- Fic: Present Time 1/27
- Fic: Present Time 2/27
- Fic: Present Time 3/27
- Fic: Present Time 4/27
- Fic: Present Time 5/27
- Fic: Present Time 6/27
- Fic: Present Time 7 (Part 1)/27
- Fic: Present Time 7 (Part 2)/27
- Fic: Present Time 8/27
- Fic: Present Time 9/27
- Fic: Present Time 10/27
- Fic: Present Time 11/27
- Fic: Present Time 12/27
- Fic: Present Time 13/27
- Fic: Present Time 14/27
- Fic: Present Time 15/27
- Fic: Present Time 16/27
- Fic: Present Time 17/27
- Fic: Present Time 18/27
- Fic: Present Time 19/27
- Fic: Present Time 20/27
- Fic: Present Time 11/27
Title: Present Time 16/27
Author: animealam (a.k.a. alandrem)
Rating: This chapter is R
Warnings: Some characters may be a bit OOC. Violence, the mention of drug use, attempted rape, and bad language.
Summary: Inuyasha discovers the present is more dangerous than he was led to believe.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. Although I’ll probably add a couple more characters of my own imagination.
Author’s Notes: The rating from this chapter on will change to R although this chapter is still PG-13, but I want to be on the safe side for future ones. No lemon yet, so no worries for those who don’t like them, and for those that do have patience it’ll be around in a couple of chapters more at the most (actually it would probably be chapter 18).
Also, from now on I will remove the OOC warning from the author’s note, but take in mind that the characters WILL get OOC a lot from this part on. There of course will be explanations for that in between lines or in the characters conversations (any questions are welcome but sometimes the explanations will be on the next chapter), so you’ll know there IS a reason for the way they act.
I have to thank telosphilos since she is giving editorial comments/co-writing the fic with me, and we have a lot of things planned for later chapters.
Also thanks to Naoko Cat Girl and Evercool Resurrected for editing this chapter, they really did it fast but with down I could not post it.
Inuyasha had decided to stay on his favorite branch on the Go-Shimboku while he waited for dinner. There were a lot of things he needed to think about, the least of which was talking to Kagome about the change in their relationship. He had promised Higurashi-sama he would tell her daughter before her heat cycle ended, but he had not mustered the courage to do so.
He knew Kagome cared for him, that much he finally realized after analyzing the way things were between them, but mating to an inu youkai implied more than caring. It was a bond for life that could not be undone. She needed to know, and yet… there was the chance that she might be repulsed by the idea. He was a hanyou, half-human half-demon, that did not fit in either world even if that neko Watanabe had made it sound like hanyous were not reviled in her time. He was not sure he could even offer her a peaceful life.
Higurashi-sama had told him he could probably stay in that time and not fight anymore, but he worried about it. Kagome had been having those ‘tests’ to establish her status for most of her life, and he was a newcomer and would probably not be able to do anything to get a good status. He sighed; things were complicated, even if she was already his mate by instinct and dog demon tradition. As long as he did not claim her, it was not definitive, at least for her. And that brought him to the reason he was meditating at the Go-Shimboku instead of in the room the older Higurashi woman assigned him.
Inuyasha guessed it was probably the last day of Kagome’s heat cycle and her scent had been driving him crazy. The knowledge that her mother approved of him as a mate, so that there was one less obstacle, and that he could claim her any moment if she agreed was playing havoc on his instincts. And to top that, that little book, ‘Sex for Dummies’, Higurashi-sama had given him yesterday was feeding his ecchi thoughts and keeping him in a state of excitement he had never felt before.
The young hanyou had been more than shocked when his foster mother gave him the book, and his face had been red for more than an hour, but he had to admit the book had given him some interesting knowledge. The only thing was he could not really confirm that unless he mated and the only one he would ever mate was Kagome and that brought him back to where he started.
“Damn! I’m acting like Miroku!” He muttered aloud, a bit disgusted with his imagination. Just then, a light breeze brought a whiff of the scent that was driving him crazy. Kagome was approaching his tree. For a moment, he thought of just leaving, but decided against it, knowing that would only get him on her wrong side.
“Inuyasha?” She asked looking up at him.
“What?” he barked, allowing a bit of annoyance to creep on his voice.
“Come down, we’ll watch some TV before dinner.”
“No.” Kagome looked at him frowning. His mood had been a little odd since she was attacked, and the young woman was plainly confused. He had slept the day before on the tree outside her window and he seemed to want to do that again. “Why did you sleep outside yesterday?” She blurted out. “I thought you liked sleeping on a bed more than on a tree.”
“I do like beds better,” he agreed.
“Then why are you here again?”
“Feh!” He refused to answer.
“Really, Inuyasha! I don’t understand you. I thought you liked being with us!” She sounded exasperated.
“Feh! That’s not it!”
“Then what is it?” Her temper was beginning to flare.
“I had to get away from you, wench!” He snapped at her and then realized his mistake, but it was already too late.
“Nani?!!!!” She was not only angry, but hurt too. “And here I thought you were trying to be nice to me for a change!”
“No wait Ka…”
“SIT!” She shouted and he came crashing down against the ground.
“Oof!” He exclaimed, mumble, mumble.
“What was that?” She asked, sounding dangerously angry.
“I didn’t mean it like that!” he finally was able to utter after peeling himself from the ground and sitting in his typical cross legged position staring up at her.
“Then what did you mean?” The anger was still in her voice and Inuyasha cringed a bit.
“You know I’m terrible at expressing what I mean!”
“You’ve been saying that a lot lately, but that is no excuse for being offensive!”
“Well sorry for that! Feh! Like I could change the way I am in a day!” He said sarcastically. “I had only one person that wanted to talk to me before I met you wench!”
“Grrrrrr!” Kagome growled furiously at him before his words sank in. He had been alone most of his life and had not yet learned how to deal with people. He had been changing, Kagome realized, but it was still hard for him to do. She sat beside him, her anger assuaged.
“Please let me explain.” He sounded very nervous as he asked. “And don’t ‘sit’ me for it.”
“Hmm… I don’t know about that, but I’ll hear you.” She heard him sigh.
“I’m staying outside because… because I don’t want to hurt you.”
“What do you mean?” She asked nonplussed. To her that sounded like a very stupid and lame excuse.
“Your scent is hard for me to ignore.” He said softly and quite embarrassed. “Usually at this time I sleep upwind from you where I can’t smell it.” Kagome’s eyes boggled and a couple of veins popped.
‘Why the infuriating mutt…’ she began thinking.
“But I can’t do that inside the house, your scent is on everything!”
“Argh! So now you find my scent offensive!”
‘Oh no! That just sounded awful and she’s getting angry again. Damn! Why is it so hard to make myself understood with her?’ Inuyasha thought.
“No! No! No!” He said raising his arms as if that would protect him from a ‘sit’. “Your scent changed and my demon instincts find it much too attractive! They are going off like crazy!” He sounded a bit desperate, trying to make her understand.
“Nani?!!” Kagome was utterly confused by his explanation.
“Do I have to repeat myself wench? Damn it! Can’t you see this is hard for me to explain? Your scent is setting my demon instincts off and it’s driving me insane!” He exclaimed.
“Why you…” Kagome’s eyes went wide open and she sputtered, as her mind finally registered what he was saying. He was lusting for her! She might have felt flattered if he had just said it differently because, to be truthful, the young woman had thought about it too. But, as things were, it only shocked her and made her furious, the gall of him to mention it. “You… you hentai!” She exclaimed and slapped him as hard as she could. “You… you’re no better than Miroku!”
Inuyasha stared at her dumb founded, but her reaction gave him the answer to his yet unvoiced question about being mates. She sounded so repulsed by the idea, he was right, Kagome did not want him that way, but the thing was- he could not back up. He felt his heart breaking and yet he tried to make an effort to set things right. If not for him, at least so she would be aware of her responsibility towards Shippou.
