Disclaimer: The following is a Remix of "Alliance" by Planetgal471. The plot is used with permission. Miyazawa belongs to Planetgal471. Everyone else belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.

A/N: Thanks to Tarrin4ever for beta-ing.

A New Alliance

"I'm sorry to hear of your father's passing, Lord Sesshomaru," Miyazawa said upon Sesshomaru's arrival at his castle. The Inu no Taisho had fallen in battle no more than two days ago, but Sesshomaru was not one to waste time idly mourning. Immediately he had set off to secure the empire that was now his to claim.

Miyazawa was a ruler in the Northern province and a Great Dog Demon in his own right. He had been second only to the Inu no Taisho. Now Sesshomaru was there to make sure he knew his place. Jaken stared up at the two imposing dog demons from behind his lord. He had been instructed not to interrupt.

Miyazawa continued, "These are terrible times we live in when even warriors such as the Inu no Taisho may fall."

"I did not come here for your condolences, Miyazawa," Sesshomaru said. "I come for your allegiance."

"Have I not already sworn fealty to the Lord of the West?"

"Do not patronize me. Did you think the news of your disloyalty would not reach me? You sought to challenge my father."

Miyazawa laughed. "Would you not have done the same thing in my place? The rumors of your land have reached me, too. How painful it was for me to hear that my old friend, the Great Dog Demon himself, had taken to consorting with human scum. When an ally is overcome by weakness, it is only natural to extinguish him for the benefit of the whole. Much like sacrificing a limb to save the body. You know this."

Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes, but made no move. As much as he could not stand to hear his father affronted like that, he could not find himself in complete disagreement with Miyazawa. His father's shameful fondness for humans was beyond Sesshomaru's comprehension; the pain made all too cutting by his recent demise.

"But you, Lord Sesshomaru," Miyazawa went on, baring his fangs in a smile. "You hold no regard for human life." Miyazawa motioned to his guards, and a peasant girl was brought forth from another room, her arms and legs bound. They threw her onto the cold floor at Sesshomaru's feet.

"Please," she cried, tears streaming down her dirt-stained face. "Please." She lay there helpless, sobbing. Sesshomaru never took his eyes off Miyazawa.

"Lord Sesshomaru," Miyazawa said, firelight glinting off his eyes and fangs. "Let the blood of this human be a symbol of our allegiance. Absolve yourself of your father's shortcomings, and I shall gladly renew my loyalty to the new Lord of the West."

Jaken looked in anticipation from one dog demon to the other. Their powerful silence was only highlighted by the girl's dreadful wails as she thrashed about on the floor between them. When Sesshomaru finally spoke, his voice was deadly calm. "Miyazawa. Do I have your word?"

The older demon bowed.

Sesshomaru raised his claws. "Very well..."

The girl's cries were cut short. Dark blood gathered in a puddle at Sesshomaru's feet.

Jaken didn't realize his lord had started leaving him behind until a sharp voice reprimanded him. He was transfixed by the girl's face. Her mouth was frozen in a permanent scream, her eyes open, unblinking, staring at him. It was an image he would still recall with unease many years later.

---

Rin yawned and opened her eyes. She was slouched forward on Ah-Un's back, surprised to see that they were still flying through the air. She rubbed her eyes sleepily. "Are we there yet, Master Jaken?"

"No, you stupid brat," Jaken snapped from beside her. "Quit asking."

Rin ignored him. Master Jaken always got cranky on long rides. "Wherever we're going sure must be important. I don't think Lord Sesshomaru's ever brought us so far away before."

"Don't lump me in with you! Lord Sesshomaru has brought me on many long travels. Why, we once went so far we almost fell over the edge of the world itself!" Rin smiled. There Master Jaken went exaggerating again. "I have been with Lord Sesshomaru much longer than you!"

Jaken sighed. Somehow Rin always seemed to forget that. And even though the brat had been with them for a comparatively short time, Jaken had to admit to himself that he too could hardly care to recall a time when the little orphan wasn't by their side. Such an impact Rin had had on their lives. The time before her seemed almost meaningless, an era gone by.

"How much longer will it take to get there, Master Jaken?" Rin asked.

"It'll go faster if you keep quiet."

"Do you even know where we're going?"

