Hokoru wound his way through the darkened corridors of the western palace. It was his habit to patrol through them in the predawn hours, feeling that it was his honor and his duty as its steward to ensure all was well and ready for the day to come. To his knowledge, the only one, besides lord Sesshomaru before he mated, to rise earlier than he was Tsuyoi and her troops, who were already out preparing. So it was somewhat surprising to see the lantern light coming from Kei’s workroom where she often made her medicine. There had only been one sick in the palace recently, he thought worriedly, figuring that he had better see what she was up to. He stood in her doorway, watching as she held a vial of sickly green liquid up to the light. “You are aware that he is needed for trial this afternoon.” He stated, his usual seriousness in his voice.
“Have no fear, darling boy,” Kogirei added just a touch more of the foul smelling herb on her workstation. “This will not interfere with lord Sesshomaru’s plans. Sadly,” she added, giving the vial a shake, “if he chooses the honorable path, he may not get to enjoy this gift at all, but somehow I just do not see him taking that path.” The joyfully wicked expression that spread across her face, her eyes glowing gleefully, made him very uncomfortable in several different ways. Without a word, he backed away, leaving her to her task. As he continued on, Hokoru reminded himself never to get on the bad side of that particular white fox.
Inuyasha lay on his belly across the massive bed in their chambers, his head propped up by his hands as he eyed his sleeping mates stomach intently. He reminded Sesshomaru of a little pup wagging its tail as it waited on some special treat. “Otouto,” he closed the door to their bathing room, stepping out nude, his long hair still slightly damp, “what are you doing?”
“Ani, you should see this.” Inuyasha glanced his way, gaze lingering as Sesshomaru pulled his clothing on. He quickly looked away, ignoring the way his brother smirked at catching him. Sesshomaru laid across the bed, facing Inuyasha, but his eyes were on Kagome’s stomach. “Just watch.”
After a brief moment, a shape formed in her flesh, pushing out as the pups stretched within her. Sesshomaru gently touched it with his fingertips, the child pulling back instantly. A second later it thumped, as if to protest, making Kagome moan lightly in her sleep and roll towards them on that side. Then there was massive movement in waves across her tummy as they all shifted and settled again. Another sharp kick woke her completely, making her sit up and hold her side, wincing.
“Kagome!” Inuyasha reached for her, but was afraid to touch the wrong place. Sesshomaru sat up, taking in everything from her pale complexion to the soft hiss that was nothing but pain.
“I am alright.” She said after catching her breath. “I think they hit a rib with that one.” Carefully, Kagome eased onto her back, sitting up against the pillows. Softly she ran her hands over her swollen stomach, the babies setting beneath her touch. “Poor pups, they are running out of room in there.”
“You will see Kogirei today.” Sesshomaru’s voice stern with authority.
Kagome didn’t have the strength to get bothered by her alpha’s order. “I will.” She agreed, touching his face. “I believe that I will sit out of today’s trial as well. I will spend my day in the garden, again, in my big fluffy chair, again, and feel ridiculous, again,” she said smiling at them with a small laugh, “but first, help me out of this bed, please!” they complied and she rushed as fast as possible out of the room, four tiny bodies dancing merrily on her bladder.
“I am worried, Sesshomaru. Something ain’t right with her” Inuyasha said, resisting the need to rush after her.
“hn,” his brother agreed. “Her scent is changing slightly.” The inuyokai did not mention the fact that she was in constant, mild pain as well, sure that Inuyasha had already picked up on it. Now more than ever, he was having trouble controlling his anger at the cowardly weaklings that conspired against him. Had they been honorable, they would have challenged him and been already dead, forgotten past and they would not have to leave Kagome in his mother’s care to see this matter done.
Tsuyoi looked across the land, taking note of where each of her scouts lay, making sure that they were invisible even to an inu’s sharp eyes. They did not fail her, each blending in with their surroundings perfectly. Many thought that she was hard and uptight, but that was not the case. She just had no room for error when it came to guarding the west.
Shikyomi had plucked her up off the battle field as she sat beside her slaughtered father, trained her, and gave her reason for being. Serving and protecting the inuyokai, their families, making sure another house was never decimated like hers had been was her sole focus in life. Many felt that she was odd, anti-social and haughty because of her seriousness and her rare coloring she inherited from a great grandmother who married outside of the great houses. The truth, however, was that she just did not know how to speak to those out of her command. This left her at a complete and utter loss on how to deal with the monk who watched her again from a distance, though he had yet to actually speak to her.
