I disclaim: Inuyasha and all associated characters belong to whomever they belong to (i.e., not me).

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Journey

Chapter 1

Inuyasha groaned. He felt like shit. He briefly wondered how he had got that way and then decided he didn't want to know. Just as long as Kagome was around to bandage him up and tell him what had happened, everything would be okay. Wait, where was Kagome?

Inuyasha jolted awake, ears and eyes and nose open for any sign of the girl. Instead of Kagome – or Miroku, Sango, Shippou or Kirara – his senses detected a simple room that looked well-accustomed to wealthy occupants. The walls and shouji were bluish-white, trimmed in polished wood of a dark mahogany-brown. The futon cover and blanket felt to be made of an extremely soft material, probably quite expensive. That was fine; there was nothing wrong with that. But the smell...everything seemed to be permeated with Sesshoumaru's stink, and yet...not. There was an underlying scent that was almost, however strangely, comforting. No matter. Sesshoumaru had certainly been by recently, and he was not far away, and that was troubling.

Also troubling was what Inuyasha could hear. He could hear his own breathing, of course, and the movement of blankets as he inhaled and exhaled. He could also, however, hear the noise of breathing not his own - it was much faster, as if the lungs were smaller and could not hold so much air. Slowly, Inuyasha turned his head toward the noise.

"Aaaah! Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama is awake!" squealed a girl - that human girl he'd seen with his brother - who looked to be five or six years of age. That explained the breathing.

"Urgh," said Inuyasha intelligently.

Suddenly the girl's face appeared inches from his own.

"Ohayou, Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama! Can Rin get you anything? This Rin just had breakfast and there is miso soup if Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama wants it!"

Inuyasha thought he really wanted her to stop calling him that ridiculous title, but there was one far more pressing matter.

"Uh...Kagome...where?"

"Sorry, Inuyasha-" the rest of his newly-acquired title Inuyasha blocked from his mind. Kagome, damn it, he wanted Kagome! "-sama, Rin does not know what a kagome is, but she will ask Jaken-sama and maybe he can get it from the kitchens. And if Jaken-sama doesn't know, Sesshoumaru-sama will know!"

"No, Kagome...girl – miko. Green clothing." Damn, it seemed as if he'd been stabbed through a lung. Talking was far too difficult.

"Ooh. Kagome is the nice miko-lady that travels with Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama?"

Inuyasha grunted assent.

"Oh, but that lady is here! Rin thinks Sesshoumaru-sama put her in the gardens..."

Sesshoumaru put her in the gardens? What?

"Need...get to...Kagome..."

"Sorry, Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama, what did you say?"

Inuyasha mentally cursed his wounds as the room became blurry and then faded to black.

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When Inuyasha woke up again he felt a lot better. It felt as though his lung had almost healed completely. How had he gotten injured, anyway? He really couldn't remember...

He opened his eyes to find small brown ones staring straight back at him from only inches away.

"Gah!" He attempted to shuffle back on the futon. As Rin happened to be sitting on his stomach, this completely failed to alleviate his problem. It did, however, clue him in to another problem he had. There were fingers on his ears. Small, pudgy, pinching fingers of a human girl. They squeezed.

"Ow! Da-er," Inuyasha swatted her hands away, surprised that he'd been able to control his mouth. Maybe Kagome's reprimands about swearing in front of children had finally kicked in. Kagome! Shit! This girl hadn't seemed to know anything about Kagome before, and it was unlikely she could help him. He'd just have to wait until Sesshoumaru decided to show up.

"Don't touch my ears," he growled.

Rin was undaunted. Inuyasha figured Sesshoumaru might be induced to growl at her quite frequently.

"Sorry, Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama! Rin wanted to!" said the girl brightly.

"Well, I don't want you to, got it? Why the hell would you fucking want to anyway?" he asked before he could stop himself. Okay, maybe the reprimands hadn't kicked in.

"No one else has ears like Inuyasha-" Inuyasha tuned out as she recited his elaborate title, "-not even Sesshoumaru-sama, and-"

"Sesshoumaru does have ears like this, little girl!"

"He does?" Rin gazed at Inuyasha raptly, eager to learn something new about her beloved caretaker. "But where, Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama? Rin has never noticed them!"

"He...eh...when he's in his true form he has ears like mine. But bigger, and, uh, floppier, and really hairy..."

"Oooh. What is Sesshoumaru-sama's true form?"

"Wha—" Did this child know nothing of her keeper? "You know, girl, when he turns into a giant white dog?"

