"Could you repeat that please?"
The sentence was spoken in disbelief, and the person who had spoke was practically gawking at the figure standing across from him. Inuyasha's eyes were widened, as his mouth was hanging open, just as his brow was furrowed in confusion. The rest of his group was staring in shock as well, Kagome going so far as to let out a slight gasp.
"I said," The figure who had caused all the surprise spoke again, clenching his fists and resisting the urge to grit his teeth. "I am in need of your assistance, Inuyasha."
Inuyasha could have fainted.
Then the humor of the situation dawned on him, and he let out a bark of laughter, clutching his stomach.
"You, the 'almighty Lord Sesshomaru'?" He mocked, chuckling heartily. "You, the one who swore that he would be the one to kill me, need my help?"
This time Sesshomaru did grit his teeth, narrowing his eyes.
"Y-e-s." The word was spoken with great strength, and even to the humans it was apparent that it was taking all Sesshomaru's willpower to admit to the question.
Inuyasha wasn't sure what the demon lord could possibly want from him. The half-demon himself had simply smelt his scent coming in his general direction, and darted towards it, expecting a bloody battle that would (hopefully) end in Sesshomaru crying out for mercy.
This however, was a complete surprise.
Inuyasha opened his mouth to speak (most likely a crude retort), but was cut off by his brother speaking again.
"It appears, that through a series of unexpected and unfortunate events that I have been stripped of my demonic abilities. I am . . . no better than one of your ningen companions now."
Everyone was silent for a moment.
And then Inuyasha scoffed, drawing his sword from its sheath easily.
"Yeah, sure. Geez, Sesshomaru, if you're going to think of a plan to try and steal the Tetsaisga, then come up with something more believable, will you?"
Sesshomaru didn't make a move, his facial expression only changing into a slightly more annoyed one. "Are you implying that you don't believe me?" He deadpanned, one of his fine silver eyebrows rising slowly.
Inuyasha wasted no more time then, raising his weapon and dashing towards his older brother.
"Prepare yourself Sesshomaru!" He called out, gaining speed. His brother didn't move, his eyes seeming to still be focused on the place he had been mere seconds ago. When the demon lord finally looked at his figure, Inuyasha was directly in front of him. His eyes widened a fraction, before he snapped back, making a motion towards Tokijin.
Inuyasha was confused.
His brother was never this slow.
Regardless, he raised the Tetsaisga, preparing for a strike. Sesshomaru had just drawn his sword when he hit, and Inuyasha's eyes widened drastically when the sword flew out of his brother's hands from the impact.
The force of the blow had Sesshomaru reeling back, and Inuyasha found that he wasn't able to regain his balance, having moving faster than he normally would because he had assumed the raging force that was usually his brother would stop him with his strike. Nevertheless, nothing came, and Inuyasha found himself colliding into the demon in an attempt to keep his sword from hitting his brother. If he was telling the truth, and he really had lost all his strength, then it would be cruel to kill him as he was.
Both of the demons toppled over, Inuyasha able to catch himself before he completely collapsed on top of the daiyoukai.
Sesshomaru grunted underneath him and Inuyasha's amber eyes turned, staring down at him in disbelief. The demon simply laid there, a slightly pained look on his face. Inuyasha was kneeled over him on all fours, his eyes widened. Was Sesshomaru telling the truth? Highly confused, Inuyasha, set out to identify the cause of Sesshomaru's weakness. Tentatively, he leaned forward slightly and took a whiff of Sesshomaru's scent, attempting to smell something that he hadn't before. Sesshomaru's golden eyes stared up at him, narrowed slightly.
"Remove yourself from my person, half-breed." Sesshomaru spat. Inuyasha did so gladly, standing up and looking across the clearing to where Tokijin had landed.
"You... you were being serious!"
Sesshomaru stood elegantly, bringing a hand to the back of his platinum hair covered head, before quickly forcing it back down.
"Of course. This Sesshomaru does not deceive." He sounded annoyed once more, and the rest of Inuyasha's group watched the exchange with confused expressions.
