Title: By the Light of Mars

Parings: Inuyasha/Sesshomaru and Sango/Miroku

Chapter 19 of ?

Summary: After Naraku is killed Inuyasha's world is settling in to a normality He hadn't expected but when his brother appears bringing with him Rin and royal intrigues can Inuyasha prevail over the new obstacles in his life, including this strange affinity his brother seems to have for him?

Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha franchise, anime, manga or characters. I play with them for fun not for profit.

Sesshomaru watched in shock as his brother stormed from the room. He had thought he had been getting closer to his husband over the last weeks. Yes the hanyou had been distant as they travelled to and from the decimated village but he had assumed it had more to do with what was happening rather than their own relationship. That had obviously been a mistake. He could not understand what had gone wrong; he had been loving in private and not overtly distant in public. It was the archetype of every marriage he had ever known.

He took off at a sedate pace after his brother. The hanyou would have to be made to see the error of his thoughts immediately it would not do to have his mate upset.

Change POV

He ran, vaguely aware of the courtiers and servants he brushed past in his haste. Not caring one iota about what any of them thought of his haste. Let them talk, this wasn't his life, it wasn't his world. He didn't belong here that much was clear.

He leapt from the path as he entered the fields that bordered the palace, speeding up as the forest came in to sight. If he could just get under the foliage, into the trees that felt so much more like home than any palace bedroom ever could.

Hey were nearing he could taste the sweetness of freedom could almost grasp the trunk of the closest tree.

His heart raced, eyes dilated, adrenaline pumped... and then he broke the tree line. He pause feeling the earth beneath his feet, smelling the scent of dew still valiantly clinging to the foliage.

A squirrel scampered nearby rustling the underbrush in its haste. The sun filtered through the thick leafs becoming a gentle green through their influence.

He collapsed beneath the largest tree he could find and ran his clawed hands over the knots and grooves that told the story of its long life.

This is where I belong. I'm an animal, not some prim socialite. He nodded and perked his ears taking in the small sounds of the forest that were so desperately missing from palace life.

Lulled by the safety of the forest he found himself slipping off into much needed sleep.


Change POV

Rin sighed as she listened to one of Hime Mikata's ladies drone on about the newest betrothal at court. Apparently they had yet to go before her Father for permission. She tried her hardest not to roll her eyes. Who cares? She wondered watching the other Hime smiled stiltedly. At least someone else seems to be as bored with this as I am.

"Ladies I do not wish to interrupt your stories but I just must stretch my legs and I would like to get to know my new sister better." Rin used her most lovely voice and smiled her sweetest smile. Still a few of the ookami ladies glanced at her with ill-concealed resentment.

"Oh a walk sounds lovely Hime." Mikata nodded her head prettily, standing gracefully. Rin took the hand that was offered to her and turned as one with the other Hime towards the large doors that would lead them out into the palace.

"Oh my Lady please stay with us." One of the less subtle ladies pleaded her glare hurting Rin's pride.

"You will not speak out of turn." Mikata's voice was stern and Rin couldn't help but imagine she was much like Sesshomaru's mother would have been. "And you will inquire of Hime Rin for such things; she is the reigning Lady here."

Rin nodded almost imperceptibly to the elder woman and shot a harsh look towards the offending ookami.

Together they turned, Rin motioned to the Ladies stationed by the door to open them. She could hear the rustling of the ladies skirts. She winced, she hated Mikata's ladies they were simpering fools and they were always with her. Rin excused he own ladies more than was probably proper but she just couldn't understand the point of traveling with a group of women who could never be your equals.

"Stay." The word echoed in the suddenly silent room. Rin glanced at the demoness her face was indecipherable. "I wish to spend time with Hime Rin alone." The tone of the last word left no room for argument.

Rin smiled as once more the rustling of skirts filled the room. She beamed at Mikata and lead the way from the room.

As they walked sedately down the front stairs, heading to the gardens Rin turned and smiled at the demoness. "I wish I could be as bold as you are." Rin whispered glancing around the hall for eavesdroppers.

Mikata laughed, the sound was pretty and feminine. Rin decided it was a nice sound, one she would like to hear more frequently. "Oh you will be one day Hime. We are to be sisters and if you wish to survive as an ookami Hime you will have to learn to be commanding." She brushed some of her long dark hair from her eyes. "My brother is a lucky man, to have one such as you for a bride. You are very beautiful My Lady, and sweet I think. You just need to learn to use those assets to your advantage."

Rin blushed under the assessing gaze of the other woman.

"May I ask what you think of your marriage to my brother?" The human woman started at this abrupt change of subject. Her cheeks reddened further and she ducked her head in shame.

"I am happy that My Father has found a suitable husband for me." She responded as she always did.

A soft sighed echoed in the silence that followed. They stepped out into Rin's private gardens and the human guided her guest towards her favorite thinking spot.

