Disclaimer: I do NOT own Inuyasha, or any of the characters in the manga or anime. Shame, isn't it? sigh
Sesshoumaru sat silently, watching the shadows get longer as the sunset behind the Tokyo skyline. Tonight was the new moon, in an hour or so he would have to go collect the miko and bring her to the cave. He couldn't get the kit's parting words from his head…she would want…no she would need comfort tonight, seeing her lost love reduced to a shell of his former self. 'Why do I care what she will want, or need? I am merely to protect her from harm. Rin only asked me to protect her, not coddle her. Then again, she asked me to protect the girl the way I protected her.' He sighed, remembering.
It had been raining for days now, and the girl had developed a cough. She tried to tell me she was fine, but I could smell the illness on her. I forced us to stop and take shelter in a cave for a few days to allow her time to recover. After ordering Jaken to gather firewood and build a fire, I left to scout the area. I would find a monk or miko to care for the girl in one of the nearby villages, I was sure of this. I searched for days, however it seemed Naraku was up to his old tricks and the majority of the nearby villages had either been destroyed, or the occupants had been slaughtered.
When I realized help would not be found, I returned to the cave. I half expected Rin to jump up and greet me as she always did; however the smell of death was getting stronger in the cave. Jaken sat next to her, silent tears streaking his cheeks as he softly spoke to her. "Just hold on a little longer girl, Lord Sesshoumaru will be back soon with a cure for you. Weak ningen, don't you die on us now!" His tone alone told me the depth of his feelings for the girl. He had grown to care for these past few months as much as I had.
I sat next to her, softly running my fingers down her cheek. She was burning up with a fever, but shivering at the same time. Her breathing was shallow; it seemed to be causing her pain to take even the short breaths. As if sensing my touch, she turned her head toward me and gave me a weak smile. Her eyes fluttered open, showing the pain she was feeling. She spoke softly, "my Lord Sesshoumaru, Rin knows she is dying. Rin is sorry she couldn't stay, but the angel told me that I have to go soon." She started coughing, her small frame convulsing violently. "It hurts Rin to take air, but she has to beg you for something before she goes. Please my lord, would you grant me this dying wish?" Her eyes begged me to say yes.
The desperation in her eyes made me hesitate. What could she want so badly, she had to phrase it as a dying wish and look so desperate for his compliance? She started coughing again, and gave a low whimper in pain. Seeing her like this, I felt terrible. If granting her this "dying wish" as she called it would set her mind at ease, and allow her soul to find peace, I had no choice. I gave her a nod, and said "Rin, state your terms and on my honor, I give my word that I will do all within my power to make it reality." She gave me a smile, and her eyes were sparkling with happiness at my words.
"My lord, though Rin's request is simple, it comes in two parts. The first will be hardest for you to do, but Rin has faith you will see it through; Rin asks that you make amends with your blood, the puppy boy. The second, and most important part of my wish, is that you protect the strangely dressed miko that travels with the puppy boy, protect her the way you have always protected Rin." She smiled at me again, her small hand reaching for mine. She gave my hand a light squeeze, then simply said "I love you, my lord." Her eyes slid closed and her breathing slowed, stopping completely only moments later.
I sat there for hours afterward, seething to myself. I had been tricked into granting her that request; there was no way I would honor it! If only Jaken hadn't been there, I could have ignored it completely. Jaken, however, had been sitting right next to us, and had heard every word. He would probably agree with me about the trickery, however, it was now a question of honor. To allow one lower than me see me disregard a vow I gave with honor, would bring shame to my family. How could I be so stupid, to promise the wench I would do something before even hearing what it was she wanted from me!
Rin had been a simple girl the whole time I had known her; I wouldn't have thought her to make a request of such magnitude. Make amends with my worthless, hanyou, half-brother? Then again, these past months he has proven himself worthy of at least some respect. He has shown inner strength since that girl started to follow him around. Speaking of the girl, protect her? From what? She has the hanyou's protection, albeit he has proven himself incapable of protecting her at times; he has proclaimed himself her protector though. Maybe Rin wanted me to protect the girl from my brother? As for amends, killing him would be amends in a fashion.
