luxken27: (Inuyasha - Equals)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2013-01-07 07:59 pm

Inuyasha | Oneshot: A Calculated Risk

Title: A Calculated Risk
Fandom: Inuyasha
Universe: Post-canon
Genre: Family, Drama
Rating: T
Warning: Language, innuendo
Word Count: 5,573
Summary: Sesshoumaru’s mother would do anything to bring her son home. If that meant dispatching his human whore to the underworld? Well, then – all the better.

Links: DW | | AO3

This is my (LONG) overdue giftfic for [ profile] janey_p, who was kind enough to leave the 100th review on Fleeting at way back in February 2010. I apologize profusely that it took so damn long, but hopefully it was worth the wait ♥

Oh, 2010, the year of contradictions :P I received this review only a few weeks before my IY muse burned out for (what I feared was) good; it was the first time any fic of mine had ever received 100 reviews, though, so I had already promised myself that I'd gift that reviewer with a fic, just to thank them for following me out on that limb. Luckily, it couldn't have come from a better person - this fic is the reason that [ profile] janey_p & I became friends, so I was excited to write a giftfic for her because I figured it would be relatively easy.

Famous last words, LOL.

My IY muse died, and janey gave me an untenable original prompt (Shippo/Kagome), but she was kind enough to give me something a little more in my wheelhouse - S/K. It took a good year to come up for the concept for this story. When I emailed her about it, she told me she'd actually forgotten about it, which only made me feel worse, LOL. I suggested an S/K story with a sideplot of SessMom, simply because I love her and her interaction with her son. She isn't a fully fleshed out character in the canon, which is intimidating as hell, especially when you've been off the wagon for awhile :P Just like with Sess, I wanted to do her justice, so it took me awhile to wrap my brain around her again.

I think having such a long hiatus from IY ultimately helped, though, because I was able to come into this process with relatively fresh eyes. I sat down with my outline, and reread the Hell Arc, and started drabbling a bit, trying to get a feel for how I'd written SessMom before. That's actually where the first scene of the story came from. I imagined SessMom as I'd always seen her, caught up in the tradition of youkai society, whatever that may be. For me, it's akin to medieval European society, with the rigid hierarchy and class system, and the makeup of a royal court. I think it's well obvious that Sesshoumaru is supposed to have come from very high-bearing stock, not only as the son of the Inu no Taisho, but also as the son of his mother's family. Much is made, after all, of Inuyasha having a human mother. And when we finally meet SessMom, she does not disappoint - her costume of royal robes, her (large) mokomoko, the meidou-seki, and the striking resemblance she has to Sesshoumaru. He is so much his mother's son, and never moreso is it apparent until this arc in the canon storyline.

From there, my headcanon just sort of exploded. I love SessMom's coldness, and her somewhat snarky personality. She loves to tease her son, but there's a lot of love behind that (as far as youkai can actually *understand* the concept of love - their relative lack of emotion is one of the challenges in writing them well, I think). Contrast that to her relationship with her mate, and BAM.

Walking her through a portrait gallery in her castle in the sky was a chance to explore some of that lineage/heritage that was rapidly developing. For me, her union with the Inu no Taisho is analogous to the royal marriages of the Middle Ages - it wasn't about love, so much as politics. Joining lands, expanding empires, etc. These were contracts, often made when the participants were just young children, who may or may not have even met before. Maybe they met, maybe they didn't, before sitting for their wedding portrait (I'm still toying with that), but they were joined in a union, and she was tasked with the only thing she'd ever be required to do in life: produce an heir. She didn't exactly love her mate, but she liked him well enough, and she adored their child. Bearing her son awakened all of those maternal instincts - which was why it was so difficult for her to keep her distance, as propriety demanded.

She sat for a portrait with her son after he was born. This particular passage was inspired by this lovely piece of fanart by [ profile] noacat. I loved it so much that once upon a time I nominated it for a Feudal Association award, and I'd always vowed to write a story to go along with it - so this felt like a win-win situation, LOL :P It's still one of my all-time favorite SessMom fanarts ♥ and having the excuse to look at it again just drove this muse even more.

It was fun to plumb her depths as she considered her place in the world - as the cast aside mate of the great Inu no Taisho, as the mother of Sesshoumaru, whom I've always thought would go on to rebuild his father's kingdom after the pursuit/battle with Naraku. I weaved in some headcanon that was first inspired years and years ago by the amazing Tales from the House of the Moon - namely, that the Inu no Taisho convinced his youkai mate to leave her familial castle in the sky and descend to earth to be closer to his family's holdings, and he built a castle in her honor and named it after her lineage. It served as Sesshoumaru's childhood home, even though she loathed it, and couldn't wait to leave it once her mate abandoned her. Sess has reconquered it and is living there once more, a sort of headquarters for his ongoing quest to reunite his father's lands.