Sango was also out early. She was a little disgusted with herself, once again watching Miroku follow the beautiful general around. Because she refused to give into such jealous behavior, she ended up studying the woman herself instead, with surprising results. Watching as Tsuyoi began one on one sword drills with the soldiers that she was working with, Sango could not help but admire how good she was, coming close to rivaling Sesshomaru and Inuyasha; but, when Tsuyoi was in between bouts, her eyes would cut over to Miroku too fast to catch if one were not spying on her to begin with.
Years of being friends with Kagome had taught Sango to look below the appearance of a being and read their emotions instead. She would have sworn that the seemingly cold inu was puzzled and even slightly nervous of the monk’s constant attention. This left her with a strange need to assure her that Miroku was fairly harmless. Besides, if Tsuyoi were to hit him in the usual manner, he might never wake up, she thought to herself.
Having done nothing remotely like exercise since coming to the western palace, Sango thought of a great reason to speak with Tsuyoi. Approaching the field, she propped her hericotsu up against a nearby tree. “Would you mind sparing with me, lady Tsuyoi? I wish to be well ready should we be attacked. Hisuhebi’s followers were not especially skilled when we fought them, but they did come in vast numbers.”
“If it is your wish, lady Sango.” The woman bowed slightly. The need to be prepared was something she well understood.
“Please, there is no need for the title.” Sango said with a light blush, “I am not inuyokai nobility.” They faced each other.
“You are now,” Tsuyoi said, drawing her sword. “From the moment lord Sesshomaru made you his
pack, you outrank me and it would not be honorable of me not to address you as
Sango drew as well, smiling a little. Already she could tell that Tsuyoi was a simple person, intelligent, but following the rules set before her, never once thinking of straying. It made her a perfect and loyal general, but she doubted it had gained her many friends. Sango blocked the first strike beautifully, both women leaving their thoughts behind as they concentrated on the blade before them.
Miroku was now in awe. Sango had always been captivating when she fought, giving her all to the battle, but her and Tsuyoi together left him completely enthralled. So spellbound in fact, that he never once felt the presence creeping up behind him until he felt the warm breath upon the back of his neck.
“Lovely aren’t they.” Lady Shikyomi said, leaning in close to him. Laughter spilled out of her as her friend nearly jumped out of his skin, falling without any grace to the ground. Their swords never ceased, intensely focused on the battle at hand.
Miroku laid his head down on the grass, staring sorrowfully up at the sky. “It is just my lot in life to fall victim to such stunning beauty.” He blinked puppy dog eyes up at her, making her laugh all the more while giving him a hand up.
“Poor cursed fellow that you are,” she teased him. “You should consider how this may play in your favor.” Shi was well aware of his love for Sango, just as he knew of her sorrow at her mates passing and never having gotten much time to be with Midoriko.
Miroku’s gaze had already strayed back to those on the training field. “How so?” he asked absently.
“that one,” Shi nodded toward Tsuyoi, “has issues when it comes to getting close to others, the other is afraid to get close to anyone, but does so naturally. Perhaps they will help each other overcome these things.” She looked out over the battling women as well, grinning. It would be most interesting watching things develop there.
“Perhaps.” Miroku agreed, “or they could forget about me all together, clinging to each other instead,” he said sadly, though his eyes nearly crossed at the image that thought provoked.
“Dear one,” Shikyomi placed an arm around his shoulders, “should that happen, here is a warm embrace on cold nights for you.” She grinned again as Tsuyoi managed to disarm Sango, knocking her back into the well packed dirt. “This one thinks that you will not have to worry about that. You have a way of getting under the skin, especially the slayers.” She grinned when Tsuyoi helped the woman up and Sango retrieved her sword before taking positon again. Though they may not have the blood, her son’s pack certainly carried the pride and spirit of the inuyokai. The monk now held a speculative gleam in those gorgeous purple eyes, telling her that he was not giving up on his love just yet, as she had intended.
Hikigaeru slept soundly in his darkened room, tucked warmly into his blankets, mind at peace. A slight shifting under his covers made a small frown appear, as if his body was already registering that something was wrong. Then the sensation of something brushing across his leg brought him fully awake, kicking at whatever had decided to share his bed with him.
It did not help, that feeling of something crawling, inching its way across his skin through the fine hair that covered his legs would not cease. He flung the blanket off, staring with horror as massive centipedes and slugs swarmed over his lower extremities, gaining size as their beady little eyes focused on his face. He began screaming, kicking and thrashing, but not a thing helped as they slowly began to feast on his flesh….
