In His Service

An Unexpected Arrival

Kagome woke to the feel of clawed fingertips raking against her skin as a warm hand traveled softly up her spine. She turned her head toward him, resting it on her crossed arms as she lay on her stomach. She reached out and touched his face, tracing the dark lines that graced his cheekbones. His hand moved on until he wiped the traces of fresh blood from the bite mark on her neck. It had been three days since her friends had departed, a week since she had joined him in his bed. He made damn sure to reestablish his claim often, his possessiveness growing to new heights.

He rose from the bed, allowing himself a moment to enjoy the view of her, half covered in his white silken sheets. “Stay close to mother and Rin today. The gray lord and that dog will be here. This Sesshomaru trusts them not.”

She rolled her eyes and climbed out of the bed, wrapping the sheet around her while she watched him dress. She never got tired of watching him. “As you wish, lord Sesshomaru.” She said playfully, knowing that he preferred her be less formal when they were alone together. Kagome wanted to laugh at his tone when talking of their visitors today.

Lady Kirei na made her aware that the grey lord was wanting to wed her to his oldest son the moment her mark faded. Something about strong warrior spirited grandchildren. She had no idea which dog he was referring to, any inuyokai that irritated him became dogs or if they pissed him off, mutts.

“Something amuses you, Tsuki?” he asked, now fully clothed.

“Hn,” she said, out right smiling as she ran her fingers across his chest before ducking around him. She headed out to his private hot springs, high stone walls keeping away prying eyes. The sheet fell away, floating delicately to the ground as she sunk into its welcoming heat. Her pleasure of the feudal era hot springs had never faded, still just as wonderful as the first time she had ever slipped her tired body into one. She surfaced from wetting her hair to find him blatantly staring at her. “Didn’t you need to be somewhere?”

“Hn.” He made no move to leave the doorway, eyes hot as the spring she was in, studying the way the water beaded, then traveled down her flesh. “This one has found Rin a companion to sleep in her room at night.”

Kagome blinked. “Have my duties changed, then?”

A grin full of wickedness spread across that perfect mouth. “Only at night.” Then he was gone, leaving her flushed, whether from him or the water, she would never tell.

Kagome met up with Rin and Lady Kirei na al little while later in the smaller family dining room. She was about to speak when the sound of armored feet filled the hallways. Both women put Rin protectively between them before stepping into the chaos.

“Kyouishi, what has happened?” Kirei na asked of the head guard of the family’s wing of the palace.

“My lady, there was a breach at the front gate. Someone lured out the guard at the southern post with the sound of an infant crying, then trapped him under a stone statue. He said he saw a blurry figure and then it was gone over the wall.”

“Statue, huh?” Kagome perked up, a smile playing on her lips. Sending out a wisp of power seeking throughout the fortress, she soon sensed what, or rather who, she had suspected. “Call your solders back, Kyouishi, this is not a threat. I will deal with it myself, I promise you.” She motioned for Rin to stay with her Obaasan and went in search of the mischief maker. She headed toward what had become her personal garden, surprised to feel another presence there, one that should not be.

Sesshomaru’s cousin stood there, sword drawn. “Lady Kagome,” he bowed slightly. “I heard that there was an intruder and worried for your safety.”

“Thank you for thinking of me, but I am perfectly capable of protecting myself.” Keeping a wary eye on him, she called out to her little intruder. “Shippo, come here, now.” A slight breeze brought a fury of leaves to her feet, revealing a redheaded kitsune a little taller than Rin, his head bowed to hide his grin. It did him no good because she could sense his glee like a bright orange cloud around him. “What do you think you are doing?” she asked, interrupted by the white sheet of paper floating down to the boy’s hand. She sighed and shook her head a little.

He looked up sheepishly. “Coming to visit you?” he asked hopefully. When that failed to soften her, he tried again. “It’s in a kitsunes nature to see if we can get away with stuff. I could not help myself.” His big eyes sparkled impishly and melted her heart as surely as Rins smile always had. Not that she would let him know it just yet.

“As it is in an inu’s nature to hunt and kill it.” Kagesenshi sneered.

Before he could draw his next breath, she was before him, dagger pressed to his throat. A thin line of blood welled up around her blade. “You will do well not to threaten my son.” Her voice was calm, but death lingered in her blazing eyes. His death.

