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Themes # 13, 15, 19

Updating with stuff I've done since April of last year. Instead of a huge blitz of entries, will be lumping short fic together.

At the moment, most of this series is on the back burner. I've kind of lost interest now with inclusion of new canon (which I really haven't paid much attention to, so it really shouldn't count anyway) but these were my entries for the 30_shards community over on LJ.


Title: Rain
Character/Pairing: Inutaisho-Sesshoumaru
Rating: G
Squicks: none
Summary: Small children cooped up during a rainy day become bored quickly.
Notes: This entire series might have a running theme of Inu-Papa teaching Sesshoumaru something or another. Got the idea from Movie 3’s line of “I have nothing more to teach you.”

The rain fell in thick drops outside. Sighing, Sesshoumaru sat on the floor and counted each and every one of them, his chin resting on his fisted hands. It was silent in his father’s study; the only noises heard were the faint swish of his father’s brush and the heavy plop of rain on the open doorway.

“What is troubling you, my boy?” his father asked finally. He too had been counting, except instead of rain, he had been listening to the sounds of his young son’s sighs.

Sesshoumaru sighed again; despite being inwardly pleased with the way his father addressed him. Everybody else called him Sesshoumaru-sama, but not him. “Nothing.” Sesshoumaru managed to level his voice so that the single declaration came out just as bored sounding as he was.

His father smirked, but continued to write. “Then if nothing troubles you, why the sighs?”

Another sigh answered him. “I wanted to play outside today, but it’s raining.” Unfortunately, Sesshoumaru couldn’t keep his voice at the slightly bored tone and the last bit sounded petulant.

His back to Sesshoumaru, Inutaisho let his lips quirk up in a grin. Setting the ink brush aside, he turned to his son. “Ah yes, an important lesson there.”

“It is?” Sesshoumaru looked up with wide eyes at his father, eager to hear him impart some gem of wisdom. Inutaisho smiled, knowing that it was rare for the young boy to show much emotion. He was a quiet one; Inutaisho always figured he got it from his mother’s side of the family. Heaven knew that his own relatives were more expressive.

“Yes. Even though you may be a powerful demon lord, you still have no sway over nature itself. It reminds you that there are some things that are beyond your control.”

Sesshoumaru made a face. “But does it have to be so boring inside in the meantime?”

Inutaisho laughed, amused by his boy‘s curled lip and scrunched up nose. The boy took himself far too seriously sometimes and it was good to see him still act his age instead of as an old man trapped in a child‘s body. “You could always see if Jaken needs any help.”

“He’s hiding somewhere.” Truth be told, Inutaisho knew that Jaken needs any help usually wound up translating into Sesshoumaru is kicking Jaken around the castle, so the toad demon was more than likely trying to escape his young master’s wrath for the day.

“You could continue your studies.”

“I finished for the day.”

Should I suggest cleaning his room? he wondered, then shook his head. He’d only be answered with a horrified face. Besides, the boy’s sleeping quarters were immaculate. “Well then. I see no other solution to your boredom save one.” Getting up from his desk, he walked the scant distance to where his son was crouched. He gave a mischievous grin as his only warning before gently shoving Sesshoumaru outside into the rain. Sesshoumaru made a choked sound at the back of his throat, something caught between a bark and an ‘ack’ noise. He was instantly soaked through, his hair plastered to his scalp.

“What did you do that for?” Sesshoumaru asked angrily, pushing his wet bangs out of his eyes. He would have been enraged if his father had shut the shoji screen closed behind him, but instead his anger died down and confusion took its place when Inutaisho stepped outside with him.

“You wanted to play, yes?” He crossed his arms over his chest and flicked his head slightly, sending a spray of rainwater towards his son.

“Yes,” Sesshoumaru said hesitantly, tilting his head to see if he could find any hidden meaning to his father’s words. After a few moments of not speaking, the both of them getting wet, Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. Inutaisho smirked again, thinking that when he was grown the look might be intimidating, but for now he just looked like a drowned puppy squinting through his hair.

Inutaisho bent and picked his son up, slinging him up to eye level easily. He used a finger to pull the hair out of Sesshoumaru’s eyes and tucked it behind his ear. “There is another lesson to be learned here, my boy. Even if some things are beyond your control does not mean that you can’t still try to do whatever it is that you want.” He set Sesshoumaru down and jogged a little ways ahead, jerking his head to tell him to follow him.

