"Inuyasha, I forbid you from meeting that woman. We set sail tomorrow. Do not disobey me."

Sorry, Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha thought with a mocking nod towards the moored Western Moon, but that's one order I can't listen to.

Swift feet carried him silently across rooftops, headed towards the largest home in the bustling city of Port Royal: Morgan Estate. Inside waited a woman he had at one time despised for her family's involvement in the execution of dozens of pirates, but over time had come to desire. He lusted after her, and it wasn't long before his brother, and captain, began to notice.

Since the anti-piracy laws had been passed in 1687 by Henry Morgan, Sesshoumaru had steered the Western Moon towards the city only a handful of times, and for good reason. Nearly fifty pirates had been hanged over the last two years, when previously they would have found shelter in the popular port city. If you knew the right people, safe havens could still be reached within the city, and so the Western Moon had continued to moor in her waters, leaving heavy pockets among the docksmen.

Once Sesshoumaru found out that Inuyasha was seeing Morgan's niece, however, he vowed that if Inuyasha didn't stop, they would never dock in Port Royal again. He explained that Inuyasha was threatening their livelihood (not to mention their very lives, should Morgan discover what they were). As things were now, Inuyasha only got to see her when they were in town, which was once a year, at best. There was no way that Inuyasha would let him take even that away – this he vowed.

Unbeknownst to his brother, Inuyasha had met his lady in town the day before and retold Sesshoumaru's ultimatum.

"Inuyasha," she had whispered brokenly, dark eyes watering, "I couldn't bear never seeing you again. I wish to wed you."

"I can't live the life you do, Kikyou," he replied roughly, his hands lightly rubbing her arms as he gripped them. "Even were I to give up my life as a pirate, your uncle would kill me if he found out who I was. I can't be what you want me to be."

"Then be what I need you to be," she implored. "Come to Morgan Estate tomorrow night. It is my cousin's birthday, and a large banquet is being held in her honour. While everyone is busy with the festivities downstairs, I can steal away to my room. Meet me there at midnight, and together we'll return to your brother's ship."

"You would take on a pirate's life, for me?" he questioned, awed by the determined light in his woman's eyes.

"I would do anything to be with you." Standing on her tiptoes, she pressed her lips to his in a chaste kiss before pulling out of his embrace. "Tomorrow night, Inuyasha," she reminded him, turning around and running back home.

I'm coming, Kikyou…my mate, he told her silently, eyes intent on the windows of the house. If he were honest with himself, he felt a little daunted by the sight, and wished a few of the crew could have come with him to help, but he wouldn't risk them for something so personal. Not only could they be killed if Morgan discovered them 'kidnapping' his beloved niece, but were Sesshoumaru to find out they had helped him in retrieving her, far worse things would be done.

"My bedroom is the first balcony on the eastern facing wall. The second room is my Aunt and Uncle's, and the last is my cousin's. I will light a candle and place it in my window. Don't leave me waiting."

He well remembered the glow that had lit her eyes when she told him where to find her. The knowledge that he would finally be seeing something as intimate as her bedchamber made his loins tighten painfully and he had to take a deep breath before continuing on. Bowing slightly, he sprung forward in a powerful leap from the rooftop he had been on, grabbing hold of the vines creeping up the side of the wall. With a grunt he pulled himself up until he was able to reach the railing of the balcony and heave himself over, landing in a graceful crouch.

As promised, a single candle could be seen burning on the vanity against the wall. Straining his eyes, he smirked when he saw Kikyou closing the door. Making sure no one is coming, my love? Her apparent apprehension managed to amuse him so much that his own anxieties vanished, and he quickly stood up and opened the unlocked balcony doors, taking in the flushed cheeks and gasp of surprise from his woman as she turned in shock from the doorway.

"Kikyou?" a gentle voice called out from the darkness, making the normally collected woman jump in surprise from in front of the vanity. The newly lit candle fluttered as the vanity lightly shook from her sudden movement.

"Kagome, what are you doing up here?" she asked somewhat breathlessly. Please, please leave, cousin!

"I saw you leaving the party and wondered why," the younger woman replied with a sweet smile. "I know you tend to keep yourself apart from the other families in Port Royal, but I thought that tonight we could—"

"Cousin," she interrupted stiffly, hating to see the light dim from the other's eyes but knowing it was necessary, "you know I don't like to be around many people at once."

Kagome's smile returned after a short pause, although this time it was rueful and apologetic. "You're right, I'm sorry. Perhaps we can just sit together up here and talk for a bit? It seems like I've hardly seen you during the past week. You're always coming and going at such odd intervals."

"No, I'm sorry. I simply don't have time right now," Kikyou answered honestly, flicking her gaze between her cousin, the clock, and her balcony doors, where she had left her luggage of clothes for Inuyasha to carry. It's nearly midnight! Inuyasha will be here soon to collect me! I can't let Kagome get involved in this!

Kagome frowned, put off by her cousin's flippant attitude. She was about to protest such treatment when a knock came at the door, making both women turn towards it as a servant poked his head in slowly.

"Miss Kikyou, I'm sorry, but Mr. Morgan requests your presence in his study immediately," the man relayed. When Kikyou stiffly nodded her acquiescence to the request the servant left, closing the door quietly behind him.

"Whatever Father has to say must be important," Kagome observed slowly, watching Kikyou's face for a hint as to the reason why, but her face remained perfectly calm.

