A Fatal Farewell

It had been a quiet morning in the castle. Sesshomaru had woken early, attended breakfast, then he and Inuyasha headed to the library to be schooled by their caretaker, Jaken, just like always.

Jaken, being very old, and easily worn out, had dismissed Sesshomaru and Inuyasha early. The two boys, one nine, and the other seven headed to the sitting room where they would most likely sit around and mope until lunch was announced.

There wasn't much for children to do in Inutaisho's castle. Because their father was the mighty ruler of the western lands, he held a certain responsibility. He was obliged to look after his lands, which meant less time to spend with his children.

Because of the ongoing war between the west, and the panther demon tribe, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru were also not allowed outdoors. It would be too dangerous. Inutaisho didn't want to put his defenseless children in a vulnerable situation, where they could be kidnapped or worse.

After twenty minutes of sitting in silence, Inuyasha turned to his older brother, hope shimmering in his youthful golden eyes.

"Sesshomaru?" the hanyou asked, turning around in his chair so he could face his older brother.

"What do you want?" Sesshomaru, the elder and far more solemn of the two snapped at his brother. He didn't enjoy Inuyasha's company very much, but what else could he do? He had no choice but to watch after his younger brother. For his father assigned Sesshomaru this job directly.

"Do you think otosan will let us play outside?" Inuyasha asked, vibrant as ever. Sesshomaru glared at his younger brother as if to make sure he was serious. The dog ears that rest atop Inuyasha's head twitched in uncertainty.

"First of all, do not refer to father as otosan. It is disrespectful." Sesshomaru said, coldly, showing his annoyance. It truly did bother the young lord when his younger brother did not show proper respect, "Secondly, it is to dangerous to leave the castle."

Inuyasha sunk low in his seat, intimidated by his older brother's cold tone. "I was thinking that we could play in the gardens." Inuyasha squeaked, "You know, the ones in the center of the castle. They're surrounded by castle walls, and no outsiders could trespass, right?"

Sesshomaru's features relaxed as he contemplated this. Not that he would mention this to Inuyasha, but that was a very good point… Why hadn't he realized it sooner?.

Inuyasha noticed the change in Sesshomaru's negative attitude, and his face brightened with excitement. Inuyasha cherished the outdoors, and besides, every child needs some fresh air once in awhile.

Sesshomaru was lost in his own thoughts, and almost didn't notice Inuyasha leap from his seat, and scurry out of the room as fast as his little legs would take him.

Sesshomaru frowned, and in an instant, had departed from the sitting room, and was chasing after his half brother down the dim and empty hallways.

"Where are you going!" Sesshomaru yelled after Inuyasha. His young, but loud voice echoed throughout the halls.

"I'm going to ask otosan if we can play outside!" Inuyasha called to Sesshomaru over his shoulder. Sesshomaru scowled, one because Inuyasha continued to speak of Inutaisho as if he were really a father, two because Inuyasha was ahead of him. Immediately, Sesshomaru's competitive side overtook him.

Sesshomaru and Inuyasha hurried throughout the maze of a castle. Running down long corridors, rushing up and down a cluster of staircases, and finally entering their father's chambers.

"Sesshomaru, I'll race you!" Inuyasha finally challenged his brother who had easily caught up to him awhile back.

Their speed had been about even, but as soon as Sesshomaru heard this challenge, his pace had quickened astonishingly.

"Spare yourself the humiliation, Inuyasha." Sesshomaru snickered, as he eased by his brother.

"Where do you think father will be?" Inuyasha asked, becoming suddenly aware of why he had entered Inutaisho's chambers, "Maybe in his library?"

"He probably isn't even here." Sesshomaru huffed, not slowing down at the least, "I heard… that the panther demons have… invaded a nearby village."

"Who told you that?" Inuyasha panted out, behind Sesshomaru.

"Jaken." Sesshomaru breathed, "Who else?"

Inuyasha, Sesshomaru, Inutaisho and Jaken were truly the only residents in the castle. Sure there were servants, and cooks and stuff, but they didn't stay in the castle overnight due to Inutaisho's distrust. Jaken was the only one Inutaisho trusted with his sons, thus he became Sesshomaru and Inuyasha's caretaker.

The old toad demon's skin pigment was a sickly green color. He was so short that even the children towered over him!

Truth be told, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru had never interacted with any other children. They had never even seen a little girl up close. They had watched some village children playing from the castle windows, but that was all.

Sesshomaru smirked when he found the distance between him and Inuyasha increasing, and that he was winning the race. However, it didn't take long for Sesshomaru to realize why. The hanyou had stopped at a shut door. It was an unfamiliar room to the boys as were many. The light had been turned on inside, and was peeking out from beneath the door crack.

Sesshomaru turned, and hurried to his half brother's side. "Father is in there." Sesshomaru huffed, "What are you waiting for?"

