White Dogs: Perversity.
PG-13, R for some parts
Lyrics from: Sting's 'Why Must I Cry For You?', Jesus and Mary Chain's 'April Skies.'
Genre: Everything left of the middle. Beware the dry wit. And Sarcasm. Could be dangerous to your health.
Warnings: What could I warn you about? You'd STILL read this anyway.
Disclaimer: There is a state of being called "not owning." Thanks to Inu Yasha, I am in that state of being.
Summary: How could someone who spent so much time destroying now be someone who spent their time creating?
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."
Chapter Sixteen: An Artist's Intuition.
I see your face,
Stars seem to lose their place
Why must I think of you?
Why should I?
Why should I cry for you?
In this world there are many things that are broken or damaged and in need of a careful touch to make them whole once again. However, they're not so easily fixed and not just anyone can fix them. For example, you would not take man who's craft was repairing little time pieces and sit him in front of, say, an ancient printing press and tell him to "fix it." He would not be able to. Just the same, you wouldn't have a plumber try his hand at performing neurosurgery. Such an endeavor would only end in tragedy. Suffice then to say that for each broken object there is a person with the touch best suited to fixing it. Only those with a certain knack for whichever field of rebuilding they happen to be in are truly successful, for while a plumber may be a plumber, it doesn't necessarily mean he was good at it and that your pipes were guaranteed to be good as brand new. No, no, certainly not. This is what one would call a mediocre plumber, one who was not a master of his craft.
Of course, there are other things besides watches and piping or computers to be fixed. Those are not nearly as fragile as what other things breakable are. Take the human heart, for instance. Just as any other thing in the human world must need repairs now and then so too does the human heart, for while it provides us with life and strong emotion, it is still very delicate. Entirely too breakable. As is the human psyche. This is why there are such professions as councilors and psychiatrists. Their craft is Sigmund Freud's famed "Talking Remedy." And just as with the plumber, while there are some therapists who are good at what they do, they're not necessarily the master of their craft. Such talents are a rarity in human kind.
Which is why is it entirely odd for a youkai to have the ability to heal with words, where many humans fail.
That morning, Sesshoumaru sat at his quant little table in his cozy little kitchen and thought small thoughts, while the tea he held in his hands sent vapory figures into the air to dance. They were decidedly idle thoughts, for Sesshoumaru preferred them that way this early in the morning. Especially after a tangle with his bane of existence, a.k.a. Shippou, in the hours before daylight streaked the sky with paintbrush strokes skillful enough to render any mortal artist jealous.
Idle thoughts were easier to manage, easier to control. He pruned them to avoid their growth into something more then idle and cultivated them in order to keep them tame. They in turn kept his mind occupied, and were a more soothing habit for him then a simple cup of tea. After all, when one has lived a near millennia, one tends to have a want for a certain sort of soothing pattern to ones day. Sesshoumaru was no exception. He was a creature of habit, of routine.
Therefore, he sat at the tiny table and thought quiet, idle thoughts as he sipped his mint tea in his cozy kitchen. He reveled silently in the warm ice of the mint tea as it slid over his tongue, reveled in the calm and closeness of his kitchen atmosphere for he knew the calm would be ruptured once the other guests in his abode woke, and invaded the small nook and sent his orderly world into a spin.
Idle thoughts, idle thoughts.
Idlethoughts, Kagome willed, must think idle thoughts. Anything to keep her mind from venturing to Inu-Yasha and her newly self-appointed duty to the hanyou. Grey morning eyes flickered up to the skylights and the periwinkle sky beyond the glass and there locked on a swath of lilac crowned clouds as they rolled by on sun-scorched orange and pink bellies. The stunning contrast of colors on the same canvas of cloud made her pupils dilate in reaction, and she sighed at the pure beauty of them. What it must be like to be just a cloud looking down at the earth without having to be tied down by gravity's heavy burden; to have such natural, unassuming beauty that changed with the wind and weather but somehow stayed the same throughout it all.
Kagome so envied clouds in that one moment.
Lucky things, she pouted. Perched on the edge of the bed, hands hanging limply over her knees, Kagome was quite certain that the burden of a body was unfavorable. She felt quite heavy and tired, and staring up at the clouds as she was doing now was beginning to put a kink into her neck. She shifted, and felt her flesh stretch over her body, tight and restricting.
Her skin was too tight for her to fit in.
"I wish I could be a cloud," she confided to the quiet walls around her.
