InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ The Coyote Child ❯ Chapter 10 ( Chapter 10 )

[ 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.

Email feedback to: NOTE NEW EMAIL!!


Navajo words:
Hataalii - medicine man

Author's note: Hi all! Sorry this has taken me so long but I was working on finishing my novel, The Heart
of a Fox. Expect an announcement about the availability of Heart sometime in Mid-October. I'm very

And now, okay. Fans of the manga will notice that a familiar face appears at the end of this chapter; a face
they will be surprised to see. Please remember that in The Lucky Ones/Coyote Child universe, Inuyasha
and friends killed Naraku when Kagome was 17. Therefore all events in the manga that happened AFTER I
ended TLO, which was around chapter 355 and the last episode of the anime. I know a lot has happened in
the manga since then and TLO no longer fits into the IY timeline the way it did when I wrote it. A lot of my
trouble with TLO and CC right now comes from my knowing these stories don't "fit" anymore.

Anyhoo, the cameo appearance of this character stems from someone asking about her, and thought it
would be nice to answer the question. And she was cool in the manga so it's nice to write her into the
story. Enjoy!


Chapter 10

It was all over but the cleanup. In the end, the only human casualty was the one
man who had broken his neck when a bat grabbed him, which, all things considered, was
extremely lucky. There were a few injuries, broken bones, cuts and bruises, but nothing
life threatening. The wounded, including the boy who had been dropped from the sky,
were loaded into vehicles that had been parked some distance away when the mob had
assembled, and carted off to a local Hataalii who was also an RN. The boy would have to
go to a hospital, but the closest one was hours away. Once the Hataalii had him
stabilized, someone would drive him to the medical center where his bones could be
properly set.

Yukio found himself working in the dark, looking for pieces and parts of the bats
they had killed. Thankfully, he could see perfectly well by starlight. He was covered in
blood and gore, and he desperately needed a bath. But the hogan had no running water,
and he wasn't about to use any of the water Ruth had in her cistern to bathe. Someone

came up once a week to fill her cistern and barrels, and using her precious supply to wash
his hair was unthinkable.

There was water deep under the ground. He could smell it very faintly so he knew
that it was there. His father had already used Tessiaga to blast a hole big enough to shove
the dead bats into so maybe he could blast a deeper one and reach some water. It was a
crude way to dig a well, but it would work, and maybe then Ruth would have a more
reliable source of water on her own property. A potable well would be a great blessing to
the surrounding area, especially since most of the hogans relied on water haulers to fill
their tanks on a weekly basis.

He heard his father cursing, grumbling under his breath, as they dumped bloody
chunks of dismembered bats into the hole. His mother would purify the lot in the morning
and destroy the remains, but for now it was all right just to have all the bodies in one
place. He counted 49 in all if the number of heads matched the number of bodies, and
that didn't count the ones Emma had already purified.

Emma. Emma had miko powers. Emma could now see through his concealment
spell. He'd have to decide what to do about Emma later.

"That's the last of them," he said, tossing half a severed, leathery wing into the

His father grunted and gave a short nod.

"I really need a bath. Do you think we can use the swords to reach water?"

"Better to blast the arroyo not far from here."

"But if we blast a deep enough hole, won't that give Ruth a well?"

He saw Inuyasha consider it, then nod. "Maybe."

His cheek itched so he wiped his face with his forearm, only to realize that it was
streaked with blood. "Great."

His father snorted. "Hey, it's war paint."

"I am so glad no one was here to hear you say that," he said, rolling his eyes.
"Bath? Please? You know Okaa-san will get upset if we go in there covered in blood, and
I doubt it would be considered polite to our hosts. Ruth might even insist on using her
water to help us clean up, and I don't want to do that."

Inuyasha nodded. "Yeah. C'mon, the arroyo's this way."

He followed as his father led him from the hogan and walked about half a mile
away to the natural drainage ditch carved from the hard soil. The water was much closer
to the surface in the arroyo, although he could tell that it was only wet after a rain. Still, it
wouldn't be too hard to reach the water table, and they could probably get it with two or
three good blasts from the swords.

He stood back as Inuyasha drew Tessaiga and swung it at the lowest point on the
drainage channel.

"Kaze no Kizu!"

The blast hit the hard ground and cracked it. He followed-up with a blast of his
own from Kenshuga, and made a deep gouge in the bottom of the arroyo. They both
could smell the water coming up to the surface.

