Author: Celyia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Distribution: Feel free. Just let me know where it goes :- )
Notes: Really! I'm trying to avoid OOC-ness, but I can't seem to manage it. Forgive me! Also, I'm in shock because these chapters are turning out so short. My goodness. What happened to my normal loquaciousness? Anyway. :-) This story is coming along MUCH slower than intended due to my fears of being horribly out of character, although Sesshoumaru can be excused a little since he's been having a hard day... (after being turned into a human and all :-) . Sorry! Oh, there's a serious chance this may change into a NC-17. Please let me know how you feel about that, though keep in mind that my NC-17s are usually extremely mild.
Chapter Four: Strange Bedfellows
He stood quietly, his well-formed lips pulled into a fierce frown as he regarded the girl with disgust. "This is all your fault," he repeated, his hands clenching into a tight fist. Unable to quell the rage which burned inside of him, Sesshoumaru took a deliberately slow, threatening step closer to the young priestess.
Barely restraining a malicious grin as the girl instinctively stepped back, the demon lord scanned the priestess's visage for weakness. His golden eyes, narrowed with hostility, flitted over the drenched form, barely taking in the wet, stringy hair and shoeless feet. There it was, he thought as he ignored the strange, white shirt that was buttoned once over her breasts, leaving her stomach and most of her chest uncovered. The weaknesses were visible in the large, glowing eyes that were filling with tears even as he stood there watching.
"Nosy humans, always interfering in business they know nothing of," he continued, a gleam coming to his eye as he noticed the girl's slightly trembling hands. No longer able to hide her fear, was she?
"Had you not interfered, I, Sesshoumaru, would have defeated that insignificant youkai with ease. But no, you and your piddling little sharpened twigs had to step in long enough to get the child killed."
Large blue orbs blinked up at him, watery with guilt and despair. Quietly, the girl adjusted her rather tenuous grip upon the wooden shaft of her long bow, unable or unwilling to look away from the hate and resentment in the man's eyes. The girl's fear, of either the situation or Rin's fate, was tangible.
It was an amazing transformation, he would later think.
Her beautiful eyes (and even he, as much as it galled him to think, had to admit that they were unusually beautiful) suddenly hardened even as he enjoyed her fear and she turned her attention towards the quickly-flowing river. With a toss of her head, she slung the large weapon across her back and started jogging upstream, the wet skirt clinging to her every curve as she dashed over the rocks and plants.
Shaking his head as he watched her scramble over a small rise, Sesshoumaru wondered briefly at the girl's lack of directional sense. His brother's village was to the east, not the north.
Then it hit him.
"Absolutely not!" he roared, momentarily regretting the lack of strength the flimsy human vocal cords in his throat lent to his words. "You! Girl! Go back to your little village before you foul the situation even more."
She paused in mid-step, her black hair a striking contrast to the white of the shirt the wet straggles clung to. Slowly, she turned, her chin jutted out as if it took every bit of her willpower not to cry.
Blinking as he regarded the girl carefully, Sesshoumaru took a step forward as if the short distance covered would make the expression on her pretty face easier to read.
She's either incredibly brave or infinitely foolish, he decided as he started walking slowly towards the young lady. Probably the latter considering she's Inuyasha's companion, Sesshoumaru told himself firmly, although some brutally honest bit in his character denied the likelihood of that scenario. Intrigued more than infuriated by the girl's sheer gall, Sesshoumaru decided to let the infraction slide this once, giving the woman the questionable distinction of being the first and only human to ever shoot the demon lord a dirty look and live.
The toad demon leaned against his staff, frowning, as he tasted the traces of battle. Flickering his tongue through the moist air, Jaken closed his eyes as he tried to concentrate on the information filtering through his senses.
There had been no doubt Master Sesshoumaru had been in battle with a youkai here, the stumpy retainer decided as he opened his eyes to glance over the scene. He could taste that strange saltiness that had defiled his Master's presence since the Incident, but information beyond that wasn't forthcoming.
Had things been the way it should be, Jaken growled as he hopped upon the top of the staff and balanced precariously upon the shrunken heads, he could taste where Sesshoumaru had gone. Sesshoumaru had left him a thousand times in the past, but that was never a problem when the retainer had the distinctive taste of a demon lord to follow, but now…
Now Sesshoumaru tasted like every single one of the other insignificant humans out there.
It was enough to make the toad demon sick to his stomach.
Sighing as he jumped back to the forest ground, Jaken hefted the heavy staff in both hands. There was something so blasphemous, he thought as an image of the human Sesshoumaru flashed before his eyes, about this entire situation. Sesshoumaru had been born to be the greatest of the demon lords, and the idea that even he could be cursed by humanity left Jaken feeling oddly uneasy. If even Sesshoumaru-sama could fall victim, then…
Trembling as he tried to break free from the thought, Jaken gazed over the scene of battle.
This would be the first of many, he nodded his head slowly as he tried one last time to discover the route his master had taken.
Berating himself for his failure, Jaken pushed out his lower mandible as he dashed quietly towards the east. His master may never forgive him for what could be construed as a betrayal, the retainer realised, but Sesshoumaru-sama was helpless right now as a human. Without the loyal toad demon there to watch the youkai's back, Sesshoumaru was doomed.
Bracing himself for actions he fully realised would probably lead to his own doom, Jaken hurried towards the small village that rested so near by. No. Sesshoumaru-sama would never forgive him for this transgression, but too much was at stake.
Yes, Jaken told himself as he clutched the staff tightly in his small hands. It was time to ask Inuyasha for help.