“No! Kagome that’s not…”
“SIT! SIT! SIT!”
THUMP THUMP THUMP
Kagome was so furious and felt so ashamed, he was no better than Miroku. Inuyasha was such a lech too, and there she had thought he had feelings for her. Oh, he had feelings, just not what she was expecting; so he probably had been trying to seduce her on Monday. And it front of everyone! Her mother said she had not minded, but after their short talk the day before Kagome felt a bit betrayed that he probably did not mean it. It only made her anger flare as she stomped to the house. Asami caught her coming through the kitchen and seeing her face guessed Inuyasha had not been able to express himself.
“Kagome, where’s Inuyasha?”
“That damn mutt is outside.” Asami cringed at her daughter’s words, they dripped with venom. “He should be peeling himself from the ground by now!”
“What did he do?” She still asked, even if she knew what had probably set her daughter off.
“Argh! I can’t tell you mama, it’s so embarrassing! I’m so angry!” Kagome said pacing across the floor. As Asami took the chance to look outside, she could see the dog demon lying sprawled on the ground not moving, that worried her.
‘How could I have been so wrong?’ The older woman thought to herself. She had always believed that she knew her children well. ‘I thought Kagome would want to be his wife, that she really loved him. But she sounds so offended.’ She shook her head; Inuyasha was probably not taking that rejection well. Another one in his life from the person he cared the most.
“How many times did you sit him?” She finally asked looking at her furious daughter.
“Only three, he deserved more, many more!” She was still pacing when she saw her mother taking off her apron and turning off the stove, before she walked to the door. “Where are you going?”
“To see if he’s fine, he’s not moving… and to apologize…”
“Apologize? For what?”
“I told him to talk about it with you, I was sure you would understand. But he was sure you wouldn’t. He was right and I was wrong. I guess he knows you better than I do.” Asami explained as walked outside. She saw him stand up slowly and move closer to the God Tree.
“Understand? Understand what? Mama…” She asked more confused than angry. “Mama wait! What are you talking about?” Kagome asked, going after her.
The ‘sits’ were painful as always, but this time Inuyasha did not care much, as it was his heart that hurt and it felt like he could barely breathe. It surpassed any pain the damn curse inflicted. Kagome hated him; the idea of mating with him repulsed her. Of course that would be so; he was plain stupid to believe otherwise. But she seemed not to mind he was a hanyou. Inuyasha had to admit that perhaps that was because he had not shown any interest in her besides the Shikon no Tama fragments or lately being just friends. But that did not mean he did not care, because he did, more than anything in his life. He just did not know how to show it. Kami! He had been so happy yesterday to have the opportunity of sharing his life with her and now she hated him.
‘Kagome hates me; she hates me just like Kykyou does. Why did I let her get close to me? Why care?’ He felt very much like crying, but fought the tears, there was no use anyway. Not even Kykyou’s betrayal had made him feel that close to tears. He pushed himself back up off the ground and started to slump back to the foot of his tree. None of his usual brash self-confidence remained in his bearing; it was just too much effort. He put his hands on the base of the spot where he was sealed and felt completely worthless and unwanted. The young hanyou hung his head in pain.
It was done, there was no going back for him; he had chosen her as mate. At least he had not laid claim on her, so he could set her free from that. At the moment he did not want to do anything, his world had crumbled, and the hanyou finally understood why youkai did not mate young. An error like the one he just made would kill them as it would do him, because he did not feel like going on, nothing mattered anymore.
Kagome hated him and rejected him. So he just stood there at the scene of his murder, wishing she had been kinder and used an arrow instead. Perhaps it was his destiny to have the women he loved or cared deeply for pierce his heart and kill him, be it physical or by simple rejection. Inuyasha climbed up the small fence that surrounded the ancient Go-Shimboku, closed his eyes, and rested his head on the trunk, wanting to be alone with his thoughts. He wished to sink into oblivion where there would be no pain.
‘I still have too many responsibilities for that!’ He thought regretfully, as much as he wanted to let go of everything, he was still pack leader. ‘We still have to keep Naraku from using the Shikon no Tama. And I can’t leave Kagome to fight on her own. Kami! I just don’t think I can stand traveling with her.’ His throat constricted and a tear did roll down, the pain almost unbearable, and the young man bit his lip bloody to keep the others from falling. ‘But I have to take care of the pack, Miroku’s Kaza Ana might kill him if we don’t destroy Naraku, and Sango needs to avenge her family, village, and maybe we can do something for her little brother Kohaku. Kykyou needs to rest in peace… maybe after that I can…’ Shippou’s smiling face popped in his mind just then.
“Ah Shippou, I was forgetting you.” He whispered softly to the tree with a painful sigh. “He needs a mother, but after this I… I don’t think Kagome will be willing to listen to her responsibilities. What am I going to do with you, little twerp?” Inuyasha asked in a low voice.
‘I guess I’ll have to raise him myself, but can I do it? I just don’t know if I’ll be good for him.’ He thought resigned; it was his responsibility as pack leader. Maybe Sango and Kaede-baba would help. ‘Perhaps Higurashi-sama could tell me how to go about raising Shippou. I… I don’t think she’ll hate me because Kagome does.’
He heard his foster mother; it was comforting to think of her as that, calling him softly. A couple of gentle hands pulled him down, so he got off the fence without much resistance. Asami drew Inuyasha into a comforting hug and laid his head on her shoulder. He refused to acknowledge her, just stood there, arms hanging limply to his sides, eyes shut tight. He just wanted to be alone, she was a good human, but he was hurting so much because he had believed her. She gently started to scratch his ears and he had to bite down a sob.
For some scant moments, the young man allowed himself to be comforted; it was such a strange feeling. To have someone there who would just hug him and offer support when he felt like dying. Kagome had begun to offer that, but… he knew it would not be anymore. He smelled her scent there and at the moment he was hurting too much to face her. So he pulled away and started walking very slowly toward the well house.
“Inuyasha, wait!” Asami called to him, and then started following him. The hanyou neither stopped nor turned back.
“Come on Mama, don’t waste your time. He is just being a jerk!” Her voice reflected annoyance and the hanyou flinched at her words, but did not turn back.
“Inuyasha, please stop, I’d like to talk to you,” Asami said in a low voice. He gave no sign of hearing, and opened the doors to the dry well. She suspected he was really hurt, but keeping that pent up would do him no good.
“Mama just leave him. It’s nothing, you’ll see. He’ll just go there and be back in a while once he’s tired of throwing his tantrum.” Kagome explained still sounding angry.
“It’s nothing? Kagome, talking about this is very important to him and you call it nothing?” She asked surprised at her daughter’s callousness. “Let’s talk about this Inuyasha.”
“Feh!” He finally responded.
“Leave me the fuck ALONE!” he shouted at them and the pain was evident on his voice even if he had tried to hide it. They were all inside the well house; he still did not face them as he was about to climb into the well. His shoulders sagged and one clawed hand gripped the edge in something close to a death grip. He felt like crying again and a couple of tears had already rolled down when he was by his tree.
“Inuyasha! Don’t use that language with my mother and stop being a jerk. Come up this instant! You’re the limit sometimes, making such a fuss because of three lousy ‘S’”
“It’s not the sits, it’s…” Asami began explaining.
“Can’t you fucking understand? I want to be alone!” There was no way in hell he would let Kagome see him cry now. So he had lashed at them in what he expected sounded like a very annoyed tone of voice.
‘If they don’t leave, then I will.’ He thought as he sat on the edge of the old dry well. He really did not want to leave, since even with his heart broken he still felt the need to keep Kagome safe. ‘I’ll go back to the past.’
