Frozen in Amber, Free in the Sky


I was inspired to write this after watching the third Inuyasha movie with my brother, his ex-girlfriend and her brother. I REALLY should be working on Behind the Light (My Little Pony) or one of my multiple Escaflowne fics, but… Well, when the Muses bite, you have no choice but to listen. ((Smiles)) And, as I haven't actually written anything all Christmas break, I figured "Eh, I might as well do this." I've actually had this thought for a fic for a while, but haven't gotten around to actually doing anything with it until now. Gee, you'd think with five and a half weeks off from college I'd get some writing done. ((Sigh))

I don't own anything from the original Inuyasha cast or storyline. I am a very poor college student who has obsessions with plastic heroine – I mean, toy ponies – and just about anything Escaflowne my meager money will allow me to acquire. So please don't sue me. I am making absolutely no money off of this, I promise. Itoe belongs to me, and that is it.

"Itoe" is apparently "doll" in Japanese, which is a friend of mine's last name. It means 'bless with love' according to the website Rumandmonkey. Beats me how you say it though.

Please excuse my lack of knowledge about the Inuyasha universe. I hardly had time before college to watch it, and there's no dish at school, so I don't watch it muchperiod. I have only seen a few episodes, but I immediately fell in love with Sesshie. ((Smiles)) One day I shall see the entire series and read the manga. ((Dreams)) So, if there's anything wrong, please forgive me and politely point it out.

This starts out before the Band of Seven is defeated, but I'm going to go off of the flashbacks Sesshie has in the third movie as well; so this really doesn't take place in the cannon of anything.

Reviews are every author's life-line. Please leave some. Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated too, especially if I have made errors (and I'm sure I have). Flames will be given to Dilandau to play with. :)

Upon a sixth read-through to edit before actually finishing, I realized Sesshie only has one arm, and I hadwritten this with two. Dang Inuyasha, why'd you have to chop his lovely arm off? Heh.

Rated for VERY mild/hinted at adult content. Nothing graphic at all.


The Band of Seven had been on a killing rampage again, Sesshomaru could still smell their foul stench in the entire area. The reek of blood did nothing to drown out the disgusting odor of the resurrected humans. He scanned the desecrated area, wondering if there could possibly be survivors. Then pondered why he cared. Mentally shaking himself, he moved on through the carnage. Rin and Jaken were with A-un along the tree line, watching and waiting for him to return to them and continue on their journey. They had come upon the massacred village only hours after the Seven had been there.

Sesshomaru was tracking Inuyasha and his company of slow humans, waiting for his chance to take the Tetsusaiga, rightfully his, and conquer his half-breed brother.

Sesshomaru was about to leave the slaughtered village when his demon ears picked up a very faint heartbeat. Using his superior hearing, he located the origin of the pulse. Pulling aside the remains of a house roof, he found a young woman being suffocated by the rafters.

"Itoe!" Rin screeched from the trees. She came running into the butchered village, Jaken hot on her tail. "Rin, come back here! Don't interrupt Lord Sesshomaru! Riiin!"

"Itoe! Lord Sesshomaru, is she ok? Can you help her?" The little girl turned her dark, innocent eyes on the demon, pleading.

"You know this human, Rin?" Sesshomaru asked, his face not changing from its stoic expression.

"Yes. She visited my village once. She was kind to me. Please help her Lord Sesshomaru," beseeched Rin.

"Rin, you can't go bugging Lord Sesshomaru every time someone's in trouble! Besides, why would he care about foul –"

Sesshomaru drew Tenseiga, cutting off Jaken's statement and killing the death demons around the young woman.

She moaned, slowly opening her eyes. She had regained life, but the burns and cuts along her body would take time to heal. Sesshomaru's amber eyes met the sky blue ones of the raven-haired woman for a split second. She moaned and tilted her head toward him. "Who are you? What…-?" her weakly spoken question was cut off as exhaustion overtook her and she lost conciseness.

Rin flung herself at the dog demon, firmly latching herself onto his left leg. "Thank you Lord Sesshomaru! Thank you thank you thank you!"

"Rin, please release me. She needs medical attention, swiftly." Rin immediately let go and danced as Sesshomaru deftly picked up Itoe with his one arm, walked to A-un and placed the frail body on the dragon-horse. Rin hopped up behind her, and Jaken clambered up behind the girl.

Sesshomaru changed direction. He was no longer following his curse'd half-breed brother, but chose a new path; toward a very small castle a few miles away he knew to be still vacant. He had found the residence several months before in his dealings with Naraku and had noted it in the back of his mind should it come in useful for the future.

S-S

It was nightfall when the small company reached the castle. Rin was fast asleep, Jaken was snoring rather loudly, and Itoe was breathing lightly, still fatigued from her injuries. Jaken awoke at the disturbance of the things around him when Sesshomaru scooped up both humans. A-un was released to fend for himself outdoors. Sesshomaru found a room with a passable bed and laid both females upon it. The little goblin-demon followed his master and watched as he laid the humans on the bed, covered them with the dusty sheet and walked out of the room. When they were far enough away from the sleeping females, Jaken spoke his mind. "Lord, why did you save her? You don't care for humans!"

