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The title of Lady is not given; It is earned by Speklez

chapter one

The attack came from nowhere, catching even the Lord of the West off guard. As anyone will tell you, that is a near impossibility. The daiyoukai is as close to indestructible as a nonkami can get. His senses are so sharp and so attuned that not even the maggots a mile away can go undetected from his hearing. So when a demon the size of a building appeared from seemingly nowhere, the widened eyes and gasp from his lips was as much a shock as the demon itself.

His retainer and ward were not new to attacks on the lord and wasted no time scrambling up on the dragon to be lifted to safety. It was not the toad or the human that was the focus of the lord however; it was the infant inu that boasted the marking of his blood, though of different colors.

He twisted in the air in recovery from the hit he took to the side. When his feet touched the ground he pushed himself towards the pup, reaching her seconds before the other demon. Scooping the petrified infant into his arms, he jumped, flipped and landed with a margin of distance between them and what he now knew to be an ogre. He was crouched on the ground, his daughter pressed to his back clutching at his cloths, the sounds of her whimpers beating his ears as loudly as if she was screaming.

Not taking his eyes from the ogre, he pulled his sword and spoke in a low voice he found worked best when she was scared or upset. “Listen well my little one. I want you to run and do not stop until you find the wolf prince. He is near. Stay with him and I will find you.”

Her whimper became a whine, “But Daddy…”

Time being as fickle as it is, he cut her off, “No buts pup. You must go and it must be now.” Tightening the arm around her back in a show of both affection and comfort, “Fear not my pup, all will be well. Now, GO.”

Knowing that tone as she did the western heiress did not argue, simply pivoted and bolted as fast as her tiny legs could carry her. She held her nose to the air searching for the scent that her father sent her after. She told herself to ignore the blood that stained her cloths. Her daddy was the strongest demon alive, no one could actually hurt him; injure yes, but not hurt.

Finding the wolf prince was far easier than it used to be. His was a scent that she knew almost as well as her daddy’s. Being the Eastern Lord and a friend to her daddy meant he was a normal guest at home. The minutes it took to reach him felt like a short eternity to the puppy as she ducked, dodged and hurtled trees, bushes and rocks; ignoring the pain from the cuts and gashes to her skin from the ones she couldn’t miss. Her lungs burned and her legs ached. Her eyes were blurred with tears and her mouth was dry, throat tight with alarm and worry. The whimpers and whines not able to break free from the hold fear and terror held on her. She felt as though we would choke.

Every step that took her farther from her father felt like blasphemy, like a sin that she would never be able to atone for, even should she live forever. She felt as though she stood on a precipice, a double edge sword beneath her feet that would destroy her no matter which way she fell.

When she could hear the voice of the wolf prince, she pushed herself faster, pumped her legs harder than she ever had before. She was close to her destination, close to her very willing protector in her daddy’s absence. Her vision turned to that of being in a tunnel when she was able to see him.

With everything she had she burst through the underbrush, her voice chocked and hitched as she called, “Uncle Kouga!”

The eastern lord whipped around at the sound her voice, his eyes wide with the shock of her abrupt entrance. He forgot all about those he was currently talking to as his eyes soaked up the sight of the inu infant. He knelt down and opened his arms to her as he lunged for his comfort and safety. He slid across the ground on the ball of his foot and knee from the force of impact. He held the trembling pup tightly to his chest, shhing quietly in her ear.

The western heiress didn’t want that however. She wanted his help, her daddy needed it. She knew it, could feel it in her gut. Her bones ached with the knowledge. She pulled her face back and when she looked into the worried eyes of the wolf, she could no longer hold back her tears. They poured like rain down her cheek and chin, landing on the chest of the prince with a thundering boom.

Her lips were quivering, her fangs flashing with every word that was spoken, “Daddy, please uncle Kouga, you have to help him! You have to help Daddy!”

The wolf prince blinked at her before he nodded, “Alright little lady. Tell me what happened and where he is.”

Her body trembled brutally, her jaw clenching and eyes slamming shut, a feral growl ripping from her throat. What the fuck is it with adults and the kami damned questions? Pulling herself from his hold she screamed in his face, her golden eyes flashing red as she started to lose her hold on her beast as her emotions started to get the better of her. “There is no time for questions! Daddy’s hurt and needs help!”

