A/N: Hey guys!

Just wanted to thank everyone who stuck it out with me through the arduous journey of completing this fic. I had a blast talking to everyone and reading your reviews and knowing that my thoughts and ideas touched so many people.

Even now i get new reviews and some of them have been rather constructive lol so i want to respond to them since i can't message the reviewers directly. I appreciate it when ya'll find errors and whatnot. Cuz even though it's embarrassing to know that i missed a few things in revising the story, i'm glad to know what to go back and fix! sometimes i mix-up ages, or forget to take out a reference to something that isn't in the story anymore. So i mean, yeah its bittersweet when the review is only about a mistake, but i still appreciate the constructive help lol

I hope that you readers can look past the small errors and still see something entertaining to enjoy.

thanks so much to everyone who helped.

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I have a new story!

It's only four chapters long right now, but i am very excited for it! It's a Kagome/Sesshoumaru fic, with elements of Kagome/Inuyasha at times lol

The first portion of the fic is HEAVILY inspired by my favorite childhood book/movie 'A Little Princess', but that portion ends relatively quickly, probably around the tenth chapter is where i will veer off into my own original story and whatnot. But yeah, I really hope some of you guys will give it a chance! Here's a sneak peak!

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"O-Hime Akane Isagawa was married to the powerful archer Shinjiro-san, who had been banished to the forest by the O-Kotei's jealous O-Komon, Matsumoto Togo. After the O-Kotei's death, the evil Matsumoto-sama made plans to marry Akane-san and become the new O-Kotei. Shinjiro-san and Akane-san were madly in love and defied him by marrying each other in secret." A soft, youthful voice spoke with a mysterious tone as she unraveled the story created by her own imagination. A pair of young boys listened intently, enraptured and always eager to hear the tales woven by their dear friend. On the banks of a quiet river was the location of their favorite hideaway. At the plunge pool of a mighty waterfall, a large boulder jutted from the crashing waters nearly twenty feet into the air. Around them was a dense bamboo forest, which cracked and groaned whenever a breeze ghosted through the landscape.

Atop said boulder sat a young human girl, unafraid of the daunting fall from the rock's tall perch. Dressed in only her white cotton juban, the girl seemed to pay no mind in getting wet when she initially jumped into the tepid waters after removing her kimono and wooden zori sandals. When left on their own, all sense of decorum and propriety went away between the three young friends; it was their only time to behave freely without fear of consequences. The two boys were comfortable shirking their fine royal kimono and hakama in order to enjoy the river's warm comfort as well. Left in just the fundoshi around their waists, neither felt insecure or strange around their equally under-dressed companion; ah, the innocence of youth.

This was their sacred place, the one area hidden away just for their enjoyment; there were no rules to follow or lessons to sit through. Behind the fall's curtain of rushing water, the soft rock had been eroded away to form a drastic undercut into the steep-sided gorge; a hidden cavern was known only to them. It was damp and very loud behind the waterfall, and the air was thick with the spray; but they thought it to be magical.

Currently, the younger brother was lazily drifting in the river's gentle current, laying on his back with only his chest and head above the water. Two silver, tapered ears remained fixed on his friend's sweet voice as he pictured the story she was telling them. The older sibling was at the riverbank, his feet wading in the lapping tide as he reclined back on his palms. He had his fill of swimming and would rather allow his abundance of white hair dry in the warm summer air while enjoying the girl's made-up tale. A bird screeched its majestic call in the distance, echoing through the lush forest that surrounded them. Dapples of warm sunlight permeated the canopy and danced across the river's glistening surface. It was a beautiful day.

"One day, Akane-san saw a wounded deer and begged Shinjiro-san to help it. With his arrow, the archer drew a circle in the ground around Akane-san and said to her, 'This is a magic circle. No harm can come to you so long as you stay inside it.'They shared a kiss before he left to track the wounded animal and Akane-san waited patiently for her husband's return." Her girlish voice dropped lower to imitate the tone of a grown man, making her friend's laugh at the comical attempt.

"That night, Akane-san heard a terrible cry - 'Aah! Help me!'. Worried that it was her beloved Shinjiro-san in danger, she ran from the circle to answer the cry. She soon came across an old man, begging for money to buy food. Akane-san had taken nothing when she left the palace, but still wore the priceless jewelry given by her Outo-san. Unable to refuse him, Akane-san gave the old man her most cherished item. As soon as he had the golden broach, he transformed into the evil Matsumoto!" Her voice became excited as the story took a drastic turn for the worst.

