Chapter XXIV: What dreams may come

Sesshomaru watched Inuyasha sit up in the clearing by the spring in the morning light, only to look around and see no one. He sensed his sadness that he had not come to him in the night, and instantly regretted not having ceased his game of stalking and hiding before the sun came up.

The hanyou was now hurt enough to start addressing him out loud again, and sufficiently annoyed to snap: "Fine, if that's the way you want it, carry on – I'm not moping around for you any more."

He rose, picked up his sword, and prepared to leave. At that moment, Sesshomaru caught the scent of his tears, saw his lashes flecked with those salt-filled droplets, and knew for certain that he had carried his self-restraint too far, for too long, to the point where it was wounding Inuyasha. That immediately put to sleep the beast within himself that he had been struggling to control.

So after weeks of keeping out of sight, he finally emerged from hiding and landed softly in the clearing before his brother.

"I'm here," he quietly stated the obvious.

Inuyasha stared, not quite believing what he was seeing, and swallowed a lump in his throat. Sesshomaru expected him to speak, or throw himself into his arms; instead, he walked up to him without a word, set the Tetsusaiga down on the grass without once taking his eyes off him, and looked away from his face only when he started loosening with nimble fingers the ties that held his armour in place.

"What are you doing?" Sesshomaru asked curiously.

"Removing your armour," came the calm, simple reply.


"You do want to hold me, don't you?" Inuyasha asked artlessly, focusing his attention on unknotting the ties that secured the breastplate to the haramaki, and raising a trusting, wide-eyed gaze to his brother when he undid the last knot. "I don't want to be crushed against all this metal."

He stood so close that as he bent his knees to lower the breastplate to the grass and straightened up again, the weave of his fire rat robe brushed Sesshomaru's haramaki and sash in a slow sweep, electrifying the taiyoukai's senses. He then turned his attention to the sash, whose elaborate knot he set about untying too, until the length of coloured silk, the swords it held to Sesshomaru's waist, and the haramaki lay on the grass beside the breastplate.

"Now you can hold me," Inuyasha said, looking into his brother's eyes with heartbreaking openness.

In response, Sesshomaru pulled the hanyou against him, enclosing him in a tight embrace of silk and fur and muscle. Inuyasha finally exhaled the breath he barely realised he had been keeping in as he buried his face in his brother's shoulder and whispered in a voice that threatened to grow thick with tears: "I thought you would never touch me again."

Sesshomaru felt the shiver of emotion run through Inuyasha's body. If he hadn't already been squeezing the breath out of him, he would have drawn him even closer. Instead, he lifted a hand to his hair, memorising all over again the way the back of his head curved into the nape of his neck under the thick silver mane, and whispered back: "Why would you think that?"

"Because you stayed away from me for so long."

"I was there all the time."

"But I couldn't see you or hold you. I missed you."

"And I couldn't keep my distance from you any longer."

"So you do believe now that I want you – that I'm not here out of gratitude or obligation?" Inuyasha murmured into his shoulder, breathing in the warm, familiar scent of his skin beneath the silk.

"I knew that from the moment you went to look for me in the forest behind the village."

"But you refused to touch me that night," Inuyasha said, turning his face to nuzzle Sesshomaru's neck.

"I'm sorry, but I couldn't."

"Was it because of what happened to me? Were you disgusted because Kinrin touched me?" The hanyou drew back his head to look at his brother.

"Of course not," Sesshomaru sighed. "Even if he touched you – or worse – why would I be disgusted with you for something that wasn't your fault?"

The taiyoukai leaned in for a kiss, but Inuyasha had another question: "You didn't think I was too weak to be with you because he'd trapped me?"

"No!" Sesshomaru exclaimed, trying to remain patient despite the interrupted attempt to lock lips with the lad in his arms. "You are not weak. How could you have fought that magic when even I needed your monk friend's help to neutralise the sorcerer?"

Inuyasha was mystified. "Then it was the well, right? You thought I jumped in – you thought I chose to be with Kagome and leave you behind?"

"Where did you get that idea?" he asked, almost irritably, the miko being the last thing he wanted to bring up now.

"Then what was all that about us not being ready to talk? Why did you keep away from me?"

"I kept away from you at first because you weren't well enough to talk, but I stayed away after that because I wasn't ready," he confessed.

"You weren't ready? For what?"

"I wasn't ready to be with you in a way that would be good for you. I didn't want to hurt you."

"Now I have no idea what you're talking about. Why would you hurt me by being with me?" By this time, he had pulled his entire upper body away from Sesshomaru to stare into his face in bewilderment.

