A lone figure stood upon a cliff, watching the waves crash into the shore. Lately, memories had surfaced and were causing him great confusion.
“Why do you desire power so much? Why do you seek power, my son?” Touga asked, his back turned towards his eldest son.
“The path I walk is the way of supreme conquest, and it is power that will reveal the way for me.” He replied, his tone cold and uncaring.
His father sighed harshly. “Supreme conquest.” He said, making the two words sound filthy as they rolled off his tongue. “Tell me, Sesshomaru. Do you have someone to protect?”
He paused. “Protect?” He asked. Finally, he replied, “The answer is no. I, Sesshomaru, have no need of such.”
His father's disappointment could be felt clearly as he transformed into his huge youkai form and took off after the human princess that held his heart.
Those parting words continued to echo in his mind and he realized that those words first appeared the day he had met his brother and that strange girl in his father's tomb.
After the girl had pulled out the sword, she faced him and denied him what he believed to be his birthright. Instead of cowering before him, as so many other had before her, she had talked back to him, survived his poison, and then gave the sword to his worthless brother. She even managed to assault Jaken a couple of times just to keep the small toad from interfering in the battle between himself and Inu Yasha.
Funny. It amazed him that the girl was so loyal to the hanyou, who clearly had other loyalties. It was well-known that the hanyou was desperately in love with the dead miko, and she with him, but because of Naraku, they were destined to remain apart, even though the hanyou had agreed to go to hell with her.
Such loyalty amazed him. The girl followed his half-brother around the way Rin and Jaken followed him around. They were always with him and though he did not say so, he liked not being alone. Both had somehow made their way underneath his skin and made themselves a part of his life. Yes, he was still a bastard to those who crossed him, but he refused to abandon the two who were absolutely loyal to him.
He had heard rumors that his half-brother and his small pack had managed to find several jewel shards. Even though he did not need them, he had started to look for them as well. Naraku was clearly getting desperate for the jewel's completion and so, if he found the shards, then Naraku would come to him.
But, Naraku was not his problem. Nor was his half-brother. His problem rested with that strange girl who walked beside his brother, and stood by his side no matter what.
He was well aware that she was not from this time era. Her clothing, mannerisms, speech, and other things gave that fact away like a beacon of light in darkness. Though he was used to women who did not speak until spoken to and kept their heads down while they waited to be noticed, this girl made people notice her. She was not shy about her needs and it was her willingness to endanger herself for the safety of her friends that had earned her a small portion of his respect. True, she had shattered his armor during the fight where he had used an arm given to him by Naraku, and true, he did attack her, but he would not have harmed her. He simply wanted her out of the way. He was teaching his little brother a valuable lesson, as was his duty, and she had disturbed him.
The girl was clearly not afraid of him. It was obvious the way she had spoken up and offered information to him as to where Naraku was, simply to keep his half-brother from fighting him. She was worried that Inu Yasha would be harmed and so, she had offered what they knew.
The girl clearly needed someone in her life who would watch over her as she watched over her pack. The fact that she had adopted a small youkai child told him that not only was she compassionate, but held the instinct that would make her valuable as a mother. Anyone, man or youkai, would be honored to have such a prize, but his idiot half-brother could not see the gem that the gods had placed before him, and for that, he was a damned fool.
“Do you desire power so much?” Power was something he had always sought. It was tangible. He could look at his power by looking at his lands. His lands were the most beneficial and profitable. He was feared and it was well-known that to challenge him was to accept death.
Before that meeting in his father's tomb, his thoughts were corrupted with the sword he believed to be his. That sword would hold the key to his total domination of his lands and of Japan. With that sword, he would be able to conquer other territories and assert his leadership over his beloved country.
He felt no guilt at his actions, and took no pity on those foolish enough to challenge his authority. Or, at least that was how he felt. After meeting that girl, his entire outlook changed.
Yes. He would admit that he had once believed that the path of greatness laid in supreme conquest. Conquest of those weaker than him. His father had believed that in order to achieve greatness, one must understand his opponents and then strike. It was a shame that his father had lost his life. Knowing what he knew now, he understood that he had missed out on teachings that would have made him not only a better lord, but a better youkai male.
Yes. He was desired. He was lusted after. But not by the one he wanted. No, the one he wanted looked at another with love-filled eyes. The one he wanted didn't want him, and that fact actually hurt, though he would never show it.
Despite his cold demeanor, he still had a heart. He still had a soul. But, despite all of these things, he could not lower himself to simply walk up to her and tell her these things. Perhaps if he did, she might come to feel the same for him as he for her, but he would not do it. Maybe a small part of him was still that insecure pup that he had once been, the same pup who had begged for attention at his father's knee.