The two brothers opened their eyes, which had fallen shut in their blissful relaxation, to reveal curious yellow gazes that watched their dampened friend sit up on her knees atop the bolder. Her long, black hair clung in dark tendrils as a second layer to pale skin. The white juban had been soaked before, becoming transparent against her youthful body, but had now dried out during her time out of the water.

"He captured Akane-san and took her back to the palace, where he intended to make her his bride. Hundreds of soldiers surround the palace to keep Shinjiro-san from rescuing his beloved, who was being kept in the tallest tower." As the young girl let out a wistful sigh, caught up in the tragedy of Akane's fate, one of her friends felt the need to interrupt.

"You tell the same story every time! Can't you find something other to talk about than rescuing stupid Hidenka?" Using the Youkai equivalent of 'O-Hime', the young boy was clearly irritated, but a pre-pubescent pitch in his voice prevented him from sounding like the man he wanted to be. Inuyasha was only twelve-years-old and still had much growing to do before anyone would consider him a man. From her tall vantage, Kagome huffed angrily and crossed her arms.

"Fine! You come up with stories then, Inuyasha." She challenged him spitefully, sticking her tongue out as he struck the surface of the river, throwing water in her direction. The river was deep as he swam towards the edge of the boulder, intent on claiming the place where Kagome currently sat. Sesshoumaru, who was now fourteen-years-old, watched stoically while the two bickered back and forth. As the eldest, and as a Youkai, his level of maturation was beyond theirs; though Kagome proved to be not far behind him.

"I bet mine would be way more exciting than the ones you make up!" Inuyasha scaled the craggily surface with ease, while it had taken Kagome many attempts, and smirked when he finally reached the level she was at. "I'd tell stories about men fighting with swords and dying for their honor! Stuff that actually matters." Though only a Hanyou, Inuyasha's reflexes were fast enough to evade Kagome's attempt to shove him from her boulder.

"My stories matter too!" She wailed and moved to stand up in front of his crouching form. Pushing sections of wet, black hair out of her face, Kagome grinned sneakily at her equally stubborn companion. The mist from the waterfall collided with a ray of sunlight, causing a rainbow effect that went unnoticed by the distracted children. Though they argued frequently, Inuyasha and Kagome knew each other well enough to joke and tease without going too far; most of the time. "Get off my boulder!" She took a jerking step towards Inuyasha, her bare feet no longer tender against the wet surface of the rock. He responded by laughing and defiantly sat down in her place, refusing to back down.

"It's mine now!" He shouted back, which caused Kagome to lift her foot with the aim of knocking him off. The small, delicate appendage met Inuyasha's skinny shoulder, but he was as immovable as the rock they stood upon. The action caused Kagome to fall backwards as she lost her balance, and a piercing scream was cut short when she collided with the water below. Sesshoumaru became alert from his place on the bank, ready to rescue Kagome if necessary. Inuyasha peeked over the edge of the tall boulder, also worried that she might have been hurt.

Suddenly, her black head broke the surface and Kagome was left coughing and gasping for air. As she effortlessly wadded in the churning river's current, strong enough to swim against it without being swept away, Kagome caught her breath and yelled out Inuyasha's name.

"Inuyasha! You're so mean!" Kagome pitifully swam towards the smaller collection of rocks and boulders that surrounded the base of the tallest one they had fought over. His cackling filled the open space around them, further upsetting the twelve-year-old human as she pulled her water-logged form onto the flat surface of a nearby rock. Sesshoumaru could sense her humiliation and anger, and felt enough was enough.

"Aw, did I hurt Kagome's feelings?" Inuyasha's tone was needlessly condescending as he taunted her. Tears stung Kagome's eyes and she held back a sob as she jumped through the heavy curtain of falling water. It beat down against her small frame, but in the next moment she passed through to end up in a watery cavern, away from everyone else. Kagome carefully stepped over the mossy surface of the gorge's naturally-created shelf and curled against the rough, earthen wall. Sniffling her congested nose, Kagome drew her knees up and hugged them. The small cave's low temperature caused a chill to run up her spine, but she refused to come out.

Through the sheet of cascading water, daylight filtered into the small space in the form of beautiful squiggling lines that danced across the concave, stone surface. Kagome could not hear what was transpiring on the other side, but she trusted that one of her friends would come to fetch her soon enough. A few minute later, she was joined by Sesshoumaru's taller form. He stepped through the waterfall as if it weighed nothing against him, and quietly joined Kagome by kneeling beside her. His beautiful hair was drenched and slicked back away from his face, revealing the budding handsomeness that would become more defined with age.

