The Youkai and The Hanyou
A/N... This is a direct carry on from Part Three of Hidden Child; although the style has slightly changed which is why it is not 'Part Four'. Warning of Spoilers.
They parted company after that, Sesshoumaru moved to stroke his brother's head and pet his ears which Inuyasha allowed for a brief blissful moment before pulling away with a snarl and warning growl; then he was gone and for the remainder of the time before his friends returned, he kept away from his brother's camp. Sesshoumaru was surprised at the sense of loss he felt; it was not as though he had regular contact of the caring sort with his sibling, but he had never been so 'dismissed' before. The Youkai was so affronted that he wished to go and immediately restore their normal argumentative relationship; after he had beaten his brother thoroughly for the lack of respect shown for his royal person.
Seeking the Hanyou out was hardly a difficult task for the Youkai; the boy would not leave the proximity of the well or village and in fact Inuyasha was stomping about in the old Miko's hut, ranting in his hurt and anger. Once again the InuYoukai leapt gracefully to the roof in a soundless bound to listen in; not that he would have needed to do this, Inuyasha was not being quiet.
"Hush child, ye are giving me a headache; were ye not so strong I should be turning ye over my knee for thy foul language."
"Ye do not impress me Inuyasha, thy friends are not here until tomorrow and I do not appreciate thy wit."
"Bastard, no good, betraying..."
"INUYASHA, stop this instant or I shall go and ask thy brother to discipline ye across his knee."
"Keh, that's a laugh old woman; besides, he'd have nothing to do with me now unless it's to kill me."
"Aye...and there's the rub, is it not? I thought ye told me ye felt that he had softened towards ye?"
"As if I care about what he feels and any case, he don't bother about me at all; he never has, he's got that stupid girl..."
"Ah, Inuyasha. Ye protest far too much child." Kaede sighed, understanding the hanyou perfectly. "Surely ye can work out a relationship to both thy benefits, with thy brother."
"Never Kaede; he hated me when I was a little whelp, he hates me still. There is no purity in my blood like his and hers; there has never been room in his heart for care or love of me, only disgust and loathing."
"Ah child, never is a long time, perhaps he has changed his feelings; why not try and find out boy, ye need him, one day we shall all be gone while ye will remain."
"I do not need a stuck up Prince who thinks he is so much better than me..."
"Of course not Inuyasha; that is why there are tears running down thy face as we speak...try to make thy peace with him child."
"You are blind old lady, I ain't crying and he will never make me cry again; not that he does anyway." With that Inuyasha stomped out of the hut to sit in Goshinboku to await for Kagome's arrival the next day. He never noticed or didn't acknowledge, the Youkai who was nearby; he was wrapped in his own world, his eyes sharp and glittering trying to rebuild the ruptured defences of his heart whilst the 'non existent' tears still rained down his face.
Sesshoumaru pondered on all that he had overheard, the unfamiliar guilt eating at him; all the more painful now as he had had to recognise it for what it was, but suddenly he knew that now was not the time to try and re-introduce Inuyasha into his life. With this realisation came another; Sesshoumaru wanted his little brother back as part of his family and that jolted the Youkai deeper than he could imagine. But knowing Inuyasha, it would take much time and energy to convince the Hanyou that Sesshoumaru was sincere and not trying to play cruel mind games with him.
That was time none of them could afford; neither would Inuyasha be able to cope emotionally, if his brother became an unstable distraction in his life instead of the familiar antagonist he could fight and leave. Besides it wouldn't do either brother any good, should Naraku notice that amends were being sought between them; it would leave them more open and vulnerable to attack, having someone else that could be held hostage for them. No, there would be time after their task were completed to even mention the desire to build bridges.
It was vital now that Inuyasha stayed head of his pack and focused on his enemy; his fiery temperament and anger, fueled his resolve and carried him through many of his successful attacks. Whereas all the fights with Sesshoumaru were inconclusive; mainly because the Hanyou didn't really want to injure or kill the Youkai and Sesshoumaru found when he searched deeply, that the same problem lay with him. However, if he and Inuyasha did reconcile, it was likely that the silly whelp would wish to become part of his brother's pack under the Alpha of Sesshoumaru; this was the natural way of pack behavioural law and the Youkai could not face taking control of the humans who would not be reasonable or understand.