Kagome sight in irritation. She felt bulky, hot, sticky, cranky, and extremely uncomfortable. She, too, felt that her time was nearing, remembering the symptoms her mother described at the end of her pregnancies. It was strange to her how time had sped and dragged along at its own pace during her own, but then again, time had always played games with her life it seemed. Right now, she thought as she sat bored out of her mind in the garden, time was snail crawling and laughing at her.
Shikyomi had been with her, but said she had to run for a second and would be right back. Kogirei, who was checking on her health, promised to stay and watch over her while the lady death was gone, plotting as usual. “You look absolutely miserable, my dear. Would it help if I got those men of yours to come and sit with you?”
Kagome grimaced. “It’s because they are not here, it’s the only time I allow myself to look how I feel.”
“Why hide it? They know anyway.” Lady Kei said. Even lord Sesshomaru seemed slightly frantic when he came to get her this morning. Normally he would have just sent the imp.
Whatever answer she would have given was lost by the sound of screaming coming from the guest hall. Cursing the timing, Kei rose from her seat, seeing Asa already heading her way, calling out that Hikigaeru was once again lost in some nightmare vision that he could not wake from. She let out a loud, short yipping noise that had Kagome looking at her strangely.
Two soldiers appeared, each taking a place beside Kagome’s chair. Seeing, them she sighed again heavily. Kogirei just laughed as she headed toward her waiting victim, patting the vial in her pocket. She left, knowing that Shi would return soon and Kagome would remain well guarded in the few moments she would be gone.
As if he had been just waiting for such a moment, Kidotta strolled his way into the gardens, his dark green clothing blending well with the surroundings. Before he could get to close to her, the guards stepped forward, a silent warning not to approach any farther. “Lady Kagome,” he said, bowing just enough to be polite. Rin popped around a tree, catching his attention momentarily before Shippo chased her into another part of the greenery. “What lovely blossoms lord Sesshoamru keeps,” he commented, his eyes returning to her.
“Yes,” she agreed smiling widely, “And he protects them well, sir.” Kagome really wanted to murder the man on the spot for the way he was looking at her like she was some fine possession and her daughter as if she were a future desert.
“Indeed.” He said snidely, “but I am sure he could part with one or two these beautiful flowers.”
Her grin turned slightly vicious as she felt two powers coming their way swiftly, one a cold burn and the other a roaring flame. It seems their bond had opened without her even realizing it. “I would have a care, sir, for which blooms you have your eyes on, even the smallest can have sharpened thorns,” she stood to greet her mates as they appeared, “and, as I have mentioned, the care taker here guards his garden well.”
“So I see.” Kidotta sneered. “My lady,” he bowed again before heading toward the guest’s quarters.
“Kagome, what did that bastard want?” Inuyasha growled out, her anger intensifying his own. His hand rested firmly on his sword hilt as he watched the man depart.
“I can’t be sure, but I think he was trying to piss me off.” She glared in the direction of the guest hall, reki spiking, “and he succeeded.” Kagome continued, replaying their conversation to them. How she wanted to fry his ass into crispy bits of char.
Sesshomaru was just as angry as his mates, but would not let it consume him. There would be time to deal with Kidotta in the very near future, other plans had to be put into motion first. Still, he found his claws sharpening, wanting to dig through the inu’s chest, through the meat and bone until he held his heart in his hand and crushing it.
Kagome took a step towards him, only to be blanketed by an overwhelming dizzy spell. She started to fall, only to be caught by Inuyasha, who instantly lifted her into his arms. She saw his lips form her name as darkness clouded her vision before slipping into unconsciousness.
Lady Kei helped Kagome into the bed only moments later, completely ignoring one silently glaring inuyokai and the other one that paced behind him, his golden eyes fixated on Kagome’s pale face. She soothed the blankets over the girls rounded stomach, smiling softly at her. “My lady, I am afraid you will have to rest for the next few days. Your time is not far off.”
Kagome sighed and nodded, her expression revealing the strain she had been under. She was so tired and weighed down all the time. “I understand.” Leaning back against the silk, she sighed again. “Any idea when exactly?”
“A day or two at the most. I would be more confident if Katsumi would return, she was the only one alive when the last bride gave birth, but I am positive that you will be fine.” Kei said, stepping away from the bed, her shoulder lightly brushing Sesshomaru’s, a meaningful look passing between them, making him relax slightly, his glare softening.
Inuyasha barely spared her a glance as she left the room, coming instantly to Kagome’s side. “Are you sure you are ok?” He asked. She could almost feel the worry rolling off of him in waves.
“I just need sleep, I will be fine.” Kagome was a little afraid he was going to go nuts and start making her strange food again, the memory making her lips curl into a sleepy smile. “I am just going to stay here and rest, I know you both have other things that you must do.”
