Ok! First thing is first) I don't own Inuyasha or its characters, or 'Vindicated' by Dash board confessionals, this applies throughout the entire fic.

Secondly) pairings are Sess/Miroku, Kouga/Kikyo and some Inu/Kag. This is not a lemon…but it is a Yaoi, so if you are disinclined to read that go back! XD. Third) this is NOT a kikyo-bash fic so if you are so adamant about seeing Kikyo burn in the fiery depths of hell, shoo! XD Fourth) this is slightly AU, same time and characters, but a slightly different scenario; don't be surprised if characters like Jakotsu and Bankotsu are alive .. Finally, Fifth) If you're still reading; I really hope you enjoy this fic; I LOVE alternate pairings and mixed up scenarios. I noticed that the categories were getting kind of repetitive so I mixed it up. Also, this is a teaser chapter, I might not continue this story at first or at all…depends on how my other fic, The Indigo Waltz is going.

"speech"

'thoughts'

/…/ song lyrics

Well…enough of that trash AN! I hope you like it 'cause here we go!!!

Prelude

-(-

/I am vindicated

I am selfish, I am wrong

I am right; I swear I'm right,

I swear I knew it all along /

He knew he should have been there, but he didn't go. No, not this icy, calculating Taiyoukai; he was superior to aiding his half brother in a battle against Naraku. Besides, it went against his customs and beliefs that his brother should be dead; he should not be worthy of walking the Western lands with him, especially with Tessaiga. 'That does not matter now. I am too late; he has already ascended into the afterlife.' Sesshoumaru thought bitterly as he came upon the burned, scarred charred land those only days before, was the field of a giant massacre.

He was instantly glad he left Rin behind; she definitely should not be witness to such a gruesome sight. Demon limbs, heads and innards littered the earth like confetti, while his brother...no half brother, and his comrades lay splayed in their own blood. 'One is missing. One of his rag-tag group was not here, although, with all the scents of blood in the air; it is hard to figure out if the missing one had just gotten thrown somewhere.' Sesshoumaru pondered as he reached his brother's corpse, his eyes glassy, his once thick silver hair, lay matted and clotted in blood.

'He should not have died this way', Sesshoumaru's eyes lined with crimson. 'If the hanyou were to ever die, it should have been by my claws, not Naraku's.' Sesshoumaru clenched his instinctively lengthening claws, Inuyasha's fang, the Tessaiga, lay near his battered body, while his hand was amorously, and foolishly, clenched with the human miko's.

Neither of them could be resurrected, it has been too long; the demons have already claimed them. 'I, Sesshoumaru, made a mistake. I should have come earlier, even though Naraku is horrendously injured, he still lives. This is not this Sesshoumaru's fault, but I should have been here to prevent it! I should have acted, rather than being passive.' Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed as his Tenseiga pulsed, a body nearby could be resurrected.

His nose twitched, the monk, Miroku, the only one of Inuyasha's comrades he knew the name of. Sesshoumaru instantly went to the Miroku's side; his molten gold eyes were wide with determination. 'He has past away, but I can resurrect him.' Sesshoumaru's stomach flipped seeing the Miroku's condition and his own brother's...half brother. Miroku was impaled with a huge spear, his eyes were closed though, he almost looked...peaceful? Sesshoumaru frowned and whipped out Tenseiga, and in a mighty blue arc. He severed clean through the underworld demons and sheathed his fang.

"Wha...Sesshoumaru? Wait! Inuaysha, Sango, Kagome where are they?!" His lavender eyes constricted as he bolted upright, startling the Taiyoukai out of his thoughts. Miroku, the usual carefree, immature, monk, was stricken with grief, for not ten feet from him was the pale, dead face of his infatuation, Sango.

"Damn you Naraku! Damn you to purgatory!!" Miroku's lavender eyes pooled with unshed tears, and Sesshoumaru did not feel disgusted by the salty scent, but, almost concerned. 'Though, the concern only comes from the need of Tessaiga, and if he is willing to give it to me.' Sesshoumaru reassured himself.

"Please Sesshoumaru, you must...I beg of you as a monk, please revive her!" Miroku, out of blind haste, had almost forgotten his manners and respect to a Taiyoukai. Miroku felt like vomiting, they were beaten...he should feel like all is lost, but seeing Sesshoumaru beside him made Miroku feel more at ease, there was someone alive.

