Disclaimer – I do not own Inuyasha. I do not own the pretty Sesshoumaru or the darling Rin. If I did then I would be rich enough to have gorgeous men in loincloths feeding me grapes and serving me frozen margaritas…
Title– Of the Soul
Chapter One– Rescue
Lord Sesshoumaru was most certainly going to kill him this time. In his present state, the idea seemed to hold an appeal that it had never held before. The toad demon almost wished for the swift death of his master as opposed to this slow torment.
It seemed as if blood spurted from everywhere. The hand that had once been attached to his arm was spilling the dark liquid a few feet away, more oozed from his midsection where three, vicious claws had sliced, digging – but failing - to rip out his internal organs. Jaken's head rested on the right side, the side that still had an ear. Tears leaked from his eyes, rolled down his cheeks and splashed into the puddle of blood and dirt.
A few feet away his wooden Staff of Skulls lie broken on the ground in a dozen splintered pieces. Ai-Un, also not far away, was missing both of its great beastly heads. Not even a fang remained of its skull.
His hoarse voice tried to cry out against the unbearable pain that flared anew with each ragged breath. Jaken dared not move for fear of what new levels of agony that would bring.
"Lord Sesshoumaru…" he croaked miserably, but his voice failed him and he could only mouth the words.
He had failed his master. His master would not come to save him and, even if he was found, he would be left to die for his failure. Worse yet, he could be made to die an even slower death.
All because of that stupid, human girl.
The stench of blood reached his nose miles away – and it was blood that he recognized. Sesshoumaru's pace quickened. His legs carried him past trees and shrubbery in a speeding blur, then suddenly he was leaping through the air and maneuvering across tree branches with more grace and skill than any squirrel possessed. So fast was his movement that, if anyone had been looking toward the forest, all they would have seen was the treetops.
The smell was getting stronger. Not just of blood, but the aroma of decay as well. It was fresh. He sniffed the air for human blood - for Rin's blood - but he caught no scent of it. It was Jaken's that he smelt; Ai-Un too. But when he sniffed again, though his face was an emotionless mask formed from years of being in a position that demanded no one knew or could see what he felt, his eyes opened just a fraction more.
Rin wasn't there.
Moments after he realized that her scent was missing from the air, he reached the bloody site. His eyes roamed over the scene presented to him. He looked over the pools of blood made filthy by the dirty, at the carcass of the two-headed dragon steed, to the ensanguined body of Jaken. There was still no fresh scent of any human.
However, he did smell something demon. Something that had come and gone long before he arrived. Sesshoumaru had his suspicions as to where Rin might be.
"L-L…ord…" The voice cracked.
Sesshoumaru strode swiftly to Jaken, towering above the helpless form. Topaz eyes quickly assessed his injuries. They also formed a rather distasteful diagnostic as well: he was bleeding to death.
"Where is the girl?" he asked.
"Th-they… t-too…ook…" His voice finally failed.
"Who took her?" Sesshoumaru demanded in a quiet voice, one that punctuated the deadly threat behind it. "Or perhaps I should ask what took her?"
The toad-demon moved his beak, but no sound came out. Sesshoumaru's gaze darkened, and Jaken tried to squeal in terror, but it came out as what could hardly be considered a wheeze.
Again, his beak flapped open and shut, but he could do nothing more than squeak.
There was a sound of a metal running along a scabbard, then the distinct ring of steel. Jaken's eyes widened when he saw the unsheathed sword. As the blade came down, natural reaction kicked in. Jaken through his arms up to shield himself as his legs instinctively curled upward. Pain erupted through every bone in his tiny body, through each muscle and tendon… and then abruptly ended.
Tentatively, his trembling body uncurled from the fetal position. A shaky hand roamed slowly over his stomach, feeling the tears in the fabric, but not the gashes on his skin. They were gone. He squawked when he saw that his right hand was still on the ground, separated from his limb. However his arm no longer spilt the fluid his body required in order for him to live. As the only hand he had left to him was feeling for his missing ear, Jaken looked up at his Lord. He had sheathed Tensaiga.
"Oh, Lord Sesshoumaru!"
Jaken flung himself at his master's feet, repeated words of gratitude and expressing apology all in the same breath.
"Where is Rin?" Sesshoumaru asked again. Jaken flinched at the force behind the words.
"Well, Lord Sesshoumaru, the girl insisted on b-bathing, so we headed back to the river…" he gulped. The deadly look he received told him to get on with it. "Two large slimy demon attacked me, my lord! I tried to protect the human as you instructed me to do from the hideous beasts, but it took the Staff of Skulls and broke it into little bits…"
Jaken shrunk away from his lord's ever darkening, unpleased disposition. With a sigh, he gave up on the tale and hung his head.
