Sesshoumaru stared out into the horizon from the balcony of his bedroom his mind in turmoil and his body far too tense. Every night for the last moon cycle he had been plagued with the same dream and every morning he awoke with his beast wanting to go out and search for the unknown being in his dreams and his body longing for the touch of this unknown being.

Who was this dark being and why was he having such dreams? As near as he could tell the dreams started right after the gathering of lords two seasons ago. However nothing seemed out of the ordinary that night no strange meetings, no one there he didn't know, nothing. Just another meeting of lords so where were the dreams coming from?

He dropped his lids over his deep amber and sighed as the memories of the dream plagued his mind.

Sesshoumaru looked down as strong hands began massaging their way up his legs, until the hands came to his slowly hardening manhood. Fingers wrapped around his flesh and began slowly stroking up and down as lips descended onto a nipple, sucking and nipping on the hardened bud. He locked his claws into the long black hair and dropped his head back, lightly growling in pleasure.

He pulled the mysterious being from his chest and slammed their lips together, invading the hot mouth, engaging the opposing tongue into a battle and not caring if he won or lost. He felt hands slide around his waist and begin to raise him, forcing him to break the kiss as his was lifted out of the water. The hazy dark being set him on the edge of the pool, lifted his long leg over his shoulder and wrapped lips around his hardened length, and began sucking and licking. Sesshoumaru felt his eyes rolling into the back of his head and reached down locking his claws into the silky dark hair of the head that bobbed up and down upon him.

The stranger cut his eyes up to him and amber locked with deep brown; brown that seemed far too familiar; but it was lost on him as he felt his body tighten as his essence spilled forth.

Sesshoumaru felt his body being pulled off the edge of the pool and sliding down the chest of this strange lover, until they were face to face. He tried to see the face of the being touching in so pleasurably but it was too hazy to see. Fingers ran through his hair as lips landed upon the magenta stripe on his cheek, following the line until it came to his ear. "I need to be inside you." The deep voice whispered, then he was spun around with his fingers locked within the strong fingers of this mysterious sensual being and were placed on the edge of the pool; holding them there tightly.

Gold eyes became lost in bliss when he felt the hard length of his shadowy lover enter him and slide against a pleasure spot buried deep within him. A hot tongue slowly slid across his shoulder, to his neck and up to his ear, while the thrusts into him were long and painfully slow. "You will be mine forever." The deep voice whispered in his ear followed by a nibble to the lobe.

Sesshoumaru couldn't stop the word from leaving his lips and wasn't sure that he didn't want to say it anyway. "Hai" He gasped out as the thrusts into him increased in speed and force. He tightened his fingers around the ones holding his, as he pushed back against each thrust into him. Chills of ecstasy coursed through his body when he felt his lovers tongue press against his spine just beneath his shoulder blades and run up the center of his back to his neck, then back down again. It was too much; his body couldn't contain the blood pumping through his veins at such a fast rate, forcing him to find his release.

The knuckles of the four hands locked together turned white as they gripped each other tightly in preparation for their releases. A loud moan surrounded by a deep growl echoed through the room as they both exploded together, then collapsed against the edge of the pool panting from the exertion of their union.

Every night the same dream and every morning he awoke throbbing with need and a little more than irritated. Who was the male in his dreams? Why was he having such dreams in the first place? Especially since he was courting the daughter of the lord of the south? The plan was he was supposed to be mated to her in the fall but every time he thought about mating the young demoness; his stomach turned and he felt as if he was betraying the male in his dream by doing so. Then there was his beast that was always on the verge of going mad and whining that its pup was missing. That was the most bizarre thing about the whole situation. He had never in his life produced offspring; so why was his beast behaving like he did and wanting to run to this child like it was crying for him?

Perhaps he was just far too stressed or perhaps he was going mad. Whichever the case something needed to give so that he could move on with his life, mate the daughter of the south, and produce an heir. Yet he knew that wasn't going to happen until he dealt with the haunting dreams of this stranger and convince his beast that there was no child anywhere crying out for him.