So with regret inside although hidden on his face, Sesshoumaru made up his mind to leave things as they stood in effect between himself and his brother with one exception; he could not leave the pup in such a state of uncertainty, that would not help them defeat Naraku. He found the Hanyou sitting in his tree staring at the sky and ignoring him; but he jumped up to the branch which in itself startled the pup and stayed silent, waiting for his brother's inquisitive nature to boil and demand what he was doing.
But he waited in vain, Inuyasha didn't even look to him; the same dead expression that the Youkai had seen earlier was on the unfamiliar countenance of the Hanyou and Sesshoumaru knew he couldn't just leave matters alone. He lifted his hand to wipe away stray tears from his brother's face and leaned forward to kiss his brow and a small pet to his ears and then he jumped down. Inuyasha had not resisted his brother's tender touch, but he had not exactly welcomed it either; still preferring to keep his face averted from Sesshoumaru.
"I have no doubt our paths will cross along this journey Inuyasha and that we will fight together at the end; keep safe Little Brother." The Youkai then left silently but with his heart a bit lighter for his decision and because he had heard whispered, a plaintive and tearful 'Sessh'; before the tang of salty tears again assaulted his nose. However the Youkai didn't return when he heard his little brother's quiet sobs; he kept on walking away for now, leaving the Hanyou alone with his softer feelings.
Inuyasha did not see Sesshoumaru for quite a while after that; but the elder still kept an eye out for the younger, until the next day when Kagome and the others returned and then he left; having already packed up his camp to move on. By then Inuyasha was his normal grumpy self; ignoring Shippou, who could scent that Sesshoumaru had been in the area and that he had been close enough to touch the Hanyou. The fox kit was too close for comfort when he jumped on the Hanyou's shoulder and started to sniff near Inuyasha's face though and he received a bump to the head and was told to 'shut up and mind his own business, in no uncertain terms.
For once Kagome didn't 'sit' Inuyasha and told Shippou to stop annoying him, she had spoken to Kaede as she always did; asking how Inuyasha had been in her long absence and the elder Miko had told her of Sesshoumaru's stay in the area. Kaede had not disclosed any of Inuyasha's confidences in her but she'd had no need, Kagome could put two and two together with insight; no fighting between the brothers for over a week and the Youkai eavesdropping on the roof of her hut sometimes, spoke of a subtle change. Plus the young Miko had seen the tell tale signs of abundant tears too often on her own face, not to recognise them on another; she didn't need a youkai's sense of smell to tell her that Inuyasha had been weeping only recently.
Although it had broken her heart when she saw the evidence of his grief, she had not immediately demanded that he inform her what had happened. Kagome didn't get the feel of terrible woe as if someone had died; so she merely held his hand and smiled at him, understanding that he gained pleasure from her presence even if he did not often voice it. He would tell her in his own time and in subtle ways so that she would be able to read in between the lines; if she left him to do so and didn't plague him with questions, or at least that was what her mother had said in the past.
And he did, as time went by and in various ways; Kagome realised that the Hanyou wished he didn't love his brother but couldn't help himself. Snippets of information all built up into a larger picture as she pieced together the jigsaw. Things that Inuyasha would say, or how the brothers interacted when they met; all pointed to a shift for the better in their relationship, but they were only tiny tiny pieces and it looked like it would be a long hard journey for them both. Over the next few months she put together a bigger picture and asked her mother for her opinion.
Mama smiled sadly at the things her daughter explained; Kagome couldn't see how simple the explanation was, but how difficult it was to live through. She had just explained the rescue of Rin from Naraku and the involvement of Kohaku and had wished that Inuyasha had been a bit more tender with the girl. But he had almost ignored her and didn't seem at all concerned when the innocent child walked off with his stoic Youkai brother; as if Sesshoumaru were not someone of which to be afraid. In fact he had sounded so harsh when he'd said;
"She belongs to the bastard Kagome, she ain't harmed and I ain't taking her away from him." He had then turned away and stormed off; leaving Kagome stunned at his vehemence. Sometimes when they crossed paths with the Youkai, the child was not obvious and it was impossible to see if she faired well and often Inuyasha looked too close to tears after their meetings to inquire after the child. Although he covered this well with his normal aggression; she could tell the difference and his eyes always gave him away, once they'd turned from his brother's intense gaze.
