Weeks had passed fairly quickly with no outward sign of trouble. Rin was very happy and settled into days of Kagome teaching her to read and write, then playing in the afternoon lady Kirei na who adored the child. The evenings were spent with Rin in Sesshomaru’s study where he sorted and signed tons of documents and scrolls. He hardly ever spoke, but she could tell he enjoyed having Rin’s company.
As for Kagome, she settled in as well. There were a few of the servants who were friendly, but most of the time, it was just her and Rin. She had taken to practicing her archery in the afternoons while her charge was safely playing with the lady of the west. Time lulled her in to relaxing, slowly distancing her from the pain of all she had left behind.
Rin had caught her crying once. She was in her room and something reminded her of those she would see no more and lives lost to her. Suddenly the tears just flowed freely down her face. Though she made no sound, Rin was instantly before her, her loving nature made her vulnerable to others afflictions.
“Why do you cry?” Sesshomaru heard Rin asking as he walked past the child’s open door. Quietly, while suppressing his yoki, he slipped into the room, stopping just out of sight of the archway.
“Because my heart is still sad and tears help to heal that sorrow.” She patted the girls hands, “Do not worry over me, dear one, it will not last long.”
“Is it because of Inuyasha?” Rin asked. Sesshomaru stiffened at the sound of his half-brothers name.
“Not really, though I do miss my friends a little. I think it is more about missing the life I knew and wondering what I will do when my year here is up.”
“Do not cry, Miss Kagome. You can always stay with Rin!” she said, beaming beautifully.
“We shall see how it all plays out, little one.” Kagome said, hugging the girl. “Hugs really make you feel better too, you know!” She pretended to squish her, laughing.
Sesshomaru started to slip away when he heard Rin speak again. “You should hug lord Sesshomaru, his hugs are the best and always make me feel better.” Both he and Kagome stilled.
“I’m sure that they are,” she said to please her, “But I do not see him hugging me any time soon.” Kagome rose to dress for the day. He wished that he could be as certain of that as the priestess was. He went to bed angry with himself and her because he was beginning to crave more from her.
Kagome had also observed things about Sesshomaru she would have never would have guessed at before living with him. He definitely had a wicked sense of humor and was a horrible tease. If something that belonged to him was coveted by another, he would subtly parade it in front of them. He loved to win, any challenge, any game, and he thought that he was the best at everything. Not that that’s new. She forgave him for a lot of it considering it was the lady Kriei na’s fault. Kagome smiled, thinking of the woman’s pride in her son. She often agreed that he was perfection in form and actions, always.
It was afternoon in her third month of serving Sesshomaru. Because of the heat, she pulled on a sundress, one of the few remaining from her last trip through the well. It was white, with sakura blossoms scattered along the skirt, with spaghetti straps. She decided against shoes of any kind and stepped out to the archery range in the garden closest to their rooms. It was late afternoon, so Rin and lady Kirei na were out exploring the koi ponds. She drew back and let the first arrow fly.
Sesshomaru found himself once again spying on his servant. She was stunning in her strange cloths, her long hair braided down her back. Her neck was bare and his mark stood out on her skin. He could not help the sense of satisfaction every time he saw it there. Her legs were also exposed to just above her knees, showing off the strength in her. The way she moved, the way she stood, the way she moved just before she would release all showed the power of her body. He had begun watching her practice just to get a glimpse of that hidden strength.
Kagome stiffened, a feeling of wrongness shooting through her. Throwing her bow on her shoulder, she quickly took off in the direction the lady had taken Rin for their walk today. Sesshomaru had already began to follow after her when he caught the smell of his mother’s blood. Rage tinted his eyes red and he began to change.
When Kagome reached them, lady Kirei na was being bitten by an inu in beast form, large and black, but nowhere near the size of Sesshomaru. Still, she held Rin behind her, prepared to defend her grandchild. Kagome fired an arrow at the yokai, but it jumped back in time, burn marks now covering his side. She got between the large inu and his pray, also facing a fox in beast form, three tails flaring behind it. There was a third yokai, but he was not an animal spirit. She could feel the dark around him, realizing that he was an elemental, a spirit of darkness, literally.
