Chapter 1: The First Time She… (24. green tea)
The first time they met they never exchanged words.
The first time she saw him he was drinking green tea.
Kagome did not know why her eye kept returning to the gorgeous silver-haired daiyoukai sitting a few tables away. He was sipping something from a bone-white china cup embellished with the tea house’s logo. She knew it was green tea because she had walked by the waitress carrying the tray to his table and had smelled the strong aroma of the traditional hot drink.
“Who are you looking at Kagome?”
Hiragushi Kagome blinked and redirected her gaze towards her best friend Tajiya Sango.
The slightly older woman was craning her head, trying to determine who exactly had drawn her best friend’s attention.
A waitress had moved giving Sango a direct line-of-sight to a very eye-catching figure. A daiyoukai with long platinum hair secured in an old fashioned high tail and prominent facial markings that only enhanced his looks.
His attention was fully directed at the laptop on the table in front of him. Between sips of his beverage his attention was divided between his Blackberry, tablet PC and laptop.
Sango smirked. “He is quite a looker isn’t he ‘Gome?” She teased her friend gently.
Kagome blushed. “Sango!” She hissed softly glancing furtively at the daiyoukai. Had he heard them? He wasn’t looking in their direction. Perhaps he had not.
“What?” Sango protested in mock innocence. “I’m only speaking the truth. He is a looker.”
“He is a daiyoukai and a workaholic.” Kagome spoke firmly. “Two qualities that are highly undesirable in my view.”
“But you have not denied that he is attractive.” Sango slyly pointed out.
Kagome glanced over in his direction before looking away. “He is attractive. And wealthy and powerful from the look of him. But you know that is not what interests me Sango.” She blinked back tears. “I want someone who will care for me, not the next bigger business deal, the next conquest.”
Immediately Sango backpedaled at the reminder of her friend’s recent heartbreak. Silently she cursed that bastard Hiten for the way he had treated Kagome. If she ever met up with the Raiton youkai she would give him a good thrashing!
“You’re right Kagome. Youkai are too aggressive and driven to win. A human would be better. Why don’t I talk to Kohaku; he might know of a few single friends who are interested in dating a pretty girl like you.”
Kagome blinked. “Kohaku? Aren’t most of his friends the same age as Souta?”
Sango winced. “Yeah. But his friends are better behaved. Most of Our male friends are not exactly suitable boyfriend material. And I highly doubt any of Their single friends would be either.”
Both girls shuddered at the memories of several Incidents all of which involved at least one of Miroku, InuYasha, Kouga, or most of their male friends in some fashion.
Kagome sighed. “Just give it a break Sango. I don’t want to rebound date. If I meet someone nice all well and good, if not I don’t mind being single for a bit.”
Sango frowned. “Are you sure?”
“Oh definitely! I don’t want to force myself into anything right now. Maybe in a few months.”
Sango bit her lip. “What about the BBQ?”
“What Bar—Oh.” Kagome caught herself and bit her lip. “I forgot about that.”
“Are you sure you want to go stag to His party?”
Kagome smiled gently. “I don’t want to go alone but if I don’t meet anyone else by them I will. Besides our break-up was nothing like my break-up with Hiten. We are still friends.”
Sango was skeptical but she held her tongue. “If you say so Kagome.” Then she decided to change the topic. “Do you want to go to the Mall after work? Eri mentioned there is a sidewalk sale going on this week.”
Kagome smiled and nodded. “Oh yes. I have to pick up a few things. I saw the most gorgeous straw sandals…”
Sango allowed Kagome’s chatter to wash over her while part of her thoughts worried over her best friend. Kagome was the kindest nicest person she knew. If anyone deserved a loving devoted boyfriend it was she.
The two women never noticed a pair of cool citrine yellow slit-pupil eyes glancing over in their direction. Nishitama Sesshoumaru Had heard their conversation but it was nothing he had not heard before. He was attractive, wealthy, and powerful. Females of all species knew it and were attracted to him. Some more openly than others. The smaller female, Kagome, she was different. She acknowledged his qualities but was not interested in attracting his attention because she desired ‘softer’ traits.
A very rare woman. One who acknowledged from the start that the Killing Perfection was not the most desirable life partner. Too many women fell into his bed and hoped they could change him Afterwards. Sesshoumaru was not interested in changing for anyone. Besides, it wasn’t like he was seeking long-term female companionship. One strong, claw-tipped hand reached out to pick up the cup of green tea and bring it to his mouth. The aroma of the fragrant liquid filled the daiyoukai’s nostrils as he sipped the cooling liquid. As he drank he turned his attention to the spreadsheets opened on his laptop and began manipulating the financial data.
Tsukino Heavy Industries was ripe for a takeover by all signs. He just had to determined the best price to offer. Not too high of course (it would be less profitable) but not too low (it would be an insult). Determining the break-even point was more of an art than a science. It was an ability Sesshoumaru had honed in a variety of boardroom battles spanning many decades.
Chapter 2: …Vanilla and Cream (1. vanilla)
The second time their paths crossed he succumbed to instincts and followed her.
The second time he crossed paths with the dark-haired ningen onna she smelled of vanilla and cream.
Nishitama Sesshoumaru inhaled then exhaled, softly but deeply. The enticing mouth-watering aroma was strong enough for the daiyoukai to taste it on his tongue. And it was entirely natural! Absently he made his way through the throng, tracking the natural favours of French vanilla and heavy cream.
There! It was from her! The woman from the tea shop! In the line-up outside the tent featuring Greek cuisine!
Absently the daiyoukai made his way through the crowds of ningen, hanyou, and youkai attending the Taste of the Mediterranean festival. It was not the sort of venue he favoured -too many attendees packed in a single recreation park- but this year his sire had insisted on Sesshoumaru’s presence; Nishitama Corp Was one of the major corporate sponsors for this year’s Taste of the Mediterranean festival.
Some distance away Sesshoumaru hesitated. He could see the women clearly, smell and hear them as well, but he was no longer certain if he wanted to make contact. He wasn’t certain of exactly what he wanted, what he was doing…
He stood on the corner, partially hidden by the mass of fabric providing shade to those lining up to enter the tent with Turkish favours. As he uncharacteristically dithered over what to do he heard the women talk.
“Kagome, what are you wearing? It smells very nice.”
“Do you like it? Kikyou made it for especially for me.”
“Oh? You mean her new business? Making natural beauty products?”
“Uh-huh. You choose what scents you want and she’ll mix it into the unscented base products she makes herself using natural ingredients. Lotion, soap, cream, and oil. She made me a basket with vanilla and cream. You don’t think it’s too heavy, or overpowering, do you?”
The older woman leaned forward to scent the younger woman more deeply. Then she straightened and shook her head.
“No, I don’t think so. It smells very light and understated.” Then she grinned. “But I’m surprised you aren’t attracting any rugrats Kagome! You smell like cookies and ice cream!”
Kagome blinked and blushed. “Sango!”
Sango spotted the blush and crowed. “You did! Didn’t you!?” It was more of a statement than a question.
Kagome shifted and glanced around furtively. “Yes.” She hissed softly. Unfortunately not softly enough to be unheard by an inu-youkai.
Sango cocked her head to one side. “What happened?” She took a few steps forward as the line shortened and turned back to her friend. “What happened?” She repeated the question when Kagome did not answer her the first time.
Kagome sighed. “I used it yesterday. All of my students kept asking me when I would give them cookies and ice cream.” Her shoulders sagged. “When I got home Shippo wanted to know where I was hiding the cake and ice cream.”
Sango laughed. “Did you try to tell him it was just your toiletries?”
“Yes. He didn’t believe me until I showed the basket to him. After he used the soap himself he believed me and stopped asking for treats.”
“Somehow I doubt that was all he said.”
“Well he did ask me to stop using them. Said I was tricking him into believing I had food and treats for him.”
Sango snorted. “Don’t believe Shippo; that kit is tricking himself.” She cocked her head to one side. “Besides you are still wearing it.”
Kagome lifted her chin. “I like the smell. Besides, it is a gift. Kikyo would be hurt if I stopped using it.”
Sango smirked. “You know what, you should save it for special occasions.”
Kagome looked up at the taller woman confused. “What?”
“You should save this for special occasions.”
“What type of special occasions?”
The smirk turned positively wicked. “The type of special occasions where you give some lucky man the opportunity to eat You out.”
Kagome’s naturally creamy complexion turned bright red from a heated rush of blood. Unfortunately it only served to intensify the aroma of vanilla and cream exuded from her. This time it was tainted with anger and a hint of guilt and arousal.
“Sango!” Her screeched protest was loud enough to draw the attention of the other people in the line. Blushing she grabbed her friend’s shoulder, dragging the woman down low enough to hiss in her hear. “Stop it!” She looked around hesitantly. “You know I don’t have anyone I’m interested in--.”
“Because you aren’t looking.” Sango countered mildly. “I know lots of guys who’d love to go out with you ‘Gome, but you aren’t interested in giving them a chance.”
“I don’t want a repeat of Hojo.” Kagome hissed softly. “I gave him a chance and raised his hopes up and nothing came of it because I couldn’t change what I felt for him! Which was just friendship!”
