-Disclaimer: InuYasha is the property of the amazingly talented Rumiko Takahashi


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- Heart of the Brothers


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InuYasha's heart hurt as he pulled himself out of the well. Every day for weeks he had been coming to the well, futility attempting to cross over into the future. Always, the well stopped where it was originally meant to stop...on a cold, hard, bone strewn bottom.

More and more InuYasha had begun to realize that the path he traveled with Kagome had been permanently rent into two separate journeys that they were left to travel alone.

What had been the purpose of bringing them together only to tear them from one another in the end?

InuYasha sank to the ground at the side of the well and did his best to swallow the pain and sadness that threatened to consume him. To say he missed Kagome was a gross understatement. When air was cut off from someone, did they merely miss breathing?

His pride had resisted the tears in the first days after he had been forced back through the well, leaving Kagome in the future and dropping him to a time where she wouldn't be born for another five hundred years. But he had learned to cry because of Kagome Higurashi, to deny her his tears now would be so very wrong.

InuYasha sighed deeply and allowed the tears to come.

"The old miko told this Sesshomaru that I would find you here."

InuYasha's head jerked up to find his half-brother standing in the clearing.

"What do you want Sesshomaru?" InuYasha wiped his face on his sleeve, but refused to rise to his feet.

"I have come to check on my ward, to assure that she is being well cared for by your people." Sesshomaru stepped forward and to InuYasha's surprise, sat next to him on the ground.

"Rin's fine." InuYasha bristled at his brother's subtle suggestion that perhaps Rin might not be faring well under their care.

"This Sesshomaru had no doubt to that fact, but only wished to confirm it for his own peace of mind."

InuYasha laughed a little "You could just admit that you missed her Bastard. It wouldn't kill you."

Sesshomaru grinned a little "Of course it would not, half-breed, but I also wondered to the disposition of the young yokai slayer as well. And it is his well-being that this Sesshomaru is concerned about."

"Kohauku is fine."

"The old miko tells me he has many nightmares of the things Naraku forced him to do." Sesshomaru's face creased with a hint of worry.

InuYasha nodded "It's only been a few weeks. Kaede says that it will take a lot of time for him to heal. He will never be the same as he was before, but with time, she thinks he will be okay."

"And what of yourself InuYasha?"

"What about me?"

"The houshi has told this Sesshomaru that you are in considerable pain as well, that your loss of your miko has left you irreparably damaged."

InuYasha shifted uncomfortably. Since when did Sesshomaru give a shit about his pain?

"Do not be offended InuYasha. Their words to this Sesshomaru came from their concern for you, not out of idle gossip."

"I know that much." InuYasha rolled his eyes "But since when do you give a shit about my pain Sesshomaru?" He snorted "I thought my suffering made you happy."

"Is it so difficult, half-breed, for you to consider that perhaps our shared experience changed things?"

InuYasha thought of their "shared experience"...the final battle with Naraku.

"You protected Kagome after I pushed her from the high wall of Naraku's flesh and tried to kill her. Maybe that does mean...I don't know...something."

"Kagome believed that you pushed her to protect her from your full Yokai form."

"Kagome always thought too highly of me." InuYasha smirked

"You doubt her insight, yet you traveled side by side for over a year. Who could possibly know your motivations better?"

"I attacked her with my claws Sesshomaru. I spilled her blood."

"Yet when faced with the opportunity to kill Rin, a girl you barely knew, much less held in any sort of esteem, you prevented this as well." Sesshomaru looked at InuYasha earnestly.

InuYasha jumped to his feet. "Where is this coming from Sesshomaru? You hold no 'esteem' for me yet you stand here speaking as if you might actually be trying to comfort me."

"Impossible. This Sesshomaru cares not for your comfort." the small smile on Sesshomaru's face belied his words. "You know InuYasha, father would have been very proud of you."

InuYasha snorted.

"You mock my words? Do you not fully realize what occurred inside the abomination?" Sesshomaru stood so he could look into InuYasha's face. "You threw off your yokai instincts to kill, InuYasha, in order to save Kagome's life. You then went on to save the lives of your friends, perhaps even this Sesshomaru, Kohauku and Rin, and brought Naraku down at last. Why do you scoff when I tell you father would have been proud of you?"

"Don't you see? I didn't do it alone. I did it all with Kagome, her voice brought me back...I did it all for Kagome."

"Kagome was no where near when you spared Rin's life."

InuYasha had no answer for that. He stared into Sesshomaru's honey colored eyes, so much like their fathers.

"InuYasha... Do not give up hope that one day Kagome will return to your side. It is the way of the world that few partings are forever. Love can do miraculous things. If it can turn a heartless yokai, one that would have killed his own flesh and blood, into a slave to a little human girls heart, it can bring Kagome back to your side."

InuYasha looked away and nodded silently. Sesshomaru moved past him to return to the village. He was quite anxious to spend some time with Rin all of a sudden. He stopped and looked at InuYasha over his shoulder.

"Perhaps it is even enough to make the same heartless yokai proud of the half-breed brother he would have once slaughtered without a second thought or regret."

With a curt nod Sesshomaru turned and made his way back to the village.

InuYasha sank down to sit on the side of the well, his legs weak with shock. Who would have ever thought...his bastard brother was proud of him.

He had to admit that Sesshomaru had made some sense. If there was enough magic left in the world to make Sesshomaru grow a conscience and a heart...maybe there was enough magic left to one day return Kagome to his side.

InuYasha reach out his hand and caressed the side of the bone eaters well.

He would never give up hope.

Never.


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