"When you came to me in the forest, you were so defenceless, I was afraid to touch you," Sesshomaru told him. "Didn't you know that at the caves, when Kinrin asked if you were mine, it took every ounce of self-control I had not to say that you were? I wanted to claim you, leave no one in doubt that you belonged to me – and I couldn't do that. After all I had said about wanting you to be independent, my instincts were urging me to do to you emotionally what Kinrin tried to do to you physically, and that was unacceptable."

Speaking very slowly, and with an air of disbelief, Inuyasha asked: "So – all this time – this whole month – you've been staying away from me because you weren't ready, not because you thought I wasn't?"

"Mostly, yes."

"It was because you were trying to get yourself into a non-possessive state of mind?" The pieces were falling into place for him, and he saw it quite clearly.


The silence that followed was so thick that if Sesshomaru had run a claw along its edge, he might have seen the air split.

What did split, however, was the skin over his left jaw as Inuyasha drove his fist into his face so hard that Sesshomaru reeled back, while the hanyou pushed himself four feet away from him.

"Inuyasha!" Sesshomaru roared, touching his face and seeing his fingers come away smeared with blood. "What the hell was that for?"

"You jerk!" Inuyasha yelled, swiftly descending into what his brother could see at once was going to turn into another major, hopping-mad rant. "You kept me waiting one whole month – a whole month – just because you… bastard... couldn't manage your own fucking emotions? Did it ever occur to you to ask me how I felt about it? Did you think that maybe you could have consulted me once? Oh no, you had to go solve the problem all by your grand and glorious self and leave me thinking for one whole month that you didn't want me any more! You're such a stuck-up prick you couldn't even check with me about what I wanted! If you wanted to make me yours you should have just done so as I would have given you my fucking damn permission to do so, so there would have been no problem with it! Don't you know the bloody difference between taking someone who doesn't want you and taking someone who does?"

"Are you done yet?" Sesshomaru rumbled out his low-voiced reply, eyes blazing, blood crawling along his jawline.

"No! I'm not done yet! I can't believe you left me confused and upset for a month and three days AND a whole night without ONCE letting me see you or talk with you – which would have made things clear between us A WHOLE LOT EARLIER – instead of Super Sanctimonious Sesshomaru single-handedly running the show and decreeing that things will only happen when YOU say they will happen and no sooner. I thought this was supposed to be about US, not just YOU!"

"I was trying to do what was best for you!" his brother insisted, struggling to keep his voice and temper down.

"You could have told me! You could have admitted it! And I would have told you that you were fucking welcome to make me yours! One whole month of confusion – damn it, Sesshomaru, you DESERVE that punch I just gave you!"

The taiyoukai glared at him in silence for several seconds before finally growling: "As you're so impatient, it's a good thing you didn't break my jaw, otherwise you'd have to wait a bit longer for this –"

Before Inuyasha could draw breath to utter another word, Sesshomaru closed the distance between them, caught him firmly in his arms and covered his mouth with his own in a crushing kiss. The hanyou gasped – or would have, if his demon sibling's lips weren't locked with his, his tongue demanding ingress. They both tasted blood where Inuyasha's lower lip had split against his teeth from the bruising contact – fair recompense for the injury he had inflicted moments ago, but Sesshomaru made certain that the boy would also taste the heat of his lips and tongue, their burning desire communicating wordlessly to him that this time, the taiyoukai holding him would not take no for an answer.

Inuyasha's eyelids fluttered shut as he yielded to the kiss, the gasp he had instinctively tried to make dissolving into a soft, throaty moan as his hands investigated the muscled lines of Sesshomaru's shoulders and back while his brother explored his mouth, learning the feel of it, discovering its succulent textures, charting the profile of those fangs and teeth that dipped and rose like a mountain range, features he intended to come to know very well through as many years as would be given them from this point forth.

The sweet taste of him was intoxicating, but Sesshomaru reluctantly drew back at last to let Inuyasha breathe, and to look into his face. It pleased him to find the hanyou kissed into silence, cheeks flushed, surprised golden eyes just a little unfocused, yet fixed on him. He raised a hand to those lightly bruised, rosy lips and swept a drop of blood off the corner with a fingertip before smearing it down the side of Inuyasha's neck.

Bending his head to the nearly invisible line he had just traced, he went over it in reverse in a sensuous lick with his tongue from its base to its tip as he gripped Inuyasha's lower back, pulling his hips hard against his own, prompting the lad to tilt his head back and expose his throat.