Sango nodded slowly. “True. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again. Sometimes a date is just to have fun and catch up on each other. If you specify that at the start I don’t see what the problem is.”
Kagome was silent for a while. “I’m scared. About dating again.” She confessed after a long break.
Sango took her friend’s hand and squeezed it. “I understand. But you know what? You can’t avoid dating forever. And you have to start some where, so why not start by going out with friends?”
Chapter 3: The Second Time She… (13. pistachio)
Distractions lead to an accident the first exchange of words.
The second time she saw him there was an exchange of words.
Kagome bit her lip and looked ahead. They were almost at the head of the line, just a teenage couple and a mother holding a toddler were ahead of Sango and herself.
Sango bounced lightly on her toes, silently urging the line to move faster, the booth attendant to work quicker.
Kagome grinned at the older woman. “Calm down Sango.”
Said woman glared at her companion. “Calm down? Why on earth should I calm down?!? I want baklava!” A small trail of drool leaked down one corner of her mouth at the thought of the delicacy: paper-thin pastry stuffed with chopped nuts and drenched in syrup. Hastily the woman wiped it away. “I want baklava!”
Kagome shook her head bemused. It was Sango who had first introduced Kagome to the sweet treat. Her friend had discovered it on a cruise in the Mediterranean. When she returned from her trip she spent months tracking down restaurants and bake shops that sold the sweet Greek pastry.
When Sango had heard of a famous chef travelling from Kyoto for the Taste of the Mediterranean festival she had insisted on attending every day of the event; and spending a good chunk of each day waiting in line to buy baklava from her now favourite chef.
“Oi! We’re next! Come on Kagome!”
Kagome grinned as her best friend grabbed her wrist and dragged her into the tent. She didn’t fight because she too liked baklava. Just not to the extent Sango did!
Sesshoumaru came to a decision. He needed to speak with the onna. Perhaps a first-hand conversation would dissipate this inexplicable attraction he had for her; a most unsuitable female.
In a handful of graceful decisive strides he approached the tent. The attendant at the canvas door recognized him. Understandable. Nishitama Corp. was one of the major sponsors of the festival.
Sesshoumaru did not bother with social niceties.
“Who is sponsoring this stand?”
“The Polaris Bar and Lounge in Kyoto. Their head chef, Tenou Kenshin, is here for the festival.”
Sesshoumaru frowned and tried to remember what he knew about the bar and chef. Eyes widened when it hit him.
The ningen attended nodded. “Hai. Tenou-san is a Minotaur-hanyou. But his culinary skills are very highly sought after.”
Sesshoumaru blinked once before coming to a decision. “I wish to observe for a few minutes.”
Kino Motoki winced inwardly but did not protest as the inu-youkai cut the line and entered the tent. For one thing he was one of the owners of the company paying a good chunk of the festival’s budget. Secondly, he looked like a mean SOB who would not tolerate anyone interfering in his business.
Kagome laughed as she watched Sango chew on a large piece of baklava, her cheeks rounded and stuffed with three pieces from the large box Sango had just purchased. Sango chewed rapidly and swallowed hard ignoring the younger woman’s laughter.
Finally she could speak. “Ohhh! I swear I would marry Tenou Kenshin if he were still single.” She sighed blissfully. “Forget it. I’d just chain him to my kitchen table and have him cook for me. His girlfriend can visit when she wants.”
Kagome burst into peals of laughter.
“Oh really?! I think Miroku would have something to say about that!”
Sango wrinkled her nose and snorted. “If Miroku wants to keep my favours he can take cooking lessons from Kenshin-sama and make me happy.”
Kagome shook her head and opened her own much smaller box balanced on one hand. Carefully she examined the assortment of pastries in the box. They were prepared and shaped in a wide variety of methods but all of them were made with only one type of nut; Kagome’s favourite. Pistachios.
As she walked alongside Sango she tried to decide on which one to eat first. They all looked and smelled so good! Finally she settled on a Bird’s Nest.
She picked up and popped the pastry in her mouth and chewed. The baklava was made with syrup drenched and toasted vermicelli wrapped around a small cluster of whole pistachios and resembled its name.
She closed her eyes and moaned softly, the taste of sweetened vermicelli softening on her tongue, the nutty distinct taste of pistachio igniting her taste buds, the crispy crunch as the toasted parts broke down releasing more flavour…
She could not resist putting her hand into the box to get another Bird’s Nest as she and Sango walked towards the exit ‘door’ of the tent.
The warning came too late for the intended recipient to react quickly enough.
Higurashi Kagome cried out in shock as she walked straight into a brick wall and rebounded, the cardboard box of baklava falling from her hand. Wildly she reached out to grab anything, to keep from falling on her butt. With the serendipitous blessings of some kami, she latched onto a cloth covered tree limb with one hand. Unfortunately it was the hand holding a piece of sticky pastry that somehow hadn’t escaped her grip.
Wide brown eyes blinked in a doe-like fashion as the owner gaped at the broad forearm her hand was holding onto. It was covered with some soft expensive feeling dove-grey silky material. The stuff used to make up expensive designer suits and gowns in the high-end stores Kagome could only dream of shopping. Aghast she jerked her hand away. The Birds Nest was crushed on the expensive silk and linen blend, staining it with syrup, vermicelli, and pistachio.
“Oh no!” She cried out as she frantically brushed away the pastry, hoping to reduce the damage to the material. “I’m so sorry! I should have paid attention to where I was going! I’m so sorry!” She bit her lip. It was going to be so expensive but still! “Let me give you my contact info and I’ll pay the dry cleaning bill.”
She tilted her head back and looked Up into a gorgeous face: almond shaped citrine slit-pupil eyes, a triangular face with delicate but firm features, a mane of platinum silver hair framing his face with short strands but falling smoothly from a high horsetail. A vaguely familiar face… The gentleman from the tea house! She just managed to keep from squeaking out ‘You!’ He probably hadn’t even notice her back then. Why would he have? Someone like him probably had a black book full of tall, beautiful, sophisticated, wealthy, women; women who were the polar opposite of Kagome. Firmly she pushed the faint flutter of attraction aside. It would come to nothing. She was nothing in the eyes of daiyoukais from his apparent social class. Resolutely she focused her mind on the damage she had caused and repeated the offer she had just made.
“I will pay for the dry cleaning. It was my distraction and pastry that caused the damage to your suit.”
He eyed her with cool exacting eyes.
“Do not bother.”
Before she could protest a pale green-yellow aura formed around the daiyoukai’s forearm. She watched with wide brown eyes as bits of pastry and syrup were incinerated by his youki, leaving the sleeve material spotless in scant seconds.
“Wow! That must be really handy! Does it work on any organic material?”
The daiyoukai eyed her with mild disfavour. “Do you imagine I remove the blood of my enemies in this manner?”
Kagome blinked. “Nooo. I just thought it would be handy for red wine and ketchup stains.” Then her eyes widened in horror as she realized just what had escaped her lips. “Sorry! Ignore me. Sometimes I just can’t control my mouth. Okaa-san always says it is one of my biggest failings.” She peeped up through lowered lashes and heaved an internal sigh at the blank but calm expression. At least he wasn’t taking it as a personal offence, or slight on his honour.
He inclined his head slightly. “Apology accepted. But I must insist on replacing your purchase.” He held up her box of Greek pastry. It was slightly squished and misshapen.
Kagome took the box and looked inside. Only a few pieces of pastry had fallen out before the daiyoukai had somehow caught it. Unfortunately most of the pastry inside the box had crumbled from his instinctive action and very strong grip. Kagome suspected the daiyoukai was used to catching much faster moving but far less fragile items than a falling cardboard box of pastry.
“Oh no, you don’t have to.”
Citrine eyes caught her gaze and refused to let go. “I must insist on replacing your purchase since the accident was partly my fault. Baklava correct? Pistachio, around two-three pounds?”
“You don’t have to.” Kagome repeated half-heartedly but under the unrelenting citrine gaze she gave in. “You’re right. Two pounds of pistachio baklava.”
His nostrils flared delicately. “Would you prefer hazelnut?”
Hazelnut baklava was more expensive than pistachio. Kagome wasn’t certain why it was, but she liked pistachio more so she only thanked the Kamis the price difference was in her favour.
“No, not hazelnut. But any assortment made with pistachio would be good.”
To her amusement he appeared confused. “You do not like hazelnut?”
“Oh no! I’ve tried hazelnut before. It’s just that I prefer pistachio.” She smiled. “It’s very traditional, but I like it.”
The white-haired businessman nodded slowly and looked away, catching the eye of one of the booth’s attendants who hurried over. He was clearly well-known and wealthy given the quick response to his unvoiced command.
“Ten pounds of assorted pistachio bakalava for the lady. Send a receipt to my PA.” He looked at Kagome and inclined his head. “Please accept it as reparation for my part in the accident.”
Kagome blinked in shock. Before she could protest, the overly generous compensation for something she was mostly responsible for, he turned around and walked away.
She turned to her best friend. Sango was uncharacteristically still and quiet, looking very shaken in fact.
“Do you know who you just spoke to?”
“No. But someone very important I think.”
