Disclaimer: I own nothing Inuyasha related … older brothers and otherwise … I may possibly own the boulder … but alas…

Authors Note: OMG!! I'm ALIVE!!! OO! And I've posted!! EGAD!!! ….. and I'm not exactly sure when I'll post AGAIN… heh heh … Problem is, it's been so long since I've been into the IY fandom … that I don't remember many things … so I'll have to do GASP … RESEARCH to finish this bad boy. But finish it I SHALL!! (possibly in 2021 … but hey …) b Thank you to everyone who continued to review and give me support!! I've appreciated EACH of you more than you could possibly know/b … now enough of this tripe … go READ!! (you've waiting long enough for it. Sorry sorry sorry sorry.)

May You Never Be Alone

Chapter 9

At first, he thought he was imagining things. Surely that small, slightly furry, shape couldn't be what his eyes told him it was. The seconds between the figure disappearing from one hill and cresting on a closer one seemed hours, but sure enough, the eyes of a youkai such as Sesshoumaru's would not have fooled him.

The kitsune was sprinting towards him at full speed. A spark of something flared inside him. If one were to call it 'glee' to his face, one would shortly be loosing an appendage, but internally the only thought Sesshoumaru could actually muster was along the lines of "Someone's here! Someone who knows me!"

The glee that was most definitely not glee was short lived, when the pursuing shapes crested the near hilltop. Men. Several large men with weapons. The kitsune scrambled towards the boulder, and the terror on his face was overpowering. Sesshoumaru's internal 'hackles' bristled.

Foul humans, chasing a youkai as if he was nothing more than a rodent to exterminate.

Shippou reached the boulder and shot towards the left side out of his sight. There was a frantic scratching that echoed within his prison and then complete stillness. The taiyoukai brought his attention back to the men who were now casually strolling up through his field. They were bickering, and from the chaos of half a dozen voices Sesshoumaru only caught snippets of the conversation.

"...can't be here… cursed"

"…eye of the western lord…"

"…burrowed under the boulder…"

"… well then YOU go after him…"

"…catch him later …. not going to risk…"

Before Sesshoumaru even really had a chance to figure out what the men may be speaking about, they wandered off, taking their possibly murderous air with them. No sound came from the area the kitsune had scampered to until the men had already crested to far hill and disappeared. After nearly one hundred years of being frozen in time, the taiyoukai found he had an abundance of patience as he waited for the kit to make his appearance.

Finally there was a movement to the left of his field of vision and a dirty furball made its way before the great boulder. The kit looked older, but still appeared to be in those awkward years proceeding adulthood. Shippou sighed mightily before plopping himself down against the boulder directly in front of Sesshoumaru. The younger youkai made a sniffling noise and wiped his nose with the sleeve of his tunic.

Well that is fairly disgusting.

"I'm sorry I haven't been around, Sesshoumaru-sama."

At least his talent for interrupting my thoughts hasn't changed, I see.

"I would have liked to come by and see you more often, but there's some strange stuff going on in the world right now."

Stranger that a group of humans chasing a kitsune with pitchforks

"All the youkai are disappearing. I don't know why. I don't know if they're being killed off, or going into hiding, or what."

The smaller boy sniffled again, then resumed with the wiping of nose with sleeve. Sesshoumaru mentally grimaced.

Were you never taught any better manners than that, boy?

Heckling aside, the youkai frozen in time realized he was quite pleased with the arrival of the boy. Having someone nearby that he didn't find completely revolting was a nice little start for the day. He did wonder about the missing youkai, but not so much as to fret over for more than a few seconds. What he wanted more from this child right now was word of the people he knew from his life before, not nameless youkai that were so weak as to be killed off by men wielding farm implements.

"I guess no one has been by in a while, have they? So much has been going on, and we are all living so far from this place now … it wouldn't be surprising if no one has made it this far. Well… if there were still people to make the journey, I mean."

The kit stopped speaking for a while to gaze off into the distance. Attempting to show the infinite patience and wisdom of one befitting his station, Sesshoumaru reserved himself from using some colorful language in his mind to hurry the boy along.

"I went to see Rin a few decades back."

The softly reserved tone to the kits voice alerted Sesshoumaru to what he was about to say. Not that he hadn't known it would be coming. He'd had many, many years to prepare for it.

"One of her brothers told me. She'd married that poor boy she was always pestering. It was actually a perfect match, I was told, but then … she died in childbirth."

The kitsune paused to sniffle a bit. The inu youkai let out a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding. Strange to feel a sense of relief when one was discussing a death, but he had been so afraid that she's been killed violently, or murdered, or any number of things really.

"The baby made it. A boy."

Well then. Definitely something to be celebrated.

In as little time as he'd spent with Rin, Sesshoumaru could say with certainty that she would have preferred her death above that of her infant's.

It was an honorable way to die.

That thought stopped him in his tracks. Years of anger and negative feelings for his father suddenly bubbled to his consciousness and said 'hello! Remember us? Remember how you felt about your father doing the same thing?'

He was dumbstruck. Literally. Luckily the kit remained quiet, for anything he would have said during that temporary absence of intelligence would have been lost.

In my heart I've just praised Rin for something that I condemned my own father for.

Yes. I would say so. Why is that, do you think? Do you think more of a mother sacrificing herself than a father doing the same?

No. It is the father's job to protect.

So we could say, here, that your Father was protecting his newborn child and the woman who had given him life?

Yes. Yes, we could.

So then we could say… that you've been in the wrong all these years?

Well…. No. No… it's different. Inuyasha was a hanyou … he had no place to be born into.

Really? And that belittles the sacrifice of the parent, then?

You don't have an answer to that, do you?

Hurts that much to admit you might have been wrong, does it?

This one simply choses not to reply to a silly little question put forth by a silly little voice that-

-in your silly little head?

Sometimes this Sesshoumaru wishes you were made of flesh so he could rend every sweet morsel from your bones and feast on them.

That is very sweet, really … but do pay attention … the kit is speaking again.

Indeed the kitsune was talking again … and the boy continued to do so for several hours on into the night. Mutterings and mumblings on his mishaps and adventures … and other humans Sesshoumaru really did not care about. However, though it pained one as great as he to admit it … he relished in the somewhat friendly company and the very definitely one-sided conversation.

Long after the smaller youkai had nodded off to sleep, something akin to warmth and peace seemed to swell within his small corner of the world. The taiyoukai marveled … and secretly relished … in it, knowing the kit would most likely be leaving in the morning, and he would be alone once more.

The grand epiphany he had come to earlier that evening still held a spiky and infinitely annoying corner of his brain captive. Mostly the bit that sounded like Inuyasha. Lucky then, that he had become quite talented at ignoring it over the years.

TBC…

Rant - Yeah… sorry … it's not much … but I'm having to grease the wheels again a bit, yeah? OH!! And I do realize (from a friend who reads the manga) … that this is now DEFINITLEY an AU story … considering we've 'met' Sesshy's Mum and she's … well … NOTHING like I've written here …. And many more things beyond that but … yeah … I'm winging a lot of this stuff now. Hope you enjoyed ... hope there are no pitchforks aimed in MY direction... (gulp)