This isn't the first time I've evoked HotM in my work, and it probably won't be the last - its complete and total fanon, but of a sort that actually makes sense, unlike mating marks or a human suddenly gaining immortality for mating with one of the demonic characters :P

Anyway. So we move on to the meat of the story - SessMom spying on her kid, because Sesshoumaru stays the hell away from her, LOL. Considering their interaction in the manga, I don't think this is such a far-fetched scenario ;) SessMom's mediou seki is connected to Tenseiga, which is how she's allowed to watch over him from afar. I also played around with the concept of youki, turning the mother-child bond into the strongest variety of youki-bond there is. I love the idea of this simmering sort of power base that allows these icy characters to express some emotion, even if only they can feel it/interpret it :)

So she's watching him, and following the trail of his youki, and realizes that he's keeping a human companion, much to her distress and disgust. She think she recognizes this companion as Rin, whom she restored to life during her last encounter with her son, and decides that indulging him had been a mistake. No way is she going to allow him to be the end of her proud family line, which he'd destroy just as easily by taking up with a human as by getting himself killed before he produced an heir.

So she decides to use her powers to separate them. Under the cover of night, she sends the human girl to hell, which of course brings her son straight to her doorstep, as she'd intended. He's not stupid; it doesn't take him long to figure out she had something to do with the girl's sudden disappearance and the breaking of the youki/spiritual bond he had with her.

This is where things get a bit complicated, because I started drawing on my Allegiance universe. Janey requested S/K, so of course Sesshoumaru's human companion is Kagome, not Rin, and that particular universe is the only way I can justify them coming together in a canonical way. Plus there are some fun implications for her human emotions and their blood bond, etc, but that's neither here nor there :P It's just a bit of extra backstory, in case Sesshoumaru's explanation for why he's with Kagome doesn't quite ring true to your ears.

Of course he explains to his mother that she's made a grave mistake, and now it's up to her to fix it. She has a series of revelations during that tense conversation, and decides to ultimately make things right by restoring Kagome to her son. This final scene was inspired by another lovely piece of fanart, "Meeting Mama Sess" by janey-jane. I think even if SessMom could accept the idea of her son tying himself to a human, it would take her awhile to find the idea palatable.

And of course she can't resist closing with a tease :) She wouldn't be SessMom if she didn't lovingly poke her child with a stick!

Needless to say, a lot of headcanon was built with this story. Once I got her to open up to me, SessMom wouldn't stop talking. I wrote another piece of fic for [community profile] fandom_stocking, and I'm seriously considering expanding this little universe into a loose series of vignettes and oneshots, detailing her life before, during, and after her union, and during Sesshoumaru's childhood. I think she's an endlessly fascinating character, no matter how you see her, perhaps BECAUSE there is so little canon backstory for her. She is so like her son, and so much her own person - IDK. I just love her, when I thought it wasn't possible to love any character more than Sesshoumaru himself :P

Beyond the lovely fanart, I had a pair of inspiration songs spinning in the background - both from Simon & Garfunkel. Strange, I know, but they added just the right tone/atmosphere I was looking for, to delve into this tightly-controlled world. First up, there's "Old Friends":

with its nostalgic, slightly melancholy melody and lyrics. This was my inspiration for the first scene, when SessMom is taking stock of her life, and how she's moved more or less from one distinct phase to another. She was never supposed to end up the way she has, but here she is - bitter, melancholy, nostalgic, wistful. She knows what she wants; she's simply biding her time to make it happen. She certainly has the time, if nothing else.

Relevant lyrics:

Can you imagine us years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange to be seventy...

Old Friends
Narrowly brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear

A time it was
It was a time
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you

The other song is "The Boxer":

which was more for young Sesshoumaru than his mother. How he left, destined to wander in search of something elusive, and just how much he grew up during the manga, and beyond. He became his own man, his father's son in (apparently) more ways than one.

Relevant lyrics:

When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
but the fighter still remains...

Heh, I'm not sure how great of a job I did, laying out the jumble of my author's notes for this story :P but it's one I've been so excited to work on, and to share. I haven't felt this comfortable writing fic in a long, long time - it was basically the perfect storm of inspirations brewing up and brimming forth, and I really like the final project - which is not something I can say for all of my finished stories :P

I certainly hope [ profile] janey_p enjoys this story as much as I enjoyed working on it. And again - I apologize that it took so damn long to finally finish!