Later 21 Acceptance
When Inuyasha next awoke, Kagome was sitting with him holding his hand and he felt much better; the poison was gone from his system but the healers had told Kagome that he was to stay in bed until the morning as he was still weakened. She had been introduced to Sesshoumaru's grandfather and was most impressed, especially after she heard what had happened.
"The pup landed between my mate and myself, pushing her behind him and with his claws and fangs ready to attack. I needed to knock the silly whelp out before he hurt himself. He received a small dose of poison only but he will recover soon enough."
"Thank you for not killing him."
"I do not kill pups; or anything else unless there is solid reason. Besides, your mate intrigues me and I wish to know more about him. He is so young to have done all the deeds accredited to him and I dislike the not knowing."
"I forget just how young he is to all of you."
"You as a human will reach your maturity far before this pup reaches his; there may be times you will have to exercise patience and remember this. But he will catch up; you have time on your side as your bond is strong."
"I have always needed patience with Inuyasha."
"I can imagine; but he also has needed it with you and your spell of subjugation I understand." The youkai said sternly. "It really is something you should have removed by now don't you think?"
"I have never used it since I returned; and I am so used to seeing it around his neck, but you are right of course, and I will take it off."
"There is no time like the present." He watched as she blushed and reached for the rosary and with a pink flash it was gone. "Inuyasha will be all the better for the removal, his youki will be stronger and not muted. This is a good deed."
"I didn't know it dampened his youki."
"Of course, that is its function and another reason why your little hanyou is so remarkable; to take down a monstrosity like Naraku without being able to use his full power was a notable feat. It is also why I must ask for your indulgence, I would like to spend time with Inuyasha to get to know him; there are things to discuss. You can amuse yourselves and your pups with wedding preparations without him for periods at a time, can you not?"
"Yes, but only on the understanding that no one hurts him physically or mentally; he has been through enough and I will purify anyone who upsets him anymore. Inuyasha is strong and able, he has made a place for himself and has respect and love; but he has had to fight all of his life to get it. I don't want him having to fight anymore so, if you don't want him, we do."
"Spoken like a true mate and you need have no concerns, Inuyasha will be completely unharmed."
"Then of course, it will do him good to come to know his family better." Then Kagome gasped as she realised what she had said, but was put at ease by the wry smiling expression on the face of Sesshoumaru's grandfather.
"Do not be concerned, Inuyasha may not be of my blood, but he is pack and my Grandson's brother; that is close enough to be called family." The Inu youkai smiled again at her and she felt the strength and wisdom in his aura. Kagome smiled back and he left so that she would be alone with her mate when he awoke.
Inuyasha was pleased to see Kagome; she was always calming to him and helped him make sense of what was happening. Her perspective usually managed to balance out his often more cynical look on the world. He was amazed at how much stronger he felt without the necklace and his obvious joy at being freed made her feel guilty for having forgotten just what it really meant to her mate. Inuyasha though was more sensitive to his Kagome's feelings now, and brushed her apologies aside even allowing her to laugh gently at his chivalrous behaviour to Sesshoumaru's Grandmother.
There was a knock on the door and the healer came in ready to discharge Inuyasha; his recovery was very good and hastened by the release from the rosary. Kagome helped him to dress, not because he needed help but because she enjoyed it; but that pleasure was cut short as another knock revealed the Lord and Lady of the Southern Isles and their daughter and grandson, wanting to speak with Inuyasha.
All four of the Youkai were intimidating to the smaller hanyou and human, but their faces were all calm and open; which was just as well, considering the strength of their combined auras. But neither Kagome nor Inuyasha were concerned as there was no feeling of threat from any of them, to the hanyou's relief. Far from it, there was a sense of well being even from the elder of the ladies who was the first to speak;
"I trust you bear me no ill will for my misplaced concern over your presence in the company Inuyasha?" She said in a concerned voice and ignoring Kagome's questioning glance at her and then Inuyasha.
"No, Lady, you just said what you thought was best for your pup. I understood at the time."
"Good;" said her Lord, "because Sesshoumaru calls you brother; is this correct?" He looked to Sesshoumaru for confirmation and the Western Lord nodded his head in agreement. The Lord of the Southern Isles then continued."Inuyasha it is therefore proposed that we offer you the same rights as Sesshoumaru to call us by the familial titles; you are brothers, therefore it makes sense to us for you to call us Grandmother and Grandfather."
"You want to be my grandparents too; you would both be alright with this?"
"It would not have been offered if either of us was unwilling Pup."
"I…I don't know what to say."
"Do you wish for this?"
"Yes please, very much."
"Then it is settled; you are now our adopted Grandson and pack." He moved aside for his daughter who lifted Inuyasha's face to look him in the eyes.
