Disclaimer: This is the last time you'll see this in this fic. Inuyasha doesn't belong to me. There, happy now?}

Second Chance

Chapter One: When Things Come Unglued

Feudal Era Japan

Sesshoumaru paced his chambers irritably, stopping ever once in a while to allow Jaken to adjust some small feature to his formal robes.

"My lord," Jaken squawked when Sesshoumaru 'accidentally' stepped on him. "I agree with you. The idea of you marrying a human is despicable, but you must do as Lord InuTaisho commands."

"I am aware of this Jaken," Sesshoumaru growled angrily. "It does not mean that I have to like it."

"But my Lord, it is for the good of the land," Jaken reasoned as he readjusted the golden sash to Sesshoumaru's gi. He then reached up and straightened a matching cord attached to Sesshoumaru's shoulder, mindful of the delicate red silk that made up the rest of the gi.

"After all, once you marry the human princess you'll be able to control her land as well."

"That I am aware of as well."

"Then you are aware that grumbling will get you no where," InuTaisho said as he stepped into the room. Jaken immediately prostrated himself on the floor at his feet. InuTaisho motioned for him to rise, then leveled his gaze to Sesshoumaru.

"Really Sesshoumaru, I'm surprised at you. After all, there is nothing you can do about it."

Sesshoumaru said nothing but flicked a piece of imaginary lint from his shoulder. InuTaisho sighed and shook his head. "Look Sesshoumaru, having a human woman can be quite…interesting. Human women are so spirited. You'll see after the mating ceremony."

"hum!" Sesshoumaru snorted lightly, then waved away the displeased look on his father's face. "I never said I would not marry the human. After all, it's the only way to become lord of the lands."

"That's right," InuTaisho said as he leaned against the door. "I was hoping you wouldn't forget that."

"Of course not Father," Sesshoumaru replied dryly. "How could I forget something that important? I'm not Inuyasha."

"Don't start!" InuTaisho demanded. He knocked Jaken to the side and glared at Sesshoumaru. "I don't want you two to fight today. It's to be a celebration!"

"I assure you, I'm not thinking about Inuyasha," Sesshoumaru growled. InuTaisho sighed and shook his head. "You know, you shouldn't hate Inuyasha. Or his mother. Neither could ever make me forget you-"

"I'll not say another word about him from now on," Sesshoumaru interrupted. Jaken gawked at him as InuTaisho blinked. He shrugged again and walked out of the room.

'Poor Sesshoumaru,' he thought as he walked down the hallway. 'He's so against this. I only hope things turn out better. He has yet to say anything about her scent. I hope she is pleasing to his senses, or else their union will not be a happy one.'

Sesshoumaru glanced at the door, then stepped off of the stool and brushed the pins out of his gi. "Don't worry my lord!" Jaken sputtered as he scampered to pick up the discarded pins. "All will be better once you and the wench mate."

"I'm not mating a human."

"WHAT?!" Jaken squeaked. He quickly backed away at the icy glare from Sesshoumaru as he crossed the room toward him. "Forgive me my lord!" Jaken said hurriedly, hoping to somehow soothe Sesshoumaru's anger. "It's just that you're father said-"

"I do not need reminding of what Father said," Sesshoumaru replied as he casually kicked Jaken into a nearby wall. "I remember, and he said nothing about mating a human. He just said marry one."

"O-of course my lord," Jaken sputtered as he righted himself. Sesshoumaru turned away as a trumpet blast resounded through the castle.

"Come Jaken. Let's get this over with," Sesshoumaru said dryly. Jaken nodded and scurried to open the door, waiting for Sesshoumaru to pass the threshold before running after him.

For a moment, all was silent in the chambers before one of the curtains shifted slightly against the wall. It flapped under an unseen force, then ceased to move. A little girl appeared in the middle of the floor, dressed in a purple cloak. Shock registered across her normally calm features as the memory of what she heard replayed over and over in her head.

'So he intends to shame her does he?' she told herself as she reached for the hood of the cloak. 'I'll just have to warn her first.' The girl pulled the hood over her head, disappearing again.

The door opened and shut, leaving the room empty once again.

