InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Uke ❯ Returning to the Fold ( Chapter 25 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Disclaimer: The characters of InuYasha are not mine, they are property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise, and Viz. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
A/N - Thank you for the reviews, ya'll. They really are appreciated. I know I don't tend to thank people individually, but I really do read every last review. I appreciate knowing you liked it, or found something lacking, or are frustrated or excited about it - whatever it is (aside from flame which you've been nice enough not to give anyway) I get something out of every single one. So, truly, thank you for taking the time to say something!
I will try to get this up ASAP. I have to set it up in a different format for putting up here than everywhere else, and while that's not really that much work, when I'm busy it always seems like it takes me a couple days to get it done. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!
WARNING- This chapter MAY contain: angst, fluff, foul language, Male/Male, anal sex, oral sex, non-consensual sexual acts, spanking, incest, or violence.
Chapter 25 - Returning to the Fold
Sesshoumaru sat cross-legged inside the filthy human hovel, his eyes taking in everything around him as his mind monitored Inuyasha. His brother was still vacillating wildly, close to calm one moment and broken and cold the next. His body felt on the verge of falling apart, and Sesshoumaru was not at all happy with how few of Inuyasha's companions seemed cognizant of the fact.
When Sesshoumaru had brought Inuyasha back to the village he had been wondering whether he'd made the right decision. Inuyasha had felt brittle, his body edgy and tense in Sesshoumaru's head. After how he'd been reacting to Sesshoumaru's presence, however, Sesshoumaru was hoping that being within the bosom of his friends' concern and caring might help. He wanted his mate to feel safe, and although the miko had failed at her first attempt, she and the damn ningen were still closer to Inuyasha than Sesshoumaru had ever been.
Inuyasha hadn't reacted as they'd neared the human village, although his nose wrinkled momentarily as the scents of Jaken, Rin, and Ah-Un were carried to them on the wind. Sesshoumaru was fairly certain the trio was set up on the outskirts of the village; he'd fetch them and introduce them to his mate after he had Inuyasha situated. He'd known they would be safe enough now that Naraku was no longer a threat. Jaken might be an ingratiating little toad, but he could take care of any run of the mill youkai or bandit that came their way, at least.
A few moments after passing his retainer, Sesshoumaru had found the small hut that reeked of Inuyasha's companions and vibrated with the loud buzz of their voices. Landing just outside the door of the hut, he'd called for the miko to retrieve Inuyasha's clothing. Inuyasha had always been rather curiously modest, and on top of that, Sesshoumaru didn't believe his brother would care to walk around much longer with just a top covering him.
After a surprised pause in the noise from inside following his request, there had been scrabbling and shuffling before the bitch emerged, holding onto Inuyasha's newly washed robes. The miko had looked at Sesshoumaru far too boldly for her own safety before searching Inuyasha's face as she handed the robes to him.
“Inuyasha. How are you feeling? Are you...all right?”
Inuyasha hadn't responded as he dropped Tessaiga and Sesshoumaru's haori to the ground and slid on his clothes hurriedly, refusing to acknowledge Sesshoumaru, the gaping miko, or the curious stares from the few villagers that weren't out tending to whatever petty things occupied them during the day. It was disturbing. Inuyasha had seemed glad to see the miko, his body almost instantly calmer as soon as she'd spoken, and almost as quickly he'd shivered slightly with…disgust? The rapid change in Inuyasha's physical state was very worrisome.
With oddly slow, careful movements, his brother had finished adjusting his clothing, reached down and retrieved his sword, and replaced it in its customary position. Then he'd simply stood next to Sesshoumaru, not quite staring at the ground, but not looking at his companion, either. Sesshoumaru had been able to feel Inuyasha's discomfort in his head, his mate jumping back and forth between a feeling of welcome relief and tense, nervous near-shudders. The daiyoukai had frowned as he'd retrieved his haori from the ground, grimacing in distaste at the dust as he'd put it on.
He had watched Inuyasha for a moment, questioning again whether he'd made the right decision. If being around his little clan wasn't going to be a help to Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru had no reason to put up with their presence, after all.
