Fractured Reflections by SHORTFRY


A/N: Chapters 1 – 11 edited as of December 2020. Some details have changed but not enough to really affect the story. Just tweaked a few things here and there, though I do recommend starting from the beginning for better flow. Enjoy!

Chapter 1 – Fault

She stood deadly still, motionless as trepidation crawled slowly beneath goose-fleshed skin. Survival senses screamed to flee, yet her feet remained planted. She needed to remain tactical. Each potential move was under careful scrutiny as she stared into the endless onyx of two circular, beady eyes.

Had it been just that simple, she would be less apprehensive. But the way those greedy orbs followed her movements hinted at a higher intelligence, at more than just a mindless youkai.

No, this one was not mindless. This was a predator.

It had been the only thing that stayed her normally hasty reactions. Mindless youkai could have easily been out-maneuvered. So because this one was not so mindless, she remained still, locked in an inner frenzy of figuring how to tackle this fickle situation.

Everything had seemed fine until it wasn’t, the day unceremoniously interrupted without so much as a warning. She should have been more alert, should have been more attuned to their surroundings. But as it stood, the self-reprimand was only adding unhelpfully to her unease.

The grating rattle of scale on scale brought attention back to the giant serpent that held those big, optic globes. The situation was becoming evermore dire as the demon slithered in place. It long, slick body was stacked in a coil, encircling her and her companion from escape by its gargantuan frame. Its girth was at least three feet wide and length about forty feet long. She had never seen a snake so huge.

An inky tongue darted out in a forking hiss then, showcasing two equally large, hanging fangs.

“Rin,” she spoke in a hushed voice without taking eyes off the obvious danger, “stay behind me.”

Soft shuffling sounded from her side at the low command. Reaching an arm behind, she nudged the young girl further away from the beast’s line of sight.

She knew Rin was frightened, though the girl did well to hold her fear. Despite the many monstrosities the child had previously been exposed to, it was not something one at her age should get used to. Rin was not old enough to be jaded by all the evil of the world. Not just yet. So acting as her protector, the elder of the two stood her ground and became her shield.

Neither side made a move. As the standstill stretched, the hand that had been clenched on a worn, wooden bow only gripped tighter, knuckles fading white. A trusted weapon – it had been her go-to for countless battles, so much so that the handle had melded perfectly to the ridges of her slightly calloused palm.

Yet at this moment, the reliable weapon did not assuage mounting worry as a determined gaze was slanted to the left, landing upon the dropped quiver far beyond reach.

It had been a stupid oversight.

She scolded herself mentally at such timely clumsiness, that damnable trait. The attack had been a sudden surprise, and in her rush to Rin’s aid, she never gave a thought to grab the abandoned arrows.

With the one thing needed out of reach, her mind began scraping for a solution with whatever they had available. Chancing a look at the bow still in hand, she dismally acknowledged that it was not much to go on while surveying the sturdy instrument.

But just then, a thought occurred.  

What if the bow can be a conduit...?

Scanning the enemy, she contemplated the hardened armour of thick, impenetrable scales, and was reminded of a childhood fairy-tale – of houses and pigs, of straws and bricks. Sheets of its outer layers interlocked snugly, overlapping each other like well-formed shingles. Not even its soft underbelly had been left exposed.

This creature was armed to the teeth. 

A small huff escaped frustratingly. There just had to be a weak spot somewhere! She just needed to find it.

She was still surveying the reptilian fortress when the clutching of small, dainty hands at her sleeves told of the younger girl’s mounting distress. She instinctively shifted to block more of her from view of the towering serpent, never wavering from its voracious stare while studying for possible escape. Like any predator, it seemed to be taking its time, finding the precise instance to strike.

In turn, she studiously traced its endless lines calculatingly, looking for any open opportunity.

They were surrounded within a walled column created by its coiled form, high enough to interrupt view of the sun-splattered forest in the eerily quiet afternoon. The column it created was at least twice her height. Piteously, she thought of beseeching the gods for war tactics on how to scale a wall. If only more attention had been paid throughout history class, there had been so many walls! The Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, the Wall of Babylon…

She shook her head of the ridiculous thought.

But none were made of a human-eating youkai with sharp – probably venomous – teeth.

Her stance hardened while swallowing the dryness in her throat, heels digging further into the ground. There was comfort in the solidity. As though rooting herself would enable her immovable against such an imposing force, lending strength straight from the earth below.

