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Laying Amongst Dokatsu Updated by Nostawen Allesiel

Delirious Dog Demon

Perhaps the devil was short of assistants, Sesshomaru thought through a haze of pain. The torturing imps were doing an exemplary job on his thigh and back.

He fought to detach himself from the agony. Float above it, beyond the reach of fiery pincers, a play that had stood him in good stead during countless other battle wounds.

'Control it, Sesshoumaru,' his own subconscious' steely voice reverberated inside his head. 'They can touch you only if you are weak enough to allow them to.' But it wasn't the pain crushing him in its grip this time. It was the barren reaches inside his soul, the overwhelming sense of waste...

What did it matter if he screamed for an eternity? No one would hear him. No one would care.

Fool, he derided himself in disgust. Don't be a fool. Whatever lies beyond this mist, face it like a true demon. If it's hell you're in, you deserve it. You've earned it.

If they kept a tally of sins in the Dark One's kingdom, Sesshoumaru Taisho's must be long indeed.

The slightest groan squeezed from between the Demon Lord's white lips, and he shifted, trying to get away from the pain.

With fierce determination, he tried to force his eyes open, the lids so heavy they seemed nailed to his cheekbones. Spears of light screwed relentlessly into the center of his skull, his stomach threatening revolt as he struggled to focus.

'What the hell?' The thought streaked through his beleaguered brain as his sense of smell became fully functional along with his bleary eyesight. In his imagination of what the underworld would be like he had never thought of this garish form of torture— hell was an array of smells and colors that would make any rational youkai ill. Bright blue walls with gold accents on the borders. The scent of green apple and fresh vanilla was overpowering in a thick sickly sweet blanket.

The saccharine odor was making his stomach churn even more in protest, and Sesshoumaru wished he could block it all out. Already the headache he'd had since waking was becoming a full-blown migraine.

Most alarming of all, bare inches from his face a pair of small brown eyes in a distorted multi-colored face peered at him, unblinking. Instinctively he inhaled deeply while he tried to shift away from it, trying to identify what exactly hovered so close. Unfortunately, the vanilla had overloaded his over-sensitive nose to where nothing was discernable, and if that wasn't bad enough the odd face moved with him, inescapable.

Suddenly something swept it out of the way, a voice, a low scolding murmur, drifting through the haze. Another figure appeared in its place. A soft pale oval swam before him — large, troubled blue-grey eyes, raven-black hair. A mouth carved in generosity and sweetness.

'An angel?' he wondered in his fever induced delirium. 'Was it even possible?'

Except this heavenly apparition seemed strongly familiar to him. As though he should know her. However, her relationship to him remained a mystery.

"Buyo! You naughty cat, get off of him."

The female voice that was filled with winsome music, her brow creasing in concern. He noticed that when she'd come closer to him the smell of apples got a little bit stronger.

'Heaven... was he in heaven?' Sesshoumaru swallowed hard. There must be some mistake. Kami knew, when they found it, he'd be hurled down into the abyss. He had to lie still, quiet, not betray the truth about himself.

She leaned closer and Sesshoumaru could make out the red of the shirt she was wearing. The crew-neck collar was askew, turned at an odd angle till one of her smooth collarbones was exposed. Wisps of hair tumbling in a most troubling disarray trailed over one scarlet encased shoulder, displaying a messy braid.

'An untidy angel?'

He couldn't remember any such pictures he'd seen as a pup. Every wing feather had been in place with military precision, every golden tress expertly curled.

She evidenced a most appalling lack of heavenly discipline.

Sesshoumaru tried to speak through parched lips. "Wh-who are...Wh-where..."

"I'm going to take care of you, Sesshoumaru. Just lie still and let me redress your wounds," the angel requested. "If you'll stay still it will all be over in a moment."

"Over? Wh-what?"

She drew something from beside her into his line of vision. Sesshomaru unconsciously shrank back as he stared at the small needle threaded with black string.

'This must be hell after all!'

He knew he was acting out of character from his usual stoic self, but he did have a raging fever and was terribly weak, so he figured he was to be granted allowance for his behavior.

Besides, never in his entire youkai life had Sesshoumaru needed to be stitched with a human's primitive methods. His accelerated healing had always taken care of any injury he had sustained in the past. Even the blow from the Tetsusaiga that Inu Yasha had nailed him with. For some reason his demon power was hardly functioning properly at all.

