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The Black Dog
"Totosai's Greek Wonder"
Hours passed as the trio walked deeper into the lord's territory. Kagome continued to carry Rin on her back letting her tiny hands clutch her fur. The small girl would fall in and out of slumber, slumping her torso forward onto Kagome's neck. Lord Sesshomaru kept silent and stood tall, his mane of pristine hair flowing with the wind. The miko always admired the great lord's unnatural beauty. The first time she had traveled through the well and saw Inuyasha pinned to the ancient tree, she felt like her eyes had betrayed her. Only in science fiction novels were men created in such masculinity and allure. The years she'd traveled alongside the hanyou, Kagome always thought herself plain and unworthy, but those thoughts were no longer.
A snort escaped Rin's mouth making the miko's chocolate eyes look to the child. One small hand was secured in her mouth while the other was wrapped in her silky fur. The girl hadn't grown drastically since Kagome had last seen her. She had grown maybe a couple inches taller and lost some of her baby fat, but she still resembled a child. Rin had to be around eleven years old so the lack of puberty was a little unsettling. Kagome shook her head and continued to look onward. Children in feudal Japan probably grew at a different rate than her time.
Lord Sesshomaru stopped within the following hour and regally planted himself on the forest floor. Kagome was happy to follow suit and tactfully slid Rin off her back as to not disturb her. The girl released the miko's fur and curled into a ball in the dirt, her thumb still stubbornly in her mouth. A grin formed on Kagome's snout. Rin was quite entertaining.
"Miko," the lord spoke. "We will rest for a moment and then continue." Kagome merely nodded her head and stretched. Rin was light, but hours of seventy pounds on her spine added some pressure.
Sesshomaru watched the display with vague interest. They had covered several miles on foot and the miko hadn't complained once. Despite the female being a canine, he assumed the miko's humanity would interfere and cause him annoyance. However, Kagome kept silent idly staring at him and keeping her jaw in a comfortable line. He thought her constant admiration would bother him as well, but he found it soothing. The woman acted within reason and considered Rin her main priority despite previous events. The miko was a very rare human indeed.
When Kagome finally lay on her stomach, she shut her oval eyes and listened around her. The wind sounded like a tide coming onto the beach. Birds chirped and the branches above moaned in pleasure. She finally understood why Inuyasha preferred sleeping outside. The smells were strong and awful usually, but the calm feeling of the wind took away her fears. There were no thoughts of death, arguing, wishing of home, just an empty, warm comfort of nothing.
Minutes passed and Rin rose from the ground. Her large eyes took around her surroundings and landed on Kagome. Her small feet scurried to the dog's side while extending her arms to stroke the miko. Sesshomaru interfered. He stood faster than light and grabbed hold of the child. Rin's eyes widened in question, but relaxed under his grip. "Rin, the miko is resting." The child nodded her head and stood still until Sesshomaru gave her more direction.
Kagome opened an eye and saw Rin's downcast face. Seeing the child with such a grim expression seemed unnatural, so she released a chipper bark and began rising from her position. A large smile spread on the girl's face, while Sesshomaru merely nodded. It seemed that their break was now over.
Lord Sesshomaru took Rin's hand and began walking again through the woods. Rin giggled and constantly fidgeted with her hands. Kagome was relieved that Rin was entertaining herself at the moment. She had a feeling that the tai-youkai acknowledged her need for alone time. A soft sigh escaped her mouth. The miko was curious why the lord took her in and what exactly he had planned. She had been fighting the urges to ask all day. Would he get angry with her questioning or would he just answer? Apparently, Kagome was still the same old Kagome.
When Rin needed a bathroom break, Kagome decided to ask. The questions flowed in the air in muffled growls and low barks. The lord listened intently and stared down at her as if staring at his reflection in a pool of water. Silence crept between them making Kagome feel awkward, but she stood her ground. Lord Sesshomaru wasn't one to waste words, but she had to know where she stood.
"Miko," he started, "the jewel has changed you, but not wholly. In exchange for slaying the hanyou, I will reward you one of my fangs to control your transformation."
