InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ The Coyote Child ❯ Chapter Six ( Chapter 6 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
The Coyote Child

By Terri Botta

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha. Sole copyright belongs to Viz and Rumiko Takashi. I'm poor so don't

Rating: R for later chapters.

Pairing: Inuyasha/Kagome

Summary: Inuyasha and Kagome are asked to adopt a coyote-hanyou baby from Arizona.

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Navajo words:
Belagana - white man
Hataalii - medicine man
Nali - grandmother


Chapter Six

Morning came too soon and Yukio blinked, bleary-eyed at the ray of sunlight that
had so perfectly found his face. He stretched with a groan and sat up, only to find his
parents and their native companions watching him. It was then that he noticed his father
was holding Tessaiga and using the blade to reflect the sunlight onto the sofa bed, right
where his face had just been. He growled and flattened his ears.

:Leader-male cruel,: he whined.

:Beta-male lazy,: his father replied with a wry smile.

"Beta-male had indigestion all night," he said, standing up and shaking off the

His father shrugged. "So did I. Your point? You're up now, get ready. We're
leaving in ten minutes."

"Twenty. I have to take a shower," he argued.

He sighed. "Okay."

He fished a clean set of clothes from his bag and made his way to the bathroom.
The shower was lukewarm but he didn't bother with trying to adjust it and just washed as
fast as he could. The water woke him up and by the time he was finished, he felt himself
again. He got out, dried off, dressed and made sure his ring was on before exiting the
bathroom to join the rest of the group.

"Okay. I'm ready," he announced.

"Keh," his father snorted and led the way to the parking lot.

"Are you ready for this?" his mother asked, coming to walk beside him.

She was holding the pup, who seemed much more subdued than usual.

"As ready as I'll ever be."

"There was something scanning our hotel last night. I had to put up a barrier," she
told him.

His ears perked up at that and he stared at her. "Was it dangerous?"

"I don't think so. It wasn't malicious but it definitely wanted something."

He looked pointedly at the pup in his mother's arms. "Well, we have a pretty
good idea as to what that is."

"Maybe," she replied. "But if it was, I'm not sure I want to hand the pup over."

"Because whatever scanned the hotel last night was anything but friendly, and it
certainly didn't feel like a parent missing a child."

"Hmm. What does Otou-san say?"

She shook her head lightly. "He didn't like it, but it wouldn't answer him."

They went down to the lobby and ate a quiet breakfast. The atmosphere around
their small group was subdued and even tense. He knew from scent alone that Lori and
Billy were growing increasingly uneasy, and he had no doubt that they were looking
forward to being rid of them. Michael was understandably worried about his sister and
grandmother, and Emma and David seemed caught in the middle. The Cree woman was
still keeping her distance and avoiding eye contact, and he wondered if she was having
second thoughts about coming with them on this trip. He didn't put too much effort into
thinking about it, however, because it was too early and he hadn't had his morning
coffee. By the time the caffeine buzz had set in and he was awake enough to handle his
conflicting emotions, his father was ushering him out the door to the parking lot.

For the first time his father wasn't leading the way as they turned onto the road
behind the minivan. He knew that Inuyasha didn't like giving up the lead, but in this case
he had no choice because he didn't know the way through the Navajo Nation. As it was,
as soon as they left the main highways, the road became little more than a dirt track. If
someone didn't know where they were going, they could easily get lost for days, or even

Some three hours after they had left the hotel, their guides pulled into a
nondescript trading post. It was a small place, obviously meant for the locals and not for
any tourists who might stumble upon it, and both Lori and Billy seemed familiar with the
proprietors. It was here that two of their party bid their good-byes. Billy's beat-up truck
was parked in what served as the trading post's parking lot as was Michael's late-model
Jeep. While the rest of them waited, the Navajos returned the borrowed minivan's keys to
its owner.

"And here we must part ways," Lori said quietly.

"Yes. We have done as we promised and brought you to our lands. From here
Michael will take you to his grandmother's home," Billy added.

Yukio could smell the relief on them, as if they were pleased that the journey had
ended and their part in the whole thing was over. His mother, always gracious and polite,
smiled at them and bowed.

