Hello any readers! This is my first fanfiction for Inuyasha, and the idea just came to me one day. This may develop into a series of one shots, primarily focusing on the three year gap at the end of the series. I tried to maintain characters as best I could. I hope you enjoy!

It was a well-known fact among the few friends he had that Inuyasha did not shed tears. Or rather, he did not allow himself to cry easily. Myoga, who had known him the longest, had never seen him cry during childhood or adolescence. He had not cried when his mother died, or when he'd been insulted by demons or humans. His reaction had always been anger and violence.

Indeed, even his current companions could only remember two instances when he'd been broken enough to cry.

The first had been when they'd nearly died, and had been saved from poison at the last moment. Kagome's apology for worrying him had been the final straw, and his eyes had finally watered with relief.

The second occasion had been the final death of Kikyo, and Inuyasha's emotions had overflowed. He had wept openly and with his heart exposed.

But those had been the only times that Sango, Miroku, and Shippo had seen Inuyasha cry.

However, there were instances when Shippo in particular had been sure he was on the verge of breaking down.

After Naraku's defeat, when Inuyasha had emerged from the well without Kagome, he appeared to be in a state of shock. He'd immediately jumped back inside, growling in frustration when he remained in their era. Shippo, too, had been surprised.

"What's happening, Inuyasha? Where's Kagome?"

He hadn't responded, only let out another frustrated growl as he jumped and failed again. He had continued to jump into the well until Sango and Miroku returned and demanded answers.

"Inuyasha! What happened to Kagome-sama? What became of the Shikon jewel?" Miroku had asked, seizing hold of Inuyasha's right arm before he could jump again.

He hadn't responded immediately, glaring fiercely at the well and breathing heavily.

"The jewel is gone. Kagome destroyed it."

"Destroyed it?" Sango asked, disbelief plain on her face.

"She wished it away. Then all of a sudden we were on her side of the well. Then I just…" Inuyasha shook his head again in confused frustration. "The well brought me back here. And now," he gave the well a frustrated kick, "it won't let me back."

"What?" Sango had cried, but Miroku had immediately become pensive. Shippo hadn't liked the look on his face.

"Kagome-sama is safe in her world?" Miroku had asked Inuyasha, who'd barely turned toward him to answer.

'Yeah, she's with her family. She's fine. I just need to-"

"Inuyasha," Miroku had begun slowly, "it is possible that without the Shikon jewel, you will not be able to use the well any longer."

Inuyasha had spun around to face him, angry denial evident on his face.

"Baka! I've used the well loads of times, and I never carried the jewel! Don't say stupid shit-"

"But Kagome-sama was unable to travel without it. Its power may have been what permitted you to go to her." Miroku looked down at the well, sad resignation on his face. "Kagome-sama may not be able to return here."

"Bullshit!" Inuyasha suddenly turned to look into the well, as if expecting Kagome to appear at any moment.

Of course, nothing had happened.

"Inuyasha," Sango began, "you were gone for three days."

He whirled around, stunned.

"Was Kagome-sama happy to be back in her world?" Miroku asked softly.

Inuyasha looked between them, still shocked.

"She and her family were crying when she came out. They'd been calling for her while she was gone…" He looked back into the well once more. "They were so thankful to have her back."

Miroku had started to speak once more, but without warning Inuyasha had dashed away from the well, leaping into the air with only a grunt of farewell.

Over the next few weeks, Inuyasha had sought out Kaede's, Myoga's, and even Totosai's advice. His desperation, though he had kept it well hidden, had grown as each elder had given him the same response: none knew how to fix the well.

Shippo had watched from a safe distance as, every three days, Inuyasha would leap into the well, only to emerge frustrated and angry. Sometimes he would try multiple times, and when he came out he would kick at the well in his fury.

Once, he had gripped the sides of the well with both hands, his form hunched over. He gripped the wood so tightly it started to splinter until he finally released it, breathing heavily.

He'd walked away swiftly into the woods, and Shippo hadn't seen him again for many days, as he was due to go off and train.

Weeks dissolved into months, and still Inuyasha continued to jump into the well. Shippo was aware that he was the only one who knew about this continuous activity, but he did not mention it to anyone. There was no need to aggravate the hanyou further, as his temper was even worse than before.

Inuyasha went off with Miroku and Sango on extermination complaints, and seemed to find a sense of purpose in the work. It was ironic, considering how he'd previously hated such ventures. When Sango became pregnant with her first child, Inuyasha had gone off on many missions alone, easily ridding the town or temple of a demon and collecting whatever pay Miroku had charged (though he usually only remembered if it was food).