She noticed the slow, alien-like blink of the creature’s unwavering eyes; a second, thinner eyelid closing fractionally over those insidious orbs before disappearing once again.

Her spine chilled at the display, practically feeling the palpable abhorrence skitter her back at the sight of the still-staring beast.

Time was running out, and they needed to try something. Anything.

If this youkai had any sliver of intelligent thought as suspected then perhaps it could also be reasoned with, despite its seeming lack of speech. She had gone up against such foes in the past – creatures whose cognitive maturity had been between that of animals and humans. More comparable to chimps and monkeys, those youkai had an ability to understand. She needed to make it understand – make it think of her as a threat and not a meal. And there was one thing that all demons instinctually knew to fear.

The tenseness in her jawline was firm as she channelled bravado that was not quite there. Taking a deep breath, she began to vociferate roaringly clear.

“Leave us, or I’ll purify you!”

The beast immediately stilled from its miniscule slithering as her voice rang out.

The subtle hissing stopped.

No more sounds of shifting scales. It was almost surreal, white noise peeling away to silence.

She and her young companion kept still, afraid to make any sudden movements that might provoke. She hoped the creature had understood her threat. Wished for the creature’s eventual retreat.

Another moment passed mockingly as the beast just stared with those round, endless, orbs.

She held her breath.

And waited.

But nothing was happening.

Minutes stretched on before slowly, the sounds drifted back once again.

A vibrating hum electrified the atmosphere as a sensory tale of hunger’s rapacity glissaded through its thick, engrossing shaft.

Panic dropped like stones in her chest.

Her attempt had been futile.

In fact, she feared, it seemed to have added to the serpent’s rising excitement, feathering air to a teeming flame as its eyes took on a haunting glint. Another darting of tongue hissed as the creature salivated, and she visibly recoiled at the impending threat. At the sound of scales sliding excitedly upon scales, a small gasp escaped her parched throat at what was soon to come.

In a split second, the snake launched with extended, pointed fangs.

Blue eyes widened right before adrenaline kicked in, swiftly tugging Rin close to her side while simultaneously pivoting out the path of danger.

The snake’s stocky body skidded by the spot they had just been occupying, muscled jaws snapping the air mere inches away. That had been a close call, but the attack was not over.

A flash of green caught her sight. The beast had changed trajectory and was quickly careening towards them once more.

Without a second thought, glowing energy channelled into the clutched bow in hand, flowing from arm to palm to wood, gathering strength.

Just as the snake dove within reach and poised to strike, she raised an arm and plunged downwards with all her might, driving the pointed end of the bow into slick, thick scales. A vile screech echoed from the youkai’s hideous mouth as it glided violently by, knocking the two humans angrily off their feet.

They fell harshly against jagged rocks lining the field as a distressed cry ripped into the clearing. Without contemplating on the status of the beast, the protector quickly righted herself and scrambled over to the other fallen girl without a care for her own newly-forming bruises.

“Rin! Are you okay?” Her heart was pounding, voice almost wavering as she scanned for any harm, hands roving, gaze meeting.

Rin gave a timid nod, but she could tell the girl was holding back tears. As long as they were both still able to stand and not rendered unconscious, worrying will just have to wait. Giving Rin’s hand a reassuring squeeze, a hesitant glance studied the looming head of the serpent.

There was a noticeable scorched patch of scales from where the bow had connected just below its jaw. Yet the damage was minimal, its armour leaving no point of penetration.

Her hackles rose.

The beast was seething.

That…is not good…not good at all, she thought grimly.

It was unfortunate that most previous trainings had bypassed close-range combat. If she had been more like Sango, maybe she would have known just where to hit to not waste a strike.

But now was not the time for hindsight.

Lividness emanated from the beast’s atrocious aura, pressing in like four walls in a shrinking room. Their options were running out, yet the walls continued to contract. The telltale rattle of scraping scales indicated another oncoming attack, ominously grating to the ears. Sinking dread saturated each passing minute, growing heavier and heavier. Her focus was kept on that dangerous jaw and those deadly fangs, preparing for its next unerring move.

But it was too late when she noticed a flick to the side, as suddenly its massive tail scourged forth from their left flank.

There was no time to run. No room to dodge fully.

Stricken with fear, she forcefully shoved Rin away in a last-ditched effort, hoping it was enough to get her out the path of the large appendage.