“Oh yeah. You could definitely say that.” Then Sango snorted explosively. “You should really read the social pages once in a while ‘Gome! You were just speaking to the most eligible bachelor in Tokyo! Nishitama Sesshoumaru, CFO and next CEO of Nishitama Corp.” Sango looked ready to tear her hair out in despair. “You could have asked for anything ‘Gome! Why didn’t you ask him out for coffee? Or dinner?”
Kagome blinked and blushed softly. “That would have been too presumptuous on my part Sango. He was just being very nice. I really should have looked where I was going. The accident was mostly my fault.”
Then they were interrupted by a slightly high-pitched voice.
“Miss? Ten pounds of pistachio baklava. Nishitama-sama’s order. No charge.”
Kagome turned to look at the teenage male dressed in the sea-green t-shirt and khaki pants uniform of the festival employees and volunteers. He was holding up a much larger cardboard box secured with brown cord.
She opened her mouth to protest the overly large order before she shut it firmly. Making a fuss would only draw unwanted attention. “Thank you.” Kagome smiled warmly at the teenager as she accepted the parcel. Then she began walking, to escape from the scene.
Sango hurried after her friend. Once they were some distance away from the tent she doggedly picked up the dropped conversation thread.
“Kagome, you had a perfectly good chance to start a deeper conversation with a wealthy, attractive, single guy! Why didn’t you at least ask him to visit a few of the stands in the festival with you? I could have easily caught up with you later today.”
Kagome shook her head. “Don’t be silly Sango. The Nishitama Sesshoumarus don’t date girls like me. They date ladies like Kazanna Kagura or Tsukimi Kaguya.” She named few of the most beautiful and highly paid model-actresses whose names and pictures regularly appeared in fashion magazines and celebrity news stories.
Sango stiffened. “Kagome…” She growled in a low annoyed manner. “Stop putting yourself down! You are just as attractive as them! Only you aren’t as bitchy or greedy or mean-spirited as them.”
Kagome laughed and shook her head. “Don’t be silly Sango. Nishitama-san dates women with sophisticated palates, women who like baklava made with some exotic nut. Me? I like plain old-fashioned pistachio.”
Chapter 4: Her Eyes… (2. chocolate)
He was not usually a poetic male or prone to fancies.
Her eyes reminded him of dark chocolate; rich, bitter, and far more intriguing than regular milk chocolate.
For a while he stood still; like a rock in the middle of a river, the crowds parting and diverting around him, unconcerned by the disruption he posed to those attending the festival.
He was not usually a poetic male or prone to fancies but there was something about her… Something very potent and very tempting. His most primitive instincts screamed to pursue her, to find out more about her, her character and background. Sesshoumaru had not lived so long without listening to and following his instincts but this time another set of urges warned him this ningen onna had the potential to change everything.
She was temptation; soft sweet and slightly bitter - like the dark chocolate he favoured. She was bait for some unknown trap seeking to ensnare him, teasing him, taunting him, luring him deeper and deeper into some hidden labyrinth. She might be bait but there was no reason why he had to spring the trap.
A faint furrow creased his brow and almond shaped citrine eyes narrowed faintly. Sesshoumaru considered who could have arranged such a meeting using such unlikely bait. The onna looked and acted nothing like the type of women he was usually attracted to: youkai, beautiful, powerful, influential. Not his dam, a cold intellectual traditional. Perhaps his sire, who favoured ningens to the extent he took one as a concubine and sired a hanyou. But why this ningen woman? Why not someone more attractive, and sophisticated?
As the daiyoukai considered the conundrum his mind drifted and considered alternative trails. This onna reminded him of chocolate. In fact she shared many qualities and traits with chocolate. Both were soft and malleable under mild pressure, sweet and slightly bitter with a mild kick, capable of providing a small burst of energy, addicting and capable of inducing mild chemical highs, thoroughly tempting and very bad in large doses to everyone, especially inu-youkais.
Yes. She was just like chocolate. He just had to resist her. Like chocolate. As long as he stayed away from her she would remain as a passing fancy. He would not have to risk his equilibrium and stable lifestyle by ever seeing her again. As long as he avoided specific factors - unknown elements, enticing elements, addicting elements - his plans for the future would remain on track with no undesired delays or unexpected detours.
Chapter 5: Formally Introduced (9. rainbow sherbet)
This time they are introduced by mutual friends/family.
The third time their paths crossed they were formally introduced.
Kagome just barely managed to keep from falling over. Kikyo was not usually very physically demonstrative but she had changed greatly in recent months. A small pang of hurt stung the young woman hard enough to recoil from the source of pain. It was an action she deliberately suppressed. Instead she hugged the older woman firmly before stepping back.
Kikyo was her cousin, her role-model, her rival in academics and archery… and in love. And she won the one battle that had truly mattered to Kagome: love. But it wasn’t Kikyo’s fault that she and InuYasha had fallen so strongly for each other, practically at first sight. It wasn’t Kikyo’s fault InuYasha had been Kagome’s boyfriend at the time. It wasn’t Kikyo’s fault that Kagome had loved the hanyou, had been truly committed to the relationship. It wasn’t Kikyo’s fault InuYasha hadn’t felt the same for Kagome, but instead had fallen for Kikyo just as quickly, and so publicly it was unmistakable.
Kagome could have fought for InuYasha - made scenes, drawn battlelines and forced confrontations - but it wasn’t her style. So she smiled, murmured greetings, hid her heartbreak and retreated to the kitchen, using the large containers of sherbert she was carrying as an excuse.
“Looks like I picked the perfect time to arrive with rainbow sherbet! It smells like the grilling is pretty much done!” She held up the plastic bag containing the frozen treat. “I bet it will be soft enough to serve once the kids are done eating.”
“Forget the kids!” InuYasha grumbled. “I’m hot enough to want an entire pint of sherbet for myself!”
Kagome glowered at the inu-hanyou. “No!” She spoke firmly and protectively. “The rainbow sherbet for the kids. I know Sango and Kikyo bought regular ice cream in other flavours as well. You can have that!”
“But Kagoooomeee…!” White triangular ears drooped in dismay as their owner let out a pitiful whine and pleading look. But the young woman remained firm.
“No InuYasha. I know what a pig you are when it comes to any kind of sherbet. This is for the kids. Once they get a share I’ll portion it out for the adults. And I don’t want you in the kitchen while I’m dishing it out.” She added pointedly. “I don’t want to have to punish you for dipping your fingers into a half-full container!”
Then hanyou grumbled but gave in and retreated into the backyard where four barbeque grills were going at full blast, manned by Nishitama Sugimi, InuYasha’s father, and Hachito Miroku, an old schoolmate and friend. Both were being assisted by several males, youkai hanyou and ningen. Several kids of varying ages and species were running around the backyard screaming and jumping in the large inflatable pool. The younger ones and toddlers were watched by their mothers and aunts who were chatting with Nishitama Izayoi, InuYasha’s mother.
Kikyo looked torn between joining Kagome in the kitchen and going out into the backyard. Kagome took pity on her cousin and made the decision for her.
“Go on! I know where everything is. If I can’t find anything I’ll come out and ask.”
With a grateful look her cousin hurried out into the backyard to join her friends and her future mother-in-law.
Kagome retreated into the large designer kitchen and couldn’t stop the envious sigh that escaped her. It was a state-of-the-art affair with an oversized refrigerator and a six-burner gas stove that had more than enough counter and storage space to handle dinner parties of up to twenty people and three cooks with ease. Chrome-steel and granite countertops and tiles made cleaning a snap. The reflective multi-blue-hued glass-tiled backsplash added space and light to the room. It was like comparing a Porsche or a Jaguar to her dependable little Honda. If there was one other thing Kagome envied it was Kikyo’s new kitchen. It was unfortunate she was not interested in cooking like Kagome.
Firmly she pushed her jealousy aside and heaved the bag onto the island countertop. It took a few minutes to find the disposable dishes and spoons; a little longer to find an over-sized plate, kitchen scissors and butter knives. A side trip to the bathroom netted her a container of tooth floss.
Carefully she upturned the tub of rainbow sherbet onto the plate. Using the knives and scissors she cut the carton away from the rectangular log of frozen treat and disposed of the waxed cardboard. Holding a length of tooth floss between her hands she sliced the rainbow sherbet into inch thick slices. Then she transferred each slice into a disposable dish.
Humming softly she repeated the process on the other cartons of the frozen treat and within fifteen minutes the island counter was covered with small dishes holding slices of rainbow sherbet. Pink-blue-purple for strawberry-blueberry-raspberry and yellow-green-orange for lemon-lime-tangerine.
Absently she tossed the floss onto the plate and licked her fingers clean of the juices as she searched for trays. Once she found the correct cupboard she removed two and began filling them with the dishes.
“What are you doing here?”
Chills went up her spine and heat ignited in her belly at the sound of the very familiar husky baritone.
Defensively she spun around and backed away, circling to put the kitchen island between herself and the intruder. A tall broad shouldered male with long silky platinum hair and narrow citrine eyes set in a triangular face marked with a blue crescent moon in the middle of the smooth forehead and twin narrow maroon stripes upon each cheekbone. He was dressed in a pale ash grey suit matched with a slightly darker grey shirt and scarlet tie. Long narrow feet were shod in black polished leather. One hand held an aluminium briefcase.
