Inuyasha looked at the Oracle. "I'm not going to become a Daiyoukai." He stated, as if it were plain as day.

"Whatever makes you say that?" the oracle asked, and Inuyasha growled low in his throat.

"Don't act like you don't know! I'm a hanyou, in case you haven't noticed! Who wants a hanyou to be their daiyoukai? Nobody, that's who. Besides, Kagome could never live with demons. They'd eat her alive!"

"Kagome…who is that? Do not tell me you have already had a child?" The Oracle asked. "I was not aware your relationship had reached that point as of yet."

"My child? No way! She's the one you were talking about! My future mate, you know?" She gave him a blank look. "Are you really that dumb, witch-hag? Kagome. Smart, pretty Kagome who can stand up to demons. She's strong, she's got awesome spiritual powers…Any of this ringing a bell? You literally mentioned her about five seconds ago."

"I mentioned your mate." The Oracle sighed. "It would seem everybody is taking my prophecies the wrong way. Your mate is Sesshomaru, of course."

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !" Inuyasha laughed, loud and long. "Good one hag, had me going there for a minute." He turned around. "Well, this was sure different. At least I got to see the prick actually upset at something, which was definitely a plus. But I've got people to see, demons, to kill, so I'm out." With that, he leapt from the cave and out into the world, completely unaffected by their meeting.

"Wait!" she said, but he was already gone. "I wasn't joking, you impudent child." She scowled at where he had been standing, wondering at how someone to thick could ever manage to become the greatest Daiyoukai in history.

It was a mystery to her.

Sesshomaru sped through the trees, only letting up on his speed when he reached his mother's palace. He walked up to the gate, not paying the guards any mind. The fools tried to block him with their spears. Before they could say anything, he had gutted them on their own weapons. He pushed on the door. Locked. Figured. He brought his foot up, kicking it with all his might. The door exploded in a cloud of splinters, and he walked through.

"Mother! Show your slutty, whoring face to me this instant!" He bellowed, crimson filling his eyes.

She walked out. "Manners, Sesshomaru." She gave a little tsk, only to find herself being held by the throat. She snarled at him, baring her fangs. "Really, Sesshomaru. Is this any way for one of your station to behave?!"

"What do you know of my station, you lying, slutty, slimy cur? What do you know, when you obviously took it under yourself to bed every man in the Western Lands!" He growled, and she paled visibly.

"I-It wasn't every man in the Western Lands." She whispered.

"What, only the purebloods? Only the ones that had cocks?!" He was so beyond rage, he didn't care what he said.

"Let me explain, Sesshomaru." She begged in a quiet voice. He growled again, closing his eyes. Fine. She wanted to explain? Fine. He'd let her tell him what she had done. And then he would pull out her small intestine, inch by inch, until the last was out, and then he would impale her over-eager hole with a hot poker.

"Explain." He ordered, releasing his hold on her throat. She directed him into a more private place. She wanted privacy? That was fine with him. It would give him more time to torture her before he had to deal with her guards.

She sighed. "You were never supposed to happen." She looked at the corner of the room, refusing to meet his eyes. "Touga and I…we hated each other. So much we couldn't even have sex. He told me he wouldn't bed a roach like myself." She choked back a sob. "And I didn't want him to, anyways. He was rude and cold and condescending. But Joura—he was different. He loved me. We loved each other. B-but I was married to Touga. So, Touga said he'd declare me barren. We wouldn't have sex, nobody would know, and then he'd cast me aside as barren. Then I could finally marry Joura. No youkai lord would want a barren wife. I'd be free, finally, to marry my love. B-but…we couldn't wait. We had sex—once, an only once. Joura and I. And then I got pregnant. Touga knew what must have happened, and he was so mad—he beat me, hoping to kill the child inside me—but you were so strong. You held on. And he didn't impale me, at least. It wasn't allowed, as my mate. But now…I was stuck with Touga, or I could die for betraying my lord. He let me live, passing the child off as his own. O-Of course, Joura was angry. He thought I had used him. I was left without his love; my mate's love…nothing. I was all alone. And I've been alone, Sesshomaru—do you know how that feels? To be utterly, completely alone?—I've been alone for these last five hundred years." She looked at him, crying openly. "So if you want to kill me, do it! I'll welcome death to this hell I 'm living."

Sesshomaru looked at her without pity, only disgust. He knew what he had to do. It was his sacred duty. But he knew he would regret doing it his entire life. He grabbed his mother by the hair, dragging her with him as he went back to his palace.

When there, he ignored the greetings, the questions, the stares.

He strode to the highest pavilion of the palace, where everyone could see him.

