Emiko sighs as she fills her pail with water. It’s another humid day and her yukata billows in the slight breeze mother nature provides. She pushes her hair out of her face and tries to focus on the task at hand.
It’s harder than it would be for most humans; the girl lost her sight years ago, so she has to depend on her other senses to survive in Japan’s wildlife. She gives an experimental tug on her water pail, dumping some back in the river when she feels it’s too heavy for her to lift.
She tries again, this time finding it much easier. Smiling to herself, Emiko uses her sense of direction to figure out where she set up camp. She listens for familiar sounds; the chirping of birds, the rocks under her feet, the bristling of trees as the wind blows through their leaves.
Eventually, she hears the crackling of a fire, but something feels off, so she hides behind a tree and tries to hear any sounds of life. She hears voices eventually and high pitched laughter, causing her to bite her lip. It seems someone found her camp and they didn’t sound too friendly.
What do I do?
She sets down her pail, but she misjudged the distance between her hands and the ground, so it falls with a loud crash. Emiko curses to herself when she hears them say “show yourself!” and comes out from her hiding spot.
“Lookie here boys, we got a pretty little dame. Maybe this place was hers?” one of them say, causing Emiko to shudder. She doesn’t like their tone of voice. “C’mon, let’s show her a good time, shall we?”
She shrieks when someone grabs her and tries to fight them off, but she has no strength compared to whoever these people were. They hold her down and their hands wander to places she’s never ventured, causing Emiko to grit her teeth and kick her legs in futile attempts to get them off.
“She’s full of life, ain’t she?” another one murmurs to her left and she feels them breath putrid breath against her ear. Emiko lets out another yell and manages to kick one of them, causing them to grip her legs in a painful grasp. “Little bitch!”
There’s a sound not unlike a whip a few seconds later, and it confuses her captors to the point they let Emiko go. She struggles out of their hold and bolts backwards. Someone else grabs her, but before she can scream, a hand goes over her mouth and a harsh whisper of “be silent” comes from behind her.
All she does is nod and close her eyes as the whipping sound returns, followed by screams. After a minute, everything is silent, and the man behind her lets her go.
“Humans,” he says with venom and Emiko turns her head to look at him. “Ah, so you have no sight. That explains it.”
“Names are of little importance to demons.”
“Demons?” Emiko guesses her face shows confusion. “Why would you--”
“I do not like to see someone being taken advantage of in a sexual manner,” the demon answers, the venom coating his words once more.
“I see,” Emiko murmurs, pulling her yukata closer to her. She feels the wind against her skin and she assumes there’s a number of rips and tears in her outfit. “Thank you,” she whispers, looking down and linking her hands together.
“Lord Sesshomaru!” a voice hollers, causing Emiko to jump out of her skin. Her gray eyes dart around and she takes a few steps back, but a strong arm against her waist keeps her in place. “There you are-... Who is this girl?”
“Jaken.” The man… Sesshomaru is his name? He says Jaken with such distaste she wonders if he’s a pest who won’t leave him alone. “She was being taken advantage of by bandits. As you can see, her yukata is ruined, so I am taking her with us so she can get a new one.”
“What?!” Emiko wonders what Jaken is. She tests the ground with her feet until she feels it step on something. “You imprudent human! How dare you step on me!”
Oh. He’s a short little thing. That answers her earlier question.
She giggles as she moves her foot to rest on the earth. She pushes it in, feeling it more moist than usual. What was-... oh.
“Come,” Sesshomaru tells her. She walks forward, feeling unsure of herself for the first time in a long while. She gains more confidence as she listens to the quiet sounds of his breathing, using it as a guide to tell her where to go.
Emiko listens to Jaken ramble, but she pays it as much attention as the air. She gets a feeling her current companion does as well and it makes her smile a little in amusement. The poor thing doesn’t know how ignored he is.
