Disclaimer: I, obviously, do not own Inuyasha or the characters belonging to the show…
Events of a Moonless Night
"Inuyasha." A deep, silken voice touched the quiet bedroom from where its white-haired owner lay curled around a slighter white-haired man who grunted in response to his name. Silence followed and sat easily in the cool, crisp autumn morning that the sun had yet risen to meet.
"Whaddaya want, Sesshoumaru?" The smaller male, Inuyasha, mumbled at long last, his gruff voice nearly lost with sleep.
"I have decided." The elder answered, pulling Inuyasha closer to him and allowing his golden eyes to flutter open to check the alarm clock sitting on the nearby nightstand. The younger demon growled low in the back of his throat before sitting up to glare down at the elder demon.
"Spit it out, Sesshoumaru! It's too damn early for your cryptic half sentences. Say what you wanna say or let me go back to sleep!" He snapped in a rush before putting his back to Sesshoumaru and pulling the blankets up to his chin to ward off the cool air. Despite the younger man's apparent annoyance, Sesshoumaru allowed the faintest of smiles to touch his lips before curling around Inuyasha's back once more for warmth.
"You are right. It can wait." He murmured gently into one of the two pointed dog-ears that sat on top of Inuyasha's head. The furry, white triangle nearest to his warm breath flicked to keep the gush of air out but that was the only answer he got from the slighter male.
Somewhere between Inuyasha's calm heartbeat and the warm press of his clawed hand over Sesshoumaru's, the elder demon managed to drift back off to sleep. He dreamt of the past. Their past.
In his dreams, he smelled blood.
The Daiyoukai of the west's cold, golden eyes narrowed and the slightest of frowns marred his features as he crossed a scent that bothered him in more ways than one.
A mate. That was what he was searching for. He had allowed himself to be sidetracked one too many times and it was catching up with him. The black dog demons of his court were becoming restless for they had hopes of overthrowing him and he was making it easy for them, without a mate and without an heir as he was. Now that Naraku was taken care of and he had Bakusaiga on his hip, this was the only real concern that weighed on him in any way.
The scent pulled at him, enticing his senses and feeding his demon's desire to fulfill more carnal and primitive urges.
Sesshoumaru stopped walking and growled lightly, barely noticing when the small group he allowed to travel with him froze as well. He moved silently to Ah-Un, the two-headed dragon, and removed its muzzles before turning to the green kappa that acted as his retainer.
The toad demon stiffened and bowed his head slightly. "Ye… Yes, me lord?" He inquired, hoping he and not inadvertently done something to anger the lord of the western lands.
"There is a clearing near the river just off this path. You will go there and wait." Sesshoumaru commanded before he was enveloped in a ball of light and raced through the air towards the source of the tantalizing scent and leaving Jaken to do as he had bid.
Inuyasha tripped over a log hidden in the darkness making pain erupt up his shinbone. "Stupid human blood!" He cursed as he rolled back to his feet and took off at full speed once more, adrenaline forcing him to ignore his many wounds.
Something reached out of the darkness to snatch at his ankles making him tumble to the ground again. This time, however, the now black-haired and violet-eyed half-demon rolled to his back and laughed sourly. The venom running through his system was catching up with him and his accelerated heartbeat was doing him no favors.
"This is it." He said to the moonless sky as something sour rolled up from his belly to burn at his throat. "I'm gonna die…" He closed his useless human eyes and listened, in silence, to the booming footsteps of the dozen or so giant demon spiders he had been running from for the last few hours. One roared from closer than he believed them to be but he made no attempt to fight.
A low growl rumbled through the trees, overpowering the spider's cries and sending a chill down Inuyasha's spine. A snapping sound cracked through the air followed by the sounds of trees splintering and crashing to the earth. The spider's roars turned into high-pitched whines that faded away followed, closely, by their booming footsteps.
The dark night fell quiet once more but for the cool breeze in the trees and Inuyasha's skyrocketing heartbeat. His bruised shin and injured ankle pulsed in time with it, spreading pain and poison-laced blood deeper into his system.
A cool hand pressed to his forehead and violet eyes flashed open to meet a golden gaze narrowed down on him.
