Sesshomaru blinked in confusion as he stared at Inuyasha.
"Pardon?" He fumbled.
"Who are you?" Inuyasha pressed earnestly.
Sesshomaru was barely sure of just what he was being asked, recalling the time he had jumped to conclusions when Inuyasha had stated that he did not know him, but he tried to compose himself regardless.
"I am Sesshomaru." He stated. It was one of his fundamental truths after all, and his most used for centering himself through hardship.
"Sesshomaru…." Inuyasha whispered softly, growing contemplative as he nibbled at his knuckle.
"Yes, Sesshomaru.' Sesshomaru repeated, "Your brother." Yet Inuyasha sad nothing, giving away little save for a further furrowing of his eyebrows…and the tinge of worry inside the demon Lord grew. "Half-brother to be exact. We share a Father, not Mothers." He added, feeling odd that this was the second time he had done so, and only hoping that this time turned out to be a misunderstanding on his part like the last. He also hoped that further details would jog the process, much like an addled person after a sharp blow to the head.
With his thumb claw between his teeth Inuyasha turned his eyes to Sesshomaru, and his the corners of his mouth quirked into a small, sheepish smile.
"I take it that I am supposed to know all of this." Inuyasha asked quietly.
"Yes." Sesshomaru informed gently, unsure of just what else he could say.
For a moment they both stood there, each watching the other with uncertainty.
"What of your Mother?" Sesshomaru inquired. "Do you remember her?"
If Inuyasha was pulling some form of prank then such a question should, in Sesshomaru's mind, expose it. Inuyasha had never been shy about extolling his human parentage after all.
"Ah….." Inuyasha muttered, resting on arm atop the other as he tapped at his lips. "Nope."
Sesshomaru found that hard to believe, but there was no deception of nervousness in Inuyasha's manner, and while Inuyasha did have a few talents…lying was not one of them. Sesshomaru's mind whirled, searching for someone else that Inuyasha cared deeply for. What was that first Miko's name? The one who had died?
Yet even as he pondered it he knew that there was no one else who had ever meant more to the boy in front of him then the human their Father had taken.
Which really only left him with one question.
"What do you remember?"
Inuyasha seemed to think on that for a moment, rocking back and forth upon his heels.
"Well…lets see…" Inuyasha muttered. "My name is Inuyasha."
Sesshomaru stared expectantly at the boy for a few moments until he realized that nothing else was forthcoming.
"That is it?"
"That's it." Inuyasha admitted.
Sesshomaru found himself struggling to dissect the issue before him. This was not expected at all. He had never heard of anyone suffering from memory loss before, during, or after a cycle. So just what was going on?
And more importantly…why couldn't his brain finally get a break? Surely the cosmos had to have imposed some manner of law on how many puzzles a man could be forced to endure.
"Yet you can clearly remember how to walk, speak, and the like." Sesshomaru stated.
"Well…yeah." Inuyasha replied, looking at Sesshomaru as if the elder Inu was some manner of drooling fool.
"But nothing of yourself?"
Another pause for thought.
"I suppose not."
"Do you know where you are?"
"Do you know how you came to be here?"
"Do you remember the battle that proceeded all of that?"
Sesshomaru's frustration continued to build but he forced it to the cooler places in his heart. It certainly would not do to lose his temper here and now.
"You were kidnapped by your nemesis. He attempted to violate you." Sesshomaru informed, wincing slightly. The last thing he wanted to do was bring that up, especially considering that he already knew of Inuyasha's past, hidden traumas containing the subject. But it was the truth, and not easily forgotten he would think. "I came to your ad. We battled him, Naraku the vile hanyou…and you killed him."
"Oh…well that's nice." Inuyasha stated with the same amount of recognition and feeling one would have when hearing about the weather.
"…you truly can not remember anything." Sesshomaru whispered, more to himself then anything.
Inuyasha only shrugged with that sheepish smile displayed once more.
"You seem reasonably calm about all of this." Sesshomaru pointed out.
Inuyasha shrugged once more, the tips of his ears flicking.
"I feel fine, heavy, but fine. Panicking won't get me anywhere anyway."
"How pragmatic." Sesshomaru mused. A trait Inuyasha had seemingly never displayed before…and he couldn't even enjoy it.
The hope that this was all just some manner of prank born of insufferably little brother-ness, and Inuyasha would begin to giggle childishly was diminishing by the second. Inuyasha was simply too calm about all of this, lacking even one small bite of the temper he was so famous for throughout their dealings. Not even one snap at a single comment…not just a rarity…but nearly unheard of.
