I'm baaaaack! *comes charging in with new chapter* Thanks for waiting ya'll! YAY! I managed to overcome my small amount of writer's block and finish chapter forty-one! HIP-HIP-HOORAY! However, before we move on, let's have an ENORMOUS thank you and brownies for my most AWESOME and recent TWENTY-SIX reviewers: Zuta-chan, cartec677, AnimeGmr101, Maira Saw, Neeky-chan, SarahBloomSakura, Zeropbreakthru, Avril087, Rin155, Stardust Nam, Rorry Lamb, Sieben Nightwing, funnylittlestory, MugiwaraNoHitomi, Tsukino Aisuru - A, karlachan18, kia himatari, Dontgotaclue88, Dame LeeLee, kmimzy, shika93, XXDD Smiles, missycarter77, Deja, marikyuu (aww… thank you SO much *glomps*), and AnimeFan001! I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH! Seriously, you reader's reviews have been keeping me SOOO inspired! :D Also, another HUGE thanks to all the people who have already favorited and/or followed this story! LOVE YOU ALL! I hope everyone enjoys chapter forty-one! :D

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Inuyasha, the Inuyasha plot, NOR the Inuyasha characters. I only own my own OCs Kaze Hijikata, Riko Hijikata, Ryosuke Hijikata, Toga Akatsuki and any other OCs created along the way, and any part of the plot NOT a part of the Inuyasha anime or manga. This fanfic, however, is MINE and I'd like to keep it that way.

Chapter 41-Beneath the Stars

With Sesshomaru and Kaze/Just Outside of Camp, By the Riverbank…
"Us?" Sesshomaru raised a delicate eyebrow at his intended, his tone turning slightly inquisitive as he faced her.

"Yeah," the spiritualist hummed softly. "I guess I'm just mulling over the different possibilities of how this could turn out, and preparing myself and planning out what my response to those situations will be."

Golden eyes narrowed, "Does it worry you?"

"Perhaps a bit, even if I'm trying to just tell myself that time will eventually reveal the answers," Kaze admitted wryly. "I suppose… being a loner through my life, not being accepted by others, and not particularly getting close to others has just made me a bit more cautious when getting emotionally involved with someone."

"You humans…" the Daiyoukai trailed off, his eyes narrowing farther as he simply stared down into the rushing river waters. "It seems you are positively driven by these emotions. It is irrational."

A light laugh escaped from the young woman's lips as she heard her friend's statement. "Yes… Yes, we are irrational beings, we humans," red eyes glistened with mirth as she stared up at the stars. "Yet even if you hate to admit it, you have emotions too."

"But this one controls them," Sesshomaru pointed out, his gaze hardening as he stared down at his intended.

"To an extent," Kaze replied, meeting his gaze evenly with her own, "for no one can fully control their emotions. Yes, you can hide them. But you cannot stop them from coming into being, and there is only so much one person can do to control them once they bloom."

A brief silence settled over the duo as Sesshomaru silently fell into thought. It was admittedly sometimes a bit vexing on how much truth his future mate's words always seemed to hold. Her understanding of many things in life was something that surprised even him.

"If there is as you say, emotions that cannot be controlled, then what of this love you humans always speak?" the Western Lord inquired, feeling that perhaps she may have the answer he was seeking. "What is it?"

"What is love?" the spiritualist seemed slightly surprised by the inquiry before her face took on a concentrated look. "Well, for starters, it's the most powerful emotion that exists, and that's not only in humans," she gave the Inu a pointed look, "As for what it entails… it's a feeling of wanting to make the person who you love happy, seeing them smile, spending time with them, caring for them, protecting them. You see this kind of love all the time in families as they care for one another and protect one another in a selfless manner, simply because they care for one another. It's much like the way you treat Rin."

"Perhaps," Sesshomaru reluctantly admitted, understanding the gist of what the woman was saying, for even though he was not one to typically admit it, he did very much care for Rin's well-being much as if she were his own pup. So, perhaps this was the love between families that his intended was describing. However…

"And what of the love you hold for this one," the Inu demanded, his smoldering gaze looking directly into her eyes. "You clearly do not think of this one as family."