Sesshomaru felt him shiver with pleasure as he kissed the skin of his neck, which was still tender and creamy after being shielded from the sun all his life by his thick hair, not to mention fifty uninterrupted years of dense shade under the Goshinboku tree. He shuddered with such intensity, the sensations seemingly so new to him, that Sesshomaru guessed no one had ever kissed him there before, in that way.

Continuing to caress the skin over his throat with his lips, he pulled Inuyasha down with him until they were kneeling on the grass, whereupon he tore a hand away from his back and cradled the nape of his neck while his mouth and tongue dipped into the hollow between his collarbones. With the weight of his own body, he pressed the boy onto his back in the grass.

Lifting his head from the triangle of Inuyasha's skin framed by the neckline of his clothing, Sesshomaru looked into his eyes and asked him: "Is this really what you want?"

"You know it is," he answered, colouring again.

"Does it make up for the wait?"

"Not if you don't bloody get on with it," was the reply, although his twitching ears and the deepening blush on his cheeks as he spoke gave away his inexperience and the innate shyness that the gruff words were meant to disguise.

He lowered his eyes and squirmed under Sesshomaru to straighten his legs, which had folded under him at the knee as he lay back on the grass. That drew a sharper-than-usual intake of breath from the demon on top when he felt the body beneath him wriggle in a manner that its owner had probably not intended to be exciting to him. The boy was so unschooled in these ways, and Sesshomaru felt very much like a cradle robber, though not to the extent of quelling his desire to teach him what was to come.

To call Inuyasha's attention to the effects of his squirming, Sesshomaru gently at first, then with increasing pressure, pushed his erection against the hanyou's groin, an act that made him stop writhing and stare, wide-eyed, up at his brother. The intense amber heat of Sesshomaru's gaze embarrassed the lad, yet transfixed him. At the same time, the demon allowed his youki to envelop his companion with the fullness of his arousal unleashed, that which he had concealed while he stalked him. Sensing it now as it washed over and against his own ki made Inuyasha's eyes widen further.

Having got his attention, Sesshomaru ran his hand slowly down the front of the fire rat robe, easily unknotting the suikan's ties. Inuyasha's breathing grew a little heavier as that pale hand parted the red lapels, smoothly tugged the jacket out of the hakama, then moved on to easily negotiate the underlayers and uncover his chest.

"You really know your way around my clothes," he mumbled nervously.

"It's not the first time I've undressed you," Sesshomaru said matter-of-factly, slipping his hand between the loosened fabric layers and the hanyou's bare skin, stroking him gently down his right side to calm his nerves while, paradoxically, stimulating him further.

"Did you want me even back then?" his question held a mixture of curiosity and trepidation.

"Not while cleaning you up, but perhaps I did once you took everything off."

"So that's what did it, huh?"

"Possibly, but that was only part of it. Don't you ever stop talking for long?"

"Depends. If I'm… mmm…" he moaned, losing track of what he was saying as Sesshomaru's tongue traced a circle around his left nipple before he drew it into his mouth, sending sensations Inuyasha couldn't ignore tunnelling through his body down to his stomach and groin.

He looked startled as well as aroused, Sesshomaru thought, when he glanced at Inuyasha's face before turning his attention to the other nipple. Perhaps he had only ever heard his uxorious, filthy-minded monk friend speak lovingly of women's breasts, and it had never crossed his own mind that such a thing would feel pleasurable to a male as well as to a female.

Whatever the case might be, Sesshomaru took the opportunity of his being distracted by the novel sensations to slip his body half-off his brother's so that he could start unknotting Inuyasha's hakama ties with his left hand. But when Inuyasha felt his fingers teasing at the knots, he betrayed his first sign of mild panic. He grabbed the ties, preventing them from being further undone, and mumbled hastily: "Sesshomaru – I'm not sure I'm – you know – ready to…"

Sesshomaru removed his hand from the ties, but rested it close by, on the waistband of the fire rat hakama, as he said softly: "You looked perfectly ready to me when you undressed for me yesterday."

Inuyasha actually gulped before answering: "You weren't lying on top of me then. And what about your clothes? Why are you only removing mine?"

With a hint of a smile, Sesshomaru kissed him on the lips, and again on the cheek and forehead just because he could, before saying: "Does my remaining dressed trouble you? Then remove my clothes – any way you please."

He reached down and pulled off his own boots and tabi socks. He also slid a hand inside his upper garments to extract Inuyasha's old undershirt, which he had hidden there, and which he now quickly put aside by the footwear he had shed before his brother could identify it. Then he stood up in his bare feet.

Staring at the taiyoukai towering over him, Inuyasha raised himself on his elbows before getting to his feet as well. Sesshomaru stretched his hands out to slip his brother's already loosened upper garments off his body in one piece and drop them to the ground, before lowering his arms and standing still for the hanyou to undress him.

