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He could see Sango from his perch in the tree - she was a bright splash of red in her wedding kimono against the muted background of villagers that had surrounded her to bestow their congratulations. He wished that her groom, in his blue and purple robes, was standing at her side. "Come to nag at me again?"

"I just hope you aren't sulking on my wedding day."

Inuyasha glanced down to the see the monk with his arms crossed and his eyes fixed on his new bride. "I don't sulk," the half-demon muttered.

Miroku wagged his finger. "You do. You've been sulking for three months," he replied, finally looking up at his sullen companion. "Come on, Inuyasha. I can't enjoy my wedding if my friends aren't there to share it with me."

"Keh." Inuyasha dropped down to the ground and glared at the other man. "Then, you shouldn't be enjoying it anyway, because all of your friends aren't here."

"I meant the friends that are able to be with us," Miroku said, his eyes softening. "The day is darker without her here, Inuyasha, but..."

"If you tell me to move on without her," interrupted the half-demon, "I'll punch you in the face, wedding day or not."

Miroku shook his head. "I would never suggest such a thing," he said. "But Kagome wouldn't want you to make yourself miserable when we have every reason to celebrate. Naraku is dead. The Jewel of Four Souls is gone. There's a wedding going on - my wedding, let me remind you. And you can't forget that Kagome is safe in her time with people that love her."

"Yeah, I know that," grumbled Inuyasha.

He leaned in with a conspiratorial wink. "Not to mention, Sango just let me touch her beautiful backside without so much as a word, much less a slap. And you missed it, Inuyasha!" said the monk, lifting a hand to his chest in mock injury.

The half-demon scoffed. "Well, I guess even you can get away with it today," he said. "But if you try it on any other girls, I'll help Sango knock you into next week."

"Point taken," Miroku replied, still standing with his hand over his heart.

They stood in silence for a few minutes, watching the villagers enjoy the feast and cluster around the bride. Sango glowed with joy, and they could hear her laughter rise above everyone else. "Kagome should be here for this," the monk agreed belatedly. "I don't think Sango would have survived without her help, and I will always be thankful to her for that. It isn't fair that she should miss Sango being so happy as this."

Inuyasha turned his eyes away. "She'd be happier if you were down there, you idiot."

Miroku gave him an understanding smile and took a few steps down the slope. "I would hope so. I suppose that I should go and welcome Rin, anyway. You should, too."

The half-demon's head jerked up to look back at the crowd. A small dash of orange stood beside Sango, and Inuyasha recognized his older brother's human ward. "What's she doing here?" he demanded.

"Attending the wedding?" suggested Miroku, looking back at him with a raised brow.

"What's she doing in the village at all?" growled Inuyasha. He sniffed the air around them and discovered traces of Sesshoumaru's scent - he wouldn't have even noticed if the monk hadn't mentioned it. How the hell had that happened? "Why isn't she with that bastard?"

"I guess he decided to bring her earlier than anticipated."

"For what?"

"Really, Inuyasha," sighed the monk, turning towards him again. "You should listen more carefully. We've been talking about it for ages. Kaede told us weeks ago that Sesshoumaru arranged this. Apparently, he thinks that Rin should spend some time with her own kind. She's been traveling with your brother for a long time, and her education is lacking. Kaede has agreed to take her in and teach her how to sew and to plant and to treat injuries with herbs. I would imagine that Rin requested that she could attend the wedding, and he agreed. He usually does, when it comes to her."

"You mean, he's just left her here?"

Miroku blinked. "She'll be staying for awhile, of course." He reached out as Inuyasha swiveled around and began to run into the forest. "Wait, Inuyasha! Where are you going?" he called after him.

The half-demon ignored the monk's plea and dove into the underbrush, seeking out the fresh scent of his brother. It hadn't been concealed - another embarrassment as the protector of the village. Half-brother or not, Sesshoumaru could still pose a threat to anyone that crossed him. Inuyasha followed his path in a wide arc through the forest to the south of the village. "Hey!" he snarled as soon as he spotted the white silk of the demon lord's kimono. "Come back here, you jackass!"

Sesshoumaru paused, glancing over his shoulder as his half-brother bore down on him. He didn't draw his sword, but his servant thrust his staff under Inuyasha's nose as he approached. "How dare you!" squawked Jaken. "Lord Sesshoumaru is a magni-..."

"Jaken," cut in the demon lord, "be quiet." He blinked lazily at the half-demon that was snarling two inches from his own armored chest. "Is there something you need, little brother?"