The walls did not answer and she knew they would guard her wish well and would not tell a soul. Shaking her head at her silliness, the girl came back down to earth and its troubles. Seated as she was on the foot of the bed, Kagome's legs hung over and down but still did not touch the wooden floor; the bed was either that tall or she was just that short. She hadn't figured out which was the truth yet, mostly because she didn't mind it. When one was on a tall bed or when one was short one could swing their legs without worry of scraping the floor with their toes or heels. Kagome was particular about swinging her legs; she enjoyed it, though she wasn't sure why she did, exactly.
So, Kagome sat on the bed and swung her coltish legs and the carefree nature of the act soothed her as she thought her idle, cloud-envious thoughts.
Clouds did not have skin.
Another thought occurred to her as she caught a whiff of herself, and her pert little nose wrinkled with her distaste.
I really need a bath…
The timid little sound made Sesshoumaru look up from the bottom of his porcelain tea cup and mentally recoup from his thoughts about the meaning of existing (he didn't know how his idle thoughts had gotten so deep in such a short amount of time without his notice). One silver brow tilted upwards towards his bangs at the sight of a ragamuffin Kagome fidgeting in front of him. The sight was oddly endearing and the taiyoukai felt his usual hard as ice countenance soften just a little.
The little woman-child took the raised eyebrow as a prompt to say what was on her mind, so she did without further ado.
"I need a bath," said she, voice quiet and, as an afterthought added, "Really badly."
Unconsciously, Sesshoumaru's nostrils flared ever so slightly as he scented the air and, sure enough, Kagome's fresh scent was tainted by old, dried blood (a rusty, stale copper sort of odor) and the heavy repression of salt. The corners of his mouth took on a hint of a frown; he felt as though he'd somehow neglected her in some way. It wasn't a feeling he was familiar with, simply because of who he was.
As a host, Sesshoumaru was impeccably attuned to what was necessary for his guest's comfort. It had been as such when he was the Lord of the West and it had carried on through the decades. However, very few of his guest's had been injured prior their visit to his home, nor had they the privilege of being cared for by his very own hands.
Actually, come to think of it, he'd had very few guests in general and none of them had ever been harmed in any way before their arrival or during their stay (though that wasn't saying anything about after they had left his home). Had they been injured prior to their visitation, said guests more often then not had an attendance of servants to take care of such tasks. Therefore, his guests were entirely capable of taking care of their bathing needs and did so without his aid or notice.
Kagome, on the other hand, was injured and incapable of taking care of herself (as she proved time and time again) much less her bathing needs without some sort of assistance.
Sesshoumaru, being so used to not having to mind his guests, simply hadn't considered that Kagome would need assistance, or at the very least an easier way to cleanse herself without doing further damage to her wound. As for the scent of salt…
A nameless emotion percolated in his gut.
With a slight frown on his lips, the great taiyoukai looked back to Kagome. He gave her a small, firm nod as he set his tea cup down and stood from the table in a single economy of movement.
"Then a bath you shall have. But," Here, he held up a hand to stay Kagome's flight to the bathroom down the hall, "it will need be only a sponge bath. Come, I will assist you."
"Uhm…What?" She asked, thinking that she'd heard wrong, but that assumption was flung out the window when she realized he had said it and he had meant it.
'Sponge bath? Assist me?' For one wild moment her mind was filled with unquestionably indecent dreams that were, dare she say, erotic. Kagome felt the heat flare in her cheeks and even her ears felt like they were on fire. Desperately, the girl pinched and tugged at her earlobes, hoping the physical stimulus would distract her from her naughty imaginings and return her blood pressure to normal.
'Ohmigosh.I'm horrible!' Why was there never a convenient hole in the ground when one needed to fall into it? Honestly.
While so preoccupied with chastising herself and hoping for a nice abyss to plummet down, Sesshoumaru had made out like a regular Houdini and had disappeared into the bathroom, busy with gathering the needed supplies from the hidden niche therein. Very mild soap, which he had in stock merely because he had a sensitive nose and found that anything more than mild burned the soft olfactory tissues something wicked; a fresh new towel, as well as a soft beige sponge.
All were gathered without the flustered girl's notice.
Setting his bounty on the black marble counter top of the sink, he backtracked to the kitchen where Kagome was still pinching her earlobes and making the most interesting face Sesshoumaru had seen in ages; a cross between concentration and supreme mortification, with a splash of horror mixed in for good measure. He smirked, noting the pink hue glowing in the apples of her cheeks and across the bridge of her nose, easily guessing on what thoughts she was flirting with. Swaddled as she was in his clothing and blushing in such a way, the once Taiyoukai could only think of how becoming and confoundedly innocent she looked.
