Thank you to all the reviewers throughout this fic, and to all those who stuck to the end despite my slackness. (-.-) You've all been great! :)
So now, I present to you, my lovely reviewers and readers, the final chapter; the epilogue, of In Control.
One month later…
A silver-haired hanyou finally entered the gates of Shikon High, amber eyes distant and lost as he silently treaded through the school grounds. The chatter of the students around him, the usual leers he received, was lost to him as his mind continued to wander, his thoughts not at school but somewhere else. Somewhere where only she was there.
Faintly though, his demonic ears did catch some of the conversations of some teenagers leaning against their lockers as he went passed them.
"… those students in senior year? Yeah, I've heard of them. A demon killed her, was what I heard. But then again, I also heard that she committed suicide. You know, with her mother dying and all. Ookami? I don't know what the hell happened to that bastard."
"I think he dropped out," said another. "Weird though. He dropped out the same day Higurashi was murdered/went suicidal. Haven't heard any news about him since and that was a month ago."
"I'm glad she's dead," said the companion. "She was such an attention seeker. The bitch. Did she think she was the only one with problems? More than a third of this school's students are orphans but hell, you don't see them trying to kill themselves. Higurashi was one weak, over-reactive bit--"
Before he could even finish his sentence, he was slammed against his locker, his head harshly connecting with the metal, hard enough to make a small dent. The male student's eyes stared, with slight fear, at the hanyou before him, the golden eyes he peered into raging with infinite anger. Inuyasha was on him in less than a second, his claws twisting the teenager's front shirt threateningly as he held him against the locker.
"I dare you to finish that sentence," the hanyou said calmly, golden eyes narrowed with controlled fury. "I fucking dare you."
With eyes that looked ready to kill, the young man put up his hands in an unthreatening manner. His friend stood five feet away from them, merely watching with shocked gazes. People had stopped to see the spectacle but sincerely, Inuyasha didn't care. "Listen dude," the human student said, gulping in fear. "I don't know what the hell your problem is but let me go. I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
Angrily, Inuyasha slammed him against his locker again, acutely unaware of the lack of chatter now. "How can you talk about someone's death so lightly?" he snarled, fangs bared. "You don't know her. You don't even know what her favourite fucking food was! How the hell can you say that when you know nothing of her?" he snapped furiously.
"Let him go, you stupid bastard," the friend said, finally speaking up. The hanyou's eyes switched onto him, growling furiously.
"Shut up you moron or I'll fucking kill you too," he threatened dangerously. His gaze was redirected towards the cowering student in front of him again. He didn't even know his name and already Inuyasha hated him. "So you're glad she's dead eh?" he sneered. "You think she's weak and over reactive? You think she fucking killed herself willingly?" His eyes narrowed. He wanted nothing more than to snap the young man's neck for his ignorance. "She was one of the strongest people I know, maybe even the strongest. If you even lived half her life, you would have committed suicide, you stupid, idiotic dick-head."
By now, the nameless victim was scared for his life. But he pulled up a brave front, glaring down at the hanyou. "Fuck, you're taking this way to seriously, bastard," he leered. "What the hell is wrong with you? Did you and her fuck each other behind the scenes or something?"
Inuyasha's well (for him anyway) controlled anger snapped. His fists roughly connected with the nameless man's cheek, sending him six feet away from him and causing him to skid on the ground. When the young man sat up, Inuyasha was on top of him, his hands around his neck. He didn't care about his broken nose, nor his blood, and the few teeth he smashed. He also didn't care about the gasps he heard around him. And yet, he thought bitterly. They do nothing to stop me. Not even this guy's 'friend'. It made him sick.
"H-Hey, man," the student beneath him said, his calm demeanor shattering. "I-I don't want any trouble."
Just as the hanyou was about to snap a retort, someone's hand was laid firmly on his shoulder. His eyes looked up and met with serene violet orbs. Miroku stood above him, shaking his head in silent advice. With a scowl, Inuyasha slammed the student on the ground once more before standing up and walking away, his friend following closely behind him, glancing only once before moving ahead faster.
Once they were outside, Inuyasha wasted no time in taking a deep breath, inhaling the summer's warm air and the scent of full-blooming blossoms. He felt Miroku's presence behind him but sincerely, he didn't care.
"Inuyasha…" the raven-haired young man started. When Inuyasha gave no indication that he heard him, he sighed wearily. He stood next to the hanyou, his friend. "I know you're still upset with… what happened to Kagome… But you have to learn to control yourself. It's been ages since people talked about it and it's already old news." He paused, wondering if his friend was listening. "Do you know what I'm saying, Inuyasha? You might get expelled if this goes too far."
