Disclaimer: Ok, I've decided I'm only doing one of these things for this entire story, unless it pertains to a particular chapter…..got rather tired of it towards the end of my last story, truth be told…..no need to rub it in my face that I don't own anything…

So. I own nothing from the original manga, anime and/or movies of Inuyasha (including Sess :'( , despite numerous attempts to purchase the rights on e-bay. Whatever didn't happen in the original work was the creation of a mind heavily under the influence of raspberry tea, and under the recurring hallucination that she's a pirate. I'm not getting anything from this, other than fun and sore fingers, and a PMSing computer named Nitty who now likes to crash. (Nitty got formatted for that…-.-)Yay:P

Seriously though. What nutcase would write fanfiction if they were the actual author? (Don't answer that…)

One or two important things I'll say now…..I don't usually write long authors notes, compared to what you can find in some places

1. Thanks to a few very important people! Family of course, for forbidding the writing of fanfiction and thereby guaranteeing my interest, VB, for putting up with me, and TrisakAminawn. Never a dull moment! Thank you so much for everything you've done!

2. I know there are many viewpoints on the fluffy item Sesshoumaru has on his shoulder. For the purposes of this story, it's a tail. I'm not sure what it is, though I'm inclined to think it is actually a symbol of rank. However, I decided it would be a tail for this story, like the last one. Much more fun!

3. Alrighty…for those of you who remember/and or care, this is that sess/kag story I've been working on for a bit. I've actually written, and had (much) help editing up to chapter 20ish…which means regular updates for 20ish weeks (cheers of disbelief from those who know about my updating 'habits') I have no idea how original this idea is…..but this is my take on it. I hope you enjoy.

- Lumbe/Draconic Ban-Sidhe

: Prologue :

He stared dully at the wall across from him. It hadn't changed at all…the dust was thicker, and he was weaker, than when the sun had last angled across the old wooden floorboards. He wished he had the energy to hate the passing of another day in this room, but he didn't. Fighting to get out had taken all he had…and hadn't done anything for him, in the end. He was tired of that wall, and the cracked plaster fallen to the floor. It had piled along the floorboards, uncovering the bricks beneath. He was tired of the cramped, stuffy feeling he got if he thought too hard about the closet he was in. He didn't like closets this small.

Gods, he hated those bricks…although it was a rather tired hate, it was still something.

There was a spider-web in one corner. He'd been briefly amused as he watched it spun, then fall to old silk. It had been a small moment of difference in the endless unchanging atmosphere.

That's all this room was. Sun, and the ages old scent of dust in the old air. For as long as he'd been here, that's all he'd seen, heard or smelled. A quiet, noiseless passing of time, and the whisper of grit in the air slowly settling on the floor. He hated it. He was just a shell, watching as he was buried in time. He could hear the dust piling up on him, and couldn't move to even brush it off his shoulder. He was trapped here, trapped in himself, constrained from doing even that simple thing.

Rather odd that he was worried about the state of his clothes from the dusty assault. He must be going crazy in this washed out tomb…insane from the loss of freedom. The loss of Rin.

He was alone with the empty stillness inside and without. No sounds whispered above the dust, not even the ghostly flute of death. There was nothing to distract him from brooding upon why he was here, why he was doomed to die eventually in this little piece of grey hell. He'd not understood the true horror of this room at first, not until he'd spent an eternity in here. There was nothing to see, nothing to feel. Nothing to stop him from turning inside himself and tearing himself apart because he hadn't been able to stop Damia. He'd let it all happen.

His fault…

Sesshoumaru knew he'd put himself here because of his own mistakes. He'd killed Rin through his arrogance.

He really did deserve part of this. If not for the two aforementioned crimes, then surely some of his many other sins had caught up to him, and were being paid for. He wasn't normally one to care about anything. He'd stopped caring a long time ago. What was done was done, and you paid for it. Everything had a price.

He decided this one was a bit high for his taste.

It was the sensory deprivation that was the worst, he'd decided. For someone such as himself, accustomed to the heightened senses of a Taiyoukai, it was pure hell. Even his mind was dying here, going mad with the constant grey of the wall. He'd counted the bricks, and the floorboards. (There were 7 on the top row. 6 in the one below, then again and 6 once more on the bottom. 26 altogether. He went back and counted again…and again…and again...)

He was sure that wall mocked him, bricks leaning together to whisper beyond even his hearing about the pathetic captive by the window…perhaps they were plotting to fall on him…

He couldn't remember what his private garden looked like, or how his mother's music had whispered in the dawns stillness. He desperately wished he could just turn around and see out the window behind him, but could never manage it. He wasn't free to do even that.

