A/N: Ok, so this is my first attempt at a fan fiction. Well, first attempt at publishing one. I know that some people think that using Japanese words instead of English is stupid, but I liked the idea of it. As for what the words mean, I tried to explain what they meant in the context of the story. However, if I miss spelled, used the wrong word or didn't explain what they meant, just let me know so that I can go back and fix them. Thanks. Also, I know that children call their older brothers Onii-san or the likes. But, this is Inuyasha we're talking about here. I think it adds to his "Don't care" attitude. -^_^-
Disclaimer: I do not own nor profit from the characters used in this story. The plot, however, is mine.
"Stupid hanyou," he growled to the frigid air. It had only been a few days since the death of its mother, Izayoi, and it had already managed to disappear. So now he was out walking in the drizzling, misty rain searching for the damn thing. Thinking all the while about his father and how the miserable whelp and its mother had been the cause of the great Inu no Tashio's demise.
Really? Something to protect. How ridiculous. This Sesshomaru has no need to waste time defending those who are incapable of doing it themselves. Why would father ask such a thing? He thought, running his fingers through his wet silver hair, brilliant amber eyes flashing with irritation.
As the night continued, he could feel the the cold of the night seep into his bones and start to affect even him, a royal inu daiyoukai. But, such things could be, and were ignored. However, he knew that the hanyou he searched for could not survive the frigid and wet temperatures. Not that he cared, for he didn't even wish to see if it could. For though, he had not wished to go searching for the stupid thing, his mother insisted on knowing the state of the boy's health out of respect for his late father.
"Miserable whelp. When I find you, I swear," he growled deeply, letting his words fade into the misty rain. He shook his hand angrily, flinging off the water that had collected to it after running through his bangs. This was unacceptable, and he was certainly going to be speaking to his mother about his irritation.
Inuyasha sniffed, wiping his nose as he tried not to shiver. He was so cold, but the sadness that he felt for his dead mother was almost worse. However, instead of offering some distraction, the cold and damp weather only compounded his misery. And, now that she was gone, no one was left to care. Swallowing to try and force away the tears, he thought about how she had told him that when you were sad, it was okay to cry. But, his grandparents had always sneered at the hanyou, telling him that crying was for babies. And, Inuyasha did not like being called something he wasn't. So, he wouldn't give anyone a reason to make fun of him, even if he was alone.
With a shaky breath, he forced his face away from the slight warmth the sleeve of his kimono offered. He drew in the stagnant and wet air deeply, picking through the cacophony of musty and old scents around him. He scanned the dark forest around his little hiding spot, looking and listening with his puppy ears for any sign of danger near him. But, there was nothing. And, with a sad heart, he sniffed, wiping his nose on his sleeve again. He was alone. Terribly and pathetically alone. The silver headed inu hanyou sighed pitifully, coughing lightly from the water in his lungs.
Suddenly though, there was a scent on the air. One that, with his keen nose, caused his tiny puppy ears to swivel around and towards the sounds of heavy feet coming closer to him. He shivered, trying to get closer to the tree he sat beside, thinking about what to do. He could go and see who was coming. But, that was dangerous. This stranger could be cruel and could try to kill him, and they wouldn't have a hard time of doing so either.
But, that scent. It was just too familiar to ignore. It was like his, but so different. More pure. And, only one person could have a scent like that. So, cautiously, he crawled from beneath the bush he hid in and walked towards the possible threat. His cold, bare feet padded on the wet grass, the sounds of his footsteps masked from the oncoming stranger.
The sight that met Inuyasha's gaze, though, left him breathless and void of speech. Walking towards the bush he crouched beneath, a man, no inu, walked with a grace that only a demon of high standing could achieve. His silver hair and amber eyes flashed in the wisps of moonlight that found its way past the dark clouds while the crescent moon and two magenta stripes per cheek told the hanyou that the youkai was of incredible power and rank. His thick black armor and single spiked pauldron made him look fierce and constantly ready for battle. Though he was confused about the fluffy thing over his shoulder, the pup was still amazed at the attire of the being. When the hanyou finally lapped up the sight of the familiar smelling inu, he almost gasped. Without a second thought, he stepped out of the bush and in front of the white dog, making himself known. Red kimono and hakamas just as drenched as his silver hair and ears, he took the inu's sleeve in his hands, opening his mouth to speak to him.
