Inuyasha sat in the garden behind the castle. He had a manga in his lap and some of the baby books on the bench next to him. Sesshomaru was sitting with Kuniku and Rin while they napped. Sesshomaru had been paging through one of the books Kagome had brought when he left. It seemed that his brother liked to read. He made a note to ask Kagome to bring more books next time she went back to her time, he'd have to think about the subjects, but he decided that it would make a nice gift for his brother, who had taken him in along with all of his friends. He flicked his ears and looked up as someone walked along the path. Kagome came around a corner with a flower in her hand. She waved and walked over to him.
"There you are. I wanted to talk to you." She said flapping the flower at him.
"Okay." He shrugged and set the manga aside. "What did you want to talk about?"
"Hold on." She approached him and put her hands on his neck. He looked up at her curiously. She leaned in and grinned and his ears twitched nervously. His hair pulled lightly and he blinked at her.
"What are you doing?" He demanded with a puzzled look.
"This!" She held up the necklace that had seemed to dominate his life for the last few months.
"What?" He looked up in shock. "Why did you?"
She put the necklace in his hand and sat down beside him. "I don't need it anymore. Originally, it was just to control you so you didn't hurt anybody. Then, it was just another way for me to fight with you. Now, well, it's pretty useless. I mean, I don't need to control you because you're not out to kill me or anyone I care about. We hardly fight anymore and if you think about it, it really was unfair of me to use it on you."
"Tell me about it!" Inuyasha grumbled remembering all the pain he'd gone through because of the stupid necklace and its spell.
Kagome looked sheepish and laughed nervously. "Yes, well, I don't know if you noticed, but I did. Yesterday, when we brought all that stuff back, I told you to sit down. I didn't even think about it, it just happened. And you didn't fall! You were holding Kuniku and everything-"
"WHAT?!” Inuyasha leaped to his feet. “You said that word while I was holding Kuniku?! You could have killed my son!"
Kagome held up her hands. "I know I know! I wasn't thinking! I'm sorry! But nothing happened! You didn't fall!"
Inuyasha blinked. He hadn't fallen. "I didn't....why not?" Now, he was confused.
She shrugged. "I'm not sure. Maybe because I didn't want to hurt Kuniku. Maybe it's really some kind of mental trigger?"
"You accidentally "sat" me all the time." He pointed out with a sour frown.
"Well, maybe it was your protective instincts. They flared up so powerfully that they canceled out the reaction? I mean, Kaede said that only someone with enough power could control the beads right? So maybe you had the power to do it? I don't know. All I do know is they're useless now. You shouldn't have to wear them around if you don't want to. So, I decided to finally get rid of them." Kagome smiled.
"Thank you. I appreciate it." He sat down again and looked at the beads in his hands.
"Umm..." Kagome fidgeted, twisting the flower stem in her hands.
"I was wondering...are you still going to search for the jewel shards with us?"
He looked at the beads in his lap, then at her face. "I don't know. Before, I did it for reasons that don't seem as important now, to become a demon, to get revenge. But with Kuniku here, I can't let stupid decisions hurt him. I know that Naraku is a threat, and that is all the more reason for me to stop chasing him. I can't risk the life of my child. You have to understand, I care for all of you, but I can't!" He looked torn as he tried to explain himself.
Kagome reached forward and hugged him. "Shh," she soothed, running her fingers through his hair. "I understand Inuyasha. I do. Kuniku is too important. You’re right. I just wanted...I suppose I was being a little selfish. I wanted your company. But you have responsibilities now. How strange." She pulled back and smiled. "Inuyasha with responsibilities. Could it be that you are finally growing up?" She tugged playfully on his ears.
"Quit that!" He protested, flicking his ears. "I'm not a complete loser you know." He grumbled, crossing his arms. "I can be mature and stuff."
"I know, I know." She grinned at his sulking. "I know that when it's called for, you always do the right thing like you're doing now. I just wanted to talk about it. I think that the others and I will start off again soon. However, we’ll make this our new base, whether Sesshomaru likes it or not. We can't just suddenly forget about our friends."
"Thanks, Kagome." He smiled at her, gripping the beads tightly in his hands.
"That's what friends are for Inuyasha." She grinned and tugged on his ears once more before skipping off down the path before he could complain.
