InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ The Coyote Child ❯ Chapter Eight ( Chapter 8 )

[ 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 used in this chapter:

Ahéhee' ­ Thank you.
Ádóó yádahi'í ­ Don't speak.

PS: Death threats make me write more. :P


Chapter Eight

The atmosphere in the hogan was tense after his parents left and he found himself
leaning one shoulder against the wall near the doorframe in order to keep out of the way.
The scent of anxiety and concern was heavy in the air and it made his nose twitch. The
only one who didn't seem concerned about the situation was the pup, but then he was
happily snuggled against his mother.

Finally, after several long moments of silence, the old woman got up from her
chair and walked across the hut to pick up a basket of blue corn still in their husks. She
took the basket and a large bowl with her as she moved past him to exit the hogan. There
she sat on a blanket spread out on the dry ground and began to husk the corn with deft

He smiled softly, watching her with one eye while he kept one ear on the others
still in the hut. The old woman still bore a remarkable resemblance to Kaede and it still
caused a dull ache in his heart. He remembered watching the old miko prepare her herbs
and food plants in much the same way Ruth was now, finding solace in doing and peace
in the familiar.

A minute or two later, Sara stood up and moved to help her grandmother. He put
his hands out in offering towards the pup.

"You don't have to put him in the cradleboard. I'll watch him for you," he told

She gave him a wary look as if trying to discern if he was capable of watching an
infant but Emma came to his defense.

"He's good with the baby. I've seen him. And I can help if need be," the Cree
woman offered.

Sara looked at the both of them then slowly handed the pup to him.

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude, it's just that..."

"That he was taken from you and now you don't want to let him out of your sight.
I understand," he said gently.

The young woman gave him a grateful smile. "Yes. Thank you."

"I can sit outside with you so you can see him, if it will make you more

She gave a shy nod and he followed her out of the hogan. Emma came out behind
them, then David, but the young man merely went around to the south side of the hogan
where a small cinderblock structure housed the firewood.

"I'll start a fire in the wood stove," David told them.

"Ahéhee'," Ruth replied with a small nod.

"It means thank you," Sara translated as she sat down next to her grandmother
and began husking the corn, carefully preserving the husks themselves and setting them

He sat down across from her on the ground and placed the pup in his lap. Emma
sat next to the other two women and reached for an ear of corn.

"Corn is sacred to my people," Sara said, her voice soft. "Blue corn is favored and
we believe it is best for pregnant and nursing mothers."

"Ah," he replied, nodding.

"What will your father do if he finds Temeh?" she asked suddenly, her eyes
focused on her work, but her shoulders were tense.

Her grandmother gave her a side-long glance and huffed under her breath, but the
girl ignored her.

"Talk to him and bring him back here, I guess. I don't really know what he'll do.
It depends on what he finds out."

"He won't hurt Temeh, will he?"

"No. And even if he wants to, my mother won't let him."

"So, even among your people, the females have say over the males."

"Something like that. If you're asking if we're matriarchal, the answer is yes and
no. Yes in that the females have the last say in what happens, but no in that the males
would never admit it," he answered, a playful smile on his lips. "My mother is a master at
making my father think something was all his idea to begin with."

"Your father is strong?"

There was something in the way the Navajo girl said it that piqued his interest and
he sat up a little straighter.

"Yes, my father is very strong."

"Are you strong?"

He blinked, creasing his brow and the pup in his lap gave a soft whine of concern.

"Yes, I am strong," he replied carefully. "My father would not have left me
behind to protect you if he did not have confidence in my abilities."

"So you are a warrior, someone who can fight."

"Yes. I have fought many times. Sara, why are you asking me these questions?"

"Ádóó yádahi'í," Ruth muttered.

Whatever the old woman said, Sara ignored her.

"I just want to know if you will be able to fight whatever had Temeh so scared.
He wouldn't tell me anything, but I know he thought whatever it was was too much for
him or his family to beat."

"I don't know, Sara. It depends on what it is. But I can tell you that my father and
I are very seasoned fighters, and there is very little that we can't handle. And if it does
turn out to be something bigger than us, we can call my uncle to help. Uncle is very
powerful and he has many fighters at his command."

Sara nodded and he scented relief on her.

"Fire's started and I put on a kettle for coffee," David announced, coming out of
the hogan and wiping his hands off on his jeans.

