Chapter 6: Encounter
The heavy rain was pouring hard against the small, glass windows as Sachiko slowly followed her Lord in silence. They were making their way from the dungeons and through the massive castle to head back to his private quarters, where Lady Kagome would be waiting for them.
Neither one of the demons was paying particular attention to the beautifully decorated surroundings; adorned with the family’s kamon crest colors of red, white and gold. One was busy lamenting the death of her mother, while the other was focused the emotional bond of his mate.
She’s in distress…Sesshoumaru surmised as his thoughts continued to linger on his fragile mate.
Sesshoumaru was deeply concerned about Kagome. He could sense that she felt miserable, angry and hurt, but what was different about these emotions this time was that there was a feeling of underlying panic laced with each one.
Kagome had been given enough sedatives to keep her unconscious for days; he could simply tell that from her scent how potent the medicine was in her bloodstream.
However, the fact that she was conscious in her current injured state with a sense of panic, only led to one conclusion; Kagome was aware of his order.
Sesshoumaru was not prepared to deal with her, not this soon; not in her delicate state.
He wanted her to be comfortable with her new life in his home before he faced her, but things have been getting out of hand lately. Now, he had no choice but to face her and with that, his resolve to fix things with her, hardened.
Kagome had to know who she was mated to and Sesshoumaru needed to take proper care of her.
She had been travelling with that disgusting hanyou and despite him leading their comrades around, Inuyasha had never really taken the position of an actual Alpha male. It was evident in Kagome’s stubborn and outspoken personality.
It wasn’t as though he didn’t like Kagome’s personality; in fact, it was another reason why she had appealed to him. However, she was much similar to a dominant youkai bitch and because of that, Kagome had to be treated as such.
Sesshoumaru would have to mold her into a proper, submissive mate. She would have to learn how to respect him, how to fear his consequences when she disobeyed him, but also to accept the pleasure he would give to her whenever they would become intimate.
As long as Kagome would remain obedient, no harm would come to her and she could finally find happiness by staying by his side.
It wasn’t going to be easy, though. Even Sesshoumaru couldn’t deny that.
So much had happened to her in under a span of a week and most recently, she had lost a child.
They had lost a child…and now, they were preparing to lose another one.
Nonetheless, Kagome still had to be trained to be an obedient mate. Sesshoumaru would not allow her to run away again and possibly endanger more of their children’s lives or the life of her own, for that matter.
No, now was the time for her to settle down and embrace her position as Lady of the Western Lands.
Whether Kagome wanted to accept her position or not, was not up to her; the decision was already made for her the moment Sesshoumaru placed his mark upon her neck.
Inuyasha began to pick up his speed as he saw the small swarm of poisonous insects increase theirs; running slightly faster against the hard rain as his bare feet sloshed amongst the wet grass and mud.
They were not yet aware of being followed from above, but it seemed as though they have received some sort of silent order. The possibility of the bees leading him to a trap had never left in his mind, but it seemed less likely, the longer he had followed them.
The fact that Naraku had his filthy hands on Kagome infuriated him to no end.
If Kagome was harmed by the evil hanyou, then Inuyasha would possibly lose it. He couldn’t allow harm to come to someone so precious and pure; Kagome was the only one who ever loved him for being himself.
Inuyasha regretted all of the horrible things he had ever said or done to her; Kagome didn’t deserve any of that.
Now, she was gone…missing for days and he felt so lost without her being by his side; completely lost without hearing the sound of her beautiful voice and seeing her dazzling smile.
Just as Inuyasha began to catch up with the poisonous insects, the insects below suddenly vanished behind an invisible barrier.
Damn it! Inuyasha mentally cursed as he came to a halt, before he started to growl to himself at the predicament.
He could go back and get his companions, since he now knew about the whereabouts of Kagome, or he could wait until someone emerged from the barrier and attack them.
The latter sound more appealing to the inu hanyou, because he didn’t want to miss a good opportunity to rescue his Kagome.
Inuyasha was sure that his friends were alright, because they were all together and they knew how to defend themselves well.
However, Inuyasha’s thoughts lingered on the fact that he had left Kagome alone to go search for some water. A seemingly easy task, that resulted in her kidnapping.
Never again, will he leave her alone.
As Inuyasha picked a tree to go lean against, to shield himself a bit from the pouring rain, his ears twitched and perked up as his nose detected a familiar, yet faint scent heading in his direction.
Inuyasha positioned himself behind the tree to spy on the person who was now entering in his proximity.
After a few minutes went by, Inuyasha spotted the person he had originally detected; the smell of bellflowers, along with clay reached his nose and undoubtedly, Inuyasha knew that she must’ve come for the same reason…
…to destroy Naraku.
“Kikyo,” Inuyasha said as he stepped from behind the tree.
“So, you’ve sensed it as well,” Kikyo stated stoically as she calmly walked past Inuyasha in the cold rain to peer over the cliff. The dead miko was equipped with a quiver of arrows slung across her back and her large bow was tightly gripped in one of her hands; undeniably prepared for some dangerous encounter.
Seeing Kikyo standing there in the rain brought back warm memories to the hanyou; memories of him standing so close to her while sharing an umbrella to keep warm as they walked throughout the village to treat the sick and injured.
Inuyasha used to long for those simple days again, but now he had Kagome, with whom he wished to share new memories with.