"This Sesshoumaru cannot revive your human companions..." he paused when Miroku saw Tenseiga pulse "This Sesshoumaru, however, will aid you in your quest to gain back your friends if you grant me a favor." Miroku knew what he meant, the Shikon no Tama, if they could collect all the shards they could wish back Kagome, Sango, Inuyasha and the others. Miroku's expression lightened. He straitened himself up so he was sitting next to the Taiyoukai.

"What is your request Sesshoumaru-sama?" Miroku's voice tried to pass off as unshaken, but with all that happened; his usually upbeat voice wavered unhappily.

"Give me the Tessaiga." Sesshoumaru stated, more coldly than he intended. Miroku looked the slightest bit hurt, and irritated.


/I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well. I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself/

She was sprinting. Not floating, or walking, or even jogging, Kikyo was in a full sprint. Her soul and body had been returned and her hatred towards Inuyasha had waned...so much so that the only thing she hated him for was favoring her reincarnation than herself. Kikyo pressed on. Her bow clutched in her white-knuckled hand, her limbs and cheeks getting scratched and poked by branches as the usually composed Priestess dashed through the forest. Tears dropped to the forest floor like sapphire rain.

'Naraku, I will kill you if Inuyasha is dead!' Kikyo's legs burned under her hakama, but she continued; she knew where she was going. She could sense where the battle took place, and just as importantly, the shikon no kakera that her reincarnation possessed. Kikyo was very distraught, and simply didn't even know what to do if her Inuyasha were alive. She wanted to be with him, she wanted Inuyasha to be hers, not anyone else's. But, in her greed and hatred, she made him choose, to be alive and with Kagome, or to be dead and be with herself.

'I knew I had no chance...When I was forced to be recreated by that awful witch, the only thing I could feel was hatred...and the only person I ever felt anything for was Inuyasha. It had nothing to do with Naraku betraying us. I knew Naraku did it; Inuyasha told me, but if I let go of that hatred, then I let go of the only thing that tied me to this world. I could not live in the afterlife without Inuyasha again...I knew the only solution for me to be happy, was to take him with me.'

Kikyo cried out as a branch whipped her on the cheek creating a red line on her flawless, warm, tear-stained, human cheek. 'I was so stupid, so selfish, no wonder I ended up giving Naraku those shards, no wonder I couldn't stay in a village to tend to the children...my clay body was filled with nothing but hatred and selfishness...that drove my Inuyasha away from me.' As Kikyo neared the charred earth of the field, she felt the presence of a great youkai...Sesshoumaru? The only youkai of that caliber that was not entirely evil that Kikyo could think of; was him. She knew it wasn't Inuyasha, he was a hanyou.

Kikyo, clumsily, pushed through the thicket of bushes that opened up to the field that housed the massacre. Her sepia-brown eyes, filled with anxiety, could only think of one thing, 'Get to Inuyasha.' Her onyx, satin hair surged out behind her like a stream, as she knelt down to the corpse of her old lover, his cold, dead hand clasped with her reincarnation's hand.

She didn't know what was worse, him dying, or seeing him dead with her reincarnation.

Kikyo then lost whatever composure she had held, and her sapphire tears streamed down her high cheek bones and onto his haori. She knew that around the neck of her reincarnation were the Shikon no kakera, but she could always purify them later. She just wanted some time alone with her love that went so terribly...terribly wrong. Unfortunately, however, a Taiyoukai and a monk were witnessing the entire event. Both looked surprised to see her, but Kikyo didn't care, her soul, body, sanity, and heart were back, but all in vain, Inuaysha was dead and she was alive.

"Naraku...I swear on the life of Inuyasha you will die by my arrows!" Kikyo stood up in rage, her sepia eyes afire with vengeance. She took an arrow from quiver and shot it in the air, then another, then another, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth. The purified arrows, surrounded in an ethereal, white light, were all in the air simultaneously before the first one touched earth. As her rage ceased, she regained composure and turned her witnesses.

"Ahem...what are you doing here Sesshoumaru...sama?" She questioned curiously, putting her free hand on her hip. 'Her sepia eyes burn with a familiar aura, one would have thought to have belonged to Kagome.' Miroku thought. 'But then again, Kagome was the reincarnation of Kikyo, so it was Kagome who was reminiscent of Kikyo, not the other way around.' Miroku mused, already on his feet; he was just about to give into Sesshoumaru's request of the Tessaiga, He knew he would need Sesshoumaru's help.

