Return to the Western Plains
I do not own any of the original Inuyasha characters, but the rest are mine, so stay away. ^_^
BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO READ, BE WARNED:
This story has been on hiatus for a long, long, long time, and I have made many fruitless attempts to start writing on it again, but can never convince myself to get very far. So here I am, trying again - I am still writing, but I have several chapters completed, so I have decided that for each new chapter I complete, I will release one here for your reading pleasure. It will still be a long and painful process, but I really do want to finish this thing! So please be patient with me and we'll eventually get there! Thank you all for your patience.
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Western Plains!
As everyone should realize by now, this is the sequel to "Two Demons of the Western Plains." If you have not read the first half, I would highly recommend reading that first – I'm pretty sure you could read this part first and then go back without any problems, but I still wouldn't recommend it.
First off, I'd like to remind everyone about the basics to this story:
Two Demons and Return are both based off the first half of the Inuyasha ANIME, but there are some Manga elements that I added (and many more I wish to add, but don't think I can *cry*) and some other things that I've assumed with the timeline since I can do that since the first half of the anime never ended the story – hurray for freedom of creativity! (Correction: the anime is complete now, but I wrote these stories before then, so *sticks tongue out*)
For anyone who doesn't quite remember how Two Demons ended I would recommend going back and glancing over the last chapter to remind yourself of how it left off and make picking back up a little easier.
However, "Return" is NOT complete, it is a work in progress, and I have no idea when new chapters will get posted. Any comments you may leave me will probably speed up the process, but I still cannot promise anything. Never-the-less, I hope you all will bear with me in this slow and painful process.
Now, without further ado, I leave you…
The sun was slowly setting, casting an array of golden lights across the sky, appearing like fire on the tree tops of the Western Plains. It was late in the season of falling leaves, so the trees were already showing off a gold and red beauty that needed no aid from the sun. Soon the leaves would be gone, though, and the snows would fall for many weeks.
Winter was always bad in these lands, the snows and drifts building up heavily in the open fields and around the manor. Food would become scarce for the animals, and demons would begin to show up everywhere in their own desperate hunt for food.
Sesshomaru enjoyed that kind of weather.
He was walking along one of the paths in his forest, coming upon a small stream where he was sure he'd smelled a demon earlier. As he walked, he thought about the changing weather.
Autumn was also a wonderful time of year to him, for he'd enjoy sitting in his room with the balcony doors wide open, watching the leaves change colors. If he were home right now, he'd be quite entranced by the sun's effect on them.
Instead, he followed the demon's scent, still thinking about the seasons. As a child, he loved running through the snow; some of his best childhood memories took place in winter. According to his father, it was the best time to hunt down demons, as they were much easier to track.
His father would always be at his side in winter, often running through the forest, throwing snow balls when in human form, and tackling and play fighting in demon form, even hunt a few demons.
Sesshomaru slowed as he snuck upon his prey, feasting on a rabbit, freshly killed. Without a second thought, Sesshomaru burst through the branches between them, and hacked the beast down with his venomous whip, killing it instantly.
As swiftly as he had killed it, he turned and walked away from the corpse, leaving the scavengers of the forest a nice little dinner.
As he began heading back towards the mansion, content with the evening patrol, he continued to dwell on thoughts of the past, mostly recalling insignificant memories that stuck out. Some included killings, some of his parents, and even a few enemies of whom he somehow connected with one of the previous subjects.
Invariably, the thoughts began to focus on his younger years, eventually leading him back to a time that edged his memories, blurry and just barely sticking with him, but he, like many, remember the better parts of their childhood.
It was strange to think back on those times, when his parents were still together.
Sesshomaru's father had always been mindful of his family, putting them before all else. He provided comfortable homes, rich clothing and fine furniture - all at the request of his mate - and still reserved time to be with his wife to help raise their son.
Sesshomaru's mother enjoyed the lavish goods she was showered with, but she was not the type to happily sit around the home and raise children all day; as soon as Sesshomaru was old enough, she took him out to train and hunt, teaching him what he needed to know to succeed in life.
Though no mother of the year, she was better than most, even if she did show her affection in unusual, obscure ways.
Together, his parents were an unstoppable force.