"Rin needs a companion, to teach her how to mature," Sesshomaru responded quietly, firmly. Jaken knew that was the end of the discussion. He sighed, and wondered for the gazillionth time of his master was all right. "Jaken, in the morning, find food for them; and any herbs you can unearth to salve the girl's wounds," Sesshomaru ordered calmly, not looking at his long-time companion-servant.

"Yes my lord," Jaken replied dedicatedly, hiding his annoyance and hardly understanding his master's intentions for the humans. The smaller demon wandered off into the dejected hall in search of passable quarters for the night.

'I restored life to Rin as her fellow villagers burned, they outcasted her; such as demons are hated by humans. They deserved death; she life without them inflicting hate upon her. She follows me for protection; adoration because I brought her back to this world. She, even at a young age, faced the hells of even her own kind; she should not have had to face the fires of death. Itoe will teach her the ways of the human world and they will both leave, removing themselves from my mission. Itoe was only restored to this world to teach Rin, and that is all,' Sesshomaru mentally reaffirmed himself. He did not care for humans in the least. 'Least of all one with eyes that reflect the sky.'

The demon lord spent an hour roaming around the small residence, making sure that no demon would dare intrude upon his small company, and then retired for the rest of the night in the overgrown garden.

S-S

Rin woke the next morning to the sun shining brightly on her face, seeping in through the shabby shudders on the window. She rolled over and was face to face with a wane Itoe; taking in shallow, slow breaths. The little girl brushed the older girl's bangs from her clammy face. Jaken chose that moment to enter the room.

"Ah, good Rin, you're awake. You can help me with the ointment for Itoe's burns. And here's your breakfast," with the last statement, the reptilian demon dropped a small bundle upon the bed. Rin excitedly opened it and gave a small squeal.

"Oh Master Jaken, I love strawberries! Thank you!" She nearly strangled him in her gratitude. The demon shrieked and pushed her off him.

"Yes, yes Rin. Lord Sesshomaru insists that I attend to you both, and I do as he wishes, however moronic it seems. Now, eat and save some for Itoe. When you are finished, help me find some bowls in this decrepit place so I can make the ointment." Rin gobbled up the fruit and together she and Jaken found a few bowls and began making balms for Itoe's cuts and burns, which they applied with care.

Itoe herself awoke when the last of the burns and cuts were receiving treatment. She gave a small wince when Rin clamped her arms around the older girl's neck, causing more pain.

"Oh Itoe, I'm so glad you're ok!"

"As am I, little Rin," she managed to get out around the small arms nearly chocking her.

"You have Lord Sesshomaru to thank for that!" Jaken stated haughtily.

Itoe gently pushed Rin from her and propped herself up slightly against the headboard of the bed, then stared at the small, frog-like demon before her. He had to be less than three feet tall, yet there he was, snootily insinuating that she go and grovel at his master's feet this instant. She could barely make out his grumblings about "stupid humans."

"When your Lord returns, I shall give him my gratitude," Itoe replied as coolly as she could muster.

"Oh, Itoe! There's strawberries! Master Jaken brought us strawberries!"

"Only because Lord Sesshomaru commanded that I take care of you," the little demon griped quietly.

"Thank you Rin," Itoe said appreciatively as the little child placed the strawberries in her friend's lap. Itoe slowly ate the fruit, savoring their sweetness. When she was finished, she slide back under the covers. She had used what little strength she had regained since the attack on her village, and needed rest.

"Itoe, are you ok?"

"I'll be … fine… Rin. I just… need …sleep…" Itoe released her loose hold on consciousness and fell into the depths of sleep. Rin patted her head, and then quietly left the room with Jaken.

S-S

S-S

The field was serene, with a tranquil stream flowing through it and flowers of every color imaginable in view. The wind blew gently, making the scene all the more beautiful. Itoe sat amidst aqua blue flowers, speckled with marigolds. The combination made her think of… Who was he? The man who had been there when the gates of hell had opened, expecting her to enter. Itoe shook off the dark thought. They had opened, and he had forced them closed, forced death to leave her. That was all that mattered. Those handsome, deep pools of amber eyes and long, silky, aqua hair…..

Itoe closed her eyes and relaxed in the image of the man in her mind's eye.

She suddenly felt heat radiating towards her, suffocating her. She opened her eyes and gasped. The field was on fire, the smoke and flames cutting off escape. She clasped at her throat and tried to breathe, but ash filled her lungs. Itoe grasped at her throat and fell to the ground.

Darkness encased her, pressing in from all sides. There was no escape…

S-S

S-S

Sesshomaru walked pass the shambled room where the girls were sleeping on his way to the garden for the evening, merely a day after coming to the castle. His innate senses immediately picked up that something was wrong; however, he couldn't smell or hear an attacker in the room. He burst through the door and realized instantly at the slight rise in temperature that the young woman doubtlessly had a fever. The demon lord gathered the child in his arm and placed her in the adjoining room.

