Disclaimers:  I do not own Inuyasha or any of its characters.

Notes:  My very first Inuyasha fic.  This is a Het fic, with pairings as follows . . . Sesshomaru/Kagome, Inuyasha/Kikyo, and
Miroku/Sango.  This is most definitely an Alternate Universe fic, and I take great liberties in changing their lives to suit my
purposes.  And for the most part, I stick with English terms and spellings for their names . . . I do hope you can get over it.

More notes:  Sango takes Talia and Shippo home.  Miroku makes his appearance.  And Kagome has a talk with a despondent
Koga.



Bound



Part Four


Sango smiled back at Talia.  “This isn’t right.”  She said, waiting until the lovely Kitsune looked up at her.  “You should be
carrying Shippo.  He’s YOUR pup after all.”

Talia gasped and held out her arms.  “Yes . . . Please, Mistress . . .”  She almost whimpered as Shippo was settled in her arms.  
She lovingly nuzzled her cub’s hair.  “They kept us far enough away so we could see, but not touch each other.”

Sango smiled as Shippo turned toward Talia and cuddled against her body.  “Anyway . . . we’re almost home.  Tomorrow,
Shippo can meet my younger brother, Kohaku.  There's a slight age difference, but I think Shippo will be a good friend and
companion for the times that his friend Sota is unable to come over.”  She turned up the pathway that led to her home.  “And
you’ll be a great help to me.  It will be nice to have someone to talk to.”

“Yes, Mistress.”  Talia spoke quietly.

“Please . . . there is no need to call me ‘mistress’.  My name is Sango . . . you can address me by my name.”  Sango replied.

“Yes . . . Sango.”

Sango smiled.  “Come on.  The sooner we get home, the sooner you can get some rest.”  With that, she motioned to the Kitsune
woman to walk beside her instead of behind her.  “Tell me a little about yourself while we walk, please.  It will make the time
seem to go by faster.”

Talia nodded, a small smile on her face as she began to speak.  The two women spoke of various things while they walked,
each learning a little about the other.  Sango was delighted to know that she had some things in common with Talia.  The
Kitsune was a delight to speak with.  In what seemed like no time, they had reached Sango’s home.

Sango smiled, gesturing for Talia to go on ahead of her.  “How about I have a meal brought to your room so you and Shippo
can eat right after you bathe?”

In Talia’s arms, Shippo shifted, his eyes blinking open.  “Food?”  He asked softly, nuzzling against his mother’s body, tiredly
and nervously watching Sango.

Sango couldn’t help but chuckle as she reached out and delicately ruffled the boy’s hair.  “Yes, food . . . I wouldn’t let either of
you go hungry.  For all intents and purposes you are free to do as you wish for as long as you remain here.  I own you only on
paper.”  Sango smiled at Talia again.  “My home, is your home now.”

“Th-thank you . . . thank you, Sango.”  Talia replied, bowing a little before she strode into the house.

Sango followed, happy that she had helped this young woman.


*****


High upon a hill, far beyond the farmlands . . . a fortress stood.  There, striding fearfully through the corridors was a single
youth.  Dark hair pulled back into a short ponytail, he frowned, his robes billowing about his body as he hastily made his way
back to his own room.

He flexed his dark, leathery wings, absently scratching at one furred feline-like ear, the small hoop earrings there clinking
together as he did so.  There was something dark approaching . . . something that caused a shudder to sweep through his
slender body.

He shoved open his door, immediately heading over to the balcony, looking down on the farms below . . . and the village where
the people were bustling about.  Did they not know what danger lay in wait?  How could they not?  It was everywhere, the dark
ominous cloud settled over these lands.  The darkness lurked behind a kind facade, waiting for the time when it would strike and
lay siege.

Arms embraced him from behind, a soft purr reaching his ears.  He relaxed, letting out a breath as he leaned back against the
familiar body behind him.

“You must relax, my son.”  Mother spoke, her talons so very lightly tracing along his jaw, turning him to face her.  Obsidian
eyes, deeper than any ocean he had ever seen, looked upon him with kindness and love, easing his troubled spirit.

He shook his head, leaning forward to wrap his arms around her lithe body, his fingers tangling in black hair that reached to the
floor.  Unlike her, he was only half-demon.  This human face of hers was only a mask . . . but even in her true form he found
her to be lovely, the most beautiful creature he had yet laid eyes on.