Kagome's bottom jaw felt like a brick. She hadn't even considered the possibility of using a sword, but to hear Lord Sesshomaru offer one of his fangs so willingly seemed like a dream. The tai-youkai arched an eyebrow at the woman's gaped display. The reaction was what he expected. Humans couldn't hide their expressions, but he was pleased that the miko was speechless.
"By night fall we will reach the smith's forgery," he continued. "I believe you are aware of where we are going." Kagome nodded her head. She didn't know if she should offer a thank you or not. Lord Sesshomaru knew she'd be thankful as would any person being offered a western lord's fang. Why would he even consider such an offer? It seemed illogical to give a mere human such a prized possession, but Kagome was smart enough to keep her mouth shut. If a tai-youkai gave you something, you took it.
Rin returned with her usual smile. Her tiny frame skipped over protruding roots and landed between the lord and miko. Kagome's long tail swished from side to side in pure happiness. The girl caught the action and began to giggle. "Kagome-sama is happy," she cried. The lord eyed Kagome for a moment and then led the women onward.
After three hours of walking, Sesshomaru's ward began to tire. Rin took her original position on top of Kagome and clutched her fur once more. The miko didn't mind. She had gained her much needed rest by walking alone and she knew how tired she would have been if she were human. For some reason, being a canine increased her energy ten fold. Hunger and fatigue didn't bring her down. She was joyous at this new blessing. No doubt Sesshomaru would have been displeased quickly. He could tolerate a child being slow, but a grown woman? Kagome was trying to be on her best behavior.
Soon the sun began to sink. The trees began to thin out from the forest and a dominating mountain came to view. Kagome hadn't noticed the structure before because of the thick canopies overhead. Now, the mountain stood straight like a wall and looked as if it reached to the moon. The lord stopped in front of it and seemed to analyze it. His golden eyes did a single circular motion before he turned to Kagome.
"You will not be able to climb this," he stated. The miko stared blankly at him. She didn't think any creature could climb the monstrous rock. There seemed to be no grips of any sort. Even if she attempted the fete, it'd only take a single slip to plummet to her death.
"Come here Miko." Kagome followed instruction without hesitation. When she reached his side, Lord Sesshomaru reached out for her and lifted her and Rin over his shoulder. His regal face remained stoic and within moments, the trio was floating the air. Kagome looked down to see a fluffy white cloud underneath them. Fear expanded within her body. She had forgotten that Sesshomaru had the ability to fly.
The flight ended abruptly. Within seconds, they had reached their destination to the middle of the mountain. Kagome's brown eyes surveyed the area slowly. The mountain looked as if it had been carved into a Greek fashion. Pillars stood holding the roof though it wasn't necessary and designs decorated the spacious cave's opening. Altogether, the home was odd and yet stunning.
"Lord Sesshomaru," a voice called from inside the grey structure. The tai-youkai didn't speak. He waited patiently for the mystery demon to present himself. Kagome slid the sleeping Rin off her back carefully as they waited. Her thumb was tucked securely in her mouth. The sight was absolutely adorable.
Soft footsteps traveled from the entry way and Totosai appeared. Kagome had met the elderly demon twice before, but the man had been at his volcano. This location was never mentioned when referring to the family blacksmith. His black eyes frowned at the sight of Sesshomaru she noticed. Kagome didn't know the relationship between them, but it didn't look promising. "What can I do for you my lord?"
Sesshomaru ignored the irritable glare. "I need a sword built from my fang."
Totosai's eyebrow turned inward, while his lips formed a straight line. Kagome could feel anger radiating from him skin. Reflexively, the miko stepped forward and hid the small child from view. If the white haired demon lost his temper, Rin didn't need to bare witness. "You already have two swords Lord Sesshomaru. You don't need another." Totosai's tone was stern like a father's.
"This sword is not for me Totosai. It is for her." Sesshomaru tore his eyes off the blacksmith and bore them into the miko. The demon followed his gaze and misinterpreted. He shook his neck vigorously.
"That human girl is but a child. In five winters, I'll consider it," he huffed.
"Not my ward, the miko."
