Summary: Everyone has a bad day, even taciturn demon lords. Together with Rin and Jaken, Sesshoumaru discovers how bad a seemingly innocuous day can really get.
Categories: Humor Characters: Jaken, Rin, Sesshoumaru
Chapters: 3 Completed: No
Word count: 8549 Read: 7368
Published: 08 Nov 2008 Updated: 08 Dec 2008
1. The Farmer by ladybattousai
2. The Hanyou by ladybattousai
3. The Monk by ladybattousai
The Farmer by ladybattousai
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi and other associated companies.
The soft hues of the early morning sunlight grew across the shadowed landscape, revealing gentle hills and deep forests with its illuminating touch. Relieved of its nightly bonds, an open field along the edge of a thick wood relished the radiance with the myriad of greens and silvers that colored its dew-laden grass. The flawless sea of jade seemed to flood the soil with its rippled blades, breaking on the earthen shore of a ring of well-tended farmlands that entertained a quaint village at its center. Stark and pale, the ribbon of a dirt road cut across the countryside as well, slipping between the worked fields until it met the tattered town and then trailed off across the distant hillsides in search of a place more worthy to end.
A lone farm sat further from the village than the others. Smaller in comparison, its flourishing fields of vegetables and herbs left it not wanting for more. Crowned with a thatched roof, an old cottage sat amid the rows of recently matured radishes and cabbages. Made of ancient and splintered timbers, it shortly interrupted the joyous songs of twittering birds as the gray wood of its weathered door scraped open along the warped groove of its track. A thin, sun-darkened man appeared in the doorway, breathing in deep the cool and crisp morning air. He sighed contentedly with a satisfied grin growing on his lips. There was a fortuitous feel to the lightening dawn that he could not quite name, but he knew that somehow it meant that it would be a good day.
A hoe in one hand and a scythe in the other; the farmer gingerly strolled out onto his land, minding the leafy plants at his sandaled feet with care. His watchful eyes scanned the mounded earth, searching for the occasional, odd sprout that he had not sown. When such was found, he delivered a deft strike from the short, metal blade of his hoe, ensuring the daring weed’s intrusion was brief. And so the man worked until he met the border of grass that edged his field.
Wiping the thin film of sweat from his forehead with a bit of soiled cloth, he looked on the open pasture before him and imagined it cultivated with his crops of swollen vegetables. He imagined himself bent over to pluck them from their twisting stems and then he imagined his doting wife carrying the bushels of their harvest to market with their rosy-cheeked son her back. And finally, he sighed.
Right now in his time-worn home, there was no devoted wife cooking his breakfast while he tended his plants. There was no boy toddling about with a stick in hand to honor the hard labor of his father by mimicking the fashion of his work. The farmer was as lonely as the modest hovel he lived in. Unwed women were scarce in the isolated town nearby and no established family there was interested in marrying off such a rare commodity to a nameless man with such little land.
With that thought, he let the hoe fall from his hand and it found the bare dirt with a soft thump. Then he gripped the scythe firmly and swung it low into the wild tangle of tall grass. Severed, the cut grass fell into a limp pile and he moved a step to continue on with another sweep of the sharpened metal. The green flesh of the fallen dyeing his feet and pants as he moved, the man slowly expanded his farm while he shrunk the untamed land beyond it. Distracted by the steady rhythm of his work, he nearly missed the small entourage breaking through the last of the dark forest and carrying with them, his hope for the future.
The bold and unusual shades of yellow and orange were what unexpectedly caught his eye, startling him from his work. He set the head of the scythe down on the loose soil and leaned on the end of the handle while he peered over the pasture and at his distraction. Meeting his view was a young girl with long, feathered, brown hair and clothed in the warm colors he had noticed. Running about giddily through the grass, her pleasant cheers at the newly-found, open sky brought a smile to the farmer’s face where a moment earlier a steady frown had found comfort.
The carefree girl was not alone in her discovery of the field as a strangely crafted staff with two carved heads bobbed out after her. Doggedly chasing her through the thickly grown grass, it squawked and sputtered as it went. The words it uttered were too muffled for the man to catch, but the condescending and frustrated tone was quite clear. Finally it paused in its quest of remonstration, exhausted from the pursuit of the tireless quarry and now leaned heavily to the side as it rested.
Taboos like magic and the supernatural had always intrigued the farmer and when others would have fled or hidden, he watched on with uninhibited fascination. It was in keeping with his nature though. When he was younger, he had aspired to become a monk or a taijiya for the simple opportunity to travel and embrace the more mystical elements of the world that captivated him so. A twinge of regret needled his chest when he absently thought on his unfulfilled childhood dream. Groomed to inherit the land, his parents died leaving no other heirs. Thus his fate was anchored to the meager farm and its tending while his pining heart settled for the likely satisfaction that a wife and family would bring.
The diversion of his lament was short-lived as a white, black and red figure emerged from the wood next. Statuesque and elegant, it seemed to glide as it strolled into the waist-high grass. The young girl veered away from her jubilant frolicking at its arrival, stopping abruptly before the tall being haloed in long, silver hair. Then a trail of eager enthusiasm flowed from her as she chattered on about nothing in particular, her excited voice revealing no trepidation regarding the unusual person she entertained. The golden-eyed figure looked on patiently, neither disinterested nor enraptured by what was told. At last and with a sweet laugh, she finished and bounded away to discover the waiting secrets of the unexplored field.
