A/N: This is it, folks. The last chapter of a story that took an interesting turn. I hope you enjoy. Thank you to little25victor, Aldana ruth, and kokoronagomu for their reviews.
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
An Embarrassed Miko and Her Mastermind Mom
The moment Inuyasha and Kagome landed on the other side of the Bone Eaters Well they knew they were too late. The half demon smelled the presence of the Honorable Mother and they both could feel her youki. The passage of five hundred years didn't seem to have dimmed it in the least. Dragging their feet, they made their way to the front entrance, calling out as they entered the house. Kagome tucked her shoes away, leaving her heavy bag near the stairs so that she could sort the contents out later. Voices came from the kitchen, and the two shard hunters reluctantly moved towards their doom.
"Ah, there are our intrepid travelers now," the Honorable Mother stated, smiling benignly. Not a hint of anything but genuine pleasure was in her voice. Her eyes on the other hand, spoke volumes.
"Hello, my lady," Kagome greeted, bowing. She elbowed Inuyasha, hoping he'd remember his manners.
"Come now, after all this time surely you can call me Stepmother."
"Eh, I just met you like a week ago," he reminded her. Was her mind so muddled with age that she couldn't tell he was his past self? How old did inuyoukai live to anyway?
"Ah, yes, it has been only a short time for you, hasn't it? I forget sometimes that you were still hopping back and forth through time at this point. My advanced age, you see."
"Keh," was his only comment. Did she think he was stupid enough to step into that trap? "What are you doing here?"
"Why, greeting family, of course. Dear Kagome did invite me. I knew that her mother would wish to know about Naraku's demise immediately. Mothers do tend to worry."
Mama watched the exchange with amusement. She knew something besides a maternal concern had brought the demoness to her doorstep not an hour prior. The woman had been cordial for her entire visit, and she had relieved her mind of the worry Naraku's existence had plagued her with from the moment she knew of him. Something else was in the works though.
"We've had a splendid conversation, Kagome, Inuyasha. She even brought a package of her favorite tea." Mama watched Inuyasha sniff at her empty cup, eyes suspicious.
"At least you didn't poison it," the half demon muttered.
"Tsk-tsk, Stepson. As I recall, it is not I that has been known to tamper with food." In full Lady of the Moon mode, she went in for the kill. It had occurred to her to draw their dread out further, but he had walk right into that one. It was hard to resist when the prey did that.
"Tamper with food?" Mama questioned both teens. They flinched in response, raising suspicions in her mind. "What does she mean, children?"
"Oi, we didn't poison anyone's food. Stop giving Higurashi-san the wrong idea," Inuyasha demanded. He was going to hang on to every last bit of deniability he could.
"Inuyasha…" Mama repeated. His ears sank into his hair at her tone.
"It wasn't his idea, Mama. You need to hear the full story first though." Kagome pulled out a chair and sat down next to her mother. Inuyasha stayed where he was.
"By all means tell me. It sounds like I need the big picture." It sounded like they'd gotten into some mischief.
"Yes, well, it started the day I returned to the past…" the young priestess said and recounted the entire tale, beginning to end. Her mother's eyes continued to widen, lips fighting the urge to smile.
"I see," the older woman commented when her daughter paused to take a breath. "Rather careless of you to neglect to tell your daughter what would happen if she put it around Miroku-kun's neck."
"Yukari had always been so good about following my directions to the word up to that point, so it didn't occur to me to mention that little flaw. It was a mistake that I freely admit." The Honorable Mother had been amused but five hundred years of reflection had given her second thoughts. A lot could have gone wrong if they hadn't come straight to her.
"Keh, as if that was the only problem. Yukari could have killed Rin. It was only luck that she forgot she was stronger."
"Rin?" Mama asked in confusion.
"Ah." She smiled at her daughter so that Kagome would continue. The young miko did, describing the journey to the Castle of the Sky, and the realizing that she had planned something so elaborate to destroy their archnemesis. "Well, it does sound like you've had quite the trip, Kagome. It was a great honor to meet one of the Cardinal Beasts."
