For the second time that morning, Inuyasha woke to voices. With a soft sigh, he rolled towards the sound. His brother was standing across the room with his back towards him. Sesshomaru was fully dressed and speaking in low tones with a strange floating cloud. There was a soft pop and the cloud disappeared, leaving a light mist hanging in the air. As the mist dissipated, Sesshomaru turned back towards the bed.
"What is it?" Inuyasha asked sleepily, fighting back a yawn. He hadn’t slept so well the night before. Sleep was trying to drag him back down.
"Someone with jewel shards is nearing the castle."
Inuyasha frowned. "Naraku?"
Sesshomaru shook his head. "I do not think so, but I am unwilling to take any chances. I will look into it for my own satisfaction."
"You're going alone?" Inuyasha started to sit up. "But I can-"
Sesshomaru put his hand on his brother's shoulder. "No. You stay here and take care of Kuniku and Rin. I will be back in time for breakfast."
Inuyasha chewed on his bottom lip nervously as he thought over his options.
Sesshomaru offered him a half-smile. "Do not worry. I have survived this long without your help and I plan to survive a great deal longer still. A simple intruder will not be my downfall."
Inuyasha's frown turned sullen at his brother's light, teasing tones.
Sesshomaru knelt beside him. "There will be many other opportunities for you to join me, but for now there are more important things for you to take care of," he said as he brushed his fingers through Inuyasha's mussed hair.
Inuyasha sighed but nodded. "Yeah." It was hard not to take it personally. He could fight after all. Better since Sesshomaru was training him, but his brother was right. He had to take care of their little family. It wasn’t a slight. Guarding their family was also an important duty, but the feeling of being left out made him feel twitchy.
Sesshomaru smiled gently as he leaned in and kissed his brother. "I will return soon."
"You'd better," the half-demon grumbled as he watched his Sesshomaru pick up his swords and sweep out of the room.
Inuyasha flopped back into the pillows and turned onto his side. He looked over at Kuniku and Rin as they slept undisturbed by the quiet conversations. Rin had managed to wiggle her way to the middle of the bed where she sprawled out upside down with one arm hanging off of the bed. Kuniku was lying on his back in the middle of his small nest of pillows. Inuyasha slowly reached out and stroked his son's hair. Kuniku sighed softly but didn't wake. Inuyasha smiled and closed his eyes, drifting back into a half sleep.
His rest didn't last long as a tapping on the door roused him. "Hold on," he muttered, dragging himself out of bed. He stopped to straighten up the robes that he was wearing. He realized that he was still wearing his brother's loose cast-off clothing from the previous night, but didn't bother to go through the effort of changing. He simply pulled the large robe tightly around himself and retied the belt as he walked towards the door. Once he felt somewhat decent, he pulled the door open. "Yeah?" He asked, dragging his hand through his hair.
Kagome stood on the other side of the door fidgeting. "Oh, Inuyasha. It's you," she said, looking around cautiously.
He quirked his lips in amusement. "Yeah. Just me. What do you want?"
She focused back on him. "Oh, I just wanted to tell you that I felt a jewel shard nearby, maybe even more than one."
"Really? Are you going to go after it?" Inuyasha asked with a frown.
"Actually, it's moving towards us. I thought that maybe I should warn you and Sesshomaru in case Naraku was coming back."
Inuyasha blinked. Oh. Oh! "He's already checking that out."
"Oh. Then I guess I didn't need to bother you after all." Kagome frowned.
"Don't worry about it. It's better that you did,” Inuyasha reassured her. “But Sesshomaru will take care of it. He said that he'd be back soon."
"Okay.” She smiled. “I'll see you at breakfast?" The girl asked.
"Yeah, at breakfast." He nodded. Inuyasha's ear twitched. Behind him, he could hear the soft hitch of Kuniku's breath that signaled a good long cry. "Well, Kuniku just woke up, so I'll see ya." Inuyasha closed the door and swiftly strode to the bed where the first wail erupted from Kuniku's mouth. Inuyasha reached out to pick up his son and tuck him carefully in his arms. "Well, good morning to you too."
Kuniku squirmed, waving his tiny fists around as he cried. Inuyasha cradled him and hummed, trying to soothe him as he started getting together everything needed to change a diaper. From the smell of his son, Inuyasha definitely had quite the job ahead. He set the squirming baby on the bed and proceeded to change a very stinky diaper. Once the old diaper was gone and Kuniku was clean and dry, his cries died down a little. Inuyasha finally quieted the baby by sitting back on the bed to feed him.
