luxken27: (Inuyasha - Equals)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2013-02-28 02:13 pm

Inuyasha | Oneshot: The Heir & the Heirloom

Title: The Heir & the Heirloom
Author: LuxKen27
Fandom: Inuyasha
Universe: Canon (Pre-manga)
Genre: Family, Drama
Rating: T
Warning(s): Depictions of childbirth, breastfeeding; innuendo
Word Count: 3,760
Summary: The Lord of the Western Lands bestows Tenseiga upon his newborn heir, and gives his lady wife a special gift as well.

Links: DW | | AO3

And the exploration of SessMom's life continues :) LOL - it seems like I'm writing these stories backwards, since I just keep going back in time, but I promise, there's no particular order to my madness (this time).

This story was originally inspired by the very first oneshot in this collection. The meidou seki placed a very important role in A Calculated Risk, and I've always been fascinated by its connection to Tenseiga.

The meidou seki makes its first appearance in the manga along with SessMom. She shows it to Sesshoumaru in Chapter 467, and tells him, "I was merely entrusted with this meidou-seki, after all…I was told to use it if Sesshoumaru were to stop by. Oh, yes, and he told me this as well…If you use the mediou-seki, Sesshoumaru will be faced with great danger, however, you must not feel fear or sadness."

Sesshoumaru was come seeking answers about his heirloom sword, Tenseiga, which he has despised for most of the canon story because it is a blade that cannot cut. Only when he breaks his offensive sword Tokijin does he consider having Tenseiga reforged as a weapon. When it is, he comes into possession of the meidou zangetsuha, the ability to open a path to the underworld and dispatch an enemy directly to hell. A perfect meidou is a circle, and Sesshoumaru is struggling with this. He comes to his mother for help, and learns of the meidou seki's powers.

SessMom sends her son into hell after unleashing a hellhound that immediately takes possession of his beloved Rin. She watches the entire saga unfold through the meidou seki, and even offers Sess a path to the outside world through it. He declines and pursues Rin, who because she is human, has died. Sess thinks he can simply use Tenseiga to revive her - it will cut the guardians of the underworld - but he learns that he can't, and suddenly realizes the value of life.

SessMom puts it succinctly when he returns with Rin's lifeless body in Chapter 471: "Tenseiga is only able to call a dead person back once. It's only natural. After all, life is finite. It is not something that can you can save as many times as you like, at your convenience. Did you think you were like a God or something? That as long as you had Tenseiga, there was no fear of death? Sesshoumaru, it's something you had to learn - that when your heart wishes to save someone dear to must at the same time feel sadness and fear of losing them. Your father said this as well. Tenseiga is a healing sword. Even when wielded as a weapon, you must understand the weight of life and carry a compassionate heart when dispatching your enemy."

And then, contrary to her portrayal thus far as teasing and cold, she saves Rin's life by placing the meidou seki on the girl's body and recalling her life force from hell. So, obviously, this was an incredibly important gift from InuPapa - its connection to Tenseiga is practically the least impressive of its abilities, LOL!!

The Hell arc (as SessMom's appearance is often called) is also the first piece of Tenseiga's backstory. Sesshoumaru continues to work on his meidou zangetsuha attack, only to meet the creature his father had stolen it from, and learning that it was taken by Tessaiga. When his father couldn't control it as he wished, he discarded the attack by forging a sword from Tessaiga - Tenseiga. This is doubly hurtful for Sess, because he was given the "lesser" of the two swords, with Inuyasha inheriting the one with all the power. He realizes that his father intended for him to perfect the attack and then give it back to Tessaiga, and it's something he just cannot bear.

He breaks Tenseiga when he allows Inuyasha to take the attack - his only offensive weapon - and carries it around with his disgust and self-pity and wonder that his father could ever do such a thing to him. The point of this arc is that when he lets go of his father's heirloom, he gains his own sword, and his signature attack - but first he must learn to let it go.

Reconciling Tenseiga's backstory with the meidou seki, and trying to bring it all back to InuPapa's original intentions is challenging, at best :P I think we all know RT was basically making shit up as she went along, so she ends up giving InuPapa magical clairvoyance with his various "tests" for his sons. It's a little ridiculous, but then, not completely out of place in this universe :P

As I thought about it more, though, some little part of it *did* make sense - I can totally see InuPapa intentionally forging Tenseiga from his sword, Tessaiga, and bestowing it upon Sesshoumaru as a training sword/companion sword. It had one latent attack, but that attack would only be revealed after thorough and careful study of the sword's other powers. I can also see him using the revelation of the meidou zangetsuha attack - and his intentions to have Sesshoumaru train it and return it to his sword, Tessaiga - as a test of his son's mettle. Such a thing would have to humble him, and teach him the value of having such a potent attack at his command.

The cruel twist of all of this is the fact that he didn't live long enough to do any of this himself - and he left his offensive sword to his son who would need it the most, his hanyou child with his human lover.

Given the upheaval that his desertion must've caused Sesshoumaru (why else would he have so many daddy/abandonment issues?), the notion of having to give the technique he discovered and perfected to his half-brother who seemed to already have it all (including their father's affection) would be absolutely unbearable - a far more humbling trial than his father had intended. Because of the class/societal differences between youkai and hanyou, because of the abandonment issues (InuPapa died when Inuyasha was still a baby), because of sibling rivalry and jealousy ~ this is one of my absolute favorite arcs of the manga!