"He was a lot nicer than I imagined he'd be. I thought he was going to look down on us because we were humans and half demons. It was just the opposite. He listened to us and gave us genuine advice. He even shared things about her ladyship that he probably shouldn't have."
The Honorable Mother chuckled, reminding them that she was going to tell the elder Higurashi about their little indiscretion. "Yes, speaking of those things. I thought you might want to know how long it took to get that purple out of my hair."
"Purple hair?" Mama asked, sensing a story. "All right, you two, spill. How did Sesshoumaru's mother's hair become purple?"
"Enough stalling," the older human ordered. Her tone had turned stern.
"I figured that one good prank deserved another. Lord Byakko was all for it and had been biding his time in paying her back for dyeing his tail when she was a child, so everyone agreed that my idea would be just desserts." Kagome ducked her head, hiding from her mother's gaze.
"Not all pranks are good ideas," Mama warned her daughter. "Just how did you execute this prank?" she asked.
"I have wondered," the Honorable Mother mused.
"Oh, that was easy. Sesshoumaru got me some past made from beautyberries and I mixed it into the conditioner I left for the Honorable Mother. I told her that she needed to leave it in for about five minutes and then rinse it out. I had read somewhere that it was an easy way to temporarily dye one's hair."
"It worked," Mama guessed.
"Beyond expectations," the demoness sighed and pulled a picture out of her pocket. Sliding it across the table, she allowed Mama to study it.
"Oh, my." She stared at the photo, something that must have come from Kagome's digital camera that she took back to the past. How the picture had been developed and in the dog demon's hand when the picture would have only been taken a day or so before was something to figure out another day.
"Not my finest moment," her counterpart said. "I added to my own misery by leaving the conditioner in even longer than Kagome told me to," she admitted. "And some of the fur of my pelt even got turned."
Mama kept staring at the photo, trying not to laugh. The giant purple and white dog in the photo was a hilarious sight, but this wasn't the time to allow herself the freedom. Kagome had never been one to pull something of this magnitude, but she knew her daughter was not afraid of making mischief. The various shades of purple made for quite the sight. "I don't know quite what to say. On one hand it sounds like they were certainly within their rights, Lady Mother. Your games put them through the mental wringer. On the other hand, children, this could have lasted a lot longer than a couple of weeks. If the dye had not come out, how long would it have taken for her hair to grow out enough to cut away the purple?"
"Decades," Inuyasha put in. The speed at which their hair grew slowed as they aged, just like the rest of their bodies. "Her fur would have had to shed itself out. Don't know how long that takes. I don't have fur except for on my ears."
"Every couple of years, give or take," the dog demoness informed. "Transforming into ones true form is the only way for us to get rid of excess fur. Not many places to find to do that nowadays."
"Not for one of your size," Inuyasha agreed. He'd only been to a handful of places in the city, but he knew that most of their beloved wilderness was gone in Kagome's time.
"Hmm, this is certainly something to be discussed." Mama was still trying not to show her amusement. By the look Inuyasha was giving her, she wasn't entirely successful. Clearing her throat, the older woman gave the picture back and tried to direct stern eyes onto the children. "What do you think would be a fitting consequence, Lady Mother?"
"In the dog clan this sort of thing would have been paid back with another prank or something else equally as diabolical. You needn't worry, Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru paid for his part in this debacle."
"Hmm… I believe I know just the thing. Kagome, bring me the bag that you take with you." Kagome squeaked, shooting Inuyasha a panicked look. Gold eyes held the same trepidation. Reluctantly she did as she was told, putting the yellow monstrosity on the table. Standing, Mama opened the bag and began taking things out. She sorted through the items contained within and by the time she was done, nearly half of the things the priestess usually took with her was in one pile.
"Please, no," Inuyasha moaned, seeing the last of the ramen packets in the pile he suspected were of things Kagome would not be able to bring with her anymore.