Ah, right… jailbait. That way lie dragons. He re-directed his mind and cleared his throat for her attention, then had to fight the intense urge to smirk again when the little bird's surprise jarred a squeak out of her pale throat. She wobbled a moment, one hand clutching the fabric over her heart like a life line and gave him the evil eye.
"Don't do that!" She hissed, on the edge of hysteria.
He feigned ignorance, "Do what?" The perfect blank canvas of his expression gave nothing away but his eyes sold him out with the way they glinted in amusement.
"The ninja thing! With the sneaking off and the teleporting around all silent like!" One delicate finger was leveled at his chest as she made her statement. Her snapping grey eyes caught the humor glinting at her like forbidden treasure in a dark cave from his eyes and she hastily added, "And stop laughing at me!"
The girl teetered closer to the edge she tried to escape from with humor.
"Hn," the corner of his mouth twitched upwards as he turned back down the hall, "Well? Do you want a bath or not, girl?" Off he went without further ado.
Kagome floundered in his wake, then scuttled after him, subdued by the way he'd addressed her.
Girl.What's so damn hard about calling me 'Kagome'?
How easily she was filed and categorized away like some document and not a true person deserving of a unique identification. She felt her skin tearing all around her, and grasped at straws to save herself.
Vaguely, she pondered over how the Sesshoumaru of the past would handle a crowd of humans. In her mind's eye, she saw him looming over the diminutive statures of a gaggle of village women, all of whom were unrealistically giggling over his supreme good looks and finery, edging in closer to his person as he tried in vain to order them back and failing. Seems even an imaginary Sesshoumaru didn't fancy being molested.
"Human, you better STEP OFF if you know what's good for you. No, not YOU, you wench, the other one. … Hey! Let go of my fluffy!" The mockery of Sesshoumaru's voice echoed in her head. Of course, it went without saying that he'd never say anything like that, much less call the pelt he'd carried with him his "fluffy", but it was still a funny thought. Kagome snickered loudly, caught herself with an 'eep', and covered her mouth with both her hands.
The backs of her eyes burned in omen.
Up ahead, Sesshoumaru's right ear twitched at the strangled sound of mirth, and he felt a trill of warmth filter around his chest.
So there is laughter yet in her, the once-lord mused as the barest suggestion of a smile lilted at the corner of his firm mouth. He looked over his shoulder at her, lifted one aristocratic eyebrow and was satisfied by the answering blush on the miko's partially hidden face. The scent of salt seemed out of place, though it was there nonetheless.
Subdued laughter though it was, it was a start and Sesshoumaru found himself of the desire to hear her laughter again, to see her smile truly. She was a creature made to smile, and to laugh. Looking over his shoulder at the small pixie-like form behind him, he could almost see through her to her insides where she was falling apart and held together only by pale flesh and spider work veins. She was dark inside where once there had been the bright flame of a soul that had pressed against her skin with all the ebb and flow of an ocean. Now there was a void.
Yet, she had begun to laugh. There was hope.
Mourning dove grey eyes met his, and his stomach clenched oddly. Her eyes…
"Laughter suits you. Do not stifle it." His voice calm, sincere. The command hidden within the sincerity.
The once aristocratic assassin's reward was a small smile held together by confused wonder that collapsed under the weight of the tears in her eyes, and twin arms folding around his middle in the grip of a girl's desperation to be held upright. The hot tears wet the fabric over his heart and soaked into his skin as his arms curled around her in reflex, one clawed hand coming to cradle her head against his chest. He imagined fine cracks and fractures racing across her skin as she seemed ready to fall apart against him.
The demon pulled her closer, tighter against him still, fiercely wanting to fill her emptiness with something solid. To keep her from shattering there as he held her.
He wanted to fill her with himself.
the world comes tumbling down
Hand in hand in a violent life
Making love on the edge of a knife
And the world comes tumbling down…
Review Responses: Aw god, I ♥ you all. No really, I do. (It sincerely touches my heart for all these beautiful reviews. It also helps that I haven't been skinned alive yet for my slacking. Damn. Bad Silver, bad.)
A.N: This chapter, I must be honest, was easy and hard at the same time. It was easy since I knew what I wanted to do with it, but hard in that I didn't have a good way to get there. This is the result of months worth of trying and failing and finally succeeding but only partially. Hence, I think this chapter is going to be a Part One Part Two thing. I would have joined parts one and two to make a complete chapter but I've kept you waiting long enough. Hopefully, the second have of this chapter won't give me such a hernia.