So I had to find a way to pay homage to this important piece of the canon story, but also try to find a way to lay out InuPapa's reasoning for having the sword (and the stone) crafted in the first place. I decided that he gave these things to his heir (and his mate) almost immediately upon Sesshoumaru's birth, as a sort of symbolic gesture and token of his appreciation and happiness to have his firstborn son.

I mentioned in Stolen that I thought InuPapa had an unusually close relationship with Sesshoumaru, and taught his son how to wield a sword himself, an unusual feat in my vision of youkai society (which much resembles European medieval feudalism). Royal and noble parents had little interaction with their offspring, but a father would have more opportunity to spend time with his son because of training, especially swordplay, given the importance of war in maintaining a kingdom.

I decided to parallel InuPapa's rebellious spirit when it came to ensuring his personal involvement with raising his son in SessMom. If anything, women had it even worse than men, separating far sooner from their children. In my youkai society, this means almost immediately - the child is whisked away and cared for in the nursery, before being passed along to tutors and training. It reinforces the notion that female youkai are there for only one purpose, and that is to bring heirs into the world. It's pretty awful, but such strict rules have so many subversive possibilities.... :)

Here I have SessMom the day or so after giving birth, isolated from her household and her son. She demands to see him and finally does, and since he's a newborn he's more or less constantly hungry. Instead of doing as propriety demands and sending for the wetnurse, she decides to nurse him herself - subversive, but instinctual. She is the lady of the house, she can do whatever she damn well pleases. Her maternal instincts were awakened in a BIG way when she finally gave birth, and she is nothing if not self-centered: she will do what she has to do to fortify her sense of self. If that means indulging in her baser instincts, so be it.

She is rebellious and stubborn, but she's also isolated. Her union is not a love match, so she has all of these awkward, pent-up emotions that she doesn't care to share with her mate...but when her son comes along, it's a different story. Finally, she has someone to love, and someone who will love her unconditionally. She is needed and wanted - and because he can give her all of this, even as a newborn, Sesshoumaru quickly becomes his mother's weakness. So much of what she does is driven by her love for him, I think. He is the center of her universe, and was desperately needed after the chaos of her union and being swept away from her family.

A quick thought on the whole childbirth scene - since youkai have two forms, humanoid and true (in this case, dog), it's always a question of how much they do in each form. For most of the manga, the youkai are in some sort of humanoid form, only revealing their true natures when pushed. I thought it might be interesting to sort of reverse that: obviously it'd be easier to give birth to a child in the true form because it's a natural function of the body - but coming to the earthly realm, away from her family in the sky, would prevent her from doing that. Giving birth in her humanoid form is a sort of punishment (or so she thinks) for leaving her mother's house. (Plus it's sorta obvious that part of SessMom's complexity comes from an innate victim complex, which I think spawns from her upbringing as royal/nobility.)

Anyway. If SessMom's relationship with her son is fairly simple, then her relationship with her mate is anything but. I think that, even if there isn't any love between them, there is sexual attraction. I see InuPapa being very debonair, very flirtatious, and just having this easy sensuality about him - and it's something SessMom (and later Izayoi) finds difficult to resist. Even here, there is a ton of UST, though breastfeeding is not a sexual act. She is short and cold with him, but he can still arouse her, which really, really bothers her. She wishes she was above being attracted to him, but alas.

When bestowing Tenseiga upon his newborn heir, I see InuPapa giving SessMom the meidou seki at the same time. He tells her the same cryptic things that she will later tell Sess, which of course infuriates her. She would do anything to keep her son from harm, so how could she possibly take a gift such as this? She doesn't know how it could harm him, only that it could, and that's enough for her to resist. New mother - raging maternal instincts - unconditional devotion to her helpless child = a potent mix.

InuPapa counters this, however, but rather cruelly reminding her that she will not be able to indulge Sess as she is for long, and tells her that the meidou seki's spiritual connection with Tenseiga will give her special access to him, allowing her to watch over him even from afar, as she does in A Calculated Risk. (See? It's all starting to make sense, LOL.) She has to consider her options, then: does she take the risk of hurting her child later in life, if it means taking out some insurance on their mother-child bond?

I didn't want her choice to be easy. I don't think SessMom had a very easy life. She might have been born into a wealthy and powerful family, but she had less freedom than the common youkai servants of her household. So much was expected of her, including sacrifice. Anything good that came along was ultimately accompanied by something unpleasant - sort of like, she can't catch a break to simply enjoy herself. This is why she becomes cold and hard by the time we meet her in canon ~ years of dealing with these little injustices take their toll, and she learns how to cope the only way she knows how.

I like going back, examining her while she still has these soft edges. I am -loving- her relationship with adorable baby!Sess, and her delicious UST with her erstwhile mate. In fact, that's one of my next planned pieces: their courtship, and the seduction of SessMom. I have no idea when it'll happen, but I already have a smutbunny nipping at their heels, LOL.

I know my notes are sort of a messy jumble of headcanon and mismashed medieval reasoning, but hopefully it makes some sort of sense. I think I do better within the confines of the fic itself, where I can examine these unspoken corners of society - and hopefully it becomes clear just why this collection is called The Gilded Cage :)