If You Need Her

By Scribe of Figaro


"I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had.
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very very mad world."
- Gary Jules, "Mad World"

"If you need her
You should be there.
Go home."
-Barenaked Ladies, "Go Home"

Sesshoumaru's travels these days brought him not far behind his brother. He hadn't meant it, wanting to be the first to fight Naraku. He had, after all, nearly defeated this Sesshoumaru. Such an act required a retribution unheard of in these lands, and he would be damned if he would allow a worthless hanyou to exact the revenge that Sesshoumaru would make so much sweeter, so much more drawn-out, so much more spectacular. He would destroy Naraku, tear him to bits for capturing him, for taking his property, and for ever thinking, even for a moment, that he had found a weakness in Sesshoumaru. And after the creature he so hated, hated even more than his brother, was scattered to dust, he would dip his hands in Naraku's blood and write his name all over these lands, that he Sesshoumaru was undefeated and undefeatable, unsurpassed was his strength, unfathomable was his power, and insatiable was his anger. Endless was his domain, and hopeless were all those that did less but bow to his supremacy and beg for his permission to kiss the ground that might someday be trod upon by his foot.

Despite all this, his emotion did not hinder him as it did his brother. Always would Inuyasha be controlled by emotion, for only empathy allowed him to wield Tetsusaiga, and only fear allowed his youkai blood to strengthen him. For these reasons Inuyasha was weak, and though he was at times a notable adversary with his father's sword, he would never, ever be his equal. For these reasons Inuyasha would fail to find Naraku, for his rage and impatience would surely blind him to evidence of Naraku's whereabouts.

Seshoumaru traveled at his own pace, usually ahead of the hanyou but sometimes behind. When his youkai senses alerted him to a strange perturbation in the aura of a place, when he sensed the slightest tinge of jaki that his brothers' inferior senses may have missed, he would stop and investigate. He was caught off guard by Naraku's tricks before; it would not happen again. If the flight of jaki to the northeast was a ruse, and Naraku was hiding here among Sesshoumaru's own lands, this Sesshoumaru would have his revenge, all while his father's shame chased another of Naraku's puppets to the sea.

So Sesshoumaru had come to a road not far from several small human villages, following his indication of a presence of Naraku or something like him. More often than not these were nothing, but also he could smell a creature having half his blood, and he could tell that Inuyasha was no more than four days on this same road. If by some inordinate amount of luck Inuyasha came across Naraku, Sesshoumaru would reach him before Inuyasha had time to draw his blade.

Inuyasha traveled so very slow, and even more so with the humans he associated himself with.

On that thought he stopped. Before him the village loomed, and in the waning sunlight he could see humans going about their evening rituals. He could smell their food – admittedly a not unpleasant sensation – and see children being called for supper. These were children much like Rin, though far less disciplined. If a human child had addressed him as "Papa" rather than Sesshoumaru-sama, he would break its neck with a single thoughtless blow.

A slight wind ruffled the fur over his shoulder and tugged at his clothes. He turned to his right as he heard the slight ringing of metal upon metal.

There, in the meadow just outside the village, overgrown with weeds and wildflowers, a lone shakujou was planted, slanted ever so slightly to the north. It was half a kilometer from the road, but even from such a distance it was no feat for Sesshoumaru to notice the same holy staff that was carried by the houshi following Inuyasha.

He approached the staff. A human would not smell death even with his nose buried in the ground above a corpse, but Sesshoumaru could tell he was approaching a grave only a few steps from the road.

Now he stood in the trampled circle around a mound of dirt, at the head of which the staff was planted. Inuyasha, the two human females that served him, and a kitsune had spent a long time here.

At the foot of the grave he noted the offerings; fairly typical for these creatures: A picture of the houshi drawn with multicolored waxes, quite rudimentary in style, having a head much too large and arms much too wide. He held the skakujou in his left arm and was holding his right hand prominently in the air. Short yellow lines encircled the naked wrist and palm, making it abundantly and idiotically clear that the houshi was in some other place where the void Sesshoumaru had seen him use no longer existed. Anthropomorphic clouds and a sun made it abundantly clear this was an offering from the kitsune. The picture had been tacked to a piece of wood to give it a backing, but even with this the paper was beginning to fade through exposure to the sun.

Beside the picture was an offering of food that was faring no better – inside a large tin was a mass of reeking food that he probably wouldn't be able to identify even if it were fresh.

The last item of offering was a bundle of green cloth, the meaning of which was a mystery to Sesshoumaru.

