Disclaimer: Inuyasha is not mine, or Kikyou would never have been resurrected.

Author Note: Sorry if they seem a little bit OOC.

I apologize for the strange message 'alert' attack some of you may have received from FFN net, when I updated the last chapter. I deleted and re-posted the entire story, it didn't solve the problem, and I lost all your lovely reviews in the process.

Sincerely yours,

A broken-hearted aimdiscord

(Please review to make up for all the lost comments. . . ?)

Brotherly Love 01:

Closing her eyes, she could still see the expression on his face, one of pure unadulterated joy. Naraku had been defeated and he had turned to her, and…

Kagome shook her head roughly, to clear her thoughts. It was due to Naraku's demise, that was all. They were all a little shell-shocked and crazy right now. It felt like a dream. Everyone was overjoyed at the destruction of an arch-nemesis. But there was no way she had just seen Sesshoumaru… grin.

Squinting her eyes, the miko focused on the inuyoukai's face. No, he looked as dispassionate as ever. It must have been a fantasy after all. Turning, she faced her friends, to gauge their reactions.

Miroku watched as the Air Void in his hand slowly diminished into nothingness, and the trek of poison across his body was stopped. He looked at the palm of his right hand, for the first time in decades. At which point, he immediately peered at Sango's behind and the palm of his hand began to twitch… But no, now was not the time. The taijiya was still suffering from the loss of her brother, never knowing how close she had come to losing her beloved monk as well. Had they not destroyed Naraku today, the wounds of shouki Miroku had sustained in an earlier fight had been going to take him to an early grave. He was glad not to die so ignominiously. Ever since the Kazaana had killed his father, he had imagined dying in battle, sucking Naraku and everything alongside him into oblivion. Yet if they had not defeated the evil hanyou this day, he was certain he would have died from Naraku's old, poison-induced wounds – a dishonorable and insignificant death, and one that he was glad to have skipped.

Sango's tear streaked face reflected conflicting emotions. There was joy over the defeat of Naraku, but still the haunted look that came from the demise of her brother. She remembered her brother, dying, yet still conscious. His eyes had sought out his sister, fully aware of his misdeeds and begging forgiveness, and Sango had given it to him in turn. But it would take time for her heart to say goodbye.

Shippo and Kirara were excitedly bounding around the edge of the field. But Inuyasha, unlike the others, was watching her as the full import of the momentous event finally hit him. She, Kagome, had earned his first glance, which meant that she was foremost in his thoughts! And the look in his eyes was so warm and caring, that the miko felt her heart lurch when their eyes met. As he opened his mouth, she was absolutely certain somehow, that the next words he spoke would be:

I love you Kagome.

"I love you too, Inuyasha!" she cried out. Had he chosen her over the memory of Kikyou at last?

"Yatta ka?" Inuyasha murmured. "I did it." he decided, more strongly this time, consistently overlooking the way Kagome had purified the shouki-infested jewel to weaken Naraku, and conveniently forgetting all the assistance he had received from Miroku, Sango, Kouga, and even his brother Sesshoumaru. "I did it! Haha! Take that you spineless, manipulating, shit-faced stinking dirty worthless excuse for a youkai bastard, it's about time you…"

All right, perhaps expecting a heart-felt love-confession at a time like this was a bit absurd. The fact remained though, that he had turned to her first, with hope in his eyes. No one else. Perusing the charred and poisoned battleground, she saw Sesshoumaru bending down to dig through Naraku's remains in search of something, and wondered what he was doing, until he uncovered the Shikon no Tama.

O Kami-sama! In all the excitement I forgot about the jewel! Kagome felt very silly as she rushed forward to stand at the taiyoukai's side. Scooting the troublesome little ball toward the miko with one foot, the white demon watched the forces of good and evil at war within it for one last time, before the tiny miko lifted it off the ground. The instant she touched the Shikon no Tama, the jewel became a pure crystal clear pink, as usual. He never tired of watching this process. Intriguing, that the girl seemed to have no clue how she accomplished such a feat.

This time was different than any other, however, as the pink light continued to grow and expand, until it shot out of the tama, showering the entire field in a bath of pure light. The miko gasped, and Inuyasha stood close by, ready to protect her. Sesshoumaru glanced skyward, unaffected. Ever so slowly, the light coalesced into the figure of a lovely warrior maiden. Midoriko! Amazed, Kagome crept forward and mouthed the ancient miko's name.

