Wonders Never Cease

Chapter Five to Ten

The hours passed faster than she would have liked them to and she soon had but an hour before the car he was sending was supposed to arrive. She hadn’t a clue what she should wear tonight and was still trying to make a final decision. When she did finally decide, she chose to go very simple with everything. She didn’t use any products or make-up except her usual deodorant, as she knew that Inu youkai senses were very sensitive. She began to be very nervous about being alone with him, but for entirely different reasons than she would have been before Friday. No matter what they called tonight she would still be going to a strange house to be alone with him for most of the night. That would make any woman nervous if he was a human, not to mention if he was his powerful daiyoukai self.

By five forty-five she had gotten dressed and made her way downstairs. She was showing her mom, having her give a final once over to make sure everything was where it ought to be. She had chosen an outfit between the spectrum that existed between the outfit she had worn to the club Friday and the comfy clothes she had worn earlier. She now wore a casual summer dress made of light cotton in a gradated color pattern from dark green on the bottom to a light teal color around the bodice. It had an empire waist and flowed out until ending at mid-calf. It was flowy and moved around her whenever she walked, and had spaghetti straps. She paired it with a little black sweater with three-quarter sleeves in case it got chilly later this evening. She left her hair down and wore green beaded dangly earrings with the watch her mom had given her for her birthday last year. She also wore a lucky jade pendant her father had given her when she was just a little girl. The last thing she completed the outfit was a pair of strappy sandals in black she brought downstairs to sit beside the front door until the can arrived for her.

Her mom told her that she looked beautiful. and to just be calm, and everything would be fine tonight. Considering this was the first time she had gone anywhere with a man, date or not, since junior high, she was definitely nervous. There was a ring of the doorbell at six o’clock on the dot. Both Kagome and her mom were shocked to find a black stretch limo waiting behind the driver at the door. This would be the first time she had ever ridden in one so Kagome was very excited. Grabbing a small purse she had stuffed her cell phone and wallet into, she let the driver lead her over to the limo before he opened the door for her and everything. She murmured a quick, but polite, thank you before climbing into the huge thing as ladylike as possible.

Lost in her thoughts and nervousness, the time it took Hige, as the driver had introduced himself, to get to their destination flew by. When Kagome heard the sound of the tires pulling from the main road onto a cobblestone section she figured it must be the driveway and therefore they were pretty close to stopping. Hige opened her door at six twenty exactly and announced that they were at Nakagawa-sama’s home. This information confused her until she remembered that that was the name Sesshomaru was going by these days. She was sure that was going to become more confusing the more time she spent with him. Her memory wasn’t the greatest to begin with. Her cheeks heated when she realized that she was already planning on spending more time with him. Kagome wondered if he had anyone around him that knew the truth, for it must get lonely pretending to be someone else all the time. Perhaps there were some youkai or hanyou servants or employees working for him for they would know the truth. He was still a daiyoukai, the Lord of the Western Lands, after all. Kagome knew there had to be several people inside with youkai blood as her extra sense was a-buzzing, telling her there was more than just the owner of the house about.

She gasped when she really looked at the house as Hige led her toward the front door. This place is huge, she realized dazedly. In fact, 'house' really wasn’t the right term, for she was sure it had to be considered a mansion; or perhaps even a palace, given his youkai title. It was a beautiful place though. It was in the classic styling which she instantly knew meant it was really that old and hadn’t just had a refinished façade. She felt like she was back in time once more just looking at it. The exposed dark wood glistened in the moonlight as did the stone that made up the other part of it as well. There were banners hanging in a few places from wooden arches that matched the wood of the house. Kagome knew she hadn’t seen this banner before, but it looked very familiar. There was a white dog on a black background howling at a blue crescent moon with red slashes of lightning to one side.

Her mind forgot the house and the puzzling symbol she couldn’t make out on the banners the second the door opened and Sesshomaru stepped out to greet her. Damn he’s gorgeous, was the only thought making its’ way through her mind at the moment. He looks quite stunning, not that that was hard for him to achieve, she admitted inwardly. He was wearing something in the middle of the spectrum between his outfit this morning and his business suit from Friday. He was wearing very well-fitted black chinos and an extremely soft-looking short-sleeved button-up in a dark blue color. Both brought out the creamy color of his skin and magic’d hair. She realized then that his hair was down, showing its’ full length for the first time since she had seen him again. The only thing wrong was it was still the black color of his human guise. She figured it was still in place in case Hige-san and others might have seen him. As the limo driver obviously didn’t know the truth.

“Good evening, miko,” he greeted her as she approached. Kagome huffed out a breath at his way of never using her name, but knew it would in no way change that habit of his.

“Good evening Sesshomaru-sama,” she replied politely.

“Won’t you come in?” he inquired as he hooked her arm around his larger, muscular forearm and led her inside before shutting the door quietly behind them. “Welcome to my home,” he spoke then warmly, “I hope the drive was not too long.”

“Not at all,” Kagome told him nervously. Praying she didn’t stutter while trying not to notice the warm male flesh under her hand. “Your home is very beautiful,” she told him. Though she couldn’t see anyone having a contrary opinion once they had seen this place.

“I’m glad you think so,” he told her and she could hear the honesty in his voice. “Perhaps I’ll give you a tour of it and the grounds later, if you’d like,” he suggested as they walked further into the house.

“I’d like that,” she told him sincerely.

“Good,” he said with one of his infamous smirks. “But I must admit that I have a few surprises for you first.” His smirk turned into a mischievous smile, one she couldn’t help but return.

“Really?” she asked almost excited at the prospect. “What kind of surprises?” she asked again as he led her through the maze-like halls of the mansion sized house.

“Like those kind,” he whispered into her ear. Surprised at his sudden nearness as they rounded a corner into what looked to be the living room section of a huge great room, as there was a Western style dining table and chairs through an archway across the room. He pointed at something across the room as he whispered to her.

“Kagome?” came the voice of a man that stepped forward from where Sesshomaru had pointed. There was something extremely familiar about the man that was almost a whole foot shorter than the daiyoukai behind her. This man had reddish-brown hair pulled back in a long ponytail with poofy bangs and twinkling familiar bright green eyes with a mischievous gleam in them. But it was the familiar youkai aura she hadn’t sensed in almost six years and tail with fur the same color as his hair that made everything click into place.

"Shippo!?!?” Kagome exclaimed as tears of joy sprang to her eyes. “Is that really you?” They both met halfway as she hugged her ‘young’ adopted son that was now older than she would ever be. “Oh, Shippo!” she cried, her tears pouring down her cheeks now, “I thought I’d never see you again.” She hugged him tightly before spying Sesshomaru over his shoulder. She pulled slightly away from the kitsune so she could talk to both of them. Overwhelmed with emotion she found herself hugging Sesshomaru suddenly, not caring at the moment about what she was doing in context to anything else.

“Thank you so much Sesshomaru,” she told him with tears still streaming down her cheeks, “This is the best surprise ever, I can’t thank you enough,” she continued feelingly. She got caught in his intense amber gaze, and when their eyes met joltingly she felt the connection send a delightful shiver down her spine. She was very aware suddenly that her body was pressed very close to his and her breathing hitched at the new feeling in his eyes she couldn’t name. Blushing brightly she used all of her puny inner strength to break the almost palpable connection of their eyes and switched back to hugging the shorter youkai as nonchalantly as she could; meaning not at all.

“You’re quite welcome,” came Sesshomaru’s voice from right behind them. “But that was only the first one," he told her with a smile in his voice. Shippo laughed at that, such a familiar sound, just in a deeper tone now.

“What could be better than this?” she asked looking at Shippo, still amazed that this was really happening.

“Well,” Shippo replied instead of Sesshomaru, and she was amazed to see him blushing. Apparently some things never changed, no matter how old you are. “Kagome, I’d like you to meet my mate." he continued, shocking her. “Though, you’ve met her before, of course,” he said matter-of-factly. Kagome turned around to see a beautiful young woman that looked no older than herself standing next to Sesshomaru. It was that he was smiling in what could only be called a loving way at the young-looking woman more than anything that told Kagome who this was.

“Rin?” she asked aloud, though she was already sure of the answer.

“Oh, Kagome, it is so good to see you again!” Rin exclaimed as she came forward and both women hugged affectionately. Now that Kagome had a closer view she could see the familiar features of the little girl that had been staying with Kaede last time she had seen her. Even her voice sounded almost the same, but a little bit deeper, as it had the same musical quality it had had when she was a child. To think, that Rin and Shippo were mates and had been for such a long time blew her mind. Fresh tears rolled down her cheeks for all the years she had missed. Missed seeing Shippo and Rin grow up and fall in love. It was just too bittersweet.

“It’s good to see you too, Rin-chan, I missed all of you so very much.” She could see Sesshomaru over Rin’s shoulder and blushed violently as she realized she had missed him a lot more than she was able to admit to herself. Kagome had to look away when their eyes met for his gaze was much too intense and observant for her to handle at the moment. His smile was beautiful though. One of the most genuine smiles she had ever seen from him. And if she wasn’t mistaken; there was a definite fatherly-type vibe coming from him as far as Rin was concerned.

“You guys are mates?’ Kagome asked rhetorically as she turned to grab one each of Rin and Shippo’s hands before leading them toward a long sofa nearby. She sat down between them, wanting to hear all about their lives. “When exactly did that happen?” she asked with a curious smile on her face.

“It was about twenty years after you…umm…disappeared,” Shippo said awkwardly, a bittersweet smile on his face.

“It’s okay Shippo,” Kagome interjected quickly, “I told him all about the jewel and the well,”

“Oh,” Shippo uttered in surprise, “Good, as I don’t suppose it matters much now anyway,” he continued, “Anyway, it started when Sesshomaru invited InuYasha’s family to come and live here with him. I was living with them by then and Rin was already living here as well when we moved in.” Kagome tried not to show her surprise at the fact Sesshomaru had invited InuYasha and family to live here with him. That and the fact that Rin had been living here with him as well. She really didn’t pull it off though, as her eyes widening had given her away.

"Yes,” Rin murmured and nodded in agreement before she continued the story herself. “I was of age by then and I told Father shortly after that I loved my mate and he told uncle and we were mated before the next new year.” Rin smiled in pure delight at that and Shippo smiled back with what could only be pure unadulterated love shining in his eyes as he looked at her.

“Father?” Kagome asked for clarification, though she already knew who Rin had meant.

“Yes,” Sesshomaru spoke up for the first time since she had hugged Rin. He had taken a seat in a huge and comfy looking leather arm chair across from the couch they were sitting on. “I adopted Rin as my own in both youkai and human ways once I finished building this house,” he told her matter-of-factly, and it staggered her.

“So, Uncle would be InuYasha?” she asked just to make sure.

“Yes,” Shippo answered her this time. “InuYasha adopted me into his family as well. But it was more of a big brother/little brother relationship that we always had,” he continued, shocking her as well.

“Well, I’ll be!” she cried out in surprise. “InuYasha actually took responsibility for something. That’s amazing,” she said in a half-serious, half-joking manner. Shippo laughed with her at that.

“Yeah, though part of it was Kikyo’s nesting instinct from being pregnant with their first pup. It had shocked me as well, and Kaede’s face was priceless.” All three on the couch cracked up at this, but Kagome noticed that Sesshomaru had a strange look on his face that silenced her laughter instantly.

“That was amazingly generous of both InuYasha and you, Sesshomaru,” she felt the need to tell him, “I’m glad you became one big pack in the end." She smiled very shyly at him when she was finished. She was blushing at the look in his eyes that she still couldn’t identify. It made her feel weird and her cheeks fill with even more redness.

“It was the least I could do,” he told her, almost sounding embarrassed about it, “We were always the same pack. We were just too stubborn to admit it.” Sesshomaru confessed and she smiled brightly at him being able to admit that after all this time. They smiled at each other while Shippo and Rin just laughed at his words before she had to look away in embarrassment once again.

“So, where are you two living now?” Kagome asked the mates next to her curiously.

"Well, most of the time we still live here.” Shippo told her, “But we were visiting Kin in Kyoto when Sesshomaru called to tell us about running into and wanting to surprise you tonight,” he smiled, “So, of course, we rushed back here so we could visit with you,” he explained excitedly.

“Who is Kin?” she asked, a never-ending supply of curiosity, it seemed.

“Oh, that’s right,” Shippo said suddenly, “We haven’t told you everything yet.” He laughed at that and Kagome saw Rin smile in response. “Kin, he’s our youngest son.”

“Your youngest son?!” Kagome exclaimed incredulously. “How many children do you have exactly?” she asked in a slightly wary tone.

“Just three,” Shippo told her laughingly at her expression. “Two boys and a girl,” he continued, “There's Sesshomaru, we call him Maru, our oldest, and then Sango, is our middle child, and Kin, who is named after my father, is our youngest.”Kagome felt tears prick the corners of her eyes at the lovely homage to her best female friend.

“That’s wonderful,” she said tearfully and knew Shippo got what she was talking about without him having to ask for specifics.

“Perhaps we should retire to the dining room now,” came Sesshomaru’s soft suggestion. “We don’t want to overload you with too much information at once. Especially not on an empty stomach." He smiled softly at her and she felt something inside of her flip-flop at his expression and thoughtful words. Kagome knew that if she wasn’t careful she would end up feeling more for the daiyoukai than the very strong and inexplicable attraction that zinged through her whenever she saw him. She was much too anxious at the moment to contemplate such things though, and tried desperately to drive such thoughts from her mind.

Dinner was a very energetic affair. They spent the time telling stories and asking more questions. Sesshomaru seemed to only observe and so surprised her when he interjected his own take on the way things happened during a certain part of the story they were telling at the moment. Rin and Shippo were amazed to find it had only been five years for her. Though they said she looked hardly any different. She couldn’t return the compliment as they had both grown up and matured into better versions of themselves. Shippo, still the outspoken one, asked questions that were mortifying to her. He asked about her school years and if she had many dates and boyfriends. She blushingly replied honestly in the negative. After the fiasco with Hojo she hadn’t bothered. He asked her if she tried after school. She thought about lying, but could never lie to Shippo. Kagome told him the truth that she didn’t date at all. She didn’t tell them about her depression upon returning, as it wasn’t their fault. Shippo finally asked her if she was seeing anyone now. With a bright blush as she snuck a look at Sesshomaru, she told him 'no'. Kagome tried to gauge the daiyoukai’s response to her answers, but the fact that he was in the room at all just embarrassed her further.

Sesshomaru was glad for Shippo’s questions as they told him answers he wanted, but questions he couldn’t politely ask. He noticed the miko’s red cheeks and glances his way during those questions. He took them as small signs of encouragement. He was also gratified to know his surprises thus far had garnered the reaction he had hoped for. He had been glad that she had been so happy to see Shippo and Rin that the deep sadness that seemed to always inhabit her aura had been all but wiped away during those moments. He wanted to make her happy again, to see it shining in those stormy blue eyes of hers. She deserved it, he knew.

He was surprised to find that she was so innocent when it came to the dating scene, as Shippo had called it earlier. He wondered again if she had been truly been in love with his brother. Sesshomaru felt jealous of InuYasha once more, as well as sad for Kagome who had had to go through him choosing someone else as his mate. He wasn’t sure what she felt toward his brother now though, for during the stories about him in the past there had been no sign of heartache in her aura, or regret. He realized that either she had always felt friendship, or she was over her broken heart by now. Perhaps, she had just never found her Mr. Right, as they call it, he thought. He had known from her scent that she was still completely pure that first moment Friday night. His beast had liked that fact very much from the beginning. In this day and age it was practically impossible to find a virgin her age, even in a country as traditional as Japan. From her blushes and staggered explanations he wouldn’t be surprised if she had yet to receive a proper kiss, let alone anything more. His beast was suddenly begging him to be the one to educate her in such things, even if he still wouldn’t consider mating with her.

After dinner Kagome was surprised when Shippo and Rin begged exhaustion after traveling all day to get back in time to see her tonight, and went up to bed. Kagome didn’t keep them, but made sure to ask them their numbers. They replied that Sesshomaru would take call of all of that on their way upstairs. She watched wistfully as the mates that were obviously in love walked up the stairs hand in hand after a final wave goodbye to her and Sesshomaru.