They walk for a good while, Jaken’s voice filling the otherwise empty silence. Emiko hears different varieties of birds chirping and the wind continues to go through the trees, giving her a sense of peace. Nature is a calm, loving thing. If people pay more attention to it, rather than their greedy hearts, maybe they could see how beautiful mother nature truly is and forget about their darkened souls.
“Here,” Sesshomaru’s voice comes, breaking Emiko out of her trance. She stops and narrows her eyes in a show of confusion, but in answer, the demon hands her another yukata. The fabric feels soft against her hands. “Put this on.”
Emiko nods and uses the sounds of leaves to tell her where the nearest tree is. She hides behind it and strips out of her worn, old yukata, putting the new one on. It feels heavenly against her bare skin; it’s as if it was crafted by the finest silks in all Japan.
Smiling and running a hand through her hair, she comes out from behind the tree and asks, “Does it look okay?”
“It looks…” Sesshomaru pauses for a brief moment and Emiko wonders why. “Good,” is the word he settles on, causing her to flush.
“T-Thank you,” she murmurs, clutching her hands together. Fingers brush against her cheek and she blinks, flicking her unseeing eyes up. “Why....?”
“It would bode unwise to tell you,” the demon says against her ear, making her wonder when he moved. “For now. Will you come with me until the time is right?”
Emiko tilts her head, but nods nonetheless. This man saved her life. Why wouldn’t she acquiesce his simple request?
“My lord, what exactly is going on?” Jaken questions and she stares at where she thinks the little thing might be. “A human will slow us down--”
“Do not question me, Jaken,” Sesshomaru says with a sharp undertone. “Let us go.”
Emiko, once more, listens to the sounds of his breathing to tell her where to go.
They travel and through the years, Emiko learns what Sesshomaru is. The demon lord of the west, an Inu-demon. It makes her question why in the world such a powerful individual would want such a flawed being like her to travel with him, but he silences her with, “One day.”
They’ve been doing this for two years. When would be the right time? Emiko gives off a little sigh of frustration and Rin pats her hand in a show of sympathy.
She knows Sesshomaru is obsessed with finding some sword, yet she doesn’t understand why. He’s a strong man who can stand on his own; why would he need a sword to become even more powerful?
She doesn’t dare say this to the inu-demon. No matter how much he seems to be… curious about her, Emiko guesses her human lifespan would be made even shorter with her curiosity. Instead, she follows him through various trials and fights, making sure she never gets in the way.
The last thing Emiko wants is to be a burden on someone who’s done so much for her. However, when he returns, she can’t help the smile which splits her face and makes her cheeks hurt. Why does she feel this way? Emiko can’t understand it herself.
“Did you fare well?” Sesshomaru asks her one night, causing her to move her eyes until she feels she’s staring at him. An amused sound enters her ears before a clawed hand rests on her cheek. “You are a such a strange creature at times.”
“Excuse me for being strange,” Emiko huffs and she’s sure she’s pouting. “But to answer your earlier question, I am doing well. You provide so well for Rin and I; there’s nothing for me to complain about.”
The inu-demon’s claw moves down her body, causing the girl to blink in confusion. What exactly is he doing? However, before she has a chance to speak those words, it goes towards her breast and rests languidly there.
“What…?” Emiko whispers, feeling her face warm to the point it’s uncomfortable. “Sesshomaru, what--”
“Now. I can hold back no more, as we’ve been together for almost three years.” The human woman’s about to question him when she feels the top of her yukata slipping away. In a desperate attempt, she tries to cover herself, but Sesshomaru has none of it. He pulls her hands away with a tender touch and lowers his mouth to suck on her smooth, porcelain skin.
“I knew, from the moment I laid eyes upon you, I was meant to be yours, as you were meant to be mine,” the inu-demon whispers against her skin, causing Emiko to shudder. However, this time feels altogether different than the first. Sesshomaru touches her with gentleness, and, dare she say it, affection as he runs his claws over her exposed self.
