InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Unbreakable ❯ Chapter 1
Rating: all ages
Setting: Takes place during the events of episode 35
Summary: When Inuyasha unleashes the Kaze no Kizu at Sesshoumaru, the demon lord gets unexpected aid from Tenseiga. But Tenseiga's altruism comes with a price.
Disclaimer: Alongside the usual disclaimers (I don't own Inuyasha, blah blah), I'm also disclaiming that I've chosen to use the Viz spelling of Tetsusaiga, because I feel that it helps to differentiate visually between the two swords. Tessaiga and Tenseiga can be easily confused, in my opinion, so I chose to go with the spelling Tetsusaiga. However, that is the only Viz spelling translation I have chosen to go with. The others (Sesshoumaru, Kaze no Kizu, etc) I chose to keep the way I have out of habit.
Author's note: I have always wondered about the bond of Sesshoumaru and Tenseiga. I also believe, and have felt for a while, that Tenseiga is the reason why Sesshoumaru didn't kill Rin when she first came upon him - considering he was probably disoriented and in a lot of pain, he could be excused for taking his frustrations out on her; we already know he has little regard for humans - and that Tenseiga, in one way or another, protected her from Sesshoumaru while he was recovering. I know that Aun isn't named until Rin gives him his name, but I didn't know what else to have Sesshoumaru call the creature, so I chose to rather overlook that part.
He should have known it would come to this. The damned half-breed wasn't stupid and had a keen sense of smell. The blood relation was undeniable, even if he didn't want to acknowledge it. He shouldn't have let his guard down; the lack of a left arm should have served as reminder enough that this half-breed was perfectly capable of defending himself. But his confidence had gotten the better of him and he had presumed too much.
Sesshoumaru hadn't lived as long as he had by being careless in combat. But Inuyasha was not a typical opponent. In fact, Inuyasha was the only opponent to ever get the upper hand with Sesshoumaru. He was the only opponent to ever catch Sesshoumaru at a disadvantage, and to leave a lasting mark, in the form of a severed limb.
He should have known not to underestimate the hanyou. Sesshoumaru had once before dropped his guard when facing Inuyasha, and had paid a heavy price. But back then Tetsusaiga had only just awakened. Now it was fully revived. And for once, Sesshoumaru's own power had worked against him - the force of his own demonic winds, colliding with that of Inuyasha and Tetsusaiga, had allowed for the full potential of the Kaze no Kizu to be unleashed in a single strike. And blinded as he was by the venom of Sesshoumaru's claws, Inuyasha hadn't been able to see the release point, but his nose was keen enough to scent the exact location of the release point.
Inuyasha was a survivor. Sesshoumaru knew that in his mind and in his heart, but at times he forgot that. With his life, and that of his sword, in jeopardy, the hanyou had managed to squeeze through and master the technique that Sesshoumaru had been confident would elude him. Sesshoumaru should have known that Inuyasha wouldn't go down easily. He should have known that it was possible for Tetsusaiga to reveal its secrets to its chosen master. He had felt the blade's rage through the dragon claw. He should have known it could happen, and yet he dismissed the fact.
He realized his error the moment he saw the long, curved blade scything through the release point of the Kaze no Kizu. About three heartbeats too late to get out of the way. Half a heartbeat after being cleft by Tetsusaiga, the release point exploded outward, and four blades of yellow-hot energy began to rip through the earth.
So, this is how it ends, Sesshoumaru thought bitterly, as the energy blades scored the earth in a fan pattern, bearing down on him almost as if in slow motion. I should never have dropped my guard. His eyes flared red in reaction to the energy blast. His body desperately tried to transform itself into his spirit form, to channel the force and use it, all to no avail. The violence of the Kaze no Kizu overpowered his transformation energies. His hair began to fan out behind him in the wind, and he felt his armor shattering in the blow. All at once he felt the pain, from head to hips, as the blast sought to shred him. All these years, and this is how it ends. Chichi-ue will be very disappointed in me.
His left hip began to hum with a soothing aura.