“Thank you again for that,” she told him. She turned to look up at him, suddenly very shy now that they were alone. “Those were the best surprises, and meant more to me than I could even express,” she told him feelingly. Caught in his beautiful golden amber gaze once more as they just stared into each others’ eyes.

“You are very welcome, miko,” he told her. She suddenly remembered that he had dropped his human-like appearance not long after he had surprised her with Shippo and Rin. She had been pleased to see that Rin now had a crescent moon on her forehead as well. Kagome had only missed it because her thick hair had been covering it when they had first said hello. Without his magic covering his youkai markings Kagome realized he was truly the most gorgeous creature she had ever seen. He quite simply took her breath away. When he turned to tend the fire he had started earlier when the temperature had started to drop, he broke the intense gaze she had been caught within. Realizing that he had to have realized she was staring at him made her face become flushed once more.

“Would you like to see some more of the house and grounds?” he asked in a soft tone. His voice so deep and thick it almost felt like the brush of fur against her skin. “There are some points of interest I’m sure you will recognize,” he continued when she hadn’t responded yet.

“I would love to,” she said barely above a whisper and he placed her arm in the crook of his as he led her from the room. They went through a set of hallways until coming through a set of double doors that lay open. He stopped them just inside the doorway of the room that would look like an art history exhibit to anyone who didn’t know better. To Kagome, who did know better, she looked around and saw memories. In cases all around the room were different pieces that almost brought her to tears again.

“It must be very strange to have these here instead of needing them day to day as a matter of survival," she commented after stepping in front of a case that held three priceless artifacts. Sesshomaru walked up beside her then, in front of the case that held the Tenseiga, Bakuseiga, and Tessaiga in three ornate sword racks.

“Yes,” he told her honestly and simply, “But times change and if you don’t change with them you shouldn’t be around anymore.” She gasped at his words and looked at him with a strange emotion suddenly in her eyes. She blinked back tears as she turned back and seemed to study the swords that were all in their seemingly harmless states.

“The Tessaiga is finally yours,” she commented, irony ringing in her voice. “Does it make any difference after all this time?” she asked him softly.

“No,” he answered simply, “But it isn’t really mine,” he went on, “It never was. I figured that out a long time ago.”

“I’m glad,” she whispered while she sniffed back tears. She walked over to the next case and saw a mannequin wearing InuYasha’s familiar fire rat armor that he had worn for most of his life.

It surprised Sesshomaru that she didn’t look at his brother’s familiar armor for very long and didn’t ask any questions at all. She just moved on to the case with the false figure wearing his own traditional armor. She seemed to study it for a long time before looking up at him in an assessing manner. She tilted her head slightly and seemed to study him again.

“You know," she said into the silence, “It is very strange to see you in modern clothes.” She continued while looking between him and his armor. “It will take some getting used to,” she commented offhandedly. “For Shippo too. Both of you looked better in your older clothes. Well, maybe not better,” she amended with a blush and a sidelong glance at him, “Just right or something since I was used to seeing you in this," she indicated the armor with a slight nod in its’ direction. Before he could take time to examine her comments and what was an obvious indicator that she found him attractive, she moved on to the next case. He knew the tears that had been fighting to get free finally won the moment she stepped in front of the next case.

Inside this case were two mannequins: one female and one male. The female was dressed in a decidedly male-looking black outfit with colored trim. The male was dressed in the familiar robes of a travelling monk. There were also Sango’s Hiraikotsu and Miroku’s bronze holy staff next to their respective representations. Sesshomaru saw her reach out as if to touch the figures, but when her hand touched the glass her eyes cleared as if she had been lost in her memories once more. Realizing she was leaving a mark, she pulled her hand back with a gasp.

“Oops, sorry,” she breathed, the salt of her tears still a very evident scent. They seemed to be falling silently this time. The sadness he thought to make less evident in her aura returned with a vengeance. He wanted to make it vanish for good, but knew that because she was still grieving it just wasn’t possible at this time.

“It’s just a smudge on the glass,” he told her quietly, “It’s okay.” He took her and in his, surprising her before hooking it in his arm and leading her past the cases that contained mannequins wearing Rin, Shippo, and Kikyo’s ancient clothing. He led her back toward the living room, but turned before reaching it to lead her out to a beautifully manicured garden that seemed to circle the entire huge house.

Sesshomaru led her down the path slowly so she could take in the trees filled with cherry blossoms, manicured hedges and rows of flowers, as well as a couple koi ponds. All of this added to the wonderful scent and overall pleasant feeling he had tried so hard to achieve within his personal gardens. There were other places he would show her later. For instance, certain graves on the south side of the house. But not tonight, he thought, for he couldn’t bear to see anymore sadness invade her aura. Especially since it had been so peaceful earlier. It seemed that without his realizing, he cared for the little miko more than he had thought possible, and whether he had given himself permission to or not. It was quite disconcerting to just suddenly realize this, to say the least.

Chapter Six –

“This is quite beautiful,” she whispered into the amiable silence that had fallen between them. She moved a little away from him to study a statue that seemed to be an old chi dog covered in moss and even sprouting tiny white flowers in places.

“Thank you, miko,” he said just as quietly. He saw her huff indignantly as she did every so often at his continued refusal to use her name. She had no idea that in calling her ‘miko’ for so long, it had become his nickname for her. And at times even an endearment of sorts. He was glad she didn’t get that yet, for it was too awkward for him to admit to himself. Just thinking about what he did feel for her made him have to look away suddenly as his beast was now licking its’ chops at the way she looked in that delectable dress tonight. Shaking himself mentally, he focused on the regulation of his breathing. She seemed to study him as if just remembering something before smiling brightly up at him. She stepped closer to him, her eyes shining as she continued to get closer. It was almost as if she thought she needed to get a better look. She stopped mere inches from him and seemed to be staring at his face. Remembering that he had his shielding magic off, he knew she was studying his markings. He had to take some relaxing breaths and remind himself that she was not his in any way. Yet, his beast had to add childishly. The breaths did not work and actually backfired as her delicious scent worked its’ way deeper into his senses, teasing him in ways she never had. Except, he amended, in those dreams he had had the past two nights.

“Perfect,” she whispered as she stopped in front of him. “You don’t look right without them,” she murmured in a distracted voice. Before he realized what she was doing, her fingers came up to trace the slashes of red on his cheeks and the crescent moon on his forehead. He closed his eyes in reaction to the feel of her touch against his skin and she lightly traced the marks on his eyelids as well. He barely held his reaction in check at her innocent actions, but he couldn’t help the fact that his beast was rising. He was sure his eyes had red bleeding into the whites at the moment. He pushed his beast back, not wanting to frighten her. When her fingertips suddenly found and traced the outline of one of his pointed ears, a strangled growl escaped him suddenly. She gasped, her hand flying up to cover her mouth that was now gaping open in surprise.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered hurriedly, and he knew his eyes were still infused with red. “I couldn’t seem to help myself,” she said as she shuffled backward another half-step toward the doors leading inside. She lowered her hand slowly as she went on, “It must be the wine I had with dinner,” she excused lamely, “I must be more of a lightweight than I realized.” She continued to mutter and it sounded like she was trying to convince herself along with him. He stepped closer to her as she unknowingly backed herself against the French doors, blocking the nearest escape route.

“You only had half a glass,” he whispered thickly and knew his control was very thin at the moment. He kept moving closer to her and only stopped when they were mere inches apart. “You aren’t that much of a lightweight,” he told her matter-of-factly.

“I’m sorry,” she repeated and licked her lips nervously. It was a gesture that made both parts of him more aroused. “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” she went on and her voice pleaded with him to believe her.

“You didn’t hurt me,” he whispered and sensed her heartbeat speed up more than before as her breathing became faster as well.

“Then why are your eyes red? And what was that growl about?” she asked incredulously, trying to puzzle it out it seemed, while completely missing the obvious.

“Shut up Kagome,” he whispered endearingly before he lowered his lips to kiss her very soundly on the mouth. She had gasped in shock when he said her name and he used her partially open mouth to his advantage. He traced the inside and outside of her lips with his tongue and had to hold back another growl when she made a whimper-like sound in her throat. He felt her relax against him more, but had to break the kiss when they ran out of air. He also wanted to gage her reaction, as well as his own.

“You called me, Kagome,” she stated, still overwhelmed with shock. Her eyes strayed to his mouth and he knew she was finally coming out of her surprised daze. She brought her fingers up to her lips, her eyes hazy for a different reason now. “What was that for?” she asked, surprise still evident in her tone and expression. He couldn’t help smirking at her once more.

“Perhaps,” he began in a lust-thickened voice, “I was just trying a new way to shut you up,” he told her playfully. He saw her cheeks heat up as acute embarrassment poured from her aura.

“Hey!” she exclaimed indignantly. He chuckled before lowering his lips to kiss her again. Her surprise faded quickly this time before she started to respond. He traced her lips with his tongue again before deepening the kiss. Her gasp turned into a sound of pleasure when his tongue tasted hers. When they came up for air this time he was much more pleased with her reaction. She had wrapped her arms around his shoulders and was panting as hard as he was. She looks quite stunning, he thought absently, with her lips swollen for my kisses and her eyes glazed with passion as she looks up at me. Her hair shining in the moonlight was lovely as well and he couldn’t resist the temptation to reach up and run his fingers through the long strands before starting the process over again.

“Sesshomaru?” she made a question of his name, “That wasn’t to shut me up too, was it?” she asked in a tone that made him realize how unsure and innocent she really was.

“No,” he assured her, “They were both because I couldn’t resist the temptation of the beautiful woman in front of me anymore,” he stated honestly.

“Oh,” she said, amazed at his words. “Do you really think I’m beautiful?” she asked softly. She raised her eyes to look at him, but had to lower them right away, a submissive gesture his beast appreciated. He felt himself become aroused further at that small gesture.

“Look at me miko,” he virtually ordered her, and she obeyed automatically, looking up at him shyly. “I know you are an extremely beautiful woman,” he told her plainly, “It’s the truth.” Her cheeks brightened before she surprised him greatly by leaning over to place a kiss on his cheek.

“Thank you,” she murmured into his ear and he couldn’t stop a growl of surprised pleasure at her actions.

“You’re quite welcome,” he replied, whispering in her ear. “Are you chilled?” he asked when he felt her shiver. “Let us return inside then,” he told her before ushering her inside until they were before the fire he had started earlier. He began rubbing her arms to warm her up when her voice suddenly entered the silence.

“I’m not cold,” she whispered and he looked down at her bright red face, embarrassment pouring off of her aura once more. He quirked his eyebrow in curiosity and wondered at her sudden show of nerves.

“Then why…” he began, but paused in shock as a whiff of a new fragrance hit his nose. He gasped and looked down at her. She seemed more mortified than ever. The pungent scent of her arousal worked through his senses until he couldn’t help leaning down to nuzzle her neck. Nor could he help the growl of satisfaction he uttered and felt her shiver again in response. He smirked before placing a kiss on her pulse point. She gasped at that and a fresh wave of her arousal poured over him when his tongue darted out to trace the spot again he could feel her pulse jumping under her skin. His beast was suddenly yelling at him to mate with her; to mark the soft flesh beneath his mouth that his lips were even now caressing. He held himself back though as lust wasn’t a reason to mate her, neither could he do so against the miko’s will. His beast conceded but just changed its’ refrain to rut with her, and now. But she deserved better than to be treated like that. Sesshomaru now understood his father’s choice of a human mate as he never had before. However, he was unsure of what exactly he felt for the miko. The only human he had ever loved was Rin, and that was a completely different kind of love, a completely different relationship.

The miko let out a soft strangled cry as he unintentionally scraped his teeth on the spot his beast urged him to mark. That small sound mixed with the scent of her arousal until his tightened control all but snapped. And it was enough for his beast to take control momentarily. A moment was more than enough, as he lowered his head, capturing her lips to plunder her mouth until she cried out in pleasure. She wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing him even closer. She whimpered as he pressed closer, his arousal more than evident as it was pressed hotly against her stomach. He moved her so her back was against the wall next to the fireplace, trying to fit himself intimately between her legs.

“Sesshomaru,” she moaned in pleasure and even as he controlled his beast, he wasn’t stopping something he had been waiting for since seeing her again. He rubbed himself against her and she couldn’t help but cry out again. His hands moved up slowly to cup her breasts; her words and cries swallowed as he devoured her mouth. She finally seemed to respond in kind as she followed his lead, her tongue tasting his. She moaned into their kiss as he continued to kiss and caress her expertly. She surprised him when she lifted one of her legs to wrap it around his hips. He cried out as well when his arousal caressed the juncture of her thighs. Her dress riding up to her thighs with her leg wrapped around his body. She wrapped her arms more tightly around his neck, her fingers sinking into his silver tresses. He continued to rub himself against her and was thrilled when she started to move against him as well.

She arched her body into him when his fingers moved to caress the already hardened peaks of her breasts, bringing out sensations she had never imagined. His thumbs caressed her nipples in ways that had her crying out into their kiss. He brought one hand down to her thigh, bringing the other leg up to wrap around his trim hips as well. He growled low in his throat when her nails sunk into his scalp in a surprisingly pleasurable way as she reacted to the way their bodies were intimately fitted together, his hips grinding into hers. She moaned out his name once more as their hips met through her panties and his slacks as her dress had ridden up further with both of her legs around him now. His hand below moved from her thigh to her butt, surprising them both when they realized there was only one layer of cloth between their skin. He cupped her behind and lifted her up each of the times their bodies met. Crying out almost silently, as the pleasure shocked both of them with its’ intensity at this new angle.

Suddenly, a log in the back of the fire fell forward with a sizzling pop. It sounded like a gunshot in the strained silence of the room. They broke apart almost instantly. Both of them panting roughly as she tried to right her clothes. Kagome’s cheeks were redder than they ever had been before, and she couldn’t bring herself to look up at him in her extreme mortification. At the same time Sesshomaru couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of her. Sesshomaru was ashamed that he had taken advantage of her innocence and lack of experience in this area, he felt awful. He stepped away so there was at least a foot of floor space between them while trying to get his prized self-control back in place. He sighed then, disgusted with himself.

“I didn’t mean to get so carried away, I’m sorry,” he said and Kagome looked up at his achingly beautiful features and blushed even brighter. He looked even better with his hair and clothes slightly mussed. To think, I helped do that to him, she thought and was strangely happy about that. She also realized that she must be mussed as well. Not being able to look at him in very long doses, as her embarrassment was still quite acute. Just thinking about the wonderful sensations he was able to make her feel made the blush stay in her cheeks. Just thinking that he was panting and aroused as well made her insides do a funny little flip, especially since she was miraculously enough, the cause of his present discomfort.

“It’s not your fault,” she told him haltingly when she was finally able to speak. Her voice had a breathy quality to it she had never heard before. And to think he made her body react so easily with a few kisses and caresses, and an arousing embrace. “You weren’t the only one there, you know,” she told him bravely. She did not want to just stand back and let him feel sorry for one of the most amazing things that had ever happened to her. “I would have stopped you if I hadn’t wanted any of that to happen,” she finished, having to look away from his intense amber gaze before getting all of the words out. She was proud of herself that she had gotten them out at all.

Drawn back to her side, wanting to be closer to her and her scent, he came to the miko’s side again. Leaning down to nuzzle her neck before he could stop himself.

“I know,” he spoke softly from his place below her ear. “The changes in your scent call out to me as words never could.” He felt her shiver, but with his self-control back in place he restrained his beast and his body not to react more than he already was at the moment. “But I also know that you are not ready. This is neither the time nor the place, as I have more respect for you than that,” he whispered thickly in her ear. “It would perhaps be best if I took you home now.”

“If you think that’s best,” she said. Totally out of her depth here, what she said was true. She would leave it to him to decide what to do. Kagome felt very young and stupid suddenly and didn’t like the feeling in the least. She walked over to the couch where she sat earlier with Shippo and Rin and smiled inwardly as she slipped her sweater back on and grabbed her purse from the end table as well. She looked up at him expectantly and waited.

