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Theme #24, Death

Title: Die With Dignity (#24 Death)
Rating: PG for slight violence
Character/Pairing: Sesshoumaru + Inutaisho
Words: 565
Summary: “Do it quickly, then move on.”


Sesshoumaru stared at the bird in his hands, feeling the life ebb out of the creature just as its blood seeped between his fingers. It had been a messy kill; feathers were strewn everywhere, which was something he knew his father would comment on. He had only caught birds in his hands before, he hadn’t had to try and kill them.

“The bird is still alive,” Inutaisho said instead, folding his arms across his chest.

“It will be dead soon.” Already, the once frantic heartbeat had turned sluggish.

“A most violent death, in bird standards,” He plucked a feather out of his young son’s hair. “Seeing as this is the first kill you’ve made on your own, let me teach you something.” He looked down at Sesshoumaru, who looked up expectantly at him, his hands still cupped around the dying bird.

“No matter how powerful you become or how long you live, you are not invincible. There will always be someone that will be able to kill you.”

“Someone older and stronger?” Sesshoumaru’s eyes went wide.

Inutaisho smiled faintly at his expression. “Perhaps, but do not discount the ones smaller than yourself either. They have as much of a chance of ending your life as the others do.” He knelt and gently took the bird out of his son’s hands. It looked even more pitiful against his larger claws. “Place yourself in the bird’s position, my boy. Would you like to die in pain, your life prolonged by a messy kill?”

Sesshoumaru swallowed hard. “No.”

“Then let this be your first lesson when dealing with death: allow your opponent to die with dignity. Kill quickly and then move on.” As if reading his son’s mind, he put a hand on Sesshoumaru’s shoulder. “You will have years to learn and practice the many ways available to kill, do not worry.” He positioned his son’s claws over the bird’s weakly beating heart. “Quickly, understand?”

After dispatching the bird, Sesshoumaru placed it near a bush, where scavengers would find it. “But father,” he said, his face confused. “What of the people that kill slowly all the time?”

Inutaisho frowned, knowing which rival demon clans his son was referring to. “It is an effective tactic to use at times, such as when you want to drive a point home to your enemies, but it is something that should not be used frequently.”

“Why?”

Inutaisho stood up and placed a hand on his son’s head. His eyes seemed to be looking inward at something Sesshoumaru couldn’t see, even as his fingers slid through his hair. “Those that kill only to cause fear have no real power. They are nothing but overgrown bullies, afraid that if they do not show their capabilities for violence, others much stronger will overthrow them.”

“Like you?” Sesshoumaru’s father was the strongest demon he knew; he wanted nothing more than to grow up and be like him.

“Like me, yes. Though truthfully, they are not worth my time and it is best for everyone around if we left them alone.”

“I think I understand,” Sesshoumaru said.

Inutaisho smiled. “Good.” He yawned and stretched his arms over his head. “That is enough for one day. Come, it’s nearly time for dinner.” He swept Sesshoumaru up, hoisting the boy on his shoulders as easily as if he had weighed nothing and the two of them headed back home.

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