"They took her, my lord," he admitted. He didn't dare look up.
Nothing happened. He waited for his punishment, but none came. There was no sword drawn, no blow, no poisonous claws ripping into the back of his head. Finally, he had the gall to lift his forehead far enough from the dirt to peek out.
His head shot up.
Sesshoumaru was gone.
The toad demon scrabbled to his feet and ran after his master despite not having the slightest inclination as to which direction he had gone.
Something was going to die. No one got away with stealing from him. No one.
His sensitive nose led him and his powerful legs carried him faster than the strongest wind. Silver hair flew in the current.
Lightning cracked over the horizon, followed by the sky's angry grumble. Sesshoumaru ran faster, his feet touching the ground so rarely that one might have thought he was flying. There was a storm looming. The static in the air made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. If he didn't hurry, the rain would wash away the trail.
Not that he couldn't find them on his own. It was just that the sooner he found the thief, the more likely it would be that he would find Rin still alive. Not that he cared if she died. She was only another worthless human. One who happened to belong to him.
It was the principle that made him chase after the winged demons. Whether it was Rin or a piece of meat – though, to most demons, something like that was usually considered one and the same – made no difference. The demon that stole from the Lord of the Western Lands paid with their life.
Another crack of lightning lit the gray sky and opened the dreary clouds to their duty. The rain fell in a light sprinkle that rapidly evolved into a heavy downpour so thick that his peripheral vision was limited to a mere six foot radius. Small chunks of ice pelted him and clattered against his armor, but it was little more than a piece of cotton to him.
The dirt became muddy and the grass slick, too slick for shoes. Sesshoumaru discarded his shoes as he leapt, dropping them into the puddles of mud below. When his feet touched the muddy earth, his clawed toes dug into it and again he propelled himself forward with a speed unhindered and unheard of.
Mountains came into view ahead, considerably small mountains, but too large to be considered hills. Even through the rain, he could smell the slimy demons – a great quantity of them. Human blood and the reeking stench of rotting corpses assaulted his hypersensitive nose. It was nothing that he had never gotten a whiff of before. With all of the human scents, though, he was annoyingly unable distinguish Rin's from the midst.
As he shot out of the forest, two airborne masses came spiraling down from the sky. Sesshoumaru leapt between them with his arms extended and his claws stiffly pointed. He landed in a graceful crouch in the muck. The pair of eel demons crashed into the wet ground… their bodies split clear in half. Mud splattered onto his white kimono.
More winged serpents sped from cave openings in the mountains, catacombs that ran in endless tunnels through them, beneath them and under the land that surrounded them. Unhinged jaws that seemed more snake-like than eel-like revealed dangerous fangs, dripping with deadly poison, ready to snap back into place once around their victim. Their mossy green bodies were impossibly long and easily two tree trunks thick, with a wing span wide enough to accommodate flight. Three sharp talons sat at the joint on each wing. Sesshoumaru stoically drew his lethal blade, Toukijin.
As more tremendous, serpentine demons emerged from the catacombs into the raging storm her scent finally reached him. Out of the corner of his half-lidded eyes, he could see Rin's limp body wrapped in a slimy tail. Another gigantic eel flew close to the previous with something coiled in its tail as well. Whatever it was, it radiated a faint blue light that had a hazy, but familiar, shape. He recognized it.
It was Rin's soul.
That was the power of the oversized eel demons – the unagi. It was their special magic, now a minor annoyance to him. He found himself irresolute, unable to bring himself to kill the entire lot, as he knew he should do. At least, not until her soul was returned to her body.
Long bodies began circling him, encasing him in a slow tornado of slithering, wet masses and flapping wings. They screeched and snapped their jaws at him, the mucky green fin atop their heads – which ran down the backs of their stretched bodies to the end of their tails – wobbled with the movement. They didn't strike. They merely continued to orbit around him, believing that they had trapped him. They were horribly mistaken.
One of the unagi dropped out of the revolving encasement and fell into the center, slapping into the muck. A bright light radiated from it, a bright light that turned into a thick smoke that the rain was unable to penetrate. Sesshoumaru watched as the massive tail split into feet, as its wings folded inward and molded into arms. Its winding body shortened and gained contours that its frame shouldn't naturally possess, its round, pointed became more egg-shaped and sprouted hair that twisted like its true serpentine body. It – or now, rather, he – flipped his chestnut hair out of his human face. Green eyes glowed for a moment and then dulled.