Returning to his latest charge, he placed his hand on her forehead. Despite her shivering, quaking body, she was far too warm. He set about the decaying building and found Jaken, instructing him to gather and apply more medicinal herbs. He himself went to fetch water from the crick trickling its way down the hill behind the small castle. Sesshomaru returned to find Jaken muttering about the inflamed burns and infected cuts. Sesshomaru ripped off a corner of the sheet, dipped it in the bowl he had taken with him from the room before gathering the water and placed the damp cloth on the girl's pale forehead.

Sesshomaru stayed in the bedroom all night, redipping the cloth every hour or so and replacing it upon the girl's forehead. Long after Jaken had fallen asleep on the end of the bed; his lord stayed awake tending the sick human, refilling the bowl when necessary.

Morning came, and with it a crestfallen Rin upon finding that her new companion was sick. Sesshomaru directed her and Jaken to go out and find more food and herbs.

"But what about Itoe?" Rin wailed from the door frame. "I want to stay and help her!" Her lower lip quivered.

"Rin, you can not become ill as well. It will aid her in healing faster if you help Jaken in gathering food and herbs," Sesshomaru said resolutely.

Rin sniffled, but turned and followed the smaller demon away from the room.

S-S

A week later the fever had not broke and the cuts and burns had healed little. Rin had taken to crying severely before bed, with Jaken making desperate attempts to calm her without getting too close. Sesshomaru constantly found himself in the unkempt garden, meditating. The weak human female was keeping him from Tetsusaiga, the conquering of his half-breed brother, and Naraku's defeat.

"I think Rin finally went to sleep," Jaken gripped as he stepped into the once-beautiful garden.

"Jaken, what will happen if the girl's burns and cuts don't heal, and the fever doesn't leave her?" Sesshomaru asked dispassionately, eyes never leaving the nonexistent object of his attention, face never changing.

"She will die, eventually. The infection and inflammation will creep deeper into her body, rendering her immobile."

"Will it be painless?"

Jaken bite his tongue, 'Why should the Master care? Filthy human. The Master must have his reasons, I'm sure.' "No my lord. It would not take more than a day, but her contamination will eat at her body from the inside out. It will not be pretty, even from a demon's standpoint."

Barely noticeable, Sesshomaru tightened his lips in anger. "Be gone Jaken."

The frog-demon bowed and left.

'"…contamination will eat at her body from the inside out. It will not be pretty, even from a demon's standpoint."' Jaken's words ran themselves in circles inside Sesshomaru's mind for hours on end, echoing inside his skull.

'I do not care if she dies. She is a human. She would have only been useful in caring and teaching Rin. Both would have left, and I would be free to pursue my quarry. They are holding me back! It is only a mild set back, but a set back non the less. It will pass, as all the other set backs have passed or been overcome. She will die, and I will continue on my journey.'

Somehow, this didn't resolve the matter, and Jaken's words continued their path along this mentality. Sesshomaru found that he didn't want the girl to suffer, yet couldn't bring himself to think of ending her pain, and therefore her life.

'Why do I care so much?'

The wind blew a stray bluebell into Sesshomaru's vision. 'The color of her eyes… Like they were reflecting the sky on a cloudless day, their depths captivating and majestic. Her pale lips appeared soft to the touch –' Sesshomaru cut into his own thoughts, wondering where that train of thinking had come from. 'Good gods, I have only glimpsed her eyes for seconds, and already I – but no. I am the demon lord Sesshomaru, and I need no one, least of all a weak human girl. Whatever has taken hold of me will pass, as will she. She means nothing. The feeling that I must protect her will fade, as will she, and memories and all thoughts of her.'

S-S

A few more days later and Itoe's fever finally broke. Sesshomaru dammed up his unexpected relief and retained his expressionless demeanor. Jaken was glad he wouldn't have to tend to the young woman so much and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Rin did enough dancing and shouting and rejoicing to make up for the lack of happiness from her other two companions.

Itoe could almost feel the exasperation from Jaken and the slight annoyance from the other man in the room at Rin's exuberant delight in her awakening. "Rin, it is very dull in this tattered room. Is there any possible chance of flowers nearby? Perhaps you could pick them and bring them back. It would brighten the room up and help me to feel better," she said weakly.

Rin jumped up and down. "Can I Lord Sesshomaru, can I, can I?"

Itoe studied the tall figure in the room on the end of her bed, noticing the prominent pointy ears, two purple slashes in his cheeks, and purple crescent moon on his forehead. 'Sesshomaru? The man who saved me from the gates of hell is a demon? Those amber eyes, full of emotion, and aqua hair, belong to a demon? But it… It does not matter. It does not retract that he is beautiful, and saved my life. And that I… I wonder what his cheeks feel like? Does his purple skin feel different than the rest of him?'

