Disclaimer: Me no own. For if I did I be rich instead of doing this for fun….sniff

Not far from the Western borders the lord, Inu no Taisho Sesshomaru, leads his pack home for a well-deserved rest. His ward, Rin, rests comfortably wrapped within his pelt, her head tucked within his neck. Slightly to his left his servant, Jaken, leads Ah-Un forward, carrying his lone weapon, the Staff of two Heads.

With a flash of light and a deafening roar of an Inu, the group pauses. Small fingers dig into his kimono, with a soft terrified whine Rin shifts. Instinctually he growls softly soothing her worries and banishing the dream demons. Settling back down her breath evens and her body relaxes. Raising his nose in the air he searches for scents that would give an indication whom would dare disturb her peace. Hard amber eyes narrow in annoyance.

The half-breed and his pack.

Quickly surveying their surroundings gently he places the child on soft moss, without looking back he proceeds towards the disturbance.

"Jaken mind the child."

Knowing not to question his lord, the kappa grovels. "Hai, Sesshomaru-sama."

First rule of the yokai society: Protect your own. Be it pack, pride, flock etc…

Their scent leads him to an open field of tall grass. Body parts of boar and fowl yokai litter ground. The copper scent will draw scavengers soon. He will have to move his pack further away from this area to avoid annoyances.

Standing within the heart of the field the woman-child named Kagome caresses his half-brother's cheek, murmuring calming words.

"Come back to me, InuYasha. Please."

Sesshomaru need not see his sibling's face, InuYasha's demonic aura pulse with unchecked energy.

Yet again his bestial nature overtakes his higher thinking. His weakness is almost laughable.

Sesshomaru sees the young miko tremble but not in fear for herself.

Interesting...

This may prove to be entertaining.

The taijiya, houshi, kit and neko stand a few feet from them. All heads hang in submission or respect for the stench of fear is not from them but further back from the edge of the clearing. Where the dead miko, Kikyo, stands waiting for a chance to release her arrow. Her battle aura begins to grow infusing the arrow with a blue flame.

In response InuYasha begins to growl. His red aura answers the challenge with pulses of restrained power, waiting to be unleashed. It begins to whip and broaden like wild fire. Then he feels the tug of his hoari, soft fingertips brush against his skin. Soft grey meets black rimmed with blood red. Nervously she licks her lips his claws rest at the base of her spine.

Her body vibrates with holy power different from the opposing miko. She emits waves calming light not righteous indignation. Softly the miko whispers "Gomen, InuYasha. I…I should have taken better care."

Sesshomaru sees Kagome tucking her head on underneath his half-brother's chin, a submitting position.

Interesting she acknowledges the half-breed as the alpha.

Tension builds, a breeze shifts the field of grass surrounding them bring the scent decaying flowers and ash to both Inu's sensitive noses. Instinctually InuYasha buries his nose into the sweet smell of his submitting bitch. The lord blocks it shifting the offending scent to the background.

It was taken three years but Kagome studied many yokai ways. The common key is submission. It may seem demeaning to humans but the yokai are a complex society that is heavily established on hierarchy. First protocol is maintaining this structure be it matriarch or patriarch. InuYasha is the alpha male, the last to make decisions and protect this pack.

Shippo shyly yips, asking permission. Sniffing the air InuYasha detects the other interloper and says nothing. His eyes never leave the clay pot; his head tilts curiously his rich baritone voice vibrates through Kagome.

"Come pup."

Slowly the kit crawls to them, reaching the Inu-hanyo turned Inu-yokai Shippo nuzzles his hand. Grasping the kit's collar InuYasha places Shippo on his shoulder. Watching the remainder of the group InuYasha sniffs them. They are completely human, one has a strong spiritual aura the other is a strong bitch. They are scented as intended to each other. They also carry his sent, his betas. The neko carry a weapon in its jaws, animal yokai companion. All cautiously put themselves between him the alpha and the vengeful shadow.

Curiosity glimmers within the lord's eyes.

Why doesn't this miko, fear the half-breed in this form? At any moment he could turn on them. He is ignorant, brash and unpredictable, a taint splotch to the Inu no Tashio line. She has shed tears from his disrespect as alpha female and yet she stays by his side. She honors him, carries his burdens and protects him. How did he achieve such loyalty?

Moonlight caresses the cold form standing within the tall grass. The dead priestess face is flawless, hands crafted to perfection and body shaped into an hourglass. Hair and clothes spun of the most resistance silk. Truly a masterpiece made of the ash, bone and earth. However, her sent is of bitter decayed flowers and seeds unlike her true scent of green tea and chamomile. That was fifty years ago in her true form of flesh and piety something that could never be duplicated.

Kikyo knew she possessed a cold beauty. Unlike her reincarnation she did not know how to embrace the sun's rays or laughter. Only duty; to all around her who sought protection and her knowledge of healing. No man would dare touch her for she was above them, chosen by the gods themselves to guard the sacred Shikon no Tama.