"Thanks. Coffee would be good," he agreed.

The young man sat down on the ground next to him. Their backs were to the
sunset, but he could feel the day waning and see the shadows getting longer.

"Do you think Temeh is dead?" Sara asked softly.

"I don't know," he answered truthfully. "But I don't think so. If he was dead then
the coyote shouldn't have come. If he was dead, then a member of his family should have
come to claim you and the pup in his stead. Do you know if Temeh told his parents about
you and the pup?"

"He said he was going to, but I don't know if he ever did. I know he was waiting
for the right moment."

`I'll bet. "Mom, Dad, I've mated with a human and she's bearing my pup." I'm
sure that went over well.'

"But you don't know if the right moment ever came."

He sighed and shifted the pup in his lap a little bit. Peter whined again and he
barked back a soft reply, comforting him.

"I think... I think he never told them. If he had, then you would have heard
something from them. No matter what they might think of his choices, there is a pup
involved. With so many youkai races facing extinction, no offspring can be spared or
ignored," he said, trying to sound comforting.

"If Temeh is dead, what will happen to Peter and me?"

It was a loaded question but he knew he couldn't spin some lie for her to make it
all better. She might be just a teenager, but she deserved an honest answer.

"That would depend on what Temeh's family wants. As Peter's clan-kin they
have a say in what happens."

"Will they take him away?"

"I don't know."

Sara fell silent as the corn was husked, and now the women began to strip the
kernels from the ears with small knives that Ruth handed to them. He watched as they
worked, silent and intent on what they were doing. Emma seemed just as efficient at her
task as the two Navajos, but he had seen her cast quick glances at their work as if to make
sure she was doing it correctly. As men, he and David were not expected to help with the
food preparation but David kept an ear out for the kettle.

When the corn was stripped, Ruth gathered the bowl while Sara took the cobs and
Emma picked up the saved husks. They stood up and he and David stood with them and
they all went back into the hogan.

"Thank you for being honest with me," Sara told him softly as he entered the

"You're welcome. You'll find that most youkai don't lie. Not the ones with any
honor, but even the ones that are what you would call evil. We're a pathologically honest
bunch. Even if we plan to kill you and turn your bones into soup, chances are we'll tell it
to you plainly," he joked weakly.

The young woman chuckled and offered him a small smile. "Thank you. That's
good to know."

He kept pup-sitting, although there wasn't much to it. Peter was quiet and
cooperative so he was able to focus his attention elsewhere. Not much else was said in
the hogan as the women prepared blue corn mush and fry bread for a meal. He had
learned early on that many Native peoples did not fill a room with idle chatter. Unlike
many Anglos he knew, they did not love the sound of their own voices, nor did they fear
the silence.

Edgar Allen Poe had once written a fable about silence but he'd never really
understood what the narrator's problem was. In the story the narrator bemoaned the
sounds of the river and water-lilies and being alone, and all manner of things that he,
personally, would have found delightful. He could spend many a day sitting by the side
of a river just listening to the water with no one else around for leagues. As a young
hanyou in Japan, he'd often done just that.

So the lack of chatter in the hogan didn't bother him. Other than Ruth giving short
commands in Dineh, no one else spoke and that freed his hearing to focus on sounds
outside of the hut, on the dying day and the breath of the wind.

Coffee was served with the mush and fry bread along with some leftover boiled
beans and squash. Nothing was too spicy which suited his taste buds well, and he thanked
his hosts for the meal. The coffee wasn't bad either.

After the meal, and once the dishes were washed in a bucket filled with water
from a barrel outside, they settled in to wait. Ruth and Sara set about some mending and
Emma helped. Peter was fed and changed and given back into his care. David pulled
some papers from his own pack and began working on something for one of his classes
while he resumed his place by the door, only this time he was sitting with his back to the
hogan wall and Peter was in his lap.

The sun had set and the temperatures had dropped considerably once the light had
gone. The wind had picked up as well, and he could hear it scraping across the hard
ground and breaking around the walls of the hogan. He closed his eyes to listen.

The sounds and scents were so familiar; just like it had been when they had lived
in Japan. His mind superimposed the scent of beans with that of steaming rice and the
soft murmur of Dineh with the words of Japanese. His mother and Kaede preparing
herbs, talking quietly. His father out hunting or chopping wood while he stayed behind to
guard the home. He had always felt so honored when his father had trusted him with the
protection of the family. Many young men would have been insulted to be asked to stay
behind, but he had recognized his father's faith in his fighting abilities. No words could

ever express the amount of trust his father had shown in him more than when he would
leave the most precious things in his life in his eldest son's care.