Sesshomaru nodded. "Jaken."

The reptilian demon knew this was his signal to accompany the girl out. Irritably, he followed the dancing little girl out of the room.

Sesshomaru nearly smiled. He turned to the girl, who was struggling to sit up. Sesshomaru reached out to assist her. She stiffened slightly at his touch, but allowed him to aid her in propping a few grungy pillows behind her. She starred at him for a moment, noticing he had only one arm, and then said in a small, frail voice, "You're a demon."

"Do you fear me?" Sesshomaru said calmly, not really caring what answer she gave, and not knowing what answer to give to her statement.

"I owe you my life, Lord Sesshomaru," she said softly.

The demon lord mentally shrugged. He already had one useless servant and an unnecessary, weakling human tagalong. "Rest now. Jaken will bring you food later." She nodded, and closed her eyes. Sesshomaru slipped from the room and retreated to the garden.

Upon reaching the wild growth, Sesshomaru had to rather visibly catch his breath. 'Her eyes, so like open sky! And her voice, like the wind in the trees. Her lips look to be soft, and pale. Even though she is sick, she has a radiance emanating from her. She is strong, afraid of me yet courageous.' This time, Sesshomaru physically shook himself. 'She means nothing to me. Nothing,' he thought forcefully.

His acute ears picked up the sound of faint footsteps. He whirled around, pondering who would dare attack him. His amber eyes widened when he laid them upon the sickly girl. She was staggering slowly along the hall, making her way toward him. Sesshomaru saw her foot catch on a piece of rubble and her knees begin to buckle under her. He was swiftly at her side, catching her before she hit the uneven floor.

She breathed heavily, trying to take shallow breaths that weren't enough to fill her lungs. Sesshomaru didn't even look at her; his expression was still hard; it hadn't changed even when he had seen her fall, nor when he caught her. Itoe still knew the question, and answered it. "You saved my life, Lord Sesshomaru. I did not thank you properly."

'So you attempt to walk several feet to voice your gratitude? Stupid, weak human. You haven't had food for over a week and have been deathly ill just as long.' Sesshomaru's only reply was to lay her on the bed and pull the sheet up to her chest. His breath caught in his throat as he came face to face with her, closer than when he had held her in his arm.

Held her in his arm, so close to him.

Sesshomaru's mind did not comprehend what his body was doing as his face slowly neared the girl's. His eyes drifted gradually shut, the last thing his vision was filled with being the open sky. His lips gently, then more firmly, brushed the pale, tan silk that was her lips. She tasted of sugar, something the great demon lord had not had since his youngest days hundreds of years before. Her mouth was so sweet… Sesshomaru leaned in a litter further, pressed his lips to hers a little harder, resting his right hand on the bed for support.

She slowly lifted a hand and placed it on his cheek.

'I've wanted this since she opened her eyes back in the village. I've needed this since…'

Sesshomaru jerked back. "I do not need anything. I do not need anyone. Ever," he said icily, calmly. He walked out of the room, straight, tall and proud; never looking nor turning to Itoe.

Cold tears slowly streaked down Itoe's checks. 'He is a demon, he is a demon, he is a demon. Demons don't love humans, it is impossible. He cannot possibly love me. He tastes like wildflowers smell, lovely and glorious. His skin is soft… Stop it Itoe. He will never love you. He is a demon! He saved your life because… I am sure I play into his plans one way or another. He will never love you!' Itoe continued her inward struggle for several more moments. She heard laughter and peevish murmurs from the hall; Rin and Jaken were back with the wildflowers.

Itoe instantly regretted her earlier idea that Rin gather the plant life. Before they had meant to brighten the room and her health, now they would remind her of the beautiful demon who had kissed her, and the taste he had been on her mouth.

Itoe dried her eyes and tried to act cheerful when Rin and Jaken entered. Rin scattered the flowers all over the room and Itoe could barely contain her sadness. Rin insisted that she begin sleeping with Itoe again, but Itoe agreed with Jaken that she was still too ill for that to happen just yet.

Rin went to bed ecstatic that her friend was awake and talking and getting better, but disappointed that she still couldn't spend time with her.

S-S

Another week later and Itoe was almost fully healed. She still bore minor scars where she had been burned and cut, but they were fading quickly. She continued to be weak, but gained strength as each day passed. She had taken to short walks to the overgrown garden, and lounging there among the flowers, sometimes crying, for most of the day. Many times Rin romped around the large park, playing with Itoe when she was strong enough. Rin still slept in a different room, waiting impatiently until Itoe was healthy enough for the two of them to share a bed again.

Sesshomaru was irritated that the weak human had taken over his place of solitude and mediation, but found that he took pleasure in watching both humans have their fun in the garden. Watching the young woman weep pulled at his heart and he tried to ignore it.

After a particularly late day, Sesshomaru was walking along the hall between the girls' room and the garden when he caught sight of Itoe slumped along the wall, breathing heavily. His immediate reaction was to jump to her and comfort her, but he forced himself to walk slowly to her.