The miko had waited for a response for only a few moments after Inuyasha completed dressing before she spoke again. “Inuyasha?” Her scent had started to change, fear welling up as she noted Inuyasha's silent contemplation of her feet. “Inuyasha, I'm so sorry... “
The scent of anxiety swamping them both, Sesshoumaru had finally felt Inuyasha respond. Before she spoke, his mate's body had still been tight and full of pain, the information coming in from his senses had felt dulled as though he wasn't processing things properly. After her words, however, an odd sorrowful ache had built in Inuyasha's head as his senses sharpened. Inuyasha had taken one huge, shuddering breath and lifted his head to stare at the miko with his typical irritated half-sneer.
If Sesshoumaru hadn't known differently, he might have thought Inuyasha was having a typical day.
"You're sorry? For what, wench? I'm fucking fine. You think a bastard like Naraku could fuck me up? Don't be so stupid. Now where's Miroku? Is he doin' okay? That stupid wolf manage to keep his sorry ass from gettin' killed?"
The miko had looked at him carefully before smiling and taking his hand to lead him into the hut. The moment she touched him, Sesshoumaru could feel his mate's skin crawl, a bright ball of pain gathering in his stomach, but Inuyasha's body hadn't revealed his distress by so much as a twitching eyelid. Honestly a bit confused as to why the bitch was still alive and not a bloody mess on the floor, considering Inuyasha's feelings, Sesshoumaru had followed them inside. Ducking to enter, he had continued to stare at Inuyasha. The kitsune had jumped onto Inuyasha's shoulders, crying that he'd thought the hanyou had died. The annoying miko had told Inuyasha about the houshi's poisoning, about the fact that even their treatments had been unable to save him, about using the purified jewel to bring him back from the brink of death and watching it dissipate into nothingness after they did so. Sesshoumaru had scowled as she took a full ten minutes to respond to a question that could have been answered with a brief, `the monk has recovered.'
She and the slayer had embraced Inuyasha, and the monk and the three ookami had nodded at him. Inuyasha grumbled and nodded and even smiled briefly as the miko showed him the monk's hand, now free from its previous wind tunnel weapon.
Why the loss of such a fearsome weapon seemed to make everyone smile Sesshoumaru had no idea. Ningen were insane.
Now, after having watched them for over an hour, Sesshoumaru still couldn't get over Inuyasha's behavior. He had never suspected his brother of being capable of such deception. Sesshoumaru knew that he, himself, was careful not to reveal his inner thoughts to those around him. It would not do to have others discover any weaknesses. Inuyasha had never struck him as the deceptive type, but now he was watching Inuyasha reacting with typical childish, irritable sniping as he interacted with his companions. The shell of grumpy amiability, however, was barely skin deep. In his head, Inuyasha's body would grow calm and still as he listened to the conversation around him. As soon as he was addressed, however, the calm left him and he was hollow and icy, with that hard painful knot in his stomach that seemed on the verge of crumbling the longer he had to interact before he could withdraw to silence again.
It was even worse when one of the ningen or youkai interacted with Inuyasha physically. Every time the women and kitsune had touched him, Inuyasha's insides had tightened further, his skin shivering in reaction. How could he allow them to do that? Why was Inuyasha not backhanding them to the ground, at the very least? Sesshoumaru couldn't understand how his brother could disregard his own feelings so much. It wouldn't hurt the miko to get knocked to the floor once in a while, after all.
Yet, Sesshoumaru found an unexpected sense of pride in his mate's ability to hide his own feelings. Inuyasha was actually quite…skilled. The persona he chose was so far from one Sesshoumaru considered acceptable that it was laughable, but his brother was actually very good at keeping himself under an odd sort of control. At the same time, Sesshoumaru wished he wasn't so good at deceiving everyone, and he wished that the whelp had someone that he didn't feel the need to deceive in that way. He wished he had someone he could let out all the rage and pain and fear at, because it was coiled into such a tight ball inside of him that Sesshoumaru was honestly worried.
How was he supposed to make this better?
