InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ The Man In Red ❯ Chapter 3 ( Chapter 3 )
”Morning sleepy head.”
Inuyasha rolled over, blinking the sleep from his eyes.
“Morning.” He yawned.
Kagome sat beside him, her yukata loose around her shoulders as she nursed the baby. The early morning light filtering through the window framed her sleep tangled hair, washing her in a warm glow almost as bright as her smile. Inuyasha smiled and sat up, wrapping himself around her from behind.
He leaned his head against her shoulder, enjoying the feel of her skin against his own. She was soft and warm, and smelled heavenly. He breathed deeply, drawing her scent into the deepest recesses of himself.
“Get enough sleep?” Kagome asked, snuggling herself into him.
"Yup." He kissed the spot behind her ear, reveling his attention with his lips and fangs.
“What are you up to?” Kagome giggled lightly.
”I’m *kiss* not up *kiss* to *kiss* anything.”
"Uh huh. Just don't start anything you can't finish. We have somewhere to be, remember?" she scolded lightly. Inuyasha growled in frustration, and rested his chin against her shoulder. Small honey eyes blinked up at him curiously and he smiled.
"Spoiled pup, stealing all of your mother's attention." he teased, gently rubbing the back of his hand against his pup’s soft cheek. Haru pulled away and offered a milky smile, then nuzzled her mother's breast before continuing her breakfast.
The hanyo sighed, relaxing in contentment. That nagging voice in his head could go ahead and jump off a cliff, because everything was perfect as far as he was concerned.
"You got plenty of my attention last night if I remember." Kagome scolded, he could practically hear her eyes rolling.
Haru finished nursing then. She was growing fast, and the morning ritual was more for comfort than for sustenance.
"Here, she can have your attention now. Can you get her ready while I make breakfast?”
Inuyasha leaned back slightly and lifted his pup to the air, earning a happy gurgle and smile. He kissed Haru’s little nose and tucked her against his shoulder.
Kagome pulled her yukata over her shoulders and cinched it closed, humming softly to herself as she headed to the other room. He watched her go, her hips swaying slightly with each step. She stopped in the doorway, bent over for a moment and gave him a perfect view of her round backside. She turned and grinned, wiggling her fingers playfully as she righted herself and continued on her way.
Inuyasha gulped, suddenly feeling a bit warmer under the collar. Damn, that woman would be the death of him. Now he would have to spend all day smelling her arousal, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. He shook his head and turned his attention back to the squirmy pup in his arms, glad for the distraction.
“Alright wiggle butt, your mother has spoken.”
He used his free hand to open the small wooden chest where Kagome kept the clean diapers and baby clothes, then laid Haru down on the bed.
With practiced skill he changed her diaper and dressed her, sparing a few moments to snuffle her soft, warm belly. Her little hands batted at his hair as she laughed and squirmed.
"Pa!" Haru burbled, and Inuyasha beamed, his heart welling with fatherly pride.
"You can say it pup. Say 'Papa'." he coached, bobbing his head with each syllable.
"Pa." she burbled again, stuffing her fingers into her mouth.
"You'll get it, kid. Don't worry." he signed, rubbing her downy ears.
"I've got breakfast almost done!" Kagome called out. Inuyasha's stomach growled at the smell of Kagome's cooking wafting in from the other room. Haru cooedin recognition, her little ears perking up at the sound of her mother's voice. She rolled over and pushed herself to stand on shaky legs. Haru smiled proudly, bouncing as she gained confidence. Inuyasha smiled and offered his fingers as she took a step forward, then another, then let go of him completely, toddling happily toward the other room and her mother.
"We're coming." Inuyasha answered, watching his little girl go with a thoughtful look in his eye.
"You sure she'll be alright?" Inuyasha asked as he crouched low, offering Kagome his back. She wrapped her arms around his neck from behind and laughed.
"Haru will be fine, Inuyasha. Stop being such a worry wart." she teased. "I think Sango can more than handle anything Haru throws at her. She has plenty of experience."
"Keh. I know that." Inuyasha groused. "It's just the first time we've been away without her. It feels... wrong."
"You're so cute when you worry, Papa." Kagome hummed, leaning in close enough to let her breath tickle his cheek. "It's a simple enough job. With any luck we'll be back in time for dinner."