Yes, that must be what Rin had meant. She wanted me to kill the worthless half-breed, and take his wench as a ward. This request of Rin's was beginning to make sense, finally. The wench was definitely old enough to marry off; all I would have to do is find a human male to take her off my hands…that wouldn't be too difficult. After all, the wench wasn't as beautiful as a demoness; however she wasn't ugly by human standards. Then Rin's words came back to me again. 'Protect her the way you have always protected Rin.' I sighed deeply; I wouldn't have ever married Rin off to a human. No, she was special. I enjoyed her companionship, even if I was always silent.
Jaken broke me out of my thoughts with a loud cough. "My lord, we should burn the body before the stench becomes any more putrid. Human filth…" His words enraged me again; I grabbed him by the throat and told him to shut his mouth if he valued his life; which of course shut him up. I ordered him to build a funeral pyre and let my thoughts drift again to what I would do with the human wench once I killed my half-brother off. Just the thought of killing the worthless hanyou off brought an evil smirk to my lips; Jaken saw this and began trembling in fear, bowing low to me and running from the cave to do my bidding.
That night we burned her body, gathered her ashes and spread them out over a field of flowers. Rin had always loved flowers, it was only right that her body's ashes be with them. I then set out to find the half-breed and his pack; Jaken trailing behind me with AhUn.
I found them a few hours after setting out, they had just engaged Naraku; the fight was going well, but I could see it was taking a toll on my half-brother, and his pack. "Jaken, go gather my allies. We will ensure this is the final battle, and that Naraku does not survive." I would not allow Naraku, or his minions, to kill my half-brother; that pleasure was to be only mine. I heard Jaken and AhUn take flight, the call would be put out and a small army would be here soon. I wouldn't announce my presence until my forces were here though, I would sit and watch the battle unfold for a bit. I had never had the opportunity to watch my brother fight before, usually I was his opponent; I would take this time and find his weaknesses. The whole group fought admirable actually, though I would admit this to nobody, I could respect the formations.
The taijia and the monk were fighting back-to-back on one side of the field, the miko and a wolf demon were fighting on the other side; my brother fought alone in the center of the field, unleashing the strength of father's fang with accuracy I could actually admire. The undead miko was on the side of the field, watching. I wondered what she was waiting for, why she did not join in the battle. These thoughts rushed from my head as I heard my allies and their army approach. The sun was just beginning to break the horizon; it was a good time to join the fray.
I allowed my beast to come forth, transforming me into my true form. Even without my arm, I commanded respect in this form; my orders would be followed without second thought. I growled low in my throat, telling all that my half-brother and his pack were not to be touched unless they wished for a slow and painful death. Then I roared the command to join the battle and jumped into the air, pouncing on one of Naraku's incarnations. The path was cleared to Naraku, I watched the undead priestess go and stand at my half-brother's side. On his other side, the miko I had promised Rin I would protect stood. They released their arrows simentanously, the undead miko's arrow killing a child the wind witch held in front of her, the other miko's arrow shattering Naraku's barrier, then embedding itself in his chest. The second Naraku's barrier was broken, Inuyasha released an attack from father's fang; combined with a large wave of purification from the miko's arrow, Naraku finally died.
I heard a threatening growl as the purification energy spread from the miko's arrow, from my vantage point in the sky I saw the wolf demon that had been fighting with the small pack suddenly turn and charge the miko. Though I couldn't understand why he wanted her dead, I could not allow him to kill her. I jumped down, placing my legs in the wolf's path at the last second. I heard the bones in my leg shatter, and then felt a kick to my ribs. 'Does this wolf not know whom he is attacking?' I thought as I shifted to my humanoid form. I grabbed his throat, poison dripping from my claws. His death was swift and a lot less painful than I would have liked, but I noticed the miko watching me and did not want her to witness my pain. I growled a warning to her and gathered my youkai around me to depart the field.
I found a spring nearby to rest. My leg and at least 2 ribs had been shattered; the rest of the ribs on my right side were either broken or badly bruised. I would rest here a couple days, then move to a cave and allow my body to completely heal. If anyone were to see me weakened like this, I would be killed for my lands. The lord of the south wanted my lands desperately, and the North was in unrest as the wolf leader was getting old, some said him feeble minded; there was too much unrest to have my leadership questioned at this time. I masked my aura and scent, then put a barrier around myself and allowed my body to drift into healing sleep; if any demon were to approach the barrier would alert me and repel them, allowing me enough time to escape.
