Summary: Fate weaves the web of our existence as decreed by the thread of Destiny. The beauty of free will is that we can sometimes choose how Fate weaves our webs. There are those who cannot accept their Destiny, and so seek to alter it without care for the risk involved. And then there are those who selflessly give their own existence to pacify those who could not accept their own.

Fated Existence

Chapter 1 – Six Months

Six months.

It took her six months to come back to them.

A lot can happen in six months….

He wasn't quite sure what was going on as he raced for the well. He'd bet Tessaiga that he smelled her return, but the sight that greeting him conflicted with every other sense. He'd come to a halt a dozen feet away, too shocked to do anything but stare. This wasn't the miko he remembered. Hell, even her aura felt different; it was still hers, but stronger somehow. And as he took in all of her, he realized that he'd been the one to make her into this.

She wore a simple set of black hakama she called 'jeans' that molded to her like the taijiya's exterminator outfit with black boots. Her shirt of crimson hugged the curves she'd hidden for the past 3 years. At the hips it loosened, the ends on the sides extending longer than the front and back. The sleeves conformed to her arms, billowing out at the elbows like his haori sleeves, but they appeared to be deliberately cut at the top to expose the shoulder. Perhaps to allow more range of movement, he thought. All in all, it looked like a feminine version of his haori. She still wore no jewelry, but the way the top dipped showed most of her upper chest and left him idly wondering where the shard vial was. Her hair had grown as well. She had it pulled back into a braid, exposing her neck and part of her upper back.

He could handle all that, including the change in her powers. It was the sight of the katana at her hip that caught him off-guard. The only weapons she'd ever touched were the bow and arrows from the village and even then rarely. The scabbard was decorated in a vibrant blue that reminded him of her aura with her name written in red upon it. Her abominable yellow pack was no longer present; instead she had a red and black pack with her that she'd set down to embrace her friends.

Friends. Could he even consider himself a friend anymore after what he'd done? The others had avoided him for awhile afterwards, dealing with their own anger and hurt. Things weren't back to the way they had once been, but at least he'd been welcomed back into Kaede's hut and accepted at the fire pit. Sango had given him several lectures; and a rather oddly insightful one from Miroku still had him shivering from the truth in it. But it had been Shippou who won over the adults and made amends with him first.

flashback

Shippou stared quietly up the Goshinboku in hopes that Inuyasha would acknowledge his presence this time. This was the tenth day in a row that he'd been doing this. He'd called to the hanyou the first day. He stopped calling on the third day when he realized he wouldn't get an answer until the stubborn dog was ready to talk. But today, without warning, the hanyou slipped from his branch and landed behind the kitsune, arms crossed. He looked upset, but not angry with the child. Shippou knew by now that this was his way of saying 'what do you want?' One learns the quirks of parents when one's been traveling with them for three years. Adopted parents, sure, but parents all the same.

"It's been almost a month. Are you going to get her?"

Inuyasha arched a brow as if to say, 'What for?'

Shippou shrugged in response. "You always get her; even if you argue. She's been gone a long time. We miss her." And we miss you, he silently added.

"She sealed the well."

"What?" Shippou squeaked. He hadn't known that. But wouldn't have Miroku been able to tell she'd done that? The question must have been in his eyes because he got a reply to it.

"I can't leave the well house." He couldn't even open the damn door to at least see if she was alright. Without a sound he dropped to a seated position, arms and legs crossed.

"Oh…" Shippou wasn't quite sure how to answer that. She must have been really mad to seal her side of the well. Perhaps a change of subject was in order. He dug into his shirt and nervously pulled out his present. He'd wondered if he was doing a good thing, especially when the others warned him not to do it. His offering was a constant source of bickering between his parents, yet he'd seen Inuyasha finger it like a prized possession. A few months ago, Shippou overheard her trying to take it off him. He'd also heard the refusal and somewhat pathetic excuses as to why.

Inuyasha's eyes narrowed as he eyed the kit's 'present'. It wasn't expected. After what she'd done, he'd doubted it could have been mended. With a soft sigh he unfolded his arms and dipped his head in offering, his eyes momentarily showing the kit his gratitude at the gesture. With a smile, Shippou carefully placed the rosary around his neck, softly telling him that Kaede wouldn't touch it without permission. In a final humbling act that would have made her so happy had she been there to witness it, he opened his arms slightly to the boy. Somehow Shippou knew just how much it cost the hanyou to lower the mask, even briefly. Shippou curled up in Inuyasha's lap, finally able to find sleep easier to achieve now that he had at least one parent back.

end flashback

Inuyasha blinked away the memory as she set Shippou down and embraced the taijiya warmly. He knew they were aware of his presence, but he suddenly felt like an outsider, watching something he wasn't part of anymore. He forced himself to walk the distance between them, his ears pinned as he waited behind the monk. He figured any 'punishment' she dealt him would be no less than he felt he deserved.

A/N:

This is my first IY fic. Please R&R kindly.

Standard Disclaimer: Inuyasha is property of Rumiko Takahashi.

All other characters are mine unless otherwise mentioned.