She gave a quivering smile upon his approach. "Lord – Lord Sesshomaru," she said in greeting. "I – I was playing with Rin. Running with her. I guess – I guess I'm not strong enough yet. I started back to the room but – but I ran out of breath."

Sesshomaru gave no reaction, simply picked up her frail body and forced his emotions away. He brought her to the room and laid her on the bed. He was prepared for the need, no, no, the want to feel his lips on hers again; and he did not give in. He was not; however, prepared for her actions.

Itoe knew it would anger him, but she did it anyway. After he placed her on the bed and before he could leave, she threw her arms about his neck, drew his face to hers, and kissed him. She kept her eyes closed tightly, but did not release her firm hold upon his neck.

Sesshomaru tensed. After a moment of his uncomfortable position, he realized she may not release him for several more moments. 'I could easily remove myself from this situation. I could –' It shocked Sesshomaru that he did not want to hurt her. 'I want to stay like this… for all of eternity.'

After several moments of being bent over the bed, Sesshomaru became stiff. Not truly wanted to leave her passionate though unmoving embrace and lips, Sesshomaru found himself slowly crawling on top of the girl, careful not to skewer her with the spikes on his armor.. Almost sluggishly, Sesshomaru gently began kissing her. At his advances, she began to move her fingers into his hair, massaging his lower scalp.

'Oh gods, I did it! And he's responding!'

Sesshomaru somehow got his hand around her face, claws slightly grazing her fragile skin, cupping her left cheek. He drew her face closer, impossibly closer, and tilted her chin up, deepening the kiss. She began responding with her mouth, pressing her lips to his and pulling back and pressing against his again. She did not stiffen at his touch, knowing full well he could kill her in an instant.

Sesshomaru could not possibly get enough of the taste of her mouth. It tantalized him, and he fell prey to it, coming back for more more times than he cared to count. Completely without thinking, Sesshomaru tenderly licked her bottom lip, and when she opened her mouth slightly, slipped his tongue inside her mouth.

Itoe's eyes flew open in utter surprise. She had begun it, yes, but she had only wanted to show him she loved him; had only thought about and planned a small kiss. She had not tensed up at his action, but now she relaxed fully into his hands, allowing herself to completely enjoy the warmth of his tongue in her mouth.

Sesshomaru took whole pleasure filling her mouth; it allowed him access to her sweet taste. He reveled in it, and discovered that his hand had slipped to her waist. She was fully placid in his arms, and Sesshomaru found he craved more of her. His mouth quickened, and their kisses became more passionate and heated.

Sesshomaru became aware of a heat in his body, an insatiable need that demanded his attention and would not go unquenched.

'Oh gods,' he thought with dismay. He forced himself to stop kissing her, to pull away. But his body worked against him and he only pulled away from her mouth.

"Itoe," he breathed, realizing he'd never said her name, even in thought.

"Ye-es, Lord Sesshomaru?" she replied, as breathy as he was, a small smile upon her lovely lips.

Sesshomaru swallowed, noticing that her lips were slightly bruised. His resolution to leave the situation shattered completely when she said his name, it fell from her tongue like a drop of golden honey.

"Gods, you're beautiful."

She blushed indistinctly, and Sesshomaru nipped at her lips before placing kisses along her jawbone toward her ear. She smiled against his cheek and her hands found a more comfortable spot on his back, tracing unseen patterns with her short nails. Sesshomaru nearly shivered at the contact. He had come to her delicate ear, and began kissing a trail down her neck. He reached her collar bone and began to suck at the tender skin where her shoulder met her neck. She gave a gasp and he gently bit her.

They separated, barely, and both were breathing heavily. Itoe felt flushed and noticed that Sesshomaru's eyes were a dark copper color. Sesshomaru felt the heat radiate from his body and saw that Itoe had a rosy color upon her pale skin.

Sesshomaru assailed her mouth while his hand attacked at the knot holding her peasant's kimono in place. Both smiled warmly into each other's mouth, relishing in their contact with one another.

S-S

Sunshine, warm and golden, splayed across Sesshomaru's face. He clenched his eyes shut, then opened them. He starred, transfixed, at the deity he had his arm draped over and the events of last night surfaced in his mind. He smiled, the first that held no malice or dark intent in years. Itoe rolled over and snuggled closer to him.

Sesshomaru tightened his hold on the sleeping body of the young woman next to him. He burned the scene into his mind, wanting for all eternity for them to stay like this. For a moment he pondered what had happened to Rin and Jaken, but that did not matter right now. All that mattered was that they were together.

Sesshomaru heard his bedmate's stomach rumble and she gradually opened her eyes. "Am I dreaming?" she asked, her eyes meeting his.

"No," the demon lord replied, placing a gentle kiss on her lips. "I regretfully must leave your presence and fetch you breakfast." Sesshomaru located his pants, kimono and boots, put them on and proceeded to find the strawberry patch Jaken had found weeks before.

