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A Changing World

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        Kagome loved the Goshinboku that resided on the edge of her family’s shrine. For some reason Kagome had always taken comfort in sitting below the great branches of the ancient tree and resting her back against the wide berth of the trunk. The wind blew ruffling the woman’s bangs across the smooth pale skin of her face, carrying the smell of the forest.

        The aging tree always soothed Kagome. As a child she would sit on her Papa’s shoulders and he would lift her onto the lowest branch. Kagome and her father spent hours pretending that she was a princess locked in a tower, and Buyo, the family cat, was a fire breathing yokai. Her valiant knight would throw Buyo a ball of yarn before sweeping Princess Kagome out of the tower. After her Papa died Kagome returned to the tree, but had never sat in its branches since. When Souta learned to walk Kagome had chased the toddler around the trunk of the tree. She smiled, remembering how she had always caught Souta and tickled him until both siblings were rolling in the grass and laughing. Sometimes at night Kagome dreams of Goshinboku’s branches. She imagines sitting upon the tallest branch and watching over the darkened city. Sometimes these dreams of the great tree wake her and she goes out to the tree in the middle of the night and just talks. Once when she was sixteen, she had been walking out to the tree and she could have sworn she saw a flash of white and red jumping out of the Goshinboku and off into the night. Later on she asked Grandpa about the red and white creature. “Oh, Kagome, that’s just the spirit of the forest. He’s been guarding this land for centuries.”

       “Kagome!” Souta, her younger brother, shouted. Kagome glanced towards the house, no longer thinking about her forest spirit, and saw her brother’s teenage head sticking out of the back door. “Kagome, I think you should come see this.” His eyes looked heavy with excitement and his lips were pulled into a wide smile. Immediately she launched herself onto her feet and ran toward the house. Souta’s words and expression were enough to pull Kagome from her rest and pump adrenaline into her veins.

       “What happened?” Kagome questioned over the thunder of her racing heart.

        Souta waits until Kagome passes through the door and enters the living room. Even then he doesn’t bother answering, he just points to the television set. Mama, upon seeing her daughter’s arrival, increases the volume and together, as a family, they watch the news report that had interrupted Souta’s favorite anime.

       It is difficult to hear the male reporter over the roar of the celebrating people behind him. Kagome can clearly make out both yokai and humans among the crowd. There are probably also hanyous that she hadn’t been able to distinguish from their yokai counterparts. “Earlier today the yokai-human equality rights group, United Life, held a peaceful demonstration in the center of Tokyo. The co-founders, inter-species couple, Inu-taisho Rin and Sesshomaru announced the conception of their first child, and their plan to secure rights for hanyous,” the reporter sited from the busy Tokyo streets.

       The Higurashi family cheers in delight. They, more so than other human families, know the struggles yokai-human mates and their children had faced. The man continues to report, “The Inu-taisho family has presented to legislation a group of over two thousand witnesses and victims of hanyou cruelty in an attempt to prove the necessity of protective laws for hanyous. The case will not be examined for at least a few months and will no doubt last many weeks, but many are gathered here today, hopeful for change.”

     Kagome turned to her family, thrilled. “This is fantastic!” Kagome screamed. She turned and launched herself at her mother and grandfather.

      “This used to be much more pleasant when you were only a child, Kagome,” Grandpa moaned as he struggled to hold himself upright under the weight of his twenty-six year old granddaughter. But his playful, little girl was a grown up now, and was now a doctor specializing in emergency response. A wave of melancholy washes over him before he once again focuses on the present.

      “Sorry, Grandpa,” Kagome laughed as she took a step away from her family. She looks down at her favorite green skirt and white blouse with chagrin.

            “I understand, Kagome,” Mama sighed. “I know how much time and work you’ve put into helping people: human, yokai, or otherwise.”

            “Thanks, Mama.”

            “Yeah,” Souta agreed. “I’ve been to your work, Sis. It’s really messed up how many yokai-human couples have been harassed or attacked. And not to mention the horrible things both traditionalist humans and yokai do to hanyous.” Souta shudders as though he can simply shake away the painful memories.

            Kagome loves working at the Hand-in-Hand community hospital, open to all species, but sometimes it really gets to her. Just last week a mother came in covered with blood after someone had ripped her half yokai baby from her arms and beat her half to death. Kagome treated her wounds, and the woman recovered physically. Mentally the woman would never recover, because as she recovered, her two-month-old daughter did not. The poor girl had died because of her genetics. Kagome couldn’t understand how the beautiful, little, half otter yokai girl was so offensive that those murders would target her. It infuriated Kagome to no end that many people in the city and the whole world didn’t care that these things happened frequently because of their back water beliefs.

            “This is long overdue,” Kagome said. “It’s two thousand and fifteen, yet nearly half the world population believes the same as people from five hundred years ago.”

            Mama rubbed Kagome’s back with a hopeful expression on her face. “So much has changed in the past fifty years alone. When I was your age, yokai and humans were completely segregated. I never could have imagined that my children would be going to integrated schools and open restaurants and stores. It’s wonderful and I have faith,” Kagome turned to look at her mother, “that by the time you have children of your own, hanyous and mixed relationships will be considered normal.” Mama’s dark eyes were bright and joyful with memories and wishes.

            “Yes, Kagome, it’s a changing world out there,” Grandpa adds with an encouraging smile. He bobs his head slightly his traditional beard and mustache swaying in time with his short pony tail. Kagome can’t help but laugh. He looks ridiculous with his arms wrapped in his old-fashioned robe sleeves, his eyes closed, and leaning back slightly in a show of strength and wisdom.

            The Higurashi family turns off the television and begins a celebratory dinner, cheering for equal rights and clinking their glasses together.

            Across the city, in a large, newly constructed, multi-million dollar house very much unlike the Higurashi’s, another family settles down for dinner.    

            Rin, pregnant for the first time, is in her second trimester and she is about to kill her mate of nearly eighty years. Of course as a mate of a powerful yokai, Rin still appears to be twenty-four, the age she was when she and Sesshoumaru mated. Sesshoumaru had always been protective of his beloved human mate. She had meet Sesshoumaru when she was still a child, eight-years-old and recently orphaned by the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. Rin knew as soon as he had saved her from certain death that she loved him and would be by his side, always. And she had, and would for eternity. Rin loved Sesshoumaru fiercely, but she desperately wished she could wield her brother-in-law’s sword and make him shut up. Ever since that positive pregnancy test Sessh had been fawning over her. Rin couldn’t even use the restroom without him trailing after her!

            “Rin, is that food nutritious enough for the baby? Do you have enough water? When’s your next doctor’s appointment? Have you been taking your prenatal vitamins? Do you think that we should have bought a one story house so we wouldn’t have to worry about the stairs?” Sesshoumaru fired off question after question, not even waiting for Rin to attempt a response. Glancing across the table she meet Inuyasha’s eyes. He seems thoroughly annoyed by his half-brother’s ranting about the nutritional content of the food, the safety of the professionally baby-proofed house, and the competence of her physician.

            Rin rolls her eyes at Inuyasha and he responds with an indifferent shrug. Rin finds it extremely ironic that the family behind the yokai-human equality campaign just announced a major development, yet is sitting at the table discussing which brand of disposable diaper they should use for a baby that won’t be born for four months. “Hey, Sesshoumaru, if you insist on killing me, use a sword. I’m tired of listening to your voice,” Inuyasha complains with a wink and a smirk in Rin’s direction.

            Sesshoumaru straightens his spine and glares at his younger brother. “That sounds like a challenge. Perhaps some after dinner sparing could be arranged.”

            “Keh,” Inuyasha mutters. But Rin can see the beginning of a smile on his face. Although the brothers are reluctant to admit it, they like to banter and scuffle. ‘They’re just like puppies,’ Rin thinks. Sessh nods stiffly at the hanyou before returning to his dinner and his prior conversation.

            “Rin, dear, I know you had spoken with your doctor about a home birthing, but are those things really safe? Perhaps we should consider–”

            “Inuyasha,” Rin interrupts Sesshoumaru’s rambling, “are you planning on testifying in the upcoming equality trial?” Her warm brown eyes and Sesshoumaru’s deep amber eyes focus on the stiff body of the hanyou. Inuyasha’s clawed hand is hovering in the air, holding his fork and a helping ramen noodles near his open mouth. His silver dog ears are upright with shock and he is nearly shaking with surprised tension.

            Several moments later Inuyasha drops his fork back into his bowl with a splash, loudly scrapes his chair to the side and murmurs a quiet, “I don’t know,” before leaving the room. Rin watches in astonishment as he literally runs from the room. She flinches when Inuyasha leaves the house, slamming the front door with a gigantic thud behind him. Rin turns to Sesshomaru, her brown eyes wide with pain and disbelief.

            “What just happened?” Rin whispers, voice soft with tears – damn pregnancy hormones. Rin couldn’t hold back the little sob that escaped her mouth. She had never seen Inuyasha like that. Normally the proud hanyou was snarky when uncomfortable. Rin had experienced awkward situations when Inuyasha foolishly challenged Sesshoumaru, uneasy times when Inuyasha secluded himself to hide his human form, and his brashness when meeting new people. However, Rin had never seen Inuyasha look beaten, wounded. Her brother-in-law was always cocky and usually rude. He didn’t submit easily, yet a simple question scared him away.

            Sesshoumaru sighs loudly, “In all honesty, that could have been much worse.” When Rin opens her mouth and starts to ask why, her mate gently shakes his head, golden eyes somber. They finish the dinner in silence and Rin regrets interrupting Sesshoumaru, wishing that he was still blabbing about baby nonsense.

            Inuyasha leaves the house running, his bare feet slapping against the pavement. When he reaches the first building he jumps and lands upon the roof. Coasting from rooftop to rooftop in a desperate attempt to leave Rin’s haunting words behind. ‘The trial,’ Inuyasha considers, ‘would no doubt have enough sob stories without my whining ass on stand.’ Inuyasha soars through the city, not stopping or slowing until he reaches the edge of Tokyo. The modest shrine on the top of the hill was a sight for sore eyes. When the shrine had first been constructed, Inuyasha hated it. He even tried to stop the construction of it nearly a hundred and seventy years ago. He had run around the area, knocking over the wood foundation, scratching the wet cement, and breaking glass. He even went as far as grabbing builders and dropping them onto tree branches. However, the miko was stubborn, and the shrine was built despite Inuyasha’s grievances.

            Inuyasha hopped up the shrines many steps in a single leap. He settles into a tree he’d known since childhood, the Goshinboku. After his mother died, Inuyasha sought safety in the tallest branches of the tree. For nearly four decades he only left the tree to hunt and bathe. Then he met his elder brother. Sesshoumaru was very clear that Inuyasha meant very little to him and the only reason Sessh hadn’t killed him was because of their father. Many nights he had longed for the security and peacefulness of the Goshinboku, but he traveled with Sesshoumaru for more than sixty years. In that time they had quarreled frequently, but never truly fought until Sessh had become possessed by the power of an evil yokai. In self-defense Inuyasha amputated his brother’s arm. From that moment on, the full yokai’s teasing of his brother’s half yokai state increased ten-fold. Soon afterward Inuyasha returned to his forest and his beloved tree only to discover the construction of the shrine. Kikyo, the miko, immediately became Inuyasha’s enemy. No one disturbed Inuyasha’s Forest without the permission of said hanyou. Along with his fire rat robes and sword Tessaiga, the forest had been his inheritance from his father.

            However, Kikyo was stubborn. She refused to relinquish her claim on the undeveloped shrine. Much to Inuyasha’s embarrassment, he soon became enamored with the lovely woman. And one day, she approached him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. Inuyasha had the chance to become human, to belong to a species instead of trapped between two. Inuyasha could transform, and then he could marry his miko. Except none of that was true. He was a monster. And like all monsters, he had been hunted. When he met his love at the appointed time and place he found himself cornered by villagers and shot down with an arrow by his beloved Kikyo.

            Inuyasha would never forget what she had said to him that day. “You are a beast, Inuyasha. A monstrosity. How a disgusting creature, such as yourself, was allowed to live shocks me.”

            “But Kikyo,” he murmured as blood flowed from his arrow inflicted wound, “I thought you loved me.”

            Kikyo had scoffed. “Love? Love?” she questioned. “As long as you roam this Earth love will not only avoid you, but be tainted by your presence.”

            A hundred and twenty three years had passed since Kikyo had shouted those words at him, yet they made regular reappearances in his nightmares. Inuyasha spent months confused about Kikyo’s change of heart. How could she have been so willing to help him and then days later tried to kill him? Until Inuyasha came to the bone chilling realization that Kikyo had always despised him. It had been her intention all along to kill Inuyasha. And like a fool he had bought her act. He had been so desperate for love and acceptance, he never even suspected her ploy.

            Inuyasha rested his head against the old aged bark and dug his claws into the Goshinboku. “Fucking Kikyo,” he cursed under his breath.

            “Hello, great forest spirit!” an elderly voice called from bellow. Inuyasha had been so consumed by thoughts of Kikyo that he hadn’t even noticed the arrival of the current shrine priest.

            “What do you want, old man?” Inuyasha asked bitterly. Although the elderly man meant well, he always ended up grinding Inuyasha’s gears.

            The old priest snorted at his biter mood. “I’ve brought out some sake,” he announced holding up a large cup of alcohol, gesturing for Inuyasha to come drink.

            “Keh, I don’t drink much, old man.”

            He shrugs. “Well, tonight’s a bit of a special occasion.” He sways on his feet and Inuyasha realizes that the priest has been drinking himself. “You may not know, or maybe you do. I’m not quite sure how fast news travels in the forest spirit world. Perhaps you have a television or a radio?”

            “Just spit it out already. I don’t have all day,” Inuyasha bites out with an eye roll. He had spent their entire first conversation, nearly two hours, trying to explain to the old man that he wasn’t a forest spirit. The priest wasn’t convinced that throughout nearly forty years of his life that the being he saw in the forest wasn’t some kind of ghost. In the thirty year since their first meeting, the priest still referred to Inuyasha as a forest spirit. “What? Did your grandkid do something important in the world of humans?”

            The old man shakes his head. “No, this is a much bigger than the simple accomplishment of a single human - even those of my grandchildren.” Inuyasha rolls his eyes and jumps down from his tree to drink the sake. “Finally the people of Tokyo are ready to embrace mixed couples and hanyous. There’s to be a trial for hanyou rights!” Inuyasha spits out a mouthful of sake. ‘Not him too,’ Inuyasha internally begs.

            “Is the sake not to your standards?” the priest asks concerned, not noticing Inuyasha’s extreme discomfort.

            “Keh, it’s fine.” The old man shrugs and continues his ramblings.