Sesshomaru paused, surprised to find the thing he had been searching for had actually found him. Its tiny, filthy hands had his sleeve in their grasp before he realized it was indeed the hanyou he was searching for. He cringed inwardly, showing nothing on his stoic face as the dirt was rubbed off of the boy's hands onto the pristine white fabric of his kimono. He quickly snapped it out of the the child's hands and stepped away, so it couldn't take hold of it again.
Inuyasha was shocked. Didn't the inu know who he was? Didn't he want him?
"Chichi?" he asked, taking a step towards the inu to try and grab his sleeve again, tears brimming his golden amber eyes.
Chichi? This stupid cur truly believes that this Sesshomaru is its father? Our father. Sesshomaru thought, taking another step back to stay out of the red dog's reach, his expression clearly showing his surprise and revulsion.
"This Sesshomaru is not our father, hanyou," he spat bitterly. The boy flinched, his hands lowering as he ran the sentence through his mind again, mouthing the words as he did so.
"But," he mumbled, confusion etched into his round features. If this isn't Chichi and he smells so much like me, then he must be related. He claimed that Chichi was his father too, so that means he's my brother. But, Haha never told me about me having an Aniki. So is this inu telling me the truth? But, why would he lie? He clearly doesn't like me, Inuyasha thought. He looked at the inu's bitter expression and recoiled into himself slightly.
"Father is dead. This Sesshomaru is his heir and Lord of the Western Lands. You're elder half-brother," the older dog said, emphasizing the fact that Inuyahsa wasn't his full brother. His statement pulled the hanyou out of its daze, causing it to stare blankly into the daiyoukai's eyes. Inuyasha had known of their father's death. But, growing up he had learned that his grandparents didn't like him and he shouldn't trust anything they say. So, he had never truley believed that his father had died, but he didn't have the courage to make his mother sad by asking.
"An- Aniki?" Inuyahsa asked, turning his gaze to the ground as he considered the idea of this inu, who didn't like him, being his brother. The word was obviously foreign to him, causing Sesshomaru's face to darken with a scowl. He couldn't possibly imagine what could be so hard about believing that they were siblings.
Suddenly though, as if Inuyasha's mind had finished piecing the information together, his eyes looked up to Sesshomaru's. Pure relief brightening the amber color of his eyes, while his ears perked up and pivoted forward. He slowly reached up to his brother, a happy smile erasing the sorrow and confusion from his face.
"Don't touch me, cur," Sesshomaru snapped, causing the boy to flinch in pain and take back his hands. "You are a stain on my clan's existence. A curse to blacken the name our father. Were you a worthy opponent, I would dispatch your filth from this world without a second thought. However, you are a child. So, I will grant you a chance at life, until such time as your measly death will do this Sesshomaru no dishonor. If you can even survive the night. Now be gone with you, hanyou. The human blood that runs in your veins is sickening," he finished, regaining his regal composure as he waved his hand towards the boy as if to brush him out of sight. His face had regained its normal emotionless expression as he waited for the child to step out of his way.
A stain? A dishonor? Inuyasha thought. He had heard those words before. Only, it had been his grandparents speaking about how he dishonored their family. Their lives. He growled as deeply as he could at his Aniki's feet, his tears burning his eyes. They were desperate to fall, but he wouldn't let them.
If humans hate my demon side, and demons my human one, then where do I belong? If everyone hates me for something I had no control of, and they think I'm weak for it, then I'll just have to show them. I'll prove that I am not weak and that I am the best of both of them. Even Aniki will see that I am better than a cur! He thought, his resolution making his tiny paws clenching into fists as he turned his eyes to look up from the ground. By now, Sesshomaru had grown tiered of waiting for his Otouto to move out of his way, so he had begun walking past him, but Inuyahsa wasn't going to let him leave so easily.
"You're wrong!" he shouted, taking his Aniki's sleeve back in his hands and pulling it to his chest. Startled, Sesshomaru looked down at the pup whose lips were curled back into a snarl and his bright eyes brimming with his tears. But there was something more in those eyes. Something that Sesshomaru had not expected to see.