But as the one year anniversary of Kagome's departure approached, Inuyasha never cried for her absence. He'd raged, early on, and avoided Miroku and Sango sometimes when he felt their pitying looks. He submitted to fights with Shippo to help with his training, and sometimes retaliated too harshly. But he'd never cried for the loss he felt every day.

However, it seemed as though fate was determined to break him.

It had been over a year since Kagome's disappearance, and the pair of demon slayer's had set off. The new moon was that evening, yet for some reason Inuyasha felt restless and wanted to slay something before he was made powerless.

The demon had been terrorizing a small village with a terrible illness. It threw an infectious powder into the faces of its victims, who would then suffer for a few days of terrible fever before expiring. To make it worse, the fever supposedly caused terrible hallucinations and rambling in people, who needed the care of others for any chance of recovery.

Miroku's sutras sent out the weak demon, and it immediately made its way toward the armed hanyou. Seeing the terrifying sword Inuyasha held, it panicked and made a break away from him. Swerving to the left, it sent a bomb of powder right at Inuyasha, who leapt away with ease. The demon grinned, realizing that the hanyou did not realize that the powder was airborne and spread easily.

Preparing multiple attacks, the demon launched bomb after bomb of the smoky powder at the hanyou, deliberating missing him.

Inuyasha, for all his strength, also needed to be injured before he learned in battle. He dodged halfheartedly, before realizing that the demon had surrounded him with the smoke. Unable to prevent it, he inhaled, and felt the burning sensation immediately.

Growling, he unleashed his windscar and eradicated the little twerp, who disappeared with a disbelieving squawk.

Inuyasha brushed off Miroku's concerns and focused on returning to the village. He'd returned to the small hut he'd come to consider his "home." It was away from the village and small, but it suited him.

The sun was about to set when he took note of his discomfort. He was unusually warm, and shed his haori. He pulled away his only window's cover, breathing deeply. He was still far too warm.

As the night stole over the land, his temperature rose further still. He opened his white shirt as his hair darkened and his ears changed. By now, the heat was becoming such a problem that he was tempted to sleep outside. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be wise in his human form.

Out of nowhere, Kaede pushed open his door followed closely by Miroku, slapping sutras on it and without a moment's hesitation grabbing the untransformed Tessaiga.

"Miroku, what're you-"

"I suspected that the poison would have an effect on you tonight. It seems I was right."

"I'm fine! Now get out and let me-"

"Inuyasha, this poison progresses too quickly to leave you be. You will most likely require my assistance tonight. Hoshi," Kaede addressed Miroku, "I can handle this from here. Return to you wife and children."


"It shall be fine. Go." Kaede instructed him out, and after speaking to him briefly, placed the Tessaiga in the door, completing her protection around the hut.

"I don't need your help! Just leave me alone and-"

"You are perspiring at an alarming rate, your eyes seem glassy, and your breathing is labored. You are to remain in this hut with me until this disease passes. You needn't argue," she said at his outraged expression, "for presumably you will overpower the poison once your demon powers return. And you did not plan on leaving this hut for the night, did you?"

At his silence, Kaede settled herself one the ground beside him, unrolling her own mat to sleep on.

He glared at her as she made herself comfortable, taking out the cloths and water she and Miroku had brought.

With a snarl, he flipped himself onto his side, presenting her with his back and resolving to fall asleep with ease.

"Good, rest. That's all you need to do."

"Shut up, old hag." Inuyasha muttered.

It was about an hour after her arrival that Kaede's presence became a blessing. Inuyasha fell limply onto his back, panting heavily and sweating. His left hand clutched at his chest over his heart while his right lay at his side, clenching and unclenching spastically.

Kaede dutifully wiped his brow and offered him water when he was willing to drink it.

After two hours, he started to speak. Kaede had tried to respond to his voice at first, but realized after a few sentences that he was not talking to her.

"This is why I hate being human. So fucking annoying…"

"It is a burden you bear, Inuyasha. Be grateful it only occurs once a month-"

He started to chuckle past his gasps, causing her to break off and regard him carefully.

"Yeah, o' course Myoga's run off. When does the coward ever stick around?"

"Myoga has not returned to the village for many weeks, Inuyasha. He is with Totosai-"

"It's fine! It's not as bad as with that stupid spider. This is nothing."

His statement was negated by his breathless words and shaking body. His clutched at his heart more forcefully, grunting with the strain.

"You could let me use your lap again, if you're so concerned."

Kaede blinked in confusion, dabbing more sweat from his brow.

"What are you speaking of, Inuyasha?"