The fur was the first thing Inuyasha tackled. He unrolled it from Sesshomaru's shoulder, walking right around him to make sure he didn't tangle it up, before laying it carefully on the grass and contemplating his next move.

Having washed the silk in the pool before, he knew the haori was pretty long in the hem – trust Sesshomaru to pack all that fabric around his hips and still not have a fat butt – and realised to his embarrassment that he would have to untie the hakama first to give himself an easier job of pulling the silk out. So that the trouser legs wouldn't be trapped around the ankles, he bent down to unfasten the cords which gathered the hakama at its hems, to open them up. He rose again and reached uncertainly for the silk ties at the waist, normally hidden under the haramaki and obi. He felt Sesshomaru's eyes on him while he worked, but didn't dare raise his own to them as he undid the ties and lowered the hakama to the ground. Sesshomaru stepped lightly out of it, leaving him in his white trouser underlayer – something that ought to have made him self-conscious, but seemed to unnerve only Inuyasha.

This was difficult. In his imaginings of such scenarios between his brother and himself, he had glossed over all this fussy disrobing and only vaguely imagined Sesshomaru making the decisions and doing as he pleased, pinning him against a tree or the ground, ripping his clothes off in seconds and thrusting into him, without having dreamt that he might take his time, allow him to choose what he wanted to do, or that there would be fiddly stages predominated by yards of fabric, between getting kissed and getting penetrated.

With that in mind, he set to work on the haori fastenings and slid the eccentrically long-sleeved garment off his brother's body, followed by the undershirts, before finally untying the hakama underlayer and letting it drop to the grass. Sesshomaru stepped easily out of that too and stood there without a stitch on, snowy-skinned, beautifully muscled, unutterably perfect, and – to Inuyasha's eyes – alarmingly erect and… well, shockingly big.

Okay, he hadn't quite pictured that either. Well, he had in a way, but not in the kind of swollen graphic detail as was now visually presented before him. Oh gods, the girth of that thing...

Suddenly realising that he had been staring at Sesshomaru's crotch for more seconds than was polite – wait, what was that? The word "polite" surely didn't begin to belong to this situation! – Inuyasha flushed for what felt like the thousandth time since his brother had pushed his tongue into his mouth, and tore his eyes away in time to find the extremely naked Sesshomaru's arms going around his body again, and easing him back down onto the grass.

"Now can I finish undressing you, my little brother?" Sesshomaru asked in a voice that was turning slightly husky.

Inuyasha felt his lungs and diaphragm threatening to launch into a state of hyperventilation, and fought to bring that under control as he nodded wordlessly.

He watched Sesshomaru lean over to loosen the cords that cuffed his hakama legs around his ankles – and, surprisingly, plant a kiss on his toes – before returning to the ties high up on his own waist whose attempted unknotting had caused that little spell of panic earlier. He knew now that he had taken fright like a scared pony mainly because the thought had raced through his mind that that was where Sesshomaru would turn him onto his belly and mount him, and he had shied away.

But his brother was so patient, and had been nothing but gentle after that first blood-drawing kiss which was no more than a consequence of their getting angry with each other. He shouldn't get flustered like that, he told himself. It looked juvenile and stupid… except that he felt very much like succumbing to panic again as his hakama came down, followed by the trouser underlayer, with Sesshomaru practically having to lift his ass for him to get them past his hips, as he was that nervous.

He was as hard as he could get, and the sight of his own erection now embarrassed him, even though he had always been quite happy to stare down at its length and thickness on long-past nights out in the forest alone when he would grab and stroke it himself to relieve his sexual and physical tension. But he felt ashamed now because Sesshomaru's eyes were on him, on it, looking over his naked body with a possessive expression on his face that Inuyasha had never seen his brother direct at him.

Then to his complete astonishment, Sesshomaru elegantly dipped his head and took the length of him into his mouth. In his nights spent around human villages, he had inadvertently seen some women do that to their husbands in their huts; and on occasions when he had been near large monasteries in the deepest darkness, he had also gathered through the noises and smells that some of those monks and acolytes were up to the same with one another – but for some reason, never in his wildest dreams had he thought that Sesshomaru would do that to him. For him.

His initial wide-eyed surprise, head raised to see what his partner was doing in order to believe that it was happening, was lost to waves of fast-growing pleasure as that skilled, hot, wet mouth stroked him rhythmically from the tip, down the shaft, tongue pressed against it to increase the friction and hold it so it would not scrape against his fangs, one hand wrapped around the base to take care of the rest that would not comfortably fit into his mouth.

