Title: Kazoku (Family)

Author: Agni

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.

Summary: New discoveries change everything. Inuyasha finds a family and with a new family comes new responsibilities. Then there is Sesshoumaru…

Warnings: Yaoi. Sesshoumaru/Inuyasha. OOC (Slight), OCs. AU.

AN: This story is a new plot with elements of both Reiniku and Mating in it. Instead of rewriting the two stories, I have come up with this. I hope you enjoy. This is just a small prologue. The real first chapter will be up soon.

Prologue

"Inuyasha…" Pale golden eyes turned towards the wolf prince, his face impassive. Kagome, Sango and Miroku stood around him, watching the tall, elegant form of his brother warily. "He doesn't have the-"

The hanyou waved his hand to stop Kouga from continuing before he turned to observe his brother, "Is that all you have to say, Sesshoumaru?" he asked, his voice dull and emotionless.

The Daiyoukai observed him with the same degree of impassiveness. It was startling to see just how similar they looked now that Inuyasha was slowly reaching his maturity. Both of them were pale skinned compared to the humans and the wolf demon. Both their eyes were a sharp, stunning gold with cat-like pupils. Sesshoumaru was taller, much more muscular than Inuyasha was, his hair long and straight, while Inuyasha was shorter, slender and his hair had subtle curls in it. They glowed with power and grace, inspiring awe and admiration.

Both of them were the epitome of what it meant to be a Daiyoukai.

"You have not answered me, hanyou."

Inuyasha looked at him with a scowl, "What kind of answer do you expect?" he asked. "When you gave me the Tensaiga, I had assumed that this feud between us was over. You want to start it again? You want to possess Tetsusaiga even when Bakusaiga is probably better for you?"

"That is not my intention." Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes, "I do not wish to associate with you."

Inuyasha snorted, his eyes closing so that Sesshoumaru could see the pain in them. "What else is new?"

"Do not test my patience, Inuyasha." Sesshoumaru whispered dangerously, "Answer me."

Inuyasha looked at him, his eyes narrowed, "You're commanding me to leave the West. Be out of your sight and senses. Be away from the last link to my father purely because of your own selfishness?"

There was a low growl, "Your presence taints it." Sesshoumaru stated and Inuyasha resisted the urge to flinch. "If you are to mate…" he glanced at Kagome with silent disdain, "And raise a family, you will not do so on my lands. Be grateful that I have not banished you from our clan, hanyou. Your blood has tainted us enough as it is."

Inuyasha gritted his teeth, "I dare you to look at her with such eyes once again, bastard." He hissed, "She is worth far more than you are, a person so greedy and arrogant that it is disgusting."

In a blur, Sesshoumaru was in front of him, the dangerous edge of Bakusaiga pressed against his neck. "Watch the words that spew from your mouth, filth, lest I lose my patience and end you."

"Try it." Snarled Kouga, his claws poised by Sesshoumaru's neck, "Dare try," he whispered furiously while Inuyasha watched the wolf with wide eyes, "And I will render your flesh in shreds, bastard."

Golden eyes glanced at the wolf calmly, "You over-estimate you own power, wolf."

"I am not the only one who you will have to conquer to kill him, Sesshoumaru." Kouga stated and the Daiyoukai looked at the humans. "I-"

"Kouga." All of them paused at Inuyasha's solemn voice. The hanyou looked at Sesshoumaru intently, "By banishing me from the West, you'll sever the connection between me and the spirit of our father's domain. It will weaken me enough that I'll become more vulnerable to the other demons. They'll take the chance to kill me and most likely will succeed. Therefore, your precious blood will once again be untainted."

His human companions looked at him with wide eyes. "Naraku, of course, will be the first to take the chance." He glanced at Kagome, "Since I can't enter your lands, I won't be able to protect Kagome, which means that I'll no longer be able to mate her even if I want to. Once again, your precious blood will remain untainted." Kagome paled. "Once the link between me and the West is severed, I'll no longer be acknowledged as the Prince of West, which means I'll no longer be my father's son and your brother." Inuyasha's lips twisted in a bitter smirk, "And your blood will remain pure." His smirk widened, "At the price of my life and happiness."

