luxken27: (Inuyasha - Equals)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2008-09-22 06:46 pm

Four Seasons

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Pairing: Sesshoumaru/Kagome
Rating: M for adult themes, language
Inspiration: [ profile] dokuga_contest's Seasons Challenge
Based upon: A quartet of songs from Ben Folds Five's 1997 album, Whatever & Ever Amen

I <3 Ben Folds Five because it was a great indie, sarcastic, quirky little piano trio. Hopefully I have not ruined their cred by choosing their angsty-est songs as my inspiration for this challenge piece.

[ profile] dokuga_contest is a wonderful little community with lots of different challenges & contests. They are currently running two no-time-limit non-contest "Challenges", one of which is based on the four seasons (hence my oh-so-clever title). Participating in this comm was a way to stretch my pairing chops, and this one has always been a challenge for me. My canon-universe-head just can't wrap its logic around this pairing, but is one of my favorites to read, especially when it's done well.

The inspiration literally hit me when I was cruising YouTube for mashups. Somehow, I go onto the track of searching for BF5 videos, They were simply amazing live! This was one of my favorite bands in high school, and I have all of their albums. Ben Folds is a genius pianist, and some of the performances I found were literally awe-inspiring. Ideas began to form as I listened through the albums I have with me, and well...the story practically wrote itself once the songs were chosen!

Autumn: Selfish, Cold, & Composed

This was the "sneak peak" vid I posted below. This song just screams Sesshoumaru to me...well, minus the "selfless" part. I didn't really intend to write this whole series from Sesshoumaru's point of view, but I definitely wanted to start it from there.

To me, there are two basic ways of looking at him: he either lets everything roll off his back, or he holds everything inside; there's no real subtly to his character in this regard. Because he's portrayed as cold and aloof in the manga (especially the later chapters), I tend to roll with this second belief. So, what's going on in his head?

The setup came gradually: to me, it's important to make the characters believable, even in an AU setup. I couldn't destroy either Sesshoumaru's or Kagome's link to Inuyasha, but I also couldn't make Inuyasha stereotypically OOC in order to facilitate my pairing choice, so I compromised -- I killed him. I don't really feel the need to "warn" for this, since in this little universe, his death is a given. He doesn't appear alive in this story at all, save a flashback scene.

So, we have our two principle characters meeting after a long time, and hints that they have some sort of shady history. In retrospect, this was the easiest chapter to write; it's always easier to hint at things when you don't really know yourself what it is, am I right? :D

Winter: Bricks are Memories

Again, this chapter was originally intended to be from Sesshoumaru's point of view; to me, it was important to establish why he reacted to Kagome as he did in the first chapter. This chapter is definitely a more literal interpretation of the inspiration song than the first. I've warned for it every way I know how, save for spoiling it, so hopefully nobody will be incredibly offended or upset. "Brick" was Ben Folds Five's biggest hit, so hopefully the meaning of the song is quite well known.

If not, here's a one-word summary: abortion.

I tend to stay away from hot issues as much as possible, so there's no rhetoric in this chapter, just a simple recollection of Sesshoumaru & Kagome's shared secret. Nobody else knows exactly what happened that day, except for them, and it goes a long way to explaining why Sesshoumaru feels the way he does about her.

Spring -- Evaporated

<-- my personal favorite banner!

When I made it to the final draft of this chapter, I realized I was in for the long haul: there was no way I could proceed as planned, to do the final two chapters from Kagome's point of view. I was into Sesshoumaru's head too far to leave it as it was. Incidentally, I find him incredibly hard to write for; it's hard to get the balance of his character exactly right. Throw him into an alternate, modern-day universe, and my problems double. *sigh*

Again, I was trying to dodge a few stereotypes with his character, and I kinda wrote myself into a corner when I made all of them the same age -- he couldn't be her superior in a work situation, if they were only a year or so apart in age. Plus, considering they're approximately 24/25/26 years old here, he wouldn't have the requisite education to have a higher-level job.

