~*Disclaimer: If I did own Inuyasha, I wouldn't be typing this out on Windows 95. Oh no. I'd have a brand new computer that didn't freeze on me so many times… *grumble grumble*
"…" – speech
'…' – thoughts
~*~*~ - change in scenery or time
"What the hell did you call me for, Sesshoumaru?"
A silver-haired man sat calmly at his seat as another barged though his door and into his executive office. The businessman continued typing on his computer, ignoring the newcomer.
Still staring at the computer screen, the man demanded of the other, "Sit down, Inuyasha."
The one called Inuyasha stubbornly crossed his arms, intent on disobeying any of the other's commands. If one were to compare the two, they would find the few aspect that plainly pointed out that they were related. They both had the long silver-white hair and slitted amber-gold eyes they had inherited from their father. However, that where the similarities ended.
While the elder brother, Sesshoumaru, had two stripes on either side of his face, and a blue crescent moon-shaped marking on his forehead, the younger's face was clear. Sesshoumaru had an air of sophistication about him and a delicately shaped face that made him seem almost… feminine. He constantly carried about a furry boa on his right shoulder that had earned him the nickname, 'Fluffy' from his younger brother. Needless to say, he wasn't pleased with that.
The younger brother had a stubborn visage that was complimented by his crossed arms and defensive stance. His attitude and demeanour completely set him apart from his brother. While Sesshoumaru rarely showed any form of emotion, he wasn't afraid of letting everybody know how he was, and what he did. However, the thing, or rather, things that set them apart the most, were the dog-ears atop Inuyasha's head.
For you see, Mamoru Inuyasha was but a half-demon; a hanyou, while his brother was a full-blooded youkai. They shared the same father, but had different mothers. Inutaisho, their father, had taken a mate years before- a beautiful full-blooded dog demon. However, she had died upon giving birth to a pup. Sesshoumaru had been raised by the many servants of the household, while his father buried himself in his work.
A few years later, when Sesshoumaru had been but four years of age, Inutaisho had taken another mate, this time, a human named Izayoi. Not soon, she too, became pregnant. At first, the young dog demon had been ecstatic to have a mother and a brother, but as time passed, and Mamoru Inutaisho died, Sesshoumaru finally learned what his brother and step-mother were.
Upon discovering Inuyasha had 'inferior' human blood running through his veins, a hatred had developed. Encourage by the other full-blooded youkai at school, the dog-demon had begun to ignore his little brother, who didn't understand why 'Sesshou-chan' wouldn't play with him anymore.
Once Izayoi had died, the health of young Inuyasha had been entrusted to the servants. Throughout the years the hanyou had lived with his brother, they had ignored each other, only exchanging choice insults now and then.
When the boy had finally escaped to college, he had been only too eager to leave the hellhole of a home. The elder brother had also been enthusiastic about the move, and the two had not had contact for four years.
Which was why it had come as a surprise when Inuyasha had been contacted by Sesshoumaru one day, telling him to visit to 'settle some things'.
So here he was, in his brother's luxurious office in his business building, waiting for the pin to drop.
Sesshoumaru continued to ignore his standing sibling, calmly working at his computer.
The silence dragged on.
Finally, Inuyasha's thin patience snapped, and he erupted, "Well?! I came back here! What the hell do you want?!"
"Sit down, Inuyasha," was the repeated reply.
Glowering, the dog-eared boy sat down dropped into the cusiony chair beside him, sinking downwards. His arms remained crossed, and his eyebrows drew together in a pout. For someone having graduated university, Inuyasha really was quite childish.
After several more minutes of silence, Sesshoumaru pressed a key, and swivelled to face his brother. They stared at each other in a battle of wills, neither willing to back down. The older demon's cool eyes bore into those of the unruly hanyou.
The minutes ticked by, and Inuyasha coughed, tearing his gaze away.
The ghost of a smirk crossing the demon's face, Sesshoumaru folded his hands on his desk, and spoke, "As you know, Father was a very… rich man."
The hanyou snorted.
Disregarding him, he continued, "He had much property, and owned this very corporation. All in all, across Japan, our Father possess-"
Whipping his gaze back to his brother, Inuyasha interrupted his smooth speech, "You fucking called me out here to tell me stuff I already know?" He stood up. "Well then, I'm outta here."
