Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Inuyasha.

A/N: This story was inspired by several things – first and foremost, by a song called My Obsession by Cinema Bizarre, two Sess/Kag AMV's on Youtube called Poison, and Perfect Skin – and finally the fetish for this story was only furthered by The Poison of Erised by Vyncent – which I only read for the first time after I wrote the first chapter of this story. However, instead of this being a Sess/Kag, I chose to make it an Inutaisho/Kagome pairing instead, since I've not seen this type of story done with that pairing, but it has been done many times over for Sess/Kag.

Also, I'm changing Kagome's age from the original age of fifteen in the manga, to seventeen. I'm just more comfortable with that age for her.

Just a quick note – nisou means priestess.

Hope everyone enjoys...

Amber

-wWw-

Chapter 1: Fascination

Kagome shivered, once again getting that feeling as though she was being watched. Casting a quick glance around, she let loose a frustrated mou of distaste at the heaviness of the forest that she and her friends happened to be traveling through. Because of that she couldn't see anything following them, and it was driving her insane.

It had been going on for some time. Ever since they'd been between realms again, fighting Naraku and Hosenki, when Inuyasha had gotten the kongosouha. After they'd returned from the other side she'd started feeling as though something was following them, and it hadn't abated at all. The only time she didn't feel it was the few times she went home.

So whatever it is can't follow me home – that's a good thing. But what could it be? There's been so many times I've felt like something was literally right behind me, but when I turned nothing was there – and nothing was anywhere even close. It just doesn't make any sense!

One more glance around, another shiver; she moved closer to Sango, wanting to feel someone's warmth in this dank forest. I wish I knew what it is that's out there...

Unknown to the group of people walking along through the mist-shrouded forest, part of the mist wasn't really mist, but something else. Something with intelligence and desire. Something that needed. Something that wanted. Something that would get what it wanted – no matter the consequences.

What that intelligent being wanted, was Kagome.

For months now this being had followed along behind the group, watching and learning the different people that made it up. At first its interest had been mostly in the male hanyou that was the leader of the group – but that had changed quickly as it began to become familiar with them all.

Now, all its attention was on the small in stature, but huge in soul and power miko that walked with them.

It was odd, on the surface, anyway, that a miko, and one of such power, traveled with youkai. And it was even stranger that she not only traveled with them, but actively cared for them. In all the being's years on earth and even in the nether realms, it had never seen a miko care for anything with even a bit of youkai blood.

True, there were certain tolerances, as in the case of high level youkai – Lords, and the like. Most miko wouldn't attempt to fight them, mostly because they were outclassed and outmatched, though there were political considerations, as well. But this miko... oh, this miko could take down a Lord should there be enough of a reason to do so, she was certainly powerful enough.

The strange thing was that she had no training. The being could tell that her power source was a huge well within her that had never even been tapped by what little she had so far used, but she had no clue that she was that powerful. And she had no idea how to use it – she only appeared able to access it when her emotions became involved. That clearly denoted a lack of training – a situation that it could not comprehend. For who would be foolish enough to leave a miko of her caliber untrained?

As the being followed them, it became clear that there were other strange mysteries about her. Every so often she would disappear into an old well with the scents of ancient magics, and it was still unsure where she went at those times – though it was a good guess that it was the future, as nothing in the past resembled any of the things that she carried with her.

On top of that, she had a huge heart that made no distinction between living beings - seeing them as just that – living beings that deserved care. She was very attractive, lithe, toned, with beautiful curves, jet black wavy hair, fine features and gorgeous indigo eyes framed by thick, curling, inky lashes.

With all of this, it wasn't, perhaps, surprising that the entity soon began to be obsessed with the little miko...

And it certainly wouldn't have surprised a certain inu Lord of the West, if he had known of the being following his half-brother's pack.

After all, his father had always held a certain fascination for humans when alive. Why would it be any different in death?

Of course, just because one was dead at one point, did not mean that that one would stay dead at any other point.