On the other side of the castle, a group of handmaidens surrounded a pretty young woman standing on a stool. They fretted over the young woman's kimono, which was a pure white, and her long dark hair. An elderly woman sat in a nearby corner knitting, watching the commotion with amusement. A nearby door opened unnoticed, then closed just as quietly. A little girl appeared moments later, eliciting a shriek from everyone but the old woman.

"AH! Kaede!" the young woman shouted as her servants struggled to return they're hearts to their proper rhythms. "How many times have I told you about sneaking up on people in that cloak!"

"I'm sorry onee-chan," Kaede replied as she took off the cloak. "It won't happen again."

"Good," the young woman said as her servants returned to their fussing. "I don't want you to get into any trouble with that invisibility cloak. I only gave it to you because it would protect you."

"I know." Kaede bowed before her timidly. "It will keep offending youkai from seeing me, or finding my scent."

"And that's why you shouldn't play with it, especially here." The young woman reached down and patted Kaede's head. "If you were caught it would be considered an act of treason."

"But they don't have your good will in mind onee-chan!" Kaede cried, gaining the attention of everyone in the room. The young woman sighed and dismissed the handmaidens, waiting until it was only herself, Kaede and the old woman left in the room.

"What is it?" the old woman asked, setting aside her knitting for another day. Kaede bowed again. "Forgive me again, but there is something you need to know onee-chan."

"What is it?" the young woman said, twirling around on top of the stool.

"It's about the inu youkai-"

"His name is Sesshoumaru," the young woman corrected. "And he is lord of this house and soon to be a part of your family."

"But that's the thing onee-chan!" Kaede cried as the young woman stepped down. "He hates humans!"

The young woman chuckled softly. "I know that. His dislike for humans is no secret. But that will change. After all, Lord InuTaisho was the exact same way."

"But onee-chan! He's only marrying you to get control of his father's land!"

"I'm sure that's the reason now, but when he sees me he'll change his mind."

"He said he won't mate you!"

The women in the room silenced as Kaede's words rang through the chamber. The young woman spoke finally, turning to Kaede and slowly crossing the room to her.

"That is not true. He knows that to not do so is to sully me in front of the youkai society. He would not do such a thing. His honor-"

"Don't you see!" Kaede shouted. "He has no honor! He wishes to make you a whor-"


Kaede blinked as she lifted her head, tears stinging her eyes more than the blow to her cheek. She stared at her older sister as the old woman finally stood. She moved behind the young woman and pulled her away from Kaede. The young woman's eyes glowed a vivid purple.

"You WILL hold your tongue!" the young woman hissed as the old woman motioned for her to sit down. "From now on, you will not speak of him or to me unless its to wish me


Kaede did nothing to stop them as her tears finally slipped down her face. "But…"

"No BUTS! I mean it!"

Kaede nodded and dried her face on the edge of her cloak. 'If this is how its to be, then this is how it will be.' She bowed one last time, looking up with her normally happy face tear-stained and set.

"Alright then. I wish you luck Princess Kikyou. I really hope I'm wrong."

Another trumpet blast resounded through the castle. Kaede glanced at Kikyou, then at the old woman before walking toward the door. As she opened it, Kikyou shouted "If I hear of you using the cloak against Lord Sesshoumaru I'll take it from you and have you punished!"

"Of course princess," Kaede whispered as she walked out.

The old woman shook her head. "I do not think that was necessary," she told Kikyou as Kikyou glanced at herself in the mirror again. Kikyou brushed it off with a huff.

"Kaede is just jealous."

"She is but a child."

"Exactly. She doesn't have an idea what she's saying. I won't hear it." She sighed and sat down, smiling suddenly. "It's said that inu youkai know their life mates by their smell. Their soul mates smell different from any other being, like some kind of fruit or candy or something. When he smells me he'll love me, you'll see."

"But Princess Kaede has never lied before," the old woman reasoned.

"All the reason to start now," Kikyou countered as someone knocked on the door. The old woman rose slowly and opened it. On the other side stood a gentleman that favored Kikyou and Kaede greatly, in his mid forties.