“Damn it Kagome!” The older Higurashi cussed as she slapped Kagome. It was not hard, but enough to knock some sense into the young woman; she was behaving too irrational. I might be because of the stress, but still, her daughter had no right to let it out on Inuyasha. Asami just had ‘that’ tone that bode no good for the one on the receiving end of it.
The young woman looked at her, eyes wide as her hand flew to her burning cheek. Her mother had never slapped her before; she was reduced to speechlessness as a couple of tears ran down her face. Kagome could not understand why her mother defended the hanyou instead of her, and the young woman felt a pang of jealousy. Inuyasha turned when he heard the sound of the slap and also stared wide eyed. Asami was defending him against her daughter, and for a moment the pain dissolved into surprise.
“Aren’t you listening to what I’m saying? I told you it’s not the ‘sits’, this is something very important to him… and to you, so I want to know what you did.”
“I… I just… slapped and… and… called him hentai. And… I had a reason! He… said my scent was making his demon instincts crazy! He… he implied…”
“Just that? Did you let him explain?” Kagome shook her head.
“Ah… well… he started to say it was not what he meant but…”
“But you ‘sat’ him anyway. Kagome, you took it wrong since it’s really hard for him to explain things. I also think you took her wrong, Inuyasha.” She knew he was listening just not wanting to speak to anyone.
“What… what do you mean I took it wrong? How… how was I to take it?” The young woman stammered. “He… sounded just like that lech Miroku!”
“Did he tell you to bear his child?” Asami had a slightly teasing tone, Kagome shook her head. “There is a reason for what he told you, and a lot more he had to say. He is not a hentai, and if you had given him a chance to explain what he meant you would know that. If he was, he would not have asked to sleep outside for the duration. Right Inuyasha?”
“Feh!” He finally uttered but it lacked his normal gruffness.
‘Duration? Of What? His hentai instincts? He talked to her about them? And she’s not freaking out?’
“You should finish telling her what you wanted.” Asami suggested, and then turned to face him, still perched on the lip of the old well. She saw with a sinking heart the look of pain flash across his face, before he hardened his statement.
“She… she never listens.” He finally said, his voice was low, but enough for them to hear it. The young man just sounded so sad. “Why talk? I already…” his voice faltered, and it was rough. “I already know what I needed.”
“Look who’s talking you…”
“Kagome stop it! This time, I don’t know about the others, but this particular time you did not listen. Inuyasha and I talked about this at length yesterday.” She saw her daughter’s eyes widen with surprise. “I know what it is that he has to tell you. In fact, it was me who suggested he should speak to you about it.” Asami turned to face to the well to find him staring at her; there was some surprise and an odd emotion she could not decipher there. Inuyasha was moved by her actions, Higurashi-sama was defending him from her daughter. Perhaps… he should talk to her later. “I apologize Inuyasha, it’s my fault this happened.”
“Kagome listen, it is very hard for him to open up enough to express what he thinks or feels, just have some patience, and in the end you’ll understand what he means.” She turned to look at him again and said very softly. “Thank you for trusting me enough to talk.” Asami saw his startled state, and knew she was getting through and at least he was now paying attention. “Now Inuyasha come up, and finish telling her what you intended.”
“NO!” He said, actually recoiling, moving to put the well between them.
“It was a misunderstanding, I’m sure she’ll listen this time.”
“NO! You should have left me like I was.” He said pain showing not only on his voice but his face too. He looked as if he was about to cry for a moment, but masked it fast with anger, but still it did not go unnoticed. “I was better like I was!”
‘What did I miss? What’s going on?’ Kagome was utterly confused, she had never seen him so close to tears and looking so hurt. ‘Why is he looking like that? I’ve slapped and called him hentai before. It couldn’t have hurt him that much!’
“Then do you want me to tell her? I’m sure things will get better after that.”
“What’s the use?” He asked and turned to face away from them. “She… she… despises… me.” His voice broke and on the light coming in through the doors, they both could see he was shaking. Kagome frowned, her nerves were frayed, her life upside down and at the moment her patience had a limit, and that was it. The young woman needed to know what was going on.
“I don’t despise you, you idiot!” She exclaimed angrily, the young woman had been feeling like a coiled spring since she was attacked. Inuyasha and her mother’s behavior were all she needed to explode. “I just want to know what the hell this is all about! None of you make any sense!”
“You don’t?” He blurted out softly, relief flooding his body making him dizzy and weak. He had to lean against the well for support
“No I don’t, but right now I’m very pissed off.” She glared at him. “So please explain what’s all this about!”
“You won’t sit me?” He turned to look at her.
“Promise you won’t sit me!” His voice sounded almost pleading. “And that you’ll listen.”
“Promise me Kagome!” She had to admit she had never heard that tone of voice or the look on his face, like his life depended on that little word. So she agreed with a nod. “Promise?”
“Kagome just promise him and listen, I’m very disappointed by the way you’re behaving. After you’re finished talking to him come and look for me at the house, we need to have a serious conversation.” Asami said still sounding very angry.
“Yes, I promise.” The young woman grudgingly accepted, and then she sat on the stairs as her mother left. Inuyasha moved to sit beside her. “Well?”
“I… don’t want to see you hurt…” He began saying and he could hear her snicker in disbelief. The hanyou cringed, she was right to doubt it; he had hurt her many times before, but still went on. “And I’d never forgive myself if I was the one to do it.”
“That doesn’t tell me much Inuyasha. What has my scent to do with that?”
“It’s just… that… yourscentisdifferent.” He stammered and then said the last in a rush.
“What was that?”
“I said… ah… yourscentisdifferent.”
“Ok… now… why is my scent different? And what does it have to do with you hurting me?” She asked slowly, exerting as much patience as she could.
“You won’t sit me?” He asked again, and it only worked to make her more irritated.
“I already said I would not, now tell me.” She still looked menacing and downright scary.
“Well… ah…” He was completely red and looking very embarrassed. “Your scent… ah… changes every once in a while… and… well… I’m not a full demon but… I still have the instincts… and… They are going a bit haywire.” He said softly refusing to look at her, and even in the semi darkness of the well house she could see he was blushing. “I really can’t help it.” The hanyou muttered.
“So ok, my scent changes periodically. And since you’re part demon you react to that.” Kagome reasoned trying to be as patient as she could. He nodded. “But what I can’t understand is why?” She saw him turn even redder and she had not thought that possible, gulp loudly, and then brace himself as if he was thinking she would still sit him.
“You’re in heat.” He repeated slowly in a barely audible voice, he kept his eyes averted.
“Oh!” Kagome exclaimed softly, it was her turn to blush. There was nothing she could say to that as her mind started analyzing what it meant.
Suddenly things began to make a bit more sense and her irritation diminished. Inuyasha said she was in heat. It sounded more like an animal, but she guessed he would not have known the correct word for that. The young woman realized she was actually the one setting him off; her body telling him it was ready to bear kids, the thought of what that meant filled her stomach with butterflies.
‘Oh God, how embarrassing!’ She thought ashamed; her face turned a darker shade of red. Inuyasha was trying to protect her from himself.
The young woman had just finished a project her biology teacher gave her about two weeks ago to help increase her marks. It had been about the reproductive systems of mammals. Kagome understood the concept of her reproductive cycles, and even began to understand that his getting lustful in response to her condition probably was something beyond his control. The teen girl would have never thought of that, but it made sense; his nose was too sensitive, he was part dog-demon after all. Still, that scientific knowledge did not do much to diminish her embarrassment.
But why would it bother him now of all times, when before he seemed unperturbed? And what about Sango? She had fertile days also and he did not seem affected by it, nor by any of the village girls, and she was sure they had encountered that problem many times before. Her mother said that he was not a Hentai, and while Kagome began to understand why he was outside, he was keeping away for her sake instead of going with his instincts. She had also said that if she had patience he would be able to express himself, so she let him.