Sesshoumaru's eyes widened imperceptibly, almost as though he had not considered the consequences of simply having Inuyasha out of his hair.

Kouga snarled, his hackles rising but Inuyasha was uncharacteristically calm. "Father would have been proud."

It was Sesshoumaru's turn to resist the urge to flinch. Both of them knew what their father's reaction would have been.

Inuyasha sheathed his sword and spread his hands wide, "You might as well kill me now, aniue." He offered while his companions cried out in shock and dismay. "It'll be easier for both of us. I'm tired of these games." He stated plainly and everyone in the clearing was surprised by the manner in which Inuyasha addressed Sesshoumaru, "You constantly toy with me, knowing how much damage you inflict. I can forgive your many faults, I love you enough to do it but this…" he paused, "This is the end of my tolerance." Kagome took a step towards him, her eyes moist with tears while Kouga looked at Inuyasha grimly, realizing more than the humans and Sesshoumaru did. "If you are capable of despising me so much that you cannot wait until our mutual enemy is dealt with to satisfy your hatred than I-" he took a deep breath, "Than I have nothing to say."

When Sesshoumaru did not move, his friends sighed in relief but Inuyasha did not. He looked at his brother, taking in the unreadable expression on his face and his eyes flashed with bone-deep sadness for a moment. He closed his eyes, "Kagome." The miko turned towards him worriedly, "Go back home."

"Wha… Inuyasha?"

The hanyou shook his head, "Go back home. I'll ask Kaede to seal the well. This is where it ends."

His friends sputtered in surprise, all of them looking at him as though he had lost his mind.

"My friend," Miroku moved forward, frowning in concern, "We cann-"

"I can't allow you to risk Kagome's life simply because you want revenge, monk. This is our mess. Kagome has no part in it. It's only her innate kindness that makes her help us." Miroku reeled back as though he had been struck, looking at Inuyasha with slightly wide eyes. "Sesshoumaru will not be swayed. The well is deep in Western lands territory. She can't travel through it safely and neither are all of your safe without my presence in West. This bastard isn't capable of protecting anyone." Inuyasha whispered, gestured towards Sesshoumaru with a harsh scowl. "It's best we disperse and pursue our own paths." A sudden thought struck him and he paused, glancing at Kouga, "Or Kouga can repl-"

"No!" Kagome cried, "Inuyasha, you don't have to accept this! You can't do th-"

"Damnit! I don't have a choice!" The hanyou snapped while everyone excluding him turned to glare at Sesshoumaru. "I-"

"You can stay until Naraku is destroyed." Sesshoumaru interrupted with a scowl. He finally realized the consequences that would follow if Inuyasha agreed to do as he had commanded. "After that, you will be out of my sight or I will kill you."

Inuyasha closed his eyes at the humiliation he felt before he grit his teeth and turned to Kouga. "I will never step foot here. You will protect Kagome and the others while they are in West and outside it, I will take charge."

"I sai-"

"I don't care what you say." Inuyasha snapped, his wide golden eyes glittering in pain and betrayal, "I can't stand it! I can't stand the sight of you now! That you can be so selfish and cruel is-" he swallowed, "It has shattered all my delusions." They fell silent as Inuyasha combed his fingers through his hair in frustration, "You surprised me when you used the Un-mother to attack me." He whispered, "You were never kind to me but before that I was sure that you never used your full strength against me. Whenever you wanted to kill me, you held back. I, in my foolishness, assumed that you were teaching me how to survive even while you catered to your pride by not showing me any care or affection."

Inuyasha shook his head, "After I got Tetsusaiga, you increased the strength of your attacks and yet you never deemed it necessary to use lethal force. You know my limits very well; you'd always push me as far as I could go before pulling back. It was because of my battles with you that I learned to wield Tetsusaiga correctly." He looked at the Daiyoukai, "I can't count the number of times your help has saved my life. I assumed…" he snorted derisively, "Such a fine fool I am. I thought that your heart was softening when you took a ningen child under your protection and now it feels as though you have struck me in the face. After all, what am I supposed to think when you're willing accept a ningen you're not related to but you're unwilling to accept your own brother?"