-wWw-

The entity, now known as Mattaki, Inu no Taisho and former Lord of the West, watched as Kagome once again dropped into the well with one last, sweeping glance around the clearing, and frowned within himself. Though his great will was now bent on the task of returning to a corporeal form, it was taking longer than he liked.

Not that he didn't have patience, because he did. More than almost any living – or dead – thing. But the sorcerer that he had spoken to on the edges of the other realm had said that with his spell, a strong miko to garner living energy from, and his own indomitable will to power the whole thing, he could regain his form in fairly short order. While he could, indeed, feel that he was returning to life, it was still taking longer than it should have – four months was not short order. And he still had a bit of a ways to go.

A good part of it was his obsession. When a being has an obsession time begins to wear on them, and they do not take well to the wasting of any of it. Even a youkai, who pretty much had eternity unless actually killed, would suddenly not like the wasting of even a second in their quest to gain that which they desired so fiercely.

And every time she went home, it extended the length of time it would take, because his reservoir of energy was suddenly gone, on top of the unpleasant and uncomfortable feel of the lack of her presence – and scent.

With naught else to do, the daiyoukai allowed himself to move over to the Goshinboku, and leap up into its branches.

With a sigh, he stared off into the distance as he thought back over the last several months – and the behavior of his youngest son. He wasn't best pleased, to say the least.

The boy had obviously been left alone to run roughshod over anyone and everyone he'd come across, and for that, Sesshoumaru was going to pay a certain price. It was his duty, as the elder brother, whether he liked it or not, to take over the training of the younger sibling, since he was not able to do it himself. Because of Sesshoumaru's failure, his blood was being dishonored by some of the boy's behaviors.

Not that Mattaki was not considering things that would probably be considered just as dishonorable, in some way or another. Because the truth of the matter was, he wanted the miko, and he was determined to get the miko. He would not tolerate anything that came between he and his goal – not even the miko herself.

Bottom line was that he was youkai, and despite the fact that he'd always been an honorable ruler, treating human and youkai alike the same beneath his rule, he had a darker, wicked side to him. Oh, not that he was truly evil in any sense of the word, nor would he hurt Kagome, but blood will tell – and youkai were never innocent, not from the day of reaching their sexual maturity, anyway. While Kagome was pure, he was not... and he had every intention of seducing her, marking her, tainting her, taking her purity and making it his own, and wrapping himself around her until she wouldn't even think of trying to escape him. Until she couldn't escape him.

He chuckled darkly as he looked back over his first lifetime, and realized that his wicked side had never really come into play back then. Not with either of his previous women, nor any concubine he'd taken. None of them had tempted the beast, apparently – but it was more than tempted now.

Sesshoumaru's mother, Satori – beautiful, Inu – but cold... she'd been his mate, until his death, anyway, but he'd never desired to wrap his soul around her like he yearned to do to the little priestess that followed his youngest son. No, he couldn't feel anything but pleased that he was no longer mated to her; his death had taken care of that, severing any bond between them, and his resurrection would not mean a reinstatement of that bond.

And then Izayoi, his hime, his mistress. Human, fragile, with no power of her own, she'd been entirely dependent on him for protection, and protect her he had. But because of her very nature, his beast, that dark, powerful creature, had never come out – had never desired to do so, abstaining from any real interest in her, merely doing his duty when she and his pup had been threatened and protecting her.

It had been a bit of a surprise, at first, when he'd felt it waking within him – and he'd wondered what was causing it to wake up. It hadn't taken long for him to realize it was the miko. And it hadn't taken much longer for him to realize what it was his beast had initially been drawn to.

Her scent. That was the first thing that had caused his heat to rise, and his beast to sit up and take notice. He'd been stunned to feel the great beast stirring within him, and even more stunned to realize what it was concentrating so hard on.

That's when his attention had removed itself from his pup, and turned to her – and he'd been even more shocked that he'd not noticed her right away. Because once he'd gotten a good whiff of her scent, he was gone – intoxicated, burning, desiring to take it and make it his; he'd jealously noted his pup secretly reveling in that same scent. He'd wanted to gut his own son for one, shocking moment – just for being able to bask in her presence freely and openly.