Kagome was silent for a long time as she pondered all that, and Inuyasha’s heart began sinking. So Higurashi-sama was wrong again, it had not been a misunderstanding after all. At least she had not ‘sat’ him. There was a tense silence and suddenly both felt like they had to say something.
“I see…” She began saying, although the young woman was not sure what. She heard him take a deep breath, and guessed he was breathing her scent as his face turned slightly in her direction.
“It’s not something…” Inuyasha also began saying and stopped when he heard she wanted to speak. “You go first.”
“It’s just that… I was not aware it bothered you… why now all of a sudden? What about other women? You have not complained about Sango.” Kagome asked, the questions would be hard for him to answer, she knew that. But she was starting to feel curious.
“I don’t mind other women’s scent. I can ignore them usually, so it really doesn’t bother me that much…” Inuyasha said softly and took another deep breath of her scent. He loved it, even more when she was in heat. “It’s just that… you… you smell nicer… much nicer. And…” He faltered.
“And what?” Kagome was surprised that he had admitted that much. She felt flattered, and it sounded like he was trying to say he felt attracted to her more than to any other woman. She kept her voice level since he was starting to talk, and she guessed that if she sounded angry he would shut up.
“Things are happening so fast…” He said running a clawed hand through his silvery mane, as he stared at the well. “Four days ago I was not aware we had a pack, and yet we’ve been one for a long time.”
“A pack? Like wolves?” She saw him flinch at the comparison and realized he must have thought of Kouga.
“Yes, dog demons form packs just like wolves.” He said with a nod. “It’s something done by instinct and I didn’t know we had formed one since you took Shippou.”
“We?” Her heart had begun to beat a bit wildly in her chest as hope that he really loved her began growing. Still, she tried to quiet them in case she was guessing wrong. He nodded once emphatically.
“Yes, you and I… We became the leaders and as people were taken in, the pack took form. We are an odd bunch though, as a pack does not include mixed species. An inu hanyou, four humans and 3 full youkai is a strange mix.” He allowed himself a small lopsided grin, that odd group with the exception of the human beside him had all agreed to be part of the family.
“Inuyasha… Why were you not aware of this?”
“I… had no older dog demons around when I was a pup. I should have grown up surrounded by a pack… but well…” He let his voice trail off at that before going on. “I occasionally bumped into Myoga-jiji, but you know he disappears as soon as it gets dangerous, which for me was almost every other day.” He admitted sadly. “My fucking instinct just started to do things on its own and… I’m too young to have a pack… but well… thing is, now I have one.” He scratched his head absently.
‘Now this is interesting.’ Kagome thought as she had always been curious about his age but never got around to asking.
“Too young? How old are you?”
“Not counting the time I was sealed I will be 16 this autumn.” Kagome turned to look at him surprised, he was her age! That was the reason why he sometimes behaved like a Jr. High boy, if he lived in her time he would be a Jr. High boy! Somehow, she had always thought he was much older by demon standards, just not mature enough. The way he acted began to make more sense now. “You seem… surprised.”
“I… thought you were older…” She said softly, now that she was listening, Kagome realized that she had wronged him badly. He had every reason to be angry and yet… what she had seen was more like dejection. Inuyasha had looked so sad and hurt, she owed him an apology.
“The guys back there thought the same. Is that bad? If I count the time I was pinned at the Go-Shimboku then I’ll be 66. But that’s still too young to have a pack.” Kagome could not help but smile at that. Was he trying to please her? That was just so strange coming from him.
“No, it’s not bad,” she said with a small smile and heard him sigh relieved, “it’s just that I finally get a chance to understand why sometimes you act the way you do. But tell me, what does the pack have to do with my scent changing?”
“You won’t ‘sit’ me?” He asked again.
“No, I won’t say it. I promise that whatever it is I won’t say the ‘S’ word.” She caressed his cheek softly startling him.
“Ok… you are the lead female of my pack… by inu youkai instinct and tradition the… ah… leading pair are… mates.” He said the last word very softly and readied himself for her outburst. But it did not come, only a small gasp, so the young man turned slowly to face her.
Kagome’s hands were on her mouth and her eyes were squeezed tight, like she was about to cry but did not want to. Her heart beat wildly and she really could not believe what he just said. Inuyasha was her mate; she felt that it really meant more than just sex partners or the co leaders of a group. Still, she wanted to confirm it; the problem was she could not speak. The young man took it wrong again, believing her silence meant she did not want to be his mate he began saying.
“It’s okay if you don’t like that, Kagome… I have not claimed you so you’re still free to choose. I understand I… haven’t been nice and… well… I’m a hanyou. Just… just don’t leave Shippou… you’re his mother by pack tradition… I’ll take care of him…” He babbled feeling close to panic and hurt again.
‘He thinks I don’t want him?’ She shook her head a bit amused. ‘You’re an idiot sometimes Inuyasha. How could you not know that I love you?’ She thought as his words slowly sank in. ‘And what do you mean by saying you have not claimed me and I’m still free to choose, what about you?’ She softly placed a hand on his lips to stop him.
“But…” Inuyasha stared at her wide-eyed.
“I haven’t said no yet.” She said softly, staring into his golden eyes. In the dim light of the well house, they glowed beautifully. “I just want to understand better what this means.” He nodded slowly, his eyes still wide. “What does being mated by dog demon tradition mean? Do you know what it’d mean by human ones?” He was about to open his mouth to answer but she shushed him again. “And what did you mean saying you have not claimed me?” She heard him gasp, saw the color of his face darken and he avoided her eyes. He looked clearly embarrassed; she blushed getting an idea of what it might mean. Surprisingly enough it also thrilled her. The young woman moved to kneel on the step below him so she could see his face better in the dim light of the well house. “Now tell me.”
“Being mated… ah… It means that… ah…”
‘Stupid fool! Tell her, she hasn’t said no yet. This is your chance!’ He took a deep breath after berating himself.
“It means that I’m yours and you’re mine for as long as we live…” He heard her gasp and saw her eyes go wide and moist with unshed tears.
“Oh my God!” Kagome exclaimed so low he barely heard her.
“Sometimes beyond that.” Inuyasha added softly, and her looking about to cry was making him more nervous than he already was. But he decided to go on; there was no chance of going back. “Your mother thinks it’s like something called marriage and she…” he could not go on as suddenly he found himself with Kagome in his arms; she let out a sob and clung to him.
Completely dumfounded by the action, the young man tentatively hugged her. She held him closer, her arms holding him tightly by the neck as she buried her face under his chin. Inuyasha started purring; knowing the soft sound and the vibration calmed her, and allowed himself the opportunity to hold her tight too. The young man managed to bury his nose in her hair and breathed in her lovely scent. After some moments like that she calmed enough and reluctantly pulled a bit away, although he still held her loosely. She had not let him finish, too happy about what being his mate meant to listen to the rest.
“You told all this to Mama?” Kagome said softly, knowing this, she finally understood why her mother had acted like that. The young woman would not have listened to him if she had not slapped some sense into her. She could see why he had looked so dejected; he believed she had rejected him. She owed him an apology.
“Yes, I told her yesterday. She seemed happy about it.” He admitted. “But… you… have not told me what you think.” Kagome smiled as he looked nervously at her, with a soft smile and as she caressed his cheek softly, she responded.
“Yes you silly hanyou, I will be your mate.” She said hugging him tight and whispering in his ear. “I owe you an apology, I’m sorry I over reacted like that. I’m just glad that Mama did get some sense into me.” Inuyasha hugged her back, pressing her close to him as he nuzzled her neck and hair unable to utter a word for some time. Happier than he had ever been in his entire life.
“Your mother is an especially kind woman, Kagome.” He was finally able to say, “she is so accepting, and treats me like a son, she reminds me of Ofukuro so much.” He made a pause to sniff her hair delicately. “She wanted you to know, so if my instincts won you’d understand.” He said very softly, somehow feeling more confident talking to her. Perhaps holding her like he was doing was the key.