"Lord Sesshomaru, what has happened to you?" Miroku asked, leaning forward on his staff.
"It is none of your concern, human."
"Not like you can talk, seeing as you can probably do less than Kagome now." Inuyasha said, a teasing smirk on his face. Kagome frowned, Sesshomaru mimicking her actions.
"Well, at least tell us why you've sought out Inuyasha?" Miroku persisted, a serious expression crossing his face.
Sesshomaru's frown deepened, though he still seemed as stoic as ever.
"I need my younger brother's assistance, to apprehend the demonness who has made me like this."
Inuyasha scoffed once more, placing his arms in the sleeves of his haori.
"And why should I help you? What have you ever done for me?"
"Now now, Inuyasha." Kagome scolded.
"Inuyasha has adequate reasons," Sesshomaru sighed, "For refusing my request." Sesshomaru looked up, his eyes finding Inuyasha's. "That is why, should you choose to assist me, I give you my word that I will . . . give up hope of stealing the Tetsaisga. I will also aid you, in your quest for the Shikon no Tama, and in defeating Naraku."
"No frickin' way!"
Inuyasha slammed to the ground.
"Baka! We could really use Sesshomaru's help. You said yourself that you hadn't even smelt Naraku's scent in a while!"
The half demon jumped up when he was able, glaring at the miko.
"She's right, Inuyasha." Sango agreed. Miroku added his consents shortly after.
"Yes. With only a few shards of the jewel left to find, your brother's help would be extremely valuable."
"Have you all forgotten about all the times he's attacked us? He almost killed Kagome!"
Miroku crossed his arms.
"He's already proved that he can't do anything in the state he's in now. I hardly think we should be wary of him."
Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed.
Inuyasha sighed, taking it into consideration. Yes, having Sesshomaru on their side would be a great advantage in the fight against Naraku. However, did he really want to wander around looking for some evil demonness all for the benefit of his brother? It would probably take them weeks to find her, and they didn't have weeks. He was eager to find Naraku, and dispose of him like the trash he was.
Inuyasha turned to Sesshomaru, ready to reject his proposal again. However when he saw the state his brother was in he stopped.
Sesshomaru's head was bowed slightly, his bangs covering the tops of his eyes. He was staring at the ground, hand hanging idly at his side. There was a look in his eyes that Inuyasha recognized, though the rest of the demon lord's face betrayed nothing.
He let out a soft noise of confusion, before realizing what it would mean if he didn't help his brother.
He would be virtually useless. He wouldn't be able to protect the western lands, let alone his ward or that green little toad thing that was constantly following him around. And Kami only knew who would be coming after him once they learned of his weakness.
And Sesshomaru knew this.
Inuyasha's mouth clamped shut and his ears lowered, pressing against his head. Finally, he sighed loudly in exasperation. Perhaps his human side had more of an effect on him than he'd care to admit.
"Fine." Inuyasha breathed. Sesshomaru made no move, and after a moment of wondering, he realized that it was because he hadn't heard him.
His senses were affected as well?
"Fine." He said louder, wincing as Sesshomaru raised his head and found his eyes. "I'll... help."
"Inuyasha." Kagome said fondly, smiling.
Inuyasha coughed slightly, looking away from her tender gaze.
"B-But there will be rules!" Inuyasha exclaimed suddenly, pointing a finger at his older brother. "First off, this is my pack, and therefore, you have to listen to what I say! Got it?"
Sesshomaru looked down.
"As you wish little brother."
Inuyasha lost some of his steam at his brother's open acceptance of his words.
"Er... yeah!" He scratched the back of his head awkwardly. "So... where's that human and your toad thing?"
Sesshomaru nodded his head behind him, and on cue, Rin and Jaken stepped out from the trees at the back of him. Ah-Un followed shortly after. Rin, wanting to please her lord picked up the sword where it had fallen, carrying it to him eagerly. The demon lord was smart, making sure they stayed downwind. The two came to stand beside their lord, Jaken frowning grumpily.