"Thank you so much for all of your help," she said.

The two Navajo bowed back and lowered their eyes.

"We wish you good luck," Lori offered, then she and Billy walked to Billy's
truck, got in and drove off.

Once they were gone and all that was left were Michael, the two Cree, the hanyou
pup, and his family, he saw his parents visibly relax. His mother pulled the pup close to
her chest and held him protectively, but her eyes were calm.

"You're glad they're gone," he commented in Japanese.

She nodded. "Hai. They didn't like this pup much and I was very worried for

"You know Otou-san wouldn't have let them harm a hair on his head."

"I know, but the baby knew they didn't like him, and it isn't as if he can't sense
what they are feeling. They weren't much different from the people who would kill
hanyous just because they existed. I never understood that. The babies didn't ask to be
born and most of them were kind and good. Countless babies were murdered before they
even drew breath. It was horrible."

He saw her tremble and hug the pup even closer, her nose pressed to his little grey
ear. His father placed himself at her shoulder, offering his silent strength and comfort,
and they waited for her to relax.

"I'm sorry," she apologized, wiping away a tear.

They said nothing and his father nodded.

"Let's get this pup to his mother. Then we can get to the bottom of this," his
father said gruffly.

They turned to Michael who was waiting by his Jeep with Emma and David.

"How far is it from here?" his father asked.

"My grandmother's hogan is another hour away," Michael replied.

"Let's go then. We'll follow you," Inuyasha answered.

Michael nodded and opened his car door. David got into the front passenger side,
but for a moment Yukio wasn't sure which vehicle Emma was going to go in. He saw the
indecision on her face then she frowned slightly and got behind her cousin in the rear
passenger side of the Jeep.

He was almost relieved when she decided to go with them because he didn't want
to be distracted by her scent. His instincts were already triggered because of the odd
energy of the place, and he knew that he was getting territorial around her despite his
own misgivings. It would be easier for him to focus if he wasn't constantly smelling her
and he knew that would make his father less edgy.

"You coming?" his father's voice asked, half-amused half-impatient, and he
realized that he was the only one who hadn't gotten into a vehicle.

Shaking off his preoccupation, he quickly got into the Jeep and sat in the
passenger seat next to his father while his mother sat in the rear next to the pup in his car
seat. A few moments later they watched as Michael pulled out of the trading post parking
lot and headed down the narrow road. His father put their Jeep in gear and followed.

They were quiet as they traveled, each in their own thoughts. Even the pup was
almost silent in his carrier. He stretched his awareness out to search for the source of the
youki he had been feeling but it seemed to be everywhere and nowhere all at once. He
also caught a faint sense of what his mother had been talking about: the sacred powers
that were weakening.

"There's nothing we can do about them," his mother's voice spoke softly.

He jolted and turned his head to look at her. She was gazing out the Jeep window,
her face sad and wistful. One hand was placed on the edge of the pup's car seat as if she
was afraid to lose physical contact with him.

"Okaa-san?" he replied.

"The sacred protections. They're fading and there is nothing we can do."

"How did you know I was thinking about them?"

She looked at him, her eyes showing every bit of her four hundred years despite
her youthful face. He always shivered when she looked like that because it reminded him
that she was still a miko who often walked with one foot in each world.

"I didn't," she answered simply. "I was thinking about them myself. They're like
the Blessings placed on the shrine. Without someone there to tend them, they lose their
meaning and just... disappear."

He nodded, understanding. He'd seen it many times over the centuries: magic
slowly fading away because no one believed in it anymore.

"Is it too late to save them?" he asked.

"No, but it would take a great many to repair the damage. These wards feel like
they were a group effort, probably created and maintained by numerous shamans."

"Can you tell what's moved in?"

His mother shook her head sadly. "No, but whatever it is, it runs deep."

"Keh," his father grumbled. "The sooner we get to the bottom of this, the sooner
we can go home."

"Yes," his mother agreed.