The elder sibling's glance sharpened, "Sit down."
Pausing at his tone of voice, the hanyou turned around to face Sesshoumaru. "What do you have to tell me?"
"Things you will benefit from."
Raising an eyebrow, Inuyasha plopped back down into the chair. "I'm listening."
Face as expressionless as ever, Sesshoumaru resumed, "As you know, Father owned several large mansions spread across Japan. However, at his death, he instructed that most of them would be sold, leaving only three in our possession. One is here in Tokyo, in which I take residence. The second is in the Americas for business trips." He paused to make sure his brother was still listening. "The last, is in the countryside. His will explained, that upon your graduation from university, provided you attended one, this last mansion would be given to you along with everything within it."
The youkai stopped speaking, gazing expressionlessly at his brother.
His brother, whose mouth was wide open in surprise.
Opening and closing his mouth several times, Inuyasha could only gape like an idiot.
"Are you trying to catch flies?" Sesshoumaru's face held the slightest hint of amusement.
Regaining his composure, the hanyou straightened. His mouth closed with a near audible click. "I get… a mansion? Just like that?" his eyes narrowed, "Wait… what's the catch? Why are you giving it to me?"
Nearly sighing at his brother's suspicion, Sesshoumaru withdrew a document, "See here, halfling?" Inuyasha's ears went back at that comment. "This is Father's will. This line explains that the house located on the outskirts of Kyoto will be given to the younger son upon completion of university. He was to be of twenty-four years, or older. You are twenty- four years of age, are you not? There is no catch. I, myself, have never seen this place."
The younger frowned, "But you have heard of it, Fluffy?"
At this, there was an ever so small line in his forehead. "Yes."
"…and…?" Prodded the hanyou.
"Father saw it fit to give the house to you… because… he met your human mother there." His lip curled in the smallest of sneers.
Inuyasha examined his brother's face carefully. He'd thought there had been a brief flash of… sadness, but it was gone now, if it had ever been there at all. When they had been children, Sesshoumaru had loved his stepmother, and had played with Inuyasha. However, when he had discovered what a hanyou was…
Any brotherly feelings had vanished in an instant.
The full-blooded demon turned his attention back to the hanyou. He held out a small envelope, which Inuyasha took questioningly.
Swivelling back to face the computer screen, Sesshoumaru spoke one last time. His voice was soft, "That, little brother, was what I summoned you for. Now go. I have business to attend to."
He resumed typing.
Inuyasha slowly headed towards the door of the office, throwing another glance over his shoulder. The full-blooded youkai was, once again, immersed in his work.
Stepping out of the large room, he closed the door carefully instead of slamming it like he would have done.
The hanyou turned to his right, spotting the secretary's desk. A petit woman sat there, long hair flowing down her back, and lively eyes dancing on her face. She had been the secretary for almost seven months- a record for the longest holder of that position. All of the others had been fired long before for their incompetence.
'Sesshoumaru must really like this one.' He nodded and voiced, "Yeah. See ya next time, Rin."
She smiled, returning to her business- whatever it was, "Hello, this is Mamoru Incorporation. You have reached the office of…"
Her cheery voice was abruptly cut off as Inuyasha walked out of the main office area. His father's business, which now belonged to Sesshoumaru, produced goods, and shipped them world-wide. What it made, Inuyasha neither knew nor cared. He'd never had much of a business sense. Perhaps that's why his father had left the entire company to the elder sibling, instead of splitting it- it was a wise decision.
However, Inuyasha found that he did have an interest in mythology, history, and supernatural occurrings, delving deeper into such things in university. He wasn't an archaeologist as many assumed when they heard what he did. He just liked to investigate unusual happenings. Having only just graduated days prior, he had yet to find a job- not that he needed one, of course.
Stepping into the elevator, Inuyasha pressed the button for the 'ground' floor. Now he'd just have to wait for 45 levels to pass…
He had all the money he could ever need, and now, even had a house all to himself! That left him free to do whatever he wanted, and to study anything.
