AN: I'm back again. It's taking me a minute to get me rear in gear because everthing was lost on my laptop. AGAIN!!! But just so you know I'm actually back, here's a nice short. For some reason, I can't seem to feel satisfied with it. Maybe I've just been out of the saddle too long. I don't know. But I think it's at least a little cute and maybe I will come back later and try to get it just right. For now, bear with me. At least it's long, right?
Warning: There is a little bit of gore in this one. But just blood. No guts.
Title: Sweet Weakness
Summary: A disheartened Sesshoumaru gives up in more ways than one.
With a quiet thump Sesshoumaru landed in the castle courtyard. As blood dripped from his claws he collapsed. Seriously injured, again, he thought with great irritation. Yet this time it was worse because he had been injured not by his brother, but on his brother's behalf. Why had he saved the half-breed from Naraku? He could have easily taken Naraku out while his brother was slain. But in a haze of half-formed frenzied thoughts he had stepped in and deflected it while taking heavy damage.
He staggered to his feet once more. Perhaps he was just as weak as his father.
"Sesshoumaru!" Jakken's fearful voice echoed though the courtyard.
He ignored the imp and limped into his castle.
"Lord Sesshoumaru, you're injured!" Jakken wailed at the bloody sight of him.
Sesshoumaru pushed through him and forged on to his chambers.
"You must bandage your wounds! You are bleeding everywhere!"
"There is no need." Sesshoumaru seethed.
If he was so weak, he would just die from his wounds. His death is what he deserved. Perhaps that would be the best way to end his humiliation.
Rin awoke suddenly to the sound of many scuffling feet running down the hallways. This immediately alarmed her because it was the middle of the night and, by her Lord's preference, things were ususally kept silent as much as possible even during the day. Such a ruckus would not be made lightly by the staff.
Ever since she had grown into a young woman, her Lord had insisted she remain at his keep. This greatly disappointed her because he was rarely there. But she could not deny the increased attacks she incited just by being a fully grown woman. Demons just seemed to enjoy endangering her life. And that was more of a distraction than Lord Sesshoumaru needed. So she lived here and cherished the times he was here. This, though, was definitely odd.
Throwing back the covers on her futon, she leapt up and slid on an outer robe. It was cold in the great keep, especially at night. Upon slamming her sliding paper door open she saw a startling sight of dozens of imps running back and forth. Many were holding various packets of herbs and linens. She gathered herself and grabbed one up by the collar.
"Oh, Miss Rin! You'll have to excuse me, I have urgent business to attend to!" The little old woman imp she grabbed squealed.
"Yes, in a second. Where is Lord Jakken?" She asked as politely as you can to a tiny green monster you are holding up by the collar.
"He's in the Great Hall, just outside the Lord's chambers!" Just then a great crash sounded and all the imps scurried along even faster. "I have to go!" She wailed.
Rin dropped the imp and swallowed a lump in her throat. Only one thing could cause a crash that loud. Lord Sesshoumaru. Specifically, an angry Lord Sesshoumaru. She took off with sudden resolve in the same direction as most of the imps, towards the Great Hall, a multi-purpose room that was large enough to house a dragon and was usually used for banquets and to recieve royal guests. Notably, it was also adjacent to Lord Sesshoumaru's private chambers.
As she got closer she noticed a very alarming sight. There was blood everywhere. Pools of it. And it sizzled faintly, so she knew it was a powerful demon's blood. From the look of it, there was much more than could logically fit in just one body. But then, demons rarely adhered to logic.
The sight that greeted her in the Great Hall was frantic. The long, mahogany tables were piled with different medicinal supplies. Bandages, herbs, and poultices were strewn everywhere. And there were more imps gathered around than she even knew worked in the castle. The looks on their faces did not bode well. There panicked jibbering rang in her ears. Just as she was trying to figure out what to do and where to go, another loud crash resounded around the hall and she saw the source of it was a tiny, charred green imp sailing through the air after being thrown violently out of the Lord's chambers. It was Jakken and she immediately made her way to where he landed.
Luckily, there were a large amount of medical supplies around to see to Jakken's burns. But the little toad was having none of it, in fact he was irrate. Rin ignored his stammering protests and slathered ointment on his burnt head.
"Lady Rin! Lady Rin!" He gasped incoherently.
"Jakken, what on earth is going on? What is the matter with Lord Sesshoumaru?" She asked while trying unsuccessfully to remain calm.
