Rating for this chapter: K
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Summary: Misplaced somewhere I did not belong to, in a body that should have never been mine, I could only wait for the world to finally stop turning. [SI, Self-Insert/OC-Insert as Sesshomaru's daughter.]
Till The World Stops Turning
Meeting Old Friends
"Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."
― Anne Frank
"Maturity is when your world opens up and you realize that you are not the center of it."
― M.J. Croan
Year 7 Day 103
''Totosai has denied you,'' his mother commented as she watched the messenger scurry out of the room. The corners of her mouth were lowered ever-so-slightly in something akin to disdain, her eyes moving away from the leaving valet and focusing on her only child.
Sesshomaru hummed in agreement, his face covered by a mask of calmness. Less than a handful of people in the world could have identified the minute anger hidden beneath all of his indifference. ''While displeasing, his actions are certainly not surprising.''
''No, they are not.'' Taking a sip of her tea, Inukimi smiled wryly. ''Totosai has always been a stubborn individual. He holds on to his beliefs with a reckless abandon. If he has made up his mind about something or someone, there is no changing it.''
For a moment, Sesshomaru tilted his head to the side, ears listening in on his daughter and the lesson she was currently receiving. Unfortunately, his mother did not seem to realize that this was his own way of telling her that their conversation was over. Or perhaps she did and and didn't care.
As Inukimi had never been one to mince her words around her son, she questioned boldly, ''Do you truly need a sword forged by him?''
''It is superfluous to ask questions you already know the answers to, Haha-ue,'' answered the male demon, his golden eyes narrowing ever so slightly.
''Well,'' she murmured as something sly appeared on her face. ''That is not something I can deny. What do you plan to do then? You cannot force him to do your bidding through violence as that will only push him to rebel even more.''
''Do you truly believe me to be so childish as to not know the meaning of diplomacy?'' The expression on his face indicated exactly how much he thought of her opinion on this topic.
Inukimi just smiled in a placating manner. ''You have never been one for patience, my son.''
''In the last few years I have been forced to learn its virtue,'' he countered easily, speaking the truth. Having a child had changed Sesshomaru and forced him to act in ways he had previously not deemed necessary. Violence had no place in child rearing and patience had been something he'd had to built up in spades.
More than a little proud, Inukimi stated, ''If that is so, then perhaps you should look through some of your father's scrolls about his vassals.''
Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed for a moment until understanding finally dawned in them. His mind flashed back to a slightly blurry memory of his childhood. A memory of men swearing their allegiance to the West. ''I see.''
''Good.'' The female demon nodded subtly and waved her hand in the direction of the entrance. ''Now, off you go. I wish to spend some more time with my darling granddaughter before you once again whisk her away from me.''
Inclining his head, Sesshomaru focused on the doings of his child. The pitter-patter of her small feet echoed through the hallway and the contentedness within her scent reassured him of her happiness and safety.
It seemed like the little rascal had managed to cut her own lesson short. Jaken would have to be punished later for giving in so easily to the girl's whims.
(...Sesshomaru expertly ignored how he himself had never been all that good at denying her what she truly wanted...
...their current visit at their ancestral home only confirmed that...)
Standing up, Sesshomaru gazed upon his mother. Nowadays, he often found himself feeling grateful for everything she had done for him. The Demon Lord knew that he had not been an easy child to raise and he was more than a little aware how difficult being a parent could sometimes be.
His upper body lowered itself in a respectful bow as he uttered, ''Haha-ue.'' Then he turned around and moved briskly towards the shoji screens. A servant opened them for him, making it possible for Sesshomaru to walk without a pause. He was just in time to see his daughter rounding the corner.
There was a subtle smile on her lips that only widened once she caught sight of him. ''Have you already finished your business with Obaa-sama, Chichi-ue?''
''Yes,'' answered Sesshomaru, his feet carrying him towards his daughter until he stood just a foot or two away from her. ''It seems that your lesson has ended very swiftly today.''
