Series Title: Allegiance

Series Rating: Y

Series Summary: Strictly-come-canon, post-manga. Kagome is forced to seek out Sesshoumaru's protection in the wake of unexpected tragedy. As she insinuates herself into his life, Sesshoumaru comes to realize her second chance at life is also his, as her presence drives him to confront mistakes from his own past.

Series Disclaimer: The Inuyasha concept, story, and characters are copyright Rumiko Takahashi and Viz Media.

Author's Note: This series was originally written and posted to LiveJournal between 2008 and 2010. After much consideration, I have decided to close this universe to new entries, so it will be posted here, in its entirety, with minimal edits. It is complete in 20 parts. Enjoy.


Title: Appearance
Universe: Canon
Genre: Drama
Rating: T
Warnings: None
Word Length: 735
Summary: Kagome appears at Sesshoumaru's door, seeking his aid. The opening of the series.

.xxxxx.

"Let me go!"

Sesshoumaru's attention was drawn across the courtyard to the front gates of his castle, where his guard appeared to be engaged in a small but hearty scuffle. Five of them surrounded their captive, some creature with the ability to emit such piercing cries as they struggled so mightily to contain it.

"Never!" one of the men grunted.

"What business would a humanhave with our lord?" another sneered.

"She reeksof hanyou," another noted, holding his nose in the air.

His curiosity piqued, Sesshoumaru approached the fray. Though his expression was arranged in its usual impassive mask, his heart had picked up considerable speed at the accusations. Could it be? he thought recklessly as he moved forward. Rin…?

"Onii-san!"

One single word was enough to bring an immediate hush over the still-assembling crowd of onlookers. Slowly, their eyes were drawn away from the impudent human, towards the great taiyoukai, in measure of his reaction.

Sesshoumaru's heart dropped as he caught sight of Kagome for the first time in innumerable years. His ire spiked at such a familiar address, as it would only invite unnecessary speculation from the entirety of his court.

He gave her a long, assessing stare, not sure if he was impressed or irked when she did not cower before him.

"Leave her be," he finally commanded, much to the shock of the crowd.

"My lord?" the general of the guard sputtered, striving to hide the uncertainty in his voice. "You acknowledge this wench?"

Sesshoumaru shot him a dark, cutting look. "Do not make me repeat myself," he warned.

After a quick, concerned glance to his fellow guards, the general acquiesced, letting her go and drawing his men away.

A low din of conversation arose from the crowd, whispers growing as Kagome drew herself to her full height before them. She fisted her hands at her sides, holding her chin up, her eyes cast directly at Sesshoumaru.

"You are dismissed," he directed the crowd, his words quick to disperse the clutch of gawking courtiers.

He waited while they filed away, taking their rampant curiosity and gossip with them, before addressing this long-lost human miko.

"Did my brother's hospitality finally run its course?" he asked bemusedly, the hint of a cruel smile touching the corners of his mouth.

"No, but his life did," she replied shortly, her tone rife with tension.

Surprise sliced through him. How could I not have heard?he wondered, narrowing his eyes at her.

Yet, perhaps it wasn't all that surprising.

He'd been the last to know about Rin, after all…

"And the well?" he asked quietly.

Kagome shook her head, her eyes closing as fear and frustration spiked in her scent. "It's closed," she sighed. "I – I tried it right after – " She stopped, choking back her words, before drawing a deep breath to calm herself. "You're the only one left." Did you think I'd be here if I had any other alternative?

The implication was clear, and Sesshoumaru found himself appreciating her forthrightness.

Suddenly she approached him, falling into a formal bow. "Please, my lord, would you consider taking me in?"

He fought his immediate instinct, to take a step back, to separate himself from her and her turmoil. As he gazed at her bowed head, her shoulders shaking slightly, he recognized her desperation and sadness. His eyes roved over her tiny form. She looked horrible – gaunt, exhausted, disheveled.

It was obvious that she had undertaken the long, hard journey from his brother's domain under the cover of night, moving as quickly as possible…

…which made him wonder, just what was she running from?

"Arise," he snapped, startling her with his irritated tone. She glanced up at him, her large brown eyes meeting his, and once again he was stabbed with the wisp of a memory. The mix of hope and determination that gazed back at him had once belonged to only one other girl.

Goddamn these humans, he mused silently, feeling his resistance breaking.

He was nothing if not honorable; even if he hadn't cared for or about Inuyasha's existence, the hanyou had still been his relation.

"Don't make me regret this," he said softly, if coldly, before turning away. Her relief was palpable, and he felt slightly disgusted with himself. He had only taken a few steps before turning back, giving her a speculative gaze. "And don't ever call me 'onii-san' again."