"Let's get going then. The faster we take care of this, the sooner we can come back." he huffed, leaping into the air with easy grace. He gripped Kagome's legs, and pulled her tightly against himself, loving the feel of her body wrapped so intimately around his own.
He reminded himself that it was just a simple grave purification a few villages over. If they hurried, he could have them back by lunch and they could fit in a little 'alone time' before picking Aiko up from Sango.
“Kaze no Kizu!” The ground quaked as the attack hurled toward the spirit, that of an armor clad samurai of immense proportions. Tetsusaiga’s attack was absorbed like it was nothing through the glowing purple stone set in the center of his chest.
“I grow stronger with each attack you throw at me hanyo!” He laughed maniacally. He threw his hand forward, sending a bolt of energy at Inuyasha’s chest.
Inuyasha felt the arch of energy hit him like lightning, forcing his yoki to the surface to be drained away. He was sent flying back from the sheer force of it.
“Kotodashi!” Kagome screamed, running forward. She placed herself between Inuyasha and the spirit, shielding him with her body. “Stop this!” She demanded.
The samurai stared down at the priestess, his black eyes glinting madly. “Why do you protect that abomination? Is it not your duty to rid their taint from the world?”
“I protect those worthy of protecting, human or yokai.” Kagome answered defiantly.
“Then you will die with him! I will wipe them all from existence!” Kotodashi bellowed. His massive body pulsed before being engulfed in a flowing black mass of demonic power.
"Kagome! NO!" Inuyasha yelled, landing hard against a stone grave marker with a loud crack. He felt weak from the attack, and he grunted, wiping sweat from his brow. He watched as Kotodashi’s writhing form advance on his wife, helpless to get to her in time. She lifted both of her hands, training one on the spirit, the other palm facing behind.
"Stay back Inuyasha!" Kagome ordered seconds before she erected a barrier between them. Inuyasha felt his stomach sink like a stone, and he jumped to his feet. He ran full speed at the barrier, praying that it would give way to him, but he found himself repelled backward, it as unforgiving as a stone wall.
"Don't do this!" Inuyasha begged. "We can do this together! Just let me through!" He knew that purifying something this large would cost a great deal of Kagome’s power. The exertion alone could kill her.
"I can't do that. Kotodashi is feeding off of your yoki. If he gets any stronger he’ll kill you! I have to purify him. It's the only way!" Kagome answered. She turned around and smiled at him, tears streaming down her face. "Give Haru a kiss from me, okay?"
"You can do it yourself wench!" Inuyasha pleaded, beating his fists against the barrier with all of his strength.
"I love you so much." she told him before turning fully toward the ancient samurai’s writhing spirit. The energy surging from her hands glowed blindingly, clashing against the blackness like a tidal wave before it engulfed everything in bright white light. "Wait for me..." her voice echoed softly on the wind.
"KAGOME!" Inuyasha bellowed as he watched Kagome's silhouette fade. With one last large blast he was flung backward again, landing hard against another gravestone. This time the force of it broke the rock in two, knocking the wind from his lungs. When he managed to right himself the Kotodashi’s spirit was gone, and Kagome along with it. "NOOOO!" He screamed, reaching for Tetsusaiga.
"Meido Zangetsuha!" He bellowed, swinging Tetsusaiga at the open air. "Meido Zangetsuha! Meido Zangetsuha! Meido..."
Tetsusaiga pulsed lightly, reverting to its rusted form. Inuyasha fell to his knees then, realizing that not even Tetsusaiga's Meido could reach where Kagome had gone. He fell to his knees, letting a wild cry escape him. The sound of it echoed for miles.
"Kagome... " he whispered to the silence. He dug his claws into the dirt beneath him. His grief was raw in his chest, like his heart has been ripped out leaving a gaping hole behind. Nothing mattered now that Kagome was gone. His life had no meaning without her in it.
'Give Haru a kiss from me.' her voice echoed hauntingly on the wind.
Inuyasha woke with a start, his pulse thrumming loudly in his ears. He sighed and wiped the sweat from his forehead, glad for the coolness that still clung to the early spring air. The room was dark, but through the window he could just make out the first orange rays of the sun as it rose over the trees. The bedcovers felt warm and cozy in his post nightmare haze, and he was glad for the comfort, no matter how small.