Now it looked like the wounds on his body would have to be treated the same as if he were a human.

A realization that thoroughly disgusted the Taiyoukai and made the pounding in his temples grow.

Her hand was quivering so hard it would be a wonder if she didn't end up stabbing him in a vulnerable spot with it.

Following his amber gaze to her trembling hand, Kagome gave a timid smile and apologized.

"Sorry for the shaking."

'Aw, a polite demon from hell then,' he surmised wisely in his foggy mind.

"I've never done this before and only have a couple of veterinary books on dogs and cats to guide me." Smiling again, she tried to lighten the mood. "It must work about the same, don't you think?"

"Torture...dogs in...hell? What for? Biting their owners for stealing food from the table?" came his puzzled questions as a confused frown marred his brow. The amber eyes looking back into her own were a bit glassy and unfocused.

"Hell? What are you talking about, Sesshoumaru?" Kagome's face now held bewilderment.

'Maybe he has a higher fever than I thought,' she worried before talking to the obviously delirious dog demon. "I just need to stitch the cut on your leg. You aren't healing on your own quickly enough and I don't want you getting a worse infection."

She flashed back to the memory of why she had a needle and thread, hovering over Sesshoumaru.

Kagome had been dozing in her desk chair for about an hour when some sixth sense had woken her up, urging her to check on her patient.

Rubbing her gritty eyes, she'd first checked the time on the white and black wall clock.

3:47am. Looking quickly to Sesshoumaru she'd felt a sinking in her middle as she saw him breath in a slight wheeze. His chest, visible now because the blue blanket was bunched around his waist, was rising and falling in a jerky fashion.

Standing, she leaned over his fitful form to place a hand upon his brow. Trepidation darkened her eyes when she felt the dry heat of a dangerously high fever. Kagome wasn't sure if a dog demon's physiological system ran more along the basis of a human or a canine.

Either way she knew his temperature was way above where it should be. The fact that it was a dry heat emanating from him did not bode well.

Thinking quickly, she pulled the blanket completely off and gasped in surprise at seeing the red stain coming through the bandage on his thigh. If that was anything to go by the wound on his back would be the same.

'There goes my favorite comforter,' a voice inside snipped before she'd firmly pushed it away. There were more important things to worry about.

Deftly, she unraveled the now ruined gauze from his leg and chest. When she performed the latter once more she'd rested him against her and the heat coming from him made her feel like she had a fever herself.

The cuts were still healing, but his youkai healing was not working nearly fast enough.

They were now a bit more closed than before, but an angry red surrounded the areas.

'That would explain the infection'

Knowing what had to be done, she quietly left her bedroom to stealthily make her way into the living room. Turning on the overhead light, she breathed a sigh of relief while hurrying over to her mother's sewing basket set beside the couch.

Digging passed the multiple colors of embroidery thread, crochet hooks, and thimbles Kagome finally came across what she was looking for.

Making a sound of triumph, she smiled happily at the blue plastic container of a sewing kit. Closing the lid of the sewing basket, she ran as silently as she could, turning off the light as she passed it, and went upstairs to the injured Taiyoukai.

Rushing into her bathroom, she turned on that light as she opened the sink cabinet and retrieved rubbing alcohol.

Brandishing her prizes, she extinguished the momentary illumination, hurrying back to Sesshoumaru's side. Setting the kit and disinfectant on the now cluttered night stand, she removed the needle and thread before making sure the bedroom door was closed.

Turning back to attend Sesshoumaru she noticed his amber eyes were open and Buyo was currently laying across the dog demon's chest. The two were studying one another warily.

Kagome moved forward and removed the obese feline from the distrustful youkai, scolding the family cat as she did so. Gingerly, she perched herself at his hip, starting a little when Sesshoumaru's hand knotted into her shirt bottom, as if to assure himself he wasn't alone.

Which now brought them to the situation they currently found themselves in. With her trying to look confident with her impromptu suture and Sesshoumaru gazing at her doubtfully.

Apparently, he didn't even know who she was, if his behavior thus far was anything to take into account.

