Continuing Tales

Tales from the House of the Moon

A InuYasha Story
by Resmiranda

Part 41 of 42

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Tales from the House of the Moon

"La lutte elle-même vers les sommets suffit à remplir un cœur d'homme. Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux."
- Albert Camus, "Le Mythe de Sisyphe"


Kagome died.

Sesshoumaru drifted.

He didn't move out of the apartment they had shared. Instead he came home after the urn was finally buried and threw open the windows. The incense had obliterated most of the lingering traces of her sickness, and he longed to get to the bright smell he was sure still lay somewhere underneath, but after three days of light fall breezes wafting through their home he still could not smell her. With a strange, methodical urgency Sesshoumaru unearthed closets, turned cushions, aired sheets, flipped through books, crawled into the backs of cupboards, surgically sliced open mattresses and old stuffed toys, all the while waiting for the scent of morning to be exhumed, to resurrect in him whatever it was he was searching for.

He never found it, though.

Every day Sesshoumaru woke up and went to work and wondered why he stayed in the city, or even why he stayed in the world of men at all. All that had kept him there was now gone, and there was no reason for him to continue his facade any longer, except that there was nothing to pull him from where he was, either; the age of youkai had passed, and the power he had sought in his youth seemed worse than useless. There was nothing for him in the wilderness either. So he stayed.

And every night he fell asleep and dreamed of Kagome, of her taste on his lips, of her body quivering around him, of her smile or her laugh or her sleeping face, and when he woke up again he would be happy for the briefest of moments before he remembered that she was no longer there, and would never return, no matter how desperately he searched for her scent, how faithfully he strained to hear her footfalls. He ached to be with her. But she was gone, and there was only one way to follow her.

So he went on.

Occasionally he would think, if only Tenseiga -

- but he would never allow himself to finish. It was too painful, the thought of all the damage he might have been able to reverse, too immediate and close for comfort. And really, he had never used the sword to bring back someone who had died of illness or even of old age. It was always a wound. Perhaps that said something about him and the life he had lead, but what it might have revealed he could not say.

After a year or two, he allowed himself to remember their 'last conversation.' Of course she had lived for two more weeks, so those had not actually been the last things they had said to each other, but in some ways it was the last time he could remember knowing that Kagome was truly speaking to him from behind that awful fog of pain and drugs and disease. So in a way, it was more important than the things they had said to each other even later.

'You don't have any close friends. I worry about you, after...'

It was actually distressing to him to think that she might have truly had reason to worry about him after her death. He did not have any close friends, true, but he had not needed them when he had her, and no one could really live up to her anyway; they were always timid or deferential, always easy to predict, nothing like she had been. He didn't want to associate with any of them, because that would mean she really was over, was never coming back.

It hurt to think of her in the past tense.

But he was not lonely. He was certain of that. Sesshoumaru Did Not Get Lonely, because...


And then one day, two, maybe three years after Kagome passed away, Sesshoumaru came home from work and accidentally knocked someone aside as he passed them on the way to his apartment door.

He didn't bother to look behind him, even at the small startled cry of his victim, choosing instead to keep walking and perhaps make it to his apartment before he had to see or talk to anyone else that day. He was tired and annoyed with the universe, and in the few years that Kagome had been gone the longest conversation he'd had with anyone who was not a client consisted of curt remarks about the weather. He did not want to have to apologize or make any deferential gestures or any of that crap - he just... wanted to close the door behind him and shut the world out.

He might have made it, too - he was only ten steps away from his goal - when there was an angry shout behind him.


The sound reached in through the back of his head and grabbed his brain.

Sesshoumaru slowed then stopped in his tracks, but did not turn around.

He recognized that voice. He knew it.

Over the cold, drowning flood of sudden sick aversion, he heard his challenger take a step towards him.

"Hey, asshole, get back here and apologize to my wife!"

There was a small murmur - "Kappei, no, it is fine, really" - the man's wife clearly not wanting to make a big deal of the incident, preferring instead to keep things calm, but it barely registered.

You are not named Kappei, Sesshoumaru thought. That is not the name I knew you by.

"Turn around, jackass!"

Very slowly, Sesshoumaru pivoted and looked behind him.

