luxken27: (Inuyasha - Equals)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2013-02-21 02:33 pm

Inuyasha | Oneshot: Stolen

Title: Stolen
Fandom: Inuyasha
Universe: Pre-canon
Genre: Family, Drama
Rating: T
Warnings: Language, innuendo
Word Count: 2,184
Summary: The Most Venerable Lady of the West seeks out her mate when she learns that she has been cast aside in favor of a human hime.

Links: DW | | AO3

This is my final gift from the 2012 edition of [community profile] fandom_stocking, written for [personal profile] paynesgrey. As the only other person to request IY - as well as a dear fandom friend ♥ - I knew I had to write something for her. Luckily for me, she's also a big SessMom fan, so I was able to keep exploring my headcanon backstory for her, which started with [ profile] janey_p's A Calculated Risk.

My thoughts on SessMom, let me show you them! LOL.

I've always been fascinated by her character, if only because we are given but a brief glimpse of her in the canon. Her interaction with Sesshoumaru is absolutely fascinating, and highlights the differences between the human and youkai races. She mentions his father, in seemingly good stead, even though he left her in order to pursue Inuyasha's human mother.

One of the things that's pointed out fairly early in the manga - and emphasized here - is that youkai do no have emotions. At least, not to the same depth and breadth as humanity. They have concepts of good and evil, but not really of love or hate or fear. It's what makes Inuyasha's struggle as half-human, half-demon so poignant: he has a side to him that his youkai family does not share, or even really understand. It's also what makes Sesshoumaru's maturity over the second half of the canon story so impressive and important - he sort of learns about compassion the hard way :P

ANYWAY. So there's SessMom, interacting with her son in such a way that normal/healthy/non-dysfunctional human mothers do not. After all of the teasing and seemingly careless disregard, at the end of the arc, she restores Rin's life, to everyone's surprise. So there's definitely more to her than meets the eye - every time you examine her, something new and surprising appears.

Her lack of canonical background - hell, she doesn't even have a name - makes her especially tantalizing. She disappears from the manga as easily as she appears, but it's obvious there's a lot more to her than just being a pawn in one of her mate's many lessons for their son.

I think the story is fairly self-explanatory, so here are my thoughts on these characters and worldbuilding of this pre-canon universe.

I think of SessMom as a prototypical medieval/feudal queen. The canon takes place during Japan's feudal era, so that makes sense. Instead of using Japanese feudalism as my starting point for youkai society, I instead turned to European feudalism - I just don't think youkai society would replicate what humanity is doing, considering they think themselves far more superior and all :P So I envision youkai society to be much like royalty/nobility in the late Middle Ages: a hierarchy with a strict class system and a functioning royal court that serves as the lord's household.

In my youkai society, I see InuPapa & SessMom as being from families of equal rank and standing; it's a good basis for their union, to join two strong forces into one overwhelming one. InuPapa's line wants to expand their power and reach on earth, while SessMom's family rules the sky. (SessMom's castle seems to be in the clouds, and she shares Sesshoumaru's crescent moon marking, denoting them to be of the heavens.)

InuPapa is a very ambitious man, and very much lives up to his title, Inu no Taisho. I picture him as very charming and selfish, willing to do whatever it takes in order to get what he wants. He feels it is his destiny to expand his family's holdings in the earthly realm, and engages in the turf wars necessary to build such a kingdom. I definitely like the fannish idea of him being a bit absentminded or flighty, with a great sense of humor, someone who likes to tease and joke around. He does what he does with little regard for how it'll personally effect others.

SessMom, however - she's different. Headstrong, stubborn, but ultimately trapped in her circumstances. She's the one from whom Sesshoumaru inherits his coldness and his seriousness. She has a sense of humor, but it's much more cutting and vicious (as we see in the manga). She can be vain, self-centered, and callous - but to me, these are her coping mechanisms, developed in order to deal with the chaos that was her life with the Inu no Taisho.

I see the InuPapa/SessMom union as one of strategy, most likely a contract drawn up by their fathers when they were both young children. They were destined to be united, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were destined for passionate love - and that's what I've tried to depict in this particular story.

I don't think SessMom loves InuPapa. I think she likes him well enough, and finds him very attractive, both physically and personality-wise. I think he charmed and seduced her at the beginning of their marriage, as they were getting to know one another...but once she had their child, he turned his attentions elsewhere. This was pretty much par for the course in medieval royal society - everybody had lovers and favorites and side pieces, so it was to be expected.

I think SessMom resents that she allowed herself to fall under her husband's spell, and it does hurt her that, after a steady period of faithfulness, he seeks affection elsewhere - sort of like, he got her hopes up that maybe he'd be different, but he turned out to be just like the rest of them. It doesn't surprise her, and she has the baby to distract her, so she just lets it go.

