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Tables Turned by Chie

The last day in Hell

Summary: Sesshoumaru had it all, but one false accusation cost him everything. Kagome had always been in the darkness, but she fought her way to the top. When a disguised Sesshoumaru sets out to gain all he has lost, their paths will cross unexpectedly...

Genre: Dark, Drama, Humour, Mystery, Romance

Rating: MA

Universe: AU

Disclaimer: I'll be only declaring it this once, before we begin. All the characters belong to Rumiko Takahshi and no, I do not own them. Nor do I plan on earning any money writing this. I'm writing this all for free, for you.

Chie: After reading various of AU-fics taking place in business-life with Sesshoumaru being the boss and Kagome being hired as his assistant, I wanted to try my hand at it, too. In my own style.

This humble writer hopes you enjoy it. I nearly reached the brink of insanity while writing this, trying to get it as good as I only could. This story took 4 years to finish, but I think it is worth all the time I invested on it.

Enormous thanks for The Dah, for inspiring and encouraging me!

Tables turned

Chapter one - The last day in Hell

 

Present time...

The gates banged shut behind his back. He took in the biting cold air of the end of autumn and then let the breath out. Right now he was in the middle of nowhere, it would take two hours to get back to Kyoto from this prison's isolated location. Though he didn't exactly know what good it would do to get back to Kyoto... he no longer had a place there.

He did not feel a wild sensation of freedom. He could not feel any joy. His mood was gloomy.

Yes, he was free after the torture of being locked up for three and half years. But he was more free than he'd wish to be. There were no bonds binding him down to anything here, out in the open. And everything he had once possessed was now forever out of his reach.

Yamasaki Sesshoumaru had always been an arrogant and spoiled child. He had been the eldest son of Yamasaki Katsuo. Katsuo had been the head of the great Yamasaki family, as well as the minister of foreign affairs. Thus, little Sesshoumaru had spent his life surrounded by wealth and glamour. Only the best had been good enough for him. He had attended the best private schools. And after graduation he had started his own business. At first, Kyoto Records had been a small enterprise but it soon flourished and grew bigger and bigger. It didn't take long 'til Sesshoumaru's company was the leading recording company in the whole Japan. And so the adult Sesshoumaru spent his years surrounded by more wealth and glory.

And then came the charges, the accusations and the webs of shame. He was accused, falsely charged, and had to bear the consequences of the ill deed he had never committed. He had been shut out of the world, thrown into that twisted hell the prison had been for him. A merciless place, where the laws of the jungle abided. But that had not been enough. The fates had wanted to completely humiliate him, to take away everything which had once belonged to him.

All his money, his own company, his apartment and the family to which he once had belonged.. All of it was now a mere faded memory. The last time he had even heard of his family had been the letter a year and half ago. They had wished him a happy birthday and informed that his name had been removed from the Yamasaki family registry. He was no longer worthy to be called by that name.

Here he stood, in front of the prison gates. A free man, once one of the greatest and most praised beings alive. Here he stood, without his money, his wealth, his family's support, without the name he had been born with. Here he stood, with nothing but bitter feelings and sweet memories.

Memories of that glorious life he had lead before that damned letter.

* * * * *

Three and a half years ago...

 

"Your mail, Yamasaki-sama!"

He didn't bother to look up to acknowledge the young woman, his current secretary. Sesshoumaru did not like people, and he especially loathed young females. That was why he seemed to change secretaries as often as one changed a suit. One could stand his cold, arrogant person only for so long.

Sure he was honourable, well-mannered and truly talented in everything he was doing, but that wasn't the whole picture. Oh no. He was also a boss from the hell itself, strict and demanding, with extremely high expectations for everyone, himself included. He was pretty look at, but a devil to work with. Everything needed to be done according to schedule, and failing to meet a deadline meant risking your life. Sesshoumaru wasn't known for being merciful, no, quite the opposite. He was very polite to his equals, pompous to his inferiors.

And he was the most merciless towards his secretary-assistants, that was why that position seemed to be always open.

At the moment Sesshoumaru was sitting in his exquisite office, behind his heavy oak desk. He was holding a report in his hands, a report from Jaken, his vice-president.

"Leave the mail onto my desk," Sesshoumaru finally said, acknowledging that he had in fact heard his secretary.

He heard a muffled giggle and sighed to himself. He could feel the migraine coming. When he heard the door close with a silent click, he knew for certain that it was safe for him to look up. No longer was he forced to meet big dreamy eyes and a fake smile.