"One more ought to do it," he said and his father grunted in agreement.

"Kaze no Kizu!"

After the third blast, the water started out as a trickle, but soon increased until it
was pouring from the earth at a decent rate. It was no long-lasting stream, but it would

provide enough water for them to wash, and maybe for a few days after. He jumped down
into the gulch and began to strip off his filthy clothes. His father joined him and soon
they were both standing in the calf-deep creek, sluicing the frigid water over their bodies.

"Gah, that's cold," he complained, but didn't stop as he scrubbed the blood from
his arms using some fine gravel.

"No colder than the streams at home," his father commented.

"True." The streams at home could actually be quite a bit colder, especially in
winter. "But what I wouldn't give for an onsen right about now."

"Keh. I thought you were made of stronger stuff."

He snickered. "Hey, you were the one who couldn't take the heat half the time. I
remember when Okaa-san would take me into the onsens with her while you complained
the water was too hot."

"Keh! You and her, cooking yourselves."

"The hotter the better," he quipped.

He bent down and scooped the water over his head, rubbing his scalp vigorously
and rinsing out his hair. It reeked of bat blood and entrails.

"Ugh, I need my shampoo and some clean clothes," he said, washing his face.

"We should probably burn the ones we were wearing," Inuyasha replied. "We'll
never get the smell out of them."

A bright light suddenly shined down on them and he was momentarily blinded.
He heard his father curse so he was fairly certain that Inuyasha couldn't see either. He
snarled, and was about to spring, when the light abruptly shut off.

"There you are. We heard loud bangs, but when neither of you came back to the
hogan, we got worried," Emma's voice said.

He shook away the white spots and made his eyes focus on the Cree woman who
was now looking down at them. He knew it was dark, so he wasn't sure how much she
could see from her vantage point, but still, he found that he didn't care all that much what
she saw. His father broke the silence with his usual tact.

"Feh, We're fine. Why don't you make yourself useful and go get us some clean
clothes, woman?"

Knowing that they were both standing there naked in the water, it was probably a
good suggestion, but it could have been framed with a little more politeness. Then again,
she was just standing there staring at them.

"Of course," she answered after a few beats.

"Could you please bring my bag?" he asked. "I'd like my shampoo so I can wash
my hair."

"Sure. I'll be back as soon as I can."

"Feh," his father snorted after she was gone. "You do know that if your mother
had ever caught me peeping at her like that, I'd have been sat until every bone in my face
was broken."

"She probably couldn't see anything with us down in this gully anyway."

"Hey, all we can hope is that she enjoyed the view," he joked.

"Speak for yourself. These modern women are too brazen for my tastes."

His father finished bathing quickly, but he was in no hurry. In a way it was a kind
of challenge. If Emma wanted to look at him, or was embarrassed, that was her problem.
Right now he was exhausted, beat up, and covered in gore. If some silly mortal woman
wanted to ogle him while he bathed, he really didn't give a damn as long as she brought

Inuyasha was just pulling on his dirty jeans when his head swiveled up and his
ears came forward. "She's back."

He grunted. He knew his father had smelled her first because he was the one out
of the arroyo. A moment later his shampoo and a bar of soap were tossed down to him.
He grabbed them and looked up to see his father on the edge of the gully with Emma
standing next to him.

"Thanks," he called up.

Inuyasha nodded. "I'll meet you back at the hogan."

"Okay. I'll be along shortly," he replied and began lathering up his hair.

He washed it twice, and was rinsing, when he realized that Emma was still there.
She was sitting on the edge of the crevasse his father and he had gouged, looking down at
him. He snorted.

"If you brought my conditioner, could you toss it down?" he asked.

He heard her rummaging for something and soon a bottle was falling towards
him. He snatched it out of mid-air and opened it, pouring a palmful of the thick cream
into his hand and working it into his hair.

"If you're expecting me to be embarrassed, you should know that I lost my
modesty a couple of centuries ago," he commented when he saw that she hadn't moved.

"That's good to know. I'm just watching your back. You're unarmed and naked
down there," she replied, a note of annoyance in her voice.

"Did you bring the rifle?"

He nodded and used the soap to scrub his body again.

"Just so you know, you look pretty good for your age," she said after a while.

