InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Possession ❯ Fourteen ( Chapter 14 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Kagome found herself flung hard against the wall, cracking the back of her skull sharply against the stone. Inuyasha's face was a mask of pure fury, unforgiving hatred, and his hand clenched around her throat as he pinned her until she couldn't draw a breath.
"You," he hissed. "It's you. I'll kill you, bitch!"
Her worst nightmare had come to life and was holding her fast. Kagome struggled weakly in his grasp, trying to get air. He was crushing her throat and when she looked in his eyes, she understood he knew exactly what he was doing. There was no madness held in those golden eyes anymore, no indecision, no sign of the boy he had been. Instead an angry youkai held her with an unrelenting grip, his claws digging into the sides of her neck.
This was not how she'd imagined she would die.
"Answer me, you fucking bitch," Inuyasha snarled, his voice gone dark and deadly. "Why do you look so much like Kikyou, why are you dressed exactly like a priestess? Tell me now or I swear I'm going to break your fucking neck."
Her eyes were swimming red and she felt the tears that were helplessly falling down her cheeks. Tears of pain, of fury, the bitterness of old regret. His hold on her eased fractionally; he must have realized she'd never be able to answer if he crushed her windpipe. In that faint second before her vision would have gone forever dim, she was able to find enough air left in her tortured lungs to husk the answer.
"Ask your goddamn brother."
She fully expected he'd crush her for that, but damned if she was going to cry, much less beg him to release her. No, her eyes were still full of tears but she met his angry gaze with one every bit as filled with hatred and old pain. Inuyasha stared at her, his brows drawn in a ferocious scowl and suddenly he released her. He pulled his hand away from her throat and stepped back with fury written in the tension of his jaw.
Kagome coughed, her own hands going gingerly to her neck. She felt the tender flesh and wondered if she'd be wearing his fingerprints on her throat. The demon was still waiting, arms folded and impatience burning, allowing her time to form a more suitable reply. When she didn't, he growled menacingly and leaned against wall, threatening her with his very nearness.
"Tell me, human. You look like the bitch, only a little older than the last time I saw her."
Kagome's hands balled into fists, aching to beat that threat off his face. The days when Inuyasha thought her could bully her were long gone, she wasn't the naive child she had been when she first went down the well, not anymore than she was the weak and broken woman that had climbed out of that same well ten years ago.
"Does it bother you that I look like Kikyou?" she asked sarcastically. "I'm so sorry, I'm not a priestess like she was, Inuyasha. If I were, I'd have made sure you could never be awakened. I would have made sure that you stayed dead."
He grinned at her unpleasantly. "As long as we understand each other," he said, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. "You hate me as much as I hate her, don't you? Why?"
Smiling back at him with a smile that tasted bitter on her lips, Kagome raised her hand to brush the hair from her eyes. "Maybe I'm her reincarnation," she whispered. "Maybe I've returned to finish her work."
Surprisingly, she saw a flicker of pain in his eyes. "You don't have to," he muttered, turning away from her. "She already killed me once, that was enough. I don't need your face to remind me that the person I loved betrayed me."
For a second, she believed him. Her heart wanted to comfort him and Kagome was appalled. That he was still so ...hurt... over it surprised her, touched her. Sesshomaru had obviously never enlightened his brother regarding what had happened and Kagome wondered if the youkai lord even knew the true circumstances of Naraku's manipulation. She couldn't be sure and almost she opened her mouth to explain.
Inuyasha glanced back at her, a twist to his lips that she remembered all too well. "Even if you were a priestess, I doubt you could hurt me, bitch. You'd just be a pitiful imitation of her anyway."
Kagome's mouth dropped open slightly, stung beyond words. Ironic that even without remembering her, he could still hurt her. He knew it too; she could tell by the way he smirked before he turned away, confident that he'd put her in her place. Kagome recovered quickly from the unexpected insult and found herself screaming the words before she even thought about it.
"You're the one who was pitiful. Maybe she didn't trust you or she could just see you for what you really were. You were only after the jewel, right? Just like any other stupid demon. She wanted you to become human because she'd have never let you touch her otherwise. A pure, beautiful priestess and a lowly half-breed, that would have really been pitiful!"
