Disclaimers:  I do not own Inuyasha or any of its characters.

Notes:  My very first Inuyasha fic.  This is a Het fic, with pairings as follows . . . Sesshomaru/Kagome, Inuyasha/Kikyo, and
Miroku/Sango.  This is most definitely an Alternate Universe fic, and I take great liberties in changing their lives to suit my
purposes.  And for the most part, I stick with English terms and spellings for their names . . . I do hope you can get over it.

More notes:  Sesshomaru takes a walk through the forest and comes across the wild demon that Kagome warned him about.



Bound



Part Five


Sesshomaru was pleased that the path he was walking along took him into the forest that he had passed by earlier on the way to
his mistress’s estate.  Of course, he had already known that it would lead him to it, so long as he crossed the river by using the
bridge not too far from Mistress Kagome’s home.  His mistress had informed him of the route, though she had told to be wary.  
Actually, she had told him not to tread here . . . but then she had told him that he could go wherever he wished . . . the second
order overruled the first, so Sesshomaru knew he would not be punished for walking here.

Although not dense, the forest would be difficult to traverse . . . well, for a human perhaps.  Sesshomaru had no troubles
himself, finding the hike to be quite enjoyable.  Even the threat of a wild demon - as Mistress Kagome had warned him of earlier
- did not discourage him from wandering here.  He could avoid a conflict if he felt so inclined, he was certain of that.  
Sesshomaru glanced back and nodded when he saw that it would be easy to defend against any possible threat.

He turned back to the forest ahead of him and felt a faint smile curl his lips.  He had missed being allowed to roam.  The forests
of his father had been a favored place for him to tread.  It had been centuries since he had last been allowed to walk without a
leash . . . to be left unrestrained by his master or mistress.  To be free, even if only for such a brief time as half a day, was a
welcome distraction from the past . . . from the fact that he probably would never have a true freedom.  Mistress Kagome may
have said that she would investigate the possibility, but Sesshomaru knew better than to hope.  Owners rarely spoke the truth . .
. in time she would just become like all of his past masters, he knew that.  She would use him for her own gain, as so many had
in the past.

He closed his eyes, dismissing the errant thoughts as a soft breeze caressed his cheek.  It carried the scent of trees, water,
animals . . . and something else . . . something familiar, yet lost in the recesses of his memories.  Sesshomaru frowned.  There
it was again, the scent he had caught a faint trace of earlier in the day.  It was something in this forest that really didn’t belong
here . . . something out of place.  The scent of it . . . clashed.

Sesshomaru decided to follow the scent, since he was allowed the day to himself.  He would just have to be sure that he didn’t
linger too long in the woods, as Mistress Kagome had told him to return by nightfall.  He could not disobey . . . it would be
unpleasant if he ignored her orders.

He walked cautiously, listening intently to his surroundings as he searched out this mystery.  The odor became stronger the
more he walked.  And soon he came across a small clearing near a stream of fresh water.  He glanced around, hearing as a bush
rustled somewhere behind him.  So, he was no longer alone, he mused to himself.  He made no move to approach the bush
though, not wanting to startle the creature.

Sesshomaru’s eyes fell on a small cave obscured by shrubbery.  He stepped over to it, using a graceful sweep of his hand to
push aside the branches.  It was barely more than a hole carved into solid stone, too small for Sesshomaru to fit into, so
whoever or whatever dwelled here was smaller than he was.  As he looked inside, he frowned, seeing crudely made bedding
consisting of branches and moss, bits of cloth that were haggard and torn.  A small pile of jewels and shiny surfaces rested in
one corner . . . nothing of value really, simply glimmering surfaces that would reflect light and look pleasant to the eye.

A soft growling caught his ear and Sesshomaru turned, only to see as a blur darted out of the bushes toward him.  He
sidestepped, easily moving out of the way, blinking his eyes as the creature passed by him.  No, he must have been mistaken,
Sesshomaru thought, not believing his own eyes.  He turned, a frown settling on his face as he watched the filthy demon crouch
before him, wearing nothing more than tattered rags that just barely covered his anatomy.  No . . . not a demon, Sesshomaru
corrected himself . . . a half demon.

The half-breed shook his head, a tangled mass of silver hair trailing along the ground as he circled Sesshomaru, staying low to
the ground as he snarled.  His furred ears lay flat against his head, his golden gaze burning with fury.  