The air around Sesshoumaru suddenly grew dark, but the pain subsided as a dark cocoon enveloped him. With one desperate reach, he seized what was left of his powers and propelled himself away from the battlefield.
Where do you wish to go? A feeling prickled at his thoughts.
Somewhere far away. Somewhere secluded and safe. Somewhere where I can catch my breath and assess what happened.
You are MINE. The feeling seized his mind the moment he had formed the thought of escape. I am yours and you are mine. We shall be one. You will not spurn me again.
Who speaks so to me? Who are you, to presume to claim this Sesshoumaru as your property?
I am your partner. Our bond cannot be sundered.
Sesshoumaru felt his dulled senses begin to sharpen once more. He became aware of the distant hooting and calling of birds. The air smelled of old-growth forest. Demon forest. The air also smelled of dusk. It had been before noon when he'd fought Inuyasha. The sun was setting already? Had he been unconscious so long?
You will acknowledge me and you will obey me. By accepting my help, you have already once acknowledged me. A sickening sensation formed in Sesshoumaru's gut. He had a feeling he knew who was talking to him now. I have saved you this once without your asking. It will not happen again.
It had to be Tenseiga. Chichi-ue had once told him that the Fang of Life had a mind of its own, that it decided when it should be used. Once bonded with the Fang of Life, its bearer possessed near invincibility because the sword would protect its bearer from mortal blows; in exchange, the bearer obeyed the sword when it demanded to be drawn and used. The bearer also obeyed the sword by not doing what it deemed to be inappropriate. It dictated fights and prevented its wielder from doing as he pleased. In short, it was a bridle with a stiff bit.
No... Chichi-ue, why did you leave me Tenseiga? Why did you leave me a sword that seeks to control me?
A nearby rustle in the bushes caught his attention. His olfactory senses were so overwhelmed with his own injuries and the unfamiliarity of his surroundings that he had missed the approach of the creature. Well, that, and it was downwind...
Human. Sesshoumaru felt a growl form in his throat. Human, I will rend you limb from limb! He sat up abruptly as the tiny human peeked out at him. His eyes burned scarlet red with his fury. I will shred you to ease my fury!
YOU. WILL. NOT. I will not allow it! His momentum was arrested abruptly. He couldn't move.
Let. Go. Of. Me.
I will not allow you to take an innocent life because you are angry.
You cannot command this Sesshoumaru.
I can and I will.
Sesshoumaru ground his teeth and tried to move, but the sword froze his muscles.
You. Will. Not. Harm. Her.
The girl took a few steps closer, and Sesshoumaru peeled his lips back, baring his fangs. He couldn't move his body, but he could make subtle gestures and expressions. The sword could prevent him from moving from the spot, but it couldn't inhibit all of his muscles.
A deep, desperate growl rumbled in his throat as he forced his jaws slightly open, producing a wicked hissing snarl.
Tenseiga abruptly seized his lungs and stopped his breath for a moment, interrupting the snarl succinctly.
You are ungracious. You have no gratitude for unsolicited altruism.
Abruptly his body erupted with pain. His shoulders, his hips, his ribs, even his eyes, all roared with flaming agony, but he throttled down a yelp and eased himself back to a recumbent position.
You are a mere puppy in comparison to your father.
The lousy, irritating lump of scrap metal had hit a nerve with that one. Sesshoumaru ground his jaws and closed his eyes, gathering his thoughts together to join combat in a battle of wills with the sword.
His forehead throbbed with strain as he mentally built up shields and tried to root out the telepathic tentacles the sword had prodded into his mind. The damned oversized knife was parasitic!
You cannot deny me now. You cannot sunder the bond we have forged.
'We' have forged nothing, Sesshoumaru thought with a growl. It was you who forged this. I did not wish for it, and still do not wish for it. You cannot bind this Sesshoumaru to your purpose. I will not let you.
You have no say in the matter. You are bound to me, as I am bound to you.
When I recover from this, I will cast you down the deepest well and throw a horde of bodies on top of you. I don't care what Chichi-ue says when I see him on the other side.
The sword actually laughed sardonically at him, insomuch as it could laugh. You try that. It will be amusing.