Totosai almost called the lord a lunatic until he felt the embedded dark energy flowing within the large canine's veins. The beast's scent smelled of animal, but the power within the creature was breathtaking. The old man walked towards Kagome slowly and examined her thoroughly. He had never truly laid eyes on a bitch like this one. Her fur shined like silk. The size of the creature was much too large for a normal dog also. However, the eyes of the beast are what gave it away. The soft chocolate color showed several emotions: love, fear, strength, confusion, and anger. "What happened to her then?"
"Naraku made a mistake on his dying wish making the miko a canine. Her human image reflects off the surface of water, but she cannot change."
Kagome bowed her head, but watched Totosai carefully. His original anger disappeared. A small twinkle sparkled in his right eye. "I will be happy to assist the slayer of that disgusting hanyou," he smiled. "Is the jewel within you Miko?"
Kagome picked up her head and nodded vigorously. The blacksmith chuckled. "I can feel its darkness inhabiting in you. I will build a sword for you that will allow you to control the black jewel. Without it however, you'll revert back into this form."
"That will do," Sesshomaru answered. "How long until the completion of her sword?"
Totosai's hand grasped his beard and rubbed his thick, white hairs. "Possibly five days, maybe less. I haven't made a demonic sword for a priestess before. It'll be tricky." Sesshomaru nodded in understanding. "You may stay here until it's completed if you wish my lord."
The inu-youkai nodded and walked into the rocky fortress. Kagome didn't know if she should follow him or stay put. Her brown eyes traveled from Sesshomaru to Rin. The small girl was still sleeping on the hard floor. The child really could sleep through a hurricane. "Come," Sesshomaru beckoned. The miko didn't hesitate and nudged the girl awake. Rin fussed slightly and then gave Kagome a sleepy smile with realization. Within a few moments, Rin was on her feet and stretching.
"Come," the lord repeated. In a fit of giggles, Rin ran to his side with Kagome only a few steps behind.
The inside of the fortress was completely constructed from stone. Seating, tables, and even a few cots were created from the mountain. It reminded Kagome of a fixated sculpture. Totosai had to have spent centuries carving and polishing every detail of his home. Deeper in the cave, smoke smothered the air. Fire pits burned infinitely charring the beautiful stone. The air was hardly breathable. Rin began coughing immediately.
"I apologize for the smoke," Totosai commented behind the three. "The volcano has become quite known. I hardly get peace. I believed that no one knew where my other home was located." His tone was laced with annoyance. Of course, the Lord of the Western Lands would know where all his subjects resided especially such an important youkai as Totosai.
"Rin, move closer to the entrance. The miko will attend you." Rin clapped her hands together in excitement, while Kagome obeyed. She didn't exactly appreciate the implied position of servant, but the smoke was beginning to make her eyes water.
When the girls had gone, the lord began removing his clothes. Totosai moved around the room quickly gathering his needed supplies. After a few minutes, the lord stood gallantly naked and transformed into his large inu form. Totosai released a deep sigh at the sight of him. Despite his cold nature, Lord Tashio's son was magnificent. His white fur shone immortal beauty, while his fiery eyes looked as if he could burn a hole through one's soul. "Open," Totosai requested.
Sesshomaru opened his mouth revealing over fifty ivory sword-like teeth. The old youkai inspected each one and finally decided on a smaller back spear. The miko would need something should could lift and control. "This will hurt," he commented. With a deep tug, Sesshomaru released a growl. Blood poured into his mouth, and his removed appendage lay gracefully in Totosai's arms. "Well done."
Kagome twisted her head when she heard a demonic growl. The scent of thick blood pounded her nostrils. Without much thought, she left Rin in her musings and ran to the lord. She was surprised when she saw a transformed Sesshomaru. His blood ran down his snout in streams. A low whine exited her mouth. Sesshomaru glared down at her and barked. The simple action spewed more blood onto the stone floor. His bark had been a command to leave, but Kagome couldn't find it in her heart to do so.
She moved closer to him until she was leaning against his leg. The miko rubbed against him to comfort him. Sesshomaru didn't push her away immediately. His beast enjoyed the attention of the bitch. He hadn't had an inu female's attention in over a century. The simple action eased the pain immensely and her earthy smell covered the stench of blood.
"Are you claiming pack members," Totosai asked jokingly. Kagome ears twitched up in confusion, and then she felt a rough push. Her paws caught her torso before she crashed into a heap on the floor. A reflexive growl rumbled through her chest. Sesshomaru counteracted with a deafening roar. Totosai backed away slowly. The sight of two dominating creatures snarling at each other gave him goose bumps.