Her angry words were a miscalculation; in her fury she had forgotten why she was really here, what he truly was. It was just the pain of what he'd said still cut so deep, everything she'd suffered at his hands in some way tied back to Kikyou, to the woman he'd truly loved. And he'd never loved her, Kagome, at all.
She screamed and clawed at him when he grabbed her shoulders and slammed her into the wall again. "You'll pay for that," he snarled, his claws shredding the pristine white fabric of her kosode. "I'll make you pay!"
"Let me go!" Kagome tried to kick him but this time he was expecting it and turned his hips away before her knee could catch him. He wrenched her wrists back and held them against the wall, grinning at how easy it was to overpower a simple mortal.
"If you were a real priestess, you might be able to do something against a youkai. But you're just a mouthy bitch who knows too much about me and I don't give a damn about why. I don't even give a damn why you look so much like Kikyou."
Inuyasha leaned close, sniffing at her. "You even kinda smell like she did," he muttered thickly. "You're right about one thing; a priestess like Kikyou never would have let a demon touch her. But you aren't her, whatever you're playing at. That's fine with me, I can play too."
"You disgust me," she snarled, almost spitting the words.
He smiled widely, showing his fangs. "Good. That will make it interesting." Before she could react and avoid him, he crushed his body against hers and covered her mouth with a bruising kiss. Kagome's jaws clenched tight against his tongue, trying to twist her face away from his, but it was no use. He always knew exactly how to get what he wanted from her.
Inuyasha broke the kiss suddenly, dropping his hands and staring at her. "Why do you taste so familiar?" he whispered, his expression guarded.
Kagome slapped him as hard as she could, wishing that she had a demon's strength behind her blow. Inuyasha reached up and touched his cheek.
"I guess I deserved that," he said, the strange bitter smile again forming on his face.
"You deserve worse," she spat, her eyes flaming with rage. "But that's all you're going to get from me, bastard."
Furious, she shoved past him, not caring where she went from here, not even caring if she ever got home. She had to leave, she had to get away from him before...
Inuyasha caught her arm and spun her into his embrace. "Remember, it was you that kissed me first in the forest." He brushed her hair away from her face gently, letting his fingers caress her cheek. Kagome pushed at him, tried to kick and rake the hard edge of her sandal down his leg. He held her easily, not hurting her as she fought against him until she sagged in his grip with her head bowed.
"Let me go," she said in a dull, heartsick voice.
"Not yet," he whispered, his eyes lighting strangely in the dimness of the passage. "I paid you back for the kiss, but you still owe me for that kick." Then he kissed her again, soft and gentle, barely brushing her lips and Kagome felt that she had certainly lost her mind because she was kissing him back.
Her lips opened under his and Inuyasha slipped his tongue inside, probing deeply as she returned his kiss. Suddenly everything was on fire, her blood was burning in her veins and she forgot for a moment that she hated him, how much he'd hurt her. With a soft growl, he pressed her back against the wall, kissing her much more aggressively. He explored the contours of her mouth, running his tongue teasingly over hers in a gentle caress. Kagome felt her knees giving way as he nibbled at her lips and lowered his mouth to her neck.
This was so wrong, it was horrifying to her that it was Inuyasha who was now sucking gently at her skin, running his hands over her hips in a slow exploration that made her ache inside. Kagome put her hands on his shoulders to steady herself, a tiny whine of desire forming in the back of her throat. Her body still responded to him, oh God help her, it remembered him and it wanted him.
She wanted him…and loathed herself for being so weak.
His hand cupped her breast, his face nuzzled against her chest and she could feel his breath sliding over her skin, hot and raw like an unhealed wound.
No, a tiny voice whispered in her mind.
Yes, her body answered, demanding more as it responded to his touch.
It's because of Kikyou, the little voice reminded her. She's the one he always wanted, she's the one he couldn't have. You're the copy; you're the one he fucked while thinking of her. That's all. You were never anything else to him.
You would have done it for Kikyou.
I was in love with Kikyou.
"Stop," she whispered, pushing at his shoulders. She needed to breathe, she needed to think, and she needed to get the hell away from him before she did something really stupid. Something that would complicate things even more, something that she would never be able to live with. "Inuyasha, stop."
