Disclaimer: I don't own InuYasha. All rights belong to Takahashi, Rumiko-sensei.
A/N: Written for the Vampire Challenge. I dunno if it makes any sense, but I always thought vampires led a sad, sad life.
England, late-December, 20xx
Atop the bell-tower of St. George's church, Sesshōmaru observes – as he has always done since he moved to this city near two centuries ago. The night is not what it's supposed to be tonight, not dark, not silent. It is that time of the year again. Christmas. Humans are swarming the thronged streets, smiles plastered on their faces, pleasantries slipping past their lips. Lies. Fallacies. Illusions. It never lasts more than a month, this travesty of mutual compassion and absolution. Everything is forgiven, buried under layers of colorful wrappings and singing voices, for a few days each year. It used to be a diverting experience, watching as they smothered old-felt grudges, deluged themselves in merry spirits, for the sake of tradition, because it's expected of them, but this past century something has changed in him. Sesshōmaru can no longer distinguish between the fine lines, wonders if this mockery of gaiety is truly as pathetic as he once thought it to be. Despite their ignorance, humans at least appear to be…happy. Perhaps it's not so wrong to pretend for a little while. Perhaps if he had allowed himself to join them, he wouldn't have become as jaded as he is.
The thought lasts no more than a fragment of a second. He laughs, self-indulgent, the sound barely resembling what laughter should be. Humans have their God, something to believe in, essential as the blood in their veins, but isn't it merely that? Sesshōmaru has never known a god, but there was a time when he, too, believed in something. Family, blood ties, power, pride. Human notions, shredded and discarded, one by one, for they do not befit a creature such as he. She has taken great pleasure in teaching him this cruel lesson – she still does. What remains, her gift as she calls it, is dissociation, the inability to connect with others, even if it's a ludicrous, pointless wish.
She, too, laughs beside him then as if she knows his thoughts. Sesshōmaru despises the insidious smirk on her lips as she speaks the truth of their existence.
"Humans are inferior beings, bound by meaningless words – love, friendship, companionship. We don't need those things, we're above them."
Sesshōmaru has argued with her on this many times. Worthless sentimentality, as she says, is his terrible fault. She is half-right and half-wrong. Chaos is a ladder. The higher the ascent, the lower the descent. A step forward or a step backward makes no difference – there is only one truth.
"We're alone in this world. Our existence is a barren one. At least, humans are blessed with the delusion of the things you denounce."
Her laughter ceases, thin-lipped reproach.
"Must you always ruin the pleasure of the hunt with your petulant comments?"
Sesshōmaru's mouth curves in wryness. She, of all people, has no right to accuse anyone of petulance, but Sesshōmaru isn't in the mood to indulge in that debate this night.
They hunt, as they have always done, since the time she changed him, made him different from those very humans who now serve no other purpose than to slake his thirst. Their first victim begs for his God's help, the ones after him as well, and Sesshōmaru's rapture lessens, the blood gliding on his tongue, once sweet, thick ambrosia, now becomes near unpalatable. He truly wonders if there is one. Where is God if he exists, where can he find him? There is only person he can ask that question and even though he knows the answer she will give, Sesshōmaru still asks when they return to his flat after their hunt.
Her utterance whelms with mock amusement. She smiles that knowing smile he detests most. Kagome only smiles like this when she is about to shatter one of his precious illusions. Sesshōmaru always hates when she does that; he is quite fond of the lies he creates to keep himself from becoming her in true meaning.
"There is a god. Can you not feel him every time you sink your fangs in a mortal? Humans take God within them every Sunday like the faithful sheep they are, yet we take him within us whenever we wish."
She laughs and licks her lips as bloodlust shimmers in the beryl of her eyes, morphs them into the color of garnet wine. Sesshōmaru scowls at the insatiable hunger he sees reflected in those blood-painted mirrors, a silent vow ringing in his ears - to make better lies, unbreakable.
"Where is that filthy rodent you insist on calling by your brother's name? Did you finally eat him?"
A wicked gleam scintillates in her gaze as she searches for his animal companion. The mere mention of his brother awakens long-slumbered emotions within him. Sesshōmaru should have been the ruler of their lands as the first-born, yet his father had bestowed this honor on his brother. Inuyasha possessed all the things Sesshōmaru had craved in his foolish youth – family, power, respect. Of all those things, Sesshōmaru now longs for merely one. Children. Power has no meaning, pride has no value, nothing matters to the damned, nothing but something to fill this unfathomable void, the loneliness of his existence.
"He is performing the task you robbed of me all those centuries ago. It's breeding season if you haven't noticed."
Sesshōmaru sneers at her, accusation burning in the gold of his eyes – heavy recrimination.
"What nonsense are you spewing again? I gave you the greatest gift of all, you stubborn man!"
She huffs, weary, the motion indicating her unwanted presence will be no more.
Sesshōmaru knows she cannot stand to have this conversation after so many times. A grin stretches across his lips, satisfaction for having found one of her weaknesses. Repetition – his maker hates repetitive arguments or, more like, she dislikes arguments in general. It has always been her way – or death. But she doesn't want to kill him, he knows, because more than arguments, she hates admitting to herself that she has made a mistake. Sesshōmaru always takes pleasure in reminding her of that fact time and again – he is her unmistakable mistake.
A blur of gray fur passes through his clouded vision, the telltale sound of small footsteps echoes in the dim silence.
"You have returned at last, Inuyasha. Took you long enough this time."
Sesshōmaru snorts with a dry laugh, golden gaze lowering to the new occupant of the large room.
Big, almond eyes blink once at the mocking timbre of his voice, stare at him with almost human-like curiosity in their ebon sheen. Sesshōmaru almost regrets taking the damned squirrel under his roof, gifting him with his brother's name, as a last insult to the dead man, but it is too late to send him away. As much as he hates to admit it, Sesshōmaru has become attached to the animal, the cursed memory of the family he used to have. If he cannot have children then at the very least he can revel in the fabrication of having siblings, despite all ill feelings the memory evokes.
"Don't give me that look. You always come and go as you please – always!"
Sesshōmaru clicks his tongue in irritation. Once more, he wonders why he still puts up with the tiny creature, even though the answer is as clear as the daylight he can no longer withstand.
Inuyasha merely tilts his head to the side, nose wrinkling in an imperceptible motion. His thick fur seems heavier, more lustrous than before, and there is an air of contentment around him. Sesshōmaru cannot help but sigh at the implications of these changes.
"How many poor females did you deceive this time? Choose a mate and stop acting in such a frivolous manner."
His warning goes unheeded, of course. How can an animal understand the wistfulness that festers deep inside him? Envy – seething and consuming – awakens within his cold veins at the stolen choice. Why must he suffer through an eternity of loneliness when this mere animal can jump from tree to tree, impregnating everything in its path? Even in death, his brother retains the uncanny ability of flaunting his conquests, everything Sesshōmaru will never have, in his face. Perhaps, it is his fault as well. Perhaps, Kagome is right, but Sesshōmaru would rather meet the sun than accede to this truth. Maybe, at the first light of morning, he will.