He watched her go and sat back with a sigh. He'd been expecting the conversation, but he hadn't thought it would take so much out of him. He certainly hadn't expected Kagome to remove the beads around his neck, but he was glad that she did. It freed him from any power that she'd held over him as well as any residual obligations he might have felt. He still had obligations to his friend, but none that made him follow her around like a puppy. It felt good to have them off like a weight had dropped from his shoulders, which it had. With a smile on his face, he picked up his books and returned to the house to see Kuniku.
After dinner that night, Kagome and Sango offered to watch Kuniku and Rin while Sesshomaru and Inuyasha had some time to themselves. Inuyasha smiled and thanked them both. He was walking down the hall, thinking of what to do with his night off when Sesshomaru walked up beside him.
"Come with me to the hot springs," Sesshomaru said as they walked back to their rooms.
Inuyasha looked up at him. The last time Inuyasha had been in the springs with Sesshomaru, he'd felt nervous about having Sesshomaru watch him. He still felt nervous, but a good soak sounded nice. He weighed his options and finally nodded. "Sure."
"Come then." Sesshomaru set his hand on Inuyasha's lower back and led him out to the gardens. He kept his hand in place as they walked down the path to the springs. Inuyasha felt the warmth from that hand flow through him. When they reached the springs Sesshomaru let his hand fall and began to undress. He wasn't wearing his heavy armor, just a simple kimono and sash. Even his fluffy white thing had been left inside. Inuyasha really had no name for the fluffy white thing. It seemed to be part fashion accessory, part weapon. Maybe someday he'd ask Sesshomaru just what the hell it was. Inuyasha turned his eyes away as Sesshomaru's robe dropped. He began to hesitantly untie his own robes as he heard Sesshomaru slip into the water.
"Come, it is not as if you have things I haven't seen before," Sesshomaru purred, amusement evident in his voice.
Inuyasha shrugged off the comment, not sure how to respond. Did Sesshomaru mean that they were both men and Inuyasha didn't have anything unfamiliar to him or did he instead refer to the fact that he'd already seen Inuyasha naked? The half-demon wasn't sure and so ignored it as he finally let his robe drop and turned back to the water. Sesshomaru had moved out into the deeper parts of the water but was still watching Inuyasha. Inuyasha put a toe in the spring before he stepped in, sighing as the warm water surrounded him.
"Around here there is an alcove to sit in," Sesshomaru motioned around a bend in the spring and moved towards it.
Inuyasha nodded and followed, moving slowly through the warm water. As he rounded the bend, he saw Sesshomaru settling down onto a submerged shelf in the small alcove surrounded by green plants and blooming flowers. Inuyasha moved into the small rounded cove and settled himself across from Sesshomaru, closing his eyes and letting his head fall back. He let his mind drift for a little while as the heat of the water sank into his bones.
"You are no longer wearing those beads," Sesshomaru commented after a while.
"No. Kagome took them off this afternoon. I put them away in a drawer," Inuyasha said, not opening his eyes.
"That is good, you are free from them now. And your skin is no longer blocked by their presence."
Inuyasha felt the heat rising up to his cheeks and mumbled an indistinct reply. He heard the swish of water and a moment later the ripples touched him. He opened his eyes to find Sesshomaru sitting inches away. His eyes widened, but he didn't withdraw. instead, he sat and watched his brother, who was staring at him intently. Shivers crawled down his spine as Sesshomaru continued to stare.
"What?!" Inuyasha finally burst out. "Why are you staring at me?"
"You've turned human." Sesshomaru said reaching out and running his fingers through silky black hair.
Inuyasha blinked and looked up at the dark sky. Sure enough, the moon was nowhere to be seen. How could he have forgotten something as important as the New Moon, when he changed into a human? With all the activity from the arrival of Kuniku and settling into Sesshomaru's house, it had completely slipped his mind. He jumped slightly as lips nibbled at his ear. "S-Sesshomaru!"
"Hush," Sesshomaru murmured as he ran his tongue over the delicate pink shell of Inuyasha's human ear. His fingers massaged his brother's scalp, running through the silky black strands of hair. "I wish only to touch my mate." Inuyasha shivered at his brother's husky tone of voice.
"It's weird.” He complained. “I-I'm not used to this s-stuff," Inuyasha stuttered. Indeed, he was not used to his brother's attention at all. He was used to death threats and fights. He wasn’t used to the more affectionate side of Sesshomaru and especially not his sensual side. This didn’t turn out so well for him last time. Still, he couldn’t pull away.