"You're right, I don't," Kaze admitted, a blush spilling on her features as she struggled for words to explain the other type of love. "The kind of love I feel for you is… different than that of simply a platonic feeling. The love typically shared between two erm… lovers or perhaps husband and wife and perhaps and bit more self-centered," she stated for lack of a better term, "While it entails everything that the other love does, it also is a love that wishes to be returned, and can be associated with more erm…" the blush on the girl's cheeks darkened, "physical intimacies. It's essentially this kind of love that is the most uncontrollable. Quite often you can't even really pinpoint why you fell in love with the person, you just know that you did."

"How did you know that you loved this Sesshomaru?" the Daiyoukai inquired, carefully absorbing everything that the young woman said.

"Well, at first I knew I loved you in just a platonic way. I mean, to me you were a precious friend. So, that was only natural. However," red eyes blinked softly up at the stars. "When I was around you, I started to notice how happy I felt, like I truly belonged with you. It seemed that whenever you touched me, I just… I dunno, got all flustered and shit," the girl coughed gruffly before continuing on, "On top of that, you just gave me a weird feeling in my gut. I wanted to be around you, and I just felt damned lonely and miserable when I wasn't. Honestly, I can't really describe to you how it felt. I just knew."

Unknown to Kaze, during the whole time she was talking, Sesshomaru was silently comparing all of her reactions when around him to all his reactions when around her. First off, the Daiyoukai figured he could safely say that he did indeed love her in the first way that she mentioned. After all, he wanted to see her happy, he enjoyed it when she smiled, especially when he was the one who put that smile on her face.

As for the qualities he saw in the woman, she admittedly fascinated him at times with her view on life. Not only that, but she was proud, stubborn, honorable, selfless, and yet still kind. Nor did she let the cruel hardships of her past weigh her down, and when it did cause her to fall, she always forced herself back up on her feet and moved forward. It caused a part of the Daiyoukai to admire her for all these traits that in her, seemed to fit together so well.

Yet, that wasn't all, for he could hardly say that his interest in the woman was platonic. He wanted to mate her, after all. As for her direct effect on him, the Inu could not deny how much he wanted her, and it was not just a physical attraction. Earlier, when in his true form, the attention she'd showed him by the campfire had not only surprised but delighted him. It had then quickly donned on Sesshomaru that he wanted her attention. True, such things could be attributed to the fact of him instinctively wanting his intended's attention. However, there was just… something there that made Sesshomaru feel that this case was vastly different.

Much like Kaze said, it was an almost indescribable feeling.

Therefore, coupling those two feelings of platonic care and more intimate desire together, wouldn't that be the second love that his intended was describing?

Sesshomaru felt that he would need more time to truly tell.

In the meantime, during this thoughtful silence, Kaze was quietly watching the gears in both her companion's head and heart turn together in an attempt to find some sort of harmony. She could see plainly in his eyes the gist of what he was thinking, as well as feeling, and the girl would be lying if she said her hopes weren't slowly climbing upwards towards the skies.

"This one will nor can accept any other female for a mate," Sesshomaru's golden eyes were fierce as he looked over and gazed down into his intended's startled orbs, "for to do so would be to betray everything this one feels."

Kaze could feel her throat constrict in an almost painful manner as she stared up into the Western Lord's smoldering gaze. Yet, within those golden eyes of his, the spiritualist could see the internal struggle the Daiyoukai was battling as he attempted to get in touch with this new emotions that were so foreign to him. As always, his eyes seemed to speak far louder than any words possibly could. But still-

"And just what is it that you feel?" she inquired softly. The girl was not looking for a confession, an 'I love you' or even an 'I am not sure'. No, the young woman was simply looking for the tiniest hint that he was at least beginning to understand what exactly he may or may not be feeling.

"This Sesshomaru feels everything that you described," the Western Lord answered honestly in an unflinching tone.

Red eyes widened at the Inu's answer as a heated blush rose to the girl's cheeks. Slowly, however, the smile gently spread on her features as she brought her gaze back up to the sky. "I see," she said simply, the joy obvious in her scent and tone.

She could not possibly ask anymore of him after he'd told her that, for it meant that Sesshomaru at least knew some of what he was feeling even if he was still struggling to understand what it meant.

"Good," the Western Lord hummed in a low voice, able to sense the not only the contentment, but the happiness his words had caused.

That's right, it pleased him to know that he was the one to make her happy, for from this point onward that was the way it should be.