"I…must admit….I am at a loss." Sesshomaru began slowly, only for Inuyasha to snort derisively.
"Imagine how I feel."
"How do you feel?" Sesshomaru asked, truly the only thing he felt he could ask at this juncture.
Another pause, and then Inuyasha shook his head, rubbing at his ear absentmindedly.
"I dunno…just….blank. It's obvious that I've lost something, but I don't feel like I have." Inuyasha informed.
"No sense of loss? Of panic? Unease?" Sesshomaru supplied, having a hard time believing that such a thing could occur without any of the latter.
"Naw…confused…maybe a little unease." The boy stated with a shrug.
Inuyasha's sudden docile, reasonably disposition sparked a thought within Sesshomaru. One that he almost hated to have to question.
"Yet you trust me?" He inquired.
Inuyasha simply had not made a single aggressive move towards him. Had raised neither hand nor voice even when he had flat out admitted that he had no idea where he was or how he had come to be there. In the same situation Sesshomaru knew that he himself would not have been so sedate, and he already knew that Inuyasha would in NO way EVER be so calm.
"S'cuse me?" Inuyasha puzzled.
"You trust me." Sesshomaru pressed. "You do not find me a threat."
"I guess." Inuyasha replied with another shrug. Which was an answer yes, but hardly adequate. He simply could not leave it at that.
"Why?" He asked softly, hating beyond hate to ever have to disturb something he had longed so terribly much for.
"I dunno." Inuyasha muttered distractedly, his eyes roaming the ceiling and walls.
"Not good enough Inuyasha." He pressed. To which Inuyasha shot him a cross look, the first smidge of the boy he had known yet. "A feeling is a feeling Inuyasha." He continued. "What tells you that I can be trusted?"
Inuyasha's brows furrowed, and he looked frustrated for the first time.
"I don't know. Maybe you can't. You smell fine and it doesn't bother me." Inuyasha spat out. "What more do you want?"
"I merely wish to ascertain your reasoning." Sesshomaru explained. "Is it because your blood recognizes me as one of your own? Or is your mind actually remembering, if only faintly."
"I don't' know." Inuyasha growled.
Sesshomaru gave him a slight nod, thinking that perhaps it was best to leave it be for the moment. But if they did that…where did they go from here? It was a puzzle inside a larger puzzle to be sure, one he was granted a temporary time extension with when Daigon suddenly entered the small human hovel.
"Ah! The prodigal prince awakens!" Daigon chirped. "A bit earlier then this one expected. How interesting."
Sesshomaru watched as Inuyasha processed the healer's words in clear confusion. It was the eyes that truly gave it away. The way they darted and scanned, focusing on traits for seemingly the very first time.
So either Inuyasha just happened to be the very greatest actor that Sesshomaru had ever heard of, one extremely dedicated to his role….or there was nothing false about any of this.
"Uh…sure." Inuyasha grunted, crossing his arms as he did so.
Daigon quirked his head in curiosity, but seemed to brush off Inuyasha's deliberately neutral response as he clapped his hands together.
"Well then…one supposes that the first order of business is a through examination. Are you experiencing any difficulties?"
Inuyasha's eyes slide to Sesshomaru, beaming with an clear questioning light, and one of his arms slide up, halting just under his jaw as if to fend off a blow.
Daigon appeared to be making Inuyasha slightly nervous, a reaction that he himself had not provoked. If anything the boy seemed to be desiring his assistance.
"I feel heavy, but fine." Inuyasha replied tersely.
"Heavy?" Daigon questioned. "Heavy how? Are you having any difficulty moving? Stiffness?"
Inuyasha took a step back from Daigon as the healer took one towards him, his eyes not even on the large Inu before him as he rummaged around in his bag for something. But Sesshomaru was watching, and he saw Inuyasha's lips pull back ever so slightly to reveal the faint tips of sharp, white fangs. He tensed, wanting to see just where Inuyasha planned on going, but at the same time preparing to take action to keep Daigon from harm.
Inuyasha had allowed him to place hands on his body earlier, had even relaxed into them. Inuyasha had not rejected his embrace, and had willingly given his back for aid in dressing. Yet now his hackles rose when a visually non-threatening person made a move towards his personal space? That simply had to signify something.
"Who are you to ask me these questions? To approach me unbidden?" Inuyasha snarled.
Daigon stopped his approach and his head rose, a displeased look upon his face. Heaving a long suffering sigh he grumbled.
"One notices that you've managed to figure out the haughty Daiyoukai attitude quickly enough. That really did not take long…just Daigon's miserable luck."