He didn't stop, instead he pushed hard against her, his claws digging into the flesh of her buttocks as he ground her body into his. His tongue was rough against the sensitized skin of her throat, a low, rumbling growl echoing in his chest. He didn't seem to hear her, didn't seem to care as she started to fight him again, trying to squirm from his hold. The muscles of his shoulders were hard as iron under her palms and Kagome felt panic beginning to flood her body, covering the traces of desire that had been building.
His caresses were rougher now, harsh as he fumbled for the bindings of her hakama, working his hands under her clothing. Kagome struggled against his greater strength, feeling like a bird caught in the claws of a predator. She had always been weak against him, helpless. How many times did he get to hurt her, force her body to betray her soul and walk away with no concern for what he'd done?
Burning anger filled her, hardening her heart the way soft clay hardens in the ashes of a fire. Kagome dug her fingers into him and shoved at him with all of the strength she had.
"I said STOP!"
A flash of brilliant light blinded them both, filling the dim passage with an eerie glow before it faded. Kagome staggered as the energy burst through her and sent Inuyasha sprawling. Suddenly weak, she fell to her knees and leaned heavily against the wall. Kagome looked down at her shaking hands, hints of light and power still spiraling around her fingertips.
Across from her, Inuyasha sat up, shaking his head like he was trying to clear it. She noticed that there was a thin trickle of blood on his chin and realized that he'd probably bitten his lip when he'd been thrown back. She felt a certain fascination as she stared at the crimson dripping down his chin.
I did that, she thought, her mind still fuzzy and indistinct.
Good, it serves the bastard right. She was powerful, powerful enough to bring him to his knees. The fact that she hadn't meant to do it, hadn't known that she was summoning the energy from deep within herself didn't matter. She had finally been able to make him stop.
Smiling triumphantly, she stood to glower down at the youkai before her. He looked weak, disoriented, and his eyes were unfocused and confused. Kagome planted her hands on her hips and tossed back her hair. She was going to enjoy this.
"I told you to stop," she sneered, wanting to rub it into his thick skull. She could resist him, she could fight him. There was no way that Inuyasha would be able to make her his victim, his helpless lover, ever again.
He was shaking, she realized, enjoying his pain even more. Maybe he was remembering Kikyou even more now, remembering the power that the priestess had wielded. There was a reason she had been the one entrusted to guard the jewel against youkai like Inuyasha. For once, Kagome thought smugly, she didn't consider it a bad thing to be the reincarnation of the legendary priestess.
Inuyasha was still crouched on the floor, breathing hard. Kagome wondered if she'd really injured him and decided that she hoped it was so. If she'd burned him with her power, it was his own damned fault. How many times had he burned her with his touch, with his kisses? How many times had he scorched her with his words, made her wither like a dying flower under his contempt? She'd lived the last ten years of her life wanting this moment of victory over him. She supposed that if she were intelligent, she'd simply walk away in dignity. Some wounds went too deep for that.
"Look at you," she said, disgust filling her voice. "Brought down by a woman once again. You never were very smart, Inuyasha. The jewel might have brought you power, but inside you're still the same stupid bastard that you always were."
His hair had fallen over his face and he still hadn't answered her, but she saw that his claws were digging into the stone, gouging the smooth surface of the floor. It made Kagome uneasy and all of her delight over her impromptu victory faded away like a snowflake would melt from a warm breath of a whisper.
He laughed, startling her as the sound was dark and thick, forced up from the depths of his chest. It made her hair stand up on her scalp, it made her stomach tighten. Inuyasha continued to laugh, slowly getting to his feet with his head still down so that she couldn't see his expression.
Kagome started to back away from him, knowing deep in her heart that even her powers of purification might fail her now. Those same instincts, ones she had inherited from Kikyou's tormented soul or just her own well-nurtured sense of survival, warned her to run from him now. Inuyasha had raised his head. His eyes glowed with red malevolence and he licked his lips in anticipation.
"You stupid bitch," he muttered in a voice masked with darkness. An aura of immense power was pouring off of him, hanging in the air with angry waves of pure hatred. "Now you've really pissed me off."
