Chapter 17: Bakusaiga
Sesshoumaru showed no hesitation in taking hold of the sword he had so cavalierly cast away just minutes before, his own aura expelling Naraku's grip on the blade; as the vermin's control was forced away he smirked and bowed out, mockingly 'allowing' Sesshoumaru to finish his shouki-weakened brother.
Your interference in this matter is over, Naraku. I have already seen what I needed. Now all that is left is to finish this.
"Sesshoumaru," spat Inuyasha, watching his brother take control once more of Tenseiga warily, his crimson eyes narrowing as he backed just slightly away.
The daiyoukai didn't answer, instead attacking the boy immediately and with his usual deadly precision. Weakened by shouki, Inuyasha still proved ready if not a little unwilling to resume the fight with his elder sibling.
But no one was more shocked than he when Tenseiga broke against Tessaiga's edge – and he watched with his jaw hanging open in surprise as the broken halves of the sword floated away into the still-yawning meido. His attention shifted back to his own sword as it pulsed again, this time turning black.
What? Meido zangetsuha?!
Inuyasha was definitely confused, and he looked at his brother as the void closed around them and they both began to be pulled into its center. "What the hell's goin' on, Sesshoumaru? Why does Tessaiga have your technique – and why'd you deliberately break Tenseiga's blade on Tessaiga?"
The daiyoukai studied his younger brother's face for several seconds, that anger still burning inside him – the anger that his father had gone so far to give his youngest access to such power, and not only passed him over for it but actually used his eldest son, his heir, to give the boy even more power. But what was done was done, and there was no longer any denying that Inuyasha was the Tessaiga's true master.
"The meido has closed around us, Inuyasha. It is up to you to find a way for us to escape. If you do not, then we will die," the elder inuyoukai stated coldly, his expression not changing one iota from its usual inscrutable mask.
Inuyasha's eyes widened in shock yet again. Die? Here? No way! But I don't know what to do! How do I use the meido? This is Sesshoumaru's technique – Tessaiga just stole it! "Tell me, Sesshoumaru! Just tell me what to do. This ain't no time for your self-righteous act!"
"I cannot. You must master this final form of Tessaiga and lead us out of this place," Sesshoumaru said emptily, as if he were uncaring about even his own possible death. "It is up to you."
Inuyasha stared at his brother, shocked and speechless as he took in just how serious Sesshoumaru was.
...Up to... me? Damn you, bastard! This isn't the time for such games!
But it didn't seem to matter because Sesshoumaru did not react at all, even as they drew closer to the meido and began to dissipate. Inuyasha snarled at his brother but finally took him seriously, and reaching for the link he shared with his sword, he once more asked for its guidance.
With a strong answering pulse, Tessaiga answered his call.
Kagome stared with angered eyes as Sesshoumaru walked away from them all, ignoring the Tenseiga's once-more flawless form in his ire. She was furious with him for what he'd done, because it was quite clear from his actions that he had really and very thoroughly tried to kill Inuyasha.
And now this, his temper tantrum, since that's really all it could be called – he was basically being a brat about the truth of who the Tessaiga's master really was.
He's acting like a spoiled child who didn't get the toy he wanted, she huffed inwardly as he walked away, ignoring her as much as he ignored everyone else. Well, at least Rin took Tenseiga with her, and hopefully he'll calm down and take it back at some point.
She could only be happy that Inuyasha had finally and forever proven to Sesshoumaru that Tessaiga was meant for him, because that meant that at least Naraku wouldn't be able to try to get the two to kill each other using the swords as an excuse again. He'd been trying that since practically day one, and Kagome was really tired of it.
Of course, that doesn't mean Sesshoumaru won't try to kill Inuyasha for some other dumb reason, she rolled her eyes as she turned away from his disappearing figure and looked at her friend. He looked pretty good for someone who had just had the Kongosouha thrown at him – adamant shards with Naraku's nasty shouki embedded in them.
Sending another, last burst of cold anger through the odd link she had with the daiyoukai that had taken over her life, she pushed all thoughts of him aside and blocked said link before moving to look Inuyasha over as he sat down exhaustedly.
Of course he didn't want to be fussed over, as usual with him, but beyond a grouchy face cast her way he didn't protest her order to open his haori and kosode so she could look over his wounds and clean and bandage them. She simply ignored the expression, well used to it by now, and really not impressed.