Women.

His attention was drawn onto the pile of envelopes on the corner of his desk. He reached for them and grabbed the one on the top of the pile.

He opened the official looking envelope not bothering to look who was the sender. Pulling out the letter he felt first throbs of the migraine pressing his temples. 

"Mr Yamasaki Sesshoumaru Hikaru," he read, "it is our duty to inform you that you have been charged as a suspect guilty to a large-scale tax fraud. The trials will start on Friday, 28th May, 9 am..."

His eyes failed to see the rest of the letter, where they explained in close detail what all he was really accused of and what all he was supposed to do now.

This could not be happening. Not to him, out of all people. Charged? Accused of a tax fraud? He had never done such a thing! The trials would start in three weeks from now...

Sesshoumaru pinched the bridge of his nose as the headache began to bloom. The first thing right now was to give a call to his lawyer. Sesshoumaru picked up his phone.

* * * * *

Present time...

 

So it had started, this personal hell of his. When he had received that letter it had never crossed his mind that one day.. One day the great Yamasaki Sesshoumaru-sama would be like this. Standing in the cold autumn air owning nothing but the clothes on him and his wallet, cell phone and a pen.

His wallet was of no use, because he had lost all his credit information when the bank had found out the fraud-accusation. The cell phone wasn't working since the battery was dead and buried. And the bloody pen was broken too.

Sesshoumaru's lips twitched in the urge to laugh hauntingly at this twisted, pitiful picture of himself.

Oh what had become of the great Yamasaki Sesshoumaru? A useless nobody who had absolutely nothing save for his hurt pride, bitter resentment towards the fates as well as for the rest of the world. And a fierce obsession. The desperate need to get his revenge for all this injustice that had ruined his life. 

 

* * * * *

Three and a half years ago...

 

Sitting by the bar counter, he gulped down yet another drink. He did not know how much alcohol he had devoured 'til now, but it clearly had not been enough. The fist of fury closed in around his heart again, squeezing it devilishly, making his blood run hot from rage.

He grabbed his glass again only to find it empty. When had he drunk it all?

"Another one," he barked out and went back to staring at the bar counter gloomily.

"Excuse me."

Sesshoumaru turned his head and saw a tall, black-haired woman smiling at him.

"Is this seat taken?"

"No."

"Great." the woman's smile widened as she sat down next to him.

"You know, I've been watching you the whole evening. Did she leave you?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Oh, you just looked so upset that I figured you got dumped."

"None of that," Sesshoumaru said, paying the bartender.

"Then what is it?" the woman inquired.

"I lost my job." Sesshoumaru grunted and raised the glass to his lips.

She watched closely as he drank the liquor and then set the empty glass back onto the bar counter.

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"No reason for you to be sorry."

"Maybe so, but I am sorry none the less."

Sesshoumaru did not reply to her, instead he ordered a new drink.

"You shouldn't drink that much," the woman by his side said with a little laugh. "Or otherwise you don't only lose your job but your girlfriend as well."

"There is no girlfriend."

"You're kidding me, right?"

"Why would I be?"

He gulped down the drink the bartender had set before him a moment earlier.

"Such a catch not be unclaimed."

Sesshoumaru raised his eyebrow. Female logic. He had never understod it.

"A girlfriend would be a hindrance."

"Ah, I see it now."

Sesshoumaru raised his hand to order yet another drink but then decided against it. Maybe he had had enough for tonight.

"So you don't do girlfriends, eh?" the woman snickered, opening up the conversation again.

He only grunted as a response.

"What about one-night-stands? Do you have something against them?"

Sesshoumaru turned to look at the black-haired woman sceptically.

"Are you hinting at something, perhaps?"

"No, in fact I believe I'm being quite frank. So how about it?"

He woke up in the morning in his own bed. If he had been on any more attentive mood he might have noticed the way the sheets next to him were wrinkled as if someone had been sleeping there. However, the head splitting thunderous ache made all his observation skills disappear. He groaned out loud. There was a foul taste in his mouth. He felt the waves of nausea but held back the vomit, even though he could taste the bile in the back of his mouth. Hangover or not, Yamasaki Sesshoumaru would not throw up.

And what was the best thing; he had no memory what so ever from the previous night.