Inuyasha could no longer hold his head up to watch in disbelief. He believed it well now, and let himself fall back onto the grass, where he gave in to the uncontrollable sensations which made him groan and whimper and want to thrust against Sesshomaru, except that his companion had a hand on his right hip to restrict his movements.

Sesshomaru, by this time crouched on the ground between his legs, nudged his thighs further apart with his body, and when Inuyasha got the message that he shouldn't buck too wildly, moved his left hand from his hip to caress the hanyou's scrotum, a touch which sent a shuddering tremble through the taut young body.

He teased and licked and stroked him until he thought he had both pleasured and tormented the boy quite enough for this first session, and quickened the pace again until the rhythmic attentions of his lips, tongue and the roof of his mouth sent him gradually, deliciously over the edge to explode at last into a back-arching, finger-curling climax, a strained cry as if of pain escaping from him as he threw his head back on its cushion of silver hair.

Sesshomaru swallowed the hot spurts of ejaculate that hit the back of his throat and held him with his mouth and hand until every last involuntary thrust and contraction had passed, before gently releasing him. He reached for his own discarded undershirt and used it to wipe off his saliva from Inuyasha's body and around his own mouth, then stretched out beside the seemingly half-conscious hanyou to gather him into his arms, feeling the boy's short, hot breaths against his body.

He kept Inuyasha tight in his embrace until his breaths slowed and grew steadier, and he felt his eyelashes tickling the skin of his chest, against which his cheek rested. The fluttery sensations told him that the lad had opened his eyes, so he shifted his position to look into his face, which he found sweetly contented and charmingly sleepy. Sesshomaru leaned back in for a kiss, much more tender than their first had been, and Inuyasha's responsiveness told him how much he had liked what his brother had just done.

"That was really, really good," Inuyasha murmured when they drew apart at last.

"I know," Sesshomaru said, frankly, but with a trace of smugness. "Do you want to sleep now?"

He thought the answer would be a nod, and that he would snuggle against his chest again. But Inuyasha shook his head and said: "Not before seeing to you." His hand crept tentatively down Sesshomaru's body and cautiously stroked the erection that had not gone down one iota, and was significantly thicker than his own. "You don't want me to go to sleep without taking care of that, do you?"

"And how do you propose to take care of it?" Sesshomaru asked.

"Same way you did?" Inuyasha suggested naively.

"Have you ever done it before? For anyone?"

"Er… no. But it can't be that difficult. I just watched you, didn't I?"

Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow. "You are so completely unschooled," he said softly. "I don't think I should let your mouth anywhere near it. You've ripped off my arm before – the gods only know what else you'll amputate this time."

Inuyasha guffawed, burying his face in Sesshomaru's flat, firmly muscled stomach to stifle his laughter before collecting himself sufficiently to raise his head again, slide his body upwards and rest his chin on his brother's chest so that he could stare up at him with a pleading, puppy-dog look. "I promise to be very, very careful."

"No teeth."

"No teeth."

"Not everything grows back, you know," Sesshomaru warned.

"Oh, you don't know that. You got a brand-new sword out of your new arm – maybe you'll get a brand-new dagger if you regrow your dick?" Inuyasha was dissolving into laughter again as he spoke, and had to hide his face against Sesshomaru's chest once more as his body heaved and shook.

"Seriously – no teeth," Sesshomaru said sternly.

Taking a deep breath to check the laughter that was threatening to turn into compulsive giggling, Inuyasha got himself under control and managed to say: "I promise – no teeth." His voice was steady, but there was still a grin in it.

"Keep your lips over your fangs at all times," Sesshomaru warned.

"Yes, Nii-sama," he answered, teasingly trying out a form of address on Sesshomaru that was new to them both.

He couldn't tell from the look on Sesshomaru's face how he was taking it, but thought the term safe enough. Then he set to work with his mouth, trying to do as he had been done by, but almost certainly giving the taiyoukai a nervous moment or two with the accidental scraping of fangs, teeth getting past the lips that tried to keep them covered, and with the interrupted rhythm of inexperience and near-gagging.

"Sorry," Inuyasha stopped his ministrations for a moment to apologise for yet another slip-up. "So sorry."

This only resulted in Sesshomaru growling at him urgently to stop talking, for he had actually been getting somewhere until he had thought to verbally express his regrets.

With an apologetic grin, Inuyasha flew back to his task and handled it much better than before, until he was able to take pride and pleasure in seeing, hearing and feeling his brother yield his panted breaths and his movements, his moans and his seed, to him. He swallowed, and naturally found the taste strange, but acceptable because it came from Sesshomaru.