"What?" he growled, furiously trying to pull his sleeve back from Inuyasha's grip. His voice rumbled deep in his chest, through his feet and into the ground while rippling through the chest of his Otouto. The only sign of the pup's intimidation was the twitching of one of his ears and a slight flicker of strength behind his amber eyes. He pulled his sleeve again, but the hanyou had a good hold of it this time as he took a step towards his Aniki.
"YOU'RE WRONG!" he screamed again, tugging on the white fabric in earnest. "I am not weak! Yes, Aniki. I'm a hanyou, half human and half demon. But, I am the best of both. I may not be that strong right now, but I'll get stronger, just you wait. I'll become the strongest you've ever seen and prove my worth to you once and for all. And, if father wanted to have a half demon child, then nothing you or anyone says can blacken his name. So you are wrong!" he finished angrily, tugging harder on the white and red sleeve.
Sesshomaru's mouth was agape with his shock of the boy's speech and he tugged the fabric back from the boy. Though, because the hanyou had such a good hold of it this time, he fell forward when the sleeve was finally ripped out of his grasp. But in a matter of seconds, the furious eyes of his Otouto were glaring back up at him again while he slowly stood from the wet ground. Sesshomaru glared back and turned to leave. But, something inside those eyes stopped him from looking away. The same thing that he had not expected to see in the boys eyes.
The same kind that he recognized inside him when he began his quest to be stronger than his father. The same kind of determination that he had witnessed in his father when he had gone to save the whelp and its mother fifty years ago. And, that was what kept Sesshomaru from looking away or leaving.
"Fine," he snarled. "If you wish to be stronger and claim that you can do so, then this Sesshomaru will be there for you to prove wrong when you achieve this goal." Looking down at the shocked hanyou, he surprised himself by holding out his hand to the boy. "Come, hanyou. You will require a bath if you are to travel with your Aniki."
What am I doing? This cur will not be able to prove me wrong. But, I suppose that now I must go through with whatever it is that I am doing. Perhaps one day he will make a worthy adversary, he grumbled to himself silently as he watched the hanyou glare skeptically at his offered hand.
Inuyasha wondered what was going on. He had thought that once he had told his Aniki his mind, the inu would strike him or leave. He had not expected to be made a travel companion of the daiyoukai who clearly loathed him. Slowly though, he reached forward and placed both his tiny paws inside the very large one of his Aniki's. What his brother did next surprised the hanyou, though it bewildered the inu even more. Sesshomaru's grasp around the pup's paws tightened, his clawed fingers curling around them cautiously before he nodded in approval.
With a light tug on the pup's arms, the two brothers made their way through the wet forest, the misty rain finally being blown free of the forest by a gentle breeze during their conversation. The clouds also began to move across the sky at a much quicker pace, making the moonlight strobe in and out of existence in the treetops. The walk was silent, but the minds of both were filled with turmoil as they thought about what had just happened. Out of the corner of his eye, Sesshomaru saw the hanyou stare up at him suspiciously. But, he refused to acknowledge the pup. Meanwhile, Inuyasha was debating on whether or not his Aniki was tricking him into being taken somewhere to die. However, soon Inuyasha's thoughts dimmed as he slowly trudged behind his brother, shivering from the cold wind on his wet body.
After a while, Inuyasha sniffed and tried to pull one of his hands free of his Aniki's grasp. But his brother's hold only tightened at the movement. Roused by his Otouto's attempt to free his hands, Sesshomaru looked down at the hanyou. His curiosity was sated, however, when, void of his sleeve, the pup wiped his nose on his soppy shoulder and began shivering again. Looking away again, he cursed the hanyou silently and thanked the stars that they were almost to their destination.
"Aniki, where are we going?" Inuyasha asked, but Sesshomaru ignored the question of his tiered half brother and only tugged on his arms again. The boy gave a frustrated sigh and turned his nose into the air as he closed his eyes. Sesshomaru smirked inwardly at his Otouto's frustration.
