Chapter 6: Concealed Weapons
Yash watched Kagome following Rin into the modernistic bowels of his brother's sterile white catastrophe of a castle here on the midwestern plains. Only Sesshoumaru would build his little home on the prairie as a huge white trapezoid. The Asshole was nowhere in sight yet, which was not totally unexpected. Just then a helicopter appeared overhead and landed on the rooftop-landing pad. Yash amused himself in the main entryway and formal living area at the front of the building by making a cynical appraisal of all of the art displayed in these very public rooms. He limited himself to just the framed art adorning the walls, since he didn't have as much knowledge or interest in the sculpture and textile treasures that were displayed. He had taken some guesses at a couple of Michelangelo sketches and moved on to a large scale cut-out Chagall and a rather large Pollock when Jaken made his unwelcome presence known.
Yash took a grimacing sniff and turned to the hallway where Jaken was about to emerge. Jaken sneaked a look into the room without entering, not wanting to receive another battering from either Inu Yasha or Kagome. Yash snorted at his despicable cowardice and crossed his arms over his chest as he glared daggers at his brother's faithful retainer. Here was yet another reminder that his retainer, Myouga, was neither loyal nor present. It was another sure sign that there was too much danger for him to be here, where he might do his master some good.
"Inu Yasha? Lord Sesshoumaru has commanded me to show you to a place where you may prepare for the Approval. Follow me."
Yash did not respond, but followed the toad down a hallway at the east side of the structure which seemed to lead the visitor halfway between the structure and a year round conservatory. Yash noted the wide variety of plant materials on display and idly wondered if his brother was still conducting his chemistry experiments on his venom. It was the best use of his venomous claws as far as Yash was concerned. He had often been a recipient of poisonous claw attacks in the past, and tonight could be another one of those times if things didn't go well.
Soon, Jaken halted at a closed door, the last one in the hallway. He seemed very anxious to rid himself of this unpleasant duty. "You will find everything you need to prepare beyond this door. If you have need of anything that has not been provided, just use the intercom in the room to alert the staff and it will be brought immediately."
"I don't suppose I could order Sesshoumaru's head on a platter, eh?"
"A worthless hanyou such as you does not deserve the consideration Lord Sesshoumaru has already shown….." Again, Jaken was unable to finish his rant as Yash drop-kicked him back down the hallway. He replicated Kagome's technique and smiled as he remembered his mate defending him and offering to take on his brother. This would be an excellent night, one he would be looking forward to enjoying if he weren't so concerned about what his asshole brother had planned. Of course there was also the little matter of the fact that he and Kagome might kill each other before it was over.
Setting aside his concerns about issues that would be decided soon enough, he opened the door to find a comfortable suite consisting of a sitting room, a bedroom and a bath. His ceremonial formal black haori, a black and gray hakama were laid out on the bed, along with a white silk under kimono, tabi, fundoshi and a black obi woven with his name in kanji. His brother was not one to stint on formalities and had clearly planned for this eventuality. That knowledge didn't make Yash any happier about what his brother might want in return for this hollow show of fake family affiliation, or maybe Rin had been the one to plan so carefully for this event. If so, she had done it with real affection and would be showing genuine concern for his mate at this very moment.
Without further delay, Yash took advantage of his brother's hospitality to take a quick shower and dress in the formal attire provided, foregoing the fundoshi. Once he had finished dressing, he went off to look for his brother. Perhaps he could get the real reason for this visit out of him before it wreaked havoc with the Approval. He'd like to get Kagome away from here before the actual Marking – he'd never feel comfortable on his brother's turf.
Sesshoumaru was nowhere to be found, at least in all of the many rooms and hallways Yash investigated. His scent was everywhere, here in his own den, but Yash wasn't having any luck at finding him. Just as he finished searching the entire first and second floor towards the front of the house, he realized that the family quarters must be at the rear, since he had not found Rin or Kagome, either.
He followed his nose to the idyllic courtyard Rin had shown to Kagome, then followed the scent of his brother to what seemed to be the heart of the family quarters. As soon as he slid the shoji door aside, he saw the rooms had been fully prepared for the Approval. His brother, wearing comparable formal attire to his own, sat imperially near a low table placed in the center of the room. There was a vacant pillow to his brother's right, clearly intended as his place. Across from them were two more pillows awaiting their mates.
"Come in, brother. There is no one hiding under the table. For this auspicious event, we need only immediate family."
