Continuing Tales

Divine Concubine

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 10 of 11

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Second Chances Kagome slowly left the dark recesses of sleep behind and woke up to a world existing of sunlight, warmth, and silence. Her body was heavy, leaden; aching in places, but humming with contentedness. She smiled dreamily.

The chirping of a bird interrupted the silence. A ray of sunlight fell over her face and coloured the blackness behind Kagome's closed lashes rose. She snuggled deeper into the blankets, not yet wishing to fully wake up. She couldn't remember when she had last felt so perfectly content and safe.

The bird was joined by a second, and they chirruped a duet. Somewhere, a gentle breeze played with a wind chime. Kagome sighed and stretched lazily, enjoying the feeling of her body. She was delightfully sore. Her skin was hyper-sensitive, and the soft blanket on her naked skin felt almost like a caress. It reminded her of the many caresses of last night; caresses, that had soon become so much more, again and again ...

Kagome hummed softly to herself and curled up again. It was yet too early to wake up, she decided, and relaxed to sink back into a state of sleepiness.

She was gently drifting away when suddenly her mind snapped to painful attention. Kagome frowned. This wasn't nice. She tried to go back to the gentle floating, but her mind refused to relax. She was fully awake now.

Kagome pouted, displeased with her stupid brain - a displeasure that vanished when she became aware of the feeling of being watched. She tensed for a moment, thinking of Shujin. But then she felt the demonic aura. With a smile, she opened her eyes and peered over the blankets.

He sat at the foot of the bed, fully clothed and armoured, his face an expressionless mask, his eyes blank. The sunlight put a golden hem to the fur on his shoulder.

Kagome's smile widened.

‘Good morning.'

It came out a bit husky, her voice still gravelly from sleep.

Sesshomaru's lashes fluttered. He glanced at the open shoji screen. ‘It is noon.' His voice was as blank as his eyes.

Kagome sat up. ‘What?'

She craned her neck to look outside. Indeed, the light spoke of midday. She turned back to Sesshomaru. ‘And you let me sleep for so long? Why didn't you wake me up? My friends must be worried silly for me!'

‘You needed rest.'

His calmly spoken reply stopped her frantic struggles to gather the blankets around her. She looked up at him, then quickly down at her hands, blushing. ‘Uh ...' He was right, of course. But in the light of day she was embarrassed at her behaviour last night. To change the topic, she quickly asked, ‘What about the door? Is it open?'

When no answer came, she looked up. He was watching her steadily, unreadable. She blushed again.

‘Um ... Has ... has Shujin opened the door? Has he been here? Have you seen him? Will he let us go?'

Sesshomaru made a dismissal gesture with his hand. ‘Do not worry.'


‘Get up.'

Kagome blinked, surprised at the sudden curt command. Sesshomaru inclined his head to one side of the room. Kagome turned her head, wondering. A corner of the room had been separated by another shoji screen. She looked questioningly at the demon. ‘Huh?'


Kagome blinked again. She was beginning to feel a little hurt at his abrupt manner and cold commands. Where was the considerate and kind Sesshomaru of yesterday? Not to speak of her passionate lover of the night. Kagome blushed again at the mere memory.

There was an impatient noise from the end of the bed. Sesshomaru had his eyes narrowed at her.


His voice was quiet, but there was something in it that told Kagome she had better do what he wanted this very instance. Or it would end ... unpleasant for her.

Now definitely feeling hurt, Kagome bit her lip and tried to wrap the blanket around her. But it seemed tangled, and no matter what she did she couldn't fold it around her. With a half-irritated, half-worried frown she looked up - and noticed that Sesshomaru was sitting on its other end.

She bit her lip again and cast him a hesitant glance. ‘Er ... Could you please get up?'

His only answer was a raised eyebrow. Her shoulders sagged. Apparently not.

Apprehensively, Kagome eyed the distance between bed and shoji screen and then her silent observer. He was going to make her walk over there naked. And she knew it was useless to ask him to look away. He wouldn't.

She felt deeply uncomfortable at the thought that he would watch her. It was irrational. He had seen her naked last night. And had done all kinds of unspeakable things to her naked body, too! But that had been last night. This, today, was different. And the fact that he was fully dressed was only minor part of it. Kagome felt ashamed.