“Are you sure? Maybe I should stay with you.” Inuyasha was nearly as pale as she had been when she had collapsed.
Knowing that she would get no rest with Inuyasha pacing the bedroom and jumping every time she moved, she looked toward their calm alpha. She knew also that he was worried in his own way, but he was composed as usual, something Kagome was very grateful for at the moment. She was struggling less and less with their connection and opened it with ease, sending plea in his direction. ‘Distract him, please’ she let him feel her weariness.
Sesshomaru understood, though he also felt the need to watch over her, that she would do better with quiet and peace. He was going over ideas of how to get him to leave the room when she sent him an image that made stare at her innocent appearing face for a second before smirking slightly. He knew a moment of pride for having a devious and generous mate, then place a hand on Inuyasha’s back. “Come Otouto. Kagome will not move from our bed.” This was said with a glance in her direction. Sesshomaru ignored her slight glare and accepted the slight nod she gave. As he led Inuyasha away from their chambers, he felt her drift off into slumber, her last thoughts still clear in his mind.
“Are you sure that we should be leaving her alone right now?” Inuyasha grumbled, glancing back.
“Your agitated presence right now would give her more stress. There are things that must be done soon, Otouto. This one would have this over before she gives birth.” He led him down a new corridor, the western palace still a maze to the younger inu. Sesshomaru opened a small simple door that was mostly over looked in the grand hallway, stepping back, he allowed Inuyasha to proceed before him.
Inuyasha looked at him questioningly, but then stepped out into the warm late morning sun. The sight revealed to him was captivating, making him pause just outside the door. It was a large enclosed garden with a natural stone wall lining the edge, its height well above their reach. Strange and unusual flowers and trees were throughout, along with several stone and wooden statuary and fountains. It should have appeared cluttered together, but each was set in a cool and relaxing placement, making him feel less tense. Inuyasha had not even realized that he had stopped until he felt his brother behind him, Sesshomaru’s arm coming across his chest, bringing him back against him. Without thought, Inuyasha held onto it, leaning back. “What is this place, Ani?”
“This one’s personal garden.” Sesshomaru told him. This was the place where he came when he felt agitated and when important decisions had to be made. For nearly two centuries it had been his place of solace, never sharing it with another until he had brought Inuyasha into it. Never in all the years he had spent in its solitude did he imagine that he would be sharing it with his brother, but Inuyasha’s presence nearly brought compete contentment to him now. He would bring both of his mates here as soon as Kagome recovered from giving life to their pups.
Sesshomaru let go of him, moving farther into the tranquil setting. Inuyasha fell in behind him, looking around, trying to take in everything. His worry for Kagome was still constant in the back of his mind, but for the moment, the tension that had him on edge began to slip slowly away as he concentrated on what and who was before him. He could not help but feel that the western lord was up to something, his instincts rarely wrong when it came to his alpha these days. It was as if Sesshomaru had crawled inside him and left a piece of himself within, Inuyasha now always aware of him as he had been Kagome.
Sesshomaru shed his clothing, laying each piece carefully over a stone bench, until only his pants remained. “Spar with me, Otuoto,” he said, his voice low.
“Right now?” Inuyasha asked, still slightly aggravated. His brother turned toward him, one perfect eyebrow arched. Grumbling, he complied, shedding his own robes and propping his sword up against the same stone bench. “Is this one of the things that we must do?” He asked smartly.
Sesshomaru’s eyes tinted red, his instinct coming forward at Inuyasha’s insolent tone. A feral grin stretched across his mouth, making his mate eye him warily. They circled each other in the limited space. Inuyasha made the first move, throwing a punch toward his alpha’s midsection, only to be evaded and having to dodge quickly to keep from receiving a like blow himself. They continued on, rarely landing an actual strike on each other, until their skin was gleaming from a thin layer of sweat.
“So,” Inuyasha said as they began another pass, “was this Kagome’s idea to wear me out or somethin?”
“No.” Sesshomaru rushed him, swiftly catching him off guard by moving behind him and pinning him against a tree with smooth, paper-like bark that felt cool against his heated skin, in sharp contrast to the hot body behind him. “Would you like to know what our mate did suggest?” He asked, his mouth hovering over his mating mark. Giving into the urge, his fangs sank into it, causing the younger inuyokai to whimper until his tongue ran over it soothingly. “Do not move.” Sesshomaru growled out, the command clear.