“Indeed.” Sesshomaru said, suddenly there, hand fisted in the back of Shippos dark blue clothing so he could not disappear on them. “You will leave, cousin. You are unwelcome in this part of this one’s home. Do not be found here again.” Kagome pulled away, cleaning her blade and sheathing it. She came to Sesshomaru’s side, a glance telling the kitsune to stop his struggles.

“Yes, lord Sesshomaru.” Kagesenshi bowed low before backing away and leaping over the ivy covered stone that enclosed her garden.

“That’s how he came in too, “Shippo said, hanging limply in the western lords grasp. “I don’t think he was looking for me at all.”

“And exactly why are you here and why did you not inform me you were coming in your last message I got two days ago?” Kagome crossed her arms, waiting. They wrote to each other bi weekly so she should have had some sort of advanced notice. “You were to spend this year at the training grounds to make up the time that you were unable to go.”

“I just wanted to surprise you” Shippo said, face still pleading with her, “We have three weeks off to rest. I missed you really badly, Okaasan.”

“Uh huh. And this?” She asked, holding up his score card. His number had jumped ten points for this stunt.

The boy shrugged. “I didn’t think it would work so well. I’m sorry?” He said questioningly, hoping to lessen the punishment that he knew was coming.

Kagome’s mouth wanted to twitch, laughter welling in her for her little boy who could not stay out of trouble. When she was positive that she had control of her face, she said, “You will apologize to lord Sesshomaru for disrupting his palace, and to the solder you tricked. I think spending a week of your time as his page boy might do you well. It will help you remember that there are consequences for trickery outside of the training grounds.” He was slowly lowered to his feet.

“aww, Okaasan..” the kitsune whimpered, knowing that it could have been a lot worse. Not many people could say that they broke into Sesshomaru’s home and come out alive to tell the tale.

“You can start now, by apologizing to lord Sesshomaru, then go find Rin and wait for me. The rest of your punishment can wait until tomorrow.” Kagome waited patiently.

Shippo faced the western lord with trepidation, not feeling any better when he glanced at his face. No amount of cuteness would help him here. “My humblest apologies, lord Sesshomaru.” He bowed low before peaking up again.

“Hn. You may go.” He waved him off. The boy wasted no time darting through the open door, sniffing out his longtime playmate.

Kagome waited until she was positive Shippo was out of earshot before her laughter broke free.

Sesshomaru looked on amazed at the sound. He had never heard from her so unguarded before and wondered why he felt the need to hear it again. “You think it entertaining that a child has breached this one’s defenses?” His voice was stern.

Still chuckling, she answered. “He did not really breach your defenses, we let him in. and yes, that my son outwitted a bunch of adults and thought he could get away with it by claiming it was in his nature is humorous on many levels.”

He pulled her close, sliding one hand through her dark silky hair. “If this one were to give in to his nature, would you find it humorous as well?”

Her lips curved invitingly and a teasing light entered her eyes. She drew closer to him, her sweet mouth so close he could almost taste her, her hand trailing down his chest, heating his blood. “Surly the great Sesshomaru has control of his base nature.” Her hand continued down, barely brushing over him as she pulled away, her soft laughter lingering after she had gone.

His eyes narrowed, feral grin appearing, before it was smoothed away into his normal countenance. His Tsuki was in the mood to play it seemed.

Lady Kirei na was in love. Kagome was charmed with the scene in front of her. The woman was in the process of telling the kitsune how brave and cunning he had been. It appeared as if the boy returned her love with hero like admiration, his little chest puffed out with pride while his cheeks warmed. Apparently the lady had a weakness with small, cute faces with big eyes and wide smiles. Rin did not seem to mind sharing attention, in fact hugged the boy in congratulations of his fete, making the red on his cheeks deepen.

“I can see I should not leave you with these two often. Your ego would be the size of lord Sesshomaru’s” she walked up to them, “I don’t think the western fortress large enough to contain two of them that big.”

Lady Kirei na huffed. “There is not a thing wrong with self-confidence.”

“True.” Kagome conceded, giving both children huge hugs. She spent the afternoon with them, playing games and grilling Shippo about his life at the kitsune training grounds. Sesshomaru sent for her just as she was sending them off for an early dinner and bed. She had to be at his side tonight while he discussed things with the leader of the grey inu’s. Technically, Sesshomaru was the inuyokai’s koutei. To keep from internal chaos, he prefured to try the civil way first, then when that failed, death and dismemberment.

