Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha series or any of the characters.
Summary: Young Inuyasha should probably know better, but he'd do anything for the chance to be accepted by his big brother.
Translations and further A/N are at the bottom.
It was still night when Inuyasha opened his eyes, and he was alone. There wasn't a part of him that didn't hurt, and his head was throbbing in time with his heartbeat. Slowly, he sat up and took stock of his surroundings and situation.
He could tell he'd only been unconscious for an hour or so, partly because no scavengers had showed up to eat him, but mostly because the blood on his clothes was cold but still sticky. It felt disgusting, and the smell still made him feel sick to his stomach, especially combined with the pounding in his head.
He remembered everything. Sometimes, when he'd been unconscious, the details of what had happened to him trickled in slowly when he woke up, and it would be a few minutes before he could remember it all clearly and in order. But not this time. He'd woken up with all his memories laid out before him in his head, each one painfully detailed.
Fighting nausea, Inuyasha climbed slowly to his feet and walked over to the corpse which still lay on the ground. He looked down at it for a long time.
"I'm not sorry," he said suddenly, and looked away.
He was so angry, and so hurt, and so tired. He'd been nothing but Sesshoumaru's puppet. His brother had dangled the thing he wanted most before him, and he'd fallen for it. He'd actually believed that if he only did as Sesshoumaru asked, his brother would finally accept him. He'd been so stupid. Why had he believed him?
What would Haha-ue think of me?
Inuyasha felt even sicker than before. He had to push the feeling away, because he couldn't tell if he was going to cry or puke, and he didn't want to do either.
He remembered the excitement of the night before. It had been so easy to get caught up in it. Something in him had loved every second of it, had adored the human's — Taro's — terror. Something inside him still loved it, and that was the worst part. What would Haha-ue think?
It was all Sesshoumaru's fault. He'd toyed with Inuyasha, pulled all the right strings, made him believe the lies for his own amusement. And he hadn't meant a word of it.
Inuyasha felt his claws digging into his palms as he squeezed his fists tightly, hardening his heart. He didn't need his brother. He didn't need anyone. He was better off alone.
"I hate you. You hear me, Sesshoumaru?" His voice rose to a shout. "I HATE YOU!"
He listened as the echoes of his voice died away, knowing that Sesshoumaru was long gone, and would not hear him. He felt so alone.
Looking down, Inuyasha forced the rage to the front again, because with it filling him, there was no room for the hurt.
"I'm glad you're dead," he told the corpse with a scowl. "You deserved it."
Inuyasha turned away. He wanted a bath, and his clothes needed washed. He'd have to find a river.
But first, he was going back to the village. Dawn was not far off. If he hurried, he could get there before anyone woke up, and he could steal the food from the dead man's hut. It wasn't like the man would be needing it.
He set off through the woods, limping on his wounded leg. And as he walked, he took his mind off the pain by concentrating on just how much he hated Sesshoumaru. The feeling filled him up until it drowned out everything else. He soldiered on.
And pretended with all his might that he wasn't crying.
Inugami – dog spirit servant (see more in my notes below)
Haha-ue – archaic word for mother
A/N: The initial inspiration for this story actually came from two sources: the subject of inugami, and my personal musings on what purpose inuyoukai might serve in nature. We know that ookami youkai (in the series) look after wolves, so this led me to wonder if inuyoukai would have any special affinity towards regular dogs. Do some inuyoukai perhaps have packs of stray dogs following them around in the same way that Kouga has a pack of regular wolves with him? For the purposes of this story, the answer is yes.
When I started to write, the story just sprawled out, getting bigger and darker all the time. It is now the longest story I have written, and I think the most dark (which is good, because it was meant to be). I really didn't expect it to turn out quite the way it did. It really seemed to have a mind of its own, as if it wanted to be told. And so, having begun as a simple interest concerning inugami, this story evolved into an exploration of hate.
Interesting point: In anime episode 88, with the three irritating monkeys, the villagers call Inuyasha "dog god" in the English version. My beta, Ranuel, has confirmed my suspicion that the term "inugami" is used in the Japanese version. So in English, we have a mistranslation, and the villagers are not mistaking Inuyasha as a god, but as a tamed dog spirit controlled by a human master. It would be an easy mistake for the villagers to make, considering Kagome's subjugation spell. I can also see how a mistranslation would be easy for translators who did not understand the culture, since the direct translation would be "inu (dog) – kami (god)".