Just to see green again….even if it was weeds, he wanted to see green…anything other than grimy grey. He could scarcely see color at all now…what did it look like? He had a moment of dull panic, trying to recall the forest outside his garden…what had it looked like? He didn't know. It was all a dream from long ago, faded into the grey, and deeper grey shadows of the wall. He could barely remember Rin's face…

It always came back to her, in the end.

He could almost remember the way it had been the first time he'd seen her. She'd found him half dead in the forest, and hadn't run. Most children would have screamed and gotten away from a potentially fatal encounter with an injured youkai as fast as they could, but not her.

She had been different even then, decorated with old wounds and healing scabs. He had wondered, and had since learned the truth. The village had beaten her after her family died. She had been silent then.

He knew silence as well as she. Special, that human…his Rin. In this prison, he could let himself admit it. There was no one to use it against him, no one to undercut his position in the power plays and double dealing of court, no one at all. There was just him, and his ever present thoughts.

She hadn't seemed to care about the danger, and had smiled her gap toothed smile at him. He still couldn't understand that smile…

After he'd healed…..he'd left without a thought. But…she had called him back, the sharp scent of her blood splashed to the forest floor compelling him to come and see what had happened. Had she been beaten again? He wasn't sure even now why he'd done it. Perhaps …curiosity? It couldn't be caring….

He'd been somewhat shocked when she'd come back to life beneath Tenseiga's blade, and even more so when she elected to follow his wandering feet. He'd let her tag along more out of curiosity than anything, and a reluctance to kill someone he'd actually gone to the trouble of bringing back to the world of the living. He'd assumed she'd leave him soon enough…

…..and she had….she had left him after all…..all because he was too stupid to post a better guard, too arrogant to believe anyone would have the audacity to attack him within his own home.

Tenseiga wouldn't work twice. He couldn't heal her again, however much he screamed at the sword within his head, raining curses on its carefully crafted length. What good was a sword of healing and life renewed, if it couldn't bring her back to him? What good was all his power if he couldn't do that single thing?

He sighed softly in his mind. Rin…she'd followed him, and at first he'd tolerated her. Looking back, he couldn't start to see where he'd begun to treat her as more than a passing whim, but as something more. Something to be protected, indulged. Something precious…something loved.

It was impossible, and he knew it. He did not love anything, not even his own life. It was ridiculous. Him consider loving a human?

But Rin…

He'd never once told her how much she'd come to mean to him before the end.

Never once just stopped and given her even a word or two to let her know she meant something to him. He found it difficult after all these years to even acknowledge to himself she had been his 'daughter', that he'd loved her as much as he would have loved his own.

It was difficult just to make himself see that and admit it within his heart even now, alone. It had been impossible for him to say it aloud then. He had never given voice to affection when it would have meant something. He should have. He should have said something, done something….he knew he wouldn't have. He couldn't.

He remembered once, that she had asked him if he would remember her when she died. He had been somewhat taken aback by the question, unsure of what to answer. He had never had any people skills to speak of…


"Don't be foolish." 'Of course I'd remember you Rin. I could never forget you.' Sesshoumaru looked up, watching as Jaken came closer, staff bobbing in time with his head.

"Sesshoumaru-sama, I've brought you AhUn…" Jaken blinked, unsure of what the slight surprise on Sesshoumaru's face meant. He'd missed Rin's startling question. "Um, Sesshoumaru-sama, where will you be going…?"

"It's hardly worth mentioning. I'm going to find Naraku." 'You're going to pay for what you've done, Naraku. No one kidnaps Rin and gets away with it any more than they deface my father's tomb.' He absently wokked Jaken on the head, more out of habit than malice.

"Yes, of course." Jaken rubbed at his head, where a bump from the staff of heads was already forming. He picked up the staff. "Would it please you if I should come along?"

Rin laughed, and smiled at the little toad. "It's hardly worth mentioning."

"Huh?" Jaken always was somewhat slow on the uptake.

"Of course you should come, Jaken-sama!" She laughed and ran after him, pausing until Jaken caught up, staff waving above his head wildly. Then they both ran after him through the field, one of Sesshoumaru's long strides as many as three of Rin's shorter ones.

'What a strange question…You never cease to surprise me, Rin. You and your eternal smile…why do you smile, after everything you have come though?'

Maybe she had known…maybe she had known how much she'd been worth to him. He had just rescued her from Ungai-sama and his priests after all….

It wasn't the same.

He should have said something….he should have never left her alone. He knew he wouldn't have said it, not then, but it didn't stop him berating himself. He should have…Sesshoumaru danced around the edges of self doubt, knowing that one misstep would send him tumbling down into the hole that had opened in the center of his now very empty life.

Where Rin had been, that hole was. Amazing how much space a single person so small could take up. If he ever fell in that hole, he knew he'd never come out. He'd be so lost to despair by then he wouldn't care. If you could call this life, this mere existence, caring. He wasn't sure he was still sane, still withstanding the torturous grey fog.