Sesshomaru was conflicted. He wished he could clear up his own mind and especially his feelings. She deserved much more than to just simply sate his physical desires. Though his beast was screaming at him to do just that now that he had her right where he wanted her. He had more respect for her though and she was too innocent to be so crudely introduced to the culmination of passion when she had just had her first taste of it tonight. When he made love to her, it would mean something, he thought. And it would be a special experience that was worthy of her. He cursed himself for his impudent assumption that he would rut with her eventually. But his beast was yelling at him to get real, as it was only a matter of time. They would end up together that way sooner or later. His beast was having no such guilt about his feelings. It wanted to keep her and didn’t know why he was having such a hard time getting with the program.

“For now,” Sesshomaru said, coming to a temporary conclusion that nothing more would happen tonight. “No matter what we both feel to the contrary, I do think it best, miko,” he told her quietly and took her hand in his. “Besides,” he went on suddenly, “It is getting late and if I’m not mistaken you have to work tomorrow.” He latched onto the first plausible excuse he could think of.

“Oh, yeah,” Kagome murmured after looking at her watch. “I guess the wonderful surprises erased all thoughts of the real world from my mind.” He placed her hand in the crook of his arm as before after giving it an affectionate squeeze. Acting in this way at least, like nothing as earth-shattering as the last few minutes had been for her had happened allowed her to gather herself enough to follow him where he led. She was surprised when they headed in a different direction and not to the limo that lay like a great sleeping beast on the other end of the circular driveway.

“Is Hige-san going to drive me home?” she asked as she was suddenly very curious where he was leading her.

“No,” Sesshomaru stated simply, “I reserve the right and pleasure to take you home this evening.” She couldn’t help smiling at his complimentary answer.

“But aren’t all the cars in the other direction?” she asked meekly, a little confused at this point.

“I didn’t mention driving,” he said with his famous smirk in place. They had come to a stop at a huge patch of grass just beyond the garden and she was about to ask for an explanation when he let out a very loud and high-pitched whistle. Suddenly a fire-colored light appeared several paces in front of them. Before she could do more than squint her eyes and wonder what it was a cat-sized ball of fur had jumped into her arms, licking her face and purring like crazy.

“Kirara!” Kagome squealed excitedly, hugging the fire neko’s smaller form to her affectionately. “I’m happy to see you too,” Kagome told her, tears pricking her eyes once more, “I’m so glad you’re still alive. I was worried about you.” She looked up to see Sesshomaru smiling down at her. “Thank you very much for another great surprise,” she told him feelingly as tears fell down her cheeks again. “Are you going to take me home, girl?” she asked the fire neko still purring against her chest. The only answer she got was Kirara jumping to the ground, walking a few feet away, and changing into her much larger form. The source of the flame-colored light Kagome had seen a few minutes ago now explained. She hugged Kirara’s larger form before turning toward Sesshomaru. “Thank you,” she told him again.

“Your smile is more than enough thanks,” he told her as he came up beside her to wipe away her tears with his clawed thumbs gently. She smiled up at him again, touched by this side of him.

“Does she live here as well?” Kagome asked while petting the monster cat. He helped her climb onto Kirara’s back before climbing on behind her.

“Sometimes.” He answered as Kirara jumped easily into the air. “She mostly goes where she pleases as she was never quite the same after the hunter died. She stays around the house because of Shippo mostly. His presence comforts her, as yours obviously does as well.” He told her while Kirara gained a familiar altitude. Kagome patted the feline beneath her lovingly while trying to ignore the fact that a certain Inu daiyoukai was pressed against her back. She felt a pang of sadness at the thought of Sango’s death once more. She realized that she was being selfish, very much so, and that wasn’t like her. After all, given the circumstances of her trips to the feudal era and their inordinate lifespans, she wasn’t the only one that had had to deal with the loss of her friends. Poor Shippo had had to deal with in up close and personal, living through it, instead of from afar as she had. And Sesshomaru and Rin as well. Though the bonds between her and her friends was much stronger than anyone outside of the circle of five, plus Kirara, would not have understood the pain of such a loss compared to the casual observer.

“Oh,” she exclaimed upon looking down, distracting herself from the unpleasant thoughts that had suddenly come upon her. “I haven’t flown by way of any demon magic in almost six years. Apparently I am not used to it anymore,” she remarked conversationally. Upon seeing the city below and then his neighborhood fading into the background as they travelled she couldn’t help exclaiming again. “Wow! The land looks so different travelling this way in modern times. It somehow seems even more surreal to me than doing it in the Feudal Era,” she remarked as she had just realized it herself.

“The land had changed so much since you were returned here,” Sesshomaru said to her. “The villages slowly became bigger and more populated as the human race grew until there were cities spanning whole former forests. When humans discovered their own type of magic with all of the technology that followed the discovery and the harnessing of electricity, the world changed at an even faster pace. Until, it morphed into what stretches for miles below us.” As he spoke they came upon the edge of downtown Tokyo, and she was surprised that the journey had been so quick. The sights of the bustling metropolis proved his point better than any spoken explanation ever could. Edo, the village that Kikyo and Kaede had been raised in, had called home, had quickly grown and morphed into Tokyo as time had passed.

Kagome was sad in part that her race had taken away the wonders of nature she had marveled at and her friends had so loved during her time in the past. Those with youkai blood especially seemed so connected to nature that it must have been so hard for Sesshomaru, a daiyoukai and most powerful of his kind around, to watch helplessly as his kinds’ numbers diminished. And as the open wilderness that had been so long undisturbed shrunk as well. All the while humans were ever-growing with the mindset that bigger was most often better.

“I’m sorry,” was all Kagome could say as she tried to even fathom that small part of what he must have been witness to during the centuries between now and Feudal times. “It must have been horrible to watch humans and their seemingly inherent need for more destroy the land itself. And in their need to assert their newfound power, drive away all that had been good and beautiful in the past. No wonder you hated humans so much,” she remarked seemingly in a lighter tone than the seriousness of her words and thoughts could warrant. “I’m not too happy with them all the time either.”

Sesshomaru couldn’t help but wince slightly at the conclusion of her lengthy inner, and shorter vocal monologue. Part of the reason was, undeniably, that most, if not all, of what she had said was true. Or had been at some point in time. The other part was that it pained him to see her so bogged down with wrongs and injustices that she had had no part in during her short twenty-three years on this earth.

“Don’t speak in such a way, miko,” he told her, also anxious to rid her of the heavy emotions weighing down her aura that had appeared after taking in the view. He had hoped to cause quite the opposite reaction from her during this ride. The worst he had supposed she was react was a short-lived melancholy from the remembrance of such events this ride would inevitably remind her of. He spoke in an attempt to distract her from her own musings as well. “There is good and bad in all peoples,” he went on diplomatically. “And I don’t hate humans, miko,” he informed her, “I do not believe I ever really did. It was merely the mislaid resentment I felt for my father and the circumstances surrounding his death.” He looked down at her with a soft smile that spoke of something quite different from hate. Sesshomaru couldn’t resist the urge to run his clawed fingers through her silky hair, as she was quite the picture of liveliness as she turned around to look at him curiously.

“Humans like Rin, and you, miko,” he continued, “Showed me that there was still good in humanity and that I had blinded myself to it for years, and also strength of spirit that I had not even guessed you mortals could have inside you.” He couldn’t help smiling a little crooked smile at the way she looked up at him in a slightly dazed manner suddenly.

The ride to her home did not last much longer, much to the chagrin of both. They landed softly and he slid gracefully off of Kirara before helping her off of the neko as well. As soon as they were off of her, Kirara changed into her smaller form once more and walked beside them, curling herself around Kagome’s leg purr-fully. He led her across the grass covered lawn toward her family’s house. She blushed suddenly, for seemingly no reason this time, and he couldn’t help quirk a brow that betrayed his curiosity.

“Thank you for a wonderful evening, and the best surprises I’ve ever gotten,” the miko told him as the neko jumped into her arms for a cuddle before jumping down again to rub against both of their legs and sauntering off on her own.

“The pleasure was most assuredly mine as well,” he told her. “Thank you for dining with us. It was a treat for Rin and Shippo too, I know. Kirara seemed pleased as well,” he said and looked over his shoulder as the neko changed forms once more and flew off to wherever it was she went when she wasn’t on his lands.

“It was good to see them again,” she said and was afraid she would start to cry again as the joy of the surprises were still too much for her to process fully. “Hey!” she exclaimed in a whisper as she was shocked when Kirara suddenly flew off without him. “Where’s she going? Why didn’t you make her wait for you?” Kagome asked him in a curious way.

“She only came because she wanted to see you in the first place,” he told her with a knowing smile and she realized for possibly the first time how much wiser he must be than her, how much more he must know about pretty much everything. He obviously knew how to handle Kirara as well. “Besides, he continued, “It’s not like I’m completely stranded here,” he said and produced a familiar cloud before floating a couple feet above the ground. He floated back down and the cloud disappeared as he had made his point.

“Oh, yeah,” she muttered, surprised that things like this could escape her mind from time to time.

“I must admit," Sesshomaru started to tell her with a more serious edge to his voice. “I am very glad you ran into me the other night,” she blushed at this and had to look away from the sudden heat in his amber eyes. “I have rather enjoyed the time spent in your company since,” he admitted, much to her amazement. “I must ask you if you would object to seeing me again,” he continued and Kagome looked up with a tilt to her head as she seemingly thought hard about something.

“Of course I don’t object to that,” she told him easily with a small, but rather sly smile.

“When are you able to spend time with me again?” he asked, trying to keep the desperation, or something very similar, out of his voice. “I know that Rin and Shippo want to see you again soon as well,” he continued as if he thought he needed to give her more reason for her to answer with a sooner day than she had already planned to.

“My next day off is Friday,” she told him while trying to suppress the urge to grin like an idiot. “And I get off at two-thirty every work day,” she continued. She was finding it hard not to be confused about seeing him again, even thought she had yet to leave his company now. She was perplexed about how she would talk to him after the heater encounter next to his fireplace, and how to act around him in general. The experience was too new and pleasurable for her to know what to do about it at the moment. “Whenever you would like to would probably be fine with me,” she assured him and hoped she didn’t sound insipid.

“Would tomorrow evening be too soon?” he asked, knowing it was selfish of him to ask, but a basic part of him wanted to monopolize all of his miko’s time, that he may pass more of it in her company. “We could have an early dinner in the city and then go back to visit with Rin and Shippo at our home,” he continued, coming up with the scheme as he spoke.

“That sounds like a lovely idea,” Kagome responded, still in a daze from his wanting to spend more time with her on a personal level.

“And miko,” he said then, using one of his clawed fingers to raise her chin gently so she had to look him in the eye. “This I must consider a date,” he drawled, smirking mercilessly as her cheeks involuntarily heated at this. “For our friends will not be there during our dinner. Just you and me,” he said at last. Her temperature continued to steadily climb. It was still amazing to her that he had already asked her out once, sort of, but the fact that he was making a point to do so again left her quite speechless. She was certain he could not be as indifferent to her as she had supposed before today. “I hope this does not disturb you,” he continued then in a teasing manner, but she thought that she sensed some real concern there behind it.

“Not at all,” she told him breathily, as she was quite trapped within his beautiful golden gaze.

“Good,” he told her quite feelingly before leaning down to kiss her very surprised mouth thoroughly. “I shall pick you up here at four, okay?” he half-asked and half panted as both of them were trying to catch their breaths after that last kiss.

“Okay,” she breathed; her head spinning from his kiss. Hearing this, he was quite determined to leave her completely breathless. He kissed her again quickly, but deeply, and quite as deadly as the one before.

“Goodnight miko,: he told her, his lips less than a centimeter from hers, “And pleasant dreams,” he wished her in a lethally sexy tone as he was suddenly remembering the troublesome on one hand and amazing on the other hand dreams he had been having lately, starring the two of them in rather intimate scenarios since meeting her again.

“Goodnight,” she whispered dazedly. She surprised both of them as she boldly rose to her tiptoes, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him with all of the new passion that he had aroused within her. For as she had been having the same dreams, a fact quite unknown to them both, she was reminded of them as well and found his lips so near too much of a temptation at this moment of weakness. Knowing he should stop this, but also pleased beyond words with her initiation of their current embrace and the passionately innocent way she was kissing him back, as he had taken control almost immediately, was keeping him at a standstill as to decide what to do. Her warm and extremely pleasing body pressed so willingly against his own was also serving to hamper his judgment.

His fingers fisted in her hair before he yanked enough to tilt her head back further so he could deepen the kiss even more. She made a whimpering sound of pleasure in her throat and he couldn’t help the answering growl of his own pleasure and satisfaction that vibrated them both with its’ strength. He was unknowingly backing them up toward the doorway, trying to press closer to her. Unfortunately for them he backed her right into the doorbell. Breaking apart slightly in pure shock, he groaned at this stupid accident. Growling in regret he bent very quickly to kiss her one last time.

“Dream of me,” he whispered hotly in her ear seconds before the previously dark porch light was switched on. “For I will most certainly dream of you,” he said. And so saying he backed down the porch, his face and gaze so intense she felt a shiver go down her spine just watching him. He called his cloud then and was quickly flying back to his home. Watching him float away Kagome thought that his parting words must be at the same time the most romantic and erotic ones that anyone had ever said to her. Before she could think much on this subject though, the front door opened to reveal the confused and sleepy-looking figure of her mom. She had a confused and concerned look on her face at the sight of her daughter staring of at the night sky.

“Kagome, sweetheart, what are you doing?” she asked, her tired voice spoke that she had been awakened by the sudden high-pitched ring of the doorbell.

“Sorry,” Kagome said striving for a composed response, “I forgot my key,” she lied as she slipped silently past her mother.

“Oh,” her mom said in a somewhat dazed tone. Though she knew it was only her mom’s sleepy state that had her responding so acceptingly. Little did Kagome know, her mom was more aware than she appeared at the moment. Her mom had taken in the sight of her daughters’ mussed hair and swollen lips and it wasn’t hard for her to guess what had happened. Especially since her mom had caught a brief glimpse of a familiar silver-haired figure floating into the distance as she had opened the door. Mrs. Higurashi, having been very worried about her daughter and the depression she had descended into after the magic of the well ceased to work, had mixed feelings on this surprising subject.

She was thrilled that he daughter seemed to be living her life again instead of just trying to survive, but at the same time she hoped that Kagome wouldn’t get hurt. It wasn’t that she thought ill of Sesshomaru-sama or anything, but her daughter was rather inexperienced in the area of romance and the chance of being left brokenhearted is a possibility in any relationship of that sort. All of this caused her to worry about her daughter and hope for the best at the same time. Such is the lot in life for a caring mother. Being too tired to breach such a subject now, she let Kagome pass and echoed her daughter’s call of ‘goodnight’ as they passed each other on the way to their respective bedrooms.

Kagome, still in a state of disbelief over all that had happened today, slowly changed into her pajamas and climbed slowly into bed already in a dreamy state of mind. For the first night since the dreams had started she found herself almost impatient to fall asleep. Quite a turn in her attitude since last time she had found herself in this position. She couldn’t think of the time spent in Sesshomaru’s presence without feeling her cheeks heat. To be kissed and touched by such a male. It was almost too much. She wondered how long his interest in seeing her would last. She couldn’t find anything so interesting about her to warrant his attention in this way. One reason could be the novelty of her being human and still having known him, Shippo and Rin back then. A second reason, that seemed more likely, was probably the startling physical attraction between them and all it could lead to. But she didn’t know why he would bother with someone as innocent and inexperienced as she is.

Unless, she thought morbidly, he was using her as a different kind of entertainment altogether, for living so very long must be dreadfully boring at times. Pushing aside such depressing thoughts, she thought of the little voice inside her that was urging her to believe that he actually liked her, and that he truly wanted to spend time with her because of that. That went along with the talk of being friends earlier. Realizing that she really should stop all this conjecture as it got her nowhere, and try to get some sleep for she had to get up early to get ready for work before actually going in. Her last conscious thought was a wish that Sesshomaru wanting to see her was because he really did like her.