He cruelly forced himself to get up to get aspirin from the kitchen. His walking pace was slow because every step he took made his head ache even more painfully. A peculiar sight stopped him when he was nearly out of his bedroom.

On the floor, right before him was a lacy piece of clothing.

Why on Earth was there a bra lying in his doorway?

Lame. Someone clearly was not good at pulling pranks. A bra in his bedroom doorway was not funny at all.

Just after he had taken the aspirin his phone went off.

"Yamasaki Sesshoumaru," he answered.

"It's me, Arakichi."

  He recognised his lawyer's voice.

"Good morning."

"Not so good, I'm afraid. I have bad news for you, Yamasaki-sama."

"Yes?"

"We lost the case. I'm sorry."

"Come again?"

"We simply did not have enough evidence to prove your innocence."

"..."

"The sentence will be announced today, at two o'clock. Don't be late."

* * * * *

Present time...

 

And with that his world had suddenly been turned upside down. The evidence had been lacking, save for the one condemning him, of course. How this could have happened, Sesshoumaru did not know.

He had gained a sentence for 4 years in prison. However, his good behaviour had paid off and that was why he was out now, half a year early.

But what use was it to be free when you had nothing?

He didn't have any money, he didn't have a place to stay... heck, he didn't even have spare clothes!

How could the guards and the prison warden just let him walk out of this damn place without even arranging him a cab or something? Just throwing him out like a garbage... Sesshoumaru fumed inside.

Even if he was a lawbreaker - and he was NOT - he still was a human being. They should not be doing something like this to him.

He was still standing before the prison gates, trying his best to control the urge to kill inside of him, when a classy black Mercedes appeared out of thin air. Now what was going on? The car pulled over before him and a dark tinted window rolled down revealing a pale face.

Sesshoumaru recognised the old man immediately. He was Myoga, an old acquaintance of his father. Sesshoumaru had known the man from his childhood. Myoga had even been in the board of management of Sesshoumaru's company.

"Myoga, what are you doing here?"

"Picking you up. Didn't the warden tell you? Well never mind that, just step in, Sesshoumaru, my lad."

Sesshoumaru did as he requested and got into the car. Sinking onto the luxurious leather seat he gazed at the old man in silence.

"How does it feel to be free again?"

"Truth to be told, Myoga, I feel like shit."

Myoga flashed the young man a reassuring smile, even though that non-Sesshoumaru-like answer startled him.

"Have no fears. I've already taken care of everything."

* * * * *

Three and a half years ago...

 

"New flesh, new flesh, new flesh!"

Rowdy rows of bulky men roared, laughed menacingly and rattled the bars as they chanted for the newcomer.

Sesshoumaru walked in between the two guards dressed in his prisoner's uniform. Four whole years in this place?

Walking along the corridor, followed by the intense, gleaming, staring eyes and the crude shouts affected him in a certain way. They awoke a whole new feeling inside of him. Fear. It felt so unnerving to be watched like this.

"Look, this one's a true pretty-boy!"

"The things I will do to you,.."

"I'm going to fucking kill you!"

He tried to close his ears off from all the shouts the best he could.

Fear was a feeling unknown to Yamasaki Sesshoumaru. He had never before much paid heed to it.

And now he was suddenly overwhelmed by it. The fear had taken control. He wanted to run away, but his own body betrayed him. He continued to walk on after the guard. On and on new rows of faces, new intense, staring eyes, new mocking shouts insulting his person.

And then they stopped.

The other guard opened the door and kept watch as the other one escorted Sesshoumaru into the cell. Then the guard took off Sesshoumaru's handcuffs and walked out of the cell. The door closed and clicked as the guards locked it before walking away. Sesshoumaru could still feel eyes on him but he ignored the stares. Instead his gaze studied the tiny cell he was now in. This was supposed to be his home for the next four years?

"Hey pretty boy," the man from the opposite cell called, leaning against the bars with a crude grin on his face.

Sesshoumaru stared at the wall, trying his best not to listen. Unfortunately he didn't manage to close his ears as easily as he had wished. His hand tightened into a fist and his nails scraped his frail skin.

"I can show you around here tomorrow.. I could show you a lot of things. I could show you your place too - that'd be right before me, on your knees."

Loud roars of laugh followed the prisoner's insulting statement and Sesshoumaru's sharp intuition told him that the guy was very top at the hierarchy of this twisted society.

"So how about it, pretty one?"