"... so the stupid bastard told me that it was all up to me whether we lived or died after he'd broken Tenseiga on my Tessaiga, acting all self-righteous and like he didn't care that we could both die," Inuyasha was saying in sarcastic tones. "That usual dead expression on his face didn't change one little bit. I swear – that fool is crazy, that's all there is to it."
Miroku shook his head, frowning thoughtfully. "I don't think that was really it, Inuyasha. I think that-" he returned the hanyou's droll look with one of his own, "he was confident that you would figure it out before any dying happened. After all, by that point he'd acknowledged the fact that the Tessaiga was meant for you, even if unwillingly. It was clear from his actions. That's why he broke the Tenseiga on your sword – to give Tessaiga its final form – meido zangetsuha."
At that assertion, it was Inuyasha's turn to frown. "You know... you might be right," he said slowly, looking down as he considered what had happened. "It was like he'd finally given Tessaiga up and passed on what was supposed to be part of my sword so that this whole thing would just be over."
Miroku nodded. "Yes... it was most positively deliberate on his part, I have no doubts on that score."
Sango glanced over at a very quiet Kagome with oddly opaque eyes. "You've been very quiet, Kagome-chan. Don't you have any opinions about what just happened?"
Her mouth tightened into a thin line for a moment, and then she nodded. "Yes. He'd better stay out of my way for a while, because I'm terribly angry with him right now and I'm very tempted to purify him halfway to dust at this point."
Startled laughter broke out around the very irritated young woman as Inuyasha snorted. "Ha. I'd pay to watch that."
"So would I," Totosai said almost under his breath, the swordsmith still lingering around. "Your father would have been quite angry with him for the way he's been acting lately. It's too bad the master can't return and take him to task. Now that would be a show to watch."
All those sitting around the now bandaged Inuyasha couldn't help but agree. That would be a show to watch, they were quite sure of it.
Kagome finished bandaging Inuyasha quietly, anger still churning inside her gut.
Maybe so, but I still want to be the one to do it. I trusted him, and then he did that. I'd like to strangle him, and that's a fact. And I just might, too – as soon as I see him again.
There was no question, of course, of whether she would see him again. Because he would never leave her alone, never let her go, as he'd already told her more than once and she knew with cold certainty that this whole situation with the swords wouldn't have changed that one little bit.
"You might be angry with me, but nonetheless you cannot deny me, little woman. Very soon now you will come to me, and then we will be as one being... forever."
Kagome writhed in her bedding with a long, low moan, the dreamworld she was trapped in for the moment shredding all her inhibitions and drowning her anger at the one who was sharing it with her. After all, how could she deny him? This beautiful prince of light and darkness desired her, and he had no qualms with showing it, didn't care who knew. Who could refuse such a thing?
Not her... no matter who it angered. Yes, Inuyasha was her friend and she loved him as such, but Sesshoumaru owned her heart and soul. There was just no comparison.
And so when his heated words caressed her ears with his silky, shiver-inducing voice she merely nodded, her eyes falling closed as she whimpered her submission to his desires and demands. "Yes... I will come to you soon... oh, would that it could be now," she whispered despondently, wishing that Naraku was already gone along with the jewel so that she could finally stop denying her deepest desire, her want for the dangerous daiyoukai that she couldn't help but to love.
A flare of intense heat crashed through Sesshoumaru in the dreamworld they were sharing at her words; in that instant, if Naraku had been anywhere near he would have destroyed the spider no matter how much he used the shards to regenerate. His need of her in that moment was so deep and all-encompassing that his youki actually responded to it and flared up around him in a dangerous display of power that had anything that could feel it running in fear for miles around.
"Do not fret, little one," he finally managed to get out around tightly clenched teeth. "The end is very near – our time is soon to come." He reached down and tilted her head up, causing her to open her eyes and look up at him with the deepest, most pure blue he'd ever had the privilege of seeing sparkling and shimmering in the half-light of their dreamworld. I could drown in her eyes and never miss myself, the disjointed thought swiftly crossed his mind. Unable to stop himself and not really wanting to Sesshoumaru lowered his head and took her lips with his, inwardly rejoicing when she submitted immediately, opening to him without hesitation and meeting his passion with her own.
