Scent Memory
Summary: Inuyasha's oldest memories are all scent-based. Deep, deep down, he can't help but trust Sesshoumaru.
Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, any of the canon characters, settings or situations.

It's a damn stupid way to die, twisting convulsions on the forest floor with blood running from his eyes and ears. Brought down by a nest of vipers, of all things – Sesshoumaru will be livid, he thinks, vaguely amused by the thought of his brother's pinched face.

This is not a death worthy of Inutaishou's son.

In the distance, a girl's piping voice: "Sesshoumaru-sama! Sesshoumaru-sama! Come see…"

A shadow looms over him, blotting out the sun; a blinding bright aureole of white hair and glowing amber eyes, indifferent and detached. Sesshoumaru stares down at him with a pinched, disapproving expression, and Inuyasha can't help but laugh. But laughter turns to choking, and choking to coughing until he is coughing up bright red gouts of blood.

Sesshoumaru slams his clawed hand over Inuyasha's throat.

Gasping, choking on the blood and struggling instinctively for breath, Inuyasha claws at Sesshoumaru's hand. His eyes grow dim and his heartbeat thunders desperately in his ears.

And then Sesshoumaru leans in, his white hair falling forward, and his brother's scent is all around him, flooding him with sensory memory (shelter/safety/warmth/kin). Something deeper than fear, older than hatred relaxes him and prompts him to slump as bonelessly as his convulsing muscles allow in Sesshoumaru's hold –

Inuyasha's oldest memories are all scent-based. A snuffling, hungry babe, his sense of smell had developed long before sight, sound touch and taste; his world had been the warm, safe scents of Mother and Nurse, of Father, and of Brother.

– until Sesshoumaru's hand around his throat is replaced by his knee on Inuyasha's chest, pinning him, and the clawed hand plunges deep into the open snake-bite wounds on his vulnerable underbelly, flexing, releasing a flood of sickly-sweet scented poison into the open wounds.

Inuyasha screams and thrashes, competing poisons burning him, eating away at him from the inside. Sesshoumaru holds him still, slender weight pinning him down; the only thing keeping Inuyasha from clawing at him in thrashing agonised panic are the remnants of that ancient trust, slender shreds of scent memory.

"Enough, brother," Sesshoumaru hisses. "Trust me."

Inuyasha leans dumbly into Sesshoumaru, cheek rubbing against the fabric of Sesshoumaru's hakama. He breathes through the pain, panting harshly, and tries not to think, fixating on Sesshoumaru's scent.

There is an endless descent into agony.

"It hurts, Sesshoumaru-nii!"

"We youkai are creatures of spirit, Inuyasha. We are not bound by illusions of the flesh."

When he wakes, the sun is low in the sky and he feels weaker than a drowned kitten.

In the distance, a girl's piping voice: "Inuyasha! Inuyasha, where are you? Dammit, Inuyasha, you better not have run off before I can –"

Cursing, he forces himself up, his hand instinctively going to his stomach where the vipers had struck him, where Sesshoumaru had… Reaction hits him, and he coughs, chokes, and, leaning over, vomits up gouts of old blood.

Creatures of spirit, not bound by the flesh his ass –

But his skin was unbroken, no signs of swellings, punctures or even scarring. The only legacy of his recent brush with death was the reek of old blood, sickness, and sickly-sweet poison.

And lingering like an ancient ghost, slowly fading, Sesshoumaru's scent-trail.