Mama had explained that as she saw it, Inuyasha idolised his brother as the perfect Youkai that he too would like to be and simply put, he was jealous of the child that had Sesshoumaru's care and probably the love that the Hanyou had always wished was his. Her explanation was illuminating to her daughter and the young Miko saw instantly that it was true, but unfortnately as Mama said; 'only Sesshoumaru can make it better for them both.' That meant that there was nothing that Kagome could do, except silently support her Hanyou and be his friend and comforter if she could.
Kagome could see how obvious it was now that Mama had opened her eyes to the real problem and for the rest of their journey and encounters with the Youkai Lord, she saw nothing that would dispel her Mama's reasonings. But it pained her to listen to her friend berate his brother and to hear the harsh responses from Sesshoumaru, when she knew they would both like things to be different and she was nearly desperate when Sesshoumaru held Tokajin to Inuyasha's throat, only to hear him tell his brother to 'kill him as his life was not worth anything'. The boys had stared at each other and spoken volumes with their identical golden eyes; Sesshoumaru turned away and told his brother that he was sparing his life that time. Inuyasha had been silent all that evening and no one could reach him; Miroku had advised letting him be, as he clearly had a lot to think about.
More often Sesshoumaru had just turned up and been in time to help them, even to the point of saving their lives; not that he would admit it and he had even helped Inuyasha retain Tetsusaiga. Kagome could see that the Youkai was trying to assist in small ways and even if the Hanyou refused to see it, she was grateful and dared to begin to hope that the future wouldn't be so dim for Inuyasha.
These incidents though were few and fairly far between; but once Kagome learn't of the significance of each meeting for her Hanyou and his brother, she couldn't help but see the underlying current of tension that had nothing to do with their supposed hatred for each other. But by now even the others could tell that Sesshoumaru, although having his own agenda with Naraku; was not so intent on making Inuyasha's life a misery while he could and an uneasy acceptance of each other formed between the groups. That mutual lessening of aggression was in force until they caught up with the Youkai, as he was fighting his father's adversary Shishinki.
The youthful but far older and manipulative Shishinki, caused Sesshoumaru to feel more pain in his heart than when his father had died. To feel that the Dog General had slighted his son, putting him in second place to his Hanyou half brother was like a physical blow to the angry and bitter full Youkai; whose heart was close to breaking with the perceived betrayal. Sesshoumaru had always revered and had a deep love for his father and had always felt loved in return and yet even when Inuyasha reminded him to think about his knowledge of their father, the hurt was too great for him to see the truth of the paternal love.
It had lead to sneers and fights; but this time, Inuyasha could see the pain in his brother and knew that for once Sesshoumaru suffered in the same way that the Hanyou always had, when snubbed by his Youkai sibling. It did not stop him from having to fight for his life however, when the Youkai was angry and almost beside himself with rage. But Sesshoumaru had eventually come to the rescue of his Hanyou brother at the risk of his own life; giving him Tenseiga's complete Meidou and removing the horrendous shards of the mirror glass from the boy's back. He understood that his brother was still only halfblooded as the Shouji from Naraku overwhelmed him and felt something akin to pity for Inuyasha, amidst his anger at the dark hanyou.
There was a rekindled warmth to his inner beast when Inuyasha called out to him not to die; as the Meidou swallowed them up and the Youkai recognised that it was the desire for his life that had motivated Inuyasha to find the exit. It was a warmth for which he was grateful and it stayed with him until he was able to realise why his father had acted as he had. He had been ready to kill Totousai for his rather frank statement, that the boy's father knew that Sesshoumaru would pull on his unfair advantage over Inuyasha and the blade was for the younger brother's complete protection.
But once he had his arm back and his new sword born from his own body and Totousai told him that this had happened only because he had been forced to rely on his own personal strengths as a Youkai and not on his father's fang. Sesshoumaru then knew that he had grown up in his father's eyes, this was what the Inu no Taisho had planned all along; that his eldest son would find the reliance in himself to grow stronger. This was something that the younger brother could never hope to do completely; Inuyasha would always need his father and brother to be there for him.
