Gold Regained?

Nearly five hundred years; a seeming eternity for humans and even I as a near immortal youkai have noticed this amount of time pass. So much has changed in the world around me, that the old and familiar landmarks no longer exist. Even I, myself am different; a changed being, but that is only to be expected. As years pass, growth and maturity should become evident; wisdom is to be desired and learning should never cease, so as to keep the mind alert and alive. Yet, even as I reason these things to myself; I know that I am still young and have much still to learn.

I have known already so much in my life; lessons have been taught since childhood and one of the truest has been that sometimes, one has to be open to change and new ideas. Have I changed much in this last half millenium? Perhaps. It will be for others to decide on how I may be different and whether or not the difference is enough to gain trust and I hope, love. I find it ironic that this love is something I now crave; when I spent so much of my youth denying the feeling and ruthlessly killing it, where it surfaced in others towards myself.

As I mentioned previously I am still young; but no longer I hope, quite so arrogant as I used to be in days passed; when I had no reason to be so proud. My youthful arrogance cost me dearly and I have spent the interim years, planning for the day that I hope to regain some of what I so callously threw away. This day. While I am thinking on the past; a familiar voice belonging to someone who has been surprisingly loyal to me over the years, interrupts my musings.

"You are thinking far too hard. You'll give yourself a headache." The cheeful voice belonging to a kitsune says to me and I allow the liberty now; knowing that my welfare is part of his concern. At one time I would have struck him dead for his implied insolence. He has however, been privy to my business dealings helping me to set up trusts for Inuyasha and I have had implicit trust in his person for the past four hundred years or so. I decide to answer him however.

"Shippou, it is imperative that I think on the correct way on how to approach this matter. I do not wish for anything to go wrong or all my planning for this day fail. I do not like to fail as you well know."

"All I mean is, you have planned for years to reach this point but from now on, you only need to feel."

"That is the hardest thing for me to do, even now." I said softly and yet I knew it to be true. This meeting, so meticulously planned for centuries; would not require an agenda, just two people's presence. But the result could not be known; however much the kitsune tried to reassure.

"You are nervous?"

"Ridiculous." But I was; almost to the point of wishing to turn around and go back home to where I had my family waiting for me. How completely pathetic; I, a greatly respected and still feared Daiyoukai of the West, nervous about meeting with a child. A child who was younger than my own offspring now, younger even than the kitsune who had accompanied myself and who also was eager to greet a couple of his old friends.

What a ludicrous situation I now was in. But there was no backing out of this; my whole family knew of my errand today thanks to the same Shippou, who if he was not indispensable to me would have been sent packing long ago. But I do not really want to renege on my decision; I have been planning this for centuries after all and soon, if all goes well, I will be able to repair and atone for a part of my past that I now regret bitterly.

Shippou grins that intensly annoying and knowing smile at me; however to my surprise I find it reassuring, that he is so sure of the good outcome of my mission. We aim to be at the Higurashi Shrine in one hour. Long enough to make introductions and explain our presence and if neccessary, enlist the help of Lady Higurashi who if I remember correctly, always was most understanding of her daughter's unusual adventures.

One hour, I use the time to remember the last time we met and the last day that I saw my brother; I have total recall for most things of import and this is no exception. Although it probably helps that it is not the first time that I have revisited the memories; not only of that day, but also of when I came across the slayer's village and all the things that his old friends had said to me. Shippou too has not let the friendship die. He has been looking forward to this day for even longer than I have, but for different reasons and he has no fear of his reception.

This had to work; I know that Inuyasha will have pups with Kagome and I want to be part of that; I want him to know his own nieces and nephews and my wife, his sister in law. The hole that he left in my heart on the day I found him gone, has still to be healed and the ache is compounded, when I know what I put him through and for all those lonely years he spent alone. Will he forgive me? Will he even acknowledge me after I hurt him so badly? If anyone treated my pups in the way that Inuyasha has always been treated, I would kill them.

Will he believe me when I say that I came to miss him and even that I wished to make amends? Will he not see it as some form of trick once again; can he be brought to trust me?" Shippou is right about one thing at least; I will not know until I see him and I really do wish to see my brother again. I find myself once more running through some of the phrases I have worked out; to try to impress upon my brother the sincerity of my remorse. The kitsune is no help in this matter though, he just laughs or looks astounded for some reason when I have sounded some of them out with him.

He tells me that it would be better to just tallk naturally with my brother when I see him and not to be pompous; but it is not pompous to want to say the correct thing to make things right between us. I have to take account of Shippou's views however, he too remembers, knowing the boy well and he was there when Inuyasha left the feudal era; he remembers never having seen anyone so upset as his hanyou friend, not even Kagome, ever.

There is not much longer until all my plans come to fruition and Lady Higurashi is a remarkable women for a human. She embraced Shippou immediately she found out who he was and she treated me with the respect I deserve but do not often come across in humans. Her acceptance of me personally was surprising; especially as she now knows why I am here and that I have often been the cause of problems for Inuyasha and her daughter in the past. But she just smiles and offers us generous hospitality, while we wait.

She is most definitely unusual for a human being; as we watch the blue flash appear symbolising the working of the well, Lady Higurashi came over to me and placed her hand on my arm and told me not to worry. How could she tell that my heart rate had increased? Shippou was obviously excited, he was going to see his friends again; but my apprehension was not apparant, of this I was certain. She gave me a reassuring smile that did in fact help as we saw the door to the well house open. For the first time in nearly five hundred years I would see my baby brother again.

