Weeds & Wildflowers by Sereia

Chapter 1

For Faebruary 2024

Week 1 Prompts: Sparkle, Lure, Treats, Changeling


Sesshoumaru didn't typically venture into the mortal realm, but the life behind a desk had become stifling lately, and his assistant had suggested a change in scenery. He couldn't deny Bankotsu's claim, but winter was still upon them, most of the life dormant underground, closer to him than that of the humans who would covet it.

Dark robes rippled around his ankles, and not for the first time, he wondered if leaving them as such was a good idea. Humans were exceedingly superstitious; he'd already been labelled the Killing Perfection, even though it wasn't his job to kill anyone in the first place.

And considering what Jakotsu enjoyed wearing while fulfilling his role, it was a wonder that people mistook Sesshoumaru for him at all.

Sighing, he continued his walk through the forest, attempting to enjoy the soothing orchestra that played around him. The buzz in the underworld was both constant and confounding, suffocating him with its silence. His job was full of paperwork, not people, and he'd thought being up here would release the pressure in his chest, but it had only made it worse.

He'd woken with a splitting headache, and nothing about his usual routine had made it better. Bankotsu had taken one look at him and knew the pile of reports on his desk would only worsen his mood, so he'd encouraged him to feign illness and talk a walk.

Sesshoumaru snorted. Illness, indeed. When had a god ever gotten sick? His father had probably invented the practice, if only to excuse himself to the mortal realm to seek out her. He paused, the scent of moss wafting past his nose.

He couldn't deny love existed, but the thought of someone as powerful as his father being plagued by it the moment he set his eyes on the dark-haired princess still struck him as odd. He'd initially thought it the work of that infernal rogue with the bow, but unless a soul bond was involved, the effects of the arrows were not long-lasting.

Miroku liked to pair up the most unthinkable creatures just for a lark, though he much preferred pretending he, himself, had been shot, somehow convincing the prettiest women there was no chance of resisting the arrow's charms—straight into their bed chambers.

How he hadn't been fileted by a spurned husband yet, Sesshoumaru would never know.

Sucking in a cleansing breath, he continued on his way. He hadn't come up here to focus on his colleagues. His headache hadn't dissipated, and neither had the pressure in his chest, and it only seemed to increase the further into the forest he went.

Was something calling to him?

Sesshoumaru shook his head. Nothing called to him. He was meant for the shadows. Only those who spent their time in the light were of any use to humans—or anyone else.

He didn't resent it—he enjoyed the solitude most of the time—but he'd settle for creatures willing to stay in the same room as him once in a while.

A strange light flashed in the distance, and the pressure in his chest increased. Frowning slightly, he changed direction, snow crunching under his feet. The light flashed again, shifting from white to pink, and an odd awareness slid up his arm.

Just because he spent more of his time in the underworld didn't mean he wasn't privy to the goings-on of men. Jakotsu was more than willing to share his findings upon his return, though it was usually just to kill time as he cleaned blood from his blade.

Sacrifices were increasing, but even the most simple-minded humans knew there were specific requirements for it to work correctly. And even then, depending on the god they wished to speak to, the chance of them getting what they wanted was slim. Gods, especially those who resided in the light, preferred to be worshipped, not have to clean up after a human's madness.

The purity of this particular sacrifice had Sesshoumaru increasing his step. The only way to reach that level was to be well-versed in holy power.

Or to be an innocent.

And judging by the jeers between the chorused chanting, he was betting on the latter.

Muscles rolled along his jaw. He had enough paperwork to deal with when it came to the needless wars fighting over territory; he didn't need names added to his roster for this. As he broke the treeline, there was a swell in volume and power.

Her power.

For a moment, he'd thought himself caught up in some cruel game of cat and mouse—the other gods knew better than to bother him for a lark—but upon closer inspection, the woman at the centre of their circle wasn't a goddess, but a human.

Sapphire eyes blazed, chin held high even though her wrists were bound behind her back. The circle of men weaved and bobbed like ocean waves, hands reaching for her before being forced back by her barrier.

What was left of her barrier.

Hackles rose as the scent of blood hit his senses, and he realized the pattern on her white kimono he'd initially thought were flowers were the centre of each stab wound. Each cut had been meticulously placed, ensuring they'd inflicted the most damage—the most pain.

She was dying, yet she refused to give them an inch, and something shifted in his chest before his power rose, sending the vermin to their knees.

The leader recovered first, calling out to his brethren about how he'd been right. "Did I not promise you riches if you joined me?" he boasted, arms wide. "The Killing Perfection himself has answered our summons!" The crowd cheered, though they kept their heads bowed. At least they knew better than to think themselves on the same level as him.

The woman slowly turned her head, eyes widening fractionally, but there was no fear, only resignation, and his anger grew. How long had they kept her captive for her to accept such a fate as being sacrificed for their greed?

"My lord," the leader stated, pressing his face into what remained of the snow at his feet. "We hope that you will take favour on us with the gift we have bestowed upon you."

Sesshoumaru sneered, not even bothering to keep his power hidden. The man quivered as he passed but was ignored as he approached the woman. He stepped easily within her barrier, though it seemed she'd been expecting it, her eyes never leaving his.

"I'm sorry," she whispered when he got close enough.

Sesshoumaru hid his surprise, silver hair hanging over his shoulder like a curtain, obstructing their view. "Whatever for?"

Her eyes flickered to the leader, who'd finally risen to his feet. "They wanted more, but I told them I'd be enough. I doubt I'm what you were expecting."

Her words rang true, but not for the reason she thought, and he growled softly. "The only thing you have to apologize for is the folly of man—and I will not accept anything so trivial from you." He straightened, power pooling around them and forcing the circle back.

"Is she to your liking, my lord? Her blood is fresh—" A harsh gurgle cut off the rest of his words before his head fell from his shoulders. It hit the ground with an audible thud, and there was a slow build of panic before they all scattered.

He stepped away from the woman, though only enough to give himself room to shift without harming her further. Silver fur covered his body, talons erupting from his claws as his true form loomed above them, venom leaking from his jaws and scorching the earth.

Some thought to attack him, leaving nothing behind for their families to mourn, and Sesshoumaru swiped at another group who'd tried to escape, few limbs remaining attached as they flew in all directions.

Mass confusion and screams of "Help!" and "Blame the witch!" quickly turned into high-pitched begging as ivory fangs snapped. Some made it to the treeline, and only the fading light of their captive kept him from giving chase.

She's fallen over in the skirmish, relief and fatigue taking over, and Sesshoumaru bellowed to ensure none of those remaining would think to return. The ground trembled with the force of the noise, the trees shedding the heavy layer of snow weighing down their branches.

Once he was sure they were alone, he shifted again, dark power receding as he took human form. The woman's eyes were shut, and he could feel how close to death she was, but still she fought, her soul refusing to be silenced.

He lifted her off the ground, wincing at the limpness of her body, holding her close to him as he spun on his heel, disappearing into the darkness.


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