His brother had only three emotions - indifferent, annoyed and homicidal - but the appearance of the least threatening of these only served to stoke Inuyasha's anger further. "Take back the girl! You can't leave her here!"

A white eyebrow arched. "I do not see what concern it is of yours," he replied. "I have made arrangements with the old priestess."

"No," snapped Inuyasha. "I won't let you abandon her."

"I am also compensating the crone for her instruction and trouble," said Sesshoumaru. His golden eyes narrowed a fraction. "Although, that is still not any business of yours."

The half-demon lifted a hand, poking his sibling in the chest with a clawed finger and drawing another sputter from an aghast Jaken. "That's not what I meant, and you know it. For some damn reason, that kid actually likes you. And since you haven't gutted her, I'm guessing you care about her more than you let on, even if she is human. So just admit it and keep her with you, you coward! Don't push her off on us, just because you can't deal with that!"

The ground began to rumble with the elder brother's deep growl. "This Sesshoumaru is no coward," he hissed.

"Then, take her back!"

"I will not," returned the dog demon. "Rin must rejoin her kind."

Inuyasha balled his hands into fists, ready to strike. "She doesn't want to!"

Sesshoumaru raised his chin. "That is irrelevant," he replied. "A choice is no choice at all unless all options are explored."

The half-demon drew back a few inches at that, all preconceptions wavering in his mind. "What do you mean by that?"

The demon lord took a deep, silent breath, his brows knitting together for a moment. At last, he said, "If Rin must choose between a life with humans and a life with demons, she must experience both. It is time for her to return to her own kind. She has spent enough time with me."

"But she wants to be with you. How could you just give her up like that? She's here. Now!" insisted Inuyasha. "Anything could happen! You could never see her again, and then, what would you do?"

Sesshoumaru looked away. "I suppose I must trust in you and your friends' abilities to make certain that she is safe until I return," he murmured. "It is out of my control, now."

"So, you're leaving it up to what? Fate?" asked the half-demon, his eyes widening with incredulity.

"Fate," agreed Sesshoumaru, "and Rin. When and if she decides to return to me, I will be certain of her choice. It is how things must go."

A dozen other possibilities popped into his mind - after a moment, however, the images of Kohaku holding Rin faded into one of Hojo embracing Kagome. She was smiling in his mind's eye - happy in another man's arms. Part of him raged against it, but another piece of him whispered that she was, at least, happy. Still, it rankled. "What if..."

Golden eyes sparked again. "Accept that it is not up to you, little brother," Sesshoumaru intoned, moving away once more.

Inuyasha's ears twitched. "Hey!" he called again, just as his brother began to disappear into the foliage. "You're going to visit her at least, aren't you?"

Sesshoumaru shot him a cool glance over his shoulder and then, gave a single nod of his head.

His shoulders finally slackened. "Keh. Maybe you aren't as much of a jerk as I thought," he muttered. "Maybe!" he added for his brother's benefit before pivoting on his heel and going back the way he came at a easier pace.

It only took a few minutes to find Miroku still waiting at the edge of the forest. "Thank goodness," he breathed. "I wasn't sure if I should follow you, but Sango would kill me for getting into a fight today. She'd kill you, too."

"We didn't fight," said Inuyasha, walking past him and towards the village. "Are you coming back to the party or what, idiot?"

"You're going to the feast?" asked Miroku, wide-eyed.

"Don't you want me there?" countered the half-demon.

The monk fell into step beside him. "Of course, but, ah, could you explain to me what just happened? I've been trying to cheer you up for months, and a few minutes with your brother of all people has you looking lighter, somehow."

Inuyasha scowled. "Am not." He shifted uneasily under Miroku's stare. "What?" he bit out. "Maybe you're not entirely stupid, alright? Maybe it's okay if I have some fun while Kagome's away. She'd 'sit' me forever if I didn't go to your wedding feast, anyway."

A slow smile spread across Miroku's face. "While she's 'away'?" he echoed. "Kagome's coming back?"

"She promised she wouldn't leave me," Inuyasha murmured. "Of course, she's coming back."

The monk gave a vigorous nod. "Of course," he repeated. "You're right, Inuyasha."

"I always am," he muttered back.

Miroku hummed his agreement with a grin, and Inuyasha tucked his hands into his sleeves, telling himself that he was certain. She could come back and walk down the hill with that enormous, yellow backpack any day now. He didn't need to worry about it. She just needed some time. Not to make her choice - the choice was clear - but to say goodbye. To grow up a bit. To rest.