"Are we staying with Lord Inuyasha, Lord Sesshomaru?" The girl asked curiously, carefully handing him Tokijin. The lord gave a small nod of confirmation while sheathing his sword. The toad thing grumbled.
"I still don't understand why we have to enlist the help of a half-breed."
Sesshomaru kicked him in the back of his head, looking slightly annoyed.
"You will not speak of my brother in such a way, Jaken."
Jaken stared up at his lord in surprise, as did everyone else in the clearing.
Kagome's mouth was open in a small 'o' shape. Sesshomaru himself simply turned to Inuyasha.
"It would be in our best interests to begin our search."
Inuyasha blinked once more.
Sesshomaru looked at him flatly.
"The sooner I obtain my abilities, the sooner we can search for Naraku."
This seemed to snap Inuyasha out of his trance.
"Uh – Right. What did this demonness look like? Do you have her scent on you anywhere?"
Sesshomaru's face turned sour for a moment.
"...Hn. I imagine that there would be traces of her scent around my neck."
"Wha-? Your-" Inuyasha cut himself off, putting his hands up. "Never mind. I don't want to know."
He hesitated for a moment, before grudgingly stomping over to his older brother, placing his hands in his sleeves. He was standing in front of him, narrowing his eyes slightly.
Kagome rolled her eyes.
"Stand still." Inuyasha muttered.
The next few steps were painfully slow, and Inuyasha hated himself more and more the closer he got. Soon, he was standing shoulder to shoulder with his older brother, though in all actuality his only came to Sesshomaru's chest. He glared up at him defiantly. Sesshomaru matched his glare with one of his own. The pair was silent, and Sesshomaru let out a small breath of air before reluctantly tipping his head back and leaving his smooth neck completely bared. Inuyasha blinked at the move, his eyes landing on the pale flesh.
All of a sudden, the youkai in him snarled to be released. This was a clear sign of submission. And from his brother, no less. His instincts wanted him to... to, well, do something. He wasn't really listening to them.
He was, however, listening to his human side when it said that Sesshomaru was only giving him better access to catch the scent.
Inuyasha had to strain his head forward, leaning even closer to Sesshomaru in order to press his nose to the pale flesh on his neck. He snuffled a bit, making sure that he sorted Sesshomaru's smell from the more foreign one.
Though it was very difficult, with his youkai raging at him as it was. He really didn't understand what it was going so crazy over, this was just Sesshomaru, after all.
However, all it seemed to recognize was that this was a powerful demon in front of him, baring his throat. He took another sniff, and with his nose pressed so close, he could've sworn he felt the Daiyoukai tremble slightly. The half-demon pulled back slightly, looking at his brother in confusion.
Inuyasha reeled back from the demon lord at his youkai's sudden request.
He threw himself back so violently that he fell onto the ground, and was staring somewhere in front of him in horror.
Sesshomaru glanced down at him curiously.
Inuyasha, after a moment, finally came to look at the demon once more, before turning his head away, feeling something akin to a blush coming on.
Oh, if Sesshomaru could hear his thoughts. He'd never let him live it down.
Kagome's voice snapped him out of his reverie, and her appearance seemed to calm his inner demon a bit. Grumbling, he stood, looking away defiantly.
"Alright, what did this chick look like?" Inuyasha mumbled, hoping that his little tumble would be forgotten. There was a pause, before Sesshomaru began to speak again.
"Her hair is orange. Brighter than your fox kit's. She is a fox demon, with large vulpine ear's and a tail. She is usually wearing a black kimono with yellow blossoms as a pattern. Her name is Chikotsu."
Inuyasha nodded, turning around, the customary scowl on his face. He had already forgotten about his youkai's little outburst.
He turned; beginning to walk out of the clearing they were standing in. He took a sniff, not finding her scent on the wind anywhere. The first thing to do was to get out of this forest. He heard the telltale footsteps of his friends following behind him, and frowned slightly as four new sets were added to the mix.
Was this really the best idea?
He turned his head, looking back to Sesshomaru. There was something... different about him. His normal regal posture was disturbed slightly. His eyes normal cold gaze seemed to have melted, leaving only lukewarm shards of ice.
