Story: Red

Summary: Inu no Taisho is worried about Sesshoumaru's dislike of soft toys. His son and heir must have a teddy bear. Sesshoumaru agrees, but only on one condition; it must be a live one. Oh what about that one over there, with the puppy ears? Fluff, with a bit of angst. Sess/Inu shota yaoi

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha and make no money from the writing of this fic.

Warnings: This fic will contain shota (sex between minors), yaoi (sex between males), and some violence. It will most likely not contain non-con or rape.

A/N: I'm back! ^.^ This story is less angsty and more fluffy than Want To Be Your Slave.

For those of you who are waiting for a sequel to Want To Be Your Slave, it's in progress and will be up soon.

I hope you enjoy the first chapter!

Chapter 1

"[Kids] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."
Jim Henson

Inu no Taisho's eye twitched, looking down at the gruesome and rather disturbing remains of what he had hoped would be Sesshoumaru's favourite soft toy. But the stuffing lying around the room and the pulled off arm and eye suggested it was more dear to him than to his 7 year old son.

"Sesshoumaru!" he called (bellowed), staring unblinkingly at the carcass on the floor.

His son and heir appeared at the doorway, blinking up at him. "Papa. What are you doing in my room?"

"What is the meaning of this?" Taisho hissed, pointing one clawed finger at the mess on the floor. "Is this the way you treat your belongings?"

A present from me, no less, thought Taisho to himself sulkily.

Sesshoumaru tossed his head, knee length silver hair rippling slightly before gracefully falling into place.

"What else am I to do with a useless pile of cotton?" he demanded.

"You are supposed to cuddle it!" Taisho yelled. "You are supposed to care for it and find comfort with it."

Sesshoumaru's back went rigid. "I do not cuddle," he spat, "And I won't pretend to care for a worthless pile of cloth."

Taisho held his son's eyes but an icy trail of worry was slowly making its way down his gut. Was his son truly this spoilt? If he behaved this way with an inanimate object who could not wrong him in any way, how would he react with living persons in the future?

Tsukiko, I won't forgive you for this, he vowed silently, wishing, not for the first time, that his mate did not have a heart made of ice – one that she had done her best to pass on to their son. And succeeded, by the looks of it.

In the back of his mind, he knew he could also wish he did not love said ice-hearted woman, but that was beyond his capacity, so he would settle for swearing revenge.

"You will have another to replace that one and I will not find it harmed in any way. Is that understood?"

"Yes, you will," Sesshoumaru muttered under his breath.

Taisho's eyes narrowed. "What was that?"

"Nothing," Sesshoumaru replied quickly, wary of the look in his father's eyes.

"Good," Taisho lied, pretending not to have heard him.

There was momentary silence in the room. Outside the window, a mouse scampered by, a large cat in hot pursuit.

"Papa," Sesshoumaru said, suddenly struck by inspiration, looking away from the window at his father. "If you really want me to have a teddy bear, can it be one of my choice?"

Inu no Taisho perked up. "Of course it can," he said warmly. "What kind would you like?"

Sesshoumaru grinned brightly. "The kind that is alive," he stated.

Taisho and Tsukiko had made Sesshoumaru aware of his birth and station since the day he was born; as such, there was no way they were letting a lowly slave have any part in their son's upbringing. Sesshoumaru had an army of palace servants at his beck and call, but none that he could call his own. Taisho and Tsukiko kept a close eye on them to ensure they did no more than follow his orders; any attempt to fill his ears with manipulative lies were met with swift and certain death.

The children of nobles and the ones who lived in the castle town came to the palace gardens to play. His strict upbringing ensured he wouldn't bully other children due to his station or strength and he had many peers eager to keep him company. But even in the midst of the many children clamouring to play with him, Sesshoumaru had no one he could call friend; fawning obsequiousness of the betas didn't appeal to him and he could not participate in the games of the alphas as they couldn't hope to provide him a challenge.

Sesshoumaru was lonely.

Tinkling feminine laughter followed the young prince's remark. Inu no Taisho glanced over his shoulder at his mate who was leaning against the doorway and then turned his eyes back to his son.

"You will not own a living being until I know you can take care of a toy," Taisho stated.

Sesshoumaru sent him a glare that was withering, even coming from the big, guileless eyes of a 7 year old. "Of course I can," Sesshoumaru said. "That doesn't mean I will."

"You did say he was allowed to choose his toy," Tsukiko put in from behind him; her husband could hear the smirk in her voice.

