CRASH!!! Before the reverberations of the sound had died down leaving a welcome silence; two small balls of light, in the form of youkai energy, sped across the green fields. The physical shape of them could not be seen until another white streak had shot past them and materialised into a pair of tall legs with black boots, right in their path. Before they hit the legs, they had both turned sharply to head off in another direction. Unfortunately for them; the owner of the legs also had two powerful, fast arms and grabbed the small figures; hanging one off each hand.

The two were now shown to be golden haired pups, caught by the scruff of their necks and brought face to face with a tall youkai; who was showing very sharp fangs in an unnerving smile, that was unusual on his face. He stared at their discomfort with glittering golden eyes, noticing with approval that at least they had looked down and were not trying to challenge him; which was wise, he knew how frightening he could look if need be. These boys were no threat to him.

"Going somewhere pups?" Sesshoumaru said, looking at them and hanging one from each of his claws by their clothes. Neither pup struggled once they'd been caught; in this case they knew it would have done no good and just make them look more foolish than they did now. "Sensible boys, I believe your father wants to have a word with you now" and turning the pups round; he deposited them at Inuyasha's feet, giving him a smirk as he did so.

Inuyasha looked down on his sons, feeling disappointed and angry and allowing the feelings to show on his face. Folding his arms across his chest, he told the boys to look at him.

"What have you to say for yourselves boys?" Inuyasha said glaring at them. The older pup took his brother's hand and stood in front of their uncle and apologised sincerely, for almost destroying his weapons room.

"You are fortunate that you were not harmed, the weapons are all fully functional as you were informed only yesterday. Can you really have forgotten so soon that you were told not to enter unaccompanied?" Sesshoumaru replied to them. The pups hung their heads; but felt much better when Sesshoumaru patted them and turned away to smile at Inuyasha, who looked most puzzled and unsure. He still wasn't used to this Sesshoumaru who seemed so indulgent. Inuyasha turned to his sons, he still had something to say.

"It was wrong to run away boys and I will not tolerate disobedience" and he picked up one pup under his arm and spanked him hard then repeated his actions with the other. "Disobedience could cost you your lives one day, now go." The pups shot off back to the palace. "Now, they'll go whining and complaining to their mother about how cruel I am" Inuyasha said ruefully to his brother.

"No harm was done thankfully and curiosity is something I understand." Sesshoumaru commented. Inuyasha looked at his brother sideways and said quietly;

"You didn't understand when I did the same thing." Sesshoumaru thought for a moment,

"You did? I don't remember." At these easily said words, Inuyasha went stiff;

"You don't remember having Jaken strip off my top clothes so that you could use me as target practice for your damned energy whip. I left your home that night." His voice was barely a whisper; but his brother heard him.

"Of course I remember you leaving, Inuyasha." Sesshoumaru remembered following the easy trail of misery, leading to a small Inuyasha; curled up on himself, in the crook of a tree. "I told you to come back with me or fend for yourself. You chose the latter; I realise now that you were far too young to have been given the choice and I should have brought you back." Inuyasha was sadly shaking his head;

"You didn't want me Sesshoumaru, you'd made it perfectly clear. You would have killed me eventually; I had no choice but to go." Sesshoumaru was quiet, there was nothing that he could do to correct the past; but he was trying to help the present and noticing the stiffened figure beside him, he knew there was a lot still to do.

"Inuyasha, I am sorry." was all he could say, but it had some effect; the hanyou relaxed a little as they walked back together. As they entered the Palace grounds, the older brothers could hear the pups laughing and playing with Shippou. He was now their adopted older brother and was very good with the little ones, including Inuyasha's youngest; a dark haired little girl who at the moment was sitting on Shippou's hip and pulling at his tail, while he fluffed her puppy ears.

Inuyasha stayed on the veranda watching his children play and Sesshoumaru had gone inside to see his wife, who only had a few days to go in her pregnancy. His first child was due and he was nervous; Rin was human and although extremely healthy, childbirth was known to be difficult especially for women of this time. Kagome had agreed to be with Rin as her friend and for moral support. The two brothers had become friendly after the death of Naraku; where they had both fought on the same side and also due to the fact that the two human girls had become firm friends.

Over the years since Naraku's obliteration, many things had happened; some due to the Shikon no Tama itself, others because of the alliances made during the battle. There was a growing spirit of peace and trust amongst many former enemies, and new tolerance of other's ways of life. This truce had spilled out into the relationship between Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru. Sesshoumaru had merely said

"You did well, Inuyasha; you did not fail our father's blood. You will always be welcome to the Palace; along of course, with any who may become your family." Inuyasha had been so surprised, he'd had no answer at the time for his brother.

Everyone had been amazed when the priestess Midoriko had said they could all ask for a wish on the Shikon. Among the desires were that the well was able to remain as a portal and that Kohaku would learn to live with his memories and be able to forgive himself. However, all of Inuyasha's wishes were coming true on their own; since he gave up wanting to be a full youkai. Kikyou was able to give up her hatred of Inuyasha and find once again the love she had for him previously; that love enabling her to set him free, to go to Kagome and also set her body at rest at last.

Sesshoumaru was surprised that he too was to be granted a wish, from his heart; Midoriko even laughed at him because he thought there was nothing he wanted. She said she knew his deepest desire and it would be granted him; he would find out when the time came, and she promised him he would know. Then turning to Inuyasha, the priestess had smiled and said;

"You will finally find happiness and contentment without wasting your wish." And she smiled sweetly, just for him when he made a selfless request; wanting his brother to have his arm returned. It had been worth it just to see the shock on Sesshoumaru's face; he'd actually had to sit down quickly and then to see Rin leap into both his arms to give him a hug. Jaken had nearly had a fit at the girl's audacity; but when Sesshoumaru had returned her caress and Rin had wiped away several tears from his eyes, Jaken had really passed out. That night there had been great celebrations and many couples pledged themselves to each other; all in all, it was a happy outcome for most.

That had all happened about eight years ago and since then many new arrivals had swelled the human villages and youkai clans. Three or four times a year, Inuyasha and his growing family, would take the trip to the Western Lands to visit and build the strengthening ties; spending about a week or so in the luxury of the Palace. It was good for all of them to be able to relax with each other and there was genuine pleasure in accepting the invitation a year ago to Sesshoumaru and Rin's wedding.

No one was really surprised at the youkai lord's choice of mate; all knew the old history of the family and now the new legends had been born. Sesshoumaru gave a lot of time to thinking about the seeming inevitability of his involvement with humans. He did not know many; still despising those who could call youkai cruel, whilst turning a blind eye to the hardships of their own. But he had learnt that there were good and bad in all societies and no one could ever doubt his love for Rin.

