AUTHOR'S NOTES: (bows deeply)
I know I'm very late in updating, but you try switching from working all night to getting up early in a 24-hour period. You know you're tired when suddenly surfing the internet for news stories becomes the highlight of one's day. In any case (sigh) here's Scroll Six and the promised Sesshoumaru story. Trust me, it gets tooth-decayingly sweet and fluffy (no pun intended) by the end.
As always, thanks to Hawker, DarklessVasion, and the others who review!
SCROLL SIX: THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME
The hanyou whirled around in the middle of the path, his blood turning to ice as he recognized the voice of his half-brother. He cringed at the sight of Sesshoumaru, who as usual was dressed in a spotless white hakama, trimmed in blood red. Sesshoumaru wore night-black armor over the hakama, and his fur wrap thrown over one shoulder. The look on his face was one of pure contempt for the hanyou in front of him. Inuyasha felt that contempt like a physical blow. Compared to Sesshoumaru, his fire-rat fur hakama was threadbare and tawdry.
Despite the knowledge that he stood no chance against his half-brother, Inuyasha drew Tetsusaiga from its scabbard, the magical sword instantly transforming to a wicked blade twice its normal size and width. He held it shakily in front of him and declared, "What do you want?"
Sesshoumaru sniffed, his equivalent to a derisive laugh. "The sword that should have been mine, Inuyasha."
"Well, it's not yours, so bug off!"
"I will be satisfied with your life." Sesshoumaru then drew Tokujin. The sword fairly shimmered with evil and crackled as ice turned to steam as the blade touched the heated air. The sword hummed in Sesshoumaru's hands like a living thing, hungry for hanyou blood.
"I'll cut you down to size!" Inuyasha cried and made a desperate lunge to cut Sesshoumaru in half. His clumsy swing missed easily, mainly because Sesshoumaru moved in a blur. The flat of Tokujin struck the back of Inuyasha's head hard enough to draw blood. He went down, but came back up again quickly with another sweep of Tetsusaiga. Against another opponent, the cut would have been fatal; against Sesshoumaru, it was in vain.
The uneven struggle went on for another few minutes, with Inuyasha screaming and missing, and Sesshoumaru as silent as a grave and occasionally making shallow, but painful cuts across his half-brother's arms and face. Eventually, Inuyasha was nearly exhausted and Sesshoumaru, tired of the game, decided to end it. After one particularly ill-advised overhead swing that only saw Tetsusaiga cut a furrow in the earth, Sesshoumaru sidestepped, turned, and sliced Inuyasha's back to the spine. The hanyou screamed in agony and fell to the ground, Tetsusaiga clattering from his hands.
Sesshoumaru stood over Inuyasha, who squirmed on the ground in terrible pain. It did not help when Sesshoumaru placed a boot on the gaping wound. "Inuyasha, surrender Tetsusaiga," was all he said.
Sesshoumaru raised Tokujin high to plunge it through his brother. "Then die–"
"Lord Sesshoumaru! Lord Sesshoumaru! Whatcha doing?"
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened far wider than anyone had thought possible. He sprang to his feet so fast an after image was left where he had been on all fours in the grass. His facial expression went from gleeful satisfaction to horror to its usual placid state in a matter of seconds as he turned to face Rin. As usual, Rin bounded towards him, all checkered kimono and dirt and matted black hair. She grinned at the youkai. "Lord Sesshoumaru, we went fishing and saw all kinds of stuff and I caught some fishes!" The "we" she referred to was herself and Jaken, who trailed behind her looking sullen and depressed–that is to say, normal. Rin triumphantly held three carp over her head, each one big enough to be devoured in one gulp by even her. Jaken had three larger fish tied to his two-headed staff.
"That's...good, Rin," Sesshoumaru said, inwardly in turmoil. Perhaps she wouldn't get back to what he had been doing. Rin's attention span was not that long, because she was only a child, and perhaps if he continued to play it straight she would not–
Rin tried to look around Sesshoumaru. "Lord Sesshoumaru, what were you doing?"
"I..." For once, he was at a loss for words.
Nearly as fast as he had gotten up from the grass, Rin was ducking around him. "Oh, Lord Sesshoumaru, those are my dolls."
Jaken's eyes bulged more than normal and he looked at Sesshoumaru with a mixture of terror and amusement. Sesshoumaru put his retainer in place with a glacier stare and turned back to Rin, who was picking up and brushing off the little doll of Inuyasha. The one of Sesshoumaru lay against a rock, on which lay a minature version of Rin. Jaken, with more skill and loving care than his master had thought possible, had made the dolls on a whim of Rin's and a direct order from Sesshoumaru. She looked up at him. "Lord Sesshoumaru, were you playing with my dolls?"
Knowing he was caught and deciding to put the best face on it, he looked stern and placed his remaining arm on Tokujin's hilt. "I was not 'playing,' Rin. I was using your minatures to practice effective tactics for the next time I confront my half-brother."
"Oh." Rin nodded knowingly, leaving Sesshoumaru to wonder if she simply didn't believe him or merely accepted the fact that he would use children's toys as battle simulators. Sesshoumaru had killed and killed so frequently that he no longer gave the act much thought; Rin never seemed to have a problem with that, to the point that it actually worried him.
Suddenly, she brightened. "Lord Sesshoumaru," she asked with a bow of respect, "would you play dolls with me?"
Jaken bit his tongue, knowing if he so much as cracked a smile he would die a horrible, screaming death. Sesshoumaru turned as red as his hakama's trim, and was about to respond with a firm "NO!" and a turn of the back. Then Rin smiled up at him, her face all innocence and hope and love. Confronted with that, Sesshoumaru could do nothing but look at the heavens for a moment, wonder if he was being tested, then sigh and nod. "Yes, Rin, I will play with you and your dolls."
"Yay!" Rin ran to him, all propreity and etiquette gone and hugged Sesshoumaru. Deciding to make the best of it, the youkai sighed again, pried Rin off, and sat cross-legged on the ground. He handed her Inuyasha. "Watch closely, Rin, and I will show you the best way to confront and slay a dangerous foe–"
Rin shook her head.
Rin stood and brushed off her kimono. She walked carefully to the ricepaper door, knelt, opened it, and slid it back. "Welcome home, Lord Sesshoumaru," she said, bowing deeply as her master walked through the entrance. She closed the door, stood, and walked back to the table where she had been a moment before. "I have prepared tea for you, my lord. Do you wish rice as well?"
Slowly, he nodded. "Yes, Lady Rin, I would indeed like some tea and rice."
"I will go make some, my lord. I have some fish."
"Fish would be good."
Rin bowed and went to go prepare the food. "Lord Sesshoumaru, your brother Lord Inuyasha is here. Shall I make some rice for him as well?"
Sesshoumaru fought back a scowl, and at length nodded once more. "That would be fine."
This playing house, the youkai lord reflected, was not going to be an easy test of his nerve.