“Naraku’s insects disappeared behind a barrier below, but I don’t know who’s in there,” Inuyasha informed as he slowly approached the impassive miko.
“I see. I detected a shard from the Shikon jewel nearby, so I came to investigate. There are only a few left to collect, so there was the possibility of running into Naraku or at least one of his spawns,” Kikyo said quietly as she gestured to the bow in her hand.
“He has Kagome,” Inuyasha said as he stood next to Kikyo to also peer down into the cliff.
For a few moments, they had remained silent while they stood in the heavy rain; standing next to each other as they watch the area for any suspicious activity.
As they stood in silence, Inuyasha stole a peek at Kikyo and inwardly sighed. Standing in the rain with her still reminded Inuyasha of the good memories they had shared. However, Inuyasha had to shake off these emotions…he loved Kagome now.
“Inuyasha? What do you plan on doing once Naraku is defeated? Do you still fully intend on keeping our promise?” Kikyo finally asked as she continued to stare below.
Inuyasha stiffened before he stole a glance at Kikyo again; trying to gauge her emotion and possible reaction.
Would Kikyo be mad that he wouldn’t want to honor his promise to her? Or had she finally learned to let go of him?
“Kikyo…” Inuyasha started.
He couldn’t find the right words to say.
It wasn’t as though he didn’t love Kikyo, but he could no longer be with her. They weren’t meant for each other and it took over 50 years to realize that.
The betrayal that Naraku had created to tear them apart, should’ve been a warning about how little they had trusted each other from the start.
Had they been truly in love, they would’ve never doubted each other; never doubted their love for one another…yet, the instant that Naraku had started his deadly plan…
“You wish to be with Kagome,” Kikyo said impassively as she turned to peer up at the waterlogged hanyou.
Inuyasha looked away from Kikyo and chose to study the large rain droplets hitting the ground; his wet bangs hiding away the emotions in his amber eyes. If Kikyo wanted to fight him and drag him to hell, then he would fight her until the very end.
It would hurt Inuyasha to kill Kikyo, but if that was the price to pay to be with Kagome, then he would be more than willing to pay it.
“I do,” Inuyasha admitted quietly as he started to ball his claws up into fists at his sides.
Inuyasha wasn’t ready to tell Kikyo yet, but since she was here…since she had brought up the subject…
Kikyo turned fully to face Inuyasha and took a couple of steps to close the gap in between them. When Inuyasha realized how close Kikyo was to him, he tried to step back, but the dead miko reached out to gently cup both sides of his cheeks to hold him in place as they stared eye to eye.
She felt really cold to him as she stroked one side of his cheek lovingly and Inuyasha knew that it wasn’t because she stood out for a while in the cold, wet rain.
Inuyasha reached up slowly to grab Kikyo’s hand gently with both of his and turned his cheek into her cold palm. It was times like these where Inuyasha used to blame himself for the fact that Kikyo’s body was so cold; wishing he could turn back time to prevent her untimely death.
Inuyasha loved her so much that it pained him to see her this way; a cold, hollow shell of the girl he once considered his first love.
“Then convince me. Prove it that you love her more than me and I will forget our promise,” Kikyo whispered huskily as she slowly leaned in close to Inuyasha.
Before Inuyasha could even have the chance to decipher the meaning of her words, Kikyo leaned in and captured his warm lips with her fuller, cold ones.
Inuyasha stood still as Kikyo moved her lips against his, trying to invoke the old feelings that they had for each other, the good memories that they had shared, but the only feeling that Inuyasha felt during this kiss was guilt.
Guilt about everything dealing with Kagome; leaving her to go see Kikyo in the middle of the night, arguing with her about why he had to see the dead miko, lying to her whenever he had returned from those late night visits…
He wasn’t revolted by the dead miko or her actions, he was disgusted by his own actions and the way he had treated Kagome. Kagome had treated him with nothing but kindness and love, yet Inuyasha casually threw her affections aside.
It was enough to make himself sick.
Calmly, Inuyasha grabbed Kikyo by the shoulders and pulled abruptly away from the kiss; mortified that he had betrayed Kagome’s trust again.
“I’m sorry, Kikyo, but I can’t do this anymore. I wanna be with Kagome and if that means that I gotta break my promise to you, then so be it,” Inuyasha said firmly as he gazed fiercely into the eyes of his first love.
Inuyasha was expecting her to become angry or upset at his words because he vowed to honor that promise of letting Kikyo take him to hell with her when the time came. However, what he didn’t expect was to see a small, genuine smile grace her features.
“It’s alright, Inuyasha. I know that you truly love her,” Kikyo said quietly as she turned back to face the cliff again to stare below.
Inuyasha reached up to touch his lips with the tip of his claws as he stared at Kikyo’s profile in confusion.
“Then why did you just-”
“A test. I wanted to see if you truly loved her enough to break our promise,” Kikyo stated simply as she kept her eyes forward.
“Kikyo-” Inuyasha started before Kikyo turned to him, placing a single finger upon his lips to silence him.
“I’ve decided to make amends with those who I have wronged before I enter into the afterlife again. So, one of the people I want to help is you, Inuyasha, as well as Kagome,” Kikyo smiled as she removed her finger.
Inuyasha opened his mouth to say something, but nothing seemed to come out as the words of Kikyo began to sink into his head.