Often he would watch the littles while keeping a sharp lookout for danger. His
brothers and sisters would tumble around his feet, clamoring for his attention, and he
would tune his hearing to listen above the din of their voices, alert for any sound that did
not belong. How many times had he sat in their house holding his latest brother or sister
in his arms? How many times had he turned to Miaka and asked, `Can this one be ours?'

When he was old enough, and mated with a prosperous house, he would look to
his wife with pleading eyes. `Can we not be parents now? My mother and father have so
many children. Can we not take this one? Please, Miaka. I want to be a father.'

He had desperately, desperately wanted Kitarou. But Miaka had said no. He had
even asked to take Tetsukazu, even though Miaka had been absolutely terrified of him.
Miaka had staged a full-scale revolt until he'd backed down and let his parents have the
dragon-hanyou. Of course, after Tetzu, youkai families kept their hanyou babies and
there were no more infants to be adopted. There had been a narrow window of
opportunity for him to parent a pup, and that window had closed centuries ago.

Presumably, now that his mother had pioneered the field of hanyou-human
invitro-fertilization, he could father his own pup. If he was able to find a suitable mate
and if she was willing to go through the painful and often risky procedure in order to
have a pup, it was possible that his dream of fatherhood could come true.
`Not likely on either of those fronts.'

He looked down at Peter who looked back at him with his big eyes.

`You would have been so loved and spoiled,' he thought, smiling gently at the

He knew from Sara's reaction to being reunited with her son, that there was no
way she would let him go without her coming with him. The more likely scenario would
be that she would come to live with them in Canada if this Temeh could not be found.
And no matter how things worked out, he had no mate and no house of his own, so the
idea of raising Peter as his own was out of the question.

`Unless... unless Temeh rejects the pup and Sara allows me to step in...'

They wouldn't be mates but... but perhaps...

He sighed audibly and the others in the room looked askance at him. He gave
them a small smile and shook his head.

"I've never been good at waiting," he explained glibly.

David chuckled. "Me either. Want more coffee?"

"Yeah," he agreed and started to stand. His legs had gone numb from his time on
the hogan floor.

Maybe it was the sudden lack of noise from the normal night creatures. Maybe it
was the almost undetectable sound of gravel being crushed. Maybe it was the cold chill
that ran up his spine and triggered all of his defensive instincts. Whatever it was, he came
to full alert and turned his head to the hogan door, his hand immediately going to the hilt
of his sword.

"What is it?" David asked worriedly.

"Someone is coming," he answered.

He quickly handed Peter to his mother who took him without question.

"I'm going to go check it out. You stay here," he said.

David grabbed a rifle that was leaning against the wall by the door and checked to
see if it was loaded. It was.

"I'll come with you," the young Cree said, snapping the rifle shut with a loud

He nodded, acknowledging him as another male who could protect the females.

"Okay, but follow my lead. I don't sense any non-humans, but that doesn't mean
they aren't there."

David gave a grunt of agreement, and they both went out the hogan door.

It was full dark, but the sky was a blanket of stars, providing more than enough
light for his hanyou eyes to see. He didn't know how well David's vision was in the dark,
but the man seemed to be doing alright.

The intruders must have tried to hide their approach by parking their vehicles
down the road and walking up, but they were no match for his sharp ears. There were
about twelve of them, all human males from what he could smell, but some of them were
carrying guns.

"About a dozen. Several of them are armed," he said to David, knowing the man
couldn't see or hear them yet.

The Cree's face turned grim, his mouth straightening into a thin line, and nodded.

The little mob seemed surprised to find them waiting when they rounded the
bluff, and for a moment the group stopped.

"Did you get lost?" he asked with a wry smile. "I've been told that the `Rifles For
Dummies' convention is back that way." He pointed down the bluff, back towards the
dirt road.

One of the men stepped forward, holding his rifle pointed towards the ground but
ready to swing up into position. He was an older man with the black hair and angular face
of a full-blooded Navajo.

"You are not welcome here, stranger, and have no business at my daughter's
hogan. I'm asking you to leave," the man said gruffly.

