Cold Rage

Anger.
Blinding, terrifying.
Making me fear even with my eyes open.

Fury.
Painful, burning.
Could I but scream though my voice is lost.

Hatred.
For my weakness,
Because it was his.

No call sounds in the light of the day.
But no light comes to me in the darkness of my thoughts.
Why do I remember? Why can I not forget?
Why do I close my eyes wishing for only a moment to dream again?

Confusion.
Destructive, consuming.
Stealing away a dream never mine to know.

Sorrow.
Heavy, hurting.
Breaking my heart from pieces already scattered.

Loneliness.
As my tears fall,
Because he will never see them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Why am I here?

I couldn't help but wonder. Why had I returned? The sun was setting on yet another day, and again I sat by the well. Waiting. Fearing the moment the light faded, afraid of when sleep would come. But still I was there, still I waited. I could do nothing else. I sat in fear, but in need of knowing that darkness of the dreams was still there, that he was still there.

I didn't want to, didn't think I could bear the pain again as I was filled with his suffering in the deepness of the dark, my spirit struggling to hear a voice that would never come, that would never call out to show me the path, that would never accept the comfort my heart ached to bring him.

I wanted to hate him. Hate his pride and his prejudice. Hate the heart that was cold as the blade he wielded. Hate him for what he had done to me.

I had been cursed, cursed to feel his pain, to know of his suffering; but more to have heard his call, to have answered it with my very soul, only to have the voice silenced, the soothing tranquility of the darkness become hard and built of fear and pain.

He had cursed me, and I wanted to hate him for it.

But I couldn't.

And so I found myself here again. Waiting for night to come, for the dream to take over, for the nightmare to begin again. I watched as the sun slipped low upon the horizon, watched the sky be ignited with color, alive with the blazing fires for the last moments before the darkness could come again. I watched in fear, in helplessness, in hopelessness.

I risked so much to go to him, knowing I was putting myself in danger, leaving myself open and vulnerable to the threat of ambush and attack. I knew these things, but still I had gone. I had gone because I had no choice, because I couldn't stand to know that the voice that called to me would suffer so when I could do something to ease their pain. That it had been He, knowing who he was, what he was, having suffered under his attacks, seen the beast concealed within, felt his devastating power and the cold and savage burn of his anger and his wrath; and still I would have done anything to bring peace to his tortured soul.

I would still.

Sesshomaru, what binds you so to your pain? Why does the misery and anguish you are forced to suffer more bearable to you than the hand that could take it away? Why deny yourself this? Why deny me? Because I am human? Is that really your only reason? You, who are as much a warrior as any I have ever known, of mind and body. You, who would not take action without reason, who holds honor above all else. Such petty differences seem beneath you somehow.

What is it you fear? What is it in the darkness that terrifies you so? What brings you such pain?

Let me help you.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In the void of darkest nights,
Lost in an eternity of anguish, pain, and sorrow,
I wander.

Trapped.
Nothingness surrounds me.
No thought, no will, no way.
The black is everywhere.
The pain is everything.

Call out to me.
I know you can.
Let me hear you voice.
I know I can set you free.

No mind, no body,
But still I can feel.
And my heart is breaking.
Breaking for you.

I no longer have a path to follow,
A will to lead me, a heart to guide me.
I no longer hear your voice in the darkness.

Can you hear mine?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A howl of fury, of pain, of misery, broke through the deep bindings of the darkness. I was startled awake, pulled away from the dream with frightening immediacy. It hadn't been the call, hadn't been the voice speaking to my heart in the trappings of the darkness and begging for me to come. It was something else, something born of a different pain, of a different need.

I didn't know what had caused the change, what had unleashed his wrath; but I knew the feeling of dread, of cold fury, of anger, and of pain. I knew these things, had felt them before, had been a part of the cold rage of battle.

But how could he fight when bound by the curse of the dreams, how could he pull away from the shackles of pain and the trappings of his anguish?

He couldn't. That was why I had heard his voice, heard the beast howling out its fury. He was still being held, his hands tied by the dark bindings of his curse. But still, he would fight. The killing blade, the assassin. He would fight. Even in a haze of darkness, lost in the wandering chaos with no eyes to see and no mind of anything but for the pain, his will held strong.

But for how long? I wasn't going to wait to find out. However unwilling, he had shown me the way. The howl of his fury, though not the call in the darkness, had still spoken to me, had given me direction in the endless void of the dark.

