Authors Note: This story was originally started by the wonderful SilverSoks. I have adopted the story and, with permission, changed it to adapt to another story I had prewritten most of already. The first set of chapters is a collaborative work of mine and SilverSoks; all new chapters will be mine but don't start until the end parts of chapter 6. All respect and credit due for the initial creation of this story goes to SilverSoks.
Standard Disclaimer: All rights and royalties for the original story and characters of Inuyasha are sole property of Takahashi Rumiko and her brilliant group. This work is purely fan made with no intention or receipt of any monetary or other payments.
He does not care.
That's what he tells himself; the mantra that runs through his head every time he thinks of her, her face shining vividly in his mind's eye, when he dares to take in her honey-and-lilac scent on the winds near the border of his lands, or when he brings his brother to the brink of unconsciousness in one of their spars all the while hearing her voice pleading for them to stop, which he always does, but certainly not for her sake.
He doesn't care for the way she grins or the way she stands up to him when no one else dares to even though her fear should drown her instead. He doesn't care about the way his brother treats her, constantly breaking her down, killing her spirit. The way she smiles through it all, telling everyone that she is okay doesn't matter to him.
And through all of it, he most certainly does not care that his beast is becoming restless, closer to untamable, howling in its cage and begging to correct her sad, lying smile. He is the Great Sesshoumaru, the perfect assassin. He cares for no one, but most especially he does not care for the simple slip of a girl that gives everything and receives nothing in return.
Even now when looking down upon her rain-soaked body barely covered by tatters of ruined cloth, kneeling before him in the muddied ground, in her own blood, in defeat, he does not care. It wasn't as if the various wounds scattered across her arms and legs, or the deep cuts lining her hips could sway his mind, his compassion.
The way his heart fell, the hollowness it brought, was most definitely not because of the pain he saw, the terror stricken deep into her stormy blue eyes. It wasn't as though he cared that the rain falling down upon her like the tears of the Gods made her shiver and squirm.
He did not care about the wet, muddy ground smearing his pristine clothing as he kneeled in front of her; nor did he care that he could not differentiate tear from raindrop when he brushed them from her heated cheeks. He certainly did not care about the small pleading whimper that left her lips when he touched her face, the way it called to him to give her an end, an escape.
His molten amber eyes roamed over her form. Her feet were bare, bruised and cut from running through the forest, an ankle swollen from being turned too far the wrong way. Her skirt was ripped and hung loosely from her equally torn hips, angry red and bleeding marks that seemed to travel the length of her entire body like a map of rage and triumph.
His eyes traced the lines of these marks, the bruises that fell in various places, a particularly long scrape travelling down her arm. He saw her hands clutching what was left of her white top, a small strip of green cloth tattered and hanging limply through her bruised fingers. He noticed the way her chest heaved with the effort to breathe, her hands slipping across her slickened skin with every movement.
Slowly, his eyes moved to her downcast head, a slight mar disgracing his own lips as he stared at the top of her head, the tilt deepening when she did not struggle against his clawed fingertips as he gently held her chin and pulled it up so that he could see her face. Her breath was cold and shook as it washed over his skin, rapidly moving against him as she stared up with her one eye, the other swollen with bruises so thick it was completely shut.
Her one eye, however, stared blankly into his own, unseeing and uncaring; it was no longer filled with the bright, defiant blue that had caught his breath so many times in the past. It was dull and lifeless like a gem cracked and ruined from the greed of others, its luster gone with poor handling and obvious abuse. The spark that he had come to admire had long since been ripped away from the depths of the soul that she had bared to the world so freely in her youth.
He could not stop the flare of anger that washed through his being upon seeing her, the seething ire that ripped through him when his eyes hovered over the gashes at her temple. But the split in the bottom of her lip, cracked and bleeding and begging to be suckled anchored him to reality.
He shook all of these thoughts away, the entirety of his emotionless gaze focusing on her, all of her. They stared at one another for a moment before he stood abruptly, cursing mentally when the girl flinched in the tiniest of movements. With only a small pause to ponder his actions, Sesshoumaru removed his outer haori and draped it over her hunched shoulders. He pulled his obi around her too-tiny waist and lifted her into his arms, something that would have been impossible only months prior to this day.
It was done, finally! Naraku was defeated, Kikyou put to rest, and everyone had survived. There were injuries but those would heal in time, some admittedly faster than others.
Sesshoumaru stood to the side, his eyes following the Priestess as she hugged her friends, tears of happiness being shared amongst the group. Feeling his skin tingle, he turned slightly and met the eyes of his brother whom also stood off to the side, acknowledging his nod with one of his own.
A small noise pulled his attention back to the front of himself and down as he gazed upon the small girl he had just fought beside. She moved her weight from one foot to another ever so slightly, the only sign of her nervousness as she met his strong gaze with her own. He had to force himself not to gasp as she bowed low at the waist, a sign of respect she had never afforded him in the past. The smile that graced her lips when she stood once more made it seem like she knew what his thoughts were.
"Thank you Lord Sesshoumaru for everything you've done. I want to repay you…if you'll accept what I have to offer that is."
He raised a brow in curiosity, noting that her nervousness was now more acute than her excitement.
"There is naught which needs repaid; however, it would be rude to decline"
He forced himself not to allow the curiosity to show in his demeanor or tenor, but he was curious. What could this small human possibly have to offer a Demon Lord such as himself?