It was an attempt at humor, but he could hear the nervousness in her tone. He

"I work out."

"I can see that."

There was a long pause before she spoke again.

"I can see you, you know," she said, and he knew that she meant she could see
through the spell. Well, she could if he had been wearing his ring, but he wasn't. He
doubted she could see that, though, but he knew what she meant.

He rinsed his hair and body, heartily glad that he was clean again. He hated
reeking of blood and battle. It only stirred his demon blood and made him long for things
he couldn't have. He knew his father felt it more keenly because his demon blood had
been released, and he wouldn't be surprised to find out that his parents had gone off
together once he got back to the hogan. Part of his demon turned its head towards the
young human female with a pique of interest, but he stomped it down with both feet and
dunked his head in the cold water again.

`I really wish she would go back to the hogan...' he sighed.

"You don't have to stay, you know. There isn't any danger," he said.

"I don't want to be confined right now. I might even sleep outside," she replied.

"It will get cold."

"Ruth has blankets I can borrow."

He shook himself off and leaped out of the gully. Emma had already laid out a set
of fresh clothing for him and he picked it up gratefully.

"Thanks," he said, pulling on the jeans.

When he was dressed, he strapped Kenshuga back to his waist and put on his
signet ring even though he knew it wouldn't work on her, then he sat down next to her
and they both looked at the flowing stream.

"The swords did that?" she asked.

"I... I've never seen swords that could blast energy like that."

"They're demon forged. They have all kinds of different powers. My father's
Tessaiga has multiple attacks as does my Kenshuga."

"The swords have names?"

"When you pulled it out, it grew. I saw it."

"Yeah, it transforms when I'm going into battle."

She gave him a small smile. "I'm sure there's a lewd reference in there
somewhere but I'll ignore it."

He chuckled, then he caught her staring at him when she thought he wasn't
looking. He met her gaze with a look of sympathy and understanding.

"I can only imagine what you are feeling right now."

She frowned and looked away. "Confused, mostly."

"I mean... I wasn't trying to do anything. I just saw those... things and grabbed
the rifle. Then when I fired..."

"The bullets purified the bats. Yeah, I know. You came into your power the same
way my mother did. Her miko talent woke when she was grabbed by a centipede youkai.
She didn't know what was happening either," he admitted. "Most mikos develop their
skills slowly with training so by the time they have to fight, they know what to expect
and do. But a few with hidden talent manifest the Gifts suddenly, usually when they are
under duress." He looked at her, his eyes soft. "It can come as quite a shock."

He saw her swallow and nod. "Yes."

"But the good news is you're here with us and my mother can help you
understand what is happening to you. You should ask her to be your teacher. If she
doesn't feel she can do it, I am sure my sister, Mariko, would be willing to help."

"Will I always be able to see demons like this?"

"Unless they are trying very hard to hide themselves, and use stronger
concealment spells, yeah. Most of us living in the human world just use the standard
glamours. We don't really need anything more than that."

"So... I'll see demons wherever I go."

"And spirits. You'll be able to sense magic, demonic energy, holy objects and
places. That's why it's important that you have someone to guide you. Untrained mikos
can go crazy, especially if they don't realize what is happening to them."

Emma made a face. "That's good to know."

He looked at her, his face serious. "Your life is about to change in a drastic way."

She nodded. "I think it was destined. I think I knew it was going to change the
moment my cousin called me. I've felt... anxious, and now I don't. I feel... relieved."

Her words surprised him at first, but then he remembered her fighting spirit and it
didn't seem so far-fetched. He made a grunt of agreement, but said nothing.

"May I touch them?" she asked suddenly.

"Eh?" he answered, blinking at her.

"Your ears. May I touch them?"

He grinned and lowered his head down so she could see his ears more closely. A
moment later he felt her fingers stroking the sensitive edges and he shivered.

`This was a bad idea...'

"They're so soft."

He pulled his head away, trying to clear his vision, and put some distance between
them. It would be too easy to let himself sink into the needs of the moment and end up
doing something he would seriously regret later.

"Yeah. I dunno what it is about the ears. The first thing my mother did when she
met my father was tweak his ears."

She gave him a small smile. "Well, they are irresistible." Her brow creased. "But
it's odd... I didn't see a tail."

He sputtered. "Wh-what?"

"You don't have a tail."

"Of course I don't have a tail!"