S-S

Rin had no idea what had come over Itoe. The older girl was much happier and was always smiling and sighing and had a dreamy look in her eyes. Rin shrugged it off; joyous that Itoe was steadily getting stronger and healthier. The child never knew that after she had fallen asleep, Sesshomaru would steal into the girls' room, scoop up Itoe and go into another room down the hall so they could sleep in each others' arms. Jaken, however, did know what his master was doing; he mentally questioned the sanity of his master, but never vocally said anything. The little frog demon had been out chasing Rin, who had wandered off just before dusk on the evening of the couple's first night. Upon returning with the child to the rundown castle, he smelled something very out of place. It took him a few moments to place what it was, but when he realized what was happening he was shocked. Deciding Master Sesshomaru had to know what he was doing, he managed to convince Rin to stay in the room down the hall from Itoe's, still using the argument that the older girl was still recovering and needed the bed to herself. That had lasted only a few days, but it didn't really matter; Sesshomaru and Itoe managed to find time to spend with each other without Rin knowing.

Sesshomaru and Itoe continued their secret endeavors for a month, rarely making love but merely holding each other or sleeping with each other. Itoe was fully healed by then, and Sesshomaru was about to decide it was time for them to leave the dismal castle and continue his journey when he received word of Naraku's whereabouts. Sesshomaru decided he would check it out alone and then come back for the rest of his company. He left instructions with Jaken to take care of the girls and left.

Sesshomaru had not been gone a day when four hyena demons came upon the ramshackle castle. They could smell that a great demon had been there, but that he had left and not yet come back. They could also smell the two human girls, defenseless except for the dragon-horse and puny reptile demon. The demons were larger than Sesshomaru and two easily restrained A-un, one rendered Jaken unconscious and the fourth caught Itoe and Rin.

Jaken woke up several hours later, saw the castle in far worse condition than it had been and found A-un. Muttering about how he had failed his master, Jaken scrambled atop A-un, telling the dragon-horse to find Lord Sesshomaru.

S-S

Sesshomaru was close to the place where Naraku supposedly was when Jaken found him. The demon lord was angry that Jaken was apparently disobeying orders, but then realized Jaken wouldn't have left the girls unless something was wrong.

"Lord Sesshomaru! Four hyena demons made off with Rin and Itoe, a day after you left!" the little demon shouted while still in the air above Sesshomaru.

'I have only been gone three days, they can't have gotten far.' "We shall go back to the castle. I will track them from there."

"No need, my lord. I believe they may have been working for Naraku; each of them had a jewel shard and A-un tracked them going this direction!"

'What in the seven hells would Naraku want with them?' Sesshomaru growled inwardly. Jaken and A-un joined Sesshomaru on the ground and they continued in the direction the hyena demons had been traveling.

S-S

"I smell Sesshomaru," Inuyasha said irritably from the head of his band of travelers. Kagome, riding her bike, stopped beside him. Sango and Miroku, behind the other two, stopped as well.

"What does that mean? He's close?" Kagome asked.

"Yeah, probably looking for Naraku just like we are," the half demon replied. He sniffed the air. "In fact –!"

Sesshomaru stepped out from the tree line, not one hundred yards away.

"Damn, what do you want?" Inuyasha yelled at his half brother.

"We both seek the same quarry. Naraku has taken Rin and Itoe, another human in my company. I will eliminate Naraku and get them back." Here Sesshomaru faltered. "Naraku is using the power of the Shikon Jewel shards to hide them from me, as well as himself. I need your companion's help to find them." His eyes strayed to Kagome, then back to his half brother.

"Feh! The great Sesshomaru, asking for help? To find a couple of humans? Yeah, right. Like –"

"Inuyasha, sit!" The black-haired girl yelled.

"Aaaah!" Inuyasha hit the ground.

"I'll take over negotiations with your brother now," she scoffed at the red-clad demon. Turning her attention to the taller demon by the woods, she said, "Of course we'll help you get them back!" Kagome beamed at the demon lord.

Sesshomaru starred at the strange girl, wondering how she could be so cheery with Naraku near by.

S-S

Itoe woke up in semi-darkness. Something moved beside her and she almost screamed, until she realized it was Rin, still unconscious. Itoe rubbed her head where the hyena demon had hit her. She drew her fingers away and saw dried blood on them and winced. She rolled Rin over and checked the young girl for injuries. Rin had a small patch of dried blood on her head, same as Itoe; but it would heal just fine and leave no damage.

A door cracked open several feet in front of the girls and a tall, black-haired woman with red eyes, green beaded earrings, and two white feathers in her hair stepped into the room. "Ah, you are awake I see. Naraku will be pleased."

"Naraku? Who is that? Who are you? Where are we? Why did you kidnap us?"

"So many questions!" The woman tsked. "It is none of your concern. You are merely bait for the demon lord Sesshomaru. He will come to rescue you and Naraku shall defeat him and take his powers. Stay in this room, and do not leave." With that she shut the door behind her. Itoe heard her soft footsteps fade away.