Then he crept up beside him to lie on his side and stare at the striking markings of his left cheekbone, whose lines he traced carefully with a finger as he asked, almost timidly: "Did you like that?"

Sesshomaru turned his head towards him and granted him a rare smile. "Yes," he said. "Because it was from you."

"Only because it was from me, and not because it was that good, right?" Inuyasha sighed, chagrined.

Sesshomaru laughed softly and pulled him closer, whispering into one downy ear: "It was perfect in my opinion, and my opinion is all that counts here. You're learning. In any case, I find you perfect – the scent and taste and feel of you, and everything you do, even when you're splitting my face open with your fist."

"I'm sorry about that."

"I deserved it."

"No you didn't. You were trying to do what was best for me, and I didn't control my temper enough to see that. And don't be silly – I'm not perfect – you've said so often enough in the past."

"I was a fool in the past. You are as flawlessly formed as living creatures come, no matter whether you are human or hanyou or a crazed demon, and your forgiving heart is greater than mine can ever be. You are far better than I deserve."

"Stop that," Inuyasha said, blushing, fingering a lock of Sesshomaru's hair which he teased free of the rest flowing behind him. "You'll make me cry. Seriously."

His brother kissed him, caressed his ears and stroked his skin, and Inuyasha lapped up the attention until he noticed that Sesshomaru was getting hard again.

"How often do you…?" he trailed off.

"Ignore it," Sesshomaru advised him. "You don't have to attend to me every time I have an erection. If I expected that you'd have been molested and assailed the whole of this past month."

"Ooh, is that what I do to you?" Inuyasha teased.

"As a matter of fact, it is."

"Oh. So, do you want to, uhm, you know…" his words trailed off again, as he suddenly felt abashed at what he was trying to suggest, although he had been free enough with his language in recent weeks.

"Take you?" Sesshomaru ventured.


"It will hurt you. I don't want to cause you that much pain."

"You could get me ready for it, couldn't you? Miroku's told me before about the monks and their acolytes from some temples, so it's not like I know nothing about it."

"For humans, perhaps that would work. But for us –" here, Sesshomaru held up a hand. "These claws would damage you inside, possibly kill you, no matter how carefully I insert my fingers. Even if I filed them down, they would still be sharp – and full of poison. There's no getting around them."


"So I can't safely prepare you, and it will hurt."

"Well, all right, but I can take it."

"You don't know that, as you've never done it."

"How bad can it be? You stuck your entire arm clean through my belly once – now that's penetration!" he said with a grin. "At least this one shouldn't come out the other end!"

He was dissolving into silent laughter again, till Sesshomaru pinched him hard on his left butt-cheek for cracking one joke too many, and he yelped.

"Ouch! Okay, okay! Sorry – but I'm perfectly serious here – I'm still offering."

Sesshomaru fixed him with his gaze, which had a sobering effect. Inuyasha touched his forehead to his brother's and whispered: "I want to do this. Just tell me what to do."

"Are you sure?"


After a moment of silence, Sesshomaru said softly: "Turn over."

Inuyasha obeyed, flattening his belly against the ground. A shiver ran through him as he felt that powerful body cover his. Sesshomaru pulled the mokomoko over and placed it under Inuyasha's face so that his cheek wouldn't have to touch the grass, and prompted him to lift his hips as he drew his nagajuban beneath him as a clean layer between the ground and his body.

Sesshomaru spread Inuyasha's thighs slightly, lay on top of him for a while with his erection pressed against him, speaking to him and caressing his shoulders and back as his great spill of silver hair fell about them both, saying: "Keep your legs straight, and don't raise your hips too much, so that I won't be able to go in too deep."

Inuyasha nodded, nervous again, and did his best to stay calm when Sesshomaru sat back up, and he saw him spit into his own hand so he could use his saliva as a lubricant. Gentle fingers parted his nether cheeks, then that hard yet silky tip pressed against the entrance to his body, and Inuyasha stiffened involuntarily, gripping the fur that cushioned his face and arms.

"If it's too much for you and you want me to stop, say so and I will stop at once," his brother's voice sounded softly at his back.


Sesshomaru slowly began to enter him, a half-inch at a time, pulling back by millimetres with each advance he made, before going further. Inuyasha gasped, for it did hurt, in a completely different sort of way from a hole through his stomach. It didn't matter that Sesshomaru was as gentle as anyone could wish – it still burned and tore his flesh. Terrified that he would lose control of his bowels, and feeling his entire body seemingly wrapped around that single point of pain, he bit down on the mokomoko as his brother pushed deeper into him.