She wasted no time in firing again, disintegrating the fox quickly. The black inu came at her and the elemental tried to blind her to its attack, but she could see far more than what the eyes could view. She launched another arrow, catching the elemental in the throat. He disappeared slowly, like a cloud dispersed by the wind. However, the inu’s attack caught her upper thigh with sharp claws. She turned to pull the woman and child to safety, hissing as she through her aura out, tossing the yokai several yards away from them. She faced the beast, ready for the next attack when Sesshomaru in beast form met him head on, instantly ripping his throat out. She watched dispassionately as he shook the other inu, she assumed because he was just that pissed. She went to lady Kirei na and healed her shoulder wound where she had been bitten. Rin burst into tears and jumped into her arms, grateful that it was all over.
Sesshomaru came to them, still in his true form. Rin went to him and hugged his large nose. Kagome could not help but notice that he could swallow all of them in one bite if he wanted to. Lady Kirei na also went to her son and put her forehead against him, low rumbling coming from her throat. He seemed to shrink, in a glimmer of light returning to the shape of a man. He wrapped them both in his arms. It reminded her of how badly they had misjudged him, how they had not really known him at all. She took a step toward them, hissing as pain shot through her leg.
Three sets of concerned eyes settled on her. “Why have you not healed yourself?” Sesshomaru asked, still holding on to them.
“I will when I get back to my room. It takes a bit longer to heal those with human blood. I will be alright.” She said, turning back toward where her bow had fallen. Suddenly, she was lifted off her feet. Sesshomaru held her tight to his chest. “What are you doing?” She asked a little breathless.
Quiet, he said in her mind, his eyes still holding a red edge. He was very displeased. His mother had been hurt, Rin had been made a target and his valued servant had been injured.
Kagome allowed herself to rest against him since he was bound and determined to carry her. Thinking of the conversation she had once had with Rin, she had to agree with the child. When you were in his arms and he wasn’t trying to kill you, it felt amazing to be there. She still wouldn’t go as far to say she felt safe though. Kagome was half positive smoke was going to roll of him at any moment from the amount of anger she sensed. She was not afraid of him still, but was extremely grateful she was not the object of that fury.
With no effort at all, he laid her on her bed, then knelt beside her. He hooked one claw under the hem of her ruined dress and slowly pulled it up, his knuckle brushing against her skin. Even in all his rage, he still noticed her small gasp and the way her heart sped up briefly. He revealed the two deep claw marks, the first starting about an inch above her knee going half way up her thigh.
“Rin has your bag!” She came running into the room with the bag that contained her healing herbs within them.
Kagome smiled, not showing any sign of the pain the torn muscle was causing her. She removed several of the dark green herbs, in a small sterile bowl she kept, made a paste with some water Rin had also brought to her. She began to smear it along the wound. Then with a little help from lady Kirei na, she wrapped it in clean white strips of cloth. After they were done, she lay her hands on top of the fabric and a soft blue light appeared. Several moments later, she lay back and rested, knowing that the marks were now gone, but was too tired to remove the wrapping.
Lady Kirei na and Sesshomaru watched through the whole process admiring her strength and resilience. After she was done, the bandages removed by his mother, Sesshomaru turned to her and asked “What happened?”
“They came for Rin. They said that she was unfit to be in a royal household.” Rin answered. “Then obaasan said that you were ruler here and you would say who was good enough. Then she said it was sad when vermin were jealous of a child and had not the strength to win a spot of their own. That was when the big dog bit her.”
Lady Kirei na nodded, “that was when dear Kagome came to our rescue so beautifully. I could have handled it, but I’m still grateful, young one. Therefore, I am honored to make you a member of my house for your bravery. You are now a lady of the white inu house, noble blood by noble deeds.” She bent down and kissed her fore head, leaving a bright blue crescent moon in the same spot as her and her sons.
“I am honored, lady Kirei na.” She bowed her head. Then she was squished between Rin and Kirei na. Her gaze found Sesshomaru who was staring at the new mark on her. The corners of his lips turned up slightly. Something about that small smile sent a shiver through her.
“Where go you, son?” His mother asked as he turned to leave.“To revive the black dog for questioning,” he did not look back at them, “Then this one will kill him again, slowly.” He looked over his shoulder into Kagome’s eyes, expecting to see horror, but finding none. He saw understanding there, not condoning what he would do, but clear understanding why he would do so. He left, leaving her to their care.