But there was nothing for it. He had narrowed his eyes again, and she knew that if she didn't go on her own, he would make her. And she wouldn't like that. She took a deep breath, bracing herself, then slipped out of the blanket, hissed when her sprained ankle protested against being used, and hurried over to the screen as fast as possible. When she was out of his view she heaved a deep but silent sigh.

Then she flinched. Now, standing, she became aware of just in how many places she was sore. She suppressed a groan and turned, slowly, to the basin that stood on the floor. It was half-filled with water, and there was a bucket standing next to it with more water.

Kagome knelt down, grimacing, and tested the water. It was warm. Next to the basin lay more bath supplies: clean linen and one of the flat bowels with the shimmering gel. Slowly, with many winces and stifled moans, Kagome washed herself.

But she felt better immediately afterwards. The warm water had been wonderfully soothing, and the shimmering gel seemed to hold some kind of balm to heal her soreness. Kagome grimaced again at this. Of course would there be something like a healing balm in this place with this horrible Shujin and his harem!

Wrapping the largest linen around herself she got up, but then hesitated to step around the screen. The Sesshomaru of this morning intimidated her. And, if she was honest with herself, also frightened her a little. Her mind happily supplied her with more reasons to be afraid of him, and for a moment she was close to panicking. How could she ever have allowed him to come close to her, to touch her? Had she been mad? Last night? The night he solved her Dragon Problem? But he had been so nice, yesterday, that other night ...

Kagome shook her head and straightened her shoulders. She would not be cowed by him. He would not harm her, surely not now. He had had time and opportunity enough if he had wished to harm her. Twice.

Besides, he had been kind of abrupt and harsh as well on the morning after their first night. Perhaps that was his way of dealing with ... well, with whatever he was dealing. Having had sex with a human, or something. The blow to his pride.

The thought hurt. More than Kagome thought justifiable. She shoved it aside, and with a resolute nod, she stepped around the screen and limped towards the bed.

Sesshomaru had not moved. He was still sitting at the foot of the bed with its very rumpled blankets. He was watching her again - still? Despite her decision not to be cowed, Kagome felt nervous. She gave him a shaky smile.


He looked at her for a long time. It felt like several minutes to her, but could only have been seconds. Then he gave a nod. His eyes slid to the side. Kagome followed his glance and sighed in dismay as she saw the rosy heap on the floor. Her kimono. She gave it a baleful look.

‘Do I have to wear it?' she complained.

Again, one eyebrow rose.

Kagome sighed and waved a hand. ‘Don't tell me. There's nothing else to wear. Either this, or go naked. Yeah, yeah, I heard that before.'

Still glaring at the kimono she didn't see his eyes flash red. His calm words startled her.

‘You could ask one of the human women for something else.'

She looked up, once more surprised. Was he trying to be nice? But she shook her head at his suggestion.

‘They all wear this kind of clothes. Or even less. And I'd rather wear something that at least gives me the illusion of being dressed than something consisting of two strings tied together.'

Bending down to pick the garment up, she again missed the sudden red flash in his golden eyes.

After a sidelong glance at Sesshomaru, Kagome retired behind the screen with her kimono. She would not dress in front of him! It would be too embarrassing.

And not only, as she found out, because he would have seen her naked. But putting on a kimono without help is extremely difficult. She just knew she looked totally ridiculous, wiggling and twisting her body this way and that in order to fold the garment around her.

Her own birthday kimono was not half as difficult to put on. But this flimsy, rosy something kept slipping off her shoulders, the different layers got tangled, and in the end, both Kagome and her kimono looked decidedly ruffled. She gave up on tying the obi correctly, just wrapped it around her waist and forced a knot into the unyielding cloth.

Heaving managed to secure the kimono so that it wouldn't slip off her, Kagome huffed, tried to smooth her hair, and limped around the shoji screen once more.

Sesshomaru raised both eyebrows at her.

Kagome titled her head questioningly. ‘What is it? I couldn't dress faster,' she said defensively.

He looked her up and down. ‘Dressed?'