“Miroku . . .”  She let out a breath, embracing the youth, her only son.  “I know you sense the inevitable.  Your Father’s
mistake will come to haunt us again.”  She shook her head.  “But beyond the pain I see salvation.  When the time comes . . .
you know what to do.”

Miroku nodded, understanding.  If only he spoke, he would express his worries, his fears to her.  But he had not spoken in five
years, not since his father had betrayed him for the sake of his own life.  To remove the curse upon himself, he had made
Miroku pay the price . . . Miroku could not forgive the man, no matter the fact that he had been dead for well over a year.

Miroku shuddered as the memories returned . . . the years of pain and torture at the hands of a cold, uncaring demon.  If it had
not tired of toying with him, Miroku would still be in its grasp.

“Do not dwell in such pain.”  Mother’s voice whispered, a gentle hand combing through his hair.  She had always been able to
see into his heart, to know what troubled him though he had never spoken of it to her.  “Be at peace.  He will not have you
again.  I will die before I allow him to come near you.”

Miroku mutely nodded, closing his eyes.  The collar around his neck pressed harshly into his skin, but he ignored it, wanting
only to feel safe in his mother’s arms.  He was still a slave, his collar binding him to his fate.  Yet, it was his own mother who
owned him . . . if only to protect him from the cruelty if another should discover the word of subjugation and try to lay claim to
him.  She could not free him without risking such a fate.  So long as the collar remained, he was trapped in servitude.

“You must rest, Miroku.  Your body is still weak.”  Mother said, guiding him from the balcony and back into his room.

Miroku complied.  He had no will to argue.  Besides, he knew that he would need to be well rested for the coming darkness . . .
for the evil that he could already feel sweeping ever closer to his home.  It would not be much longer.  And he feared for his
mother . . . not knowing what would become of her when it finally arrived.


*****


Kagome let out a breath as she sat back on her heels, running her forearm across her sweat-glistening forehead.  It was a warm
day and working under the hot sun had left her a little out of breath.  But, these weeds wouldn’t pull themselves, so she had little
choice in the matter.  Besides, she liked working with her hands and clearing the garden of weeds was one of the easier chores.  
She only regretted that her study session in the library had done little good . . . later, she would look again.

She smiled as she looked across the vegetable patch, seeing that her brother, Sota and Kohaku were enjoying a break from their
studies.  The two boys were chasing each other around, laughing and playing.  ‘As children should.’  Kagome thought, almost
bitterly.  She sighed, worrying for Sota . . . the pressure of running a household weighed heavily on him sometimes.  But at least
he was enjoying himself now, and that pleased Kagome.

Something moved at the edge of her peripheral vision and Kagome turned, rising to her feet to better see over the garden wall
that blocked her view of the road somewhat.  A smile spread over her face as she saw Koga walking the path toward his home.  
But that smile quickly vanished as she saw that he was actually walking.  He rarely ever walked anywhere . . . he was usually
running somewhere.  Today though, he seemed almost subdued, a downcast expression on his face.

“Koga?  Is something wrong?”  Kagome asked cautiously, pulling off her work gloves as she ran around the wall and over to
Koga’s side.

Koga looked down, a sigh escaping him.  “Nothing of importance.”  He muttered, shaking his head.

“Now, I do not believe you for some reason, Koga.  You look like someone just ate one of your pack mates.”  She frowned,
considering her choice of words.  “That isn’t what actually happened, is it?”

Koga simply shook his head.  He raised his gaze, a frown marring his handsome features.  “I was too late, Kagome.”  He said
forlornly . . . she didn’t remember the last time when he had been anything other than happy . . . or irritated.  Sad wasn’t one of
the many emotions she had expected from him.

Kagome grasped his arm.  “Come over here and sit down.”  She said, guiding him to the garden wall where they had often
rested to chat in the past.

As always, he gently helped her up first, then hopped up to sit at her side, their feet swinging over the edge but never quite
reaching the ground.

“Now . . .”  She smiled, setting her hand over his.  “Tell me what happened.”

The wolf demon let out a slow breath, looking down at the ground.  “I . . . well, I . . .”  A faint blush tinted his face.  “I mated
someone, Kagome.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful, Koga.”  She smiled . . . then remembered that he was depressed and had to wonder.  “Or is that bad?”

“She’s a slave, Kagome.”  He said quietly.  “She escaped from her owner and I helped her.  The man was a bastard . . . forgive
my crude words.  W-We . . . well, we fell for each other, I guess.  One thing led to another and we . . .”

