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By the Sword by Miss Kagura

Chapter 1

This story is now rated MA - not appropriate for anyone under 18, as of 3/25/12!!

Sesshoumaru watched his nephew for almost an hour before he made any move toward the little hut. From the shadows, Sesshoumaru realized quickly that person who would be most affected by what took place was Kyo, who lost his father and his protection. While Sesshoumaru didn’t know the boy at all, and had remained very distant from his brother, he felt a stab of guilt.

No one knew what had happened but, in less than eight hours, Myouga sought him out and called him to the village, where Inuyasha had lost his mind completely. Even with Tessaiga in his grasp, Inuyasha had no recognition of his friends, or even his own wife and son. The battle that ensued had been indescribably emotional and violent.

Sesshoumaru took Inuyasha’s life, just as he told his brother he would do. There was a time when Sesshoumaru was very serious about that promise, but, as they forced a shaky peace during Naraku’s reign of terror, the meaning of that promise changed to the idea that no one but Sesshoumaru was allowed to take Inuyasha’s life. He had protected Inuyasha more than once, only to make good on that vow when he no longer wanted it. It was an empty, horrible victory that made him feel hollow.

The village was nearly completely destroyed. Not one hut stood untouched by Inuyasha’s rage, and bodies lined the street. Survivors cowered indoors, hoping the maniacal hanyou didn’t return for a second round of carnage.

Sesshoumaru approached what was left of the hut slowly.

That was the first time Kyo had seen his uncle up close – covered in blood and dirt, grim expression painted on his face. Since Kagome told him Inuyasha went crazy because of his demon blood, which was only half of his blood, Kyo stared up at Sesshoumaru and trembled. Sesshoumaru had nothing in him but that demon blood, which frightened him.

Sesshoumaru walked past the boy without even looking down and entered the hut, where Kagome sat on a mat on the floor, sensing and dreading his approach.

The person who sent Myouga to find him had been none other than his brother’s wife. She was strong, but even Sesshoumaru was surprised that Kagome had the courage to pull the proverbial trigger on her own husband’s life. Neither doubted that Inuyasha would have wanted for someone to kill him if it ever came down to it; once, Inuyasha had even alluded to that subject while he was sparring with Sesshoumaru.

She rose to her feet, feeling an intense mixture of appreciation and hate. “Is it over?”

“Yes,” he answered, almost as quietly.

For a few seconds, Kagome was completely still. Then, she collapsed forward and braced herself on his cracked armor, sobbing hard. Her husband of eleven years was dead, and she honestly couldn’t have cared less about Sesshoumaru’s feelings about physical proximity. Waves of grief crashed inside of her, followed by guilt and indescribable pain.

Sesshoumaru didn’t even move because, in some way, he felt he deserved to see and experience that moment. It was his Bakusaiga that scored the final blow, a fact that he felt might haunt him.

He closed his eyes and remembered looking down at Inuyasha’s face while Bakusaiga protruded from his chest. Blood gushing everywhere, Inuyasha came to his senses during those last few seconds because Bakusaiga neutralized his demonic aura. He asked Sesshoumaru for a favor that Sesshoumaru had no intention of honoring, which made him feel even more guilt.

After a few minutes, Kagome sniffled hard and took a deep breath. “It’s what Inuyasha would have wanted.”

Sesshoumaru nodded and left the village, looking back just in time to see his eleven-year-old nephew and his sister-in-law crying into each other’s arms. He didn’t know what was going to happen to either of them and, while he hadn’t cared up until that day, he felt a sharp tug, as if he didn’t want to just turn his back on them and leave, even though he did.

Before he disappeared into the trees, he reached for Tenseiga and swung once, not bothering to look back at the village. Every life Inuyasha took had a combined value of zero to Sesshoumaru, and Tenseiga didn’t compel him to do it. He did it because Inuyasha never intended for any of that to happen.

Back in the village, confusion, fear, and anger raged. Some people weren’t sure what had happened, but those that were spread the word quickly that the hanyou that normally protected them had snapped and gone on a killing spree. Some of Inuyasha’s first victims had been his closest friends, which was the reason Kagome had asked for Sesshoumaru. It was like his mind was completely gone.

Sango and Miroku came over to support Kagome, but Sango kept rubbing her throat, remembering how it felt to have it ripped apart. Their three children were thankfully unharmed physically, but the entire village was hurting emotionally.

When the fire in Kagome’s hut started to burn low, Kagome went out to go get more, and Kyo followed along. He stared at his little claws, remembering the sight of his father slashing at the villagers he normally protected. Kyo wondered if his demon blood would turn him into a monster someday and, unfortunately for both of them, they weren’t the only ones considering this.