Securely inside now, Sesshomaru was able to press his chest to Inuyasha's back again, and slip his right arm under him to hold him, hoping to comfort him. "Do you want me to stop?" he asked, his voice strained with the tension of remaining still inside the hot, tight, trembling body beneath him.

"No," Inuyasha managed to force that one word out through his teeth, fearing that if he said more he might actually sob.


He forced himself to inhale and exhale slowly, and it relaxed his body so that the pain lessened, either that or he was getting used to the feel of a pretty large foreign body shoved up his ass. Okay, that wasn't fair to Sesshomaru – he hadn't shoved – but honestly, "shoved up his ass" was exactly what it felt like.

When he judged that Inuyasha's body had adjusted to his size, Sesshomaru began to thrust, very slowly, but it brought a fresh round of discomfort to his partner, who muffled his soft cries in the fur. He held back until he felt him relax further before moving again, and this time, Inuyasha took it better – either the pain was fading, or the nerve endings around his rear opening were simply shot to pieces.

"Shh… just relax…" Sesshomaru murmured, clutching him firmly. "Don't fight me now… you feel so utterly perfect –" He began thrusting more freely, till he was grunting into Inuyasha's hair and neck, and the hanyou was swept up enough in his passion to briefly forget the pain. He came quickly, gasping Inuyasha's name, not wanting to prolong the discomfort for his little brother, and besides, the boy was so incredibly tight that he couldn't not have come fast if he'd tried.

Inuyasha felt the searing fluid shoot into his body, and felt Sesshomaru carefully withdraw from him. While it pleased him to know that he had managed to do this for him, he quite frankly felt as if he'd been through a round of torture, and couldn't stop himself from muttering "Sorry, I have to… um… go" before scrambling to his feet, despite feeling too sore to walk, and running behind a crop of rocks and trees to dig as deep a hole as quickly as he could in the ground and purge from both ends of his body whatever was in his bowels and stomach.

Sesshomaru guiltily heard and smelt the effects of what he had done to his brother. He knew Inuyasha would heal fast, and could recover from far worse than that, but to hurt him so intimately seemed an awful thing to do, and he knew that if he had not brought his animal-demon instincts under control, he might have hurt him much more badly while having far less regard for his pain. He wished to go to him now, but he guessed that he wanted privacy, so he waited until he gathered from the diminishing smell of what came out from his guts that he was done, and had covered up the hole he had dug.

Inuyasha reappeared, but headed straight for the pool to wash his soil-caked claws and soothe his sore body in the warm water. That was when Sesshomaru dared to go to him, hold him and bathe him gently with his own hands from head to toe, until he stopped wincing and the colour returned to his face, signs that his body was healing.

When they were both clean, and Inuyasha was certain that he felt fine again, they left the pool and pulled some of their clothes back on. Although this spot was safe enough thanks to its remote location and the taiyoukai's powerful youki and scent, they were still out in the open, and it made sense to be prepared for anything while they weren't actually going at it hammer and tongs. Sesshomaru had slightly worrying visions of Ryuhi losing his way to some place or other and descending on them as they lay naked in the clearing to ask for directions.

While retrieving the pieces they wanted from the garments they had shed, Inuyasha found his torn old undershirt, folded neatly, which he had not recognised when Sesshomaru put it aside earlier.

"You kept this?" he asked in wonder, unfolding it and holding it up.

"I did."

"You said I should discard it." He gazed at his brother out of his huge, molten-gold eyes.

"But I couldn't bear to."

"You big, sentimental softie… wow… I think you really love me."

"I do."

Inuyasha jumped on Sesshomaru and knocked him onto his back on the grass while he fell on top of him, laughing, but Sesshomaru still managed to catch him, grip him tightly in his arms, flip them over and kiss the breath out of him.

They were wearing only their hakama, but that suited Sesshomaru, because he wanted to hold Inuyasha against his bare skin for a while more, so their upper garments stayed off, and when they were done kissing, Sesshomaru curled himself around his brother as they lay on their sides, pressing his chest to his back, feeling the peaks of Inuyasha's spine pushing gently against his flesh. He pillowed the boy's head on his folded silk haori, rested his own head on his left arm, and slipped his right arm protectively over his companion.

"Can we not do that thing again for a while?" Inuyasha murmured sleepily.

"I did tell you it would hurt."

"I never listen. But I'm glad we did. I felt… I don't know… closer to you somehow."

"You always ask for trouble," Sesshomaru said tenderly, kissing his hair. "In so many different ways."

"I'm stupid that way."

"I intend to make sure that you stay safe from now."