Rin wiggled her way up the bed to settle next to Inuyasha. "Where Sesshomaru?" She asked sleepily as she rested her head on Inuyasha's thigh.
"He went out for a little while. He should be back soon," Inuyasha explained softly.
The girl nodded her head as her eyes slowly drooped shut again. He let her sleep for a little while as Kuniku continued to feed. Once the baby was done, he pulled Rin out of bed to get ready for the day. After dressing and grooming himself and both children, they headed towards the dining room. Inuyasha's friends were already situated around the table chatting quietly and eating when Inuyasha walked in with Kuniku in one arm and Rin attached to his robe.
"Good morning," Kagome greeted with a smile.
"Good morning," he replied as he sat down at the place he'd claimed as his own.
"Sesshomaru hasn't returned yet?" Kagome asked.
"No, not yet." Inuyasha looked over the food on the table, making a small plate for Rin before picking up a few things for himself.
"You're not worried?"
Inuyasha shook his head. "Nah. He'll be back."
"I think I should tell you though, that the jewel shard is getting closer," Kagome said a bit worriedly.
"He probably picked it up." Inuyasha shrugged, continuing his breakfast. Sesshomaru said that he'd be back. He hadn't been gone for that long. He would wait a while before panicking. His brother was strong after all and said he would come back. "How is Kohaku this morning?" He asked, changing the subject and looking at the boy in question.
Kohaku, who had been avoiding people's eyes all morning, looked up suddenly. "I-I am fine thank you."
"Good to hear." He felt a little guilty about cutting the kid open, but it had to be done and he'd be a lot better off for it. "Are you going to be traveling with the others now?"
Sango nodded. "Yes. I wish to keep him close to me. Also, he is very skilled and with you no longer with us, we shall need all the help that we can get."
"Yeah, sorry about that," Inuyasha said, petting the baby in his lap with a smile.
"No need for apologies, Inuyasha. We understand that you have priorities," Miroku said.
"Yasha is staying," Rin called out happily.
Inuyasha smiled and put his hand on her head. "You betcha." He ruffled her hair and she giggled.
"Inuyasha," Kagome called. He looked up the girl and watched her nervously glance at the door. "I think you should know that those shards are getting closer."
Inuyasha frowned. "Should I go take a look?"
"That will not be necessary."
Inuyasha looked up as Sesshomaru walked into the room with a body hanging limply over his shoulder.
"Sesshomaru-Sama!" Rin trilled.
Sesshomaru nodded at the girl. "This wolf is an acquaintance of yours, is he not?" He asked the group, dropping the body to the floor. It landed with a loud thump and groaned.
"Is that...Kouga?!" Kagome asked, standing quickly.
Inuyasha wrinkled his nose. "Smells like him."
"I heard that," came the weak response from the floor.
"Kouga are you all right?" Kagome moved to kneel beside the wolf demon.
"He is not mortally wounded," Sesshomaru said as he walked towards his place at the table. He let his hand lightly brush through Inuyasha's hair as he walked by him.
"What took you so long?" Inuyasha demanded as Sesshomaru sat down.
"The wolf wanted to play games."
"I wasn't playing you bastard. I'm still gonna kill you." Kouga growled as he struggled to sit up. He looked worse for wear and had obviously been on the receiving end of Sesshomaru's claws.
"It will take more than a mere wolf demon to kill me," Sesshomaru said calmly.
Kouga tried to move forward, but froze and groaned in pain.
"Stupid wolf, just lay still," Inuyasha called.
"Shut up! Stinkin' dog," Kouga ground out.
"Silence!" Sesshomaru snarled. "If you do not hold your tongue, I will rip it out and feed it to you."
The room was silent, aside from Kouga's harsh breathing. Even Kuniku, who was startled by the noise, seemed unwilling to attract his father's attention by crying out.
It was Rin who eventually broke the tense silence. "Ooooooh! You got Sesshomaru maaaaad!"
Inuyasha snickered. Usually, he was the one pissing off his brother. It was refreshing to have someone else on the receiving end of that glare for once. "Just shut up and let Kagome put some bandages on you."
Kouga's glare softened as he turned to look at Kagome. "Kagome! Are you hurt? Why are you here with these guys? It's one thing to hang out with one stupid mutt, but two of them?!"
Sesshomaru began to growl dangerously.
Sango and Miroku quickly stood, sensing disaster in the air.
"Kagome! Why don't we bring Kouga back to my room so that we may tend to his injuries!" Miroku said, moving over to the pair and quickly yanking the wolf demon to his feet.