Their moment was not to last, however, as Kagome abruptly disappeared from the dream with a startled expression on her face, leaving Sesshoumaru aware and frustrated. He woke instantly, pursuing Kagome through their link to make sure that she wasn't in danger. When all he felt from her was exasperation and irritation, he let go, knowing that she was alright.
He sighed quietly to himself. Despite his reassurances to her that their time was coming soon, soon wasn't now, and his instincts were screaming at him constantly. He'd never had to fight himself so much as he had these last months since meeting her.
Forcing himself to become one with the stillness of the night Sesshoumaru stared into the sky and pushed away everything but thoughts of their mutual enemy. He would so enjoy getting his claws into the spider hanyou that was ultimately keeping him from the woman he wanted, the visual of rending the vermin into the other world causing a faint smile to cross his face and his eyes to fall closed for a moment. Oh, yes, Naraku's destruction would be one moment he would never forget. He could hardly wait to see the expression on the half-breed's face when he finally realized his end was upon him.
Shifting against the tree he was leaning against he looked down as Tenseiga's sheath scraped the ground, a light scowl crossing his face at the sight of it. No longer a weapon of any kind, its only purpose now was to give life rather than take it.
Not something that I would need under normal circumstances, however... he glanced at Rin's sleeping form in the pale light of the night sky even as Kagome's face flashed before his eyes, it may still be useful.
If Kagome were to fall at anytime in the future then Tenseiga would most definitely be needed, because he could never leave her at death's door and not do whatever it took to save her. Of course, with the power that she seemed to actually be created of he didn't believe that there was much out there that could really kill her, but one could never be positive.
His eyes flickered in the ambient starlight even as his face lay in shadows, and he stared into the sky, contemplating eternity. It was a true statement that time was the longest distance between two places, as he'd learned since meeting Kagome and he almost wished that he could traverse it himself, traveling into his own past to once more face his father and ask the question that had been burning in his mind for two hundred years – Why did you forsake me?
It really wasn't even about the fact that he'd been given the Tenseiga, anymore – he simply wanted to know why his sire had turned his back on him. What had he done that the Inu no Taisho had been so displeased with his heir that he had chosen to mock him with the final disposition of his fangs?
His gaze fell from the sky to stare at his hand, the one now clenching in frustration and he shook his head after a moment, forcing thoughts of his sire away yet again. He sighed slightly as he realized that he'd been doing the same thing for two hundred years. If I could find the answer to that question then I could finally stop asking it and move on.
But what if there is no answer? What then?
It was a good question. What would he do if he could never find the answer to the riddle of his father's reasons for his final actions?
He stared into the night with that question weaving sinuously through his mind... but could find no answer to it anymore than he had found the answer to his main conundrum.
A week had passed since Kagome had been with Sesshoumaru in the dreamworld, and much had happened in that time. The battles with an increasingly dangerous Naraku were hitting all of them so fast that they knew the final showdown was close.
On this day, however, it seemed that there was a new enemy – one that had such an overwhelming aura of evil that everyone in the group could feel it from miles away. Bracing themselves for whatever was about to happen, the tachi left the village and followed the terrible aura. It didn't take long for Kagome to feel something else, though...
When they arrived he was battling the new youkai and Kohaku was unconscious on the ground, his shard tainted and rendering him unaware. Determined to help as Sango cried out in fear and ran to her brother the miko followed and crouched at the boy's side, looking him over with her inner eye.
"It's okay, Sango," she said after a moment, relieved. "He's just been knocked out because of the taint in the shard. I'll purify it and he'll wake up."
Sango glanced at her gratefully and then looked back down at her little brother, the warm glow of the miko's reiki just visible from the corner of her eye as the young woman began to purify the taint from the shard in the back of his neck.
The sounds of yelling and combat from Kagome's side made her look up; her attention got caught by the oddly familiar looking youkai that was the source of that immensely evil aura as her reiki automatically worked to remove the taint from the shard.
Who is that youkai – and why does it feel as if I should know him? He was obviously a fool, though – he seemed to think he could take on Sesshoumaru and win, and no one was going to be able to do that. He was too strong. She blinked at some of what was being said, her eyes widening as the youkai taunted the male she was so in love with.
At that very moment the evil male seemed to feel her gaze on him and turned to stare at her over his shoulder, the most sinister, menacing smirk she'd ever seen on anyone crossing his face – and then she gasped and her eyes widened...