Kagome crossed her arms in front of her chest. ‘Yes, well, that's all I can do, alone, you know.'

Sesshomaru's eyes rested for a fleeting moment on the cleavage created by her posture, but then the door suddenly opened, and they both turned to it.

A woman slid cautiously into the room. She carried a tray leaden with dishes and bowels. The scent of cooked rice drifted towards Kagome, and her stomach gave a hungry growl. She blushed in embarrassment and clapped her hands in front of her.

‘That smells really good,' she offered as apology, and then tried to remember the cook's name.

The woman's head came up, and Kagome saw a face with a pointed nose. She expected the woman to smile at her, but the dark eyes darted over to Sesshomaru, widening in fright when she saw the demon watching her. Quickly, the woman put down the tray on a small table, bowed, and then hurried out.

Kagome blinked in surprise. That was not how that girl had been yesterday! Risu, she remembered, was her name. She had been lively and talkative. Was it because of Sesshomaru?

Kagome turned her head to look at the demon lord. Who had still not moved and was still watching her. When their eyes met, he tilted his head towards the table.


Kagome blinked again. ‘What was that about?' she asked, pointing at the closed door. ‘Yesterday, she was totally different. Talked a lot, and was worried about us liking the food.'

Sesshomaru shrugged. ‘What does it matter? Eat.'

Kagome looked at him for a moment, but then did as he had told her. Well, he was a demon lord, she reasoned with herself. Of course he had no interest in a human woman.

She sank down next to the table and uncovered the bowls. The food smelled delicious. Kagome had to struggle to not copy Inu Yasha's usual eating habits and eat slowly. But she really couldn't - wouldn't - stuff her mouth with Sesshomaru watching.

She looked at him. ‘Don't you want anything? It's really good.'

‘I do not eat human food,' was all she got in reply.

Kagome shrugged and continued her meal. She felt very self-conscious while eating with him watching her. Her own chewing seemed very loud in her ears and she tried to swallow as quietly as possible. It was very difficult to enjoy the food under such conditions.

Trying to divert herself from Sesshomaru's stare, she thought about Risu's odd behaviour. Yesterday, she had been so lively, anxious about Kagome and Sango enjoying the food. Was it Sesshomaru's presence? Or was it something else?

Kagome frowned down at the rice bowl. Had Sesshomaru already spoken to Shujin? Had they settled things? There must have been some kind of contact. After all, the bath had been prepared for her before she had woken up.

The food, too. How had Risu known when to bring it? Sesshomaru must have been out and spoken to Shujin. And it must have ended with Sesshomaru asserting his superiority. Kagome smiled. It must have come as a shock to the concubines. Although ...

She frowned again at the now empty bowl. Sesshomaru making clear to Shujin that he had to respect the borders ... would that alone scare Risu so much she daren't even talk to her? Probably. After all, she had come to consider Shujin an almighty god.

Kagome put the bowl down and realised to her surprise she had made her way through the entire food on the tray. She blinked, and then looked up. Sesshomaru was still watching her - still without any expression. It was really unnerving.

‘Um ...' she began hesitantly. ‘Sesshomaru, have you spoken to Shujin? Will he let us go?'

He looked back at her. ‘Are you finished?'


He nodded at the empty tray. Kagome flushed. Wasn't it obvious?

‘Uh, yes.'

‘Very well.' He got up and turned towards the door. ‘We will leave now.'

Kagome gaped in surprise at his back. ‘Wha-?'

He cast a glance at her over his shoulder, eyebrow slightly raised. ‘Do you wish to stay?'

‘No! Of course not! But -'

‘Then come.'

With that, Sesshomaru turned and stepped through the door. Kagome closed her mouth with an audible click and narrowed her eyes. Arrogant bastard, she thought irritably. > He's worse than Inu Yasha.

With a suppressed groan, she struggled to her feet. Gingerly, she put her weight onto her sprained ankle. It throbbed warningly, but didn't hurt. Well, it would have to do, she decided. It was rather unthinkable that Sesshomaru would agree to carry her.

She grinned at the thought and limped quickly to the door. She'd better hurry to catch up with Sesshomaru.