Kikyo was giving him full permission to move on from her and to pursue a new life with Kagome instead. Words couldn’t express how happy and relieved Inuyasha had felt when the realization of what Kikyo had said finally sank in.
Inuyasha didn’t have to worry about his obligation to Kikyo and the guilt that was associated with it, now he was completely free to live happily for the rest of his life with Kagome.
“Thank you, Kikyo,” Inuyasha whispered as he pulled Kikyo into a tight embrace.
For a while, the pair stayed like that in a warm, yet friendly embrace.
They were so engrossed in their own actions that they were completely unaware that amongst the tree tops and through the heavy rain, they were being spied on; a single, poisonous insect was holding a small, white mirror that reflected the embracing couple below it.
Sango struggled to roll back over on her stomach as she stared blankly up at the stone ceiling above her in the moonlit dungeon, wondering what Sesshoumaru was going to do to her best friend for trying to escape.
Surely, the Taiyoukai would try to hurt her fragile friend again or worse…
A single tear rolled down her bruised cheek and angrily Sango wiped it away; silently fighting back more tears before they threatened to fall.
However, holding back tears proved to be impossible as Sango heard soft, sad mewling from across her cell.
“Kirara?” Sango croaked as she tried to sit up to look towards the heavy, wooden door.
Sango gave a small, watery smile as she heard Kirara give another reassuring mewl; an indication to let the taijiya know that the neko youkai was doing alright and that it wished to comfort its master.
As much as Sango wanted to lie there and give in to the pain, she couldn’t.
Instead, the young demon slayer decided to focus on a way to try to force her way out of there before the Taiyoukai returned. However, every time she moved a single muscle, Sango couldn’t stop herself from wincing; the Taiyoukai undoubtedly had broken several bones throughout her body.
As Sango tried to sit up, she began a coughing fit; coughing up copious amounts of blood as she did so. Only when she had finished sitting up into a more comfortable position and managed to pull herself closer to the wall to prop herself up, did she notice that someone else was in the dungeon with her.
Sango snapped up her head in the direction of the door as she heard a single person gave her a round of applause; distantly she could hear Kirara give a low growl and a hiss.
“That was quite some show there, taijiya. I must say that you are very amusing to watch. I don’t know what was more entertaining; Lord Sesshoumaru punishing you for your insolence or you trying to sit up from such an attack,” The demon smirked as he stopped clapping and folded his arms as leaned against the door.
His voice was low and husky and he had a strongly built form, with broad shoulders and a broad chest clad in a white and blue patterned kimono with a similar armor to Sesshoumaru’s.
The moonlight allowed Sango to see that the demon had jet-black, shoulder length hair and light-grey colored eyes with pointed ears along with two single black jagged stripes along the sides of his cheek. There was no question in Sango’s mind that he was also an inuyoukai.
The inuyoukai smirked at Sango as she narrowed her eyes at him.
Humans were so interesting and foolish…
“There’s no way you’re getting out of here, so don’t even think about it,” The inuyoukai chuckled.
“Oh? Did it look like I was going to escape? In this condition?” Sango retorted as she winced from trying to move again.
“Yes, actually and I wouldn’t dare try doing that. You’ve already angered Lord Sesshoumaru, so I’m pretty sure that your death is going to be a very slow one,” The inuyoukai sneered as he continued to watch the taijiya struggle to her feet.
“I’m actually surprised that he wanted a human mate as well as hanyou children,” Sango replied snidely as she weakly tried to support herself with her shaking arms.
The inuyoukai laughed with mirth; the light in his eyes twinkled in amusement.
“You have no idea, do you? You’ve just killed two unborn full blooded inuyoukai; legitimate heirs to the Western Lands. Why else would he select the most powerful miko alive to become his mate?”
Sango ceased her movements as the demons words resonated in her mind.
Back when she was living in the Demon’s Slayer village, there was an old tale that the real reason why the Shikon jewel was formed was because Midoriko fought off demons that wanted to claim her as a mate in order to repopulate their diminishing species that were wiped out during the Great Demon War.
It was said that only a very powerful miko would be able to produce full-blooded youkai offspring, but because there was a lack of truly powerful mikos around, no one had actual proof that such a thing was true.
Then again, the only other powerful miko around was Kikyo and if she had mated to Inuyasha back when she was alive, there would be no way to know if she could produce full-blooded youkai because their father was a hanyou.
The only living, powerful miko left now was Kagome…
“…That’s a rumor…” Sango murmured as she tried to convince the inuyoukai, but even she couldn’t deny the fact that Kagome’s pregnancy was quite strange.
The inuyoukai quietly unfolded his arms and removed himself from leaning against the door to slowly approach the doubtful taijiya.
“Even you can’t deny the fact that it may be true. I’m sure as you were one of her Ladies in Waiting, you’d probably seen some questionable things. I personally think that the Lady’s accelerated pregnancy is proof enough that the rumor is true,” The inuyoukai smirked as he stopped in front of Sango.
Gracefully, the inuyoukai knelt before the taijiya on the dirty, cold, stone floor and reached out to grab her chin; forcing the angry human to look at him with her mahogany colored eyes as he studied her features.
“Who are you and what do you want?” Sango spat as she shoved his large hand away from her face; this earned a dark chuckle from the intimidating looking youkai.