“Inuyasha.”  Sesshomaru whispered, disbelieving this.  His little brother had been barely more than a child when Sesshomaru
had last seen him.  Inuyasha had been a naïve innocent, living within the safety of a small village with his mother.  At least . . .
before the humans had risen against demons and set out to enslave them.  It would seem that Inuyasha had not escaped that
cruel fate.  Sesshomaru could see the metal collar circling his throat.  Faint trickles of blood seeped from beneath the collar . . .
as if Inuyasha had scratched at it, cutting open his own flesh in the process.

There was no recognition in his eyes as he looked upon Sesshomaru, only a cold malice.  Like a wild animal, he leapt at
Sesshomaru, baring fangs as he raised his claws to strike.  Not wanting to harm the youth, Sesshomaru caught his wrists,
holding him securely.  He had never liked his half-brother, but before his enslavement, Sesshomaru had gotten accustomed to
the fact that he existed in the world.

“Inuyasha.”  He repeated, his voice firm.

Inuyasha blinked, his ears twitching briefly, as if in recognition of his own name.  However, he shook his head and began to
struggle, attempting to pry his hands away.  Acting out of desperation, Inuyasha snapped forward, biting deeply into one of
Sesshomaru’s arms.

Letting out a sigh, Sesshomaru shook his head.  He released his grasp on one wrist.  Inuyasha responded by swiping at
Sesshomaru, his rough claws slicing across his left cheek, bringing blood to drip from the fresh wounds.  He had not the time
nor the patience to try and reason with the obviously feral youth.

Wasting no time, Sesshomaru wrapped his free arm around Inuyasha’s slim body and hefted him from the ground, dragging
him over to the stream.  Inuyasha struggled in his grasp, releasing Sesshomaru’s arm from his mouth as he fought to get out of
his hold.  He kicked and tried to claw his way out, but Sesshomaru avoided the strikes aimed to his face.  The kicks mattered
little and only bruised . . . but he feared what would happen should Mistress Kagome see injury on his body.  It was bad enough
his cheek was marred by scratches, his arm bleeding from a harsh bite.  He did not know how he would explain them to her.

With a sigh and a shake of his head, Sesshomaru released his grasp on Inuyasha’s other wrist.  He then lifted Inuyasha’s eerily
light body into his arms, frowning at the way he bucked and struggled to get away.

“Inuyasha . . . calm yourself.”  He said, then promptly dropped him into the stream.

The youth landed with a splash in the cold water.  He spluttered and coughed, water dripping from his hair and body as he
crawled to the water’s edge.  Staying on his hands and knees, he shook himself off, water all but flying from his body and hair.  
Sesshomaru took a step back, not truly wanting to be inadvertently soaked.

Inuyasha crouched on the ground by the stream, a glare in his eyes as he regarded Sesshomaru.  He didn’t look at all pleased
that he had been dropped into the water.  If given the opportunity, he would probably attack again.

Deciding to treat Inuyasha like any other frightened dog, Sesshomaru slowly raised his hand.  Inuyasha blinked up at him, a
slight growl passing his lips.  Sesshomaru stilled his hand not too far from Inuyasha, simply holding it there in the air . . .
waiting for Inuyasha to make the next move.

Inuyasha ceased his growling, looking up at Sesshomaru curiously, an untrusting glint in his eyes.  He set the knuckles of one
hand down on the ground and leaned forward, bracing his weight on that one arm as he tentatively sniffed Sesshomaru’s
offered hand.  He jerked back, looking up at Sesshomaru with narrowed eyes, studying his features.  He must have found
something recognizable in Sesshomaru’s scent . . . which is exactly what Sesshomaru had expected to happen.

Inuyasha grasped Sesshomaru’s wrist, turning his hand over to sniff more thoroughly at his palm.  He moved closer, inhaling
Sesshomaru’s scent as moved along his arm, then let his attention drift to one leg, dropping his hold on his brother’s arm in the
process.

Sesshomaru stood patiently as Inuyasha took stock of him.  It would do no good to push the youth away now . . . it would only
end up angering him, perhaps cause him to do something foolish.  He did not want to have to hurt the half demon should he
attack again.  Living with no one in his life beyond masters and tormenters, left Sesshomaru oddly lonely . . . even the company
of this half-breed was a welcome distraction.  At least now he knew that some of his family remained in the world.

Inuyasha suddenly grasped Sesshomaru’s hip, dragging his nose up along the inside of Sesshomaru’s thigh.  Sesshomaru
frowned at the indignity of such an act, but kept his place . . . deciding yet again that if Inuyasha needed to inhale such sharp
scent markers - especially considering that some of the strongest scents were found in the location where Inuyasha had
currently buried his nose - then he could allow it this once.