Inuyasha was listening. Even though he didn't want to, he was. He knew he was right too but damn him, he couldn't keep his rage under control nowadays. He missed her. Missed her more than he missed anybody in his entire life. "I'm sorry, Miroku," he finally said, before turning away and walking off, his hands dug deeply into his pocket.
Miroku watched him as he retreated, a sad expression upon his face as he gently shook his head. "Sorry for what, though?" he murmured to himself.
Classes were plain torture for him. He remembered every class he shared with her. He would remember when they chatted in the middle of the lectures, and her paranoia that they might get caught, especially when it was passing notes. He remembered her attentive eyes and her scowl when she couldn't complete a math problem, along with the awfully cute pout that came along with it.
But now, she was no longer there with him in their classes. His eyes often slid to the empty desk that had yet to take another occupant. Kagome would always sit there. Always. Right… next to me. He remembered her laughter, her smile, her absent teasing and silly grin. If he had one wish, it was to have her right by him now, if only for a minute.
When class ended, signaling lunch break, Inuyasha robotically stood and towards his locker. Once he got an apple from his torn school bag, he walked out and sat beneath the Sakura tree where Sango was already waiting for him.
The second he sat at the base in his trademark spot, Sango spoke. "Miroku is doing some errand for a teacher. He'll be back after fifteen minutes or so," she explained.
Inuyasha nodded mutely, taking a large bite of his apple. He didn't say anything after that.
Five minutes of uncomfortable silence went passed, the sun blazing down at them relentlessly with the shade of the tree the only protection. It was like this every time they were alone together. Inuyasha would stay quiet, while Sango tried to create conversation only to earn a few blunt replies from her companion. It was quite awkward, really.
Another five minutes went by in utter silence until Sango sighed and pushed her bento box to the side. Intense brown eyes stared at him intently and Inuyasha found it hard not to look back. "I miss her too, you know," she said. He said nothing. "I miss her a lot more than you think. She was my best friend. We went to primary school together, did everything together. She was like the sister I never had to me. I… I miss her so much that it aches, you know? Like something crucial to my life was harshly torn away from me."
Inuyasha looked up, frowning slightly. Sango never confided in him (it was always Miroku). Never him, until now.
Sango looked away, absently toying with the grass beneath her. "I always thought she was my little sister," she whispered. "I protected her from the primary school bullies, and the high school ones. I stuck by her side, and she did the same for me. I tried to look out for her, like a big sister should, but I failed." She laughed bitterly. "I couldn't protect her. My own little sister." Sad brown eyes looked up again, locking with golden hues. "All those weeks ago, when her mother died, she barely talked to me. Like she shut me off. At school, when I finally caught her, I asked, 'Are you okay, Kagome?' And she replied with, 'I'm fine, Sango.' It was a lie, obviously. Especially when, not moments after, she hugged me and cried.
"She loved her mother so much. I couldn't do anything but hug her back and whisper words of meaningless comfort." She looked down again. "I felt so helpless, so useless. I couldn't do anything for her. I couldn't even think about what I could to make it better for her, so we shared her burden. But despite my lack of effort, she still held on to me, crying. Not saying anything. Just cried. And after, when she finally forced herself to stop, she looked up at me and gave me the most broken smile." A tear slipped. "I felt myself breaking with her. You know what were the last words she said to me before she left? The last words I heard her say to me were?" She smiled softly, tears cascading down her cheeks slowly. "She said, 'Thank you'. Thank you..." Her smiled disappeared as she broke down, covering her face with her hands. "Oh, God," she sobbed.
Inuyasha didn't know what to do. In front of him was a person as broken as he was, equally hurt and pained. He didn't want to touch her. He would be opening himself up to her raw emotions. And yet, even as he thought this, he leaned over, dropped his half-eaten apple and embraced her awkwardly. "She said thank you to me too," he said quietly.
Sango wrapped her arms around him in a friendly embrace and cried on his shoulder. "I've lost her. I've lost her," she cried. "Oh God, I've lost her!"
Sad golden eyes looked up into the sky as he rubbed the young woman's back in comfort. "We all did."
The school bell rang and finally, classes for the day were over. Inuyasha stood from his desk and retrieved his bag from his locker, walking out with a mild pace.
He did remember what he said to Kagome on that final night. He remembered that he promised her that he would move on and live his life to the fullest. But, even after saying that, did anyone think that he wouldn't dive into a depression after her death? He was still in that depression and because of it, he wasn't able to fulfil his promise quite yet.
I'll get out of it, I know I will. If not for me, then for her.
Before he knew it, he was outside at the front gates. Before he could start his lonely walk to his so-called home again in the usual routine, someone stopped him by calling out his name.
Inuyasha turned, mildly surprised that it was Kikyo whom stopped him. She walked over to him, indifferent eyes staring at him calmly. "Yes, Kikyo?" he asked as she stopped in front of him. He never saw her after school like this. Usually, she would take her family's car. He watched her critically, suspiciously.