Kagome hobbled through the door and turned - and almost collided with something tall and white. Blinking, she glanced up and into Sesshomaru's eyes.

The demon lord waited until she had found her balance, and then walked slowly down the corridor. Kagome stared after him for a few dazed seconds, then followed him.

He had been waiting for her. It was almost incredible, but ... Sesshomaru had been waiting for her.

Kagome smiled softly, watching the way Sesshomaru's silver hair swayed with every step he took. So, there was something of the considerate Sesshomaru even in the cold demon lord. She shook her head, feeling a strange fascination with this many-layered character. It would be interesting to unravel this mystery.

Instantly, Kagome chastised herself. Stop daydreaming, she told herself sternly. This is not for you!

She squashed the timid little voice that insisted it would be interesting indeed.

By the time Kagome was paying attention to her surroundings, she and her silent companion had reached a broad and elegantly decorated corridor. She looked around searchingly, wondering if she would recognise one of the corridors she had come through yesterday. But they were all unfamiliar to her.

Just how large is this place? she wondered. This temple was a labyrinth! She'd be lost without her guide. That is, did Sesshomaru know where to get out? But she couldn't very well ask him, could she? Uh, no.

Kagome shook her head and concentrated on following.

They walked slowly through the temple, the only sounds their steps on the wooden floor. Kagome was surprised. She would have suspected ... Well, if Sesshomaru had cowed Shujin, of course neither he nor his concubines would show up, but ...

Suddenly, Kagome stopped short. She gasped softly. It was gone! She closed her eyes and concentrated, but it wasn't there anymore. The slight feeling of something holy that had been tingling along her spine for days - it was gone. Her eyes snapped open and she gaped at Sesshomaru.

He stood a few steps in front of her, watching her with slightly titled head and questioningly raised eyebrows.

‘Sesshomaru ...' she whispered. ‘You ...'

‘Does your ankle hurt?' he asked coolly.

‘Wha-? No, no, it's okay.'

‘Then come.' He turned and walked away.

Kagome took a deep breath and followed him. It was clear to her now. She knew what had happened. She knew why this place was so silent, why no one was around, and why Risu had been so scared of Sesshomaru. She understood why she could feel neither the ghosts nor the ... nor Shujin. There was only one explanation.

With a shudder, Kagome remembered what Sesshomaru had told her about the original god.

Like the present impostor, the original god eventually acquired delusions of grandeur. He believed himself almighty. I corrected this notion. He died.

It had happened again. Shujin must have played up his god-status, and Sesshomaru had corrected this delusion.

Sesshomaru had killed Shujin.

‘He's dead, isn't he,' she said softly, more to herself than to him. ‘Shujin.'

Sesshomaru didn't stop and he didn't speak. All she got was a slight inclination of his head.

Kagome swallowed hard and told her wobbly knees to keep steady. This was nothing new to her, after all. She knew Sesshomaru had killed before, and also that he would do so again in a heartbeat. She knew that a human life was nothing to Sesshomaru. For heaven's sake, he had even tried to kill her!

But it was different. Somehow, it was different this time.

Feeling shaky and slightly sick, Kagome trudged after Sesshomaru. Her head whirled and the corridors seemed to be closing in around her. She heaved a huge sigh of relief when they finally stepped out of the temple into the sunshine.

Standing on the sunny spot of grass in front of the temple, Kagome cast a look back. From the outside, the temple seemed dark and unfriendly. She was glad to be out of it. For a moment she thought she saw a pale face with huge eyes peep around the entrance, and she felt sorry for the concubines. They had been happy. What would happen to them now?

Then she thought of Kudamono and grinned. Kudamono would take care of the other concubines.

Kagome turned her back to the temple and hobbled down the soft slope. The grass under her bare feet felt nice and cool, the sun was warm on her skin, and she was free and going back to her friends. All tension seeped out of her, flowing away with the soft breeze, and even the thought that Sesshomaru had killed Shujin somehow wasn't as disturbing as before.

Kagome's newfound happiness didn't last long. Soon, the smooth grass around the temple gave way to uneven ground covered with old leaves, fallen needles, and other pesky things that poked into her bare soles. And it got only worse as soon as they entered the forest surrounding the temple area.