"Oy," a new shout emerged. The tone was sharp and the shout had been coming from very close to Sesshoumaru, it hurt his ears.

He jerked his head to a side and saw a man with a long black braid sitting up on the upper bed of the bunk in the corner of Sesshoumaru's cell. Sesshoumaru had failed to notice him before, since the guy wasn't exactly the tallest of them all.

The laughter died out. Each pair of eyes seemed to be glued onto the little guy sharing Sesshoumaru's cell.

"Shut it, asshole. I'm trying to get some sleep here."

The bulky man on the opposite cell seemed like he wanted to argue, but turned away.

Sesshoumaru watched in amazement as everyone who had been laughing, now turned quietly away.

Sesshoumaru glanced at his cell mate again. Who was he? Possessing this must power that the others did not want to object, despite his deceivingly frail appearance.

Sesshoumaru gulped down the fear squeezing his throat and walked over to his bunk, lying down. He hated all of this already. How in hell could he survive here for four years?

* * * * *

Present time...

 

"I have arranged you a place to stay and you have a job interview tomorrow."

"A job interview?"

"You need money, my lad."

"What kind of a job is it?"

"Well, I don't want to spoil the fun and give you details, but I can assure you it's a decent, simple job which pays well. You should get used to it soon enough."

"That sounds a bit too good to be true," Sesshoumaru grunted. He couldn't help but to feel suspicious.

"Well, the most difficult thing for you is getting along with people, but I'm certain you'll be able to pull it off."

"Don't tell me it's something disgraceful."

"I told you already, it's a decent job. You'll get back to business world."

"Come again? Myoga, you're out of your mind. A guy who's been in jail because of a large-scale tax fraud would be accepted? I highly doubt that."

"I have influence, Sesshoumaru. I guarantee they'll take you in."

"Why are you doing this?" the young man suddenly asked, feeling a bit reserved.

"Because I know you didn't do it," he simply replied with a little smile. "You are too honest and honourable to participate in any kind of a fraud. I can't understand how they could condemn you like that. Just shows how corrupted the whole system is."

Sesshoumaru's eyes widened. The movement was faint, but Myoga noticed it.

"I see."

He turned to watch the urban scenery. It had only been three and a half years but it had felt like a century.

* * * * *

Three and a half years ago...

 

Night fell. If Sesshoumaru had thought that the prison had been a horrible place in borad daylight, he had been wrong. It was nothing compared to the night.

The darkness was overwhelming. Sesshoumaru was not afraid of the dark. He had never feared it. However, he was feeling a bit scared at the moment, but also disgusted. It was not because of the dark, but because of the sounds the unkind cold darkness carried over to him.

Quiet moaning and whimpering. Squeals of pain. Groans of arousal from someone who - at least Sesshoumaru hoped so - was masturbating. Malicious muttering into the night, a vicious plot to kill a poor someone in the cruelest way.

Sesshoumaru shuddered and turned to face the cold thick wall. He wanted away from here. Now he was certain he had seen the Hell itself, worse, he had been there... And he didn't want to stay in this Hell any longer. Sesshoumaru's life had always been very protected up to this point. Of course he was aware that cruel, brutal things were happening out there, but it had never concerned him. And now, he was locked among killers and rapists, malicious, devilish brutes, whose sheer cruelty made him feel utterly disgusted.

Never in his life had he felt more alone and deserted.

He looked at the metal tray unenthusiastically. He didn't even want to start to describe what that so-called food looked like. He had a feeling that he'd lose some weight during his jail-years. Sesshoumaru sighed and explored the canteen. He met menacing pairs of eyes and brutal grins and an involuntary shudder ran down his back, especially when he remembered the sounds of darkness from last night.

Then he noticed his cell-mate, sitting all alone at a table for six. Sesshoumaru however did not find this odd. The little black-haired man seemed to prefer solitude, a preference Sesshoumaru very well understood. After all, he wasn't a great example of a social person himself.

Calmness settled over him as he made his decision. With prideful steps, he walked over to the secluded man.

The man didn't bother to look up as Sesshoumaru set his tray onto the table and sat down.

"Thank you for yesterday."

"That's a surprise," the man said quietly. "They finally managed to lock in someone with manners."

Sesshoumaru couldn't tell whether the guy was talking to him or to himself.

"You interest me," Sesshoumaru admitted, looking at the passive man from the corner of his eye.