"A-a giant white doggy? Cute," squealed Rin, clasping her hands together and rocking precariously on Inuyasha's stomach. He gagged, both from her reaction and the pressure on his midsection.

"Is there something wrong with you, little girl? He's not remotely cute," Inuyasha snorted derisively, "He's a bloody killer! He's gotta be brainwashing you!"

"Rin doesn't know what brainwashing is, Inuyasha-Sesshoumaru-sama-no-otouto-sama, but Sesshoumaru-sama says Rin drives him up the wall!"

Inuyasha blinked at this nonsequitor. It didn't appear that she quite knew what that phrase meant either, but she seemed quite proud of the fact, nonetheless. Inuyasha was surprised Sesshoumaru had admitted that sort of thing to himself, much less to this girl, who was currently bouncing up and down on her heels as if she had springs in her bottom. Inuyasha was beginning to feel sick.

"Yeah, I could see how you would."

Rin stopped bouncing and flashed an enormous gap-toothed grin at Inuyasha.

"And, uh, you can just call me Inuyasha, drop that fucking ridiculous title...It was Rin, right?"

"Hai, Inuyasha-sama!"

"No, just Inuyasha-"

"Rin," came Sesshoumaru's austere voice from the doorway - when had the shouji opened? Inuyasha had been too preoccupied in arguing with Rin to scent Sesshoumaru's approach. It must be because he was wounded, damn it.

"Rin," said Sesshoumaru again, "It is not polite to bounce on a person's stomach when he is injured."

"Oh!" she said, "Sorry, Inuyasha-sama!" And she rolled off onto the futon, where she knelt and tucked her feet underneath her in proper maidenly fashion.

"So..." said Sesshoumaru, addressing Inuyasha now, "You're awake, halfling."

"Keh, I..." Inuyasha at first bristled at the contempt that laced his older brother's voice, but then his questions came pounding back into his head. He wanted to know why, what, when, where...

"Where is Kagome?" he asked quietly. Sesshoumaru raised an aristocratic eyebrow. This was not what he had expected. Sesshoumaru had expected his uncultured half-brother to demand why he was where he was in a loud and aggravating manner until he would be forced to give in to the admittedly-pleasing need of knocking the boy unconscious.

"Where is Kagome?" Inuyasha repeated, "Rin said she was here."

"Yes," said Sesshoumaru slowly, "She is in the gardens." Apparently Rin had not told Inuyasha why his miko was in the gardens. The situation was going to become noisy soon. How annoying.

"Yes, Rin said that," said Inuyasha testily, glaring at his brother, "I mean, why isn't she here?"

"Well, she's dead," said Sesshoumaru, as if answering a question any simpleton should know, like why the sun circled the Earth daily.

"What? She's...what? What do you mean...?" Inuyasha found he suddenly couldn't breathe, he also couldn't see very well, and it felt as though Sesshoumaru had shoved five poison claws into his throat. He raised one hand absently, to check. She can't be...she's not...Kagome? He's- he's lying...I'll...But Inuyasha's mind also seemed defunct, until...

"Sort of." Sesshoumaru had found the changes that had come over his half-brother fascinating, even surprising. His body had become as still as his consort's, but his eyes had gone red in grief or rage - Sesshoumaru didn't know. But the most interesting thing of all was the drops of salt-scented water that had appeared in the corners of those mad-red eyes.

"Sort of!" And all of a sudden Inuyasha was alive again. "What the fuck do you mean by 'sort of,' Sesshoumaru?"

"Calm down, little brother-"

"Don't mock me - don't you dare mock me - I'm already-" Inuyasha's limbs flailed in manifestation of his mental turmoil. He narrowly avoided clocking Rin, who had not moved, on the head.

"I am not mocking you, Inuyasha," said Sesshoumaru sternly, deciding enough was enough, and the rare use of his name showed Inuyasha that his brother was indeed telling the truth. Inuyasha became still once again, but his eyes, properly gold, fixed their gaze on Sesshoumaru's face. Sesshoumaru continued, "I must insist, simply, that now is not a time for rash actions."

Inuyasha tried not to be infuriated.

"Will you just...please…explain something to me...!" Inuyasha bit out. He was controlling his temper, but barely. Then he seemed to realize something, and inhaled slowly.

"How about starting with how I...and Kagome...came to be here. Where is here, anyway?"

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AN:

So...I think I know where I'm going with this, but we'll see.

I hope you all enjoy it, anyway!