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes but before he could speak Inuyasha shook his head and closed his eyes. "Very well." He breathed deeply before unsheathing the Tetsusaiga and stabbing the blade into the ground. "I will no longer live by your charity, Sesshoumaru or by the grace of your father. Your wish is granted. I will only keep this sheath because I need it. The sword is yours." He whispered before spinning on his heel and bounding off towards the borders of West, leaving the legendary sword behind.

Kouga cursed and moved to follow him but realized that Inuyasha had given him the responsibility of protecting Kagome and the others. He snarled at the humans, commanding them to hurry and climb on Kirara so that they could follow the hanyou.

Kagome paused, almost reaching for the Tetsusaiga as Kirara transformed. However, she pulled her hand back when she realized that Inuyasha would not accept it back. He might never wield it. It was his father's one and only gift to him and he gave it up…

She looked at Sesshoumaru with hatred written all over her features, "Your father will never forgive you."

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes at her but before he could retaliate, Kouga grabbed her, ignoring him completely. "We won't catch up with Inuyasha if we delay ourselves." The prince murmured, sending a scathing glance in Sesshoumaru's direction before carrying Kagome and shooting off after Inuyasha.

They found him just on the outskirts of the northern border of the West. He was leaning against a tree, observing the empty sheath of Tetsusaiga with hooded eyes.

"Inuyasha…" Kagome whispered softly, reaching out to cup his cheek.

"It feels as though I gave up a piece of my soul." Inuyasha whispered and Kagome's arms wrapped about him. "I feel empty."

Miroku frowned sadly and Sango reached out to wrap her arms around Inuyasha as well, kissing his forehead, her eyes clouded with concern. "What you said to Sesshoumaru… is it true? Did staying in the West really protect you that much?"

"He belongs to the Royal family." Kouga answered for Inuyasha, "Just like my lands provide me with subtle protection, his lands protects him too. It is not too strong but not something negligible either." He looked at Inuyasha in the eye, "We could head northeast, if you agree."

Inuyasha frowned at Kouga's behavior and arched a brow in question. The wolf shook his head slightly, looking at the humans pointedly and Inuyasha nodded in understanding.

They headed towards northeast in haste; the protection of Kouga's territory was something they needed urgently. All the while, Kagome, Miroku and Sango discussed how they would deal with the new problem and Shippou slept on Kirara's back.

Kouga and Inuyasha led the pack but the hanyou was hardly paying attention to anything. His gaze was inward, his eyes hooded and dull. They were fortunate that no demons had attacked them during their journey. Inuyasha was too out of sorts to be of any use in battle.

It was only when it was time to set camp for the night that Kouga attempted to speak with Inuyasha about their present circumstances.

He met the hanyou's eyes as all of them settled down to enjoy the warmth of the fire. Subtly, he glanced at the woods surrounding them and raised a brow. It was clear to Inuyasha that he wanted to talk.

The silver haired half-demon closed his eyes for a moment, scanning their surroundings. He nodded to Kouga before standing up and walking towards the woods without a word to the humans.

Kagome looked at him, startled and hurried to stand. "Inuyasha! Wait! Where are you going?"

Kouga stood as well and shook his head, "Stay here, Kagome. We'll be back soon." He stated firmly before speeding off to follow Inuyasha.

The human settled down once again, looking baffled as well as concerned but Kouga was well aware that the discussion he was about to have with Inuyasha was beyond their comprehension.

Inuyasha, for the sake of his human friends, did everything he could to ensure that he was able to blend in with their culture and habits. Because of that, they knew very little about the society that Inuyasha truly belonged to. However, Kouga was well aware that Inuyasha wasn't as ignorant as he seemed.