A very human Inuyasha stood in the middle of the hallway, his hands balled into fists, his posture threatening, as behind him the woman that had shared a body with Kagome plucked at his sleeve. She didn't look so much like Kagome now - they had never been the same person, after all - but Inuyasha... he looked the same.

Strange how he had never really known his brother and yet he should recognize him still, five hundred years after they had parted ways. Strange how his first coherent thought was that he was glad Kagome did not have to see her old friend and old love in a new life. Strange how he still felt a small, familiar flare of jealousy at the thought that she could have ever been in love with the brash, coarse man standing in the middle of the apartment hallway.


Sesshoumaru blinked.

Inuyasha took another step forward. "Where's her apology?" he demanded, forever the hero, forever the small man against big odds, never knowing when to back down or when to bow to those obviously superior to him.

And then the strange thought: Just like Kagome.

It was too much. With a tiny scoff, Sesshoumaru shook his head and turned back, ignoring any further attempts to regain his attention until he was safely inside his apartment and leaning against the door, hoping irrationally that he never had to set foot outside it again.

Three hours later Sesshoumaru was sitting at his kitchen table and staring listlessly at the four bottles of wine he had consumed - it was difficult for him to stay inebriated to any degree without constant ingestion and he felt he sorely needed it - when there was a forceful, demanding knock on his door. For a moment Sesshoumaru considered not getting up and answering it - not getting up ever again - but when the noise came once more he sighed and heaved himself to his feet.

When he opened it, Inuyasha stood outside, still looking angry.

Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow and waited.

But what Inuyasha said surprised him. "Forgive me for my earlier rudeness," he snapped, not sounding sorry at all. "Suzuki Kappei. My wife wants to know if you want to come over for dinner."

It was possibly the least gracious invitation Sesshoumaru had ever received. He let the other eyebrow rise.

"You don't have to come," Inuyasha - Kappei - informed him. "I couldn't care less. She just thought you looked pale and needed a good meal."

Sesshoumaru could smell the lie. "Do not insult my intelligence," he said coldly as he began to close the door.

A hand shot out, slamming against the wood. Sesshoumaru was so surprised that he entirely forgot to reach out and break Inuyasha's arm.

"Hey! I didn't... keh! Fine, she asked around and heard your wife died. She thought you might like company, okay? But don't come if you don't like pasta. She's half Italian and was raised in Italy, so she thinks everyone needs fattening up."

Sesshoumaru stared, any number of responses coming to mind, including, 'she wasn't my wife' to 'fattening?'

Inuyasha shrugged. "She worries about people. I'd leave you to rot, but that's just me. So yes or no?"

And, quite unbidden, the echo of Kagome's words drifted across his mind.

Don't be afraid.


When Inuyasha had the appearance of six years old - though, of course, he was much, much older than six by that point - Sesshoumaru stepped down from the mountains and into his life to give the half-breed his first lesson in combat.

Why he had decided to do so was still something of a mystery to him, though it had made perfect sense at the time. When Inuyasha reached a certain age, Sesshoumaru planned to kill him and erase the stain on his house, but even though this was decided long ago Sesshoumaru could not imagine killing the boy if his little brother was unable to defend himself. There was no honor in such an easy kill; clearly, the harder the fight the nobler the victory, and the nobler the victory the more thoroughly the stain would be lifted.

It made perfect sense.

And, of course, there was also the whole issue of the fact that Inuyasha - as a son of the Inu no Taisho - would be targeted by other youkai, and - as a half-breed - would be rejected by humans. This decreased his life expectancy considerably and Sesshoumaru had determined that this would be quite displeasing to him, and that therefore it would please him to instruct the boy. After all, he did not want him to die before the designated time. That Sesshoumaru was somewhat hazy on when that designated time would occur - or, alternatively, what exact age was that certain age when the boy became fair game - was of no consequence, as clearly the opportunity would present itself in the natural course of events.

Until then, though, Sesshoumaru preferred the boy to stay alive, and since no one else would have the privilege of killing him the boy had to be taught how to fight.