After a moment, Inuyasha leaned back on his haunches, once again to look up at Sesshomaru.  He wiped a hand across his
eyes, studying his elder brother’s features.  He opened his mouth . . . only to close it again as no sound came out.  He frowned,
repeating the action . . . but with a different result.

“Sess . . . maru.”  The youth spoke with a grating voice.  Clearly, it had been a long time since he had used his voice . . . his
words were rough, barely a whisper.

Sesshomaru nodded his head.  “Yes, Inuyasha.  I am Sesshomaru.”  He said calmly, keeping a careful watch on his brother’s
reactions.

Inuyasha said nothing further.  Instead, he crawled closer to his brother, only to sit at his feet.  He wrapped a shaking arm
around Sesshomaru, nuzzling his face against his brother’s leg.  A faint whimpering sound came from his throat, his body
pressed close to Sesshomaru’s lower limbs.

To see Inuyasha react like this seemed odd.  Sesshomaru knew that his brother had held no fondness for him . . . but now he
was acting as if Sesshomaru was of great importance to him.  It was strange, something Sesshomaru had not expected.

With a sigh, Sesshomaru decided to placate the boy.  He eased himself to the ground, crossing his legs before him.  Inuyasha
seemed to smile, only the expression never quite reached his golden eyes.  Without words, the silver-haired youth moved to sit
across Sesshomaru’s lap, his legs curled beneath his body as he pressed himself close.

Sesshomaru closed his eyes and wrapped an unsure arm around Inuyasha, not certain that this was the correct course of
action.  Did he truly want Inuyasha to enjoy his company this much?  He did not know.  But it was good to have family again . .
. even if it was Inuyasha.


*****


For several hours Sesshomaru calmly sat with Inuyasha.  He curled his tail around his brother’s body, having noticed the faint
shivering passing through his damp, chill skin.  Perhaps tossing him in that stream had not been a good idea.  Then again, it had
served to calm Inuyasha down somewhat.

With a frown, Sesshomaru leaned back away from Inuyasha.  A pout came to the half-demon’s face, his eyes containing hurt.  
Sesshomaru shook his head, making quick work of unbuttoning the shirt he wore.  He shed the garment, thankful that Mistress
Kagome had seen fit to lend him not only this shirt, but an undershirt as well.  He wrapped the article he had removed around
Inuyasha’s shoulders, watching as a light entered the boy’s eyes.

Inuyasha let out a short laugh, throwing his arms around Sesshomaru once more.  Apparently, he was pleased with the gift his
brother had bestowed on him.

Just as quickly as he had hugged the elder demon, Inuyasha removed his arms and hopped to his feet, moving with haste to the
cave.  Sesshomaru watched, waiting as sounds of Inuyasha digging around within could be heard.  He idly wondered what the
boy was up to, but his question was soon answered as Inuyasha came out, his arms loaded with those glittering bits of metal.

He knelt down, then dropped his ‘treasure’ at Sesshomaru’s feet.  With a broad smile on his face, he pushed the pile closer to
Sesshomaru, making a short grunting noise as he did so.

Sesshomaru understood.  Inuyasha was offering his treasure as a gift, in return for the shirt that Sesshomaru had given to him.  
Sesshomaru shook his head, but then saw the look of worry on Inuyasha’s face.  Perhaps declining this offer would be a
mistake.

Reaching down, Sesshomaru picked up a piece, looking over it carefully before he set it back.  Mostly there were only
necklaces of gold . . . a few earrings and bracelets . . . a small kettle that was made of shiny copper . . . and other such things.  
Then Sesshomaru’s eyes fell on a large bit of silver and smirked, picking it up.  It was a woman’s hairbrush with soft bristles,
the handle made of silver.

“Come.”  Sesshomaru beckoned to Inuyasha, sweeping aside the rest of the treasures and patting the ground before him.

Inuyasha moved forward without hesitation, acting like a pleased puppy as he knelt in front of Sesshomaru.  The tall demon
eased Inuyasha to turn, gently pushing him to sit on the ground.  Now that Inuyasha was suitably placed, Sesshomaru carefully
began to brush out the nest of tangles and knots that was his brother’s hair.

It took a long time.  Sesshomaru moved with care, gently removing each and every snag, taking his time as he brushed through
his brother’s hair.  When he was done, the hair shined under the light of the sun, straight and tidy.  Though still greasy, and a bit
unclean, the hair looked a great deal better than it had when Sesshomaru had begun.  He took a moment to stroke his fingers
through the silver hair, marveling at how soft it felt.

“Look.”  Sesshomaru bade Inuyasha to turn, easing a portion of his hair over one bony shoulder.

