InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ The Lucky Ones ❯ Chapter Twenty-Five ( Chapter 25 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]

Chapter Twenty-Five

"I'm gonna get you!" Kagome teased, laughing. :Run! Pup, run! Mother-female catch pup!:

Yukio let out a squeal of delight and toddled away as fast as his little legs could carry him, which considering he was a hanyou, was pretty damn fast. Kagome gave chase and they ran around the shrine grounds, laughing and playing in the warm afternoon sunlight.

`It's a shame Inuyasha's missing this,' she thought as she marveled once again at how quickly Yukio was developing.

Two days ago he'd mastered the words `Jii-chan' and `Baa-chan' much to Jii-chan and Mama's delight. He still called Souta `Outa' because `S' was still a problem for him, but she was sure he'd get it soon.

Inuyasha had been gone for five days, and she was missing him terribly. Yukio missed him too and often asked where he was. She kept telling him that his Otou-san had gone away on a trip and would be back soon. She used the opportunity to teach him the days of the week and the basics of counting. On her calendar she had circled the tenth day, the day Inuyasha was supposed to come for them and they would go back through the well, and she made it a point to mark off each day with him every morning, going through the exercise of listing and counting off the days left. In this way, she had taught him how to count to ten.

`Inuyasha will be so proud when he hears Yukio recite his numbers. I know he wants me to teach him everything I can.'

Yukio tried to hide behind Goshinboku, but he kept giggling so his hiding spot was easily given away. Kagome played along anyway, making a show of looking for him.

"Where is he? Where is Yukio?" :Where pup?: "Where'd he go. Oh no, I can't find him!" :Where pup? Pup missing! Mother-female find pup!:

She popped up behind him and pounced on him. "Found you!" :Caught!:

Yukio yelped then started laughing. "Okaa!"

Rolling him on his back, she rubbed him and blew raspberries on his belly as he giggled and squirmed.

"Got you! Got you!" :Mother-female found pup!:

"Okaa!" :Mother-female! Pup good! Pup good!:

She snickered and rubbed her nose into his chest. "My little big dog." :Good pup!:

Then she picked him up, held him high over her head and spun him around. He put out his arms and his sounds of glee could be heard clear across the shrine grounds. Bringing him close to her chest, she adjusted his hat because it had become a little loose when she had spun him, and she didn't want it falling off. Even though the shrine was closed for the day, she didn't want to take any chance that someone might come by and see Yukio's puppy ears. As a result, he always wore a hat whenever he was outside of the house, no matter where they were going or what they were doing.

"Otou," Yukio burbled, nuzzling her under her chin. :Leader-male gone.: Then he held up one hand and silently folded each finger down like they had done that morning.

"One. Two. Three. Four. Five," she counted off. "Five days before Otou comes home." :Good pup!:

He put his head on her shoulder and she swayed back and forth, rocking him and cooing as she planted little kisses on his forehead. "Love you, baby." :Mother-female loves pup. Mother-female loves pup very much. Good pup.:


Kagome froze at the voice.


Slowly she turned around to see the young man standing there, a bouquet of flowers in his hands. Her surprise soon turned to irritation, but not at the boy.

`Eri… Yuka… I'm going to kill you.'

The previous day she and Ayumi had stopped at WacDonald's on the way home from school and they had run into their old friends from junior high. Kagome hadn't seen them since her 17th birthday party and they were eager to catch up with her. The girls had asked about Inuyasha and she had answered carefully, making sure to leave out anything about Yukio because she didn't want them to know about him. Not that they couldn't be trusted, but well… they couldn't be trusted. Houjou showing up at the shrine carrying flowers was glaring proof of that.

`I wish you two would just give it up! I'm not interested in Houjou. I love Inuyasha!'

"Houjou-kun!" she stammered.

"Higurashi, why are you barking at that child?"

`Barking? Oh… the inu-youkai…'

"Barking? Oh that. Ummm… it's just a game we play," she stuttered, hoping the years since junior high hadn't dulled any of his naiveté.

Yukio sniffed, turning golden eyes towards the boy. :New male. Not pack,: he said, and clung to his mother worriedly. Strange males were never good; especially when Otou wasn't around. "Okaa?"


"Okaa?" Houjou repeated. "Higurashi, is this baby… yours?"

She drew herself up, one hand on Yukio's back and met Houjou's questioning gaze.

"Yes." `It's too much to explain and he doesn't need to know. It's none of his business anyway and maybe he'll finally give up on me.'