"Hello, my daughter, soon to be the lady of the western lands!" he said as Kikyou hurried to him. She hugged him fiercely, holding her heavily made up face away from his expensive royal robes.

"Hello Father!" she cried. "Are you hear to wish me good luck?"

"I am. Also, have you seen your sister?"

Kikyou stiffened slightly at this. "I have."

The man nodded. 'So they've had a spat have they? I'll have to discuss this with Kaede. No doubt its because of her only sister marrying and moving away.'

"King Nephlyte," the old woman stated as another trumpet blast sounded. "We are expected. The ceremony is starting."

"Of course Nurse," he said as he escorted Kikyou out of the room. "Let's go, my lady."

"Oh Father," Kikyou giggled as they walked toward the great hall. 'Here we go,' she steadied herself as they walked down the hallway to the large double doors at the end. 'To start the rest of my long life with the most beautiful youkai in the world.'

Sesshoumaru watched as everyone milled around him and his new 'wife'. Some stopped to congratulate them, others merely bowed before them. 'Ug,' he mentally grimaced as Kikyou smiled up at him. 'She smells horrid. Like death and dirt. And all that make-up promises to crack her face.' The gruesome thought brought a smile to his lips, which Kikyou returned a thousand fold. Sesshoumaru mentally sighed, then nearly cheered as InuTaishou approached him.

InuTaisho waited until everyone in the room became quiet, then motioned for Kikyou and Sesshoumaru to kneel before him.

"Today is a glorious day, for myself and for the new couple before us. Two powerful-"

Sesshoumaru mentally snorted, but kept his gaze lowered as he bit back an extremely uncharacteristic giggle.

"clans join forces, forever linked by blood and honor. Before us stand the new lady and lord of the western lands." InuTaisho placed his open palm on Sesshoumaru's forehead, chanting as a strange light engulfed them. Moments later InuTaisho released him and motioned for him and Kikyou to stand.

"Here before you stands your new lord!" InuTaisho pronounced as he held back Sesshoumaru's bangs, revealing the still smoking blue crescent on his forehead. "All hail Lord Sesshoumaru!"

The crowd cheered before them as power surged through Sesshoumaru's veins. He could feel the land accepting him, bonding him to it as his youki fed off the power.

Sesshoumaru fought the urge to grin, knowing that it would scare the living daylights out of any human in the room. He stood stoic as Kikyou smiled up at him, adoration shining in her eyes.

"But what about princess Kikyou? She bears no mark," one of the humans in the audience shouted. InuTaisho waved off the guards that threatened to behead the speaker before answering him.

"The mark of the west will appear after she and your new lord mate."

"Then she shall never bear the mark."

The audience gasped as InuTaisho and Kikyou swiveled wide eyes toward Sesshoumaru.

"Excuse me?" InuTaisho said as Kikyou blinked up at Sesshoumaru.

"I refuse to mate this lowly creature."

"What is the meaning of this!" King Nephlyte demanded. "You said they would mate InuTaisho."

"You will not speak to my father with such familiarity, human!" Sesshoumaru spat.

"You owe us all an explanation Sesshoumaru," InuTaisho told him. Sesshoumaru quirked a regal brow. "I refuse for my heir to be some worthless hanyou, and I refuse to be mated to a filthy human."

The crowd gasped again as tears welled up in Kikyou's eyes. InuTaisho fumed, steam seeming to come from his ears as he glared at Sesshoumaru.

"You have to mate her Sesshoumaru."

Sesshoumaru shook his head, allowing the grin he fought to finally show through. "No, you said marry a human and get the west not mate a human. You see, I've fulfilled my part of the agreement and you have yours. I'm taiyoukai now, and I now rule."

Sesshoumaru turned to the crowd, his eyes glowing a fiery red as he started to growl. "From now on, any hanyou born in my kingdom without my permission will be swiftly terminated, along with its parents. Any and all hanyou are banned from producing with anything other than a full blooded youkai. To disobey is to die."

"You would-" Kikyou started, choking back a sob as Sesshoumaru turned to her. "You would make me but a mere harlot before the courts?"

