Disclaimer: I don't own the Inuyasha series.
Warnings: M for SLASH and INCEST, though it won't be terribly explicit. Still, this fiction is Inuyasha/Sesshoumaru loving all the way. Also contains foul language and gore.
This takes place after the epilogue to the manga.
Part 1: Thaw
Kagome passed away peacefully in her sleep. One night she was there, and the next morning Inuyasha found an old lady lying beside him, quite dead. Her death was like a punch to the ribs.
Of course she had grown old—it was more than half a century since they'd first met. He had no right to be so surprised. It was just that he hadn't realized. To him, Kagome had always been light and fragile in his arms. There had been changes, but he hadn't known—
He hadn't expected—
He hadn't realized.
Kagome had flitted in and out of his existence like a firefly, bright and delicate and suddenly gone, but now it seemed as though he couldn't remember what life had been without her. She'd barely been with him at all—their time had been so short—
Miroku and Sango were quick to follow. They too were both ripe and content in their old age. Their lives seemed to him envious; fleeting and filled with passion—lives they had shared with Inuyasha. They had enveloped him briefly in their glitter and zeal, and now the years seemed to stretch hollowly before him.
But Inuyasha cried only once, his smooth face flickering in the firelight as Kagome burned. His tears were illuminated reddish-orange, and afterward he scattered her ashes into the wind.
50 years later
Sesshoumaru smelled blood. Human blood, copious amounts of it. Ordinarily, he wouldn't have bothered, except that it irked at him, scratching at the back of his mind, a very familiar sort of irk. It was intensely irritating, and eventually he rose and began following the scent with muted curiosity.
As he walked, his curiosity grew. The scent became stronger, the stench of blood nearly overpowering—he was drowning in the familiarity of it. He hadn't come across this particular scent in many years but it appeared it still possessed the ability to make his stomach turn. Almost unconsciously, his pace quickened, and soon he was leaping soundlessly through the trees. It was very dark in the forest, but Sesshoumaru needed nothing at this point but that horrible stinking scent—
The clearing was lit only by starlight and the weak gleam of a sickly moon. Sesshoumaru could make out a shape lying amongst the underbrush. He walked closer, his gait even, the slant of his lips detached.
It was Inuyasha, of course. No one else reeked the way he did. His dark hair was matted with even darker blood, and the lower half of his face was ruined, but his expression was stubborn and set and quite unmistakable. After a moment of silent contemplation, Sesshoumaru kneeled at his side and dipped a finger in the gaping gash in his chest.
It came out cold with blood. Sesshoumaru stared at it for a moment, and during that split second his eyes darkened into something unfathomable. Then his hand moved decisively towards the Sword of Heaven at his belt.
Inuyasha was very cold, but that was changing. Slowly he warmed as heat leaked from his heart and crept slowly out, out into his limbs and his ribs and his toes. It was as if he were sinking into a hot bath, or lying in a pool of sunshine. With an effort, he opened his eyes just the tiniest bit. But his lids still felt cool and stiff, and he could make out nothing. His lashes quivering, Inuyasha focused all his being on blinking. After a few painful, concentrated blinks, he saw.
He thought at first he was looking into his own eyes.
But then he realized that he no—no, these eyes were different. They were slitted, and more graceful, and lined with pink. A crescent moon came into focus, and two sets of stripes.
"Sesshoumaru," he croaked through the dry burn that seemed to consume his throat.
His brother rose, and Inuyasha's gaze fell on the sword clutched carelessly in Sesshoumaru's right hand. Inuyasha's lips parted slightly in a small 'O', and as he struggled to sit up realization hit him and his eyes grew impossibly large.
"You…" he began, "I—" I died. You… you revived me?
But Sesshoumaru wasn't even watching him anymore. Instead, he was following another trail of blood. Inuyasha laboriously hauled himself to his feet and followed.
Just beyond the clearing's edge a youkai lay, very still in death. A large branch was jammed down its throat and poking out from between its shoulder blades. Inuyasha glared at it balefully.
"Fucking low-class youkai," he said, his hands going up to rub at his newly repaired countenance almost unconsciously, "found me in a tree during the—"
Inuyasha's eyes widened again and they were as dark as the sky above. He stared at his hands, at his blunt fingernails, and then yanked at a lock of his hair, gazing at it with wild eyes.
