Disclaimer: I own nothing but my plot and my new created figures
A/N: With the help of my brilliant beta Firehauke (thank you!) I got it ready. I hope you enjoy it!
A/N: Edited on 10/07/2014 - Another edition, hope you like it. Thank you so much for your patience.
2. The Mark Of An Inu
Warm rays of the first morning light caressed the back of the little kitsune boy who laid on top of his mother. As he slowly regained consciousness his tail twitched softly, his little hands tightening their grasp in the soft fabric he lay on. He buried his face deep within it and the soft stomach of his mother under it.
After a moment he took a deep inhalation of her soft, soothing scent of lavender and spring nights. He loved these moments, especially when she was so warm like today. It had become a habit of his to do so every morning she was so close to him before he had to lift his head and was hit by the smells surrounding them.
The two humans that traveled with his mother were clean but not as clean as his mother so they smelled a little stronger, while not as awful as most humans. The real problem for Shippo´s sensitive nose was the hanyō. Shippo´s first impression of the hanyō was of an older brother he´d never had. But, with more time that passed, and the more he learned about the hanyō and his habits, the more the boy´s respect for the half demon had vanished.
He left his group far too often unprotected, was brash, foul-mouthed and irreverent. So the adults thought he hadn´t noticed, but the little kitsune hated how the hanyō treated his mother and he wished he was bigger and stronger so he could beat him up for his abuses and misbehaviour. But the worst thing about the hanyō was his stench.
He didn´t bathe until he was forced, so he was constantly surrounded by the scents of sweat, old blood and dried food. Sometimes, for days, added to the mix was a smell a little boy like him should not be so familiar with coupled with the sickening scent of graveyard soil. The kitsune was sure that if his mother knew about it she would cry, so he stayed quiet about it, for the only times in his life thankful that his mother was not a yōkai with a keen nose.
Slowly the little boy lifted his red head, his eyes still closed to the new day, and for sure, a very grumbly hanyō. Kagome and he had only stayed alone with the hanyō because the whole group would have needed more time if they had traveled all together. After the adults, minus an absent hanyō, had made sure that the forest they were recently in was safe, Sango and Miroku had left.
Frowning, the kitsune registered the strangely familiar, yet foreign scents and noises surrounding them and snapped his eyes open. Vivid green locked with cold gold and Shippo did what instinct demanded. He jumped in front of his mother, crouching low on all fours and growled with all his might.
"Shippo!" With a jolt the miko sat up, jerked him in her arms and looked around to find the threat. "Ouch...," she groaned and laid a hand at her temple.
"Lay down, miko." The smooth voice of the Dai was void of any emotions. "You have a high fever and are in pain." He was sitting across from her and the kit.
"Sesshōmaru-sama?" asked a soft voice on his side of the fire. Rin had woken up and rose slowly from her place near the dragon´s stomach. "What is wrong?" Rubbing the sleep from her eyes she looked first at the yōkai-lord and then at her surroundings. "Kagome-chan!" she squealed and ran around the fire, throwing herself at the young female.
"Rin-chan!" Kagome nearly toppled over from the impact and Shippo managed at the last second to escape being squashed between them. "Good morning, little one!"
"Kagome-chan! Shippo-kun!" Rin turned to Shippo, engulfing him in a bone crushing hug. "Why are you here? Will you have breakfast with us? Why are you so warm, Kagome-chan? Is everything ok? Where are your comrades? W..."
"Rin!" the dai growled softly at his overjoyed pup. "Sit down. The miko will explain. Miko, lay down and explain."
"Hai," said miko answered, laid carefully down and huddled her confused son close to her. "Shippo, love, everything is ok. Last night... well it was a hunt-night and the idiot left as soon as he thought we were asleep. I tried to stand guard when Sesshōmaru-sama came and took us in. We came to an agreement and now we are part of his pack. Which means, Rin-chan, that we will stay with you from now on." Rin squealed with delight at her words, clapping her hands.