“You mated with her.”  Kagome smiled.

“Yeah.  You know, we wolves mate for life.  But she . . . she left, didn’t want to put me in danger.  I heard she got caught by
her former master and he sold her off to some auction house . . . but by the time I got to the square, the auction was over.  She
was sold.”  He frowned deeply.  “I tried to follow the scent, but the crowd was too thick and I lost it in the marketplace.  I
couldn’t find her . . . couldn’t save her.”

“Koga, I . . .”

The wolf shook his head, pushing himself from the wall.  “Kagome . . . I can’t do this now.  I just . . . I can’t.”  He shook his
head.  Then, in a burst of wind, he was gone, like a tornado tearing along the roadway.

Kagome sighed, watching him disappear into the distance.  She hoped he would be okay.

“Forgive me . . . who was that, Mistress Kagome?”  The deep tones of Sesshomaru asked, startling Kagome.

Surprised by the sudden appearance of the tall silver-haired demon, Kagome turned too abruptly and lost her balance.  She
stretched her arm out, meaning to catch herself, though she knew it would hurt, only to blink as the ground never came.  She
looked up, blushing a deep scarlet as she found that Sesshomaru had caught her . . . that his arms were circling her body,
holding her against his.  She had to admit, it kinda felt nice being held by him.

Without a word - and much to Kagome’s disappointment - he set her on her feet again, then moved to kneel before her, his eyes
cast to the ground.  “I must beg your forgiveness for handling you in such a familiar manner.”  He said.  “I await any
punishment you see fit to give me.”

Kagome shook her head.  “Nonsense.  You just saved me from cracking my skull open or breaking an arm.  Now get up . . . I
don’t like it when you grovel.”  She smiled.  “What are you doing out of bed?”

Sesshomaru rose to his feet, but kept his gaze focused on the ground, never looking her directly in the eye.  “You said that I
was allowed to do as I wished for the remainder of the day . . . were there restrictions I am unaware of?”

“No, of course not.”  Kagome smiled, reaching to set her hand on his arm.  His muscles tensed at the contact and Kagome
silently pulled her hand back, not wanting to cause him any distress.  “If you want to wander around, you’re welcome to do so.”

“Thank you, Mistress Kagome.”  He replied.

“Oh, you asked who that was . . . didn’t you?”  Kagome said, realizing that Sesshomaru had asked her a question.  At his nod,
she answered.  “That was Koga, the wolf demon I told you about.”

“Ah, then he is not a predator to be wary of.  I will remember that.”  Sesshomaru noted.

Kagome grinned.  “So, you were worried about me?”

Sesshomaru blinked, glancing at her with curiosity for a moment, before his expression became neutral again.  “The protection
of my masters has often been one of my tasks.  If you wish me not to do so, I will obey.”

“No.  It’s nice to know someone’s looking out for us.”  Kagome said, her eyes flicking over to Sota worriedly.  There had been
a couple of attempts on her brother’s life, trying to prey on him because of his youth.  “Some of us could do with protecting.”

“If you wish it, I will protect your sibling.”  Sesshomaru offered.

Kagome smiled.  “Thank you.  But not today.  Today, I said you don’t have to work.  Find some way to amuse yourself.  I’m
sure there’s got to be something you’d enjoy doing.”

Sesshomaru was silent for a few moments, then he spoke quietly.  “I think . . . I would like to take a walk, Mistress Kagome, to
better learn my surroundings.”

“Go right ahead and do that then.  Go wherever you wish.”  Kagome nodded.  She was happy that he had found something to
do, though she knew he was only doing it so he could better serve her.  Still, he had made a choice, and she wouldn’t dissuade
him from it.  Better he chose something than to rely completely on her orders.  “Be home before dark though.  I wouldn’t want
you to miss dinner.”

Sesshomaru nodded sharply.  “Yes, Mistress Kagome.”  He bowed to her, then silently strode away, heading along down the
road.

Kagome smiled after him, hoping he would find some enjoyment in his chosen pastime.  Then she sighed and returned to the
garden, deciding it would be best to tend to these weeds now . . . besides, she didn’t want Kikyo getting on her case for not
doing her chores again.



To Be Continued . . .



Notes:  Yes, I made Miroku a half-demon.  I did say this was an alternate universe.  My own twisted little world.  And yes, you
will find out what made him mute and how he was enslaved in a future part.