Ten Years Earlier
Rin was by nature a rather curious young girl. Having died by the jaws of a wolf and then been revived by a youkai's blade would make even the most levelheaded child feel invincible. Rin still missed her family, especially her mother, but she thought about it less each day. She had too many other things to think about. It had been nearly two years since she'd met Sesshomaru-sama and Rin had seen more than any other human child could imagine.
The youkai of the fortress where she lived had learned that their lord was exceptionally tolerant of his young ward. Most were polite to her, but it didn't make her life any less lonely. She still had Jaken, but he was more of a harassed babysitter than a true companion. Makiko, head of the household's staff, cared for her as well as any mother could, but she was not a friend, not a playmate.
And that was what Rin craved.
The children of the fortress weren't allowed to play with her. Sesshomaru-sama had explained that young dog demons had very little self-restraint and no sense of their own strength. Her human skin was fragile and while Tenseiga could certainly heal her wounds, she would still experience the pain if they were to accidentally injure her.
And, Sesshomaru had added, he would certainly hate to have to execute a child's parents because their offspring had not followed his directions.
So Rin didn't like it when she was left in the fortress, she preferred to be with her Sesshomaru-sama whenever possible. Ever since Naraku had been defeated, he had lost interest in matters outside the youkai world. He was often gone from the fortress to meet with his people; his clanlords and their territories were under his domain.
Rin didn't know much of politics, but she understood that her lord had let many of his duties fall to the side in his single-minded pursuit of vengeance. A few of the times he visited one of his territories, it had been to dispatch with an unruly vassal that had balked at his return to command.
There had been considerable excitement in the fortress for the past few weeks. Everywhere Rin went, people were whispering about the lord's brother and how he'd at long last returned to his father's lands. They also whispered that he was no longer a hanyou, but a full demon, possibly daiyoukai like Sesshomaru-sama. Rin didn't care one way or another about him being a hanyou or a full demon. But she was curious about him just the same.
Which was why she now found herself outside his room, her heart beating fast in her chest. She hadn't been forbidden. No one had told her to stay away from here. Rin swallowed hard and raised her hand to knock on the door. She tapped lightly and waited. And waited. There was no answer.
Just as she was getting ready to turn away and leave, she heard the sound of movement from the other side of the door and it slid open a crack. "What do you want?" he asked suspiciously.
Rin smiled widely at him. "I came to see how you were feeling, Inuyasha-sama."
The door opened wider and he stared down at her. "You're human."
Rin laughed at that. She didn't remember Sesshomaru-sama's brother as being funny. "I've always been human, you know that!"
The golden eyes clouded over for a moment and the young youkai leaned against the wall. His expression was sad, Rin thought, wondering what made him look like that.
"Are you ill?" she asked nervously. "Should I tell Makiko-san?"
He shook his head and walked away, leaving the door open. Rin took it as an invitation to enter and followed him. Inuyasha crossed the room and plopped down heavily on the futon, resting his chin in his hand. The young girl went to his side and sat down, also resting her chin on her palm in imitation.
He glanced over at her. "Do I know who you are?" he asked quietly.
Rin stared at him. "I think so," she answered at last. "I've seen you a few times before, but you didn't have purple stripes on your cheeks. Don't you remember me?"
"I don't remember anything," Inuyasha said bitterly, turning away from her and looking out the window.
"Nothing at all?" Rin burst out, fascinated.
They sat in silence for a few moments, Inuyasha looking out the window and Rin twisting her kimono between her fingers. She hated silence; she hated even more not knowing what to say. If he didn't remember anything, he'd forgotten about his friends, just as she'd overhead Makiko saying. She'd also overheard that Sesshomaru-sama had insisted his brother not be told of them.
She supposed that meant that she shouldn't talk to him, but she couldn't help it. She'd have felt sorry for anyone who looked that sad.
Inuyasha looked up as the young girl got to her feet and held out her hand. "Do you want to be friends?" she asked cheerfully.
He frowned. "Why do you want to be friends with me?"
Rin shrugged, still smiling at him. "You're lonely. So am I, maybe if we decide to be friends, neither of us will have to be lonely. We can play together."