Without comment, Yash moved to join his brother. Before he could be seated, the door across the room opened and Rin entered, followed by a Kagome fully transformed into a beautiful Japanese lady. The sight of her wrapped in his Kanji sent a jolt of desire through his blood. He nodded to Rin, smiling his thanks at her as he waited to escort Kagome to her place at the table. Just as Rin passed him, she nodded and he heard her murmur quietly under her hand, "Kagome was allergic to the soap." He fought back a grimace as he met his mate to assist her into the room. Rin's whispered warning could be attended to later. Now he needed to get through the formality of the Approval.
Once they were all seated, Kagome had the opportunity to observe the two brothers seated across from her. Both brothers had the same arresting silver hair above dark formal haori's over black kimonos with white under kimonos. Both wore gray hakamas with black obis. Yash's obi carried the same kanji in tone on tone threads as her own did. Kagome noticed for the first time that both Sesshoumaru and Rin wore crested obis, hers in fuchsia, and his in black. The kanji was different, but equally elegant in the weave of the formal garments. Her attention was called back to matters at hand as Sesshoumaru, the elder brother, began the traditional formalities.
"As the head of the noble Inu Youkai clan, this Sesshoumaru this evening recognizes the claim of his half-brother, Inu Yasha, to Kagome Higurashi as his mate. The match is formally approved. May the Inu Youkai clan prosper by the joining."
Sesshoumaru leisurely turned his attention to his brother. "It is your choice, brother, to celebrate this Approval with us or to proceed immediately to the Marking."
"The legacy, brother. Where is it?"
"Ah yes, ever the impatient one, eh? I suppose it was inevitable that you would insist. Jaken?"
From nowhere, Jaken seemed to materialize carrying a large silver tray. A silken scarf with Sesshoumaru's seal embossed in gold concealed the contents. Jaken stumbled under the weight or unwieldiness of the tray, but managed to slide it on the table in front of his master. "Leave us," was all the reward that he received for his trouble.
"Go ahead and look, Inu Yasha, before your childish eagerness overwhelms you." Sesshoumaru sounded bored beyond belief, but his eyes flashed briefly with some other, more urgent emotion.
Yash snatched off the silk cover and leapt to his feet at the sight of the two swords in their scabbards resting on the tray. "Tetsusaiga!" He reached out to take one of the swords, but his brother's claws quickly stayed his hand, dripping his acidic poison on the flawless black lacquer surface of the table.
"You bastard! I thought it was destroyed! You let me believe it was destroyed!"
"Confused again, brother? It is YOU who are the bastard son. Your mother was just a lowly human concubine that father found diverting enough to marry for some unknown reason."
Again, Yash's clawed hand found a home on Sesshoumaru's alabaster neck. "Speak ill of my mother again and I will not forgive it, brother. The Approval is given. My mate and I will take Tetsusaiga and leave this den of thieves. Tetsusaiga has always been mine, it is not yours to give."
"Yet, I am the one who possesses it, ne?" Glaring pointedly at his irate brother, he continued. "Sit brother, our business is not yet concluded."
Yash looked to Kagome and then to Rin and lastly to his brother. He did not wish to have a family brawl now, nor did he want Kagome or Rin to be innocent victims of the family heritage of violence. Reluctantly, he sat. "Make this quick, Asshole. We are leaving directly."
"Choose, Inu Yasha."
"Yes. Would you like me to spell it out? Define it? Choose. You may have either sword."
"Tetsusaiga or Tenseiga? You cannot wield Tetsusaiga, as much as you have envied it, and I don't know if I can wield Tenseiga. Why would I want it? Tetsusaiga is mine!" Yash's eyes narrowed and the golden orbs flashed with more red than anyone in the room wanted to see.
"Shall I call back Jaken? You can easily test it to see if Tenseiga will allow you to wield her."
Yash noticed something that went unseen by Sesshoumaru. His mate, Rin blanched and all the color bled out of her face. It was clear that she was aghast at the idea of slaughtering Jaken to test the recuperative powers of her mate's sword in the hands of her brother-in-law. His eyes roamed to Kagome, she was completely mystified by the entire conversation. She knew nothing of either sword, or the family heritage behind them. How could she? He had told her virtually nothing of his life before they met. He'd said even less about his family.
When Yash did not respond, his brother continued, "Tenseiga would have obvious appeal to anyone in your position with any sense, Inu Yasha. Especially for a hanyou who may need it later this evening. Do you have the slightest idea how to proceed without my assistance? She is allergic to the soap. That alone should drive your choice."