"It's been awhile since someone in here dared to open up a conversation with me. But you're new so you don't know."

"You are the solitary type, right?"

"I have an agreement with these guys here. If I don't bother them, they won't bother me."

"They seem to respect you."

"Respect?" the man laughed. "These lowly scumbags don't know anything 'bout respect!"

"Then why do they leave you into your own peace?"

"These assholes operate on a very simple basis. The way they treat me is out of fear."

"Fear?"

Sesshoumaru inspected him more closely. Was this tiny guy really such a terrifying person that no one here dared to stand up to him?

The man glanced at him and for awhile their gazes met. He was smirking, in that kind of way that Sesshoumaru couldn't help but think that the guy knew exactly what he had been pondering just a minute ago.

"My family are Yakuza. My dad has quite a name in those circles as well as my younger brother. I myself don't much care 'bout such activities, but a certain reputation is always handy."

"I see."

"And you. What are you doing here exactly? This is the last place possible for the likes of you."

"My charges were false," Sesshoumaru said, hands clenching into fists. It made him mad to even think about it.

"There was a lack of evidence. And my father is too honourable a man to buy me out."

"Ah, let me guess... your family's high-class?"

"Yamasaki Sesshoumaru," the silver-haired man told his name.

"Yamasaki? As in the son of that minister as well as the boss of that one recording company? Man. I had a feeling that you weren't just any guy, but I had no clue you'd be such a big-shot. Better not let your name slip around here, you'll just end up with a lot of trouble."

"Thanks for the tip."

The man nodded.

"Hiten."

So, Hiten was his name?

"Hey, what's your second name?"

Sesshoumaru was startled at the sudden question.

"Hikaru."

"Right."

For awhile a frown took over Hiten's features.

"Suzuki Hikaru."

"Excuse me?"

"From now on if anyone asks, you're Suzuki Hikaru."

Sesshoumaru smirked.

"Deal."

After the conversation the two men ate in silence. Sesshoumaru felt oddly reassured after having a conversation with his cell-mate. Somehow, he no longer felt as helpless as before.

 * * * * *

Present time...

 

The car went on and on. Silence lingered in the air. Sesshoumaru had always been a silent young man, Myoga knew, but today he seemed to be taking it to extreme. Or maybe it was because he had changed. Three years were alone enough to change a person, let alone spending time in a prison, like Sesshoumaru had!

Myoga did not want to fill that silence with an unimportant small-talk and useless words. He could clearly see that right now, Sesshoumaru preferred to be left into his own peace. Even though he showed no emotion, Myoga could still read him quite well. After all, he had watched him grow from a serious little toddler to the great man and king of Japan's recording business. There he was now, sitting in front of him, dressed casually in a white shirt and dark blue jeans. His silver hair was freely flowing around him, in perfect order. His skin was pale under the traditional family tattoos, twin maroon stripes on each cheek and a purple crescent moon on his forehead. His elfin features showed seriousness, as always. Myoga could not recall ever seeing Sesshoumaru relaxed or laughing. He had been all serious like that, even when as a child.

How different he was from his father.

Katsuo was always relaxed and smiling, even though he could turn all business-like in a blink of an eye. Still, after decades of friendship, Myoga found hard to tell the true Yamasaki Katsuo, for the man had so many faces and pulled them all off excellently.  

Myoga was convinced that Sesshoumaru had many things to work out in his mind. It was better to grant him the silence he very well deserved.

* * * * *

Three and a half years ago

 

Warm fingers ran down his spine in a distorted caress. The water still kept pouring out; the attacker hadn't bothered to turn the shower off. The cold tiles felt wet and slimy against his bare skin.

Sesshoumaru had never before felt so humiliated. Numerous feeling stormed inside him, dancing a twisted dance. Helplessness, repulsiveness, dirtiness, insecurity, hopelessness... The list could go on forever and ever, and still it would do nothing to help him escape the reality, to escape this awkward situation, to escape the disgusting fate that was about to happen to him...

The fingers reached his backside and stroked it longingly.

"You're too beautiful to be a man," a throaty voice whispered into his ear.

Sesshoumaru felt nauseous.

The waves off panic washed over him and he tried to struggle against his hold.

It was in vain, though. The man was too strong.

"Yes, love. Fight back. That way it is even more enjoyable."

Those loathsome fingers felt him up again. The man pressed his body closer to Sesshoumaru and for the briefest moment, his hardened member brushed against his bare buttock.

