Disclaimer: I do not own any of Rumiko Takahashi's characters, etc. This story is for entertainment purposes only.
WARNING: Adult allusions and situation, nothing graphic.
A/N: Wow, finally a story without a "M" rating! XD This is a one-shot, though I may continue it. Not totally certain, I just got caught up with the idea after reading some really good Sess/Sango fics. Hope you enjoy, and any constructive criticism is welcome! FateENCOUNTER
Sango froze, her sword arrested in the practiced down-stroke. The long midnight tail of her hair fell softly against her back with a whispered hiss from her sudden stillness. Brown eyes wide, she stared back at the youkai Lord whose sudden presence had made her pause and freeze instinctively as prey would before the sudden acknowledgement of the hunting predator.
The golden eyes were as veiled as ever, the unearthly beautiful face as cold and expressionless as the statue of an angel. His very presence was uncanny, how he seemed to magnetize others around him, drawing their unwilling attention and admiration without thought. Kagome had once called it 'stage presence', whatever that was, but it held Sango as motionless and wary as she felt the inu youkai's cold regard descend on her like a smothering blanket. Her chest rose with ragged breath, victim of her exertions and the faint hint of fear that held her in thrall.
Quickly, she smothered the small icy feeling that shot down her spine, deliberately relaxing her stance by the minute releasing of tensed, surprised muscles. Youkai had superior, almost supernatural senses, and she knew any hint of her fear could act as a catalyst, to excite or attack. She had no idea why the Taiyoukai had sought her out, where she trained alone in the small clearing behind their current campsite. The others were close by---she was not so foolish as to wander away from the protection of their numbers. She could hear, distantly, Kagome's tinkling laughter, and the youth-filled yells of Shippo and Rin. A squawk of protest could only be Jaken, and an irritated bellow, the deeper scowl of Inuyasha.
Sesshoumaru had shown up this afternoon, saying nothing, revealing no reason, as Rin had slid off of her beloved Ah-Uhn and tumbled over to hug Kagome happily. Jaken had whined about his aching feet needing a rest, and maybe that stupid girl Kagome could now baby-sit that other stupid girl, Rin, leaving him to more important work. The impassive Taiyoukai, at Inuyasha's growled demand of an explanation, had merely turned away and melted back into the forest.
Inuyasha had stewed about Sesshoumaru dumping his weak wards---over which Jaken had screeched and protested that HE was not weak, you stinking half-breed!---on them, but Kagome had soon badgered him and Miroku into going and hunting up some lunch for their added guests. Inuyasha had growled that Sesshoumaru was still around, though he wasn't making his presence known, and even cautioned Sango to be alert when she made motions to go back in the woods to practice with her katana as was her want.
Kirara had been having too much fun playing tag with the two youngsters for Sango to have the heart to interrupt her. Besides, she had not been over-anxious. Sesshoumaru had the disturbing habit of making all other lesser youkai in the area take off for parts unknown…they did not want to tangle with a Taiyoukai of his strength and reputation.
Sweat beaded down the back of her neck and trickled past her tensed shoulder blades as she exchanged surprised stares with the youkai Lord. He made no motion, and neither did she. She was not that foolish, and did not trust him.
He finally spoke, breaking the mesmerized stillness. "You are the taijiya."
Sango warily lowered her katana, though she did not sheath the blade. "Yes." She said, not sure what he wanted of her.
The inu lord's nostrils flared slightly. His voice was contemptuous. "Your scent is like that of the boy, Naraku's servant."
Sango jerked, and the pain flashed across her brown eyes before it was quickly suppressed. The deep, wrenching anguish was as acute and sharp as a knife thrust to her heart; it surprised her still how she had not yet been able to cover Kohaku's memory and loss by the dimming haze of time.
Her voice was calm, steady, as she said simply, "He is my brother."