Years later, when his mind drifted back to this strange decision - and it did so with annoying frequency - Sesshoumaru suspected his logical conclusion at the time might possibly have been rather specious, and he felt a fair amount of regret that he had ever decided to do it in the first place considering Inuyasha had, eventually, actually injured him. Granted, he'd had the help of Tessaiga, but if he hadn't known how to use the sword there wouldn't have been such a problem. Waiting for his arm to regrow really had been a terrible nuisance.

Nevertheless, Sesshoumaru traveled to the south where Izayoi's family had hidden her away and demanded to teach his father's bastard child so the boy could achieve the minimum amount of competence needed to keep his worthless hide alive.

When he landed in the courtyard and demanded to see the hanyou, there was quite a stir over his sudden presence, and it really had been annoying to remind himself that killing everyone was not the best way to do things, unless he fancied having an orphaned half-breed clinging to his leg for the next hundred years or so.

Just the thought made him shudder, and he had forced himself to be content to slice the arrows out of the air until the guards actually processed his request, but by the time that happened, Inuyasha had come to him.

From around the corner of the main building two bright yellow eyes were staring at him, opened so wide in childish awe that Sesshoumaru was surprised they did not pop out of their sockets. They were muddier than his own, and just above those eyes was a shock of hair - not pure silver like their father's hair, nor silver-blue like his own, but rather simply white and flat. Worst of all, peeking out of the rough mess and twitching with each shout lobbed from guard to guard were two little triangular ears,

There was no doubt about it: the boy was a mutt.

How embarrassing.

Sesshoumaru turned and began to walk toward him.

The little boy's reaction was unbearable.

As Sesshoumaru drew closer, Inuyasha's yellow eyes - impossible not to notice that those eyes very much resembled the eyes of his father - became wider and wider, and the boy inched out from his refuge behind the bulk of the house.

He came to a stop in front of the half-breed. Inuyasha took two tentative steps toward him.

Then he opened his mouth.


Sesshoumaru felt his blood turn to granite.

The boy's tone was painfully hopeful, the timbre painfully childish. The youkai prince felt the weight of his veins begin to drag him down -

- those eyes really were so, so familiar -

- before he came back to himself.

He kept his face impassive.


He watched the glow of those wide yellow eyes fade. Inuyasha took a step back, denied and disillusioned, uncertain as to what to do now, and Sesshoumaru could not help but stare at him. The expression on the boy's face echoed in the chasm between them, and it seemed to Sesshoumaru that perhaps Inuyasha had just felt a piece of himself harden into stone as well.

For a long moment, indifferent to the commotion around them, neither spoke.

Then, at the edge of his hearing a strange, strangled sob leapt into his head, and Sesshoumaru heard the rustle of fabric upon fabric upon fabric.

After a moment, the half-breed heard it too. Suddenly his composure broke, and he ran back around the corner of the house.

"Hahaue," Inuyasha cried, and Sesshoumaru watched as Izayoi, holding her son in front of her as though she were afraid Sesshoumaru would kill her instead of the boy, emerged from around the far wall and walked on trembling legs towards him.

When they were before him, she bowed low.

"Sesshoumaru-sama," she whispered. "Forgive him. He did not know - "

And in that moment, for the first time, Sesshoumaru felt a long, falling sadness, the sudden realization that this little boy that caused such revulsion in him, that inspired such hatred towards his once-proud family line, this little boy had an entire life that he knew nothing about.

He must have asked about his father, must have wanted to know him, and his mother must have told him.

...your father is the most powerful demon in Japan, and he rules over the lands in the west. He is tall and regal, an inuyoukai of great power, with long silver hair and golden eyes, and he wears rich white clothes and thick armor and heavy fur...

And here he was now, gaze locked with this child that was his brother whose entire existence had changed his life, and he knew nothing of him...


"How did I become so old, Higurashi-san?" Kappei moaned into his glass of beer. "It snuck up on me."

"Long life is a blessing," Sesshoumaru answered curtly, taking a sip from his own glass of wine. "You have spent too much time abroad."

"Yes, but I'm shocked to be forty. Where did all that time go? When did I meet you?"

"When you were twenty-seven."

"You haven't aged a bit, but you already have the white hair, so I supposed that it's not hard to hide the age."