He needed a plan and the only thing he could think of was to have a gathering and hope that the male haunting his dreams would be there. Yes that's exactly what he would do and once he found the male he would kill him and finally be rid of the carnal dreams.

xx

Sesshoumaru stood against the wall as his overlords complained to him about one issue or another. Truly when did these beings become such sniveling little whiners? He put them in place over various parts of his lands because of their strong nature and ability to deal with the minor uprisings of the ningens that occupied his lands. Yet here they were complaining about issues that they were more than capable of dealing with on their own. "If you are unable to perform the duties I have placed upon you I will replace you with someone who will." He growled; he was growing tired of listening to them.

The blubbering of his overlords wasn't his only problem there was something else eating at his spine and he couldn't quite put his finger on it. As he looked around the room he got the distinct feeling that someone did not belong; but who? Every being mingling about the room were beings he knew. So why was the feeling that someone didn't belong seem so dominant to his senses?

With out a word to those standing around him he walked away. He needed to pin point whom or what did not belong and the only way to do that was to mill about like a lowly commoner.

xx

Deep browns watched from a dark corner as the lord of the west began walking the room. He had no doubt that Sesshoumaru was seeking him but wouldn't be able to find him unless he wanted him to. That was the beauty of his barrier that allowed none to see him only scent him he could see without being seen and yet tease the senses just enough to drive a being mad with not being able to find him.

He strategically maneuvered the barrier he was hidden in towards the large doors open to the grand gardens. Once in the doorway he made his way into the shadows and dropped his barrier before returning to the entrance to the grand hall. His deep browns immediately landed on his mate where they locked with his deep amber. With a smirk and a nod he backed away before turning and seeking out the darkness of the large trees and bushes at the far end of the gardens.

xx

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes upon the dark being standing in his doorway. Who was he and where did he come from? He seemed vaguely familiar but he just couldn't figure out where he knew him from. When the dark being backed out of her door he couldn't stop himself from following after. The being was an uninvited guest and he was going to find out just what purpose he had being within his palace walls.

He stepped out into the darkness, scanned the garden, and found nothing. He took a deep inhale through his sensitive nose and easily picked up the intruders scent which was also vaguely familiar. He determined that the being was hidden in the shadows at the far end of the garden and just as he was about to take a step towards the intruder a very feminine voice halted him in his tracks.

"Sesshoumaru?"

xx

"Shishi?" Takara whined. "When is chichi coming home?"

Shingai stared at her little sister. "I don't know. Master is out looking for him right now." She sighed sadly.

Tears welled up in the four year old's golden eyes causing Shingai to gather her up into her arms and try to sooth her pain. "I want chichi or jifu to come home." The toddler whimpered into her sister's neck.

"Me too… me too…" Shingai sighed as she rocked back and forth on her feet.

"Don't worry. Sesshoumaru-sama will come back he always does." Rin said from the doorway. "It's not the first time he has vanished for a long time." She stated knowingly.

Shingai sighed deeply. "I guess you would know." She patted Takara soothingly on the back. "I just don't understand why master didn't bring him back the first time he went to find him."

Rin shrugged her shoulder. "Maybe Sesshoumaru-sama couldn't come back last time because he was busy."

"Maybe." Shingai agreed then set Takara down. "Go find Nori and have her feed you." She ordered the child.

Takara stared up at her sister and nodded then padded out of the room. Once she closed the door behind her instead of turning to the left to head for the kitchens she went right heading for the gardens. She was going to go find her chichi she needed him and missed him. With both her parents gone she was suffering on the inside almost painfully. She didn't understand what was hurting all she knew was that she needed her parents near her to make it go away.

Once she stepped outside into the gardens a small silver cloud manifested under her tiny feet and away she went to find her missing chichi.

xx

Naraku stood in the corner of the gardens mostly hidden by the rose bushes and the large willow tree. His deep browns were locked on the silver being standing in front of the open doors he had just walked through talking to some female. Truthfully he should be angered that his mate was courting another but he really wasn't mainly due to the fact that his mate would in no way be able to mark the bitch because he belonged to another.

Not to mention this whole mess was his own damn fault. He just couldn't keep his big mouth shut and had to make a statement that began with the two words I and wish and then to make such a stupid mistake when he had that damned curse-ed jewel within his hand. One minute his mate is standing in front of him glaring and growling and the very next he's gone.

