In His Service

Fading marks and growing secrets

The children woke fine the following morning, their adoptive mother sitting anxiously on the edge of their bed while the lady of the western lands prowled around the room, still growling softly. They were fed and told to rest for the day, Kagome not leaving their side for a moment. Lady Kirei na stayed until after they had eaten successfully, then left the room with promises to return before their bedtime that night.

A short time later, unearthly screams filled the main halls of the palace, far from the children’s innocent ears. They lasted for hours, bringing fear and despair to all those listening. It was on that day that those of the western fortress were reminded who it was who had made their lord Sesshomaru as cold and ruthless as he could be when crossed. The beautiful assassin had returned, blood stained walls of the lower rooms a testament to her fury.

The girl perished, buried with her father in tainted ground, traitors to be forgotten by the living. As for Chikaradsuyoi, he survived to be turned over to his father. He vowed that he would get answers from his son, the lady Kirei na never having bothered to ask them any.

Months passed quietly, nights spent in passion and days dedicated to duty. Becoming Sesshomaru’s lover had not really changed their relationship much. Except for the times when her eyes would light radiantly for one thing or another, then he would drag her off to the closest empty room. She had learned only to train when he was gone from the palace. While she was learning how to doge yoki attacks with lady Kirei na one day, he watched for a moment, then suddenly strolled over to them and lifted her over his shoulder and carried her from the room, the lady and child laughing at her half-hearted protests.

Still, with all the time they spent together, she did not feel that they had grown closer. More lustful, absolutely, but she could not say that she loved him, or he her for that matter. That opinion started to change when she noticed that her mark of servitude, his crescent moon, was fading. He had kept her so distracted lately that the days had blended into one another and she had lost track, no longer watching for the moment she could return to her friends.

For the next couple of days, she watched as it lightened more and more. A small sense of dread began take root inside her. It was not that she wanted to be marked as his servant, nor the mark itself that she mourned. It felt as if the first of their ties was beginning to unwind. How much longer until the rest began to fade and be forgotten, as he went on with his life and she returned to hers. Tallying up the days in her head, she figured that she had about a week left, then she would be free to leave if she so chose. If all they had was lust, why did she feel such dismay at losing such a small part of him?

As she began to keep track of the dates of her fading mark, a few more neglected dates began to stand out in her mind. A couple of other things began to shout at her as she tried to deny what her mind was telling her. Dizzy spells when she did not eat first thing in the morning, nausea soon after, tenderness in her body in certain places that she had placed blame on to many nights with her lover. Well she guessed he would still get the blame for it.

“Oh damn!” she whispered, one trembling hand coming to her waist. It seemed that if she did leave the western lands, she would not be going alone. Kagome smiled shakily. She was not sure how Sesshomaru would take such news, but she was betting on not well.

Although he was a good father to Rin, it came right back down to feelings, or lack thereof. They had passion enough and it burned bright and hot, but that did not mean that they could make a life together. Look at what had happened to Kirei na. Could she calmly stand behind him while he took another that he would come to love, causing pain and rivalry between them and bleeding down to their children? Did she really want another Inuyasha, lost and alone in the world for so long because of the mess his parents had created? No, her children would not have such a fate.

Keeping such thoughts in her mind, she did something she had not previously thought herself capable of. She hid her pregnancy. Her morning sickness, the growing bump that she finely noticed, her baby would be there in a matter of a month or so do to its yokai blood, and most importantly, her changing scent. She told herself that it would only be until she could calmly talk to him about it. She kept putting it off and giving herself reasons why it was not a good time until the day came that the mark faded completely and was no more.

One morning she woke to find the mark gone from her, her service ended, promise met. She and Inuyasha were both free of any debt to Sesshomaru and no longer his to command. At least she wasn’t. Inuyasha had actually joined the western lord’s house hold and had to come at his command, whereas Kagome belonged to lady Kirei na’s house. The lady could direct her, but had given her permission to live as she saw fit, giving her freedom not long after she had been joined to the royal.

