A/N: And I'm back! This was inspired by my Social Studies class, where my teacher has a fetish for politics, and somehow it rubbed off on me. It starts slow, but at around the 5th chapter it more or less picks up. (And this I know, because I've already finished 5 chapters.) Happy Reading!
Summary: When Sesshoumaru receives an invitation from Lucius Malfoy to become a professor at Hogwarts, he expected dark lords and politics involved. What he did not expect was for his brother to travel 500 years into the future, bringing with him wars and demons that should have stayed in the past. Non HBP compatible, all pairings are canon ones. (Though any extra ones can be intepreted any way you want.)
Rating: T (For language and a general blood bias that might corrupt young children. We ARE talking about Slytherins, Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru, after all.)
"…and so he would be arriving next month, together with the Minister of Magic, who would be…"
Jaken was incessantly rambling again, quickly destroying what was left of Sesshoumaru's patience on what was otherwise a beautiful evening. At the lofty altitude, mist pooled generously at his feet, swirling together with the strong winds that tugged at his hair, lifting silvery strands of hair up to the sky. The clouds, splashes of orange and magenta cradling the setting sun, hung so low in the sky that one would fancy being able to reach out and feel them.
Sesshoumaru sighed. "Jaken?"
"Silence." Had it not been for his strict upbringing, Sesshoumaru would have pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. Luckily for him, violence towards pests was accepted by said upbringing, and he lifted up a foot to kick the offending wails into silence. Yet before he could execute the tempting action, the sound of flapping wings in the distance caught his attention, distracting him from the task at hand. A sniff identified the newcomer as an eagle, but it was the bittersweet scent of parchment and ink that caught his attention.
There was only be one family self-important enough to use eagles as delivery birds, and he wondered wryly what the Malfoys had planned for their latest victim, making a mental note to watch out for possible discriminating evidence in the hands of whoever the eagle was heading for.
Interactions of, or with, the Malfoys were not always cause for wariness. There had been many instances where he had cooperated with them due to business or social reasons, and as far as functions went, they were generally reasonable people, if one could ignore the condescending attitude that seemed to plague each generation. Calls aside, however – and now was far from the season of interacting – it was a completely different matter. If there was one word to describe the Malfoys, it was 'ambitious'. It didn't matter each generation – they were constantly clambering after some dark wizard or other, and at the same time manipulating the political arena as well as the business world while still maintaining a respectable appearance to the rest of the world.
Pressing a foot into Jaken's (now squashed) face, Sesshoumaru watched with narrowed eyes as the silhouette of the bird slowly came into view as it descended from its previous route amongst the clouds and swooped towards him. He easily caught the envelope that fell from its talons, and, taking in the distinct smell of the quality wax that sealed the flaps, peeled it open to extract the slip of (expensive) parchment from inside.
You are invited to attend a tea party at Malfoy Manor on July 5 at 3pm.
The note was short and straightforward, the lack of question to his attendance leaving no room for argument and practically demanding his presence – typical of a Malfoy. The reason behind this was not unclear: the Malfoys were one of the few prominent Wizarding families in the Great Britain – they were one of the richest, the most powerful, most influential families you could find in the place; they controlled the wizarding economy, pulled the strings behind the Ministry, and almost everyone who wanted to rise in society wanted to, if not gain their regards, at least avoid entering their black books at any cost.
But Sesshoumaru Taishio wasn't 'every man'. Since his arrival in the Great Britain centuries ago, the name he literally created for himself rose rapidly in ranks into the center circle of the corporate world, and now, as the founder and owner of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, he held the strings of every single witch and wizard, dead or alive, through their finances. Few families shared his status, and even fewer were considered above him, and the Malfoys, fortunately for him but unfortunately for them, belonged in the former category.
The eagle was now swooping around his head, evidently waiting a reply. Sesshoumaru spun on his heels and walked off, dismissing the bird. Once it flew out of sight, Sesshoumaru watched the ball of crumpled parchment plunging down the heights of the cliff, a green cloud of acid smoke trailing behind it.