Inuyasha's arms crossed in front of his chest, hands pointed out, knuckles cracking as he flexed his claws at the healer. For his part Daigon merely appeared bored with the entire situation. With a hand on his hip he quirked an eyebrow a the defensive boy. "You were difficult the last time for no reason….please say that you are not going to make a habit of it? This one has enough of that coming from your more practiced sibling."
Sesshomaru watched as Inuyasha's blinked, his eyes darkening.
"He truly does not know what Daigon is speaking of." Sesshomaru thought. "You do not remember him?" He asked aloud, though it was more of a statement.
Inuyasha did not answer, but from the sideways look that was shot his way, it was fairly obvious. "Daigon is a friend." Sesshomaru stated earnestly. "He can be trusted."
The former hanyou's claws dipped slightly, but did not lower completely. Daigon in turn, blinked and scratched as his head.
"Something is being missed here yes? Care to explain perhaps?" The healer inquired.
As Inuyasha's guard was still up, and he didn't exactly appear to feel all that chatty, Sesshomaru took over for him.
"It is a bit of a puzzle at the moment, very few pieces and none of them appear to fit." Sesshomaru began. "But apparently….his memory is gone. He does not remember you, nor does he remember me, and even more startling…he does not remember himself."
Daigon blinked again, looking back and forth between the two Inu for a moment.
"…Memory loss…" The healer muttered to himself. "Truly?"
"No…I just really like fucking with total strangers." Inuyasha growled. While it was certainly meant to be a sarcastic comment, it managed to say much.
"But we are not strangers." Sesshomaru informed once more. "I am your brother, and Daigon is an old family friend, one who has rendered delicate medical care unto you more then once."
It was then that he motioned for Inuyasha to stand down, an act that the boy only performed after taking a few more precautionary steps away form Daigon.
"What do you mean medical care? Was I sick?" Inuyasha asked.
"In a manner of speaking yes." Daigon informed. "It has been a…puzzle to say the least. One that has led us here. You truly remember nothing?"
Inuyasha heaved a sigh, sounding both tired and annoyed.
"I already said that I didn't, so enough with the grilling."
"We only wish to aid you." Sesshomaru said. "This is not…normal to say the least."
"Well your aiding is giving me a headache." Inuyasha snapped. "Give me some room to breathe."
"What sort of headache?" He asked. "Is anything coming back perhaps?"
He only meant well, feeling that the more clues they gathered now when the situation was fresh, the larger the chance they stood of reversing whatever had taken place. But for the first time Inuyasha shot him an unkind look.
"The kind of headache brought on by pestering pricks!" Inuyasha snarled. "Have you always been this annoying?"
It had not been his intention to provoke Inuyasha's anger. Even with knowledge of who he was Inuyasha tended to be free with his fists. Now without said knowledge of Sesshomaru's own status or acknowledgement of their kinship, who knew what Inuyasha would do?
"I am simply trying to help and understand what has happened Inuyasha." Sesshomaru said softly. "It is not my intention to upset or anger you."
He did his best to keep his tone soft and even, hoping it would sooth Inuyasha. But the boy's face did not soften, and his glare remained.
"Well stop." Inuyasha pressed. "Cause I don't see what you're trying to accomplish."
Sesshomaru opened his mouth, wishing to explain his intentions better, but Daigon interjected himself.
"Perhaps it would be best to cease said topic and such lines of questioning for the time being." The healer suggested. "Perhaps some fresh air and a tour of the grounds would help matters. After all, it is known that Inuyasha has spent much time here."
"I did?" Inuyasha muttered.
"Yes." Sesshomaru replied. "Perhaps not in this hut per say, but the village itself."
"However….it would be wise to allow this one to examine you first." Daigon suggested.
"Which one?" Inuyasha inquired tersely.
"This one." Daigon answered.
Inuyasha's only response was a rumbling growl that sent off a small warning bell inside of Sesshomaru.
"He means himself." Sesshomaru supplied.
"Then why didn't he say so?!" Inuyasha snapped.
"Long story." Daigon informed. "Far longer then yours. But in any case it is advisable that you allow it. There may be further complications that we do not know about. Better to find and solve them now, then wait and allow them to advance."
Inuyasha chewed at his bottom lip, looking pensive. Normally Sesshomaru would have allowed Inuyasha to skip such an activity if it were causing him such clear anxiety. But Daigon was correct, and with Inuyasha's sudden memory loss, Sesshomaru himself was on edge.
"He is correct Inuyasha." Sesshomaru soothed. "He is a friend. You can trust him."