Catching himself, Sesshoumaru scowled, and then tried to control his odd emotional upset as Inuyasha cast him a brief nervous look before turning back to his companions. Sesshoumaru must have been giving off more scent than he'd thought. It was simply…his mate felt awful, and that made him feel awful, and he was surprised at just how desperately he was starting to hate that feeling. He wished he'd known just how filthy and miserable it would feel when one's mate was suffering before he'd bonded with his brother. Surely that would have been enough to stop him?
He truly despised feeling this way.
The kitsune leaped on top of Inuyasha's shoulder again and Sesshoumaru almost flinched at Inuyasha's inner reaction, the small peace Inuyasha had managed to achieve in a few minutes instantly erased. Sesshoumaru felt rage and fear rear up inside Inuyasha before his mate took a few deep breaths and controlled it. The kitsune had likely just escaped being clawed to the bone. And he had no idea. Sesshoumaru glanced at the ningen and ookami surrounding them and his lip curled. How could they not see? They had been together with his brother for years, had they not? Yet, aside from the older miko, who spoke to Inuyasha in a calm voice and took care not to touch him, no one seemed to notice Inuyasha's deception. No one was giving him the comfort that Sesshoumaru had hoped for.
When the wolf prince shifted and Inuyasha's pulse suddenly increased to a harsh almost panicked pace, Sesshoumaru knew he had to intervene. He wasn't the one who was supposed to be doing this. He wasn't the one who was supposed to comfort or care for Inuyasha, not really. He had a duty to his mate, but duty didn't include nurturing him. Holding and rocking him had been necessity, really. Inuyasha had been in shock and required more care than usual. Now, he was supposed to be recovering. He was supposed to be improving so that Inuyasha…no, so that Sesshoumaru didn't feel so terrible. The others should be taking care of him now and fixing this pain. They should be the ones to hold him as he wept, or sing soft songs to him to soothe his nerves, or rock him until the shadows left his eyes. Sesshoumaru imagined the miko or the ookami doing just that and squirmed infinitesimally. They wouldn't do it properly. So, perhaps not holding, or rocking, but certainly they could manage something
Sesshoumaru finally walked away from his stance inside the door, discarding his shoes and stepping up onto the floor. Everyone stopped talking as they watched him walk towards Inuyasha and sit down carefully against a wall near his mate. They looked at him as though waiting for him to attack and he fought the urge to snarl. They should be able to make his mate better. They should be helping him. Instead, they were each so oblivious to Inuyasha's pain that they were letting him assume his typical place in their group without even a question.
“Inuyasha.” Sesshoumaru wanted to bite his tongue as Inuyasha's back stiffened in front of him, but he was not going to ignore Inuyasha's needs as everyone else did so readily. He had a duty, and Inuyasha's body was already exhausted from a lack of sleep and dealing with the emotional filth coming from his friends' scents. “You will sit, Inuyasha. You need rest.”
Inuyasha turned to him slowly.
“Fuck off, bastard.”
The pain in Sesshoumaru's head was soothed as warmth washed over it. Inuyasha's voice was positively vicious. His eyes were glaring and harsh. His reaction was such a sudden change from his previous behavior that everyone stared. Sesshoumaru, however, started to feel like he'd made the right choice, because for the first time since they'd arrived, Inuyasha's reaction matched the feelings in his head exactly.
“You will sit, here, or I will force the issue.” Sesshoumaru told him calmly, ignoring the nervous shifting of Inuyasha's miko as he and Inuyasha stared into each other's eyes. Apparently deciding that Sesshoumaru would, in fact, force him to rest, Inuyasha growled menacingly and dropped to the floor in an ungainly slouch, turning his face away from Sesshoumaru towards the others.
After a brief pause to see if anything more was going to occur, the ningen started talking again in slightly subdued voices, although the monk was now watching Inuyasha more closely than he had when they entered. Sesshoumaru let his senses drift over the others again as he continued to focus on Inuyasha. As the ningen flapped their gums, an obsession they all seemed afflicted with, he noted with satisfaction his mate was slowly leaning away from them until his back reclined against the wall. His mate was tired, and Sesshoumaru had managed to put him in a position where he was resting. After such horrendous failure in protecting Inuyasha from Naraku, he felt inordinately proud of the small victory.