Led by a series of landmarks only their Navajo guide could see, they traveled
even deeper into the reservation until they came upon a small mud and wooden hut that
just seemed to appear out of the dust like a mirage. The Jeep ahead of them pulled up in
front of it and parked. As Michael, David and Emma got out, his father parked next to
them and turned off the vehicle. They got out and his mother placed the pup back into the
cradleboard he had originally been in, carrying it in her arms.

"Ya-tah-hey!" Michael called as he approached the hut. "Ya-tah-hey."

The wooden door opened and a young girl ran out. She was no more than sixteen,
her long black hair in braids down her back. She went to Michael with a glad cry and
threw her arms around him. Coming out behind the girl was an old woman, her hair gray
and her skin wizened. She cast a quick glance to Michael and the girl, then her dark eyes
moved unerringly to them and she regarded them calmly.

As they watched, Michael extricated himself from the girl and made
introductions. The Navajo was speaking in a language he did not understand and he
looked to his mother to see if she had any idea what was being said.

"I recognize it as Dineh, but I don't speak any," his mother replied to his
questioning look.

His father impatiently cleared his throat and the girl saw them for the first time.
She spied his mother holding the cradleboard and her face went pale. She approached
slowly, almost in disbelief, and his mother stepped forward, her expression understanding
and gentle.

The girl dropped her eyes and sniffed.

"My baby?" she asked softly.

"He's right here. He's healthy and strong."

The girl started to cry and her hands clenched into fists as if she wanted to take
the cradleboard but could not. His mother held the cradleboard out to her in offering and
the pup inside, smelling his mother's scent, let out a happy burble then a small cry.

"Here. Take him. He's yours," his mother said gently.

The girl shook her head and sniffled. "No. I can't. He's outcast. My father will
kill him. You shouldn't have brought him back here."

"Oi! No one is killing any pups while I am here," he heard his father state gruffly,
commanding the girl's attention.

She looked briefly at him then dropped her eyes. "I... I don't understand. Michael
told me he was taking Peter to a new family who could take care of him."

"Peter? Is that the baby's name?" Kagome asked.

The girl nodded. "Yes. After my grandfather."

"That's a good name. You must be Sara. Your brother has told us a lot about
you," his mother continued.

"Yes. He loves you very much, and he is very worried about you and this baby."

Sara nodded but did not reply.

"I'm Kagome and this is my mate, Inuyasha and my oldest son, Yukio. We came
all the way from Canada to talk to you. We wanted to make sure that no one forced you
into this decision, and to talk about what options you have if you don't want to give up
your baby."

Sara looked up again, then looked away. He realized that she was being polite by
not making direct eye contact and gave her the same courtesy by slightly turning his
head. His father, never one for manners, stepped up and looked her right in the eye.

"Where is this pup's father?" Inuyasha demanded.

Sara shook her head and closed her eyes. "I don't know."

He saw his mother edge his father away a little and nodded in approval. It would
do no good for his father to make a scene in the middle of the Navajo reservation.

"Can you tell us anything about him, Sara? Please, it's very important."

"I haven't seen Temeh in months," Sara admitted. "I don't know where he is."

"Temee? The pup's father's name is Temee?" Inuyasha blurted.

He snickered and his mother smiled.

"I'm sorry," Kagome explained. "In our language, temee is a derogatory term."

"It is?" Sara asked.

"Yes. It's considered very rude."

"But I am sure in his language Temeh means something much different," Kagome
assured her.

`Yeah, coz you wouldn't want to go around telling everyone your name means
bastard,' he mused to himself.

"Yes," Sara said, her voice faint.

"This is my grandmother," Michael interrupted, drawing their attention to the old
woman. "Her Belagana name is Ruth."

His mother went to her and bowed. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Ruth-obachan."

"Ya-tah," Ruth replied, bowing slightly.

"My grandmother doesn't speak English but both my sister and I are fluent in
Dineh so we can translate for you," Michael told them.

"Thank you. Please tell her that we are sorry to intrude on her home so
unexpectedly," his mother said.

"I already told her that you are here to talk to Sara about the baby and the baby's

Ruth said something to Michael and he nodded in agreement.

"My grandmother invites you into her hogan. She says you are welcome. She
hopes that you can find your answers quickly, before there is more trouble."