After two full days and nights' rest, my body was still broken; I was beginning to consider the possibility that I couldn't regenerate myself. The thought was depressing to me. This was Rin's fault, and that stupid promise I had made to her. Protecting the wench had caused my body to break beyond repair. Then, I felt her aura; it was coming closer. I let out a growl, wanting to just be left alone. I did not want or need her pity. The stupid wench came closer, stopping about 4 feet in front of me.
She fell to the ground in a very low, formal bow, and shocked me with her words. She first apologized for intruding on my peace, and then had the audacity to ask if she could tend my wounds. I drew in a deep breath, growling as I released it. The wench was human, what could she possibly do that my far superior demonic healing could not? I considered killing her on the spot for even considering I needed or wanted her help. Then a thought came to me…so I questioned her as to why she thought she could heal me. She then told me of a technique her teacher had told her about. Could it be true? Could a miko really combine her holy energies with my youki to heal a demon?
I had never heard of such a technique; I had always thought a miko's energies could only purify a demon. I glanced at her out of the corner of my eyes, she was still in the low, formal bow, and her aura seemed to be radiating with her purity. The wench seemed to honestly want to help; I would let her try, the worst thing that could happen would be death, and I had just resigned myself to that anyway. I gave my consent to her attempts and waited for her reaction. She rose slowly and moved cautiously toward me; hesitantly touching my leg, she mumbled something about having to touch my person.
Then I felt her powers rise up, surrounding her. I growled on instinct as my youki rose to meet her energy. Then a strange calm surrounded me, forcing my youki back into my body. I was astounded, this wench was overpowering me! My youki flared up again, only to be pushed back by the wench's energy again. Then, amazingly, I felt my body begin to mend; what would have taken me months to mend was mended in minutes, I couldn't believe this! My arm, the one Inuyasha had removed in father's tomb, which would have taken me at least 4 centuries to regenerate, was growing back at a sure and steady pace. The pain was excruciating, however the results made it worthwhile. Finally, when I felt my body complete once more, I pulled my youki back into me; the miko began to pull her energies back into herself also.
I stood, still amazed that the slip of a girl had been able to accomplish such a feat. The girl lay on the ground, her energies depleted from the healing I assumed; her friends would find her soon enough though. I gathered my youki cloud beneath myself and took off to my lands, intending to test the strength of my new arm. Maybe that promise I had made to Rin hadn't been so bad, after all…the wench would definitely be useful if she could heal youki. When I returned for the wench, however, she wasn't with my half-brother's pack any longer.
The sun was setting when I arrived; the hanyou was weakening; becoming human for the night. Still, he attempted to fight me; pulling father's fang from its sheath, even though it refused to transform on his human night. After several minutes of arguing, the monk finally convinced him to not fight me; several minutes later he was calm and following me away from the humans.
When we were a good distance away, he spoke. "So, what do ya want with me? If you're here to kill me, at least let Kikyo have the human half of my soul first. I owe her that, on my honor."
I was shocked; he dare speak to me about honor? "Where is the miko?" I asked, unwilling to hear him talk more about honor; he who had been a blemish on father's honor, a hanyou, could not have any honor.
"Kikyo? Are you blind, she was standing right next to me when you came to us!"
"No, the other miko. The one who is alive."
"Kagome? What could you want with her?"
"That is not your concern. Where is she?"
"She's gone; long, long gone." He said sadly.
This confused me, hadn't she followed him faithfully these past months? Why would she leave him now that the final battle was over, the jewel whole again? "Explain what you mean." I stated, confident that he would answer me.
"Listen, you have no business with her, she's only human. She left, you won't find her anywhere for a long time. So whatever you want her for, forget about it."
Again, his words confused me. "I wish to make amends with you, brother." I spit the words out, however I had promised Rin I would do this. So much for killing him…if I wanted to find the miko, I would have to do this the hard way.