It was very late when they arrived. Inuyasha's shivering had only gotten worse and his feet had gone numb from the cold, causing him to walk slower than Sesshomaru liked and being partly dragged the last quarter mile. When Inuyasha finally looked around, blearily taking in the sight of the hot springs, he yelped in fright and struggled to pull his paws from his Aniki's.
Oh no! That jerk is going to drown me, Inuyasha thought, digging his heels into the wet ground and tugging wildly in his brother's paw to get away from the hot springs. Sesshomaru turned to look at the pup fighting his tight grasp in vain, growling deeply in their native tongue.
"Why do you fight me, pup?" the hanyou froze, looking up at his Aniki's golden eyes with fear and anger. Being a dog, no matter how much human blood ran through his veins, he would always understand that tongue better than any human or demon language.
"Are you going to kill me, Aniki?" the pup whimpered, tears welling in his eyes. Sesshomaru's shocked expression only served to make the pup's whining even worse, scaring him more than he had expected. But, Sesshomaru regained his composure so fast that Inuyasha almost wondered if he had actually seen the expression. With a frustrated sigh, his Aniki shook his head and dragged the pup to the edge of the springs.
"Undress, pup," Sesshomaru said, reaching across his own torso to unbuckle the hidden fastening of his armor, allowing the black skin to drop heavily on the soppy ground. Inuyasha suddenly giggled at the sight of the thick armor sinking into the wet grass, but at his Aniki's hard glare, Inuyasha began tugging at the obi around his waist. When Sesshomaru had finished pulling his own kimono off and stood only in his boots and hakamas, he noticed that Inuyasha was still trying to pull his wet cloths off of his tiny and shivering form. Sesshomaru stifled an exasperated sigh as he bent over and began to tug the red kimono off of the pup. Inuyasha yelp in surprise, but did his best to help the inu get him free of the cold cloths. Whimpering his apologies quietly before his Aniki growled for him to be silent.
When the two were finally free of their wet things, Sesshomaru placed the cloths on a few low hanging branches. He then lifted his Otouto into his arms and stepped into the hot water. Slowly, the inu placed the pup into the water, allowing his tiny, freezing body to adjust to the sudden heat. Inuyasha winced, but made no noise as his Aniki set him to stand in the mid waist deep water. With little noise, Sesshomaru sat down in the water beside his Otouto then drew the stiff pup close to him. The pup growled in annoyance as his brother started to work his claws through the tangled mass of silver hair.
After a particularly bad tangle, the pup barked in pain and tried to shove his Aniki's hands away from his head, ducking down into the water to escape. The inu sighed and allowed the pup's hair to evade his claws, grabbing onto his upper arm to wipe the dirt from his face and hands after dragging him back up instead. However, the inu found that most of what he had thought was filth on the tiny thing's body were, in fact, bruises.
The low rumbling growls of angry protection rippled through Sesshomaru's body and into the air before he could silence it. The puppy eared hanyou flinched in his Aniki's paws, those ears drooping in shame and submission. Before Sesshomaru realized what he was doing, the pup drew closer to him, instinctively trying to calm him. Clamping down on his anger and pushing his protective nature aside, he ceased growling and pushed the pup away to continue his grooming.
It is purely the instincts of my demon race that are making me angry about what happened to the cur. I do not care about his injuries. I will simply need to be more careful about my composure around the pup, since he is obviously the reason that my instincts are on such high alert, Sesshomaru reasoned with himself. He hadn't expected himself to become so angry about the bruises, or the fact that he hadn't noticed the pain of them on his Otouto's scent that was now burning his delicate nostrils. Thinking back on it, he realized that he had been so angry with the pup, that he had foolishly forgotten to check the pup for injury.
I will not make that mistake again, he vowed silently. Taking his brother's shoulders in his paws, he sat the pup down on his knees so he could scrub its feet. When he was satisfied, he opened the pup's mouth and began the unusual task of cleaning its fangs.
"You must always keep these clean, Otouto. Being a hanyou, you will be prone to human mouth diseases and they will fall out," he informed the pup strictly. Inuyasha's eyes widened with horror and he whimpered through his Aniki's fingers.
"Yes, Aniki," he acknowledged when his brother removed his claws from the hanyou's mouth.