It was him! Nishitama Sesshoumaru! But what was he doing here? InuYasha hadn’t mention anything about being related to Those Nishitamas! But then again it did explain this house… InuYasha had a good job as an undercover detective but not good enough to buy and maintain a property this size.
Warily she lowered her eyes and bowed shallowly.
“I am a friend of--.”
“Hey Prick! Don’t scare Kagome with your ice attitude!”
Nishitama Sesshoumaru stiffened. Kagome could easily sense his aura flare in rage. Before he could retaliate Kagome whirled on her friend and began scolding him.
“InuYashaaa!” She screeched in high pitched tones that were very familiar to the hanyou. Triangular ears flattened in an attempt to muffle the shrill sound. They always accompanied a lecture. “How many times have I told you to stop using such language! There are kids around! They don’t need to pick up bad habits from you!” She grabbed a wooden spoon and began waving it around.
InuYasha cringed and ducked away from the swinging weapon.
“But Kagome! It’s the ice prick!”
But Kagome was not dissuaded. “I don’t care if you hate him as much as hate Naraku! You will Not use vulgar language around me! Or I Will tell Kikyo!”
That was enough to make the hanyou comply. “Okay! Okay!”
Kagome smiled broadly. “Good. Now get out of the kitchen!”
“Okay! Okay!” The hanyou grumbled sulkily as he began to edge around the counter slowly away from the young woman.
A pair of wide golden eyes flickered to the countertop covered with dishes of frozen rainbow sherbet. Dark brown eyes narrowed dangerously. Kagome swung out and the flat end of the wooden spoon came down sharply on the back of the hanyou’s hand.
“No! Bad boy!” She hit him again, knocking his hand away from the treats. “The kids get first dibs! Not you! Bad boy!”
“Ow! That hurt Kagome!”
She smiled dangerously. “It was meant to. Now go!” She pointed out in the direction of the backyard.
InuYasha cringed and dashed off.
Kagome sighed and turned to the other person in the kitchen. He looked slightly shell-shocked from what he had just witnessed. She cringed internally wondering just how she could defend her violent behaviour. Even if it was against InuYasha!
“Kagome! I just saw Inu--. Oh! Sesshoumaru-san! I didn’t know you decided to accept the invitation.”
The silver-haired Adonis inclined his head shallowly. “Kikyo-san. I had not planned to. Unfortunately I have some papers that need to be signed by my father.”
Kikyo nodded. “I understand. But now that you are here surely you can stay… At least for a little while! The second batch of burgers are almost done. You can easily talk to Sugimi-san while you wait.”
He thought about the offer for a few seconds before accepting. “That is acceptable. Please ask my father to join me in the den.”
Kikyo bowed. Then she glanced at Kagome who was clearly uncomfortable, being a witness to clan affairs.
“Sesshoumaru-san, since I’m almost certain InuYasha did not make introductions, I would like you to meet my cousin Higurashi Kagome. Kagome-chan, this is Nishitama Sesshoumaru, InuYasha’s elder half-brother, from Sugimi-sans first mate.” Kikyo bowed. “Please excuse me while I inform Sugimi-san about your request.” Before Kagome could protest Kikyo exited the kitchen leaving the younger woman with the daiyoukai and butterflies dancing in her tummy.
Kagome glanced up at the full-blooded inu-daiyoukai. The introduction explained the colouring match. But the brothers were so different! In features and attitude! She chewed on her lower lip hesitantly. She had felt comfortable around InuYasha. But never had the hanyou induced this much uncertainty and nerves in Kagome. All her instincts were screaming fight or flight. And fighting a taiyoukai, especially an inu, was an exercise in futility.
“Nishitama-sama.” She bowed her head. Her mind frantically raced as she tried to figure out a polite way of extricating herself from the situation. To keep him occupied while she filled the trays and escaped into the safety of the backyard. Her eyes fell on the dishes of multi-hued frozen sweetness. “Would you like some rainbow sherbet? While you wait for Sugimi-san?”
One corner of the narrow mouth lifted in faint appraisal. “I thought the sherbet was for the children.”
Kagome frowned and scowled furiously. “It is for children. And any adult with self-control!” She growled. It was easy to forget about her fear when she was annoyed with a particular hanyou. “If I let InuYasha have one he’ll just come back for more within five minutes! It’s easier to make sure everyone has had a serving and then let him have his.”
The daiyoukai blinked. “You sound like you know his character quite well.” He commented in very neutral tones as he selected a dish with yellow-green-orange sherbet. The sharp tart flavours.
The scowl faded and Kagome smiled. “Oh I do. I’ve known him for years. We went to school together.” She explained. Then she hesitated. She did so want to ask, but she didn’t want to give offence.
The daiyoukai ate a spoonful of the green-portion before speaking. “You wish to know something.”
“Yes.” Then gathering up her courage she continued. “I’ve known Sugimi-san and Izayoi-san for a while but I never heard of you.”
She quailed internally under the sharp citrine gaze. He ate another spoonful of the yellow sherbet this time.
“As you have seen InuYasha and myself, we do not get along. It is easier to avoid conflict. Since my sire has been semi-retired for a while, leaving me with most of the business responsibility for Nishitama Corp I have little time to make in-person visits. Usually if we need to talk he meets me elsewhere.”
Kagome frowned. InuYasha had been living with his parents since Kagome had known him. It was only recently that he had moved out. Even then he made it a point to eat at or at least visit his parents. In all that time he had never mentioned his half-brother. Or his wealth. And to be honest Sugimi and Izayoi had never acted like they were used to the expensive luxuries of life. But they had travelled very often, three-five times a year.
She watched him eat a bite from the orange-portion, her natural compassion feeling for the daiyoukai. No matter how composed he may act, or how used he may be to the situation, no one deserved to be estranged and isolated with limited access to ones parents! Even though she was an adult Kagome always turned to her mother when she had doubts, her brother when she needed help, or her grandfather when she wanted another viewpoint. She was used to depending on the support of strong relationships. She didn’t understand how the daiyoukai could bear it. Dogs were pack animals, more comfortable being with others than alone. But then again there were always exceptions. InuYasha’s brother was probably one.
She lifted both trays, balancing them on her forearms, one edge held by the hand, the other pressed against the inside of her elbow. A few seconds testing determined the best angle to hold them at, to avoid tipping the dishes over. Once satisfied she looked up and smiled brightly at the daiyoukai.
“It was nice meeting you Nishitama-sama.”
He inclined his head and looked away.
Kagome quickly made her way out of the kitchen. She’d send Sango back to get the rest of the sherbet. She really didn’t want to talk to the gorgeous daiyoukai. She didn’t have anything in common with him. She’d just make a fool of herself.
Chapter 6: Baked Cookies (31. cookie dough)
A coincidental meeting leads to Kagome and Sesshoumaru spending an evening together.
The fourth time they met she baked cookies for him.
“Kagome, thank you so much for this. I owe you Big!”
Kagome smiled and shook her head. “Don’t be silly Reika. You know I love looking after Shippo-chan.”
Youko Reika shook her head, sending bright red tresses flying. “But this is such short notice! Are you sure you’re okay with this? I can ask my sister to pick him up if you have plans…”
Kagome laughed. “Me? Having plans? I’ve been living like a nun for the past few months! The only action I’ve been getting is Not from a male.”
Reika laughed softly and pushed her son forward. The little boy with bright red hair tied in a top knot and dressed in chocolate corduroys and a dark green sweatshirt ran forward and wrapped short arms around Kagome’s leg.
“Kagome! Kagome! What we doing tonight?” He sniffed deeply. “You don’t smell like cookies and cake Kagome.”
Kagome crouched down and lifted Shippo up kissing him noisily. He squealed and squirmed but not really strongly.
“I may not smell of cookies but that doesn’t mean we can’t bake them tonight.” She smiled at Reika. “Don’t worry. I won’t let him eat too much. But he’ll get a tin he can take home.”
Reika nodded. “Thanks again Kagome. I should be back around nine-thirty. If I’m going to be late I’ll call and let you know.” She looked at her son with a more stern expression. “Shippo, be good to Kagome. If you cause trouble you will not get to eat any of the cookies.”
Shippo nodded solemnly. “I’ll be good Kaa-san.”
Sesshoumaru glanced at the solemn little girl sitting in one of the hard chairs outside the principal’s office. He was not sure of what to say or do, or how to act. He never spent time around children, being single and childless. And he was not very comforting or comfortable or welcoming figure to anyone of any age or gender.
“Nishitama-sama.” He looked up at the middle-aged ningen woman exiting one of the many small meeting rooms lining the length of the school office. She moved to one of the unused desks and began pulling papers from a folder. “Morisho-san called and left instructions for today. You are picking up her daughter Morisho Rin since she cannot do so due to an emergency.”
“Hai. Her husband was in an accident. She is with him right now.”
The little girl burst into loud noisy tears.
The school bureaucrat winced and spoke in louder tones, to be heard. Not that she needed to when speaking to an inuyoukai.