His tone, inquiring and chastising at the same time, managed to prompt a quite bashful reaction from Shizuka. The little girl rubbed the sleeves of her kimono between her fingers and tried to smile innocently up at her father. ''Mhm.'' She bit her lip nervously, her fangs almost cutting her lips. ''Jaken went over today's material quite speedily.''
Even without his superior senses allowing him to detect lies, Sesshomaru would have still recognized the statement for what it was. The demon's lips twitched slightly in both amusement and disapproval. When she got older, Shizuka would certainly have to be taught the fine art of deception. ''I am certain none of this has anything to do with your Obaa-sama's promise of going outside with you to see the newborn foals.''
Shizuka grinned cheekily. ''Of course not.''
Had he been a lesser man, Sesshomaru might have actually pinched the bridge of his nose due to his exasperation that very moment. As it was, he just explained patiently, ''Any time you have lost today will be added to your lesson tomorrow, Shizuka.''
His daughter pouted, yet there was nothing but acceptance in her gaze. ''I know.''
''Good,'' Sesshomaru inclined his head towards the shoji screens and then proceeded to gently ruffle his daughter's soft tresses. ''Now go spend some time with your Obaa-sama. She is already waiting for you rather impatiently.''
Shizuka shot him a genuine smile and proceeded to enter the room, shouting over her shoulder, ''Thank you, Chichi-ue!''
Year 7 Day 106
A clawed hand glided through her hair, long fingers scratching her scalp pleasantly. It massaged her head while also removing the tangles from her now waist-long tresses.
Shizuka closed her eyes in pleasure and could not stop herself from purring happily when her father scratched the skin behind her pointed ears lightly. Contentment spread through her and almost embarrassed, the girl noticed that her tail was wagging.
She promptly stopped the unwanted movement, her cheeks coloring.
Sesshomaru chuckled quietly behind her, his hand never stopping its ministrations.
Grooming was a very intimate gesture among demons that was only performed by family or those truly close to oneself. As an important bonding activity, it was a sign of love and care. This made the whole experience enjoyable on an instinctual level.
Although Shizuka had to admit that she had always enjoyed having people play with her hair, even when she was still just a human. She had never understood how her best friend could actually dislike other people combing her hair or merely touching her head, but Alicia had always been a little weird in that respect.
Humming, the girl quickly noted that her father had already started dividing her hair into three sections. At first, it had been rather surprising to find out that the great Demon Lord of the West knew how to braid someone's hair in different ways, but Shizuka had quickly come to the conclusion that with how long his own hair was, such knowledge was a necessity.
That conclusion turned out to be wrong when Shizuka found out that only married or mated demons pulled their hair together. Braiding ones hair or even just pulling it into a simple ponytail was used by adults to show their marital status. This meant that Sesshomaru had to keep his hair free, lest he imply something that wasn't true.
Fortunately, the same restrictions did not apply to children, which meant that Shizuka did not have to torment herself with her hair on hot summer days.
Feeling how her father added the finishing touches to her new hairstyle, the young demon took a moment to appreciate the silken ribbon the man used to bind her hair. Its rosy color stood out harshly against the paleness of Sesshomaru's skin and Shizuka giggled softly when she realized how comical the two of them must have looked.
Who would have ever imagined that the Great Demon Lord would meticulously braid his daughter's hair each evening? Shizuka was certain that not many people ever got to see this softer side of her father.
''Can I comb your hair now, Chichi-ue?'' she asked once the ribbon was finally bound into a perfect bow.
Sesshomaru hummed and maneuvered his body in such a way that he was soon sitting in front of her with his back turned towards Shizuka.
This, too, was a part of their daily routine. Each evening Sesshomaru would first comb Shizuka's hair and then the girl would do the same for him. Accustomed to this, the young demoness moved her hands deftly through her father's hair, careful to not pull to harshly on the strands.
''You know, I really love you, Chichi-ue,'' Shizuka murmured out of nowhere, for once visibly startling her father.
Amusement soon replaced his surprise. ''Do you?''
''Yes,'' she replied happily, dividing his hair into two parts, taking one of them into each of her hands and then stretching her arms to the side. A part of her wished that she could see her father from the front. He must have looked quite ridiculous with his hair raised upwards like this. ''Yes, I love you this much.''