The look on his face made it semi-worthwhile though. His mouth hung open, his eyes wide in shock. When he finally regained his composure, he asked me to repeat myself. Which, normally, would have been unacceptable; these, however, were not normal circumstances. So, I repeated my request to make amends with him. This time he watched me suspiciously. "Why? You've wanted to kill me for so long, why make amends now?"
I sighed at this question, and then began to explain the situation, and my final promises to Rin. It took me about an hour to explain everything; he continued to interrupt me with stupid questions. I finished my explanation with the promise I had made to her, about protecting the miko. "So, explain to me what you meant when you stated I wouldn't find her." I said.
"Ok, as hard as it is to believe what you just told me, the fact that you haven't once raised your claws to me during the time we've been talking now shows that you mean this. Kagome is gone though. She was never from this time; she came here from the future." At these words, it was my turn to be silently shocked. He didn't seem to notice this however, and he continued his explanation, telling me of the time-traveling miko, how she came to be in this time, how she left to return back to her time. "She gave me the jewel, telling me that I could make my wish. She asked me to follow her through the well, or to come get her and she would live happily with me in this time. She is in love with me, and a part of me is in love with her also. But, I made a promise to Kikyo before she died 50 years ago; and I'm bound by honor to give her my soul now."
"Hn. You owe the undead miko nothing; she died sealing you to a tree 50 years ago, did she not? That was payment, that golem is not the same person you made your vow to." I stated. He didn't want to see what I said as truth though, and argued with me over this fact for a good 20 minutes. Finally, I was fed up with him and told him "believe what you want then. Tell me more of the miko."
We spent hours discussing the miko, who I learned wanted to only be called Kagome. Finally, shortly before sunrise, he told me he had to go and pay his debt to the undead miko.
He handed me the jewel, saying "take this, give it to Kagome. She will trust you more if you do." He hesitated, and then asked me "will you promise me something? Wait, answer me after I ask, so you don't feel tricked again. I want you to take my body after Kikyo takes my human soul. My beast will still be there, and I'm kinda afraid of what it'll do. I was going to have Sango and Miroku kill me, but I think it might kill them. Kagome was able to subdue it with the necklace, but neither of them can use that power on it. So please, either subdue it somehow, or kill it before it has the chance to hurt anyone. If you're feeling generous, hold off on killing me until Kagome can say her final goodbyes to me please? You don't have to promise me that, but it would do her good. She has trouble accepting things, and she hates the fact that I agreed to let Kikyo take my soul to hell…" he trailed off, and looked down to the ground.
"This Sesshoumaru will either subdue you or kill your beast. I give my word." As I spoke the words, I was ready to kill my own beast, which had prompted the words from me. Yet another promise to keep…then again, I had only promised him something I had promised in the past. He turned from me and ran back to his pack; I followed at a slower pace, giving him time to say his goodbyes. When I entered the clearing again, I watched as the undead miko pulled a bright orb from his body, then in a flash of light she disappeared with it.
As Inuyasha collapsed, he looked at me and told me to remember my promise. I nodded, then walked to him and picked him up. I walked from his pack without a backward glance; considering my options of kill or subdue. I considered his words, and decided that subduing him would be best; I did want the miko's cooperation after all, and doing this for her would probably be in my best interests. As the sun rose I knocked him out, and went off to find a suitable cave to contain him in. I then commissioned chains made and a sorceress to spell them unbreakable. As the years went by, I began to care about Inuyasha's beast; he was very instinctual, and acknowledged me as his alpha.
Finally, she was born. It was strange to be there for her birth, I concealed myself and stayed in the background. She was so small, and loud; however I could sense the dormant jewel in her body, and her purity. I wondered how something so small could contain such a large soul…
Sesshoumaru snapped out of his memories suddenly when his cell phone rang. The driver was wondering if he should drive the human to the destination, or if he wanted to ride in the car with her. "I will meet you there." He snapped the phone shut and opened the window; he rarely flew anymore, reliving the memories had rekindled the urge to do so.
A/N: Yay, my muse was being nice today!!!!! Anyway, a longer chapter…which still leaves questions…but it does help answer a lot of them I think. Am I going to fast still? Please R&R!!!