"Part of his pack?" Looking confused at her Shippo frowned. He was wary and apprehensive the motionless male across from them."What kind of part?"
"As a pack sister." The elder male watched the kit closely, and while not showing it, he was curious about his further reaction.
"I see," said the little kitsune still wary. He then rose up to his toes and started sniffing at her again, "Oh, why didn´t I notice it earlier?" What he found confirmed to him that the other meant well and had made an honorable bond between him and his mother, something the half brother had never done. "You are already starting to smell like him. Do you have a mark? Show me!" He was so excited that he began to jump up and down.
"This is all? You only ask if I have a mark?" Kagome was shocked about the reaction from her son. She had thought he would throw a tantrum about how dangerous the inu was and how she could let something like that happen.
"Eh?" the kit looked sheepishly at her. "Yeah, ´cause what he did was very honorable. You two must trust each other to do something like that and if you trust him, I will do the same. It is also good ´cause we are safe with him, for he can´t harm you or me, even if he wants to." Shippo grinned like a maniac as the next thought hit him. "Especially good is that you are finally safe from the blockhead. I don´t have to fear for you any longer. He will never have a chance to take you from Sesshōmaru." He gave her a smug look and puffed his chest proudly.
"Miko," seeing that the female was confused Sesshōmaru decided to interfere. "His instincts are telling him what is right in such a case. They are telling him, that his mother and he needs protection and he seeks it therefor with the male that has the most power. They also tell him that I made a bond between us, I didn´t simple take you."
"I think, I understand," she nodded at him.
"I am so glad that you two will stay with us!" Rin clasped her small hands together. "Now I have more playing comrades!" She jumped to her feet and made a little happy dance. "Where is Master Jaken? I need to tell him."
"He is already aware." The inu sighed inwardly at the display of too much energy from his ward. "I send him on a little task. Now sit down, the miko needs rest."
"Sure!" The little girl plopped on her backside beside her newest family members. "But Shippo-kun talked about a mark. May I see it as well?"
"If there is anything to see, sure." Kagome nodded and then she pulled her collar to the side, bend her head slightly and showed Shippo and Rin her exposed neck. "If there is something, it should be there."
"It´s beautiful!" The kitsune awed, his small fingers gliding over the skin on her neck. None of them noticed as the inu gracefully rose to his feet to cross the camp and take his knees beside them to inspect the mark. Sensing his movement in the last second, Kagome managed somehow to prevent a startled jump.
"It is still developing, but it seems to be already exceptional powerful." His clawed fingertip ghosted for a second over her skin as he eyed his mark.
"Shippo, would you please give me my mirror from my bag?" Kagome gave him a soft smile and sat slightly up. Shippo rummaged through the big, yellow monster and handed her a small pocket mirror. Flicking it open Kagome held it so that she could see her neck on her own. Her eyes widened as she took it in.
On her cream white skin where three linked honeycombs with a stylized sakura each, two in the bottom, one on top of them. They looked very much like the ones on Sesshōmaru´s kimono, only that they were only painted with light pink colored outlines, instead of being filled and red.
"Why are they lightpink?" She traced carefully over the top one and felt that they had a slight velvety texture.
"This is my personal color." Sesshōmaru slowly sat next to them. He understood that she had many questions. "It means that you are part of my private pack. The color will darken until the mark is fully developed."
"It is so beautiful! May I touch it as well, Kagome-chan?" Rin fidgeted in her place at her side. When she nodded, the little girl jumped to her feet, bent forward and touched it carefully. Her eyes went wide, with a sudden rush she whirled around, her little hands pressed together in front of her heart. "Oh, Sesshōmaru-sama! Please, I want such a mark! Please, please, please!"
"No," shaking his head the elder rose to his feet. Softly putting a hand on her head as her face fell he went on. "These marks are only for adults. Now the miko will rest and you will help the boy to prepare breakfast. Go, fetch water and some fish. There is a small stream behind the tree line." He stood and watched the little ones pounce away in their eager to fulfill his wishes. The moment they vanished behind the trees he gazed down at the miko.