The ningen talked about people who had lost their lives to Naraku, schemes they had discovered and countered, and what they would do with their lives now that the bastard was dead. Inuyasha contributed a word here and there, but he slowly withdrew, saying less and less until he was simply watching his friends silently. With Naraku introduced into the conversation, his mate's silence lacked the slight calm he'd achieved before with his friends, and Sesshoumaru watched him carefully. If the pain in Inuyasha's chest got much worse, he was taking him out of here.
The three ookami involved themselves, dragging out the conversation as they remembered the rest of their pack that had been completely obliterated. The prince hinting broadly that their future actions might depend largely on the miko's future choices. Inuyasha didn't say word, his face impassive until the wolf looked his way, and then Inuyasha gave him a warning look. Considering the empty, numbed feeling in Inuyasha's head as he did so, Sesshoumaru felt that it was merely to keep the ookami as ignorant of Inuyasha's true state as everyone else seemed to be.
Catching sight of the elderly miko and the houshi exchanging concerned glances before looking to Inuyasha, he revised the thought. Perhaps they could be counted on to do some actual good. The conversation paused a moment and the monk cleared his throat.
“So, Inuyasha, what are your plans now that we've defeated Naraku?”
Sesshoumaru could feel Inuyasha's body start to panic at the question. Dammit, the monk was supposed to help him, not make him feel worse! Before Inuyasha could open his mouth, Sesshoumaru answered for him.
“He will be with his mate.” Inuyasha wasn't going to be left with such shoddy protectors any longer. He wouldn't be left this vulnerable again. Sesshoumaru could feel everyone staring at him, including Inuyasha. His mate's eyes were huge and surprised, growing rapidly frightened the longer he stared.
“Fuck you.” Inuyasha jumped to his feet and glared at Sesshoumaru, his fists clenched while he stank of fear and anger and nerves. “I ain't goin' anywhere with you, bastard. What the hell do you want me for when you won't… when you wouldn't even… You- why don't you just fucking leave?! No one wants your sorry ass here anyway!”
“Inuyasha, “ the miko's soft voice interrupted him. “ Inuyasha, calm down. I'm sure...”
“Shut up, bitch. This ain't your business!” Inuyasha snarled without looking at her. The strong scent of upset and hurt filled the air and Inuyasha's entire body stiffened. His ears flattened as he turned to face her. “Kagome, I... I didn't mean... I.. Fuck.” He turned towards the doorway, taking one step before he stopped. Sesshoumaru could feel his brother's body tense as he stood there, unmoving. With the level of quivering fear and anger coursing through Inuyasha's body, Sesshoumaru was truly surprised he wasn't going to have to chase him out the door as the poor thing took flight. But he just stood there silently, until everyone started talking yet again, their eyes periodically returning to Inuyasha's tense body. After a few minutes, Inuyasha slunk back to the wall next to Sesshoumaru and sat down, watching everyone again, his eyes shadowed and haunted.
Sesshoumaru didn't enjoy seeing Inuyasha like this. His control was slipping and he was visibly reacting, yes, but not because he cared to. Sesshoumaru would rather see him lashing out because he wanted to rather than because he was so in so much pain that he couldn't keep it inside any longer. Although at least his clueless group of friends seemed to finally realize that everything was NOT well with Inuyasha. The women's eyes were searching his face, the ookami were wary, and even the kitsune had backed off a bit and was nervously chewing on his childish lips. The monk and the old miko were exchanging looks again.
Which was all fine, except none of them were doing a damn thing with their knowledge. How could they be aware that Inuyasha suffered, and yet offer him nothing? Why were they ignoring his need? They might as well remain oblivious to Inuyasha's pain if they were going to be this useless.
Inuyasha continued his withdrawn hunching, staring out at his friends, and he started to rock in small increments, his body barely moving until Sesshoumaru covertly slid his hand over and laid it down next to Inuyasha's leg so that it brushed against his thigh. Inuyasha didn't acknowledge it, not jumping away as Sesshoumaru had feared he might, but he did stop rocking. Sesshoumaru didn't know if it was because Inuyasha was brought to an awareness of what he was doing, or if the touch actually helped, but he'd keep his hand there unless it seemed to be increasing Inuyasha's upset.