"I would like to ask if I may join you in your walk," she said in her usual emotionless tone. Of course, it wasn't the same cold tone that she addressed him with before the whole Kagome mess started. Instead, it was warmer, with an understanding tone to it. "My family's car has broken down, you see, and I must return home on foot. Since our homes are in this direction, I'd like to accompany you."
Slightly speechless, Inuyasha couldn't do anything but nod. "Yeah, sure. There's nothin' wrong with that." He waited until she was next to him and they began their journey home. A part of him resented her, since he would only walk home with one person willingly, but the other part of him, the more considerate and rational side, just couldn't deny her. It would be mean and heartless and completely uncalled for. Something he knew Kagome didn't like.
They walked in silence. Months before, he knew, his heart would be galloping like a racing horse at the very prospect of walking home with her. Now he felt nothing. He felt empty, only missing Kagome's company more.
"You loved her." It was a statement, not a question.
The bold words weren't an entire surprise to him. He knew someone would say it to him sooner or later. Without hesitating, he responded with a careless, "Yeah."
"And you still love her," Kikyo continued with a blank expression.
Again, he nodded, not once denying his affections for the young woman. "Yeah."
From the corner of her eye, Kikyo examined him. "I have to be honest with you," she said, looking back forward as they walked, matching step by step. "At first, I didn't like the girl. I don't know whether it was her bubbly personality or her tortured gaze, but I disliked her."
Inuyasha's ears perked up and he looked at her, a mask hiding her emotions.
"When I found out that I was partnered up with her and yourself, I couldn't stop the feeling of dislike from bubbling up inside me. I treated the both of you unjustly. I was cold without any reason to be. You were polite and you did your jobs and yet, I couldn't help but feel a resentment towards you two, her in particular." She spoke softly, walking along the footpath with only him by her side. "It wasn't until later on did I realize why I spited her so.
"It was because of her life, the way she was. She acted so happy, she had true friends by her side. She had everything that I didn't. Although she worked hard, attended a job for long hours, she could still smile. Her smile fooled everybody. Everyone, as soon as they saw her innocent grin, would think that she had a perfect life, without any worries, without any problems. I, too, thought that. It wasn't until she invited me to the park did I realize how wrong I was.
"The pain was in her eyes. Deep, deep in her eyes. Although she smiled, her eyes spoke a sadness that countered it severely. She faced more problems than she deserved and she had great tragedies in her life that made her inwardly dim." Kikyo's eyes softened. "She was suffering on the inside, and yet she could still smile like that. She could still give everybody her all, she could still give herself without even asking for anything in return. She was… a wonderful, sad person."
Kikyo closed her eyes momentarily as they continued to walk, the silence of the air around them deafening in her pause. "And that was why… I didn't like her. I… I envied her. I envied her strength, her courage, her endurance. She was strong, when I thought she was weak. She went through more sadness than I had and she could still make the most of her life. I realized that… I was the one who was weak. I had no time for myself, I was always too busy, and my parents never had time to spend with me. I was… lonely. And I made up for my hurt by being cold and distant to everybody around me. Because of that… I had no true friends." She opened her eyes and glanced at Inuyasha, who was staring at her intently, listening with all his heart and soul. "That is, until I met her.
"She saw past my barrier and her strength was passed onto me. She made me realize that, acting the way I was, I would never find myself another friend on my own. Although she didn't say so, she told me in a discreet manner that I chose to lead the life I was living then. Because I didn't move forward and try to achieve my own goals myself. She made me see that. Although it irked me that she knew so much, that she was wise, I knew she was right. I resented her for it… and yet, I held onto her words as inspiration." She chuckled. "I was supposed to be the smartest one in the class. I was poorly mistaken."
They lapsed onto silence once more, Inuyasha wondering why she told him this. In a way, he couldn't help but notice that he and Kikyo were alike. "She…" he confided, "She told me the same thing as well."
Kikyo merely glanced at him. "Then I believe we're more alike than I first thought," she replied honestly.
"… Feh." He didn't want to tell her that he was thinking the exact same thing. An uncomfortable silence ensued. What would Kagome do in a situation like this? He thought to himself. He glanced towards the young woman, noticing her slightly distant eyes and her cool, calm exterior. "And… has it worked?" he asked briefly.
She lifted an eyebrow, enquiring him silently.
"Did her advice work?" he elaborated. "Have things gone better for you?"
She scoffed, looking away. "Try as I might, it's hard to break old habits," she said emotionlessly. "Especially when others are so used to your former front that they believe me asking them out after school was merely a hoax, a joke." Her eyes softened. "It has helped me with my family, though. I told my parents about… my situation, and they've agreed to have lesser working hours for, dare I say, family time." She smiled gently. "Even now it sounds silly and childish but… I wouldn't change it for the world."
