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Little Brother by StormieLikeWeather

Little Brother

!LOSS WARNING! This is a sad one shot dealing with a theme that can be difficult to read.

Little Brother


"No!" Kagome scrambled forward. Desperation gave way to renewed strength. Forced back, she screamed, "You can't!" Reiki coated her skin as she felt her legs give. 


The hands holding her back released with the burn of her power.


On the cold floor, she dragged forward. 


She took hold of the demoness that had just delivered her baby. Fingers clutched cotton like a lifeline. 


"Give him to me!" Snot and tear faced, covered in blood, Kagome refused to let go of the woman's robes, even as her reiki caught it aflame. 


"Perhaps you should."


Unfazed, the demoness didn't flinch at the holy fire lapping at her legs, "It would only hurt her more." 


"Give me my son!" The demand echoed off the walls of her bedchamber. 


As the midwife kneeled with the bundle in her arms, Kagome felt the knife in her chest twist harder. 


She held him to her chest, wrapped in sheets of stained linen. Her finger stroked his delicate striped cheek, his down soft white hair, the curve of his ear. "You're so beautiful." 


As she gently rocked a baby that never breathed, another screamed across the courtyard as it's mother went cold and pale.


~~~~~~~~~~


Sesshomaru, with the sword that revived, cut down their enemies to the North, thinking he had months to go before his wife would deliver their first child.


A day passed for the missive to arrive and his resolve to crumble. Swinging Tenseiga over the body did nothing. Over and over again, the pulse of the sword would not come. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~


The dark room hid her tears, but he could smell them in the air. The bite of salt. It mingled with the sweet smell of milk and the unfamiliar youngling.  


She cried, yet still held the baby to her chest. Nursing. He clenched his fists, bleeding his palms. “How can you cast aside our son so easily?”


The smell of her tears grew tenfold. The grit of her teeth and the suck of the babe ground his ears. Her silence bled the deep wounds already inside him. 


“You betray our child.”


Bitter and angry, she whispered, “Would it make things better for you if I let my milk dry up, and this one dies as well?” The sob crawled up her chest with a growl, “Would you like to throw him out to the wolves as your Mother suggested?” Anger slipped through filters and slid off her tongue, "Go back to the war, and leave me be. It mattered more to you before, I don't see why you would stay here now."


He faltered before her. The steps he'd taken to close the distance rebounded. Anger and hurt, guilt. Acid dripped from his claws. “I will not stand by while you replace our son.” 


As the clouds moved outside, moonlight spilled into the room. 


She met his broken glare with her own. "I don't expect you to."


The rice paper door ate away as he slid it open and left their rooms.


Kagome closed her eyes over the overflow of tears. Her fingers brushed the fine hair on the baby’s soft head. His accusations didn’t hold a flame to the ones in her head. 


She knew it was her fault. She already felt that guilt. She hated him for not being there. For playing conquest while they lost their son. She hated herself more for not carrying him to full term. For not being strong enough. Good enough. She failed their baby before he’d ever had a chance.


The infant at her breast couldn’t help his situation. An innocent little life in an unfair world. He'd never replace their son. Never. But he needed milk, and, as worthless as she felt, she was the only mother in their territory willing to give him any. 


He drank, and she stained the pillow. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~


Sunlight streaked through the room, heightening the deep shadows. Bleary vision, she could barely make out the blur of her husband silently walking into the room. 


The futon shifted as he sat beside her. In full armor. His kimono cold. 


He had been gone for hours before the decision to turn around.


His heavy hand moved to rest over the side of her thigh. 


Nothing more than a touch. 


A reassurance. 


She remained, and so did he.


"I wish I had died too." She whispered, partially muffled by the pillow shoved against the side of her face. "I wish I had died with him." 


His eyes were on the basket beside the futon. The little stranger inside. Jaw set. 


"I don't need you to tell me how awful I am, I know it's my fault he's not here." Her fingers clutched the fabric over her still swollen belly. The fresh pain barred. Her soul felt flayed. Everything she'd dreamed of, gone in an instant. She'd felt him for seven months. Kicking. Hiccups. A dancing little thing inside her. One morning, nothing. She didn't deserve her little boy. "I don't want to live without him."


Sesshomaru’s fingers gripped her leg, so firm it hurt. Nowhere near as hard as he wanted to. He pushed her over. Claws cut into the sheet. 


Bottomless sorrow stared back at him. Dull, wet, blue eyes. Hair clung to her damp cheeks. 


The pain in his own heart reflected back at him. She closed her eyes, swallowing a sob.


Resigned, he leaned down and pressed his forehead to her own. He took her hands and pulled them, one at a time, around his waist. He held her in turn. 


The comfort felt undeserved. She squeezed hard. His armor bit, the pain another form of comfort in itself.  


A whimper opened their eyes. Softer gazes, yet still pained. 


Sesshomaru pressed his lips in a thin line, “This will give you purpose for a time.”