Having satisfied himself, that his Rin was comfortable and lacked for nothing she wanted; he was quite happy to leave the girls to their chat and was thankful that Kagome was happy to talk about anything, but all the agonies of childbirth that so many mothers liked to share. He himself did not like to think of the upcoming event and he was certain Rin was apprehensive enough.

He went to stand on the balcony and he watched as Inuyasha joined in with his pups play; It made him smile, his brother was just like a pup himself when he played. Sesshoumaru refrained from teasing him on this however; he was well aware that Inuyasha never had playmates as a child and that he was learning from his own children, how to give and take. It did however amuse him to watch, especially once Shippou joined in. Sesshoumaru smirked, he may not tease about the playing; but he would have great satisfaction in calling Inuyasha in, for a bath before tea.

For now however, he found himself relieved at the reconciliation; his own marriage to Rin and his impending fatherhood, had helped him understand his own father at long last. Watching Inuyasha and Shippou, he also felt a sense of satisfaction; remembering how he himself, had single handedly rid Inuyasha of his subjugation necklace and found Shippou a permanant father figure. He became aware that Kagome had joined him as Rin was resting,

"I have you to thank for this scene Sesshoumaru, You helped me grow up; in that instance you were like a father for me, as well as Rin." Sesshoumaru gave her a gentle smile and stood remembering.

Before Naraku had been defeated, Rin had once again run off from Jaken; as she had heard the sounds of Inuyasha's camp and wanted to join in the 'fun'. She had screamed however in distress, seeing Inuyasha slamming into the ground under the effects of Kagome's 'sit' command. She had called out for him to help his brother, unaware of the cause and unaware that there was no way the spell could be stopped.

Sesshoumaru had arrived in time to hear Kagome screaming at Inuyasha, who had apparantly unwisely said 'under no circumstances would he be any sort of father for the obnoxious kit.' He'd heard Jaken sniggering and saying to Rin,

"The filthy hanyou has obviously disobeyed the girl and is being punished, something I have no doubt the revolting creature deserved." Hearing the words Jaken spoke to Rin, Sesshoumaru for the first time had stopped to think; 'did his brother really deserve all of this?' He would find out what had happened to earn Inuyasha about ten 'sits'. As always his appearance stopped everyone in their tracks and Kagome instantly went on the defensive;

"Why are you here, are you still hoping to kill Inuyasha?" Sesshoumaru had merely raised his eyebrow and sat down to say;

"Why would I bother; you are managing to do it for me." Then he had called to Inuyasha; "You really must learn not to attempt to kill the Miko." Kagome stared;

"He wasn't trying to kill me."

"I thought that was the purpose of the rosary; to stop him attacking you? Ah! I see: you have expanded it's use, finally you have recognised his place in society. You have made him your slave; not entitled to independent thought or action, if it disagrees with yours."

"That's not true, he was being very mean to Shippou; he hurt his feelings and was chasing him, yet again." Kagome had said defending herself.

"It matters not to me, your reasons girl; it is much better he knows his place, than you raise false hopes in his breast; that he will ever mean anything to anyone. He should have his pride removed; as a mere hanyou, he is not entitled to have any sense of importance." Sesshoumaru watched as his words sunk in to the little group; Kagome had the control, but none of the others tried to stop her abuse of power.

"What did he do this time anyway?" Sesshoumaru asked.

"Shippou was being cute, he was mimicing Inuyasha; just like a son does a father. I just said; I thought it would be nice if Inuyasha took him under his wing, he refused and he upset Shippou." Kagome looked a bit ashamed, now that her temper had receeded.

"This was his punishment then, for going against your whim child?" Sesshoumaru looked steadily at her; then he had called Shippou over to him. "Shippou, you are a kitsune youkai aren't you? are you good at your tricks yet?"

"Yeah, I'm great; I get better all the time."

"Do you practice hard, do you find it easy to trick people?" Shippou was proud of his skills and nodded. Sesshoumaru asked the kit gently; "Do you trick Kagome a lot, it's fun to see Inuyasha fall to the ground isn't it?"

"It's the best, Inuyasha is such a stupid hanyou; he gets cross really quickly and it's easy to make Kagome sit him." Shippou couldn't see Kagome's face, as he was so proud of speaking with Lord Sesshoumaru about his skills.

"Would your father approve of that though? After all, Inuyasha provides for you and protects you doesn't he; should you not have more respect for him?" Shippou just laughed;

"No, he's just a hanyou; besides, I love Kagome and she makes the idiot bow down to me. She does the same when she makes him bow to Kouga; he is also a full youkai just like me, we both like winding Inuyasha up." Shippou puffed out his chest in childish pride. Sesshoumaru then turned his gaze calmly on a horrified Kagome;

"Inuyasha has always had children follow him and ridicule him; calling him names. I have however never heard he has killed any, or even harmed any; but you have stopped him disciplining this kitsune, who is growing up spoiled and over indulged. By his very nature Shippou is a trickster, his parents would have been teaching him where to draw the line; but you are treating him like a child's doll and it is not kind to him." As his words had sunk in and recognising the truth in them, Kagome had felt physically sick; she had paled as had her friends, she must make amends.

At that moment Rin came back to her lord; she was very sad and needed comfort, so Sesshoumaru put his arm round her and said to her quietly;

"Inuyasha will be alright Rin, he is tough." They heard her say that Inuyasha's face was bleeding and his arm was hurting him and that he had run off.

"Why would he run, why was he bleeding?" Kagome began to worry when Miroku gasped, It was the night of the new moon and they had all forgotten.

"What colour was Inuyasha's hair Rin?" Asked Miroku. Rin answered him;

"Black" Kagome started to run after Inuyasha, he had become human while the spell was in action; but he was nowhere to be found.

"You never did tell me where Inuyasha ran off to that day Kagome; I remember I also could not find him, so I suspected he must have gone down the well?" Kagome smiled at her brother-in-law;

"He did and if you think what you said would make me ashamed, it was nothing as to my mother's reaction; I have never seen her so angry before or since. When I got home, Mama was dealing with Inuyasha; he had hidden in the well house and she had heard him, he'd been crying to himself, about what had happened. She was cleaning up his split lip, bloody nose and had secured his broken arm.

"She was so angry, that she wouldn't look at me or acknowledge me. I went up to him and took off the rosary saying how sorry I was; he flinched and I've never felt so lost as that time. Inuyasha wouldn't speak to me, he wouldn't even look at me and all evening and night; mum stayed with him. She let him sleep against her, with her arms round him; while I just sat on my own. I wanted to touch him and beg his forgiveness, but all evening I was unable to; because he pulled away from me if I went near. I felt so lonely, cut off from any love and warmth; Mama had never treated me that way, but I deserved it. I needed comfort but there was none for me; Mama just said;

"Now you know what Inuyasha goes through all the time."