            “You know, my granddaughter is an emergency response doctor at Hand-in-Hand open species hospital. She’s the one who really opened my eyes to the severe mistreatment of part yokai and human-yokai couples.” The old man’s eyes glass over in memory. “I remember her first day as an intern at the hospital. She called home on her lunch break crying because a young yokai man had been ganged up on by humans. Apparently this yokai had mated with a human girl and her father along with an angry mob beat him with crow bars and pipes. The man’s spine was so twisted and mangled that he died just minutes after arriving in the hospital.”

            Inuyasha swallows despite the lump in his throat. The story reminds him too much of his father’s and mother’s tragic story. “What happened to the woman?”

            “She was married off to one of the men who participated in the attack. A few months later she had been brought to the hospital as well.” He looks at Inuyasha with teary eyes. “She died of blood loss. My granddaughter said the wounds were self-inflicted.”

            Inuyasha leaves the shrine when the sun starts to rise. He spent the entire night out by the tree with the priest drinking sake and speaking of tragic endings to eternal love. Inuyasha stumbles away from the shrine pleasantly drunk, feet crunching on the colorful autumn leaves scattering the steps of the shrine. His senses are too dulled by alcohol to notice the stalking presence of a neko-yokai.  

Chapter Text

 

            Kagome wasn’t easily woken, and knowing that, she was prepared with four different alarm clocks. Two were settings on her smart phone, in case she turned off her phone and rolled back in bed - the third was a nightstand alarm clock with the volume up high, and the fourth - and last alarm - was located across the room so she was forced to wake up enough to walk across the room and turn it off. Normally Kagome is fully awake and out of bed from the third alarm and quickly shuts off the fourth before it can wake the rest of the house. Today however was Monday. Not only a regular, boring, back-to-work Monday, but also a hungover-too-much-celebratory-sake Monday.

            When the first phone alarm at 6:15 am went off, Kagome merely groaned and rolled over. It ran for a solid five minutes before it automatically silenced itself. The second phone alarm sounded at 6:25 am, to which Kagome responded to by pushing her smart phone off of her nightstand and onto the carpeted floor. Kagome cringes and raises her blanket over her head when the third alarm loudly rings at 6:35 am. By the time her last and final alarm dings at 6:45 am, the absolute latest she can wake up and still make it to work on time, she is already in the bathroom, emptying her stomach, while her alarm screeches at a vacant room.

            Despite her hangover illness Kagome gets ready, eats breakfast with Mama and Souta – Grandpa doesn’t wake up this early to join them – and arrives at work on time. Kagome can’t find a seat on the subway and is forced to stand between a smelly, sweaty man and a woman who is loudly gossiping into her cell phone. As she exits the subway the woman on the phone bumps against her back causing Kagome to spill her hot coffee all over her front. The rude lady continues to walk and talk on her phone, not even bothering to apologize. All in all, Kagome has had a pretty awful morning.

            Kagome walks into the hospital hoping she can avoid her associates until she can put on her doctors coat and cover the stain. Unfortunately, or predictably after the start of her day, as soon as she enters the building one of her closest friends, a nurse at the hospital, Sango calls out to her. “Hey, Kagome!” Sango yells across the mostly empty floor.

            Kagome turns to Sango and smiles. Sango is a few years older than her, married to a Buddhist psychologist from the hospital, and a mother. Not only is Sango seven months pregnant for the second time, but she also has an adopted yokai child. “Hi, Sango,” Kagome answers as she nears her friend, drawing her bag over her front in attempt to shield the stain. “How are you and Miroku doing with the baby preparations?”

            Sango rolls her eyes. “I thought I would kill him the first time I was pregnant because he fussed over me too much. This time around I’ll liable to kill him for not doing enough.” She lets out a groan, “Men.”

            Kagome doesn’t comment. Not only has she never been pregnant, but she has never been in a long term relationship. Kagome preferred battery operated boyfriends that wouldn’t distract from school and work, but were just enough to release some built up tension. “And how are Kaede and Shippou?” she asks the heavily pregnant woman.

            Sango smiles sweetly at the mention of her children. Kaede, her daughter, was born two years ago and got more precious and beautiful time Kagome saw her. Shippou, is now six, and after his yokai parents were killed by higher ranking, power hungry yokai three years ago, he was brought to the hospital. He was so young and lovable that Miroku and Sango adopted him almost immediately. “I almost can’t believe how big they are, Kagome,” Sango says in a wistful voice. “Kaede is starting to look so much like my mother, her name-sake, and Shippou has been practicing his kitsune-yokai magic with a hanyou friend of Miroku. I just wish they wouldn’t grow up so fast!”

            Kagome gives her a soft smile. “I’m so glad I got to talk to you this morning,” Kagome admits. “My day was off to a horrible start.” She pulls the bag away from her front and explains to Sango how the rude woman on the train knocked into her and Kagome lost her coffee.

            Sango draws Kagome into a big, pregnant hug before Sango gets on the elevator and the two women begin to work. To Kagome’s delight, there are no emergencies for nearly two hours. In that time, Kagome finishes paperwork, checks up on her patients, and signs a release form for a teenage serpent hanyou boy who reminds her of Sota when he shyly answers her questions with an uncertain smile. However, just before eleven, Kagome sees an ambulance pull up in front of the large glass doors.

            Kagome calls out to the other doctors and nurses on shift and begins to run toward the sliding doors. She recognizes the paramedic, Kouga, a wolf yokai she went out with on one awkward date over a year ago that ended with frankly a disgusting, slobbery, unrefined kiss and declaration of love. Needless to say, Kagome tends to avoid Kouga when possible.

            “What do we have?” Kagome asks as she snaps on her latex gloves.

            Kouga puffs out his chest, an obvious attempt to attract Kagome’s attention. “Well, how is my woman?” Kouga drawls.

            Kagome is helpless to stop her eye roll. “Fuck off, Kouga. You aren’t God’s gift to women and I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy the curse of being your woman.” She pushes the affronted wolf aside and drags the gurney inside the hospital herself.

            Ginta, a fellow paramedic from the same ambulance as Koga runs up to them. “The patient is a mature hanyou, at least two-hundred years old. We assume, from appearance and smell, he is half dog yokai. He’s about 5’10” and a hundred and eighty pounds. He has multiple, deep lacerations from a yokai attack as well as poison.”

            “Has he been sedated?” Kagome asks as they return to the sterile office and she goes to cut open his traditional robes. Before the scissors make contact with the bright red fabric, a clawed, blood stained hand wraps around her own. With a shocked gasp Kagome looks up to her patient’s face and meets beautiful amber eyes.

            “Oi! Bitch, don’t be doing that.” Kagome huffs at his harsh words.

            “Excuse me?” she asks completely pissed off.

            “I think you heard me, wench,” he smirks revealing canine fangs.

            “What?” Now Kagome is shaking with her anger, both hands curled into fists at her sides, the scissors that began the argument clank as the land on the floor, completely forgotten.

            “I guess not,” he murmurs and sits up on the gurney. “I said ‘Bitch, don’t be doing that’.” Kagome can’t believe her ears. This man is so infuriating. Good god, if Miroku was even at all like this hanyou she would help Sango kick his ass.

            The silver haired, puppy eared, pain in the ass patient slides to the end of the gurney and hops off. “Sit back down,” Kagome demands.

            “Keh, not a chance, wanna-be Kikyo,” he announces, completely confusing Kagome. ‘Who the hell was Kikyo?’ she thought to herself. She watched in utter amazement as he strolled over to Kouga, who still held the patient’s belongings – a cell phone, a sword, and a wallet. Then he called over his shoulder to Kagome, “Hey, fake Kikyo, you aren’t very good at your job. I’m dripping blood all over the place.”

            And that was when Kagome really lost her temper. She might have thought that she was angry when last summer Sota put itching powder in her shampoo, or in twelfth grade when her ex-boyfriend – Hojo, her longest relationship yet and high school sweetheart – cheated on her, or even when those petty criminals vandalized the shrine with spray paint four years ago, but she now realizes that wasn’t true anger. This hateful, burning, festering emotion she feels right now is most definitely the greatest anger she’s ever felt toward one person. ‘Who does this prick think he is?’ she fumes. ‘No one is going to insult my work as a physician… or my worth as a human being!’

            “Kikyo this and Kikyo that!” Kagome screams. “My name is not Kikyo, or wench, or bitch. My name is KAGOME!” Her spiritual energy begins to bubble within her and over flows from her body in an eerily beautiful pink glow.

            Kagome marches across the room. Her very professional, very conventional, favorite, brown loafer shoes are making far more noise than his bare feet had a few minutes ago. She grabs at the man, latching on to the prayer bead and fang necklace he is wearing, not even noticing when her spiritual energy causes the necklace begin to glow with the same pink light. “You are so difficult,” Kagome squeals in his ugly (beautiful), horrible (wonderful) face.

         Inuyasha considers apologizing, because it really isn’t this girl’s fault she looks like Kikyo, and opens his mouth to do so when Kagome speaks first. “Osuwari!”  The necklace his mother gave him just before she died glowed even brighter and when the doctor lady let go and began to walk away, Inuyasha was smashed face first, pulled by the newly cursed necklace, into the ground. “What gives, bitch?”

         “Osuwari,” the woman responds calmly. Kagome returns to Inuyasha’s side with a gigantic first aid kit. “Remove your shirt,” she demands as she opens the case and fishes out alcohol wipes. Inuyasha grumbles, but does as he’s told. He hisses as the material is tugged away from his tender skin. “Damn,” she murmurs at the sight of his venom infused claw marks, curtesy of a damn poison neko-yokai. She quickly and efficiently cleans, liquid stitches, bandages his wounds, gives him a shot for the venom and gives him instructions to keep the bandages clean. Then without another word she puts away the first aid kit and walks away.

         Inuyasha shakes his head, long silver hair fanning out. “What a confusing woman?” he mutters. Inuyasha leaves the hospital feeling annoyed and … and feeling something else he isn’t exactly willing to admit to himself.  As he pays his medical bill Inuyasha thinks about her gentle fingers caressing his wounded chest. When he exits the building he imagines her tongue tracing his wounds like an inu-yokai would. While Inuyasha unlocks the front door to the Inu-Taisho mansion he dreams of her whispered voice pledging her undeniable love for him. Later as he lies in bed just thinking he reminds himself that he is delusional. Kagome was perfect. Inuyasha had learned long ago that perfect was an unreasonable thing for a hanyou to lust for, to dream of, or to want.

         At lunch time Kagome sits with Sango and Miroku in his office on the third floor. She complains for nearly the entire meal hour about her difficult hanyou patient from earlier today. Sango shoots Miroku an odd look after Kagome finishes her description of her terrible hanyou.

          “He almost sounds like Inuyasha,” Sango told Miroku.

          Miroku shrugs, “Well I wouldn’t put it past Inuyasha to intentionally provoke someone, but usually he wouldn’t be at a hospital at the first place. He hates admitting any weakness, including injury.” Sango nods in agreement.

          “I just hope I never have to see him again,” Kagome announces. “It won’t matter one bit what his name was as long as he stops bothering me.”

          “Really?” Miroku scoffs in disbelief. “You just spent fifty minutes talking about the man, yet you aren’t the least bit interested in his name?”

           Kagome opens her mouth to deny any further interest in the awful man. However before Kagome can form words, Sango speaks. “I hate to admit it, Kagome, but Miroku might be right.” Sango holds up a placating hand when Kagome stiffens. “You described him in a lot of detail. And the way you talked about him, even the things that annoyed you, made it seem like you were intrigued by the man. Almost like you were interested, if you know what I mean.”

            Miroku moans deeply causing both Sango and Kagome to blush. “Oh, Sango, I know what you mean,” the man groans as he slides closer to his wife on the couch and his right hand disappears behind her. With a shocked gasp Sango stands quickly and slaps her husband.

           “Not in public,” she lectures. Kagome forgets about their earlier topic and laughs at the sheepish expression Miroku now wears along with the glowing red hand print across his cheek.

            Before Kagome leaves to finish the rest of her shift, Sango and Miroku invite her to dinner that weekend. Sango tells her that the kids miss her and wanted to spend more time with “Aunt Kagome”. This makes Kagome smiles and she promises to bring homemade oden. Back down on the first floor, Kagome finishes her day, and finishes her week without thinking of that awful man again… at least she wishes that had happened. In truth for the rest of the day, and the next four after it, all of her free time is dedicated to the little triangular ears, the long shimmering hair, and the snarky attitude that belonged to her eleven o’clock patient that Monday. As much as Kagome hates to admit it, Miroku and Sango were right. She wants to know more about the irritable hanyou. Kagome wonders if she’ll ever see him again or if she’ll even learn his name one day. She wishes it weren’t true, but Kagome was drawn to his rough exterior. Maybe, just maybe, the young doctor saw a sheen in his eyes – evidence of a scarring past. Kagome was very much interested in her mystery patient. Every day for the rest of the week Sango would ask Kagome if she was still thinking about her patient. Every day Kagome answered her question with a stiff, embarrassed nod. And every day Sango walked away with a knowing, mischievous smile.

Chapter Text

           It’s been half a week since Inuyasha has last seen Kagome. Four days since he’s woken up after a wet dream. Ninety-six hours since the red faced hanyou first needed to hurry to wash his sheets each morning. Normally on Friday nights Inuyasha patrols the streets, from his perch on the roof tops. Two centuries ago, Inuyasha protected the forest and villages of this region; today, he watches over the city of Tokyo. This particular Friday Inuyasha struggles to focus on his self-appointed task. His thoughts are not about the city, not about his and Sesshomaru’s security company, and not about the young human woman he’d saved from rape earlier that night. Instead Inuyasha’s thoughts are centered on the dark hair, brown eyes, and gentle touch of the beautiful doctor.

            He is powerless to escape these thoughts. Last night Inuyasha dreamt of her on his bed, her hair laid out like a dark halo, and her breasts bared to him. In his midnight fantasy, Inuyasha kissed from her mouth down to her neck, lightly sucking until he found the perfect spot. He knew it was wrong. He knew that Kagome wouldn’t want it, but he couldn’t stop. “Please,” fantasy Kagome moaned. And Inuyasha did it, because, selfishly, he wanted it more than anything. Like a villain in his own personal heaven, Inuyasha sunk his canine teeth into the smooth unmarred skin of Kagome’s neck and mated her.

            When he awoke, Inuyasha felt dirty. He couldn’t help but think that he had betrayed the woman by using her for pleasure against her knowledge. Inuyasha was as bad as a rapist in his personal opinion. Inuyasha didn’t deserve to derive pleasure from that dream. He was a hanyou. Hanyous didn’t have the right to mate beautiful, perfect women. Hanyous didn’t even have the right to live. Plus even if he was human, even if his genes weren’t that of a freak, he had treated Kagome horribly when they had first met. Of course she wouldn’t even want to be in the same room as him, much less be mated to him for eternity. This morning, filled with shame, Inuyasha bundled his semen soiled sheets into his arms and washed them with bleach. Inuyasha was desperate to get the smell out before Sesshoumaru noticed, however, later at the office his half-brother wore a knowing smirk.