A little while passed in complete silence as the two companions now contented themselves with simply enjoying one another's presence. The minuets continued to pass on quietly and was only broken by the soft rustling of grass when Kaze finally sat up from her laying position.

"Well, since we're just sitting here together," the young woman's voice held a fairly quiet yet still cheerful tone, "wanna take a look at that constellation map together?"

"Hn," Sesshomaru's response was positive as a pleased expression glistened in his eyes at the suggestion. Pulling the map from out of the sleeve in his haori, the Inu carefully laid it out upon his lap. Another small rustle sounded off to his left, instantly catching the male's attention as he glanced over to see his intended scooting closer to his side. Even if he knew the girl moved closer simply so she could easier see the object in his lap, the Western Lord couldn't help but smirk at the action as he responded by tightly wrapping his mokomoko in a snug manner around her body.

Feeling slightly surprised as the warm fur wound itself around her being, Kaze all the same felt her entire body relax as she allowed herself to lean against the Inu and into his warmth.

And that was how the duo stayed for the next couple of hours as the young spiritualist cheerfully pointed out and listed the constellations hovering over her and her companion's heads. Of course, Sesshomaru being who he was, didn't take long to catch on and begin pointing out just as many of the pictures written in the stars as his future mate.

However, what eventually drew his gaze was a brilliant red light glistening up in the skies. His eyebrows creasing in slight confusion, the Inu looked back down at the scroll laying in his lap in hopes of discovering what star he had just been looking at. Yet, for some reason, the burning red light did not seem to be listed.

Spotting the slightly agitated looking gracing the Western Lord's features, Kaze couldn't quite fully suppress her amusement as she inquired, "What?"

The girl's inquiry was answered instantly as a graceful clawed hand was raised, a single finger pointing at the sky, "The red star, what title does it go by?"

Following the line of direction in which Sesshomaru was pointing, the young woman's expression brightened as she spotted what he was looking at, "Oh, that's Mars."

"Mars?" golden eyes narrowed slightly as the foreign word rolled off of the Inu's tongue.

"Yeah," Kaze smiled warmly, "and it's actually another planet, not a star."

"Hn," the Daiyoukai hummed calmly, remembering his intended having mentioned other lifeless planets in their previous conversations about the heavens. His gaze again looking up towards the sky, Sesshomaru couldn't help but again feel drawn to the brilliant red planet gleaming in the inky blackness. Blinking in slight surprise as he realized the reason, the Inu redirected his gaze to meet the red eyes of his future mate.

Feeling a blush rise to her cheeks as she met her boyfriend's smoldering golden orbs, Kaze barely managed to stutter a surprised, "N-Now what?"

"They are the same," Sesshomaru's voice was low, tinged with a hint of morbid curiosity as he continued. "The light from that planet is the same as your eyes when they glow crimson like freshly spilt blood." The male's eyes narrowed as he finally posed a question that he'd been wanting an answer to for some time now, "Why?"

Kaze's expression turned somber as she realized what her companion was asking, "You mean why do my eyes sometimes glow red like that when I'm fighting?"


"It's…" the spiritualist's whole stance was hesitant as she finally broke eye contact with her friend a let her gaze fall darkly upon the river. "It's complicated."

Slowly, yet determinedly, Sesshomaru reached out with his single clawed hand and calmly hooked it underneath his intended's chin, surprising her as he dragged her gaze back to his and spoke in a low yet commanding voice, "Then explain."

Whoot! Whoot! Well, there's chapter forty-one for ya'll! :D I really, REAAAALLY hope you all enjoyed it, cause it was kinda a pain to write out, lol. XD The diffucult part was that I really wanted to emphasize just how confusing and difficult emotions like love and such would be for people like Sesshomaru and Kaze to fully grasp and understand. I also wanted to delve into some of the natural insecurities that they may cause. Anyways, pretty please, PLEAAASE drop me a review and let me know what ya think. ;) You reader's reviews really are my inspiration and are the things that truly keep me going in this story. YOU GUYS/GIRLS ARE AWESOME! So, just keep up the AWESOME work and I'll keep dishing out new chapters as fast as possible. Believe me, this story is LONG ways from being over, lol. :D Also, please follow and favorite as well. See you all in the next chapter! :D

Rock Out!