His dreams of that awful day were vivid; he could still smell Kagome's tears, see the way they had sparkled in the light of her spiritual release. At first the dream had plagued him every night. It kept the pain of his grief fresh, and toyed with his sanity. Eventually they had tapered off, and now they only reared their ugly head once or twice a month. On those nights he couldn’t sleep in the bed, choosing instead to sit himself on the floor with his back to the wall. That was where he had planted himself to keep watch over Haru the night before. He did not remember moving to the bed.
He couldn’t see her on the bed anymore.
Panic welled in Inuyasha's gut, irrational and wild. His nose told him she was close, but his brain wouldn't listen to reason. He flung the covers from himself, a flood of relief washing over him when he saw the small bundle of pup snuggled against his side, Kagome’s locket resting against her chest. She suckled her little thumb as she slept peacefully. Her nightshirt had ridden up over her belly, and she shivered in the cool morning air.
How someone as wild and gruff as himself could take so easily to fatherhood he couldn’t rightly answer. He had been so certain that he would be terrible at it until the moment Kagome had handed Haru to him the first time. She had been so tiny and helpless swaddled tightly in the crook of his arm, but it had been love at first sight. His heart had practically burst with it. He promised then that she would get the childhood he had been denied. This child would know she was safe, would know that she was loved.
He had almost failed her twice now. After Kagome’s disappearance he had done his best to hold everything together, but he couldn’t look at her without his guilt and grief overtaking him. He had thought Haru would be safest in the future with family, but since Mrs. Higurashi’s death Sota had barely been able to take care of himself, let alone a child.
No, he couldn’t let let himself think about that. Haru was with him now, that was really all that mattered. He had been absent for six months of her life, even missing her second birthday. He wouldn’t miss another moment if he could help it.
Haru was so peaceful as she slept. She was the spitting image of her mother. Inuyasha felt his heart clench painfully at the thought. He wished so badly that Kagome were here now. He had spent months searching for any sign of her, anything that could help him get to where she had gone. So far though there had been nothing, not even as much as a whispered rumor. Perhaps he would visit Kaede later to see if she had heard any news.
He has taken Haru to visit the old priestess once before on her first day back. Kaede has been so happy to see her that she had burst into tears, which the hanyo had never seen her do before.
Inuyasha supposed that Kaede was already awake and tending to her duties as the village priestess. Even so, it was much too early to wake Haru yet. Pups needed plenty of rest. That meant there was time for him to get a few things done.
He took extra care not to jostle her as he slid out of bed, tucking her back into the bedcovers. Years of moving silently through the forest hunting prey came in handy as he snuck to the living room. He grabbed the water pail from beside the cooking pit to refill at the small stream nearby and headed outside.
The sky was now a soft grey split by the bright oranges and pinks of the sunrise. The forest air was a heady mixture of winter rot and new spring growth, and he breathed deeply, drawing the crisp air into his lungs. In the trees he could hear the beginning flutters of movement as the birds and other animals woke for the day. He yawned, stretching his muscles a bit as he relieved himself on a bush before continuing his morning routine.
The stream bubbled cheerfully, and he knelt on the bank to dip the pail into its shallow depths. It filled slowly, but he didn't mind killing the time. Being out among the trees was where he felt the most relaxed.
After the water pail was full and settled back inside the house he lit the cooking fire and got the rice steaming along with a few small fish from the stream. It was rather domestic of him, but even the wildest of beasts could become tame under the right circumstances. He knew deep down though that you could take the hanyo from the forest, but you couldn’t take the forest from the hanyo. There had been a reason he had insisted on building their home in the woods. It was more tranquil for one, but mostly it was because the villagers rarely ventured into the woods of his forest.
He sat next to the cooking pit for a while, lazily poking at the coals in the fire when he finally heard Haru stir in the bedroom. She fussed softly, stumbling from the room rubbing her sleep heavy eyes with the backs of her hands. She was bare except for a diaper, her nightshirt apparently lost somewhere between the bed and the door. Her hair was a tangled mess, curling at odd angles around her face and ears. Inuyasha smiled, unable to contain his amusement at the adorable mess that was his daughter.
"Morning sleepy head." he chuckled, pulling the sleepy pup into his lap. She whined and snuffled against his shoulder, still not fully awake. He brushed her hair away from her face, planting kisses on her cheeks.
"No tickles Papa." she complained, shoving his chin away with her little hand.
