Okay, I have another fic that I'm currently working on, but the inspiration for this just hit me out of the blue. It's a one-shot, though, so it's not really a distraction. It's not!

Also, I reposted this because someone called an error to my attention that really bugged me. It's all better now!

Disclaimer: I do not own Inu Yasha. I'm sorry, Mr.Lawyer, no payday for you today!

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There was no moon tonight. That was why he had chosen to come. He knew that on the moonless night, his rival had diminished senses. He would go virtually undetected, and take what was his.

He went without a sound, passing over the forest like a shadow. His lips curled up in anticipation. What a fortunate coincidence, that on the night that the fool had poor senses, there was even poorer light to see by. Not that it hindered his own demon eyes. He sniffed the air delicately. He wasn't far now.

Suddenly, he caught it. The unmistakable scent of human blood, but there was something different about it. He felt a tug of familiarity, and realized with a frown that it belonged to his brother.

He took his pace up several notches, his heart speeding up unexpectedly. The foul stench of common demon blood mingled with the others. Why was his brother bleeding? Who else knew of his period of vulnerability?

He came upon the clearing where his brother and his group had apparently made camp. His golden eyes glinted dangerously as he scanned the ground. There were several demon parts lying around, and the stench of demon blood was thick on his nose.

Then, his gaze landed on the humans. He recognized them as his brother's friends. His nose wrinkled in distaste. Why his brother chose to associate himself so freely with humans was beyond him. His thoughts wandered to Rin for an instant, and huffed. Well, maybe not.

He noticed suddenly that the taijiya was crying. He smelled the salt on the breeze briefly, and looked more closely at what they were huddled around. It was difficult, because the monk was blocking his view.

"Sesshoumaru!" The miko noticed him at the same instant as the taiyoukai's eyes fell on his brother's body. The earth fell silent, and everything froze, as if holding its breath. Sesshoumaru landed on the ground without a sound, and was still.

He directed his senses at the hanyou's form. There was no sound of breathing…no heartbeat. He took a step in his direction, but the taijiya and the monk moved forward to block his way. Tokijin sparked from his side, and they fell back.

"You can't…he's…." The strange girl broke the silence, glaring at him defensively as he stood over her. Suddenly, she threw herself over the boy's body and started to sob. "He's already dead, Sesshoumaru! What more do you want?" She sounded angry, but there was also an unbearable pain lacing her words.

He looked down, but he didn't see her. His gaze went right through the small miko, to his brother.

This was what he had wanted, was it not? To see his brother dead, to erase the dishonor that he represented to his great and noble ancestry. Here he was, lifeless, the Tetsusaiga free for the taking.

*There is no honor in this,* the taiyoukai told himself silently. *But is that what I really feel at this moment? Anger that it was not I who took his life?* He stopped, and seemed to notice the girl's presence for the first time. *She is crying because of him,* he thought slowly. *My brother…he has changed much recently.* He turned and looked down at the taijiya and the monk, who were lying unconscious on the blood-stained ground. *They would be willing to give up their lives to protect him, even in death.*

Something strange began to happen then. Images flooded into his mind, completely unbidden. Memories that he had locked away deep in his heart.

'Nii-sama!' Large eyes, mirroring his own. Little fuzzy ears, a grin from ear to ear adorned with baby fangs. 'You're the best! I wanna be just like you when I grow up!'

'Then, you shall have to train hard, Inuyasha,' he heard himself saying. 'But don't worry, I shall always be there to guide you. I promise.' He stroked his fluffy head as the small hanyou wrapped his arms around his leg. 'We are brothers, no matter what anyone says.'

A chubby face turned up to beam at him. 'Hai, Nii-sama! The best brothers ever!'

Sesshoumaru let out a breath that he hadn't realized he was holding. He had blocked out these memories ever since his father had died; he had forced himself to hate Inuyasha ever since he had placed the blame on his human mother. He had even convinced himself that he wanted to kill Inuyasha. He had always known, somehow, that his attempts were half-hearted.

He had failed to keep his promise.

He looked down at the ground where his brother's presently human body was lying in a pool of his own blood. He had no doubt that if it were any other night, his brother would have lived. Someone had discovered his secret and sent a horde of demons to attack him when he was weak. He knew, without a doubt, that it had to have been Naraku.

Yet, he couldn't feel the anger he expected. After all, hadn't he been planning to take advantage of the night as well? Didn't that render him no better than Naraku? Quite possibly worse, even. Inuyasha was his own flesh and blood, after all.

The small woman-child had ceased her sobs, and was stroking his brother's face. Something inside of him clicked then, and he narrowed his eyes in determination. He drew his sword and approached her. She looked up at him in alarm, but it quickly faded away to a look of…resignation?

He marveled at it a bit. This small slip of woman was willing to die and join his brother. He almost smiled then, as he concentrated on his brother's body and focused on something no one else could see. He brought his sword down gracefully, and a bright light illuminated Inuyasha's body for a second.

Sesshoumaru listened carefully, and heard only the thumping of his own heart in his ears. His grip tightened on the Tenseiga, and he was about to bring it down again when a second sound reached him. A softer thumping, in sync with his own.

It gradually grew stronger, as the first rays of dawn peeked over the distant hills. Sesshoumaru sheathed his sword, allowing a look of wonder to cross his face. The miko was watching him carefully from the ground, trying to decide if she should speak. Her eyes widened when she saw the taiyoukai's eyes softening as he gave his brother one last glance.

As he turned to leave, he felt a tug on his sleeve. Turning, he saw a pair of large, innocent brown eyes shining at him. "Thank you," she whispered. He nodded, then lifted himself into the air.

As he ascended, he heard his brother stir. "Inuyasha!" the miko exclaimed brokenly, her joy evident in every note of her voice.

Sesshoumaru looked straight ahead, his eyes still unreadable, but somehow…warmer. There was much he needed to make right, he realized. But he decided, with a small smile, that this was a good beginning.

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There, now that's out of my system. I hope you enjoyed it. If not, well, okay. Feel free to tell me what you think! (Hint: Review) ^_~