The song is indirectly relevant - a few lyrics were inserted into the chapter, but it *really* sets the mood for the piece, of repressed regret. The video above is of a solo performance Ben gave with an orchestra and...just, holy shit. It's very powerful. I hope I captured even half of that with the climax of this chapter.

Summer -- Up in Smoke

This chapter came from a recent personal experience, actually! I was at a seaside beach for the first time in at least five years over the weekend, and was far, far too excited about it, LOL :) While I was there, this story was eating away at my brain, so I began to contemplate setting some part of it on the beach, which I found so serene and peaceful.

The events of the chapter were determined by the song, most definitely. This is one of my favorite Ben Folds Five songs, absolutely hands down. The end chorus/bridge is very powerful, the kind of powerful that will stick to your brain and stick to your ribs (at least, in my case). What better way to reach catharsis than to scream, long and loud?! (I think this is also why I enjoy Linkin Park's older stuff...)

The therapy described here is not one that I've ever come across in legitimate research, but hopefully I've made it sound plausible (goodness knows there are some out there that aren't). The idea is another literal interpretation of the inspiration song.

I thought Kagome would make an interesting therapist candidate, given her history (and again, trying to give her a more novel occupation than she originally receives in these stories). Considering journal-writing is a valid form of therapy, I can totally see her extending this idea to burning the memories as she struggles with some way to help out her old friend.

I fought with this ending SO MUCH. Holy geez! I wanted them to end up together (a bit more 'together' than they did) but it all felt so cliche and awkward and wrong by the time I finished with the big bonfire. Who jumps their brother's ex? Not somebody as classy as least, not in my opinion :) So there was a steady building up of his feelings and culminated in a kiss. I hope nobody's too disappointed, but good lord. I went through at least 10 different endings before finally settling on the one I have. It's not perfect, but it was the best of the choices.

Stylistically, this most resembles the sort of flow-of-consciousness thing I've had going on with Memento Mori. Considering I've been working on these pieces more or less in tandem with each other, that shouldn't be too surprising. I don't know why I've had such a huge bout of angst lately, but here's the fruit of that period. I'm exhausted, LOL. Maybe my mind will be happy enough to wrap up events in Every Heart now...

I enjoyed this trip into Sesshoumaru's head, and hopefully it's believable. This is my first time fleshing out a full story for this pair, and thus it's not terribly romantic. I have to work up to that, I think, have a more detailed backstory in mind to frame this difficult alternate pairing. Hopefully ideas will continue to evolve, because there are interesting dynamics going on here!

Now I just get to sit back and see the reaction to my latest experiment...hopefully I didn't go too psycho-babble on you guys, haha, but my education is screaming to be used in some way! If not practical, idealistic! When all else fails, force it into a story LOL!

ETA: Banner love... made by [ profile] priestess_skye, personalized by [ profile] forthrightly. Lovely work as always, ladies! *kisses*

[identity profile] 2008-09-22 05:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Your story was one of the best fanfictions that I have ever read. I thought you conveyed very well the pain that both of them had gone through and their unique way of dealing with it in the end. I think you understand much more about Sesshoumaru's character than you think you do. ( The best example I can give is his coming of age story which began with the Shishinki cycle and ends with him receiving his tai-youkai weapon, the Bakusaiga.) Although as a Inuyashahaphile it was painful to read about the resentment that Sesshoumaru and Kagome had toward Inuyasha, it was what had brought them together in the first place and in the end they were able to let go of the resentment and keep what they had found that day that they were together. I liked your Inuyasha death scene where Inuyasha was at the end able to let go of all his pain and only feel love toward Sesshoumaru and Kagome. I liked that Sesshoumaru was with him at the end and that he was the one he confided in. I did read the lyrics to the songs you asked us to listen to. In my opinion they pale in comparison to your story.

[identity profile] 2008-09-23 01:16 am (UTC)(link)
You did it! I'm so glad you gave it a shot! I left a longer review on FF but this was truly wonderful!

[identity profile] 2008-09-23 12:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey, why not? Sometimes those angst muses can produce really good things, as you are well aware!!

[identity profile] 2008-09-23 04:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I understand. It was emotional for the reader to so I can imagine having it just floating around in your head, knocking to get out.