'I wish you came to me of your own accord.' He snorted in his own head. Why in seven hells would he say such a stupid thing? Now Sesshoumaru had to come to him of his own free will. He couldn't trick him into coming to him, use any magic or potions, nothing. Sesshoumaru had to make the choice all on his own and act upon it and that's what pissed him off the most. Sesshoumaru never did anything he didn't want to unless he was coerced into doing it. It was a classic situation of between a rock and a hard place.

He ground his teeth together in annoyance at himself as he waited for that damnable bitch to leave so that he could approach his mate and begin the process of wooing him back to his side where he belonged. However anything he had planned was thrown right out the window when his own flesh and blood landed on the grass just feet away from Sesshoumaru.

"Chichi!" Takara squealed as she ran towards Sesshoumaru and launched herself into his arms.

"Chichi?" Uzuki questioned. "I was under the impression you had no heirs." She drew her brows deeply.

"I don't." He responded coldly as he held the child out in front of him. He eyed her over and his keen eyes quickly picked up several details. Starting with her markings; identical to his. Gold eyes; also identical to his. Her scent; almost identical to his. He could also scent out the poison running through her veins which of course scented just like his. The only thing he could determine about her that separated her from being a perfect copy of him was one; she was a child, two; she was a girl, and three; she had long black wavy hair just like…

His thoughts trailed off there as the memory of his dream came back to haunt him. It was a simple detail he continually overlooked as he refused to believe it to be possible but in his dream his belly was always swollen with child. Either he was going mad or his dream was actually a memory of the past.

That was about the time his beast acted up growling that this was indeed his child and this is who has been crying for him.

"Girl who are you." His question that was nothing more than a cold command caused the child in his hands to tense up slightly.

Takara's bottom lip began to quiver at the tone of her father's voice as her golden eyes began to fill with tears. "You don't know me." She responded sounding just like him before turning her little head towards the willow tree. "Jifu" She cried out forcing her tears from her eyes. "He doesn't know me!" She began wailing and struggling to break free.

A silver brow arched as he turned his head in the direction that the girl was yelling. However that brow quickly came down in to an angered scowl when a dark male stepped out of the shadows of the trees and bushes. He had seen that male before during the last gathering but what was more was he once again seemed far too familiar and his beast wanted to go to him.

"Takara" Naraku said with narrowed eyes. "You have disobeyed me."

Sesshoumaru felt the child in his hands go completely stiff as he stared at the dark male. Before he could say a word one way or another the child broke free of his hold upon her and took off towards the male leaping into his arms and wrapping her tiny arms around his neck. He could barely make out what the girl was saying but caught enough to understand that they were both her parents. This only served to confuse him although it didn't show on his face.

"Well…" Uzuki started as she eyed both males and the child. "I think I will be going." She stated with a small frown on her lips. Something about this whole situation did not sit right with her and she was finding herself very uncomfortable.

Sesshoumaru ignored her as continued to stare at the dark male and the child in his arms.

Uzuki silently left the garden and thanked her lucky stars. If what she thought was right she wasn't going to have to mate the cold bastard of the west. As much as he was easy on the eyes his personality left a lot to be desired. Besides her true desires lay with the wolf prince and those damn sexy blue gray eyes of his. If only she could get him to get over his obsession with that human miko she'd be set.

"Explain this trickery." Sesshoumaru demanded as he advanced upon the male and the child with every intention of killing one if not both of them.

Naraku stared at his mate while trying to keep his daughter calm. "There is no trickery here." He answered in all honesty.

Sesshoumaru narrowed his golden eyes upon the two beings in front of him. He was a logical thinker and logically he could easily tell that the dark male wasn't lying and that the child was somehow related to both of them. Yet nothing about the two of them made any sense which seemed to anger him further. He raised his fingers up and let them glow green informing the both of them of how close to death they both were. It was about then the completely unexpected happened.

Takara feeling threatened by her own father lashed out unexpectedly. In a move that would have made Sesshoumaru proud had he known exactly who she was she retaliated against her father by lashing out with her own poison whip at his face. Once she felt she had him suitably distracted she leapt from Naraku's arms, transformed into her true demon form, and launched herself at Sesshoumaru's neck.

Sesshoumaru caught the puppy by the throat just as she came into range and glared at her. He used his free hand to wipe away the small trickle of blood on his cheek from her attack upon him. "You will die." He growled and began squeezing tightly around her neck.