"More trouble?" Inuyasha asked.

Michael gave them an unhappy look. "Apparently, my father has been stirring up
unrest since we left. He hasn't done any harm, but now that we are back, with the baby
no less, I'm sure he'll come here."

He saw his father's hand reach for the hilt of Tessaiga.

"Keh. Let him come. We'll handle him. We're not going anywhere until we get to
the bottom of this."

"Yes. Well, I hope it does not come to that," Michael answered, ushering them
into the hogan.

Passing through the doorway of the small hut was like stepping back five
centuries. Although the walls were logs and mud and not beams and paper, the scent and
feel of the hut was the same. Instead of an irori firepit in the center of the octagonal room
there was a steel barrel for burning wood, but there were racks of drying herbs and
earthen pots stacked neatly against a wall. He looked around the single room home and
could almost hear the old miko chuckling as she worked.

Looking at Ruth, he could almost see the old woman, her hair in a braid, her body
clothed in the red and white habit of a priestess, clucking over her cooking fire. Tears
welled up in his eyes from the memory and he had to swallow the lump in his throat. His
mother cast him a glance and the look on her face told him that she was noting the
similarities herself.

The hogan was small but its owner used the space wisely. There were two single
beds off to one side and a small wooden table. The stovepipe from the barrel went up to a
hole in the center of the roof and the top of the barrel served as a crude cookstove. It was
lit with two battery-powered lamps and an oil lantern. There did not appear to be any
electricity or running water, but it was cozy and familiar in a way that he could not
describe to anyone who had not lived in a time when such modest homes were the norm.

Since there were only three chairs in the hogan, he and his father opted to stand
while his mother sat down with Sara and the old woman. Michael positioned himself to
the left of his grandmother's shoulder and David and Emma stood nearby him. As he
watched, his mother lifted the pup out of the cradleboard and once again offered him to
his mother. Sara gasped when she saw her son and slowly took him. The pup gave a
burbled happily and she smiled at him.

"What did you do to him? He looks... normal," the girl asked in amazement.

The old woman grunted softly, her breath leaving her nostrils just a little too
forcefully, and he flicked his eyes over to glance at her.

`She can see through the illusion...'

"It's a spell I placed on him to hide his coyote features," his mother explained.
"The spell is linked to his necklace."

Sara lifted the braid made from Inuyasha's hair and examined the black stone.
"It's magic?"

"It serves as an anchor for the spell. Most demons and those of mixed-demon
blood wear something similar to conceal them when they are out among humans. Both
my husband and my son are half-demons and they wear concealment spells too."

The girl looked up at them, fear racing briefly across her face, then she relaxed
and dropped her eyes back to her baby. The pup gurgled and lifted a hand which the girl
took in her own gently.

"Temeh wore a bandana to hide his ears and contact lenses in his eyes," Sara
admitted. "But I think he had a spell to color his hair."

"He revealed himself to you then?" his mother prompted.

The girl nodded reluctantly. "After we'd been seeing each other for a while. He
told me what he was."

"So you knew he was a coyote demon," his father said.

She looked at Inuyasha, the fear flaring back again, but he saw her stamp it down.
"Yes, I knew."

"Did he ever reveal his true form to you?" his mother asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Most full-blooded demons have two forms. The human-like form and the form
of their animal ancestor," Kagome explained.

Sara shook her head. "I've never seen Temeh as anything other than the boy I

"Did he know you were pregnant?"

"Oh yes. He knew. He would bring me vitamins and food, in the beginning, but...
but then he stopped and I didn't see him again."

"Do you know why he stopped coming?"

Tears welled in Sara's eyes as she shook her head again. "No... I don't know
where he is. I don't know what happened. He said we were going to go off together. He
said he would come for me and the baby..."

Michael gasped when they heard this and the shock registered on his face.

Sara glanced at her brother. "He said he loved me. He said we would be together."

Michael looked at her with pity. "Oh Sara..."

"Don't look at me like that," the girl snapped angrily.

His mother called Sara's attention back to her. "Did Temeh ever speak to you
about his family? Did you ever meet anyone from his clan?"