Malfoy Manor always seemed to showcase more rare items on its shelves than before whenever one visits, no doubt an attempt to remind – or perhaps its purpose was intimidation? – visitors of their wealth. Lucius Malfoy himself was nowhere to be seen, and the manor was empty of people as Sesshoumaru followed the impeccably-dressed butler – a cross between a vampire and an elf, he guessed – through the winding corridors.
He spotted the blond in the balcony. "Lucius."
"Sesshoumaru. I didn't receive your reply. For a moment there, I thought you weren't going to turn up." The statement was deceptively conversational, but there was steel behind the gray eyes that revealed his less than amusement at yesterday's little stunt.
"Forgive me, Lucius. You didn't give me any room for declination." Did he even think that he could win an argument with a demon fifteen centuries his senior?
"Indeed. I trust you found your way here fine? Do have a seat." Lucius' smile was icy as he gestured towards the empty chair opposite him. Malfoy may be a bastard, but he knew his social etiquette, and more importantly, Sesshoumaru mused as he lowered himself into said chair, he had class. The balcony was made of pure marble, decorated tastefully with a few overhanging plants. Greek daises were positioned at the four corners, of which the outer two had statues sitting atop. Gleaming velvet curtains the color of wine framed the arch that served as a doorway, held up by gold ropes that hadn't seen a day of fraying. The tables and chairs were, too, made of marble, though of a vastly different sort as compared to the balcony itself. The cushions on the chairs were silk, he noted, designed to force one to sit straight lest he slipped off the slippery material and knocked his head onto the glass that served as the table's top. The tea set was made of fine china, rimmed with black and (real) gold, steaming with the subtle fragrance that came with high quality tea. Two spoons of cream and one of sugar. Malfoys knew how to hosts their teas, but that was hardly surprising – though Sesshoumaru suspected that Lucius only memorized everyone's preferences so it appeared as though he knew them intimately, an intimation tactic that was not only privy to this generation of blonds. For those who didn't recognize the ongoing manipulation, there were few things as subconsciously intimidating as sitting in front of a faux-friendly man who knew one's habits by heart.
The customary pleasantries were exchanged before Lucius smoothly steered the conversation into the topic. "You're not too busy next year, I trust?"
"No more than usual, Lucius. Unless, of course, there is another break-in. It took me two whole months to test and replace the security." Whatever you want me to do, Malfoy, would not happen if you pull a stunt like that again.
"A regrettable incident, I'm sure." Insincerity laced the agreement. "But Gringotts' timing was impeccable, as per usual. A few hours later and the contents of the vault would have been taken."
"Albus has a knack for last minute actions." Lucius could interpret that anyway he wanted.
"I suppose you've heard of his current crisis?"
"Which one?" Getting to the point now, Lucius? What are you playing at?
"Finding a new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher for Hogwarts. We've been hard pressed for a professor, especially now that school term's drawing closer. As a member of the Board of Governors, I'm quite liable if that happens." Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow at his words, before pausing slightly to choose his own reply.
"And I suppose you've made a space for say, an owner of Gringotts?" You're not offering me the position, I suppose? I doubt there's any room for negotiation.
"Teaching is a very lucrative business."
"Teaching a bunch of students from eleven to seventeen is taxing." Give me better reasons to accept, Lucius.
"It is a very…interesting job." It is a rewarding job. The blond drawled, playing idly with the head of his cane, gray eyes looking up unblinkingly at the demon, communicating what his words didn't.
"Indeed." This Sesshoumaru could not dispute. The last time he had visited Hogwarts to see Dumbledore, he had returned home with a student who was turning out to be one of the best curse-breakers in Gringotts. Charlie Weasley was now quickly on the path to promotion, and he would need to find replacements.
"In that case, you can expect an owl in a few days." Lucius saw the opportunity and jumped at it, giving Sesshoumaru no chance to disagree. "I await your good news."
Sesshoumaru kept his polite smile as they parted, but underneath the front, his mind was turning at high speed. There was no doubt that the blond was working for Voldemort since he bailed himself out of Azkaban a few months ago, and Sesshoumaru had the suspicion this had something to do with the rise of the 'flight of death'. Personally, he couldn't care less about the subject, and a human wasn't particularly his idea of devil impersonated – he saved that description for his (half) brother – yet experience had taught him to be prudent regarding the matter.