"Lord Sesshoumaru," he drawled and bowed low, mocking. His eyes looked behind Sesshoumaru, though, towards the cleaved bodies of his fellow eel demons.
"Return the human's soul to its rightful place and I will consider showing you mercy. I will kill you quickly, instead of slowly," said Sesshoumaru.
The eel demon chuckled, revealing the pointed fangs he retained in his human form. His hair was already drenched in the rain and tendrils were plastered to the side of his face.
"Your father liked humans too, especially the human womens. I sees your tastes are no different."
Sesshoumaru kept his sword at his side. "You pretend to know who I am because you, like every demon, have heard the legend of the great dog demon," he said listlessly. "I am not my father, but I will not tolerate the theft of what belongs to me."
"And I wills not tolerate the murders of my kind!" he roared. "Do you knows who I am? I am Kaitoukon! Lord of the unagi. You slaughtered an entire hordes of my kindreds! You forced us froms our home!"
Purple poison dribbled from the corners of Kaitoukon's mouth as droplets of water rolled down from his scalp. Some of the violet substance had splattered onto Sesshoumaru's face from the angry spitting, but it was harmless unless injected into the blood. He didn't bother wiping it away. He allowed the rain wash it away. Nor did he bother with an explanation. It was unnecessary and the creatures unworthy of one. He knew why he had vanquished them from the Western Lands and there was no need for him to explain his reasoning.
When they had been living in the Western Lands, they had lived entirely underground despite their flying capability. They burrowed catacombs and caves so deep and so far that they had been to encroach on his territory, something that few butterflies even dared to infringe upon. Complaints had come from villages of demons that were stealing the souls of their people - and the reports had grown rather irritating. They had finally exceeded their sector and their welcome.
"We wants our territory backs," Kaitoukon said darkly. "And we wants your land too, Lord Sesshourmaru. In returns, we wills put her soul backs."
"Of course," he said nonchalantly. "Now return her soul."
"NO!" he cried, green eyes flashing. "You wills give us your word in your blood! Swears rule of your lands to us in your blood."
The idea of shedding his blood was usually an unwelcome thought. The idea of shedding his blood for a human was an even more unwelcome thought. It would make the slaughter of these demons all the more pleasurable.
Sesshoumaru brought the tip of the sword to his arm and met the bright green eyes of the unagi lord as he sliced through the white fabric and into the skin, unblinking, unfeeling. Dark blood seeped into the arm of his pristine kimono as he waited for instructions.
"Swears control to us and smears your blood on me, then we wills give you your human," said Kaitoukon, his thin lips pulling into an uncontrollable smile.
The eel demon had no idea that his end was so near.
With calm indifference, Sesshoumaru strode up to him. He lifted his arm and smeared the blood onto his neck, just under his jaw and away from the deadly fangs that would mean doom even for a great demon such as himself.
If they didn't keep their word – as he intended not to keep his – then he would kill them all anyway. After all, what was the loss of one, worthless human? She had already caused him far too much trouble.
A sudden upsurge of wind lifted Kaitoukon's waterlogged hair. His narrowed green eyes flew wide and flashed a murderous red. The wind, seemingly rising from the very earth, lifted his feet from the ground and his arms from his side. He twirled once and shot into the dark sky, his body winding into its twisting, eel-like form. Its large head nodded to the demons holding the captive.
The unagi holding Rin's hazy soul slammed its tail into her body, snapping her limp body back in an unnatural way that her body normally didn't bend. The soul compliantly took up residence in her body once more.
In that same instant, Sesshoumaru leapt into the air with his sword outstretched, cutting through the circling bodies of airborne eels. Blood spattered out onto him as he sliced through their thick skin, spilling their long intestine and cutting wings in half, blood that was washed away by the dense rain. As his momentum slowed to an end, he twisted around to attack the rising eel demons, hissing their rage. But he never made it.
His eyes surged wide. His throat made an odd sound as if trying to cry out, yet was incapable of making such a sound. A pain like nothing he had ever felt bolted through him, ripping at his very being. Kaitoukon's pale blue soul burst out from his chest, turned and dove right back in. Sesshoumaru's mouth opened to scream, but no sound came out. His sword fell from his hand and plopped into the mud below.
It was a pain unlike any physical pain he had ever experienced that exploded through his body as his soul was dragged from his body in tiny, tortuous fragments. The unagi lord continued to dive through his body, stealing his very essence of life from him. The pain that seared within him as he felt his soul ripped from his body made him want to scream – and he almost did.
