Negotiations

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha!

'I am Kagome Higurashi. Six years ago I fell down the dry well on my families shrine. That well was a portal to Feudal Japan, where I met a half demon named Inuyasha. During our travels to recover the shards of the Shikon jewel we've met with many friends and foes along the way. Among our friends are Miroku, a monk; Sango, a demon slayer; Shippou, an orphaned kitsune; and Kirara, Sango's loyal twin tailed neko youkai. Together we search for the jewel shards and for Naraku, an evil half demon that desires the jewel and the menacing power that it offers.

Along the way we have encountered Inuyasha's older half-brother, Sesshoumaru. When we first met he was attempting to obtain the Tetsaiga. During this battle he tried to kill me. However, over the last four years or so, we have been on better terms with the stoic youkai lord. On a few occasions he has even saved my life. Although, we are told that he dislikes human's he travels with a beautiful young girl, named Rin. She was but a child when she first began her travels with him, but she is now about fourteen years old. On a few rare occasions we have traveled together. More like Rin and Jaken have stayed with our group while Sesshoumaru was away. But today things are going to change.'

Kagome sat quietly in the corner of the small hut, thinking carefully about the last six years of her life. So many things have changed, and yet so many things have stayed the same. Her eyes drifted to the red clad hanyou that sat opposite her, and she gave a soft smile. How she loved him. He had been so many things to her during their time together, but right now was the best, she thought with great satisfaction. In the beginning he was a problem, then she grew to love him and desired a relationship with him, but now he was her best friend. The pair had come to an understanding a couple years ago. She was too much like Kikyo and that would always interfere with his loving her in the way that she truly deserved. All in all, this mutual concession was the best thing that had ever happened. The team worked better together without the tension of the unstable relationship that the couple bore. The last two years work had been their most productive yet.

However, despite this new vigor amongst the group they were finally at a stumbling block. More like a cement wall if you asked Kagome. The hunt had come down to the final two shards, aside from the ones that Kouga held and the one in Kohaku's back. This is why today was so important. Today was negotiations.

The sun had risen high in the sky and was now slowly dipping into the western horizon, turning the sky and the ground a multitude of reds, oranges, and golds. Kagome shuffled nervously in her spot. When word had spread that he was finally here, the young priestess suddenly became uneasy about her 'great idea.' Maybe she was making a mistake, but she had to try. With this renewed conviction she straightened herself, and tilted her chin up to show her resolve. A quick glance at her hanyou friend was reassuring when he gave her a small smile, then the bamboo mat that covered the door moved aside.

Standing in the doorway was a large man, clad in white with a red sakura blossom design fringing his kimono, plate armor across his chest and a large white fur over one shoulder. His golden eyes settled on the miko with an intensity that made her shrink back slightly, before steeling herself again. She returned his stern gaze with a purpose. Without a word spoken he stepped aside, holding the mat open, making way for a tall dark haired woman behind him. The slender young woman glided into the hut with an air of demure silence. Her eyes floated from the half demon to the miko, and with a soft smile she bowed respectfully. Kagome stood and bowed her respect in response. The young woman took up a seat at the back wall, placing herself between the two already inside the hut and across from her protector. The tall regal man followed behind the dark hair girl, standing expectantly just inside the small dwelling. Kagome bowed deeply to the tall youkai male in front of her. He only raised a slender brow in response to her respectful action. When her eyes met his, however, he did incline his head slightly in acknowledgment.

"Thank you for coming, Sesshoumaru-sama." The miko said with a hushed tone. "Rin, it is a pleasure to have you with us as well."

"Thank you, Kagome-sama." The young woman's voice was soft and melodic as she spoke. Kagome had noticed how Inuyasha had shifted when the girl spoke; she smiled that the hanyou had noticed how beautiful their guests voice was.

"Rin-chan, it has been far to long. You are all grown up now. You are a beautiful young woman now." Kagome smiled at her. "And, drop the formality with me. It is not necessary."

The girl smiled at the priestess and nodded her agreement in silence. Her eyes landed on her protector, and he acquiesced his approval. Kagome began to busy herself with making some tea for the group before beginning the formal talks. Sesshoumaru kept a keen eye on the priestess and flatly ignored his half-brother to his right. It had been a good four years or more since they had all come together like this. The last time Kagome had seen Rin she was not as 'filled out' as she is now. The little girl that she had known was gone, and this beautiful young woman sat in her place. Kagome was anxious to take her aside and talk to her as a woman, but that would have to wait. Business first, she reminded herself. When the tea had been prepared and everyone had a cup, Kagome began by softly clearing her throat.

