InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Sesshomaru's Children ❯ An Outing with Kagome ( Chapter 4 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 4: An Outing with Kagome
Rin was frightened. Bosoporu's henchmen had not treated her badly during the brief journey to his fortress, but they hadn't been particularly kind either. They arrived at the fortress at night, so she saw little of it before being dragged into the dungeon and thrust into a dank, dark cell. She huddled near the back of the cell, away from the cold, damp metal bars, and wrapped her cloak tightly about her, with her feet and hands tucked inside for warmth. But she was still cold. The damp chilliness of the cell was somehow different from, and more penetrating than, the winter cold she was used to.
Rin shivered inside her cloak and tried not to cry. She was accustomed to being outdoors. Being locked in this dark place away from the open sky felt wrong.
“Oh, Sesshomaru!” she whispered. “Please come soon. I am afraid.”
Time passed, marked mainly by the growing emptiness in her belly and increasing thirst. Rin lay down on her side, curled up as tightly as possible with her cloak around her to combat the chill, but she could already feel numbness taking over her fingers and toes. She worried about sleeping under these circumstances, but she was so tired and cold, it was impossible to keep her eyes open.
She was awakened by the sound of someone speaking.
“Wake up, woman!”
Bright light washed over her and Rin sat up quickly, holding up one hand to block the light from her eyes. It was only a single torch, but the darkness of the cell made it brilliant in comparison. Two men stood outside her cell. The one holding the torch was the same man who had brought her here. The other was a finely dressed gentleman with long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. Rin might have thought him handsome, except for the hint of cruelty in his pale eyes.
“You are Sesshomaru's companion?” he remarked with a smirk. “You're not much to look at, are you? I would have expected better from him.”
Rin knew she was being insulted, but she was more offended by the insult to Sesshomaru. She dropped her hand and stared back at him boldly.
“If I am pleasing to Lord Sesshomaru, then it is my good fortune,” she replied. “Whether someone like you can recognize my value to him is of no importance.”
Bosoporu's smile remained, but his eyes narrowed slightly. “You are a bold creature to speak thus to me. You would be wise to fear for your life.”
“My life belongs to Sesshomaru,” Rin answered. “I will leave this world when he has no more need of me.”
“You are a fool!” Bosoporu snarled. His smile disappeared completely. “You are under my power now and all that I will leave for your dog-demon master is a corpse.”
Bosoporu raised a hand and gestured at Rin. His lips moved as he whispered a spell. Rin felt the air constricting around her and she stared at him in sudden panic.
“Now you fear, foolish woman,” Bosoporu laughed harshly. “This spell will not kill you. It will preserve your life until someone attempts to free you from its bonds. Then it will crush the life from you.”
Rin shuddered as the spell continued to tighten around her. Her vision was fading and Bosoporu's gloating voice was growing faint.
“Once I have killed Sesshomaru, I will keep you as a reminder of his defeat. You will decorate my hall for all eternity.”
Bosoporu's cruel laughter was the last thing Rin heard.
The children had clearly had a rough day, because they slept straight through until the next morning. But Koshitenba woke up crying for her mother and that set the other three to sniffling. Kagome and her mother hurried to comfort the little ones.
“There, there, my dear, it will be all right,” Mrs. Higurashi said comfortingly as she cradled Koshitenba in her lap. She stroked the little girl's hair as Koshitenba hid her face against Mrs. Higurashi's bosom.
Kagome knelt down so she could put her arms around the other three. “Try not to worry,” she said. “Jaken will find you father and Inuyasha is very good at fighting bad men. They will find your mother and bring her home safely.”
Sonnemaru looked at Kagome with big eyes. “They were very big men,” she said solemnly. “They took mother away.”
Kagome nodded. “I know, dear. It must have been very frightening.” She leaned back a little so she could meet their eyes. “Sometimes, bad things like this happen, and then you need to have faith in the people who love you to make it right.”
“I don't think Father loves us,” Sonnemaru said in a very small voice. “He never talks to us.”
Kebakushin and Massenmaru nodded in unison and Koshitenba sniffed.
Kagome bit her lip. What could she say? As much as she knew about Sesshomaru, it was very likely true. But she could hardly say that to his children. She looked at the three in front of her, with their big golden eyes, fluffy silver hair and little pointed dog ears. They were so cute, she couldn't imagine not loving them.
“Your father is not a man who shows his feelings,” she said carefully. “But if he did not care for you, I don't think he would visit you at all.”
“Really?” Sonnemaru's uncertainty showed on her face, but so did her desire to believe. She looked at her brothers and they returned her uncertain, hopeful gaze.
Kagome patted her on the head. “I truly believe that.” She stood up. “Why don't we get some breakfast, and then I'll take you to the park to play. Would you like that?”
“Yes, please,” Sonnemaru said, echoed by her brothers.
Koshitenba crawled out of Mrs. Higurashi's lap. “Do you have milk?”