"So far, I have not cared about you or whether you lived or died Inuyasha; some may condemn me for that, as well as my allowing my son to torment your youth. I know your father would have deplored the way both of us have acted towards you. But as you have done for Sesshoumaru, I would like you to do for me if you can, and put the past behind you as much as is possible. It would please me if you could also look on me in the same light as my son and call me mother as he does.
"I understand that I am not your Mama; and I do not wish to take her place from you, she had your heart as she should have done as an infant. But you are no longer a pup in need of a mama other than her; however I would be honoured if you ever need a mother, for you to come to me."
Inuyasha's eyes were like organ stops as he stared at the Lady and then at his impassive brother. Kagome was in tears of joy for him, finally he would have a true youkai family and a sense of belonging that he had never known; but Inuyasha was bewildered at all of this attention and as Sesshoumaru could tell and had expected, the pup was suspicious.
"Why?" He asked her gently; "Why would you offer this to me. I know the great pain that my birth brought to you and Sesshoumaru." He flinched involuntarily as her hand came to stroke his face and she leaned forward to kiss his forehead and then cupped his face in both her hands so that he was only focused on her and her words.
"Your birth was never your fault pup, but you have suffered greatly as a result of our grief. You though are a remarkable child; you grew strong and honourable, you would have made both your parents very proud and we are all pack. I do not hate you Inuyasha; in fact, I grow very fond of you the more I know you and the centre of a strong pack is safety for us all."
"Sesshoumaru, what do you think of all of this?"
"I am in complete agreement with my elders Inuyasha; and it would be wise of you to learn quickly, that obedience to them is the prudent thing." With that, he too, came and kissed Inuyasha on the forehead. Then he offered his arm to Kagome and indicated that Inuyasha should do the same for their Mother as he followed their grandparents out and towards the dining hall for the lunchtime meal.
Lunch was a noisy affair with the pups and all the adults chatting; all except for Inuyasha who was still stunned and trying to decipher everything. At least he wasn't getting the signal to leave anymore, the Lady was actually smiling at him; it didn't put him totally at ease however. Sesshoumaru noticed with sad amusement, that Inuyasha kept looking around him like a scalded cat, and knew that his brother was still waiting for the catch.
After lunch, Sesshoumaru took Inuyasha aside and asked him to bathe and get dressed in his finery as the Prince, but he didn't say what he wanted although he did ask what had caused his brother's trepidation at lunch.
"Do you not trust them Inuyasha, do you feel that they lied to you and are trying to trick you?"
"No, it's not that; what do you really feel Sesshoumaru, these are your relatives, are you going to hate or resent me if I call them family too? Especially your mother, I mean…"
"I was the first one that they consulted before coming to you Inuyasha; even my grandfather would not make that decision without my agreement. I think it is the right thing to do and I hope it will go to correct the many wrongs you have endured, and in case you are wondering, they all want this; even our Grandmother. They all want to get to know you Inuyasha; no one is going to trick you, you have my word."
This was enough for Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru didn't lie and the hanyou started to get used to the idea of having a family that he could rely on and that he could perhaps go to for advice. There were so many possibilities that it was impossible for him to comprehend all at once, in just how many ways his life would be changed.
The further way in which Inuyasha's life was enhanced, came once Sesshoumaru collected him from his suite and approved his attire and grooming. Sesshoumaru had deliberately left instructions for Inuyasha's hair to be collected in a top knot and now he looked very like their father; it was time for Sesshoumaru to lead his brother to the assembly room where the court was in waiting. Not letting Inuyasha pull away and escape by holding on to the boy's elbow tightly, Sesshoumaru looked around before he spoke.
"At least one of you gathered here knows why I have convened this meeting. This Sesshoumaru has not been told and does not know which of you, my councillors and friends, gravely insulted and attempted to oppress my brother yesterday; neither do I want or need to know. However all of you need to understand that his position as my brother and pack member is unassailable and any further attempt at undermining him or putting him or his family at personal risk will be dealt with as Treason.
"I feel regret that I should have to speak to you thus and although only one of you spoke with Inuyasha, he was representative of you all, with or without your knowledge. He spoke of being my friend, having grown up together, schooled and battled together; he told Inuyasha that he was more my brother than he, my father's true son could ever be. And he felt that This Sesshoumaru had slighted all of you, by my choice of Inuyasha to stand by me at my Mating Feast.
"For that I am truly sorry and it is because of our long standing companionships that I do not execute the one who so shamefully accosted Inuyasha. I realise that I too, like you grew up under the same tutors and advisors who encouraged and discriminated against my brother and that I too have said and caused him great sorrow and pain. He has forgiven me these things and hence I cannot condemn any of you for doing the same.