Inuyasha glanced back and forth between them, his expression unchanged. It bothered Sesshomaru more then he would have admitted. Inuyasha tended to be somewhat easy to read, as long as one paid attention, but now? What he would not give to have a look into Inuyasha's thoughts right then.
"I will remain if it eases your nerves." Sesshomaru offered.
In actuality he had not had any intention of leaving, unless Inuyasha insisted upon it…and even then he would have protested. But he doubted that the boy knew that, and as Inuyasha seemed to trust him…
Inuyasha sighed, and crossed his arms, turning his back on the both of them. His tail twitched irritably and Sesshomaru tensed. If Inuyasha so wished, and realized that he could, both he and Daigon would be batted through the hut with ease. Moments passed without a word form anyone, only the sounds of the village filling the air. For the firs time since Sesshomaru had been a pup at his Father's side, he had to still his tongue from what he wanted to say.
As much as he wished to, and as anxious as he felt, he could not afford to press Inuyasha it seemed. The dynamic between them had changed completely, barring the memory loss even. It would have to be glass touches until he understood Inuyasha, and vise-versa, or the boy's memory returned.
It was all rather frustrating actually.
With Naraku dead, the East quelled, and the South under new Lordship, he could see no reason that they could not finally devote time to themselves.
Until this that was.
After what felt like hours Inuyasha finally heaved a sigh and turned around to face them.
"Fine…" The boy grumbled.
Sesshomaru watched carefully as Inuyasha took his first few tentative steps outside of their small hut. The boy blinked unused eyes in the bright sunlight, and Sesshomaru felt the soft fur of Inuyasha's tail brush against his leg before the boy moved forward. The act touched Sesshomaru's heart, and yet puzzled him. It was of course an instinctual method of gauging position and insuring someone was still near…but how did Inuyasha know that? As a hanyou…had Inuyasha possessed the same instincts that Sesshomaru himself did? He had know what of knowing, but the idea didn't sit right. He was sure that Inuyasha's human half had input, but was not sure just what kind of creature the dual natures had molded.
Inuyasha had been a mystery as a hanyou…in that nothing had changed.
In all honesty, Sesshomaru himself was torn. He wanted to stick close to Inuyasha, both to observe and protect. But at the same time he wanted to hang back and learn what, if anything, Daigon had learned.
Though granted Daigon really had not done much. He seemed mostly concerned with Inuyasha's joints and movements. Then again, Daigon had surprised him more then once with just how much he was able to learn from only simple observations.
In the end he decided to simply trail the boy at a modest distance. Close enough that Inuyasha would easily know that he was still there, but far enough to allow them both a smidge of privacy.
Inuyasha hesitated with each step, his eyes scanning his surroundings. Even though he never turned around, Sesshomaru could tell what he was doing. The ears were what gave him away, twitching and quirking this way and that. Now what would be most telling was when Inuyasha inevitably ran into one of his compatriots, something Sesshomaru was rather eager to witness.
There was also the fact that Inuyasha had made no mention of his sword, did not seem to recognize it sitting with Sesshomaru, and currently roamed without it upon his hip. Another telling tidbit there as far as Sesshomaru was concerned. Never in a million years would he had believed that his firebrand sibling would ever leave his weapon behind, let alone leave it sitting upon Sesshomaru's own hip.
It was all very puzzling, and the knot of worry in his stomach continued to grow. But he could smell kitsune…and so it would begin.
"Inuyasha!" Came the child's shriek.
Inuyasha visibly jumped, his face revealing frayed nerves as he turned towards the source of the sound. Any other time it would have been quite humorous, the ball of hyper-kitsune crashing into Inuyasha's legs, and the reaction of the former hanyou. But as it stood, Sesshomaru was far too busy watching Inuyasha's face and body to truly appreciate it all.
"You're awake!" Shippo cried out, and Sesshomaru observed Inuyasha's ears flattening. "Oh that's great! We were all so worried about you!"
Sesshomaru watched tension creep up Inuyasha's spine as the kit rambled on as only a child could. Something about this was raising Inuyasha's hackles extremely fast, something that Sesshomaru found curious.
"Quiet." Inuyasha snapped harshly.
Admittedly there was a part of Sesshomaru that was not thrilled with the idea of just throwing Inuyasha into the wild like this, but he also wanted to tread carefully with matters of asserting his authority. It had never worked all that well with Inuyasha as a hanyou after all.
After Inuyasha's harsh order the kit did fall silent, staring up at Inuyasha curiously. Sesshomaru could not see his siblings face, but whatever was there puzzled the child.
"What's wrong?" Shippo asked. "Still not feeling well?"