"So, I have asked you here today to negotiated an alliance between our two groups." She began the conversation very business like. "The truth of the matter is that the last few years we have made little progress in completing the quest to find the remaining jewel shards, and we had hoped that you might ally with us to find those shards and to finish Naraku."

When she had finished her little speech she looked at the silence youkai lord hopefully. He did not respond to her words, he did not look at her, and didn't even appear concerned with anything that she had just said. His dark golden orbs were transfixed on the cup of tea in front of him. The priestess stared after him for a while wondering if he had even heard what she had just said.

"Inuyasha and I feel that all of us could be more effective if we were working together, instead of apart. Your strengths combined with ours would be beneficial to all. We do understand if you are not amenable to these terms." She pushed on for an answer.

Sesshoumaru looked up at the miko as she finished her last statement, his eyes bright with an emotion she was unsure of. The woman had rarely seen any emotion in the stoic youaki's eyes, or manners. The flicker that came across his golden gaze made her shiver, which the ever perceptive youkai lord took due note of. His head tilted ever so slightly and he extended his arm toward her. The miko jumped a bit at the proffered hand, and exhaled harshly when she looked down at the empty tea cup that he was pushing in her direction. Quickly she poured another cup for the waiting youkai. When the cup had been filled he returned it in front of him and gazed down into the contents. A slight twitch at the end of his nose brought her attention to the tea, and she raised her cup to her nose to have a smell for herself. The tea was a special blend that she had made herself. It was a soothing blend of cinnamon, orange peel, clove, and a few other spices blended with her favorite black tea leaves. Her eyes slid closed as the aroma filled her senses and her memory. This tea had been her constant companion for all the hard times in her life. She smiled wistfully at the thought of a special family tea being there for her as much as a friend would be. When she opened her eyes again she jumped; the stoic youkai was looking at her again. The startled miko stared back, unsure of what else to say without any response from the silent lord.

"What type of tea is this?" He finally asked, with a shaken look from his host.

"It's a family recipe." She offered nervously, and he looked back at the dwindling contents of his cup.

"Your terms are agreeable." He said without sparing her so much as a glance.

The woman looked dumbfounded at the silver haired lord next to her. Her mouth gapped open in utter shock. There was no convincing, no begging, no argument, nothing. She couldn't believe it. Suddenly, his cup was shoved in front of her. With a whimsical smile of appreciation she filled his cup again. When Kagome turned her gaze to the young woman that accompanied the lord, she was smiling broadly with eyes glittering with approval. The two woman's eyes met and a look of understanding had passed between them. He had agreed to the alliance for her sake.

When tea was finished and the youaki lord had departed to collect his retainer and their provisions, the young girl in his charge was left with the miko. Kagome was more then affable to the idea of being the designated companion for the lords ward. The miko had so many questions for the girl, and a lot of catching up to do with her.

That evening Kagome took Rin to a nearby hot spring. This was the best way to get any privacy. Sango had forgone this trip to the spring. Her and Miroku had other things to discuss. The couple had agree on a ceremony despite the fact that Naraku was not defeated as of yet. They had been planning some of the after ceremony details, much to Sango's discomfort. Kagome was happy for her friend, but couldn't help but laugh at her naivety at times. The miko let out an uncontrolled giggle at the thought of the pairs wedding night.

"What do you find so humorous?" Rin asked in her soft tone.

"Sorry, I was just thinking of poor Sango." Kagome let out another small giggle.

"Is she in some situation that induces laughter?" Rin's manner of speaking was so formal, compared to the last time she had met with the young girl.

"For me, it does." The miko started, before scooting closer to her companion. "She and the monk are going to marry soon, and I was thinking of how awkward Sango is with...certain things."

Rin raised one brow in a manner that was strikingly similar to her youkai guardian. Kagome smiled at this funny little copy that she was looking at. Kagome suddenly realized that the girl may not know of any of the things that she was talking about. After all, how much could a silent youkai male tell a young human girl about the facts of life. Kagome steeled herself for the inevitable and with a gritting of her teeth she dove in.

"Tell me Rin. How much do you know about the relationships between males and females?" Rin looked shocked, but quickly blushed a pretty shade of rose.

"Honestly, Kagome, I have not been told too many things. My body tells me some things, but I don't know any more then what Jaken-sama has told me. Which, is not a whole lot."

"Lord Sesshoumaru doesn't talk to you about these things?" The miko questioned, and the girl shook her head in the negative.