Her smile brightened the moment he accepted her offer and she quickly reached for his arm, stopping just before she touched him as though thinking again on her gift. The deep blue of her eyes found his once more to which he offered a small nod, understanding her request to touch his person.
His eyes widened only slightly at the sensation of her hands moving under his sleeve, her palms caressing his skin, her fingers leaving a trace of fire in their wake as they twirled rapidly over his muscles. He watched her face, her eyes closed in concentration as she moved over his biceps, lightly gripped his triceps, moved down to his forearms, and lightly traced each muscle and vein.
Her fingers danced over his wrist, running across the bone at the back of his hand, tracing his palm, and following each finger to their deadly pointed ends. She didn't even flinch when her finger caught on one of his claws, almost enough to draw her own blood. Instead she smiled, which was even more curious than her molesting his person this way or him allowing her to do so in the first place.
Her eyes searched the places that she touched then, following the burning path her fingers had left. She was memorizing him and he could not help the small amount of curiosity that trickled through his visage when she nodded to herself, clearly satisfied with whatever she had come up with before moving to his left side.
She looked up to him then, held his gaze while her hands moved up achingly slow until he could feel the coolness of her fingers against the stump of his arm, what was left of it anyway. He started to jerk away, his mouth opening to demand an explanation; however, the plea that never left her lips, turned her stormy eyes a deeper shade of blue, gave him enough reason to wait and watch some more. He watched her closer now though, his gaze suspicious and angry at being placed in this position, her touching, acknowledging his single mark of weakeness…especially since it was her.
"This might tingle a little…"
He strained to hear her words as she mumbled them quietly, noticing the way her eyes closed in concentration when her fingers met the fleshed stump of his limb.
"…just please stay still"
He remained as always, a stone against the tides of everything, only letting out a small breath when he felt what she had described as a 'tingle'. It was like molten lava moving through his flesh, burning him without pain. He had to force his eyes to stay open and watch as her hands moved down through his sleeve, heat following in her wake.
The collective gasp around him tethered his awareness as he stared at the thing that had captured their awe.
He looked up to find the Priestess staring at him, a giddy smile and an air of accomplishment swimming around her. Her hand tightened around his newly reformed one and he fought not to return the embrace, his gaze turning down to drift over the muscles, the veins, and the perfect markings that were identical to his other arm. She had even ensured his claws were sharpened to perfection, his hand closing in a fist and an unknown joy filling him with the pricking of his palm.
"So…uh…does everything feel…right?"
The girl tried not to sound nervous as she spoke, a measure of force flowing from her lips, but the slight tremble did not go unnoticed by his sharp ears. He rested his arm back at his side and looked into her eyes, allowing them to soften if only for that moment, only for her.
Suddenly he wasn't sure if he was in awe of his gift…or her.
"Everything is as it should be Priestess. A gift that is undeserved"
He was taken aback slightly when she scoffed at his words, her eyes taking on a steeled glint with her annoyance. It was almost enough to make him twitch.
"Nonsense Lord Sesshoumaru! You helped us when we needed it most; because of you, we were able to defeat the one being that kept us from being whole again. It is only right that you be whole as well!"
With those last words and a smile that made his pulse speed up, Sesshoumaru found his self staring at her back as she went running to her friends; they had already started to drift to the edge of the forest. He watched as she turned to wave at him once she had reached her friends, acknowledging the gesture with a small incline of his head.
He even watched as they had disappeared into the dark thickness of the trees, taking her with them, before finally turning around and making his way west again. There, in the citadel of the west, where his companions waited eagerly to hear of his triumph over the evil being that Naraku had been, was the sanctuary he had longed for all these years. And because of her, he could return whole again.
His arm was exactly as it should be, perfectly in synch with the strength and abilities it should have. And with that gift he held her body close, her hands clutching at his chest as she shivered from the rain pelting down onto them.
She either trusted him or no longer cared who it was that held her any longer as she curled into his chest grasping the thin fabric of his undershirt, the only thing left covering his person. Her face was tucked into the collar of his haori as it bunched around her, hiding all of her from view except for a single, untouched eye, and two long, gashed and bruised legs.
He ran with her clutched tightly to his chest until the citadel rose in front of him, a looming tower of steel and stone. As he slowed to a walk, he looked down at her and scoffed, noting how deceitful her peaceful image truly was.
He reminded himself then that he did not bring her here for any other reason than to ascertain the purpose behind her current state. He was Sesshoumaru. He was Lord over these lands that she had traipsed upon. He would find out what happened to her out of duty to his lands and people, but he did not bring her here just to help her.
He did not care.
He looked down to find her resting against him still and was thankful that her scent would be washed away easily because of this storm.
He found concealment for his actions in the falling rain.
Right then, hello kiddies! I've adopted this from SilverSoks, as I mentioned earlier. As such, the first few chapters are slightly different than what you might expect from me, though not by much. I suppose the biggest difference will be the length of the chapters. I'm actually going to try to keep mine shorter in respect for the original format of this story, though my chapters are still a bit longer overall from the original version of this.
To SilverSoks, I hope you like what I've done with it. Please feel free to message me any comments, ideas, thoughts, etc as this is as much your story as it is mine. Love you darling! ;)