Mud squished between Sesshoumaru’s bare toes and he shook his body almost violently to free his arms from his now sodden kimono. All the movement did was spray more water all over the place and get his hair back into his eyes. Jaken was going to get mad when he saw the state of his masters when they finally came back inside, especially if any mud stained the tatami mats indoors. An evil grin spread over Sesshoumaru’s face as he dug his toes deeper into the earth. Then he ran after his father, who was already headed towards the woods surrounding their home, his deep laughter trailing behind him.

***


Title: Fear
Character/Pairing: Inutaisho + Sesshoumaru
Rating: G
Squicks: none
Summary: Fear does not make one weak, unless one lets it.


“You were brave back there,” Inutaisho said, picking pieces of demon flesh out from under his claws.

“I failed to kill it,” Sesshoumaru said blankly, staring at the corpse at their feet. He and his father were coming home from a regular border patrol when they came across a demon from the South that had strayed too far into their territory. That particular demon had specialized in using tactics that would frighten its enemies away, seeing that it really didn‘t have much of an arsenal of physical weapons besides short, blunt claws. Now that it lay there lifeless, it seemed preposterous that Sesshoumaru had anything to fear from it in the first place. Then again, that was the nature of such beings. Things in shadow never seemed as fearsome when brought out into daylight.

Inutaisho absently licked the back of his hand before looking his son in the eye. “Yet you did not back down. That is admirable.”

Sesshoumaru shook his head. “A demon lord backs away from nothing.” Inutaisho frowned. He didn’t like the cold tone of voice that his son was adopting more and more as he grew older, nor the way he shut himself off emotionally from others. True, he had never been an overly expressive boy, but at times it felt as if he did not know his son any more.

“A demon lord backs away from nothing as long as he knows there is clear way to victory,” Inutaisho corrected. “Merely running blindly into a battle waving a weapon about because you are arrogant enough to think you will always come out the victor is foolhardy. One must know their enemy and how to defeat them with all things thought out.”

“And did you know this enemy, Father?”

“Not the physical being, no. Yet I know well the weapon that it possessed. Fear is with us all.”

Sesshoumaru looked up sharply at his father. “You do not fear anything. I’ve seen you, I would have sensed it otherwise.”

His father gave him a small smile that looked more weary than jovial. “No one is fearless. To be without fear would truly be foolish. You hesitated when you had the full opportunity to deal the death blow. Why?”

Sesshoumaru turned his head away and stared at the ground. “It became you.” He looked up, his eyes cold and his expression unreadable. “What made you kill it instead? Why were you not afraid?”

Inutaisho took a step towards his son. “Oh, but I was,” he said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “It knew my greatest fear and used it.”

“What do you fear, Father?”

He paused, the tips of his fingers brushing the ends of his son‘s hair out of habit. Sesshoumaru was on the cusp of growing up. He wasn‘t quite yet an adult, nor could he be considered a child any longer. It was an awkward phase, not for Sesshoumaru, but for Inutaisho. He no longer knew how exactly to speak with his son. “It is not my habit to abandon those I choose to protect. I was not there when your mother died, and that has haunted me all these years. When you were younger, I feared that you would be attacked while I was away securing my borders, so I stayed behind and had others do the job for me. Now that you are older, I fear dying before you are ready to take my place and leaving you with more trouble than I am worth.”

Sesshoumaru raised his chin. “I am older now.”

Inutaisho raised an eyebrow. “Oh? You are ready to challenge me, to take over my lands and duties? Tell me, my boy, if you are so ready, then why did you hesitate when you were presented the chance to kill my form?”

Sesshoumaru gritted his teeth. “Fear is a weakness. I am not weak.”

Inutaisho‘s eyes softened. “No, you are not. Fear is only a weakness if you allow it to be. You must work to go beyond that which frightens you, to cope with it. Only when you have learned to live with your fears do you seem fearless to others. That in itself is an important lesson.”

Sesshoumaru looked slightly puzzled. “Then if you seem fearless, wouldn’t your opponent think you foolish for being so?”

“Perhaps. Then again, if they thought you foolish they might tend to underestimate you in a fight, physical or otherwise. It would be in your advantage to keep them guessing.”

“As part of strategically defeating them?”

“Indeed. Do you understand?”

Sesshoumaru tilted his head to the side. “I think so.”

Inutaisho grinned. “Good. We only have a few more miles before heading home. Let’s hurry back, I’m starving.”

Sesshoumaru stared at his father’s retreating back and let the newly gained information sink in. Then he tucked a stray lock of hair behind his ear, knelt, and gave the dead demon a full blast of acidic poison. He crinkled his nose at the smell of melting flesh, and then followed his father back home.

