A/N: A handful to thank for reviews: MissKitty35, little25victor, I love Siberian tigers, Sycocat2, hollownature, lovediva100, Dragon and Sword Master, and xxdarienchibaloverxx. And thank you to everyone who put this or its author on their lists. I tried to make this amusing and a little sweet so perhaps a tissue and some water on hand is a good idea before reading.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Rumiko Takahashi et al.
One Hanyou Too Many
Centuries away from the strange encounter with Sesshoumaru's mother, Kagome and Inuyasha were fast asleep despite the fact that dawn had arrived some time ago. The priestess was snuggled in her blankets, raven hair splayed out against a pillow while one hand cupped her cheek in blissful slumber. Her champion rested against the bed, one hand lying near hers while silver white hair made a blanket over his shoulders. A modern blanket had slipped down his back, long forgotten in favor of facing his miko.
All of this was observed quietly by the woman in the doorway, her attempt at not making any noise clearly failing if the twitching of triangle ears was anything to go by. Stifling a chuckle, Mama Higurashi raised the digital camera in her hand and snapped off a couple of shots, noticing in delight that while the ears angled towards her, the two sleeping peacefully didn't budge. Tucking the camera into her apron, Mama left, shutting the door as silently as she could.
"Are they still asleep?" Souta questioned when his maternal parent entered the kitchen, a smile of pure delight on her face.
"Like little babies. I'll leave them alone for a little longer. It's good to see them so peaceful. No doubt they don't get to rest so soundly normally." Mama went back to the stove and turned off the burner, waiting until the two shard hunters were awake before making them some eggs and bacon. If the scent of fresh protein hadn't woken them up, then they needed the sleep more than the food.
"So, why'd you take the camera with you?" the youngest Higurashi asked, having seen her mother snag the little machine on her way up the stairs. There was no way Inuyasha hadn't heard her come into the room.
"Oh, I just thought I'd get a couple of memories." Giving a little grin, she showed the pictures, nodding when her son gave a small laugh.
"Better not let them see that. They'd be embarrassed for sure."
"Embarrassed by what?" a feminine voice asked, half closed eyes missing the swift concealment of the camera. Kagome pushed her hair back and gazed at her family. Inuyasha stood behind her, his appearance not much better than hers.
"Nothing," Souta choked out, shoving eggs into his mouth so that she couldn't ask him any more questions.
"Keh," Inuyasha scoffed, sensing a lie but too hungry to search for the truth. "Morning," he said gruffly, knowing Kagome's mother liked greetings.
"Oh, my, did I wake you up, dears? I didn't mean to, I was just checking to see if you wanted breakfast."
"It's okay, Mama. We need to get going anyway. I'm not sure how long Shippou can be counted on to be a buffer between Miroku and Sango." Kagome sank into a chair, pulling the cup of tea her mother had set in front of her closer. "One of these days, we're going to find Miroku tied up and hanging from a rope while Sango flies on Kirara's back."
"Keh, why'd you think I gave her one before we left?"
"You did?" the miko asked, inhaling the scent of frying eggs and meat. Her mother was listening to the conversation but had turned her back to cook them something to eat.
"A really long one so that if he tried anything too indecent she could dangle him like bait," the half demon said with pride, a fanged grin earning a laugh from Kagome.
"I'd like to see that," Souta put in, forgetting that his mother was in possession of the family's camera.
"I'll have to buy one of those throwaway cameras to take back with me. I don't want to run into a demon while trying to use our good one and have it get broken. I'm sure there'll be some moments that are worth catching on camera."
"There always are," her mother said, sounding completely innocent.
Inuyasha gazed at her back for a moment, the humming coming from her completely different than her normal tune. Mentally shrugging his shoulders, the half demon took a sip of the tea that he'd been given, allowing the scent of food to awaken the rest of his senses. "You have everything you need, Kagome?"
"I think I need to get some more food but other than that, yeah, I have everything I need."
"Kagome, if you're going to the store, would you mind getting me a few things?" Mama asked, bringing the eggs and bacon to the table before turning to gather some toast.
"Sure, Mama. Just make a list while I change. Inuyasha will go with me, so I'll be able to get as much as you need."
Inuyasha had his mouth full and couldn't protest being dragged to the store. The last time they'd gone together, she'd made him carry boxes of ramen so high that he hadn't been able to see. Looking across the table, he saw Souta shake his head and sighed. It really was no use arguing. Kagome would just pout and bat her eyelashes at him and then he'd cave anyway.
