Disclaimer: All Inuyasha characters belong to Takahashi, Rumiko-sama, I own nothing, unless of course Takahashi-sama would like to share?...NO? *Sigh* That's what I thought. T^T

A/N: Sesshomaru's requirements were prompts given for a challenge on Dokuga by see03!

Oh, well on with the show!

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I was following the western messenger back to the palace in mild confusion and vast irritation, wondering why my Royal Advisors would not only call a meeting in my absence, but then would dare to demand This Sesshomaru's attendance.

'It is time those old fools learned that their titles are merely honorary.' I thought flexing my claws in anticipation.

I unceremoniously shove open the door to the meeting/war room, preparing to teach my 'Advisors' their places as nothing more than my father's old relics. However, as I look into the room I freeze at the sight before me.

"Mother."

"I see you are as rude as ever my son. Since you have made your displeasure in being here abundantly clear to everyone present, take a seat so we may begin. After all we wouldn't want to inconvenience you by making you stay any longer than necessary, now would we?"

Her tone was mocking and I found myself gritting my teeth as I proceeded to sit in my customary chair at the head of the long table, directly in front of her.

"Mother, why are you here? I was under the impression that I was summoned to a meeting regarding the welfare of my lands." I question her, the unwelcome clear in my voice.

"Why Sesshomaru my dearest, if I did not know any better I would think you were not pleased to see me. But of course that could not possibly be true!"

InuKimi exclaimed releasing a light trilling laugh from behind a fan held demurely in front of her face. Her eyes however lit with a spark of challenge as if to dare me to refute her claim.

"I see you still have a fine mastery of the art of sarcasm mother. Now answer This Sesshomaru for I will not repeat myself again. Why are you here, and for what reason have I been summoned to this so-called, 'meeting to discuss a matter of great import.'? I ask.

My own sarcasm and disdain practically dripping from my words, as I quote what had been in the message that I had received as a summons.

InuKimi's eyes flashed briefly with anger and annoyance at my blatant disrespect, but quickly returned to their normal neutrality as she began her answer.

Both mother and son disregard the other youkai in the room, who had begun to shift and fidget nervously.

"In answer to why I am here, It would seem that your advisors thought my presence might influence you to react favorably to their proposal. Also, I will remind you that I am still holder of the title of Lady of the West and have every right to involve myself in any matter pertaining to the West's wellbeing as well as that of its Lord, without invitation or forewarning if the desire so strikes me. You would do well to remember that Sesshomaru."

My fists clench, claws digging into my palms drawing small beads of blood, while in concert my jaw tenses and my eyes briefly flash red. Mother or not; how dare she presume to reprimand me in front of my advisors this way!

Before my thoughts could fully turn to showing my dam her error in judgment the second eldest of my advisors, ( Bokuseno being the eldest but obviously not in attendance.) spoke up bravely or perhaps more accurately foolishly, interfering in the battle of wills between mother and son.

"Please forgive my interruption My Lord, but I believe I can answer you about why we summoned you here. It has come to our attention recently that there has been some dissention amongst the other Lords."

My attention is caught at this. "Continue Keisuke." I command deciding to show benevolence and let them all live in light of a perceived threat to my lands.

The old kuma youkai seems to hesitate a moment, no doubt trying to think of a way to present this threat, and their no doubt ill-conceived 'proposal' as mother called it, without invoking my wrath. However, looking into my eyes a moment and no doubt noticing my quickly slipping patience he hastens to continue.

"My Lord it is well-known that all the other Cardinal Lords are mated with heirs. While it is understood you are the youngest among them, at your age, your Great and Terrible Father had already mated your Lady Mother, and together they had produced you. They- well, we all are concerned for the future of the Western Lands since you are currently without mate or heir. With your almost constant wandering all over the lands of Nippon you put yourself in unnecessary jeopardy. Ultimately, making your-self a target to any youkai with a desire for power and the title of Cardinal Lord, or simply one that thrives on causing chaos and unrest such as the dark hanyou Naraku. If you were to fall without leaving an heir, the Western Lands would become a prize that will be fought over by any youkai with ambition."

No longer able to remain silent and listen while he insults me, I rise from my seat towering over all assembled and in a low and deceptively calm voice speak.