But why would he care?
A gleeful voice called, breaking the silence.
"Rin picked this for you, while Master Jaken and I were waiting behind the bushes!"
The demon lord looked down at her wordlessly as she, grinning widely, held out a single, beautiful white flower. The two were lagging behind as they walked, and no one paid the girl's words much attention, seeing as it was Sesshomaru she was talking to. However, one person didn't ignore them, choosing to watch his brother warily.
Inuyasha watched the exchange out of his peripheral vision.
He inwardly snorted.
As if Sesshomaru would accept a gift such as that. He was... well, Sesshomaru.
Then the demon lord stopped his walking, kneeling down until he could reach Rin's level.
And, to Inuyasha's surprise, he allowed the small human girl to reach up and cheerfully tuck the flower behind one of his pointed ears. The demon lord looked ahead, seemingly satisfied when he saw that no one else had saw his temporary moment of weakness.
Well, almost no one.
The human girl grinned at her lord, tilting her head to the side slightly, before skipping ahead to play with Shippo.
Inuyasha continued to watch the Daiyoukai, his eyes widened slightly.
That was... odd.
He had never seen such a look in his brother's eyes. He almost looked... tender. As if that girl was the single most important thing to him in the world.
And she probably was.
He cursed inwardly when the demon lord noticed his stare, catching his gaze and narrowing his eyes dangerously.
"Do you find something interesting, hanyou?"
Inuyasha scowled at the name, muttering a simple 'Keh!' as he left to go walk by Kagome. He could care less what his brother did. If he wanted to walk all slow and get left behind, that was his problem.
"What's wrong, Inuyasha?" The miko asked, taking note of his furrowed brow. He turned to look at her, looking away abruptly afterwards.
"Keh, nothing's wrong. I just can't stand that bastard of a brother of mine."
Kagome frowned, bending forwards slightly so that he would pay attention to her.
"Inuyasha, I know that you and your brother have a history, but he needs your help! And he's even offering to help us defeat Naraku. You know that we can't afford to let a chance like this go! And he gave us his word!"
"His 'word' means nothing to me." Inuyasha spat, his eyes narrowing. Though he knew that wasn't true. In all of the years he'd known his cold, impassive brother, Sesshomaru had never broken a single promise.
That was what angered him.
And all the times he'd gone to his brother for help, only to have been rejected with nothing more than a cold stare and even crueler remark. Although, that had all been when he was younger. Back then; all he had wanted was some sort of acceptance, or at least recognition from Sesshomaru, as his brother. He couldn't remember a single time that he had ever known any sort of brotherly affection. Though, he supposed, Sesshomaru had taught him in his own way.
Inuyasha recalled one occurrence, when he was so close to giving in and breaking, when he was hurt beyond repair from ignorant villagers, he had collapsed in the middle of the forest. And then, he could hear a cold voice, spitting insults.
Yet, when he woke up after falling unconscious, his wounds were tended to, a fire was lit beside him, along with a fresh kill lying next to his unconscious form.
With his brother's scent on the wind.
And all their battles. He knew that his brother was more than capable of destroying him, yet time after time their brawls would end with both of them intact, albeit severely injured. The time when his youkai blood had gotten the better of him, Sesshomaru had simply left, stating that it wouldn't be 'honorable' to kill him in that state. Moreover, before his mother had died and the villagers cast him out, his brother would visit if only to check to see if his 'worthless little brother' had died yet. He knew that the only reason for his scarce visits were to satisfy their father's spirit, but that didn't stop Inuyasha (when he was a child, mind you) from being any less cheerful. His big brother would never return the sentiments, choosing instead to glare and leave with cruel remarks that bit into the half-breed child's heart, which only wanted his big brother to love him.
Inuyasha shook the thoughts from his head, not wanting to recall memories of the past.
He was positive.
Sesshomaru was, always would be, a heartless bastard.
Kagome's face softened.