The wolf demon finally found Inuyasha in a clearing. It was far enough from the campsite that no one could eavesdrop on their conversation but near enough to alert them of any danger.

"What?" Inuyasha asked gruffly. He was sitting on a high branch of a tree and seemed tense.

"I have a suggestion." Kouga stated softly, "You probably won't like it. In fact, I'm sure you'll break every bone in my body for daring to suggest it but…" he shrugged helplessly, "But I'm feeling brave so what the he-"

"Spit it out, wolf."

"Become my mate."

Inuyasha stilled, his eyes wide as he looked down at the wolf prince. "What did you say?" he asked as he gracefully leapt from the branch and landing on his feet in front of Kouga.

The wolf sighed, "Before you start getting angry, hear me out, please?"

Inuyasha growled, his eyes glowing, "You better have a solid reason bastard!"

"My mate is dead." Inuyasha froze, looking at Kouga with wide eyes. "She died before we would be bound and you know how it works, Inuyasha."

The hanyou sat down slowly, looking at Kouga with understanding in his eyes. "I'm your Potential Mate?"

The prince nodded, "I sensed it the moment I saw you." He combed his fingers through his hair, "The pain of loosing my true mate was raw at that time so when I met you, I reacted with bitterness and anger. I didn't want to replace her. I didn't think of you as worthy."

Inuyasha simply nodded, not offended by Kouga's words. A potential mate was a mere replacement of sorts. Those who knew of the joy of being with a True Mate would never find complete satisfaction or happiness with a potential but in Kouga's case, he had no other option.

Inuyasha had no other option either.

Kouga could see that Inuyasha was considering his suggestion. He knelt in front of him, taking hold of the hanyou's pale hands and observed Inuyasha for a moment. Kouga marveled over the contrast between their skin tones.

Inuyasha did not lack beauty. In fact, there were very few who could actually compete with him in that aspect. Although he was crude and foul-mouthed, Kouga was too accustomed to his hidden kindness and gentle nature to let that façade fool him. He knew that Inuyasha loyalty, once gained was unshakable.

All these attributes made him a perfect mate. It seemed so unfair to Kouga that Sesshoumaru had his true mate right in front of his eyes and he refused the treasure.

"You don't need to answer me, straight away…" Kouga whispered, "But I need to know you if you'd consider it. My pack will welcome you no matter what, Inuyasha. Don't doubt that but they'll be relieved to have my potential mate living amongst them."

Inuyasha frowned, looking at the dark sky thoughtfully. "You realize that we both will be settling for the second best and that knowledge will haunt us forever?"

Kouga looked at him piercingly, "Yes." He answered, "But we don't have much of a choice, do we? For me, at least, it's a dead end. You have the choice but I guess it doesn't make any difference if that foolish bastard you called brother remains stubborn." Inuyasha winced. "Look at you…" Kouga whispered, "Where are you lacking?" he asked, "Where? Few demons are stronger than you are and fewer still more beautiful. You've boundless courage and kindness and the strength of your body is only exceeded by the strength of your heart and mind. You aren't at fault, Inuyasha. That bastard is blind."

"That doesn't help me, does it Kouga?" Inuyasha asked, closing his eyes. "He may be blind but I am not. I can see the truth clearly and I still do just as he says. I always have. In the end, I always give into him. It is my folly, wolf. It is my ultimate, most painful weakness."

They remained silent for a moment, each looking off in a different direction, both troubled by their predicaments.

"I appreciate this." Inuyasha said finally, "But I can't decide on a whim, Kouga. Especially not now. After we deal with Naraku and the entire mess, after we send Kagome back home safely then we can think about mating." The hanyou said softly, "We have time. There's no need to rush this."

"What about you? This is going to weaken you."

"Not much, I guess." Inuyasha sighed, "I'll manage as I always have." He whispered, "I'll keep fighting for this worthless, pitiful life simply because I can't give up. If I give up, I'll be insulting my father and degrading his sacrifice."

Golden eyes glimmered in the darkness.

"That's all I can do. Survive."