`Hm. Must be Sara and Michael's father,' he mused with ill-humor. Shaking his
head, he replied, "Sorry. No can do. I promised to protect the people in that hogan,
especially the young girl and her newborn."

There were unhappy grumbles from the mob, but none of them moved. From the
corner of his eye, he was surprised to see a boy no older than twelve among the men, and
he frowned.

"The witch-child has been brought back. It must be destroyed," the man insisted.
"Please step aside and you will not be hurt."

"I can't do that. But if you cease this idiocy and go home, you will not be hurt."

The man snarled and cocked his rifle. "Who the hell do you think you are?"

He squared his shoulders and drew his sword as David cocked the rifle he was

"I am this hogan's protector, and if you know what's good for you, you will go

The man laughed. "You're stupider than my daughter who allowed herself to be
seduced by a skinwalker."

"You have no concept of the forces at work here. You have no chance, no
chance, of winning against me. I have no desire to harm anyone, but I will do what is

necessary to protect the people in my care," he replied, moving Kenshuga into a
protective position with the blade facing outward.

All he had to do was let it surge once, and the entire mob would be thrown back
by its repulsing power. The blast wouldn't kill anyone and, hopefully, all they would
have to deal with would be a couple of concussions. Which, considering that the father
seemed to be stubbornly hard-headed, might not be such a bad thing. Too bad the
warning fell on deaf ears.

It never ceased to amaze him how stupid humans could be in a mob. It was as if
they thought the sheer number of them could negate all the laws and morals of an entire
culture and give it over to destructive instinct. He'd faced quite a few mobs in his long
lifetime and each one had been the same. Maybe the faces were different, but the scent of
anger and sexual excitement roiled around them in the same way.

The sexual element had confused him at first, but then his mother had compared it
to the mating fever that caused bucks to attack anything that moved. Of course, the real
difference between then and now was the fact that now he was a fully adult male, and he
was completely confident in his ability to defeat the ones who were threatening him. That
in itself added an element of his own sexual excitement to the mix. The demon in him
loved violence and it wanted to play. He had a hard time reining it in.

They appeared to be at a stand-still, each side eyeing the other, looking for an
opening. It was just a matter of time before the whole situation blew up in his face. He
just hoped no one got killed in the fray. Fortunately, some of the fever was fading from
the mob as if being faced by an opposing force had cooled their bloodlust a little, but the
leader still had rage in his eyes.

In the end, the trigger was a rock. It wasn't a very big rock, or a very heavy rock,
but it was a well aimed rock. It hit David right on the temple, and he fell back against the
wall of the hogan with a gasp, blood staining his face. He dropped the rifle and slumped
to the ground, and Yukio turned, momentarily distracted by the wounded man next to
him. The mob scented the blood and surged forward.

"Get back!" he ordered, pulsing Kenshuga. The blade sent out a bolt of white
energy that scorched the ground in a wide arc.

The mob paused, then rallied, encouraged by the fact that David was still down.

"The skinwalker must be destroyed!" the leader yelled, raising his rifle. The mob
answered with a roar of agreement.

"What's going on?" Emma's voice asked as he saw her step out of the hogan.

He raised Kenshuga and prepared to send out another blast.

"Get back inside!" he ordered, but she had already seen her cousin sprawled on
the ground.

"David!" she cried and ran to the wounded man.

"Damnit, woman! Get back in the hogan!!"

She defied him, in spite of the fear in her eyes, and picked up the fallen rifle.

He remembered how much he had appreciated her strength in Park City, how she
had stood with him after the incident with the corpse dust, but now he was also
remembering how much a strong-willed woman could be a double-edged sword.

He growled, low and warning. The situation had changed. Now with Emma
standing there with him, his territorial instincts were kicking in, and the scent of David's
blood was inciting his own battle lust. It was very, very dangerous, and he had to keep
reminding himself that his enemies were only human, that they weren't any real threat. If
he hadn't, he would have cut them down in one bloody swath.

"Give us the witch-child!" the leader demanded.

He set his jaw and prepared to fight.

`Please, please, please. I don't want to kill anyone...'

Emma raised the rifle. The mob roared again. Their battle cry was answered by a
deafening shriek that he knew did not come from him. He had just enough time to look
up and feel the surge of sickening youki, right before real death came diving out of the
night sky.