"Do you dare to imply that This Sesshomaru is incapable of dealing with such lowly dishonorable scum? Are you truly trying to say that you believe me so weak that I am unable to not only protect my own life but unable to hold on to and defend all that is mine?!" I ask, ice and malice pouring from my aura in suffocating waves.

Fear suddenly coating his scent the insufferable kuma rushes to calm my ire and save his worthless hide.

"O-Of course not My Lord we all know of your great strength and unequaled prowess. It's simply that we all would rest much easier if you were to mate, and produce an heir for the West."

I stare at the obviously senile kuma in disbelief that cannot be discerned from behind my expressionless mask. Are they really trying to force me to take a mate?

Seemingly taking my silence as encouragement Keisuke continues on. "After all even your Great Father was felled in his prime, you never know what may happen."

At this I feel my lips curl in a sneer of disgust. "My sire died because he was a fool."

Before I can say more; the sound of a resounding crack echoes in the room causing all but myself to jump in their seats.

I turn my head from Keisuke to look at the table, where now a folded fan lay surrounded by fissures in the once perfect surface. Following the dainty clawed hand that still clutches at the fan to its owner's face; I see the red tinged eyes of my dam.

"Enough! You will not insult my mate while in my presence, do you understand? It is long past the time that you should have mated, Sesshomaru. However low the probability is of your falling to an enemy's weapon or machinations, the future of the West must be ensured. To that end your council and I have decided that you must choose a worthy female and mate her within the year. If you should fail to comply with this you will be stripped of your title as Lord of the West and shall be exiled from the Lands of the West forever. If that happens; the title of Lord will fall to your half-brother Inuyasha, as he is the only other living being to share the Taisho bloodline. Though I have heard tales of his strength and valor in battle, he is still a hanyou. If he takes over responsibility as Lord of the West, I fear the youkai now under the West's protection may rebel against him. I also do not believe the other Cardinal Lords will welcome a hanyou into their midst, no matter his lineage. Despite his possession and apparent mastery of your father's fang, Tetsusaiga he will be unable to hold the Western Lands against the joint might of three Cardinal Lords, and his own people. A feat even you, my son would find impossible, and a situation that may become your reality in the very near future, if the other Lords decide that instead of risking an usurper they should instead divide the Western Lands between them. I cannot and will not allow that to happen Sesshomaru, I refuse to allow everything my mate, your SIRE worked so hard for to be destroyed by your obstinacy and pride! If you fail to choose a mate for yourself than I will choose one for you and ensure you mate with her by any means necessary!"

So saying InuKimi rose gracefully from her seat sweeping from the room without a backward glance.

Her final words continue to echo in my ears for a few moments before I too rise and storm from the room and the palace.

Waves of chilling anger and murderous intent radiate in all directions from a tall figure clad in white.

The shear malice, spreading fear and panic in the surrounding humans and youkai alike, who in self-preservation scatter and flee before the obviously enraged predator, lest he decide to use them as stress relief.

Feeling the panic and fear that push back at me in the wake of my rage, and realizing that I am fast losing my prized control, I reign in my youki and forcefully slam the lid back down on the bubbling cauldron of my emotions.

Stoic mask successfully replaced and cold indifference restored, I continue walking toward the clearing where I left my pack when that Kami forsaken messenger had arrived.

As I enter the clearing I hear the sweet, if slightly off-key singing of my ward and the obnoxious squawking of my retainer Jaken.

Sensing no threats in the vicinity, most likely owing to my earlier loss of control, I allow my mind to wander back over this latest quandry. 'By any means necessary.'

"Hn."

Mother never makes idle threats. If I do not choose a mate for myself, I know I will end up mated to some insipid, vapid bitch of my mother's choosing, who will most likely make the rest of my long life an insufferable hell.

An uncharacteristic sigh passes my lips as a heavy weight seems to settle on my shoulders.

"Mate, This Sesshomaru neither wants nor needs a mate." I say giving voice to what I have thought since I learned the purpose of that meeting. Sadly my verbal rebellion changes nothing of my current situation.

I should have just killed them all instead of storming out of the palace like that. A pleasant thought but since I have now regained my control it no longer seems prudent, how unfortunate.

I am brought out of my thoughts of vengeful evisceration when something slams into my leg and clings. I look down to see the bright eyes and enormous cheerful smile of greeting from my ward Rin.