He apparated onto the grounds of his manor with a loud crack, ignoring the short, squat figure of Jaken that hurried out to greet him as he pondered over Lucius' actions. From what he'd heard and gathered, past Professors up for the mentioned post were either close confidants of Dumbledore, spies from the other side, or incompetent twits who end up in Saint Mungo's. He wasn't a close confidant of Dumbledore – technically, he was, over half a century ago, but that generation had 'passed away', both figuratively and literally, and 'this generation' was not very well acquainted with the old wizard – he definitely wasn't an incompetent twit, but neither was he on Malfoy's side of the war, so sending him out to spy for them would be risqué, to say the least, a move neither Lucius nor Voldemort would employ.
Sesshoumaru was no stranger to matters of politics – he was the Lord of the West, after all – and he was used to weaving his way through a battlefield of manipulations and traps. To do so, however, could require him to at least know what the trap was, and, try as he might, Malfoy's motives remained unknown.
The answer lurked in his subconscious, brushing against his mind in wispy tendrils of ideas that never presented themselves. He did not enjoy being kept in the dark, and dawn found him staring unblinkingly at his bookshelf, as still as a statue. It was doubtful they wanted to lure him out for another attack on Gringotts – he had checked and there was nothing of remote interest to the Death Eaters, unless their next step was to deprive their opposition of their money, a laughable idea in itself. No wizard worth his salt financially had more than half of his property in cash. The Malfoys, for one, contained in their numerous vaults less than a tenth of their wealth, the rest of which were stored in the form of stocks and other possessions – a fact they never failed to brag about.
Such was the situation when a house-elf came with his breakfast that morning, squawking in horror at finding his master arm-deep in folders of information he had dug up the last night and wailing resolutions to iron his – or her, Sesshoumaru never did see any need to differentiate between genders of these inferior creatures – ears immediately after clearing the mess. He ignored most of the inane chatter, focusing only when it mentioned the presence of a certain Potions Master at the Floo.
Indeed, when he entered the parlor, there was a dark head floating amidst green flames in the fireplace. "Severus." Of course. If there was anyone Lucius would send to convince Sesshoumaru to take up the offer, it was Severus Snape. An established Potions Master at a ridiculously young age, not to mention the one responsible for single-handedly salvaging the Snape family name from the hands of his father, Severus had gained Sesshoumaru's respect even before they had met. (It had taken Sesshoumaru three generations worth of time to establish his 'family name', yet the Potions Master had rescued it from the slums in a matter of a decade.) When they actually met, Sesshoumaru had taken to his sarcastic, acerbic sense of humor and introspective views of affairs – when he was not in one of his tempers, of course, during which he would be too caught up in his rage to be objective – whilst the other was won over by the demon's extensive knowledge on magic (first hand, but he needn't know that). Personally, Sesshoumaru suspected the man had a weakness for the fair-haired.
"Sesshoumaru. You have heard from Lucius, of course." The Potions Master was paler than he remembered, gaunter, and – not surprisingly – more sullen than before. He never had much appreciation for the finer points of social etiquette, and with his foul temper, he came closer to brusque than gruffly polite, and the lack of courtesies came as no surprise to Sesshoumaru.
"Indeed. And am I to presume that you're here to persuade me to accept the offer?"
"It would, of course, be much simpler for both of us if you just agreed to it. I can get back to planning lessons for those incompetent dunderheads I teach and you don't have to suffer people popping up in your fireplace continuously."
"Wingardium Leviosa. Tea?" Sesshoumaru levitated the teapot from the shelf with a wave of his wand and tilted it questioningly. You don't like wasting your time either. Tell me then, Severus, what he's up to. Neither of us want to stand here making small talk.
Severus frowned, partly at Sesshoumaru's hidden message, partly at being burdened with the annoyance that was small courtesies and partly because frowning had become a habit for him over the years. "I have no time to waste over insignificant niceties, Taishio. Much as I find this little conversation amusing, I have other appointments to keep. We can discuss the finer details of Dumbledore's insanity some other time." This information is not for you, you should have realized that.