"Sessh-" Inuyasha began only to cut himself off with a gasp of pain as his hand moved to cover his side where a spider had managed to tear into him. "Fuck!" He squirmed but large hands held him mostly still as cold eyes examined his sorry state. "Sesshoumaru, why-"
"Idiotic half-breed." Sesshoumaru quipped, his deep voice cutting off Inuyasha's words without care. The human swatted his brother's hands away and tried to rise only to crumple helplessly against the armor adorning the daiyoukai's chest, coughing up blood.
"Fool." Sesshoumaru all but snapped, making no move to push the boy away. "You are too wounded to stand. You would have been wiser to stay with your pack." Despite his words, Sesshoumaru stood and pulled his wayward brother to his feet. Inuyasha gripped the now blood spattered armor to remain standing.
"Why the hell would you care if I lived or died?" The boy snapped out, wobbling dangerously but still standing due to his vice like grip on Sesshoumaru as well as the large hand on his left shoulder. His body wilted into the elder as pain sparked through him.
"You are mine to kill, little brother."
Inuyasha, even in his state, froze in shock at the lack of malice in the elders' words. "You have poison in your system. You require rest." The Daiyoukai nearly rolled his eyes at the predictability of his sibling who attempted to pull away.
"Let go of me, asshole." Inuyasha snapped when Sesshoumaru saw fit to use both hands to hold him in place. His exhausted body welcomed the embrace but his instincts reared back from the danger he knew his elder brother to be despite their tenuous alliances in the past.
"Rest, little brother."
The words had barely passed Sesshoumaru's lips before the human's flagging body pulled him into unconsciousness.
Birds chirped pleasantly to greet the not so pleasant sun that glared through Inuyasha's eyelids. The boy growled and rolled over, wishing for nothing more than sleep. He was exhausted and whatever had wound up as his bed for the night was far too comfortable to give up.
He pulled the blankets up to his chin and huddled down further into the pillows when what he just did clicked and his eyes shot open. He was in a bed large enough for five people to fit comfortably beneath the large, white dog pelt that covered it. To his left, shoji screen doors had been left open to let in the cool autumn breeze and reveal a picturesque garden. The room was spacious and the screens that made up the wall were covered in elaborate renderings of a family of white dogs in random acts of life. It made the question of whose home he was in a simple one to answer, though he wasn't sure he wanted that question answered. He should be dead. The poison should have killed his human blood and rotted away his insides turning them to liquefied goo that the spiders could easily digest. As it stood, however, he was alive and indebted to his 'savior.'
The shoji screen that the bed faced slide open and a blond dragon demon slipped quietly into the room carrying an overloaded tray in one hand and an empty bowl in the other. He slid the screen shut with his foot, his bright blue eyes focused intently on the tray.
Inuyasha rose to his hunches as the dragon's attention flicked to him but was left speechless when the blonde's face split into a wide grin.
"You are awake!" He exclaimed, his excitement doing nothing to hide an accent that proved Japanese was not his native tongue. "Good! It took us a while to get your fever down." He glided forward and placed the try on the low table at the side of the bed closest to the half-demon.
Inuyasha watched in quiet disbelief as the blond filled the bowl with hot water from a steaming kettle and dropped a clean cloth in it before moving to pour a herbal tea in a small cup that he offered to the wide-eyed dog demon.
"Are you feeling okay?" The dragon asked lightly, concern evident in his soft, blue gaze.
Inuyasha nodded, sniffing at the tea before sipping hesitantly at the dark liquid. The blonde's smile faltered as he sat on the edge of the bed. "I would like to check that your wounds have healed, if that is alright."
The half-demon blinked and considered the other for a moment as he finally took stock of himself. He wore only his bright red hakama and his torso, left arm, and left ankle were covered in bandages that smelled as if they had been dipped in some concoction from Kagome's time. "You did this?" He inquired, motioning to his waist.
"Yes!" The other chirped before frowning lightly. "Well, the bandages. Not the wounds. You were wounded when lord Sesshoumaru brought you home. May I?" he asked though he had already leaned in to unwrap the cloth from Inuyasha's waist.
"You said Sesshoumaru brought me here?" The half-demon asked as the dragon made quick work of his bandages and prodded expertly at the healing flesh.