Sesshoumaru flinched from the contact and felt the strong urge to vomit. The bitter taste of bile already lurked in the back of his mouth. His hand, being held down by the man's tight grip clenched into a fist and pounded helplessly against the wet tile-floor. The man's hot breath teased the tender flesh of his neck. Sesshoumaru squeezed his eyes shut and hoped he could be somewhere else, anywhere but here.

He was certain that nothing could be worse than this.

Again, he felt the stranger's most intimate parts pressing against his naked flesh and this time the touch wasn't quite so brief.

An odd sound escaped from Sesshoumaru's throat. The realisation that it had been a whimper-like sob only added to his shock.

"That's the way to turn me on, love," the slithery voice spoke into his ear a little before a hot tongue darted out to taste the side of his neck as the hot fingers rubbed teasingly the valley between his cheeks.

And then there was someone invading his body and he hated every second of it.

Sesshoumaru felt the strangers hard muscles pressing against him, he heard the strangers heated moans just by his ear, he tasted to coppery flavour of blood in his mouth and faintly realised that he had just bitten his own tongue.

And then the weight was off him. It took a while for Sesshoumaru to realise what had happened due to his current state of shock.

Dumbly he watched as his former harasser was now sitting on the floor a few yards from him, pressing his hands to his bleeding nose.

"I hate assholes like you who take advantage of others," Hiten spat out, tossing his black braid over his shoulder.

The harasser glared at him but dared not to oppose Sesshoumaru's cell-mate.

Hiten kicked sharply the man's ribs and watched coldly when he fell onto the floor.

"You ought to know not to mess with me. If you mess with the newbie, it's the same if you messed with me. Hikaru's under my protection. You'd better tell that to all of your buddies as well, Musou."

Hiten spat onto the tile floor and then offered his hand for Sesshoumaru.

"C'mon, Hikaru. Let's get going."

Sesshoumaru let the shorter man pull him up.

 

* * * * *

Present time....

 

The scenes flew by his eyes. Buildings rising high, scraping the sky. People walking by, hurrying into their own directions.

Had he been there, among those people, he wouldn't have been going anywhere looking determined and busy. No, he would probably just stand there in the middle of the swarming crowd, wondering where to go and what to do.

Once upon a time there was a spoiled puppy. The puppy ran from home one day and was mistakenly taken in by the city pound. The life behind the bars was cruel and therefore the puppy evolved into a vicious wolf, bound to survive no matter what.

And then the gates had opened, and the wolf had been thrown out of its captivity. The wolf now was out in the open, exposed. Here in the wide world it was just another stray dog.

He suddenly felt disgusted of himself. What was he doing? He, Yamasaki Sesshoumaru, comparing himself to a dog?

But ah, that was right... He wasn't even worth of the name Yamasaki anymore.

"All ties are cut," his father's written words echoed to him.

His destruction was perfect.

Sesshoumaru glanced at the dark tinted window, showing his own reflection. He stopped and studied his own features. When had his face become this emotionless mask?

He might as well keep calling himself Suzuki Hikaru for nothing of his old self remained.       

Myoga studied Sesshoumaru's silent form out of the corner of his eye. He still did not wish to interrupt the younger man's thoughts but something had occurred to him right now, something he ought to let Sesshoumaru know.

"Sesshoumaru...?"

"Yes?" he answered coldly, still looking out of the window.

"As you may know, your imprisonment was wildly speculated in the media."

"Hnnnh."

"It was really everywhere."

"Those leeches," Sesshoumaru muttered to himself in disgust.

"You might not want to attract needless attention. That's why I suggest it'd be better to keep a low profile for awhile. You should also avoid using your name."

Sessshoumaru chuckled. It was a low and dark laughter, completely void of all amusement.

Myoga had never heard such a sound coming from him and was taken aback.

A cold, humourless smile lingered on Sesshoumaru's thin lips.

* * * * *

Three and a half years ago...

 

Sesshoumaru was only poking his food around his plate with his fork.

"It's not that bad, ya know. Eat," Hiten said, watching his cell-mate closely.

"I'm not hungry," the silver-haired man answered, staring at his plate.

Hiten very well knew what this was about.

"Ya wanna talk about it?"

"Not really."

"Well that's a shame, really," the black-haired man determinedly said, "'cause we're having a talk anyway."

Sesshoumaru didn't respond.