He wanted to get the damn pain out of his head. It was honestly crushing, and Sesshoumaru had to control the urge to lash out at the ningen again. His mate was hurting so badly…and on top of that, Inuyasha had to urinate.
It was such a mundane thing that Sesshoumaru didn't think he would have noticed if it weren't for the fact that Inuyasha's body was letting him know quite strongly that it needed relief. Inuyasha sat next to Sesshoumaru, however, and didn't make even the smallest motion towards the door. Pondering if he was going to have to carry his mate out before he had some sort of childish accident, he almost missed the monk's words.
“If you'll pardon me, ladies, I find I have need of some privacy for a moment.” Before the monk had even straightened from his bow, Inuyasha was on his feet.
“Good idea, monk. I'll join ya.”
Sesshoumaru watched his twitchy mate a moment and stood while the monk put on his sandals. “I, as well, find myself desiring some privacy.”
With a small, confused scowl aimed at Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha grunted and….waited for the houshi to walk outside. Sesshoumaru couldn't help but wonder why. The doorway had become crowded by the time Sesshoumaru had stepped over, Inuyasha was impatient to be outside, and he was the closest to the door. But rather than leave, his scent had grown fearful and he'd waited. Sesshoumaru would have to watch him closely.
The three of them made their way to the woods nearby, the monk commenting that he wouldn't mind the walk on such a fine day. Inuyasha was practically hobbling with his need to find somewhere and water the grass, but Sesshoumaru noticed he never said a word. He followed the houshi, staying a step behind, his eyes scanning back and forth along the trail ahead of them and constantly glancing back and scenting the air as he looked at Sesshoumaru.
His entire body was wary to the point of fear and it only grew worse the further they went into the woods. His mate's body leapt almost to panic when the monk excused himself for some privacy. Looking at the spot where the ningen had disappeared, Inuyasha bit his lip fiercely. He was so terribly frightened. Sesshoumaru took a step away from him and Inuyasha swung around to stare at him, even more frightened. Was he frightened of Sesshoumaru's presence, or of his leaving? He wasn't certain.
“I will stay.” Sesshoumaru turned away from Inuyasha and stood silently as he felt the hanyou calm slightly in his head. He didn't know why it relieved him to know that he hadn't frightened Inuyasha, but he couldn't deny that it did. His mate wished for company.
Or was it more that he was afraid of being alone?
Inuyasha relieved himself quickly, obviously embarrassed, but he didn't ask his mate to leave.
“I will stay,” Sesshoumaru repeated softly. Inuyasha finished and adjusted his hakama, and as Sesshoumaru turned to look at him, Inuyasha caught his eyes a moment. His brow furrowed as though confused, only turning as his houshi returned.
“Took you long enough. We were gonna leave without you,” Inuyasha griped while he looked to Sesshoumaru a moment. Oddly enough, it felt rather as though his mate was asking for something from him.
“You didn't have to feel obliged to stay, Inuyasha,” his friend said mildly, reaching out to pat his back, and Inuyasha tensed and dodged the friendly gesture.
With his hand in mid-air, the monk stared at Inuyasha, his face radiating concern.
“What are you lookin' at?” Inuyasha snarled, his body starting to bristle. The monk swallowed and let his hand drop to his side.
“Nothing. Just staring into the air as I contemplated the meaning of life.” The words were light even as the man's gaze was searching and worried.
“Well stare somewhere else,” Inuyasha growled, standing and shifting his feet. Finally realizing that Inuyasha wasn't going to move until he started walking first, the houshi began to walk back to the village, Inuyasha falling in behind him again as Sesshoumaru took up the rear. Sesshoumaru continued to have odd, almost fearful looks thrown back at him until his scent would reassure Inuyasha, and he cursed Naraku to the ninth level of hell after every one. How long would it take Inuyasha to trust that it was really him?
And would that even matter, after what had been said?