“My name is Katsutoshi and I am the Captain of the Western Land’s military,” Katsutoshi declared arrogantly as he rose gracefully to his feet before glaring down at the taijiya in displeasure.
Sango snorted; the undignified sound caused Katsutoshi to raise a curious eyebrow at the human.
“So, Sesshoumaru sent you to finish the job for him. It must be nice to have so many people at disposal,” Sango scoffed as she tried to rise to her feet.
As Sango stood up, trying to regain her balance and ignoring the shooting pain she had received from her movements, her trembling body met the stone floor hard as she felt a stinging pain on her left cheek.
Sango slowly and tentatively placed a shaking hand on her burning cheek as she just realized that the inuyoukai standing above her had just slapped her.
“You have quite a mouth on you. Such a shame I can’t put it to better use,” Katsutoshi purred as he leaned down to pull up Sango by her long, dark hair.
Sango reached up to claw at Katsutoshi’s strong hand as he painfully gripped her hair and lifted the taijiya to her feet before he pushed her badly injured body against one of the stone walls; watching with a smirk as he heard a sickening crack when one of Sango’s shoulders connect with the wall.
Sango collapsed to the floor and didn’t even bother to get up this time as the pain was far too unbearable to move; even breathing was beginning to hurt as she started to lie motionlessly on the cold floor.
Tears began to form in her eyes as her thoughts remained on Kagome. If she was being treated like this in the dungeon, then Sango truly feared for Kagome’s life.
“Ah, so you can cry. Maybe you’re not so tough after all,” Katsutoshi sneered as he slowly made his way over to the unmoving Sango.
“I don’t care what you do to me, but if any harm comes to Kagome-” Sango started before Katsutoshi knelt down to yank her by the hair again; forcing her to look him in the eyes.
“Lady Kagome,” Katsutoshi corrected before he continued.
“I can assure you that no harm will come to our Lady, in fact, she’s being well taken care of. It’s very noble of you to stick up for your friend, but if I were you, I’d look out for myself. Not that you have much longer to live anyway… your execution begins at dawn along with all the others responsible for tonight’s incident. Such a shame though, I did enjoy your fiery spirit.”
Katsutoshi unceremoniously dropped Sango on the floor and proceeded to walk out of the dungeon. Just as he reached the door and was going to pull on the handle, Sango lifted her face from the dirty floor to glare at the retreating form of the inuyoukai Captain.
“You’ll never get away with this. Once Kagome finds out what you did to me, I’m sure that you’ll be here in this dungeon too,” Sango threatened as she continued to glare at Katsutoshi.
Katsutoshi ceased his actions and chose to turn around to face the brutally injured taijiya on the floor with a smirk adorned on his face.
“Oh? Is that so? Your confidence and bravery is very admirable, as well as amusing. I’ll treasure the memory of you as I watch your execution and shall cherish it for many lifetimes. You are by far, the most entertaining human I have ever met,” Katsutoshi chuckled darkly.
He then left out of the dungeon before slamming the door hard; allowing the sound to resonate throughout the large cell and through Sango’s anguished mind.
There were so many things that she wanted to do before she died. Sango wanted to confess her true feelings to Miroku, she wanted to witness the defeat of Naraku, live together and ease the emotional pain of her younger brother Kohaku…
Above all, she wanted to save her best friend Kagome from Sesshoumaru, but now the realization that she may never get to do those things was beginning to set in.
Executed by dawn…Sango thought with anger and dread.
It had been a little while since Atsuko returned back to the castle and upon her return, she resumed her position as Head Lady in Waiting; returning back to the private bedchambers where her Lady was being tended to.
Atsuko knew that Lord Sesshoumaru had given her a second chance and with that she had to prove her worth; she had to show her Lord that his choice to keep her alive was not a mistake.
Just as Atsuko reached the bedroom door, she could hear a lot of muffled voices on the other side through the barrier. If the voices were loud enough to hear through the barrier, Atsuko could only imagine how loud it must be on the other side of it.
Heaving a huge sigh and mentally preparing herself, Atsuko took a step forward and slid open the screen door.
Immediately, her sensitive ears were assaulted by the loud sounds of a woman shouting and crying with other hushed voices trying to say comforting things. Atsuko knew that it was her Lady crying, but as for the reason why the young woman was even conscious right now was beyond her.
Swiftly and calmly, Atsuko crossed the room before gently pulling back the screen doors to the sleeping chambers; mentally bracing herself for what she would encounter.
If there was ever a word to describe the scene in front of her, Atsuko would have chosen the word chaos.
Hysterically sobbing, surrounded by servants and healers that were trying to calm her, was a very distraught Kagome.
She was sitting up on the futon and was trying to get up, but every time Kagome tried to move, one of the healers or a servant would gently hold her in place to prevent her from moving up. However, the fact that people were touching her only seemed to fuel the miko’s state of distress as she tried to swat angrily at anyone who dared to touch her.
All of the female staff in the room snapped their heads in the direction of the door as they heard it open and were astonished to see Atsuko standing there; alive and well, with the exception of a large hole along with a huge blood stain on her kimono, above her heart.
The momentary shock was easily forgotten as the group of servants and healers focused back on their distressed Lady. Some of them were frantically running past Atsuko to fetch more bandages and medical supplies, while others knelt around the young woman, trying to comfort her with words.