Inuyasha looked down on it with amazement, then smiled up at Sesshomaru, reaching past the tall demon to grasp the strands of
Sesshomaru’s hair.

“Yes, I suppose it is like mine.”  Sesshomaru nodded.  Then he turned Inuyasha again.  “But I think your hair will only get
knotted again if it were to remain like this.”

With that, he began to braid the tresses, weaving the strands together much like he had done in the past with the hair of a
number of his female masters.  He had often done this . . . though he had never found any joy in the action.  He still didn’t . . .
but Inuyasha’s hair needed to be restrained so that it would not be so badly knotted again.  When he finished, he tore a strip of
fabric from his undershirt and used it to tie the braid off.  He hoped that Mistress Kagome would not be displeased that he had
damaged the clothing he had been given.

Inuyasha swept his fingers along the braid, petting it.  He smiled to Sesshomaru, then leaned forward, laying his head across
Sesshomaru’s lap.

A dull throbbing in Sesshomaru’s wrists stole his attention away from his brother.  He frowned, looking down at the bands
circling his wrists, his eyes widening as he raised his gaze to the sky.  The sun was sinking . . . nightfall quickly approaching.  
He had to get back to his mistress . . . she had told him to return by dark . . . the warnings of his disobedience had begun.  If he
did not return soon, it would not be a simple dull ache that throbbed in his wrists.

A frown settled on his face as he looked down at Inuyasha again.  The boy was looking up at him with worry, his fingers so
lightly reaching to touch his brother’s face.  He grunted, his eyes full of concern.

“I must leave, Inuyasha.”  Sesshomaru said, fluidly rising to his feet.

Inuyasha shook his head, throwing his arms around Sesshomaru’s legs.  He had understood . . . he knew that Sesshomaru was
leaving.

Sesshomaru sighed.  He would have taken the boy with him, but he did not know how Mistress Kagome would react.  And
Mistress Kikyo . . . she had not wanted the three slaves her sister had purchased.  She would not want another living in her
home.  Sesshomaru’s frown deepened.  He could not take Inuyasha with him.  It could pose too dangerous for the half-breed.

“You must stay here, Inuyasha.”  He said, grasping the half-demon’s shoulder, pulling him away slightly.  He looked down into
Inuyasha’s eyes, wanting him to see that he was speaking the truth as he said.  “I will return to you.”

Inuyasha shook his head, his bottom lip trembling.  He did not believe Sesshomaru.

“I will return.”  Sesshomaru said again.  “You may keep my shirt until then.”

Inuyasha looked down at the garment, twisting his fingers in the cloth.  He took a breath, then looked up at Sesshomaru and
nodded, shakily crawling back into his cavern.  Sesshomaru sighed, turning away from the gleaming eyes that stared out at him
. . . trying to ignore the slight sniffling sound he could hear from within.

The dull ache returned, pulsing through his veins.  Sesshomaru shuddered and began to walk, his fingers twitching
uncomfortably as the sun continued to disappear.  He moved with haste through the forest, reaching the path to the bridge, but
not before the sun was almost completely set.

The ache spread, twisting through his blood . . . becoming harsher, sharper.  Sesshomaru sped his pace as best as he could, his
legs quickly becoming numb.  He had gotten his warning . . . he should not have lingered to say his goodbyes.

The pain coiled in his stomach . . . blood dribbling from the corner of his mouth as he fought a cough that ached to be let out.  
The curse placed upon the bands had begun to take its toll, slowly tearing away at his insides.  He fell to his knees, his fingers
digging into the earth.  He could see the Mistress’s home . . . could see the gate.  But the sun was nearly gone . . . he did not
have much time.  A hacking cough tore through him, spikes of pain threatening to blacken his vision.  Blood splattered the
ground below him, his lungs feeling as if they would expel from his throat.

He could not breathe.  He crawled forward, no longer having the strength to rise to his feet.  His wrists no longer throbbed with
the ache . . . they very nearly screamed at the agony of the bands constricting around them.  The dug into his skin, crushing
bone and sinking through the flesh.  Blood flowed thick and heavy from beneath the bands, leaving crimson trails in the path
toward the yard.

Finally . . . thankfully, he collapsed just inside the gate of his Mistress’s home.  He was here . . . he had obeyed.  The bands
circling his wrists stopped their slow torture.  The pain ebbed away, leaving him sighing in relief, though the remnants still stung
his body.

The sun’s light disappeared just as consciousness fled him, his only thought hoping that he would not be punished for his
tardiness.



To Be Continued . . .