Sesshoumaru was still only down to his fundoshi, the typical garment worn under a man's clothes. At only fourteen, the one advantage Sesshoumaru had over Inuyasha was height. Neither boy had fully come into his strength or discovered all his abilities yet, and it would be years before they would be considered formidable beings in their own right. However, having Touga Inu no Taisho as their father all but guaranteed that they would rival, if not surpass, his own power.

On his lean, muscular body, the Inu-clan markings stood in stark contrast to Sesshoumaru's otherwise pale skin. With a blue crescent moon at the center of his forehead and parallel strikes of magenta on either cheek, that was the most other's usually saw of his ancestral markings. However, identical to his father, Sesshoumaru's body was decorated with similar magenta stripes that curved around his outer-wrists and ankles as well. At his waist, beneath the cotton-loincloth, graceful trails of magenta traveled along the sides of his torso, inside the curve of his narrow hips, and tapered at his inner-thighs. Though they were merely artificial now, one day those markings would be a sign of virility and serve as a means for attracting a mate.

Though it did not affect her that way yet, Kagome had already taken notice of Sesshoumaru's intricate markings out of curiosity and jealousy. She often felt very plain when standing beside her Youkai and Hanyou friends and hosts, and wished that she had been born with such patterns on her skin as well. There was a time, when she had been six or seven, that Kagome insisted on painting her face with ink stolen from the court artisans in the design of the Inu-clan. While it had been executed crudely, and was removed within minutes of discovery, the gesture seemed to amuse and flatter Touga and Kimi.

But while it was easy to laugh off Kagome's curiosity with the Youkai markings, ignoring Inuyasha's bitterness about it was not so. Inuyasha had not been blessed with such prestigious traits, thus further drawing attention to the differences between him and Sesshoumaru. Thanks to his mixed heritage, there were many things other Youkai took for-granted that Inuyasha would have to go without. Though no one knew what sort of limitations he might have, such as a shorter life-span or physical weaknesses, it was certain that expectations for Inuyasha were far below those made of Sesshoumaru. No matter what Inuyasha did, good or bad, he would always be held back by the stigma of being Hanyou. There was no place for him amongst either race, Human or Youkai.

Kagome, however, saw the good qualities in Inuyasha that many seemed to overlook. While he was hot-headed and brash, he also had a ferocious desire to protect and defend those near to him. Inuyasha had a thirst to prove himself as capable as Sesshoumaru, and to dispel the doubts others felt towards him. But, what Kagome loved most about Inuyasha, was his surprising gentility. She only ever caught glimpses of it during their private time spent together, when Inuyasha felt he could let down his guard.

There was one memory that she cherished above most others, and that was the day they ran through a field of wildflowers. Sesshoumaru was busy with his lessons, giving Kagome and Inuyasha a chance to grow closer to one another. They were catching their breaths, laying in the tall grass, when a butterfly suddenly decided to perch atop Inuyasha's bent knee. Kagome's head was resting against Inuyasha's chest, and yet their young ages prevented the situation from having a deeper implication. Keeping still and quiet, Kagome and Inuyasha watched as the beautiful insect flexed its iridescent wings before taking flight once more.

At this moment, as she sat crying behind a waterfall, Kagome found it difficult reminding herself of Inuyasha's redeeming qualities.

"You're crying." Sesshoumaru's voice was not as deep as it would one day be, but the sound was characteristically gentle and subdued. Kagome almost didn't hear him over the roar of the waterfall. Using the back of her thumb to wipe away hot tears, the young girl kept her eyes averted from his searching gaze.

"Inuyasha was mean to me." Her unusually full lips pulled into an adorable pout as her humiliation gave way to anger.

"I took care of it…he regrets his actions." Sesshoumaru assured her. Outside the cave, Inuyasha was still groaning and rubbing the sore bruise forming at the back of his head. The older brother had given a healthy wallop as a means of putting Inuyasha in his place. The news brought a reluctant smile to Kagome's cherubic face. Biting into the flesh of her bottom lip, the young girl tried to resist grinning. But when she caught the amusement in Sesshoumaru's piercing gaze, Kagome could not hold back any longer.

"Thanks," Beaming unabashedly, Kagome's round face was marked with a dimple on either cheek. Something came over the Youkai knelt beside her; something unfamiliar and yet strangely pleasant. Sesshoumaru watched as Kagome rose from the damp ground to stand up, and was momentarily lost in the sight of her dazzling blue eyes caught in shimmering daylight. Following her lead, the teenage Youkai returned to his full height and stepped closer to the tumbling wall of water before them. Errant droplets and mist chilled their skin, but neither paid any mind.

