If I Die Young by Sereia

Chapter 1

Inspiration: "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry


The scent of blood burned his nostrils, a sense of dread coursing through his veins.

The miko.

A combination of court affairs and his mother's interference had delayed Sesshoumaru's monthly visit to Rin's village. The trip was usually a leisurely one, one where he spent just as much travelling as he did lounging in Rin's hut.

Time slowed as light encased him, his essence zipping through the air. This was no minor wound; the taste of copper was waning but made bile rise at the back of his throat, and his speed increased.

He'd thought the danger had passed. Rin had been left in the care of the older miko until the younger one returned, Inuyasha remaining steadfast as the village's protector.

What had gone wrong?

Whom had she sacrificed herself for this time?

Sesshoumaru touched down in the centre of the village and was immediately assaulted by the stench of burning wood. Villagers worked hand in hand to repair roofs and support beams, their eyes flickering towards the only building left unscathed.

Not bothering to announce his presence, he strode into the miko's hut, almost ripping the door from its track on the floor.

Inuyasha lay in an agitated heap on the floor, his Fire Rat hiding the substantial blood loss pooled around his midsection. The monk and the slayer were attempting to bandage him, their quiet but stern commands keeping him in place.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin ignored pretenses, wrapping her arms around his leg as she openly sobbed into his hakama. "Please! Kagome-sama, she—"

The miko was laid out on her futon, unmoving. The rest of the pack had various cuts and bruises, the slayer and nekomata sporting extensive burns, but the miko appeared to be unharmed. Noting the size of the claw marks in his brother, Sesshoumaru came to an instant conclusion.


Rin tugged him towards the back of the hut, tears streaming down her face. "It came out of nowhere. We tried talking to it, but it just blew fire everywhere. Kagome-sama, she—she—"

"The creature hadn't encountered reiki before," the older miko stated. "The child created a barrier large enough to protect the entire village. She held it off long enough for us to regroup, but…"

The beast had spent the entire time clawing at the core of her power. Sesshoumaru had witnessed it before; the strength required to maintain a barrier and fend off attacks depleted even the most seasoned warriors, usually requiring a small group working in tandem.

The miko had accomplished the task alone.

And was now paying the price.

Her power was weak, the last of it being used to heal her superficial wounds, and hope spurred his hands into action. Tenseiga pulsed, but it was not the same as it had been for Rin, and Sesshoumaru hesitated. After all the miko had done, his father's fang would dare refuse her aid?

Cursing his sire, Sesshoumaru unsheathed the sword, sunlight dimming as the chains of death came into view. Every limb was shackled, the glow around the one attached to her heart dimming.

The imps were not present.

Was he too late?

The dread returned, leaching into the deepest recesses of his mind as Sesshoumaru's body went cold.


And yet Tenseiga still buzzed.

The restraints rattled, a soft moan escaping the woman's lips as another link was pulled from her chest. Golden eyes widened as realization dawned.

Her soul was too large, too strong, for them to pull it out themselves. The imps had fastened a chain around her heart and were still attempting to dislodge it from this plane. There was still time.

There was still a chance.

Sesshoumaru shifted his grip on Tenseiga, then plunged it through the links attached to her chest and into the floor. The chain shook, furious screeches echoing in the distance, but the movement stopped.

Inuyasha tried to pull himself off the floor, fighting against the monk and the slayer. "Did it work? Did you save her?" It was a desperate whisper, a plea, and one Sesshoumaru found himself struggling to answer.

"The pall-bearers were not present."

Rin gasped, releasing him to clutch the arm of the slayer before both women collapsed in silent anguish. His brother staggered to his feet, opening his wounds.

"No! Your fucking sword is supposed to help people like her! You fucking bring her back!"

The miko's power continued to wane, the chains struggling against Tenseiga as the creatures on the other end wailed. Something about his mother's recent tirade regarding mating bonds tugged at the back of his mind, and he came to a decision.

"Do you trust me?"

Silence descended over the hut, the only sound being the miko's laboured breathing.