"Here to claim what...is going to be mine, the Tessaiga." Kikyo changed her stance, and her face scowled slightly, but her lips still were dainty in a straight line. She did not like the idea of having her Inuyasha's fang being taken from him...it seems dishonorable.

"Why do you need it? You are already strong enough without it." Kikyo retorted.

"It is none of your concern miko!" Sesshoumaru snarled slightly, making Miroku edge farther away from him, the grip on his staff tightened.

"I suppose it isn't..." Kikyo almost gave in to her old hatred of Inuyasha. 'He deserves to not have his fang because of choosing Kagome.' Kikyo reflected, but she let the hatred go. "No wait, I loved him, and I need a good reason before I let you take his sword!" She stood in front of his body, Sesshoumaru's eyes bled, but before he could simply get rid of the miko obstacle, she whipped around, facing the North, with an arrow strung and pointed to a void. Then Sesshoumaru sensed it, a fast coming demon was nearing them at speeds that rivaled his own!

"WHERE IS MY WOMAN!" A large twister consumed all the dust and innards of the dead demons and twirled them about as the wolf-prince slowed down to an impressive stop. Kouga's eyes were lined crimson, but that was not the most alarming thing; the most alarming thing was his large fangs were bared like some sort of feral beast that would ravage everything in its path. Kouga's ears were pressed far back on his head, even though they were human-like, and his nostrils flared as his eyes narrowed first at the closest life form, the startled Miroku.

Sesshoumaru turned from Kikyo to step between Kouga and Miroku, effectively blocking Miroku from an unprovoked attack. One might even be so brash to say Sesshoumaru stance was protective. Sesshoumaru's lethal claws grappled around Tokijin as Kouga acidly spoke.

"Monk tell me! Kagome....where is she?!" He snarled, his nose, as well as Sesshoumaru's, was clogged with the scent of blood; or Sesshoumaru would have noticed him coming, and Kouga would not only have noticed Kagome's body, but her incarnation as well. Miroku stepped out of Sesshoumaru's blind and as calm as he could, he strung those fatal words together.

"She was killed by Naraku... I am sorry Kou-" Miroku's calm, almost melodic voice, was snapped off by a entirely crimson-eyed, Wolf Prince charging at Miroku with speeds that even the great, wide-eyed in alarm, Sesshoumaru did not anticipate. Right before Kouga closed the nearing gap between him and the stunned Miroku; a searing arrow implanted itself in the ground and made Kouga come to a dead stop.

Miroku let out an audible sigh. Though he was armed with his sutra and his staff, he would have been severely wounded, if not dead, if Kouga punched him. He owed Kikyo. Kouga's teal eyes no longer were crimson as he turned to Kikyo with a hopeful, euphoric expression. Sesshoumaru, still taking no more chances, made sure he was between Kouga and Miroku, if one noticed carefully, Sesshoumaru's fangs were lengthened in pure demonic rage.

"You, with the shikon no kakera in your legs, what is your name?" Kikyo, stood with a glare emanating from her sepia eyes. Her smooth onyx hair had become untied in the twister and now fluttered around her body as tresses of silk. Kouga's expression, though, was heartbroken. His sense of smell had cleared, and he noticed, her scent was different form Kagome's. Though they both smelled of cherry blossoms, Kikyo had a scent of bellflowers and rain that made her seem more natural than Kagome's sweet honey scent.

"You...are not Kagome, you are nothing but an imposter." Kouga spat. Before Kikyo could properly load another arrow, he rushed to her. His stature towered over her smaller, yet still splendid form. He looked to her left, and saw Kagome's body, in her ripped and bloody, school uniform, holding the dead, hand of Inuyasha.

Something inside of him broke...something snapped...something made him want to turn and run away. But instead of doing that, his strong legs collapsed near her body and did the first thing that came to his mind, he howled. 'My woman…my Kagome. I wasn't here; I was just too far away. You look so comforted with that mutt-face…why? Would you rather be with him, dead than alive with me?'