Sesshoumaru battled internally with Tenseiga for what felt like a century. He was dimly aware of the little human leaving and coming back with a reed canister that smelled of fresh water, and large flat leaf piled up with a dead fish, a dead mouse and some strange weeds. An offering?
What is this human brat trying to do? Save me?
Your heart is too cold and black. It will consume you.
Silence, you worthless fang.
The sword unexpectedly obeyed. For the first time since being deposited here, he felt complete silence.
It was reassuring.
Sesshoumaru gratefully seized the blade's silence and threw some mental shields into place, then drifted off into a restless sleep.
He was plagued by distant memories and foggy dreams, which escaped recollection upon awakening. As he surfaced from his restless, dream-filled sleep, he knew before opening his eyes that it was well past dawn. The air smelled of mid-morning.
The little human was back, placing another offering nearby.
Foolish child. Why does she insist?
She needs you.
Silence, you worthless fang. I do not wish to hear what you have to say.
The girl placed her latest offering and started to retreat.
"Mind your own business, foolish girl," Sesshoumaru said, before he'd realized that he was lowering himself to talking to humans. "Your efforts are wasted. I do not eat human food." He carefully avoided looking directly at her. She did not deserve his full attention.
The whelp looked at him with sad eyes, then looked away as she continued to retreat.
Feh. She heard me, I know she did. And she is disregarding my orders. Insubordinate wretch.
You cannot harm her. I will not allow it.
I will not allow you to leave this forest, this glade, until you accept me.
This Sesshoumaru will not be bound in service of an inanimate object!
The sword seemed to sigh in resignation.
You will accept me. You have no choice. I will wait.
Then the presence withdrew. Sesshoumaru privately gloated and reveled in his triumph, and started to rise... only to find his body completely immobile.
There was pain, excruciating pain, but even more so, there was a complete lack of bodily response. He could not lift himself from where he lay. He could move his head, and his hand moved a little, but he could not force himself to sit up, never mind stand up, no matter how hard he concentrated.
He did not fear starvation or death. He would have to fast for a month before it became critical. As an inu-daiyoukai, he fed on the fresh blood and livers of his mammalian prey. He did not eat cold-blooded animals. Only mammals suited his needs. He needed only hunt weekly, except when he had been in combat and expended extra energy... or had been wounded, as he had against Inuyasha now, twice.
He would not stoop to the level of other youkai that ate humans. Once a youkai developed a taste for human flesh, he was doomed. Youkai who feasted on human flesh eventually became mindless killing beasts. Whenever he killed humans, he would not even taste their blood. He would merely remove it as quickly as possible. The very scent of human blood revolted him.
Why can I not move? Tenseiga is quiet now.
Perhaps his injuries were more grave than he'd expected. Very well, then, he'd simply wait until his body healed.
The sun rose, dancing beams through the boughs of the trees. It was now three days since Sesshoumaru had awoken in the forest to find himself being ordered around by a sword, and being approached by a human whelp. In the interim, he had regained much of his fine motor mobility... but he still could not rise to his feet. He simply could not muster the energy to rise from a sitting position to a standing position.
Tenseiga had not spoken a word since it had vowed to wait until he accepted it.
The little human was daring; he had to give her props for her courage. She had to know that he was perfectly capable of killing her, yet she still came within reach of his claws and left her offerings. She did not come close enough to touch him, but she came well within reach of his claws, poison-whip none withstanding. He never even touched the things she left, and after admonishing her only once more, to find her acknowledging his words, and dismissing them in the same moment, he did not speak to her again.
But today was a little different. Today the whelp smelled dirtier, more painful. He could smell the offended blood in the bruises on her face, and her right eye was swollen shut. She carried little today, and her gait was slightly interrupted. She hid her pain well, but he could hear the hesitation in her steps and the tiny intake of breath every other stride. Her ribs had been damaged.
She knelt before him and presented her offerings. Did she honestly expect him to take her offerings now?
"I told you I don't need anything from you," he scolded resignedly.
She sighed and looked down.