"It was the worst time of my life and I knew how horrid I had been when even in the morning, Inuyasha just followed me and obeyed me and still wouldn't look me in the eye. He'd overheard everything you and Shippou said and he was shattered; it took a lot of time before he realised we meant it, when we said things would be different. I let him start disciplining Shippou and never stopped him seeing off Kouga. Things got better; we started to rely on him and him on us again and I'll never forget the day when Shippou chose to curl up with Inuyasha instead of me, Inuyasha was so pleased."

They both looked at the scene below, reminiscing had made Kagome's eyes water; Sesshoumaru looked at her and said;

"It can take time to rectify mistakes, I have made many concerning Inuyasha; but he has a large heart and you have given him so much, much of which he never imagined would come his way; however much he wanted it to." Kagome acknowledged Sesshoumaru's comment with a smile; but she also knew, that there were still times when Inuyasha questioned his worth.

He had seemed distracted and subdued quite a bit during this visit, true it had been longer than previous ones; but there was no threat and everything had been done to make them comfortable. All the facilities had been put at the young family's disposal; the boys had learned so much from the youkai of Sesshoumaru's staff about the weapons, learning how to use them effectively and with grace. The little girl was too young for weaponry yet, but she could have a lot of fun with the gymnastic moves that would improve her natural grace.

They had been wined and dined, sometimes just the family and sometimes with important guests; but always, with the best that could be offered. Sesshoumaru seemed eager to make up to Inuyasha, all that he had missed out on during his neglected life. Inuyasha was not insensitive to all that Sesshoumaru was trying to do and he recognised it for the repentance it was; but Kagome knew something was disturbing him and she had a sudden idea.

She thought he may feel cooped up in the Palace; after all, he was used to running and travelling free; so she made arrangements with the very nice neko hanyou who had been Sesshoumaru's nursemaid, to look after the pups so that she and Inuyasha could have some time alone and to go on a picnic. This was soon arranged and Kagome found herself once again, flying through the treetops on the back of her love. Sesshoumaru's grounds and the Western Lands were very beautiful and this was a great way to appreciate them.

The couple thoroughly enjoyed their picnic and took full advantage of the secluded area they had found; complete with hot spring. Upon returning with happy and flushed faces; Sesshoumaru just swept by elegantly and remarked, that he hoped they'd made the most of their free time. Inuyasha replied;

"You just wait, you'll learn what children do for your quality time with Rin." and he laughed as Sesshoumaru actually blushed.

"That's what the nursery is for, brother" was the reply that floated down the hallway to them.

Kagome and Inuyasha walked up the corridor; Kagome leaning against her mate's shoulder, as they reached the nursery. Peeping in, the dainty nurse just smiled at them and they could see that their little pups were all asleep. Kagome went to kiss them all and just reassure herself; tweaking a blanket here and there or smoothing the hair and making Inuyasha smile. When she was satisfied, she and Inuyasha left to find Rin and Sesshoumaru.

They were in a comfortable lounge area, Sesshoumaru was kneeling on the floor with his head and hand gently resting on Rin's stomach. Sesshoumaru had been fascinated to hear the heartbeat of his little boy and smell his unique scent. But when Inuyasha had told him that the baby could recognise his voice; something he had been amazed to learn from the doctors in Kagome's time, Sesshoumaru was sceptical. Then Kagome spoke to them, of all they had found out in her time about babies and had brought a book with illustrations of developing babies to show them.

Sesshoumaru was always fascinated with learning and increasing his vast amount of knowledge and he had been visibly moved when Kagome one day, had grabbed his hand and placed it on her own stomach when carrying her first pup; just so he could feel the movements. His eyes, full of wonder; had curbed the possessive growl that Inuyasha couldn't quite stop. Since Rin had fallen pregnant, Sesshoumaru had waited impatiently until the pup was big enough to feel and he spoke to him every day; Rin had even found him calling the pup softly at night.

"He is very active at the moment" Rin explained to them as they smiled at the sight of Sesshoumaru listening to the baby. "He is not letting me move, just stops me as soon as I try to get up"

"Who are you talking about Rin?" grinned Inuyasha, "the baby or Sesshy."

"Very funny whelp, I am trying to calm him down." Kagome advised him to rub fairly firm circles on Rin's belly and singing to him. Inuyasha found this prospect most amusing, to Sesshoumaru's annoyance and changing the subject; he said that their own pups were already skilled with the weapons and would benefit from regular training. "After all, they shouldn't rely on just slashing or power hits like Inuyasha's".

"Your weapon's master is a hanyou isn't he?" asked Kagome.

"Yes, hanyou's are often fast and quick, very agile and often smaller than full Youkai. Most of the hanyou here have been in my service for many years; some were even here in our father's day. The nurse in the children's room was my nanny and was also attendant at Inuyasha's birth." Inuyasha was stunned at this news,

"She knew my mother?"

"Not for long I'm afraid, but she is very brave and protective of the pups in her care; although never having had any of her own. The night you left, she physically attacked me; cursing me for hurting you and insisting that I brought you back. However, my pride was at stake so I delayed in going for you and then when I did; your scent was gone. She only forgave me when you returned here for the first time with Kagome."

"I'm surprised you let her live." Inuyasha sounded a little bitter.

"She was a faithful, valuable servant Inuyasha and she had been my nurse," Sesshoumaru was puzzled at Inuyasha's response.

"Obviously more valuable than a little brother" he whispered to no one in particular; but Sesshoumaru once again heard him. Giving himself a mental shake, it was Inuyasha's turn to change the subject slightly; "I presume you'll keep your pup's night of vulnerability a secret, it would be wise even if he is protected here?"

"Our pup will not be vulnerable Inuyasha, he is not physically a hanyou."

"Of course he is, however strong he is through your youkai; Rin is human." Inuyasha didn't see what Sesshoumaru could mean.

"Do you remember Midoriko told me I would know what my wish would be one day? Well she was generous; my desire was that any pups I had would be as strong if not stronger than me. This was so they would be good rulers or leaders and not weak or vulnerable and that they would be strong together as a pack. When I asked Rin to mate me, she offered me a great gift; that of sacrificing her human heritage in our pups. But Midoriko said to her that they would still have personality traits and some looks to tie them to her heritage. So our pups will be full youkai with their mother's blessing."

Rin smiled at Sesshoumaru,

"I was not forced into this decision, Midoriko spoke to me after Sesshoumaru proposed; she knew long before he did that he wanted me as his mate and this was the easiest way to grant his wish, then it was left to me to tell him if I would agree. It was my mating gift to someone so special who I love beyond life." This avowal of affection from his beloved Rin, choked Sesshoumaru and he was overcome; he buried his face in her neck and Rin stroked his hair soothingly. Inuyasha was left staring at the couple until Kagome pulled him away to leave them some privacy.