"A living being is not a toy," Taisho reminded them both through gritted teeth. "I won't have another creature's life put in danger."

"I'll take care of it," Sesshoumaru wheedled. "You won't have any complaints, papa."

Taisho could feel his mate's pointed glare on the back of his head. He sighed. "Alright, fine."

A large grin split his son's face.

"But-" Taisho cut in sternly. "You must give me your word you will not kill or maim it simply for your amusement."

Young though he may be, his son was a boy of his word.

Sesshoumaru stared at the floor, thinking hard about his father's terms. Taisho waited.

A moment later, he looked up and nodded decisively. "I won't kill or maim it…just for my amusement."

But if the thing did something totally unforgivable, then of course, he would have to be punished appropriately. Papa hadn't said anything about that. It was a fair agreement.

Taisho nodded, not aware of the gigantic loophole he was leaving in the agreement.

"Come, we are going to the store right now," Taisho said, turning on his heels.

"I'm coming with you," said Tsukiko, who had heard the unspoken words behind her son's acquiescence.

Taisho's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Don't you have some inane celebration in the north to attend, my dear?"

Tsukiko shrugged elegantly. "I have some time before I have to leave. My son's first grown-up toy; it is a moment I would not want to miss."

Taisho heard the pride in his mate's voice and wondered uneasily, just what he was missing here.

The Lady and Lord of the West walking in with the prince was more honour than the dark, decrepit slave-house had ever seen. The workers in the place had frozen for a good 5 seconds before realising that what they were seeing was indeed real that this was the entire royal family walking into their little store. They had scrambled about quickly, trying to give them the best service possible; one of the workers had even had the presence of mind to call the owner of the store.

Tsukiko sniffed, not pleased with having to walk into this sorry excuse for a shop.

Square cages with dusty metal bars lined both sides of the store; there was a path to walk between the cages, from where customers could inspect the merchandise. The cages were too small to allow the occupants to stand at their full height, except the unusually small ones. Most of the creatures knelt in the cages, pressing close to the bars to get a good look at their possible new owners who could get them out of this hell hole.

The cages were elevated by being placed on large stone slabs, so that they were at eye level, without the customers having to bend.

"Your majesty," a goat demon squeaked, bowing low repeatedly before Taisho and Tsukiko and remaining in the bowed state. "Welcome to my humble establishment, my Lord. How may I be of service to you?"

"We are here for my son," Taisho stated and the goat demon bent even lower to peer greedily at the young prince.

"Of course, of course, my Lord," he said obsequiously, gesturing for them to walk ahead. "I am sure my prince will find something suitable here."

Tsukiko and Taisho followed Sesshoumaru as he looked curiously at the various demons imprisoned in the cages. Most of the ones in the beginning were muscled and fierce, grinning eagerly at him. Sesshoumaru wrinkled his nose slightly at their unpleasant scent, and walked on.

The ones in the middle cages were slightly younger and more physically appealing. They knelt motionlessly and watched them passively, without making any attempt to draw attention to themselves.

The ones farthest in were even younger, probably just into puberty. Most of them were beautiful, with flawless skin and sparkling eyes. They shifted and smiled alluringly, inviting the guests in with their eyes and their glorious bodies. Sesshoumaru glanced once at them and walked on.

"Is this it?" Taisho asked finally. "Are these the only ones you have?"

The goat demon's face fell. "I-is my Lord looking for anything in particular?" he asked worriedly.

"We were looking for someone younger, perhaps Sesshoumaru's age," Inu no Taisho replied.

The store owner's face brightened. "Of course, my Lord! Please come right this way. We keep the children in the back."

He scurried forward towards large, wooden double door, so covered in dust as to almost blend in with the equally dark, dusty stone walls. With a gloomy creaking sound, the doors swung open and Taisho, Tsukiko, and Sesshoumaru were ushered inside.

The room inside was even worse. Cages littered the floor indiscriminately, placed without any particular order. The children in the cage, both male and female, stirred and came to the bars to see what the commotion was all about.

"I'm sure my prince will find something here worthy of being in his service," the shop owner declared loudly, hinting to the children that it was the young Lord that they had to aim at pleasing.

Their eyes almost bulged out of their eyes on seeing the royal family. They hurried to straighten their clothing and hair and plastered bright fake smiles on their faces for the benefit of the prince.

Sesshoumaru glanced at them with interest, walking between the cages to inspect each of them. They all looked around his age, some older by a few years, and some younger. The youngest ones had tears streaking their cheeks and they sniffled pitifully. Sesshoumaru made a face and turned away from them.

