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Sleeping Beauty by Lyra

Book One: The Taming Of The Inu

Sleeping Beauty

Book One: The Taming Of The Inu

~~~``~~~``~~~

Before I loved you, love, nothing was my own...

Nothing mattered or had a name:

The world was made of air, which waited.

 

I knew rooms full of ashes,

Tunnels where the moon lived...

Questions that insisted in the sand...

 

Inconceivably alien, it all...

Belonged to someone else - to no one:

Until your beauty....

~~~``~~~``~~~

The legend says that the princess was hidden, veiled behind a wall of thorns that grew untended for a thousand years. For seven hundred years young men and princes came and tried to save her. They died impaled on the vicious spikes of the rose-bearing thorns.

Then...then, the Inu came. He was youkai, a demon, a beast greater than all other beasts. They say he came because the most luscious scent he had ever experienced drew him; because he was searching for a mate, and found only that single scent laid like a lure in his path....

~~~``~~~``~~~

For one hundred years, he prowled at the limits of the thorns, howling for his mate. He was tormented by scent; for the first time, denied, the Inu began to dream. He dreamed of blood, and darkness; he dreamed of the gleam of steel and knew not what he dreamt.

He dreamed of the woman, the woman of the scent, the one who had birthed feelings and with them thought, conscience - self.

Something other was born in the beast; something that knew its own existence. It was a like a spark, a flash, a consuming flame in the Inu-darkness:

I – I, who am not the woman.

And then, born of the darkness but separate from it, one with the other:

The woman. Mine...

~~~``~~~``~~~

For the second hundred years, no one may say what lay in the mind of the Inu. He dreamed, and growled, and during that hundred years warriors and kings once more attempted to rescue the maiden; to save the kingdom...to end the spell, cure the curse.

None had the power. All of them died.

But the Inu did not notice the scent of blood being spilled on the thorns, did not notice the sickly odor of decay mingling with the scent of roses.

The Inu only dreamed...and as he dreamed, slowly, he began to become something other.

He began...to change.

~~~``~~~``~~~

It would be the last hundred years of the spell of sleep, but the Inu did not yet know that. He lay dreaming still, shuddering now in the throes of a yet-unquenchable lust. The scent had woven itself into his dreams, a vast net that held all the stars in the sky of his thoughts prisoner.

In the dreams, he wore the flesh of the other in his thoughts. He knew this other was himself, and was confused. He did not yet know what I was, he knew only that I was not the woman.

In the dreams of this other flesh, he held the woman of the scent in clawed hands. In the dreams, he touched her everywhere, peered with his fingers into the secrets of her softness, tasted the liquid that dripped like clear pearls heavy with light from the dark, inviting opening of her body.

In the dreams she made noises that aroused the sleeping Inu to thundering growls of need; when he rutted with her, she cried a sound he could not distinguish – a sound that was always the same.

It is a name, the other told him.

But he did not know what that was.

~~~``~~~``~~~

The Inu slept for so long that the legend of his greatness, a destructive power more swift to take a man's life than the thorns, had faded. Vines, twisted and green, had grown over the Inu in his rest. As he changed, becoming more human, they overtook even the sight of him.

Humans, short-lived, fragile humans, grew old, and died, and forgot even the memory of terror.

The thorns were a presence as old as life.