He glanced out of the corner of his eye, sizing her up. She was indeed quite battered. His canine curiosity got the better of him.
"Where did you get those wounds on your face?" He deliberately looked away, to give the appearance that he didn't really care. She wasn't worth his full attention, after all.
The girl looked up abruptly, staring at him in awe, but remained silent.
"Very well then," he said. "If you can't, you don't have to tell me."
What the hell?
The girl was laughing? She was delighted? He had merely asked why she smelled of blood, and she was happy?
"What are you so happy for? I merely asked a question."
She laughed again, then stood up, bowed submissively, and bounded off, her happy laughter trailing her through the forest.
Sesshoumaru leaned back into the cushioning of his fur stole. He needed to sleep a little more, and then he would have the energy he needed to stand up and finally leave this gods-forsaken forest. He wanted to get away from it. He was certain that this demon forest was part of the reason he was so slow to recover. It must be nullifying some of his youkai powers.
He fell into a dreamless sleep that was punctuated by a faint pulsing, a faint heartbeat.
Then he heard the familiar sound of Aun's roar. Aun was nearby, and that meant that Jaken was nearby. The toad-imp was just the thing Sesshoumaru needed to boost his energy. He couldn't have Jaken find him like this, not after this amount of time.
Sesshoumaru pushed himself up to a crouch, then forced himself to rise to his full height. He was privately grateful that his head did not throb and his vision did not swim. All the same, the sanctity of this forest still nauseated him. And now he was hungry.
Now, to get out of here... he took a step forward, and his vision blurred.
Damned blade, you are not my master! I. Will. Not. Accept. You.
Tenseiga did not respond. Sesshoumaru took another step forward, and his ears rang.
You have lost. And I will rid myself of you.
Another step. This time there was no pain and no dizziness. Another step. More silence.
He had triumphed.
By the time he had found his way out of the forest, he saw that Aun was asleep in the grass, and Jaken was sitting on its back.
The toad-imp sounded outraged and was badmouthing his lord. It made Sesshoumaru's temper seethe to hear such insubordinate filth coming from the creature's mouth. He wanted to slash the imp with his poison-whip, but he didn't have the energy to generate it.
He settled for a rock that was laying nearby. With a quick stoop, he scooped up the rock, and hurled it expertly. Throwing a rock was really not that different from throwing his poison-whip, and thus he hit his target. The imp went flying.
Aun lifted its heads and looked at him. Jaken immediately got to his feet and starting nattering on about something insignificant.
The imp thinks I give a damn whether he had died or not? I knew he would not. Tenseiga does not kill. It does not even cut.
That's what you think, the blade said sleepily.
"I expected a relieved welcome, Jaken, not an interrogation," Sesshoumaru said coldly to the imp, desperately trying to ignore Tenseiga. He had hoped that he'd won the fight against the sword, but now he was not sure. He could feel its parasitic tentacles probing his thoughts again.
The wind shifted.
As the wind shifted and combed through his long silver tresses, the attitude of the sword at his hip changed. With a strong pulsation, Tenseiga roared to full awareness, yet remained totally silent. Against his will, Sesshoumaru inhaled the wind, tasting the scent.
Blood. Human blood, and the smell of wolves.
His heart skipped a beat. I recognize this blood.
Unbidden, the tiny human girl's face came to mind. It was her blood that he smelled, among all the other blood smells.
Without even bothering to think that maybe he was obeying Tenseiga, Sesshoumaru turned on his heel and began to stride towards the forest. He had to know what was going on. Why would there be wolves here now? He had not scented even the slightest trace of them before, not once in all that time that he lay injured in the forest.
Jaken tagged along, as was his wont. That suited Sesshoumaru just fine. The imp helped to remind him that he had appearances to keep up.
He followed the stench of blood and death down a dank path.
The little human girl lay in a pool of her own blood.
Jaken hobbled forward and commented on the condition of the deceased child. Sesshoumaru barely heard the annoying imp's words, so intent was he on battling Tenseiga's will. The sword was insistent.
You cannot order this Sesshoumaru around.
I refuse. You cannot force me.
