Shikyomi sat Kagome down in a beautiful clearing, the twilight making the trees and few brave flowers appear bathed in silver. So lost in the sight, she jumped when Shi dropped a pile of firewood at her feet. The lady laughed at her, making her blush again. It seemed she was doing a lot of that lately. “Come,” the inu told her, “we have some things to discuss before they catch up, which will be soon, if I know my son.”
Kagome began arranging the firewood, doing her best not to have to meet her eye to eye, which father amused Shi. “What is it?” Kagome asked her quietly.
“I would like to know your thoughts, priestess. We discuss the mating ceremony later, when we will have more time, but I would ease your mind if I could.” They both sat back, watching as the flames began to consume the wood.
“I am just worried that this will go wrong. What do I know about being a mate, much less to the last two princes in your world? I think that scares me more than facing Hisuihebi at this point.” She said, her eyes following the sparks as they rose to the sky, burning out long before they reached it. She felt very like them, like she would be consumed and burnt out before she ever finished this grand destiny of hers. “I am trying my best not to think about the act at all.” She muttered as a side thought, nearly forgetting who she was speaking with.
Shikyomi nodded. “After all, we can’t have you walk around that lovely shade of red all the time.” She laughed at the girl’s embarrassed expression. How fun she was. “As for our society and culture, you have nothing to fear because they are the princes. Sesshomaru decides what is right and what is wrong, no one would dare go against him or you when you are his.”
“Is it really alright for one person to make such decisions for everyone?”
Shikyomi smiled and looked into the now dancing flames. “When the inuyoki were young, still spirits newly formed, the kamis came to test them. They set a maze before them, trapping them. One came forward and led them through, gaining wisdom with his task on his own merit. This he shared with his people. They marked him with golden hair and eyes, his became the house of Chie.”
“Just as they left the maze, the kamis set before them a large rock that blocked their path from all sides. Upon this rock, they sat waiting to see what the inu would do. One more came forward and tirelessly tried to move the stone, his determination matched by none. He moved the rock, kamis and all. Through his own merit he gained strength. This he shared with the inuyokai. They marked him with silver hair and eyes, his became the house of Kyoudo.”
Kagome looked up at her, engrossed in her story. She could literally see the trials of the inuyokai. “When the rock was moved,” lady Shikyomi continued, “Before them lay a massive canyon so vast, they could barely see the other side. They were stuck. One came forward and leapt into the abyss. By her own bravery and determination she gained the ability to fly and shared it with her fellow inuyokai. The kamis marked her with hair as black as the abyss and eyes as blue as the sky. Hers became the house of Yuuki.”
“On the other side was a land of plenty, the kamis gardens. The inyokai began to hunger and to desire the fruit of this land, even though it was not meant for them. One came forward and urged them on, fought his own hunger and bloody battles with his people to keep them honest. Finally they came to the other side where they were fed of the earth. Through his integrity and honor, he saved his people, for to eat of the kamis garden is death. The kamis marked him with white hair and eyes so you could see his purity. His became the house of Meiyo.”
Shikyomi felt the presence of her sons, for now Inuyasha would indeed be her son. They had been there for nearly the entire tale of the inuyokai’s beginnings, but the woman before her was so spellbound by the tale she had not felt them yet. She could tell Inuyasha was also listening very closely. “They came upon the last trail of the kamis. Before them lay many yokai, blocking there path to the western lands which would become their home. They could not slay them, for the kamis would not allow it. They could not fly above them, nor lift them, nor find a way around them. One stepped forward and began to speak softly to them. As her people looked on, her hair became fire red and her eyes soft amber, her skin white as the snow upon the ground. The yokai were so captivated by her grace, they did all she asked of them. Through her own merit, she gained a special beauty, the ability to draw others to her will. This she shared with her people. Hers became the house of Kazaru.”
She took Kagome’s hands. “The five houses became the ruling body of the inuyokai and led their people with wisdom, strength, courage, honor, and grace. All those things and the blood of all five houses meet in my son. As proud and as fierce as he is, there is no better leader for our people, trust in him, in them, and you will have nothing to fear.”
“Why would she fear?” Sesshomaru asked, walking into the fire’s glow. Inuyasha sat down beside lady Shi, curious about her tale. He understood Kagome’s fear, but did not really share it. What did he care what they thought of him.
“Excuse me.” Kagome nearly squeaked, retreating. She went into the forests edge, close enough for safety, but far enough away to think. Setting back against a tree, she looked up at the stars and thought on Shikyomi’s words.
“Okaasan?” Sesshomaru demanded.
“Perhaps now would be a good time to better get to know your future mate, my son. You have very little time before you are bound. Find her fears for yourself. I will sit and talk with my new son.” She smiled charmingly at him while hugging Inuyasha close to her.
He nearly sighed. “Hn” he agreed, going to where Kagome had disappeared in the tree line. He was beginning to understand that he would have to learn a new way, his old coldness shed, first with Rin’s unconditional love and now with the warmth he felt for his future mates, but sometimes it was trying. It was easier to be cold and indifferent than to address such things. However, having heard the beginnings tale for the first time in centuries, he realized that he had strayed from some of what the inu were. It was time to change that, for as his mother had commented, it was his will that lead the whole of the inuyokai. If anything, he should be more, not less.
“Is the tale true?” Inuyasha asked shyly, grateful she had let go of him. He was not used to casual touch, even a mothers. Kagome’s mom often made him feel the same with her hugs.