She seemed offended by his offense. "It's a perfectly logical thing to believe. If
you have dog ears why not a dog tail as well?"

"What do you think I am? Some wimpy wolf?" he sneered, then suddenly realized
that he was channeling his father. Kouga had a tail, all the wolf-youkai had tails, but none
of the inu-youkai or the inu-hanyous had ever been born with tails.

`Although Uncle does have his mokomoko-sama...'

"Wimpy wolf?" Emma repeated, a hint of humor in her voice.

"Sorry, old rivalry. But no, we don't have tails," he apologized.

She gave him a coy look. "That's a shame. It might have been fun to play with."

He snorted. "Just because I let you tweak my ears does not mean I'd let you play
with my tail... if I had one."

She laughed and looked away. "Of course not."

He frowned, stamping down a growl. The demon in him recognized her play and
was responding. It knew she had been interested in him before and was urging him to see
if the interest still remained.

`She's freaked out and looking for reassurance. We were friendly before so it's
only natural for her to turn to me,' he rationalized.

"We should be getting back. I'm sure my father is wondering where we are, and I
know there are things we have to discuss," he said, grabbing his bag and soiled clothes.

"Yeah," she agreed and rose to her feet, picking up the rifle as she went.

They walked back to the hogan in silence, and he was grateful that he didn't have
to carry on a conversation. In truth he was probably just as confused as she was right
now. Prior to the battle, he'd thought the situation with them was settled. He'd impressed

upon her how old he was, and she had seemed to be sufficiently put off by it, but now she
appeared to be reassessing her position.

`I'm exotic. I'm intriguing. I'm unattainable. Plus I'm cute and sexy...' He sighed
and pushed down his arousal and longing again. `Maybe I am lonely...'

"Is something wrong?" Emma asked him. Maybe she had heard his sigh and small

"No," he replied a little more sharply than he had intended to.

There was no point to it, was there? She was human and had already shown
aversion to his age. If he were to make overtures, it could only end badly. Besides, he'd
been down that road before and it had nearly destroyed him. He was happy living with
his parents. He was overjoyed to help raise his little brother and work with his father. He
was fulfilled and content...

The twinge in his groin said otherwise, but that was just the battle lust and the
close proximity to a marginally willing female. He had no idea what she would do if he
actually did make a move on her. If she rejected him, it truly would be over, fantasy and

"About time you two got back," his father complained, meeting them as they
approached the hogan. His mother was with him, and they were both looking stressed.

"Sorry. I had to wash my hair twice," he answered, ignoring Inuyasha's raised

:That all, pup?: his father barked.

:Nothing happened. Beta-male did not take a new mate.:

Inuyasha snorted but did not reply. His mother did give him a sad look, however.

"Your mother and I are going to do a sweep of the area. Make sure there aren't
any other surprises out there."

`In other words, you and she are going to go off together so you can work off the
last of the battle lust,' he translated. He didn't blame them. If he had a mate, or a weaker
will, he would have done the same thing.

"You stay here and guard the hogan. We'll be back soon."

He nodded. :Beta-male obey.:

He watched as his parents got into the Jeep and drove off.

"They seemed in a hurry to get out of here," Emma commented shrewdly.

"They just want to make sure there aren't any more threats," he covered.

"Mmm hmm. Okay. Whatever you say."

"You think I'm lying?" he countered.

"No. I know you don't lie. You're just not telling me everything."

He opened his mouth to speak but she put up a hand.

"You told me I would feel things, right?"

He nodded. "Yes."

"Well, what I was feeling off of them right now had nothing to do with looking
for threats."

He sighed. "No," he admitted, defeated. He looked at the fading trail of dust left
by the Jeep. "After a fight... we're highly sensitive and we... feel the battle lust. We need
to work off the last of it so we can calm down."

"So... they've gone to work it off?"

"Yeah, something like that."

"What about you? You're feeling it too."

He looked at her, trying to read her unspoken messages, and trying to figure out
how he ought to respond. He narrowed his gaze and breathed deep, deep enough for her
to hear that he was sniffing her scent. The demon in him roiled as he smelled her
excitement, and he took a small step towards her, inhaling again. He heard her small
gasp, heard her pulse quicken. He took another step. The scent was intoxicating. His
blood lust was rising, scratching to be set free. He growled low in his throat. Not a growl
of warning, but one of longing. So close...