Inuyasha ran his hand over his chin and felt the stubble that had grown in. He had been so preoccupied with caring for Haru the last few days he hadn’t had much time to do more than splash his face with water every morning. He made a mental note to take care of it later if he had the time.
"You don't like my kisses?" he asked teasingly, rubbing his chin against her cheek again. Haru squealed loudly and squirmed in his arms. Inuyasha flattened his ears against the assault on his hearing and frowned. “Not so loud kid.” He grumped.
"Want down!" Haru demanded, now fully awake and ready to run. He let her go and she scampered out of his reach, her face set in an angry pout.
Inuyasha rolled his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest. He’d seen that look before. It was the same face Kagome made when she was annoyed with him. It would seem that Haru’s budding personality closely mirrored that of her mother’s, and if that was even slightly true, he was in trouble.
The rest of the morning progressed smoothly enough though. Breakfast had been uneventful, and afterward Haru had held still long enough for him to get the both of them ready for the day. Inuyasha decided that he had given old Kaede plenty of time to complete her shrine duties.
He scooped Haru up as he headed out the door. “Let’s go see Kaede." he said absently.
"Okay!” She enthused, her large golden eyes blinked up at him innocently. "Papa fly?"
"Alright, hold on tight!" He happily agreed, leaping into the air.
Haru was all smiles and giggles after they finished their run through the trees. They sailed passed the water flooded paddies tended by the villagers. A few looked up and waved to them as they ran by.
"We go fast!" Haru laughed.
"Do you like to go fast?" he laughed with her. Her head bobbed with enthusiasm, and she clasped her little hands together above her heart.
He continued his run through the village, easily leaping from rooftop to rooftop as he made his way to Kaede’s hut near the other side of town.
He landed on the roof of her hut silently, watching the old woman go about her morning. The old priestess crouched in the field beside her home, a gaggle of children gathered about her feet.
“Kaede-sama, what are you doing?” One of the young girls asked curiously.
”I am collecting the blossoms of this plant here. When steeped in a tea it is wonderful for relieving aches and pains after a hard day’s work.”
”My father is always saying how much his back aches at the end of the day! May I take some home for him?”
”I bet my Mother would like some of that!”
“And my Obachan!”
The old woman smiled fondly and nodded. “Of course, as long as ye help collect enough. Each of ye take a basket.”
”Yay!” Came the collective cheer as the children happily joined her in her task.
”Ye must be careful not to uproot the plant when harvesting the blossoms. If ye are gentle enough, they will blossom again and again until the end of summer.” Kaede instructed, dropping a handful of the yellow flowers into her own basket.
“Kady obachan!” Haru chirped, mispronouncing the old woman’s name. Kaede looked up then and waved at Haru, who gladly waved back.
“It is rude to lurk Inuyasha.” Kaede scolded.
Inuyasha leapt from his rooftop perch and landed softly on his feet before the old woman. “Keh. I don’t lurk.”
”Inu-oji!” Mine cheered, popping out of the gaggle of children to greet him. “I’m helping Kaede Obachan collect these flowers today. Papa is always saying how his back aches. I think this will help.”
“Uh, That’s... nice.” Inuyasha greeted, setting Haru on her own two feet. The toddler quickly ducked behind him, clinging to his leg shyly as she stared at the unfamiliar children.
”Awe! You brought Haru-chan!” Mine exclaimed. Jumping to her feet excitedly, she bounded over. “You’re so cute!” She cooed, reaching out her hand. Haru stared at her, honey eyes wide as she assessed the older girl, sniffing tentatively. “Would you like to help me pick flowers Haru-chan? If that’s okay with you Inu-oji.”
Haru’s ears flicked in interest, but she stayed put, looking up to her father for assurance.
“Sure, I don’t see why not.” Inuyasha answered. He stepped aside letting Mine take Haru by the hand and lead her away.
”We’re picking flowers Haru-chan! Would you like to help?” Mine asked dutifully, showing the toddler the delicate blossoms.
”Pretty flowers!” Haru gasped, happily dropping to the ground to grab one of her own.
Inuyasha turned his attention to Kaede. The old woman knelt in the grass, a large smile gracing her face.
”What?” He snapped, uncomfortable with the wistful look in the old woman’s eyes.
