Disclaimer: Aww, do I have to say it again? -whines-
SIAPNIAN: Wow... This was supposed to be a quick little character study so that Seacarda wouldn't have to keep correcting Inuyasha's behaviour over on the collaborative fic... it... kinda grew...
I love you guys. :)
Rational thought kicked in eventually, despite Inuyasha's instinct not to stop until Kagome was back.
Stop for a bit, said Rational Thought. Wait until you're properly healed or you might not get her back.
Instinct told him to keep running. He was rather inclined to follow Instinct, all things considered.
His muscles, on the other hand, agreed with Rational Thought and promptly gave out when he ignored them.
As he crashed unceremoniously to the ground for about the fifth time that day, he decided he rather liked Rational Thought's idea.
At least, as long as he wasn't resting uncomfortably face-down in some very bad-tasting dirt.
He pushed himself up a little and crawled to a tree, resting his back against it as he gasped for breath. He hadn't run that far, or that fast, in centuries. Maybe never. He wasn't sure; everything seemed a little muddy.
His amber eyes slipped shut.
It occurred to him didn't even know where his brother was. He could sense the faintest tang in the air, but he wasn't sure where it was coming from or even if he was just imagining it.
What if Tenseiga didn't work? He assumed there was a time limit of some kind. There was probably a guard against being wielded by anyone but Sesshomaru himself.
Oh, and then there was the problem of Sesshomaru. As much as Inuyasha hated to admit it, he wasn't exactly small fry, and the hanyou doubted he'd just give up the sword.
He hissed a little, one fist clenching. If his brother wouldn't let him have the sword, he'd take it from him by force or be killed. Either option was good as far as Inuyasha was concerned.
He tapped his fingers on the ground as he waited. It'd take an hour or so for the majority of his myriad wounds to close up properly, perhaps two for him to regain enough strength to seek Sesshomaru out and beat the crap out of him. That wasn't the problem. The problem was, of course, that Inuyasha was notoriously bad at waiting.
A growl vibrated in his throat. This was impossible; he wouldn't be able to wait that long. Kagome wouldn't be able to wait that long. It might have been to late for her already; he should get up and start running now. He could run on adrenaline if he had to, and he could heal while he searched; Kagome wouldn't be able to hold on for long enough.
He pushed himself to his feet. The sudden movement made his head throb and the world spin.
He miraculously had enough sense to sit down again just before awareness left him.
The moment he opened his eyes, he cursed expressively and at great length, no longer afraid of any form of command for the not entirely polite or generally acceptable behaviour.
How long had he been asleep?
He felt his face. It was the same shape it generally was, and when he prodded the area of the gashes he himself had torn, there was no pain. Nothing, although his claws had gone all the way down to bone.
All that was left was a mixture of dry blood mixed with dirt, slowly flaking off in the wind.
He growled and got to his feet, inhaling deeply. A sharp tang stung his sensitive nose; he was in luck.
He started running again, following the scent of his hated brother. He wanted so badly to run like he had before, not caring how much he hurt himself with his recklessness, but he couldn't do that now. Kagome needed him. He wasn't an idiot, whatever anyone else might say; he knew that Sesshomaru wouldn't be easy to subdue.
He crooked his fingers, making the joints crack, an insane smile crossing his lips as he envisioned the youkai's blood staining the earth, his body torn apart by tooth, claw and Tessaiga.
Tenseiga would be his, whatever it took.
Sesshomaru gazed dispassionately up at the sky, amber eyes glinting a little in the light, the warm colour a vivid contrast to the unnerving chill of his unmoving expression.
Inuyasha was coming, he could smell the stink of him on the wind, followed by the beautiful scent of so much blood. Not all of it was his own; he could smell... He could smell the girl in the blood, the miko child, but the stench was stale and existed only in the tang of spilt crimson.
Inuyasha was coming, alone, drenched in the blood of his precious human companion.
The youkai might have smiled had he allowed himself to express such base emotion. Alone, weak and terrified, the hanyou would be easy to catch and subdue, especially if the miko really was dead. The cold calculation of protection would be gone, stripped away, replaced with blinding rage. Careless fury, flailing attacks, just like when they were pups.
He just had to wait. He was good at waiting.
He didn't have to wait long.
The sharp bitterness of disturbed earth sank into his nostrils, the shuffling sound of someone clumsily sliding in the dust fell upon his sharply pointed ears, and Sesshomaru blinked up at the sky.
"Inuyasha," he acknowledged, voice dripping in false amiability. "How wonderful it is to see you again so soon."
"Let's just skip the chitchat," snarled Inuyasha abrasively. Sesshomaru had been right; he was enraged. Irrational. "I've come for one thing only. Now hand over Tenseiga and I might let you off easy."
"Tenseiga?" Sesshomaru turned to face his brother. "What could be so bad that Inuyasha is pulled away from his puny quest to demand a sword to raise the dead?" He returned to a faint sneer, expertly schooling his face into the expression while carefully maintaining complete emotionlessness in his mind, provoking Inuyasha while staying calm himself.