"Welcome back My Lord, Rin has missed you!"

Something uncomfortable and warm replaces my earlier cold anger and resentment, upon hearing her sincere words of welcome. I give her a quick pat on the head in acknowledgement.

"Rin have you fared well in my absence?"

"Yes my Lord; may I-" before she can finish her question Jaken's shrill voice assaults my ears.

"Rin cease your clinging to Lord Sesshomaru this instant you useless girl!"

I effectively end the imp's tirade by slamming my boot in his face. Hn, that made me feel slightly better and as a bonus I have silenced his grating voice for a while.

"Heehee silly Master Jaken you shouldn't take a nap now!" Rin says in between childish giggles while poking at the imp.

"Rin leave him be and continue what you were saying." Suddenly shy she looks up at me then back down again.

"Well Rin was wondering, since I have been very good if I may go play with Kagome-chan and Shippo-kun?"

As she finishes her request she looks up at me with hands clasped and widened glossy eyes. I blink and then nod unsure of just what I'm seeing but willing to agree to anything to make her stop.

Besides, beating up the hanyou sounds like a perfect way to work off the rest of my tension. Just because I am resigned to finding a mate does not mean I am happy about it, after all.

With that in mind I set off in the direction of Edo village, Rin trailing happily behind humming and picking flowers as she walks while Ah-Un carries Jaken between their teeth.

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"Miko, Rin wishes to visit with you and the fox kit. I will return for her at sunset." Thus saying the icy youkai Lord turns on his heel and disappears into the forest.

"Well hello to you too Lord Sesshomaru; you want me to look after Rin-chan today? Why sure I'd be delighted to! Oh no, it's no trouble at all! What, you'll come to pick her up at sunset you say? That's great we'll be waiting. It's been so good to see you again too! Nice talking to you, Have a safe journey!"

I mumble to myself thinking that he and his brother have more in common than they know. Rudeness and using others has to be genetic in their family or something.

I'm drawn from my bitter thoughts by a tug on the hem of my skirt; I look down to see Rin's smiling face.

"Kagome-chan may we go and play with Shippo-kun now?"

Smiling back at her I nod. "Sure sweetie let's go find him!" Grabbing her tiny hand in mine we start to run off in search of my kit.

Well, there are worse things than spending my afternoon playing with two of the cutest kids ever!"

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I thought for certain that the hanyou would be somewhere lazing around the forest that is his namesake.

Oh well, it seems that kicking Jaken will simply have to suffice for now, I muse as I trek back through the forest the way I came. It is time to retrieve Rin from the Miko, anyway.

As I get within sight of the village I see Rin and the fox kit playing a game of chase. I stay shrouded in the shadows watching a bit longer.

Suddenly I realize the Miko isn't playing with them and quickly look around for her. I spot her lounging in the grass in the shade of a tree watching the kids with a smile on her lips.

I notice the slayer approaching the Miko's other side, carrying the Miko's atrociously colored bag.

"Tired you out already have they, Kagome-chan?"

The Miko's gentle laughter rings out as she looks up at the slayer.

"Yeah Sango-chan; I have no idea where all their energy comes from, but I'm beat!"

The slayer holds out the bag in offering to the Miko.

"Here you go Kagome-chan I thought you might need this."

"Oh thanks so much Sango!"

Immediately the Miko begins digging through the obviously overstuffed bag, apparently searching for something. In her search she has knocked several items out, that now rest on the ground.

One of these seems to attract the slayer's attention and she stoops down to retrieve it just as the Miko emerges from the depths of the pack with a triumphant shout.

"Yes, found it the last can of espresso!"

"Kagome-chan what's this?" The slayer questions holding out the item she previously picked up off of the ground.

Happily slurping whatever it was she had been so diligently searching for, the Miko turns to her friend inspecting the item in her hand.

"Oh, that's a women's magazine. My friends from home gave it to me so I wouldn't get bored during my 'Recovery'.

I was not aware that the miko had been injured, and I thought this village was her home. Hn.

"What is it for Kagome?"

"Well it gives you tips on things like fashion, make-up, hair care and styling, and dating. There are even things like recipes and stuff." The miko explains as she begins flipping through the pages of her strange tome showing the slayer its contents.

I recognize most of what the miko said but what is 'da-ting'?