Itoe pondered what the woman had said. Naraku was apparently a demon, and he knew that Sesshomaru cared about her and Rin. 'Sesshomaru will come. He is strong and will overcome this Naraku. We are in no danger as long as we stay here and wait for him to come.'

Rin stirred beside Itoe. "Oh my head… Ow. Itoe, where are we? Its so dark in here." The child clung to the older girl.

"We were kidnapped by Naraku, to be used as bait to destroy Lord Sesshomaru. Do not worry, he will come for us soon," Itoe soothed Rin.

S-S

Sesshomaru found some inner amusement when Inuyasha, leading the company, actually ran into Naraku's barrier surrounding his castle. He also felt embarrassed. 'That half-breed shares our father's blood? But at least we are getting closer to Itoe and Rin.' Jaken made a remark along the same lines as Sesshomaru's thought and in return received a bop on the head from Kagome. Inuyasha drew Tetsusaiga and Sesshomaru Toukijin and the two cut away at the barrier until it dissolved.

"C'mon Naraku, where are you? Come out and fight!" Inuyasha yelled. Sesshomaru refrained from rolling his eyes at his idiotic half-breed brother. The demon lord strode to the castle behind the barrier and right through the front door, leaving Jaken and the others behind him. His nose led him in the direction of Itoe and Rin, and alerted him to Kagura's "surprise" attack.

Sesshomaru easily dodged her attack, traded a few blows with her, and then forced her to switch positions with him. He heard Inuyasha burst through the wall and left the wind demon to deal with the half-breed. Tenseiga rattled at his side as he rushed down the hall and came to a darkened room. Rin was inside, bound and gagged. Claws quickly took care of the rope and gag cloth.

"Oh Lord Sesshomaru, you came for us!"

"Rin, where is Itoe?"

"A big, green tree root came in and took her away after the demon lady tied me up," Rin replied.

"Naraku," Sesshomaru spat. "Inuyasha and his companions are here as well. Stay with them until I return with Itoe." Tenseiga again rattled at his side.

Sesshomaru tore off in the direction he could feel Naraku's evil emanating from. The evil stench was noxious in Sesshomaru's nostrils, drowning out Itoe's scent. The demon lord found himself in the castle's courtyard, Naraku at the far end, Itoe wrapped in a tree root-like tentacle, the end resting delicately around her neck. She hung limp in his grasp, eyes closed; though Sesshomaru's hyper-sensitive ears could still hear her heart beating.

"Naraku!" Sesshomaru spat. "Release her. Your battle is with me." Tenseiga rattled a third time as Toukijin was drawn.

Naraku merely chuckled. "Take her. If you can." Sesshomaru attacked.

Father, give me Tetsusaiga.

Sesshomaru, do you have someone to protect?

Severing tentacles left and right, Sesshomaru remembered Naraku's earlier attempt at his power; he didn't allow the remains to fall on him. Yet it seemed that every tentacle that was cut off from its source was replaced by six more. Soon they were all around him, blocking him from Itoe.

Do you have someone to protect?

Through a sudden, quick clearing in the tentacles, Sesshomaru caught a glimpse of Itoe, still wrapped in the tentacle. He could make out a bruise forming around her neck and his acute senses picked up her haggard breathing and slowing heart.

Someone to protect?

The tentacles wrapped themselves closer to Sesshomaru, tightening around his body and pinning him.

'Itoe!'

Someone to protect.

He wasn't going to lose her to the foul Naraku.

Tenseiga glowed in its sheath and created a barrier for its owner, pushing the strangling limbs away.

Naraku screamed in pain; his tentacles had been burned as if by acid from the barrier.

Sesshomaru looked at Tenseiga, rattling again in its sheath. 'This has never happened before, is Tenseiga trying to tell me something?'

Someone to protect.

Sesshomaru glanced at Toukijin in his hand, sheathed it and drew Tenseiga.

"You draw a sword that can only save the lives of the dead to fight me?" Naraku sneered. "She will die, and you will not get to her in time to save her from the demons of hell!"

Sesshomaru charged, yelling, "She is mine to protect!" Tenseiga transformed from its small, simple sword to a large, curved fang; much like its brother, Tetsusaiga. The transformed sword was sleeker and less bulky than its counterpart, but still long and large; anger-red energy swirled around its steel length.

Naraku took a millisecond to stare at the new, powerful sword assailing him before he brought his tentacles to bear around him for protection.

The transformed Tenseiga scored through Naraku's tentacle barrier, burning debris falling to the ground. The tentacles did not grow back. Sesshomaru continued to slice his way through Naraku's limbs, the other demon retreating constantly to keep his prey-turned-predator from coming too close or rescuing the girl.

Sesshomaru worked Naraku into a corner and finally severed the tentacle holding Itoe. Pausing for a slight moment, he felt his father's fang speak to him.

Dance of the Dragon's Wrath, it whispered.