Kagome cursed herself for not thinking about looking for shoes in the temple. She could have asked the concubines. They would have found something for her! She wasn't used to walking barefoot, and everything on the ground seemed to consist of sharp edges that bore into her feet. Each step she took was a hazard, and she placed her feet gingerly which, of course, slowed her down.

Fortunately, Sesshomaru didn't show impatience.

Kagome grimaced. Inu Yasha would have cursed her for being slow long ago. But then, she had to admit, Inu Yasha would have picked her up and carried her. She would have no such luck with Sesshomaru. Kagome sighed and plodded on, hissing each time her feet stepped onto something sharp.

After what felt like hours wobbling through the forest with the progress of the sun faster than hers, a sudden sharp pain in her left foot made Kagome cry out.

‘Ouch! Ow, ow.'

She lifted the aching foot to massage the pain. But her sprained right ankle couldn't hold her weight and with another cry Kagome landed in an undignified heap on the floor.

‘Ouch,' she repeated tearfully. ‘Ohh, that hurts!'

A rustle made her look up. Sesshomaru stood above her.

‘Has your injury become worse?'

Kagome shook her head, then shrugged. ‘I don't know.' She rotated her ankle; it hurt a little, but it was bearable. ‘No, that's okay.'

Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow. Kagome flushed and rubbed her left foot. ‘It's ... uh ... the other side. I - ouch!'

Another sharp pain flared through her foot from the heel. Kagome twisted on the forest floor, grabbed her left ankle and raised her foot to her face to inspect it. The sole was so dirty she couldn't see anything. As she tried to rub the dirt away, the pain returned.

‘Ow. Oh, drat. I must have stepped on a thorn or something.'

Carefully, she trailed her fingers over her heel. ‘Uh, ow. Yeah, there it is.' She glowered at her heel.

Twisting around some more, she manoeuvred her legs into the lotus seat, propped her left ankle on her right knee and tried to remove the thorn. It resisted her attempts; Kagome growled in annoyance.

A soft, strangled sound from above her made her look up at Sesshomaru again. He had a strange expression on his face. He looked as though he was in pain. Kagome forgot her own problem and wondered what could have caused Sesshomaru pain. Had he been hurt in his ... fight with Shujin? Or were they attacked? She looked around but couldn't see anything.

‘Sesshomaru?' she asked worriedly, but stopped. And gaped as the corners of Sesshomaru's mouth twitched upwards. Every so slightly, but definitely upwards. Kagome's jaw dropped. He wasn't in pain. He was laughing! Laughing at her?


Sesshomaru knelt down in front of her. His long, cool fingers closed around her left ankle.

‘Allow me,' he said softly, and then raised her foot so that he could inspect the sole. The move made Kagome lose her balance and she flopped back onto the forest floor.

‘Uh, what ...' she began, struggling up onto her elbows.

‘It is here, isn't it?' Sesshomaru pressed down on a spot on her heel.


‘I take that as yes.'

Something sharp pinched her sole and Kagome tried to tug her foot out of Sesshomaru's hand. ‘Owww, stop, that hurts! What are you doing? Ow!'

Sesshomaru gave her a sharp glare over her foot and Kagome stopped wriggling. He returned his attention to the thorn. Kagome hissed again as he touched the intruder, then groaned. This was so embarrassing! She almost flat on her back and Sesshomaru staring at her foot!

‘Uh, Sesshomaru, I can - ow! - I can really do this alone. Ow!'

He put her foot down and held one finger under her nose.

‘What?' Kagome looked down. A small, slender black splinter lay on his fingertip. ‘Oh. You've got it out already.'

He gave her a short smile and blew the splinter away.

‘Uhh. Thank you.'

He nodded at her. ‘Does it still hurt?'

Kagome rubbed her heel. ‘No. A little, but that's okay. But ... I can't walk on like this. It's a wound after all, and if I get dirt in it, it'll become infected. No, I need a ... well, a plaster would be great but I don't have one, so ...' She looked around for something she could put on the slight wound. Her long sleeve caught her eye. ‘Oh, I've got an idea!'

Instantly, Kagome unfolded the layers of the kimono over her arm and tried to rip off a bit.