            Inuyasha was startled from his thoughts of this morning by his cell phone which vibrated steadily in his pocket. Without looking down Inuyasha fumbled blindly to reach the outdated flip phone in his pocket. “Hello?”

            “Inuyasha, it’s Miroku,” came the familiar voice of his dear friend from the speaker. “Are you doing anything tomorrow night? Sango wanted to have a little get together.” He groaned internally. He always ended up as an outcast at their parties. The others would converse about anything and everything while Inuyasha sat secluded having nothing to add to conversations centered on family or the city’s nightlife.

            “Who else is gonna be there?” Inuyasha asked not interested in Miroku and Sango’s party at all. He stifled a yawn with the sleeve of his fire rat robe as he waited for Miroku’s response.

            “Just some friends: Totosai, Myoga, Mushin, Jinenji, Hachiemon, and a few of Sango’s friends,” Miroku responds.

            “Which of her friends? Please don’t tell me that the pushy one with the loud mouth and grabby hands will be there,” Inuyasha whimpered. Just thinking about her pulling his pointed dog ears and caused him to instinctively cover said appendages.  

            Miroku chuckled. “Oh no, Inuyasha. Yuka won’t be coming. With Sango’s recent pregnancy mood swings she can’t even stand the sight of the chatter box. However, Ayumi, Eri, and Kagome will be attending.” Inuyasha nearly chokes on air and begins to sputter. “Do you know the good doctor?” Miroku asks mischievously.

            “What do you know about it?” Inuyasha complains. Miroku is too busy teasing to notice his pained voice.

            “Only what a certain Doctor Higurashi mentioned on Monday at lunch,” Miroku laughed. While Miroku was having an excellent time, Inuyasha was certain he would hurl. He had been a complete asshole. He snapped at her, insulted her work, refused to use her name, and disrespected her by dreaming of her naked later that night and every night since.

            “I’m a horrible person,” Inuyasha privately despaired, completely forgetting Miroku was still on the phone.

            Instantly Miroku’s teasing voice harden into a concerned tone. ‘This is what he acts like with his patients’ Inuyasha assumed. “Inuyasha, you didn’t actually treat her any different than you do to most people you’ve just met. Except for the Kikyo thing, but as I understand, from your description, she must look very similar to your ex.”

            Inuyasha shook his head to what Miroku was saying before remembering that his friend couldn’t see him. “No Miroku, it isn’t that… not completely,” Inuyasha paused almost unable to continue, but soon found his resolve. “Miroku… have you ever… I dreamt about her in a disrespectful way,” he mumbles his cheeks red and burning in shame.

            “Describe disrespectful.”

            “I…I… she was naked and… and we,” Inuyasha is blushing fiercely barely able to say the words. “I imagined… mating her,” he whispered, ashamed.

He can sense Miroku’s shock when he doesn’t immediately answer. Miroku’s hesitation humiliates Inuyasha further. He’s horrified his friend with his dirty hanyou existence. “Inuyasha,” the religious psychiatrist mutters softly, “You… you feel embarrassed because of this?”

            Inuyasha shrugs his shoulders and wraps his fire rat closer around himself. “Keh, who would welcome a filthy half-breed’s desire?” Miroku inhales sharply and Inuyasha knows he is about to disagree, but Inuyasha doesn’t want to listen to Miroku’s lies. “I’ll see you tomorrow at dinner, Miroku,” Inuyasha says before he hangs up on the man.

            After the phone call with Miroku Inuyasha scurries from roof to roof until he returns to the Inu-Taisho family mansion. He can hear Rin’s soft snores as he opens the front door, but he knows that Sesshomaru is still awake, waiting for him in the kitchen.

            Inuyasha tries to avoid whatever conversation Sesshoumaru has planned by rushing past him in the kitchen and collecting his freshly washed sheets from the dryer. He almost makes it to the stairs before he hears his brother’s voice, “Had an accident, little brother?”

            Sesshoumaru’s knowing words cut Inuyasha down. Inuyasha is the descendent of the Inu no Taisho, the greatest inu yokai to walk the Earth, yet he – as Sesshoumaru put it – had disgraced himself and his sire with his ‘accident’. Waves of self-hatred run off of Inuyasha. In a wild attempt to distance himself from Sesshoumaru’s and his own disappointment, Inuyasha mutters, “Keh, it’s not like you’ve never disgraced father. Hell, you got your arm cut off by a mere hanyou.”

            Sesshoumaru’s dazed state gives Inuyasha enough time to run into his room before his brother can say anything else to him.

            Sesshoumaru returns to the bedroom he shares with Rin consumed with guilt. He never understood the self-hatred and depression Inuyasha was weighed down with, and Sesshoumaru knows that he is partially responsible. Rin stirs and wakes after sensing Sesshoumaru’s distress.

            “What’s wrong Sessh?” his sleepy mate mumbles rubbing the drowsiness from her eyes. Sesshoumaru crawls onto the bed and lays down resting his head down onto his mate’s lap. His yokai ears can hear the baby’s heart beat as well as the gentle rhythm of Rin’s. “Did you talk to Inuyasha about what the dreams meant, love?”

            Sesshoumaru closes his eyes in revulsion. Rin’s loving fingers brush over his eyelids, yokai markings, and angular ears, waiting for her mate to speak. “Inuyasha suffers, and I couldn’t help him,” Sessh admits. Rin bites her lip, knowing her love has more to say. “Perhaps two centuries ago, when he came into my care, I could have helped. Why did I ignore my brother, Rin? Why did I ridicule my own flesh and blood? How could I have destroyed him and then continued to live my life as if I had not?” Sesshoumaru’s voice cracks as he asks his last desperate question and then completely dissolves into tears.

            Rin waits a few minutes for her mate’s sobs to lessen. “What did you say to him tonight?” She knows from personal experience that Sesshoumaru is often too crass and that although he may have good intentions the words seem cruel and calculated.

            “I asked him if he ‘had an accident’.” Rin inhales sharply, confirming his earlier suspicions. “I know those were the wrong words now. After our past they must have sounded demeaning and Inuyasha became defensive.”

            “It would have been better if you’d started talking about yourself instead of immediately bringing up Inuyasha,” Rin corrected as she rubbed Sesshoumaru’s scalp. “He is confused right now. Inuyasha is most likely afraid that he is alone, unnatural.”

            Her words hit Sesshoumaru hard. How many times had Sesshomaru thrown that insult at his hanyou half-brother? He nudges his face against her pajama clad thigh and deeply inhales her scent. “I didn’t take care of him. I’ve done this to my little brother.”

            “We can try again tomorrow, Sessh. For now, I’m exhausted.” Without further delay Rin and Sesshoumaru rearrange themselves on the bed and drift into an uneasy sleep.

            Inuyasha leaves the Inu-Taisho house early the next morning, not wanting to attract the attention of Sesshoumaru or his brother’s feisty mate. For nearly nine decades Inuyasha had stayed there with his lord half-brother - since after Sesshoumaru took young Rin into his care. Had Rin not been mated with Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha never would have stayed. However, her welcome nature comforted Inuyasha to the point that he had forgotten he wasn’t wanted by the master of the house. It was painful. Inuyasha wasn’t welcome anywhere. Even with the approaching arrival of Sesshoumaru’s own half-breed child, Inuyasha was still shunned by his brother for his parentage. Inuyasha was starting to come to the harsh realization that he would always be unwanted. He couldn’t blame his brother though. Inuyasha was a freak, the freshly dirtied sheets spinning with bleach in the washer were proof enough. A two hundred fifty eight year old hanyou was acting like a pubescent human boy. Inuyasha closed his eyes against the flood of humiliation that rushed through his body. He needed help, fast. Without second thought he begins to run through the city and out into the suburbs. Inuyasha needed to speak with the only person who could and would help him.

            Inuyasha’s fist slams on the door, impatient for Myoga or Totosai to answer. Finally, after two or three minutes of pounding the door swings open to reveal an old man with large eyes and a hunched back holding a walking stick. “Totosai,” Inuyasha sighs in relief.

            “Who?” Totosai asks loudly, obviously confused.

            “Never mind,” Inuyasha mutters too anxious for answers to bother arguing with the sword smith. “Where’s Myoga?”

            “Right here, Master Inuyasha,” the flea-yokai answers jumping from Totosai’s shoulder to Inuyasha’s. Myoga begins to drink from Inuyasha and the hanyou instinctively slaps the yokai off his neck. Myoga falls to the floor with a pained moan. “You wound me, Master Inuyasha.”

            “Look,” Inuyasha says while pushing past Totosai and going into the small house, “I need your help.” Myoga immediately pulls himself off the floor, enters the house, and waits for Inuyasha to continue. “Should I be concerned if… if I start experiencing unusual dreams?”

            Myoga tilts his head in curiosity. “Well, Master Inuyasha, that depends on the subject of these dreams.”

            The already nervous hanyou gulps at Myoga’s words. Of course there’s something wrong with him. “Well, they all involved a specific person,” Inuyasha explains hesitantly.

            Myoga smiles at Inuyasha’s obvious discomfort. “Did you happen to experience a… physical reaction to the events of this dream involving this specific person?” Inuyasha nods furiously, face on fire. Myoga shakes his head in annoyance. “Hasn’t Sesshoumaru explained this to you, Inuyasha?”

            “Keh, sure. He’s made his feelings about my disgraceful actions very clear to me,” Inuyasha says forcefully.

            “Disgraceful?” Myoga questions, his confusion evident from his expression. “Master Inuyasha, these dreams are quite common among yokai and hanyous.” Inuyasha’s eyes widen in disbelief. “In fact, I’m surprised you haven’t already heard about this.”

            “So, I’m not the only one. It isn’t… unnatural?” Inuyasha asks uncertainly.

            Myoga shakes his head roughly. “No, in fact, quite the opposite. These dreams are symptoms of your yokai blood preparing to mate. I’m hurt that you didn’t tell us you’ve been seeing someone, Inuyasha.”

            Inuyasha coughs, his earlier relief cut short by the revelation that his body expects him to claim a mate. “What?” Inuyasha screams, startling the proud and affronted Myoga.

            “Yes, Inuyasha. Your yokai has decided that it has found the perfect mate,” Myoga repeats.

            “Mate?   When’s the ceremony?” Totosai asks as he enters the room.

            Inuyasha shakes his head. “You’re wrong, Myoga. There is no mate. I’m not seeing anyone and I doubt I’ll ever find anyone who would accept a disgusting mix-breed as a mate.”

            “What do you mean you aren’t seeing anyone? Someone triggered your yokai blood, and that someone will be your mate. This type of thing almost always works out,” Myoga insists. Inuyasha just shakes his head and begins to pace across the carpeted floor.

            “Yeah, ‘almost always’ and I can guarantee that this is not one of those times. For fucks sake, I only met the woman once, and I completely ruined my chances,” he rants and slams his fist down on the coffee table, spitting it in half.

            “Master Inuyasha, if your yokai is reacting to her than she must be experiencing a similar reaction. You should speak to her, it might surprise you,” Myoga encourages.

            “She doesn’t have a yokai!” Inuyasha hollers. “The woman is a human. Humans love first impressions and I certainly fucked that up.”

            Totosai hums in thought. “So just do what your father did.” Inuyasha quirks an eyebrow in confusion. “Seduce the girl. If you act well behaved enough to get her into bed, everything will work out fine!”

            Inuyasha shakes his head disgusted. “Fucking perv.” Totosai’s suggestion makes him feel sick. Inuyasha couldn’t do that to Kagome. He needs a second opinion. Inuyasha leaves the house comforted and with a resolve to ask Rin about human women.

            Kagome wakes up on Saturday morning with an unexpected, yet pleasant throb centered between her legs. Without opening her eyes her right hand searches for the handle to her nightstand drawer. Kagome manages to slide out the drawer and her hand begins fishing for her vibrator. She smiles when her fingers make contact with the smooth length and she lifts it from her night stand. Flicking on the vibrator she buries it beneath the sheets and presses it to her naked stomach just below her belly button. Kagome always preferred to sleep naked and this morning she was relieved for her strange preference. Slowly, sensually she glides the vibrator through a thatch of black pubic hair and locates her clit. With a hum of pleasure she circles the pulsating sex toy around her sensitive flesh. Kagome’s left hand dives underneath the covers as well and pushes two fingers into her wet center.

            “Oh God,” Kagome gasps, suddenly short of breath. The combination of penetration and vibration brings her close to the edge, but not quite. ‘I’m missing something,’ she thinks. ‘My fantasy guy needs to make an appearance.’ Kagome begins to imagine a man with dark eyes, shoulder length brown hair, and a goatee is hovering above her, giving her pleasure. Except her imaginary American actor, Orlando Bloom, isn’t delivering the normal boost of pleasure. Kagome groans in frustration and considers abandoning her vibrator for a cold shower. Just before she shuts off the battery operated boyfriend, silver hair, golden eyes and a defiant smirk cross her mind and Kagome climaxes. “Inuyasha,” Kagome moans as she comes.

            Later on after she showers and is sitting down at the table eating breakfast, Kagome is embarrassed. She’s only about to see the man again today for the second time after their original meeting five days ago, but she pleasured herself while thinking about him. God, if Sango ever found out she’d tease her mercilessly. Kagome never lusted after guys, yet here she was lusting after a bratty, rude hanyou.

            The front door slams shut and Rin jumps in surprise, heart beating twice as fast. “Inuyasha?” she asks, uncertain and worried that the hanyou will refuse to speak with her. Rin’s brown eyes meet her mate’s golden orbs across the kitchen table as they wait for an answer. Inuyasha slowly edges into the room and lets out a sigh of relief before stiffening slightly. Rin watches with a disappointed frown as Inuyasha’s pained eyes lock onto Sesshoumaru. ‘So he wants to speak with me, but won’t say anything until Sessh leaves,’ Rin thinks. Turning from the hanyou to the yokai Rin says, “Honey, weren’t you planning on painting the nursery today?” Sesshoumaru opens his mouth to retort, but catches the warning in Rin’s expression and nods. Rin watches, satisfied, as Sessh leaves the room.

            “So, did you have a nice run this morning?” Rin asks in attempt to sooth the visibly uncomfortable man. Inuyasha shakes the tension out of his body and sits in the chair Sesshoumaru had just vacated. He scratches his right ear and huffs loudly.

            “Keh, it wasn’t really a run. I went to visit Myoga,” Inuyasha admits, eyes down cast. Rin smiles reassuringly.

            “Do you want to talk about it, Inuyasha?” The hanyou immediately blushes. “I assume you visited Myoga for some much needed answers,” Rin says gently before taking a sip of green tea. When Inuyasha nods while looking at his tightly curled fists, but makes no effort to speak, Rin continues to say, “Inuyasha, it’s okay.” Something breaks within Rin as she watches Inuyasha curl his head down onto the table and covers his head with trembling arms.