No longer did Sesshoumaru need his father's help and he could cut off his reliance on his father's fang and therefore no longer covet his brother's sword either. Yes he had been liberated in mind and body; he was Daiyoukai in his own right now and even though he had not defeated his father personally, he had now surpassed him in a way he had always felt denied to him before. He was not prepared for the stricken look on his brother's face however when Totousai told him he was now free of his father's influence; liberated from the need of Tetsusaiga, neither did he understand it.
However there was no time to wonder for too long and it was still too soon for reconciliation anyway, especially after the retrograde steps recently suffered. The Youkai took leave of his pack leaving them at Kaede's village to find Magatsuhi alone; he was the only one able to despose of the creature and had claimed him as his prey. The Hanyou had been suspiciously subdued saying nothing to dispute his brother's claim, he did not even put a half hearted Feh! or Keh! as dismissal; only watched, almost as forlorn as Rin and Jaken as the Youkai lifted into the air.
The pain of rejection was nothing in comparison to the pain of being beneath notice. The feeling took root in Inuyasha's brain and was tenacious, distorting the reality of what was really happening to him. Even when he was rejected, Sesshoumaru made sure that he kept letting the Hanyou know that is what was happening; but this being ignored as though he was a mere person that had been just introduced, was crippling to him. And the feeling of aloneness kept growing again as Kagome left for her time and Miroku and Sango kept vigil watch on Kohaku.
The monk was often busy with the village children, teaching those who wished to learn and Rin had become much attached to Sango as they cared for Kohaku; willingly helping her with errands, in case her companion required anything even while he slept. Kohaku had become a friend to the girl and Jaken too watched over him as Sesshoumaru was sure to want an accounting of all when he returned for them.
Inuyasha was left in a form of limbo; not really required to do anything except to hunt for food if he wished and with only scouting and making the village secure his only occuptations, there was too long to think about his brother. The Youkai had been almost civil, no emotion; only cool disinterest and it tore The Hanyou up inside. Kaede was the only one who noticed that the boy had stayed longer by Goshinboku and the well than he normally did when the others of his pack were around and she came to the well to talk to him.
"Something disturbs ye child; is it thy brother? He seemed gracious enough when he asked that the girl and little youkai be granted sanctuary in the village."
"Yeah very gracious; no demands or nothin', no 'if she dies I'll decimate the village and come and kick your ass for good Inuyasha'."
"Ye would rather he made such demands; even though he truly knows that ye would protect all of us to the best of thy ability, even to thy own death?" Kaede looked shrewdly at the disconcerted Hanyou. She had a great deal of experience as the village Miko to recognise and get to the bottom of people's troubles and even if the Hanyou called her a 'nosy old hag' he couldn't resist her for long.
"Aye child Feh! Thy brother is gracious, non confronting and ye look as though thy world is ending..."
"I am nothing to him anymore Kaede, not even worth the threat of death or a beating. I am disowned, he has no further use for me or the sword. Totousai has told him he is greater than Father, which is what he has wanted all his life and now he can cast away everything of his past; he no longer needs me, he does not even see me. I am lost Kaede." Inuyasha certainly sounded lost and woebegone, Kaede was certain that he was overreacting and told him so; but he was not reassured and she stayed petting his head as he leaned against her, taking comfort in her familiar presence as he had done before when no one could see them.
As for Sesshoumaru, he had much to think about but could not yet spare the time. The youkai of the jewel had to be dealt with and he was the only one physically able to do this. But on his search, his mind was evaluating all the time, the pleasure to have his left arm returned and the sword from within himself were great gifts and he pondered the youkai smith's words about letting go of his dependence on his father and letting go of his hatred for Inuyasha. Sesshoumaru remembered that his mother had also hinted at the same thing when she taught him about needing compassion; she'd also encouraged him to resolve his disagreements with his little brother. His Mother could be so annoying with her smug, know it all smirk.
"I would imagine your half brother did not take kindly to knowing you had kept this child alive Sesshoumaru; or that you were near to tears with her second death."
"Inuyasha knows little of Rin Mother."
"Only that you have kindness for her, but never had for him. Harsh for the pup do you not think?"
"You obviously have seen what happened. I saw the child inside him die from grief Mother; if that is what you wish to know and no, it did not appeal to me at all."