"How long will it take till it is fully developed?" Shielding her eyes Kagome looked up to him. It was still very early but the slowly increasing level of light was beginning to bother her more, and it made her head pound.
"I´m not sure. Normally it would need at least two days, but your mark is already well advanced. I assume it will take till tomorrow in the morning." After a short moment of hesitation he sat back down. "Till then you will be in pain and have a fever. Jaken is on the way to fetch different herbs that will help you to bear this better."
"Thank you, Sesshōmaru-sama," she nodded and gave him a grateful look.
"Now tell me about the other injuries, miko." Leaning back against a tree behind him he waited patiently for her answer.
"How?" To say she was shocked was an understatement. She had done everything in her might to shield this from everyone around her and could not imagine how he had found out.
"This one can sense the pain they inflict in you." His features betrayed nothing he was feeling at the moment. Inside he was boiling with rage. The hanyō had disgraced his bloodline if he had done what the dai was assuming.
"You know already, don´t you?" Kagome avoided to looking at him. "It began harmlessly a few months ago. We were fighting an eagle yōkai and I was badly injured. Inuyasha was very worried and when he came to me, he began screaming that I had endangered myself unnecessarily. Before I could say something, his hand slipped," the last word was said with disgust.
"Slipped?" The voice of the demon lord was ice cold, disgusted. If she had looked at him she would have found his eyes rimmed with red. Human or not, an alpha never attacked one of his pack members without reason, especially not an injured female.
"That´s what he called it." Still not looking at him she nodded and went on. "From then on, things went downhill. Every time something didn´t go his way he found a way to be alone with me and then... I think you know what he did. He was never very polite or caring, yet in the last month, he began to verbally and physically abuse me. Told me how useless I am, and how much better Kikyo is."
"Your comrades?" Speaking between clenched teeth he needed all his willpower to maintain his stoic mask.
"He was good." Her face became hard. "Of course they noticed something, but not the full extent. He made sure I was no longer able to go bathing with Sango, or be alone with any of them." Her voice was so soft even he had difficulty hearing her. "I lost all my faith in him, all my respect for him. The only reason he was still in the group was that we needed him in our fights."
"Show me." He moved to her. As she began to shake her head, he grabbed her and pulled her up. Her struggles ineffective, he turned her back to him and lifted her shirt to expose her lower back to him. The sight greeting him was enough to make him growl. Lifting the shirt further and further he revealed scars, half closed gashes, new open ones and bruises in all shades of blue. He could see that theses wounds weren´t only at the back.
Her struggles ceased, and he found himself staring at the picture in front of him. Without a word he pulled the cloth back down and laid her carefully down on her side. It was a wonder that she had shown no sign of pain. He would never admit it but his respect for the female rose a little bit higher than before.
A sudden thought struck him. With a swift movement he pulled her up again, turned her and made a move to pull her into his chest to test her reaction. It told him more then he wished to know. Nonetheless he needed to ask. Inhaling her scent deeply he found her still untouched and yet the way she reacted to a movement like this.
"Miko, did the half-breed try to force himself on you?" She looked away, shivering, not able to voice an answer for his question. This was all he needed to know. "Later you will bathe and when you are ready you will cover yourself, call for me and I will tend these."
Before she could respond he made his way out of the camp, he needed to get the rid of the pressure within him, he needed to kill someone. Yes, he took her as a tool, yes she was a mere human female, yes he needed her only for her power, but no honorable male should to treat a female, human or not, in such a manner.
This was beyond any being with even a hint of honor. The hanyō would be suffering for the disgrace he had brought on his bloodline and he would ensure his suffer was long and painful. Especially now that the miko was an official part of his private pack and was now his responsibility. A deadly smile appeared on the handsome features of the inu lord. He would enjoy every second.
A/N: Next chapter ready, please read and review. Feedback is my fuel to write. Thanks! I´m looking forward for your feedback.