“It’s just— oh nothing.” Kaede sighed, watching the toddler with a fond look in her eye. “So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit today?” Kaede asked, struggling to push herself to her feet. Inuyasha rolled his eyes then offered her a hand, easily pulling her to her feet. “Thank ye.”
”Perhaps ye just missed my company?” The old woman teased.
”Ha! Not likely.” Inuyasha snorted, although there was no real bite to his retort. The old woman had a way of getting on his nerves with her nagging and scolding, but in truth she was as much family to him now as Miroku and Sango had become. “I just came to see if you had heard any rumors.”
Kaede sighed heavily. “I haven’t heard anything new I’m afraid.” She shook her head solemnly. Inuyasha frowned. He’d had a feeling that would be her answer. “But while I have ye, I have a few things I could use help with.”
“Getting lazy in your old age?” Inuyasha joked lightly, crossing his arms over his chest.
”Hardly. These old bones can’t seem to keep up with me like they used to.” She grumbled, shooting him a quelling glance, which he promptly ignored.
”You humans wear out too easily.” He snorted. “Tell me what you need doing already. I don’t have all day.”
Kaede shook her head disapprovingly, but wisely kept her mouth shut. Years of dealing with the hanyo’s rude remarks taught her that correcting was a wasted effort, he has a habit of tuning her out when she took a certain tone. “We aren’t all blessed with the longevity of yokai blood. Follow me inside then.” She huffed, making her way toward her hut.
Inuyasha spared a glance at Haru, who was happily plucking blossoms with the other children. Satisfied that she was occupied for the time being, he followed Kaede inside.
Haru loved flowers, so when Mine showed her how to gently pluck the pretty blossoms she had happily joined in.
As the minutes ticked by, one by one the other children gathered closer, wanting a better look at the newest addition to their group.
“Awe! She’s such a cute baby!” Rini cooed, dropping to her knees beside Haru. She brushed her wavy locks behind her ear and leaned low, getting cheek to cheek with Haru. “Hello Haru-chan.” Rini cooed, touching Haru gently on the shoulder.
The toddler leaned away slightly, but otherwise ignored her, training her attention on the flowers instead.
“Is Inuyasha-sama really her father?” Hiro asked, studying Haru curiously.
“Uh huh. Can’t ya tell? She looks just like him!” Mine nodded. “And Kagome-oba is her mama too.”
“Pretty flowers!” Haru interrupted, proudly showing off her handful of blossoms for inspection.
“Good job Haru!” Mine praised warmly.
“She’s so cute I could die!” Another girl, Akina giggled.
Haru hummed happily to herself, carefully dropping a handful into the large basket like she’d been shown.
”Pfft. She’s not cute.” Hideki, the village headman’s grandson, and budding bully scoffed. He was large for his young age, a fact that he was fully aware of, and frequently used to his advantage. He shoved several other children aside as he made his way over, stopping just short of Haru’s sitting place. He had a wicked gleam in his eye as he gave the toddler the once over. “I mean, look at that weird hair, and these dopey ears!” He sneered. He reached forward without warning and grabbed one of Haru’s ears with a rough yank.
”Ahhhh!” Haru wailed at the sharp pain, her little arms flailing helplessly. “No! Owweeee!”
”That’s right, cry you little freak! Freaks like you deserve everything they get!” He raised his fist high, readying to strike.
“Leave her alone Hideki!” Mine yelled.
Hideki’s grin widened, his dark eyes flashing with excitement. “Ha! My Obachan says that hanyo don’t deserve to even be born.” His fist contacted with a sickening thud against Haru’s side, followed by a second strike, a third against her arm, and a forth across her
Haru curled up into a tight ball and bawled, unable to defend herself against Hideki’s assault.
”Cry all you want little baby. Nobody is going to help you.”
“Hideki, stop! You’re hurting her!” Mine yelled again. The boy grinned at her, aiming another blow at Haru. Mine took action then, jumping over Haru, curling around the toddler like a shield.
“Dirty hanyo lover! You’re no better than they are!” His fists landed one after the other against Mine, but she refused to budge.
Hideki suddenly found himself yanked upward by the scruff of his shirt. A deep threatening snarl made the hackles on the back of his neck stand on end. He blanched, sparing a glance upward. Inuyasha glared down at him, fangs bared threateningly.
“Help! I’m being attacked by the vicious hanyo! He’s going to eat me!” Hideki yelped, kicking his feet madly as he attempted to get away.