“Nishitama-sama! Please refrain from upsetting Rin-chan with unnecessary information.” She scolded the younger looking daiyoukai. She frowned slightly. “How much experience do you have with children? I do not feel comfortable letting an emotionally upset child leave with you.”
Sesshoumaru resisted the sharp retort on the tip of his tongue. Instead he decided to be diplomatic. He did not want to be responsible for a child for any length of time; but he had promised his assistant he would pick up her daughter. And Nishitama Sesshoumaru always honoured his word.
“My assistant asked me to pick Rin up and drop her at a neighbour’s home. Morisho has confirmed the neighbour is aware of the situation and willing to look after Rin.”
The government employee nodded slowly. That made more sense than a single wealthy bachelor taking responsibility for an employee’s child.
“Very well Nishitama-sama. Please sign here, and here. Rin-chan, please pack your books. Nishitama-sama will be looking after you for now.”
Sesshoumaru signed the papers after quickly scanning the print. It would not do to sign any contract blindly. Then he waited while the child put on her coat and shoes.
“Where are you taking me?” She asked after they were settled in the limo and in the busy vehicle packed streets.
“Your mother asked me to drop you off at your neighbour’s apartment.”
Rin perked up slightly. “Which neighbour? We have lots of neighbours. I know almost everyone on the floor and many kids on other floors.”
Rin relaxed into the upholstery. “Kagome-chan. She’s very nice. Kagome-chan will know what’s happening to Tou-san.”
Sesshoumaru lifted a silver brow but did not say anything. Hopefully the child remained calm until she was no longer his responsibility.
“Do you have something to occupy yourself?”
Rin nodded and pulled an e-reader from her backpack. “Hai.”
“Then read. It will be a while before we reach your apartment building.”
And with that Sesshoumaru focused on his own situation. He pulled out a Blackberry and a tablet PC from his briefcase and began reviewing preliminary contracts. They had to be reviewed and revised for his legal team before the end of the week.
Kagome glanced up at the sound of a knock on the front door.
“Shippo-chan, keep mixing the cookie dough. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Quickly she rinsed her hands and wiped them dry on a towel before hurrying to the front door. The knocks started again, more loudly and close together. Whoever was out there was very impatient.
“Hold on! I’m coming.”
She undid the bolts and chains and opened the door. And stared at a broad chest clad in an expensive creamy white suit. The only touch of colour the bright red of his tie and folded handkerchief. Her head tilted back, brown eyes widened in shock as they fell upon the familiar visage… almond shaped gold eyes, twin maroon slashes on the high cheekbones of a triangular face, a dark blue crescent moon marking a pale broad brow, all surrounded by wisps of platinum silver strands escaping from a low ponytail.
“Nishitama-sama?” Her voice was incredulous. What on earth was He doing here?
“Kagome-chan!” A very familiar high-pitched voice wailed out unhappily.
Automatically Kagome spread her arms wide open for the pre-pubescent girl to rush into them. She rocked back from the impact but she did not fall on her butt. She automatically stroked the black strands half coming out of the side ponytail. Her voice lowered into a soft soothing croon.
“Shhh, Rin-chan, it’s okay, it’s okay, tou-san is okay.”
Teary eyes begged for reassurance. “Are you sure Kagome-chan?”
Kagome tucked the short strands back behind one small round ear. “Oh yes! Your mother called ten minutes ago to tell me. Your dad is doing just fine now. He will be in the hospital for two days of observation. Your mother will be home in two hours.”
Rin heaved a deep sigh and relaxed. Then she reached up and touched Kagome’s cheek.
“Are you baking Kagome-chan? Can I help?”
Kagome blinked, taken aback by the abrupt change in topic. “Uh huh. Remove your coat and wash up. Then you can go help Shippo mix the cookie dough. When it is ready we can roll it out and cut out the shapes you like.”
“Hai!” Rin sang out cheerfully as she toed off her shoes and slipped on the flower-embroidered house slippers Kagome kept for her before running into the apartment.
Kagome turned to the silent daiyoukai standing in her doorway.
“Nishitama-sama, thank you for bringing Rin.” She hesitated. “Sakura-chan said a co-worker would be picking up and dropping Rin.”
Broad shoulders shifted fractionally.
“Morisho-san is my personal assistant and a trusted employee. She informed me of the emergency, the car accident involving her husband and she was quite distraught. I asked what I could do to help and since I did not have any commitments for the evening so I offered to pick up and drop Rin.”
“Oh. Thank you for taking the time Nishitama-sama.” There really wasn’t anything else to say. But it did not feel right to just let him leave. “Would you like some tea?”
He blinked clearly not expecting her invitation. “You do not…”
Kagome made a scoffing sound. “Don’t be silly. I will have to make tea for the kids and myself.” She smiled. “If you can stay a little longer you can take a tin of cookies home.”
“Cookies?” Sesshoumaru could not remember the last time anyone had offered him home made cookies. It was never.
“Mmmm. The first batch is almost ready. It’s chocolate chip. The dark semi-sweet kind.” She teased.
Sesshoumaru resisted the urge to groan. Chocolate was his weakness.
Dark brown eyes twinkled knowingly at the daiyoukai. “InuYasha loves chocolate even though too much makes him sick. Whenever I visit him or Sugimi-san I take a tin of cookies, brownies, or fudge. From your expression it looks like a family trait, a weakness for chocolate.”
Sesshoumaru struggled briefly and gave in. “You are right.” He admitted before stepping over the threshold and toeing off his shoes. “I do have a preference for chocolate laced treats.”
He followed the ningen onna into the kitchen filled with the aroma of melted chocolate, vanilla and baked cookies.
Rin was standing at the kitchen table beside a slightly younger looking red-headed kitsune. Both were holding large ceramic bowls mixing the contents carefully with wire whisks. The kitsune dipped a teaspoon into the cookie dough and tipped the contents on his palm before licking the small blob of dough off and his palm clean.
“I think my bowl is mixed pretty good Kagome-chan.”
Kagome nodded. “Okay. Add the chopped walnuts to your bowl and start mixing it. Then spoon small clusters onto the baking sheet. Rin’s batch will be plain vanilla for decorating and frosting.”
She crouched slightly and opened the oven. Instantly the small compact kitchen was filled with the intense aroma of baked crisp cookies and bitter-sweet chocolate. Carefully she removed the baking sheet using an oven-mitt clad hand and placed it on the heating elements on top of the stove. Deftly she used a flat metal spatula to lift the parchment sheets and tip the aromatic cookies off the baking sheet onto a plate.
She grinned as Shippo and Rin pounced on the plate, making sounds of glee and pain as they bit into the still steaming hot treats. Sesshoumaru noted the children slowed down and were more careful but they did not stop. He stared at the plate she thrust under his nose.
“Have a cookie. I’ll prepare tea for the two of us. The kids can have milk.”
A large clawed hand reached out and selected one of the larger circles of cooked dough sprinkled with chocolate chips. And then he bit into it.
Kagome could not resist the urge to grin at the expression of complete bliss on the inuyoukai’s face. He was just like Sugimi-san and InuYasha.
“Do you want to stay and bake with us? I’m thinking of making a batch of double chocolate with macademia nuts.”
Sesshoumaru struggled. Then gave in. “If you are certain.” It was only good manners to give a hostess an out.
“Of course! I would not have offered otherwise.”
“Then I will stay.”
Chapter 7: A Sweet Treat (19. blueberry cheesecake)
Sesshoumaru finds out what Kagome likes best.
A little something inspired by a review from fatcatmon on Dokuga. Yes, he is finally getting some fatherly advice.
For their next meeting he was told to give her a sweet treat.
Nishitama Sugimi studied his eldest son and heir intensely. Sesshoumaru was seemingly intent on reviewing his current project proposals but the elder inuyoukai knew better. Sesshoumaru was always aware of his surroundings, a by-product of living through and surviving the Warring Times and the Feudal Era.
He sighed internally as he considered the current situation; something he never would have anticipated in a dozen eons: Sesshoumaru romantically interested in a ningen. His heir had grown to tolerate humans but on a personal intimate level he had always held them at a distance, regarding them as unworthy of his personal attention. Even Izayoi still received the same treatment. When Sugimi heard Sesshoumaru was dating Kagome he had been genuinely surprised but pleased.
However, his younger son had blown up. He had demanded Sesshoumaru cease and desist. Not so surprisingly Sesshoumaru had refused. But when InuYasha had accused the elder of seeking to use and discard Kagome Sesshoumaru had reacted rather… violently, to the slight to his honour.
To interact with another outside of social or business need, Sesshoumaru was more than likely genuinely interested in Kagome. Interested enough to tolerate the intense scrutiny he had/was/will be subject to. And given how calmly he had been taking it, perhaps he was serious about Kagome. Serious enough to reassure the people who loved and cared for Kagome. Perhaps even serious enough to make a commitment.
“I heard Kagome invited you to dinner.”
Sesshoumaru looked up. His father had reacted neutrally-positively to the news. He had been genuinely encouraging and supportive of his fledgling relationship with Kagome.
“Yes. She wants to cook dinner for me.”
Bright amber eyes met lighter citrine. “That is a solid step. She is feeding you.”