His father's fame was known throughout the lands, constantly referred to as the "Great Dog General," while his mother was a powerhouse all her own, the strongest from her lands and the source of Sesshomaru's devastating venom.
It was funny to think that they had once been enemies – Mother liked to desecrate human villages –, fierce competitors for land. It didn't take long before their deadly battles turned into a game, a way to check on their rival's progress. In the end, Sesshomaru was born as a result of growing admiration and overactive hormones. It was a fairly standard situation amongst demons.
Both of his parents raised and trained him, rubbing off on him in their own little ways, eventually turning him into the demon he was today. In his earliest years, they had enough sense to be careful with him, being so young, but wanted their son to get a good start in life.
As Sesshomaru grew older, his mother did manage to teach him some etiquette, even if it was the etiquette of a demon – in other words, flaunting one's superiority and earning respect by being firm, not polite. His father helped, but in a different way, reminding Sesshomaru that while the aura of power is an effective persuasive tool, that he know when and where to make that power stand out; "You must know who to use this power against, and who you should refrain from. Your mate, for example – if she's any respectable female, she'll give you hell for it. You've seen how your mother gets, you know what I'm talking about."
Needless to say, Mother wasn't around when Father explained this little fact of life to him. And though Sesshomaru made no comment, he realized that it was Mother who used this power on Father – the man was too lenient when it came to his mate, he nearly always gave in.
Father always did make sure to inform him of what was right and wrong when it came to matters over a mate, a topic he was very knowledgeable in (which makes perfect sense now, but even then, with all his experience with Sesshomaru's mother, the man was practically a genius when it came to women).
Thanks to that blur in Sesshomaru's memory, he couldn't well remember any romantic interactions between his parents (something he was quite thankful for), but, as bad memories seem to stick out more than the good, he did remember a few things.
Often, when he was little, he'd try and spy on them, just to see if he could get past their senses. When he'd succeed, he'd find them hugging in an open doorway as they faced the sunset, whispering mushy talk into each other's ears, giggling at the other's words as the hug would grow tighter. Or, once, Father bought her a new kimono for no reason, one very rich in color and material; after examining it in awe, she practically threw the kimono on the bed and lunged at Father.
Sesshomaru snuck away quickly before he was blinded.
By Sesshomaru's mid-twenties, he was turning more and more into the man he was now, but still behaving quite formal around the parents, especially since his mother would reprimand him if his respect for his parents had deteriorated – and she was the last demon you wanted to be scolded by.
The memories began to drift away as the white demon returned to his home. Sesshomaru stepped through the front gate, closing it gently behind him as he strode towards the front door easily. As he walked past Ah and Un, the two headed dragon awoke and raised his heads to watch his master walk peacefully towards the steps that led up to the bedrooms.
Sesshomaru noticed the dragon's gaze; he paused a moment before changing course and heading in their direction instead. The dragon's heads raised high as he approached, their tail swishing back and forth a few times before Sesshomaru actually reached them.
The dog demon began to massage Ah's scaly cheek, trying to carefully scratch his jawbone without damaging his scales. He did the same for Un when he demanded his attention, his hands petting and stroking the tops of their heads and along their necks kindly.
He glanced up at the sky and tree tops, listening to the rustling of the leaves as a gust of wind blew through the yard, causing Sesshomaru's hair to wave magnificently. There was a fresh coolness in the air. He returned his gaze upon the dragons whom he continued to pet.
His hands raised their jaws just slightly so he could look them in the eyes a little easier. "It won't be long now before the snows return."
The dragon's heads both drooped a little, making disappointed gurgling noises in their throats, eyes glancing at each other before back at their master.
"We'll get through like always," he encouraged as he slipped his hands away, turning to head to his room once again. He could hear the dragons make more gurgling noises behind him before settling back in the grass comfortably.
The dragons, already cold blooded, didn't take well to the harsh winters these lands often received. Sesshomaru had a custom blanket created, suited for wrapping around their body, just after receiving Ah and Un as a gift, knowing they wouldn't take to the heavy snows well. Even when the blanket showed not to do quite enough, he had similar covers made for their legs, necks, and tail.