The scythe fell to the ground with a dull clatter as the farmer stood tall. Before him was what he secretly hoped for, the promise of a dutiful wife and the fulfillment only a family could provide. True, he knew that others would chastise him for his choice, but the man swiftly realized in that moment that he could care less. A beautiful bride had been delivered to him. There was no doubt now. It was indeed a fortuitous morning and he would not allow the gift the gods had felt so fit to reward him with go to waste.
Sesshoumaru waded through the wet grass, its slivered leaves dampening the thick silk of his pants as he stepped. Paying no mind to the soaking dew, his amber eyes lingered watchfully on the bouncing, brunette head of his ward playing happily in the unfamiliar field they had emerged in. It was unlike him to appear in places where he did not expect to be. And while the tai youkai would deny ever accomplishing anything as degrading as losing his direction, he would begrudgingly admit that there were occasions when he unintentionally discovered someplace new.
There was an element of ill-omen that hung in the innocuous air around him, furrowing his normally unwrinkled brow with its foreboding feeling. In his thoughts, he debated the odd sensation. An unexpected detour from his usual course across his lands did not foretell a ruinous day and despite that, how would such a prediction be sensible to begin with? Then with the casual wave of his clawed hand, he dismissed the apprehension, doubting the uncharacteristically superstitious thoughts that meandered through his practical mind. However, they stubbornly remained despite his efforts if only to furrow his brow more. Now further perplexed by the persistent feeling that sensibility would not ease, it was a mottled gray fluttering out of the corner of the demon’s eye that caught his attention next, effectively dispelling his contemplations into the chilled air.
“Jaken,” he called quietly to the still skewed staff a few steps away. The stick perked up hastily at the sound of its name, spinning to face the youkai lord and awaited the command he likely held. “Fetch Rin.”
“Ye-Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama,” it answered with a sharp and rough voice before turning to pursue its elusive charge climbing over the speckled, granite boulders that appeared like islands amid the sea of green. Zigzagging through the grass as it yelled, the oblong heads swayed awkwardly from side to side as the staff traveled toward the oblivious girl. “Rin! Rin!!”
“Hn,” the tai youkai snorted at the typically ridiculous scene and then shifted his interest to the intruding figure that cautiously approached from the nearby, human farm that lay across the pasture. Warily, his vision followed the erratic movements of the man who seemed to be in search of something hidden among the thick grasses and shrubs that spotted the land.
Finding what he sought, the human disappeared to bend down in the field. The inu youkai relaxed a moment at the sight, harboring the doubtful belief that the man before him was simply unaware of the youkai in his midst and would return to his farm once he recovered what he was looking for.
The farmer swiftly proved that he was not ignorant of who he meant to encounter as he stood up and deliberately stepped towards the demon lord once more. Surer of his intent, Sesshoumaru stiffened to address the foolish man who drew nearer with every unbidden stride. Then the human suddenly weaved away, stooping into the field as he had done before. Rising once again, the man grinned contentedly at his find and continued to scan the area while he absently resumed his walk towards his uncertain fate.
The tai youkai remained motionless as the farmer dipped down repeatedly while he traveled, the reason behind his actions growing more and more unclear with every passing crouch. Puzzlement knitting one of his thin eyebrows, the demon pondered the strange man. His obvious approach did not lend itself to stealth and with no weapons that he could spy; there was little suggestion of aggression. The random kneeling appeared similar to foraging, but the farmer had entered the field without an article to carry his finds. Also, there was a slight scent of anxiety permeating the air, but that did not mean that the human intended violence. After all, all humans were anxious in his presence and they were wise to be. All of them, except for Rin. The youkai lord snorted and silently waited for his baffling guest to reveal his purpose, if there was one.
“Sesshoumaru-sama!” Rin called out cheerfully to the lord with the determined staff herding her while it grumbled about her unfailing obstinacy under its breath. “Who’s that Sesshoumaru-sama?”
“We will see,” he replied coolly and then sent a glance that would brook no argument, “and you shall mind my commands without pause while he is here.”
“I will!” she agreed exuberantly.
Through the final waves of grass, the farmer closed in on the mismatched group and bowed deeply. As he rose, he caught each one’s expression as his sight passed over their faces. There were the wooden looks of the dual-headed staff, the impassive air of the flawless youkai and the beaming grin of the young girl. Taming his own smile, the man returned his attention to the demon’s face and gasped a laugh in his nervousness.
“I have a proposition for you,” he announced shakily, his nerves getting the better of his voice. “I know you probably have heard this dozens of times by now, but I hope you will heed what I have to say.”
Gliding through the grass, the staff wheeled between them and confronted the anxious man. The farmer blinked his confusion as the serene and unmoving expression of the carved, old man on its tip began to contrarily berate him on his manners. “Human, you are far too lowly to demand anything from anyone. You will tell me your request and I will decide whether or not it is worthy to relay.”
“If that’s what is necessary, great and honorable staff.”
“I-I’m sorry,” he quickly apologized, “My name is Jin. May I know yours before we begin negotiations?”
“I am Jaken. Now tell us and by that I mean myself, about your intentions here.”
“Well, I am, but a poor farmer on the edge of the outlying town beyond. I have a modest bit of land of which I am expanding and the crops that I tend flourish well at my hand.”
“And you wish for us to remove your competitors so that you may take their lands?” Jaken replied sagely.
“No, no,” the man denied adamantly, shaking his head at the thought. “I would never want to harm my fellow villagers. Well, sometimes I’d like to do something to their animals when they let them wander into my fields…”
“Then you wish for us to purge them of their livestock?”