He shrugged, not really wanting to comment about families at the moment. "You know, if you ever want to, you can always sit with us, me and my friends. We're always under that large Sakura tree at school so it won't be that hard to find us." They reached their cross section and began to tell their goodbyes.
"I'll think about it," she replied in her usual monotone. "I'll have to find some free time in between the meetings I have though." After a moment, she added, "Thank you for the invitation."
Inuyasha merely grunted before walking away.
Kikyo watched his back, her eyes indifferent. "And just to let you know," she whispered, knowing he wouldn't hear her as he ventured further and further away, only to eventually cut off from her sight. "I may have disliked hanyous at first but… you've changed my mind, Takahashi. You've changed a lot about me. You and Higurashi." She paused, the wind playing with her straight black hair as she switched her gaze onto the clear, bright sky. "I know you still harbour affections for her, but…" She sighed, wondering why she was still continuing into the empty air in front of her. Her eyes had a wistful look about them as she finally said, "But this feeling in my chest…"
She looked down, her hand lightly grasping the area above her upper left breast. "… This feeling in my chest…"
The young woman just couldn't place the unfamiliar aching inside her heart.
"Souta? How are you doing, little bro?"
The younger man looked up to see Inuyasha walking through the door. Since Kagome's death, Inuyasha took it upon himself to take care of him and commit to the role of a 'bigger brother'. Because Souta didn't want to have foster parents (it would've taken him away from everything he loved only to become so-called families with completely strangers. Also, Inuyasha didn't like the prospect of handing him over to could-be child-abusers), they kept everything a secret, Inuyasha merely replacing Kagome's role in the 'house'. He had left his old apartment, and moved into Souta's (it was a lot safer that way). He paid the bills, cleaned up the rooms and kept the electricity and hot water going. It was a whole lot tougher than taking care of yourself, he was sure of that.
But despite this, he couldn't never fully take over Kagome's role.
Souta was sitting on the lounge, watching some bad-reception television. The hanyou hadn't a clue when they got a TV and so he merely shrugged when he realized it was there.
The young man took his sister's death seriously. At first, he was sad, depressed, as Inuyasha watched over him, cooked him his meals and protected him. Then, after he finally stopped drowning in his own misery, he was angry, accusing the tortured hanyou of being the one solely responsible for her death.
Inuyasha remembered his words quite clearly.
"You promised you'd bring her back!" he had cried. "You promised! It was because of you she's gone! If you hadn't come, if you hadn't come and messed things up between Kouga and her, she'd still be alive right now!"
And he knew he was right. But that still didn't make it right to have the younger boy yell at him like that. Still raw with painful emotions, the hanyou had yelled back, "I also promised to help your sister. I did. She didn't want Kouga controlling her, she wanted to control her own life. She didn't want some bastard to tell her what to wear, what to do and when she could go out at night! You know what she was going through and what she wanted! You would've known it better than anybody because you were her brother!"
"Hey," Souta replied, not taking his eyes from the television screen. "How was school, Inuyasha?"
"But you took her away from me!" he had screamed. "The only family I had left, and you took her away from me!"
Inuyasha put his bag on the floor, sitting next to the younger teenager. Souta's eyes were distant, not at all focused on the cartoon show in front of him. It was then did he know that the young man was drifting through his memories again.
"I tried to save her! I fucking tried! She didn't want to go to hospital, and that bastard stabbed his claws straight through her! She pushed me out of the way, Souta. What could I have done? She saved my life when I would've gladly given it up to save hers." He remembered punching the wall, creaking one large crack he would eventually have to fix later. "I'm sorry, Souta. I'm really, really sorry. But… But there was nothing I could do."
"It was okay," the hanyou replied. "What about you? How come you're not at work?"
"You could've tried harder," Souta sobbed. "You could have tried harder. Kagome deserved so much more. It isn't fair. It isn't fair!"
"Life isn't fair, Souta. I loved your sister too, you know. She was like family to me. The only one to accept me and fuck. I couldn't bare the thought of losing her. But… But she's gone Souta. You have to accept that."
"School was fine. And my boss, Mr. Tsutoya, gave me a day off today since I've already been working late shifts," Souta answered. "How 'bout you? Aren't you supposed to be working right now too?"
"Have you accepted it though?"
Inuyasha grunted a reply. "Feh. I felt tired today. The old man Totosai wouldn't notice I'm gone."
"… No, I haven't accepted it."
Souta's eyes left the television, as if he was actually watching it, and turned to look at the hanyou. "… I'm… I'm glad you're doing this, you know."
"Then why are you telling me to?"
The hanyou stared at him in confusion. "Doing what, squirt?" he asked, long ago adopting a nickname for the shorter male.
