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Hanyou Spirit by LadyGoshawk

Chapter 1

The presence he’d sensed for the last week, faint and wavering as if unsure of manifesting at all, at last coalesced a short distance behind him. He waited, weighing the aura, testing its strength, for some time before a flicker of movement suggested the time for silence had passed. He suppressed a sigh. What he felt was familiar, and he knew its presence would likely mean some form of trouble. It always had.

Sesshōmaru?” The sound would have drawn attention from every living being for kilometers around if it could have been heard by any ears but his own.

“Hello, Inuyasha. It has been some time.”

He kept his voice low, even, knowing it would irritate the reactive hanyō. If he would not be allowed to achieve his goal without this one, last interference, he might as well derive some entertainment from it.

“Some time? Whaddaya mean, ‘some time’? We were just fightin’ that bastard spider a minute ago! Where’s Kagome? And Sango an’ Miroku? Where’s the—”

“After all this time, you still do not use your senses, nor apply sense to the evidence they bring you, little brother.” If he had not interrupted, they might have remained there all day while the foolish boy worked himself into a lather. “Perhaps you should engage both sense and senses and actually look upon where you have found yourself.”

“What the hell is that…supposed…ta mean…” The irate demand trailed off as the whelp finally took in their surroundings. “Wait…”

They stood among the uppermost boughs of the great Goshinboku. Inuyasha occupied a thin branch near the very crown. Sesshōmaru merely stood in the air, yōki both holding him in place and concealing him from detection from below. They did not stand above empty forest, however. Instead, much of the area around the great tree had been cleared, the soil paved over, various small to medium buildings stood here and there nearby, and the ancient Bone Eater’s Well lay concealed beneath the aging boards of a well house. The place should be very familiar to his hanyō brother, even as it had become to him. He waited.

“This…is…” Inuyasha began slowly, sounding stunned. It did not last. “This is Kagome’s shrine! How did you get here, you bastard? You don’t belong here!”

The whelp had always been exasperating. Sesshōmaru suppressed another sigh. “On the contrary, the Higurashi Shrine and the land around it lie within my territory. I have more right to stand here than you do, now. You also still do not see. Look again.”

“Answer my question!”

“Use your eyes!”

Stunned silence followed that exchange. Sesshōmaru merely watched the movement of those below while he waited. It took a little longer, this time.

“What…are you…wearing?

An impeccable, bespoke suit made by the finest yōkai tailor in Japan, but none of those words would mean anything to the boy and were irrelevant to the situation, besides. He finally turned to look at his younger brother. Red fire rat clothes, long, bleached-bone hair, ears that marked him hanyō twitching in agitation atop his head. He looked exactly as he had the last time Sesshōmaru had seen him so long ago. The expression in his eyes said louder than any words that he still did not – quite – understand his situation.

“Always, Inuyasha, you have taken a shortcut to arrive in this place and time,” he began as he turned back to regard the shrine below them. Fate had timed this interference well, at least. He could smell her on the stairs leading up to the shrine. “Unlike you, I have come here by the long road. More than five hundred years have passed since the day we defeated Naraku. I have lived through them all.”

Below, a young woman wearing grey slacks and a powder-blue sweater stepped into view at the top of the shrine steps. She carried a subdued black backpack over one shoulder, hair held in a heavy bun atop her head with what appeared to be a writing implement, and hummed tunelessly as she walked. At once the same as and yet also very different to the girl she had been during the hunt for the spider hanyō, she looked much as she had then but had matured greatly since.

Sesshōmaru inhaled deeply, savoring her scent for a moment before he nodded in her direction. “For her, eleven years have passed.”

Inuyasha made a sound like air being punched out of him. “Ka…gome… Is… That’s… Kagome. Kagome!

The last, he bellowed in a way that reminded Sesshōmaru forcibly of the hunt for Naraku. The woman below continued across the shrine grounds, unaffected. “She cannot hear you, Inuyasha.”

KAAA-GOOOO-MEEEEE!

The miko went on humming as she reached the door to the family home, slid it open, and stepped through. “I’m home!” she called out. “Is anyone here?” Then the door snapped shut again.

“Why…can’t she hear me?” The question came very close to a disbelieving whine.

Sesshōmaru shook his head briefly to try to clear the ringing in his ears. “We never learned the details. The miko told us Magatsuhi had possessed you, that you struck her and pushed her over the edge, deeper into Naraku’s body where I found her. No one saw you again after that. The Tessaiga called me to retrieve it through the Tenseiga several days after. We never found any other trace of you. We could only surmise you died the day we confronted Naraku.”

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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