Fear spiked through her scent. It was only for a moment, but it was enough to
pierce through his red haze. He snorted and shook his head, clearing his mind and
sending the demon back to its cage, howling in frustration.

"I've been alone a long time," he finally managed to say. "I'm used to dealing
with it on my own."

Conflicted emotions crossed her face and swirled through her scent. "Yukio..."

"You should go inside. I'll stay out here and guard the door until my parents get
back," he told her, cutting her off.

She reached to touch him but he stepped away.

"That's not a good idea right now."

"No it's not," he snapped, lifting one lip to bare a fang. It was enough to make her

It was an order, and he saw her think she might disobey, but then she looked at
him and changed her mind.

"Okay. If that's what you want," she finally said and slipped into hogan without
another word.

When she was gone, he slumped against the wall and slid down to the ground.

`What I want is for you to stop torturing me.'

He placed Kenshuga across his lap in its sheath as he gripped the hilt tightly in
both hands. He was still there when his parents returned about forty minutes later. His
father took one look at him and shook his head. His mother said nothing, but knelt next to
him, and he allowed himself the comfort of resting his forehead on her shoulder. He
didn't care that she smelled of his father or what they had been doing. Right now he
needed her comforting arms around him because she had been one of the few constants in
his life, and he needed her to anchor him when the rest of him was washing away.

:Mother-female,: he barked softly.

:Good pup,: she replied.

He sighed and closed his eyes. His father stood by, one hand resting protectively
on Tessaiga's hilt. It was a stance he was well familiar with. Gruff and aloof, Inuyasha
rarely showed his true feelings, but the fact that he was guarding and watching over them
told him everything he needed to know.

"I'm okay," he said finally.

His father grunted once and took a step back, allowing him the room to rise to his

"Is everyone else still inside?" his mother asked.

"Let's go in then. I am sure you're hungry. Your father is starving."

He frowned. Ruth had so little and he knew their appetites were huge.

"I'm not sure pizza delivery guy will come all the way out here..." he began.

His mother cut him off with a wave of her hand.

"While the two of you were dying of indigestion, I went to the market and stocked
up. The supplies were in the minivan with Billy and Lori, and I transferred them to
Michael's Jeep at the trading post."

His ears perked up. "Ramen?"

She gave him a sweet smile. "And potato chips, among other things."

He gave a happy whoop and hugged his mother tight. "Okaa-san you are the best
Kaa-san in the whole world!"

"Well, I couldn't have a repeat of last night, now could I?" she explained when he
released her.

He gave her a sloppy kiss on the cheek. "Where is it? Is it still in Michael's

"As far as I know. Unless someone took it out while we weren't here."

He ran over to the Navajo man's vehicle and sniffed at the back window. The
unmistakable scent of ramen and fried potatoes hit his nose, and he jimmied the door
handle. Thankfully for Michael, he'd left his Jeep unlocked or he would have had to
replace the rear windshield glass.

He flipped open the rear hatch and lunged for the boxes full of food. `Ramen,
chips, canned franks and beans, corned beef hash, mac n' cheese, canned beef raviolis,
Doritos... Okaa-san, I love you! Oh! She even bought a jumbo can of Spam!'

"Oi, pup! Hand that food over here and I'll carry it inside," his father said.

He grabbed the box with the ramen and held it close to his chest. "I've got it. You
can get the box full of bottled water."

:Insolent pup,: Inuyasha growled.

"Mine! Mine! Mine!" he yelled with glee as he ran for the hogan. His father, all
indignant bluster, was close behind.

They used the bottled water to boil water for the ramen. Kagome had bought six
cases of the stuff, and he knew he and his father would pack away at least half a case in a
single sitting. She had also brought numerous canned goods and staples to give to Ruth.
Apparently, she had been talking to Lori about life on the reservation and what would be
appropriate gifts to bring as thank you's for the hospitality. The old woman accepted the
gifts and the gallons of bottled water gratefully, and they brewed coffee while he and his
father downed bowls of ramen in quick succession.

His mother cautioned against David drinking anything with caffeine because of
the head wound, but the others downed two pots before they called the night to a close.

"What will you do in the morning?" Sara asked, holding Peter close to her chest
and rocking him.

"Well, we'll go back to the cave where the Terror Bats were nesting and see if
there are any clues as to who brought them here," his mother replied.