"He's injured! Terribly! And he won't accept treatment. Everytime I bring him bandages or try to tend to his wounds, he throws me out! I don't know what to do!" Jakken wailed pitifully.
"How bad is it, exactly?" She asked, afraid to know the answer.
"It is very bad. He is losing too much blood. And all his struggling with me and the others has made him weaker. He is no longer reasonable, he is becoming more like a wounded animal that strikes out at whatever comes near him! He has killed dozens of servants and if I go back, I believe he will kill me. He barely even knows me anymore." Jaken said with defeat written on his every wrinkle.
Rin could barely breathe. Could her Lord truly be injured that badly? She had thought him invincible. Or at least close enough. To think of losing him... She couldn't do it. She would have to live among humans again because it wouldn't take but a moment for a new, terrible demon to take over Sesshoumaru's lands. But much worse than that, he would be gone from her.
"I will go in there and try to tend to him." She said shakily.
"Absolutely not, you will be killed." Jakken said sternly.
"Maybe, but I will not sit by and wait for him to die." She said with power in her voice she didn't feel.
She had to try. She couldn't imagine living without him.
"Help me pry open the doors, I'm not strong enough." She cried out into the frentic hall.
The little imps stopped suddenly and mulled over her words. With a look to Jakken, who seemed resigned to allowing this, due to his great love of Lord Sesshoumaru, they began trying to pry open the heavy stone doors. Meanwhile she grabbed armfuls full of every kind of herb, bandage, powder, and poultice she could. Within a few minutes, they had it pried open enough for her slim form to squeeze in.
If she thought there was a lot of blood outside, she was wrong. Compared to inside, that blood was just a drop. Dark blood stained almost every surface. The carpets were soaked with it and the walls were sprayed with it. She knew now that Jakken had not been exaggerating. Her Lord was indeed very seriously injured. She swallowed her fear and anguish and followed the blood into his inner chamber where he slept.
She barely dared to look inside, but when she did, she found him collapsed in pile against the edge of the bed. He was oozing black blood and his eyes shone dark red. His worst wound seemed to be the one that gashed down his left side. But he had many other cuts besides that one. His head flicked up when he heard her footsteps but his eyes didn't focus on her.
"Jakken, I told you if you came back I would kill you and I meant it. Come closer and I will slice you down the middle, only this time I have not the strength or desire to revive you." He said in an angry snarl.
"It's not Jakken, My Lord. It's Rin." She said softly. At this he turned his head towards her but couldn't see her with his blinded bloody red eyes.
"Rin." He murmured. "Get out of here, Rin. You do not belong here." He said darkly.
"Yes I do. My Lord is injured and I will see to his wounds." She continued calmly as she slid a few steps closer.
"No, leave me." He snapped.
"No. You will die." She said firmly.
"Yes, I know. Now leave me!" He yelled as a trickle of blood ran down his lips.
"You will have to kill me first, my Lord." She said as she gathered her courage and stepped close enough to touch him.
"I will kill you if I have to." He seethed.
"As you please, my Lord." She replied shakily as she took out some bandages and began to untie his kimono shirt.
He growled fiercely and grabbed her forearms.
"I will die from my weakness, I have no wish to live a weak demon!" He howled, half-crazed with blood-loss.
"You are not weak, whatever gave you that idea?" She asked, enduring the piercing of his claws.
"I lost a battle to save my filthy half-breed brother!" He snarled.
"Is that it, then? My Lord, it is not a weakness to love!" She yelled back.
"I have no love for that worthless half-blood!" He bellowed as his claws sunk deep into her flesh.
She screamed out and he eased his grip. Her blood dripped down slowly to mingle with his own.
"Tell me, why are you here? Why do you care if I die?" He bellowed.
"Because I love you! That's why!" She screamed.
She cried out in pain again and instantly he dropped her. At the sight and smell of her blood he passed out. Rin wrapped her shredded flesh in her sleeves and ran back to the door.
"Hurry, he's asleep! Treat as much as you can as quickly as you can!" She yelled out to the imps. As soon as the words left her mouth she passed out. She had lost more blood than she realized.
When he awoke he found himself to be in his own bed and wrapped in bandages. The windows were open and bright light filtered in. He did not die. Why? He had wished to end his weakness. He remembered refusing the imps' treatments and killing all who disobeyed. Why was he not dead? He had scorched Jakken and thrown him out on threat of death. Then it came back to him. He had nearly been gone at the time. Rin. Rin had come in and refused to leave on pain of death.