Houjou flinched at her plain answer. "Does… does the school know?"

She shot him an irritated glare. "Being that I'm still in school, the answer to that would be no."

The boy looked away, his eyes falling to the flowers that hung limply at his side.

"Is this why you went to live at your aunt's?"

She blinked. "Oh, no. No. I've been living in Sendai since I graduated from Junior High. Yukio's only ten months old."

"Yukio… Ten months. You've been keeping him a secret for ten months?"

"It's easy when I'm not here 90% of the time and only go in to school every two weeks and to take exams," she said with a shrug.

"And… and who is the father?"

"A boy I've been seeing since Junior High."

Houjou's eyes opened wide. "Since Junior High?"

She nodded, feeling sympathy for him because he was looking crushed. "I'm sorry Houjou-kun. I tried to tell you…"

"Is he going to do right by you?" he asked suddenly.

`Huh?' "You mean is he going to marry me? I… I think so. Eventually." `If he doesn't get sucked into Hell by his undead ex-girlfriend… who has been suspiciously absent these last eight months.'


She nodded. "After I graduate High School and turn eighteen. Then I think we'll get married."

"Where is he now?"

"Far away. He had to go away on a trip."

"Away on a trip? Kagome, is he much older than you?"

`Ummm, how should I answer that?' "No. Not that much older. He's eighteen." `Or the equivalent in hanyou years. Funny how they grow fast as babies but then they reach a point where everything slows down.'

Inuyasha explained that hanyou and youkai offspring grew fast to get out of the helpless stage quickly. Once they weren't so vulnerable, however, their development slowed down. He predicted that Yukio would grow like a weed for the first two or three years, then they would see a gradual slowdown. And of course, as she loved to tease him, hanyous might grow fast but they matured very, very slowly.

Houjou nodded at her answer.

"Do you love him?" he questioned.

"Yes," she replied without hesitation. `More than breath, more than life.'

The sadness in his eyes increased, but then she saw him shake his head slightly and muster a soft smile. "I'm glad. I want you to be happy, Higurashi."

`Oh Houjou. You're a good man. If I hadn't fallen in love with Inuyasha, I would have been happy to be your girlfriend.' "Thank you, Houjou-kun."

He smiled a little wider and offered her the flowers. "These are for you."

She bowed slightly and accepted the flowers with her free hand, showing them to Yukio.

"See the pretty flowers, Yukio?"

Yukio sniffed the flowers then grabbed one, ripped it off its stem and ate it.


"Pleh!" the baby sputtered, spitting out the foul tasting flower. :Not food,: he complained.

Kagome started laughing, and Yukio gave her an irritated glare as if to say, `What are you laughing at?' He looked so much like his father in that moment that she just laughed harder. She heard Houjou chuckling too.

"He is very cute, Higurashi," the boy said, coming closer to get a good look at him.

Yukio started warning him off with a little growl so Kagome bounced him and gave him a shush.

"Hush, baby. It's okay."

Yukio stopped growling, but he kept up his little `stay away from my mother' glare.

`Damn, he does become more and more like Inuyasha every day. I think he'd be proud to know Yukio was growling at Houjou. He'd probably tell him: Good job defending our territory, pup. Next I'll teach you how to pee on a tree.'

Houjou was looking at the baby with wary, suspicious eyes. "Does he take much after his father, Higurashi?"

`You have no idea.'

"Yes, he looks just like him."

"His hair is… unusual."

`His hair? Houjou, his hair is the only thing about him that might be considered normal.'

She nodded. "Yes, but I love it. I think it's beautiful. His gold eyes too."

She could see Houjou trying to be diplomatic, his face concerned and serious. "Yes. His eyes are… different."

She smiled, hoping it would distract him from any more questions. "He's a very special baby."

"I can tell."

Houjou lifted one hand to touch Yukio and the growl was back.

"He's mimicking my aunt's dogs," she tried to explain, flushing with embarrassment, then she turned to Yukio and said sharply, :Quiet. Bad pup!:

Yukio immediately groveled and whimpered, stuffing his fist into his mouth and shrinking against her shoulder. :Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Not-pack male. Pup scared.:

:Pup safe.:

Turning her attention to the confused young man, she gave him a sheepish smile and a shrug. "Sometimes I'm convinced he thinks he's a dog."

Houjou gave a nervous laugh.

`Okay, how can I get rid of him because this is getting awkward?'

"Would you like to come in for some tea?"

`There. Now because I'm not available, he should say no…'

"Thank you, Higurashi, but I need to go. Another time maybe, when your baby's father is visiting with you. I would like to meet him sometime."