The Inutoshi stood there, shock the dominant emotion flooding the group. They knew who this pup belonged to though they never saw her before so the implication that her father was hurt and needed help was a foreign concept to every one of them. The accusation that Sesshoumaru, the Lord of the Western Lands was even able to be harmed shook them all to their cores. They looked at each other and knew they were all thinking the same thing. If this creature was able to get the best of him, what chance did any of them have to get the best of it?

The child, it seemed, had reached the end of her very limited tolerance for dawdling. With a snarl of pure rage and terror, she turned and, in a flash of red, shot forward in her true dog demon form. In her mind, orders be damned, she was going to do something to help her father.

The transformation was what was needed; it seemed, to get the adults moving. The wolf prince took off hot on her heels, snagged her by the scruff of the neck and hoisted her up to his arms, the warmth of his body forcing her to change back to her humanoid form. She turned and clung to his neck, holding on for dear life as his jewel enhanced legs tore the ground apart under his feet, Inuyasha and company following as well.

The cavalry followed the scent trail left by the pup straight to the clearing that the fight was taking place in. They all broke the tree line at the same time, just in time to see the fatal blow to the western lord, the heartbroken cry from the pup drowning out the pained yelp from the demon lord upon his brutal landing. Kouga tightened his grip on the wiggling child as the lord’s half-brother and his friends jumped in without prompt. Holy arrows and a demon bone boomerang flew through the air, every hit striking true as the inu hanyou swung his mighty sword with every attack he could muster the strength to execute.

The western heiress fought with every molecule in her body to free herself from the embrace she was held in. She didn’t want held, she wanted her daddy and by the gods she would have him. With desperation clearly showing in the shine covering her eyes, she sank her fangs into the flesh closest to her mouth, caring not about the surprised yip that followed. The arms loosened enough for her to escape and escape she did. Tearing across the distance separating her and her father, she fell to her knees next to the battered, bloodied body, a strangled cry catching her breath at the sight. On her hands and knees, she used her nose and nuzzled his, whimpering a noise that everyone on the field flinched at, even as they continued to destroy the ogre. When the demon was killed was anyone’s guess, all that matter was it was gone.

The demon lord opened his eyes and he felt his own heart break at the sight of his daughter. Using the last of his strength, he lifted a bloodied hand and cupped her cheek, caressing her skin with his thumb. The pup pounced on the affection, grabbing his hand and holding it there with everything she had. Her voice was thick with her tears that she could not hold back. “I got Uncle Kouga daddy. We’ll go home and you’ll be okay.”

The conviction in her tone brought tears to the eyes of those watching the scene before them. Unknown to all, this entire encounter was also being watched by a being that none could see. He stood leaning on a tree, foot propped on the trunk, arms crossed; eyes locked on the fallen demon lord. This was not the way he wanted to see his eldest pup again, but the Inu no Tasho would not let him crossover by himself. He would be there for him in death as he was not in life.

The pup rubbed her cheek to her daddy’s palm, her eyes closed as she soaked up what she could of his warmth and presence. When she heard a jagged, watery breath, she opened her eyes and they locked on his. She saw a single tear break from Sesshoumaru’s eye, the only one she has ever seen. His voice was quiet and raw but rang through the clearing like a bell from a shrine.

“I love you, my little one.”

Her breath chocked her, catching hard and thick in the back of her throat. The sound that did make it out had all present turning away, eyes closing to block the sight that they will find destined to haunt their dreams. The pup had heard once or twice that the lord would only ever say or show such emotion over his dead body so the pure disbelief on the pup’s face would stab the heart of even the heartless. Her eyes were wide, jaw slack and lips parted. Her head shook back and forth like if she didn’t agree it couldn’t be true.

All at once her mouth snapped shut, her teeth crashing together with an audible click, her eyes closed and her chin dropped to her chest, as her head started shacking harder. Her lips pulled back from her teeth as a shudder ran the length of her spine and her shoulders trembled under the grief pressing down, threatening to drown her.

Opening her eyes at that moment would torture the inu for the rest of her life. As her eyes sought her father’s for the last time, she watched in horror as his soul abandoned his body, the light dimming in his eyes until it was no more, the hand that was still holding her face in a soft cradle slipped from her grasp even as she tried to hold it in place.