"So melodramatic; just as you could be when you were a small pup Sesshoumaru. Inuyasha is still a child now and very much alive; you certainly have enough time to change his perception of you, he is hardly hardened to resist a caring attitude. Go and do what your father required of you and you shall be the happier for it; as will the Hanyou." His mother then dismissed him without awaiting his reply; but with a gentle kiss on his crescent moon and a knowing smile as he tried not to bristle at the motherly gestures, realising that his discomfort would give her too much satisfaction.
With a small but fond smile of rememberance of their rare meeting, Sesshoumaru realised that the trail of Magatsuhi was leading him in a large circle and he decided to do a quick reconnaisance at the village without anyone noticing him; before he followed the trail out again. He noticed with satisfaction that things were satisfactory with Rin and Jaken and then realised that Inuyasha was not there, but at the well clearing; which he would pass anyway on his way out. It was with some sense of annoyance that he overheard his brother's childish whining.
In exasperation and with a quick glance at the woman, Sesshoumaru yanked Inuyasha away from the elderly Miko by the back of his haori and carried him away in his energy ball of light to a secluded glade. There he sat him firmly down in his lap and held him close; not allowing the Hanyou any freedom to pull away and thereby forcing him to listen. The Youkai sighed, not really having the time to spare for all this; but understanding that the Hanyou's need to be reassured would have to be addressed anyway, it would be essential if he were to fight without faltering in the days to come.
Trying to keep the annoyance from his voice and words was difficult and he sounded sharper than he really meant, but it could not be helped. In fact had he but known, his tone was more honest than had he had the time to think out what he wished to say or be more diplomatic and Inuyasha instinctively knew that he could be trusted.
"I know you have no reason yet to trust me personally Inuyasha, but Mother is right; you still are just a pup aren't you. Listen now to my words, I may have surpassed father in some ways but by no means all and as for being free of the burden of Tetsusaiga; it is true. The desire for the sword has fully gone and that is more for my peace of mind than yours." Sesshoumaru paused and unknowingly gripped his brother tighter.
"But Father does not stop being Father just because I no longer have to rely on his strength; just as you will always be my 'Little Brother' regardless of Tetsusaiga. Blood is far stronger and longer lasting than mere possessions you foolish pup. We do not now the outcome of this fight ahead; but there will be many years afterwards and we are stronger together than apart, just as you and your Miko are." He took another deep breath calming himself and collecting his thoughts.
"I have never been as I should to you and you have suffered for it. It is something I do now regret and yet cannot change; but I can make sure that our feud does not carry on if you wish to be my brother, as much as I do yours." The Daiyoukai ignored the struggles of the Hanyou to sit up or get off his lap, by making him more securely wrapped in his arms and by a gentle rocking. The Youkai's words had reached the Hanyou's heart, Sesshoumaru's voice being the only thing that could undermine the defences Inuyasha had so carefully built over the many years; it had always been so, only the Youkai had caused him such agonising pain by his rejections.
"But I will not change my demeanour until all this is over, I would not have Naraku knowing that I have anything but hatred for you; yet even if I have to wait the five hundred years to embrace you as my brother, I shall be there waiting for you." Telling him to hush and be still, Sesshoumaru disregarded the scalding hot tears that were dampening the front of his haori; for once not taking the opportunity to mock his little brother for his lack of control. He understood the young Hanyou only too well, having used his knowledge to torment the boy for years.
Now he wrapped Inuyasha in his tail, welcoming the fact that his mother was correct and the Hanyou was still only a pup and responded well to the authoritative elder boy taking charge. The Youkai knew it would not all be easy going in the future, the Hanyou was stubborn and carried a lot of emotional baggage; but Sesshoumaru was prepared to help and love him, knowing that he wanted finally to take up the responsibility that his father had left him with a far lighter heart.
He knew that Inuyasha would forgive him, the child's desire to be loved and be his family was evident; the way the pup was clinging to him now was testimony to that and the Youkai promised that never again would the Hanyou know neglect or hatred, from those who should love him. Letting his brother go to carry on his search was one of the hardest things that Sesshoumaru had felt compelled to do; but it was neccessary and he made a silent promise that once Naraku was dead, things would be different for them, the Youkai and the Hanyou sons of the former Inu no Taisho.