Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha; I am only a fan and this is only a fanfic.
Authors Notes: This story is a continuation of my other fanfic, "The End and a New Beginning." If you would like to see how this all came about you can check out that story. I'm sorry I failed to mention this before.
Summary: Theirs was an unexpected alliance that ended in a unique bond. Two powerful forces combined for one cause; what happens when love is not an option? Sesshomaru & Kikyou – obsidian and silver.
Chapter 1: Rebirth
A full moon shone bright overhead and illuminated the night sky. A light breeze rippled through an open shoji and caressed the skin of the occupant standing in the entrance. The air lifted silken strands of hair, teasing the silvery strands as they danced across bare shoulders and a muscularly lean back.
Sesshomaru, Lord of the Westernlands, looked out over the property bequeathed to him by his father, Inu no Taisho. The taijyoukai's expression was bland, the famed stoic mask disguising the inner turmoil he felt. Not one to shirk his responsibilities, duty was the only reason he had returned to this place.
The grounds were beautiful and extensive with a lush green landscape. There was a large shimmering lake a short distance from the dense forest surrounding the castle… his castle.
Sesshomaru had made no changes to the interior of the residence; it looked the same as it had during his father's reign. There was nothing of him imprinted here, not even in this room. Amongst the splendor, which now belonged to him, the taiyoukai lord felt unwelcome in his own home.
Although he was a full-bloodied youkai from an impeccable lineage, Sesshomaru had never had anything handed to him. In lieu of his father's greatness, the taiyoukai had paved his own way to achieve his current reputation and status. One would be surprised if they knew the unrivaled Sesshomaru, felt himself a failure.
He had failed to protect his mother, had failed to surpass his father in strength and power and had failed to maintain his animosity for his half brother – Inuyasha.
He had often thought of Inuyasha the months following Naraku's demise. Begrudgingly, Sesshomaru had to admit his brother had proved to be a worthy adversary for their enemy, but also an even better ally to him on more than one occasion. Although they defeated Naraku together, Sesshomaru left without a word of thanks to his brother. However… that was his way, that was who he was and if anyone knew that, it was Inuyasha.
With practiced ease, the taiyoukai redirected his thoughts from his half brother. He only wished it were as easy to dismiss his thoughts of the priestess.
The woman had been on his mind since he last saw her at the river of miasma. Following the battle at the cave of Onigumo, he had traced her progress. He told himself it was only curiosity; he wanted to know what she would do with the power bestowed to her by Totousai.
He watched as Kikyou had patiently watched the boy, Kohaku, for three days as he searched for his sister's remains. He looked on as the boy, like a lamb to slaughter, responded to the priestess call the third evening following the battle. Kikyou had been merciful and had spared Kohaku's life.
He continued his reticent vigil as she was later denied access to Midoriko's cave attempting to return the sword. That alone should have alerted the priestess to her fate, but Kikyou stubbornly ignored the signs.
Sesshomaru did not want to remember the sensation he experienced as he watched her standing at the edge of the miasmic flow. Her face a mask of confusion, her brow furrowed in indecision and he surmised he did not like what he saw.
She should not look that way… it was not was he was used to. He had become accustomed to her stoicism, her practicality and even her autocratic response to him. A part of him did not want her stripped of the characteristics that made her Kikyou. That was when he intervened.
"A yen for your thoughts, Sesshomaru-sama."
The taiyoukai stiffened as a pair of willowy arms wrapped around his waist and a body pressed against his back, interrupting his musings. This was another reason he avoided his lands. A variety of female demons flocked to the castle whenever he appeared. Each vied for his attention and hoped to become the new Lady of the Westernlands. Many were aggressive in their pursuit of him, some were even cutthroat to oust the competition, but only one was bold enough to trespass into his rooms.
"Airasetsunyo," Sesshomaru had to pry her fingers from his person, "why are you here?"
The demonesss only smiled and the taiyoukai held her hands fast as she had the most annoying habit of clinging and the most indelicate roving hands. She was tall, almost as tall as he was; she had a flowing mane of amethyst hair and her eyes were shimmering pools of black onyx. Her face was considered more handsome than beautiful and she possessed a too slender body, which was encased in a tunic that fit like a second skin. None of this held any interest to Sesshomaru.
"Come, darling," Airasetsunyo practically purred, trying to press closer to him. "We both know why I am here."
Outwardly, Sesshomaru was calm, but inside he felt his anger rising as he wrestled with the creature. If this were not his home… his rooms, he would slay her without hesitation for her insolence. However, there were rules to follow here… rules implemented by his father. For such an invasion, he would have to bring her before the council for judgment and sentencing. The taiyoukai had no such patience for this detailed and lengthy process. He much preferred to deal expediently and with more finality with his issues. This was another reason he avoided this place.