Also, as if Sesshomaru couldn't spoil them any more than that, he'd have Jaken set up a straw bed in one of the spare bedrooms, the one closest to the outside, for Ah-Un to sleep in or use to get out of the heavy winds. The only condition was that they still went to the bathroom outside. Rin would often sleep in that room right next to them, trying to share her blanket with them.
He walked up to the hallway, slipping past the wind breaker he'd had Jaken set up several days before, a mock door that covered the hall entrance and kept a considerable amount of the cold out of the bedrooms. He made his way down the hall easily, but passed by his room, heading to the two farthest rooms instead as he did every now and then, mostly out of habit anymore.
He opened the first door, looking in on the empty room that once housed the youngest members of his estranged family.
He never entered the room, always keeping in the doorway, simply looking in to appease his memories.
Sesshomaru closed the room up and moved on to the door at the end of the hall, looking in with the same reminiscing gaze in his eyes. The window was parted just slightly, leaving the room less musty than the other one, but it was no less empty.
He couldn't help but wonder, as he often did, when he would see them again, when they would finally come back and fill these halls with the sounds of play and laughter, when Ah-Un could play with them again, when the back garden would shine without the overgrowth of weeds to stunt its growth, when he could be happy again…
As the door closed, the same feelings washed over the dog demon, the same emotions that had afflicted him every day since he started this estranged ritual, this desperate plea for someone beyond Jaken or Ah-Un to keep him company in any way, shape, or form.
Sesshomaru entered his room silently, shutting the door softly before stepping lightly towards the corner where he removed his armor and swords, deciding to keep the boa on for just a little while longer.
He slid the balcony doors open, letting the golden light of the setting sun roll in as he made his way over to the closet. He would be taking a bath later tonight, after the sun had set, and was preparing a change of clothes.
And just like with the bedrooms, he had a ritual to perform here as well.
Slipping his hand into a concealed pocket, he removed a sash from the confines of the closet, a beautiful weave of blue and green, the material still soft and shiny in the light, despite its age. With delicate fingers, he lifted the first fold of the sash, letting his eyes fall upon a small object, kept sheltered by the treasured sash for many months, still in perfect condition.
And as always, his mind slipped back into the memories it brought.
His thoughts on the first night were essentially lost to him by now, but he remembered the eerie sensation he felt as he beheld the item's sudden power over him. He had kept it and stored it in this sash for safekeeping, nearly forgetting about it for several long weeks before a similar sign had shown itself to him. When he finally came back to it, he was surprised to find its perfect condition, but was more amazed by the truth of its power. He had been right to believe in its potential the night he claimed it, but never imagined what would become of it, what it would lead him to…
Finished with his annual torments, Sesshomaru concealed the object hastily, hating himself, as he often did, for bringing it back out, for looking upon it and remembering.
He put the sash back where he found it and roughly grabbed at a pair of clean clothes, throwing them half-heartedly onto the bed before sitting at the edge, facing the open window and staring out at the golden sky and the scarlet leaves, forcing himself to calm as he took in these sights, forever soothing to his eyes.
The scenic view was always peaceful from here, no matter what time of the year. Sunsets were beautiful in his mind, their splendor rarely rivaled by any other object, the array of colors it created as majestic as a rainbow, subtly changing from its natural fiery yellows, shifting to a powerful red before slowly fading to the purples and blues of the evening sky, when the stars and moon would come out, intent on giving as much a display as the sun.
The wind whistled through the open door, the sound of rustling leaves filling his ears, rising above the usual series of bird songs that could be heard at this time of night…
It was amazing how quiet it was when it was only the dragon and him. Jaken had recently left the Plains in order to take care of some foreign business of his, planning on making a few side trips before the snows kicked in.
He would be gone for many weeks, Sesshomaru knew, probably unable to return until the heavier snows had passed, when the warmer winds of spring would finally come in. His trip would be much shorter with the assistance of the flying two-headed dragon, but with winter so close at hand, Sesshomaru did not risk the dragon's health.
Jaken would be fine. If he could survive Sesshomaru for all these years, winter would be a cinch.
Forcing all thoughts and images out of his head, he focused his attention on the glow of the trees, the brilliant colors of fire flaring through the tree tops magnificently.
