InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ The Coyote Child ❯ epilogue ( Chapter 18 )
Epilogue – Eight months later
“Aniki! Aniki! Aniki!” Ian greeted, running towards him at full speed as he stepped off his bike.
“Otouto!” he replied, reaching out as the pup launched himself into Yukio’s arms. “Oooff! I see you ate bricks for lunch again.”
Ian giggled and wrapped his legs around his big brother’s waist. “I did not!”
Yukio bounced the boy on his hip. “I dunno. Feels like bricks to me.”
A quick sniff revealed a familiar scent, and his heart sped up. Ian snickered, catching Yukio scenting him. “Emma-san is here.”
“Is that so?” he commented, carrying the pup as he made his way into the house.
“Hai! Kaa-san and Oneesama were teaching her today.”
The respectful honorific could only mean that Mariko had come to assist with Emma’s miko training. So far the young Cree had been handling the lessons well.
He set Ian down as he passed through the grand entry. Ian giggled and ran off in the direction of the back of the house, presumably to find his mother and sister while he headed for the kitchen. He’d been out visiting sites all day, checking to make sure all the projects were on time and on budget, and he was hungry. He found his father sitting at the kitchen island, scarfing down a bowl of ramen.
“Got any for me?” he asked breezily.
“Feh. Make your own,” Inuyasha grumbled. :Welcome back, Beta-male:
“Keh! It takes two minutes.” :Pup old enough to feed himself.:
Yukio snickered, but set about making his own late lunch. His father grumbled more as Yukio pulled down four packages of ramen from the stuffed cabinet.
“How’d it go?” Inuyasha asked.
“Good,” he replied. “Arbor Lake is having some issues with drainage, but coming along. Evanston and Rosedale are on schedule and on budget.”
“Told them they needed an extra sump pump,” Inuyasha groused.
“One’s been ordered.”
“Good. Maybe next time they’ll listen to me.”
Yukio frowned. “I wouldn’t bet on that.”
His father sighed. “Me either.”
They enjoyed the comfortable silence of loving family as Yukio made his food and a large cup of coffee. His father wasn’t one to fill the air with chatter, and he had nothing more to report.
“The miko’s here,” Inuyasha announced as Yukio sat down at the counter to eat.
“Which one?” he teased.
His father gave him a side-long glance. “You know which one.”
He chuckled and took a large bite of his food. “I do. Besides, I smelled her all over Ian.”
Inuyasha shrugged. “Pup’s a bigger cuddler than you were.”
“There are worse things.”
“True. You going to Edmonton this weekend?
“I was planning to.”
“You willing to stop in and check on the Empire Park site?”
“Sure, but why?”
“Don’t like the reports coming from the crew. Inspector said he found some violations, but I suspect he wants a bribe.”
Yukio snorted. “He’s obviously never worked with us before.”
Yukio took a drink from his coffee mug. “He’ll learn.”
Inuyasha huffed an assent.
They sat in silence for a few moments more as Yukio finished his meal, then he got up to wash his dish and coffee cup before going to find Emma. He didn’t want to seem too eager, but his father smirked at him anyway. Yukio ignored him and headed further into the house, towards the sunroom where Emma usually rested after her training sessions. His mother and Mariko were hard taskmasters, but from everything he had seen and heard, Emma was rising to the challenge.
He found her resting on a lounge chair in the sunroom, basking in the fading light. She was dressed in her street clothes – her usual outfit of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, but her hair was still damp. He knew the training sessions usually ended with a long, aromatic soak in the spa to loosen muscles and relax the mind. She looked at peace, lying there with her eyes closed, but he knew she could sense him come into the room.
She was a sight to look at, and his heart warmed. It had taken him months to work up the courage to give them a chance, but so far it had been working out well. Emma had the Talent Miaka never had, and her ability to read and work with youkai and youkai energy was helping her to become more adjusted to their supernatural life better than Miaka ever could.
“Hey,” he said.
She smiled, but did not open her eyes. “Hey.”
“Want me to braid your hair?”
He took one of the other upright chairs in the room and placed it behind her. She raised the lounge chair up high enough to make her hair easily accessible. He knew she kept a comb and her hair accessories in the day-bag she brought for her sessions, so he reached into it and took out what he needed. With practiced ease, he separated her long hair into two sections, combing them free of tangles and splitting them into thirds.
“How did today go?” he asked, his hands deftly working.
“Pretty good. We’ve started on honing my ability to sense youkai from a distance. I felt you approaching about five minutes before you got home.”
“Your mother says I should realistically be able to sense youkai shouki from twenty miles away.”
“You get much stronger and I won’t be able to surprise you when I pick you up from class anymore.”
She chuckled and opened her eyes, tilting her head back to look at him. He knew that she could see him in his true form all the time now, and it still gave him a bit of thrill.
“We could consider it practice. See how far out I can sense you.”
“Would ruin the surprise though,” he pointed out, tying off the end of the first braid and starting the second.
“There are other ways you could surprise me,” she teased.
