Warnings-Gender bending of major characters, Inucest (of the het kind)

Disclaimer-I do not own Inuyasha or Sesshoumaru or anything related to them. They are the wonderful property of Rumiko Takahashi

Finding Power

Chapter One

Disgusting, the white youkai thought as she gazed out on the human encampment which was, unfortunately, set up exactly where she wanted to be. She wrinkled her nose as the scents of unwashed bodies and human waste filled the valley. For a moment, she simply observed them from the trees deciding on the most efficient method to remove these filthy beasts from her territory. Her sharp gaze settled on the large tent set up in the center of the military camp. The general sat within, surrounded by his fawning underlings. The daiyoukai decided the general must set the atmosphere for his men. His persona screamed excess with his flabby figure, unshaven face, and stained and poorly maintained wardrobe. Humans were such undisciplined creatures.

She watched in faint curiosity as one of the general's young apprentices dragged a large boar to the center of the tent before bowing and backing away. Even from this distance, the inuyoukai's keen eyes could see that the carcass had been tampered with. Only her father's strict training kept the young woman from rolling her eyes at what happened next. The general reached down and grasped the sabotaged corpse and, in a pretentious display of strength, wrenched the head of said corpse from its body. Even worse, his pathetic followers gushed over the event as if it hadn't been staged. What kind of leader took the trouble of arranging such a display in order to prove his own power? Of course, all leaders adapted a persona in order to showcase their greatness. Of all people, she knew how important it was to seem to be what others wanted. But this wasn't just a case of putting on an acceptable costume. This man was faking power.

And yet it gave her just the opening she needed. As the man's pathetic supporters watched, the youkai rushed to the man's side--seeming to appear right before their very eyes. In a display of real power, she entangled her clawed fingers in the man's greasy hair and, with simply a twist of her wrist, tore the general's head from his shoulders.

"You're in my way," she informed the shocked soldiers in her artificially lowered voice. "Move."

The silence that followed her dramatic little stunt greatly pleased the daiyoukai. The scent of sweat and adrenaline filled the air as the mortals overcame themselves with fear. Somewhere, a few had even managed to urinate themselves. It was always so…satisfying to cow an entire army with a few words. The peaceful silence was broken, however, when their leader's now headless body collapsed in a bloody heap. Murmuring began as word spread to the disbelievers in the back who refused to accept that their great leader had just been felled.

Ignoring the whispers regarding the general's demise, the white youkai tossed aside the man's head and approached the highest point in the valley. Several men stood in her path, clearly too terrified to even move. She wondered if it was actually instinct within a weak species that made them believe they wouldn't become prey if they just stood really, really still. Well, it didn't work for deer and it wouldn't work for these men either.

"Leave, before you begin to annoy me," she stated as calmly as though she was wishing them a nice evening. As she expected the pathetic creatures fled before her. "Jaken," she called back to her own fawning underling, "bring the Nintoujou."

Dismissing the traumatized mortals, the young woman watched with impatient eyes as the minor youkai shambled forward, bouncing the two-headed staff and cackling at the terrified men. Not for the first time, the young woman wondered if it ever occurred to the tiny imp that the only thing separating him from the position these mortals found themselves in was that he had the fortune to be serving a truly powerful master.

"Yes, Master," the imp squawked as he approached the spot where she stood, continuing to scorn the men around them. Then, with self-importance the daiyoukai doubted the imp deserved, he thrust the enchanted staff into the earth. She waited with unacknowledged anxiety making her heart race and palms sweat while the staff took a moment to react. Would the male or female skull respond? After two centuries had she finally found it? No matter how many times she waited for the staff's reaction, she never loss this feeling, that perhaps this would be the time. Then, the female opened her mouth and screamed.

"It is the woman who is screaming, Master," the imp pointed out. "The tomb is not here." Oh, do point out the obvious, she wanted to reply as her heart fell.

"No," she agreed calmly instead, "let us go."

Turning away from the small youkai and staff before she destroyed either in her frustration, the inuyoukai was surprised to see the mortals attempting to surround her.

"Y-you're not human," one finally stuttered as she watched them. Again with stating the obvious. Why was it that everyone around her felt the need to explain such simple things to her?

"You're still here?" she asked, letting them wonder for a moment if they had made a mistake. Which, of course, they had. Then they made some more.