“No, I just want to tell you of my status, so that you will accept my offer.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Jaken-sama, please let him explain,” Rin chimed in, eliciting a grumbling fluster from beneath the grass and at the base of the staff.
“He should just tell us what he wants.”
“Jaken-sama,” she reprimanded again and added the shaking of her little, forefinger. With his begrudging silence, she gave the man a reassuring grin and a nod. “Go ahead, Farmer-san.”
“Well, I-I want to propose a marriage.”
“Marriage?!” the staff squawked loudly in disbelief, his resentful quiet ending with the sound of the unexpected word.
“If I work hard, I can provide all the amenities that you are used to. You can have no doubt of that and whatever modest dowry you can afford will be fine.”
“I know what you are going to say, but it’s just that I’ve never met such a beautiful young lady in all my life. It’s true that we may not be accepted by others for the joining, but you can be assured that I will never allow them to harm my bride or our future children.”
“Hmm,” Jaken considered aloud. “No, she is still too young for such a pressing betrothal. Perhaps it will be acceptable in a few years when she has matured a bit.”
“You are referring to Rin, are you not?”
“Who’s Rin? Is that her name?”
“I’m Rin!” the young girl proclaimed enthusiastically.
“No, no,” the man insisted with a chuckle, reaching into his tattered sleeve and retrieving a bouquet of wild flowers he had gathered on his way to meet them. Stepping past the now thoroughly confused staff, he held the arrangement out to the youkai before him, his dark eyes never leaving the flawlessly stunning face they found there. Sesshoumaru still mystified by the farmer’s intentions and the strangeness of the entire encounter, accepted the benign bouquet for lack of a more apparent option. No one had ever given him flowers before, except for the occasional daisy Rin felt the need to leave in his hair. “My fair lady,” he went on, his sight never wavering. “I would be honored to accept you as my wife.”
“Wha-what?!!” Jaken sputtered, almost wordless from the shock.
“You are as lovely as a goddess and more beautiful than any hime I have ever seen,” he continued, believing the incredulity of the staff as a guide for more convincing on his part. “But beyond that, I have also seen from afar how mindful you are of your daughter and I know that you will be a devoted woman who will dutifully raise my children and to have that is all that I hope for. If that does not persuade you, know that I will accept your Rin as one of my own and eventually with my determination, the village itself will accept you as well, youkai or not.”
“You idiot human,” Jaken yelled, finding his voice among the rubble of the revelation. “That is Sesshoumaru-sama. He is a man!”
“Se-Sesshoumaru-sama?” the farmer fumbled through his words as a hot wave of panic drained the color from his face. “A-A man?”
“Yes, you moron. You spent so much time looking at his face that you never looked below his chin.”
With reluctance and fear, the man let his eyes fall. If the heavy armor and swords at his hip did not convince him, the youkai lord’s lack of ideal anatomy did. “I’m sorry,” he apologized hastily with a low bow as he hurriedly stepped back a few paces. “My eyesight has been troubling me of late. I should visit with the local miko and have her examine them. Regardless, I really must go now. My fields won’t cultivate themselves. It truly has been an honor meeting all of you. Have a good day.”
A whimper escaping his lips, the farmer sprinted away through the field, disappearing from sight occasionally as he tripped in his haplessly invited fright. Each time, he gathered himself up and eventually all that remained of his presence was the dark trail of trampled grass he had left behind.
Sesshoumaru stood motionless, staring at the bundle of flowers in his hand. The expected contemplation of rending the pitiful human for his transgression had for whatever reason remained absent from his mind. He had punished many for less of an insult, but the novelty of this indiscretion had stayed his hand out of sheer un-believability. Nevertheless, to chase the ignorant human now seemed a pointless effort, because it would also mean that he believed the foolish mistake had an element of truth. This Sesshoumaru was not effeminate.
“Sesshoumaru-sama,” the sweet voice of his ward beckoned.
“Can I have those, please?” she asked, pointing to the bouquet he still held in his hand.
“Hn,” he snorted and with a shrug, he offered the little girl the flowers she desired. A squeal of glee erupted from her as she took them and away she skipped with them in hand.
“Wait. Did he think I was just a staff?!” Jaken blurted out from deep within the concealing grass.
Before he could offer a condescending reply, a familiar and equally offensive scent reached Sesshoumaru’s nose on the suddenly shifting breeze. A scowl now gracing his face, the tai youkai knew that the person who exuded this disgusting odor was not only near, but had been so for sometime. Unfortunately for him, the change in the winds had come too late.
“I didn’t know I had a sister,” the rough, derisive voice of the hanyou remarked with mock realization. “Lady Sesshoumaru has a nice ring to it, don’cha think?”
He knew it now. It would indeed be a bad day.
A/N: I needed a break from 7FFT and thought something light and funny would be in order. This one has been rattling around in the back of my mind for sometime, so I hope you all enjoy.
The Hanyou by ladybattousai
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi and other associated companies.
Chapter Two: The Hanyou
Unmistakable and sharply sardonic, the tireless laugh of the hanyou split the quiet, morning air like a well-ground axe. Eyes dulling in his dispassion, Sesshoumaru remained unmoved by the uninhibited snickers that grew effortlessly into chortles and then further into gut-twisting guffaws. Each evolution of mocking enjoyment cemented his feet firmer in their place. The tai youkai knew the deplorable scene that played out at his back without having to lay his sight upon it and while he did not fear it, he felt no urgency to acknowledge it. With patience and collectedness as fortes, the youkai lord only needed to pause a moment before striking an appropriately pointed retort to restore his dignity. After all, with wit as its blade and timing as the technique, verbal reprisals were combative styles in it of themselves. One only had to have the patience to wait for the inevitable opportunity.