Naraku shot out a tentacle towards the demon causing him to drop the girl in his hand as he leapt away. Naraku caught his daughter before she hit the ground and turned towards the demon launching himself at the two of them. Crimson eyes narrowed to deadly little slits before he waved his hand in front of him causing a barrier to surround him and his daughter. "Sesshoumaru you will cease this behavior now." He growled out in a low deadly voice.

Sesshoumaru halted his attack and stared at the dark male within the barrier. "You are a coward."

Naraku ground his teeth together as he kept his eyes on his mate. Takara was gripping tightly onto his haori in fear and her scent was choking him. He had a way to control the demon and really didn't want to use it but in this case he had no choice. He just hoped that the beast within would remember as it had been almost five years since he used his control over his inner beast. "Satsu!"

Sesshoumaru fell to his knees and felt his inner beast shrink back. His golden eyes glared deadly at the man before him. "What magic is this." He demanded.

Naraku dropped the barrier surrounding him and his daughter and smirked at his downed mate. "No magic just a reminder of who's really in charge."

He opened his mouth to respond but was kept silent when the little girl in the dark male's arms leapt down and came to stand in front of him. "Chichi…" She started as her deep amber locked with his. "Don't you feel me." He had to marvel at how well she was able to make a question sound like a demand and at such a young age. Hell she was almost as good at it as he was which just added to the possibility she was indeed related to him.

"Girl I do not know you." He growled coldly. He watched as her bottom lip began to quiver as she fought back her tears.

"You do know me." She whispered. "I am your daughter; see." She raised the black hair covering her forehead and showed him the deep blue crescent moon. "You told me that this was how you would always know I am your daughter."

Sesshoumaru felt as if he had suddenly been punched him in the chest. There was no way for her to have that symbol on her head unless she was a direct blood descendant to him. He moved his eyes from the girl in front of him to the male standing silently behind the girl. His crimson slowly faded to a dark brown almost black color.

"She is your daughter as much as you are her father." Naraku stated and watched Sesshoumaru's eyes flash. Had he not known the taiyoukai as he did he would have missed it completely. "Iie; you will not keep her."

Sesshoumaru rose to his feet and glared at him. "You have no say. She holds the mark of the western lands as such she is mine to do with as I will."

Naraku snorted. "Be that as it may but she is my daughter as well and she will stay with me."

'As well?' Sesshoumaru questioned silently. 'What did he mean by that?' His beast was growling incessantly that whatever this man said was the truth and he should listen to him so that they could go back to their family. There were so many things wrong here and he didn't even know where to begin to straighten them out. However the biggest issue was the fact that his beast and this man both claimed that they are all related to this girl as her parents but how is such a thing possible? He rose to his feet. "You will explain." He demanded coldly.

"I can not." Naraku stated as he made his way to Takara and picked her up. "I am forbidden to explain who I am, who she is, and how she came to be." He stroked his fingers through her raven locks and got that same purring growl Sesshoumaru used to give when he would do the same thing to him. "However; I can assure you that what my daughter says is true."

"I do not repeat myself." Sesshoumaru growled out. He felt completely in the dark and did not like the feeling in the least.

Naraku continued to stroke his fingers through his daughter's hair causing her eyes to droop until she finally succumbed to his ministrations and fell asleep. "Like I said I can not but I can try to answer any questions and point you towards the truth. The only way for the truth to be known is for you to find it for yourself." He looked down with adoring eyes at the small girl in his arms. "But there is nothing to stop her from leading you in the right direction in ways I can not yet she like me is unable to tell you what you want to know."

Sesshoumaru glanced down at the sleeping child and really realized how much she in fact looked like him. "She is our daughter." He stated with an edge of confusion to his voice.

"Hai" Naraku stated just above a whisper. "Her scent."

The taiyoukai looked up at the dark male at his words waiting for further explanation but noted quickly that he wasn't going to get one. 'Her scent'. He repeated the words back in his head before realizing what he was talking about. He stepped up to the two beings, leaned down, and sniffed at the girl's neck.

Raising back up he locked stares with the dark male his golden eyes only showing a glint of his confusion. The child held both of their scents mixed together confirming that she was indeed THEIR daughter. Then there were the girl's features all his markings, the dark male's black wavy hair and nose, his sharp chin, and slender build. Then there was her transformation into a small dog that looked just like him except her fur was all silver underneath with a black top coat. "How was she conceived?"