"This," Hiten started, "is a vicious place. Being stuck here is enough to make a man go crazy. Being locked in a cage does many things to a man. There are some who don't mind losing their freedom. There are some who might even like it. But most of us hate it. Frustration and desperation become your constant companions. And you are willing to do anything to release that frustration, if only for a moment."

Hiten stole a glance at him, only to notice that the man was still staring at his plate in silence.

"The problem is that you're clueless. You're the good boy, father's pride, always getting everything on a silver platter the moment you want it. You've lead a very protected life. There's never really been any need for you to stick up for yourself. And now, you're suddenly thrown into a place like this and alone and deserted you are told to survive. And you have nothing but your arrogance and in the end that arrogance of yours is only going to cause even more pain to you."

Now Sesshoumaru looked up and watched the smaller man, listening to him without daring to interrupt.

"This is a place where the laws of the jungle abide. Being strong is not good enough; you must be a predator, a ruthless being. The mere sight of you should be enough to make everyone flee in terror. Throw away your pride and freeze your heart and then wall it up. It may sound cruel to you, but believe me; it's only for your own protection. You must become harder than anyone so that their talons can leave no mark on you. Otherwise you'll be crushed."

After that talk, Sesshoumaru never was quite the same. Slowly, he began to change under Hiten's guidance. He started to build up a secure wall around his now frozen heart. It didn't take long until his golden glare was modelled into perfection. Soon, he was able to scare away the sneering crow of fellow-prisoners by one mean glance alone. Very soon, he also received the name "demon lord" because of his new personality. He also beat up Musou in front of the others. When he once had been an arrogant and naïve person, he now became a cold and ruthless being, a dangerous predator who would survive, no matter what. Thanks to Hiten's training, Sesshoumaru learned to depend on himelf alone, he learned to defend himself and. most of the all, he learned to survive. Thanks to Hiten's training, Sesshoumaru would never be the person he had been before.

 

* * * * *

Present time...      

     

"I'm not even worthy of that name anymore," Sesshoumaru said, finally turning to look at Myoga. "I'm certain that you heard it from my father. All ties are cut. I'm no longer a Yamasaki. I'm an outcast. My family removed my name from the registry."

Myoga could sense the young man's bitterness, although neither his voice nor his face betrayed his feelings.

'Katsuo, you fool,' Myoga thought to himself. 'What the hell were you thinking? Sesshoumaru's little jail trip did bring shame on Yamasaki's name... but isn't this overreacting? You raised this boy as your heir just to cut all ties with him...'

Sesshoumaru's gaze idly wandered in the car. Inside of him, anger was boiling. He had been the first born son. He had been his father's pride. He had been raised to be the successor of his father, the head of the famous great and wealthy Yamasaki family. And now...

He was nothing.

That brainless brat, whom he had the misfortune of being related to, was to get everything that should have belonged to Sesshoumaru. For that, he could never forgive his family. 

* * * * *

A week ago...

 

There were two guards standing before his cell.

"Prisoner 6410, you have a guest."

Sesshoumaru got up and walked over to the bars. A guard came in as the other stayed by the door. Handcuffs were put on and then the guards escorted Sesshoumaru into the visitor room.

"Hello there, Yamasaki-sama," greeted the middle-aged man sitting in the visitor's chair.

Great. The first person to visit him after nearly three and half years was his lawyer.

Sesshoumaru spared him a nod and sat down on his chair.

"I have some good news," the lawyer told.

"Truly?" Sesshoumaru felt sceptic. "I haven't heard any good news from you for ages, Arakichi."

The lawyer looked at his client, amazed. What had happened to Yamasaki-sama? One might think that the person sitting on the opposite side of the table would be a stranger. Sure, he looked just like Yamasaki-sama, but that behaviour... that attitude.... What on Earth had happened to Yamasaki Sesshoumaru? Well, they said that being locked up tended to change a person's behaviour, but he had always believed that Yamasaki-sama would be unaffected.

"All right, I do have some bad news for you as well. Which would you want to hear first?"

"Your pick," Sesshoumaru replied. It seemed as if there was nothing he cared about anymore.

"Then the bad news comes first. Here."

Sesshoumaru picked up the document from the desk.

"To Sesshoumaru," there read. "As we informed you two years ago, you no longer are a member of the Yamasaki family. Yamasaki Inuyasha will inherit everything, for he has not disappointed us in a way you have..."