`Oh yeah, and have him get jealous and go all alpha male on you. No thanks.'

She gave a strained giggle. "That might be nice, Houjou-kun."

"I'll have to meet the guy who beat me and warn him never to mistreat you."

"Ahh… that's very noble of you, Houjou-kun." `Misguided and potentially life-threatening, but noble.'

Just then, her mother returned from running errands and called out to her.


`Saved by Mama.'

"Okaeri nasai, Mama," she greeted as her mother crossed the shrine grounds. She was pushing a brand new 3-wheeled baby coach.

`Oh no. Mama, what did you buy now?'

"Oh, hello Houjou. Did you come to see Kagome?" Mama asked politely.

Houjou bowed deeply. "Good afternoon Higurashi-san."

Yukio, recognizing his grandmother, burbled a happy greeting and reached for her.

"Baa-chan!" he said, using his new word.

Mama smiled widely and took his little hand. "How is my favorite grandson?"

He gurgled happily, chattering more greetings in inu-youkai that only Kagome understood. :Mother-female mother. Pack-female. Home to den. Back safe. Good!:

Mama dug in her pocket and both Kagome and Yukio knew what was coming. Kagome rolled her eyes but Yukio squealed in excitement.

`Sheesh, he knows who spoils him more than Inuyasha and I do…'

"Were you a good boy?" Mama asked him.

"Hai! Goo bai," he replied dutifully. He didn't really know what he was saying yet, but he'd memorized the correct response that earned him the goodie.

"Good boys get sweets," Mama said, handing him a small piece of soft candy. Yukio seized it with both hands and stuffed it in his mouth.

"Will you come inside and join us for lunch?" the older woman asked Houjou.

Houjou bowed again. "Thank you, but I must be going."

He turned to her and bowed. She bowed back.

"It was good to see you, Higurashi. I'm glad that you are doing well."

"It was good to see you, too, Houjou-kun."

"Well, I'll be seeing you," he said with a wave as he moved to leave.

"Houjou-kun," she called, making him stop. "I know Yuka and Eri were the ones who told you I was here. They don't know about Yukio. Please don't tell them."

Houjou's face softened and he nodded. "I would never do anything that would hurt you, Higurashi. I will keep your secret safe."

"Thank you, Houjou-kun."

"Take care, Higurashi."

"You too."

She watched him go then turned to her mother.

"He was always such a nice boy," Mama commented with a wistful sigh.

`And you would have preferred me with him. Yes, I know. Houjou would have made a much nicer son-in-law than the rude, violent, selfish and irritating hanyou I chose.'

"He'd always bring you get well gifts when you weren't in school and come by to visit."

"I know," she replied.

"But he's awfully boring compared to Inuyasha, ne?"

"Mama!" she blurted, shocked.

Mama smiled a knowing smile and pushed the carriage, which was filled with her shopping bags, towards the house. Kagome joined her.

"Well, he is. After all the excitement of that other world, a normal boy like Houjou would seem so…"

"Tame," she finished.

"I was going to say ordinary, but tame works too, and considering who you did choose, it's probably more appropriate."

She giggled. "Inuyasha is anything but tame."

"And you wouldn't want him any other way."

She took a moment to superimpose Inuyasha on Houjou, imagining the hanyou giving her flowers and health sandals.

"Here's some sandals. Wear them so you'll stop complaining about how your feet hurt, wench."

She snickered and shook her head. "No. I wouldn't. Now show me what you bought now, Mama. A coach? Why do I need a coach?"

They entered the genken and took off their shoes.

"Yukio's getting so big. Soon he'll be too heavy to carry. I thought a coach might help."

She looked at the coach. It was a very nice `sport' model: low to the ground, with a folding hood, and bicycle-like wheels.

"Oh Mama, it's very nice. I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of it while I'm here."

`Because I just looovvvvveeee taking my hanyou baby out for strolls around Tokyo.'

Mama smiled. "But you can't use it over there?"

She shook her head. "Not really," she admitted. "When he gets too heavy, Inuyasha will carry him."

Mama shrugged. "You'll use it here then."

They left the coach in the genken and entered the house.

"Shall I make some lunch?"

"I'll help. We can make miso and ramen."

"Ah-men!" Yukio repeated, recognizing the word.

Mama giggled. "I know he's not Inuyasha's, but he becomes more like his father every day."

Kagome sighed and rolled her eyes. "Don't I know it."