"I see no reason for you to invade my privacy," Sesshomaru said in a bored tone. "As you were not invited, I will show you the way out." He took her arm in a firm grip and turned her toward the open shoji.
Airasetsunyo did not struggle; she knew Sesshomaru would not report her to council. He, like her, preferred to deal with matters on his own, that was why they would reign famously together. It would not be tonight, she thought, as he escorted her to the engawa, but the Lord of the Westernlands would soon come to realize she was the only one competent to rule by his side.
"Oh, my!" she exclaimed. "You are so rough, my lord. However…" the demoness tried again to press her body to his, but Sesshomaru was having none of it as he held her at arms length. "… I could get used to such treatment, if that is what you desire."
"Cease your nonsense, wench," his tone was one of boredom, but Sesshomaru was fast losing patience with her antics. "I could as easily throw you out through the chamber as here; you would have more of an audience for your performance," he said in a hiss.
Snatching her arm away, Airasetsunyo had to admit he had won this round, but she was not through yet. The last thing she needed was a public display of his rejection for the other female demons to feast on. She had made it this far and she was confident Sesshomaru would succumb.
With a forced smile, she backed to the railing and a glow emitted from her body. A pair of wings sprouted from her back and antennas protruded from her head as the demoness levitated above the veranda.
"I am sorry for the intrusion, Sesshomaru-sama. I was only eager to see you; it's been awhile since we've spent time together," she said, attempting to look contrite. "Please accept my apology," without giving him a chance to respond, she continued. "I will see you at dinner tomorrow." With that said, she flew off into the darkness.
Sesshomaru stood there until he could no longer feel her aura. Damn her; she was the proverbial thorn in his side and the nerve… inviting herself to his table.
"Jaken!" he called to his vassal.
His bumbling, yet faithful servant came bounding through the entrance. The fact that Jaken was walking backwards with his eyes covered was a sign that his own vassal was an accomplice in the night's developments.
"Yes, my lord… how may I be of service to you?"
Sesshomaru was quiet for so long, the demon toad turned and peeked between his fingers to answer his master's bidding. The taiyoukai's 'Light Whip' snaked out and singed the few hairs Jaken had left on his head.
"M-m-master?" the demon toad stammered and looked to the imposing figure standing bare chest in the entryway. His master should be in the throes of passion right now, not staring at him with hostile eyes.
"Tell me, Jaken," Sesshomaru began menacingly, "did you, by chance, invite Airasetsunyo to my rooms?"
"Well…" the demon toad hesitated; to confess would be suicide. In actuality, the female demon had invited herself. Jaken informed his master of this and was relieved to see the taiyoukai withdraw his weapon.
Turning back to his view of the moon above, Sesshomaru spoke in low tones to his vassal. "You are to keep a close eye on Rin, Jaken. Many here resent her presence; they believe I have grown soft in my travels. Some are appalled that I would bring a human child in their midst, but none will oppose me openly or threaten her directly."
"My responsibilities keep me busy, Jaken, therefore you are to see to Rin's needs for now," he continued. "I will see to her safety."
"Yes, my lord," the demon toad said, bowing repeatedly. "My apologies for the demoness, Lord Sesshomaru, but she said… she promised much pleas…"
"I am aware of what she promised, Jaken," he interrupted his vassal. "I am no stranger to Airasetsunyo's wiles. She is ambitious in her pursuit."
"Oh… I see."
"I doubt it," Sesshomaru continued haughtily. "Just remember, I do not… nor will I ever require your assistance in pleasurable encounters."
Sesshomaru presented his back to his vassal, indicating his dismissal. With a quick bow, Jaken backed out of the room and headed to check on Rin.
Alone, the taiyoukai's thoughts once again turned to the priestess. He wondered where she was and what she was doing at this moment. Had she finally accepted the gift of her second life, or was she still angry? With a veiled sigh, he lifted both hands and combed his fingers through his hair. Sesshomaru held out both hands and stared at the left appendage, or rather his revived arm. A gift from Kikyou; she had definitely left her mark on him. Looking up at the moon, he recalled their last hostile confrontation…
"Stubborn woman," Sesshomaru said finally, "have you not figured it out yet?"
Turning to him, Kikyou looked more mystified than before. "What do you mean?"
Walking slowly towards her, the taiyoukai's eyes never left her face. He continued until he stood directly in front of her.
The urge to back away from him was strong, but the priestess stood firm. Her eyes wanted to turn from his, but she could not and his silence began to grate her nerves. "Speak, Sesshomaru," she ordered. "No more of this secrecy."
Bristling at her commanding tone, he obliged her. "Although your concern for others is commendable, it is foolish when it blinds you to the obvious." Grabbing her free hand, he held it up to her face. With the tip of his nail, he swiped her palm and pierced her skin.