Mustering all the strength of will he possessed, he addressed his people. "I have a proclamation for the entire kingdom!" He snarled. "I have learned of treachery in my own home, and I will stamp it out! This harlot—" He held up his mother for all to see. That had their attention. He looked down at a sea of interested faces. "—betrayed the InuTaishou, bedding his manservant!" gasps sounded everywhere, and chattering. He knew too well what they were speculating, and that they were right, for once.

He silenced them with a gesture of his hand. "From that unholy union, she had a child, passing it off as the son of a Daiyoukai." He took a breath. "That child was This Sesshomaru. No longer will this usurper enjoy a position that was not rightfully his. From this moment on, the Daiyoukai will be the rightful heir, Inuyasha, son of Touga, and I will assist him as his manservant. That is all. You are dismissed."

Sesshomaru threw his mother onto the ground, not caring about her any longer. The punishment for such treason was death. He didn't need to see it to gain satisfaction from the fact that she would pay for her crimes. He tried not to think of what he had done. It was his duty, as a servant to his kingdom. That was all. Nothing less, nothing more. It had to be done.

It was his duty, as a servant. He choked on the thought, trying to accept it. Trying to resist the strong reaction that filled him, that instantaneous thought: I am nobody's servant!

He left to collect Inuyasha, grimacing at the thought of Inuyasha's face, smug with the knowledge that he was Sesshomaru's superior.

Inuyasha sat in a tree, enjoying the chance he had to relax. They didn't come often, but Kagome was safe in her world, Miroku and Sango had gone to visit the demon slayer village, and Shippo had finally wound down enough to take a nap.

Life was good.

Suddenly, though, his delightful reverie was interrupted by a scent that was rapidly moving toward him. "That was fast." He said aloud. It had only been just this morning that Sesshomaru had run off from that witch's cave, all angry. Inuyasha leaned back, trying to look nonchalant, but actually hyper-aware, body on edge as he awaited Sesshomaru's arrival. Finally, the youkai lord burst through the clearing.

"What do you want, Dipwad?" Inuyasha asked, lolling his head toward Sesshomaru, only to see that his brother's usually calm features were scrunched in distress. What was going on with him? Inuyasha wondered. Don't tell me he actually took that witch seriously.

"Your presence is required at the Western Palace." Sesshomaru paused before muttering something unintelligible. Inuyasha sat up. Something was definitely wrong. Sesshomaru never showed any emotion. He never invited Inuyasha to his little palace, and he sure didn't mutter. Everything the prick said was completely crisp and concise.

"Why?" Inuyasha complained. "I don't want to go to your little youkai party."

"You…you heard the Oracle. You are the new Daiyoukai. You must come to the palace for a coronation at least, but there are other matters you must attend to." He muttered that same thing again, and Inuyasha wondered if it was something insulting. Knowing Sesshomaru, it probably was.

"You must be some sort of a supreme idiot or something. I'd make a cruddy Daiyoukai. You do it." Inuyasha settled back down on his tree.

"I cannot. I am not the true heir." Sesshomaru explained. "You must become the Daiyoukai. It is your duty." He muttered it just a hint louder, and Inuyasha realized that Sesshomaru was saying "My Lord."

Well, crap. He must be really bent out of shape over that. Inuyasha jumped down.

"Look, I'm guessing you looked into it, right? Made sure the witch wasn't lying about what she said?" Sesshomaru gave a curt nod. "Well, look, it doesn't matter! You're a youkai. You're better at the whole ruling thing. You do it."

Sesshomaru gave him that look he gave Inuyasha all the time. The one that said, 'you are the dirt beneath my boot. Shut up, you stupid half-breed.' Then his look changed to one of realization, and then complete and utter defeat. It was weird, being able to read his brother's emotions so easily. Freaky.

Then Sesshomaru did the one thing Inuyasha never thought he'd do.

He bowed.

Not just one of those, from the waist bows, either. That would have been weird enough. No, he straight up got on the ground, kneeling, head pressed to his hands. Not only that, though. To make the entire situation weirder, he opened his mouth, and started saying the weirdest crap.

"Inuyasha-s-sama. Please take over as the Daiyoukai. My—Your country needs you. I—I will offer myself as your humble servant. Just please, My Lord, come back to the palace." Sesshomaru choked on nearly every word. Inuyasha stared, completely in shock. Had that really just happened?

He kicked Sesshomaru in the face. The youkai reared up, spitting and growling. "Why you little half-breed cur. I am going to rip out your eyes for that, you slime ridden filth." Sesshomaru growled, strangling Inuyasha with one hand.

"There's the Sesshomaru I know." Inuyasha answered, gripping at Sesshomaru's hand. "Look, I'll go with you, okay? Just quit it with the servant crap. It's freaky. No one wants to see you in that position, seriously. You have an ugly...back of your head."