Two of the village men offered to help carry extra wood inside for them, and Kagome thanked them, assuming they were trying to console her and do what they could to help. She knew from living in the village that most people made an effort to help those in need. The two men, who were friends of their family, and fathers of Kyo’s friends, made small talk when they got inside until each used the heavy wood to knock out Sango and Miroku, who weren’t expecting the blows.

Kagome barely had time to register what happened before the world went black for her too.

Kyo saw his mother hit the floor and wanted to be brave, but instead, he ran away. The men chased after him, and other villagers joined in, prepared to get the evil they feared out of the village by any means. He didn’t understand why his father had gone mad but, in that moment, he hated his father for passing demon blood on to him.

When Kyo tripped on a rock, the sensation of falling was followed immediately by pain he had never felt before. He rolled over, clutching his bleeding shoulder, and saw one of the younger farmers wielding a sharp tool that was stained with his blood. Instinct took over when Kyo realized it was coming down on him again, and he lunged upward, growling as his claws ripped at the man’s insides.

Guts splattered at his feet, which only frightened him more, and Kyo kept running into the woods as fast as his legs would carry him. He had no idea where he was going and wasn’t even sure it mattered. The smell of blood, his and the farmer’s, his father’s death, and the indescribable pain in his shoulder made him feel like the world was crumbling.

He could hear villagers running and yelling as they chased him. They believed Kyo had become the monster they were afraid of, and Kyo wasn’t sure he hadn’t.

A scent stuck out in the woods, and the image of his uncle flashed in his head.

Kyo fell again, this time because he was feeling dizzy and could hardly see through the tears. Torches flickered as they approached, and he decided to just lay there and weather whatever happened to him.

They approached with rusty and new swords, chunks of wood, and pieces of bamboo.

He closed his eyes and waited, but instead of pain, Kyo felt an aura wash over him and, when he opened his eyes, Sesshoumaru was standing between him and the villagers.

Sesshoumaru cut his eyes over to look at Kyo, who was bloody and curled up at the base of a tree. He didn’t know the boy at all, but didn’t exactly believe that any child Inuyasha and Kagome raised would kill without extreme provocation. The shoulder wound was more than enough reason to kill, considering his age and the situation.

“Leave,” Sesshoumaru ordered as he reached for Bakusaiga.

The villagers scattered quickly, unwilling to take a chance against someone that looked so much like the devil that tore their village apart.

After he peeled away the sliced layers of the boy’s haori, he determined the wound wasn’t life-threatening.

“You will be fine,” he said.

Kyo clutched his shoulder and winced. “Will you help my mother please?”

“Wash up, get that scent off your claws, it will attract predators,” Sesshoumaru said.

The boy stared at his bloodied claws and asked, “I can’t ever go back, can I?”

“No, you can’t. Go wash, that stench is foul,” Sesshoumaru said.

Kyo wanted to cry more, and hope someone else would carry him, or make everything better, but Sesshoumaru seemed very strict, like he wanted Kyo to brave the pain and take care of himself. The village would never let him come back, his father was dead, and he had no idea where his mother was. Sesshoumaru was the only direction or protection Kyo had, so he decided to do his best to follow Sesshoumaru’s order. He found his feet and stumbled blindly toward the river, listening for the water.

Sesshoumaru returned to the village, but couldn’t find Kagome. Her scent was seemingly absent, even though it didn’t really lead away from the village. Where it did lead was to a well in the middle of a clearing. Miroku stood at the edge, staring down into the well.

Miroku looked fearfully up at Sesshoumaru. “Please tell me you found Kyo.”

Sesshoumaru nodded and looked down. Myouga told him of Kagome’s origins, but he was reluctant to believe it until that moment. Kagome’s scent vanished, as if she either disappeared into thin air or found a way to completely conceal her aura.

“You haven’t asked any questions. Does that mean you know?” Miroku asked.

“I know.” Sesshoumaru ran his hand along the edge of the well. Magic lightly greeted his touch, telling him it was present, but it was not for him to use.

“The well hasn’t worked for Kagome since she came back. The villagers threw her down here, and it swallowed her,” Miroku said.

“Inconvenient.”

Miroku sighed and leaned against the structure. “If you bring Kyo back, Sango and I will take care of him. Take him someplace else, maybe the old demon slayer’s village.”

“Kyo has spilt human blood. He will never live like one again,” Sesshoumaru said.

“I can’t say I think that’s a good idea. He just lost his father. And…” Miroku started. He realized Sesshoumaru might be acting on Kyo’s behalf for that very reason. “I see.”

“I doubt you do,” Sesshoumaru cryptically answered.

On the other side of the well, Kagome jumped from halfway up, only to make impact with the ground again. She clawed at the dirt, hoping her son was okay, but knowing Sango and Miroku weren’t awake to help him. All the stories about violence against hanyou and hateful, superstitious villagers came rushing back at her, and she screamed, hitting the well with her fists.