"Because she would've wanted you to. She wouldn't want you to be all depressed and angry. I know it hurts but… I won't tell you to move on. I hate it when people say that. It's such an inconsiderate and stupid thing to say to someone who had someone close to them die. All I'm asking is that you accept it. That's all. What you want to do with it next is all up to you."
"You know," Souta started. "For doing this. For taking care of me. I would've been living on the streets by now and had to quit school. Worse yet, I could've been adopted by some stranger family."
They both chuckled at that, sharing a small, inside joke that went only between them.
"So I should accept that she's dead? That it wasn't your fault? That you tried your damnest to protect her, to save her? I should accept all that and try to be happy?"
"It's no biggie," he replied. "I promised your sister, didn't I?"
"… Yes. That's what she would have wanted," he repeated. "Just know, I'm trying to accept all that too. It isn't easy but… at least now that we're in it together this time, okay? I lost my parents too, just like you did. And I also lost your sister, just like you did. I made a promise to Kagome that I would take care of you… Can you please let me do it? That was the last thing she asked me for. Her final request. She loved you more than anything in the world. I hope you know that."
There was a brief pause of silence. "I miss her," Souta admitted for not the first time that month. The TV's program fell on deaf ears. "I wish she were here."
"... I… I loved her too. But… She left me… Like mother and father did…"
Inuyasha said nothing because there was nothing to say.
"Don't think like that," he scowled. "She loved you and her death was nothing natural, like what happened to your parents. She didn't want to leave you. Never. That's just how life is."
"You loved her too," Souta continued quietly, his light brown eyes gazing into golden coloured ones. "You loved her more than Kouga ever could."
"… I… I don't want to be alone."
Again, the hanyou said nothing. He merely stood and stared down at the younger man, a playful scowl on his face. "You must be hungry," he said gruffly. "'Cause I sure the hell am. What do you want, kid? Do you want takeout or just heated up hamburgers from last night?"
"You don't have to be. I'll protect you now, Souta."
Souta smiled faintly and shook his head, standing up and turning the TV off. "Nah. I'd… I'd like to cook my own food today. I got taught in class. I'll make something this time. Maybe I can match my sister's cooking!" he grinned.
"… Thank… you…"
Inuyasha smirked back, patting Souta brotherly on the back. "Whatever." He said it with a gentle affection. "Whatever."
The next day…
There was a knock on the door and Inuyasha immediately leapt up from his chair. He ran towards the said barricade and flung it open, finding a rather nervous Souta behind it. He scowled at him. "And where the hell have you been?" he growled. "I wake up one Saturday morning and you're not even in the house! When the hell do you do those kinds of pranks?"
Souta sheepishly shrugged. "I wanted to go for a morning walk, you know." He paused, looking down on the ground guiltily.
Inuyasha's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What have you done?" he said gravely, giving the younger man an intense glare.
The brown-haired boy shook his head quickly. "I didn't do anything!" he denied rapidly. "I was just walking and, well, this demon…" He stepped to the side, as if giving room for someone. "This demon that looks like you just shows up, claims that he's your brother and wanted to take me home," he finished lamely.
A tall, silver-haired demon then stepped in front of the doorframe. He wore a casual business suit, coloured white and silver. His eyes were golden, just like Inuyasha's, and his hair was long and thick. A blue crescent moon tattooed the middle of his forehead and two magenta stripes kissed each of the handsome demon's cheeks. His power was great as his very aura flared with the demonic aura he possessed, along with the air of superiority he seemed to wear like a badge.
Inuyasha's eyes widened in disbelief, his hackles rising and his figure bristling. Why does he look like me? Was the first thought that popped into his mind after the stranger's sudden appearance. Immediately, Inuyasha reacted. He growled warningly and pulled Souta inside, safe by his side. Golden eyes narrowed at the taller demon, only for the cold golden eyes to narrow back just as equally. "Who are you and what the hell do you want?" he said lowly. It was an odd sight. You don't usually see such obviously high-ranking demons up here.
The steely-faced demon peered down at him, eyes observantly narrowed. "You shall address me as Sesshomaru Takahashi. Formally known as Sesshomaru, Lord of the Western Lands back in the feudal era."
This guy is not serious, Inuyasha thought. He thinks he was a historic icon. "Well, whatever. Not like I care who the hell you were, anyway. Now, what do you want?" he growled. He sensed that this 'Sesshomaru' was an inu, just like he was. He also knew that he should have at least tried to be more civilized around the plainly rich demon. He couldn't help it though. Something about this guy set him off.
Sesshomaru ignored the hanyou's comments. "I'm here to discuss something with you," he stated quite cleanly. "You and I are brothers. Half, to be exact. So now, I'm going to invite to live with me. That human standing by your side will be taken in as my ward."
It was all put in a very blunt manner.