The older ones looked obedient but the young prince recognised their calculating gaze and decided he wanted nothing to do with them.

The ones that looked his age all looked at him with frantic hope in their eyes. Put off by their clingy desperation and fake smiles, Sesshoumaru turned away from them as well.

He had inspected every cage till the very end of the room now, and he was disappointed. The idea of any of these pathetic creatures near him was revolting.

A hint of movement in a very dark corner of the room caught his eye. He walked towards it.

There was another cage that he hadn't noticed before, smaller and dirtier than the others. Though it was in shadow, the son of two Taiyoukai could clearly see the figure inside.

It was a small boy, slightly smaller than himself, curled in on himself at the far corner of the cage, by pulling his knees up to his chin and hugging them. He made no move to come forward or be seen, and shivered slightly when he saw the prince draw near and peer at him curiously.

The goat demon had sweat dripping down his brow as he saw the prince notice the small cage he hadn't had the chance to get rid of before the unannounced visit of the Lord and Lady of the West. He prayed lady Tsukiko did not have his head for this.

"Who is this?" Sesshoumaru asked. Tsukiko and Taisho walked towards him to see what had caught their son's attention. They had taken no more than a few steps before Tsukiko took a small breath and her face darkened. She whirled furiously on the cringing goat demon.

"What is the meaning of this?" she demanded. "This is the kind of trash you keep in your store?"

The goat demon looked down and bowed his head submissively to her. "I-I beg my lady's pardon. We just got him a few days ago; I haven't had a chance to get rid of him yet. If I had known my Lord and Lady were going to grace me with their presence – "

Sesshoumaru stared at the small boy even more curiously, wondering what about him had his mother so furious.

"Come here," he ordered the small boy who hadn't yet moved. He seemed startled, as he glanced up quickly at the prince before averting his eyes respectfully. Uncurling his arms from around his knees, he got to his feet shakily and shuffled forward towards the prince. He was small enough to stand in the cage; he came to a stop close to the bars and knelt down as he'd been taught.

The dim light revealed dirt-streaked cheeks and tattered, bloody clothes. The demon prince could make out the outline of his ribs through the ragged clothing. But Sesshoumaru's attention was captured by the two downy, triangular ears that lay flat on top of his head.

"What is your name?" he demanded, willing the boy to look up.

A small red tongue darted out to wet dry, cracked lips. "Inuyasha," came the hoarse answer, as if he hadn't spoken in a long time.

The shopkeeper stared in silence at him, momentarily distracted from Tsukiko and the imminent threat to his life. It was the first time he had heard the boy speak a single word, apart from growls and snarls. So the shit could talk and had just been pretending to be mute. Once the royals left, he was going to get the beating of his lifetime.

When the child still didn't look up, Sesshoumaru lost his patience. Thrusting his hand in through the bars, he grabbed the child's wrist and yanked him forward.

He hadn't counted on how light he would be; the force yanked Inuyasha forward, slamming his forehead against the bars. A small trickle of blood began to run down his forehead. Sesshoumaru looked at him worriedly, but Inuyasha did not cry out. Raising his free hand to his forehead, he harshly wiped the blood away and snarled threateningly at Sesshoumaru, baring tiny fangs. Sesshoumaru could see dirty, broken claws on his hand. In his grasp, Inuyasha's wrist was unnaturally cold and clammy.

"Sesshoumaru, come. We are leaving," Tsukiko called imperiously.

The young prince's grip on Inuyasha's wrist tightened. A small gasp escaped from the captive and he unwittingly looked up, locking eyes with the young prince of the West. He'd had manners and courtesy beaten into him many times but he could not bring himself to look away.

Sesshoumaru stared back for a long moment, imprinting the wide eyes in his memory, before he released the alarmingly thin wrist in his grasp. Unsupported by the strong hold, Inuyasha fell gracelessly on the floor, staring up in shock at his aggressor.

Wild power radiated from the prince, not much older than Inuyasha himself, the kind he had never felt before in his life. He felt the sudden urge to do anything to be close to the source of that power, to lose himself in the almost scalding warmth of the other's being.

Then he saw the young prince turn and walk away.

"I have made my choice," Sesshoumaru said, speaking quietly enough that only his parents, and the store owner who was standing close, could hear. "That is the one I want."

Tsukiko and the goat demon's eyes widened as one. Tsukiko's lips thinned into a severe line; Taisho looked at him almost pityingly.

"We are going home, Sesshoumaru," she said in a hard voice that brooked no argument.