With him semi-aware Kagome worried about opening the bottle of isopropyl. If it irritated her inferior senses she couldn't imagine the overpowering effect it would have on him.

Then again, Inu Yasha passed out any time a scent overwhelmed his senses. Perhaps this wouldn't be a bad thing after all...

He struggled partially upright, his head cracking against the headboard behind him.

"Stitch my wounds? That means I'm...still alive." Sesshomaru felt no particular pleasure in the realization.

Those blue-grey eyes widened with astonishment beneath ridiculously thick lashes. "Of course you're still alive!"

"I prefer to stay that way." He grimaced while reaching for the needle and thread. "Give me...that."

Horror flooded her face. Quickly she pulled the sharp implement out of distance of his questing hand. "You can't possibly —"

"I'm afraid I must...insist. You're shaking so hard you'll never hit the wound correctly. I prefer not to draw this out any longer than ...necessary." A clear expression of distaste graced his beautiful flushed features.

She still didn't look ready to surrender her mission, and he watched closely as she reached over to the night stand to pick up a clear bottle of liquid and settle it between her knees.

Kagome gave the stubborn Lord an apologetic stare.

"I'm afraid I'll have to apologize in advance for this too, but there is no other way."

Amber eyes narrowing in anger, Sesshoumaru growled in his throat while pushing his torso forward to take the bottle from her.

Unscrewing the top quickly, Kagome winced when the strong smell of medicine entered his olfactory system and promptly made him unconscious.

All Sesshoumaru felt was an explosion of bright sparks of pain explode in his brain before he passed out again.

"Thank goodness that worked," Kagome told the silent room. Carefully putting her utensils on the night stand again, she repositioned the large Taiyoukai till he lay flat once more.

Eyeing his leg in some fear, she disinfected the needle, thread, and both her hands and then set to work.

Pulling the thin black material through muscle and tissue, she mumbled unhappily, "This really just isn't my day."

Putting the last piece of tape over the white gauze, Kagome let out a groan of exhaustion as she placed the blue blanket over Sesshoumaru's quieted tall frame.

The entire procedure of putting him back together had been long and nerve wracking. Never again did the young miko want to go through pushing metal through skin like she was simply making a design on a tea towel.

Shuddering in disgust, she deposited the used gauze, bowl of dirty water, and the rest of the items she had used for her little 'surgery' in the bathroom sink. Tomorrow morning she would ask her mother to take care of it. She didn't think she could stand seeing the red tinged water with its sharp needled lying on the bottom of the ceramic bowl without getting physically ill.

"I hope you appreciate all this, you big puppy," came her disgruntled comment.

But, seeing as how it was the Lord of the Western Lands we were talking about that was highly unlikely. Thanking a human? Yeah, sure. That would happen right about the time Naraku and Inu Yasha settled down together for a tea party.

Giggling at her own random thoughts, Kagome shook her head at herself thinking, 'Okay, girl. You have officially reached the point of needing sleep no matter what. Any more delusional episodes and someone will commit you to the nuthouse.'

Scooting the uncomfortable chair closer to Sesshoumaru, she wearily took post their again. Shivering a bit from how cold it was in the room, she eyed his long white tail.

'Why not,' she told herself with a grin while picking up the heavy silk textured appendage and draping it over her lap like a throw. Sighing in contentment at how warm it made her, she shifted her blue-grey eyes to his beautiful face with the markings of his station and heritage over his alabaster skin.

Petting his tail she informed him jovially, "Hey, it's only fair you share some body heat since you are keeping me up all night, took over my entire bedroom, and are sleeping in the only bed."

Of course the youkai slept on, breathing a little easier and the red color not so visible on his cheekbones any more. The fever that had been consuming him earlier had gone down as she worked, which Kagome was eternally grateful for. The thought of giving Sesshoumaru an in-bed bath to keep him cool was not that appealing.

She could just see him waking up and either killing her right away for supposedly molesting him in his sleep, or telling her she was a demon from hell tormenting him again.

Kagome caught her bottom lip between her teeth and continued to look at him, so still, so seemingly vulnerable, helpless. But he wouldn't be thus forever. Her fingers stole up to the place where her shirt was twisted to cover her other shoulder that hadn't been exposed earlier. There she touched the fading scars that marred the smooth skin, a tracery of teeth marks that might have ended her life.