"Your sword may be larger, but it can never defeat me!" Naraku charged Sesshomaru.

"Allow me to prove you wrong," Sesshomaru said. "Dance of the Dragon's Wrath!"

Five blood-red dragons, majestic and serpentine, spiraled from the tip of Tenseiga. Their eyes were violent purple, horns sprouted from the middle of their heads and curled underneath the chin, sinuous wings stretched for several feet on either side of the lithe bodies. Naraku looked in fear at the spectacle before him. The violent eyes of the dragons started to glow, and smoke seeped through the cracks in their jagged teeth. Wide mouths opened, and fire twisted out in a chaotic dance. The flames consumed Naraku, who screamed in terror. The twisting dragons drove themselves at Naraku's torso, disappearing in a bright flash of light. Tenseiga shrunk back to its small form.

The inferno blazed for several minutes until a black mass leapt into the air and skittered away. The flame died out, leaving a black scar on the ground where Naraku had been. Sesshomaru raced to Itoe's side.

She lay sprawled on the ground, Naraku's tentacle still limply binding her and around her neck. Sesshomaru's claws gently ripped the appendage away, and then harshly tossed the remains away. Her heart was still beating, her breathing coming easily enough. Sesshomaru held her in his arms, softly saying her name and rocking back in forth until she woke up a moment later.

"Itoe, Itoe, you're safe."

"I'm fine Lord Sesshomaru; I knew you would come to rescue us."

"I will never let anyone hurt you, I will always protect you," Sesshomaru whispered. "I love you, Itoe," he breathed.

"I love you as well," she replied, burying her face in his chest.

Sesshomaru held her close, and felt her face become warm. He pulled her away to make sure she was fine. Her face was glowing; it lasted for several seconds, and then dimmed. Very faintly, there appeared a purple crescent moon on her forehead and paler, purple-red slash-like marks on her cheeks.

You have chosen well, Sesshomaru. I am proud.

At that point Inuyasha exploded through the wall behind them, breathing heavily. "Where's Naraku? Where'd he go? I'm tired of Kagura!"

"Naraku has left, half-brother. He has been severely defeated," Sesshomaru answered.

"What? How'd you defeat him? He barely stands up to Tetsusaiga!"

"Tenseiga transformed, half-brother."

"What? Why would it do that?"

Kagome, Miroku, Sango, Kilala and Shippo were not far behind him. All were panting and showing signs of having to deal with some of Naraku's minions, probably the Saimyoushou. Rin was right behind them. "Oh Lord Sesshomaru, you saved Itoe! I knew you would!" the little girl exclaimed as she ran to him, skipping around him when she got there.

Sesshomaru looked at Itoe, still wrapped in his arm; and at Rin, innocent eyes dancing joyfully. "I have someone to protect," he answered simply.

Inuyasha responded with a dumbfounded 'huh?' look on his face; Kagome lit up into a bright smile and clapped her hands. Sango and Miroku beamed, Shippo looked a little confused. Jaken was shocked and opened his mouth to state his distress but found he could not when Hiraikotsu made its way into his skull, compliments of its black-haired, yoaki slayer owner. Rin giggled.

Sesshomaru placed Itoe on A-un and Rin and Jaken clambered up behind her. They left Inuyasha's company, Rin and Kagome waving to each other.

S-S

S-S

Sesshomaru located a small pasture with a stream in the middle of nowhere and built a tiny little hut for Itoe and Rin. Sesshomaru caught meat that Itoe cooked, Rin played to her heart's content, Itoe laughed often, and Jaken was bopped when it was needed. Sesshomaru found happiness and peace.

Itoe bore twin pups, a boy and a girl, then another boy two years later. Sesshomaru bonded well with his sons, but had to learn to connect with his daughter.

They lived happily ever after.


Until Rad interferes with their lives….. Lol!

What follows is a bunch of random "I nevers" for Frozen in Amber, Free in the Sky. Feel free to skip right to leaving a review.

There are a lot of "I've nevers" with this fic. I've never had an idea and just ran with it almost immediately. I've never written a fic so fast. I've never started and finished a fic all in the span of less than two and a half weeks (I've never finished anything in less than a year….). I've never written when I should be sleeping. I've never written a one-shot. At this point, I've technically never actually written a romance; though I do have one in the works. I've never written so long in one sitting. I've never written a whole story straight into type, bypassing pencil and paper – a chapter or two here or there, but never an entire story. I've never written anything so darn short. Heh, chapters really add up! I've never written in bed before. I've never kept almost exact track of when I wrote the story. I've never sat Indian style for so long before. I've never typed for so long before. I've never sat Indian style and typed for so long before. :P I have never posted a fic so soon after finishing it, let along thinking of it. I've never written anything while using my dresser as a desk. Technically, I've never finished anything before, either. I've got one Esca fic finished, but I've decided to redo some chapters, to its technically not finished. I've never written an "I never…" in a fic before.

Please, please, please leave a review, t'would make my day.

Rad