The two gaped at the demon. A stranger. What the fuck? "Listen, I don't know what kind of mumbo jumbo you're sprouting but there's no way in hell you can be my brother," Inuyasha stated firmly. What does he expect? Does he really think we'll go with him, a completely loony, in a risk that we might be getting conned? This is just too unreal.
"Half-brother," 'Sesshomaru' corrected almost automatically. "Perhaps if you allow me entrance I can properly give out my explanations."
Just as Inuyasha was about to reply with an arrogant, 'Hell no!', Souta intervene. "If you promise not to kill us, then fine," he quipped.
Inuyasha almost slapped his forehead. He grabbed Souta's arm and whispered violently into his ear, "What the hell are you thinking?" he asked, not knowing that the demon in front of them could still hear. "Are you some sort of lunatic?" he growled.
It was then Souta's turn to grab one of Inuyasha's fuzzy ears, pulling him down so he could whisper in it. "Remember when Kagome said she saw a demon that looked like you?" he asked quietly, his eyes shifting. "Maybe he's the one. Who knows? What he said could be the truth. Kagome certainly thought so."
Inuyasha now remembered that conversation. Odd, since he had forgotten all about the mysterious demon. With narrowed eyes, he forced himself to nod and move out of the way so the demon could enter. If he does one thing out of line, I'll fucking maim his rich-ass, he glared.
Sesshomaru observed the poor apartment, along with the rubbish that littered the floor. He chose to sit in a moderately clean wooden chair, forcing himself not to cringe. His face stayed emotionless and his eyes were forever narrowed. Once Inuyasha and Souta were seated on the sofa, tense and waiting for the silence to break, Sesshomaru commented, "A rather… fine home, you have here Inuyasha."
"How the hell did you know my name, bastard?" he retorted. He knew, along with Souta, that their home had been sarcastically insulted. "I don't remember giving it to you."
"At least your memory is working," he replied calmly. "Let me get this straight, hanyou. You will watch your tone with me. If not, you will face dire consequences." His eyes narrowed. "You are my younger half brother and you shall give me some respect."
"I am not your freakin' brother!" he snarled in response. "I have no fucking family!"
Cool golden eyes regarded him in a composed manner. "That is where you are wrong, dear half-brother," he said coolly. "Our father, the Inu no Tashio, or formally known as Tashio Takahashi of Takahashi Enterprises, has recently died two months ago. He left a will, claiming that there was a son here, in Kyoto. I was sent to investigate." He paused, checking if the hanyou was still listening. He was, it seemed, so he continued. "And in my investigation, I have confirmed that there was a lost son. Namely, you, a Inuyasha Takahashi, hanyou, born by a human mother and a demonic father." His eyes narrowed with silent fury. "And in the will, it stated that you shall be taken under my wing, given my protection and, when you have learned enough, claim half of the company as your rights as heir of one of the most powerful men in the business world."
When his story was finished, Inuyasha merely shook his head in disbelief. "I can't even try to believe the shit you're talking," he said in an eerily calm manner. "There are so many flaws in that crap that it's simply unbelievable," he sneered.
Sesshomaru glared at the ignorant hanyou. "And why do think that is so, hanyou?" he said coldly.
Inuyasha glared at him right back. "First off, the whole situation is practically impossible. I've been living here my entire life and now you expect me to believe I'm the son of some rich man? Hardly," he scoffed. "Secondly, how the hell did an all mighty man like your father impregnate my mother? She was poor, with barely any money. She sure as hell wasn't a slut or whore. Rich mixing with the poor? It doesn't add up." He leaned back, crossing his arms. "Thirdly, if it was even true, then why would your father leave my mother after finding out she was pregnant? That'd be a real awful thing to do, wouldn't it?" he sneered. "Fourthly, you've had practically two months to reach me. Why only now, after so much time has passed? And why take in Souta as well when he has no personal ties to you?" He scoffed, believing not a word. "And lastly, I don't trust you. You're just a complete stranger that just looks like me. Why the hell should I trust a word you say?"
A pause for two seconds as Sesshomaru examined the rough looking hanyou. "First off," he started, indicating the beginning of a long answer to all of the above questions. "You are nothing but rodents here. Look at this place. When a person comes to you and says you're the son of a successful businessman, of course you should believe it. What else can you do? You have nothing to lose in doing so. In all aspects, I do expect you to believe it. Secondly, my father was holding a deal here in Kyoto when he met your mother." His eyes narrowed. "Despite the fact that he's mated and married, he seemed to have fallen for the vixen, thus creating you. He didn't know that at the time though, for he had to leave her. It was only in a delayed letter that he received moments before his death did he find out that you existed. Thus answers your third question. Fourthly, I've been researching. Why should I turn up at someone's house without fully knowing my situation or relation to them? It would've been a waste of time if I was incorrect, which brings the fact that I never am. In addition, I had other pressing matters to attend to."