Not wanting to rely on his brother during his school years, Inuyasha had taken up teaching some of the martial arts in his spare time. Most of his students had been children from age 5 to teenagers up to 17 years of age. While not all of them trusted him- he was a hanyou, after all, he certainly did excel in that area, and was an excellent teacher, if not a little demanding at times.
The money earned had allowed the student to get by with a decent living in the school dormitories. He had shared a room with his best friend since high school, Miroku. All through university, the boy, who insisted that he had descended from a line of monks, had constantly groped every female within 10 metres of him.
Speaking of whom, how far had he gotten with Sango?
They had met Sango in their second year.
Miroku said it was love a first sight.
Well… make that love at first grope.
Inuyasha said he liked her because she hit the hardest.
After a year of being the recipient of non-stop begging, Sango had finally agreed to go out with Miroku. Ever since that date, they had been an on again, off again couple. While they really appeared to like each other, Sango just couldn't take his groping (of other women) and he…
Well, he just begged for forgiveness every time. Not having been apart for longer than a span of three days, whenever they had to 'spend some time apart', he sent a multitude of gifts, ranging from poems to stuffed animals.
She'd always forgive him.
They were a strange couple indeed.
The elevator 'dinged' as it reached the ground floor. Inuyasha stepped out of the chamber with an involuntary shudder- he'd never liked encased spaces. Maybe it had something to do with being trapped for half a night in a closet once with visions of spiders tapping here and there…
Strolling out the large front doors, the hanyou shaded his eyes from the sudden sunlight. Walking to the nearest train station, he waited for the next one that would take him to the apartment he was currently renting. Withdrawing the envelope from a pocket, the silver-haired man ignored the many gawks at his dog-ears, and tore it open.
In it was a single card that gave the address for the country estate. Turning it over, Inuyasha found nothing, and arched an eyebrow. He only got the address?
Turning the white envelope over, he shook it. Into his open palm, fell a solitary key.
He examined the key that was about as long as his index finger, and thinner than a pencil. It appeared to be pretty old, fashioned from a shiny metal. Engraved in it were two words:
A single car sped down an otherwise deserted road.
In the car, was the driver- a cabby. He appeared to be in his early twenties, about Inuyasha's age. With him, was a hanyou who was steadily being bored to death- the man just wouldn't stop TALKING! Over the past two hours, Inuyasha had been sitting in the backseat of a cab headed towards his new home. During those past two hours, he had been 'entertained' by the seemingly endless stories of his driver.
"…and so, my girlfriend see… love her… sister… parents… sending… college… doctor… sports…" Didn't this guy EVER shut up?
Clearing his throat, Inuyasha interrupted the monologue, "Hey, are we there yet?"
Glancing at the irritated young man through the review mirror, the driver nodded, "Yup. Just a few more minutes, and we'll be coming up to your house."
Inuyasha slumped into the backseat, sighing. There was a momentary lapse in sound. He revelled in the silence.
Damn it! His ears needed a rest!
"… You're headed towards the mansion?"
"Yeah…" was the half-hearted reply.
Inuyasha groaned, "I'm living there."
The taxi suddenly swerved, causing the passenger to collide with the side of the car interior rather painfully.
"What the fuck?!" He glared at the front of the car, noticing the driver's eyes on him on the mirror. "…What?"
Keeping the gaze, the cabby spoke up, suddenly polite, "Well sir, we generally don't get many to drive around too many rich people."
He rubbed his temples. "I'm not really rich. My asshole of a half-brother is. I just leech off of him. That and my lifesavings." Inuyasha shrugged indifferently. Money had never been much of an issue to him.
"And you're moving into the mansion?"
"Are there any others around here?"
"The one with the sealed garden?"
This caught the hanyou's attention. "Wait, what? Sealed garden?"
"You've never heard of it?"
The driver nodded sagely. "Okay then. Now, see, you've got the mansion- beautiful thing, she is. And behind it, is a garden that nobody's been able to enter for years."
"Well for one, there's an extremely tall stone wall that encloses the whole thing, and there isn't a door either. People have tried to break through, but it doesn't even scratch."
Inuyasha tapped his claws against the door. "Why don't they just climb over the wall?"