Ten days passed and Inuyasha did not come through the well to get her. It bothered her a little bit because Inuyasha was nothing if not punctual, but she dismissed her worry because she knew the Western Lands were some 1000 km from Kaede's village and super-hanyou speed or not, it was still a very long way to go.

Twelve days passed. No Inuyasha. She started to get a little nervous, but resolved herself to wait. Although she missed him desperately and longed to see him again. It was the most time they had spent apart in over two years.

Fourteen days passed. Still no Inuyasha. Yukio was beside himself because he didn't understand where Otou was if the day he was supposed to return had come and gone, and she wasn't much better.

Sixteen days and she'd had enough. She caved into her growing worry and went through the well.

Heaving herself over the side of the well, Yukio in his carrier on her back, she returned to the Sengoku Jidai and landed in the clearing. She scouted around but there was no sign of Inuyasha and a sick feeling started to grow in the pit of her stomach.

`He's not here...'

"Kagome!" came a familiar voice and she turned to see Shippou coming towards her.

"Ip-po," Yukio said from his perch on her back.

`Shippou… not Inuyasha, was waiting for me. That means… Oh no. No…'

Her legs gave out as a crushing grief hit her and she fell to her knees.

`Inuyasha is…'

"He's okay!" was the first thing the kitsune kit said as he jumped into her lap.

The words filtered through her numb mind. `He's alright. Oh thank God.'

"He's okay," Shippou repeated. "Jaken arrived a few days ago. He said Inuyasha was with Sesshomaru and they would be here as soon as they were finished in the Western Lands."

She blinked. `Inuyasha? With Sesshoumaru? What the hell?' "Inuyasha's with Sesshoumaru?"

Shippou nodded. "We couldn't believe it either, but from what Jaken says the Western Lands were badly damaged and both of them are working to fix them. They're running out of time with Winter coming. A lot of people will starve if they can't grow enough food before the harvest season ends."

She stood and Shippou hopped onto her shoulder to greet Yukio.

"Hi Yukio!"

"Ip-po." :Pack-brother.: "Otou?" :Pack-leader?:

"Inuyasha's not back yet, Yukio. Soon though."


"Is Jaken still here, Shippou?" she asked. `I'll get the toad to tell me what is going on.'

"Yeah. He's in the village with Rin and that two-headed dragon-youkai."

She nodded and began walking towards the village. "Okay."

In his carrier, she heard Yukio start to count.

"Chee, nee, an, hee, go, oko, hichee, hachee, koo, joo. Joo day. Otou, joo day."

"Wow! Yukio can count to ten!" Shippou enthused.

"Mmm-hmmm. He learned while we were back in my time. We'd count every day and he memorized the numbers."

"He's so smart. You can really tell he's not Inuyasha's son."

"Don't say that, Shippou," she scolded gently. "Inuyasha's not stupid. In fact, he's very smart. Hiding how smart he is is part of the mask he wears to protect himself, but never forget his mother was a noblewoman and she educated him. He can read and he writes beautifully, better than me."

"If that's true, then why does he let people think he isn't, and why does he play dumb?"

Inuyasha had only hinted at his reasons, but it was enough for her to guess.

"Because no one expects a hanyou to be anything more than a dumb animal. After a while it was just easier to let people think he was simple-minded. Not only was it no use in trying to explain to people who weren't willing to listen, it gave him an advantage because no one expected him to be able to figure things out," she explained.


"Inuyasha's deep, Shippou. He's very deep. What you see is only what he lets you see, but I can tell you that he can speak very formally and well when he has to, he's very intuitive and observant, and he's very, very sensitive. From what I have learned from Sesshoumaru and Toutousai, Inuyasha is very much his father's son."

Shippou didn't comment and she felt that she had said too much so she fell quiet as she continued on her way to the village. She found Kaede weeding in her garden.

"Kaede-obachan," she greeted.

"Ah, Kagome. You're back," the old miko said.

"Yes. I was worried about Inuyasha so I came to see why he hasn't come for me."

"The child and her youkai companions are with the houshi and his wife."

Kagome nodded. "Thank you."

"Kagome-sama!" Rin exclaimed as she approached the hut. The little girl was sitting outside the hut with Jaken and Ah-Un beside her. Kohaku sat nearby, sharpening the blade of his scythe and chain.

"I'm back," she said, taking the child's offered hands as Rin ran to meet her.

"Jaken-sama is here with Ah-Un! He says Sesshoumaru-sama will come for Rin soon."

"That is very good news."