Pivoting slightly to unperturbedly eye his half-brother, Sesshoumaru observed Inuyasha with indiscernible disdain. His laughs waning to a beaming, fanged grin, the now thoroughly, if not overly amused hanyou stood casually in the tall grass with a clawed hand cradled against the red, fire-rat fur of his aching stomach. Like a curving blade of unfinished ivory, the Tetsusaiga sat brashly on his shoulder, its broad fang hanging over his thick and matted mane of white hair.
“Why didn’t you accept his proposal?” he managed to ask between wheezing breaths if only to fan his forever enduring elation and the unfortunate, dull pain in his side that it wrought. “He was even gonna take you without a dowry.”
“H-How dare you ask that of Sesshoumaru-sama,” Jaken stuttered in flustered outrage on behalf of his impassive and still wordless master. The wooden staff he persistently held glided through the slips of concealing grass to confront the insolent source of the offense. “Retract your statement at once, half-breed!”
“Feh,” the hanyou replied flippantly into the air, closing his eyes in his dismissal of the tiny youkai’s insult before adding his own. “I don’t take orders from sticks.”
“I’m not a stick!” he insisted adamantly and with a soft clap, Jaken touched the weapon’s tip to the firm soil. Jaw dropping open at the command, the carved head of the old man that crowned it spewed a wave of churning fire at the unimpressed half-demon. The ill-intended flame however missed its wiser mark as Inuyasha deftly stepped away from its path and dipped to the side to grip the handle from a far more benign angle.
“What do we have here?” he announced in his inflated astonishment, lifting the staff high into the air to spy the sputtering, toad-like demon that still clung below in his tenacity. With the anchor of soil gone, the formerly threatening blaze squelched into a gasp of harmless embers and the old man became serene yet again. “You seem like more than a stick. Maybe, I’m more than a half-breed, huh? You should be careful of what you call people.”
“You insulted Sesshoumaru-sama!” Jaken blurted out his explanation while he dangled, desperately jerking the staff from time to time in a hopeless attempt to wrangle it away from the self-assured hanyou. “I, as his esteemed retainer could not allow that to go unaddressed. How could I be expected to do less?!”
“Listen, I’m not the one who called him a woman. I only have a few questions to run by him. Personally, I think he could do a whole lot better than a farmer if he just tried a little harder.”
“Your disrespect knows no bounds! For Sesshoumaru-sama’s honor, I will finish you off, cur, and gift him your sword as compensation for your impertinent tongue.”
“O’ really?” the half-demon replied disbelievingly, a dark brow rising at the impressive declaration. With deep amber eyes following the animated gesturing of the small youkai, Inuyasha frowned at the logistics of the bold plan and shook the staff with a gentle abruptness to drive his point. “And how do you plan to do that? With this?”
“Yes,” Jaken grunted his agreement, reaching for the hanyou’s tightly gripped pinky with his petite, three-fingered hand. Stubbornly, the straining demon attempted to ineffectively peel away the rooted appendage to its owner’s budding astonishment.
“Inuyasha,” a young, feminine voice scolded soundly from deep within the verdant inlet growing closest to the distant village. Rustling the papery blades as they waded, a small group of travelers cautiously approached the two brothers with their sight prudently lingering on the elder, full demon. Conspicuous in her brilliantly white, sailor top, Kagome crossed her arms against her chest in her disapproval. “Put him down, Inuyasha.”
“I ain’t hurtin’ him,” Inuyasha persuaded the scowling school girl and gave the elaborately crafted staff a good shake as proof. A squeak of surprise escaped Jaken’s narrow beak, but his hold remained steadfast against the turbulent assault. “See, he’s gotta good grip. Besides, he needs to learn to respect those bigger than him. This world doesn’t cater to the weak.”
“Ha,” the small, green demon scoffed softly under his breath, pausing a moment in his brazen mission to stare at his tormentor with the large, pale yellow orbs of his eyes. “Then you should respect Sesshoumaru-sama. He’s bigger than you.”
“What was that?” the half demon demanded, jostling the wooden weapon about with a more purposeful intent. Hurling curses of hate and squawks of terror, the two flustered combatants bickered, one waving the stick erratically through the air and the other clinging doggedly for fear of flying off in any and all undesirable directions.
“Inuyasha, don’t make me say it!” the young woman warned again in her most threatening tone, abruptly ending the comedic battle with the irked hanyou carelessly tossing the staff and its bearer into the grass as he walked away to join her and their shrewdly silent companions.
“I was just havin’ fun, Kagome. You’re overreactin’.”
“I am not,” she insisted, her ire rising with the obvious rolling of his eyes at her dispute.
“So, you’re sayin’ that Sesshoumaru bein’ mistaken for a beautiful maiden and then bein’ proposed to by some farmer is not funny?”
“Well, no,” she confessed hesitantly. “That’s actually really funny.”
“But, I don’t think you need to tease him about it. It’s funny enough without you making it worse by laughing in his face and giving bad advice.”
“Feh, what’s wrong with my advice? Sesshoumaru has been single for hundreds of years and it seems like it’s finally time for him to settle down and have some puppies. Now, I’m just helpin’ out so that he can find someone better than a farmer. With his looks, he could easily get a blacksmith or the head of a village if he works it right.”
“Hn,” the youkai lord snorted with mild indignation.
“What? You finally got somethin’ to say, milady?”