It would soon be time for the evening meal and Shippou always joined them; he no longer ate in the nursery with the smaller children and although he was still shorter than his adoptive father, it would not be long until he caught up; perhaps even surpassing him. Kagome welcomed the young man, pleased to see how handsome he had become. He could still be an imp but usually he knew how far he could go.

As usual Inuyasha finished his meal before everyone else and joined in the general chat around the table. At one point he found that he was the only one not in conversation; because Sesshoumaru had turned to Rin, who seemed to be in discomfort. Shippou and Kagome were laughing together and he overheard Shippou, who was a good mimic say in his son's voice;

"Papa is messier than the baby, you can always see where he has been eating." Inuyasha knew this was true, but he hadn't realised that his children had noticed. Distracting himself and because he was concerned, he asked if Rin was O.K. This then brought Kagome's attention to her as well and she came to Rin and said;

"Not too long to wait now" and she patted her hand. Sesshoumaru picked Rin up to take her to their room to rest; where she could overlook the garden she loved so much and which Sesshoumaru hoped would help to calm her spirit. He hoped it might calm his spirit as well; he couldn't remember ever having felt so nervous or, he admitted to himself, so afraid.

Inuyasha and Kagome walked back to their room; Kagome said as she laughed, how nice it was to know the children were safe, asleep and giving them time to be together without fear of interruption. She ignored for now, the ears flattened on top of her mate's head and the aura of sadness that had started to roll off him. Tonight would be a new moon and for a long time, the couple had realised that anything bothering Inuyasha could be talked about and sorted out on this night; when he could then blame his human heart being weak and wake up his usual cocky self.

Kagome liked the next mornings to his human night, especially since they'd been married; when they could find more interesting ways to channel Inuyasha's exuberance, his pleasure at finding his strengths return never palled. She would wait till tonight then to find out what exactly was bothering her hanyou; but now, they had reached their chambers and Kagome gasped at finding another present for each of them from Sesshoumaru. Matching kimonos that bore the family crests and symbols, not just for them but for all the pups.

There was a handwritten note from Sesshoumaru:

"To be worn at the presentation ceremony of the heir of the Western Lands, when I will present your pups as part of the family. Please accept." There was even a special kimono for Shippou, with a mixture of Kitsune symbols and Inuyasha's family crests. Kagome was amazed and delighted,

"Our place in this world will be assured, you and our pups will be accepted properly; this is wonderful" and Kagome promptly burst into tears, pulling Inuyasha out of his stupor to comfort her. Kagome was soon pulling herself together in an excited manner, "We must thank Sesshoumaru for this honour and these gowns are exquisite. When is the ceremony?"

"It is usually held when the pup is one month old. The pup's name is officially given and it is required that all present, recognise the rights of the offspring and make it known to any that do not know. It stops any from later questioning the legitimacy of the claim." Kagome listened to the tone of Inuyasha's voice; surprised to hear the short, clipped sounds.

She watched as he drew a claw sensitively over the intricate embroidered patterns and when he went to a writing desk to pen a note back to Sesshoumaru which said;

"I accept with gratitude for my family." But Kagome knew better than to ask what was bothering him, such direct or obvious questions would be met with an arrogant 'nothing'. He would tell her when it mattered, she had learnt to just be near to him and wait. Kagome was sure that they would talk later on, Inuyasha still did not sleep well on his human night each month and they had got used to keeping one another company.

They were looking out of the window at the beautiful clear sky; full of the colours of the setting sun and she knew that Inuyasha was feeling edgy and uncomfortable; already feeling his powers waning. At that moment there was an urgent knocking on the door and Sesshoumaru appeared before them; his eyes very wide.

"Please, Rin is calling for you, she has her pains." Asking the youkai lord to stay where he was until she sent for him; Kagome vanished down the hall to the Master bedroom, leaving Inuyasha to try to reassure his nervous brother. After about five minutes of pacing and heavy sighs, which provided some amusement for Inuyasha; Sesshoumaru suddenly stopped and stared at him, then closing the gap between them; he gripped Inuyasha's arm. Digging his claws into the flesh, his anxious state making him forget himself and his poison dripped into the marks; making Inuyasha yelp in pain.

Ignoring Inuyasha's discomfort, Sesshoumaru pulled him close and sniffed at him delicately; then he seemed to remember himself and looked in shame, at Inuyahsa's arm.

"Forgive me brother, let me make amends." To Inuyasha's surprise; Sesshoumaru bent his head and turning Inuyasha's arm over he started to run his tongue over the claw marks.

"What are you doing?" Inuyasha squirmed and tried pulling his arm away; but it was gripped firmly, until Sesshoumaru let him go after a couple of minutes more. When he had finished, Inuyasha felt no pain and the arm was already healing. He gave his brother a questioning look.

"My saliva not only carries my poison, but it also provides the antidote and it heals almost as well as your saliva does. Did you think I could not control my body?"

"O.K. I get it" said Inuyasha "What was all the sniffing about?"

"Tonight is your vulnerable night, I can scent that you are already nearly fully human; that is why I needed to get the antidote into you quickly. Inuyasha, I have seen you as a human before, but I have never seen your transformation; I am curious. Would you allow me to see you transform? I respect all my servant hanyou's nights and allow them their privacy; I understand the feeling you get of vulnerability, but I would like to see it." Inuyasha couldn't stop the feeling of panic washing over him and Sesshoumaru could smell his fear;

"I understand my brother, you cannot relax with me quite yet; perhaps one day..." Inuyasha looked across at his brother and saw a sad look flash through his eyes;

"You can stay Sesshoumaru, I am not afraid of you; I just thought you might be offended by my being human. I hate remembering when I was a whimpering, snivelling human hiding away on moonless nights; dreading everything, and I just reacted like I always did in the presence of a strong youkai." Sesshoumaru glanced over at his little brother, wondering how the little pup had survived all those years alone.

Once again he thanked Midoriko; that he could have both his heart's desire in his human soulmate Rin and youkai, not hanyou pups. As he was pondering over these things; he noticed that Inuyasha had moved away from him towards the window and was watching for the moment of sundown. Sesshoumaru went to join him and again, took hold of his arms; turning Inuyasha to face him.

"Look at me pup, I wish to see." And he waited for Inuyasha's golden eyes to meet his own. First he saw Inuyasha's claws start to retract; then he stared amazed, as the hair darkened and the eyes changed to violet. The transformation was over very quickly and Sesshoumaru once again sniffed at Inuyasha, "You are totally human; even though I can still detect the presence of your youkai and you are still afraid of me." now he looked vaguely exasperated.

"I am not afraid of you, I never have been." Inuyasha was getting cross.