Sesshoumaru turned, listening to his howl, he hardly knew Kouga, and Sesshoumaru was very impatient to get the Tessaiga, but he waited till the wolf was finished. Sesshoumaru knew a wolf's howl, especially this one that seemed to make his hair stand on end, was not one to be disrespected. He too, so secretly mourned the passing of another. He would never ever admit such a truth to anyone, but he was troubled deeply by his brother's passing. Sesshoumaru knew, as he told Miroku before Kikyo arrived; that if he did not claim Tessaiga, Naraku could get it, and easily wield it because he is a Hanyou just like Inuyasha. 'I will never let that abhorrent Hanyou, Naraku, gain possession of Inuyasha's fang. That, would be a disgrace I will save Inuyasha.'

Miroku, took Kouga's suit and knelt down next to the nearby Sango's body. He murmured a quick prayer, turned her on her back, folded her broken arms over her partially exposed chest, and closed her eyes. 'Sango...there was never one quite like you. I will always remember you; hold you close to my heart. You were so special to me Sango, I am so sorry I could not have protected you better, I failed. But...I will not fail in annihilating Naraku.' Miroku's thoughts turned to Sesshoumaru, 'Sesshoumaru, of all people, will help me in destroying him. He is not all that bad, and...who knows, perhaps Kikyo and Kouga will join our group too. I'll miss you, Sango, the strongest Taija in the lands.'

Kikyo was stunned. How could she be the imposter? Was she really that atrocious that everyone adored her reincarnation more than she? Kikyo then realized there was no denying it; her reincarnation was much more captivating than she. Kagome lit up the room, she had her own aura, and she, Kikyo, had it too, just not as vivid. Kikyo looked to Inuyasha, she realized that it was her fault that they were pushed away, she did it solely. Because of her own greed and selfishness, she not only aligned herself to the likes of Naraku, but she did it to drag her most cherished loved one to hell! 'Inuyasha...I will avenge your death, I will collect all the shikon no kakera and make a wish. I swear; I will even travel with the monk and your half-brother to do so. I will use the shikon no kakera to wish you...and my reincarnate, back to life. It is the least I can do since I caused you so much pain. I am sorry my Inuyasha.'

"Can someone tell me what all of you all are doing here? And who are you!?" Kouga piped up and looked at Kikyo, trying in vain to become his old cocky self. Miroku managed a small smile while his eyes lay upon the gallant silver haired form of Sesshoumaru standing nobly in front of him.

"She is Kikyo, and I am here for Inuyasha's fang. If I do not collect it, Naraku will surely come to claim it, and I will not allow that." Sesshoumaru snapped as he looked to Miroku, who was trying to bring himself to be carefree. Miroku started to walk to the body of Inuyasha, looking warily at Kouga and then Priestess, who was resolute about protecting the sanctity of Inuyasha's corpse.

"Oh…. Why don't you answer why you smell so much like Kagome!" Kouga turned to Kikyo who furrowed her eyebrows over her ebony, lashed, sepia eyes.

"I am Kikyo the incarnate, not the imposter, of Kagome. And if you make that mistake again, I will purify you to powder." She said curtly. She did not want to be mistaken as Kagome, who seemed to be superior of her in every way. Kikyo then, saw the jewel shards around Kagome's neck, and before Kouga had the chance to protest; Kikyo grabbed them and put them around her neck, automatically purifying them.

Kouga also watched as the handsome, lavender, eyed monk, Miroku, leaned down and picked up Tessaiga without any problem, since he was a human, and walk back to Sesshoumaru. As Miroku walked to Sesshoumaru, in the recesses of his mind, he noticed how gallant, yet graceful he was.

He still had one arm, but he seemed nonetheless perfect. The way his silver hair cascaded down his back, flanked by his soft, furry tail that looped over his shoulder. The most entrancing thing about him, were his molten gold eyes and how his indigo moon marking and his maroon stripes accented them. Miroku, confused that he was thinking such things about a male youkai, quickly handed him Tessaiga.

"Thank you, Miroku." Sesshoumaru's lips rolled over the syllables of his name as he tentatively grabbed Tessaiga. Miroku prepared for a resistance, put up his staff, but it was not needed. The sword accepted Sesshoumaru effortlessly, to which Sesshoumaru was pleased. Sesshoumaru let the Tessaiga transform to its full glory in his one hand. The look of pure amazement in Sesshoumaru's eyes almost compelled Miroku to get closer to the Taiyoukai.