            “No, it really isn’t,” Inuyasha whispered dejectedly. Rin stands and walks around the side of the table to wrap her pink sweater clad arms around her brother-in-law. Although hanyous physically mature between eighty and ninety years old after aging at one quarter the speed of humans, the mating process is akin to human puberty. When a hanyou reaches maturity, he or she can physically have sex, but not take a mate until their yokai blood takes action. Yokai experience the same reaction before they are able to claim their mates.

            “Of course it is okay, Inuyasha. It’s completely normal. Everyone with yokai blood goes through the mating process.” Inuyasha trembles more at Rin’s words and she rubs his back in a comforting little circles. “You just need to tell your future mate that your yokai has forged a connection with her and then everything will work out fine.” He raises his head and looks at Rin with worried eyes.

            “Don’t you understand?” Inuyasha asks, voice raw and broken. “She’s human.”

            “So?” Rin asks confused. “I’m human and humans are chosen as mates all the time. You know that, Inuyasha.”

            He snorts. “Keh, I know that. Humans are taken as mates by yokai,” Inuyasha reasons. “I’m not a yokai. A hanyou like me doesn’t deserve someone as perfect as her.” Rin tries to comment, but Inuyasha continues to speak, ignoring her shocked gasp. “Everyone knows that I should have been put down at birth. I taint everything around me. Kagome deserves better than me.”

            Rin bristles in anger. “Is that what this Kagome had to say about you?” If Rin had any idea where that awful woman was, she’d shred her apart. ‘How dare she throw Inuyasha aside like that,’ Rin thinks furiously. Rin knows her brother-in-law isn’t always the easiest to get along with, but he’s a good person. Inuyasha deserved happiness, the bitch.

            “Keh! No, I’ve only ever met her once. She was kind. Even after I was an asshole to her, Kagome was sweet and nice to me. She wasn’t afraid to rise to my challenge,” Inuyasha admits in a stunned, hopeful voice. He rubs his prayer bead necklace thoughtfully. “She’s a miko. And a doctor. She was trying to treat me and I was such a dick, but it barely even phased her. Kagome just… she just took control and did her thing.”

            Rin smiles at his awed expression. She fully knows the affects female dominance has on inu-yokai. The first time she stood up to Sesshoumaru was the day his yokai began the mating process. Without Rin’s strength and Sesshomaru’s submission, they never would have mated all those years ago. Then she realizes something. “Inuyasha, you said she was treating you. I didn’t know you’d been hurt,” Rin utters warily.

            Inuyasha blushes fiercely. “On Monday morning I got jumped by a neko-yokai. The fucking cat came out of nowhere.” Inuyasha shrugs with a deep pink blush staining his cheeks, “Of course I was also hungover so maybe I would have seen her coming if I hadn’t been.”  

            Rin paces irritably. She can’t believe these two stubborn beasts she has to deal with daily. “It would be just like you Inu-Taisho boys to get hurt and then pretend like nothing happened. I swear, Inuyasha, either you or Sessh will be the death of me.”

            “Keh, what do you know?” Inuyasha muttered.

Chapter Text

           Kagome spent the day helping her mother and grandfather at the shrine. Lots of people visited the shrine on Saturdays, nearly ten times as many weekday visitors. Kagome worked the gift shop at the shrine and sold a few knickknacks. It was a slow day. Relaxing in some ways and horribly boring in others. To make it worse, it had rained early that afternoon and a blanket of humidity had surrounded Kagome in the small gift shop. Unfortunately for her, the shop didn’t have an air conditioner. On top of the lack of air conditioner, Kagome was wearing traditional miko’s robes. Her baggy red pants were heavy and stuffy in the heat and the thick material of her white shirt weighed down on her sweaty shoulders. As one might suspect, Kagome was looking forward to escaping the gift shop and enjoying herself under a refreshing, cold shower. Finally the shrine closed at five and Kagome was free to get ready for Miroku and Sango’s dinner party.

            Kagome stood under the spray of the shower. “Pure Heaven,” Kagome moaned as goosebumps formed on her rapidly cooling skin. She relaxed under the cold, barely heated water in attempt to shake the stifling slime of sweat she’d accumulated in the moist heat. ‘I’ve never seen such warm – and wet – weather in autumn,’ Kagome thought to herself as she scrubbed her body with jasmine scented body wash. Kagome spent the next hour blow drying her chest length, wavy, dark hair and dressing in a blue, short sleeve, shirt dress. Slipping her feet into navy flats, Kagome hooked her purse over her shoulder and screamed to Mama, “I’m going out. I probably won’t be back until late so don’t wait up!”

            “Okay, dear. Have a nice time, but stay safe, Kagome,” Mama says with a smile.

            “Of course, Mama,” Kagome responds as she leaves the house. She runs down the many shrine steps and continues down the street to the nearest subway station. Kagome takes the number four train to the part of Tokyo Sango and Miroku live in. After exiting the busy station, Kagome walks the two blocks north to her friends’ apartment. As Kagome waits for the elevator on the ground floor she senses a familiar presence. ‘I haven’t felt like this since the hanyou left the hospital on Monday.’ With a gasp the woman spins around, only to trip on her own feet and slam into the person standing next to her. Kagome stifles a moan as a thrilling wave of heat rushes through her body. She knows, she just knows, that she’s crashed into her patient. “I’m sorry,” she mutters as the strong hands that caught Kagome against a warm, leather clad chest righted her onto her feet.

            “Keh.” Kagome is too embarrassed to raise her gaze from his chest. ‘Oh why can’t the floor swallow me whole?’ Kagome pleads silently. ‘First I place a curse on him, then I masturbate to him, and now I’ve trampled him. Nice going, idiot.’ Kagome has no idea why, but her eyes begin to feel heavy, damp and she knows that it’s very likely she’ll cry and humiliate herself even further. The thought of crying in front of the stubborn hanyou makes her feel like crying even more. “Uh, Kagome,” a deep, familiar voice says uncertainly. “The elevator arrived.” If Kagome had any doubts about the stranger’s identification, they’re gone now. His rumbling, rich voice is no longer hurling insults at a high volume, but these now soft and gentle words definitely belong to him. “Look, we don’t want to be late to the party,” he says tightening his grasp on her arms and leading her towards the elevator. Kagome gives a weak nod and refocuses her gaze onto the elevator doors as they shut.

            “Thank you,” Kagome whispers as the elevator makes its climb upward toward the thirty-eighth floor. The elevator dings its progress. Second floor, third floor, fourth floor, Kagome holds her breath – waiting to escape this box. She hates this windowless prison. Every time Kagome enters an elevator she can’t help but think that the walls are slowly starting to close in around her. The young doctor can sense her companion’s own distress. He rocks his weight back and forth, heal to toe, at a fast, anxious pace. The man clears his throat and Kagome waits for him to say something. Maybe he’ll complement her dress, or thank her for Monday, but Kagome knows it’s much more likely that he’ll tell her she’s been acting like a frightened bitch. Just before the hanyou says what he was preparing to, the metal box of death jerks to a halt, lights flickering off. Suddenly, Kagome’s tears spill from her eyes and she is sobbing in the elevator. She wants to scream and bang her fists against the door, beg to be released from this trap. “Oh God,” she cries. Her hands raise from her sides and she covers her face with her palms. A hand touches her shoulders and Kagome screams before sinking to the floor and wrapping her arms tightly around her curled up knees.

            “Hey,” the hanyou – Inuyasha Sango and Miroku had called him – says calmly as he crouches down beside Kagome. “Everything is going to be just fine. You’re Kagome, right?” Kagome can’t force her mouth to open so she answers with a nod. The hanyou must have good night vision, because he saw her nod. “Good, I’m Inuyasha by the way,” he chuckles nervously. “I’m sorry about Monday. It shames me to admit, but I was pretty hungover and cranky about being caught off-guard by that yokai.” Kagome wants to tell Inuyasha that it is okay and that she forgives him about Monday, but she feels frozen. A few minutes pass before Inuyasha slids next to Kagome and wraps one arm around her shoulder while resting the hand of the other on her knee. “I wish you’d stop crying,” he murmurs into her ear.

            “I can’t stop,” Kagome admits with a shaky, tear warbled voice. Inuyasha sighs and pulls her close against his chest before he begins to rumble. It doesn’t quite sound like a growl and it reminds Kagome of when Buyo purrs in her sleep. Despite her tears, Kagome giggles.

            “What’s so funny?” Inuyasha asks, pleasing Kagome when she notices the teasing tone of his voice.

            “Nothing,” Kagome giggles as she shakes her head. “It’s just when you made that sound it reminded me of the sound my cat makes when she’s sleeping.”

            “Keh, compared to a cat. Just my luck,” Inuyasha taunts.

            “It’s nothing personal,” Kagome responds. She is relieved, yet surprised, that her fear has been calmed, ever so slightly. Her mother had sent her to psychologist appointments for months after discovering Kagome’s fear of elevators followed by her inevitable panic attack and fainting when confined to the small space for any length of time. Kagome’s psychologist hadn’t been able to help her at all, yet here she was – trapped in an elevator, her worst nightmare – and she was still conscious. There’s something about this bantering with Inuyasha that relaxes her. Plus, being cradled against his warm torso while he continues his half purr, half growl is more comforting than sitting around the fireplace with a cup of tea.

            ‘What the fuck was that?’ Inuyasha asks himself. ‘Since when do women take comfort from me?’ Even when Kikyo was playing her game with him, Inuyasha never felt as though she needed or wanted him around. Now to have Kagome clinging to his leather jacket – he can’t wear his fire rat robe all the time – like she never wants to let go, makes Inuyasha feel like he’s precious. Suddenly with his arms around Kagome and her head against his heart, Inuyasha is no longer a worthless hanyou. This is wrong, a hanyou shouldn’t be able to have this. Inuyasha tries to distance himself from Kagome only to be tugged back to her with strong, feminine hands. Even though he knows it won’t last, Inuyasha can’t help but feel as if he belongs, simply because Kagome wants him beside her. “So, you’re a miko,” Inuyasha utters. She nods her pretty, little head in the dark causing her hair to rub against his chin. “Why didn’t you become a priestess for a shrine? Why a doctor?”

            Kagome tightens her hold on his clothing and he has to strain his ears to hear her answer. “Well, I grew up in a shrine. And I loved it there, but at the same time it wasn’t everything.” Even though she can’t see him, Inuyasha finds himself nodding in agreement as Kagome speaks. “I wanted more out of my life. I just knew that if I went to school I could help people, make a difference. This must sound so silly to you – the dreams of a human girl.”

            “Keh!” Inuyasha huffs. “Well, I’m grateful for your dreams.” Inuyasha can practically see the shock roll off of her. Along with her surprised scent, Inuyasha is pretty insulted. Of course the reason she was probably so surprised had to do with his manners in the hospital, so maybe Inuyasha shouldn’t feel the slightest bit offended. “You’re a really good doctor, Kagome. I was an ass to you, but you treated me nicely anyway and you helped me get better.” Kagome releases a shuddering sigh.

            “Thank you, Inuyasha.” Although Kagome has relaxed some, her body is tense and a fresh wave of fear scent is released every time the elevator groans, but doesn’t move. The two fall silent as the minutes tick by. The only sounds in the small enclosed space are Kagome’s fast, shaky breaths and Inuyasha’s slow, calm ones. Suddenly the silence is interrupted by a shrill ring. Inuyasha seals his pointed dog ears against his head as Kagome shrieks into his chest. ‘Damn, she’s loud,’ Inuyasha thinks as he rubs one abused ear. “Oh,” Kagome whispers sheepishly. “It was my phone.” Kagome reaches into her small purse and finds her phone, silencing the high pitched tone with a press of a button.

            With shaking hands Kagome places the phone against her ear. Even with his ears held shut Inuyasha can still hear the worried voice of Sango on the other end of the phone. “Kagome, where are you? I heard the elevator had a malfunction and got stuck. Miroku and I decided to reschedule, so don’t bother heading over tonight.”

            “Keh,” Inuyasha mutters. “It’s a bit too late for that.” In the dark, Inuyasha can just barely make out the quirked eyebrow and bemused expression on Kagome’s face. Bet Kagome never expected his hearing was that good.

            “Actually, Sango, I got trapped in the elevator.”

            “Oh, fuck,” the pregnant woman exclaims. “Are you alright? I know how you feel about elevators. Maybe I’ll just stay on the phone with you until they get you out. This is absolute shit. I had a bad feeling about tonight and now this happens. My mother was right, I’m such a –”

            Inuyasha plucks the phone out of Kagome’s hand. “Sango, relax before that baby kicks its way out of you to slap your face for being an idiot. I’m in the elevator with Kagome and I promise I’ll take care of her.”

            “Inuyasha?” Sango’s confused voice asks uncertainly.

            “Keh, who else?” Inuyasha mutters. “Look just calm down and eat pregnant people food or something. All Sesshoumaru ever talks about anymore is Rin’s pregnancy, so even I know that stress isn’t good for the baby.”

            “Thanks, Inuyasha,” Sango says, obviously surprised. “That’s actually kind of sweet of you. And you’re right. I shouldn’t get all worked up over this, I’m sure that someone will get you guys out of there soon enough.”

            “Here,” Inuyasha murmurs as he places the phone back in Kagome’s hand.

            “Thank you,” she whispers. Inuyasha can’t stop the rush of contentment that washes over him.

            Inuyasha’s so distracted by the feeling of warmth in his chest that he doesn’t hear what Kagome and Sango talk about. In fact, Inuyasha doesn’t even notice when Kagome hangs up the phone, places it on the floor next to her bag, and tries to speak to him. “Inuyasha,” she says again, this time with a poke to his chest.

            “Hey, what was that for?” Inuyasha complains.

            Kagome sighs. “I was trying to ask you something.”

            “What?”

            “Never mind,” Kagome says sadly.

            “Keh, annoying wench,” Inuyasha hisses under his breath quietly. But evidently not quietly enough.

            “If we weren’t trapped in this box of death, dangling twenty stories in the air I would so use that subjugating curse I placed on you in the hospital,” Kagome grits between her teeth.

            Inuyasha inhales sharply. Despite Kagome’s intention to threaten him into submission with her miko powers, it has nearly the complete opposite effect. Inuyasha has to bite his lip to hold back the moan rumbling through his throat. ‘Damn,’ Inuyasha thought. ‘This woman is going to be the end of me.’ His erection throbbed heavily as he attempted to calm his breathing. “Look, Kagome, I’m sorry. Please tell me what you were going to say.”

            Kagome shoots a glare at Inuyasha. “When we met on Monday, you called me by someone else’s name.” Inuyasha gulps audibly, his nerves rising – his cock falling. “And I’ve been wondering… Inuyasha, who’s Kikyo?”