He glanced up at the hill where the Bone-Eater's Well sat. Maybe he would check it every once in awhile. Just in case. Just so she would know he'd made his choice, too.
This story takes place between chapters 557 and 558 (which is the last chapter) of the Inuyasha manga. So it's a bit spoilerish, but it's been out long enough that I can't feel *really* bad about it. :)

This was written for the Ultimate Fanfiction Contest - and I am cutting it close, submitting this only a few hours before it's due. (Erm, hoping it's on time, actually. LoL.)

Word count: 1826
Genre: Angsty fluff, I guess
Rating: PG, only for Inuyasha's mouth, which isn't as bad as it could be
Pairings: Inu/Kag, background Mir/San, possible Sess/Rin
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:iconjaimed1968:
jaimed1968 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012
Congratulations! Your fiction has won an award from the Feudal Association for the December 2011 term!

Founded in 2005 by author/artist, Dark Avenger, the Feudal Association consists of writers, artists, and enthusiasts of the InuYasha fandom. But aside from that, we are also proud to say that we are an awards guild that recognizes fan-fiction and artwork. Several times a year we nominate, vote, and hand out honors to some of the best creations in the fandom.

Our Yahoo Group, where the nominating and voting occurs, can be found here: [link]

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Links to all of the awards, past or present, can be found here:
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Congratulations and feel free to join and/or help us spread the word about our group!

~The Feudal Association
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2012
Thank you! :D
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:iconjaimed1968:
jaimed1968 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2012
You're welcome!!!
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:iconjaimed1968:
jaimed1968 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011
This piece has been nominated at the Feudal Association!

Founded in 2005 by author/artist, Dark Avenger, the Feudal Association consists of writers, artists, and enthusiasts of the InuYasha fandom. But aside from that, we are also proud to say that we are an awards guild that recognizes fan-fiction and artwork. Several times a year we nominate, vote, and hand out honors to some of the best creations in the fandom.

Our official website can be found here:
[link]

The current nominations pages are here:
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Check them out to see what you were nominated for!

Our Yahoo Group, where the nominations and voting occurs, can be found here: [link]

**Please note that FA membership is closed during voting.

Congratulations and feel free to join and/or help us spread the word about our group!


~ The Feudal Association

**Please Note: You may receive this notice more than once if you've been nominated for several awards. They will appear as reviews on your nominated works.
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2011
Thank you! :)
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:iconjaimed1968:
jaimed1968 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011
You're welcome!! :dance:
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:iconinuyashaloverr:
inuyashaloverr Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I loved this.
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2011
Thank you. :) It was a lot of fun to write.
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:iconinuyashaloverr:
inuyashaloverr Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, I did. The conversation between the brothers showing them more alike then they'd like to admit. Very enjoyable. I do apologize on not reviewing more than I do as I read everything you write, and not just here. ;)
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
No problem - it's a treat to get reviews, not something I demand. =P
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:iconeeveeon22:
eeveeon22 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's really good!
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2011
Thank you. :) Glad you enjoyed it!
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:iconmishikaiya:
Mishikaiya Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Best of luck to you!

I really liked this. Of course Sesshoumaru would visit Rin. Duh, InuYasha. I love what Sessh said about choices. "A choice is no choice at all unless all options are explored." LOVE IT.
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
:D Thanks!

Glad you liked the bits with Sesshoumaru. ;) Even though this wasn't Sess/Kag, I really enjoy writing dialog for him, and I had to include him!
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:iconhira--akami:
Hira--Akami Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
This is fun. I really like it. I laughed so hard at the line "Sesshomaru had three expressions: Indifferent, Annoyed, and Homicidal"
SO TRUE!!! lol.
It's fun to see you do some cannon work.
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
:D That line was a last-minute addition - a thought I often have when I'm trying to force any *other* emotion onto that stubborn dog demon.

It's been ages since I did anything that was canon, but I have to admit that it was fun. ;) You might see more from me in the future along those lines.