"I…I died on the night of the new moon," he said quickly, his voice tight with panic. His gaze searched the sky through the trees, his gaze fixed on the small sliver of light shining blearily from amid the clouds. "How long—how long was I—?"
"One day," said Sesshoumaru evenly, his gaze moving from the dead youkai and settling back onto his half-brother. Inuyasha's heart was hammering in his throat. He was still human. He hadn't changed back—of course he hadn't, he'd been dead—but now was he—would he be…?
He stared up at the sky once again. There were still many hours until dawn. He'd change back then. Of course, of course—of course he would change back then. Every month, the arrival of the sun heralded the consequent arrival of his youkai powers. Of course. Slowly, Inuyasha forced his breathing to even out, clenching and unclenching his fists until even his useless human nails dug into his palm and drew tiny drops of blood.
He forced himself to meet his brother's eyes. Sesshoumaru's expression was detached, and Inuyasha searched it carefully for any drop of condemnation, of disdain, of anything. His efforts were fruitless: Sesshoumaru's gaze was even more veiled than usual. He couldn't read anything there. Swallowing, still searching, Inuyasha opened his mouth to thank his brother.
But his thanks got caught in his throat and instead he said, "Why? Why'd you save me? Even when I was—when I am—" He realized he was going quite warm and refused to feel ashamed. "When I'm like this. Human."
Sesshoumaru's eyes betrayed nothing, nor did the even set of his mouth. For a long time he offered no response. Then he said, "This happens on the night of the new moon?"
Inuyasha felt a brief flare of irritation at his brother for completely avoiding the question. He quickly stomped it down—irritating and evasive as he may have been, Sesshoumaru had just brought him back from death, after all. Inuyasha was uneasy with the thought that his brother owed him his life.
"Yeah," he answered as graciously as he could manage. "I usually change back in the morning, but…" He gestured at himself, trying to affect nonchalance. In the back of his head his instincts were screaming at him. Sesshoumaru knows! He knows, he knows; you're at his mercy—
Inuyasha ignored it.
Sesshoumaru, for his part, continued looking at him blankly. "I wonder when the transformation will take place now," he said, not looking even clinically curious, "considering recent events."
Despite his best efforts, Inuyasha glared. "Whaddya mean?" he snapped. "Come sunrise, I'll be back to normal!" Sesshoumaru's mild statement annoyed him; it sent the panic brimming just beneath the surface rising up again.
His elder brother just gazed at him impassively.
Then, without a word of departure, he turned and strode purposefully away.
Inuyasha stared at his back, broiling with confusion, alarm, and a vague sense of anger. But threading through it all there was something else; something indefinable and wholly unfamiliar.
Sesshoumaru had all but disappeared into the undergrowth when Inuyasha called out quietly,
"Thanks. For… bringing me back."
Sesshoumaru paused, just for a moment. Then he walked on, and Inuyasha was alone.
Inuyasha had been walking for many hours now. He knew that it would be in his best interest to simply climb a tree and wait for sunup—but then again, last time he'd done that he'd ended up dead. And besides, he didn't like the thought of hanging around near all that blood. It was a miracle no opportunistic youkai had decided to make a meal out of him during the time it took Sesshoumaru to find him.
At the thought of his half brother, Inuyasha slowed and then suddenly tripped over something on the ground before him. Cursing his crap human senses, he picked himself off the dirt, marveling at his own agility. He may have been a powerless human, but he was in pretty good shape considering what had happened…
As they had been doing quite frequently the past few hours, Inuyasha's hands traveled over his face, slipping down soft, whole skin of his neck and finally to his chest. It was all intact. He was intact. All thanks to… all thanks to Sesshoumaru. He owed Sesshoumaru his life. The thought made something inside him wriggle and constrict.
It was embarrassing really, being killed by such a feeble youkai and then having to have Sesshoumaru come revive his ass. On some level he was mortified, but on another he was… Well. Something. He wasn't sure what. Grateful, he supposed. But something else was there too; some remnant of that initial warmth he'd felt bubbling beneath the surface.
Lost in contemplation, Inuyasha tripped again, caught himself, and stared wistfully at the sky. There! He could see it! The sky was lightening by excruciatingly gradual degrees, but dawn was definitely approaching. The clouds tinted pink, and for the first time in a long while, Inuyasha felt his spirits lift with a sense of well-being. So what if he'd been dead for a few hours? He'd be back to normal in a bit—back to being a predator, rather than prey.