"I will make you accustomed to this attention my beautiful Inuyasha," Sesshomaru informed his brother, nibbling on his tender earlobe.
Inuyasha let forth a little squeak of surprise. Sesshomaru's hand wrapped around his waist and settled on his hip, pulling him to face his brother. Sesshomaru leaned in and captured Inuyasha's lips. The first kiss was aggressive, his tongue reaching into Inuyasha's mouth and stealing his breath. As he withdrew, he looked deep into Inuyasha's deep brown eyes. "You no longer draw away at my touch." Sesshomaru said running a clawed hand over Inuyasha's soft cheek.
"I like your touch," Inuyasha admitted quietly, leaning into Sesshomaru's hand to demonstrate.
Sesshomaru smiled and moved back in to kiss Inuyasha, softer this time, lingering sweetly. The kiss made Inuyasha's heart flutter. It was so tender and gentle. He wanted more. He leaned into Sesshomaru's kisses eagerly. Sesshomaru's hand slid down his back, leaving faint trails of fire where his nails barely scraped the skin. Inuyasha hesitantly wrapped one arm around Sesshomaru's shoulder, pulling himself closer. Sesshomaru's hand pressed on his lower back, drawing their bodies together and Inuyasha moaned softly.
"So beautiful, my mate," Sesshomaru whispered as he pulled back, gold catching brown. He lowered his lips to Inuyasha's neck and sucked on the pale skin there. Inuyasha let his head fall to the side as Sesshomaru licked on the delicate flesh of his neck. Kisses dragged downward to his collarbone, where teeth scraped lightly, causing the half-human to shiver in his brother's embrace.
Sesshomaru dragged Inuyasha in to straddle his lap with a small growl. He bent in towards Inuyasha's chest, a source of fascination for him these last few days. Despite Inuyasha's change to human form, he still had swollen breasts. Arousal made his nipples stand at attention and Sesshomaru ran his tongue around one of Inuyasha's nipples. The flesh was soft and the nipple tightened further at his attention. As he wanted to do since the first time he watched Inuyasha feed their son, he took the tight nipple into his mouth and sucked gently. His suckling yielded drops of sweet heavy milk that his brother's body had produced. The thought was somehow arousing and he continued to suckle at his brother's breast, bringing forth low groans from Inuyasha who began to squirm in his lap.
"Sesshomaru!" Inuyasha exclaimed breathlessly as the demon switched breasts. Inuyasha's hands tangled in Sesshomaru's silvery white hair, keeping his brother's face to his chest. The strange jolts of pleasure he experienced while Kuniku fed seemed to have intensified a hundredfold as Sesshomaru suckled at his chest. With a small nip, Sesshomaru finally drew back licking his lips.
"Did you like that?" He asked running his hands along the insides of Inuyasha's thighs.
"Yes." Inuyasha hissed softly, eyes glazed with pleasure.
"Good." His hands spread Inuyasha's thighs wide as he wrapped the long legs of his brother around his waist. The motions brought their erection in close contact and Inuyasha moaned, his head resting on Sesshomaru's shoulder. Inuyasha had just begun thrusting gently against his brother when a loud crash from the house made him jump.
Sesshomaru froze. "Something's wrong." He stood and bringing Inuyasha with him. "Hold on." Inuyasha barely had time to wrap his arms around his brother's shoulders before Sesshomaru leapt into the air. They landed in front of the bathhouse where Sesshomaru paused for a moment to grab two white robes. He grabbed Inuyasha around the waist, both of them in robes half tied and leapt once more towards the house. There was a large hole in the ceiling where Sesshomaru's private chambers were. Inuyasha's heart dropped into his toes as he realized that it was also where Kuniku and Rin were. They dropped straight through the hole and into a fierce battle between Inuyasha's friends and Naraku.
"Inuyasha!" Kagome called out from a corner where she cradled Kuniku and sheltered Rin and Shippo.
"Kagome!" Inuyasha freed himself from his brother's arms and ran to them, taking a crying Kuniku from his friend's arms. "What happened?"
"We were sitting around with Kuniku and Rin when the ceiling exploded and Naraku came in." Kagome waved to the scene behind Inuyasha's back.