Rin jumped up a bit to see Yukio and Shippou. "Shippo-chan. Yukio-chan."

Yukio burbled at her and smiled as Shippou hurried a greeting, jumped down and headed into the hut to tell Miroku and Sango that Kagome was back. Kagome knelt down and removed the carrier, freeing Yukio from its confines and placing him on the ground. Rin immediately scooped him up and cuddled him. Yukio didn't mind because she'd been doing it for the better part of two months.

"Yukio-chan is so cute!!" the girl enthused. "He's a little Inuyasha-sama!"

Jaken sputtered and rattled his Staff of Two-Heads. "So that is the hanyou whelp."

Kagome gave him a glare at his condescending tone of voice and it was enough to make the little toad visibly sweat.

"Be careful what you say about my son, especially when Inuyasha is around. Speaking of which, what happened in the Western Lands?"

Still sweating, Jaken spun her a tale of war, betrayal, and bloodshed. She flinched when he told her of Tenseiga's rejection. She knew the only person the proud Sesshoumaru had any respect for was his father. Being rejected by his father's fang must have been a terrible blow for him, although the inu-youkai's extreme reaction did surprise her. Sesshoumaru did not strike her as the type who would suffer from depression, but she didn't doubt Jaken's story of his murderous rage and subsequent withdrawl into himself. The most shocking part, however, and the part that made her heart swell with pride and love for her hanyou, was Inuyasha's wielding of Tenseiga and his reviving of Ah-Un. The fact that the great sword of healing accepted Inuyasha's hand for even a short time told her that Tenseiga saw Inuyasha as an equal to his full inu-youkai brother.

"So Sesshoumaru actually asked Inuyasha for help?" she questioned in disbelief.

Jaken snorted. "Sesshoumaru-sama did not need the hanyou's help. It was merely more expedient for Inuyasha to show him where the damage had been done."

"Right," she replied dryly. `Well, it isn't like he hasn't asked Inuyasha for help before. The reason he found out Inuyasha had been sealed was because he sent Jaken to ask if he'd fight the neko-youkai with him. And they have worked together in the past in a kind of `common enemy now, I'll kill you later' way. And Sesshoumaru does care about Inuyasha. I know he does. He came to stop Inuyasha from running rampant that time he transformed into a full youkai and started killing. I know he said he didn't kill Inuyasha because killing him when he didn't even know who he was wasn't a victory, but I don't believe him.'

During their talk, Rin had set Yukio down and he'd toddled over to Ah-Un. The two-headed dragon-like beast had lowered its heads down to examine the child and Yukio, in his typical innocent fearlessness, had grabbed hold of the bridle. Surprised, Ah-Un jerked its heads up, pulling Yukio with it because he didn't let go. Yukio let out a delighted laugh as he was flung around. His mother, of course, was terrified.

"Yukio!" she screamed, leaping to her feet and grabbing for her son.

Ah-Un, now even more upset by the strange human rushing at him, rolled back its eyes and reared up.

"Let go of my baby!" Kagome cried.

"Ah-Un! Bad Ah-Un! Put Yukio down," Rin scolded.

"Kagome-chan!" "Kagome-sama!" Sango and Miroku exclaimed as they came running out of their hut in response to her distressed cry.

"It's got Yukio!"

They turned to see the child dangling from the reins as the dragon-youkai backed up against the hut wall.

"Don't corner it!" Sango warned. "Remember it can fly. If it spooks and takes off, it could drop the baby!"

Kirara dashed out of the hut and transformed, growling a challenge, which only served to make matters worse. Thankfully, the beast's bridle prevented it from breathing fire and setting everything around it ablaze, but that was a small consolation. Yukio, heedless of the mortal danger he was in, continued to laugh and swing from the reins.

"Pony," he burbled.

"Yukio, sweetheart, that's not a pony!" Kagome yelled. "Let go of the reins, baby. Let go!"

Ah-Un swung around, looking for a way out and Yukio swung with him, nearly smashing into the side of the hut. Kagome almost fainted right there.

"Wheeeeeee!" the toddler said, giggling.

`He thinks it's a game. Like when Inuyasha and I swing him around. He doesn't realize that beast's not playing!' she thought frantically.

"Oi! What are you doing with my son?" a very irritated voice said behind her.


She whirled and there he was, looking exhausted and disheveled but perfect.

"Inuyasha!" she cried in both greeting and relief.

He gave her a short nod, but concentrated his attention on the threat to Yukio. He drew Tessaiga and balanced it on his shoulder.

"Hey you! Put my pup down."