His eyes narrowed. It seemed as if he was annoyed that he was 'willingly forced' into talking so much. Especially since he was explaining himself to a pitiful hanyou. "And why take the human by your side?" he asked calmly. "It's because he is also in our father's will. The entire Higurashi family was."
At that, Inuyasha sat straighter and Souta's eyes widened. "What do you mean by that?" the hanyou growled. "How does that have to do with whatever shit you're feeding us?"
"Language, half-brother," Sesshomaru tsked. "I cannot allow such lack of civilized speech in my home." He elegantly pinched the bridge of his nose, as if getting a headache. "As for the connection," his speech was directed to Souta now, "my father seemed to have known your father. They seemed to be quite close since a part of his will said that the Higurashi family should be taken care of too. And since it is only you left, human, there's no other option than to adopt you as my ward."
Souta shook his head, disbelieving. "My dad never said anything about any Takahashi."
Sesshomaru regarded him with a cold stare. "Neither did mine about a Higurashi," he commented icily. "Whatever their relationship, your father was mentioned specifically in the will. Don't you think I would've checked the details before offering so much to a complete human stranger?" he asked indifferently. "As for the matter of Kagome Higurashi's death," he said continued silkily. His eyes shifted between Inuyasha and Souta. "I have also arranged that. That despicable ookami is in jail and that spider demon Naraku Onigumo is accompanying him." His eyes narrowed. "They have both broken the law. Murder and poisoning, along with countless other accusations. Rest assured that the proper punishments will be dealt."
He turned to look back at his half brother, who was not believing a word he said, he knew. "And you must trust me," he stated in a matter-of-fact tone. "I wanted to personally tell you this but if you wish, we can have DNA tests or my law suits confirming the blood that runs through your veins."
"This is all fucking unbelievable," Inuyasha grumbled. But the demon before him didn't seem one to lie, nor did he seem to want to kidnap them for his sick fantasies. He remembered a month ago, when Kagome told him that she saw this demon at the park. And then something struck him. "If what you're saying is true," he said warily, eyeing the demon. "Then how come you've been here before? Before these last two months?" Seeing the inu-youkai's blank expression, he elaborated. "A friend of mine mistook you for me when they were kids. They said they saw 'me' in that park, when I've never been there before. What were you doing there all those years ago?"
Sesshomaru slowly blinked. "Since you fail to give me a specific time, or even year, then I cannot fully answer your question." He pondered for a moment, flipping through his memories. "But I do remember making another business deal here in Kyoto quite a few years back. I did visit a specific park at that time, but since you also fail to give me the name of that park, then again I cannot be certain."
So that's how Kagome thought she saw me, Inuyasha thought. Idly, he scratched the back of his hanyou ear. "So, what now?" he said after a tense moment of silence. "I still can't believe your shit. This feels like a con to me. Everything you said is basically unrealistic." He became somber. "Listen, whatever you said is great and all, but you can't really expect us to believe that, right?" he asked. "Look at us. We're not exactly the run of the mill average family. It's hard to get by enough as it is with just the two of us. Now, this person shows up on our doorstep claiming to give us things we dared not to dream." His eyes narrowed as he surfaced his anger. "Sorry pal. We're not a couple of idiots you can just scam." It's… It's just too good to be true.
After a few minutes of Sesshomaru's quiet calculations, the demon stood up, his face a mask of indifference. "I am giving you the chance of a lifetime, hanyou," he said, his voice eerily cold. "You are my one and only family now. Our mother's have died, and so has our father. We have no other relations. Do you truly wish to deny the bond between us, the blood that physically links us together?" he asked icily. "I am familiar with how the world has treated you, a hanyou. An abominations created by a demon and a human. One could only hope the species survived through their childhood." His eyes narrowed as he stared down at the suddenly stunned hanyou. "You are of noble blood, Inuyasha. You have lived alone in your life, fighting for something that was just beyond your reach. Now I offer you retribution, salvation, and you want to throw that away?" His face was stoic, along with his voice. But anyone could see the inner passion in those golden eyes that flamed like a wildfire. "Whether or not I desire it, you are… family. I… You… cannot disgrace yourself any further by living like mere scum. You cannot disgrace yourself or our family."
Inuyasha was more than stunned. He was utterly baffled. He couldn't deny the sincerity in the cold demon's words, nor the power around him that spoke of intelligence and honor. It's just… the prospect of having a family… after so long being alone by myself… Can it really be true?
"But someone who looked like you was there, Takahashi." Kagome's voice suddenly reared inside his head. Those words she had spoken all that time ago when they first found out about a demon-look-a-like. "Come on. How many people do you see have silver hair and golden eyes? Not many, I can tell you that. Are you sure you don't have a brother, or a cousin for that matter?"