"Inuyasha, don't you wish to get along with your brother? This could be the thing that ends your fighting-"
"Sesshomaru and I will never stop fighting. We're destined to hate each other forever." He interrupted her angrily, beginning to walk ahead slightly.
She simply stared at the back of his head slightly, sadly, then looked back to Sesshomaru giving him the same look of pity. She was about to set her gaze back forward when she noticed the white flower resting in the demon lord's hair.
And then blinked again.
Her eyes followed Sesshomaru's line of sight, finding his gaze firmly locked on the small human girl, Rin.
A wide smile spread across her lips and she turned forward before he could catch her stare.
Perhaps Sesshomaru wasn't as bad as Inuyasha let off.
She would just have to get to know him more, that was all.
"Let's stop here, Inuyasha." Kagome spoke, moving to take her bag off her shoulders.
"What?" He shouted, turning around to argue. "We've hardly been walking for ten minutes!"
Kagome frowned, crossing her arms.
"Well, we were walking for hours before we found Sesshomaru! Take that into account."
Sango sighed, removing her boomerang from her back. "Yes, I am getting rather tired."
Miroku nodded, taking the opportunity to inch closer to the demon slayer.
The half demon all but snarled.
"Fine!" He yelled, more than upset at having his progress halted. "But you'd better be fixing ramen!"
With that, it was decided and they set up camp, Inuyasha grumpy as ever, mumbling comments under his breath about 'weak wenches'
A fire was started and they all sat around it, pleasant conversation starting in the group (with the exception of Sesshomaru), interrupted only once when Miroku's hands had decided to get a little too intimate with Sango.
The sun was just starting to set.
The demon lord sat as well, watching Rin warily as she ran around with Shippo.
Kirara approached Sesshomaru slowly, crawling forwards on all fours, ears pressed down. Ah-Un was watching her carefully. At first, she growled lightly, remembering times when this demon had attempted to kill her pack leader. However, he seemed tame now, perhaps even a bit subdued as he sat there, ignoring her presence. She could sense just by his aura, that this was a very powerful demon, one that wasn't to be messed with.
Well. She didn't mind him, so long as he didn't try to hurt any of her friends.
She sauntered over to the demon lord on her tiny fur covered legs, rubbing against the side of his thigh, tenderly. She looked up at him, placing her front paws up on his leg, silently conversing with him.
Showing him her acceptance.
The demon lord stared down at her, understanding her words, though he'd never particularly cared for cats. Wordlessly he reached a hand up, absentmindedly petting the top of her head in a gentle caress. His kimono sleeve fell from his wrist slightly, revealing magenta marks striped across a pale wrist, spiraling down onto his hand.
"Kirara!" Sango called across the fire warily, noticing her and Sesshomaru's close proximity.
She mewled in response, leaving his side and bounding over to her cheerfully.
The demon lord took no offense.
Kagome warmed the ramen she had brought, handing it to Inuyasha once it was finished. She sighed slightly at his enthusiasm when he all but snatched it from her hands, rolling her eyes.
Nobody should be able to obsess over food as much as he did.
As everyone ate their dinner Kagome smiled, looking around at the warm atmosphere that seemed to be in the air. However, she frowned slightly when she noticed that the demon lord had nothing.
"Oh! Sesshomaru, would you like some—"
"I am not hungry." He spoke, eloquently cutting her off.
"Let it go, Kagome." Inuyasha spoke, his mouth full of ramen. "Sesshomaru doesn't eat human food anyways. It's too lowly for a 'mighty demon lord like him'." He mocked, sticking his chopsticks into the box once more for another noodle filled bite.
"At least I know something of manners, half-breed." The demon lord said, almost tiredly, not even bothering to allow his narrowed gaze to meet his brothers.
Inuyasha swallowed his dinner angrily, jumping up from his seat.
"You wanna say that to my face, bastard!"
Sesshomaru simply turned and looked at Inuyasha, his golden eyes slightly... dull.
"Inuyasha," He spoke, "I tire of your antics."
Inuyasha growled at this statement, pulling out the Tetsaisga slowly.
"Are you ignorant, half-breed, or did you simply forget that I cannot fight you like this?"