"Do you think they killed Temeh?"

Kagome shook her head. "No, but there is more to this than we know. If what the
guide told us is true, Temeh's pack asked for help and none was given."

"So that means someone knew about the bats being here," he commented.

His father snorted. "No way. Too close to Vegas."

He thought a moment, then realized what Inuyasha was saying. "His son is in

"Exactly. There's no way my brother would tolerate a clan of Terror Bats
anywhere near his pup."

He breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, that is good to know. I would hate to have
discovered that he was behind bringing them here in the first place."

"Keh! Arrogant bastard would never lower himself to hiring scum like those.
Besides, he hates them as much as I do."

He nodded and downed another bowl of ramen: his fifth and his father was on his
sixth. Fighting always made him ravenously hungry. He poured another, ignoring the
alarmed looks he caught Ruth and Sara sending his way. Emma was sitting nearby, but
she wasn't saying anything. He did his best to ignore her, but he saw her looking at him
as well when she thought he couldn't see.

The food did improve his mood some. He hadn't realized how hungry he was
until he had smelled the cooking ramen, but now that his belly was full, he was calmer
and more settled. He looked around the small hogan and saw that it was very crowded.
Perhaps it would be best if he slept outside. His mother always kept blankets and
emergency supplies in their vehicles, and he was certain that it wouldn't be too cold for
him. And sleeping outside would get him away from Emma's scent.

"And once you have found out who brought the bats here, then what?" Sara
asked. "What about finding Temeh?"

"Heh. We find who brought the bats and we'll find out who asked for help," his
father answered.

"Then you'll know where Temeh's family is and you'll be able to find out where
he is," the young Navajo said hopefully.

"That is the operating theory, yes," he confirmed.

"We have no doubts that Temeh's family knew about the bats being here. The
silver coyote led us straight to the cave. It's possible that you haven't heard from Temeh
because his family went into hiding or relocated," Kagome added.

"And left me and Peter behind?" the girl questioned.

"Keh, coyotes are cowards," his father sneered.

"That may be true, but not even a coyote would leave his mate and pup behind,"
he pointed-out.

"Do you think they've been captured and held prisoner somewhere?" his mother

His father took a swig from a bottle of water. "Dunno."

"This situation is awful," his mother complained. "I hope we can find answers

His father put down his water bottle and wiped his mouth. "We should get some

He rose to his feet. "I'll sleep outside, Otou-san, and guard the door."

Inuyasha grunted in agreement and stood as well. "I'll go with you. Better for two
of us to be out there in case there are any more surprises."

He wanted to protest, but his father gave him a look and a baring of teeth that told
him the Alpha had decided, and that was that, so he backed down. Ruth gave them two
thick Navajo blankets that were more than enough to keep them warm, and they went
outside after saying goodnight to his mother.

Both of them took sitting positions against the hogan wall with their swords
within easy reach, and they were silent for a long time as they both kept their senses on
high alert.

"Do you think Uncle was able to muster an attack force quickly enough to get the
rest of the swarm?" he asked.

"Keh!" his father answered. "Knowing that bastard, he called in a private militia."

He shrugged. "Well, he does have the resources at his disposal."

"Hmph. Well, we'll know if he got them if they're not in the cave when we get
there tomorrow."

"Or if we're not attacked tonight. If the wind shifts, it could carry the scent of
battle and blood that way. You know the bats have a good sense of smell."

"Maybe. If they come, we'll rip them to pieces. Who needs my bastard brother

He chuckled and rested his head against the hogan wall, looking up at the stars.
There was almost no light pollution to dilute the view of the heavens, and he remembered
a time when the sky was always so dark and beautiful.

"You know, I love electricity and modern conveniences, but I do miss nights like
this," he commented wistfully.

"Feh. Just a bunch of blinking lights."

"But doesn't it make you feel small? Wondering if there's another planet out there
in the vastness of space that can support life? That maybe we aren't the only ones out

"Best evidence of that is the fact that they haven't tried to contact us."

He laughed. "True. But don't you ever wonder?"

"No. I'm a rude, ignorant hanyou, remember? I don't have any deeper feelings."

He snorted. "You are not, and we both know it."