Inuyasha seemed to be in a trance as he stared at the shut, wooden door. His heavy breaths came to a slow, as he stood there, mesmerized. One of his ears twitched, and he turned to Sesshomaru in amazement.

"There is… somebody in there with otosan!" Inuyasha exclaimed.

Sesshomaru's expression became curious and eager. "Let me listen!" he insisted, pushing his brother aside, and pressing one of his pointed ears against the wooden door. Indeed there were unfamiliar voices. Females, it sounded like.

"Do you think it's my okasan?" Inuyasha asked, his eyes wide and hopeful, "I've always imagined her voice to sound like that..."

"Don't be foolish, half breed." Sesshomaru scoffed, "Your mother died a long time ago. She's never coming back." To Sesshomaru's surprise, Inuyasha's eyes watered.

"How do you know th-that!" Inuyasha asked, shakily.

"She was a human, idiot." Sesshomaru retorted, "She was bound to die sooner or later. I'm glad it was sooner. Her disgusting scent made my stomach churn." At hearing this, something in the hanyou snapped. His eyes narrowed, and he charged at Sesshomaru full force.

Sesshomaru, a bit taken by surprise, found himself falling to the ground, Inuyasha landing on top of him. With a loud, agonized sob, Inuyasha began to punch at Sesshomaru excessively, tears falling freely onto Sesshomaru's face.

The taiyoukai let out a growl, and pushed his brother aside, easily. Sesshomaru quickly prepared to fight with his younger brother, however, as soon as Inuyasha fell to the ground he stayed there, succumbing to his inner pain and crying to his hearts content.

Sesshomaru's eyebrows raised as he watched his younger brother sobbing like the child he was. His head tilted to the side in confusion. What had caused Inuyasha to cry? Had he said something wrong?

Soon, the door that Sesshomaru and Inuyasha had heard the unfamiliar voices emitting from swung open, and Sesshomaru turned to face none other than his father. Inutaisho himself.

Inutaisho looked from Sesshomaru to Inuyasha and frowned. Inuyasha, oblivious to his father's presence, allowed his tears to continue. His loud sorrowful moans echoed throughout the halls, creating a depressing melody.

Then Sesshomaru spotted her. Peering beyond his towering father, into the occupied room there were two females. One was an older woman dressed in a very fine red kimono decorated with large white feathers, and dangling from her ears were white feather earrings to match.

By her side was a little mortal girl. Wavy raven locks spilled over the girl's shoulders, and led into a fine white yukata, tied back with a forest green obi.

Sesshomaru's eyes locked onto this foreign creature. She was, indeed, a human, but a girl no less. A little girl. This was the first time Sesshomaru had ever laid eyes on one of these so up close.

Her lovely azure eyes, however, were fixed onto the crying hanyou. They reflected concern and curiosity as she watched the scene outside of the room. Sesshomaru found himself fascinated by this little girl, and decided he would only watch her.

"Inuyasha." Inutaisho said, his voice loud and deep.

Inuyasha's loud moans faded to sad whimpers as he gazed onto his father, now aware of Inutaisho's presence.

"Otosan…" Inuyasha murmured, "Oh, Otosan!" With that, Inuyasha got to his feet, and rushed to his father, wrapping his arms around Inutaisho's strong calf, and sobbing into the rich material of Inutaisho's kimono.

This got Sesshomaru's attention. Never had either boys embraced their father, nor did they call him otosan to his face. Envy immediately arose within Sesshomaru. This envy increased as Inutaisho crouched down and gathered the crying child into his strong arms.

Inutaisho turned his back on Sesshomaru and walked into the room, shutting the door behind him, leaving Sesshomaru alone in the hallway.

Not only had Inutaisho ignored his elder son, but he also blocked Sesshomaru's view from that girl. Sesshomaru gritted his teeth, pronouncing his hatred for Inuyasha. Wiping at the moisture that formed at his eyes, Sesshomaru turned and ran towards his bedroom.

'Why is Inuyasha allowed to embrace father?' Sesshomaru wondered with a pout, as he sat up on his bed, 'Why must I call him father, when Inuyasha can call him otosan? He his my otosan as well!'

It had been a whole hour since the incident, and still Inuyasha was with their father. The imagery of Inuyasha getting lifted into Inutaisho's arms replayed in Sesshomaru's mind and he shook his head violently.

Soon, Sesshomaru's bedroom door burst open, and in ran Inuyasha, a wide smile on his face. "Oniisan!" Inuyasha shouted excitedly, "Guess what? I told father about the idea to play in the gardens and he said it would be okay."

Sesshomaru grimaced at Inuyasha, and turned away. "Do not call me oniisan!" he warned, "I am not your older brother."

