The Iron Chain

Summary: He saw her dancing at his brother's second wedding feast - beautiful, wild, and mournful. Since then, Sesshoumaru's attention was all hers, whether she wanted it or not. "I want this woman." AU

Based on the short story by Amador Daguio.

. . . . .

Kagome strode into the middle of the crowd of revellers at the wedding feast. A joining of souls was always a happy event, with the hope of new children through which the clan could live on. The drums and their rhythmic music held a beat any warm-blooded being would dance to. It was seductive, beautiful and powerful.

Just like her.

But no amount of beauty, power or seduction could have given her a child. Thus the birth of a new marriage, and the dissolution of another... hers.

Kagome shook herself. Dressed in the most passionate of colours, – red – she set one foot down on the fertile earth before the great bonfire, before the newly wedded couple, proud and beautiful –

- the older women were in fits, while the younger generation looked up to her with awe, as they were prone to, because she, Kagome, the Vessel of the Shikon, twisted her hips, flourished her hands and – and –

danced.

Kagome slid her eyes to half-mast to focus more on the lively music, that like a person, paused as though surprised and blared back on, even livelier and more primal than before.

I'll dance, dance. Lose myself tonight, because I've lost everything else. I'll dance to the sound of my broken heart, and of my broken marriage.

She twisted and twirled, spinning and moving around gracefully, like a nymph, like a hot-blooded woman on the prowl.

Her hips were round, her breasts full, and her body firm.

Her eyes like blue diamonds, glittering in the moonlight.

Her hair like ebony silk, dancing along with her every breath, movement, desire.

But of course.

She was the Vessel, Kagome; the embodiment of power in a mortal coil.

She danced to be one with the music, the night and the stars – she longed to be whole again, as she was now just a half of a broken whole.

Beneath her thick lashes, she gave a look of wild misery to the man at the podium beside his wife as he stared at her with a gaze just as painful. She remembered what he said to her before he left for his wedding feast. Before he left the home they had shared.

"Go out – go out and dance. If you really don't hate me for this separation, go out and dance. One of the men will see you dance well; he will like your dancing, he will marry you. Who knows but that, with him, you will be luckier than you were with me."*

Kagome would have sneered bitterly – but she was cut off as the most beautiful man she had ever seen and known – the brother of her Inuyasha, for who else could possess the silver hair unique to the line of the Inu? – gazed at her with a somewhat stunned and intrigued expression.

She quickly averted her eyes toward Inuyasha and his new bride – Kikyou. Kikyou was younger than her, but Kagome's body was firmer, more divine. Regardless, the switch had been made. The clan had ordered it, and so it was done. Though, it was not merely for him, Inuyasha – but for her as well. Who would not want the Vessel of the Shikon to bear him a child?

Again, she twisted and ground her hips to the beat of the music and threw her slender arms up, clearly inviting anyone to move with her in the wild dance in a bid to hide the flash of pain that crossed her eyes.

The young people who admired her, young men and women her age, joined her before the elders, the couple, and the couple's family. The wedding feast was all out now, as the revellers – and even the music – strove to match the pace of the Vessel Kagome.

Kagome danced on and ignored the sad and envious look Inuyasha tossed her way; or the intense, assessing look his brother gave, making no pretensions over his interest.

. . . . .

Sesshoumaru's face was impassive as ever, except for that split second when, doubtless, his bewildered and fanciful thoughts of a goddess blessing the wedding feast with her presence were reflected upon his chiselled visage.

His heart fluttered strangely, like a butterfly's wings, within his chest as he watched the woman dance. She was like moonlight, ethereal in her beauty and power which pulsed strongly from within her for every twist of her hips and flash of thighs and bare arms. Yet, she was earthly, too earthly to be a goddess, even the colours upon her said so. Her skirt was mostly crimson on white – with a thud in his chest, Sesshoumaru realized the woman was wearing his colours, which gave him a strange sense of ownership – with her beads glistening like gems of blood, and her cheeks and lips a most inviting shade of red. Her sensual movements only enforced the earthliness of this woman.

"I can't call her shameless. She is clearly bereaved. She has an iron chain upon her body. Yet her dance is beautiful and so is she."

Sesshoumaru started at hearing the voice of Inuyasha's new mother-in-law. Frowning, Sesshoumaru sought to listen more. His gifts as full youkai were meant to be used for things far nobler than eavesdropping, but clearly, they were speaking of his earthly goddess. How could he resist?

"Bereaved? Goodness. She is either trying to win back my husband, or is shamelessly on the prowl."

"Do not speak so disrespectfully of the Vessel, Kikyou. It was not uncommon in history to find men unworthy of the holders of the Jewel. The goddess of the land herself would not bless a union with children were she not in its favour. And we both know – your husband and his former wife were two of the healthiest people to be seen."

"Bah. She is only probably infertile. I don't care what the medical tests say."

With a sickening jolt, Sesshoumaru realized the truth of the situation; the truth of why Inuyasha sullenly sat by his bride, glaring in the direction of the young revellers; the truth of Kikyou's apparent hostility towards a woman who's soul was clearly gentle; the truth for the lurking heartache in his earthly goddess's eyes.

This woman, this mournful, beautiful woman – was once Inuyasha's wife! She was the woman to whom Inuyasha was married for seven years without progeny, a most valid reason for the dissolution of his first marriage! Sesshoumaru's Tensaiga thrummed with energy – as a response to either his newly gained knowledge, or as response to the pulse of his goddess's soul, he did not know. But he did know he was experiencing the oddest pull – the oddest urge.

So this is the Vessel Kagome. The most powerful woman on this mortal plane. So this is her.

Sesshoumaru chuckled to himself. It was both blessing and curse that his position as Lord of Western Lands kept him away all these years. He chuckled again, barely containing his glee.

This woman. I want her.

. . . . .

Notes: "iron chain" is synonymous to grief. Or something. I forgot.

* - directly lifted from Daguio's short story