Kicking up the dust with her feet, she continued crying and doing whatever she thought might make it work again.

When she heard the door of the well house open, Kagome suddenly felt afraid. It had been eleven years since she last saw her home, and she didn’t know what could have changed in her time.

A deep, masculine voice called her name as a shadow moved over the well. “Kagome? Kagome, is that you?”

“Who’s there?” Kagome asked fearfully.

“Souta!” the man answered as he quickly climbed down the ladder to take Kagome into his arms. “I can’t believe you’re really here!”

Kagome went limp in his embrace and started sobbing again. Souta picked up little pieces of information as she hiccupped and cried the story out. Inuyasha was dead, and Kagome had a son who was in danger, and that was the night the well decided to work. He didn’t know what to do, so he just held her, and then helped her out of the well, seeing a bruise on her jaw and puffy, red eyes.

Once he got Kagome into the house, more tears came when Kagome and their mother reunited and she recounted the story again.

During the second time, Souta searched for some sort of hope in the story. Kagome’s husband was dead and, from what she said, their child might be too. Inuyasha told him when he was younger how rough the feudal era could be, and Souta didn’t know how Kagome was going to handle living there alone with a child when, or if, the well ever allowed her to go back.

“Perhaps Inuyasha’s brother helped him?” Souta suggested.

Kagome looked up from the table. “Maybe.”

After Kagome thought about it for a moment, and nodded. Sesshoumaru was usually a total jackass, but he wasn’t one to stand by and do nothing when it came down to something really important. In fact, Sesshoumaru probably knew something like that might happen, since he watched Inuyasha grow up as a hanyou. He also had senses even Inuyasha couldn’t understand, and was usually aware of danger before anyone else. He certainly wasn’t ideal, but she realized that her son was probably with Sesshoumaru.

And that Sesshoumaru probably wasn’t very happy about it.

In reality, Kyo was sleeping naked and alone in the forest, his bloodstained clothes drying on a rock while he shivered. His little claws were red from being scrubbed, and Sesshoumaru was several kilometers away with the monk.

The monk had a grim expression as they walked down a path in the dark, their way lit by the moon. Since the air was saturated by the smells of carnage and destruction, Sesshoumaru was unable to trace Inuyasha’s steps and had asked the monk where it started. The fact that Inuyasha suddenly lost control and forgot himself was troublesome, especially considering that he had a young son that might share the same fate if it had something to do with his mixed blood.

Miroku waved his arm toward Kagome’s herb garden. “Kagome said it started here. She was gathering herbs and when she turned, he was just…lost. We thought at first that maybe something set him off, but no one could sense anything here, not even Kagome.”

Sesshoumaru stepped into the small garden, wrinkling his nose slightly at the herbs, half of which were used as deterrents to repel demons. As soon as he did, Tenseiga started to rattle quickly, alerting him to the fact that something was there.

“Stop moving,” he quickly barked.

The monk froze, mouth open, hand in the air. Sesshoumaru’s tone communicated urgency, and the sudden awakening of his sword could only mean one thing – something had gone wrong.

He gripped Tenseiga, and as soon as he pulled it from its sheath, it started to glow, casting a light that revealed thick, torn, black spider webs. Sesshoumaru reached out and tried to touch one of them, but common sense advised him against it. Whatever they were, they had wiped Inuyasha out instantly. Instead, he swung the sword, vaporizing them.

“You cut something,” Miroku said, still unable to sense anything.

There were enough scary things in the world that he could see, yet the idea there were things no one could see scared him more than anything. Whatever Sesshoumaru had cut destroyed Inuyasha in a matter of seconds, without leaving any trace.

“Spider webs,” Sesshoumaru answered.

“A spider...” Miroku whispered.

Miroku flexed the hand that was once cursed. “Come with me. I sincerely hope this isn’t related, but I think I should show you.”

Miroku and Sesshoumaru walked to the cave where Onigumo laid, where Naraku was born, and Miroku gave Sesshoumaru an explanation of what had transpired there. Sesshoumaru had never heard the story of Naraku’s origin, and never really cared, but the simple fact a demon like Naraku could be born near the village spoke of something dark that lingered there.

The closer they got to the cave, the more evil subtly touched Sesshoumaru’s senses. He looked around, but when he tried to enter, a barrier blocked him, confirming what both were hoping against. Something very bad was going on and neither knew what.

“I have a family now,” Miroku said, glaring at his hand.

Sesshoumaru looked back at the village, and then toward the barrier. His senses screamed that disaster lurked in the shadows, and the monk seemed petrified by the danger so close to the place he was trying to raise his family. “You should leave,” he warned ominously.

 

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