‘What is a plaster?'

Kagome stopped and looked at Sesshomaru. He was watching her attempts curiously.

‘A plaster? It's ... um ... a kind of really small dressing for a small wound. You put it on, and it sticks onto your skin until you peel it off.'

‘I have never before heard of something like this,' Sesshomaru remarked.

‘Erm, no, you wouldn't. It's, er, not common here,' Kagome tried to explain, still struggling with her sleeve. ‘But where I come from everybody uses it.'

‘I see.'

‘Yeah, but I don't have a plaster with me, so I need something else. Some kind of temporary dressing until I can put a plaster on it.'

‘You need your sleeve for this?'

‘Yup. Just a bit, you know, to tie it around my foot.'


He sounded sceptical, but before Kagome could explain, he reached out and sliced his claws through the silk of the kimono sleeve, deftly cutting off a long strip.

‘Oh. Thank you.' Kagome smiled at the demon lord, then bent down, carefully cleaned her sole as best as she could, and then tied the bit of pink silk around her foot.

‘There!' Kagome grinned happily and thrust out her foot. ‘A temporary dressing!'

Sesshomaru eyed her foot, glanced at her face, then shrugged and got up. ‘If you can continue now.'

‘Oh.' Kagome lowered her eyes, hurt. ‘Yes.'

A hand appeared in front of her face. Kagome blinked at the hand, then at Sesshomaru. She swallowed, smiled shakily, and took his hand. Carefully, he pulled her to her feet.

‘Thank y-'

‘Can you walk?' he interrupted her. ‘Your injuries do not hurt too much?'

Kagome looked at him, the questioning expression on his face, the insistent inquiry in his eyes. He had not yet let go of her hand.

Suddenly, Kagome was reminded of someone else. Another young man with silvery hair and golden eyes. Another demon who hid the fact that he cared behind a gruff manner. She smiled. They were not so very different, Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru. Sesshomaru did care. But he was even worse than Inu Yasha at showing it. Kagome's fingers tightened around Sesshomaru's. His eyes widened slightly at this.

Kagome gave his hand a short squeeze. ‘I'm okay, Sesshomaru. I think I can walk.'

He nodded curtly and turned to go, but Kagome suddenly tightened her hold on his hand again. He gave her an odd look.

‘Sesshomaru, why did you help me?' Kagome burst out. She had not planned on asking him this; the words had just come out of her mouth. Or, perhaps, they had come from the part of her mind that just could not stop wondering. He did care, but why?

‘Why did you help me?' she repeated. ‘With the dragons. I know you said it wasn't my business. But ... Why? And why last night? We didn't ... have to do it, you know? And ... why are you taking me with you now? You could just have left me there. Inu Yasha would have found me sooner or later.' The words came in a wild rush now. She couldn't have stopped them if she had tried. ‘I mean, we're not friends or even allies. You don't like Inu Yasha and you don't like me. I know what you think of me. So, why? Why did you help me?'

Breathing hard, she stopped and gazed at him, pleading him with her eyes to answer her. He looked back at her, his face a totally expressionless mask. For a few moments, he remained silent. Kagome's hands clenched around his. Please, she begged silently. > Please, tell me! It seemed to her that he had heard her, for his eyes widened minutely, but then he tugged his hand out of her grip and turned away.

Kagome's hand fell and she exhaled on a long, heavy sigh. Of course he would not answer her. He had said it wasn't her business. Why should he change his opinion? With another heavy sigh, Kagome followed the leaving demon lord.

If before walking had been difficult, it was now almost impossible. Her right ankle throbbed every time she put weight on it, and her left heel ached as well. And she still had no shoes, and the forest floor was still covered with sharp little things that insisted on poking her.

It became even harder when the path started to climb. Kagome groaned inwardly with every step she took, and sometimes even out loud. Sesshomaru never stopped and never looked back at her or asked her again if she was all right. But Kagome was past caring. All she could think about were her poor, aching feet. She was so dazed she didn't even notice when he stopped, and bumped into him.

‘Hm?' She blinked tiredly. ‘What is it?'