In that one moment, he'd known all he needed to know about what he wanted from the miko. Unlike his eldest son, he didn't suppress his beast, his inu blood – he controlled it, yes, but he didn't imprison it, and so he was much more in tune with himself than Sesshoumaru was. When his beast spoke, he paid attention – and it had spoken loudly about what it wanted – and how to go about getting it.

That was another way he was different from Sesshoumaru – his beast wasn't mindless with discontent and centuries of imprisonment – it was sneaky, and cunning, and had a lot of patience, once it knew it was going to get what it wanted. And for all the time since he'd decided to take her, the beast had entertained itself, and him, with heated imaginings of all the dark, lustful, wicked things he could do to the innocent little miko once she was his.

Which brought him to now – still waiting for his flesh to finally solidify completely around him, thus finishing the restoration of his life, and his deliberations on how to make the little miko his – willingly. Because he had no intention of forcing her – rape was not acceptable, especially for the one he would take as his mate, keeping her tied to him for all time.

He would make sure of that – this mate would not escape him, not even in death. No, she would be his in every way that existed.

Now, just how to go about doing that. He needed a plan...

Of course, it need not be said that he hadn't expected the circumstances of the chance that was dropped in his lap...

-wWw-

There are some things in life – some times, in life, that you wish you could go back and change. For Kagome, the approach of Kikyou's second death was one of those. She watched, with a pained grimace, as Inuyasha sat down on the hillside facing away from everyone and cried, fiercely holding the woman he'd loved so much. And though she was surrounded by friends who cared for her, and she knew that none of them blamed her, she couldn't help but blame herself.

For if she'd just been stronger, quicker, perhaps her pre-incarnation wouldn't be dying as she was, nor in the manner that she was.

At Naraku's hands – again.

She knew that Inuyasha didn't blame her. He felt that she'd done all she could in gaining the bow from Mt. Asuza, and was grateful for her efforts. But that didn't change the fact that Kagome would never be able to forgive herself for not somehow being able to change what had happened this day.

She couldn't stand the pain and agony reflecting off her friend in waves as he was forced to watch the love of his life die again, and perhaps that was why her reiki reacted in the way that it did, swelling around her to hitherto unseen proportions, shocking everyone on the hill with it's raw power and sheer, blinding color – and size.

No one was more shocked than she was, however, when a cascading kaleidoscope of colors erupted from further down the slope as though answering her reiki's call, and a shifting aura began to make itself visible as her power began to surround it. Her reiki twined around it with all the force of a hurricane as it moved up the hill towards the gaping people at its summit, coalescing into the form of a very tall, silver-haired youkai that could only be called royal, before once more settling down into her body again.

With one, lingering look at her, the youkai turned and glanced at Inuyasha and Kikyou, who were both staring at him in awe, before closing his eyes for a moment and flaring his immense youki. Within moments, his eyes snapped open, and he nodded to himself, before sending his shimmering golden gaze back to Kagome.

After a moment of studying her, he asked, "Tell me, nisou – are you willing to let go of the piece of your soul that this miko has in order to save her and give her new life?"

Kagome, stunned, just as everyone else was, stared at him, then blinked, and looked down at Inuyasha, who had a sudden hopeful, pleading look on his face. Without hesitation, she nodded. "Yes. Can you save her?" she asked softly.

He nodded in return. "I can. I will return shortly." Without another word, he flashed into his orb form, a streak of bright white showing his path as he traveled across a midnight sky.

Suddenly realizing that she felt rather weak, she allowed herself to sink to the ground, a little harder than she would have liked, truthfully, as she badly bruised and scraped both knees on the stony ground she'd been standing on. With a pained hiss, she leaned to the side, smiling gratefully when Koga grabbed her gently and lifted her into his arms, moving her to a grassy, softer area, and setting her down.