She thought he'd probably turn away, tell her to leave. Instead, he scowled at the floor for a few moments longer before reaching up to take her hand. "Okay, kid," he said, but the sadness in his eyes didn't lift. "We can be friends. This place is supposed to be my father's ancestral home, but I don't know it. Would you want to show me around?"
Rin nodded. She decided in that minute that she would find a way to make him look not so sad. He reminded her more of Sesshomaru-sama now, only sad and vulnerable as her Sesshomaru-sama would never let anyone see.
If they could be friends, maybe she could teach him how to smile again.
She didn't hesitate. She ran for her life.
Kagome's sandals skidded on the smooth stone floor, clattering loudly as she tried to outrun the raging demon behind her. Frustrated, she yanked them off and hurled them into his face as he came at her. Inuyasha snarled and swatted them away before they could strike him and Kagome just kept running.
He was going to kill her, she could clearly see herself as she bled to death on Sesshomaru's clean floors. She turned a corner, trying to throw him off her trail as she ran, her heart pumping vigorously as she lengthened her stride. There had to be someone around here that would be able to help her, surely Sesshomaru wouldn't want her to be torn apart by his brother's claws without his express orders?
As she ducked into a dark passage, Kagome pressed her back against the wall and held her breath. She couldn't hear him anymore. It didn't make sense; surely he'd be able to catch her scent and follow her? But she heard nothing but the pounding of her pulse in her ears and her own harsh breathing.
Stupid to try to outrun him, she thought bitterly. What chance did she have, a human, against a monster like that?
"That's right," he snarled, grabbing her by the neck and flinging her against the wall. "You shouldn't have run."
She clawed at him, snarling like a demon herself and Inuyasha pinned her easily. Kagome dug her hands into his shoulders and tried to find the power that had welled from deep inside her to defend herself before she died at his hands.
Nothing happened. When it really counted, her spiritual abilities had always failed her. She'd failed to keep Inuyasha from using the jewel, failed to keep him from turning into a monster. She was certain that Kikyou wouldn't have failed and bitterness swam within her heart at the thought.
Kikyou would have been smart enough not to get herself murdered by her former lover.
Inuyasha growled, the menacing sound echoing in her ears and his grip shifted, moving from her shoulders to her waist and tearing at the ties of her hakama. Fury filled her and Kagome struggled hard, kicking, scratching and biting at him in any way she could. She couldn't stop him but the days of her passive acceptance were long gone.
"Damn it, bitch," he muttered, surging against her and stopping her struggles by crushing his body against hers. "I've got an old score to settle with Kikyou," he hissed angrily, taking her face in his claws. "I'm going to settle it on you instead."
Her eyes glittered back at him without fear. "Go on," she answered, her voice dripping with hatred. "Rape me like the animal you are, you're a monster, a disgusting demon that doesn't deserve to live. You're no better than Naraku!"
His hand clenched in her hair, wrenching her head back so he could attack her throat. "Who the fuck is Naraku?" he growled as he ran his tongue down to explore the valley between her breasts.
"He's the demon that killed Kikyou," she answered, hoping the information would distract him. It did. Inuyasha pulled away and stared down at her.
"Killed Kikyou?" he said, a faint smile forming on his face. "Good for him, that bitch needed killing."
Kagome tilted her face back so she could meet his angry, golden eyes. "You didn't think that when you killed him," she spat. "You hunted him for two years because of it."
His hands ground into her arms and Kagome cried out involuntarily. "You're lying, bitch," he snarled. "You're trying to confuse me."
"I have no reason to lie," she snapped, pushing at him. He grinned at her with pure malice and a dark lust that made her blood run cold.
"No?" He ran his hands down her body and buried his face in her chest again. "I think you're full of lies," he whispered. "Just like Kikyou."
"I am not like Kikyou!" she shouted, hitting him as hard as she could. Her small fists pounded against his back as he covered her mouth with his own, cutting off her desperate cries. She could feel anger pouring off of him, angry lust and fury. It sickened her, just as it had sickened her ten years earlier. She wondered how the person that she had cared so much for could be so changed.
But hadn't he lied to her, hadn't he only pretended to ever give a damn about anything but the jewel?