"Sure, no problem," he mumbled after he'd swallowed and got twin smiles in return.
"Thank you, dear. You eat up as much as you want," the matriarch said and sat down at her own place at the table to watch the two teens eat what seemed to be their weight in food.
Once they were done, Mama cleaned up and went to make her list. They were sweet children for going out on errands for her and she made a mental note to make something special for them the next time they came home. Pulling out the camera, she took a look at the pictures one more time before returning to her tasks. "I wonder how I can get these printed out without anyone finding out…"
"Hey Mom, you might want to hide that from Gramps. He wouldn't be happy to see Inu-no-niichan sleeping so close to Sis." Souta saw the small glint in his mother's eyes and knew exactly what she was thinking. Picture taking was one of her favorite pastimes and she loved to show the results off to the other mothers in the neighborhood.
"Hmm, you're right. I guess I'm going to have to put this away for now."
"Oh, I know, the pharmacy has this new printing machine. You can print your pictures yourself and then just pay for how many you have at the counter. Wouldn't that be perfect? That way no one would find out that Kagome's boyfriend is a demon."
Mama smiled at her son and ruffled his hair. "I have such a smart boy. Thank you, dear. I was worried. I don't want anyone to try to take him away, you know. Until then though, I think I'll just keep it tucked away in my apron."
"Sure." Souta retreated to his room so that he'd be less likely to blurt out the truth. There'd be plenty of time to tease his sister and her "friend" later when his mother showed Kagome the evidence.
It would make for a nice little joke.
The Higurashi matriarch wasn't the only mother who was plotting and while a little picture taking was an innocent means of teasing the children, Sesshoumaru's mother was making far less benign plans. The Lady Mother was currently perusing a box of jewels, looking for a particular piece of jewelry that she could use to carry out her idea. Two maids stood to the side, a frown on one face while there was resignation on another.
"My lady, I fail to see…"
"Of course you do," was the Honorable Mother's reply, satisfaction gracing her mouth when she pulled out a necklace from the mass inside the box. She'd have to remember to clean that one of these days.
"I mean, my lady, why are you helping a human?" The younger of the two continued, ignoring the slight nudge from the other maid who'd long ago grown used to her lady's machinations.
"It's a small thing to do in thanks for her hospitality last night. And I'll be greatly amused while they try to figure out a way to get this off of the houshi. It's a small training tool that I had wished to use on the Inutaisho. Sadly, he was too strong for this but a lowly monk won't have the power to take this off without a lot of help. In the mean time, the slayer can use it just as a priestess would use a rosary to control a youkai. A little tit for tat. I doubt the humans realize that we have ways of manipulating them in such ways as well."
"I hate to point this out, my lady, but how are you going to get the demon slayer you ran into last night to use it?"
The lady glanced at her oldest maid, confusion briefly in her eyes. "Why would she not? That monk must be made to realize that he cannot keep being so disrespectful. So far her methods have not worked. This is the perfect opportunity for him to get straightened out before they marry. I did not get to use it on my mate and look what happened. He got himself killed and left his two sons to wander about on their own without the guidance of a strong male presence. Now they're at each other's throats and there's an evil half-demon with most of the Shikon no Tama out there causing havoc."
The younger maid nodded as if that explanation made sense while the other merely shook her head. "If you say so, my lady. And how are you going to get it to her? You have no idea where she is right now."
"Oh, that's easy. I'll get Sesshoumaru to give it to her."
"Uh-huh, and how are you going to give it to him?" The demon lord had made no bones about wanting nothing to do with his mother and her shenanigans.
"Ah, that is where my dear daughter comes in." Silence reigned throughout the room after that statement and even a human could have heard a pin drop. "I finally came to the conclusion that although he does not want to have anything to do with her, he will not harm her. She is technically still very much a pup and he has a soft spot for children."
"Yukari-sama?" the younger squeaked, sounding more like a mouse demon than a dog demon.
"Of course, she's been pestering me to go out into the world and this is the perfect opportunity to let her stretch her legs. It's a simple delivery; she won't have a chance to get into mischief."
Sure, she won't. She'll just wander around for who knows how long looking for the big brother she idolizes. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that, the older maid thought. "If that is your will, my lady," she said with resignation.
