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.


Part Eleven

Sesshomaru stood stoically at the window, gazing out at the forest.  It was getting dark now, and had been hours since they had
left the injured half-breed and his mother at the entrance to their estate to return here, stopping briefly at the Lady Sango's home
to gather her ailing brother and any supplies they would need for their stay with Mistress Kagome and her family.

He had a longing to visit his half-brother again.  However, duty overcame those selfish wishes.  He had to be ready, to stand
guard should that foul excuse for a demon, Naraku, come to collect revenge on Sesshomaru's human owners.

Kagome needed his protection.  She had been kind to him so far.  He would not shirk his duties to her.  He could not.  Only pain
would greet him should he willingly neglect his obligations.  The dark woman who had cursed him had been cautious in the
weaving of her spells, the words of binding chosen with the utmost precision.

He looked down at the bands encircling his wrists.  He had no choices, no options to make.  His master's will was his will.  He
had no other life.  He was no better than that tortured half-demon who was kept in servitude by his own mother.  If owned by
anyone else, he would obey just as Sesshomaru did.  Few demons were free.  No demon who was enslaved would ever be free
again.  The binding was permanent, unbreakable.

He let out a resigned breath.  This was his lot in life.  He turned back to the window and raised his head, turning his face to the
fading sun.


He turned, bowing respectfully to his mistress.  "Yes, my lady?" He asked, keeping his focus on the floor.

"If you want to go out, you can."

Stunned, he lifted his gaze and found only kindness in her eyes.  She was frightened and yet she was telling him he could go if
he wanted to.  He didn't understand this.  "I must protect you, Mistress.  You and your family."

"I doubt he's foolish enough to attack me so soon.  He only escaped a few hours ago.  It's more like him to plot and plan, and
move only when he's sure he has everything in hand."  She shook her head.  "I don't want to keep you cooped up in here.  If
you want to take a walk, you are free to do so."

Sesshomaru thought.  He did want to visit Inuyasha, to see if the boy was well.  However, he didn't want to leave his mistress

"Perhaps, a short walk."  He was unsure.

Kagome smiled at him.  It was warm.  Yet, he could still see the fear in her eyes.  "When you get back, we'll have dinner," she
said.  "Sango and Kohaku will be staying with us, at least for a little while."  Patting him on the arm, she smiled again, then
walked away further into the house.

Sesshomaru was perplexed by her behavior.  He'd never had a master like her before.  Oh, sometimes they were kind enough to
begin with.  But that often faded quickly and he always ended up in pain in one way or another.  Kagome didn't show any of the
signs he'd come accustomed to recognizing.  She didn't brag about him or show him off to her friends.  She didn't ask him to
do chores.  She wasn't overly sweet or affectionate toward him, like he was some kind of pet.  Everything she did was out of
kindness.  It was strange.

He understood little of her motives.  However, he wasn't about to let this chance slip past him.  He left the house and made his
way to the forest.


Inuyasha was right where Sesshomaru had last seen him.  He didn't seem to have moved at all.  Curled in a pathetic heap in his
cavern, still wearing the shirt that Sesshomaru had lent to him.

Sesshomaru made no sound as he entered the clearing, yet Inuyasha looked up all the same, sensing his brother's presence.  At
the first sight of him, Inuyasha leaped to his feet and scrambled over to him, engulfing his elder brother in an embrace.  'Like a
puppy,' Sesshomaru mused, lifting a hand to lightly pet the youth.

Inuyasha whimpered, nuzzling against the elder demon.  Starved for affection.  In the past, Sesshomaru would have loathed
such a pathetic display.  However now, he understood better where such emotions came from.  When he'd been free he'd never
been one for affection, or had ever actively sought out the comfort of another's touch.  But in his time as a slave he came to
understand the yearning for kindness, for a tender caress or even the simple company of someone who didn't intend harm.  He'd
missed his family, even Inuyasha.

"I can't stay long," he warned, though he didn't think that Inuyasha understood.  The half-demon had spent too long in the wild,
had been abused too much.  He'd long ago gone feral, perhaps never to recover.

Inuyasha nuzzled closer, clearly not comprehending.  He seemed content to remain just where he was, his hold around
Sesshomaru never loosening.  When it became fully dark and Sesshomaru shifted, intending to return to his mistress, Inuyasha
whimpered again.

"I must leave," Sesshomaru stated calmly.  "My Mistress will wonder where I am if I linger too long."

Inuyasha began to tremble.  He nudged his forehead against Sesshomaru, his arms tightly wound around his elder half-brother.

"S-Stay."  A single word, uttered barely louder than a whisper of breath.  It was clear that the half-breed hadn't used his voice in
a long time.  The word sounded rough, spoken as if with doubt as to the meaning of it.

Sesshomaru looked down at his brother, eyes widening a fraction in surprise.  He hadn't thought Inuyasha capable of speech.  
But the surprising vocalization did not change the demon's need to return to his mistress.

He clasped his hands around Inuyasha's shoulders and gently urged him away.  He looked down at his little brother.  Tears had
gathered in the smaller male's golden eyes, but stubbornness kept them from falling.  He looked up at Sesshomaru with hurt and

Sesshomaru felt his resolve falter.  He wanted to stay, but he couldn't neglect his duties.  However, he couldn't deny his desire
to keep Inuyasha close.  And now with Naraku on the loose, there was a danger to the somewhat feral half-breed.  If Naraku
were to somehow find out about Sesshomaru's visits here, it would put Inuyasha in danger.

He had an idea, but it was foolhardy and would most likely only result in pain.  But with limited resources, it was the best - the
only - plan he could come up with.

He drew away from Inuyasha, despite the younger demon's whimpers of complaint.  Instead of releasing him completely
though, he took hold of Inuyasha's hand and tugged gently.  "Come," he urged softly, taking a step back, toward the road,
toward the house.  He would take care of Inuyasha to the best of his abilities.

With a hesitant step, Inuyasha followed, trusting his brother implicitly.

To Be Continued ...