of human laborers and onerous California taxes, the agricultural operations had to support Inu Taisho's movie business. The movie business functioned to keep the Taisho occupied and his mistress Izayoi, who was the mother of his younger son InuYasha, in front of the camera. Sesshomaru's mother, the Taisho's wife, lived in an opulent beach house, and her jewelry design business was an additional drain on the money the ranch brought in.
Sesshomaru knew his father well, and should not have been surprised when the human servant led him to the pool area, where his father sprawled on an oversized chez-lounge, sipping a strawberry daiquiri. His father often hunted and went game fishing for marlin and the like with a famous author and outdoorsman, and had taken on many of his cohort's affectations, down to a small swarm of inbred cats, given to him by the eccentric human. Judging by the bills that had begun flooding in, the Taisho was currently planning an extremely lavish, and expensive, African safari.
There was yet another drain on the family's fortune, one which Sesshomaru viewed with more favor. A traditional Japanese shrine stood on one steep hillside, guarded by a red torii gate and reached only by climbing a flight of one hundred and thirty-three stairs. The shrine was overseen by an old Kannushi the Taisho had brought from Japan. The Kannushi's daughter-in-law helped run the shrine. His young granddaughter, Kagome, attended the same private school as the Taisho's youngest son, a hanyou named InuYasha.
While InuYasha had dishonored many girls, he cherished and honored Kagome, and watched over her with great devotion. The Taisho and his sons were dog demons, and were inclined to become devoted to those they loved.
Currently, InuYasha and his usual entourage of teenaged hangers-on were playing around the pool, splashing and making what seemed to Sesshomaru to be a great deal of unnecessary noise. The boys wore baggy board shorts, and the girls, all but Kagome, were arrayed in bright, skimpy bikini bathing suits. Kagome was dressed in white as always, in this case a modest, white, one-piece bathing suit.
Sesshomaru noted that his father wore a bright red Speedo, himself. He had the body for it, though he had lived a very, very long time, even by demon standards.
While the other young people frolicked in the water, Kagome sat quietly on a small lounge chair close to the Taisho. Sesshomaru could sense that she felt depressed. He had always been in tune with the human girl's emotions, from the time he first saved her from falling down the steep steps of her family's shrine. Barely as tall as his knee, she had been just learning to walk. He pulled up a chair that matched Kagome's, and began to try to reason with his father, a task he knew was basically futile. Accustomed to multi-tasking, he attempted to figure out what was troubling Kagome while he discussed finances with his father. He noticed that her gaze was fixed on his half-brother, as was almost always the case. He seethed with anger, seeing that the little punk had his hand down the front of a girl's bikini bottom, right in front of his honorable father and the pure little shrine maiden who idolized him.
It was out of character for Sesshomaru to allow himself to become distracted, but it was clear he had done so when his father pointedly cleared his throat. He forced himself to focus on his father, who, disturbingly, had reached out with his long arm and begun to fondle Kagome's knee. This could be taken as a gesture of comfort, in recognition of the hurt being inflicted upon her by InuYasha. But as stated earlier, Sesshomaru did know his father well, and given that fact, the caress was creeping him out. Against his will, and his better judgment, he felt his throat vibrate in a low-pitched growl, too low for Kagome to hear, but plenty loud enough to gain his father's straying attention. The demon lord stared his son in the eye, and smirked.
That night proved to be balmy, with high clouds racing across the nearly-full moon. A perfect night for an insomniac, workaholic like Sesshomaru to go for a long walk and brood. It was very, very late, or rather early in the morning, hours before dawn. Dressed once again in faded jeans and threadbare tee-shirt, he walked from his little cottage, along a the dusty road which led to the orange groves. The trees were in bloom, and the scent carried beautifully on the night wind. Along with another scent he recognized well. Kagome.
Though it had never been stated, he had always thought Kagome was intended for his brother. Half-brother. InuYasha had been wild for a long time, however, and Kagome was growing up with surprising rapidity. Though InuYasha was nearly two centuries older, the human girl was by far the more mature of the pair. The hanyou showed no signs of settling down and becoming the man she obviously needed. Sesshomaru cared a great deal about the girl. In fact, his concern for her and interest in everything about her equaled and even exceeded his obsession with running his father's ranch. Now, in addition to his grave doubts about InuYasha's suitability as a mate for Kagome, Sesshomaru had to worry about the Inu Taisho's intentions toward her as well. His strides became full of purpose as he followed Kagome's scent on the breeze.