"I've never asked, and Jaken-sama said not to bother him with it either." Rin confided.

"I see." Kagome sat thoughtfully for a while, then turned to face the young woman head on. "We will have to acquaint you with some of the finer points of the modern relationship."

The two woman sat together in the spring until well after dark. At many points in the conversation the younger woman's expression changed to one of horror and then to one of intense interest, and there were even a few times that Kagome thought she might be sick. However, the younger woman was very intent on learning all that the older woman had to offer her in the knowledge between the sexes. For most of the talking, the miko was on the verge of laughter; especially when the young girls face turned slightly green at one point when she was talking about child birth, and the placenta. These things didn't phase the miko one bit. Since, spending so much time in the presence of blood and busted up hanyou's she was pretty much immune to such squeamishness. A side from all this, she was never a slouch in health class. The volunteer work that she got to do while home, also help her stomach; working a few hours at a local hospital really made her impermeable to anything that came from a body, in any way it may come out.

With the fourteen year old girl up to speed on the in's and out's of a human relationship, the pair returned to the village in a quiet state of contemplation. At this point, Kagome wondered if maybe she had overstepped some boundary that the daiyoukai had in place for his ward. She quickly shook it off with the idea that it was too late anyway, and why would he want something like that kept from her. She decided right there that she would have a quick talk with the stoic lord when he returned. The problem was that that encounter would come sooner rather then later. When the women had just crested the hill that looked over the village, a large form stood in their way. Rin bowed to her lord, recognizing him immediately. Kagome gasped from the shock of being caught so off guard. Then her heart slowed to a different type of wild pounding when she saw the moon light framing his perfect frame and lighting his silver hair as it softly flowed in the breeze.

"Rin, Jaken has made camp just outside of the village. You will join him immediately." His voice rumbled in the darkness, making the miko tremble with excitement. One slender brow raised into his bangs. Although the miko could not see his reaction to her subconscious reaction. The young girl bowed and skittered off to her camp.

"Sesshoumaru-sama. Could I talk to you for a moment?" Kagome's voice faltered only slightly when he turned those burning amber eye's on her. Since he did not answer but did not walk away, she took that as permission to speak.

"I hope that you are not upset with me. Rin and I had a conversation that was...maybe awkward for you to discuss with her." He squared his shoulders to her, and his brow raised again so that she would see it this time.

"Explain yourself miko?" He clearly stated.

"Well, I was telling her about Sango and Miroku's coming union, and how Sango was nervous about their wedding night and Rin didn't know what I was talking about. So, I explained to her about the relationships between men and woman. We also talked about the female body and some of the things that she is going through right now, and I gave her a better understanding of how that works. Then I explained child birth and that was interesting. I thought she was going to pass out at one point, but luckily she didn't. She asked a lot of questions about the courting process and other things." Kagome was rambling, but she couldn't stop herself. Fear took over and the words just spewed out of her mouth unrestrained.

"Miko, you talk too much." The daiyoukai interjected, causing her to stop her pointless ramblings.

"Sorry, Sesshoumaru-sama." She exhaled hard. "What I wanted to say is, I hope that you don't mind if Rin and I had some 'girl talk.'"

"That is acceptable." His voice was deep and low setting the priestess at ease. Without another word the stoic lord turned on his heel and began to walk away.

She stared after him in astonishment. His silver hair waving in the moonlight. It reminded her of Inuyasha, but not. The youkai lord's hair was longer, better kept, and a purer silver color then her friends was. Everything about him screamed nobility. When she realized she was gawking after him, he turned around to face her again. His eyes spoke to her, asking if she was coming or not. With a shock of bewilderment she trotted down the path to where he stood waiting for her to catch up. The pair walked back together without any words spoken, and the lord stopped when he had reached his camp. The miko bowed respectfully to the youkai for the escort back to the village, and walked the rest of the way deep in thought.

The silent demon lord was as much as he ever was, but different then she remembered. He was almost kind to her these last two times they had talked. The idea of the great and terrible youkai lord being kind gave the futuristic woman a giggle. Then again, Rin had spent years with him, and she adored him. Maybe there is more to this then she figured. From the moment Kagome had seen the little girl and discovered who her traveling companion was, she had wondered about him and their relationship. When the miko had reached the door the old Kaede's hut she turned and looked back to where she knew the lord's camp was made. In the darkness she could make out the outline of the tall youkai and the shorter human girl by his side, both looking after her. His head inclined slightly as if to listen to something that Rin was saying but it seemed that his gaze remained forward. She flushed slightly then rushed inside, and out of sight.