Inuyasha watched with a slightly bitter expression as the wolf touched her, though he didn't say anything, instead waiting until he'd set her down, then, grip tight around Kikyou, waited for Kagome to look at him. "Will you really let Kikyou keep that part of your soul, K'gome?" he asked, ears pinned to his head, almost ashamed to even be asking.

The young woman smiled a half-smile, and sighed, looking into the sky as her gaze went soft and far away, looking in that moment as though she were as distant was one of those stars shining so brightly down on the group. That sudden distance in her scared him – it felt as though it were a permanent thing, now. "You shouldn't even have to ask me that, Inuyasha – you know I don't say things I don't mean."

Kikyou also was watching the person she would become in her next life. She wondered what happened between now, and the future that the girl was born in, to make her into the person she so obviously was – because she was totally and completely aware that she had never had the purity of heart that Kagome certainly carried.

It made her feel shallow, even as death came creeping closer, and she wasn't entirely sure that she really deserved the second chance that Kagome was offering.

That didn't mean she wouldn't take it, of course.

It grew quiet after Kagome spoke, as they all waited for the strange, beautiful youkai to return. Inuyasha held Kikyou protectively close, almost desperately watching the sky for any sign of that somehow familiar male coming back – and everyone in the group breathed sighs of relief when that same bright streak was noted, returning their direction.

They all kept their places and silence, though, when he landed, not interfering in the slightest when the unknown male moved to stand over Inuyasha's sitting form, before asking once more, "You are sure that you are willing to do this thing, miko?"

Kagome met his gaze unequivocally. "Yes, for the final time. Just please, do whatever it is you're going to do."

"Then brace yourself – it will be painful as the soul is sundered completely from you."

With a nod, she closed her eyes, scrunching her face up bravely. "Okay, I'm ready."

Mattaki tore his gaze from his obsession, and withdrew Tenseiga from his obi, waiting for it to pulse as he looked over the rapidly fading form of the dying woman. Then he swiped it over her, immediately sheathing it once more as he leapt nimbly up the hill to kneel before the suddenly slack form of Kagome as Kikyou shuddered in Inuyasha's embrace, and drew air for the first time in over fifty years.

While everyone elses eyes were on the newly breathing miko and Inuyasha, Mattaki's gaze was for no one else but the priestess he was so fascinated by. Ignoring the suddenly irritated grumbling of the ookami next to her, he lifted her carefully into his arms and studied her, wanting to make sure she was truly unharmed.

Bending down to nuzzle into her hair, he whispered, "Mine," his voice so low that none heard his claim, save for Kagome's subconscious. Something flickered in the backs of his eyes as he made that claim – it was the beginning of his plans, and the effect of that word would begin to show almost immediately. Sitting back upright, he paid no attention to the awed exclamations of the others as they watched Inuyasha stand and set Kikyou on her feet, instead, his eyes were fixed completely on Kagome as she opened her eyes, blinking in slowly diminishing pain.

"Are you feeling better, nisou?" he asked, voice slightly rough with the enjoyment of finally holding her after so many months of watching her... of wanting her.

She smiled shyly up at him, a little stunned at the extremely handsome male holding her so gently. "Uhm, yeah... I'll be okay. It doesn't hurt so much anymore," she said softly.

She blinked up at him, the innocence in her gaze so sweetly endearing that he felt his body tighten in reaction, and he had to fight his beast back, his blood flaring to life within him and all his instincts demanding he take her and disappear – keep her from the potential rivals in their midst.

Just as she opened her mouth to ask who he was, however, a rather demanding hanyou hit the ground right next to them, crouching down, eyes narrowed as he asked, "So who the hell are you, anyway?" He grunted as Kagome elbowed him in the gut and glared at him. "Not that I'm not grateful for what ya did, an' all, but do ya gotta hold onto the wench like that?"

The voice that answered, however, was not that of the male holding Kagome.

It was Sesshoumaru.

"You would do well not to question our father in that tone, Inuyasha, or you will learn the meaning of 'alpha', I can assure you."

His words were met with total, shocked, silence.