***


Title: #19 Jealousy
Characters: Inutaisho + Sesshoumaru, with an outside-looking-in Inuyasha
Rating: G
Squicks: None



Inuyasha rested his chin on his upraised knees as he looked at the village from his perch on a tree limb. Downtime was boring without any shard rumors to chase. Not one to sit idle, Kagome had gone home through the well to gather more supplies and attend school for a few days. The loud sound of feminine giggles followed by a resounding slap off in the distance said that Miroku was up to his usual antics and Sango had caught him red-handed. Shippo had cooped himself in Kaede’s hut all day long, entertaining her with tales of their adventures. In all, it was a normal day. Normal and boring, Inuyasha thought, looking around for something to keep his attention.

His eyes followed a young boy and his father, both of them taking advantage of the waning afternoon sunlight to put down their work tools and play. The boy was running circles around the man, who was pretending that he couldn’t catch him only to reach out at the last minute, making his son shriek with laughter. Inuyasha let a small smile grace his lips at the joyous sound. He wondered, if his father had lived, would they have acted the same way?

When he was younger, he had constant daydreams that one day the great dog demon that his mother always spoke so fondly of would come and take them both away to live happily ever after. They would live away from the scornful eyes and whispered insults, safe and content for the rest of their lives. Then he would remember that his father was dead and that the only living family from that side was a half-brother that either didn’t know about his existence or didn’t want anything to do with him. It put a major dampener on his childhood dreams of ever having a stable, happy family, to say the least.

Inuyasha watched as the father reached out and embraced his son, twirling the little boy around in a circle. If he unfocused his eyes, Inuyasha could pretend that the light reflecting off the boy’s hair turned it completely white. Yet try as he could, he couldn’t imagine a small pair of triangular ears on top of the boy’s head. Instead, he saw twin stripes on the boy’s cheekbones and a small crescent moon peeking out from under his bangs. That set him back. Never in his life could he have imagined Sesshoumaru as anything other than what he was now - an aloof demon that only wanted their father’s heirloom sword. It made him think; Sesshoumaru had been able to grow up with their father, had been the one out the two of them that actually knew what he looked like, what he sounded like. Inuyasha only had half-remembered moments taken from a woman that had been deeply in love. As nice as those memories were, the actual character of the great Inutaisho was glossed over by fanciful notions of true love and devotion. Even Myoga’s recollections of his old man weren’t much, seeing that they had elevated Inutaisho onto a hero-worshipping pedestal as high if not higher than Inuyasha’s mother’s memories.

Sesshoumaru knew better. He had been able to see what angered their father, what frightened him, what made him laugh. He had seen exactly who their father was firsthand, not through other people’s recollections and hazy memories. He was lucky enough to have been able to speak to him, to have the chance to embrace him, to fight and argue with him, to be able to learn everything that a father had to teach his son.

Inuyasha watched silently as the man set his son down on the ground, the father's large hand tousling the boy’s unruly hair. Without knowing it, Inuyasha's own hand went to the crown of his head, wondering what it would have felt like to have the heavy weight of someone’s fingers running through his hair, how it would have felt to have a hand clasp his shoulder in a fatherly manner. He glanced at the sword hanging from his side and snorted. Yes, he may have in his possession the one item that Sesshoumaru wanted of their father’s, but Sesshoumaru had every other thing that Inuyasha could have ever wanted yet could never obtain.

Knowing that wallowing in old jealousies and picking at long-worn emotional scars was a pointless waste of time, Inuyasha jumped down from his perch and strode in the direction of the Bone-Eater’s Well. Maybe going to Kagome’s time and dragging her back would prove more entertaining than waiting around doing nothing. If anything, it would be a break from the monotonous afternoon, even if he did get sat for his effort.

***



When Sesshoumaru saw the sword dangling from Bokusenou’s limbs as if it were an overripe fruit ready to be picked, he knew that his father was dead. A knot formed in his throat; he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything except blankly stare as the scabbard swung gently in the breeze, each movement scraping the bark ever so lightly. It wasn’t as if the news should have surprised him - he had witnessed his father’s condition the last time he had seen him. The scent of death had all but clung to Inutaisho as a lover might; clogging Sesshoumaru’s nostrils and making him gag. Slowly, as if his arms were submerged underwater, he reached for the sword, delicately taking it off the tree demon’s face when all he actually wanted to do was rip it off its moorings, shred the scabbard, and melt the blade. To have in his hands the sword that could bring the dead back to life…several thoughts quickly flitted through his brain. Perhaps if he…there may still be time…where is his body? Hope made his chest tighten. Maybe his father had left him this sword because it truly was not his time to die, that he was meant to be brought back into the realm of the living. Inutaisho was always dropping hints and leaving complex word puzzles for those around him to figure out instead of just saying what he meant to say in the first place.