“Inuyasha,” he replied in his deep baritone, summoning every shred of his elitist contempt into the dark tone of his voice. Motionless except for the cool eye he leveled upon his half-brother and still biding his time, he remained unwilling to formally acknowledge the rapt attention and uncomfortable silence he now drew. “While I admit I have never been in want of prospects, I see no reason for my bachelordom to be discussed by you.”
“And why is that?”
“What other reason could there be than that your misguided and flawed input has been less than advantageous with regard to yourself? Contrarily, I believe I should be counseling you on your lack of tolerable prospects.”
“What?!” Kagome exclaimed furiously at the thinly veiled insult, addressing the unaffected tai youkai before his half-demon brother could open his mouth to answer.
“Kagome, calm down,” Inuyasha quietly, but pointedly reproved, warily eyeing the incensed school girl in case she decided to take her complaint directly to the source. “He’s just tryin’ to get back at me for pickin’ on him ‘bout his near betrothal. He’s not even talkin’ to you, so don’t worry ‘bout it.”
“He insulted you by insulting me! And I was trying to defend him!”
“Yeah, but there’s no point in gettin’ mad over somethin’ stupid like that.”
“You don’t think him calling me an intolerable prospect is worth getting mad over?!” she raged at the hanyou, who swiftly met her fire with his own.
“No, I don’t. And what makes you think you’re a prospect, anyway?!”
“I’m not a prospect?”
“Osuwari!” she shouted impetuously, reason snaring her tongue too late. With a brief flash of magical radiance, the rosary glowed brilliantly around Inuyasha’s neck as the inescapable gravity of her command widened his richly golden eyes. Gripping him with nearly instant justice, the uttered spell subdued the half-demon with a sudden and earth-shaking meeting with the ground at his feet. Only the hanyou-shaped blemish remained in his place, marring the once smooth field of rippling grass with a dark stain.
“Kagome,” he called out with a low and rumbling growl, spitting bits of grass and dirt from his mouth as he gathered himself up from the shallow crater her command had pounded him into.
“You share your affections with an undead miko who seeks to condemn you to hell in her revenge and another who is as unparalleled in her obscenity of appearance as she is in her lack of respect for you as a male. What poor choices. Then again, perhaps that is what a half-breed of your uncouth caliber deserves.”
“Sesshoumaru,” he snarled next, his angry astonishment surmounting the miko’s under the latest wave of verbal assault.
“Hn,” the tai youkai scoffed with a supercilious air, his victory nearly complete and his pride virtually restored. Running his clawed hand through his silvery locks, he looked snidely down on his now muddy and disheveled half-brother, his tongue ready and poised to deliver the finishing blow. “If you possess any wisdom, then I suspect that you should ask this gracious Sesshoumaru to introduce you to the farmer. For a modest dowry, I imagine he may settle for a bride of lesser magnificence.”
“Kaze-no-Kizu!” Inuyasha yelled viciously, the broad blade of his sword swinging down sharply from its comfortable spot over his shoulder. A chaotic horde of swirling youki erupted from the sharpened fang, carving trenches into the earth as it barreled toward the motionless demon lord. Seemingly caught in the blast, the winds overtook the indifferent inu youkai and greedily devoured him within their ravenous torrents.
Knowing that even a well-placed Kaze-no-Kizu would be unlikely to even singe the fur of his brother’s pelt, Inuyasha shadowed his attack with the tattered hilt of his sword firmly in hand and at the ready. The surge of demon aura dissipated into the cool air with no remnants of Sesshoumaru staining its trail. The peculiarly heartening realization that the tai youkai was unscathed was brief as his well-honed, warrior’s instinct knew well that only misfortune would swiftly follow this find.
Anticipating it before it could even strike, Inuyasha wisely dodged to the side, narrowly escaping a fury of churning flame and electricity streaking from the cerulean sky overhead.
“You are improving, Inuyasha,” the youkai lord complimented the hanyou with a patronizing air. High above, he stood in his befitting vanity, stepping upon the heavens as if their purpose was to be at his feet. “Unfortunately, your talent will only allow you to reach so far.”
“Feh,” the half-demon scoffed at the taunt and bolted across the deep field with rustling blades of grass whipping and snapping at the crimson blur of his passing. Then through the air he leapt, his bare feet leaving sodden tangle of roots and slivered leaves to find the dry, rough relief of an outlying boulder. Using his coiled momentum, he pivoted away, launching himself at his mildly, but pleasantly smirking brother. “You ain’t so high that I can’t come and join you.”
“Indeed,” the youkai lord acknowledged with a raised brow. “Shall we see how long you can stay?”
A resonating boom shuddered the countryside like rolling thunder tearing a black sky asunder. Arms still crossed tightly against her chest in her annoyance, Kagome looked on the two warriors with grumbles inundating her breath. However her glance soon left them for the young woman in tight, black satin garb at her side and whose wise discretion involving silence earlier had until then served her well. Magenta accenting her huntress uniform and an enormous, bone boomerang slung at her back, Sango did her best to return the sour look with a reassuring smile.
“It’s nothing to worry about, Kagome-chan,” she soothed, gently touching the school girl’s arm with her hand as the distant and muffled curses of the dueling brothers overlapped with her kind words.
“Sango-chan,” Kagome began, her gaze softening at the heartening comfort of her closest friend. Despite the soft, genuine support the usually reserved taijiya gave at the moment, the doubting miko couldn’t rid herself of the barbs of truth that the tai youkai had inadvertently pierced her with. “Can you be honest with me, Sango-chan?”