An unfamiliar sense of guilt flooded him when he recalled his demon-rage filled actions. He had injured her. Had he killed her? He remembered the tangy scent of her blood. He could not imagine his demon-rage having enough restraint to leave her alive. Either way, he had eventually passed out. If she was dead... He shook his sore head. He would kill whatever imps had saved him after he had lost a battle he shouldn't have and then killed an innocent, if foolish, young girl.
He laid back and waited for Jakken's inevitable arrival.
In a light doze he finally heard footsteps and saw the expected sight of the little green toad with bandages all over his head. Lord Sesshoumaru curled his lip. This was another servant who took more abuse than he probably should. What he did to deserve the loyalty, he could not say.
"My Lord! You're awake!" The toad stammered and dropped his tray of herbal medicines.
"Yes, but you won't be much longer for disobeying my orders." Sesshoumaru growled in what was most likely an empty threat.
"It wasn't me, my Lord, it was Rin!" The toad stammered.
Sesshoumaru lowered his head. He must truly be weak to be feeling such intense guilt over one human life.
"You should have kept her away." He admonished harshly, making Jakkens little hairs stand on end.
"I know, my Lord. I am sorry for what happened to her. It was my duty to see to you." Jakken said softly.
"Have you buried her yet?" Sesshoumaru asked quietly, removing all emotion from his voice. "
"Buried? Why would we bury her? Is that the punishment you wish to take on her?" The toad asked, clearly quite confulsed.
"She lives?" Sesshoumaru asked, unable to maintain his icy coolness.
"Yes, she was injured, but she is expected to be fine in a few weeks."
"Oh." He replied.
Injured but not dead? How badly injured? He couldn't imagine her lovely face scarred and maimed.
He relented and allowed the toad to apply whatever ointments and bandages he wished. The toad vacated the room as quickly as possible, clearly surprised to be living. Sesshoumaru relaxed and allowed sleep to overcome him once again. He had truly been close to death. He would need time to even be able to leave his room.
When he awoke it was to the sound of quiet humming and the faint smell of flowers that was overpowered by the smell of herbs and medicines. He peeled open his eyes and saw a sight that brought unexpected happiness to him. Rin was by the window arranging a vase full of wildflowers. From the back, he could not see her injuries, but he cringed all the same.
"My Lord, you're awake!" She exclaimed cheerfully when she turned around.
He still couldn't see any injury until she reached up and her kimono sleeve fell away from her arm revealing bandages wrapped around her forearm. Faint traces of blood could been seen through the bandage and he could recognize the pattern of his claws. He turned away from her quickly.
"I am so happy you are recovering." She said softly with overly full eyes.
"Are you alright?" He managed.
"Oh?" She said. Then she looked down to her arms. "You did not mean to, you were hurt. I will be fine" She replied brightly.
Frankly, she amazed him. What the hell was she even doing with him? Especially now that he hurt her.
"Why did you do it? I could have easily killed you. I barely knew myself." He said very quietly.
"You saved me many times, Lord Sesshoumaru." She replied easily.
"Not at my own personal risk."
"I believe you would, if you had too." She replied crisply as she picked up a pot of vile smelling medicinal ooze.
"I am a demon, Rin. You are a human. You die much easier." He asserted.
"Obviously. I've already died once." She joked before removing a bandage and smearing the goo on the gash beneath. Her ministrations had obviously been doing some good. His wound was already pink on the edges.
"What is that?" He asked.
"Just something I concocted. I learned the herb lore from one of the imps. I have to do something while you're away, after all." She replied with a smile.
He had nearly killed her and there she was smiling at him, even making him feel guilty for leaving her alone for so long. What was wrong with her? A sensible human would have set eyes on him and immediately run far, far away. Not her. Here she was rubbing ointment on his gash after he had hurt her. For some reason, he did not enjoy having her see him so weak. But there was little choice now. He didn't dare send her away after she had risked so much.
"Do you remember what we talked about?" She asked in almost a whisper.
"Not really." He replied curiously as dissappointment filled her eyes.
"Oh." She sunk a little. "Well, I just wanted you to know that you aren't weak. You're the strongest being I've ever met. And just because you do things because you care doesn't make you weak, it makes you strong." She whispered.
"Ha, should I feel better just because a human thinks I'm strong? Emotion is weakness, nothing more." He laughed bitterly.
"Are you saying that when you first revived me, it was just weakness?" She asked, emotion flaring in her features.