An errant branch whipping him in the face startled him into glaring back at the path, and he pushed forward obstinately, cursing under his breath—
As a woman's scream shattered the cool predawn air.
Inuyasha stopped, just for a moment, and swiveled his head this way and that. The sound had come from somewhere nearby… but he didn't want to get involved. Not yet. He'd just wait a few minutes; he'd change back soon—
Another scream sounded, louder than the first.
Inuyasha swore and surged forward. He couldn't make out where the shouts were coming from; they seemed to reverberate all around him, howling and weaving through the trees. The woman screamed again, and again, and as Inuyasha ran the very leaves around him shook with the acuteness of the woman's agony.
He ran and ran through the trees, the lingering shadows, the sharp thorns—and there! There she was, a woman dressed all in blue, crouching along the bank of a stream. Her hair was dark and very long, and Inuyasha could discern nothing else because her face was in her hands as she screamed again and again.
"Hey!" shouted Inuyasha as he dropped to the ground in front of her, panting, "Hey, are you okay—"
The woman looked up, and Inuyasha reared back, because her eyes were a colorless shade of silver; nearly white, and her pupils were long and black. She smiled at him coyly, revealing a hint of bone-white fang. Before he could escape her small pale hands had wound around his wrists.
"Hello," she said to him, her unnerving eyes boring into his. "Thank goodness you're here."
Inuyasha recoiled, but her grip was steely and unwavering. She rose, dragging him with her, and he stared at the sky, streaked with pink and gold. Sunlight was dappling along the forest floor now, rippling in the water, sending the woman's eyes flashing.
And Inuyasha's hair gleamed inky black in the morning light.
It was summertime, and Inuyasha lay with his head in Kagome's lap. His golden eyes were half-lidded and lazy as they tracked the clouds overhead. Kagome was warm and soft, and her hands rubbed at his ears, and Inuyasha could never remember such contentment.
"Mm, Inuyasha," sighed Kagome happily. "Isn't it a beautiful day?"
Inuyasha made a lazy sound of agreement. He felt drowsy, so wonderfully drowsy, surrounded by the scent of the woman he loved. She smelled like soap, and girl-things, and warm human flesh, and… and…
Suddenly a sharp, bitter smell accosted his nose, and Inuyasha's eyes flew open. He watched, helpless, as Kagome aged above him. Her skin sagged and split into a million little lines; her hair grew brittle and fell away, and when she looked down at him her large brown eyes were the only piece of her left.
"You're forgetting me, Inuyasha," she said in an old woman's wheezing voice. "Don't forget me. Inuyasha, don't forget me."
Her eyes began to go black, spreading inside and out, until they collapsed bonelessly in their sockets. Her fingers were falling away inside Inuyasha's hair; her lap turned to dust below his head.
"Don't forget me," she breathed. "Don't. Don't." He couldn't move. He couldn't do anything. He could only watch as she aged, melted, left. "Inuyasha, don't."
And then she was gone, a sprinkling of dust carried away on the breeze, and all that was left was the faintest whisper of her ruined voice.
His vision swam.
He could hardly see. Where was he? It was dark, and smelled rancid.
No, no, he didn't want to remember; he couldn't forget—
His eyes snapped open.
"Good morning, Inuyasha," said the youkai, and her curious silvery eyes flashed in the dim light of the cave. Inuyasha felt his chest swell with nausea. What was that horrible stench? It was everywhere, tangling in his hair and filling his nose, pricking at the back of his mouth. It came from the woman, too, smiling at him from inches away, and why hadn't he smelled it earlier, before he—
Inuyasha stopped struggling against the constraints binding him to stone behind him with his wrists and ankles. He stopped moving at all, stopped breathing even, just for a moment. He was… he was still a…
"Good little human boy," said the youkai, affectionately patting his cheek. "Very good. You'll be tame now, won't you?"
Inuyasha's gaze lifted to meet hers, and he bared his dull, rounded teeth in a snarl.
The woman raised her eyebrows. "No?" she said, mildly surprised. "My. I thought you wanted to come out and play." Her thin, colorless lips quirked in a wan smile. "I thought you missed her. Missed them. Missed hearing your name the way they would say it…" She grinned. "Inuyasha!"
