I:: We Were Young

~Sengoku Jidai~

In the heart of the western region of Japan, deep within dog demon territory, lies the Palace of the Moon. The great taiyoukai, Inutaishou, awaits the arrival of his honored guests and beloved friends from the east. His mate, Chouyei, and their children, Sesshoumaru and Rieka wait patiently for their guests to arrive. One of the servants enters the royal chamber, bowing before the family.

"Mi lords, mi ladies. May I present to you Lord Seishryoku and Lady Sasami of the eastern regions." The servant moved to the side to allow the guests in.

The male that walked in stood rather tall, dawning armor upon his chest and shoulders. His outfit made of the finest silks colored in blacks and whites, two swords rest against his left side, one black in color and the other white. His gold eyes held a gentle smile, upon his cheeks just under his eyes were three circles that went down getting smaller in size as they descended, his white hair braided and hanging down his back while his white wolf tail flashed from behind.

The female that walked in after him walked with an elegant grace, taking her place next to her mate. Her outfit was made of the same finest silks as his, the kimono trailed slightly behind her in shades of teals and blues. Her ebony hair hung down to her ankles blending with her same colored wolf tail. She had part of her hair pulled back in a ponytail, a teal rose by her left ear. Her ice blue eyes held a gentle and caring look to them, upon her forehead a pair of black triangles pointed toward the bridge of her nose. They both bowed gently towards the royal family, Seishryoku spoke first.

"It has been too long old friend."

"Too long indeed." Inutaishou stood from where he sat and walked over to them, embracing the both of them. "I hope your journey wasn't too tiring."

"Not tiring in the least." Sasami smiled as sh hugged him. "We were able to make good enough time." She looked over to Chouyei as she walked over and hugged them as well.

"It is very good to see you both again. Even though the matters which bring you here are grim, we are happy to see you." Chouyei pulled back and looked around them. "Sasami dear, where is little Aiyuki?"

"Being shy of course. She is out in the gardens for a moment." Sasami smiled gently before she looked over towards the children. "My my, they have grown so much since our last visit. I hardly recognize young Sesshoumaru and little Rieka."

"It's good to see you Lady Sasami! Lord Seishryoku!" Rieka stood up before running over and giving them both the biggest hug she could manage.

"It's wonderful to see you too Rieka, and you as well Sesshoumaru." Seishryoku patted Rieka's head before he gave a not to Sesshoumaru. The young heir bowed his head back.

"Sesshoumaru, Rieka. Your mother and I have matters to discuss with our guests. Why don't you two go keep Aiyuki company?" Inutaishou smiled to his children.

"Yes, father." Sesshoumaru led Rieka outside while Inutaishou and Chouyei led their guests to the study to talk. Sesshoumaru and Rieka went out to the gardens looking around trying to find the young wolf demon. Rieka was the first to spot the girl and she poked her brother's arm before pointing out their guest whom seemed around their age. The siblings watched the girl a moment as she stared in to the pond. Her white hair hung down freely around her face and her bangs framed it gently while her ice blue eyes watched the koi swim around. She had the same markings as both her parent combined on her forehead, cheeks, wrists, and ankles. Her outfit was suited for a young girl, still elegant but allowed her to play freely; the bright silvers and golds set well with her complexion. Her white wolf tail moved back and forth slightly as she stared in to the water.

"Don't eat them." Sesshoumaru spoke up causing the young girl to jump. She looked to them her eyes wide with surprise, her cheeks tinged softly. She quickly bit at her lip and ran to hide behind a tree.

"Aw you scared her." Rieka frowned at her elder brother before she started to get a little closer to the tree. When the girl poked her head out she stopped and smiled.

"Who are you?" The girl asked nervously while Rieka continued to smile.

"My name's Rieka and that's my brother Sesshoumaru. What's your name?" Though they had already knew what her name was it seemed it would ease the young wolf pup better.

"Aiyuki." The wolf girl spoke as she moved from behind the tree. She bowed gently to the two of them while Sesshoumaru moved up to stand by his sister.

"We're pleased to meet you, Yuki-chan!" Rieka giggled softly and Aiyuki looked to her with an even deeper blush.

"Yuki-chan?"

"Uh huh. It's a nickname. But only we're allowed to called you that okay?" Rieka smiled and held out her pinky. "Promise?" Aiyuki looked to her and wrapped her pinky around Rieka's.

"Promise. As long as no one else gets to call you Rie-chan or Sesshy-kun." She beamed happily.

"It's a promise!" Rieka giggled and hugged Aiyuki happily while Sesshoumaru stared at them with a raised brow.

"Sesshy-kun?" He muttered with a slight blush but watched the girls play, making sure they wouldn't get in to trouble or hurt. The girls continued playing throughout the entire day and even after the sun had set they were chasing around the fire flies that were glowing in the gardens. It only took a matter of minutes before Rieka began to get tired, the other two wide awake.

"I need to go to sleep." She muttered before she looked to Sesshoumaru. "Nii-chan why don't you show her?"

"Show me what?" Aiyuki blinked confused.

"You'll see." Rieka smiled and walked over giving Aiyuki a good night and good bye hug before she retired for the evening. Sesshoumaru watched his little sister go before he looked to Aiyuki.

"Follow me." He spoke gently and Aiyuki tilted her head before she followed after him. They went right behind the palace and just a little ways from the gates before they came to a hidden waterfall. Aiyuki's eyes widened as she looked at the scenery.

"It's so beautiful!"

"Do you like it?" He asked her and she smiled happily nodding to him. He found himself slightly smiling back to her as the full moon caste a silver glow over everything.

"Aiyuki!" The adults were done with their discussions and Sasami was calling for her daughter. She and Sesshoumaru quickly headed back to where they were all standing. "Did you have a good time, dear?"