He spotted her in the orchard, dancing around in a white cotton nightdress. The dress was long, reaching her calves and meeting her neck in a demure manner that seemed out of date even to the demon, who had lived through many centuries of women's clothing styles. Sometimes he wondered if Kagome herself chose to dress thus, or if it was forced upon her by her mother, the priestess of the shrine. Somehow, in this age, the girl had managed to remain pure as the dew that was starting to cover the mown grass under the orange trees.
Sesshomaru was a very sober and dignified man, but he was tired, for he seldom slept. He was a dog, and young as well, and this combination of facts led him to let his guard down, just this once, and engage in a moment of mischief. So quick as to be almost invisible, he darted up to the girl and pulled her back against his chest, his hand over her mouth to prevent her from crying out in alarm. He knew Kagome to be quite meek, and knew he should be ashamed of himself for doing something that would surely scare her. He rationalized, telling himself it would teach her not to endanger herself by roaming around in the night unprotected.
Imagine his surprise when the quiet little girl he held pressed against his chest bit his hand with her sharp little teeth!
Giving up his game, he released her. She spun around to face him. "Sesshomaru!" She hissed. He could see the glint in her big, expressive eyes.
"Kagome!" He answered back, and actually laughed when she hit him on the chest with her tiny fist.
"You scared me, you big lunk!"
Since he was already behaving totally out of character, Sesshomaru threw caution to the winds, and pulled her back into his arms. It was a beautiful night, maybe the most beautiful he had ever seen, with the warm wind and the moon and the stars in the sky.
"Hold on tight, Kagome." That was his only warning, before he launched himself, and the girl, up into the sky.
Kagome's heart pounded in her chest. She had known Sesshomaru, and his father as well, were capable of flight, but only in the most intellectual of ways. To be here, like this, held in Sesshomaru's strong, capable arms, crushed against his chest, was the most breathtaking and unbelievable experience of her life, without reservation. By moonlight, she could see the entire ranch, buildings, and trees, and fences, and farm animals. She could see Sesshomaru's beautiful silver hair, blowing in the wind all around her. It took all her courage, but she untwined her fingers from their death grip on his tee-shirt, and ran them through the silk of his hair.
"Just sixteen years old,
Leave her alone, they say…"
Sesshomaru looked into her eyes, and saw that she was looking back at him with an expression he had never hoped to see. Her eyes were filled with awe, and wonder and longing.
"Separated by fools,
Who don't know what love is yet.
But I want you to know…"
She heard the question in his voice, and did not answer with words. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and pressed her lips against his.
"If I could fly,
I'd pick you up.
I'd take you into the night,
And show you a world like you've never seen."
Sesshomaru's blood raced in his veins, responding to her heart's pounding, which to his sensitive ears sounded like the beating of a drum. While his lips had started out soft against hers, they hardened as he parted her lips with his own.
It took a minute, but once she figured out what he wanted from her, she opened her mouth to him, and let him explore her with his tongue. It was her first kiss. It was breathtaking, and magical, and it made her heart feel like it was going to explode in her chest. She moaned into his mouth, and he began to make love to her mouth with his lips and his tongue, causing a clenching in her belly unlike anything she had ever experienced before.
"It's like having a dream
Where nobody has a heart.
It's like having it all,
And watching it all fall apart.
And I would wait 'til the end of time for you…"
He knew that she wanted him, he could smell it in the air, hear it in the little noises she was making as he kissed her, feel it as he heard her heart pound and her blood rush through her veins. But he had to ask, to make it right, or as right as he was capable of making it. He pulled back and stared into her eyes again, finding them glazed with passion, staring back at him in a daze.
"Kagome, do you want me? If you do, it will be forever."
"I do want you, Sesshomaru. I've always wanted you, forever."
"And do it again, it's true.
I can't measure my love,
There's nothing to compare it to.
But I want you to know…
If I could fly, I'd pick you up,
I'd take you into the night,
And show you a love, like you've never seen.
*"Into the Night" by Benny Mardones