A/N: A handful to thank for reviews: Rukia's Reflection, JadeKurosaki, xxdarienchibaloverxx, Esha Napoleon, LadyGeri, and ShahzysAngelette. And thank you to everyone who put this or its author on their lists. I've apparently been really scatterbrained lately. I could have sworn I sent "Thank yous" before now. Anyway, I hope you enjoy chapter two.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Rumiko Takahashi et al.
A Little Vacation
The scent of something cooking brought Inuyasha out of the unintentional deep sleep he'd been in for several hours. Kaede sat stirring a pot of stew, her one good eye closed in thought. A light weight on his shoulder turned his attention to the slumbering miko in his arms and he blushed darkly at the compromising position. Gently moving Kagome so that she was lying flat on the floor, he opened her bag and took out a light blanket to put over her. Taking a discreet sniff to make sure she hadn't awakened, the half demon's sharp nose caught another, entirely unwelcome scent.
"Where is the bastard?" he hissed quietly so that he didn't wake the others.
"He's been here and gone, Inuyasha. I believe that in his own way, he was concerned. That, and he had a question concerning his ward. You know that he despises being in anyone's debt so I assume that giving me advice about your condition was fair trade to him." The elderly priestess looked at him critically and then at the others.
"Keh," the younger Taisho scoffed and helped himself to the stew. "So what did Sesshoumaru have to say for himself?"
"All of you are passed the point of exhaustion and are in need of rest. He came and you didn't even bat an ear. The only time you reacted to his presence was when he checked on you and you thought he was taking an interest in Kagome. If I'm not mistaken, your youkai half was quite close to the surface. He also said that you were malnourished." She had known that the ramen that the futuristic miko brought with her wasn't healthy.
"There hasn't been time to hunt properly. The last time I tried to catch something, Sango got swiped. Kagome was bathing and Miroku was sleeping. The only ones not doing anything at the time were Shippou and Kirara and Kirara's the one that saved Sango." Finishing his meal, Inuyasha set aside his bowl and stood. "Might as well humor the prick. I'll go get some rabbit to add to the stew."
"Would you kindly do me the favor of cutting it up and adding it to the pot when you return? I shall retire for the night. If the others wake, do have them eat."
"Sure, babaa." He checked on his friends once more before leaving to hunt. When he returned, everyone was still asleep and Kaede was just bedding down for the night. Inuyasha had eaten his fill of raw meat before coming back, not wanting to subject anyone to the sight. When his brother had mentioned being malnourished, it had been a hint to eat like a demon for once. And just to make sure that he didn't collapse, he'd taken his aniki's advice.
As quietly as he could, the inu hanyou cut up meat and added it to the pot, stirring it every once in a while to ensure that everything got cooked. It was the middle of the night when the first of his friends woke. Miroku roused slowly, moving Sango gently so as to not wake her and bring her wrath down upon his head for something he didn't do.
"Wondered if any of you would ever wake. Kaede-babaa said to eat," Inuyasha said by way of greeting. He shoved a bowl of stew at the other man and a pair of chopsticks.
"Thank you. Neither of the girls…"
"Out like a light. They haven't moved a muscle since they fell asleep. Neither have Shippou or Kirara, come to think of it." They sat in silence, both eating but not feeling the need to talk.
Having had their fill, Miroku excused himself briefly while Inuyasha cleaned up the mess they'd made. He went to the nearby stream and washed the bowls and utensils before bringing them back near the fire to dry. The monk was gazing at a letter when he did, brows furrowed in confusion. "Inuyasha, is Higurashi not Kagome's family name?" In their time, no one but nobles had last names but the school girl had told them that everyone did in her era.
"Yeah, what about it?" Gold eyes met violet with a questioning stare.
"Well, it seems Kaede-sama has written to Kagome's family." Miroku handed the folded paper over, knowing it must be pretty important if the elderly woman had gone to such lengths.
"If she found it important enough to write it down instead of passing it along verbally through Kagome, then I should go give it to her mother." Turning to go, he didn't pay any attention to the monk's protest.