"Of course. Surely you know your brother's scent. This is his bedroom, after all."
Inuyasha grimaced at the dragon's words. "Yea. I recognized it but I was hoping I was wrong."
This seemed to genuinely confuse the dragon who paused in his examination of Inuyasha's ankle to look him in the eye. "You and lord Sesshoumaru…" He shook his head and smiled before returning to his prodding. "No matter. He brought you here and laid you upon his bed and demanded that we do everything in our power to heal you. I must admit, I was a bit confused at first, what with your human appearance, but we did as we were bid."
The blond pulled away and gathered up the discarded dressings. "Your wounds are healing up nicely. You should be up and back to normal in about a week or two. Delio will want to make sue there is no chance of relapse. The poison was very potent, we can not afford to take chances."
Inuyasha scowled lightly and finished his tea.
"Casca. Where is Delio… and Gambel?"
They looked up to find Sesshoumaru standing in the open balcony, his expression completely aloof and his golden eyes glittering like ice.
Casca stood and bowed. "Gambel is with Rin and Delio is settling some small matters we did not believe you should have to worry about, my lord."
The lord of the west nodded before turning his attention to his younger brother. "His condition?" He inquired of the dragon who straightened before moving to the other side of the bed where Sesshoumaru stood.
"Lord Inuyasha must remain in bed for the rest of the day—"
"No way in hell am I going to—"
"My lord Inuyasha, please." Casca exclaimed, cutting off the irate half-demon with patient ease. "You are not completely healed. If you wander off on your own in your current condition, you will be killed."
"Fuck that! I'm not staying anywhere near that asshole!" The boy snapped, thrusting a finger towards his stoic elder brother who watched his violent display impassively. "He's a fuckin' bastard that can't be trusted."
Casca sighed and shook his head. "Then why did he bring you here to be healed by Delio, one of the most talented healers in all of Japan? Why did he bother saving you in the first place?" The blonde inquired but the boy in the bed said nothing as his clawed hands curled themselves tightly into the inu pelt that still covered his legs."
"That will be all, Casca." Sesshoumaru's voice cut effortlessly through the tense silence, making his younger brother bristle noticeably before a low growl began to rumble in the boy's chest.
The dragon nodded to the Daiyoukai. "Yes, my lord. One of us would like to check up on him before the house retires for the night, with your leave." Sesshoumaru dismissed him with a curt nod.
"Cease your growling." The demon commanded of the stiff boy on the bed who only rose up into a defensive crouch and growled louder. Casca hesitated at the door long enough to send Inuyasha a pitying glance before leaving his lords' private chambers and sliding the shoji screen shut behind him.
"Little brother." Sesshoumaru called, the unusual lack of venom in his tone catching the younger dog demon off guard. "Enough. Fighting in your state will only worsen your condition. Casca and his brothers have worked tirelessly to heal you. I will not see their work undone."
"Why would you care if I fuckin' lived or died?" Inuyasha growled out, still on the defensive as Sesshoumaru moved next to the bed.
"Enough, Inuyasha." His smooth voice echoed commandingly through the room. The growling stopped but the tension that nearly had Inuyasha vibrating remained tightly laced through the boy as his elder brother settled on the bed next to him.
Sesshoumaru reached towards the half-demon, who flinched away from the close proximity, and took the teacup from his hand to fill before offering it back to him. The younger dog demon watched the elder suspiciously before cautiously taking the cup and sipping at it. The Daiyoukai turned his gaze to the open garden before falling still once more.
"You didn't answer me, asshole." Inuyasha grumbled with only half his usual bite, uncomfortable with the lack of the usual arguing between them. "Why did you…" He trailed off into silence as those cold, golden eyes turned and caught his attention. Those eyes narrowed slightly and Inuyasha stared in wonder at the frozen perfection that was his brother. His perfect, dark brows slightly arched with mild curiosity, his aristocratic nose and below that his elegant lips that were curled up with placid amusement.
Inuyasha blinked and realized not only had he been admiring his brother. No, he was doing far worse. He was staring at Sesshomaru's mouth. A fine a wonderful mouth as it was, when not curled down in a disgusted sneer that was generally directed at Inuyasha. Those lips curled up further into the near semblance of a soft smile.