“What would happen if they won? You make it sound as if it’s not a good thing.” She asked and felt him tense a bit. A look at his face in the dim light told her he was blushing furiously.
“It… It’s…” Inuyasha squeaked and had to clear his throat to get the words out. “It’s not a bad thing.”
“If we… if we both… want it.” He finally choked out, then making a big effort he went on. “But… I didn’t know if you did, Kagome. I would… I would never impose myself on you.”
“But why is this happening now? We’ve been traveling together for some time.”
“I think it’s because I just began to realize so many things.” Inuyasha said thoughtfully. “On Sunday Myoga ended up telling the guys about the pack, and they accepted me.” He had a small pleased smile, and looked happy, she could remember seeing him like that only once. When he discovered the Bakuryuuha. “Then on Monday my instincts stated my decision to choose you as a mate. I was a bit out of it because of those thingies your mother gave me.”
“So you regret that?” Her voice denoted sadness, she started to pull away.
“No Kagome, I don’t regret that.” He pulled her closer again. “I was just not aware I was shouting it to Watanabe with body language. I wish I was, and had told you sooner, but I don’t regret it at all.” Inuyasha nuzzled her neck, just sniffing her scent. “I chose you Kagome, and for me there is no going back. I’ll set you free if you’re not sure though, we’re still in time.” His voice broke a little. “But to me you’re the only mate I’ll ever have.”
Taking the initiative and completely moved by his words, Kagome kissed him softly on the cheek, felt him freeze under her arms, and very softly grazed his lips with hers. She heard his soft gasp and then felt him tentatively lean into her kiss. It was short but sweet, and it was followed by others as both started to gain confidence. He nibbled her lips, enjoying her taste, so similar to her scent that he really could not have enough. A moment later, he felt her soft tongue touch his lips and he let it in.
They went on kissing for some time, exploring their mouths and experimenting, getting used to each other. Kagome ended sitting on his lap, her hands entwined in his silvery mane. She was just so happy, for a long time she had dreamed of what it would be like to be kissed by him, and now he was doing just that. But her mind would not allow her to be that happy for long, and the image of him kissing Kykyou assaulted her. Inuyasha felt her tense and break their kiss. He tried to see her eyes and she just turned away.
“What is it Kagome?” He sounded concerned and she was surprised that his usual gruff tone was missing.
“Nothing.” She said still avoiding his eyes.
“I can see it’s not nothing, something is bothering you.” Inuyasha insisted.
“Really Inuyasha it’s…”
“Kagome,” he interrupted her sounding slightly angry.
Not talking was what almost got them into disaster; he did not want to go through that kind of situation ever again. It just hurt too much and he had wanted to die, and that went against every instinct of his being. So even if it was hard for him to express himself he was going to do it, and he wanted her to do the same.
“Tell me. Earlier today we… took things wrong because we don’t talk to each other… I… I don’t want this to happen to us again, if… something bothers me… I’ll tell you and I want you to do the same.” She just turned to look at him wide eyed. This was such a change for him, but she guessed that this was one of the most painful misunderstandings for him.
“It’s just…” She began saying and faltered, deep inside the young woman still felt she could not compare with Kykyou. And the fear the he would run to her was still pretty much alive. He raised an eyebrow in inquiry. “What about Kykyou? You might… you might go to hell with her and leave me.”
“I won’t.” He said after a pause.
“That’s what you said before, but you still went to her. You promised Kykyou to protect her and to go to hell with her.” There was obviously pain in Kagome’s voice.
“I know…” He said softly looking to her. “I promised her that, and my life and my soul when she was returned…”
“You see you’ll…”
“Shhh” He shushed with a finger to her lips, the gesture was so gentle and reminded her that she did just that a few moments ago. “I have not finished yet, don’t jump into conclusions again.” She just nodded, his finger was still on her lips, and he softly traced them. “I had already died for her 50 years ago. And I offered her something that is not mine to give, Kagome. We were already a pack. My life belongs to you, Shippou, and the rest of the pack.” Kagome was surprised he had made a difference there. Her, Shippou, and the rest of their little band, it was like a difference in priorities.
“And your soul?”
“My soul is yours Kagome… my mate.” Kagome let out a sob and buried her head on his shoulder, he stroked her back gently. “I might not have been aware of my responsibility to all of you then, and foolishly promised her that.” He lifted her chin and kissed her. “But I know now… and it’s… it’s not just a responsibility… I care for all of them you know, but I… I care… I… I belong to you.” Each pause was a kiss marking his words. It had been hard to say all that but he had managed to express most of his thoughts. He might not have been able to say straight out that he loved her, but he knew that he would do it in time.
They had kept cuddling and kissing while he told her of what it meant to be the leaders, and he specially pointed out Shippou’s situation. The moment he joined the pack he should have been treated as their pup and received an education. Inuyasha should have started teaching him to track, hunt, and defend himself. Instead, he had spent most of his time arguing with the kit and bopping him on the head. And Kagome should have also participated in his education, showing him how to behave as the smallest member of the pack, the proper way to treat those of higher rank, meaning everybody else except Kirara.
Not knowing their responsibilities, they had allowed Shippou to grow a bit wild. And they would have to work hard to correct that. Kagome pointed out that his bopping the kid on the head was not getting him anywhere with the kit, and he had to agree on that. He told her he had tried a different method that some how just popped into his head and that it worked better. But none was sure as to how to go about raising a kid. So they decided that perhaps the best solution would be to bring Shippou to that time and ask her mother for advice.
Watanabe Kojiro climbed the steps to the shrine with feline grace and as he reached the top, he used his sense of smell to locate the pup. He noticed that the area had been scent marked by him as his home. It was the sort of mark that most kinds of demons gave off in their sleep marking their bedding. Watanabe looked for the usual hole in the ground or cave that would be where the pup was sleeping, but there was nothing remotely similar around. Though there was a lingering aura of magic around a spot on the ancient tree, and then it dawned on him; the scent was everywhere because the pup was sleeping up there as a neko would. He must have felt too vulnerable sleeping on the ground. The more he started to notice these little things, the more he understood what Higurashi-san and Lord Sessho had told him about Inuyasha’s life.
He was not near the house or on the tree, although he had been there not long ago. His nose guided him to an old construction. As walked there, he realized it must be the place where the well, both Inuyasha and the girl used to travel back in time, was located.
As he opened the doors, he came to a scene out of a romance novel. He mentally groaned at his timing that was not going to get him in the pup’s good graces. But bad as it was, the girl was still in heat so the interruption couldn’t hurt that much. The young Miko would not be on her birth control pills yet, so the risk of a baby was still there. The couple was kissing on the stairs that led to the well below, and talking quietly between kisses.
At the sound of the doors sliding, they suddenly looked up and straight at him. He could hear a low growl from the pup that was quickly cut off. He nodded in greeting to the girl who nodded back. Inuyasha just gave him a piercing look that all but screamed his irritation at Watanabe. The pup released his mate, defiance in his eyes as he schooled his face to a more neutral expression.
‘What the fuck is he doing here? Isn’t it enough that I’ll have to see him at the police place?’ Inuyasha thought annoyed, after being royally reamed the day before, he did not want anything to do with him. ‘Though he was not there today.’
“Kagome, I believe the neko wants to talk with me.” His voice was gruff and it did not hide his animosity toward him. “I think you should go talk to Higurashi-san and your grandfather about Shippou while we are out here. It is your choice.” She nodded, kissed his cheek, and left without saying a word. Watanabe had no idea what the last comment was about.
‘That Shippou may be a member of his pack.’ He thought, afraid to ask in light of all the weird and impossible answers he had received in the past day and a half. ‘Now let’s see if I can justify the trust both his foster mother and Lord Sessho have put in me.’