No man to share her thoughts, keep her safe, take her…teach her…please her

She must have mistakenly prayed or wished such for the gods laughed at her deepest need. Just before she reached her wits end he came, this foolish half breed, InuYasha. His wild beauty dared her to touch. Fantasies began to taunt her to want more by pulling her thoughts away from her duty. Damn him, he became a distraction, one that she secretly welcomed. He understood the isolation. It was in his eyes, the way he would gracefully bound tree to tree. In his silence as he walked by her side. Damn them for their treachery! Sending this unclean spirit, man yet beast. Did they not understand she was weary?!

After a year of his companionship a plan formed, she, the great protector of the Shikon no Tama would beat the gods at their own game. One wish and it would disappear never to hold another within the shackles of duty and they could move on to another place. Man and wife, free. His tainted blood would be no more for he would be purified by the scared jewel, made anew, for her.

The foolish copy stands in her way once again. But no matter they are bonded beyond her weak understanding. Weak and pathetic her incarnation is. No skills, easily manipulated, untested. This child will die shortly after her protector leaves her side. It does not matter the shards will completely fall into the hands of Naraku. Or the world may parish under his rein. She will have her prize in the pits of Hell. Although he, the half-demon, is not worthy of her, he promised to join. And she will make sure he will full fill that promise.

Just as the monk and slayer shift to block her path, Kikyo aims toward the sky and releases the arrow. With blink of an eye a flickering trail of blue light it arcs. All but one watch the arrowhead take aim.

Kagome nuzzles the shoulder of her beloved. His musk surrounds her, easing her troubled mind and soothing her worries. He is her heart's desire; her protector, best friend and fantasy come true. If she could she would offer him her world but there is no room in his heart for her. He said this many times, she is nothing to him but a shard detector. She should leave him, but she has the duty to see that the Shikon no Tama becomes whole once more. At least that is what she says but in truth she understands his pain. The uncertainty, the want and need to be accepted, having to keep emotions hidden afraid for others see as weakness. So she stays even though it pains her to see him this way. She will stay by his side as long as he wants her. Hoping one day he sees her to be more than just…

InuYasha's agitation of Kikyo's appearance isn't lost on her. His yokai hates Kikyo with just as much passion his human heart adores her. Kagome felt the shift of his aura as it began to hone on his target. She couldn't let him make this mistake; the hanyo she adores would wallow in grief. Putting aside her wants she brings his attention to her. Her heart calls to him, hurting for him, yearning for his soul to calm.

Her own aura reaches out to his, unknown to her the Inu smiles she answers his call. The other is silent. His human side agreed to this, now it begins.

Their auras intertwine, securing bonds within the group and cancelling out all others. They are family, pack, one. Both holy and demonic powers comfort instead of battling, creating a barrier against all whom would oppose.

The offending arrow slowly enters the barrier. Kikyo smiles coldly, her will shall be done. There is no doubt she is the greater of the two.

Eyes half lidded InuYasha watches growling he calls to his potential mate.

"Mine?"

The combination of his call and aura wrap securely around Kagome. Her scent spikes as her mind falls into a trance, unaware of what is happening. Unconsciously Kagome whines "Only yours."

He growls again questioning.

"Pack?"

All agree as they yip.

"Alpha."

Second rule of yokai society: Secure proper dimensions, rank, place.

First rule of yokai society: Protect your own.

The offending arrow is then deflected by the taijiya with her Hiraikotsu. The houshi prays, the arrow returns before the offender is able to block the projectile. The sound of shattering terra cotta is heard. A small flickering orb floats then zips through the air searching for the larger piece. Slamming into the back of Kagome she stiffens in shock then becomes limp.

The Inu-yokai smiles at the sound. His human heart is sadden but faces the truth. It was a conditional love.

The Lord of the West watches in astonishment as his half-brother rakes his claws through the young miko's hair.

The baka use a sign of courtship.

Taking the sword from Kirara, the red clad Inu-yokai becomes the brutish hanyo. Then carefully lifts his treasure close. Nuzzling Kagome's cheek he yips. Jumping down the kit disappears into the grass then quickly comes out with a small bundle on his back. Taking his place on the alpha's shoulder, he waits. All look towards the monk. Unraveling his beads he turns "Kazaana!" body parts disappear into the wind tunnel, leaving no trace of the battle. The remaining humans mount the neko; it is now dark she will guide them to their destination. Silently they leave; their goal has been met.

An interesting night it has been…

The Inu tai-yokai reassesses the night's event.

This drama is done. A choice made, bonds created or strengthened?

Hn…

No lesser yokai would dare challenge either pack.

The pup... has grown.

Like the others he takes his leave. He must tend to his pack, his pup may wake up soon.