Sesshoumaru glared at his companion from the corner of his eye. Kappei was propping himself up rather tipsily against the bar, clearly struggling to keep his faculties. It was a hard thing to acknowledge, but Sesshoumaru knew he had to move soon, out of the country. He would have to get a new degree somewhere else - possibly in something else - and start over. The prospect was depressing, and to his vague horror he found that one of the most depressing aspects of it would be that he would be moving away from the Suzuki family; Etsuko was generally kind and their daughters were bright and sweet, and Kappei, at the very least, had become a good drinking acquaintance. They were certainly not good friends, but to his surprise they were not constantly at each other's throats, either. It was hard to say it, and perhaps it was because Inuyasha reincarnated was less abrasive, or maybe it was because there wasn't a long history of neglect and abuse between them, or maybe Sesshoumaru had finally lost it, but he actually took a small amount of enjoyment in Kappei's presence.

But only a little. Really.

His only comfort, aside from actually having someone to talk to, was that Kagome would have approved of this new relationship. She had always felt sad that he had never made up with Inuyasha before he had died.

It still hurt to think of her.

Kappei interrupted his melancholy thoughts, like he always did. "Anyway, what'd you invite me out for? You never invite me out for drinks. Going out with you is like pulling teeth."

Sesshoumaru sniffed. "I invited you out to tell you something of some little consequence."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"That I am moving in the near future."

"What? That's not of little consequence, you damn liar!"

"I shall be leaving the country soon," Sesshoumaru repeated stoically. "I find that I need a change of venue. Perhaps start a practice elsewhere."

"What? Why? Where are you going?" If he listened hard enough, he thought he could hear a small note of panic in Kappei's voice.

"Maybe Moscow."

"Damn! Why?"

Sesshoumaru shrugged. "I know the language. It would not be difficult. But in that vein I have something for you. A token of... thanks." He picked up the long, plain package that had been propped up next to him at the bar the whole evening and handed it to Kappei, who had been eyeing it curiously since they had sat down together.

"Oh no, I cannot take a gift from you - " Kappei began.

"Shut up and open it," Sesshoumaru said.

Kappei shut up and opened it. Sesshoumaru was not looking at him as he lifted the lid, but he heard the audible gasp of breath, and then the slow whisper of silk wrappings coming undone.

"This... this is the sword that hung over your desk in your office," breathed the man who had once been his brother.

"It is," Sesshoumaru acknowledged. He took another sip of wine.

"But... I thought you said Kagome gave this to you..." Kappei said, seemingly awed. His eyes traced over the notched and battered blade, his fingers tightening on the tattered hilt.

"She would have wanted you to have it," Sesshoumaru replied. His voice was steady and even. "She would have liked you very much."

"I am honored."

Gently, Kappei slid Tessaiga back into its scabbard and wrapped it up again.

Then, "What was she like?"

He knew that question had been coming for a while now. Sesshoumaru shifted in his seat, feeling strange - sad and bitter and hopeful all at once. "You would have loved her," he said softly, staring at the glass of wine in his hand. He was so mesmerized by the fall of light through the glass splashing across his fingers that he almost didn't hear his companion's response.

"Keh," he heard Kappei snort at the edge of his hearing. "Not as much as you."

Slowly, Sesshoumaru blinked. "What did you say?" he asked, turning to look at the other man sitting next to him at the bar.

"Nothing," Kappei said, a little too quickly. "You never really talk about her."

Sesshoumaru felt cold for some reason, and sad. "What is there to talk about?" he wondered nonchalantly. "We were together, and then she died."

"That's not the story at all."

That's not the way the story goes.

He stared at the bar in front of him. "Do you really want to know?"

"We've known each other for thirteen years. Tell me about Kagome."

"It is a very long story."

"Tell me."

And Sesshoumaru thought of the woman he had fought against, and fought with, of the woman who had raised him up, whom he had followed, whom he had held close in many long nights, who had patched him and repaired him with pieces of herself -

He would leave soon, may never have this chance again. He could tell Kappei - Inuyasha - everything.

It had been a very good story, after all.

Sesshoumaru leaned back, stared at the ceiling. Took a deep breath.

"Once," he said, "upon a time..."

Tales from the House of the Moon

A InuYasha Story
by Resmiranda

Part 41 of 42

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