Chapter Seven –

The next day went by in a maelstrom of activity. After her alarm had gone off at its’ usual time she had a hard time getting into her normal morning routine. Kagome was having quite a lot of trouble waking up all the way and shaking off the dreams that had come to her last night as well. It was a while before she was fully functional. Thankfully, by the time she had finished a quick breakfast and started driving into town toward her office her mind seemed to finally be awake completely once again. Kagome finally got back into the swing of things by the time she clocked in upon reaching her workplace, the offices of Dragonfire Technologies Unlimited. Directing phone calls, giving directions to visitors, and setting up appointments for her boss made the day pass rather quickly, as it did most days.

It was time for her lunch break seemingly before she could blink, and realizing that she had only had a muffin and a cup of coffee before rushing out the door, she was quite looking forward to eating something more substantial. She was hailed by a couple of her friends, Momo and Dojima, which she hadn’t seen since before leaving the club on Friday. Both asked her if she was feeling better and expressed worry while hoping her whole weekend wasn’t ruined. Kagome told them that it was nothing really. She told them that she had run into someone that she had thought was a childhood friend, for it was kind of true. Kagome said that it had brought up memories best left forgotten, which was certainly true as well.

She finally admitted that it did turn out to be who she had thought it was and he had ended up giving her a ride home because she hadn’t been feeling well by then. Kagome explained this to them only after they said that Rei, the third friend she had gone out with Friday, had seen her getting into a really nice car with a super fox. More like super-dog, she thought with an inner chuckle. Kagome tried to direct the conversation back to them and what they had done over the weekend, but their curiosity about the mystery man and tales of his handsomeness kept bringing the conversation back to her. Finally, to shut them up, Kagome told them that they hadn’t seen each other for a very long time. She told them that his younger brother was Kagome’s best friend years ago, but he had died and his family had moved away; which was also true from a certain point of view. This information seemed to quiet her friends almost entirely, but Dojima couldn’t cease before asking her if she was going to see this guy again. Kagome told them she was going to see Toshiro, the name Sesshomaru was going by now, tonight actually, and they were going to visit with some of his extended family that she had been thrilled to see again, after so long.

The way that Kagome smiled made her friends smile secretly to themselves. Their friend, having seemingly gone through life on autopilot ever since they had met her, seemed to actually be happy about something. Even if it was something as simple as getting to hang out with old friends again, at least she was actually doing something without them having to drag her out with them. Also, the way that Kagome talked about this guy she had run into Friday got them very curious about what exactly Kagome felt about him. After prying over the years the three of them had known her, they knew that she didn’t really date, despite their best efforts to try and set her up, she always refused. It made them happy that she seemed to be making some kind of effort, even if this guy was just a friend as Kagome protested he was. But, from their point of views, the lady protested a bit too much.

Their lunch break was over sooner than any of them would have liked, as usual. Kagome’s friends made her promise that she would at least text them, if she couldn’t call, to tell them how things went tonight. Kagome promised, but mostly just so they would let her get back to her desk before she was late. The rest of the work day passed in a tizzy of activity as there was a meeting that she was actually included in. For it seemed that someone was attempting a corporate takeover of Dragonfire, and the board of directors were considering all of their options before they gave the other company their answer. The meeting was to get employee feedback, opinions, and questions about what a takeover would mean for them. And to alleviate fears that any jobs would be in jeopardy if they did take the deal. It seemed to Kagome that they had already agreed to the takeover and were having meetings like this so they didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings when it was officially announced. For this reason she was uncharacteristically silent throughout the meeting and just listened to the flurry of voices around her.

Her mind seemed to be stuck on other things anyway. Even before her friends asked questions about him at lunch, she found herself thinking about seeing Sesshomaru again tonight. She thought it was quite pathetic of her, that she couldn’t banish him from her mind for an hour or even half that. She was understandably curious about where they were going to go to dinner since he hadn’t said where they were going, only that they would have an early dinner. Kagome wondered if they were going to go to one of his favorite places and was interested to see if their tastes in food matched at all, or tastes in anything really. She was also confused as to what she should wear tonight for Sesshomaru hadn’t said what kind of attire would be acceptable. She wondered why she hadn’t bothered getting his cell number before now, or he hers, so she could ask him these things so she didn’t end up worrying unnecessarily, like she was right now.

Kagome was still worrying about it when she pulled into her family’s driveway. She greeted her mom and grandpa warmly, for Sota was still in school at this hour. She got the surprise of her life when her mom told her that there was a message from Sesshomaru on the house phone’s voicemail. Blushing for seemingly no reason at all, she thanked her mom and rushed up to her room to garb the extension beside her bed. She was near bursting with curiosity about what he would have to say and how he got their number in the first place. There was also a sudden fear that he was calling to cancel on her and she would have no way to get in contact with him.

“Mrs. Higurashi,” his deep voice said once she had called their voicemail. It felt like the brush of fur across her skin, even hearing a recording of him speaking. “This message is for your daughter,” he said quite officially before pausing a moment. “Miko,” his voice went on suddenly, “I looked up your family’s phone number when I realized neither of us thought to exchange our own. I do hope your mother will understand such an intrusion when the circumstances are explained,” He paused again to take a breath before beginning again, “I am calling because I was remiss in informing you where we shall be dining and what style of dress will be appropriate. Not that the dress you wore last night wasn’t stunning,” he continued and Kagome blushed hearing the compliment as if she was really talking to him, “But something a bit dressier would be more in line for tonight. I shall see you at four o’clock then, miko, and please express my compliments to your family,” He finished politely as he began before the click signaling the message was over brought Kagome to her senses once more.

Somehow she was even more nervous now than she had been before listening to his message, Kagome rushed to her closet. As of now, she only had around forty-five minutes to freshen up and change before he was supposed to arrive. Punctuality was something she could tell was an inherent quality with him, and being late would never even be dreamt of. After several minutes’ worth of internal debate over which of her limited selection of dressier clothes, it was only the time crunch that forced her to make a decision. She chose her little black dress that she had heard that every woman should have in her wardrobe. Her little black dress wasn’t as little as some she had seen. But it was shorter than the dress she had worn to his house. It had almost no embellishments to speak of except a bit of lace at the neckline and hem. But that was one of the reasons Kagome chose it. It could be dressed up or down depending on the accessories she wore with it. The dress had a halter style top and fell almost exactly to her knees in an a-line skirt that hugged her curves in a very flattering way.

She chose to wear her hair down again, but fancied it up a bit with a couple decorative silver combs on the sides. She wore the same watch as always and a pair of diamond and pearl studs that were another gift from years past. She matched her earrings with a strand of pearls that had been her grandmother’s. Choosing to wear a tiny bit of make-up tonight, she put on a minimal amount of mascara and just enough lip gloss to make her lips shiny. Kagome chose to wear shoes with a higher heel than he had seen her in so far. Perhaps, she thought offhandedly, they will make it easier to reach his lips. She blushed violently at the sudden bold thought. Her heels were a play on a stylized version of ballet slippers and had black ribbons that wrapped around her calves before tying in bows an inch or so below her dresses hem.

Walking downstairs, trying to calm her nerves, she tried to slow her erratic heartbeat as well. Kagome smiled at her mom who had been waiting curiously for her daughter to descend. Her final add-ons were a small silver handbag that she stuffed her keys, cell, and wallet into, and a black cocktail jacket that was more for looks than warmth. As it was the middle of spring, Kagome was only wearing it in case there was a chill in the air later tonight when Sesshomaru brought her home. Her mom told her she looked beautiful; to relax, and have fun as she gave her an unexpected, but in no way unwelcome, hug just moments before the doorbell rang. Remembering the last time it had rung had Kagome praying, to whatever Kami would listen, asking for her cheeks to regain their normal color. Kagome opened the door with a smile and had a hard time not just staring at how good he looked in his suit, obviously tailored to perfectly fit his tall and trim frame.

When Sesshomaru took in his little miko’s appearance after she opened the door, he suddenly had a hard time finding his voice. He couldn’t help the blatant way his gaze roamed over her pleasing form encased so sensually in black from head to toe.

“Good evening, miko,” he said to her once she had stepped out onto the porch with him. Though he knew it was really to distract him from the direction his thoughts had started heading upon seeing her. “You look ravishing tonight,” he told her quite honestly, his voice thickening whether he wanted it to or not.

“Good evening to you too,” Kagome told him, “You don’t look so bad yourself,” she replied teasingly, still flushed from his compliment and the way he was looking at her. “I hope I’m dressed okay for where we’re going,” she said, still worried about that slightly.

“No,” he told her scaring her a moment as he took her arm before he led her toward the limo that had picked her up before, “You are dressed perfectly,” he all but whispered as he leaned down momentarily. He soothed her fears about her attire, but made her nervous for a completely new reason. He opened the door for her then and Kagome was extremely pleased with his words. She couldn’t help smiling slightly at the way he seemed to stare at her mouth for a few seconds before pulling away from her suddenly. There was silence as they climbed into the back of the limo and for most of the drive afterward. But it was an amiable one that neither of them found awkward, thankfully. She found herself looking over at him frequently as she was near enough to touch him, should she wish to.

“Where are we eating tonight, anyway?” she asked him when they had reached the heart of Tokyo.

“You’ll see,” he told her with a familiar smirk raising his lips slightly. “We are almost there now,” and so saying he became silent once more. Kagome was a bit miffed that he was keeping this a secret as well, but as all of his previous surprises had worked out she tried to relax while she watched their surroundings quite avidly for clues. It wasn’t long at all before they pulled into a driveway filled with uniformed valets, and she was finally able to see where they were.

“Minu ga Hana?” she questioned as they pulled to a stop, “I’ve heard this place is excellent,” she murmured before he helped her out of the limo.

“So, you’ve never been here yourself?” he asked as he took her arm to lead her inside after tipping the valet even though they were unneeded with Hige-san driving them.

“Oh, no,” she exclaimed in a whisper, “This place is definitely out of my price range,” she chuckled a bit in a self-deprecating manner. “It is extremely beautiful in here though,” she told him quietly as they approached the maitre de. Kagome was exceedingly surprised at the host’s sudden change of disposition upon seeing Sesshomaru.

“Oh, Nakagawa-sama!” the much shorter, and smaller, man exclaimed with a smile and an exaggerated bow to both of them. “How nice it is to see you again!” he continued, “And with such a lovely dinner companion,” Kagome couldn’t help but blush at that, “Much better than the board of directors, I am thinking,” the little man went on before bowing again. He snapped his fingers then and a waiter appeared beside him almost instantly. “Please take Nakagawa-sama to his table,” he told the waiter. “Enjoy your meal Nakagawa-sama!” the maitre de called finally as the waiter led them through the lavishly decorated dining rooms to a more private table in the back. It had an intimidating sign on it that stated it was reserved that the waiter snatched up so quickly Kagome had barely had time to read it before he pulled out both chairs for them.

Sesshomaru, she watched blushingly, motioned to the waiter and sat her himself. The waiter, who identified himself as Jiro-san, gave them each a menu and asked them if they wanted something to drink now, or wanted to wait until they had ordered. Sesshomaru surprised her by ordering a bottle of wine, that she knew to be one of the most expensive around these days, before asking her if she would prefer something else as well. Kagome told him the wine would be great and gave him a shy smile. With that, he gave a slight smile in return before dismissing the waiter until they had decided on their entrees. She couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that it seemed to her that he hadn’t completely lost the Aristocratic Assassin attitude of the past in the way he had dealt with the waiter, and she suddenly remembered the manager of the club Friday as well. He just gave a slight shrug in response when she explained after he had asked her why she was laughing, which only made her smile bigger.

Kagome had to take some sips of water when she happened to notice some of the prices as she perused the menu. As there was suddenly a lump in her throat that she was trying to swallow. She glanced at Sesshomaru over the top of her menu and contemplated saying something, but she knew she would sound both stupid and ignorant. From the way he seemed to live now she knew that this one dinner wasn’t going to break the bank. Unfortunately, he noticed her wary look at him and raised a brow at her.

“Is everything alright Miko?” he asked her and she could hear the concern in his voice.

“Everything is fine,” she lied, almost smoothly. “I just have never been to a place this fancy before and don’t want to make a mistake,” she blushed then, ashamed at her partially true confession.

“I did not wish you to feel uncomfortable, miko,” he assured her in a hushed tone with an expression that showed he was worried now, “If you are truly distressed we can go elsewhere for our meal tonight.” Realizing he was completely serious made her cheeks flush again.

“No!” she said louder than she had meant to, and tried again at a reassuring tone, “No,” she repeated in a calmer voice, “It’s fine, this place is amazing,” she assured him and smiled shyly at him. “I’m just a bit nervous, but I’ll get over it.” He must have noticed her distress for he just nodded slightly in response and smiled back at her in that way that turned her mind to mush. “So,” she began after a few moments of trying to calm herself down, “Are there any dishes you would recommend? Since you probably know what’s good here,” she asked him in a falsely cheerful tone.

Sesshomaru observed the miko’s behavior with not a little distress. He thought that she would appreciate a dinner at a nice restaurant, for he had observed that most human women liked this sort of thing. Though she marveled at the lavish surroundings as he might have guessed she would, her anxiety was out of proportion to the pleasure he hoped this dinner would produce. He had not wished to make her feel uncomfortable; he spoke the truth about that. It seemed that his miko would never react completely like he guessed she would. He wanted to soothe her fears that had suddenly arisen, but when he felt that she wasn’t being completely honest about their source he didn’t know how he was supposed to do that.

“The stuffed sole is quite good,” he told her, trying to take the opening and aide her, even in this small way, “Or the crab legs as well, depending on what you prefer.” He wondered at the false cheer in her voice and wracked his brain for some way to calm her nerves. He then ignored the several suggestions his beast made, not that he would have taken them even if they were alone and not in the busy restaurant.

“Both sound very delicious,” she commented as she still perused the menu. He slid his hand across the table slowly before taking a hold of hers and using his thumb to rub lazy circles on the back of it. He hoped it would relax her as much as it was relaxing him now, and he resisted the urge to growl in contentment. He saw her look at their joined hands on the table and up to his face and back again a few times. Blood suddenly rushing to her face and a small sigh another human couldn’t have heard were the only indications that it was having any affect on her whatsoever.

“I’ve had them both before and several others,” he told her, trying to distract them both now, “As the maitre de said, this is where I usually have dinner with one or more members of the board of directors of Nakagawa Enterprises.”

“I actually got to sit in on a meeting with the board of directors of the company I work for today,” she said suddenly as if she just remembered; which in fact she had. “Apparently…” she began, but had to pause as their waiter returned to get their entrée orders. In the end he ordered the Oysters Rockefeller and she ordered the stuffed sole, as it sounded mighty tasty.

“You were saying,” Sesshomaru prompted as he took a sip of his recently refilled wineglass as the waiter walked out of earshot.

“Oh,” Kagome muttered, almost forgetting she had been saying something for his thumb caressing the back of her hand lightly was most distracting. “Right,” she said, remembering now, “Apparently, another company is trying for a corporate takeover,” she told him as she braved another sip of her almost untouched, but delicious red wine. Though she knew from experience that alcohol in any quantity didn’t mix well when she was around him. “The company heads wanted to answer questions and get employee feedback before they ‘officially’ make their decision,” she continued, “But if you ask me they’ve already made their decision and are just giving us the heads up so they aren’t bogged down with complaints once the takeover goes public.” Kagome sighed then as she really didn’t care about all this business stuff. She had just gotten her job just out of college as no one would hire her for any jobs even mildly related to her degree in history and folklore.

“What is the name of the company you work for?” Sesshomaru asked her and she could hear the sudden interest in his voice.

“Oh, umm…Dragonfire Technologies Unlimited,” she told him, still distracted by his touch. He started chuckling then and it was her turn to quirk an eyebrow at him as he smiled across at her before saying,

“And the company trying for the takeover is Akira Electronics Inc.?” he asked with a smile still on his face.

“Yes,” she told him in complete surprise, “But how did you know that?” she asked him in return.

“Because,” he said smirkingly, “Akira Electronics Inc. is one of the companies owned by Nakagawa Enterprises, which I own.” Kagome knew her eyes and mouth widened slightly in her surprise, but couldn’t help it.

“Oh,” was all she could manage to say at the moment.