Naraku stared at him in silent contemplation for a moment. "As all children are conceived."

That was not the answer he was looking for. "I am well aware of how a child is created." He growled.

Naraku smirked. There was that Sesshoumaru 'I'm not stupid so don't talk to me like I am' attitude that he loved so much. It truly made the demon lord more alive than his cold stoic behavior ever did. "Then you should be more specific in your questions." His smirk grew into a large grin when the low rumbling of Sesshoumaru's growl sounded around them.

Gold eyes narrowed to dangerous little slits. "Who gave birth to her." He bit out coldly.

Naraku cocked his head to the side and arched a brow he then looked down at Sesshoumaru's mid section before locking stares with him again. "I can honestly say it wasn't me."

Sesshoumaru didn't miss the look the dark male gave him and had to scoff at his implication. "This Sesshoumaru would never bare a child."

"No?" Naraku smirked. "If WE are her parents and I did not birth her that leaves only one other being who did."

This was getting to be far too much for the demon lord. He knew what the hanyou was saying about them both being the girl's parents was true but it was just too ridiculous to believe that he Sesshoumaru birthed the child. That led to the notion that he and this hanyou were together in order for them to have the child and that was just down right impossible. "You will not attempt to use trickery on this Sesshoumaru."

Why was it always such a shock to him when Sesshoumaru spoke in the third person? There was just something not right about it and what was worse was Takara would occasionally do it, Rin always did it, Shingai would sometimes do it, and even he himself has been guilty of doing it more times than he would like to admit.

"There is no trickery here." He held Takara out to him. "She is yours just as much as she is mine. Here."

Sesshoumaru hesitantly took the child from his arms and held her against his chest. He watched in unseen wonder as the little girl curled her fist into his haori and nuzzled herself as close as possible to him. "Chichi" She whispered in her sleep and smiled. His beast was purring contentedly with the child being held close to him. He had to admit that she felt familiar to him and when she would call him father he felt a strange tightening in his belly. It felt right holding her in his arms and he determined that even if they were both her parents he was keeping her.

Naraku smiled at the sight before him it had been far too long since he saw him and their daughter together like that and couldn't wait to have him back where he belonged.

Sesshoumaru looked at the dark hanyou and a sudden thought crossed his mind which he posed before the male. "Who are you."

"Naraku" He stated nonchalantly like he should have already known the answer before he asked the question.

'Naraku' He repeated in his head. That name seemed strangely familiar like he should have known it all along. "You are familiar to me." As he eyed the male the memory of his nightly dreams came back and the face in his dreams was the face right before him.

Naraku gave a small nod trying to encourage him to remember with his eyes. He so badly wanted to grab him and pull him close, to feel him lying atop him during the night while they slept, to feel his heat when he would make love to him, but above all else he just wanted him back at his side.

He couldn't believe that the dark male in his dreams was standing right before him. The fact that he was standing in front of him and also due to the fact that he was holding their child in his arms meant that his dream was more than likely a reality at some point. He watched as Naraku reached out and raked his fingers through their daughter's hair causing her to give off a small growling purr.

"She is not the only one." Naraku stated with a drag of his fingers across her cheek.

Sesshoumaru looked down at his daughter then back at Naraku. "There are more?"

Naraku knew he had Sesshoumaru hooked as when Sesshoumaru ASKED a question instead of stating a question he was confused and in need of guidance. "Hai" He plucked his daughter from Sesshoumaru's arms. "I must return home to them as they tend to cause trouble if they are not watched over constantly." He said then turned and began walking away.

Sesshoumaru growled low in his throat when his child was taken from him. "You will return the girl." He demanded coldly.

"Iie" Naraku stated as he stopped in his tracks and looked over his shoulder at his mate. "I can not leave her here where her life is at risk." He looked over towards the bushes in the opposite corner. "Her status as heir to the western lands puts her life at risk."

Sesshoumaru looked to where the dark male was looking and in a blink of an eye sent his poison whip towards the bushes. A loud scream and the rustling of bushes sounded as a snake youkai came stumbling out with a large open gash across his chest.

Sesshoumaru watched in pleasure as the invading beast fell to the ground and died before turning back to the hanyou. "She will stay here." He demanded leaving no room for arguments.

Naraku shook his head. "That is not an option. However you are more than welcome to come with us."