"I'm glad you understand. Please have her come to me," the lady ordered, tucking the necklace into her kimono and returning to her throne. The clouds floated by softly, bringing a smile to her face. She'd found the one person her son wouldn't raise a claw to and her daughter had the uncanny ability to sense when her brother was nearby as well. At least she had when she'd met him as an infant.
"You called for me, Mother?" a soft voice asked.
Turning her head, the lady smiled and held out her hand. "Come here, my dear. I have a very important mission that I can entrust only to you." The young demon with black hair came forward, sitting at her mother's feet respectfully. "It involves your brother and his acquaintances so I know that you won't let me down."
"Aniue? I get to meet Aniue after all this time?" Gold eyes glowed with joy.
"Indeed. You have not seen him since you were a babe in arms, have you?"
"No, and it is my dearest wish. What do you need me to do?"
Pulling the necklace from her kimono, the Lady Mother handed it to her daughter. Delicate hands with tiny claws took it from her and gazed at wonder at the shiny beads. "You are to bring this to your brother. Tell him that it is for the monk that travels with his brother and that he is to give it to the slayer that travels with Inuyasha as well."
"Inuyasha? Why do I have to do something for that mutt?"
"Yukari, you will do as I say. Inuyasha has grown strong since being unpinned from the tree and he could easily kill you if he had half a mind." The matriarch didn't tell her daughter that it was unlikely he'd be allowed to kill the younger dog demon but with Yukari's attitude, anything was possible. If the priestess who'd unsealed him had affection for him, it was likely that she was protective of him and how he was treated. Her daughter would not find favor among her stepson's pack mates if she spouted the same rhetoric her son did.
"Do stop your whining, pup. You know that it is my will that my clan leave him alone. He travels with a monk, a demon slayer, a kitsune child, a nekomata, and a priestess. From what little I was able to gather last night, they are all strong warriors. Well, perhaps not the cub but they are trying to defeat Naraku who has most of the Shikon Jewel."
"Oh." Yukari knew that she was not strong enough to stand against Inuyasha if he chose to fight her. She was Sesshoumaru's sister after all and he would probably hate her on sight. The two brothers had been at odds with each other for decades so it wouldn't be too far of a stretch. Even the humans of Inuyasha's pack were formidable. "Very well, Mother, I will do as you command."
"I knew you would. Take this opportunity to explore the world a bit. However, if you sense a foulness unlike any other, I want you to return here immediately. That will be Naraku or one of his minions and I don't wish you to get hurt or worse. If you cannot get here in time but can reach your brother or Inuyasha, go to one of them. They will protect you from him."
"Are you sure?"
"Indeed. If there is one person Inuyasha hates more than Sesshoumaru, it is Naraku. It is because of him that he was pinned to a holy tree and lost his first love. If you happen to run into Inuyasha and his group first, by all means pass along the necklace yourself. Just be respectful, that's all my stepson truly wishes from other demons."
"I understand. Is there anything else?" The princess rose, smoothing down her kimonos and tucking the necklace away in a safe place.
"Perhaps you should take a change of clothes. The weather is unpredictable this time of year."
"Yes, ma'am." Yukari leaned down to kiss her mother's cheek before leaving. Anticipation filled her and she smiled when no one could see her face. She'd finally be able to see her brother.
"Oh, and tell Sesshoumaru to come see me as soon as he can. There is something of great importance that I need to discuss with him!"
"I will!" Yukari nodded her head while replying, not bothering to turn around. The smile was still on her face and she didn't want her mother to think she wasn't taking this seriously.
Her own maid packed a small satchel for her, seeing her off as she used her ability to coast along the breeze to take off in an effort to find Sesshoumaru. The first maid was joined by the elder of her lady's and the two allowed looks of concern to come over their faces. "Do you think she will be all right?" the young princess' maid asked.
"It's not the princess I'm worried about, it's everyone else. There was a reason our hime was named the way she was. From the day she was born she had an affinity for causing trouble."
"You don't suppose her ladyship remembers that, do you?"
"Oh, I'm sure she does. It is likely one of the reasons she chose her own daughter. While it is true that his lordship will not hurt his younger sister, neither will he be pleased to see her. She will be a nuisance to him and that is likely the true reason for the Honorable Mother's choice. Of course, that's always assuming she makes it to Lord Sesshoumaru's side without encountering trouble of her own."
"Perhaps it is a good thing that Yukari-hime's father did not live long after her birth."