The contempt was easy to discern in the chillingly golden gaze that held her own, and Sango stiffened. She was not so over-awed by a mere youkai for her to put up with Sesshoumaru's contempt for his own brother. He might be loathe to admit the inu hanyou was of his blood, but Sango had never had such shame of her poor brother, though he had done things under the control of Naraku that would bring deep shame to her ancestors if they knew or cared.
"He is dead." The youkai said casually, as if speaking of the weather.
Lips white, Sango merely nodded once, sharply, in acknowledgement. The swamp of pain was so intense it seemed to smother her mind in a wave of fresh sorrow. She wondered why the great lord stood staring at her, flinging causal arrows to make her reel mentally at the harsh memory of them. And she wondered, if like most youkai, this one just liked to torment weaker humanity, taking opportunity for amusement at their pain and fear, feeding off emotions that they themselves seemed never to have…
Summoning the inner strength that had allowed her to go on even in the gripping clutch of death, she squared her shoulders, her chin tilting up in unconscious pride. Deliberately sheathing her sword, she bowed stiffly and stepped to the side. Her eyes were dark, as closed as the golden ones before her. "Excuse me, my lord."
Without waiting reply, Sango turned away to circle around the impenetrable Lord. There was a slight whisper of silk behind her, and Sango whirled around in a defensive maneuver and drew her katana in pure reaction as the youkai moved toward her with incredible speed. He suddenly stood in front of her, blocking exit as solidly as the thick tree bole behind her. Sango backed up a step in instinctive fright before she battled the trembling fear away beneath fierce control.
Sunlight glinted on the sharp silver blade that was only a hairsbreadth from grazing the Taiyoukai's armored chest. Sango did not withdraw, and neither did he. Brown eyes narrowed as she detected faint amusement in the Lord's gaze.
"What do you, my lord?" She asked, steel edging her soft voice. She was not one to lie down and accept fate's fickle indecision; she would fight to her last breath. Her thoughts whirled, wondering what game he played, what he wanted, why he taunted and teased her like Kirara with a mouse. She knew her chances of surviving earnest battle with a youkai of Sesshoumaru's strength, and was unafraid of death.
The golden eyes bored into hers, to where Sango could feel a blush heating her cheeks. His gaze was leisurely, measuring, taking in each curve revealed by the skin-smoothing silk of her black armor. She had always felt protected in the demon-threaded cloth, not really thinking of how the armor clung to her form. It allowed freedom of movement and easy mobility, which could only be an asset in her chosen path as warrior. But the golden gaze that lingered over her made her feel as if she wore nothing, and long for the concealing rose-and-white folds of her yukata.
"Your dress speaks brazenly, but you do not act as such." The youkai said thoughtfully, more to himself, as if she did not stand there, blade at his chest. Which told her volumes about how much he disregarded the keenness or effectiveness of her defenses.
Sango could not help drawing back, and his eyes fixed on her own as the fear nipped at her soul. She shivered under that compellingly heated gaze. Her stomach tightened, and she felt strange sensations feathering through her awareness. She felt as strung tight as a drawn bow, and was confused by her reaction to his proximity. She did not like the loss of control, and took another step back, so that the tree's bark behind her scratched on her back and thighs.
Had she only imagined that molten gaze? For it was gone as suddenly as it had appeared, the golden eyes once more veiled in chilling impenetrability. The Lord seemed to withdraw, and Sango's mind was swamped with an odd exchange of both relief and loss.
"Intriguing." The low voice was mildly thoughtful. Sango wanted to flee, but she stubbornly set her chin, her eyes darkening. The youkai was only amusing himself at her expense, and she did not appreciate it.
Her grip tightened on the hilt of her katana, and Sesshoumaru stepped back as if amused. He said nothing, merely turning away and melting back into the forest with almost careless disdain. The trees closed in behind him, and he was gone.
Sango let out her breath in a release of tension. Adjusting her grip on the pommel of her sword, for her palms were damp with nervous sweat, she slowly lowered the blade's point to the ground. She shivered, thanking whatever kami had spared her life that day.
And wondered what the hell had just happened.