“My Lady, you are not well. You must try to rest,” Naoki urged as she stood aside in a corner, watching as one of the healers tried to reach out and comfort the hysterical miko.
Kagome jerked herself away from the youkai’s hand and glared up at Atsuko, who had just entered into the room. The young miko looked almost wild with her body covered in a sheen of sweat; her bangs were glued to her sweaty forehead and dark ebony locks of her hair was tousled as part of her sleeping yukata hung loosely off of her shoulder, exposing her mating mark.
“Where is he?! I want to see him now! There’s no way you’re going to touch my baby; I won’t let you!” Kagome shouted defensively at the older youkai as Atsuko suddenly noticed the glowing red ring around the miko’s grey-blue irises.
Perhaps the Lady’s protective instincts are preventing her from resting, Atsuko thought before exchanging an inquisitive look with Naoki; knowing that the owl youkai must have came to the same conclusion.
The miko’s pregnancy was different from most, as Kagome was exhibiting similar signs of a youkai’s pregnancy with some enhanced qualities. One of the things that were similar was the fact that her instinct was beginning to take over as she felt herself and her pup become endangered.
The pup’s youki along with some of Lord Sesshoumaru’s transferred one must have combined to create enough power to give Lady Kagome some qualities of an actual youkai. Human females experienced only minor qualities of a youkai during a hanyou pregnancy, but it’s usually because the human’s blood weakened it.
However, Kagome was a miko and her pregnancy itself was a mystery; surrounded by guesses and speculation. The only thing that Naoki and Atsuko could really do was to watch the young miko carefully and take certain precautions.
While Atsuko was briefly distracted, Kagome fell silent as she took notice of Atsuko’s state of her kimono; the large hole surrounded by blood immediately drew the miko’s attention, causing her to stop her struggles.
When Atsuko realized what her Lady was staring at, she automatically placed a hand over her heart to shield the young miko from such a sight.
“It is nothing to be concerned about, my Lady,” Atsuko bowed apologetically as she tried to dissuade her Lady from asking more questions.
However, it didn’t take much for Kagome to realize what had possibly happened to the hawk youkai; the Lord of the castle probably tortured Atsuko for allowing her to escape.
“…Did he do that to you…?” Kagome asked quietly as she stared up at the older youkai.
Atsuko walked over to her Lady and knelt beside her once a few of the Ladies in Waiting moved out of the way. Very gently, Atsuko took one of Kagome’s hands and pat it soothingly, before she guided the young miko’s hand to the bloodied spot of her kimono.
“Forgive me, my Lady. But I have deserved this punishment for not taking care of you or your children properly. It was my duty to serve and protect you, yet, I have failed you and our Lord greatly,” Atsuko whispered as she offered Kagome a gentle squeeze of her hand.
Kagome’s heart tightened as she realized that the older woman was being punished for her foolish actions. Even though Kagome didn’t want to be here anymore and couldn’t stand the sight of anyone or anything from this place, she still felt remorseful that such a kind woman like Atsuko, whose only job was to look after her, would be punished for anything bad that she did.
Without a second thought, Kagome pulled Atsuko into a gentle and comforting hug. This had surprised Atsuko and the other staff of the room because they were never treated with such open kindness; very hesitantly, Atsuko returned the hug.
“I’m so sorry…I didn’t mean for you-” Kagome started, but Atsuko pulled away from the embrace and shook her head.
“There’s no need to worry yourself, my Lady. I am just fine, but I am humbled by your kindness,” Atsuko said with a small smile as she gave a low bow of gratitude.
The thought of people, whether they were youkai or not, being hurt because of her, made Kagome feel very guilty and sad. Whoever the Lord was, Kagome was sure that he knew her very well, or at least knew how to hurt her, because if he couldn’t manipulate her directly, he seemed to be using the people around her.
Speaking of which…
“Where’s Sango?” Kagome asked tentatively as she looked around the room to fully examine the female staff that was in her room.
For a moment, the entire room fell silent, with servants and healers exchanging looks. They didn’t want to further upset their Lady, but it was going to be very hard to keep something like that away from her.
They weren’t given specific orders about not telling their Lady about her human companion’s whereabouts, but then again, no one expected her to be awake right now.
Not only did they want to be the one to inform their Lady of Sango’s imprisonment, they also didn’t want to be the one to suffer the consequences from their Lord for telling her…
Everyone suddenly turned to Atsuko; pleading for some kind of answer.
Atsuko had no idea what to tell her Lady; she, herself, had arrived at the castle not too long ago.
Just as Atsuko began to open her mouth for a response, everyone heard the main bedchamber doors snap shut; one of the Ladies in Waiting that were closer to the sleeping chamber door, pulled it back a little bit to let another one of the servants back in.
The female youkai flinched as soon as she opened the door and in an instant she dropped to her knees bowing apologetically to someone on the other side.
“My Lord…” The youkai gasped.
Sachiko stood by the main bedroom door after she had closed it as her Lord stood in front of her; observing the shadows from the dimly lit room on the bedroom screen door.
Sachiko watched from a distance as one of the servants pulled back the sleeping quarter’s door, revealing some light from the room and then bow apologetically to their Lord as the older woman realized that it was him who had entered into the room.
Sesshoumaru stood impassively as he narrowed his eyes at one of his mate’s personal servants; silently demanding that he needed privacy.