And the world went dark.
Sesshoumaru froze for a split second as he felt the link with Kagome begin to fade and without thought followed after it, grabbing at it with his youki and tying it tightly to himself so that he could keep her from disappearing from within his soul.
Despite the fact that he'd originally been very uncomfortable with the depth of the bond between them, now he could not imagine not having all that she was thrumming through him, allowing him to feel her as though she were a physical part of him.
Once satisfied that the link was stable and she was in no danger of slipping away from him he turned his attention back to the youkai that was the cause of all of this – he who had named himself Magatsuhi. For whatever it was that he had done to Kagome he would be made to pay. He had dared to harm something that belonged to he, Sesshoumaru, and no one was allowed to do such and live.
Eyes narrowed as red rage flickered within heated gold and with no further ado he proceeded to heal the damage that had been done to his arm, his youki rising around him as he proved to his brother and all those there that he was quite capable of brushing off such paltry wounds as those Magatsuhi had inflicted on his arm with nothing more than his will.
The battle continued once he'd done so, the arrogant insect spouting nonsense that he did not even bother to listen to. He was too distracted by the wrongness he could feel within Kagome and the fact that it was hurting her. He could feel her pain as if it were his own, and because of that he was having a hard time controlling his wrath. He burned to kill the fool who would dare to set himself against the Lord of the West, to rend and destroy his flesh for the insult.
And for the pain she suffered. It burned like a cut dipped in lye, whatever it was that he'd done to her, even unconscious as she was she could feel it and he knew it.
Unfortunately the bastard was not unintelligent, and he soon realized that Magatsuhi was trying to use them against each other, having separated everyone out with his various body parts. Eyes narrowing, he knew that he could not allow the youkai to gain the upper hand, and with a sharp glance at the members of Inuyasha's group he bid them to follow him. He refused to let his gaze linger on Kagome, however – he had no need to do so, since he could feel everything she was experiencing, and that was enough to make his eyes bleed red with the desire to destroy the enemy before him.
A shimmering disturbance that no one else seemed to see made itself known next to the head of the fool that had gained his eternal enmity, and he could feel Tenseiga shiver against his side with the desire to be drawn. So you still speak to this one, do you, Tenseiga? Even after I left you behind you found your way back to me. Were you so eager to return to my hand? he thought, mocking himself inwardly as he remembered how badly Tessaiga's stolen power had wanted to return to Inuyasha's control.
But in this instance he realized that Tessaiga could not have helped him – because Magatsuhi was of the other world. But Tenseiga... Tenseiga could harm him, and suddenly Sesshoumaru could no longer bring himself to care about the reason his father had bequeathed him the fang of heaven. It had been the right choice, for it was that sword that was going to help him destroy the one who had brought suffering to the female he'd claimed as his.
The moment that all those gathered were in position to defend themselves he drew Tenseiga and in a lightening attack that Magatsuhi couldn't stop, he slashed that sparkling area from top to bottom with the glowing fang, not at all surprised to find the evil youkai's spirit hovering before them all with a slash mark down his face and his weakness exposed for all to see.
Eager to finish his enemy he attacked again, only to have his blows struck aside as the spirit of Magatsuhi used Naraku's body to protect himself from the fang. Enraged that his opponent might actually escape him he attacked Naraku's flesh with Tenseiga, forgetting for a moment that it would do no good against something made of flesh and blood.
When the tentacle Magatsuhi sent against him impaled him right through the chest, shattering his armor and freezing every muscle in his body, the only thought that could pierce the shock was of Kagome. Have I... failed? Will I now be forced to leave her behind?
He barely even noticed when Magatsuhi wrapped him up in tentacles in an attempt to absorb him just like the time Naraku had done so, because he was completely lost within himself as he wondered how he could have failed. His eyes fell closed without volition as he choked for breath, but he refused to acknowledge the darkness creeping up on him and attempting to drag him under. Her face flashed in front of his eyes as well as Rin's, and he shook his head within his prison, the pain from the tentacle piercing him fading into the back of his mind as his brow furrowed. Is defeat all there is?
Cold emptiness echoed from within him, the emptiness of beckoning death and the cold of the grave, and for several eternal-seeming seconds he was immobile, stuck and unable to move, breathe, or feel. Airless and silent the void reached for him, stroking icy fingers up his spine, and he almost faded...