“You don’t think that I’m obscene, do you? And I don’t disrespect Inuyasha as a man, do I?”
“Uh…” the huntress fumbled at the unexpected and equally difficult to answer question. “You’re Kagome. You’re not obscene or disrespectful. Your ways are just different from ours and Sesshoumaru is making assumptions, because he doesn’t know you. You shouldn’t pay him any mind.”
“I’m different? Different? That’s not a yes or a no, Sango.”
“Well…” she stalled weakly, casting about for the navy and purple robed monk whose sage insight might salvage the quickly sinking wreck she had unintentionally worsened. She spied Miroku a few steps away with the auburn-haired kitsune pup happily perched upon his shoulder. Each holding similarly odd poses, the two were stock still with a blocking hand raised towards the raging battle and one eye opened in a squint. Baffled by their unwavering and strangely-granted interest, the taijiya momentarily forgot the school girl’s rather pressing dilemma of self-doubt. “What are you doing, houshi-sama? Houshi-sama? Houshi-sama?!”
“Hm, what? Did you say something, Sango?” the distracted monk murmured absently while the delicately balanced Shippou managed only a weak nod in her general direction. Perturbed at the flagrant inattention to her reasonable question, the huntress stepped in front of them much to their abrupt consternation as the blade of her weapon effectively blocked their gawking stares.
“Now, what are both of you looking at?”
“We were just trying to see what the farmer saw in Sesshoumaru, that’s all,” Shippou confessed, his cheeks blushing brightly at his shameful admission.
“Our apologies, Sango. We meant you no disrespect,” Miroku apologized magnanimously as he slowly sidled to the side. “It is just quite difficult to stop once you begin.”
“Yeah,” Shippou agreed, shifting about as well in his almost desperate search to regain the view that had been lost to the taijiya’s intrusion. “If you ignore his body and just stare at his face, you’ll never want to look anywhere else ever again.”
“He’s still a man, Shippou-chan,” she remarked crossly, surprised by the bubbling insecurities that unexpectedly brimmed before their budding fascination.
“Yes, but I do doubt that I have ever seen a woman that could rival him,” the monk admitted thoughtlessly and then he wistfully sighed as his searching, violet eyes found their intent, now fiercely gripping their hanyou comrade by the throat.
“What?” Sango blurted out, the bitter taste of venom trickling into her voice.
“If he had been born a lady, I must say that I would find it difficult to ask another to bear my child.”
“I can’t believe you,” she declared in disbelief with arms akimbo and her tone severe. “You have a hard time not asking an eight year old to bear your children. Now you’re saying that if Sesshoumaru, the cruel and murderous youkai lord who has nearly killed any one of us, had been born a woman, you would give up chasing anyone else?”
“Oh, that reminds me,” he smoothly deflected, placing the visually inebriated pup onto the huntress’ shoulder before gently spinning her around to face the distant fight. “I will return in a moment, but until then, get a good look before you chastise my reasoning any further.”
Slipping away through the tall grass, the judicious monk left the two vexed women to their potentially violent anxiety as another more urgent demand summoned his presence. Sango’s rebuke had reminded him of an overlooked opportunity and now his devious sight poured over the lush field, tenaciously seeking it. He knew she was nearby somewhere and his fairly unsavory reputation was not an element of himself that he took lightly.
“How dare he call me obscene,” Kagome objected sullenly in the renewed quiet. “This is my school uniform. It’s not meant to be obscene. It’s just different, right, Sango-chan? Right? Sango?”
“He’s not that pretty,” the taijiya groused under her breath, ignoring her friend as she stared grumpily at the tai youkai beyond, her figure mimicking the school girl with crossed arms and a dour look. “No man should be allowed to be that pretty. It’s not fair.”
The Monk by ladybattousai
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi and other associated companies.
Chapter Three: The Monk
Heralded melodiously by the delicate chime of metal rings as he hurriedly stepped, Miroku swiftly glided through the tall grass of the field. The weighted tips of the innumerable blades tickled at his sleeves, dampening the dark, finely-woven cloth with their lingering drops of morning dew. He paid the clinging fabric no mind as his determined, violet gaze roamed over the gentle hillsides, searching for the brilliance of yellow and orange and the effervescent young lady who was adorned in it.
Without an inkling of doubt, it was a bold pursuit, even for one as unscrupulous as he. Even now, his better judgment whispered keenly of a myriad of excruciating injuries and ghastly deaths that would inevitably follow if his brazenness was discovered. Yet, his stride never wavered and his scanning sight remained steadfast in its hunt. If he was true to anyone, it was definitely to himself. And, if his somewhat underhanded principles meant his messy and doubtlessly charred end, then it would be a proud death that he would surely be able to admire in the afterlife.
The checkered hues that spoke the warmth of the summer sun caught his eye next and sitting contentedly on a speckled boulder, the monk found his jubilant quarry. Fragile blooms of pink, lavender and yellow lain out before her, Rin sorted through her prized bouquet, rearranging the hastily gathered stems to her liking. Absorbed by the blameless attentions of pretty flowers, the sweetly humming girl was ignorant of the holy man of dubious intent that closed in on her.
“Good morning, Rin-chan,” Miroku spoke up genteelly when his dark shadow over her neat piles of colorful blossoms failed to attract her attention.
“Oh, good morning,” she greeted happily in return, her chestnut-dyed sight leaving her work to find the pleasantness of the handsome, robed man at her side. Wrinkling her nose in bewilderment, it took the puzzled girl a long moment to realize who exactly had come to share her company. Then, with a beaming grin, she remembered and declared her fairly accurate realization. “It’s nice to see you again, Monk-sama.”