Kouga yipped in pain, but Miroku ignored him as he began dragging the demon from the room.
"Yes. Allow me to help. We should see to him immediately or else it might get worse," Sango added as she moved and put an arm under Kouga's free shoulder. "Come on Kagome!" She called as they disappeared from the room.
Kagome got up and quickly hurried after them. After the group had gone, Kohaku looked around feeling quite bewildered. Shippo sat next to him, still happily munching away at his breakfast.
"Don't worry," the little fox demon said, "you'll get used to it eventually." He patted Kohaku’s arm reassuringly.
Inuyasha chuckled. "So he's the trespasser with jewel shards?"
"Yes. Though now I am regretting my decision not to kill him outright."
"It's not like you to leave them alive like that. Why'd you bring him back here?"
"He kept dropping you and your human’s name. He accused me of eating you actually and said he'd get me for it."
"Aww, didn't know the mangy wolf cared." Inuyasha snorted. "Thanks for not killing him though. He's a pain, but he has his uses."
"He had better. If he does not learn to control his mouth, his new use will be as a rug in our bedroom."
Inuyasha made a face. "That's gross. Like I'd want his mangy carcass on the floor of our bedroom! It'd be like having him watching us all the time." He blushed slightly as he realized he’d called it their bedroom. He noticed Sesshomaru's smug expression and blushed even more, turning away from his brother.
Sesshomaru could only smirk to himself. Not only did Inuyasha refer to the bedroom as theirs, but he was obviously thinking of the kinds of activities they could get up to in their bedroom.
Shippo watched the dog siblings and shook his head. He had no idea what was going on, but it was too weird for him. "Hey Rin, wanna go play?"
Rin looked up and smiled. "Yes! Play please." She stood up and bounced. "Kohaku play too?" She asked, looking at the older boy.
"I-I don't know," Kohaku said glancing over at Sesshomaru.
The demon nodded his head, giving the young demon slayer the permission he was looking for.
"C'mon," Shippo chittered, hopping on Kohaku's shoulder.
"Okay." Kohaku stood up, careful not to knock Shippo from his shoulder. Rin ran up and grabbed his hand to drag him from the room.
"Bye bye!" Rin called out as she pulled the boys out to play in the garden.
"She has a lot of energy," Inuyasha commented, bemused.
"Yes. I often wonder how such a tiny girl can contain so much of it. I am convinced that she has some otherworldly powers that I do not yet know of," Sesshomaru said.
"Nah, kids are like that. Don't you remember when you were little?"
"That was a long time ago."
"Bet you drove everyone crazy." Inuyasha grinned.
"Nonsense. I was a perfectly behaved child." Sesshomaru protested.
"Whaaaaat?!" The siblings looked up to see Jaken standing in the doorway staring in disbelief. "Perfectly behaved?! Every other day you were out trying to get yourself killed! It's a wonder that you survived this long! If you didn't have such a wonderful caretaker like me, you would have been dead long before your father!"
Inuyasha snickered as Sesshomaru glared at his servant. "I was perfectly behaved in demon terms," he amended with an affronted sniff.
Jaken rolled his watery yellow eyes. "The human girl has nothing on you Master. Just wait until your son reaches an age where he can go crawling off into danger every time you take your eyes off of him for a second. Enjoy him while he's little."
Inuyasha looked down at the baby in his lap. He was small now, but with Jaken going on and on about what a hellion Sesshomaru was as a child, he began to realize the enormity of the situation. Not only did he have a baby, but he had a child that would grow and get into no end of trouble.
"And don't think that I'm going to be stuck watching him. I watched you as a child and now I have to put up with your pet human, but I'm getting old you know!" Jaken continued shrilly.
Kuniku squirmed in annoyance. It was so noisy around here. He looked up at Inuyasha and gurgled. Inuyasha picked him up, holding the baby at eye level. "Hey kid, do me a favor. When you feel like going off adventuring, bring your dad along okay?"
Kuniku cooed and kicked his feet as his little tail wagged lazily behind him.
"Inuyasha, do not encourage him." Sesshomaru frowned.
"What? Don't look at me, I was a good kid. If he's getting all wild and taking after you, you can run after him."
"We shall deal with the situation when it arrives."
"It'll come sooner than you think," Jaken warned.
"You may go now Jaken," Sesshomaru growled.
The small demon chuckled as he left. Sesshomaru would get his just deserts and Jaken would be right there watching and laughing. Revenge could be so sweet sometimes.