"No. He said his mom and dad were real strict. He said they wouldn't

The girl's words triggered something and his father's eyes narrowed in suspicion.

"Oi. How old is this Temee?"

Sara blinked at him, confused. "My age, I guess. I never really asked. He looked
my age, maybe a year or two older..."

His father swore and turned his back as he reached his own conclusion as well.

`The father is a juvenile. Probably still in his adolescence.'

"That might not be the case, Sara. Demons age and mature very slowly. It's
possible that Temeh is very many years older than you," his mother said carefully.

"But he still lives with his parents. He has problems with them all the time," the
girl argued.

"I still live with my parents," he said, speaking for the first time as he cast a
glance towards Emma. "And I'm... very old."

Sara hung her head and pulled the pup closer to her body. "I don't understand."

"None of this is really important. What is important is finding out where Temeh is
now and why he didn't come for you," Kagome stated, redirecting the conversation. "Did
he ever give you any idea as to where he lived or how you could contact him?"

He saw the girl swallow hard as if she knew what she was going to say next
would cause an upset.

"When... when we were supposed to meet or... or if he had a message for me...
or if I needed to talk to him... I'd look for the coyote he sent me."

Michael gasped again and clenched his fists. "Sara..."

"It was always the same color... light grey with silver eyes. Whenever I saw it, I
knew that Temeh was close or trying to get in touch with me."

"Sara! I don't believe you," Michael chided. "What?..." The young man stopped
and looked at his grandmother with concern.

"Nali already knows," Sara said. "I told her. She's been looking for the coyote,
but neither of us has seen him. I heard him on the night Peter was born, but there's been
no sign of him since. I'm worried because Sam Chee has been laying out poison near his

"If the coyote was part of a demon family, he would be smart enough to avoid
poisons and traps," his mother assured her.

"Sara, if anyone finds out about this, you'll be branded a witch and killed!"
Michael gasped.

"I'm not a witch. And neither is Temeh."

"Sara! The sheep! The hogans burning down..."

"None of that was Temeh's doing! He had nothing to do with any of it. He swore
to me."

"And you believed him? He's coyote!"

"Temeh wouldn't lie to me. He said mates don't lie to each other."

"So he's claimed you as his, then?" Kagome asked.

Sara nodded. "Yes. He said we were mates and that he would make a place for us
where we would be safe."

"This keeps getting weirder and weirder," he said to his father in Japanese.

Inuyasha nodded, grunting lowly, and replied in Japanese, "We need to find out
what happened to the father, and get to bottom of this youki I keep feeling."

He agreed and turned to the girl. "Sara, did Temeh ever mention other demons in
the area? You said he swore he had nothing to do with the dead sheep and the burned
hogans, but did he know who was responsible?"

She looked at him and he saw the fear again. "He said he couldn't tell me. That it
was too dangerous. I know he was afraid. He wanted all of us to leave the reservation.
Nali too," she answered casting a concerned glance to her grandmother.

Yukio got the distinct impression that the old woman understood far more of what
was being said than she was letting on.

"How long have the bad things been happening, Sara?" his mother questioned.

"About eight months. Tom Yazzie's sheep were found dead in January," Michael

"You were already seeing Temeh by then, yes?" Kagome asked Sara.

"Yes. I'd met him at a pow-wow last fall."
"Did you notice a change in his behavior after the sheep were found dead?" he

Sara shook her head. "Not at first. But after more sheep died and the first hogan
burned down, I noticed that he was nervous and on guard when we would get together."

He cast a glance to his father and his father frowned.

"You think he went after this thing?" he asked in Japanese.

Inuyasha snorted softly. "If there was something threatening my unborn pup and
mate? I would have."

"You think it got him? If he was young, he might not have been strong enough."

"Coyotes are cowards. He wouldn't have gone against it alone."

"You think he abandoned her then?"

His father took a long look at the girl and her pup, then shook his head. "No."

"What are you going to do now? Are you going to take Peter if I say it's okay?"
Sara asked suddenly.