"Kagome, I ask that you please leave my room with me," Kikyou pleaded. With any hope, Inuyasha will come to my room and wait for me. Whatever Uncle has to say should not take long, and then I'll make my way back here as quickly as possible…so long as Kagome doesn't follow me back up here, of course!

The Morgan daughter frowned thoughtfully, but nonetheless nodded. "All right. We'd best not leave Father waiting."

Sighing with relief, Kikyou opened the doors to her room and beckoned Kagome to follow her out, closing the door behind them. They walked to the end of the hall together until they reached the stairs.

"Well, I'll see you at the party again, after I talk to your Father," Kikyou promised solemnly, hiding her crossed fingers behind her back.

"Truly?" Kagome exclaimed happily, a large smile spreading across her face. "Then get going, Kikyou! I'll be waiting for you." Turning, she walked down the stairs, leaving a relieved Kikyou behind.

Kagome, I'm sorry to trick you like this, but should you get involved, all my effort to be with Inuyasha could be for naught. With that final thought she walked down the corridor to her Uncle's study and knocked, only entering when she had been bidden to.

From around the corner Kagome watched with narrowed eyes, only walking back down the hall to Kikyou's room when she'd seen her enter her Father's study.

I don't know what you're up to, Kikyou, but I'm going to find out! It seems like once a year you always act like this, hiding everything from me, and going out at such odd times of day! If you won't tell me, then I'll have to find out for myself.

Glancing up and down the hallway, Kagome reached for the door handle and slowly turned it, opening the door an inch at a time as she peered inside. Realizing just how silly she was behaving, Kagome huffed in annoyance and then giggled. Acting as if someone were in the room! Honestly, Kagome, you are too much, she thought laughingly.

Entering the chamber, she turned around to close and lock the door, determined to search the vanity first for a diary or perhaps love letters when a sound behind her made Kagome turn around swiftly, a gasp escaping her lips.

Standing in front of the now open balcony was what appeared to Kagome to be some sort of sailor. He wore knee-high boots and shamelessly skin tight breeches tucked into them, causing Kagome to flush. Around his lean waist was a stripped cloth, acting as a belt and holding his loose white shirt closed. He had long, coarse white hair that floated down to the middle of his back, and a red bandana was tied around his head.

"It's nice to know you appreciate my good looks, but we gotta get goin'," the man proclaimed quickly, glancing to the ground outside before taking measured steps towards her. Kagome pressed herself back against the door, twisting the knob helplessly.

"Look, I don't know who you are, but you'd best leave before I call for help!" Kagome ordered, a slight quiver lacing her voice.

Inuyasha stopped to stare at her in confusion before an understanding grin lit his face. "I get it! You wanna play up the act that your being 'kidnapped', but I think it'd be better if we just left. Your Uncle could think you'd run away, and then he probably wouldn't search for you so hard."

"My Uncle?" What in the word is this buffoon talking about?

"Yeah," Inuyasha smirked, swaggering up to her. "I know you're probably worried, but don't worry, Kikyou, life on the sea is great! And with me by your side, no harm will ever come to you. This I promise."

"Now listen here, you—" Kagome began, her hand coming up to push his chest as she began to understand what was going on. But she was interrupted, as faster than she could blink, his hand reached up and took hers, pulling her close as he pressed his lips roughly to hers. Shocked beyond belief, she stood stock still as he ground his mouth against hers wetly, pulling back slightly out of breath.

She blinked up at him, mind in a whirl and yet not comprehending anything as he pulled her by her still captive hand towards the balcony doors.

"I hate to put a damper on our reunion, but we really gotta go, Kikyou. Sesshoumaru's plannin' to set sail before sunrise, so we gotta get you back to the Western Moon and hidden so that he won't find you until we're well out to sea," he insisted, swiftly picking her up in his arms.

The sudden movement snapped Kagome out of her reverie, and scowling, she pushed at his chest angrily. "Listen, you barbarian! I don't know who you think you are, but I won't allow you to kidnap me like this! When my Fa—mmph!"

Rolling his eyes, Inuyasha tied the cloth tighter around her mouth, ears twitching in annoyance atop his head. "Look, you don't need to play it up so much, but if it makes you feel better to do it this way, fine."

Glaring at him, her eyes widened suddenly when he picked her up, her sight locking on the pair of white dog ears perched atop his head, and his bright yellow eyes. She barely had time to comprehend what that meant before she was thrown over his shoulder, legs trapped against his chest by his iron-tight grip.

A pirate! Kikyou is involved with a pirate and now I'm being kidnapped!

"I'm sorry we have to do it this way, but we'll be faster if I carry you like this," Inuyasha sincerely apologized, stepping up onto the rail of the balcony, Kikyou's prepared luggage held in his fist. Kagome's frightened eyes stared down at the ground below – three stories below – and couldn't help the whimper that escaped her from behind the gag.

Inuyasha shifted apprehensively as her scent shifted with fear. He didn't like her so nervous – it made it really difficult to catch her natural scent buried beneath the apprehension, fear, and confusion.

"You can trust me, Kikyou. I know you aren't used to me carrying you like this, but we'll be able to get out of sight faster this way." Not waiting for her response, Inuyasha leapt off the balcony and freefell down to the nearest house below, landing without a sound atop a chimney.

Kagome watched with wide eyes as the town seemed to rise up towards her, and after all the confusion and fear of the last few minutes, welcomed the darkness that rose up around her as she fell into a faint.