"They've tried. Nobody can do it. There's a sort of spell on the whole thing. Prevents anyone from even touching the stone two meters above the ground." He continued, "They've tried flying over it. Doesn't work. There's something obstructing the interior of that place from showing through the top. It's like the whole thing's covered in smoke. Anybody who tries to get in is zapped by the spell."
"…Then how do you know it's a garden?"
The cabby smiled, "Because you can see the plants that grow over the cracks near the bottom of the wall."
The hanyou snorted, "A few flowers don't make it a garden."
There was a momentary silence.
Then, "You know, some say that garden's haunted."
Inuyasha's interest was sparked. "Haunted?" he glanced questioningly to the front.
The cab driver nodded, and turned down a smaller path. "You see, there's a legend. They say that 500 years ago, there used to be village here with the most beautiful flowers. There was also a young miko guarding this village and a sacred item that was entrusted to her. They say that she fell in love with a youkai when miko were forbidden from accepting the courtship of demons. But she ignored the rules, and continued to see this youkai.
"Then, one day, tragedy struck- it turned out that the youkai had been playing the lovely priestess all the while, and he had always been planning to take the item she possessed. He destroyed the village, but before he could take the object, he was killed by the very woman he had betrayed. But the miko had been fatally injured in the fight." He paused for breath. "Now, you know how when people die, their souls move on? Well, they say that this miko's soul was too full of guilt for not listening to everybody else, and so sorrowful at her betrayed love, she remained in this world, unable to pass on.
"They say that she was the one who erected the wall, and placed a spell on it. And, the legend says that she remains in the garden to this day, forever protecting the item she had been killed over."
The end of the driver's story was met with silence. The passenger appeared to be deep in thought.
A secret garden?
That seemed like just the thing Inuyasha needed to spend his time on. He would get through the so-called impenetrable wall, and prove that the grove really wasn't as enchanted as it was thought to be- if it was a garden at all. People who were of true spiritual blood, such as priests and priestesses were rare these days, the blood having been mixed with other types.
Not soon, the car pulled to a stop.
"Well, we're here."
Snapping out of his thoughts, Inuyasha got out of the cab. The driver opened the trunk, and hauled out the heavy suitcases. He dropped one on his toe and yelped, jumping up and down in pain mixed with surprise. Ignoring the injured cabby, the hanyou turned around. He could only stare at the huge building that rose before him.
It was an ancient styled mansion that resembled those in the paintings from the feudal ages. It had obviously belonged to some rich lord, possibly the lord of a region. The house had obviously been reinforced through the years. Some of the walls looked newer than the others. It stretched on, and Inuyasha wondered vaguely just how many rooms there were in that place.
Surrounding the mansion was a stretch of grass that was, in turn, encircled by a thin wall that outlined the courtyard. There were several gaps in the wall large enough for several people to walk through at once. He could just make out the fabled stone wall behind the residence.
The driver, having recovered from the sudden pain, patted his passenger's shoulder. "Hey, so have fun in your new villa- lots to explore. Who knows? Maybe you'll be the one to enter the garden for 500 years."
Inuyasha paid the man for the ride, and he climbed back into his cab.
"Hey. What's your name?"
The driver looked through the opened window. "My name? It's Houjo."
The hanyou nodded absently. "Right. Bye, Hobo."
Pulling out of the courtyard and onto the dirt road, the driver shouted back, "It's Houjo!"
Inuyasha waved once and turned his attention back to his new house. Walking up to it, he discovered that there were no locks on the sliding doors. There must have been no need for them.
The area was safe enough, anyway. Besides, he cracked his knuckles, if there were any intruders, he would take care of them himself.
Carrying his heavy bags easily, Inuyasha slid open the main door, and stepped inside, breathing in the musky smell of a space unused. Glancing around, he found himself in an open room with a few sliding doors leading to different parts of the residence. There'd be some exploring to do.
He dropped the baggage.
"Well… I guess I'm home."
[Yes -- I have started The Sealed Garden.
Originally "The Secret Garden", but 'Sealed' is more appropriate for the setting, ne?
I have yet to decide on the secondary genre: it's a war between Drama, Supernatural, Mystery, and [possible] Humour.
I'll just have to see how this story runs! ^-^
The legend was crudely told because… well… Houjo was telling it! ^_^;;
Till next time!]