I didn't waste any time. Quickly donning my pack and my weaponry, I slipped out of my sleeping bag and began to run. I didn't know where I was going or how long it would take to get there, but my body was fueled by my determination, my strength given to me by my will and my heart. I ran, seemingly forever, the trees and the valleys, the rivers and streams slipping by with hardly any notice. My only focus was my destination, though I didn't know where that was.

The heavy beats of my heart as it pushed my blood through my veins, the deep steadiness of my breathing that pulled air into my lungs, and the pounding of my feet against the ground became all I knew. I didn't know I was going, but with every step I knew, somehow, that I was going in the right direction, that I was drawing nearer.

The ground began to slope, the soft grasses of the fields breaking away against the hard surfaces of stone. I was forced to climb. The rocks, crumbling and sliding under my feet, hard against my skin as my legs scraped against the stone; only obstacles that I would overcome. Up, always higher, I pulled myself, pushed myself beyond limits of reach and of safety. I climbed even though my muscles screamed in protest. I climbed even though the safety of grassy hills was quickly disappearing beneath the towering heights of the mountain.

He was there. I could feel him, feel the heavy vibrations of his aura snapping around me in uncontained fury, in invisible wrath. But there were others, as well. So weak in comparison to the immensity of his power, their presence was held from me until I was nearly on top of them.

Pulling myself upwards still, I finally managed to gain footing on a landing, a shelf of rock that spread out along the mountain wall. Had I time to catch my breath, it would have been lost again when my eyes finally saw the horror of what was before me.

Lizards, lithe bodies of scale and horns with fierce claws and dripping fangs protruding from hissing maws, but with leathery wings like those of dragons. They were so small, but in comparison to his massive size, anything would look small. Each of them was perhaps as long as I was tall, nothing more than an insect attaching itself to the great best. But there were so many. They had swarmed him, their fangs and claws ripping against the shielding of his pelt, tearing into him until his blood flowed and the sharp flashing of their scales under the light of the moon was muted beneath a coating of crimson.

He was standing, but hardly, the weight of his frame supported against the rock walls of the mountain. His movements were responsive but sluggish in their absence of direction and aim, his fangs clashing, his claws tearing at air. He wasn't seeing, only responding to a threat he knew was there but could not open his eyes to. It was instinct that drove the beast, primal defenses that even bound could not be restrained.

Around him, the ground was littered with the bodies of those creatures that had not escaped, that had already fell victim to his claws and fangs. But so many more were still left to swarm his body and tear away at his slack defenses.

He stumbled in a movement made groggy by his haze of unawareness, his body slamming against the rock. I could hear the terrible screeches of the creatures that had been trapped beneath him, their bodies crushed under his massive weight; but the sound was distant, muffled and unfocused in comparison to the strained growl that tore from his throat.

I couldn't stand to watch any longer. I couldn't let this go on.

Pulling my bow from my shoulder, I strung it quickly with an arrow and took aim. "Sesshomaru," I had whispered his name, praying that he could hear, that he could understand. And then I released.

The arrow cut through the air in a brilliant wave of white light that ignited the dark of night. The creatures with mind to turn lived only long enough to see the form of their demise, but many had not even that. So brilliant was the light that it smothered the dark fires that gave life to their spirits, youkai fallen by the touch of purity.

How many? In the burn of power and the falling of ash, I couldn't see how many had fallen or how many remained. I wouldn't take a chance. I strung another arrow and took aim, holding against the strain of the bow, waiting for another target to be made visible.

But though set and ready, I had not been prepared for the sudden surge of power. It exploded outwards from where he had stood, sending shuddering quakes through the stone. I lost my balance and was forced to abandon my aim to steady myself. Then another blast, this time focused, the energy ripping through the air with unmistakable intent. My arms cam up to guard my face instinctively, bracing against the fallout. When at last the wave of scorching heat and searing energy had passed, I slowly and tentatively began to lower my arms.

He had changed, had taken on a different form in the burn of his power. The image of the great beast had been concealed behind barriers of control and of restraint. He stood as a man, the brilliant white of his fur replaced by skin of porcelain perfection defining his strong features and a mane of silver hair that captured the moonlight to dance upon its surface in shifting waves of crystal light.

His eyes were open. But the piecing gold was clouded, the sharpness dulled by a darkness coming from within.

I could see the dangerous glint of his blade in the moonlight, but he did not raise it against me. He wavered, the strong stance I had so often seen of him breaking as his control began slipping away again. I knew I had to do something.

