song "Never Again" © Nickleback

Never Again

He sat on the couch like he was supposed to, far from the screaming and crying coming from his parents' room. His eyes were fixed to the carpet, as stained and unattractive as it was, for fear of his father coming from the room sooner than he thought he would. It was a well-trained response in the boy, one that he wasn't sure he would ever be able to overcome. He could not look anyone in the eye, and he could not speak. To do so would invite pain, and Sesshoumaru had no desire to inflict any more pain on himself than his father normally gave.

The reason was his autism – that's why he didn't talk or look people in the eye. He liked to dress himself – that's why he always wore long-sleeved shirts and jeans, no matter the weather. The family was having financial problems – that's why his clothes were always dirty and rarely ever clean. Excuses, always excuses, and yet he had to wonder why no one ever saw through the ruse. Excuses only went so far – they didn't explain his mother. Unable to work for fear of exposing her bruises. No friends for fear they would discover the secret she had so carefully harbored. No one to know just how brave she was being by staying like this, when everyone knew his father never held her against her will.

To leave the father would be to leave the son, and the mother could not do that. She would not condemn him to the existence she was forced to live. Soon enough, Sesshoumaru would be old enough to leave home, and when he did he was taking his mother with him.

The screams got worse, and now Sesshoumaru could hear the words. About him, of course. He was the only reason Mother would raise her voice to Father.

he's drunk again it's time to fight

same old shit just one a different night

His fist tightened in his lap. There was a method to tonight's madness. If no one would liberate them, then they would liberate themselves. Even Taisho, who should have known – he should have figured it out after finding Sesshoumaru dying of blood loss in his backyard, the gash on his arm from elbow to 

wrist – even Taisho hadn't filed a report. There were no cops, no investigation. No doubt Taisho had checked with his brother, had gotten yet another excuse. Sesshoumaru was forever playing with knives, you know – he didn't know any better. It wasn't his fault, Father's attention had slipped for just a moment. They were taking care of it as best they could. They couldn't afford medication.

They were a family to be pitied.

Gunshots went off, drawing Sesshoumaru from his thoughts. His eyes went wide – he was on his feet and staring at the door before he realized what he was doing. Father came out of the room, his eyes dark and the gun still gripped tightly in his hand. The reek of alcohol hung from him, clouding his angry scent into one more familiar. Sesshoumaru tensed, his hand tightening around the knife.

Father laughed. "Are you going to stand against me too, little pup?"

Sesshoumaru's eyes bled red. "Yes."

seen it before but not like this

been there before but not like this

never before have I seen him this bad

He charged, plunging the knife into the demon's chest. Again and again and again. Three wounds, all in the chest. Sesshoumaru left the knife, buried to the hilt in flesh. Father would not survive.

He could no longer smell Mother's scent, masked by death. He shuddered, but he did not cry.

Later, the cops would arrive and take him away. They would investigate, and Sesshoumaru's physical as well as the autopsy on both victims would show the true victims had been Sesshoumaru and his mother, not his father. He would be released, charges dropped on the condition that he remained in the care of Taisho until he came of age.

That night, he cried for the loss of his mom, the one person who had been able to defend him, and the one person who he might have been able to save.

That night, he cut himself again, grief and self-loathing driving him to try one more time.

Once again, he failed.

In failing, he had to accept that for whatever reason, he was meant to live. He did not want to – in fact, he didn't even want to consider the implications living had. Sooner or later, he would have to interact with the rest of the world. He didn't know if he could or not. The only friend he had was online. He had no reference to start from. There was nothing. Not even being at Taisho's college could bring him from his shell.

When he met the dark-haired girl with secrets of her own, he understood.

never again!

/--/

AN: Ok, here's the thing. This is the prequel sorta-kinda to Stone Wall. The reasons why Kagome and Sesshoumaru finally got out of their situations. If you want me to, I can pull two more stories out of this (or at least two more story arcs like this one) – Sesshoumaru's story of how he and Kikyou got involved and what came of that, and Kagom'es tale of how she made it to the college. If you want me to do this, let me know when you review. K? Good.

Until next time, I remain yours truly,

Shadowblade-tara