"Every moment I allow you to stay with me is weakness, I have had a decade of weakness on your part!" He said cruelly, upset at himself.
At the sight of her face he knew he had made an error. Saddness, anger and most promeniently, pain, shone in tears streaming down her face. She quickly and precisly applied the bandage and as quickly and quietly as the wind, she ran out of the room.
He didn't see her again. Jakken became his full-time nurse and unfortunately, his only companion. He felt feelings that he hadn't really ever felt to this extent before. Guilt, mainly. She had risked her life for him and then he had basically forsaken her. Really all she had ever done was try to help, even as a child gathering food he didn't need to eat and water he didn't need to drink. And even though there was little she could do, she did try. After all, he had allowed her to stay. She had kept his castle running neater than it ever had before. And his gardens were now full of flowers and she had apparently been making medicines.
What was the worst were his dreams. All night he had the same terrible dream. He was fully transformed and badly wounded an angelic Rin tried to come to him. When she did he grabbed her up and asked why she had come. Every time he heard her voice crystal clear "Because I love you, that's why!" she would scream and then his dream self would rip her apart.
It was weeks before he gathered up the courage to ask Jakken about her.
"How does Lady Rin fare?" He asked casually in the same manner he may have asked a hundred times before when he would return to the castle.
The look on Jakken's face did very little to ease him. Rather, it did quite the opposite. Green sweat instantly broke out on the toad's broad head, now mainly healed. And his mouth twisted in a few half-formed statements before he finally spoke.
"Ah, My Lord. Lady Rin... ah, well... she left the castle the night after my Lord woke up..." Jakken stammered.
Sesshoumaru grabbed him up by the collar.
"And why did you not see fit to tell me this?" Sesshoumaru growled.
"Well, you were healing, and I didn't want to slow the process by bothering you. She began to pack after meeting with my Lord, I had thought she had left on orders..." The toad said very quietly.
Sesshoumaru dropped him. It was not the toad's fault she had left, even if he should have mentioned it. Not for a minute had he imagined Rin would actually leave. He had thought she was just avoiding him and would stay with him, as she always did.
"Did she say where she was going?" He asked.
"She mentioned something about finding a human village." Jakken replied.
"I must go to her." Sesshoumaru declared suddenly and threw off his blankets.
"No, my Lord! You are too badly hurt! Traveling will open it all back up and you will lose more blood! You could still die. Besides, I'm sure she's fine. She's probably better off!" Jakken pleaded.
"If she wishes to stay there, she will. But I must see her." Sesshoumaru said as he lurched to his feet and ordered the toad to help dress him.
Rin was gathering berries with a number of young women who were her new friends. The little village on the outskirts of the woods surrounding the castle was a prosperous one, mainly because other demons refused to come this close to Lord Sesshoumaru's castle, but also because there was an abundance of resources in the area. At first she had been nervous, but a beautiful healthy young woman is not usually turned away from a small village.
They had been concerned about her past, her wounds, and mainly about the direction she had arrived from, but her friendly smiles and generosity had soothed them quickly enough. She couldn't say she was happy, necessarily. She missed the imps and their silliness. She missed the beauty of the castle. But mainly, she missed Lord Sesshoumaru. She missed catching haunting glimspes of him in the moonlight. She missed his extremely rare wry smiles. She missed everything about him.
But it had been several weeks, and she was beginning to believe she could get through the homesickness. The villagers were kind and full of laughs. And she never wanted for attention. She would never forget Sesshoumaru or stop loving him. But she could possibly move on. She hoped she could, anyway.
Just as she found a particularlly plump berry that she was planning on eating herself, she heard screams from her fellow villagers. When she looked up, she saw something careening out of the sky.
"Demon!" The women screamed as they ran away.
A few tried to grab her and pull her to safety, but some sick sense of curiostiy kept her there. The cloud careening through the sky was somewhat familiar. A fluttering in her chest sent her running towards the source. Her fellow horrified villagers stood back and watched.
As she ran forward she was shocked to see it was Sesshoumaru. And indeed, he was not healed enough to be out. His wounds had split open and blood stained his beautiful kimono. He collapsed in the field when he saw her running forward. The emotions flooding her were overwhelming. Why had he come? Especially in such a condition. She ran forward and kneeled at his side. He was breathing heavily.
"Lord Sesshoumaru! What are you doing out of bed?" She asked.
The villagers were astonished and horrified that she was familiar with the demon. They backed away from her slowly and fled back to the village.
