A/N: This is supposed to be set after the whole Naraku thing, but I may tweak certain aspects in order to make the story more enjoyable. Feedback is MORE than welcome and ideas are definitely considered. Please enjoy and tell me what you think! Read and review!
DISCLAIMER: All Inuyasha goodness is copyrighted to the amazing Takahashi-san
The Battle of Heart and Land
Prologue: The Beginning
The small, ancient toad youkai squealed and quickly took cover behind one of the large, stone-carved inus as the lady and prince began to fight. The tension in the room was so thick, Jaken doubted even Tessaiga would be able to slice it apart. He peeked his head back out and looked at his lord. He was standing at his towering height, arms hanging at his sides. His amber eyes were fixated on his mother, who was trying to regain her composure, his silky hair falling over his shoulders. He was wearing a simple white haori with deep blue flowers by his neck and sleeves, clearly showing his noble birth. His white hakama, tied at the waist with a dark blue obi, were tucked into his normal short ankle boots. He was without armor and swords; Tenseiga and Bakusaiga both currently being cleaned and sharpened by Totosai for the upcoming battle.
'Ah, so glorious!' Jaken thought, looking at his lord and all his glory. He felt that anyone who gazed upon his lord should count their blessings for such a magnificent sight!
The toad was ripped out of his thoughts when the two continued their calm altercation. His lord was never the type to raise his voice, Inuyasha excluded, and his mother was no different. The two fought with witty comebacks and blood freezing stares when an argument did occur between the two, which was typically uncommon.
But, this was a very serious matter indeed. The fate of the Western lands was in peril and the elders were demanding that the Lady do something. So naturally, she had her son do the necessary arrangements.
"I was under the impression that was the general's duty, not mine." The heir spoke low, eyes pinned to his mothers. He was already done with this conversation. She had said what she needed, so he failed to see in the importance of her continuing to speak.
"That was once your job, Sesshoumaru-chan," Inukimi ran her claws through a strand of her hair as she spoke, knowing her use of 'chan' bothered him, though he showed no sign of it. She wore a light colored purple kimono, clad in a white flower pattern to portray her status as Lady of the Western lands. She wore her royal pelt around her shoulders, nestling in its warmth. "And it should still be. I do not believe I gave you my blessing to remove yourself of that position."
Oh, how she wished he was more like his father. His father would have immediately began preparing for battle and making sure the troops were training twice as hard in every aspect. She remembered when he would tie up his silver colored hair and hoist on his armor before tying his weapons at his side. His handsome, battle worn face was always kind to his family and followers, but ferocious to the enemy.
She inwardly shuddered with the sudden need of her deceased lover's touch.
She then raised her eyes to meet Sesshoumaru's. The spawn of that great man stood in front of her with boredom clearly displayed in his eyes. He was a much polished version of his father; clean and perfection radiated off of him and his every movement was filled with the grace his father had lacked. He was, to put it simply, more like her in looks; though his power as great as his fathers.
"I am centuries old. I do not need you to tell me what I may or may not do," Sesshoumaru spoke. "It is to my knowledge that you have already told our general of our current situation. What is your reason for keeping me here longer than needed? You are wasting my time."
She furrowed her brow impatiently at him and leapt to her feet. Jaken scrambled back behind to statue, not quite knowing when he had begun to ease drop again. "Do not speak to me in such a manner, Sesshoumaru! I am your mother and ruler of these lands! You are still beneath me, act as such!" Inukimi growled at him. She then closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to regain her calm. "Sesshoumaru, do you not understand the gravity of the situation? The East is declaring war upon us." When her son just stared at her blankly, she continued on with a quirked brow. "It is well known that we, the inuyoukai, are far superior in strength and agility to these…felines. However, as you know, they have purposefully continued to breed and breed until they gained a massive army against us; they out number us three to one. It is troubling." She said, sitting back down on the silver throne.
"I am aware," He said shortly, eye brow rising at his mother's repetition of speech. Did she think he was lack of hearing? He scoffed at the idea.
She bared her fangs at him. "Do not scoff at me. It is a serious issue. Not just the numbers, but the creatures themselves. They are inbreeding, Sesshoumaru." She continued, hands clenching on the silver arm rests, claws scraping again the metal.