Sesshoumaru knew better than to contradict his parents in front of commoners. He obediently followed them out of the shop, glancing back once to look at broken golden eyes. Even in the dark, he could make out the imprint of his hand on the thin, pale wrist as it clutched the bars of the cage.

Sesshoumaru turned away from him and walked out of the shop, into the light, aware of pitiful golden eyes following him, and thought that perhaps he had at last found someone who was just as lonely as he was.

Once inside the palace, shut safely in his parents' chambers away from the servant, Sesshoumaru glared at his parents; the anger that pounded behind his eyes surprised even him.

"What was the point of taking me all the way over there if you were not going to let me get anything?" he demanded.

Tsukiko glared at Taisho. "You can have any one you choose, my son," she said, "except for that one."

Sesshoumaru frowned. "But I don't want anyone else. I only want that one."

Tsukiko's mouth tightened and she glared. "No."

Sesshoumaru glared back. "Why not?"

"Because I said so," Tsukiko snapped, glancing helplessly at Taisho, who was happily staying out of it.

"But papa said I could have one," he argued, glancing appealingly at his father. Taisho didn't meet his eyes.

Tsukiko knelt elegantly to be at eye level with her son. "And you can," she replied coaxingly, "Just not that one."

Sesshoumaru stamped his foot. "I. want. that. Inuyasha."

Tsukiko made a face.

Sesshoumaru looked angrily from his mother to his father. "What is going on? Why won't you let me have the one I want? All the others were pathetic and their scents were repulsive. Only Inuyasha's scent was pleasing – "

"He is hanyou!" Tsukiko burst out, glaring accusingly at her mate. "It is your father's idea of a joke, I expect, to take you into the one god forsaken shop that would be low enough to house a hanyou."

Sesshoumaru blinked. "Half-breed? What does that mean?"

Taisho sighed and stepped forward, kneeling in front of the boy. "It means he has human and demon blood running through his veins."

Sesshoumaru assimilated this new information interestedly. He hadn't known it was possible for a person to be both.

"So why can't I have him?" he asked, looking from one to the other. Taisho looked pointedly down at Tsukiko, daring her to answer this question.

"Because hanyou are tainted – the lowest of the low," she growled, claws twitching irritably. "My son will not lower himself to such a thing as owning a hanyou when there are plenty of full demons who would kill for a chance to belong to you – as my dear Taisho very well knew when he took you to that run down little hovel instead of any respectable store."

Sesshoumaru tilted his head questioningly as the thought about this. "He didn't seem any worse than the other demons in there," he said finally, "How does being half demon make him bad?"

Tsukiko sighed. "Are you now going to say even humans are not 'bad'?"

Sesshoumaru wrinkled his nose. "No, humans stink. And they're stupid."

Despite her agitation, Tsukiko almost smiled. "That's right. Do you really want something with human blood running around the palace?"

Sesshoumaru didn't answer, knowing that there was no dissuading his mother when she got something in her head. Tsukiko stood fluidly, turning to her mate.

"I must go, Taisho, or I will not be in time for the celebrations. Take care of Sesshoumaru and do try not to procure any humans for him."

Taisho kissed her discreetly on the lips. "I won't," he promised. He didn't tell her he hadn't chosen the store because it had a hanyou in it. He had chosen it because he wanted Sesshoumaru to have to choose from some of the demons of the lowest status so that he could learn about them. It wasn't like Tsukiko would allow him to mingle with commoners otherwise. Finding a hanyou in there was just a bonus.

That his son had set his heart on said hanyou was an even bigger bonus; a victory over his mate he wasn't likely to forego – or flaunt in her face, because while he valued his pride, he also valued his life.

As the sun set outside the window, Sesshoumaru watched his mother become a tiny speck in the sky. He had quietly let her go without any further argument; like the predator that he was, he had immediately sensed where the weak link in this particular battle lay – he had seen the compassionate look in his father's eyes when he looked at the hanyou.

It was a little while after dinner that Inu no Taisho heard his son's knock on the doors of the balcony where he sat reading.

"What is it, Sesshoumaru?" he asked, as his son stood in the doorway.

Sesshoumaru looked at him steadily, with such intensity in his eyes that Taisho put his book aside and sat up.

"Papa, you have always taught me to honour my word," he said quietly.

Taisho frowned. "Yes, of course."

"You went back on your word today," Sesshoumaru said. "Why must I keep mine then?"

It took all of the self-control Taisho had to not flinch from his 7 year old son's gaze. Without having to ask, he knew this was about the hanyou.