“Miroku,” he corrected gently.
“Well,” he continued as he quirked an unsure brow at her absently made response. Since her initial and delighted welcome, Rin’s eyes had quickly fallen to her bundles of flowers and it had become a bit of a mystery as to whether she had truly realized what his name actual was. “May I ask what are you doing this fine morning, my dear?”
“I’m making these look pretty together,” she explained while she gathered a few stems into her hand, careful to make sure that no blossom of the same color was touching at the top. “The Farmer-san didn’t do a very good job before he gave them to Sesshoumaru-sama.”
“Oh,” Miroku replied and then with his dangerously charismatic smile, he slipped over to comfortably lean against the outcrop of granite in front of her. “I have to admit it looks quite lovely now.”
“Thank you,” she smiled gleefully at the compliment, her eyes sparkling under both the praise and the early morning sunlight.
“However, to be truthful, I must say it’s not nearly as lovely as you.”
“Huh… Really?” she doubted with a bubbly giggle of nervousness. His resulting husky chuckle only furthered her embarrassment with a pink blush to swiftly warm her cheeks.
“Indeed,” the monk assured softly, taking a neglected, coral-tinted bloom into his beaded hand. Slowly twirling the stem between the gentle grasp of his fingers, he contemplated the flower for a moment before leaning forward to brush her skin with its silken touch.
“Umm,” Rin murmured weakly, hopelessly captured by his intensely violet stare and the delicate caress of the blossom tracing along the curve of her jaw.
“It is such a poor existence for this sad flower to have its seemingly flawless petals compete with the clarity of your skin and the flush of your cheeks. Yes, I must confess that only a truly tragic fate could have befallen it if it was meant to share its company with one as beautiful as you.”
“Hush. There is no need for gratitude, my dear,” he interrupted, a finger of his free hand finding her parted lips and instantly ending her words with a gentle pressing against them. “These are but, mere observations and ones I could no longer bear to keep to myself. My heart has lightened now that they are free and to know they were loosed before you only pleases me more.”
“I have, but one request,” he continued on with earnest and unwavering eyes. Setting the flower neatly down in its pile, he took her small, bouquet-filled hands into his own. “A trifling matter really and, of course, one I will decidedly not ask of you until the fruit of your budding beauty has fully matured.”
Pausing in his customary and typically satisfying strangulation of his half-brother, Sesshoumaru felt the ominous weight of misfortune return. Residing now in the pit of his stomach, it sunk heavily with its foreboding undertones seeping out to tighten his chest and raise the fine hairs on the back of his neck. Warring with his rational tendencies, the menacing sensation would not relent despite any reasoning or practical thought he leveled upon it. Inevitably and against all probable logic, he knew that an event of ill-omen would soon be upon him again.
“Oi Sesshoumaru,” Inuyasha called out when the strength of the youkai lord’s grip lessened without any determined prying or kicking on his part. Still dangling some distance in the air, the hanyou remained caught in the vise of claws as he peered down at the furrowed expression of his brother. “What’s wrong with you?”
“There is no problem,” the daiyoukai assured absently, the lack of conviction in his deep voice easily finding the half-demon’s white, triangular ears.
“Feh! I can breathe right now and that’s more than enough proof to say that you’re bothered. Did you find a knot in your hair or somethin’?”
“Chip a claw?”
“I do not require any further diagnosis on your part. Of that you can be assured.”
“Whatever,” Inuyasha muttered flippantly and through his thick mop of tangled hair, he scratched his head pensively. Still gripping Tessaiga in his other hand, the hanyou’s thoughts remained undeterred by the full demon’s stern warning. Soon, another possible explanation rose to mind, but before he could begin to utter it, a distant and seemingly benign exchange of words silenced his tongue. Dog ears flipping toward the source, the healthy tan of his face paled at what he heard and at who was unsurprisingly shameless enough to speak it. “That idiot monk.”
“What?” Sesshoumaru questioned frostily, his elfin ears having already honed in on the offending question that hung unnaturally on the cool drafts of air. With golden eyes narrowed harshly, his severe glare quested over the soft hills of the broad field until they found his innocent ward and the devious companion who was cradling her hands. “Rin-chan, will you bear my child?”
“Wa-Wait Sesshoumaru,” Inuyasha managed to blurt out before claws clenched tightly around his throat, ending his appeal almost instantly and with a gruff gasp. Struggling for breath, however, was a brief battle as the half-demon rapidly found himself airborne and sailing speedily through the sky and into a far-off copse of trees.
Unceremoniously, he collided with the small wood. Ricocheting from trunk to limb and back again, the hanyou unwillingly rebounded his way towards the distant ground below. Surrounded by the loud cracking of branches and rustling of leaves, he was finally relieved of his painful, bouncing descent and hung pathetically in the net of jagged boughs like a broken marionette. Chin in his palm by sheer coincidence, he tapped his cheek irritably with a clawed finger and muttered. “Damn it, Miroku.”
Her brunette head tilted to the side, Rin stared quizzically at the sincere monk while she mulled over the mystery behind his seriously given question. The long gap of silence gradually filled with the melodic songs of birds on the wing and of those flitting through the grass. Miroku frowned at her obvious confusion and swiftly came to an indisputable conclusion. “Rin-chan, do you actually know where babies come from?”
“Jaken-sama told me one time, but I don’t know how to lay eggs.”