"Hai! Rie-chan and I played all day long and Sesshy-kun showed me this really pretty waterfall!" Aiyuki was really happy as she turned and looked to Sesshoumaru.

"We must get going now, but we'll make it a point to visit it again. Hopefully next time it won't be under such terrible conditions." Seishryoku bowed his head to the dog demons along with Sasami. Aiyuki gave a quick bow but she grabbed her necklace out from under her kimono. It was a teal sphere held within a crescent moon on a silver chain.

"I want you to have this Sesshy-kun." She smiled and she took off after her parents once he accepted the gift. They were soon gone in to the night covered forest. Sesshoumaru stared at the necklace for a while and he blushed. He had stayed up the rest of the night, long after everyone had gone to bed watching the moon. His fingers gently caressed the necklace Aiyuki had given him.

Days, weeks, and even months passed by and the siblings hadn't seen their friend in a while. Their father assured them they had pressing business in the east so they couldn't make any trips down just yet. Rieka and Sesshoumaru were playing by the pond on a hot summer afternoon, thinking today was just like any other day. The young heir was wearing the necklace having never taken it off since he received it. Both of them looked up rather quickly at one another having caught the scent of Aiyuki and her parents heading their way. Quickly they rushed inside the palace to alert their mother and father.

"Mother! Father! They're coming!" Rieka smiled happily.

"Lady Sasami and Lord Seishryoku are on their way." Sesshoumaru had a slight smile, which was more than anyone had seen him do in a long time. Inutaishou and Chouyei stood with a smile, the dog lord spoke out to his children.

"I see, well let's go welcome them." They all went to go wait at the steps for them, facing the gates. It seemed time was going by too slowly for the children but not soon after their patience was wearing thin another scent came to their attention. It was the scent of blood. "Chouyei... keep the children here." The demon lord quickly took off leaving his family there.

"Mother..." Rieka looked up to Chouyei who gently placed her hand upon her daughter's shoulder.

"It's alright Rieka." She gave her a small smile, but knew things weren't as such.

"Aiyuki better be alright." Sesshoumaru glared out at the gates waiting for his father to return. Inutaishou ran as fast as he could, hoping to get there in time only to find Seishryoku and Sasami both laying together in a pool of blood, neither of them moving. Aiyuki was pinned to a tree, a sword through her chest and several wounds bleeding heavily. She barely opened her eyes and the tears began to fall soon as she saw the lord of the western region.

"L-Lord....Inu..." She tried to speak gently but she was too weak, he walked over to her.

"Don't talk, child." He said as he pulled the sword from her and the tree. He caught her in his arms carefully as she fell from where it held her. The demon lord didn't waste time running back to his palace, to his family with the young female wolf pup in his arms. Chouyei gasped softly when she had seen the condition Aiyuki was in and not seeing Seishryoku nor Sasami made her fear the worst. "Chouyei, order the guards to go retrieve their bodies."

"Of course." The lady quickly ran to dispatch them while Rieka and Sesshoumaru got closer to their father. Inutaishou gently lay Aiyuki upon the ground, she had stopped breathing completely.

"Father...." Rieka looked at him with teary eyes.

"Stand back you two." Inutaishou stood up and pulled Tensaiga, the sword of healing, from his side. He concentrated and quickly slashed the air above the young girl's body, instantly killing the demon soul reapers. She slowly opened her eyes as the children got closer and she quickly sat up clinging to Sesshoumaru who had been closer to her.

"She's shaking." He looked to Inutaishou as the guards brought the bodies of Aiyuki's parents to the courtyard.

"Try to comfort her the best you can." Inutaishou walked over to the bodies of the lord and lady, trying to look for the reapers, but they were already gone. Chouyei walked over to him and carefully placed her hand on his arm only to watch him shake his head. She bowed her head, tears falling down her cheeks. Inutaishou sheathed his sword and kept his tears hidden as he ordered the servants to prepare the funeral. They both returned to their children to find Aiyuki crying in Sesshoumaru's arms. Inutaishou gently picked the girl up in his arms, not surprised when she clung to him tightly.

"They're gone!" She cried on to the nape of his neck, her body wracked with the pain of losing her parents and the pain of everything that had just transpired.

"Aiyuki, you are now the heir to the Eastern regions. Your father's swords are now your own." He whispered gently to her, trying to calm her.

"But... I'm not... old enough... to...."

"It's alright, Aiyuki. You will stay here and grow up under our protection." Chouyei spoke softly to her while Inutaishou set her down upon her feet. Aiyuki wiped her tears away giving them a nod of approval. That night the lord and lady of the east were cremated, Aiyuki looked on while she held on to Rieka and Sesshoumaru's hands tightly, tears fresh in her eyes once again.

She was given her own room, her own bed to sleep in but her night mares of what happened just got worse as she slept alone. Grabbing her pillow she carefully walked down the hall to Sesshoumaru's room. Quietly she opened the door and walked in.

"Sesshy-kun?" She whispered and the young prince sat up, having been unable to sleep himself.

"What's wrong?"

"I can't sleep." She looked down with a blush.

"Come on then." He whispered after a while, pulling the covers back and scooting over for her to come lay next to him. She slipped in quietly and cuddled up close to him.

"Thank you, Sesshy-kun." She closed her eyes and was soon fast asleep against him. Sesshoumaru watched her for a while, a smile graced his lips.

"Sleep well, Yuki-chan." He leaned in kissing her cheek lightly before he fell asleep holding her protectively in his arms. Inutaishou had peaked in after hearing movements in the halls and could only help but to smile seeing what had happened. He quietly closed the door and retired himself for the night, the palace slipping in to silence after such a chaotic day.