Greetings, Miko Kagome. So many times you have assisted me in times of trouble. I am pleased to finally meet you face to face. The ancient miko's voice seemed to resound in their thoughts, without making a sound in the real world. Blushing, Kagome looked down at her toes. She had never really been good at controlling her spiritual abilities, and she suspected that perhaps Midoriko was talking about Kikyou… But Midoriko's next words implied otherwise, as she gazed on the group's members one by one.

And greetings to the rest of you as well – Inuyasha, brave hanyou; Miroku, wise monk; Sango, loyal friend and family. All of you have helped to balance the four souls of the Shikon, and through your efforts I am finally freed. From across the field, Kouga grumbled sullenly. Wasn't he going to be included in this party? He had contributed to the fight too. Well, first he had gotten his shards sucked out by Naraku, which set them back for a while, but ultimately he had helped. Right? The ancient miko chuckled at his expense and nodded in his direction. Kouga and Sesshoumaru, you also fought courageously and kept your hearts pure. For all your valiant efforts, I have been permitted to grant each of you a wish, before I take my final leave of this world.

Floating patiently in midair, Midoriko waited for the news to sink into the thickheaded people present before her, allowing them a momentary grace period. The monk's face was especially adorable when he comprehended what she was saying. The firecat soon distracted her though, by mewling happily at the sight of her old mistress, and attempting to twine between her insubstantial, ghostly legs.

"Wait, you mean we ALL get a wish?" Inuyasha demanded. "What? Why?"

Kagome quickly elbowed him in the chest, urging him not to question fate. This was a good thing. The inu-hanyou grunted and accepted her unspoken argument. He did have several wishes in mind, actually… He wanted to bring Kikyou back from the dead, but he also wanted to stay with Kagome, and to grow old with her, which meant he would have to be a human. And he also had this itching desire to be a full youkai, while still remaining conscious of his own deeds, just once. Even if only for an hour… Or just long enough to pound the crap outta his brother. Ah, life was complicated. Maybe Kagome would let him use her wish too.

Miroku, on the other hand, bowed low and politely stated his gratitude. "I would be honored by such a gift, O great Midoriko-sama. Yet, I am uncertain what more I could possibly wish for, now that the Kazaana and Naraku have been destroyed."

It is not necessary for you to state your wishes, although you may. As long as the unselfish desire is in your heart, I will discover it. For you, dear monk, I bestow health and longevity on your descendants. None of your children shall die of sickness or disease. Is this acceptable?

The monk's eyes went impossibly wide at this, and he nodded in silence. For such an accursed family line to be suddenly so blessed! It was almost too good to be true. The demon slayer wasted no time in requesting the restoration of her brother's life, nor did Kouga question his good fortune as he asked for the lives of his dead clansmen. When both these wishes were granted, Sango fell to the ground crying tears of thankfulness, and Kouga abruptly dashed away, eager to return home and see his long lost companions.

Turning toward Kagome, Midoriko paused, listening to her heart's desire. At first the miko from the future was unsure – so much had happened and her friends had been through so many bad experiences. But she could not wish away bad memories, for those trials made them who they were today. Plus, she knew that she had to make an unselfish wish. So asking for straight A's all through college was out. Wait! That was it! "I wish for the well to remain open, that I may travel through it and visit both my friends and my family. Is that … too selfish a thing to wish for?"

Eyes sparkling with jovial delight, Midoriko smiled at her savior. Such a small girl with such a large heart, always concerned for the welfare of others. Your desire stems from love, and your wish will do as much to make others happy as yourself, although it will not make your life easier in the long run. I cannot deem it selfish.

Nodding at the girl to let her know the wish had been granted, she turned to the hanyou next. Inuyasha winced. He still didn't feel ready to make such a huge decision, despite the fact that he had been thinking about his 'wish' on the Shikon no Tama for years now. Perhaps he had had too much time to think about it, because all the extra months had merely added extra longing. He shook his head miserably.

Meanwhile, Kagome was confused. What did the ancient miko mean when she said that leaving the well open would make life more difficult? Certainly it was no piece of cake to commute between two eras, trying to finish both her modern education and her miko training… But she happily accepted such sacrifices, and it seemed pointless to tell her now, after the fact, that a time-traveling well would make life no 'easier.'

Looking toward her hanyou protector for guidance, she saw he was having his own wish-based issues. She froze in terror. The look on his face – it was the ponderous, moody expression he always wore when he thought of Kikyou. And suddenly she realized what he was going to wish for.