"I don't want to know what your duty is Rin, may I call you Rin?" Rin nodded glancing at the other woman. "Good, I wish to know if you had someone before this was announced or if you find my brother disgusting. The contract is signed, even if I don't like what I hear there is nothing I can do to jeopardize your marriage if that is what you are worried about." Again that tinkling laugh echoed in the gardens.

"No I don't suppose my Father would ever allow that…" Rin sighed and caressed the flowers as they passed them. "I suppose I like your brother well enough, he is quite good looking. There was someone, really just a childhood crush. My Papa's step son, Shippo, you know him I'm sure, he's the kit I am often with." She explained not looking behind her.

"He is not yet at his maturation." Mikata sounded unsure of herself. Rin laughed and turned to look at the confused ookami Hime.

"Neither was I when this all started, I am human I suppose it's only natural that I age faster than Shippo could ever hope to… still he is so dear to me." She shook her head dispelling the unpleasant mind set. "He is my brother now and that is all I can ever hope for. He's courting that tigress and I am betrothed to Kouga so I will just have to learn to deal with it."

The delicate hand that lay itself softly on her shoulder made Rin stop walking completely. Before her lay a small pond filled with blooming lotus plants. Their sweet fragrance mingling with the peonies that grew at the banks.

"Brothers are difficult to forget." The small whisper was so quiet Rin barely caught it. She turned and graced the other Hime with a small sad smile.

"I find they are."


Change POV

Sango stroked Lady Kaede's hair as she sweated through the worst of her fever. The healers and their assistants bustled around the room creating poultice, bringing clean water and whispering among themselves.

Sesshomaru had stopped by after the rest of their party arrived that morning. He brought food and a book for Sango. She had been so surprised; Inuyasha was obviously a good influence on the strange man.

Kaede was improving if Sesshomaru's healers were to be trusted. The young looking fox demon that had been the primary healer seemed to know what he was doing. Miroku had yet to come in; Sesshomaru had indicated that he was making sure the children were properly settled.

She ran her hands over the soft coverlet, its rich blue satin was a stark contrast to the muted browns and grey of Kaede's coloring. The elderly woman looked frail as she tossed, caught in the madness of fever.

Sango wished she could keep her mind focused on her injured charge, yet her mind kept wandering to her husband. They had yet to know one another, now three days after their union her body ached to be with the man she had loved for so long.

Years of his hands caressing her, holding her, brushing her in passing had left a burning need that seemed all encompassing now that what she wanted was in her grasp.

A loud hacking cough broke her internal reverie. Kaede's eyes opened delirious with fever.

"Lady please you are not well." Sango whispered placing a comforting hand on the small shoulder.

"Sango, ah child… water please I need water." The rasp of the familiar voice had Sango out of the chair immediately. She rush across the room and grabbed a pitcher and drinking bowl.

As soon as the bowl was filled and handed to the elderly woman she gulped at the cool water.

Sango pulled it back sloshing droplets out of the bowl to fall on to the coverlet and Kaede herself.

"Lady please you are very sick you must not drink so quickly." A hacking cough was her only reply for several seconds.

"Yes, of course. Forgive this old woman it seems I am not quite myself." The confused air lingering in her tone broke Sango's heart. It was easy to forget just how old the lady was some days.

"There is nothing to forgive." Sango smiled at the snort of self-flagellation. Kaede was still as modest as ever.

"You are too kind to these old bones Sango." She paused taking a sip of water. "Now where is that troublesome boy?"

Sango sighed deeply. "Oh whom do you speak Lady? I find I have more of those than I know what to do with these days."

Kaede's gnarled hand took her own, the deep brown of the elderly woman's skin strikingly different against her own pale skin. The time she had spent in the western castle had left her pale as a true lady. That made her shift uneasily; she had always been a warrior this physical representation of her life changing caused her great distress.

"I speak of Inuyasha Lady. Am I to understand ye meant the Hoshi and Shippo when ye referred to "Troublesome boys" ?" Sango laughed and nodded pushing those distressing thoughts from her mind.

"Oh yes. Now Lord Sesshomaru and Prince Koga have been added to the list as well." She fluffed the older woman's pillows idly.

When nothing more was said after several long moments Sango glanced down once more to find Kaede fast asleep. She smiled and took her place next to the bed again, picking up the rather large tome Sesshomaru had brought with him she began to read.

Change POV

Sesshomaru had been looking for his husband for over an hour. The noon sun was high in the sky beating down on him and turning the day unseasonably warm. A soft wind rustled his hair as he walked through the fields bordering the castle.

He caught sight of the wooded area he had first kissed his brother in. He paused wondering why had yet to search the thick foliage before. The hanyou seemed to retreat to the wilderness in times of distress.

The wind once again caressed his face, this time bringing with it a scent that was purely Inuyasha.

He sighed in contentment and quickened his pace, the world blurred for a moment then he was standing before his sleeping mate.

"Oh Husband why do you run from me?" He whispered crouching and brushing the hair from the angelic face. He scooped the smaller man in to his arms. He received a small moan for his efforts but the hanyou made no other noise as he settled in to Sesshomaru's chest. "I love you." His words were caught by the wind making them almost too faint foe his own ears.

