DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Inu-Yasha - A Feudal Fairytale and all related characters are the creations of Rumiko Takahashi.
By Shadow's Mirror
It was rare for Sesshoumaru to be alone, these days. Normally, he had at least his minion Jaken with him, if not Jaken, his faithful dragon-horse-demon-thing Ah-Un and a little human girl named Rin. But some lesser Youkai had been causing trouble in his lands and he had needed to get there swiftly, so for once he had left them behind.
After sorting out the trouble through the time-tested method of thumping the heads of every lower Youkai involved until they swore their continued allegiance and obedience to him, Sesshoumaru started his journey back. Only he found himself unwilling to make his return as quick as his journey there.
It was a mild spring day with a gentle cool breeze rustling the leaves of the forest trees and the scents of flowers on the air, as he walked slowly along the well-worn path. Walking through the forest was not normally something he particularly enjoyed, but on this occasion… he had made an exception. Just for a little while. As his ears picked up the familiar sound of a flute being carried on the wind, his always-calm expression eased just a little into something that looked almost contented.
He walked for a little over an hour, listening to the music and not paying much attention to his surroundings beyond his usual caution that there was nothing around that might be impertinent enough to challenge him. He did notice when his steps led him to a small clearing with thick soft grass, however.
It was bordered by sweet-smelling plants and there was a tree that looked as if it had been made for leaning up against.
Although, of course, the Great Lord Sesshoumaru was not in the least tired, he consented to do the tree a favour and sat in its shade. He moved with his usual grace, sitting elegantly down with the fur over his shoulder settling tidily beside him on the grass, as it always did when he sat down.
The day was pleasant, he was comfortable and the sweet scent of the flowers was very calming. Perhaps a little too calming? Before the thought could really register in his mind, Sesshoumaru fell asleep.
An odd rumbling sound slipped into his unconscious mind. It was a familiar sound, although he could not remember why it was so. It was not an unpleasant sound… so why did his mind insist that it was dangerous? So little was truly dangerous to him that he almost ignored the tug on his mind. It was just strong enough to disturb his sleep, however.
Sesshoumaru slowly opened his eyes.
The first thing he noticed was that several hours had passed. It had been early afternoon when he had entered the clearing and now the light was beginning to fade; the small patch of sky he could see was tinged with the reds and golds of dusk.
The second thing he noticed was the sweet scent of the flowers around the clearing and it was with a sinking sense of dread that he recognised them for what they were.
The Youkai knew them as Catnaps, a pretty and innocent white flower with a subtle yet powerful perfume that induced sleep in any Youkai who breathed it in. Its effect was only temporary, though, hence the 'naps' part of their name. The 'Cat' part of their name came from the fact that they were known to grow only in one specific part of Feudal Era Japan. In the lands occupied by the Cat Youkai clan.
It was a clan Sesshoumaru had dealt with in the past and did not particularly wish to deal with again, any time soon. If he was not going to do so, he needed to leave their lands at once!
As he started to move, however, he realised that falling under the flowers' effect had not been his only mistake. Or indeed, his worst one.
As he warily eyed the dozen or so tiny balls of fluff that napped happily on the soft and cosy fur that was spread over the grass, Sesshoumaru knew he was in trouble. Moving would awaken the sleeping kittens, which would invite not only their curses but an untold amount of scratches and ill will from them as well as their parents, who were likely somewhere nearby. A cat's curse was a powerful thing, as Sesshoumaru knew from past experience. It was not something he wished to endure again.
It had taken him three hundred years to get rid of it last time. He was not putting himself through that again!
Resigning himself to sitting there until the parent cats came for their young and freed him from his involuntary position as their napping place provider, Sesshoumaru mentally sighed.
Even if he had not realised that he had already entered the Cat Clan's lands, he had known they were near. He should have remembered the warning that all non-cat Youkai knew by heart, and taken special care.
Everyone knew, when in the Cat Youkai lands, there was one thing that always held true.
'If you put a fluffy thing on the ground, 'they' will come.'
As he closed his eyes to endure the wait without having to see the results of his mistake, Sesshoumaru made a mental note to never again allow his fur to settle on the ground unless Rin, Jaken or both were there to ensure that it remained kitten-free.