Surely not. Not after all they had been through together, he would never… betray her. Her. Kagome. Even if Kikyou had seemed nicer and more mysterious than ever the moment that she took in Kohaku… even if Kikyou had died in his arms with a smile, while everyone in their group cried repentant tears over her prone form… It was over, right? Inuyasha had let her go, and Kikyou had moved on in turn, with forgiveness in her heart this time, not hatred.

She had been sure that chapter of their lives was closed – that her faithfulness had finally paid off, that Kikyou had found redemption and peace. But no, the moment she had been dreading had arrived, and Inuyasha was going to choose. She knew he cared for her, but also that he had never stopped loving the once-dead miko, and she found herself pleading internally for Midoriko to give him a little more time, for Inuyasha to come to his senses, for…

The hanyou looked at her uncertainly, his amber gaze revealing his doubt. Certainly Kagome was a wonderful and caring person, but Kikyou had died for him. There were no words for that sort of thing. Kagome understood it too, and therein lay the problem. But for Kikyou to truly live again, her soul would need to heal, and that meant Kagome would either die or disappear into her own time forever. He didn't want that!

Inside, Kagome felt as though her heart would break for him. A familiar feeling, just as powerful now as the first time she had felt it. It was not fair. She hated the fact that Inuyasha could never fully choose between them. But even more, she hated the thought that he had to choose at all. It wasn't fair! To expect him to make a choice between the past and the future when both stood before him. To pick one of the two, and condemn the other to death when she KNEW he loved and cherished them both. It sounded strange, but she did not want to force that kind of pain onto him. Yes, they argued, she got jealous, he got mad, they often grew frustrated with each other, but ultimately she loved him. Someone had to decide so, gods help her, she made up her mind. Miroku, Sango and Shippo watched breathlessly, and even Sesshoumaru observed the scene unfold with something akin to curiosity.

"It's all right, Inuyasha," she smiled softly, a sudden calm overtaking her. "That kind of wish… I don't mind." Was this was suicide felt like to people in her own time? A slow, icy chill that numbed the doubts and fears, your pain and love… It was for the best though. He and Kikyou deserved a second chance. If any pair ever did, then they did.

"You don't mind?" he mumbled bashfully. "If I become human, then you can't accost my ears anymore you know." Behind them, the monk sighed in relief.

The girl's eyes filled with tears. "You mean, you were going to wish to become human after all?"

"Ah! Don't cry!" exclaimed the hanyou frantically. "I hate it when you do that." Overflowing with happiness, the miko's cerulean eyes closed. She sniffled and rubbed her face. Inuyasha patted her shoulder, unsure whether her tears meant she was glad, or that she didn't like the idea. He continued in a halting voice, "It's not that I want to… it's just that… I don't want to watch you grow old without me, so I thought…"

Before he could go any further, Kagome threw herself into his embrace, this time crying even harder. Years of pent up worry and frustration found their relief in the span of only a few minutes.

With a twitch of his tail, Shippo jumped onto Inuyasha's head and stared at the ancient miko of the Shikon Jewel with wonder. He had suddenly realized how he could solve all his foster parents' problems, but he wasn't sure she would allow it. "Midoriko-sama," he asked with a childlike plaint to his voice, "Do I get a wish too?"

Of course, little one, replied the ancient miko. You embody a form of love, one of the four souls of the jewel, and you always brighten the hearts of your fellows. At her praise, the little kitsune puffed up proudly. This meant dog-breath was wrong on all those occasions he had called fox-kits useless. He, Shippo, was essential to the group! And now he would show Inuyasha just how useful he could be.

"Then I wish for Kagome-mama to be a inu-youkai! That way she can be with me forever, and no one has to worry about her growing too old." Beaming at his cleverness, Shippo completely missed the vacant, horrified looks the rest of his group gave him at this pronouncement. He had done well! The kitsune had even wished for her to be a dog-demon and not a fox, because he wanted to be nice to Inuyasha.

"NANI?" shrieked the hanyou, ripping the baby-fox off his head with one hand clenched around the little brat's fluffy tail. "You take that back!"

"No!" cried Shippo, flailing his arms and legs, "I did it for you, I want you both to be happy and stay with me forever!"

The wish is pure. He does not ask it out of a selfish desire for power, but only through his love of others… But little one, are you certain this is what you want? Frantically, Kagome shook her head in the negative. Inuyasha growled and squeezed the fox-kit by the tail, to point out how seriously angry he was. But Shippo only howled and refused to retract his wish. Then, it is done.

A brilliant light surrounded Kagome, and she disappeared from sight.