“What do you want neko?” The pup asked, clearly back to the hostility of their first meeting.
“I want to apologize.” He said simply.
“To apologize?” Inuyasha echoed, clearly not expecting that answer from the look on his face, which was quickly replaced by one of annoyance. With a sigh, Watanabe went on, and some how he got the feeling that not many people ever apologized to him.
“Yes, I was not having a good day and well… I have to say you bore the brunt of it.” Inuyasha just looked at him and said nothing, he had moved down to the well. “After you talked with her yesterday, your foster mother called me and chewed me out. Consider yourself maternally defended.” Again, a flicker of surprise appeared on his face to be replaced by the annoyance. “I must admit you are one lucky dog to have fallen into the hands of Kagome-chan and Higurashi-san.” Inuyasha remained silent, although he could feel the animosity was lessening. The pup’s stance had relaxed a bit as he sat on the well’s edge. “She told me a fair bit about you and Kagome-chan that I didn’t know.” He still got no answer, so he added. “Feel like sitting down somewhere…” He said as he gestured to the steps to see if it was ok for him to sit there, it was going to be a long talk. “Mind if I…”
“Feh! Do as you wish.” The pup said with an indifferent shrug as he found a more comfortable position on the ground with his back resting against the well. Kojiro sprawled out on the steps in true feline fashion, hoping to convey a non-threatening stance to him.
“Look, I know a bit about what’s really going on,” that got him a curious look, “and I want to help you keep it quiet, but to do that I need to discuss a few things with you. If you can accept my apology that is.” The pup seemed to ponder about whether to accept it or not for a few moments, then he just gave a brief curt nod.
“What did Higurashi-sama tell you?” Inuyasha asked through narrowed eyes, he was a bit worried that she might have mentioned the Shikon no Tama. It would be too dangerous for Kagome if the modern demons knew about it.
“For starters, she was not the only one that talked to me, but I’ll get to the others in a moment.” He saw the pup tense and could almost see his brain working, trying to find out who else knew about him. “We would have given you something for the headache if you had told us. We might even have called the tests off early. You didn’t have to sit there and endure the pain.” Inuyasha just gave him an odd look and shrugged. This was not going well, but he had to tell him what he had learned in order to be able to help him. It still blew his mind that the pup could be an important historical figure that time traveled between the past and the present.
“Who told you and how much?” Inuyasha finally asked having found no one he could think off who knew. He sounded very serious about the matter. Seeing how it was a matter of life and death for both the young man and his mate, Watanabe had to approve.
“Someone whose life you spared when most other demons would have taken it. He told me that you most likely wouldn’t mind seeing him crippled for the rest of his youkai lifetime for some of the crap he pulled, even if you didn’t have it in you to kill him outright.”
“That doesn’t tell me much.” He said, there were not many demons who could claim as much, but he got the feeling that whoever it was had moved into a position of power within the modern overall demon pack. It did not sound like he was going to enjoy knowing who had filled the neko in about the well.
“He very much regrets his actions back when he was barely more than a pup himself. He has become a very different person from the one you know in the past. We spent several hours discussing it. He wanted me to tell you that he will stay away from you, your family, your in-laws, and the shrine grounds unless invited.” This got him a look full of worry for a few seconds; before it was replaced again by an expressionless mask.
“Who is the demon that knows about me and the well?” He asked in a cold voice, that conveyed a threat if the question was not answered.
“He is one of the most powerful demons still alive… and the one that started and made possible the change in human/demon relations. He fought hard, in both war and politics to attain his goals. That is why he is highly respected by both species.”
“I don’t think I know of any demon that would have fought for something like that.” Inuyasha said cautiously, all of the demons he knew back at the Sengoku Jidai did not care much for humans. Shippou, Kirara, and Myoga were the only exceptions.
‘Kouga!’ The name popped in his mind, and got out of him a dangerous, angry growl. ‘It can’t be the wimpy wolf; he is too much of a coward. Not the type to fight… but if it is I’ll kill him if he dares so much as to come close to Kagome!’
‘Whoever he is thinking about has really made him angry.’ Watanabe thought and eyed him wearily.
“He also wants to have you meet your nieces and nephews…” He said and that got him a reaction from the pup as soon as his words registered. He was on his feet growling.
‘That can only mean one person… Sesshomaru!’ Inuyasha started pacing, looking like a caged animal, his ears laid back in anger as he clenched his fists. Kojiro could smell blood as the pup’s claws dug into the skin of his palms. In a way, he was expecting that reaction after talking with the Demon Lord.
“Grrrrrrrrrr! That fucking bastard is still alive! Grrrrrrrr!” If there was one person he had no desire to ever deal with again, it was him.
‘Why does that surprise you?’ A voice in his mind asked. ‘You saw those pictures of him and your parents’ reincarnations at the cave. Heck! You brought them with you!
‘Shut up! Shut up! I should have read the damn scroll faster!’ He thought angrily.
“And he knows were Kagome lives! Damn fucking bastard! I have to do something before he comes for her or Tetsusaiga.”
“Inuyasha…” He called to the younger hanyou, who did not pay much attention as he kept ranting, hate pouring through every pore.
In a way Kojiro understood him, Lord Sessho was one of the reasons the pup’s life had been so miserable. Still, the demon had changed and done so much to find a way to make up for his youthful mistakes. If not for him, most hanyous would still be reviled and killed. Demons would still fight demons and humans. So whatever he was when he was young, he made up as he became an important youkai. The neko realized the pup was not going to stop ranting on his own, so he stood up and walked toward him.
“Inuyasha!” He said as grabbed the young inu hanyou by the shoulders shaking him hard enough to gain his attention.
“What?” He snapped shaking off the claws that grabbed his shoulders and had slightly pierced his skin. Not so much to hurt, but to call his attention
“Lord Sessho changed; he is not the same one you know anymore.”
“Feh! I can’t believe my asshole half-brother is capable of changing! Even though he seems to have changed his name.”
“Look, he hopes to reconcile with you in time, but knows it is a bit much to expect anytime soon. He even admits he was an asshole and treated you like shit.”
Inuyasha highly doubted the desire to reconcile on his part was sincere. He had never attacked his brother, but he would not lie down and die either. Sesshomaru was just too evil, so this might become the first time; he needed to keep Kagome and her family safe. He would not wait until he tried to harm them. Things between them had always been strained by his brother’s prejudices, which brought him to the point of ignoring the call of the blood. His hatred for the demon ran deep.
“You talked to that asshole.” His eyes reflected the deep hatred he felt. “I never attacked family, that includes him and he knows it.”
“He does, and is aware he did wrong when he was young. However, for him it’s been 500 years, even if for you time has not passed. He asked me to convey to you his regrets! He has really done a lot for demons, but believe it or not he did more for hanyous.”
“Feh! I’ll believe it when I see it. If he attacks me or mine again, he better be carrying the Tenseiga ’cause I don’t think I could pull the blow anymore. I’m even stronger now.”
“Aren’t you listening?” Kojiro raised his voice; the volume was enough to startle Inuyasha into silence, his sensitive ears twitching. The neko went on before the inu recovered his voice. “Haven’t you seen the changes? How many hanyous have you seen around? At that police precinct we are at least 50, have you seen any being reviled? You were there all morning, enough to notice that.”
“No.” Inuyasha admitted, shaking his head. “I didn’t see anyone being mistreated.”
“That is part of the change. And believe it, he won’t attack your people. In fact, he was a close friend and partner of Kagome-chan’s father, Higurashi-san also knows him, and even your Miko has seen him and his mate around; of course, in his human guise, he was not recognized. He has been protecting the family for some time now.” To this Inuyasha gaped, his brother was friend to a human? He protected Kagome’s family? It was just too hard to believe.
“That… that can’t be true. It… doesn’t sound like Sesshomaru at all.”