            Inuyasha rubs a clawed hand over his neck. “Kikyo, is … she’s just… a ghost. Someone from my past.” Kagome sighs unhappily, Inuyasha knows his answer didn’t satisfy her. “You just reminded me of her in some ways.” Kagome begins to smell disappointed. It mixes with her scent of fear to create a miserable cocktail that makes Inuyasha want to gag. “But Kagome, Kikyo doesn’t matter anymore. It was a long time ago and… and… she’s gone and you’re here.”

            “Inuyasha,” Kagome whispers, reaching a hand out to stroke his cheek. “Inuyasha, I –”

Whatever Kagome was about to say is cut off with a creak and a loud crack. Suddenly Kagome is shrieking and the elevator is plummeting. Inuyasha doesn’t have time to react before his yokai blood pulses. His vision clouds, his hearing is muffled, his sense of smell is diminished for a split second before his world explodes in a barrage of senses. His eyes become red with blue irises, purple marks slash across his cheeks, and his claws extend, sharpen into even deadlier points.

Inuyasha is no longer in control of himself. Because of this threat against his life, as well as the threat of his potential mate’s life, he transformed. No longer a hanyou, Inuyasha slashes through the ceiling of the falling elevator and snatches Kagome into his arms. Claws slice into blue cloth, drag over – but don’t damage – silky skin. Strong jean covered legs leap from the elevator, lifting their owner and their precious cargo.

Once out of the plunging elevator, Inuyasha grabs hold of the ledge of the fifth floor, hooking his claws in the cement for safety. Below him the elevator smashes into the ground – metal flying everywhere and broken lights and wires sparking. Beside him Kagome is sobbing, the scent of her salty tears – and bitter urine – bring Inuyasha back to awareness. Once again hanyou, Inuyasha pulls Kagome closer to his chest and whispers nonsense to her. “Shh, sweetheart, it’s okay. Everything is okay now. Hush.”

Of course that was a lie. It isn’t okay. Because shortly after the snap of the elevator cable Inuyasha heard something else. The unmistakable patter of footsteps rapidly pounding away from the sabotaged elevator. Someone had just tried to kill Kagome. Or more likely the target had been Inuyasha, and whoever it was didn’t mind spilling innocent human blood if it meant slaughtering a hanyou.

Chapter Text

 

          Kagome couldn’t focus. Her mind was spinning. She was faintly aware that someone was holding her, that her dress was wet, and that she was crying. “Shh, Kagome,” a masculine voice whispered. “I’ve got you. Everything is okay now.” ‘Who is that?’ Kagome thought. ‘He sounds familiar.’

          “Inu…Inuyasha?” Kagome asked, her voice quiet and hoarse from crying. Inuyasha simply shushed her. His hand runs down her hair, putting comforting pressure on the back of her head. Kagome whimpers when she is jostled gently. ‘Inuyasha must be walking,’ she thinks. Kagome opens her eyes and looks to the left to Inuyasha’s face. Kagome’s legs are wrapped around Inuyasha’s torso, her arms around his neck, and his hands supporting her back. They are walking. Inuyasha takes quick steps through the lobby of the apartment building. Although people are staring, it seems Inuyasha doesn’t even notice them. However, Kagome does notice all of the spectators, and can’t help but blush.

         “Kagome,” Inuyasha says, “Where do you want to go? Home? The hospital?” He looks down at her concerned.

        “Inuyasha?”

        “Hmm?”

        Kagome blushes, somewhat embarrassed because she already suspects the answer to her question. “Why am I wet?” Inuyasha stiffens and his step falters. Kagome flushes, because she is absolutely certain her prior assumption was correct. His mouth opens to answer, fangs flashing, then it is his turn to blush. “Did I…. I?” Kagome is too ashamed to finish, she closes her eyes in frustration. When she opens them again, Inuyasha is nodding to her unasked question. Kagome – horrified – tries to escape Inuyasha’s hold.

        “Hey, don’t go. Stay,” Inuyasha commands. “It’s fine, Kagome.” She breaks out in sobs. Kagome can’t help it. She can’t believe that Inuyasha, who was so rude to her on Monday, is now so accepting and sweet. ‘How could I have peed myself? Especially in front of him.’ “Oh God, Kagome, don’t cry,” he hushed. Inuyasha kicks open the glass doors to the apartment building. “Let me take care of you,” he says confidently, then with less muster, “Or I can take you home?”

         “NO!” Kagome shouts.  Then, after remembering where they are, lowers her voice to say, “Not home.” She can’t imagine what would happen if Inuyasha carried her home. Grandpa would demand for Inuyasha to release her and then fling purifying sutras at him. Her mother would fawn over Kagome and see her accident. Souta would be fascinated with Inuyasha, but eventually get distracted by Kagome’s soaked dress and he would no doubt tease her for months.

        “Okay, shhh,” Inuyasha murmurs, rubbing a soothing circle into her tense spine. “We can go to my house. No one will see. You can clean up, eat, sleep, and I’ll take you home whenever you want.” Kagome nods violently in agreement to his suggestion. “Okay, hold on,” Inuyasha says as he leaps, landing on a rooftop. Kagome lets out a short little yelp. If her bladder weren’t already empty, that would have caused some damage.

        Inuyasha brings Kagome back to his room through his balcony. He doesn’t want to risk running into Sesshoumaru or Rin so he leaps from the side of the property, onto his own private balcony and strides into his room thorough the always unlocked sliding door. After her initial fear of his roof running, she settled down and was actually asleep on his shoulder. ‘God, I almost lost Kagome today,’ Inuyasha thinks miserably. Now that she’s wrapped in his arms, Kagome’s heart-beat thumping against his own, Inuyasha can’t bear to imagine her not being there. He walks through his bedroom and into the attached bathroom. “Kagome?” Inuyasha shakes her a bit. She makes a sleepy sigh and something within Inuyasha clenches in a warm hug. “Hey, Kagome? We’re at my place.” Kagome yawns widely and rubs the sleep out of her eyes. Inuyasha smiles at her adorable, and frankly childlike and innocent actions.

       Kagome looks around herself in shock, taking in her new surroundings. “A bath!” she exclaims happily upon seeing the huge, unused, soaker tub in Inuyasha’s bathroom. Inuyasha bits his lip in attempt to hold back his chuckle. ‘She’s so fucking cute,’ he thinks.

       “Here,” Inuyasha says holding out a clean towel to Kagome and then leaves the room. “Give me your clothes and I’ll throw them into the wash,” Inuyasha shouts through the closed door. A minute later the door opens and Kagome sticks her arm out, holding her soiled clothing. “I’ll be right back.”

        Inuyasha leaves his room, jumps over the bannister separating the hallway and the three story foyer. He lands in the foyer of the first floor with a soft thump. Inuyasha lands beside a startled Rin and a stoic Sesshoumaru. Sessh eyes the blue bundle cradled against Inuyasha’s chest and snarls his lip at it in distaste. “What an interesting development, little brother.” Rin smacks her mate on the arm, her eyes burning with warning.

      “Keh, none of your business” Inuyasha mutters, his face pink with embarrassment. He then turns to his sister-in-law, completely ignoring the lordly yokai. “I saw my mate again.” Rin smiles at him encouragingly, nodding for him to continue. Inuyasha’s face turns dark and he growls low in his throat. Immediately Sesshoumaru shoulders Rin behind him and takes a defensive stance against his half-brother. “Don’t worry, Sessh, I’m more interested in fighting the person who tried to kill me and my mate earlier.”

     Sesshoumaru’s eyes widen in shock and Rin makes a startled gasp. “What?” Sessh hisses. In the yokai world mates are sacred. People who attack the mate of their adversary, instead of a head on fight, are disowned and often killed. Yokai culture is straightforward and such backhanded tactics are disgraceful and nearly unheard of.

    “Well, I assume I was the target and they weren’t bothered by the thought of human blood on their hands,” Inuyasha snarls through exposed teeth. Sesshoumaru casts worried eyes onto Rin. Rin’s own eyes are on her enlarged tummy, watching as her hand smooths circles over the unborn pup.

      “You’re not safe,” Sesshoumaru growls. She doesn’t react. “We have to stop this equality campaign – maybe even leave the country.” Her gentle hand motions continue. “Rin, acknowledge me,” he says in a threatening tone.

     Rin lifts her head, and her hard glare reaches Sesshoumaru’s fearful eyes. “No,” she mutters softly. Then she begins to hum a tune that Inuyasha doesn’t recognize – probably one of those American pop songs he cannot bear – and walks passed her shocked mate into the kitchen.

     Inuyasha follows her. “Rin, look.” She turns around to face Inuyasha. Below the hard, determined guise on her face, Inuyasha can tell she’s terrified. He forgets about his hastily thought out speech and drops the pile of sodden clothes to the floor. Within a split second, the strong woman is incased in Inuyasha’s arms and sobbing. ‘Who would have thought,’ Inuyasha ponders, ‘that I’d spend my Saturday night comforting bawling women?’

     After hearing his mate’s emotional breakdown and the alarming scent of her distress, Sesshoumaru snatches Rin from Inuyasha’s grasp and – with the extremely fast speed of a yokai – takes her away to their bedroom. With an annoyed sigh, Inuyasha scoops up Kagome’s dress and underwear and throws them into the washing machine with soap and fabric softener.

     He then returns to his room and selects a pair of drawstring shorts and his smallest t-shirt for Kagome to wear. Although he is on his bed, yards away from the bathroom, Inuyasha is intoxicated by the warm, sugary scent of happy Kagome. Inuyasha knows, that even if they had been separated for weeks, and it had rained, he would still be able to find her from scent alone. His yokai would never allow him to forget the aroma of cherry blossoms, medical antiseptic, and grapefruit. That strange perfume that could only be described with one word – mate. “My mate,” Inuyasha murmurs, testing the words on his lips.

      ‘What would it be like to say those words to Kagome?’ he wonders. Warmth fills Inuyasha’s chest. Perhaps he’d be bursting with happiness, or maybe pride. “Peace,” Inuyasha decides aloud, “It would feel like peace.” Inuyasha strokes the clothes he has folded on his lap – clothes that would soon be on his mate. Inuyasha supposes he could have simply asked Rin for a pair of her pre-pregnancy pajamas to give Kagome, but he’s too thrilled with the idea of her wearing his clothes. He smiles joyfully. “What is mine is also my mates,” Inuyasha decides, his yokai agrees with a content rumble from deep within his chest.

     “Inuyasha,” Kagome calls from inside the bathroom. ‘Oh God,’ Inuyasha moans internally. ‘What if someday I’m more than just Inuyasha to her? What would it be like for her to call me mate?’ Inuyasha snarls against the instant erection that begins to throb against the zipper of his jeans. Not for the first time since he met Kagome did Inuyasha wish he could find a pair of underwear that he could wear comfortably without wanting to burn them. “Do you have anything for me to wear?” Kagome asks.

      “Here,” Inuyasha says cracking open the door and sticking the bundle of clothes through to her. He presses his dick hard against the doorframe and bites his lip with extended fangs. The scent of Kagome’s earlier fear has been completely washed away. All that remains is the heady scent of comfortable, pleased mate that Inuyasha’s body screams at him to turn into the scent of sweaty, sexed-up, and utterly satisfied mate. Kagome takes the clothes, blushing furiously, no doubt after realizing that they are well worn and masculine. Inuyasha can’t help it. He releases a prideful, half-yokai, possessive rumble. Inuyasha doesn’t even care – or notice – when Kagome flushes red and slams the bathroom door shut.

      ‘Oh God,’ Kagome thinks, ‘He looked like he would love to eat me alive… starting at my lips… those lips.’ Her insides warm and the more she thinks about his witty tongue doing oral acrobats the more Kagome wants. Although she knows it’s wanton and loose of her, she can’t help but drip at the thought of those canine fangs gliding across her flesh. Kagome’s hand reached out and cupped one pebbled breast. It wasn’t her fingers plucking at her nipple – it was Inuyasha’s teeth. The smooth warmth gliding beneath Kagome’s boob wasn’t her own palm, but Inuyasha’s long, white hair. She drops the clothes Inuyasha had just handed her and parts her pulsing flesh with her right index finger. “Inuyasha,” Kagome moans.

      There’s a thump on the outside of the door followed by a groan. “Kagome, baby.” There’s another thump and the door rocks against the frame. It continues in a steady motion, back and forth, in and out. Kagome matches the time of Inuyasha’s humping with the speed of her thrusting. Every time Inuyasha moans Kagome rewards herself with a tight circle around her clit. Part of her is shocked that she has the audacity to pleasure herself in someone else’s home. Part of her is amazed that she enjoys the sound of Inuyasha’s pleasure so much. Part of her is astonished that she is an unlocked door away from a sexy, stubborn, caring, adorable, horny hanyou – in the throes of passion no less – yet neither of them has opened said door.

       Without a second thought, Kagome pulls her fingers out of her body and away from her tit and approaches the door. The rocking motion pauses. ‘He must hear my steps,’ Kagome thinks excitedly. ‘Or he is just really quiet when he comes,’ her second thought is so disappointing, Kagome can’t bear to consider it further. She rips open the bathroom door, completely naked – completely aroused. On the other side of the door frame, Inuyasha is panting, his eyes roaming. It might just be the light, but to Kagome, his eyes seem less golden and more red in color. She doesn’t have any more time to think about it because Inuyasha grabs her and smashes their lips together. “Kagome,” he moans into her mouth.

Chapter Text

           Rin turned to Sesshoumaru, trying to look brave and strong, but knowing that there was a trail of snot slowly dripping down to her mouth.  Her mate shut the door to their bedroom after jumping through the doorway from the foyer in a single, blurry leap.  Sessh then let her slid down his body onto their bed where she sat and rested her burning eyes on her crossed arms.  A gentle hand took hold of her chin.  “Love,” Rin lifted her head to meet Sesshoumaru’s eyes.  They were wide, confused, and mostly worried.  But those eyes, those golden eyes were the exact reason Rin had cried in the first place.  Inuyasha had been so forlorn, terrified below his anger.  “Rin, baby.” A long cool thumb rubbed across her check, carefully rubbing away pained tears.  This was a side of Sesshoumaru Rin rarely ever saw.  He was devoting his entire attention to her needs and for once Rin was grateful for it instead of annoyed by it.  

            “Sessh,” she murmured below throwing her arms around his neck and burying her face against his broad, suit covered chest.  More tears flowed as she wondered if her own child would have those eyes.  Those eyes that were filled with despair, gold in color or otherwise.  The pup growing within her was hanyou.  And as she had been learning ever since she first met Inuyasha, the fate of a hanyou was a lonely one.  “I’m scared.”

            Sesshoumaru’s muscular arms circled Rin’s back.  “Shhhh,” his head came to rest on top of hers.  “I know, Rin.” 

            “Was Inuyasha always like this?”

            “Like what?”

            Rin paused for a moment trying to find the words that described Inuyasha.  “Isolated… terrified of being close, but afraid of being alone.”  A gloomy expression passed across her mate’s face.  “What?” Rin asked, now more curious than upset.