"You could never lie, Inuyasha; certainly not to me and do not insult me, even you as a hanyou can scent a lie." Now they were both angry at one another; but before he stormed out of the room to return to the calming influence of his wife, Sesshoumaru did remember to be gracious and thank Inuyasha; keeping a reign on his temper by leaving with a curt nod. Inuyasha turned away and went back to the window, then sat on the balcony outside with his knees to his chin against the wall that gave privacy between the suites. 'Why should his brother feel hurt because Inuyasha's body reacted without trust, Whose fault was it that he had had to learn to fear in the first place ?

Sesshoumaru found that Rin was fine, she was not in real labour yet and was now comfortable again; he walked to the balcony and stood looking at the stars while a warm evening breeze blew through his silver hair. He opened his arms when Rin came to join him and wrapped her in his strength; knowing that it made her feel safe, to feel him at her back. They were so in tune with each other that there was no need for words, just the comfort of the other's presence.

Rin could sense Sesshoumaru's disquiet and nuzzled him in the neck; he responded with a kiss but shortened it when he could hear his brother on the other side of the partition. He held his hand up asking for Rin to be silent so he could listen. Inuyasha was grumbling to himself "stupid, stupid, stupid," each stupid being punctuated with a fist being hit on the ground. Being human, he was not causing any damage except to his hand. Kagome went to him and took his hand in hers and said

"You are going to talk to me Inuyasha, whether you like it or not. Before you say 'nothing is up', I'll tell you. You have been sulking for a couple of weeks at the least." She ignored his grumble, knowing that he would eventually start to talk; and hopefully they could sort things out by morning. Five minutes after she started to clean his hand up, he said;

"Sesshoumaru wanted to see me transform."

"Well that's O.K. isn't it? He's no longer a threat to you."

"No, but I think I made him mad at me; I couldn't stop my body reacting, he despises my instinct to hide." Inuyasha was also ashamed of that instinct.

"I'm sure it's just that he wants to understand you more." Inuyasha was non commital about that comment. "It's good you felt safe enough to show him the transformation Inuyasha, he will realise that."

"Keh, it's not as if I could have avoided it even if I'd wanted to Kagome; he had my arms gripped."

"Sesshoumaru would never force you into something you didn't want Inuyasha." There was no answer for a moment from her mate, then a solemn;

"No, no he wouldn't; I'm not saying that, but he does get his way anyhow." Kagome responded

"I'm not sure I understand you my love." She waited a further moment before Inuyasha replied;

"All my life, it's been Inuyasha, go away; Inuyasha come here, Inuyasha, give me Tetsusaiga; Inuyasha die. Do this, don't do that; you're a disgrace, a mistake, dirty,weak, a failure; all the mishaps of the world are because I was born. And then what; His lordship is tired of fighting so it's, 'I have decided to let you live, we will fight no more; you will visit me, you will bring me your family; you will lend me your wife as company for mine, I will teach your sons..." His frustration let out, Inuyasha sighed heavily;

"I know it's just his way Kagome, but I love Sesshoumaru; I've looked up to him, I always have, since I was a little tiny pup. The night I left here, even fearing for my life; I wanted him to come back for me and tell me it would be alright. I waited and waited, it broke my heart when he didn't. Every fight we had, I tried to hate him and I did, but it hurt like hell to do it. I wanted so much for him, just once even, to be proud of me."

"I'm sure he loves you Inuyasha, look at all he does for us."

"He is a man of honour, Kagome; we are guests and he feels he needs to atone for his mistreatment of me and to set the records straight."

"Perhaps", Kagome said thoughtfully "that is the only way he can show he loves you, he is a full youkai; they are different, he has always said so."

" Shippou and Kouga, have no problem in showing you they love you." Inuyasha took another shuddering deep breath, which Kagome ignored; but she was well aware that he was trying to control himself . "I thought at first he hated hanyous just for existing, but that's not true; we make wonderful servants."

"You are not being fair Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru is terrific with our pups and they love him to bits; he plays with and trains them." Kagome tried to reason with him.

"It's just me then... isn't it. Just me that he can't love. He has only ever touched me when he is trying to hurt or kill me; except for today, when he cleaned the claw marks he'd made. I've watched him, he is loving with Rin; even when she was a child, he was tender and affectionate. He is not distant with his retainers, they can all speak with him as long as they are respectful and they are all happy here. I'd just hoped that one day, he could forget that my blood is tainted and he would love me as his brother."

Kagome put her arms round him; she knew there was no point in trying to make him see things differently, at least not at the moment. He was quiet for a while; thinking and then he said

"He is right, I am worthless really; you and the pups are entitled to live in a Palace and wear all the nice clothes as well, after all I am a Prince; being my father's son. But if I were pure like Sesshoumaru, we would be living here and not in some little hut; the children would have the best education, they wouldn't be ashamed of me."

"If you hadn't been who you were, we would not have met or had our good friends or our beautiful pups. I love the hut you built for us and the freedom of our life, I bet Sesshoumaru and Rin get tired of being in the Palace all the time; they used to travel a lot as well don't forget. And what do you mean; our pups are ashamed of you, they are not."

"You heard Shippou, Kagome; I've tried to be neater at mealtimes but if I eat slowly, I am sick."

"Why,what happens to you?" she asked. Once again there was a long silence before he answered;

"I starved so much in the early days, that a lot of what I could find wasn't really fit to eat; even if it could be called food. If I ate slowly, the smells and tastes would make me lose the meal within minutes; so I would shovel it in and hope some would stay when I threw up. Other times, if I didn't eat fast enough someone would take it off me; or pick up on where I was hiding. He could say no more without losing his self control so he said; "I'm tired Kagome, I think I'll go to bed now." Kagome nodded and got in and they lay curled up together. Eventually Inuyasha was the only one awake; Kagome snuggling against his chest and holding on to him, not letting go even in her sleep.

Inuyasha was left with his thoughts, which he was speaking aloud in a whisper to himself; that no matter what Kagome said, she was taking great delight in all the things Sesshoumaru could provide and he saw no wrong in her doing so. He was afraid that his pups would become the poor relation to any cousins, or be enticed away by the things Sesshoumaru could offer them and he ended up swallowing a whimper; what was he to do, he was feeling a failure; thinking he was failing to provide all he promised Kagome's mother.

On the other side of the partition, the brother in question was on his knees; with his face hidden in his hands, silently weeping. Sesshoumaru had heard all that Inuyasha had said and didn't know what to do. All he knew was that Inuyasha was mistaken, he did love him; he just hadn't been able to tell or show him properly. Rin was the calm one now and making him rise she brought him back to bed and she too held on to her mate tightly; offering comfort and understanding. She knew things usually looked brighter in the morning.