Suddenly he could feel again, breathe again, and determination suffused him – because he could still feel her awareness fluttering there inside him, and he realized in that moment that she could feel what was happening to him. Her pain, fear, and fury was a tangible force inside him and he found the strength from that to deny Magatsuhi and death, both...
No. I will not leave her.
He refused to be defeated by such a weak opponent – and even more he absolutely would not allow himself to be separated from those he chose to protect.
I understand now... he thought, remembering his father's fateful words. White lightening burst in his mind and sent shockwaves through him, and he could feel the tentacle lodged within him disintegrate as his daiyoukai spirit was finally fully awakened, the wound instantly healed. The great inu that he truly was at heart roared up and surrounded him in a force like a hurricane, and within he could feel something beginning to stir. Something powerful... something that had lain hidden and dormant inside him since his birth - and only now had he proven himself worthy.
Fire burst in his left shoulder and immolated him in its cleansing flames, his spirit fiercely rejoicing at the feel of the energy and power now growing within and without.
No. I will not be defeated. I will not fail!
The massive energies suddenly exploding from his body had his eyes snapping open, and their crimson glow burned hellishly as he snarled his unshakeable determination to protect what was his. Azure and green light ran from his shoulder outward, light pierced by flashes of force more powerful than the strongest lightening, and he allowed that light to swell, directing it to attack the already fraying cocoon of limbs surrounding him. It responded instantly, and he shuddered at the almost erotic feel of the strength that had been hiding within him for so long – strength even he had not known he truly had.
But you knew, didn't you, chichi-ue? That... that was why you did not give me Tessaiga. Because you knew...
That I did not need it.
He could hear the gasps of those on the battlefield as he reappeared in their sight in such a dramatic fashion but he paid no heed to them, and without any warning he used the power pouring outward from his left shoulder to attack Magatsuhi again.
When he was finished with the fool he would no longer have a physical body to hide behind – which would then make him susceptible to Tenseiga once more.
And then it would be over.
What did he do to me?
Conscious and yet not, Kagome could feel everything that was happening to her but she could not feel herself. It was as though she were only a spirit – and yet somehow her spirit was being attacked, torn to pieces and shredded from within by agonizing pain. She moaned feeling the darkness, the wrongness pulse inside her and she pushed at it, trying to make it go away.
It pulsed, then retreated from her energy a little, but it held its ground and left her feeling as though she were on fire. This... this is what that youkai did to me. Her inner eye went looking without her even having to think about it, and when she found the painful darkness covering her heart she immediately recognized it for what it was – the seal that Hitomiko had spoken of, only much stronger now. She could see it blocking her path to her power and it left her feeling as though she were in a fog.
The pain was dying down a little, to her great relief, but once it did her mind became aware of something other. It was the link she shared with Sesshoumaru, and it was pulsing, fading in and out in a way she knew it should not have been. Suddenly terrified, she reached out and grabbed at it, allowing her spirit to infuse it. The moment that she did...
No! she screamed; the void rippled around her with the force of her anguish and she pushed more of herself into the link without even thinking of the possible consequences of what she was doing, only determined not to let him falter.
He couldn't be allowed to leave her! In that moment, all the strife, the teetering emotions, even the possibility of being forced to share him with other females meant nothing, and she screamed his name in a rush of feeling into the bond.
It went still for a long moment, as if all life had been sucked from her...
Suddenly power like she'd never felt before backlashed through the bond, and within seconds everything stopped and Kagome's world went dark again. But this time she had no fear, because she could feel that the power was Sesshoumaru – and he would never hurt her.
He won't leave me...
A hollow sense of relief followed her into soft darkness and she knew no more.
"Where'd he go?" came Inuyasha's shout, and Sesshoumaru glanced from side to side as he probed the area with senses that were so much more powerfully heightened.
After a moment he said, "It fled," and then looked down with overwhelming pride at the beautiful sword in his new left hand.
It pulsed with recognition of its creator's gaze, azure light once more engulfing it for a few seconds before it faded.