“Now that I know part of the story, I have to agree with you, he was a bastard in his youth, and probably is for some businesses. But you see… he has eight hanyou pups and a couple of older ones now and wouldn’t even consider attacking either you or her family.” Watanabe tried to assure the pup.
The Demon Lord had said that things were bad between him and his brother and Inuyasha’s words only confirmed it. Lord Sessho had told him that pointing out that his pups were hanyous, as well as his friendship with Kagome’s family, would carry a bit of weight with his brother because of how biased he had once been against them.
“Nani?! He mated a human?” Inuyasha looked at the neko in utter shock. He never would have expected that of his brother. The only human his brother seemed to be able to stand was Rin.
“Aa, I believe you remember Rin?”
“The cute little girl that follows him everywhere?” Inuyasha asked just to make sure he was not losing his hearing or his sanity.
“Hai. She’s his mate.” Inuyasha could not help but snigger. The powerful Sesshomaru mated the adorable little Rin. That was funny and the sniggering turned into a full laugh, Oh the fun he could have taunting his brother about it if he decided to come by for a fight over the Tetsusaiga again.
“Lady Rin thought you would find that funny. She is a very beautiful and intelligent woman now. Any ways, they told me about how you time travel through the well on the shrine grounds and your pack. I suppose this is it.”
“Yeah, this is the well. Only Kagome and I can pass through though. I still have to see if we can pass any others with us.”
“I’m forbidden from asking about the exact nature of your Hunt, but I know it has everything to do with trying to kill an evil hanyou named Naraku. That is part of the standard history lesson for youkai in the modern era, but Lord Sessho told me it is highly edited and all the names are left out for a reason.” Inuyasha snorted at that.
“So we made it to demon history?” He snorted to that, he though it was actually ironic. Watanabe made it sound like they were the good guys at least. Inuyasha then went on. “The truth is too dangerous. Kagome would not be safe anywhere if it were known.” He hated having to agree with his brother on anything.
“I gathered as much. I’m still having a hard time believing everything they told me. I spent most of the night trying to assimilate all this…” He made an expansive gesture as he let his voice trail off.
“You were not at the police place today.” Inuyasha commented. It was not easy for him to trust, but the circumstances were pushing him in the direction of trusting the neko. He did not like that situation very much, but after all he was hearing, the younger hanyou reached the conclusion that there was not really much choice.
“No, needed some time to think. Everything about you or your quest is so confusing pup, that I felt a bit overwhelmed by it.” Watanabe scratched his ears softly.
“I have to admit all this is actually quite weird, though I didn’t stop to think much about it.” Inuyasha agreed, he understood the feeling as he himself had it. He was not sure what to think anymore, since the simple wish of protecting Kagome in her time had turned into something so complicated.
“They didn’t tell me everything about your Hunt.” That got him a curious look. “Or you, but Higurashi-san commented on some things that filled the gaps. Officially, you are Ryoutou and Itami Shirosenshi’s son who disappeared ten years ago. It would be best if you tried to stick to that story. They were your parent’s reincarnations. The son that disappeared was apparently yours, but he had to cease to exist for the well to work.” Inuyasha looked away, staring into the sunset light coming through the well house’s doors.
“I know.” His voice was low. “I have their diaries. They left them where they knew I would find them, but I have not been able to read much yet, only part of the story of my reincarnation’s disappearance. Both of them thought I might need to know about it…” His voice trailed off.
“I’m sorry… I’m sure it is a painful subject.” He sighed, and saw the pup shrug. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you and the Miko. My timing was just plain bad. You officially have a special dispensation from the Demon Lord of the West Lands to mate her, by the way. If anyone harasses you too much about it, send him or her my way and I’ll tell them as much. This is the document.” Kojiro said handling him a folder he’d left on the stairs when he came in. Since he was not wearing his glasses Inuyasha did not even try to read it, he would check it once he was in the house. “You are going to catch a bit of flack about it, so you are going to have to find a way to deal with it. Most hanyous nowadays don’t take a mate until they are at least seventy. That makes me too young to have a mate if that helps your perspective. I’m sixty three.”
“I’d be sixty five, almost sixty six if Kykyou had missed with that damn sealing arrow of hers.”
“The Demon Lord said as much, and well that part of your life is also considered history. Although Lord Sessho has been doing his best to conceal whatever records there are of your quest until it is done.” Inuyasha snorted again. Watanabe was telling him as much as he was allowed that would not put in danger the quest’s results. The young hanyou might hear about his own story although his name probably would not be mentioned. “The question of your life expectancy and hers was what the Demon Lord thought would work best as an explanation for nosey demons and humans. It is rare, but it is still done occasionally in this era.”
“He lived through Naraku’s schemes and he doesn’t know if we will live?” Inuyasha asked in disbelief.
“It’s one of the paradoxes of time travel. For us here your quest is over, and yet it is still going, as for you it has not ended.” At the pup’s puzzled statement, he tried to explain better, even if he did not really understand it that well himself. “There is a slim margin either way. He can’t be sure if you lived or died until it is all over. Things that happened to you both now would have repercussions in the past. For that reason I’m not allowed to tell you anything of what I do know of the outcome for fear of changing the past.”
“Feh!” He just did not know what else to say. It finally made sense to him, but that did not necessarily mean he had to like it.
“Exactly. I think I had better get going, it smells like your supper is about ready. Think on what I said and tell me what you want me to do to help.”
“Feh! I have too much to stuff to think about already. And you’ve just added to that, neko.”
“Call me Kojiro or Watanabe or else you might slip in front of Nomura, and he is damn good at finding things out. It won’t be good if he did find out, he’s not supposed to know about demons. Are you going to keep sleeping out there until she’s not in heat?” He asked as he made his way to the door. Inuyasha followed.
“Feh! Shouldn’t be more than another night after this.” He responded with a shrug once they were outside.
“The scent too strong indoors?”
“Aa” Inuyasha said and nodded slightly, as he stood by his tree. His intentions were clear to Kojiro, the kid wanted to stay outdoors for a while, probably to sort his thoughts or to keep away from his mate’s scent.
“You’re more of a gentleman than I gave you credit for pup.” Watanabe said and gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder. “One more thing, would you mind if I talk to your mate for a moment tonight?”
“I want to tell her which shifts of the surveillance team have youkai. No need to make her nervous again.” Inuyasha was about to leap to his favorite branch before answering when the hand on his shoulder stopped him. “Don’t do something that a human would not be able to do where our people can see you. It will bring forth too many questions about you.”
“I see… Guess I’ll have to climb.” He said with a shrug and started his way up easily.
“What about my question?” Watanabe called from below the branch Inuyasha chose.
“Go talk to her then.” He responded, and saw the neko hanyou turn to walk toward the house. “Kojiro…”
“Yes?” His back was still to Inuyasha not wanting to let him see the small pleased smile on his face. Perhaps he could still gain the inu hanyou’s trust.
“Don’t scare her this time.”
Inuyasha needed time to think about this new information. There was just too much happening too quickly; he did not know how to handle it all. His brother had approved of Kagome as his mate in his official capacity as a Demon Lord, to keep the modern demons off his back. It was a favor of sorts, but his brother had hated him for years. He just did not know what to make if it.
Kagome walked past Lieutenant Watanabe and slowly made her way to the house. She wanted to be with Inuyasha, it had felt good to be in his arms and kiss him, even if it still made her feel a bit self-conscious. The young woman thought the same happened to ‘her hanyou’, he was not used to being touched or to touch, as he rarely allowed close contact. It made her think they needed more time together to work things out, and there were still a lot of things they needed to talk about.
The young Miko wanted to learn more about being a pack, although she was aware Inuyasha did not know much about it either. She was curious about what their respective duties were. The fact that Shippou should have been educated surprised her; she had pampered him a lot but realized they should have trained him as well, which none of them did.