"Of course I know where we're going!" Jaken had no idea where they were going. He had learned long ago that when Lord Sesshomaru got into one of his moods, you didn't question him with minutiae like "Where are we going?" Not even when you'd been traveling for almost a week and your curiosity was so strong that your tongue practically burned from keeping your mouth shut. All Jaken knew was that their destination must involve some unfinished business that Lord Sesshomaru could finally attend to now that Naraku had been defeated.

"Look, Master Jaken!" Rin pointed to the ground. Rising in the distance was a set of mountains that jogged Jaken's memory. Could it really be that they had come all this way...?

When they finally landed in the midst of the mountains, Sesshomaru was gravely serious. "Rin, find yourself something to eat. Then we'll work our way into the valley on foot."

Jaken's heart began to race with trepidation. It was true. They were about to enter the Lair of Miyazawa.

---

"It's been a long time, Lord Sesshomaru," Miyazawa said when his guards had finally admitted the dog demon and his vassal into the castle. Sesshomaru had left Rin behind with Ah-Un at the castle gate where it was safe some hours before. He was disappointed but unsurprised to see that the once great palace was falling into ruin. The glory days were over for its ruler.

"You're becoming quite the nuisance, Miyazawa," Sesshomaru said. "Must I come here every few decades to ascertain your loyalties?"

Miyazawa smiled at him, but the smile was more like a leer. "Whatever do you mean, Lord Sesshomaru?"

"Playing the fool does not suit you, Miyazawa. Nor does it buy you mercy. I know full well of your plans to launch an attack."

Jaken flinched behind his lord when he heard this. He'd had no idea of Miyazawa's plans. Sesshomaru still had means and spies that Jaken was unaware of.

"All business, aren't you?" Miyazawa said. "You are your father's son. But if you were going to kill me, you would have done it already."

"True. I have use for you yet. I come merely to give you your final chance."

Miyazawa started to laugh. "That is where you're wrong, Sesshomaru." Jaken choked at his disrespect. "This is your final chance. Guards!" Two fish-faced wretches came in holding a bundle. They threw it onto the floor and tore off the cover.

"Rin!" Jaken cried and brandished his staff at the guards. Rin was lying on the floor, arms and legs bound together, mouth gagged. Her face was red and there were tears in her eyes. "Untie her this instant!"

"Jaken." It was Sesshomaru's voice and he sounded dangerous. "I will deal with this."

Jaken looked at Rin, who was writhing against her bonds. "But--"

"Jaken."

"Yes, milord." He lowered his staff slowly, but kept glaring at the guards.

"Don't worry, Sesshomaru," Miyazawa said, laughing. "I haven't hurt her--yet. That's where you come in. I once swore an oath to you, and that oath was sealed in the blood of a human girl." Rin's eyes began to widen. "The blood of a girl you killed as a show of good faith. That faith has been lost." Miyazawa sneered. "You have your spies and I have mine. I know what this girl, this insect, this filth is to you."

Sesshomaru's voice remained calm. "And what do you think she is to me?"

"A weakness." Miyazawa's eyes gleamed. "Like father, like son. You disappoint me."

Sesshomaru frowned. Was Rin a weakness? It had taken a week's journey to the mountains where once it had taken two days. Time must be spent when you tend to human needs like food and water. But he merely said, "Our allegiance is one I do not take lightly, Miyazawa. It has served me well for many years."

"Then regain my trust and regain your honor. Let us make a pact in blood once again, stronger than before. The North and the West will stand together as the ultimate power."

"Lord Sesshomaru!" Rin had managed to spit out the gag. Tears were streaming down her face. "Please!" He paid no attention to her. His eyes were only on Miyazawa.

"It is time," Sesshomaru said gravely, "for a new pact. One that will never be broken." Here he glanced at Rin.

"Yes," Miyazawa said, laughing eagerly.

Sesshomaru raised his claws. "Very well..."

Miyazawa's laughter was cut short. He fell to the floor--in two pieces. His head rolled to Sesshomaru's feet. "The only weakness, Miyazawa, is you." The guards ran out of the room; they, like their lord, had no honor. Sesshomaru gave them no heed. "Jaken," he said.

"Yes, milord!" Jaken ran to Rin and untied her arms and legs.

"Master Jaken!" she cried, sobbing into his shoulder. She was terribly shook up by the whole ordeal.

"The old alliances have outlived their usefulness," Sesshomaru said darkly. Jaken could only nod his head as he stared at the corpse of Miyazawa. Suddenly Sesshomaru's voice lightened and he turned to Rin. "I am confident that my new alliance will never fade." He touched her head lightly and she smiled.

"Never."