Sesshoumaru snorted softly. “She enjoys feeding everyone. She bakes every week and gives away the results of her efforts.”
Sugimi laughed, a soft chuffing sound. “Oh I know. And I genuinely adore being the recipient of her generosity.” He cocked his head to one side. “But this is different. She is preparing a meal for You. Just the two of you. That is usually the precursor for more intimate relations.”
Sesshoumaru stilled. He closed the file he was working on and focused on his sire.
“Are you warning me about something?”
“Yes.” Sugimi replied honestly. “Be very certain about what you want with her. Kagome is a tender-hearted soul. When she commits she commits whole-heartedly.” He hesitated then continued. “InuYasha hurt her. Not knowingly but he still hurt her when he broke up with her. I would love to call Kagome daughter but not if she is ever hurt in the process.”
“I know. And I’m not using her.” Sesshoumaru inhaled deeply. “I’m not certain of the outcome but I enjoy being with her. She is… soothing.”
Sugimi snorted softly. “Wait until your first fight. Then you’ll find out she’s more of a firecracker.”
Sesshoumaru smiled slightly. “I do prefer spice to blandness.”
Sugimi laughed patting his knee in appreciation. “For a long-term relationship I definitely have to agree. Sweetness and sugar can get boring very quickly.”
Sesshoumaru cocked his head. “Do you have any advice?”
The elder shook his head. “You must find your own way. Your relationship with her will be different from my one with Izayoi.”
Sesshoumaru nodded. His sire always preferred his sons to struggle and find their own equilibriums. For a long time he had believed his sire took a sadistic pleasure in watching his sons fall flat on their faces. But as the decades passed Sesshoumaru realized Sugimi was teaching his sons to help themselves, to solve their own problems, to make their own choices, to mould their own destinies.
“Did she ask you to bring anything?”
Sesshoumaru blinked, jarred from his mental musings. “Yes.”
“What do you plan on taking?”
Sesshoumaru shrugged. “I’m not certain. Perhaps a bottle of red wine. Kagome did say she was making Italian dishes.”
“You should take a cheesecake.”
“Cheesecake?” Sesshoumaru was a little surprised by the suggestion.
“Yes, blueberry cheesecake. It’s her favourite.”
The younger inuyoukai frowned slightly then nodded. His sire could be trusted to Not lead him astray. “Do you recommend it from any particular place?”
“Starlight Bakery and Café. Two blocks north, then one east from the South-East entrance.” Sugimi smirked. “Sometimes I make a large to-deliver order when Izayoi and myself are hosting. Kagome always chooses their blueberry cheesecake.” He leaned forward with a broad smile. “I always over-order her favourite and ask her to take it home because no one else wants it.” There was a knowing expression on the old-dogs face. “Trust me, you want to be around when she eats it.”
Sugimi hid a smile at his son’s intrigued look. He knew what Sesshoumaru was going to take to dinner at Kagome’s. In the next second it was confirmed.
“Do you have this Café’s phone number?”
Chapter 8: Cross the Rubicon (22. cinnamon)
Sesshoumaru makes his move to make his desires clear.
Warning: Definitely MA, sexually graphic. Please skip if under aged.
AN: For sugarOo who practically read my mind and inspired me to greatly expand on this particular chapter.
AN: ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ is an idiom surviving from Ancient Rome when General Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his army which was considered an act of treason. Today it refers to passing the point of no-return by taking a step that cannot be undone; when any individual or group commits itself irrevocably to a risky or revolutionary course of action.
This time he takes the first step to cross the Rubicon.
“Ohhhh.” The soft drawn-out moan clearly demonstrated the pleasure, delight, and passion of the originator.
Sesshoumaru shifted minutely on the sofa praying Kagome would not notice the growing bulge just below the waistband of his charcoal dress pants. He had not understood his sires knowing smirk then, but he certainly did now. Kagome was an innocent sensualist with strong reactions to certain stimuli -such as blueberry cheesecake- reactions that were very hard to hide from youkai, especially inuyoukai with their keen noses.
Hastily he swallowed a mouthful of the hot liquid in his cup. An explosion of exotic spices flooded on his sensitive youkai tongue and spread coating the inside of his mouth and throat: cinammon, cloves, cardamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, star anise, black tea. Grimly he focused on the bloom of flavours on his tongue, examining and cataloguing each spice and its proportion.
It failed to completely distract him from the other sensory input that was assaulting him: the soft sensual almost sexual moans of delight, the distinctive musk of feminine arousal… all from Kagome who was sitting across the low coffee table from him. Usually Sesshoumaru was not one to be affected by such sounds and scents… but having it come from a woman eating blueberry cheesecake was a bit of a depressant. She was aroused from eating cheesecake, not from his attentions!
He focused on the sharp intense tang of the cinnamon, the almost burning sensations from the bark oils on his tongue. He studied her through lowered eyelashes, watched as she wrapped her tongue around the dessert fork, to get at every bit of cheesecake on the cutlery. His groin tightened as he imagined her wrapping that same pink tongue around his cock. He struggled to control his body’s reactions. It was something he was used to doing. Youkai as long-lived and experienced as Sesshoumaru tended to be jaded, victims of ennui and apathy. Experiencing such strong reactions to innocent displays was uncommon. But then again wasn’t that why he had started spending time with Kagome? She had intrigued him. She had intrigued him enough to initiate a relationship. So why was he surprised that the interest had now expanded to include sex? It was the next natural step.
He watched her sigh softly as she scraped up the last bit of cheesecake from her small dish and licked the fork clean. He watched as she sipped at the peppermint tea she had prepared for herself.
She smiled at him, her dark brown eyes questioning. “Are you sure you don’t want any cheesecake? It is quite good.”
He shook his head, the action sent the heavy fall of platinum hair sliding in a ripple.
“I’m not interested in cheesecake.”
Her head tilted to one side as she leaned back in her seat. “Oh? Is there something else you’d like?” She asked in gentle teasing tones before sipping her tea.
Something snapped in the inuyoukai. Before Kagome could blink he was up, moving, and seated at her side, his thigh pressing so close to hers she could feel the heat of his body enveloping her.
She could not control the slight tremor in her voice. She felt trapped, vulnerable, pinned, caged, and a whole host of other words. But underneath the fear her heart beat faster in eagerness, anticipation, desire, yearning… He was so close. She reached up to touch his chest. Her fingers trailed over the dark plum silk shirt, to rest on one shoulder. His body was so hard and hot. His face was above her, long strands of hair touching her face, his yellow eyes almost flaring like molten gold. She could not resist reaching out with both hands to stroke the twin maroon stripes on his cheeks, stripes echoed at both wrists. She wondered if he had other similar markings underneath the formal clothes he preferred.
She gasped softly as he cupped her hips drawing her up onto his lap arranging her legs so she straddled him, her knees resting beside his hips. She could see tiny flecks of red in the amber, the stripe markings turning jagged. And then she tasted cinnamon.
His kiss was hard and unrelenting, just like the rest of him.
She winced when the sharp point of one fang scraped over tender flesh drawing blood. But she did not fear him or try to get away.
She moaned when his agile tongue explored the small wound and the inside of her mouth. Despite feeling light-headed she clung to him, responding to his oral seductions.
She gasped when one large strong hand slid under the hem of her skirt and began exploring the fragile silk covering her feminine core. She had secretly dreamt of being the focus of his sexual attentions -of what he was doing to her- but had never imagined it would ever come true.
She squirmed when clawed fingertips began stroking her through the silk, heightening her arousal and enhancing her sensitivity. To get closer or to get away, she wasn’t sure.
She struggled when those same deft fingers pushed the silk to one side and began playing with the soaked thatch of silky black hair covering her groin. She needed him inside her. Now!
She froze when slick delicate tissue parted and stretched to accommodate one, two, then three fingers within her body. His thumb encircled the swollen nub of tissue above her opening, playing with her clit before delicately scoring it with one pointed claw tip.
The sensation of calluses and claws on sensitive tissue, within and outside, was too much. She came hard and fast, convulsing in his grip, straddling his lap and impaled on his fingers.
It was several minutes before her brain regained enough function for coherent speech. He was kissing her softly, tenderly, almost apologetically for the almost ruthless way he had forced her to cum. She could only focus on one thing.
“You taste of cinnamon.”
Golden eyes widened in shock and confusion.
Her muscles felt like limp over cooked noodles but she managed to lift one hand to cup his chin. Her other hand managed to get enough leverage to lift her torso high enough for her to kiss him.
It was a sweet almost chaste kiss. Her expression was serious when she lifted her lips from his.
“I’m falling in love with you Sesshoumaru. Please… don’t… not unless you are truly serious about me.”
Liquid gold eyes warmed fractionally as thin lips lifted into a slight smile.
“I do not act before considering all options and consequences. I would not have taken this step if I was not serious Kagome.”
Her heart lightened in joyous delight. She threw her arms around his neck, plastering her torso against his, resting her cheek on one broad shoulder. She could feel her desire for him rebuilding. She shifted until she was on her knees, her mouth close to one pointed fey-like ear.
“If you are serious then take me. Take me hard and fast, on my knees with you behind me pounding so hard I feel your cock against my belly.”