"Sesshomaru-sama," an innocent voice called. Rin stood three yards away holding a hand over her mouth. The thunderous noise caught her attention making her curiosity get the best of her. She wasn't frightened by her lord. Despite his mean spirit and the blood staining his angelic features, Rin saw only a man. Deep down, she knew the inu-youkai would never harm her. "Are you angry," the question was entirely too innocent.
Kagome stepped down from her place in the fight. Without giving tai-youkai another look, she gracefully took the girl's side and pulled her to the main entrance. Rin hesitated at first. She didn't wish to leave the white canine alone, but Kagome refused her to remain.
"You catch more flies with honey than vinegar," Totosai commented. Sesshomaru ignored him and transformed back into his humanoid form. The old youkai was insufferable. The sooner he finished the sword, the sooner he could rid of the miko. He felt foolish for being abrasive; this Sesshomaru was not a pup. A mere human should not alter his emotions and rationality. Indeed, as soon as the wench left, he would be quite happy.
When Sesshomaru finished dressing, he returned to the front of the Greek cave. Kagome was lying on her belly being used as a head rest for Rin. The girl's laughter echoed into the afternoon air as the miko's long tail tickled Rin's face and arms. The game was simple and Sesshomaru's ward enjoyed it immensely. The miko ignored him however by shutting her eyes and turning her head away. She was offended and quite angry. The only remedy for situations like this was time.
"Rin, you need to bathe." The girl stopped her antics and smiled at the intruder.
"Where should Rin bathe," she asked. Kagome thought the question was reasonable. They were hundreds of feet above ground. Totosai wouldn't exactly have a hot tub plugged into an outlet in the back.
"Back here," Totosai shouted. Kagome opened her eyes and tried to sniff through the smoke. Sure enough, the cool, neutral scent of water invaded her nostrils. She released a yip and stood from the floor. Rin followed suit and grabbed a hold of the miko's thick mane. The miko stuck her nose in the air and led them to a small indoor pool. Kagome laughed at the ironic display. She couldn't believe Totosai had a bubbling pool built into his questionable home.
"Look Kagome-sama! The water is smoking!" Rin stripped down to her birthday suit once more and jumped in. Hot water splashed onto Kagome's face. Its simple warmth caressed her skin. Without thinking of her human reflection, the miko dove into the pool after the little girl.
Sesshomaru followed the women and watched them from a distance. His ward always loved to bathe, and by watching the miko, she did as well. It disgusted him how humans rarely took time to clean themselves. Human body odor was the most offending stench the lord had ever witnessed. Images of sulfur crossed his mind.
"Do you want me to wash you," Rin asked. She loved the feeling of Kagome's fur in water. Her chubby fingers awkwardly ran through it. Naïve jealousy filled her. She wished her hair was as soft as Kagome-sama's, but the thought vanished when the miko knelt into her hand. The girl giggled once more and scrub Kagome's coat roughly with her hands.
"There should be some scented oils to left of the pool," Totosai shouted across the way. Both women turned their heads left to see a basket with several glass vials. Rin released Kagome and swam to get them. The miko almost to initiative, but she quickly remembered she didn't have thumbs. There was always the option of her mouth, which she soon disregarded. Glass and teeth couldn't be a safe combination.
Rin returned shortly still smiling. "Rin picked the Sakura oil!" Her small hand uncorked the vial and stuck the cylinder underneath her nose. She inhaled deeply and sighed in bliss. "Do you like the smell Kagome-sama?" The miko nodded her head. In truth, she could smell the Sakura oil when it was on the other side of pool. Its once delicate scent altered into almost a grandmother's perfume. Kagome resisted the temptation to sneeze.
"Alright, be still," Rin declared. She dumped a portion into her small palm and lathered Kagome's fur. The scrubbing sensation against her coat made Kagome purr like a cat. Within minutes, Kagome's eyes shut and she was drifting into sleep. The miko only awoke when Rin's ministrations came to an end.