"Ah, Inuyasha, it's the middle of the…night," the other man finished lamely. Oh, well, the half demon would realize it eventually.
It was only as he was traveling through the portal that Inuyasha remembered that even though Kagome's time was five hundred years in the future, the time of day was the same. Coming out of the well, he decided to check things out anyway since it had been some time since they'd visited. Kagome would never forgive him if something had happened and he'd been too lazy to go see what was happening. Besides, he could do that without waking anyone.
Padding towards the house, he used his heightened senses to place each member of the family. The squirt was sound asleep, muttering something about goals. With a smirk he figured that had to do with Souta's dream of becoming a soccer star. The boy was almost never without his ball. The old man was snoring loud enough to wake the dead in his room on the first floor while the cat was prowling around the house doing his own inspection. Coming around the back of the house, Inuyasha was surprised to see the light on in the kitchen. Concerned, he glanced in, only to see Kagome's mother sitting at the table drinking a cup of tea.
Tapping lightly on the window, he stepped back when she rushed to answer the door. "Inuyasha, dear, what's wrong…?" she asked hurriedly, anxiety in her eyes. He never knocked at night when he came, just went in her daughter's bedroom window or camped out in the God Tree.
"Nothing, I came to deliver something to you and forgot that it was night here too. Deciding to check things over before I returned, I saw you sitting here. Something the matter?" he asked gruffly, showing his own concern the only way he knew how. Mama Higurashi had never shown her disquiet over their travels.
"Oh, no, dear, I just was having a cup before going to bed. Please, come in and have one with me." She stepped back, allowing the young man inside. He sat across from her, sharp claws gently scraping against the mug of tea when he picked it up. "I often have a cup in the middle of the night when it's quiet. The day is usually so filled with noise that I like to take time to reflect."
A furred ear twitched at her comment, the only sign he gave that he knew there was more to her reasoning than she let on. "The quiet is good," he agreed.
"You said you had something for me?"
"Yeah, Kaede wrote you a letter. It must be pretty important for her not to just pass a message along through Kagome." Taking it out of his haori, Inuyasha handed the letter over with pretend nonchalance.
Mama opened the letter, smoothing out the page so that she could see the characters better. When Kagome had first gone through the well, she had gotten out her old Japanese notebooks from college, and studied the differences, just in case a day came when she would have to read a something from the Feudal Era. It took her several minutes to work through the letter, concern shadowing her normally happy features.
Without a word, she rose and went to the drawer holding her own stationary. Getting out a pen and sheet of paper, she sat back down and looked at her daughter's boyfriend. "What?"
"It seems you and the others have run yourselves ragged, Inuyasha. Kaede-sama is most concerned. She has asked for my help and I will give it gladly. You can't help anyone if you're all too tired to do so much as open your eyes when an enemy appears. It seems that your brother walked right up to you and you did nothing." Mama watched as his ears lowered in chagrin.
"Keh, arrogant as—" Inuyasha started to mutter before cutting himself off. He tried to watch his language around Kagome's mother. "Yeah, I know. He could have killed me if he'd wanted to but Kaede had something he needed so he returned the favor by leaving us alone." Sesshoumaru was bound to rub it in the next time they crossed paths.
"I'm glad you understand the seriousness of the situation." Patting his hand in a motherly fashion, Mama uncapped the pen and wrote one word under the salutation to the elderly priestess:
Signing it with her name, she allowed the ink a minute to dry before folding the small pink paper and putting a small piece of tape on it to hold it together. Handing it to Inuyasha, she walked him to the door before watching him go back to the well house. "Those poor children," she murmured when she was sure that he'd had enough time to go back. "Well, no time for rest. There's a lot to be done and not a lot of time to do it in. I wonder how he's going to react to Lady Kaede's idea." With a small smile, the Higurashi went about her chores. Knowing the young man as she did, Inuyasha would no doubt complain long and loud about what was to come.
Not that it would do him any good.