SessMom loves Sesshoumaru - I think she lavishes him with the love and affection she can't give her mate. The maternal instinct is awakened in her in a big way, and she'd move hell and earth to protect her son. This is only heightened by the fact that she is separated from him when he is still very young. As the Inu no Taisho's heir, the first priority for him would be his education. He'd be surrounded by tutors and nannies and the like. He sits for a portrait with his mother as a toddler, and that's the last time she holds him in her lap. She keeps a fairly close watch over him, and still has a say in his physical custody, but is functionally separated from him in day-to-day life.

I think Sesshoumaru has an unusually close relationship with his father when he's young - it would explain why he takes his father's absence and seeming abandonment so personally later on. This closeness also affects his mother, and the depth of her betrayal when he leaves her. It's one thing to cast a blind eye to his side pieces, but for him to pull up stakes and leave not only her, but his heir - wow. That's got to hurt.

I see SessMom as clinging to her denial that InuPapa has left; after all, she was his chosen mate, she is the mother of his child. She has her pride, and she thinks enough of herself to fight for her man even if she doesn't necessarily love him. She is very much caught up in her circumstances - she has no personal power, all of her clout comes from her family name (her father) and her mate. Her place in society is dictated by them, so for her to be abandoned is a huge blow. She is in a precarious position,; if her mate leaves her and takes up with someone else, he can also yank their son away from her. She would be disgraced, and she would lose all of her rights to her son, which is more than I think she could bear.

I don't think InuPapa ever intended to harm his youkai mate; he had no malice towards her, and simply wanted to cut ties. He saw something in Izayoi that made her worth it to him to leave his mate and his son and take up with her. He wants to have his cake and eat it, too: he wants to retain his taiyoukai status and power, and be with the woman he loves. He just didn't think his decision all the way through: he justified it to himself and felt he didn't have to answer to anyone else. I don't think he realized how leaving Sesshomaru would affect him, or how leaving SessMom would affect her. He tries to be kind, but misses the mark.

I think InuPapa and SessMom are incredibly dynamic characters, and I think their relationship was very interesting, albeit mismatched. They are very formal with each other (addressing each other as "my lord" and "my lady"), even in private. There's this barrier between them that I think they both expected and accepted. They didn't choose each other, but they have bonds with each other (sort of akin to human attachments in my mind, only stronger: unions and parent-child bonds being the strongest of them all). They don't have volatile emotions, but they have youki, which can be just as messy.

SessMom doesn't even have a name*, and I like playing with that idea. I don't give her a name, either, only a title. The title is her identity more than her give name, which I find simply fascinating.

*yes, I'm aware that she's referred to as Inukimi in fandom/fanon

And, one last piece of inspiration for this story in particular: the song "Criminal" from the first season of Instant Star. This was the only song on the soundtrack that was NOT featured in one of the episodes, but it is incredibly haunting and powerful, and I think it perfectly encompasses the sorts of contradictions and the feeling of entrapment that I associate with SessMom. I've quoted the relevant lyrics at the beginning of the story, but here they are in full:

I won’t deny I faked it
Don’t want to lie – I’m jaded
I want to scream when inside I’m breaking down
I’ve left the stone I was under
I’m running home – you won’t find her
She walks alone all through this broken town

Going the wrong way down a one-way street
Where the feeling is criminal
Nobody helps me out when I bleed
Just look, look, looking for someone like me
Where the feeling is mutual
Can anybody see what I see?
Cause I don’t see me

I blow away their ashes
I clear his face to look at it
He stole my name while I waited lost and found
I found a place where I’ll keep you
Cause I won’t live through you or beneath you
I’ll walk this way where these winds won’t bring me down

Going the wrong way down a one-way street
Where the feeling is criminal
Nobody helps me out when I bleed
Just look, look, looking for someone like me
Where the feeling is mutual
Can anybody see what I see?
Cause I don’t see me

Don’t let me be
Save it all – don’t waste it on me
Cause if I take a chance
And if I hurt again
And if I let you leave
Ooh, feel my reckoning

Going the wrong way down a one-way street
Where the feeling is criminal
Nobody helps me out when I bleed
Just look, look, looking for someone like me
Where the feeling is mutual
Can anybody see what I see?
Cause I don’t see me

I just love this idea of exploring my SessMom headcanon, and I'm fairly sure I'm not finished, LOL :P To that end, I've arranged a loose collection of stories centered on her - her childhood, her union, and her early motherhood - that I'm calling "The Gilded Cage" over on AO3. This collection also includes A Calculated Risk, and is loosely connected to my Allegiance post-canon universe. It's going to be a lot of fun, because there are little pockets of possibilities hinted at in the canon (how did SessMom come into possession of the mediou seki, for instance?), and I love working with rich, complex characters.

It's rather fun trying to extract the character of Sesshoumaru's parents from least for me, hehe.