            Sesshoumaru turns his face away from Rin, refusing to meet her glaze.  She cautiously placed her palm against his cheek in a silent request for more information.  “I suppose he was.”

            Rin quirks an eyebrow.  “What does that mean?”

            Sessh shrugs.  “Rin, it’s difficult to explain.”

            Suddenly Rin cannot control her emotions.  She found that ever since her pregnancy Sesshoumaru’s calculated, political answers piss her off.  “Oh, really it’s difficult Sesshoumaru?” Rin can’t help it, she starts to scream.  She jumps to her feet, fists balled.  “After all this time, after everything we’ve been through together, just talk to me.  Put one word next to another and speak to me!”  Sessshoumaru rises to his feet, anger radiates off of him in waves.

            “Are you challenging me, Rin?”  His eyes become darker, his yokai blood making him more feral, ready for an attack.  Sesshoumaru’s lips curl back, his fangs are extended, bared against her.  Rin’s eyes widen in shock.  Never before had Sesshoumaru used those fangs against her.  Sessh had only ever used them to protect her, or to pleasure her.  Sesshoumaru takes a step closer to Rin, snarling and raising a single poison claw. 

            “Sessh… Sessh, n-n-no,” Rin mutters her voice shaking along with her knees.  She hadn’t feared her mate, not ever.  Yet right now Rin was absolutely terrified.  Afraid of the person she’d tied her life to, the man that she’d promised to love no matter what.  He didn’t stop.  Sessh took another step closer to his wife and Rin scrambled away from him.  “P-pp-please, come back to me.”  With tear warped vision, Rin watches as Sesshoumaru’s glowing green claw tracks through the air, a whip of poison trailing in its wake.  She closes her eyes, waiting for whatever might happen as tears fall from her shut eyelids. 

            Behind a trembling Rin, the bed snaps into two.  Still seething with anger, yet no longer feral with yokai blood, Sesshoumaru yells, “Can’t you leave good enough alone, Rin!”  She bursts into sobs again.

            “No!  I can’t.  Whatever has happened to Inuyasha is what might happen to my baby, doesn’t that give me the right to know?” she sobs.  “Doesn’t it?”  Sessh turns away from Rin and huffs a very Inuyasha-like “Keh.”  ‘Sesshoumaru is hiding something from me, that’s why he’s become so defensive,’ Rin thinks.

            “It isn’t my right to tell you, Rin,” Sesshoumaru’s voice is soft now, and even… ashamed?  “Those are things that I feel belong to Inuyasha and he is the one who you should ask.”  Rin opens her mouth to respond, but Sesshoumaru continues to speak.  “However there are things that I could share with you…”

            “But?” Rin asks sensing there is more Sessh wants to say.

            “But,” Sesshoumaru nods his head in agreement, “Before I met you, there were things that I wasn’t proud of.  Things I did… and more often than not, things I didn’t do when I should of.” 

            Rin isn’t surprised.  The way Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru act around each other and the tension that radiates of the two of them made her suspect that had happened.  “You told me, when we mated that you changed.  That ever since you met me your entire world changed,” Rin says softly as she sits back down on the ruined bed.

            Sessh nods his head solemnly.  He plays with a lock of silver-white hair, looking down at the neatly curved ends.  Rin would smile at his child-like motions if the situation wasn’t so serious.  “I … I never really had a relationship with my parents.”

            Rin frowns.  “I don’t understand.”

            “My mother and father were both un-mated and quite old, even for yokai.  They were friends so they decided that they would have a child together.”  Sesshoumaru glances up at Rin, waiting for a reaction, fearing the worst.  Rin smiles and pats a section of the bed that isn’t crushed in a silent offer to sit.  Sessh seats himself on the bed and crawls over to rest his head on Rin’s lap. 

            “I know your father found Inuyasha’s mother and mated her.  Did your mother ever take a mate?”  Rin asks tenderly dragging her fingers through his long hair. 

            Sesshoumaru nods his head.  “Fourteen years after my birth.”

            “Then you were still quite young,” Rin murmurs.  “Is Inuyasha your only sibling?”

            “No,” he whispers.  “A year later she had another child.  On my mother’s side I have seven half-siblings.”

            “Are they hanyou or yokai?” she asks.

            “Yokai.”

            “Why haven’t I met them?  They must still be alive.”

            Sesshoumaru stiffens on her lap.  “After she mated, my mother sent me off to my father.  She didn’t want me anymore.”  He shrugs, “Why keep a bastard child when you can have your mate’s children?”

            Rin breathes in harshly.  “And your father?” she asks, her voice is strained, angry.

            “Father hadn’t met Izayoi yet, and I traveled with him for nearly three hundred years.   Then he met his mate and he offered to let me stay, begged me even.”

            “Did you stay?” Rin asked, tracing his pointed ears with gentle fingers.

            “No.”  He tries to pull away from Rin, but she drags his head back into his lap by his hair and presses the side of his face against her belly to let him listen to the pup’s heartbeat.  “I was… Rin, it was a long time ago.”

            “Please,” Rin begs.  “It’s time, Sesshoumaru.”

            He nods.  “I refused to stay because I thought a real yokai wouldn’t mate a human.  That what he was doing was wrong, disgusting even.”  Rin is fuming now.  How many times had she cried because a human or yokai had called her relationship evil or unnatural?  Now learning that Sesshoumaru used to do the same felt like a betrayal.  ‘How could he have done that to his own father?”  Rin draws her hands away from Sesshoumaru and shifts to put distance between her and Sesshoumaru

            He makes a grab for her hands, but the warning in Rin’s eyes ward Sessh off.  “Rin, I know it was wrong now, but at that time I was arrogant.  I left and I didn’t come back.”  He closed his eyes in shame.  “My father wanted me to stay.  Pleaded me to meet his family, to help him protect what he valued most.  Me and my brother, and Izayoi.”

             Rin pushed Sesshoumaru’s head from her lap.  Ignoring his reaching hands, she stands stiffly and strides to the door.  “And then what?”

           Sessh’s eyes are pleading, “And then my father died, because of me.  My father asked me to return and help him battle a powerful enemy – Ryukotsusei – who was threatening his mate and Inuyasha, but I didn’t.  And he died.”  Rin feels the bile rising in her throat, as her stomach flips over itself.  The man who caressed her and loved her was cold hearted, and had abandoned his family.  Yokai nature is nurturing, and fiercely protective.  Sesshoumaru had gone against his ingrained instincts because of his foolish hatred.

            Rin clears her throat.  “Izayoi and Inuyasha?”

            He shakes his head.  “I’m not sure.  Inuyasha was young, and with my father dead Izayoi began to age again.  She died about fifteen years later.  I didn’t even meet Inuyasha for decades afterward.”

            Rin is on the brink of tears.  Imagining Inuyasha young and afraid, living in a world he didn’t belong in with only his weakening, ageing mother to love and protect him.  ‘After she died Inuyasha must have been so lost, so terrified,’ Rin thinks.  She glances over to Sesshoumaru, and despite the grave expression on his normally stoic face, Rin can’t process all of this right now.  “I’m going to bed now.  I’ll sleep in the blue spare room, and you can go anywhere else.”  Rin opens the door and leaves the bedroom completely disregarding Sesshoumaru’s dropped jaw and widened eyes.

        “But…” Sesshoumaru starts to protest when the door slams in his face.

Chapter Text

            Inuyasha didn’t know where to look, couldn’t decide where to touch, and wasn’t sure how much longer he could control his instincts. Everything was new, his mouth was on a woman’s mouth. And not just any woman’s mouth, his woman’s. “Kagome,” he moaned against her lips. ‘Fuck,’ Inuyasha thought. ‘What if I disappoint her? Hell, I’m just a virgin.’ He knew he should stop. She was in shock, she’d almost died and this wasn’t the time to have sex. Inuyasha knew he might accidently mate her and that wouldn’t be romantic or special like it should. Kagome didn’t deserve to have a surprise mate. He needed the time to explain how he felt about her. Inuyasha wanted to stop, wanted to explain, but he couldn’t. It was an impossible task to separate his mouth from hers to even breathe, to speak was another level completely.

            Kagome’s hands snatched at his shirt. Her long, pink nailed fingers slid beneath the hem of his soft shirt and flattened against his erect nipples. “Shit,” he groaned. And Kagome, that siren, chuckled – laughed at the misery she had caused. Inuyasha was going to rip the zipper from his pants just to get some relief for his dick. His own hands mirrored Kagome’s and they rose from her hips to cup her round breasts. Kagome’s nipples were like pins pricking into his palms and he got a sudden urge to pierce her back. His mouth pulled away from hers to bite at those big, swollen lips. Inuyasha’s fangs scratched at her pink mouth.

            Inuyasha couldn’t hold back a triumphant smile when Kagome groaned out a needy, “Please.” He had never felt like this before. Every inch of his skin was alert. Inuyasha’s arms sported goosebumps, his hands were trembling against her fucking beautiful boobs, and damn, he couldn’t stop rutting his groin into Kagome’s leg. “Inuyasha,” Kagome begged while lifting the edge of his shirt and tugging it over his head. Inuyasha threw the shirt against the wall and returned his greedy hands to her back. His fangs found Kagome’s neck and delivered little bites to the flawless, sweet-scented skin as Inuyasha’s fingers explored downward. His claws reached her butt and curved around the firm flesh, scratching lightly. “Fuck,” she muttered and her hands made contact with his chest and shoved him hard onto the bed.

            Inuyasha landed with a soft thud and echoed the sound with a gentle growl. Kagome climbed on top of Inuyasha and straddled his waist, settling her naked crotch on top of his denim trapped erection. She began to rock into his dick and it was as if he’d been lit on fire. ‘God,’ Inuyasha thought, ‘I’ve never been this close to a woman – hell, I’ve never been this close to anyone.’ In a single movement, Inuyasha rotated his hips and threw Kagome onto the bed and shifted her beneath him. “My mate,” he rumbled completely pleased. Inuyasha is blissfully happy, well, he was until the warm pliant body underneath his tightened up like a rock. He pulled back from his mate. “Kagome?” he asked, his confusion was evident within his voice.

            Once again her hands met his chest and shoved. Yet this time it wasn’t a gentle push to lead him to the bed. “What did you say?” Kagome asks and Inuyasha freezes. He searches his mind for words. ‘What the fuck did you say that for, baka?’ he thinks.

            “Kagome, look –” Inuyasha starts to explain, but pauses in surprise as a heartwarming moan rumbles through Kagome’s exposed throat. Suddenly, Kagome crawls up Inuyasha’s body to straddle his panting chest. “Fuck,” he can’t help but mutter as her wet center lands on his sternum. Strong, sure hands dig through Inuyasha’s silver locks, curling into a tight fist behind sensitized dog demon ears, pulling a moan from the hanyou. “Mate,” he calls out his chest vibrating with the intensity of his want.

            “Yours,” Kagome confirmed grinding down on her lover, soft thighs rubbing over erect male nipples. She lifted his face to hers, her body sliding far down to his hips, and in a single possessive swipe licked from his mouth to the hollow of his throat.

            “But don’t you dare forget you’re mine, Inuyasha,” she commanded before exposing her blunt human teeth to his dense half-yokai skin. Inuyasha was shocked. This woman, this miko, would accept his claim – fuck, more than accept it – return the very thing Kikyo had scorned all those years ago. Instincts rising within him, Inuyasha grabbed Kagome by the waist and tossed her under him as he settled between her thighs. His teeth, painful and extended – craving his mate – found Kagome’s ear.

            “You would take me?” Inuyasha hissed. Her dark head nodded franticly. “You would accept my love? Treasure my passion? Welcome me to your bed?” he murmered into her neck behind her ear. She moaned in answer and pulled him closer by the scruff of his neck. “Do you understand what you’re saying, little miko?”

            “For fuck’s sake, Inuyasha, I treat yokai and humans and hanyous every day. Yes, I know,” Kagome gasped. Inuyasha glanced down at her with uncertain eyes. “Please, Inuyasha. Want your mark, wish I could mark you. I’d call you mine, have our children, stop craving and start having you.” When Inuyasha huffed in disbelief, her eyes narrowed. “Ever since I met about you, on that horrible no good day, the thought of you made me feel…” she paused, “alive.”

          “Kagome,” he purred. “God, Kagome, you don’t know how I feel. I can’t stop thinking about you, wanting you. I came in my sleep like a pubescent human, my body can’t handle it.” Inuyasha pauses before continuing, watching Kagome’s eyes for the flash of shame to have such a weak mate, but finds only understanding. “And yet, the thought of you makes my yokai calm like it’s never been before.”

         Kagome takes Inuyasha’s right hand from where its claw deep in the matress, leading it down to her pulsing clit. “I placed my vibrator right here while I had two fingers inside me pretending it was you making me come.”

        “Keh,” Inuyasha mummers about to turn his head away from her expressive eyes when he reads the truth in her expression. Overcoming the shock, his curiosity surfaces. “What did you dream, wench?” She nearly purrs at the rough language. “Did you imagine my tongue circling this pretty little nub?” Inuyasha hums as his claws flick her clitoris. “Or maybe, my dick was up in here while my fingers played?” Two fingers pump within Kagome and Inuyasha drowns out her moan with his own.

     “Please, Inuyasha,” Kagome pants, pupils wide with desire. Her hand snakes between their bodies and snatches onto his metal zipper dragging it down and pulling out his suffering dick. “I need you inside. I need you to claim me.” Inuyasha shakes his head no.  She strokes him in a tight fist her eyes searching his, almost begging.  “Yes,” she mutters fiercely. “I deserve it. Ever since you left my sight Monday I’ve been going crazy. Give me you, Inuyasha.  Don't we deserve to be happy, my mate?”

        With a roar, possessive and wholly yokai, Inuyasha yanks out his fingers and thrusts a completely different part of himself into Kagome’s body. His body beats out a harsh rhythm and, in no time at all, Kagome begins to crumble.

       “Oh, God,” Kagome whimpered, “Fuck, Inuyasha.” Her body was still trembling from that orgasm, yet Inuyasha showed no sign of slowing down. He grunted and pumped and clawed at the sweaty hair coating her back while his mouth nibbled along her collar bone. His jeans scrapped his knees as he used his full weight and momentum to pound into Kagome.  The stitching at his ass began to pull apart, threatened to rip.  Inuyasha's yokai looked close to the surface, Kagome could have sworn that his claws were sharper than earlier and that there was just the faintest smear of purple on his cheeks.

       “Kagome,” he growled into her neck. “Want to bite… need to mark.” His teeth latched onto her skin and pressed firmly. Kagome prepared herself for his bite, for the pain, and the pleasure too. To her disappointment Inuyasha’s teeth loosened. “Tell, me to stop, wench. Tell me you don’t want this.”