Thanks for the :+fav:!
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:iconhira--akami:
Hira--Akami Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
That is a great rule of thumb when trying to write cannon.
I have noticed one other extremely subtle one, however, and you only see it around Rin. When someone would normally smile, his eyebrows lift just the tiniest bit. Really, it's more like he stops frowning, lol.
But I HIGHLY doubt InuYasha would ever have the opportunity to see THAT one, lol.
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
Haha, yeah. The absence of frowning is a rare emotion. ;) Also, you very, *very* occasionally see him looking surprised. :D Forcing him out of that box can be tricky, but it's worth it!
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:iconhira--akami:
Hira--Akami Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
definately.
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:iconsesshylvr7993:
sesshylvr7993 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
I haven't read any of the Inuyasha manga, only watched *every* episode and movie that came out in english a hundred times over x3, but I pretty much know how it goes on, after the last episode they made, until the end :3 And yes, even though I am hardcore Sess/Kag x3, I really like this ^^ Great job as always :D
So, when can the next "Beside You in Time" chapter be expected to be out? *hint, hint* Lolz. Since I finally was able to catch up on all of your work so far ^-^ Btw, since I haven't said it -enough-already, I love it all so much!!! It completes meh :D
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
:) Glad you like it, despite the different pairing from my usual. But what's bad about being open-minded? ;)

The next BYIT chapter is... not working for me. LoL. I really want it to though, and I'll figure out something very soon. It's kind of in a tussle with the final chapter of "Ghosts" for being my priority, too. It's just being difficult in general! =P

Glad to see you're caught up, too! :D Thanks for all those :+fav:s!
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:iconsesshylvr7993:
sesshylvr7993 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
Aww, troublesome chapters :p But, I trust that it will be great no matter what ^^ Lolz. Can't wait for the final of "Ghosts" :excited: And, nope nothing at all wrong with open-mindedness ;)
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:iconlazyjenny:
LazyJenny Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
Great job on this! Wow. This sounds like a very plausible scenario from the manga, if there ever was a chapter 557 ½. :)
Best of luck in the contest! :D
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
Thanks! I just thought that Inuyasha would probably not accept things so gracefully in the beginning - by the time the manga shows him 3 years later, he seems to be calmer about it, but come on! He's Inuyasha. He was bound to be cranky for awhile. :D
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:iconrainyoukai:
RainYoukai Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
I like this one shot a lot. I think you did a great job. Hows it feel to only have two stories to work on right now? lol a little lighter id think unless of course all the characters in your stories are giving you problems. I know how that can be. Keep up the wonderful work!
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
Haha. Well, I imagine it'd be awesome... except I still have *three* stories ongoing. "Ghosts" is still one chapter away from being done, and "The Nightingale" and "Beside You in Time" are both a ways away from the end, lol. Ah well, I'll finish them all in time! :D
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:iconluxken27:
LuxKen27 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
This is beautiful. Simply beautiful. You have always had the ability to write outside S/K fic, but man...talk about knocking it out of the park! =)

I love, love, love the idea of Inuyasha learning something from Sesshoumaru. The way you paralleled their experiences was really insightful and quite clever - not only do we gain some knowledge of how/why Rin came back to the human village, but at the same time, we see the thawing of the brotherly relationship. Meta love on many levels!

I hope you made it in time for the competition as well (you're doing better than me, in that regard =P). Best of luck!
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
:D Aw, your comment made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside! :hug:

I think that after fighting Naraku together, they would have just enough understanding to act like brothers - even if they still pretend not to like each other at all. And I'm sure that Rin's ambiguous ending was intentional, but I like more substance in my finales. =P

No one's said that I wasn't on time, so here's hoping!
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:iconanimaker131:
Animaker131 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009  Student Digital Artist
I.. Love This!! That was so sweet! And they were all so much in character too! (as always ^V^) I love Sesshomaru & Kagome, but in the end I'm always hard core InuyashaxKagome. So it's a real treat to see a fic like that from you. ^V^ I hope you win! Good luck!
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
:nod: While I write and read Sess/Kag the most, I am a Inu/Kag fan for the canon story. The challenge of Sess/Kag is that it would *never* actually happen, so when I'm feeling traditional, it's all about the Inu/Kag. :)

Thanks for the :+fav:!
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:iconanimaker131:
Animaker131 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009  Student Digital Artist
Love it! That's awesome. Both pairings are fun to dream about. ^v^ You're welcome!
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:iconlowee333:
Lowee333 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009
Oh this is Soooo good!! That is what I was longing for when waiting for the last chapter came out! Its already out but I love this just the same!!! Wonderful work as always by the way!
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:iconreplicantangel:
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
:) Thanks! I felt that the ending was kind of sudden, actually - so many other events were SO drawn out, but we got cheated out of a full ending. (I understand though - it was better to have it in one chapter, but I just wanted it to be longer!)
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