“Why do you seek power, my son?” He didn't know anymore. Honestly. Everything that he had believed had gone up in smoke the day he realized that there was so much more to life than supreme conquest.
There was also light. There was also music. And, most importantly, there was her. The girl with the long, ebony locks, whose laughter echoed throughout his mind when he was troubled. The girl who bore a striking resemblance to Rin, who clearly shared some traits with the older girl.
Both were lovely. Both were bold in their curiosity. And, both loved with their whole heart, no matter the cost, even if the cost was their heart torn up and handed back.
Power was no longer his obsession. He wanted something else. He simply used the sword his brother carried as an excuse. Pathetic, no? Having to resort to pretending to want something just to get a glimpse of the thing that you really want.
If word of his true feelings ever came to light, the girl would be placed into danger due to one of his many enemies wanting to get at him. He could never admit that he had fallen in his father's footsteps and fallen in love with a mortal. To do so, he would be discredited in the eyes of his peers, though if he thought that he actually stood a chance to be with her, he would not care what others thought, but until that time, if it ever came, he would remain the way he was and be secure in watching her from afar.
That was the best way to handle this situation. To remain aloof, and protected. Unlike his half-brother, he did not allow his emotions to control him. He would not break in his belief that it was foolish to reveal emotions that could later be used against him.
Let Inu Yasha continue to pursue the dead miko. One day, she would return to the earth and the hanyou would realize that the living girl who had loved him would one day be long gone. Gone to another's arms and cradling another's pup. He would lose her and it would serve him right.
But, hope continued to spring eternal as he wondered what the girl would look like as she held his pup. He could see in his mind's eye the tiny puppy ears, the golden eyes, and the tiny fangs. Despite what he had always told Inu Yasha, he was not bothered by hanyous. He would be honored to be the father of a hanyou, especially if the pup came from the girl he desired.
“Do you have someone to protect?” He had told his father no. He had claimed that he didn't need someone to protect. Now, he understood where his father got his power from. His love for the mortal princess gave him strength. Her love gave him hope. She made him stronger simply by being his woman.
He knew now just how wrong he had been all those long years ago. He had been nothing more than a foolish pup, yearning to break free from the shadow of his sire. Had he been smarter, he would have gone with his father and protected his back, but he had been angry that his father refused to relinquish the sought-after swords and so, he had turned his own back and walked away, letting his father meet his death.
However, those days had faded into memory and now, he had a duty to his pack. He had to find Naraku and destroy the vile hanyou so that Rin could grow up and live unafraid. He wanted nothing but the best for his young ward.
He also had one other person to protect. Her. The girl who had not only captured his attention, but his heart as well. It was his secret love for her that gave him the ability to continue on, seeking a creature that dared to threaten the young female.
“Do you have someone to protect?” Turning his eyes up towards the crescent moon that was an identical to the one upon his forehead, he lifted his single arm, and held his palm out towards the moon.
“Once, you asked me if I had someone to protect.” He said, his voice clear, even over the loud roar of the sea. “I told you no, that I had no need of such. I am here to tell you that I wish that I had listened to your lessons, and I wish that I had taken the advice that you had offered to me. But, I also want you to know that now, I do have someone to protect. Two females that hold my heart. It has taken me years to understand how you could love a weak, mortal woman, but now I understand, and apologize that it has taken me so long to thank you for all that you have taught me. You were not weak, nor were you foolish. It would seem that I am more like you than I realized, and I am honored that you were my father.”
He lowered his arm and watched as the stars twinkled merrily and his eyes widened as he caught sight of a shooting star. Nodding in satisfaction that his father had indeed had heard his words, he turned and began to walk back over to his companions.
His golden gaze was soft as he tenderly lifted his young ward into his arm and wrapped his tail around her little body for warmth. As the small pup slumbered, he glanced over at his retainer and found the toad asleep, his mouth flopped open and his tongue poking out.
Leaning back, his eyes closed and he found himself wondering if the girl with his half-brother was warm enough, safe enough, and taken care of properly. Well, if she wasn't then he would step in and take over his brother's responsibilities. Now, he, Sesshomaru could say that he did have someone to protect and it was because he needed such.
As the three slept underneath the stars, the spirit of a certain phantom youkai lord slowly wandered back up to the heavens, satisfied that his eldest son was now upon the correct path. Now, he could rest knowing that his Sesshomaru had learned the most valuable lesson he had to teach. Sesshomaru had finally learned to love.