Kaoru stared, blue eyes round and wild. “Gift?” Demon – my father was part demon and you call it a gift-
“One the best of my father’s people treasure above even the finest sword.” Kneeling across from her, Kenshin made no move to draw closer. “That gift which was the miko’s alone, and no power of gods or demons. The gift of choice.”
Choice, Kaoru thought numbly. Demons are evil. They can’t be anything else. The akuma knew that. No matter what they wanted, they couldn’t change….
“For many centuries, the youkai did not realize it was a gift,” Kenshin went on. “They lived, as we lived, and many of them enjoyed human lovers. But outside of Sashikizu’s own pack, few of them ever claimed us as kin. Even females might cast their half-breed pups away, to live, or not, as human mercy willed. For hanyou are weaker than youkai, and among youkai as samurai, strength can be everything.” He smiled slightly. “But then the Inu-Taisho, the great youkai Lord of the West, took a human hime to wife. And his last act on this earth was to name Izayoi’s child… Inuyasha.”
He named him? But that would mean- Kaoru leaned forward, intent on the story. “The Inu-Taisho claimed him? As a youkai?”
“History recounts it was not well accepted,” Kenshin said wryly. “But he was strong, and brave, and eventually lucky. And his human nature gave him a strength even youkai power could not match; the will to take both humans and youkai into his pack, and with their combined powers destroy an evil neither kind could face alone. So now our peoples acknowledge each other as people.” The swordsman looked up. “And just as samurai are willing to acknowledge the hanyou in their heritage, there are youkai, now, who know they have ningen blood. And they are grateful, Kaoru-dono.”
Grateful, he says. Like they’re just people. Powerful – cruel – magical people. Kaoru shook her head slowly. I- this just- She drew a deep breath. I can’t deal with this. Not now. “Nice story. Great distraction.” She glared at him. “It’s not going to work.”
“Don’t ‘oro’ me! You left Selenay with Yamagata!”
“And you left the Gensais. And Yahiko!”
“Sessha suspects they can take care of themselves for a few hours, that they can,” Kenshin muttered.