He walked over to where he had left his clothing, picking up the obi among his things. Returning to his lover, he wound the cloth around him, binding his forearms together. Turning Inuyasha to face him, he took the inu’s own red belt to loop over a branch, raising them up until he was stretched out, but could stand somewhat comfortably. “Sess…., Kagome suggested this?” Inuyasha stammered, blushing.
“Yes.” The lord of the west said, admiring the way he looked pinned there. They both knew that had he truly wanted to, he could break the binding, it was more his alpha’s command that held him in place. Well, that and a raging curiosity of what would be done next. “She has an amazingly talented mind. We will be sure to repay her in kind when she has fully healed.” Sesshomaru’s hand slid down his back, the muscles lengthened, leaving more contrasts as he followed the lines of each one, defined by the position he had tied him into. His lips tasted the skin of his shoulder, the warm breath that caressed against him causing shivers through Inuyasha before his mate’s tongue leisurely made its way up his neck.
Sesshomaru gently nuzzled under his chin before meeting eyes as blood red as his were. Those fiery orbs closed as he covered Inuyasha’s mouth with his own, their tongues meeting and tangling together, and his roaming hand coiling in the bound inu’s hair. The other made its down Inuyasha’s taunt stomach, cupping his aroused flesh through the soft fabric he still wore, causing him to groan into his brother’s mouth.
Pulling back, he traced the half-bloods faintly swollen lips with his fingertips, all the while still sending waves of pleasure rushing through him, sliding his other hand inside his clothing, teasingly. Gently, he slipped his fingers the warm cavern of his mouth, fascinated by the way his tongue ran over them. Pulling them out, he let his claws barely scrape down Inuyasha’s skin until he reached the curve of his ass, pushing the fabric slowly down until it dropped completely. Taking the still moistened digits, he slowly pressed into him, taking sweet time to prepare him, at the same time he devoured his mouth, still caressing his hardened length.
Inuyasha was lost to Sesshoamru’s all-out assault on his senses. The heat of his mouth, the press of his body against him as his hands practically manipulated his flesh like clay, kneading and pressing into him until all thought was gone. So near he came to that mindless point, the tether that held him was all that kept him standing when his dominate released him from his sensual torture. His breath came in soft pants as he watched Sesshomaru stripped of his remaining clothing.
Sesshoamru himself greatly admired the vision before him, his lover nearly brought to his knees by only the touch of his hands. Though that in itself was thought provoking, he knew that time was short for them. As much as he wanted to continue the torment on his beta’s body, silently vowing to capture him again in the future, he pulled the knot on Inuyasha’s obi, releasing him partly. A soft growl rumbled through his chest at the new sight of Inuyasha stripped bare against the soft grass, his arms still bound and held above his head, his eyes dark red and hungry.
Sesshoamru knelt between his spread legs, grasping his hips with firm hands. Lifting him, he worked his way into the tight, pulsing heat, nearly losing control at the sight and sound of Inuyasha throwing his head back and moaning loudly as his body was gradually forced to swallow Sesshomaru’s hardness in one long, slow thrust. Their blood seemed to turn molten as Inuyasha’s back arched, displaying his form like a feast before a king. His lover took full advantage, savoring the taste and texture of his skin before capturing his mouth once more, while he moved in and out at a deliberate, tortuous pace.
Letting go of iron control, he withdrew, rolling his mate onto his side. Lifting one leg as he slipped behind him, Sesshomaru sunk back into Inuyasha, relishing each little whimper and gasp wrung from him. Finally, he released the binding, allowing the younger inu to catch himself as he was turned onto his stomach, Sesshomaru thrusting more deeply within him. Faster and stronger, driving the one below him to near collapse from intense, painful pleasure, he pulled Inuyasha’s head back, his growing fangs once again burring themselves into the flesh of his mating mark, holding him in place.
Inuyasha could not bear any more, the thrilling sensation of being pinned while Sesshomaru filled him brought him to a point of extreme bliss, climaxing as he called his lovers name. Growling low in his chest, Sesshoamru shifted him higher, plunging even harder as he joined him, filling him with heated fluid, his teeth not releasing their prize until the spasms had stopped resounding through them.
Opening her eyes, Kagome caught the tail end of their pleasure and felt the contentment that followed as they fell together, curling in each other’s arms. She sighed as she rolled over, her hands on her ever rounding belly. Truly, she craved the day when the fight was behind them and they could enjoy being together in peace. Grinning tiredly, Kagome thought that maybe it might be a good idea to invest in several lengths of sturdy silken ropes. Giggling, she allowed herself to fall into sleep, torrid dreams awaiting her to be played out in those coming peaceful days she hoped for.