        Kagome lifted her mouth to Inuyasha’s pulse point. “Want it,” she panted. “Want your claim.” Inuyasha roared deep in his throat and returned razor sharp teeth to delicate flesh. As Inuyasha began to bite, he jumped in surprise as Kagome’s fragile, human teeth tore into his skin, setting off his orgasm. Still coming, Inuyasha plunged his teeth into his mate. His brave mate who argued with him, and fought for their bond. Kagome was strong enough to challenge his stupidity, something Inuyasha hadn’t realized he needed until now. His yokai calmed, as the mating bite took and he bonded himself to Kagome. ‘Good,’ the beast whispered as the loneliness within the hanyou’s soul was filled by everything purely Kagome.

Chapter Text

Sesshoumaru was in hell. It was the only reasonable explanation. Where else could he be when Rin kicked him out of their room while Inuyasha got laid? He couldn’t process it. Never before had Rin denied him and … and part of him was proud of her. Of course the other, larger, part of Sesshoumaru was pissed off. “My fucking mate tells me to find somewhere else to sleep,” the irritated yokai hissed. Pacing across the room and digging his claws into the palm of his hand, Sesshoumaru fought off the urge to rush “Shit, my brother’s getting more action than me and he’s a fucking virgin,” Sesshoumaru muttered to himself.

Sesshoumaru glanced down at the shattered bed. His poison was still burning up the wooden frame and hand dyed duvet, some had even seeped into the mattress itself leaving a gaping hole with charred edges. ‘Stubborn woman,’ Sessh thought. ‘Of course I would go off and bind my soul to a woman with as much bite as affection.’ He sat gingerly on an unscathed portion of the bed with a groan as his new position brought him eyelevel with the pictures covering the clothing chest. In the center stood an elegantly carved wooden frame, an engagement gift from Inuyasha. The picture was old now. It must have been more than sixty years ago, yet it seemed like only yesterday. The yokai stared at the image of a younger him and a newly engaged Rin. Her dress, Sesshoumaru could still remember the exact shade of blue and the way the fabric dragged across Rin’s skin when he took it off her, flowing around her as he spun her in a field of wildflowers. “Oh, Rin,” Sesshoumaru muttered as he lifted the frame. He was so caught up in the memory of Rin’s easy laughter as he had twisted his love around until up was down and left was right, Sessh failed to notice the clear thin fish line holding the beloved photo to the chest.

However, the inuyokai did hear the small click of the bomb’s ignition switch and he had just enough time to be thankful that the blue bedroom, which currently occupied Rin, was on the other side of the house far away from their bedroom.

Kagome wasn’t exactly the most coherent person when she first woke up, but she was certain that the room hadn’t been this hot when she fell asleep and that earlier there wasn’t smoke crowding the air making it difficult to breath. But Kagome was most certain that her newly bonded mate most definitely shouldn’t be screaming at her with red in his eyes, purple on his cheeks, and panic in his voice all while rushing to dress himself in the traditional Japanese clothing she had first met him in. Kagome still wasn’t entirely awake when Inuyasha pulled her naked from the bed, tied the top layer of his outfit around her, and yanked her from the room nearly crashing directly into someone.

“Rin!” Inuyasha exclaimed clearly relieved. “Are you alright? That explosion sounded like it was coming from your room?” The woman, Inuyasha had called her Rin, desperately shook her head with tears in her eyes and abandoned clutching her midsection to grab Inuyasha’s arm with both hands, knuckles white with pressure.

Kagome gasped with surprise, she was pregnant. Like someone flicking a light switch, Kagome forgot her drowsiness and began to assess the woman looking for any wounds – for fuck’s sake the house was on fire and she was just standing there. “Inuyasha, I’m fine I wasn’t in the bedroom, but Sesshoumaru… Sesshoumaru was,” Rin wailed through tears. Stiffening with either concern or fear, Kagome couldn’t tell but she suspected both, Inuyasha turned to her, eyes wide and feral.

Pushing the pregnant woman forward into Kagome he rushed toward the opposite side of the house yelling behind him, “Get out of here and get one of the cars ready!” Without further hesitation Kagome linked hands with the woman and together they raced down the stairs. On the way out the door the other woman grabbed something off of a little table, keys Kagome belatedly realized. Upon exiting the house Kagome was led away from the fire to an SUV. The top of the line model contained something the woman desperately pushed after turning on the vehicle.

Immediately a voice responded over the car’s audio system. “Tokyo Emergency response, please state your emergency.”

“This is Rin Inu-taisho and I’ve just been attacked. My house has been bombed,” she said in a controlled voice even though when her eyes met Kagome’s they were swimming with panic.

Chapter Text

         It was everywhere. Inuyasha couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe, and worst of all, couldn’t smell fucking anything. He couldn’t smell his feet burning on the smoldering wood, his pants singeing, or any blood. The only fucking thing he could smell was ash. It covered the floors, the walls, and even the goddamned air. The smoke was a deadly thick miasma clawing its way down Inuyasha’s throat and blinding his eyes. ‘How in the hell was he supposed to find Sesshoumaru in this shit?’ Inuyasha thought to himself. He certainly couldn’t sniff his older brother out when everything just smelled like burnt. “Sesshoumaru!!!” Inuyasha yelled, desperate to escape the crumbling mansion before it collapsed completely. A part of Inuyasha, the purely instinctual and animalistic part of Inuyasha, wanted to flee the house immediately without even trying to find Sesshoumaru. But the bigger part, the ‘human’ part as Sesshoumaru used to call it before he met Rin, couldn’t. Sure, Sesshoumaru was a bastard. He was cruel and mean and would torture a younger Inuyasha with taunts, yet beneath all that… Sesshoumaru had saved his life. At some level Sesshoumaru must have cared, because… he didn’t have to save him – especially after Inuyasha had took Sesshoumaru’s arm from him.
Inuyasha had lived in Sessh’s home for centuries. Taken his food, used his shelter, and depended on his protection, like a father – perhaps like their father would have had he lived. Even if Sesshoumaru only cared for him out of a false sense of responsibility, Inu-yokai’s protected their packs and humans protected their families. Neither half of Inuyasha, yokai or human, wanted to abandon his brother, the loss would be too great.
       Fighting against his base instincts, Inuyasha pushed forward into the smog and braced his shoulder against a collapsed wall blocking Sesshoumaru’s and Rin’s bedroom. The plaster and burning wood broke under the pressure and Inuyasha entered the bedroom. Chaos. Inuyasha had experienced quite a bit in his lifetime, yet he never saw anything like this. Rin had carefully designed this house with an architect. Each room specifically designed for her life with Sesshoumaru and the furniture was selected even more carefully. To see the room in such disarray with the fire eating through the walls, the furniture overturned and shattered across the room. Inuyasha’s eyes quickly panned over the sitting area before moving further into the room to look for Sesshoumaru. He scanned over the hole in the wall – burnt completely through the plaster and exterior wall – before searching by the futon. The debris from the explosion encased the small area of floor before the futon but under the stacked trash there was a flash of silver. Sesshoumaru’s hair was almost grey with ash instead of the white silver Inuyasha was accustomed to seeing.
      Inuyasha slowly approached the area, aware of the floor’s increasingly loud groans of protest. Panic quickly invaded Inuyasha as his careful steps closer to his brother also brought him closer to the smell of blood – Sesshoumaru’s blood. When Inuyasha was finally – finally – in arms reach of Sesshoumaru he whipped Sesshoumaru up into his arms. The sudden shift of weight was followed by a frightening snap. Without another second of hesitation Inuyasha sent the combined mass of his body and Sesshoumaru’s hurdling out of the gaping hole in the wall into the heavily forested area behind the house. Behind their flying bodies the house plummeted down in a series of breaking glass and squealing metal.
                                                                                                                           
     'He’s gone,' Kagome’s mind whispered gloomily. Kagome’s mourning thoughts were echoed by a heart wrenching sob from the other side of the car before Rin threw open her door and began running toward the destroyed mansion. Feeling lost, Kagome opened her own door and followed after the other mourning woman. Although she could feel the tears pooling beneath her eyes, they wouldn’t fall and Kagome found herself wishing they would. She couldn’t believe that her emotions and her body could be so different. Inside, she felt as emotionally compromised as the crumbled structure of Inuyasha’s family home, yet outside there were no tears or wails, both of which Rin was doing.
Kagome slowly approached her and kneeled beside where the woman had collapsed and begun to cry rocking her pregnant belly back and forth. “Oh, Rin,” Kagome murmured before grasping Rin’s shoulders and dragging her face up to the crook of her own neck. Kagome did her best to comfort the distraught woman even though Kagome was convinced she would be sobbing as soon as the shock wore off.
     “Sesshoumaru,” Rin whispered, her voice so small and full of cracks. The utter despair is what pushed Kagome over the edge and suddenly the tears that refused to fall earlier were pouring out. “Inuyasha,” Rin continued and Kagome couldn’t stop the pained howl that escaped her lips. It wasn’t fair. She had just found him and fuck whoever thought they could take her from her. After gently repositioning Rin, Kagome jumped to her feet and advanced the smoldering mass of house.
“Inuyasha!” she screamed through her hoarse, tear strained throat. The only answer was her own voice echoing through the shadowed forest. “Inuyasha, you bastard, answer me!” Rin’s hand landed on her shoulder in attempt to pull her back away from the flame incased structure, but Kagome only shook off her hand. “That’s it,” Kagome warned, her voice cracking heavily between the two words. “Inuyasha, OSUWARI!”
      A split second later a loud thump came from the forest followed by heavy swearing. Relieved tears flooded Kagome as she ran around the destroyed mansion and toward the cursing. Kagome felt like laughing, Inuyasha was alive. She could see his form in the shadows. And he was carrying something – not something, she realized, someone. Inuyasha had saved Sesshoumaru. Kagome whipped around and connected her eyes with Rin’s. Together the two women charged their mates landing all four of them in the dirt. “Oi, wench, what’s the matter with you?” he glared at Kagome. Kagome couldn’t help the smile that escaped her. He was fine, he was really alright. “I’m serious bitch, I just saved Sesshoumaru and you try to bury him with your weird miko shit,” beneath his teasing anger Kagome heard the real panic.
“Oh, Inuyasha,” Kagome whispered before kissing his cheek in apology and turning to the hanyou’s brother. Rin had pulled her husband’s head into her lap and traced his face around the bits of metal and wood shrapnel dotting his face. The woman was moving her lips in soft prayer as she cared for her injured mate. “Inuyasha, carry him out front so we can get Sesshoumaru into the ambulance as soon as possible.” Inuyasha nodded firmly and seemed relieved that Kagome had taken charge.
      Minutes later the sound of sirens became increasingly louder until several police cars, two fire trucks, and an ambulance screeched to a halt in front of the Inu-Taisho residence. Police began shouting orders and hunting down the neighbors to interrogate. Fire fighters began attaching hoses to the water supply and blasting the house with pressurized water. The paramedics, however, were not doing their jobs with calm efficiency – well, one paramedic didn’t, the other did his job unloading the gurney fairly quickly. “What the fuck, Kagome?” Kouga screamed.
      “Kouga, I really don’t have time for this,” she pulled down the collar of her shirt – well actually it was Inuyasha’s top robe, and said, “I’m mated and this man could really use some medical attention.”
      Kagome walked passed a stunned Kouga and riffled through the back of the ambulance to find the first aid kit. A trembling hand grasped her elbow as she turned around to bring the kit back to Sesshoumaru and Ginta, who had lifted the injured yokai up onto the gurney while Rin hovered around her mate nervouly. “Don’t you remember, Kagome?” Kouga’s breath hissed against her ear, “You and I belong together. You’re my woman!” On the last word Kouga’s grip on her arm tightened sharply drawing a yelp out Kagome. Instantly Kagome was released from the crushing grip and Kouga was shoved roughly against the ambulance, embedding the wolf yokai into the metal frame. Holding Kouga by the throat, Inuyasha growled menacingly.
      “Don’t touch my mate,” Inuyasha hissed before stepping back and throwing Kouga onto the ground. With a gentle hand, exerting one one-thousandth of the force he had just used on Kouga, Inuyasha led Kagome back to Sesshoumaru and Rin. “I don’t like that dip-shit,” Inuyasha complained to Kagome.
       “Trust me, Inuyasha, I don’t like him either.” Kagome smiled softly when she felt the soft press of Inuyasha’s lips on the top of her head. “Good,” her mate whispered contently, drawing Kagome closer against his blood smeared, ash coated side. Kagome was too happy to be next to him that she didn't fight his grip in attempt to escape the grime enveloping her mate. "Oh, Inuyasha, what am I going to do with you?" she murmured happily.

Chapter Text

        Sesshoumaru was in a bubble.  A cloudy, murky, bubble of confusion.  It was too loud and barely audible at the same time.  Bright and dark, colored and black and white, smooth and rocky, right and wrong, weighted and weightless.  It was everything, all at once.  Everything except for clear, that is, because whatever Sessh was experiencing he was completely confused as to why and how and where.  

         The last thing Sesshoumaru expected, however, when the veil of confusion was lifted, was to wake to the sensation of a slick tongue roughly scraping over a scab on his cheek.

        "Inuyasha," his unused voice was scratchy and weak, yet somehow retained it's authority.  The tongue retracted itself in a split instant and the body beside him stiffened like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  

        "Sesshoumaru," his brother's voice mirrored the embarrassment written on his flushed cheeks and bouncing eyeballs.  Inuyasha's hands were twisted in knots and his weight shifted constantly from his heels to his toes.  

        "Stop fidgeting," Sessh commanded with an eyeroll. Sesshoumaru was too proud to give into the wince of pain the action demanded. His half brother's eyes shot to his and actually focused instead of shifting restlessly in their sockets.  

        "Keh," Inuyasha growled and continued his ridiculous movements.  "You can't tell me what to do," the hanyou added moments later - almost as if it were an afterthought.  

         Despite his best attempts to keep his face reserved and stoic, a nasty habit he learned from his mother - or at least that's what his father use to say - Sesshoumaru’s muscles contracted and he smiled.  'Inuyasha cared,' the thought brought something warm and gooey up to the surface of his chest, swirling around his heart - utterly disgusting. Ever since he met Rin he'd been exposed to more and more of these ... emotions.  Now that his mate was pregnant, he had become even more aware of them just in attempt to avoid angering his spitfire wife.  Currently, the emotion he was staring down the barrel of the gun at was guilt and its sibling acceptance.  By the late yokai spirits' blessings, he hadn't messed up their relationship as badly as he'd originally feared.  

         The inu act of licking a pack members wounds to heal them is reserved for only the most loved and valued in the pack - close siblings and mates.  Inuyasha had saved his life.  Sesshoumaru knew that without being told.  Through a t-shirt that was too small and hospital donated (if the Helping Hands logo adorning the front was anything to go by), Sesshoumaru could make out a tightly wrapped bandage around Inuyasha's midsection.  Very gently, but not at all slowly, Sesshoumaru slashed open Inuyasha's shirt and tore the bandage in two.  