"Good. Also," Sesshomaru murmured quietly as he turned the pup around to finish combing its hair. "Behind your ears seems to be quiet sensitive. You must keep these clean also or else you will get a rash. As well, you should be careful about getting water in your ears. You could get ear infections, and if left untreated, you will loose your hearing." The pup shivered in terror as he nodded with his eager acknowledgment against his Aniki's claws.
"Good, now you are free to explore. Do not wander to far, or else this Sesshomaru will leave you here when finished with meditation," Sesshomaru said coldly, crossing his arms and resting his head back against a hot rock. Warily, Inuyasha stepped from his Aniki's lap and waded out into the pool of hot water, unaware of the gold eyes that were watching him.
When the pup was a few feet away, he looked around him cautiously. Suddenly, a flash of color caught the hanyou's eye, and the chase was on. Jumping from rock to rock, the hanyou slowly regained his speed as the cold seeped from his bones and into the warmth of the hot spring water. Though it was slower than his brother's body, he eventually regained the life in his attacks and giggled happily as the frog he chased proved to be a challenge. However, with one final leap off of a rock, the pup managed to catch the frog in midair. Unfortunately, Inuyasha was still a child, and failed to pay attention to where he would land once he pounced.
A sudden splash alerted Sesshomaru that his Otouto had fallen into the deepest part of the hot spring. Stoically, he watched as the pup sputtered and struggled to paddle his way to shallow water, one handed. Bitterly, he wondered if he should postpone his mediation and rescue the stupid hanyou. He was cut off from his thoughts as the pup managed to gain his footing on a rock and slowly wade over to him. Huffing and sputtering, the tiny pup proudly showed his Aniki the frog he had caught. Sesshomaru, however, glared at the wailing thing that his Otouto held out in front of him.
"What a pitiful victory. Capturing a defenseless opponent," he scoffed, pulling his crossed arms closer to his chest as he closed his eyes again. Hearing his Otouto giggle, he scowled to the backs of his eyelids, only opening them again when he felt the whelp dump the screaming thing onto his shoulder.
He growled deeply in his chest as his eyes flashed warningly at the pup. But, his warning was cut short when he looked at the clouding gaze of his Otouto, who's happy giggling had ceased and ears drooped low on his head. That's when he felt the sting on his skin. Being a creature of poison, he was unaffected by the toxins of the frog's skin. But the hanyou, his Otouto, was not.
"Remain awake, Otouto" he growled deeply, sitting up straight, brushing the frog off of him and taking the pup's shoulders in his paws. Inuyasha stiffened at the command, but kept his eyes wide open. Sesshomaru looked the pup over once to find where to toxins had entered his skin, finding deep purple marks on the pup's palms. Cursing, Sesshomaru bit his thumb, drawing enough blood to cover the blackened paws.
Inuyasha winced. He hadn't even noticed that the frog had hurt him. But, his brother's blood was another story. The stinging of his hands made him whimper quietly, eyes clamping shut in an attempt to make it stop. But, it didn't work.
Slowly, the black of the frogs toxins in the pup's skin ceased to mar his palms and they returned to their normal color. However, that didn't stop the poison in the hanyou's blood to continue on, making Inuyasha sway in the water. Eyes still closed, he pulled his hands away from his Aniki and clutched his head between them. He could hear Sesshomaru's growls, but didn't understand what was being said.
It wasn't until Inuyasha felt something wet against his lips that he remembered that he had to stay awake. Opening his eyes slowly, painfully aware of the moonlight reflecting in the spring water, he saw his brother's cold eyes staring at him. With a tiny sniff, Inuyasha realized that it was his Aniki's bloody thumb that was resting against his tiny lips.
"Aniki?" he asked. Or, tried. Sesshomaru didn't take the chase that his Otouto wouldn't swallow the blood and pushed his thumb into the little boy's mouth. He hissed sharply when the frightened hanyou clamped his fangs onto the intruding appendage, only drawing more blood than was necessary to neutralize the toxins.
"Otouto, release me," he warned, eyes flashing menacingly at the pup. Inuyasha yelped when he realized what he had done and backed away from his Aniki once he had let go. Sesshomaru rolled his eyes at the pup who had fallen onto his tail bone in the water. Sputtering, Inuyasha bounced back up on to his feet.