I stepped closer to him, the movement careful, guarded, and slow. I could see him stiffen, his body become rigid as he fought against himself. He looked trapped, as if caught between his need to stay and his desire to go.

"Sesshomaru," I called his name as I took another step. "Please, let me help you."

His features were contorted away from the mask of placid nonchalance I had always seen him wear. His pain, his confusion, it was so clear in that moment. He had heard my voice, but it was almost as though he did not recognize it.

A fierce growl tore from his throat, and I stopped moving. I was afraid. Afraid of him, afraid for him. I watched as his eyes lost their focus, growing heavy under the bindings of the curse, seeking to trap him again in the darkness. He shook it away, trying again to focus on me, to see who it was that had given him this moment of freedom.

Taking a deep breath, I pushed away my fear and moved closer. I understood that somehow it had been my power that broke him from his trance, that had freed him from the dream long enough to let him fight back. Why, I did not know; but I knew that I could not turn away from him, that I would not. Not now. Not knowing that he would be left again so vulnerable to attacks that he should have been able to push aside as though they were nothing.

I was standing right in front of him, so close that I could reach out and touch him. But I held myself still, waiting, waiting for him to accept me, to accept my offer of help. "Please," I begged for him to listen, to hear my voice and know I meant him no harm.

He was struggling to take focus, his eyes so clouded with the dark light that even from so close they couldn't see. I didn't know how to help him, only that I could think to do nothing else. Impulsively, I lifted my hand and set it gently against the hard surface of his armor. But being so close to such a powerful aura had called my powers to bear with no way to stop their flow. They drifted across my skin, threading through my fingers in rippling waves that spread out like a soothing caress.

And in response, his breathing evened out, and his eyes finally found the focus he had strained so hard to obtain. He saw me, for perhaps the first time since I had arrived. I saw the recognition in his eyes, the sharp flash of golden waves crashing against amber tides. But it lasted only for an instant before he closed his eyes and looked away.

Shame. I knew it was that he was feeling. Shame to have lost himself again to the dream, to have been so bound by his weakness that he could not escape without my help. He understood what I had done, and he hated it; but even more he hated himself for it.

I'm sure if he could have, he would have left me there, or told me to leave. But he knew, as I did, that if I left, if I took away the light of my powers, he would be lost again to the darkness, to the dreams. He would sleep, and again he would be vulnerable.

A cold wind gusted through the peaks of the mountain, cutting against the moisture settled on my skin from my effort to reach the heights. I shivered, silently cursing my mortal body for its weakness, knowing that it would only make him more aware of what I was and why he had been so intent to keep me away.

I could see it when he turned back to look at me, the resentment that burned in his eyes and which cut more deeply than his blade ever could.

He stepped back from me, pulling away from my touch, and I could do nothing to stop him. But when he turned and began walking away, desperation overtook me.

"Wait!" I called after him, my feet moving towards him without thought. "Where are you going?"

"There is shelter," he replied without looking back.

Every step he took had more weight to it as the flow of my powers faded away and he was again being overtaken by the darkness. By the time he reached the sheltering of rocks that opened into a small cavern in the cliff face, he had been reduced to holding his weight steady against the stones.

When he stopped walking, leaning so heavily against the rock that I feared he would fall, I did not hesitate to move closer to him, to set my hand upon his arm in the barest of touches to infuse him with my strength.

He ripped away from me once he was able to do so and continued on without a word or even a glance towards me. I wanted to yell at him, to scream at his foolishness; but I knew that I could not, that I dared not. So I followed him, matching his pace when it slowed by his disorientation, but keeping my distance.

We were so deep within the mountain that the faint light there had been from outside no longer filtered through the stone. I couldn't see my way ahead any longer, and was forced to grope along the walls to keep myself steady and take small, cautions steps. I was about to stop to pull a light from my bag, when I heard him collapse ahead of me.

I could just barely make out the white of his garments in the pitch surrounding us, but I managed to make my way to him without a light.

"Sesshomaru?" I called his name timidly as I kneeled beside him and placed my hand on his shoulders.

His body jerked, being pulled back abruptly from wherever he had been taken, and he snarled as he pushed me away. "Do not touch me, mortal."

The dangerous glint of his golden eyes in the darkness startled me enough that I pulled back. But my shock was quickly being stolen over by my outrage. I had had all I could take of his cold fury, his resentment, his dismissal of me. I had come to help him, and he had pushed me away. But I wouldn't stand for it. No longer.