Kagome was beginning to feel panic again. He was referring to her allergy as if Rin had told him, so his hearing must be as acute as Yash's, and what could a sword possibly have to do with the Marking? She was about to open her mouth to ask when Yash shot her a quick silencing glare. She swallowed her questions and forced herself to watch the drama unfold in front of her.
"Never. Tetsusaiga is mine." Again, Yash reached for the sword only to be stopped by his brother's hand once more.
"Just one more thing, brother."
Here it comes, thought Yash. This is the real reason we are here this evening. I just hope it's not a death trap.
"There should be another sword on this tray."
"Right," Yash snorted. "If there was, it would be lodged in my chest."
"Quite so, brother. And yet it should be here but is not."
"OK, Asshole. What are you playing at now? Where is Toukijin?"
"That, brother, is the question."
"Shit! You mean you lost it? How the fuck could you lose a killing sword? What did you do, use it in a video and forget to bring it home from La La Land?"
"That's amazingly close, brother. You might be a decent private investigator after all. That is what you do now, isn't it?"
"You are such a fucking asshole! You want ME to find Toukijin? That fucking sword wants my blood – a condition you actively encouraged when it was made."
"Yes, it does have great sentimental value, but it really is too dangerous to be away from me."
"Dangerous to me, you mean."
"True. That's why I felt you would be motivated to find it."
"When and where did you manage to lose it?"
"I took it on tour, to use in taping one of my new video's, but when I returned home, the sword was no longer in it's case."
"How long has it been missing?"
"Six months? Are you out of your fucking mind? A killing sword like Toukijin is missing for six months and you're just now trying to find it?"
"Proof positive that we're related, I suppose."
"Just where did you lose it?"
"I had Jaken try to track it down, and the last time it was seen by anyone in my entourage was in Los Angeles."
"Shit. This just keeps getting better. I suppose you figured there was no harm done as long as it came after me."
"The thought did cross my mind, but then you had the bad taste to turn up here, on my doorstep, without a sword in your chest. It really was inconsiderate of you, brother." Sesshoumaru paused, and fingered the hilt on Tenseiga. "Then it occurred to me that your latest low-life career might actually be of use to me in locating and returning the sword. Returning Tetsusaiga seemed a fair payment, don't you agree?"
Yash rubbed his forehead with the tips of his fingers, fighting off the headache caused by listening to this arrogant asshole talk about Toukijin. There was probably no choice in the matter. If he didn't look for Toukijin it might find him anyway and that wouldn't be a good thing, he'd be dead before his pups were even born. Besides if Toukijin had been in LA for six months, who had it?
"We had a run-in with Naraku recently in LA. Was there any sign of him on your tour? Any evidence of a roadie or groupie with a special interest in swords?"
"Not that I am aware of, but then I do not fraternize with such people on my tours. My mate and I have our tour vehicle and a private jet. Both are strictly off-limits to all but Jaken. I will have Jaken give you any information he might have about the tour employees."
"Great. Jaken, my second favorite demon asshole. I'm sure he will be a fountain of information." Yash stood up, taking Tetsusaiga with him and tucking it firmly in his obi. "I'll look into it, brother, as soon as we return to Los Angeles. Any reason I shouldn't destroy it once I find it?"
"Because the Demon Lord of the Western Lands wishes it returned."
"Any good reason?"
"You wish the bitch to raise your pups alone, do you?"
"Not likely asshole. If you think you're up to it, bring it on. We're leaving, we have much more important things to do than spend our time with a demon so careless he loses a killing sword in a major city."
"Stay. After that display of Kagome's aura on the drive to the house there's not a demon left on the grounds outside of this room, except for Jaken. Rin and I have other plans for the evening. We will be….elsewhere. Stay and we will check for your ashes in the morning. You won't find better or more private accommodations and your mate is tired and anxious." Sesshoumaru rose and turned to leave the room. Rin smiled and nodded to Yash and Kagome and left behind him.
Kagome could barely contain herself now that they were alone. "What was all that about, Yash? What is Toukijin? Why would the Artist look for our ashes? Why is it so important that I am allergic to his special demon soap?" Yash walked around the table to where she was sitting, extended his hand to her, and helped her rise to her feet.
"The Marking, Kagome. It's time."
Author's Note:A special thank you to my wonderful beta reader, Autumnfire!
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