A high-pitched cry tore from Rin’s throat as she once again fell harshly against protruding rocks a few feet away, tears stinging like shards of glass.

Remorse mirrored on the elder woman’s expression before scrunching painfully. The serpent’s tail had caught her in a forceful blow, curling around her midsection in a flurry of movement.

“R-Rin,” she struggled against its vice-like grip, arms trapped as she winced helplessly at the younger girl’s tear-stained face.

If only she had quicker reflexes, if only she had not been so careless –

Sharp pain shot through her chest against the crushing hold, labouring each intake of much-needed air.

But that was not what was concerning her.

She needed to save the girl, to get her away. Rin still had a chance. And as long as the snake was coiled around her, it would limit movements from going too far after her companion.

With a burning breath licked by fire, she squeezed out a single command.


Rin snapped attention at the desolate warning from her fallen position, but limbs remained unmoveable from shock, shackled down with the weight of distress. Never had she heard such desperation from the woman. It just struck vividly how dreadful of a situation this had really become. An urgent worry wracked her soul for the one who had saved her from danger, ripping out another wail, this time for her protector’s safety.


But it was too late.

Its hungry, predatory gaze had turned focus in Rin’s direction at the shrilling pitch, hardened in on its second victim. Its long upper body slithered the closing distance with a lockless jaw agape, ready to swallow anything whole like a shark to a school of fish.

Wide brown eyes watched in horror as the massive head leaned back in a slow tilt –

Then it snapped forward.

She made to scream, expression pinching as blood drained from her heart-shaped face. And just as she was about to become course to a youkai’s meal, a flash of white appeared before the petrified girl.

She felt the ground suddenly fade away in the darkness, and within moments, the earth was solid again beneath her feet.

Clenched tear-lined lids reopened.

She could have sworn she had been eaten, but was instead relieved, seeing the forest green instead of the insides of a digestive tract. Peering up, what she found was a very familiar face.

“Sesshomaru-sama!” she exclaimed in tidal relief.

Strong arms positioned her comfortably on a safe patch of grass as he quickly scanned for damage just as the miko had done. Noticing the girl’s clutching of her right arm, his inner beast became displeased. Reining control of an increasing rage, his voice kept sharp and tethered.

“Stay here. Do not move.”

Rin remained still, and once ensuring compliance to issued instructions, crimson-tinged pupils turned in direction of the serpent as the daiyoukai rose to his full height.

This danger should not have come to his ward, and he was livid at the pitiful youkai’s attempt to harm his charge. It will dearly pay. The only thing it shall taste is the sting of death upon the burn of vicious, lethal poison.

Acting upon baser instincts, the beast raged at the realization of its stolen meal as it now eyed the newcomer several yards away. It once again coiled as another rattle sounded its intent to strike. 

Staring down with equally deadly purpose, sizzling toxins dripped from sharpened claws. An easy dispatch, but he will still make it suffer.

Die, vermin,” he spat as white and silver launched forward in the blink of an eye.

Poison-tipped claws slashed silkily through a distended jaw before the snake had a chance to make its overconfident strike.

Tortured screeches continued ringing out its vile throat, the now gaping hole at the back of its head spreading wider as the potent acid ate away at melting flesh. Putrid smoke tainted the air, carrying with it the scent of decay and death. It was an easy kill, just as expected. No more effort than crushing an insect beneath his solid boots. The snake slackened and fell, tumbling down in a steaming, rubbled mess.

Sesshomaru revelled in its demise as self-satisfied triumph tugged on a growing smirk – until a deafening scream tore through the clearing in stilted pause.

In a rare panic, he instinctively looked behind him to his ward, relief awash to see that Rin was as he had left her – safe and sound. Confusion then marred just the tiniest of cracks in his normally calm exterior.

If not her, then –

A single pulse of power – bright and potent – drew his focus forward before it dissipated in rippled streaks. He was hit with a wave of sudden realization when a distinctly metallic scent stung high in his nose.

Behind molten chunks of the slain serpent, a lone figure remained hunched over, surrounded by the coils of withering scales. As one arm kept the figure from falling completely to the ground, the other trembled over a down-cast face, features hidden behind a tumbling veil of raven locks.



INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
No money is being made from the creation or viewing of content on this site, which is strictly for personal, non-commercial use, in accordance with the copyright.