"You're tired?" Kagome looked up at the girl who was scrubbing her hair. Rin's chocolate eyes were shining playfully. All the canine could do was nod and get out of the pool. Like a stereotypical dog, Kagome shook her hair dry. The child shrieked as drops of cold water splashed her face. "Kagome-sama!" The miko let her tongue hang openly and waited for Rin to finish.
When they were completely dry and clothed, the women traveled once more to the front of the cave. Sesshomaru sat idly on a stone chair staring into a fire pit. The smell of meat cooking invaded Kagome's senses. Sure enough, a deer was spitted and roasting in the flames. Rin ran to her master in excitement over the meal, while the miko slowly walked. Bathing hadn't settled her anger nor would venison.
"Rin bathed Kagome-sama," she declared when she reached the lord's side. Sesshomaru glanced back towards the miko to see her ignoring him. Her beautiful tail hung low, while her eyes peered into the fire. "I see you did." Rin smiled and took a seat on the cool, stone floor.
The trio waited patiently until the buck was done. Sesshomaru rose gracefully and claimed the beast from the fire. Neither girl moved as he placed the animal on the floor and pulled two legs off the torso. The lord placed one limb in front of Kagome and then tore a small portion from other leg off for Rin. The child didn't hesitate going to town on her chunk. Juices from the meat gathered on the corner of her lips and dropped frequently on her checkered kimono. If Kagome didn't know any better, she would have thought Rin hadn't eaten in weeks.
When Kagome looked down to her piece, she saw the western lord staring at her in the corner of her eye. Reflexively, the miko looked up and stared back with a raised eyebrow. His golden eyes didn't waver. She realized then that he was waiting to see if the meat was to her liking. Kagome turned her attention back towards her meal and placed a giant paw near the hoof to keep it from rolling. Her nose sniffed appreciably and then her sharp teeth tore into the leg with fury. As she chewed, saliva dripped from her jaws. The flavor of the roasted venison brought out something in her. She didn't stop pulling and tearing the meat off the leg until a clean bone resided in front of her. It was as if for ten minutes, Kagome was only a dog.
"That was yummy," Rin sighed rubbing her belly. "Kagome-sama liked it too!" The miko nodded and barked a thank you to Sesshomaru. The western lord merely nodded and picked at his portion. Kagome was slightly embarrassed. She couldn't imagine what she looked like moments before. "Are you going to eat the bone," Rin asked innocently. The miko eyed the child with a strange look, which received a giggle. "Don't puppies like bones?" Kagome rolled her eyes.
"Miko, you should try the bone. You would enjoy it." Kagome refused to look at him, but tried gnawing it. The bone's flavor was exactly like the meat except saltier. The deer's juices seemed to have marinated the thick, white bone. Like before, Kagome was overtook by canine instincts and chewed the leg until the moon was high and Rin was fast asleep curled into a ball near the fire. Sesshomaru had taken his position once more in the chair still staring at the miko. Kagome immediately became self-conscious. She didn't know how long she had been going to town on the bone. Her modesty was slowly kicking in.
"Do not be ashamed Miko. It is natural to consume your prey." His voice was soft as to not wake Rin. Kagome thought it strange that the lord was being polite to her, let alone speaking. This was off for Sesshomaru and she knew it. Logically, the miko realized his niceness was the closest thing to an apology she was going to get. Kagome picked herself off the ground and walked quietly to the lord's side. His eyes never swayed. He watched her cross the room with canine grace and take a seat beside him. The miko's doe like eyes looked up to him and they stared comfortably at one another. Minutes passed and Kagome dared herself to lick him. He had hunted and sheltered her. The lord had also ripped one of his fangs out for her. The least she could do was give him a bit of gratitude. Her neck stretched out until his clawed hand was only an inch away. Then like lightning, Kagome gently licked his naked skin. The lord didn't pull away, but watched stoically. When he didn't push her away, the miko continued until his salty skin was glistening with her spit. Kagome whimpered a thank you and then lay upon his feet.
Minutes passed and the two remained silent. Sesshomaru remained seated but as soon as the miko began to slumber, the lord leaned forward and rubbed Kagome's fur back on her face. The action was almost loving. She didn't open her eyes however. His touch was beyond wonderful, and within moments, the miko was fast asleep.