The ranks of defenders split down the middle to allow the adult hanyou through, but before anything else could happen Sesshoumaru appeared beside the beast as a flying ball of light. He materialized, grabbed the beast's bridle without so much as a flinch, plucked the toddler from the reins and tossed him towards his father, all without ever changing his neutral expression or batting an eye. Kagome, seeing her baby flying through the air, screamed, but Inuyasha shoved Tessaiga into the ground tip first and snatched Yukio in mid-flight.

"Wheeeee! OTOU!"

"Hey pup," Inuyasha greeted, catching him and holding him close.

"Otou! Otou! Otou!" Yukio chattered excitedly, completely oblivious that he'd could have just been killed. :Leader-male! Leader-male! Back safe! Leader-male!:

Kagome, her legs weak with relief, ran over and threw her arms around them both.


He turned his head to look at her, his eyes full of love and joy. "Hi. I'm back."

For a moment, she was speechless, then she kissed him. He jerked under her touch, then she felt him relax and put an arm around her. His hand on the small of her back pulled her tight against his body and she felt the tremors that ran through him.

"I missed you," she breathed when the kiss finally ended.

His eyes were swirling with need and happiness. "I missed you too. So much."

A wave of lust hit her and she gripped his haori, fighting herself so she didn't throw him to the ground right then and there. He smelled it too, because his eyes widened and flashed with momentary surprise before answering in kind.

"Kagome…" he growled softly under his breath.

"This public display disgusts me," Sesshoumaru's condescending voice said, breaking the spell they'd cast on each other.

"Oi. You're just pissed because you haven't gotten any in over two centuries," Inuyasha spat back. "Isn't it high time you found a mate and started popping out a few pups of your own?"

There was stunned silence and everyone braced for the explosion and subsequent battle to the death. It never came.

"Rin," Sesshoumaru called, stretching out his hand.

The little girl, overjoyed at seeing her benefactor again, ran to him and grabbed it.

"Sesshoumaru-sama! Rin is so happy to see you! She missed you so much!"

If anyone thought it was odd that the inu-youkai didn't shrug off the child's touch or pull his hand away, no one said, mostly because they were still stunned by Sesshoumaru's lack of response to the obvious insult. He picked her up and placed her on Ah-Un, then walked away without another word. Rin waved as Ah-Un followed its master, Jaken hurrying beside it.

"Good-bye! Rin thanks you for taking care of her. She'll be back!"

Sesshoumaru took to the air without so much as a backward glance.

"Sesshoumaru-sama! Wait for us!" Jaken cried, hopping up and down.

Rin bent down and offered her hand to the toad-youkai. "Come on, Jaken-sama."

Jaken took the offered hand and hopped up onto the two-headed beast. Rin waved a final time as Ah-Un flew after the fading figure in the sky.


"Keh. Still an arrogant asshole," Inuyasha huffed.

"Inuyasha…" she warned.

He gave her a frightened glance. "Don't sit me! I've got the pup!"

Miroku, coming out of his shock, shook his head and tsk-ed. "Still the same as always, I see. It is good you are back, Inuyasha. You were sorely missed."

The others gathered around them, Kirara transforming back into her kitten form and hopping onto Miroku's shoulder. From inside the hut, Miyoko's cry reached her mother and Shippou called from within.

"Excuse me," Sango said and hurried to answer her daughter's wail.

Shippou came running out a moment later.

"Inuyasha!" the kit cried, leaping up to his shoulder.

"Oi, Shippou."

"What happened?" he asked.

"Sesshoumaru's two-headed dragonet had Yukio."

The kitsune kit gasped.

"Actually, I think it was the other way around," Sango commented, coming out of the hut carrying Miyoko.

"How'd that happen?" Inuyasha asked, looking at Kagome.

Kagome blushed. "I was talking with Jaken and Rin was supposed to be watching him, but somehow he toddled over to that beast and just grabbed its reins when no one was looking."

He looked at Yukio who was still beaming at him.

`He knows and adores his father so much.'

"Oi, pup, you need to learn not to wander away from your keepers."

"Otou." :Leader-male. Pup happy leader-male back safe.:

He nuzzled his son. :Leader-male happy to be back with pack.: Then he turned heated eyes her way and pulled her close again. :Leader-male very happy to be back with pack,: he said in inu-youkai, knowing she would understand him.

She answered by lifting her head just slightly to bare her throat, a sign of obvious submission, and she saw his nostrils flare and his eyes dilate as they focused on the pulse point of her neck. A low growl escaped his lips and her knees went weak.

