Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Inuyasha, nor do I own The Fall of the House of Usher, an Edgar Allen Poe original story that gave me the inspiration for this Halloween tale. I also make no money from this story, writing only for my own gratification.
It was an odd thing to realize as I stopped to stare at the heart of the Western Lands for the first time, that it was the first time. After so many years of being so closely associated with the only two blooded members of that house for most of my life, to actually acknowledge that I had never been to the seat of that illustrious family, was almost astonishing.
Nonetheless, it was also true.
Standing on the final approach to the shiro, backlit by the dying sun, I stared at it, pondering on my familiarity with the brothers Taisho. The younger, Inuyasha, my first love, my mate after the fall of Naraku – until his untimely death in battle ten years after our mating. I grieved terribly for as many years as I had been mated, and then... I put it behind me, and carried on.
And the elder, the scion – Sesshoumaru. Former enemy turned ally, turned friend... and twenty-two years after my mate's death, lover. And still, I had never ventured into his home.
Some might wonder why someone I had been so closely associated with for so many years – for, indeed, it had been years, my mating to Inuyasha having extended my human years to a youkai span, leaving my relationship with Sesshoumaru at almost a hundred years – had never had me in his home. It was a simple answer, really.
For most of our relationship, he had been mated to another. A political mating, nothing more, and she had her own lovers, but still, I would not disrespect her in her domain, and so refused to ever step foot here. And even after her premature death, I had no desire to thrust myself into his home, upsetting his son and heir with my presence.
But... then the curse of the Taisho name struck again, and the heir died... and now, Sesshoumaru himself had sent for me, in such a manner that I could not refuse. He had always been a most persuasive being, after all.
That brings me to now... and my feeling of discomfort, nay, dismay, at the look and feel of his home.
It was easy to see that it was ancient, and had been well-maintained. You could not look to any part of it and see any visible decay... and yet, it gave off a feeling of deterioration, as though it was tired, and ready to fade into nothing but ruins. I could hardly believe that someone as strong and impenetrable as Sesshoumaru lived here.
With a shiver, feeling as though someone had walked over my grave, I stared at the once-magnificent shiro, and wondered why I disliked it so. After all, besides Sesshoumaru, I was technically the last living Taisho, even if it was only by mating to Inuyasha, my relationship with the elder brother notwithstanding. You would think that I would be comfortable entering the place, would you not?
And yet, the opposite was true.
From the moment I had seen the palace, I felt a great reluctance to step foot within its walls. Something was warning me that if I dared to tread its halls, I would not leave alive.
I could not say why I felt that way, though I searched every part of my senses, I could garner no clear answer. At least, not from out here...
Still, I had come this far, and with the past that lay between he and I, I could not in good conscious turn around and leave. After so many years as his lover, I had, indeed, come to love him, though it was an odd love, and I wouldn't abandon him now in his hour of greatest need, no matter the cost to myself.
And so, apprehension pushed into the back of my mind, I set one foot before the other and forced myself to continue, dreading every step I took more than the last.
As the sun finally fell below the horizon with bloody brilliance, I stepped across the threshold of the House of Taisho for the first time...
And the last.