Chapter 2

"Ah," Sesshoumaru began. Loath as he was to skirt the inevitable explanation, he found himself tackling the less pressing question first.

"You are home," he said.

"Home?" questioned Inuyasha sharply, "Whose home? Your home?" Tendrils of long-forgotten memories tickled his consciousness. Whispers of: your father – Sesshoumaru – palace beneath the cliffs, above the sea – beautiful, and empty – always empty.

"Yes, my home," Sesshoumaru wondered why he supposed Inuyasha ought to be aware of this place and its history as he was ignorant of all else concerning his heritage. Sesshoumaru conveniently failed to acknowledge that he could have alleviated this ignorance before – indeed, why was he compelled to now? He quashed the thought before it could grow in magnitude and reasoning.

"And the home of Chichi-ue. And of his father before him," Sesshoumaru continued, "The very edifice, in fact, in which you were born."

"Whatever," said Inuyasha, not entirely sure how to react to that, and, in fact, not entirely sure how he felt about it. He began again, tiredly, "What I want to know is how Kagome and I got here, and how I can fix Kagome."

Inwardly, Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes; ever so bluntly to the point, his little half brother. And not to be deterred from the quarry in a hunt. Sesshoumaru supposed that was one admirable quality Inuyasha had, but he wouldn't let the fact weigh too heavily on his mind. Keeping his expression placid and just noticeably disdainful, Sesshoumaru began to speak.

"Normally, if you trespassed on my territory without permission, I would kill you—"

"You just try—"

"—without hestation," continued Sesshoumaru calmly, "But the manner of your arrival was bizarre enough that it merited further investigation. Also, I find no honor in killing those already half-dead."

Inuyasha sputtered. Sesshoumaru went on.

"You and the girl were found in a clearing on the shores of Lake Biwa several days ago. I will not yet inquire as to how you came to be there. According to the sentry the girl was already dead, but you yet lived. The sentry recognized you as my family, and as such, protected you—"

Inuyasha's laugh was sharp. "Fucking ironic—"

"Indeed," but Inuyasha butted in before Sesshoumaru could get further.

"You mean to tell me you actually don't have all your people trained to kill me on sight?" Inuyasha laughed again, "Why you fucking—"

"I reserve that privilege for myself," said Sesshoumaru, almost sharply, "And I see no need to spread family affairs to the general public. That they learn some things is inevitable, but privacy has its merits. As I was saying before your rather juvenile outburst," Sesshoumaru smirked inwardly as Inuyasha stewed, "The sentry protected you from carrion-feeders and jewel-seekers until I arrived some time later.

"The girl was indeed dead, but you were a miserable pile of blood and bones," Sesshoumaru drawled reminiscently – Inuyasha couldn't tell if it was for show or not, "And while Jaken loaded you onto the pack-dragon—"

"A-un!" piped up Rin, but she was silenced by an exasperated glare from Sesshoumaru. Inuyasha was suddenly struck by the thought that Sesshoumaru might be a real person beneath his cold, arrogant, and generally bastardly persona.

"—Tenseiga told me that the girl could be saved, but though I cut the demons of the netherworld away, she remained as dead. I do not like to be beset with riddles to which I do not know the answers. You shall answer that one for me. No, don't grumble. We've reached the part where you explain how you came to be on my lands."

Silence fell. Inuyasha had crossed his arms and was glaring through the open shouji at the sunlight streaming in from some hidden window. A cloud of dust particles blew through the beam of light, sparkling.

Finally Inuyasha spoke.

"Fine," he said, "I'll tell you. I'll tell you, but only because I'm trying to figure it out for myself, got it?"

Sesshoumaru said nothing, and Inuyasha paused, trying to prop himself into a more comfortable position. He took a deep breath and started again.

"I'm not sure how long ago it was, but we had just left the village—" at Sesshoumaru's sharp look he elucidated: "—you know, the one where I was stuck to a damn tree for fifty years..."






AN: Short chapter, I admit. But it'll be followed by longer, slow-moving background info, I promise.