His father sighed. "I'm not like your mother. You know that. I don't question. I
like things simple. I don't like a lot of weird things. Maybe there's life out there and
maybe there isn't. All I know is that right now I don't care because it isn't something I
have to deal with. Right now my life is full. I get up in the morning. I go to work. I play
with my pups. I love my mate. I have no need to think beyond that unless you give me a

"You shouldn't let people think you are so simpleminded," he scolded gently.

"Why not? It's easier."

"Because that isn't who you are."

"So? All the people who matter know different so why should I care what others
think? Feh, don't need `em."

Now it was his turn to sigh and shake his head. `Oh, Tou-san. You've been letting
others think you are a rough, violent hanyou for so long that you don't know how to be
anything else.'

"I'm glad you took after your mother. You have her heart and her mind. No one
ever thought you were simpleminded."

"I had no need to. You were the one who let them think you were stupid."

"Like I said, it was easier."

`Probably safer too. I can't ever forget that the world my father grew up in was
very different from the one I grew up in. If people knew he could think, they would have
hunted him that much harder.'

"Oi. What's going on between you and that Cree woman?" his father asked

The question surprised him and he looked over at the older hanyou. "What do you

"I caught a weird mood between you."

He sighed. "There's nothing going on between us."

There was silence for a while and he thought his father had dropped the subject,
but then Inuyasha spoke again and this time it was in his serious voice, the one he
reserved for when he was speaking from his heart.

"She's not Miaka, son."

He blinked. Inuyasha almost never called him "son."

"I... I know that, Otou-san."

"You've been alone a long time."

"I'm not alone. I have you and Kaa-san, and Ian," he argued.

"It's not the same. Having a mate is different."

"I had a mate," he shot back defensively.

"She was never the one for you. She never accepted you for what you were. She
made you choose between her and your family. She denied you pups, then made you
watch her die. No true mate would ever do such a thing."

There had been a time when he would have angrily defended his dead wife, but
those days were long past. He'd realized that his bond with Miaka had been one-sided
decades ago.

"Then you understand why I am reluctant to let someone else that close to me," he
tried, appealing to his father's sense of compassion.

"Of course I do. But it doesn't mean that you should shut it completely out of
your life. If I had done that, I would never have had the courage to accept your mother's

"You think your first love ended badly? At least you weren't tricked by an evil
man who bartered his body to demons in order to get to your woman, and at least your
first love didn't spear you through the heart and Seal you to a tree for fifty years. And at
least she didn't die thinking you had been the one who killed her, and died cursing your

He swallowed. His father rarely spoke of Kikyou's first death or his time Sealed
to Goshinboku.

"No, she didn't," he whispered softly, looking down at his hands.

"What I'm saying is don't give it up. I like this one. She's strong and she's smart.
She's got guts and she isn't afraid of you."

"Yes, she is," he countered.

"Not where it counts. Twice she's stood by you and fought beside you. She faced
a swarm of Terror Bats tonight with newly awakened miko powers. She did that because
you were in danger. Don't mistake her confusion and fear of something new and
unknown with true fear. Your mother was afraid of me at first, and you know how that
worked out."

He nodded. "Yeah."

"I just don't want you to condemn yourself to being alone for the rest of your life.
No father wants that for his son. We want our pups to be happy. Maybe this Cree woman
is the one and maybe she isn't, but you'll never know if you don't at least give her a

He nodded, settled back against the hogan wall, and was silent for several
moments. "I'll think about it."

His father grunted and no more was said on the subject. They remained mostly
quiet for the rest of the night with the two of them trading off watch while the other
napped. Thankfully, the night passed without even a whisper of youki on the wind, and
they were both able to get some sleep.

Morning found them mostly rested, and they woke when Ruth, Michael and Sara
came out to perform the Dawn Way, facing the sunrise and greeting the new day. While
the Navajos performed their Ceremony, he and his father stood and stretched, working
out the kinks from sitting upright all night.

He couldn't say which of them smelled it first because they both turned to the
south at the same time, noses sniffing the wind. His father started growling even before
they saw the moving figure approaching from above. He recognized the feather
immediately, but he had no idea what the wind demon was doing there. She came close,
her feather floating not far away from them, and it looked like she was planning to land.

"Kagura!" his father yelled.

"Yo," she answered and waved her fan.

They both jumped back as a small whirlwind of dust blew down and dropped an
adolescent coyote-youkai at their feet.