It was a difference that finally woke the Inu, shaking the myths of men for all time. A difference; a sound of success...not sorrow.

~~~``~~~``~~~

He had never heard a shout of victory in a human voice from so close, but still – it was the words that roused him...the words, that followed the shout.

“I knew this blade would be enough to thwart these thorns -”

The Inu remembered well the pain of the thorns as they tangled in his fur and pierced even the barrier of his youki-infused flesh. He did not understand the words, but he understood purpose – for he, too, had a purpose. He understood triumph, and the sound of the steel that had been in his dreams.

He understood a threat to his one, to his woman, to the one he wanted, - oh, how he wanted – the one to whom he could not find a way.

Awakened, angry, the Inu burst through the vines that had tangled over him during his long sleep, and stumbled.

He stood on two feet, not four. Paws had become hands; his claws were deadly, but delicate, no longer blunt, massive instruments of destruction.

He passed his hands over his face, the flat human features, no protruding muzzle – over flat, pale skin, the muscles beneath trembling with tension and suppressed desire; over taut buttocks...no tail...over long arms, smooth with strength; over undeniable maleness, hardening now at the memory of the woman, at wakened awareness of the wonderful, terrible scent.

She.

The Inu did not pay attention to the onrushing man, so enraptured and confused was he by the change in his flesh. He noticed the sword only when it slashed open his chest, collarbone to hip. The wound was shallow but it bled profusely, and the Inu was overwhelmed by pain.

Pain...he had never known such sensation. As terrible as it was, he wanted more of it; the shock of blood on his senses, the swift fire lighting all his nerves – so new!

So exciting.

Smiling, the Inu stepped forward, threatening even in a man's shape, emitting an aura that was undeniably youkai. Again the man swung at him; the sword opened a second wound, just beneath the first.

The Inu's smile stretched into something unnatural, inhuman. The pain – not as fresh, now, not as new; still, how brilliant was that sensation – how dark, how bright. The man died swiftly after that; the Inu took his sword.

The sound of steel. Pain – the opposite of pleasure.

~~~``~~~``~~~

The Inu was a creature of darkness, a creature of power, the essence of offense, a gold starburst of energies entwined, given breath and flesh and fury.

In the shape of a man, he had not the knowledge of a man - yet he knew battle, and the feel of the hilt in his hand was a right and proper thing, as if it had always been there. With swift strikes he made his way through the thorns. They cut him, but his skin healed in moments, unmarked...and the rose petals fell around him, red as drops of blood.

~~~``~~~``~~~

The blade of the sword that the Inu had taken was well-tempered for its task. Three hundred years of waiting had brought him to this moment, but he knew only that scent, so close now, so close.

It led him through the gardens of a castle that wore a ruinous air, though it was still intact; the trees and flowers had grown together into a maze of brilliant greenery.

Inside, he found strangeness – still figures, as though made of wax, some of them human, some animal. He passed by a fire that appeared frozen in a moment in time, caught by surprise in the middle of a flicker.

The scent of the woman led him past many rooms, down long hallways and up a steep and winding stair. At the top there was an open door, and beyond it lay the focus of the scent, it's source: the woman.

The one...

Sunlight came through the windows of the tower he had ascended and gleamed on the planes of his naked body. Nostrils widening, pupils dilated, he stared at her, drinking in this first sight of her like cool water after a desert trek. She turned, breathing softly, dreaming something that had brought her features to sweetness.

One arm lifted the blanket, tightening the cover across her breasts; her legs parted and one foot drifted off the bed, dainty toes exposed. Of the people he had passed, she alone looked alive; she slept, but as if it were a natural rest; as if she were dreaming.

He watched her, the innocent shifting of her limbs, the rise and fall of her breasts as she breathed, the movement of her mouth as she muttered incoherent words – watched her, and felt the lust-hunger rise up in him, strong again now.

The intensity of his arousal drew his erection up against his belly, heavy, hot, glistening with the occasional drop of wetness. He reached out with one hand to tug away the woman's cover, and stared down.  Her nightdress was sheer; the flesh that taunted him from beneath it was the pale color of peach tea.

The Inu climbed across the bed and held himself over her, his eyes focused on the flush of her cheeks, the sudden prominence of her pink, pointed nipples.

Her head turned, and she mumbled again in her seemingly-endless sleep. Suddenly, more than anything, he was tempted by the parted paleness of her lips.

He drew his tongue across them once, gently.

He was Inu; it was the only kiss he knew.

~~~``~~~``~~~

End Of Book I

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For r0o's GM Challenge

Third Challenge: 11/1/11-2/15/12

A/N: This is part I of at least two...and probably three, that rework the old legend of sleeping beauty.  This first part has told the beginning of the tale, switching between the perspective of a storyteller and the perspective of Sesshomaru-as-Inu.  The second part will tell the middle, switching between the perspective of the storyteller and that of Kagome, the sleeper who awakens.  The poem in the epigraph is excerpts of much of Paul Neruda's Sonnet #25. 

**Note: I was too tired to notice when I posted it, but I've fixed the formatting now so all the "narrator" portions are properly italicized.

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