She peered around the silent demon lord and saw that in front of him, the path they had been following parted. One path led down the slope they had been climbing, another continued at the same level and seemed to lead deeper into the forest. Where the two paths parted lay a mossy bolder. With a groan, Kagome limped over and sat down, massaging her feet.

She was unaware of Sesshomaru watching her, focused as she was on alleviating the pain in her feet. Only when he finally spoke did she realise he had been staring at her silently for several minutes.

‘Curiosity.' His voice was calm and without inflection.

Kagome looked up, blinked. ‘Huh?'

He looked straight into her eyes, a look that left her oddly breathless, then glanced away, focusing on nothing.

‘I was curious,' he repeated.

‘Eh?' Kagome wondered what he was talking about. ‘Curious? About what?'

He didn't answer immediately. Then, he seemed to sigh.

‘My father was willing to give his life for a human woman,' he said softly. Kagome blinked. ‘I did not understand why then, and I still do not understand now. Why he was so willing so sacrifice everything for this one, mortal woman.'

He shook his head. Kagome held her breath; he was speaking about Inu Yasha's mother, wasn't he? But why? After a few moments, he went on.

‘I always wondered what had made this one human woman so special to Father. It could not have been her beauty. She was mortal, and her beauty faded day by day. After Inu Yasha's birth, it faded even faster. It could not have been her conversation either. She never spoke more than three words. She had no special talents that distinguished her from any other human princess.'

He paused again. A bird chirped in a tree above them, and he raised his head and watched it until it flew away. Only then did he continue to speak.

‘I wondered if it may not have been the ... coupling with her that made her so special to Father.'

Kagome jerked and bit her lip to stop herself from gasping.

‘I had never been with a human woman, and I had never planned to pursue one to satisfy this curiosity. But when the opportunity offered itself, a moment where we would both profit from the experience, I thought it would be foolish not to take it.'

He fell silent and stared into nothingness again. Kagome watched him. She felt odd, delighted and hurt at the same time. He was answering her question, and he didn't have to do that at all! But he was telling her about his motifs, and by doing so told her something about himself. She doubted he had ever before told anyone this much about himself. But here he was, telling her these things. It meant something. It must mean something.

And yet ... and yet, she felt hurt. It had been only about his curiosity. It had had nothing to do with her as a person, but with her as a human. And that hurt. It reminded her too much of other situations where she had been a ... placeholder for someone else.

‘Oh,' she said after a long silence. ‘And ... do you have your answer now?'

He turned his head and looked at her.


Kagome started. ‘Eh? What? Why not?'

He shook his head slowly, once, twice. ‘Father never lost control with this woman like ... I lose control when I am with you.'

Kagome flushed, then shook her head in bewilderment. ‘Uhh ... And ... and this is good? Losing control?'

Sesshomaru half-shrugged. ‘Father and I, we are demons. There is a feral, animalistic side to our nature. We can enjoy an inspirited coupling, but ...' He shot her a glance from the corner of his eye. ‘It is satisfactory, not satisfying. A demon only finds full pleasure and satisfaction in a coupling if the feral side is unleashed.'

Kagome's face was beet-red. ‘Uh ... But ...' She frowned. ‘You said last time that ... that it was dangerous for me. When I ... uhhh ... urged you on?'

‘It is. This is why demons rarely choose humans as their companions. The feral side is dangerous to a human. Yet, an inspirited coupling is not entirely satisfying, and certainly becomes dull after a while. A demon with a human companion usually looks for a replacement very soon.'

Kagome nodded slowly. ‘But your father didn't.' She looked at Sesshomaru, who was frowning at nothing. He looked so young, doing that. And he was young, Kagome suddenly realised. He was still very young for a demon. Was this the reason why he didn't understand? To her, it was so obvious. Did she understand because she was a woman? Or was she as a human older than Sesshomaru as a demon? It was a mind-boggling idea!

She shook her head. Then, a soft smile curled her lips as she continued watching the demon lord. Could he really not see that his father had loved Inu Yasha's mother? He had loved her, even though she was human and had no special talents and had to be protected from the dangerous demonic side of her husband.

Well, perhaps this was what Sesshomaru's father had found so attractive? That his human wife had to be protected, even from himself? It was a possibility. Whatever the reason, the old demon lord had loved the human woman - and Sesshomaru couldn't understand this.