“It’s definitely ironic how things turn out sometimes,” he whispered while pulling her hand closer to him and turning it palm up. “A smaller world, it seems,” he said in the same tone before bringing her palm up to place a kiss in the center of it. Kagome couldn’t help gasping at his actions, and wondering at his suddenly playful mood. She also couldn’t help but be amazed that he would show such displays of affection as this, or even holding her hand atop the table, where anyone looking could see him. Realizing that he must be a much more important figure in the human business world than she had realized at first, she felt kinda funny. He obviously didn’t care if the wait staff talked about them, or if it led to gossip, as a man in his position must be used to it by now. She tried to make herself calm down and act as unaffected by their sudden contact as he seemed to be.

When it came to her physical reaction though, she couldn’t act so nonchalant about it and wished they were alone like last night. She blushed at the direction of her thoughts before her cheeks brightened when he kissed her palm again. From the intense look in his gorgeous eyes, those pools of molten gold that seemed to stalk her like the predator he really was, it seemed he wasn’t as unaffected at she had first thought. And she was awfully glad about that.

“It’s going to take some getting used to,” she began breathily, “To remember you as not only who you always have been, but also as Toshiro Nakagawa, a powerful businessman.” She looked down as he had begun to rub circles on the palm of her hand as he had to the back of it. She looked back up slowly before getting caught in his piercing dark golden gaze.

“I can see how this would be confusing at times,” he said in a way that made her temperature rise, “As it’s still strange for me as well. I’ll try to make it as simple for you as I can, miko,” he told her feelingly. He had to regrettably return her hand as their waiter returned with their food, and Kagome thought he seemed rather reluctant to let it go. Return it he did though, and she placed her cloth napkin daintily in her lap before they both started to dig into their wonderful smelling food. Luckily, all of the praise Kagome had heard of this place turned out to be true and the food was quite delicious.

“Mmm…” she couldn’t help but emit after her first bite of perfectly cooked fish. Little did she know that the sound had brought Sesshomaru’s eyes straight to her shiny lips, to watch her as she ate, not being able to tear his gaze away from her face. “This is delicious!” she exclaimed in delight just above a whisper. “Thank you very much for sharing such a meal with me,” she thanked him suddenly and ardently at that.

“You are more than welcome, miko,” he told her, his voice still thickened with emotion as he tasted his own meal. But he had known as much as it was one of his favorites at Minu. She smiled at him shyly and he suddenly and selfishly wished that when he took her back to his home they could be alone. But he couldn’t deny her or Rin and Shippo the precious time of getting reacquainted after so long apart. Especially Shippo, for he had known her much longer than Rin and had become closer to her, almost in the same way that Rin had become close to him, as they had both traveled together with his brother, the hunter, and monk.

The rest of their meal passed in much the same way. Kagome was surprised how easy it was to carry on everyday small talk with him when she allowed herself to calm down. They talked about light subjects like the weather and each other’s work days, and not once ventured to the subject of the past. She was glad at this since her emotional well-being went all topsy-turvy whenever they had lately. She really did not want to start crying in the middle of such a nice restaurant. Kagome refused to embarrass him like that as well. When the waiter asked them if they wanted dessert Kagome protested that she was entirely too full from her entrée and the bread they served with it to eat another bite.

After Sesshomaru discretely paid the bill, he led her outside to where Hige-san was waiting to drive them both to his home. Kagome wasn’t as surprised as before when he started to trace circles on the palm of her hand as he had taken it to lead her out of the restaurant. All she could do was look over at him before having to look away anxiously. She was suddenly extremely nervous to be alone with him like this, as the privacy glass was raised so that either side couldn’t see what was happening on the other one. He kissed her palm again, but this time in such a way that she had to bite back a moan. With his enhanced senses he still heard the part that escaped, even though she had barely heard it herself.

Sesshomaru looked over at her at that very tiny sound, the edge back in his eyes, and her face became flushed. That was no surprise to Kagome; it seemed to be the perpetual state of her face whenever he was around. She gasped in surprise as he leaned in close to her. He seemed to be going very slowly and Kagome thought it was almost like he was trying to give her plenty of time to either stop him or pull away. Not feeling the need to do either, she just waited in anticipation to see what exactly he was planning on doing. Instead of moving in to kiss her lips like she had assumed he would, he moved to her neck as she turned so that she was facing him. He nuzzled her neck, inhaling her scent as only an Inu daiyoukai could.

“You have a wonderful scent, miko,” his voice rumbled against her skin before he placed kisses on her neck and hair. She could only gasp in response as even these simple actions were causing her thoughts to get fuzzy. “It’s like cherry blossoms mixed with raspberries,” he continued, “Quite addicting.” His rumbling words caused her to flush and goosebumps to break out all over her body. She made a small unintelligible sound when he scraped his extremely sharp canines against the sensitive skin below her ear. Surprised, as he had been wearing the magic that even covered his unusually sharp teeth, she raised her head to try and see if she was imagining things or not.

Upon seeing his beautiful silver hair Kagome couldn’t help smiling as he looked so much better like this. She was distracted from such thoughts as he repeated his actions and caused a shiver to work its way through her. He growled lightly at her obvious response to his touch and it shook her more than her own shiver.

“Forgive me,” he said in a tone even thicker than before, “But you just look and smell too ravishing tonight.” She had about two seconds to contemplate what he was talking about and blush brightly at the compliment before she found his lips on hers and her back pressed against the seatback. Kagome couldn’t help the sound of pleasure that erupted from her when he petted her tongue with his. Her fingers found their way around his neck and into his silky silver mane, holding him close. His growls in reaction made her shiver as much as the unexpected touches she felt when his hands started to stray. Kagome kissed him back with abandon, trying to reciprocate the amazing way he made her feel.

Sesshomaru had to stifle a laugh and a growl of response when she whimpered in denial when he suddenly broke their steamy kiss. He could have continued this all night gladly, and more, but he had distantly felt and heard the change as the limo pulled off the main road and onto his cobblestone driveway. The miko looked up at him with passion glazed eyes and it was all he could do not to kiss her again. It gave him a new sense of power to know that he is the first one to get this kind of reaction from her, or to kiss and touch her in this way.

“I’m sorry, miko, but we have arrived at my home,” he whispered where he was nuzzling her neck as he tried to get his breathing under control. He pulled back slightly and saw her cheeks redden as she fully grasped the situation. He knew it would have embarrassed her further to be caught by Hige-san a few moments ago.

“Of course,” Kagome murmured as they were the only words she could fully form at the moment. The evening progressed much the same as the night before, excepting the part where the four of them ate together. She was thrilled to visit with Shippo and Rin and listen to the various stories about their lives. And also about the friends that were no longer with them. But as she listened to these stories she found something inside her lighten and instead of tears welling in her eyes, she smiled brightly at the fact that she had had such amazing adventures with such wonderful friends. Much sooner that she would have liked, the night was over and Sesshomaru was flying her home. This time he used his cloud and it was fine with her since he had to hold her the whole time, but it was also much faster than Kirara, which was disappointing to them both. Kagome was thrilled when he kissed her goodnight, a passionate display that made her insides all melty and her heart beat in triple time. She didn’t think she would ever get used to the amazing sensations he brought out in her. He surprised her when he asked to see her again, and for a moment or two she let herself believe that he really did like her.

And so it continued between them. They would sometimes make it a group affair with Rin and Shippo, and sometimes go out just the two of them. During the months that followed it still surprised Kagome when he continued to ask to see her again. Over the course of her ‘dates’ with Sesshomaru Kagome had seen more of Tokyo and the rest of Japan than she ever had before. He had taken her to the theater, the opera, the ballet, as well as to see several movies and even a museum or two. They had also gone to see several sights that she had visited during her visits to feudal times to see the differences in them now, along with taking her to the best restaurants in Japan. He had also taken her to the Western Lands he was still lord of, to another home he had built there that was even bigger than the one outside Tokyo. She had to admit that it was exciting and when there were at least two modes of transportation that made it possible for them to go all over Japan and back in one night, it was quite an adventure. Over the months Kagome had been asked by everyone from her friends at work to her mom if she and Sesshomaru were dating; if he was her boyfriend. But Kagome didn’t really know what to say or how to answer any questions of that nature.

Spending so much time with the gorgeous daiyoukai she had begun feeling things for him beyond friendship or the crush that had developed soon after meeting him again. For that reason she was very scared that he would suddenly not want to see her anymore if he found out. That was also why she refused to let anyone, even her, label their relationship. She wasn’t sure herself what she was to him, and that made her incredibly sad sometimes. He still refused to call her by her name for some reason and besides that one time before their first real kiss he hadn’t. Kagome felt like they were at some kind of standstill and she didn’t know what was going on. Every time they kissed or touched, it was almost as if he were afraid of hurting her or going past a certain point as they hadn’t gone beyond the limit he must have set after the steamy session that first night. Though their attraction, and the passion between them was the only thing she was really sure about at this point. It was almost as if he were afraid of something himself. As well as something always seemed to interrupt them before much of anything happened. After almost six months of carrying on this kind of nebulous relationship, Kagome was getting frustrated. She had made up her mind to ask him for the answers to her questions the next time she saw him and end the ambiguity once and for all.

Chapter Eight –

When Sesshomaru picked her up that night he could tell that something was wrong. Or at least something that was causing a nervousness and anxiety to fill her aura in a manner he hadn’t felt since just after they had re-met. There was also a sadness mixed in that he had thought she was done dealing with as well. He began to worry at that, and wonder what was going on in that beautiful mortal head of hers. She had seemed as happy as usual when he had kissed her goodbye last night. It was getting harder every time to simply leave it at a kiss. Especially since he had recently started to believe that he might have unwittingly followed in his father’s paw prints and lost his heart to a mortal woman. Sesshomaru wasn’t sure if he was in love with her, but he knew he definitely felt something strong for his little miko. It wasn’t the same kind of love that he had developed for Rin, of course, but he could say it was quite as strong, and getting stronger, as that bond as well.

He wished there was someone he could ask about this particular subject, but the only two he would have felt comfortable asking about it were dead. There was always Shippo, but the kitsune was still very much a child compared to him, and he was not comfortable even thinking about asking him about something so personal as yet. Though the confusion he felt just looking at his miko tonight made him feel that he might be desperate enough to confide in the kit sooner than later. After all, he thought as he pulled into his driveway, having chosen to drive himself tonight, Shippo was mated to a human and had children by her. This was something that made him more of an expert in the subject of relationships with humans than Sesshomaru. The fact that Shippo’s mate was his daughter also made him wary of asking the kit about this. For he really didn’t want to think of Rin in that way, ever, if possible, as he still saw the little girl bringing food to the injured and arrogant fool he used to be every time he looked at her.

He led the miko inside the house, her hand in his, and wondered if Rin and Shippo were home yet. They were both surprised upon finding a note from Shippo and Rin that said they had to leave to visit their oldest child Maru, as he had called them to tell his parents that he was in love and wanted to ask his girlfriend to be his mate. He wanted his parents’ support in person as he wasn’t sure what her response would be when she found out the truth.

“That must be hard,” his little miko said suddenly.

“What?” he asked as he wasn’t quite sure what she meant.

“Well,” she began, looking from the note to his face, “When Shippo and InuYasha, and even your father for that matter,” she said surprising him, “Met and fell in love with humans it was in an age where the existence of youkai was taken for granted. But now it must be much harder to find human mates that will understand exactly what that means. Especially when you have to pretend to be human for your own survival.” He saw her blush and she looked down to the tabletop again. “I hope,” she went on, “That this girl loves him enough to accept him for who and what he really is.”

“Yes,” Sesshomaru agreed, wondering if it was more than his fear of finding out that his miko was still in love with his brother, and a desperate fear that she wouldn’t accept him, that kept him from giving into his beast’s ‘request’ that he mate with her. “Let us hope so for his sake,” he told her and wondered if it was the subject he was most worried about that had her aura so conflicted. He didn’t know that he was about to find out what was troubling her sooner than he would have ever guessed. She nodded her agreement as she walked further into the living room.

“Umm…” Kagome began, her nervousness getting the better of her. “I was actually hoping to talk to you alone for a minute,” she told him when the words finally made it out of her mouth. “But now that we are actually alone, I don’t know if I can put it into words,” she confessed and her head was now hanging as she was quite embarrassed. He came up behind her and she tried not to jump as he put his hands on her shoulders.

“Calm down, miko,” he told her and leaned in a bit to try and get her to relax. He could feel the nervousness pouring from her and hated that she could still feel this way around him. It made him doubly curious about what she wanted to talk to him about.

“I guess,” Kagome began after regaining her senses. It was hard to concentrate with him so close to her, his hands on any part of her body. “That I’m just feeling frustrated,” she told him in a voice akin to a child telling their parent what they had done wrong. She didn’t like that mental comparison at all and shook herself mentally and tried to start again. “After six months,” she began anew, “I am unsure of what’s going on between us. I don’t know what to tell my friends or family when they ask what you are to me when I’m not even sure myself. I don’t know if you’ll just get tired of spending time with me one day and stop asking to completely. I also feel like you seem to be unsure about it yourself, and almost afraid to do more than kiss me. Like I might stop you or like I’m still afraid of you at all. I haven’t been afraid of you for a very long time,” she confided then, her cheeks bright with the knowledge she was really saying all of this out loud to him finally. “You still make me nervous, of course,” she added, “But in the same way I would be when alone with any male.”

Sesshomaru was amazed that she seemed to give voice to some of the same fears he had when it came to her, felt like laughing at their stupidity when dealing with each other.

“How blind we are, miko, when it comes to each other,” he murmured after he hugged her close to him, her back pressed to his front as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “The only reason I seem wary,” he whispered into her ear, “Is because I am unsure as well when it comes to you,” he admitted with a sigh.

“Really?” she asked in an awed tone of voice as she was shocked that he was admitting so much to her so easily.

“Yes,” he confessed again, “I didn’t know if you were agreeing to see me because I was one of the only living ties to my brother, whom you obviously loved. The only thing I am sure about is the way you make me react physically, and the physical response you seem to have to me as well,” he told her and couldn’t help but place a kiss in the crook of her neck to illustrate his point. He was gratified when he felt her shiver slightly in response. “But even then,” he continued thickly, “I wasn’t sure at first if you were really responding to me, or if it was the newness of it all that made you so responsive. So I didn’t push you,” he murmured, his voice rumbling through his chest and into her back, “Afraid that it might be the latter. And I knew that you weren’t sure what you were getting into and I didn’t want to scare you either,” he practically purred in her ear, “For I wasn’t sure if you still feared me in any way until you just admitted that you don’t.”

“Oh, we are extremely stupid sometimes, aren’t we?” she said with a little laugh. “Of course I don’t fear you anymore,” Kagome told him, “You can’t fear your friends, and we were something more, you admitted that almost from the beginning yourself,” she sighed as she relaxed back into him.

“I’m very glad to hear that, miko,” he whispered against her ear, causing her to shiver once more.

“Let me assure you as well,” she began again, “That my spending time with you has nothing to do with InuYasha,” she said ardently, “I do love him, and always will,” she confessed, “But only in the same way I love Sota, or any family member,” she assured him. “Perhaps in the beginning I did fancy myself feeling more for him, but his obvious love for Kikyo put an end to those feelings almost from the start,” she added smoothly.

“I would have chosen you,” Sesshomaru whispered before kissing her neck again. Kagome felt that her heart would suddenly burst and she knew without a doubt then that she was in love with the gorgeous daiyoukai behind her. She turned around in his arms then and looked up at him, her eyes swimming with unshed tears, and smiled brilliantly.

“Oh, Sesshomaru!” she exclaimed quietly and reached up to caress his cheek with the back of her hand before she could help herself. Her heart was now too full of emotion. “Thank you,” she breathed. He surprised her by placing his hand over hers.

“It is no more than the truth,” he told her as he moved her hand to place a light kiss on her palm. Feeling overwhelmed with emotion she surprised even herself when she stood on her tiptoes to place a kiss on his surprised mouth. Showing him how she felt with her kiss as she was not ready to say it out loud, she felt entirely too vulnerable still. His much more experienced mouth took over before long, no surprise to either of them.