The servant immediately understood his silent order and motioned for all of the staff to clear out of the room. One by one, servants and healers descended from the platform stairs and as they got ready to walk by Sesshoumaru, they offered him a low bow before completely exiting out of his private bedchambers.
The second to last person to leave was Naoki, who was so old, that she had to take her time descending from the stairs. As she approached Lord Sesshoumaru, she gave him a low bow, but she also stopped to inform him.
“I know not entirely how the Lady is awake right now, but I may have some idea. She is very fragile and I believe that it is part of your youki that is sustaining her right now, but it’s just barely supporting her. We’ve been restraining the Lady in order to prevent her from moving, and it is imperative that she must not move around in order to have her bones heal properly,” The old owl youkai whispered before she gave another bow and left the room.
Atsuko was the last one to appear in the doorway and as she bowed to her Lord upon seeing him, she immediately spotted her daughter standing behind him beside the bedroom door. It took Sachiko a second to realize that it was truly her mother standing there, before the young girl began to develop tears in her eyes.
“M-mother…” Sachiko said breathlessly as she took a couple of steps forward; fully intending to embrace the mother that she thought she had lost.
Just as Atsuko took a step forward to descend the platform, a voice stopped her.
“A-Atsuko, wait….I-I don’t want to be alone,” Kagome said nervously as she watched Atsuko’s retreating form in the doorway.
Atsuko froze as she stood with uncertainty in the doorway; glancing back and forth between her stoic Lord and her emotionally distraught Lady.
Although Kagome couldn’t see who was behind the half-opened door, she could sense that the Lord had a very powerful aura and even though she was a miko, she was very untrained, especially when it came to self-defense.
Something about his aura made her freeze up inside with ice cold fear and she didn’t like the feeling of helplessness that was being raised up inside of her; a feeling that was returning as the memories of the night she was raped came flooding back to her.
Sesshoumaru stiffened as he felt the waves of fear radiating from his mate on the other side of the screen. Although he wanted Kagome to submit to him, Sesshoumaru did not wish for her to fear him this way.
It seemed as though she was terrified of him and because of that, it beckoned for his demon side to ease her fear of him. However, Sesshoumaru had to repress his demon because now was not the time to become sexually intimate; he had to make Kagome as comfortable around his presence as possible.
Kagome stared up pleadingly at Atsuko from her sitting position on the bed; silently begging the older youkai not to leave her there alone.
Atsuko glanced back at her Lord from the doorway and was surprised to see him give a slight nod of approval. Her Lord must be truly attached to his mate, because he was willing to accommodate her every need, not that she would’ve never expected that from him, but it showed how deeply he cared for her.
Atsuko turned back to Kagome and offered her Lady a gentle smile, before coming to kneel beside her; rubbing her back soothingly as they stared at the doorway, waiting for him to enter.
Sesshoumaru glared over his shoulder at the young hawk youkai, who immediately bowed apologetically and exited the room, before he carefully approached the platform.
As Kagome heard the footsteps approach closer and closer to the sleeping room, her anxiety level began to rise as she anxiously gripped the bed covers while trying to fight off the feeling of drowsiness that threatened to overcome her.
The sedatives! Kagome thought in panic as she mentally tried to brace herself and steady her racing heartbeat.
Kagome wasn’t entirely sure what the Lord was going to do to her, but she didn’t want him to kill her child. If she was going to fight him tooth and nail to preserve the little life growing inside of her, then Kagome was prepared to do so.
However, the sedatives were starting to kick in and Kagome knew she had to fight off that sensation in order to confront the demon that had raped her.
As the footsteps drew closer, Kagome’s heart felt as though it was going to burst from her chest; the sound of her own heartbeat thundered in her ears.
No, I can’t face him yet…I don’t want to. I know have to, but right now…it’s too much to bear, Kagome thought frantically as she looked over Atsuko with terror in her eyes.
“My Lady?” Atsuko inquired curiously as she tilted her head. The hawk youkai grew worried as she noticed that her Lady’s aura was now laced with fatigue, despite hearing the young miko’s rapidly beating heart and was wondering if the young woman would be physically able to handle this encounter.
“Wait!” Kagome said as she screwed her eyes shut and shook her head frantically.
This was just too much; the pressure of everything that was going on was way too much. Kagome couldn’t handle the stress of the situation and the feeling threatened to overwhelm her.
This was the man who had raped her…who was trying to end her child’s life.
She wanted to confront her rapist, but at the same time, Kagome never wanted to see him. Now she had no choice but to face him because she was going to be trapped in a room with him, trying to negotiate about sparing her unborn child.
Sesshoumaru stood still at Kagome’s command as his amber eyes shone with deep concern; just as he ascended onto the first step.
Kagome is pushing herself too far and the situation has become too stressful for her, Sesshoumaru concluded as he stared warily at the shadow of his mate that was on the silk screen.
This was unbearable; she couldn’t take the intensity of this meeting.
There were so many things Kagome wanted to say to him, so many things that she wanted to ask him, but the sedatives were starting to become harder to fight off.
Still she had to fight it, for the sake of her baby.
“…why…?” Kagome managed to say as she stared intently at the half opened screen door.
Why…? Sesshoumaru mentally repeated as he slightly tilted his head.
That question itself could refer to many things.