Inuyasha's breath hitched. For a moment, the way she'd said it, it had sounded exactly like… like…
"Kagome," said the woman. "That was your little human tramp's name, wasn't it?"
Inuyasha could only gape, his mouth working up and down without much success. "How… how did you…?"
The woman laughed, and it sounded shrill and brittle. "I know human hearts, boy. I know men's hearts. You're very young, and your heart is a strange thing, but I know hearts." She paused and offered him another sly smile. "Do you know what they call me, young human? Kokoro no Dorobo. But you may simply call me Kokoro."
Inuyasha was hardly listening. Instead, he was gazing around him. He was in a small, round cave filled with blue-gray light and the stench of corpses—corpses of men, he realized with another lurch of nausea, bones and flesh and skulls scattered in gruesome disarray. But there was another thing that caught his eye as well. Leaning against a wall behind the woman and to his right spilled an enormous, teetering pile of…of something. Inuyasha squinted at it, instinctively sniffing at the air once more and nearly gagging. What was that—?
He recoiled suddenly and drew back, pressing against the wall at his back with all his strength. The woman paid him no mind—she was busy dragging slim fingers along the length of his chest. "Your heart, your heart," muttered Kokoro, frowning slightly, "is a very sad creature. A strange, sad, lonely creature." She glanced up into his eyes, which were dark with disgust and panic and anger. "A very curious creature," she breathed. "Let me have a better look."
Inuyasha yelped with surprise as her long white claws made quick work of his clothing, ripping clean to his chest, and three smarting gashes appeared winding from his left shoulder 'til his right hip and bubbling faintly with blood. For her part, Kokoro paid her handiwork no mind. She lightly traced her fingertips along the shape of Inuyasha's collarbone, then downwards to the left, splaying her palm flat against his heart.
"H-hey!" stuttered Inuyasha indignantly as Kokoro gazed intently at his bare skin. "What—what is this? Are you some kind of pervert or something—!"
"Oh yes, a strange heart indeed," murmured Kokoro, ignoring him completely. "A lovely twisted thing. You don't know how to be alone, do you?" she said, glancing at Inuyasha sympathetically through her lashes. "Not before, and certainly not after. You're filled with so much longing it's almost pathetic."
Inuyasha was speechless.
"Ah, but I'm the same," continued Kokoro, drumming her fingers on his skin. "Yes, yes, the same, the very same. I don't know how to be alone either…"
She pressed herself flush against him, and in his shock and revulsion Inuyasha heard the clicking of a lock at his left wrist, then his right. He rubbed his hands together as Kokoro worked at his ankles, and when he was finally free he looked down to see her gazing up at him, smiling enigmatically.
"Let's be together, Inuyasha," she said to him, her white, flat, eerie gaze trained on his, "You're perfect, better than all the rest of my collection." She rose slowly, like a serpent leaning back on its tail. "I have the finest collection of hearts in all Japan, I do, but it's worthless, absolutely worthless, I'm so alone, I'm so…"
But Inuyasha was looking beyond her, past her depraved mutterings and her colorless cheeks, into the pile of hearts in the corner. It was spotted red and gray and black, and now that Inuyasha knew he could make them out: hundreds of hearts, some shriveled and crumbling and some dripping, stinking fresh, and many in between.
Then pain bloomed in his right hand, and Inuyasha looked and saw his pinky finger, unnaturally bent and quite broken in Kokoro's grip.
"Look at me!" snarled Kokoro, and Inuyasha wrenched his gaze up and into hers, which was glittering furiously. "Filthy human, don't you dare—don't you…" She suddenly melted. "Oh, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry; I'm sorry Inuyasha; I didn't mean it. You and I, we're the only two hearts in this world."
She cradled his injured hand to her chest. Inuyasha stared at her, expression tense with pain, saying nothing.
"We are, yes, we are. There's no one else. No one else…. No human bitch." Her expression turned ugly, Inuyasha snarled weakly as she snapped his wrist. Her gaze met his placidly. "There's just you and me."
To be continued
I'm new to Inuyasha and I heart Inucest. Sarz if this has been done before. I'm trying to give back here - there's a distinct lack of InuxSessh going on on this site. Are people still into Inuyasha?
Btw, Kokoro no Dorobo means thief of hearts (I hope). But who knows really?