Sesshomaru’s surprise at her sudden kiss quickly disappeared as the passion, overwhelming him once again with its’ strength, that he always felt when she was in his arms took over. He deepened the kiss, as if he could take some of her delicious taste and scent with him if his tongue caressed every inch of her mouth. She moaned when he lightly sucked on her tongue and he growled as her fingernails sunk into his scalp in a surprisingly pleasurable pain. He knew his eyes were rimmed with red as his beast tried its’ damnedest to take control of him when the scent of her arousal made its’ way through his senses. Trying to push it down, he assured it that he would let it come out and play eventually, as they both knew he couldn’t hold out forever, no matter what his misgivings were. Though he knew tonight wouldn’t be the night he gave in completely. There were still too many questions he needed to answer himself before he let that happen. Not to mention that he didn’t know if he could control his beast from marking her if he did whether he got her permission beforehand or not. And that was not something he could let happen, for he would never forgive himself for that.

He pulled her closer to him, brushing his worries aside, and she moaned his name when he lifted her up, with minimal effort on his part, so that their bodies were in line with each other. She surprised him when she wrapped her legs around his hips and held on tightly, bringing him even closer to her. He walked them toward the long couch, as it was the closest piece of furniture in the room, and seconds after he sat down her back was pressed to the cushions as he hovered over her. His self-control, control over his bestial nature, was sorely tested when she raised her hips up to move them against his own. He pressed her into the couch and kissed her almost violently as their bodies moved together without either of them putting thought into moving. It seemed her instincts were taking over as well. When they came up for air he moved to trail kisses over her cheeks and down to her neck. He loved getting this close to her scent and couldn’t help scraping his teeth over the place he beast wanted him to mark. Her sounds of pleasure were making it increasingly difficult to maintain any sense of inner calm, and he hoped his inner control wasn’t the next victim.

Her fingers tightened in his hair as his mouth moved from her neck to the tops of her breasts that were peeking out of the collar of her blouse, as it was unbuttoned to tease him with just a bit of cleavage. He brought his hands up to cup her breasts then, savoring the feel of her, even through their clothes. She whimpered his name when he caressed the sensitive peaks that were now reaching out for him as well. She arched her back as if begging for more and he complied as his tongue traced the exposed skin above. He started to unbutton her shirt, using his lips, teeth, and tongue on every inch of skin he exposed. When all of the buttons were undone he looked up at her, as if he were afraid she would stop him. To soothe his fears and kick aside her own, Kagome spread the edges and attempted to take the shirt off of herself; though that was practically impossible with the heavy daiyoukai on top of her. She did manage to get it as far as her shoulders before she couldn’t move it without him moving. He didn’t look like he was going to move anytime soon and she wasn’t really asking him to. Her thoughts scattered and her eyes practically glazed over when his trail of lips, teeth, and tongue moved to the edges of the bra she was wearing. It wasn’t beautiful and lacy, but it did have something most of those didn’t: it hooked in the front. And when he discovered this he smiled a beautiful and feral smile before unhooking it slowly, too slowly for her tastes.

She was suddenly bucking up, her back bowing, in shocked pleasure when his mouth’s trail discovered the tips of her breasts. Having pulled the edges of her bra apart, baring her to his hungry gaze, he looked his fill for all of two seconds before he traced a path to each nipple, switching with one of his hands in turn. She cried out his name in pleasure as these new feelings wracked her body. She had never imagined sensations like this existed, let alone that she would experience them, and with Sesshomaru of all beings. His silky silver tresses brushing against her skin in his wake was like another caress. The coolness of it felt positively sinful against her overheated skin. When he sucked one of the oversensitive peaks into the wet heat of his mouth all she could do was cry out unintelligible things as her body started shivering with the force of her pleasure. Her fingernails dug into his scalp and that in turn made him growl. The vibrations of his growl against such a sensitive part of her body made her cry out.

The heat that was pooling low in her belly had become something else she couldn’t name. Every time his lips tugged lightly on one of her nipples it felt like they were hardwired directly to where her heartbeat pounded between her legs. Something was building inside of her every time he touched her and she didn’t know if she liked it yet or not. Either way she couldn’t seem to stop it even if she wanted to. While she had been distracted by what his mouth and hand were doing to her breasts, his other hand had been slyly moving a different direction altogether. Kagome realized this suddenly when she felt his clawed fingers brush against the skin of her inner thigh. Not knowing if she could take anymore pleasure, she tightened her grip in his hair before trying to pull his head up for another kiss. He seemed to get the point after growling in response to her sudden movements. He dominated her mouth then, as he was dominating her entire body.

“You are so close,” he whispered hotly against her lips, before nibbling on them with his sharp canines, “I can’t believe it,” he continued and sounded almost in awe, though at the moment she wasn’t coherent enough to have any idea what he was talking about. She was lost in his eyes as their gazes locked when she bravely opened hers as they kissed. They weren’t the molten gold they had been when they started. They were royal purple and crimson now and that told her if his beast wasn’t at least partly in control now, it was very near the surface. Her eyes closed the next moment and she gasped as his hand on her thigh moved up to sneak under the waistband of her panties, caressing the flesh beneath as it went. “Almost there,” Sesshomaru whispered in her ear, his breath tickling her. She moaned throatily when his clawed fingertips gently caressed her shaved lower lips. When he nibbled on her earlobe before sucking on it while his fingertips barely traced her inner folds, and his other hand caressed her breast, her whole body tensed before something deep inside of her shattered into a million pieces. Crying out his name as sobs wracked her body when something beyond pleasure and pain, that was somehow both and neither, coursed through her. When her muscles relaxed again she was a sated, boneless mass beneath him.

“Beautiful,” Sesshomaru spoke into her ear then, causing aftershocks of pleasure to shoot down her spine. His voice was so raw with emotion she could barely make out the words through the rumble of his growl, but that somehow only made the sound more erotic to Kagome. She pulled him down for another steamy kiss as she realized what had just happened to her; and that he had made her body do that. She also realized that he was still quite aroused as she could feel his hardened member against her still-shivering form as he pressed against her once more. Suddenly feeling brave and beautiful, after she realized he had to be the most patient youkai on earth for not even thinking about himself in this situation, she moved her hands up and down his back. She scored her nails up and down as well after pulling his shirt up so she could touch him skin to skin. She moved her leg then as well to rub it against his thigh, inching her way upward.

Sesshomaru groaned in pleasure, but it sounded more like a growl, and moved to kiss her fiercely, trying to show her how much he cared without words. His beast suddenly snarled and for once it wasn’t at him. His senses completely alert now he groaned again, but this time he sounded almost pained.

“Dammit,” he muttered then and he could tell the miko heard him when her body suddenly stiffened, and not in a good way. He heard familiar voices before the sound of a key entering a lock and cursed again under his breath. He looked down at the miko then and couldn’t help but kiss her again, reassuring her that there was nothing wrong with this situation; they just were going to be interrupted again. “I’m sorry to inform you that we are no longer alone, miko,” he whispered an inch from her lips and watched as his words finally sunk in. He could tell when it made sense for her eyes widened and nervousness and fear were back in her aura suddenly.

“Rin and Shippo seem to be home sooner than they thought they would be,” he muttered bitterly as he sat up. He hurriedly helped her hook her bra again and button her shirt up before giving her a smile that told her even though they had been interrupted; he was far from through with her yet. He watched as she adjusted her blouse and skirt, trying to smooth out the material that was now hopelessly wrinkled. Sesshomaru couldn’t help but smirk down at her as he liked the fact that he had been the one to put her in such a state. Her hair was all wild and her lips were swollen and looked almost bruised from their kisses, and she had never looked more gorgeous to him than she did now. When he told her as much her cheeks became the most brilliant shade of red, but she still managed to give him a smile that was almost conspiratorial in nature. He leaned down and kissed her again at that little smile, for he couldn’t help himself. It was only when he heard a gasp from across the room when their lips were still searching each other’s that he realized that Rin and Shippo were much closer than he had thought.

He sat up slowly and saw that the miko was positively radiating heat as it seemed her whole body was flushed with the embarrassment that was practically pouring off of her at this time. He turned toward his daughter and her mate as the miko buried her face in his shoulder. Still sitting on the couch this wasn’t a difficult feat. He hailed Shippo, who seemed to be trying not to burst out laughing if the gleam in his eye and look on his face were any indications. Rin, on the other hand, was looking embarrassed like the miko and he could understand why. For the times he had accidental walked in on her and Shippo in similar situations he was extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. We’ve had to suffer through that for five centuries, his beast spoke up suddenly and he could tell it was still upset at being interrupted. Let her be the uncomfortable one now, it continued as it savored the combined scent of his and the miko’s arousal that still clung to the air, liking what it smelled; now she’ll know how we felt.

Kagome managed to make it through the sudden meeting with Shippo and Rin without completely dying of mortification, though she wasn’t exactly sure how. Probably, she thought suddenly, because it would have been so much worse if they had walked in on us two minutes before. With that horrifying thought in mind she suffered through the hellos and goodnights as the very exhausted couple made their way up to their suite. Shippo informed them that Maru had explained to the girl, Faye, what he truly was and asked her if she could still love him. Luckily for both of them she hadn’t completely freaked out and had answered in the affirmative to that question and when he asked her to be his mate. As the mating itself was an extremely personal and intimate act they had left to give their son and his fiancé their privacy and ridden Kirara back tonight instead of leaving in the morning as they had planned before. Kagome couldn’t help but sigh when Shippo and Rin had disappeared up the stairs toward their room. She had survived and now had to face the gorgeous daiyoukai that had given her, her first orgasm so easily it amazed her. She smiled up at him slightly and there was an awkwardness in the room with them as they were finally alone again. When he smiled stunningly back at her and their gazes locked she wondered if she would ever be able to look into his eyes without feeling the earth shift beneath her. Probably not, she decided, and it would be sad if she did.

Before the awkwardness overwhelmed them Sesshomaru was taking her hand in his and leading her out back to a secluded enough place for him to use his cloud. She was home before she even started to think about what in the world she was supposed to say to him after their incredibly intimate interlude in his living room. She had absolutely no clue. Saying thank you seemed a bit ridiculous at this point and so did saying nothing at all. When she had regained her senses, and saw her front door only moments away, she almost started to panic. She really had no idea how to handle this situation in the slightest. It didn’t help that Sesshomaru was holding her as he usually did when they flew using this method. It was suddenly much more intimate for her now and she realized it would always be after tonight. She sighed gustily before she could restrain herself and he chuckled deeply behind her.

“Relax, miko,” he drawled as they landed and he set her upon the grass beneath them, “Calm down,” he said before bringing the hand he held within his up to kiss the back of it. He walked her to her door then and she tried to get her heartbeat and breathing under control. “I realize that I didn’t really get to answer all of your questions,” he said then in a thoughtful tone, and it surprised her that he was bringing this up. She looked at him curiously before she found herself in his arms once more. He nuzzled her neck before he spoke again. “I know that I should have asked you this sooner, but I was afraid you would say no.” His words made her heart skip a beat before speeding up again as she had no idea what he was going to ask her. “And I was waiting for you to get used to my presence in your time,” he said with a small smile against her skin. He kissed her neck quickly before moving so he was looking into her eyes once more.

“I was wondering if you would want to date me in the human way,” he said before chuckling in a self-deprecating way, “Though I realize that we’ve technically already been doing that for quite a while now. Perhaps then, you might be interested in something more?” he asked as he brought a clawed hand up to caress her cheek lightly in a way that made her realize he must feel something for her, especially if he’s asking her anything like what she thought he might be. She gasped then and prepared to say something, but she found a male finger pressed against her lips stopping her. “Don’t answer or say anything right now,” he whispered as he leaned in closer to her. “I know that I’m not being entirely clear here,” he chuckled lightly at that, “But I want you to know that I’ve always felt more than friendship for you, and I definitely want more than that from you now. Talking to Rin and Shippo reminded me though that dating a youkai has a lot involved, not to mention anything beyond that.” He sighed then and her heart did a little flip at his words and the intense way his heated amber eyes were looking into hers right now. “I want to give you time to think over the idea, and come to a decision about what you want, for I want you to be happy” he told her then as his fingers slid down her cheek to her neck and over her shoulder lightly. “So don’t answer now,” he said again, “We’ll talk about it later when we’ve both had some sleep and you are ready. Okay?” he finished and asked her in a voice that she could hear his surprising, but heartwarming, nervousness and concern for her. Kagome just nodded silently, not trusting herself to speak. Afraid she would yell out something embarrassing in answer immediately if she dared to open her mouth right now. She didn’t have to worry about it though as he was suddenly kissing her again so that her mouth was occupied and not as dangerous.

“Goodnight, Kagome,” he whispered against her lips before they broke apart. Shocked, all she could do was watch for several moments with her eyes wide and mouth hanging open slightly as he walked down the porch steps. It was when he had called his cloud that she snapped out of her shock.

“Goodnight, Sesshomaru,” she whispered to him as his eyes found hers. Their gazes stayed locked until he was just a silver and black dot on the horizon. Sighing dreamily, Kagome walked into the house and up to her room. Taking a pillow from her bed she buried her face and screamed/squealed in excitement and delight, as well as frustration. She couldn’t believe that they had done what they had done earlier, or that he had gotten her body to react like that. But most of all she couldn’t believe that he had asked her that. Even if it was completely unclear what exactly he was asking her, the fact that he was asking her for something beyond dating in any way was enough to make her squeal into the pillow again. It wasn’t like she needed the time to think things through. She had had too much time in her opinion.

It wasn’t like she didn’t know what the youkai side of courtship and mating was all about. Spending so much time with her friends in the Feudal Era was very informative as far as youkai customs and culture in general. It had started as curious questions to InuYasha, and then Sango, Shippo and Miroku whenever the hanyou wouldn’t answer a certain one. It developed into a kind a history lesson after traveling for so long. She was sure that Sesshomaru didn’t realize how much she knew about this stuff. But, as she thought about the next time she was supposed to see him she thought of a perfect way to show him some of what she knew and answer his question at the same time. Now, if only she would be brave enough to actually go through with it despite her fear of making a complete fool of herself everything would be fine.

Chapter Nine –

Kagome, not wanting to ignore her other friends, and wanting to spend time with Sesshomaru had asked him earlier this week if he would be willing to come to the bar that she and her friends went to every other Saturday when it was Karaoke night. She told him that they could leave earlier than she usually did and go get a bite to eat or something afterwards if he was up for it. The fact that he had said he would meet her there at the specified time and that he was willing to subject his sensitive Inu youkai ears to what was sometimes painful for mere humans gave her a clue that he must feel some affection for her. He agreed that he would come to the club and they would go for a late dinner after which he would take her home. Kagome knew that if her plan worked they wouldn’t be staying at the club for very long at all. For after his heartwarming display two nights ago she was positively bursting to tell him that she didn’t need any more time. That she hadn’t needed the time she had, to answer that she wanted to be with him in any way she could; in both human and youkai ways. She was equally freaking out about having to go through with the plan she had come up. She was extremely impatient to get to the club and give Sesshomaru his answer in a way that he had probably never imagined.

She had dressed with care tonight, wearing some of her sexiest club-wear, as the club, called Glitter, that hosted the karaoke night, still had the dance club part of the building open on the nights they hosted karaoke. Kagome and her friends usually danced a bit before it was time for the karaoke DJ to set up, and again afterward as it closed much sooner than the dance club. Though Kagome planned for some strategic dancing beforehand, she didn’t plan on staying long enough to dance again afterward. No, tonight she was mostly just dressed for Sesshomaru. She chose one of her flirty pleated miniskirts as it reminded her of a sexy version of her school uniform skirt that he had seen her in so many times before, and hoped he got the connection. On top she chose a black corset that matched the skirt, both making her creamy complexion stand out. She also chose it because it did wonderful things for her cleavage. Not that she really needed help in that area because she had been gifted enough. But she was thinking of him, as well as the fact that she didn’t have to wear a bra with it, which was nice.