Sesshoumaru didn't want to read any more of that crap and set the paper onto the table.

"And the good ones, then?"

"Your behaviour here has been praised as excellent and it pays off now."

"Please do clarify your statement."

"They will release you into probation in one week."

"Come again?"

"In one week you're free again, Yamasaki-sama."

* * * * *

Five hours ago...

 

"Rise and shine, Hikaru m'boy. Today's your big day."

Sesshoumaru reluctantly opened his eyes as the sleep let go its hold of him.

"Why so cheery, Hiten? It's still early."

"I know, but today's your lucky day!"

"I don't really feel lucky," Sesshoumaru muttered.

"Why not? You're getting out of here today!"

"That does not give me much comfort. Once I'm outside those gates, I'm nothing. I have nothing. I don't have a car, spare clothes, an apartment or any money, either. I've lost everything I had. I don't even have my family anymore."

"Things surely look gloomy but it'll get better. You've been sharpened up. As you are now I'm confident, that you'll survive through anything. And you can always crash at my place," Hiten suggested. "Just go to the Casino Thunderstorm and ask for Manten, then tell him, that Hiten sent you. You'll get a place to stay for sure."

But Sesshoumaru - even though grateful - did not yet feel so desperate that he would feel comfortable being indebted to the Yakuza. However, he didn't tell that to Hiten.

"Thanks for the tip."

"No prob, buddy."

Inside the thick high walls, Sesshoumaru felt really insecure. This kind of situation was one he had never faced before. But thanks for all the experiences here that had toughened him, he was certain that he could rise again, just like Hiten had assured. He decided that eventually he would get back everything he had once had.

The guards arrived a few hours later to escort Sesshoumaru out. He said goodbye to Hiten. When he walked the corridor out of the cell-department, he turned around just a little to see his cell-mate grinning and waving at him. Somehow he got the feeling that he'd see Hiten again.

The guards escorted him into the head warden's office.

"Yamasaki Sesshoumaru, as of today you are released into probation. Any offences you make at the 6 month's trial time will sent you straight back to here, most probably with an even heavier sentence."

"I am aware of this," Sesshoumaru said calmly.

"Well, I'm glad you understand," the chief said. "Now, meet your probation officer, Youkou Abi. She will oversee your progress and you are to report to her weekly. All clear?"

"Yes," Sesshoumaru replied, eyeing at the woman who was his new guardian. She was a tall woman who had straight black hair and seemed to like dark red shades of lipstick. She also looked like a person who knew how to stand up for herself and certainly was not one to mess around with. Sesshoumaru nodded at her. He felt that he could maybe even respect this woman.

"Now, here are your personal belongings. You can change your clothes in that little room back there."

 

* * * * *

Present time...  

 

And so it had ended. His life in hell was over, and now his fight would start. The fight to get back to the top from this rock bottom.

Even as he sat there on the luxurious leather seats in the classy Mercedes and watched the scenes that passed by behind the dark tinted windows, he still had a hard time believing that it was finally over.

"You seem to be deep in thought. What's on your mind, boy?"

There were very few people from whom Sesshoumaru tolerated such an adress. Luckily, Myoga was one of them. As his father's old acquaintance, the little man had always been like an uncle to him.

"Nothing," Sesshoumaru replied.

"I see," the old man said. It was clear that the lad did not wish to talk about it.

Myoga did not quite know what to think of this boy he had known since childhood. He had changed enormously in those three and a half years. This man was cold, reserved and calculating, and he possessed none of the innocent naivety that had faintly been radiated from the Sesshoumaru he remembered.

But Myoga could see, that the lad he had learn to know, was not as far gone as this new Sesshoumaru seemed to believe. There still was that little child Myoga knew, somewhere inside this man, and Myoga was determined to dig that kid up. This 'new' Sesshoumaru seemed so cold-hearted. Myoga could see the scars he bore from bitter pain. However, he was powerless before him. Even though he could see through him, he knew that his words would not fully reach the young man's frozen heart. He alone would not be able to tear down this man's walls. Myoga felt as if he ought to save this child, for his old friend Katsuo's sake, as well as for Sesshoumaru's sake. Still, Myoga was positive that everything would turn out well. For he had plans that were about to be put to action.

The car pulled over.

"We're here," Myoga said to Sesshoumaru.

The driver came to open the door and Sesshoumaru stepped out, following after Myoga.

 

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