           A jagged stitch adorned the hanyou's side.  "What did you do?" Sesshoumaru snorted.  "Throw yourself under a hacksaw?"  Sesshoumaru was worried, but he hid his concern under a masking tone of disapproval.  Too much disapproval, Sessh would say if he had to guess why Inuyasha reacted the way he did.

           The hanyou’s eyes widened until his lids lay flat against his eyebrows, his pain evident.  Then all emotion fled his expression completely.  Clawed hands pulled the shredded shirt back together and Inuyasha turned to leave.  Right before he passed through the frame of the door Inuyasha muttered, "Rin was really worried, but Kagome dragged her to the cafeteria.  I'llgotellheryou'reawake."  The words blended together in his rush to leave and Sesshoumaru was left with a slack jaw, weighed down by his heavy heart. 'Fuck.  Wrong again, Sesshoumaru.'  

                                        ...

      Rin was impressed.  Now that she was a little more relaxed, she had the time to sit down and get to know Kagome she was thoroughly impressed.  

       While Rin never had the displeasure of meeting Kikyo, and didn't exactly know much about the bitch either, she couldn't imagine anyone else for her asshole - yet still lovable - brother-in-law.  

       "Kagome," Rin shook her head smiling, "I don't know what you did to make Inuyasha so... so... normal?  Maybe?" She shakes her head again.  "I'm not sure if that's the right word."

        "Complete,"  Kagome corrected.  "I..." the young doctor's face flushed pink, "I feel it too."  Rin watched as Kagome glanced down at her fingers curled around her coffee cup.  The girl was blushing so much her forehead was red.  Rin reached across the table and took one of Kagome's hands.  Kagome's eyes met Rin's, face still pink, and Rin smiled reassuringly.

        Rin winked, "I know exactly what you mean."  With her free hand, she held out the locket that was hanging from her neck.  Opening the oval pendant, she showed Kagome the old photos.  The first photo was of herself, it had been taken the year she'd mated Sesshoumaru.  The second was of Sesshoumaru.  "Oh," Kagome whispered.  Even though the picture was tiny, and the resolution was terrible, Rin knew Kagome had seen the band wrapped around her arm.

         The hated band that Sesshoumaru had torn off of her skin everytime they would meet.  The band she had to stitch back together in the dark of night when all she wanted was to watch it burn.  The band that marked her for everyone to mock.  The band she had worn everyday until the first yokai civil rights movement.  Humans who associated with yokai were required to wear orange bands around their arms.  Rin had worn an orange band since the day Sesshoumaru had saved her life when she was a child.  The day Sesshoumaru officially began to court her they'd given her a yellow band instead.  Orange meant a misguided human, yellow meant a lost one.  Rin had been called crazy, accused of betraying the human race, of being mind washed into loving a monster.  Kagome's hand squeezed hers.  "I'm sorry," Kagome whispered.

       "The hardest part," Rin admits, "was that they refused to perform a marriage ceremony."  And it was.  Rin didn't care about the lost friendships, she wouldn't have wanted to be friends with such judgemental assholes.  The dirty looks didn't bother her nearly as much either.  But the day that she and Sessh had climbed the shrine steps, dressed for the ceremony, yellow band on arm, with  their mating bites fresh on their necks and they had been sent away unwed, had crushed her.  The next day they'd tried again, at a different shrine.  Again and again they were sent away without a chance to even ask or explain.  

        It hadn't been until after the second World War, and Japan had been devastated by the nuclear bombs, that yokai were given full citizenship and humans no longer needed to wear bands to 'identify the enemy', Sesshoumaru and Rin were finally allowed to marry.

        It had been April 12, 1946, when Rin married Sesshoumaru at Higurashi shrine by the newly confirmed priest - the first of the Higurashi’s to serve at the same shrine Inuyasha had once met Kikyo.  "Sessh and I got married a few months after legislation changed at Higurashi shrine, here in Tokyo."

        "No way!" Kagome shouts, making Rin jump in her seat.  "My jiichan is the priest at Higurashi shrine.  After my father died, my mother raised me and my brother there."  Rin's eyes mirror Kagome's excitement.  "You just have to stay with us.  I bet jiichan will remember you!"

       "Oh, Kagome l, we couldn't impose on your family like that."  Kagome is already shaking her head while Rin is speaking.  This one's stubborn, no wonder Inuyasha loves her. "I insist," Kagome says.  "We're family now, there's no imposition."  Kagome stands up abruptly, the chair grating against the tiles in protest.  "In fact, I'll go call Mama now so she can get the rooms ready."

        Before Rin can say another word, Kagome is gone, racing down the hallway rehearsing what to say to her mother.  Shaking her head, Rin sips her tea from the disposable paper cup and stares down at her locket.  As much as it hurts to look at the picture and remember how many people had glared down at her and threatened to harm her, last night was the first time anyone had even gotten close to harming them.  The peace Rin felt when Kagome was sitting across from her froze up inside her.  Rin's fingers lose control and the luke warm tea spills all over the clothes Kagome let her borrow.  Suddenly, even though the warmth of the tea on her lap, Rin is freezing.  Her body shakes uncontrollably, rattling the chair she's sitting in.  Several hospital employees look at her nervously, but no one approaches.  

        Suddenly she is pulled against a warm chest and a soft rumble fills her ears.  Inuyasha curls her face into his throat and lifts Rin from the chair.  'It feels like flying,' Rin can't help but thinking as Inuyash, smoothly and quickly slides across the hospital cafeteria.  "Where'd Kagome go?" Inuyasha’s demands.  

        "She's calling her mom about a place for us to stay."  Rin doesn't look up, but she can tell from the movement in his chest that he's nodding.  "Sesshoumaru is awake now.  He already started annoying me, but you like the grump for some reason so I figured I'd come get you."  Rin can't help smiling.  There's no reason to panick.  Not with her family around.  Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, and now Kagome are all working to take care of Rin.  No matter what they meant to do last night, Rin will be perfectly safe.

Chapter Text

      "Mom, I have a big favor to ask," Kagome murmurs into the phone, self-conscious because the one thing Kagome never does is make a rash decision.  But... now she has to explain her new, hanyou, mate to her mother and that his family will be staying with them for some time.

       "Oh, my gods, Kagome.  Are you all right?  It's two thirty in the morning; you're never up this early."  Kagome fights the urge to roll her eyes because she can hear the real worry in her mother's voice.

      "I'm okay, Mama.  It's just," Kagome pauses.  How in the world does she explain te last twenty four hours?  Suddenly, a sob breaks from her throat and Kagome is crying, overwhelmed by the stress of the elevator attack, then the crazy attraction and mating to Inuyasha, and finally the bombing at the Inu-taisho house.  "So much has happened, Mama."

    "Sweetheart, Kagome, where are you right now?  Do you need me to come get you?"  Kagome shakes her head before remembering that her mother can't see her frantic head movements and forces her vocal cords to work.  "No," falls from her lips barely audible.  "I'm at the hospital right now."

     "Honey, why are you at the hospital at two thirty on a Sunday morning?"  Kagome doesn't have time to answer before her mother goes back to asking her more questions.  "Why aren't you at Sango's party?  When did you leave her house? Did you take the train this late at night? You know I don't like that Kagome.  It isn't safe for you to travel this late at night all alone."

     "Look Mama, I really am okay.  And I'm not alone."

      This just causes her mother to panic more.  "Is something wrong with Sango?  Oh my gods, her baby!"

    "No, Mama!"  Kagome wipes the tears furiously from her face.  Gods, she would have to call Sango too.  She was a horrible friend.  Sango must be worried sick after the explosion in the apartment building and she never called to tell Sango and Miroku that Inuyasha and she were okay.  "I, I saw this hanyou I knew on the way to Sango's place and we were.... attacked," Kagome braces herself on the last word expecting the screaming and holds the phone away from her ear.

      "HIGURASHI KAGOME!" Mama screams.  "When did this happen?"  Kagome can clearly hear her mother crying on the other end of the phone now and it renews her own tears.  "Why didn't you call me earlier?" 

     "I didn't call you because I'm perfectly fine," Kagome insists.  "Inuyasha, the hanyou I was with, protected me and... I can't explain it but we're since I met him, it was like magic... we mated Mama."  Kagome waits anxiously for her mother's response, wet drops continuing to fall silently from her eyes.

      "Kagome," Mama pauses and Kagome knows her mother is struggling to find the words.  "Are you sure that mating this boy was the right idea?"  Kagome swallows harshly.  She never told Mama that they met on Monday or that she had been dreaming about the inu hanyou for nearly a week.  Mama would assume, that given the situation, Inuyasha had taken advantage of her daughter.  The very thought made Kagome sick and she knew she had to stop this line of thought.

      "No, Mama.  It's not like that."  Kagome swallowed harshly.  Her mother would be wary of Inuyasha for quite a while, but Kagome had to be careful in the next few minutes for her to trust him ever.  "I met Inuyasha on Monday at work.  And ever since then I couldn't stop thinking about him."  Mama started to say Kagome's name, but she wouldn't let her mother interrupt her.  "No, Mama.  Please let me finish."  Kagome took a deep breath.  'Be strong,' Kagome thought to herself. 'This is for Inuyasha.'  Kagome cleared her throat.  "Inuyasha is a friend of Sango's and Miroku's.  They trust him and I trust him.  More than that, I love him."  Kagome wiped at her wet eyes.  "I know it's sudden, but I can't change the way I feel, Mama."

     Kagome sobbed into the phone receiver while her mother gently shushed her.  "It's okay, Kagome."  

    "No, it's not, Mama." Kagome protested shaking her head.  "He's a hanyou and they hate him and his family and they'll kill him, Mama."  By this point her voice is distorted.  Her throat became to horse to speak comfortably and her nose started to clog.  "I can't lose him.  I won't be able to handle it if I lose Inuyasha."

      "You won't, honey."  Kagome shakes her head through the entire utterance.  Despite her mother's attempt to soothe her, Kagome knows that they aren't safe.  They were attacked twice in one night.  Inuyasha had already spoken to the police along with Rin.  Once Sesshoumaru woke they would probably speak with him, too.  They had tried talking to Kagome but her thoughts were too scattered and she hadn't been any help.

    "Mama, turn on the news.  There should be a report about the Inu-taisho home."  Kagome waits patiently listening to the faint rustling in the background then the murmur of voices coming from the TV. This continues for a few minutes until her mother's voice returns to the phone.  Her voice is shakey.  This was almost worse than when they arrived at the hospital and Inuyasha had fainted from the blood loss that had been unknowingly flowing from the wound on his side.  Kagome was horrified that she hadn't noticed he was injured and even more disgusted that Inuyasha would hide such a serious wound from her.  Kagome had vowed that it would never happen again.  She would protect her mate from everything.  The traditionalists who would attack him and even Inuyasha himself.

     "Oh gods, Kagome.  You sure have had a exciting night."  Mama is sniffling into the phone and Kagome can feel her heart breaking.  Her mother doesn't deserve to be woken in the middle of the night and terrified for her daughter's safety.  "And that poor family," Mama sobs.  "Their home is destroyed."

       "About that, Mama, could Inuyasha and his family stay with us?" Faced with her mother's silence, Kagome rushes to add,  "Only for a little bit," Before her mother can make up her mind.

                                          ...

       Inuyasha sits outside of Sesshoumaru’s room absolutely defeated.  He had thought that he was doing the right thing.  It certainly had felt like it was the right choice when he had pulled Sessh's body from the wreckage and jumped through the wall, getting impaled by a jagged piece of wood on the way out of the burning wreckage of a house.  Had it really been so wrong when he hid his wounds in order to take care of Sesshoumaru?   Kagome had certainly thought so.  Though apparently that wasn't his worst offense.  

      No, according to Sesshoumaru, the worst offense was taking care of his half brother.  That he would dare to try to help his brother in healing was such a wrong move, and Inuyasha hadn't even known, disgusted him.  It had seemed so obvious to Inuyasha.  Sesshoumaru was bleeding and it was simple instinct to lick at his wounds to seal them in inu yokai spit.  Fucking hell.  Inuyasha was a failure.  He failed at being a yokai and he was especially terrible at everything human.  He couldn't fit in and no matter what he did, Inuyasha would never be part of the family. He didn't belong anywhere and he had just cursed Kagome to the same fate.

       Falling back into old habits, a single clawed hand reaches up under his torn shirt and begins to tear into the skin at his chest. At first the cuts are shallow, but it isn't enough.  It's been years since Inuyasha did this last.  Ever since he met Miroku he had stopped, the psychologist having convinced him that cutting wasn't worth it.  And in his darkest moment reminding him that death wasn't the answer.  But now, no matter how hard he tries, Inuyasha can't hear those comforting words.  He can't remember the joy and love Kagome had given him during his mating.  The only thing he saw was the blank look in Sesshoumaru’s eyes, the same look Kikyo had worn all those years ago when her arrow pierced his chest.  The only thing he could hear was the pooling of blood into his hands along with the sound of the words being spit at him.  "Freak, worthless, weak."  An abomination to humans and to yokai.  

      The fact that Sesshoumaru would taunt Inuyasha about throwing himself under a hacksaw after what had happened all those years ago had hurt.  It had been years since Inuyasha had last connected with anyone besides Sesshoumaru and Kikyo.  Except for the occasional conversation with the old man from the shrine, the only people Inuyasha had talked to in years was the married pair.  Desperate and alone, Inuyasha had asked for only one thing from Sesshoumaru.  The only request he had ever made to his brother had been rejected.  If Inuyasha wanted to die, it wouldn't be by the inu yokai’s hands.  As Inuyasha had crept away from their old home, Sessh had called after him.  Inuyasha would never forget... 'If you want to die I won't stop you.  Just throw yourself under a saw for all I care.'

    Inuyasha's absentminded clawing kept ripping deeper and deeper into the unprotected flesh.  Blood ran down his body, unnoticed by Inuyasha, but very VERY noticed by a certain someone.

    "Inyasha!" Kagome screamed, her footsteps echoing as she ran down the tiled floor.  Grabbing a first aid kit off the wall she fell to her knees in front of Inuyasha.  "Did your stitches rip?" She asked frantically digging through the first aid kit.  Finding antiseptic and gauze, Kagome's hands emerge from the kit and reach for Inuyasha's chest.  He thinks about pulling away and hiding his wounds - his shame - from Kagome, but he doesn't.  Kagome deserved to know that she married a failure.  A hopeless excuse for a man.  Kagome deserve the chance to change her mind and leave him before their mating bond became any stronger.

    Ashamed, his bloodied hands fall away from his abused flesh.  Inuyasha's eyes fall closed, not meeting Kagome's eyes when she gasps.  Or when she whispers his name.  Or when she grabs his head and presses kisses all across his face.  Inuyasha wants to protest that he doesn't deserve it.  None of it.  Not her concern or her kisses or her care or her love.  But when Inuyasha opens his mouth a strangled cry exits his lips instead of words.