Kikyou inhaled sharply, but did not cry out. Snatching her hand away, she questioned him with her eyes and he answered with his own. Holding her hand up, she watched the liquid substance as it slid from the small laceration and ran down her wrist. Her eyes widened in horror.
"B-b-lood!" the priestess stammered.
It seemed an eternity as she stared at her hand. Kikyou's face was expressionless, but her eyes flickered with unrestrained emotions and Sesshomaru read every one. First… she was incredulous and then the confusion as she struggled to recall when this could have occurred without her knowing. Despair followed, then indignation, which quickly turned to anger.
"Why would he do this?" she practically hissed.
Sesshomaru knew exactly of whom she spoke, it was Totousai - the demon forger. "That…" the taiyoukai said with emphasis, "…is a question only he can answer." With an indifferent shrug, he continued. "The old fool does as he pleases."
"Pray, what is your part in this, Sesshomaru-sama?"
Again, she had managed to make his title sound like a vile disease. What was it about this human? How was it he allowed her to disrespect him and mock him without a thought of retribution. In fact, he found it challenging to get a rise out of her.
"Don't be foolish, woman," he sniffed elegantly. "I have no such interest in the lives of you humans."
"Liar!" Kikyou snapped, the unwelcomed knowledge that she was, once again, a living breathing person did not set well with her. "How dare… how dare you interfere; what right do you have? My life is over, I no longer exist and another bears my soul. To live, you need a purpose… I have none!" Kikyou's voice was barely raised as she spoke through clenched teeth. Her entire body trembled with suppressed anger, but the taiyoukai made no response.
"What am I to do?" she said as much to herself as the silent Sesshomaru. Not expecting an answer, she turned to the river of miasma.
Looking into the flow, Kikyou thought of her reasons for coming here. She had originally planned to destroy the Shikon no Tama along with herself in the flames of the toxic larva. However, she could not take the chance that it would not affect Kohaku in any way. The priestess had concluded it was best to find a place to hide the jewel. Its powers could lay dormant until the next guardian; she could then return to her fate. Unconsciously, she took a step forward.
"So you choose death; do you?" Sesshomaru sounded amused.
"What do you care?" Kikyou's stoicism returned as a plan formed in her mind. Crossing her arms, unbeknownst to the taiyoukai, she reached inside the sleeve of her keso and clutched the jewel in her hand.
"You said you have no interest in the lives of humans; then... why are you here?" she asked calmly. "To gloat? Is this amusement for you, Sesshomaru? What possible reason could you have to follow me here?"
"Don't flatter yourself, priestess," the taiyoukai responded in a menacing tone. "It was only curiosity that led me here. I wanted to know if the keeper of the Shikon no Tama could live as honorably as she died. However, your cowardice does not surprise me, woman," he turned away in disgust. "I will take great pleasure in informing Totousai his faith in you humans is unwarranted."
"You pompous, insufferable hound," Kikyou lashed out. "Who are…"
The priestess words were cut off as Sesshomaru wheeled around, grabbed her by the shoulders and pressed her arms to her sides. Pulling her to face him the taiyoukai stared deep into her fearless mahogany orbs. As he searched her features, he realized too late that she was baiting him.
Held tight in Sesshomaru's grip, Kikyou could not hold back a triumphant smirk; she had used his own arrogance against him. "Allow me to show you what it means to have your choices taken from you… to have others dictate your destiny." As she spoke, her aura began to rise.
Kikyou's hands, much to Sesshomaru's surprise, skimmed around his waist with her fingers splayed open. That was when he felt it… a red-hot sensation penetrating his insides. He tried to push her away, but her hands were like glue and the pain intensified the more he struggled. The taiyoukai could only hold on until the feeling subsided. Energy crackled between them and then finally thrust them apart.
Sesshomaru staggered back a few paces as Kikyou, breathing heavily, fell to the ground. Looking down at the hole in his kimono, the taiyoukai's eyes were feral as they stared at the opening and then turned on her. "What have you done?" he growled.
"The same as you," Kikyou panted, rising to her feet. "I interfered as you and Totousai interfered. Your body now hosts the Shikon no Tama and all its power."
"You impudent wench; I demand…" Sesshomaru started, but his words were cut short as acute pain shot up his 'phantom' arm. Knowing there was no arm, the taiyoukai wondered why he suddenly felt there was one. The feeling intensified as the flesh beneath his kimono began to shift and roll and he gritted his teeth against the pain. Grabbing his shoulder, he was surprised to feel something protruding from the stub and it kept growing until it slid from the sleeve of his kimono.
The taiyoukai watched, incredulous, as the accretion formed into the shape of a hand. Holding it up, Sesshomaru could see it was identical to the arm chopped off by Inuyasha. However, having his arm back made him angry. Sesshomaru's eyes flared as he turned to Kikyou. How dare she? He wanted nothing from a human… any human, especially this one.