The youkai stood there long enough to be certain there was nothing of interest here. For a brief moment he wondered what killed the human, but just as quickly he realized he cared not. It became clear to him now that the jaki he sensed was not Naraku, and he could waste no more time here.

The toe of one boot dug into the ground as he turned to leave.

The Tenseiga throbbed.


Sesshoumaru's hand absently grazed the hilt of the healing sword.

I would not have expected the Tenseiga to revive people so long after decay has settled in, he thought.

The same hand clasped the hilt.

I have yet to regret using the sword when it called for me. If the Tenseiga wills it, I will follow its command. Besides, this creature's life is of no consequence to me.

He drew the sword, holding it straight above the grave. He could feel the power flowing through it, the aura of life and health that never impressed Sesshoumaru.

Tenseiga, I only wield you because you saved my life twice. It is a courtesy and a sign of respect. Do not think I enjoy wielding you, or that I feel need to follow your commands.

With great flourish he swing the sword above the grave, then plunged it deep into the ground. Beneath him he felt the strength of the Tenseiga rip through the pallbearers and other creatures of death and decay that were imperceptible to all but Sesshoumaru.

He pulled loose the sword, and already his youkai ears detected the rustle of movement beneath his feet. Even through the dirt Sesshoumaru could perceive a lack of death and rot beneath him.

So the Tenseiga reverses decay as well. I suppose that would have to be, otherwise this thing below me would be little more than bones and sinew.

The rustling below him stopped. Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow, and after a brief pause snorted in something that, were he not a youkai, may have been annoyance.

Figures he'd be buried too deep.

The youkai lord turned to leave, but after only a few steps he heard a rumbling beneath him. He jumped aside an instant before a circle of land three meters in diameter, centered over the grave, suddenly became a sinkhole.

The hole deepened, curving ever farther into the soil, forming a crater now nearly two meters deep. Now a powerful wind formed, sucking at Sesshoumaru, pulling his clothes and hair around him. With his youkai eyes he could see past the hail of dust, see into the crater, see the black void that had drawn in wind and soil and the hand attached to it. A second hand came up from the now shallow soil and quickly wrapped a rosary around the other. The winds ceased, and an instant later the face and chest of the human burst from the grave, drawing in the first breath for days.

The human, sitting, now pulled at the sides of the hole he had formed, grabbing the shakujou that had fallen into the hole and landed near his shoulder, just outside the pull of the black void. With the shakujou he managed to push himself entirely out of the dirt that had immobilized his legs. Slowly he clawed at the sides of his now exhumed grave, pulling himself higher and higher.

Now he was eye-level with ground, resting his chin on the cliff of earth he had formed. Suddenly his face turned even whiter and he vomited.

Sesshoumaru wrinkled his nose. Such disgusting creatures are humans.

Now the human had pulled himself entirely out of his grave, his shakujou beside him, and lay on his back, breathing heavily, eyes wide with emotions Sesshoumaru did not understand and did not care to understand. The creature was dressed in the same clothes he had seen him in before, though they seemed worn and eaten with decay and filth. They were also crawling with the insects that had been consuming the human for the past few days, but clearly Sesshoumaru could hear them well before the human could feel them. Perhaps his sensations were dulled after his time outside this world, but in any case the human did realize his predicament and with a cry got to his knees, tearing at his robes, robes so worn that they came apart in shreds as he clawed at them, and soon the human was standing naked, clawing at his hair, shouting in frustration and pain and fear.

Such terribly, terribly disgusting creatures.

Now he was crying, something he knew human females did at times, and Sesshoumaru nearly sighed in exasperation, failing to believe that the Tenseiga found value in the life of something so pitiful.

I have nothing to say to this . . . thing.

Sesshoumaru turned and walked back to where he had left Rin and Jaken. The human never saw him, but even after Sesshoumaru crossed the field, crossed the road, and put a great deal of forest between him and the human, he could hear his voice. His words were strained, clearly suffering from their owner's corpse-dry throat. Or, one should say, his word. There was only one.


Author's Note:

Confused? Don't worry; all will be made clear in time. I've written about 15 more pages already, but it will take me some time to revise and convert to HTML. Besides, I want to make sure I have enough material so that I can post it steadily, maybe once or twice a week.

The reviews on my first Inuyasha story were great, and I'm glad to find such a helpful and well-spoken audience. I've found a bunch of typos on the other story, so I'll try to repost a revision. By my own rules for posting things online I will only correct typos and grammatical or spelling errors. Nothing else will change, so anyone who reads it again will find it the same story it was before.

Anyway, hope you like this too.

-Scribe of Figaro

Chapter Written 25 February 2003