"Perhaps his precious mortal could not be protected by Tessaiga at last," he finished, the final blow.
"You leave Kagome out of this," growled the hanyou between tightly clenched teeth, whipping Tessaiga from its sheath, body tense with anger, eyes blazing in rage.
A spark of pleasure resounded in Sesshomaru's heart as he witnessed the effect of the nerve he had found. He quickly crushed the emotion, but was unable to keep from utilising the subject for his advantage.
"Your cries could be heard all the way down to the Underworld," he lied, getting up, fingers hooked in preparation, claws glinting in the light. "Shall I put you out of your misery, dear brother?"
"You're the one who's going to be in misery," retorted Inuyasha, and then he pounced.
Sesshomaru was almost surprised by the ferocity of the attack. One second the hanyou was twenty feet away, the next he was right before him, Tessaiga dangling in the air above their heads.
Sesshomaru calmly sidestepped and Inuyasha crashed unceremoniously to the ground.
"Your technique still hasn't changed, I see," he said dispassionately, standing straight and cool as the wind caressed his skin.
His brother's head snapped up, teeth bared in anger and a deep pain that wasn't physical. Sesshomaru's cold eyes flickered over the blood coating his brother, streaks of crimson and brown trickling from the forehead downwards, across his temples, down from his eyes, blood and tears and dirt mingling in a dried crust on his skin.
Deep inside himself, Sesshomaru knew the damage had been self-inflicted, and he was almost amused at the knowledge. Like father, like son, falling victim to useless emotions for stupid mortals.
Blood stained his clothes, too, the silky scarlet material stiff and browned with the residue. Some of it was Inuyasha's, some was that miko's. Mingling, melding together, united only in death.
Far be it from Sesshomaru to keep them apart.
Inuyasha charged again, screaming, howling his rage and anguish. Sesshomaru went to meet him, claws bared, lips parted to show fangs which gleamed in the sunlight.
Sesshomaru's claws swiped a trail across his brother's neck; pain flared in his chest as Tessaiga dug into his flesh. Irritated, he pulled away, surreptitiously checking for damage.
Shallow, but long. The glancing blow had stripped skin from his sternum to his side, flesh which now dangled oddly. It wasn't deep, though; he would be fine in a day or so.
Inuyasha, on the other hand...
He leaned heavily on Tessaiga, panting, eyes glazing over as Sesshomaru's venom took its toll. Blood dripped from the wound in his throat, a gash which had narrowly missed being fatal on its own.
No matter. There would be other chances.
Sesshomaru went in for the kill.
A growl was torn from Inuyasha's throat; he straightened up, fingers spasmodically gripping the handle of his sword.
He flung it away.
Despite himself, Sesshomaru's eyes widened in surprise.
Inuyasha's eyelids slid shut for a moment, his hands clenched into fists. His ears twitched, body tensing as the human scent was ripped away from the hanyou. His eyes snapped open, blood-red. Purple streaks zigzagged like lightning bolts across his cheekbones. His claws grew, his fangs lengthened, becoming too long to be ensconced in his mouth, poking out between his lips. The growl deepened until it became a roar, and the transformed hanyou propelled himself away from the ground, leaping for his brother.
They collided in midair and Sesshomaru was caught off-guard. Rage in an opponent was good, but this... This was...
This was not rage. This was nothing.
Inuyasha's talons dug into Sesshomaru's skin, his fangs piercing the unguarded flesh of his neck, bleeding, bleeding. The youkai tried to kick him off, twist as they fell, but his brother howled and clawed at him, tearing at him with tooth and talon in that unidentifiable emotion.
Sesshomaru's back struck the ground, stealing breath from his lungs. Inuyasha ripped his teeth from his brother's throat, tearing a chunk of flesh away, and he laughed.
The hysterical notes tumbled over and over each other, madness resonating in the air. Sesshomaru felt dizzy; what was happening? How had he been beaten? How had...
Inuyasha's laugh turned into a shriek of triumph, echoing across the rocks and throbbing in Sesshomaru's sensitive ears.
And then everything was silent.
Inuyasha was still, tense, eyes closed, still kneeling on Sesshomaru's chest with his claws half-embedded in his skin.
A single whispering word slid through the air, the syllables caressed by the lips that formed them.
The claws became shorter, duller. The purple lightning-bolts vanished. The fangs retreated under Inuyasha's lips.
When the hanyou opened his eyes, they were clear, the same shade of amber as Sesshomaru's own.
Through eyes blurred with his own blood, the youkai saw his brother's fingers wrap around the hilt of Tenseiga.
And then blackness swam over his vision and he knew no more.
Hope that was satisfactory... -crosses fingers-
At any rate, it was longer.
Oh, and chibi!Sesshomaru says you had better review, especially after I made his brother completely pwn him to appease you. I think you should probably obey. -winces-