Why did he choose her? Why did he mate with her in that manner? Why did he give the order to kill their pup?
There were so many questions Kagome could’ve ask, but she chose to go with the most simplest, yet complicated one there was.
“…I know why you want to kill it, but I think you’re wrong,” Kagome continued as she wrapped her arms around herself protectively.
For a minute there was silence in the room, with only the sound of rain drumming against the windows from the outside as Kagome waited for a response from the other side of the door.
Our pup is suffering, yet she still wants to preserve its life, Sesshoumaru mused as he stood on the step, contemplating the current situation.
It was in her nature to want to preserve someone’s life, even if they weren’t deemed worthy of living. However, to preserve something that was suffering, especially their own child...
How could he possibly deny her anything? Kagome wanted children and now he was going to take away one of the things that she had truly wanted.
The powerful Taiyoukai had no idea of what to do; he wanted to please his mate, but at the same time, he didn’t want their pup to suffer anymore.
Sesshoumaru knew that he should be keeping better control of his mate by asserting his Alpha-like dominance over her by choosing what was best for her, but for some reason, he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
All Sesshoumaru could think about was her stunning, heart-stopping smile and how he may never get to see it again if he took away their child…
Sesshoumaru balled up his clawed fists in frustration as he tried to think of a solution that would spare Kagome from being hurt any further, but nothing seemed to come to mind.
The great and powerful Taiyoukai was drawing a blank; this wasn’t something that he could have ever prepared for and nearly scared him.
What was he supposed to do?
All of his solutions wound up with a lose-lose situation and the one to lose would be Kagome…
When the silence stretched out a bit longer, Atsuko decided to speak up for her Lord as she could sense the hesitancy of his aura from behind the screen.
“My Lady, your child is suffering right now. It may not even make it through the night. Do you wish to continue to allow your child to suffer through its pain? I know it may seem hard for you to let go of it, but it is the right thing to do. Even our Lord doesn’t wish to do such a thing, but it is the only humane thing to do now, at this point,” Atsuko tenderly explained as she continued to rub the miko’s back in gentle circles.
Kagome continued to stare anxiously at the doorway, as she continued to fight of the haze of drowsiness; hoping that her words would at least be considered, so that her unborn child could be spared.
What people did in this era was cruel and insensitive, even if they really weren’t aware of what they were doing. They were just going to toss aside her child’s life as if it were nothing, and Kagome wasn’t going to sit by, allowing them to do as they pleased.
She knew that her remaining child was injured during the fall, but somehow, its aura didn’t feel as weak as it did before, when they had first given her medicine to ease her pain.
It just felt different; in some way Kagome knew that this child might pull through.
“I know you’re thinking that you’re doing the right thing, but I think this one might live. It’s not as weak as it was before. I don’t know how, but it feels like it’s getting stronger… So please, reconsider,” Kagome pleaded groggily as she unsteadily tried to get up from the futon with her body aching dully through the medicine.
Maybe if the demon saw how serious she was about this, then maybe he would let her keep it. Kagome had to meet him face to face; if he did care so much about their child, then why try to end its life when it’s growing stronger?
Sesshoumaru raised a curious, delicate eyebrow at his mate’s words as he could see from the shadow of the screen door that she was trying to get up.
Stronger…impossible, Sesshoumaru dismissed as he began to ascend the second step, drawing closer to the screen door.
Sesshoumaru didn’t want Kagome to further strain herself; she wasn’t even supposed to move right now and he could tell from the sound of her voice that she was battling sleep.
Kagome really needed to rest. Perhaps through her medicated state, she was confused about the condition of their pup; just hanging on to the hope that it would be alright.
There was no way that the Tenseiga could’ve worked, the Taiyoukai witnessed it himself as the sword simply pulsed and did nothing afterward.
However, if what she said was true, then he would be the one to investigate it.
“…my Lady, perhaps you are mistaken…” Atsuko voiced softly as she wearily watched the miko trying to crawl out of bed.
She didn’t wish to offend her Lady, but the young miko reminded her so much of her own daughter, Sachiko; always optimistic, even when things weren’t going so well.
Atsuko tried to reach out and pull her Lady back, but the young miko blearily brushed the owl youkai off, as she shakily stood on her feet; slowly making her way to the screen door.
“P-please, I’m begging you to reconsider! If you want to punish me for what I’ve done, then punish me, not my child! So please, spare it…” Kagome implored as she hazily made her way around the futon to approach the screen door.
Kagome was ignoring the pain that had shot through her body from her ribs as she took step after shaky step to reach the door with Atsuko carefully shadowing her, just as a precaution.
“My Lady, please…you should be resting,” Atsuko urged as she closely followed behind the young miko.
No, I won’t let him take you away from me…I won’t let you pay for my mistake, Kagome thought groggily as she placed her petite hand over the small, bruised bulge on her stomach; slowly continuing to the door.
Her heart was racing and beads of more sweat began to form on her forehead, but her body and mind felt out of place; as though she was in some sort of hazy dream, but no matter what, she had to push on.
Kagome had to face him to let him know that she was truly determined to keep her child, even if the youkai didn’t want it.
I won’t let him hurt you…I’ll protect you, I promise… Kagome thought with more determination as she hazily reached for the door.