He'd managed to hold himself back at the start. He'd had hopes of escaping his prison then, and had focused on that, on sanity, like a drowning man clinging to a board. In his most lucid moments he'd wanted to get out and skin Damia alive. No one imprisoned him. No one killed someone under his protection. Especially not Rin. Not his little girl. No one.

'No youkai should kill a child like that, regardless of whose it was.'

He had his honor. He would never have done what she had, even before he came across Rin and she'd melted him just a little. Killed a child certainly….but….not that way. He'd have done away in one clean stroke. You didn't torment you opponents needlessly. Especially not a child

A hole like the one he could feel now, you could pour grief into and never fill. It had been vaguely the same when his mother had died…you had to work through it. You lived with it, and forgot just a little the edge of loss. You didn't help yourself by sitting and brooding in the dark and going over might-have-been's till they ceased to even make sense.

His mother's death had never hurt this much. They had never been close enough for it to hurt. It had been more a loss of any chance to know her that he'd grieved over.

Yet…he couldn't seem to stop himself from dwelling on Rin. He was sure it had been years, had felt like eons he'd been here by now, and it hadn't stopped hurting any more than he'd stopped thinking about it.

It was obvious he'd die here himself soon. There had to be a rule of some kind….'If something sits in one place long enough, it is officially dead'. Well, he'd sat here in this room, in one spot, for long enough…he was getting sick of it.

He needed something to distract himself from her. It was unhealthy to brood as long as he had…he didn't care if he did brood or not. It was hard to remember a time when he'd really cared about doing or not doing anything, by now.

No one would save him. He didn't give a damn if they did or not. He just wanted somewhere that wasn't grey…that wasn't always the same…that wasn't some forsaken little hole in the wall…that would let him either escape or die. He almost wished Damia had managed to kill him, however long ago it had been. He didn't know. He didn't really care.

Sesshoumaru knew he was being stupid, knew that he couldn't allow himself to sink to the depths like he was currently indulging in. How could one insignificant little human's loss send him reeling for balance like this? Why, after all this time, did he still dwell this much on her? Where had the cool indifference he'd once had gone?

She had melted it. He could see that now. It was all her fault, but he couldn't blame her. Anything she'd ever done to rub his nose the wrong way could be forgiven. She was his little girl, and could do no wrong. Imagine that. One of the most feared lords of the age, wrapped around a tiny little human's hand….

He wondered what his court would have said if they'd ever found out about the time he'd let her braid flowers in his hair. It had been worth it for the smiles. He hated to think what they would have thought of him, pink and yellow blooms messily wound into his silver hair. Oh, the gossip….

Pathetic….but he didn't care. The pain might be as fresh as the day he'd come home to find her dead, but the rest of his rage had faded, too tired to do anything but flicker and go out. All the anger of being imprisoned, all the barely contained wrath, and dreams of revenge, had died. He didn't know how long it had taken for the rage to die, but by now it had. He was too tired to do anything by exist, as time washed over him, washed him away bit by bit, while he watched, helpless to stop it.

He couldn't forget, but the revenge had wavered and gone out, leaving him alone with the pain of losing her, and the numb physical feelings that came from being without food for far too long. Much longer, and he'd feel nothing at all but the quite darkness of death.

He wished he could sleep. It would have been an escape from this bleak little forgotten corner of the universe. Sometimes he faded into the black world of unconsciousness, but it was never real sleep. He hadn't dreamed in so long…

He wondered if there were people around of any sort, or if he'd been completely forgotten. He might have had visitors while he'd been unconscious ….or not.

He might truly have been forgotten long ago for all he knew. He'd become accustomed to solitude early in his life, and it had never left him. In the long years before he'd come across Rin, and realized there was more to life than power, he'd wandered completely on his own, save for when Jaken joined him.

Power…it seemed so hollow now. Even his father's sword wouldn't help him bring back Rin from death any more than revenge would. It was all hollow. He was someone who existed for vague goals, no more. A shell, a dead statue of dust, mind trapped as well as his body had ever been.

The life he'd had before was full compared to what he lived now. At least Rin had begun to fill some long unthought of void.

Sitting and plotting revenge had been not a bad way to pass the time at first…but now…

It was slightly better than watching the wall for hours, at any rate. Sesshoumaru was quite sure there was something wrong with that thought, but without having anyone there to measure against, he couldn't know if he was crazy or not. He doubted anyone could find him to comment, so it didn't really matter now. Locked up, and they key long since dust.

Insomnia did strange things to the mind, after all. He knew that, having walked a fine line between the need for sleep, and the need to stay awake many times while on his own. He knew he was likely to start making mistakes in perception after who knew how long of forced awareness. It was quite impossible to know how long he'd been here, and thus how long he'd been in this waking hell, except by reasoning. He rather thought it had been a while because of how loud his stomach was protesting the lack of food in it.