"I'm sorry, Aniki," he sniveled, cautiously crawling to his brother's side. But, Sesshomaru only huffed, returning to lean against the rock with his arms across his chest and eyes closed. Put out, Inuyasha decided to return to his explorations.
The antidote of the inu's blood had worked almost immediately, and soon the little terror was wreaking havoc for all the native animal life of the spring. The energy from his Aniki's pure demon blood coursing through his veins, much like the high of too many sweets. Inuyasha raced around, giggling and barking at all that he saw or heard, releasing them once he had won the game. However, the little pup wisely avoided any more frogs.
Though, after an hour or so, the little hanyou wadded his way back to his Aniki's side. Yawning widely, he sat down beside Sesshomaru and rested his head against the edge of the spring where it met the soppy grass. With watchful eyes, Sesshomaru relished the silence. Another yawn and the pup's eyes drooped to a near close, matching the same level of exhaustion the hanyou was experiencing. But, even though his eyes would dart up to his Aniki every few moments, Inuyasha didn't speak. It was clear to all but Sesshomaru that the pup wished to be held in his brother's arms, but wouldn't ask.
Why doesn't he speak? Is he really that exhausted? Perhaps my demon blood was too much for his body to handle, Sesshomaru thought, absently placing his hand to the hanyou's forehead. It wasn't hot, and neither was the back of his neck so he didn't have a fever. Yet.
Stupid hanyou, he cursed, wrapping his large arm around the pup and pulling it to his chest. Inuyasha yelped and began to squirm with shock. But, when Sesshomaru tightened his hold lightly, the hanyou stilled.
Looking up at his Aniki, the pup wondered what was happening. But, another yawn shook such thoughts from his mind and he rested his head on his brother's offered shoulder. Nuzzling his face into the inu's neck as it began to run its claws through the pup's hair, occasionally rubbing one of his soft puppy ears.
What is wrong with me? Just a few hours ago I told this cur I would kill it. Now, I'm caring for it. Perhaps Haha-ue will be able to explain all of this, the inu thought, resting his head back against the hot rock and watching the moon disappear behind the trees. It was late and he had had to travel much farther than intended to find his brother. Inuyasha yawned again and Sesshomaru reluctantly stood up. But, the boy only opened his eyes, curiously looking to his Aniki for an explanation.
"We have far to travel and cannot ling for long. Get dressed, pup." Once on the ground again, Inuyasha yawned while slowly pulling on his still damp and cold kimono and hakama. When both were dressed, Inuyasha's shivering began again as he took his Aniki's paw. Sesshomaru nodded his approval again before starting off.
"Where are we going now, Aniki?" the pup sleepily mumbled. Sesshomaru looked down at his Otouto, who had been tripping and stumbling for the last half hour. His golden amber eyes were coated in exhaustion and Sesshomaru knew that they would not be able to continue as they were.
"We are going to my mother's castle. Come, pup. Sleep while we fly," he stated cooly, grudgingly lifting the boy in his arms and wrapping his tiny, shivering body with his own stiff sleeves.
"You can fly?" Inuyasha exclaimed, his bright eyes open and his tiered glaze gone. Sesshomaru smirked smugly at the pup, but seeing his sleeves and an inadequate way of keeping him warm, slowly and hesitantly re-wrapped his Otouto in his mokomoko-sama.
"Yes. But you must sleep. When we leave my mother's home you may remain awake to witness it." The pup's disappointment was evident, causing Sesshomaru's smirk to abruptly disappear. But, Inuyasha's sudden excitement was short lived and after soliciting a promise from his brother, he promptly fell asleep. His tiny clawed fingers grasping tightly to the tail's fur and a small smile on his lips. Unbeknownst to Sesshomaru, it was the first time in years that Inuyasha had slept so soundly.
"What have I gotten myself into? And for a hanyou no less," Sesshomaru growled to the frigid air. Just as before, the air held no answers for him. He cursed once more as he grasped his power and took flight, headed in the direction of his mother's palace.
A/N: Oh, and just so you know: I made Sesshomaru switch from third to first person speech to show how surprised and angry he was. I know it seemed like I made and error, but I assure you it was all part of the plan. Thanks for reading!