Flexing his claws, he walked slowly towards her. "You will remove this… this thing immediately; do you understand?" the taiyoukai hissed. "I have no need of your bauble, nor do I want it," he made a slicing notion with his hand.
"Which is exactly why you will keep it, that is… until another guardian is chosen," Kikyou said tonelessly. "Who better to possess the Shikon no Tama than someone indifferent to its power. You are perfect Sesshomaru-sama," she said with contempt. "After all, who will challenge the great youkai lord?"
"Enough of your speech, woman! Remove this thing at once!" he snapped, baring his fangs.
"No." Her answer was simple as her eyes challenged him.
Sesshomaru stood directly in front of her now with his golden orbs boring into her mahogany ones. She was baiting him again and he finally understood where this was leading. Her defiance was an invitation to slay her... to end this newly acquired life. She had not lied; she did not want to live and was hoping he would act on his anger. Even now, Kikyou's chin was tilted at an arrogant angle.
"No, priestess," he said backing away, his anger abating. "You are quite clever, but not clever enough. To take your own life is forbidden; you would be expatriated from the netherworld, so you would have me do it for you."
Kikyou did not respond, but the flicker of annoyance that crossed her face confirmed his words.
"You are a coward, priestess, and I refuse to aid you." Sesshomaru continued. "Since you decline to remove this hideous jewel, your punishment will be to remain in this world; perhaps you will find the courage to live this life better than the last."
With that said, he turned his back on her, preparing to leave. He stopped a short distance away, but did not turn around to look at her as he completed the story of her revival.
"The sword you carry," he informed her, "has been reconstructed by Totousai and is called the 'Shoushou no Tsurugi' – the sword of rebirth. Unlike my Tensaiga, your sword was designed for a specific purpose and can only be used once."
"Once the demon forger completed his alterations and you purged the sword of its evil, the effects were obvious right away. While at Totousai's, I grabbed your wrists after our sparring interlude; it was then that I noticed a redness about your wrists. The dead, as you well know, priestess, do not bruise."
"The swords power had already begun," he continued. "To complete your revival, it was necessary for you to plunge the sword into your murderer – Naraku."
"What your purpose is here, priestess; I do not know. However, there has to be one. I do not believe Totousai would have gone to such extremes to restore your pathetic existence otherwise."
"If you require more information, I cannot help you as that is the extent of my knowledge. You could, however, seek out Totousai."
After a moment of silence, the taiyoukai heard her soft reply. "There is no need, Sesshomaru." The priestess sheathed her sword and moved in the opposite direction. "I will now rid you of my pathetic existence."
The sound of Jaken's footsteps interrupted his thoughts once again. This time, it was a welcomed diversion. Sesshomaru did not want to remember how he felt at her words; he did not want to wonder why her remarks affected him or why they had stayed with him for these months. Repressing his thoughts, he turned as the demon toad entered his room.
"Sesshomaru-sama!" Jaken's eyes were wide and frantic; he was so agitated he forgot to bow. "It's Rin, master! She is most ill!"
The taiyoukai had an urge to run, but instead walked calmly from his room and down the corridor. "What is wrong with her?" he asked, masking his own concern.
"I know not, my lord; her body is warm to touch and she is drenched in sweat."
Sesshomaru recognized these symptoms as what humans called 'fever'. As he entered the room assigned to Rin, he noticed her pale countenance and the beads of sweat formed on her brow and upper lip.
Looking down on her, he remembered the day he revived her. He had to make a choice; he could allow the illness to linger and at worst revive her with the Tensaiga. However, could he trust that, knowing his sword had a will of its own? He could only do what the Tensaiga allowed him to do. What would he do if the sword denied him Rin's life?
"Jaken!" the taiyoukai came to a decision. "Locate the priestess She is a healer… find her and bring her here."
The demon toad's eyes bugged at this request and for a moment, he forgot himself. "Bring that woman here, master? Surely, you jest! That would be most…"
His tirade ended as he looked at his master. He had overstepped his bounds as Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed; stammering Jaken attempted to rectify his words. "I am sorry, my lord, it's just that… to bring her here… I mean remember who she is."
"I know exactly who she is and it would be wise not to question my orders again, Jaken." Sesshomaru's tone was flat, but the vassal knew his master well and felt the undercurrents of disguised wrath. "Bring her to me; I will deal with the rest. Now… go!"
With one look at Rin, the demon toad scuttled from the room to do his master's bidding. Only then did Sesshomaru turn to the child. Kneeling beside her, he ran a hand across her brow.
"Hold on, little one," his voice was barely audible as repeated Kikyou's endearment for the child, "she will be here soon."
Kikyou would come, of that he was sure. The priestess would come and not because he bade her, but for the sake of the child… she would come for Rin.
To be continued…
Authors Notes: Please, be gentle with me; this is my first Sessh/Kik fanfic. Please read and review.