"You left the castle." He said quietly.
"Well, of course. I'm just a burden to you." She replied angrily.
"That is not what I said..." He trailed off.
"Yes it is. I risk my life for you, tell you my feelings for you, and the next thing you do is tell me I am nothing but a weakness." She said, now quite upset.
"Your feelings, what do you mean your feelings?" He asked as she applied pressure to his bleeding wound.
"You really don't remember? Maybe that's for the best. You still believe love is a weakness, after all..." She said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
"The dream..." He whispered. "Do you truly love me? Why?"
"Of course I love you." She said loudly. "Why wouldn't I?"
"I am a demon. I have no love to give you back." He said as she began ripping fabric from her yukata to wrap his side with.
"Yes you do. You would not have saved me or your brother so many times if you had no love. Why are you here now, as hurt as you are, if you have no love for me. But if you can't love me the way I love you, I understand. It is too much to ask for you to love me like a man loves a woman, the way I need you to... but I will always love you. I will stay here, though. Because this love I have for you causes me pain for it is unrequited." She said softly.
"Rin, will you come back to the castle with me?" He asked suddenly.
She sat back with surprise on her face. He was so weak before her now, lying in the grass. She indulged herself and ran her fingers through his hair. It was so soft and silky. To her great astonishment, he allowed her. And she went on to trace his lips with her fingers. He said nothing about this, but there was a softness in his eyes that reassured her.
"I can't go back to the castle and wait for you all the time. It hurts too much. I love you too much for that." She whispered as she lowered her face to his forehead and felt the soft skin there with her lips.
He hadn't rebuked her, or laughed at her yet, so she tenderly kissed him on the pale purple moon on his forehead.
"Come back with me. I won't leave you." He said.
"But you do not love me. Not in the way I need you too." She breathed into his ear.
She gasped as, slowly with great consideration and ponderance, he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close. His blood smeared all over her, but it didn't stop him. He pulled her down and gave her a soft kiss on the mouth. As he pulled back he appeared to be savoring the taste, finding it to be sweet.
"I have denied myself love all my life long. My mother lost my father to a human, so I denied myself love for her. My father died for his second son, so I denied myself love for him. I could not allow myself love for my half-brother, because he took my father away. I think you, Rin, I will allow myself. Your love is a sweet weakness I do not believe I can avoid. I would be dead without it. Perhaps it is not a weakness. Perhaps it is a strength. Either way, I do love you in the way you need me to and every other." He said softly before kissing her again. "Will you come back?"
"Yes, yes, yes!" She said euphorically. "I shall show you how strong love is."
After a few minutes in each other's arms, they saw the great dragon Ah-Un, and Jakken land a ways off in the field.
"My Lord, are you alright?" Jakken asked, clearly dismayed at the sight of them.
"Yes. I just need to get back in bed. Help me on the dragon." Sesshoumaru said.
After making it on the dragon under mainly his own power, they all took off. The villagers were gathered under them. Half of them were afraid, half were waving, confused, but friendly. It was a short flight to the castle, but Rin spent it joyously with her arms around Sesshoumaru. When they landed, a legion of imps helped them all into the castle and Rin and Jakken saw to it that Sesshoumaru was once again settled into his giant bed and wrapped in fresh bandages.
"Alright, Lady Rin, Lord Sesshoumaru has been seen to. Now we can retire to our chambers and give him some time to rest. I will help you reorder your chambers since you shall be staying with us again. I'm afraid everything has gathered some dust." Jakken said imperiously.
"No, you may go. But I want Lady Rin to stay with me. You may bring her things here." Sesshoumaru said, sending new thrills through her heart.
Jakken's jaw flapped open, but he did manage to find his way out of the door even though his eyes appeared to be glued to Rin's smiling face.
"Is there something I can do for you, Lord Sesshoumaru?" Rin asked after he left.
"You don't have to call me Lord anymore." He said. "Aside from that, just come up here and lay next to me so I know you are here while I sleep." He said as he pulled her gently on the bed.
He was very tired, but he stayed awake for a few moments to run his hand down her side, clearly fascinated by the tactile sensations she was giving him. She gently layed on the side opposite the gash and nuzzled in close to him. His breaths started to come deeper and more evenly and she knew he was asleep. She lay awake for some time just enjoying her feelings and the smoothness of his chest. But eventually sleep overtook her too and she dreamed many sweet dreams of what would come when he felt better.