"Hey Kagome-chan you said dating is like courting, correct?" The slayer asks looking at the ground while a pink tint spreads over her cheeks.

I see so this da-ting is simply another word for courting.

"Yeah; why are you trying to snag a man Sango-chan, maybe a certain monk?" The miko asks with a teasing lilt to her voice and a coy look at her friend, laughter dancing in her lapis eyes, causing the pink on the slayer's cheeks to deepen to red.

"N-No of course not I was only curious, who would want that letch!" The slayer denies forcing the laughter haunting the miko's eyes to finally find release from her plump coral colored lips.

Her laughter slides against my ears like the most beautiful melody, and I can suddenly feel my beast stir beneath my skin. How strange that whether in anger or peace she always awakens my more primal self every time I encounter her.

"Well this sounds interesting, 'The Top Six Most Desirable Traits in a Significant Other.' "

The miko recites, her head tilted slightly to the side in her interest like a curious pup.

"What does significant other mean Kagome?" The slayer asks head tilted down over the miko's shoulder staring at the page the miko was reading from.

"It means boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, mate; things like that."

My ears perk at the word mate and I lean forward slightly in interest.

"Hm let's see 'Number 6-Intelligence.' That makes sense if you're going be with someone forever it would be nice to actually be able to hold a stimulating conversation."

The slayer nods thoughtfully, as the miko continues with her list. " 'Number 5- Beauty/Good Looks.' Kind of superficial but if you're going to have to look at someone everyday for the rest of your life; it would probably help to like what you see. 'Number 4- Strength.' Huh, I can see a woman being concerned with her man having strength, but is it really that important to a man if a woman is strong?"

Of course, silly miko if the female is weak how will she protect her pups? What if the pups were to inherit her weakness?

" 'Number 3- Caring.' Another obvious one; without caring what's the point? 'Number 2- Passion.' Oh, well um, ahem; o-of course."

I can see both women's faces practically glowing now in embarrassment. I can hear the miko's heart pounding in her chest, I wonder is it from her embarrassment or from imagining? It seems despite your choice of attire you are still very much an innocent, little miko.

Passion, oh yesss! Passion; like an inferno in your blood melding two bodies as one. How utterly delicious and how completely necessary! I see the miko shiver slightly and cannot stop the smirk that spreads across my face, imagining it is then.

"Okay and finally, 'Number 1- Loyalty.' Naturally who would want someone who promises them something, only to continually run off and leave you just to go to someone else! No one wants to be hurt over and over, they want someone who dedicates themselves only to you, and you alone."

This last had been spoken in a soft pain filled voice. Why is she in so much pain, and why do I have this nagging urge to comfort her? How preposterous.

I watch as the slayer wraps her arms around the miko, slightly envious. No, that is not right! I am NOT envious; I have no desire whatsoever to embrace that pitiful human!

"Kagome?" The slayer whispers watching the miko with sympathy, and surprisingly a small echo of her friends pain.

Suddenly the miko begins shaking her head violently in denial looking at the slayer with a small smile and dry eyes. "I'm alright now Sango, but you know if there was someone who had all those qualities together at once, they would really be perfect."

The slayer and miko continue to converse while Rin and the kit play, but I can no longer hear them. The miko's final words resound in my ears.

A female with all those qualities would be true perfection, indeed. I once more feel my lips pull into a smirk, as for the first time since learning that I would be forced to choose a mate, I now have somewhere to begin my search. I decide that the miko and her strange tome may prove useful again.

"Miko." I call out as I walk out of the shadows to stand before her.

Seeing she and the slayer both give a small start at my sudden appearance, I wait a few moments before continuing. Surprisingly the miko recovers quickly.

"Um, yes Lord Sesshomaru?" She asks while rising from her seat on the ground.

"This Sesshomaru and his pack will be joining with your own." I see her unusual eyes widen a bit in surprise, but before she can say anything she is interrupted by an irate and typically foolish hanyou.

"The hell you are, ya bastard!"

"Ah, Inuyasha. I have been looking for you little brother."

Even I can hear the promise of pain in my voice. Now to finally relieve the rest of my tension; I cannot wait.

TBC

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Glossary:

Kuma- Bear

Youkai- Demon

Hanyou- Half-Demon, Half-Human

Youki- A demon's power or aura

Miko- Priestess

Kami- God/Gods

Thanks for reading!