Then Sesshoumaru crushed whatever hope flared in his heart, constricting his chest even more. It was too late to do anything but wave the blade around his father’s body. Those that carried the soul to the afterlife had already been and gone. The hand not holding Tenseiga curled into a fist and he felt the sharp prickle of claws cutting into the flesh of his palm. He had known that the last time he spoke with his father would be the last time he would ever speak to him. Yet that knowledge still didn’t allow him to say the things he didn’t exactly know how to put into words. He had longed to tell him not to go, to rest and regain his strength, to give his body time to heal. Selfish words had burned at the back of his throat like acid; he had suddenly wished that he was younger, that throwing himself at his father’s feet and holding onto his hakama like he used to would have kept him from going to his death. That perhaps Inutaisho would have ruffled his hair and scooped him up in his arms and said that if it displeased him so, he wouldn’t leave. Hell, he wished that he had offered to go in his father’s stead to fetch his human love and their bastard child himself if it had meant that his father would have lived any longer.

But it was far too late to think about what could have been. Besides, knowing his father, he wouldn’t have allowed Sesshoumaru to step foot near Izayoi or their brat, no matter how badly injured he had been. Father and son had been over the subject many times, nearly all conversations ending with either emotional or physical blows to both parties. Inutaisho knew how Sesshoumaru felt about Izayoi, how he disliked her for being the woman that took his mother’s place in Inutaisho’s heart. What he hadn’t known was that Sesshoumaru had despised his father’s unborn son even more, secretly fearing that just as his mother had been replaced, he too would be cast aside.

But damn, how he missed him. It was strange; Inutaisho had always been there, larger than life. Now that he held his father’s sword in his hand and knew the consequences such actions brought about, it felt as if someone had cut away a piece of him that he hadn’t known existed until he felt its absence. He felt hollow, realizing that he was suddenly alone for the first time in his life. There would be no more conversations, no more lessons, no more Inutaisho. That fact hit him harder than he expected it to, and he took an involuntary step backwards to stay balanced.

“What will you do now?” He turned his head up sharply and stared at Bokusenou. He had forgotten that he wasn’t alone. Schooling his face into the mask of indifference he had perfected many years ago, he hoped his voice didn’t reflect the turmoil he was feeling inside himself.

“My father once taught me an important lesson,” he said slowly, trying to gather his thoughts into anything besides dead, alone, dead, oh Father…

“And what would that be?”

Sesshoumaru licked his lips, vaguely surprised to find them bone dry. “No matter how much you dislike a gift, be it the object itself or the reason it was given, you always accept it. You never know when you may actually have to use it.” He numbly fastened the sword to his side, not wanting to acknowledge the way it somehow felt right, as if it were meant to be there in the first place. “Obviously whomever placed it here mistook Father’s wish for me to have Tetsuaiga instead.”

Bokusenou looked thoughtful. “Perhaps whomever placed it here was following Inutaisho’s wishes down to the letter.” He knew that Toto-sai had explicit instructions to place the sword that could not kill within Inutaisho’s eldest son’s hands. No other sword was to belong to him, and that was final. He merely elected not to share his information with the new Western Lord, feeling as if it would be better for Sesshoumaru to come to terms with that on his own.

Sesshoumaru would have none of it though. “I will own that sword,” he said stubbornly, turning and making motions that the conversation was over.

“My boy…” Sorrow clung heavy around the younger demon’s shoulders, even though he tried his best to hide it. Bokusenou wanted nothing more than to comfort him, to see the small boy that used to hang from his limbs whenever his father visited.

Yet Bokusenou was not prepared for the swift way Sesshoumaru spun around, or the violent glare that left his amber eyes blood red. “No one has permission to call me that,” he hissed, teeth bared. “The only one that did is gone.” As soon as the sudden display of anger started, it was over, face once again melting into indifference. “I am finished here.”

“Then I wish you luck, my Lord,” he said, weathered tree limbs moving as if he were sketching Sesshoumaru a bow. Sesshoumaru said nothing, he merely turned on his heel and walked away with his back straight and shoulders thrown back. Bokusenou decided not to say a word about the salty tang of tears the wind carried in his direction as the young demon lord departed.

***
Quick note: I wanted to show that these two had a good father-son relationship in each of the pieces that I've been working on. Hopefully this isn't too much out of character on Sesshoumaru's behalf.

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