~Once a Family, Always a Family~

They died. That's what young Shippou had heard. Waking up to the news of his brother's death, never really a good wake up call. Shippou cried his green eyes out when he heard his brother, Inuyasha, had died, actually, murdered. The other day, Inuyasha had said that he was leaving on important business. He didn't tell anyone where he was going, but Shippou knew. Inuyasha confessed to Shippou about a week ago that he was going to bring home a bride, Kagome. Shippou was ecstatic. Shippou felt happy for his brother. All his life, Shippou worked to please his brother. Shippou loved Inuyasha very much, even if they weren't blood related.

Shippou was an orphan. His parents abandoned him when he was about one and a half years old. A gang of robbers who killed their victims before they robbed was pursuing his parent. Shippou's parents had wrapped Shippou up in a blanket and placed him next to a tree outside a home. Shippou was asleep at the time and was having a nightmare. A young boy with dark hair and a red hakama (Japanese clothing for men) awakened him . He had been whimpering loud enough to attract Inuyasha, who was nearby. Inuyasha took care of Shippou that day and later brought Shippou home with him. His parents accepted Shippou as a child and treated him like they would with any other child of theirs. Shippou grew up with Inuyasha and they played together all the time.

For many years, the whole family lived together in peace. About two years ago, Shippou met Kagome. Inuyasha said he was leaving the house go marketing, and Shippou wanted to come. Inuyasha allowed Shippou to go with him. They walked down the dusty road towards the market place. About after a half mile, Inuyasha stopped at a hut. Outside the hut was a girl, about Inuyasha's age, and a smaller boy, about a year older than Shippou, that were gardening. Inuyasha walked into the garden and greeted the two friendly. He introduced Shippou to the boy and girl. The girl was Kagome. She has her stark black hair tied back behind her white robe and red pants. The younger boy with messy dark black hair, was Souta, Kagome's brother. Inuyasha explained to Shippou that Kagome was Inuyasha's childhood friend. Shippou grew accustomed to Kagome and Souta, and went to their hut to play with them whenever Inuyasha was too busy to play. Kagome watched over the two younger boys.

Shippou later met Kikyo, Kagome's half sister. Kagome had invited Kikyo to stay after Kikyo's twelve-year banishment. Kikyo was a lonesome figure who attended all the housework and was very pale. She looked almost like a copy of Kagome, except their personalities were completely opposite. Kagome was bright and cheerful while Kikyo was gloomy and expressionless. On the times when Shippou had met Kikyo, she was cold to him; in fact, she was rather cold to everyone. Shippou never did figure out why Kikyo was so cold. Shippou chose to ignore it and get back with playing.

Then two days ago, when Inuyasha had left the house early in the morning, he didn't return. The family waited at least 3 hours after sunset and he still didn't return. Fearing for Inuyasha's safety, they all gathered lanterns and started to search for him. Alas, they could not find Inuyasha. Then Shippou remembered a place they didn't check Kagome's hut. Other members of the family didn't know why Inuyasha would be at any other place, but followed Shippou anyway towards Kagome's hut. The sight that met the eye was not something to behold. On the ground was Kagome with a sword stabbed through her and on top of her lay Inuyasha, with an eerie looking white skin. Both of their eyes were closed. Inuyasha's mother quickly covered up Shippou's eyes and led him away from the scene. But it was too late. Shippou had seen one of the many things a six-year-old child shouldn't be exposed to. While Shippou cried, Inuyasha's mother comforted Shippou and asked about how he knew where this place was why Inuyasha might have been there.

Shippou spilled everything out as fast as he spilt tears. He spoke of how Inuyasha and he knew Kagome, when Inuyasha started to fall in love with Kagome, and then thought about proposing to her. Shippou figured today was the day that Inuyasha would ask Kagome to marry him. Shippou cried himself to sleep and was taken home by Inuyasha's mother.

The next morning, Inuyasha's father reluctantly gave Shippou, upon request, a clearer report on what might have happened. They found Kagome and Inuyasha first. It was obvious that she had been stabbed and bled to death. Inuyasha had no physical injuries, but his skin had been a very shady pale white, so he concluded that he was poisoned. They found Kikyo just waking up, with a sake bottle at the table, trying to grab things to cover the bodies. Inuyasha's father caught the girl and tied her up. Then Kikyo had started to laugh. A high pitched laugh. She kept muttering, " Inuyasha mine.. not yours". Inuyasha's father concluded that Kikyo was the murderer and sent her to the overnight doshin (Japanese police type guards). She would be beheaded after three days torture for every person she murdered.

Shippou was confused.
"Three days? But didn't Kikyo only kill two people?" Shippou inquired.
" We found a freshly dug grave in the back with the name 'Souta' engraved. ", Inuyasha's father replied.
Shippou's eyes glistened with new tears.
" Souta...too?"
" Yes, your older brother and I think so."

Shippou wandered aimlessly around the town remembering the conversation he had with his adopted father. No one stopped Shippou when he left. No one noticed. Half of the village went to stone Kikyo in the public square. Shippou didn't want to attend. Seeing Kikyo's face reminded him too much of Kagome. But part of him wanted to go take revenge on the woman who killed Inuyasha and Kagome. While in deep thought, Shippou didn't watch what was in front of him when he suddenly collided with another person.

"Ow!" Shippou exclaimed. He rubbed his forehead, which had come in contact with the other being. He then looked across from him and saw a middle-aged woman, scrambling around to pick up all the herbs and bottles she dropped in the collision. Shippou hurriedly bounded up to help her. After the mess had been picked up, the woman thanked Shippou.

"Ah, thank you child for helping me", the woman said with a smile showing wrinkles.
" I'm sorry ma'am", Shippou replied with his head bent down. The woman paused and studied Shippou's childlike face, which looked very shameful at the moment.
" You seem troubled dear," the woman finally answered, " What's the matter?"
Shippou looked up. He saw the woman's calm and comforting face with mottled black hair and streaks of silvery shining in the sunlight. Shippou didn't say anything. The woman started to walk and Shippou followed her without knowing it. Finally, Shippou spoke up and started to confess.

" My big brother was killed last night with his to be bride. I loved them both a lot. The person who killed them was the sister of Kagome, the bride to be."
The woman seemed interested, she silently listened. Shippou continued, "My big brother's name was Inuyasha. He found me when I was abandoned and let me into his family. I am only alive because of him. But I couldn't help him." Shippou continued on until the woman stopped abruptly by a hut, which was next to a forest.

" Where are we?", Shippou asked while looking around at his surroundings. He sighed with relief that the market place wasn't far from there, he would at least know how to get home.

" We are at my home. Please. Come inside and I shall make tea for you and we can discuss things about your brother." The woman walked inside and Shippou followed.

~*~*~*~ AN: Just wondering, anybody figure out who this woman is? Make a guess and type it on a review and see! Oh, Demon-Wolf, I have anwsered to your challenge! ( Or I atleast thought it was a challenge...) I have made a sequel! XP I'm so smart! Well, all I want you wonderful and thoughtful readers to do is REVIEW! ^_^ Thanks!