Kagome was furious at herself, feeling her throat tighten as he lifted her against the wall. She protested weakly, trying to fight him as the despair overwhelmed her. He ignored her struggles, grinding his hips into hers and shoving his knee between hers to part her legs. It was going to happen, there was nothing she could do to stop him this time.
"They say a priestess has to be pure to keep her spiritual powers," he hissed into her ear as his hands tore at the sturdy fabric of her hakama, trying to part it so he could slide between her legs. "You're going to be as impure as a hard fuck can make you."
Kagome turned her head away, disgusted. "Bastard," she whispered. Ten years later and she still bore the scars upon her heart. Ten years later and even without his memory, without any recollection of their history, still the only thing he wanted was to hurt her even more. She was drowning in the memories, suffocating from his kisses. He'd nearly destroyed her once, it seemed now he was going to finish what he'd started before she'd escaped.
They both jumped at the sound of a voice and Kagome's heart turned over in relief. Inuyasha glared at her and turned towards the shadowy figure at the end of the corridor.
"Go away, Jano," he barked, his claws digging into Kagome's thighs. "I'm busy."
The stranger laughed and moved closer. "So I see," he said genially, peering with interest at Kagome. She glowered back at him, despising him for being amused with her near violation. Bastard demons, they were all the same. Human women were nothing, less than nothing to them; she could read it in his face.
"Your brother is searching for you, Inuyasha-sama," the demon said, bowing mockingly at him. A long sweep of dark hair fell over his shoulder and his eyes twinkled in amusement. "He wishes you to come to him at once."
"Tell him you couldn't find me," Inuyasha grunted, not wanting to release his prize. Kagome held her breath as the inuyoukai hesitated, almost turning away and leaving them.
"I can't do that," he murmured, catching her gaze again. To her surprise, his expression was full of pity. For her. "Sesshomaru-sama is my lord and I would never knowingly lie to him. If you wish, I will tell him that you will report to him when you've finished with the human."
Inuyasha swore viciously and thrust her away from her, shoving her at Jano so hard that she would have fallen if the youkai hadn't caught her.
"I'll go," he snarled, catching her eyes as he left. "This isn't over, bitch."
Kagome felt her legs go weak and sagged, forgetting that it was another demon that supported her as Inuyasha's angry footfalls faded away. Her hands were trembling, it had been so close, so close that all the horrible memories she'd worked years to forget flooded to the surface.
Inuyasha in a rage, screaming at her as he was about to kill her...
Inuyasha towering over her, threatening her family...
Inuyasha burying himself inside her, her voice crying his name as he made her want him, hate herself, forget how to live without him...
Where was the strong person she'd become, the woman who knew no fear? Where was the woman who had ruthlessly driven herself to success, clawed her way out of the pit of ruin and despair and moved on, forgetting him, forgetting how to need anyone? The woman who relied on herself and no one else, who wouldn't be made vulnerable, who couldn't be hurt?
It seemed she'd been left on the other side of the well.
"You want me to do what?" Inuyasha bellowed, startled by his brother's request. Sesshomaru gave him a sour glance, a wry twist of amusement on his lips.
"I have my reasons for conceding to her request," the daiyoukai lord replied. His brother was fuming, that much was plain. Sesshomaru reflected that seeing the woman dressed as a priestess might have triggered a reaction inside his brother. He'd half hoped it would, wondering if the sight of the woman who so resembled the long dead Kikyou might have restored some of Inuyasha's missing memories.
Inuyasha scowled at the floor, not meeting Sesshomaru's eyes. "I don't want to help that bitch," he muttered, picking at a loose thread hanging from his sleeve. The woman had fought like hell to get away from him. Now that his temper had cooled and he wasn't looking at her face, Kikyou's face, he was horrified at what he'd nearly done to her. He didn't need to force human women to his bed; he had his choice of available youkai females. She had every right to be disgusted by him.
Hell, he was disgusted with himself
"Inuyasha." He raised his eyes and looked at his brother, embarrassed as if Sesshomaru could look into his mind and see what had happened. Sesshomaru's expression was neutral as ever, no recrimination in his tone or censure for his brother's behavior.
"You will do this because I ask it, not because it will help her," the youkai lord said smoothly. He moved forward and rested his hand on Inuyasha's shoulder, a rare touch of affection from the cool mannered demon. "I do not have to tell you about the concerns I have for the borders of this territory, little brother."