“Of course, dear. Let's go to the kitchen.” Mrs. Higurashi took her hand and led the way.
It astonished Kagome to discover how much four little children could eat. But the truly amazing thing was the level of energy the food subsequently imparted. By the time she had scrounged up four old hats from among her and Souta's childhood belongings to cover the children's ears, the four of them were out in the yard, racing between the buildings playing some game that involved a great deal of squealing and falling down. Getting them to hold still long enough to put the hats on was a challenge.
“Are you sure you want to take them to the park?” Mrs. Higurashi said. Her amused smile made Kagome frown.
“I can handle them!” Kagome said firmly. “They'll calm down once they burn off some of this energy.”
“Of course, dear,” Mrs. Higurashi replied. Her smile made it plain that she didn't think so.
Kagome jammed her own hat onto her head and shouldered the knapsack she had stuffed with snacks and a few toys. “We'll be back in time for lunch.”
“Ok, kids! Let's go!” Kagome started for the stairs and the children raced to join her. They bounded down the stairs with the same wild abandon that Inuyasha showed when he leaped down the sides of mountains. “Hey! Wait up!” Kagome shouted. She dashed down the steps as fast as she could, but the kids were at the bottom and disappearing in all directions before she was more than half-way down.
Kagome skidded to a halt at the bottom of the stairs and looked up and down the street in panic. The boys were nowhere in sight. Sonnemaru and Koshitenba were just visible down the road, staring in fascination at a street vendor selling little pinwheels. Kagome hurried over to them.
“Are these sweet little girls yours?” the old man asked as Kagome reached them.
“Sort of,” Kagome stammered. She caught their hands. “They're, ah, my nieces.”
The old man smiled and held out two of the pinwheels. “Please take these.”
Kagome released Sonnemaru's hand so she could fumble in her pocket for coins. “Can you give me two more? I have two nephews also.”
“Of course!” The old man accepted the coins and Kagome took two more pinwheels. “It was a pleasure to meet you, my dears,” he said to the girls and pushed his cart off down the road.
Koshitenba was waving her pinwheel, giggling as the motion made it turn.
Kagome held one of the pinwheels in front of her mouth. “Go like this,” she said and blew on the pinwheel to make it spin.
“Oh!” Sonnemaru exclaimed, and she and her sister began blowing on the pinwheels happily.
Kagome looked around. “Now let's see if we can find your brothers.”
“They went that way.” Sonnemaru pointed.
“At least that's in the direction of the park,” Kagome said with a sigh. She set off in the indicated direction with the two girls skipping along beside her. They made it all the way to the park before they found the boys. Massenmaru and Kebakushin were climbing on the jungle gym, demonstrating a remarkable agility that was being watched with awe by several other children.
Kagome swallowed when she realized there were also several adults watching. Although they were not yet full grown, the children were half-demons, so their speed, agility and strength were far beyond what children their age would normally have. When the boys saw her and the girls approaching, Massenmaru leaped off the top of the jungle gym and trotted up to them, provoking startled cries from several of the adults and admiring exclamations from the children.
“Oh great!” Kagome muttered. More loudly, she said, “Massenmaru, you need to be more careful. Other children might try to copy you and they aren't as strong as you are.” Then she stared at the boy for a moment. “You are Massenmaru, right?”
He grinned. “Yes! And it's not that high.” He pointed back at the jungle gym. “Watch this!”
“No, wait…!” Kagome cried, but it was too late. Massenmaru ran back to the jungle gym and sprang up the side with two quick leaps to rejoin his brother. Kagome put a hand over her face. “Mother was right. I hate it when Mother is right.”
Sonnemaru plucked the extra pinwheels from Kagome's hand. “I'll take them the spinning toys,” she said. She ran to the jungle gym with Koshitenba on her heels. Sonnemaru leaped up to the top as easily as Massenmaru had. Koshitenba put her pinwheel in her mouth and climbed up using both hands. She still reached the top faster than larger children, who were trying to scramble up in imitation of Massenmaru's no-hands technique.
Kagome found an empty bench to sit on and watch as her four charges clustered together at the apex of the jungle gym, alternately blowing on and waving their pinwheels.
An older woman sat down at the other end of Kagome's bench. “Your children are very… agile,” she said. “Their father is not Japanese?”
“Oh, they're not my children,” Kagome said quickly. “They are, ah, my brother-in-law's children. He's not Japanese.”
“Their hair color is very striking,” the woman continued. “And I can't quite make out their eye color from here, but it seems very light.”
“Yes, well, they do take after their father quite a bit.” Kagome flushed. She wished the woman would go away and stop asking questions.
“Their Japanese is quite good, though, if a little archaic.”
“Their mother is Japanese, but her family is, um, very old-fashioned.”
“Well, there's nothing wrong with that,” the woman said with a smile. “Sometimes the old traditions are better than the new ways. I wish my daughter could raise her children with some of the old ways in mind. These modern children are so Western.”