"Don't tell Inuyasha…" Kagome paused a moment as she reached out to catch some of the gushing water in the palm of her hand. Though at first it forced her arm down, Kagome tightened her muscles and kept her hand at a consistent level against the hard current. Sesshoumaru waited patiently for her to finish the thought, though he was incredibly curious of what Kagome wanted to keep a secret between them. "But I hope they pick you to marry me."

Their parent's intentions had been announced two years ago, much to the chagrin of Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru. Their reluctance didn't stem from the disinclination of matting a human; but because they were adolescent boys who found any person of the opposite sex to be annoying. In the two years following, Sesshoumaru had come to terms with the prospect while Inuyasha continued to dig his heels in defiance. It wasn't decided yet which son would be chosen, as there were at least four more years before she even came of age. But in all this time, no one had taken Kagome's preference into account.

Sesshoumaru was left in stunned silence as he digested the revelation, and a small part of him felt pride at being chosen over his brother. He wasn't quite sure how to respond, however, which caused Kagome to laugh softly. She withdrew her hand from the waterfall, then tipped her head back to gaze up at the beautiful array of dancing lights.

"I do like Inuyasha...but I think he gets on my nerves too much for us to get married." It was strange discussing such adult topics while they were only children themselves. But, in those times, one was often tasked with handling concepts and situations beyond their years. Sesshoumaru felt heat rise in his face when Kagome turned her intense gaze onto him, as if waiting for his response. How did he feel?

Sesshoumaru had been raised to consider Kagome his equal and friend; to never mind the fact that she was human. They had been sheltered their entire lives within the protective cocoon of the Western territories, unexposed to the reality beyond Touga's reach. Relations between Humans and Youkai were only worsening, and there was a very real threat of an impending war between the two races. None of this was made known to the children, who operated under the guise that their lives were the norm for others as well. They didn't know that a marriage, a mating, between a Youkai and Human could be a point of contention and the spark for all-out war.

As Sesshoumaru stood with Kagome behind the waterfall, thinking of the best response, he had only to consider his own feelings. At this point, he didn't understand that the decision would affect so many others besides himself and Kagome. The words seemed lost to him though; and the longer it took for Sesshoumaru to answer her, the more he could sense Kagome's worry. She had been quite brave in announcing her desires, and now he was beginning to feel rather cowardly. Why couldn't he find the right words to say?!

Kagome lifted a dark brow curiously when she saw the flustered expression on Sesshoumaru's usually controlled face. He wasn't a demonstrative person, unlike Inuyasha, and it took quite a bit of familiarity and understanding to be able to read his body language. Suddenly, Kagome was left stiff as a board and blinking as she watched the taller Youkai boy lean in towards her. In the next moment, a chaste kiss was being pressed against her cold cheek. It was over in the next moment and Sesshoumaru took a step back to gather his wits again. He could not bring himself to look Kagome in the face, which went unnoticed because she couldn't look at him either. It was the best answer he could give her, and it was enough.

There was an explosion of water that startled both Sesshoumaru and Kagome, and they quickly turned to see Inuyasha's drenched form stumbling into the cramped space. It wouldn't be long before they grew too big to enjoy the hidden cave. After wiping the cool water from his face, Inuyasha looked between his brother and Kagome suspiciously. He hated being left out, and the two had been by themselves for long enough. It seemed as if the friction between Inuyasha and Kagome had dissipated, meaning they could return to playing and teasing one another.

"Come on! We gotta get back before they notice how long we've been gone." Jumping back through the waterfall, Inuyasha assumed the two would follow him shortly. Left with a few more seconds of privacy, Sesshoumaru and Kagome exchanged a glance that said more than words could. A smile tugged at one corner of her mouth, and then Kagome brusquely left the hidden cave to join Inuyasha on the other side. Without a witness to attest to it, a crooked smile stretched across Sesshoumaru's youthful face before he jumped after Kagome.

Returning to their childish antics, the three friends chased one another through the thick forest of bamboo as they headed back to the Palace. Inuyasha and Kagome imitated exotic and imaginary animals as they playfully tried to tag one another. Sesshoumaru followed above them, his Youkai strength and abilities allowing him to effortlessly jump and glide through the dense canopy. Despite having changed back into their usual kimonos and hakama, the sight of damp hair would reveal the kind of adventure they had experienced that day; though the fun they had made their parent's disapproval worth being chastised.

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Well! That's a sneak peak of the second chapter of my Il Mondo e Nostro story! Please, give it a chance and let me know what you guys think! I miss hearing from some of you lol

Hope everyone is doing well and that 2017 is turning out to be better than 2016!

hugs and kisses