"You're too loud." Inuyasha hissed. "Stop screaming.
So it was the noise then? He had known that Inuyasha's hanyou senses had been inferior to his own, but not the extent they were.
"Oh…sorry." The kid muttered.
So it was the noise then? He had known that Inuyasha's hanyou senses had been inferior to his own, but not quite the extent they were. Though he did find it odd that Inuyasha seemed to be continuously bothered by it. While loud or sharp noises did tend to annoy him, the effect appeared to be far more sever upon his sibling. So…not all of Inuyasha had quite adapted to his new form just yet, despite Inuyasha's insistence that he had always been this way.
"So anyway…you're a full demon now?"
Inuyasha snorted, tossing his head.
"Of course I am. What else were you expecting?" His condescending tone seemed to upset the child, who in turn snarled up at the much larger demon.
"Well you were a hanyou you know!" Shippo huffed. "And we haven't been able to see you, so how was I supposed to know what was going on?!"
Inuyasha waved dismissively at the child, rolling his eyes.
"Ridiculous." Inuyasha huffed. "Why are you pestering me anyway? Run along child….go back to your parents."
Sesshomaru did not know much about what had brought the child to the group, but he did know that the parents were long gone, and unsurprisingly the kit reacted to the remark like he had been slapped.
Shippo recoiled, and an accusing finger shot out.
"Hey! That's not funny!"
Staring at Inuyasha's back Sesshomaru had no idea what expression he held, but the muscles within said back stiffened, and his arms crossed.
"What? I'm not trying to be funny." Inuyasha stated coolly. "You are a child. You should be with your parents."
Shippo's eyes grew wide with pain, and somehow Sesshomaru just knew that he was interpreting Inuyasha's comment as a go off and die sort. He had no desire to see the child have his heart ground into powder however. Time to step in.
"But-But-" The kit panted. "-you know what happened! You said that I was your son!"
"What?" Inuyasha puzzled. "How could I-"
Sesshomaru halted him with a gentle hand upon the shoulder. Inuyasha's head turned, revealing a face masked in confusion and annoyance.
"This child's parents were killed. You avenged them." Sesshomaru informed before nodding his head at the kit. "And then adopted him."
Inuyasha's brows furloughed, and he shifted his gaze to the near weeping kit.
"I did what? Are you sure?"
"Inuyasha!" The kit cried out. "This isn't funny at all!"
Tears sparkled in the child's eyes, and Sesshomaru opened his mouth to intervene. But unfortunately Inuyasha beat him to the punch.
"Damn right." The former hanyou grumbled. "You aren't my son. I'm not a kitsune."
Sesshomaru bit back a groan. This was not going well at all.
Pained shock covered Shippo's face, before hardening into a mask of rage.
"You…you bastard!" Shippo sputtered, before starting to sprint away. A quick snap of a tail ceased that, and before another moment had passed Sesshomaru had an armful of angry kitsune.
His squirming and kicking was annoying, but hardly stifling.
"Let me go!" Shippo howled, tears wetting his face.
"Listen to me." Sesshomaru pressed.
If Inuyasha were curious or concerned it did not show, as he began to wander away, something else having apparently caught his attention.
"Stupid, lying dog-shit-" Shippo hissed.
"Listen to me." Sesshomaru ordered firmly, drawing the child to eye level.
A scant few months ago he would never have cared. But that time seemed as if it were a full lifetime ago, lived by a different person entirely. In regards to the kit, Inuyasha had always been very clear on his place in his life, and how things pertained to his care. Not only that but the child had prove an adequate, and protective, playmate for Rin. A pleasing fact considering that they were very nearly step-siblings.
The kit's teary eyes bore into his own, painting a sad portrait of a heartbroken child struggling to wear a strong face. A face that Inuyasha himself had worn for most of his childhood.
"I know that it seems to be a bitter betrayal." Sesshomaru started slowly. "But I can assure you that is not the case."
"He lied." Shippo insisted.
"No…not intentionally anyway." Sesshomaru started "There have been complications. Inuyasha appears to have lost his memory…as frustratingly cliché as that sounds."
"What? What do you mean."
"This Sesshomaru means exactly what he has said." Sesshomaru stated as be set the child down. "He claims to remember nothing of his past save his name. He has not rejected you…he simply does not know who you are."
Shippo started up at him, torn between tears and confusion.
"Take some time to think it through…and imagine how he feels." Was all Sesshomaru could finish with as be began to walk, intent on catching up to Inuyasha.
This was turning out to be a rather poor idea.
Authors note. This is only a small part of the whole chapter. But its taking way to damn long to type up