Amber began bleeding into red. A growl she could feel escaped him.
“You are tempting my beast a little too much with that offer Kagome.” He snarled as his claws dug into her hips, forcing her torso around so she could not hide from the distinctive signs of his slipping control.
Kagome closed her eyes and shuddered. Not in fear but delight. When she opened them the pupils were dilated dominating the chocolate irises. He could clearly see her eager anticipation and desire. Her voice was soft and breathy and full of yearning.
Red slit-pupil eyes glowed as they examined the panting, heated, primed woman. Nostrils flared, taking in the bloom of pheromones and the distinctive musky odour of her fluids and scent. She was not pretending.
He stood up, carrying the aroused trembling female cradled close against his chest. Then he moved towards her bedroom; to fulfil her desire.
The distinctive scents of cinnamon and other spices drifted from the cup of cooling chai tea, filling the small living area. It would remain forgotten until well into the next day when Kagome cleared the last remnants of the handcrafted meal she had prepared for her friend turned lover… For Sesshoumaru.
Chapter 9: Intimacy (4. peach)
She cannot deny him anything
Warning: graphic sex, not for YIM (minors)
Her skin was so tight, her muscles contracting so sharply it felt like she was coming apart. The muscles in her thighs were strained from the awkward position of being forced apart to accommodate her lover. He was a big male with broad shoulders and strong arms. He made her feel safe and protected in his embrace but in times like this she found herself fleetingly wishing he was a smaller man. Only for brief split seconds because a lesser man would never be able to make her feel like this. Hot, wet, soft, desirable, needy…
She sank her teeth into her lower lip hard enough to draw blood. He growled and moved up along her body to kiss her hard, to taste her blood. She could taste herself on his lips. Musky with peach undertones. The body wash and lotion Sango gave her as a birthday gift.
His tongue was leisurely swiping over her skin now, tasting the salt-sweat beading on her flesh, licking a path down her throat, through the valley of her breasts, towards her navel and then lower. And then he was in her. The rough flexible flesh deftly swiping through her slit, over her wet aroused flesh. He latched onto her clit sucking hard, flicking the protruding engorged flesh with his tongue.
She needed more. More. More!
His tongue was in her hole now, pushing through her clenching flesh, rasping against her insides. It was almost better than his cock. The muscular appendage was deliciously rough and flexible in ways a cock could never match. He was stroking places inside she never believed existed.
She came hard, fluids gushing from her core onto his tongue and face. This was the third time he had made her cum because he enjoyed the taste of her fluids. She lay there gasping and panting as he lapped up her fluids, swiping over every inch of her swollen sensitized flesh to get at every luscious drop.
She whimpered softly as he gently moved up and over her, settling his pelvis over hers. It was almost a relief when his thick cock slipped into her. Reflexively she lifted her legs and wrapped them around his waist. He kept going deep until he bottomed out. It did not take much to climax a fourth time, only this time he came with her.
Chapter 10: He Will Never… (15. blue moon)
Inuyasha and Sango make a bet on our favourite couple.
Warnings: Some potty mouth from Inuyasha.
“He will never ask her.”
“Oh I don’t know, I think he will.”
Inuyasha scoffed and mumbled something incoherently before devouring the remnants of his slice of pizza.
Sango’s sienna eyes cooled and narrowed dangerously. “Excuse me Inuyasha? What did you just say?”
White puppy ears flattened reflexively at her tone but Inuyasha refused to be cowed. He licked his lips tasting the flavour of bacon, chicken and sausage. He loved meat lovers pizza. Defiantly he reached out, snagged another slice, and took a large bite.
He chewed and swallowed before speaking. He didn’t want Kikyo to get her back up about his manners. He had learnt it did not pay to piss off the ladies. They had no problems taking weeks to plan their revenge but what Sango had just said? Pure idiocy!
“I said don’t be an idiot.” He muttered. “The bastard ain’t gonna ask her.”
“And why not?” Sango was affronted. “They’ve been going steady for months now! She is his girlfriend and they practically live together! She spends more nights over at his place than in her flat.”
“I think he loves her.” Kikyo threw her two cents in as well.
Inuyasha sighed. “Yeah I know the bastard loves her. Well as much as he can love anyone but that’s not the point! He’s too proud about being a pureblood and all that shit. You know what an ass he was about the Old Dog and my ma. And his mother! We all know what a prideful bitch she is! Do you really think he will just do a complete one-eighty and mate a human? Have hanyou offspring? A hanyou heir for the West?”
Sango and Kikyo looked at each other dismayed.
“But the Western Lands are no more. It is an honorary title.” Sango pointed out.
“I know that. You know that. But the bastard and his bitch of a mother lived and grew up in a completely different time. You know what the papers call him, an Economic Feudal Lord. He still sees himself as Lord of the Western Lands. He may love her but he will never commit to a mating and have pups with her.”
“You cannot say that Inuyasha. Sesshoumaru Has changed a great deal since he met and started going out with Kagome. Usually his relationships last two months before he tires of them.” Miroku pointed out thoughtfully. “He’s been with Kagome for almost six months now. He has not said the words but he is committed to her.”
Sango nodded firmly. “I agree. And Kagome is not the sort of girl who will allow this situation to drag indefinitely. If he doesn’t ask her to marry him she Will break up with him and leave him behind.”
Inuyasha winced at that tidbit. Kagome was a soothing stabilizing influence on his half-brother. Sesshoumaru had a vicious tongue and nasty temper. If Kagome left him he would definitely take it out on everyone around him. Especially one younger puppy-eared hanyou brother!
Absently he scratched one ear and pondered his options. Perhaps he could take a transfer to Singapore? Or Hong Kong! Dad did mention something about needing an investigator in Hong Kong; he could offer to help out! Anything that would take him out of Sesshoumaru’s vicinity when Kagome left him.
“But I don’t think you are right Inuyasha. Sesshoumaru is going to ask Kagome to marry him.”
Inuyasha snorted. “Oh yeah? How much do you wanna bet?”
Sango leaned forward smirking. “I bet he will ask her to marry him before the New Year. If I’m right you’re going to pay for a three-person full-treatment spa week in,” and she named a prestigious expensive Okinawa spa. “If you’re right I’ll host your boys game nights for the next six months.”
Inuyasha considered the terms and stakes. “You’ll make your nachos and fajitas?”
“Yep. With my secret salsa recipe. And I’ll ask Kagome to make her special marinating sauce for the wings. I’ll serve one beer each but if you want more you’ll have to bring your own.”
Inuyasha snorted softly. There was less than five weeks till the New Year. The Old Dog had sent Sesshoumaru to Kyoto on business and he would not be back until December twentieth. Kagome was busy with rehearsals for the musical talent show she was organizing and passed up on meeting him on the weekends. Sure there would be lots of parties in December but Sesshoumaru never liked having fun and everyone always wanted Kagome around. He would not even have to bother keeping an eye on them. With these odds he could not lose.
With a confident smirk he nodded. “Sure. I agree. You’d get better odds on having a blue moon on New Year’s Eve than Sesshoumaru asking Kagome to marry him before then. If he does I’ll pay for your spa trip. If he doesn’t you’ll make nachos, fajitas and wings for game nights.”
Then the two of them shook hands to seal the bet.
Inuyasha refused to allow Sango’s knowing expression to affect him, to second guess his gamble.
Only after the girls went into the kitchen to cut the chocolate cake that Miroku voiced his doubts.
“I think you made a bad bet Inuyasha.”
The hanyou glanced over at the monk. “What do you mean Miroku?”
“Sango looked pretty certain she’s going to win.
Inuyasha scoffed. “Don’t be a dork. Sesshoumaru is not going to ask Kagome to marry him anytime soon. He’s out of the city and she’s really busy with work, and then the holiday social season will start. He won’t get a chance to get her away even if he wanted to. And he’s not the sort to ask her to marry him in front of everyone. He’ll ask her in private. Probably in some five-star restaurant’s private dining-room with live world-class musicians he hired just for adding atmosphere.”
Miroku shook his head. “Whatever you say Inuyasha. It’s your wallet taking the hit, not mine.”
Chapter 11: Time for Family and Sharing (26. peppermint stick)
InuYasha loses a bet but he’s not that unhappy about paying up.
The Holidays are a time for family and sharing.
Kagome smiled as she set out the latest just cooked dish of traditional American holiday fare to join the rest on the table: stuffing, glazed carrots and sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, and lots of other yummy dishes. Two turkeys were broiling and would be ready in thirty minutes. Just in time for the post Christmas pre New Years dinner party the Nishitamas were hosting. Kikyo and Izayoi had really gone all out this year!
“Kagome dear, why don’t you take a break?” Izayoi spoke softly as she lifted a heavy roasting pan filled with carrots and squash coated with a maple syrup glaze.
“Are you sure? There is still so much to do!” All of a sudden Kagome could feel the persistent ache in her arms, feet and back bloom into something she couldn’t quite ignore as she had been doing all day.
Izayoi smiled tolerantly. “You’ve been on your feet all morning and afternoon helping with the cooking dear. Everyone will be arriving soon for dinner! You should take a break and rest. Have a long hot soak! It is going to be a long evening.”