“Yes. He said that mothers lay eggs in the water and then the fathers fertilize them. After a while, the babies hatch and swim around.”
“I think that might be right for Jaken, but I don’t believe that’s correct for humans, Rin-chan.”
“Oh,” she murmured thoughtfully, puffing her cheeks as she pondered. “Then I don’t know.”
“Hmm,” the holy man mused wordlessly before grinning broadly at a well-intended thought that caught in his mind. A harmless notion and one he knew rather well. As an educated and giving man, it would only do that he should share his knowledge and rout her ignorance on the very important subject. “Well then, would you like to know, my dear?”
“Yes! Please, tell me, Monk-sama!” she begged enthusiastically, eliciting a dark chuckle from the monk with her eagerness. “I want to know!”
“Very well,” he acquiesced with a conniving smirk. “Let us start from the beginning.” Pulling a hand away from her tender grip, he softly tapped her nose and drew a bubbly giggle with his touch. “What are you?”
“Yes, and what else?”
“I’m a human.”
“I’m a girl.”
“Very good,” he said and then withdrew his hand to tap his chest. “If you’re a girl, then what am I?”
“Hmm… a boy.”
“Exactly,” he agreed encouragingly. “I’m a man and you will one day be a woman. And, while we both have very different parts, they fit together in a certain and most wonderful way.”
“I see. So, I’m a girl like Kagome-sama and you’re a man and like Sesshoumaru-sama, right?!”
“Yes,” he agreed before sighing despondently at the final content of her words. “Although, I must say he is more of a tragedy for all male-kind. At least for the ones who want to have children.”
A sinister aura of icy wrath inundated the air as an equally dark shadow fell upon the two of them. With a cold sweat beading on his brow and his face draining to an ashen pall, Miroku did not have to look beyond the corners of his widened eyes to know who the looming, silver figure was at his side.
“Sesshoumaru-sama!” Rin exclaimed elatedly, her already radiant face lighting up further at the unexpected and equally welcomed appearance of the youkai lord. “Monk-sama was telling me where babies come from!”
“Was he now?” the daiyoukai replied questioningly as his amber glare pierced the frozen holy man with its coldly enraged stare.
“Yes,” she replied assuredly in her ignorance, adding a firm nod for good measure. Then, her exuberance faded to returning puzzlement as the earlier question she had been tempted to ask uninvitedly bubbled forth. “Monk-sama said that you were a tragedy for all male-kind. Why is that, Sesshoumaru-sama?”
“Close your eyes until I give you permission to open them.”
“Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama!” she abided dutifully and with unwarranted zeal. Quickly withdrawing herself from the monk’s loosened and now strangely clammy grip, the young girl set her flowers down carefully and obediently placed both hands over her eyes.
“And sing your odd music as well.”
A cheerful hum emanated from her pressed lips and she swayed to and fro to her manufactured song, lost to its freshly conjured melody. Sure of her thorough distraction, Sesshoumaru’s attention fell to the anxious monk, undivided and unmerciful in its purpose.
“Now let us be reasonable, Lord Sesshoumaru,” Miroku began nervously when a caustic, green cloud of vapor swelled around the demon’s claws. “I only meant to be of service to educate this fair lady on the splendid ways of nature and never beyond a few wisely chosen words for she is entirely too young for a demonstration beyond that.”
“Indeed,” the youkai lord replied, the poisonous fog increasing in brilliance.
“Granted it is at your discretion how and when she is taught,” he half-mumbled next, sliding hastily over the broad boulder. The massive stone now between himself and the slowly advancing and murderous youkai, the monk backed cautiously away through the grass, fingering the rosary that bound the air void in his palm. “It was presumptuous of me to not inquire with you before I elected to teach her. As you are clearly a magnanimous lord, I ask for you to forgive my ill-mannered missteps without the need of maiming or death.”
“I will take that under advisement.”
The daiyoukai disappeared from his place beside the boulder, becoming a silver shadow as he rapidly closed the distance between himself and the unfortunate holy man that would shortly be nothing more than a bloody stain on the mostly pristine field. Pausing in midair to relish the deepening realization of his foolhardy prey’s final expression, the demon lord narrowly missed the slicing torrents of youki wind that cut across the earth before him. Landing lightly on the muddled remains of severed blades of grass and large, broken clods of soil, his sight left the stunned monk to follow the panting curses of a bedraggled hanyou.
“Oi Sesshoumaru,” Inuyasha wheezed in mock belligerence when he caught his brother’s glare. Doubled over with his hands on his knees, the half-demon stood unsteadily as he recovered from the matchless sprint he had made from his crash landing to the rescue of indisputably undeserving monk. With a multitude of leaves and twigs protruding from his disheveled hair and torn, red clothing, his bright eyes and sly smirk set a deepening scowl on the daiyoukai’s face. “I thought we were fightin’. Or did you give up so that you could fret over a little girl? Hmm, I think that might be right, eh?”
“If you wish your permanent end to arrive before this impudent monk’s, then I will be magnanimous enough to accommodate you.”
“Feh,” he remarked indifferently, waving a dismissive hand at the promised threat. “I guess you’ll be livin’ a long time, Miroku. Miroku?”
“I’m returning to the ladies now, Inuyasha,” the monk called out as he glided through the field and toward the sanctuary of the priestess and the huntress. “Don’t die!”
“Thanks,” the hanyou muttered under his breath and gripped the worn hilt of his sword tighter when the hard, fierce eyes of his half-brother focused in a way that seemed to bore right through him. “We’ll see about that…”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.