"This is what we will do, children. Since modern/futuristic items were the instrument of delivery, all the items in this pile will not be able to be brought back to the Feudal Era until further notice."
"But my hair! I can't go without conditioner, Mama. You know what happens if I forget to use it." Kagome protested with all her might, getting nothing but a firm look in return.
"This punishes the others too," Inuyasha pointed out, hoping that would change her mind.
"They were a party to this also, were they not?" she returned.
"That settles that. I must be on my way but do let me know about the dinner. I look forward to sitting down with your whole family. Inuyasha, see me out, please." The Honorable Mother rose and walked with the half-demon to the door.
"Happy now?" he snarled. His favorite food was gone for the foreseeable future.
"Indeed, but that is not why I asked you to show me out."
Inuyasha caught the tone of her voice and straightened. "What's up?"
"I cannot say too much for fear of changing the outcome, but I do want you to be on your guard. You still have shards to find, and it will not be as easy as you imagine."
"Keh, when is it ever? I'll make sure we're safe."
"I know you will." The Honorable Mother smiled at him; eyes softer than he'd ever seen them. She lifted a hand to his face. "So like your father and yet I see Izayoi in your face. You would have done them proud, Inuyasha. I hope you know that."
Knowing it was something the past her would not have said, he nodded. "Thanks." He would have said more, but the voices of Kagome's friends reached him, and he groaned. Looking around, he saw the cap that he usually wore outside and slipped it on.
The Honorable Mother grimaced, obviously hearing the voices as well. "This is my cue to leave. Take care, Stepson. You have much to do in the past still."
"I will," he said and opened the door for her. She left just as the girls were coming towards the house and he waited until they got inside before closing the door. "Oi, Kagome, your friends are here!" he shouted, just in case she was still trying to convince her mother to let her take some things back. On the brightside, the bag would be lighter weight.
"Who was that?" Eri asked. At least he thought it was Eri. It had been a while since he'd seen these three.
"My stepmother," he answered.
"Why was she here?" Ayumi asked, only to hear Kagome wail from the kitchen. "What's wrong?"
"We pulled a prank, got caught, and Higurashi-san has taken some things away for now."
"Must have been some prank. Higurashi-san doesn't usually do things like that."
"We dyed my stepmother's hair purple." There was no reason to lie to the trio.
"Why would you do that?"
"Keh, she started it. The prank she pulled was far worse. It got us all good and we just wanted to give her a taste of her own medicine. She ran to Higurashi-san to get us in trouble."
"You aren't going to be forced to break up, are you?" Yuka asked worriedly.
"Nah, neither are that cruel." Well, the Lady of the Moon could be that cruel, but not regarding that. Kagome's mother was too delighted with the remote possibility of puppy-eared grandchildren to make them "break up."
"Inuyasha, let the girls in already. Geez." Kagome joined them in the entry way and smiled at her friends. "Just the group I needed to see."
"Heard about your trouble," Eri said, seeing her friend's face become gloomy.
"Yeah, but we'll get through it. I'm sure Mama will change her mind after a bit. A week at most," Kagome said hopefully.
Inuyasha wasn't so sure.
Two weeks after the verdict, Kagome was ready to beg. Her hair looked like straw, the frizz and dry texture beyond anything she'd ever had to deal with before. Vowing to research how to make homemade and organic conditioner once she got home, the miko just prayed that her mother would hurry up and decide that they'd been tortured enough.
Shippou had been an absolute terror the moment he'd realized his worst nightmare had come true. All of the sweets that he had enjoyed since beginning his life with Kagome were currently out of reach, as was the handheld video game she carried around for him to play when none of the others could keep him occupied. They hadn't realized that a kitsune could go through withdrawal symptoms due to sugar loss.
Miroku pouted for all he was worth once he realized that the magazines he so loved would not be coming any time soon. Nor the potato chips. He liked them almost as much as Inuyasha. Mama had even held back the poker cards, substituting them for a child's card game that wasn't nearly as much fun for the monk as the regular deck was. One thing she had allowed Kagome to bring to the past was some premium sutra papers so that he could replenish his supply. He was slowly working his way through the blanks while practicing patience.