She closed her eyes, remembering the wolf she had helped at Kouga's request, one so weak it couldn't even lift its great head. She'd tended it, trusted it. But the instant it was strong enough, the day she had felt confident to tend it on her own, the beast had tried to tear out her throat. If she hadn't managed to grasp her bow handle, striking the creature on its wounded side while calling for Kouga, Kami alone knew what might have happened.

Yet, even as Kaede had tended the gashes left by the fangs, Kagome hadn't blamed the animal. The fault had been her own. She'd known what he was when she made the decision to help him.

The wolf she had been able to take comfort in the fact that Kouga was there to subdue in case it got out of hand, but she couldn't handle this Taiyoukai so simply. The one thing she was certain of was that he was a youkai wreathed in violence— his very life's work was bound up in hurting instead of healing, imposing the will of a mightier race on a weaker one. And that was not the least of her worries.

She pushed them aside and stared seriously at Sesshoumaru's slumbering body.

"I don't know what I have gotten myself into, but I can hardly just dump you in the middle of no where now. Best to get you well and hope you don't decide to leave any teeth marks of your own when you go."

Somehow, she doubted she would come from this entire episode unscathed. She just wasn't that lucky.

If that was to be her plan, there was a great deal to plan before he came back to his full strength. She had to make him as comfortable as possible now that the first stage of his ordeal was over— after all, an uncomfortable dog demon had a tendency to bite.

At least she had one thing she could hold over his arrogant head in case he started to get too full of himself during his convalescence.

A bit of an evil smirk graced her rosy lips. "Ha! I wonder how many people know you are completely out of it when you get sick." Thinking about how often demons did not remain ill for extended periods of time she doubted it was many. Perhaps his parents, but no one else.

Giving him another reassuring pat on his tail, she gave him a sympathetic look. "Don't worry, I won't tell any one. You're secret is safe with me."

Sesshoumaru slept on.

Yawning loudly, Kagome slouched further on the chair. It was now 5am and in a couple of hours the whole household would be getting up to start their day. Souta would be going to highschool, grandpa would be telling anyone who would listen to him about this curse or that, her mother would be cleaning the house and maintaining the home and Kagome...well she would be playing nurse to a mass murdering youkai.

"Yippy for me," came her less than enthusiastic reply as her half closed eyes kept themselves trained on Sesshoumaru.

'Good thing I am not in school right now. I can just hear grandpa's excuses this time for why I wasn't in class.'

After Kagome had graduated from highschool she had forgone going to university simply because her future in the Sengoku Jedai was so uncertain. The shikon shards still needed to be found, and at the time she had made the decision Inu Yasha had yet to make a choice.

The bitter part of her wished she had enrolled in college any way. At least then she could have said she had a life to live over here to help her avoid the hanyou for a while.

The familiar prickle of tears assaulted her eyes, causing her to sniff and hurriedly wipe away the few drops of water that managed to escape from her tear ducts.

'Damn, I thought I was passed this part of the whole 'healing process,' she told herself in frustration while scrunching her lids tightly over her eyes to stem the consistent water flow.

Sniffling again, she gave a start of surprise and uttered an "Eep!" when she felt the tail that had been laying placidly over her thighs snake around her waist and tighten. The tip was once again flicking up and down softly against her stomach, a soothing tattoo of beat that transmitted a bit of comfort to the distraught miko.

Rubbing her eyes free of moisture, she stared incredulously at the dead to the world Taiyoukai whose tail was wrapped around her like a boa.

'What in the world...,' her muddled brain thought. She just didn't know how many more unexpected things she could handle tonight. The considerate gesture of Sesshoumaru just might be the last straw to her already questionable sanity.

Giving him a watery smile, Kagome stretched her legs out till a portion of them lay on the bed with Sesshoumaru, the tips of her toes brushing his middle through his blanket.

Taking a steadying breath, she regarded the beautiful creature before her.

"Thank you, Sesshoumaru."

For once she actually got some sort of response from him. The tail squeezed her a moment as though he had heard her and his hand laying next to her foot lightly moved to rest on her ankle.

Chuckling softly, Kagome rested her head to the side a bit on her shoulder, and settled in to keep up her vigil on the paradox that was Sesshoumaru.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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