"In that case, I'll send my reply when Hogwarts' letter arrives." Then this discussion is officially over.
"I shall see you in Hogwarts, then," Severus agreed silkily. You know what your decision should be. There was a loud pop, and he disappeared in a vortex of green flames, but Sesshoumaru paid no attention to these details, mind preoccupied by a fleeting memory that caught his attention.
The tension in the room was palpable, so much that Sesshoumaru had to enclose himself in a layer of youki lest he was crushed by the strong waves his uncle was giving out. Nonetheless, his face remained impassive, and the little display of strength had not changed his mind in the least. "I stick to my words, Lord Nagasaki. My father will not be taking another mate, even if his current one is a human. If you wish to marry off your daughter, I suggest that you wait until his current Lady of the Western Lands departs." Sesshoumaru set down his cup of sake with the same stoic calm he had picked it up with, eyes never leaving those of his uncle's.
His uncle smiled then, a slow, lazy smile that held no hints of the rejection just moments ago, and drunk from his own cup in slow, sure sips. I'm not afraid of incurring his, or your, wrath, the action said. You will not be able to harm me. "In that case," he drawled, inspecting the jade cup in front of him as he would a nail, the very image of nonchalance. "I shall see you in my castle on the next moon." He got up languidly, taking his time to dust imaginary specks of dirt off his immaculate kimono.
Sesshoumaru resisted the temptation to pour his sake onto the silver material in front of him, instead gesturing towards the door with his arm, serenely swirling his cup in the other hand. "I wish you a good trip." He didn't stop the gesture until his uncle's footsteps faded away, controlling his movements with the same indifference the other inuyoukai offered. Lady of the Western Lands. The words left a bitter taste in his mouth, as though mockingly reminding him of a time he had called a worthier woman that title. But the human was his father's mate, and he made sure everyone knew it. He had never called it The lady. It didn't deserve the title, and his words were his constant reminder to it that no one had carried out an assassination yet thanks to Tenseiga.
He glanced down at his uncle's empty cup, once again reminded of the conversation just moments ago. No matter how Nagasaki put it, it was obvious that his uncle was merely trying to get rid of his daughter. Satsuma made a fine daughter, and she was both powerful and beautiful, but she was also just about as business-minded as a rock, and bound to spoil any social function she went to, which was a dampener on any man who wanted to marry her. Most likely Nagasaki was sick of her wasting his property on her whims and wanted to push her off to someone else.
As for their meeting the next moon, well… Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed. No doubt since his father would not accept Satsuma, Nagasaki was moving on to the next victim.
Whatever Nagasaki planned (and he had a good idea what), it was not going to happen. His uncle just had to find someone else.
Sesshoumaru couldn't help feeling surprised. His current position was incomparable to that which he held five hundred years ago, and whilst anyone's association with him then could be interpreted as pulling strings, he hardly considered this possibility anymore, especially when interacting with people like the Malfoys. They didn't need financial backing from him, and with his neutral stand in politics, he wasn't likely to help them in the war, which more or less ceased their need to interact with him on a closer basis.
But the idea, while improbable, wasn't impossible, especially if Malfoy took his orders from someone higher up. So, Voldemort was gathering followers again, and he was now a target. Sesshoumaru thought about this new turn of events, considering the possibilities that lay before him.
There was no way he would follow the human. He may have sunk to the status of them to blend into society, but he had not fallen so far as to obey orders from a human. Yet neither was he likely to join the self-proclaimed good side. Those labels were for moralistic fools like his half-brother and his wenches, and he was not in a hurry to join them in their quest for self-destruction. He held neither obligations nor ties to the Wizarding World, and he was not a participant of the next fool's quest for world domination.
Yet, and here he reminded himself that it was typical action for a human, it seemed that he would be forced to make a choice again. Sesshoumaru forced down the snarl making its way up his throat. No one, especially not a human, would force him to do anything.