"I would not touch you to make you so," Sesshoumaru growled lightly, his disgust for her evident in his eyes. Kikyou watched as he and InuTaisho argued, tears spilling down her face as his words tumbled round and round inside her mind.

She suddenly snapped…

Became angry…

And inhaled deeply before her eyes glowed purple.

"You lowly cur…" she growled softly, regaining Sesshoumaru's attention, along with earning the attention of everyone else in the crowd. "I am royalty in my land, and you dare insult me!"

"Learn your place wenc-"

"HOW DARE YOU!" Kikyou screamed as her ki exploded from her in a force of energy. Sesshoumaru stepped back, but refused to back down as Kikyou glared at him through purple-clouded irises.

"You MUTT! Do you dare believe you're better than I? Than my family? Than my father? How dare you! You think you're so high and mighty, so above the lowly human scum? I'll show you!"

Sesshoumaru moved to smack her, silence her in any way possible for her insolence when he found he couldn't move. He watched as Kikyou seemed to flame, her make-up and tear-stained kimono flaring around her as she pointed to him.

"I will make you lower than the humans you hate," she snarled as her finger glowed an angry black. "You, Lord Sesshoumaru, taiyoukai of the west and son of Lord InuTaisho, are nothing more than a dog!"

A sharp pain instantly shot through Sesshoumaru. He fell to his knees and all hell broke loose around him. He glared at Kikyou as she continued, her hate for him spilling from her form to her ki. "I will take your ability to speak and your youkai abilities except for your healing and your lifespan. You will suffer."

Sesshoumaru groaned as the world around him seemed to grow, until Kikyou towered above him. His legs shrunk, then bristled with white fur. He watched as the same became of his arms, then as his nose and mouth lengthened into a snout.

"What have you done?" InuTaishou shouted as guards grabbed Kikyou. "What have you done to my son?"

"He will remain this way," Kikyou shouted above the pandemonium. "Until he is no longer made of ice and snow. Until he learns to love another unconditionally. Until then, this is how he shall stay!"

"This is treason!" InuTaisho shouted as he grabbed King Nephlyte by the collar. "How dare you-"

"My lord!" one of the servants gasped before fainting away. InuTaisho glanced in Kikyou and Sesshoumaru's direction and nearly fainted himself.

At Kikyou's feet stood an albino collie the size of a Great Dane, with smudged markings on its cheeks and forehead.

InuTaisho blinked, then his eyes widened in realization as the dog growled at Kikyou. Kikyou struggled against the guards holding her, laughing her head off at the shock that registered on the dog's face.

"You brought a miko into this house!" InuTaisho snarled, shaking King Nephlyte viciously before throwing him across the room. "Guards! Take any member of the house of Nephlyte to the dungeon! And bring anyone who can reverse this enchantment on my son!"

A week later…

InuTaisho stormed down the dungeon hallway, with Sesshoumaru padding along at his heel. During the week, every necromancer, miko and houshi in Japan tried to dispel Kikyou's curse to no avail. The only ray of light they received came from a wandering battaousai that stopped to pay homage to the house. His advice was to try to get Kikyou to remove the spell herself.

InuTaisho sighed, one of many in the past week as he glanced down at Sesshoumaru. 'I thought I raised him better than that,' he thought as one of the guards unlocked a door leading to the lower level. 'To defy me openly, even though he is now the ruling taiyoukai, was atrocious! But I cannot sit by and watch him live this existence.'

"Woof," Sesshoumaru barked. InuTaisho nodded. "I know you do not like the idea, but we have no other choice. Perhaps Kikyou is feeling generous enough to retract the spell."

"Woof," Sesshoumaru snorted, but followed close behind InuTaisho as they approached the last cell at the end of the hallway. Inside were Kikyou and King Nephlyte, huddled in one corner as their servants and handmaidens fretted like scared birds around them.

"Miko, come forth," InuTaisho commanded. Kikyou did so, but only after assuring her father that she would be safe. The kimono she wore but a week ago was filthy, covered with dirt and grime. She held her head proudly as she reached the cell door, gently grasping the bars.

