Disclaimer: I do not own the characters.
A/N: I hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. (:
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His Little Angel in the Storm
He woke up with a start. There they were again, the faces. Will they ever leave him? He could see them clearly as if it were it their final day. They came, weapons and claws held high and proud, charging at him. They dreamed of glory—for their names to echo through time. He wanted no such thing. All he wanted was for the battle to end for him.
Sesshomaru was brought back to the time he was to fight his first war. Young of age, his father had just recently taken on a second mate. A human. His father needed him to be by his side to so show that he was not weak and the heir of the West was as formidable as his great father was. He did not understand it then, he still does not understand it now. He fails to grasp why a father would thrust is child into the battlefield to defend his honour.
He remembered that night when his father announced his course of action. He ordered an armour be fitted for the Prince immediately much to the protests of his advisors. His mother had left a few months earlier to live in her own palace but that day, she returned.
"Why are you doing this, Inutaisho!" she demanded. "He is a child. He would not survive. What are you trying to prove?"
"Do not get involved!" he bit back, "You have abandoned all your parental rights when you left these walls. I am his only parent now and you have no say in the matter."
"You are being ridiculous!"
"Enough!" he exclaimed. "I will have no more of this conversation.
Then he left. Unbeknownst to him, the young prince was listening from a hidden entrance to the throne room where his mother had dropped to her knees. Immediately rushing to her side, he wrapped his short arms around her form.
"Don't cry, mother." Sesshomaru said, his voice yet to crack from adolescence.
She had her face behind elegant, slender fingers. Muffled, he heard her give a sad laugh. The Lady removed her hands from her face and looked at her only son with tear-stained eyes. She was trying to be brave. But how can a mother be brave enough to look at her child when she knew he is soon to be lost forever?
She patted his head, "I'm sorry, Sesshomaru."
He only looked up at her in wonder. He was too young to understand what was happening. All he knew was that he wanted to be an obedient child and do what his father asks. He was taught to fight for honour and his father told him that he was to fight to redeem this for him. Anything for his father.
"Promise me one thing, beloved." She continued.
He nodded in response, "Anything for you."
She smiled as her heart broke, "Promise me that you will come back to me and tell me all about the epic battles that you've fought alongside you father."
Her son's face broke into a wide smile only adding to her misery—he truly did no understand the situation. It is a crime to let him go. "Of course, mother! I will fight and I will win. I'm going to me you proud of me."
The tears kept flowing. She was going to loose him soon. It wasn't fair. She barely had time with her son. Even if he came back alive, he would not be the same. War makes men out of boys. It takes away their innocence. But it was not time, he was still a child. They should not take away what is so critical to someone's childhood. He was impressionable at this age. His father was tainting his soul. The beautiful demoness knew that he did tell her stories of the battles, he would not tell them with the child-like awe that she so loved. He would tell it with the sorrow-filled voice of a warrior—of a warlord.
Sesshomaru remembered that his mother cried for him that night and many nights thereafter until the day he donned his shining armour and a short sword at his hip. It was barely longer than a dagger but it was all he can manage. A normal sword would have dragged across the ground if he wore it. His mother did not bid him farewell as he marched out of the palace at his father's right side. His father beamed at him with pride as he saw his little boy raise his chin high and stand tall, ready to obliterate any enemy. He fought for him like a true son should. There was no hesitation in his step. Inutaisho could already see the makings of a great general in him.
"Are you prepared?" he recalled his father asking as they rode through the mass of soldiers into the front lines.
He was nervous. Sesshomaru had never taken life before but he was brave. He did not want to bring shame to his family. So he looked ahead and mustered all the courage he can. "Yes, I am."
The older demon could only hope that the training he had given his son would be sufficient for him to defend himself. His participation was all the demon lord would ask for. He did no expect the child to win the war for him. Looking above, he saw that the sun would soon rise signalling the beginning of the battle. The opposition had already positioned themselves across the field, their weapons polished with the blood of former victories.
That was the most horrifying experience of the young prince's short life. As soon as the golden rays illuminated the entire field, the massacre began. Men went charging at one another and it rained blood. Sesshomaru was prepared to kill. He knew he had to for his father and this he did. He speared through men three times his age to the best of his abilities. It was in these moments that he realized that he was a true child of war. Killing came easily to him. He manoeuvred though the turmoil taking down all he could and as they went he saw them. He looked into their eyes and saw all that they have lost. Their wife and family stared back at him through dying gazes. He was taking soo much more than their life—he was taking away their chance to see their sons become men and to grow old with their wives. The men that fell by his sword would never see their grandchildren and their name will not live for all eternity like they had hoped.