Morning for all of them came only an hour or two later however, when Rin's waters broke and the midwife shooed Sesshoumaru out to go and get Kagome. Kagome was awake but remained still, when she saw the door open silently. She watched as Sesshoumaru entered the room and stopped by Inuyasha, reaching to pick up a strand of black hair and running it through his fingers. His soft voice reached her;

"He was younger than Rin was, when I abandoned him; how did he survive?" Seeing Inuyasha brought the tears back and two fell from his eyes. Kagome also speaking softly said;

"He is also your father's son, Sesshoumaru; very strong and, contrary to some opinions; far from being a fool." She slid out of the bed from next to her sleeping mate, dressed in a gown already. "I thought it would be soon, the midwife will need a bit of time to get her ready." Sesshoumaru nodded and got a heavier top gown for Kagome to wear for her warmth. As she put it on, she remarked to her brother-in-law; "You heard him tonight, I could feel your aura; Inuyasha couldn't of course." Sesshoumaru nodded again. "Then these are for him, Sesshoumaru?" she queried, gently wiping his cheek. "Good, he deserves them from you; I'll go now." She ran quickly to be with Rin; leaving Sesshoumaru with the unusually, sleeping Inuyasha.

Sesshoumaru knelt down sitting on his heels, just waiting for his brother to waken. He didn't have long to wait; Inuyasha's senses knew he was being watched and he couldn't help the gasp and instinctive jump his body made, being confronted with the youkai.

"Sesshoumaru, what's the matter; why are you transforming? I can't defeat you transformed; hold on and tell me what's up."

"Calm down Inuyasha, your heart rate is rocketing; I am not transforming."

"Your eyes are reddening Sesshoumaru." Then he picked up the shine of tears on his cheek and realised; "Oh I'm sorry, it's Rin isn't it? Don't worry, she's got the best care; has Kagome gone to her? She'll be calling for you soon, you can control yourself can't you; Kagome won't be in danger?"

"Be still, Inuyasha, anyone would think it was Kagome in labour not Rin." Sesshoumaru was faintly amused at the flustered human in front of him; he of course could tell that Rin was only in the early stages and was not needing him at the moment.

"Just you wait Sesshoumaru. You think this is flustered; you never saw me when our pups were born." Inuyasha was still on edge; "Hey, you will get to see me transform back at sunup; so wait till then to lose your cool won't you?" he said grinning at his brother cheekily.

"I'm glad you are here for the birth of my pup Inuyasha." stated Sesshoumaru, stunning Inuyasha into silence and bringing unshed tears to the violet eyes. Although noticing this, he ignored it saying; "Come, it is time to go" and Sesshoumaru led him to his chambers. "The midwife will not require the barrier to protect her or Kagome from me, Inuyasha; I am well prepared mentally for this birth." Taking a swift look at his brother, Inuyasha had to admit that Sesshoumaru looked quite in control as he always did and envied his calm. He remembered how he had been in a fluster, from the first one of Kagome's contractions; to the pup's birth.

In these days it was not the done thing for fathers to be at the birth; but Kagome said that in her time, it was common and a wonderful experience for the father and often it helped the mother to have him there. The idea, once planted had been enough for Inuyasha and Rin had wished for Sesshoumaru to be with her and he found it hard to deny his beloved Rin anything.

Kagome had asked that Inuyasha be present in case it proved too much for his brother; there might be need to physically remove Sesshoumaru, so a barrier could be erected; in case his youkai got distressed if his mate seemed hurt. Sesshoumaru was however, a very intelligent person; well in control and as Rin progressed towards delivering her pup, he stayed by her side; lending her strength from his youki. He was amazed at the strength his little Rin had in her small body, as he watched as each contraction came and went. He would not have thought it possible and although it wrung his heart; his outward appearance was stoic and unmoved as usual.

But Rin could see the love in his eyes as he only looked at her the whole time; he thought his heart would burst when she smiled at him, instead of cursing him for putting her through this. It definitely helped them both, that he was giving her his strength; it was keeping him calm and the labour was progressing well. Inuyasha was now back in his hanyou form and monitering his brother, when suddenly there was a great shout from Rin and a smaller bellow from a much smaller pair of lungs. The pup was born.

The midwife separated the pup from his mother and gave him straight to Sesshoumaru, whilst the afterbirth was cleared away. Sesshoumaru couldn't believe that this tiny pup wasn't going to break in his hands, his face was a picture; he was smiling, a lovely smile of true joy;

"My beautiful son," he whispered, as he approached his very tired but happy mate. "I'm so proud of you both, I'm so glad I had Tenseiga that day in the woods Rin; I cannot imagine life without you." He gave her the pup to nurse and lay his head down on her breast beside his son.

"Come Inuyasha, we are not wanted here now" said Kagome and led him outside leaving the new little family alone.

Later on that day, the excitement was intense; there were many who wanted to see and welcome the new heir to the Western Lands. Some like Jaken and other servants were quiet or fussy; the others were noisy and clamouring to see their new cousin. Soon their wait was rewarded and Sesshoumaru came out with the little wrapped bundle that held his precious son; he held him securely as everyone came to see, passing the child one or two at a time but not crowding.

To the surprise of many, Sesshoumaru knelt down on one knee to show the pup especially to Jaken; even letting the old faithful retainer touch the little ones face. He had a special place in Rin's heart and over the years they had travelled together, they had come to an understanding; of each other and their Lord Sesshoumaru . Predictably, Jaken was overcome with the great favour and quickly became an annoyance; but he was soon distracted by Inuyasha's pups. They were wanting to see the baby and were rejoicing in the silver hair and seeing if they could make out the faint markings that would darken as he grew.

Two, very busy in a nice way; weeks passed. Sesshoumaru and eventually Rin were always around with the new pup; always ready to receive the compliments any new parent loves to hear. Sesshoumaru had called Inuyasha to him and given him the privilege of being the first to hold the new one and was pleased to see the soft look on his brother's face, when the pup cooed at him. There were also many visitors, bringing gifts and greetings and more importantly; acceptances to the presentation ceremony to be held in a couple of weeks.

One afternoon when things were a bit more peaceful, Kagome and Inuyasha were watching their pups play; or rather Kagome was amongst the rough and tumble herself, while Inuyasha was cradling his sleeping nephew. They were giving Rin and Sesshoumaru a break; allowing the couple to just be together, as they'd had no time so far to catch up. Stopping her playing, Kagome watched her mate with loving eyes; she recognised the look he was giving the baby, Inuyasha was getting broody again and she totally understood as the pup was adorable.

The children came up to their parents; creeping up and hushing one another, as they got near their father and cousin. Snuggling up to Kagome, they started to talk to one another; various snippets of the conversation reaching Inuyasha.

"Uncle Sessh says I'll soon start finding out what powers I have."

"I'd like a cool whip like Uncle Sessh."

"Yeah, and those poison claws."

"I wants his fluff."