And suddenly she understood why his father had given him Tensaiga.

Awed, she stared at the slender blade in Sesshomaru's sash. The old demon had understood. He may not have been a loving father - although, for all she knew, he might have been - but he had been a good father, making sure both his sons learned the lessons they needed to learn.

With a sigh, Kagome rubbed her temples. Her poor head was whirling again, just like last time she had been with Sesshomaru. Dealing with this family, she thought wearily, inevitably led to a headache.

She eyed Sesshomaru, who was staring off into the distance, head slightly titled to one side as though he was listening to something.

Kagome shook her had once more and squashed the little hurt she was feeling. Really, it was ridiculous. He had offered because he was curious, so what? After all, she hadn't accepted because she was deeply, madly in love with him. It had been, as he had said, a moment where both of them gained what they wanted.

Or, in his case, not. She wondered if he would pursue this matter further. Not finding the answer with her, would he try with another human woman?

The thought made her feel very uncomfortable and she shoved it away.

But it made her wonder about his motifs last night. He already knew he would not find his answer with her. And although Shujin had ordered her to fulfil his guest's every desire, it hadn't necessarily meant they ... they do it again. No, curiosity accounted only for the first time. Not for last night. Last night, there had been no danger for her. She had nothing to gain from this encounter, only pleasure. So had he.

‘What about last night?' She flushed again as he turned to her, surprised at hearing the words coming out of her mouth.

‘Last night?'

Kagome averted her eyes. ‘Um. I mean ... Shujin did say to ... to comply all your wishes, but ... I mean, we didn't ... um ... we didn't have to ... erm.'

When he didn't answer, she peeped up at him through her lashes. He was watching her, an amused glitter in his eyes.

‘I enjoyed it,' he finally said simply.

Kagome's eyes widened, and she felt her cheeks heat even further. Sesshomaru smiled at her, now definitely amused.

‘I enjoyed it,' he repeated. Was it only her or was his voice deeper than before? ‘I have not been with a female in a very long time. It was ... very pleasurable.'

Kagome hid her face in her hands. A tingling shiver ran through her body that left her breathless. ‘Uhhh ...'

There was a whisper, and then she felt his hot breath on her ear. ‘Does it not please you to hear that?'

Kagome shivered again. ‘Silly question!'

She more felt than heard him laugh and gasped as he nipped playfully on her ear. ‘Sesshomaru ...'

But he stepped back, and when Kagome raised her head he was looking over his shoulder into the forest. There was a slight crease between his brows, and while she watched him, his lips curled ever so slightly.

‘Sesshomaru?' Kagome sat up. ‘Is something wrong?'

He shook his head. ‘No.'

‘Oh ... Um.'

He looked back at her, then inclined his head at the path that led down the slope. ‘Follow this path,' he said quietly, ‘it will lead you back to your friends.'

Kagome's mouth fell open. She blinked at him, stunned, then at the path, not really grasping what he meant. Her friends? How could he change so quickly? One moment teasing her, the next telling her to go? Was he always so quicksilvery? She sighed, rubbed her brow, and turned back to him.

Only to find he had gone.

Kagome stared uncomprehendingly at the spot where he had been standing, feeling she did not know what. Surprise; hurt; disappointment; resignation.

She groaned and scrambled up from her boulder. With a last look around, she limped down the path. She would later sort out what she was feeling. This, all this, had been too much for her.

Suddenly, she felt an urgent desire to go home. Go home, see her family, and go to school. She longed for the everyday ordinariness of her modern time life. A nice little panic attack over a failed test would be nice for a change.

Kagome nodded. Yes, she'd go back to her friends and then she'd go home. She needed a break. She needed her own time and its familiarity; a world without dragons and demons and lecherous gods. She'd go home and have a nice little holiday. And then, she'd come back.

Kagome stopped at the foot of the slope and looked back. She could see the mossy boulder where she had sat. The sun fell golden through the forest canopy. Shimmering columns of light stood in bright contrast to the dark stems of the trees.

Kagome smiled.

Yes, she would come back.

Divine Concubine

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 10 of 11

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