Inuyasha was ignorant to his brother's bitterness, and continued to chatter excitedly, "Guess what else!" Inuyasha squealed, happily, "Otosan told me that my mother is well in the afterlife. He said that he loved her more than anyone else."

Sesshomaru frowned at hearing this. 'He loved that human more than me? More than my mother?'

"I met Kagome-chan, too!" Inuyasha exclaimed, with flushed cheeks, "I think I'm going to marry her when I grow up."

"K-Kagome-chan?" Sesshomaru repeated, remembering the little girl with midnight tresses draped over her shoulders, and big blue eyes that sparkled.

"Hai," Inuyasha grinned, "She made me feel a lot better about my mother. She hugged me, and told me that it was okay. Her father died, too, and she knows how it feels."

Sesshomaru felt the temperature of the room shoot up, and his whole face turned bright red. "Get out!" Sesshomaru shouted, suddenly.

Inuyasha's eyes widened, innocently. "Oniisan, what is the matter?" Inuyasha asked.

"Out!" Sesshomaru shouted once more, "I refuse to be your brother, you ridiculous half breed!" At hearing this, Inuyasha quickly turned, and fled from the room in fear of his angered brother.

Sesshomaru hugged his knees to his chest, and took in a deep breath. He remembered what his father once told him about crying.

'Remember, Sesshomaru.' Inutaisho had said, 'You are to be the next ruler of the west. To be a strong ruler you mustn't allow your feelings to overwhelm you, understand? Do not allow yourself to cry, even when you want to.'

Sesshomaru ignored the swelling in his chest. "I will not cry, father." Sesshomaru swore, though something inside wondered why it was that Inuyasha was able to cry, when Sesshomaru wasn't allowed.

It had been later that night, after dinner, when Inutaisho came to talk to Sesshomaru. Sesshomaru knew what was coming. No doubt, Inuyasha had told his father what Sesshomaru had said to make him cry.

Sesshomaru stood when Inutaisho entered his bedroom to show respect. Inutaisho raised a hand, and gestured for Sesshomaru to be seated once more. Sesshomaru complied, and watched his father intently.

"Son, I wish to speak to you." Inutaisho said in a deep, but surprisingly soft voice.

"Yes, father." Sesshomaru said, knowingly.

"You made a comment about Inuyasha's mother earlier today." Inutaisho said, earnestly, "I do not want another negative word uttered concerning her, do you understand?"

"Yes, father." Sesshomaru said, wryly.

"I have permitted you and Inuyasha to play out in the gardens." Inutaisho said, his voice warming, "I do hope that you will take advantage of this privilege, Sesshomaru."

"Yes, father." Sesshomaru bowed his head, appreciatively.

"As long as you are within the castle walls, no harm will come to you. Therefore, you and Inuyasha are granted permission to go out there whenever you'd like." Inutaisho explained, "I would like for you to start acting as a child should. Playing. Having fun."

"Fun, father?" Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow. This was very unexpected. Usually all his father was concerned about was Sesshomaru's schooling, and training.

"Hai." Inutaisho smiled down on his son, and pat Sesshomaru's head, "You are a fine boy, Sesshomaru. I am convinced that you will be a great leader one day. Perhaps greater than your father."

Sesshomaru's eyes widened in disbelief at what he was hearing. "Even better?" he asked, excitedly. It wasn't until after he had lost control of his emotions that he realized it. Sesshomaru gasped, and covered his mouth in shame.

Inutaisho, surprisingly, just chuckled, and pat his son's head. "Remain a child for now, Musuko." he said, warmly, and headed for the door.

Sesshomaru stared after his father in shock.

"Father!" Sesshomaru called after him before he could leave the room. Inutaisho turned towards his son.

"Hai?"

"Who was that… girl?" Sesshomaru asked, sheepishly, "The one with the dark hair, and blue eyes."

Inutaisho smirked. "That was Kagome." he replied, "Is there anymore you'd like to know?"

"Where did she come from?" Sesshomaru asked, "Why was she here yesterday?"

"Her father was a good friend of mine." Inutaisho said, wistfully, "He long ago passed on, and his dying wish to me was that I would care for his family. I provide them with food and money every once in awhile. Kagome is rather cute, don't you think?"

Inutaisho smirked once more to see Sesshomaru blush, and walked from the room, shutting the door behind him.

: Author's Note :

So far, what do you think? Yes, Sesshomaru is a bit out of character, but he is a child, after all. This story is alternate universe, but it takes place in feudal Japan. I'm aiming for mostly romance and drama.

This is definately different from my usual work. I wanted to make up for some of the really cheesy, crappy fics I've submitted cough Kagome's Nightmares cough Please submit your reviews, and rate!

: Japanese Terms to Know :

Otosan- Dad, Daddy
Taiyoukai- The Ruler of Lands
Okasan- Mom, Mommy
Oniisan- My big brother