He could, he reasoned, murder Voldemort before he made any further actions. Despite the human's so-called legendary prowess, Sesshoumaru had no doubt that he could take care of him in less than a second. Yet it was the aftermaths that caused his hesitation. Whilst demons were content in their world of personal space and privacy, humans seemed to have the unending energy to pry into others' lives and make a huge fuss of everything. As it was, he had to contend with reporters snapping pictures of him from not-so-well-hidden corners of restaurants and streets. He would not give them an excuse to harass him in broad daylight.
Or he could go along with their plan. There was no doubt that Lucius has arranged it so that Hogwarts could not turn him away from the position. He was not adverse to the idea of teaching. He was confident in his ability to take care of a bunch of humans. The change of an abode was just a mild inconvenience, the added work was no more than a few second's of marking papers at high speed, and he was admittedly lured by the idea of finding one or two curse breakers, if only to keep pesky intruders out of Gringotts. "Jaken."
The toad was at his side almost instantly. "Yes, milord?"
"List all the appointments that are planned from September 1st of this year till the next."
"Inuyasha, please!" Kagome's exasperated voice sounded in the house for the umpteenth time that day. Her hands were placed firmly on her hips, wrist loaded with the straps of the two suitcases beside her where she stood at the bottom of the tree, glaring up at the half-demon above her. "This is ridiculous! Give me back my bag!"
"No!" Inuyasha looked down at her from where he was perching on the branch, her bright yellow duffel bag clutched protectively in his chest.
"Inuyasha…" Kagome gritted her teeth. "S-I-T!"
She winced as he fell from the imposing height to the ground, mud muffling his shout as he plunged down headfirst. She really didn't want to use that trick, especially not when he was sitting at that height, but this was too much.
"Feh!" Inuyasha spat the mud out from his mouth, bag miraculously still in his hand. "You wench! You said you wouldn't do that again!"
"You're being unreasonable!" She shouted back at him. "I told you, they're out of tickets! You can't come with me!"
"What's wrong with sitting on top of that metal box!"
"Then why are you sitting in it?"
"What's so different? If you can sit in it safely, then I can sit outside it safely too!"
"I told you! It's cold! It's dangerous!"
"I've faced winters colder than the sky! And it's summer now! Besides, if I can survive both Sesshoumaru and Naraku, I can survive a metal box!"
"It's an airplane! And no, you can't go, and it's final!" Kagome took in a large gasp of air, turning resolutely away from him. She couldn't believe him. The moment she told him (with no small amount of trepidation) that he couldn't get on the same plane as her due to a lack of tickets, he had taken it into his head that either he went along with her, or she wasn't going at all. And sitting on top of the plane…the idea was ludicrous in itself! She could feel her face burning, partly due to her anger, partly due to the fact that she had been shouting non-stop for the past five minutes, and partly because…
She was eighteen. Eighteen, for goodness sake! She didn't need Inuyasha running after her like she was still fifteen! And besides, this was now. Naraku was dead (well, technically not dead, but since he'd disappeared without a trace, he was as good as dead), and she could more than protect herself. Especially from something as common as planes! And besides, who did Inuyasha think he was anyway! He followed her down the well on the pretext that she 'couldn't be trusted to protect herself', and now he was refusing to let her work just because he didn't trust a 'rickety metal box with the ridiculously heavy wings'! She turned back to him, pointing a menacing finger at his nose. "Give me back my bag before I say the 'S' word."
Inuyasha glared at her. "Feh. Do what you want. I don't care." He tossed the bag at her feet, stalking off into the forest behind the shrine.
Kagome watched his retreating back and heaved a sigh as he disappeared into the forest. "It's for the best, Inuyasha! I'll send you a ticket to England the moment I get one!" She gave the canopy of leaves an energetic wave – he was there somewhere watching her, she was sure of that – and purposefully turned her back on the place she had called home, be it now or five hundred years ago, for the last eighteen years of her life.
A pair of golden eyes watched her leave, and the moment she moved out of sight, the owner of the eyes leapt out of the forest and after her.
"Feh. Stupid woman. As if I'd let her go alone."
To be continued...
A/N: No fangirl japanese at all, save some prefixes and suffixes that don't sound right when translated into english. It may not be very obvious in this chapter, but there'll be some 'sama's in the next. All criticisms (constructive AND destructive, though I'll very well prefer the former) will be listened to and appreciated.