"You can't be with me all the time. You definitely can't follow me around like you have this past month. It would drive us both crazy."

"Agreed. But whenever I am not with you, you must keep yourself safe and well, and close to your friends."

"Aw, come on, you've seen me take care of myself all this while – apart from that recent business with the sorcerer – and that was a one-off."

"I will never let anything like that happen to you again, if I have even the smallest power to prevent it."

"I know," he said, raising Sesshomaru's right hand to his lips and kissing it. "Don't worry. It won't happen again."

They lay there in perfect silence for some time, until Inuyasha asked: "Are you going to tell Rin about us?"

"Eventually. She may be too young to fully understand now. Your friends know, don't they?"

"Miroku and Sango worked it out, and Kaede just found out thanks to a really weird conversation over dinner. Shippo and Kohaku don't know. Or Kagome, of course."

The mention of the miko gave Sesshomaru a sense of foreboding, that his time with Inuyasha would depend on her – on her reappearance or failure to do so, on her acceptance or rejection of them.

Inuyasha seemed to read his mind, for he murmured: "What are we going to do when Kagome comes back?"

His heart felt too full for him to give a calm reply, but he had to, because the girl was someone his lover, his brother, his darling, also cared for immensely, so he quieted his demon soul and said sensibly: "We'll bridge that river when we come to its banks. Until then, stay with me."

"I'm here. I'm with you as long as you want me, or until I die."

Or until the girl returns, Sesshomaru thought to himself.

"I won't live as long as you, you know," Inuyasha went on. "But while I live, I will love you."

"And I will love you as long as I exist, whether you are dead or alive."

"Even if we have another fight and you're furious with me?"

"Even then."

"Even if the demon in me gets out of control and you have to kill me to save me from myself?"

"All the more then. But why are we speaking of these things?"

Indeed, this was not the time to think about the miko, or about death or parting. For this was a perfect moment, when he was at peace, and the one he loved most in this world was in his arms.

Inuyasha turned to kiss him and bestow a gentle smile on him, whispering: "No more talk of such things, then. This is a good day, so let's leave the rest to the gods." He then turned back and nestled against Sesshomaru as he had before.

"Yes, leave the future to arrive in its own time," he murmured to Inuyasha, holding him more tightly and burying his face in his hair. "For now, be with me – just be with me."

He held Inuyasha for the rest of that day, drinking in the scent of his hair and his skin and the vibes of his half-demon ki, no longer caring whether he smelt like him, or their father, or of humanity, but loving it purely because it was the scent of the creature he would give his life for.

Perhaps they would fight tomorrow, or he would do something stupid next year, or one of them would die two hundred years from now, but for today, he only knew this touch and this aura and this tenderness, and it was enough. For today.

He would treasure this time while it lasted and savour it to the fullest, because even for demons whose lives last thousands of years, perfect moments are precious few and far between, and time is short when they are living through them.

- END -

Author's Notes

This was my first fanfic. I hope that whoever has been reading it has enjoyed at least part of it.

A big thank-you to all the readers who made the effort to faithfully review the story as it developed. If you left reviews while signed in, I should have PM'ed you at least once – but if I accidentally left anyone out, I want to say that I appreciate the time, thought and words that went into everyone's comments, encouragement and constructive criticism. That applies too to the unsigned reviewers I could not PM, some of whom left very detailed and passionate remarks!

Those who followed the story from its start on Oct 10, 2009 know that I was initially undecided about whether or not to keep the relationship between Sesshomaru and Inuyasha platonic. But one thing I knew for certain from the beginning was that I wanted to write a love story. It didn't matter whether the two main characters ended up as lovers or purely brothers, or whether any love that arose would be unrequited or reciprocated – it was always meant to be a love story that would take its time to develop, and be as psychologically realistic as possible. I think that's what I've got here.

As for the chapter titles, I took them from some of my favourite Shakespeare plays, which I'd studied before (I didn't just google "Shakespeare quotes"!), and altered a couple of them to suit the subject – the original line for the title of the first chapter was "Something wicked this way comes" (Macbeth), and the original of what I used for the fourth chapter was "One may smile, and smile, and be a villain" (Hamlet).

It has been exhausting writing at this pace, putting up a new chapter every few days – I need a break, then I think I'll do something short and simple, like a oneshot. I have also spent so much time writing that I have not read as many other fics on this site as I would like – and I want to do more of that!

It appears that disclaimers are mandatory in fanfics, so as a final note, I'd better underline the obvious here, once again: I don't own Inuyasha (of course!) and make no money or profit from writing this story (naturally!), and Rumiko Takahashi has all the rights to the original manga and anime and the characters in them.