I would go to him and hold out my hand in the same way that he had done to me all those years ago; I would hold his gaze and say that I would willingly accept him now as my brother and could we consider the past put behind us. I would tell him that no longer did I feel him a disgrace and that although I had missed the fights we had; I wished now to live in peace with him if possible. This then was my plan, thought out most carefully over many years; the basic simple truth was, we were brothers and should respect each other as such. I did not think that my little prepared speech sounded 'pompous', just careful and dignified.

I watched as Kagome came out first and looked behind her as if talking to someone, but then she came across the courtyard alone. Where then was my brother? Shippou had assured me that Sango's words were true and that Inuyasha had indeed gone forward with Kagome to live in the future; returning rarely to visit his friends in the past. The girl however was walking towards the house in a determined manner, but alone.

Now I cannot hide my concern, suppose he had just made sure that the miko returned to her home and then went back to his own time. Perhaps Shippou didn't know and just assumed that the boy had left. Maybe Inuyasha had slipped back unseen by anyone and was now back in the feudal era; grieving, alone and vulnerable. Even knowing that he eventually mated the miko and had pups didn't stop the fact that he might have gone home first. For some reason the idea that my little brother might be alone and uncomforted in the past is twisting at my insides and causing me actual pain.

Kagome enters and calls for her mother in a soft voice, just loud enough to be heard and her mother answers her; enfolding the girl in her arms, obviously pleased to have her child back.

"Mama, we won; finally we won and I'm home." She starts to cry with relief while her mother holds her tightly.

"My love, I'm so happy, but where is Inuyasha? Is he not with you?"

"He...he is in the well house. He won't come out yet, not even for me."

"Do you want me to go?"

"He will come when he is ready, he is just embarrassed because he is very unhappy at the moment. He said he would come in when he could. Oh Mama, it's just not fair for him, he didn't deserve..." Her mother was stroking the girl's head and hushing her.

"It's O.K. Kagome; I know what happened, look you have a visitor." She turned her daughter around to face the kitsune and it was not long before recognition dawned and I heard the elated cry of 'Shippou'. I also heard him call a soft 'Kagome' in reply and knew that their reunion was going to be joyful and emotional. Especially for Shippou who had been waiting for so long to see her again.

I had not been seen however and for that I was glad, Shippou was to tell Kagome all that had happened in the past and to fill her in on my presence and purpose. Meantime I walked quietly towards the well house. My brother whom I had not seen in all these years, was merely a few steps away and yet it seemed so far to walk. I tried to get my body to calm down; but for some reason it would not obey and I was sure that my heartbeat could be heard thundering inside of my chest, a sure give away for any able to hear.

I mulled over my words once again in my head as I approached the dark well house and they all left me as I heard the faint but distinct crying of my baby brother. I entered the darkness silently, the lack of light was no trouble for my eyes and I saw him rocking with his head in his hands and resting on his knees. I could actually see the tears seeping through his fingers and his broken sobbing made me want to cry too. It was my name he was saying, it was me he was calling for and mourning over. It was then I realised; he felt that I was dead and that we were unreconciled.

It was then I realised that I did not deserve the love that the pup held for me, I had never earned this amount of love or despair and my heart overflowed with love of my own for him. I recognised the truth in Shippou's words and I just felt what to do; Inuyasha was at this moment in time, no different to one of my own pups; except none of them thankfully had ever been this distraught, even as young ones.

He was in need of comfort and I wished it was possible to go back in time and knock some sense into my past self for causing such unwarranted grief to the child. All this took mere seconds to think and by then I had crossed over to my brother and lifted him bodily into my lap. 'Just feel' Shippou had said and suddenly I could.

"Forgive me Inuyasha, please forgive me for being such an arrogant fool. Please my darling brother, let me be here for you now and always." The body in my lap froze all movement and sound until;

"Sessh? Sesshy?"

"Yes Inuyasha." I said, my voice breaking, "I have waited five hundred years to see you again and to tell you how much I have missed you and how stupid I was to not realise how much I loved you. Can you forgive me and give me another chance; can you accept me as your brother and try to grow to love me again?" I was not prepared for the pure joy I could feel radiate from my brother; nor the fresh storm of loud and noisy tears as he grabbed hold of me so tightly, as if he would never let me go again.

As he muttered 'of course. I do love you Sesshy.' before he choked right up again; I couldn't help but weep with him. For the first time in hundreds of years, my tears flowed unchecked. His trust overwhelmed me and we sat together while I told him all the things I had felt and done during the time I searched for him. I told him things that I hadn't even admitted fully to myself before now, because he deserved to know the pain I had felt by his being gone.

But I told him not to seek me out during his visits to his friends; I needed back then to realise my loss for myself, to learn just what I had thrown away by being cast off myself. Not wishing to let him go yet, I placed around his neck a lace with one of Shippou's inventions; a concealment charm so that he could appear human should he wish to hide his youkai features.

I kept the promise I had made to myself, I had been the one to dry the tears that I had caused Inuyasha and he had dried mine. I would see his family grow and be a part of his joy and I could introduce him to my own. After five hundred years it was worth the wait to have him in my arms, to finally be able to protect him as father always wanted; even from my past self.

We left the well house contented and happy; true brothers and were welcomed by the smiles and tears of the human women and Shippou who couldn't resist an 'I told you so' to me. Now Inuyasha's eyes shone gold with contentment and pleasure; lighting up when he saw the adult Shippou until he realised that in this time, Shippou was older than him. Seeing his face in it's familiar pout rather than his past misery was just what I needed. I laughed and hugged him again and I knew that all would be right between us. Thankfully.