“True. But it would ruin the scandalized looks I get whenever I walk into the classroom to sweep you off your feet.”
She laughed. “My handsome, Japanese boyfriend. If only they knew.”
“You could tell them I cosplay as a silver-haired inu-youkai at ComicCon.”
“You’d win Best Costume for sure.”
“Until someone tried to take off my “fake” ears and wig.”
She laughed again, low and easy. “Tell me something?”
“Anything,” he promised, finishing the second braid. He then moved on to securing the two decorative barrettes that adorned the braids. Strands of his hair were used in their making, replacing the traditional thread. She also had a necklace that contained one of his teeth, blessed for her protection.
“Is it true that your father had an enchanted necklace that your mother could use to incapacitate him?”
“The Kotodama no nenju, yes. They were enchanted prayer beads. Kaede-sama put them on him when he was first freed from Goshinboku. He was raging, violent. The beads prevented him from hurting anyone by subduing him with a word.”
He moved the chair from behind her and placed it next to the lounger so he could look at her.
“Osuwari. My mother used it often.”
Emma raised the lounge chair higher until she was almost in a full seated position.
“What did it do?”
“It subdued him. Mostly by planting his face into the ground. Every time she said it, he would slam down.”
“It was. In more ways than one, but it didn’t hurt him – not physically at least. But my mother realized that she abused it. She would use it to punish him for things she didn’t like rather than things he had done wrong or were dangerous. I know it’s hard to tell now, but she had quite a temper in her younger years.”
“You don’t say,” Emma quipped, dryly.
He smiled. “It’s true. But eventually, she realized that my father deserved his freedom, so she took them off.” His smile turned wry. “And she’s regretted it ever since.”
“My father still has them. Sometimes I think he misses them,” he added more seriously.
“Because now there’s nothing to hold him back. Before when he had them on, he could always count on my mother to stop him if he got out of control. Once they were off, he had to rely on himself.”
“And did he? Ever go out of control?”
He shook his head. “Never.”
“Hmm. Kagome-san and Miaka-san spoke of them today when we were talking about enchanted items. They said I will be able to create them as well.”
He nodded. “Oh yes. Eventually. It’s the same holy energy that helps you make the enchanted bullets.”
“I still struggle with the concept of holy. I don’t feel like a priestess,” she admitted with a small frown.
He shrugged. “That’s because you have this vision of what a priestess should be. Not all of them have to be cloistered virgins kept locked away from the world. But you know that from your own tribe. Your Medicine Men and Women are revered elders in your community.”
“It’s the Revered Elder part I’m struggling with,” she said.
“I’m 460 years old, and still refuse to grow up,” he reminded her in a conspiratorial whisper.
She regarded him with a critical eye, looking him over thoughtfully.
“Hmm. You don’t look a day over 300.”
He said it in a deadpan voice that made Emma laugh.
“You going back to Edmonton tonight?” he asked leadingly.
She gave him a coy look. “I don’t have class tomorrow, so I guess I could stay.”
His grin turned sly. “If you stay, I am sure we could find something to do. I am your handsome, Japanese boyfriend, after all.”
“I prefer my handsome hanyou,” she corrected, leaning forward.
“That works for me, too,” he answered, accepting her kiss.
When the kiss was over, he offered his hand to her. “C’mon, let’s see what we can get up to tonight.”
She accepted his hand and rose to her feet.
“I heard there might be a band worth seeing at Ironwood.”
“Sounds like a plan,” he agreed, holding her hand as they stood side-by-side.
“Or maybe we can look to see if anything is happening at Junction Grand or the Arts Commons.”
“Okay. Can we take my bike?”
She crinkled her nose.
“And mess up my hair after you spent so much time re-braiding it?”
“I’ll have you know I braid iron-clad braids.”
She gave him a dour look to show him how unconvinced she was by that statement.
“Right. Answer’s still no.”
He made a show of pouting, bringing her hand up for him to kiss the backs of her fingers. “You never let me have any fun.”
“Sometimes I think you need your own set of enchanted prayer beads,” she said, unimpressed.
“What’s the Cree word for Sit, Boy?”
She groaned. “You’re incorrigible.”
“Yes, but you love me anyway,” he replied.
She sighed and gave him a tender look.
“I do. I really do.”
He smiled wider and offered her his arm. She took it and pressed close as they left the sunroom behind.
The final rays of sunlight coming through the tall windows lit on floating motes of dust dancing in small patterns on a non-existent breeze, and somewhere in the Afterlife, Joseph Talking-Wolf and Miaka Fushikenwa smiled.
In this story I use the name Lori Peistewa. Lori was the first Native American woman to die in combat for the United States when her convoy was ambushed in Iraq in April of 2003. She left behind two small children under the age of six. I use her name to honor her sacrifice, as we honor the sacrifices of all our men and women fighting and dying in that far away land.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not Navajo or any Native American. I do, however, try to get it as right as anyone outside of a culture can, and try to be respectful of beliefs and customs