Golden eyes flashed, and the grown hanyo leaned over the child. “If I ever catch you touching my daughter or Mine like again you little shit, I will eat you. ” He hissed. He tossed Hideki, letting him land in a heap on the ground.
Hideki spared a hateful glance at Inuyasha as he righted himself. “I’m going to tell my Obachan about this! Filthy half breed!” He yelled over his shoulder as he scurried away.
The other children stared at Inuyasha, eyes wide with equal parts fear and awe. He knelt beside Mine, and they scattered like mice, terrified by the fury in his eyes. He clenched his jaw and swallowed, ignoring them as he gently touched Mine’s arm.
The girl slowly uncurled herself from around Haru. Blood trickled slowly from her nose, but she didn’t seem to notice.
Haru cried loudly, large tears flowing freely down her cheeks.
Without hesitation he scooped her up. A large red bruise was already forming across her chin and right cheek, and he growled again, snuggling her against his chest. He shouldn’t have let that little fucker off so easily.
“Inu-oji!” Mine cried then, jumping up to cling to him. She buried her face in his haori and wailed. Inuyasha sighed and wrapped his arm around her too, patting her back.
“You okay kiddo?” He asked softly. Mine shook her head.
“Bring the girls inside.” Kaede instructed. Inuyasha grunted his understanding and lifted both girls up, heading inside Kaede’s home. “Hiro, go and fetch Mine’s mother. Quickly now!”
The boy squeaked, his foot slipping in the dirt as he scrambled to a running start.
Inuyasha awkwardly lowered himself to the ground, doing his best not to squash the girls as he found a seat. They clung to him, faces buried in his shirt as they cried.
He flattened his ears against his head, unable to quell the guilt that had planted itself in his chest.
Kaede stepped inside after a moment and grabbed a cloth from a basket and dipped into the water bin. She wrung it out and scooted close, resting her wrinkled hand on Mine’s shoulder.
“Mine my dear, we must stop your nose from bleeding.” She explained, tucking Mine’s dark hair behind her ear.
The girl sat up, looking up revealing the bruise that was forming under her left eye. She took a shaky breath and hiccuped, blood trickling from her nose down her chin. Kaede invited Mine closer with a wave of her hand and pulled the girl into her own lap to wipe her clean.
Inuyasha busied himself with Haru, who was wailing loudly, tears and snot running down her cheeks. A red bruise was forming over her right cheek.
“Inuyasha, ye must check her for broken bones.” Kaede told him, and he nodded. Haru continued to wail as he stripped her clothes off, running his hands over her skin in search of anything obvious. To his relief he only found a large bruise on the side of her torso, blooming dark under her tender skin.
“Son of a bitch.” He cursed. He had to fight the urge to put a hole in Kaede’s floor with his fist, instead choosing to focus on calming Haru.
“Is Haru alright?” Kaede asked, her arm wrapped around Mine as she pinched a cloth over the girl’s nose to stem the bleeding.
“Does this look alright to you?” Inuyasha bit out, turning to show Kaede the bruises that covered his daughter’s little body. She clung to him tightly, resting her face against his neck, as he rubbed her back. The action was as much to soothe her as him.
“My kami.” Kaede gasped. “How awful. Nothing is broken though?”
“That little bastard is lucky nothing is broken.” He growled.
“Inuyasha.” Kaede chided. “Watch your tongue around the children.” The hanyo glared daggers at the old woman. “I understand ye are angry, but it doesn’t help anything to curse.”
“It helps me feel better.” He growled through gritted teeth.
Kaede rolled her eyes. “Mine, hold this tightly to your nose.” She instructed, placing Mine’s hand against the cloth held to her nose before she grabbed another cloth and dunked it into the water. “Here.” She sighed, offering it to Inuyasha. “The cool water should help with swelling.” She explained.
Inuyasha accepted the damp cloth with a curt nod. He adjusted Haru so she sat nestled in his lap and placed the cool cloth against her side. Haru’s cries intensified once more and he winced sympathetically. “I’m sorry baby girl. I know it’s cold, but it’ll make you feel better.”
“No cold Papa! No cold!” Haru whimpered, scrabbling at the cloth with her fingers.
“Stop Haru. It needs to stay there.” He scolded, grabbing her hand away. The toddler sniffled and leaned against him, hiccuping between whimpers. Inuyasha’s anger slowly ebbed, giving way to a deep sense of guilt.