“I know what you mean,” Kagome murmured.
Sonnemaru choose that moment to leap off the jungle gym, followed by her brothers. She turned around to catch Koshitenba, who leaped off fearlessly into her big sister's arms, and then all four children dashed over to her.
“Miss Kagome, may we go play in the field?” Sonnemaru pointed to the open field at the center of the park where many people were relaxing on blankets.
“It's kind of crowded,” Kagome replied. “I wouldn't want you to step on anyone.”
“We won't,” Sonnemaru said quickly. “But we want to run so our toys will spin.”
“All right, but please be careful.”
“We will!” The children dashed off, immediately demonstrating how they were not going to step on anyone by leaping over people like deer. They were followed by a wave of startled cries and pointing fingers.
Kagome put her hand over her face.
“They are very polite,” the older woman said, but she sounded like that's not what she wanted to say.
Kagome sighed. “They are well brought up, but this is their first time in the city.”
“I see.” The woman chuckled. “They are not really causing any harm, and sometimes children just need to run when they're young.”
“So it would seem.”
“Well, it was nice talking to you. Enjoy the rest of your day.” The woman stood up and walked away.
Kagome heaved a sigh of relief, but she continued to watch the children with some dismay. “This is only the first day. I wonder how long they'll be here?”
Sango and Shippo reclined against Kilala's side, staring sleepily into their campfire. The big cat's deep steady breathing slowly rocked them back and forth. Across the fire, Inuyasha sat cross-legged against a tree with his hands tucked inside his sleeves. His eyes were closed, but he wasn't sleeping. Miroku was stretched out on the ground to one side, sound asleep.
“It feels kind of like the old days, when we were hunting Jewel shards,” Shippo said.
“Yes, it does,” Sango agreed. “Although it seems odd without Kagome here. I wonder how she's getting along with Sesshomaru's children.”
“I'm sure she's fine,” Shippo answered. “You know how fond Kagome is of half-demons.”
“I heard that,” Inuyasha grumbled with his eyes still closed.
Sango chuckled softly. “How long has it been since they were together?” she whispered.
“Almost two weeks, now,” Shippo whispered back.
“Oh, god!” Sango exclaimed. “He'll be impossible to live with in another week.”
“He's impossible to live with now.”
Inuyasha opened one eye. “Are you two quite finished?” he growled.
Sango laughed. “Lighten up, Inuyasha. Everybody already knows you're in love with her!”
Inuyasha opened both eyes and glared at her. “You want to talk about my love life? Go ahead. We can discuss yours next.”
Sango's gaze involuntarily fell on Miroku. She flushed and quickly looked away.
Inuyasha grinned wickedly. “Maybe if one or two of those kids hanging around the temple were yours, you wouldn't feel so bad, Sango.”
“That's true,” Shippo agreed. “It's not like he hasn't given you the opportunity.”
“I have no interest in becoming just one more of his conquests!” Sango exclaimed, aggrieved. “He's just a… just a… damn lecher!”
“But he's a good monk,” Inuyasha pointed out, still grinning.
“And a good fighter,” Shippo added. “And he's turning out to be a pretty good father, for all that he sort of backed into the job.”
“Oh, I think he pretty much walked into that job face forward,” Inuyasha said. “Over and over again.”
Sango jumped to her feet. “You men!” she shouted. “You just don't understand a woman's feelings!” She stalked away into the shadows, muttering angrily to herself.
“You know,” Miroku said from where he was lying, “you guys are not helping me any. I haven't done a thing, and now she's not going to speak to me for another week.”
“Maybe you should just propose,” Shippo suggested.
Miroku sat up sharply with a horrified look. “Get married?!”
“Why not?” Inuyasha shrugged. “She lives at your temple. She's already helping to raise your kids. You've been hanging around together for years.”
“And you certainly argue like an old married couple,” Shippo added.
Miroku frowned at Shippo. “Speaking of marriage, there's still the subject of my youngest daughter to discuss.”
Shippo paled. “You're just trying to change the subject!”
“And you're trying to avoid the subject!”
“Why worry about it?” Inuyasha asked. He closed his eyes and settled back against the tree again. “It'll be a couple of years before she's old enough to seduce him.”
“A couple of years! Shouni's practically still a baby!” Miroku shook his staff at Shippo. “If I see you lay one hand on that child…”
“Me?!” Shippo threw up his hands. “Tell her! She's the one who needs to be kept under control!”
“She's an innocent little girl!”
“Shut up, both of you!” Sango commanded. She marched back into the clearing with an angry frown on her face. “I can hear you all the way across the valley.” She flopped down next to Shippo and slumped back against Kilala. “It's time for everyone to go to sleep.”
Kilala opened one sleepy eye and mewed in agreement.
“I wasn't the one who started all the talking,” Inuyasha murmured self-righteously.
“Oh, shut up!” Sango growled.