"You don't like it." Her heart gave an uncomfortable lurch and her gaze drifted to the basket. "I can keep looking for a wet nurse for him since it makes you uncomfortable." 


"No. He smells of you now, not even a merciful demoness would take him." 


"A human one then," She whispered.


"A common human could not sustain him, and you will not find another Miko producing milk in this era." A kiss to her temple and a hard squeeze, "Take care of him. I will become accustomed to this one just as I became accustomed to Rin and Shippo."


Her gaze drifted back to his impassive face, "They are different."


"They each made difficult times more bearable. Perhaps this one will as well."


"No one will replace ours." Blue eyes watered as they searched his face. "He can't replace ours."


"No one will." His mask broke for a grimace. He pressed his forehead back against hers and clenched his eyes shut. "I failed you both." He held her so tight it hurt. 


She swallowed a sob. Her hand scraped against a spike. “I feel like it's my failure.” Her hand left him to grab her empty stomach. "He died because my body wasn't good enough. I failed him. He never had a chance." 


Wetness hit her skin and she realized it was from above. His grief. 


"I'm sorry." She sobbed, "I'm so-rry."


His kiss bruised her lip, "No." He caressed her cheek, pushing tear soaked hair from her face, “No more."  


"Ok-ay." She didn't recognize the sound of her own voice as she held in the need to weep.


"You are strong." He whispered in her ear before letting her go. 


She watched him ready to leave. As he turned for the doorless opening, she shouted after him, "I need you with me. I can't live through this without you!"


"I will return, death on the battlefield would be too good for this one."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Watching longingly from the sidelines, Kagome waited as the older woman changed the baby's simple clothes. 


Something about the maid set him off. 


He fussed as she picked him up. His wails grew to shrieks. As stern as the woman seemed, she sighed and grinned, "I know who you want." She held him out to Kagome,  "Will you take him?"   


Kagome shook her head, "I fed him before you came."


"Lady Kagome, I don't believe a feeding is what he is wanting from you, but to be held." She forced the issue, placing him in her Lady's arms. "There, look at that gummy smile."


Kagome closed her eyes to the sweet image. He felt warm in her arms. She didn't deserve the feelings he inspired within her heart. "It feels like cheating." She whispered beneath the coos.


"Cheating?" The maid questioned before realization made her eyes widen, "Oh, yes, of course, but this one," her wrinkled finger trailed a plush cheek, "You've taken him in. He will require more nourishment than simply milk." 


"I know that." Eyes opened to the still grinning baby. His fingers had curled around her hair. What if she couldn't? "A maid can help with the rest." 


"Can one?" The maid reached out and plucked the baby back from Kagome's arms. 


He wailed. "What do you think you're doing?!" Kagome took him back in an instant. The urge to protect him had her feeling both confrontational and nauseous. "Never do that again."


"I wouldn't dream of it." Folding a tiny kimono, she looked down sadly at the silk in her hands, "We all grieve for the lost little Lord, no one as much as you of course, but this one you saved from a similar fate. It will be up to you to care for him now."


His fingers wrapped around her own as Kagome held him. Brown eyes blinked up at her. She wiped the tears from his face. "He isn't a replacement for my son." His eyes disappeared beneath plush cheeks as he smiled again. 


"Who said he would be?" The maid peered over her shoulder at the little boy, "Looks like a little brother to me."


"A little brother?" Kagome pressed her lips together. 


The door slid along its path, and, a few moments later, tapped the molding.


His cheek gave to the stroke of her finger. "Otouto..." She wept as she whispered, Little Brother



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Waking up covered in sweat, Kagome wiped her brow and thanked the Kami for the hormone induced heat wave. 


On reflex, she turned her head to the side facing the baby's basket. She pushed her bangs out of the way. With a yawn, she shoved herself up just enough to peer inside.


"Otouto?!"


Fear bit as she searched the bed beside the basket. Her hands moved over the covers. Had she fallen asleep without putting him in his basket? Had someone taken him?


A soft rhythmic creaking caught her attention. Her eyes went to the balcony.


She stilled at the sight of her husband. The baby slept in his arms as he rocked in the rocking chair she'd had made when she first found out they'd be parents. "Sesshomaru?!" The baby's arm went up and she caught herself. His little hand slowly dropped back to her husband's chest. She spoke softly, "You're back?" 


He looked up from the sleeping baby, eyes a hint glossy. "I did not wish to wake you."


"I wish you would have, I've missed you." It took everything in her not to run up to him. Slow, quiet steps brought her to his side.


He reached out, capturing the side of her face. "Come closer, let me kiss you." 


Tasting of salt, she wondered if he'd ran the whole way home. Fingers captured the silk over his shoulder. Foreheads pressed together. "It's been difficult without you." 


"You've done well." Hot breath tickled her lips. "I heard that his name honor's our son." 


She felt wetness on his face as she nodded and realized she had started crying again.


 

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