Shit, he was doing it again.
"Why did I do what, Inuyasha?" Sesshoumaru asked, his impassive mask slipping firmly back in place.
The half-demon's eyes widened at the sound of his name leaving his brother's lips with no hint of sarcasm or malice. His confusion pushed him forward while stripping him of his angry tone. "Why did you help me?"
"I told you the other night. You are—"
"That's not a real fucking answer and you know it, bastard!" Inuyasha yelled before throwing the teacup at the other's face. The elder smacked it out of the air and it shattered harmlessly on the floor. "Fucking give me a straight answer!"
A quiet huff of laughter left Sesshoumaru sending a chill down Inuyasha's spine. Beautiful as he was, the western lord was still absolutely terrifying (not that Inuyasha would ever admit to that.) "You and I are the last of our kind." He murmured, maintaining steady eye contact all the while.
"There are more dog demons than us."
"True, but we are the last of the white clan, the highest clan of our kind. If anything were to happen to this Sesshoumaru or yourself, the black clan would take the west."
Inuyasha unconsciously shivered, dropping his gaze down to his shattered teacup slowly dripping its black contents onto the highly polished wooden floor. "What's any of that gotta do with me. This is the first time I've even been to father's home…" He glanced around the room as doubt began to flood him. He had never truly paid attention to the west as Kikyou and Kaede's village was in the east. There was a chance that the castle of the west was built under Sesshoumaru's guidance and was not their father's home at all. He took a breath, scenting the air, and allowed his eyes to slide shut. Sesshoumaru's scent was strong here.
"You are correct."
Inuyasha blinked up at his brother to find his attention on the shoji screens. Golden eyes danced over the painted images of white dogs dancing over the screens.
"This was father's home as well. He…" Sesshoumaru trailed off before turning his attention back to Inuyasha. "I am to have a mate by my 400th year. It is required of me as Daiyoukai. I cannot choose from the black clan for it will give them power. They stand united against this Sesshoumaru for power. Any other dog demon clan would be far too weak to carry on our bloodline." He paused, his gaze narrowing intently on Inuyasha. "I must choose within the white clan, Inuyasha. I have but three months."
"How would you marr—ah… mate within our clan if…" The younger demon's eyes widened with alarm as he finally put together what was being asked of him merely for the sake of clan. The boy jumped to his feet only to sit on the edge of the bed, dizzy from the sudden movement.
"No." He snapped out, rubbing at the sides of his head with his fingertips, willing the dizziness away. "I… no… no way in hell! I'm a guy!" He yelled, glaring at Sesshoumaru.
"You know as well as I that your sex matters not. You can, and will, carry and bare an heir to our clan."
"I'm your brother!"
"A human concern that you need not worry about. My blood and the demonic blood that flows through your veins will burn out your human blood and our pups will be in no way disfigured. The fact that we are so closely related, due to our father's seed, will only make them stronger."
"Father obviously cared for your safety, hence the Tetsusaiga and the fire rat haori he passed on to you. Being my mate will grant you both safety and prosperity."
Inuyasha paused, his face red with embarrassment, and gritted his teeth. "You hate me."
Sesshoumaru resisted the urge to squeeze the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, a habit of annoyance he had thought he'd broken himself of long ago. "You are the only logical choice, little brother." He said after granting himself a moment of silence to ease his ever-rising agitation. One thing could be said about Inuyasha, he had the gift of making even the great lord Sesshoumaru lose his seemingly eternal calm. "We are both of the white clan so our pups will be powerful and the fact that we are both males will only add to that strength. The black clan will not be allowed to take over." He spoke calmly, his voice deep and desolate, before rising and moving towards the balcony.
"Sesshoumaru, wait." Inuyasha called and, to his surprise, his elder brother complied, though he did not turn to face the boy. "Surely there's someone else. You could probably have anyone, I bet. Why—"
"Enough." Sesshoumaru barked, turning to the boy on the bed with narrowed eyes that effectively cut off Inuyasha's argument. "I will have no weak, whimpering bitch at my side. Our bloodline will be carried on, Inuyasha. Now rest. Delio will be here later to check in on you and bring you dinner." With that he turned and left, disappearing off the edge of the balcony.