With all honesty, she could not say how she felt about it, the question of if to leave constantly plaguing her mind. She still worked to hide her condition even though the morning sickness had become progressively worse. She was not sure if it was the child or the craving for barely cooked meat that caused her suffering.

Recovering from one such episode found her propped up against a wall just outside the family wing of the palace. Footsteps caused her to straighten and try to appear as if she had not been trying to lose her light breakfast.

“Lady Kagome.” Kagesenshi came around the corner.

“Sir,” she nodded slightly, wondering why he was so close to the wing he had been banned from.

“Are you well?” he asked seemingly worried. He reached out as if to take her arm, but she stepped sided him.

“I am fine. Just a little tired, thank you for your concern.” Kagome said politely.

Kyouishi stepped into the corridor, having come up at the same time as the white inu. “My lord Sesshomaru has forbidden you entrance here, Kagesenshi, please return to the main halls.” He stood slightly in front of her, his hand resting on his sword hilt.

“Of course. Lady Kagome.” He bowed slightly, turning back the way he came.

“Thank you.” She said quietly as she passed the guard, headed back toward her old room. She needed to spend some time with Rin, her laughter always made her concerns fade for a time.

It did not seem the day for keeping secrets for Kagome. She was walking in the garden after sending Rin off for her evening meal when a wave of nausea rolled through her. Sweat broke out on her forehead, making her nearly dive behind some bushes planted close to the palace wall. The noise drew one of the two people she most did not want to see at that moment.

To say that lady Kirei na was mad would be a vast understatement. Livid came to Kagome’s mind when she spied the red rims that so rarely graced her silver eyes. “You would hide my blood from me?” she asked frigidly.

“Kirei na.” Kagome whispered, still recovering from her lost lunch. She rose and pressed her back against the cool stone wall.

“Are you going to deny that you carry my blood within you right now?” Her words came out in a hiss.

“No.” Kagome said as she began to catch her breath, dizziness fading away.

“Then why, daughter of my house, do neither I nor my son have knowledge of the pup you carry?” She calmed slightly, hoping that she would be forth coming. She did not want to harm one she liked so well.

Kagome stood, her eyes pleading as she worked her way out of the bushes. “My friend, please understand. Your son does not love me, I am not, nor likely to be his chosen mate. Would you have me let my child suffer as Sesshomaru chose another to bear his heir and future children as we watched from the side, bitter? Or would you have Inuyasha’s tale repeated, a half blood left to be hated and ridiculed here in this world of inuyokais and out there with humans as well. With the mixed genetics that I now have, it’s entirely possible that this child could be full youkai, or half, or even mostly human. To be in that constant struggle to prove they have the right to live. Would you have your own story repeated, lady Kirei na?

She looked at her, silver eyes clear and thoughtful. “I think that you underestimate him, but I can understand the fear that clouds your mind right now.” She began to walk beside Kagome. “What will you do?”

“My servitude is over. I think that maybe I need to visit my friends for a few weeks and think about what I want to say to him when I return. Honestly, I do not know how he has kept from noticing this belly.” She molded her hand around the slight, but noticeable bulge.

“There have been three assassination attempts this week and three mating proposals. He’s been a little occupied.” The western lady told her as they made their way through Kagome’s personal garden.

“Yet another reason to put off dropping this on him.” Kagome never saw the lady’s calculating gaze as they went to find Rin for their afternoon playtime together.

Well before dawn the very next day, Kagome rose to leave. She ran her hand through his hair, memorizing the silky feel of it as fell through her fingers. She took with her the sight of him lying in his bed, perfection even in his most vulnerable moments. Her heart began to ache before she even made it to the door and continued long after she had passed through the gates.

Sesshomaru was aware of her touch and her leaving the room, but was unconcerned. She often left at odd hours to check on Rin or to spend time in her garden when she could not sleep. He allowed himself to drift, weary from the constant strain of running the western lands. She would make a wonderful mother, he thought to himself as sleep claimed him once more.

By the time he had risen and dealt with the morning problems that awaited him, she had been gone six hours. Her fading scent was the only warning that she had gone.

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