“What do you mean…?” she murmurs, hands clutching at shoulders. A little gasp escapes her when his fingers press against an area she never dared to touch and Emiko can’t help the quiet moan which escapes her lips. “Sesshomaru?”
“You are my mate,” Sesshomaru states, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “To grant you my protection and so no others will try to take you from me, I will mark you with my scent.”
Emiko feels confusion course through her for a few moments before she realizes what’s happening. However, once realization dawns on her, the human woman nods, burrowing her face in her future mate’s neck.
“Do it, my love.”
They lay in companionable silence once they’re off their high. Emiko feels warmth pulse through her blood and a small, silly grin works its way across her features. She giggles at the claw running across her cheek and grips at her newfound love’s wrist, tracing the veins with her thumb.
Despite feeling elated, she still wonders if she’s the best person to be such a strong man’s mate. Emiko feels doubt race through her mind and she bites her lip. She always wonders the little things, and she admits it’s ruined happiness for her on more than one occasion.
“Do not doubt yourself,” Sesshomaru’s voice breaks through her thoughts. Emiko feels her face warm when his lips press against her forehead. “My senses do not lie.”
“No.” His finger presses against her lips. “I do not want you to think I could do better.”
Emiko mumbles and she hears him make an amused sound before removing her way of speaking. “Very well. If that is what you wish, I will not fight you on it any longer.”
Time passes onwards. Word spreads the lord of the west took a human girl as his mate, and demons from all around Japan come to them. Most do not understand, yet a snarl from Sesshomaru quickly makes them flee. Others have enough nerve to say he could break the bond and find a powerful demon to rule with; however, these ones do not live long.
Emiko feels more and more insignificant as demons give her looks of disdain. She may not be able to see them, but she can feel their eyes, boring in her skin and leaving invisible scars. She is nothing compared to him; a measly human who cannot even see and depends on her mate far more than he depends on her.
One night, while Sesshomaru is away, she wanders from the camp and sits by a river, dipping her toes in the coolness and letting tears fall down her cheeks. So foolish, she thinks to herself, gripping her arm.
Emiko sits there for what feels like hours, yet she perks up when a rustling sound comes. “What is that…?” she murmurs, putting her getas back on. “Who’s there?”
“You’re the wench who mated Lord Sesshomaru, are you not?” a feminine voice comes from behind her. She jumps and tries to turn away, yet a hand grips her arm like iron and digs its claws in her skin. She winces at the pain and metallic smell of blood, but the person (demon?) grasps tighter. “He should have taken one of us for his betrothed, not a weak human.”
Emiko says nothing. She knows what this woman says is true. She resigns herself to her fate, but the all too familiar sound of a whip enters her ears and a scream echoes there seconds later.
“You dare lay a hand on her?”
Emiko’s eyes widen. Sesshomaru? He sounds so much different than what she’s used to. He sounds… feral, demonic. Is this the demon she’s heard so much about?
“You will regret ever putting one of your putrid fingers on her.”
More screams and silence comes moments later.
He sounds normal. She buries her face in her hands, yet feels herself being pulled against a warm body before she can blink. One hand pets her hair while another snakes around her waist. It seems Sesshomaru wants to make sure there’s no distance between their bodies, and the thought makes Emiko smile a little.
Her happiness is short lived as the demon’s words enter her ears. He should have taken one of us for his betrothed, not a weak human.
“That disgusting vermin’s words do not matter.”
Always trying to be reassuring, the woman gives a little laugh before it breaks out to sobs. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry…”
Sesshomaru pulls them apart for a moment to press their lips together, and he nuzzles her neck seconds later. “Do not apologize. None of this is your fault.”
“Enough. They may think they know what is best for me, but in actuality, they do not. You are everything, Emiko. My strength is yours. Everything which belongs to me is yours. Do not forget that.”
Emiko buries her face in his hair. She wraps her arms around him and feels his fur wrap around them.
“I love you,” she murmurs, a little sigh working out of her lips when he kisses her neck.
“I love you as well.”