She went to his study where he waited behind a desk full of papers. “you wanted me, lord Sesshomaru?” she asked innocently.

Yesss, went through his mind, but he allowed the thought to slide away. They had another matter to deal with at the moment. “Kagome,” he motioned her closer. She propped her hip up on the edge of his desk. “Lord Kashikoiotoko, head of the grey inu’s is insistent that you meet his eldest son. You will meet him tonight and turn down anything he might offer you.”

“Huh,” she seemed to think it over, “But what if I like him.” She said knowing that she should not. Sometimes she just could not help it.

Eyes bleeding red, he had her pinned to his desk before she could blink, papers flung to the ground. “You take your game to far, onna.” He growled against her throat, his body pressed tight into hers.

Kagome leaned her head back even more, submitting to calm him. “I know.” She whispered, stroking his back. His breath warmed her as he licked over her mark, trembling as his body pressed against hers. “You know that I would have no other, Sesshomaru.”

His head raised, gorgeous eyes golden once more. He kissed her deeply, his tongue tangling with hers. His hands came between them, tracing the edge of her gown, fingers aching to slip inside the fine material.

“Lord Sesshomaru!” came the most annoying voice that ever came into being. Jakan was rapidly approaching them.

Kagome did not know whether to laugh or launch something at the imp. Sesshomaru allowed her to rise, helping her to straighten her clothing. She pressed against him briefly, leaving a feather soft kiss on his lips, “Tonight, Sesshomaru.” She pulled away, quietly leaving just before the little green annoyance turned the corner.

“My lord Sesshomaru, your guests have arrived,” the little youkai said excitedly. His jaw dropped when he saw the state of the room. “What happened in here, my lord?” He asked, some of the scrolls having rolled all the way across the room and the rest littering the floor.

“Jakan.” He said coldly, “Clean this up.” Sesshomaru walked passed the sputtering imp, thinking of how not to kill the grey dogs and the promise of her lips.

Kagome dressed with care, knowing the dinner was more about posturing than eating. She wore black silk that shined as it wrapped around her body. The sheer overlay had white flowers embroidered on it, edged in silver, making it stand out against the black material. Her hair was coiled on top of her head with the glimmer of jewels pinned within, a matching white flower tucked behind her left ear. She lined her eyes in black, flaring it out little until they slightly resembled a cats. A slight gloss on her lips and she was ready.

She met Sesshomaru in the hall, stunned to find him in black as well, making his silver hair and golden eyes appear to halo. Without a word, she stepped to his side, laying her hand over his, allowing him to escort her to their destination.

Seated at their table was lord Kashikoiotoko, head of the grey inu’s house, his eldest son, introduced as Kyouryoku, along with his youngest son, Chikaradsuyoi, both of whom had seen over two hundred years. Kagesenshi was also present, but somewhat subdued after their earlier encounter, the cut completely healed.

Kagome fought off a sigh. At times like these, she missed running around the country side, collecting jewel shards and slaying monsters. Not once had she ever felt like a decorative, useless bargaining chip. Everyone at that table had their own agenda when it came to her. As Sesshomaru ran his hand down her shoulder and arm, she added him to the number, but at least he wanted her for her and not some battery powered brood mare to show off to the other houses.

About halfway through the longest meal of her life, Kushabana, Rins new night time companion asked for her, claiming the children were calling for her. Worried that they might be ill, she quickly followed the black haired inu until they approached Rins room. Something was off, she could feel it. The children were sleeping a little too deeply, she could tell from the sluggish way their auras were moving. Laying her hands on top of the floral comforter that they slept beneath, she sent energy into their tiny bodies, finding them drugged, but otherwise fine.

Hearing the girl rush toward her back, she turned, making her fall on the foot of the bed where she pinned her. “What did you do to them?” She asked, her hand slightly squeezing the girls throat.

“Nothing.” She out.

“True, that would have been me.” came a new voice from behind her. She had been so focused on the kids and the girl, she had failed to sense him sneaking up on her. He struck swiftly, hitting the back of her head. She fell forward, praying for her children as the world began to fade from around her.

The mountain shook with fury and the howling of two of the largest inuyokais, fully transformed, one taking to the sky, seeking what had been lost. The other stood guard over two sleeping forms, poison dripping from her fangs, daring anyone, friend or foe, to approach them.

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