He briefly wished he'd counted the sun's trips across the dirty grey slats of the floor, so that he'd have some idea of how long he'd been locked away. Not that it would have done him much good. The previous room he'd been incarcerated in hadn't had windows, or the one before. Besides…..who knew how long he stayed unconscious now?

Black…nothing but black…and before that, more grey…Before that even…his mind shut down, unable to think of it. Sesshoumaru clamped down before the thoughts even formed. He wasn't going to go there ever again. He didn't think he could stand it. Even the grey was better than…some things….

With no one but himself for company for (supposed) months on end, there was no way to tell if he was going crazy or not, or if it was just the occasional blackouts…(although they had seemed somewhat more frequent of late…)

It was an easy way to forget the loss of his freedom, his lands, 'life'…but not her. He didn't want to forget her, but at the same time…it would be so much easier.

He was sure mother's death had never been this bad. He'd never been close to her, or to his father. His nurse…well…he could hardly remember that one bit of kindness he'd had as a child. She'd only taken care of him for his first year, forgotten but for a soft touch and a lullaby.

Maybe that was why he'd taken Rin in…he had never been allowed to be a child.

He hadn't even told Jaken; much less the rest of his household, where he was or when he would be returning the day he'd gone out. To the field he'd gone to with her to pick flowers in. He hoped Rin would like the blooms he'd left by her grave for her. Jaken wouldn't find him, much less in time to be of help.

After all…the one person, who had truly cared about him, and not just because of his title, was dead. He'd wanted to bury her alone.

Alone…always alone…..

He wouldn't have cared, once. Yet, by now it was obvious he wouldn't get out of this one on his own. He'd been here for what seemed years. Judging by the state of his body and stomach, a long time had passed.

Perhaps that was why it was so difficult to wake from the blackness that would sometimes crowd his vision, drowning the dust until there was nothing. He wondered briefly why he still even bothered fighting against the apathy.

Oh yes…revenge, wasn't it? It was barely a word, at this point. A word he doggedly held on to, though it had scarcely any meaning left…

Something to think about besides Rin, or the loss of freedom. Yet somehow, it always came back to her. Revenge for her…

He owed Rin that much, but Sesshoumaru was honest enough to admit to himself that any revenge would be for himself. She hadn't been much for fighting. She'd loved the simple joys of building a daisy chain, or uprooting an entire garden…his private garden, no less…to make a bouquet. She'd hated the few times the violence of his own life had bleed through into hers, however hard he'd tried to keep her uninvolved. She would probably have been indifferent to revenge for her sake. But he felt he needed to, if not for her then for himself. If he got out.

She had had the same violence in her life before following him, having watched her family killed. He knew what it was like. He'd wanted her to be free of that.

He'd considered leaving her behind, once it became obvious he would be unable to keep her neutral. He should have left her with a family, some little village where she could have grown up and forgotten all about him. She had been young. She would have adapted, and gotten over whatever caused her to follow behind him. Whatever he would have felt at loosing her wouldn't have been as bad as this. It wasn't like he couldn't have visited…there had been that little out of the way village at the foot of the mountain…

She hadn't wanted to go the one time it had been brought up. She had latched onto his tail, and refused to let go. He couldn't say no to her. Truth be told, he had been secretly glad she'd wanted to stay with him. But…

She could have lived there. If he'd been smart enough to know he couldn't protect her forever, he could have left her there to grow up, despite the protests. He'd have gone back to his own meandering life, and eventually, it would be the same as it had always been. A pointless existence, interspersed with trips across the Western lands. She wouldn't have died….he could have done something. Should have, would have….useless, now.

The dead cared nothing for the livings' affairs. Funerals, vendetta's, honor…those were the domain of the living. If he ever had the chance to revenge her death, it would solve nothing. She wasn't coming back.

Tenseiga only worked once, after all. If it had, maybe…maybe she would be here now…probably scolding him for wallowing in self-pity, too…

He'd tried to stop the cycles of mourning, and rage…and the rage had stopped, gone out in the face of the grayness. But he couldn't make himself stop thinking, and brooding…what did it matter…?

Eyes still staring at the same, dull point on the wall Sesshoumaru frowned to himself. The question of whether or not he would ever be able to avenge her was raised, then answered.

No. He would die.

An ending of some sort…

…as long as it was an ending, he didn't care.


There. Fin first chapter/prologue thingy. I know what I did to Rin was rather horrible (Hated doing it, but needed to for this story. Unfortunately) Hopefully, some people are interested in the story, and stick around to see the next chapter, probably up in a week.

Please come visit my website….the link is posted on my authors profile. There's more of this story, as well as a whole lot more!