Sesshoumaru could smell the blood starting to soak through her cloth bandages as he watched his mate’s shadow approach him from the other side of the door; knowing that it was coming from her injury as she tried to come to him.
Immediately with a sense of panic, the Taiyoukai sprang into action as he fluidly leapt from the stairs and flung open the door just in time to catch the fragile, falling miko in his strong arms.
Sesshoumaru stared down at the mass of dark, wavy, raven colored hair as he tried to support her back on her feet. As he tried to readjust her position, Sesshoumaru realized that Kagome’s body felt unusually limp before he gracefully picked her up bridal style in his arms to study her angelic, sleeping face.
Kagome had fainted, despite her determination to meet him; the medicine was too strong for her to overcome and her body finally gave in to the much needed rest.
Sesshoumaru pressed her closer to his body as he lowered his head in guilt. He didn’t wish to hurt her this way, but it was the right thing to do for their pup, despite Kagome’s emotional attachment to it.
Hanging on to someone who was dying wasn’t going to make them better. Even if Kagome poured all of her hopes and wishes into her unborn child; it was far too late for it to be saved.
The ordering of its death was out of mercy, not as a punishment and for some reason, it bothered the Taiyoukai that his mate saw it that way.
Even though Sesshoumaru had a cruel reputation, he could never bring himself to be cruel to her, at least not intentionally. Kagome had already suffered enough when she was with that hanyou and all Sesshoumaru wanted to do was offer a better life with him; a life where she would always smile blissfully.
He had no idea how difficult it was really going to be once he had taken Kagome as a mate. Sesshoumaru expected some problems, but figured that time would take care of some of them; there was no way for him to predict that this would happen.
Slowly, Sesshoumaru glanced up to see Atsuko gaze at him remorsefully before he turned his attention back to Kagome as he felt a little movement in his arms.
Kagome gazed up at him, through tired, heavy lidded eyes as she weakly gripped the front of his haori; still determined to fight off sleep.
“…please…” Kagome mumbled as the smell of salty tears began to invade his senses.
Sesshoumaru watched as a single tear rolled slowly down her rosy cheek and it nearly destroyed him on the inside to hear her quiet plea for their pup’s life.
It reminded him of the night that he had taken Kagome as his mate; that same innocent plea she uttered right before he took her virginity still echoed in the Taiyoukai’s mind.
Gently, Sesshoumaru freed one of his hands as he effortlessly cradled the tired miko in one of his sturdy arms before he placed his larger hand over the smaller one that continued to weakly grip his haori.
“Forgive me,” His silky, baritone voice whispered back as he watched Kagome slowly slip back into a state of unconsciousness.
Atsuko tore her eyes away from the heartbreaking scene in front of her; feeling out of place as she watched the private interaction between her Lord and Lady.
The hawk youkai stood back as her Lord walked past her to place the sleeping and injured miko back on the large futon.
Sesshoumaru knelt beside the young Lady before he gingerly untied the front of her yukata; inspecting her injured body carefully again.
“…my Lord, do you think what the Lady said is true…?” Atsuko whispered hesitantly as she wrung her hands anxiously while she continued to watch her Lord from a distance.
When Kagome had mentioned that she felt her pup’s aura getting stronger, Atsuko knew that there was a possibility that her Lord might have used the Tenseiga to try to save it; just as he used the sword to revive her not too long ago.
Sesshoumaru chose to ignore her question for now as he reached out tentatively to touch the bruised surface of Kagome’s pale, flat stomach. Before he could even touch her skin, the Taiyoukai froze in place as his youki detected his pup; his amber eyes softened as he felt a small, warm aura brush affectionately against his.
The pup was strong and vibrant; it was almost as though it had never been injured.
The thought that their pup was healthy and that he didn’t have to kill it out of mercy filled the Taiyoukai with pride as well as relief.
Kagome didn’t have to worry about losing their pup; he may get to see that vivaciously, stunning smile after all.
His father left him such an amazing gift; a gift that had allowed him to save the ones he loved from the cruel fate of an untimely death.
Sesshoumaru wanted to feel more of their pup’s aura; the fatherly pride that filled him made the Taiyoukai want to be closer to their surviving child.
As Sesshoumaru’s clawed hand touched the warm, bruised surface of his mate’s stomach, the Taiyoukai froze for a second time.
This time, the stoic Lord couldn’t hide the small smile that graced his lips as he gazed up warmly at the sleeping face of his little miko.
It was faint, but it was there.
Trying to stabilize itself with every passing minute was the faint youki of another pup; the one he thought they had lost.
Father… Sesshoumaru thought gratefully as he closed his eyes to feel more of the power coming from their pups; pups that he and Kagome would share together.
Never again, will he underestimate the power of the Tenseiga or his own father’s judgment.
The lives of his unborn pups had been spared and for that, Sesshoumaru was eternally grateful for the second chance that was given to them.
Sesshoumaru vowed to protect his family and now that he was back at home, he would be able to do so, himself.
He was presented with a second chance as well, and he wasn’t going to allow any room for mistakes this time; for the sake of his mate and children.
Sesshoumaru vowed to use the second chance to try and make amends with Kagome, now that their pups will survive.
Undoubtedly, Kagome would be happy about that when she wakes up and hopefully, it would be a good opportunity to bond with her.
Things were now starting to turn around in his favor…
His father had left a truly amazing gift, indeed.