All prospect of station and who could see her fled her thoughts. The wail that tore from the western heiress turned Lady ricocheted off the trees and distant mountains; the echo making it bounce back to the ears of those in the clearing. Forest animals for miles ran to the safety of their homes. Humans and demons alike covered their ears to block out the sound that shattered their hearts for reasons that they could not understand.

The infant grabbed at the blood soaked clothing, her throat raw and bleeding from her screams but going ignored as she called for her daddy to come back, to not leave her, that she needed him.

Kouga stood off to the side, turned away from the sight of his dead friend and shattering pup, eyes closed as tears tracked down his face; his hand covering the still bleeding bite mark that the pup gave him.

Inuyasha stood in a state of shock, unable to look away from his fallen kin. Sesshoumaru was not supposed to be able to die. That was a law of the kami. He had a pup to care for, lands to protect. He had everything that one would want in his life. Even though he was there, even though he saw it, his mind refused to believe that his brother was no longer here.

The Inu no Tasho looked to his left as the spirit of his eldest faded into his realm, still in the same position. Once the former lord of the lands was fully crossed over, he turned his eyes back to his grand pup, his own throat tight at the sight.

Sesshoumaru was as first in a disoriented cloud, but once the sound of his pup’s whines and whimpers reached his ears, it all came crashing down on him. He glanced at his great and terrible sire for a short moment before turning sad and sorrowful eyes to his broken child.

“So, this is how it ends then, Father?”

A short nod answered his question. “Remember your own words to your pup my son. All will be well.”

“I fail to see how.”

Again there was a nod. “I am sure that to be the case for you Sesshoumaru, but it will be. The kami are not to be questioned.”

Sesshoumaru bit back the retort on the tip of his tongue. He knew that, but that didn’t currently mean that he had to like it as he watched his daughter growl and snap at Kouga as he tried to offer her some comfort. His eyes were then drawn to the miko as she went over to a rather large chuck of ogre entrails and pulled out a sizable piece of the Shikon no Tama. He could not hold in the snort as he saw it. “Of course, the damned tama.”

His sire glanced at him before he too turned his eyes to the miko. He was quiet for a moment. A look of contemplation on his face as his head tilted to the side. Whatever was running through his head he did not share, but it was not as if the younger inu really cared.

His entire attention was focused on the scene playing out before him. Kouga was finally able to get his pup away from his body long enough to hoist it up on his dragon’s back. The wolf then placed his human ward on one of the dragon’s necks and Jaken on the other before picking up the now subdued but still crying infant and cuddling her to his chest. The white hot flash of jealousy that shot through him was no surprise, but he found he was able to bite back the growl that wanted to come out if only barely.

He watched as his lifelong friend climbed on and situated himself just so as to keep the body from sliding off during flight. Kouga then turned his attention to his brother’s group and after a hard swallow and clearing his throat,

“Sesshoumaru-sama’s ceremony is in three days.”

As the dragon lifted in the air and turned towards the western palace, Sesshoumaru and his father continued to watch the Inutoshi. Touga because he wanted to see his pup; Sesshoumaru out of sheer morbid curiosity as to what his half-brother would do. Though his own pup was the now rightful ruler of the lands as a pure blood, Inuyasha could indeed lay a claim as the second son of their sire. Being the older of the two if he wanted there would be no cause to argue should he decide to take up his birthright. Would Sesshoumaru like it, fuck no, but he could both see and understand the benefit of doing so. His pup was barely five full season cycles old and even though she had all the help she would need in learning what she needed to do to run the lands as they should be, she was still nothing but a child that had no experience in anything other than playing.

Inuyasha stood looking at the spot that his brother’s blood was still seeping in to the ground. For long moments he did nothing but stare, his mind continuing to race with the implication that his brother was no more. He lifted his head when he heard the monk clear his throat. Looking at him, he waited to see what he wanted as he made his own plans.

Miroku rubbed the back of his neck looking in the direction that the dragon vanished a long moment before he spoke. “The western palace is quite the distance from here my friend. If we are to be present for Sesshoumaru-sama’s funeral, we should be on our way as soon as possible.”