They die for a vain cause.
They fight a war that is not their own. Sesshomaru wonders why these soldiers fight for their Lords. They do not know them. They have no ill will toward the other men that run against them. So why do they fight?
Why does he fight?
The battle ended with a victory on their part and the West rejoiced. The houses sang and those who lived under the rule of the Mighty Dog Demon came to offer gifts. Everyone was happy in their merry-making yet the young prince wanted nothing of it. He stayed in his room as the most beautiful women in the land came to palace and pressed themselves against the fierce warriors. The feast ensued and no one in the kingdom knew of the conflict that rage within this child even after peace rang out.
How does one find peace by the end of a blade?
His mother found him sitting at the edge of his bed. It is the first time she is going to speak to him after the battle and she feared the worst. Seating herself by his side, she only stayed there in silence. Then, suddenly, she pulled him into her arms and gathered him against her chest, cradling him as if her were the babe he used to be. Sesshomaru remembered clearly how she seemed to do this with such sorrow. Was she not happy that he returned?
"From what I hear, you have fought with the swiftness of the wind and the grace of the flowing river." Her voice came. She was crying again. "The men are already pledging their allegiance to you."
He felt his little heart shatter. "So there will be more bloodshed in my future."
The hot tears burned on his skin where it hit. His mother was mourning the loss of her son even though he came back in one piece. No, that's not true—he had lost a great deal of him in the carnage that occurred. Now, he understood her anguish when she met with him a few weeks ago. He wanted to cry as well but he didn't for he knew that it will do him no good. He will let the family who await the return of a dead soldier shed tears, he will stand with his head held high and let the world know that the body the lay at his feet died by the hands of a powerful adversary. In doing so, he will bring honour those he slaughtered—the innocent whose faces still haunt him with their screams.
"It is the curse of a great warrior, Sesshomaru." His mother's voice drifted through the air. "Once you have proven yourself to be one in a battle, there will be no end. You are now a great warrior and you will forever be a great warrior. You cannot escape it."
These words will forever burn in his memory. She was right. Many began to challenge this newfound warlord. They came from across the sea of grass and waters in search for many things that Sesshomaru found unimportant. They wanted glory, power, and territory. Overall it was greed that led them to come to blows with the West. As for the soldiers, they fight for nothing. They believe they fight for their Lord, the King, or their land but the young demon prince had already seen what most men fail to see. Everything that was taken in the battlefield is not worth the slaughter. His father and his men were only too eager to bring home to their wives jewels dripping with blood. How asinine this gesture appeared to Sesshomaru. He wanted none of the spoils of his victories.
These soldiers they massacre innocent men like themselves for many reasons—reasons that do not justify their actions. The young demon does not fight for glory or riches like the other Demon Lords before him. No, he fights for those he had killed. As he recalls the feel of their blood on his skin and during the eternal nights that he wonders what they could have returned to if he had not taken it away, his resolve only grows stronger. He needs to show those fatherless children and widowed mothers that their father did not die by the hands of a weakling.
Sesshomaru was pulled from his thoughts as he saw from the corner of his eyes the form a sleeping child stir. For years he had worked to uphold the honour of the dead through bloodshed all the while hoping that this or that soldier will be one to end it all. Now, he no longer entertained such thoughts because now he has her—Rin. She is the reason for his will to continue on. He smiled a genuine smile, something that only she can call forth from him.
He would protect her by all means. She was his daughter. With the great happiness she brings, there comes great sorrow. He feels what the forgotten warriors must have felt. How they had daughters that were their reasons to return. How their children awaited the arrival of their father only to be crushed by the knowledge that he will never wrap his arms around them again. The images from ever present dreams haunt him. It is the men he had killed in his many, many battles and they all stand there. They are heavenly yet they are broken with their throats slit and arrows through their chests. They welcome him, they have forgiven him for he too was taken amidst the mayhem, like they were. They thank him for what he had done for their name.
Sesshomaru shook the thoughts out of his mind. He could not leave her to her own devices. She needed him too much. He needed her too much. He could not follow the broken whose future he stole because he belonged here as her protector, her guardian. He looked lovingly upon the face of this naïve child—the face that he fights for.
His little angel in the storm.