A Contest of Mates by Midnight Song

Entering the Contest

Sesshoumaru was not a youkai accustomed to desperation. He was the Killing Perfection, after all. Human and youkai alike cowered before his gaze, with or without weapons in hand. 

But he was desperate now. He was sure the scent of his desperation permeated miles and miles around him. Inuyasha at least seemed on edge because of it. The kit as well. 

It did not help that the Miko was so very unruffled before him as she brewed him a cup of her modern tea. 

When she finally set the small cup (she’d mentioned before a material called plastic to him) before him, he immediately took a sip and ignored the scaled tongue and surprised looks sent his way. The sooner he made his request, the sooner they could leave. 

“Are you alright, Sesshoumaru-sama?” 

Her voice was quiet, but there was an edge he had not expected to hear from the Miko. He reached out to her with his yōki, examining her mood with little care to the inappropriate nature of his touch. She was troubled. His first thought was that she would reject him without giving him the chance to beg her help. His second was incredulity as he realized she was troubled for him. 

She was prepared to fight in the name of his protection, he realized. 

“This Sesshoumaru is not.” 

A huff and shifting clothes broke the tense silence in the tiny camp. Inuyasha’s only acknowledgement that Kagome’s determination to help would not be denied. She smiled at him and he rolled his eyes. “How can we help?” 

“Inuyasha and the kit cannot participate. They may provide…mural support for you, but they may not assist you in any other way.” 

This caught the Kit’s attention and he finally crawled out from the shadow of the Miko’s hair. “Moral support?” 

“Maybe you should start from the beginning, Sesshoumaru-sama?”

Sesshoumaru knew she was unmated. He also knew the hanyou had not claimed her, though the circumstances regarding their unusual position were unclear. His mother’s refusal to assist him in the matter meant she also denounced her rank as Alpha female of the pack. Which meant her duties would now fall to the Miko.  

Deciding that the Miko might respond better to less formalities, Sesshoumaru forced himself to relax his strict control. “I will come of age in two months’ time.”

“Erm..that’s nice. Congratulations?” She poured him more tea. 

The hanyou snorted his amusement. “Poor bastard.” 

“Am I missing something?” Kagome murmured, glancing at her best friend. She didn’t want to be insensitive, and it seemed Inuyasha certainly seemed to understand more than she did. “I’m sorry, coming of age is a good thing where I’m from. Don’t be rude, Inuyasha.” 

“Keh. Just listen to the bastard, Kagome. He’s screwed.” 

Before Sesshoumaru could intrude on that interlude, the Kit spoke up. “It’s different for youkai like me and Sesshoumaru,” Shippou said. He dropped down into the Miko’s lap and made himself comfortable. “We come of age twice.”

“Twice? That’s unusual. So the first I guess is when you become an adult?” Pleased to have the comfort of her pup curled into her lap, she ran her blunt nails through the rough tangles of his hair. No amount of brushing was enough to untangle it, so she contented herself with her fingers. 

“That’s right!” Shippou growled low in his chest, a rumble of sleepy pleasure erupting in him as she groomed him. “I still got a long time till I’m an adult.”

She giggled at her kit’s rumbles and glanced at Inuyasha. “Have you had your first coming of age yet?” 

“Keh. I don’t fucking know how old I am.” He crossed his arms over his chest and looked away from them all, staring off into the darkness surrounding their camp. 

Something like surprise etched its way into Sesshoumaru’s mind, not for the first time. The hanyou was always making such off-handed comments about his past, his culture, his history. This was not the first time Sesshoumaru had wondered about the lack of the boy’s understanding, but it was the first time he understood his own part in it. “You will come of age in three months’ time.” 


Sesshoumaru shrugged. “You will be five hundred years old in three months’ time.” He paused, considering. The thought of the great scandal it would provide proved the answer for him. “We will celebrate at the citadel.”

“Wow!” Shippou launched himself out of Kagome’s lap and into Inuyasha’s. “Wow, wow, wow Inuyasha! I’ve never got to attend a coming of age ceremony before! Can I come to yours? Pleaseee?” 

Inuyasha shrugged, refusing to look at any of them. “Keh. Do what you want. Fuck if I care.” The color high on his cheeks belied the truth. It had never occurred to him that he would be celebrated in such a way. 

Thrilled with this new development, Kagome grinned at the Lord in their presence. “Is this what you were worried about, Sesshoumaru-sama?”

Her question forced another snort from the hanyou. “No,” Sesshoumaru said, gritting his teeth and ignoring the urge to douse the whelp in his acid. It would not do to assault them when he’d just offered to celebrate the hanyou’s birth. 

“Oh. What can I help you with then?” 

“I have come of age…for mating.” The silence that filled the camp at his declaration was enough to lay low his pride. “It is for this I require your assistance.” 

Kagome stared, mouth agape. “You…you want to mate me?

“No.” The word ripped free before he could stop it. He gritted his teeth again and fisted his palms atop his knees. “Yes.”  That one too. “Not…precisely.” 

Inuyasha, it seemed, could not contain himself any longer. He dropped Shippou and fell over himself laughing. His grip on Tetsusaiga loosened he was hooting so much. 

Kagome, sensing the tattered pride of the youkai across from her, slapped Inuyasha on the arm. “Don’t be cruel. You shouldn’t laugh at people like that.”  She turned to Sesshoumaru then. “I’m afraid I don’t entirely understand.” 

Shippou, taking pity on the demon lord, crawled back into Kagome’s lap. “For youkai, when we turn 750 years old, we’re eligible to mate. Our clans host a tournament so that interested partners can vie for the position of being our mate.” 

It was on the tip of Kagome’s tongue to declare such a thing barbaric, but she restrained herself. “What about love? Or is that only a…human concern?” 