Gold eyes stared at the sleeping girl with her head resting on the hanyou's shoulder and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach at the thought of being separated from her. Everything about her called to his most primal instinct of protection and deep inside his chest he ached with need to have her close to him always. He almost mechanically began walking towards the dark hanyou while keeping his eyes locked onto the serene sleeping face of the girl.

Naraku smirked to himself when Sesshoumaru came to stand beside him. He looked over at his mate and smiled. "Shall we?" Once again had he not known Sesshoumaru as he did he would have missed the oh so small nod of the demon lord's head. He let his miasma surround them all and carried them to their castle hidden within the western mountains.

Naraku landed them at the entrance to his castle and entered the large building heading for his daughter's room.

Sesshoumaru followed behind with his deep amber's narrowed onto the broad back of the hanyou. It didn't escape his attention that his castle was in his domain, up in the mountains, overlooking the valley below which held his own estate. How was it possible for him to be hidden here and him as the Western Lord not know it? Yes, he would have to force the hanyou to answer the many questions he had and as his Lord since he was residing in his domain he had no choice but to tell him everything he wanted to know.

He followed the dark being through the halls until they entered the room that clearly belonged to the girl in his arms. He watched silently as he placed her on her small sleeping mat then followed him out of the room. They moved down the hall to the next door down and entered.

Naraku turned to face his mate and gave a curt nod. "If you desire to stay here you may stay in this room." As much as he wanted him to stay with him in their room he couldn't push him into anything he wasn't ready for lest he wished to lose him permanently.

Sesshoumaru didn't give a response one way or the other as he locked stares with the dark hanyou. "You will explain." He demanded with a growl.

Naraku smirked at him. "As I have said any questions you have you may ask and I will answer them the best I can. I can not guarantee that I will be able to answer all your questions as you must find the answers on your own." He moved to look out the window and smiled down at the two girls in the lower garden, sitting under the tree, doing who only knew what which probably consisted of doing sneaky teenage girl stuff he would not approve of. "They may be able to answer questions that I can not then again there is a possibility that like me they can't tell you anything."

Sesshoumaru moved towards the window to see who he was talking about and when he looked out he saw two girls sitting under a tree chatting. As he looked at the two raven haired girls he had that overwhelming sense that he knew the both of them but couldn't place a name to either of them. He cut his eyes up to the male standing next to him.

Naraku didn't miss the questioning glance he gave him before his deep ambers returned to their normal cold state. "The older of the two is Shingai and the other is Rin. They are not our children in the same sense Takara is but they are ours none the less."

He hated how the hanyou kept referring to everything as 'ours' like they were mates or some such nonsense. Yet those names seemed very familiar to him especially the name Rin. Where did he know it from? "Where did they come from."

Naraku looked back out the window at the two females and tried to sort out how to answer him. "I found one Shingai and the other…" He trailed off as he looked at the demon lord trying to convey with his eyes where the other girl came from.

"I have never seen her before." Sesshoumaru stated coldly not missing his unfinished answer.

"Oh hai you have." Naraku nodded. "She would not be…" He drew his brows together trying to find a word that would explain what he was trying to say that wouldn't be in violation of his stupid wish. "She would not be here..." He stated with a wave of his hands through the air. "Were it not for you."

Sesshoumaru eyed him like he had gone mad. What did he mean by here? Here in this castle? Here in these lands? Here in this world? "She is a ningen." He stated like that explained everything.

Naraku gave a curt nod. "Hai that she is." He mocked slightly. "All I can tell you for certain it that you know more about her than I."

He gave a grunt in response as he stared out the window trying to force his mind to tell him where he knew the girl Rin from yet came up blank.

"Shall I fetch them for you?" Naraku asked as he stared at his profile. Of course the demon lord didn't answer but he saw the small move of his head. "Very well." His miasma surrounded him and he vanished from sight.

Sesshoumaru watched as the dark hanyou appeared in the garden followed by squeals out of the two girls as the both launched themselves at him. He felt a strange longing/hatred feeling at the sight of the hanyou having his arms wrapped around the two girls. It was like he wanted to be down there being lavished with their attention instead of the hanyou. He gave a mental shake of his head as what he was feeling meant nothing to him. All he wanted to know was how he and this hanyou were linked and how was it that they had a child together.