The statement poured from the demon lords lips elegantly, and Inuyasha hated him even more for this.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't just kill you right now, Sesshomaru!"
Everyone around the fire was quiet. This wasn't their fight.
Sesshomaru brought his eyes to meet his brothers, and Inuyasha felt his next words die in his throat as golden eyes met his.
"Because father would not want you to kill your older brother."
"Wha-! Well then, what about all the times you tried to kill me, bastard!"
Sesshomaru sighed, tilting his head slightly to remove platinum strands of hair that had worked their way into his face.
"If I wanted to kill you, Inuyasha, I would have done so by now."
The Tetsaisga lowered to the ground as Inuyasha stared at his brother incredulously.
"However I will not deny the fact that I resent you being born, half-breed. You are a taint in our family, but it remains that you are indeed father's child. Meaning that regardless of what I would prefer, we are related by blood ties."
Inuyasha's eyes narrowed, unsure of how to take Sesshomaru's words.
A silence fell around the camp, and Kagome's eyes darted back and forth between the two brothers nervously. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Inuyasha sheathed the Tetsaisga, turning on his heel and promptly walked away from the group.
"Inuyasha!" Kagome's cry sounded behind him, and he could hear her feet scrambling to join him before another voice cut them off.
"Leave him be, miko."
As Inuyasha picked up speed, beginning to run away from the group, for once, he found himself grateful of Sesshomaru's presence.
And Inuyasha ran.
He ran until he could just barely smell everyone's scents, frowning unhappily at one of the newer ones. Rain, and ice. Sweet flowers mixed with something a bit more mild.
His words troubled him.
"If I wanted to kill you, Inuyasha, I would have done so by now,"
Did that mean that all the times Sesshomaru had glared at him, drawn his sword and spoke of his loathing and disgust . . Sesshomaru never really intended to kill him? Was it just . . . some sort of warped training session his older brother had introduced, to avoid having to actually be around him all the time?
Well . . . where did that put them now? If they didn't want to kill each other, and they still didn't want to try to actually be brothers, (definitely not, Inuyasha thought) then what were they? Rivalry was all he had ever known with Sesshomaru.
And he wasn't about to let that change.
He stood there a moment longer, looking up at the canopy of trees about him. Then Inuyasha sighed, putting his hands in his sleeves and glancing back to camp.
Kagome would be worried.
He dashed back, walking once he could see the fire in the distance and put on his customary scowl. Just because Sesshomaru didn't want to kill him didn't mean he had to start liking him.
"Inuyasha, are you okay?" Kagome asked, standing and gently placing a hand on his arm. His frown grew, and he shut his eyes in annoyance.
"Feh. Why wouldn't I be?"
Life at the campsite went back to normal then, Miroku being reprimanded by an angry demon slayer, Shippo and Rin laughing and playing games. Only Inuyasha seemed to be a bit disturbed, unable to keep himself from eyeing the demon lord every couple of seconds. He seemed as stoic as ever, eyes staring listlessly into the fire before him.
Deciding to get more comfortable, he proceeded to do his usual routine of jumping into the branches of the nearest tree, settling down and placing his hands in the sleeves of his haori. His eyes involuntarily flickered to Sesshomaru. He seethed as he watched him, eyes narrowed dangerously.
How he loathed him.
All these years . . . all these years, he had really believed that his big brother wanted to kill him.
Well it wasn't too far from the truth.
As long as they still hated each other that was fine with him.
He looked down at his brother once more, finding his head tilted to the side, causing all of his silver hair to spill over to one shoulder. Revealing the demon lords neck.
Inuyasha frowned slightly, recalling what had happened earlier.
That was... weird.
He figured it would be best to delete it from his memory.
Foxgirl: So yes! This was my first multi-chaptered yaoi story. It starts out kind of crappy, but my writing style does improve with time! Then it probably gets crappier as I struggle to keep up with my updates. D: Anyway, I plan on going through and re-editing it a little, as I found a bunch of little mistakes that piss me off. Hope you enjoy!
Vixen: Review please.