He looked at the others as they nodded their agreements to his proclamation before shaking his head. “I’m not going.”

Everyone in the clearing, sans Sesshoumaru, was in a mild state of shock at his words. Kagome looked at him with both disbelief and a rising ire. “Inuyasha, for the gods you better be joking.” The hanyou looked at the miko, eyes wide at the raw anger in her voice. She never got mad at him, not really anyhow. When she felt she had his attention she continued, “For Kami sake he’s your brother.”

Without thought to how it was going to be perceived, he spoke, “Half-brother.”

Her eyes sparked with a fire that had the inu hanyou taking a half step back. Her voice was calm and quiet, but he knew that was far more dangerous than if she was screaming. “I don’t give a good kami damn if he was only a tenth. He is still your family.”

Again, out of the perceived need to defend his choice he spoke again without thinking, “He tried to KILL me.”

She crossed her arms. “You cut off his arm.”

“He tried to take my sword”

She cocked a brow, “He quit when he found out why it was left you and in turn spend the better part of two and a half years teaching you how to use it.”

 “He tried to kill you.”

She smirked “Then turned around and saved me more times than he tried to kill me. Got any more half-assed excuses there dog boy because I can go all day.”

Inuyasha racked his brain trying to find a way to counter the miko and her justifications. The spirits present glanced at each other as the two went back and forth, mirth shining in both their eyes. The miko sure had a way to keep the pup in check that was certain.

The inu hanyou bit back the smirk as he came up with something he knew that the miko could not defend. “He wouldn’t want me there.”

Both of her brows hid in her hair, “And what of the pup Inuyasha? Sesshoumaru-sama was your brother, but he was her father. You are all the family she has. Are you going to make her suffer because of stupid bullshit that happened in the past that cannot be changed?” He went to open his mouth but the miko was not done, “Shut it. I’m not done. Sesshoumaru was an asshole, there is no if ands or buts about it. But for all he was, he was still you brother, still your family and I promise you if you don’t go it will a choice that you will regret for the rest of your life. I can also promise that it will be a very lonely one. If one would abandon family, one would abandon anyone. So, pull your head out of your ass and think, for once in your life about someone other than yourself. You have a niece…”

“That doesn’t know how the hell I am!”

The look on the miko’s face darkened. “And whose fault is that? If I knew she existed, you sure as hell did.” The shock on the hanyou’s face made her chuckle. “What? It was not like it was a well-guarded secret Inuyasha, the whole of Japan knew of the birth of the western heiress.” The miko knew that she was threading dangerous waters, but she knew from the scrolls from her family shrine that Inuyasha was making the biggest mistake of his life and she was, against everything she knew, trying to change it if the stupid fucker would just work with her.

She was well aware that the pup was going to be fine in the long run, but was in for a hell of a time before that happened. As a rule, she didn’t allow a child to suffer if she could stop it from happening. Inuyasha had the ability to help the baby but he was fighting it with everything he had. She was hoping subtle hints and a rough push in that direction would be enough, but it was looking like it wasn’t going to be. This was going to kill her, but she swore to her mother that she would not out and out do or say anything to change the overall future and to tell him about the life he was about to have for walking away from the last of his kin and responsibilities of his birthright and bloodline would do just that.

Knowing that she was unable to do more than what she already did, she just looked at her friend, eyes pleading for him to think about this. In all six years that she had been traipsing across time, she had never once pushed an issue when the hanyou said something. The one time she did the little bastard refused to pick up on it and think about the implication that it might mean. She saw the resolve in his eyes and wanted to beat him over the head until he saw reason, but knew it would do no good. She finally just shook her head and her shoulders slumped. There was nothing she could do to sway him without breaking her vow to her mother and she knew it but could not stop trying one last time.

“Is there nothing that will change your mind about this?”

He shook his head, and, with his mind set that there was nothing more to say on the topic, he turned on his heal and bolted form the clearing that was now fully saturated with the scent of his brother’s blood.

The miko stood there and watched him go, a sad look overtaking her eyes. The monk came up behind her and set a hand on her shoulder. “He will come to his senses Kagome, you’ll see.”

She shook her head, “No, he won’t and when the wish on the tama is made, he will live to regret this.”

 

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