If only he hadn’t left the girls alone, none of this would have happened. He knew well the blind hatred some people held against yokai, but it has been years since anyone in this village had expressed
Inuyasha was pulled from his thoughts by Mine’s hand on his arm. She looked at him, a dark bruise of her own forming around her left eye. He opened his arm then, and she fell into him, hugging him tightly.
”I’m sorry.” She offered softly. Inuyasha hugged her in return.
”It ain’t your fault kid.” He sighed heavily. Mine looked up at him, a deep frown marring her innocent face.
”But Hideki hurt Haru because I couldn’t—“
Inuyasha cut her off with a quelling glare. “It wasn’t your fault.” He reiterated.
”Is Haru okay?” She asked. Haru’s cries had died to hiccups, but she still clung to him tightly, her face burried in the front of his haori.
”She’ll be alright thanks to you.” Inuyasha said, giving her another hug with his free arm.
”I swear, if I ever get my hands on that boy, he’ll regret laying hands on anyone!” Sango growled, punching the floor beside her.
“Believe me, I seriously thought about hunting him down myself. I still might.” Inuyasha groused, adjusting Haru in his arms. She had finally fallen asleep a little while ago, and now napped peacefully snuggled against his shoulder. Inuyasha hadn’t been able to redress Haru without agitating the bruise on her side, so he draped it over her like a blanket.
“I agree that the boy deserves a good thrashing. But perhaps it would be wise to tread lightly.”Kaede reasoned.
“What good would that do? That boy had no business doing what he did to Haru. And then going after Mine for defending her. My blood boils just thinking about it!” Sango argued.
Kaede nodding in agreement, resting her hands in her lap. “It pains me to admit this, but not every person in the village is comfortable with Inuyasha’s presence here. There could be backlash.”
“He beat up a toddler! Who her father is shouldn’t matter!” Sango snapped.
”I hate to play devil’s advocate,” Miroku interjected. Up until then he has sat listening quietly with Mine in his lap. “But I agree with Kaede. It would be wise to tread lightly. Or are you forgetting who the boy’s grandfather is? Or his grandmother?”
“Of course I hadn’t forgotten.” Sango rolled her eyes. “Why should it matter that Yamato is his grandfather?”
“It matters quite a lot. Yamato might tolerate Inuyasha’s presence, but that may not extend to threatening his grandson.” Miroku explained. “And his wife Emiko isn’t exactly subtle in her dislike of yokai.”
Inuyasha had heard enough. “I’m tired of this shit.” He snapped. “I get that most people don’t see more than a dirty mongrel when they look at me, and I’m used to it by now. But if they think I’m going to let them chase me out of my home for defending my own kid, they’re in for a hell of a fight.”
”If it comes to that, ye have our full support Inuyasha . Hopefully it won’t.” Kaede sighed heavily.
“Do you think Emiko will cause any trouble?” Miroku asked, adjusting his feet under him.
“I could almost guarantee it.” Kaede said without hesitation. “Although, we’ll see what comes of it. Yamato My cousin is a fair man. He does not jump to conclusions as easily as his wife. Perhaps it would be wise to go to him with this matter.”
“This is just fucking ridiculous. All this fuss over me doing my job to protect my own pup.” Inuyasha snapped. He was glad that he still held Haru, because if his hands had been free he would surely have put a hole through the wall with his fist.
“I don’t disagree Inuyasha. Unfortunately, if Emiko makes a big enough stink Yamato will have no choice but to listen. This has the potential to go very wrong. I have heard many a story of peaceful yokai being driven from their homes for lesser offenses.” Kaede pointed out.
“Keh. You’ve heard stories, but I’ve seen it happen. Hell, I’ve lived it.” The hanyo said, his words weighing heavy on his friends minds.
“I could get the twins to watch the younger ones tonight.
You could leave Haru with them while we meet with Yamato.”
“No.” He answered matter of factly.
“Inuyasha, this will be no place for a small child.” Kaede interjected.
“I said no. She ain’t leaving my sight.” The hanyo’s tone left no room for argument. “That old bat needs to have her nose rubbed in the mess her snot nosed grandkid caused.”
“Well, I supposed it’s settled then.” Kaede sighed heavily. She had a sinking feeling in the pit of her gut that this was only the beginning of their trouble.