"Well I'm very sorry for all of you, because none of those wishes can come true; but never mind, you will I'm sure have your own talents." Sesshoumaru appeared, having left Rin resting.

"Uncle Sesshy come and play."

"Not now pups."

"Well tell us a story, please, please." There was a quiet chuckle from the end of the balcony where Inuyasha was sitting.

"Better get used to story telling Brother, the big irrisitable puppy eyes is something this one will learn very quick and even you won't be able to resist." Sesshoumaru regarded his little brother thoughtfully for a moment; now he knew how his brother was feeling, he had been trying to think of how he could put things right for Inuyasha in a way that his brother would believe.

"I don't know many stories, but you're right Inuyasha, I must learn. Your mother's stories always began with 'once upon a time' I believe." Inuyasha swallowed a lump in his throat;

"I'm surprised you know that."

"I often heard her start to tell you stories at bedtime Inuyasha, I just never stayed to listen to them."

"They all ended, 'happily ever after' too; that was always important." muttered Inuyasha. Sesshoumaru thought for a while and said

"Well, I'll see what I can do." The pups were delighted, a story from cool Uncle Sessh.

"You're going to be a great dad, Uncle Sesshoumaru; our dad never tells us stories, he's always too busy."

"Hmph, you need to eat and keep warm don't you and your mum tells better stories than me." Inuyasha sounded gruff but Sesshoumaru could tell he was hurt by his pup's comment.

"Once upon a time, there was a neglected and abused pup who was no older than you. He was an orphan and hated by humans and youkai for no other reason than that he was a hanyou. He had fled his brother's home, not long after losing his mother; because he feared for his life and because he felt his brother also hated him and was going to kill him. Only he knows how he, as a little pup survived. He had to live in the woods and many times he was beaten, always starving and always on the watch for people or youkai who wanted him dead. Even his brother called him hateful names and tried to harm him, but the pup lived and grew; he learnt how to fight to live and hunt to eat, but he was neglected and lonely. He had no trust and had no home, no one to teach or care for him; but one day he found someone who didn't scorn him and wanted to be his friend and then more friends came until he had a little pack of his own.

"He was loyal and brave and had many adventures with his new friends who he helped to protect, however there was a great sadness in his heart; he still loved his brother very much and he secretly wished that his brother could love and not hate him. He was the only family the boy had left and for a little time when he had been very tiny, his brother had loved and played with him. Sometimes the hanyou would see his brother and usually they would fight, because the older brother wanted the only belonging his brother had; a magnificent sword left to him by their father. Then the older brother would say hurtful things to his little brother and even though he knew it made him sad and unhappy, it didn't stop him; he actually liked to make the boy miserable and then taunt him about his feelings, saying they were proof of his weakness.

"After a long time there was reconciliation and understanding between the boys; the older brother had met and befriended a little human girl, who showed him great kindness. She eventually opened up the closed, bitter heart of her lord and reminded him of the love, that was still there hidden. Then they all fought a common enemy and won a great victory with their friends and they all became friends; some even got married and had offspring and all brought peace to the land. A lot of friendships were made between people and beings who had used to be enemies. The hanyou and his friends became very famous and were welcome everywhere, so he made a place for himself in the world and helped all people to see hanyous in a different light."

"That's a good story, Uncle Sessh, is it true? Is the hanyou and his brother still alive, are they still friends; do you know them?"

"Can we meet them, I want to know how he lived and was he just my age and all alone; is it a happy ever after?"

"That's a lot of questions and perhaps I'll answer them another time, but I have to sort something out right now; perhaps your mother will answer some of those questions and save me?" Sesshoumaru looked over at Kagome, who was holding the baby; Inuyasha had vanished. Kagome smiled at him and shrugged her head at Shippou who was standing at the end of the balcony. Sesshoumaru went over to the kitsune who said;

"He just ran off ."

As Sesshoumaru started to go towards the woods to follow Inuyasha, Shippou stood in front of him;

"I'll go for him my lord, I'm used to finding him." Sesshoumaru looked at the smaller youkai, shaking his head;

"That's kind of you Shippou, but it is for me to find him this time; you can take the pups to the nursery, they will need cleaning before their tea." Sesshoumaru was surprised when Shippou still blocked his way; he was not used to this sort of defiance, however slight. "You are angry Shippou, with me?" Shippou nodded;

"Inuyasha has a human heart, and I think we forget that as full youkai; you may embarrass him if you find him at the moment." Shippou stared straight at Sesshoumaru who was impressed with the kit's loyalty to his adoptive father.

"You have yet more to say to me Shippou?" Sesshoumaru invited him to open up.

"You lectured us once on how we hurt him, yet you too were trying to kill him and not just for the sword; but by scorning his love for you, you were trying to kill him from the inside." The words came out with a hint of contempt. Sesshoumaru closed the gap between them;

"I did, but it is not my intention to scorn him now. I believe I gave you a duty to perform." This time Shippou took the dismissal, but he couldn't help the little growl which escaped him. At one time there would have been dire consequences for the impudence, but a more secure Sesshoumaru was able to see it for what is was; the love the boy had, for Inuyasha.

Elegantly raising his head to catch the scent of his brother, Sesshoumaru then took off in the direction the wind took him; but he already knew where Inuyasha would be. Instinct would take him to the same spot that Sesshoumaru had found him in all those years before.

"I'm O.K. Shippou, I'll be back soon." Inuyasha called as he sensed the youkai arrive. Sesshoumaru was surprised; yes, he was down wind but Inuyasha never before got him mixed up even from miles away.

"I was not a kitsune the last time I checked Inuyasha." Was his reply. Even though he had not come across Inuyasha yet; Sesshoumaru knew that he would be heard.

"Sorry, my nose is blocked; I must have caught a cold." Inuyasha said softly, Sesshoumaru refrained from commenting; his own nose detecting the salt in the air, could tell him what was the real matter with his little brother's nose. Inuyasha was leaning with his back against the tree, his arms crossed and one leg bent with the foot resting on the trunk; his head was thrown back and he was looking at the sky.

"I just fancied a run this evening; you know, to stretch my legs." Inuyasha said as Sesshoumaru looked up at the tree, seeing the fork in the trunk and branch that the infant Inuyasha had curled up in before;

"You are not afraid to come home now are you Inuyasha?" Inuyasha just looked at him and said;

"Keh" and turned his head to the side.

"I suddenly remembered Inuyasha, that I never thanked you for giving me back my arm. You had no wish for yourself?" Sesshoumaru stood looking at his brother and Inuyasha was surprised; he'd not thought that was the reason, that his older brother had come looking for him. He watched as Sesshoumaru sat down on the grass next to him before he answered.

"That Midoriko had told me that my other hopes, were coming true on their own" said Inuyasha; "most of them have."