"Mononoke," she heard shouted from the back lines.

"Attack," she heard shouted from the front.

And for one moment she considered following that command. But her disappointment at not finding the elusive tomb would have colored her victory. It just wasn't even worth the effort. Besides, she had better things to do, like figure out what she was going to do next.

"I'm not wasting my energy on the effort," she informed her tiny follower. "Jaken, take care of them." And she turned and strode away. Behind her, she heard the maniacal laughter of the imp and then the roar of fire as he unleashed the destructive power of the Nintoujou. Soon the foul scents that had blanketed the valley were replaced with the sweet, heavy scent of burning leather and human flesh. A small smile crossed the emotionless face. Perhaps her time had not been completely wasted.

Once out of the valley, the white youkai waited for her tiny henchman to catch up with her. Watching the light show occurring below her, the inuyoukai considered the deceased general's display of power. In many ways, it wasn't entirely different than what she did. Unlike him, she had real power so there was no need to pretend. However, she acted out a part in order to maintain fear and control over those beneath her.

Her father had been a great and terrible daiyoukai, controlling the mountain ranges of the west. Her mother was a beautiful, if flighty, youkai who--ironically--kept a palace in the shifting clouds over Japan. Unsurprisingly, it was the stable mountain youkai who took control of her upbringing. But she was his only child. And a girl.

Yet such a simple matter of the gender of his first-born could not dissuade the all-powerful Inu No Taisho. He raised her and trained her as his heir, either oblivious or simply ignoring the fact that, as a female, she could never take that place. By the time she reached adolescence, the young youkai realized that her father may have forgotten that she was a girl at all. Suddenly, she realized that the great daiyoukai was having no more children and truly expected her to take his place, something she could only do as a male. It was then she began binding her newly developing breasts and experimenting with voice-tampering exercises.

So, for over three hundred years the most feared and powerful youkai in Japan hid behind an illusion. The only one who lived who knew of the young woman's true gender was her mother. But the older woman simply found the situation amusing and was no threat to the daiyoukai's territories. Even the devoted--and perhaps infatuated--Jaken was oblivious to his Master's secret.

But although her image was a façade, her power was very, very real. Her birth had guaranteed she would inherit her father's vast territories, but it was the result of his training and her own power that she kept them after his death. And only increasing her power and strength could guarantee that she continued to keep them. That was the ultimate lesson her father had taught her. Strength and power are the most valuable of commodities and will always be challenged. Building them was the key to maintaining the respect of those beneath her.

And as long as there was power to be sought for and gained, she would hunt it down. Hence, this treasure hunt she'd been engaged in for almost two centuries. For, although her beloved father had left his territories in her hands, he had hidden away the key to inheriting his power. Something she'd always believed he would leave for her. Perhaps this was a test, he did that sort of thing a lot. Maybe, in order to gain his power she had to find it first. Perhaps he believed she wouldn't be worthy until then. Who knows. The old man had been acting rather strangely near his end. Secretly, she feared that he'd hidden it away because he had completely lost his mind and she may never be able to find it.

Her only clues were a damn, enchanted staff, and a stupid riddle. A place you can see, but cannot be seen. A place The Guardian can never see. What the hell was that supposed to mean?

Finally, the lights in the valley began to die down. In the place of a thriving army, was now just a scorched patch of earth. Just as well, it would grow better that way. Anything that decided to thrive there was better than the filth that had just been cleaned out. Eventually, the imp shuffled up to her, adrenaline still running through his small body as he came down from the euphoria of the slaughter.

"It is done, Master," he preened, his voice wheezing from his excitement.

"Come," she replied, her disguised voice giving him no reason to question her authority, "our search continues." She turned and walked off into the woods, her slow strides giving her ample opportunity to decide which direction she would go in. She had just exhausted the only lead she'd received in at least a decade. Perhaps, she should just return to her stronghold for a bit. Like her father, she was a mountain youkai and she loved returning to her ancestral lands and reminding those who lived there why it was her territory. That she was the most powerful youkai in all of Japan.