Sesshoumaru frowned but did not otherwise let his frustration show. “Love is not only a human concern, Miko, but some youkai value only strength—the contest allows them the chance to prove their worth to the clan they wish to join.” 

“Tournaments? There’s more than one?” Curiosity was eclipsing the enormity of what he was asking her. 

Relieved at the momentary distraction of her clear interest about the customs of his clan, Sesshoumaru allowed himself to indulge her curiosity. “Hn. Yes. The tournament occurs every hundred years after coming of age unless the youkai in question has secured a mate. Each tournament lasts twelve moons. During each moon, one youkai may contend to win the mate of their choice.” 

“That’s so…different,” she said finally, not sure what to make of such a system. She didn’t see how love came into it, and she didn’t understand how one could commit themselves to a love life with no love. “I don’t understand what it has to do with me, though.” 

“You are the alpha female of this one’s pack.” 

“I’m the what now?” 

“Oh, hell no!” Inuyasha stormed to his feet and hovered threateningly over them all—but his threat was paid no heed as his ears laid low to his head. “Kagome’s not even of age yet! And she sure as hell ain’t no warrior!” 

Sesshoumaru frowned. He had not considered the fact that the miko would be too young to compete. “How old are you?” 

“I’m sixteen,” she murmured, distracted as she stared up at her best friend. She knew he did not mean his words as the insult they appeared to be, but it was still a struggle not to compare herself to his first love—the stronger, more beautiful Kikyou. 

It was Sesshoumaru’s turn to snort. “She is of age. Humans younger than her are married with many babes suckling at their breasts.” 

Inuyasha floundered. “But—

“Inuyasha, sit down.” Kagome could not bring herself to look at her friend so instead focused on Sesshoumaru. “So I’m the alpha female and of age in this time period. I still don’t entirely understand what role you’re asking me to play.” 

Shippou burst into the conversation again, though sleep edged the words. “He needs you to fight for him. You decide who he can mate.” 

“I…what?” she whispered, the enormity of the situation finally dawning on her. “But..but I barely know you. I don’t know what you like in women or what kind of mate you want and I---” 

“Those matters are of little consequence to this Sesshoumaru. None of the females who will battle for my hand will be suitable. You must defeat them all.” 

Panic was a blanket around coherent conversation skills. “I’m not a good fighter, Sesshoumaru-sama, I can’t—I’m not—”

“You dealt the final blow to Naraku.” 

“Well yes, but—”

“You have claimed the Kit as your son, protecting him at all costs.”

“Of course, Shippou is—” 

“You are the Alpha female of the pack, defending your pack mates at risk to your own life.” 

“I mean, we all protect—” 

“You owe this one a debt.” Sesshoumaru had no desire to play this card so soon. He had hoped to save his owed favor for something more prestigious than this but the girl seemed intent on providing any excuse to avoid his favor. 

“I do,” she whispered, resignation lacing every inch of her drooped shoulders. 

“Then it is settled. You will report to the Western Citadel in a fortnight. This Sesshoumaru will assure you are well prepared for the perils of the trials and coming battles.” He stood then and bowed, as graceful in manners as he was in battle. “Goodbye, Miko.” 

“Keh. We’re coming too. Just so ya know.” 

Sesshoumaru spared his half-brother a glance. “Hn. I already invited you to celebrate your own coming of age. Of course you are coming.”  And he disappeared in to the night, vanishing as quietly as he had appeared. 

Kagome stared after him, dumbfounded. “What did I just agree to?” 

“Think of it as if you’re making sure he doesn’t court anyone you don’t like. Any female who wants to mate him has to defeat you and earn your approval.” Shippou cuddled down into her lap then. “It’s a big honour, if you think about it.

“Yeah I get that part,” she muttered, still staring into the darkness where he’d left them behind. “I just don’t get why it’s got to be me. Surely there are other, stronger females in the pack. Surely he would want to give the honour to someone else.”

“Who fucking knows with that bastard,” Inuyasha growled and sank down back against his tree pearch. “It’s too late now though. You’ve agreed.”

“I guess I did.” She still watched the darkness where he’d left them, as if waiting for him to reappear. 

“Get some sleep. We’ll go back to the village tomorrow so you can go through the well and tell your mom, get some supplies, whatever.” 

“Yeah,” she whispered, but still could not draw her eyes from the forest.


The miko finally turned to give Inuyasha her attention, uncertainty writ on every inch of her young face. For the first time, he understood the impact the two years of comparing her to Kikyou had on her self-confidence. “Kagome,” he said again, and standing, moved to crouch in front of her so she was focused entirely on him. “You got this. It’s gonna be a lot, but we’ll get you trained up with some weapons and your miko powers are stronger than ever. You’ve got this. Worst case, you just purify some bitches.” 

“Inuyasha!” she scolded, scandalized. 

He snorted and sank down next to her. “Don’t look like that. It’s what they call female dogs. And you’ll be called a lot worse before all of this is over.”

Storing away that information for later use, she leaned against his side. “Because I’m human?” 

“That, and because people’ll think the bastard is following in my old man’s footsteps. They’ll question his honor to rule the west.” 

“Also,” Shippou said, seconds away from drifting off to sleep, “It’s as much a way to test your suitability to be alpha female as it is to defend Sesshoumaru’s hand.” 

Resignation sank into her bones as Shippou finally slept and Inuyasha grunted noncommittally at her side. “What have I got myself into,” she lamented and wondered how she was ever going to explain this to her mother. 


Word Count - 2157

A/N - I couldn't help myself. I was writing out some notes for A Child Lost and the premis for this just popped into my head. I'm planning only 14 total chapters, so it won't be super long. Anyway, hope you enjoy! Please read and review. ^_^


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