"Well, I thank you none the less; it has made a great difference to me. I was perfectly efficient with a single arm; but it has been a precious gift, to be able to embrace my wife and child with both." Inuyasha gave a little smile; 'perfectly efficient', summed up Sesshoumaru very well. Sesshoumaru continued;

"Rin has been a real blessing in my life Inuyasha, just as Kagome has in yours. Father was right, humans can give us such a lot. Rin loves me, but does not threaten my youkai; I do not have to fight her, she calms me and allows me to protect her and I can now admit to her just how much I love her in return. She makes me more complete than any youkai female could, her heart understands me and is very forgiving."

Inuyasha waited, he wasn't sure why his brother was sayng all of this to him and he didn't know if he was supposed to respond. Sesshoumaru glanced up at his brother; who although he may have looked relaxed, wasn't; his muscles were tense and Sesshoumaru was expecting him to leap into the trees and be off any second.

"We've come a long way since the bad days, haven't we Inuyasha? Sesshoumaru asked very gently, "Perhaps me, more than anyone; I need to do more, I understand; but I want to know where I fall short. Do you still love me Inuyasha?"

Inuyasha closed his eyes against the sudden glare of sunlight, he couldn't to his shame; stop the single tear that escaped from under his dark lashes. Great, Sesshoumaru would always see him as weak; but perhaps he hadn't noticed, yeah right and perhaps he has a blocked nose as well. Sesshoumaru however was looking straight at Inuyasha, seeing all and asked once again;

"Do you Inuyasha? After all this time and all you now know that I did to you, can you still love me?" Sesshoumaru was standing now and just before Inuyasha jumped, he was grabbed and his momentum was broken. "I need you to answer me, little brother. I cannot change everything, I am used to giving directions; my function as lord of these lands is to keep them safe. I need to be obeyed."

"You know I love you Sesshoumaru and now as I understand, you have always known. Finding out that you used my own feelings to torment me, I just feel a bit of a fool; naive and hurt even, but it is in the past now; I hold no grudge." Sesshoumaru nodded.

"I overheard you speaking to Kagome the night you were human; I never realised that you felt unloved by me, all this time."

"It doesn't matter Sesshoumaru, you can't make things happen like that; it is enough that you look out for us and..." Inuyasha's words were swallowed as he found his brother's arms round him in a fierce embrace; he couldn't move as he was held so tightly and his eyes filled with surprised tears.

"Your words caused me so much pain, Inuyasha. I never realised that you still felt that you meant nothing to me, after all these years. It was never so either, I had just got so twisted; I'd locked all my feelings away. I have so much to make up to you." Sesshoumaru was in distress, Inuyasha could feel him shaking and this was alarming to him; "Come on Sessh, I've never seen you cry; stop please, you're starting me off again." Sesshoumaru soon laughed and wiped his eyes, although he did not let go of Inuyasha.

"Rin is better at consolation than you brother, but do you understand now; I love you and always have and always will. You were never a mistake of our father's, he loved you very much and was too soon taken from us; I was the one who failed you, but never again I promise." Sesshoumaru felt Inuyasha shudder and turn in his arms leaning against him. They both needed the comfort of the other, Inuyasha felt that space in his heart that no one else could fill; complete itself.

He had only recently in his life had a home and he knew that home was really where your loved ones were. He was now home with Sesshoumaru again and he was very happy. He too, was now ready to dry his eyes and looking up he smiled at his brother; receiving a tender kiss on his forehead, in return. They started to return to the Palace together; Sesshoumaru who still had his arm round his little brother's shoulders, told him that he had some business at the Palace for him after their evening meal.

Kagome could tell her mate's feelings through her mating mark, as could Rin and both were glad to see their mates finally coming back looking relaxed with each other. The two girls were close friends who could share their problems easily and knowing that both Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha had come to understand one another was a great relief. They smiled at each other; feeling grateful that this problem was resolved. The boys strolled up leisurely to the Palace; which gave the two girls time to deal with their children, before flinging themselves into their mates' arms and going in to dinner.

After the meal, Sesshoumaru directed them all to his office and brought out an old scroll.

"Bearing in mind that I heard many of your concerns, the night that you were last human; I think it is time to give you this. It is rightfully yours; but the timing on when you should receive it, was left under my jurisdiction. This is our father's will, if you would care to read it; Inuyasha, the part pertaining to you is down here." Inuyasha read and reread his father's will for him; nothing was sinking in and when it did, Sesshoumaru took the parchment away saying;

"It will become invalid if you wash it away with tears Inuyasha." Kagome came up to him, reading over his shoulder and rubbing his back soothingly.

Sesshoumaru explained to all of them; that in their father's will, Inuyasha had been left The Water Palace. It was fully furnished as part of his inheritance; along with an estate with income, from village rents and farms. These were Inuyasha's by right, having been a mating gift to his mother from his father. There was also Izayoi's wedding dowry still intact, her jewellry and silks etc; that were in a safe place under Sesshoumaru's charge. Whatever Sesshoumaru had done concerning Inuyasha in the past, he would never have dishonoured his father's memory; by leaving the inheritance to deteriorate in any way, so they arranged a family outing for the next day.

While everyone was wandering around The Water Palace the next day; taking in the natural beauty of the surroundings and the secluded aspects of the lovely home, that was in the Western Lands; Kagome could appreciate just how much Inuyasha's mother had been loved by her mate. The area was private, yet not cut off and it was within easy reach of the main Palace. It had a very human feel to it, being light and airy inside and tastefully decorated; but there were places that were cosy too. Kagome loved it, but she could feel that Inuyasha's ears were down even though she was not looking at him.

"Don't you like it Inuyasha, why are you so sad?" asked Kagome.

"Would you like to live here Kagome?" he asked her back.

"Yes, if you would be happy; although I would not like to give up our home in the village, I like to be useful. I'm the miko and healer, I don't want to leave permanantly."

"No, but it would be alright for some of the time wouldn't it? Then the children can train and learn; things I didn't get the opportunity to do, and always felt the lack." Kagome looked at him with love;

"That sounds ideal and I would love it here."

"Memories, Inuyasha?" asked Sesshoumaru of his quiet brother.

"I didn't know I knew this place till now; but I remember running and rolling up and down these slopes and, was it you watching over me?" Once again Sesshoumaru put his arm round his brother and said;

"Yes; although neither you, nor Izayoi had long to enjoy the Palace; more's the pity and I know why you are feeling unhappy here. I used the pattern of these grounds when I tricked you to get the black pearl from your eye. I have never been proud of that episode, I knew at the time it was the lowest thing I could have done; but saying sorry, even though sincerely meant doesn't make that better."

"It can be put behind me though, Sessh; one thing I've learnt, is not to look back. We'd love to come to live here at least for part of the year, as long as we would be welcome."

"Always Inuyasha, always.