Jaken blinked and let his mouth fall open in shock. "Inbreeding!" He screeched, the shock consuming him. A chilling glare from his lord sent him reeling back behind the statue. "M-my apologies, M'lord!"
Sesshoumaru returned his gaze to his mother. "What is it to us if they defile their own blood line?" He asked. As if it mattered to him what the cats were doing in their spare time.
"It means," She paused, looking at her son. "That we do not know what they are capable of. Large numbers of youkai with powers we are unsure of worries me. Our numbers are fair. I say fair only because I am confident that our youkai are more powerful than the others, but our enemy's numbers worry me, as I have stated. We need more powerful allies," She stood up once again and began to walk towards her son. "So, I have come up with a solution to help us out." She smiled slyly at her offspring.
"Hn." This would surely amuse him. As if anyone could compare to their power.
"Now, do not be cross with me, but I have already sent out a messenger to acquire our allies." She said, looking up and seeing his golden eyes reflect her own.
Allies? It was his turn to quirk an eyebrow at her.
"Inuyasha shall be a great asset to us." She stated, clapping her hands together.
Sesshoumaru's eyes flashed down at her and she stepped back, narrowing her eyes at her stubborn son. "We need not his services. We shall win this war without him." He said, eyes bearing down at hers.
"He and his companions helped defeat Naraku, Sesshoumaru. Therefore, I want him here to help with this war. I must do what is necessary to ensure my lands are secure." She flipped her hair over her shoulder and walked back to her throne, gracefully sitting back down on the white cushion.
"He did little. It was a combined effort." He replied as he recalled Naraku's final moments inside the beast's stomach. "We do not need a weak hanyou affecting our army. Let alone his human companions. They will be easy kills for the East."
"The miko, monk, and taijiya all had a hand in the death of Naraku and will thus be accompanying Inuyasha here. There will be no further discussion about it." She said bluntly and waved her hand at him to dismiss him.
"Jaken." Sesshoumaru ordered and turned to leave for the door.
"Coming, M'lord!" The toad yipped and scurried after his master.
"Oh, and Sesshoumaru," She called blandly, now examining her simply paused at the door, not turning towards her. "I expect you to treat your brother with hospitality when he and his companions arrive. After all, he is family." She gave him wicked smile and watched him leave.
He proceeded out of the door, his mother's servants bowing to him as he left. He began to walk down the corridor, hands tucked into his sleeves as he crossed his arms.
"That woman! Forgive me, M'lord, I know she is your mother, but how dare she insult you in such a way! First, telling you to fight with that filthy hanyou! And second, to fight with those humans? And to make it worse, to treat him as-"
"I am aware of what was said, Jaken. Or are you suggesting I have poor hearing?" Was his mother not just doing the same thing? Hn, the audacity of these people.
Jaken flinched and pulled back. "Of course not, Sesshoumaru-sama! My apologies! I meant no such thing! I am just surprised your mother is this concerned about the East to go as far as bringing Inuyasha into this." He said, sighing softly. "She must be very-"
"Sesshoumaru-samaaaaa!" A cheerful voice called, followed by the patter of bare feet smacking against the cool stone floor of the corridor.
Sesshoumaru watched as the growing girl came bouncing over. She was growing up, he knew, but she seemed to be going through a growth spurt. She had loved her orange and yellowed checkered kimono so much; he had to send Jaken to take her to get two others made to fit her as she grew.
"Sabotaging brat! How dare you interrupt me when counseling my lord in important matters too complex for your little mind to wrap around! Honestly, why he even keeps you around is beyond me. He should have left you at that old miko's hut! All you do is pad around here picking flowers and yelling at everyone and-"
"Sesshoumaru-sama, is all well?" Rin asked, beaming up at him with a toothy smile. Jaken's face turned beat red from anger. She looked at him and cocked her head to the side. The girl seemed to just now notice him.
"You. Brat!" He shouted, swinging his two-headed staff around.
"Jaken-sama, are you well? You look feverish. You should go lay down." She said. She then looked back up at Sesshoumaru when he grabbed the staff from Jaken when it came dangerously close to Rin's head. Jaken 'eep'ed and bowed to his lord in apology.
"Everything is fine. But it seems you shall have a visit from old friends." He spoke and began to walk toward his study, the not-so little girl and toad following closely at his heels.