"It is not that simple, son," Taisho sighed, gesturing for him to come closer.

Sesshoumaru slowly walked forward and Taisho placed his hands on his shoulders.

"Sometimes, unexpected things happen that prevent you from doing what you want to."

Sesshoumaru blinked, then nodded slowly. "I understand," he said.

Taisho let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. "I am glad."

Sesshoumaru stepped back, out of his reach and turned to go. He had meant to simply convince his father to let him have the hanyou but the conversation had somehow turned into much more than that. He could feel a rare tightness in his chest. "Promises are only meant to be kept as long as it is useful to do so."

Taisho's eyes widened. "That is not what I meant."

Sesshoumaru looked at him over his shoulder. "Do you also hate hanyou as much as mother does, papa?"

"I don't hate them," Taisho sighed.

Sesshoumaru looked at him questioningly. "Then?"

Taisho looked away from him helplessly, trying to find the words to explain to a 7 year old why it would be in everyone's best interests if he just let this one go.

"Why do you want this hanyou so badly?" Taisho asked in turn.

It was Sesshoumaru's turn to look away.

"The cloth teddy bear you bought me must have known more care in its shop than the hanyou has in his entire life," Sesshoumaru said quietly.

Inu no Taisho's heart clenched to see the hurt in his strong little son's eyes. It was not acceptable that Sesshoumaru learnt the lesson that it was ever ok to break his word. Besides, he did not want his son to grow up with a hatred of hanyou and humans like his mother.

"We will go to the shop and get him tomorrow," Taisho promised, placing a hand on Sesshoumaru's head.

Sesshoumaru looked up in surprise and happiness. "Really?"

Taisho nodded. "And remember that a ruler always honours his word."

Sesshoumaru nodded enthusiastically before running off to his rooms. He had preparations to make for the arrival of his new playmate. He summoned his servants and issued orders for the changes he wanted made. The servants bowed and hurried away to obey.

Taisho smiled out at the night, feeling content and curiously light. Though he could foresee the innumerable difficulties this decision would cause – a hanyou child in a palace full of demons, preserving Sesshoumaru's status and standing as his crown prince, answering to all of those who would dare to question his decision – it had been the right thing to do.

Now if only he could figure out a way to escape his mate's wrath.

In the slave-house, Inuyasha gasped as the metal rod caught him in the stomach. He doubled over from the pain, and was promptly struck on his exposed back. The blow made him stumble to his knees.

"You worthless piece of shit," the goat demon hissed as he backhanded him across the face, felling him to the ground. "D' you realise you almost killed m' business 'nd me today? Thank kami Lady Tsukiko was in a forgivin' mood or I would've been so much flesh 'nd blood on her claws."

Inuyasha didn't say anything, only stared straight ahead with blank, lifeless eyes.

"Say something, you little lyin' bastard! I know you can speak; I heard you answer the prince. If you can answer that snotty little brat, you can answer me!"

The barrage of slaps on his face brought little change in Inuyasha's face.

Disgusted with the lack of response, the goat demon stepped away as the hanyou fell in a heap on the floor.

"Take 'im away," he hissed to the store assistants. "First thing tomorrow, I'm sendin' this little piece of trash away from my shop. I would have killed him when he came in if I'd known Inu no Taisho was planning to come here. If we can't find a buyer for him tomorrow – "

He leered unpleasantly at the blankly staring hanyou lying on the floor.

"- an' it would have to be some seriously fucked up bastard with a taste for hanyou ass, that's want to spend money on this – take him out into the forest and kill him so he doesn't stink up this whole place with his blood."

The assistant nodded, roughly picking the boy up and stuffing him inside his cage. Inuyasha did not have the strength to sit up and remained lying on his stomach where they had placed him.

The goat demon jerked the metal rod away and looked down at his hands in disgust. "I'm gonna go take a bath before headin' home, get his stink off m'hands."

It wasn't long before Inuyasha was alone in the room with the other slaves as the shop assistants closed up for the day and turned the lights off. After the other slaves had been given some food and water, it wasn't long before they quieted down and went to sleep.

Delirious and feverish from the wounds on his body and not having eaten for days, Inuyasha dreamt of concerned golden eyes and a warm, iron grip on his wrist.

A/N: Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru are once again not brothers in this story, as in Want to Be Your Slave.

Would you like to read more? I feel like my writing has improved since the first fanfic I wrote, You're My Everything. Do you think so? It's also gotten less and less angsty. This story will most likely have happy, fluffy stuff, although it won't be completely without angst.

Please review and tell me what you think.