For the tenth time that day – at least – he was left to push old and painful memories from his mind…
It had become clear to Sesshomaru that his current path had not been used in quite some time; covered in weeds and overgrowth, branches crisscrossing in front of him.
They did not bother him, however, simply walking through, only using his hands to move the plants when in front of his face. He could not have cared less about the rest.
It was mid-afternoon, the sun high above him on this humid day. The light shower last night had left the air sultry and in miserable traveling conditions. At current, he was technically beyond his borders - the repetitive cycle had finally driven Sesshomaru to leave the usual paths of his territory, taking him far to the east, maybe a mile or so away from his forest, even though the road ran on this far.
It felt good to get away. The past few days had simply been too quiet, a change in scenery was refreshing once in a while; it let him get away from the pain he often felt in that empty manor, from the visions that haunted him everywhere he looked, even out in the forest, the one place that usually brought him comfort.
But here there were no visions, a surrounding full of noises that would normally have driven him mad, but it passed through one ear and out the other with ease. It even felt like the air was cleaner, filling his lungs with a new freedom, pushing all thoughts from his mind, leaving him clear and at peace.
Something was coming… All at once he could hear the pounding of padded feet as they dashed through the forests, the body snapping limbs as it went, its breath feint and panting. Though his eyes could still pick nothing up, his nose caught wind of its unusual scent; it reminded him greatly of a wolf, but there was something unusual about, something he couldn't quite determine.
And just before movements could be seen, he could hear two other entities approaching, following the first on two feet instead of the leader's four.
An unnatural scent fluttered from them as well; it was different from the creature's, but their scents were so confusing there was no way he could tell what they were. All he knew for sure was that all three were inhuman… not that it made much difference to him.
A white and gray, fluffy tail could soon be seen bounding through the bushes like a proud flag, a pair of ears every now and then as well. It seemed to be oblivious to the fact it was running straight towards him – his suspicion was confirmed as the light colored wolf broke onto the path.
Her large yellow eyes flared as all four heels dove into the earth, skidding across the dirt in order to stop herself as quickly as possible, finally halting just feet in front of him.
His golden eyes stared into hers firmly; her pant was gone but she still breathed uneasily, her eyes shaking as they stared up at him. Her paws began taking slow, cautious steps backwards.
Sesshomaru glanced up at the approaching voices, their breaths heavy as well; he could see the flashes of red and blue clothing as they approached, also unaware of his presence.
"I think she finally stopped!" one of the voices, young and feminine, called to her accomplice mere seconds before they, too, jumped onto the path.
Their gasps echoed in his ears as they too forced themselves into an immediate stop, their teal eyes staring up at him with both confusion and uncertainty. To many it would be the equivalent of fear, yet they didn't actually reveal a look of terror, just… apprehension.
It was a young boy and girl, easily recognized as demonic siblings; both had turquoise, cat slit eyes and snow white hair with reddish tips, appearing around the age of ten or so. The boy wore a bright red kimono top with black pants, the girl wearing a medium blue kimono with golden flowers; both were barefoot.
Just who were these children? He'd certainly never seen them before, but as he continued to stare, attempting to decipher their origins, he could not help but catch some form of familiarity in them. He knew not where from, but there was something he definitely recognized…
An eerie silence fell upon them as all four simply stared at each other, the boy and girl exchanging nervous glances once in awhile, still weary of this intimidating white demon that stood before them. Who was he? It was not often that they met a demon as tall as him, decked out in spiked armor, swords at his belt, and a beautiful draft of fur wrapped around his shoulder; a demon covered in white with matching long hair, a pair of wicked yellow eyes piercing right through them.
For a solid ten seconds, no one moved or made a sound, they were just... watching.
All eyes turned upwards as a loud whoosh was heard overhead, a shadow dropping rapidly on a pair of fluorescent white wings.
The demon descended swiftly, landing between the wolf and children, bearing a tall scythe threateningly towards Sesshomaru, a harsh glare in her yellow eagle eyes: "Don't even think about it!"
The woman was only about shoulder height compared to his stature, her pure red kimono still fluttering at her chicken hawk ankles, a set of sharp talons on each bird-like foot.