The proud moment was interrupted by Totosai's gruff vocalization. "Well, let me see it." Sesshoumaru shot him a narrow-eyed look, but the swordsmith didn't look away and after a moment he reluctantly handed the sword over. The old youkai studied it and nodded approvingly. Looking back up at the daiyoukai he returned it to its owner's hand and then said, "In order to be freed of Tessaiga, you had to stand on your own power as a daiyoukai and not depend on your father's strength." He tilted his head at the sword the daiyoukai was still holding and added, "It is called Bakusaiga."
Sesshoumaru looked down at his new weapon again and repeated, "Bakusaiga," his mind whirling. So much had become apparent in just this last little while, and it would take time for it all to settle into his mind. But first... he sheathed his new sword and looked over at Kagome. She was being held on Kirara's back by a worried Sango, who now had her brother and her best friend to be concerned about.
He probed the link and was himself concerned when he realized that she was much more deeply unconscious than was usual – there was nothing filtering through to him and that was not normal. He took a step towards her with a frown on his face. "She has still not woken," he murmured, the crease between his brows deepening as he tried to probe at her with his senses.
"Draw Tenseiga," Totosai said, and Sesshoumaru and everyone else looked at him in surprise.
"You... you don't mean to say that Kagome is dying, do you?" Sango asked, her voice a little shrill as her fear grew.
"No, but there is something that Sesshoumaru needs to see," the swordsmith replied quietly, waiting for him to do as he'd said.
The daiyoukai cocked a brow and looked at Totosai coolly for a moment, but when he once again didn't flinch or look away he did as he'd been bid and drew the fang from its sheath, holding it confidently. He gazed at the older youkai, obviously waiting for an explanation.
Totosai smiled grimly. "Hold the sword over Kagome-sama, and you will have all the information you need."
"Hn." Sesshoumaru did so, and as Tenseiga flared with blue light his gaze was caught and held by what he was seeing. I already knew, but... he thought almost incredulously as he stared at what the fang's light was revealing about the female he'd claimed so long ago. "So I was correct, then," he nodded as if to himself. "She is pure power and her human body is nothing more than clothing for her."
The swordsmith nodded. "Hai. And I'm sure you can see the dark spot over her heart. That is what Magatsuhi did to her. He has sealed her because he fears her, for if she purifies the shikon no tama he would be destroyed. And because she does not know how to direct her powers with any surety she won't be able to break the seal. The only way to do that now is if someone else kills him."
Inuyasha started to pipe up with assurances that he would do whatever it took when Sesshoumaru, who'd continued studying Kagome through the light of Tenseiga, tensed and looked at him with a dangerous warning growl rumbling through the air and surprising everyone around him.
"No," he said sharply, ice coating every word. "Magatsuhi is my prey. I will destroy him." He sheathed Tenseiga with a snap of his wrist and turned away from his stunned brother. "Will she remain in this state until he is dead?" he asked Totosai, and the youkai shook his head.
"No, she will wake soon, but she will feel weak and like her senses are blocked until the seal is broken."
Sesshoumaru considered his words for a moment and then inclined his head in acceptance. "Very well. Inuyasha, take her back to your village and make sure she is cared for. I will hunt my prey."
His brother ordering him around woke him from his confused stupor. "Oi!" he shouted, shaking his fist at him. "Like I need you to tell me how to take care of the wench!"
The daiyoukai simply ignored him, disappearing into the distance with his followers quite quickly as he followed the traces of Magatsuhi's scent and aura.
You have crossed the wrong person, fool, and for your temerity you will pay greatly. No one harms what is mine.
And Bakusaiga and Tenseiga both pulsed approvingly at his side, the very changed Sesshoumaru's determination to protect and defend what was his making both swords hum.
He had finally broken the chains he'd been held back by for so long and come into his own. It had taken two hundred long years, but he had finally become what he'd always been meant to be...
A true daiyoukai.
A/N: I apologize for the long wait – this last two months has been difficult in the extreme. Things with my move did not go exactly as expected, and because of that I was unable to do any real posting or writing last month, since we had no internet except for our phones, and our data ran down fast.
However, now that this chapter is finished I hope it does not disappoint – as I've stated several times in the last few chapters, we would be leaving canon and moving more into A/U with the ending of the story.
To all my readers that have reviewed my recent posts, I want to thank you for your heartening words – they mean a lot to me, even when I don't have the time to answer them all. And yes, I am working on the next chapter of Splinter'd Realities for those who are reading it and will hopefully have it up this week.