But she would take her time returning. Perhaps, not likely, but perhaps, she would find a lead on the way. So she made her way slowly through the lands she controlled and toward her favorite range, step-by-step as if she was no different from any mortal creature. Eventually, she came upon a peaceful lake. A valley really, filled with icy mountain run-off. Calm and serene, yet deadly for any creature who was tempted by its icy beauty. She could fly over it, but then she would have to wait for Jaken to make his way across, or worse around, the lake. She detested those grubby fingers clutching at her fur and avoided it unless absolutely necessary.

Besides, she had decided to take her time.

"A boat," she stated as she stopped by the frigid shoreline.

"Wh-what?" the imp asked, clearly having no idea why she would bring up a mortal contraption at a time like this.

The youkai noticed with some satisfaction that the small creature's scent spike with the telltale signs of fear as she turned her narrowed gaze to him.

"I need a boat," she clarified, her tone leaving no room for questions; at least for any moderately intelligent creature that wanted to remain breathing for another few minutes. Thankfully, Jaken fell into this category.

"Of course, Master," he stammered, "I will fetch one immediately."

As the small youkai scampered off, the white inuyoukai watched as the moon descended over the horizon. The sounds and scents of her mountains were comforting and welcome on the crisp mountain air, but there was also an underlying tension. Things were not well. For the most part, her lands were not overly distressed by the unnatural shifts in power, but other lands were. And anything that affected other lands, affected her territory as well, even if only minutely. Something was gaining power, whether this would affect her she still had to decide. Also, fake power was changing hands. The fabled Shikon No Tama had shattered and undeserving youkai were trying to take advantage of borrowed strength. For now, she waited to see if it would be resolved without her interference. But if the imbalances continue she would have to get involved.

Soon, the sound of shifting water caught her wandering attention as her little companion glided up in a small boat.

"I found one," he called out to her. No more explaining the obvious tonight, please, she begged silently.

Without a word, she stepped aboard and lowered herself as Jaken pushed away from the beach and, disgracefully using the Nintoujou, poled them across the lake.

"Sesshoumaru-sama, perhaps," he started nervously before stuttering to a stop.

"Yes?" she asked after a few moments passed, having little patience for uncertainty. Especially when wasting her time or attention.

"Eh, the tomb. Perhaps…well, perhaps Inuyasha would know where it is."

"Inuyasha," she repeated. Now it was clear why the little youkai had been so reluctant to speak. Swinging an arm back, a very satisfying smack sent the imp flying into the water. Without looking back, she grabbed the Nintoujou as it flew from Jaken's grip and immediately plunged it into the water, this time a satisfying thunk indicating she'd hit her mark.

"I was under the impression you knew not to mention that pathetic hanyou in front of me," she reminded the squirming youkai as he struggled to break free of the Nintoujou's hold and find the surface of the deathly freezing waters.

"Urg…" he gasped as he tried to speak with water gushing down his lungs. "I-I am sorry, Master," he finally gasped. "Pl-Please, forgive me."

A few more moments--and significant groveling--later, the white youkai pulled the Nintoujou from the water. Much as she might enjoy killing him, Jaken was one of her most reliable retainers, and she might regret his loss.

"Besides," she reminded the still drowning youkai, "he is not a source of information that is available to us. Surely you haven't forgotten he has been struck down by a spell?"

"But that is just it," Jaken panted, barely able to hold his head above the waves he was creating even without the Nintoujou holding him under. "I have heard that he has been released."

Sesshoumaru finally turned to stare in shocked silence at her imp's words. And while he certainly looked eager to get back into her good graces--and back into the boat--he appeared to be telling the truth. Well, that changed a few things.

Inuyasha was alive.

TBC...

Annoying A/N-Okay, I am a rampant yaoi fangirl who thinks slash/inucest is just about the hottest thing ever. But this idea attacked me and won't let me go. Sorry for everyone who might be mildly (or more) disturbed by the pretense of this story. And for anyone who wonders what I'm thinking-yes I know Sesshoumaru is a guy, not a girl in disguise. As such I am officially classifying this as an AU that will follow a lot of canon events. I'm also going to be interpreting these events in a manner which I hope is true to the canon but also works into my story line. Other than the obvious gender bending I'm hoping to simply provide an alternate interpretation to the characters without making them wildly OOC. I rely on you to tell me if I'm failing in that respect.

And if you made it this far, I want to thank you so much for reading this attempt. Please review and let me know how I'm doing.

Silence