"You need me!" I hissed out in accusation. "If I don't touch you, you will fall back into the dreams. Is that what you want? You want to be left open for another attack? Is the thought of accepting my help so repulsive that you would welcome death so readily?"

He growled, the sound massive, filling the space we occupied, reverberating off the rocks until it seemed as though it was coming from everywhere at once. "Better to die with my honor than to be reduced to this…disgrace."

"Don't be stupid!" I retaliated in outrage. "There is no shame in asking for help, only in having too much pride to admit that you need it!"

A sudden shift in the air was the only warning I had before I found myself pinned ruthlessly against the unforgiving stone. My hands came up on instinct to wrap around the taught muscles of his arm, tugging futilely to relieve the pressure from my neck. But his hold was like tempered steel, unyielding and unbreakable.

"You would not be so eager if you knew to what you were committing yourself, miko."

His voice cut through me like daggers of ice and I shivered from the cold that spread through my veins because of it. I drew in a strained and shuddering breath, but refused to give in to the fear. "It doesn't matter. I can't let you suffer like this. I won't let you die like this!"

His hand tightened around my throat, cutting off my air supply completely. I could feel the sharp press of his claws against my skin and the burn of poison threatening to break through. But then, as suddenly as he had had me in his claws, he pulled back again.

"You are foolish to show such compassion for an enemy." His voice was softer now; though still chilled with his cold rage, it was laced with the pain of his suffering.

"But you're not my enemy, Sesshomaru," I replied. "You never were."

"I tried to kill you."

I laughed shortly at his statement. "If I used that to label my enemies, I wouldn't have any friends."

He said nothing for a moment, then murmured a vague, "Hn," and turned away from me to settle himself down against the rocks. I could no longer see the piercing gold of his eyes cutting through the darkness of the cave, and I knew that he had closed his eyes.

"Will you sleep?" I asked, knowing that in sleep he would be bound by the dreams again.

"If I must."

I puzzled over his response for a moment. I knew that he wouldn't want to return to the dreams, not after everything he had suffered because of them. And I knew as well that he would not ask for my help to keep him awake. But, perhaps, I thought, he didn't have to.

"I…" Pausing in nervousness, I bit my lip to try and steady myself. "I should sleep. I do not have your strength or your senses. I can't see in here, wouldn't be able to tell if something was coming."

I took a shaky step towards him, breathed in deeply, and then lowered myself by his side. He was holding himself still, but I know he was focusing on my movements. Slowly, I leaned back against the stone as he was, so close to him that I could feel the soft fibers of the pelt he wore cushioning me against the rock. Swallowing thickly, still hardly believing that I was doing this, I leaned into the soft fur, turning slightly so that I could bring my hand up to rest it on his arm. I could feel his muscles tense beneath my touch, and I closed my eyes tightly, praying silently that he would take my unspoken offer. And, eventually, he did relax.

I sighed in relief, my own tenseness melting away as I too managed to relax. "Maybe," I whispered quietly, not wanting to disturb the delicate peace that we had come to, "Maybe we can talk in the morning."

He didn't respond. Silence descended all around us, no sound in the depths of the stone but for the steady breathing of the two beings sheltered within it. I let myself be wrapped in that silence, in the soft comfort of knowing that I had done all I could for the moment, and that for this night at least, the nightmare would not come again.

I slept. And though I did not dream the dark dreams of the curse, he was still with me.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Warmth.
Fields of sunshine basking in the warm glow
Where laughter carried on the breeze,
Soft chimes of joy and merriment.

Peace.
No more fighting, no more battle.
Only the comfort of presence,
The knowledge that I do not walk alone.

There is no need, no urgency, no pain, no fear.
The darkness has lifted.
Warmth and comfort are all that remain.

I smile, though not of body,
For I have none, need none.
I rejoice because I can finally see.
And what I see…

Is you.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This chapter is dedicated to ChaosWingDragon…but only because she pestered me incessantly about continuing it. But, I only wrote it because I found inspiration…somewhere. I don't plan on continuing it at regular intervals, only when I find myself in need of something else to take my mind of other stories. Still, I hope it was alright. It was far more difficult than I would have thought to go back to the style that I had set this piece up with. I hope that I managed to keep the same tone as with the rest of the story.

Anyways, that's all for now. Please R&R to let me know what you think.

Later

Shadow