Deciding Izayoi had the right idea Kagome took the advice and took a long hot bath and a quick nap before dressing. And she felt much better for it.
Several hours later, after dinner was served and consumed, she had more than enough energy to join the rest of the children in their impromptu games while the adults relaxed over dessert, coffee and drinks.
“Rin dear, don’t do that!” Morisho Sakura called out in slightly horrified tones. She had attended various corporate Nishitama parties in the past but this was the first private family gathering she had been invited to. And probably the last if Sesshoumaru-sama took offence to Rin’s actions.
Kagome glanced over and laughed. Rin-chan was in the process of denuding the Christmas tree of its decorations. To be more specific, the peppermint candy canes Izayoi had hung on the various branches of the evergreen.
“Don’t be silly Sakura-chan. The decorations will have to come down at some point and the candy canes will be either eaten or thrown away. Let the children enjoy the treat.” She grinned wickedly. “They have simply beaten InuYasha to it.”
Izayoi laughed and nodded her agreement. “Kagome-chan is right. My husband and the boys give themselves a belly ache eating all that peppermint candy canes.” She caught Kagome’s eye. “In fact why don’t we divide it between all the children before you go home. Sugimi and InuYasha don’t really need that extra sugar rush.”
Kagome nodded and smiled. “I’ll do that Izayoi-chan.”
Sesshoumaru watched with cool gold eyes over the edge of his coffee cup.
After a bit of arguing Kagome managed to get the children to listen and follow her directions. Very impartially she made a heap of all the red and white sweet treats before splitting it evenly among all the children. Each child’s stash was slipped into a sandwich bag and knotted before his or her name was written on the bag in black marker. Satisfied each child dispersed with his or her own bag of candy.
There were two extra canes left over. Sesshoumaru watched her peel the plastic off one of them and bit off a small piece and begin sucking on it. He could see the small piece of hard treat pressing against one cheek from the inside. He could almost imagine what was happening, her tongue playing with the hard candy, saliva coating it, the sharp tang of peppermint flooding her mouth. He could almost taste it.
Unable, and unwilling, to resist he stood up and moved to stand before her in two quick strides.
Before all their family and friends he bent down and captured her mouth with his.
It was very clear to Everyone this was no chaste kiss.
By the time they separated Kagome’s eyes were glazed, her expression dazed for the few seconds it took her to realize just what had happened.
“Hey! If you wanted a peppermint stick you could have just asked!”
Sesshoumaru smirked. “I was curious about the taste.” He admitted blandly.
She glared at him suspicious. “What? You’ve never eaten a peppermint candy cane before?” Her tone was laced with heavy scepticism.
“I’ve never eaten one with you.”
That set off a small surge of laughter.
Nishitama Sugimi caught the eye of his eldest son and heir. “Sesshoumaru, do you have something to tell us?” His voice was carefully bland.
Higurashi Asuka swatted at the daiyoukai’s arm. “Stop teasing the children Sugimi-san. Everyone knows they are going out.” But her expression was just as curious and inquiring as she glanced at her daughter and the daiyoukai who had captured her heart.
Sugimi cocked his head and did not respond. His eyes never left his son’s as he waited for Sesshoumaru’s response.
Sesshoumaru glanced down at Kagome who smiled shyly and nodded.
Sesshoumaru tugged at a slender silver strand around Kagome’s neck. A chain that disappeared under the gold-and-cream cashmere sweater the young woman was wearing over a claret red party dress.
Everyone leaned forward and saw just what Sesshoumaru had exposed. A gold ring set with green and red chips threaded on the silver chain like a pendant.
“Kagome?” Higurashi Asuka came off her feet to approach her daughter. She was quickly followed by Sugimi and the rest of the adults. Even the children who sensed something important was happening.
Neither one of the couple spoke. Sesshoumaru used his claw to slice the silver chain. It became clear the silver chain was actually a cord braided from strands of hair. Sesshoumaru’s hair.
Carefully the daiyoukai caught the ring before it could fall and lifted Kagome’s left hand with his free one. And then –before everyone’s eyes– he slipped it onto her finger, clawed tips adjusting the gold circle and shifting angles so the gem chips were perfectly aligned to catch the overhead lights.
He looked up and around, catching everyones eyes.
“Kagome has done me a great honour by agreeing to be my mate and wife. She said yes two weeks ago but we kept it quiet to share it with family first. After the rush of the holiday season let up a bit.”
Sesshoumaru wasn’t sure who squealed first but Izayoi and Asuka were at the head of the pack hugging Kagome, examining the ring, and congratulating the couple.
Sesshoumaru nodded and accepted the words and gestures in his usual calm fashion.
Miroku watched InuYasha watch the spectacle, jaw dropped and hanging.
The ningen could not resist taunting the inu-hanyou. “InuYasha, I didn’t know New Year’s Eve was a blue moon this year.”
hanyou jerked as his brain kick-started into action. “Eh? What do you mean?”
“Have you forgotten? Sesshoumaru just proposed to Kagome. You owe Sango a three-person full-treatment spa week in that Okinawa spa.”
“Oh dang! Sango is going to wipe out my Christmas bonus!”
Miroku laughed. “You’re the one who took the bet, not me.”
InuYasha grumbled and sulked but couldn’t stay mad for long. Kagome looked really happy and she of all the people he knew deserved true love. He didn’t understand what she saw in the ice prick but he could not deny Sesshoumaru was not the type to play with a girl’s heart. If he was proposing he was serious about the union.
The daiyoukai would protect and cherish Kagome as she deserved. Eternally.
The inu-hanyou made a silent New Years Resolution to try and improve his relationship with his elder half-brother. It would make Kagome unhappy if they kept snipping at each other. And it was the least he could do for her.
InuYasha smiled. At least with Kagome as a mate Sesshoumaru would be less of an ice prick than usual.
Chapter 12: Purity and Fertility (17. orange blossom)
Kagome contemplates on the next step she is about to take.
Kagome caressed the fragile white petals resting on her dresser top. The action released the spicy heady fragrance of orange blossoms. She could not resist leaning forward and brushing her nose over the clusters of five-petal white flowers twisted and wrapped with rosemary and baby’s breath to form a gorgeous headdress.
She blinked as slightly wrinkled hands lifted the elegant headpiece up and towards her head.
“You look beautiful.”
Kagome smiled as she watched her mother in the mirror while remaining motionless. The professional hairdresser was pinning the custom made orange blossom hair ornament to her elegant updo and Kagome did not want to be stabbed by the metal pins or have her hairstyle marred.
The Higurashi women waited until the last tresses were pinned and sprayed into place and the stylist had departed.
Asuka smiled wistfully at her daughter. “You look so beautiful. If only your father could see you now. He would be so proud!”
Kagome smiled. “I know Tou-san is proud; wherever he is.”
The elder woman nodded slowly and reached out to touch one of the fragrant white flowers nestled in her daughter’s raven black tresses.
“My mother pinned orange blossoms into my hair when I married your father.” Asuka’s expression was faintly wistful. “My maternal grandmother was Chinese and wore orange blossoms at her wedding, as did my mother at her wedding. And now so are you.” There was a pause as Asuka gathered her thoughts. “Kagome, what do you know about orange blossoms?”
Kagome wrinkled her nose. “Not a lot Kaa-san. They make perfume and orange water with it. I know they used to be worn or carried by brides in Western weddings. Today roses are more popular.”
Asuka nodded slowly before she began speaking. “Orange blossoms were emblems of purity, chastity and innocence in Ancient China. I don’t think you know but orange trees are one of the few plants that can bloom and bear fruit at the same time; so orange blossoms became a symbol of fertility and fruitfulness.”
Kagome nodded, her mouth trembling slightly.
“My daughters will wear orange blossoms at their weddings. As will all of my granddaughters.”
Asuka nodded and her expression lightened.
“No second thoughts about walking down the aisle? No worries? Jitters?” Asuka spoke in teasing tones.
Kagome smiled knowingly. “None.”
Asuka laughed softly. “So confident?”
Kagome shrugged. “He doesn’t say he loves me but he shows it. And he never acts if he does not plan on following through. Since he asked me to marry him he is truly committed to me. To Us.”
“Then I have no worries. You are going to have a wonderful life with Sesshoumaru. He truly loves you.”
Kagome smiled. “He sees me as I really am and he wants me.”
“And he always will. He always struck me as the type to hold on and never let go; the really loyal type despite all the rumours.”
Kagome made a face. “Rumours are rumours. As long as Sesshoumaru is honest with me I don’t really care.”
Asuka nodded. “Hold onto that personal rule.” She hesitated. “There is one more thing I want from you Kagome.”
“What is it Kaa-san?”
“I want a grand-daughter. Or a grand-son. As soon as possible.”
Asuka laughed and kissed her daughter’s cheek. And then she glanced at the clock.
“Come on dear. It is time to get you married off.”
Kagome smiled tremulously.
“Have I told you how much I love you Kaa-san?”
“Only every other day darling. Now let’s get moving before your young man comes looking for you.”
Kagome laughed and stood up, obeying her mother.
Sesshoumaru was waiting for her.
It was time to get married.