`Oh god… what he does to me. One look and I'm a puddle of goo. A horny puddle of goo…'

"You must tell us all about what you found in the Western Lands, Inuyasha," Miroku interrupted.

`Now? We haven't seen each other for 16 days. Can't this wait?'

"Feh. Not much to tell. Fields destroyed, people starving, carrion-eaters running rampant, my idiot brother staring at the tides while his lands fall apart…"

"It is true that you wielded Tenseiga?" the monk asked.

She felt Inuyasha puff up with pride and knew her hopes of a quick romantic tryst were just trampled by her hanyou's ego.

"Yeah. It's true. My stupid brother threw it away. I still can't believe that. He used it to torture his Lord Marshal then got upset when it rejected him."

"Jaken told us you used Tensiega to revive Ah-Un," Sango noted.

He nodded. "That blade is incredible. It revived corpses that were weeks dead."

"Amazing," Miroku breathed. "Such power, and in the hands of someone who seems so cold-hearted."

Inuyasha had no answer, but Kagome saw something come into his eyes.

`Hmmm, I wonder what he saw in his brother all those days they were together.'

"Inuyasha, you have returned," Kaede's voice said behind them.

Releasing her, Inuyasha turned to face the old miko, picking up Tessaiga in the process and sheathing it.

"Oi, Kaede-baba."

The old woman regarded him seriously for several seconds. "Hmmmmm. You look hungry. I'll make lunch."

Kagome heard his stomach grumble in answer to the idea of food, and his face fell a little.

"Yeah," he replied, putting one hand on his rumbling belly. "Didn't get a chance to eat much. Sesshoumaru's a bastard and he didn't want to stop to rest or eat."

"Sounds like someone else we know," Miroku commented to his wife.

The taijiya nodded. "Must run in the family."

"Oi!" Inuyasha growled, glaring at them, but they just smiled and looked innocent.

"Come this way, Inuyasha," Kaede beckoned.

"I have some stew I started this morning," Sango offered. "I can bring it and we can all eat together so Inuyasha can tell us about his adventures."

"Hai, hai, an excellent idea," Miroku argreed. "I'll get it for you."

Lunch turned into a welcome back feast, with numerous villagers bringing food and coming to herald the village protector's triumphant return. Kagome sat next to him, listening to him speak of his time in the Western Lands, both before and after he found Sesshoumaru, and tried to be patient. She knew that the others were happy to have him back, just as she was, but she longed to get him alone. His close proximity was driving her crazy because he was unwashed and smelled of honest sweat; a scent she always found very arousing. To make matters worse, he kept brushing up against her and her body, already tingling from his nearness, went into overdrive every time they touched. She kept her hands neatly in her lap when she wasn't eating or holding Yukio, and prayed that lunch would end soon.

"And is the body of Manshirou still displayed by the castle gates?" Miroku asked.

She looked up and saw a twinkle in the houshi's eyes.

`He's doing it on purpose,' she realized suddenly. `It's payback for embarrassing him with that book…'

Inuyasha shoved a dumpling into his mouth and shook his head. "No. I convinced him to take the damn thing down. None of his remaining seneschals would come back with it still up there, and he could just forget any of the courtiers. They were scared to death of him."

"As well they should be. Sesshoumaru is a powerful inu-youkai. Manshirou was a fool to conspire with Naraku and then try to overthrow Sesshoumaru himself," Miroku said.

"Well, he's a dead fool now, so Sesshoumaru showed him."

"Tell us again what you said to him when he said Tenseiga had chosen a new master," Shippou enthused.

"Heh, I said it only accepted me because it wanted me to go in there and kick his stupid a… errr butt," he answered, casting Kagome a worried glance.

"Oh to have been a fly on the wall for that," Sango commented, snickering.

"Heh," Inuyasha chuckled, and finished off his rice.

Kagome looked at his place setting and took in all the empty bowls and plates. The hanyou had consumed an ungodly amount of food in a very short time.

`He must have really been starving. Well, he did say that he gave all his ramen to those hungry village children.' She could just see him doing that, picturing the haunted faces fill up with hope as he handed them the only food he had so that they would have something to eat. `He'd give them his last cup of ramen. This is why I adore this man.'

He looked at her and caught her staring at him with adoration. He blushed and ducked his head, then peered back up at her through his bangs. Now that his belly was full, she could sense his attention turning towards satisfying… other needs. Why she was the only one who noticed this, she wasn't sure. Or maybe the others did notice it, but chose to ignore it. Whatever the reason, the longer they drew out the conversation, the more Inuyasha began to fidget, and the more Inuyasha began to fidget, the greater the chance he would lose his temper.