"What we do is up to you Sara," his mother replied. "We are not in the habit of
taking other people's children away from them, but it is obvious that your baby is not
safe here. If you don't want to give up Peter, I am sure we can come to an arrangement
where you and the baby will be safe and taken care of."

"You'd want me to come with you back to Canada?"

"That is one option, yes, but there are others too. Right now, I think it is most
important to find out what happened to Temeh."

"How are you going to do that?" Michael asked.

"We're going to go to the last place where your sister met with him and try to see
if there are any clues," he answered, looking expectantly at the girl.

Sara swallowed and looked down at her pup. "We met at Bill Leaphorn's winter
trailer. He'd moved to his summer hogan so his place was empty. But that was almost
four months ago."

Inuyasha looked at Michael. "You know where she is talking about?"

Michael cast a dark look at his sister but nodded. "I do."

Michael frowned but agreed.

"You stay here with them. Keep a close eye out for trouble," his father told him.

His mother stood up. "I'm coming too. If we do manage to find him, I may be the
better one to talk to him."

It looked like his father was going to argue but his mother gave him `The Look'
and he gave in. Inuyasha opened the wooden door and stepped out into the late afternoon
sunshine. His mother went out after him.

"We'll go in my Jeep," his father said as Michael joined him outside.

"Wouldn't it be better to go in mine?" the young man asked.

He moved to look out the doorway, his eyes scanning the horizon and they landed
on a small, furry shape sitting several yards away.

His mother saw it at the same time he did and said matter-of-factly, "Perhaps it
would be better to follow him."

"Oi? What are you talking about?" Inuyasha complained.

"Sara," he called over his shoulder. "Is this the coyote Temeh would send to

The girl stood up quickly and carried her pup to the open doorway. She saw the
light gray animal and gasped.

"Yes. Yes, that's him!"

He nodded, not entirely surprised. `So whoever it is knows we're here.'

The coyote stood and yipped at them. Michael's face paled while Inuyasha
snorted and crossed his arms.

"You can't mean to follow that," Michael argued.

"He's obviously here to lead us somewhere," Kagome countered. "Wouldn't it be
better to do as he asks in order to not waste time?"

"I know that my people's superstitions seem silly to you, but a Navajo simply
does not follow a coyote anywhere," Michael stated firmly.

He saw his mother cross her arms and give the young man a look he knew all too

"And they simply don't mate with coyote either, or bear their sons," she
responded tersely.

"You should follow him," Sara said quietly. "If he is here, then he will lead you to

"You cannot ask me to do this," Michael replied.

Inuyasha shrugged. "Fine. Stay here then."

His parents headed for the Jeep, paying no attention at all to Michael and whether
or not he was following them. He saw Sara step forward to grip her brother's arm.

"Michael, go with them, please. You know the way around the reservation. They
don't. If they get lost, they may never find their way back here."

He wanted to tell her that his father could find his way back by scent alone, but he
kept silent because he really did think that it was best that Michael go along. Not because
he was afraid that his parents would get lost, but because it would be beneficial to have
someone who knew the local language and customs in case they ran into anyone along
the way.

"Please, Michael. I promise you, Temeh is not what you think he is. He's good,
and I love him. If something's happened to him, maybe he needs help and the coyote will
take you to him."

His parents paused at the Jeep, and stood there waiting.

He saw the emotions play across the young man's face and knew all too well how
Michael was feeling. He remembered the anguish he felt when he had to go against his
own instincts while he was married to Miaka. Many times his wife had asked him to do
things that were against his very nature, but he had found himself doing them anyway
because she was his mate and would have done anything for her.

Finally, after several long moments, Michael sighed and walked over to where
Inuyasha and Kagome were waiting for him. He said nothing as he got into the rear
passenger side of the Jeep, and his mother cast the young man a sympathetic look as she
got into the seat in front of him.

"We'll be back as soon as we can," his father said. :Beta-male guard den.:

He nodded, placing his hand on the hilt of his own sword, and watched as his
parents got into the Jeep and his father started the engine. The light gray coyote gave him
a brief glance, then began to trot away. The Jeep followed it, keeping a safe distance. He
watched them go, his eyes on the cloud of dust that was visible long after the vehicle was
out of sight.