Angling his body to the side, Sesshomaru regarded her with the softest expression she had ever seen on his face. His hand reached upwards and a thumb caressed the crescent moon on her forehead.
And then, despite how much of a weakness most demons saw love as, he replied quietly, as if to prevent the rest of the world from hearing, ''You are the most important thing in the world to me, Shizuka.''
It sounded like a universal fact and the girl quickly realized that to him it might as well have been one.
Year 7 Day 108
There was something increasingly familiar about the trees currently surrounding her and it was only when Shizuka saw the clearing they enclosed and more importantly the woman who stood in the middle of it that the young girl realized where she actually was. They might not have seen each other in years, but Shizuka would never forget this girl and her son who had helped her in a time of great need.
Taking a step forward, the female demon left the shadow of the trees just in time to appear in Yukina's line of vision. The woman had turned around at the sound of her name and was now regarding them with wide eyes. ''Shizuka?''
Without any further hesitation, she started walking out onto the meadow. A small smile stretched her lips upwards while her eyes focused on the human before them. A similar expression adorned the older female's face, though it was marred slightly by the hesitation that manifested within her orbs once Sesshomaru appeared next to them as well.
The young mother bowed lowly. ''Sesshomaru-sama.''
An inclination of his head was the only answer she received at first. Shizuka counted this as a victory. Her father rarely acknowledged other people, especially those lower in station.
Deciding to diffuse the tense mood that had taken a hold of them during the two adults' greeting, Shizuka looked up at the woman with as pleasant an expression on her face as she could manage and said, ''How have you been, Yukina-san? Where is Hakuryuu?''
''We've been all right. I managed to acquire two hens recently and my son has become quite obsessed with them.'' She chuckled softly. ''He's probably running after them behind the house right now.''
''I see,'' Shizuka murmured, turning her gaze towards her father hesitantly, a question already on her tongue. ''May I go see him?''
Sesshomaru regarded her for a second or two and nodded his head in agreement. Afterwards he turned his slitted orbs towards Yukina. The look in his eyes was very intent and with a slight dread the young demon realized that her father wanted to actually talk with the human.
For a second she considered trying to save her acquaintance from this catastrophe, but she quickly realized that there was nothing she could really do to stop the male demon.
Thus, Shizuka decided to go search for her friend instead. The adults could talk all they wanted while she and Hakuryuu spent some time together. Despite all his dislike for humans, Sesshomaru would never harm Yukina. He knew that Shizuka cared for the woman and he would never hurt his daughter by hurting the human.
This knowledge did not stop her from spying on them, of course. Her heightened hearing made it very easy for her to listen in on their conversation as she moved across the meadow in the direction of Yukina's house.
''Have you reconsidered my proposal?'' her father asked after a moment of silence.
There was no hesitation in the young mother's voice when she answered. ''No, I have not. I am not fit to work in a noble's household, Sesshomaru-sama.''
Surprised, Shizuka's eyes widened. She had not known that her father had made the woman such a proposal. All things considered, it was very generous of him to offer Yukina such a position.
''You took care of my daughter when I could not. It is a matter of honor that I repay you,'' the dog demon countered easily. Although his voice sounded as impassive as ever, Shizuka could recognize the vexation hidden within it.
Sesshomaru did not like owing anything to a human.
From the rustling of hair, Shizuka concluded that Yukina must have shaken her head quite vehemently in response. ''You've already repaid me.''
Had the demon had just a little less control over his reactions, then he might have professed his annoyance loudly. As it was, he just said calmly, ''No gold in the world could ever equal the safety of my child.''
''We're happy here, Sesshomaru-sama.'' Yukina paused. ''The money you've given us has helped us greatly. You owe us nothing.''
Spotting Hakuryuu behind the hut, Shizuka decided that there was no reason for her to listen in further on her father's conversation with the stubborn woman. If she did not accept the job offer of working in a human lord's household, then she would certainly be paid in gold instead.
A bright grin revealed her fangs as she raised her hand in a wave and shouted, ''Hakuryuu!''