Sango seemed to be doing fine, including her hair and Kagome had a nasty suspicion that the demon slayer had cooked something up on one of her trips to the old slayers' village. The taijiya was likely using it on the sly when her friend wasn't looking. She did seem to regret the loss of some of the more convenient futuristic bathing supplies but as it was only a temporary loss, she said she could wait.
Kirara was a bit irritated that she was suffering because of what they'd done but couldn't really blame Kagome's mother. The nekomata could have stopped them or warned the dog demoness and hadn't. While she too could bide her time, she was a cat after all, the loss of the treats Kagome showered on her was really felt.
Inuyasha was the worst. He had lost ramen, potato chips, adult playing cards, and other snacks. More than once he'd whined and pleaded for Kagome to make his favorite noodles from scratch. She'd shot him a glare and told him that it took years to perfect such a dish from scratch and she didn't even know where to begin. The rest of the time he complained or vowed vengeance on his stepmother.
Kaede was the unfortunate witness to all of this. By the time they returned to the village after their latest shard searching trip, she was determined to get them to write apologies to the dog demoness. It was likely what Higurashi-san was waiting for. Either that or she just wanted to see the evidence that her little punishment had truly worked.
"Perhaps ye should apologize, in writing," the old priestess suggested. They were really a sad bunch. "It might stop this pit you've dug yourselves from getting any deeper." Was it her or did Kagome's hair look worse than the last time she'd seen her?
"A written apology?" Sango asked hopefully.
"Do you think…?" Kagome wondered. "Mama always did like notes in any form."
"Who should we address them to, Higurashi-san or the Honorable Mother?" Miroku asked.
"Both," Inuyasha decided. It couldn't hurt.
"Right. Where's your notebook, Kagome?" Sango questioned. The sooner this was all over, the better.
Kaede watched as they studiously began their notes, trying to chuckle silently at the sight. Kagome's mother was certainly in for a treat. Kirara padded up to her, jumping into her empty lap for a pet. "Took them long enough to realize the truth, didn't it?"
"Mew." The nekomata licked one paw and pushed her head into the hand that petted her. Her kittens were a stubborn bunch, but eventually they learned.
They always did.
Mama stared in stupefaction at the pile of handwritten notes in front of her. Kagome and Inuyasha had come dashing into house, their eyes pleading and both looking a little ragged. They stumbled over themselves to explain what the notes were all about. Afterwards she had sent them upstairs to rest. Kagome could be heard thanking the gods for the invention of hair conditioner. After a moment, the elder Higurashi woman pulled her cellphone out of her pocket and began to type.
Notes arrived, just like you said they would. Quite the sight. Lesson learned.
It took a few moments for the reply to come but when it did, it brought a smile to her face. Time to put them out of their misery then. That'll teach them.
Think they know? Mama wrote back to the woman she had met on the street shortly after Kagome had begun traveling to the past.
They haven't figured it out in five hundred years. I doubt they ever will. Giggling, the mother of the Miko no Shikon began making a meal fit for a large army. Kagome had been right when she told her friends that her mom liked a good joke. Her daughter just hadn't known that she was a mastermind when it came to pulling them off.
Pulling out the digital camera that she had made Kagome leave home, Mama scrolled through the pictures of the entire affair. She allowed herself to laugh at the whole situation. Maybe one day she would tell the children that she and the Honorable Mother had already planned out their "punishment." For now though, she'd enjoy the notes and the pictures, waiting for the day when the whole of the clan could be together in one time and place.
"Ramen, anyone?" she called and heard footsteps pound down the stairs. Yes, she would enjoy the photos but the one thing she would enjoy more than that was seeing her children happy and safe. Inuyasha slid into a kitchen chair just as she was opening a package of instant noodles.
Even if one of them did have an unhealthy obsession with ramen.