Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha. Don't really wish I did now that I think about it. Too much responsibility.
Author's Note: I'm revising the previous three chapters. Not really changing much but a few grammar and spelling errors. For some reason I can't seem to remember that Jaken's name does NOT have two 'k's it. Silly brain. Oh well, I guess I'll find a beta soon if I can pump out enough chapters to have something to beta.
You have been given a great task. Despite your trepidation, despite the ill at hand, there will be good to come.
Balance, my Love.
When the scale tips too much there is chaos. Your purpose (not the only one, I can assure you, but the greatest) is to provide the light. The utmost of two extremes...Souzousha and Sesshou-maru. But there is so much power to be harvested there. So much...
I'm afraid if you are reading this letter then I am no longer present to give you these words myself. For that I am infinitely sorry. This is one lesson that I will not be able to teach you. Youkai are difficult by nature, and your betrothed exemplifies this trait by far. Have patience. Though you may have to act as your own instructor, you have the strength of mind and heart to conquer all.
And if there is anything you remember of this, know that you are never alone. Confidants can be found in the most unlikely of places.
Take care my Love. My prayers have always been with you.
She hadn't read the letter her otou-san had handed her will in the private (and cage like) walls of the carriage provided by the Great Lord. Since the meting in the tearoom she hadn't uttered a word to him and out of a final act of defiance she thrown the weathered paper to the carriage floor and shut the curtain. The last she saw of her father was a defeated sigh, casting his eyes down to the letter before bringing them back to her. Almost pleading with vindication. So uncharacteristic, seeing him humbled so. Had she acted that rashly before there would have been astringent punishment to pay.
And she supposed she had acted childish. She'd even felt so when she found herself with crossed arms and worrying her bottom lip. The same way she used to when she was much younger and didn't get her way. The regression to childhood behavior pulled her sharply out of her morose mood and she felt the first pangs of regret. There was no certainty that she would see her otou-san again. No certainty that she'd ever be in the sanctuary of her home. No more security from the outside world. That place where you weren't special because you were different. You were scorned because you were tainted, not pure.
He never thought of her that way. And she'd hurt him.
The letter lay forgotten on the carriage floor. It remained forgotten when she arrived at the Western Lord's shiro and was led in by servants who all but ignored the fact that she was there. She was absorbed in thoughts of her otou-san and not saying good-bye, and the looks she was getting from the many other servants now surrounding her. They were the lowest of youkai. The scrubbers of floors. The cleaners of chamber pots. She was still beneath them. And throughout all the worry, thoughts, and quiet whispers (which weren't really quiet enough not to be heard and she was pretty sure they were meant to reach her ears) the letter remained forgotten.
And it stayed that way until she followed the girl named Rin, who troubled her mind the most because she was neither youkai or hanyou, but purely human. Despite this, she treated her little better then any youkai would, regarding her with warm less eyes, though she suspected it had nothing to do with what she was but what she was for. Puzzling over the human girl's presence she was led into what she assumed was to be her new room. It smelled like her home (former home, she had to keep reminding herself) as they approached and when the screen was slid back she saw her possessions placed there.
"This is where Sesshou-maru-sama wants you to stay."
She glanced down at the girl, a little shocked at her familiar use of his name. Seeming the notice the stare, she looked back at her before quickly glancing away. Another mystery to add to an already exhausted conscious. A human girl, in the Lord's care, comfortable enough with him to say his name with such carelessness.
"He-" She paused and cleared her throat while looking up at her once more, catching her mistake this time. "The Lord says you are to be my moriyahu. My room is a few doors down."
"I see." She nodded slightly. So now she knew the reason for the girl's less then welcome behavior. Looking at her things carelessly dumped in the room she noticed that the lock on her chest had been broken and items of clothing were sticking out of the closed lid. Someone had been rummaging through it in her absence. The infringement on her personals started a swelling somewhere deep inside of her. It rose slowly, spreading its foul taste in her mouth, almost causing her to gag. The feeling sweltering was completely alien, and it frightened her. She pressed the heel of one hand to her forehead, closing her eyes and tried to swallow back the hot, coppery sapor.
Anger. Pure and unadulterated. It begged for release; to force its way out and to find something, anything to feel its power. She got a sudden vision of the girl sprawled out on the floor, her face raw and the mineral taste no longer on her tongue but in the air. Blood, she thought, repulsed with the vision and herself. Her lips parted with a gasp and she suddenly felt very uncomfortable, in the room and her own skin.
"Is everything alright?" Rin was looking at her again and she could hear the concern in her voice. She tried to answer, but her throat closed on itself. She'd never had an experience like that before. She could be quick to catch temper, but to go as far as the visualize hurting someone as innocent as the human standing next to her was unbelievable. She couldn't let them get to her. She couldn't allow it.
The blockage cleared and she shook her head. "I'm sorry."
Rin frowned, "For what?"
For being who I am. For wanting to hurt you. For being abhorrent. None of these seemed explanation enough.
"I'm sorry for being here," she said finally walking over to the chest to assess the damage, still uncomfortable but collected enough to find something to distract herself. There were a few items gone, but nothing that she would miss terribly. The red kazami was still there. The thief would have to do a lot of explaining if something so formal was found in their possession. It most certainly wasn't the standard uniform of a servant.
She felt the presence of the girl beside her as she sat down.
"You don't want to be here?"
"Ie. But I am, and nothing can change that."
She started folding the clothes and placing them back neatly in the chest. Rin was rummaging around in her kimono for something and after a few seconds she pulled it out.
"Here. I think this is yours."
It was the letter. A little more wrinkled and frayed at the edges then it had been when her otou-san had first given it to her, she recognized it by the name on the seal.
"I managed to get this while they were going through the carriage yesterday," she continued. "I'm afraid they got your fighting staff. But when the Lord returns I can have him get it back."
"Arigato," she nodded and took the letter. It didn't take long to read. Or read over, for that matter, because she was so confused by the cryptic words. Realizing that Rin was looking at the letter too, she quickly folded it and sighed. Things weren't any clearer then they had been before she read her senpi's words. And it didn't seem as if there would be a revelation any time soon.
" 'Balance'," Rin said softly. "What did that mean?"
"It could mean anything. And it could mean nothing. That's how my kaa-san was." She placed the letter under the rest of the clothes and closed the chest. "Again I thank you, Rin. But I think I am ready to retire."
"But it's no even noon yet-"
"I know," she interrupted, "Yet I am tired. It has been a stressful two days. We will talk later."
The girl nodded and stood, and Souzousha noted the state her kimono was in. She needed a lot of attention as far as her appearance went. Despite being Sesshou-maru's ward she showed none of the ostentation that he himself possessed. Maybe ostentation wasn't the best word, because he didn't try to impress. It simply was.
"Hai. Have a good rest."
"I will, Rin. Arigato."
She left, sliding the screen closed behind her. Though she was tired she didn't slept. There were too many thoughts running through her head. Instead she lay on her bedding and wondered. The future seemed so impossibly indefinite. The present was so undesirable. Her only reprieve was memory, and so she thought of now lost home.
otou-san - father
youkai - demon
hanyou - half-demon
moriyahu - guardian, nanny
kazami - formal kimono worn by the daughters of the court
ie - no