A/N: Okay, it's official: I am in love with baka deshi. *clings, nuzzles* She can write insanely funny, downright terrifying, and incredibly depressing stuff and also leaves really, really good reviews.

Sesshoumaru's POV. More of that "plot" stuff. Still shameless yaoi, of course. ^_~ And if ya'll want me to write faster, I do accept bribes. ^_~ A few people have told me that they've drawn art based off of this story, but I have yet to see any of it. T-T *in mourning*

This is a really short chapter. -_-;; I'm sorry, but I needed to cut it off sooner than I'd planned . . . I was struck down by a plotbunny. So yay for evil subplots.



"Smoke In Your Eyes"



"Here's to me, and here's to you,

And here's to love and laughter-

I'll be true as long as you,

And not one moment after."

~ Irish toast



It takes me more time than I would care to admit to find my way back towards my brother's mate and the kitsune (gods, I hope they've set up camp already), even though I can see the trail I left on my way here. I never realized before, but it seems that I've always relied rather heavily on scent for tracking. I'm not even going to think about how pathetically obvious my trail was that I could still find it anyway.

Miroku suddenly appears next to me, taking my hand, and I flinch in shock before I can stop myself. A week ago, he wouldn't have been able to get within a hundred yards of me without my knowledge. Today, he's invaded my three feet of personal space and I hadn't even noticed until he touched me.

Let's just pretend that I let him.

"You get used to him, don't worry," Miroku tells me with a quick, but blessedly genuine, smile.

"Inu-Yasha?" I snap. Even that smile can't lighten my mood so easily. "Oh, yes, I'm sure I'll get used to his arrogant, overbearing, selfish, heartless, rude, demeaning, irritating, attention-hogging-"

"You don't have to list his flaws; I know him very well," Miroku says dryly, lightly rubbing the back of my hand with his thumb. I automatically return the gesture with a frustrated sigh.

"He just drives me absolutely INSANE," I reply through gritted teeth, tightening my grip on the monk.

"You sound like Kagome-sama," he says with a laugh, threading the fingers of his free hand into my hair and bringing a lock of it to his lips as we slow to a stop.

"You make no sense," I mutter, suddenly unable to meet his eyes.

"Why not?" He looks surprised for a moment, but it passes quickly and he changes the subject, releasing my hair with a slightly wistful look. "We should braid your hair, I think. Or at least pull it back somehow."

"What for?" I ask suspiciously.

"So it won't get this tangled again, of course!" Miroku replies with a chuckle, knotting his hands deeply in it. He's probably causing more tangles than he's unraveling at this point, but I'm just too drained to hurt him for it.

"Fine," I say wearily, closing my eyes and sighing. "I don't care." My eyes feel strange. Slightly sore and hot: as if they're about to fall out of my head- along with the rest of my fragile grip on reality.

I want my Rin. I want my Jaken.

And I want to kill that bastard Jii for reducing me to this shivering, whining brat that I am. I don't want to be like this! I'm not supposed to be like this!

"Please don't worry," Miroku murmurs, and I open my eyes again to see him looking at me with concern, removing his hands from my hair to cup my face. "I know you're upset, but whatever's wrong, I'll help you fix it."

"And if you can't?" I ask flatly. "What will you do then?"

"Nothing. I won't need to," he promises. "We'll fix it."

Oh gods, but I wish he weren't lying.

"You can't," I say. "Don't bother."

"If you'd tell me-"

"No," I snap, yanking free of him. "You can't. So don't go acting like some fucking hero, okay? I don't need your false sympathy, monk."

"I'm trying to help you, Shou-sama," Miroku says coldly. "You can't pretend you don't need it."

"There is nothing that you can DO!" I yell. "If I am unable to deal with it, what could someone like YOU do?!"

He is angry now- I can smell it, just barely. Such a faint scent to a human nose . . . I don't think I'd have been able to recognize it at all if I didn't know it would be there. I might not have even noticed it, to be honest.

But he is angry. And I am angry, and I can smell him and I want to kill him so badly that I could scream, but there's nothing that I can do in this body except get myself hurt.

So I turn away from him, vaguely aware of another scent on the air- a smoky, woody one. There is a fire somewhere nearby.

"Do you smell that?" I ask quietly. I'm too tired to fight right now.

"The smoke? Yes," he replies with a small nod. He looks upset with himself.

I don't want to trust him. He's human. I hate humans. They're worthless wastes of life. Cowardly and fragile and unappreciative- and they think that they're the greatest thing on the face of the earth, when the lowliest youkai makes them run screaming.

This is not only their world, yet they seem to think they have the right to rule it, even when they are so pathetically weak and selfish. And they dare to say that all youkai are so evil as they!

Self-righteous creatures. I hate them. I am not calling myself a saint, but then again, at least I never pretended to be one.

There's no way that I can trust them.

I sigh and step forward again, away from him, from here, from everything he's reminding me of, making me think of . . .

I get less than five meters before walking right off an overhang and landing on a youkai.



* tbc . . . *



. : i would rather have you and all your wicked thorns than a million of the reddest roses . . . : .