Sango was battling with her little brother, Kohaku, and trying not to damage him. Miroku was trying to fight off the many-tentacled Naraku without the aid of his wind tunnel because of the wasps hovering in the air. Jaken was in the background sending fireballs at the wasps, but there were so many it barely reduced their numbers. Sesshomaru immediately joined the battle, attacking the baboon-skinned demon with intense ferocity.
"You dare invade my house?" Sesshomaru hissed, clawing at the waving brown tentacles of the other demon.
"Ah, Sesshomaru. It seems that you harbor something I desire. Once I have what I want, I will be on my way," Naraku said calmly even as Sesshomaru and Miroku separated groups of his tentacles from the main mass only to have more sprout out.
"If it is here, then it is mine and not yours to take," Sesshomaru growled, wanting nothing more than to rip the other demon to shreds.
"Surely you have noticed that I always get what I want," Naraku replied, his tentacles stabbing at Sesshomaru, who easily dodged.
"Not this night." Sesshomaru sent a sizzling poisonous claw towards Naraku's cloaked face only to be brushed aside with a powerful swipe of a tentacle.
"What have we here?" One writhing brown limb began to reach towards Inuyasha and Kagome. "Could this fetching creature be dear little Inuyasha? And what's this you carry? A child? How interesting."
"Don't touch him!" Kagome stepped out in front of Inuyasha, her bow notched with an arrow.
Naraku laughed. "Foolish child, I will take what I want." He swiped at her, but she leapt back and let her arrow fly to the heart of the baboon skin that rested atop the swarming mass of tentacles. Naraku jerked back as the arrow hit with a bright flash but was not deterred. Another tentacle wrapped around Kagome's ankle and threw her into a wall.
"Kagome!" Inuyasha cried watching his friend crash through the wall and skid out into the hallway. He growled as he retreated, holding Kuniku tightly in one arm and herding Rin and Shippo along with the other. "Naraku you bastard." He muttered, glaring at the white baboon skin.
"Inuyasha. I'm hurt by your words," Naraku crooned as he sent another wave of tentacles towards Inuyasha. Both Sesshomaru and Miroku leaped forward to prevent the tentacles from reaching Inuyasha, who was vulnerable in his human form.
Behind Inuyasha, Rin screamed and the robe he was wearing was pulled tightly. He spun around as one of Naraku's tentacles picked up the small girl by her throat. "Rin!" He cried lunging forward to save the girl. He jerked to a halt mid-air as a tentacle he hadn't seen plunged through his chest. With a strangled gasp, he looked down to make sure Kuniku wasn't hurt. The tentacle had gone through Inuyasha's heart, but Kuniku was safely cradled in the crook of his right arm. He could feel the blood welling up in his lungs as he suddenly coughed, turning his head so he wouldn't bleed on his son.
"Inuyasha!" Miroku barked, trying to get through to his friend but was thrown through a wall.
Sesshomaru turned to see the disturbance and snarled in fury. A tentacle impaled his leg before he could move off to Inuyasha's side and he was left to watch as the tentacle in Inuyasha's chest wrapped around his body, lifting it up into the air. Inuyasha was drawn up towards Naraku's main body and delivered into Naraku's fur cloaked arms. Inuyasha's blood immediately stained the white fur. The demon's pale hand appeared and caressed Inuyasha's face. "Such a shame that you are going to die." Naraku purred.
"No." Inuyasha gasped, even as blood welled up in his throat, dribbling down his lips.
"Yes." Naraku had leaned in so that the outline of his face was almost visible. "You will die." He whispered, his cold lips caressing Inuyasha's bloodied ones. "And I will take this precious child of yours."
"No!" Inuyasha denied, feebly trying to escape to no avail. He'd lost too much blood and without his demon healing abilities, he was fading quickly.
"Do not worry. I will take good care of this little one." Naraku said lifting a wailing Kuniku up out of Inuyasha's grasping arms. "I'm sure he will be as pretty as you. Too bad you'll never know." Naraku smirked as he kissed Inuyasha deeply, swiping the taste of his blood out of his mouth before letting his limp body drop down to the floor with a dull thump.
"Kuniku!" Inuyasha gurgled with the last of his strength, watching through a haze of black as Naraku stole away his child. A scream that he didn't have the life to release bubbled through him as his world turned dark with death and despair.