"What is it? Come to torture us?" she asked. Sesshoumaru growled at her, his fur standing on end as he glared at her. Kikyou smiled and waved at him.

"Are you having trouble understanding him?" Kikyou jeered. InuTaisho held Sesshoumaru back, tugging on his tail as he bared his fangs at Kikyou.

"Do not test me," he warned. "Or your deaths will be cruel and painful. We were told you could do something about the curse. Do it and I'll let your family go."

"What of my daughter?" King Nephlyte demanded from the corner of the cell. InuTaisho nodded as Sesshoumaru growled, then raised his head.

"He is only willing to spare you and the rest of your clan. The miko must pay for her trespass."

King Nephlyte opened his mouth to protest, but Kikyou held up her hand. "No Father. I will do what I can, but do you give your word to release my family?"

InuTaisho stood by as Sesshoumaru nodded, his snowy head bobbing once as his promise.

"Good." Kikyou reached through the cell bars and ran her hand through Sesshoumaru's fur. She closed her eyes and focused, a purple light pouring from her to Sesshoumaru as the others in the room stood still and waited.

"There," Kikyou said finally. "That is all I can do."

"You've done nothing!" InuTaisho accused as the purple glow around Sesshoumaru faded. He stood as he had for a week, the white smaller version of his true youkai form. Kikyou shook her head in disagreement.

"Unfortunately, I can't undo the curse. It is a powerful one, and the only thing he can do is learn what he must to be freed of it. However, I did alter it some."

"How?" InuTaisho demanded.

"For one night, during the full moon, he will become human."

"That is no improvement!" came a small voice from behind them. InuTaisho turned around just as a small hanyou with white hair and puppy ears pounced for the cell. He caught the child before he could reach Kikyou.

"Inuyasha!" InuTaisho shouted, shaking the child slightly to regain his control. "Stop this at once!"

"But Father!" Inuyasha whined. "I want Aniki back! It's not fair! I miss him!"

Kikyou hung her head, resting her forehead against the cell bars. "I'm sorry, little one…"

"You should be!"

"WOOF!" Sesshoumaru thundered, startling everyone in the room. Inuyasha stopped struggling, tears streaming down his face as Sesshoumaru continued to growl and yip. Inuyasha finally nodded as InuTaisho set him on his feet.

"Forgive me, Aniki. I didn't mean to be disrespectful. I only wanted to help."

Sesshoumaru ignored this, nudging Kikyou's hand with his paw. Kikyou blinked, then turned to InuTaisho with a quizzical expression on her face.

"Sesshoumaru said that you should finish what you were trying to say."

Kikyou nodded, then sighed. "As I said, the curse will be upon him until he learns to love

someone other than himself. Until then he is stuck like this, with exception for the nights of the full moon. On those nights, he'll become human. His youkai healing and lifespan will be dominant in both forms until the curse is lifted."

"I don't get it," Inuyasha muttered, earning a glare from Sesshoumaru.

Kikyou nodded in understanding. "What I'm saying is that, until Sesshoumaru can love someone unconditionally and find someone that will love him in return, he is stuck in this form." Kikyou sighed and glanced at Inuyasha. "But whoever it is that breaks the curse will be linked to him, regenerating his body to match her vitality and extending her lifespan to his."

"But why do that?" Inuyasha wondered. "Surely she would be youkai?"

Kikyou shook her head. "No. She will be human."

Sesshoumaru snarled, but kept away from the cell. InuTaisho sighed again before turning to leave.

"Wait!" Kikyou called. InuTaisho turned as he, Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru stopped and turned back. Kikyou lowered her head, tears trekking down her face as she looked at Sesshoumaru. "For what it is worth, I would have loved you," she whispered. "I gladly would have. All you had to do was try to love me back."

Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes, still the golden hue they were a week before the curse, before turning to walk away again. Kikyou turned to Inuyasha, who watched Sesshoumaru leave before turning to her.

"He said that he doesn't need your 'love'. You were a means to an end."

Kikyou's shoulders slumped as he turned to follow his brother and father, only stopping for a brief second to listen to her tears splatter against the floor before running to catch up to InuTaisho.