"W-What? We need to save K'gome! We don't have time for—"

Sesshoumaru levelled Inuyasha with an intense glare. "Do you trust me?"

The two brothers stared at each other, a myriad of emotions crossing the younger one's face. Sesshoumaru had noted the relief in Inuyasha's scent the moment he'd arrived but needed the reaffirmation that what he was about to do wouldn't destroy the bridge they'd managed to build over the last few years.

Inuyasha's expression was still wary, but his response was honest. "Yeah."

Sesshoumaru inclined his head, then removed mokomoko from his shoulder and wrapped it around the miko's body. Kneeling next to her, he placed his hands over hers, wincing at the lack of warmth in her skin.

I will not lose you to something as trivial as this. 

Youki poured out of his hands, encircling the hut before being directed back towards the chains. The screams were a mix between outrage and panic, and Sesshoumaru would've smirked if not for the sheer concentration needed for the task he was undertaking.

The miko gasped, her hands flexing against his as the glow surrounding the chain from her chest shifted from white to violet. Mokomoko prevented his youki from escaping, keeping it centred around her heart.

Her heartbeat echoed in his ear, giving him another focal point, and Sesshoumaru willed her to respond. Her reiki was weak, almost pulling away from him.

There is fight left in you yet, miko. 

He brushed her hair out of her eyes, gentle claws tracing the lines of her face. Her skin was ashen, missing the telltale signs of life. Of vivacity. The muscles in his jaw clenched, teeth grinding as youki shifted from probing to enticing.


All eyes were on him, though none of them were old enough—powerful enough—to truly understand what he was doing. His power was oppressive, dominating as the chains trembled, Tenseiga screaming.

And then, a spark.

A lesser being would have reeled at the desperation in the miko's reiki, but Sesshoumaru held fast, one palm against her forehead as the other intertwined his fingers with hers. Her power clawed at him, grasping for a handhold, and he forced himself to breathe.

I am not a threat.

It took a moment more, but her acceptance was unmistakable, the doors of her heart opening as reiki and youki wove together, souls merging.

His mother had warned him of the intensity of a mating bond—the permanency. Sesshoumaru knew what was to come; knew of the possible fallout—he would deal with that when the time came.

From anyone who dared to question her worth.

The shackles around her wrist snapped, the ones on her ankles soon doing the same. The miko arched, though he wasn't sure if it was from relief or the force of the imps pulling on the remaining chain. The violet glow was blinding, creeping up the links to where Tenseiga stood, unwavering as its master.

Her fingers tightening around his was Sesshoumaru's only warning before reiki burst through him, coursing through his body like wildfire.

Nothing his mother had told him could've prepared him for this. Her power burned just as hot as his own, and soon there was no distinction between them. It was a heady combination, making every conquest, every victory pale in comparison.

There was no pain, just a staggering weakness that would've brought him to his knees had he been standing. The miko had not only survived the dragon attack but had protected the entire village long enough for her pack to regroup and retaliate?

The realization cemented his decision, and Sesshoumaru allowed the reiki to run rampant through his veins. He would give the miko anything she required, if only to see her eyes open once more.

Her breathing had increased, her heartbeat steady, and the chain attached to her chest began to dissolve under the weight of their combined power, seeking comfort and balance, like sand in an hourglass.

Sesshoumaru felt light-headed, his vision blurring though his eyes remained open. He would not rest until her safety had been guaranteed. Chains rattled, but the links were too weak to be of any real consequence, and Tenseiga gave one final pulse, breaking the imps' hold on her.

Even the humans felt the change, Rin creeping forward to tug at his sleeve. "Is she going to be alright?"

Sesshoumaru's gaze slid to Inuyasha, and he gave a curt nod. The relief in the hut was palpable, murmurs of gratitude mixed with the scent of tears. Inuyasha leaned his head back against the wall, the tautness of his muscles finally dissipating.

"Is there anything else you require, Sesshoumaru-sama?" the monk asked, finally able to finish bandaging the hanyou.