It was glaringly obvious that he was growing more and more impatient and annoyed. His answers were becoming shorter, his voice a little harder. Even Yukio noticed that his father was less than happy, and ducked his head down under her arm to avoid scrutiny.

"Pup bad?:

She shook her head and patted him. :Pup good. Leader-male tired from trip. Leader-male needs sleep.:

:Go to den?:


Finally, after several more questions and nervous looks, Kaede intervened and called an end to the meal.

"Inuyasha has come a long way and he is very tired. We should give him time with his family and allow him to rest."

"Thank you, Kaede-obachan," she whispered as the group began to disperse.

"Old I may be, but blind I am not. The monk was playing with dangerous fire."

She nodded vigorously, and turned just in time to see Inuyasha handing Yukio to Miroku and heard her son's loud protest.

"Here, watch the pup for us."

"Ah…" the houshi stammered.

"Otou!" Yukio cried, reaching for his father only to wilt and sniffle when Inuyasha barked a very clear, :Pup stay with pack-male.:

Already learning how to play them off each other, the toddler turned pleading eyes her way. "Okaa!" :Mother-female!:

She kissed him but refused to take him from Miroku's arms.

:Do as leader-male says.:

Big fat tears welled up in Yukio's eyes and spilled over. "No!"

Inuyasha growled at him, low and angry. :Obey leader-male.:

"Otou…" he tried again, plaintively.

Inuyasha softened for a moment and rubbed his son's ears. :Pup safe. Pup still pack. Leader-male and mother-female have time alone. Pup is not being left behind.:

`Oh, He was afraid he was being cast out of the pack…'

The reassurance only placated him a little bit.

"Don't worry, sweetheart. Okaa will come get you before dinner," she promised, ignoring Inuyasha's indignant snort. :Mother-female loves pup. Pup still pack. Mother-female will come for pup. Pup be good. Pup stay with pack-male.:

"Go ahead and take him," she told Miroku.

The monk nodded, casting her a knowing glance that made her blush, and carried Yukio off as he and Sango went back to their hut. Once they were gone, Inuyasha nipped at her neck and licked her ear.

"Run," he whispered huskily.


"Run. Run for the den. I'll give chase and catch you. I'll even be good and give you a head start."

`Oh…' She had no illusions as to what would happen when he `caught' her, and a rush of heat flooded her body. Inuyasha's nostrils flared and he inhaled deeply, his eyes dilating.

"Run," he ordered hoarsely, a hint of desperation in his voice.

She ran.

She made it to Goshinboku before he tackled her from behind, and she almost hit the ground face first but at the last moment he cushioned her with his body. Hungry lips found hungry lips and they rolled in the leaves by the huge roots of the ancient tree. Whatever he was hoping for, she knew he was shocked when he found himself straddled and pinned to the forest floor. Surprised by her own aggression, but too thrilled by the rush of power to care, she slammed him down by his shoulders and ravaged his mouth, her fingers clawing at his clothing to reach bare flesh. Her need was raging out of control, and if he was feeling even a fraction of the desire she was, she knew their coupling would be frantic and brief. She didn't care about that either. She needed him now.

She pulled open his hakama, freeing him from the confines of the red cloth as he ripped off her panties. With one swift movement she took him, feeling him arch his back and grab her hips to pull her further down onto him as they struggled in the throes of passion. She screamed his name and he howled hers as they reached their peaks together, then they trembled as one, her legs still gripping his hips as they rode out the aftershocks.

The whole thing lasted five minutes, if that. Actually, probably only three.

Gasping for breath, Inuyasha threw out his arms and went limp underneath her.

"Shit, woman, and I thought I was the sex fiend, but you just ravished me," he panted, smiling, his eyes sparkling.

She giggled, rubbing his chest. "I'm sorry. I see you and I lose complete control over myself."

He chuckled. "You have my full permission to lose control of yourself any time you want."

"I dunno. You might not be able to keep up with me," she teased.

"Oh, but the fun I'd have trying."

She gave a full laugh making him groan and close his eyes, and she knew she had about ten minutes before he was ready to go again. Disengaging herself, she kissed his nose and crouched beside him.

"Give me another head start?"

He blinked then gave her a wicked grin. "You've got until I can feel my legs again."

Snickering, she was off. She only hoped this time she'd actually make it to the den.