I have no need to revive this child.
DRAW ME OR I WILL STOP YOUR HEART.
You cannot do that. You say that we are bound; therefore, if you stop my heart, you too will die. A sword lives or dies depending on its master. If I am your wielder, I am your master. If you stop my heart, you will die with me.
Silence from the blade. He had called its bluff.
Tenseiga. You. Are. Not. My. Master.
No. You are right, I am not your master. I am your partner. Draw me, and I will teach you my secrets.
What is this child to you?
To me, she is nothing. But to you, she is your salvation. Now draw me!
Sesshoumaru put his hand on Tenseiga's hilt, and felt the power radiating from the blade. Before he could stop himself, he drew the blade forth from its sheath, and in that instant, freed from the constraints of the scabbard, Tenseiga revived completely to full power. Unlike Tetsusaiga, it did not transform its shape, but it changed nonetheless.
I lend you my eyes.
The world around Sesshoumaru grew dim and dark.
I will teach you now the secret to my powers. I will show you what no living creature can see.
Impish creatures appeared around the slain girl's body.
These creatures... they are from the afterlife?
They will consume the soul of the deceased, and transport it to the next world.
Very well. I see them. Now what?
I am the Blade of Life. I cannot cut a living creature. I do not belong to the world of the living. But I am a blade and I do cut. I merely cut that which belongs to the next world.
I see. So you will cut them, preventing them from taking her soul...
And she shall reawaken. That is the secret of the Fang of Life.
Very well, then. For suddenly, and only for a moment, deep within his heart, Sesshoumaru wanted to see that radiant smile, to hear that joyful laugh. He didn't know why, and for that moment he didn't care why.
"Tenseiga, I shall test your powers."
With one sinuous motion, he swung Tenseiga down and across the girl. The messengers screeched and shattered as Tenseiga passed through them and dispelled them. Sesshoumaru carried the motion through and returned Tenseiga to its sheath. The sword did not protest.
Jaken gasped and stuttered. Sesshoumaru ignored him and stooped, hoisting the girl up and holding her to him. Now to see if Tenseiga was as it claimed to be.
For a moment he thought that the sword had failed to do as it said it would. The child still seemed dead. But then he heard her heart begin hesitantly to beat. After a couple of beats, it picked up speed and returned to its usual rhythm. The girl then opened her eyes.
Sesshoumaru released her, and she stood up, regarding him with wonder in her big, soft, doey brown eyes.
Humph. Now what do I do with her?
Protect her. She will be your salvation.
We'll see about that.
Indeed we will.
Sesshoumaru stood up silently and turned. He didn't even bother to state the obvious "We're leaving" because if Jaken was too stupid to understand, then he didn't need him. And if the girl chose not to follow, he didn't need her.
He heard the footsteps as both the girl and the tiny toad-imp began to follow, though Jaken made much fuss.
Tenseiga. You compelled me to save a human life today. You say she is my salvation.
I do not expect you to understand. Your father left me to you, so that I might save your black soul. You are mind and I am yours - it cannot be otherwise. While I live, you live; while you live, I live.
I will not command you anymore. I am your partner, not your master. But when I speak, you must listen to me. I will leave you alone in most cases. But if I speak, you must listen to me.
In exchange for what? What can you offer me?
Tetsusaiga cannot harm you as long as I am with you, for it is forged of the same fang as I, in a manner of speaking.
Indeed? This was intriguing. It definitely had his attention now.
I saved you once, without your permission. I will not ever do it again. I will not act even though your life is in danger, unless you ask it of me. Whether I flourish or wane is now up to you.
Sesshoumaru smirked to himself.
If Tetsusaiga was powerless against him now, then perhaps he did not need the Steel-Cleaving Fang anymore. If Tenseiga was its equal, and Tenseiga had chosen him as its master or partner, then perhaps he needed only to destroy Tetsusaiga and he would reach his own full potential.
Tenseiga withdrew its probes. I will sleep now. You have mastered my secrets. The rest is up to you.
This Tenseiga... if I use it well.... may come in very handy indeed.