Sesshomaru visibly relaxed. "Very well, My Lord." The words didn't come out as choked as before, and that was disturbing.

"No way am I letting you call me that!" He bit back.

Sesshomaru grimaced. "Your Majesty."

"Ugh! Just stop! Calling me slimy hanyou is fine. Ugh! I finally have a chance to gloat at you, and you gotta completely ruin it by being freaky."

"I will not call you such a thing. I—must become accustomed to my new position."

"No way! I'm seriously just going to go in there and tell them you're the real Daiyoukai, you know. So don't get comfortable in that new position of yours."

"You will not!"

"Oh yeah, who's stopping me?" Inuyasha challenged.

"I shall. As your manservant, I will ensure that you do not injure yourself in such a manner."

"My manservant?! Who decided that?!"

"The previous Daiyoukai." Sesshomaru answered smugly.

"Oh, yeah. Ha. Ha. Very funny." Inuyasha crinkled his nose. "That witch is a liar, you know. You shouldn't just believe whatever she says."

"She has never been wrong. What she says is truth, always. Besides, I heard it from my own mother's mouth. There is very little that can refute that."

"All right." He scowled, but didn't say anything further. They walked in silence to Sesshomaru's palace.

When they got there, it was in the early hours of the morning. Inuyasha looked over the large palace. It looked…menacing. Jeez. Who paints a whole freaking city black? And it was so massive. Where most palaces were built to be one story and sprawling, this one towered into the sky like some sort of huge monster. Inuyasha looked over at Sesshomaru, and noticed an odd softness on his features. Whatever. Twisted youkai, thinking something like that was pretty…or whatever he thought.

Sesshomaru led him through the city. Lights were on in buildings, but mostly, the streets were empty. Finally, they got to the palace and were welcomed by a freaking army of servants. Inuyasha yelped when he saw them, shrinking back. Hundreds of people bowing to him, saying "Welcome home, Master Inuyasha, Master Sesshomaru." Creepy. Maybe Sesshomaru got off on this, but he sure didn't.

But he didn't have time to respond, before he heard orders from Sesshomaru. "You will refer to him alone in such situations. I am no longer the Daiyoukai."

"Yes…" They seemed to be struggling for a term. Sesshomaru, too, by the looks of it. His face was drawn and blank, and he wasn't offering suggestions.

"Sir." Inuyasha finished for them. "He is your boss, after all." He said. Sesshomaru gave a single nod, and the servants relaxed just the smallest of notches, but it was clear they were still on edge about the whole thing. Stupid Sesshomaru, messing the whole thing up. It would have been so easy if he'd just left things the way they were.

Inuyasha let Sesshomaru lead him up the stairs to a large room, with an even larger bed, overflowing with pillows.

"Please, rest, Inuyasha-sama." He said through gritted teeth. At least Inuyasha knew it still bugged the Daiyoukai to say stuff like that. That, at least, was comforting. Inuyasha sat on the bed, on edge. No way was he sleeping tonight. Sesshomaru didn't seem to notice, and walked out of the room, leaving Inuyasha to himself.

Inuyasha played with his pillows a bit, still on edge. This place was so weird. Black walls, red rug, red bed. Black and red pillows. Scenes of death and people getting disemboweled on tapestries on the walls. Creepy. No way he was falling asleep.

An hour later, Sesshomaru opened the door, poking his head in. He looked surprised. "What are you doing awake, hanyou—I mean, My Lord?"

"No way I'm sleeping in this freaky place!" Inuyasha said.

"If you lay down, you will have an easier time of it."

"There's a freaking picture of some lady getting disemboweled by some weird thing on your ceiling! NO way am I sleeping with that staring down at me."

Sesshomaru was silent for a few minutes. "Can it be that you are frightened, Inuyasha?"

"No way! I do not get frightened!" Inuyasha yelled at him. "I'm not a girl!"

"So that is it." Sesshomaru answered thoughtfully.

"NO! Are you deaf! I don't get scared!" As he was saying that, though, Sesshomaru crawled into bed with him, pulling Inuyasha to him so that Inuyasha was lying down, face nuzzling Sesshomaru's chest. "What do you think you're doing?!"

"Comforting my Lord, of course." Sesshomaru hugged Inuyasha closer to his body, and Inuyasha struggled, face getting hot.

"That's bull! You just want to sleep in your youkai bed!" Inuyasha tried to get away, unsuccessfully.

"Will you deny me that, Inuyasha?" Sesshomaru asked, leveling his eyes with Inuyasha's. Inuyasha calmed down, quitting his struggles.

"Fine. Sleep here if you want. But just for tonight." He fell asleep amazingly quickly, wrapped up in Sesshomaru's arms.