"But this once only. Look at this pup as he stands before you; he is Prince and a Son of the West, his courage and deeds of bravery are well known and documented, he is my brother. I claim him as such before you all, by right of his blood and deed. Inuyasha is the only one aside from my mate whom I ever would feel safe to give my back; whether as friend or foe, he has never tried to take dishonourable advantage or used underhand methods. I have always trusted him with my life and I always shall; whatever has been in the past, Inuyasha is now beloved of this house.
"Should any one feel unable to accept the decisions of This Sesshoumaru, he is able to leave without detriment to find another Lord whose views are more in keeping with their own. But those who choose to stay will accept the terms and conditions and swear fealty to both This Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha. You have until tomorrow morning to decide and in the afternoon we shall re-convene here."
Inuyasha had been silent for the whole of the, albeit brief meeting; he was staggered by his brother's words and praise of him. Once he was given permission to leave, he ran to his empty suite and breathed heavily as he recalled all that Sesshoumaru had said. It was impossible for him to stay in the Palace; at least for the time being, his emotions were all over the place, Inuyasha needed space.
He opted for one of the high trees in the wooded area of the grounds that were remote from the buildings and sat looking over the landscape from a branch, while his hair blew in the breeze. Suddenly it was overwhelming and to his horror Inuyasha began to take in deep breaths as he tried to stop sobs racking his body; and he shoved the heels of his hands into his eyes in an effort to stem the tears that flooded them.
That was how Sesshoumaru found him minutes later, gasping through his open mouth and blinded to his surroundings. The Daiyoukai watched Inuyasha for several moments before pulling him onto his lap; he tried to pull away the hanyou's hands too but would have had to hurt Inuyasha to do so.
"Why are you trying to push your eyes inwards Inuyasha, it can't be productive?"
"My…My…Myouga taught me, years ago, when I was a runt, what to do; to stop me from…it usually works." Inuyasha's words were punctuated by deep sobbing breaths as he tried to control himself.
"You are safe now Inuyasha; you have no need to hide away anymore Puppy." Sesshoumaru held Inuyasha tightly as the boy let go of his control, unable to stop.
"You meant what you said in there?"
"You know I did; come now, I expected these tears when the others spoke to you, not because of what I said."
"The others, its great and I'm looking forward to get to know them, but…you are mine, the only one I really belong too…it means so much…what you said…You meant it, I'm trusted, beloved…you understand, don't you?"
"Yes Puppy; I mean it, Little Brother."
There had been no more trouble after that; Inuyasha had even received a fairly sincere and personal apology from the Inu youki who had been so rude. And at the mating ceremony, both brothers were worthy sons of the previous Inu no Taishou as they stood proudly side by side and Inuyasha was happy to see the stunning vision Rin looked, in her regalia as Sesshoumaru's bride. She came with a sure step to her long time love and promised herself to him for life, her eyes sparkled and never once looked away from her Lord now mate.
Sesshoumaru sat and watched as the pre-dawn glowed in the sky, just lightening the darkness to a paler hue. He didn't realise that his thoughts had taken him all night to ponder but he thought it just as well he had been brought out of them, he didn't need to dwell on his first night with Rin to make him desire her, although it was satisfying to do so.
He had come to appreciate greatly his grandsire taking over the reigns of the Western Lands for a while at least. It meant that if he wanted to take off and live a simpler life with his brother and family he could do so; his son could also learn the freedom of play away from Palace walls. It was the best of both worlds and he was determined to make the most of it.
There was the sound of scrabbling on the tree and looking down he saw the dark head of Inuyasha as he climbed up to his brother and the Daiyoukai reached down and yanked the human up to where he was sitting. Inuyasha turned his head towards the dawning light; grateful as always that another moonless night was safely through.
"There are a few minutes left before the dawn breaks Inuyasha, could you not sleep?"
"No, not really; I doze more now though, but I'm always awake for the change, what about you? You need your sleep now that your pup is going to start walking. He'll be into everything."
"Just as you were, the similarities between you astound me."
"Feh!" Inuyasha said but that was all, there was no need to contradict his brother about how different the two hanyou would be; Sesshoumaru's son would never know want or hatred, but that was water under the bridge now. Most of the time, history didn't rear its ugly head between the brothers anymore and if it did, they discussed it rather than fight.
But Sesshoumaru did not forget and sometimes, remembering as he had that night, he found it beneficial to think on how good it was that they were reconciled. Then as he sat with Inuyasha and watched the change wash over his brother, he thought of his own son, and his night of vulnerability. His pup would never know the fear or despair of such a night; he had cousins and an Uncle who knew what he was going through, and who loved him. The same would be true for any other pups he and Rin would have, Sesshoumaru smiled, everything was good and all was right in their world.