Kagome left her hair down completely as she knew he preferred it that way, and wore the ballet slipper heels that he had liked the last time she had worn them. She made the decision not to wear any make-up, as she wanted him to just smell the real her. Sesshomaru had called her scent addicting before, and she was counting on that fact to aid her plans tonight. The only jewelry she wore besides her silver and abalone watch she always wore was the lucky jade pendant and some newly acquired dangly jade earrings that matched her necklace rather nicely. It didn’t take long for her to get ready and sooner than she could even contemplate going through with her plans, her friends had picked her up and they were headed to Glitter. Before she knew it they were leaving their purses with the karaoke DJ, Renji, as he was a friend. Then they were going through the arched doors that led to the dance floor while Renji and his assistant set up all the equipment. Kagome was nervously awaiting Sesshomaru’s arrival and couldn’t help but watch the door even though she knew he wasn’t going to be there for at least a little while longer.

Her friends’ reactions upon hearing that he was coming tonight and would be taking her to dinner before he took her home were funny. They were shocked and pleased for her. By now they knew who he was, his current human identity anyway, and it was weird sometimes, to say the least. They all had congratulated her on ‘landing’ one of Tokyo’s most elusive bachelors. They told her stories they had read in different gossip magazines of how he never seemed to date. They wondered aloud if he had been waiting for her to come back into his life again given the story she had told them before. All Kagome could do was try not to laugh at their goings on and wonder about such things herself. She didn’t know if she did ‘have’ him, but she hoped to remedy that tonight. Until he arrived though, she tried to stop watching the door and headed for a place on the dance floor that she purposefully couldn’t see who came and went. As she relaxed and got caught in the music, as she usually did, time passed a lot quicker than had she stayed staring at the door.

Sesshomaru arrived around twenty minutes later and after asking the karaoke DJ where his miko was, as she had instructed him to do so, he found himself in the connected dance club trying to follow her delicious scent. It didn’t take long to realize her scent led to the dance floor and he followed it, looking for her as he went. He suddenly was frozen in his tracks as he spied his little miko moving and dancing in a way that made his blood heat. Remembering that first time he had seen her dance like this, in Blue Moon, he realized that she must completely lose herself to the music every time she dance, and in a way that had nothing to do with the alcohol she had consumed that first night like he had assumed. He felt his beast stir as he watched her seductive movements, as if it needed anymore enticing. He felt that without the magic covering him his eyes would be bleeding red. An intense need, a jealous need, to drag her away from the eyes of so many interested males that were watching her even now arose suddenly. He wanted to hide her away somewhere so only he could see her dressed and dancing so sexily.

He beat down the animalistic urge, for he knew it would be him his miko would be angry at if he gave into it. His beast was yelling at him to at least show these puny males that she was already his; to mark his territory in some way since he would not mate with her as yet. Knowing a human way to at least show them that she was not theirs to stare at in such a way he approached her slowly. A giant silver-white beast stalking his prey, came the random mental picture and he smirked, liking it. He came up to her and wrapped his arms around her waist. He knew the instant she realized he was there for he felt her muscles stiffen momentarily. She looked up at him then and relaxed as soon as she saw who it was.

“Dance with me,” she offered in the most innocently seductive tone of voice he had ever heard. Unsure of whether he should or not, for he hadn’t danced in such a way before, but he was suddenly decided when she smiled up at him. It was a beautiful smile full of an invitation to more than just dancing if he wasn’t imagining things. This will show the curious onlookers who she was here with, his beast spoke up. Before he could even think to move or answer, she turned around so she was facing away again and brought his hands to her hips. She started to move then and he found himself instantly aroused. He looked around at the other couples and found them doing similarly scandalous moves, but somehow dancing with his miko like this made it alright. He matched his movements to hers more easily than he imagined, for these moves he did know, but not from any dance floor. She leaned back against him with a little sigh he knew no one but himself could hear over the pounding bass and he smiled down at her.

Realizing that she had just unknowingly bared her throat to him when she leaned back, he bit back a growl. He couldn’t completely resist the temptation though and leaned down to place an open-mouthed kiss at the crook of her neck. She let out a tiny sound of pleasure he knew no one else could hear as his tongue tasted her skin where her scent was so strong. When he scraped his teeth lightly over the sensitive skin in a way he knew by now that she liked she made another almost silent strangled cry. He bit back another growl when he noticed the pungent scent of her arousal was mixing with her naturally sweet fragrance.

“You dance wonderfully,” she told him breathily as she turned to face him when the song suddenly ended.

“Thank you,” he told her growlingly and it vibrated both of them slightly as he spoke, “You do as well,” he watched as her skin that was already flushed becomingly with her arousal brightened at the barely contained emotion in his words. He would never know if she was leaning up to kiss him then, or just to whisper something else to him, for at the same time one of her friends came up and tapped her on the shoulder and pointed toward the other end of the room.

“Oh,” she said suddenly, her voice still breathy, “It’s time for the karaoke to start,” she smiled sheepishly up at Sesshomaru, thrilled that things were going perfectly according to her plans for the night so far. “Come on,” she encouraged him before taking his hand and leading him back to the other part of the building. Suddenly nervous about this part of her plan, she hoped he didn’t notice as she led him to their usual booth next to the DJ booth and small stage.

Having told Renji her first song choice before going to dance, all she had to do now was wait for it to be her turn. Since she wanted to enjoy at least part of the other usual patrons of the karaoke nights Glitter held every week, she had told Renji to put her and her friends after a few of the other regulars. Hoping her plan worked and accomplished more than her making a complete fool out of herself, she smiled shyly up at Sesshomaru as the first singer approached the stage.

“Thank you for coming tonight,” she told him a little later. He had started doing that massaging thing on her palm with his thumb again so she was having a hard time regulating her breathing.

“Thank you for inviting me,” he responded in that thick, velvety voice of his and gave her one of his killer smiles that truly showed his genuine emotions. Her smile grew in response and she tried to ignore the teasing glances her friends were sending each other after watching this exchange. Her friends had met Sesshomaru before as he had picked her up from work several times and he had even come with her to a couple of their houses for a dinner party or little get together. She should be used to the way they acted when he was around, but she wasn’t. She had been afraid to listen to their talk of how he obviously cared a great deal for her and vice versa by the way they acted together. She had been afraid to put any kind of label on their relationship, but after tonight that changed when she gave Sesshomaru her answer.

Sooner than she would have thought possible and still a good six or seven people had sang before her, Kagome heard her name called. She felt her blush grow at what she was about to do. She saw him shoot her a puzzled look and knew he must be confused as much by her behavior as what he was now sensing from her aura. She tried to calm her breathing as she walked as slowly as she could without getting teased by Renji for it and took the microphone in her hand with a huge sigh. She smiled then, looking over at her friends before very deliberately locking gazes with Sesshomaru.

“This one is for Fluffy-sama,” she said cheekily into the microphone, using the old nickname she had teased him with whenever he did something that reminded her of the Sesshomaru he used to be back in the Feudal Era. And she knew the nickname InuYasha had used as an insult of sorts annoyed him even now. But the main reason she used it now was to make sure she had his full attention. She noticed the intense gleam in his eyes from even this far away and was oblivious to the confused glances of her friends as they looked between the two of them. But then the music started and there was no going back now, so she cleared her throat a bit and started to sing.

“I hate the world today

You’re so good to me, I know
But I can’t change

Tried to tell you but you looked at me like maybe I’m an angel underneath
Innocent and sweet

Yesterday I cried
You must have been relieved to see the softer side
I can understand how you’d be so confused
I don’t envy you
I’m a little bit of everything
All rolled into one…”

After the first part of the song the miko was singing Sesshomaru was even more confused. The fact that she had used that awful nickname in public that she usually just used to playfully annoy him had him confused enough, but he had realized that she had wanted his attention. But so far this song was not what he imagined her singing when it was supposedly for him. Maybe she’s trying to tell us something we do not want to hear, his beast interjected despondently. He was worried about it enough that he was going to ask her about it when she came back to her seat. He was already nervous enough about waiting for her to answer his question from the last night he had seen her. A day and a half of waiting had not been easy, to say the least. Especially given his extremely impatient beast that made him want to growl in frustration at his own incompetence as far as not telling her what he really wanted to. His attention was suddenly renewed in her direction as the song hit the chorus and the bottom dropped out of his world. All he could do then was listen in shock and hope beyond hope that she was telling him what both parts of him prayed she was.

“I’m a bitch
I’m a lover
I’m a child
I’m a mother
I’m a sinner
I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell
I’m you dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

So take me as I am
This may mean you’ll have to be a stronger man
Rest assured that when I start to make you nervous
And I’m going to extremes
Tomorrow I will change
And today won't mean a thing

I’m a bitch
I’m a lover
I’m a child
I’m a mother
I’m a sinner
I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell
I’m you dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

Just when you think you got me figured out
The seasons already changin'
I think it's cool you do whatcha do
And don’t try to save me

I’m a bitch
I’m a lover
I’m a child
I’m a mother
I’m a sinner
I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell
I’m you dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

I’m a bitch
I’m a tease
I’m a goddess on my knees
When you're hurt
When you suffer
I'm your angel undercover
I’ve been numb
I’m revived
Cant say I’m not alive
You know I wouldn’t want it any other way”

After the vocalizing at the end of the song Kagome, who could tell that he was reacting just as she had hoped he would couldn’t help but add one last thing, one last part of the chorus instead of the last set of ‘Ooo-oo-ooo’s. Shivering under the pure weight of his intense amber gaze she stared right back into his beautiful eyes and sang,

“I’m your bitch

I’m your lover

And I do not feel ashamed.”

Once the music slowly came to an end and she got the usual obligatory applause from the rest of the people gathered there, she felt her courage that had been so strong a moment ago fail her utterly quite immediately after stepping down from the stage. She only made it to about a foot away from their table, and him, when she stopped dead in her tracks from his eyes that were now molten gold. She had never seen him almost radiating power as her extra sense told her he was at the moment. She also knew that without his magic his eyes would be turning red, if they hadn’t completely changed to purple and crimson under this stream of power. Kagome reached out to get her purse as she came a bit closer and Sesshomaru stood up upon her approach. She didn’t break their locked gazes as she said,

“I’ll see you guys at work,” she said quietly to her friends that he had most likely forgotten all about by now. He took her hand before he began to pull her quickly out the door. She didn’t pay enough attention to even hear he friends call out friendly goodbyes to her before they started gossiping about the strange turn of events. He continued to pull her quickly away from the crowded building until they reached the far corner of the parking lot where his black sedan was parked. She assumed that he hadn’t wanted to make Hige-san wait for them since he hadn’t been sure how long she had planned on staying at the club. These thoughts were forgotten however when she gasped in surprise as he suddenly had her pinned between the car and his long, muscular frame.

Before she could do more than utter that small gasp his lips descended to hers as he proceeded to kiss her in such a heated way she was surprised she didn’t melt into a puddle at his feet. Her insides turned to mush as her sudden moan got swallowed by his kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, fingers lost in his hair as she forgot where they were and cared about nothing but getting closer to him. The next time they came up for air he moved to trail kisses down to her neck.

“Do you mean that, miko?” he asked in a voice so thick he basically just growled the words. Sesshomaru watched in satisfaction as her creamy skin flushed with a new wave of arousal that poured through her. She tightened her grip on him as he started to nibble on the ear he had just whispered into.

“Yes, of course,” his miko uttered and he couldn’t help chuckling at the fact that her outburst had started out as a cry for more.

“Then say it again,” he almost pleaded with her.

“I’m your bitch,” she said and he couldn’t help the growl that burst from him in response. He moved down to kiss her lips heatedly, only breaking apart when the beaming headlights of a passing car reminded them where they were.

“Unfortunately this is neither the time nor the place,” was all he practically groaned in regret of that. Her cheeks turned bright red as he saw realization dawn in her beautiful cocoa eyes. She looked down and he couldn’t help smiling at the turn of events his miko had obviously planned at some point between now and the last time he had seen her.

“We need to talk about some stuff anyway,” she told him as she looked up at him, suddenly shy. The mix of anxiety, happiness, and curiosity in her aura made him smile and wonder what she wanted to talk about. “I hadn’t expected your reaction to be quite so strong,” she admitted blushingly, and he suddenly remembered that she was still more innocent than she had been acting on the dance floor earlier.

“Then let’s go talk,” he told her quietly, sneaking one last kiss before he let her go so she could walk around the car and get in. He sighed and tried to calm both sides of himself down, for talking and letting her out of the protective circle of his arms were the last things he wanted to do at the moment. She had basically told him ‘yes’ with her strange song and declaration afterwards. His beast was practically purring at that and he wondered if the reason she wanted to talk was to give her answer a little more verbally. He also had yet to really ask her the question his beast had been bugging him about almost since the first moment he had smelled her again. This talk of theirs would be the perfect opportunity for him to do so. He got in and started the car then before heading toward his house, as it was the only place he could think of to take her where they could talk in private. He found it quite ironic that Rin and Shippo had left this morning to visit their son Maru once more, as he had mated the girl officially and they wanted to congratulate the couple in person. They were going to stop and visit their daughter Sango and her mate in Osaka afterward as well since she was with child again.

Chapter Ten –

Kagome was starting to get nervous. It wasn’t like she hadn’t known how this night would end if her plan was successful, but it was one thing to think about it and quite another for it to actually be happening. When they had reached Sesshomaru’s home he had led her into the living room and they had hardly been there two seconds when he was suddenly on her again; his lips devouring hers as their tongues dueled. He had restrained himself then, much to her amazement as he had dropped the glamour magic as soon as they had pulled into his driveway. His eyes were now shockingly crimson and royal purple with his power still surging like a living thing every time he touched her. He had asked her what she wanted to talk about then and she stuttered embarrassingly as she tried to concentrate through the haze of passion and the fact that his body was still so close to hers.

“I wanted to officially answer your question,” she had told him breathlessly, “Not that you haven’t already figured that out, but it’s ‘yes’,” she told him in a determined voice.

“You want something more than dating between us?” he asked in a voice that was so intense she started shivering just listening to him talk. In light of this she just nodded emphatically in reply. “Good,” he said with his mouth against her skin as he had pulled her close again. “For I find myself wanting much more than that between us as well,” he murmured growlingly as his teeth scraped against the spot where her neck met her shoulder. “Much more,” he repeated before kissing her lips again, and rendering her incapable of higher reasoning and thinking for awhile. She had tightened her arms around his neck, trying to bring him ever closer and her nails dug into his scalp when one of his hands was on her butt, lifting her to fit their bodies more intimately together. He nipped at her bottom lip then before sucking it into his mouth at a torturously slow pace. She cried out his name breathlessly when the clawed fingertips of his other hand started caressing her breasts as well. He hissed out a breath when her fingernails left half-moon shapes in his skin deep enough to almost break the skin.

“Oh, Kami, I love you, miko,” he groaned, as he had just realized that it was quite true after everything that had happened tonight. Sesshomaru heard her gasp of shock and felt immense waves of awe and surprise pouring from her.

“You love me?” Kagome asked almost stuttering once more with her surprise.

“Truly I do,” he told her simply and honestly.

“Oh, Sesshomaru!” she exclaimed shriekingly before tears suddenly started rolling down her cheeks.

“What’s the matter, miko?” he asked her in a worried tone, though he already knew. “Don’t you love me?” he questioned while wiping her tears away gently despite the well-manicured claws.

“Of course I do,” she told him matter-of-factly, “I wouldn’t have sang that for you tonight if I didn’t,” she told him.

“Then these are tears of joy?” he asked and she nodded fervently. “And you want to be my bitch?” he asked again.

“Oh, yes,” she cried, “For as long as you’ll have me,” she declared.

“Is forever long enough?” he queried and she gasped.

“What are you saying?” Kagome asked him, wary to believe he meant what she was thinking he did.

“I’m asking you, officially, to be my mate,” he told her feelingly as he pulled her closer against him. “Please say yes,” he said, as he came the closest to pleading with someone he ever had in his life. “I love you, Kagome,” Sesshomaru admitted, finally using her name again.

“Say it again,” she practically demanded after taking his head between her hands.

“I love you, Kagome,” he whispered, knowing exactly what she meant.