Kagome loved the kit dearly, so at least in that department she was not lacking, and Inuyasha had really shocked her admitting that he ‘cared’ for the runt a lot. She had to smile at that; it had been such a great step for him to admit some of his feelings and go so far as to admit a few mistakes. He accepted that he should have treated the kid differently, and would have tried if he had known about his role sooner. But he was really unaware of it until a few days before and he also did not know what to do about it. She came into the kitchen where something was simmering on the stove and was reminded of her impetuous entrance not a long time ago.
‘Kami-sama! I could have ruined our lives for not listening.’ She sighed with regret. ’Mama must be thinking very poorly of me right now and it isn’t like she doesn’t have good reason.’ Kagome felt ashamed and at the same time relieved that her mother had found a way to get them to talk. ‘I usually don’t listen to him, or even try to on those few occasions that he wants to explain, and… well he is just the same not really listening either. I’m glad we finally agreed to talk to each other.’ She started getting the things to set the table without even being asked. She knew her mother had seen her, but she needed a minute to gather her thoughts before she faced her.
As she worked, Kagome’s mind wandered to the little kitsune. They needed to bring Shippou to her time if they could; he was their responsibility, not Sango’s or Miroku’s. She was sure that without him there, the rest of the pack could get a lot more done with one less worry. Saturday would be the best day for it, she decided. Inuyasha could go there in the morning, while she was at school, check on everyone, tell them what was going on, and return by midday with him. It would be a gamble to see if the well would let Shippou through, but if it did not, they would have to think of something else.
Saturday would also be good because they could use the rest of the weekend to start getting him familiarized with the modern world. Unfortunately, there was also the issue of childcare. Shippou was not quite old enough for school, not that she thought there was one that would deal with a hyperactive youkai child full of curiosity. And neither she nor Inuyasha would have time to watch him as they were fairly busy during the day.
“Argh,” She exclaimed a bit frustrated, “this is how families where both parents work must feel.” The fact that Inuyasha was letting her make the decision about it because she knew the time better than he did was not making things any easier for her.
“Looks like you listened this time,” her mother said, interrupting her musings.
“Yes mama, I did. I’m sorry I acted like such an idiot…” She paused nervously. “Thank you for slapping some sense into me. Inuyasha didn’t deserve those ‘sits’.” There, she said it; maybe since Inuyasha forgave her, her mother would too. It was obvious she had taken him under her protective wings. Asami just nodded in agreement and understanding.
“What were you thinking so intently on right now?” She asked as she busied herself with finishing dinner.
“Shippou. Inuyasha thinks it would be better if we could free the pack more by bringing him here.” The word sounded odd to her ears, but Kagome guessed she would get used to it. “He said it’s my decision because I know more about this time than he does. Would it be alright if we brought him?” Kagome thought that a long discussion about the pack was in order with the dog hanyou and Myoga jiji when they could get spare some time.
“Certainly. I am sure Sota would love the company, the fact he is a youkai would just fascinate him. How old is he anyway?” Asami asked. It was clear that Inuyasha had told her much of what they had gone over and that she was accepting her responsibilities. Asami guessed that she got to play grandmother sooner than she expected, not that she minded in the least.
“I’m not really sure. He can’t be more than four, although he is really small, he can talk very well. The problem is: what are we going to do during the week when I’m at school and Inuyasha needs to be at the police station? He told me the cops sure made a point about expecting him to be there as often as possible and to be available any time in case they find another body.” Kagome shuddered at the thought. “Besides Shippou is very curious and hyperactive, he really needs supervision.” She explained not sure what she would do with the child at those times.
“Oh, the day care issue? Welcome to parenthood honey.” She said with a small comforting smile. “I think Inuyasha and I can work something out for during the day, most days.” She assured her daughter.
“I’m not so sure about that Mama.” At her words, she got a puzzled look from her mother. “I don’t doubt you’ll do a good job… It’s Inuyasha I’m worried about.”
“How so Kagome?”
“Well… He and Shippou don’t get along that well… Inuyasha would protect him of course, and has even admitted today that he does care for him but… I don’t know… Shippou usually manages to make him loose his temper, by either teasing or sometimes just pissing him off. Then Inuyasha would bop him on the head, several times until I ‘sit’ him.”
“I see…” Asami said thoughtfully, she already had an inkling about some of the reasons for that but she wanted to see if Kagome could see them too. “Now… I want you to think, is there something that usually makes them go off like that? Not just Inuyasha, but make Shippou start bothering him?”
“Hmm… not sure…” Kagome let her voice trail off as she began reviewing closely most of the fights she had seen, and soon things became clearer. “Oh, I had never thought of that!” It was not just one thing that set Inuyasha off, but she might be able to solve at least one.
“And that is?”
“Inuyasha is jealous! Sometimes Shippou would come to me with his pitiful pout and get petted or pampered. Then he’d flaunt that at Inuyasha, Kami why didn’t I notice that before?”
“Well I think that can be solved easily if you both talk, and you let Shippou know you don’t approve of that behavior. You’d probably have to stop petting or pampering him until he understands. Is there something else?”
“He challenges Inuyasha’s leadership, as often as he can… and… I never called Shippou to task. I think I made it like it was ok for him to do it since I ended ‘sitting’ Inuyasha for bopping him. Oh Mama, how could I have been so stupid? I didn’t know about the pack, but it was sort of an unspoken agreement that Inuyasha was the leader… I thought he was just being mean towards Shippou.”
“So now you know, you can’t change what you did, but can try to make them better now. I think you should not challenge his authority in front of the kid, if you don’t agree you can talk about that later in private. And if Shippou does, you should show him that is not acceptable. You make him sound like a smart kid, so I think he’ll get the idea the moment that behavior results in the contrary effect. I’m supposed to have a meeting with someone who knows inu youkai well, and one of the things she told me was that instinct plays an important part on their behavior. With what little she told me, and what you just did, I think Shippou was going against Inuyasha’s instincts. I think I can get more information about modern hanyous and youkai alike. I’ll see if I can’t find a day care that can handle a young kitsune cub for when it is unavoidable. When did you want to bring him here?”
“I was thinking Saturday so that he would have the rest of the weekend with all of us to adjust a bit before I have to go back to school.”
“Sounds good to me. I take it you accepted Inuyasha’s proposal?” Asami asked with a slight grin as her daughter blushed prettily. Kagome looked quite flattered. “I thought you would. I want to discuss that with you privately after dinner. Where is Inuyasha? The food is done.”
“He is talking with the neko hanyou; I think his name was Lieutenant Watanabe, out by the well house.”
“Oh, so that is why you came in alone. I hope that means Watanabe-kun is going to apologize.”
“I don’t know, but apologize for what?”
“Oh, he called Inuyasha to task for Monday, but he overstepped his bounds. It was what prompted our little talk.”
“Well, Inuyasha didn’t seem very happy to see him and they didn’t really start talking until after I left.” Kagome paused for a moment and decided to ask her mom the question that was bugging her. “How did you get all of that out of him in the first place?”
“Honey, I have been counseling troubled teens professionally for more years than you have been alive. A large part of the training is learning to read nonverbal cues. Inuyasha might not normally talk much, but he has a lot of those. Watch his ears, his face, and if possible his eyes; and it will help a lot. We can go over much of what he told me after dinner. Go fetch Jii-chan and Sota. I’ll leave Inuyasha’s food separate.”
Kagome went and got the rest of the family. They started dinner minus the dog hanyou since he was otherwise occupied. Kagome told Sota about her plan to have Inuyasha bring Shippou back. Jii-chan grumped a bit about brining another youkai into the house, but in the wake of Sota’s excitement, no one paid much attention to it, not even Jii-chan. Sota was thrilled at the prospect of meeting Shippou and introducing him to his world. He agreed to help with gusto. He could not wait for Saturday to come.
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