"Lord Sesshoumaru, Miroku, I ask for...your help. I will need your help in collecting the rest of the Shikon no kakera so I may purify it and use it. I will wish Inuyasha and my reincarnation back to the world of the living. I suppose the taija too." Sesshoumaru looked at her unbelievingly. She had the shards of the jewel, the things that Naraku will be after most definitely. Sesshoumaru concluded that if she were to be left alone, Naraku would get to her; two of the last four shards would be in his possession. 'Besides, Kikyo is exceptionally powerful, more than her reincarnate, so she'll helpful in killing Naraku.' He noticed Miroku nodded to him lightly, looking to him for approval.

"That would be acceptable Kikyo." Sesshoumaru turned to Kouga; unfortunately, the same could happen to Kouga if he were left alone. He did not care for the wolf demon nor the miko in the least; he just did not want Naraku to become more powerful. "Kouga, you also must join us if you want Naraku dead." Sesshoumaru concluded, sheathing Tessaiga, but noticing that he had three swords. 'One sword too many…' Miroku noticed. Then, Miroku had a plan; he'd use Tokijin as bait.

"Why should I join you?! I can defeat Naraku without you!" Kouga, knew in his heart of hearts that this was not the case. 'If Inuyasha was defeated by that bastard Naraku, then I do not have a very good chance alone.' Kouga inwardly winced as he noticed the Miko glance towards the monk and Sesshoumaru. 'But, there is no way that I will allow myself to be subordinate to a Dog demon, Taiyoukai or not!'

"Lord Sesshoumaru, I notice that you have one too many swords. What if you compensated Kouga with your extra fang? Surely you do not need Tokijin if you have Tessaiga." Miroku imputed with his slick talking. Sesshoumaru knew that Miroku was right; he did not need Tokijin any longer. Though the prospect of giving one of his swords to Kouga was unbearable; he was getting a disturbing jaki reaction from having the Tokijin sword and Tessaiga too close together. Sesshoumaru slowly withdrew Tokijin and threw it to Kouga, the evil aura surrounding the sword mysteriously faded. Then he figured it out, 'Inuyasha is dead, the evil aura is gone, it is now just merely a very powerful sword. Since it was forged by an incarnation of Naraku, it would be very ironic if it were used against him.' Sesshoumaru mused.

"Ok, fine, but I'm only doing it because you guys would be dead within minutes without me!" Sesshoumaru snorted, while Kikyo rolled her eyes and Miroku just plain smirked. Kouga brandished his new sword, proudly, and removed his old plain katana to place Tokijin in its place. Looking regal, he strutted up to Miroku with his new fang.

"Before we go on our quest, we must prepare the dead." Kikyo said sharply, to remind them not to forget the dead simply because of some rather peculiar events. Miroku, of course, nodded and walked up to Kikyo. As Kikyo bent over to prepare Inuyasha for his ceremony, he groped her. Feeling a male hand on a most part of her body where it shouldn't be, she reached over and smacked him hard on the face.

"What kind of monk are you!?" She yelled, falling backwards from the surprise, her sepia eyes wide with incredulity. Miroku cheekily grinned, effectively putting in some much needed humor to the whole situation.

"Why Kikyo-sama, you didn't think that I would purposely do such a deed!" Miroku beamed, rubbing the red-handprint on his face. Kikyo, instead of getting angrier, managed a small smile, but followed by clutching her bow with her right hand. 'If he thinks he is going to do that again, he is asking for it!' The Taiyoukai, done with being aggravated with the monk's antics, leaped into a tree, leaving Kouga deep in thought about what was actually going to happen now.

/Hope dangles on a string, like slow spinning redemption/

-(-

AN:: -clips of lyrics- Vindicated by Dashboard Confessionals.

Well how did you like it? I hope Kikyo was not OOC, I want her to actually have a personality as a live human, because I think it is very hard to have a sparkling personality when you are made of dirt. XD I like Kikyo's character, she is not my favorite, in fact, surprisingly Sango is, but she is dead…so…that is sad. ()

BTW, in this fic, kouga and Kikyo have never met, if this isn't the case in the anime or manga…sorry. ;;

PLEASE R&R I know this story is a long-shot to actually get reviews, but I worked hard on this chapter, and I'd like some feedback! XD

Well got to fly! Ja! fellow alt pairing readers!

your ff buddy L.O.H.