“Of course I’ll be your mate, Sesshomaru,” she confessed, “I love you more than I ever believed possible,” she murmured before he cried out in the happiness of the moment and hugged her tightly, lovingly against him. He vowed that she would never be put in any kind of harm’s way as long as she was his, he would protect her from everything, even himself. Their hug morphed then as she leaned up to kiss him, pouring her love and pent-up emotion into it. He took over control of the kiss easily, as was his nature, and tilted her head, his hands fisting in her hair, to deepen the kiss even more.

Kagome couldn’t help the moan of pure pleasure that came from deep inside her as he kissed her in such a way. She found herself clinging to him as he pressed her against the wall suddenly. She arched into his touch when his hands cupped her breasts once more and raised her legs to wrap them tightly around his hips. He moaned in response as their bodies moved together at an angle that had her panting when his hips fit against hers in just the right way. She found her body wanted to do that again, but was distracted by a blinding flash of rainbow colored light before she realized they were now in a room she had never seen before.

“What was that? Where are we?” she asked in a daze when he moved his lips to her neck.

“That was me teleporting us, and this,” he punctuated his words with kisses along her neck, “Is my bedchamber.”

“Oh,” she said, which turned into a whimper as her back hit the very soft linens that covered his bed before his body hit hers at a surprising angle. Her higher reasoning didn’t last much longer though as he continued his fiery trail of lip, teeth, and tongue. He moved his mouth to her shoulder and back again, placing open-mouthed kisses and scraping his teeth against the tender skin until she could do nothing but whimper and cling to him desperately. He removed her shoes then, and more quickly than she would have imagined possible. She was so distracted she barely noticed until he ran his fingers slowly back up her bare legs. She gasped when his clawed fingertips brushed against her inner thighs just above her miniskirts' hemline and she remembered the last time they had been there. She blushed and she could already feel the unnamable sensation building deep inside of her once more.

He moved his trail of kisses lower and her muscles tightened when his lips reached the tops of her breasts. Knowing what to expect, it seemed, did not lessen the intensity of the sensations he brought out in her she discovered. He reached up to the zipper in the front of her corset and paused to look up at her before continuing with her slight nod. Her face was flushed with arousal and she had a slight smile on her face that held all the love that she felt for him. He continued his trail of kisses as he slowly unzipped her corset, using every part of his mouth in a heated trail down the skin he exposed. Sesshomaru unwrapped her slowly, like one of those presents humans seemed to always be giving each other. He savored the unveiling of her creamy white skin and cherished it by kissing and tasting every inch. When he had bared her completely and slipped the corset off of her he watched as she tried to cover herself from his gaze. His royal purple eyes bored into her, the hunger she could see there seemed to take her breath away.

“Don’t cover yourself from me, my little miko,” he said heatedly, “You are beautiful, every inch of you,” the emotions she heard in his words, namely love and passion, made her lower her arms slowly, his hungry eyes following her movements intently. She felt ridiculous trying to cover herself anyway as she had practically ripped her own shirt off last time, so she didn’t know what was wrong with her tonight. She realized then that the fact that he loved her, that she had agreed to be his mate, and the fact that she knew exactly where this was heading tonight, made it so much more intimate and her nervousness was rearing its’ head once more. His eyes found hers again, staring into them as he slid his fingertips up her silky skin until he cupped her breasts lightly, mindful of his claws. She gasped at the feel of him touching her skin on skin once more. She cried out his name breathlessly and arched into his touch when he moved his thumbs lightly across their already hardened peaks.

“You are still so responsive, my little miko,” he said and it sounded almost endearing, “And we have barely begun.” Hearing this Kagome couldn’t help the gasp as where her thoughts strayed upon hearing his deep voice rumble against her pulse as he placed a kiss there. When his mouth suddenly replaced his hands she was completely shocked and it seemed these sensations still overwhelmed her. Her body arched off the bed several inches despite him holding her down and his name burst from her on a moan as her fingers tightened in his hair. The feelings were so immense her mind didn’t know exactly how to respond to what her body was feeling. He sucked slightly then and tugged lightly. She whimpered as the hardwire to the place between her thighs was throbbing every time he tugged.

He moved up to kiss her lips again and she wanted to touch more of him, for she hadn’t really gotten the chance last time. She felt the need to give him the same kind of pleasure he was giving her, but she wasn’t exactly sure how to accomplish that. Kagome felt bad that she seemed to be getting more than she was giving. She ran her hands down his chest and stomach, and was able to feel the ridges of muscle under her fingertips through the thin material of his t-shirt. She reached under it then, the warm flesh felt so much better without the cloth barrier. She lifted his shirt up until she couldn’t go any higher without his help. He broke the kiss momentarily so he could pull his shirt over his head and throw it in the same direction he had tossed her corset. She couldn’t help smiling up at him shyly in return when one of the corners of his mouth raised in a sexy little smile of his own. As his shirt was gone, it revealed more of his lovely muscled form and more of the familiar red stripes in places she had seen before and, more interestingly, in places she hadn’t. Aside from the ones on his back and forearms she also discovered he had them across his hips. She traced these with her fingers and he growled in response, she was gratified to know that she could cause him to respond on any level. Kagome was now curious to see if he had them anywhere else on his gorgeous body.

He started to kiss her again and her thoughts started to scatter. Not brave enough to contemplate trying to undo his jeans at the moment, she moved her hands to his back and lightly massaged the tight muscles she found above where his jeans hung low on his hips. He seemed to have no trouble undressing her further, as he found the side zipper of her skirt and slid it down. Given the length of her skirt the zipper was less than two inches long, so it wasn’t that hard to do. He pulled it down her body then and she lifted her hips to help him along. She felt suddenly very awkward lying there under him in only a pair of her cutest black lace and cotton panties. Without warning a nervous giggle escaped her when his clawed fingers ran down her stomach and across to her hips. She gasped at that unexpected outburst and her cheeks bloomed with fresh color.

“Relax, my tempting little miko,” he whispered, his breath hot against her ear. And she surprisingly did feel herself relaxing. Until, that is, he started trailing the tip of his tongue and teeth over the skin of her ear and down to her neck while his hand started to caress the skin above the waistband of her panties. His other hand went to immediately caress her inner thigh, his claws grazing where the material ended and the most sensitive of her skin began. She arched into him again at that, a whimper escaping her lips.

He couldn’t help the growl that vibrated his chest at that submissive sound coming from her at such a moment. He suddenly had to resist the urge to use his claws to shred the last garment that remained on her beautiful form. He restrained himself though, and instead slipped the tiny thing down her legs slowly and off of her completely. His fingers brushing against her shaved outer lips, causing her to jump off the bed in surprised pleasure. He could tell from the sounds she was making and the whirlwind that was her emotional state showing in her aura that she was close to her first climax and he knew that he would always enjoy giving them to her. Almost as much as she was going to enjoy it herself.

Kagome felt overwhelmed when Sesshomaru started to kiss her again. He used his tongue to pet her own before taking the kiss deeper. She cried out in shock when his fingers started to caress the inner folds of her womanhood before he found the hidden bundle of nerves that no male had touched before. When his other hand moved up to caress her right breast in a way he had yet to do before and sucked lightly on her tongue, that wall that had been building inside of her broke suddenly and she went quite happily over the edge of pleasure and pain. She cried out his name in a loud moan as her inner muscles tightened around one of his fingers he had slyly slipped inside her slick passage to test her readiness.

In the fastest movements she had seen him make, moving faster than she could observe the detail, whether she was overwhelmed by her climax or not he undressed. All Kagome saw regardless was that one second he was still half-dressed and seemingly the next he was pressing his newly bared form tightly against hers as aftershocks of pleasure were still shaking her body. They both cried out as their bodies seemed to fit perfectly and intimately together. His fully aroused member rubbed against her entrance and she felt his muscles tense like he was holding back from just plunging inside of her immediately.

“I’m sorry for the pain you must briefly endure,” he murmured growlingly, and yet she could still hear the gentleness that was coming through, allowing him to form words at all.

“You think I still have a hymen after all those fights in the Feudal Era?” she questioned ruefully and she kissed him passionately, wanting him with an intensity she never had before, “Just make love to me Sesshomaru,” she breathed into the kiss; their breath mingling as their bodies were yearning to . “Make me yours completely,” she told him and the sound he emitted sounded more beast than man. She saw his eyes that were still fully transformed and his stripes were now jagged with the power surging against her own.

“Yes,” he hissed, “This still might hurt, forgive me,” he repeated before plunging deep inside her in one slick stroke. They both cried out, but hers was from the surprising slice of pain as her virginal passage wasn’t used to such a big intrusion. But before the sound stopped it became something more as she tried to get used to the strange feeling of him filling her so completely. He stopped once he was buried inside her, giving her time to get used to him. Part of him inwardly winced at the flash of pain that he had sensed in her aura. But the pure pleasure that was zinging through his system at finally being inside her outweighed the quick burst of regret. That quickly disappeared as well when she started to move slightly, trying to get used to the intimate invasion.

“He started to move and Kagome’s mind was completely wiped clean in the amazingly overwhelming friction as their hips met and their bodies took over from there. He started a rhythm that had her making whimpering noises low in her throat and she could feel and hear him growl in response. She could feel the sensations building inside her again. Her fingernails bit into his shoulders as he raised her knees and changed the angle to one that had her crying out with every incredible stroke.

Feeling himself getting closer to his own climax his beast took over momentarily as he pulled out of her, ignoring her gasp of surprise and turning her over and onto her knees, before plunging inside of her once more. Needing her to go over the edge first, he reached down to caress the little bundle of nerves as he angled her hips, getting deeper than he had before. Just when he could sense she was on the edge, he felt his fangs sharpening and elongating as he ran his tongue over the spot his beast had been telling him to mark since that first night. It was so excited to finally be getting its’ way his beast was growling so loudly it was shaking him. With his next stroke he felt her burst and chose that moment to sink his teeth into the place where her shoulder met her neck, tasting her blood. That something special in his saliva began to change it as he marked her as his for the rest of her suddenly much, much longer life. The feeling of her inner muscles milking his member in such a way and at such a meaningful moment sent him over the edge as well. He felt an infusion of pleased surprise through their newly forming bond when he growlingly shouted her name as he spilled his seed deep within her body.

“Mine!” he couldn’t help but utter loudly as their bond completed itself. He collapsed then, pulling her close and turning her so she faced him once more, as like all dogs he liked a good cuddle and snuggle. They both fell asleep like that, content in each others’ arms.

Kagome awoke sometime later, not knowing that her new mate was also awake. She was just enjoying watching him sleep, his features so peaceful and almost innocent as he slept, and even a bit more gorgeous if possible. She reached over to caress the markings on his eyelids, and then the ones on his cheeks very lightly as not to disturb him. She was also trying to get used to the slight soreness in places she hadn’t even known could ache before tonight. She was running her fingers through part of his hair that was hanging between them when the rumble of his voice told her she was not the only one that was awake.

“You seem restless, my mate,” his deep voice rumbled. He turned and raised his head so that she was trapped within his dark golden gaze. She smiled at him and was surprised when she felt her cheeks flush. She liked hearing him call her ‘his mate’ almost better than when he called her by her name.

“Not at all,” she whispered, still staring into his eyes, and running her fingers through his hair almost absentmindedly. “I find that I am content for the first time in my life,” she told him with as much honesty as she had ever felt.

“I am glad you feel as I do,” he said as he caressed her cheek softly, “But what is that indecision I feel pulsing in your aura?” he asked her then, truly curious.

“Oh,” she started, surprised he had picked that up, but with their new connection that was surprisingly strong and his usual perceptiveness combined, she knew she shouldn’t be surprised. She laughed then at the errant thought that was causing her the emotions he was picking up. “Actually,” she told him with a chuckle, “I was just trying to decide how to explain this to my mom and the rest of my family,” she giggled again, “But that isn’t really important at the moment,” she told him and leaned in to kiss him tenderly.

“Kagome,” he began and she beamed at the fact that he had used her name again. “That reminds me of something I need to speak with you about,” he said in such a serious tone that she was suddenly worried that this was the part where the rug was pulled out from under her just as she had become the happiest she had even been. He places a quick kiss on her lips before getting up and going to the other side of the room closer to her side of the bed.

“What?” she asked with a wariness mixed with her curiosity. “What are you doing?” she questioned when he pulled something out of a drawer in a dresser next to the bed. He turned toward her with his trademark smirk in place before coming to sit beside her on the edge of the bed. He took her hand and placed a kiss on her palm before she was caught in his eyes once more, only this time they were brighter with some emotion.

“You spoke the other night,” he began completely confusing her and not helping to clear-up her previous confusion as yet, “Of how it was so much easier for youkai like my father, brother, and Shippo as their females already knew of the existence of youkai as fact. That it was, and must be different in these modern times,” he smiled at her slightly and all she could do was smile puzzledly back at her gorgeous mate. “I was lucky enough under the strange circumstances of our meeting again to find a mate that understood very well the youkai part of it. But,” he paused slightly to take a deep breath and caress her cheek, “There as new things that we youkai have to learn about the human side of things as well that my father and the rest didn’t have to back then,” he said and she looked at him strangely as she still didn’t understand what he was talking about.

“Like what?” she asked confusedly, “Taking out the trash and letting your mates have their say in the decisions?” she quipped, but with a sudden real worry behind it.

“I don’t plan on making you do anything you don’t want to, my mate,” he told her, “Not that I believe I could even if I tried,” he quipped right back, “No,” he continued, “I was not speaking of such matters that I have come accustomed to living in the human world,” he declared. “I was referring to more important things,” he continued as she sighed in confusion. “I know I began this all wrong, but your confession of sorts tonight distracted me from a goal I had already set before you surprised me,” he told her and she was well and truly not understanding what in the world he was talking about.

“What?” she uttered questioningly, wanting him to help clear this up.

“I fear I am talking in circles,” he whispered conversationally. “I will get to the point, my love,” and she beamed at the endearment as he kissed her hand again. “I know we did this backward by human standards, but it cannot be helped,” he muttered the last part to himself as he got up while pulling her to the edge of the bed. She raised an eyebrow at that, a habit she must be picking up from him and chose to remain silent. It didn’t matter anyway for she was struck speechless when he suddenly got down on one knee before her.

“I have been told that this is the proper human way to go about this nowadays,” he murmured and she stifled a giggle as this was the most unsure of himself she had ever seen the mighty Lord Sesshomaru. She smiled softly down at him though as her eyes became filled with unshed tears. She was so touched that he had even tried to find out how this was done, let alone doing it himself. She gasped as there was suddenly a small velvet box in his hand which he opened to reveal a stunningly beautiful ring with the biggest diamond she had ever seen in real life.

“I love you very much, Kagome Higurashi,” he began anew in a serious tone while his eyes shone with pure love, “And have for some time,” he continued surprising her. “You would make me the happiest daiyoukai in the world if you would consent to be my wife. Will you marry me?” he asked finally, a question she had never thought to hear coming from his beautiful mouth, but it was glorious to hear just the same.

“Of course I’ll marry you, Sesshomaru,” she told him indulgently, with a joyous giggle. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly, as she was just bursting with happiness. “Thank you for asking me; for going to all the trouble of doing the human thing too,” she spoke into his hair.

“It is no trouble at all, my mate,” he whispered as he nuzzled her neck like the animal he was, “I want to tie myself to you in every way possible, so everyone, and all races will know you are mine.”

“I think it's very sweet of you,” she told him while nuzzling him now as well. “Wait until I tell my mom!” she exclaimed after he slipped the ring on her finger with a very meaningful look shared between them. He brought her hand up to kiss where the ring rested on it with another look from his amber eyes that melted her insides. It made her completely forget about telling her mother anything, or the fact she had a mother at all. Seconds later they were lost in a steamy kiss and wrapped in each other’s arms, her back hitting the mattress only moments after that.

Many hours later, after a night of expressing all of their pent-up emotions for each other that they had been holding back because of fear and other reasons that seemed completely superfluous now, they lay in a cuddle pile all their own. Both felt content and relaxed, like they had found the missing piece of themselves, and a new home in each other that they had been looking for all their lives without ever really realizing it.

Somewhere in the afterlife a taijiya, hoshi, and Inu hanyou were looking down on them in confusion and complete awe. Realizing that love and happiness could be found in the most unexpected places. And sometimes magic makes these things possible. Because sometimes miracles truly can happen, and wonders never cease.

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