But he had denied it, like he was now. And yet… even then he wasn't quite so sure. After all, he couldn't remember and he wouldn't have known.
"Ha!" she said in victory, pointing at him rather rudely. "So he could be your relative! You don't know or don't remember. There's a chance that the person I saw last night was a part of your family."
But if he went with him… Unsure golden eyes forgot about the boy sitting next to him, completely focused on the demon standing tall and proud, meeting his eyes calmly. But if I go with him, along with Souta, everything will change. How would I know if things will turn out for the better or for the worse? Although he hated the low position he was in life, at least he actually knew what was happening, what was the routine and expectations. At least he was in control.
"Come on, Takahashi. You've got to give it a go."
He was scared, deep down. That in fact it was really a joke. No one would really accept him. He had said so himself. No family, no demon family of such a high stature would be willing to adopt him, a filthy hanyou.
"Do you ever wonder why I keep on trying to make you do things that you wouldn't normally do?"
He liked the fact he was in control of his life, even though it was crap. He liked the fact that things never did change. But did he really? He shut himself off from the world, never letting anyone close to him since his mother died. That is, until he met her.
"Because I know that you won't move by yourself," she answered silently. "You're always standing alone, by yourself, never moving. It makes me want to cry, whenever I see that faraway look in your eyes. That quiet look that speaks so much."
She taught him so many things. She taught him how beautiful the world could be, that it wasn't all just shadows and deceit. She taught him about love, about compassion and about the hope that gave people the will to find the brighter future just waiting beyond those dark doors.
"You're tired of living alone, aren't you?" she whispered. "You're tired of everything that keeps you from doing what you really want to do."
He loved her laughter. He loved those bright brown eyes that spoke of bother happiness and sadness. They were scarred, experienced, and yet they shone with such a light that it was impossible to linger on the sadness for long. He loved her. He had grown to love her and she had grown to love him back. She was everything he had hoped for. Everything.
"But, don't you see?"
He had to admit that was a change he liked. With her around, it wasn't quite so lonely anymore. It wasn't as dull or glum. With her, everything changed. He was no longer distant. He no longer felt the pain of rejection. He felt… happy. He felt loved by those closest around him. He didn't feel like that before she came. So, she was the change in his life. A change he wouldn't trade for anything in the world.
And suddenly… he wished his life could change for the better more.
"You can do whatever you want to do," she said. "Nothing's stopping you from making friends. Nothing's stopping you from living a life without loneliness. But… But even though there's nothing stopping you… You choose not to cross over that line. You choose to stay where you are, immobile. Being a hanyou… Being a hanyou is something that shouldn't stop you from trying to live. I… I don't want to see you like that. I don't want to see you alone."
Could this be the chance he was hoping for? The demon in front of him, was he offering him a life that was better than it was now? Just like Kagome had offered all those months ago? I wanted to push her away at first, he thought mildly. I wanted her to go away because she was disrupting the natural order of my life. If I hadn't been so mean to her… Our time together… We could have had more time to appreciate each other. I could have more time to appreciate her more before she left this world. If I deny this demon in front of me claiming to be my family… would I be making the same mistake again?
"Inuyasha… I want to see you happy."
Suddenly, his eyes hardened, determination pooling itself from those golden depths. He stood, facing the inu demon in front of him with a firm resolution.
No, I am not happy now.
I want to be happy.
I will change the course of my life so I can make it better for myself, for Souta.
You wanted to do that, Kagome, but you just ran out of time. It was taken away from you so suddenly.
I don't want to make that mistake.
"You'll accept me, a hanyou?" Inuyasha asked, his voice solid. "Are you completely sure about that?"
You wanted to see me happy.
The only way for me to do that is to leave my past life behind and move forward.
Just like you always wanted me to.
"Yes," Sesshomaru answered without hesitation. "You are a hanyou but you are also my brother. Despite your heritage, you are still apart of my family."
I will not make the same mistake again. This time, I'll take control of my life and actually do something with it.
You gave your life for mine.
I will not dishonor you by wasting it.
Sesshomaru stared at the hanyou intensely. "So, hanyou. What is your answer?"
He held out his hand.
Kagome, you wanted to see me happy.
I'll be happy for you.
You taught me that life was precious.
I won't let anything stand in my way from achieving my goal...
Inuyasha took the hand.
Sesshomaru's eyes faintly glittered with silent approval.
So I should say thank you.
Souta stood up and promptly hugged the hanyou, tears flowing down his cheeks.
Thank you… Thank you for everything.
Inuyasha sighed, letting go of his brother's hand and patting the younger man's back. He tried not to cry himself.
He didn't know whether it was Sesshomaru who spoke afterwards or whether it was Kagome's voice that whispered so gently inside his ears; but the words that were said next made him feel oddly… complete.
"You're welcome, Inuyasha."