Inuyasha scratched his head absently, confused. "What does that have to do with her?"
"Perhaps nothing," Sesshomaru murmured. He glanced away from his brother, his gaze going to the wide window. Outside, his people moved about their duties, unconcerned for what troubled their lord. "Perhaps her return is part of someone's larger plan. A priestess of power would mean a great deal to the human armies that mass against youkai territories."
Inuyasha snorted. "Those idiots? Every time they've so much as put a toe over the border we've beaten them back. It's hardly worth the effort."
"True," Sesshomaru answered. "They've resorted to less open methods, little brother. Instead of meeting us in battle, they slip between the borders and attack without warning. I've lost no few men and the clanlords are becoming restless as their holdings are destroyed while we do nothing."
"We've done everything we can," Inuyasha replied hotly, his face darkening with anger. "If that stupid ass Kouga can't police his own territory from a few ragtag humans, we should have taken his territory from him by force!"
Sesshomaru smiled faintly, amused by his brother. "You do not understand diplomacy, Inuyasha. You are too quick to make enemies and go to war. While I have no use for the wolf demon tribes, they provide something of a buffer between our lands and the east. I would prefer that Kouga-sama had to deal with the stragglers in between."
Inuyasha didn't miss the hint of sarcasm in his brother's voice when he said Kouga's name or the mocking way he drew out the honorific. His grin turned bloodthirsty.
"And when the wolf tribe has been decimated by the attacks?" he asked hopefully.
Sesshomaru shrugged elegantly, turning away. "That is not our concern, our treaty with them states that we will work together to secure the borders and that remains my chief concern. I do not think it random fate that has brought this woman to us."
He watched his brother stalk slowly to the other side of the room. Sesshomaru's face was utterly smooth, calm and relaxed, but Inuyasha could tell that his brother was agitated. "Do you think that Kouga is plotting against us?" Inuyasha asked quietly. "That kitsune of his just happens to show up with her, defends her like she belongs to him but she says she doesn't."
Sesshomaru brushed a bit of nonexistent lint from the silk of his sash. "You have a suspicious mind, little brother," he commented. "I am uncertain if the wolf would be foolish enough to ally himself with humans against us. Her story is that she's here by accident and it is her prior association with you that brings her here for assistance."
"With me?" he scratched his head, feeling the odd and uneasy feeling that he'd come to expect when he encountered one of the holes in his memory. It was no use, when he thought of the woman's face; there was a howling darkness behind it that made no sense.
Inuyasha felt like he could fall into that darkness, drown and never come up. It was part of the reason he'd reacted so violently to her, so aggressively. Something about her unsettled him, made the hair on the back on his neck stand straight up. Part of him wanted her, she was beautiful and she resembled the woman he could never have. Another part of him screamed to get away from her and never look back.
Some things he didn't want to remember.
Sesshomaru watched the conflicting emotions crossing his younger brother's face and smiled to himself bitterly. How ironic after so many years of being enemies, they had become brothers. He had come to trust Inuyasha as much as he trusted Jano and that was something he'd never expected. With the loss of memory had come the opportunity for them to build a new relationship, one that didn't include resentment and bitterness. For them both, the Tessaiga was useless and for Sesshomaru...even Tenseiga had its limitations.
"I want you to accompany her," Sesshomaru said at last, holding his brother's gaze. "Do as she asks, let her lead you to this well that may open a path for you to move between her country and ours. She has always been a strange creature, even for a human priestess, and a mystery even to me."
His brother hesitated, and then smiled coldly. "Perhaps there is something you can learn along the way about the humans that have been attacking our lands. There is some demonic power behind them, I am sure. This is not the work of simple brigands, Inuyasha. There is a darker power at work. I wish to determine if the priestess is part of some greater plot."
Inuyasha folded his arms, meeting his brother's serious manner with one of his own. "And if this well of hers doesn't open? Just what should I do with her then, her and that damn kitsune that hates my guts almost as much as she does?"
Sesshomaru nodded to his brother, his tone as unemotional as ever. "If her story is false," he said, gazing out the window at his territory, “you know what to do.”
“Kill them both."