Sesshoumaru shook his head, then shifted his weight so he could lean against the wall closest to the miko. "No. But I will not be able to leave her side until she wakes." And even then, being apart from her would take a toll on both of them. It would likely be several weeks before the bond would allow them space, and he was suddenly unsure if she would be agreeable to his proximity.

"I'll make sure Jaken-sama takes care of things at the Shiro," Rin said, still wiping tears from her eyes. If he'd had the energy, the daiyoukai would've smirked; every time Rin used the phrase 'takes care of things', it meant she would go out of her way to keep his vassal busy.

"See that he prepares the rooms in the eastern wing," Sesshoumaru said, leaning forward slightly to adjust mokomoko around the miko's shoulders. She was no longer in danger, but the pelt provided her with direct contact with his youki, which would aid in the healing process.

Knowing that her pack, and the village, would provide for their overall protection, Sesshoumaru allowed himself to relax, succumbing to the fatigue from expelling so much of his youki. He would deal with the miko's reaction once they were both fit to process it.


They were alone when he woke. The light of dawn creeping in through the window told him more than a day had passed, and he noted that all the reminders of the recent battle had been cleaned from the floor.

The miko's side of the hourglass was still low but was not as empty as it had been, and the relief that her pack had felt once her safety had been confirmed finally settled into his bones.

Sesshoumaru looked down and found her eyes on him, wide and questioning.

"How do you feel?"

"Like I got run over by a truck."

He frowned, unfamiliar with the word. "You were not hit with anything. The dragon—"

The miko shot up, and he barely caught her before she fell over, small hands grasping at silk. "Is everyone okay?"

Ignoring the way she felt in his arms, Sesshoumaru forced her to lie back down. "Everyone is safe."

She continued to struggle. "Are you sure? It was huge! Inuyasha was—"

"Miko." He could smell her panic.

"There was fire everywhere, the kids—"


She froze as his youki enveloped her, hands still gripping his sleeves as she stared up at him in wonder. An apprentice would have known something was off, but she was second to no one. Even in her state of exhaustion, she reached out with her reiki.



And he welcomed it. Their power danced, barely distinguishable from each other as it curled around them, and he heard the beat of her heart speed up.

"What did you do?"

Sesshoumaru lay a hand on her chest, imploring her to lie down, suddenly unable to meet her gaze. "I bonded our souls."

"Why?" The question was breathless, barely above a whisper.

A single shrug belied his disquiet. "I was not ready to exist in this world without you in it."

It was the truth, though perhaps it was too soon to admit it aloud. Memories of the poison-maker and Magatsuhi flashed through his mind, and he wondered when he'd begun to see her as more. 

Kagome finally relaxed against her futon, raven hair encircling her head like a halo. Her lip caught between her teeth, but she never looked away, and Sesshoumaru gave up the fight, meeting her gaze once more.

"Everyone's really okay?"


"Are you okay?"

A pale eyebrow rose.

"I feel you—" She seemed to struggle with the right words, rubbing the place where his hand had been as if it ached. "—in here."

"Another side effect of the bond."

She continued to gnaw on her lip, her eyes darting around the room. "Was it that bad?"

"You would not have survived otherwise."

"I'm sorry."

"I am not." Golden eyes narrowed when the air became saturated with her guilt.

"But this is permanent! Inuyoukai mate for life, don't they?"


She gave him an incredulous look. "What do you mean, and? How will you find a real mate if you're already bonded to me?"

The longer he stayed silent, the darker her blush became. Her mouth opened and closed a few times, but words failed her, and she covered her face with one arm.

Sesshoumaru hid his smirk as he tucked mokomoko around her shoulders, his pelt having come loose during her frantic episode. Leaning back against the wall, he closed his eyes; Kagome was still siphoning his youki, and though it wasn't enough to incapacitate him, sleeping would restore them both.

There was soft shuffling, and her hand slipped into his, weaving their fingers together. "Is this alright?"

"Hnn." He stroked the back of her hand, and she finally relaxed.

"Thank you," she mumbled, "for saving me."

"You would have done the same if the situation had been reversed."

Warmth bloomed at her end of the bond, and Sesshoumaru knew she was smiling.



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