He turned and walked from the forest, not minding in the least when farmers and courtiers alike stopped to stare at their aloof Lord carrying his husband cradled in his arms.

By the time he made it to his rooms in the main palace lunch was due to be served. He sighed glancing at the sundial on his balcony.

He placed Inuyasha lightly on his bed. Then turned and pulled a cord that would summon Jakken to him.

Moments later the door to his chamber creaked open and the annoying kappa bowed his way in. "What can this humble servant do for you my Lord?" Sesshomaru glared harshly and moved swiftly to clap his hand across the toad's mouth.

"You will do well to speak more quietly." He hissed glancing back at his still sleeping mate. "Your Lord slumbers. You will send out the edict that the noon meal is to be a private affair this day." He released the green demon practically throwing him at the door.

"Y-yes my Lord." The small demon croaked bowing himself out of the room quickly.

Sesshomaru snorted at his retainers antics the little man was quite amusing if nothing else.

He shed his cloths quickly keeping just his pants and climbed gently in to the large bed next to his mate.

Change POV

Shippo watched as Kika bent to retrieve a rather normal looking flower from the lowest branch of the nearest rose bush.

It was obvious that she wanted him to look, he acquiesced although he couldn't seem to put his heart in it.

His maturation was coming it was as he had always been told a slow steady process. But he was sure he should feel something more for this fey creature standing before him.

Kika was a beautiful tiger demoness. Her long dark hair shone like onyx in the morning sun, blue eyes flashing in excitement as she twirled and giggled. Her body was voluptuous but lithe curving where it should and ending in long sculpted limbs. She was the picture of courtly beauty and impeccable breeding.

So he should feel more than growing friendship and fondness for the pretty woman. He should feel as he did for Rin.

That thought had him gluing his eyes on the rather nice lips of his companion. Rin was not something he should be thinking about. He wasn't even sure when his rather strange obsession with the beautiful girl had begun.

Now just watching her glide across the room or eating across from her at meals left him feeling warm in all the wrong places.

She was perfection, more a princess than any he had met. She was genuine, exciting, intelligent, and more beautiful than any rose.

She was also Kouga's. The betrothal was signed there was no breaking it without war, or Kouga's untimely death.

Shippo had never wanted anyone to have a tragic accident more in his life.

A soft feminine hand grasped his own lightly bringing him back to the present. He smiled at Kika. It really wasn't her fault that he didn't love her. He pulled her to his chest stroking her soft hair and running one finger along her refined nose.

"I love you." She sighed.

Shippo nodded in consent because he knew she really did.

Change POV

Mikata giggled as Rin told her a particularly amusing story about one of her more out spoken ladies. They had spent most of the morning together talking about boys and life as a Hime. The ookami wanted so badly to confide in this bubbly friendly girl. It was her hope Rin could help her bring up the issue of her father with Sesshomaru. Yet she didn't want to break their genial camaraderie.

"Is there something else on your mind Mikata?" The older woman glanced down at her hands wondering what she should do presented with such a chance.

"I must admit I am… troubled by the events of the last three days." She began glancing at the now serious face of her companion.

"As you should be." Rin nodded offering a small smile.

"Yes well I suppose my… unease is cause by more than just the actions themselves." Her hand tightened on the delicate silk of her fan. "Lady some of the men that attacked Lord Inuyasha's village were of my father's house." She paused as the young human gasped almost inaudibly.

"You must tell my Father at once!" Rin exclaimed. Suddenly Mikata found her hands clasped in the delicate Himes own. Her grip was like steel, the strength startled Mikata. For one so young she was quite strong.

"I wish to, but I do not wish to lose my place here. Rin my Father is not a nice man. It was for more than just Kouga's betrothal to your imperial person that I was sent to the west." She paused trying to gain the strength needed to tell her story.

"I understand Mikata, sometimes those that should care for us do much harm." The younger himes voice was soft and sad in a way that Mikata could not equate with the normally energetic woman.

"Rin… What should I do?" She felt her heart still as she waited for what seemed like hours for the other woman to respond.

"We shall go to Father, he will know what to do." Mikata glanced up at the now serene human.

"As you say." Mikata bent her neck in deference.

Together they stood and walked demurely towards destiny.

A/N: Okay so here is the next chapter. I felt like that was a good place to leave it. I wanted this to be a transitioning chapter I hope everyone liked it even though it was a very internal part of the story. I wanted to touch base with the most relevant parts of the plot and make sure it was moving along towards the eventual conclusion. Sometimes it feels like this is going to end up being 100 chapters and still a WIP. I refuse to do that though I have way too many projects going on to write that much in this one. Plus I really want to start a Kouga/Sesshomaru fic that has been banging around in my head for some time. I hope you guys enjoyed this and that the writing wasn't too terrible I haven't slept in like 36 hours. Guh

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