He turned his head toward her, his grinning mouth open to reply, when he stopped and stared at her for a long moment. He blinked slowly many times, as if clearing his eyes.

"Not… here."

"Inuyasha, you are ill, and you are not coherent. Remain still and rest-"

He turned away from her abruptly, angling his head into the ground. His breathing hitched alarmingly, and Kaede reached to turn him again to force him to drink. He growled menacingly at her touch, although it lacked the usual punch of his demonic self.

"Leave me alone!"

"Inuyasha, you need to drink. You must remain hydrated to combat this-"

"Why?" he hissed.

Kaede blinked, not expecting the question.

"Because this poison has spread throughout your body and until you regain your-"

"So fucking stupid! Why the fuck would you leave now? It was over! We were finished! There," his breathing hitched again, "there was nothing left to stop us! Nothing to get in the way!" His voice broke, and he let out a frustrated cry.

Kaede stopped dabbing his face for a moment, and looked at him more closely. His eyes were squeezed shut, his teeth clenched, his lips were peeled back, and he continued breathing heavily. He slammed his right fist onto the ground.

"Inuyasha, you must calm yourself-"

"And it won't work! It just needs to work once! I won't even try to come back! I'll stay there, it never has to work again!"

His left hand rose to cover his eyes, and his gripped his own face tightly.

"Just once. Just let me through once. I need to. I need to. I need to…"

He rambled the phrase over and over again, shaking his still covered face back and forth.

Comprehending his new anguish, Kaede tilted his head forward and pushed the protruding tip of the container past his lips, forcing the water into his mouth.

He seized up at first, moving his hand from his face to shove the container away. Kaede caught and forced his hand back down, alarmed at how weak he was that he could not fight her hold.

He stopped struggling after a few moments and drank long gulps. Kaede pulled the bottle away and carefully wiped more sweat from his face and chest. After some hesitation, she cautiously thread her fingers through his bangs.

Inuyasha let out a low moan, turning his face away from her into the ground again. He did not move fast enough for her to miss the wet streak of tears on his cheeks.

"Come back. Dammit, just come back."

His tears were not womanly or blubbering. He fought his own sobs with frustrated grunts and slamming fists. He took shuddering breaths and raked angry hands across his face to wipe at the tears. Occasionally, anguished snarls would escape his lips.

He brought his left hand back to his chest and dug his nails into the exposed skin above his heart. Alarmed, Kaede grabbed his hand and held it away, holding it firmly when he tried to rip it free.

"It never stops. Make it stop. I don't want to feel it anymore!"

Seeing the deep scratches Inuyasha had made with his human hands, Kaede was grateful that he lacked his usual claws.

As morning finally approached, Inuyasha felt spent. His chest ached, and his body was still overheating, but after hours of thrashing he couldn't shift himself any longer. His eyes stung, though he wasn't sure why. All he wanted was for the pain to stop. He felt like something had attacked his chest and ripped a piece of him out.

He couldn't make out his surroundings. His head felt like he was in a fog, though he was dimly aware of someone touching his face. He tried to make out who it was, to tell them to leave him be, but his mouth was dry, and his throat was sore.

But dawn came at long last, and his breathing came easier. The effect was not immediate, but he felt his body cool and his strength return. He sat up and blinked rapidly, clearing the haze from his eyes.

"It seems you are returned to health."

He glanced over at Kaede, who sat at his right side. He noticed with some guilt that she had bags under her eyes, but he snorted and stood without voicing it.

"Ch. That poison is nothing to a demon."

Kaede shook her head and rose, wishing to return to her own home and sleep for a few more hours. Tending to the hanyou had been exhausting.

"I shall take my leave then, as you appear to have recovered."

Inuyasha did not thank her, but nodded his head and even opened the door for her. It was as much gratitude as he ever showed.

Kaede went on her way without another word, though there were many things she wished to say.

She wished she could tell him he was so much stronger than the hanyou who'd attacked her village five decades ago. She wished to apologize for not seeing the depth of his pain, and for assuming that after a year he'd come to accept Kagome's departure. She wished she could tell him that he didn't need to hide his pain inside until it burst, that she would be there to listen if he ever wanted to talk.

However, Kaede knew Inuyasha well, and knew he would only take offense at such offers. He would be ashamed that she had seen him weep, which was why she had cleaned his face of tears before he woke.

And so, Kaede went back down to her small house, and Inuyasha dashed off into the woods. Inuyasha never fully remembered what he'd said and done during that night, and Kaede never spoke of the incident to anyone for two years, until she told Kagome in confidence just how harshly her absence had been felt.