The torture ended, but the subsequent agony did not cease. Sesshoumaru fell to the muddy ground below, trying to get to get up, to force his legs to work, but the lasting pain made him unable to move.
Darkness clouded the edges of his vision as he looked up at Kaitoukon, into the torrent of falling water, watching the snake-like soul return to its body. Wrapped in its greasy tail was his soul. Not his human soul, but the misty shape of his true demon form. The enormous eel turned its head up and hissed, laughing at him. It spread its large wings and sped off with the other unagi demons. He heard a splash as a small body dropped into the mud and whimpered beside him.
They had stolen his soul… but he was still alive. There was something completely wrong with that.
Two small hands jarred him, pushing on his shoulder. He dimly heard a voice saying his name and, as his awareness fully returned, he heard that same voice ringing with clarity. Yet, at the same time, it felt as if his hearing was hampered, like his eardrums were clogged with water.
Sesshoumaru sat up, his hair heavy with water and mud. The rain was pounding just as hard as it had been before, but his clothes could be no more soaked. His skin was cold and he felt a shiver moving up his spine, but he turned to the human girl beside him before his body succumbed to it. The cold should not have affected him in such a way. He blamed unconsciousness on the alien sensation, though he had no recollection of falling unconscious.
"Lord Sesshoumaru!" Rin grinned cheerfully. Her hair was matted to her face, her checkered kimono was saturated with rain and muck and her shoulders sagged under the weight, but she was just as happy as ever to see him.
The smile on her face somehow made it seem as if… as if, perhaps, he was right to come after her. Of course it was right. She was his property. His property had been stolen.
"Here's your sword!" she said. Toukijin was much too heavy for her to carry, so she had dragged it to him through the thick mud by the hilt.
He took it from her and was surprised to find it unusually heavy. He stood to sheath the long sword and noticed that his armor, too, seemed heavy over his shoulder. With a small amount of difficulty and his usual flare of grace, he sheathed his sword. Exactly what had Kaitoukon done to him?
"What happened to your arm, sir?" Rin asked curiously as she bent closer to the aforementioned appendage.
Sesshoumaru glanced at his arm. The cut from his sword had not healed and the rain had washed away the blood to keep it from caking over. It should have healed by then. His mind drifted back to Kaitoukon, flying off with the soul of his dog demon form. He had his suspicions, but he was unwilling to confirm them.
Lightning cracked in the distance. The storm was merciless.
Her eyes sparkled with wonderment and her hand reached up as if she wanted to touch it.
"What about it?" he asked coolly.
"It's not white. It looks prettier!" she giggled.
"Don't be absurd." Even as he said it, he was walking towards the rocks to find a clean puddle.
He found one, rippling as fat raindrops splashed into it. Sesshoumaru stooped over it, waiting for his eyes to find the image he was looking for… and they did. Even through the disturbances he could see that his hair was no longer silver, but entirely black. It wasn't a pair of golden eyes that greeted him, but rather rich brown ones did. He searched the oscillating reflection for his markings, for the red stripes and the purple crescent moon, but even in that moment where the puddle was still he was unable to find them.
His head whipped around to find Rin staring up at him in the pelting rain with an amused smile. Always smiling. Always friendly. His brows drew down in angry confusion.
It was impossible… yet it was possible, because it had happened.
The great Demon Lord of the Western Lands was human.
Author's Note– When I began writing this, it was intended to be a lengthy one-shot with only two goals: make it a Sess/Rin love story and turn Sesshoumaru into a human. But, when I first encountered everyone's favorite demon, Rin was risking her life to get him food that she should have kept for herself. Despite having no prior knowledge of his character, I knew that it wasn't in his nature to warm up to the girl. Thus, my love for them as friends far exceeds my amusement towards them as a couple. So I'll leave the love stories to others – I couldn't bring myself to do it.
However, I am now forced to break the story into chapters and see if we can't make everything right again… *innocent grin* I hope it will remains short. No more than three chapters.
Also, I will be taking picture requests for the story. In other words, if there's a scene you want me to draw – I'll draw it. I'll also most willingly accept fanart if anyone draws any! XD
Thank You Too– My beta-reader, K-Chan, for helping me get a few things straight with the names. And for beta-reading, naturally.
K-chan:Damn straight you better acknowledge me! I wasted my valuable computer time while YOU were taking a shower! ( I hope you cleaned your ears thoroughly!!!) La… I'm a beta-reader, all you other readers/authors out there.
I beta stories. Duh. I will rape your story, and you can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org ^_^