“It has been passed down from the beginnings of time. Yes, I believe it is true.” Shikyomi stood stretching. “You know, you are of the five houses as well, little pup.”
He glared at the tittle, but curiosity won out. “I am?”
“We bred only among each other to keep the ruling houses as pure as possible. By the time my grandmother joined the inuyokai, the houses had already been blended together so well, all could claim ties to each. I wish you could have seen us when we were many, son of mine. It was truly beautiful.”
“Son?” This lady had a habit of throwing him off.
“You prefer pup?” She asked laughing at his renewed glare. “Come, let’s hunt and give him a chance at learning what you already know.” She pulled him up and took off. With one look toward where Sesshomaru and Kagome were, he raced after her.
“Tell me of your fear.”
Kagome looked over as Sesshomaru sat beside her with far more grace than she had. She completely believed the story and could see those things not just in Sesshomaru, but Inuyasha as well. How could a clumsy human who had not even known she was a priestess fit with them? She turned back toward the sky. “Do you see the moon?” she asked him.
It was not what he expected to hear, but he humored her. Looking up, he saw the full moon bright on the horizon. It was one of his favorite sights, helping him feel balanced and calm. “Yes.” He told her.
“Do you think that the stars burn out trying to match that radiance, fading into the black, never quite measuring up?” She did not look away from the sky.
He understood. She feared not matching them, of being lost in their world. He thought for a moment. “No I do not think that is so. The stars shine on their own, not only lighting the sky when the moon cannot, but work with the moon to bring beauty to the darkness.” Stealing her breath with sudden movement, he pulled her into his lap, her hands braced upon his chest. He reached out and gently touched her face, his instinct nearly growling within him. “Kagome, you do not need to worry of such things. You make your own place where ever you go, lighting the darkness as well as those stars.” Unsure of what else he could say to her, he drew her to his chest and just held her to him. After a moment, she relaxed against him, her arms coming around him as well. He had never felt such a sense of rightness, like gaining something he was unaware he lacked.
Kagome could not breathe for a moment. His touching her was still such an amazing occurrence in her mind that it took a moment for his words to reach her. Closing her eyes, she sighed, snuggling down into his chest while wrapping her arms around him. It felt so incredible just to be held this way, to know that this man, so seemingly untouchable, would hold her. His hands played in her hair, something he seemed to enjoy, until they heard the others come back to the clearing.
He stood, allowing her body to slide down his, leaving heat behind. Her eyes met his, an answering warmth in her gaze before she blushed and looked away. Sesshomaru smirked, realizing that he had seen that look on her before. Taking her hand, he led her back into the clearing. He felt alive right now, never really realizing how bored he had become. His mother smiled at him knowingly as she turned the meat over the fire. She was not one to pass up saying I told you so, he was grateful for her current restraint.
Kagome sat next to Inuyasha, giving him a small smile. “Better?” He asked. She nodded as Sesshomaru joined them on her other side. The brothers met eyes briefly before Inuyasha looked away. They would have to talk soon as well, but he was hoping to put it off as long as possible.
“I have to say, Sesshomaru, the pup is much more fun to hunt with,” lady Shikyomi teased him, “At least he still knows how to play.” She laughed at the small growl that escaped his lips. She might have continued on, but the slayer and monk arrived. Miroku bowed to her, flirty look still evident. He was cute with his deep purple eyes, perhaps she could borrow him from the slayer for a while. She glanced at the woman in question, looking forward to what time would make of them to one another, friend, foe, or otherwise.
Sango paused in front of Kagome. “We grabbed this for you.” She told her unaware of the scrutiny she was under. She carefully handed her the sacred jewel piece that had been left at Naraku’s death. They had carefully wrapped it in cloth and never actually touched it so as not to be corrupted by it.
“Thank you.” The jewel was still her responsibility, but the burden was not so bad with those around her. She unwrapped the piece, it glowing pure as soon as she touched it, never failing to amaze her companions. She pulled the remaining shards from the bottle on her necklace, placing them in her hand. Kagome concentrated, bright light flashing before her. Opening her hand, the completed shikon no toma lay in her palm. Very carefully, she fastened it to her necklace. One mission completed, but now a new fate awaited. Looking at the men beside her, she tried her best to let go of her fear and put her trust in their hands.
The meal they had was quiet, with the exception of lady Shikyomi’s teasing. When the fire burned low, they began to bed down. Kagome somehow found herself between Sesshomaru and Inuyasha, the lady claiming that it was best for warmth and safety. “The inu are very social you know. We hate sleeping alone.” She remarked, watching the red grace the girls skin again. She could have sworn her son was about to smile when he looked away from her, drawing Kagome next to him.
They ended up with Sesshomaru holding her, her back to his chest and Inuyasha lay in front of her, his back facing her. She covered them all with her blanket, then throwing caution to the wind, she lay her arm over Inuyasha. He stiffened for a moment, then relaxed in her embrace, a soft noise escaping his lips.
“Lady Shikyomi, if you feel the need for company, I would gladly snuggle with you.” The monk told her with open arms. Sango just rolled her eyes and pulled her blanket over her.
A rock came flying out of nowhere, hitting Miroku in the back of the head. He fell over face first in his blanket, out cold. “That was not nice, son of mine.” Lady Shi clicked her tongue. Not even she had seen him move, but knew it was him just the same. She sat up, tending the fire and watching over her new little family, content for the first time in a very long time.