From her shoulder blades came an enormous pair of white wings that were spread just as menacingly, making her appear larger than she really was, but perhaps the only remotely menacing thing about this strange newcomer was the black engravings stretched across her pure white wings, her feathers scarred by an ominous pattern of black, linked chains, almost as if they were burnt on somehow.
Her hair was also snow white, its length reaching just past the joints to her wings, her long bangs swept over her left eye, hiding it completely, but her right one alone showed enough viciousness for both as it stared back at Sesshomaru.
The wolf and these children were one thing, but who was this woman? She couldn't be their mother – they were of completely different breeds and didn't look alike enough – but she was definitely here to protect them. And yet, somewhere in the back of his mind, he recognized her. His eyes took notice to the peculiar scythe in her hand, something he recognized for sure, but his recollection of this woman was slim yet there. Where had he seen her before?
After a long moment of suspense silence, the white demon's only response was "Hmph."
Like this bird demon could stop him? Even if she had the scythe, she posed no real threat against him. Besides, he had not yet decided what to think of the strange children before even determining their fates.
His eyes suddenly flashed towards the same direction both wolf and children had come from, his ears twitching as they caught the sound of yet another approaching figure, also rushing towards them at a swift pace.
"Over here!" the bird demon shouted, also sensing this other figure's approach, calling them this way. Suddenly she cocked a smile most unbefitting of her; "Now you're going to be in for it…"
Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes wickedly at her, his knuckles cracking as he readied his claws.
Before he could even hope to do more than appear threatening for this obviously mistaken woman, he hesitated with her sudden gasp. Her eagle eyes widened, staring at him unusually though bearing a look that he found much more pleasing: fear.
"Wait…" she flustered as her stance weakened, her breath growing shaky. "It… it's you…!"
The wolf suddenly made a soft whine as it took a step towards him, her ears perked as she stared almost happily, her tongue lolling as she gazed up at him with loving eyes. Her tail wagged softly.
This was starting to get weird, even for Sesshomaru.
Both children gazed out from around the sides of the woman's wings, looking up curiously at their protector before sharing their confused glances with Sesshomaru, who still appeared pretty intimidating for doing nothing more than simply standing with his claws in view.
It was then that his eyes caught a red flash between the trees, watching impatiently as the last figure finally came bursting onto the scene, but he was not ready for what he saw.
The Tensaiga pulsed.
One last gasp filled the air as her cerulean cat eyes widened in disbelief, her calm breath instantly breaking down into a slight, panicky rasp.
Though Sesshomaru's breathing did not change, nor did he make a sound, the expression was quite vivid on his face as he stared back in as much astonishment as could be possible for him.
One of her hands rose to grasp at her kimono, right above her heart as she took an uneasy step backwards, her heart beat loud in his ears as it pounded forcefully in her chest. "Se… Sesshomaru…?"
Suddenly Sesshomaru's own heart lurched within his chest, leaving him at her mercy as any and all previous thoughts of hurting anything vanished without a trace.
But of course he would never show his weakness.
His eyes returned to normal as he looked upon the feline of whom he knew quite well; he recognized her in a split second, her familiar scent filling his lungs in no time at all.
There she was: after all this time, Lenezma had appeared before him in full glory, her beauty fully intact, her maroon kimono rustling magnificently in the wind, her sapphire eyes glowing even in the light of day.
Every ounce of his body screamed out in joy. It didn't matter that she was still in shock at seeing him, or that any of the others were present, it was only her that mattered.
And then the pain returned on swift, black wings. The torture she had put him through rang clear as a bell, and he was left to stare back at her with just as pained an expression.
An unusually long and agonizing silence befell them. Sesshomaru and Lenezma did not break eye contact while the wolf continued to sit peacefully at his feet; the bird demon remained behind Lenezma, no longer in stance, while the two children continued to peer around her wings and glance between everyone with the most confusion.
Lenezma… It's really her… she's really here… his mind wandered, grasping onto the misty and dreamy world that overcame him. This wasn't just another of his dreams, she was really right here, right now, standing before him as beautiful as ever.
However, everything came crashing down with the first words finally spoken; his dream world was shattered and his chest was left to swell in agony as some of the last words he'd ever wished to hear came fluttering out in unbearable innocence…
"Mother? Who is this?"